Storylines: Mets make splash, sign Cuddyer
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: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Monday, Nov. 10.
- The Mets announced that they have signed free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year contract. Cuddyer's contract is a two-year, $21 million deal, according toJon Heyman of CBS Sports. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that he'll earn $8.5 million in 2015 and $12.5 million in 2016. Essentially, by turning down the qualifying offer, Cuddyer guaranteed himself an additional $5.7 million and a second year.
- White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom were named the AL and NL Rookies of the Year by the BBWAA. Abreu received all 30 first-place votes from BBWAA writers in a unanimous victory, while deGrom received 26 of 30 first-place votes (Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton received the other four).
- Major League Baseball has opened an investigation into whether or not the Cubs tampered with Joe Maddon when he was still under contract with the Rays, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported. The Rays asked MLB to investigate last week. "There was no tampering whatsoever," Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters (including ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers). "I'd rather they investigate so we can clear our name and move on from this quickly. We're giving our full cooperation and we welcome it."
News and Notes:
- The Rays are moving toward dealing right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to an unknown National League team, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Times. A deal is likely to get done this week, Sherman added. The D'Backs have interest in Hellickson, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported. However, it's not clear that Arizona is in or has had any advanced talks with the Rays. The Rockies aren't the mystery NL team, the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders added.
- The Mets have had recent discussions with the Rockies about shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported. While they fear that they cannot afford to add him, the two sides are talking. Newsday's Marc Carig spoke to a source who characterized the talks as "due diligence" at this point.
- The market for some of the top hitters figures to begin taking shape today as the GM Meetings kick off in Phoenix, and the Mariners are already being connected to arguably the top two bats on the market. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the M's have interest in Hanley Ramirez, although one source gave him the impression that Seattle's priority is Victor Martinez. However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reported that the Mariners are "aggressively pursuing" Ramirez and have expressed to his camp how badly the team wishes to sign him.
- The Cubs weren't included on Cole Hamels' updated 20-team no-trade list, ESPN's Buster Olney reported. The Cubs are known to be looking for top-of-the-rotation arms this winter, and the remaining four years/$96 million on Hamels' contract would cost Chicago less than what it would take to sign a top free agent starter like Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. On the other hand, the Cubs would have to give up multiple top prospects to obtain Hamels from the Phillies, so they could prefer to just keep their young talent and spend extra to sign a free agent ace. The Red Sox are thus far the only team known to be on Hamels' no-trade list.
- The Reds "are listening" to offers for their starting pitchers but ace Johnny Cueto seems the least likely to be moved, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Cincinnati would probably have to be "absolutely overwhelmed" to deal Cueto, Heyman wrote, as the team plans to contend in 2015. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan also heard that Cueto is unlikely to be traded, though rival executives told Passan that the Reds are willing to discuss trading Mat Latos and Mike Leake.
- The Dodgers haven't been having any internal discussion about bringing back Hanley Ramirez on a new multiyear deal, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reported. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team is looking at shortstops in free agency and the trade market, and the Dodgers aren't necessarily looking at short-term players to fill the position until prospect Corey Seager is ready. "The limited supply at the position makes it hard to put a lot of rules on it," Friedman said. "We're going to try to acquire the best player we can and, if we wind up having depth there, that's a good problem to have." As Saxon noted, Seager could eventually end up as a third baseman.
- Could a clause regarding Pablo Sandoval's conditioning be written into his next contract? ESPN's Jerry Crasnick addressed the question, noting that a Sandoval contract could include bonuses rewarding him for staying at or under a certain weight. Similar clauses have existed in other players' contracts in the past, though the CBA doesn't allow a team to reduce salary (or halt it altogether) if a player is over a set weight limit.
- At least ten teams have reached out to express interest in Torii Hunter, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and the free agent's most aggressive suitors are in the very familiar AL Central. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Royals, Twins, Tigers, Cubs, Giants, Rangers and Mariners have all shown some early interest in Hunter. Hunter's preference is to remain in Detroit, he added, but his fate may be tied to that of Victor Martinez, as the Tigers likely can't re-sign both.
- The Marlins have opened long-term extension talks with injured ace Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich and Adeiny Hechavarria, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As Rosenthal noted, nothing is close with any of the three. Fernandez, a client of Scott Boras, is a particularly long shot to be extended. Boras typically encourages his clients to test the open market, and while his players have on rare occasion signed long-term deals before reaching that point (e.g. Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez), Fernandez isn't in a great spot to talk contract as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery.
- Octagon agent Alan Nero and his team are ready to advance talks regarding clients Victor Martinez, Jason Hammel and Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported. While we don't typically see too many free agents come off the board this early in the offseason, it sounds as if Octagon is being aggressive.
- The Athletics have called about free agent shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Shortstop is an area of need for Oakland this winter with incumbent Jed Lowrie also a free agent.
- The Astros are one of roughly 12 teams who have checked in with free agent righty Jason Hammel, the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich reported. While Hammel makes sense for a lot of teams as a less-expensive option behind some of the pricier names on the pitching market, he seems like a particularly solid fit for an Astros team that is looking to upgrade its rotation without expending a lot of payroll.
- The Royals have been in contact with right-hander Ervin Santana, who "is said to be very receptive to a return," CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported. Santana is a fan of Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, among others in the K.C. organization.
- Free agent outfielder Nori Aoki is looking for a three-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He's currently drawing interest from both the Reds and the Royals, although Kansas City at the moment is said to be more interested in Torii Hunter, Heyman added.
- The Angels announced that they avoided arbitration with right-hander Vinnie Pestano by agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2015 season. Pestano's deal is worth $1.15 million, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
- Jason Grilli has had some interest from multiple clubs, but the bullpen-hungry Tigers aren't among them, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported.
- Corey Hart has received interest from several teams despite his down season in 2014, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The market is thin on power hitters and Hart, 32, was a 30-homer threat from 2010-12 before undergoing surgery on both knees and sitting out the 2013 campaign.
- The Braves announced that they signed outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year, Major League contract. The team also officially announced its minor league deal with Chien-Ming Wang and added that they've signed lefty Donnie Veal to a minor league contract. Both Wang and Veal received invites to Spring Training.
No player has accepted a 1 yr qualifying offer, and everyone thought Cuddyer would have been the first. Indians should have gambled with Kazmir on QA when thye had a chance. They would have had another pick in 14 draft.
I am slightly disappointed the Indians aren't kicking the tires on Torii Hunter, but I wouldn't go more than one or two years with him. I think he would be a better stopgap in RF until someone's ready in the minors to take his place.