Andre Ethier Rumors
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has a new video up outlining potential hot stove moves this offseason. Let's take a look:
- The Rockies' ownership doesn't have much interest in trading Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, though Gonzalez would be more likely to be traded if the club does decide to make a move. The Rangers, with their stocks of young pitching and middle infielders, could be a partner. If on offer in such a deal, Jurickson Profar could handle second base for the Rockies, and could shift to shortstop if the team eventually moves Tulo off of the position. We heard last week that the Mets have interest in CarGo.
- The Dodgers are expected to trade one of their "big four" - Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier or Yasiel Puig - according to rival executives speaking with Rosenthal. Puig is, of course, the least likely to be moved.
- The Rays are expected to consider trading David Price over the winter, with Rosenthal again suggesting the Rangers as a team to keep an eye on, noting that Texas had two scouts on hand to watch a recent Price start in Minnesota. The Cubs could also be interested, though their farm system is stronger in position players than it is in pitchers.
- One major league exec suggests that the pressures of impending free agency and closing for a contender have affected the Cardinals' Edward Mujica. A longtime setup man, Mujica was suddenly positioned on the verge of a "major payday" after taking on the Cards' closer role, Rosenthal says.
The Angels are "open for business," Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweets. That means deals for Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and others could be on the table. It remains to be seen what the Angels might be able to do with less than three days before the deadline, but Kendrick would be a particularly attractive trade candidate -- his consistently high batting averages and solid defense make him a dependably productive player, and he's under contract through 2015 at a reasonable cost, making a bit over $9MM both in 2014 and 2015. Aybar isn't having as good a year as Kendrick, but he might make an interesting buy-low candidate. If the Angels are open to selling other players, reliever Scott Downs, who becomes a free agent after this season, would also be an obvious possibility, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman suggested yesterday. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- With a 13-game deficit in the AL West and with Albert Pujols on the disabled list, however, the Angels have "nothing to sell," ESPN's Jim Bowden says (Insider-only). Several of their top players, like Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, aren't candidates to be dealt, and much of the rest of their roster has been disappointing, which is why they're 13 games back to begin with. That leaves a handful of relievers as the Angels' only viable trade pieces.
- If the Rangers want to trade Joe Nathan, the Dodgers are the only suitor that makes much sense, Bowden writes (Twitter links). Boston or Detroit could be possible destinations, but Bowden guesses that the Rangers won't relish the possibility of dealing Nathan to the Red Sox or Tigers and then having to face him in the playoffs. Instead, they could send him to L.A., possibly in a deal involving Andre Ethier.
- The Diamondbacks are looking for a second bullpen lefty, FOXSportsArizona.com's Jack Magruder tweets.
- Five teams, four of them from the National League, are interested in former Giants closer Brian Wilson, who's returning from Tommy John surgery, tweets Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown.
The latest column from ESPN's Jayson Stark is jam-packed with trade-related information. Highlights:
- One National League executive predicted that the Cubs' Matt Garza will be the first pitcher traded; he's thought to be eminently available, as the Cubs are not comfortable with his asking price on a potential new contract. The Padres and Dodgers are among the teams pursuing Garza, reported Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today.
- The Astros are looking for volume in any deal they make, one NL exec told Stark. Bud Norris is an obvious trade chip for Jeff Luhnow and company, while I imagine Carlos Pena, Jose Veras, Erik Bedard, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Ronny Cedeno, and others can be had as well.
- The Dodgers are not actively dangling right fielder Andre Ethier. What's more, the team still views itself as a buyer despite being eight games out. They may be interested in adding a third baseman they can control for multiple years, implies Stark.
- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche could be dealt, hears Stark, in a scenario where Ryan Zimmerman moves to first base, Anthony Rendon moves back to third base, and Danny Espinosa gets healthy. LaRoche's name is not out there at present, however.
- The Brewers will "gladly listen" on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, as well as any position player other than Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun. I wonder if that means names such as Jonathan Lucroy and Norichika Aoki will be in play next month.
- Execs who spoke to Stark seem divided on whether the Brewers want to trade Yovani Gallardo, with one saying, "To be honest, I think they would love to move him." Click here for thoughts from Brewers GM Doug Melvin on the situation.
- The Phillies are talking to the Red Sox and Tigers about closer Jonathan Papelbon right now, one exec tells Stark, even if they say otherwise.
- Officials of three teams that have talked to the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton are convinced owner Jeffrey Loria won't trade him this summer. In an April poll of over 13,000 MLBTR readers, over 40% thought Stanton would be dealt this summer.
- Other teams say the Tigers are willing to surrender top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia if necessary. The team is focused on finding a closer.
- The Braves are "all over the bullpen market," which jives with a couple of other reports today.
- The Giants "have taken on a whole new fervor in the last week in their hunt for another starter." They've been connected often to Nolasco, but there are around 20 viable candidates out there of varying quality. The Orioles could make a move before the All-Star break, hears Stark, and they seem to be prioritizing starters over relievers.
Earl Webb's Major League record of 67 doubles in a season has stood since 1931 but Orioles phenom Manny Machado could be putting that mark in jeopardy. Machado now has 30 doubles through 68 Baltimore games after collecting a pair of two-baggers in Friday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox. Only five 21st century players have come within even 11 doubles of Webb's record, one of whom was Machado's teammate Brian Roberts, who hit 56 doubles in 2009.
Here's the latest from around the baseball world...
- Yadier Molina's value to the Cardinals is immeasurable, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler writes, and for a team that has been comfortable letting many key figures go in recent years, the Cards made a point to lock their catcher up to a five-year, $75MM extension in March 2012. "[Owner Bill DeWitt and I] talked about players who were coming up on free agency, and we'd ask how do you replace them. He and I always felt that [Molina] was the one where we had no answer," Cards GM John Mozeliak said. "It was imperative that we kept him."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels is waiting to see how his team performs over the next few weeks before determining what possible upgrades are needed at the trade deadline, Daniels said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Fitzsimmons and Durrett Show (passed on by ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett). Daniels also noted that the club may keep Jurickson Profar on the Major League roster even after Ian Kinsler is back from the DL, and that Profar could get some outfield time if he is in fact sent back to Triple-A.
- ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden lists 20 pitchers he feels could be traded this summer.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer felt Kris Bryant was "the best player on the board" when Chicago had the second overall pick in the draft, though Hoyer tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that pitching "is an organizational weakness....I don’t think it affects our timing, but it does mean that pitching will be an emphasis in future drafts and any kind of trades we might make, and in free agency.”
- The Yankees' makeshift lineup has remained in contention but ratings on the YES Network are down 38% from last season, leading Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal to speculate if the Bombers may feel obligated to acquire star players in order to maximize fan and business interest.
- Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel's elbow injury could endanger his season, and since Dotel is 39, MLB.com's Jason Beck wonders if the veteran's career could also be threatened.
- Andre Ethier isn't letting trade speculation bother him since "it's nothing you can have a say about except to go out there and play hard," he tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Ethier could be expendable in the Dodgers outfield once Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return from injury, given Yasiel Puig's emergence.
- Baseball America's staff checks in on the progress of the 2012 first round draft picks.
A few notes from Nick Cafardo's latest column in the Boston Globe:
- Free agent Derek Lowe seems to have retired, telling Cafardo that he asked agent Scott Boras not to look for opportunties for him. Lowe pitched in nine games for the Rangers this year before being released in late May.
- The Blue Jays' situation is "a nightmare," Cafardo says, noting that some in the organization don't know whether GM Alex Anthopoulos will stick with the team he has. Toronto is 27-35 after bringing in R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and others last offseason.
- Catcher David Ross says the Rays, Yankees and Rangers pursued him, and the Pirates would have been interested in him if they hadn't signed Russell Martin instead. Ross signed a two-year, $6.2MM contract with the Red Sox in the offseason.
- The Pirates, whose rotation depth has been damaged by injuries to Wandy Rodriguez, Jeanmar Gomez, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Kyle McPherson and Phil Irwin, "would now have to be interested in" Astros pitcher Bud Norris, Cafardo says. Cafardo also notes that talent evaluators wonder how Norris, a competitive player currently pitching for a last-place team, will do if placed on a competitive team.
- It's unclear what the Tigers would do if they lost Jhonny Peralta to a suspension. Peralta has been connected to the Biogenesis scandal, and his production at shortstop would be tough to replace internally or in the trade market, Cafardo notes.
- The Dodgers have already received calls about Andre Ethier's trade availability, Cafardo says.
Here are some notes from a new video by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal ...
- Despite the Brewers' 23-37 record, manager Ron Roenicke does not appear to be in immediate danger, Rosenthal says. The Brewers have struggled with injuries, and Rosenthal suggests that Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin don't like firing managers during the season.
- Second baseman Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals is emerging as a top hitter for the Cardinals, who have another second baseman, Kolten Wong, waiting in the wings. That leads Rosenthal to wonder about the possiblity that the Cardinals could deal David Freese in the offseason and move Carpenter to third. Freese will make $3.15MM this season, and will almost certainly receive a raise in arbitration in the offseason.
- The Mets would make sense as a destination for Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, Rosenthal says. With Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco coming off the books, the Mets could have the financial flexibility to deal for Ethier and a chunk of the four years and $71.5MM that will be left on his contract by the time this offseason rolls around.
Acquiring Andre Ethier "would be a solid gamble" for the Mets, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone opines. Ethier could be forced out of the Dodgers outfield by Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke, making him expendable at a discount price since it is believed the Dodgers would have to absorb at least half of the roughly $80MM remaining on Ethier's contract. The Mets would be paying around $10MM per season to a player Cerrone sees as "a nice compliment to Lucas Duda in left field," but it would be the first step in the Mets upgrading their outfield now and this winter in the free agent market.
Here's some more on the Amazins from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, who covered a number of topics during a live chat with readers today...
- Ike Davis could be a trade candidate if the Mets thought he wouldn't be worth his growing salary over his arbitration years. A Rubin source on another team projects Davis to earn $6.1MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility this winter, "assuming his production normalizes somewhat the rest of the way." This could be a big if, as Davis has managed only a .509 OPS through 201 PA this season. Davis signed a one-year, $3.125MM deal last winter in his first taste of arb-eligibility.
- Rubin isn't sure if the Mets see Daniel Murphy as an extension candidate since "a New York team doesn't normally have to be consumed with locking up a player's arbitration years." Murphy signed a one-year, $2.925MM deal last winter and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. The second baseman has been a bright spot for the Mets this season, hitting .290/.323/.439 and tying for the NL lead with 19 doubles.
- Pedro Feliciano has been on the minor league disabled list since May 9 with a "very serious" type of food poisoning that "can affect the person off and on for years." The southpaw hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2010 after suffering a variety of arm injuries as a member of the Yankees in 2011-12. Feliciano signed a minor league deal with the Mets in January.
It was on this day in 1964 that Sandy Koufax threw the third no-hitter of his legendary career, blanking the Phillies in a 3-0 result. A fourth-inning walk to Dick Allen was the only blemish on Koufax's record in the game, though that was quickly remedied when Allen was caught stealing. Koufax finished his career with four no-hit games, second only to Nolan Ryan's seven no-nos in baseball history.
Here's the latest on the modern-day Dodgers...
- Three rival general managers tell CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that the Dodgers would have to eat at least half of Andre Ethier's contract in order to trade the outfielder, or take on a bad contract in return. Ethier is a little over two months into a five-year, $85MM contract extension with the team but he has struggled this season and fallen out of favor with manager Don Mattingly.
- As reported in January, the Mariners contacted the Dodgers about Ethier though "that never got past a couple-minutes chat," according to Heyman.
- Yasiel Puig made an impressive Major League debut on Monday but he could've debuted on Opening Day had the Dodgers' outfield not already been full, GM Ned Colletti tells Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Colletti didn't mind sending Puig to the minors since he felt the 22-year-old still needed seasoning after receiving just 95 minor league PAs in 2012 and spending more than a year away from organized ball. “It really came down to him having to play the game,” Colletti said. “He needed repetition, game repetition, situational repetition.”
- Josh Beckett is battling "some kind of nerve thing" but won't require surgery, Mattingly tells reporters. Beckett's possible return didn't "feel like it's around the corner," according to the Dodgers manager (links are to Dylan Hernandez's Twitter account). Beckett has battled numbness in his pitching hand and was considering retirement due to the problem.
Memorial Day weekend is the time when fans begin to zero in on what's happening in baseball, so Joel Sherman of the New York Post provides his analysis of the 2013 season. Sherman sees Cliff Lee, Matt Garza, Jose Bautista, Alex Rios, and Justin Morneau as the top five trade possibilities. Shin-Soo Choo was Sherman's choice as the best acquisition of 2013 with the combination of Justin Upton and Chris Johnson, Vernon Wells, Nick Swisher, and Mark Melancon rounding out the top five. Sherman also identifies the season's top storylines, prospects, and injuries to date. Let's focus on the news and notes coming from the National League:
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes the Mets make the most sense of the possible trade suitors for Andre Ethier (subscription required). According to Olney, the Dodgers will only deal Ethier if they decide he can no longer be an effective player for them and are willing to absorb a large portion of the approximately $80MM due the outfielder over the next five years.
- Don Mattingly has all the hallmarks of a manager in quicksand and is conjuring up images of Clint Hurdle during his final days as manager of the Rockies, opines Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Hurdle vowed to exercise more authority by creating new rules and benched Troy Tulowitzki for violating one of those rules. Hurdle was fired one week later. Mattingly benched Matt Kemp for today's game calling it a "baseball decision" and not a disciplinary reaction to Kemp expressing his displeasure at being removed in a double-switch the night before, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Cardinals are looking to replace yet another starter and top pitching prospect Michael Wacha could get the call, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Wacha is scheduled to start for Triple-A Memphis tomorrow afternoon, the same day GM John Mozeliak will meet with manager Mike Matheny and the coaching staff to determine who will fill the vacancy in the rotation. Nearly 40% of MLBTR's readers, when asked by Steve Adams this past Wednesday, predicted Wacha will be the next 2012 first-rounder to reach the Majors.
- Angel Pagan gave the Giants a dramatic victory last night with a walk-off inside-the-park home run. Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets the Mets made two mistakes in their December 2011 trade of Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez: an inclination to non-tender a valuable player and, rather than non-tender, using that money on Torres and Ramirez.
The Yankees and Dodgers have far and away the game's highest Opening Day payrolls, but have had polar opposite results thus far. While the Yanks were supposed to be the team that failed to deliver performance commensurate with its big spending, they sit atop the AL East with a robust 29-18 record. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are buried seven games back in the basement of the NL West, sporting a 19-27 mark after a listless showing against the Cardinals last night at Dodger Stadium. Let's take a look at the latest on these clubs:
- It has been a comedy of injuries this year for the Yankees, with a steady flow of DL stints nevertheless failing to slow the team's winning ways. Last night brought more of the same, as two key players -- outfielder Curtis Granderson and starter David Phelps -- left the team's 9-4 drubbing of the Rays. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch had the story. Phelps, who was hit on the arm by a come-backer, appears to have escaped significant injury and is expected to make his next scheduled start. Granderson was not so lucky. After suffering a broken forearm on a hit-by-pitch during Spring Training, causing him to miss the first month and a half of the year, Granderson only logged 31 big league plate appearances before being struck by another inside pitch. This time, the ball broke a knuckle on his left hand. The preliminary word is that he will miss a minimum of four weeks. The path to a substantial free agent pay day is now murkier for the big left-handed bat, who is set to hit the market after the season. It seems unlikely, at this point, that Granderson will have more than half of a season of performance in his walk year. While he has been a consistent home run and stolen base threat for much of his career, teams will certainly watch closely to see whether his arm and hand injuries sap his power as he finishes off his age-32 season.
- For the Yankees, the loss of Granderson appears unlikely to warrant an immediate look outside the organization. As Hoch tweeted yesterday evening, and confirmed today, the club will call up outfielder Brennan Boesch. The Yanks nabbed Boesch late in the spring due in part to the fact that he still had an option year. He saw 45 unremarkable plate appearances early in the season, slashing .209/.244/.419, but was optioned in mid-May and has struggled to a .179/.343/.214 slash in limited action at Triple-A.
- A swirl of news around a manager is generally not a good thing, and that is certainly the case with the Dodgers' Don Mattingly. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times explains that, with Mattingly taking on an increasingly combative persona, the skipper may be going down with a fight, but seems to be going down nonetheless. Team president Stan Kasten, along with GM Ned Colletti, expressed agreement with Mattingly's attempts to light a fire under the team. And Kasten did say that Mattingly's job was not at risk. But he also made clear that it would be if the team can't reverse its fortunes: "I do expect us to turn it around, and because of that, I expect Donnie to be here for a long time. There's another side of that, if things don't go well."
- Meanwhile, internal discord seemingly failed to die down after Mattingly recently called out highly-paid outfielder Andre Ethier. While Ethier expressed surprise and hurt at the public questioning of his effort and toughness, and said he had not even discussed the issue with Mattingly, the manager continued to see things differently. "Guys who play the game right, they don't have any problem with anything I'm saying," said Mattingly. "So I can't even come close to backing off things I said the other day. I feel exactly that way." But was Ethier right that the manager had not even talked about his comments with the player? "I'm getting old and my memory is going, but we definitely talked." Needless to say, this public feud only further reduces L.A.'s leverage should it look to move Ethier's big contract and so-far sluggish bat.