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MLB News and Rumors: Seattle, Cano rumors intensify

MLB News and Rumors: Seattle, Cano rumors intensify
December 6, 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 Thursday, December 5th.

Top Stories

  • 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

  • According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the Angels aren't currently high on free agent pitchers Bartolo Colon and Bronson Arroyo.

  • 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 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.

User Comments

December 7, 2013 - 12:19 AM EST
I don't think I'd call 3yr/$45M for Beltran a discount for the Yanks.

Granderson is 4 years younger, a better cOF defender, and can play 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.
December 6, 2013 - 11:25 PM EST
Yanks got a discount but I like what they've added.

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.
December 6, 2013 - 10:21 PM EST
Beltran to the Yanks for 3 yrs / $45 M.
December 6, 2013 - 4:27 PM EST
No one said Stubbs would leadoff. Or even play everyday. Hell, as the RH part of a platoon, he'd get about 35-40% of the playing time in the platoon. Bourn is not a very good leadoff hitter.....they should seriously consider putting Kipnis at leadoff whether they trade Bourn or keep him (slide him to 9th).
December 6, 2013 - 4:22 PM EST
Once again Tony, you don't know what the budget is and anyone who tells they know they simply aren't telling the truth. Also, making moves has to measured in how if affects the everyday lineup, team and what you're getting back. We all know this and it comes to a point where you made moves but you aren't a better team.

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.
December 6, 2013 - 4:20 PM EST

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.
December 6, 2013 - 4:19 PM EST
"he now will make $13.5M per going forward."

....and $14M in 2016....
December 6, 2013 - 4:18 PM EST
What you fail to realize is the message it gives to the rest of the MLB world, how it affects your lineup and the message it sends to the team. Also, Stubbs cannot leadoff and you are again without a leadoff hitter. We saw what happens when you have a lineup full of platoon players when Acta was here. Platoon at 3B, Platoon in RF and platoon in CF. It rarely if ever works. Stubbs is far too inconsistent to be given regular AB's against anyone. It's a reason why he lost his job, it's a reason why he was demoted to ninth in the order and it's a reason why he was considered a strong non tender candidate. That to me doesn't sound like a person you want platooning or in the lineup on a regular basis EVER.

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.
December 6, 2013 - 4:14 PM EST
Hiram, I love you man....but you are going a little overboard. I don't see how going with a platoon of Stubbs/Murphy (or another LH bat) in CF and using the $10M saved by trading Bourn (and keeping Stubbs) to get a pitcher is not improving your team?

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.
December 6, 2013 - 4:11 PM EST
I don't want to keep going back and fourth. Stubbs isn't the answer in a platoon or any situation if you want to win.
December 6, 2013 - 3:58 PM EST
Stubbs vs lefties in 2013: .361 OBP, .718 OPS
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).
December 6, 2013 - 3:52 PM EST

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.
December 6, 2013 - 3:50 PM EST
one thing, you getting rid of Bourn at his absolute low point and adding Stubbs who is barely holding on in MLB. At this stage of the game, if you are considering Stubbs even in a platoon situation you really aren't serious about winning. Stubbs has been in a decline for years and it has continued. Bourn had a so so year and will probably be better.

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.
December 6, 2013 - 3:48 PM EST
I think Brantley might have the highest trade value bc he would be cost effective for three yrs with the ability to play both LF and CF.
December 6, 2013 - 3:48 PM EST

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.
December 6, 2013 - 3:43 PM EST
Should be noted too...

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.
December 6, 2013 - 3:41 PM EST
At this stage of the game and considering how his last few years have been. Stubbs is nothing more than a 4th outfielder. Need to do better than this if you plan to compete for a title
December 6, 2013 - 3:36 PM EST
Didn't say put Stubbs in the everyday lineup. Said fine someone to platoon with him, meaning he'd only be in the lineup vs lefties...
December 6, 2013 - 3:26 PM EST
Putting Stubbs in the every day lineup isn't the way to go IF YOU WANT TO WIN. Did you not see him lose his job last year?? If Stubbs was good then no need to sign Bourn and/or Murphy.
December 6, 2013 - 3:24 PM EST
Stubbs isn't much worse than Bourn defensively in CF. And while his bat is worse overall, he's actually an improvement vs lefties. Find a cheap bat to platoon with Stubbs and you actually may have improved your lineup by getting rid of Bourn...

Getting him out of the leadoff spot definitely improves the lineup...
December 6, 2013 - 3:16 PM EST
I keep reading where ppl want to move Bourn or Brantley. keep in mind that the Indians have a very average lineup and trading guys when you have zero replacement isn't improving your team. The robbing Peter to pay Paul Method isn't going to cut it. I won't get into what the Indians will or won't do because no one knows. I think we should just take a wait and see attitude because by time ST rolls around we will know if the Indians are improved or not and if they can compete with the other teams in the AL or MLB.

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
December 6, 2013 - 3:08 PM EST
Seattle could be a match as trade partners, they only have Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley right now.
December 6, 2013 - 2:42 PM EST
Snowing down here in Cincy/Dayton area. Indians not only with payroll issues. Reds payroll was at 106 mil last year and have reached there max. Reds also looking to make trades in order to improve there team. Possible trade partners?
December 6, 2013 - 2:22 PM EST
Wouldn't mind Logan Morrison...if we move Bourn. Think he'd be an interesting change of scenery guy and could platoon with Raburn at DH and play some 1B/LF.
December 6, 2013 - 2:21 PM EST

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...
December 6, 2013 - 2:14 PM EST
Reports the Marlins are closing a deal with Garrett Jones, cross them the list for Mike Napoli. Word is Logan Morrison - LF / 1b will be shopped at the winter mtgs.
December 6, 2013 - 1:17 PM EST
@ Hermie

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.
December 6, 2013 - 1:10 PM EST

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.
December 6, 2013 - 1:00 PM EST

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.
December 6, 2013 - 12:53 PM EST
Interesting move for the Astros. They know they have no chance of competing in 2014, but maybe they think they can compete as soon as 2015/2016, with Appel, Foltynewicz, Cosart, Feldman, and Someone/Rodon as their rotation in the short term. The other possibility is they saw these contracts going out and determined that Feldman asking for 3/30 was a contract that's going to look VERY good in a year or so to a contending team, who will be willing to give up prospects to get a hold of it.
December 6, 2013 - 12:23 PM EST
Astros good pick up. Maybe Houston wont lose 100 games this year. At the trade deadline use him as a trade option.
December 6, 2013 - 11:58 AM EST
Feldman gets his 3/30 from Craziness.
December 6, 2013 - 11:51 AM EST
I'm hopping in the chat room now if anyone wants to talk real time....
December 6, 2013 - 11:50 AM EST
Curtis Granderson to the Mets for 4yrs /$60 M.

Michael Bourn's remaining deal looking good anyone?
December 6, 2013 - 11:44 AM EST
What would you get from the Mariners if you offered Masterson, Santana and Bourn or Brantley? I know this will never happen. But what if you could get a lot. Mariners are trying to get there fan base back. If we could get there top prospects and regain financial flexibility. Way for the Indians to reload. Thinking outside the box.
December 6, 2013 - 11:30 AM EST
Personally love this move...

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)...
December 6, 2013 - 11:23 AM EST
No way am I dealing Santana to Seattle.

The rest I would but none of them would get the Mariners top prospects IMO. I'd definitely be open to a trade though.
December 6, 2013 - 11:21 AM EST
What is this monopoly?

Seriously, what a joke! I hope the Mariners get at least 5 yrs of value from Cano.
December 6, 2013 - 11:19 AM EST
With Cano signing does that mean the Mariners are going to active on the trade front to fill the rest of holes. Would you consider trading any of these players to get a boat load of there top prospects. Masterson, Brantley, Bourn, Cabrera or Santana. Or are the Mariners prospects overrated?
December 6, 2013 - 11:01 AM EST
Robinson Cano agrees to deal with Seattle, reportedly 10 years 240 million.

December 6, 2013 - 10:35 AM EST
Wanted to correct my earlier post RE: Ryan Webb, the O's signing of 2 yrs / $4.5 M is just that. They do not gain the third yr as I posted earlier, this was his second arb. eligible season.
Nonetheless, a fine signing for an experienced setup man.

The Tribe has missed two cheaper options (Wright / Webb) in two days.
December 6, 2013 - 10:30 AM EST
Kuroda to the Yanks seemed like a lock once he declined a QO. Dodgers made sense but I doubt they ever were considering giving up a 1st round pick and then giving out $15M+ for their #4/5 starter (who is nearly 40). They are already paying Beckett $15M to be their #5...

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.
December 6, 2013 - 10:30 AM EST
Does anyone think that Indians will sign Masterson to a long term deal this offseason. If no, should they listen for any offers at the winter meetings. Question is Masterson better SP than Jimenez, Garza, and Santana? I know trading him would send wrong message. However the Rays and the A's in past have pulled off trades on players they could not sign and received a lot in return.

Do you play the season out with Masterson and take your chances next off season?
December 6, 2013 - 10:23 AM EST
Sounds like talks are still ongoing with Cano and Seattle.

Meanwhile in Gotham city Kuroda appears to be close to re-signing with the Pinstripes.
December 6, 2013 - 10:14 AM EST

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...
December 6, 2013 - 10:13 AM EST
I'd have interest in Axford but not on a 2 year deal....1 year and $2-3M would be the max I'd go.

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...
December 6, 2013 - 10:12 AM EST
Reports were the A's wanted RP, but after that they acq. Luke Gregorson from the Padres. I'd offer Vinnie Pestano for Anderson, but that would be about it. I'm not sure if they are still in the mkt for RP.
December 6, 2013 - 10:05 AM EST
They did say that there are 14 teams interested in Axford. It looks like the Indians are still interested in Anderson from the A's after signing Kazmir. I know he has injury issues, but so does Kazmir. Only difference is Anderson is about 4 years younger.

I believe if the Japanese team does not post Tanaka that there will be are run for Jimenez, Garza, and Santana.
December 6, 2013 - 10:03 AM EST
I'd like Axford for $4 M or less, he was tough with the Cards last yr, but I could see the Tribe getting similar results from a much cheaper option. With a number clubs after him, it seems he's prone to net more than his worth.
December 6, 2013 - 10:01 AM EST
Gimme Benoit & Balfour if were talking FA's.

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
December 6, 2013 - 9:59 AM EST
Thinking out loud, but might the Mariners be interested in any of the Tribes pieces... Bourn, ACab, Stubbs or Brantley. The Mariners have a number of interesting, young cost controlled pitchers.
December 6, 2013 - 9:57 AM EST
Maybe I am wrong, but I just have zero interest in John Axford. Just seems to me to be nothing more than Chris Perez redux. I'd rather go in another direction. Just not a fan of that guy.
December 6, 2013 - 9:56 AM EST
Ryan Webb goes to the O's for 2 yrs / $4.5 M. They will also have a third yr of control as an eligible player. The Marlins non-tendered Webb on Monday, he was projected to make $1.5 M in his first yr of arb. eligibility. A bit more expensive than I would have cared for, but gaining three yrs of control for a 28 yo, with the third yr essentially an option yr (3rd yr arb yr) looks like a solid deal to me.

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.
December 6, 2013 - 9:49 AM EST
The loan benefit I see with Seattle is no state income tax...which on $200+M is a TON of money saved.....

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.
December 6, 2013 - 9:43 AM EST
Yeah, it would be an odd fit for Cano to go to Seattle...I think he is just using them to drive up the price and get a deal with one of the NY teams.
December 6, 2013 - 9:35 AM EST
I wonder if Cano is using the Mariners as leverage to get the big market teams on the bidding process. I don't think Cano wants to play in Seattle and be Sleepless in Seattle for 9-10yrs.
December 6, 2013 - 9:11 AM EST
Reports now saying Cano to the Mariners is dead...

Sounds like Jay-Z really screwed the pooch...
December 6, 2013 - 9:04 AM EST
If he was dancing, that's a good sign!!! Thanks Tony.
December 6, 2013 - 9:02 AM EST
Haven't heard anything new about the back with Lindor, though the Indians have maintained all along it is not a serious injury. I guess we will see once spring training rolls around. He was at Jordan Smith's wedding last weekend, but not much you can take away from that.
Canadian Joe
December 6, 2013 - 8:52 AM EST
Andy, do you or anyone there know anything on how Lindor is progressing with his back ?

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