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MLB News and Rumors: Balfour, Orioles reach an agreement

MLB News and Rumors: Balfour, Orioles reach an agreement
December 18, 2013
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With the offseason now in full spring, news will continue to become more and more frequent. In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Tuesday, December 17th.

Top Stories

  • The Orioles and closer Grant Balfour agreed on a two-year deal, worth $15 million total. Baltimore and Balfour have been linked ever since the Winter Meetings, and the two sides finally reached an agreement on Tuesday.
  • Former Indians minor leaguer Jason Knapp is attempting a comeback after several shoulder injuries led to his release. Knapp was the key piece in the Cliff Lee trade, coming over from Philadelphia, and has not pitched professionally since 2010. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that Knapp is back to throwing in the 90s.

Other News and Notes

  • The Yankees and lefty reliever Matt Thornton reached an agreement on a two-year, $7 million contract. Thornton will replace recently departed lefty Boone Logan in the Yankee bullpen.
  • Jose Veras agreed to a deal with the Cubs for one-year, $3.85 million deal, with an option for 2015.
  • Paul Morosi of FOX Sports 1 reported that the Mariners are close to re-signing one time Indian Franklin Gutierrez.
  • Buster Olney said in his daily article on ESPN that he believes the best options for Ervin Santana andUbaldo Jimenez are to return to their 2013 teams.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays have shown interest in infielder Jamey Carroll and former Indian Mark Reynolds.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Pirates have interest in first baseman Ike Davis and Mitch Moreland, both of which would require a trade. Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says Pittsburgh has talked to the Mets about trading for Davis.
  • The Mariners signed lefty reliever Charlie Furbush to a one-year, $700,000 deal.
  • Joe Frisasro of reported that the Marlins are willing to deal from the starting pitching depth in order to acquire a third baseman.
  • The Red Sox signed Japanese submarine reliever Shunsuke Watanabe to a Minor League contract. According to scouting reports, Watanabe is able to keep hitters off balance with a very low release point and pitches that top out around 70 miles per hour.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported the Twins are keeping an open dialogue with Johan Santana. Woflson also said that Santana is very open to a return to Minnesota.

User Comments

December 18, 2013 - 7:40 PM EST
With the Stubbs trade, I see no way Bourn is dealt now.
December 18, 2013 - 7:39 PM EST
I just don't see Bourn being moved this year, We will find out if he has a rebound year or the forum could be right that he is in decline and is not worth the value the Indians are paying him. I see Swisher playing RF in emergency situation or if Murphy or Raburn are not hitting. I think will play most of the time at 1b.

I think that Swisher and Santana should split duties down the middle playing 1b/dh. Not sure that Giambi will make roster this year. Just my gut feeling.
December 18, 2013 - 2:45 PM EST

I would say possibly, but seems unlikely now. Although they could push Swisher back out to RF or LF part time. Maybe even give Santana some time in LF, but that's probably not happening. Let's say the Indians did trade Bourn to free up salary, or get a SP, it seems likely they would need another OF in the trade or via FA. That said, they did resign Matt Carson and could pick up someone like Tyler Colvin or Brennan Boesch on minor league deals.
December 18, 2013 - 1:23 PM EST
Hmmm... welp, Stubbs goes to the Rockies. Is there still a matchup with the Sox? I guess we'll see...

As much as I stood by Stubbs coming in, I won't miss his atrocious approach at the plate. He was our biggest rally killer last year.

Now... who did we get in return........ Rex Brothers?? Other pitcher??
December 18, 2013 - 11:56 AM EST
I think they could sign Ubaldo. It would just likely mean there would be a zero % chance of a Masterson extension. It might push their payroll a little higher than they want this year, but would essentially just replace Masterson next year and after. Same could be said for the Royals and Shields/Santana. Both teams could potentially improve their financial prospects long term by taking a short-term hit this year, so even from a business standpoint, it may not be a bad idea. I think the Indians would be in better position there, because they should still have some wiggle room, while the Royal are somewhat overextended as it is.
December 18, 2013 - 11:46 AM EST
From everything I've read on this site it appears the Tribe would have to move the contracts of either Bourn or Cabrera or possibly both to free up enough money to sign Ubaldo.

I'd love to move Bourn, put Stubbs in center, and sign Ubaldo. I'd even be willing to also trade Asdrubal and have Aviles be the stopgap to Lindor if that gets Ubaldo back here.
December 18, 2013 - 10:47 AM EST
My issue with Olney's article is he says the Tribe has "payroll flexibility" still...which really doesn't appear true. I have the payroll at $83M after the Axford signing. That puts it slightly over the opening day payroll from last year. Sure maybe we can stretch it a little but adding Ubaldo at about $14-15M puts it near $100M which I just can't see happening.

Same goes for the Royals and Ervin Santana. Royals payroll is around $95M now...adding Santana would put them near $110M. They opened with a record payroll last year barely over $80M! Their GM has said many times the payroll wasn't going to go up much. Maybe the owner has changed his mind and is going for broke but just don't see how either Santana nor Ubaldo fit with the Royals and Indians without the team making trades from other areas to fit them into the budget.

I may be in the minority though, but if the Tribe could afford it, I'd probably be willing to give Ubaldo a 3yr/$48M deal with a vesting option. Average around $15M for the 3 years plus buyout money in the option year. Pricey and could totally backfire but think even with the draft pick attached he can get that. Few years younger than Lohse with more pitchers are getting paid a lot this winter.
December 18, 2013 - 10:22 AM EST
it looks like buster olney and i think alike but no way would i risk more than 3/35 on ubaldo. When we got him i thought he was getting his undergrad in premed via the computer cources to eventually attend med school. The Clinic and Case Western would be great selling points to Ubaldo if that is still the situation. and mickey calloway to boot!! i dont see him cashing in like his agent thinks based on 15 good starts post all star game 2013. between all star game 2010 and all star game 2013 he was way below average major league starting pitcher. I would still like to have him cause mickey and him seemed to click but not a one year deal. 11 or 12 milion a year is significant money whether we are talking the domincan republic or miami florida. Plus i dont buy the 50 for 4 that has been thrown around. He has a track record of being healthy and never missing a start, but he also has track record of being inconsistent.
December 18, 2013 - 10:02 AM EST
I definitely think the Indians and Red Sox could match up in a trade still.

I'd love to move Bourn and get something back, but think Stubbs actually could make more sense for the BoSox. Rumor is they are looking for a RHH CFer to pair up with Bradley. Stubbs for all his faults is a damn fine defensive CFer who hits lefties very well. With Young going to the Mets, Davis going to Detroit and Gut resigning in Seattle, Stubbs is one of the few guys left that fits the bill of what the Sox are reportedly looking for.

Stubbs alone wouldn't net a lot...but may be able to expand the deal. Red Sox seem interested in Drew still. If they decide he's not worth a long-term deal...maybe you can include Cabrera? Allows Boegarts to man 3B and have MIddlebrooks in reserve. Would love to land a guy like Peavy. Solid #2/3 that can fit behind Masterson, pitched well in the AL Central and doesn't affect the 2014 payroll. May be able to get something small in addition to him as well.
December 18, 2013 - 8:59 AM EST
Several people have mentioned the Tribe and Red Sox as potential trade partners and for good reason, the Indians have depth in the OF and the Red Sox have excess of SP. Seemingly, a match.

Now comes news of the Red Sox discussing SP with other teams perhaps with the desire to fill their CF slot. It is certainly, a possibility that the Indians and Red Sox match up, but this, is nothing more than speculation amongst fans at this point.

Here's a link to Rosenthal's article re: the Red Sox....

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