November 12, 2013

Major League Notebook: Qualifying offers rejected by Red Sox trio

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Baseball’s annual gathering of general managers began Monday when $14.1 million qualifying offers were turned down by all 13 free agents who received them from their former teams, a group that included Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

Three Yankees also said no thanks: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.

The others turning down the offers were Atlanta’s Brian McCann, Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Kansas City’s Ervin Santana, St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran, Seattle’s Kendrys Morales and Texas’ Nelson Cruz.

If any of these players sign with a new team, his former club would receive an extra draft pick at the end of the first round next June. All 22 players given qualifying offers have said no during two offseasons under the new system.

“When we made the qualifying offers, we did not expect anyone to accept. We would have been happy if any of them did,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said.

Cashman was an early arrival at the sessions, with some GMs due to check in Monday night. In addition to early talks with agents and trade feelers, GMs will hold rules discussions, such as whether there should be any limitations on bowling over catchers.

Owners will arrive for their fall meeting on Thursday, where expanded instant replay is on the agenda. A baseball official familiar with the deliberations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said management probably would approve the additional video review by umpires in phases. The go-ahead to spend the funds probably will occur Thursday. Approval of the rules likely would be put off until the January owners’ meeting.

For expanded replay to start next season, agreements with the World Umpires Association and Major League Baseball Players Association would have to be reached.

“Both parties are working diligently to iron out every possible scenario that could occur with a replay,” WUA President Joe West said.

These meetings usually are the spark for trades and signings later in the offseason. The pace figures to increase during the winter meetings, to be held in nearby Lake Buena Vista from Dec. 9-12.

With many clubs seeking top starting pitching, Tampa Bay is expected at some point to trade 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, who is eligible for free agency after next season. Detroit’s Max Scherzer, favored to win a Cy Young on Wednesday, also can be a free agent in 12 months and the Tigers may try to gauge what he would bring in return.

Texas would consider offers for middle infielders Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to clear a starting spot for Jurickson Profar.

After missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years, the Yankees figure to be a central figure in the market. Cano, an All-Star second baseman, has been seeking a 10-year deal in excess of $300 million. Re-signing Cano is a top priority, but at some point the Yankees would have to move on.

RED SOX: General Manager Ben Cherington has been voted The Sporting News baseball executive of the year following the team’s worst-to-first turnaround.

Voting ended before the postseason, when the Red Sox went on to win their third World Series title in 10 years and first since Cherington succeeded Theo Epstein as general manager in October 2011.

Cherington received 15 votes, followed by Pittsburgh’s Neal Huntington (nine), Kansas City’s Dayton Moore (four) and Atlanta’s Frank Wren (three).

TWINS: Joe Mauer will move from catcher to first base on a full-time basis, hoping to avoid a repeat of the concussion that cut short his 2013 season.

Mauer won the Silver Slugger award for American League catchers this year, batting .324 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 113 games. He missed the last six weeks of the season after he took a foul tip off his mask on Aug. 19.

BRAVES: Team officials announced that the Braves are leaving 17-year-old Turner Field and moving into a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 10 miles from downtown in 2017.

Turner Field opened as the 85,000-seat main stadium for the 1996 Olympics. Afterward, it was downsized and converted into the Braves’ new stadium

The stunning news came as the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons finalize plans for a $1.2 billion retractable roof stadium near downtown, which is also scheduled to open in 2017.

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