Second baseman Marcus Giles was awful this year, hitting .229/.304/.317 in 420 ABs. You don't hear statheads talking him up quite as much these days. Nonetheless ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Rockies and Mariners have interest. Apparently one other NL team is interested as well.
For the Rox, Giles would be a fallback option if they can't sign Mark Loretta. The Mariners are trying to find someone to challenge or replace Jose Lopez. Giles made $3.75MM this year and doesn't figure to get much more on the open market.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 4:53pm: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan mentioned this rumor to Rangers GM Jon Daniels. Daniels told him not to write it. Sounds like there's nothing to the idea of Blalock to St. Louis, but the Dodgers rumor is picking up steam.
FROM 12-3-07 at 4:30pm:
Here's a good one from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Grant admits this is dangerous, unsubstantiated rumormongering. Is there any other kind? The buzz is Hank Blalock to the Cardinals for Scott Rolen and Chris Duncan. Interesting, though we know the Cards are very reluctant to trade Duncan.
Both Blalock and Rolen carry injury risk, so maybe that cancels out. But Blalock only has $12MM left on his deal while Rolen has $36MM and a no-trade clause. Even if you consider Blalock for Rolen an even swap, Duncan probably isn't worth the $24MM salary difference.
The AJC's David O'Brien has a rumor update on his blog. Let's summarize.
- The White Sox are very reluctant to go after Andruw Jones, because of Scott Boras. They'd offer three years and less than $30MM, which would result in a dial tone. Unless it was a cell phone.
- The Braves need a lefty reliever, and might turn to the Pirates for Damaso Marte. That'd be easier to pull off if the Yankees opt to sign Ron Mahay or Jeremy Affeldt for their lefty reliever.
- O'Brien suggests the Braves have collected a starting pitching surplus, which is a dangerous thought. What do you want to bet there'd be no surplus six months from now, if the current group is maintained? O'Brien believes some team might push hard for Chuck James, anyway.
- Matt Diaz may be available, if Brandon Jones proves MLB-ready. First baseman Scott Thorman may also be on the market.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 4:19pm: The Rays will receive a 20 year-old southpaw starter named Glenn Gibson. Gibson was actually rumored way back on November 14th in this deal and the Nats didn't want to part with him. He's said to have a "decent fastball, very good curve, and tons of polish." Scratch what I said about getting Dukes for nothing; Gibson is something. He's been compared to Will Inman but with a little more projection.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 2:34pm: The Post's Barry Svrluga has more on this trade. The Nats basically get Dukes for nothing - just an as-yet unknown minor leaguer. Jim Bowden is hoping Dmitri Young can keep Dukes in check, and he's not worried about his outfield surplus.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 2:18pm: The Washington Post's Dave Sheinin confirms that the Nats have acquired Dukes. That'd leave the Nats with four outfielders, five if Nick Johnson comes back and forces Dmitri Young to the outfield.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 1:30pm: Marc Topkin has some unconfirmed buzz that Dukes is indeed headed to the Nationals.
FROM 12-3-07 at 1:18pm:
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Post says a Nationals-Rays trade may be in the works. We know the Nats have interest in Elijah Dukes, and I could see the Rays parting with him even with Delmon Young gone. After all, the Rays are known to be looking at various free agents to help in right field such as Geoff Jenkins.
Random Winter Meetings rumors...
- Doug Melvin confirms that the Nats offered Chad Cordero for Rickie Weeks. Melvin is adamant that he won't be trading Weeks or J.J. Hardy for a closer.
- Mike Timlin for $3MM, done.
- Mark Loretta would like to return to San Diego but the Padres will pass. The Rockies may yet sign him.
- Rob Biertempfel thinks the Pirates could send a reliever to the Rockies for Jamey Carroll, if the Rockies would eat some of Carroll's salary. That's right, a Jamey Carroll trade rumor. For a man of his abilities Carroll is a tad pricey at $2.3MM.
- Andy Pettitte deal is official at $16MM with no option year.
- Jeremy Affeldt might be looking for four years, $16MM. Say whaaaat? The Rox offered him a mere $4MM over two years.
Yahoo's Tim Brown checks in with his own set of rumors after working the floor a bit.
- Darin Erstad is popular - the Padres, Mariners, Astros, and Rays have inquired. His mystique lives on.
- The Phillies appear to have a serious interest in Livan Hernandez, though he doesn't seem to be what they need.
- Brett Tomko's agent met with the Rockies today. Brown says the Pirates, Nationals, Marlins, Reds, and Rangers are after him too. Separately it's been said that the Astros are in on him too. The Padres made a weak $1.5MM offer to Tomko.
I'd like to take a brief pause mid-rumor to recommend Baseball Prospectus. A BP subscription is easily worth $39.95 to any baseball fan; I use mine daily and I'd happily pay more for it.
You always see me quoting guys like prospect guru Kevin Goldstein or injury expert Will Carroll; their columns are just the tip of the iceberg over there. They post over 1,000 articles per season.
They've got every stat under the sun, and you can customize reports and download them in Excel. I use this all the time too. The stats range from the basic ones to ridiculous-sounding ones.
And then there's PECOTA, the state of the art player projection system. When the new set of PECOTAs come out it's like Christmas for baseball geeks.
Again, I wholeheartedly endorse spending $39.95 on a BP subscription. Click here to read about the benefits and features in more detail and to sign up.
Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 went on air a few hours ago with some interesting tidbits regarding the Chicago teams. This was before the Sox acquired Carlos Quentin so I'm not sure what kind of effect that has on this info.
- The White Sox are still very much in the mix for Aaron Rowand, but they really don't want to give him five years. By the way Jerry Crasnick mentioned today that the Phillies may be willing to stretch to four years on Rowand or at least three years plus a vesting option.
- The Cubs are having all sorts of trade discussions involving Mark Prior. The Rangers and Padres are said to be two interested parties.
- Of course the Cubs still have Kosuke Fukudome in their sights. But they also have their eye on Oakland's Nick Swisher and Arizona's Orlando Hudson. Both are switch-hitters, by the way.
According to MLB Radio via MetsBlog, the D'Backs will send outfielder Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for first baseman Chris Carter. Here's the MLB.com link. Kenny Williams and Josh Byrnes have gotten together on many trades in the past.
Carter was recently ranked Chicago's 4th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, and their best position player prospect. The 21 year-old first baseman will try his hand at High A in 2008. Goldstein calls him a "true slugger with tremendous strength and power to all fields," while noting that he is poor defensively even at first base. Carter's a few years off, so Conor Jackson doesn't have to worry quite yet.
Quentin didn't have a place on the D'Backs after they signed Eric Byrnes to a contract extension. 2007 was a lost year for Quentin as he dealt with shoulder and hamstring issues. He plans to have labrum surgery to fix the shoulder this winter. The 25 year-old has mashed at Triple A and knows how to take a walk - he is exactly what the White Sox needed. Faith in Kenny Williams has been restored, perhaps.
It's tough to pick a winner here; I like the deal for both clubs. I love it for the White Sox, who had a strong need for position-playing young talent. The D'Backs did well getting Carter, though they weren't able to spin Quentin into a starting pitcher. Quentin wouldn't have gotten a chance to rebuild value with Arizona at the big league level in 2008 anyway. Yahoo's Jeff Passan is not impressed with the move for Arizona.
Just a one-liner from Charley Walters: "the Twins plan to begin talks with Justin Morneau on a multiyear contract soon."
At one point in March of this year, Morneau said he and the Twins were "pretty close." Morneau is under team control through 2010, but didn't sound optimistic about extending that when asked in September. He'd love a five or six-year deal, buying out two or three years of free agency. We'll see what the Twins offer.