Antonio Bastardo Rumors

Central Notes: Pirates, Ruggiano, Pirates, Bastardo

If the Pirates can’t land a reliever this week, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests that the Bucs could move Edinson Volquez to the bullpen.  Volquez, who has hit 98 mph on the gun this season, has been trending down since April. More from the Central Divisions..


NL East Rumors: Marlins, Phillies, Byrd, Bastardo

After a glance at the Mets earlier this evening, here’s a look at other items out of the NL East..

  • The Marlins are eyeing controllable pitchers and they’re thought to be considering A’s lefty Tommy Milone, D’Backs’ lefty Wade Miley, and Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  Of course, if their three-game set against the Nationals doesn’t go well, they could wind up going the other way and selling.
  • Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd is no longer an option for the Royals and talks have stalled with the Mariners, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Byrd will only waive his no-trade clause if his 2016 option is exercised.
  • The Phillies are talking with multiple clubs about Byrd and reliever Antonio Bastardo and there’s a lot of action on both, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Stark’s Latest: Price, Phillies, O’s, Royals, Pirates

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com has a new Rumblings & Grumblings column posted in which he runs down a plethora of trade-related topics. You’ll need to read the full post to get all the information and analysis, but here are some of the highlights …

  • The Rays are waiting until next week to make any decisions on whether or not to trade ace David Price. However, as Stark points out, it could still be a difficult judgment call as to whether or not the Rays are close enough to go for it or far enough back to sell. Tampa is currently seven games back of the division lead and four and a half games back from a Wild Card berth.
  • One executive tells Stark that he’s convinced the team will move Price if they get a big enough offer. Said the exec, “They’ve really built their team by making these kinds of deals. But if the return they can get now is something they think they can get this winter, they’ll hold him.” Another exec tells Stark that waiting until the winter could reduce the return in a trade by 30 to 40 percent.
  • Stark runs down the possible landing spots for Price, calling the Dodgers the favorite, but noting that L.A. has said it will not part with both Joc Pederson and Corey Seager, even in a Price trade. The Mariners are the second choice, he notes, with the Cardinals listed third followed by the Giants and Blue Jays (both of whom are painted as long shots by Stark).
  • If the Rays do sell Price, they’ll be open for business and listen on a number of other players, including Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar. Their preference is to deal Price and Zobrist in separate trades, if that comes to pass.
  • The Phillies are the next team that everyone is watching, with nine players that could be moved but contractual problems surrounding many of them. Most execs feel the Phillies will eat money to facilitate deals and aren’t looking to just dump players on other clubs. Specifically, the team is in need of position-player prospects, one exec who has spoken with Philadelphia tells Stark.
  • Marlon Byrd is the most likely to be dealt, with the Mariners, Royals and Reds scouting him. The Reds, however, may not be able to take on Byrd’s remaining $3MM in 2014, and the Mariners and Royals are on his no-trade list.
  • Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee aren’t likely to be dealt, executives tell Stark. In Lee’s case, they feel he’s a lock to clear waivers. One exec tells Stark that he’d be more inclined to take a chance on Lee were he a free agent, but his contract is too risky at this point.
  • Cole Hamels isn’t likely to be dealt either. It’s not that the Phillies aren’t willing to move him, it’s just that the prices they’ve specified consist of packages “that no one would possibly give up.”
  • A.J. Burnett‘s preference is indeed to return to the Pirates, but Pittsburgh would need assurances that he’s not going to exercise his player option for 2015. The Orioles‘ interest is said to be lukewarm, while the Phillies asked the Yankees and were told, “No thanks.”
  • At least half a dozen teams are in on Antonio Bastardo, whom Stark concretely says will be traded in the next week.
  • The Orioles aren’t looking for a closer upgrade over Zach Britton, but they’re looking for a rotation upgrade and a lefty reliever that’s more than just a left-on-left specialist. They’ve shown no interest in dealing Hunter Harvey or Dylan Bundy.
  • The Royals have called on virtually every right-handed hitter on the market, but they’re look specifically at right fielders, including Byrd, Alex Rios, Chris Denorfia and Dayan Viciedo. The first two of those options still look most likely.
  • Stark would be surprised if the Pirates didn’t add at least one pitcher, if not two in the next week, but it’d have to be at least a No. 3 option in terms of starters. On the relief front, they’re looking at seventh-inning arms, as they’re content with Tony Watson in the eighth and Mark Melancon in the ninth.


Tigers Looking For Left-Handed Relief Help

The Tigers made a huge move to fortify their bullpen last night by acquiring Joakim Soria from the Rangers, but they’re not done looking for bullpen help, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Detroit is on the hunt for a left-handed relief upgrade, though they’re not ruling out another right-handed option either, he adds.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Phillies southpaw Antonio Bastardo is a target for GM Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers, which lines up with yesterday’s reports that Detroit was among the teams to scout Bastardo.

Ian Krol and Phil Coke have served as Detroit’s primary left-handed relievers this season, but each has an ERA north of 4.50, and sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP and xFIP don’t paint a much more optimistic projection. Both have been serviceable, albeit unspectacular against lefties, as Coke has yielded a .254/.306/.388 batting line to same-handed hitters, while Krol has been a bit worse at .241/.313/.397. Both have been dreadful against right-handed hitters, however, with Coke surrendering a .927 OPS and Krol surrendering an even more unsightly 1.114 OPS.

In addition to Bastardo, the trade market features Wesley Wright and James Russell of the Cubs, Tony Sipp of the Astros, Neal Cotts of the Rangers and perhaps Brian Duensing of the Twins (though that last name is my own speculation, as he’s yet to surface in trade rumors).


Multiple Teams Scouting Antonio Bastardo

With multiple teams on the lookout for bullpen help, left-hander Antonio Bastardo is drawing some significant trade interest, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Sources tell Salisbury that the Royals are very interested in Bastardo, while the Tigers, Pirates and Blue Jays are all in the mix as well. All four teams have scouted each of Philadelphia’s past two games (Salisbury notes that the Tigers are also believed to be keeping an eye on Jonathan Papelbon).

The 28-year-old Bastardo makes sense as a trade chip for the Phillies, whose large commitments to veterans and willingness to include no-trade clauses and vesting options in their contracts has left them with few pieces that are both movable and desirable. Bastardo is both of those, however, as he’s owed just $2MM in 2014 and is controlled through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player. He’s also had good results this season, having compiled a 3.27 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 33.7 percent ground-ball rate. Bastardo has been effective against both left-handed hitters (.616 OPS) and right-handed hitters (.634 OPS) throughout his career.

The Reds have also been connected to Bastardo this month, and the Braves have been known to be seeking a southpaw for their bullpen as well (though the usual intra-division caveat applies). Interested teams do have some alternatives, including James Russell and Wesley Wright of the Cubs, and possibly Andrew Miller of the Red Sox.


NL Central Notes: Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates

The National League Central saw a change atop its leaderboard as the Brewers fell out of first place for the first time since April 5 after a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Nationals. It could be temporary pending the outcome of the Cardinals’ game with the Dodgers tonight. Here’s the latest from the NL Central:

  • Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty has several of his inner-circle baseball operations people on the road with him and is eyeing some additions, but that doesn’t mean anything will happen this month. “I’d like to add a bat,” Jocketty said, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. “We just haven’t found anything that attracts us yet. It may not happen before the 31st.”  Jocketty went on to say if the Reds acquire a bat, the preference would be for the player to play multiple positions.
  • With Brandon Phillips on the disabled list, the Reds GM was asked about pursuing the recently released Dan Uggla. “We haven’t discussed that yet,” Jocketty said (as quoted by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer). “I haven’t talked to our scouts that saw him. I don’t know. We’re going to meet tomorrow and go over some stuff.
  • In a chat with Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter), Jocketty made it clear he’d like to acquire a middle of the order bat he could put into the Reds‘ lineup right away, not an injury risk type player.  When asked about Rays‘ second baseman Ben Zobrist (link), Jocketty said, “That’s a good name. That’s all I’ll say.”
  • The Reds have interest in the Phillies‘ Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo, reports CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury.
  • The Cardinals‘ top Trade Deadline priority should be starting pitching and not a replacement for the injured Yadier Molina, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • The Cardinals‘ due diligence with David Price is reminiscent of their pursuit of Matt Holliday in 2009, tweets Strauss’ colleague at the P-D, Derrick Goold (Twitter links).
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin has downplayed the prospects of making a major deal before the Trade Deadline citing the lack of playing time for a bat and the limited impact a reliever can have because of the few innings they pitch, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the ask is still high on the trade market, but the club has the payroll flexibility to make a move. “It’s the basic law of supply and demand,” Huntington said. “There’s not a lot of teams that are looking to sell, and there are a lot of teams looking to buy. There’s not a ton of players out there who are significant upgrades. There are some guys you think can be, so as a result asking prices higher than you’d like. It’s a balance of what do you give up for projected current wins for projected future wins.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


NL East Notes: Desmond, Fedde, Maya, Braves, Phils

In response to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in which it was reported that the Nationals were looking to add shortstop prospects to their system, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post breaks down the reported offers to Ian Desmond and examines his contract situation. Desmond reportedly rejected an offer of $85-98MM over seven years this offseason, but as Kilgore notes, other shortstops with similar (or inferior) production have signed for more. Desmond has already said he feels financially secure — as well he should, having been guaranteed more than $23MM in his career — and he therefore doesn’t need to feel pressured to take a below-market deal, Kilgore writes. He concludes by noting that if Desmond finishes his career elsewhere, it’ll be because the Nationals let him walk, not because Desmond turned his back on the club.

Here’s more on Desmond and the NL East…

  • Desmond spoke with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson and flatly said that he expects to be a National in 2016 and beyond. “I can’t picture myself other than this,” said Desmond. “I can’t picture myself in any other uniform, clubhouse and Spring Training complex. I can’t see myself with any other coaching staff or anything like that. This is what I know. This is what’s on my mind. This is home for me.” Asked about the aforementioned Rosenthal report, Desmond declined to comment but added that there’s no ill will between him and the organization, and he has tremendous respect for GM Mike Rizzo’s decision-making skills.
  • In a second piece from Kilgore, he looks at the fact that three of the Nationals‘ top 10 picks in this year’s draft — including first-rounder Erick Fedde and second-rounder Andrew Suarez – are unsigned. The Nationals are unlikely to sign ninth-rounder Austin Byler, a source tells Kilgore, meaning the Nats will lose $145,900 from their bonus pool, further complicating their negotiations with Fedde — a Scott Boras client. Rizzo considers it a “cardinal sin” to leave a top pick unsigned, notes Kilgore, who expects both Fedde and Suarez to sign. He feels that negotiations could come down to the wire, however.
  • The Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization are working on a buyout of minor league right-hander Yunesky Maya of the Braves, reports Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (on Twitter). The Cuban hurler was originally signed by the Nationals with much fanfare, but he never panned out in the Major Leagues. Maya, now 32, has a 2.63 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 85 2/3 innings this season for Triple-A Gwinnett.
  • The Braves don’t have the financial wherewithal to take on Jake Peavy or any other significant salary, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. He notes that in 2011, when the team acquired Michael Bourn from Houston, GM Frank Wren included an additional prospect in the deal to avoid having to pay the remainder of Bourn’s salary.
  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at Jonathan Papelbon‘s trade stock and a list of teams that will looking for bullpen help. He notes that there are a lot of excellent relievers on the market this year, all of whom make less money than Papelbon. Ultimately, he opines that a package of Papelbon and A.J. Burnett could be beneficial to the Orioles, though he feels the Angels and Tigers are other plausible destinations.
  • Antonio Bastardo is the name that Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears the most in trade buzz (Twitter link). Entering play today, the 28-year-old southpaw had a 3.60 ERA with 50 strikeouts against 24 walks in 40 innings. Bastardo is earning $2MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this offseason. He is under team control through 2015.

NL Notes: Nationals, Burnett, Bastardo, Marshall

Major League Baseball is dealing with several employment issues not relating to big league players. As Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported yesterday, MLB owners voted in January to permit teams the authority to take away pension plans from any employees that do not wear a uniform. (The effect would be prospective only.) MLB COO Rob Manfred noted that the vote does not require such a course of action and said no team has cut pension benefits, while asserting defined contribution plans are a reasonable alternative retirement structure. Though Rubin reports that some clubs appear primed to make reductions, Manfred disputed that it was inevitable. Meanwhile, as Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs details, MLB is now defending multiple lawsuits filed by interns, volunteers, and, most recently, minor league ballplayers. 

Here are some notes from the National League …

  • After today's trade for catcher Jose Lobaton and a pair of prospects, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo explained his reasoning, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post was among those to report. RIzzo said that Lobaton "fit the criteria we were looking for" due to his switch-hitting abilities and solid pitch-framing ratings, the latter of which Rizzo labeled "key" to the deal. "Switch hitting is certainly a bonus," said Rizzo. "Our statistical analysis people rank all the catchers in baseball, and he ranks very well in the framing." Rizzo said that he was particularly high on Felipe Rivero, indicating that he felt like he took the place of fellow 22-year-old southpaw Robbie Ray, who was shipped out in the Doug Fister deal. The Washington GM labeled Rivero a "huge-upside left-handed starter."
  • The Pirates' inability to reel back A.J. Burnett is based, at root, in a decision not to allocate all of the club's free payroll space to one arm, writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Though Pittsburgh ultimately made a $12MM offer to Burnett, the club went into the off-season hoping to spread approximately $17MM to $19MM among multiple acquisitions, and came close to landing both Josh Johnson and James Loney. That explains much of the team's decision not to make Burnett a qualifying offer, says Sawchik, though he opines that the offer likely would have been declined. "It's always easy to look in hindsight," said GM Neal Huntington. "If [Burnett had] accepted the offer it would have had a significant impact on what we could have done. … It would have affected our approach on the first base market, the right field market, and bullpen market. If we had [a] crystal ball and seen this is the way it would play out maybe things are different."
  • Even after inking Burnett to a $16MM deal that reportedly pushes the Phillies player contract tab right up to (if not over) the $189MM luxury tax line, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that the club's payroll remains flexible, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
  • Philadelphia reliever Antonio Bastardo will look to return from a 50-game PED suspension last year arising out of the Biogenesis scandal. In addition to expressing contrition today, he said that he faced a 100-game ban had he appealed, tweets Nightengale.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty explained how his club came to claim Cubs righty Brett Marshall off of waivers, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports"I talked to him and he sounded like a good kid," said Jocketty. "We had good reports on him. He had one of the best changeups in the Yankees organization. He's a sinkerballer with a good slider. He's got a couple of options left."

Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Antonio Bastardo

The Phillies have avoided arbitration with southpaw reliever Antonio Bastardo, the club announced. Bastardo will receive $2MM for 2014, and his contract includes incentives.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Bastardo's salary lands under the midpoint between the two sides' submission amounts. At $2MM, Bastardo's salary is an exact match to the projection of MLBTR's Matt Swartz.

The 28-year-old Bastardo figures to play an important role in the Philadelphia pen next year. He missed the end of 2013 after taking a 50-game PED ban, but had been excellent to that point with a 2.32 ERA in 42 2/3 innings. Over his career, Bastardo has been effective against both lefties (.616 OPS against) and righties (.660).


Quick Hits: Marquis, Bastardo, Vogelsong, Pettitte

Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 30, Jason Marquis isn't ready to end his career at age 35.  The veteran right-hander told MLB.com's Corey Brock that he is making good progress in rehab and intends to pitch in 2014, though the nature of his injury will keep him on the DL for at least the first two months of the season.  Marquis will be a free agent this winter and it's possible a team (maybe even the Padres, his current club) will sign him to a low-risk minor league contract come April or May.

Here's some news as we dive into the final six days of the regular season…

  • Though Antonio Bastardo is currently serving a 50-game suspension for PED use, the Phillies are likely to tender him a contract this offseason, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.  The southpaw had a 2.32 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 42 2/3 relief innings for the Phils this year and has posted a 3.13 ERA, 11.7 K/9 and 2.71 K/BB ratio in 152 2/3 IP since the start of the 2011 season.  Bastardo earned $1.4MM this season (though he lost approximately $420K of his salary to suspension) and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter.
  • Ryan Vogelsong tells Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News that he is hoping the Giants pick up its $6.5MM club option on his services for 2014.  "If I was pitching better right now, it's probably not even a question," Vogelsong said. "But I feel I still have a lot to bring to the game and this team. It's no secret I love it here. I want to be back and hope they pick it up."  Vogelsong has struggled through an injury-plagued season that saw the righty post a 5.90 ERA in 18 starts.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman saw Andy Pettitte's retirement coming and he tells Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that this time, Pettitte is leaving for good.  “I’ve known for a while that this was going to be it,” Cashman said.  “I know that I won’t be able to convince him like I’ve done in the past."
  • Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese could be trade chips for the Mets this winter as the team looks to add batting help, but Michael Baron of Metsblog.com thinks the two pitchers could stay put for at least another year until the Mets determine how long Matt Harvey will be sidelined.