Quick Hits: Rays, Kimbrel, Weeks, Kalish, Madson

Andrew Friedman doesn't think the Rays' search for a first baseman will last beyond another week, the club's executive VP told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).  "There were some suggestions…of movement" between the Rays and James Loney on Thursday, Topkin reports, and Loney remains the Rays' top choice, though at less than his three-year, $27MM asking price.  If Loney signs elsewhere, Topkin expects the Rays to acquire a first baseman in a trade rather than in free agency.

Here are some more items from around baseball as we conclude the 2013 Winter Meetings…

  • This might be the optimal time for the Braves to trade Craig Kimbrel, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required).  Kimbrel is about to get much more expensive now that he's eligible for arbitration, to the point that Kimbrel's incredible statistics "broke" the arbitration projection model used by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • Rumors connecting Rickie Weeks to the Blue Jays, Braves and Marlins during the Winter Meetings were all false, Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Ryan Kalish "is in the final stages" of signing with a new team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.  Kalish was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this month.  The outfielder missed the entire 2013 season recovering from shoulder and neck surgeries.
  • Several teams, including the Red Sox, have been scouting right-hander Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  The Rockies were also recently linked to Madson, who has missed two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • ESPN's Paul Swydan (Insider subscription required) lists four teams who could be helped by the inexpensive additions of Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Johan Santana and Jeff Francis, respectively.  Swydan also wrote about how Clint Barmes could help the Mets, but Barmes re-signed with the Pirates earlier today.
  • Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall discussed his team's desire for a top starting pitcher, the recent Mark Trumbo deal and several other topics during a live chat with fans on MLB.com.
  • The Pirates, Orioles and Indians could be risking their recent success with their hesitation to spend, USA Today's Bob Nightengale opines.
  • Several team executives and scouts joined ESPN's Jayson Stark in listing the winners and losers of the offseason thus far, with a pair of teams (the Mariners and Yankees) somewhat in between, in the "winners with an asterisk" category.

68 Responses to Quick Hits: Rays, Kimbrel, Weeks, Kalish, Madson Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 2 years ago

    Time to trade Craig Kimbrel? Um, No. No, Buster Olney. Ya Crazy.

    • Dynasty22 2 years ago

      Did you read the article?

      • ytrex 2 years ago

        Cubs? Young guy that could be put into a package to get Shark. Proven Relief guy that could really put a package over the top?

        • lefty177 2 years ago

          I feel like the best closer in baseball would just make it a 1-for-1 deal, no package

          • godzillacub 2 years ago

            Nor would the Cubs accept it. Not for value but for need. Let’s worry about GETTING to the closer first.

          • ytrex 2 years ago

            the bullpen is a need with the surplus of postiional players in the farm system and if they get some other minor league arms(which the braves have a surplus of) i think its something they have to look at.

            can’t even remember how many times the bullpen blew winnable games from the 7th on last year

          • godzillacub 2 years ago

            The bullpen is a secondary need that is often addressed by failed starting pitcher prospects. Aim for starters, when they fail they often become productive relievers.

          • And then if you’re Theo, they become starters again and lose everything.

          • ytrex 2 years ago

            i feel they would still throw in one good prospect or two high upside types, no matter if he is the best closer the one thing he is not is a starter

        • Dynasty22 2 years ago

          One of the points Olney made was trading Kimbrel to a team that can afford an expensive closer. The Cubs work but they are rebuilding.

          • ytrex 2 years ago

            I understand the fact they are rebuilding and he will be expensive, but do you not think theo and jed will at least look at it. Its intriguing to me at least, Kimbrell is proven and still only 25. its not like trading for a 30-35 year old relief man.

          • godzillacub 2 years ago

            They won’t even look at it. It’s putting the rebuilding cart before the horse. A solid 9th inning means nothing without a good to strong first 8 innings.

            They’ll use their best assets (as they have stated repeatedly) for starting pitching due to it being a primary need and address the bullpen with secondary moves.

      • Will 2 years ago

        I’ve been on board with this idea all offseason. It makes perfect sense for the Braves to offload him now. I think they should take a front-end rotation guy and a top OF prospect to replace J-Up when his contract runs out after the next 2 years.

        • beisbolista 2 years ago

          I think moving him might make sense too, but I’d hold for now. First of all, I want to see how this Braves team looks the first half of the season. Secondly, Kimbrel’s value will be much higher at the trade deadline than it is now, especially with such good back end bullpen options available on the open market. And in any event, Kimbrel will not be worth a front end rotation guy plus a top outfield prospect.

          • rundmc1981 2 years ago

            Yeah, I can’t see a team giving up both knowing how much premium pitching prospects go for these days and how little even top closers return. If teams wanted to pay a closer $10MM per year, Balfour would be off the market already, though he’s not in the same tier as Kimbrel.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      Look at what Jim Johnson got BAL when traded, not much. He was unloaded b/c BAL didn’t want to devote $10MM to him thru arbitration. That will be ATL if they don’t trade him soon. Now he has value, but it will keep dropping going forward.

      • Dyaf 2 years ago

        Jim Johnson is a slightly above average reliever. Craig Kimbrel is arguably the best closer in baseball.

        • vtadave 2 years ago

          Not sure how you argue that he’s not.

          • rundmc1981 2 years ago

            He is the best closer in MLB. Yes. But he’s also going to be at a price point that ATL has never paid for a closer. Unless they decide to go a different direction with the franchise, and extend him – which they should consider, heavily – then they need to strike while the iron is hot.

          • Sealift67 2 years ago

            If Braves go farther than division title Liberty Media
            might be willing to up the payroll to secure the
            younger talent. This could happen if Teheran breaks
            out, and Minor, Medlen are consistent, Wood and Hale
            show development.

          • rundmc1981 2 years ago

            Totally agree, but I don’t think spending the money is the best option unless we can sign Freeman, Heyward, and Minor. The closer is a much easier position to replace than a young AS, gold glove winner hitting in the heart of your order. We’ve thrown hard-throwing rookies out there before and they’ve succeeded, we can do it again.

        • rundmc1981 2 years ago

          Listen, I understand they’re not the same pitcher, obviously. Johnson hasn’t had the consistency that Kimbrel has had and is going through the arb process now with a $10MM/year price tag. Even being one of the best closers in MLB in 2013 he only returned Jemile Weeks and a PTBNL (David Freitas).

          Do you really think Kimbrel would return much more than that a year down the road, in a similar position than Johnson is now? Take in mind that I’m a Braves fan, and I know that they never pay premium for pitching. Think about it. Go all the way back to Wohlers. They have the arms to replace him and they need to deal from a position of strength, if the return is right.

          • Michael Gardiner 2 years ago

            Given Kimbrel is Younger, currently cheaper under control for the next 3 years and far better, yes he would look at what guys like Andrew Bailey brought back.

        • Mitch Augustyn 2 years ago

          Yet some how Johnson had more saves than Kimbrel. Guess Kimbrel is not quite as good as Johnson since success for a reliever is determined by saves.

          • Sealift67 2 years ago

            Save numbers are limited by opportunities. No save in
            big margin wins, good number of come from behind
            rallies(Braves had a lot of these). Save % factors in.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      The points are the same. Obviously there is a difference, but his numbers were up there with Kimbrel’s last year. Take off the blinders and see the point.

      • vtadave 2 years ago

        Kimbrel – 1.21 ERA, 13.2 K/9, 1.69 xFIP, 93% SV%

        Johnson – 2.94 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.38 xFIP, 85% SV%

        Which of these are similar?

        • rundmc1981 2 years ago

          Give me a break! I know the man is different, but look at what Johnson’s trade returned. Look at the point. Hold onto Kimbrel any longer when his arb contract will reach $10MM per season and if they try and trade him, they’ll get back not much better than the Jemile Weeks/PTBNL they received from OAK. Not good. The alternative: let Kimbrel pitch the next 2 years in hopes of extending or re-signing him (at premium price) where he could walk and receive nothing (b/c ATL won’t take a chance at offering him $14.1MM+ where he might take it.

          • vtadave 2 years ago

            I get the point that at least considering trading Kimbrel isn’t the worst idea. Oh, and unless he gets hurt, is there really any risk that he would accept a 1 yr/ $14 million deal? Teams would be lining up to deal for that contract (again, assuming he’s 100%). The point I was disagreeing with was that he was similar to Johnson. Take out saves (which we all know is not the way to measure whether a guy is a great closer), and they are not similar whatsoever.

          • rundmc1981 2 years ago

            I understand, but they’re comparable in terms of their positions and the current financial restraints of their current and former teams (in the case of Johnson on BAL). If he were on LAD, NYY, BOS, PHI, he wouldn’t be comparable because a $10MM/year for a closer through arb isn’t as much of a financial restraint as it is on a club where that salary will represent about 15% of their annual budget – for a guy that pitches the last 3 outs of the game.

            As Matt Swartz could attest, Kimbrel really has no comparables, so even if Johnson is a long-shot, it’s still interesting to look at Johnson’s return as a potential starting point for what Kimbrel could return after 2014 – which as I was saying – wouldn’t be the kind of rich package people are hoping for.

            Though I’m not in the group that believes we “need” David Price, the idea of including Kimbrel in the deal to TB is preposterous considering he’s going to be priced (pun not intended) out of TB’s budget through arb at the end of the year, meaning they won’t take him without ATL including money.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      Dump BJ already?! That’s insane. Sure, he was terrible, but allow the man to return his value in more than 1 year. Plus, you dump BJ and you risk having Justin shutdown over the next 2 years we have him. Sure, he’s a pro, but dumping BJ 1 year into a 5 year deal would be a cowardly move, imo.

    • Paclypse71 2 years ago

      1 for 1? Samardzija would be a starting point for a Kimbrel package.

  2. Brandon Mason 2 years ago

    I Would LOVE For The Angels To Trade for Kimbrel

    • godzillacub 2 years ago

      Trade . . . what?

      • Brandon Mason 2 years ago

        I know it would never happen, but i can dream right.?

        • godzillacub 2 years ago

          Definitely, man. Cubs fan here. All I have is dreams.

          • Brandon Mason 2 years ago

            You Gotta Have Faith Man. Anything Is Possible. I Mean No One Thought Oakland Would Be as good as they were the past 2 years so maybe your Cubs will be better than people expect next year.

          • godzillacub 2 years ago

            I think faith died after the century mark without a World Series. I think now we’re just hoping on the law of averages?

          • schaddy24 2 years ago

            I think this rebuild will either be worth the wait, and they actually win or the prospects will go the way of Patterson, Pie, Prior, etc. and the fans wont be able to take it anymore.

    • Michael Gardiner 2 years ago

      Mike Trout and he is yours 😉

  3. Chris Hager 2 years ago

    I could see the Rays going after Kalish.

    • elmedius 2 years ago

      he’s an ex top sox prospect… im going with the cubs. fits the pattern.

  4. jvent 2 years ago

    Wonder if youk would be willing to play 1b for the mets and also trade degrom/montero/mejia and puello to cubs for castro ss

  5. Pittsburgh and Baltimore definitely made mistakes by not opening the checkbooks, but I don’t really blame Cleveland. Bourn and Swisher were both underwhelming. They need to replace Jiminez, but this past free agent market isn’t filled with realistic options for them.

  6. Torontopoly 2 years ago

    Thank you Doug Melvin. We don’t want your declining 2B.

  7. Kent Kimes 2 years ago

    I would only trade Kimbrel if it brought back a true ace, like Verlander – or a Texiera-like haul. That’s hypothetical, I know Detroit just signed Nathan, But if they’re going to let him rot in the pen in the playoffs might as well get some value before he bolts for greener pastures.

  8. I love and hate the idea of trading Kimbrel. He would command a huge return and the let’s face it the Braves aren’t going to pay him. My only issue is, who steps up in his place? I believe they have a team that could win the whole thing if they could pick up a strong, playoff proven, veteran arm.

    • Kent Kimes 2 years ago

      Walden has experience as closer; and there are several on the free agent market.

    • Jason Barber 2 years ago

      don’t automatically assume the braves wont necessarily pay freeman,heyward,simmons kimbrel etc..you are making speculative guesses based on facts not in evidence…just because you say they wont pay kimbrel,heyward freeman, simmons etc doesnt mean in any way shape form fashion or manner that they wont do whatever it takes to make the correct moves to sign these braves cornerstone players to long term deals…please have a little faith in braves management and for pete’s sake don’t assume anythning when you dont have all the facts

    • Sealift67 2 years ago

      True, and Buchter who has the stuff, has to prove himself in AA.
      Chances are Braves will watch him closely and decide later
      in season or post-season re Kimbrel keep or trade.

  9. Jason Barber 2 years ago

    forget it it will never ever happen ….

  10. Dyaf 2 years ago

    Here is a crazy idea.

    Braves get: David Price
    Mariners get: Craig Kimbrel, Alex Wood
    Rays get: Tijuan Walker

    Could start the framework of a deal with lesser pieces also involved.

    • Kent Kimes 2 years ago

      Disclaimer: I’m not saying this is realistic in the sense that it could happen, but – the Braves really need get out from under Uggla and or BJ’s contracts, so any deal with Kimbrel, to me, would have to involve the takers also taking on one of those guys.

      • CT 2 years ago

        I think adding one of them in a potential Kimbrel trade is the only way the Braves get rid of the whole contract, without eating any money.

      • rundmc1981 2 years ago

        No one is going to take BJ’s contract, and it’s not smart for ATL to part with him considering the upside and the fact that we don’t have a remotely decent backup, unless moving Heyward to CF and picking up a corner OF. I’m hoping it’s a little optimistic and not naive to think that 2013 was not a sign of things to come.

    • John Donovan 2 years ago

      Walker would be a great beginning of a 3-4 player package for David Price, but no way it is a 1 for 1 deal. Walker is a top prospect, but still unproven in the bigs. In no way is he equal to a perennial Cy Young contender.

    • Jason Barber 2 years ago

      will never happen because craig kimbrel and alex wood are are as close to being untouchable as too players not named jason hursh and lucas sims ever could be

  11. MaineBaseball 2 years ago

    Injuries have derailed Kalish’s career to this point and I really hope he can get healthy and be a contributor for someone. He certainly has the heart and the talent.

  12. mez 2 years ago

    Yes, it’s always a good idea to trade away great players for other players who, hopefully, will one day be great too….so that you can trade them away as well.

  13. Zak A 2 years ago

    Braves trading Kimbrel… makes sense since he’s going to be Mariano $ sooner than later. Yankees make the most sense just from a $ stand point. It’d have to be a 3 team, that sends Gardner to another team and maybe a prospect or two as well to the Braves.

    • Braves Fan 2 years ago

      Agreed my trade would be this:

      Braves get: Brandon Phillips + possibly one prospect from each team)
      Yankee’s get: Kimbrel and Uggla (eat all of contract)
      Red’s get: Brett Gardner

      What do y’all think?

  14. josh 2 years ago

    Reds should sign Ryan Kalish, good buy low candidate with some upside.

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