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 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS

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PostSubject: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:29 pm

Tigers in middle of pre-Meetings rumors
Club might have new look -- or not -- after executives gather

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/02/09 12:00 AM EST

DETROIT -- Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has done plenty of talking with clubs over the past few weeks, and baseball's rumor mill has had plenty of talk about the Tigers as a result.

Starting Monday, when executives from around baseball gather in Indianapolis for their annual Winter Meetings, those talks will pick up again. One way or another, all that talk will lead to some action, and the Tigers could end up the talk of the meetings.

In the bigger picture, it should finally lead to some definition on what this offseason means for the Tigers.

"I would anticipate we will have a lot of talks next week," Dombrowski said.

While Dombrowski has said repeatedly that Detroit is not having a fire sale, payroll purge or any other financially motivated sell-off -- and he has said it often enough that he's tired of talking about it -- he has remained vague as to what the team is doing. Unlike past offseasons, when he has said he wasn't looking to trade certain players, he isn't doing that now. Quite the opposite, he's indicating that any list of untouchables is short, that he won't get into specific names, and that they've had a lot of talks with clubs.

On the payroll situation, he's using the term "fiscally responsible," a different statement now for a team that has ranked among baseball's five highest payrolls the past two seasons.

By the time team officials leave Indy and return to Detroit, key cogs to the 2009 team such as Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson could be ex-Tigers. Miguel Cabrera, the star slugger who made the Tigers the talk of the Winter Meetings two years ago when they acquired him from Florida, could draw big-market interest and maybe even an offer. And the Tigers could look a little more like a prospect-based club built for the coming years. Or they could turn their noses at the offers they get, pull back on some of those talks and head into 2010 looking pretty similar to this past season, save for a couple moves.

Like it or not, the Tigers are going to be the talk of the Meetings, whatever they do. It's an odd position for Dombrowski, who traditionally has done his best work under the radar, like the Cabrera trade two years ago, but it's the buzz they created when their willingness to talk trades on seemingly untouchable players hit clubs at last month's General Managers Meetings in Chicago.

Whether reality lives up to all the hype will be one of the defining story lines of the Winter Meetings. Dombrowski said he doesn't know what's going to happen with trades, and other teams are left guessing, too. In the end, how other trade talks around baseball turn out could have a major effect on what the Tigers do.

Of the potential players on the market, industry sources indicate that Jackson has a better chance of being traded than others, even if payroll isn't an overriding consideration. His star-caliber first half this past season makes him one of the game's budding young pitchers at age 26, but his inability to work through his second-half struggles raised concerns, as does his looming free agency in two years. If Detroit signs a pitcher long-term this winter, it'll be Justin Verlander. With starting pitching in demand, Jackson has a chance to draw more interest at the Meetings among clubs looking for a midrotation arm.

Granderson brings the appeal of a multitooled talent, offensively and defensively, who can provide a power bat in the leadoff spot. His character is unquestioned, and his contract leaves him under team control for at least the next three seasons. But those are also reasons the Tigers are likely to hold on to high demands for a return package and wait to see if teams meet it.

Then there's Cabrera, the man whom Dombrowski called "our core player" and "our foundation" while dismissing trade speculation back in April. That was before the Tigers fell short of the postseason for the second straight year, Cabrera went into a late-season slump and a domestic incident made headlines during Detroit's final-week fall out of first place.

Unlike Jackson and Granderson, Cabrera comes with the baggage of that incident and a contract that guarantees him $126 million over the next six seasons. The latter likely limits any discussions involving Cabrera to clubs that can take on that kind of contract, and of those clubs, very few have a need at first base.

Part of the problem for the Tigers is that the players they would want in return -- young talent that could help now and later -- are likely to be part of other trade talks. Although the Red Sox are the team most rumored for potential interest in Cabrera, for instance, their similarly rumored interest in Roy Halladay could take precedence. The result could be a logjam among clubs, waiting for one trade or free-agent signing to get things moving.

"I don't think it makes a different one way or the other for me," Dombrowski said of the timing of the market. "You deal with the timing and go from there. It's a later developing market with some decisions, but it's pretty obvious to me why: The World Series ended later than it usually does."

One oft-speculated way to bridge a talent gap would be for the Tigers to demand a team also take on one of Detroit's formidable contracts, of which there are many. Some in baseball suspect the Tigers will try to do this. Dombrowski, however, has said he will not make an unfair deal simply for financial reasons.

All the indications and speculation could be worthless by the time the Tigers race out of Indianapolis, with or without deals. All that seems certain is that the team's situation should be much clearer.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:35 pm

Last Updated: December 03. 2009 7:22PM
Tigers prepare for busy week at Winter Meetings
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Trades will be made by the Tigers, absolutely, during an off-season unlike any other from the past decade.

One or more blockbusters could well be wrapped up next week when baseball's Winter Meetings convene Monday in Indianapolis. They conclude with Thursday's Rule 5 draft.

Curtis Granderson will be discussed, for sure, even if the Tigers are aware that trading their star center fielder and most popular player could invite a fan backlash. So, too, will pitcher Edwin Jackson remain on the block as the Tigers bore into the business of pruning payroll and assembling a younger, more affordable mix of players heading into a new decade.

And the Tigers might not stop there.

It has already been a new kind of off-season for big-league teams as America's financial miseries finally claimed a sport that only a couple of years ago was awash in cash.

The Tigers are dealing with a double whammy: one of the highest payrolls in baseball in one of the most economically ravaged communities in the land.

The combination has led to a new effort to put together a more sensibly salaried contender built around younger, more affordable talent, which can arrive in Detroit at an earlier collective age and move toward their primes at the same approximate pace.

The Tigers would by now have made at least one big-name trade had baseball overall not been so slow to begin its off-season business. And there's a reason for that, said Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers' president and general manager.

"I don't think the market has had a chance to work itself out," Dombrowski said, alluding to the drip-drip pace at which trades have been made and free agents have been signed. "It's been a very unusual year, first and foremost because the World Series finished so late (Nov. 4).


"It (the off-season landscape) hasn't had much time to develop. I think a lot will be going on the next few weeks.

"And that's why the Winter Meetings, even more so, should be active."

The Tigers face a series of challenges that will create certain roster reconstruction:

The need for new and future left-side infielders. The team has not yet answered who, beyond Ramon Santiago or Brent Dlugach, will be its starting shortstop in 2010. Don't be surprised if any major trades by the Tigers next week or after involve a ready-to-play shortstop, even if it's a hotshot prospect with little big-league experience.

Third base still belongs to Brandon Inge, but only through 2010. Inge's contract runs out next year, when he turns 33, and the Tigers will be busy hunting for a long-term replacement.

Bullpen and starting pitching issues: Jackson is being shopped because of his agent, Scott Boras, and Jackson's 2011 free agency. Boras and the Tigers have done business in recent years, but always with free agents or with draft picks. Existing players like Jackson are a different issue for the simple fact Boras prefers to take such talent onto the free-agent market rather than sign early extensions. The Tigers don't believe they can risk losing Jackson for little compensation, nor would they want to see his trade stock continually dwindle as Jackson approaches free agency.

If Jackson goes, the Tigers would need to acquire another starting pitcher, likely a prospect, which would almost certainly be part of the trade price for one of their name-brand stars.

The team must also brace for the possibility two significant relief pitchers, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, will sign free-agent deals elsewhere. The Tigers have offered both pitchers salary arbitration, but Rodney and Lyon want multi-year deals. In any such case it would leave Dombrowski shopping hard for new back-end relief help.

Miguel Cabrera is available, but few clubs outside of the Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Angels could begin to take on the big first baseman's salary or provide the Tigers with the necessary talent to acquire him. Still, if the New York Yankees end up trading for pitcher Roy Halladay, the Red Sox would feel the heat to respond, and adding a hitter of Cabrera's stature and potential prowess at Fenway Park would be a powerful retaliatory response.

The Tigers are making Granderson available almost purely because of his marketability and trade value. They have simply concluded that they can find an adequate center fielder for a player who could bring key multiple performers in return.

The Chicago Cubs are a serious bidder there -- if they make good on efforts to first trade outfielder Milton Bradley, which seems to be a prerequisite for any earnest discussions with Detroit.

Asked again this week if he thought the 2009 Winter Meetings would be unusually active, Dombrowski said, with a knowing tone: "It wouldn't surprise me."

Nor would it shock other baseball GMs, many of whom have taken a look at the books, at the price of free agents, and concluded they might as well try and trade for a better and less expensive roster in 2010.

lynn.henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:13 am

Roundup: Huge deal could be brewing
Yankees, D-backs and Tigers reportedly working on a trade

By Alden Gonzalez and Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com

12/08/09 2:16 AM EST

Day 1 of the 2009 Winter Meetings saw the Hot Stove simmer with deals and rumors.

Blockbuster trade in the works?
The Yankees, D-backs and Tigers reportedly talked about a blockbuster trade that would send Detroit outfielder Curtis Granderson to New York and right-hander Edwin Jackson to Arizona, FOXSports.com reported on Monday night. But a source told the site that the talks are currently at an "impasse." The proposed deal would have Granderson and one or two D-backs prospects going to the Yankees, and Jackson and Yankees right-hander Ian Kennedy going to the D-backs. The Tigers would receive right-hander Max Scherzer from the D-backs, and center fielder Austin Jackson and left-handed relievers Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yankees.

Wolf, Brewers close to a three-year deal
The Brewers are on the verge of signing left-hander Randy Wolf to a three-year deal, multiple news outlets have reported. AOL Fanhouse first reported that the Brewers were close to signing the 33-year-old, and the deal was later confirmed by SI.com and the New York Post. Wolf is coming off a career season in which he went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 34 starts with the Dodgers after signing a one-year deal worth $5 million last offseason. He'll command more than that from Milwaukee.

Halladay to go from Jay to Ray?

Perhaps Andrew Friedman, the Rays' vice president of baseball operations, likes how that rhymes. Regardless, his club is the subject of one of the most surprising rumors of the day, as FOXSports.com -- citing Major League sources -- reported on Monday afternoon that the Rays are throwing themselves into the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. Tampa Bay might be willing to offer standout pitching prospect Wade Davis and outfielder B.J. Upton, whom Toronto could then flip to a third team. Halladay would have to waive his no-trade clause to play his final season before free agency in Tampa Bay. FOXSports.com added that the Rays also sought out Halladay before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. As of midafternoon, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had met with three or four teams, with three more left on Monday's schedule, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reported. ESPN.com and SI.com said that the Angels are also going to get involved with Halladay.

Pudge headed to D.C.
The Nationals made a surprising move late Monday night, signing Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth $6 million, according to Yahoo Sports. Earlier reports said that the 38-year-old wanted to finish his career with the Rangers, but he declined their arbitration offer and signed with Washington. The Rangers will obtain a Draft pick in the supplemental round because the 14-time All-Star and former American League MVP ranked as a Type B free agent.

Mets, Brewers discuss Maine for Hart
Two players with disappointing 2009 campaigns were discussed in a potential trade, as the New York Post reported that the Mets and Brewers talked about a trade that would send right fielder Corey Hart to New York and right-hander John Maine to Milwaukee. Hart hit .260 last season with just 12 home runs after hitting 24 homers in 2007 while Maine was limited to 81 1/3 innings because of injury after winning 15 games with a 3.91 ERA two years ago. The Mets also have an interest in trading for Rangers right-hander Kevin Millwood, according to the report.

Bay watch in L.A.
The free-agent market could see the Angels lose Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey, but it could allow them to add slugging outfielder Jason Bay. FOXSports.com reported that the Angels have "opened talks" with Bay. Another interested suitor is the Mariners, who have already reached a preliminary agreement with Figgins. According to The Seattle Times, Bay told his former Pirates teammates he'd stand on his head and sing on Edgar Martinez Way to play for the Mariners. ESPN.com, however, said the Mariners are "unlikely to get involved." Can that open the door for the Angels to steal Bay from the Red Sox?

The other big guns
In addition to Bay and Halladay, Matt Holliday, John Lackey and Aroldis Chapman are expected to capture the spotlight at this year's Winter Meetings, but it's been a relatively quiet day in regard to that threesome thus far. ESPN.com reported that the Mets are expected to meet with Lackey's agent, Steve Hilliard, later on Monday night. ... ESPN.com also said that it doesn't look as though Chapman -- who saw the figure of $60 million for six years floated by his name earlier in the offseason -- will get more than $20 million from any club, if that. ... And regarding Holliday, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak sat down with agent Boras on Sunday night for approximately 90 minutes.

Blanton on the block

AOL FanHouse cited two Major League sources in reporting that the Phillies are checking on other teams' potential interest in Joe Blanton, who stands to make about $7 million in arbitration next season. The site reported that since the Phillies are pretty much at their payroll limit, the money they'd free up from Blanton would allow them to get help for the back end of the bullpen. The Phillies would likely desire a more economical starting pitcher in return.

Mets considering Molina at backstop

Bengie Molina could find a new home with the Mets, as the team is considering offering the free-agent catcher a one-year deal worth $6 million with a second-year option, SI.com reported. The Mets would rather not guarantee a second year for the 35-year-old, but they haven't ruled it out, according to the report.

Mets going after Willingham, Rivera
MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported on Sunday that Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham was on the Mets' radar. On Monday, The New York Post added another name: Juan Rivera. The Post reported that both are being pursued by the Mets in case the price for Bay or Holliday becomes too steep, as the team is concerned about spending too much for a left fielder when they'd also like to fill needs at catcher, in the starting rotation and in the bullpen. Rivera has two years at a combined $9.5 million left in his contract, whereas Willingham made $2.95 million in 2009 and could double that figure through arbitration.

Mets also eyeing Kennedy?
The Mets have shown interest in free agent Adam Kennedy and would like him to be their starting second baseman, according to FOXSports.com. The site also mentioned the Diamondbacks as being in the mix, but MLB.com's Steve Gilbert said that Arizona is not involved. The Mets, of course, would have to unload veteran Luis Castillo. Kennedy had a solid year with the Athletics in 2009, batting .289 with 11 homers, 63 RBIs and 20 steals. He turns 34 on Jan. 10.

Nats get Bruney from Yanks

The first announced trade of the Winter Meetings saw the Nationals acquire right-hander Brian Bruney for a player to be named. Bruney, who is arbitration-eligible, was scheduled to get a bump from his $1.25 million from 2009. The 27-year-old right-hander went 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in 44 games for the Yankees this past season and could serve as a nice setup option to closer Mike MacDougal.

Seven teams after Johnson
ESPN.com names the Mariners, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, D-backs, Orioles and Yankees as being linked to first baseman Nick Johnson, who is injury-prone but has a career on-base percentage of .402. Based on the report, Seattle seems to have the most interest.

Negotiations with King Felix cranking up
The Mariners will meet with young ace Felix Hernandez in the next couple of days, and SI.com has learned that Hernandez seeks a six-year deal in the $100 million range. The Mariners have said they're not looking to trade Hernandez, who's a free agent after the 2011 season and will look to triple his 2009 salary of $3.8 million through arbitration. The Seattle Times wrote that the Mariners offered Hernandez a four-year, $45 million extension, likely as a starting point.

Pettitte back for more
ESPN.com reported on Monday morning that Andy Pettitte wants to return for his 16th season, attributing unnamed Major League sources in writing that "it's now just a matter of working out a deal with the Yankees." The New York Post reported that the 37-year-old left-hander turned down New York's initial offer, which was believed to be about $10 million, or close to what Pettitte got last year in base salary and incentives. A National League official also told the newspaper a deal will get done, "and privately, the Yankees believe Pettitte wants to pitch in the Bronx in 2010." The New York Daily News, however, countered by citing a source in reporting that no official offer has been made but that the Yanks planned to make one of more than $10 million on Monday.

Colletti shoots down Sherrill rumors

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times that George Sherrill is not on the trading block, despite earlier reports from FOXSports.com that stated the Dodgers are trying to deal the left-handed reliever. Colletti also said that if the Dodgers trade high-priced outfielder Juan Pierre, they'll want pitching in return.

Meet the Meche!

The Mets would like nothing more than to add Lackey to the top of their rotation and have him team up with Johan Santana. But in case Lackey's asking price gets too high, the New York Post reports, the Mets are looking into other options, such as Royals starter Gil Meche. Mets GM Omar Minaya and Royals GM Dayton Moore spoke "several times" before the Winter Meetings and plan on expanding on those talks in Indianapolis. Meche is owed $24 million through two more years in his contract, and the Mets might explore including Castillo in the deal while taking on another bad contract -- like that of Kyle Farnsworth ($4.5 million) or Juan Cruz ($3.25 million) -- according to the Post.

V-Mart extension on Boston's to-do list

The Red Sox already picked up Victor Martinez's $7.1 million club option last month, and they'll hope to re-sign Bay and add rotation depth at this year's Winter Meetings. Once their four-day stint in Indianapolis is over, however, they may be looking to extend the contract of Martinez, The Providence Journal reported after talking to Martinez's agent. Alan Nero told the publication there have been no talks yet regarding his client but that they'll likely start up in January.

Bradley could fit in Tampa Bay, Texas ... New York?

As MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reported on Sunday night, the Rays and Rangers are interested in disgruntled Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley, but it will all come down to how much money Chicago is willing to pick up from Bradley's contract. The 31-year-old switch-hitter is owed $21 million over the next two seasons. The Rangers may be looking at him only as a last resort, but the Cubs could provide some of the bullpen help Texas needs in a trade. The Rays, who would like to move outfielder Pat Burrell, would like Bradley in the lineup but would also need the Cubs to pay some of the money owed him. Cubs GM Jim Hendry has indicated that there are at least three teams interested in Bradley, and possibly a fourth, Muskat wrote.

A third team is believed to be the Mets, who would like to move Castillo. Castillo has two years and $12 million remaining on his contract, and the Mets would like to add some pop to their lineup. The Mets also were believed to be talking to the Rays about Burrell.

Potential suitors line up for Lindstrom

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported that hard-throwing right-hander Matt Lindstrom is likely to be dealt this offseason, with Leo Nunez expected to be the front-runner to be the closer in 2010. Frisaro said that the Rays are one of the teams interested in the 29-year-old, while several outlets are saying the Rangers are also intrigued. ESPN.com, which called the Rangers the most interested suitor, reported on Sunday afternoon that a deal is "imminent," but it's still not certain where Lindstrom -- arbitration-eligible for the first time -- could land.

Alden Gonzalez and Rhett Bollinger are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:44 am

Roundup: Stakes high on Day 2 of Meetings
Yankees, Diamondbacks, Tigers close to blockbuster trade

By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com

12/08/09 3:35 PM EST

Here's a look at the movers and shakers from Day 2 of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis.

Three-team deal not dead yet
It just wouldn't be the Winter Meetings without the dramatic back-and-forth of intricate trades. A complicated three-team deal involving the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers that was proposed on Monday afternoon, looked dead in the water early Tuesday morning and gained new life close to noon ET was finalized at around 2 p.m., according to various media outlets.

In the deal, the Yankees will get center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers; the D-backs will get right-handers Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy from the Tigers and Yankees, respectively; and the Tigers will receive right-hander Max Scherzer and lefty Daniel Schlereth from the D-backs, and young center fielder Austin Jackson and southpaw Phil Coke from the Yankees.

New York will get its legit everyday center fielder, the D-backs will get a pair of starting pitchers to join Dan Haren and Brandon Webb in the rotation and the Tigers will get a perceived Major League-ready player in Austin Jackson while saving a guaranteed $25.75 million over the next four years on Granderson, as well as the significant raise Edwin Jackson would have received through arbitration on the $2.2 million he made in 2009.

The question for the Yankees now is this: How does the acquisition of Granderson affect the potential re-signing of free-agent outfielders Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui?

Teahen locked up for three years

The White Sox have signed Mark Teahen, whom they acquired from the Royals on Nov. 6, to a three-year, $14 million deal. The contract buys out Teahen's first two years of arbitration and tops out at $5.5 million while taking care of his first year of free agency, 2012. Teahen has experience playing third base, second base, first base and all three outfield positions, but he has seen the most action in his five-year big league career -- spent entirely in Kansas City -- at third base and right field. This past season, he batted .271 with 12 homers, 50 RBIs and a career-high 34 doubles.

Cards meet with Boras; Holliday talks slow
As MLB.com's Matthew Leach reported, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak met with agent Scott Boras on Sunday night for about 90 minutes to discuss Matt Holliday and the potential for St. Louis to bring him back. Mozeliak called the talks "still very preliminary," and it was uncertain as of Monday evening whether the two would reconvene before the Winter Meetings end on Thursday, Leach added.

Mariners' interest in Bay 'overstated'?

The Seattle Times reported on Monday that Jason Bay told his former Pirates teammates he would "stand on his head and sing on Edgar Martinez Way" to sign with the Mariners. According to a FOXSports.com report on Tuesday, however, Seattle may not feel as strongly. The site attributed Major League sources in reporting that the club's interest in Bay has been "overstated" and that there's concern about his defense in Safeco Field's spacious left field. Still, the Mariners -- as does pretty much every team -- like Bay's bat. The question is whether they're willing to spend the amount of money it's going to take to acquire it.

Yankees could court DeRosa, Marquis
Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch on Monday that his club has spoken to the representatives for free agents Mark DeRosa and Jason Marquis. As Hoch wrote, Cashman flew to Indianapolis on the private jet of agents Sam and Seth Levinson, and the topic of Marquis -- one of the Levinsons' clients -- came up. Cashman later called the New York product "tough." Regarding DeRosa, Cashman said, "He's a nice, flexible player who can hit and play multiple positions."

Royals keen on Barajas, Kendall

Catching is one of the Royals' top priorities this offseason, and The Kansas City Star cites two backstops who could be a fit: Rod Barajas and Jason Kendall, both of whom are Type B free agents. The Royals were interested in Ivan Rodriguez, but he signed a two-year contract with the Nationals on Monday. Miguel Olivo hit free agency and the club isn't expected to tender John Buck by Saturday's deadline, which would leave Brayan Pena as the only catcher on the club's 40-man roster. Kendall made $5 million last season, but though the Royals don't have the resources to match that, they can offer something close to what Barajas made in 2009 -- $2.5 million -- according to The Star. Kendall, who at 35 likely wouldn't be offered $5 million from any club, is "focusing on a possible contract with Kansas City," since the club can offer him a chance to play every day, FOXSports.com reported.

Uggla's next destination: Baltimore?

The Orioles need some corner-infield help and pop in the middle of their batting order, and though the Marlins' Dan Uggla is a second baseman, he did play third base in the Minor Leagues, and that could land him in Baltimore. Uggla's price tag has put him on the trading block this year, and MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Orioles are among the teams with which the Marlins have had preliminary discussions regarding the two-time All-Star. The Giants also remain interested. As usual, the Marlins would seek pitching prospects in return, Frisaro added.

Trade Deadline deal of Halladay still a possibility?
Roy Halladay's representatives have made it clear that they'd either like their client to be moved out of Toronto by Spring Training or wait until he's a free agent during the 2010 offseason. But as SI.com points out, new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has kept negotiations so secretive that rumors may not swarm as much around Halladay -- who has a no-trade clause -- during the upcoming season compared with this past year. That could potentially make Halladay more comfortable with talks taking place in July if he isn't moved during the offseason.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:31 pm

I say let's put a bid in on Uggla, make him DH.

And at least TRY for some starting pitching. We need some more vets here.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:56 pm

They can't afford vets unless they come cheap this year. Maybe next year when over 50 mil. come off the books.


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:56 pm

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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:37 pm

Tigers still looking at veteran relievers
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on December 8, 2009 at 11:04 PM

Unless the Tigers go with an experimental 10-man bullpen, they'll have more young relievers than they'll likely have spots in their bullpen once the agreed-upon trade of Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson becomes official. But that apparently doesn't rule out the Tigers dealing for a veteran closer.

Quite the opposite, the Tigers would like one, and they're expanding their search after Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon turned down Detroit's arbitration offers late Monday night. They remain interested in bringing one of them back, but they're preparing as if both of them move on.

Whether it's Lyon, Rodney or someone else, the Tigers are hoping to have a veteran reliever.

"It doesn't have to be now," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We didn't sign Brandon Lyon [last winter] until late January, but ideally we'd like to have somebody [experienced] out there, yes."

By adding potential future closer Daniel Schlereth from Arizona and lefty Phil Coke from the Yankees, Detroit further bolstered a group of young relievers that Dombrowski already praised for its potential depth. Ryan Perry was already expected to compete for a setup role next spring, while similar hard-throwing righties Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt could crack the big leagues later in the season after getting more seasoning at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Add in lefty Fu-Te Ni, still-young Zach Miner and a potentially healthy Joel Zumaya, and Detroit's bullpen has the chance to be very deep, very soon. That doesn't, however, mean that they're going to take over the late innings completely quite yet.

When asked about an established closer on Monday, Dombrowski suggested the Tigers could go a different route. On Tuesday, Dombrowski confirmed they were talking with more veteran arms, as well as maintaining talks on Rodney and Lyon.

"Both of them were looking for multi-year deals," Dombrowski said. "They made that clear. We continue to have interest in them, but I'm also sure that they want to explore what's out there, and that's what they're doing. We continue to talk to them and are interested in them."

Whether the Tigers would be willing to offer a multi-year deal just became an interesting question. A trade of Granderson and Jackson will open up payroll space, giving the Tigers some much-needed flexibility to address needs. However, it also gives Detroit yet another closing option for the very near future.

The rest of the market is an interesting mix of candidates, and the Tigers are exploring. A FOXSports.com report listed Detroit among clubs interested in free agent J.J. Putz, a trade market of the Tigers last year before the Mariners traded their former closer to the Mets. Any interest would be relatively new; Detroit hadn't so much as talked with Putz's agent as of last week.

Detroit also was reportedly among a handful of teams with early interest in former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.

"We did talk to a couple people, yes, once we knew that they were not accepting arbitration for sure," Dombrowski said. "Now, we continue to have interest in [Rodney and Lyon], but we also have to start doing our homework. In case they go to other places, we have to be prepared."


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:25 am

Rule 5 could uncover hidden gems
Teams hope to land underrated talent in Thursday's Draft

By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com

12/09/09 5:00 PM EST

INDIANAPOLIS -- There were 21 players taken in the Major League phase of last year's Rule 5 Draft. Of those, six saw time in the big leagues during the 2009 season. Only three stuck with the teams that drafted or traded for them on Draft Day.

That, by and large, is a pretty good success rate, which gives a pretty strong idea of just how much of a crapshoot the Rule 5 Draft is.

Nevertheless, all 30 teams will come together here at the Winter Meetings to give it a shot. This year's Draft starts at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday. MLB.com will carry the audio portion of the event live from Indianapolis.

During the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, eligible players left unprotected from their clubs' 40-man rosters may be selected for $50,000. A player selected must remain on his drafting team's active Major League roster during the following season or be sent back to the original club for $25,000.

The low cost makes it a worthwhile risk for many teams hoping to find that diamond in the rough. Buzz about this year's crop had been relatively low, though names were starting to circulate as Wednesday wore on.


WHERE THE 40-MAN STANDS
Below is the order of selection for the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday andwhere each team stands with its 40-man roster. A team must have fewerthan 40 to make a selection in the Major League phase of the Draft.
Pick No.___ Team____ Roster size
1______ Washington_______ 40
2 Pittsburgh 38
3 Baltimore 39
4 Kansas City 40
5 Cleveland 39
6 Arizona 38
7 NY Mets 39
8 Houston 37
9 San Diego 39
10 Oakland 40
11 Toronto 38
12 Cincinnati 40
13 Chicago White Sox 39
14 Milwaukee 38
15 Chicago Cubs 38
16 Tampa Bay 39
17 Seattle 37
18 Detroit 39
19 Atlanta 40
20 Minnesota 40
21 Texas 38
22 Florida 39
23 San Francisco 39
24 St. Louis 35
25 Colorado 38
26 Philadelphia 33
27 LA Dodgers 33
28 Boston 32
29 LA Angels 38
30 NY Yankees 38

The basic early response from frequent queries around the hotel has been some version of, "Haven't heard any names, have you?" The general consensus is that there were no names really jumping out, but there would undoubtedly be activity in the Major League phase. Some teams expressed initial doubt, but then seemed to come around as internal meetings turned to the Rule 5.

"There's a good chance we'll take somebody," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, whose club has the second pick.

That statement came just one day after Huntington stated, "I don't know that there is a guy that we felt as strongly about as we did last year and the year before on the board right now. But as we go through our process, we'll be sound and diligent in our thoughts."

There have been similar years that have appeared quiet leading into the Draft. In 2006, there was buzz about Josh Hamilton, but it seemed more like a curiosity than anything else. Not only did Hamilton go on to become an All-Star with the Texas Rangers, but that "quiet" Draft also produced All-Star closer Joakim Soria as well as big league reliever Jared Burton and Nationals catcher Jesus Flores.

There was some intrigue heading into the start of this year's Draft with the top pick. Initially owned by the Washington Nationals (like with the June First-Year Player Draft, the selection order is based on the reverse order of the standings at the end of the season), the pick was sent to the Yankees in the Brian Bruney deal. As of Wednesday afternoon, it was unclear whether New York would keep the pick or try to deal it to another team for cash. The Yankees were leaning toward using the pick on Wednesday afternoon, but things can always change.

A couple of names were cropping up as potential high picks. Marlins outfielder John Raynor had a bit of a down year in Triple-A, but still has a career .299/.383/.452 line. D-backs pitcher Hector Ambriz was another one thought to be an early pick. The right-hander out of UCLA spent most of his time in Triple-A, and finished 2009 with a 12-11 record and 4.94 ERA.

Every year, there are a few strong-armed players who are lower down in the Minors who get taken in the hopes of catching lighting in the bottle, a la Soria. This year's version could be Arquimedes Caminero. The Marlins reliever pitched at a couple of lower levels in 2009, with 15 games at short-season Jamestown and Greensboro in the South Atlantic League. The 22-year-old did show arm strength, striking out 61 in 40 2/3 total innings.

Whatever happens on Thursday, it's not just about taking a player, of course. Ideally, the player sticks on the big league roster and the team gets a steal. With the names being mentioned not wowing anyone, the question remains just how many teams will take a chance at taking a player they're even less sure about being able to keep than in usual years.

"The challenge of carrying a Rule 5 player, as we experienced this year, is real," Huntington said. "It's not just selecting the player. It's the reality of being able to carry that player throughout the entire season. It's not just about Thursday."

Here are some other names who have been mentioned as possible picks on draft day:


Aaron Breit, RHP, Padres:
Breit's overall numbers haven't always been great, but his power stuff still looks enticing. He struck out 110 in 107 2/3 innings in the California League last year and was sharper in relief (3.07 ERA, .222 average against) than as a starter.

Bobby Cassevah, RHP, Angels:
A 34th round pick out of high school back in the 2004 Draft, Cassevah was a Texas League All-Star this past year and finished with a 3.68 ERA in 57 relief outings. He held hitters to a .236 average and struck out 45 in 73 1/3 IP. Right-handed hitters fared much more poorly, with a .199 average against.

Koby Clemens, C, Astros:
It's highly unlikely that Roger's son will get taken, being that he just played in the Class A Advanced California League. But given his name and the fact that he led the Minors with 123 RBIs makes him at least worth a mention.

Colin Curtis, OF, Yankees:
Curtis could make for a solid backup outfielder type at the big league level. He hit just .250/.321/.364 during the year, but was impressive in the Arizona Fall League. Over 78 at-bats, he hit .398/.472/.731. Sure, small sample size, but you can bet people were watching.

Steve Clevenger, C, Cubs:
The Cubs were preparing to possibly get hit a few times, with Clevenger perhaps the most likely to go. The converted backstop has earned raves for his work behind the plate. He also hit .290/.344/.378 in Double- and Triple-A in 2009.

Chris Hayes, RHP, Royals:
The submariners don't often get a lot of love, but Hayes has put up solid numbers all the way up the Kansas City chain. He pitched in Double- and Triple-A, so it's not that big of a leap for the right-hander and a stat-minded team might like his really low walk and home-run rates.

Zach Kroenke, LHP, Yankees:
If the name looks familiar, it's because he was taken a year ago, only to be returned to the Yankees. He's coming off a very solid Triple-A season, where he finished with a 1.99 ERA and .213 average against. Some scouts saw him throw well in the Arizona Fall League. During the regular season, lefties hit just .186 against him and lefty specialists are often in demand.

Chuck Lofgren, LHP, Indians:
Speaking of possible lefty specialists, Lofgren might fit that bill even though he's spent most of his pro career as a starter. He pitched extremely well in Double-A to start the year, but scuffled a bit over 17 Triple-A starts. But the numbers that might stand out to a team are 19-for-106. That's what left-handed hitters managed against Lofgren, which translates to a .179 average.

Matt McBride, C, Indians:

Teams like the bat, and for good reason. During the regular season, he hit .287/.340/.489, finishing with 18 homers and 99 RBIs between the Carolina and Eastern leagues. He then went on to hit a torrid .378/.511/.649 in the Arizona Fall League. The only question is about the defense. An American League team that could have him catch a little and DH some might take a shot.

Jean Machi, RHP, Pirates:
Sometimes, a player's performance in winter ball leads to a Rule 5 selection. It's not that Machi was bad in 2009, finishing with a 2.09 ERA and 12 saves between Double-A Altoon and Triple-A Indianapolis while holding hitters to a .202 average. He's improved his stock with his work in the Venezuelan Winter League. The right-hander leads the league with 13 saves and has a 1.57 ERA in 24 games. Over 28 2/3 IP, he's allowed just 21 hits (.202 BAA) and four walks while striking out 21.

Yohan Pino, RHP, Indians:
The 25-year-old had an extremely successful 2009 season across two levels and two organizations. He began the year in Double-A with the Twins, got promoted to Triple-A, then got dealt to the Indians in the Carl Pavano trade. Combined, he went 9-3 with a 2.83 ERA. Over 127 IP, he gave up 110 hits, walked just 29 and racked up 122 strikeouts. Teams have been able to follow his progress in Venezuela this winter and he's shown the ability to start and relieve.

Chad Thall, LHP, Orioles:
Thall is a big lefty coming off a very solid season in Double-A. He finished with a 2.69 ERA in 53 games, holding hitters to a .214 batting average against and striking out 55 over 60 1/3 IP. And he was death to lefties, holding them to a .188 batting average against while striking out 36 in 28 1/3 innings.

Corey Wimberly, UTIL, A's:
He's got a lot of what teams look for in a Rule 5 pick: speed to spare and the ability to play a number of positions. Think of a poor man's Chone Figgins.

Armando Zerpa, LHP, Red Sox:
He's only 22 and he's left-handed. On top of that, he held hitters to a .172 average and struck out 78 in 74 2/3 innings across two levels of A-ball. He was even stingier against lefties, holding them to a .097 batting average (7-for-72). Command (35 walks) might be a bit of an issue.


Jonathan Mayo
is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:10 pm

We are going to need to go after a pitcher. Preferrably a righty.
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PostSubject: Re: 2009 Winter Meetings & Rule 5 Draft NEWS   Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:59 pm

Tigers once again big player at Meetings
Megadeal provides club with right adjustments for future

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/10/09 2:52 PM EST

INDIANAPOLIS -- Face it, the Winter Meetings would be all talk and no moves without the Tigers. This year's moves, however, took on an entirely different tone.

Two years ago, they pulled off the megadeal trade that landed them Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Florida for six prospects, forging their place as a daring team going for it all. Their smaller deals last year netted them some of the smaller pieces that helped them rebound with Edwin Jackson, Gerald Laird and Adam Everett.

The key word of this year's Winter Meetings for the Tigers was "adjustments." And in adjusting their roster with the trade of Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, they feel like they've moved back toward what they were doing in years past, blending prospects with veterans and trying to contend long-term rather than make a short-term run.

"I think what we've done well through our time is bring in young players and develop them and bring them up," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday. "We kind of got away from it, because we were just in a position where [we asked] what can we do to get this final piece. And I think that this gives us an opportunity to go back to building like we would like and set the foundation."

It's no longer about the final piece for the Tigers, but about shuffling the puzzle a bit. The Michigan economy and Detroit's heavy contracts over the past few years have helped force the issue.

Considering Detroit's payroll still projects at well over $100 million, trading Granderson and Jackson doesn't save the Tigers all that much money. Granderson will make around $5.25 million, and Jackson is expected to draw somewhere in that neighborhood in arbitration. There's more long-term relief once the backloaded portion of Granderson's contract kicks in for 2011 and '12, but the Tigers' payroll was going to be dramatically different around that time anyway.

More than relief, the trade provides an infusion of talent -- young, lower-cost and projectable. Austin Jackson could be Detroit's starting center fielder on Opening Day at age 23, while Max Scherzer will most likely be the Tigers' No. 3 starter in just his third professional season. Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry, teammates in the University of Arizona bullpen in the spring of 2008, could be a late-inning duo in Detroit's bullpen in April '10.

The Tigers have had prospects fill some holes over the past couple years -- that Porcello kid looked pretty good -- but not on a large scale. Last season's Opening Day lineup featured just three homegrown players -- Granderson, third baseman Brandon Inge and ace Justin Verlander. When the Tigers take the field at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City next April 5, they could have three starting rookies, depending on catcher Alex Avila's situation, and three more homegrown starters with Verlander, Inge and possibly Ryan Raburn.

"I think it sets us up for the future in tremendous fashion," Dombrowski said.

The Tigers will probably be one of the busiest teams at next year's Winter Meetings, too. When teams gather next December at Walt Disney World, the Tigers will most likely have dropped more than $50 million off their payroll in expiring contracts to Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Willis, Inge and perhaps others.

"Hey, we made some signings that haven't worked out for us," Dombrowski said. "And we're almost through it."

Deals done: Traded outfielder Granderson to the Yankees and right-hander Jackson to the D-backs for outfielder Jackson, right-hander Scherzer and left-handers Phil Coke and Schlereth; signed shortstop Everett to a one-year contract; signed left-hander Brad Thomas to a one-year contract; signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a Minor League contract; traded left-hander Clay Rapada to the Rangers for a player to be named or cash.

Rule 5 activity: None

Goals accomplished: As tough of a move as it was, the Tigers nonetheless turned their two most appealing trade pieces into four young players, bolstering their pitching staff while turning over center field to someone they hope will develop into the next Granderson. In the process, they gained some payroll flexibility that Dombrowski admitted they had to find.

Unfinished business: Look for the Tigers to check on a leadoff option if they can pull off a minor deal (Juan Pierre) or signing (Scott Podsednik), though they won't try to block Austin Jackson's path to the big leagues. If they can add a left-handed bat in the same move, even better. They still have to either add a closer or decide to go with their current relievers for the ninth inning, a debate that will likely linger through the holidays and on toward Spring Training.

GM's bottom line:
"We are making some adjustments and it's a business decision, and hopefully we are bringing in people that people will fall in love with. When you trade players, and having gone through this for a while, that are known for the unknown, it's never a popular move with your fans. There will be some people that like those moves -- but then you have to make good decisions." -- Dombrowski

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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