Alexei Ramirez Rumors

Trade Notes: Porcello, Ramirez, Upton, Kendrick, Padres

It’s already been a fairly active winter on the trade front, as we’ve seen the Brewers acquire Adam Lind, the D’Backs acquire Jeremy Hellickson, the Tigers acquire Anthony Gose and of course the Cardinals/Braves Jason Heyward blockbuster. All of this has come before the Winter Meetings, so action on the trade front only figures to increase over the next month. Here are some of the latest rumblings from around the league…

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that in addition to Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and the Reds’ quartet of starters that are rumored to be available (Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon), Rick Porcello is believed to be attainable in trades. Rival evaluators feel that many players that are set to be free agents a year from now could be had for the right offer. The Tigers, of course, are aiming to contend in 2015, but Porcello is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12.2MM in arbitration and could fetch a nice piece while freeing up some cash for GM Dave Dombrowski to address other areas of need.
  • Olney also hears (Twitter link) that the White Sox‘ asking price on Alexei Ramirez is “steep to the degree that you’d want to be buying in for two to three years.” Ramirez is guaranteed $10MM next season and has a $10MM club option for the 2016 season with a $1MM buyout.
  • The Mariners will surely make a run at either Justin Upton or Evan Gattis, if they haven’t already, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). O’Brien gets the sense that top prospect Taijuan Walker is not completely off the table in trade talks with Seattle, but it would probably take more than one year of Upton to acquire him.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that he’s had trade discussions regarding Howie Kendrick, but he’s in no way eager to move his second baseman. The Halos entered the offseason thinking they might be able to move Kendrick for a controllable, young rotation option but somewhat surprisingly did so by acquiring Nick Tropeano in the Hank Conger trade. “The only way we would move him is if we become a better club,” Dipoto tells DiGiovanna. “And it would take a heck of a deal for us to feel like we’re a better club by moving Howie.”
  • Though much has been made of the possibility that the Padres could trade Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner to bolster the club’s offense, the team is now strongly considering hanging onto both pitchers, sources tell MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Interestingly, Brock’s report mentions reported trade interest in Ian Kennedy but does not state that the Friars are similarly likely to hold onto the 29-year-old. Kennedy will be a free agent next winter.

AL Notes: Jays, Astros, Anderson, White Sox, Kluber, Twins, Bourjos

The heavily backloaded nature of the Blue Jays‘ deal with Russell Martin leaves the club with additional potential payroll capacity for 2015, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. It is worth noting that Toronto likely feels comfortable pushing cash into the 2016-19 segments of the contract because, as is apparent from my recent post regarding future obligations, the team had very little on the books after this year.

Here’s the latest from the American League:

  • The Astros have checked in with Brett Anderson‘s representatives, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The oft-injured, but generally excellent lefty makes his home in Houston and could represent an interesting upside play for the rising Astros.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn has an extensive history with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, notes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. As Hayes explains, the two even managed to pull of a trade for the injured Jesse Crain at the 2013 trade deadline. While it remains to be seen whether a deal will be worked out involving shortstop Alexei Ramirez, it seems fair to believe that all reasonable possibilities will be explored between those two clubs.
  • Of course, the White Sox already made an interesting move earlier today by locking up southpaw Zach Duke to a three-year, $15MM pact. Hahn says he is pleased but already “on to the next [deal] now,” as Hayes reports“It’s an important get, one we’re all very happy about,” said Hahn. “But we’re not deluding ourselves that we’re by any means finished addressing our needs both in the bullpen or elsewhere.”
  • A move by the Indians to push for an extension with Cy Young winner Corey Kluber would not be surprising; indeed, I profiled Kluber as an extension candidate back in August. But the club has yet to initiate talks, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
  • With the Twins still lacking a clear solution in center field for 2015, Peter Bourjos of the Cardinals is a name to keep an eye on, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. MLBTR’s Steve Adams has been one notable advocate of such a move for Minnesota.

Dodgers Aggressively Pursuing Alexei Ramirez

The Dodgers are “aggressively pursuing” Alexei Ramirez in trade talks, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The veteran Ramirez, owed $10MM in 2015 with a 2016 option for the same amount, is known to be available in trades, though the White Sox haven’t been said to be shopping him.

The Dodgers could potentially lose shortstop Hanley Ramirez to free agency, and their pursuit of Ramirez in trades could signal that they aren’t confident in their ability to retain him or simply don’t want to commit to him at shortstop any longer due to his defensive deficiencies. Letting him walk and sign elsewhere would, of course, net the Dodgers a compensatory draft pick in 2015.

Cuban infielders Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena were both signed to large contracts within the past year (four years, $28MM and five years, $25MM, respectively) and would seem to present in-house options at short. However, each of those players was signed by the previous front office. New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, GM Farhan Zaidi and VP Josh Byrnes may not be as bullish on that duo as the previous regime. This is purely speculation on my behalf, but it’s possible, even, that one of those two names could be up for discussion in trade talks.

The White Sox could also use starting pitching, some bullpen help and a left-handed bat, although it seems like quite the stretch to connect either of the left-handed hitting outfielders L.A. would like to move — Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford — to this particular rumor. Ethier is owed a staggering $56MM over the next three seasons, while Crawford is owed $62.25MM over the same term.



AL Central Notes: Yost, Tomas, Alexei, Hanrahan

The Royals have yet to begin extension talks with manager Ned Yost, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports.  “There’s a progression in the offseason.  There’s a sequential way we’re doing things. Right now, we’re focused on other things,” GM Dayton Moore said, in reference to the team’s roster.  Whenever negotiations take place, there’s no doubt Yost will eventually get a fresh new contract from the team in the wake of the Royals’ unexpected postseason performance.  Here’s the latest from the AL Central…

  • Also from McCullough (Twitter links), a group of Royals officials are en route from the GM Meetings to organizational meetings in the Dominican Republic where they could watch Yasmany Tomas work out.  The Royals are a recently new addition to the list of teams interested in Tomas, though McCullough says K.C. has “scouted Tomas extensively, but quietly, leading up to this winter.”
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn will listen to other teams’ offers for Alexei Ramirez as he would for any player, though Hahn tells reporters (including Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune) that the Sox aren’t looking to trade their shortstop.  “Being strong up the middle is the priority for any good club, and we don’t intend to take a step back there,” Hahn said.  “We’re open-minded and we have depth in the area, so it’s reasonable to hear his name out there. I get that, but it’s certainly not something we’re pursuing on our end or are eager to convert on.”
  • The Tigers have been talking to Joel Hanrahan about a minor league contract, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter).  Hanrahan signed a one-year, $1MM Major League deal with Detroit in May but didn’t pitch at all last season as he suffered a setback in his recovery from May 2013 Tommy John surgery.
  • Scott Bream is staying in his current position as the Tigers director of pro scouting, Turner Sports’ Scott Miller tweets.  The Dodgers had reportedly been on the verge of hiring Bream to join their front office.
  • Twins righty Ricky Nolasco‘s three-team no-trade clause has been updated for this offseason, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (Twitter link).  All three teams are “big-market” AL clubs, so Berardino speculates that the Yankees and Red Sox are included.
  • The Twins have hired Gene Glynn as their third base coach, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).
  • The Indians could look for small upgrades rather than a big splash in free agency, GM Chris Antonetti told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Bowman).  “I think what we would look for from the free-agent market is something to complement our roster,” Antonetti said. “I don’t think we are going to be in the free-agent market to add a cornerstone player.”

Mets Inquired On Jimmy Rollins

A Mets trade for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is “not happening,” a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Rubin says such a move is not on the Mets’ radar due to the $120MM owed to Tulo through 2020, as well as the prospect cost of “two or three blue-chippers.”  More from Rubin:

  • The Mets spoke with the Phillies about acquiring Jimmy Rollins, writes Rubin.  Rubin adds, “The pursuit since has been dismissed because Rollins does not want to leave Philadelphia.”
  • The Mets are unenthusiastic about the available free agent shortstops, and plan to go the trade route to fill the position.  The Diamondbacks, Mariners, White Sox, and Cubs are viewed as viable trade partners.  Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says “it has been difficult, if not impossible” for the Mets and Cubs to agree on the value of Starlin Castro.  Meanwhile, Martino says Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox only emerged as a possibility within the past week.  Martino’s early read has the White Sox seeking the Mets’ top young starters and the Mets pitching their veterans.
  • If the Mets are unable to acquire a shortstop, or go with a defense-first type like Didi Gregorius, they are likely to retain second baseman Daniel Murphy, writes Rubin.  If they get a shortstop who can hit, Murphy is more likely to be dealt if the Mets get a sufficient offer.  Rubin expects the Mets to wait on Murphy until after resolving their shortstop situation.
  • The Mets seek a veteran lefty reliever to complement Josh Edgin in their bullpen.  They are also seeking a backup infielder, unless Wilmer Flores is bumped to that role.
  • The Mets will also consider trading Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, or Bartolo Colon.

White Sox Receiving Interest In Alexei Ramirez

The White Sox have received solid early trade interest in shortstop Alexei Ramirez, according to a report from Bruce Levine of CBSChicago.com. Chicago has been contacted by the Mets, Yankees, and Dodgers regarding the 33-year-old.

Ramirez has one year left on his deal at an affordable $10MM. He also comes with a $10MM option for 2016, which carries a $1MM buyout. Though he could not maintain his hot start to the year, Ramirez ended with a solid .273/.305/.408 slash to go with 15 home runs and 21 steals. A well-regarded defender, Ramirez compiled 4.1 rWAR and 3.3 fWAR.

Were the White Sox to part with Ramirez, the team would look for a one-year stopgap. The long-term solution, the team hopes, is working its way up through the system in the person of Tim Anderson. The 2013 first-rounder reached the Double-A level last year.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Milone, Phillies, White Sox

The Cubs have the prospect depth necessary to acquire David Price from the Rays, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, and acquiring Price (and then extending him past 2015) is just the kind of big move Rosenthal feels the Cubs need to get them into contention sooner rather than later.  Price is intrigued by the idea of playing in Chicago, friends of the southpaw say, and Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson was Price’s pitching coach at Vanderbilt.

Here’s some hot stove buzz from Rosenthal’s latest piece…

  • The Athletics are getting calls about left-hander Tommy Milone, who lost his rotation job when Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs.  The 27-year-old Milone is controlled through 2017 and has a 3.84 ERA, 3.23 K/BB rate and 6.5 K/9 over 468 2/3 career innings, though his significant home/road splits could make some teams wary about his effectiveness outside of Oakland.  The A’s aren’t too keen to move Milone since they value having rotation depth.
  • The Phillies are willing to eat some money on their major veteran contracts in order “to effectively buy prospects” in trades, though with teams so hesitant to move their young talent, Philadelphia might be better served by just pursuing salary relief.
  • Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon “is generating little interest,” sources tell Rosenthal.
  • Many of the would-be best trade chips on the White Sox aren’t producing, which could make it tough for the Pale Hose to make deadline deals.  Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, for instance, look more like non-tender candidates than valuable acquisitions in the view of one rival executive.  John Danks might be the most attractive trade candidate on the Chicago roster, while the Sox might wait until the winter to explore dealing Alexei Ramirez when the trade market is more open.
  • The Blue Jays‘ search for offense could be mitigated by the impending returns of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie from the DL within the next week or two.  Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday that he was still looking to add a bat before the trade deadline.
  • Eugenio Suarez has played well enough at shortstop that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski doesn’t think his team will look for an upgrade at the position before the deadline.  Rosenthal notes that Suarez’s presence could create a bit of a logjam next season when Jose Iglesias returns from injury.
  • The Tigers do have a need for more lineup balance, as the team is short on left-handed hitters.
  • With so little prospect depth, Rosenthal thinks the Yankees‘ best trade strategy would be to offer salary relief for large contracts.  In hindsight, Rosenthal writes, the Yankees might’ve been better off trading Robinson Cano for prospects last summer, even though being a deadline seller is unheard of for the always-contending Yankees.

Central Notes: Chapman, Wong, Weeks, ChiSox, Cubs

On this date 70 years ago, Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis (home to the National League’s Cardinals and the American League’s Browns) became the final MLB stadium to integrate seating for fans. Although there was no official team or municipal policy, African-Americans were restricted to the bleachers before finally being allowed to purchase grandstand tickets.

Here’s today’s news and notes from MLB’s Central divisions:

  • Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is expected to rejoin the club this Friday, if his final two rehab appearances go well, reports MLB.com’s Andy Call. Chapman, who was struck by a line drive during a Spring Training game and needed a three-inch plate and 12 screws to stabilize the bones around his left eye, is scheduled to pitch in back-to-back Triple-A games beginning Tuesday.
  • Last year, the Cardinals sent a highly-touted prospect (Michael Wacha) to the minors after a disappointing start only to become a key player for them late in the season, and they are hoping history repeats itself with Kolten Wong, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • The Brewers should consider all alternatives when it comes to Rickie Weeks because his offensive struggles and being limited to only playing second base puts pressure on the organization, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak in a recent reader’s chat.
  • Both Chicago franchises, with the right returns in trades, could accelerate their rebuilding, opines Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Gonzales notes shedding Alexei Ramirez‘s salary would allow the White Sox to address other needs while the Cubs may deal Jason Hammel hoping for results similar to last summer’s flip of Scott Feldman.

Rosenthal On White Sox, Johnson, Cruz

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video at FOX Sports:

  • The White Sox might prefer not to trade John Danks, who they have signed to a reasonable contract through 2016. But Adam Dunn is set to become a free agent, and the team has plenty of potential replacements for Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham, so Chicago could deal any of those players at the deadline.
  • Since Josh Johnson won’t start more than seven games this season, the Padres have a $4MM option on him for 2015. Given Johnson’s Tommy John surgery, though, it’s unclear whether the Padres will be able to get enough out of Johnson in 2015 to make the option worthwhile.
  • Nelson Cruz of the Orioles has done a good job rebuilding his value after taking a one-year offer significantly below the cost of the qualifying offer he rejected last winter, Rosenthal says. Cruz is off to a fast start, hitting .300/.391/.588 in his first 92 plate appearances with Baltimore.

Chicago Links: Abreu, Peavy, Martinez, Renteria

The White Sox made one of the first big strikes of the offseason when they agreed to sign Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM deal.  We've already collected some reaction to the Abreu signing and heard what it could mean for Paul Konerko's future with the Sox, so let's expand our look at the Windy City's baseball news to include the latest on the Cubs…

  • "Depending on what is considered major," Abreu's signing will probably be the only major White Sox free agent move of the offseason, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes.  The Sox could still make further moves via trades, as Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham have drawn some interest from other teams.
  • Also from Merkin, GM Rick Hahn goes into detail about how the three-team trade from last July between the White Sox, Red Sox and Tigers developed.  Chicago got an important piece for the future in Avisail Garcia while the deal is currently having a big impact on the ALCS, with Jake Peavy starting for Boston and Jose Iglesias starting at shortstop for Detroit.
  • Jim Thome won't be the next White Sox hitting coach, Hahn told reporters (including CSN Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis) during a conference call today.  Still, Hahn praised Thome's work as a special assistant to the GM and predicted he would become a coach in the future.
  • An NL executive tells Peter Gammons that while the White Sox may have overpaid for Abreu, they have "one of the half-dozen thinnest farm systems in the game and Abreu doesn’t cost them a draft choice."  Gammons also hears mixed reviews of Abreu from a scout and a general manager, though the GM's team still offered Abreu $40MM.
  • Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed with the Cubs today about their managerial opening and now the club will move onto the next step of its hiring process, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.  Martinez joins Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria as contenders for the job, and while Renteria just underwent hip surgery, he is still "considered a very strong candidate."
  • The Cubs would prefer to hire a bilingual manager since they have so many important Latin American prospects, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links).  Speaking Spanish isn't "a must" but it could be a tiebreaker if the Cubs are weighing equal candidates.  Hinch is the only one of the four who doesn't speak Spanish, though the Cubs could still hire him to manage and hire Spanish-speaking coaches instead.
  • CSN Chicago's Dave Kaplan spoke to several sources around the game about the four candidates.  Martinez is seen as the clear best choice, Renteria was praised though there were some doubts about him as a first-time manager, Acta's unsuccessful stints managing the Indians and Nationals are strikes against him and Hinch drew scathing reviews.  Kaplan, for his part, thinks the Cubs should hire Brad Ausmus.