Tag:MLB Hot Stove
Posted on: November 11, 2011 11:31 pm
 

Loria confirms offers to Pujols, Reyes, Buehrle

Jeffrey LoriaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

If Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has his way, he'll have some new names to put in the team's new uniforms.

After Friday's unveiling of their new uniforms, Loria confirmed that the Marlins have extended offers to free agents Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.

"We're looking at everyone," Loria told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "We want to make this team as special as we can and we would be foolish not to entertain the possibilities of some of these players. It's just one of those things that mean you're going forward. We've had our hands tied for a long time. With this new stadium we want to step into a new light."

Loria wouldn't give specifics, but said the Marlins are "being very aggressive."

Asked specifically about the meeting with Pujols on Friday, Loria said it went well.

"He's terrific. I can only tell you he loved the stadium," Loria said. "He liked being here. He loves the flavor of Miami as I do and everybody else here does. And we are hopeful that some of these deals will happen."

There have been reports that the Marlins could afford to sign all three free agents.

"There are absolutely no limits to try and see what can be done," Loria said.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 8:35 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Red Sox GM says he wants Ortiz back

David Ortiz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Red Sox want David Ortiz back, general manager Ben Cherington said on Friday. Speaking to reporters after Tony Lovullo's post-interview news conference, Cherington said the team is still talking to Ortiz's agents.

"Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little more of a defended market for that role, it's been easier to engage sooner," Cherington said (via WEEI.com). "It's probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there's something the he's pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We've had a lot of dialogue to see if there's a way to do that and I think that will continue."

If the Red Sox want Ortiz back, they'll probably get him. The market for designated hitters isn't strong and Ortiz is the best one on the market. The only other place he may fit would be Toronto, but the Blue Jays re-signed Edwin Encarnacion and say he'll be something of a utility player for them, even if DH is his best spot.

As for the news that former closer Jonathan Papelbon had signed with the Phillies, Cherington said the team hadn't made an offer to keep him. Cherington also said the team's first priority may not be a starting pitcher -- more because of the available names rather than the team's need.

"There are options, probably not as strong as the bullpen, closer market, the way we see it," Cherington told the assembled reporters. "There are option, but riskier and would require some sort of bounce back from injury or bad luck or performance to some degree. We're going to exhaustive in looking at ways to build depth to the rotation and the bullpen. We do believe we have some internal options that will help us. But past the sort of top of the starters market, there's a lot of risk there."

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:23 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 5:22 pm
 

Twins sign Jamey Carroll

By Matt Snyder

The Minnesota Twins have signed Jamey Carroll to a two-year deal to be the team's every day shortstop, CBSSports.com's C. Trent Rosecrans has confirmed through multiple sources.

Jon Heyman of SI.com first reported the news, adding that the deal is worth "close to" $7 million. 

Carroll, 37, isn't going to wow anyone with power, but he's a steady player who gets on base. He hit .290 with a .359 on-base percentage for the Dodgers last season. He added six triples and 10 stolen bases while providing valuable innings at second base and shortstop.

With Alexi Casilla the deserved incumbent at second base, the Carroll signing pushes Tsuyoshi Nishioka to backup duty just one year after the Twins signed him to a three-year, $9.25 million deal to come over from Japan.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 3:59 pm
 

What do Red Sox do without Papelbon?

Bard, Papelbon

By Evan Brunell


With Jonathan Papelbon (photo, right) signing a contract to pitch for the Phillies, what does that mean for the Red Sox?

Boston has a closer-in-waiting in Daniel Bard (photo, left) ready to take over the role, but can they afford to elevate Bard into the role?

Over the last few seasons, the Red Sox have seen how valuable having two elite relievers at the top of the bullpen is. Former manager Terry Francona has often said that Bard was perhaps the most important reliever in the bullpen, even more so than Papelbon. Francona was able to deploy Bard in any inning he saw fit, as opposed to Papelbon, who was largely limited to the ninth inning with a lead as conventional baseball says is done these days. But if Bard ascends to the role, the Red Sox suddenly have a void as setup man, and it may be one more difficult to fill than closer.

The free agent market is saturated with closers, and a handful are expected to be available via trade as well. The setup man market? That's not exactly dripping with talent. While the natural inclination is to simply promote Bard into the closer's role, it may not make the most sense from Boston's end if they're committed to the best one-two punch at the back of the rotation.

But would that be OK with Bard? The Boston Globe says that Bard remaining as a setup man would harm Bard's financial goals. That's obvious -- even as valuable as a setup man is these days, it is far more lucrative to be a closer or a starter. The Globe says that if Papelbon had remained in Boston, Bard would have requested a transition to being a starting pitcher, something he flamed out attempting in the minor leagues. Either way, it appears as if Bard has approached no man's land -- either he's going to start or close. Of course, the Red Sox could simply force him to remain as setup man if the club signs Ryan Madson or Heath Bell. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Red Sox "will be in on" the two closers -- but Bard would be an unhappy camper if this occurs and likely bolts once he hits free agency. Does Boston want that?

One potential solution is to bring in a new closer, albeit temporarily, and ink Bard to a long-term deal with the goal of eventually making him a closer. While this outcome wouldn't work if the Sox signed Madson to replace Papelbon, it might work if that man is Joe Nathan or another closer that would only come on a one- or two-year deal. Boston could ink Bard for lesser dollars up front, followed by commensurate salary for a closer in the latter years, which would give the team time to find a bridge to Bard. Of course, anyone that agrees to a one- or two-year deal to close is doing so for a reason. Can the Red Sox put that much risk into the closer's spot?

Signing Madson or Bell doesn't necessarily preclude Bard from an eventual closer's spot. He's tied to the Red Sox through 2015, so even a four-year deal for another closer could set Bard up to become a closer once he's eligible for free agency, but Bard would be giving up a ton of dollars in the arbitration process as a setup man.

The Red Sox could also go a different direction, such as taking a risk on Jonathan Broxton for one season and installing him as setup man to Bard. Don't forget the team already has Bobby Jenks in the fold, who is looking to bounce back from an injury-marred 2011. He could be the setup man that the team needs if Bard becomes closer. That doesn't solve the setup man conundrum long-term, but it would work for 2012.

Here's a radical thought. Why doesn't Boston take this opportunity to tweak what it means to be a closer? Bard, simply by virtue of having pitched in these situations, knows how valuable an elite setup man can be. What if the Red Sox told him that while he was going to become the closer, he would also pitch in tight situations earlier in the game as needed? Does Boston really need to hold Bard back from a crucial eighth inning for the easy three-run lead ninth-inning save? This is pretty much wishful thinking, as the conventional idea of a closer is pretty much set in stone, but it's fun to dream.

No one knows which direction Boston will go. Heck, even GM Ben Cherington probably isn't 100 percent positive how things will unfold now that he has several different scenarios to juggle. This much is clear: Cherington has a challenge on his hands to replace the best closer in team history.

Check CBSSports.com's free-agent tracker, and follow all free-agency news from Eye on Baseball.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Phillies reach agreement with Papelbon

By Matt Snyder

Jonathan Papelbon is going to be changing organizations for the first time in his professional career. He has agreed in principle to sign with the Phillies for a four-year contract that approaches $50 million, pending a physical, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The deal was first reported by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Phillies had agreed to a deal with incumbent closer Ryan Madson, but that situation fell apart, and several reports later this past week indicated the deal was never fully agreed upon and that the earlier reports jumped the gun. And when things started to fall apart, the Phillies shifted their focus to Papelbon.

Papelbon, 30, is a four-time All-Star and a much more established closer, with 219 career saves (to Madson's 52). The two pitchers are very similar in age (Papelbon is just under two months younger), but, again, Papelbon has a lot more experience as the ninth-inning guy.

Last season, Papelbon saved 31 of 34 chances with a 2.94 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. A move to the NL should help a bit, though the NL East should prove to be pretty tough next season.

As for Madson, he's left looking elsewhere, as he's surely looking for a closer's job and several teams are seeking an established closer. 

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Marlins see Cespedes, set to host Pujols

Pujols

By Evan Brunell


The Marlins continue to be big movers and shakers in baseball's hot stove, attending a private workout for Cuban star Yoennis Cespedes and making plans for Albert Pujols (pictured) to come to Miami sometime in the next few days.

But with newfound money and a desire to spend it, also comes controversy. Hanley Ramirez addressed rumors that the Marlins were after Jose Reyes, telling the Palm Beach Post that "“I’m a shortstop."

The Marlins' visit to visit Cespedes was to decide if the 26-year-old was ready for the majors. Among the positions Florida -- which will officially change its name to Miami on Friday -- is thought to be seeking an upgrade in is center field. That's the position Cespedes plays, although many feel as if he will need seasoning in the minors. Cespedes was a star in Cuba, but the talent of that league is of the Class A variety.

“We had our top baseball people there,” Samson told the Palm Beach Post. “They were certainly impressed with his ability, He’s got to tools. He’s certainly an impressive player.”

The Marlins will have to contend with the Yankees, among other teams, for Cespedes' services. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler earlier today reported he could beat Aroldis Chapman's deal, which was for six years and $30.5 million. The Marlins are poised to be a big player in free agency, but can they withstand the Yankees' advances?

“We think we’re a great fit because we are Miami. We are a natural destination for any Latin player,” Samson said. “I think that he agrees but we have to see if we can make a deal that makes sense for both parties.”

Meanwhile, Samson, along with baseball operationss president Larry Beinfest and general manager Mike Hill, who all attended Cespedes' workout, now turn their eyes to Albert Pujols. MLB.com reports that Pujols is slated to meet with the Marlins as early as Saturday. It still seems like a long shot for Pujols to sign, but without a clear suitor for Pujols, anything is possible. The team has already hosted Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.

Hanley Ramirez is one guy feeling a little slighted by the Marlins' pursuit of Reyes, as it could knock him out of the shortstop role. However, he also praised Florida for trying to acquire Reyes.

"I think it would be a good move for the Marlins because they want to improve our offense and he’s a pretty good player and this organization needs him," he told the Post. "But otherwise, what can I say. I cannot control that. What I can control is to just get ready for the season and opening day. We have to build a winning team.”

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 8:24 pm
 

Report: Red Sox call Sizemore, not Beltran

SizemoreBy Evan Brunell

In baseball's hot stove season, it's tough to figure out which rumors are credible and which are not.

For example, the Red Sox have been linked to Carlos Beltran rather extensively, but the Boston Herald says Boston has yet to call on Beltran's services. The team, however, has called Grady Sizemore (pictured), who is a free agent after the Indians declined their team option on the outfielder.

The Red Sox are thought to be seeking a new right fielder -- and one that is right-handed. Internal prospects Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish are both left-handed. However, the Herald says that until DH David Ortiz's situation is resolved, both Beltran and Sizemore are long shots. If Big Papi doesn't return to Boston, it would give the Red Sox a ton of different options in filling both DH and the right field spot, so it makes sense why the Red Sox are dragging their feet.

Fortunately, most of baseball are slow to sign free agents as they await the resolution of baseball's new labor agreement, which is in the process of being negotiated. The new agreement may change free-agent compensation rules, which would affect the free agent market. Sizemore and Beltran aren't expected to sign anytime soon, while Ortiz's market has been a bit quicker to develop due to Ortiz's market being more clearly defined.

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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