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).…

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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.…

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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.)

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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.…

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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.…

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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.…

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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.…

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Yankees “quietly interested” in Michael Bourn?

Ah, the language of the offseason rumor mill. What does it mean to be “quietly interested” in someone, and how does that differ than just being interested in them? I’m not sure, really, other than that I guess it’s different than making sure everyone knows that a certain player is someone you really want to acquire in the way that the Dodgers did with Greinke or that the Yankees did with C.C. Sabathia back in 2008.

Anyway, yesterday Nick Cafardo reported that “some believe” the Yankees are “quietly interested” in Michael Bourn, and could move in to sign him if the market for him continues to not really develop as a lot of people thought it would. That is, if they feel like they’re getting a bargain. I can understand that, but frankly I don’t really see where Bourn fits into the roster at the moment. He’s an okay average hitter with no power and good plate discipline who adds a lot of value with his superb defense and base running skills.…

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Ichiro: The Return

It looks like Ichiro Suzuki will be a Yankee once again in 2013 and possibly 2014, if the rumors that are spreading around Twitter are true.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted:

ichiro, yankees deal will be for between $12-13M, still working on structure.

It’s unclear if the deal is for one year or two years.

More from Heyman:

ichiro had 2 outside offers for more $, but he told the #yankees he wants to be a yankee. so he agreed to stay a nyy.

Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News added:

Source: Ichiro not only has 2 yr/$14M offer from Phillies, but 2 yr/$15M offer from team believed to be the Giants. Will take less from NY

So all of that stuff about Ichiro being impatient and not wanting to wait for New York was a bunch of hooey since according to the reports, he’s taking less money to remain in Pinstripes.

Now, let’s hope he’s the Ichiro of August – October 2012 and not the Ichiro of 2010 – the first half of 2012.…

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