Baltimore is “closing in on signing” first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.
Craig wrote this morning that the Orioles, Nationals, and Padres are seemingly fighting it out for LaRoche and Derrek Lee, so perhaps Lee could generate a nice little bidding war now.
Arizona declined its $7.5 million option on LaRoche for 2011, choosing a $1.5 million buyout instead, and then LaRoche turned down the Diamondbacks’ arbitration offer, so they’ll receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds for letting him walk.
LaRoche drove in a career-high 100 runs this year, but also had his lowest batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.320), and OPS (.788) since 2005. He’s typically been a slightly above-average first baseman offensively and adds some extra value with a good glove.
If the Orioles end up signing LaRoche he’ll join trade acquisitions Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy as part of a new-look infield that includes just one holdover in second baseman Brian Roberts.
It’s been six days since the Rays and Padres were said to have agreed upon a trade sending Jason Bartlett to San Diego for relievers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell, yet the deal is still “on hold” and no one seems quite sure what’s going on.
According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune “a strange silence has fallen over both camps” and “calls and e-mails” to both teams “got no response” over the weekend.
What makes the whole thing particularly strange is that Bartlett revealed last Wednesday the Rays had contacted him to inform him of the trade, only to admit later that he actually learned of the supposed deal from a television report.
Center speculates that the trade could be contingent on the Padres working out a contract with Bartlett, who’s due for a raise to around $5 million via arbitration. He also speculates that perhaps someone raised a red flag regarding one of the two pitchers heading to Tampa Bay.
In the meantime several other shortstop options have either signed or been traded, leaving the Padres with significantly fewer choices to fill the position if the Bartlett deal ultimately falls through.
Monday, 7:23 PM: This isn’t confirmed by the team, but someone tipped off Jason Collette of Dock of the Rays that Cesar Ramos is currently listed on the 7-day disabled list for Hermosilo in the Mexican Winter League. A source told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune last Friday that the Rays wanted a second opinion on one of the pitchers involved in the trade, so this find could have some merit. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: This one just keeps getting weirder. Cesar Ramos told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that he is healthy and that he was only placed on the disabled list for his team in the Mexican Winter League in order to clear a roster spot. Ramos even tells Hayes that the Padres called him on Monday to make sure that he was healthy. Sounds like even they don’t know why this thing is on hold…
Various reports following the Red Sox’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez suggested that the two sides had a preliminary agreement in place for a long-term contract extension, but were delaying an official announcement in part to avoid the luxury tax ramifications for 2011.
That may still be the case, as the whole point of the maneuvering would be to keep it unofficial and under wraps at this point, but Gonzalez did an interview with a Mexican blog Puro Beisbol that indicated talk of a preliminary agreement may be premature.
Here’s a translated excerpt, courtesy of Nick Collias from MLB Trade Rumors:
Nothing about that is true. It’s false. I haven’t signed any contract. We discussed the trade, but we didn’t reach any agreement, and we didn’t negotiate numbers. The only thing I have for sure is the contract that I had already signed with the Padres, and what I can tell you is that over the course of the season we’re going to negotiate to reach an agreement.
What makes it impossible to determine the truth in this situation is that Gonzalez would probably say more or less the exact same thing whether they’d agreed to a contract or not. If there’s indeed no contract in place, then his comments could be taken at face value. And if there is a contract in place, as has been reported, then the Red Sox would have told him to deny that anyway to avoid ruining the plan to manipulate the luxury tax ramifications.
Whatever the case, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t have given up three top-rated prospects without being extremely confident about signing Gonzalez to a long-term deal, and in fact when the trade with the Padres was briefly reported as being nixed the reason given was that they failed to agree to a contract in the MLB-allotted negotiating window.
Yesterday the Padres and Rays seemingly had agreed on a deal that would send shortstop Jason Bartlett to San Diego for relievers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell.
At one point several sources described the trade as completed, pending the usual physical exams and paperwork, and when contacted by reporters Bartlett indicated the Rays had told him it was a done deal.
However, now Jerry Crasnick and Buster Olney of ESPN.com report that the trade “is off, at least for now, because the teams couldn’t finalize the deal.” According to the report the swap “is in limbo, but it’s not dead.”
Baltimore was said to be in the mix for Bartlett, but the Orioles have instead traded for J.J. Hardy to fill their need at shortstop, so if the Bartlett deal falls apart the Rays will have on fewer potential fallback option.