Olney’s Latest: Marlins, Lester, Phils, Suzuki, Kemp

Rival executives continue to say that the Marlins are lurking in the trade market, looking to acquire a starting pitcher that can help them beyond the 2014 season, writes Buster Olney in his latest ESPN Insider-only blog post. Marlins president of baseball ops Michael Hill has said the team won’t be sellers — as first noted by Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald on Monday — and Olney calls them “an intriguing candidate to surprise” before the deadline. He points out that Miami is closer to the division lead in the NL East than the Rays are in the AL East.

Here are some more highlights from Olney’s latest efforts…

  • Executives who have spoken with the Red Sox expect them to trade Jon Lester and others before Thursday’s deadline, because the team can extract more value from a trade than it could through draft pick compensation. Olney also spoke with a close friend of Lester, who told him that there’s “no chance” Lester will sign with the Sox at this point.
  • With less than three days until the trade deadline, the Phillies have made zero trades despite being among the league’s most obvious selling candidates. Officials who have spoken with the Phils have found it difficult to gain traction in trade talks and wonder how committed the team is to moving its veteran pieces. Olney writes that it will take a devotion to change, no matter the cost, for the Phillies to turn their roster over, because they possess so many expensive players.
  • Kurt Suzuki of the Twins may be the only starting-caliber catcher available in trades, but with few contenders in need of a starter, there isn’t a huge market for him. However, as Olney notes, he’s not a candidate for a qualifying offer, so the Twins are in a tough spot.
  • Though Matt Kemp is a big name on the trade market, his performance hardly lines up with his reputation or to how he is valued by rival clubs. Olney spoke with two rival executives from separate teams what they would pay Kemp as a free agent and received nearly identical answers: a two-year, $15MM deal and a two-year, $16MM deal. Their best chance to move him may be to package him with a top prospect while still eating lots of salary.
  • Teams around the league still feel that the Dodgers are the most likely club to pull off a trade for Lester or David Price due to ownership’s “must-win” mantra and the team’s considerable resources.
  • Even if the Red Sox don’t move Stephen Drew, he could still be dealt in August. As Olney notes, Drew is similar to Cliff Lee in that the non-waiver trade deadline doesn’t apply to him, as each player is seen as too expensive relative to his remaining salary. Drew should clear waivers and give Boston a chance to deal him if he he starts hitting better, and at that point, he’ll have less money remaining on his contract as well.


73 Responses to Olney’s Latest: Marlins, Lester, Phils, Suzuki, Kemp Leave a Reply

  1. No chance? SO he’s just looking for a massive pile of cash I guess. Red Sox future certainly isn’t dim.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Can you blame him? Boston isn’t a small market team if they want to make a competitive offer they are more than capable.

      • They sure are. I’m thinking more after the season though, calling it a “zero chance” seems a bit irresponsible. Makes it seem like there is a massive rift in the Lester/Sox relationship.

        • TheFenwayFaithful 1 year ago

          The only thing that’s changed is the Red Sox will probably have to go 6/120 rather then 5/100 to sign him… That’s more due to his recent stretch of amazing performances then the “rift” between Lester and the Sox. The Sox were there with him at a crucial point in his life. A lot of people like to forget that but I guarantee you Jon hasn’t. His friends, family and life are in Boston. I hate them for making such as small offer, but it’s business. People thought Jeter and the Yankees were too far apart a few years ago and speculated he’d go to another team. He didn’t. They figured it out.

          • CharlieMurphy 1 year ago

            6/120 is probably really optimistic at this point. If the Sox had offered that initially instead of low-balling him he would have re-signed. You’d think negotiations will start at 6/150ish (Greinke & Hamels territory) once he hits the open market, and depending on how many teams are involved it could get much higher.

          • Mmm. Well said. 6/120 seems reasonable, too.

    • thesilkypony 1 year ago

      Roy-Z, the “Close Friend” comment is taken out of context and allowed to be perceived poorly on purpose by those of us who just began to take notice. The trade has nothing to do with hating on one or the other, it makes financial sense for both Lester & Boston. Lester has stated that he would understand if the Red Sox needed to trade him and if so he would still be okay with signing an off season deal to go back to Boston. Just relax. Whatever happens, life will go on.

      • Bob_Laublaw 1 year ago

        Indeed. In fact, when I first read it I interpreted the quote as saying Lester wouldn’t sign an extension now during the season, which has already been established. If the quote was that Lester wouldn’t sign with the Sox *ever* instead of “at this point”, then I’d be worried. Also, Lester’s declarations of loyalty have gone far beyond mere pr and being a good employee. He seems to genuinely want to be here.

  2. MB923 1 year ago

    Let’s see, a declining Drew for 2 months or a (likely) declining Lee for 2 1/2 years? Not even comparable.

    They may be both be financially expensive to their current value, but their value overall is completely incomparable.

    If their contract was the same length, he’d have a valid point.

    Also Cherington and RAJ are very different. I’m pretty sure Cherrington would be willing to pay some of Drew’s salary whereas RAJ I believe has stated he won’t pay much of Lee’s salary, perhaps none at all.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      I believe the point was that both would clear waivers and are possible trade candidates after the July 31 deadline.

      • MB923 1 year ago

        It’s still silly to put him with Lee. I don’t know if the Yankees would put Ichiro on waivers, but like Drew, he’s a FA to be and is “expensive” to his current value.

        He could have used many of the other FA to be who are having subpar seasons and are making a decent amount of money such as Ichiro for instance,

        Many many players get placed on waivers in August.

        • Karkat 1 year ago

          I think it was mostly an easy way to mention both Drew and Lee as August trade candidates in a single bullet point really 😛

      • Steve Adams 1 year ago

        Right. The only comp Olney was going for was to say that the non-waiver deadline is meaningless in trade talks for them, since both can be put on revocable waivers on Aug. 1 and clear a couple days later, at which point, they can still be traded to anyone.

        I re-worded a bit in an effort to make it clear that there’s no actual comp of their ceiling, value, etc.

        • MB923 1 year ago

          I used to have Insider but it ain’t working now some reason, wasn’t sure if you said it or if you were putting what Olney said. Just seemed strange to me and I guess I’m the only one who misunderstood it, so I guess I feel silly now LOL

  3. Jesus Gutierrez 1 year ago

    so trade matt kemp and a prospect just to get rid of his contract? i rather keep him he has been more productive the Ethier and crawford combined

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Kemp has hit better than Etheir and Crawford this year but his defense is truly atrocious and he is not hitting anywhere near his 2011 levels.

      • Jesus Gutierrez 1 year ago

        he looks great in right so far and has hit .355 in the last two weeks, dre and crawford have been slightly better defensively but really cant hit a lick now you tell me who you would rather start

      • thegrayrace 1 year ago

        Kemp’s negative defensive value has come from playing in CF. He should be able to put up at least average defense now that he has been moved to RF.

      • thegrayrace 1 year ago

        Kemp’s negative defensive value has come from playing in CF. He should be able to put up at least average defense now that he has been moved to RF.

  4. rundmc1981 1 year ago

    Amaro, you continue to amaze me.

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan
      Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

      Don’t let anyone tell you differently, Ruby is Groovy!

    • TheFenwayFaithful 1 year ago

      I feel so awful for Phillies fans. The front office had a real chance to completely restock their farm system and they’ve already completely blown it. They still have a chance to get something, and nothing appears to be happening.

      I forget who it was on MLB on XM but they predicted that perhaps RAJ’s job is tied to this group he brought in and that a new GM would be brought in when the youth movement begins. So maybe this is all an effort to save his job? Most logical answer I’ve heard, and its pretty thin.

      • Max Power 1 year ago

        The only guy who’s really going to assist in rebuilding the farm system is Hamels. The others are mainly guys who you can move to save some payroll and add a couple of second tier prospects. Not saying it shouldn’t be done, but the system isn’t going to be overhauled unless Hamels is sent out. And the thinking might be to wait until the offseason when the contracts are less expensive and there would be more suitors with more money to spend.

        • S710b 1 year ago

          I guess you’re right, and maybe Cliff Lee will have a strong finish to the season and rebuild his trade value. But I do think there’s a downside to waiting until the off-season. It’s the time of year where teams are in the playoff race (perhaps unexpectedly) and thus might be more inclined to put together a package if they know they’re in the race. A team might be more willing to trade for Marlon Byrd, for instance, if they know they’re in it, but wouldn’t if they didn’t know they were in it. You know?

          • Max Power 1 year ago

            Well Marlon Byrd is a guy who should unquestionably be moved for the best offer. The Phillies should spend the next 2-3 FA periods signing guys just like him; short term contracts that can be flipped at the deadline for prospects.

            Burnett and Lee can build on their value for next season. Papelbon would be less expensive. Utley and Rollins can be built into a payroll and be given time to weigh the options of leaving. Howard can……………

          • flyerzfan12
            flyerzfan12 1 year ago

            Yup it’s a depressing time. But I agree with your whole signing guys like Byrd the next couple FA offseasons premise. I just hope the next GM (there better be a next GM in a few months!) doesn’t throw in option years on to every deal like they’re candy.

      • S710b 1 year ago

        It’s so heartbreaking and maddening, I can’t tell you.

      • S710b 1 year ago

        It’s so heartbreaking and maddening, I can’t tell you.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        When the youth movement begins? It’s already begun and he’s doing everything to prevent them from accepting it and capitalizing on it. The team they’re fielding won’t finish above fourth place, so why not sell off for prospects, unloading much of future commitments and putting yourself in a position for higher draft picks? I understand that PHI doesn’t know how to lose, but maybe he needs to call up PIT and learn how to lose gracefully.

  5. Karkat 1 year ago

    Hey, at least Stephen Drew can say he was considered “similar to Cliff Lee” at one point in his career!

    Also, are we surprised about the Phillies? it was the same story at last trade deadline. I have no idea what RAJ is doing, but it certainly isn’t setting the Phillies up for long-term success.

    • TheFenwayFaithful 1 year ago

      I’m absolutely shocked by RAJ… These deals should have been done over a year ago when these guys were still in demand. MLB Network Radio has been talking about RAJ making a move since I got my new car in December 2012. Every day I get to listen to Menolo rant in the morning or Casey Stern and Jim Bowden in the afternoon for 20 months, “Why isn’t a deal done? Why is nothing happening?” Not a single thing has gotten done… I’m speechless.

      • Max Power 1 year ago

        In demand? Who was in demand last year?

        • Karkat 1 year ago

          Cliff Lee?

          • Max Power 1 year ago

            He was seen as having too much money on his deal to bring a return last year.

            And he’s at reduced value right now 2 starts from the DL – it would be dumb to trade him now anyway before giving him a chance to prove he’s healthy.

    • Frittoman626 1 year ago

      I don’t understand how RAJ has a job at this point. He doesn’t care about the Phillies future, he’s just trying to save face of all the bad contracts he has. When it comes to guys like Hamels and Utley it’s understandable why he would want to hold on to them, but if a team can offer you a good deal for them why not trade? Why doesn’t he just trade off all the contracts he can and retool the farm system, this Philies team is gonna be the same for the next couple seasons whether they keep those huge contracts or those prospects. For Phillies fans sake, I hope RAJ is finally fired in the offseason, can’t keep having an incompetent GM making decisions for you. He’s just about in Omar Minaya/Steve Phillips territory.

    • wkkortas 1 year ago

      No one has any idea what Amaro is doing, least of all RAJ his ownself.

  6. DippityDoo 1 year ago

    Never thought Kemp would turn into Soriano 2.0 Hope he turns it around, always does positive stuff in the community at least.

    • The_Sports_Dude 1 year ago

      Soriano 2.0 if he could be so fortunate. I’m more concerned with him turning into Vernon Wells 2.0.

      • thegrayrace 1 year ago

        Kemp’s OPS is currently .775 on the season.

        Wells hasn’t approached that since he left Toronto after 2010 (.654 in 2011-2013) and Soriano has averaged .770 over that same 2011-2014 period.

    • The_Sports_Dude 1 year ago

      Soriano 2.0 if he could be so fortunate. I’m more concerned with him turning into Vernon Wells 2.0.

  7. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    One way or another the Phillies are going to be spending a lot of money to field a sub-500 team in 2015. They can either eat money in trades and rebuild the farm or pay big money to bring the same team back next year. Either way the results will be the same in 2015 but RAJ’s choice will have a very significant effect on the years to follow.

  8. Zak Arn 1 year ago

    Credit RAJ’s expert contract negotiation skills for the lack of trades.

  9. Gumby65 1 year ago

    If Dave Stewart keeps his yapper shut, Kemp may be fine for the duration of his contract for the Dodgers, but as their right fielder. His bat is coming around, and as he puts more time between the surgeries, he may have a significant bounce-back soon. Selling low is not a great option. Centerfield has been claimed by Puig, end of story there.

    Now, as for Ethier, that’s where the Dodgers need to swallow a huge portion of a contract and cast him off.

    • Dustin Smith 1 year ago

      Exactly! Ive been saying it for about 2 yrs now. Andre hasn’t seemed like he wants to be in LA anymore and his play doesn’t really help the dodgers. It might make sense to flip him for an equally bad contract but as a position where the dodgers don’t have an overload, just to get him out and hope that a change of scenary for both players would help

      • ateam043 1 year ago

        Bingo!

        Spot-on..Although part me says that the Dodgers should trade Crawford instead. With Kemp and Puig having injuries here and there Ethier can slot in and play those spots where as Crawford wouldn’t.

        • Dustin Smith 1 year ago

          well the theory would be moving either one clears way for pederson, so if puig is hurt, pederson in center and kemp in right. If kemp is hurt, pederson in center and puig in right. But moving either one helps, especially since van slyke is underrated and has actually been decent this year when he gets a shot

      • Gumby65 1 year ago

        Hmmm, it seems Matt has escalated his bounce-back this evening, eh?

  10. Mike1L 1 year ago

    It’s possible that Amaro thinks he can pull off multiple deals with minutes to go on the clock. And it’s also possible that he thinks that when other players come off the board, his stock of “assets” will be more valuable. And it’s possible that he believes that driving a hard bargain makes for the maximum return. Or, it’s possible that he is just detached from reality.

  11. Ron Loreski 1 year ago

    I like that the Marlins aren’t selling. I don’t think they are that far away from being true contenders. The have a nice core developing, and they have nice veteran pieces for the younger players to learn from.

    • Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

      The Marlins really don’t have much to sell, everyone they have is young and cost controlled. But I agree the Marlins could be very fun to watch soon.

    • Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

      The Marlins really don’t have much to sell, everyone they have is young and cost controlled. But I agree the Marlins could be very fun to watch soon.

  12. snowbladerp14 1 year ago

    miguel gonzalez, eduardo rodriquez, and a throw in for 2 months of lester

    • Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

      Not an awful return but I don’t think there is anyway the Sox take that deal.

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        if it cant be done for something right around there id pass but i dont think that trade is to crazy to think it could happen

  13. CharlieMurphy 1 year ago

    Executives can “expect” the Sox to move Lester in lieu of getting a comp pick, but the reality is that the Sox still have all the leverage unless the Rays or Phils decide they want to move their aces. Boston is already staring down the barrel of a PR nightmare so it’s hard to imagine them moving Lester just for the sake of moving him.

  14. CharlieMurphy 1 year ago

    Executives can “expect” the Sox to move Lester in lieu of getting a comp pick, but the reality is that the Sox still have all the leverage unless the Rays or Phils decide they want to move their aces. Boston is already staring down the barrel of a PR nightmare so it’s hard to imagine them moving Lester just for the sake of moving him.

  15. scstoopid 1 year ago

    Giants should grab Suzuki and move Posey to first full time. It’s time. When Belt comes back, move him to left.

    • GrumpyPuppy 1 year ago

      Moving Posey to 1B would actually hurt the team. Posey’s defense and game calling skills would be wasted at 1B.

  16. Douglas Rau 1 year ago

    If Lester’s dealt now, it massively helps his free agency outlook. A top of the market pitcher AND no draft pick compensation attached? The market will get out of control.

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      at least between the 5 or so teams that can afford him

      • Douglas Rau 1 year ago

        That’s enough. The Yankees and Red Sox might be willing to pay a little more to keep him from going to the other one. It’s a tactic Lester’s agent(s) can use against the teams.

  17. Douglas Rau 1 year ago

    If Lester’s dealt now, it massively helps his free agency outlook. A top of the market pitcher AND no draft pick compensation attached? The market will get out of control.

  18. Mark Kelevara 1 year ago

    Wow, the Dodgers have been in every recent headline. I’m a Dodger fan and these rumors are killing me! Most of it is all for naught though, since ownership has made it clear that rebuilding the farm is a priority.

  19. evanwins 1 year ago

    Why is Olney so concerned about the Phillies payroll? And why would he advocate them trading just to get rid of those expensive players regardless of what they get in return? Is he worried about the owners money? I thought it was about them trading to get better younger players? Now it’s just give those players away? For whatever?

    • Zak Arn 1 year ago

      Their contracts, and lack of willingness to pay substantial portions of their contracts limits the quality of player they’ll get back… Even their best assets Utley, Hamels and Lee won’t get them a legit player for next year. I personally don’t see the point of eating a guy like Ryan Howard’s contract when they could just platoon him and potentially get an Adam Lind result. No one is untradeable though.

  20. Sung Woo Chung 1 year ago

    Kemp spelled a curse on himself when he promised to hit 40 HRs AND 40 SBs after losing out on MVP race to Braun. Or was it 50-50? What a shame.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Didn’t he say he would go 50-50 not 40-40?

      • Sung Woo Chung 1 year ago

        I think so. it probably was 50-50.

        • Tre-Day
          Tre-Day 1 year ago

          It was 50/50. Worst part was, he started that next year hitting like a madman before he eventually hurt his shoulder. I miss that Matt Kemp :/

  21. sourbob 1 year ago

    I think maybe Olney just means there is no chance Lester will sign an extension before the trading deadline.

  22. elclashcombo 1 year ago

    That’s what I gathered too. I don’t have ESPN Insider but the context of the quote/source may have indicated in-season extension only.

  23. TheFenwayFaithful 1 year ago

    Yea same here. Thanks for clarifying! I’m a huge Lester fan (as I’m sure most Sox fans are). Would hate to see him go and there’s no reason for him to go. He’s still young. He’s got less mileage on his arm then most his age due to missing time early in his career. I think the Sox made a mistake in their initial offer, but I would hope that’s not enough to leave Lester feeling that he has “no chance” of resigning.

  24. CharlieMurphy 1 year ago

    Yeah it’s gotten ridiculous.. since when is 30 “old” for a pitcher? Lester isn’t CC, and has never had weight or injury issues. Hindsight is 20/20 but there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t have given Cliff Lee a 6 year deal after his age 30 season.

    It’s sad to admit, but you can already see the PR spin wheels in motion at 1 Yawkey Way- they obviously have no intention of paying Jon so let’s hope that Ben can get a good haul for him before Thursday.

Leave a Reply