Aaron Hicks Rumors

Odds & Ends: Tigers, Orioles, Manny, Astros, Uribe

Happy birthday to two former All-Star catchers!  Future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez turns 39 today, while Angels manager Mike Scioscia turns 52.

Some news items…

Cliff Lee Rumors: Wednesday

The Cliff Lee trade talk started intensifying yesterday, as the Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers now have a new suitor to out-bid: the Rays. Not only are the Rays on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, they are ready to add payroll and appear willing to part with B.J. Upton. The Yankees are confident that they can jump in and pry Lee away from their divisional foes, but let's not rule out the Yanks' crosstown rivals. Here is the latest on Cliff Lee, with more rumors to come throughout the day:

  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are working hard to acquire Lee, but nothing is imminent. Texas has plenty of minor league talent to offer, but they don't appear to be willing to move Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez according to Sullivan. Derek Holland, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia could all be fair game.  Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Mariners "inquired about the availability" of Davis and Saltalamacchia.  Righty Alexi Ogando is said to be on the Mariners radar, though "there is some resistance to include him in a deal" on the Rangers' side. 
  • Morosi expands on his earlier tweet, saying that the Reds and Mariners have exchanged names "in preliminary fashion," though the two sides have yet to exchange firm proposals. One GM called Cincinnati a "sleeper" in the Lee sweepstakes.
  • CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam checked on the status of Boston's interest in Lee earlier today, and heard that the asking price was too high (Twitter links). Seattle wants a "stud catcher" close to the bigs, which the Red Sox simply don't have.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets the impression that the Mariners aren't close to moving Lee, at least not to the Twins. He was also told that the two sides haven't exchanged official proposals, and that the Ramos-Hicks talk is "pure speculation."
  • The Mariners are seeking a “mammoth return” for Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One executive interested in the left-hander said the Mariners made a “crazy ask,” demanding an even better package than Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks.
  • FOX reports that the Twins offered Ramos and Kevin Slowey for Lee. At the moment, the Twins, Mets, Yankees and Rangers are most actively engaged with the Mariners in trade talks.
  • The Mariners are calling teams back and telling them that it will take two blue-chip prospects plus a third young player to acquire Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
  • Two scouts tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that third base prospect Juan Francisco would be the Reds' best trade chip, not Yonder Alonso (Twitter link).
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees are not engaged in trade talks for Lee now. They are confident they could acquire the left-hander, but do not intend to deal for him. Olney says the Twins are the favorites to acquire Lee, followed by the Reds, the Rays, the Mets, the Rangers and the field.
  • The Mets officials who have spoken to Joel Sherman of the New York Post don’t seem concerned that the Twins are the perceived frontrunners for Lee. The perception within the game is that the Mariners are leaning more toward scouting than number crunching, and the Mets believe that will work in their favor.

Cliff Lee Rumors: Tuesday

The Twins offered prospects Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks to the Mariners for Cliff Lee, according to a report by Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse yesterday. Reports have since indicated that the two clubs are not close to a deal. If nothing works out between the Twins and Mariners, other teams, such as the Yankees, Mets, Rangers and Reds would likely be involved. We'll keep track of all the day's Cliff Lee rumors right here, so check back later in the day to see if we have moved this post back to the top of the page with updates.

  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears that Lee trade talks are "heating up," since some teams want to add the southpaw as soon as possible.
  • An official from one team interested in Lee tells AOL FanHouse's Ed Price that his club has yet to hear back from Jack Zduriencik regarding what sort of return the Mariners are seeking.
  • B.J. Upton, now involved in the Lee rumors, tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he doesn't want the Rays to trade him (Twitter link). Joe Maddon also talks to Topkin about the Upton rumors, saying there's "nothing from our end regarding that being true."
  • The Yankees believe they could trade for Lee if they wanted to, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
  • The Yankees are “kicking the tires” on Lee, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The source estimates that the Yanks have less than a 50% chance of obtaining Lee and suggests the Yankees could flip Javier Vazquez to another team if they do acquire Lee.
  • The Rays are on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, according to Rosenthal’s sources, who confirm that B.J. UptonCliff Lee trade talk surfaced amoung scouts last night.
  • The Tigers like Lee, but aren't optimistic about acquiring him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • Olney hears that the Mariners "really like" Brewers prospect Brett Lawrie (Twitter link). The 20-year-old second baseman recently made Baseball America's mid-season All-Star team. Lawrie "still strikes out too often and is a work in progress at second base," but is among the offensive leaders at AA. The Mariners have 2009 first rounder Dustin Ackley, also a second baseman, hitting well in AA, though Ackley's presence doesn't mean they can't pursue Lawrie.
  • Morosi hears that talks between the Mets and Mariners have not progressed much (Twitter link).
  • Jerry Crasnick's sources estimate that there's a 60-100% chance that the Mariners trade Lee this month. The Mets prefer Lee to innings eaters and the Yankees ‘covet’ him, but the Phillies would be more likely to pursue Dan Haren if they go after an ace, according to Crasnick’s report for ESPN.com. One AL executive suggested the Mariners might have to explore three-way trades to get as much as possible in return for the left-hander.
  • A rival executive told Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that the Twins will ‘go hard’ after Lee. Some believe the Rangers called Omar Beltre up to showcase him for the Mariners.
  • Peter Gammons hears rumblings of a Lee-B.J. Upton deal and wonders if a third team could be involved along with the Mariners and Rays (Twitter link).
  • Rosenthal hears that no deal between the Twins and Mariners is imminent. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to characterize the talks he has had with the Twins, but Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Mariners have scouted the Twins extensively. Executives were divided on whether the Twins, who have traditionally held onto their prospects, would offer Hicks and Ramos in the same deal.

Cliff Lee Rumors: Monday

Yesterday Cliff Lee had another dominant outing and the Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies had scouts in Detroit to watch it. We'll keep track of all the day's Cliff Lee rumors right here, so check back later in the day to see if we have moved this post back to the top of the page with updates.

  • The Twins aren't close to a deal for Lee, a team source tells LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (via Twitter).
  • The Twins have offered outfielder Aaron Hicks and catcher Wilson Ramos for Lee, a major league source told Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse (via Twitter).
  • There are "interesting discussions" and "possibilities" for a Lee-to-Minnesota deal, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.
  • The Reds have talked to the Mariners about Lee, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  While tampering rules prevent GM Walt Jocketty from commenting on Lee in particular, Fay believes that his words infer that the 2008 AL Cy Young winner would be a player of interest.

    “I will say this: We’re looking at any way we can to improve the club,” said the GM. “To improve the club, it would have to be a pretty significant player to do that. We have a lot of good things going. We don’t want to disrupt that.”

    Fay writes that it will take more than Yonder Alonso, a trade candidate mentioned by ESPN's Buster Olney over the weekend, to land Lee.  Edinson Volquez's performance upon his return will also have an impact on the Reds' interest in making a deal.

  • The Rangers, Twins, Yankees and Mets are among the teams having the most active conversations with the Mariners about Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Dodgers have also discussed the left-hander with the Mariners.
  • The Tigers, Phillies and Cardinals have been scouting Lee, but those teams are not pursuing him as aggressively.
  • Some of Morosi's sources believe the Mariners would rather obtain hitters than pitchers, while others don't believe position matters to GM Jack Zduriencik. There is consensus that the Mariners prefer prospects who are close to contributing in the major leagues.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Pirates, Twins, Beltre, Giants

On New Year's Day 49 years ago, the stadium on the corner of Michigan Ave. and Trumbull Boulevard in Detroit was officially renamed Tiger Stadium. The then 49-year-old park had previously been known as Navin Field and Briggs Stadium. Tiger Stadium would serve as the home of Detroit's ball club until the 2000 season, and was demolished completely in 2009.

Here's a look at what's being written around the baseball blogosphere…

  • Bucco Fans takes a look at what could have happened if the Pirates had kept their 2008 roster together.
  • Twins Overlook runs down Minnesota's top seven prospects, led by outfielder Aaron Hicks.
  • Meanwhile, Nick's Twins Blog examines the current state of the Twinkies' starting rotation.
  • The Bottom Line looks at how signing Adrian Beltre could affect the big picture in Boston.
  • DRaysBay compares Matt Joyce to Matt LaPorta, and finds that the gap between the two may not be as big as you think.
  • Jorge Says No! looks at the potential risk and reward of the Mark DeRosa signing.
  • El Lefty Malo guesses that the Giants will wait to see how Jonathan Sanchez's arbitration case turns out before deciding on whether or not to move a starter for a bat. 
  • Pinstripes Published suggests David DeJesus as a possible left field solution for the Yankees. 

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Odds & Ends: Yankees, Mets, Red Sox

Thursday linkage…

Twins To Sign Aaron Hicks

LEN3 says the Twins are set to sign first-rounder Aaron Hicks for around $1.7MM.  Hicks, a high school center fielder, was chosen 14th overall.

Jonathan Mayo sums up the first-round signings and near-signings so far over at his blog.

Considerations For A’s With 12th Pick

As you know, the A’s have the 12th overall pick in the June draft.  Jim Callis’ always-informative Ask BA segment in the latest Baseball America print magazine (issue 0809) discusses some possibilities.

Callis suggests shortstop Gordon Beckham would make sense if available – he’s likely to wind up somewhere in the infield long-term.  Callis also rattles off a couple of catchers (Kyle Skipworth and Buster Posey), pitcher Christian Friedrich, and outfielder Aaron Hicks.  Friedrich may be a consideration for the Giants at #5, however.