Baltimore Orioles Rumors

Baltimore Orioles trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Braves Notes: J. Upton, Johnson, Gattis, Pastornicky

Here’s the latest news on the Braves out of San Diego:

  • Echoing the prior report, president of baseball operations John Hart says that he will keep both Upton and Gattis unless he gets what he is looking for, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The club still has the option of attempting to compete by keeping them and adding another starter and a second baseman.
  • Teams in discussions with the Braves now feel they might be likely to keep Gattis, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
  • The Braves are now packaging Justin Upton and Chris Johnson in trade talks with teams, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates

  • Atlanta is fielding interest on Upton from the Orioles, Rangers, and Padres, Bowman reports (Twitter links).
  • When the Royals asked about Gattis several weeks back, the Braves asked for young righty Yordano Ventura in return. Needless to say, that seems to have been a non-starter.
  • The Braves “seem ready to be aggressive,” sources from competitors tell MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links). Justin Upton and Evan Gattis remain the two most talked-about trade targets, but infielder Tyler Pastornicky and righty Anthony Varvaro “could also be included in talks,” per Bowman. Pastornicky is a 24-year-old infielder who could figure into Atlanta’s plans at second if he is kept. Varvaro, 30, has been a fixture in the Braves pen over the last several years.
  • While there remain several teams that are good potential matches on Upton, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the Padres might be the best given their supply of young, controllable pitching. A note from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today also suggested a viable connection between those clubs on Upton.
  • While there is general agreement that Upton is a more valuable commodity than was the previously-traded Jason Heyward, teams remain hesitant to beat the return for the latter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There is a general sense that the package given up by the Cardinals, headlined by Shelby Miller, may have outstripped Heyward’s value.

East Rumors: Masterson, Byrd, Red Sox

The latest from the AL and NL East..

  • The Red Sox have made an offer to Justin Masterson, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The pitcher is also talking with the Rangers, Marlins, White Sox, Royals, Giants, Twins, and others.  Earlier today we learned that the Rangers have made an offer to Masterson, their first concrete bid for a free agent starter this winter.
  • If the Orioles look to the trade market for a bat, Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd is a name on their radar, sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told reporters, including Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican (via Twitter) that the team has targeted 15-20 starting pitchers via free agency and trade.  So far, they’ve had advanced conversations for a few of them.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro says reports of him asking for too much in trades are “a bunch of malarkey,” according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter).

Minor Moves: Solano, McCoy, Lombardozzi

Today’s minor moves..

8:27pm:

4:57pm:

  • The Orioles announced that they have outrighted left-hander Pat McCoy and infielder Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A Norfolk.  The O’s 40-man roster is now down to 37.
  • The Nippon Ham Fighters have signed third baseman Brandon Laird, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The 27-year-old former Yankee farmhand spent 2014 with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. He posted a healthy .300/.350/.490 line in 506 plate appearances. The Ham Fighters are also reportedly close to signing outfielder Jeremy Hermida.


Orioles Notes: Upton, Young, Breslow

Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette addressed the media this afternoon.  Here are the highlights..

  • Duquette says the Orioles have not talked to the Braves about Justin Upton, as Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets.  A report earlier today indicated that Atlanta is fielding interest from the O’s as well as the Rangers and Padres.
  • Duquette expects to meet with Delmon Young‘s agent in the next few days, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.   The Orioles are reportedly trying to bring back Young on a one-year deal, but they may be open to including an option.
  • For what it’s worth, Duquette grinned when asked about his potential interest in left-hander Craig Breslow, according to Kubatko (via Twitter).
  • Even though there has been plenty of interest, Duquette says he would be reluctant to trade a starter, Ghiroli tweets.
  • Duquette indicated that he’s looking for a right-handed bat and a left-handed outfielder/DH, according to Kubatko (on Twitter).
  • When asked if the rumors of the Blue Jays’ interest in him would hinder the O’s efforts this week and throughout the offseason, Duquette responded “I would hope not,” according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Duquette says there’s a better chance right now that the O’s will sign a free agent than make a trade, Kubatko tweets.

Orioles Talking With Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus

3:18pm: Baltimore’s interest in Aoki is “lukewarm,” Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.

10:52am: As the Orioles look to fill in the holes left by departing free agents, they have reached out to the representatives of free agent outfielders Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. It does not appear that Baltimore is heavily engaged with Melky Cabrera at present, Heyman adds.

Aoki and Rasmus join the previously-reported Delmon Young as possible bats being targeted by the O’s. Both players are bounceback candidates to an extent, though their profiles are near opposites. The veteran Aoki is a high-OBP, low-strikeout option who is nearing 33 years of age, while the 28-year-old Rasmus brings tantalizing power upside but a troubling strikeout rate, some injury history, and much greater overall variability.


Rangers Claim Scott Barnes From Orioles

The Rangers have claimed lefty Scott Barnes off waivers from the Orioles, Baltimore announced. Baltimore had added Barnes recently in a minor swap for cash.

Barnes, 27, has just 27 2/3 big league frames to his resume, with a 5.20 cumulative ERA over 2012-13. He spent all of last year at Triple-A, working to a 3.69 ERA over 31 2/3 frames with 9.9 K/9 against 4.5 BB/9.


AL East Notes: Yankees, Stubbs, O’s, Marrero

The Yankees aren’t looking into the Padres‘ trio of starters (Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and former Yankee Ian Kennedy) right now, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets.  San Diego is known to be listening to offers on the three right-handers but the Yankees aren’t sure any of them are actually available.  Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • The Rockies contacted the Orioles about a trade that would’ve sent Drew Stubbs to Baltimore in exchange for pitching, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports (Twitter link).  The departures of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis has left the O’s thin in the corner outfield spots, with Alejandro De Aza, David Lough and Steve Pearce (who will also see a lot of DH time) as the current candidates.  The right-handed hitting Stubbs seems like a good complement for De Aza and Lough, who both hit left-handed.
  • In an interview with MLB Network Radio yesterday (hat tip to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun), Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette said he is looking to add catching depth.  Matt Wieters may not be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in time for Opening Day, so the O’s may pursue a veteran backup to at least share the job with Caleb Joseph.
  • Prospect Deven Marrero makes sense as a trade chip for the Red Sox to offer to teams in need of a young shortstop, though WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that the Mets and Athletics have doubts that Marrero can hit enough for an everyday role.

Blue Jays Eyeing Duquette, Williams, Ryan

MONDAY, 12:10am: Beeston will continue to serve as the Jays’ president through the 2015 season, sources tell Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  Elliott also gets comments (a couple of them tongue-in-cheek) from a number of GMs and executives about the rumors, with some expressing skepticism and others speculating why Beeston could be leaving the job.

SUNDAY, 4:33pm: Twins GM Terry Ryan is high on the list of possible replacements for Beeston, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Berardino’s source calls Ryan “a great name,” but is unsure if the Blue Jays have requested permission from the Twins to speak with Ryan about the position, which would be a promotion. A Blue Jay official tells Berardino he “would prefer Terry anytime” to the candidates that have surfaced to date.

4:10pm: Duquette appeared on MLB Network Radio (Twitter links/audio link) and told hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, “I’m with the Orioles. I’m here to represent the Orioles at the meetings. Other than that, I have nothing to add. I do have a contract and I’ve always honored my contract.

3:35pm: Addressing the Duquette reports, Orioles owner Peter Angelos told reporters, including the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly, “We are very pleased with his performance, and we expect him to satisfy his contract. We not only want him to, but we expect him to. We don’t want him to go away, and we don’t expect him to go away. And he’s given no indication he wants to go away. Suffice to say there is a contract that binds both parties to a four-year contract and binds Dan as the GM of the Orioles.

2:13pm: Duquette has declined comment saying he will wait until tomorrow to speak at his previous scheduled news conference from the Winter Meetings, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

1:11pm: Rosenthal tweets Duquette wants to become the Blue Jays’ president/CEO, with the blessing of some within the Baltimore organization, but owner Peter Angelos is standing in the way. Rosenthal adds (on Twitter) the Orioles could demand compensation for Duquette much the same way the Red Sox did when Theo Epstein left for the Cubs. Rosenthal also raises the question of how can Duquette give the Orioles his full and undivided attention when he wants to run the Blue Jays (Twitter link).

11:42am: When asked about his next step, Williams told Rosenthal (Twitter link) that he’s “focused on helping the White Sox win another championship.”  However, when asked if he could resign from the White Sox, he said, “I’ve considered all options as anyone would given the set of circumstances” (link). Williams told Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune he was denied an opportunity to interview with the Blue Jays and the issue was “not new” and “that ship has sailed.

11:00am: The White Sox are balking at giving permission to Williams to speak with the Blue Jays, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter).  Williams, in turn, is considering resigning (link).

10:48am: Duquette is very highly valued by the O’s and is under contract for three more years, so it’s very unlikely they would let him go, according to Olney (via Twitter).  The Blue Jays have also discussed White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams for the role (link).

9:32am: Orioles GM Dan Duquette is a top candidate to become the next president of the Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  He adds that the move would be a promotion and it would be difficult for the O’s to stand in his way.

Duquette, 56, took over as the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations in November of 2011 after an extended hiatus from baseball.  Duquette served as the GM of the Red Sox for many years but had not been a part of a MLB front office since 2002 when he was let go by Boston.  Since then, Duquette has helped turn the Orioles around as Baltimore has enjoyed three winning seasons, including playoff appearances in 2012 and 2014.

Toronto ownership is actively seeking a replacement for president and CEO Paul Beeston and sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com that their search has progressed to the point where it is identifying possible replacements and reaching out to other teams in cases where they need permission to talk.  Olney says that Duquette has been discussed internally, which would indicate that the Blue Jays have yet to reach out to their AL East rivals for a greenlight.

Duquette’s contract with Baltimore is set to run through the 2018 season.


West Notes: Kemp, Cabrera, Kendrick, Upton

With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.

Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
  • The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
  • In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
  • Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
  • Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.

Quick Hits: Upton, Robertson, Headley, Ethier, Mets Shortstop

Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

  • The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
  • A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
  • Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.