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Brandon McCarthy Rumors
The Cubs are seeking starting pitching this winter and are targeting buy-low candidates poised for rebound seasons, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun-Times. They've already expressed some interest in Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum.
"I think the contracts we signed last winter are a good model," said GM Jed Hoyer. "I think we have a chance to maybe sign more of those this year with a little bit more money to spend … We might be able to sign more contracts like that or maybe even a little larger than last year, but I think it’s a good model of contract that really served us well."
The Cubs signed Paul Maholm to a one-year, $4.75MM contract with club option last winter before flipping him for prospects at the trade deadline. David DeJesus signed a two-year, $10MM deal last offseason and could be moved for more prospects at some point either this offseason or prior to the trade deadline.
Both McCarthy, 29, and Marcum, 30, have battled injuries these last two seasons but have otherwise pitched well. McCarthy owns a 3.29 ERA in 281 2/3 innings since the start of last year while Marcum is at a 3.60 ERA in 324 2/3 innings during the same time. Both right-handers could seek one-year contracts to rebuild value in hopes of landing a bigger payday next winter, which would suit Chicago well.
The Cubs tried to acquire Dan Haren last week, only to have the deal fall apart at the last minute. The Angels declined his option and made him a free agent, so the right-hander could still be a target for the Cubbies if the price is right. Last night Haren's agent declared his client healthy following speculation that the trade fell apart due to concerns about his back.
The Athletics have had minimal contract talks with their free agents this winter, with the exception of Jonny Gomes, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Sources say that Oakland presented Gomes' former agency, ACES, with an offer at the end of the season. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a deal, however, and the A's went on to trade for Chris Young. Here's more from Slusser..
- Brandon McCarthy has drawn immediate interest from numerous teams including the Cubs, White Sox and Blue Jays. McCarthy was impressive when healthy but missed significant time thanks to shoulder issues and the scary line drive incident in early September.
- Oakland hopes to continue talks with shortstop Stephen Drew, who became a free agent after the club declined their side of a $10MM mutual option. The shortstop posted a combined batting line of .223/.309/.348 in 327 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks and A's in 2012.
- The Athletics won't totally rule out a return for Brandon Inge, but he hasn't been considered a strong candidate to return.
- The A's agreed to a new one-year deal with Bartolo Colon earlier this afternoon, and GM Billy Beane told MLB.com's Jane Lee that he considers the right-hander low-risk depth (Twitter link).
- Slusser notes (on Twitter) that the Colon deal will not impact the club's attempts to re-sign McCarthy.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Milwaukee Brewers experienced a roller coaster season in 2012 marked by injuries, blown saves, and being 12 games under .500 on August 20 before embarking on a 24-6 run that boosted them back into the Wild Card race until being eliminated on the final weekend of the season. Club officials say everyone feels better about the state of the franchise heading into the offseason. But, how will that shape the winter for the Brewers? Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed that topic and other issues in a recent online chat with fans. Here are the highlights:
- GM Doug Melvin will be looking to add a veteran to the starting rotation and Haudricourt named Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, and Kyle Lohse as possibilities. A fan suggested Brandon McCarthy and Haudricourt acknowledged the Brewers will perform their due diligence, but any addition will only be made if the pitcher is affordable, the right fit, and wants to come to Milwaukee.
- Haudricourt anticipates the Brewers signing a free agent starting pitcher is a more likely scenario than trading for one because the club has some payroll flexibility and they've already traded away a lot of prospects for pitching in recent years.
- Don't look for the Brewers to deal Corey Hart or Rickie Weeks to create more payroll flexibility. Haudricourt would be surprised if Hart, entering the final year of his contract with a 2013 salary of $10 MM, is traded despite the presence of Southern League MVP Hunter Morris. Weeks, due a guaranteed $21MM over the next two seasons, should also be safe, Haudricourt theorized, because the Brewers have enough money coming off the books to not have to worry about his salary.
- Haudricourt expects the payroll be less in 2013 than the $100 million-plus of this year, a spending level that should put the franchise in the red for 2012.
- Expect Nyjer Morgan to be non-tendered. It was obvious, Haudricourt opined, that Morgan was being phased out and having made $2.3MM and eligible for arbitration again, he probably will be replaced by Logan Schafer, a less expensive option who is considered a better defender. Haudricourt did praise Morgan for conducting himself professionally and never popping off or openly complaining about his decrease in playing time.
- Haudricourt listed some minor league prospects who took a big step this year and that fans should keep an eye on next season, including the aforementioned Morris.
Athletics GM Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin met with reporters today to discuss Oakland’s remarkable 2012 season and look ahead toward the club’s offseason plans. Here are some highlights (all links go to Twitter):
- Melvin suggested the A’s are ready to discuss a new contract with Jonny Gomes, saying his situation is “a work in progress,” Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Gomes' one-year, $1MM contract expires following the World Series, but it sounds as though the Bay Area native could return for another year.
- Beane said he likes this team and wants it back in 2013, Lee reports. The A’s are interested in retaining potential free agents like Gomes and Brandon McCarthy if possible.
- Beane hinted that the A’s will exercise Grant Balfour’s contract option, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "Some things are no-brainers," Beane said. Balfour's contract includes a $4.5MM club option for 2013 with a $350K buyout.
- Beane said he would be "absolutely baffled" if Melvin isn't named the AL Manager of the Year, Lee reports.
The Rangers are the only AL West club in action tonight, as a win over the Royals can stretch Texas' lead in the division to six games over the A's. Here's the latest from the AL West…
- Athletics right-hander Brandon McCarthy underwent surgery last night to stabilize a skull fracture and remove an epidural hemorrhage, according to a team press release. A CT scan taken today revealed that McCarthy's condition improved, and A's GM Billy Beane is quoted as saying McCarthy is "stable, awake and alert." McCarthy was struck in the head yesterday by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar.
- Scott Miller of CBS Sports relates how, in 1996, then-Angels GM Bill Bavasi tried to hire Sparky Anderson as the Halos' manager, with the idea that Joe Maddon (then a coach with the team) would take over from Anderson after two years. The idea didn't come to fruition but Maddon remained on the staff and served as Mike Scioscia's bench coach when the Angels won the 2002 World Series, before eventually moving on to manage the Rays.
- Jurickson Profar tops MLB.com's latest ranking of the 100 best prospects in baseball. The Rangers shortstop made his Major League debut on Sunday and homered in his first plate appearance. From that same list, the Mariners have the highest overall ranking for their multiple prospects, led by starters Taijuan Walker (fifth) and Danny Hultzen (ninth).
At least one baseball person wonders if Ryan Dempster hurt his free agent stock by agreeing to join the Rangers, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. The American League, referred to by one general manager as "the big boy league," features some high-powered offenses that could have impact Dempster’s numbers and diminish his leverage in offseason contract talks. Here are more notes from Olney…
- The Dodgers were interested in Dempster, but they never pushed for him, Olney reports. The Dodgers didn’t want to trade from their core of good prospects and they didn’t waver when the Cubs asked about their top minor leaguers.
- Olney suggests teams like the Red Sox and Orioles could have interest in Brandon McCarthy if the Athletics place him on waivers when he returns from the disabled list.
- Before the trade deadline, the Phillies made it clear that they would not pick up any of Cliff Lee’s salary in a trade and would also want prospects in return for the left-hander. Olney suggests it’s highly unlikely Lee will be moved in a waiver deal this month.
- Starlin Castro’s name came up in conversations between the Cubs and Diamondbacks leading up to the trade deadline, Olney writes. However, both sides moved on quickly and a deal was never close.
- Olney wonders if the Nationals could pursue in Derek Lowe given their interest in adding pitching leading up to the trade deadline.
The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…
- The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
- The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.”
- The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
- Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
- The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
- Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
- The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
- The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.
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Rival executives are divided on what the Tigers need to acquire for the second half of the season, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Some say the Tigers need a pitcher, others say they should acquire a second baseman and others believe they don’t need to make a major addition. Here are more of Knobler’s notes, starting with the Tigers:
- Detroit has shown some interest in Matt Garza, but Tigers people suggest a deal is fairly unlikely, according to Knobler. The Tigers don’t seem enthused about the possibility of trading for Marco Scutaro, though they’ve shown some interest in him.
- The Phillies have identified about four teams that would be a fit for Cole Hamels and they’re saying they'd want players who are close to contributing in the Major Leagues. However, the Phillies aren’t ready to deal the left-hander yet.
- Scouts believe the Diamondbacks are serious about listening to offers for Justin Upton.
- The Royals had been considering the possibility of becoming midseason buyers this year. They don’t intend to give Jonathan Broxton or other players away because they “badly want” to win games in the second half, Knobler writes.
- The 43-43 Athletics see themselves as sellers, rather than contenders, Knobler reports. A’s people are hoping Brandon McCarthy pitches well and increases his trade value when he returns from the disabled list.
- Scouts are unimpressed by Cubs pitching prospect Gerardo Concepcion, Knobler notes.
The Phillies are likely to activate Ryan Howard in time for tomorrow’s game according to multiple reports. Howard has yet to play this season after injuring his Achilles on the final play of last year’s NLDS. As Philadelphia awaits the return of its slugging first baseman, here are some links from around the league…
- Right-hander Dylan Bundy of the Orioles tops Baseball America’s updated list of the game’s 50 best prospects. Shortstop Jurickson Profar of the Rangers and outfielder Wil Myers of the Royals round out the top three.
- “It’s something I’m not at all opposed to,” said Brandon McCarthy to Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle when asked about the possibility of signing a long-term deal with the Athletics. “But it’s got to be something that makes sense for both sides.”
- The Dodgers have signed second round pick Paco Rodriguez for a straight slot $611K bonus, reports Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). He says the left-hander out of Florida eats hitters up with his cut-fastball.
Most of the top available starting pitchers currently play in the National League, but there’s still lots of trade talk in the AL this summer. Buster Olney provides updates on the junior circuit trade market in today’s column at ESPN.com. Here are some highlights:
- The Mariners won’t trade Felix Hernandez, but Kevin Millwood, Chone Figgins, Jason Vargas and Brandon League could be dealt.
- The Red Sox have focused on adding starting pitching. Some executives believe the Rangers will make a big play for the best starting pitchers available.
- Meanwhile, the White Sox have been asking around about relievers.
- Teams have called about Seth Smith, but the Athletics will keep him. However, Kurt Suzuki could be available and the A’s will listen to offers for Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.
- The Indians figure to pursue right-handed bats and Carlos Quentin could be an option in Cleveland, Olney writes.
- The Blue Jays plan to assess their chances at the All-Star break, and some rival officials expect Toronto to sell.
- The Orioles need pitching, but Olney doesn’t expect the team to make a major addition. Similarly, the Twins figure to seek pitching in any midseason trades they consider.
- Here’s MLBTR’s recap of Olney’s look at the NL trade market.