Brandon Morrow Rumors
The Brewers may be right up against their 2010 payroll limit according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, however GM Doug Melvin is still looking to upgrade his club.
"If we can [add another starter] we'd like to," Melvin said at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. "We might not be able to. We're always looking to improve the club.
"We're trying to keep flexibility to do things. The worst thing you can do is lose flexibility. We still want to be aggressive but we can step back and look at the landscape, see what takes place with free agents and trades."
McCalvy notes that the club's free agent signings total a $21MM commitment for 2010, plus there's another $37MM or so tied up in players already on their roster. The team has seven players eligible for salary arbitration, and there's about $18MM budgeted for them. If they fill out their roster with players making close to the minimum, it'll push Melvin's club over their $80MM or so projected payroll.
Given Randy Wolf's price tag, the team may not be able to add the second starter they crave. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com said the Brewers will "almost certainly" sign one of Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or Jarrod Washburn, though they may have to make a move to free up some cash to sign one of them.
Some Saturday afternoon links..
- The Dodgers should have offered salary arbitration to Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudsonto allow themselves the opportunity to receive draft picks, writes Jon Weisman of the Los Angeles Times. Weisman argues that the worst case scenario of being stuck with one or both players at a slightly inflated price for one season wouldn't have been so bad. It's hard to dispute this point as we have yet to see the Dodgers do much of anything this winter.
- Not only are the Athletics talking to free agent Adrian Beltre, they may be the only serious bidder at the moment, according to an item on ESPN's MLB rumor page. The piece also notes that if Beltre's asking price - believed to be north of $10MM per season - drops into Oakland's price range, the Giants, Cardinals, and Tigers could get in the mix.
- Seattle's poor decisions stunted the development of Brandon Morrow, writes Ryan Divish of The News Tribune. While he never had the same ceiling as Tim Lincecum, who was drafted five spots later in the 2006 draft, things could have worked out differently for Morrow if he were given adequate time to develop in the minors.
- Shi Davidi of the Associated Presspraises new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and his plan to rebuild the franchise. Davidi writes that Anthopoulos has the support of ownership in a way that J.P. Ricciardi never did.
- A few free agents left on the market might want to consider lowering their asking price, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Adam LaRoche seeking $30MM over three years might be the most wishful of the bunch.
The Blue Jays acquired pitcher Brandon Morrow from the Mariners for reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez today. The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Monday, while MLB.com's Jordan Bastian added the Chavez detail yesterday.
Morrow, 25, has a 3.96 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 5.7 BB/9 in his 197.6-inning big league career. The hard-throwing righty was drafted fifth overall by the Mariners in '06. He made the team's Opening Day roster in '07 as a reliever, and stayed in that role to open the '08 season due to the Erik Bedard acquisition. He dealt with a shoulder injury that year. In August of '08 he transitioned to starting. Elbow issues surfaced in the spring of '09, but once healthy Morrow was back in the 'pen. He was sidelined by biceps tendinitis shortly thereafter, and it was back to starting in June. Morrow has a pretty serious injury history in his big league career; it's difficult to determine if the frequent role-switching was the cause or the effect. He is not yet arbitration-eligible and is under team control through 2013. Chavez, who turns 21 next month, hit .283/.346/.474 last year in A ball.
League, 27 in March, has a 4.09 ERA, 6.9 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 202.3 career relief innings. League also throws in the mid-90s, and has a strong career groundball rate of 62%. He's had an up-and-down career, oddly posting his best peripherals in '09 (3.6 K/BB) alongside a 4.58 ERA. League had a shoulder injury that cost him most of '07. He's under team control through 2012.
The Blue Jays come out ahead on this one. Morrow is an obvious health risk, but he still has frontline starter potential. It's a gamble worth taking at the cost of a reliever and a prospect. Perhaps the Mariners believe it's all downhill from here for Morrow.
Some links as Hanley Ramirez celebrates his 26th birthday...
- The Mets may have reduced interest in Carlos Delgado, according to Marty Noble of MLB.com. The slugger won't start playing baseball in Puerto Rico until mid-January; no reason was given for the delay.
- The Yankees have about $4MM to spend on a left fielder, according to the New York Daily News.
- Nick Johnson's deal with the Yankees is official, according to MLB.com's Brian Hoch.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution points out (via Twitter) that Troy Glaus will be the Braves' 11th opening day first baseman in 12 seasons if he signs in Atlanta, as expected.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says (via Twitter) that the Cubs were willing to take on Kei Igawa's salary (two years, $8MM) before the Yanks acquired Javier Vazquez.
- Brandon Morrow tells Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he hopes to start in Toronto.
- Dustin Parkes of Drunk Jays Fans says there's no point thinking of Roy Hallladay as a saint, even if he did buy ad space in the Toronto Sun.
- An unnamed source tells Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that the Dodgers broke even last year. Check out Shaikin's interview with team president Dennis Mannion.
- The Phillies have been in touch with former Nats reliever Mike MacDougal, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. MacDougal's agent says "a good number" of teams are interested, which is what we heard earlier in the week.
1:19pm: Earlier in the week Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the club isn't currently talking trades with the Mariners. A deal is still possible, but the Brewers have shown no inclination to trade Gamel.
10:59am: The Mariners are trying to trade one of their young players and lock another one up long-term, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal hears that the Mariners are trying to trade Brandon Morrow for a corner infielder or DH. The M's may re-visit talks with the Brewers about a Mat Gamel for Morrow swap.
12:45am: Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider has had this info for quite a while today - the Phillies will get Aumont, Gillies, and righty Juan Ramirez from Seattle.
11:33pm: Rosenthal reports that the Phillies get $6MM from the Jays. Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and probably Travis D'Arnaud are headed to Toronto, Rosenthal says. Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and a third player are apparently headed to Philadelphia.
10:12pm: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter) has Toronto getting Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D'Arnaud; Philly getting Roy Halladay and Phillippe Aumont; and the Mariners getting Cliff Lee, plus another piece (or, pieces).
9:46pm: One Mariner prospect headed to Philly would be 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies, writes Stark in his latest update.
9:25pm: As the deal stands now, M's prospects would only be going to Philadelphia, not Toronto, sources tell Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
9:15pm: After going through several incarnations over the last 48 hours, the latest version of the deal has outfielder Michael Taylor, catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud, and a pitcher - either J.A. Happ or Kyle Drabek - going to Toronto, writes Stark in his latest update.
Under this scenario, the Phillies would get to hang on to Domonic Brown and would recieve Phillippe Aumont.
8:26pm: Check that. Aumont is in the deal, but heading to the Phillies rather than the Jays, says Elliott (via Twitter).
7:51pm: Elliott says (via Twitter) that Drabek is in the deal, but Aumont is not.
7:11pm: M's shortstop prospect Carlos Triunfel could be in the deal in place of Saunders, tweets Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
7:04pm: Drabek and "other top [Phillies] prospects" will be involved in the deal, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter). According to Salisbury, Brown will remain with the club.
6:55pm: J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton took physicals and could be a part of the deal, writes Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. Domonic Brown also took a physical today, who is said to be coveted by the Jays.
6:46pm: "People" tell Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that Aumont is not a part of the deal (via Twitter).
6:18pm: An interesting update to Jayson Stark's article. Prior to turning to the M's, the Phillies first attempted to complete a two-team deal with Toronto alone for Halladay. However, when Philly refused to include their top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek - as they did last summer - they got Seattle involved.
The Phillies also tried to move Joe Blanton in an effort to make space on the payroll for Doc - but couldn't get enough back to allow them to make a Halladay deal. Stark also adds that the team did no actual negotiating with Lee on an extension but had heard that he was seeking a C.C. Sabathia-type contract. This was apparently enough to put a scare into Ruben Amaro Jr. & Co.
5:20pm: Jon Heyman (via Twitter) hears that Morrow may not be leaving Seattle after all. He also hears that Aumont is likely involved the trade and "perhaps" Saunders as well.
5:00pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark heard this deal is close but not done. He says Halladay's extension would be just three years and $60MM (starting in 2011), with possible vesting options for another year or two. Aside from Aumont, the M's would also give up two others in the deal. The Jays would get Phils catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud and Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor plus one other player. The Blue Jays prefer Brown.
3:56pm: Rosenthal and Morosi write that pitcher Phillippe Aumont of the Mariners and "possibly" outfielder Michael Taylor of the Phillies are among the players heading to Toronto in the trade. They add that outfielder Michael Saunders and pitcher Brandon Morrow are "in play." The FOX duo confirms an agreement is in place to send Halladay to the Phillies and Lee to the Mariners. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian sees an official announcement Wednesday at the earliest.
3:17pm: In an article, Heyman notes that Halladay's extension "is expected to be a formality" (though it may not be done today). Heyman appears certain that an agreement has been reached on a Phillies/Jays/Mariners deal that will net the Phils Halladay. Lee's agent Darek Braunecker hasn't heard anything, tweets Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
2:56pm: Heyman tweets that a three-way deal has been agreed to with Halladay going to the Phillies and Lee to the Mariners. The Phillies are now trying to sign Halladay to an extension. However, in a subsequent tweet, Heyman apologizes for a quick trigger finger and says that while the Ms are confirmed as the third team he is checking to verify they'll get Lee. And MLB.com's Noah Coslov has no confirmed deal from Lee or the Ms.
2:36pm: Morosi tweets that MLB hasn't granted the Phils permission to negotiate with Halladay yet, but a deal "looks close."
1:49pm: CSN's Jim Salisbury reports today that the Phillies are "actively talking" about a contract extension with Roy Halladay's agent, according to two baseball sources. One of those sources told Salisbury Doc is likely to take a physical with the Phillies this week. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Andy Martino adds that Halladay and his agent have checked into a Philadelphia-area hotel.
What's more, Salisbury writes of "indications that pitcher Cliff Lee could be traded." SI's Jon Heyman wrote today that Lee would take no discount to sign an extension. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports write that "a three-team blockbuster that would send Halladay to the Phillies and Lee to another club is under discussion." They add that the Mariners have "contemplated dealing for Lee in recent days," but a straight Phillies-Jays trade is also possible. The writers say these complex talks involve the Phils receiving money to put toward Halladay's $15.75MM salary next year.
Questions: would Halladay command a C.C. Sabathia contract, even though he'll be 33 in May? (The New York Post's Joel Sherman suggests Halladay would take less to play for the Phillies). And which teams could match up for Lee aside from the Mariners? The Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox were linked to Lee in July trade talks, but things have changed since then.
SI's Jon Heyman tweets a rumor of the Tigers' demands from the Mariners in an Edwin Jackson trade:
"Hearing Tigers sought young pitchers Brandon Morrow and Shawn Kelley for Jackson. Mariners apparently said no."
So the Tigers offered two years of Jackson for four years of Morrow and five of Kelley. Were the Mariners right to turn it down?
Let's round up some leftover Thursday links....
- The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin spoke to Joe Urbon, Jason Bay's agent. Urbon suggested that discussion would continue with the Red Sox, but that interest in his client so far has been "extraordinary."
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times warns Mariners fans not to get too excited about rumors of a three-way deal involving Brandon Morrow and the Tigers' Edwin Jackson. He thinks Morrow could be a valuable trade chip for Seattle though.
- In a Baltimore Sun column, Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly point out that the Baltimore Orioles' lack of big contract commitments puts them in a great spot if they want to pursue free agents this winter. The article also examines what players the Orioles might go after.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock writes that the San Diego Padres could have a little bit of "wiggle room" to sign players this winter, though their payroll will once again be minuscule.
- The Mets need to take the same approach this offseason that the Yankees did last year, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.
- Marty Noble shares his own thoughts about the Mets' offseason strategy in his latest MLB.com mailbag.
- Paul Lo Duca wants to make a comeback after spending last year out of the league. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News passes on the comments Lo Duca made on Sirius XM about returning.
- The Chicago Cubs might not be done moving arbitration-eligible players to save money, according to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson recaps some of the big names that the Washington Nationals have already been linked to this month.
- Speaking of Ladson, be sure to follow him on Twitter for the latest Nats updates.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests we keep an eye on a possible three-way trade between the Tigers, Mariners and one other club. The Tigers would give up Edwin Jackson and the Mariners would give up Brandon Morrow. Here are some more rumors to read as you wonder who that third team might be:
- Nightengale says the Rays are the "clear-cut favorite" to acquire Milton Bradley from the Cubs.
- The Yankees are apparently letting teams know that Nick Swisher is available. Swisher was involved in his share of trade rumors after the Yankees acquired him last season.
- The Dodgers are focusing on Roy Halladay, who would potentially cost Chad Billingsley and others.
USA's Today's Bob Nightengale is cranking out the tweets...put this stuff in a column, Bob!
- He says the Red Sox met with Scott Boras about Matt Holliday, as a Jason Bay contingency.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Nightengale no one has heard from Ben Sheets or his agent. Back in October, assistant GM Gord Ash told the AP, "There's been once and a while conversations with his agent to remind that we still have that ongoing interest."
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Nightengale he didn't sit down with a single agent. Seems kind of weird.
- Talking to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, Nightengale learned that the team is still open to acquiring a DH despite re-signing Ken Griffey Jr.
- D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes told Nightengale the Super Two cutoff is two years, 139 days, leaving Mark Reynolds one day shy. That saves the team some bucks. But it looks as though Adam Jones, Mike Fontenot, and Micah Owings will be arbitration-eligible. Are Fontenot and Owings non-tender candidates?