A.J. Burnett Expected To Miss Four Weeks With Flexor Strain

3:23pm: The Pirates have now released a statement to announce that Burnett has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Burnett received a platelet-rich plasma injection, and is estimated time of return is four weeks, per the announcement.

2:46pm: Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that Burnett says he’s yet to even receive a diagnosis following his MRI.

AUG. 3, 1:44pm: FOX’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter links) that Burnett received better news than he had hoped. Burnett has a strain in his right flexor tendon, but his ulnar collateral ligament is intact. He’ll undergo treatment with the hope of returning this season, per Morosi.

AUG. 2: After being placed on the 15-day DL with elbow inflammation on Friday, A.J. Burnett admitted that the injury may sideline him for the rest of the 2015 season.  In an interview with MLB.com’s Tom Singer, Burnett predicted that his Monday appointment with Pirates doctors will reveal that he’s suffered damage to either his UCL or flexor tendon, yet the veteran righty has no plans to undergo surgery for either issue.

It is difficult.  I’m prepared for both…if I just need some rest or something more. In my mind, surgery is not an option. I’d built up some pain tolerance. It comes and goes, part of doing this 16 years. You figure out what you can and can’t do,” Burnett said.  “It was just really bad on everything the other night. I never got loose, never got comfortable. We’ll find out tomorrow, when they look at it. I don’t expect it to go away, don’t expect it to get better.

Burnett said he’d been dealing with some degree of elbow discomfort for years, though “it hasn’t been anything to worry about” until his start last Thursday.  Given Burnett’s rough performance since the All-Star break (10.13 ERA over 16 innings), it could be that his injury has been bothering him for longer than just his most recent outing, or it could be that Burnett was simply regressing a bit after an outstanding first half.

While Burnett has ruled out surgery, he isn’t willing to return to mound unless he’s able to pitch effectively through the pain.  He won’t try to tough it out just for the sake of coming back “if I can’t throw, or if I’m throwing what I was throwing the other night. I can’t do it to these guys.”

If the elbow injury indeed ends Burnett’s season, it will also mark the end of his 17-year career, as the veteran has already announced that he’ll be retiring once the 2015 campaign is over.  Burnett went out on a high note, making his first All-Star team after posting a 2.11 ERA and 100 strikeouts (against 33 walks) over his first 119 1/3 innings.  Even if the right-hander is done for the season, he’s already more than delivered on the one-year, $8.5MM deal he signed last winter to return to Pittsburgh.

The Pirates’ postseason chances will suffer a blow with Burnett out, though they still have Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano headlining a rotation that includes Jeff Locke, Charlie Morton and the newly-acquired J.A. Happ.


Brandon Beachy Clears Waivers, Accepts Outright Assignment

Dodgers right-hander Brandon Beachy has cleared outright waivers after being designated for assignment last week, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter).

Beachy, who turns 29 in one month, signed a one-year, $2.75MM contract with the Dodgers this winter after being non-tendered by the Braves on the heels of his second Tommy John surgery. He’s spent most of the season on the 60-day disabled list, but he did reach the point last month where the Dodgers felt he could join the big league rotation. After pitching to a 3.28 ERA in six rehab starts, Beachy made a pair of starts with the Dodgers, allowing seven runs in eight total innings.

Beachy will have the option to reject an assignment to the minor leagues in favor of free agency, but as a player with fewer than five years of Major League service time, he would have to forfeit the remaining $947K on his contract to do so. His deal comes with a $3MM team option that jumped to $3.5MM upon making his first start of the season and will jump another $500K upon making five and 10 total starts. A $250K buyout would be added if he were to reach 10 total innings on the season. (Contract details via Cot’s Contracts.)

Because of that, it seems rather unlikely that Beachy would test the free agent waters at this juncture, though the Dodgers’ additions of both Mat Latos and Alex Wood have obstructed his path to another look in the big league rotation for the time being. Beachy, of course, has an excellent track record in the Majors when healthy. From 2010-13 with Atlanta, he posted a 3.23 ERA, 9.2 K.9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 267 2/3 innings. Durability has been an issue since reaching the Major Leagues, however, as he’s topped 100 innings just once in his career and made 10 starts in a season just twice.


Athletics Claim Danny Valencia

The Athletics have claimed infielder Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays, the A’s announced (on Twitter). Valencia was claimed from outright waivers as opposed to revocable trade waivers, so no trade will need to be worked out.

Valencia, 30, was a surprise casualty of the Blue Jays’ flurry of trade deadline activity, as the team designated him for assignment late last week in spite of excellent numbers at the plate. The right-handed-hitting Valencia is hitting .296/.331/.506 with seven homers in 173 trips to the plate this season.

Throughout Valencia’s career, most of his production has come versus left-handed pitching (a very robust .326/.368/.497 batting line), but he’s actually recorded better numbers versus right-handed pitching in 2015. Valencia has seen most of his action at third base throughout his career — he was the Twins’ regular third baseman for two and a half seasons and finished third in the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year voting — but he’s played some left field, first base and second base over the past couple of seasons as well. As a player that has notable platoon splits and the ability to bounce around the diamond a bit, he fits the quintessential Athletics mold.

Valencia will have four-plus years of service time at season’s end, meaning he can be controlled through the 2017 season. Valencia and his representatives at MVP Sports won an arbitration hearing against the Blue Jays this winter, resulting in a $1.675MM salary. He’s owed about $577K of that sum through the end of the year. The Athletics had top waiver priority in the American League, so the first team that had the option of picking up Valencia is the team on which he ultimately landed.



Blue Jays Claim Ben Rowen From Cubs

The Blue Jays announced today that they have claimed right-handed reliever Ben Rowen off waivers from the Cubs and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo.

Rowen, 26, has made his way around the league over the past half-year or so. Signed to a minor league deal by the Dodgers this winter, Rowen was traded from L.A. to the Orioles in the trade that sent a Competitive Balance draft pick and Ryan Webb to the Dodgers. Despite outstanding minor league numbers, the O’s didn’t feel they had a roster spot for Rowen, and he was released from his contract, after which he inked a minors pact with the Cubs. Chicago selected his contract to the big league roster last week, but he didn’t get into a game with the Cubs before being designated for assignment.

The addition of Rowen to the Blue Jays organization makes particular sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Blue Jays bullpen has been shaky for much of the season, although activity at the trade deadline has helped to shore up the relief corps. (Aaron Sanchez should be pitching out of the bullpen full-time for the rest of the season, Mark Lowe‘s addition adds a power arm, and LaTroy Hawkins will add stability as well.) Additionally, Rowen has outstanding Triple-A numbers and a sidearm delivery that generates a huge amount of ground-balls — undoubtedly an appealing trait to a team in a homer-friendly park like the Rogers Centre.

In 46 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015, Rowen has posted a 1.93 ERA with 6.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9. Minor League opponents batted a paltry .235/.267/.302 versus Rowen this season, so at the very least one can imagine that he’d be an option for the Blue Jays in September when rosters expand. However, strong enough numbers with Buffalo could also prompt the Jays to make a move prior to that cutoff.


Notable August Trades: 2012-14

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but as we explained earlier today, that in no way means that trading is over. Working out trades is now quite a bit more complicated, but if history is any indication, we’ll still see our fair share of notable names exchanged and possibly some under-the-radar swaps that will look like coups with the benefit of hindsight in a few years.

Here’s a look back at some of the more notable deals from the past three Augusts (with a helping hand from MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker)…

2012 (Transaction Tracker link)

  • Dodgers acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and cash considerations from Red Sox in exchange for Allen Webster, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus and Rubby De La Rosa: One of the most significant trades in recent history (August or otherwise), this trade saw the Red Sox shed more than $250MM in future payroll commitments, positioning GM Ben Cherington for an aggressive offseason on the free agent market that netted Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes — each of whom played a role (some more significant than others) in fueling the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series run. As for the Dodgers, Gonzalez has returned to elite status, while Crawford has quietly rebounded (to some extent) and Beckett delivered 115 2/3 innings of 2.88 ERA ball in 2014 — his final season.
  • Athletics acquire Jesse Chavez from Blue Jays for cash considerations, and also acquire Pat Neshek from Orioles for cash considerations: Neither of these deals looked to be of much consequence at the time, but Neshek jumped right into the Oakland bullpen and delivered a 1.37 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. That stretch kicked off a career renaissance of sorts for the side-armer, who is now an integral part of the Houston bullpen. As for Chavez, he’s still with Oakland and has turned in a 3.57 ERA in 318 innings from 2013-15. He’s also controllable through 2016.

2013 (Transaction Tracker link)

  • Pirates acquire Marlon Byrd, John Buck from Mets in exchange for Dilson Herrera, Vic Black: Byrd took a minor league deal with the Mets prior to the season, while Buck was viewed as a throw-in in the offseason blockbuster with the Blue Jays, but both put up big numbers with the Mets and netted the team a pair of significant prospects from Pittsburgh. Byrd and Buck helped the Pirates to the playoffs, ending a 21-year playoff drought, and Herrera is now seen as the Mets’ second baseman of the future. Black, too, could play a part on the team for years to come as a setup man if health permits.
  • Rangers acquire Alex Rios from White Sox in exchange for Leury Garcia: Rios was one of the biggest names traded in August 2013 (though Chicago’s acquisition of him from the Blue Jays in 2009 may be the more notable August move), and he batted .280/.315/.457 for Texas down the stretch. He’d go on to struggle in 2014 and take a one-year deal with the Royals. Garcia, meanwhile, could eventually make for a nice utility piece in Chicago, but to this point the Rangers have received more from the deal than they gave up.

2014 (Transaction Tracker link)

  • Athletics acquire Adam Dunn from White Sox for Nolan Sanburn: An Aug. 31 trade sent the Big Donkey to Oakland, where he caught a fleeting glimpse of playoff baseball before retiring this offseason. Dunn memorably homered in his first at-bat with Oakland.
  • Nationals acquire Matt Thornton from Yankees via waiver claim: The Nationals placed a claim on Thornton and, somewhat surprisingly, the Yankees imply elected to pass the remaining tab on his two-year, $7MM contract along to the Nats. No one in D.C. is complaining; Thornton fired 11 1/3 shutout innings for the Nats down the stretch in 2014 and has a 2.19 ERA this sason.
  • Orioles acquire Alejandro De Aza from White Sox for Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar: De Aza didn’t hit much for the White Sox in his final year with the team, but he exploded in Baltimore, slashing .293/.341/.537 down the stretch and going 7-for-21 with three doubles in the playoffs. His second year in Baltimore didn’t go as well; the O’s designated him for assignment and flipped him to the Red Sox earlier this year, and Boston has enjoyed nice production from the 31-year-old. De Aza’s hitting .305/.353/.500 with Boston and is once again an August trade candidate.

There were, of course, many more trades made over the past three Augusts (check out the accompanying Transaction Tracker links above for the full lists), and there figure to be many more this season. I doubt we’ll see a nine-player blockbuster in which more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of salary changes hands again, but there are plenty of big names with significant salary owed to them that didn’t move last month. James Shields, Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Mike Napoli, Alex Avila, Rajai Davis and many others could find their names floating around on the rumor mill this month.


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NL East Notes: Mets, Wheeler, Bour, Capps, Braves

Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the Wilpon family (the team’s owners), who have drawn plenty of fan and media ire for payroll constraints and a lack of spending in recent years, deserve credit for acting like a big-market team at the trade deadline this year, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Wilpons didn’t merely pocket the extra money they could’ve saved from the insurance on David Wright‘s contract and the unexpected salary they recouped from Jenrry Mejia‘s suspension but authorized Alderson to spend $8.5MM to bring in Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and Tyler Clippard. Alderson, too, deserves credit for his willingness to part with a very good prospect (Michael Fulmer) in an effort to win immediately, as well as his persistence in trade talks after the Carlos Gomez deal fell through, he continues. Sherman adds that Mets fans reminded ownership and the front office just how important those decisions were with a raucous crowd as the team swept the Nationals this weekend and created a dead heat in the NL East.

More on the Mets and their division…

  • Speaking to Newsday’s Marc Carig, Zack Wheeler elaborated on his reported phone call to Alderson in which he expressed a strong desire to remain with the Mets as opposed to going elsewhere via trade. “I told him I know it’s a business and he has a job to do, but I’d really like to be here because of what’s about to happen,” said Wheeler. “I’ve been here a couple of years and want to see it through.” Wheeler told Carig that while he knew such a tactic was uncommon, he felt it was the best way to communicate a desire to “stay and be part of this team’s winning future.” Alderson told Carig that in all of his years as an executive, he’d never seen a player make a call of this nature, and the move had “quite an impact.”
  • With Mike Morse now traded, the Marlins will give Justin Bour every opportunity to stick at first base, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Hitting .254/.333/.445 with 10 homers in 234 plate appearances, the 27-year-old Bour is a rare example of a player selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft that will have a chance to make a significant impact on his new team’s organization. Miami picked up Bour in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft.
  • Jackson adds that despite a number of rumors pertaining to fireballing setup man Carter Capps on Friday, the Marlins never came particularly close to trading him. President of baseball operations Michael Hill called Capps a “a championship-caliber piece under team control” when speaking to Jackson.
  • Braves veterans Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski find themselves in an unusual position, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Each is a veteran on a cheap one-year deal that remained with his rebuilding team as opposed to being moved at the trade deadline. Gomes recognizes that he could still change teams in August but praised the work that president of baseball operations John Hart has done in restocking the farm and rebuilding the big league roster. Bowman writes that for now, the Braves’ hope is that both Pierzynski and Gomes spend another few weeks mentoring some of the team’s young talent. He also notes that at some point in the next couple of months, the Braves may simply have to cut bait on Chris Johnson and release him, but they’ll take the month of August to continue their longstanding effort to shed a portion of the remaining $20MM or so on his contract.

Cubs Option Yoervis Medina

AUG. 3: The transactions page has been updated to reflect that Medina was not designated for assignment but instead optioned to Triple-A. MLBTR has confirmed that Medina was optioned and remains on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

AUG. 2: The Cubs have designated pitcher Yoervis Medina for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Medina, who turned 27 last week, came to the Cubs in the May deal sending Welington Castillo to the Mariners.

The right-hander has tossed a combined 21 innings for the Cubs and Mariners this season, adding up to a 4.71 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in a small sample size.  In 20 Triple-A appearances, the hurler has posted a skyhigh 7.03 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.  Medina struggled in Triple-A Iowa and, at this time, doesn’t seem like a candidate to receive tremendous outside interest.

Earlier today, the Cubs also designated Taylor Teagarden for assignment.  To keep up with all of the players in DFA limbo, check out the MLBTR DFA Tracker.


How August Trades Work

Now that the July 31 trade deadline has passed, teams can still make trades, only with more restrictions than before. Updating Jeff Todd’s post last year on the topic, here’s a look at how August trades work. This information has, of course, been shared elsewhere, most notably in an article by ESPN’s Jayson Stark from all the way back in 2004, and in greater detail at Cub Reporter. Since the rules surrounding August deals are confusing, though, they’re worth reviewing here.

  • In August, a big-league player must pass through revocable waivers before his team can trade him without restriction. These waivers last 47 hours. If no one claims him in that period, his team can trade him anywhere.
  • If a player is claimed, his team can do one of three things. It can trade the player to the claiming team, revoke the waiver request (in which case the player will remain with his original team), or simply allow the claiming team to take the player and his salary (although a player with no-trade rights can block this from happening).
  • A recent example of an August trade that developed from a waiver claim was the Brewers’ acquisition of Jonathan Broxton from the Reds last year. The Brewers claimed Broxton and ultimately got him from the Reds for two players to be named later, who turned out to be Kevin Shackelford and Barrett Astin. An example of a claim that didn’t result in a trade occurred last year, when the Cubs claimed Cole Hamels. The two sides couldn’t strike a deal, the Phillies revoked their waiver request, and Hamels remained in Philadelphia. Examples of teams simply letting players go via revocable waivers are more rare, but in 2009, the White Sox claimed Alex Rios from the Blue Jays, who simply let him go to Chicago without a trade. The White Sox were thus responsible for all of the approximately $62MM remaining on Rios’ contract.
  • A team has 48.5 hours to trade a claimed player, and can only negotiate with the team awarded the claim on him.
  • It’s common for teams to place players on revocable waivers, and their having done so does not necessarily mean they have serious plans to trade them. As Stark points out, teams commonly use waivers of certain players purely as smokescreens to disguise which players they really are interested in trading. In fact, sometimes teams place their entire rosters on waivers.
  • If more than one team claims a player, priority is determined by worst record to best record in the league of the waiving team, followed by worst record to best record in the other league. For example, if an NL team places a player on revocable waivers, the team with the NL’s worst record will get first priority on claims, followed by every other team in the NL from worst to best, followed by AL teams from worst to best.
  • If a team pulls a player back from waivers once, it cannot do so again in August. So if a team places a player on waivers for a second time, those waivers will be non-revocable.
  • Players not on 40-man rosters are eligible to be traded at any time without passing through waivers.
  • A player on the disabled list cannot pass through waivers.
  • Teams can still make trades in September, but players acquired after August 31 can’t play in the postseason.

Players traded last August included Broxton, Adam Dunn, Alejandro De Aza, Kelly Johnson, Geovany Soto, Gordon Beckham, Josh Willingham, Kevin Correia and Jacob Turner. There weren’t any blockbusters last year, although it’s not impossible for major deals to happen in August. The Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in a gigantic trade in 2012, for example.


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Rockies To Promote Jon Gray

The Rockies will promote top pitching prospect Jon Gray to the majors on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link).  Gray, a 23-year-old right-hander, will make his Major League debut that evening at Coors Field in a start against the Mariners.

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich expressed some caution over Gray’s timeline to the Show earlier this month, saying that he wanted Gray to be fully prepared before coming to Denver, possibly influenced by how Eddie Butler, another Rockies prospect, has struggled since coming to the majors.  Given how the Rockies have long been lacking in reliable starting pitching, it’s hard to fault Bridich for being careful with such a vaunted homegrown prospect, though it remains to be seen how Gray will adjust to the unique challenge of Coors Field.

Gray’s impressive performance in July may have swayed Bridich’s mind, as the righty has posted a 2.70 ERA and 43 strikeouts (against just 13 walks) over his last 30 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque.  For the season as a whole, Gray has a 4.33 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.68 K/BB rate over 114 1/3 innings; respectable numbers considering it’s his first taste of Triple-A action and the Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly.

Colorado selected Gray with the third overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft, and he’ll join Kris Bryant, Marco Gonzales, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Michael LorenzenCorey Knebel and Matt Marksberry as 2013 draftees to reach the Major Leagues.  A University of Oklahoma product, Gray is a 6’4″, 235-pound righty who the 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook projected as a possible No. 2 starter at the big league level.  According to the BA Handbook, Gray owns an above-average changeup, a slider that could also become an above-average out pitch and a booming fastball that touched the 102mph plateau as recently as 2013, though he was working in the 94mph range last season.

Gray entered 2015 ranked highly top-100 prospects lists from MLB.com (#16th), ESPN’s Keith Law (#22), Baseball America (#24) and Fangraphs (#28).  The midseason BA top-50 prospects list bumped Gray down to 35th, noting that “scouts who have seen Gray wish they saw dominant outings on a more consistent basis.”  It’s worth mentioning that this list was released on July 7, prior to much of Gray’s recent strong work.


Quick Hits: Kasten, Mariners, Prospects

The Dodgers made several additions at the trade deadline yet didn’t move any of their top prospects to do so, a tactic that team president Stan Kasten generally prefers.  “I think I am well known, both by reputation and by my own comments, as having a deep, deep need to develop the farm system as a way of sustaining excellence over the long haul,” Kasten tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.  “It takes discipline to avoid the short term for the long term. And I think we have done that. That doesn’t mean we won’t trade anyone. We will. But we are going to keep our focus on retaining the majority of our high-end prospects so that we can be good and don’t have these pressing needs at the deadlines.”

Here’s some more from around the league as the baseball world still settles down from a busy pre-deadline week…

  • It seems like the Mariners are looking ahead to 2016, though GM Jack Zduriencik described his team’s deadline moves as helpful for both the present and future.  “It’s more about the future, yeah, but also the production you are getting at the big-league level and if you can replace that and still be competitive while adding talent to your organization,” Zduriencik told reporters, including The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. “I think that’s what we accomplished.”
  • A whopping 44 of the 57 prospects dealt over the last two weeks were pitchers, as several team officials told Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper that there weren’t many quality minor league position players available on the trade market.  Cooper breaks down the 57 traded prospects, which included six members of BA’s list of the top 50 prospects in the sport.
  • Looking ahead to the August waiver period, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick lists several players who could still be on the move this month.  One of the names listed, Martin Prado, probably won’t be dealt as Marlins officials say Prado is in the team’s plans for 2016.  It was reported prior to the July 31st deadline that Miami could move Prado but only for a major return.
  • James Shields, Jeff Samardzija and Starlin Castro are three more players who could be August trade candidates, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says (Twitter link).
  • All 30 general managers receive grades for their trade deadline performance from ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required).  The Blue Jays‘ Alex Anthopoulos was the only GM to receive an A+, while the Diamondbacks‘ Dave Stewart was the only GM to get an F since Arizona didn’t make any deadline trades.

Rangers Notes: Harrison, Daniels, Hamels, Gallardo

Rangers officials personally informed Matt Harrison that he was going to be traded midway through the Rangers’ game on Wednesday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes.  With rumors of the Cole Hamels trade swirling, GM Jon Daniels didn’t want an awkward repeat of the 2013 situation when longtime Ranger Ian Kinsler only found out he was dealt to Detroit via social media.  Harrison assumed the in-game meeting regarded Hamels, though Harrison thought he was being told that his next start was being pushed a day to accommodate the former Phillie.  Here’s some more from the Rangers…

  • Daniels discussed the Hamels trade and more during an appearance on The Front Office with Jim Duquette and Grant Paulsen on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.  The Rangers first tried to acquire Hamels in 2012 before he signed his contract extension with the Phillies, and talks between the two sides became serious again both this last offseason and this July (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers gave up several prospects for Hamels, though Daniels said it was a necessary price given that the Phillies were taking on Harrison’s contract and also sending $9.5MM in cash to Texas.  “When you’re talking that significant discount financially we understood we had to put a little more talent in the deal,” Daniels said (Twitter link).
  • Daniels also talked about the decision to hold onto Yovani Gallardo (audio link), which was inspired by the Rangers’ desire to make a playoff run, no mandate from ownership to unload Gallardo’s salary and the general feeling that there wasn’t an offer on the table that really intrigued the Rangers.  “It didn’t make sense for us, we didn’t want to pull the rug from under the club,” Daniels said.  “I’d rather have him continue to pitch for us and get the draft pick [if Gallardo leaves in free agency] than get a B- or C-level deal.”  The number of other solid pitchers on the market may have been another reason why a Gallardo deal didn’t materialize, the general manager speculated.
  • In regards to Gallardo’s pending free agency, Daniels said the Rangers will save any negotiations until after the season.

East Links: Valencia, Lucchino, Utley, Espinosa

We’ve already had a collection of NL East Notes and Red Sox Notes earlier today on MLBTR, but there’s always more news flowing out of the two Eastern divisions…

  • The Orioles, Rangers and White Sox are three of the likeliest teams to obtain Danny Valencia, an MLB source tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.  Of these clubs, Chicago would have the inside track since they have the higher waiver priority than Baltimore or Texas (presuming, of course, that the four teams behind the Pale Hose don’t put in a claim of their own).  Valencia was rather surprisingly designated for assignment by the Blue Jays and he isn’t expected to clear trade waivers.
  • Larry Lucchino could one day land in the Hall of Fame, but the Red Sox have a very capable replacement for their President/CEO in Sam Kennedy, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe writes.  “This is Sam’s time,” one team source said. “Everybody in the building knows that.”  Abraham writes that there have been internal concerns in the past that Kennedy would leave the Red Sox to become president of another team. Other teams and even businesses outside of baseball have recruited Kennedy over the years.  Now, he’ll stay in Boston as he succeeds Lucchino.
  • The AL East landscape changed at the trade deadline, Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun writes.  The Blue Jays stole all the headlines in the division, but Schmuck believes that the Orioles found better offensive chemistry with their acquisition of Gerardo Parra.  Schmuck also gives his thoughts on the rest of the division, including the Yankees, who apparently hold their farm system’s best talent in very high esteem.
  • Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, an August trade candidate, is making progress on his rehab assignment and could rejoin the big league club soon, as MLB.com’s Nick Suss writes. When he does get back, he’ll go straight to the starting lineup, even if he’s not in Philly for long. “There’s no way I’m just going to let him sit on the bench,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “Because he’s got value and I think he’s got a lot left.”
  • Danny Espinosa has played a big role for the Nationals this season, but with their regular infield starters back, Espinosa is in a playing-time crunch, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Times writes.  His versatility makes him a prime bench piece, however, and as Janes notes, Espinosa could well find regular time again if veterans need a rest or if the Nats suffer further injuries.
  • Despite selling off key pieces at the deadline, Marlins president Michael Hill says there will be brighter days ahead in Miami.  “There’s optimism in South Florida,” Hill told MLB Network Radio (on Twitter). “We feel like we have a great core…We’re looking at an ace in Jose Fernandez and one of the best power hitters in Giancarlo Stanton.”

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

NL West Notes: Kennedy, Preller, Leake, Tulo

Ian Kennedy‘s deadline day experience was already stressful enough given the number of rumors swirling around his future with the Padres, but the righty’s day was even more hectic since it marked the birth of his fourth daughter.  As he related to reporters (including Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune), Kennedy was originally supposed to go on the paternity list to be present for the birth, but a grounded flight in Miami meant that Kennedy decided to make his scheduled start against the Marlins that night.  He wound up pitching well in the Padres’ extra-innings win, allowing two runs in seven innings.  Kennedy spent his time on his would-be flight “texting with his wife and periodically checking MLBTradeRumors.com,” so if Kennedy is reading this, thanks for making us part of your big day…and congratulations on your family’s new addition!

Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • The Padres‘ quiet deadline drew some varied reaction around the league, and in another piece from Dennis Lin, he hears from rival officials that the Friars had huge asking prices despite allegedly being in “sell mode.”  Some deals seemed close at times, though the Padres then countered with offers that the other team didn’t want to match.
  • GM A.J. Preller told reporters (including MLB.com’s Corey Brock) that he doesn’t mind criticism about his team’s lack of notable moves, and that “ultimately we didn’t see value for the moves we wanted to be made at that time.”  Preller hinted that the team could be active in the August waiver trade period, and Brock writes that the Padres are expected to keep looking for a shortstop.
  • Mike Leake was a perfect deadline acquisition for the Giants, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes.  The deal not only makes them a win or so better for the regular season, but Leake could potentially pay big dividends in the playoffs.  All in all, Law feels that the market undervalued Leake’s impressive skill set.
  • Leake, for his part, thought he was getting traded to the AL East and not San Francisco, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets.
  • Troy Tulowitzki‘s final season with the Rockies and the sequence of events that led to his trade to the Blue Jays is chronicled by Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

Minor Moves: Cards, Carpenter, Murphy, Clemens

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Cardinals outrighted right-hander Marcus Hatley and first baseman Dan Johnson off the 40-man roster and sent them to Triple-A, according to the club’s official transactions page.  Both players were designated for assignment earlier in the week.
  • Braves right-hander David Carpenter has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Carpenter was designated for assignment last week and had the option of becoming a free agent, which he declined to stay in the Braves organization.  Carpenter has only appeared in four games for Atlanta this season, posting a 7.36 ERA over his 3 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Brewers released infielder Donnie Murphy, as per the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Murphy signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in February and had a .257/.352/.371 line over 162 PA at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  The 32-year-old Murphy has appeared in parts of nine Major League seasons with five different teams since 2004.
  • The Royals signed righty Paul Clemens to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  Clemens posted a 5.51 ERA over 98 innings with the Astros in 2013-14 and a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in the Phillies’ minor league system this season.  He was released by the Phils in June.
  • Chris Capuano has accepted his outright assignment from the Yankees and reported to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran southpaw had the option of becoming a free agent, though doing so would’ve forfeited the roughly $1.7MM still owed to him on his Yankees contract for the rest of the season.
  • Angels right-hander Jeremy McBryde has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club’s communications department tweets.  McBryde was designated for assignment earlier in the week.  McBryde has a 4.07 ERA over 659 1/3 career minor league innings, though he’s struggled to a 5.63 ERA in 46 1/3 relief frames for the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • While McBryde’s case has been settled, over 20 players are still in DFA limbo.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker for a full accounting of the players still awaiting their next assignment.