Alcides Escobar Rumors

Roy Halladay Rumors: Saturday

3:11pm: FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports the Tigers have had internal conversations about Halladay, but doesn't see a deal happening:

"Meantime, the Tigers have had some internal discussions about Toronto ace Roy Halladay," writes Morosi," but have yet to initiate a trade dialogue with the Blue Jays about him. It's unlikely that Detroit would be able to meet Toronto's price in prospects, and Halladay, who has a no-trade clause, would have to approve the deal."

12:39pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Phillies are still the favorites to land Halladay. He hears that the Angels want to keep their prospects while the Rangers don't have the money to bring Doc aboard.  

9:25am: Add the Brewers to the mix of teams who've talked to the Blue Jays about All Star Roy Halladay. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel spoke to GM Doug Melvin, who confirmed that he did have a conversation with Toronto, but wouldn't go into details. It was previously reported that the Brewers weren't likely to part with top prospects Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar, a point that was reiterated by Melvin.

Bill Shaikin of The LA Times reports that the Angels have pursued Halladay as well, but "club officials are not confident they can satisfy the Blue Jays in a trade." He says the Halos would consider parting with Brandon Wood, but would be hesitant to include one of their young Major League pitchers in a deal.


Brewers, Braves Not Discussing Vazquez

4:35pm: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke with Brewers GM Doug Melvin and heard that the two teams are not discussing a trade for Vazquez.

3:40pm: The Brewers heard Ryan Braun's plea for help and they have responded. They called the Braves about Javier Vazquez, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. However, Atlanta likely won't part with Vazquez in a deal that doesn't bring back Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar, a pair of youngsters Brewers GM Doug Melvin has repeatedly deemed untouchable. Buster Olney said this weekend that the Brewers wouldn't be able to acquire Vazquez for Corey Hart alone.

The Brewers need pitching and the Braves have rotation depth, as Tim Hudson's expected to return next month. However, Braves GM Frank Wren won't make a deal unless he's "overwhelmed," as Vazquez is a major trade chip in a pitching-thin market. Vazquez makes $11.5MM this year and next and he can't be traded to any Western division team without his permission.

Brewers Rumors: Backe, Trade Market

Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he has no interest in Brandon Backe. Yesterday, Assistant GM Gord Ash said the Brewers would take a look, but the club decided to pass, partly because Backe has had health problems.

Melvin also repeated that Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar aren't going anywhere. He'd rather hold onto his top young talent than make a move he later regrets.

MLB.com's Adam McCalvy hears from Melvin that there are fewer than ten teams that match up well with the Brewers. Melvin says it doesn't look like many impact players will be available, but says the market can change in no time.


Brewers Clinging To Top Prospects

According to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, the Brewers aren't likely to part with either third baseman Mat Gamel or shortstop Alcides Escobar before the July 31 trade deadline.

This represents a refreshing change in club philosophy from last season, when Milwaukee unloaded top outfield prospect Matt LaPorta to the Indians for a couple months of CC Sabathia.  Gamel, 23, is batting .244/.326/.402 with two home runs and 12 RBI through his first 82 major league at-bats, while the 22-year-old Escobar is coming into his own at the Triple-A level with 18 doubles, four triples and three home runs in 285 at-bats.

The Brewers are 37-32 this season, one game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central.


Stark On Deadline Deals

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports that, with only five teams more than six games under .500, it's a tough time to be a buyer. Here are the details from his latest Rumblings and Grumblings:

  • There are many trade candidates in Washingon, but free agent-to-be Nick Johnson is the likeliest to move of them all.
  • Adam Dunn's price would be "astronomical" according to one executive.
  • One of Danys Baez and George Sherrill will likely be dealt, and it seems more likely that Baez will move. As one official says, "he's throwing great, but he's still Danys Baez."
  • The D'Backs would prefer to move prospective free agents, like Doug Davis and Chad Tracy. Stark writes that Davis could fit on the Mets.
  • One executive believes Brian Giles "should get released."
  • Cla Meredith could bring a decent return for the Padres, who could also move Chris Young and Kevin Kouzmanoff.
  • The Royals could move reliever Ron Mahay.
  • At this point the Astros still aren't likely to sell. No one expects them to move Roy Oswalt, but Ivan Rodriguez, LaTroy Hawkins and Jose Valverde could be dealt if the Astros decide to sell.
  • One official says the Pirates would "love to move Jack Wilson."
  • Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee aren't going anywhere, but Mark DeRosa is becoming "more marketable by the minute."
  • Matt Holliday will hit the market if the A's don't play very well for the next few weeks. The A's will want the equivalent of a first rounder and a sandwich pick and, because few elite bats are available, at least one exec thinks they'll get a good return.
  • The A's are worried he'll accept arbitration if they offer it, but Stark hears that Scott Boras would likely direct Holliday towards a better hitter's park, even if it was for less money.
  • The Red Sox aren't in a hurry to deal Brad Penny. If they go for a shortstop, they'd want a short-term fix only.
  • The Rockies- definitely not sellers right now- could eventually look to add a setup man.
  • Delmon Young is "exceptionally available."
  • The Brewers won't discuss dealing Mat Gamel or Alcides Escobar.
  • The Rays would like to add a reliever, but they're one of many teams that can't add much payroll.

Rosenthal On Saito, Rangers, Hardy

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Red Sox discussed a trade that would have sent Takashi Saito to Texas for Hank Blalock. The idea lost traction once Josh Hamilton underwent surgery and David Ortiz began hitting better and it's not likely to be revived. However, "several" teams have interest in Saito, who the Red Sox might prefer to deal for a prospect. Here are more details from Rosenthal's column:

  • The Rangers remain the leading contenders to sign Ben Sheets.
  • They also considered going after Nick Johnson, but are more likely to replace Chris Davis internally if they decide he's not contributing enough at the plate.  
  • One scout has noticed the Brewers following Erik Bedard and believes they'll make a "strong play" for him. 
  • J.J. Hardy remains appealing to teams around the league and the Brewers are "constantly" asked about shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar 
  • The Red Sox "sniffed around" on a Hardy-Brad Penny swap, but that deal wouldn't work for Milwaukee.
  • The Orioles are increasingly willing to deal George Sherrill and Danys Baez 

Winter Meetings Previews

We’ve added a few new Winter Meetings preview to the collection…

  • Yahoo’s Tim Brown runs through plans for all of the American and National League teams.
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says the Rockies are all about left-handed relief help.  They’ve got several trade chips to work with.
  • Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the Phillies covered.  You know the plan: starting pitcher, outfielder.
  • Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds us of the Cardinals’ wish list: starter, closer, lefthanded reliever.  Arthur Rhodes would fit, but he’s leaning toward the Reds.  Strauss wonders if John Mozeliak can match up with the Blue Jays to find relief help.
  • The Twins still want to add a shortstop or third baseman according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, though several options have already been eliminated.  Neal summarizes the players on the radar.  The Twins are also looking for bullpen help.
  • Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses the Padres.  Kevin Towers will keep the Jake Peavy talks going with the Cubs while also searching for a shortstop and veteran catcher.
  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reminds us that Peavy and a left-handed hitting outfielder are on the Cubs’ wish list.  The bat comes first, says Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says Dayton Moore has already accomplished his main goals, and now looks to replenish his right-handed relief.  The Royals would also like to add a proven middle infielder and seem to have a glut of corner/DH types.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune analyze the Diamondbacks.  Josh Byrnes seeks a second baseman, left-handed reliever, and pitching in general.  Miguel Montero is the top trade chip.  They have about $10MM to spend, less if Brandon Lyon accepts arbitration.
  • Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the Rangers could trade Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Kevin Millwood, or Vicente Padilla.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to Doug Melvin about C.C. Sabathia, who still hasn’t reacted to their offer.  If Sabathia and Ben Sheets leave, Melvin could add two starters.  Melvin also said it’d be too risky to trade J.J. Hardy and start Alcides Escobar at short.  Rickie Weeks has drawn interest, but Melvin would require "a pretty good hitter" in return.  Mike Cameron is a more likely trade chip.  As for the team’s closer search, Melvin doesn’t expect to be in on the big names.
  • Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins probably won’t steal headlines at these Winter Meetings as they did in ’07.  Still, Jorge Cantu, Matt Treanor, and Jeremy Hermida may be dealt.  The Fish have been "actively shopping" Treanor and Hermida.  The Marlins have mild interest in free agents Ivan Rodriguez and Carl Pavano.
  • Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says Ken Williams has asked the Reds about Homer Bailey.  Could the Reds match up for Jermaine Dye?  The White Sox hope to add more MLB-ready starting pitching and maybe a backup catcher.
  • The Orioles need starting pitching, with a slew of names under consideration according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun: A.J. Burnett, Paul Byrd, Jon Garland, Mark Hendrickson, Braden Looper, Randy Wolf, Kenshin Kawakami, Koji Uehara, Bartolo Colon, and Matt Clement.  The O’s also hope to extend Brian Roberts, trade Ramon Hernandez, and find a shortstop.  They have interest in Adam Everett.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN Online explains what it’s like for a reporter at the Meetings.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Fielder, Beimel, Eckstein

Ken Rosenthal is on the scene at the GM meetings, and as usual has all kinds of new info.

  • The Brewers are unlikely to trade Prince Fielder, and reluctant to trade J.J. Hardy or Alcides Escobar.  It’d be smart to retain those three players.
  • Rosenthal still likes the Braves as the favorite for Jake Peavy, but wonders if the Cubs or another team could incorporate a third team to get it done.
  • The Cubs will need to spend much of their available money on pitching, which may leave little payroll room for an outfielder like Bobby Abreu.  They could backload contracts and move some of Jason Marquis‘ salary though.
  • The Mets are interested in lefty reliever Joe Beimel, as well as usual suspects Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, and Kerry Wood.  They also like Raul Ibanez.
  • The Cardinals could move forward with a Ryan Ludwick/Colby Rasmus/Rick Ankiel outfield, or trade one of them.  Ankiel, entering his contract year, seems most likely to go if Rasmus is ready.
  • David Eckstein is marketing himself as a second baseman for 2009.
  • Don’t look for the Phillies to move Shane Victorino in a Matt Holliday deal.
  • The Cardinals and Nationals are not contenders for A.J. Burnett.  Still no word on Burnett’s opt-out.
  • The Marlins may wait until some of the top free agent starters sign before shopping Scott Olsen.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Vlad, Cano, Peavy, Hardy

Today we have a fresh column from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

  • Vladimir Guerrero‘s $15MM option for ’09 is a lock, but perhaps the Angels will reconsider extending him beyond that.  Some of the money could be used to make Mark Teixeira the next franchise player.
  • Rosenthal says "virtually every club with a need at the position" has shown interest in second baseman Robinson Cano.  If you give Cano a mulligan for April, he hit .297/.326/.448 in 2008.  That seems like a reasonable American League projection going forward.  Cano, 26 in a few weeks, is signed through 2011 with two club options beyond that.  The Yankees would look for a starting pitcher in return.
  • Rosenthal agrees the Padres will explore the trade market for ace Jake Peavy.  He expects Kevin Towers to wait until the big-name free agent starters sign, which will accentuate the relative affordability of Peavy’s contract (basically four years, $63MM).
  • Rosenthal says Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy knows he is likely to be traded to make room for prospect Alcides Escobar.  It’d be a reasonable move, but only if Escobar proves he is a capable replacement.
  • Pat Gillick told Rosenthal he will not be returning as Phillies GM next year, despite recent speculation.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Giles, Dodgers, Indians, Fielder

Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up over at FOX Sports. Here’s the highlights:

  • The Red Sox wanted to use Brian Giles in right field against certain right-handers, and shift J.D. Drew over to center field for those games. Giles blocked the trade for family reasons, according to Rosenthal, despite the chance at an increased pay day and an opportunity to play in the postseason.
  • Rosenthal says that while the Dodgers are under pressure to re-sign Manny Ramirez, there may be more pressure to sign Casey Blake after this season. Rosenthal points out that Blake is batting .333 in his first 16 games in Dodger blue, and the Dodgers traded away their best young third baseman in Andy LaRoche in order to get Manny. The Dodgers aren’t sold on Blake DeWitt as a long-term option.
  • Rosenthal feels that the Brewers are now less likely to shop Prince Fielder in the offseason, though he points out they could fetch quite a nice haul of Major-League-ready talent if they shopped Fielder as an alternative to Mark Teixeira. Rosenthal feels that J.J. Hardy is a much better bet to be shopped though, as Alcides Escobar could be used to replace him in 2009.
  • Rosenthal wonders if, given Kelly Shoppach’s emergence, the Indians could try to trade him for a top-end starter. Rosenthal offers two scenarios for Cleveland: Trade Shoppach and sign Jason Giambi, or keep Shoppach, sign Orlando Hudson, move Victor Martinez to first base. Both scenarios have the same goal of adding offense and allowing Matt LaPorta to remain in the outfield.