Storylines: Sandoval seeking five-year deal
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 Friday, April 25th.
- Though Pablo Sandoval and the Giants have tabled extension talks during the season, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the two sides at least got a bit closer together in terms of contract length during negotiations. The Giants initially pitched a "conversation-starting" three-year, $40 million extension and then expressed an openness to do a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year. Sandoval and agent Gustavo Vasquez were known to be looking for "at least" a five-year, $90 million deal and Heyman heard that they’re actually aiming for a five-year contract in the $100 million range or more.
- Hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo said one key for Asdrubal Cabrera breaking out of his slump is getting his hands into a good hitting position, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Carlos Santana has been in a prolonged slump to start this season, but Terry Francona is not ready to pull the plug on using him in the lineup's fourth hole just yet. Bastian reported Francona feels that the switch-hitting Santana serves a purpose in the cleanup spot and he believes the third baseman will make more of an impact before too long.
- Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee announced an adjustment to the game's transfer rule Friday and the new interpretation went to effect immediately. Elliot Johnson had a good sense of humor about a rule that came into a play for him and the Tribe earlier this month. "It's fitting that we're in San Francisco," Johnson said, "where the Buster Posey Rule and the Elliot Johnson rule are converging."
- Before entering Friday's game, Elliot Johnson had not appeared in a game in two weeks, with his last action coming on April 11 in Chicago against the White Sox. Francona said it is sometimes tough to balance fielding the best lineup with making sure every player gets into games.
- The Giants handed out 40,000 bobbleheads Friday depicting Duane Kuiper in an Indians uniform. Kuiper, who is a broadcaster for San Francisco now, suited up for Cleveland from 1974-81 and hit his only career home run with the Tribe in '77.
News and Notes:
- Union chief Tony Clark has expressed concern regarding the Mets‘ payroll, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig isn’t worried, Newsday’s Steven Marcus has reported. Selig has stated that he has confidence in the Mets’ ownership.
- The Astros sent 2013 top overall pick Mark Appel to extended spring training, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reported. The Astros have said that Appel isn’t injured, and they attribute his struggles to his adjustments to their tandem rotation system, but GM Jeff Luhnow called Appel’s performance so far “a little unsettling.” Appel has posted a 6.23 ERA with 13 strikeouts and four walks so far with Class A+ Lancaster.
- Diamondbacks outfielder Mark Trumbo will be out six weeks with a fracture in his foot, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reported.
- The Yankees signed right-hander Bruce Billings to a Major League contract and selected him to their 25-man roster. The club announced the signing prior to Thursday's game against Boston. Billings is represented by John Boggs & Associates. Billings’ spot on the 25-man roster was created when Ivan Novawas shifted to the 60-day disabled list, as he will miss the rest of the 2014 season after choosing to undergo Tommy John surgery.
- The Giants signed first baseman Travis Ishikawa to a minor league contract, MLB Trade Rumor's Zach Links reported. Ishikawa will report to Triple-A Fresno after taking his physical on Friday, and the contract contains an out clause if Ishikawa doesn’t make the club’s 25-man roster.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up his first Major League save on Thursday night, though it probably isn’t going to be the start of a new career path for the veteran right-hander. Matsuzaka only got the call since Kyle Farnsworth had pitched in three of the Mets’ previous four games and was being rested, and as Fangraphs’ Paul Swydan pointed out, Dice-K doesn’t fit the traditional closer profile.
- The Rockies and right-hander Rafael Betancourt agreed to terms on a minor league deal, the team announced.
- The Mets still haven’t decided whether or not to pursue free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported. The team has been weighing its options for several days now since watching Hanrahan throw at a showcase last week.
- Andy Martino also reported that there still isn’t anything brewing between the Mets and Stephen Drew, as "there is no momentum" between the two sides.
- The White Sox claimed right-hander Hector Noesi off waivers from the Rangers, according to Texas executive VP of communications John Blake. Noesi was designated for assignment by the Rangers earlier this week.
- The Blue Jays and left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith have agreed to a minor league pact with a June 1 opt-out date, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo reported. Rowland-Smith elected free agency earlier in the week rather than accepting an outright assignment from the Diamondbacks.
- The Padres designated infielder Alex Castellanos for assignment and transfered right-hander Josh Johnson to the 60-day disabled list today as part of a series of moves to promote right-hander Kevin Quackenbush and infielder Jace Peterson, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Appel will probably work things out and move up the Astros system. If not, that would be a huge bust as a #1 pick in the draft.