Tag:Blue JAys
Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:06 am
 

Beltran expected to pick between 5 teams soon

Carlos BeltranBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Beltran will likely pick his new team before Christmas, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, noting the Cardinals are one of five teams still in contention for the switch-hitting outfielder.

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Goold writes that Beltran has "varied offers from five different teams," according to a source. The Cardinals could certainly use him in right field, the spot Lance Berkman has vacated to take over for Albert Pujols at first base. The Cardinals are also without Allen Craig, who has undergone knee surgery this winter.

Yahoo's Tim Brown wrote the Blue Jays, Red Sox and "perhaps" the Rays are interested in Beltran, while Goold notes there's another National League team in the bidding. Brown reports the 34-year-old Beltran is getting offers of two years and three years.

Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove winner, is known to want to continue to play in the field, as opposed to DH, which could give the Cardinals an advantage over the American League teams.

Goold notes the Cardinals are still interested in 32-year-old outfielder Coco Crisp, who unlike Beltran can still play center field.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:55 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 7:43 am
 

Blue Jays', Yankees' bids on Darvish reported

By Matt Snyder

Monday night, we found out the Rangers placed the highest bid on highly-coveted Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, a bid that was in excess of $51.7 million. Between the posting deadline and the revelation that the Rangers won, we heard a small handful of teams that were said to have placed a bid on Darvish: The Rangers, Blue Jays, Cubs and Yankees were the most named ballclubs. We know the Rangers' bid. Tuesday, we saw reports of two others.

Darvish to Texas
The Yankees put in a bid, but evidently not a very serious one. The bid by the Bronx Bombers was less than $20 million, according to ESPN New York. Many Chicago-area reporters have speculated the Cubs did something very similar. The bids basically say that they'd welcome Darvish with open arms if other teams didn't get nuts in the bidding, but had no intention of coughing up anywhere near $50 million-plus.

The Blue Jays were reportedly not in that camp. [UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has heard otherwise.]

The Jays reportedly posted over $50 million, according to TheStar.com, and if that was the case, they barely lost out on landing the rights to negotiating with Darvish.

“I understand the passion and the interest levels in our team,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said (TheStar.com). “I have people come up to me in the street every day. It’s on us to provide a winning product. That’s what you want, but we want to make sure it’s done the right way.”

It's interesting to note the Jays were reportedly fully prepared to spend over $100 million -- the player is certainly going to want something in the ballpark of the posting fee, after all -- in this case. Might it be a precursor to going hard after a certain slugging first baseman? We'll see ...

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Phillies trade Ben Francisco to Blue Jays

By Matt Snyder

The Phillies have traded outfielder Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league pitcher Frank Gailey, the Phillies announced Monday.

Francisco, 30, hit .244 with 10 doubles, six home runs and a .704 OPS in 293 plate appearances, serving as a backup outfielder for the NL East champions. He came through with a huge three-run home run, which ended up being the game-winner, in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals.

After having acquired Laynce Nix, the Phillies didn't have much more use for Francisco. Aside from All-Star outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the Phillies also have John Mayberry, Nix and Domonic Brown.

As for the Blue Jays, they now have a pretty crowded outfield -- assuming no more trades are in the works. In addition to 2010-11 MVP candidate Jose Bautista, Eric Thames, Colby Rasmus, Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and Francisco could all figure in the mix.

Gailey is a 26-year-old left-hander. He went 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 61 strikeouts in 74 innings across both High-A and Double-A. At that age and in that level of the minors, he's obviously just organizational depth for the Phillies.

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Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 2:18 am
 

Yu Darvish to be posted Thursday

Yu Darvish

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish will be posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighter on Thursday, his agent, Don Nomura, tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Darvish also posted the news on his blog (in Japanese). 

If C.J. Wilson signs quickly, as expected, Darvish, 25, will be the top starter left on the market.

Last season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, striking out 276 batters in 232 innings. In his seven-year career, he's 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA, striking out at least 200 batters in the shorter Japanese season four times and walking more than 50 just once. He hasn't posted an ERA more than 2.00 since his second year in the top level of Japanese baseball -- and he was 19 for most of that season.

Many teams will be interested in the right-hander, including the Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals, Angels and Rangers -- the five expected to be the front-runners. The Red Sox could also be interested, especially with new manager Bobby Valentine's experience in Japan where he managed against Darvish. Rosenthal tweets that Valentine "loves" Darvish. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos traveled to Japan this season to scout Darvish in person.

The posting is just the first part of a possible move stateside. After Darvish is posted, teams will have a period to submit blind bids for the opportunity to sign him. The team with the highest bid will win the right to negotiate with Darvish and after signing him will not only have to pay Darvish, but also the posting fee, which goes only to the Fighters.

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 1:52 pm
 

Blue Jays trade for Sergio Santos



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- The Blue Jays have acquired closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox for minor-league pitcher Nestor Molina. An announcement was made in the media room at the MLB Winter Meetings.

Santos will be the Blue Jays' closer for the 2012 season. The 28-year-old right-hander had 30 saves in 36 chances for the White Sox in 2011. He had a 3.55 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a whopping 92 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. Santos is signed for less than $3 million per season through 2014, so he's a very affordable back-end option for the Jays.

The back-end of the bullpen was a major weakness for the 81-81 Jays, who blew 25 saves. Only the Astros had a worse save percentage than the Blue Jays' paltry 57 percent figure in all of baseball.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous told reporters in the media room that Santos is definitely the 2012 closer and that they loved having team control for up to six years (Santos has three club options at the end of his current deal).

As for the White Sox, this could definitely be the first move in a bit of a firesale. Santos has a very team-friendly contract, so moving him for a prospect would seem to be part of something bigger. The White Sox have lots of payroll locked up in aging veterans and one of the worst minor-league systems in baseball. Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin have been reportedly on the trade block, so this is certainly something to watch as the meetings progress.

Molina, 22, was 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 115 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings in High-A last season. He was then promoted to Double-A, where he was utterly dominant in five starts. He went 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 33 strikeouts against just two walks in 22 innings. Anthopolous said there was a lot of "heated debate" among club officials whether or not to part with Molina, but that getting Santos in return was worth the price.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Manny Ramirez wants to return to MLB

Manny Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Manny Ramirez wants to return to baseball, but the real question may be, does baseball want Manny Ramirez?

Ramirez, 39, retired in April after he faced a 100-game suspension after his second violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Major League Baseball announced Ramirez has applied to be reinstated from the retirement list. In addition, MLB announced Ramirez would only have to serve 50 games of his suspension if he is signed. 

Of course, it takes a team to take him before he could actually start his suspension, much less play. Ramirez not only has baggage, but also is limited to just designated hitter now, narrowing the market further for the slugger. He's also unlikely to be welcome in Boston, where he played from 2001-2008. The Rays could be somewhat interested in a return, while maybe the Orioles would be interested, since that seems to be the last stop for designated hitters before retirement and they're now lead by the man who signed Ramirez in Boston, Dan Duquette. Toronto could also be a possibility. Perhaps more likely, Ramirez could declare himself available and un-retired, but have no teams interested.

"Manny is always interesting and he’s never predictable, but I don't know too much about the mechanics of what we would have to do or if we could do it," Duquette told the Baltimore Sun. "Manny is always a lot of fun to be around and he is very entertaining." 

Ramirez managed just one hit -- a single -- in 17 plate appearances for the Rays in 2011. Last offseason, the Rays were the only taker on Ramirez and signed him to just a $2 million contract -- before the suspension. Any team signing him would likely sign him for much less.

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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). 

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