Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:39 am

Phillies tried to lure Wagner out of retirement

By Matt Snyder

The Phillies really wanted an "established" closer. They wanted one so badly that they called Billy Wagner after the 2011 regular season ended.

“It was after the regular season ... just to see if I was even contemplating coming back or had an itch or anything,” Wagner said (New York Post). “I just told them, ‘No, I do not have an itch.'"

This came well before the Phillies eventually signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract.

Wagner, 40, retired after a sparkling 2010 season -- one in which he made his seventh All-Star team. Wagner served as closer for the Astros, Mets, Phillies and Braves while also setting up for Papelbon in Boston for a half season. With 422 career saves, he's fifth on the all-time list behind Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith and John Franco.

Wagner told the Post he's currently very happy serving simply as a JV baseball coach.

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Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 12:54 pm

Jose Molina signs with Rays

By Matt Snyder

Free agent catcher Jose Molina has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, the club announced Monday. The signing comes just about 12 hours after the club announced it had traded catcher John Jaso to the Mariners. Molina's deal is for one year and $1.5 million with a $1.8 million option for 2013 with a $300,000 buyout.

Molina, 36, hit .281/.342/.415 in 191 plate appearances last season in what would likely qualify as the best offensive season of his career. Then again, the Rays didn't exactly sign Molina for his bat. The reason he's hung around baseball this long is because he's a great defensive catcher and we know the Rays love good defense.

MLB Free Agency
Don't expect Molina to play full time behind the plate, as he's never caught more than 100 games in a season. Jose Lobaton and Robinson Chirinos will also likely grab some playing time.

The Rays will mark Molina's third AL East team in four seasons, as he's previously played for the Yankees and Blue Jays. He also spent seven seasons for the Angels after coming up with the Cubs.

He is the brother of both Bengie and Yadier Molina.

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 6:56 pm

Report: Tigers 'inquired' about Aramis Ramirez

By Matt Snyder

The Detroit Tigers have "inquired" on free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com. "Inquired" could mean as little as they briefly talked to Ramirez's agent, who passed it along to Heyman in hopes to conjure up more interest from other teams that are weak at third. It's been a slow enough past few days on the rumor front, however, it can't hurt to pass this along as a discussion point -- because Ramirez to Detroit does make a lot of sense.

Free Agency
The Tigers mostly used Brandon Inge and Wilson Betemit at third base last season, so Ramirez would mark a big offensive upgrade. He hit .306 with 26 home runs, 93 RBI, 35 doubles and a .971 OPS last season for the Cubs. He's been in Chicago since being traded there in July of 2003. As a Cub, he's hit .294/.356/.531 with 239 homers and 806 RBI, playing for three division champions.

Ramirez is 33 years old and easily the best third baseman on the free agent market. In fact, he's the only free agent at that position that is a viable everyday starter.

Again, though, we don't know how serious talks can be if the report simply states the Tigers "inquired on" him.

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Posted on: November 27, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 4:51 pm

Report: C.J. Wilson next to get Marlins tour

By Matt Snyder

The newly-minted Miami Marlins are looking to make a big splash in free agency as they head into a new stadium -- and new era, says management -- having already given the grand tour of the new facilities to high-profile free agents Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. Next on the list: Left-handed starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.

According to Sun-Sentinel.com, Wilson will get his tour Monday.

Free Agency
Wilson, 31, has only been a starter at the big-league level for two seasons, but it's been as an integral member of back-to-back American League championship rotations. This past season, Wilson made the All-Star team for the first time in his career, going 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings. He did falter in the playoffs, though, allowing 29 hits, 19 walks and 18 earned runs in 29 innings. It remains to be seen if that will affect his haul in free agency, but it's possible that -- along with his brief body of work for a 31 year old -- holds down those offers a bit. On the flip-side, Wilson had the best season of any of the free agent starting pitchers.

Also contained in the Sun Sentinel piece was that it doesn't appear the Marlins have any interest in Prince Fielder. Seeing as how they have reported offered Pujols a deal, that's a bit of a surprise.

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Posted on: November 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 8:04 pm

Royals re-sign Bruce Chen

By Matt Snyder

The Kansas City Royals have retained free agent starting pitcher Bruce Chen, the team announced Wednesday evening. Chen has signed a two-year deal worth $9 million with a $1 million roster bonus and up to $1 million in incentives, the Associated Press is reporting.

Chen, a 34-year-old left-hander, went 12-8 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 155 innings last season. The Royals have been seeking starting pitching to go with their up-and-coming offense, as they've already traded for Jonathan Sanchez. Along with Sanchez and Chen, Luke Hochevar certainly figures to remain in the rotation. For the final two spots, the Royals will probably put youngster Danny Duffy back in the fourth slot. Then they could still seek help outside the organization, go with Felipe Paulino or move Aaron Crow in from the bullpen. I'd bet on Crow.


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Posted on: November 23, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 3:58 pm

MLB free agency arbitration tracker

By Matt Snyder

The arbitration deadline for Major League Baseball free agents is midnight Wednesday.

The compensation for losing free agents is a bit tricky, but let's try to make it as simple as possible:

• If a team loses a Type-A free agent, it will get two draft picks as compensation. One of the picks is a supplemental or "sandwich round" pick, tacked on at the end of the first round. The other comes from the team that signed the free agent. If the signing club has a pick in the first 15 of Round 1, the compensation will be a second rounder. If the signing club has a pick in the second 15 of Round 1, the compensation will be a first rounder.

Free Agency
• If a team loses a Type-B free agent, it will get a supplemental pick, but the signing team doesn't forfeit anything.

There are some special case players with a different set of rules, as we've previously noted. Also, all these rules change next season when the new CBA takes effect. For more details on the CBA, check out Danny Knobler's rundown.

• Most importantly, the overwhelming majority of cases here are a formality. A team offering arbitration doesn't mean they are going to necessarily keep or lose a player. It's just done to ensure they get compensation should the player leave. The only reason a team wouldn't offer arbitration is if it didn't want said player back and was scared the player would accept.

So, here are the Type-A free agents who can be offered compensation. We'll be updating this throughout the day with a simple "yes" if the ballclub has offered arbitration or "no" if they have declined to offer it. Each team listed is the 2011 team, obviously, as these are free agents.

Heath Bell, Padres - yes
Carlos Beltran, Giants - no (he can't be offered, per his contract)
Michael Cuddyer, Twins - yes
Prince Fielder, Brewers - yes
Kelly Johnson, Blue Jays - yes
Ryan Madson, Phillies - yes
David Ortiz, Red Sox - yes
Roy Oswalt, Phillies - no
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox - yes (already signed with the Phillies)
Albert Pujols, Cardinals - yes
Jose Reyes, Mets - yes
Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers - yes
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies - yes
Takashi Saito, Brewers - no (he can't be offered, per his contract)
Josh Willingham, A's - yes
C.J. Wilson, Rangers - yes

And now the Type B free agents

Rod Barajas, Dodgers - yes (already signed with the Pirates)
Clint Barmes, Astros - yes (already signed with the Pirates)
Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers - no
Wilson Betemit, Tigers - no
Mark Buehrle, White Sox - yes
Pat Burrell, Giants - no
Shawn Camp, Blue Jays - no
David DeJesus, A's - yes
Ryan Doumit, Pirates - yes (already signed with the Twins)
Mark Ellis, Rockies - yes (already signed with the Dodgers)
Frank Francisco, Blue Jays - yes
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals - no
Freddy Garcia, Yankees - yes
Alex Gonzalez, Braves - no
Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles - no
Aaron Harang, Padres - yes
Raul Ibanez, Phillies - yes
Edwin Jackson, Cardinals - yes
Jason Kubel, Twins - yes
Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers - no
Derrek Lee, Pirates - yes
Brad Lidge, Phillies - no
Ryan Ludwick, Pirates - no
Jose Molina, Blue Jays - yes
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers - no
Carlos Pena, Cubs - yes
Juan Pierre, White Sox - no
Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - yes
Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - yes
Arthur Rhodes, Cardinals - no
Cody Ross, Giants - no
Chris Snyder, Pirates - no
Jason Varitek, Red Sox - no
Dan Wheeler, Red Sox - yes
Kerry Wood, Cubs - no

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Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: November 23, 2011 12:07 pm

Grady Sizemore re-signs with Indians

By Matt Snyder

The Cleveland Indians have brought back center fielder Grady Sizemore on a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday. The base salary is $5 million with up to $4 million in incentives. The Indians previously declined a $9 million option for Sizemore, so the deal could amount to the same figure if he returns to form.

"The Indians were aggressive in wanting to keep Grady, and he has said all along he would keep an open mind toward returning," his agent, Joe Urbon, said in an email to the Associated Press. "He appreciates the interest from other clubs, and he just felt that the best place to reassert himself as a great player is in Cleveland."

Sizemore, 29, was well on his way to being a perennial MVP candidate until injuries derailed him the past few seasons. He's had five surgeries and only played 210 games in the past three seasons -- following three All-Star seasons in which he finished in the top 12 of AL MVP voting. Still, he's had surgery on his balky knee and is expected to be fully recovered by spring training. This contract is an absolute bargain for the 2011 season if Sizemore stays healthy and plays to his capability.

Sizemore hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers and 21 doubles in 71 games last season -- but, again, he was playing with an injured knee. He has played his entire career for the Indians.

The Indians outfield is now set, with Shin-Soo Choo in right field, Michael Brantley in left and Sizemore remaining in center. There was previous talk that Sizemore was open to moving to a corner, much like Carlos Beltran did this past season, but that's not the current plan.


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Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 5:31 pm

Free agent status altered for several players

By Matt Snyder

With the new collective bargaining agreement -- details provided by Danny Knobler here -- free agent compensation will be dramatically changed starting next offseason. This time around, though, there are some players who have had their status changed, which affects draft pick compensation to teams that lose players to free agency.

These five players were slotted as Type A free agents, but will now be considered Type B: Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver.

Teams will not have to offer arbitration to those players in order to receive compensation. And the teams that sign those players will not lose any picks. Under the old system, if one of those five players signed with one of the top 15 teams in the draft, signing that player would cost the new team a second-round pick. If the team was drafting 16-30, it would cost a first-rounder. So, essentially, it just got more attractive to sign one of those five players.

Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Francisco Rodriguez and Josh Willingham are Type A free agents that will be treated as follows, from an MLB press release:
A Club that signs one of (these) six Type A Players shall not forfeit a regular Draft choice to the Player’s former Club. If the Player’s former Club offers the player arbitration, and the Player declines the offer, the former Club shall receive: (a) a draft choice in the same round and immediately prior to the draft choice that the signing Club otherwise would have forfeited, and (b) a compensation round selection.
All Type A free agents must be offered arbitration by midnight on November 23, otherwise the club forfeits the rights to compensation. Also, Carlos Beltran and Takashi Saito cannot be offered arbitration.

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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