Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:24 am

Twins meeting with Nishioka's agent

The agents for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka are meeting with the Twins now, Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman tweets .

Nishioka is reportedly looking for a three-year deal from the Twins, who won the right to bid with the Pacific League batting champ.

A shortstop for the Chiba Lotte Marines, he will likely play second for Minnesota, who let Orlando Hudson go to free agency.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:43 am

A's still talking with Iwakuma

The A's are still negotiating with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets .

The deadline to sign him is midnight tonight. A report from the the Kyodo news service in Japan states Iwakuma has already decided to remain in Japan.

Slusser's also reported the A's have rescinded their offer to free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Once thought to be one of the most active teams in free agency, the A's could end up with not much of anything.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:07 pm

Fukudome considering returning to Japan in 2012

Kosuke Fukudome Kosuke Fukudome is looking at returning to Japan, but hold on that rejoicing Cubs fans, he's looking to do it in 2012, after his contract is up.

YakyuBaka.com has the translation from Nikkan Sports of Fukudome's meeting with reporters in Japan on Wednesday.

"To play in the US, to return to Japan, to each their own. And until that time comes, I won't know," Fukudome said. "Playing every day is what every player wants. I don't think returning to Japan would be bad. The [Chunichi Dragons] could be a possibility. … I feel there's a sense that I need to do something different next season. I think I had a pretty good season this year. I'd like to try and keep that momentum going."

Fukudome hit .263/.371/.439 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI. Not a bad line for a part-time player, not quite what you're looking for from someone making $13 million. Fukudome will make $13.5 million last season. The outfielder has a no-trade clause and must be signed to an extension by Nov. 15, 2011 or release him -- and I think we all know what that choice will be.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 26, 2010 4:36 pm

Twins will use Nishioka at 2B

The Twins will use Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base, a source tells FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi .

Nishioka played both shortstop and second base in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and most scouts predicted him as a second baseman here.

Orlando Hudson, last year's second baseman, is a Type B free agent and not expected to return to Minnesota.

J.J. Hardy was this year's shortstop, but the Twins would certainly like to upgrade at that position, although there's hardly an obvious free agent candidate (besides Derek Jeter, of course). The trade market for shortstop is definitely a seller's market, so the team may choose not to upgrade that spot or hope Nishioka surprises them when he gets to spring training.

The Twins won the bidding to negotiate with Nishioka and their 30-day window to negotiate with him began today.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:42 am
Edited on: November 22, 2010 12:43 pm

Iwakuma's agent blasts A's for contract talks

Iwakuma Agent Don Nomura took to Twitter early Monday morning to correct some misinformation about the breakdown of discussions between the Athletics and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Earlier, it was revealed that Iwakuma was asking for "Barry Zito" money -- that's seven years, $126 million. However, Nomura refutes that, saying he would have accepted less than $9 million annually for Iwamura's services and that the "Zito money" comparable has the posting fee factored in. The key here is that it would have been less than $9 million annually, but payable directly to Iwakuma.

Meanwhile, Oakland was adamant about factoring in the posting fee, reported to be $19.1 million by Nomura in any contract. Using Colby Lewis' two-year, $5 million pact and Kei Igawa's five-year, $20 million deal as comparables, the A's offered $3.81 million per year over four years payable directly to Iwamura.

That wasn't going to fly with Iwamura nor his agent, who countered with Hiroki Kuroda's three-year, $35.3 million salary and Daisuke Matsuzaka's six-year, $52 million contract as comparables. Matsuzaka, for one, has an average annual salary of $17.2 million when including posting fee -- but a posting fee is not calculated for payroll concerns, so as Nomura points out, it didn't make sense for him to factor the posting fee in.

Nomura also vented about the A's blaming the player camp for asking for a lot of money after Oakland attempted to play hardball and tendered the offer as take-it-or-leave it, with a deadline Saturday to inform the public that negotiations ground to a halt. Nomura called the A's bluff and now talks are essentially dead although the actual deadline is Dec. 8. Given how the Red Sox and Matsuzaka needed every last minute of the deadline, don't be so quick to consider these talks dead.

If talks are indeed dead, Iwakuma will just play in Japan one more year and then come to the States as a free agent, open to any team for bidding. Meanwhile, Oakland will chase two free-agent pitchers as Nomura reveals, adding that the reported five-year, $64 million offer tendered to third baseman Adrian Beltre is simply a PR move.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: November 21, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 5:33 pm

Iwakuma poised to stay in Japan

Iwakuma When the Athletics won the posting bid for Japanese starter Hisashi Iwakuma, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Iwakuma would be MLB-bound.

Indeed, winning the bid seemingly gave the club confidence to trade Vin Mazzaro and prospect Justin Marks to the Royals for outfielder David DeJesus.

Except that negotiations have hit a snag -- Iwakuma (photo courtesy NBP ) is demanding Barry Zito money to move to Oakland, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. We're talking San Francisco Giants Barry Zito, not the cost-controlled, major-league minimum Zito that played for Oakland prior to departing as a free agent. That means Iwakuma wanted something in the neighborhood of seven years and $126 million, which no team was going to give someone who has yet to play in the majors.

Yes, Iwakuma is one of the best pitchers in Japan, but so was Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideo Nomo. It's simply not worth the risk of investment, especially when you consider Oakland is the one doing the talking. The deal wouldn't make sense even for the Yankees, but doubly (triply? quadruply?) so for the A's.

Slusser does add that the Zito comparison includes the posting fee of roughly $15-$16 million, but even factoring that, it's an outrageous request to make.

Talks have now broken off, as team and industry sources report, over the demand. Iwakuma is now poised to announce his return to the Rakuten Golden Eagles at the upcoming fanfest, although the club and player do still have until Dec. 7 to come to an accord.

Without Mazzaro, that leaves Bobby Cramer, Tyson Ross or Josh Outman as fifth starter candidates if Iwakuma does not come to the States.

Oakland will be repaid its posting fee should the two sides not come to an accord, so the A's could still strike to sign a free agent starter although the club's focus is on adding power bats.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:23 pm

Friday evening rumor roundup

Well, this week has kind of been the March of the Hot Stove League season, in like a lion, out like a lamb -- but there is still some action out there. So here's another roundup.

• The four teams on Justin Upston's no-trade list are the A's, Royals, Tigers and Indians. (FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, via Twitter )

• The Diamondbacks have made a two-year, $3 million offer for Japanese starter Hiro Kobayahsi. (NPB Tracker via Twitter )

• The Braves and Dan Uggla are both open to multiyear contract extension. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Braves have made an offer to free agent Eric Hinske. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

• The Red Sox are "undecided" whether they will bid for Japanese infielders Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (WEEI.com )

• Larry Stone of the Seattle Times notes Bob Engle, the Mariners vice president for international operations, signed both Cy Young Award winners, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. He's also got 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and 1996 Cy Young-winner Pat Hentgen on his resume.

• The Yankees released reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. (Star-Ledger )

• There were plenty of 40-man moves on Friday, as teams set their rosters in the deadline for the Rule 5 draft. The most interesting moves belonged to the Pirates, who designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young for assignment. The only other name that really jumped out at me was that the Mariners put Josh Lueke on their 40-man roster. Lueke was part of the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas. In 2009, Lueke plead no contest to charges of false imprisonment with violence after an incident in 2008. Lueke will be a controversial figure if he gets called up to Seattle.

UPDATE: The Pirates tried to negotiate a contract with Duke, who is arbitration-eligible, and also explored a trade. (MLB.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: November 16, 2010 8:46 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 10:53 pm

Tuesday evening rumor roundup

Well, the first day of the general managers' meetings in Orlando was more eventful than expected. The Braves stole Dan Uggla from the Marlins, the Cardinals re-signed Jake Westbrook and Florida overpaid for John Buck.

There's other talk 'round the meetings and here's a few of the other notes from Tuesday:

• The Marlins are looking at a multi-year deal with right-hander Ricky Nolasco. (Miami Herald )

• Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says he's spoken to the agents for free agents Arthur Rhodes and Miguel Cairo. Asked if the Reds were likely to sign any outside free agents, Jocketty said, "probably not." (Cincinnati Enquirer )

• Jocketty says the Reds are talking to teams about acquiring a leadoff hitter. (MLB.com )

• The agent for Reds right fielder Jay Bruce says his client is open to selling out his arbitration-eligible years in a long-term deal. Bruce is a Super Two player. (MLB.com )

• Free agent left-hander Jeff Francis is drawing interest from the Pirates, Mariners, Rockies, Brewers and Astros. (ESPN.com )

• The Yankees are interested in left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano. (Newsday )

• Bill Hall could be an option for the Yankees. (FoxSports.com )

• Chad Tracy, who played for the Marlins and Cubs last season, has signed with Japan's Hiroshima Carp for about $1.3 million. (NPB Tracker )

• Former Red and Mariner Wladimir Balentien has reportedly signed to play in Japan. (NPB Tracker )

• Japan's SoftBank Hawks are working on signing Marcus Thames. (NPB Tracker )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb 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