June 2012

Minor Moves: Shane Lindsay, Daryl Jones

Here are Saturday's minor moves…

  • The White Sox have signed Shane Lindsay according to the MLB.com transactions page. The 27-year-old right-hander signed with the Cubs last month but only made three appearances in their farm system before being released. Lindsay has allowed eight runs in six career big league innings, all coming with the ChiSox last year.
  • The Reds have released Daryl Jones according to the International League transactions page. The 25-year-old outfielder hit .187/.282/.363 in 104 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Baseball America ranked Jones as the fourth best prospect in the Cardinals system prior to the 2010 season.

Phillies Notes: Fire Sale, Amaro, Hamels

Earlier tonight the Phillies traded Jim Thome to the Orioles for a pair of Single-A prospects. Here's the latest from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • The Phillies are not yet ready to start a full-scale fire sale according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Thome deal figures to be the first in a series of moves, however.
  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters (including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki) that they'll get both Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard back in the coming weeks, and the duo will be "pretty big factors" in the club's trade deadline plans.
  • When asked if the team's losing would impact his upcoming free agent decision, Cole Hamels told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he's not thinking about it (Twitter link). The Phillies went 9-19 in June.
  • Earlier tonight we heard that the Rangers are scouting Hamels, but that the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be more likely.

Rosenthal On Victorino, Red Sox, Braves, Brewers

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors…

  • The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
  • The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
  • The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
  • The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.

Carlos Lee Rumors: Saturday

Last night we learned that the Dodgers and Astros are in serious talks about a trade involving Carlos Lee, though the two sides also discussed Jed Lowrie at one point as well. Dodgers' pitching prospect Garrett Gould was rumored to be involved and he was scratched from last night's start, perhaps an indication of how far along things are at the moment. Here's the latest on Lee, the Astros, and Dodgers, with the latest up top…

  • Lee told reporters (including McTaggart) that he expects to make his decision about waiving the no-trade clause by tomorrow.
  • Olney hears that the Dodgers' attitude toward the trade is: "Something else will come up (if it falls through). We'll get somebody." (Twitter link)
  • Sources tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the deal would be Lee and cash to ‪the Dodgers‬ for Gould (Twitter links). It's still unclear if Lee will waive his no-trade clause.
  • As of early-afternoon today, Lee continues to tell the Astros that he will not waive his no-trade clause according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
  • Lee met with GM Jeff Luhnow this morning and told reporters (including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart and The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine) that the Dodgers have made an offer (Twitter links). He is going to take some time to decide if he wants to accept the trade, and he has not been given a deadline for his decision. He's unsure if he'll have an answer this weekend.
  • The Astros "will do cartwheels'' if the trade is completed according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The hard part won't be agreeing to the pieces involved, but getting Lee's approval. Heyman mentions that Houston is willing to trade just about anyone on their roster, but it'll take quite a bit to part with Lowrie.
  • The Dodgers prefer to take on salary rather than give up quality prospects under their new ownership, write Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Lee is owed just under $9MM for the remainder of the season.
  • As a reminder, the Dodgers are one of the 14 teams on Lee's no-trade list, so he can veto a deal. Lee does not have traditional 10-and-5 protection, having essentially traded it for a full no-trade clause during the first four years of his six-year, $100MM contract back in 2007.

Rangers Scouting Both Zack Greinke & Cole Hamels

With four starting pitchers on the disabled list, the Rangers are scouting both Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels prior to the trade deadline according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. In a video, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says he's heard that Rangers GM Jon Daniels "is not messing around."

Texas reportedly had a scout at Greinke's most recent start in Cincinnati. The Brewers are said to be prepared to move their ace right-hander if the two sides are unable to agree to a contract extension in the weeks leading up to the deadline. A Rangers official told MLB.com's Peter Gammons that they will not be in on Greinke, however (Twitter link).

The Phillies have yet to make Hamels available, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has indicated a willingness to sell if his team does not improve its performance. Morosi speculates that Rangers' prospect Mike Olt could be a fit for Philadelphia, who is looking for a long-term solution at third base.

The Rangers are currently without Derek Holland (shoulder), Colby Lewis (forearm), Alexi Ogando (groin), and Neftali Feliz (elbow). They signed Roy Oswalt as a free agent last month and he's since made two starts for Texas.

Orioles Designate Zach Phillips For Assignment

The Orioles have designated Zach Phillips for assignment, the team announced. The move creates room on the 40-man roster for the recently acquired Jim Thome.

Phillips, 25, owns a 3.12 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 11 career big league appearances, all with Baltimore. The left-hander has pitched to a 3.56 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 30 1/3 innings down in Triple-A this season.

Orioles Acquire Jim Thome

The Orioles have acquired veteran slugger Jim Thome from the Phillies for Single-A prospects Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino, both teams have announced. O's GM Dan Duquette told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com) that the two sides had been talking for about a week before finalizing the trade on Saturday (Twitter link).

Uspw_6131886Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently disclosed that he was open to moving Thome if there was a deal that made sense for both the slugger and the team. After his recent strong showing at designated hitter during interleague play, Thome was on board with joining an American League club in need of a bat. Philadelphia had been reportedly shopping him to teams in need of a DH and the O's fit the bill.

Thome, 41, is hitting .242/.338/.516 with five homers in 71 plate appearances this season. Most of that damage has come as the DH during interleague play, including a 6-for-13 showing during a three-game series in Camden Yards earlier this month. Thome missed more than a month with a back strain earlier this season.

Baltimore's designated hitters have hit a solid .258/.349/.439 this season, though they've rotated between Nick Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis, and others. Johnson was recently placed on the DL with a wrist problem, so Thome gives them a replacement left-handed bat, one that should provide more power. The Orioles designated left-hander Zach Phillips for assignment in a corresponding move to free up a 40-man roster spot.

Simon, 21, was Baltimore's fourth round pick in last year's draft. The right-hander has pitched to a 3.96 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 14 starts and 72 2/3 innings down in A-ball this year. Baseball America ranked him as the Orioles' 18th best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, saying Simon "should be an innings-eating starter." He was originally drafted by Joe Jordan, the Phillies farm director who was previously with the Orioles.

Lino, a 19-year-old backstop, is hitting .218/.282/.340 in 227 plate appearances down in Low Class-A this year. Baseball America ranked him as Baltimore's 21st best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, noting that he offers power potential but is raw behind the plate.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com first reported that the two sides were in talks while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the trade agreement (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Rosenthal later added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

Red Sox Designate Darnell McDonald For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated outfielder Darnell McDonald for assignment, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter).  The move allows Boston to make room for Josh Beckett's activation.

Central Notes: Cubs, Tigers, Marcum, Twins

The trade market is woefully thin in options, and one executive told Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) that there are "only six teams" that are ready to sell.  That includes three teams out of the Central divisions – the Cubs, Astros, and Twins plus the Mariners, A's, and Rockies.  Here's more out of the AL and NL Central..

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) notes that the Tigers‬ were interested in Shaun Marcum during the offseason that the Brewers landed him.  Marcum, he says, could be an option for Detroit if he's healthy.
  • If the Twins do wind up as sellers, General Manager Terry Ryan says that no player will be off the table, writes Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN.  "I never consider anybody untouchable. That's not the way to go about business on a baseball team or organization," Ryan said. "If you've got chances to do things that make a lot of sense for your club there shouldn't be any untouchables. Players know that, agents know that, and so does the fan base."
  • When speaking with reporters today, Cubs‬ GM Jed Hoyer had no update on talks with first-round pick Albert Almora, except to say dialogue continues, tweets Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.  The high school outfielder is one of ten unsigned first-round selections in the 2012 draft.

Cubs Sign Jorge Soler

The Cubs have officially signed Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, according to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com (via Twitter).  General Manager Jed Hoyer says that Soler, 20, will start in the minors as a rightfielder with no timetable to come to Chicago, Padilla tweets.

The Cubs won the bidding for Soler with a nine-year deal worth roughly $30MM earlier this month.  The two sides wound up cutting it close as Soler had until tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. to ink the deal with Chicago or lose approximately $27MM.  Any international deal signed after Sunday can only be for a maximum of $2.9MM under the new rules.

The Praver Shapiro Sports Management client also had interest from a number of other clubs, including the Phillies, Astros, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays.  Chicago can now add Soler to the 40-man roster after designating Randy Wells for assignment.