Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: January 23, 2012 7:09 pm
 

Report: Cordero narrows field to four teams

By Matt Snyder

With Andrew Bailey traded and Ryan Madson's signing out of the way, the market for free agent closer Francisco Cordero has finally surfaced. The latest report comes from MLB.com and says that Cordero expects to sign by the end of this week. He is reportedly choosing from four suitors, including the Angels. The other three teams are not mentioned in the report.

If Cordero does land with the Angels, it wouldn't be surprising at all. They currently have Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins at the back-end of the 'pen and don't seem comfortable with any of the three closing. Walden did so last year and even made the All-Star team, but he blew 10 of his 42 save chances.

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It wouldn't be surprising if the 24-year-old Walden ended up being the Angels' closer of the future, as he has great stuff, but adding a veteran like Cordero would be preferable for manager Mike Scioscia.

Cordero, 36, had 37 saves in 43 chances with a 2.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings last season for the Reds. With 327 career saves, only the great Mariano Rivera has more among active pitchers.

As for who the other three interested teams are, your guess is as good as mine. The short list of teams who are in need of a closer (Astros, White Sox, Orioles) doesn't seem to include teams willing to spend. The Angels really seem like the most logical fit.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 6:04 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 10:21 pm
 

Mariners agree to sign Kevin Millwood

By Matt Snyder

The Seattle Mariners and free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood have come to an agreement on a contract, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. It is a minor-league contract with an invite to camp, but Heyman notes Millwood has a good chance to make the team -- maybe even the rotation -- as Mariners skipper Eric Wedge managed Millwood in Cleveland.

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Millwood, 37, nearly retired last season as he failed to find work for much of the spring. Finally he struck up a minor-league deal with the Yankees. After not making the majors come May 1, he was granted free agency and signed by the Red Sox. Then, in August, the Red Sox released Millwood and he was scooped up by the Rockies. For Colorado, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.

The right-hander was an All-Star for Atlanta, but that was all the way back in 1999. In addition to the familiarity with Wedge, Millwood played in the AL West for four seasons, as he was in the Rangers' rotation from 2006 through 2009.

As I alluded to earlier, the Mariners could have a rotation spot for Millwood. After having traded Michael Pineda to the Yankees, the only certainties in the Seattle rotation are Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas. Hisashi Iwakuma is probably the third man, with Millwood, Blake Beavan, Charlie Furbush and Hector Noesi competing for the final two spots. And, of course, last season's first-round draft pick Danny Hultzen is waiting in the wings -- possibly even breaking camp in the rotation and causing that aforementioned group to fight for one spot.

Millwood is 163-140 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in his 15-season career.

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:08 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 5:40 pm
 

Darvish, Rangers agree to six-year contract



By Matt Snyder


Starting pitcher Yu Darvish has agreed to terms with the Texas Rangers, sources have told CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman. Heyman has also learned the contract is for six years and $60 million. The Rangers paid a reported $51.7 million simply for the right to negotiate with Darvish.

More Darvish coverage
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

The $51.7 million posting fee will be paid by the Rangers to the Fighters. Had the Rangers been unable to come to terms, they would have kept said fee.

Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and probably Matt Harrison in the Rangers' rotation while Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando are likely ticketed for the bullpen -- but still could emerge as starting options if need be -- in front of Mike Adams and Joe Nathan.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:02 pm
 

Joe Saunders returning to Diamondbacks

Joe Saunders

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Left-hander Joe Saunders is returning to the Diamondbacks, signing a one-year deal worth $6 million, according to CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman.

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The Diamondbacks non-tendered Saunders last month, but the 30-year-old decided to return to the team. The Orioles, Tigers and Marlins had been rumored to have interest in Saunders before he re-signed with Arizona.

Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 in 33 starts last season. He struck out 108 batters in 212 innings, walking 67. He lasted just three innings in his Game 4 start against the Brewers in the NLDS, but Arizona put up a big lead and went on to win the game, although reliever Micah Owings picked up the win.

In seven seasons, Saunders is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in 161 starts with the Diamondbacks and Angels.

The Diamondbacks added right-hander Trevor Cahill in a trade with Oakland that made Saunders appear expendable, but instead he's coming back, adding depth to the team's starting rotation.

Now with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Cahill, Saunders and Josh Collmenter, Arizona has one of the deepest rotations in the National League. If Collmenter suffers from a sophomore slump, the team could even call up right-hander Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 draft.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 10:15 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 10:41 pm
 

Reds sign Ryan Ludwick to one-year deal

By Matt Snyder

The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick, confirms Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The move, which is pending a physical, was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Heyman reports the deal is for $2.5 million with $500,000 worth of incentives included.

Ludwick, 33, hit just .237/.310/.363 last season with 13 homers and 75 RBI, but the majority of his plate appearances came in Petco Park, which is death to power hitters. He hit .218 with only five home runs and a dreadful .658 OPS in 212 plate appearances at Petco. And as we all know, Great American Ball Park is a hitters' park. So this move should help him.

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Ludwick was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2008, slugging 37 homers and driving home 113 runs. Yes, he had the benefit of hitting in a lineup with Albert Pujols, but the Reds can surround him with the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips. Ludwick hasn't had another season anywhere close to being as good as 2008, but he was a productive offensive player throughout his Cardinals career. His return to the NL Central -- he was traded to the Pirates last July -- didn't go well, but it was a small sample of 113 plate appearances.

Expect Ludwick to get the overwhelming majority of the playing time in left field -- at least out of the gate -- with Chris Heisey serving as the fourth outfielder and Drew Stubbs in center.

Though the offseason started rather slowly, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has added Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Ryan Madson and Ludwick to his ballclub in the past several weeks in an attempt to get the 2010 NL Central champs back into contention.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 6:40 pm
 

Yankees might bring back Hideki Matsui

By Matt Snyder

In an interesting twist of fate, the Yankees are going to limit spending. Yes, when it comes to grabbing a designated hitter -- to put in the spot vacated by the now-traded Jesus Montero -- the Bronx Bombers are only going to spend between $1 million and $2 million on a DH, reports CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman also notes that won't be enough to get Carlos Pena and probably can't grab former Yankee Johnny Damon either. One guy they could probably afford? The 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui. And Heyman reports there has been some contact between Matsui's representatives and his former ballclub.

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Matsui is 37 and coming off easily the worst season of his career. He hit just .251/.321/.375 with 12 homers and 72 RBI in 141 games. He's definitely on the downside of his career, but he hit well for the Angels in 2010. Plus, playing half his games in Oakland last season sure didn't help matters. He hit a dreadful .236/.323/.340 at home.

Also to consider, if the Yankees do sign Matsui, the differences in how the home parks play will be significant. Being a left-handed hitter, Matsui would benefit greatly from playing half his games in Yankee Stadium -- a venue that is really easy on lefties and where he's hit 17 home runs in 299 career regular-season at-bats.

Further, the Yankees know Matsui can deal with playing in New York and is familiar with many of the current Yankees.

So, yes, this move would make perfect sense for both sides.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:09 pm
 

Reds sign Navarro to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

The Cincinnati Reds have signed free agent catcher Dioner Navarro to a one-year, minor-league contract worth $800,000 -- with up to $200,000 available in incentives -- CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

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Navarro, 27, was an All-Star for the Rays in 2008 but has fallen apart since then. He hit just .193/.276/.324 with five homers in 202 plate appearances last season for the Dodgers. In 754 plate appearances since 2008, Navarro is hitting .207/.267/.311.

It would appear Navarro is an insurance policy for the Reds. Highly-touted prospect Devin Mesoraco will get a shot quite soon and the Reds also have Ryan Hanigan. If it's decided in spring training that Mesoraco needs more time in the minors -- or he struggles in the majors and needs a demotion to regain his confidence -- Navarro and Hanigan could split time. It should be noted that Navarro is a switch hitter while both Hanigan and Mesoraco are right-handed, so it's possible Navarro gets some platoon time against right-handers at some point in the season.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Marlins to go hard after Yoenis Cespedes

By Matt Snyder

The Miami Marlins have already committed to spending $191 million through three free agent signings this winter -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle -- and they may not be done, if they have their choice. Marlins president David Samson said on local radio Thursday that the club will make a very strong push for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes (via Sun-Sentinel.com):
“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson, characterizing the club’s planned pursuit. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.

“I think that we’re right in there. There are a lot of teams who want him and we’re definitely competitive and we’re not fooling around. We expect he will be a significant sign and receive a significant signing bonus and contract, and we’re prepared for that. Again, if you’re dealing with another team who needs to make a bigger splash or wants to get irrational, we’re not going to match that.”
Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that many scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba. Obviously, since he's been playing in Cuba, not a ton is known about Cespedes, but he's going to start playing in a Dominican winter league -- starting Thursday, according to ESPN Deportes.

He's not a free agent yet, but will be once his residence is officially changed to the Dominican Republic -- which should come very soon.

Lots of teams are said to be interested in signing Cespedes, so the Marlins aren't alone. As far as I can tell, the following teams have also been reported to have at least some interest: Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, A's, Indians, Red Sox and Yankees.

If interested, here is a video Cespedes' agents have put together to showcase his skills.



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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