Carlos Gonzalez Rumors

NL Notes: Polanco, Sellers, CarGo, Cuddyer, Matzek, Draft

The rise of Pirates call-up Gregory Polanco from a virtually unknown international signee to a top prospect has been quite rare in recent history, writes Alex Speier in an ESPN Insider piece. Slowly but surely, the 22-year-old tightened his skills to match his raw tools, and his now-obvious upside emerged.

Here’s more from the National League:

  • While Polanco is undoubtedly an exciting addition for the Pirates, the team should nevertheless be prepared to sell over the summer, opines Paul Swydan of ESPN.com (Insider link). Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano are among the pieces that the team could consider moving, he says. Meanwhile, the Mets and Padres are other NL clubs that Swydan says should look to move pieces.
  • While Swydan does not discuss their situation, the Phillies also seem like possible sellers, though it is hard to know the club’s thinking. Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com discusses the trade-worthiness of several of the team’s possible deadline chips.
  • The Mets‘ struggles this year are bad enough that they have shifted the team’s seemingly promising trajectory, writes Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The team’s key cog, third baseman David Wright, says that he remains committed to the Mets and has no desire to be dealt. (Of course, that seems a rather unlikely outcome regardless.) “I knew that when I signed my extension, I knew that things were not going to be easy,” he said. “If I wanted the easy way out, I would have signed somewhere else. The challenge of it, the loyalty to the organization, the direction I think we’re going, yes, we’ve gone through some rough stretches … but that is the process.”
  • The Rockies, who dropped their ninth of ten games tonight, are now dealing with another spate of bad injury news. In addition to placing recent top prospect call-up Eddie Butler on the 15-day DL after his first big league start, the team learned today that it will be without two key veterans for some time. Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will undergo exploratory surgery on the left index finger that has bothered him this year, reports Nick Groke of the Denver Post (via Twitter). And right fielder Michael Cuddyer has suffered a fracture of the glenoid socket in his right shoulder, which will keep him out for at least six to eight weeks, as Cody Ulm of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Now well off the pace in the NL West, the Rockies would need a quick turnaround to position themselves as contenders as the trade deadline approaches.
  • In need of arms, the Rockies will call up 23-year-old lefty Tyler Matzek to start on Wednesday against the Braves, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports on Twitter. Once a top-25 prospect league-wide and the 11th overall choice in the 2009 draft, Matzek has climbed through the minors even as his prospect shine has dimmed somewhat. After opening the year rated 12th among Colorado prospects by Baseball America, which noted that struggles with consistency and command could push him to the bullpen, Matzek has worked to a 4.05 ERA in his first 66 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. More importantly, perhaps, he has worked to a career-best 4.2 BB/9 at Colorado Springs while also racking up 8.2 K/9.
  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law has posted his round-up (Insider link) of the draft haul from National League clubs. He says that the Diamondbacks brought back an impressive haul across the board, and casts some doubt on some of the Cubs‘ early-round selections while noting that the team went after high-upside arms further down.

NL West Notes: Cashner, Padres, Rockies

This evening, Andrew Cashner of the Padres pitched six strong innings against the Dodgers, striking out five and allowing just one run in the first 2014 MLB regular-season game to take place on American soil. That led FOX Sports' Jon Morosi to wonder (via Twitter) who would ultimately win the trade that sent Cashner to the Padres and Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. That's a question that might not be resolved anytime soon. Early on, the Cubs looked like the likely winners after Rizzo put together an excellent .285/.342/.463 season in 2012, leading to a $41MM extension early in the 2013 season. Rizzo had a disappointing 2013 season, though, and Cashner, with his terrific fastball and strong 2013 season, may be emerging as one of the National League's better young(-ish) starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the NL West.

  • The Padres have about 30 percent of their payroll on the disabled list, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. That includes Carlos Quentin ($9.5MM), Josh Johnson ($8MM), Cameron Maybin ($5MM) and Cory Luebke ($3MM). Of course, in Johnson's case, the Padres were well aware he was an injury risk before they signed him. "With Johnson, we thought the risk was worth it. That’s what we’re going to do from time to time and we have to," says Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler. "To balance things, we have to take some risks that other teams don’t have to take."
  • The rising salaries of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez might make 2014 their last season as Rockies teammates, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post writes. "I want to play my entire career with CarGo, but of course I think about how it might not happen. I thought it would be the case with (Matt) Holliday, and it didn't work out," says Tulowitzki, who will make $16MM in 2014 before his salary increases to $20MM in 2015. Gonzalez will make $10.5MM in 2014 and $16MM in 2015. The Rockies say, however, that they won't need to trade either player.

Quick Hits: Twins, O’s, Pirates, Phillies, CarGo

Robinson Cano is the latest to join baseball's $20MM-man club, Doug Miller of MLB.com writes, noting that the list of players making an average of $20MM or more annually has swelled dramatically in recent years. "It goes to the fact that these teams are anticipating revenue from regional television networks, and the new cable agreements are an accelerant to the spending," David Carter of the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute comments. "The owners feel as though they're going to get that money back." Here's more from around the majors:

  • The Twins are up next in Yahoo Sports' rundown of each club's offseason. Jeff Passan argues that while Minnesota's additions to the rotation should help, Twins fans will spend much of 2014 waiting for the arrivals of heralded prospects like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Passan also likes the decision to move Joe Mauer to first base.
  • Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun lists five factors to monitor as the Orioles prepare to hold a four-day offseason minicamp next week. 
  • The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertemfepfel spoke with Pirates reliever Duke Welker, who was traded to Minnesota in October but was flipped back to Pittsburgh 44 days later. Welker is expected to compete for one of the Pirates' bullpen spots this spring.
  • Scott Boras believes the Phillies' new TV deal is worth about $200MM annually when factors such as the club's equity stake in the network are considered, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Having an ownership stake in the entity allows a team to avoid exposure to revenue-sharing rules, according to Boras, who says the loophole "hurts other teams in the league from receiving the true payment."
  • Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had his appendix removed on Friday night in an emergency surgery. Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Gonzalez didn't undergo a standard appendectomy, and could require nearly two months to recover, instead of the usual four weeks. However, that should still allow the All-Star plenty of time to recover and prepare for Opening Day.


West Notes: Morales, Kemp, Sandoval, Baker

News from the AL and NL West..

  • Agent Scott Boras says he'll talk to the Angels about signing Kendrys Morales, writes the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin. The Angels say they are not interested, however, because they need to rebuild a depleted minor league system and they would have to forfeit their first-round draft choice to sign Morales. "We're much more comfortable with the idea of maintaining our first-round pick and continuing to build the organization in a much more positive way," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.
  • In an interview on MLB Network (Twitter link), Dodgers GM Ned Colletti attemped to throw water on Matt Kemp trade rumors, saying that L.A. is higher on the outfielder than anyone.
  • Pablo Sandoval's brother, Michael, has recently been certified as an agent and will join his current agent, Gustavo Vazquez, in representing him, writes Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. If the Giants want to discuss an extension, Michael says that his team will listen. Yesterday, GM Brian Sabean indicated that they'd be open to a new deal if he comes to spring training in shape.
  • The Giants say they haven't talked to Jeff Baker's agent in a little over a week, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
  • Giants vice president Bobby Evans tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter) that the club would like to sign a left fielder tonight. Baggarly hears that they like Franklin Gutierrez.
  • Rockies manager Walt Weiss says that they have talked to Carlos Gonzalez about possibly playing center field and they think he might be able to manage it, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Sulia).

Rockies Rumors: First Basemen, Wilson, Tulo, Cargo

Earlier today it was reported that the Rockies are one of the teams that has checked in on Ike Davis, but according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, that's just one of many avenues the team is looking into in an attempt to fill the void left by Todd Helton's retirement. Colorado has also checked in on free agents James Loney, Justin Morneau and Mike Napoli and also has some degree of interest in Mike Morse (Twitter links). More news on the boys from Denver…

  • In regards to the Rockies' previously reported interest in Brian Wilson, Renck tweets that the team will need to pay closer money to secure the Beard's services in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby spoke with senior VP of Major League operations Bill Geivett, who reiterated that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez will not be traded this winter. The Rockies feel that they are close to contention and are focused on adding good players as opposed to subtracting them, writes Ringolsby. He quotes Geivett: "We spent 33 days in first place and (42) more in second place last year. Things have to happen, but it's not that far."
  • Finding a bat to replace Helton is the team's "No. 1 priority" writes Ringolsby, and their preference is to fill it with a left-handed bat, which would bode well for Loney and Morneau.
  • Ringolsby also notes that the team can't ignore the black hole in the fifth slot in the rotation. The Rockies went 62-50 in games started by one of Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood or Juan Nicasio. In their 50 games started by a combination of seven others, Colorado was 12-38, Ringolsby points out. They could look to add two starting options in an effort to upgrade over Nicasio as well.
  • Finally from Ringolsby, neither 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Gray or 2012 supplemental-rounder Eddie Butler will open 2014 in the Majors, though each could be up as early as May 1 if need be. That seems to be a particularly aggressive timeline for Gray, who threw just 24 innings at High-A last season.

Rockies Notes: Tulo, Hudson, Beltran, Johnson

The Rockies only won 74 games in 2013 but senior VP of baseball operations Bill Geivett believes his club is close to contending.  "We like our core group of guys. We feel like we have a good crew to build around. I know some people disagree, but we don't feel that we are that far away," Geivett tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post, though he noted that the Rockies need Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to be healthy to make this happen.  Here's the latest out of Denver…

  • Geivett again stressed that the Rockies aren't interested in trading Tulowitzki or Gonzalez.  Renck agrees, saying "a dramatic shift would have to occur in their thinking this offseason for trade talks to get going" (Twitter link). 
  • That said, Renck believes the Cardinals will at least "make the call" to gauge interest in Tulowitzki.  Renck notes that it would take several of St. Louis' top prospects to make such a trade plausible.  Earlier today, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal proposed an Allen Craig/Shelby Miller/Trevor Rosenthal package plus a lesser prospect and Colorado paying some of the $130MM remaining on Tulowitzki's salary, though Rosenthal admitted that a Tulowitzki trade is a "longshot."
  • The Rockies are interested in free agent starter Tim Hudson, Renck reports (via Twitter).  This makes Colorado the ninth team known to have an interest in the righty and Renck says "roughly 15 teams" comprise Hudson's market.
  • Carlos Beltran has been a Rockies target in the past and MLB.com's Thomas Harding wouldn't be surprised to see the team attempt to sign the veteran slugger this winter.  Beltran would take over in right while Michael Cuddyer would move to first.
  • Also from Harding, the Rockies are expected to inquire about Josh Johnson.  It doesn't seem like Johnson would be a fit, as since the right-hander is looking for a one-year deal to rebuild his value, he isn't likely to take such a contract at Coors Field.

NL West Notes: Kemp, Price, CarGo, Tulo, Gray

The Dodgers announced this week that Matt Kemp underwent surgery to repair the A-C joint in his left shoulder. Kemp, who was ruled out for the postseason due to an ankle injury, is expected to be ready for Spring Training, at which point the Dodgers will possess an interesting outfield logjam due to the presence of Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Here's more out of the NL West…

  • On yesterday's Baseball Tonight Podcast, ESPN's Buster Olney told colleague Tim Kurkjian that the Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive team in pursuing a trade for David Price this offseason. A Price acquisition would give the Dodgers an unthinkably dominant front four of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Price and Hyun-jin Ryu. Olney also names the Mariners and Rangers as possibilities, though he questions whether or not Price would want to sign an extension in Seattle.
  • Rockies owner Dick Monfort says Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are staying put, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. "The plan is to keep them. Next year, yes. And my plan is to always keep them," Monfort said. "Is that the smartest thing in the world to do? I don't know. But for our fans I think it's the best thing to do."
  • Monfort also noted to Renck that the Rockies' payroll is expected to rise from this year's mark of $83.7MM to the $90-95MM range in 2014. He would like the team to add a starting pitcher and another big bat this offseason. MLBTR's Zach Links recently looked at the club's needs in the Colorado installment of the offseason outlook series.
  • MLB.com's Jim Callis called Rockies 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Gray "the class of the 2013 draft," saying that he has a higher ceiling than that of fellow Top 3 picks Mark Appel (Astros) and Kris Bryant (Cubs). Callis notes that the Rockies have had trouble developing pitching, but opines that Gray has clear ace potential and could reach the Majors in a hurry.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Gregg, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, Kendrick

Kevin Gregg blasted the Cubs after misunderstanding comments from manager Dale Sveum and president Theo Epstein said it was possible that he would release the veteran.  However, the Cubs decided over the weekend to accept Gregg's apology for the incident and will hang on to him, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Rockies are not shopping all-stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, sources with direct knowledge of the club's plans told Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  There's still a very small possibility that one will be dealt to address multiple needs, but there is zero likelihood that both will be moved. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Rockies ownership doesn't have much interest in moving either player.
  • Also from Renck, he expects the Cardinals to pursue a trade for Tulowitzki this offseason.
  • After being shut down for the season, Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick is now shifting his focus towards 2014 and thinking about where he could be pitching next season, writes Kevin Roberts for MLB.com.  Kendrick, who made $4.5MM this season, will be eligible for salary arbitration this offseason.  
  • Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review puts the spotlight on Dan Fox, the man who built the Pirates' analytical department.

Rosenthal On CarGo, Dodgers, Price, Mujica

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has a new video up outlining potential hot stove moves this offseason. Let's take a look:

  • The Rockies' ownership doesn't have much interest in trading Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, though Gonzalez would be more likely to be traded if the club does decide to make a move. The Rangers, with their stocks of young pitching and middle infielders, could be a partner. If on offer in such a deal, Jurickson Profar could handle second base for the Rockies, and could shift to shortstop if the team eventually moves Tulo off of the position. We heard last week that the Mets have interest in CarGo.
  • The Dodgers are expected to trade one of their "big four" – Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier or Yasiel Puig – according to rival executives speaking with Rosenthal. Puig is, of course, the least likely to be moved.
  • The Rays are expected to consider trading David Price over the winter, with Rosenthal again suggesting the Rangers as a team to keep an eye on, noting that Texas had two scouts on hand to watch a recent Price start in Minnesota. The Cubs could also be interested, though their farm system is stronger in position players than it is in pitchers.
  • One major league exec suggests that the pressures of impending free agency and closing for a contender have affected the CardinalsEdward Mujica. A longtime setup man, Mujica was suddenly positioned on the verge of a "major payday" after taking on the Cards' closer role, Rosenthal says.

East Links: Jeter, Drew, CarGo, Gonzalez, Lester

Yankees GM Brian Cashman may be forced to play the bad guy role again as the club considers how they'll address Derek Jeter given the captain's age and durability issues, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. Three scouts and three executives polled by Harper each said they believe Cashman will acquire an everyday shortstop this offseason, as they don't believe Jeter will be able to handle the position and the Yankees don't have acceptable alternatives. "He’ll be a 40-year old shortstop who already had limited range," one executive said, noting Jeter's injured ankle. "If you’re the GM, it’s your responsibility to make the tough decision for the good of the ballclub.” Here's more notes from around the majors' eastern divisions…

  • The majority of the six baseball people who Harper spoke with suggested shortstop Stephen Drew as a potential free agent acquisition for the Yankees. While Drew has posted a solid .249/.331/.436 line this season and would be a good fit for Yankee Stadium, signing with the Yanks would place him in a delicate situation. "Would Drew — or anyone else — want to sign on as the guy pushing an unwilling Jeter into a role where he would DH mostly and play short only occasionally?" Harper asks.
  • The Mets covet the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, and one executive familiar with the Rockies' thinking tells Harper they're likely to listen to offers for the star outfielder. However, a trade appears unlikely, as the Rockies want young position players and aren't interested in what the Mets can offer in that regard. Colorado may also consider offers for Troy Tulowitzki, Harper says.
  • CC Sabathia's 4.90 ERA would be the second-worst mark in Yankees history by a pitcher to surpass the 200 inning threshold, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. “I have always been bend-but-don’t-break, and I have broken a lot this year,” Sabathia commented. Sherman says Sabathia has adjusted his delivery in order to better stay on top of the ball so that his fastball does not cut toward the middle of the plate. 
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson is on track to become the first GM in club history to post increasing loss totals in each of his first three seasons from the team he inherited, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets. The team clinched its fifth consecutive losing season in dropping today's game with the Marlins.
  • The Phillies have no plans for recent Cuban acquisition Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to pitch competitively this season, Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer says. The team sees Gonzalez sliding into the third slot of their 2014 rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee"We just want to see where he's at," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "We want to get him assimilated into our organization and be ready to go for spring training."
  • The Red Sox have yet to broach the subject of Jon Lester's next contract, GM Ben Cherington revealed in an interview with WEEI.com. "We just feel like those issues are better left for after we’re done playing, which hopefully is several weeks from now," Cherington said. We recently heard that the Sox are "all but certain" to pick up their $13MM option on Lester for next year.