Yankees have reached out to Berkman

Via Dan Martin, the Yankees “have been in contact” with free agent Lance Berkman about joining the team for the upcoming season. Berkman, who had a rather astounding bounce back season back in 2011 when he hit .301/.412/.547 with 31 home runs for St. Louis, was limited to just 32 games thanks to knee surgery in 2012, and was reportedly contemplating retirement as a result. Puma is said to prefer staying close to his Texas home, and the Rangers do have a standing offer out to him, so it’s not clear the Yankees are even doing much other than perhaps making the Rangers’ life a little bit more difficult (especially since Berkman is pretty much just a DH who hits better from the left-side of the plate which, though they have an opening for that, is not their top priority at the moment).

Berkman is notoriously not a fan of the American League nor the designated hitter, and with the exception of a few months spent with the Yankees back in 2010, his entire career has been spent in the senior circuit.…

Read more

Marlins willing to trade Stanton

Well, this is pretty much inevitable. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro the Marlins will listen to trade offers on Giancarlo Stanton. They’re being careful to say that they’re just following a policy of listening to all offers and aren’t actively shopping their only remaining Major Leaguer best player, but there’s no real reason to even acknowledge that publicly if you aren’t willing to part with him for a plausible offer. The Marlins tore up the core of their team with that big trade with Toronto in November, and although they could keep the super cheap Stanton around as a reason for people to buy tickets, it also makes sense to dangle him for a super-package of prospects to continue to aid the rebuilding process. Plus, Stanton took his displeasure with that trade public on Twitter, and Jeffrey Loria is the sort of petty tyrant who doesn’t take kindly to being challenged by the hired riff-raff.

Not that you should get your hopes up about seeing Stanton in pinstripes any time soon.…

Read more

Are sign and trades coming to baseball?

On Monday, Buster Olney devoted his column to wondering if the qualifying offer had proved to be a big disaster for free agents who declined the offer sheet from their teams. Olney starts by noting that the market for Nick Swisher was apparently a bit thin, as teams other than Cleveland were hesitant to forfeit a first round pick to sign Swish (the Indians have a protected first rounder, so they’re giving up a mere second round pick), and also points out that Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse, and Rafael Soriano are all also seeing their markets come together slowly after declining qualifying offers from their teams.

I’m a little bit skeptical of that take, only because of the three players involved. On the one hand, each is the sort of player that seems to always seems to get more money than they’re worth as one or two GMs significantly over-values them, so perhaps we’re merely seeing a sort of market correction whereby no one really wants to meet their asking price(s).…

Read more

Pierzynski and Texas are close to a deal

According to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, the Texas Rangers are close to making a deal with A.J. Pierzynski.

Sources: Pierzynski, #Rangers closing in on one-year contract. Deal will be pending a physical, not yet done.

It’s not like the Yankees were ever really in on the “Pierzynski” sweepstakes but this news seems to lend some crendence to the “the Yankees are going to find their catcher from within the organization” items we have been hearing and reading about all Winter.

Of course, there is always a possibility that Brian Cashman has something up his sleeve and that he may pull off another trade simliar to the one he made last January when the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda and Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.

It’s still December so there is plenty of time for the Yankees to get something done but there is always a chance they take a gamble and go into Spring Training with guys like Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine competing for the starting catcher job.…

Read more

Swisher’s tour continues

After visting Cleveland this morning where he was greeted by his image on the Progressive Field scoreboard and where he was also greeted with a standing offer from the Indians, Nick Swisher, bid adieu and headed off to another mystery city.

Where do you think Swish could be heading? Could he be heading south and west of Cleveland? The Texas Rangers need an outfielder. Or maybe he’s heading way out west and visiting Seattle. The Mariners have been in the mix for other outfielders and Swisher is the best one left in the market.

It certainly will be interesting to see how the other teams choose to court Swisher.

Maybe Seattle will fly a “SWISH” banner from the top of the Space Needle. Or they’ll take him on a tour of the city and out for a nice seafood dinner.

I’m also interested in seeing what the offer from Cleveland is.

(I hope it’s interesting beacuse I’m bored out of my mind by what constitutes as baseball news these days.)

Read more

Tigers listening to offers for Porcello, Smyly

With Anibal Sanchez re-signed, the Tigers have a deep starting rotation to say the least. That, predictably, has led to other teams calling them to inquire about taking some of that pitching off of their hands, and Danny Knobler tweets that that interest the Tigers are “taking calls” on both Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.

Porcello has been around since 2009 and hasn’t really stood out in terms of performance yet, with an ERA/FIP of 4.55/4.26. That said, he’s actually nine days shy of turning 24 years old, so there’s still probably upside here, and he’s made 31 starts in three of the past four seasons, so he’s already pretty durable, especially for his age. As far as the Yankees go, it’s Smyly who really intrigues me. The 23 year old made his big league debut against the Bombers in 2012, and went on to pitch to a 3.99/3.83/3.97 ERA/FIP/xFIP line over 99.1 innings. His peripherals are also quite strong, though he is a bit of a fly ball pitcher.…

Read more

Report: Yankees not interested in Bourn

On Sunday, Nick Cafardo reported that the Yankees were “quietly interested” in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn. Today, ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews reports that that most certainly is not the case, and that there is “no chance” the Yankees even pursue the speedy center fielder. As Matthews relays, the Yankees don’t like Bourn’s price tag, the fact that he hits left-handed, and feel that they already have a full starting outfield.

We talked kind of a lot about Bourn last night, and while I’m not sure I’m wild about it, there is a pretty interesting case to be made for signing Bourn (for the right price, naturally) and then trading Curtis Granderson, but that’s the sort of thing we can talk ourselves into when we’re starved for baseball action, and not generally the kind of thing that actually happens in real life. So as interesting as it may be to consider the potential machinations, or what the Yankees would look like with three elite defensive/no-power outfielders, my strong inclination is to think that this report is accurate, and the Yankees will not even really consider such a move.…

Read more

The Rangers are interested in Ibanez

Raul Ibanez delivered a disproportionate amount of the Yankees’ biggest home runs in 2012, and now a team that could have used a few of those shots themselves is apparently showing interest in acquiring the 40 year old “outfielder.” Via The Dallas Morning News, the Rangers are apparently interested in Ibanez’s services for the coming season, presumably as a platoon DH/reserve outfielder. The Rangers have a lineup that’s heavily tilted to the right, and obviously lost their best left-handed hitter in Josh Hamilton, so Ibanez would be a reasonably good fit if they can find a place to play him.

In addition to the clutchitude, Ibanez hit .248/.319/.492 against right-handed pitchers, and even filled in surprisingly well in the outfield as a bridge between Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees still need a DH, particularly one who can handle right handed pitchers, so a reunion with Ibanez certainly makes sense if all parties are amicable, though I would be surprised if Ibanez didn’t have his fair share of suitors after remaining productive this past year.…

Read more

Oh dear, Vernon Wells?

Because things can always get worse, apparently the Yankees have seriously considered a trade to acquire The First National Bank of Vernon Wells from the Angels. That comes via Ken Rosenthal, who reports that the two teams discussed Wells at the Winter Meetings, though nothing is close. Both Rosenthal and Jon Heyman report, however, that any trade would be contingent upon the Angels eating the vast majority of the $42 million remaining on Wells’ albatross of a contract.

All things considered, I suppose there are worse ways to go about getting a right-handed hitter to play the outfield. For as terrible as Wells has been in his two season with the Angels, he’s been okay against left-handed pitchers, though there’s some huge variance to those numbers. He whacked opposite hand pitcher to the tune of a .280/.320/.531 line with a 134 wRC= back in 2011, but then hit just .227/.298/.373 (88 wRC+) last season, albeit in just 84 plate appearances.

I guess the theory here is that he could come super cheap and that a move out of Anaheim and into a hitter friendly stadium could improve his numbers a bit, but I wouldn’t really count on it, and I’d be pretty loathe to commit myself to having him on the bench for two seasons even if the Angels are paying most of the tab.…

Read more