Archive for November, 2012

Hot Stove: RHP Zack Greinke meets with Dodgers

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dodgers executives met with right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke in Los Angeles Thursday, Yahoo! Sports’€™ Tim Brown reports.

Greinke, 29, was 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA last season. He played for the Brewers until July 27, when he was traded to the Angels. With the Angels, Greinke was 6-2 in 13 starts with a 3.53 ERA. Over the past two seasons, he is 31-11 with a 3.63 ERA.

Greinke’€™s best year by far was in 2005 with the Royals. He won the AL Cy Young and was named an All-Star. That season he had 16 wins with an amazingly low 2.16 ERA.

Brown reports that the Rangers, Nationals and Angels also have interest in Greinke. Greinke reportedly has enjoyed his time in the Los Angeles area and might want to stay in the region, but he could opt for the Dodgers.

Hot Stove: Twins trade OF Denard Span to Nationals

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Nationals acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Twins for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer on Thursday.

Span hit .284 with 90 steals and a .357 on-base percentage during five seasons with the Twins. Last season, he hit .284 with four home runs and 41 RBIs. He missed games late in the season due to a strained right collarbone, which let Ben Revere play some games and showcase his talent, likely leading the Twins to pull the trigger on dealing Span.

“He’s going to bring a dimension to the club that we haven’t had before,” Nationals’€™ general manager Mike Rizzo said, “a fast-moving, exciting guy that makes contact and moves the guy around and can fly around the field.”

With Span taking over in center, 20-year-old NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper moves to a corner, likely left field, with Jayson Werth probably staying in right.

Span tweeted that he was excited to be joining the Nationals.

The 22-year-old Meyer, a top prospect for the Nationals, played for the Potomac Nationals in the Carolina League and the Hagerstown Suns in the South Atlantic League this past season. Combined, he was 10-6 in 25 starts with a 2.86 ERA.

Hot Stove: Russell Martin leaves Yankees for Pirates

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Catcher Russell Martin reportedly has a two-year, $17 million contract with the Pirates after spending the last two years with the Yankees.

Tweeted Martin on Thursday night: I want to thank the @yankees organization and fans for treating me with class and respect… I will truly miss the city and people of NY.

Martin, 29, hit .211 with a .311 on-base percentage, a .403 slugging percentage, 21 home runs and 53 RBIs in 133 games last season. His batting average has declined each of the last five seasons after he hit .293 for the Dodgers in his first All-Star season of 2007.

Martin will replace Rod Barajas, who hit .206/.283/.343 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs and threw out just 6 percent of potential base-stealers in his one season in Pittsburgh.

Hot Stove: David Wright reportedly has 8-year deal with Mets

Friday, November 30th, 2012

According to a report on New York sports radio station WFAN, the Mets reached an agreement with third baseman David Wright on an eight-year, $138 million contract that would be the richest in franchise history.

The New York Daily News reports that the deal is backloaded with a structure similar to the contract former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes received from the Marlins a year ago and includes deferred money.

The 30-year-old Wright, who would have been eligible for free agency after next season, hit .306 with a .391 on-base percentage, .492 slugging percentage, 21 home runs and 93 RBIs last season. Selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2001 draft, Wright is the team’s career leader in hits (1,426), RBIs (818), runs (790) and walks (616).

David Ortiz on fixing Red Sox: ‘We need some thunder in that lineup’

Friday, November 30th, 2012

David Ortiz, general manager ‘€¦ sort of.

For the designated hitter, figuring out roster moves haven’t been a priority. There has been a charity golf tournament to help organize — which will run from Dec. 6-9 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic — and an Achilles tendon to tend to. (Ortiz notes that while he isn’t fully healed, his recovery remains ahead of schedule.) These are the things that have taken up most of Ortiz’ time in recent days.

Still, like most who follow the Red Sox, the DH has some ideas when it comes to fixing this 69-win team.

“I’ve been a little disconnected, but it’s not a surprise for anyone who follows the Red Sox that we need some thunder in that lineup,” he said when appearing on “The Hot Stove Show” on WEEI Thursday night. “The problem is that there isn’t too many out there. That’s one thing. I’m pretty sure everybody needs to be a little patient. We have the winter meetings coming up and a lot of decisions get made right after the winter meetings, so hopefully they come out with some decisions.

“We need some power. You guys saw how the team went down in power right after I was injured. Our pitching needs some adjustments in some spots.”

Ortiz’ point regarding the team’s power is well taken, especially considering the Red Sox hit a combined 64 home runs after the DH left the lineup on July 15, putting the Sox’ 20th in the majors. They also were 22nd in OPS during that span (.684). Prior to the Achilles injury, the team had the fifth-best OPS (.768) and eighth-most homers in baseball.

The DH was also asked about any concerns he might have had regarding free agents choosing to come to Boston, with the Red Sox serving as less of a desired destination than years past. The team was reminded of the dynamic recently when one of Ortiz’ good friends, Torii Hunter, prioritized going to a team that would seemingly be set up to win right away (in the Tigers).

“With the situation we’ve been facing the last couple of years, probably,” said Ortiz said regarding if there would be somewhat of a new challenge for the Red Sox this offseason.

“It’s like I tell everyone, but at the same time they’re not expecting you to be like Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. If you come through like that, great. But if you come and play in Boston and you stay on top of your game, try to make a difference every day, and come with the attitude to play hard, the fans will appreciate that.”

One free agent whom Ortiz is clearly a big proponent of bringing back in the fold is outfielder Cody Ross.

“I think Cody should have an opportunity to come back,” the DH said. “He played in the toughest time we were going through and he handled himself pretty good. He did a great job. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great, great teammate, and he’s a guy who cares. Me, as a player, that’s what matters to me, when you have guys who are about winning, who care about coming in every day and trying to make a difference. That’s the type of player I like to have around and that’s the type of player this organization needs. Cody did all of that throughout the year.”

To listen to the entire interview with Ortiz, click here.

A very Yankee look to the Red Sox coaching staff

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

In retrospect, the fact that Greg Colbrunn emerged as what Red Sox manager John Farrell referred to as the clear choice for his hitting coach should have come as no surprise. After all, Colbrunn spent the last six years working for the Yankees.

Colbrunn spent 2007-12 on the staff of the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs, New York’s Single-A affiliate, spending all but one of those years (2010, when he was the manager) as a hitting coach. He represents the latest addition to a staff with deep roots in the Yankees’ minor league system.

Pitching coach Juan Nieves got his start in coaching with the Yankees in 1992; he spent five years as a pitching instructor in New York’s minor league system.

Third-base coach Brian Butterfield‘s late father, Jack Butterfield, was a Yankees director of player development. Butterfield got his start in coaching with the Yankees, working as a coach and manager in the minors with them from 1984-1993 before getting promoted to their big league coaching staff under Buck Showalter in 1994.

First-base coach Arnie Beyeler‘s first coaching jobs came with the Yankees from 1997-99 before he joined the Sox in 2000 as the manager of the Lowell Spinners.

Bullpen coach Gary Tuck spent time as both a big league and minor league instructor in three stints with New York between 1989-2004. (more…)

Hot Stove: Braves sign B.J. Upton

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Braves have signed former Rays outfielder B.J. Upton, according to multiple reports. The deal is worth $75.25 million over five years.

Upton, 28, has spent his entire career with the Rays since being drafted by Tampa with the second overall pick in the 2002 draft. Last season, he hit .246/.298/.454 with 28 homers and 78 runs batted in.

How Wil Myers almost became a Red Sox in 2009

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

In 2009, three years before he emerged as one of the top prospects in the game and potentially one of the most valuable trade chips in baseball, Wil Myers was a North Carolina high schooler getting ready for the draft. And in his eyes, his future was almost certain to unfold with one of two teams: The Royals or the Red Sox.

Those were the two teams that seemed to follow him most aggressively throughout his senior season at Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, NC. Red Sox area scout Quincy Boyd (recently promoted by the Sox to regional cross-checker) was a fixture at Myers’ games, but there were other Sox officials who parachuted in to watch him after an impressive performance on the showcase circuit in the summer following his junior year. Regional cross-checker Mike Rikard (now a national cross-checker) loved Myers and thought he would be an impact hitter. Former Red Sox scouting director Jason McLeod became familiar enough to Myers that the outfielder refers to him on a first-name basis.

“I spent quite a bit of time working out for them,” Myers recalled at the All-Star Futures Game of his interactions with the Red Sox heading into the draft. “They came down a couple times and watched me during my high school season, but there were a lot of rainouts. I remember one time when Jason came down, the game got rained out and we actually had to go to an indoor batting center to go work out. That was different.” (more…)

Hot Stove: Red Sox open to dealing Andrew Bailey?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

According to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Red Sox are open to dealing reliever Andrew Bailey, but likely won’t because of how low his trade value is after an injury-plagued 2012 season.

Tweeted Olney: “Rival teams say that Red Sox open to dealing Andrew Bailey–but because his value is currently low, odds of them trading him are pretty low.”

The Red Sox traded for Bailey last offseason, sending outfielder Josh Reddick, third baseman Miles Head and right-hander Raul Alcantara to the Athletics in exchange for Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Hot Stove: Yankees reportedly close to deals with Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees are nearing a one-year deal with left-hander Andy Pettitte that would pay the left-hander roughly $11 million in 2013. Pettitte, 40, made 12 starts last year after sitting out the 2011 season. He went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA along with 69 strikeouts and 21 walks in 75 1/3 innings. He also made a pair of postseason starts, going 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA while making one start in the ALDS against the Orioles and one in the ALCS against the Yankees.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via twitter), New York is also close to a one-year deal with Mariano Rivera that would pay their longtime closer — who missed most of 2012 after blowing out his ACL — more than what they are paying Pettitte. Rivera pitched in just nine games in 2012 before suffering his season-ending injury, which broke a streak of nine straight years with at least 60 innings pitched and 17 consecutive seasons of 40 or more innings.

If accurate, Pettitte and Rivera would join Hiroki Kuroda as veterans with track records of success with the Yankees who have re-signed for one-year deals. That structure suits New York’s desire to avoid long-term commitments that would limit the club’s ability to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014.