Arodys Vizcaino Rumors

Prospect Rumor Roundup: 2012 Trade Deadline Review

If you're a fan of Major League Baseball and of reading sports tickers on the television, then July is the perfect month for you. More than 20 trades occurred in July 2012 as playoff-hopeful clubs looked to position themselves for strong second halves of their seasons and robust drives for the postseason.

For just about every veteran player on the move to a contending club in July, there is a prospect or two heading back in the other direction — towards a rebuilding club desperate for a cost-controlled building block. Close to 80 players changed jerseys last July prior to the looming trade deadline at the end of the month, and the 2013 season is expected to be no different.

But just how many of those young players that changed allegiances have maintained their values with their new organizations? Below is a list of the Top 10 young players who were traded last July. Only players who had not exceeded their MLB rookie eligibilities (50 IP for pitchers, 130 AB for hitters) at the 2012 trade deadline were considered for the article, and the list is in alphabetical order.

Rob Brantly, C (Tigers to Marlins): Given the Marlins' starting catcher gig at the beginning of the 2013 season, the offensive-minded backstop's bat has wilted under the pressure, and he has a .587 OPS in 49 games. The good news is that his defense has improved noticeably — perhaps thanks to the guidance from veteran second-string receiver Jeff Mathis, an excellent defensive player, and manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel looked at Brantly's inconsistent season.

Matt Dominguez, 3B (Marlins to Astros): It's been an inconsistent season for the young third baseman — both at the plate and in the field, despite his reputation as a strong defender. Just 23, Dominguez has time on his side as he looks to breathe new life into his withering bat, but questions about his offensive abilities have been floating around since his amateur days. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle penned a piece about Dominguez' focus on the future rather than the past.

Robbie Grossman, OF (Pirates to Astros): Grossman earned a shot at a starting outfield gig in Houston after a hot April in Triple-A. Unfortunately, he posted an OPS of just .553 and was returned to the minors after 28 games. His offensive struggles followed him back to Oklahoma City and he managed a measly .512 OPS in June.

Johnny Hellweg, SP (Angels to Brewers): Hellweg's raw ability is undeniable but command and control issues have haunted him throughout his pro career. Tall pitchers are considered late bloomers in those areas, and the 6'9'' right-handed hurler definitely fits into that category. He recently received his first big league promotion, but he was roughed up during his first two appearances in The Show. Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel spoke to the rookie, as well as his manager, after his first outing.

Tommy Joseph, C (Giants to Phillies): Joseph has experienced a major setback with the bat in 2013. After beginning the year in Triple-A, he hit just .209 before a concussion knocked him out of action. Now healthy again, Joseph is getting back into playing shape while at the A-ball level. The struggles and injury helped to ensure that he missed an opportunity to fill in at the big league level when both Carlos Ruiz and Erik Kratz went down in Philadelphia. Jeff Schuler of The Morning Call wrote a piece on Joseph's return from the disabled list.

Jean Segura, SS (Angels to Brewers): Perhaps the biggest success story on this list, Segura is currently in the hunt for a batting title in the National League. He also has surprising pop and an outside chance at eventually becoming a 20-20 (HR-SB) hitter. Originally a second baseman, the sturdy but diminutive hitter was relocated to the left side of the infield, but it remains to be seen how long he'll stick there. Either way, he could be a mainstay in the middle of the diamond for years to come. Mike Woods of the Sheboygan Press recently spoke to Segura who admitted to being surprised by his success in 2013.

Jacob Turner, SP (Tigers to Marlins): Turner's value has taken a hit over the past year or two as his stuff has regressed. Scouting forecasts focus more on the ceiling of a No. 3 or 4 starter now, rather than that of the No. 1 or 2 starter ceiling from the early days of his pro career. Despite that, Turner has had an excellent start to the 2013 season at the big league level by posting a 1.76 ERA and holding hitters to a .229 batting average in six starts.

Christian Villanueva, 3B (Rangers to Cubs): The emergence of Mike Olt in the Rangers system made Villanueva expendable. The Cubs third baseman has the chance to develop into a multifaceted player, albeit one without any true standout tool. He's showing solid gap power at the Double-A level but both his batting average and his on-base percentage are down in 2013.

Arodys Vizcaino, SP (Braves to Cubs): Vizcaino, 22, hasn't pitched since 2011, but he's been the property of three organizations thanks to his power arm. The right-hander injured his elbow early on in his career with the Yankees and finally underwent Tommy John surgery, missing all of the 2012 season. He looked ready to return in 2013 before undergoing a second surgery on his throwing elbow.

Asher Wojciechowski, SP (Blue Jays to Astros): One of the most unheralded acquisitions of 2012, Wojciechowski was a supplemental first round selection from the 2010 amateur draft. He didn't respond well at all when the Jays attempted to rework his delivery and his results suffered. He has rediscovered his prospect value with the Astros, although inconsistency continues to haunt him. It remains to be seen if his future lies in the starting rotation or the bullpen.

Honorable Mentions: Colton Cain, SP (Pirates to Astros); Kevin Comer, SP (Blue Jays to Astros); Kyle Hendricks, SP (Rangers to Cubs); Marc Krauss, OF (Diamondbacks to Astros); Ethan Martin, SP (Dodgers to Phillies); Carlos Perez, C (Blue Jays to Astros); David Rollins, SP (Blue Jays to Astros).

2012 Trade Deadline Winners: Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers

2012 Trade Deadline Losers: Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays


Braves Acquire Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm

The Cubs have traded left-hander Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash considerations to the Braves in a four-player trade that provides Atlanta with reinforcements for the season's final two months and bolsters Chicago's minor league system. The Cubs obtain right-handers Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino in the trade, which the teams have announced. 

Paul Maholm - Cubs (PW)

Maholm has a 3.74 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.9% ground ball rate in 120 1/3 innings for the Cubs this year. The 30-year-old has never thrown particularly hard; his average fastball checks in at 87.6 mph this year, according to FanGraphs. He earns a $4.75MM salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $6.5MM club option for 2013. The Royals and Pirates appeared to have interest in Maholm earlier this month.

Johnson, 35, has a .307/.361/.452 batting line in 180 plate appearances this year. The right-handed hitter has played all three outfield positions for the Cubs and owns a career .313/.370/.469 line against left-handed pitching. He's signed to a one-year, $1.15MM contract and will hit free agency after the season. Four teams made offers for Johnson today, including the Pirates and Tigers, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.

Vizcaino, who entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, had Tommy John surgery this spring. The 21-year-old posted a 3.06 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 97 innings for three Braves affiliates as he made his way through Atlanta's minor league system in 2011. The right-hander reached the Major Leagues last year, posting a 4.67 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 17 relief appearances.

Chapman, a 25-year-old right-hander, has a 3.52 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings of relief for Atlanta's Triple-A team so far in 2012. The Braves selected him in the 16th round of the 2005 draft.

Maholm joins a Braves rotation that includes Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Ben Sheets and, as of tomorrow, Kris Medlen. The Braves nearly traded for Ryan Dempster this month, but the sides don't appear to have obtained the right-hander's permission. 

Geovany Soto has been traded to the Rangers in a separate move.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Johnson had been traded (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported Maholm's role in the trade and first reported that the Braves were the other team involved (Twitter link). ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported that the Cubs were getting two minor league pitchers, including Chapman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Cubs were getting Vizcaino. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


NL East Notes: Vizcaino, Phillies, Mets, Lannan

Earlier today MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reviewed the Marlins' busy offseason. Here are some more links from the NL East…

  • Braves GM Frank Wren told reporters that reliever Arodys Vizcaino will miss the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The 21-year-old right-hander appeared in 17 games with the Braves last year and entered the season as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America.
  • The Phillies could start the season with prospect Freddy Galvis at second base, or explore the trade market for alternatives. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears from rival executives that there’s a short list of veteran middle infielders available in trades. Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Getz and Blake DeWitt appear to be options for teams seeking infield depth. 
  • Even though they're short on left-handed relief, the Mets are unlikely to sign C.J. Nitkowski, Hong-Chih Kuo or Dontrelle Willis, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Nationals "still have a lot of motivation" to trade John Lannan and his $5MM salary (Twitter link).


NL East Notes: Reyes, Utley, Vizcaino, Perez

Here's the latest from the NL East…

  • Jose Reyes told reporters (including WFUV's Amit Badlani) that he signed with the Marlins because of the team's potential to contend, not just because of the money, as recently stated by Marlins president David Samson.
  • Chase Utley's chronic right knee tendinitis "is not going away.  More than likely, it might never go away," says Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told reporters, including CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.  Utley has yet to play during Spring Training and the Phillies are known to be looking for infield depth for not only Utley, but also Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco.  Prospect Freddy Galvis has seen a lot of time at second this spring, and Manuel thinks he could potentially handle the position should Utley miss significant time during the season.
  • Braves right-hander Arodys Vizcaino will visit with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Vizcaino has been suffering from ulnar neuritis in his right elbow and could potentially face Tommy John surgery if Andrews feels the ailment is serious enough.  Vizcaino is one of Atlanta's several top-tier pitching prospects and was recently ranked as the 40th-best prospect in the sport by Baseball America.
  • The Nationals optioned Eury Perez to Double-A today but some front office officials think he could be eventually be their answer in center field, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington PostAdam Jones, B.J. Upton and Gerardo Parra are just a few of the many names that have been connected to Washington's search for a long-term center fielder.  The 21-year-old Perez is coming off a .283/.319/.321 season for Class A Potomac in 2011 but he turned a lot of heads with an impressive Spring Training performance.
  • For more Nationals news, check out this collection of Nats links from earlier today.

Braves, Orioles Discussed Jones, Pitchers

The Braves and Orioles discussed a possible Adam Jones trade recently, but talks didn’t progress far, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). The Orioles wanted Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado and at least two of Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. The Braves weren’t interested at that price, Crasnick writes.

Conflicting reports about the Braves’ interest level in Jones emerged yesterday, but it appears some preliminary discussions occurred. Orioles GM Dan Duquette joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio this week and explained that the Orioles are trying to "build around" Jones. "When you have some good players, other teams are interested," he said. "We're not marketing Adam Jones." However, he stopped short of guaranteeing that Jones would stay put.


Atlanta’s Starting Pitching Depth

The Braves blew a late-inning lead before losing a painful game to the Phillies tonight, but if Atlanta goes on to win in the playoffs this year, their bullpen will probably be a major reason for their success. The Braves’ late inning trio of Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel is as good as it gets.

Brandon Beachy

Health permitting, the three relievers figure to return to Atlanta in 2012, but the same can’t necessarily be said for the Braves’ starting corps. Every one of the eight pitchers who has started a game for the Braves in 2011 is under team control next year and with a trio of MLB-ready arms entering the discussion for big league rotation spots, it won’t be surprising if the Braves hear an offer or two for their surplus arms.

Before we get too carried away with assumptions about health, it’s important to note that two Braves starters are on the disabled list and another one is dealing with an injury. Kris Medlen hasn’t pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August and won’t be ready before 2012. Tommy Hanson is also on the disabled list (shoulder) and Jair Jurrjens (knee) is banged up as well.

Despite those injuries, the Braves have a full rotation: Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Brandon Beachy (pictured), Mike Minor and Randall Delgado. Top prospects Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran (who will start one of tomorrow’s games) also represent viable rotation options for manager Fredi Gonzalez.

All told, the Braves have nine options. Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy and Minor have all had extended looks in the rotation this year, Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino spent most of the 2011 season in the minors and Medlen, a wild card heading into 2012, hasn’t pitched at all. 

Not only do the Braves have nine pitchers around in 2012, most of them are under team control in 2013 (Lowe’s contract expires after next season and the Braves have a $9MM club option for Hudson in ’13). This group isn’t going anywhere.

As unusual as it is for a team to have too much pitching, this Braves team may find themselves with extra arms over the winter. Unlike most teams, however, the Braves already have the main components of their roster in place for 2012. They won’t have many obvious holes to address over the winter.

Yet the Braves aren’t set at every position – shortstop Alex Gonzalez hits free agency and Martin Prado hasn't shown the on-base skills or power you'd expect from a left fielder. If the Braves decide not to retain the slick-fielding Gonzalez and opt to move Prado back into a utility role, they could have holes at shortstop and left field (assuming they don’t view Jose Constanza as a permanent solution). 

The Braves are a playoff-caliber team and they seem poised to contend in 2012, but significant needs could emerge within a month or two. Wren avoided last year's free agent frenzy and if he hopes to do the same this offseason without ignoring possible weaknesses, he could make the organization's pitching depth available in trades.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Michael Bourn Rumors: Saturday

Astros GM Ed Wade is keeping an open mind on trades, so it's possible outfielder Michael Bourn and others could still go.  The latest on Bourn:

  • The Braves refuse to include both Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino in a deal for Bourn, according to ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (on Twitter).
  • The Giants do have interest in Bourn, Morosi tweets.
  • The Reds aren't likely to acquire Bourn, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com; Houston's asking price is too high.
  • The Giants may have interest in Bourn, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
  • The Braves are getting more involved on Bourn, tweets Rosenthal.  ESPN's Buster Olney hears the Braves are working hard on getting the center fielder.
  • The Astros' efforts to trade Bourn are picking up steam, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, and it appears more likely he'll be dealt by tomorrow's deadline.
  • The Astros want Major-League ready prospects for Bourn, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson.  It makes sense that Wade would seek certainty here, with his Hunter Pence haul being of the high-risk, high-reward variety.
  • The Indians and Reds are the main suitors for Bourn right now, tweets Stephen Goff of Examiner.com, but he'd be surprised if the center fielder is traded.
  • The Braves are not one of the main teams in on Bourn yet, tweets Rosenthal.
  • "The Nationals, Braves, Indians and Reds are among the clubs with varying levels of interest in Bourn," report Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The Indians are the new suitor here.

Carlos Beltran Rumors: Sunday

Trade rumors have surrounded plenty of Mets players throughout the season, but with just a week until the July 31st deadline, Carlos Beltran is the only major piece the Mets are focused on moving. As we learned yesterday, there is "increasing chatter" that the Giants are emerging as the favorite, but there are still a few other teams in on the outfielder. Here are today's Beltran rumors, with any new updates added to the top of the page throughout the day:

  • Beltran has privately told the Mets that he will not accept a trade to an American League team because he doesn't want to alternate between DH'ing and playing center field, and because he's not familiar with the league, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Beltran has a list of seven NL team to whom he would accept a trade.
  • One of Sandy Alderson's top Major League scouts, Roy Smith, has been following Giants minor leaguers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! (via Twitter).
  • Beltran says that he would be okay with a trade to any of the five teams that have been rumored as destinations, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
  • The Mets are talking to the Rangers and Red Sox about Beltran but Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) still sees the Giants, Braves, and Phillies as the more probable destinations.
  • The Rangers are interested in Beltran because of the potential impact that he can have but they aren’t desperate to add a bat otherwise, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Team officials for two of the clubs in talks with the Mets expect discussions to continue until next weekend, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (on Twitter).
  • The Giants, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, and Rangers have each had a scout on hand to watch Beltran this weekend, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan says (via Twitter) the Rangers are "coming hard" for Beltran, though San Francisco is still the frontrunner. Passan singles out Giants prospect Francisco Peguero as one name that may have been discussed.
  • The Red Sox see Beltran as a "total longshot," and are more concerned with adding pitching, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
  • In his Insider-only blog, Olney says the Mets are looking for a top pitching prospect from the Braves – perhaps Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, or Randall Delgado. One talent evalutor says he can't see GM Frank Wren parting with any of those four arms for Beltran.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at Minor and a few other prospects the Mets may be targeting in Beltran discussions.

Carlos Beltran Rumors: Thursday

Carlos Beltran homered last night, which should help the Mets convince their rivals that Beltran is the difference-making bat teams are looking for. He'll cost a lot in terms of prospects, can block any trade and earns $18.5MM, but that didn't stop the rumors from swirling yesterday and it won't stop them from continuing today. The latest updates are up top:

  • The Indians interest in Beltran has cooled according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Mets aren't concerned about obtaining Beltran's permission for a deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who reports that GM Sandy Alderson has had at least one conversation with agent Scott Boras on the topic.
  • The Phillies have been scouting Beltran and the Mets have been scouting the Braves’ system in anticipation of possible trades, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets may try to obtain Randall Delgado or Arodys Vizcaino from the Braves, Rubin reports. 
  • Though the Tigers are interested, they’re focused on starting pitching, according to Rubin.
  • The Rangers are interested in Beltran, but their priority is improving their bullpen, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Other clubs likely need and value Beltran more than Texas.
  • Carlos Gomez broke his collarbone last night, and SI.com's Jon Heyman says (on Twitter) it'll be interesting to see if the injury increased Milwaukee's interest in Beltran. He lists the Phillies, Giants, Braves, and Brewers as the top suitors at the moment.
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports is hearing that the Giants still intend to make a hard run at Beltran despite the report that the two sides do not match up well for a trade (Twitter link).
  • The Mets and Giants are having trouble matching up for a trade, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. San Francisco is willing to take on most or all of the $6MM or so remaining on the outfielder's contract, but won't part with a high-end prospect. The Mets are willing to absorb salary, but are insisting on high-end talent in return for Beltran.
  • Alderson and Beltran told Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal that they'd be open to signing a deal after the season, when Beltran hits free agency. 
  • The Brewers will acquire Beltran if they can scrape together a package for him, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Olney, who repeats that the Mets are still insisting on a high-end prospect for Beltran, likens the Brewers' pursuit to "searching for nickels under couch cushions."
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson is narrowing the field of possible trade partners, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown. Beltran, who received a list of possible destinations from Alderson Tuesday, does not appear to have ruled out trades to the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants and Brewers. The Yankees may also be in the mix.

Top Trade Chips: NL East

Let's continue our top trade chips series today with the NL East…

  • Braves: The Braves aren't going to move Tommy Hanson and/or Jason Heyward, and they already traded away their top piece of bait this winter when they sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees. What Atlanta does have is cache of big time pitching prospects in 20-year-old Randall Delgado,19-year-old Julio Teheran, and 19-year-old Arodys Vizcaino that they could dip into if needed.
  • Marlins: Florida has been reduced to flipping players before they get expensive through arbitration, nevermind get close to free agency. Dan Uggla is the team's highest paid player and also one of its most productive, but he's perpetually on the block because he's owed $7.8MM this season and will make even more in 2011 through arbitration. The Marlins could trade him, put Chris Coghlan back at second (his natural position), and call up super-prospect Mike Stanton to fill the vacant outfield spot.
  • Mets: Even though Carlos Beltran's knee is problematic and Jeff Francoeur is a perennial non-tender candidate, the team's best piece of trade bait is 21-year-old outfielder Fernando Martinez. Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano could be used as trade fodder, but if ownership decides to part ways with GM Omar Minaya, then they could be in for a full blown firesale. Everyone not named David Wright would be available.
  • Nationals: Forget Stephen Strasburg, it's obviously not happening. However, GM Mike Rizzo has a valuable piece in Josh Willingham, who is no stranger to the trade rumor circuit. He is under team control through 2011, and his production isn't far off from Bay's. Relievers Matt Capps and Brian Bruney could be dealt as well.
  • Phillies: Philadelphia unloaded most of their top prospects to acquire Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the last nine months, so the cupboard is pretty bare. They could shop hard-throwing and oft-injured reliever Scott Mathieson, but the doomsday scenario could find Jayson Werth on the block if the Phils don't think they can re-sign him after the season. Of course that's highly unlikely, he's only the second or third best player on the top team in the league.