Garza to Seattle?; Bedard to the Mets?; and Jason Bay

We touched on the main news from Ken Rosenthal today – that being the Joe Nathan rumors.  But Rosenthal also had some other good tidbits.  Let’s take a look.

  • According to Rosenthal, “Matt Garza remains the young pitcher the Twins are most likely to move.”  Rosenthal mentions the Mariners as a potential partner with centerfield stud prospect Adam Jones as a return package.  I think that would be an absolute fleece for Minnesota, given their pitching depth (even after a Santana deal) and need for a center fielder.  Adam Jones is a future star.  And that’s no disrespect towards Matt Garza, who looks poised to be at least a future #2 starter.
  • The New York Mets made a “strong run” at Erik Bedard in last months GM meetings, but Baltimore president Andy McPhail wasn’t quite ready to deal the young ace then.  One would think the Mets would have to include Carlos Gomez and Lastings Milledge in a deal, among others.   Bedard is exactly what the Mets need in my opinion, and Baltimore is a team that Minaya has fleeced before (John Maine and Jorge Julio for Kris Benson).
  • Rosenthal speculates that the Pirates will try to hold on to Jason Bay until next winter to see if he can increase his trade value this season.  But if they get the right offer at next weeks winter meetings, they’ll pull the trigger.  Pittsburgh is looking at building around top prospects Andrew McCutcheon (CF) and Neil Walker (C), both 21 years old.  So look for Pitt to get younger for a potential run around 2010.
  • The Yankees will not be fleeced when signing middle relievers this year.  They apparently have a budget (yea, right) and will not overpay for the likes of Ron Mahay.  I say, FALSE.  

D-Backs Make Offer to Kuroda

dbacks-logo.jpgAccording to AZCentral.com, the Arizona Diamondbacks have made a 3-year offer worth a reported $27 million to free agent Japanese right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Thanks to mlbtraderumors.com for the link.

The Seattle Mariners are still viewed as the favorite to land the coveted pitcher from Japan, but this offer, if true, serves as a bench mark for Kuroda. It is apparent he may receive $10 million per season, even though many scouts project him as a # 3 starter in the MLB.

If Kuroda should decide to accept an offer from Arizona, he could serve as an upgrade over FA starter Livan Hernandez. Or, he could be the second coming of Kei Igawa, the Japanese lefty who fleeced Brian Cashman and the NYY last winter to the tune of 5 years and $20 million (not to mention the $26 million posting fee, which does not count against the club’s payroll, but is still noteworthy).

The Kansas City Royals have been involved with Kuroda rumors as well.

Royals Shift Attention to Guillen

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The Kansas City Royals’ pursuit of a power hitting outfielder continues, as their hopes of landing Torii Hunter were dashed when the center fielder signed a 5 year $90 million deal with the Angels. At the Kansas City Star, Bob Dutton has the scoop. The Royals’ have been in search of a hard-hitting right handed outfielder, and their apparent bid for Hunter (in the range of 5 years $70 million), fell well shy.   Despite being linked to Andruw Jones by SI’s John Heyman, the only other “true” option in this year’s free agent market might be Jose Guillen, 31. Guillen’s value has taken a hit with a recent steroid controvery surrounding the right fielder. Despite a possible suspension for a portion of 2008, the Royals may still turn to Guillen to provide some pop. This kind of controversy could bring down Guillen’s price, which could work in GM Dayton Moore’s favor.

In 2007, Guillen hit .290 with 23 HR and 99 RBI in 153 games for the Seattle Mariners.

More Japanese Free Agent Rumors: Kobayashi, Kuroda

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  • Courtesy of Fox Sports, the Cleveland Indians are having Japanese reliever Masahide Kobayashi in for a physical Tuesday and could potentially complete a deal later this week.  Kobayashi, 33, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Chiba Lotte Marines and has an impressive 2.79 ERA with 227 saves over that span.   A signing by the Indians would be great fleece insurance against the Joe Borowski signing from last year.  They can’t possibly press their luck and roll the dice on Borowski again, can they?  Plus, Rafael Betancourt was used heavily last year and could use some help.
  • In other Japanese free agent news, the Mariners are considering sending front office memeber to Japan in order to negotiate with free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  Kuroda has a career record of 103-89 with an ERA of 3.69.  Last season, he tossed 180 innings with a 12-8 record, 3.56 era with 123 K’s.  Scouts say Kuroda has a 96 mph fastball, a slider and forkball.  Sources told the Tacoma News Tribune that Kuroda is asking for three or four years at $11 million per season.  If you ask me, this has FLEECE written all over it.  Besides the Mariners, the Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers and Phillies have expressed interest in Kuroda.

Update: Kobayashi has signed a 2-year pact with the Indians. 

Quiet in the Emerald City?

ms_logo.gif There has not been a ton of many rumors coming out of Seattle in recent days, but there has been a few murmurings. In the past week, it has been noted by John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the Mariners will be looking to upgrade their starting rotation this offseason.  Like most clubs, they are not at all enamored with signing guys like Kyle Loshe or Carlos Silva to multi-year deals at $10M+ a year.   And who can blame them?!  These two are gonna be handing some GM’s a beautiful warm fleece for the holidays!  However, the Mariners are interested in the 32-year old Japanese FA pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.  He only had a record of 103-89 in 11 seasons playing in Japan, but he has a long list of suitors in the States.  These include the Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies and Royals as well.  As noted in Hickey’s article, the M’s have a serious advantage, with Kuroda preferring the West Coast and because they have a Japanese catcher in Kenji Jojima.  They certainly has to make Kuroda feel all warm-and-fuzzy inside.  Kuroda is apparently seeking between $7-9M/year. 

It seems the Mariners may also focus on Bartolo Colon as a possible starter, maybe as a Plan B is the Kuroda signing falls through?  Colon has been oft-injured in the past few seasons, and will come at a discount.  Maybe the Mariners can get him cheaply on a 1-2 year deal, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. 

Other than pitching, the Mariners don’t seem to be pursuing many free agents or possible trades for position players.  They seem set on putting their star prospect Adam Jones in RF next season, with Ichiro of course in CF, Raul Ibanez in right, and Jose Vidro at DH.