Brandon McCarthy Rumors

Brandon McCarthy Drawing Interest

Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that Rangers right-hander Brandon McCarthy is drawing interest from multiple clubs.

McCarthy was limited to 22 starts in 2009 because of injuries, and posted a 4.53 ERA (4.70 FIP) through 97.1 innings, striking out 65 and walking 36. After earning $650K last season, McCarthy is arbitration-eligible for the second season. And, when you've got a staff as young as the Rangers, that's good enough to make him one of the more expensive starting options they've got.

The Rangers find themselves in an unusual position, with a surplus of starting pitching options including McCarthy, Kevin Millwood, Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Dustin Nippert, to say nothing of flamethrowing phenom Neftali Feliz, who started 13 games in Oklahoma City prior to being called up and placed in the Ranger bullpen.

They could certainly afford to move McCarthy if teams are interested. What teams make sense? The Brewers and Orioles are both known to be looking for pitching, though McCarthy in the AL East may not be the prettiest picture one could paint.

No Active Millwood Talk For Brewers

Earlier today, it was reported that the Brewers have inquired about Kevin Millwood's availability.'s Adam McCalvy says that while that may very well be true, it hasn't been anytime recently. According to McCalvy, Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he hasn't spoken with Brewers GM Doug Melvin in weeks.

Despite a lack of active talks, McCalvy states that the Rangers remain a possible trade target for the Brewers, even if Millwood isn't involved, due to their depth of options at starting pitching. While many teams would like to try to pull Tommy Hunter or Derek Holland away though, the Rangers would be more inclined to deal someone like Brandon McCarthy, writes McCalvy.

Whether or not Milwaukee is a match for Texas is yet to be seen. Texas would like to add a right-handed bat, but the best Milwaukee will be able to offer is Corey Hart, who is coming off a disappointing 2009 season. The Rangers interest in Hart may be dependent on whether or not free agent Marlon Byrd finds himself back in Texas next season.

McCalvy feels that the Rangers are likely to hold onto Millwood this winter and build their rotation around him and Scott Feldman. It's not hard, however, to see the logic behind dealing a 35-year-old coming off his best season since 2005. And, as McCalvy points out, the Brewers have been linked to Millwood in the past.

Odds & Ends: Gonzalez, Halladay, Rangers

Here's some links to kick off the week...

Rangers Notes: Byrd, Holland, Feliz

It's hard to gauge what the Texas Rangers will look to do this offseason.  There are reports that they are interested in acquiring outfielder Milton Bradley from the Cubs, who would likely eat a large chunk of the $21MM owed to him over the next two years of his contract.  At the same time, they may not have the cash necessary to retain Marlon Byrd, who has posted .283/.328/.483 with a career-high 20 HRs.  Buster Olney and the Baseball Prospectus staff break down the season that was for the Rangers and what they can expect going forward.  An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are the nuts and bolts of it:

  • Signing John Lackey, widely regarded as this offseason's top free agent starter, would certainly bolster their rotation.  However, Buster Olney says that GM Jon Daniels could be handcuffed financially by the impending change in ownership. 
  • Olney also theorizes that Daniels may not be able to roll the dice on the problematic Bradley, for fear of a public relations backlash under a new regime.
  • The ownership situation is murkier than most, as anywhere between four and six groups are in contention to purchase the club.  One group is led by team president Nolan Ryan, whose involvement is largely considered productive.
  • The aforementioned Byrd earned $3MM in 2009, the final year of his contract.  Re-signing him might require a two or three-year commitment at triple the price.
  • Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus says that the Rangers have a good amount of pitching talent, but feels that they must live up to their potential.  Rookies Derek Holland (ERAs of 5.77 in August and 10.20 in September) and Neftali Feliz have run out of gas down the stretch, but have shown tons of upside.  If the Rangers feel confident in Matt Harrison and oft-injured Brandon McCarthy, they might not have to spend on a high-priced arm this winter to complement Kevin Millwood.

Rangers To Pursue Pitching?

After it appeared Brandon McCarthy would hit the DL with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, T.R. Sullivan at chatted with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who is going to turn to Doug Mathis for the open rotation spot for now. But he didn't rule out the possibility of a deal to shore up the position:

"'I'm open to it,' Daniels said. 'It's something we'll look into, but it's easier said than done. My expectation is we'll go with the guys we have. If there is a quality guy available, we'll look into it, but it's easier said than done.'"

Closer Frank Francisco is also hurting, and Daniels has made discussing relief pitching his "short-term focus," he told Sullivan.

The Rangers have been hit hard by the injury bug, but they remain atop the AL West with a 33-23 record, 4.5 games ahead of the Angels. Who makes sense to fill the holes? Are they still a legitimate contender?

Rangers Avoid Arb With Brandon McCarthy

According to Troy Renck, the Rangers avoided arbitration with starter Brandon McCarthy, signing him for '09 at $650K.

Rangers Acquire Brandon McCarthy For Danks And Masset

In a quite unexpected move, the White Sox have traded starter Brandon McCarthy to Texas for top prospects John Danks and Nick Masset.

The Sox were interested in Masset at least a month ago, considering trading Brian Anderson to the Rangers.  Masset, a righthander, will turn 25 in May.  Baseball America ranked him eighth among Ranger prospects.  He had Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school, which could be viewed as a positive (given that his new tendon/ligament doesn't have a lifetime of wear and tear on it).  Masset converted to relief this year and was able to dial his fastball into the high 90s.  He could be yet another hard thrower in Chicago's explosive bullpen in 2007.

Danks, a southpaw, turns 22 in April.  He was the Rangers' best prospect according to BA.  He throws three solid pitches and has pitched well in the minors despite being young for his levels.  He'll compete for the fifth spot in Chicago's rotation.  He's the prize of the deal.

While B-Mac has 150 innings of Major League experience, it'd be tough to argue that he's worth as much as Danks and Masset combined.  The 23 year-old was confined to the bullpen in 2006 because the Sox had no openings in the rotation. With groundball rates around 37%, McCarthy doesn't seem particularly suited for Ameriquest.  He'll still be a valuable commodity if he can find a way to keep the ball in the yard.  You can view my RotoAuthority projection of McCarthy as a Ranger here.

No one thought Kenny Williams would trade McCarthy, but it looks like he got an offer he couldn't refuse.  You have to admire that he has a plan and he's sticking to it.

Soriano, Sanchez, Meche: Much Ado About Nothing

Seems that a couple of the more interesting rumors to come up today have proven to be nothing at all.

The first was ESPN's rumor that Brandon McCarthy would be included in a Soriano to the White Sox deal, which was to be extremely close.  It seems that the deal has fallen through at least in the short term, and Kenny Williams stated publicly that neither McCarthy nor Josh Fields will be traded.  Still in the stockpile: Brian Anderson, Ryan Sweeney, Jerry Owens, Sean Tracey, Lance Broadway, Casey Rogowski, and Charlie Haeger

It has also been noted that Humberto Sanchez missed his start tonight due to a tender elbow.  Not exactly a way to pump up a prospect's value, so the Tigers may have to deal other prospects.  They've still got Brent Clevlen, Jordan Tata, and Jair Jurrjens, among others.  Still, Sanchez seems like the one available trading chip who could help bring a star player to Detroit.      

Also, we're unclear at this point whether the rumored ESPN Radio report of a completed Aaron Heilman for Gil Meche trade is legit.  Indications are that it was a hoax.  Sorry 'bout that.  Here's MetsBlog's take on this (non)rumor.

ESPN: White Sox Alfonso Soriano Trade?

Breaking news from ESPN is that the White Sox are "extremely close" to acquiring Alfonso Soriano.  It seems that Brandon McCarthy is the main piece of the deal.

The result would be a Murderer's Row with five players currently slugging .539 or better: Thome (.632), Dye (.620), Soriano (.594), Konerko (.555), and Crede (.539).  The Sox already lead baseball in home runs with 146.

What's more, ESPN also reports that Kenny Williams is looking to strengthen his bullpen by sending 23 year-old southpaw Double A starter Tyler Lumsden to the Royals for Mike MacDougal.  Lumsden isn't striking anyone out, but still has a 2.69 ERA for Birmingham.  He had elbow surgery in January of last year.

MacDougal has thrown four scoreless innings for the Royals since returning from a shoulder strain.  He was able to cut his walks to a reasonable level last year and had his best season.

UPDATE: MacDougal is a done deal.  Another pitcher was added to complete the trade.

White Sox Pursuing Jason Schmidt?

Of couple of ESPN columnists seem to have independently arrived at the same trade rumor in their blogs in recent days.  Buster Olney's source is a "talent evaluator" while Jayson Stark got word from "an executive who has heard this talk." 

According to Olney and Stark, the White Sox would trade Brandon McCarthy and Brian Anderson to the Giants for Jason Schmidt.  The Sox would then acquire a center fielder in a separate trade.

Schmidt, 33, has been the NL's second best pitcher this year behind Brandon Webb. This is his contract year and he's making $10.5 million.  Anderson and McCarthy were ranked #1 and #3 among White Sox prospects entering the 2005 season.  McCarthy has had superb control at the big league level, with his one flaw being too many home runs allowed.  U.S. Cellular inflates home runs by about 35%, while AT&T Park deflates them by around 10%.  It's been a rough 81 games for Anderson with the Sox, but the 24 year-old remains in high regard.

Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez, and Jon Garland haven't performed as well as the Sox would've liked; all three own ERAs near 5 entering the All-Star break.  Chicago would stand to gain an estimated three wins by replacing one of them with Schmidt.  Olney speculated that Kenny Williams could consider using one of his surplus starters to acquire a center fielder.

Names that have come up in center include Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, or Aaron Rowand.  None of the three seem feasible for various reasons.  The Sox could also consider players like Luis Matos, Willy Taveras, Brady Clark, Juan Pierre, and Ken Griffey Jr.  Clark would be a good fit if Doug Melvin makes him available.  It certainly wouldn't hurt to add Clark's .380 OBP to the top of the lineup, and he plays capable defense.  He's signed through 2007.    

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