Aramis Ramirez Rumors
In a piece for CBSSports.com, Danny Knobler notes that the Yankees are pinning their playoff hopes on strong returns from aging stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Knobler opines that a recent comment from GM Brian Cashman ("These guys are trying, but...") is an admission that the current Yankees' lineup may not be good enough to carry the team to the playoffs. Cashman also commented on A-Rod's eventual return, saying his production at third base should be "better than [what] we've gotten from third base, with all due respect." However, in a recent tweet, ESPN's Buster Olney suggests that Rodriguez is likely to spend more time at DH than at third when he rejoins the Yankees. On to tonight's AL East links...
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News says Cashman needs to acquire a bat to bolster the team's fizzling attack, but Cashman reports that it's tough to find offense in this year's trade market. "The phone calls are taking place, but nothing to show for it,” Cashman said. “I think if you’re looking for offense, Exhibit A is, name me the bat that’s moved already? It hasn’t. Exhibit B is, look at all the big rumors out there – they’re involving pitchers ... It’s just an offensive offense market." McCarron suggests that the addition of the second wild card slot may be causing more teams to consider themselves contenders later into the season.
- Sources in the Red Sox organization tell Knobler that the team's top priority is relief pitching despite continuing uncertainty about starter Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June 8 and has no target return date. The Sox began the season with a strong bullpen, but injuries to Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Miller have thinned out the team's relief corps, leading GM Ben Cherington to acquire lefty Matt Thornton from the White Sox last week. The Sox appear to be content with Koji Uehara as their closer, Knobler observes.
- The Red Sox also continue to monitor the trade market for third basemen, and it's believed they have significant interest in the Phillies' Michael Young, according to Knobler. However, Philadelphia's recent run of success means they don't appear to be in sell mode. The Brewers' Aramis Ramirez is a potential fit, but he's currently on the disabled list with a knee issue and may not return until right at the deadline, Knobler writes. Meanwhile, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who manned the hot corner for much of 2012 for the Sox, continues to post mediocre numbers at Triple-A Pawtucket. However, Knobler says some in the Boston organization continue to hope he'll put things together.
- The Orioles are "tapped out" financially in terms of adding another player via trade, a team-connected source tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Dan Duquette added righty Scott Feldman in a trade with the Cubs earlier this month. The O's aren't in the market for an ace pitcher, and any deal for a DH or outfielder would have to fit the team's limited budget. The Twins' Justin Morneau, who's owed $6MM for the remainder of the year, would be "too expensive," an Orioles source tells Heyman. Instead, O's fans should look for any help to come from within, Heyman says, citing the recently promoted outfield prospect Henry Urrutia and pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez will likely not see game action for the next ten to fourteen days, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. According to Rosenthal, this news means that Ramirez will not be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Teams like the Yankees and Red Sox had been rumored to be looking at the slugging veteran.
Ramirez is still a possible post-deadline trade chip, Rosenthal notes. Indeed, Ramirez's contract calls for him to make a robust $16MM next year, which is something of a double-edged sword. While the added year of control is attractive, the high price is prohibitive for many teams and significant for all. As a result, it is not difficult to see Ramirez clearing waivers or being claimed by a contender after the deadline. (Remember, after July 31, teams must pass players through revocable waivers before they can be dealt. Since a team can always change its mind if a player is claimed, most players show up on the wire at some point after the deadline. Big-name, big-money players are no exception. Last year, Joe Mauer reportedly cleared waivers, while Cliff Lee was apparently claimed by the Dodgers. Of course, neither Mauer nor Lee changed teams.)
Of course, Ramirez's ultimate value will depend upon how he returns from injury, especially at 35 years of age. He has been remarkably consistent since emerging as a regular, posting an OPS+ of at least 125 in every year but one between 2004 and 2012. This season, however, Ramirez has maintained his on-base capabilities but has seen a drop from his historic power levels. Over 209 plate appearances so far, he has a .271/.359/.414 line with just five home runs.
The Red Sox have scouted both Alex Rios and Michael Young recently, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Cafardo adds that the team is likely to scout Jake Peavy's next few starts for the White Sox as he returns from the disabled list. In a separate tweet, Cafardo reports that the Yankees and Red Sox are both likely to scout Aramis Ramirez next week when he returns from the disabled list.
Boston's in Rios is somewhat of a surprise, as both Shane Victorino and Jacoby Ellsbury have played well across the board, and Daniel Nava is hitting .288/.374/.429 while playing the outfield corners. Nava's OPS has declined in each month this season, however, and he grades out as a poor defender according to both Ultimate Zone Rating and The Fielding Bible. Rios would also present the Sox with a right field option if they wish to move Victorino to center field in 2014, should Ellsbury sign elsewhere (my own speculation).
The Young connection makes sense in light of recent reports that they're looking at upgrades on the left side of their infield. There's said to be "intense" interest in Young from a number of teams, and the Phillies could probably move him even if they don't wish to fully commit as sellers.
Ramirez hasn't hit for much power this season when on the field, but he's hitting .271 with a .359 on-base percentage, which should appeal to both teams. Neither has received much production at the hot corner. He's under control through 2014, but the $16MM salary that he is guaranteed next year could be prohibitive for interested parties.
It could be a quiet trade deadline for the Mets, as a team insider tells ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that the team may not be buyers or major sellers by July 31. The Mets "are not actively shopping anyone," including controllable players like Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy or Ike Davis. The club doesn't have any major salaries that can realistically be unloaded --- even a veteran like Marlon Byrd is just making $700K and wouldn't be moved for anything less than a quality prospect since the Mets don't want to "sacrifice 2013 competitiveness" by trading their viable Major League parts. As for acquiring a slugging outfielder, the Mets will keep an eye on big names like Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez and Andre Ethier though a trade isn't likely any time soon.
Here are some more items about both the Mets and Yankees...
- The Mets will probably call up a veteran lefty reliever sometime in July, Rubin writes, so that reliever would become trade bait. Rubin suspects that Tim Byrdak is likely to get the call over Pedro Feliciano.
- Parnell would be a valuable trade chip, as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News notes that the AL East alone has three teams (the Rays, Orioles and Red Sox) that would covet a hard-throwing young closer. “I’m sure those clubs could really tempt the Mets on Parnell — the Red Sox with the outfielder, Jackie Bradley Jr, and one of their top pitching prospects like (Rubby) De La Rosa, but that remains to be seen, and if they want to be able to compete next year, as they say they do, there’s no way they can trade him," a rival scout tells Madden.
- Also from Madden, Michael Young is "by far the best fit for the Yankees" since his contract is up after this season, he has a strong clubhouse presence and Young can play both first and third base. The Yankees had a scout watching the Phillies over the weekend.
- The Yankees consider Aramis Ramirez to be too expensive and they aren't in pursuit of the Brewers' third baseman, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. The 35-year-old Ramirez was just placed on the disabled list today with a left knee injury, the same knee that has already cost him a month on the DL earlier this season. Though Ramirez is hitting a solid .271/.359/.414 in 209 PA, he has only five homers and is guaranteed approximately $20MM through the end of the 2014 season, plus a 2015 mutual option with a $4MM buyout.
- With Sandy Alderson having "all but promised" to spend on a major trade acquisition or free agent signing this winter, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post notes that Alderson's two most expensive free agent signings as Mets GM (Frank Francisco and Shaun Marcum) have both been busts. "This upcoming expenditure (or plural expenditures) will be a large part of his legacy. And the Mets probably have to hit on this player or players for the plan to succeed," Davidoff writes. On the plus side, Davidoff notes that the Mets have gotten a lot of recent production from under-the-radar inexpensive signings.
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.
Here's tonight's look around baseball..
- Aramis Ramirez may be a popular name in trade rumors this deadline, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. 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 FOXSports.com 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.
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.
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.
- 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 CBSSports.com 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 ESPN.com (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.
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...
- The Red Sox won't trade Jon Lester this summer, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports. The Red Sox are working to add starting pitching and have interest in controllable right-handers Matt Garza and Josh Johnson, Edes writes.
- Several clubs have approached the Red Sox about possible trades involving outfielders such as Ryan Kalish, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross. The Pirates and Reds have both scouted the Red Sox extensively, according to Edes.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Blue Jays are trying to move Yunel Escobar and suggests they could have interest in Jose Reyes. The Blue Jays were very interested in Reyes as a free agent, Sherman writes.
- The Yankees aren’t likely to pursue Aramis Ramirez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). They could have interest in Chase Headley, however.
- In case you missed it, the Rays designated Hideki Matsui for assignment.