Tag:A's
Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 5:58 pm
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Is this it for Magglio Ordonez?

Is this the end of the line for Magglio Ordonez?

Ordonez, who turned 38 last month, told Deportes Union Radio in his native Venezuela Wednesday that he hopes to play one more season in the major leagues. But Ordonez also admitted that the free-agent market hasn't yet provided him with an opportunity, and said that he's not interested in a minor-league contract with only an invitation to major-league spring training.

"A few teams have been interested, including Oakland, but there's been nothing concrete," Ordonez said. "The market has been tough for me, but I'm working towards continuing my career."

Ordonez drove in just 32 runs in 92 games last year for the Tigers, after signing a one-year, $10 million contract. He had trouble coming back from a broken right ankle suffered in 2010, and then refractured the same ankle during the American League Championship Series against the Rangers.

Earlier last October, Ordonez said that he had nearly retired last year -- "I almost hung it up," he said -- because of the difficulty of coming back from the first ankle injury.

Ordonez has 294 career home runs and 1,236 RBI in 14-plus big-league seasons. He made six All-Star teams, and won the American League batting crown in 2007. His .363 batting average that year was the highest by a Tiger since Charlie Gehringer in 1937.

According to baseball-reference.com, Ordonez has made more than $133 million in his career, and people who know him say he has also done very well in business in Venezuela. But while money may not be an issue to him, his pride is. If he never gets anything more than an offer of a minor-league contract (and that's very possible), Ordonez could well retire.

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:34 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 4:54 pm
 

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Yes, it's a shock.

"Oakland?" one baseball executive repeated to me after I told him the A's were the team signing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

Yes, Oakland.

Yes, it's a shock. But that doesn't necessarily make it a crazy idea for the A's, and here's why:

When Cespedes' agents approached the A's recently after finding a softer-than-expected market elsewhere, the A's saw opportunity. They know that signing Cespedes for $36 million over four years is a risk -- an expensive risk for a team that doesn't have any other player signed for more than $6 million this year.

But they also know that the upside is great. The scouts who like Cespedes compare his combination of power and speed to Bo Jackson.

You just don't find players like that. The A's don't find them, anyway, not in their price range.

The A's know they're not going to win this year, and probably not next year, either. That's why they spent this winter trading Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey for young prospects.

But the plan has been to build a team that can win in 2014-15. If the A's are right about Cespedes, that's when he will be emerging as a true star.

As one A's person said Monday, "We're not trying to finish in last place."

They're trying to build a team in a challenging environment, one that won't get much less challenging until a new stadium is on the way. For now, the A's are operating with a low budget, but also with a difficult image.

When they've tried to spend, they haven't been able to. A year ago, they tried to sign both Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman. They chose the right players; the players didn't want to come.

They have to take chances, which is why they're one of the few teams willing to consider signing Manny Ramirez.

The A's were also one of the higher bidders on Aroldis Chapman, who until Monday held the record for most money given to a Cuban free agent.

"The problem is no one wants our money," the A's person said.

So when Cespedes' people approached them and said that the outfielder was interested in coming to the A's, the A's were willing to consider it. They were even willing to make a deal that will allow Cespedes to become a free agent again after four years (a condition that Cespedes demanded of every bidder, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press).

They weren't one of the many teams involved in the Cespedes bidding from the start, but the A's have liked the player since watching him several years back in the World Baseball Classic.

In the end, Cespedes got a better deal from the A's than the one the Marlins offered ($36 million over six years, according to sources). But Cespedes had also told officials from other teams that he preferred not to go to Miami, because of the potential circus playing in a city with a huge Cuban exile population.

That won't be an issue in Oakland, unless Cespedes turns into an instant star and leads the A's into contention this year.

Now that would really be a shock.


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 4, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Orioles, A's show interest in Manny Ramirez

When Manny Ramirez said in December that he wanted to return to baseball, it was fair to ask if any team would -- or should -- care.

Two months later, Ramirez hasn't yet signed but there is interest. According to sources, Ramirez has been talking to both the A's and Orioles about a deal to play in 2012, and indications are both teams have significant interest in signing him.

Ramirez still needs to serve the drug suspension that pushed him into "retirement" last April, and he would miss the first 50 games of the season.

The A's and Orioles both make sense for Ramirez, as both had designated hitters are gone via free agency (Hideki Matsui for the A's, Vladimir Guerrero for the O's). And both teams take a chance, because neither is expected to contend this year.

The Orioles also have a connection, as new Orioles general manager Dan Duquette signed Ramirez to a six-year, $120 million contract 11 years ago with the Red Sox. As for the A's, owner Lew Wolff said last week that he wasn't opposed to adding Ramirez.

It's hard to know how effective Ramirez can be now, at age 39 (and he'll be nearly 40 by the time the 50-game suspension is up). Ramirez was 1-for-17 in his five games last April with the Rays, and he drove in just two runs in 24 games for the White Sox after they picked him up at midseason in 2010.


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 3, 2012 4:26 pm
 

More kids to watch: Moore, Montero, Arenado

Heading to spring training 2010, Stephen Strasburg was the big new name, the guy everyone had to see . . .

Until people started talking about Jason Heyward, too. And Aroldis Chapman.

It was still the spring of Strasburg, but it really became the spring of the phenom.

This spring could be the same.

The early focus is again on the Nationals, who seem determined to give Bryce Harper a real shot at making the opening day roster (which they didn't do with Strasburg in 2010).

But there are tons of other names, tons of other young players with some shot at opening the year in the big leagues, and an even better shot at opening eyes this spring.

An early look at a few names to watch, besides Harper, who colleague Jon Heyman wrote about separately:

Matt Moore, 22, Rays. The situation has changed only a little bit since Moore got everyone so excited last September and October. Moore signed a long-term contract in December, which seemingly lessens the financial incentive for the small-budget Rays to have him begin 2012 in the minor leagues. But the Rays haven't yet traded any of their other starting pitchers, so there's not yet an open spot in the rotation. The decision on what to do with Moore will be closely watched.

Jesus Montero, 22, Mariners. He can hit, but can he catch? And can he hit enough to make a difference for the Mariners? Those questions will get better answers during the season than during the spring, but as the key player going to Seattle in the big Michael Pineda trade, Montero will be watched and discussed.

Jacob Turner, 20, Tigers. The Tigers tried for Gio Gonzalez and they tried for Roy Oswalt, but they still don't have a fifth starter. Turner is the most exciting name among many candidates. He's probably less likely to end up with the job than some of the others, but on a team that has no problem with promoting young talent (Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, Rick Porcello), he will get a chance.

Trevor Bauer, 21, Diamondbacks; Danny Hultzen, 22, Mariners; Sonny Gray, 22, A's. Who will be the first pitcher from the 2011 draft to make it to the big leagues? Bauer, Hultzen and Gray all go to spring training with some chance, and whether they make it or not, all three will likely excite people every time they're scheduled to pitch.

Nolan Arenado, 20, Rockies. Arenado won a lot of fans among scouts who covered the Arizona Fall League, with one saying: "He's Edgar Martinez at the plate, with the best hitting approach I've ever seen from a young player." The signing of Casey Blake no doubt lessens Arenado's chance to make the team this spring (for now, he's ticketed for Double-A), but if he hits in spring training the way he did in the fall, the Rockies will at least begin talking about it.

Julio Teheran, 21, Braves; Randall Delgado, 21, Braves. The Braves got a look at Teheran and Delgado last year, but with health concerns about Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson, the look this spring may be more significant.

Posted on: December 23, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 6:11 pm
 

Red Sox wanted Gio, keep chasing pitching

The Red Sox, who tried hard but came up short in their bid for Gio Gonzalez, are still determined to add pitching this winter, according to sources.

Red Sox management spent Friday regrouping, after the A's chose the Nationals' pitching-heavy offer for Gonzalez over a Red Sox offer that was built around position players. The Red Sox are still involved with the A's on closer Andrew Bailey, and they've talked to free-agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, as well, but they don't appear to be close on those pitchers or any others.

The Red Sox have also had interest in Gavin Floyd, with people in baseball believing that White Sox general manager Ken Williams remains open to trading Floyd, even after signing fellow starter John Danks to a contract extension this week.

For now, the Red Sox can still said to be "in on everybody," as one source put it this week.

The need is obvious, because for now the Red Sox rotation is just three-deep in established big-league starters, with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. As of now, Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard would be the fourth and fifth starters.

Meanwhile, the Sox still haven't replaced closer Jonathan Papelbon, who left to sign with the Phillies as a free agent.

Gonzalez would have been a solid addition to the rotation, but now he's with the Nationals, instead.

And while the Red Sox continue to preach patience, they also know that they've reached Christmas with their shopping list still full.



Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Tigers, Red Sox among teams in on Gio Gonzalez

When the bidding window for Yu Darvish closes at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, one team will come away with the chance to sign one of the best remaining pitchers available on the winter shopping market.

The others can turn their attention back to Gio Gonzalez.

The 26-year-old A's left-hander remains the hottest name on the trade market, with the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds among the teams chasing him. Gonzalez will be arbitration-eligible in 2012, but a team acquiring him would have him under control for four years before free agency, which adds to his value.

For now, though, the A's are asking a sky-high price.

How high? Well, when the Marlins asked about Gonzalez at last week's winter meetings, sources said that the A's asked for budding star Mike Stanton in return. Understandably, that conversation was brief.

The Tigers could have something of an edge in the Gonzalez hunt, because A's general manager Billy Beane is said to be enamored with young Tiger right-hander Jacob Turner. The Tigers would be willing to deal Turner for Gonzalez, according to sources, but they balked at the A's request that they also include top prospects Nick Castellanos and Drew Smyly, as well.

The A's don't see much depth in the Tiger system, and may not agree to a deal that doesn't include both Turner and Castellanos, at the very least.

The Red Sox have been mentioned more often as interested in A's closer Andrew Bailey, but sources said they have shown just as much interest in Gonzalez. Adding Gonzalez to a rotation that already includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz would give Boston a very strong top four.

Similarly, the Tigers like the idea of adding Gonzalez to a group that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello.

The Rangers and Blue Jays are two teams whose interest could be affected by the Darvish decision, as both have been mentioned as heavily interested in the Japanese star. The Darvish market is tough to call, because in a system that relies on blind bids, teams have even less reason than usual to signal their intentions publicly, and even more incentive to send out misinformation.

The Reds are searching for a top starting pitcher, too, and have been in contact with the A's, as well as the Rays (James Shields and others) and Braves (Jair Jurrjens). But the A's asked the Reds for a huge package headed by Yonder Alonso.

The Phillies also talked to the A's about Gonzalez, but the A's weren't overly excited in a package that would have included Domonic Brown and some younger, lesser pitching prospects.

The A's have told teams that they want only young, inexpensive players back for Gonzalez and Bailey, preferably players with less than one year of big-league experience.

They have also said that they don't plan to trade Gonzalez and Bailey as a package, because they don't believe that any interested team has enough available players to get both of them.

Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:01 am
Edited on: December 6, 2011 3:23 am
 

Latest on Jurrjens and Prado, and other notes

DALLAS -- More baseball talk from the first full day at the winter meetings:

-- The Braves' duo of Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado continue to be as sought after as any players on the slow-developing trade market. Sources say that 8-10 teams have shown real interest in Jurrjens, while "half the teams in baseball" have talked to the Braves about Prado, most with the idea of playing him at second base. The Braves continue to say that they don't need to move either player, and will only do so if the return helps make them more competitive in 2012 (as opposed to dealing for long-term prospects). The Braves have assured teams that Jurrjens is fully healthy, and that his velocity returned to the mid 90s when he resumed throwing in instructional league.

-- Royals executive J.J. Picollo became the latest to interview with the Astros for their vacant general manager position. The Astros' interest in Picollo and in the Rockies' Bill Geivett would seem to indicate that they want to hire someone with a strong background in scouting and player development. Picollo is Kansas City's assistant GM for scouting and player development, and he previously ran the Braves' minor-league system.

-- The Angels spent Monday night talking to Bob Garber, who represents free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. The Angels' interest in Wilson is serious, and has been since last month's general managers meetings in Milwaukee.

-- The Dodgers were considered to have a good day Monday, signing infielder Jerry Hairston and starter Aaron Harang to two-year deals. Rival executives suggest that Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti needs to do whatever he can to try to give his chance a team to play well early in 2012, in hopes of convincing whoever the new owner is that he should keep his job.

-- The A's continue to explore trading closer Andrew Bailey, and are expected to talk to the Red Sox on Tuesday. The Red Sox have not yet been aggressive in pursuit of Bailey.

-- The Tigers are not believed to have shown any significant interest in any of the big names on the free-agent market, and seem content to make smaller improvements to a team that won 95 games in 2011. If the Tigers make a big-money signing this winter, it seems a lot more likely to be Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes than Mark Buehrle, Aramis Ramirez, Coco Crisp or other big names that have been speculated about. It's still not clear how soon Cespedes will be declared a free agent, because of delays in paperwork needed to establish residency in the Dominican Republic. One possibility is that Cespedes could try to establish residency in Mexico, instead.

-- While the White Sox are open to listening to trade proposals for any of John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham, some club officials insist that they are not "rebuilding," even though general manager Ken Williams used that exact word last month. The Sox insist that they while they are trying to get younger, they would only trade their valuable chips if they get players who are ready to contribute at the big-league level immediately.

-- The Pirates continue to show no interest in trading center fielder Andrew McCutchen, even though early talks on a possible long-term contract showed that the two sides were "not even in the same ballpark," according to sources. McCutchen isn't eligible for free agency for another four years, so the Pirates aren't yet under time pressure to sign him or trade him.

-- The Giants have talked to the representatives for Tim Lincecum, but there doesn't appear to be much progress towards getting Lincecum signed to a long-term contract. Lincecum has two years to go before free agency.

-- A day after some Brewers people expressed a slight hint of optimism at their chances of retaining free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder, others insisted the chances remain very bleak. The Brewers do have real interest in Aramis Ramirez, and have been in contact with every free-agent shortstop.

-- The Rays are open to trading Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis in their quest to improve their offense, but have told teams that they would only listen to overwhelming offers for James Shields. The Rays would also like to trade Reid Brignac, would still like to upgrade their catching, and are once again willing to talk about dealing B.J. Upton.



Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:31 pm
 

A's are selling, and Bailey could move

A year ago, the A's believed that a few tweaks to their offense could make them a true contender in the American League West.

They added David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham . . . and won seven fewer games than they did the year before, finishing 13 games farther behind the champion Rangers.

Winning is going to take more than a few tweaks, especially with the continuing uncertainty about a new stadium, and the A's now realize that. And that's why general manager Billy Beane's strategy this winter is different.

It's also why closer Andrew Bailey could be on his way out of town.

While there has been talk of the A's trading starter Gio Gonzalez, Bailey is actually the A's pitcher most likely to move, sources said Monday. Bailey attracted interest from the Blue Jays and Phillies (before they signed Jonathan Papelbon) earlier this winter, and ESPN.com reported Monday that the Reds are now interested, as well.

The A's, no surprise, are looking for offense in return, preferably young, cheap offense.

Beane is said to be willing to talk about almost any of his players, but he is still holding out some hope of signing Gonzalez to a long-term contract, according to sources. Gonzalez could still be moved this winter, or the A's could hold onto him and possibly try to deal him next summer.

Bailey is a 27-year-old two-time All-Star who went 24-for-26 in save situations in 2011. He's entering his first arbitration year, so he's still relatively cost-effective.


Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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