Carlos Carrasco Rumors

Quick Hits: Contreras, Indians, Marlins, Yankees

After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.”  Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.”  Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:

  • Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com.  Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.”  Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
  • The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer.  All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game.  While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
  • With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly.  In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.” 
  • Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman.  Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.  MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here.  Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned.  (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.)  When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option.  I think the two guys are winning.”
  • Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson.  In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in.  Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage.  MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.”  For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.

Indians Notes: Payroll, Hafner, DH, Starting Rotation

The Indians have been very busy during the first days of 2013 officially announcing the free agent signings of Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports the team will open the season with a payroll hovering around $66-68MM (not including the $2.75MM buyout of Travis Hafner's 2013 club option and the $3.5MM sent to the Reds in the Shin-Soo Choo trade). As a result, GM Chris Antonetti has said the team's financial resources have been exhausted. The lone remaining hole in the lineup is designated hitter. Bastian says the Tribe could rely on internal options like Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedroff, and Rule 5 selection Chris McGuiness. Even bringing back Hafner is a possibility according to Antonetti, "I think some of that is going to depend upon other opportunities for Travis and his thoughts on returning, as well as what opportunities we may have for him compared to other guys." Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more news and notes concerning the Indians:

  • Hoynes adds Matt LaPorta to the list of in-house DH options, but says Antonetti could still sign a hitter or bring one in on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. 
  • Hoynes thinks Delmon Young would look good as the Tribe's DH, but doesn't see it happening at this time because of his asking price and character issues.
  • The Indians will still consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera or Chris Perez, but only if the return is comparable to what they received in the Choo deal.
  • The starting rotation looks like Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Myers, and Zach McAllister. Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
  • With the flush of spending of this season, does this put extra pressure on the front office to win now? Hoynes doesn't sense any panic in the hallways of power, especially since new manager Terry Francona can opt-out of his deal if certain members of management lose their jobs.

Indians Notes: Shapiro, Carrasco, Santana

On this date in 1997, Jim Thome hit his 40th homer of the season for the Indians, who went on to win the American League pennant. Here's the latest on the current version of the Indians, who have a 0.0% chance of returning to the postseason this year, according to Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds report

  • Indians president Mark Shapiro hasn't had contact with the Cubs about their open GM job, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Shapiro is involved in making the Indians more successful on and off the field and appears to be happy in his role, Hoynes writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported yesterday that the former GM might be intrigued by the Cubs job.
  • The Indians announced that Carlos Carrasco had Tommy John surgery in New York City today, as Dr. David Altchek repaired the ulnar collateral ligament in Carrasco’s right elbow. Recovery time is generally a year or more, so the Indians won’t be counting on Carrasco in 2012.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta told Todd Wills of MLB.com that Jeanmar Gomez will be a name to consider for next year's rotation. Gomez has allowed just three earned runs in 17 1/3 innings since being recalled from Triple-A at the end of August.
  • Carlos Santana could be a long-term solution behind the plate or at first base, Acta told Wills. The Indians' decision will depend, in part, on others, such as Matt LaPorta.
  • The 26-year-old LaPorta has had his chances. In what amounts to two full seasons, he has 30 homers and a .234/.300/.394 line. He has always destroyed minor league pitching, but he hasn't helped the big league club nearly as much as expected.


Quick Hits: Rizzo, Braves, Rowand, Pujols, Carrasco

On this date 11 years ago, the Angels signed amateur free agent Ervin Santana. The right-hander recently reached the 200-inning plateau for the fourth time in his career and he has a 3.27 ERA to go along with his July no-hitter. Here are the latest links from around MLB…

  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is "definitely" on the Cubs' wish list for their vacant GM position, reports Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Rizzo shot down any speculation about him leaving though, saying "there's nowhere I'd rather be than the Washington Nationals right now," and "this is the place I need to be."
  • MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter) that Kurt Kemp has stepped down as Braves' director of player development to pursue other opportunities.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com suggests that the Phillies could have interest in the recently designated for assignment Aaron Rowand after he clears waivers. He would not be eligible for postseason play, but Salisbury notes the team has had a "longstanding interest" in bringing Rowand back after losing him to the Giants in free agency.
  • In a piece for Grantland.com, Jonah Keri wonders if losing Albert Pujols to the free agency would really be that bad for the Cardinals.
  • Indians minor leaguer Hector Rondon told Carlos Alberto Zambrano of the Venezuelan paper Lider en Deportes that it appears that Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco will undergo Tommy John surgery. Rendon says the currently-disabled Carrasco told him of the upcoming operation. 
  • Meanwhile, Indians skipper Manny Acta told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the team is stil exploring options for Carrasco's injured elbow (Twitter link). He acknowledged that Tommy John surgery was a possibility, but it is not a certainty at this point.
  • Nate Mink of MLB.com explains that Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg showed he's ready for the Major Leagues in his final minor league rehab start. 
  • Doug Miller of MLB.com shows how so many former members of Mike Scioscia's coaching staff – Joe Maddon, Bud Black and Ron Roenicke – have gone on to become MLB managers. 
  • It appears that first base prospect Angel Villalona will return to the Giants organization now that murder charges against him have been dismissed, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Giants expect to resolve a $5MM breach-of-contract lawsuit that Villalona filed against the team.
  • Former GM Jim Bowden introduces us to the agents behind this offseason's big-name free agents in a must-read piece for ESPN. If you're interested in agents, be sure to check out our Agency Database.

Cafardo’s Latest: Felix Hernandez, Red Sox

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has his Sunday column up. Let's have a look.

  • Cafardo expects the Red Sox to make another push for Felix Hernandez in the offseason. Hernandez's price tag could prove too high for Seattle to retain him; however, they are open to extending him. Before the deadline, the Red Sox reportedly offered a 5-for-1 deal for the ace that Seattle turned down.
  • The Indians have yet to see dividends pay for the players they received for Cliff Lee. Cafardo writes, "Righty Carlos Carrasco is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA (six homers in 14 innings); catcher Lou Marson is hitting .154; shortstop Jason Donald went on the disabled list in Triple A; and righty Jason Knapp underwent surgery to remove fragments from his shoulder."
  • Cafardo wonders if the Nats would've dealt Cristian Guzman had they known Ian Desmond would emerge as their shortstop of the future.
  • Chiming in on the Jason Bay or Matt Holliday discussion, Cafardo quotes scouts who seem to have him leaning toward Holliday as the better option, particularly for Boston.

Indians Rumors: Debt, Shapiro, Wedge

Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer sat down for a chat with Indians team president Paul Dolan and some other front office personnel. Lots of interesting information came to light, so let's dig in…

  • Dolan indicated that the team was $16MM in the red in July and headed towards $20MM. The trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, and Carl Pavano bring that number down to about $12MM.
  • Jake Westbrook's injury will actually save the team money because insurance will cover about 50% of his $11MM salary.
  • Had the Tribe not made any moves at the deadline, they would have been looking at about $30MM in losses next year because of declining attendance.
  • Dolan has "no plans" to sell the team, nor has he received any serious offers.
  • "Mark Shapiro will be the general manager next year; that has never been in question," said Dolan. "He has done a very good job of rebuilding the franchise once after the 1990s. Our fans may not realize it, but our franchise is viewed around baseball as one of the better ones in the game."
  • The future of manager Eric Wedge will be decided after the season, and the $1.3MM owed to him in 2010 will "not be factor."
  • Pluto also provides some notes about several Tribe prospects, including Carlos Carrasco and Michael Brantley. Carrasco was acquired in the Lee trade, Brantley in last year's CC Sabathia deal.

Odds And Ends: Dodgers, Davis, Prospects

More links for the afternoon…


Indians GM On The Rebuilding Process

Indians GM Mark Shapiro told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Indians plan to rebuild in "mini cycles" and could contend again soon:

  • Some of the Indians' deadline deals were "financially motivated," but Shapiro distinguishes them from pure salary dumps like the Alex Rios deal.
  • Shapiro doesn't see any of the Indians' division rivals becomining dominant forces in the near future.
  • He expects to be the team's GM next year despite rumblings that he could ascend to another front office role. He says he has "unfinished business" as GM, but he acknowledges that he could move on to a different position later on. 
  • It's hard to say how much the Indians will spend on free agents, but Shapiro says he could sign one or two this offseason, something that would not have been possible with Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez around.
  • He knows he overpaid for last year's free agent signing, Kerry Wood, but expects this year's market to be depressed.
  • Why didn't the Indians acquire Kyle Drabek or Clay Buchholz? Young talent's at a premium and sometimes the Indians don't value players as much as other teams, scouts or analysts do. 
  • Carlos Carrasco is close to contributing to the Indians and will compete for a rotation spot next year. 

Roy Halladay Rumors: Tuesday

11:02pm: It appears we've passed J.P. Ricciardi's self-imposed deadline to deal Halladay. We probably should just pack it in, huh? Nah. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian has the word from Ricciardi, who dismisses the "soft" deadline he laid out. Still, Bastian reports that they're no closer to making a decision, and that it appears more and more likely Doc remains a Blue Jay. And so it goes.

9:11pm: Gordon Edes at Yahoo has a pretty big update on the discussions. It appears the Red Sox have amped up their efforts to obtain the Doc, and they're willing to include Buchholz, one of Lars Anderson, Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden, and lesser prospects to fill out the rest of the offer.

Edes also reneges on his earlier report that Westmoreland had been part of a Red Sox proposal, and thinks that any reports about the Red Sox involving a third team to get a shortstop to Toronto are untrue.

7:07pm: Jon Heyman tweets an AL executive's comment that Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Ryan Westmoreland "won't get it done" to obtain Halladay.

6:44pm: T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com says that the Rangers are reluctant to part with their top prospects for Halladay. The Blue Jays reportedly asked for a king's ransom of Derek Holland, Justin Smoak and Julio Borbon.

5:00pm: ESPN.com's Keith Law hears that the Red Sox have no intention of including Westmoreland in any deal. 

4:40pm: Jayson Stark reports that the same Blue Jays scout who watched Kyle Drabek pitch last night will be in Lehigh Valley to watch as shortstop Jason Donald comes off the DL for his first start since June. Both minor leaguers could be part of a Phils-Jays trade.

3:59pm: Dan Roche, an anchor for WBZTV, hears that the Red Sox did not offer Buchholz, Bowden and Westmoreland for Halladay.

1:57pm: Yahoo's Gordon Edes reports that the Red Sox offered "at least" Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Ryan Westmoreland to the Blue Jays for Halladay.  In my opinion, that is a very strong offer.  Edes says the Jays would like to acquire a shortstop since they are "vigorously shopping" Marco Scutaro.  That means the Sox might need to get creative.

Edes says Daniel Bard and Casey Kelly "have been declared off-limits by the Red Sox."  And while the Dodgers deem Clayton Kershaw untouchable, they've at least discussed internally the possibility of moving Chad Billingsley.  Billingsley might be the best name we've heard yet in connection with Halladay, though remember that Edes labeled that an internal discussion.

1:29pm: The Associated Press (via ESPN) reports that Rogers Communications, the company that owns the Blue Jays, wants to bring its costs under control. The Blue Jays have said they don't have to deal Halladay, who has over $20MM left on his contract, for financial reasons.

1:12pm: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Blue Jays and Phillies both need to complete a Roy Halladay trade. Ruben Amaro Jr. will be criticized if he can't get Halladay and J.P. Ricciardi's chance to get more than one impact player for his ace disappears at 4:01 EST on Friday.

12:53pm: Sherman says the Rangers are very much involved in the Halladay talks. The Jays want three of the Rangers' best prospects. Not only is GM Jon Daniels reluctant to give up that much talent, he has limited financial flexibility and the Blue Jays are refusing to take on salary.

The Jays want high-ceiling, MLB-ready players instead of many players who are further from contributing in the majors.

10:55am: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail says many top Blue Jays people are deciding whether to trade Halladay. It's not just Ricciardi's decision.

Meanwhile, SI's Tom Verducci weighs in.  He talked to a scout who spoke of an organizational "tug of war" in Philly, with Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel pushing the win-now move for Doc while Ruben Amaro Jr. and other player development guys are reluctant to move top prospects.

Verducci says Carlos Carrasco doesn't do anything for the Jays, and they'll require either Drabek or Jason Knapp.  The Angels and Dodgers are the other top suitors for Halladay, in Verducci's opinion.

10:07am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Blue Jays insist on receiving Drabek because they consider Happ a middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter. They want Happ, but may relent if the Phillies give up Drabek.

The Phillies remain favorites to add Doc, but the Red Sox and Rangers could still acquire him.

9:04am: Here's a quick summary of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumors, 15 updates and nearly 400 comments later. The Phillies and Jays reached an "impasse" in their negotiations since neither side wanted to change its offer. The Red Sox are planning a big move, but the Jays would ask the Red Sox or Yankees to give up more than other teams. And what about those other teams? Don't expect the Twins to trade for Halladay, and the Dodgers don't seem likely either. Here are today's rumors:

Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.


Ricciardi: Chances Of A Deal “Very Slim”

8:00pm: FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal just heard from Ricciardi that the chances of Halladay leaving Toronto at this point are "very slim."  Here's more from the general manager:

"We've said that we would listen, but that we would have to be motivated and 'wowed.  Right now we haven't been. I've said all along my gut tells me I won't be. I still stand by that."

"If we get to the last week," Ricciardi added, "and haven't really made any progress with anybody, I'm not going to say it's 100 percent certain, but I would have to pretty much think it's not going to get done."

It sure sounds like the Blue Jays aren't going to lower their asking price.

7:38pm: Olney notes that the Rangers have also been handed a "this-is-what-it-would-take proposal by the Blue Jays in the last 72 hours."  It's more about salary for Texas, though, than it is about prospects.  Sources have deemed them "semi-alive."

7:18pm: Christian Caple of MLB.com passes along this little note: 

[Halladay is] scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but whether he makes that start is up in the air. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said last week he wants Halladay assured of his future when he takes the hill for that outing — in other words, if Halladay does pitch on Wednesday, supposedly, he won't be traded before the deadline.

This goes back to the self-imposed pre-July 31 deadline that Ricciardi suggested in early July.  It'll be interesting to see if they stick to it.

5:21pm: According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the prospect-heavy Rangers "are talking to the Blue Jays about Halladay and they have asked the Indians about Lee… but financial considerations may make any deal tough.  As Sullivan adds, "The Rangers are unlikely to take on a significant salary in any deal."

4:54pm: FOX Sports reports that the Red Sox remain in the mix for Halladay as well, and the Jays have made a multiple-prospect proposal in recent days. The Jays still prefer not to deal within the division, however.

2:05pm: Jon Heyman provides an update, via Twitter, stating that the Phillies are beginning to consider Cliff Lee as an alternative to Halladay. Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer confirms this, and adds that the Phillies are expected to have a scout watching Lee in Seattle. Martino also tweets that Toronto is scouting Dominic Brown today.

11:16am: ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Blue Jays have rejected the Phillies latest offer of Carrasco, Donald, J.A. Happ and outfielder Michael Taylor. The Jays are telling interested teams they are only going to deal Halladay if they are "wowed" by an offer.

9:45am: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports says that as of Saturday night, the Angels "were of the mind to remove themselves from the Roy Halladay talks, believing they were never going to come close to the Blue Jays’ asking price of Joe SaundersErick Aybar, Brandon Wood and a prospect such as outfielder Peter Bourjos."

9:36am: Late last night we learned that the Phillies were "trying to steer" the Blue Jays towards a package centered around prospects Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald for Roy Halladay, but no agreement was imminent. Let's start the day off with a a few Halladay-related links, and add to them as we go. Make sure you check back in for updates throughout the day.

  • Helene Elliott of The LA Times reports that "Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has said the Blue Jays have identified three players on the Dodgers' major-league roster that they'd take for Halladay, but Colletti hasn't exuded optimism that a deal will get done."
  • Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about how all the trade talk has impacted the Phillies clubhouse.