August 2012

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No In-Season Contract Talks For Wainwright, Cards

Adam Wainwright has told the Cardinals that he’d prefer to wait until the season ends before discussing a possible contract extension, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Wainwright confirmed that GM John Mozeliak contacted him in the past two weeks to discuss a deal. However, the right-hander would prefer to focus on the season now and consider a new deal after the season.

"I don't want to do anything to create a distraction for me or the team," he told Strauss.

Wainwright, who turned 31 yesterday, missed the 2011 season to undergo and recover from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The Aegis Sports Management client pitched to a 4.75 ERA for the first three months of the 2012 season but has since pitched as effectively as he did pre-surgery, posting a 2.08 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in ten outings since the beginning of July. Overall Wainwright has a 3.63 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 53% ground ball rate in 166 innings this year.

Wainwright's under contract for $12MM next year and he’s eligible for free agency following the 2013 season. The Cardinals recently extended Jake Westbrook, another member of their projected ‘13 rotation. Mozeliak has been particularly aggressive in signing players to late-season extensions, as MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker shows.



Quick Hits: Hardy, Soriano, Rangers, Clemens

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy admitted that Manny Machado's presence makes him wonder about his own future with the club, tweets Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.  The veteran, who is under contract through 2014 for $7MM per season, says that he is focused on playing his best at shortstop and won't let the uncertainty hinder him. "Does it cross my mind? Yeah. I’m not going to lie. I was in the same situation in Milwaukee with Alcides Escobar coming up. I don’t know what’s going to happen," said Hardy.  More Thursday night linkage..

  • Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has gone from one of baseball's most overpaid players to one of its most underrated, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  The Cubs have one day to find a deal for Soriano if they hope to move him this season.  Last week it was reported that Theo Epstein & Co. are unlikely to deal him this month.
  • In his latest mailbag, a reader asked MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan if the Rangers made a mistake in extending Derek Holland before working out a deal with Matt Harrison.  He writes that the club should have the financial flexibility to get both extensions done and can be expected to hammer something out with Harrison this winter.  The left-hander will be eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
  • It's becoming more and more obvious by the day that the Astros and Roger Clemens are set for a reunion, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link).  Rosenthal opines that the idea is embarrassing for both parties, but possibly worse on the team's end.  Despite Clemens' tarnished reputation, he is still a well-liked figure in Houston who should serve as a strong gate attraction if he makes a return.
  • After being cut loose by the Brewers just over a week ago, veteran Randy Wolf says that he is excited to hook on with a young Orioles squad, writes Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun.  The Brewers are on the hook for most of his $9.5MM salary, with the O's covering the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum.



AL East Notes: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles, Sanchez

A look at the latest out of the American League East..

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports updated his list of winners and losers of the trade deadline to include the deals that have gone down in the month of August and put the Red Sox at the top of the winners column.  He writes that while Boston certainly won’t win the division, they came away as winners this month with their quarter-billion-dollar purge.  The Orioles also made it to the winners circle thanks to their pickups of Nate McLouth and Omar Quintanilla.
  • The Blue Jays had "all kinds of offers" for minor league right-hander Aaron Sanchez at the deadline, one veteran talent evaluator told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  However, Toronto held on to the 20-year-old as he continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with his velocity climbing from the 92-93 mph range to 94-96.  Sanchez has a 2.29 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in 86.1 innings for Single-A Lansing this year.
  • Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe believes that the Red Sox owners are irked that Theo Epstein managed to leave the club without blame for the club's struggles this year.  Owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino have taken a great deal of criticism in Boston for the club's direction over the past twelve months while the former GM has recieved little, Shaughnessy writes.



NL West Notes: Dodgers, Billingsley, Rockies, Padres

Earlier today we learned that Shane Victorino would like to re-sign with the Dodgers after this season, but the veteran has no interest in returning as a bench player.  While Victorino seemed likely to be retained by the Dodgers when they traded for him, the club's acquisition of Carl Crawford might alter their plans.  Here's more out of the National League West..

  • Dodgers president Stan Kasten told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he fears that Chad Billingsley's elbow injury could sideline him for the remainder of the season.  Kasten went on to say that the fear did not stem from "medical evidence", which implies that it may just be a hunch at this juncture.
  • Meanwhile, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that the talent pool that has cleared waivers or remains on waivers is "very thin right now."  Colletti wouldn't completely rule out the idea of an acquisition taking place tonight or tomorrow but said that nothing is brewing at present.
  • The Rockies will continue to use a four-man rotation in 2013, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.  The club has experimented with using four starters on a limited pitch count with three "piggyback" relievers this season and will tweak the model to use four relievers next year.  The plan was met with skepticism this season but the Rockies have been pitching better since making the switch.
  • The Padres could contend for a Wild Card spot next season with some badly-needed upgrades to their rotation, writes Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs.  Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Padres execs are encouraged by the team's recent play and are adjusting their plans in order to win in the short-term.  The report also suggested that San Diego could target an established starter like Hiroki Kuroda.
  • Renck (via Twitter) doesn't expect the Rockies to be in on Joe Mauer, in large part because they already have Wilin Rosario behind the plate and Mauer would lose value if moved elsewhere.



Astros To Scout Clemens' Next Start

The Astros plan to scout Roger Clemens' upcoming start for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters on September 7th, General Manager Jeff Luhnow told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (story by Danny Knobler).  Knobler writes that the strong speculation in baseball is that if Clemens pitches well, he will then pitch for the Astros five days later, on September 12 versus the Cubs.

The 50-year-old hurler last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the Yankees and can likely delay his Hall of Fame eligibility for another five years if he returns to the big leagues with Houston.  While the Astros have been linked to Clemens recently, the Rangers and Royals are reportedly not interested in his services.



Carlos Lee Drawing Interest

Carlos Lee continues to draw trade interest from teams seeking right-handed hitters, Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). Lee, a free agent after the season, can block deals to 14 teams.

For Lee to be eligible for another team’s postseason roster, he’d have to be on another club by tomorrow. He was on waivers earlier in the month, but it’s unclear if he was claimed. The Giants are among the teams currently seeking right-handed hitters.  

The Marlins are responsible for paying Lee the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary, while the Astros are covering the rest of his $18.5MM salary. The 36-year-old has a .278/.346/.388 batting line in 486 total plate appearances for the Astros and Marlins this year. He has spoken to Miami officials about the possibility of returning for the 2013 season. 

The Marlins tried to move Lee at the trade deadline, according to multiple reports. The Yankees agreed to pay Miami $1MM in exchange for Lee, who blocked the proposed deal. The Marlins also tried to move Lee to Baltimore at the trade deadline, according to Jon Heyman. Lee blocked a potential deal to Los Angeles back in June.



Hector Luna Elects Free Agency

The Phillies announced that infielder Hector Luna elected free agency after being outrighted off of the team's 40-man roster. The Phillies now have one open spot on their 40-man roster.

Luna appeared in 28 games for the Phillies this year, playing left field and both corner infield positions. The 32-year-old posted a .226/.273/.355 batting line in 66 plate appearances, hitting two home runs. Luna is a seven-year veteran with experience on the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Indians and Marlins.



Padres May Keep Headley, Pursue Starters

Padres executives are encouraged by the team’s improved play and will consider adjusting their offseason plans, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Padres are leaning against trading Chase Headley this winter, Rosenthal reports. GM Josh Byrnes considered trade offers for Headley leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but there’s no urgency to deal the third baseman, who’s under team control through 2014.

The Padres could also attempt to sign at least one free agent starter during the offseason, Rosenthal writes. If possible, they would like to add an impact starter and Hiroki Kuroda is one possible target. Padres general manager Josh Byrnes has tried to sign Kuroda twice, according to Rosenthal. He pursued him as the GM of the Diamondbacks and again as the GM of the Padres. 

The Seidler/O’Malley families and Ron Fowler officially completed the purchase of the Padres for $800MM yesterday. San Diego has the best record in the NL West since June 10th at 41-30.



Minor Moves: Gregory Infante

The latest minor moves from around MLB... 

  • The White Sox announced that they released right-hander Gregory Infante. The 25-year-old pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the team two years ago, but he hasn't appeared in an MLB game since. He posted a 3.55 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 21 relief outings in the upper minors this year.



Giants Continue Seeking Right-Handed Bat

The Giants are still looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Rival teams say the Giants are aiming low and that they aren't expected to add more than an extra guy.

Scott Hairston could have been a fit for the Giants, but he was claimed off of waivers by another team, apparently as a blocking move. The Giants had some interest in Steve Pearce earlier this month. However, they didn't claim him when he was placed on waivers and Houston traded him to New York. Both Angel Pagan, a switch hitter, and Gregor Blanco, a left-handed hitter, hit right-handers better than left-handers.









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