Brian Bannister Rumors

Stark On Damon, Bedard, Phillies, Smoltz, Gregg

Jayson Stark of points out that teams aren't handing out long-term contracts as liberally as they were a few years ago. We've seen just eight contracts of three-plus years this offseason, after seeing 13 such contracts in each of the previous two winters. The offseason before that? Players signed 29 contracts of three years or more. Here are Stark's rumors:

  • Detroit doesn't seem that interested in Johnny Damon and the Braves haven't spoken with Damon's agent, Scott Boras, in a month and a half. The Rays have checked in, but they have little to spend.
  • Erik Bedard and the Orioles have mutual interest in a reunion, Stark hears. 
  • The Phillies would like to add a veteran left-handed reliever on a minor league deal, but Alan Embree and Ron Mahay are holding out for big league deals at this point, despite the Phillies' interest. 
  • Kevin Gregg is high on the Rockies' shopping list. They're looking at infield options and hoping to save enough money to shore up their bullpen, too. 
  • The Blue Jays have told clubs that Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are available. The Cubs have checked in on the pair of relievers. 
  • The Royals have told teams they're "open minded" about moving Gil Meche or Brian Bannister. 
  • John Smoltz is in no rush to sign. He's open to waiting for a few months, since he'd like a starting job and some execs question his ability to start for an entire season. 
  • Ben Sheets will be the first A's pitcher to make $10MM (though some believe Sheets will be traded before the end of the year).
  • Mark Prior is throwing off a mound and would like to make a comeback. 

Odds And Ends: Giambi, Wainwright, Meche

Some more links for the morning…

  •'s Buster Olney believes NL teams should consider Jason Giambi next year if they're looking for a powerful, high OBP bat off the bench.
  • Olney also hears from a scout who raves about Adam Wainwright. In case you're wondering, he won't become a free agent until after 2012 or 2013 (the Cards hold an option).
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (via Twitter) that Gil Meche is likely done for the year. Like rotation-mate Brian Bannister, Meche has a tired shoulder. Makes sense for the team to play it safe if there's any doubt, in my opinion.
  • Murray Chass points indirectly to this article and argues that some baseball writers rely too much on anonymous sources. Chass believes writers should pass information along to readers without giving too much play to individual biases.
  • Joba Chamberlain and Rick Porcello top the list of young pitchers who won't have the luxury of resting their arms during the season's final month, as's Jerry Crasnick shows.

Stark On Wagner, Padres, Crawford's Jayson Stark shows that a number of contenders have vulnerable-looking closers. The Cubs and Phillies two of many teams with shaky arms at the back of the 'pen. Here are the details and the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • At least one scout believes John Smoltz would have been the perfect arm for the Marlins to add to their 'pen.
  • However, clubs pursuing Smoltz heard that he wanted to start, at least for now.    
  • A scout who watched Billy Wagner throw has "no doubt" that Wagner could help a team win. The Rays and Marlins are thought to have interest in Wagner, but neither team would be likely to give up much of a prospect unless the Mets picked up salary.  
  • Stark hears that the Padres pulled Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez back off waivers after multiple teams claimed them.
  • Mark Hendrickson cleared waivers, and can now be traded to any team. The Rockies were interested before the deadline, but they may decide to see where the Billy Wagner bidding goes before pursuing Hendrickson again.
  • One rival GM considers the Cards "the best team in the league right now."  
  • The Royals don't seem interested in trading their top pitchers. They pulled Brian Bannister back from waivers and though Joakim Soria and Gil Meche are on waivers now, they aren't likely to be dealt.
  • Clubs eyeing Carl Crawford believe the Rays are becoming less likely to deal him. Desmond Jennings could become the Rays' left fielder, but they'd probably have to be overwhelmed to part with Crawford.
  • It's possible that Jamie Moyer could draw interest as a trade candidate after the season. 
  • One AL exec isn't sure Bryce Harper's the guarantee people perceive him to be.  
  • Stark points out that the Astros traded Ivan Rodriguez just as his incentives were about to start kicking in.
  • An official of a team that inquired about Stephen Strasburg before the draft says that Scott Boras invoked Daisuke Matsuzaka's name without specifically saying he wanted $50MM for his client.

Heyman On August Trades

Executives tell Jon Heyman of that we saw the "softest deadline ever" last week because there's still the possibility for trades this month. Here's an explanation of how trades can occur after the deadline and here are the players Heyman deems likely to clear waivers (player who clear waivers may be traded):

  • Bronson Arroyo, Adam Dunn, Jose Guillen, Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, Aubrey Huff, Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Miguel Batista, Juan Cruz, Ty Wigginton, Ron Mahay, Willie Bloomquist, Lyle Overbay, Willy Taveras.

Some players who could clear waivers:

  • Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Gil Meche, Alex Rios, Carl Pavano, Mark Hendrickson, Jhonny Peralta, Jamey Carroll, Ron Villone

And some players who probably won't clear waivers, but who could be dealt to a claiming team: 

  • Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Chad Qualls, Michael Wuertz, Brian Bannister, Josh Willingham, Gary Sheffield, David Eckstein, Jason Frasor, Mark Teahen.

Odds & Ends: Bannister, Padres, Giants

A few more links before we call it a night…

Failed Deadline Blockbusters

Today was hectic, but imagine how much wilder it would have been if these two deals had gone through:

  • Via Twitter, Jon Heyman of reports that the Padres almost dealt Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers for James Loney, Russell Martin, Blake DeWittJames McDonald and Ivan Dejesus. Wow.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports confirms that the division rivals considered a blockbuster deal involving those players.
  • Knobler also says the Rangers and Angels both pursued Heath Bell aggressively this afternoon. The Angels and Padres were discussing Jose Arredondo, Sean O'Sullivan and Sean Rodriguez
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says his team was involved in a "big one that didn't happen," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • The Crew also had interest in Jarrod Washburn and Brian Bannister.
  • Melvin says everyone asked the Brewers for Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar. Since the Brewers didn't want to deal either prospect and don't have the young pitching to offer rival teams, they had limited options.

Bannister, Bloomquist, Teahen Drawing Interest

1:47pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark says the price for Bannister is similar to that of Jarrod Washburn – "big league-ready starter, pitching prospect with upside."  He says the Yanks maintain mild interest.

10:16am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports say the Brewers made an offer for Bannister but the Royals chose not to counter it.  The Royals would have to be bowled over to move the 28 year-old righty.

FRIDAY, 9:22am: Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Royals rejected overtures from the Marlins on Bannister.  He wonders whether the next best thing for Florida might be to bring Carl Pavano back.  We've heard surprisingly little about Pavano lately.  He projects to fall short of Type B status, so there's no point in the Indians keeping him.

THURSDAY, 7:58pm: Jayson Stark and Buster Olney of report that the Yankees inquired about Bannister, but talks didn't develop because the Yankees asked the Royals to pay the $650k that remains on Bannister's 2009 contract. Since when does $650k stop the Yanks from making a deal? As Stark and Olney say, welcome to the wacky world of baseball 2009.

7:50pm: Teams are inquiring on righty Brian Bannister, according to's Buster Olney. The Royals weren't close to dealing him as of this evening, but we still have 20 hours before the deadline. Bannister, 28, makes $1.7MM this year and isn't scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2012 season. Here are a few more quick hits on the Royals:

Brewers, Mariners Talking Washburn?

9:15pm: Things just got really interesting; this rumor may be growing legs.  From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt

"I know for a fact that the Brewers have been discussing Washburn, even though he is a free agent after the season. Because Washburn is a Wisconsin native, maybe the Brewers think they could convince him to stay with another contract after this year."

Haudricourt notes the M's would probably ask for a shortstop in return, naming J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar as possible trade chips.  Of course, that's a pretty steep price to pay.  "The Brewers probably would want more than Washburn in return for either shortstop," Haudricourt adds, "considering his pending free agent status." And his 4.03 career ERA.

9:06pm: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times suggests the Brewers might have serious interest in the Mariners' Jarrod Washburn

"I'm starting to doubt he'll take the mound on Tuesday night in a Seattle uniform," Baker writes. "A big reason why is that things are happening in Milwaukee and some decisions will have to be made in short order."

"Brewers pitcher Seth McClung went on the 15-day DL on Saturday and today, the Brewers called up Tim Dillard from Class AAA Nashville. But here's the catch: the Brewers are refusing to name Dillard as their Tuesday starter."  Might it be Washburn?

3:08pm: Jeff Fletcher tweets that the Brewers will have a scout in attendance at Justin Duchscherer's rehab start tonight. Duchscherer could be ready to pitch in the Majors in two weeks.

2:15pm:'s Adam McCalvy writes that Brewers manager Ken Macha may have hinted at an upcoming acquisition of a starter before the deadline for the Brewers. He quotes Macha:

"The trading deadline is coming and Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] is trying to help the club," Macha said. "I don't want to try to create expectations, but he's trying to make the club better and I'm sure if he finds a starting pitcher who can help out, it's something he would do."

Macha cautioned that the Brewers want to field a competitive team every year, so they'd have a hard time gutting the farm system. When asked if he would be surprised if Melvin doesn't make an acquisition, Macha replied:

"I just know how much effort has been put into trying to look at our needs as a whole and fill those needs."

McCalvy names Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, and Brian Bannister as pitchers of interest, although it's safe to cross Bedard off that list now that he's on the 15-day disabled list.

Trade Candidates: Starting Pitchers

Roy Halladay's availability changes everything, because teams in search of an ace can target him instead of settling for lesser pitchers. But many arms could be moved in the next 17 days and some could even be traded in August. These pitchers, who could all conceivably be dealt, are ranked from highest 2009 salary to lowest:

  • Roy Halladay, Blue Jays – At $14.25MM he's pricey, but he's one of the top pitchers in the game, capable of transforming a team's playoff chances like C.C. Sabathia did last year.
  • Javier Vazquez, Braves – The rumors surrounding Vazquez have quieted lately, but he could be moved. He makes $11.5MM this year and next and can't be traded to any Western division team.  
  • Gil Meche, Royals – Meche makes $11MM this year and has $24MM remaining on his deal afterwards.
  • Doug Davis, D'Backs – The D'Backs aren't impressed with the players the Brewers are willing to offer for their pitcher, who makes $8.75MM this year. Davis has been productive all season.
  • Jon Garland, D'Backs – Another solid but unspectacular arm, Garland makes $6.25MM this year. No team acquiring him should count on receiving picks if he leaves as a free agent, because Garland has a clause in his contract that prevents teams from offering him arbitration if he has Type A stauts.
  • Cliff Lee, Indians – He makes just $5.75MM this year and the Indians have an affordable $8MM option for 2010, so they'd have to see an awesome offer to part with Lee, who's following up his Cy Young season with another solid year.
  • Brad Penny, Red Sox – Now that they've called on Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox once again have a surplus of big league pitchers. At $5MM plus incentives, Penny's affordable this year. 
  • Ian Snell, Pirates – He's pitching well in Triple A, where he struck out 17 in one game. The Pirates have tried to move Snell and his $3MM salary.
  • Paul Mahom, Pirates – The Pirates have been willing to sell and Maholm's been effective this year. He makes $2MM, and has at least $11MM remaining on his deal after the year.
  • Brian Bannister, Royals – At just $1.7MM, he's one of the cheaper starters out there.  
  • Carl Pavano, Indians – The Indians aren't contenders and Pavano has pitched better this season than he did in four years with the Yankees. He makes a base salary of just $1.5MM, but that could rise as high as $6.8MM because of incentives.
  • Jonathan Sanchez, Giants – He makes less than $500k and, as we found out this weekend, he has the potential to be dominant.  

Let's not forget about some free agent pitchers like Ben Sheets (may be injured), Pedro Martinez (about to sign), Odalis Perez and Paul Byrd.

None of the following pitchers are available now, but they could be if their teams fall from contention: Bronson Arroyo, Doug Brocail, Jason Marquis, Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn.

Heyman On Street, Indians, Pedro, Davis

Jon Heyman of lists his mid-season award winners, led by Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer. Here are Heyman's latest rumors:

  • Huston Street alone is worth more on the trade market than Matt Holliday. Dan O'Dowd must be happy with his return, which also included Carlos Gonzalez.
  • Jhonny Peralta, Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano are all available.  
  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro believes he can still get a fair return for Cliff Lee if he deals him a year from now, a few months before the lefty is scheduled to become free agent.
  • One executive says the Royals are "pushing" Brian Bannister as a trade candidate. However, they're reluctant to deal Gil Meche and Joakim Soria 
  • Pedro Martinez intends to sign soon. We know the Phillies are scouting him. Could there be a match in Philly?  The Rays are "thought to be in the mix," while the Yankees are not, even with Chien-Ming Wang's injury.
  • There's apparently been "little progress" between the Brewers and D'Backs regarding Doug Davis. 
  • Nolan Ryan is part of one group trying to buy the Rangers.