Brandon Wood Rumors

Odds & Ends: Jenks, Fielder, Burrell, Marlins

A few more links for Friday evening, as the Reds homer for the 17th straight game….


Looking At The Needs Of Some Contenders

With Spring Training wrapping up around the country, teams are finalizing their rosters and picking the 25 players they'll start the season with. There's always room for improvement, but some contenders have some very obvious weak spots on their rosters. Here's a look at some of them, which may need to be addressed during the season…

  • Angels, third base: Brandon Wood and Maicer Izturis will get the first cracks at replacing Chone Figgins, but if neither is up to par, the Halos might be looking for a fill-in at the hot corner.
  • Braves, outfielder: Superstar in training Jason Heyward will start the year in right, but incumbent centerfielder Nate McLouth had a brutal spring (6-for-51), which may push Melky Cabrera into full-time duty.
  • Rays, setup man: With J.P. Howell on the shelf due to a bum shoulder, the team has no obvious candidate to hand the ball off to new closer Rafael Soriano. Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour represent solid options, but if Howell misses more time than expected, the Rays might be looking to add a reliever.
  • Twins, closer: This is the most obvious hole of them all. Joe Nathan is out for the season after having elbow surgery, and Jon Rauch will get the first chance to replace him. 
  • Yankees, left field: The team is breaking camp with Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames set to share time in left, but we've already seen a scenario laid out in which they might need help sooner rather than later.

That doesn't include all of the clubs that could very well be looking to add a starting pitcher at some point, like the Mariners, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers. Some other holes aren't so obvious though. Maybe the Red Sox could use another reliever (who couldn't?), or perhaps Seattle will go looking for a big bat that fits into their extreme run prevention plan. 

What other areas of need to do you see out there for contenders?


Angels Exploring Infielder Trade?

11:45pm: Price reports that the Angels are telling people there's a significant chance they deal an infielder, likely Izturis. The 29-year-old made just $1.6MM this season, so he won't be in line for a big contract next year, even though it's his last season before hitting free agency.

11:29pm: Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears that the Angels are exploring a trade for an infielder. Price's source says the infielder is likely Maicer Izturis, but could also be Howie Kendrick.

Price says Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood sound "untouchable." However, we know the Angels would consider dealing Aybar. GM Tony Reagins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he's "open minded" to the possibility, though it doesn't appear likely. It's hard to imagine that Wood is untouchable, either. He's valuable, but other than Derek Jeter and Evan Longoria, how many untouchable players are really out there?



Odds & Ends: Holliday, Phillies, Marquis, Navarro

Some Saturday morning links…


Angels Notes: Guerrero, Lackey, Oliver

MLB.com's Lyle Spencer answered a pile of fans' questions about the Angels' free agents, possible new signings and trade options.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Spencer "has his doubts" that Los Angeles will re-sign any of its big three free agents (Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey).  He thinks the other three AL West teams would be smart to sign Guerrero given that the outfielder is "a prideful man who would have something to prove to his former employer." 
  • If the Angels do dip into the free-agent market, it would be for a starting pitcher.  Spencer lists Randy Wolf and former Angel Jon Garland as possible targets, and also says the Halos could wait until midseason to pick up another arm a la their trade for Scott Kazmir last season.
  • The Angels would "love to keep" free agent reliever Darren Oliver.  Spencer thinks Oliver's Type A status will give L.A. the edge in re-signing him since other teams won't want to give up a first-round draft pick for a 38-year-old setup man.
  • Spencer would re-sign Kelvim Escobar to "an incentives-laden contract" because he thinks the right-hander could have a big season if healthy.
  • Utilityman Robb Quinlan will likely not be back in Anaheim, and seems to be a better fit in the National League.
  • Spencer shoots down two suggested trades that would send Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, respectively, to Los Angeles.  He doesn't think San Diego will move Gonzalez for attendance reasons, and thinks Tampa Bay might ask for too much in return for Crawford.
  • However, a fan-suggested trade of Brandon Wood for Jeremy Guthrie might be mutually beneficial for both the Halos and Orioles.  Spencer also calls a proposed Milton Bradley-for-Gary Matthews Jr. swap "an intriguing suggestion," but notes that Matthews still provides more benefit to Los Angeles than Bradley would.

Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox Shortstop Options, Griffey, Suppan, Mulder, Glavine

The Red Sox have been trying to find a long term solution at shortstop ever since the Nomar Garciaparra trade back in 2004, and while the recent pickup of Alex Gonzalez has provided some stability, the team still needs to find a solution for next year and beyond. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says that first, the Sox have to decide if "they can afford to carry a light-hitting, great-fielding shortstop or sacrifice a bit of defense to aim for a more balanced lineup."

He presents some possible solutions to their seemingly perpetual shortstop issues, so let's round 'em up…

  • Marco Scutaro: The 33-yr old has enjoyed a tremendous season for Toronto (.282/.380/.411), and projects to be a Type-A free agent. He made just $1.1MM this season, and it seems likely that the Blue Jays would offer him arbitration.
  • Hanley Ramirez: Cafardo mentions that it still remains to be seen if Hanley can stick at short long term, but there is no question that he's one of the five best players in the game today. Given his team friendly contract that will pay him $64.5MM between now and 2014, the Sox would have to offer a bounty of young talent just to get their foot in the door.
  • Miguel Tejada: A projected Type-B free agent this offseason, it seems unlikely that the Astros would offer him arbitration. He could be a one year stopgap at shortstop, and perhaps enjoy an offensive resurgence similar to Mike Lowell thanks to Fenway Park and the Green Monster.
  • J.J. Hardy: As Cafardo notes, it "would take a leap of faith to think that his horrid season is an aberration." However, he did hit .280/.333/.470 from 2007-2008, and they'd definitely be buying low.
  • Jose Reyes: We've seen plenty of talk that the Mets should trade Reyes, but it remains to be seen if they actually will. Can you imagine Reyes and Jacoby Ellsbury on the bases?
  • Troy Tulowitzki: Cafardo admits it's a long shot, but everybody has a price. Considering that Tulo is guaranteed just $29.25MM between now and 2014 and is hitting .283/.363/.526 this year, doesn't it seem like it might be easier to acquire Hanley?
  • Cafardo also throws out the names of several other possible options, including Adam Everett, John McDonald, Omar Vizquel, Stephen Drew, and Brandon Wood.

The Red Sox still have Jed Lowrie in-house, but he's missed considerable time this year with wrist problems. It would be a stretch to think that 19-yr old Cuban signee Jose Iglesias could fill in next year, but stranger things have happened. I'll throw the name of one more impending free agent out there: Felipe Lopez. He last played shortstop regularly in 2007, but it's at least worth considering.

Here's the rest of Cafardo's non-Red Sox rumors…

  • Ken Griffey Jr. would like to return to Seattle for another year, and "probably can if his price is right." Junior is hitting .218/.325/.393 in 382 plate appearances this year, almost exclusively as a DH.
  • The Brewers placed Jeff Suppan on trade waivers last week, and Cafardo says it'll be interesting to see "if any contending team still looking for an experienced starter puts in a claim or tries to make a deal for him." Considering there's still $14.5MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, I'd guess no one puts a claim in.
  • Hardy was also placed on trade waivers.
  • Free agent pitcher Mark Mulder has decided not to make a comeback this year even though he made progress with his throwing program. He's likely to play winterball though.
  • Agent Gregg Clifton says client Tom Glavine is unlikely to attempt a comeback next year, and has started to field calls about broadcasting opportunities.

Roy Halladay Rumors: Thursday

5:07pm: Ricciardi tells Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that he's not ruling out a trade. "We're waiting 'til 4 o'clock tomorrow," Ricciardi said.

4:23pm: Jack Curry of the New York Times has additional comments from Ricciardi on Halladay:

"We've got nothing going on.  We expect him to be with us."

The Phillies are out, and the other suitors failed to wow Ricciardi.

3:19pm: Rosenthal and Morosi say the Dodgers have enough in their system to make a competitive offer for Halladay, even after acquiring Sherrill.  And for Evan Grant's thoughts on the Rangers and Halladay, click here.

However, in another entry Rosenthal and Morosi talk to J.P. Ricciardi and label the Halladay sweepstakes "all but over."  Ricciardi's comments indicate the same.  Toronto's GM seems intent on keeping Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, and others if Doc stays.

2:23pm: Morosi says Halladay is looking unlikely for the Angels, who shot down a Toronto proposal that included Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, and Brandon Wood

The Halos are also looking for bullpen help, with names such as Heath Bell and George Sherrill in play (their offer for Mike Wuertz fell short).

1:26pm: Rosenthal and Morosi have a source saying things are "very quiet" on the Halladay front.  Still, the Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox remain interested.

1:14pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown sees the Dodgers and Red Sox as the frontrunners for Doc in what is shaping up as a two-team race.  Brown says the only Major Leaguer in the Dodgers' offer is James McDonald, while the Sox will part with Clay Buchholz, one of Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Lars Anderson, and some lesser prospects.  My guess is that the Red Sox find a way to get this done, given the quality they're already offering.  ESPN's Jayson Stark says one Dodgers prospect who is off-limits is shortstop Devaris Gordon.

Meanwhile, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says the Jays wanted Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, and Casey Crosby from the Tigers for Halladay.  Henning says the Tigers bowed out upon that request.  Henning adds that the Tigers would consider adding Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham but the price is steep on the sluggers as well.

12:59pm: A Rosenthal/Morosi source with knowledge of the Jays' thinking discusses a package of Dodgers minor leaguers that could catch Toronto's attention in a Halladay deal.

12:21pm: Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal sees the Dodgers in the lead for Halladay, with the Rangers in the mix and talks with Boston calming down.

9:09am: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe feels the chances of the Red Sox acquiring Halladay are "remote," and believes that Boston has yet to increase their initial offer for him.  And in an earlier column, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald said the Blue Jays and Red Sox have not been in contact over the last three days.

8:37am: SI's Jon Heyman says the Dodgers balked at the Blue Jays' asking price for Halladay and are moving on to Orioles closer George Sherrill.  Check out yesterday's Sherrill info here.

Meanwhile, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun finds Halladay unlikely to be traded.  ESPN's Buster Olney says there are "no active talks" at present.

7:55am: We'll start with a review of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumorsThe Phillies acquired Cliff Lee instead, cutting into J.P. Ricciardi's leverage for Doc.  Ricciardi now has the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers, and possibly Angels and Rays to work with.  The Blue Jays' GM is thinking about keeping Halladay for 2010, based on his comments to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  On to a few new links…


Odds & Ends: Bradley, O’s, Mariners

Some more interesting nuggets we've mined as we reel from the madness today:


Angels Turning Their Attention To Lee

Tim Brown and Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports report that the Angels have "shifted their emphasis" to Cliff Lee after being frustrated in their pursuit of Roy Halladay. The Halos do not want to part with Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood, and another prospect for a single pitcher, even one as great as Halladay, and they believe they can land Lee with a lesser package.

The article also mentions that the Angels are also looking for a power arm to add to their pen.


Ricciardi: Chances Of A Deal “Very Slim”

8:00pm: FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal just heard from Ricciardi that the chances of Halladay leaving Toronto at this point are "very slim."  Here's more from the general manager:

"We've said that we would listen, but that we would have to be motivated and 'wowed.  Right now we haven't been. I've said all along my gut tells me I won't be. I still stand by that."

"If we get to the last week," Ricciardi added, "and haven't really made any progress with anybody, I'm not going to say it's 100 percent certain, but I would have to pretty much think it's not going to get done."

It sure sounds like the Blue Jays aren't going to lower their asking price.

7:38pm: Olney notes that the Rangers have also been handed a "this-is-what-it-would-take proposal by the Blue Jays in the last 72 hours."  It's more about salary for Texas, though, than it is about prospects.  Sources have deemed them "semi-alive."

7:18pm: Christian Caple of MLB.com passes along this little note: 

[Halladay is] scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but whether he makes that start is up in the air. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said last week he wants Halladay assured of his future when he takes the hill for that outing — in other words, if Halladay does pitch on Wednesday, supposedly, he won't be traded before the deadline.

This goes back to the self-imposed pre-July 31 deadline that Ricciardi suggested in early July.  It'll be interesting to see if they stick to it.

5:21pm: According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the prospect-heavy Rangers "are talking to the Blue Jays about Halladay and they have asked the Indians about Lee… but financial considerations may make any deal tough.  As Sullivan adds, "The Rangers are unlikely to take on a significant salary in any deal."

4:54pm: FOX Sports reports that the Red Sox remain in the mix for Halladay as well, and the Jays have made a multiple-prospect proposal in recent days. The Jays still prefer not to deal within the division, however.

2:05pm: Jon Heyman provides an update, via Twitter, stating that the Phillies are beginning to consider Cliff Lee as an alternative to Halladay. Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirms this, and adds that the Phillies are expected to have a scout watching Lee in Seattle. Martino also tweets that Toronto is scouting Dominic Brown today.

11:16am: ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Blue Jays have rejected the Phillies latest offer of Carrasco, Donald, J.A. Happ and outfielder Michael Taylor. The Jays are telling interested teams they are only going to deal Halladay if they are "wowed" by an offer.

9:45am: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports says that as of Saturday night, the Angels "were of the mind to remove themselves from the Roy Halladay talks, believing they were never going to come close to the Blue Jays’ asking price of Joe SaundersErick Aybar, Brandon Wood and a prospect such as outfielder Peter Bourjos."

9:36am: Late last night we learned that the Phillies were "trying to steer" the Blue Jays towards a package centered around prospects Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald for Roy Halladay, but no agreement was imminent. Let's start the day off with a a few Halladay-related links, and add to them as we go. Make sure you check back in for updates throughout the day.

  • Helene Elliott of The LA Times reports that "Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has said the Blue Jays have identified three players on the Dodgers' major-league roster that they'd take for Halladay, but Colletti hasn't exuded optimism that a deal will get done."
  • Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about how all the trade talk has impacted the Phillies clubhouse.