Author Archives: Zach Links

NL Rumors: Bruce, Mets, Cueto, Padres

The Reds already made one big move today, could another be around the corner?  The Mets are heavily scouting outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Recently, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com heard that the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, and that could be an indication that Bruce is very much available.

Here’s more from the National League..

  • The Blue Jays‘ talks with the Reds concerning Johnny Cueto never gained traction, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Davidi hears that the Reds were asking for a package headlined by Marcus Stroman.  Cueto, of course, went from the Reds to the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
  • “Industry perception” is that there is some pressure on the Padres to move out future payroll as the deadline approaches, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  On Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Tyson Ross was drawing the most interest of any of the Padres’ starting pitchers.  Of course, when it comes to finances, the Padres would surely prefer to move the contract of James Shields.
  • The Marlins should get a better indication what they can get for Mat Latos after learning the details of the Johnny Cueto deal, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets.

Royals Acquire Johnny Cueto From Reds

The Reds announced that Johnny Cueto has been traded to the Royals for left-handed pitchers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed.  The Reds are also sending cash considerations to KC, according to the Royals’ press release.

Cueto, 29, is months from his first shot at free agency, and the fourth-place Reds were been rumored to be shopping him for a while now. Along with the Royals, the Dodgers and Blue Jays were among teams that have been connected to Cueto. However, KC has come out on top.

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Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

[RELATED: Latest On Cole Hamels]

Cueto impressed in his final start as a member of the Reds when he threw eight shutout innings at Coors Field on Saturday night.  Just minutes prior to the game, the right-hander wasn’t sure if he’d even be getting the start.  The possibility of a KC trade apparently was so close last night that pitcher Michael Lorenzen had been warming up before the game, prepared to take Cueto’s place.  The deal fell through, for a time, but the two teams reconnected Sunday morning to complete a swap.

Cueto has been a rumored trade candidate for some time now but the Reds were apparently reluctant to move any of their key pieces before this year’s All-Star Game, which was played in Cincinnati.  Now that the All-Star festivities are in the rear view mirror and the Reds are at 43-52, there was little reason for them to hang on to the ace.  Cueto is earning a relatively modest $10MM salary in 2015, of which less than $4.3MM remains.

Through 19 starts this season, Cueto has posted a 2.62 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.  For his career, Cueto has posted a 3.21 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 across eight seasons with the Reds.  Cueto didn’t get to pitch in front of his fans in this year’s All-Star game but he did earn an All-Star nod in 2014, his best complete season to date.

Finnegan, a left-hander, was rated as the No. 55 prospect in the nation by Baseball America heading into the 2015 season.  In seven starts and four relief appearances this season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, Finnegan has posted a 5.00 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9.  Those numbers aren’t impressive, but they also came in a limited sample size of 27 innings.  At the big league level this year, Finnegan owns a 2.96 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 14 relief appearances.

Rated as the No. 18 prospect in the country by Baseball America prior to 2011, the 25-year-old Lamb has ascended the ranks of KC’s farm system but has yet to make his big league debut.  Tommy John surgery in 2011 kept him from pitching for the better part of two seasons and slowed his development.  So far this season, however, he’s looking sharp in Triple-A Omaha, pitching to a 2.67 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 17 starts. In years past, BA has praised Lamb for his control and changeup.

Reed, a left-handed reliever, has split his time between Advanced-A ball and Double-A this year.  Across 15 starts and three relief appearances, the 2013 second-round pick has pitched to a 2.53 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.

The agreement was first reported byKen Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Details added by Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter), Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter), Mark Sheldon of MLB.com (on Twitter), and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Ramirez, Blue Jays, Hamels

Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.



Blue Jays, Brewers Still Discussing Mike Fiers

The Blue Jays and Brewers are still discussing Mike Fiers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Rosenthal reported last week that the two sides were talking about a swap involving the right-hander, though he added that the Brewers weren’t terribly interested in moving him.

Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays still have numerous irons in the fire as the deadline approaches.  Toronto continues to show interest in frontline starters like Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto and also David Price, if he becomes available.

Fiers isn’t arbitration eligible until after the 2016 season and he’s earning just $513K in 2015.  Thanks to making his big league debut later on in his career, the 30-year-old can be controlled through 2019 via the arb process. That team control is one of the reasons that he’s probably appealing to the Blue Jays, but it probably also makes the Brewers reluctant to move him.

Upon first glance, Fiers would seem to be an imperfect fit for Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He’s a right-hander that averages just 89 mph on his fastball and is considered an extreme fly-ball pitcher. However, Fiers’ former teammate, Marco Estrada, has been outstanding for the Blue Jays in 2015.

According to Rosenthal’s report from last week, the Brewers would want multiple pieces as a return in any trade of Fiers. He’s an atypical trade candidate due to the four remaining seasons of control he brings, but the more traditional trade pieces in Milwaukee’s rotation don’t currently hold much appeal. Kyle Lohse, a free agent at season’s end, has struggled greatly in 2015. So, too, has the now-injured Matt Garza, who comes with two more years of a $12.5MM salary.


Rosenthal On Gausman, Ross, Cashner, Haren

Early Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports released his latest edition of Full Count (video link).  Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the highlights..

  • A trade of highly-regarded young right-hander Kevin Gausman would be quite unpopular with many members of the Orioles organization, Rosenthal hears.  It was reported late last week that the O’s appeared to be willing to discuss the 24-year-old but skipper Buck Showalter said on Saturday called that notion “comical.”
  • Tyson Ross is drawing the most interest of any Padres starting pitcher, thanks in large part to his contractual status.  Ross is under control through 2017 while Ian Kennedy is a potential pending free agent and Andrew Cashner can be a free agent after next season.  Unsurprisingly, the Padres want a greater haul for Ross than any of their other arms.
  • Dan Haren is on pace for about 33 starts and 205 innings, totals that would trigger an additional $3MM in incentives.  The Marlins could have some extra incentive of their own to move the veteran starter since they’d only be on the hook for the prorated portion of that, saving them roughly $1MM.
  • With the pending returns of Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales, the Cardinals are one team that is not in the hunt for starting pitching.

Follow MLB Trade Rumors On Instagram

Recently, MLB Trade Rumors launched a brand new official Instagram account: @TradeRumorsMLB.  Each day, we’ll be sharing conversation-inspiring images about the hottest topics in baseball.  From there, we invite you to give us a like, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section, and even share the link with a friend.

Yesterday’s image highlighted a trio of notable shortstop trade candidates in Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, and Alexei Ramirez.  Today’s Instagram picture offers a look at center field trade candidates Carlos Gomez, Cameron Maybin, and Charlie Blackmon.

And if you’re anxious to get a look at newly-acquired Astros pitcher Scott Kazmir in his new digs, we’ve got you covered there, too.

So, what are you waiting for?  If you don’t have an Instagram account, this is the perfect excuse to sign up and get one.  Follow us on Instagram today!


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NL Notes: Mercer, Morel, Cueto, Bruce, Alvarez, Upton

Pirates infielder Jordy Mercer was injured by a take out slide while turning a double play earlier today. The extent of the injury is unknown. The Pirates may activate utility infielder Brent Morel if Mercer misses more than a few days, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The club is already carrying a short bench, and none of the three healthy players have experience at third base. Morel was pulled from his Triple-A start today. The Pirates 40-man roster is full, so activating Morel will require a roster move.

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) heard that the Reds did not want to trade Johnny Cueto last month because they feared having to watch him pitch for another team in the All-Star Game.  Of course, Cueto was not named an All-Star and he remains a member of the Reds as of this writing.
  • The Orioles are among the teams scouting the Reds, tweets Morosi. They’re most interested in Cueto and outfielder Jay Bruce. Cueto is a free agent after the season, but Bruce is under contract through 2016 for $12.5MM with a $13MM ($1MM buyout) for 2017.
  • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged the challenges Pedro Alvarez is having in his first season at first base, but he told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he’s not about to lobby GM Neal Huntington to make a move.  “I think our [GM] knows as well as I do what we’re looking to identify as strengths and weaknesses on our club,” Hurdle said. “We will do everything we can to fortify and make our club better. I’m not a fan of saying OK, we need A, B and C when A, B and C are out there [in the clubhouse].
  • Justin Upton was pulled out of today’s game early, but it wasn’t a sign of an impending trade as many speculated.  The Padres simply had a muscle tighten up on him in the middle of today’s contest and he was pulled from the game as a precaution due to weather, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.

Phillies Notes: Hamels, Revere, Giles

Phillies lefty Cole Hamels had a rough outing on Sunday but he insists that he’s healthy, as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes. He also says he’s not worried about how his recent outings may impact his value.  “I think my track record speaks for itself,” the Phillies ace said. “But sometimes you can get yourself in a rut and you’ve got to get yourself out, and sometimes you get on a hot streak and you can go for months, so it’s just being able to start back over and see what I can do from the first pitch.”

Here’s more related to Hamels and the Phillies:

  • People around baseball are wondering if there’s something wrong with Hamels, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets. In his last two outings, Hamels has thrown a combined 6.1 innings while allowing 14 runs, 20 hits, and two walks. Hamels has a history of minor elbow and shoulder injuries. He missed a few starts earlier this season with a hamstring strain. For what it’s worth, his velocity has remained consistent through his recent plunge. A decline in velocity is often a leading indicator of injury.
  • The Red Sox sent VP Allard Baird to scout Hamels today, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN. Unfortunately, today’s outing probably didn’t provide much useful information for potential suitors. In my opinion, the Red Sox may not be the best positioned to acquire Hamels. On the fringe of the AL East pennant race, Boston is on Hamels’ limited no-trade list. It’s unclear if he would waive his no-trade protection to join the Sox if they fall farther out of the race.
  • In addition to the Red Sox, the Dodgers, Orioles, Rangers, and Cubs had scouts in attendance for Hamels’ start, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Angels were also present, but they were said to be scouting hitters.
  • Outfielder Ben Revere understands he could be traded in the next few days, writes Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He admits that anxiety increases as the trade deadline approaches. Revere, 27, is hitting .297/.336/.377 with a career high .080 ISO. It wouldn’t shock me if the Phillies kept Revere. None of the current contenders are said to be looking for a speedy outfielder, so most teams probably view him as a tertiary target. I could see him filling a role similar to that of Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson. However, with his huge range in the outfield and reliable offensive production, he can be of some benefit to the Phillies as they break in a new generation of pitchers.
  • Ken Giles is prepared to step in as closer, writes Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phillies are widely expected to trade All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon in the next couple weeks. Giles ticks all the prerequisites of the modern closer. His fastball touches 100 mph, and he also features a wipeout slider. In his brief major league career, he has a 1.46 ERA, 11.99 K/9, and 2.92 BB/9 in 86 innings. For those looking to keep up to date on all closer news, check out @CloserNews on Twitter.

AL Rumors: Axford, Hamels, Red Sox

It’s been almost one year since the trade that sent Tommy Milone from the A’s to the Twins and the deal has suited the hurler well, Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com writes.  Through eleven starts this season with Minnesota, Milone owns a 2.84 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.  Milone didn’t demand a trade from Oakland, but he did politely request one.

It wasn’t like a ‘Here, trade me type thing,’” Milone said. “Obviously it wasn’t something that was supposed to be (public). It’s just one of those things that if they felt there wasn’t a spot open up here, then I’d like to see if there’s an opportunity elsewhere. And I guess it presented itself with Sam Fuld being available. It’s kind of bittersweet to leave after a few years of being here, leaving some of the guys and the coaching staff. But there was an opportunity.”

Here’s more from the AL..

  • The Tigers are among the teams that have inquired on Rockies reliever John Axford, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.  However, at this point, it’s far from a certainty that the Tigers will be buyers.  The Tigers are 45-46 after today’s loss against the Orioles.  Here’s more from the American League..
  • The Red Sox, as expected, were on hand for Cole Hamels‘ Sunday start and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that there was a high-ranking scout there to watch the Phillies ace.  Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) noted that it might be hard to gauge Hamels as the Marlins are missing Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Michael Morse.   Even with Miami at less than 100% strength, Hamels didn’t have a great showing, allowing five runs on eight hits in three innings of work.
  • A scout at today’s game told Crasnick (on Twitter) that Hamels “looked hot..and not very interested in being out there.”  Of course, that’s somewhat understandable to those of us in the Northeast today.
  • Manager John Gibbons told reporters that Aaron Sanchez will pitch in relief when he returns to the Blue Jays later this week, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star tweets.   One might speculate that Sanchez being slotted in the bullpen might be a sign that Toronto intends on acquiring a starter between now and the deadline.  Sanchez will make one relief appearance in Triple-A before joining the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

Orioles Interested In Upton, Gomez

4:08pm: The O’s have also inquired on Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  As Rosenthal writes, it’s questionable as to whether the Orioles have the prospects necessary for a big move.

Rosenthal reported on Saturday that the Astros have also scouted Gomez.  Late last week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Brewers are now showing a willingness to trade both Gomez and Jean Segura.

3:50pm: The Astros also have interest in Upton, Morosi tweets.  The Astros are on their way to a 51-43 record as they lead the Rangers by a wide margin.

3:45pm: The Orioles have expressed interest in trading for Padres outfielder Justin Upton, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  The O’s have been looking to add an outfielder this season.

The Orioles aren’t the first team to show interest in Upton this summer.  The Mets are reportedly aiming high in their pursuit of outfield help and Upton is high on their list.  Upton, who is in his first year with the Padres, is owed the prorated portion of a $14.5MM salary for the rest of the season.  Through 370 plate appearances this season, Upton owns a slash line of .252/.331/.426 with 15 homers plus 17 stolen bases.

For his part, Upton said recently that he hopes to stay in San Diego.

“At this point, I haven’t given up on the team,” said Upton late last week. “I really like the guys, and I like the clubhouse. We still have some time to change the minds of the front office. In a perfect world, we play well over the next two or three weeks and [GM] A.J. [Preller] pumps the brakes on dismantling the team.”

The Orioles are 46-45 after topping the Tigers earlier today, putting them 4.0 games behind the first place Yankees in the AL East.