MLB News and Rumors: Seattle, Cano rumors intensify
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 Thursday, December 5th.
Robinson Cano has flown back to Seattle to meet with Mariners officials, and this time the Mariners are expected to offer Cano a nine-year, $225 million deal, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. While nothing is imminent between Seattle and Cano, the talks do seem to be getting more serious. The Yankees have already made it known that they do not plan to go over $200 million for Cano – putting Seattle in the driver's seat.
The MLB and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball have finally reached an agreement on a new posting system. The new system will have a maximum bid of $20 million. If multiple teams submit a tying bid, the player will be able to choose to negotiate with any of the tying teams. The posting fee will not cost against the luxury tax, but the contract itself will. With such a decrease in the maximum bid amounts, there have been reports that the Rakuten Golden Eagles may not post star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The Red Sox added to their bullpen depth, signing backend reliever Edward Mujica to a two-year, $9.5 million deal.
The Royals traded for outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers. In return, Milwaukee will receiver left handed pitcher Will Smith. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says this move has not changed Kansas City's pursuit of Carlos Beltran.
Other News and Notes
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported that free agent starter Scott Feldman is looking for a three-year deal, in the $30 million range.
Brian Wilson officially agreed to his deal with the Dodgers. It is a one-year, $10 million deal, with a $9 million club option for 2015.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sporsnet.ca reported that recently non-tendered reliever John Axford had received calls from at least 14 teams.
The White Sox signed reliever Ronald Belisario to a one-year, $3 million deal. Belisario was non-tendered by the Dodgers on Monday.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has made it known that he is optimistic that starter Hiroki Kuroda will return to the Yankees in 2014.
Rosenthal tweeted that the Marlins have reached an agreement with Rafael Furcal on a one-year deal. The Marlins expect Furcal to be their everyday second baseman, despite the infielder missing all of last season after Tommy John surgery.
Rosenthal also reported that the Rangers are moving towards a deal with recently non-tendered catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Granderson is 4 years younger, a better cOF defender, and can play CF...got the same per year, just 1 extra year. I know he was hurt last year but still. Think the Beltran deal is ok, but far from a steal or a discount for a guy of his age and a guy that probably should be DHing.
Napoli returning to Boston, 2/32.
I'm still hoping Colon is left hanging in February and we can strike a deal on an innings eater.
Also, you're assuming that other teams are going to be like, yeah I'll take Bourn to help you out. You know as well as I do that this isn't the case. We need to sit back, relax and see what the Indians do because this is what they need to do if they want to compete.
Kipnis is a better leadoff option than Bourn is...and should hit leadoff next year.
Stubbs wouldn't have to hit leadoff. He could hit 9th....Bourn shouldn't hit higher than 6th in the Tribe lineup next year.
....and $14M in 2016....
Keep Bourn, sign a couple P's to help in the rotation and bullpen and stop with this stuff about robbing Peter to pay Paul.
THe budget is tight. Until they free up some in trades, I would not expect more pressing needs to be filled with the pitching staff. Michael Bourn is a solid player, but at $13M per year he is a luxury and not a necessity. He does not need nearly the impact with 15% of the total payroll you would expect. Last year he made $6M which was perfect......but because his deal was backloaded he now will make $13.5M per going forward.
Stubbs vs lefties career: .349 OBP, .796 OPS
How is considering using Stubbs in a platoon against lefties showing you're not serious about winning?
We just brought in Murphy as a platoon guy against righties.
Murphy in 2013 vs righties: .286 OBP, .685 OPS
Murphy in career vs righties: .347 OBP, .816 OPS
So...are did the Tribe say they aren't trying to compete by signing Murphy?? Murphy vs righties is really not much better than Stubbs vs lefties....
Stubbs is just a 4th outfielder...but a 4th outfielder capable of starting against lefties (aka, a platoon).
Of Bourn, Stubbs, and Brantley I'd agree Brantley probably has the most trade value. I'd still try and trade Bourn first. Still a 2-win player at his worst thanks to his defense. Someone may bite and think that money saved will be huge.
That said...if the right Brantley offer was there definitely would take it.
You make one move then you have to make two and the one guy you help to bring in for Bourn isn't that good. If nothing else do nothing because Stubbs simply can't get the job done in any situation. Maybe if you do nothing you might get a surprise from the farm system or something but you're going backwards with Stubbs in any situation but a reserve OF.
If you were owner of the Indians, you know based on your market size that the max you could spend on operation of your ball club is around 85 million what do u do?
It would be hard to increase market share because you have Pittsburgh to east, Detroit and Chicago to north/west and Cincinnati to the south. The market you are in is shrinking do to population and job loss.
Only way to survive is to follow the A;s and Ray model.
Bourn in 2013:
.316 OBP, .360 SLG, .676 OPS, 93 OPS+, 23 SB, 12 CS, 575 PAs, .300 wOBA, 91 wRC+, -2.0 OFF rating
Stubbs in 2013:
.305 OBP, .360 SLG, .665 OPS, 90 OPS+, 17 SB, 2 CS, 481 PAs, .296 wOBA, 88 wRC+, -2.0 OFF rating
Again, not saying I want Stubbs in the lineup everyday...but he actually wouldn't have been much of a downgrade over Bourn offensively.
I do think Bourn will rebound (can't be this bad again can he?), but that money of his could be put to much better use. Tribe thought they needed a leadoff hitter last winter...well, Kipnis showed in 2013 that he has the OBP skills to be a leadoff guy. Bourn isn't needed anymore. Need more thump in that OF. Had one of the worst hitting OFs in baseball last year.
Getting him out of the leadoff spot definitely improves the lineup...
With a team so close to being one of the best IMO the only thing to do is to buy these few FA's and move on. Don't want to trade prospects because the Indians farm system is getting alot better but not ready for that, can't trade players because as I mentioned before it's robbing Peter to pay Paul. Something like a Colon, Crain and a cheap specialist from the left side isn't too much to ask considering how uncompetitive the the ownership has been in their tenure and considering how close they are to being an elite team.
The ball is clearly in the court of the Dolan's and it's put up or shut up time. Before they have sat on hands when team has been in contention. In '11 the Indians were a .500 team and for '12 the biggest pickup was Russ Canzler.
I absolutely won't criticize because the off season is still young but what I'm hearing isn't actually improving the team . IF they feel they cannot do anything to help this team then maybe it's time for them to sell the team and move on because it's obvious that they simply can't get out of their own way and aren't serious about winning.
This might sound harsh but the fact of the matter is that they overpaid for the team and for about ten years have been very uninspiring in terms of having a good product and then after one year good spending and a good product it's time to do nothing again. Also, not asking for crazy money like for Cano but asking them to got a little above and beyond to finish off what they started to bring home a winner
The payroll in 2015 without any moves looks to me to be around $78-80M. Don't forget Kipnis and Chisenhall will be arbitration eligible. I included them plus others, including Brantley. Santana gets another raise too. Sure Stubbs and Aviles could be gone (though Aviles at that price is not bad) and maybe some of the bullpen arms are gone but there doesn't appear to be much room in the 2015 budget for a big add.
With enough moves maybe you get down near $70M but more realistically you're probably looking at $73-75M best case. Again, early so my numbers may be off (how much Kipnis/Chiz get in arby is still up in the air).
2016 doesn't look much better...
Course guys like Kipnis, Chiz, etc could all bomb and not get the arby raises I think they'll get...but think that just presents another problem all together...
I don't understand why payroll would look so ugly in 2015.
Cabrera and Masterson FA 20m
Stubbs non-tender 4m
Aviles club option 3.5m
Does it make the Indians more flexible next season than this off season. Again I'm not an expert in this area.
Exactly, he's a bargain of sorts in comparison to some others. I suspect we could hear his name come out in trade rumors. I could even see the Tribe taking back an ugly (shorter) deal in return to get it done.
Bourn's deal still doesn't look good IMO for Cleveland (the 2015 and 2016 payrolls don't look pretty) but think another team may look at it and think it's reasonable now.
Michael Bourn's remaining deal looking good anyone?
Takes the best player off the Yanks. Adds him to a 4th place team in the West...maybe they are a 3rd place team now. Doesn't hurt the Indians at all...may help.
Yanks could have some interest in Asdrubal now with a big hole at 2B (unless they really think Kelly Johnson is the answer)...
The rest I would but none of them would get the Mariners top prospects IMO. I'd definitely be open to a trade though.
Seriously, what a joke! I hope the Mariners get at least 5 yrs of value from Cano.
Nonetheless, a fine signing for an experienced setup man.
The Tribe has missed two cheaper options (Wright / Webb) in two days.
Speaking of Dodgers...could potentially be a fit with the Tribe in a trade I think. One of Beckett/Billingsley could be dealt this winter. Both coming off surgery (Bils may miss opening day) but could be options for the 5th rotatoin spot in Cleveland. With Beckett they'd obviously have to pick up a lot of money, but he does have a history with Francona (not sure if it's good or bad though after the chicken incident). Billingsley is a guy I've wanted for seemingly ever. 1 year with an option left...coming off injury but could give you 120 innings in 2014 and give you a fallback in 2015 if Masterson leaves.
Do you play the season out with Masterson and take your chances next off season?
Meanwhile in Gotham city Kuroda appears to be close to re-signing with the Pinstripes.
At this point I think the Mariners could be interested in any bat with a pulse. They seem to be looking more power (so not sure Bourn/brantley fit) but never say never. If they wiff on all the free agents I think they could be a landing spot for Bourn. They did give Gut a long-term deal because they loved his defense in CF...
Agree somewhat with the Chris Perez comp that Tony made. 2013 they were very similar but from 2011-2013 Axford was a good amount better. K-Rate was over 10 whereas Perez was under 8 in that time frame.
Axford could be terrible in 2014....or could bounce back similar to Rodney who was a good closer who was just terrible in 2011 before the Rays gobbled him up.
I'd still probably prefer to look at Rodney over Axford...but if the price was right with Axford...
I believe if the Japanese team does not post Tanaka that there will be are run for Jimenez, Garza, and Santana.
More likely we go w/what right handed depth Indians already have, maybe look for a couple more lefties.
If I had to guess all of the Indians focus is going toward starting pitching ATM
I'm not sure if the Indians are in on John Axford, but he maybe able to land something like 2yr / $8.5 M deal or close to Mujica's 2 yr / $9.5 M deal.
I have said this elsewhere but I really think a crazy scenario could be the Red Sox jumping in at the last second. They need an infielder and while Cano doesn't appear to fit with Pedroia at 2B, they could make it work by either moving Pedroia to SS (they nearly did this in 2010, Pedroia only moved to 2B in the minors because of Hanely Ramirez) or using Cano at 1B or 3B.
Would be somewhat similar to when the Yanks swooped in and "stole" A-Rod from the Red Sox when most thought he was getting traded there. A-Rod didn't appear to be a fit with Jeter at SS but they made it work.
Sounds like Jay-Z really screwed the pooch...