Posted on: January 1, 2012 10:06 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:00 pm
There is "no real favorite'' in the five-team Matt Garza sweepstakes, according to someone familiar with the talks.
The teams involved the derby for the 28-year-old Cubs righthander at this point are the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins. With the Cubs seeking young pitchers, it would seem that the Yankees, Blue Jays and Tigers could hold an edge ultimately. The Yankees have Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, the Tigers Jacob Turner and the Blue Jays several well-regarded prospects at the lower levels. The Cubs are hoping to improve their young pitching stock, and Garza is the most marketable player they're willing to deal.
The Red Sox earlier named Garza, who went 10-10 with a 3.31 ERA in 2011, his only one with the Cubs, as a target in Theo Epstein compensation talks, but it's unclear wether the Cubs would even consider trying to solve the compensation issue while making a bigger Garza deal with Boston. They wouldn't surrender Garza straight-up for Epstein, and it's possible the Cubs would want to keep Garza and the compensation issues totally separate. The Red Sox don't have pitching prospects to match the Yankees or Blue Jays but do have hard-throwing righthander Anthony Ranaudo, who was drafted by Epstein, the new Cubs president.
The Cubs are obviously rebuilding but have been nonetheless tied to the Prince Fielder derby. A Cubs person suggested that while Fielder is the type of player they need, they aren't willing to pursue Fielder at all costs, a not unfamiliar refain for teams pursuing big-name free agents.
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 8:59 pm
There's been a lot of discussion and debate lately about whether the improving Washington Nationals are one of the teams trying to sign free agent slugger Prince Fielder.
And while there's still nothing definitive on the subject, one Nats player told me Thursday, "We're in the market. We're still shooting for him.''
People can scoff at the validity of a player as a source, but this player did not hesitate and sure seemed to know what he was talking about. But who can be sure?
This has surely been a fairly mysterious market to this point. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who just bolstered the rotation with the addition of young lefthader Gio Gonzalez, downplayed the Fielder chances in an interview Wednesday on MLB Network Radio, saying Adam LaRoche would be their first baseman barring something "extrordinary.''
To be precise, Rizzo said, "We've more or less decided Adam is going to be out first baseman unless something extraordinary, out of the ordinary, happens.'' LaRoche is to make $8 million in 2012 (plus he has a $1 million buyout on his 2013 salary).
If Rizzo is merely downplaying their genuine interest in Fielder as a way not to get fans' hopes up, he wouldn't be the first GM to do that. The Nationals have been considered among about eight teams -- the Rangers, Orioles, Mariners, Marlins, Cubs, Blue Jays and Brewers being the others -- to have some level of interest in the 27-year-old first baseman.
Fielder recently went on a tour of some of the interested teams, flying to a few points around the country. But it isn't known what teams, including the Nationals, were on the tour. Or whether a team that wasn't on the tour might jump into the mix.
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.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:08 pm
Indications are the Mariners, Nationals and Orioles are among about a half-dozen teams still eyeing star free agent Prince Fielder.
The Fielder derby is heating up, as some teams have made offers or at least given an indication where they'd be willing to go monetarily for the slugger. The Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins and incumbent Brewers also have been mentioned as possibilities for Prince.
The Mariners are one of the teams that's suggested their price range for Fielder, although it's unclear how serious Fielder might be about willing to play on the West Coast. Some close to the Florida product and longtime Brewer have suggested he'd prefer to stay in the East or Central time zones. Seattle is also said to have financial limitations and are believed unwilling to break their bank for any one player.
The Nationals have been keeping a low profile on their pursuit and it's unknown where they stand but signs suggest they do have Fielder on their radar. He isn't a perfect fit as they already have Mike Morse and Adam LaRoche for first base, though they could move Morse to the outfield and LaRoche is a small expense compared to Fielder.
The Orioles remain interested, according to a person with knowledge of their thinking. They may be geographically desirable to Fielder but it isn't known how their status as a rebuilding team might impact the player.
The Marlis remain a curiosity. Team president David Samson has suggested they lack interest, but owner Jeffrey Loria has give public quotes amounting to something along the lines of "we'll see.'' The Rangers are also believed to have interest even after winning the bid for star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The Cubs are said to interested but the status of their pursuit, and that of the Jays, remains unclear.
The Brewers have been painted as a long shot but they haven't given up all hope they could retain Fielder.
For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.
Posted on: December 20, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:20 pm
So now that the Rangers have bid $51.7 million on Yu Darvish, they have to be out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, right?
The Rangers have always seemed on the periphery of the Fielder derby, but they still appear to be eyeing the top remaining free agent even after winning the Darvish auction and presumably targeting at least $100 million, and likely more, for the star 25-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Texas is a threat to win Fielder, too, provided that the Rangers are willing to make the financial commitment it would take, as it is a desirable landing spot with an already stacked lineup and fine hitting ballpark.
Texas had baseball’s third most productive offense last year, but would threaten to possess baseball’s best lineup with Fielder in it. The Fielder pursuit has been pretty quiet, but other teams believed to have some interest in Fielder include the Mariners, Nationals, Cubs, Orioles, Marlins and incumbent Brewers.
The Rangers have always liked Fielder, and it’s not known whether their interest has actually increased in response to the chief rival Angels landing superstar Albert Pujols and frontline pitcher C.J. Wilson, the ex-Ranger. The Angels’ two huge purchases, which occurred the same day at the Winter Meetings, surprised the Rangers and most of baseball and gave Los Angeles of Anaheim a resounding early offseason victory at a cost of $332.5 million.
Word is, Darvish is seeking a deal for about $75 million over five years, which would be on top of the $51.7 million posting fee Texas would be required to pay the Fighters should they sign him, as expected. If they were to pay Fielder, say $206 million, they’d top the Angels in expense for their two players.
The Rangers were not interested in Pujols but do like Fielder because he is only 27 years old and would fit into their star-studded lineup. Texas is also trying to lock up several of their own stars, including Derek Holland, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
Signing Fielder would also give the Rangers some middle-of-the-order insurance against the possibility of losing Hamilton, who is eligible for free agency after next year. While the Rangers want to keep Hamilton, they want to do it with a shorter contract than he will likely want.
For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.