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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that we should expect the unexpected once trade talk picks up this summer. For example, who expected Ubaldo Jimenez to be traded this time last year? Here are Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams says he’d prefer to focus on short-term goals for now and figure out whether to buy or sell closer to the July 31st trade deadline. “We’ll see where we are in July and then we’ll figure it out,” he said.
- Chase Headley is a popular trade target, Rosenthal reports. The Padres could replace Headley at third with Jedd Gyorko or move Gyorko to second if they hold onto Headley.
- The Diamondbacks explored the trade market for young catchers before signing Miguel Montero to an extension, only to find that acquiring a backstop such as Travis d’Arnaud or Austin Romine would have cost them top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs and then some.
- Some executives wonder if the Blue Jays should make their move this summer, asking “If not now, when?” One person says the Blue Jays are monitoring Matt Garza of the Cubs.
- Carlos Lee can block trades to 14 teams, including the Dodgers, Rosenthal reports. Almost all of the teams on Lee’s no-trade list are high-revenue clubs. This provides Lee with some leverage, but doesn’t necessarily mean he’d block a deal.
- Brett Myers’ $10MM option for 2013 likely vests with between 40 and 50 games finished, Rosenthal estimates. If a team acquired the right-hander and used him as a setup man, the option wouldn’t become an issue. But teams interested in using Myers as a closer might have interest in re-working the option like the Brewers did with Francisco Rodriguez a year ago.
- The contracts for Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay of the Phillies include the same no-trade protection, Rosenthal reports. Each player can block deals to 21 teams per year.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten expects his team to be “aggressive, but not reckless” in considering possible upgrades.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Brett Myers | Carlos Lee | Chase Headley | Chase Utley | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Houston Astros | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Philadelphia Phillies | Roy Halladay | Ryan Howard | San Diego Padres | Toronto Blue Jays | Travis D'Arnaud | Tyler Skaggs
There will be interleague games throughout most of the season, starting next year, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. MLB will limit the number of interleague contests during the last five weeks of the season to ensure that most teams play within their own league down the stretch. Here are more of Stark’s rumors…
- Brett Myers told Stark he doesn’t want to be traded, but realizes it’s beyond his control. Though Myers doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he obtains a $500K bonus if dealt.
- The Phillies have “zero” interest in trading Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino, according to an executive who looked into the possibility of trading for the free agents to be. "They'd have to be really out of it to trade anybody,” the exec said.
- Some teams have expressed interest in rehabbing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. The Nationals don’t seem interested in trading him, however.
- The Giants are sending signals that they’re in the market for a corner outfield bat, Stark reports. The Giants, who are also monitoring the infield market, may not have much selection since few power bats seem to be available.
- Rival teams believe the Astros are leaning toward selecting Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first overall selection in this June’s amateur draft. One person said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow seems to want to select someone close to the Major Leagues.
- The loss of pitching coach Dave Duncan entered into the Cardinals' thinking when they extended Yadier Molina earlier in the year, GM John Mozeliak told Stark. "With the fact that Dunc was gone, it was a subtle way of still keeping that same presence on our staff,” he said.
One scout told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the work of the Braves’ hitting instructors and the performance of Kris Medlen has made the difference for the team so far in 2012. Atlanta GM Frank Wren agrees with that assessment, according to Rosenthal, who offers notes and rumors from around the league in his latest column:
- The Cubs are more likely to trade Ryan Dempster if they sign Matt Garza to an extension. However, Dempster’s ten and five rights allow him to veto any trade, so he’ll have leverage if the Cubs look to make a move. It doesn’t seem likely that Dempster will sign a below-market extension to stay in Chicago, Rosenthal writes.
- The Cubs don’t have immediate plans to call up Anthony Rizzo, who figures to stay in the minor leagues until an opening emerges.
- Releasing Alfonso Soriano doesn’t appear to be an option; the outfielder has approximately $50MM remaining on his contract with the Cubs.
- General managers criticize the collective bargaining agreement, Rosenthal reports. Some low-revenue teams dislike spending restrictions on the draft, since they feel the limitations will drive up the price of MLB talent.
- Chien-Ming Wang, who is now rehabbing at Triple-A, could be valuable insurance for the Nationals, since they’ve decided to cap Stephen Strasburg’s innings.
- Brett Myers’ 2013 option likely vests with approximately 55 games finished, Rosenthal suggests. The right-hander will obtain a $500K bonus if the Astros trade him.
- One scout says Blue Jays catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud looks like Russell Martin did with the Dodgers.
The latest notes and rumors from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:
- Astros people say they aren't thinking about trading their veteran players at this point, according to Heyman. One non-Astros executive likes Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as midsummer trade candidates.
- However, the executive said it won't be easy to move Carlos Lee and his $18MM salary. Lee can block trades to 14 teams and badly wants to stay in Houston. A possible trade to the Brewers fell through months ago, Heyman reports.
- High-level Mets people such as COO Jeff Wilpon generally support David Wright, Heyman reports. The Mets won't trade Wright this summer and will try to lock him up before long, Heyman writes. It would take something "extraordinary'' for Wright to be traded this year, GM Sandy Alderson confirmed to Heyman. If the Mets were to trade Wright this summer, he would obtain the right to void a $16MM club option for 2013 and become a free agent this offseason. Mets people view Wright as a more reliable player than Jose Reyes, Heyman writes.
- Heyman also points out that Josh Hamilton's performance is going to make re-signing him that much more complex for the Rangers.
The 13-15 Astros have scored more runs than they’ve allowed so far this season, but they’re still expected to be sellers at the summer trade deadline. GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledged to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he'll consider trades that add talent to the organization.
“If we have pieces on our club that are in demand by other clubs and we get enough future value for them to make up for the short-term loss, we’ll consider every opportunity,” Luhnow told Rosenthal.
The GM expects rival teams to have interest in some of his players late this summer. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, closer Brett Myers, first baseman Carlos Lee and reliever Brandon Lyon are playing well, but Luhnow said he’s not actively looking to make trades yet.
“We need those guys right now,” Luhnow said. “I’m not in any rush to have any conversations about our veteran players.”
Rodriguez, Myers and Lee have $10MM or more remaining on their contracts and relative to other middle relievers, Lyon’s $5.5MM salary is hardly a bargain. The Astros would presumably need to absorb a considerable percentage of their veteran players’ contracts to obtain highly-regarded prospects in trades.
As the calendar gets ready to flip over to May, 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 currently has 61 PA and has come to the plate at least 432 times in each of the last five seasons.
- Alex Gonzalez, Brewers – $4MM option vests with 525 PA. Gonzalez has 66 PA at the moment and has eclipsed 525 PA in both 2010 and 2011.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles – $6MM option vest with 50 games finished. Gregg has finished three games this season but is a release candidate given his poor performance (7.94 ERA).
- Brett Myers, Astros – $10MM option vests based on unknown starting or relieving milestones.
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 a dozen of the Braves' first 20 games.
The Brett Myers trade rumors have been circulating for a while, and there’s no reason to expect them to slow down between now and the July 31st trade deadline. Myers, a capable pitcher nearing free agency on a team not expected to contend, should draw some trade interest this summer.
Myers' name surfaced at the 2011 Winter Meetings and the right-hander still seemed to be available in January, when Jayson Stark reported that the Astros were willing to take on at least $7MM of his 2012 salary in a trade. Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said this month that he’s not presently shopping Myers, and while that’s entirely believable, the team's stance could very well change within the next 95 days.
Myers, 31, probably won’t be on the next contending Astros team. He’s earning $12MM in 2012 and has a club/vesting option valued at $10MM for 2013 ($3MM buyout). Like most players on the Astros’ roster, Myers is a product of the Ed Wade regime. I doubt Luhnow will have reservations about trading Myers when the time is right.
Unfortunately for the Astros, Myers earns a starting pitcher’s salary. Other trade candidates such as Huston Street ($7.5MM) and Grant Balfour ($4MM) will be more appealing to contenders since they earn considerably less than Myers. I expect the Astros will have to take on millions to move Myers.
For the Astros to convince a rival team to take on more than a couple million of Myers’ salary, he’ll have to continue pitching well. So far — and it’s admittedly quite early — Myers has pitched five innings with a 4K/1BB ratio and three saves. It’s worth noting that his fastball velocity has climbed by nearly 4 mph this year to 92.2 mph from 88.4 mph (source: FanGraphs). He's just 74 pitches into the season — not even a full start’s worth — but the uptick in velocity isn’t surprising given Myers’ new role.
Should the 7-12 Astros fall out of contention early, Luhnow might have the chance to start selling before other trade candidates become available. This could enable him to send more of Myers' salary to a team looking to acquire relief help before the trade market heats up in July. Still, it seems more likely that the Astros will postpone most serious trade talk until after they select first overall in the upcoming June draft. There's also a good chance Myers' salary would clear waivers, so he might be available in August.
Myers should draw interest from contenders, especially if his strong April portends a successful first half. But it seems likely that the Astros will have to take on millions to complete a deal. Depending on Myers' performance, the evolution of the trade market and Luhnow's willingness to absorb salary, the Astros could acquire anything from a marginal minor leaguer to a legitimate prospect for their closer.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
Astros closer Brett Myers is not on the trading block, GM Jeff Luhnow told Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports in Houston (Twitter links). Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported over the weekend that the Astros were shopping the right-hander.
Myers transitioned to the bullpen this spring after spending most of the past four seasons in the rotation. The 31-year-old has pitched effectively in his first two appearances as Houston's closer, for what it's worth. He'll earn $11MM in 2012 and figures to be involved in many trade rumors this summer if he continues pitching well. For now, however, Luhnow says the Astros are not discussing trades with other teams.
A few items of note to share out of MLB's West divisions …
- Things don't look good for Giants closer Brian Wilson, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Steve Kroner of the SFGate.com. The Beard has "structural issues" in his right elbow and could be facing surgery.
- The news on Wilson prompted Bob Nightengale of USA Today to wonder whether the Giants would check in with the Astros on closer Brett Myers, whom Houston has been shopping for the past few months, if Wilson is in fact out for the season's balance or a substantial period of time (Twitter link).
- Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson doesn't hold a grudge against the Yankees for not attempting to sign him this offseason, according to Richard Justice of MLB.com, though the lefty intimates that it bothered him at the time: "Everybody has different constraints. There's not one way to build a team. They obviously went after a couple of pitchers. Obviously, both those guys did really good last year. You can't hold a grudge forever. You move on. I'm here. I'm an Angel. That's it."
- Padres lefty Cory Luebke discussed how last month's multiyear extension came to pass with Jeff Rickard and Jeff Nelson of MLB Network Radio's "Home Plate" on SiriusXM (audio link): "It wasn't something I expected, by any means. I was pretty surprised when they asked me if it was something I'd be willing to do. … There's a little peace of a mind, but I think we get more peace of mind when we're winning ballgames than dealing with the financial side of it, but it does offer a little security."
Which players can lock in 2013 contract options based on their 2012 performance? Let's take a look.
- Jason Bartlett, Padres: $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances.
- Alex Gonzalez, Brewers: $4MM option vests with 525 plate appearances.
- Chipper Jones, Braves: $9MM+ option vests with 123 games.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles: $6MM option vests with 50 games finished.
- Brett Myers, Astros: $10MM option vests based on unknown starting or relieving milestones.