Tag:AL Central
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:04 am
Edited on: December 6, 2011 11:28 am
 

Rockies trade for Kevin Slowey

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Colorado Rockies have acquired right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Minnesota Twins, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has confirmed. It was first reported by Thomas Harding of MLB.com. In return, the Twins will get a player to be named later.

Slowey, 27, had a forgettable 2011 season, just like his Twins. He was 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 59 1/3 innings. Also much like his Twins, though, injuries hampered Slowey all season, including to his forearm for a bit. There's certainly potential here, as Slowey was 39-21 with a 4.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a low walk rate from 2007-2010. That's not exactly ace-caliber, but makes for a good back-end of the rotation type.

Slowey likely figures as the fifth starter for Colorado, assuming they don't make another move -- which is entirely possible, considering Huston Street and Seth Smith, among others, are rumored to be on the trading block. Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel are likely cemented in the rotation, and youngsters Alex White and Drew Pomeranz -- both acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade -- figure to be in as well.

As for the Twins, they apparently felt they had no use for Slowey anymore. Even if they make no more moves with the rotation, they have Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn.

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 9:30 pm
 

Matt Capps re-signs with Twins

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- After having lost Joe Nathan to free agency, the Twins have retained relief pitcher Matt Capps, likely to be the closer. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports the Twins have signed Capps to a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The Associated Press reports Capps' deal is for $4.75 million and the option for 2013 is worth $6 million with a $250,000 buyout.

Capps, 28, came over midseason in 2010 for the Twins, working magnificently down the stretch for the AL Central champs. He had 16 ssves with a 2.00 ERA and 1.19 ERA. In 2011, however, it was a different story for the Twins as a whole, and Capps was part of it. He recorded 15 saves and nine blown saves with a 4.25 ERA. He closed for a period of time before losing the job to Nathan.

Capps would appear to be the anchor of the Minnesota 'pen now, in front of the likes of Glen Perkins, Alex Burnett and Jose Mijares.

LIST OF FREE AGENTS

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:21 pm
 

MLB Winter Meetings rumors: Monday

By Matt Snyder

Hot Stove Season
DALLAS -- We're live from the media room, lobby or anywhere else in the Dallas Hilton for Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings. Tons of rumors are going to be circulating throughout the meetings for the next four days, so we'll keep this as a landing spot for anything and everything. Check back for updates all day Monday. We'll timestamp updates made after the initial post.

Pujols

CBSSports.com's Scott Miller writes that the Cardinals are making every effort to get free agent superstar Albert Pujols signed.

Fielder

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com blogged last night that the Brewers were finally feeling a bit optimistic their chances to keep free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. The Nationals are one name that have been thrown into Fielder rumors, but the Washington beat writers -- including MLB.com's Bill Ladson -- are reporting that Fielder is not a target. The Nats are reportedly content to use Adam LaRoche at first base and Mike Morse in left field, with Morse a backup option at first.

12:50 p.m. ET: MASN.com reports that the Orioles do have interest in Fielder, but general manager Dan Duquette doesn't want fans to get their hopes up just yet.

1:00 p.m. ET: Jon Heyman adds that the O's interest in Fielder is owner Peter Angelos' "secret mandate."

2:03 p.m. ET: Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com reports the interest in Fielder is not heavy and his name didn't even come up during the Orioles' morning briefing.

Phillies, Rollins, Ramirez, Polanco

• While the Phillies have not rushed to sign starting pitcher Cole Hamels to a contract extension -- he's due to be a free agent after the 2012 season -- there is a strong expectation from both sides that a deal gets done eventually, reports Knobler.

• The Phillies are strong players for free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki confirmed the interest, but surmises Ramirez is merely a backup plan in case the Phillies can't retain shortstop Jimmy Rollins. On Rollins, his options could be dwindling. ESPN.com's Buster Olney is reporting that the Phillies' only competition for Rollins are Milwaukee and St. Louis.

1:05 p.m. ET: Knobler reports the Brewers are in on everyone at shortstop and third base, but not far along in negotiations.

12:57 p.m. ET: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Phillies are actively shopping third baseman Placido Polanco. Dealing him would free up a spot for Ramirez.

2:35 p.m. ET: Rollins' agent -- Dan Lozano -- met with Phillies officials last night and talks "did not go well at all," according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The report indicates Rollins and Lozano are not backing down from the intially requested five-year contract.

3:18 p.m. ET: Miller reports the Phillies are "definitely" in on Ramirez, but that the Angels (and "others") are also very interested.

5:38 p.m. ET: General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said "honestly, there is no rush to do anything," on the Rollins situation (Matt Gelb).

6:23 p.m. ET: Ramirez wants to play for a winner and has interest from the Phillies, Brewers and Angels, tweets Knobler, but nothing is close yet. The Tigers haven't shown serious interest in Ramirez, either, and probably won't at all, Knobler also notes.

Royals, Angels, Gio Gonzalez

• While they are "downplaying it," the Royals would trade closer Joakim Soria for starting pitching help, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. This makes sense after the signing of Jonathan Broxton, and we also know the Royals badly wanted to upgrade their rotation. Sherman also notes the Royals would talk about Greg Holland, who posted a 1.80 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 60 innings last year.

2:05 p.m. ET: Heyman reports Gio Gonzalez is one target of the Royals, also noting that highly-touted Royals prospect Wil Meyers is quite popular among opposing teams.

2:50 p.m. ET: Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com says that an executive from an "AL West rival" of the A's believes Gonzalez will be traded.

2:10 p.m. ET: Perhaps the Angels are a match with the Royals? Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports the Angels are seeking help in the back-end of the bullpen, "specifically [an] experienced closer."

7:25 p.m. ET: Scott Miller confirms the report that the Royals like Gonzalez. Miller also learned the Royals are looking for a utility infielder who can play both second and third base.

Willingham

• Nine teams have called on free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, including the Twins, Red Sox, Indians and Reds, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

4:26 p.m. ET: The Rays are "making a serious run" at Willingham, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Rosenthal tweets that the Rays aren't close, but are one of the three to four finalists to land Willingham.

Indians

1:04 p.m. ET: The Indians are in on every free agent first baseman other than Fielder and Pujols, reports Heyman, who specifically named Casey Kotchman as being on the Cleveland radar.

Buehrle

2:01 p.m. ET: Coveted free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has been connected to over a dozen suitors. Knobler reports that the left-hander has not eliminated any teams from consideration and is not close to a decision.

4:51 p.m. ET: Rosenthal reports that the Nationals, Marlins, Rangers and Twins are after Buehrle, but that the Twins offer isn't as strong as the others.

Braves

2:06 p.m. ET: Sherman reports that the Braves are one of the teams waiting for free agents Buehrle and C.J. Wilson to sign -- because the Braves will then see if the trade interest in Jair Jurrjens picks up.

Twins, Capps, Rangers, David Murphy

2:42 p.m. ET: The Twins have asked the Rangers about the availability of David Murphy, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Rosenthal countered by saying the Rangers are "reluctant to compromise outfield depth."

6:57 p.m. ET: The Twins have re-signed Matt Capps. Full story.

Dodgers, Harang, Hairston

3:29 p.m. ET: The Dodgers are making progress on signing free agent starting pitcher Aaron Harang. Full story.

6:06 p.m. ET: The Dodgers have signed Jerry Hairston. Full story.

Wilson

4:45 p.m. ET: C.J. Wilson has a six-year offer from a team other than the Rangers, reports Jeff Wilson. MLB Trade Rumors notes the Rangers, Angels, Nationals, Marlins and that dreaded "mystery team" are currently in the mix for Wilson's services. If he comes off the market, expect the heat to increase on the already-beloved Mark Buehrle. The two are easily the best left-handed starters out there.

Dotel

6:58 p.m. ET: The teams interested in relief pitcher Octavio Dotel are the Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Tigers and Mets, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Astros

7:23 p.m. ET: The Astros are looking to trade veterans Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. Scott Miller has the full story.

Giants

7:26 p.m. ET: Miller has learned the Giants are willing to trade infielder Jeff Keppinger, outfielder Andres Torres and relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Mark Buehrle drawing plenty of interest

Mark Buehrle

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mark Buehrle may not be the top starter on the market, but he may be the most sought-after, in part because he's reportedly seeking just a three-year deal.

According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, 14 different teams are in on the left-hander who will be 33 in March. FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers, Nationals and Marlins are the most aggressive on Buehrle and that the Nationals prefer Buehrle to Wilson because of the length of contract. 

The Hot Stove

Those three may be the three teams that Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports are interested in Buehrle. Cowley tweets that three teams have already offered three-year deals with sufficient money to Buehrle, who is expected to command an average of at least $14 million per year. Heyman notes the Twins and Diamondbacks are among the teams interested in the lefty, but he may be too rich for their blood.

One thing that could complicate Buehrle's courtship is his demand for a no-trade clause. The Marlins, as a team, don't give out no-trade clauses. Miami has already hosted Buehrle on a recruiting trip, but he left without signing. 

Buehrle has won at least 10 games, started 30 and pitched more than 200 innings in each of his 11 full seasons in the big leagues, including a 13-9 record with a 3.59 ERA in 31 starts in 2011. He saw a slight rise in his strikeout rate over 2010, but it's been on a downward trend since 2005, when he struck out 6.1 per nine innings. Still, he's a workhorse and has all the intangibles you could ask for, not to mention he's won three Gold Gloves in the last three years. Overall, he's posted a 161-119 record with a 3.83 ERA in his career.

But the most desirable part of Buehrle is his desire for a three-year contract in a weak pitching market. No team wants to be saddled with a Barry Zito or Carlos Zambrano, and even if Buehrle underperforms, he'd only be on the books for three years. He's also not returning to the White Sox, and according to Rosenthal, he's "intrigued" by a move to the National League.

There are few places where Buehrle wouldn't fit -- especially in a rotation with a strong No. 1 starter already in place.

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Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Saturday rumors: Kuroda, A's and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Saturday's the last day at home for a couple of days for most in baseball, as the winter meetings kick off Monday in Dallas -- and that goes for reporters, as well. That meant a rather light day in rumors, but expect things to pick up on Sunday and then go fast and furious on Monday. Last year news of Jayson Werth's deal with the Nationals came on the day before the start of the meetings, so that goes to show things don't just go down in the hotel lobby.

Hiroki KurodaThe news of Chris Capuano's signing with the Dodgers seemed to signal the end of Hiroki Kuroda's time in Los Angeles, and maybe even his time in the United States. However, the Rockies are pursuing Kuroda (Denver Post). Kuroda's also been mentioned as a possibility for the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Rangers and others. Kuroda blocked deals to the Tigers and Red Sox last season. WEEI.com reports Kuroda is open to pitching in Boston. His former team in Japan, the Hiroshima Carp, have also offered him a contract.

The A's could be popular in Dallas, as the team has pitching for sale. "I wouldn't rule anybody out," assistant GM David Forst told the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's are looking for an outfielder in return. Closer Andrew Bailey is among the most popular trade targets on the team, already drawing attention from the Rangers, Blue Jays, Reds, Padres, Mets and Mariners. (Chicago Tribune)

Someone put in a bid for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions are expected to accept the bid, regardless of the amount. (Kyodo News)

Matt Garza's agent told the Cubs' right-hander to prepare for "an active winter meetings." Garza told him he'd be in Italy. Garza was dealt from the Rays to the Cubs last offseason and is under team control through 2013. The Cubs have let it be known that they're open to trading just about anyone. (MLB.com)

The Rockies are interested in Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka. The left-handed hitter played in just 49 games this past season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters because of an ankle injury, but is said to be healthy now. (FoxSports.com)

The Red Sox will meet with Bob Garber, the agent for C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, during the winter meetings. (Boston Herald)

Not many have thought that Rays general manager Andrew Friedman would consider taking the Astros' GM job, but free agent outfielder Johnny Damon seems to think it's a possibility. "He's not going to sign me and then leave," Damon told the Boston Globe of Friedman. "If he goes to Houston, his hometown, he's going to try and bring me along with him. That's where my waiting game is." Damon also said he told David Ortiz to play in New York and take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

Casey Blake is drawing interest from nine teams, including the Indians. He can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The White Sox are looking to trade for a starter and an outfielder and are dangling John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin and Matt Thornton. Among the teams that could be a match are the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Reds and Braves. (Chicago Tribune)

Tim WakefieldKnuckleballer Tim Wakefield said he has a "strong desire" to pitch for the Red Sox next season. The 45-year-old needs seven wins to surpass Roger Clemens and Cy Young as the franchise's all-time leader. (Boston Herald)

The Reds held their annual RedsFest in Cincinnati this weekend, so there's plenty of news from the banks of the Ohio thanks to the media availability of GM Walt Jocketty, manager Dusty Baker and most of the team's roster and top prospects. Jocketty said the team is looking for a "top of the rotation" starter and have targeted six different players, but didn't name any of them. Jocketty also said the team had looked at Detroit infielder Ramon Santiago as a backup shortstop, and would ideally like to sign a left-handed hitter or switch hitter to back up Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Enquirer). Baker said the team is looking both internally and externally for a closer, but will not have a closer by committee to replace Francisco Cordero (MLB.com). 

Follow all the moves with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker.

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Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: December 3, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Fired Royals legend says he's done with team

Frank WhiteBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Around the country, most think of George Brett when they think of Royals greats and it doesn't go much beyond that. In Kansas City, though, there's another name in the pantheon -- Frank White. The long-time second baseman of the Royals is, along with Brett, the only former Royal player to have his number retired and to have a statue at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals fired White, a Kansas City native, from their TV crew on Friday. A disappointed White told the Kansas City Star he was done with the team.

"I'm done with the Royals," White told the Star's Sam Mellinger. "In all aspects. I'm tired. I've worked so hard to build my reputation and prove to them that I was loyal."

How loyal has White been? You can call Yankee Stadium "the House that Ruth Built" but Kauffman Stadium is literally the house that White built, as White served on the construction crew of what became the Truman Sports Complex that houses Kauffman Stadium and the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium.

White is also the greatest success story of the Royals Academy, a revolutionary program run by the team from 1971-75 to identify talented athletes and teach them the fundamentals of baseball. White, along with U.L. Washington, emerged from the academy and rewarded the Royals with one of the great careers in Kansas City history --  and one that's under appreciated by those outside Royal fandom. White was a five-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove winner, the 1980 ALCS MVP and the winner of a Silver Slugger. Beyond that, he spent five years on the Royals coaching staff and managed three years as the team's Double-A manager. In addition, he worked in the team's front office and the last three years as an analyst for Fox Sports Kansas City after being passed over for the manager's job that went to Trey Hillman.

Yahoo.com's Jeff Passan, who lives in Kansas City, tweeted that he was told the Royals fired White because the team thought he was too critical.

Over the last three years, the Royals have gone 203-283, leaving the team open to plenty of criticism. However, we're living in the age where many of the teams can control their message, with the team having final say in who broadcasts the games and sometimes who covers the game in other areas. If you have a business that you want people to frequent, you're not going to be too happy when much of the advertising for your product is negative. On the other hand, if you're hired to be an analyst, you have to tell it like you see it -- good and bad -- to do any less kills credibility and questions the intelligence of viewers.

The Royals are not only insulting their viewers by shutting down a voice that's only describing what he's seeing on the field, they're also insulting their own history. There's little chance the Royals will win in this PR battle, as White respected and loved in Kansas City. On a personal note, I don't have many autographs, but my office does have a Frank White baseball, so I'm probably biased in this case. White deserves better, even if they want him off the broadcasts, do it quietly and offer him another job in the organization, don't fire him and kick him to the curb. That's not how you treat an icon.

"I'm not pissed off," White told Mellinger. "It's just time for this crap to end. Maybe it's just time. People keep saying, you're 'Frank White, you've got a statue.' That don't mean a damn thing to them. Not a damn thing."

It should.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Friday's rumors: Ortiz, Astros GM and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We're getting closer to the winter meetings in Dallas, so talks and rumors will just intensify over the weekend. Expect some deals to get done by this time next week, and by that I mean something bigger than Chris Capuano signing with the Dodgers.

New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will be in the Dominican Republic this weekend to meet with David Ortiz, who said he hasn't decided whether he'd accept arbitration from the Red Sox. Ortiz said there have been several teams reach out to him, but wouldn't name those teams. (Boston Herald)

While a lot of the attention around the Astros general manager job has been about who isn't interviewing, but Colorado's Bill Geivett and St. Louis' Jeff Luhnow have interviewed with the Astros. (MLB.com)

Dave Magadan will return as the Red Sox hitting coach under Valentine.

Meanwhile, Chris Bosio will be the Cubs' pitching coach under manager Dale Sveum. (Appleton Post-Crescent)

The Marlins have a team policy that they won't include no-trade clauses in their contracts and it was reported that the policy could hurt the team in its pursuit of some of the biggest free agents. However, president Larry Beinfest said the policy has never hurt them before. (Palm Beach Post)

Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki said in a press conference that he was becoming a free agent and was interested in playing in the United States, but only for the Mariners. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said he was aware of Kawasaki's statement and would consider signing the former Softbank Hawk. Kawasaki said he'd be willing to accept a minor-league deal. (Seattle Times)

Veteran utility man Mark DeRosa is gaining interest from the Nationals, Rangers, Indians and Pirates. (FoxSports.com)

The agent for Mariano Rivera said the Yankee closer's surgery to remove polyps from his vocal cords "went well, as planned." (New York Daily News)

The Royals announced TV analyst Frank White wouldn't return in 2011. While that's not a big deal on the national scale, White is one of the franchise's best players. A Kansas City native, White is one of just two players to have their number retired by the team. White had served as an analyst the last three years and had resigned as a full-time employee of the Royals in January to concentrate on his TV duties. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweeted that White was fired because the team thought he was too critical, which is a shame. White is one of the all-time great Royals and deserved better.

The Reds will play a game against their minor league all-stars on the Tuesday before opening day. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Thursday rumors: White Sox, Prado, Kuroda, more

By Matt Snyder

The Hot Stove
Just a few days to what should prove to be a very busy Winter Meetings, so let's hit a bunch of the smaller rumors from Thursday, the first day of December.

• The White Sox are in a situation where they're most certain to be sellers on the trade market in an attempt to rebuild their barren farm system. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that other teams are so sure the White Sox are selling that they're inquiring about shortstop Alexei Ramirez and young pitcher Chris Sale. But, Knobler adds, the price for either would be "sky high." Talks on a contract extension with starting pitcher John Danks are in a "stalemate" and it's possible he's traded (ESPN Chicago). Remember, earlier this week we passed along the report that the White Sox were trying to deal reliever Matt Thornton and we've heard rumors involving starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and right fielder Carlos Quentin for weeks. Long-time left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle is a free agent and expected to be gone. Jon Heyman reports there are 14 teams after Buehrle, so he may be the most popular player on the free agent market.

• The Rockies are still interested in Martin Prado, Knobler reports, and the Braves like outfielder Seth Smith as a piece coming back -- but the Braves also want Rockies third base prospect Nolan Arenado and, as Knobler said, that's not happening.

• It's looking less likely the Dodgers can retain starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, reports Knobler. Kuroda made $12.5 million last season and the Dodgers won't come close to paying him that much to stick around. The interesting factor here is Kuroda has said he won't pitch for any other team in America. So if he doesn't want to sign for what the Dodgers offer, he may well be headed back to Japan.

Angels infielder Maicer Izturis was discussed in trade talk between the Angels and Rockies before the Chris Iannetta trade was completed -- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports -- so Izturis is available. The Tigers have been connected with Izturis in rumors this week.

• The Brewers, Cardinals and Giants are all looking at free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez (Jon Heyman).

• The Rangers are hopeful of getting a long-term contract extension done with catcher Mike Napoli (Jon Paul Morosi). If he doesn't sign an extension, Napoli would be a free agent after the 2012 season.

• The Diamondbacks have made a contract offer to first baseman Lyle Overbay (Fox Sports Arizona).

Earlier Thursday we noted that the Marlins were wooing closer Heath Bell, and you can now add the Blue Jays to the mix. They are after his services, reports Ken Rosenthal.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com