Brett Wallace Rumors
A few notes as we head into the final day of 2009....
- ESPN.com's Insider news page passes on some Orlando Hudson-related speculation from Buster Olney on the Mike And Mike In The Morning radio show. Olney "wouldn't be surprised" if the Mariners got into the bidding for the veteran second baseman, adding that Hudson would "be a perfect fit in what they're doing" in Seattle.
- Andrew Stoeten of the Drunk Jays Fans blog runs down some of the highlights of Keith Law's appearance on Toronto's FAN 590 station this afternoon. Law opined on the type of free agents the Blue Jays should sign, said the Jays should focus on scouting and noted that if Brett Wallace wasn't going to be used at third base, "you can probably play him opening day."
- Chad Jennings of the LoHud.com Yankees blog says Aroldis Chapman "might be this winter’s most intriguing available player, period." He brought up Chapman with Yankees senior vice-president of baseball operations Mark Newman, who said the Cuban left-hander would start the year in Single-A or Double-A if he signed with New York. Newman was impressed by Chapman's workout session two weeks ago, but noted that Chapman is "not where (Stephen) Strasburg was."
- Mike Lowell underwent surgery today to repair the injured right thumb that prevented him from being dealt to Texas. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Lowell had a 95-percent tear in his thumb's radial collateral ligament but is expected to be ready for spring training. This latest surgery will almost surely, as Newsday's Ken Davidoff surmised last week, put an end to the Lowell trade rumors unless Lowell proves himself to be healthy in Grapefruit League action.
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.
3:27pm: Over at BlueJays.com, Blue Jays Alex Anthopoulos talked about the players the Jays received in the Halladay deal, as well as recent signing John Buck. A few notes: Anthopoulos sees Wallace as a first baseman, and he has still has ongoing trade talks about other players.
1:48pm: The Mariners announced the trade in a press release, with GM Jack Zdruriencik congratulating the Phillies and Blue Jays on the way the deal was handled. ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that the deal will be complete all-around once Bud Selig signs off on the $6MM going to the Phillies. Elliott says an MRI on Wallace's shoulder cleared the Taylor part of the swap.
1:31pm: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail heard that the report of a failed physical is a "totally false rumour." ESPN's Shannon Drayer tweets that the deal is official and Lee is a Mariner. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki agrees, saying a Halladay press conference is set for 4pm CST.
12:38pm: Davidi passes along an AP report that has Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. saying he's hopeful the trade can be completed today but talks may go into Thursday. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times doesn't expect the deal to unravel, and is hearing it's not a Mariners prospect who failed a physical.
11:47am: The three/four-way trade involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is not yet official; here's our post yesterday for a refresher. The latest bit of news kicking off today's post: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun tweets that he heard someone involved in the trade flunked their physical (one of the minor leaguers). Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press says Phillippe Aumont passed. There appears to be six other prospects involved in the deal, if you include the Michael Taylor-Brett Wallace component. Drabek had Tommy John surgery in July of '07, while Aumont had elbow issues toward the end of the '08 season.
A recap of the expected deal:
- The Phillies get Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Juan Ramirez, and $6MM. The Phillies will give Halladay a three-year extension plus vesting options.
- The Mariners get Cliff Lee.
- The Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis d'Arnaud.
- The A's get Michael Taylor.
The Blue Jays will trade outfielder Michael Taylor to the A's for third base prospect Brett Wallace, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
The A's acquired Wallace from the Cardinals when they sent Matt Holliday to St. Louis in July. The Jays drafted Wallace in 2005 and were rumored to have interest in him last summer when Roy Halladay first hit the trade market.
Wallace went to college and signed with the Cards as a first rounder in 2008. The 23-year-old hit .281/.403/.438 in the upper minors for the A's and Cards last year. Ben Badler of Baseball America isn't crazy about the deal for the Jays, but Keith Law of ESPN.com says Wallace can be a better hitter than Taylor.
Taylor, who's eight months older than Wallace, hit .320/.395/.549 in the upper minors for the Phillies and fits into Oakland's system better, in Law's opinion.
Cardinals' chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. was a guest on Bernie Miklasz's 101 ESPN radio show today, and spoke about free agent Matt Holliday (among other topics). Let's round the discussion up...
- The team still plans to make a serious push to retain Holliday, but DeWitt admitted that if a big-market club decides to go all out to sign him, they probably "don't have a chance."
- The Cardinals haven't made an offer during the 15-day exclusive-right window simply because Scott Boras has made it clear he's taking Holliday on the open market.
- DeWitt doesn't regret trading three prospects for Holliday, including 2008 first round pick Brett Wallace, because the goal was winning in 2009.
- He also acknowledges that trading for Holliday and Mark DeRosa thinned out the team's farm system, but he believes the club still has prospects that will draw interest from other clubs.
- If the Cardinals fail to re-sign Holliday, DeWitt said they would use the money set aside for him to improve other areas of the roster, depending on the player(s) and if it makes sense.
Sunday evening linkage...
- As noted by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, new Angels hurler Scott Kazmir is already falling in love out West. "It kind of feels like a playoff atmosphere every time you're here," Kazmir said Sunday. "You have the Rally Monkey, the whole thing going on." He's under team control until 2012 and will make his Angels debut Wednesday.
- Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com spoke Sunday with A's manager Bob Geren, who revealed his plan for September's roster expansion. It has already been confirmed that Brett Wallace will not see major league action this year.
- Paul Byrd told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he wasn't guaranteed a call-up by the Red Sox when they signed him to a minor league deal in early August. The 38-year-old made his 2009 debut Sunday afternoon, tossing six shutout innings against the Blue Jays.
- John Lackey earned his 100th career win Sunday with eight innings of five-hit ball against the Athletics. He heads an intriguing 2010 free agent class.
More links for the afternoon...
- MLB president Bob DuPuy confirmed to MLB.com's Barry Bloom that the Cubs should soon be sold to Tom Ricketts for about $900MM.
- Royals third-rounder Wil Myers told Matt Forman of Baseball America that it felt a little weird to face live pitching after a few months off. He still managed to hit a homer in his ffith pro at bat.
- You don't hear many Cardinals fans complaining about Matt Holliday, but how about Brett Wallace, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Holliday to St. Louis? As Baseball America shows with its latest Prospect Hot Sheet, Wallace homered five times this week.
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post compares Nyjer Morgan to a number of leadoff hitters throughout history and shows that Morgan looks like a nice acquisition.
- The Nats introduced Stephen Strasburg to the fans at Nationals Park this afternoon, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
Some links for your Friday afternoon...
- Baseball America lists the hottest prospects in the country. Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Martin Perez are some of the more recognizable players heating up.
- A's prospect Brett Wallace tops Marc Hulet's list of top prospects traded this summer over at FanGraphs.
- Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail hears that the Jays have no interest in Jason Giambi.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia tells ESPN.com's Tim Kurkjian the keys to his club's suddenly unstoppable offense: effective baserunning and contributions from all 13 position players. Kendry Morales has performed well at first in place of Mark Teixeira and the rest of the Angels are all hitting.
- Torii Hunter, who was having a big year before hitting the DL, experienced a setback this week, according to his blog.
- The Angels signed 40th overall pick Tyler Skaggs for an undisclosed amount, according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times.
A few more links in the aftermath of the trade deadline...
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson says that Nationals interm GM Mike Rizzo "didn't have a choice but to trade Nick Johnson because the latter did not want to negotiate an extension with the Nationals." Johnson is looking for a two year deal according to Ladson.
- ESPN's Keith Law ranks the prospects traded at this year's deadline. Brett Wallace, acquired by Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal, tops the list.
- John Sickels of Minor League Ball chimes in with his thoughts on all of this year's deadline trades.
- The Padres signed sixth rounder James Needy to a $298K bonus according to Baseball America's Jim Callis. Needy is just the second player this year to sign a deal worth more than $100K over MLB's slot recommendation.
- As exciting as yesterday was, Ryo at NPB Tracker tells us that the trade deadline in Japan went by rather quietly. There has been exactly one trade made all year in Nippon Professional Baseball, and it involved just two players filling supporting roles. Where's the fun in that?
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that the Phillies and Blue Jays are getting closer on a potential Roy Halladay deal, but nothing is imminent. The Rangers and Dodgers have both expressed interest in Halladay, but did not talk with Toronto on Friday. The Angels have reportedly improved their offer for the former Cy Young Award winner, but it's unlikely they'll match Philadelphia's package. The Yankees have also expressed interest, but Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has yet to engage them in discussions.
In a separate column, Rosenthal and Morosi fork over a slew of rumory goodness...
- Don't be surprised if the Red Sox "show renewed interest" in shortstop Orlando Cabrera before the deadline. O-Cab was hitting .365-.377-.500 in his last 30 games coming into tonight.
- The addition of Matt Holliday ensures that the Cardinals will look to move Troy Glaus. The Giants, Braves, Rangers and Tigers are expected to show interest in the former AL homerun champ.
- One GM had this to say about the Holliday deal "In light of the current climate, good return on a 70-game guy. All based on what (Wallace) turns out to be. We are not high on the other two guys."
- Meanwhile, a scout offered this about Brett Wallace: "He can hit but he throws like a girl. They acquired a DH — I think he might be Jack Cust Jr. with fewer Ks. (Outfielder Shane) Peterson is the hidden gem!"
- The Jays are pushing Scott Rolen and Kevin Millar in trade talks, while a number of their bullpen arms are drawing interest.
- The Marlins expressed interest in Holliday at one point, but wanted the A's to pick up most of the money owed to him this year. The Reds also inquired.
- A bid to get Holliday ended for the Tigers when the A's asked for prospects Casey Crosby and Scott Sizemore.
- Anaheim is indeed interested in Scott Kazmir, spurred on by input from pitching coach Mike Butcher, who once held the same position with Tampa.
- The Cubs don't appear to be in any serious talks to acquire another catcher.
- One scout familiar with the Reds said they "are listening on about everyone."
- The Rangers have interest in lefty relievers George Sherrill and Scott Downs.
- Sherrill is also on the White Sox's radar.
- Oakland is reluctant to move reliever Michael Wuertz, but there is so much interest in him that the team might get the return it desires.
- A number of clubs are expected to watch Justin Duchscherer on his rehab assignment as he comes back from elbow surgery.
- The article closes with an amusing text message exchange between Skip Schumaker and Mark DeRosa.