Author Archives: Zach Links

Angels To Acquire David Murphy From Indians

The Angels have reportedly reached an agreement to acquire outfielder David Murphy from the Indians in exchange for infield prospect Eric Stamets. News of the swap came just minutes before the Angels announced the acquisition of fellow lefty-swinging outfielder David DeJesus.

David  Murphy

Murphy, 33, is making $6MM this season and has a $500K buyout on his $7MM 2016 team option. He has slashed .296/.344/.437 with five homers in 229 plate appearances this season for the Indians, serving primarily as a platoon option in the corner outfield.

The Angels already have lefty hitters (Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun) in the outfield corners, although Joyce has struggled this season. It stands to reason, then, that Murphy and DeJesus will provide the Angels with a pair of lefty bats to deploy in left field and at DH. Either would make a fine platoon partner for the recently acquired Shane Victorino, and they could both find themselves in the lineup versus tough righties, perhaps at the expense of young first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Monday that Murphy was on the Halos’ radar.

When faced with the possibility that he could lose playing time back in January, Murphy said that he would be open to a trade.  Many months later, Murphy has been moved out of Cleveland, though his playing time didn’t dip much in 2015.

Stamets, a 23-year-old shorstop, was a sixth-round pick of the Halos in 2012. In Double-A this year, the defensive-minded Stamets has hit .248/.306/.360 with three homers in 241 plate appearances. The youngster has also swiped five bases.

Baseball America ranked Stamets as the No. 23 prospect in the Angels’ system following the 2014 season. “Stamets would be one of the top prospects in baseball if he could hit as well as he plays defense,” BA writes.

Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times first reported (via Twitter) that the Angels were about to acquire Murphy. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that an agreement was in place (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted Stamets’ inclusion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Royals GM Dayton Moore Talks Zobrist Trade

Dayton Moore pulled off a major acquisition when he landed ace Johnny Cueto from the Reds on Sunday, but he didn’t rest on his laurels after that trade.  Today, he finalized another major deal when he acquired versatile veteran Ben Zobrist from the A’s.  Earlier today, I asked the Royals GM if he was under a mandate from ownership to go for broke this summer and make major moves.

We always have a mandate to put the best team on the field,” Moore told reporters on the conference call.  “Certainly the play of our team and how our players have responded gives us more motivation to make moves, but we’ve always tried to do whatever could at the deadline to make our team better for the second half, even when we weren’t competing.”

While Cueto came to K.C. before Zobrist, the GM explained that talks with Oakland actually started before the discussions with Cincinnati. There are still a few days to go until the trade deadline but Moore doesn’t expect to make another blockbuster deal between now and Friday.  Like a responsible Christmas shopper, it appears that Moore has avoided the rush to get the top shelf prizes.  Interestingly, however, he says the timing of it all was happenstance.

You’ll have to speak with [Reds GM] Walt [Jocketty] and [A’s GM] Billy [Beane], but for me, they were just satisfied with the package that was offered,” said Moore.  “I don’t think anybody is gonna execute a deal unless they’re as satisfied as they can be.  When we enter into these types of discussions for a player we want we are very aggressive.  We have a good idea of what we want and what we want to provide as far as the package goes and what they desire…No sense in stringing things out and creating unnecessary tension.  If you know at the end of the day that you’re going to get to a certain place, you might as well get there.”

Zobrist is expected to join his new teammates “in a day or two,” and when he gets in the mix, he’ll be slotted in left field rather than second base, where he’ll be filling in for the currently injured Alex Gordon.  There’s plenty of work ahead for Zobrist, Cueto, and the Royals, but it sounds like their GM is done with the heavy lifting for the week.


Ben Cherington On Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo

Earlier this evening, the Red Sox and the Angels reached agreement on a deal to send Shane Victorino and cash considerations out west in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge.  In a conference call with reporters, Red Sox Executive Vice President/GM Ben Cherington explained that the talks started only in the last few days.

The deal kind of came together over the weekend,” Cherington said. “I talked to Shane this afternoon during batting practice about it…He’s been a part of a lot of great moments, not just for the Red Sox, but throughout his career.”

The deal was not an easy one for Cherington to make and it has brought about some mixed emotions for the Flyin’ Hawaiian.  Victorino expressed to Cherington that he’s happy to have an opportunity to join up with a contender and play meaningful games down the stretch.  On the other hand, the veteran feels that his time in Boston marked a very important part of his career and he is sad to leave his Red Sox teammates behind.

Baseball-wise, the deal opens up space on the Red Sox’s roster, allowing them to get a good look at international signee Rusney Castillo.  While Cherington wouldn’t quantify how much that played a role in the Victorino trade, he said that it was “certainly” a consideration.  However, there aren’t any immediate plans to make a similar move to accommodate Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie is doing well. There’s merit and consideration in trying to get some opportunities for him too, but today it’s Castillo.  We’ll see where it goes after that,” said the GM.

As for Rutledge, Cherington confessed that he has had interest in the infielder “going back to his Colorado days.”  With Dustin Pedroia on the DL, the 26-year-old figures to see a good amount of playing time the rest of the way.  If he does well, Cherington says he can envision him “being a part of the team going forward.”

Outside of today’s transaction, Cherington kept mum about other possible dealings this week.  When asked about the level of interest he’s received in Mike Napoli, he effectively gave a no comment.  When another reporter inquired on what’s next, Cherington tersely replied, “[There’s] nothing to announce and nothing is particularly close.”



Minor MLB Transactions: 7/26/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Pirates activated infielder Justin Sellers from the disabled list and outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis, Adam Berry of MLB.com tweets.  Sellers, who has been dealing with an Achilles injury, had been on the 60-day DL, so the move does not change the Pirates’ 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39.
  • The Angels have outrighted lefty Adam Wilk to Triple-A Salt Lake, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. The team designated Wilk for assignment on Friday. Wilk has pitched two innings for the Angels and has spent most of the season in Salt Lake’s rotation, posting a 5.52 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 102 2/3 innings.

Quick Hits: Royals, Pirates, Dodgers, Benoit

Here’s a roundup of the latest trade-deadline-related news:

  • The Royals are still working to upgrade their bench, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.  Kansas City is looking at both infielders and outfielders to improve its reserve group.
  • Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen is now a stronger trade candidate now that the Rays have slipped to 49-51, Morosi tweets.  Jepsen, who is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, owns a 2.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 through 45 appearances this season.
  • Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is adamant that his team should not sell before the deadline, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington says that he’s not necessarily done shopping even after acquiring Aramis Ramirez, Adam Berry of MLB.com writes.  “We’ve shored up what we felt was our biggest soft spot. We’ll continue to look,” Huntington said. “It just gives us some versatility and flexibility to find where we think the next best match and next best fit is.”  However, he wouldn’t specify what area he might target in the coming days.
  • One issue for the Dodgers is that they aren’t willing to part with top prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.  At that point, there’s a big dropoff to whoever their No. 3 prospect might be, whether it’s pitcher Jose De Leon or someone else.
  • The perception in the market is that the Padres will definitely move Joaquin Benoit before the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

Pirates Interested In Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino

The Pirates have considered acquiring Mike Napoli and/or Shane Victorino, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). Napoli hasn’t been successful at the plate lately but he has been decent defensively, Biertempfel notes.

The Bucs’ interest in Napoli might be a brand new development.  Late last week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Red Sox weren’t getting any interest in the struggling first baseman.  Napoli has hit just .205/.301/.372 in 335 plate appearances this season, well off the .818 OPS mark he carried through his first two seasons in Boston. If he can rebound, though, he might help the Pirates against lefties while also easing their dependence on Pedro Alvarez, who has struggled defensively in his first season at first base.

Victorino has been injured for much of the past two seasons and has more than $5MM remaining on his 2015 salary.  For his part, the 34-year-old says that he hopes to stay in Boston through the end of his contract. The right-handed Victorino would complement Gregory Polanco in right field, although Polanco has played better lately. Victorino could also potentially help the Pirates’ bench, although he hasn’t hit well in either of the last two seasons and has struggled since returning from a calf injury earlier this month. He’s making $13MM this season, after which he’ll be a free agent.


Latest On David Price

Now that Johnny Cueto has been moved to the Royals, one can’t help but wonder if fellow ace David Price will be on his way out of the AL Central.  A deal could very well take place, but it probably won’t happen until very close to the deadline, agent Bo McKinnis told MLB Network Radio.

[Last Thursday], I had some folks that asked me my thoughts.  Then, I said I feel like if they were to go 5-3 in those eight, that [Tigers president/GM Dave] Dombrowski would hang onto him [past the deadline],” McKinnis said, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. “Well, since I made that comment of them needing to go 5-3, they’ve actually gone 2-2 … so it’s kind of hard to say I’m optimistic about us staying. Yet I have no doubt that Dave’s going to drag it to Thursday or Friday. If I was in his shoes, that’s what I would do, because this team was set up to win, and it’s just kind of hard to throw in the towel.”

McKinnis also addressed speculation that there haven’t been contract talks between Price and the Tigers.  That chatter is “incorrect,” though McKinnis says that the two sides have been too far apart to ever make serious headway towards a deal.

When asked about the prospect of allowing another team a 48-hour window to negotiate a long-term deal, McKinnis wouldn’t rule it out, but he seemed skeptical that something could get done.

I try to never say never,” McKinnis said, “so I’m not going to give a blanket no to that, because you don’t know what’s going to be on the other end. They may offer us a billion dollars. You just never know. So I’m not going to say no to it…We’re sitting here two months away from free agency. It’s kind of tough to not wait on that, but I’m not going to say it’s impossible to at least entertain something of that nature.”

The Tigers aren’t necessarily opposed to granting a 48-hour window, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.   A high-ranking Tigers official told Morosi that the team has no such policy against doing that, even though such windows are rare in MLB trades.

Still, it’s not certain that Price will get moved.  If the Tigers keep their ace, they’ll look to add between now and the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  Right now, they’re currently in the market checking on upgrades.


Latest On Cole Hamels

4:42pm: The Rangers and Dodgers have emerged as the likely favorites to land Hamels, multiple sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.  The Phillies continue to discuss Hamels with at least four other teams – the Cubs, Yankees, Giants and Red Sox – but those teams don’t match up as well as Los Angeles or Texas, according to a source who spoke with Stark.  Sources also told Stark they would be surprised if a trade was completed before Tuesday.

3:13pm: The Yankees are exploring deals for all of the major available starting pitchers, but they’re not inclined to move top prospects or take on lots of salary to acquire Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

12:10pm: The Phillies and Rangers remain in dialogue about a Hamels trade, but nothing is “close” at this time, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) hears from sources.

9:52am: “Industry sentiment” has the Rangers as the favorites for Hamels, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.  Texas has long-term motivation for acquiring Hamels, the prospects necessary to swing a deal, and the hurler can’t block a trade to the Rangers.

9:48am: Momentum is building towards a Cole Hamels trade, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Offers for the Phillies ace have improved since Hamels’ no-hitter and teams are now asking for less money and offering better players, sources tell Rosenthal.

At this time, Rosenthal hears (link) that the five teams with the most recent interest in Hamels (in no particular order) are the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees, and Giants.  The Red Sox, who are eager to win in 2016, have been connected to Hamels, but they are absent from Rosenthal’s top five.

On Saturday, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Yankees have asked about Hamels, but their interest does not appear to be much more than due diligence at this time.  The Astros also scouted Hamels’ Saturday start and while they were undoubtedly impressed with his performance, they are not amongst the top five teams according to Rosenthal.


Reactions To Johnny Cueto Trade

After months of speculation, the Reds finally parted ways with pitcher Johnny Cueto.  On Sunday, the Reds and Royals finalized a deal that sends Cueto to KC for pitchers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.  In this deal, the Reds landed two lefties who could blossom into mid-rotation starters and a third lefty who can be placed in the back of their rotation right away, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America writes.  Here’s a look at some of the reactions to the Cueto deal..

  • It’s unlikely that the Reds will reacquire Cueto in free agency this winter, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.  Rosecrans wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reds make a run at Mike Leake – another rumored trade candidate – this winter, but he doesn’t expect that reunion to happen either.
  • Cueto told reporters “It’s a good trade. But I am sad,” Nick Groke of The Denver Post tweets.
  • If Cueto gets the Royals where they want to go in 2015, it won’t matter whether he stays or leaves, Richard Justice of MLB.com writes.  GM Dayton Moore definitely weakened his farm system, but Cueto gives them a chance to win big this year.
  • One AL scout told Jack Magruder of The Sports Xchange (on Twitter) that Reed is the sleeper in the deal.  That scout sees Reed’s future as a reliever and also feels that Finnegan best fits in a bullpen.
  • Finnegan and Lamb will head to Triple-A, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets.  Finnegan will be used as a starter.
  • The Reds did well in the deal considering that Cueto is a rental, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com tweets.  Finnegan and Lamb, he says, both need more time to develop but they both have upside.
  • The Reds got a great return, but this was a deal the Royals had to make, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • Here’s a sneak peek at what Cueto might look like in his new Royals jersey, from our official Instagram page.  For the latest from MLBTR on Instagram, follow us today – @traderumorsMLB.

Dodgers Interested In Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo

The Dodgers view Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo as a backup plan if they do not land Cole Hamels or David Price, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  It was reported last week that the Rangers are listening on Gallardo.

Gallardo, 29, has provided the Rangers with 121 1/3 quality innings since coming over in a winter deal from the Brewers. He owns a 3.19 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 on the year.

But, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Gallardo has given no indication of interest in an extension, making him an expiring asset for a club that has faded of late. Despite his solid work, Gallardo’s value may not quite match his results. His track record is more that of a mid-rotation innings eater than a top-of-the-rotation arm, and ERA estimators take a somewhat dim view of his work this year (particularly a 4.39 SIERA mark).

For his career, Gallardo owns a 3.65 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.