Aaron Harang Rumors
The Rockies' decision to designate Aaron Harang for assignment after trading Ramon Hernandez for him shows that Colorado likes the pitchers it already has, MLB.com's Thomas Harding argues. The Rockies will stick with their rotation of Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio, Jeff Francis and Jon Garland. Behind them at Triple-A Colorado Springs, the Rockies have youngsters Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich and Tyler Chatwood, along with veteran Aaron Cook. "We're happy with our guys," Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett says. "Whether it was Chacin who missed a lot of time, or De La Rosa who missed a lot of time, or Nicasio who missed a lot of time, there's some ring-rust that comes with a new season and not having a full season last year. At the same time, we're confident in them." Here are more notes from around the majors.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti and his front office sometimes try to "cram six pounds of smart into a five-pound bag," the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes says. The decision to begin the season short-handed, as they carried Carlos Carrasco on their 25-man roster while he served a suspension, came back to bite the Indians, says Hoynes. The trouble began when Scott Kazmir hurt his ribcage on Monday, which forced the Indians to activate him so they could backdate his stay on the disabled list. That meant they had to option Nick Hagadone, who was supposed to provide bullpen depth in a week in which, as it turns out, they could have used it, as they played an 11-inning game Wednesday and a high-scoring game Thursday. The Indians ultimately had Trevor Bauer start Saturday night, and he walked seven while allowing three runs in five innings.
- Albert Pujols says he won't allow his ten-year, $240MM contract with the Angels to become a burden, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. "God has given me ability and talent, but the day I feel like I can't compete any more on this level, I'm not going to embarrass myself," says Pujols, who hit "only" .285/.343/.516 in the first year of his contract in 2012. DiGiovanna clarifies that Pujols isn't suggesting he has plans to retire, but rather that pride compels him to play his best and try to prove his critics wrong.
- The Cubs are currently looking at six MLB Draft prospects, says MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Their list includes Stanford pitcher Mark Appel (who is currently generally regarded as the top talent available), along with Georgia high school outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. The Cubs pick second in the draft, which will be held in early June.
Two division rivals were able to turn their surpluses into useful parts with a trade this afternoon. The Dodgers will receive catcher Ramon Hernandez with starter Aaron Harang and $4.25MM heading to Colorado.
However, Harang probably won't stay in Colorado for long. Soon after the deal, the Rockies announced that they designated the hurler for assignment. They'll look to find a taker for him over the next ten days and unload his contract.
The right-hander was one of the club's surplus starters and was less-than-thrilled about having to come out of the bullpen in 2013. The veteran posted a 3.61 ERA for the Dodgers last season with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across 179 2/3 innings of work. The Rockies already are hearing from teams with interest in Harang and the Red Sox are one possibility as they look for a John Lackey replacement.
Harang signed a backloaded two-year, $12MM deal prior to the 2012 season. The deal paid him $3MM last year and $7MM this year with a $2MM buyout if his mutual option for 2014 is not exercised. If his option is triggered, it could be worth $7MM-$8MM depending on his performance. With the $2MM buyout off of the Dodgers' books, they'll wind up saving some money in luxury tax penalties next season.
The Rockies designated Hernandez for assignment just prior to Opening Day. The catcher posted a .217/.247/.353 batting line in 184 at bats in 2012. Colorado had a surplus of catchers and Hernandez was the odd man out after Yorvit Torrealba beat him out for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The Rockies inked the backstop to a two-year, $6.4MM deal after the 2011 season. With the Dodgers, Hernandez can be expected to serve as added support for A.J. Ellis along with current understudy Tim Federowicz.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have a pair of extra starters in Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly. Unlike Harang, Capuano has said that he is comfortable with serving as a reliever for the overloaded Dodgers. General Manager Ned Colletti also had said that he enjoys having rotation depth, you can expect both pitchers to attract interest from clubs in need of a starter.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) first reported that Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) reported that Harang was going to the Rockies in the deal along with the cash considerations. Additional details provided by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Scouts from the Indians, Rangers, Mariners and Pirates were in attendance on the back fields of the Dodgers' Spring Training complex today to watch Chris Capuano in a minor league game, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Capuano dominated, striking out 11 hitters and yielding just three hits over seven shutout innings (85 pitches). Capuano is pleased with his improved mechanics and results over his past two starts, Gurnick writes. Here's more out of the NL West...
- Gurnick also notes that many of those same scouts (and possibly others) are likely to gather tomorrow for Aaron Harang's start. Capuano, Harang, Ted Lilly and Matt Guerrier are all trade candidates for the Dodgers.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that new Rockies pitcher Jon Garland said he "strongly considered" signing with the Rox as a free agent this offseason before accepting a minor league deal from the Mariners. When that didn't work out (they released Garland on Saturday), he quickly reached an agreement with Colorado on a one-year, Major League deal.
- Top prospect Nolan Arenado has had a great Spring Training and is still in camp with the Rockies, but MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets that the team isn't planning a Chris Nelson trade to clear a starting spot for Arenado.
- The Giants are in the market for a backup middle infielder, according to CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly, who opines that Nick Noonan makes for a fine internal option (Twitter link).
Here's the latest from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo:
- Pitcher Bud Norris of the Astros has "drawn interest from at least six teams," but Houston does not appear interested in trading him.
- The Yankees have had discussions about Lyle Overbay, who could platoon with Juan Rivera at first base in Mark Teixeira's absence. Overbay is currently with the Red Sox, but he has an out clause in his contract that he can trigger on Tuesday.
- The Red Sox aren't inclined to deal reliever Clayton Mortensen, even though he is out of options.
- The Orioles, Brewers, Indians, White Sox, and Mets have all had "internal discussions" about surplus Dodgers starters Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang, and scouts feel that the Dodgers will ultimately trade at least one of them.
- The White Sox are looking for another starter because John Danks, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has struggled this spring, allowing 21 runs in 11 innings.
Congratulations to the Dominican Republic for capturing its first World Baseball Classic title, gaining a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico in tonight's championship final. The DR finished with a perfect 8-0 record in the competition, led by tournament MVP Robinson Cano and seven saves by closer Fernando Rodney. One downside for the Dominican team (and the Dodgers) is that Hanley Ramirez left in the sixth inning with a jammed thumb and will likely undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The Mariners will likely be one of the trade deadline's busiest teams whether they're in contention or not, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes. The M's could look to deal one of their several short-term veterans if they're out of the race, or could augment their Major League roster if they're in the hunt for a playoff spot.
- In past years, the Yankees might have responded to Mark Teixeira's injury by simply acquiring a proven everyday bat like Justin Morneau, but Davld Waldstein of the New York Times uses this hypothetical trade to illustrate how the Yankees' philosophy has changed under Hal Steinbrenner.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco talks to Alexander Hyacinthe of Metsblog about how the team views the 2013 season and what they expect from their young core players in the coming year.
- The Tigers could keep Rick Porcello due to dissatisfaction with current trade offers and because they may be forced to use Drew Smyly as a long reliever, Lynn Henning of the Detroit Free Press reports. Smyly projects as the Tigers' fifth starter if Porcello is moved.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck looks at some of the Tigers' bench options at the back of their roster. Don Kelly, who signed a minor league deal with the Detroit in January, can opt out of his contract if he doesn't win a roster spot but Beck believes Kelly has won a spot on the team.
- Catcher Brian Jeroloman became a "phantom ballplayer" when he spent over a month on the Blue Jays' roster in 2011 but never actually appeared in a game due to injuries. Now in the Indians' minor league camp, Jeroloman talks to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian about his quest to "officially" become a Major Leaguer.
- We've already heard that the Dodgers may hold onto their surplus of starting pitching, though Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano's trade value may have dropped anyway given their struggles during Spring Training, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports.
Despite their rotation surplus, Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are "in no rush" to trade a starting pitcher, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with minor injuries, and Ted Lilly is coming back from shoulder surgery. Even if all the Dodgers' starting pitchers are healthy, one scenario might be for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to begin the season in the bullpen.
Previous reports have indicated that other teams may be trying to force the Dodgers into a tough spot by lowballing them on trade offers until the need to set their 25-man roster forces L.A. to make a decision about how to handle its eight starting pitchers. If one of their starters isn't healthy or if the Dodgers are willing to use several of their starters in relief, that negotiation tactic might not work. Forcing a number of starters to the bullpen, though, would simply move the logjam from one part of the team to another, where it might affect pitchers like Matt Guerrier and a number of younger relievers. Here are more notes from the Dodgers.
- The Dodgers may eat the remaining $8MM on Juan Uribe's contract, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports, but Uribe is trying to recast himself as a utilityman who can also back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Uribe's three-year, $21MM contract, signed after the 2010 season, almost immediately proved to be a poor investment, as Uribe hit .204/264/.293 in the first year of the deal, then .191/.258/.284 in 2012.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says his team should consider letting him go if the team does not make the playoffs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. "If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here," Mattingly says. Mattingly is not under contract for 2014, and Shaikin reports that Mattingly does not expect to receive a contract extension before the season starts.
The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches on the mound and it stands to reason that, at some point, they will move at least one of their extra starters for other assets. Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that Ted Lilly is drawing more interest than Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang at this stage, despite missing most of last season. Here's more out of Los Angeles and other notes from the NL West..
- Rival officials believe that other clubs will wait for the Dodgers to be backed into a corner by the calendar before making a deal for Harang and/or Capuano, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). The idea behind that is to push the Dodgers to eat most of the money owed to the pitchers. Harang will make $7MM for this season and has a $2MM buyout on a 2014 option. Capuano, meanwhile, will make $6MM, with a $1MM buyout.
- Yesterday, Olney wrote that the Giants were in talks on a deal worth roughly $80MM with Melky Cabrera before his suspension, but a source with deep knowledge of the club's thinking says that no deal was close. The slugger ultimately landed in Toronto this winter, signing a two-year, $16MM deal.
- Woody Paige of the Denver Post writes that the Rockies need to upgrade their rotation with Capuano and J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays. Toronto can afford to part with the former National League rookie of the year as he isn't slated to be part of the rotation in 2013.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that some league executives feel that the new-and-improved PED testing will have a drastic effect on the power numbers of players. That feeling has given some owners pause about committing long-term deals until they know how it will all play out. “We’re all anxious to see what the result of the testing will be, but we’re anticipating that it will have a significant effect on the numbers, which will impact the game in general,” said an American League owner. “I think a few owners feel the way we do, that we’re going to see noticeable physical changes in players and their stamina in getting through a 162-game schedule.” Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Yankees have explored temporary options to fill-in for the injured Mark Teixeira but they have also looked into more significant moves. The Bombers have inquired on the Padres' Chase Headley, though we learned recently that he's not available at this time. However, Headley could be on the market this summer.
- If shortstop Jose Iglesias continues to hit in spring training, Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox might be open to dealing Stephen Drew down the line. The Cardinals pursued Drew this offseason and they are looking for help with Rafael Furcal sidelined. Drew cannot be traded until June 15 without his approval.
- Teams have a number of reasons why they say they are not interested in Kyle Lohse, but Cafardo isn't buying any of them. He feels that some team will happily give him a one-year, $10MM contract. He would be a great fit in tfhe National League and Cafardo suggests the Brewers as a good fit.
- There is more interest in Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly than fellow surplus starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they know that Chad Billingsley is fully recovered after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason.
- A National League scout suggested that Phillies outfielder John Mayberry might be a good fit for the Yankees at first base, with a switch back to the outfield after Teixeira returns. Mayberry is a former first baseman and was used there last season when Ryan Howard was out of action.
Jack Zduriencik is still the right person to serve as the Mariners' GM, Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times contends. Brewer points to a strong farm system (which includes the likes of Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton) as evidence that Zduriencik's plan is working. The Mariners have only had one winning season since Zduriencik was hired, however. "I can't say that I'm happy, can't say that I'm satisfied at all," Zduriencik said. "Because, at the end, it's about the finished product at the big-league level and all of these kids becoming what you want them to become." The M's finished 75-87 in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Red Sox clubhouse feels "eleventy-billion times better" than it did in 2012, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. The team's decision to replace Bobby Valentine with John Farrell is part of that, Tomase argues, but so is the fact that new additions Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Joel Hanrahan, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew weren't around during the Red Sox's ugly 2012 season.
- Napoli will be an impact hitter for the Red Sox in 2013 because he will no longer catch, Michael Silverman argues, also in the Boston Herald. "Now there’s more of a flow to everything," Napoli says. "It’s a tough position — catching and good-hitting catchers are tough to find. It’s just a grind — a grind that I do miss, but I don’t miss." Napoli caught in 72 games for the Rangers last year, but the Red Sox signed him to an incentive-laden one-year deal for 2013 with the plan that he would play first base, where, Silverman writes, he has looked "nimble and sure-handed" this spring.
- The Dodgers "do not appear close" to trading one of their starting pitchers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Since the Dodgers cannot ship Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly to the minors without those players' consent, teams may simply wait for the Dodgers, who don't have roster space for all their starting pitching, to become more desperate. The Orioles, Brewers and Pirates "have expressed interest" in the Dodgers' surplus arms, Shaikin notes, but the Rangers are not a likely trade partner.
GM Brian Cashman explains how the Yankees nearly traded Mariano Rivera for shortstop Felix Fermin in spring of 1996, as noted by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. To describe the deal as "franchise-altering" would be an enormous understatement, since it would have affected not only Rivera but also then-rookie Derek Jeter.
Cashman, then an assistant GM, says that then-owner George Steinbrenner was concerned about entrusting Jeter with the starting shortstop job, and "it was a fight to convince The Boss to stand down" and avoid trading Rivera or Bob Wickman to the Mariners for Fermin. "And it wasn't because we knew what we had in Mo or Wickman," Cashman says. "It was, we had committed to go with young Jeter, and thankfully we didn't do that deal." As it turned out, Jeter won the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year award, Rivera finished third in Cy Young balloting, and the Yankees won their first World Series title since 1978. The Mariners, meanwhile, released Fermin in April, and he only ended up posting 19 more plate appearances in the majors. Here are more notes from throughout baseball.
- David Robertson tops the list of potential Yankees closer candidates once Rivera retires at the end of the season, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma are also possibilities, Berry says. The Yankees have an entire year to choose a successor, however.
- The Orioles are on the lookout for catching depth, report Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com and Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Matt Wieters is, clearly, entrenched as Baltimore's starter, and Taylor Teagarden will likely serve as his backup, but the Orioles are concerned about their depth beyond those two. The only other catcher on their 40-man roster is Luis Exposito, although manager Buck Showalter is also curious about new addition Luis Martinez, who spent much of 2012 with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock. With Wieters and several other options in the fold, it seems unlikely the O's will make a major move for a catcher, despite what Kubatko calls their "sloppy" play behind the dish this spring. Dubroff suggests that Eli Whiteside of the Rangers, Miguel Olivo of the Reds and Chris Snyder of the Nationals might be possibilities.
- The Dodgers' Aaron Harang says he isn't worried about rumors that he'll be traded, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes. "I don't even think about that," says Harang. "We know [scouts are] in the stands. I look at them as fans as well. I'm not worried about that." The Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitching, and Harang currently doesn't have a clear shot at a rotation job. The Brewers and Orioles could be potential suitors for Harang.