Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: November 29, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 4:32 pm
 

Tuesday rumors: Dotel, Thornton and more

Rumor Mill
By Matt Snyder

There's going to be tons of rumor talk this week, as we inch closer to the Winter Meetings next week. That goes without saying. Some stuff will pan out and other rumors will never come to fruition.

Since not every reader is sitting on Twitter all day, we'll pass along as much as we can. Let's run through a quick snapshot of some of the more minor rumors from Tuesday morning and early afternoon. Remember, these are reports from other outlets that we're just passing along. Feel free to believe or ignore whatever you wish.

• Right-handed reliever Octavio Dotel -- who was an important member of the Cardinals bullpen after a midseason trade -- is drawing interest from a handful of teams, reports indicate. MLB.com says the Mets and Cardinals are in the running while FoxSports.com names the Cardinals, Reds and Tigers. Dotel is 38, but posted a high strikeout rate for the Cardinals (11.7 K/9, his best since '08) and threw well in the postseason.

• The White Sox are trying to trade left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Thornton is owed $12 million over the course of the next two seasons. The 35-year-old was excellent from 2008-2010 but took a step back in 2011. Of course, if you look at just June 5 to the end of the season, he was back to himself (2.20 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 44 K in 41 innings).

• The Cubs have interest in Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart (via trade), reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post, though Renck notes the level of "seriousness is unclear." Stewart makes a lot of sense as a trade candidate. Once a top-10 prospect (Baseball America had him as high as fourth in all of baseball), Stewart hit 25 homers for Colorado in 2009. But he's been unable to fix his issues with strikeouts, batting average or consistency and seems to have fallen out of favor. He'd probably come cheap, so the Cubs plugging him at third base -- with Aramis Ramirez headed out via free agency -- could work. Stewart's only 26, so maybe a change of scenery would help.

• The Dodgers are speaking with representatives for Adam Kennedy, reports MLB Trade Rumors. Kennedy would simply serve as a multi-positional backup infielder. The 35-year-old hit .234/.277/.355 last season for the Mariners. He'd be shaky at shortstop, but could handle first, second or third just fine.

• The Marlins are interested in Carlos Guillen, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com. The three-time All-Star is now 36 and has only averaged 72 games a year in the past four seasons due to injury woes. He'd also likely be simply a multi-positional backup or late-innings pinch hitter.

• This isn't a rumor, but we'll throw it in here. The Phillies have released relief pitcher Scott Mathieson so he can pursue a contract in Asia, the club announced via press release.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Royals sign Jonathan Broxton



By Matt Snyder


Jonathan Broxton has agreed to a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals, the team announced Tuesday morning. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has learned it's for $4 million, but performance bonuses for number of games pitched could push the deal to $5 million. At least 12 teams were interested and Broxton strongly considered the Rays and Rangers before signing with K.C. The deal is pending a physical, which will take place Wednesday, but Broxton says his arm feels "great," a source told Miller.

What if Broxton is healthy and able to return to form? He was one of the most dominant closers in baseball for a stretch, before injuries hampered him. The Royals already have a solid closer in Joakim Soria. He had an off-year in 2011, true, but he's only 27. There are some teams in the market for a proven closer but no money to spend on one (the Reds come to mind, specifically), so Soria could be pretty good trade bait.

For now, though, the Royals are planning to go with Soria as closer and Broxton as his setup man. Hard-throwing youngster Aaron Crow will then likely move into the starting rotation. And if Broxton is having a good season and the Royals aren't come July, he could be the trade bait, not Soria. So the signing opens up several options.

MLB Free Agency
Broxton, 27, is a two-time All-Star. Through 38 appearances in 2010, he had converted 19 of 21 save opportunities with a 1.93 ERA and 53 strikeouts in just 37 1/3 innings. He had only walked seven. The rest of the season, however, he blew five saves while recording only three. His ERA was 7.20 and he walked more guys (21) than he struck out (20). The bad carried over into 2011, as he was awful through 14 outings before an elbow injury ended his season prematurely.

He had minor arthroscopic surgery on his throwing (right) elbow in September to shave a bone spur and remove loose bodies. He's expected to start throwing in late December and be ready for spring training.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Report: Cubs after Pujols, Fielder due to CBA



By Matt Snyder


Once thought to be more of a longshot to get in the bidding on any significant free agent signings, the Cubs are now in on the Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder sweepstakes, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

One of the reasons it was widely thought the Cubs weren't going to go major on the free agent market is because the team isn't exactly just one or two players away from a World Series. One of the major tasks at hand for new president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer is building a strong, youthful foundation, and that means patience.

Rumor Mill
But, according to Rosenthal, the new collective bargaining agreement changed everything. As Danny Knobler specifically noted last week, the new rules on draft and international spending make it much harder for teams (including the Cubs) to heavily build through the draft and international free agency. Factor in that there aren't many big bats hitting the free agent market in the next few years, and it makes sense that the Cubs would change course and start seriously considering either Pujols or Fielder as a franchise centerpiece.

The report also notes the Cubs prefer Pujols, despite being several years older, because he's a more well-rounded player -- factoring in defense and baserunning.

Even if the Cubs don't sign either player, their involvement in any bidding is a huge deal. With the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies out, the Cubs can likely outpay any other team, if they so choose. Yes, there are already some big contracts on the books, but more than $50 million has dropped off the Cubs' player payroll from last season and only Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano are signed through 2013. Basically, if the Cubs want, they can blow everyone else out of the water. If not, they've at least driven up the price for other teams.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:53 pm
 

Is Andrew McCutchen available via trade?



By Matt Snyder


Monday afternoon, Keith Law of ESPN.com reported that the Pirates front office was willing to listen to potential trade offers for star outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Understandably, Pirates fans -- who have been beaten down through nearly two decades of futility -- were none too happy. McCutchen is only 25 and already the face of the franchise. He's not a free agent until 2016. Sure, the Pirates could probably land a veritable killing of prospects if they traded him, but they've been trading name players for prospects for years. At some point you have to try and win. That's why the next paragraph should help the Pirates fans breathe a bit easier ...

The Pirates have not considered any offer for McCutchen, nor do they plan to, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, citing a "high-ranking" Pirates source. Kovacevic adds, for good measure, that McCutchen is "going nowhere."

So believe what you wish, but I'm inclined to side with the latter report. It would be an utter P.R. disaster for the Pirates to deal McCutchen right now.

McCutchen made his first All-Star team in 2011, hitting .259/.364/.456 with 23 homers, 89 RBI, 87 runs, 34 doubles and 23 stolen bases while playing sound defense in center field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 11:06 am
 

Trade rumor du jour: Matt Garza available



By Matt Snyder


Earlier Monday, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that the Cubs were willing to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza and there's been much discussion all day about where he might be headed, if he's traded. This isn't really news, though, because it's widely known the Cubs will listen to trade offers on just about everyone (21-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro probably isn't headed anywhere, but everyone else could surely be had at a reasonable price).

Still, we might as well just take the opportunity to talk about where Garza would fit. It's that time of the year, after all, with the Winter Meetings starting in just one week.

Rumor Mill
We know the Yankees and Red Sox want starting pitching. They always do. The Blue Jays, Rockies and Reds are also looking and a trade would fit better than spending big on a free agent. The Marlins and Nationals have been heavily involved in courting free agent starting pitchers, and in doing so they wouldn't have to cough up a good package of prospects, but don't count them out, either. And the list could be even bigger, this was just picking out a few obvious teams.

Expect the new Cubs administration -- led by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer -- to actively seek out ways to restock the farm system as they look to build a strong foundation. That means if you see a name in trade rumors, it's probably true the Cubs are listening to offers. To reiterate, they're listening on virtually everyone. They're looking for any opportunity to start planning for the future, even if it's at the expense of the present.

Garza, 28, was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings last season, his first in Chicago. Sabermetric stats such as FIP, xFIP and WAR loved Garza last season, too, so front offices with analytical leanings will certainly be contacting Epstein, Hoyer and company.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 11:06 am
 

Trade rumor du jour: Matt Garza available



By Matt Snyder


Earlier Monday, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that the Cubs were willing to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza and there's been much discussion all day about where he might be headed, if he's traded. This isn't really news, though, because it's widely known the Cubs will listen to trade offers on just about everyone (21-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro probably isn't headed anywhere, but everyone else could surely be had at a reasonable price).

Still, we might as well just take the opportunity to talk about where Garza would fit. It's that time of the year, after all, with the Winter Meetings starting in just one week.

Rumor Mill
We know the Yankees and Red Sox want starting pitching. They always do. The Blue Jays, Rockies and Reds are also looking and a trade would fit better than spending big on a free agent. The Marlins and Nationals have been heavily involved in courting free agent starting pitchers, and in doing so they wouldn't have to cough up a good package of prospects, but don't count them out, either. And the list could be even bigger, this was just picking out a few obvious teams.

Expect the new Cubs administration -- led by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer -- to actively seek out ways to restock the farm system as they look to build a strong foundation. That means if you see a name in trade rumors, it's probably true the Cubs are listening to offers. To reiterate, they're listening on virtually everyone. They're looking for any opportunity to start planning for the future, even if it's at the expense of the present.

Garza, 28, was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings last season, his first in Chicago. Sabermetric stats such as FIP, xFIP and WAR loved Garza last season, too, so front offices with analytical leanings will certainly be contacting Epstein, Hoyer and company.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:48 pm
 

Catching up on Prince Fielder rumors

By Matt Snyder

One of the hottest names on the free agent market is slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, who is fresh off finishing third place in NL MVP voting. Let's take a look at the latest rumors concerning the robust lefty.

• The Nationals are in serious pursuit of Fielder, though talks hit a roadblock Monday, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. This is a contradiction to several previous reports that indicated the Nationals were only looking to upgrade starting pitching and center field. They can play Mike Morse at first base, but he could also fit in left field. Rosenthal also reports that Cuban import Yoennis Cespedes is a "Plan B" option for the Nats.

MLB Free Agency
• In addition to the Nationals, the Cubs, Rangers and Mariners are believed to be suitors for Fielder, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Rangers chances of going large for Fielder are pretty slim.

We've also heard several times that the Cubs aren't expected to spend a ton of money in free agency, but then they keep being connected to big names. Is that the work of Scott Boras floating talk to reporters, hoping that if other teams hear a "deep pockets" team is interested it increases the offer to Fielder? That remains to be seen. But if the Cubs are out, the Rangers aren't willing to go nine figures (as Heyman reported) and the Nationals really want Fielder, that would seem to be the most likely destination at this point. They could outspend the Mariners. But it's a long offseason and the Winter Meetings start next week. Stay tuned.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Divorce could keep Darvish from posting

By Matt Snyder

Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish would be a hot commodity in America if he decided to enter into Major League Baseball's posting system. Last week, Darvish's father said it was a "50-50" chance that Darvish would post. One major issue that might prevent Darvish from posting at this time is his pending divorce from actress Saeko. From USAToday.com:
Saeko, when asked about the divorce at an event promoting a book project last week, told reporters, "Well, hmm, there is still a ways to go."

Asked if she expected a resolution by the end of the year, Saeko said, "I do not know the answer to that either."
Now, if Darvish were to enter MLB via the posting system, let's say he lands a deal similar to what Daisuke Matsuzaka did. Dice-K signed for six years and $52 million. Wouldn't it remain in Saeko's best interests to prolong divorce proceedings until her hubby signed such a lucrative deal? On the flip side, wouldn't it be in Darvish's best interests to get the divorce finalized before signing such a big contract? Ah, the perils of marriage (yes, I'm married and yes, I'm saying that tongue-in-cheek).

Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Nippon Ham for several years. In 164 career starts, Darvish is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with just about one strikeout per inning pitched. He's also thrown 55 complete games and 18 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

For those unfamiliar, since Darvish is not yet an international free agent, he'd enter MLB through the posting system. That means that teams interested in signing him submit a secret dollar figure, with the amount they'd like to pay just for the right to negotiate with him. The team with the highest bid then pays Nippon that figure. Darvish doesn't get any of that, so the team then has to agree to terms on a contract with the pitcher, independent of the posting fee.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com