Aramis Ramirez Rumors

Stark On Astros, Ethier, Brewers, Papelbon, Stanton

The latest column from ESPN's Jayson Stark is jam-packed with trade-related information.  Highlights:

  • One National League executive predicted that the Cubs' Matt Garza will be the first pitcher traded; he's thought to be eminently available, as the Cubs are not comfortable with his asking price on a potential new contract.  The Padres and Dodgers are among the teams pursuing Garza, reported Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today.
  • The Astros are looking for volume in any deal they make, one NL exec told Stark.  Bud Norris is an obvious trade chip for Jeff Luhnow and company, while I imagine Carlos Pena, Jose Veras, Erik Bedard, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Ronny Cedeno, and others can be had as well.
  • The Dodgers are not actively dangling right fielder Andre Ethier.  What's more, the team still views itself as a buyer despite being eight games out.  They may be interested in adding a third baseman they can control for multiple years, implies Stark.
  • Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche could be dealt, hears Stark, in a scenario where Ryan Zimmerman moves to first base, Anthony Rendon moves back to third base, and Danny Espinosa gets healthy.  LaRoche's name is not out there at present, however.
  • The Brewers will "gladly listen" on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, as well as any position player other than Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun.  I wonder if that means names such as Jonathan Lucroy and Norichika Aoki will be in play next month.
  • Execs who spoke to Stark seem divided on whether the Brewers want to trade Yovani Gallardo, with one saying, "To be honest, I think they would love to move him."  Click here for thoughts from Brewers GM Doug Melvin on the situation.
  • The Phillies are talking to the Red Sox and Tigers about closer Jonathan Papelbon right now, one exec tells Stark, even if they say otherwise.
  • Officials of three teams that have talked to the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton are convinced owner Jeffrey Loria won't trade him this summer.  In an April poll of over 13,000 MLBTR readers, over 40% thought Stanton would be dealt this summer.
  • Other teams say the Tigers are willing to surrender top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia if necessary.  The team is focused on finding a closer.
  • The Braves are "all over the bullpen market," which jives with a couple of other reports today.
  • The Giants "have taken on a whole new fervor in the last week in their hunt for another starter."  They've been connected often to Nolasco, but there are around 20 viable candidates out there of varying quality.  The Orioles could make a move before the All-Star break, hears Stark, and they seem to be prioritizing starters over relievers.

Quick Hits: Ramirez, Brewers, Upton, Red Sox

Here's tonight's look around baseball..

  • Aramis Ramirez may be a popular name in trade rumors this deadline, writes Jon Paul Morosi of The Brewers may look to move the veteran third baseman, with the club struggling in last place in the NL Central. Ramirez understands the speculation, saying "It’s part of baseball. When teams don’t perform, you see changes." The 34-year-old is signed through 2014, and has played well despite injuries this season, slashing .305/.387/.512 in 93 plate appearances. 
  • Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters that he has discussed sending major offseason acquisition B.J. Upton to Triple-A to work out if his current struggles, according to an Associated Press report. Gonzalez acknowledges that there may be some obstacles involved, "I think there's some logistics — contractual things and that sort of stuff — that they might not be able to do it that easy."
  • In his latest mailbag, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe answered questions about possible trade deadline targets for the Red Sox, as well as Jacoby Ellsbury. Cafardo doesn't feel the club needs to make a deal to improve its pitching, but he did state that Jonathan Papelbon continues to be a likely target.  Meanwhile, Cafardo thinks that it would still take a major contract to keep Ellsbury in Boston past this season.  
  • Jon Paul Morosi of looks back at the Nationals' decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg in light of the young starter’s latest injury scare.  Morosi feels that last season may have been the Nationals best shot at a World Series, and wonders what could have been done to best utilize Strasburg’s prized arm.

Why I Chose My Agency: Aramis Ramirez

Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez has received MVP votes in five different seasons.  The accomplished slugger spoke to MLBTR today about why he chose his agent, Paul Kinzer of Kinzer Management Group.

On when he first came into contact with Kinzer:

After I played in the New York-Penn League in 1996, I met him in the Dominican and at the time I didn't have an agent, so he was my first agent and my only one.

On whether other agents had tried to talk to him:

A couple of guys when I was playing in the New York-Penn League in my first year in '96, they approached me, but I wasn't really into it. I was just concentrating on baseball. I wasn't worrying about an agent, I was just in A ball, so it wasn't my main thing. Then I met Paul in the Dominican and he seemed like a real honest guy and I signed with him.

On the decision to go with Kinzer, and their relationship:

He had a couple of Dominican players back then, good friends of mine, Neifi Perez and Enrique Wilson. They both told me he was great, and I trusted them. There was a Dominican guy too that worked for him, Abraham Mejia, that I knew since I was 14 or 15.

We have a real good relationship, he's like a father to me. He was the best man at my wedding. It's not a business relationship between me and Paul. It's more like a friendship, a father/son thing. We've been together for so long…he loves my family, I love his, and we always keep in touch besides business stuff.

On recommending Kinzer to other players:

I have in the past. I don't really like that, but if there is a guy that doesn't have an agent, or a young player, I recommend him. I did with [Starlin] Castro when he was coming up. I told Paul he has to go to the complex and sign this kid, he was going to be good.

On his level of involvement in multiyear contract discussions prior to free agency:

I was very involved. That was between me and Paul. Even though he was with a big company before, it was only me and him. He kept me updated every single moment, and I want to be. It was my future and I want to know what's going on.

On the contract clauses with the Cubs that allowed Ramirez to void:

That was his idea all along, and it worked out well.  We did it in Chicago a couple of times and that was a good job on his part.

On Wasserman Media Group parting ways with Kinzer last year, and how that affected him:

I don't really have a relationship with them. To me Paul is my agent, and I know he was with that company, but I guess it didn't work out. I'm sticking with Paul no matter what, he's my agent. It wasn't the company — Paul is my agent, and he has been my whole career. He let me know right away when they were going through the process of separating, and I told him it was not going to affect my relationship with him.

On how the free agent process unfolded after the 2011 season:

I just let him work. I always tell him that I will do my job on the field, he's got to do his job outside the field. He kept me updated, anytime a team called, or we have to go meet somebody. When I was a free agent a year ago we had to go to L.A. and meet a couple of teams out there. He just kept me updated every single step.

Other entries in the Why I Chose My Agency Series include David WrightMatt Holliday, Jay Bruce, Jeremy Affeldt, and Adam Wainwright.

Rosenthal On Swisher, Brewers, Dodgers

The Pirates know what it’s like to fall out of contention after playing well for four months and they hope to avoid a repeat of last year’s late-season struggles. “Our young players have been through it once,” Pirates GM Neal Huntington told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. “They don’t ever want to go through it again.” Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…

  • The Yankees aren’t ruling out keeping Nick Swisher when he hits free agency after the season, but it seems more likely that he’ll sign elsewhere. It appears that Swisher will be tied to draft pick compensation this winter.
  • The Blue Jays will likely discuss an extension with manager John Farrell this offseason so he doesn’t enter the 2013 season without long-term security. If Farrell isn’t ready to commit to an extension, the Blue Jays could look to work out a deal with the Red Sox, who previously employed Farrell as their pitching coach.
  • Rosenthal points out that Marco Scutaro has provided the Giants with offense and versatility since San Francisco acquired him from Colorado last month.
  • Though the Brewers’ season has generally been disappointing, the team has developed Mike Fiers into a promising starting pitcher, found a second catcher in Martin Maldonado and traded for shortstop Jean Segura. The Brewers are impressed by Aramis Ramirez’s leadership, according to Rosenthal.
  • Rosenthal suggests we shouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers make another waiver trade before the month of August ends. They already acquired Joe Blanton from the Phillies in one waiver deal.
  • Could the Rays trade David Price to the Rangers for a package of players built around Elvis Andrus and Martin Perez this winter? Rosenthal speculates about the possibility, but there’s no indication the sides are discussing a deal.

NL Central Notes: Correia, Greinke, Hart, Ramirez

Here’s the latest out of the NL Central as we keep a close eye on the latest Zack Greinke rumors..

  • The Pirates have moved Kevin Correia to the bullpen to make room for Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation and Correia isn't thrilled about it, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  The Angels could be interested in acquiring the California native, who says that he hopes to get back to being a starter.
  • As it stands now, Greinke is scheduled to pitch against the Nationals on Sunday, but Nats skipper Davey Johnson doesn't expect to see the right-hander on the hill, writes Amanda Comak of the Washington Times.  "I'd be real surprised," Johnson said. "I know in the past if a ballclub's intent on making a move, you're not going to pitch him two days before the deadline."
  • Jon Heyman of handicaps the most likely destinations for Greinke and the Rangers top the list with 9-5 odds.  The Red Sox are categorized as a longshot with 100-1 odds.
  • Jerry Crasnick of (via Twitter) believes that someone will bite on the Pirates' Kevin Correia as he is owed just $1MM for the rest of the year.  The Bucs are reportedly sending signals that they could part with Correia after acquiring Wandy Rodriguez.
  • Teams have expressed interest in Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. However, the Brewers would be have to be overwhelmed to trade either player.
  • Brewers relievers Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, Manny Parra and Kameron Loe had been drawing interest, but their value “tanked” following a poor showing in Philadelphia this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow suggested to Rosenthal that absorbing salary can help Houston obtain better prospects in trades. “In this environment, you’re limited in how much money you can spend on the draft, how much you can spend internationally,” Luhnow said, referring to the rules regulating amateur spending in baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.
  • Pitching prospect Shelby Miller is available in trade talks, yet the Cardinals don't appear anxious to make an impact deal, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AL East Notes: Lester, Blue Jays, Aramis

We checked in on the AL East this morning, but with less than a week remaining before the trade deadline, the rumors don’t stop coming. Here’s the latest…

Zack Greinke Rumors: Tuesday

Scouts will be watching Brewers ace Zack Greinke very closely tonight as he makes his first start since July 13. The right-hander was given 10 days' rest in an effort to see him "recharge his batteries," as Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin phrased it. We'll keep tabs on Greinke rumors in this post, with the latest going up top.

  • The Brewers' ideal scenario is to trade third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Dodgers in exchange for pitching prospect Zach Lee and then deal Greinke to the Rangers for third base prospect Mike Olt, reports Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (via Twitter). Bowden adds that such a sequence of moves is unlikely, however.
  • The teams that are known to have interest in Greinke, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, are: the Rangers, Orioles, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers.

Brown On Athletics, Dodgers, Brewers

The Athletics, suddenly in contention with a 46-43 record, are one of the few contenders with potential surplus pitching, Yahoo’s Tim Brown writes. They could use production from the left side of their infield and appear to be interested in trading for upgrades. Here’s the latest from Brown, starting in Oakland…

  • The A’s would likely trade 39-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon if they deal a starter, Brown writes. However, Ken Rosenthal reported today that a deal involving Colon is highly unlikely.
  • Assistant GM David Forst said the A’s aren’t looking to sacrifice a lot in mid-season trades. "We're listening. But we're not looking to significantly change the composition of this team," Forst told Brown.
  • The Dodgers have found trade discussions slow as they look to add starting pitching and corner infield help.
  • The Brewers appear to be seeking Major League pitching for Aramis Ramirez, Brown writes. Brown reported last week that the Dodgers are eyeing the veteran third baseman.
  • The White Sox, Angels, Rangers, Braves, Orioles, Red Sox, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Cardinals and Tigers are among the teams that are currently seeking starting pitching, Brown writes.

Dodgers Eyeing Aramis, Headley

The Dodgers have identified Aramis Ramirez as a potential trade target in case the Brewers decide to trade veteran players this summer, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). However, the Dodgers prefer Chase Headley of the Padres.

Ramirez signed a three-year, $36MM contract with Milwaukee last offseason. The 34-year-old has ten home runs and a .272/.346/.475 batting line through 338 plate appearances so far in 2012. The 40-45 Brewers aim to establish themselves as contenders after the All-Star beak, when they play the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds.

Headley, 28, has a .267/.368/.413 batting line in 370 plate appearances for the Padres. He earns $3.48MM this year and will remain under team control through 2014. The 34-53 Padres figure to be sellers this summer, though they may hesitate to deal within the NL West.

Los Angeles has a clear need at the hot corner; Dodgers third basemen rank 26th in MLB with a combined .631 OPS. Manager Don Mattingly was relying on a combination of Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy and Luis Cruz at the position leading up to the All-Star break.

NL Central Notes: Wainwright, Cardinals, Cubs

A few items on the Cubs and Cardinals..

  • The Cardinals control Adam Wainwright for the next two seasons for $21MM but the hurler could be up next for a long-term deal with the team once he shows that he's recovered from Tommy John surgery, writes Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  While the 30-year-old won’t be immune to future injuries, Gordon writes that his work ethic offers some promise of success as he gets older. 
  • Former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez defended the job that Jim Hendry did in Chicago, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  While recognizing Theo Epstein's past success, Ramirez says that it'll take time for the President of Baseball Operations to find success.
  • Ramirez also touched on Carlos Zambrano's issues in Chicago and says that his ex-teammate hurt the club with his suspensions, Wittenmyer writes.
  • Jon Heyman of credits the Cardinals for making smart decisions in the months following Albert Pujols' departure.