Blockbuster three-team deal takes flight
It just wouldn't be the Winter Meetings without the dramatic back-and-forth of intricate trades. A complicated three-team deal involving the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers that was proposed on Monday afternoon, looked dead in the water early Tuesday morning and gained new life close to noon ET was finalized at around 2 p.m., according to various media outlets.
In the deal, the Yankees will get center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers; the D-backs will get right-handers Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy from the Tigers and Yankees, respectively; and the Tigers will receive right-hander Max Scherzer and lefty Daniel Schlereth from the D-backs, and young center fielder Austin Jackson and southpaw Phil Coke from the Yankees.
New York will get its legit everyday center fielder, the D-backs will get a pair of starting pitchers to join Dan Haren and Brandon Webb in the rotation and the Tigers will get a perceived Major League-ready player in Austin Jackson while saving a guaranteed $25.75 million over the next four years on Granderson, as well as the significant raise Edwin Jackson would have received through arbitration on the $2.2 million he made in 2009.
The question for the Yankees now is this: How does the acquisition of Granderson affect the potential re-signing of free-agent outfielders Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui?
White Sox want Matsui
Perhaps the answer lies here.
The New York Daily News, citing an unnamed source, wrote that the White Sox have emerged as "a serious contender" for Matsui, while the Angels have confirmed interest as well. Chicago is looking for a left-handed bat that can play the outfield a couple times a week if needed. Matsui vowed, shortly after being named World Series Most Valuable Player, that he would work on getting his knees back in shape to prove he is once again capable of playing the field.
Also, despite the Granderson trade on Tuesday, the Yankees are still hoping to re-sign Damon to serve as the primary designated hitter and also play outfield, The Daily News added.
Phillies agree to sign pinch-hitter Gload
Philadelphia added some depth to its bench by agreeing to sign Ross Gload, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported Tuesday night. Gload led the National League with 21 hits as a pinch-hitter this past season with the Marlins, who along with the Braves also offered Gload a two-year deal. The left-handed-hitting Gload batted .318 with two home runs and 18 RBIs when pinch-hitting in 2009.
Angels still players for Halladay?
General manager Tony Reagins told the Los Angeles Times that the team is open to trading shortstop Erick Aybar for the right return, which could mean the team could shop him as a centerpiece for Halladay.
Aybar was reported to be the sticking point in the Angels' earlier talks with the Blue Jays about Halladay, as L.A. was reluctant to part its their shortstop who had a breakout year with a .312 batting average while providing plus defense. Philadelphia also could be a destination for Halladay, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, who cited two unnamed sources. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have yet to make progress with the ace, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reported.
Trade Deadline deal of Halladay still a possibility?
Halladay's representatives have made it clear that they'd either like their client to be moved out of Toronto by Spring Training or wait until he's a free agent during the 2010 offseason. But as SI.com points out, new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has kept negotiations so secretive that rumors may not swarm as much around Halladay -- who has a no-trade clause -- during the upcoming season compared with this past year. That could potentially make Halladay more comfortable with talks taking place in July if he isn't moved during the offseason.
Rangers looking to fill several holes
The Rangers' needs are well documented, as they are looking for a left-handed reliever, a right-handed-hitting corner infielder and a catcher. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported that the club has reached out to the agents of veteran left-handers Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes, and the club is also looking at free-agent catchers such as Rod Barajas and Jason Kendall. Meanwhile, FoxSports.com reported that the team is interested in Marlins infielder Jorge Cantu, who batted .289 with 16 home runs and 100 RBIs this past season while playing mostly first base and some third base. The Rangers are looking to unload Kevin Millwood and his $12 million salary next year, but it's unlikely the Marlins would welcome that contract, so Brandon McCarthy, who is owed just about $1 million next year, could be an option, according to the report.
Marlins reportedly turn down offer for Johnson
The Rangers offered the Marlins two of the best prospects in baseball -- flame-throwing right-hander Neftali Feliz and slugging first baseman Justin Smoak -- for right-hander Josh Johnson, but the Marlins turned it down, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported. It likely means that Florida will not be dealing its ace for the time being, as the Rangers' offer was widely considered more than a fair.
Mets might turn sights toward Lackey
After balking at the asking price for a few middle-tier starting pitchers, the Mets are considering taking a look at right-hander John Lackey because "they might rather pay for an ace," SI.com reported.
Lackey is the best starter among the free-agent pitching class and is reportedly looking for more money than what A.J. Burnett received last season when he signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Yankees.
Teahen locked up for three years
The White Sox have signed Mark Teahen, whom they acquired from the Royals on Nov. 6, to a three-year, $14 million deal. The contract buys out Teahen's first two years of arbitration and tops out at $5.5 million while taking care of his first year of free agency, 2012. Teahen has experience playing third base, second base, first base and all three outfield positions, but he has seen the most action in his five-year big league career -- spent entirely in Kansas City -- at third base and right field. This past season, he batted .271 with 12 homers, 50 RBIs and a career-high 34 doubles.
Cards meet with Boras; Holliday talks slow
As MLB.com's Matthew Leach reported, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak met with agent Scott Boras on Sunday night for about 90 minutes to discuss Matt Holliday and the potential for St. Louis to bring him back. Mozeliak called the talks "still very preliminary," and it was uncertain as of Monday evening whether the two would reconvene before the Winter Meetings end on Thursday, Leach added.
Mariners' interest in Bay 'overstated'?
The Seattle Times reported on Monday that Jason Bay told his former Pirates teammates he would "stand on his head and sing on Edgar Martinez Way" to sign with the Mariners. According to a FOXSports.com report on Tuesday, however, Seattle may not feel as strongly. The site attributed Major League sources in reporting that the club's interest in Bay has been "overstated" and that there's concern about his defense in Safeco Field's spacious left field.
Still, the Mariners -- as does pretty much every team -- like Bay's bat. The question is whether they're willing to spend the amount of money it's going to take to acquire it. And it also looks as though the Angels aren't as interested in Bay as originally reported, as manager Mike Scioscia said signing him appears to be a "longshot," speaking on 830 KLAA.
Brewers even closer to signing Wolf?
The Brewers were looking like the frontrunners to sign free-agent starter Randy Wolf on Monday. On Tuesday, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Milwaukee submitted Wolf a three-year, $31 million offer. Speaking with reporters later, manager Ken Macha said the Brewers have no deal in place for Wolf, but The Sentinel said Milwaukee is perhaps waiting while Wolf's agent, Arn Tellem, shops around. The Mets are believed to have interest as well, but likely won't give Wolf as lucrative an offer.
In addition, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has cited two sources in saying that right-hander Kevin Gregg and left-hander Mike Gonzalez are among the relievers the club is at least internally discussing.
Sheets New York bound?
Ben Sheets, who missed the entire 2009 season because of elbow surgery, has drawn interest from the Mets and Yankees. Sheets' agent, Casey Close, told The New York Post that the 31-year-old right-hander will meet with both New York clubs, among others, but a throwing session isn't likely. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers would like a medical update on Sheets, who they were looking into before this past season.
Pirates hot after Crosby
MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reported that Bobby Crosby is "at or near the top of the priority list right now" for the Pirates. An industry source characterized Pittsburgh's level of discussion with Crosby's agent, Paul Cohen, as "pretty extensive" and confirmed to Langosch that talks have intensified recently. Crosby, mostly a shortstop who has played all four infield positions in his seven years with the Athletics, made $5.25 million in 2009. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the deal with the Pirates would be worth roughly $1.5 million.
Escobar drawing interest
Kelvim Escobar, limited to just one Major League start since 2007, received medical clearance on Tuesday and might pitch in winter ball in Venezuela this month, according to ESPN.com. The Yankees and Mets have been linked to Escobar, who had labrum surgery in '08. The Boston Herald also said the Red Sox met with Escobar's agent, Peter Greenberg, and ESPN.com added the Rays, Mariners, Brewers and Orioles as potential suitors.
Suitors line up for Kouzmanoff
MLB.com's Corey Brock, citing a team source, says the Padres have received the most hits on Kevin Kouzmanoff. Brock said the 28-year-old third baseman has drawn interest from upwards of eight teams, with the Twins and Giants having been cited as strong suitors by various online reports. Kouzmanoff has batted .263 while averaging 20 homers and 82 RBIs his past three seasons in San Diego.
Yankees could court DeRosa, Marquis
Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch on Monday that his club has spoken to the representatives for free agents Mark DeRosa and Jason Marquis. As Hoch wrote, Cashman flew to Indianapolis on the private jet of agents Sam and Seth Levinson, and the topic of Marquis -- one of the Levinsons' clients -- came up. Cashman later called the New York product "tough." Regarding DeRosa, Cashman said, "He's a nice, flexible player who can hit and play multiple positions."
Royals keen on Barajas, Kendall
Catching is one of the Royals' top priorities this offseason, and The Kansas City Star cites two backstops who could be a fit: Rod Barajas and Jason Kendall, both of whom are Type B free agents. The Royals were interested in Ivan Rodriguez, but he signed a two-year contract with the Nationals on Monday. Miguel Olivo hit free agency and the club isn't expected to tender John Buck by Saturday's deadline, which would leave Brayan Pena as the only catcher on the club's 40-man roster. Kendall made $5 million last season, but though the Royals don't have the resources to match that, they can offer something close to what Barajas made in 2009 -- $2.5 million -- according to The Star. Kendall, who at 35 likely wouldn't be offered $5 million from any club, is "focusing on a possible contract with Kansas City," since the club can offer him a chance to play every day, FOXSports.com reported.
Uggla's next destination: Baltimore?
The Orioles need some corner-infield help and pop in the middle of their batting order, and though the Marlins' Dan Uggla is a second baseman, he did play third base in the Minor Leagues, and that could land him in Baltimore. Uggla's price tag has put him on the trading block this year, and MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Orioles are among the teams with which the Marlins have had preliminary discussions regarding the two-time All-Star. The Giants also remain interested. As usual, the Marlins would seek pitching prospects in return, Frisaro added.