Brian Roberts Rumors
It's been an incredible season for Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who has belted a Major League leading 52 homers as of Thursday. Davis is hitting .285/.368/.631, and he leads the league in total bases while sharing the MLB RBI lead with Miguel Cabrera as well. Under team control through 2015 via arbitration, Davis told Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that he's open to staying in Baltimore longer:
"This has been like a second home for me. This has been a place where I've really felt like I've been accepted, been loved and really appreciated. That's rare in this game to find a place where you can call it home. That's between obviously my agent and the front office, but I'd love to stay in Baltimore."
Here's more on the O's and Nats...
- Jonathan Schoop could be the second baseman of the future for the Orioles, but Melewski isn't banking on him being the O's answer to open the 2014 season. Melewski opines that Schoop probably needs a bit more minor league seasoning and speculates that such thinking could push the Orioles to pursue a one-year deal with free-agent-to-be Brian Roberts.
- Dan Haren has never had as much self-doubt as he had early in the season, the right-hander told Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Haren said his first few months with the Nationals were embarrassing, and he struggled mentally and emotionally. Haren candidly admitted that the toll of being in a new city with no family around and few friends worsened those feelings, as he spent a great deal of time alone and thinking about his struggles. Haren has rebounded with a 3.57 ERA over his past 14 starts but knows that he won't have as much say about where he pitches in 2014 as he did when he chose the Nats last year. He did mention his affinity for the West Coast to Kolko.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson tackles a host of Nationals-related topics in his latest Inbox column. Ladson feels left-handed relief and an improved bench will need to be areas of focus this offseason and believes that Adam LaRoche will be with the team on Opening Day in 2014 despite some speculation that he could be traded.
- Echoing Ladson's point, Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider says that "club officials have given zero indication" to moving LaRoche. Zuckerman speaks to the first baseman himself and Nats manager Davey Johnson about LaRoche's tough season.
- James Wagner of the Washington Post looks at the what-ifs of the Nationals season and wonders how things would have been different had they re-signed Tom Gorzelanny and gotten production from Haren from day one, among many other scenarios.
Orioles fans and fans all around the game were disheartened to see what looked to be a severe knee injury for ultra-talented third baseman Manny Machado in yesterday's loss to the Rays. Machado had an MRI today, and manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, that he's optimistic and confident Machado will be able to play with the team early next season. According to Ghiroli, the radiologist's early opinion of the MRI is that the injury wasn't as severe as it initially looked. Injuries were the story of the game for the O's, who also saw Alexi Casilla suffer a likely concussion after an outfield collision. Casilla, a soon-to-be free agent, is likely done for the season, according to Ghiroli. Here's more on the AL East...
- Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looks at the pending free agents who have boosted their value the most with strong 2013 seasons. Law feels that Jarrod Saltalamacchia of the Red Sox is the most likely candidate to sign an extension that will "shocK everybody" this offseason due to the scarcity of quality catching options. Law also lists Orioles' hurler Scott Feldman, noting he has a much-improved curveball and could sign a contract in the range of three years and $20-25MM. Last week, I predicted Feldman would sign for two years and $17MM, with Jeremy Guthrie's three-year, $25MM deal being his ceiling.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet looks at the left field position for the Blue Jays, which could be a position of need this winter if they decline the option on Adam Lind or trade him, putting Melky Cabrera in the DH spot. After breaking down the internal options, BN-S looks at external options which include re-signing Rajai Davis and making a play for the likes of David DeJesus or Corey Hart.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun shares the story of Orioles reliever Darren O'Day and his unorthodox background. O'Day, 31 in October, has a 2.19 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 67 relief appearances this season.
- Brian Roberts knows that his time with the Orioles may be coming to an end, and he's trying to embrace the remaining time he has with the team, writes Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Roberts adds that he hopes 2013 isn't the end of his tenure in Baltimore but admits that he has o idea if he's in the team's future plans.
Players who have accumulated ten years of major league service time can't be traded without their permission if they have spent the last five years with their current club. Here's a list of players whose ten and five rights kick in in the near future (service time through 2011 in parentheses):
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds ( 9.150) - Arroyo will obtain ten and five rights late this month. If the Reds trade the right-hander, deferred payments are voided and paid up-front by his new team. It’s hard to imagine a trade involving Arroyo.
- Brian Roberts, Orioles (9.131) - Roberts’ ten and five rights will kick in by the middle of May. However, his contract already provides him with full no-trade protection and no team would trade for him at this point.
- Travis Hafner, Indians (9.009) - Hafner's rights will kick in this September, replacing the limited no-trade clause he currently enjoys. If the Indians retain Hafner for 2013 by exercising their club option or re-signing him as a free agent, he'll have full no-trade protection.
We've already published one batch of AL East Notes today, but there's plenty more happening in the division....
- "I think it's safe to say that he's not going to play for us on the field," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said in regards to Matt Bush. Speaking to media (including The Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney) for the first time since Bush was charged with a DUI with bodily injury for his alleged role in a car accident, Friedman said he was surprised at the incident given how well the troubled Bush had performed in his battle with alcholism. Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, signed a minor league deal with the Rays in 2010 and has yet to reach the Major Leagues in his pro career.
- Travis Snider is becoming the kind of "devalued asset" that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos usually tries to acquire from other teams, writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. Even if the Jays feel Snider won't be able to perform for them, dealing him for fair value will be difficult given that Snider's trade value is at a low point.
- Brian Roberts tells reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com) that the Orioles will put him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season as he continues to recover from concussion symptoms. The fact that it's the 15-day DL and not the 60-day DL is a positive sign for Roberts' chances of returning to playing.
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters (including Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston) that he was satisfied with his roster and didn't think the club needed any new acquisitions before Opening Day. Valentine also denied rumors of a "potential rift" between he and general manager Ben Cherington.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America runs down each AL East team's international signings of the past year.
- In case you missed it earlier today, the Blue Jays signed Dustin McGowan to a contract extension.
It was on this day in 1985 that the Blue Jays and Dave Stieb finalized one of the more unique contracts in baseball history -- an 11-year deal worth a guaranteed $16.6MM and (with incentives) possibly worth as much as $25MM. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looked back at the contract in 2010, noting that while the Jays absorbed some criticism for the deal at the time, they got a bargain in the long run when Stieb developed into one of the best pitchers of his era. In 1991, the Jays reworked three years of the contract to pay Stieb an extra $4.35MM as a gesture of gratitude for his performance.
Here's some news from all around the AL East...
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera denied a New York Post report from yesterday that claimed he would announce his possible retirement plans before the All-Star Break. Rivera told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that "nothing's changed" about his future plans and that he will "tell everybody what my plans are at the same time after the season."
- Brian Roberts isn't sure when, or even if, he'll be able to return to the Orioles following a series of concussions, he tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Roberts says he has stopped trying to guess when he may be able to resume his career, though he notes that his recovery is "progressing" and he "has more good days than bad days."
- Rays southpaw Matt Moore tops Baseball America's preseason list of the top 20 rookies in the game. Moore is the only AL East representative on the list, though former Yankee prospect Jesus Montero (now with the Mariners) clocks in at the #3 position.
- "We need some guys to step up on our pitching staff," Red Sox GM Ben Cherington tells MLB.com's Ian Browne. The Sox will be looking at pitching or outfield depth as they conduct their usual scouting of other teams' Spring Training camps. Also in this in-depth interview, Cherington discusses his first winter as a general manager, the difficulty in parting with long-time Red Sox stars Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, and what he learned from Theo Epstein.
- The Blue Jays may be the only team that could be a fit for Derrek Lee, writes Fangraphs' Chris Cwik. Lee could be an alternative to Adam Lind at first if Lind struggles, or Lee could at least platoon if Lind again struggles to hit left-handed pitching. Though Cwik was pretty hesitant about Lee's chances of playing anywhere in the Majors in 2012, I'm not sure Toronto works as a landing spot either; the Jays have Edwin Encarnacion backing up at first, Travis Snider or Eric Thames as DH candidates, plus Ben Francisco and Rajai Davis as right-handed bench bats.
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."