Holliday Placed On DL; Cards Unlikely To Pursue Outfield Trades

JULY 30: Holliday has been placed on the disabled list, and GM John Mozeliak has announced that he has Grade 2 strain of the quadriceps muscle, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link). Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Cardinals have no plans to jump back into the outfield trade market, however.

JULY 29: Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left tonight’s action with a right quadriceps injury, Kevin Modelski of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. It remains unclear at present how serious the injury is, though it occurred to the same muscle that Holliday tore. He missed five weeks for the initial tear.

Obviously, a similar absence would increase the Cardinals’ need to add a bat. The team has long been expected to make a move to fill in for first baseman Matt Adams, and recently called up top prospect Stephen Piscotty to add support. St. Louis has been said to be weighing a move for Adam Lind (or someone of his ilk), and that seems all the more likely now.

The 35-year-old Holliday hasn’t posted his usual power numbers in 2015, but he’s still batting an excellent .291/.411/.422 in 253 trips to the plate. An update on his health will be made tomorrow morning, at which time we’ll know more on whether or not the unfortunate news will prompt the Cardinals to jump into what has already been an exceptionally active trade market this week.


White Sox Aggressively Pursuing Bat

The White Sox are flipping the script and aggressively pursuing a bat, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. Among the many players they’ve inquired about, per the report, is Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers.

It remains unclear at present precisely where the club would like to add. Cespedes, of course, is a rental outfielder, but Chicago has received fairly marginal production at almost every spot on the diamond. First base (Jose Abreu) and center field (Adam Eaton) seem to be the only two positions where an upgrade would not make any real sense, though obviously the team is unlikely to replace veterans like Alexei Ramirez (at short) and Melky Cabrera (in the outfield). That Cespedes holds interest seems to suggest that Chicago is willing to take time away from Avisail Garcia and/or Adam LaRoche (the team’s right fielder and primary DH, respectively).

More importantly, perhaps, is the question of what kind of price the club might be willing to pay to get something done and whether the team is considering a move for controllable assets. Chicago is not exactly in an enviable position, though the team has played better of late. The division-rival Tigers are selling despite the fact that they are only one game behind Chicago in the standings. The White Sox are 11.5 games back of the leading Royals, and remain two-and-a-half out of Wild Card position.

With the team pursuing a bat, it would seem highly unlikely that righty Jeff Samardzija will be moved. That had already seemed to be the case, so perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that the club prefers to enhance its chances with an addition, rather than simply standing pat.


Red Sox Designate Daniel Nava

The Red Sox have designated outfielder/first baseman Daniel Nava for assignment, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. He lost as spot as the club moved to add bullpen depth to its active roster.

Nava, 32, put up strong results in fairly extensive playing time over each of the last three seasons, racking up 1,261 plate appearances with a .278/.364/.403 slash. But injuries and performance issues have kept him grounded in 2015. He’s put up a meager .152/.260/.182 line in only 78 turns at bat.

Despite the recent struggles, it wouldn’t be surprised to hear of another team with interest at giving Nava a bench spot. But his $1.85MM salary is a major obstacle, so it will take some effort for Boston to find him a new home. (Otherwise, he’ll likely clear waivers and remain under team control.)



Pirates Designate Vance Worley

The Pirates have designated righty Vance Worley for assignment, the club announced. His roster spot was needed after the club acquired Joe Blanton late yesterday.

Phillies teammates for three years, Worley and Blanton won’t have a chance to pitch together for a second Pennsylvania club. Both have experienced modest career resurgences, and now it’s Worley’s turn to see if he can find a new opportunity.

The 27-year-old Worley had a great year for Pittsburgh last year, with a 2.85 ERA over 110 2/3 innings earning him a $2.45MM arbitration payday. He’s been solid again in 2015 — he carries a 3.78 ERA over 69 innings, with 6.1 /9 against 2.5 BB/9 — but lost his rotation spot along the way. He could draw some interest from teams looking to add innings, though his salary may complicate things.


Cardinals Designate Dan Johnson

The Cardinals have designated veteran first baseman Dan Johnson for assignment, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old lost his roster spot to make way for the just-acquired Brandon Moss.

Johnson has seen only scattered big league action for most of his career, and has not taken more than 100 MLB plate appearances since 2010. All told, he’s slashed .234/.335/.405 over 1,625 plate appearances in his career. While waiting for his next chance at the big leagues, Johnson has swatted 250 total minor league home runs.


Yankees To Place Michael Pineda On DL With Forearm Injury

The Yankees will place right-hander Michael Pineda on the disabled list with a Grade 1 right forearm strain, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman (Twitter link). The timetable for his return remains unclear, though Sherman says the Yankees do expect Pineda to pitch again in 2015. The injury is the same as the one suffered by Andrew Miller earlier this year, Sherman adds. Miller missed about a month with his forearm strain, though the recovery process for a reliever and for a starting pitcher will probably vary, and Pineda may need more time to return to his previous per-start workload after sitting out.

An injury to Pineda further taxes a Yankees rotation that already contained some question marks. CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi should continue to hold down spots, and the team has used right-hander Bryan Mitchell in the rotation this season as well. There figures to be a good deal of speculation surrounding top prospect Luis Severino as well, though despite a 2.45 ERA this season, he’s already just 14 innings shy of his career-high 113 1/3. Certainly he’ll be expected to exceed that number in 2015 — the question is just to what extent he’ll be able to surpass that mark.

The Yankees have already been linked to pitching upgrades in recent days, though top-of-the-market names such as Cole Hamels and David Price have come off the board. Remaining names range from expensive assets such as James Shields (three years, $64MM following this season) or short-term rentals such as Mike Leake, who is a free agent at season’s end. The Padres have some targets that fall in between those two extremes (Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner), and as Sherman speculates on Twitter, a run at Craig Kimbrel would allow New York to shift Adam Warren back into the rotation and create a dominant late-inning trio.

All of that is sheer speculation, of course, and it remains possible that the Pineda injury won’t do much to alter the Yankees’ course over the coming 24-plus hours. But it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the loss of Pineda, even for a brief time, combined with Toronto’s acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, will hasten GM Brian Cashman’s efforts to upgrade his roster via the trade market.


Cubs Aggressively Attempting To Move Starlin Castro

The Cubs are aggressively shopping shortstop Starlin Castro, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. Chicago is “trying to include” him in “any deal” with other clubs, per the report.

Chicago has long been rumored to be considering a move involving the up-and-down 25-year-old infielder. Castro was told yesterday by manager Joe Maddon that he did not need to worry about being dealt, but as Bruce Levine of CBSChicago.com reported, it was never clear that Maddon’s words were meant as any kind of assurance going forward.

It has previously been reported that the Cubs discussed Castro with teams like the Phillies and, more recently, the Padres. Chicago is reportedly looking hard at adding pitching, with at least some interest in more controllable pieces (such as Tyson Ross), though it’s unclear at present where the team is most focused in its efforts to strike a deal.

It’s also somewhat hard to read how other teams will value the still-young, up-the-middle player. At times, his contract — which has four years and $38MM left after this year (plus an option) — has looked like an asset. But now that he’s in the midst of a second disappointing campaign in the last three years (.237/.271/.305 over 406 plate appearances in 2015), that deal looks more like a reasonable risk than a great value.


Dodgers To Acquire Latos, Wood, Jim Johnson In 3-Team Deal; Olivera To Braves

JULY 30, 1:13pm: Bronson Arroyo‘s contract is also moving to the Dodgers, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). All told, the Dodgers look to be taking on about $43.5MM in obligations, Passan notes.

1:05pm: The deal is “done,” per Rosenthal (on Twitter), who says that the players involved are being informed.

YESTERDAY: The Dodgers, Marlins and Braves have reportedly swung what appears to be one of the most complex three-team trades in recent history. The “basic” structure of the deal (though there’s nothing basic about this move) is as follows: the Dodgers will receive right-hander Mat Latos and first baseman Michael Morse from the Marlins. They’ll also add top prospect Jose Peraza and pitchers Alex Wood, Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan from the Braves. Atlanta, in turn, will receive Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, lefty Paco Rodriguez and minor leaguer Zachary Bird from the Dodgers. The Braves are also picking up Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick in next year’s draft (No. 35 overall). The Marlins will come out of this deal with three minor league pitchers — Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham and Victor Araujo — plus the financial relief of shedding the remaining $14.3MM that is owed to Latos and Morse.

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Mat Latos is headed to the Dodgers.

In making this trade, the Dodgers bolster their rotation not only for the remainder of the 2015 season but also potentially through the 2019 campaign. Latos, who is earning $9.4MM in 2015 and has $3.6MM of that sum remaining on his contract, is a free agent at season’s end, but Wood can be controlled for four years beyond the current campaign.

While he’s battled injuries and struggled early in the season, Latos has increased his velocity and upped his results since returning from a DL stint (as noted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams when examining his trade candidacy). All told, the 27-year-old Latos owns a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 over 88 1/3 innings on the year. But ERA estimators view him more as a mid-3.00 ERA contributor, and that has shown up in his last seven starts, over which he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 45 2/3 frames with a 43:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Wood is perhaps the more intriguing name here for the Dodgers, though. The 2012 second-round pick was never vaunted as a Top 100 prospect, but he’s emerged as a reliable cog in the Braves’ rotation over the past few seasons. Though many have expressed long-term health concerns with Wood and his numbers are down in 2015, his overall body of work is nonetheless impressive. Wood has a lifetime 3.10 ERA in 368 2/3 big league innings with very strong averages of 8.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 to go along with a 46.5 percent ground-ball rate. Both Latos and Wood will join co-aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the Dodgers’ rotation, but multiple reports have indicated that a pursuit of David Price still cannot be ruled out, so there’s even further room for upgrade on the heels of this swap. (Those who truly enjoy speculation could wonder if Wood himself would be an appealing piece for the Tigers in a trade, in fact.)

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Alex Wood could be a long-term rotation piece for L.A.

In landing Johnson, the Dodgers are picking up a reliever that was serving as Atlanta’s closer and doing so quite well. Johnson led the AL in saves from 2012-13 before a down season in 2014. Atlanta snatched him up on a one-year, $1.6MM contract with enough incentives to carry the deal to $2.5MM if he maxes it out. He’s been an outstanding buy-low piece for the Braves and will carry a 2.25 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 60.8 percent ground-ball rate into the Dodger bullpen, where he’ll help set up for Kenley Jansen.

The 26-year-old Avilan gives the Dodgers another left-handed relief option to pair with J.P. Howell and Ian Thomas, though it’s debatable whether he’s a long-term improvement over Rodriguez, who heads to Atlanta in the deal. Avilan has a 3.58 ERA on the season with a 31-to-10 K/BB ratio (though two of the walks were intentional) in 37 2/3 innings. He’s upped his velocity this season and his strikeout rate as well, but Avilan’s previous good fortune in terms of homer-to-flyball ratio has dried up this season, and he’s near the league average (above it, in fact) in that regard for the first time in his career. Avilan hasn’t missed a ton of bats throughout his career but does have strong overall totals against left-handed hitters.

Morse doesn’t really fit on the Dodgers’ roster and was likely included as a means of offsetting some salary, so it’s possible his stay with the Dodgers will be brief, at best. Los Angeles designated Eric Stults for assignment immediately upon acquiring him from the Braves earlier this year and did so with Ryan Webb as well, so there’s certainly precedent for them to flex their financial muscle as a procedural necessity and simply cut ties with the unwanted or superfluous players in a deal.

Dealing Peraza away was probably a tough pill to swallow for the Braves, who have long lauded him as one of their top prospects. The 21-year-old entered the season as a consensus Top 50 prospect in the game, and though his offensive numbers are down somewhat, that’s not necessarily a red flag for someone playing at the minors’ top level at the age of 21. That’s not to say, of course, that Peraza’s numbers are poor; he’s hitting .295/.319/.380 this season. Peraza ranks as the game’s No. 26 prospect on the midseason Top 50 from Baseball America and No. 30 on MLB.com’s midseason update to their own Top 100 prospect list. Peraza began his career as a shortstop and eventually moved to second base, but it’s not certain where the Dodgers project him in the future. He has little power but draws rave reviews for his speed and glove, and he’s swiped 149 bases over his past 310 minor league contests. I feel it should be noted that Peraza, too, could be a piece that the Dodgers will consider dealing, as they’re reportedly reluctant to part with their own top prospects: Corey Seager and Julio Urias.

As for the Braves, they’ll finally land a player they pursued extensively this offseason in the form of Olivera. Atlanta simply couldn’t match the Dodgers’ enormous $62.5MM offer to the 30-year-old infielder, but $28MM of that came in the form of a signing bonus that is to be paid in three installments. The Dodgers will pay the final two installments of Olivera’s signing bonus, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That means the Braves are essentially taking on Olivera on a six-year, $32.5MM contract that began this season. He’s earning $2MM in 2015, of which about $754K remains, so their total financial commitment to him will be about $31.25MM over the course of five and a half years. That’s a much more palatable obligation for the Braves (who have notably shed significant payroll from their books by moving Melvin Upton Jr. and Craig Kimbrel since Olivera signed.)

Olivera, a right-handed hitting third baseman/second baseman, was said at the time he signed to be a safe bet to post strong average and OBP marks due to his pure hitting abilities and a keen eye at the plate. The question was how much power he’d show in the Majors, but some felt that he could be a 20-homer bat on a yearly basis. He’s looked sharp to this point in the minors, hitting .348/.392/.493 across three levels and reaching Triple-A. The Braves undoubtedly consider him to be a major component of their long-term future in the infield, though the specific position he’ll play is yet an unknown.

In Rodriguez, they’ll pick up a left-handed reliever who could be out for the season but has pitched well when healthy. Rodriguez had surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow in late June — a procedure that will sideline him for eight to 10 weeks. However, the former second-round pick has been excellent while on the mound. He was the first player from the 2012 draft to reach the Majors, debuting the same year he was drafted, and he sports a lifetime 2.53 ERA with 9.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.

The 21-year-old Bird has largely unimpressive numbers in the minors — a 4.74 ERA in 351 minor league innings — but MLB.com rated him 15th among L.A. farmhands. Per their scouting report, he made big strides with his velocity late in 2014 and has gone from a low-90s heater to a mid-90s offering that “threatens triple digits” at times. He still needs to get a better feel for his offspeed pitches and has a long ways to go as a slider, they add.

With all that said, we’re at last to the Marlins’ portion of the trade, which looks meager. Of the three names in question, only Brigham ranks among L.A.’s top 30 prospects, per MLB.com, who rank him 28th. Brigham had Tommy John surgery in college in 2012 and missed all of 2013 before pitching himself into the fourth round, their scouting report notes. He’s 90-94 mph with his fastball and has shown shaky control, though some of that can be attributed to the surgery. He’s punched out 75 hitters in 75 innings this year but has also walked 38 and has a 5.52 ERA.

Guzman is a 20-year-old starter pitching at the Class A level who has notched a 3.90 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 83 innings this year. The 22-year-old Araujo is in his second stint with Class-A Advanced and hasn’t found very favorable results. He’s missed plenty of bats (55 strikeouts in 50 innings) with solid control (14 walks) but has been hittable and ultimately surrendered a 5.40 ERA this season.

The Marlins had a number of ways they could go in terms of dealing Latos, but it seems they either prioritized shedding the Morse contract or simply didn’t find that teams were willing to offer much in return given his rental status, health concerns and early struggles. In the end, while this trade started off being termed the “Mat Latos trade,” it will be more remembered as a deal that netted the Braves their second baseman or third baseman of the future in exchange for a promising young arm and one of their top prospects.

Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported (on Twitter) that Latos and Morse were headed to the Dodgers. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) and MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter link) reported the financial components for Miami/L.A. and the inclusion of the Marlins’ draft pick. Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweeted that a third team was potentially being brought in. Frisaro reported the prospects going to Miami. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the Braves’ inclusion (via Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post said the Braves would get a young starter (Twitter links), and Rosenthal tweeted that Wood was the pitcher in question. Bowden tweeted Johnson’s inclusion. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman first suggested Peraza’s name (on Twitter) and Sherman confirmed his inclusion (via Twitter). Bowman also tweeted that Olivera was in the deal, and Bowden tweeted that Avilan was as well. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweeted that Bird was headed to Atlanta. Bowman added that Rodriguez was going to the Braves.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL East Notes: Pineda, Ackley, Orioles, Rays

Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is dealing with a right arm injury, as WFAN’s Mike Francesca first reported, although the injury’s severity remains unclear. Joel Sherman of the New York Post cites Yankees executives in saying that the issue is a strained muscle in Pineda’s forearm as opposed to anything in his elbow, and it’s not believed to be serious at this time (Twitter links). Nonetheless, Marly Rivera of ESPN tweets that Pineda won’t start tonight’s game for New York, as had previously been scheduled. While many will speculate that there’s an increased need to add pitching, there’s been no definitive report on Pineda requiring a lengthy absence from the rotation. (And while some have said otherwise, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that there’s no issue with Ivan Nova‘s arm at present.)

More on the Yankees and their division, which is still reeling from Toronto’s now-official addition of David Price

  • The Yankees recently reached out to the Mariners to express interest in Dustin Ackley, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The two sides discussed a scenario in which outfielders Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel would’ve gone to the Mariners, but Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik wanted more for Ackley, and talks have since cooled, per Feinsand. Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is again struggling this season and has batted a mere .215/.270/.366. Many have speculated that Zduriencik is loath to undertake in any type of sale, as his job security could be tied to the Mariners’ finish this season. Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising to hear him holding out for any sort of return on Ackley, though Flores and Gamel admittedly aren’t all that well-regarded. Flores ranked 27th on MLB.com’s midseason edition of the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, while Gamel didn’t place.
  • The Orioles are continually being asked for the likes of Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens and even Manny Machado in trades, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Each of those players is considered a deal-breaker for Baltimore, he writes. The Orioles have been seeking upgrades to their corner outfield situation recently.
  • The Rays are indeed listening to offers on Nate Karns (as was reported earlier today), tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, Topkin feels that the likeliest trade candidate, if the Rays move someone at all, remains right-hander Kevin Jepsen. Topkin reported last week that the Rays may very well trade a relief pitcher prior to the trade deadline.

Blue Jays Acquire David Price For Three Prospects

The Blue Jays have officially agreed to acquire star lefty David Price from the Tigers, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Medicals have been reviewed and will pose no issues, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. No money is changing hands in the deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter, as Toronto will be responsible for the rest of Price’s $19.75MM annual tab.

The marquee piece coming in return is top Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris, Heyman adds. The full haul also includes two other lefties, Jairo Labourt, and Matt Boyd, as Gideon Turk of BlueJaysPlus was first to note on Twitter.

May 26, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

David Price is reportedly set to join Troy Tulowitzki with the Blue Jays.

It’s the second time in two years that Price has been featured as a marquee summer trade chip. This time, of course, he’s a pure rental with one function: driving his new team to and through the post-season this year. Toronto has seven games to make up in the division and is two back in the Wild Card chase, so it’s certainly a bold undertaking.

Price joins Troy Tulowitzki in Toronto after a pair of bold trade deadline moves for the Jays, who are set to field an array of the game’s top stars. If the trade for Tulowitzki wasn’t an all-in move, this one surely was. Both players have been among the very best in the game at their respective positions for the better part of the last decade, but remain young enough (29 and 30) to remain in their general prime.

Indeed, Price has pitched to a 2.53 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 146 innings on the year. That puts him on pace for a 200+ inning campaign with excellent results, Since his first full season in the big leagues, in 2010, Price has rated third in the majors among all starters in terms of fWAR, fourth in innings (1,224), and tenth in ERA (3.01)  among qualifying starters. He has struck out 8.6 and walked 2.2 batters per nine innings in that span.

For the big lefty, the move means he’ll have a chance to hit the open market after the year without a qualifying offer dragging him down. Of course, that probably means more for the many clubs that are likely to chase him than it does for Price’s already-excellent earning power.

Toronto obviously had to part with significant assets to land Price. Norris just took the 18th spot on Baseball America’s mid-season round-up of the game’s best prospects. He’s a 22-year-old with loud stuff but sometimes-shaky control, as evidenced by his seventeen walks in thirty big league innings. But he’s got plenty of upside, obviously, particularly if he can harness his offerings. Over 90 2/3 frames at Triple-A this year, Norris owns a 4.27 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. But he was much better last year, putting up double-digit K/9 numbers and allowing only 3.1 walks per nine en route to a 2.53 earned run mark in 124 1/3 minor league innings.

Labourt, 21, is working at the High-A level and ranks 19th on MLB.com’s latest ranking of his now-former club’s prospects. The large-bodied sinkerballer could become a “future workhorse,” says MLB.com, though he’s scuffled somewhat this year. Over 80 1/3 innings, Labourt owns a 4.59 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9.

The 24-year-old Boyd has spent most of the year in the high minors after a brief (and rough) two-start stint in the majors. He earned the 11th spot on MLB.com’s Toronto board. He doesn’t have a huge arm, but excels with feel, command, and deception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Aftermath Of The Mets’ Near Acquisition Of Carlos Gomez

As most are aware by now, the Mets and Brewers had agreed to a trade that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez to New York in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, but medical concerns derailed the agreement. Reports last night surfaced to say that Gomez’s hip was the issue, though agent Scott Boras issued an adamant denial to FOX Sports saying that Gomez is healthy and has never seen a hip specialist.

Some additional context to the situation as well as the latest on the trade rumors pertaining to both teams in the wake of the failed deal…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez had an MRI three to four weeks ago for an abductor issue — not a hip issue — and the reports from that test said he had no issues with his abductor or his hip (Twitter link).
  • Sherman also spoke to Brewers GM Doug Melvin (All Twitter links), who informed him that while the Mets have concerns over Gomez’s medical records, the Brewers do not. Said Melvin: “I don’t believe Carlos Gomez has a phsycial issue. Our training staff won best in baseball the last 2 years. We take a lot of pride in that. We don’t think anything is wrong with him besides any nick that happens to any ballplayer.”
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hears that the ultimate issue in the trade may have been financial. A source tells Haudricourt that the initial scenario being discussed would have sent Juan Lagares to Milwaukee, but the Brewers were hesitant because of a publicly known elbow issue through which he is playing and because of Lagares’ $23MM extension, which kicks in next season. The next iteration of the trade became Wheeler and Flores for Gomez, but the Mets then asked that the Brewers include their 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick, which Milwaukee declined to do. Following that, the Mets asked for cash considerations to be included, but the Brewers were also unwilling to pick up any of the tab. It was at that point that the Mets backed out, citing Gomez’s hip, sources tell Haudricourt. (Sherman heard much of the same — Twitter links — though Haudricourt’s report provides much more context on the matter.)
  • The Mets will remain active on the trade market, it seems, and Marc Carig of Newsday hears that the team’s “clear preference” is to get someone who can play center field (Twitter link). Given Lagares’ injury, it makes sense to see the Mets targeting help in that area. I recently broke down the trade market for center fielders, for those wondering what options could be available to New York.
  • The Mets aren’t in on the Padres’ Justin Upton, partially due to his status as a half-season rental, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The Mets would prefer to avoid rental players, he adds, though he does also note that the team has at least checked in with the Tigers on Yoenis Cespedes following the collapse of the Gomez deal.
  • It’s unclear where this scenario leaves the Mets in terms of trade direction, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The team likes Gerardo Parra but was also unable to agree on a price point in discussions with the Brewers. New York also likes Jay Bruce, but he doesn’t fit their desire for someone who can handle center field. Bruce has just 285 big league inning in center — all coming in 2008.

Pitching Notes: Teheran, Karns, Ross, Giants

We just checked in on Yovani Gallardo, who may or may not be dealt before the deadline. Here’s the latest on the starting pitching market, which was one of many topics covered in today’s podcast with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

  • Despite reportedly being prepared to deal Alex Wood to the Dodgers, the Braves are still listening on Julio Teheran, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). He suggests, however, that the club may just be hoping for an overpay rather than actively shopping the young righty.
  • Given their starting depth, the Rays have indicated a willingness to listen to offers on right-hander Nate Karns, Passan reports on Twitter. Karns is already 27, but has ample team control and has emerged with 115 innings of 3.37 ERA pitching this year.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross is “drawing intense interest,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The AstrosBlue JaysCubs, and Dodgers are all in the mix, says Heyman, and Houston could be the “at the forefront” of efforts to pry him away from San Diego. Notably, many of those clubs are also viewed as prime contenders for David Price. Heyman further breaks down Price’s market in an article today.
  • The Giants are also said to be looking into a run at Price after falling short in a “late push” for Cole Hamels (per Rosenthal, on Twitter). GM Bobby Evans says he doesn’t foresee the club parting with players from the team’s current everyday lineup in any deals, as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweets. But the Tigers do like several of San Francisco’s minor league arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, which could make them plausible pursuers of the ace lefty.

Blue Jays, Rangers Talks On Gallardo Not Progressing

10:19amSullivan now says that nothing has come of recent chatter (on Twitter). Gallardo is more of a “fallback” for the Jays, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

10:18am: The Blue Jays are interested in Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweets. He notes that there is a real possibility of a deal coming together.

As it shops the veteran righty, Texas is hopeful of finding a right-handed bat, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram adds (Twitter links). Notably, per Wilson, Gallardo would be willing to waive his no-trade protection to facilitate a deal to Toronto.

Gallardo is set to start tonight for the Rangers, so there could be some impetus towards getting something done in the near term. After adding Cole Hamels yesterday, Texas may be looking to recoup some value. But Wilson does note that the Rangers could hold on to the right-hander, with the idea of possibly making a late-season playoff run and getting value back from him through the qualifying offer system.


Cardinals Acquire Brandon Moss

The Cardinals have announced the acquisition of first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss from the Indians in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.

Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss will presumably give St. Louis a replacement for the injured Matt Adams.

With the acquisition of Moss, the Cardinals will add a powerful left-handed bat to their lineup that will replace the injured Matt Adams, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn quadriceps muscle. In Adams’ absence, Mark Reynolds has been seeing the lion’s share of playing time at first base, though one would imagine that Moss will now inherit those duties.

The Cardinals are also facing a potential loss of Matt Holliday, who last night injured the same quadriceps muscle that he tore earlier this season. There’s no definitive word on the severity of the injury just yet — he underwent an MRI last night — but an extended absence would be a blow to the Cardinals’ offense that could be partially offset by the addition of Moss. Should Holliday miss a prolonged stretch, Moss is capable of handling the corner outfield, but the Cardinals already have top prospect Stephen Piscotty on the big league roster, and he could slide into left field in that scenario.

Moss was acquired by Cleveland this past offseason in a one-for-one swap that sent second base prospect Joey Wendle to the Athletics. The lefty slugger, who averaged 25 homers per season from 2012-14 in Oakland, has again displayed power in his lone season with Cleveland (15 homers, .190 ISO). However, his walk and strikeout rates have trended in the wrong direction, leaving him with a sub-par .217/.288/.407 batting line on the season. That production is a far cry from the .254/.340/.504 output he showed in his three full seasons with Oakland, though it’s worth wondering if he’s still feeling any lingering effects from offseason hip surgery.

The 31-year-old Moss has typically struggled versus left-handed pitching, and while that should remain the expectation moving forward, the opposite has held true in 2015. Moss is hitting .265/.336/.453 in 131 plate appearances against same-handed pitchers but has just a .191/.262/.382 batting line against righties. Much of the struggles against righties is due to a .221 BABIP when holding the platoon advantage, so one would expect that his production may very well rise with some better fortune. He is, after all, still hitting line drives at a 20.5 percent clip and has actually lowered his infield fly rate.

Moss is earning $6.55MM in 2015 and is controllable through the 2016 season — the Cards will have to sort out the roster when he and Adams are both healthy — but it does seem as though St. Louis paid a steep price in this swap.

The 20-year-old Kaminsky was one of two Cardinals first-round picks in 2013 (Marco Gonzales was the other) and currently ranked as their No. 4 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason update of the team’s top prospects. MLB.com was even more bullish on their own midseason update, ranking him third in the Cardinals’ organization and 88th in all of baseball.

Kaminsky has spent the season pitching at the Class-A Advanced level, where he has a 2.09 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. In their scouting report, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com write that Kaminsky’s fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 95 mph when he needs it, adding that he has the best curveball in the team’s minor league system. His changeup gives him a third pitch that can be solid-average or better. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel would seem to agree, as he pegs Kaminsky’s curveball as a potential 60-grade pitch (on the 20-80 scale), with his fastball, changeup and command all coming in at 50 (average) or better.

St. Louis reportedly discussed Adam Lind with the division-rival Brewers before agreeing to this swap, but it looks as though talks failed to progress, as I wouldn’t imagine they’ll acquire both Moss and Lind, who have somewhat redundant skill sets. Assuming no money changes hands, the Cardinals will be on the hook for about $2.47MM of Moss’ remaining salary.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the one-for-one deal was in place (Twitter link). SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reported late last night that the two sides were discussing a trade involving Moss and Kaminsky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Podcast: Tulo, Toronto, & Trade Deadline With Ben Nicholson-Smith

Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith joins host Jeff Todd to process the trade deadline activity, with a particular focus on the Blue Jays. Ben helps make sense of the bold deal to acquire Troy Tulowitzki (and what it might mean going forward), talks about the club’s plans to add pitching over the next two days, and offers his thoughts on several other open trade deadline storylines.

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The MLB Trade Rumors Podcast runs weekly on Thursday afternoons.