- When the Athletics put Rich Hill on the market, they can be expected to charge a high price for him, Rosenthal says. Hill’s stats — if only for this season — compare favorably to David Price’s last year, and he might be amenable to an extension with his new team.
- Prior to this season, there was no trade interest in Melvin Upton unless the Padres took on the rest of his contract. After a .268/.315/.464 performance this year, though, that’s changing, at least to a degree. San Diego still owes Upton a little under $40MM through 2017, but teams are now willing to give up talent, with the Padres’ return increasing depending upon how much salary they’re willing to take on. The Padres might be motivated to deal Upton and/or Matt Kemp to clear space for former first-round pick Hunter Renfroe, who’s batting .335/.362/.611 for Triple-A El Paso. Austin Hedges has also hit well for the Chihuahuas, which means the Padres could also look to move fellow catcher Derek Norris to clear space in the big leagues.
- Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays would make sense, Rosenthal opines. Acquiring Bruce from the Reds would allow the Jays to move Jose Bautista (who’s currently on the DL with a toe injury) to DH and reduce playing time for the underwhelming Justin Smoak. The Jays have a greater need for pitching, but might play to the strengths of the market by acquiring hitting instead.
- The Phillies could consider keeping Jeremy Hellickson, who’s in the midst of a solid season — he could eat innings for them down the stretch, with the Phillies perhaps gambling on him by extending a qualifying offer this coming winter and hoping to grab a draft pick as a result. But they would still “jump” at a good trade offer. Of their relievers, the Phils are more likely to deal David Hernandez or Andrew Bailey than Jeanmar Gomez, who they can control for 2017. Other Phillies candidates to be dealt include Andres Blanco and Peter Bourjos.
- Rosenthal begins the second video with a brief discussion of an article of his from earlier today about former Cardinals minor leaguer Cody Stanley, who has already received a 162-game suspension and expects to receive a lifetime ban for repeatedly testing positive for the steroid Turinabol. Stanley claims to not know why he keeps testing positive. “I will never apologize for something I didn’t do,” Stanley said in a statement. “We will not stop searching for why all of this has happened.” Chris Colabello of the Blue Jays, Alec Asher and Daniel Stumpf of the Phillies and Boog Powell of the Mariners have all tested positive for Turinabol and received suspensions, and all claim not to know what happened. “Who would be stupid enough to take the same steroid again?” Stanley asks Rosenthal.
- The Mets are likely to trade for pitching after a series of injuries to their hurlers, Rosenthal says. Recent injuries to Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard could have the team looking in different directions this month than previously anticipated, perhaps to starters, perhaps to relievers.
- The Dodgers will consider dealing Yasiel Puig before the August 1 deadline, Rosenthal suggests. Whether they actually do deal him could depend, however, on the timing of Andre Ethier’s return and whether they acquire another outfielder.
Here are various notes on injuries from throughout the game.
- Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval will have Dr. James Andrews examine his injured shoulder on Monday, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. Last week, a scheduled exam was canceled because Sandoval’s shoulder was too sore, with the idea that Sandoval would attempt to meet with Andrews at a later date. The Red Sox placed him on the disabled list two weeks ago.
- Padres catcher Austin Hedges will have surgery to address a hamate fracture and will likely be out six to eight weeks, tweets MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Hedges spent much of 2015 as the Padres’ backup catcher, but this year, he began the season with Triple-A El Paso (where he was hitting quite well in a small sample) after the Friars acquired Christian Bethancourt. Regardless, it sounds like Hedges, who’s still just 23, will miss a significant chunk of development time.
- Rays closer Brad Boxberger, who’s missed the entire season so far after having core muscle surgery in March, has been cleared to resume baseball activities, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune tweets. Boxberger remains on track to return to the Rays in mid-May. Alex Colome has collected four saves in his absence.
- Phillies righty Charlie Morton didn’t receive positive news from an MRI on his injured hamstring on Monday, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. Morton strained the hamstring on Saturday and was placed on the DL the next day. “Apparently, his MRI wasn’t as good as we were hoping,” says manager Pete Mackanin. “We’re going to see what happens in the next two or three days and see what the next step is. I really don’t know what the next step is, I just know it’s not as good as we were hoping.” Adam Morgan is expected to take Morton’s place in the starting rotation for the time being.
- Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy threw a bullpen for team officials yesterday, tweets MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. The throwing session was the latest step in McCarthy’s recovery after having Tommy John surgery early last season.
- Another injured Dodgers starter, Hyun-jin Ryu, threw a 30-pitch bullpen today and could soon begin facing live hitters, ESPN’s Doug Padilla writes. Ryu, who is recovering after having labrum surgery last year, had his throwing program delayed after he suffered a groin strain earlier this month. It’s still unclear when he’ll return, Padilla notes.
- The Dodgers have also announced that they’ve reinstated outfielder Carl Crawford, who had been on the DL for the past two weeks with a back injury. To clear space on their active roster, they optioned righty Zach Lee to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett was scratched from tonight’s lineup due to oblique tightness, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. There’s no immediate word on the severity of the injury. Gennett is off to a hot start this season, batting .258/.361/.516 this year after mostly struggling in 2015.
The Dodgers have “joined the fray” on free agent righty Johnny Cueto, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It’s not immediately clear whether that indicates any stepped-up interest on the part of the Dodgers, who were previously said to have reached out to Cueto’s representatives recently. Indeed, agent Bryce Dixon told MLBTR’s Zach Links yesterday that he saw L.A. as a good fit. As Heyman adds, there are “a couple other” unnamed organizations also “in the mix” for Cueto at present.
Here are a few more notes from the game’s western divisions:
- Scott Miller of Bleacher Report takes a close look at Yasiel Puig’s standing in the Dodgers organization. He speaks extensively with both Adrian Gonzalez and A.J. Ellis (among others), who provide fascinating insight into the strained (but, perhaps, not-yet broken) relationship between Puig and his teammates.
- With the Rangers reportedly adding reliever Tony Barnette, there’s yet more reason to believe the club could strike a deal involving one of its young pen assets, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Diamondbacks have widely been tabbed as one pursuer, and Grant says that Arizona is eyeing late-inning hurlers Shawn Tolleson and Keone Kela. Though the D’Backs are said to be hesitant to part with young righty Archie Bradley, Grant says that exactly who Texas is eyeing in trade talks.
- The Diamondbacks have talked to the Reds on multiple occasions about second baseman Brandon Phillips, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Arizona’s win-now moves could help persuade Phillips to authorize a deal there, suggests Rosenthal, though MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets that the veteran has not been approached to discuss his no-trade rights.
- As with the Barnette signing, bringing in Christian Bethancourt isn’t necessarily just an isolated move for the Padres, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune explains. The move leaves the club with four catchers on its 40-man roster, and the two most recent additions — Betancourt and Josmil Pinto — are out of options. San Diego was “shopping” both Derek Norris and Austin Hedges over the week, per Lin, who suggests that it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see one of them dealt.
On the Cubs’ young roster, Anthony Rizzo has become a leader at the tender age of 25, Peter Gammons writes. Actually, because he’s close in age to many of the Cubs’ top young players, Rizzo is a more meaningful leader than a 30-something veteran might be. Cubs executives Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod (who praised Rizzo’s makeup after drafting him when Rizzo was just 17) have been by Rizzo’s side throughout much of his baseball life. McLeod drafted Rizzo with the Red Sox, and then Hoyer and McLeod acquired Rizzo in the first Adrian Gonzalez trade when the two executives were in the Padres front office. Then, when Hoyer and McLeod headed to the Cubs before the 2012 season, they traded for Rizzo again, this time in the Andrew Cashner trade. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Reds have announced that reliever Sean Marshall will have surgery Wednesday to fix the torn anterior capsule in his oft-injured left (throwing) shoulder. The surgery will be performed by Mets doctor David Altcheck. It’s been a rough few years for the 32-year-old Marshall, who last pitched a full season in 2012, the same year the Reds signed him to a three-year, $16.5MM extension.
- Top Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges is adjusting to being a bench player after being promoted to the big leagues two weeks ago, Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Hedges, who’s backing up Derek Norris, has collected just 11 plate appearances since his debut on May 4. “When I’m catching every day you don’t do as much because you’ve got to save your body to be able to catch,” Hedges says. “When I’m not playing, I’ve got to be doing things, game-like blocking drills, throwing to bases more, we just did popups today, working on things so that when I’m in there it’s not like I haven’t done anything for four or five days or however many days it is.”
The Padres announced that they have designated veteran catcher Wil Nieves for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for top prospect Austin Hedges, whose previously reported promotion is now official.
Nieves, 37, won the Padres’ backup catching job out of Spring Training but rarely got into games this year, with Derek Norris shouldering an abnormally large workload behind the dish. Nieves appeared in just six games, only four of them starts, and totaled 14 plate appearances with a .077/.143/.308 batting line. His lone hit in his second go-around with the Padres was a big one, however, as it came in the form of an April 12 grand slam that fueled a 6-4 win over the division-rival Giants.
Nieves spent the 2014 season serving as the backup to Carlos Ruiz in Philadelphia, accumulating 128 plate appearances over the course of 36 games. He’s appeared in the Major Leagues in each season dating back to 2005, and the well-seasoned backstop is a career .241/.280/.317 hitter in 427 big league games.
The Padres will promote top catching prospect Austin Hedges, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. It’s uncertain how much he’ll play with the Padres, however, since their current starting backstop, Derek Norris, is in the midst of a strong season, and first baseman Yonder Alonso and the Padres’ outfielders have all played well too, so there’s nowhere else to move Norris (who has little big-league experience at any position besides catcher anyway). The team does have a brief series in Seattle next week that could allow Hedges to catch while Norris plays DH. Wil Nieves is the Padres’ current backup catcher, and Lin suggests Nieves could be designated for assignment, with Hedges taking over in a backup role.
Hedges is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, No. 50 by MLB.com, and No. 74 by ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider-only). Hedges’ defensive ability wins widespread acclaim from nearly all prospect analysts. MLB.com praises his receiving, arm, and potential game-calling ability, while Law notes that framing pitches should prove to be a strength as well. Hedges wins less praise for his hitting — he batted a weak .225/.268/.321 at Double-A San Antonio last year. He’s off to a much better start in 2015 for Triple-A El Paso this year, however (.343/.413/.552 in 75 plate appearances), and his strong standing among prospect analysts suggests he might be so valuable defensively that he won’t need to hit much.
If Hedges manages to stick in the big leagues, he’ll likely be in line to become eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player following the 2017 season. He could then become a free agent after 2021.
The Padres declined to part with top outfield prospect Hunter Renfroe in their deal for closer Craig Kimbrel, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. At the same time, the Braves weren’t sold on top catching prospect Austin Hedges and feared that his hitting might not develop enough. Ultimately, that left pitcher Matt Wisler as the key prospect in the deal. Here’s more from Heyman’s column..
- Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle is considering retirement following the 2015 season, Heyman reports. While he notes that April retirement ruminations often prove to be inaccurate, there seems to be a strong possibility that the 36-year-old Buehrle will call it quits.
- Tigers executives were shocked that they were able to pry right-hander Shane Greene away from the Yankees this winter, Heyman writes. The Yankees considered trading Greene “painful,” but the team was desperate for a shortstop, and New York scouting guru Gene Michael was a strong supporter of Gregorius.
- Trading Ryan Howard seems less and less likely for the Phillies each coming day, Heyman writes, noting that one scout said that Howard simply looks “lost” at the plate. Heyman also notes that the stacked starting pitching class on next year’s free agent market may be hindering the Phillies’ ability to move Cole Hamels, as teams are content to wait to bid on the likes of David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, Jeff Samardzija and others.
- The Orioles checked in on Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro at some point late in the spring. Navarro, who has been supplanted as the starting catcher in Toronto by Russell Martin, is hoping to go elsewhere and start. The diplomatic Navarro spoke with MLBTR’s Zach Links last month about the trade talk surrounding him.
- One GM who has some interest in Elvis Andrus suggested to Heyman that it’d be hard for the Rangers to trade him now. While Texas has infield depth, most of it is at the lower rungs of their system. Meanwhile, they’ll be without Jurickson Profar for a second straight year.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has one year to go on his contract, but word is that the front office likes him and they mainly want to see progress from their younger players before extending him. It’s said that Gonzalez won’t be judged on his win-loss record, but so far he’s doing pretty well in that department too.
- The Red Sox made at least a preliminary offer to Yoenis Cespedes before trading him, which seems to poke a hole in the theory that Boston coaches “hated” the outfielder.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Despite coming off their third World Series title in five years, many pundits aren’t expecting much of a title defense for the Giants, which Tim Hudson tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is just fine by the clubhouse. “I think the guys in here embrace the underdog role. It’s like they say, ’OK, everybody is picking us to finish mid-pack again. We’re gonna show ’em.’ I think it’s great,” Hudson said. “I would rather be the underdog than the favorite. The pressure is on the favorite all the time.” Here’s some more from around the NL West…
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) that he likes the team’s internal options as replacements for the injured Kenley Jansen. This said, the Dodgers are “open-minded” about free agent additions, Friedman said. L.A. is known to be looking at acquiring bullpen help, and are reportedly interested in Joba Chamberlain.
- Zack Greinke will, unsurprisingly, wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to exercise the opt-out clause in his Dodgers contract, the righty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick). Greinke reiterated that he enjoys pitching for the Dodgers and said he’s open to discussing a new contract with the team.
- The opt-out clause, Greinke said, is “all to your benefit. If things are going good, you can use it for more power. There’s no negative to it.” He also made some telling remarks about why he wanted the clause in the first place, seemingly based on regrets over his first multi-year contract when he pitched for the Royals. “I know you can’t really trust the front office and what they tell you. Guys have signed long deals and get traded the next year. It happens all the time,” Greinke said. “Teams do what’s best for them and you can’t fault them, but you can’t trust them to do what’s best for you. Their job is to do what’s best for the team.”
- Signing Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez to bolster the bullpen will be costly, though Steve Dilbeck of the L.A Times opines that the Dodgers shouldn’t shy away from using their financial resources now when a proven closer could help the team win a championship.
- According to recent reports, the Padres offered Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe to the Phillies in exchange for Cole Hamels. With the assumption that it was a legit offer that the Phillies rejected, and that no other players or money were involved, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan examines the proposal and feels that the Phils were probably right to turn it down. While “the offer seems in the vicinity of fair” and wouldn’t have been a bad return for Hamels, there are significant questions about Hedges and Renfroe’s long-term future as major leaguers. Sullivan thinks Philadelphia could find a better deal elsewhere, even if he doesn’t think they’ll be able to land a true blue-chip prospect for Hamels.
- In other NL West news from earlier today on MLBTR, Mark Trumbo won his arbitration hearing against the Diamondbacks.
Phillies lefty Cole Hamels would prefer to be dealt to a contender, he tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “I want to go to a place where I can win again,” said Hamels. Though he made clear he was not demanding a trade, Hamels did indicate that he wants to play for a winning ballclub, saying “I know it’s not going to happen here.”
Hamels, 31, has represented perhaps the biggest unconsummated trade story of the offseason. With all major arms now signed off of the free agent market, and most teams presumably set to enter camp with their rotations intact, he may well be the only achievable prize left for clubs looking to add an impact starter.
According to Nightengale, the Phillies have continued to work hard to find an acceptable deal. The Padres have dangled a package of Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges, but that was not deemed sufficient by the Philadelphia front office. And the Phils have been unsuccessful in prying their key targets from teams like the Red Sox (who won’t include Blake Swihart), Dodgers (who haven’t offered any of the team’s top four prospects), and Cardinals (who have not agreed to move Carlos Martinez).
Hamels says that he will do his best to prepare for the season in the normal course, and gave no indication that he will do anything other than honor his contract, particularly with camp set to open. “Now that I’m here, I plan on being here for the next six weeks,” said Hamels, explaining that he had kept an eye on rumors over the winter. “I think it would be pretty chaotic if that’s not the case. But it’s out of my control.”
The veteran southpaw says that he crafted his no-trade list by identifying the nine teams he would most want to play for and leaving himself unprotected from those clubs. Only the Yankees and Rangers can deal for him without approval among American League teams, though Hamels notes that he would be “all ears” to the possibility of waiving his no-trade protection were the Red Sox to work out an agreement to acquire him. (He did not address the idea, advanced in some earlier reports, that he might seek inducements, such as a guarantee of his fifth-year option, from a team over which he possesses veto power.)
Reports emerged yesterday that the Padres and Rays were discussing a deal that would send outfielder Wil Myers to San Diego. Subsequent reports greatly expanded the possibilities of that deal, including multi-team concepts, different packages from San Diego, and spin-off deals. If you would like to catch up on the earlier rumors, follow the page break link.
Various reports have indicated that a deal is close but that multiple different permutations are still in play. Here’s the latest, from this morning on:
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports on Twitter that the deal is done, while Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that it is nearing the finish line. No draft choices will be moved in the deal, says Sherman.
- The Rays are down to two possible scenarios, and are waiting to hear whether the Nationals are in or out, Topkin tweets. Regardless, Tampa is set to move Myers, Hanigan, and two lower-level minor league players. On its end, San Diego would send Rivera, Smith, and Bauers, as well as Ross and Turner. It appears that Tampa would either keep the latter two players or flip them to D.C. for Souza and an A-ball lefty. (Twitter links.) Turner, of course, was taken 13th overall in last year’s draft and would therefore need to be included as a player to be named later.
- Lefty Jose Castillo is one of the other players that would move from Tampa, ESPN.com’s Keith Law hears (Twitter link). Since signing to a $1.55MM bonus, the 18-year-old Venezuelan has spent each of the last two years with the Rays’ Rookie league affiliate, mostly as a reliever. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently gave an update on Castillo in his Rays prospect breakdown, noting that the projectable hurler has a big fastball and has returned to health after sitting out much of 2014 with a tender arm.
- Another young lefty, Travis Ott, appears to be the final name in this potential scenario, according to a report from Rosenthal (Twitter links). Rosenthal cautions that this is not a final agreement, but the scenario a source outlined for him, and adds that competitive balance picks could also be a component. (The Padres have the fifth competitive balance Round A choice, which is currently the 41st overall choice.)
- The Rays are interested in San Diego’s first-round pick from last year, shortstop Trea Turner, according to Heyman (Twitter link). It is not clear that the young N.C. State product is in play, however, Heyman adds.
- Another element of the deal being discussed is a swap of catchers Ryan Hanigan and Rene Rivera, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
- The primary deal under contemplation includes 19-year-old first baseman Jake Bauers, right-handed pitching prospect Joe Ross, the fellow young righty Burch Smith, and two other players from San Diego’s side, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com tweets. A draft comp pick may also be involved in the swap, but prospects Matt Wisler and Austin Hedges are not believed to be, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post indicates in a tweet that the Nationals and Rays have an agreement in place involving outfielder Steven Souza in the event that the primary deal is consummated. He says that Tampa “will spin players” to D.C. if the Myers trade goes down. Earlier reports from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) connected the teams on that player, after Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the Nats had become involved.
- Ben Zobrist is not expected to be part of the potential deal between the Nationals and Rays, Sherman tweets. Indeed, neither Zobrist nor Evan Longoria are involved in any of the scenarios under consideration, Topkin tweets.