Anthony Rizzo Rumors
One scout told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the work of the Braves’ hitting instructors and the performance of Kris Medlen has made the difference for the team so far in 2012. Atlanta GM Frank Wren agrees with that assessment, according to Rosenthal, who offers notes and rumors from around the league in his latest column:
- The Cubs are more likely to trade Ryan Dempster if they sign Matt Garza to an extension. However, Dempster’s ten and five rights allow him to veto any trade, so he’ll have leverage if the Cubs look to make a move. It doesn’t seem likely that Dempster will sign a below-market extension to stay in Chicago, Rosenthal writes.
- The Cubs don’t have immediate plans to call up Anthony Rizzo, who figures to stay in the minor leagues until an opening emerges.
- Releasing Alfonso Soriano doesn’t appear to be an option; the outfielder has approximately $50MM remaining on his contract with the Cubs.
- General managers criticize the collective bargaining agreement, Rosenthal reports. Some low-revenue teams dislike spending restrictions on the draft, since they feel the limitations will drive up the price of MLB talent.
- Chien-Ming Wang, who is now rehabbing at Triple-A, could be valuable insurance for the Nationals, since they’ve decided to cap Stephen Strasburg’s innings.
- Brett Myers’ 2013 option likely vests with approximately 55 games finished, Rosenthal suggests. The right-hander will obtain a $500K bonus if the Astros trade him.
- One scout says Blue Jays catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud looks like Russell Martin did with the Dodgers.
The latest links from around MLB...
- Free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez told Los Cronistas that he wants to play, but doesn't plan on accepting a minor league deal (Twitter links, hat tip to Danny Knobler). The Athletics and other clubs have shown some interest, but haven't made concrete offers.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox explains why the Kosuke Fukudome signing makes sense for the White Sox. They locked the outfielder up for $1MM yesterday.
- Cubs first base prospect Anthony Rizzo told Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth on MLB Network Radio that being traded two offseasons ago helped prepare him for the recent deal that sent him from San Diego to Chicago.
- In a piece for FanGraphs, Mike Axisa takes a look at MLBTR's list of out of options players and breaks down some trade candidates, including Kila Ka'aihue and Sean West.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has the complete minor league transactions for February 8th-13th.
It was one year ago today that the Angels and Blue Jays pulled off the huge trade that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli. The Jays were considered immediate winners for getting Wells' huge contract off their payroll and the swap looks even better for Toronto given Wells' .218/.248/.412 season in 2011.
Some news from around the majors...
- New Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo holds the top spot on this list of baseball's top 10 first base prospects from MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledged that there are "active discussions internally" about improving the team when speaking with Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo on MLB Network Radio (mp3 link), but it's unlikely the Rangers will make another significant move. "It won't be from a lack of creativity," he said.
- Matt Garza told Hollandsworth and Memolo that he's "definitely open" to signing an extension with the Cubs (mp3 link).
- Josh Johnson tells Glenn Geffner of the Marlins Insider 790 AM radio show (and passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post) that he will begin throwing off a mound next week, the first time the Marlins ace has done so since September. Johnson was limited to nine starts last season due to shoulder injuries.
- Yoenis Cespedes is still not an established resident of the Dominican Republic, which is holding up his free agency, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
- Kyle Blanks may only realize his potential if he leaves the Padres, opines Fangraphs' Paul Swydan.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back with his weekly online chat about the Padres.
- The Tigers, Indians and the "sleeper choice" Brewers are all possible fits for Derrek Lee, writes Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com.
MLBTR's Mike Axisa also contributed to this post
Here's the latest from the NL Central...
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer wants to add more depth to his pitching staff, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "At this point, we're still very much in the process of gathering as many quality arms as we can, and we'll put those pieces in place as we get closer to Spring Training," Hoyer said. "We have worked hard, and we continue to work hard, and hopefully we'll have even more starting-pitching acquisitions....We want to go seven, eight, nine deep in the rotation and we hope to replenish the bullpen as well."
- ESPN's Keith Law gives the Cubs the "slight edge" in today's Anthony Rizzo-for-Andrew Cashner trade. Law says he would rather have Rizzo than Yonder Alonso, who the Padres acquired from the Reds last month as part of the package for Mat Latos.
- The Cardinals announced Derek Lilliquist will become the team's new pitching coach, with Dyer Miller taking Lilliquist's old job as bullpen coach. The moves may or may not be permanent as former pitching coach Dave Duncan is on an indefinite leave of absence to be with his wife, who underwent brain surgery last August.
- The Pirates have shown some interest in bringing back Derrek Lee but "the first baseman doesn’t seem to have reciprocated that interest," writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Of the five remaining Pirate free agents, Langosch thinks only Paul Maholm has a chance of returning, but the Bucs will likely be outbid by one of Maholm's several other suitors.
- Incumbent Reds left fielder Chris Heisey talks to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who thinks Heisey has earned "a long trial" at the everyday job. The Reds have recently been connected to free agent outfielders Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross.
- The Reds have announced the signings of catcher Corky Miller and left-hander Jeremy Horst to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League spring training camp. Miller, a 10-year veteran, was originally drafted by the Reds in 1998 and has spent the last three years in Cincinnati's system. Horst, 26, made his Major League debut last season with the Reds, posting a 2.93 ERA in 12 relief appearances. Previously-announced signings Brian Esposito, Sean Gallagher, Daryl Jones, Chad Reineke, Clayton Tanner and Kanekoa Texeira were also confirmed as non-roster invitees.
The Cubs acquired Anthony Rizzo from the Padres today, but they weren’t the only team with interest in the first base prospect. The Indians, Blue Jays and Rays also had some interest in Rizzo, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here are more notes from Heyman (they all go to Twitter):
- The Rangers would like to lock Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton, Mike Adams and Colby Lewis to extensions if possible, according to Heyman. Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland are among the Rangers’ other extension candidates.
- Brandon Webb started throwing again in late December and his arm is “strong and loose,” according to his agent. Webb signed with the Rangers last offseason, but didn't pitch at the Major League level and underwent right shoulder surgery in the summer. He hasn't appeared in an MLB game since April of 2009.
- The Orioles have interest in Edwin Jackson, according to Heyman. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explained in December that Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles.
The Cubs have acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo and right-hander Zach Cates from the Padres for right-hander Andrew Cashner and outfielder Kyung-Min Na, the teams announced. The move provides the Cubs with a potential long-term first baseman and makes room for another first baseman in San Diego.
“The acquisition of Yonder Alonso provided us the flexibility to make this trade and acquire a quality, young power arm in Andrew Cashner,” Padres GM Josh Byrnes said. “We are happy to add a pitcher with the pedigree of Cashner and an outfielder with the athleticism of Na.”
The Cubs are presumably out of the running for free agent Prince Fielder with the acquisition of Rizzo. Bryan LaHair will open the season as the Cubs' everyday first baseman and Rizzo will play at Triple-A, GM Jed Hoyer said, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Rizzo, 22, debuted with the Padres last year, posting a .141/.281/.242 line in a 153 plate appearance cameo. He spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he posted a .331/.404/.652 line and hit 26 homers in 413 plate appearances. Baseball America ranked him 75 among MLB prospects entering the 2011 season and first among Padres prospects after the campaign ended. Even if Rizzo (pictured) sticks in the Major Leagues from this point on, he'll be under team control through 2017.
Cates, a 2010 third rounder, made his professional debut in 2011. The 22-year-old posted a 4.73 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 118 innings as a starter at Class A.
Cashner, 25, has a 4.29 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 65 innings over the course of two seasons with the Cubs. The 2008 first rounder spent much of the 2011 season on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff, but returned to make six appearances in September. He'll be under team control through 2016. The Padres will use Cashner out of the bullpen, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
Na, 20, has a .244/.335/.284 line in 519 plate appearances over the course of two seasons in the lower levels of the minor leagues. He has played all three outfield positions professionally and spent most of his time in center.
When the Red Sox drafted Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, current Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was Boston's GM, Hoyer was his assistant GM and Jason McLeod was his scouting director. Hoyer, McLeod, Byrnes and the Padres acquired Rizzo from Epstein and the Red Sox in last offseason's Adrian Gonzalez deal. It's worth noting that Byrnes worked with Hoyer and Epstein in Boston before becoming Arizona's GM in 2005.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune held his weekly chat with fans today and shared some news about some possible moves the Padres could have cooking this offseason...
- Center thinks Anthony Rizzo will be traded "in the next week or two." He predicts Rizzo will be sent to the Rays, who will then flip Rizzo to the Cubs, where he is "still coveted" by (former Padres executives) Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
- The Padres will begin negotiations with Cameron Maybin about a multiyear contract once the team has dealt with its arbitration-eligible players. We heard earlier this week that the two sides would revisit contract talks in January. Center predicts a Maybin extension would be worth "at least" $15-18MM and be five or six years in length, which would buy out all three of Maybin's arbitration years and at least one of his free agent years.
- Center believes the Padres will add another pitcher through free agency, and says he's heard the names of Paul Maholm and Jon Garland connected to the club, though Center doesn't think Garland returning to San Diego is likely. Garland pitched for the Friars in 2010 and then opted out of a mutual option to enter the free agent market. Garland ended up signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers but made just nine starts for L.A. due to an oblique injury and season-ending shoulder surgery in July.
- The team "apparently can't put together a deal that would interest Chris Young" since "it would have to be incentive laden and the Padres aren't offering incentive contracts." Young, who pitched for San Diego from 2006-10, has been plagued by shoulder injuries that have limited him to just 22 starts over the last three seasons. Young posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts with the Mets last year before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder.
- "There is nothing close" between the Padres and White Sox about a possible Carlos Quentin trade. The Friars were known to be targeting Quentin last month.
- The Padres may choose to take cash from the Pirates to finalize last July's Ryan Ludwick trade, rather than a player to be named later.
- Center thinks the Padres "desperately" need to acquire a close-to-Major League-ready middle infield prospect.
Cornelius Alexander "Connie" Mack was born on this day in 1862. After an 11-year playing career, Mack went on to become the manager and co-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901 and was a fixture in the A's dugout for the next half-century. Between his 50 years with the A's (and three years managing the Pirates from 1894-96), Mack won five World Series titles and compiled a 3731-3948 record. Needless to say, Mack's records for managerial wins and losses will never be broken.
Some news from around the majors...
- The Indians made "an aggressive" two-year contract offer to Carlos Beltran worth "very close" to the $26MM Beltran received from the Cardinals, a source tells Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- The Braves have been rather quiet this offseason but "the fact is we like our team," GM Frank Wren tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We continue to have some conversations,” Wren said. “We’d have liked to have gotten something done in November in some areas, but just weren’t the matches....We’re continuing to work different options. This was not a good free-agent year, not a lot of players that impacted teams, especially in the areas we would like to get better in.” Wren said the Braves may wait to see how their players perform during Spring Training before deciding if they need to bring in some new acquisitions.
- The Padres still have around $7-$9MM to spend this winter, observes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune as part of his weekly chat with fans.
- Center also discusses Anthony Rizzo trade rumors, citing the Rays and Cubs as the most interested parties. Center thinks teams who miss out on Prince Fielder (such as possibly the Mariners and Orioles) could look at Rizzo as well.
- The Reds will use Sean Marshall as a setup man, not as a closer, once their deal with the Cubs is finalized, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Fay also wonders if the Reds are working out a contract extension with Marshall, as the price of Travis Wood plus two prospects seems high for a reliever who is only under control through 2012.
- The Mariners are still interested in Jeff Francis, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Seattle wants a veteran like Francis for the rotation to serve as a bridge for the team's young pitchers. We heard about the Mariners' interest in Francis earlier this month, and the Twins, Pirates, Cubs and Rockies have also been linked to the Canadian left-hander.
- Patrick Ebert of Perfect Game runs down the 10 biggest stories that emerged from this year's amateur draft.
- Former Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez told Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio (as reported by MLB.com's Joe Frisaro) that he didn't agree with Miami's signing of Jose Reyes. "You already have an All-Star shortstop, why spend money on another All-Star shortstop?" Rodriguez asked. "Why not put the money into another player, like Albert Pujols or a front-line pitcher?” Rodriguez also wondered how "a very proud player" like Hanley Ramirez would handle switching positions and having Reyes be the center of media attention in Miami.
- The Giants haven't spent much to address their lack of hitting this winter, writes Fangraphs' Wendy Thurm.
The Blue Jays bid over $50MM for Yu Darvish, falling just short of the Rangers' $51.7MM bid, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Here's the latest on the Blue Jays’ division, starting with a right-hander who spent three up-and-down seasons in Toronto...
- Several teams are kicking the tires on acquiring A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees will have to absorb significant salary to make a deal and Burnett can veto trades to ten teams per year, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
- The Yankees bid less than $20MM for Darvish, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette explains the team's shrinking pro scouting department to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. "In an effort to make an impact on the franchise, I can argue that the scouts are most valuable to a team at the amateur level,” Duquette said. “They can have a bigger impact on this organization.”
- Former Rays catcher Toby Hall has decided to retire, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. The 36-year-old spent seven seasons with the Rays and last played in the Major Leagues in 2008.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears the Rays are one of the teams that has asked the Padres about Anthony Rizzo (Twitter link). However, the Padres, who have been flooded with interest, aren't matching up that well with the Rays at this point, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- MLB executives expect Gio Gonzalez to be traded relatively soon now that Darvish is no longer available, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Red Sox are among Gonzalez’s suitors.
The Padres have some interest in acquiring Matt Garza from the Cubs in a package that would include Anthony Rizzo, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio. Based on reports yesterday, it seems both clubs may be interested in working out a trade involving Rizzo.
With Mat Latos now a Cincinnati Red, the Padres' interest in Garza makes some sense, particularly since the team has a crowded picture at first base, between Rizzo and Yonder Alonso. The Cubs' front office tandem of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer was responsible for the Adrian Gonzalez trade that sent Rizzo from Boston to San Diego a year ago, so both execs are very familiar with the 22-year-old.
However, MLBTR projects Garza, who is under team control for just two more years, to earn well over $8MM through arbitration this season. Additionally, the Cubs' asking price for the right-hander is said to be steep. On the heels of the Latos trade, it's unclear whether the Padres would want to move multiple prospects and take on salary in order to restock their rotation. Peter Gammons of MLB Network finds the possibility of the Friars acquiring Garza unlikely, for now (Twitter link).