Brian Roberts Rumors
Luke Scott hit 84 home runs with the Orioles from 2008-11, but his next homer will come as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. The 33-year-old agreed to terms with the Rays earlier today. Here's the latest on his former team...
- Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen has “a good fastball and very good control and a good breaking ball,” GM Dan Duquette told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Chen is a polished pitcher with the physical skills to become a frontline starter, Duquette said. The GM is looking to add durable arms to his rotation, since Jeremy Guthrie was the lone Baltimore pitcher to reach the 200-inning threshold in 2011.
- The Orioles remain concerned about Brian Roberts’ health and are looking for a leadoff hitter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. He suggests Endy Chavez projects as the team’s leadoff hitter at this point.
- The Orioles have been negotiating with former Mets, Brewers and Athletics pitching coach Rick Peterson for more than a week about a pitching role within the organization, Connolly tweets. Duquette remains hopeful that the sides will agree to a deal.
The Nationals took a 63-73 record into today's action, putting them on pace to finish with a better record than the Orioles (55-81) for the sixth time since the Nats moved to Washington after the 2004 season. Of course, since neither team has topped the .500 mark in that stretch, the Battle of the Beltways isn't exactly recognized as a top-tier baseball rivalry.
Here are the latest items about the Nats and the O's....
- Stephen Strasburg talks to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore about his year-long rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. Strasburg is scheduled to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers, and is penciled in for three more starts in September if things proceed as planned. Strasburg is on a 60-pitch limit for Tuesday and will be on an innings cap for the 2012 season.
- Livan Hernandez will be shut down after his start on Sunday so the Nationals can take look at some younger pitchers, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Hernandez agreed to the move and will be "a mentor/coach" for the club's young pitchers, perhaps with an eye towards a coaching job after his retires. Hernandez wants to return to Washington next season and has even offered to pitch middle relief, noting he will not go to the bullpen for any other team.
- If Hernandez doesn't re-sign, Adam Kilgore hears from a source that the Marlins are the top candidates to sign the veteran hurler.
- With Andy MacPhail rumored to be leaving at the end of the season, MASNsports.com's Amber Theoharis looks back at MacPhail's three best moves as the Orioles' president of baseball operations.
- This is probably no surprise given MacPhail's possible departure, but Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun expects "a significant front office overhaul" in Baltimore. In that same piece, Zrebiec also discusses how Kevin Gregg is a popular clubhouse figure and a valuable mentor to the Orioles' young pitchers, but the right-hander is having a difficult time closing games. Gregg is under contract for $5.8MM in 2012, with a $6MM club option for 2013.
- Also from Zrebiec, Brian Roberts has been told by doctors that his concussion problems shouldn't be career-ending. The second baseman hasn't played since May 16 after suffering his second concussion in as many seasons.
Curtis Granderson added to his MVP-caliber season with home run number 32 today and he now has a .276/.367/.584 line. He'll receive MVP consideration after the season, along with division rivals including Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ben Zobrist. Here's the latest on the AL East...
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun asks a hypothetical question of Orioles fans: would you trade Brian Roberts for Adam Dunn? The deal, by the way, has not been been discussed by either side as far as Connolly has heard.
- Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com says Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw are two of the only pitchers he'd trade straight up for Red Sox starter Jon Lester, considering the left-hander's age (27) and contract status (under team control through 2014).
- The Yankees thought about returning Ivan Nova to the minors last week, but GM Brian Cashman ultimately decided that the right-hander gives the Yankees a better chance to win than any alternative, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
The Blue Jays announced today that they’re going to retire Roberto Alomar’s number 12 later this month. When the former second baseman gets enshrined in Cooperstown over the weekend, he’ll become the first inductee to wear a Blue Jays cap into the Hall. A week later, he’ll become the first Blue Jay to have his number retired. Here are links from around the American League East...
- The Red Sox are actively looking to improve their roster, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Though Boston has made moves out of necessity in recent years, this summer is one of opportunity for Boston's front office, Speier writes. Left-handed relief remains one unsettled area for the first place club.
- The Orioles announced that they transferred second baseman Brian Roberts to the 60-day DL to create 40-man roster space for Alfredo Simon, who was reinstated from the restricted list.
- The Yankees are unwilling to trade a "big" prospect for a reliever, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). They expect their bullpen will be fine and are searching for starters (though Ubaldo Jimenez remains a longshot).
- The Yankees have been suggesting to teams that they're happy with their bullpen, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
The Nationals may be generating most of the headlines today, but there's also some news coming from the Beltway's other team. Here's the latest from the Orioles...
- Jeremy Guthrie is perhaps Baltimore's most attractive trade candidate, but MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli doesn't think the right-hander will be moved. "It would take a significant haul on the Orioles' side to give up Guthrie," Ghiroli writes, and she also points out that Guthrie is the only veteran and only innings-eater on the club's pitching staff. Ghiroli cites the Indians and Rangers among the teams who have shown interest in Guthrie.
- From that same mailbag item, Ghiroli thinks the Orioles should start looking for a new long-term answer at second base. Brian Roberts will be 36 when his deal runs out after the 2013 season and the former All-Star is already a question mark due to injuries. Short-term, however, the O's have no second base prospects ready to step in and Roberts has a no-trade clause in his contract.
- The lack of minor league production from several of the Orioles' top prospects "has to be considered an organizational-wide failure," writes The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. The development system has been further skewed since "for years, Oriole minor leaguers have been getting promotions because of a desperate need at the big league level, not because they’ve necessarily earned a shot."
Lots of rainouts in Florida, so here are some links to get you through the day...
- Jayson Stark takes a look at pitching phenoms not named Stephen Strasburg. Also featured: Strasburg.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert looks back at the trade that sent Jose Valverde to Houston and says the D'Backs now look like winners for obtaining Chad Qualls, Juan Gutierrez and Chris Burke.
- Rickie Weeks told Colin Fly of the AP that he'll miss former teammate J.J. Hardy, who was traded for Carlos Gomez this winter (link via the Miami Herald).
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo profiles highly-touted high schooler Jameson Taillon, from his academic background to his hobbies, to his upper-90s fastball. Taillon will likely be a top pick in this year's draft.
- Top Cubs prospect Starlin Castro will start the season in Triple A no matter how good he looks in Spring Training, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail repeated to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun that the Orioles will consider other options in case Brian Roberts isn't going to be ready on Opening Day.
- In case you're wondering, Jermaine Dye is the only remaining free agent who qualified for the batting title last year.
- Cubs manager Lou Piniella feels healthy going into the last year of his contract, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Team president Crane Kenney expects to have an "interesting conversation" with Piniella after the season.
- The Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League signed Toshihisa Nishi, according to this Sanspo report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).
- Jason Bay says he feels more comfortable than before, now that he has a no-trade clause in his contract, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times can't think of a Dodger to successfully make a comeback like the one Eric Gagne is attempting.
- A former GM tells Baseball America that teams didn't worry about losing players out of minor league options in the past. Check out MLBTR's list of players out of minor league options here and go to the Baseball America article for Matt Eddy's explanation of options and why they matter.
- Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post suspects that the Nationals may not draft Bryce Harper with the first overall pick in this year's draft.
On this date nine years ago, the Astros signed Richard Hidalgo to a four-year, $32MM contract. At the time, it was the third-richest contract in franchise history, behind only Jeff Bagwell's five-year, $85MM deal and Craig Biggio's four-year, $33MM deal. Hidalgo would go on to hit .266/.342/.475 with 87 home runs during the life of the deal, though he was dealt to the Mets mid-way through the 2004 season.
Here's a look at what's been written around the web...
- Camden Crazies looks at some potential replacements for Brian Roberts and his injured back.
- SPANdemonium presents a lineup of players 25-years-old or younger who should be locked up to long-term contracts.
- River Ave. Blues remembers when the Yankees pursued Brian Giles as a free agent.
- Capital Ave. Club quantitatively evaluates 16 of Braves' GM Frank Wren's most notable moves.
- Meanwhile, Long Drive evaluates Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in a three-part series.
- Gear Up For Sports wonders is the Angels did enough this offseason.
- Around The Majors breaks down the first base trade market.
- The Dugout Report examines some Spring Training position battles.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Orioles president Andy MacPhail says the Orioles are now considering contingency plans in case second baseman Brian Roberts is not ready for the start of the season, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Roberts is dealing with a herniated disc in his back, and also had a bad reaction to medication he took for the injury.
According to Zrebiec, "MacPhail said he might start having his scouts look at who is available on the trade market along with exploring internal options." Current Orioles Robert Andino, Ty Wigginton, and Justin Turner have experience at second base.
His name is Dan Uggla, and he can be had for the right price this offseason. The 29-year-old Florida second baseman has 121 homers and an .826 OPS in his four major league seasons, but between his war of words with Marlins franchise player Hanley Ramirez and the $7-8MM he is likely to earn in arbitration, rumors have been swirling that the Fish are looking to move Uggla out of south Florida before he becomes too pricey for their taste.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal listed the Dodgers, Cardinals, Orioles, Twins, Giants and Diamondbacks as possible suitors for Uggla in an article last month. The Snakes may be out of the running now since, as reported by the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro, Arizona will likely look at internal candidates to play second base. Baltimore already has Brian Roberts entrenched at second, but if Uggla was interested in moving to third base he would surely become attractive to even more clubs.
Of the clubs on Rosenthal's list, Minnesota stands out since it's unusual for the small-market Twins to be looking at picking up high-priced talent, rather than moving it themselves. But with Target Field opening in 2010, the Twins may have some extra revenue to spend on both picking up the tab for Uggla and (the team's top priority) signing Joe Mauer to a long-term contract. Minnesota has holes at both second and third that Uggla could fill.
Would Uggla fit best on one of the aforementioned six clubs, or is there another team out there with both the money and the need for a slugging second (or third) baseman?
A busy Sunday morning has made for some some discussable items from around the league:
- Rick Dempsey of MASN is excited by the Orioles future and says it is undoubtedly time for the team to trade, highlighting George Sherrill, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, and Melvin Mora.
- Carlos Frias of the Palm Beach Post notes A.J. Burnett has regrets over leaving the Marlins and burning his bridges in the process.
- After Josh Johnson beat the Yankees yesterday, Mike Feinsand of the New York Daily News says, "Hope you got a good look, Yankees fans. You may have been watching your future ace."
- River Ave. Blues thinks trading Xavier Nady makes sense despite Buster Olney having said, "The Yankees are unlikely to trade Nick Swisher of Xavier Nady after Nady returns."
- Not a trade rumor, but Manny Ramirez is set to begin a minor-league stint on Tuesday in Albuquerque, says The Tribune-Review.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe says (via Twitter, of course) "Daisuke [Matsuzaka] to DL. [Catching prospect] Dusty Brown up with the team for the first time." She continues, "About to talk to Daisuke. Will get quotes to you shortly. [Sox manager Terry Francona] said he doesn't think this will be a two-week DL." While the Sox still have rotation depth, this surely effects any perceived sense of urgency to deal.