Aroldis Chapman Rumors
- Writing for MLB.com, Peter Gammons talks to a number of GMs and scouts about the NL Central contenders. One general manager thinks the Reds could "be the single biggest favorite in any division going into the season," while three scouts are collectively unimpressed with the Brewers, saying "Milwaukee may be awful" this season.
- Ivan Rodriguez is "not a fit" for the Astros' catching needs, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals are known to be shopping one of their catchers, but Kilgore thinks Rodriguez's $3MM salary in 2011 may be too pricey for Houston, though the 'Stros have said they would add payroll for the right catcher.
- Aroldis Chapman has been working hard in preparation for his first full Major League season, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy looks at the details of the contract Matt Szczur signed with the Cubs in January, and also the revamped deal he signed just last week.
WEDNESDAY, 9:45am: The Yankees "never made an offer" to Chapman, GM Brian Cashman tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 10:01pm: The Yankees really liked Aroldis Chapman. A Florida lawsuit against the left-hander's representatives claims that the Yankees made an “offer to Chapman valued at more than $54MM," according to Melissa Segura of SI.com (on Twitter, hat tip to River Ave. Blues).
Chapman, who accepted a six-year, $30.25MM deal from Cincinnati must have really liked the Reds to accept $24MM less from them. The 23-year-old Cuban struck out 19 of the 51 batters he faced in his cameo for the NL Central Champions last year. He posted a 3.57 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 95 2/3 innings at Triple-A before his callup.
Some news items to wrap up the evening....
- In regards to the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista pushing back their arbitration hearing, a source tells FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) that when hearings are delayed, it "frequently" means a long-term deal is on the way.
- Reds pitching coach Bryan Price confirms that Aroldis Chapman will pitch relief for Cincinnati this season, reports Fanhouse's John Hickey. The Reds' rotation is deep enough that they "don't have to push Chapman," Price said. "We don't need to stockpile innings on him at this stage of his career...But down the road will he start? I think he will."
- The Mariners announced that Ken Griffey Jr. will be a special consultant for the club, according to the team's Twitter feed. MLB.com's Greg Johns outlines some of the tasks Griffey will perform in his new position.
- Chris Ray tells Greg Johns that he turned down a Major League offer from another club to sign a minor league deal with the Mariners since Ray will get a chance to close or at least set up games in Seattle. "It doesn't really mean a whole lot if it's a one-year contract [elsewhere] and I'm a free agent again next year if I'm pitching basically the scrap innings," Johns said. "That's not something that will help me out in the future. From this point forward, I want to be the guy who goes in late in the ballgame."
- Jeffrey Loria thinks the Marlins are a playoff-caliber team, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Loria also hinted that Florida's payroll will rise next year when the Fish move into their new Miami stadium.
- Jorge Posada said "it wouldn't surprise" him if Andy Pettitte pitched again, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins told MLB.com's Lyle Spencer that "just about every" Angel has been placed on waivers this month. Naturally, that doesn't mean the team has interest in making more trades.
- Jeremy Bonderman told MLB.com’s Jason Beck that he would like to return to the Tigers in 2011. The Tigers have room for him, as this piece explains.
- Jim Edmonds told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he's likely to retire after the season. The center fielder, who is now on the DL with a strained oblique, may return to the Reds late in the season.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman tomorrow so that the lefty will be eligible for the team's postseason roster.
- Orlando Hernandez decided not to finish his AA season when he heard that the Nationals didn’t intend to call him up, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams told reporters that he didn't claim Brian Fuentes because his team doesn't need another left-handed reliever at this point.
Links for Wednesday night....
- The Reds will wait until September 1st to promote Aroldis Chapman, but he'll still be eligible for the playoffs, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. In a separate blog post, Fay explains Chapman's postseason eligibility.
- Scott Miller of CBS Sports, Fangraphs' Jack Moore, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider-only) and ESPN.com's Rob Neyer share their thoughts on today's Derrek Lee trade.
- Ian Casselberry at MLive.com argues that the Tigers ought to trade Brandon Inge.
- Unsurprisingly, Ozzie Guillen had a response for those who criticized the White Sox for parting ways with Jim Thome. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has the story.
- Scrambling for a source of saves for the last month and a half of your fantasy league? Follow @closernews on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest injuries, blown saves, and everything else closer-related.
It was on this day in 1905 that Shirley Povich, one of the great sportswriters of all time, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. Povich, who passed away in 1998, would've been 105 today and no doubt still would've been keeping an eye on Stephen Strasburg for the Washington Post.
Some news items....
- The Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi wonders if Edwin Rodriguez's planned lineup changes in Florida are a hint towards a possible trade of Cody Ross or Jorge Cantu.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun adds the Padres and Rangers to the list of "potential fits" for Ty Wigginton.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted a few follow-up points to his story about Colorado's interest in Dan Uggla. Renck mentions right-hander Esmil Rogers and outfielder Matt Miller as possibilities for a trade package with Florida, but "there's no way" that Jhoulys Chacin would be dealt. Renck also thinks the Rockies "will listen" to offers for Franklin Morales, though those offers might not be related to any Uggla deal.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince shares some Cleveland hot stove talk in a reader mailbag. Castrovince says that Kerry Wood has drawn "minimal, at best" trade interest, but he notes that Wood could be dealt in late August to a team that didn't want to pay an extra month of Wood's contract.
- In another MLB.com mailbag, Bill Ladson "would be shocked" by a Matt Capps trade. The Nationals still have Capps under control for 2011, and with Drew Storen still a rookie and Tyler Clippard not pitching well lately, Ladson doesn't think Washington will want to risk dealing their closer.
- It's "all quiet on [the] Ben Sheets trade front," tweets FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, though Sheets' recent success "should change" that.
- Aroldis Chapman's inconsistent control means that Chapman probably won't be promoted to the majors until September, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- We already know that the Giants have shown some interest in acquiring David DeJesus, and now Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that a "top Royals talent evaluator" was on hand for the Mets/Giants game at AT & T Park tonight.
- Steve Kornacki of Mlive.com looks at what the Tigers need to do in the second half and weighs in on some trade options. Kornacki says that trading for Jack Wilson wouldn't cost much for Detroit, whereas acquiring Dan Haren isn't worth the cost since he doesn't think "the Tigers are good enough to get past the first round of the playoffs. And that’s the only reason to gamble that much for somebody like Haren."
- Rice's Anthony Rendon, thought to be a potential first overall pick in the 2011 Amateur Draft, is undergoing ankle surgery on Friday, reports MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron has the latest installment of his ranking of the players with the most trade value. As he goes from #20 to #16, Cameron cites a defending Cy Young Award winner and two potential Cy winners for this season.
Not even one no-hitter, perfect game or near-perfect game in the majors today? How unusual. These news items will have to do in the meantime...
- Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com looks at who the Nationals could acquire to solve their ongoing problems in right field. Goessling notes, of course, that Washington might not stay in the NL East race long enough that they'll need to make a trade deadline deal.
- Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Aroldis Chapman will not be called up as a reliever to help the Reds' beleaguered bullpen.
- Royals prospect Danny Duffy is back at K.C.'s extended spring training camp, reports The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton and Terez A. Paylor. The 21-year-old left-hander appeared to have abruptly retired back in March.
- Left-handed Pirates prospect Donald Veal will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Veal, who came to Pittsburgh from the Cubs in the 2008 Rule 5 draft, posted a 7.19 ERA in 19 appearances for the Bucs last season.
- The Giants sent John Bowker down to Triple-A Fresno today, a move that Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com says (via Twitter) is the first step in bringing Pat Burrell up to the major league roster. Urban says the club is still figuring out another move in order to get Burrell on the 40-man roster, but tweeted that Mark DeRosa might be moved to the 60-day DL. Burrell signed a minor league deal with San Francisco last week and has made just 19 plate appearances for Fresno thus far, but has an 1.064 OPS in that short span.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a rundown of the week's minor league transactions. One of the notable names on the move is veteran Scott Elarton, who was released by the White Sox after signing a minor league deal with the club last March.
Some Thursday notes from around the majors...
- Aroldis Chapman recorded seven strikeouts while allowing three hits and a walk over five shutout innings for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville tonight, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Chapman is in the midst of a 10 2/3 inning scoreless streak.
- Fangraphs' Jack Moore looks at Alex Gordon's ongoing demolition of Triple-A pitching and says "there’s no excuse if he’s not back in Kansas City by June."
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that "many people believe" the Yankees will designate Randy Winn for assignment when Curtis Granderson returns from the DL. Feinsand believes the Yanks should keep Winn and instead send Kevin Russo back to the minors.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter) that the Brewers have signed right-hander Eduardo Morlan to a minor-league deal. The Brewers selected Morlan from Tampa Bay in the 2008 Rule 5 draft but he was designated for assignment and returned to the Rays during spring training of that year. The Rays just released Morlan two days ago.
- ESPN's Insider Rumors section (subscription required) speculates that Rickie Weeks could be a trade candidate if Milwaukee doesn't want to pay his likely arbitration raise in the winter. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored the Brewers' trade options last week, and noted that Weekes' arbitration salary bump might also cause teams to shy away from acquiring him.
- John Schuerholz chatted on the air with Sirius XM Radio's Jim Bowden today. Bowden tweeted that Schuerholz feels the Braves have enough pop in their lineup and don't "need to make a Fred McGriff type trade." The Crime Dog was acquired by Atlanta in July 1993 for Donnie Elliott, Vince Moore and Melvin Nieves --- don't you always need to make a deal like that?
- Bowden also had Baltimore president Andy MacPhail on his show, and speculates (via Twitter) that the O's will look to draft Jameson Taillon based on MacPhail's description of his club's wants. Bowden also tweeted that MacPhail didn't offer an endorsement of manager Dave Trembley, and instead just noted that it's still early in the season.
- Omar Minaya said the Mets might look to trade for a starter later in the summer, reports Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Fanhouse's Ed Price explains how Philadelphia's unheralded signings of Jose Contreras and Danys Baez have bailed out their bullpen over the first two months of the season.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com answers Cleveland-related fan questions in a mailbag about such topics as when Michael Brantley will return to the majors, the recent release of Scott Lewis, and how the Tribe passed on Jason Heyward in the 2007 amateur draft.
Links for Sunday, as we await tonight's Subway series rubber match....
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay looks at what a trip to the disabled list for Homer Bailey would mean for the Reds' rotation. Bailey left today's game after just 2.1 IP with shoulder soreness. Fay writes that it won't be Aroldis Chapman, who is having his next start pushed back due to a blister.
- Joel Sherman breaks down the tremendous amount of talent in the rookie class of 2010, and wonders if it ranks among the best ever.
- In a separate article, Sherman profiles Mike Pelfrey's success so far in 2010, and relays that the New York right-hander wants manager Jerry Manuel to keep his job.
- Former MLB pitcher Jose Lima has died of a massive heart attack, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes (via Twitter). Our condolences go out to Lima's family and friends.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports lists ten veteran players who he thinks deserve to be traded to another team.
- Pirates fans could see 2008's second overall pick, Pedro Alvarez, arrive in Pittsburgh soon, writes Bob Cohn of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Alvarez is hitting just .243 at Triple-A Indianapolis this season, but he has homered ten times and slugged .497.
- The Chicago Sun Times' Rick Morrissey says that Ryne Sandberg might not be a good fit as the eventual manager of the Cubs, even if fans would love to see it.
- With Rays Senior VP of baseball operations Gerry Hunsicker in Houston this weekend, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle looks back on Hunsicker's tenure as the Astros' GM.
May 20: The Phillies will also have a scout in attendance when Maya throws tomorrow, writes the Philadelphia Daily News' David Murphy, though he adds the team doesn't currently consider Maya a serious option for either the bullpen or rotation.
May 19:The latest model from Cuba is now officially on the showroom floor. Nine months after defecting, pitcher Yunesky Maya* has been cleared to sign as a free agent, reports Jorge Ebro at El Nuevo Herald (link in Spanish). Maya's agent, Bart Hernandez, tells Ebro that interest has been "tremendous" thus far in the 28-year-old longtime anchor of the Cuban National Team rotation. Count the Yankees at minimum among the interested, as the New York Post's Brian Costello and George A. King III reported this morning that senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman will be on hand to watch Maya at a workout this Friday in the Dominican Republic.
The obvious starting point for scouting Maya is through comparison with another former Cuban National Series standout who stepped from the 2009 World Baseball Classic to defection and the Major League auction block: Aroldis Chapman. Maya is at least six years older and right-handed, but on the other hand, boasts far more competitive experience and, by all accounts, a fuller arsenal of secondary pitches. Maya told Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez last September he alternates between a 94-mile-an-hour heater, slider, change-up, curve, and sinker, a repertoire which scouts backed up after seeing Maya in action at a workout late last year.
In the 48th National Series that ended last year, Maya ended second to Chapman in strikeouts, 119 to 130, but outdistanced the younger pitcher in the league's equivalent of the Cy Young, thanks to Maya's superior overall stats: 13-4, seven complete games, and a 2.22 ERA in 145 IP. In six Cuban campaigns, Maya managed a 48-29 record with a 2.51 ERA and was also lights-out in both of his brief appearances at the WBC.
Among potential suitors Ebro mentions the Mets and White Sox, two teams that showed early interest in Chapman but didn't stick around to the final stages of the sweepstakes. The Red Sox have been known to be interested as well, though Rob Bradford at WEEI quoted a source in February indicating that Maya was more likely to choose a team where he had a better shot of immediately cracking the rotation. While it's true that Maya worked largely as a starter in Cuba, he told Gomez in September that he is open to relief work and willing to do "whatever the team that signs me needs." What is seemingly more important to the player and his agent, judging by their respective quotes to the Spanish-language press, is that teams approach Maya as a polished talent who is big-league ready right now.
* Maya has been dubbed Yuniesky, Yunieski, Yuneski, and Yunesky with almost equal frequency in published reports both stateside and in Cuba. Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez gave some clarity to MLB Trade Rumors in an e-mail this morning, saying that Yunesky Maya Mendiluza is the name on the player's official documents.