Brett Myers Rumors

AL Central Notes: Acta, Myers, Francoeur

Bob Feller made his first Major League start on this day in 1936 and immediately set the tone for his Hall of Fame career.  Feller struck out 15 St. Louis Browns hitters, falling just short of the then-AL record of 16 strikeouts in a game.  Perhaps the most impressive stat from Feller's first start was his age — Rapid Robert was just 17 years old.

Here are some items from Feller's former team in Cleveland and elsewhere in the AL Central…

  • The Indians' roster construction is to blame for the team's recent woes, not manager Manny Acta, opines Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Indians CEO Paul Dolan said today that Acta's job is safe for 2013, as well as the jobs of GM Chris Antonetti and team president Mark Shapiro.
  • Brett Myers' $10MM contract option for 2013 will vest if he finishes 45 games this season, but White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that the team will use Myers in any manner necessary as the club battles for the AL Central title.  Myers currently has 36 games finished, seven since joining the White Sox on July 21.  Addison Reed will finish the majority of games down the stretch as the Sox closer, but Myers figures to be the backup closing option should Reed get injured or become ineffective.
  • Royals officials tell Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that Wil Myers might not be called up this season so the Royals can avoid having to protect him (and leave someone else unprotected) in the Rule 5 draft.  Two team officials also think Myers may yet not quite be ready for Major League pitching, despite his .927 OPS in 388 Triple-A plate appearances this season.
  • With Myers in Triple-A, Jeff Francoeur is still the incumbent right fielder.  Dutton reports that the Royals would like to deal Francoeur but aren't willing to do so in a salary dump or for a negligible return.

2013 Vesting Options Update

With a little less than one-third of the season left to go, let's check in on the various vesting option situations from around the league…

  • Jason Bartlett, Padres — $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances. Bartlett came to the plate just 98 times before being placed on the disabled list with a knee injury. He won't return to the lineup anytime soon, so this option will not vest.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles — $6MM option vests with 50 games finished. Gregg has finished just 12 of the team's 113 games, so this one is very unlikely even though it's still mathematically possible.
  • Brett Myers, White Sox — $10MM option vests with 45 games finished or based on a points system. Myers has finished 33 games this season, and he has finished four of the ten games he's appeared in with Chicago despite not being the closer. This is one worth monitoring.

Chipper Jones has an option worth $9MM+ that will vest with 123 games played, but he's already rendered the option moot by announcing his plans to retire after the season. He recently said that he won't change his mind about retirement despite his strong play as well. Chipper has played in 71 of the Braves' first 112 games.

Alex Gonzalez has an option worth $4MM that will vest with 525 plate appearances, but he is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Gonzalez came to the plate just 89 times before the injury, so the Brewers do not have to worry about this one kicking in.


Astros Acquire Devenski To Complete Myers Deal

The White Sox sent minor league right-hander Chris Devenski to the Astros to complete the trade that sent Brett Myers to Chicago, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). The White Sox sent right-hander Matthew Heidenreich and left-hander Blair Walters to Houston for Myers on July 21st.

Devenski, 21, was selected in the 25th round of last year's draft. He has spent the 2012 season at Class A Kannapolis, where he has a 4.23 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 61 2/3 innings.



White Sox Acquire Brett Myers From Astros

The White Sox have acquired Brett Myers from the Astros, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Houston announced that they will receive right-hander Matt Heidenreich, left-hander Blair Walters, and a player to be named later for the pitcher.  The Astros will also send cash to Chicago, according to the White Sox.

The White Sox are on the hook for just $1MM of the $4.45MM still owed to Myers this year, according to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter).  Chicago also received money to go towards Myers' salary or possible buyout for next sesaon.

Myers, 31, has a $10MM option for 2013 that will vest if he finishes 45 games and doesn't end the season on the disabled list.  To date, the closer has finished 29 games with 35 appearances in total.  Rosenthal notes (via Twitter) that Myers has a $500K bonus in his contract for being traded, but it's not yet known which team will pick up the tab.

The veteran has been linked to a handful of clubs recently including the Cardinals and the Mets but the White Sox weren't among the teams rumored to be interested.  The right-hander has posted a 3.52 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 for the Astros this season.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has extremely busy this week, having just completed a ten-player swap with the Blue Jays.  That deal brought six players to Houston including four minor leaguers and a player to be named later.  In total, Luhnow has replenished the Houston farm system with eight prospects through these two deals.

Heidenreich, 21, has a 3.95 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 18 Single-A and Double-A starts this year.  Houston announced that the former fourth-round pick in the 2009 draft will be assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi.  The 6'5" right-hander boasts a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and will likely fill out in the years ahead as he weighs in at just 185 pounds.

Walters, 22, has split time between Single-A and Advanced-A this year, posting a 3.96 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.  Prior to this season, Baseball America had the left-hander ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the White Sox organization.


Quick Hits: Astros, Mets, Athletics, Straily

Ryan Dempster, Francisco Liriano and Shane Victorino are among the most likely players to be traded within the next 11 days, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Those players are a step behind the Astros and Blue Jays, who announced a major trade this morning. Here are today’s links…

  • There are “no game-changers” in the ten-player trade completed this morning, a rival evaluator told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link).
  • The Mets don't have interest in Brett Myers and didn't have interest in Brandon Lyon before the Blue Jays acquired him from Houston, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
  • The Athletics agreed to sign 16-year-old Dominican Jhonny Rodriguez, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). It's a $300K deal, the Dominican Prospect League announced.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests we shouldn't be surprised if the Athletics work to add right-hander Daniel Straily to their rotation at some point soon. The 23-year-old has a 2.64 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings in the upper minors this year. 
  • Brett Lawrie, Justin Verlander and Buster Posey barely missed the cut for inclusion on Dave Cameron's list of the ten MLB players with the most trade value. Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp rank sixth and seventh, respectively, on Cameron's list at FanGraphs.

Mets Notes: Francisco Rodriguez, Brett Myers

The Mets are interested in right-handed relievers Jonathan Broxton and Grant Balfour, but they aren't close on any deals, according to reports yesterday. Here are the latest Mets-related rumors, as GM Sandy Alderson considers ways of adding to his bullpen:

  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears that Brewers president of baseball operations Doug Melvin told Alderson that Milwaukee isn’t selling yet (Twitter link). Martino suggests Francisco Rodriguez — the former Mets closer who continues to intrigue the team — would already be on the Mets if the Brewers had a worse record.
  • The Mets haven’t been very aggressive in pursuing Brett Myers, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports (on Twitter). The trade candidate has 19 saves and a 3.52 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros this year.
  • Assistant GM John Ricco told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the team won't overpay for help.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Cardinals, Greinke, Astros, Rasmus

With Chris Carpenter set to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a nerve condition in his shoulder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals are in the market for at least one starter and one reliever. St. Louis has trade chips though the new collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow teams to recoup draft pick compensation for rental players, changing the landscape.

Let's round up the rest of Rosenthal's rumors…

  • Zack Greinke would likely welcome a trade to – and a chance to sign long-term with – the Cardinals, though it's unclear if the Brewers would be willing to trade him within the division.
  • The Astros are prepared to move Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, though Jed Lowrie is essentially unavailable. Rosenthal says they could be an obvious trade partner for St. Louis since GM Jeff Luhnow spent nine years in the Cardinals' front office.
  • The Cardinals may not want to invest $20MM+ annually into a pitcher, but both Lance Berkman ($12MM) and Kyle Lohse ($11.875MM) will be off the books after this season.
  • The Blue Jays' immediate strategy may be to acquire a modest rotation upgrade before reassessing at the trade deadline, shortly before Brandon Morrow returns from his oblique injury. Rosenthal believes they should consider selling high on Colby Rasmus.
  • Teams continue to call the Angels about Peter Bourjos and some believe he could be the centerpiece of a deal for a quality starting pitcher. The Halos believe the young outfielder is a building block for the future, however. They do not appear to be in the market for a pitcher at the moment.
  • The difference in income tax rates between Texas (none) and California (among the highest in the country) was an issue for Astros first baseman Carlos Lee as he mulled over a potential trade to the Dodgers. Los Angeles may have been willing to help "bridge the gap" had he shown enthusiasm for the deal.

Mets Looking For Bullpen Help

At 5.21, the Mets have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball by three-tenths of a run. Closer Frank Francisco is out with an oblique injury and Bobby Parnell has taken over ninth inning responsibilities, leaving the setup work to Jon Rauch and Miguel Batista. Ken Davidoff of The New York Post writes that the club is looking for bullpen help outside the organization.

“It’s not too early to do the research,” said assistant GM John Ricco. “It’s probably too early to make a move, although each year there is several pre-emptive ones. For the seller more than the buyer.”

Ricco also indicated that sometimes “you try to catch lightning in a bottle,” using the team's 2006 acquisition of Guillermo Mota as an example. Mota pitched to 6.21 ERA in 34 games for the Indians before being sent to New York and posting a 1.00 ERA in 18 appearances that year.

GM Sandy Alderson told Davidoff that the club hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding payroll, but they are weary of trading top-shelf prospects for volatile relievers. Davidoff mentions that the Mets are likely to get involved in any trade talks for Brett Myers and Huston Street, and not to rule out Grant Balfour as well.


2013 Vesting Options Update

Let's check in on the players who have vesting options for the 2013 season…

  • Jason Bartlett, Padres – $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances. Bartlett came to the plate just 98 times before being placed on the disabled list with a knee injury. There is no firm timetable for his return and it seems unlikely that the option will vest at this point.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles – $6MM option vests with 50 games finished. Gregg has finished just six of the team's 70 games and it seems likely that Baltimore will keep the option from vesting.
  • Brett Myers, Astros – $10MM option vests with 45 games finished or based on a points system. Myers has finished 23 of the club's 70 games and is a trade candidate. If he continues to close, the option seems likely to vest.

Chipper Jones has an option worth $9MM+ that will vest with 123 games played, but he's already rendered the option moot by announcing his plans to retire after the season. Chipper has played in 38 of the Braves' first 70 games.

Alex Gonzalez has an option worth $4MM that will vest with 525 plate appearances, but he is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Gonzalez came to the plate just 89 times before the injury, so the Brewers do not have to worry about this one kicking in.


Details On Brett Myers’ Vesting Option

Brett Myers’ $10MM option for 2013 vests if he finishes 45 games and doesn’t end the season on the disabled list, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Myers, who has already completed 20 games, can also trigger the option with a points system based on other qualifications.

Myers has a 2.25 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and 14 saves this year. He'll earn $11MM in 2012 and his contract, which was restructured upon his return to the bullpen, includes a $10MM vesting option for 2013 with a $3MM buyout. 

If the Astros trade the 31-year-old to a team that uses him as a setup man, the option likely won’t vest. There’s a good chance Myers will finish 45 games if he continues closing, but one executive suggested to Morosi that the $10MM vesting option isn’t that scary to prospective trade partners. “I wouldn’t imagine it’s going to be a huge hindrance,” the person said.