Posted on: December 21, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:08 pm

Mariners, Nats, O's among teams eyeing Prince

Indications are the Mariners, Nationals and Orioles are among about a half-dozen teams still eyeing star free agent Prince Fielder.

The Fielder derby is heating up, as some teams have made offers or at least given an indication where they'd be willing to go monetarily for the slugger. The Cubs, Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins and incumbent Brewers also have been mentioned as possibilities for Prince.

The Mariners are one of the teams that's suggested their price range for Fielder, although it's unclear how serious Fielder might be about willing to play on the West Coast. Some close to the Florida product and longtime Brewer have suggested he'd prefer to stay in the East or Central time zones. Seattle is also said to have financial limitations and are believed unwilling to break their bank for any one player.

The Nationals have been keeping a low profile on their pursuit and it's unknown where they stand but signs suggest they do have Fielder on their radar. He isn't a perfect fit as they already have Mike Morse and Adam LaRoche for first base, though they could move Morse to the outfield and LaRoche is a small expense compared to Fielder.

The Orioles remain interested, according to a person with knowledge of their thinking. They may be geographically desirable to Fielder but it isn't known how their status as a rebuilding team might impact the player.

The Marlis remain a curiosity. Team president David Samson has suggested they lack interest, but owner Jeffrey Loria has give public quotes amounting to something along the lines of "we'll see.'' The Rangers are also believed to have interest even after winning the bid for star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. The Cubs are said to interested but the status of their pursuit, and that of the Jays, remains unclear.

The Brewers have been painted as a long shot but they haven't given up all hope they could retain Fielder.

For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.

Posted on: December 20, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:20 pm

Don't count out Rangers on Fielder

So now that the Rangers have bid $51.7 million on Yu Darvish, they have to be out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, right?

Not necessarily.

The Rangers have always seemed on the periphery of the Fielder derby, but they still appear to be eyeing the top remaining free agent even after winning the Darvish auction and presumably targeting at least $100 million, and likely more, for the star 25-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Texas is a threat to win Fielder, too, provided that the Rangers are willing to make the financial commitment it would take, as it is a desirable landing spot with an already stacked lineup and fine hitting ballpark.

Texas had baseball’s third most productive offense last year, but would threaten to possess baseball’s best lineup with Fielder in it. The Fielder pursuit has been pretty quiet, but other teams believed to have some interest in Fielder include the Mariners, Nationals, Cubs, Orioles, Marlins and incumbent Brewers.

The Rangers have always liked Fielder, and it’s not known whether their interest has actually increased in response to the chief rival Angels landing superstar Albert Pujols and frontline pitcher C.J. Wilson, the ex-Ranger. The Angels’ two huge purchases, which occurred the same day at the Winter Meetings, surprised the Rangers and most of baseball and gave Los Angeles of Anaheim a resounding early offseason victory at a cost of $332.5 million.

Word is, Darvish is seeking a deal for about $75 million over five years, which would be on top of the $51.7 million posting fee Texas would be required to pay the Fighters should they sign him, as expected. If they were to pay Fielder, say $206 million, they’d top the Angels in expense for their two players.

The Rangers were not interested in Pujols but do like Fielder because he is only 27 years old and would fit into their star-studded lineup.  Texas is also trying to lock up several of their own stars, including Derek Holland, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.

Signing Fielder would also give the Rangers some middle-of-the-order insurance against the possibility of losing Hamilton, who is eligible for free agency after next year. While the Rangers want to keep Hamilton, they want to do it with a shorter contract than he will likely want.

For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.

Posted on: December 18, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 11:43 am

Cubs, Rays, others call on Rizzo

The Padres began receiving calls on first base prospect Anthony Rizzo almost immediately after they acquired another young first baseman Yonder Alonso in their widely praised 4-for-1 trade that sent pitcher Mat Latos to the Reds, and the Cubs and Rays are among teams that emerged as being interested in Rizzo.

Rizzo could easily go in in trade, as he was acquired by San Diego by the previous general manager Jed Hoyer and apparently isn’t held in quite the same regard following a rough cameo in San Diego last year. New Padres GM Josh Byrnes, who pulled off the Latos trade, rather candidly said that Alonso is now ahead of Rizzo on San Diego’s depth chart for first base. Hoyer, not coincidentally, is the new GM in Chicago, so it’s no surprise the Cubs are interested. The Rays have been seeking a first baseman, so their involvement isn’t a surprise, either.

Rizzo, only 22, had an up-and-down year with the Padres, looking every bit like the future star they envisioned when they sent superstar  Adrian Gonzalez to Boston while at Triple-A Tucson before struggling mightily in his short stint with the Padres. Rizzo hit .331 with 26 home runs and 101 RBI and 1.056 OPS at Triple-A Tucson, then hit just .141 with one home run and nine RBI in 128 at-bats for the Padres. He had a .523 OPS in San Diego, almost exactly half his mark in Tucson. He also struck out 46 times in 128 at-bats, as his stock fell with some. “He has holes in his swing,’’ one N.L. scout said.

However, it was only a short callup, and he still has admirers. The Padres could seek a starting pitcher in trade with either team. Wade Davis, who is available, could be a possibility if they deal with Tampa. The Cubs could also send prospects to the Padres. The Cubs already owe the Padres a prospect or two for their acquisition of Hoyer, Byrnes’ predecessor in San Diego.

For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.

Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:03 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:23 pm

Cuddyer is perfect fit for Rockies

Michael Cuddyer, who has agreed to a $31.5-million, three-year deal with the Rockies, was the team’s top target this winter for obvious reasons. He is the righthanded hitter they seek. He is also the great clubhouse presence they love.

He is also similar in many ways to Michael Young, the one who got away.

The Rockies thought they had agreement before the 2011 season that would have sent Eric Young and another young (lower case) player to Texas for Michael Young. But when Michael Young told the Rangers he’d like to stay, the Rangers asked out of the deal, and the Rockies very nicely obliged with the stipulation that they’d have first crack at Young if he should go back onto the market.

Cuddyer, like Young, is a excellent righthanded hitter who’s versatile and great in the clubhouse. He isn’t quite as good a hitter as Young, but he fills the bill, nonetheless.

It also helps set the Rockies up for the rest of the winter. Cuddyer’s deal marks the end of Colorado’s pursuit of Carlos Beltran who is said to be talking to the Cardinals, Blue Jays and one other team.

They still seek a starting pitcher and have shown interest in Hiroki Kuroda and Joe Saunders. They also had made an early offer to Kevin Milwood.

Cuddyer, a longtime Twin, had received three-year offers from the Twins and Phillies and possibly also the Mariners.

For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:17 pm

Yankees, Rockies, others like Kuroda

The attention is all on hot Japanese righthander Yu Darvish, but veteran countryman Hiroki Kuroda is drawing significant interest as well.

Kuroda is much lighter on buzz, but some teams actually prefer Kuroda, as he is the proven one in the majors. The Yankees, who are said to have placed a "modest" bid on Darvish and have no expectation of winning the posting process, seem to almost prefer Kuroda, anyway.

The Rockies and Diamondbacks are also believed interested in Kuroda. While Kuroda turned down overtures from several teams at the trade deadline because he preferred to stay with the Dodgers, a person close to Kuroda said he is open to playing in New York and a few other places. He hasn't ruled out returning to Japan, either.

He is believed to be interested in a two-year deal. Kuroda made $12 million in base salary and would likely receive at least that off another productive season in L.A.

For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:02 pm

Brackman Signs With Reds

Former Yankees No. 1 draft choice Andrew Brackman has an agreement on a one-year, major-league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

Brackman had a disappointing 2011 season in the minors, going 3-6 with a 6.00 ERA for Triple-A Scranton but he allowed no runs in a brief 2 1/3-inning September cameo with the Yankees. He is a hard thrower who had problems with control, both striking out and walking 75 batters last year at Scranton.

Sources say the Reds would be happy if he came close to tapping his vast potential.

The Yankees released him rather than pay the good money he would have been entitled following the year. Sources indicate he will receive the major-league minimum $480,000 plus a half million in incentives with Cincinnati.

Trivia: Brackman is a Cincinnati native. He attended Moeller High School -- the alma mater of Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Larkin, David Bell and Buddy Bell. He was also a high school teammate of the Giants' Eric Surkamp.

For more baseball news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: January 24, 2012 9:10 pm

Rockies making a push for Beltran

By Jon Heyman

The Colorado Rockies, a surprise player for top free agents, are making a push for star outfielder Carlos Beltran. The Rockies would like to sign either Beltran or Michael Cuddyer for the outfield.

Colorado has competition for Cuddyer, who was offered $25 million over three years by the incumbent Twins. Minnesota is still hoping to re-sign Cuddyer.
Beltran's market has been something of a mystery, but it is believed Colorado would go two years to add him to the middle of their lineup, where he'd combine with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.

Beltran's knee history is a concern to many teams, but he played without knee trouble last year whe he produced for both the Mets and Giants.

The Cardinals have been rumored to be another possible suitor for Beltran, who is still only 33.

For more baseball news and rumors, follow @JonHeymanCBS.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or