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Hot Stove: Were Red Sox interested in Huston Street?

12.07.11 at 12:22 pm ET
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DALLAS — According to a major league source, the Red Sox talked with the Rockies about closer Huston Street before the right-hander was traded by Colorado to the Padres in exchange for a player to be named. However, the Sox’ interest in the potential closer was tempered by uncertainty about whether Street’s stuff would play in the AL East.

Street, who has 178 career saves, has spent his career in the relatively forgiving divisions of the AL West (with the A’s) and NL West (Rockies). That is something the 28-year-old will now continue in San Diego, the most extreme pitchers’ park in the majors.

Street had a 3.86 ERA and 29 saves with 62 games for the Rockies, striking out 55 and walking just nine in 58 1/3 innings, roughly in line with a career in which he has struck out more than a batter an inning. Street will earn $7.5 million in 2012 that also includes a $9 million player option for 2013.

Hot Stove: Rockies reportedly trade Huston Street to Padres

12.07.11 at 11:38 am ET
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The Rockies have traded closer Huston Street to the Padres in exchange for a minor league player, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Harding reports that the Padres will pay most of the $8 million that Street is guaranteed next season.

Street had 29 saves and a 3.86 ERA for Colorado last season. The 28-year-old right-hander spent three seasons with the Rockies. Prior to that, Street was the closer for the Athletics for four seasons. The best year of his career was 2009, also his first season with the Rockies, when Street converted 35 of 37 save opportunities.

Harding is reporting that the Rockies will likely make a move in free agency to fill Street’s void at closer. Colorado has more flexibility in that regard now that the Padres are paying most of Street’s contract.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Huston Street,

Hot Stove: Yankees reportedly trying to trade A.J. Burnett

12.07.11 at 11:15 am ET
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After posting back-to-back seasons with an ERA above 5.00, pitcher A.J. Burnett has reportedly been put on the trading block by the Yankees. And New York will even pay for another club to take him off the team’s hands.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees will listen to offers for Burnett and are willing to pay $8 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons. This may indicate that the Yankees are trying to move Burnett to obtain a legitimate No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia. The Yankees apparently have too much money on the payroll to get a No. 2 starter through free agency.

Burnett has struggled over the past two seasons with the Yankees. In 2011, the 34-year-old right-hander was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. Those numbers are slightly better than his career-worst 2010 season, when he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA.

Burnett’s best season in New York was his first, in 2009, when he went 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 195 strikeouts. But according to the Post, Burnett has had a drop in velocity over the past two seasons, leading to his struggles.

Read More: a.j. burnett, C.C. Sabathia, Hot Stove 2011,

Hot Stove: Red Sox, A’s have not discussed Will Middlebrooks

12.07.11 at 11:06 am ET
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DALLAS — While the Red Sox and A’s have been discussing potential deals involving closer Andrew Bailey, top Red Sox prospect Will Middlebrooks has not been discussed in a potential deal, according to a major league source.

Bailey, a two-time All-Star, may represent the best available closing option at this point given his track record of success (a 2.07 career ERA and an average of 25 saves a season) and the fact that he is relatively affordable. The 27-year-old is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and he will remain under team contractual control through the 2014 season. (It is, however, worth noting that injuries have limited him to 47 and 42 games in the last two seasons.)

Bailey represents an attractive option for a Sox team that has both limited financial resources this offseason given its current payroll commitments and a need to add arms to fill out vacancies in either its rotation or its bullpen (with Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves serving as candidates to either start or reliever, depending upon whom the team acquires). And given that the cost of Bailey is about to go up through arbitration, the A’s are clearly exploring his market.

That said, to this point — as first reported by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney — Middlebrooks does not appear in play. The 23-year-old is considered the top prospect in the Sox’ system, a player who projects as a Mike Lowell type who will be an above average offensive and defensive third baseman. In 116 games minor league games last year, Middlebrooks hit .285 with a .328 OBP, .506 slugging mark and .834 OPS, 23 homers and 94 RBI. He spent most of the year in Double-A Portland before a late-season promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he played the last 16 games of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrew Bailey, Brandon Workman, josh reddick, kila ka'aihue

Hot Stove: Josh Hamilton seeks extension with Rangers

12.07.11 at 10:28 am ET
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As free agency news and rumors continue to swirl in the MLB offseason, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has said that he would like get a deal done on a contract extension before the 2012 season begins. Hamilton is entering the final year of a two-year, $24 million deal.

With Hamilton anchoring the middle of the lineup, the Rangers have been to back-to-back World Series. He was the 2010 American League MVP. Over the course of four seasons with Texas, Hamilton has hit .311 while averaging 25 home runs and 94 RBIs per season.

“Obviously, I love it here,” Hamilton said Tuesday before speaking to a group of kids at a free hitting exhibition. “It always comes down to being treated fairly. I’ve been this way since I signed out of high school. Treat me fair and don’t come in with no ridiculously low stuff.”

At the winter meetings, Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said that it is an “ongoing process” to get Hamilton signed long term and that he is not sure what it is going to take to keep the 30-year-old outfielder with the Rangers. But he did not downplay the importance of Hamilton to the organization.

“If we didn’t have him, it would be a big hole in our ballclub,” Ryan said. “You just don’t replace a Josh Hamilton very easily.”

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Josh Hamilton,

Hot Stove: Marlins’ offer to Albert Pujols reportedly not much more than Cardinals’ offer

12.07.11 at 10:06 am ET
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With Albert Pujols‘ representatives set to meet with the Cardinals on Wednesday morning, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Marlins’ 10-year offer to Pujols is not much more than the Cardinals’ original nine-year, $200 million offer. The exact amount of Miami’s offer is unknown, but Heyman says that it is believed to be between $200 million and $220 million.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have upped their offer to potentially approach 10 years for $220 million.

A free agent for the first time in his career, Pujols has received heavy interest from the Marlins over the last few days. But as Heyman reports, the Cardinals are offering full no-trade protection, whereas the Marlins have not. Furthermore, Pujols already has a legacy in St. Louis. If Miami’s offer is not that much more than the Cardinals’ offer, the Marlins may find it tough to lure Pujols away from St. Louis.

Heyman is also reporting that the Marlins are discussing going after Prince Fielder if they cannot sign Pujols.

Read More: Albert Pujols, Hot Stove 2011, Prince Fielder,

Hot Stove: A’s reportedly consider Red Sox offer of Josh Reddick, prospects for closer Andrew Bailey

12.07.11 at 6:59 am ET
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According to a tweet from Peter Gammons, the Red Sox have offered outfielder Josh Reddick and prospects to the A’s for 27-year-old closer Andrew Bailey, and Oakland is considering the offer.

Gammons notes that infielder Jed Lowrie was not in the Red Sox’ offer.

The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year, Bailey has spent three seasons in Oakland. He was slowed by a right forearm injury in 2011 but still managed to record 24 saves and 41 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. He had an 0-4 record and 3.24 ERA.

Read More: Andrew Bailey, Hot Stove 2011, josh reddick,

Hot Stove: Mets send Angel Pagan to Giants, agree with Frank Francisco

12.07.11 at 6:52 am ET
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The Mets were busy Tuesday, agreeing to send center fielder Angel Pagan to the Giants for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and coming to an agreement with free agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch.

Francisco’s deal is for two years and $12 million. Rauch has a one-year deal worth $3.5 million, with $500,000 in performance bonuses.

“We rebuilt our bullpen in one day,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, adding: “No disrespect to our guys, but we couldn’t stop some teams. I think we can now.”

Francisco, 32, pitched last season with the Blue Jays after six season with the Rangers. He had 17 saves in 21 chances in Toronto, compiling a 1-4 record and 3.55 ERA.

Rauch, 33, also played for the Jays in 2010, going 5-4 with a 4.85 ERA and recording 11 saves in 16 chances.

The 33-year-old Ramirez, who pitched for the Red Sox in 2009, was 3-3 with a 2.62 ERA for the Giants this past season.

Torres, 33, hit .221 with four home runs and 19RBIs in an injury-plagued season (Achilles tendon strain).

Pagan, who took over center field from Carlos Beltran, hit .262 with seven home runs and 56 RBIs.

Read More: Angel Pagan, Fran Francisco, Hot Stove 2011, ramon ramirez

Hot Stove: White Sox send Sergio Santos to Jays

12.07.11 at 6:40 am ET
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Sergio Santos, who was a minor league shortstop with the Jays before transitioning to a closer with the White Sox, was traded back to the Jays Tuesday for pitching prospect Nestor Molina.

Santos, 28, had 30 saves in 36 chances this past season. He finished with a 4-5 record and 3.55 ERA in 63 games, striking out 92 in 65 1/3 innings.

“He’s got the ninth inning for us,” Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “We think he’s got a chance to be an elite closer.”

Santos had signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract with the White Sox at the conclusion of the season.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, sergio santos,

Red Sox prepared to cut ties to Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield

12.07.11 at 4:38 am ET
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DALLAS — It was not a definitive verdict. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington did not say that a pair of franchise linchpins would not be back.

But he came close. The words did not represent a significant departure from previous statements this winter, but nonetheless, Cherington made it sound like it is increasingly likely that knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (after 17 years with the Sox) and catcher Jason Varitek (15 years into his Sox tenure) may have seen the end of their days in Boston.

“We’€™re not ready to commit to anything. I have spoken to both and plan to talk to them both again. Certainly we’€™ll do so before we make any final decision,” said Cherington. “I have a great deal of respect for both and feel like the best thing for the team and the best thing for them is, if there’€™s not a real role on the team, I’€™m not sure it’€™s fair, I’€™m not sure it’€™s the right thing for them or the team. We haven’€™t gotten to that point yet. I’€™ll talk to them when we get closer to that.’€

Varitek, who turns 40 in April, hit .221 with a .300 OBP, .423 slugging mark and 11 homers in 68 games in 2011. Wakefield, 45, went 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA last season, making 23 starts and pitching 154 2/3 innings, his most since 2008. Wakefield remains seven wins short of the Red Sox’ all-time career wins record.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield,
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