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Tag:2012 free agency
Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Kuroda, Igawa garnering interest from Japan

Hiroki Kuroda

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hiroki Kuroda ranked fourth on the CBSSports.com ranking of free agent starting pitchers -- and that was before CC Sabathia signed his extension. So needless to say, the former Dodgers right-hander is among the most sought-after free agents on the market.

While the Dodgers were thought to be a shoe-in to re-sign Kuroda, there have been reports that more teams, including the Yankees, could tempt him. Add another team to the mix -- the Hiroshima Carp. Kuroda, 36, pitched 11 years for the Carp before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent on Dec. 16, 2007. 

According to Nikkan Sports in Japan (via NPB tracker), the Carp have made an official offer to Kuroda, 37.

"I'm happy that they would evaluate my contributions like that," Kuroda said, according to NPB Tracker. "Naturally, I'm happy. A feeling that they really want to win across. (Hiroshima's competitiveness this season) has come to a frustrating place, to a place where they are one step away. … I'm very happy I got an offer from the Carp."

Kuroda is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers, including a 13-16 record with a 3.07 ERA in 2011. He was 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA in Japan, winning the Central League with a 1.85 ERA in 2006.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck writes that he expects Kuroda's decision to come down the Dodgers and Carp -- and for the Dodgers, that decision needs to be made relatively soon.

Kuroda isn't the only Japanese player from the major leagues that is gaining attention in his home country. NPB Tracker also notes Kei Igawa is garnering interest from Rakuten and Orix.

Meanwhile, Seibu shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima and Yakult center fielder Norichika Aoki have asked to be posted. Nikkan Sports reports the Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Orioles may be interested in Nakajima.

Meanwhile, Chunichi left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is unsure whether he wants to move to the United States, according to the Chunichi Shimbun (also via NPB Tracker). Chen, 26, would be a free agent and not subject to the posting system. A native of Taiwan, Chen went 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA for the Dragons this season. He led the Central League with a 1.54 ERA  and 0.93 WHIP in 2009.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Buehrle popular on free agent market

By Matt Snyder

Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has pitched 12 seasons for the White Sox, but he may be heading to a new address in free agency this offseason. And there's no shortage of suitors. Multiple outlets have reported that Buehrle is meeting with the Marlins Tuesday, but they aren't alone in their pursuit. According to Fox Sports, the Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees all have interest in Buehrle, while the Blue Jays are looking for starting pitching as well. The report didn't specifically say the Jays were among the Buehrle suitors, but if they need pitching they'll surely at least kick the tires.

The Yankees would greatly benefit from adding Buehrle behind CC Sabathia, and lefties fare better in Yankee Stadium. The Marlins need pitching depth and are looking to make a strong push in free agency with a new ballpark set to open. Plus, Ozzie Guillen had previously managed Buehrle in Chicago and he's now the Marlins' skipper. The Rangers likely have Buehrle in their sights in case C.J. Wilson signs elsewhere and the Red Sox, well, we know how badly they need better pitching.

Hot Stove Season
The interest in Buehrle makes sense. Not only is he a left-hander, but he's as durable as they come. He's made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 201 innings in each of the past 11 seasons. Because he doesn't rely on velocity, Buehrle's skills shouldn't deteriorate much as he ages, either. The four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover isn't an ace, but he'd be a strong two or three in most rotations. And while it seems like he's old since he's been around for so long, Buehrle's only 32.

We've previously passed along that Buehrle is open to any team, and it looks like he'll have plenty of choices.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Report: Giants likely out, Red Sox in on Beltran

By Matt Snyder

Carlos Beltran provided a boost to the Giants' anemic offense after being traded in a late July deal this past season and the Giants surely would like to keep him. But in light of their money woes -- outlined by Scott Miller recently on CBSSports.com -- they may not be able to afford him. Enter Boston.

The Red Sox are interested in Beltran, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com -- who adds that a "competing" executive believes the Red Sox will end up signing Beltran to a two-year contract. Beltran would be a great fit with the Red Sox, who could slide him into right field and make their already-solid lineup even stronger.

Meanwhile, the Giants would be losing one of their biggest bats from the final two months of the 2011 season. Beltran hit .323/.369/.551 with nine doubles, four triples and seven home runs in 44 games for the Giants. All told, he hit .300 with 22 homers, 84 RBI, 39 doubles and a .910 OPS while making his sixth All-Star team in 2011.

Beltran turns 35 in the first month of the 2012 season, but his move from center to right field seems to have helped extend his career a bit.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Brewers, Tigers, Marlins after Reyes

By Matt Snyder

During the next few weeks, we'll start to see serious suitors emerge for the big-name free agents, and Tuesday morning Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted out three in particular for star shortstop Jose Reyes. Heyman first noted that the Brewers are beginning to realize they have little chance at retaining first baseman Prince Fielder, so they're focusing on Reyes. Next, Heyman reported that the Marlins are "deadly serious" about Reyes and that the Tigers are also possible.

Hot Stove Season
Two of the three teams listed here aren't surprising in the least. I predicted the Brewers would land Reyes, as they have a hole at shortstop, likely can't afford Prince and could use a leadoff hitter. My colleague Danny Knobler noted Reyes would be a perfect fit for the Tigers, too. And remember, the Mets are not confident in keeping Reyes. As for the Marlins, well, Reyes works more than it would appear on the surface.

Let's keep in mind, the Marlins are moving into a new stadium for 2012. They're renaming themselves the Miami Marlins and getting new uniforms. So they're looking to make a big splash and capitalize on the changes. Payroll is reportedly going to skyrocket. Adding a player like Reyes most certainly would excite the hometown fans and he works well atop the order for them. Fellow All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is already in house, though, so one of the two would have to change positions. The Marlins have a hole at third base, so obviously if Reyes signed, Ramirez would be moved to third.

Reyes, 28, hit .337/.384/.493 with 16 triples, 101 runs and 39 steals in 126 games this past season.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Trade will help Giants, Royals in free agency

Reyes

By Evan Brunell


Both the Giants and Royals addressed areas of need in a swap that sent Melky Cabrera to San Francisco in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. And, on the surface, the deal will also allow both sides to strengthen their ability to sign high-ticket free agents. Though inside sources say the Giants may not have as much financial clout as it appears.

Now that San Francisco has brought in Cabrera, the club has crossed off one item on their to-do list and cleared up a logjam in the rotation. While the Giants may still yet pursue additional outfield help, it has more money to work with to address the club's most glaring need: shortstop. The position was a black hole last season, and with no semblance of help arriving soon from the minors, the club has to play in free agency for a shortstop. It's uncertain, though, as to whether they could pick up the price tag of a Jose Reyes (pictured), Jimmy Rollins or even a Rafael Furcal.

It's simple economics. The Giants' three top priorities this offseason was to find two outfielders and a shortstop. Now they've found one outfielder without bumping their payroll up. Instead of having a certain amount of dollars to spread among three areas of need, now it's between two areas of need. And, on the bright side, the Giants will be freed from the expiring contracts of Aubrey Huff (free agent after 2012), Aaron Rowand (who has already been released, but is still due $13.6 million in 2012) and Barry Zito (done after 2013 with a $7 million buyout in 2014).


Hot Stove Season
The Royals also benefit from this deal, but in a different way. If Kansas City wants to be taken seriously by free agents, it has to show a commitment to improving the club. While the club did delete Cabrera from the team, they opened up center field for prospect Lorenzo Cain, who was part of the Zack Greinke trade prior to the 2011 season. Where the major improvement comes is in the rotation, which had the fourth-worst rotation in baseball last season with zero upside. When Luke Hochevar starts on Opening Day, there's a problem.

Sanchez's arrival will deepen the rotation, which you can bet free agents will notice. C.J. Wilson may be one such person, who will attract attention from many teams as one of the top starters on the market. Kansas City is expected to be involved, and the acquisition of Sanchez should help Wilson be more confident in the direction the Royals are taking. Wilson can look ahead at the incoming crop of elite pitching prospects and see the potential for a deep, devastating rotation. The Royals can also entice Wilson or another pitcher to town by contending that the acquisitions of two starters will allow the team to trade some of its minor-league pitching talent to further bolster the club, which GM Dayton Moore has alluded to be working toward.

Incidentially, my free-agency predictions had Reyes to the Giants and Wilson to the Royals. After this trade, these predictions are looking more and more realistic.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: December 17, 2011 8:24 am
 

Cuban star Cespedes hoping to make jump to majors

By Evan Brunell

Is baseball ready for "A New Hope"?

That's what Yoenis Cespedes is hoping after releasing a bizarre promotional workout video. Cespedes, 26, defected from Cuba in the summer and is nearing approval to sign with an MLB team as a free agent, Yahoo Sports writes.

As part of that attempt, Cespedes participated in a promotional video that pays homage to his accomplishments on the field and impressive physical attributes in a glitzy way, ending with a closeup of a hog being roasted on a spit because ... well, who knows. In the video, he performs various athletic activities designed to impress -- and he succeeds. One particularly interesting moment was when Cespedes made two consecutive behind-the-back basket catches in the outfield, which takes an enormous amount of proprioception (Princeton definition: "The ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts.") and ability to track the ball.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that a source who attended an open workout on Friday in the Dominican Republic, where Cespedes is basing his new home in order to be declared an international free agent, compared the righty to top Angels prospect Mike Trout, who is currently the best five-tool prospect and made his major-league debut at age 19 for the Angels in 2011. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees have significant interest in Cespedes and are expected to pursue him heavily, but there will be no shortage of other suitors for Cespedes to pick from as many clubs could use a center fielder dripping with talent.

The Marlins, who are based in Miami, which boasts a large Cuban population, are currently considered the favorites to land Cespedes, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes.

“This may be the big one for the Miami Marlins,” a source told the paper. “He fits all their needs [on and off the field].”

Cespedes is looking for a contract similar to Aroldis Chapman's deal with the Reds, which was worth $30 million when the fireballing lefty signed in January 2010. Cespedes may even be able to outdo Chapman's contract when all is said and done, especially in a weak free-agent class that will leave many teams with money burning a hole in their pocket and no one to spend it on.

Cespedes is the owner of the home run record in Cuba, having slammed 33 in 90 games over the 2010-11 season, hitting .333/.424/.667. A deal that hands him $30 million is very possible, as a source says. Cespedes “is a legitimate center fielder with power, so I understand why they think they can get $30 million," the source told Yahoo!. "They might get more.”

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 10:52 am
 

Guillen, Ordonez hope to play in 2012

GuillenBy Evan Brunell

Two Tigers who have made headlines the last two seasons for injury problems instead of production on the field are hoping to play again in 2012, MLB.com reports.

Carlos Guillen, a two-time All Star, has played in just 177 of a possible 486 games over the last three years, including just 28 this year, where he contributed a meager .232/.265/.368 line and finished the season on the shelf yet again. It's no surprise the 36-year-old wants to continue a career that has been beset by left shoulder and knee issues, but no team will hand him significant dollars. Guillen (pictured, left, with Ordonez) will likely have to accept a make-good one year deal somewhere and hope to win a bench position.

His teammate in Detroit, Magglio Ordonez, also plans to return, Guillen says, despite Ordonez considering retirement. The two have been in touch since the season ended. Ordonez has his own injury problems as well, as he broke his right foot in mid-2010 that required surgery. Ordonez was slow to get going in 2011 but heated up in late August and reported that his ankle was finally starting to feel normal... then promptly broke it again in the ALCS.

Any Ordonez return would have to be on a similar deal to what Guillen will sign -- low base salary on a make-good deal and no guarantee of a starting job. Those deals will have to come elsewhere, as it doesn't appear as if GM Dave Dombrowski is interested in bringing either one back. That's not too surprising -- after all, Dombrowski has had to deal with two high-salaried players expected to be major assets to the team miss significant playing time in recent seasons -- and not produce too well even when on the field.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 5, 2011 11:26 am
 

Yankees plan to talk to C.J. Wilson

By Matt Snyder

In a very thin crop of free agent pitchers, C.J. Wilson is the best of the bunch. And while the high-spending Yankees did have the best record in the American League, the last few spots of their rotation would appear to be a weakness moving forward (yes, the offense is aging and will likely regress a bit, but those guys are all locked in contractually). So it's not much of a surprise that the Yankees have Wilson on their radar.

“We haven’t talked to him yet, but we will,” said general manager Brian Cashman (New York Post). “[The Rangers] have won a lot and he’s been a big part of that, so we’ll certainly talk to him.”

And here's the thing worth noting: If the Yankees decide they definitely want Wilson, they'll surely get him. They can outpay anyone (unless the Nationals really wanna get crazy) and Wilson doesn't seem married to any particular destination. Being left-handed also makes him a great fit in Yankee Stadium.

Wilson, 30, was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, making his first All-Star team. He did have a poor postseason showing, but Cashman told the Post he's not worried about that.

Hat-tip: MLB Trade Rumors

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