Brandon Wood Rumors
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?
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?
Some Saturday morning links...
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post Dispatch says the Cardinals blew it by telling the fans and media that they'd make an aggressive attempt to re-sign Matt Holliday. How could they have blown it when there's still a chance he could come back?
- Both David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News and Scott Lauber of The News Journal looked at the Phillies' long-term payroll now that Placido Polanco is on board for the next three years.
- The Mets are among the teams on Jason Marquis' wish list, writes Ben Shpigel of The NY Times, and the team has reciprocated that interest. Shpigel adds that the Mets are trying to find a "sturdy starter" from a group that includes Marquis, Joel Pineiro, and Randy Wolf.
- The Rays have a week to decide whether they'll tender a contract to Dioner Navarro, and executive vice president Andrew Friedman "indicated this week he might need every hour until that deadline to make a decision," according to Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune.
- In a highly recommended feature by Tim Sullivan of The San Diego Union Tribune, former Padres' GM Kevin Towers indicated that he'd like to learn more about the AL, saying "I’d like to see how they do business, how you put an American League team together."
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News says that the Tigers got nothing in return for Placido Polanco, but they could have if he hadn't played so well in the second half.
- With Chone Figgins on the verge of going to Seattle, the Angels may finally give Brandon Wood a chance to play, writes Bill Shaikin of The LA Times.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes says that if Terry Francona has his way, Mike Lowell won't be moving to first. Lowell said he wouldn't rule out a move across the diamond earlier this week.
- The Orioles have been downplaying the posssibility of any major moves during the Winter Meetings, according to The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck.
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.
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.
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.
7:55am: We'll start with a review of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumors. The 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...
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports say the Jays are not requiring the Dodgers to include Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. Instead, they'd just take five or six of the team's top prospects.
- Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News say Ricciardi is trying to get the Yankees and Red Sox into a bidding war. Kind of cliche, J.P. The authors imply the Yanks may be more focused Jarrod Washburn, who obviously wouldn't require as big a bounty.
- Halladay's plan for today, according to Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer - lock himself in his hotel room. Might want to unplug the TV and disable the Internet. Doc is understandably drained from pitching last night amid all the rumors.
Some more interesting nuggets we've mined as we reel from the madness today:
- Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune got comments from Cubs GM Jim Hendry, who called rumors that Milton Bradley could head to the Tigers "unfair to the player."
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears that Danys Baez, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora, who are all about to become free agents, have attracted minimal interest on the trade market.
- The Mariners signed second round pick Rick Poythress, who'll be immediately shipped to the AA affiliate, reports Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick takes a look at some of the all-time hyped prospects who have turned out to be busts.
- In a similar piece to Crasnick's, Yahoo's Jeff Passan looks at how once-hot prospect Brandon Wood has seen his value as a trade chip diminish.
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.
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 Saunders, Erick 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.
10:19pm: Heyman tweets that the Yankees might consider giving up Chamberlain for Halladay, but won't entertain both Chamberlain and Hughes.
8:14pm: Ray Parrillo and Jim Salisbury of The Philadelphia Inquirer report that the Phillies "were trying to steer the Blue Jays" towards a package centered around Carrasco and infielder Jason Donald.
7:53pm: Heyman tweets that the Jays suggested to the Yankees today that it would take Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and two more for Halladay.
7:36pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com report that the Jays countered the Angels offer by asking for a four player package that included Joe Saunders, Brandon Wood, Erick Aybar, and one prospect from the group of Trevor Reckling, Peter Bourjos, and Sean O'Sullivan. They also mention that as many as five teams are talking with Toronto about Halladay.
4:17pm: According to Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports, the Angels "did indeed make a run at Halladay, offering Jered Weaver plus the Blue Jays' pick of outfield or infield prospects" Bottom line, it wasn't enough.
3:47pm: Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse has more. Here's his most recent tweet: "Source: 'I'd be shocked' if Phillies reverse course and include Happ [and] Drabek for Halladay. But [second] source [says] Blue Jays 'got to' have both."
3:08pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark reports the Blue Jays have presented similar proposals (or lists of desired prospects) to the Dodgers and Angels. "The ball is in their court," as Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi said Friday.
2:40pm: Jeff Blair of the Toronto Globe and Mail heard from a Jays scout that "there's one big team yet to make a play for Doc." Blair hints that one "big team" might be the Red Sox.
1:04pm: According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, the Phillies have formally rejected the Blue Jays' proposal. Philadelphia is reportedly opposed to giving up both Drabek and Happ.
12:43pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports are reporting that the Angels have "intensified their bid" for Halladay. The Jays are said to be asking for one player from the Halos' major-league roster and "another who could make an impact in 2010."
Additionally, Jays officials are said believe Halladay's past two brilliant outings make their recent offers "reasonable." Sources don't believe a deal will be completed this weekend.
10:46am: Jayson Stark at ESPN says that the Phillies are now balking at the Blue Jays' asking price, which was formally presented Thursday as J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown. It's believed they're hoping to substitute Carlos Carrasco for one of Happ or Drabek, particularly Drabek.
9:25am: Talks might be heating up. Jon Heyman at SI says "there's no way he stays" with the Blue Jays, as discussions with the Phils have become "intense." MLB.com's Jordan Bastian saw Halladay emerge from the clubhouse in uniform, though, so nothing's imminent for now.
3:30am: Check out the latest from Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He says that while the Jays want Drabek, Happ, and Brown for Halladay, they did send assistant GM Tony LaCava to watch Phils prospect Carlos Carrasco pitch.
Salisbury adds that the Phillies have interest in Cliff Lee, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn as backup plans, and will scout Lee Sunday.
12:20am: We learned yesterday that Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is in serious discussions with four teams about ace pitcher Roy Halladay. The Phillies are known to be the favorite. A piece of info to kick off the Saturday post from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail:
Know this: Halladay has told people that the Phillies are his preferred choice if he were to be traded. The Blue Jays want pitchers J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek and one of two outfield prospects: Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown.
That's important, given Halladay's full no-trade clause. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports agree that Halladay would approve a trade to Philly.
The Phillies and Yankees were in Toronto last night scouting Halladay's gem against the Rays, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Rosenthal and Morosi say "Ricciardi has yet to engage" the Yanks in trade talks though.
Despite the rumors, Doc told Bastian and other reporters after the game he feels like he's going to remain a Blue Jay. He doesn't feel the urgency for a trade on his or the team's part. Halladay also clarified his stance on free agency, for which he's eligible after the 2010 season.