- Mets Acquire Eric O’Flaherty, Designate Alex Torres
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- A.J. Burnett Expected To Miss Four Weeks With Flexor Strain
- Athletics Claim Danny Valencia
- Red Sox President Larry Lucchino To Be Replaced
- C.J. Wilson Likely Out For Season
- Dodgers, Braves, Marlins Complete 13-Player Trade
- Blue Jays Designate Danny Valencia, Ezequiel Carerra
- Orioles Designate Chris Parmelee
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Aramis Ramirez Rumors
Here’s a roundup of the latest trade-deadline-related news:
- The Royals are still working to upgrade their bench, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. Kansas City is looking at both infielders and outfielders to improve its reserve group.
- Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen is now a stronger trade candidate now that the Rays have slipped to 49-51, Morosi tweets. Jepsen, who is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, owns a 2.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 through 45 appearances this season.
- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is adamant that his team should not sell before the deadline, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says that he’s not necessarily done shopping even after acquiring Aramis Ramirez, Adam Berry of MLB.com writes. “We’ve shored up what we felt was our biggest soft spot. We’ll continue to look,” Huntington said. “It just gives us some versatility and flexibility to find where we think the next best match and next best fit is.” However, he wouldn’t specify what area he might target in the coming days.
- One issue for the Dodgers is that they aren’t willing to part with top prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. At that point, there’s a big dropoff to whoever their No. 3 prospect might be, whether it’s pitcher Jose De Leon or someone else.
- The perception in the market is that the Padres will definitely move Joaquin Benoit before the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.
The Pirates and Brewers have announced a trade that will send third baseman Aramis Ramirez to Pittsburgh in exchange for minor league right-hander Yhonathan Barrios and cash considerations. The Pirates are reportedly taking on $3MM of the $5.74MM that remains on Ramirez’s $14MM salary.
[RELATED: Pirates Working On Trade For Reliever]
The Pirates have a clear need for infield help after losing both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer to significant injuries that will keep each on the shelf for another four and six weeks, respectively. Offseason signing Jung Ho Kang figures to man shortstop full time for the foreseeable, with Ramirez serving as the Pirates’ everyday third baseman until Harrison is healthy. At that point, Ramirez could either become a part-time option at third and/or platoon partner for Pedro Alvarez at first base. Another option for the Bucs, though, would be to keep Ramirez at third base and shift the highly versatile Harrison to right field, which would likely cut into the playing time of the struggling Gregory Polanco.
Ramirez got off to a brutal start to the season, posting just a .404 OPS through his first 17 games. However, since that time, Ramirez has looked more like himself, batting .270/.327/.477 with 10 homers in 245 plate appearances. He’s been particularly productive in the month of July, hitting a mammoth .352/.422/.500.
Ramirez, who initially came up with the Pirates and has spent his entire career in the NL Central, has said that he intends to retire at season’s end, and he reiterated that fact following today’s trade, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The veteran added that reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008 in his final season, though, would mean a lot to him. Interestingly, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (also on Twitter) that today marks the 12-year anniversary of the initial trade that sent Ramirez from Pittsburgh to the division-rival Cubs.
Turning to the Brewers’ side of the deal, the 23-year-old Barrios began his career as an infielder but converted to the mound full-time in 2013. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated him as the club’s No. 30 prospect heading into the season, writing that he sits 94-98 mph with his fastball and has touched 100 mph at times. Barrios, McDaniel noted, has a low effort delivery for a reliever and is still learning to pitch, so there’s some upside with him. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper calls Barrios a lottery ticket (Twitter link), noting that he has a big arm but lacks quality secondary pitches in addition to having “iffy control.”
Barrios, a native of Colombia, sports a 2.68 ERA in 40 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season, though he’s not missing many bats. Barrios has averaged 4.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 2015. He missed more bats in 2013 and 2014, however, and given his velocity, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see those strikeout numbers eventually come around.
NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra first reported that Ramirez was headed to Pittsburgh in a trade (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Pirates were taking on $3MM of Ramirez’s salary (also via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. This post was initially published 7-23-15 at 4:40pm central time.
In his latest notes column, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com addressed a number of interesting deadline issues, starting with Reds starter Johnny Cueto. There have been suggestions over concern among buyers with the health of the star righty, but Heyman cites one scout from a team with interest who tells him that Cueto “looks fine.” As far as interest, Heyman pegs the Blue Jays, Royals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros as “the most likely and logical landing spots.”
Here are some other highlights from an info-packed piece (which you’ll want to read in full for even more notes):
- The Braves are shopping the recently-acquired Juan Uribe, says Heyman, with the asking price of a “mid-range prospect” and full unloading of the approximately $3MM left on Uribe’s deal. Atlanta has had communications with at least the Mets, per the repor.
- While the Orioles had been looking at adding a starter, Heyman reports that the team now may instead be prioritizing bats. Though the report doesn’t specify a position, we’ve heard in the past that Baltimore had interest in adding to its corner outfield mix.
- Heyman writes that it’ll be interesting to see if Angels lefty C.J. Wilson becomes “even more available” now that Jerry Dipoto has resigned as the general manager. Per Heyman, Wilson was close with Dipoto, and the Wilson signing (five years, $77.5MM) was the one significant free agent pickup that Dipoto was actually responsible for. Angels owner Arte Moreno was behind the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton signings, as many other reports have indicated over the years.
- The Brewers are officially open for business and “may be considering a rather big sale,” one competing team exec tells Heyman. Interest in Jean Segura is down due to his poor play since an early 2013 breakout, but Gerardo Parra‘s big year has lots of clubs asking about him. Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta and Francisco Rodriguez are drawing interest, and the Brewers are open to packaging some of those players to improve the return.
- The Jon Niese saga continues, as Heyman hears that the lefty now doesn’t seem particularly available, with one Mets person telling Heyman that Niese never really was. In other Mets news, Heyman hears that the team floated the idea of a Rafael Montero-for-Ben Zobrist swap when Montero was still healthy, but Montero, of course, has since been injured. The Mets have also talked about Uribe, but there are other names higher on their list.
- While some have connected the Pirates to Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur, the Bucs might be aiming a bit higher, looking at Marlon Byrd of the Reds and Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers — both former Pirates. Heyman lists Ben Zobrist as a target for the Bucs as well. Earlier today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bill Brink linked Pittsburgh to Zobrist, Cliff Pennington and Clint Barmes.
- Yovani Gallardo could hit the trade market if the Rangers end up selling short-term pieces, and he’s not interested in springing for an early extension with his hometown team. Agent Bobby Witt has apparently told the Rangers that Gallardo is looking forward to testing the free agent market.
Full Story | 15 Comments | Categories: Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Ben Revere | Ben Zobrist | C.J. Wilson | Cincinnati Reds | Cliff Pennington | Clint Barmes | Francisco Rodriguez | Gerardo Parra | Houston Astros | Jean Segura | Jeff Francoeur | Johnny Cueto | Jon Niese | Juan Uribe | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Mike Fiers | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Rafael Montero | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Yovani Gallardo
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by reporting that the Dodgers have “quietly continued having dialogue with the Phillies” regarding Cole Hamels. The Dodgers are also giving serious consideration to the rental market and prioritizing Johnny Cueto over others among such targets. The Dodgers “appear determined” to land a top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, writes Heyman, but most executives think they’ll hold onto top prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias. The Dodgers have a deep farm system beyond that pairing (righty Jose De Leon has recently been ranked a Top 25 prospect by Baseball America and ESPN), and one exec tells Heyman that the Phillies’ asking price on Hamels has become “more reasonable” recently. The Dodgers feel that Greinke is a lock to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and while they could possibly re-sign him by adding a year or two to the deal and upping his $24.5MM AAV, Hamels would provide insurance should Greinke sign elsewhere. Jeff Samardzija is also a consideration for the Dodgers, but while they like him, they consider him more of a No. 2/3 starter and don’t love him.
Some more highlights from Heyman’s article, though the synopsis won’t cover everything within the piece, so I’d highly recommend reading it in its entirety…
- The Braves will be deadline sellers, Heyman hears, with Jim Johnson, Juan Uribe and Cameron Maybin among the players that will be available to interested teams. Chris Johnson, too, continues to be available, but there are no takers for his contract, which Atlanta has aggressively tried to move in the past.
- With the Reds expected to trade so many veterans to other clubs, many in the industry expect the team to make a run at extending Todd Frazier beyond his current two-year deal, Heyman writes. (Frazier has one more year of arbitration following his current pact.) Jeff Todd and I have discussed Frazier’s situation on the MLBTR Podcast in the past (and will do so again this afternoon), and I’ve personally taken the stance that given the significant commitments to Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, the Reds could have a difficult time affording Frazier, whose 2014-15 breakout has hugely inflated his price tag. Given the lack of impact bats on the trade market, Frazier would net a king’s ransom and could rapidly expedite the rebuilding process, though the PR hit of trading him with so much control and on the heels of a Home Run Derby victory would of course be significant.
- In other Reds news, Heyman hears Mike Leake‘s ground-ball tendencies are appealing to AL East clubs, and he’s drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox in addition to the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs and Giants. Manny Parra and Marlon Byrd are both “likely to go” as well.
- Asked about the possibility of signing with the Cubs this offseason due to his relationship with skipper Joe Maddon, Tigers ace David Price replied, “Wherever I play baseball next year it’s not going to be because of a manager.”
- The Astros are interested in both Cueto and Leake, and Houston seems willing to deal from its glut of MLB-ready outfield prospects, including Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker. (Previous reports have indicated they’re reluctant to part with Brett Phillips, however, who may be the best among the outfield bunch.)
- The Brewers are now showing a willingness to trade both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, Heyman hears. Though it was previously believed they were reluctant to move Segura, the emergence of Orlando Arcia (the younger brother of the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia) may have changed Milwaukee’s thinking. However, Arcia himself is also drawing a huge amount of trade interest, and the Padres have called to express interest. One NL exec called him the best player he’s seen in the minors this year, while another comped him to Francisco Lindor, but said Arcia is better. Regarding Segura, Heyman hears that the Mets dislike his free-swinging approach.
- The Twins aren’t closed off to the idea of re-acquiring Gomez from the Brewers, but their primary focus at this point is bullpen help.
- The Mets are aiming high in their pursuit of an outfield bat and have both Gomez and Justin Upton on their radar. They’re not likely to add Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers unless they receive bad news on the prognosis of David Wright. They also have little interest in swinging a deal for Uribe.
- Padres officials insist that they haven’t determined their course of action heading into the deadline, but Heyman writes that free-agents-to-be such as Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable could be traded regardless. James Shields‘ backloaded contract limits his value, but one GM felt Benoit has “big value” and Heyman notes that Craig Kimbrel would be in huge demand as well, should the Padres try to recoup some value from that deal.
- Cueto, Samardzija and Leake are atop the Blue Jays‘ wish list, and the team was also in talks with the Braves regarding Jason Grilli prior to his season-ending injury. A top starting pitcher is Toronto’s top priority at this point, says Heyman. He also adds that there’s no evidence to suggest that manager John Gibbons is on the hot seat.
Full Story | 91 Comments | Categories: Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Cameron Maybin | Carlos Gomez | Chicago Cubs | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Clayton Kershaw | Cole Hamels | Corey Seager | Craig Kimbrel | David Price | David Wright | Detroit Tigers | Domingo Santana | Houston Astros | Ian Kennedy | James Shields | Jason Grilli | Jean Segura | Jeff Samardzija | Jim Johnson | Joaquin Benoit | John Gibbons | Johnny Cueto | Juan Uribe | Julio Urias | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Parra | Marlon Byrd | Mike Leake | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Newsstand | Orlando Arcia | Philadelphia Phillies | Preston Tucker | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Todd Frazier | Toronto Blue Jays | Will Venable | Zack Greinke
Here are the highlights from Jon Heyman’s massive new Inside Baseball article for CBS Sports. Be sure to check out Heyman on the latest edition of the MLBTR Podcast.
- The Braves have had “serious talks” about dealing closer Jason Grilli to a contender, Heyman writes, with the Blue Jays and Dodgers among the teams that make the most sense.
- The Diamondbacks have made infielder Aaron Hill and pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Addison Reed available in trades, and all three players have attracted at least some interest.
- The Marlins could trade starter Dan Haren for the right return. On paper, the Dodgers would seem to make sense, but that seems unlikely, since the Dodgers treated Haren basically as a throw-in in the Dee Gordon trade in the offseason. The Dodgers would also prefer to find a starter they could use in the playoffs, and Haren likely doesn’t qualify.
- Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins could become available in a trade as top prospect Corey Seager continues to demonstrate he’s ready for the big leagues.
- The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals and perhaps other teams had scouts on hand as Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma returned from a lat injury this week. Iwakuma could be a trade candidate, but Heyman notes that giving up four homers to the Tigers probably didn’t exactly increase his value.
- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez still seems set on retiring after the season, despite agent Paul Kinzer’s efforts to get him to continue.
- The Padres have been scouting the Mets lately, leading to speculation that the Mets could be trying to trade for Justin Upton.
- The Phillies are “not bending” in their demands for Cole Hamels, and his limited no-trade clause remains an obstacle.
- The Giants have had talks with free agent infielder Everth Cabrera. The Orioles released Cabrera last month. He would provide depth for San Francisco.
Full Story | 47 Comments | Categories: Aaron Hill | Addison Reed | Aramis Ramirez | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Cole Hamels | Corey Seager | Dan Haren | Dee Gordon | Everth Cabrera | Hisashi Iwakuma | Jason Grilli | Jeremy Hellickson | Jimmy Rollins | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
It is unclear from the report how advanced discussions are, but certainly it does not sound as if any moves are imminent. Morosi tweeted in early June that the two sides had discussed position players, but this report appears to cover more recent exchanges.
New York is obviously in need of help on the left side of its infield. Third baseman David Wright remains a complete question mark for the rest of the year, while the club has moved Opening Day shortstop Wilmer Flores off of the position. In that regard, both Ramirez and Segura make some amount of sense. But the two players are obviously quite different sorts of trade targets, and it’s far from certain that they would represent much of an improvement.
Ramirez, 37, is a fairly expensive veteran ($14MM this year) at the tail end of his career. He’s had a rough first half at the plate, but has turned things around somewhat more recently. New York would obviously hope that he returns to hitting near his well-above-average career norms, but it’s hard to know how much he’ll contribute the rest of the way. It is also unclear what kind of alignment the Mets would utilize if they installed Ramirez at third. Presumably, Daniel Murphy would bounce over to second and Flores would slide back to short.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Segura comes with three more seasons of club control, all through arbitration. An approximately average shortstop, according to Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, Segura has yet to repeat his stellar 2013 campaign at the plate. He has shown some upside and remains young enough to dream on somewhat. But with Milwaukee surely putting a steep price tag on Segura, it it is particularly hard to ignore his .253/.292/.332 slash since the start of 2014.
The Brewers are being realistic about their status as sellers, pro scouting director Zack Minasian tells MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “We’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we weren’t honest with ourselves about where we’re at [in the standings],” Minasian told McCalvy. He adds that his message to his scouting team is that it’s OK to be both frustrated and angry with the team’s struggles this year, but times like this are the scouts’ chance to make an impact on the future of the club. As McCalvy notes, Adam Lind, Aramis Ramirez, Gerardo Parra and Kyle Lohse are all logical trade targets for the Crew, and if the team wanted to target a bigger deal, Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez represent more controllable options that could be dealt. Minasian tells McCalvy that when he sees scouts from other clubs on assignment, he has no qualms about being straightforward: “I don’t have a problem going up to them and asking, ‘What are you here for?’ … We are straightforward with clubs about what we can and can’t do.”
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- The Mets scouted Aramis Ramirez during the Brewers‘ recent series with the Twins but came away unimpressed with his play on both sides of the ball, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Sherman adds that the Mets weren’t all that interested in Ramirez even prior to that series, making a trade fit seem particularly unlikely.
- There was once a time where Pirates fans may have feared losing Pedro Alvarez to free agency, writes Brian O’Neill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but the Alvarez question has now shifted to whether or not he should even be tendered a contract this winter. O’Neill notes that Alvarez’s offensive profile over the past season-and-a-half is remarkably similar to that of two platoon-challenged first basemen on whom the Pirates have recently cut bait: Ike Davis and Garrett Jones. A trade of Alvarez, be it this month or this winter, wouldn’t bring much of a return without significant improvement at the plate, and giving him a raise on his $6MM salary after he’s shifted to first base and hit .236/.316/.417 over his past 694 plate appearances may not be worth it.
- O’Neill’s colleague, Stephen J. Nesbitt, spoke with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and right-hander Deolis Guerra about Guerra’s long road to the Major Leagues. One of the key pieces in the 2008 blockbuster that sent Johan Santana from the Twins to the Mets, the now-26-year-old Guerra had never reached the Majors until this Sunday with Pittsburgh. Minnesota released him after six seasons in the organization this November, but Guerra worked with Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage and bullpen coach Euclides Rojas in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason and refined the control of his secondary pitches at Triple-A this season. Guerra called his MLB debut “the greatest feeling,” adding that he experienced “so many emotions going on at the same time” that he couldn’t even put it into words. Hurdle said this type of debut is the type that gives veteran players and coaches alike goosebumps. “One of the biggest blasts you can have is watching a kid that’s had to fight, scratch and claw get out there, get the ball,” said Hurdle.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the upcoming outfield logjam that will face Cardinals manager Mike Matheny once Matt Holliday returns from the DL. With Holliday and Jason Heyward locked into the outfield corners, the Cards will be left to divide the center field at-bats between Randal Grichuk, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos. Grichuk’s excellent power numbers and sound defense should earn him at-bats, writes Miklasz, but he also notes that Bourjos’ offensive game has improved a great deal in 2015. Bourjos is, historically, the best defender of the bunch as well. Jay’s track record with the team is the lengthiest, but as Miklasz writes, his offense hasn’t been the same since undergoing wrist surgery this offseason. Miklasz observes that Matheny is typically loyal to his players almost to a fault, which could lead to continued playing time for Jay despite his offensive struggles. He also notes that last season, when a similar situation occurred with the struggling Allen Craig, GM John Mozeliak intervened and traded Craig to Boston.
- From my vantage point, a trade of Bourjos is at least something worth exploring for the Cardinals. A team in need of a center field upgrade could be appealed to Bourjos’ strong defensive track record and improved offensive output, and while Bourjos is highly affordable, he’s also controlled through just the 2016 season. Jay’s contract and defensive decline will make him difficult to trade, and Grichuk’s status as a cost-controlled piece with both power and defense in his skill set make him a highly appealing long-term piece for the Cardinals. If Mozeliak is looking to address some needs on his 2015 roster — fifth starter, bullpen, first base — flipping Bourjos to a contender with a hole in center could help to fill the need without dipping into his farm system (or, at least, not dipping as far as he’d have to without including an MLB-ready asset).
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests ten steps to help fix the Red Sox. The first item on the list is one that has been discussed quite a bit – Boston’s need for a true ace in the rotation. Beyond that, Cafardo would like to see the Sox trade Clay Buchholz, focus on acquiring players who can thrive in their environment, and hire an executive to oversee and question the moves of GM Ben Cherington. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from Cafardo’s Sunday offering..
- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale is on a strikeout tear and teams would surely like to add him this summer. However, team sources tell Cafardo that Sale is not available. Even though the White Sox are in last place, they see him as the cornerstone of their franchise. Sale, 26, has a 2.74 ERA with 12.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 through 13 starts this season.
- There have been conflicting reports on the subject, but Cafardo hears that the Mets have made inquiries on Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez, who turns 37 this week, has hit just .220/.256/.405 in 211 plate appearances this season. However, some feel that a move to a contending club could get him back on track. Cafardo also writes that it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants or Padres got in the mix on the veteran.
- Teams are watching Red Sox closer Koji Uehara and monitoring him to make sure that he’s free of serious injury concerns. At the same time, his $9MM salary for next season is a deterrent for rival teams. “There’s always going to be a holding of your breath to commit to him, but he’s still very good. Boston would have to pick up some of the salary. But I think teams will definitely inquire and make a push for him,” one AL evaluator told Cafardo.
- Jonathan Papelbon would seem to be a great fit for the the Blue Jays, but money continues to be an issue for Toronto. The Phillies could probably assume a lot of Papelbon’s deal for this year and some of the $13MM vesting option for 2016, but the sense is that Toronto wants to go even cheaper. Also, they don’t want to give up youngster Daniel Norris to find their late-inning solution.
Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that it’s too soon to know how the league will handle today’s stunning news that the FBI is investigating the Cardinals for possible involvement in last year’s Astros computer system breach. As Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle was among those to report, Manfred declined to wade into the details of the matter and stressed that the federal government, not the league, was conducting the investigation. “To assume that the investigation is going to produce a particular result with respect to the Cardinals, let alone to jump to a word like cyber attack, we don’t know that those are the facts yet,” he said. “There is an ongoing investigation. We’ve been fully cooperative. Obviously any allegation like this, no matter how serious it turns out to be, is of great concern to us but it’s just too early to speculate on what the facts are going to turn out to be and what action, if any, is necessary.”
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Adding Matt Dominguez through a waiver claim gave the Brewers options at third base both now and in the future, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The 24-year-old has an impressive pedigree, of course, and certainly has some upside for a team that’s all but out of it in 2015. But there is a more immediate concern, too: Aramis Ramirez could be dealt this summer, notes Haudricourt, and he’ll need a replacement if moved. Of course, the club also is in need of a future replacement with the veteran set to retire, and a look at the controllable Dominguez certainly makes sense.
- Of course, adding Dominguez meant that the Brewers had to expose lefty Wei-Chung Wang to waivers, which Haudricourt explains was a tough move to make. Milwaukee carried Wang on the active roster for all of 2014 just to take a shot on his future, but he was struggling badly this year at the Class A level. As Haudricourt explains, Wang is earning a relatively robust $300K salary (a larger salary cut from his 2014 MLB earnings was not permissible), which may be a deterrent — as is the fact that a claiming team would need to dedicate a 40-man spot (though Wang does have options).
- Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber is expected to have a very short first taste of the big leagues, in large part because he is likely not ready to spend regular time in the field. But that’s probably also a good thing in the long term, given that Chicago continues to give Schwarber time behind the plate rather than giving up and choosing instead to acclimate him to the corner outfield. In fact, as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat tweets, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says the club is increasingly bullish on Schwarber’s chances at sticking as a backstop. “We’re more convinced now than ever that he’s going to catch and catch a long time in the big leagues,” said Epstein.
The Cubs have shifted from developing players to playing for the win, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The eye-opening moment came last week when manager Joe Maddon removed closer Hector Rondon from the ninth inning of a 5-4 game. Now the club is going with a closer-by-committee approach – a familiar tactic from Maddon’s days in Tampa Bay. Maddon himself confirms that he prefers to have a set closer – it makes his job easier. However, doing the best thing for the club is a positive wake up call for the entire roster.
Here’s more from the senior circuit’s central division:
- Maddon says that recently signed reliever Rafael Soriano may not reach the majors until around the All-Star break, tweets MLB.com’s Bruce Levine. Before he can shake off the rust in the minors, Soriano must obtain a visa. As we learned on Friday, the reliever can opt out of his deal if he’s not on the active roster by the All-Star Game. He’ll earn a pro-rated $4.1MM base salary with up to $4MM in incentives. Additional visa delays could have implications for his salary and opt-out clause.
- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez does not have a no trade clause, but he’s not letting trade rumors affect him, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Ramirez has hit just .223/.263/.406 on the season. He had his best game yesterday, bopping three doubles and driving in five RBI. Ramirez plans to retire after the 2015 season so it’s reasonable to assume he’s open to finishing the season with a contender. He has recently been tied to the Mets, but New York is looking for either a clear upgrade at third base or a versatile player. Ramirez will need more games like yesterday to fit the bill.