Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

Arizona Diamondbacks trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Blue Jays Scouting Aaron Hill, Martin Prado

JULY 5: The Blue Jays appear to favor Prado over Hill because of the former’s positional flexibility (starts at every infield spot plus left field since 2012), tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

JULY 4: The Blue Jays are “heavily scouting” Diamondbacks infielders Aaron Hill and Martin Prado, as well as Padres third baseman Chase Headley, ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter link).  The Jays were known to be interested in Headley, though the two Arizona infielders are new additions to Toronto’s search for help at either second or third base.

The problem with this trio of players, as Bowden observes, is that all three carry large salaries and are in the midst of disappointing seasons.  Headley is owed a little over $5MM for the remainder of the year but is a free agent this winter, whereas Hill and Prado are both under contract through 2016.

Hill is owed approximately $29.3MM over the remaining 2.5 years of his deal and is hitting just .248/.285/.368 with six homers through 337 plate appearances this year.  The last time Hill hit that poorly was during the 2010-11 seasons when he was, ironically, playing for the Jays.  After being dealt to the D’Backs in August 2011, Hill regained his stroke and posted an .860 OPS over 1030 PA in 2012-13.

Prado, meanwhile, is hitting only .268/.313/.360 with three home runs over 351 PA.  He has played mostly at his preferred third base spot this year, though he also has a lot of experience as a left fielder or second baseman.  Prado is owed around $27.3MM through the 2016 season.

Toronto is known to be looking for help at either second or third base, with the idea that Brett Lawrie (when he returns from the DL) will man the other position.  Given Lawrie’s fielding ability at third, Hill would seem like the more natural fit since Prado is much better defensively at third (career 4.4 UZR/150) than at second (-7.9 UZR/150).  It’s possible the Jays might also prefer Hill due to his familiarity with playing on the Rogers Centre turf, though that’s just my speculation.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Angels Close To Trade For Relief Pitcher

The Angels are on the hunt for a left-handed reliever and the Diamondbacks’ Joe Thatcher is on their list, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) hears that the Halos are close to a deal with major league players and also says that they have their eye on relief pitching, specifically lefties.

The Angels have been hunting for a left-hander for some time now and it would make sense for them to try and land one well in advance of the deadline.  Late last month it was reported that the D’Backs were getting ready to sell and Thatcher’s name was amongst those mentioned as possible trade chips.  Thatcher, who will be a free agent at season’s end, has a 2.63 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 through 37 appearances this season.  Teammate Oliver Perez, who is controlled through 2015, could also be of interest to teams.

Passan (on Twitter) suggests that the Mariners could be a possible match as they’ve been shopping their own relief pitching surplus.


NL Central Links: Brewers, McCarthy, Alcantara, Cubs

The Brewers won’t announce their signing of Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara yet due to the fact that they’re expecting a change to their international bonus pool, reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes (Twitter link). Teams can acquire additional bonus money as long as they’ve yet to exceed their bonus pool, so it appears they’ll try to land some additional slots before making the Lara deal official. The two sides reportedly agreed to terms on a $3.2MM signing bonus yesterday, but the team has made no statement. Milwaukee has a bonus pool just north of $2.6MM, per Baseball America.

Here’s more out of the NL Central…

  • Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates have some interest in Brandon McCarthy and wonders if the team could sell high on Vance Worley by flipping him to the Diamondbacks as part of a McCarthy deal. He notes that sabermetric ERA estimators such as xFIP love McCarthy despite an unsightly ERA, while Worley’s strong ERA isn’t sustainable. Sawchik opines that even if the two can’t be traded directly for one another, acquiring McCarthy and slotting him into Worley’s spot would improve the team’s roster.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer offered high praise for top prospect Arismendy Alcantara to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. Hoyer wouldn’t comment on whether or not Alcantara would see the Majors this season but noted that he’s underappreciated due to the big reputations of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Albert Almora. Alcantara is hitting .310/.350/.546 with 10 homers, 11 triples, 22 doubles and 20 steals, and that strong play has “opened [the Cubs'] eyes,” in Hoyer’s words.
  • Rooftop owners in Chicago have agreed not to sue the Cubs if the team adds just one video board and one advertising sign in the outfield, according to a report from Ameet Sachdev, Jared Hopkins and Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune. The team’s most recent vision for the upgrades had a video board and five signs as well as other renovations to Wrigley Field.


AL East Notes: Drew, Yankees, McCarthy, Red Sox

In a piece for FOXSports.com, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron writes that the struggles of Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew might give others pause about following in his footsteps in signing midseason.  While many different people have contributed to Boston’s struggles this season, Drew’s futility at the plate is one of the primary reasons for their slide, Cameron writes.  Of course, fellow Scott Boras client Kendrys Morales has also been struggling since joining the Twins.  More out of the AL East..

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at four pitching trade targets that would make sense for the Yankees.  Sherman’s suggestions include old friend Ian Kennedy and Diamondbacks hurler Wade Miley, if he’s made available.
  • Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues is scouting the trade market for the Yankees and takes a look at the pitchers the Diamondbacks have to offer.  In addition to Miley, Axisa sees right-hander Brandon McCarthy as a possibility for the Bombers.  McCarthy is a sabermetrics darling and his advanced numbers show that he’s better than his 5.11 ERA would indicate.  On the flipside, his injury history is troubling.
  • Because player development is so fickle, things haven’t worked out as planned for the Red Sox, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.  Of course, the unpredictable nature of it all is the very reason why organizations stockpile so many prospects.

Latest On The Padres’ GM Search

Here’s the latest on the Padres’ search for a new GM to replace Josh Byrnes.

July 3 Updates

  • The Padres will interview MLB Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations Kim Ng for the GM job, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the former Dodgers and Yankees assistant GM was under consideration for the role.

July 2 Updates

  • The Padres will interview Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery, sources tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

July 1 Updates

  • San Diego has received permission to interview Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who also runs down some of the known and possible field.
  • The club’s current VP of baseball operations, Omar Minaya, has decided not to pursue the job but does wish to stay with the team, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).

June 30 Updates

  • The Padres announced that they have interviewed White, tweets MLB.com’s Corey Brock.
  • Cubs‘ executive Jason McLeod told reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links), that he has taken himself out of the running for the Padres GM role. He explained that he was “flattered” to be considered, but wants to stay in Chicago because the team has “a lot of special things going on.”

June 29 Updates

  • Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen confirms he will interview for the position, tweets Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
  • Dodgers Vice President of Amateur Scouting Logan White will receive “big time” consideration, tweets the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
  • The Padres will interview Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller but not fellow assistant Thad Levine, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Padres would prefer not to interview two candidates from the same organization.
  • Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen has connections to Padres president Mike Dee (the former Red Sox Chief Operating Officer) and could become a strong candidate for the Padres’ GM job, Cafardo reports. Hazen has not yet interviewed, however.
  • There has been “a lot of talk” of Diamondbacks president Kevin Towers returning to San Diego, Cafardo reports.
  • Cafardo also notes that former Twins, Cubs and Orioles exec Andy MacPhail would have interest in the position if the Padres were interested in him. MacPhail, 61, served as the Orioles’ president of baseball operations from 2007 through 2011.

Edward Creech and Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Trade Deadline Rumors: Headley, Sandoval, D’backs, Marlins, Quintana

Former Orioles and Mets GM Frank Cashen has passed away at the age of 91. As Baseball America’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo writes, Cashen played an important role in composing Baltimore’s outstanding teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s before wheeling and dealing to put together the Mets’ 1986 World Series-winning roster. MLBTR sends its condolences to Cashen’s family and friends around the game.

Here are the latest rumblings as we turn the page to July …

  • The Yankees are regularly scouting Padres third baseman Chase Headleytweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Should they pursue the struggling veteran, New York could have competition from a division rival, as it was recently reported that the Blue Jays are also interested in Headley. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said today that he is preparing to act aggressively in upgrading the club’s roster, as Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger reports. Nevertheless, Cashman did not sound inclined to pay a heavy surcharge to make acquisitions well in advance of the deadline.
  • Of course, whether or not he is dealt, all signs point to Headley hitting the open market following this season, where he will be joined by Giants third bagger Pablo Sandoval. At present, there are no ongoing extension talks between San Francisco and Sandoval, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish. Of course, GM Brian Sabean locked up two prominent free agents-to-be (Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum) at the last minute last year.
  • The Diamondbacks are looking to set their club up for 2015 rather than launching a full rebuild, reports MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. GM Kevin Towers indicated that the club hopes to shed some salary, but will focus on achieving a useful return. “We’re not payroll dumping, we’re looking to get good players back,” he said. “It would be nice to be able to save some payroll and get good players back. I know how [managing partner Ken Kendrick] and [CEO Derrick Hall] are and they are always going to lean towards getting the better players instead of trying to save money.” Towers said that the market is still developing, with just “a couple of clubs that are trying to get in front of people.”
  • The Marlins are surveying the market with an eye on landing an established starting pitcher, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.  Miami would also like to add an experienced veteran middle infielder in the wake of Rafael Furcal‘s injury.
  • White Sox hurler Jose Quintana could become what Doug Fister was in 2011, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Quintana has little trade hype, but like Fister, says Morosi, he could wind up getting traded and help his new team win its division. Of course, with Chicago now looking a threat to field a young and talented team in coming seasons, it is doubtful that the 25-year-old lefty (who is under club control through 2018) will come cheap.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Rosenthal On Aiken, Parra, Dodgers, Benoit, Cubs

In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reminds everyone why experienced foreigners like Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu are considered eligible for Rookie of the Year awards.  Of course, players like Abreu and Tanaka come with years of professional experience, but they still have to make a significant transition when it comes to the move to MLB, both professionally and culturally.  Here’s more from Rosenthal..

  • High school left-hander (and first overall draft choice) Brady Aiken reportedly arrived in Houston last Monday, which would indicate that an agreement was close, but a week later nothing has been announced and neither side is saying why.  The holdup, Rosenthal says, bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals.  If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.  Of course, this is just speculation on Rosenthal’s part and only the parties involved know whether there is any kind of issue with Aiken’s physical.
  • D’Backs outfielder and fan favorite Gerardo Parra might be among the least likely in Arizona to be traded. With  A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo on the disabled list, a trade of the 27-year-old would leave the club short on experienced outfielders.  It’s also unclear how much Parra would bring back in a trade.  Parra is making $4.85MM in his third year of arbitration and amounts to little more than a platoon player, given his career .586 OPS against left-handers. Third baseman Martin Prado, earning $11MM per season through 2016, is another player the D’Backs might opt to keep, even though he has struggled at the plate as well.  Second baseman Aaron Hill, meanwhile, is expendable given their surplus of middle infielders.
  • It would be surprising if the Dodgers traded an outfielder considering the recent injury woes of Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, and Andre Ethier.
  • The Tigers didn’t re-sign Joaquin Benoit last winter because they didn’t want to pay him closer money, but he still makes sense for them as a mid-season pickup.  The Padres reliever, who turns 37 in July, is owed about $3MM this season and $8MM next season with an $8MM team option or $1.5MM buyout for 2016.
  • Jake Arrieta probably has the best stuff of any Cubs starter right now but, of course, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are more likely to be traded since Arrieta is under club control through 2017.  Lefty Travis Wood, meanwhile, could be an extension candidate once the Cubs complete their rotation selloff.

West Notes: Walker, McCarthy, Chavez, Rockies

Top Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker will make his 2014 big-league debut on Monday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. (The Mariners optioned outfielder Stefen Romero to Triple-A Tacoma after today’s game, so it appears they’ll have space for Walker on their active roster.) Walker figured to be a key part of Seattle’s rotation this season, but he had shoulder troubles in spring training. Walker has made eight starts this season across three minor league levels, posting a 3.38 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. Elsewhere in MLB’s West divisions:

  • Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy will receive a $1MM assignment bonus if he is traded, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The Diamondbacks will likely have to eat that sum in any deal, Olney adds.
  • Eric Chavez says retirement is a “possibility” after being transferred to the 60-day disabled list by the Diamondbacks, writes MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “I’m just so close to the end, you know, where I’ve got to worry about feeling good for the rest of my life,” said Chavez, who is dealing with an injured left knee. “So surgery would be the worst-case scenario for me to kind of be going down that line.” 
  • The slumping Rockies have been hit hard by injuries with nine players currently on the disabled list, but are not yet ready to become sellers at the Trade Deadline, according to Nick Groke of the Denver Post. “We’ll get to see our club whole, or closer to the point we know it should be,” Assistant GM Bill Geivett said. “At that point we’ll sit down and discuss where we’re at.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Diamondbacks Acquire Ronny Cedeno

The Phillies tweeted they have traded infielder Ronny Cedeno to the Diamondbacks for catcher Raywilly Gomez. Cedeno will report to Triple-A Reno, tweets MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. He’ll add depth after the injury to Chris Owings and the recall of Nick Ahmed. Philadelphia had outrighted Cedeno yesterday.

Cedeno saw limited action with the Phillies after being added to their roster in June. The 31-year-old appeared in seven games and was hitless in nine plate appearances. Cedeno has slashed .245/.289/.353 in parts of ten seasons with the Cubs, Mariners, Pirates, Mets, Astros, Padres and Phillies.

Gomez has spent the season at Double-A Mobile hitting .273/.355/.360 in 173 plate appearances and throwing out 28% of the runners attempting to steal. The 24-year-old has spent his entire seven-year minor league career in the Diamondbacks’ organization.


Minor Moves: Rosales, Ahmed, Bianchi

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

  • The Rangers have announced that they will purchase the contract of infielder Adam Rosales and optioned fellow infielder Luis Sardinas to the minors, where he’ll presumably have more regular playing time. The Rangers will need to make a 40-man roster move to make space for Rosales, who was hitting .276/.349/.434 in 307 plate appearances for Triple-A Round Rock.
  • The Diamondbacks announce that they have selected the contract of infielder Nick Ahmed. Fellow infielder Chris Owings will head to the 15-day DL with a shoulder strain, and the Diamondbacks will clear 40-man roster space for Ahmed by moving Eric Chavez to the 60-day DL. Ahmed, 24, was hitting .324/.390/.431 for Triple-A Reno, where he played shortstop and second base. He was originally drafted by the Braves, who traded him to Arizona in the Justin Upton / Chris Johnson / Martin Prado deal.
  • The Brewers have announced that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Jeff Bianchi from Triple-A Nashville, adding him to their 40-man and 25-man rosters. To clear space for him on the 25-man, they’ve optioned pitcher Alfredo Figaro to Nashville. Shortstop Jean Segura left yesterday’s game with leg cramps, which might be why the Brewers are adding another infielder. The Brewers outrighted Bianchi last month. He has a career .214/.249/.281 line in parts of three seasons, all with Milwaukee.