Andrew Cashner Rumors

Stark, Crasnick On Mariners, Cubs, Ross, Padres, Chapman

The Mariners and Cubs have had recent trade talks, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he’s yet to ascertain which specific players were involved. The conversations didn’t center around Starlin Castro, Crasnick continues. Clearly, there could be a wide range of targets at play here, though the Cubs have been connected to pitching upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Some more trade notes from a couple of ESPN’s top reporters…

  • In today’s Rumor Roundup over at ESPN, Jayson Stark writes that other teams view Tyson Ross as the Cubs‘ top trade target. Chicago likes Andrew Cashner but considers him a fallback option, should the price for Ross become too steep. Both Castro and Javier Baez have previously been of interest to the Padres, although Castro’s stock is way down. Stark also reported today that the Cubs are now “aggressively” shopping Castro.
  • From that same piece, Stark adds that other clubs believe Justin Upton, Cashner and Joaquin Benoit are the most likely players to be traded by the Padres, and one particular executive to whom Stark spoke feels it’s “likely” that Craig Kimbrel will be traded as well. In a followup tweet, Stark adds that the number of people who feel Kimbrel will end up with the Yankees is “amazing.” New York already possesses a dominant late-inning duo in the form of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Adding Kimbrel to the mix would give them a trio to rival the three-headed bullpen monster (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) that the Royals rode to the World Series in 2014. The Astros, too, like Kimbrel, according to Stark. However, Houston wouldn’t want to take on all of the money he’s owed.
  • Stark also tweets that the Reds are still discussing Aroldis Chapman with teams, but the price remains very high. At this time, the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Astros are all in the mix for Chapman, who is earning $8.05MM in 2015 and is controlled via the arbitration process for the 2016 season.

Latest On Padres: Baez, Kimbrel, Deadline Strategy

2:15pm: The Padres have engaged in at least some discussions with the Cubs regarding young infielder Javier Baez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Chicago is said to be pursuing pitching, and we heard last week that they had exchanged ideas with San Diego.

Meanwhile, the Friars seem increasingly likely to hold onto Craig Kimbrel, reports Heyman. The team lost a significant suitor when the Nationals got Jonathan Papelbon, and San Diego has been unable to convince the Yankees to give up shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo in a deal.

11:40am: The Padres continue to explore a wide array of options on this year’s trade market, though they’ve yet to make a move. Multiple reports suggest that the team is still weighing its ultimate approach, perhaps considering major moves while also preparing for a more modest sell-off.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears that rival teams expect San Diego to be “super active” and pursue a “huge deal” of some kind (via ESPN.com’s trade deadline page), with the team said to be considering deals on controllable rotation pieces such as James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and even Tyson Ross.

[RELATED: Rangers Discussing Ross, Cashner With Padres]

The inclusion of those names on the market could even reduce the Phillies’ leverage with regard to Cole Hamels negotiations, executives with other clubs tell Stark. The Phillies, of course, are said to be asking teams with interest to get their bids in on the lefty today.

Meanwhile, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Padres GM A.J. Preller could “take a more measured approach” in selling than he did in compiling assets over the winter. San Diego wants “substantive” value in its deals, per the report.

Efforts to move Shields have not resulted in promising offers of yet, says Lin, and he could become an August trade piece. And while San Diego is indeed discussing both Cashner and Ross, it seems hesitant to part with them. There is some belief within the organization that larger-scale moves could wait for the winter.

The club does still appear likely to move its short-term assets, per the Union-Tribune. There is still at least some possibility, though, that it will hold onto Justin Upton and make him a qualifying offer, with talks not yet having produced a substantial enough return, though it seems rather likely that something with come together on the slugger. Other pieces fairly likely to be dealt include Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit, and Will Venable.


Trade Talks Between Rangers, Padres Have Cooled

The Rangers are known to be interested in Padres right-handers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, but talks between the two sides have cooled down “for now,” reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). As recently as yesterday, it sounded as if the Rangers were as interested in Ross and Cashner as they are in Phillies ace Cole Hamels, who remains connected to Texas.

Both Ross and Cashner would seem to fit the Rangers’ desire to add a starting pitcher that they can pair with Yu Darvish near the top of their rotation in 2016 and, in Ross’ case, beyond. However, that extra control on each pitcher gives both quite a bit of trade value and keeps San Diego from feeling a strong need to move either player.

The Padres, though, still figure to be active in the next 48 hours or so, with some reports indicating that they’ll be “super” active and pursue a “huge” trade or two. There’s nothing to suggest that talks between Texas and San Diego can’t resume, but for the time being it seems that each will focus elsewhere.



Rangers Out Of Market For Top Rentals, Have Talked To Padres About Pitchers

JULY 28: Not only are the Rangers in contact with the Padres regarding Ross and Cashner, they’re discussing the pair with San Diego as much as they’re discussing Hamels with the Phillies, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (Twitter link).

JULY 26: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported yesterday that the 47-50 Rangers were mostly seeking players who could help beyond 2015. Today, Wilson writes (Twitter links) that according to GM Jon Daniels, the Rangers are out of the market for top rental players, although they could pursue minor trades for impending free agents. The Rangers have, of course, lately been strongly connected to Cole Hamels, but Hamels is under contract for several seasons beyond this one.

The team has recently had discussions with the Padres about Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, Wilson writes. Cashner is under control through 2016, Ross through 2017. Ross, who has more years of control remaining and is a strikeout pitcher with an excellent ground ball rate, appears especially likely to require a significant return. The two pitchers were, until recently, frequently connected to the Astros, although Houston would seem less likely to acquire either of them now that they’ve traded for Scott Kazmir.


Padres Have Discussed Justin Upton With Orioles

The Padres have discussed a Justin Upton trade with the Orioles, sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Stark, the two sides could try to expand talks to include some of the Padres’ controllable pitchers. He lists Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross as two possibilities. San Diego is reportedly “pushing hard” to trade some its expensive, big-name talent.

Stark’s latest report adds to the deluge of mixed signals regarding the Orioles’ trade deadline direction. Just last week, general manager Dan Duquette told the media that he planned on being a buyer regardless of how his club performed in the days leading up to the deadline. However, multiple reports have surfaced since that time to indicate that the Orioles may yet consider selling veteran pieces. Stark himself heard earlier today that the Orioles have at least gauged interest in impending free agents like Matt Wieters, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter, adding that if the Orioles did pick up a bat, it may only be a bench piece.

Clearly, Upton is considerably more than a bench piece. Although he isn’t hitting like he did in his best years with the D-Backs and Braves, he’s still been a very sound producer in his first (and perhaps only) four months with the Padres. The 27-year-old Upton is batting .251/.330/.429 with 16 homers on the season. The temptation of many would be to blame his offensive woes on the Padres pitcher-friendly home environment, but Upton’s OPS at home is more than 300 points higher than his road mark. He’s batted an enormous .297/.354/.558 at home compared to a putrid .208/.308/.306 on the road.

Upton is controlled only through the end of the year and is earning $14.5MM this year — of which a not-insignificant $5.55MM remains. A trade for him could be good news, as it’d prevent him from receiving a qualifying offer at the end of the year, which would serve to boost his free agent stock a bit.

The Orioles, though, aren’t in a great spot to pay for only a rental. Their farm system already ranks among the worst in baseball, and as previously mentioned, they’re set to lose a number of key players to free agency (Wieters, Davis, Chen, Hunter). In my eyes, that makes the addition of Cashner or Ross — particularly Ross — a logical path to explore.

Both Cashner and Ross are controlled beyond 2015, though Cashner is a free agent after the 2016 campaign. Ross is controllable through 2017. Either would serve as an upgrade and could reasonably stake a claim to being Baltimore’s best pitcher based on their track records, though each is also having somewhat of a down season. Cashner’s strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates are all about even with his 2014 marks, causing xFIP and SIERA to give him similar grades, but his ERA has ballooned a bit due to difficulty in terms of stranding runners and serving up home runs. Ross has never been known as a pitcher with pinpoint control, and his previously diminished control issues have now resurfaced in 2015. He is, however, whiffing more hitters than ever before and racking up grounders at a career-best rate, so there’s some reason for optimism.

The question for Baltimore would be what it could offer to entice the Padres to part with what is unequivocally a significant amount of win-now talent. Some reports have indicated that the Orioles are willing to listen to offers on former No. 4 overall pick Kevin Gausman — a big-league ready power arm that, at present, hasn’t grabbed hold of a long-term spot in the Baltimore rotation.

In terms of upper-level talent in the minors, the Orioles have some big-league ready pieces in the form of outfielder Dariel Alvarez and pitchers Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson, but none of that trio has a particularly high ceiling, per most scouting reports. Right-handers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey certainly do, but each has also suffered a lost season due to injuries (the second such season, in Bundy’s case). Turning to the big league roster, the Orioles have young pieces such as Jonathan Schoop, who missed much of the season with a knee injury but has hit reasonably well and played sound defense in limited action.

All of the names mentioned as possible pieces of interest for the Padres are, of course, pure speculation on my part, but it stands to reason that the Orioles would need to put together a creative offer — perhaps even one involving MLB-ready talent or talent from the current big league roster — in order to land the likes of Upton and Cashner and/or Ross. One potential alternative would be to bail the Padres out of the Melvin Upton Jr. contract, though that seems exceptionally unlikely considering we saw the team essentially sell a Competitive Balance draft pick to the Dodgers by packaging it with in order to free themselves of Ryan Webb‘s roughly $2.75MM salary.


Stark’s Latest: Giants, Hamels, Price, Orioles, Gallardo, Alvarez

The latest deadline rumblings from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com

  • The Giants are still searching for starting pitching, but they’re only looking at top-of-the-rotation arms to pair with Madison Bumgarner in a playoff rotation, Stark hears. San Francisco has checked in on both David Price and Cole Hamels, but they’re not considered a favorite to land Hamels from the Phillies, and there’s still no definitive sense that Price has been made available by the Tigers. Yesterday, Stark reported that the Dodgers and Rangers were emerging as the favorites in the Hamels market.
  • The Orioles are speaking with other clubs to get a feel for what kind of return they could get if they market Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, Stark hears. However, rival clubs feel the O’s will only sell if they slide to six or more games back in the Wild Card race — and they’re 3.5 games out with four to play before the deadline at this time. If they make up a bit of ground, they could add a bat, but Stark says it’d likely be a bench piece as opposed to a bigger name. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said last week he would be a buyer regardless of the team’s play, though others have suggested that the Orioles could still end up selling if they struggle enough.
  • Adding help that can be controlled beyond 2015 is the priority for the Rangers, which is why they’re targeting Hamels, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner while also listening to offers on Yovani Gallardo. However, according to Stark, those moves aren’t linked, and Texas could acquire a rotation piece for 2016 but also hang onto Gallardo. Personally, I think Gallardo’s pitched well enough to warrant a qualifying offer. A draft pick and improved odds of making a late run (especially if they do add another rotation arm) present enough value that the Rangers shouldn’t feel obligated to simply take the best offer for Gallardo if the proposed packages aren’t all that impressive.
  • The Pirates are now likely to hang onto Pedro Alvarez after shopping him without success for several weeks. They’ve asked the Brewers, White Sox and Rays about Adam Lind, Adam LaRoche and James Loney, respectively, but with Alvarez in the fold, they’re not likely to make a move at first. Stark adds that multiple sources downplayed the recent reports connecting Pittsburgh to the Red SoxMike Napoli.

Padres “Pushing Hard” To Trade Big-Name Players

The Padres are “pushing hard” to trade big-name stars, executives from other teams tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Obviously, Justin Upton, Will Venable and Ian Kennedy are clear trade candidates, since those players are due to become free agents after the season. But James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Craig Kimbrel, who all are controlled beyond 2015, have also come up very frequently in talks, according to Heyman. Other possibilities include Tyson Ross, who’s due for free agency after 2017, and Joaquin Benoit, whose contract contains a club option for 2015.

This isn’t the first time that any of these players have been mentioned in trade talks, of course, but rival executives now seem to think the Padres could be even more active at the deadline than had previously been anticipated. Given how aggressively GM A.J. Preller remade the team last offseason, it would come as little surprise if he were itching to make another round of big trades in the midst of what’s turned into a disappointing season.

Heyman adds that another potential motivation for the Padres to make trades could be to reduce payroll. (ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote earlier today that the Padres were feeling “pressure” to shed payroll beyond 2015 by making trades.) Via Cot’s Contracts, the Padres had an Opening Day payroll of about $108MM this season, about $17MM more than their 2014 figure. Trading someone like Shields, whose contract is backloaded, would help the Padres reduce their already significant payroll obligations for 2016 and beyond.


Rangers Focusing On Players Who Could Help Beyond 2015

The Rangers are exploring a variety of possible routes at the upcoming July trade deadline, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.  They will approach the deadline neither as traditional buyers nor as traditional sellers, and will instead focus on players capable of helping both now and next season, GM Jon Daniels tells Wilson.

Most of the players we’ve talked about acquiring are multi-year fits, most but not all,” says Daniels. “From an acquisition standpoint, it’s almost more of guys that could fit now but also could fit into a likely off-season plan.”

Nonetheless, the Rangers aren’t yet ready to give up on their season. “We’re realistic about where we are, but we still believe in the team. We’ve got a run in us,” Daniels says.

One player who could fit into the Rangers’ current plans is Cole Hamels, who would help the rotation in 2016, when Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis might be gone due to free agency. Wilson suggests, though, that in order for there to be a trade, the Phillies would have to cover a significant chunk of the remainder of Hamels’ contract and would have to accept a return that does not include top young players Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara. The Rangers could also target Padres starters James Shields and Andrew Cashner as pitchers who could help the team beyond 2015.

Perhaps such moves are unlikely, however. “There’s also a chance we’re boring and don’t do much,” Daniels says. Daniels also notes that the Rangers aren’t close to trading Gallardo despite his impending free agency.

Much remains up in the air, though, and the Rangers’ performance in the coming days could help shape their strategy. The Rangers are 46-49 and well back of both the Angels and Astros in the AL West. They’re 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. If the Rangers were to lose additional ground in the coming days, that might point them in the direction of trading Gallardo in particular.

Trading Gallardo could be tricky, however, for reasons that go beyond the standings. As FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron wrote yesterday, there’s a high number of starting pitchers potentially available this week. The qualifying also offer creates a potential disincentive to selling. It’s unclear whether the Rangers would extend Gallardo a qualifying offer if they kept him — as Cameron suggests, it’s probably a close call. If they did, though, it could potentially help them patch their rotation for next season.


Stark On Chapman, Shields, Cashner, Astros, Royals

The asking price on Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is currently said by one American League executive to be “exorbitant,” tweets ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Other clubs doubt that Reds owner Bob Castellini is open to allowing Chapman to be moved in a trade, according to Stark. This isn’t the first time that Castellini’s name has come up as a potential road block in trades. Peter Gammons recently noted that the Castellini remains reluctant to authorize a sale, even in late July, and others have reported similar feelings from Castellini over the course of the summer. Retaining Chapman would make some sense if the Reds felt they have the pieces in place to make a run in 2016, but he’s already earning $8.05MM (and that figures to jump into the $12MM range this offseason) and is only controlled for one more season.

A few more notes from around the league, courtesy of Stark (all Stark links point to Twitter)…

  • The Padres are listening to offers on their entire rotation, but they “really want to move” both James Shields and Andrew Cashner, Stark hears from other teams. Shields’ name has surfaced as an unexpected trade candidate in recent weeks, and it sounds like San Diego is very open to moving Shields’ backloaded deal. A team taking on Shields would need to be willing to commit three years and $64MM to him, barring financial help from the Padres, but there’s also the chance that Shields could opt out of the final two years of his contract. With a strong 2016 performance, he may feel that he can do better than the final $45MM he’s guaranteed over the 2017-18 seasons.
  • That the club “really wants to move” Cashner is a bit more puzzling. While Shields is an aging veteran that has the potential to handcuff future payroll flexibility with his sizable financial commitment, Cashner’s 28 years old and enjoying a solid season (though his 4.10 ERA is a bit worse than sabermetric marks such as his 3.69 xFIP). Cashner’s earning a very reasonable $4.05MM in 2015 and will receive a raise this offseason before qualifying for free agency after the 2016 campaign. He does have a lengthy injury history, so perhaps the thinking among the new San Diego brass is that his value won’t be higher than it is now, and they don’t want to risk a second half injury.
  • The Astros “aren’t done” after acquiring Scott Kazmir yesterday, per Stark. The team is still hunting for bullpen upgrades (GM Jeff Luhnow’s stated preference has been to add a “flamethrower,” if he upgrades the ‘pen at all) as well as corner outfield bats.
  • Similarly, the Royals aren’t targeting one specific area of upgrade, says Stark. Rival clubs say that Kansas City GM Dayton Moore appears to be “open to anything,” whether that means a rotation upgrade, an outfield bat or adding both to the mix.
  • There’s a sense among some clubs that tomorrow’s Cole Hamels start could have a great influence on his trade market, it seems, as Stark quotes one executive saying, “He’s pitched in the playoffs and World Series. But for that front office, this may be the biggest start he’s ever had.” The Phillies‘ ace has been torched in each of his past two starts.

Rotation Rumors: Royals, Teheran, Price, Padres

The starting pitching market appears to be in flux, with numerous buyers reportedly considering an array of options and a variety of potential sellers weighing whether to deal away impact arms. Here are the latest rumors on the rotation front:

  • The Royals are interested in both Johnny Cueto of the Reds and Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers, as well as other arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Both, obviously, would be pure rental pieces, and we’ve mostly heard of Kansas City connected to half-year contracts. The club’s level of need certainly went up with the loss of Jason Vargas, though it’s unclear whether that will prompt any effort to add more than one pitcher.
  • Some rival executives believe that the Braves are willing to deal Julio Teheran, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But an Atlanta source indicates that the team sees too much upside in the young righty (and his reasonably-priced extension) to consider such a move. Teheran, 24, has not matched his excellent results over the prior two seasons, but it does seem hard to imagine the club selling low on him unless president of baseball operations John Hart is just not a believer in his future.
  • Rosenthal also addresses the possibility of the Tigers dealing David Price, noting that the team is unlikely to retain him beyond this year if it doesn’t. If and when Detroit puts him on the market, some of the most obviously starting pitching buyers — the Dodgers, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Astros — would have interest, per the report.
  • The Padres are not only all ears on outfielder Justin Upton, but are “listening … intently” on soon-to-be free agent starter Ian Kennedy, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, rival executives say that San Diego would “love” to find a taker for righty James Shields. Given that we’ve also heard suggestions that the Padres are holding conversations regarding Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, it would appear that the club is considering a variety of possible scenarios involving its staff.