July 2012

Quick Hits: Brewers, Pirates, A’s, Broxton, Snider

Phones across the country were ringing off the hook today, but it doesn't appear that was the case in Milwaukee.  Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said, "I didn’t have any calls from a General Manager all day," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter).  Here's more from around baseball as we head into August..

  • Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle says that the club had inquired about Gaby Sanchez and Chad Qualls in each of past two offseasons, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • A's assistant GM David Forst says that while the club had "plenty of conversations" leading up to the deadline, nothing was really close to happening, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.  Forst implied that Oakland will look to make a waiver deal if a solid opportunity arises.
  • Reliever Jonathan Broxton strikes Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) as an odd fit for the Reds.  Law notes that the Reds' bullpen is strong while they really could have used help at the top of the lineup.
  • Travis Snider chose not to blame the Blue Jays for his shortcomings on the diamond and says that he is looking forward to a fresh start with the Pirates, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.  The outfielder was sent to Pittsburgh for right-hander Brad Lincoln earlier today.
  • After a busy July, Astros manager Brad Mills was glad to see the deadline pass without having to say goodbye to more players, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

West Notes: Rangers, Dempster, Feliz, Giants, Pence

Items out of the AL and NL West..

Cubs Notes: Garza, Dempster, Villanueva

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went and Cubs hurler Matt Garza wound up staying put in Chicago.  Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer says that teams shied away in part because of the right-hander's tricep injury, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  Here's more on the Cubs..

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Dodgers didn't wind up with Ryan Dempster because of the pitchers that they were unwilling to part with.  GM Ned Colletti's four untouchables in talks for Dempster were right-handers Zach Lee, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa, and left-hander Chris Reed.
  • The Rangers will pay all of Dempster's salary while the Cubs will pay all of Soto's salary, making it a virtual wash in terms of money, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
  • Landing a solid prospect in Christian Villanueva was a reasonable return for the Cubs considering that their leverage to move Dempster was limited by his 10-and-5 rights, writes Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd).  Villanueva was blocked in the Rangers organization but should have a chance to shine with the Cubs.

NL East Notes: Pence, Victorino, Johnson

The Phillies traded Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino this morning and the Marlins followed up those moves by trading Gaby Sanchez and Edward Mujica later in the day. The Braves welcomed new acquisitions Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to Atlanta, but deadline day was relatively quiet for the Mets and Nationals. Here are the latest notes from the NL East…

  • The Phillies are slightly under the luxury tax limit following today’s trades, GM Ruben Amaro told reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The Phillies opened the season with a $172MM payroll, and the MLB luxury tax affects teams that spend more than $178MM.
  • At one point the Phillies considered trading Hunter Pence, obtaining a center fielder, and re-signing Shane Victorino for right field, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Instead, the Dodgers acquired Victorino, and the Giants traded for Pence.
  • Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson drew interest from the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Reds and others, but Miami kept him, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes (on Twitter).
  • GM Mike Rizzo said the Nationals made all their splashy moves this past winter, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. "We like who we are, and we like where we’re at and we like the composition of the roster,” Rizzo said.

Minor Moves: Tuffy Gosewisch

There were lots of major moves prior to this afternoon's trade deadline, but here's a recap of the day's smaller transactions…

  • The Phillies sold catcher Tuffy Gosewisch to the Blue Jays, reports Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). Toronto is currently without J.P. Arencibia and top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud due to injuries. The 28-year-old Gosewisch hit .192/.241/.310 in 228 plate appearances for Philadelphia's Triple-A affiliate this season.

AL East Notes: Qualls, Blanton, Blue Jays, Beckett

The Yankees acquired Casey McGehee and the Red Sox acquired Craig Breslow, but the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays remained relatively quiet on trade deadline day. Here’s the latest from the AL East…

  • The Yankees had planned to designate Chad Qualls for assignment to create roster space for Joba Chamberlain, so trading him to Pittsburgh wasn't a problem for the club, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees were in on Ryan Dempster, but talks "never got to crunch time," Marc Carig of the Star Ledger reports (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles continued general discussions about a possible Joe Blanton trade, but never took the next step, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). "We would have liked to have done a deal or two today, but I don't think we're done adding to the team," executive VP Dan Duquette said, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays were discussing a trade late Monday, only to see the deal fall apart, GM Alex Anthopoulos said, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (on Twitter). Griffin suggests the deal was with the Cubs, who were discussing trades involving Matt Garza last night.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said he didn’t ask Josh Beckett if he’d waive his ten and five rights, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (on Twitter).

D’Backs Tried To Acquire Ace Pitcher

5:33pm: The Diamondbacks were indeed working to acquire Garza today, Olney reports (on Twitter).

12:58pm: Lefty Patrick Corbin has been scratched from his start for Arizona's Triple-A affiliate, tweets Chris Gabel of the Reno Gazette-Journal.  Magruder has been told Corbin will not be moved, but says he guesses things could change in what Kevin Towers likes to call the "lightning round."

12:46pm: The Diamondbacks are not currently discussing a deal with the Cubs involving Upton and Garza, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.  It was only Olney's speculation in the first place.

12:31pm: The D'Backs are "working hard on something big," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Olney feels that an Upton-Matt Garza framework makes sense for the Cubs and Diamondbacks.  Upton does have the Cubs on his no-trade list, notes Olney.

10:56am: Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick dismissed talk of acquiring Lee, Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com reports (Twitter links).  "He is owed $100MM. If they want to keep $90MM" Kendrick said. "Really problematic to move him."  Arizona would still like to acquire a starter, but Kendrick says we should not expect front page news.

8:37am: The Diamondbacks are one of the teams to which Lee can block a trade, notes Rosenthal.

8:08am: The Diamondbacks say Upton is definitely staying and there is no truth to rumors of Lee or Hernandez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  That, of course, does not make Rosenthal's report of the D'Backs seeking an ace pitcher untrue.  Meanwhile, Nightengale notes that the club is likely to trade shortstop Stephen Drew today.

3:59am: The Diamondbacks are trying to swing a blockbuster for an unknown ace starting pitcher, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  One rival executive "received indications that the Phillies and Diamondbacks had discussed a deal involving Cliff Lee and Justin Upton," but that scenario is unconfirmed and it is not known whether the D'Backs are among the 21 teams to which Lee can block a trade.  Plus, Kevin Towers and company would need serious assistance covering the $95.1MM guaranteed to the Phillies' lefty through 2015.

Rosenthal notes that the Mariners inquired on Upton earlier this month, but talks failed to progress.  Given that club's repeated comments on and off record, we can probably forget about Felix Hernandez.

Rosenthal did not mention the Marlins' Josh Johnson, who is reportedly expected to stay put through today's deadline.  It's difficult to name another ace-like starting pitcher on whom a team might listen. 

Alfonso Soriano Not Getting Traded Today

5:14pm: Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including MLB.com's Jason Beck, that the Tigers didn't discuss Soriano with the Cubs (Twitter link). "Not once. … We did speak with the Cubs, but we did not speak about Soriano," Dombrowski said.

2:24pm: Soriano will stay with the Cubs at least this week, tweets Nightengale.

2:14pm: The Cubs say Soriano is likely to stay put, though an August deal is possible, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

2:04pm: The Tigers and Cubs are hard at work on Soriano, tweets David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, but he's not sure if they can make the money work.  Soriano is owed $42.3MM through 2014.

1:18pm: Manager Jim Leyland thinks the Tigers may be done on the trade front, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

10:57am: The Tigers have considered Alfonso Soriano, but don't think he's a great fit, Knobler reports (on Twitter).  They asked about Scott Hairston, but the Mets wanted one of the Tigers' top five prospects in return.

10:24am: The Tigers are seeking a middle-of-the-order hitter in the wake of discouraging news on Victor Martinez's recovery from knee surgery, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  Martinez is said to be 50-50 to return this year, so the Tigers are "looking hard" for another bat.

Trade Candidates Who Stayed Put

Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Ryan Dempster and Jonathan Broxton were all traded on a busy July 31st. But many others weren’t moved despite considerable speculation. The fate of these players will be closely tied to their contract status, as is often the case in MLB. 

Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Justin Upton, Justin Masterson, Josh Willingham, James Shields, Chase Headley, Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Vargas are under contract or team control for 2013 (and in some cases beyond). These players probably won’t clear waivers, so it’d be a surprise if they’re traded in August or September. But teams could revisit trades involving these players in the offseason. It won’t be surprising if Garza, Upton, Shields and Headley are available this winter. 

Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett and Alfonso Soriano are all under contract for at least two years after 2012 at no less than $15.75MM per season. Lee ($25MM per season through ’15), Beckett ($15.75MM per season through ’14) and Soriano ($18MM per season thorough ’14) could all clear waivers. So could Justin Morneau, who will earn $14MM in 2013. If these players do clear waivers, they’d be available in August trades. 

Joe Blanton and Stephen Drew are nearing free agency, but they could be dealt before they hit the open market. It's not hard to envision Drew's $7.75MM salary clearing waivers, but some team might claim Blanton, who earns $8.5MM.

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Marlins Tried To Unload Carlos Lee

5:05pm: Two teams told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Marlins thought they had traded Lee to the Yankees today (Twitter link).  However, Lee wouldn't waive his no-trade clause.  The sides were never close to completing a trade, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes (on Twitter).

10:40am: The Marlins are trying to unload first baseman Carlos Lee, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  At this stage in his career, Lee is a low-power 36-year-old with little defensive value, so teams might view him as a right-handed bench bat.  The Marlins added Lee earlier this month, with the Astros paying most of his $18.5MM salary.