Brandon League Rumors

AL West Notes: Ross, Hamilton, Angels, League

Links from the AL West, before the Rangers and Yu Darvish host the Angels and C.J. Wilson in Arlington…

  • The Rangers offered left-hander Robbie Ross to the Mets in a package of players for Carlos Beltran last summer, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link). The Mets ultimately passed on Ross and obtained Zack Wheeler from the Giants.
  • The Rangers would do well to sign Josh Hamilton to a short-term deal at a high average annual value, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. A four-year $100MM deal could work, Rosenthal suggests. The MLBPA views drug and alcohol-related contract provisions as unenforceable, according to Rosenthal, who offers a short history of related disputes between teams and players.
  • The Angels aren't seeking outside catching help now, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com tweets. They'll rely on internal options such as Bobby Wilson until Chris Iannetta returns from wrist surgery one or two months from now.
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner says the Mariners should shop Brandon League before his value drops because Seattle's bullpen could manage without him and rival teams would be interested in potential trades.
  • Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was once a top prospect, but ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden says we should adjust our expectations for him and accept that he’s not going to be a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Cafardo On Balfour, Hanrahan, Angels, Twins, Myers

Older ballplayers are showing a lot of life so far this season, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Veterans Paul Konerko, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Jamie Moyer have all looked sharp in the month of April.  Ortiz lost 25 pounds to get himself into shape for this season and plans to keep up the hard work as he hopes to play for another two seasons.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • The Angels have inquired on A’s pitcher Grant Balfour and he is becoming one of the more sought-after bullpen pieces.  The Halos have also shown interest in Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates and the Mariners' Brandon League, but Balfour seems the most logical.
  • If the Twins don’t turn things around by the trade deadline, Carl Pavano will be a highly sought-after pitcher.  The right-hander is earning $8.5MM in the final year of his contract and has limited no-trade protection. Jason Marquis, Matt Capps, and Francisco Liriano could also be used as chips to land prospects.
  • Teams probably have their eye on Astros right-hander Brett Myers.  Many teams, such as the Angels and Red Sox, could use the 31-year-old’s arm right now.  He has also shown that he can pitch in a big market with his time in Philadelphia.
  • If Tigers outfielder Delmon Young is convicted of a hate crime, it will be interesting to see whether the the club void his contract. They would be within their rights to do so under the collective bargaining agreement.  The 26-year-old earns $6.75MM this year and can become a free agent after the season.
  • The A's are a good bet to land Brandon Inge.
  • Most baseball people feel there’s no way the Red Sox let Aaron Cook hit the open market by not calling him up May 1.  The 33-year-old will earn the prorated portion of $1.5MM if he is called up to the majors.

Mariners Avoid Arbitration With Brandon League

The Mariners avoided arbitration with closer Brandon League, agreeing to a $5MM deal, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Matt Swartz had projected $4.2MM for the ACES client.  League will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.

As our arbitration tracker shows, the Mariners have Jason Vargas and Shawn Kelley remaining.



Orioles Interested In Francisco Cordero

The Orioles have shown interest in Francisco Cordero, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. Talks between the free agent closer and the Orioles are preliminary, Connolly notes.

Jim Johnson is the current favorite to close games for manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles are open to trading Kevin Gregg and absorbing some of the $5.8MM he'll earn in 2012, Connolly reports. I find it hard to imagine a team taking on more than $1.5MM of Gregg's salary given the 53K/40BB ratio he posted in 2011 and the availability of other free agent relievers.

The Orioles discussed a Brandon League deal with the Mariners at the Winter Meetings and expressed interest in Seattle starter Jason Vargas at the time, according to Connolly. Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Reynolds also surfaced in the trade talks, Connolly reports. The Angels and Rays have also been linked to Cordero, who probably won't return to Cincinnati now that Ryan Madson is set to join the Reds.


M’s League May Be Available; Teams Interested

Some baseball people believe the Mariners are willing to trade closer Brandon League, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, and sources say several teams have reached out to Seattle to express interest.

The Dodgers checked in on League during the Winter Meetings, according to the report, although their interest is not believed to be serious at this point.

The Mariners' decision to trade League may be held up by their possible negotiations with Prince Fielder, according to the report, as it could be hard to sell Fielder that they're serious about building a contender while simultaneously trading away a useful veteran coming off his best season.

League, 28, is a projected free agent after the 2012 season. He's eligible for arbitration for the fourth (he's a Super Two) and final time this offseason and is in line to make $4.2MM through that process, according to MLBTR's projected arbitration salaries. He has been a possible trade candidate since popping up in rumors prior to last season's non-waiver trade deadline, although Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said earlier this offseason that a trade was "not likely at all."


Closer Rumors: Madson, K-Rod, League, Street, Soria

The Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins added closers in recent days, and it's not clear whether the remaining teams with ninth inning openings are willing to spend big.  The latest on several closers…


Quick Hits: Slowey, Royals, Lee, Reddick

For a while, it seemed as though we'd have a quiet trade deadline. So much for that – today we saw Ubaldo Jimenez, Derrek Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Rich Harden, Koji Uehara, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Jason Marquis, Mike Aviles, Jerry Hairston Jr., Doug Fister and David Pauley all get traded. Let's gear up for the deadline itself with another round of links…


Mariners Notes: Fister, Bedard, Felix, League

Brendan Ryan singled in the seventh to break up C.C. Sabathia's perfect game bid, but that didn't stop the Yankees from extending Seattle's losing streak to 17 games. The latest on the struggling Mariners…

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that teams may value Doug Fister more than Hiroki Kuroda because Fister pitches in the American League and is under team control well beyond 2011, unlike Kuroda (Twitter link).
  • The Mariners would deal Erik Bedard, who will pitch in front of a full scout section on Friday, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Fister, however, would "take a lot" to acquire. 
  • Bedard  won't be easy to obtain, either. Sean McAdam of CSNNE hears that the Mariners are asking for a "ton" in exchange for the lefty (Twitter link).
  • How many times does Jack Zduriencik have to repeat that Felix Hernandez isn’t going anywhere? The Mariners' GM told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that Hernandez is staying put this summer.
  • Brandon League told Greg Johns of MLB.com that he hopes to stay in Seattle. League appears to be in luck; Zduriencik said earlier today that he’s not trading his closer.

Brandon League Trade “Not Likely At All”

TUESDAY, 3:20pm: To further enforce the point, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told MLB Network Radio's Jim Bowden that League "is going to be here" (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 8:12pm: Mariners president Chuck Armstrong told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that we shouldn't expect Seattle to trade Brandon League this month. A deal is “not likely at all – at this point,” Armstrong said.

League, 28, is one of the most coveted players available, according to Morosi. The right-hander has a 3.26 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, a 57.3% ground ball rate and 23 saves in 38 2/3 innings. He earns $2.25MM this year and is under team control through 2012.

The Mariners fielded many calls on League and the Phillies appeared to have some interest.


Stark On Bell, Beltran, Rays, Giants

The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark

  • The Rangers and Phillies are the favorites for Padres closer Heath Bell, with the Cardinals, Angels, Braves, and Reds also in the mix.
  • One executive Stark spoke to wouldn't be surprised to see a dark horse like the Reds or Brewers make a late run at Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran.
  • An official who spoke with the Rays over the weekend said that while they're not trading James Shields, they'll decide later this week on players like Johnny Damon and Kyle Farnsworth.  B.J. Upton could be dealt even if the team closes its 6.5 game wild card deficit.
  • The Rays and Blue Jays have been scouting each other's farm systems recently.  One scout speculated that the Jays could join a three-team Upton trade somehow.
  • One team says Brian Sabean's off-limits prospects are Zack Wheeler, Heath Hembree, and Gary Brown, along with Brandon Belt.  That'd leave the team without any top 50 prospects to move, with Francisco Peguero and Ehire Adrianza in the next tier based on Baseball America's preseason rankings.  There's also Double-A lefty Eric Surkamp, who brought his ERA down to 2.00 yesterday.
  • The Phillies are steering teams to their High-A Clearwater club, as they don't want to trade big leaguers and not to add much more than a million bucks in payroll.  Jonathan Singleton, Brody Colvin, Trevor May, Sebastian Valle, and Jiwan James are names to watch there assuming Jarred Cosart is untouchable.  Stark says the Phillies have cooled on Beltran and Hunter Pence is a long shot, so the focus is now the back end of the bullpen.  Heath Bell is the top target, with Brandon League also on the radar.