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The Blue Jays and Padres continue to discuss a Chase Headley trade, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. His colleague Ken Rosenthal adds that some within the Jays organization think that the team’s most acute need is a hitter, rather than a starting pitcher. In late June, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Blue Jays had interest in Headley and that the Padres would be willing to deal him. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- The Cubs dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel early in the trading season, and for a package based around a position player, because Addison Russell was too good to pass on, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes. “There was no pitcher available even close to the caliber of player that Addison Russell is,” says team president Theo Epstein.
- The Cubs now have a top-notch collection of hitting prospects, but don’t have nearly as much pitching. They believe, however, that they can use that to their advantage, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. It’s hard to find hitters in today’s low-offense environment, and the Cubs have plenty of them. “If you look at the way the game is going, the batter-pitcher dynamic has shifted in recent years dramatically in favor of the pitcher,” says Epstein. “So there are more effective pitchers out there right now than there are position players.” The Cubs also feel they can compensate for their lack of pitching by acquiring a top-of-the-rotation starter within the next couple of years. Epstein also seems to allude to the possibility that the Cubs will make trades for pitching in the future.
- A pair of Rockies are making their 2014 debuts with rookie-level Grand Junction, Patti Arnold of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Former Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, who’s working his way back from an elbow injury, pitched a scoreless inning today, striking out one and walking one. Also, Kyle Freeland, the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, will make his pro debut on Wednesday.
- The Diamondbacks placed now-Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy on waivers six to eight weeks ago, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. That means anyone could have claimed him and assumed the remainder of his $9MM salary for 2014. No one bit.
- Red Sox first-round pick Michael Kopech will be represented by MVP Sports Group, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets.
Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball.
- The Astros have traded pitcher Alex Sogard to the Diamondbacks, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. The Astros will receive minor-league infielder Cesar Carrasco in return. Sogard, 26, has pitched 43 1/3 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi this season, with 5.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
- Utilityman Pedro Ciriaco has accepted his outright assignment from the Royals, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. The Royals designated Ciriaco for assignment last week. He has a career .270/.299/.372 line in 498 plate appearances over five seasons with the Pirates, Red Sox, Padres and Royals.
Jeff Samardzija couldn’t be happier to be joining the A’s, writes MLB.com’s Jane Lee. “Billy asked me how I felt,” said Samardzija. “I was supposed to pitch today, so I’m a day past my due date to pitch. I’m chomping at the bit. I don’t think there’s any better way to get acclimated than to do it on the mound. It was a no-brainer for me, and I look forward to it.” Here’s more from around baseball.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) looks at what it would take for the Marlins, Giants, and Cardinals to land Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist.
- David Golebiewski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looks at the advanced stats and says that the Pirates came away as the winners in the Ernesto Frieri-Jason Grilli swap.
- White Sox slugger Dayan Viciedo says that he’s not fazed by the trade rumors surrounding him, writes Daniel Kramer of MLB.com. In last night’s MLBTR poll asking which position player will be dealt first, Viciedo finished third behind Martin Prado and Chase Headley.
- Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon would like to see his club get an offensive upgrade, but he also doesn’t want to see them sell off top prospects for rental players, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
- The Padres are seeing immediate returns on Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne, writes Jeff Sanders of U-T San Diego.
- The Diamondbacks probably aren’t done trading after sending Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “We plan on being active,” Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers said. “This is the start.“
- Troy Tulowitzki‘s trade value may never be higher for the Rockies, argues Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Tulo is saying the right things and hasn’t asked for a trade but a change makes sense for both sides at this time.
- Tulowitzki deserves better that what he’s getting with the Rockies, writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “I want to be somewhere there’s a chance to be in the playoffs every single year,” Tulowitzki said.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the club sees the cost of trading as high.
- Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd was dealt Aug. 27 last year from the Mets to the Pirates and he could be traded again this summer. However, the veteran says he’s not thinking about that, as Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
- Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com looks at how the Cubs-A’s blockbuster deal helps the Phillies.
- The Indians talked to the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and it would have cost them Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, and Danny Salazar to make the same kind of deal that the A’s did, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
10:44am: The Diamondbacks will eat $2.05MM of the $4.1MM owed to McCarthy for the rest of the year, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, the Yankees will pay the $1MM assignment bonus to McCarthy.
10:21am: The D’Backs will be eating money in the deal, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. McCarthy is owed the prorated portion of his $9MM contract, plus the $1MM assignment bonus he is set to earn after being traded.
The prorated portion of McCarthy’s deal comes out to roughly $4.1MM, not counting the assignment bonus.
Nuno, 26, owns a 5.42 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 through 14 starts and three relief appearances this season. While McCarthy is on an expiring contract, Nuno won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.
The left-hander was originally in the Indians’ system before being released in March 2011. The Yankees picked Nuno up a couple of months later and after getting 17 big league starts out of him across the last two seasons, they have parlayed him into the 6’7″ McCarthy.
10:10am: The Yankees have acquired Brandon McCarthy from the D’Backs, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish (on Twitter). The two sides were discussing a deal involving Vidal Nuno last night, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter), but it’s unclear if Nuno is in fact in the trade.
McCarthy, 30, has a 5.01 ERA with 7.6 K/9 – a career best if it holds – and 1.6 BB/9 through 18 starts this season. While the 5+ ERA isn’t particularly attractive, advanced metrics such as McCarthy’s 2.89 xFIP indicate that he has been much better than that would indicate.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported late last month that McCarthy would earn a $1MM assignment bonus if he was traded. Olney added that the D’Backs would likely have to pick up the tab on that sum.
The Diamondbacks made a smaller move yesterday when they shipped Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels for outfielder Zach Borenstein and right-hander Joey Krehbiel. Between that deal and today’s trade of McCarthy, it’s clear that the 36-53 Diamondbacks are going to be committed to selling this month.
Despite their underwhelming performances so far this season, veterans Cody Ross and Aaron Hill could also be on the move. Eric Chavez, Bronson Arroyo, and Mark Trumbo could also be of interest to teams if they show that they’re healthy. And while Thatcher is already gone, fellow lefty Oliver Perez should have some value. Thatcher is merely a rental for the Angels but Perez is controlled through the 2015 season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Independence Day trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics is definitely the top story of the day. When we polled MLBTR readers last week over which pitcher would be traded first, Hammel was the resounding top choice with 31.05% of readers picking the right-hander. Samardzija came in third with 16.19% of the vote. David Price (24.07%) was the only other pitcher to finish with over 10% of the vote, and it very well could have been Price headed to Oakland. Let’s focus our attention on some of the other rumors and notes of the day.
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports the Tigers are interested in re-acquiring Joaquin Benoit (via Twitter). Of course, Benoit is in the midst of a fantastic season with the Padres. He’s pitched to a 1.26 ERA with 10.09 K/9 and 1.77 BB/9.
- The Angels are also interested in Benoit according to Morosi (Twitter). It’s unclear if that interest remains after the acquisitions of Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher.
- Morosi (also on Twitter) notes that the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Giants are interested in Diamondbacks infielders. Veterans Aaron Hill and Martin Prado have been frequently connected to rumors, although the club does have additional shortstop depth too.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the Twins are expected to make Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia available barring a sudden turnaround. Both players will be free agents after the season and aren’t good candidates for a qualifying offer. Willingham has been productive when healthy including a .228/.377/.441 batting line in 162 plate appearances this season. Heyman mentions the Red Sox and Mariners as two clubs in need of offense. To me, Correia looks more like a roster patch for a contender with his 4.95 ERA and 4.11 FIP.
- The Marlins made a club record number of moves in June writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. A total of 45 transactions were made in June. The previous one-month record was 30 moves. July could bring more of the same for the Fish with Tom Koehler and Adeiny Hechavarria scheduled to return soon.
- Oft-injured Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia will undergo season ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome according to Derrick Goold and Joe Trezza of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The club wasn’t counting on a return by Garcia, who has been on the disabled list since late June. The news provides additional incentive for the club to explore the trade market.
Here are Saturday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Diamondbacks announced the signing of right-hander Kameron Loe to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Loe, who will report to Triple-A Reno, was released by the Braves last Monday and will now be joining his fourth organization this year after stints with the Giants and Royals. The 32-year-old has posted a 6.99 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 11.8 H/9 in 28 1/3 innings (19 games) for the Triple-A affiliates of the Royals and Braves.
- Mariners right-hander Chance Ruffin has voluntarily retired and returned home to be with his wife and newborn baby, writes Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto for the Olympian. Ruffin, the 48th overall selection in the 2010 draft, was acquired from the Tigers in the 2010 Doug Fister trade and made 22 relief appearances for the Mariners to the tune of a 5.70 ERA, 11.4 K/9, and 5.3 BB/9 in 23 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old, who was not on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, pitched to a 5.31 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 61 innings (22 games including seven starts) for Triple-A Tacoma this year.
- Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, there are seven players in DFA limbo: Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays), Nick Buss (A’s), Jeff Francis (A’s), Nolan Reimold (Orioles), Justin Maxwell (Royals), Pedro Ciriaco (Royals), and Jerome Williams (Astros).
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes (via Twitter) Borenstein was the Angels’ minor league player of the year in 2013 (.337/.403/.631 at Class A-Advanced Inland Empire). The 23-year-old (the Angels’ 23rd-round selection in 2011), however, hasn’t been able to replicate those numbers this season while bouncing back and forth between Double-A (.266/.338/.440 in 207 plate appearances) and Triple-A (.256/.279/.342 in 123 plate appearances).
Krehbiel is an interesting bullpen arm with a fastball sitting between 92-95 MPH with a good slider, tweets Piecoro. The 21-year-old (taken in the same draft as Borenstein, but in the 12th round) has compiled a 2.00 ERA, 11.5 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 with five saves in 17 appearances covering 18 innings this season for Class-A Burlington and Class A-Advanced Inland Empire.
10:00am: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) heard last night that the Halos would be giving up a minor league second baseball in a Thatcher deal. Either Taylor Lindsey or Alex Yarbrough makes sense, according to Passan.
9:33am: The D’Backs are receiving a prospect and another minor leaguer in the deal, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Rosenthal reported late last night that the Angels were on the hunt for a left-handed reliever and Thatcher was high on their wish list. 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.
For his career, the 32-year-old owns a 3.26 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across eight seasons with the Padres and Diamondbacks. Now, he’ll ply his craft for the Halos in what will be his first time outside of the NL West. Thatcher is a rather inexpensive addition for the Halos as they’re on the hook for the prorated portion of his $2.375MM deal.
Campana, 28, hasn’t done much offensively this season, hitting .150/.164/.200 in 61 plate appearances. In four years for the Cubs and D’Backs, Campana has hit .246/.294/.286 in 239 total games. Still, the speedy outfielder has managed to provide value even when he’s not doing much with his bat. He has 66 career stolen bases and a career 14.6 UZR/150 in the outfield.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
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.
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.
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.