Andrew Cashner Rumors

Astros, Padres Have Discussed Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner

The Astros and Padres have had “at least a preliminary conversation” regarding starters Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Houston is continuing to evaluate an array of options, though — including talks with the Phillies on Cole Hamels that appear to have some traction — so nothing appears close.

Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said earlier today that the club is prepared to deal from among its best prospects “if that’s what is required and that was our best option to improve this team.” Of course, the club’s best-regarded young players are now a part of the 25-man roster.

Adding a young, controllable arm such as Ross or Cashner would obviously require the Astros to give up some serious value in return. The former is probably the more valuable piece at this point, given his added year of control and superior overall performance over the last two years. But both are highly desirable assets, and Houston would undoubtedly face competition if they are marketed.

The issue with Hamels, of course, is his no-trade clause, which reports have suggested he’d be disinclined to waive for the Astros. But discussions between the teams have not reached the point where that question has been addressed between Houston and Hamels, per the report, so it’s not certain whether he could be an achievable target.

Luhnow continues to emphasize that starting pitching is his highest priority, though he’s also cited an increasing need for a bat. As MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reported earlier today, Luhnow says that his club has “opened up a lot more conversations regarding position players” and was also talking with teams about pen arms.


Texas Notes: Cashner, Ross, Corporan, Luhnow, Andrus

The Astros and Padres have discussed starting pitching, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’s believed that Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross were the subjects of the talks. Lin characterizes the conversations as “preliminary.” He believes the Astros are performing due diligence in case their pursuit of Johnny Cueto goes awry. The Rangers are also known to have interest in both pitchers. Cashner is a free agent after the 2016 season while Ross is club-controlled through 2017.

  • The Rangers have placed catcher Carlos Corporan on the disabled list and recalled Tomas Telis, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Corporan is sidelined with a sprained left thumb. The news comes just a couple days after we learned the Rangers were open to trading Corporan to clear space for Telis. The 24-year-old prospect saw 71 plate appearances last season and has hit relatively well in the minors. This year, he’s managed a .291/.327/.404 line at Triple-A.
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is remaining open-minded heading into the trade deadline, he tells Brian McTaggart of MLB.com in an interview. Specifically, he’s looking for a piece that can help the team reach the postseason and succeed in October. Beyond that, he mentioned the rotation, lineup, and bullpen as areas that can be improved. Luhnow also suggested that some talks could drag into August. The interview does make one thing clear – the Astros would like to buy, but they’ll keep an eye on the long term implications as they do it.
  • A change of scenery could be in order for Elvis Andrus, opines Frank Cesare of GammonsDaily.com. The 26-year-old has declined to replacement level production since signing an eight-year, $120MM contract that expires after the 2022 season. Andrus was once known for above average defense, speed, contact ability, and plate discipline. He’s hitting a career worst .245/.303/.328 even though his peripherals are comparable to his career rates. His defense has dropped below average over the last season and a half. Undoubtedly, the Rangers would be happy to escape his contract, but there is a dearth of obvious suitors? A change of scenery may be ideal, but unless Texas ate a large portion of his contract, a trade is exceedingly unlikely.
  • With the Rangers seven games back in the AL West and five games below .500, the club needs Martin Perez to perform immediately, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Perez returned from Tommy John surgery this past Friday with a five inning outing. Aside from Yovani Gallardo, the club has received little value from their starters. The team’s starters have combined for a 4.14 ERA – 12th worst in the league. Martin has a career 4.16 ERA and 4.07 FIP.

Luhnow, Hinch On Astros’ Roster, Trade Deadline

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow finds himself in an unfamiliar position this trade season, as he’s now in the driver’s seat of a club that’s looking to buy, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Drellich spoke to both Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch about the club’s roster and the needs they face entering the July 31 trade deadline.

Per Drellich, starting pitching remains a priority, and the team is likely focused on adding a front-line starting pitcher. Luhnow specifically mentioned a desire to strengthen a potential playoff rotation. “I still think if we are fortunate enough to make the playoffs, having a pitcher that can pitch in those first few games of the playoffs will make a difference,” the GM said. He’s made similar remarks in the past, but the stated importance of strengthening the front of his rotation with the trade deadline so near is nevertheless notable. (Of course, I wouldn’t think that Luhnow and the Astros would shy away from adding a fourth or fifth starter type either.) Manager A.J. Hinch also weighed in on the need for a pitcher: “You always feel like an extra pitcher or two would be ideal, and some of that is out of just strengthening a strength, and some of it is not really knowing what’s in store moving forward on a couple different spots on our team.”

Drellich writes that there’s little indication of serious interest in Cole Hamels, but Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija remain names of interest to the Astros. Houston faces competition in acquiring either free-agent-to-be, with a source telling Drellich that other teams vying for Cueto include the Blue Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and possibly the Royals. Many have speculated that it could be difficult for Luhnow to strike a deal with former colleague Walt Jocketty — the two “butted heads” while working together in St. Louis, Drellich notes — but multiple sources indicated to Drellich that previous transgressions between the two won’t impact the Astros’ chances so long as they make the best offer.

Regarding possible trade chips on the Padres, Drellich feels that Tyson Ross could be too expensive to pry away due to his remaining club control (through 2017), but Andrew Cashner‘s one-and-a-half years of control are a more reasonable target. Ultimately, however, he notes that the Astros are expected to land a pure half-season rental.

One potential area of need that hasn’t received much focus for Houston is first base. Luhnow was candid in pointing out that Chris Carter‘s production “hasn’t been there” and “it’s frustrating because we know what he’s capable of doing.” Luhnow, though, adds that Carter’s production in 2014 was particularly potent in the second half. The GM doesn’t specifically state it, but it seems like the club may entertain an upgrade at first base if Carter and Jon Singleton stumble out of the gates in the second half. “He hasn’t achieved it yet, and I’m not sure we can wait all year for something to come if it’s not coming,” said Luhnow of Carter’s production. “I believe he will get off to a quick start after the break and give us the production we need.” Drellich adds that Luis Valbuena has been taking grounders at first and could see some time there when Jed Lowrie is healthy.

Adam Lind and Adam LaRoche are oft-speculated first base trade candidates, though Drellich also wonders about a possible match with Yonder Alonso, who doesn’t hit for much power but also rarely strikes out and has a connection to Hinch, who previously worked in the San Diego front office. Michael Morse and Ryan Howard represent more expensive options that, of course, haven’t lived up to their respective contracts.

Houston certainly has the prospects to deal in order to facilitate a trade for a big name, and Drellich, interestingly, writes that the club may be more willing to move right-hander Mark Appel than top outfield prospect Brett Phillips. (Phillips ranked 21st on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50 prospects list, while Appel was 39th.)

The current iteration of the Astros’ front office is indeed in somewhat uncharted water, and they’re currently being challenged by a surging Angels club that moved into first place on the final day of the first half. As things currently stand, the Astros and Twins — perhaps the two most surprising clubs in baseball — would square off in the Wild Card playoff if the season ended today. Based on comments from Luhnow and reported information from Drellich (whose full article should absolutely be read in its entirety), it doesn’t seem like the Astros will take a passive approach and hope that the eventual returns of Lowrie, George Springer and Scott Feldman will be enough to propel them to a division title.



West Notes: Padres, Athletics, Angels

Much of the Padres‘ pitching staff has remained intact this offseason while new GM A.J. Preller built a new offense alongside it, and the team’s returning pitchers are excited, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. “It’s been pretty cool seeing all the moves we made,” says Andrew Cashner. “This is my first year to have a chance to win.” Another Padres starter, Ian Kennedy, still has interest in exploring free agency after the season, but adds that “it’s hard not to notice” that the team has gotten better, in his view, both for 2015 into the future. Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • The Athletics acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar in the Ben Zobrist trade, then quickly shipped him to Washington for Tyler Clippard. Assistant GM David Forst says, however, that the A’s didn’t acquire Escobar with the intention of trading him, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Clippard deal took shape only after the completion of the Zobrist deal.
  • The Angels have improved their farm system in the past several months, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes. That’s not to say their farm system is great — they moved up from last in Baseball America’s organizational rankings in 2013 and 2014 to 27th this year. They did, however, pitchers Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano this winter, and drafted three more pitchers, Sean Newcomb, Joe Gatto and Chris Ellis, in June. Since Baseball America’s rankings went to press, the Angels have also added infielders Roberto Baldoquin and Kyle Kubitza. “It’s a better system than it was before,” says BA’s John Manuel. “There are some positive signs.”

Phillies Notes: Cashner, Montgomery, Nola

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro “covets” Padres righty Andrew Cashner, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan (via Twitter).  San Diego has been rumored to be one of the teams looking at a trade for Cole Hamels, so it’s fair to speculate that Cashner’s name has probably come up in discussions between the two teams.  The Padres were reportedly open to offers for Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross earlier this winter if one of those starters would bring back a top hitter in return, though the Friars subsequently added several significant lineup pieces without giving up any of their rotation-heading trio.  Passan notes that the Padres aren’t one of the teams on Hamels’ no-trade list.

Here’s some more from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • Phillies chairman David Montgomery gave Amaro a vote of confidence in an interview on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (hat tip to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki), calling Amaro “a pretty quality guy in that [GM] role.”  Amaro is entering the last year of his contract with the team, and the Phillies’ ownership group as a whole is “looking at this closely as well” to determine if Amaro will continue in Philadelphia.  “If Pat [Gillick] spends an entire year or two close with Ruben, I think he’ll have a very good idea to how effective Ruben is, and collectively a decision will be made,” Montgomery said.
  • Aaron Nola won’t be invited to the Phillies’ Major League Spring Training camp, Amaro tells CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. “He’s not one of those kids that we need to see mature or develop mentally. We think that he’s got other things he needs to work on on the field, other parts of the game that he needs to continue to work on,” Amaro said.  “He’ll get into minor-league camp and get into the program there and it will be good for him and when he’™s ready to come to the big leagues, he’™ll come to the big leagues.”  Nola, the seventh overall pick of the 2014 draft, is projected to begin the season at Double-A and Amaro didn’t rule out that the righty could reach the bigs in 2015, calling Nola “a fast-track guy and there’™s a reason why.”
  • From that same piece, Amaro also expressed confidence in Jesse Biddle, whose stock as a top-100 prospect dropped after a rough 2014 season.  Biddle received an invite to the big league Spring Training camp, though Amaro said that the southpaw will eventually be sent to the minors camp and “likely in Double-A” to start the season.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
  • The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
  • Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
  • Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
  • The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
  • Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
  • Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
  • Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
  • Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
  • Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
  • Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.

(more…)


Rosenthal On Padres, Upton, Smith, Nats, Haren

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has updates on a number of situations around the league in his latest pair of columns. Here are some highlights from his most recent work…

  • The Padres are interested in a wide array of hitters, but they’re “all over” Justin Upton, Rosenthal hears. However, now that they’re set to acquire Matt Kemp, the Padres don’t want to trade Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy or Tyson Ross, which might make a deal difficult to line up. They could possibly follow the Howie Kendrick-for-Andrew Heaney model and offer six years of a top prospect such as Austin Hedges or Matt Wisler.
  • Seth Smith is drawing interest from the Mariners and Orioles, among other clubs. Trading Smith would be an easier route for the team to take than moving one of Carlos Quentin or Cameron Maybin, neither of whom has much (if any) trade value. The Padres, however, gave Smith assurance that he wouldn’t be dealt this offseason when he signed a two-year, $13MM extension in early July. Then again, that assurance came before GM A.J. Preller had been hired.
  • The Nationals recently offered the Mariners both Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond in exchange for right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Brad Miller, according to Rosenthal. However, the Mariners balked at giving up six years of Walker and five of Miller for just one year of Zimmermann and Desmond at a combined total of $27.5MM. Washington also discussed Zimmermann with the Red Sox.
  • The Marlins could look to trade Dan Haren if he doesn’t want to pitch for them in 2015, Rosenthal tweets. Haren made his preference to pitch on the West coast (specifically near his wife and two young children) clear when he signed with the Dodgers. At the end of the 2013 season, he discussed the difficulty of pitching across the country from his family with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, and more recently he said he planned to retire if traded out of the area. Rosenthal notes that the Marlins spoke to Haren the night of the trade, and their preference is for Haren to pitch for their club in 2015. The Angels, who would represent one logical trade partner, given Haren’s geographic preference, have said they won’t be trading for him.

NL West Rumors: Montero, Greinke, Ross

The Giants have fallen short on a few free agent targets this offseason, but they’re not worried, reports Henry Schulman in a series of tweets. Per Schulman, the Giants don’t feel a need to “win” bidding wars. They’ll stick to their dollar figure, which could affect their pursuit of Jon Lester. The club clearly wasn’t comfortable topping the $68MM offer to Yasmany Tomas or $44MM offer to Nick Markakis. In the case of another free agent they missed out on – Pablo Sandoval – the Giants reportedly made a comparable offer to the Red Sox.

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the D’Backs would need to be “overwhelmed” to move Mark Trumbo.  Still, the Mariners are among the teams that are monitoring the situation.
  • Earlier today, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said that contrary to reports, there was no agreed upon deal with the Dodgers that would have sent Miguel Montero to L.A.  When asked if a Montero-to-the-Dodgers deal could still happen, La Russa said, “The conversations are not what they were before. I think it’s less likely,” according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).  However, La Russa added that ownership has not deemed Montero untouchable (link).
  • Dodgers president Andrew Friedman says that he’ll let the year play out before addressing Zack Greinke‘s opt out clause, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  From the sound of it, the Dodgers don’t have extension talks with the pitcher on their agenda for this winter.
  • Friedman said he would have zero hesitation in trading players within the division, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Friedman went on to say (link) that he has not visited any free agents this winter.
  • Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) doesn’t think that there’s much to the speculation that the Rangers will make a run at Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner.  Texas reportedly has more interest in Tyson Ross.

Rangers Notes: Middle Infield, Padres Starters, Choice

Texas has several irons in the fire. Here’s the latest:

  • The Rangers are fielding strong interest in their middle infield group, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Jurickson Profar is among the names that has been asked about, and Texas has received particularly strong interest in Rougned Odor.The Rangers are not shopping Odor, who is still only 20 years of age and had a solid MLB debut last year. That pair of youngsters is joined in the Texas infield by incumbent shortstop Elvis Andrus and 21-year-old Luis Sardinas. The potential logjam up the middle has yet to materialize with Profar’s recent injury troubles, though the team could feel free to deal from depth depending upon his progress.
  • Meanwhile, the Rangers and Padres are still talking pitching, Sullivan tweets, though Texas has more interest in Tyson Ross than in Andrew Cashner because of the latter’s health concerns and road numbers.
  • San Diego is interested in Profar, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But he says that a straight swap of Profar for one of the Friars’ three best arms (Ross, Cashner, and Ian Kennedy) is not going to get done.
  • Sullivan also notes on Twitter that teams remain intrigued by the upside potential of outfielder Michael Choice, who had a rough 2014, but that clubs looking to plug an immediate hole do not see him as a solution.

Trade Notes: Tulo, Swihart, Hamels, Marrero, Samardzija, Swisher, Upton

Here are the latest pieces of information on the trade front from the morning’s action at the Winter Meetings:

  • The Rockies approached the Mets today to gauge interest in discussing star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Martino’s sources tell him a deal that would send Tulowitzki to the Mets is “not happening.” On the other hand, Colorado’s actions obviously suggest that there is at least some possibility that the club would consider dealing him.
  • The Phillies would not demand that the Red Sox include top catching prospect Blake Swihart in a deal involving Cole Hamels, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports on Twitter.
  • Were the Red Sox to make a push for Jeff Samardzija, however, the Athletics would insist on the inclusion of shortstop prospect Deven Marrero, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.
  • Nick Swisher of the Indians is available in trade, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, but there has been minimal interest to date.
  • The Mariners could “circle back” to the Braves regarding Justin Upton if the team does not land free agent Melky Cabrera, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But Seattle is highly unlikely to sacrifice one of its prized young arms in a deal for Upton, he adds.