Bryan Morris Rumors

Central Notes: Verlander, Tigers, Cubs, Morris, Pinto, Marmol

Justin Verlander‘s recent struggles are “a giant concern” for the Tigers, writes James Schmel of MLive.com, because Verlander himself admits that he isn’t sure how to fix them. Verlander told reporters that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to reinvent himself on the mound, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the same velocity he used to have and said he didn’t blame the fans for booing him last night as he left the game. Verlander yielded seven runs on 12 hits last night and has posted a 7.83 ERA with a woeful 26-to-20 K/BB ratio over his last 43 2/3 innings (seven starts). He is averaging a career-worst (though still solid) 92.6 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more on the Tigers and the baseball’s Central divisions…

  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers aren’t planning on making a move to upgrade at shortstop, as they like what they’ve seen from rookie Eugenio Suarez since his promotion to the Majors (Twitter link). It’s tough not to like what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old Suarez, who is hitting .346/.452/.808 with three homers through his first 10 games. Clearly, he’s due for some regression, but the optimism is understandable.
  • An AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago that he’s spoken to the Cubs about both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he hasn’t gotten any indication from Chicago that any of their other starters are available (Twitter link). That contrasts recent reports that the team would be willing to listen to offers on Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta. Given Jackson’s remaining salary, it seems hard to believe that Chicago wouldn’t be open to moving him.
  • The Pirates weren’t looking to trade right-hander Bryan Morris before trading him to the Marlins, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, Miami expressed interest in the deal after being attracted to an increase in Morris’ velocity and the addition of a two-seam/sinking fastball to his repertoire, and the two sides were able to strike a deal. Pittsburgh received Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 39 overall), used to draft (and sign) Connor Joe, while Miami has been rewarded to this point with 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Morris, who has shown greatly improved command.
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins offered some candid comments regarding catcher Josmil Pinto on 1500 ESPN Radio with Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While he was highly complimentary of Pinto’s offensive skills, the left-hander was blunt in his description of Pinto’s defense: “He’s a long, long ways away, to be honest with you. …his pitch framing, he’s got some work to do.” Perkins flatly he said Pinto is “surely not at the big-league level as far as catching for me.” Perkins went on to preach the importance of framing and praise veterans Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Molina for their prowess at the skill. Minnesota recently sent Pinto to the minors to get more consistent at-bats and consistent time behind the plate. He’s spent much of the season DHing while Kurt Suzuki, whose offensive contributions have been somewhat surprising, has done the bulk of the catching.
  • After leaving the Reds organization to take a “mental break,” the representative of reliever Carlos Marmol says that the righty may not look to return this season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Agent Paul Kinzer told Heyman that Marmol decided to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with unspecified personal issues, and has had no physical problems.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Marlins Likely Not Done Making Moves

The Marlins acquired reliever Bryan Morris from the Pirates for the No. 39 overall draft pick on Sunday, and they aren’t through wheeling and dealing, with MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reporting that at least one more is likely this week. It’s unclear whether that means another trade or some other type of transaction, but Frisaro writes that a move could happen “within the next few days.” He notes that the Marlins’ “proactive” approach is unusual, since teams do not typically make many trades this early in the season.

The Marlins wanted to add bullpen help, particularly after losing Carter Capps to injury, and Frisaro writes that Morris, a hard-throwing righty with big-league experience fit the bill. The Marlins also still possess three of the top 43 picks in the draft, including the No. 2 overall pick.


Marlins Acquire Bryan Morris From Pirates

The Marlins announced that they have acquired right-hander Bryan Morris from the Pirates in exchange for the No. 39 overall pick in the 2014 draft.  The No. 39 pick is Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A selection and is worth roughly $1.58MM.

We feel this trade will have a positive impact on our organization in the short, moderate and long term,” said Bucs GM Neal Huntington in Pittsburgh’s press release. “In the short term, this trade will add a quality prospect to our system that will enhance our ability to make additional prospect for major league player type deals while helping us to better sustain crucial prospect depth. Additionally, we feel we have made this move from a position of strength as we have kept our core bullpen intact. In the moderate and long term, we add an additional first-round talent that we project to play a significant role on future Pirates’ teams.”

Morris, 27, has pitched to a 3.46 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 over the last three seasons with the Pirates.  In late March, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported that the PIrates were open to dealing Morris and Jeanmar Gomez, though they were a little more reluctant to part with the latter since he can also start.  Morris is out of options this year and the Bucs have had a logjam in the bullpen this season.  In short, the Pirates are dealing from a surplus to add a promising talent to their farm system.

Of course, the Marlins still have choice picks at the top of the draft.  They own the No. 2 overall pick, the No. 36 pick in the Competitive Balance Round A portion after they were unable to sign Oregon pitcher Matt Krook last year, and the No. 43 pick, the second pick of the second round.  For the Pirates, the deal gives them a pick to think about in between their No. 24 and No. 64 selections.



Quick Hits: Pirates, Carp, Blue Jays, Chapman

Aroldis Chapman suffered fractures above his left eye and nose after being hit by a Salvador Perez line drive in a terrifying moment during tonight's Reds/Royals game.  Chapman was on the ground for over 10 minutes while medical personnel attended to him, and the closer was eventually taken off the field on a cart and taken to hospital.  Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters (including C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that Chapman "never lost consciousness. He was able to communicate, he was able to move his hands, his feet, his legs."  The Reds' official Twitter feed said that Chapman was staying overnight in hospital for further observation.  All of us at MLB Trade Rumors send our best wishes to Chapman in his recovery from that horrific incident.

Here are some items from around baseball…

  • The Pirates are open to dealing right-handed relievers Jeanmar Gomez and Bryan Morris, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports, though they'd prefer to keep Gomez since he can also start.  Both pitchers are out of options, and with the Pirates facing a crowded bullpen situation, it's no surprise that they're listening to offers for Morris, Gomez and (as reported yesterday) Vin Mazzaro.
  • With the Pirates shopping relievers and looking for catching, Davidoff notes that the Yankees match up as trading partners due to their catcher surplus.  A rival talent evaluator feels that the bullpen may be the Yankees' "biggest concern" due to a lack of proven arms, though several of those young pitchers have performed well in Spring Training.
  • Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos denied that the Jays' lack of offseason spending had anything to do with a new CEO at Rogers Communications, the team's parent company, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports.  "There’s been no suggestion of any type of cutback, there’s no suggestion of anything other than support and of everything being positive," Beeston said.
  • The Red Sox aren't particularly interested in trading Mike Carp, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (ESPN Insider subscription required).  The Sox aren't sure if they "could get something particularly appealing" in a deal involving Carp.  The Pirates, Brewers and Tigers have all been linked to Carp in rumors this offseason, and with Grady Sizemore's strong Spring Training, Carp could be an expendable piece on the Boston roster.
  • Between Jarrod Parker's Tommy John surgery and injuries to A.J. Griffin and Scott Kazmir, MLB.com's Jane Lee feels the Athletics could be forced to look for external pitching help in the case of any more injuries or if any of their current starters struggle.  Lee also addresses several other A's topics as part of her reader mailbag piece, including Hiroyuki Nakajima's status in the club's minor league camp.
  • With the Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera controversies still lingering in the franchise's recent past, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer told Henry Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle that his club is more inclined to avoid players with drug suspensions.  "We don't have a blanket policy saying we'll never touch a player that has a PED history. But I'd say that for us, it's a larger mountain to climb than others," Baer said.  The Giants will look at such players "on a case-by-case basis" (like recent signing Mike Morse, suspended for 10 games in 2005) but players like Nelson Cruz who were coming off PED suspensions and required draft pick compensation to sign seem out of the question.  "Qualifying offer and a PED association – that's a bad combination. Brian [Sabean] and I both feel very strongly about that," Baer said.

Revisiting The Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay Trade

It's been nearly 20 months since the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Pirates completed the three-team blockbuster that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles, Jason Bay to Boston, and four prospects to Pittsburgh. Alex Speier of WEEI.com spoke to Pirates' GM Neal Huntington about the trade, who noted that the book is still out on their end of the deal. 

Here are the highlights, but the whole article is well worth the read…

  • Huntington suggests the Pirates now believe that they had a better offer on the table for Bay than the one they ultimately accepted, though it's not fair to look back using hindsight. The Marlins and Rays were both rumored to be interested at the time. 
  • He also recognizes that he might have received a better package if he waited until the offseason to deal Bay.
  • If the deal had not been made, the Red Sox were unsure about how to proceed with Manny's $20MM club option for 2009, and it was unclear if they would have been willing to risk offering him arbitration to recoup draft pick compensation.
  • They were, however, confident in offering Jason Bay arbitration at the time of the trade.
  • Meanwhile, the two players Pittsburgh received from Boston haven't delivered as expected. Brandon Moss is out of options, and might be put through waivers after hitting .232/.300/.381 since the trade, while Craig Hansen apparently went unclaimed after being designated for assignment. Both players have dealt with injuries.
  • Huntington says that if Andy LaRoche's power comes on, it would be a good trade for them since they acquired six years of him for a year and a half of Bay. If Bryan Morris develops into a middle of the rotation starter, he would consider it a great deal.