Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

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

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.


West Notes: Padres, Diamondbacks, Coffey

The Padres need to make a great hire when they find a permanent replacement for former GM Josh Byrnes, Matt Calkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. The Padres shouldn’t worry about hiring a big name, which might excite their fans but might not help rectify the organization’s problems. Here are more notes from around the West divisions.

  • As they approach this year’s trade deadline as sellers, the Diamondbacks could look for starting pitchers and outfielders, GM Kevin Towers tells FOX Sports Arizona’s Jack Magruder. The club will also look to shed salary, although Towers says that’s not their only consideration. “When a ball club is 15 games under .500, it’s going to affect attendance. The performance affects attendance. It puts us behind what our projections were. Dollars are part of the equation,” says Towers. “That said, it is not all about saving money.” Infielders Aaron Hill and Martin Prado could be trade candidates, as could lefties Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher.
  • Perez and Thatcher are trying to ignore any trade rumors, AZCentral.com’s Zach Buchanan reports. “It’s something that you can’t really prepare for unless you’ve been through it,” says Thatcher. “I’d heard my name a couple years before, but last year was the first I felt like I was getting traded. It takes a toll on you.” Both players have been traded near the July deadline before — Perez went from the Pirates to the Mets in 2006, and Thatcher went from the Brewers to the Padres in 2007 and the Padres to the Diamondbacks in 2013.
  • Right-hander Todd Coffey, who signed a minor league deal with the Mariners roughly five weeks ago, has a June 30 opt-out date in his contract, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The 33-year-old has pitched well in his return from Tommy John surgery, allowing just one run in 9 1/3 innings. Coffey has walked six in that time, but he’s also allowed just four hits and struck out 10 batters. With a number of clubs looking for bullpen help, he figures to generate some interest if the Mariners can’t make room for him in their big league bullpen.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Diamondbacks Release J.J. Putz

JUNE 27: The D’Backs have released Putz, according to the team’s transactions page on MLB.com. They’re still on the hook for the remaining $3.86MM on his contract, and he is now free to sign with any team. Given Putz’s track record and his solid strikeout, ground-ball and swinging-strike rates, I’d imagine he and his agents at LSW Baseball will have multiple interested parties.

JUNE 20: The Diamondbacks announced that they have designated righty J.J. Putz for assignment and reinstated outfielder Ender Inciarte from the seven-day disabled list.

The 37-year-old Putz missed more than a month with a forearm strain this season and was only recently activated from the disabled list. He’s allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings since coming back, causing his ERA to balloon to 6.59 on the season, though it’s come in a small 13 2/3 inning sample size.

Putz’s velocity has dipped to an average of just 89.6 mph this season, but his ground-ball rate to this point is a career-best 55 percent, and he’s posted a solid 14-to-6 K/BB ratio in his limited action. He’s also still generating whiffs, as evidenced by a 10.8 percent swinging-strike rate.

Putz is earning $7MM this season after signing a one-year extension with the Snakes, meaning that Arizona is on the hook for the remaining $3.86MM on his deal. They’ll have 10 days to trade, outright or release Putz. A team in need of bullpen help could have some interest if Arizona picks up some of his remaining salary.


Pitching Rumors: Price, Angels, Miley, Ross, Samardzija

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals should not overpay to acquire David Price from the Rays by parting with Oscar Taveras. Rosenthal points to the decline of offense around the league and the rarity of controllable sluggers in opining that Taveras is too valuable a commodity to lose. He also notes that the Cardinals aren’t typically big spenders, but adds that the team could create room for Price’s remaining $7MM and roughly $18-20MM 2015 salary by electing not to re-sign free agents such as Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, as well as non-tendering arbitration eligible players such as Peter Bourjos. While St. Louis could put together a formidable package headlined by Carlos Martinez, he also notes that a team like the Dodgers could top such a package perhaps by including prized outfielder Joc Pederson.

Price’s name — and the names of several others — will be hot topics over the coming month. Here’s the latest on the pitching market…

  • The Angels are interested in Price but don’t have the prospects to acquire him, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). He adds that Cubs hurler Jason Hammel is on a long list of alternative options for the Halos. Rosenthal also reports that the team would like to acquire left-handed relief, though landing a starting pitcher would allow them to use Hector Santiago in relief.
  • In his daily blog post (subscription required/recommended), ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that several teams are looking at alternatives to the market’s two big-name starters — Price and Jeff Samardzija. Several clubs are interested in pulling off a deal similar to the Tigers’ acquisition of Doug Fister from the Mariners back in 2011. As such, the Diamondbacks are receiving interest in Wade Miley, and Padres righty Tyson Ross could become a target as well. Controllable arms like Miley and Ross will be highly appealing to rival clubs, as any team can afford them — regardless of payroll. He adds that the D’Backs and Padres might be years away from contention anyhow, and at that point, Miley and Ross will have become expensive via arbitration.
  • Later in his post, Olney writes that the Giants will have a tough time lining up for a Price trade, as their 2015 roster is full of holes that will need to be filled – namely at third base, left field and second base. Price’s 2015 salary would prevent them from addressing their many needs, as would a Samardzija acquisition, albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports looks at three factors that will impact the Cubs’ ability to maximize their return on a Samardzija trade: Many contenders are hurting more for offense than pitching in 2014; interested parties will have Price as an alternative and may prefer to surrender more talent for the longer, more impressive track record; and Samardzija is seen by some GMs as unlikely to sign an extension regardless of setting. One interested GM confidently told Heyman, “No one’s going to extend him. He’s hitting free agency,” noting that Samardzija’s agency, Frontline Athlete Management, has a history of taking clients to the open market (e.g. Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Mike Hampton).

Trade Deadline Notes: Colon, McCarthy, Phils, Angels, Mariners, White Sox

In an Insider piece yesterday, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden listed 21 hitters who could change hands over the trade deadline and handicapped their odds of doing so. Bowden says it is 50/50 whether the following players are dealt: Daniel Murphy, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, Seth Smith, and Gerardo Parra. He puts better than even money on Chris Carter of the Astros (60%), Alex Rios of the Rangers (65%), and Ben Zobrist of the Rays (70%) landing in new uniforms.

Here’s the latest trade deadline chatter …

  • Though he has increased his value with a recent string of outstanding starts, Mets hurler Bartolo Colon is not likely to be dealt, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The club is disinclined to sell, says Martino, and expects to have plenty of need for the veteran next year — even with the expected return of Matt Harvey and rise of younger arms.
  • Brandon McCarthy of the Diamondbacks could be the ideal buy-low starting pitching  target, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. While McCarthy’s results have not been encouraging (5.38 ERA), the opposite holds true of his peripherals (80:18 K:BB ratio, 56% groundball rate). In large part, McCarthy has been hurt by a bloated home run rate and batting average on balls in play. The righty could prove a bargain, says Nicholson-Smith, because he won’t require a major prospect return and Arizona may even need to pay part of his $9MM salary.
  • The Phillies may ultimately decide to part with some veterans, but David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News questions whether they will get much in return. Marlon Byrd has a lower OPS and less home runs — and is owed a lot more money — than was the case last year when he was dealt for a less-than-overwhelming return. John Mayberry Jr. has been on the block for some time, and his hot start does not mean he’ll suddenly bring back a haul. And even Cliff Lee is not nearly as valuable as one might think, says Murphy, owing to his significant remaining guarantee and current arm issues.
  • We heard recently that the Angels were looking to add a lefty and perhaps a closer to their bullpen. According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Matthew DeFranks, the club has or will look into Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit of the Padres, Jonathan Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo of the Phillies, and Jim Johnson of the Athletics“There are pieces here that are very functional in getting to a good bullpen, and I believe that we’ll get there,” said GM Jerry Dipoto. “But we are going to have to address some of that in July and help this group out.”
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said yesterday that he would be surprised if the club did not swing at least one deal in advance of the trade deadline, in an appearance on 1090 The Fan’s Steve Sandmeyer Show (Twitter links via co-host Jason Churchill). The club’s head baseball decisionmaker also left the impression that the club will be able to achieve some payroll flexibility in weighing acquisitions.
  • One club with whom the Mariners are “expected to talk” is the White Sox, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Some or all of Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciedo could hold appeal to Seattle, Morosi suggests. Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets that the M’s, who have scouted the South Siders recently, are intrigued by Ramirez and have had targeted Viciedo in the past.

D’Backs Preparing To Sell; McCarthy Drawing Interest

Though his ERA and win-loss record aren’t much to look at (5.38 and 1-10), Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy is drawing trade interest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). A free agent at season’s end, McCarthy has about $4.72MM remaining on this year’s $9MM salary — the second year of a two-year, $15.5MM pact he inked in the 2012-13 offseason. Rosenthal notes that Arizona is likely to make multiple trades before this year’s deadline.

While McCarthy’s season looks rough on the surface, there are a lot of factors suggesting that he could quickly turn things around. McCarthy’s .339 batting average on balls in play is 44 points higher than the league average, and he’s sporting the best ground-ball and K/9 rates of his career (55.9 percent and 7.4, respectively). His fastball velocity has soared from an average of 90.8 mph over the past two seasons to 93 mph, and he’s sporting his best swinging-strike rate since 2006 as a result. McCarthy has mostly been plagued by home runs this season, but his fluky 21.7 percent homer-to-flyball ratio figures to come down.

There’s not much question that McCarthy will be available in trades. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, the Snakes are said to be preparing to put a “for sale” sign on their roster and are weighing trades of multiple veteran players. GM Kevin Towers — who, despite the hiring of Tony La Russa, calls this July business as usual — told Piecoro: “[W]e have to look at being more open-minded of moving some contracts and some veteran players for younger players.”

A fire sale may not be as easy for the D’Backs as it would for most teams, however, Piecoro cautions. McCarthy and fellow veterans Cody Ross and Aaron Hill are underperforming this season, which will hurt Arizona’s potential return in trades. Other movable veterans such as Eric Chavez, Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo are all currently on the disabled list.

One scout told Piecoro that the left-handers in Arizona’s bullpen — Joe Thatcher and Oliver Perez — figure to be of interest to other clubs. Both have enjoyed strong seasons to this point. Thatcher is a free agent at season’s end, while Perez, who signed a two-year deal this winter, is controlled through 2015. That same scout said he is intrigued by Gerardo Parra, but noted that the outfielder’s declining speed is a concern.

Towers noted to Piecoro that he would be reluctant to move young, controllable players such as Didi Gregorius and Triple-A shortstop Nick Ahmed (presumably, Chris Owings falls into that category as well).


Diamondbacks Sign First-Rounder Touki Toussaint

MONDAY, 7:18am: Toussaint’s bonus is $2.7MM, well over the pick value of $2.338MM, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

FRIDAY, 6:27pm: The Diamondbacks have officially announced a deal with first-round selection Touki Toussaint. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported that a deal was close (via Twitter). His bonus is expected to exceed the $2,338,200 slot allocation that came with the 16th overall pick, though precise details remain unknown.

The high school righty, who is still just 17 years old, was rated as high as the eighth-best prospect available entering the draft. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who gave him that top-ten billing, say that Toussaint has a quick, loose arm and big curve ball. It sounds as if he still has work to do in commanding his offerings, repeating his delivery, and developing his third pitch (a change), but MLB.com’s experts feel that his raw stuff and athleticism give him an ample chance at success as a professional.

Baseball America (12th) and ESPN.com’s Keith Law (13th) both had Toussaint somewhat lower down their boards, but still agreed that Arizona received a good talent at its place in the draft. Indeed, in the view of Law, Toussaint arguably has more upside than any other high school right-hander in this year’s draft.

Arizona entered the draft with up to $7,228,300 in total pool space. According to Piecoro, via Twitter, the club has now inked all of its first twelve choices. Checking in at MLB.com’s bonus tracker, it appears that the Diamondbacks have saved $430.8K on their post-Toussaint picks, leaving a good deal of room to accommodate the over-slot spending needed to lure him away from Vanderbilt.


Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.