Aaron Harang Rumors
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.
Scouts from the Brewers and Orioles watched as Aaron Harang pitched in a minor league game today, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Harang, who doesn’t have a clear role on the Dodgers’ pitching staff at this point, pitched three scoreless innings. The 34-year-old appears to be a likely trade candidate given his team’s pitching depth.
Harang started 31 games for the Dodgers last year, posting a 3.61 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 179 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old will earn $7MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $7MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout for 2014.
The Brewers and Orioles have relatively young rotations that include considerable uncertainty, so it’s not surprising to see these clubs linked to Harang. Both Milwaukee and Baltimore expressed interest in free agent starters this winter but ultimately stuck with mostly internal options. Teams such as the Indians, Twins, Pirates and Mets were linked to Harang earlier this offseason.
Mike Hampton, a left-handed starter who accumulated 148 wins over 16 big league seasons, is returning to baseball as a pitching coach in the Angels minor league system. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez writes that Hampton will join the staff of the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. Here's more on the Halos, as well as their NL counterparts in Los Angeles:
- Manager Don Mattingly did not see Aaron Harang as an option for the Dodgers' bullpen even before the righty's rough outing today, and that could make Harang a trade candidate, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports. “Harang doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that pitches out of the pen,” says Mattingly. “To me he’s more of a guy that paints. He keeps you in the game. He’s just not that guy that’s going in and overpower you.” After the acquisitions of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitching.
- Mattingly could see other starters (like Chris Capuano, who has also been pushed down the rotation depth chart), in bullpen roles, A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com explains.
- With Harang and the rest of the Dodgers' rotation candidates (excluding Ryu) out of minor-league options, and with the bullpen seemingly an unlikely landing spot, the veteran seems aware that his time in Los Angeles could soon end, reports Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. "There's all sorts of scenarios out there right now, and if guys are traded, we're all starters," said Harang. He went on to explain that he had to maintain the mental approach of a starter: "If we do get sent somewhere else and they want us to be a starter, we can't have the mind-set of, 'Oh I'm going to be a reliever now.' "
- Former Nationals closer Chad Cordero, on the comeback trail with the Angels after nearly two years away from the game, aspires to return to closing, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Cordero's infant daughter died in 2010, and the Blue Jays released him in May 2011. Cordero, who's still only 30, last pitched in the majors with the Mariners in 2010.
- While there is some history for pre-arbitration players coming off of outstanding years to receive salaries substantially greater than league minimum, Mike Trout has little leverage, writes Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. Fletcher goes on to note that "there doesn't seem to be much incentive on either side" to explore a long-term extension at the moment, with the Angels having "enough money that they can afford to wait on Trout" to ensure that "he is as good as his first year showed." For his part, Trout stated that he is "not even thinking about that now."
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Yesterday, we learned that Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw doesn't want to have extension talks during the season. It could cost the Dodgers upwards of $200MM to lock him up for the long term, but we know that the Dodgers aren't shy about spending. Here's more out of Los Angeles..
- Starter Chris Capuano hasn't asked for a trade even though he's one of eight starting pitchers looking for a rotation spot and may not make the cut, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The veteran knows that he may wind up being moved thanks to the starter surplus but also won't rule out a move to the bullpen in order to stay in Los Angeles. Aaron Harang, who is in a similar spot, says that he hasn't considered becoming a reliever in 2013.
- Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly says that he won't let his contract status become a distraction for him in 2013, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Mattingly is entering the third and final season of his deal and his request at the end of last year to have his 2014 option be guaranteed was declined.
- Mid-season acquisition Josh Beckett says that despite what someone believe, he enjoyed his time in Boston, Richard Justice of MLB.com writes. At the same time, he is looking forward to being a part of the reloaded Dodgers.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Though Brewers owner Mark Attanasio recently said “there’s always a chance” that Kyle Lohse could end up in Milwaukee, Rosenthal suggests the free agent right-hander will likely sign elsewhere. The Brewers are reluctant to surrender the 17th overall selection in the upcoming draft in addition to the corresponding slot money. Lohse, the top starter remaining in free agency, has been linked to draft pick compensation since he turned down the Cardinals’ qualifying offer.
- Martin Prado’s bat might seem suited for second base, but Aaron Hill is already established at the position. It won’t be an issue, since the Diamondbacks want to keep both Prado and Hill, according to Rosenthal. Both players are clients of The Legacy Agency.
- Rick Porcello could benefit from pitching in front of a better infield defense, and he remains a potential trade target given Detroit’s starting pitching depth. However, some teams are concerned about Porcello’s low strikeout rate, struggles against left-handers and $5.1MM salary. If Porcello has a big year, he could obtain a substantial raise through arbitration leading up to the 2014 season.
- The Padres are likely to pass on Porcello for more affordable starters. Rosenthal suggests San Diego could look to trade for pitchers such as Aaron Harang and Luke Hochevar in Spring Training.
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.