Griffin: Winter Meetings baseball roundup
DALLAS - The winter meetings finished Day 1 on Monday with the biggest names, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder still no closer to signing contracts. On the opening day, the spotlight was on Pujols agent Dan Lozano, who arrived at the Anatole and reportedly met with the Marlins, the Cubs and the Cardinals. The Marlins are major players for Pujols, even after signing former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes for a reported six years, $106 million. The Cardinals are said not to be interested in another Lozano client, shortstop Jimmy Rollins even though they need middle infield help. Fielder's agent Scott Boras is expected to take centre stage before the meetings are much further along.
*Boras is expected to explore interest for Fielder from the Mariners and the Orioles. New O's GM Dan Duquette suggested to Baltimore media that the Fielder bid may have stemmed from owner Peter Angelos, not the first time he has stepped in. The Brewers have taken heart by the fact that the market for Fielder seems to be shrinking. As such they coyly said they have no interest. If they re-enter it will be under new terms.
*The Marlins officially announced that free agent shortstop Jose Reyes had signed a six-year, $106 million contract. That move see the Marlins former shortstop Hanley Ramirez move to third base. His first reaction on the MLB Network was to insist he was still a shortstop, but owner Jeffrey Loria said there is no intention to trade Ramirez and that they will find a way to make everyone happy.
*The Marlins also took centre stage to announce that closer Heath Bell has signed a three-year, $27 million deal with an option for a fourth at $9 million.The loss of Bell by the Padres means they are now interested in the A's young closer Andrew Bailey. Other teams, including the Reds and the Jays are also interested in Bailey, who has two years left before his free agency, but may have priced himself out of Oakland.
*The Twins have agreed to terms with their own free agent righthander Matt Capps to a one-year contract for $4.5 million, plus an option of $6 million, including a buyout of $250,000. Capps had done the job for the Twins in 2010 in the absence of Joe Nathan, but struggled late in the 2011 season and was not regarded as a closer.
*The Twins were expected to non-tender lefthander Kevin Slowey, but instead are now shopping him in trade. The Jays were interested in Slowey at spring training. If they acquired him, he could compete for a 4-5 spot in the rotation or work in long relief.
*The C.J. Wilson derby has heated up with the Angels, Nats, Cubs, Marlins and Rangers all reportedly showing interest. The Red Sox have denied that they are one of the teams bidding on the Rangers lefthander.
*It seems that the Reds' negotiations for an extension with second baseman Brandon Phillips could all come down to the number of guaranteed years. If the extension talks fall through the Jays are high on Phillips.
*Shortstop Jimmy Rollins has become the top middle infielder on the market now that Reyes has signed. Rollins, another Boras client, is expected to return to the Phillies, although the Brewers are rumoured to be interested.
*Following the visit by new manager Bobby Valentine to the Dominican during his charity golf tournament just before the meetings, David Ortiz is expected to accord the Red Sox front-runner status in re-acquiring his services.
*The market for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes will become more focussed now that his agent has declared that he wants at least twice as much money as was given to fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman. That means he will be looking for at least $52 million.
*The rumour surrounding free agent lefthander Mark Buehrle is that the most important factors are a four-year guaranteed deal and a no-trade clause. The Twins, Nationals, Marlins and Rangers are said to be the front-runners. The Jays may have been interested, but on Monday Anthopoulos emphasized his preference for no no-trade clauses.
*In addition to the Jays, Red Sox and the Reds, the Padres are now interested in A's closer Andrew Bailey after losing Heath Bell to the Fish.
*The Dodgers signed free agent infielder Jerry Hairston, Jr. to a one-year deal. The Brewers and Reds are interested in former Jays righthander Octavio Dotel.
Sources for this Day 1 wrap-up include Fox Sports, ESPN.com, CBS Sportsline, SI.com, MLB.com, MLB Network and others. The meetings continue through Thursday and the Rule 5 draft.