Earlier today, MLBTR posted a batch of notes from the National League West. Now, let's take a look at the other teams playing in the Senior Circuit:
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted his skepticism of the Braves' reported interest in Raul Ibanez citing his age (41) and lack of available at-bats (if Atlanta's corner outfielders are healthy).
- The Nationals now appear to be targeting a backup catcher and left-handed bullpen help, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets, suggesting Eric O'Flaherty as an option to meet the latter need. The connection with O'Flaherty corroborates a recent report from the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore.
- O'Flaherty is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and may not be available until May, but it won't scare off the Nationals, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.
- While the Nationals are making a strong run at O'Flaherty, the Phillies and Dodgers have also shown interest, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak provided his explanation of the rash of signings and trades prior to the start of the Winter Meetings to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. "For us, it was limited opportunities," Mozeliak said. "Everything we looked at, everything we wanted to do, everything we found attractive was limited, and we knew that we had to move quickly to attend to those needs or perhaps miss on (the preferred targets) and have to reassess."
- The market for Roy Halladay has yet to develop, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Brian McCann, who grew up a Braves fan, tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he relished his time in Atlanta. "I got to be teammates with Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz," McCann said. "I don't know if it gets much better than that, being from Atlanta."
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the past seven days:
- Jeff Todd analyzed how the free agent spending this offseason compares to the previous six years. With the Winter Meetings beginning tomorrow, Jeff notes almost half of MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents remain on the open market, which will further increase the overall free agent spending levels.
- MLBTR was the first to learn more than 15 teams have expressed interest in right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey, who was non-tendered Monday.
- Tim Dierkes was the first to report the two-year deal Scott Kazmir signed with the A's did not include any options.
- MLBTR was first with the details of the one-year contract right-hander Fernando Rodriguez signed with the A's to avoid arbitration: $600K plus award bonuses.
- Tim examined the free agent signings of Kazmir and Phil Hughes.
- Tim also weighed in on the moves the Tigers have made to reshape their bullpen.
- Jeff opined the Tigers sold short on Doug Fister by obtaining a collection of relatively non-scarce pieces from the Nationals.
- Scott Feldman spoke with Zach Links about his reasons for signing with the Astros and his optimism for the future of the franchise which has posted baseball's worst record three years running.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Zach the financial flexibility obtained in the three-way trade with the Rays and Reds will be used to add starting rotation and bench depth and to acquire a corner outfield bat.
- With the flurry of free agent signings this week, Jeff updated the status of the players who are tied to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer.
- Tim imagined Luke Gregerson would have fetched more for the Padres than Seth Smith.
- MLBTR has released its 2014 Arbitration Tracker displaying all arbitration eligible players, with fields for team, service time, player and team submissions, the midpoint, and the settlement amount. The 2014 Arbitration Tracker can also be filtered by team, signing status, service time, Super Two status, and whether a hearing occurred.
- MLBTR has a separate tender/non-tender tracker with the results from Monday's non-tender deadline.
- Steve Adams explained how the non-tender system works.
- Charlie Wilmoth profiled John Axford as a non-tender candidate who could obtain a two-year deal on the open market. Axford will now have that opportunity as the Cardinals did indeed non-tender the right-handed reliever.
- Steve hosted the MLBTR live chat this week.
- Zach put together the best of the baseball blogosphere in Baseball Blogs Weigh In.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with reporters in Orlando on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Here are the highlights (all links go to Twitter):
- Alderson acknowleded the Mets will not add another free agent of Stephen Drew's caliber and price tag unless a contract is moved, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets the Mets are telling clubs any other noteworthy deals will come via trades, not free agency.
- The Mets are bracing themselves for the possibility Ruben Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our shortstop, we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done," Puma quoted Alderson as saying.
- Alderson wouldn't say how far along the Mets are in resolving their first base situation, Rubin tweets. Sources tell Martino the Mets' strong preference remains trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda and a deal could happen this week. In a separate tweet, Martino adds the Mets feel Davis could have more trade value in January, but are eager to settle the matter now.
- Alderson isn't totally comfortable with having two prospects in the starting rotation, tweets Rubin.
- Alderson indicated Eric Young, Jr. is more than a reserve leading Rubin to believe Daniel Murphy could still be traded. Martino tweets one team has already been told the Mets are willing to move Murphy this week.
A club in on Shin-Soo Choo tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post the seven-year, $153MM contract Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to with the Yankees is being used as the guidepost in their negotiations (Twitter link). The club expects the final number to be somewhere between Ellsbury's deal and Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126MM pact with the Nationals. All three players are represented by Scott Boras, per MLBTR's Agency Database.
Several teams have been linked to Choo with varying degress of interest including the Rangers, Mariners, Tigers, Reds, Giants, Astros, and Yankees (before coming to terms with Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted a six-year, $100MM contract for Choo, but the frenzied free agent spending spree this offseason makes that estimate seem quite low. Choo is the highest ranked free agent remaining on MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents list.
SUNDAY, 5:43pm: The posting system document has yet to be finalized, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman adds, even when approved by NPB, the agreement still needs to be ratified by MLB's Executive Council, which could come this week. In a second tweet, Sherman reports the main points of the new posting deal have been settled with smaller items slowing things down.
SUNDAY, 3:15pm: Japanese teams will be able to set a desired amount for the posting fee up to a maximum of $20MM, reports Mainichi. Once the Japanese team sets the posting fee, it will be made public to all 30 MLB clubs and all teams who tender that figure will be able to negotiate with the player. The Mainichi report adds the new posting system is expected to go into effect as early as next week and will pave the way for Tanaka to be posted.
THURSDAY: Major League Baseball and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball have reached a basic agreement on a new posting system, according to the Japan Times. The new system will indeed have a maximum posting fee of $20MM. A formal draft of the agreement is currently being prepared, NPB secretary general Atsushi Ihara told the Times.
The Times report says the final details are being ironed out, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with a source who told him that if multiple teams submit the same bid, the player will be allowed to negotiate with all of those clubs. Only the signing club would be required to pay the posting fee, which still will not count against MLB's luxury tax (the ensuing contract, of course, will count). MLB fully expects Rakuten Golden Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka to be posted, Rosenthal adds (All Twitter links). Rosenthal's report meshes with the details reported by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times yesterday.
The Golden Eagles, not surprisingly, opposed the $20MM maximium posting fee even when NPB's other 11 teams all agreed to the pact, according to the Times report. However, they have now accepted the system, meaning the new system has been passed.
The new changes should open Tanaka and future top players to negotiate with nearly any team, as the $20MM posting fee doesn't figure to be a deterrent for most big league clubs.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
In an Insider post (subscription required), Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio names eight players who could be traded during the Winter Meetings. The Rays' David Price tops the list with Bowden's possible destinations starting with the Dodgers. The Dodgers also have two of their own on the list: outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Here's more on the Boys in Blue and the rest of the NL West:
- Re-signing Juan Uribe figures to be at or near the top of the Dodgers' to-do list at the Winter Meetings, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Uribe is not seeking a three-year contract and the holdup with the Dodgers is either their desire for a one-year deal or money, tweets ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted confirmation of an earlier report the Rockies are interested in Raul Ibanez, but cautioned nothing is serious at this point. Renck also noted Michael Young is on the club's radar for a bench role.
- The Rockies are also becoming more serious about Michael Morse along with the Giants, Marlins, and Rangers, reports the New York Post's Joel Sherman (Twitter links).
- There's been speculation the Giants could be a fit for Ichiro Suzuki, but Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets he doesn't believe that's the case.
- The demands of the trade market will determine what course Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers takes during the Winter Meetings, reports azcentral.com's Nick Piecoro. "Most people are asking for quite a bit right now, I'm not real excited about what I'd have to give up in the trade market," Towers said. "I'm hoping maybe the price starts to come down. If not, then I'll turn to more free agents."
- Left-hander Erick Threets is looking to play in Asia, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League pitching to a 7.04 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 7.5 BB/9 in 23 innings covering 27 relief outings. Threets' last MLB affiliation was with the Dodgers' Triple-A team 2012 and his last appearance in a big league game was in 2010 for the White Sox.
SATURDAY: Rakuten is "really balking at the $20MM posting fee," tweets Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. A club executive indicated that the club plans to discuss the posting issue with Tanaka by next Tuesday, and says that "asking [Tanaka] to stick around will be the priority," according to a Yahoo! Japan article (in Japanese; quote via Newman).
THURSDAY: Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana addressed the Japanese media today and indicated that the team may not necessarily post Masahiro Tanaka in light of the new posting system's $20MM maximum bid, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link). Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times elaborates in his most recent article and offers translated quotes from Tachibana.
"There's a possibility we won't take the next step," said Tachibana. As Newsday's David Lennon noted on Twitter today, the Golden Eagles may think that retaining Tanaka is more valuable than the $20MM maximum posting fee, which is a mere fraction of the $75MM+ posting fee that was rumored under the old system.
Hernandez notes that the Golden Eagles will be under "immense public pressure" to post Tanaka despite the new rules. That wouldn't guarantee anything, however. Tanaka failing to hit the market after this long, drawn out process would be a major impact to interested teams who are now dreaming of their increased chances to land the highly touted ace. The Yankees have been prioritizing Tanaka but would have to turn elsewhere to fill out a rotation in need of a significant boost.
SUNDAY: Granderson will earn $13MM in 2014, $16MM in 2015 and 2016, and $15MM in 2017, tweets Heyman.
SATURDAY: Granderson's deal doesn't include a no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
FRIDAY: The Mets have reached an agreement with Curtis Granderson on a four-year deal, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it's a four-year, $60MM deal (Twitter link). Granderson is represented by agent Matt Brown of Pro Prospects, Inc.
Granderson, 33 in March, would likely have been in for a bigger payday had it not been for a fluke season that saw him miss 100 games on the DL as a result of getting hit by a pair of pitches. When he was on the field, The Grandy Man batted .229/.317/.407 with seven homers and eight steals in 245 plate appearances.
However, the Mets are likely paying for the production that Granderson displayed in the 2011-12 seasons, during which he batted .247/.342/.522 with an MLB-best 84 home runs. Many detractors will try to claim that Granderson is a product of Yankee Stadium, but as I explained in my free agent profile, that's simply not the case; Granderson belted 47 homers at Yankee Stadium in 2011-12 but still went deep 37 times on the road. He benefited to an extent from Yankee Stadium, but as shown by his .244/.339/.493 line on the road, Granderson is more than capable of hitting in other stadiums. Those concerned about his platoon splits can look to his .249/.351/.521 batting line and 127 wRC+ against left-handers from 2011-12. I projected a three-year, $45MM contract in that profile, meaning that Brown and Granderson topped my expectation by getting a fourth year at the same annual value.
Granderson figures to play an outfield corner in Queens, with Juan Lagares manning center field and Chris B. Young (who signed a one-year, $7.25MM contract with the Mets) handling the other corner spot. In Young and Granderson, the Mets have added some much-needed power to their lineup while also adding solid outfield defense. Granderson's glove graded out strongly in 2013, and the move to a corner should help him continue to post strong defensive numbers,
The Mets emerged as the top suitors for Granderson in previous days but were previously reported to be unwilling to up their offer from three years to four. By signing Granderson, the Mets are agreeing to forfeit their second-round pick in next year's draft (their first-rounder is protected). Special assistant J.P. Ricciardi told me at last month's GM Meetings that the Mets would be willing to make that move for the "right" player, but that signing two free agents tied to draft pick compensation was unlikely.
Granderson was also linked to the Red Sox as a possible replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury and said to have drawn interest from teams like the Mariners and Orioles. The Yankees, of course, had interest in retaining Granderson as well. Instead, they will receive a compensatory pick between the first and second round of the 2014 draft -- the second such pick they've acquired today, given the news that Robinson Cano is headed to Seattle on a ten-year deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
It has been a busy week in the Big Apple with the Yankees losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners and coming to terms with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda. The Mets meanwhile were able to sign Curtis Granderson away from the Pinstripes. Here's the latest on the New York teams:
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, he's not done making moves. "I've got work to do," Cashman said. "I need a starter, bullpen, second base. We’ve still got work." Cashman also addressed a report Cano had reservations about playing for manager Joe Girardi. "I'm not aware of that. You'd have to ask Robbie, I guess. It's never been an issue that I'm aware of."
- The Mets are one of seven or eight teams who have inquired about Johan Santana, sources tell The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo. Michael Baron of Metsblog.com doubts any team will offer Santana more than a minor league deal because of his shoulder issues. The Mets opted for a $5.5MM buyout of Santana's $25MM club option in November making the 34-year-old left-hander a free agent.
- The Yankees have checked on free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
- The Yankees are interested in a reunion with Raul Ibanez but he isn't a top priority for them, tweets the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Ibanez, despite being 41, is being courted by teams in both leagues including the Rockies, Braves, Mariners, and Rangers, Sherman tweets.
- The focus of both the Yankees and Mets will be on the trade market rather than free agents during the Winter Meetings, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Martino adds, in a separate tweet, the Mets were never in on Scott Feldman and don't seem to be in play for mid-rotation help.
- CC Sabathia was surprised by Cano's decision because he did not expect the Yankees to allow Cano to leave, and he did not expect Cano to actually go, reports Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger. "Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously," Sabathia said. "It didn't mean that much to him. It's a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he's happy with his decision, and his family's happy. So that's good."
Here's a look back at this busy week at MLBTR:
- The Mariners agreed to sign second baseman Robinson Cano to a ten-year deal. They also signed utilityman Willie Bloomquist for two years.
- The Yankees agreed to sign outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year deal with an option. They also agreed to sign outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal and utilityman Kelly Johnson to a one-year deal, and they also re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for one year.
- The Mets agreed to sign outfielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year deal.
- The Marlins signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal and infielder Rafael Furcal to a one-year deal.
- The Astros signed pitcher Scott Feldman to a three-year deal. They also signed pitcher Chad Qualls to a two-year deal.
- The Tigers signed closer Joe Nathan to a two-year contract with an option.
- The Nationals agreed to sign outfielder Nate McLouth to a two-year deal with an option.
- The Athletics signed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal.
- The Red Sox agreed to re-sign first baseman Mike Napoli to a two-year deal. They also agreed to sign reliever Edward Mujica, also to a two-year deal, and they signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal.
- The Rockies agreed to sign first baseman Justin Morneau to a two-year deal.
- The Blue Jays signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a two-year deal.
- The Orioles agreed to sign reliever Ryan Webb to a two-year deal. They also signed outfielder Francisco Peguero.
- The Dodgers agreed to sign reliever Brian Wilson to a one-year deal with a player option.
- The White Sox agreed to sign reliever Ronald Belisario to a one-year deal. They also agreed to re-sign first baseman Paul Konerko, also for one year.
- The Rangers agreed to sign catcher J.P. Arencibia to a one-year deal.
- The Cubs signed reliever Wesley Wright to a one-year deal.
- The Phillies signed catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year deal.
- The Rays re-signed reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo to a one-year deal.
- The Nationals acquired pitcher Doug Fister from the Tigers for pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray and utilityman Steve Lombardozzi.
- The Astros acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler and a PTBNL from the Rockies for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes.
- The Athletics acquired outfielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom from the Rangers for outfielder Michael Choice and infielder Chris Bostick.
- The Athletics acquired reliever Jim Johnson from the Orioles for infielder Jemile Weeks.
- The Royals acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers for pitcher Will Smith.
- The Padres acquired outfielder Seth Smith from the Athletics for reliever Luke Gregerson.
- The Pirates acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees for a PTBNL.
- The Rays signed catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds and Heath Bell from the Diamondbacks in a three-way deal. The Rays then signed Hanigan to an extension. The Reds received pitcher David Holmberg from the Diamondbacks, while the Diamondbacks received pitcher Justin Choate and a player to be named or cash from the Rays.
- The Phillies acquired pitcher Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays for catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher Rob Rasmussen.
- 43 players were non-tendered.
- The Pirates designated catcher Michael McKenry for assignment.
- The Twins designated pitcher Liam Hendriks for assignment.
- The Athletics designated pitcher Andrew Werner for assignment.
- The Tigers designated infielder Dixon Machado for assignment.
- The White Sox outrighted outfielder Blake Tekotte and infielder Mike McDade.
Since 2008, teams that have traded top-of-the-rotation pitchers usually haven't gotten much in return, ESPN's Mike Petriello argues (Insider-only). The Diamondbacks' trade of Dan Haren for Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders was unusual, Petriello argues. Instead, what typically happens looks more like the weak returns various teams have received when they dealt Cliff Lee. The Indians' trade of C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers, which produed Michael Brantley and little else. That's worth keeping in mind as we prepare for weeks of rumors involving David Price and the Rays. The Rays did, of course, pull off one very good trade of a high-level starting pitcher when they shipped James Shields (and Wade Davis) to Kansas City in return for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and others. But that doesn't mean they can do it twice. Here are more notes on the AL East.
- The Orioles have already lost Scott Feldman (Astros) and Nate McLouth (Nationals) to free agency and Jim Johnson (Athletics) to a trade, and the team seems "unwilling to make even a cursory attempt to compete for quality talent outside the organization," Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes. With only Ryan Webb, Francisco Peguero, Jemile Weeks and a few other low-profile acquisitions on the other side of the docket so far, "fans have every right to wonder what exactly is their plan to compete for the American League East title," Schmuck says.
- The Orioles, along with the Cubs and Mariners, are all interested in John Axford, who was non-tendered by the Cardinals last week, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who also suggests that Axford has a chance of landing a job as a closer.
- Eric Hinske only worked in the Yankees' scouting department for a month before leaving to become the Cubs' first base coach, but he helped convince Brian McCann to sign on for five years in New York, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger writes. Hinske and McCann played together in Atlanta from 2010 through 2013. "[Hinske] was involved. He helped me with Brian McCann," says Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "So I appreciate Eric Hinske giving Brian McCann a lot of good advice about his experience here with the Yankees. He was a great resource for about 30 days."
SUNDAY: Feldman has passed his physical with the Astros, so the deal is complete, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
FRIDAY: Though several of their starters turned in a strong finish to the 2013 campaign, the Astros' rotation still ranked 28th in ERA and 27th in innings pitched. Looking to add an experienced arm to help solidify an unstable group of starters, Houston announced a three-year deal for right-hander Scott Feldman that is reportedly worth $30MM. It's been a busy few days for Feldman's agent, Matt Brown, as he also represents Curtis Granderson, who just agreed to a four-year, $60MM deal with the Mets.
Feldman rebounded from a series of injuries with the Rangers to post a solid season between the Cubs and Orioles in 2013. The 30-year-old posted a 3.86 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 49.6 percent ground-ball rate in 181 2/3 innings.
Feldman's contract represents both a significant raise for the pitcher -- he earned $6MM in 2013 -- and a significant change in philosophy for the Astros. Houston trimmed payroll in 2013 to the point where Erik Bedard's $1.15MM salary made him the only Astro with a salary north of $1MM. By signing Feldman and acquiring Dexter Fowler and his $7.35MM salary earlier this week, the Astros are making good on their promise to fans that they will spend money this offseason.
Feldman will join a promising young rotation that includes Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock (who improved significantly in the season's final two months). Houston also has promising prospects on the way in the form of Mike Foltynewicz and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel. Beyond those already impressive names, the Astros will once again pick No. 1 overall in 2014, meaning that another highly touted arm could be added to the mix. North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon currently projects as the consensus No.1 overall pick. Feldman was traded midseason and therefore wasn't eligible to receive a qualifying offer, meaning the Astros will not surrender a draft pick to land his services.
Feldman's contract is somewhat comparable to that of other mid-tier starters such as Jason Vargas and Phil Hughes. Though he was unable to secure the fourth year that Vargas commanded, Feldman also netted a higher annual value despite a more inconsistent track record. He and Brown were able to top my prediction of two years and a vesting option.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the agreement and terms of the deal (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Yankees have begun discussing Ichiro Suzuki in trade talks with other clubs, Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports. Jennings notes that this does not mean an Ichiro deal is imminent. The Yankees now have a surplus of outfielders after agreeing to terms with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Since the news of the Beltran acquisition, it's also emerged that the Yankees would be open to trading Brett Gardner, who would make a far more attractive trade candidate than Ichiro would.
Jennings notes that other teams are likely to view Ichiro as a bench player. The 40-year-old outfielder hit just .262/.297/.342 last season, although he was effective defensively. Ichiro will make $6.5MM in 2014 in the second year of a two-year deal.
The idea that the Pirates would trade for David Price is "pure nonsense," writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook. The Pirates would have to pay about $30MM for two seasons of Price, and would have to give up lots of value in prospects as well. "There are a lot fewer clubs that can play at the top of the market than clubs that can't," Pirates GM Neal Huntington says. "We just can't afford to do 'X.' Well, we could, but then how would we build a championship-caliber club around that one player?" Huntington also says the single biggest improvement the Bucs can make is re-signing A.J. Burnett, who continues to consider whether to play for one more year or to retire. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- The Pirates could look for a first baseman, starting pitcher, shortstop and/or right fielder this week, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates "checked in on" starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo. If so, that might indicate that they're not hopeful that Burnett will be back next year.
- The Royals offered Carlos Beltran three years and over $40MM, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Beltran ended up going to the Yankees for three years and $45MM. Heyman also notes that the Royals will also be bidding against the Yankees for infielder Omar Infante.
- The White Sox have demonstrated interest in Chase Headley of the Padres, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. As Van Schouwen notes, that's a little odd, unless the White Sox think they can sign Headley to an extension -- the White Sox aren't expected to contend in 2014, and Headley is a free agent after the season.
Huge long-term deals frequently turn out badly, and yet teams continue to offer them, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. "I thought after [Albert] Pujols [10 years for $240 million] went so wrong, so quickly, turned into such instant garbage, such a horror show, that the industry had finally learned," an NL executive tells Sherman. "I really did think it was the tipping point." That didn't stop the Mariners from giving Robinson Cano ten years and $240MM, however. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Astros have already acquired Dexter Fowler, Scott Feldman and Chad Qualls this offseason, but that doesn't mean they won't be busy at the Winter Meetings, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. They'd like to add another reliever, and they also have the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Thursday.
- Many Padres fans were disappointed when the team shipped Luke Gregerson to the A's for Seth Smith, but GM Josh Byrnes saw acquiring a left-handed bat as essential, U-T San Diego's Bill Center writes.
- The Padres are looking to acquire left-handed relief and could trade a young starter such as Burch Smith, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets, adding that the Twins haven't been in contact yet.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says the team is open to trading one of its outfielders, provided "it makes sense and we like what we get back," Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Colletti also says he's made "a few offers" to Juan Uribe, who's known to be asking for a three-year contract.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.