Nikkansports.com is reporting that the Rakuten Golden Eagles and Andruw Jones have come to terms on a one-year deal worth 300 million yen, or approximately $3.6 million.
If so, Jones becomes one of the biggest MLB stars ever to make the jump to Japan. The 35-year-old hit .197/.294/.408 with 14 homers and 34 RBI in 233 at-bats for the Yankees last season. Because of his late-season struggles, he probably wasn’t looking at much more than a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the U.S. He can also play regularly in Japan, an opportunity no MLB team has offered him since his horrible 2008 season with the Dodgers.
Jones, who was on a Hall of Fame path prior to 2008, has hit .254/.337/.486 with 434 homers and 1,289 RBI in 17 major league seasons. He won a Gold Glove 10 straight years from 1998-2007.
(hat-tip to NPB Tracker)
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser and CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman are reporting that the A’s and Stephen Drew are discussing a one-year deal with a player option for 2014.
A major league executive told Slusser that he believed Drew would accept the contract.
Such a deal would give Drew the security of a two-year deal, but it’d also allow him to go back on the market next winter if he turned in a strong 2013 season.
One imagines the Red Sox could trump such an offer if they were so inclined, but their interest in Drew has seemed pretty mild. The Tigers have also inquired about Drew, but they only wanted to do a one-year deal.
Returning from a broken ankle, Drew hit .223/.309/.348 in 79 games with the Diamondbacks and A’s last season. The 29-year-old had his best season with the Diamondbacks in 2008, hitting .291/.333/.502 with 21 homers in 611 at-bats.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners and free agent Josh Hamilton have discussed three-year deals worth $20 million-$25 million per season.
There have been mixed messages on whether the two sides are nearing a deal or not, but the door seems wide open, what with the Rangers concentrating on Zack Greinke and Justin Upton at the moment.
Besides Seattle and maybe Texas, Hamilton isn’t known to have negotiated with any club this winter. The Phillies are one team that could conceivably slot Hamilton in, especially now that they’ve filled center field with a minimum-salaried player in Ben Revere. However, they’re working on a Michael Young deal in which they’d take on about $8 million and they also figure to sign a pitcher to replace Vance Worley.
Hamilton met with the Red Sox at the meetings, but that was before Boston signed Shane Victorino. The Red Sox will likely only be interested if he begins to look like a bargain.
At $20 million per year, Hamilton would seem to be just that, considering that Victorino got $13 million per year. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 homers and 128 RBI for the Rangers last season.
Ian Stewart, reportedly healthy again after wrist surgery, is set to re-sign with the Cubs, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that it’s a one-year, $2 million deal with up to $500,000 in incentives.
Stewart hit .156/.243/.221 in 122 at-bats for the Rockies in 2011 and .201/.292/.335 in 179 at-bats with the Cubs last year, but the hope is that the wrist surgery will allow him to turn his career around at age 27 next year.
Once considered one of the game’s top prospects, Stewart never met expectations in Colorado. Still, he wasn’t a complete bust, either, hitting .246/.334/.454 with 53 homers in 1,077 at-bats from 2008-10. As weak as the third-base market is this winter, it made more sense for the Cubs to give him another shot than it did to overspend for an outsider.
It’s safe to say the Twins won’t be getting a Christmas card from Michael Bourn, not after they filled the center field needs of two of his most likely suitors this winter.
With Denard Span in D.C., Ben Revere in Philadelphia, B.J. Upton in Atlanta and Angel Pagan in San Francisco, the market for Bourn is a complete mystery at this point. The Mariners like him, but Josh Hamilton is their top priority and it’s very hard to imagine them signing both. The Phillies won’t be paying Revere much more than the minimum, so theoretically, they could still sign Bourn for center and play Revere in left. However, they’re certainly much more interested in pitching after trading fourth starter Vance Worley for Revere.
The Cubs could be a fallback, as they have plenty of money to spend as they continue their rebuilding efforts. Still, it’d make a lot more sense for them to stay the course and groom Brett Jackson for center than commit $70 million or more to a 30-year-old who will likely be on the decline by the time they’re ready to contend.
Others? The Red Sox could consider a run if they trade Jacoby Ellsbury, but that seems like quite a long shot. The Indians came up with $11 million per year to offer Shane Victorino, but $15 million per year for Bourn would be a taller order. The Mets have the need, but not the money. Same goes for the Reds.
Bourn’s best hope for a big deal right now is for Hamilton to re-sign with the Rangers, leaving the Mariners to pursue their fallback option. Barring that, he might be best off taking a one-year deal and then going back on the market next winter.