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Hot Stove: Giants trade for Melky Cabrera

11.07.11 at 1:54 pm ET
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The Royals sent center fielder Melky Cabrera to the Giants in exchange for left-handed pitchers Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo, the teams announced Monday. Cabrera is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, hitting .305 with a .339 OBP and 87 RBIs with the Royals, and does not carry a long-term contract as he is projected to become a free agent after the 2012 season.

Cabrera played for the Yankees for the first five years of his career and made a memorable catch in June of 2006 that robbed Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez of a home run and helped the Yankees preserve a 2-1 lead that pushed them 1 1/2 games up on the Red Sox in the division. Cabrera had a pedestrian career for the Yankees through much of his tenure in New York and was ultimately traded to the Braves after the 2009 season.

Sanchez, a 28-year-old southpaw, was impressive for the Giants during the 2010 season, going 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA despite not having been expected to play a major role on the team. In 2011, Sanchez regressed and went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts before a high ankle sprain cut his season short. Sanchez has an opportunity to develop as a top starter in Kansas City, which has a thin starting rotation penciled in for next season.

Verdugo, a 24-year-old rising prospect, experienced mixed results in his first season as a minor league starter. Verdugo was 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA in 25 starts with Double-A Richmond. He was a ninth-round draft pick out of Louisiana State University in 2008.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Jonathan Sanchez, melky cabrera, Ryan Verdugo

Hot Stove: A free agent (and video) to watch: Yoenis Cespedes

11.07.11 at 8:50 am ET
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According to Yahoo! Sports, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes — a 26-year-old power-hitting, center fielder — is on the verge of becoming a free agent. Major League Baseball appears ready to sign off on the outfielder’s free agent eligibility, but is apparently just waiting for final approval from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (which signs off on all Cuban intending to play baseball in the United States).

Cespedes, who figures to eclipse the $30 million given to fellow Cuban defector, pitcher Aroldis Chapman, participated in an open workout in the Dominican Republic Friday. But evidently the right-handed hitter’s representatives were leaving nothing to chance.

Using a lethal combination of Star Wars, shirtless sprints, a potpourri of music offerings and a pig roast, we give you … Yoenis Cespedes.

UPDATE: The awesomeness of the video proved so overpowering that it has apparently been removed from Youtube. The world is a less exciting place.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Yoenis Cespedes,

Hot Stove: Could the Rockies pursue a trade for Kevin Youkilis?

11.06.11 at 8:35 pm ET
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After a disastrous September, the Red Sox face the question of how significant a roster overhaul they should enact. While it is possible that they might keep the majority of the 2011 roster intact while seeking to address some acknowledged holes (right-handed hitting outfielder, starting pitching), the team could also consider trading a key roster member. And since the end of the season, there has been plenty of speculation about whether the team could move Kevin Youkilis.

In 2011, the third baseman had his worst season at the plate, hitting .258 with a .373 OBP in 120 games, numbers that were dragged down as he fought off various injuries. In 2010, his season also ended abruptly in August when he tore a muscle in his thumb. The third baseman has averaged just 111 games a season in the last two years. Still, Youkilis had been a significant part of the Boston offense for the previous three years, hitting above .300 over that time with an average OBP of .404.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post suggested that, should the Red Sox look into trading Youkilis, the infielder could be a good fit for the Rockies, who need a solid No. 5 batter. Renck cited Youkilis’s versatility in playing either third or first base as another attraction for Colorado.

Youkilis is due to make $12 million in the 2012 season and has a $13 million team option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. WEEI.com reported earlier this offseason that Youkilis is unlikely to be traded. Renck’s sources gave him mixed results on the idea of the Red Sox trading Youkilis.

Whether the Sox have any interest in dealing Youkilis remains to be seen. If they do decide to explore his value, however, the Rockies’ interest suggests that he would have suitors.

Read More: colorado rockies, Hot Stove 2011, Kevin Youkilis,

Hot Stove: If Michael Cuddyer is taken, could Red Sox pursue Martin Prado?

11.06.11 at 2:57 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington identified finding a right-handed hitting outfielder as an offseason priority for the team, but with the Phillies reportedly hot in pursuit of 32-year-old Michael Cuddyer, one of the best available players who fits that description might not be an option for long. So who else is on the board?

One possibility beyond Cuddyer could be Martin Prado, a right-handed 28-year-old whom the Braves are reportedly open to dealing, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Prado has established himself as a solid major leaguer, playing in over 120 games for the Braves in each of the last three seasons. From 2008-10, he hit .309 with a .358 OBP, .461 slugging mark and .819 OPS before dipping to marks of .260/.302/.385/.687 in 2011.

Prado saw most of his action in left field last season, playing in 100 games there while making three errors, helping in six outfield assists, and earning a .983 fielding percentage. He’s played just two innings in right field in his career; if he’s not able to do so going forward, given that Carl Crawford is viewed as an everyday player, his potential fit for the Sox could come into question.

That said, if Cuddyer ends up moving off the market quickly, then the Sox and other teams will have to contemplate alternatives, and Prado could emerge as a potential target.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Martin Prado, Michael Cuddyer,

Hot Stove: David Wright on trading block?

11.06.11 at 12:54 pm ET
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After a 77-85 season which was good enough for fourth place in the National League East, the Mets are fully entrenched in the rebuilding process, which seems to include moving away from shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright as the foundations of the team.

Reyes is a free agent this offseason after finishing a five-year, $33.75 million contract with the Mets in the 2011 season. He won the National League batting title in 2011 with a .337 batting average, but asked manager Terry Collins to remove him from the final game of the season after Reyes’ bunt single in the first inning ensured he would finish two points ahead of Ryan Braun in the batting race.

Wright is scheduled to make $15 million in 2012 with the Mets before entering an option year for 2013, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Mets may not wait to get away from Wright.

Sherman quoted a Mets official as saying that New York will look into trades for Wright.

“We will listen on Wright for sure,” the official said. “We know we are not going to win it all in 2012. We have to hope the Phillies get old and we are in position to take advantage of that in 2013-14, and we have to figure out ways to speed the process to get there.”

Read More: David Wright, Hot Stove 2011, jose reyes, Kevin Youkilis

Pete Mackanin faces age-old managerial question

11.05.11 at 2:17 pm ET
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By any account, Pete Mackanin has developed both a resume and a reputation that put him in position as one of the top managerial candidates on the market. Though he has never been a full-time manager, he has served twice as an interim manager, he has more than a decade of minor league managerial experience, he’s been a major league advance scout and he’s spent the last three seasons as the bench coach for a big-market contender with the Phillies.

Those experiences are at the forefront of why Mackanin has emerged as a candidate for the managerial vacancies with both the Red Sox and Cubs.

“He’€™s got a really broad set of experiences. He’€™s managed a ton of games in the minor leagues, the Caribbean, some at the big-league level. He’€™s been off the field as a scout. He’€™s been part of good major-league teams as a coach,” noted Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Monday. “He’€™s got a really broad set of experiences that appeal to us. He can see the game from different perspectives, which I think is a benefit. As you saw today, he’€™s got a good way about him, a good sense of humor, mature, and a good reputation from every clubhouse he’€™s been part of.”

In more ways than one, that range of experiences separates Mackanin from other managerial candidates. He has seen the game from more vantage points than the other individuals to whom the Sox and Cubs either have already talked or plan to talk (Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux, Sandy Alomar Jr.). However, Mackanin is also in a different demographic than the other candidates. Maddux is 50; Sveum is 47; Alomar is 45. Mackanin, meanwhile, is 60.

The Phillies bench coach does not think that his status as a sexagenarian is significant.

“I don’€™t look at it as a disadvantage at all,” Mackanin told reporters in Chicago. “Knock on wood, I’€™m still healthy. I throw batting practice every day, so I stay in shape. One of the great things about baseball is I get paid to stay in shape; I get paid to be around young people who are vibrant, and they’€™re a lot of fun to be around. That being said, I’€™m not 70; I’€™m 60, and I’€™m a young 60 ‘€” I’€™d like to think so.’€™’€™ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby mattick, Charlie Manuel, Larry Lucchino, pete mackanin

Hot Stove: More starters could be dangled in trade market

11.05.11 at 1:40 pm ET
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According to FoxSports.com, the Giants are open to trading left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez this offseason. Sanchez, who turns 29 this month, struggled to a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA in 19 starts last year, as injuries and command issues (a career-high 5.9 walks per nine innings) resulted in diminished effectiveness.

Even so, the hard-throwing left-hander has struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings throughout his career, and he was a significant contributor to the Giants team that won the World Series in 2010, going 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts (as well as an NL-high 96 walks) that season.

Sanchez earned $4.8 million in 2011. He is in his last year of team control before reaching free agency, and is expected, according to the report, to receive a salary bump to the vicinity of $6 million. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Gavin Floyd, Gio Gonzalez, Hot Stove 2011, Jeremy Guthrie

Hot Stove: Phillies reportedly in ‘serious pursuit’ of Michael Cuddyer

11.05.11 at 9:06 am ET
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According to CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies are in “serious pursuit” of a player who would seem a good fit for the Red Sox. Michael Cuddyer, a 32-year-old who made his first All-Star team in a 2011 season in which he hit .284 with a .346 OBP, .459 slugging mark, .805 OPS and 20 homers in 139 games, represents a versatile right-handed hitter who can contribute at a number of positions.

In his career, though primarily a right-fielder and first baseman in recent seasons, Cuddyer has played every position except for catcher and shortstop. He also delivers a significant amount of thump against left-handed pitchers. Cuddyer pounded southpaws at a .311/.403/.589/.993 clip with 10 homers in 2011; in his career, he is a .290/.378/.491/.869 hitter against left-handers.

Sox GM Ben Cherington has identified a right-handed hitting outfielder as offseason priority for the Sox this winter, and Cuddyer would appear to fit that bill. However, Cuddyer — who completed a four-year, $33.5 million contract with the Twins this year while earning $10.5 million — is a Type A free agent, meaning that the team that signs him might have to forfeit a top draft pick to the Twins as compensation for his acquisition.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Michael Cuddyer, Phillies, Twins

Red Sox exec Allard Baird declines to interview for Orioles GM job

11.04.11 at 9:20 pm ET
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A key front office member will remain with the Red Sox, as Boston’s vice president of player personnel and pro scouting Allard Baird declined the opportunity to interview for the Orioles GM vacancy. He cited his desire to work with new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington in explaining his decision.

“I was honored that the Baltimore Orioles expressed interest in me as a candidate for the GM position,” Baird said in a text message. “The opportunity to possibly work side by side with [Orioles manager] Buck Showalter made this so attractive. At the end of the day, it came down to my loyalty to the Red Sox [and] Ben Cherington.”

Baird, who spent six years as the GM of the Royals from 2000-06, joined the Red Sox as a consultant late in the 2006 season before entering the organization full time in 2007. Since then, he has served as one of the most trusted talent scouts in the organization, in addition to an assortment of organizational duties.

Cherington expressed gratitude for Baird’s decision.

“Very happy that Allard is staying,” Cherington wrote in an email. “He’s a key member of our leadership team and has a hand in every decision we make.”

Baird is one of several executives either to decline the opportunity to interview with the Orioles or to turn down the job. Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava turned down the job offer to follow Andy MacPhail in the position; the Twins denied permission for the Orioles to interview Mike Radcliff, while Rays GM Andrew Friedman and White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn both turned down opportunities to interview with Baltimore.

Read More: allard baird, Baltimore Orioles, ben cherington, Buck Showalter

One less free agent DH for David Ortiz to worry about; Jim Thome agrees to terms with Phillies

11.04.11 at 7:41 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, designated hitter/first baseman Jim Thome has agreed to a one-year deal with one of his former teams, the Philadelphia Phillies, for $1.25 million.

Thome spent 2011 with both the Twins and Indians, hitting a combined  .256 with 17 home runs in 324 plate appearances. While it is believed that Thome would be an option at first base for the Phillies, who will be without Ryan Howard (Achilles tendon) for the beginning of ’12, the 41-year-old hasn’t played the field regularly since 2005.

The signing of the left-handed hitter takes a designated hitter option off the market (Thome was not a Type A or B free agent). Still left for free agent DH-types are David Ortiz (Type A), Josh Willingham (Type A), Magglio Ordonez (Type B), Vladimir Guerrero (Type B), Jason Kubel (Type B) and Johnny Damon.

Read More: David Ortiz, Hot Stove 2011, Jim Thome,
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