Brian Wilson Rumors

West Notes: Angels, Nathan, Diamondbacks, Wilson

The Angels are "open for business," Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweets. That means deals for Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and others could be on the table. It remains to be seen what the Angels might be able to do with less than three days before the deadline, but Kendrick would be a particularly attractive trade candidate — his consistently high batting averages and solid defense make him a dependably productive player, and he's under contract through 2015 at a reasonable cost, making a bit over $9MM both in 2014 and 2015. Aybar isn't having as good a year as Kendrick, but he might make an interesting buy-low candidate. If the Angels are open to selling other players, reliever Scott Downs, who becomes a free agent after this season, would also be an obvious possibility, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman suggested yesterday. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • With a 13-game deficit in the AL West and with Albert Pujols on the disabled list, however, the Angels have "nothing to sell," ESPN's Jim Bowden says (Insider-only). Several of their top players, like Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, aren't candidates to be dealt, and much of the rest of their roster has been disappointing, which is why they're 13 games back to begin with. That leaves a handful of relievers as the Angels' only viable trade pieces.
  • If the Rangers want to trade Joe Nathan, the Dodgers are the only suitor that makes much sense, Bowden writes (Twitter links). Boston or Detroit could be possible destinations, but Bowden guesses that the Rangers won't relish the possibility of dealing Nathan to the Red Sox or Tigers and then having to face him in the playoffs. Instead, they could send him to L.A., possibly in a deal involving Andre Ethier.
  • The Diamondbacks are looking for a second bullpen lefty, FOXSportsArizona.com's Jack Magruder tweets.
  • Five teams, four of them from the National League, are interested in former Giants closer Brian Wilson, who's returning from Tommy John surgery, tweets Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown.

Multiple Teams Present For Brian Wilson’s Audition

Brian Wilson auditioned for teams earlier today, and nearly a dozen clubs sent scouts to watch the former Giants closer, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Knobler writes that a scout in attendance said Wilson looked good and was "not far away" from being able to return to the Major Leagues. His fastball reportedly reached 93 mph on Thursday.

According to Knobler, the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Athletics, Giants, Phillies, Rangers, Rockies and Cardinals all attended Wilson's workout. Most of those teams have reportedly been on the lookout for bullpen help, and the Pirates are a logical new addition to that mix given the recent injury to Jason Grilli. The Giants held a private throwing session for Wilson "as a personal courtesy" earlier this week.

Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery after just two appearances in 2012 and hasn't pitched for a team since. He was scouted by the Mets in January, but the team was unimpressed. Wilson decided then to wait until he was back to 100 percent before auditioning for teams a second time. From 2007-12 with the Giants, Wilson racked up 170 saves and posted a 2.98 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 290 innings of relief.


Quick Hits: Cruz, Pence, Wilson, Morneau, Dodgers

Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels haven't heard anything new about Nelson Cruz's links to the Biogenesis scandal, but Daniels tells ESPN Dallas' Todd Willis that he has thought about the possibility of losing his right fielder to suspension.  "We really are somewhat intentionally and maybe wisely in the dark on this. And so we we're going to sit back and wait for the best and try to make our club as strong as possible," Daniels said.  If Cruz is indeed suspended for the rest of 2013, it could intensify the Rangers' search for batting help.  In another piece from Willis, Daniels admitted that his club's offense hasn't been up to par and if Texas makes another move, it would likely be for a bat.

Here are some more items from around baseball…

  • The Giants have shown no interest in trading Hunter Pence, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets.  We heard on Sunday that Giants were unlikely to deal Pence unless they received a blow-away offer or they fell out of the NL West race.  The latter could be close to happening, given the Giants' 46-54 record.
  • The Phillies will send a scout to Brian Wilson's throwing session on Thursday, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports.  GM Ruben Amaro said the team will leave "no stone unturned" in their search for relief help, hence their interest in Wilson's progress.  Amaro noted this isn't the first time the Phillies have checked in on Wilson, who hasn't pitched since April 2012 due to Tommy John surgery.
  • Justin Morneau's July slump has just about destroyed his trade value, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities writes.  Between Morneau's poor form, injury history, impending free agency and salary, Mackey doesn't think the Twins will be able to get even "a second-tier prospect" for the former AL MVP.
  • The Dodgers are looking for veteran relief depth, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports, though Saxon notes that could even be a luxury piece given how the team is firing on all cylinders right now.
  • If the Marlins are to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone hears that Miami wouldn't want prospects, but rather "equal value" — a young star player who is controllable for longer than Stanton's three seasons of team control.  For instance, if the Mets wanted Stanton, the Marlins would want Matt Harvey in return.
  • Baseball America subscribers can read Ben Badler's scouting report on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Cuban right-hander who has drawn interest from at least 10 teams.


Red Sox Notes: Hochevar, K-Rod, Wilson, Workman

The biggest news of the day from Fenway Park is Dustin Pedroia's seven-year, $100MM extension with the Red Sox, and we already have heard a lot of reaction to the big contract.  While locking up Pedroia is a major long-term move for the team, the Red Sox could make a move for their immediate future by adding a reliever before the trade deadline.  Here's the latest…

  • The Red Sox are interested in Royals reliever Luke Hochevar and have been scouting the right-hander, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  The two teams haven't engaged in trade discussions, however, as the Royals aren't yet open to dealing their veterans.  Hochevar, the first overall pick of the 2006 draft, has posted a 2.00 ERA, 9.5 K/9 and 3.8 K/BB ratio in 36 IP in his first season as a reliever.  Hochevar is earning $4.56MM this year and will get an arbitration raise this winter, however, so he could be too expensive for the Royals to retain.
  • The Sox had spoken to the Brewers about Francisco Rodriguez but thought Milwaukee's asking price was too high for a reliever who will be a free agent this winter, WEEI.com's Alex Speier reports.  Boston will now have to deal with K-Rod in the AL East pennant race now that the veteran righty has been acquired by the Orioles.
  • The Red Sox have no current interest in Brian Wilson, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports (via Twitter).  The former Giants closer will be showcasing his arm for teams within the next few weeks as he attempts to return from Tommy John surgery.
  • Brandon Workman has pitched well as a stopgap starter for Boston but manager John Farrell admitted that even if the righty keeps performing, it wouldn't stop the club from pursuing starting pitching help if necessary.  “[GM Ben Cherington] will be aggressive in a situation in a deal that makes sense for us,” Farrell told reporters, including Alex Speier. “I wouldn’t pin our assessment of the trade market on Brandon Workman. He’s not the linchpin to whether we make a trade or not.”

Relief Market Rumors: K-Rod, Wilson, Duensing, Coke

With just over a week to the trade deadline, there's still been only one significant move for a reliever — Boston's acquisition of Matt Thornton. Plenty of teams are on the lookout for bullpen help, however, including the Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Diamondbacks and more. With a potential Jason Grilli injury last night, more bullpen rumors could begin to circulate. Here are the latest relief rumblings from around the baseball world…

  • The Red Sox, Dodgers and Tigers are all keeping close tabs on Francisco Rodriguez, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Sox and Dodgers, in particular, were said by Crasnick to have scouts "all over" Rodriguez this week. Detroit, meanwhile, isn't as interested as it once was due to the strong recent performance of Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly (Twitter links).
  • Former closer Brian Wilson threw for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen catcher Billy Hayes yesterday, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The session was a personal favor to Wilson and not an indicator that a deal is coming, Baggarly writes. However, Wilson looked nearly Major League ready, and Baggarly feels that the willingness to afford Wilson this favor suggests that any ill will between the two sides following Wilson's offseason non-tender has subsided.
  • The Braves continue to search for left-handed relief help, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio, who lists Oliver Perez, Mike Dunn, Glen Perkins, Scott Downs and James Russell as potential targets. Bowden notes that Perkins is unlikely, likely because of the numerous reports that the Twins won't move their closer.
  • While the Twins aren't interested in moving Perkins, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves may have interest in another Minnesota lefty who may be available — Brian Duensing (Twitter link). Duensing has two years of team control remaining and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • One more note from Crasnick, who tweets that the Braves also checked in on Phil Coke in their quest for lefty relief help, but nothing came of the talks with the Tigers. Coke has had a brutal season because of overexposure against right-handed hitters, but he's held lefties to a .231/.271/.346 batting line.
  • For more on the relief trade market, check out my examinations of the market for left-handed relievers and the market for right-handed relievers. Also, for all fantasy players out there, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter to keep up to speed with closer injuries, performance, usage and more.

West Notes: Affeldt, Wilson, Dodgers, Gonzalez, M’s

The Giants have lost left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt for four-to-six weeks after a MRI revealed a moderate strain of muscle and tendon in his left groin, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Mijares will absorb most of Affeldt's innings, but CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly writes the Giants could, if history is any guide, look to acquire another lefty reliever. Baggarly notes it was nearly three years ago to the day Affeldt injured his oblique and GM Brian Sabean acquired Javier Lopez, an under-the-radar move which paid dividends as the Giants won the World Series. In other news and notes from MLB's West divisions:

  • While Affeldt's injury may change the calculus slightly, Baggarly, within that same article, sees the Giants continuing their quest for starting pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy loves Jake Peavy, but the two teams have not discussed a deal and the Giants don’t have the quantity or quality of trade chips to get a seat at the table, according to Baggarly.
  • Ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson is expected to begin showcasing his arm for teams within the next few weeks and the Giants have asked Wilson's representative to include them in the process, reports Schulman. Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery 15 month ago.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti doesn't expect to make any franchise-altering deals prior to the Trade Deadline, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know that that player is out there," Colletti said. "When I call around teams, there's not a lot of names of position players being discussed. I'm not sure if there's a market out there on the sell side."
  • Earlier today, we learned the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez something in the neighborhood of $50MM over five years. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, however, tweets sources have told him the Dodgers' interest in the Cuban right-hander is not as fervent as has been portrayed. 
  • Manager Eric Wedge doesn't think the fourth-place Mariners, winners of six straight, will be active at the Trade Deadline, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. "Unless it's something that raises the bar, I don't think we're going to do anything," said Wedge. "We're not going to move somebody just to move somebody." The Mariners have several veterans on one-year deals, who could be appealing to contenders, including left-handed reliever Oliver Perez, left-handed starter Joe Saunders, outfielder Raul Ibanez, first baseman Kendrys Morales, and shortstop Brendan Ryan.
  • Two years ago, the Dodgers had agreed to deals with both the Tigers and Red Sox for Hiroki Kuroda, but the right-hander invoked his no-trade clause to veto each trade. Through his interpreter, Kuroda provided FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal his rationale for refusing to join a team in the playoff hunt: if you only play for a team in August and September, it is not as meaningful as being with a club from Spring Training until the end of the season.

NL Notes: Wilson, Pence, DeJesus, Marcum

Free agent and former Giants closer Brian Wilson has been training in Hawaii and could pitch for scouts near the beginning of August, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. Wilson had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has not pitched since last April. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence told Jim Bowden on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio (via Twitter) that while the club hasn't made him an offer in the last two months, he enjoys playing in San Francisco and would like to stay there. Pence avoided arbitration with the Giants prior to this season by agreeing to a one-year, $13.8MM deal and will be eligible for free agency for the first time this winter.
  • Cubs outfielder David DeJesus' recent injury means he's unlikely to be headed out of Chicago by the trading deadline, and he's just fine with that, the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer reports. "I love Chicago. I love playing here," says DeJesus. "[I]f I can be a part of the team chancing over and bringing the winning feeling to Chicago … We’ve been playing some good baseball the last month. I want to be a part of it."
  • Mets offseason acquisition Shaun Marcum will be shut down for the season due to an issue with his pitching hand, according to a report from Ed Coleman of WFAN that has been confirmed by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter).  Even though the signing didn't pay off for the Mets, Rubin recently explained that incentives in the deal would have cost the club even more if he continued to pitch.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Olney’s Latest: Biogenesis, Utley, Wilson, Garza

In his latest column (Insider subscription required and recommended), ESPN's Buster Olney writes that Nelson Cruz is among the players whose free agent stock could be severely impacted by the Biogenesis scandal. If Cruz is cleared of any wrongdoing by that time he will be fine, but if discipline has yet to be handed out, or he receives a suspension near the end of the season, teams will be wary. Cruz's case could be further complicated if the Rangers make him a qualifying offer. Here are a few of the highlights from Olney's excellent piece…

  • The Blue Jays are looking for upgrades in their rotation and at second base, and they will be interested in Chase Utley should the Phillies make him available.
  • Former Giants closer Brian Wilson is working out in Hawaii and could pitch for teams later this month or in early August.
  • The Cubs are "making progress" in trade negotiations surrounding Matt Garza, and they're actively talking with the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Dodgers. They may also still be involved in talks with the Orioles as well as other NL West teams.
  • Olney also spoke with his colleague Jayson Stark on today's Baseball Tonight podcast, and they discussed the impact of Biogenesis on pennant races in addition to discussing the upcoming trade deadline (Biogenesis talk begins immediately; trade discussions begin shortly after the 11:00 mark).
  • Olney said he'd be "shocked" if Garza was still on the Cubs by the All-Star break, but Stark hears that the Cubs may prefer to wait for a team to meet their price, even if it means waiting until the end of July. Stark and Olney agree that Garza will have the highest price tag of any player on the trade market.
  • The Dodgers, Rangers and Rockies are the three teams that are still in the mix on Ricky Nolasco, while the other formerly interested parties are "on the periphery" according to Stark.

NL Notes: Samardzija, Brian Wilson, Phillies, Braves

The St. Louis Cardinals are the class of the National League right now, having won exactly two-thirds of their first 39 games.  They're fourth in the league in OBP and ninth in slugging, and third in runs scored per game partially due fantastic work with runners in scoring position.  Their rotation has easily been the league's best with a 2.33 ERA, even without Chris Carpenter.  While the Jason Motte-less bullpen has an NL-worst 5.00 ERA, it's at 3.27 in May, with most of the damage coming in one Carlos Martinez outing.  By measure of FanGraphs WAR, Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, and Yadier Molina have been the team MVPs so far.  Now let's look at some links from elsewhere around the NL…

  • First baseman Anthony Rizzo has a new seven-year, $41MM deal with the Cubs, but pitcher Jeff Samardzija says he isn't ready to talk contract with the club, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  "Absolutely not," said the pitcher when asked if he's looking to hammer out an extension. "Nope. This is a great team, really coming around right now, playing great baseball. I'm just really looking to keep this going. It's fun to play with these guys."  Samardzija, 28, will have four years of Major League service after the season.  This is just a theory of mine, but having been lured away from football in '06 with a $10MM contract, Samardzija has more financial security at this point in his career than most players, and continuing to bet on his talent will enable him to maximize his next contract.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he hasn't been in touch with former closer Brian Wilson lately.  Sabean says that he doesn't know how Wilson is throwing but has heard The Beard is "working out like a fiend" and is "going to try to showcase himself over the All-Star break or thereabouts."
  • The Phillies issued a statement regarding Roy Halladay today: "Roy had successful shoulder surgery yesterday. He had an arthroscopic evaluation and underwent debridement of his labrum and rotator cuff as well as removal of an inflamed bursa.  He'll begin a progressive rehabilitation program and if all goes well, he may possibly begin a throwing program in 6-8 weeks."  The 36-year-old will be eligible for free agency after the season.  Scrambling for depth in the wake of the injuries to Halladay and John Lannan, the Phillies signed Carlos Zambrano to a minor league deal yesterday with a July 1st opt-out date.
  • In other NL East injury news, the Braves announced reliever Jonny Venters had the second Tommy John procedure of his career today.  The 28-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the second time after the season, with an expected salary similar to this year's $1.625MM.
  • A clerical error could have enabled Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt to pocket an extra $500K a few years back, but he wasn't willing to pocket the money, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle via Affeldt's book, "To Stir a Movement."  Affeldt believes his subsequent contract with the Giants went smoothly partly because of that decision.  

Stark On Wilson, Stanton, Price, Phillies, Utley, Norris

In his latest edition of Rumblings & Grumblings, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark looks at what we've learned around the 30-game mark of the season.  The Red Sox have spent their money better than any team in baseball as Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, and Shane Victorino (before his back issues) have gotten off to excellent starts.  Meanwhile, it looks like the Braves have made the best trade of anyone so far as they landed Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado and four players that aren't currently in the majors.  Here's more from today's column..

  • Teams that have checked in on Brian Wilson have been told that his target date to throw for interested clubs should be around the All-Star break.  Wilson wants to ensure that he's fully recovered from Tommy John surgery before auditioning again.
  • Giancarlo Stanton's hamstring injury should probably put any talk of a July trade to rest.  "If they trade him in-season, they probably wouldn't get any major league talent," said one exec. "So given everything that's happened with their team and their attendance, are they really in a position to make a deal for him where they just get back prospects?  Probably not."  The exec concluded that the Marlins are better off waiting until the offseason and getting big league ready talent back for their star.
  • The Rays may be the most closely-watched team in the league by contenders over the next few months.  Teams know the Rays will keep David Price in July if they're alive in the AL East, and will listen hard if they're out of contention. If they're caught in between, one exec believes that the Rays still might move him if they feel like they're not good enough to win it all.  The hurler's price tag is expected to by skyhigh if he hits the open market after the 2015 season.
  • The buzzards are already starting to circle over the Phillies, Stark writes, but club officials have told teams that have checked in that they still expect their club to contend and won't even think about selling for another two months.  
  • If a Phillies sell-off happens, the biggest buzz would include impending free agent Chase Utley.  One exec who has checked into things says his impression is that the Phillies would approach Utley first and get a feel for whether he wants to go elsewhere.  Utley, who will be just short of 10-and-5 rights at the deadline – can block trades to 21 teams. 
  • Execs say they'd rather trade for Lucas Harrell than Bud Norris if they had a choice between the Astros pitchers.  Harrell has two more years of control and one scout says that the big knock on Norris is that he's still basically a "two-pitch guy".  Quite a few teams also think he profiles more as a bullpen weapon on a contender even though he's the Astros' ace.
  • The Yankees want a right-handed bat, but one scout feels that they don't have enough pieces to land an impact deal.  The Bombers added one right-handed hitter when they traded for Chris Nelson earlier this week.