Tag:MLB rumors
Posted on: December 29, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:36 pm
 

Evan Longoria responds to false rumor

By Matt Snyder

Ah, the perils of today's social media ...

Earlier this week, a person with the Twitter handle @MLBInsideNews tweeted that he heard Rays third baseman -- and face of the franchise -- Evan Longoria was "disgruntled" with the Rays' current situation and would welcome a trade. A follow-up tweet said the Rays were shopping Longoria.

Anyway, it wasn't really shocking -- at least not to me -- when Longoria texted Rays beat writer Marc Topkin the following message:

"I don't have any idea where that rumor came from! It's completely false. I've said from the start I love Tampa, I love the direction we are heading as a franchise and there is no better place for me to continue to grow as a player and person.''

While it's true that the Rays aren't able to spend a lot of money, it would have made more sense to say Longoria was disgruntled last offseason, when over $30 million of payroll was shed. Considering the Rays won the AL wild card, Longoria probably has no complaints. Or, as Michael Scott might say, Longoria is likely perfectly gruntled.

For whatever it's worth, @MLBInsideNews has tweeted an apology to Longoria and the Rays about his "false rumor" and notes he won't trust this "source" anymore.

Oh, and late Wednesday night, that same account tweeted that Matt Garza would be traded sometime Thursday. While it's entirely possible this guy has some sources, we just don't have any way of knowing the level of credibility. Just be careful what you believe.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Under new Cubs regime, patience is the word



By Matt Snyder


Back when the Cubs first hired Theo Epstein to be the club president, I wrote that we shouldn't expect to see a short-term fix to a currently badly flawed team and organization. "The band-aid-on-a-broken-leg approach got Jim Hendry fired, so there's no way [Cubs chairman] Tom Ricketts would hire Epstein to do the same thing," I wrote.

It's now a few months later and we've seen a bevy of moves by Epstein, but none of them are big names. David DeJesus, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood, Andy Sonnanstine and Manny Corpas will hardly be mistaken for Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Jonathan Papelbon and C.J. Wilson anytime soon.

In that same article I referenced above, I wrote that Epstein had three possible routes to take in building the Cubs. I incorrectly guessed he'd try to win now while also building the foundation. Instead, Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have elected to take the long, slow rebuild route. It would appear any veteran with trade value is going to be dealt (Matt Garza and Marlon Byrd likely the next two, while one would expect the likes of Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto and Ryan Dempster to be available by the trade deadline in July) as Sean Marshall already has been.

Now, it's awfully tough to tell a fanbase that has never seen a World Series championship (I mean, there can't possibly be a 110-year-old Cubs fan that remembers when he was seven, right?) to be patient, but that's how it has to be. The franchise needed a complete overhaul, and the process has begun. Give Ricketts credit for hiring a guy and giving him enough leeway to take as long as he needs to rebuild the organization. In return, the fans need to be patient and keep their eyes on the prize. Ricketts, Epstein and Hoyer are trying to slowly build one of the best farm systems in the majors while also being able to put together a massive payroll that dwarfs those of the competitors in the NL Central.

Cubs offseason
One would expect most fans to be open-minded about the situation. Thankfully, I couldn't find any "fire Theo Epstein" boards on the Internet (at least not from his Cubs perch) just yet. Our @EyeOnBaseball Twitter account did receive a deluge of messages from a disgruntled fan last week, though. The fan wanted Epstein fired immediately because he didn't sign Pujols and Mark Buehrle while also keeping Aramis Ramirez. I'm betting this kind of short-sighted sentiment is in the minority, but let's be realistic here. The Cubs were 71-91 last season. They have a mediocre farm system. Any attempt to make a quick fix would handcuff the franchise.

Let's keep all of this in mind when the 2012 Cubs suck. Any they will. They are going to be really bad. Any veteran performing well will probably be flipped to a contender in July (picture the Astros last season trading Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn while also shopping Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers). The fans who abandon the Cubs after a bad 2012 season aren't the real ones. The fans calling for the heads of Ricketts, Epstein and Hoyer aren't the ones with foresight. No, the real fans are the ones who will realize it's a rebuilding process and that the new braintrust is building the foundation through all these trades and can expect a top five overall draft pick in 2013. Also realize the Cubs, who can likely afford a player payroll of $150 million, only have $33.05 million committed in salaries in 2013 (Cot's Contracts).

Remember, this is a process. It's one that will likely transform the Cubs into a major player in the National League landscape -- possibly by as early as 2013. You don't change a century-plus loser into a winner by spending money like Montgomery Brewster (who, funnily enough, wore a Cubs jersey) just to fill two or three of dozens of holes. For now, the Cubs are a sleeping giant. In a few years, they might just be the Evil Empire of the NL Central.

As for the fans, listen to Axl Rose: "All (you) need, is just a little patience."

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Cubs sign Andy Sonnanstine to split contract

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs have signed free agent pitcher Andy Sonnanstine to a split contract, the club announced Monday. A split contract means the player will be paid a different salary for minor-league days than he will be for major-league days. It's a little-known contract, but beneficial to use on players the club expects to be shuttling back and forth between Triple-A and the majors often -- meaning you can expect Sonnanstine to be nothing more than organizational pitching depth.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

One of new Cubs president Theo Epstein's goals upon taking the Cubs' job was to increase pitching depth throughout the entire organization. Remember, this is a Cubs ballclub that lost two starting pitchers to injury in April and would use reliever James Russell as a starter for an average of 3 2/3 innings for five starts. After that experiment failed miserably, the Cubs went outside the organization for the the likes of Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz and Rodrigo Lopez. Obviously, Epstein doesn't want to have to go through a similar situation, so he's just grabbing all the arms he can find.

Sonnanstine, 28, fits the bill of merely providing depth. He started four games and appeared in 11 as a reliever for the Rays last season, while also making nine starts and one relief appearance in Triple-A. He was a valuable member of the Rays' rotation in their 2008 AL championship season, but hasn't been very good at all since then at the big-league level.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Beltran signs two-year deal with Cardinals



By Matt Snyder


The St. Louis Cardinals and free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran have agreed to a two-year contract worth $26 million, both Jon Heyman and Scott Miller of CBSSports.com have confirmed. The deal also includes a full no-trade clause. The news of this deal was first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The World Series champion Cardinals found out a few weeks ago that long-time face of the franchise Albert Pujols was headed to the Angels via free agency. Also, that same week, news broke that outfielder Allen Craig -- who was slotted to move to right field as Lance Berkman moved to first base to replace Pujols -- had surgery and will miss around two months of the 2012 season. So the Cardinals were left with a glaring hole in their lineup. Beltran easily fills that void.

More Hot Stove
Beltran, 34, is a switch-hitter and had a big bounce-back season in 2011. He hit .300/.385/.525 with 35 doubles and 22 home runs, making his sixth All-Star Game. He battled injuries in 2009 and 2010, but -- aside from a down year back in 2005 -- Beltran has been extremely productive with the bat whenever he's in the lineup, sporting a career .857 OPS.

Beltran will now join a still-potent Cardinals batting order. Yes, losing Pujols hurts, as he's only the best player in baseball, but here's how the lineup could look for the 2012 Cardinals:

1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Lance Berkman, 1B
5. Carlos Beltran, RF
6. David Freese, 3B
7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Skip Schumaker or Daniel Descalso, 2B

With a healthy Adam Wainwright re-joining the starting rotation and the bullpen in better shape than it was when the 2011 season began, don't underestimate the Pujols-less Cardinals. 

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Logan Morrison: Fake Twitter reporter

By Matt Snyder

Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison is quite the character, and he's built a pretty big following on Twitter based mostly on his sense of humor. I'll say this, even if he's not always hilarious, he's definitely interesting. Thursday afternoon, Morrison decided to play a prank on his followers by "reporting" that "Prince to Seattle is a done deal." Screen-grab:



Obviously, Morrison wasn't serious -- as he later pointed out -- but even more obviously, a good amount of people believed him. My first thought when I saw the tweet was, "here we go, tons of people will believe him." Sure enough, a good amount did -- witness the "50+" retweets (though, in fairness, lots of them knew it was a joke). Still, chalk one up for Morrison on the prank front for today, as he achieved exactly what he wanted to.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Jason Marquis signs with Twins

By Matt Snyder

The Minnesota Twins have agreed to terms with free agent starting pitcher Jason Marquis. He has signed a one-year, $3 million contract, the Twins announced Thursday afternoon in a press release.

Marquis, 33, will be joining his seventh team in 13 big-league seasons. He went 8-6 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 132 innings last season for the Nationals and Diamondbacks. He was a trade-deadline acquisition by the NL West champion Diamondbacks last summer, but a line drive fractured his right fibula and ended his season August 16.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Marquis was an All-Star for Colorado in 2009 and has pitched in five different postseasons -- for the Braves, Cardinals (twice), Cubs and Rockies, respectively. He has pitched in at least 190 innings in five of the last eight seasons.

He appears to fit at the back-end of the Twins' rotation, with Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano being counted on as the top three. That leaves Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak and Marquis for two spots. The best guess is Duensing heads to the bullpen and Marquis will almost certainly be the No. 4 starter.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Nats, Mets each make depth signing

By Matt Snyder

The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign utility infielder Mark DeRosa, pending physical, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. Also in NL East news, the Mets announced via press release that they have signed catcher Rob Johnson to a minor-league contract.

DeRosa, 36, hit .279/.351/.302 in just 97 plate appearances last season for the Giants, as a serious wrist injury badly hampered him. He was a key cog in the Cubs' 2008 division championship and hit 23 home runs in 2009, but injuries and inconsistency have held DeRosa back since then. Still, he's said to be a great clubhouse guy and can still play three infield positions. Perhaps most importantly is first base, as DeRosa can back up Adam LaRoche -- who is returning from a season-ending injury -- and leave Michael Morse in left field. It's also conceivable that DeRosa could make spot starts at third to spell Ryan Zimmerman.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Johnson, 28, hit a paltry .190 with a .544 OPS last season in 199 plate appearances for Padres. So he's a really poor hitter. There's a reason he keeps finding work, however, and that is because he works well with pitchers. He also threw out more than 35 percent of would-be base stealers in 2010 for the Mariners. As things currently stand, the Mets have Josh Thole slotted as the starting catcher, with Johnson competing for the backup job with guys like Mike Nickeas and Lucas May.

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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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com