Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 8:58 pm
After some more negotiating this winter, indications are that there's still a sizable gap in long-term contract talks between the San Francisco Giants and their ace pitcher Tim Lincecum.
Neither side would speak directly about the specifics of the negotiations that have been kept remarkably quiet this winter, but it is thought the sides are still at least a couple years and tens of millions of dollars apart. The Giants had made locking up Lincecum and his rotation mate Matt Cain their top priorities this winter, priorities 1 and 1A if you will.
The Giants are believed to have raised an offer they made this summer that was said to have been for four years and presumably about $80 million sometime in the past few weeks, but Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner and the 2010 World Series hero, is thought to be seeking an eight-year deal. Neither side has suggested exactly where the Giants stand now, but people familiar with the talks suggest the sides are also weighing one- and two-year options now, a clear signal that they aren't yet close to agreeing on a contract of substantial length.
Both sides have suggested all along that they are amenable to working out a deal of one or two years if they can't agree now on a long-term arrangement. However, the Giants' ultimate goal has been to do a deal that would cover some of Lincecum's free agent years. Lincecum is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. A case could be made that there is even more urgency to the talks involving Cain; while he is clearly the No. 2 man in the rotation, he is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.
While a longterm deal for Lincecum would almost surely run the Giants well more than $100 million, the arbitration process isn't going to be cheap, either. He made $14 million in 2011 (including a $1 million bonus) and could approach a record $18-20 million via an arbitration settlement, with the possibility of $25 million or more in '13 looming. A case could be made that Lincecum has been baseball's best pitcher over the past four years. He certainly has been its most decorated, with three strikeout titles to go with all the other hardware.
Lincecum, a Seattle native, has thrived since te Giants made him one of the best No. 10 overall picks ever a few years back. San Francisco has embraced his quirky delivery and nature. Likewise, all indications are that he loves the city and wants to stay a long while. The rival Dodgers gave star outfielder Matt Kemp a $160-million, eight-year extension this winter.
Lincecum, 27, is 69-41 with a 2.98 ERA, but that doesn't tell the story of the brilliance he has displayed. He was only 13-14 in 2011 when a incredible lack of offensive support undermined his efforts.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:03 pm
The Nationals' tremendous drafting over the past few years helped them land Gio Gonzalez from the A's.
They became the favorite for Gonzalez immediately after entering the picture through their teremndous prospct list, which was compiled vis super recent drafts.
Once Gonzalez passes the physical, the A's will get pitchers Brad Peaccock, A.J. Cole and Tommy Milone and catcher Derek Norris for Gonzalez. Peacock has a power fastball, a good curveball and improving changeup and is on the cusp of being a full-fledged major leaguer. Cole has the best arm of the bunch. Milone has great stats but was described by one competing GM as "ordinary.''
Norris is a big-time RBI guy who has struggled some the last couple years but is seen for having huge offensive potential.
These are four of the Nationals' top 10 prospects. But of course, none of them is Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper.
Meanwhile, they improved their rotation to the point where they may be a cotender. Good for them.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:03 pm
The Gio Gonzalez trade talks are said to be progressing, and word is that the Nationals or Red Sox could land the star lefthander within the next couple days.
The derby for Oakland's prized pitcher is "most likely'' down to those two teams, said someone familiar with the negotiations. The Marlins and Blue Jays are among many other teams that have pursued Gonzalez, a hot young lefthander who's only 26 and seen as being on the rise.
Executives of other teams see Washington as having the best chance to land Gonzalez simply because they have such a fine array of prospects. While Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are obviously off limits, the Nationals have pitchers Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole, catcher Derek Norris ad outfielders Eury Perez and Destin Hood, among many other prized prospects.
Some believe it's possible shortstop Ian Desmond or even second baseman Danny Espinosa could be "in play.'' though it's hard to imagine the Nats giving up Espinosa at this point. Washington made a four-for-one offer for Zack Greinke last year that is believed to have included Espinosa, Norris and Jordan Zimmerman but that deal fell through when Greinke declined to go to Washington.
The Red Sox have some decent prospects but many of their best ones are at the lower levels. Third baseman Will Midddlebrooks would likely be of interest for Oakland, as would pitcher Anthoy Ranaudo. The Red Sox also have young outfielders Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:05 pm
Word is, things are heating up in talks between the Cardinals and star free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The Indians are in play, as well, but St. Louis appears to be more likely. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post_Dispatch said Thursday morning the Cardinals may be the leading team.
St. Louis is seeking an offensive boost after losing megastar Albert Pujols, and they view Beltran as the best, most cost-efficient option available. They have said they won't play for Prince Fielder.
Five teams were identified as in the mix for Beltra by Scott Miller of CBSSports.com: the Blue Jays, Indians, Red Sox and Rays. However, Boston seems more focused on pitching, ad the level of interest of the other three teams is less certain. The Indians are probably more likely to wind up with a first baseman to fill their needs, one of Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman or Derrek Lee.
The Cardinals could move Lance Berkman to first base if they sign Beltran, so he'd work for St. Louis.
The Cardinals are believed to have made atwo-year offer for at least $8 million a year at one point, but Beltra was believed looking for three years.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:15 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:04 pm
The Texas Rangers routed the field in the bidding for Yu Darvish, as it turns out.
Indications are Texas' winning bid of $51.7 million was easily the highest bid. While stories have suggested that the Toronto Blue Jays bid was $50 million, meaning less than $2 million separated them and Texas, there is no evidence to support these claims.
There has been a lot of misinformation out there regarding the Darvish post (and especially as it relates to Toronto), and it's no surprise sice the posting process is secretive and the interest is extremely high. Toronto was abuzz over early erroneous reports that they won the bid.
The Blue Jays' exact bid isn't known, but word is that Texas easily won. The Yankees' bid is believed to have been somewehere in the range of $15-to-17 million but isn't exactly know, either. Reports suggested the Cubs also bid, and perhaps other teams did, too.
But no one bid like Texas.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:42 pm
The Nationals are pushing hard for Gio Gonzalez, the most popular trade target among starting pitchers. The Red Sox, Nationals, Tigers, Blue Jays, Marlins and Yankees also are believed to be in the mix to varying degrees, while several more ave checked in.
The Nationals are believed willing to include multiple top prospects, basically almost anybody short of Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper. That could mean Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, Destin Hood, Eury Perez and A.J. Cole. Peacock and Norris are probably their third- and fourth-best prospects. Hood and Perez are outfielders, Oakland's biggest need.
It's possible Washington could be enticed to include young shortstop Ian Desmond, although that is uncertain.
Washington has been determined to land a left-hander. It missed out on Mark Buehrle earlier.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:29 pm
Jair Jurrjens has drawn some interest from the Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rockies, Tigers, Rangers and others. However, while Jurrjens is a terrific young starter, he appears to be behind Oakland's Gio Gonzalez on the pecking order of most teams, possibly because of potential concerns about the knee injury that hampered him at the end of last year.
Baltimore has seemed especially interested in Jurrjens. However, one person connected to the teams said they wouldn't consider trading young center fielder Adam Jones straight-up for Jurrjens. "Not even close,'' the person said. There was some suggestion the Braves might need to include the versatile and available Martin Prado to make that deal work. But that duo may be too much for the Braves to part with.
The Braves also have suggested that they will not trade Jurrjens within their division, thereby eliminating the active Marlins as a potential suitor.
Jurrjens had an excellent year in 2011 but was hampered at the end by a knee concern. The Braves say his health shouldn't be an issue, as his velocity was back up to the mid 90s in instructional league and would have pitched in the playoffs had the Braves advanced.
The Braves say they are only considering trading Jurrjens because they have a wealth of starting pitchers, and a need for improving their offense. Jurrjens' arbitration number is expected to be very high, as well, and Atlanta has been limited financially this winter.
One other issue with the Braves is that their history of trading starting pitchers is so good that some others teams are leery about trading with them. It seems they know just went to deal pitchers, right at the height of their value.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:21 pm
Veteran free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt is waiting for a couple of the hot young starting pitchers on the market to be dealt before finding his spot. Nothing appears imminent with Oswalt, and it may not be until Gio Gonzalez and Jair Jurrjens are dealt.
Oswalt is believed to have drawn some level of interest from the Red Sox, Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers and Twins.
However, reasonably the Rangers may be less interested after winning the bid for Yu Darvish, the Yankees seem to have prioritized others and the Twins may not be able to afford him.
Oswalt remains one of the most desirable free-agent pitchers remaining, especially since he may consider a one-year deal.