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- Week In Review: 3/21/15 – 3/27/15
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Carlos Gonzalez Rumors
Before the deadline, the Rockies seemingly took the Mets‘ bid to acquire Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez at least somewhat seriously, with GM Dan O’Dowd and other top evaluators scouting the Mets’ minor leaguers in person, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. The Rockies were especially interested in Noah Syndergaard, but they also considered Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, Matt den Dekker, Ruben Tejada and Matt Reynolds. Talks between the two teams didn’t get far, but they might lay the groundwork for future discussions. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Former Red Sox pitcher John Lackey is “happy where he is now,” guesses Sox GM Ben Cherington in an interview with Dennis & Callahan at WEEI. Cherington says that Lackey’s unusual contract, which allows his team to pay him the league minimum salary next year, enabled the Red Sox to get the value they did, picking up Allen Craig and Joe Kelly from the Cardinals. “[W]e wouldn’t have traded both [Jon] Lester and Lackey without getting a) major league talent back and b) at least one major league starter back,” says Cherington. “That was sort of the standard.”
- Closer David Robertson says he might have given the Yankees a discount last winter if they had signed him to an extension, George A. King of the New York Post reports. Now, he says, he’ll likely wait to become a free agent this offseason. “It would have to be a legit offer at this point of the year,” he says. Robertson has pitched brilliantly while replacing Mariano Rivera at closer, posting a 2.68 ERA in 43 2/3 innings this year, with 14.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. King notes that the Yankees will probably extend Robertson a qualifying offer this fall.
The Red Sox, Rangers and Phillies are all struggling this season but for different reasons, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe touches on each team’s situation in his weekly Sunday notes column. Boston’s young talent (as either lineup upgrades or trade chips) puts them “in the best shape” according to one AL executive, while Rangers GM Jon Daniels intends to address his team’s injury-riddled rotation at the deadline. Philadelphia seems to be in the toughest shape of the three given that they both have a number of hard-to-move expensive veterans on the roster, plus Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley haven’t seemed willing to waive their no-trade clauses.
Here’s some more from Cafardo’s latest…
- The Red Sox have received some calls about Mike Napoli. The first baseman has spent some time on the DL this year but is still hitting .265/.386/.432 with 10 homers in 316 PA. The two-year, $32MM contract that Napoli signed last winter carries some limited no-trade protection. Though Napoli’s bat makes him an attractive commodity, I’d be surprised to see the Sox move him given their own need for power hitting both this season and beyond.
- A recent Marlins slump led to a renewed series of calls about Giancarlo Stanton, and Miami GM Dan Jennings again reiterated that Stanton isn’t for sale. Cafardo notes that the Stanton trade rumors won’t die down until he signs a big extension with the Marlins, something that seemed unlikely two offseasons ago when he was upset by the club’s fire sale trade with the Blue Jays. Now, however, Jennings says, “I think some things have changed for Giancarlo. He’s taken a leadership role here. He knows we’re serious about winning and how much we want him to be part of that. He’s seen the team come together and the young talent developing around him.”
- Jennings told Cafardo on Friday that the Marlins would look to be trade deadline buyers if they were within five or six games of the NL East lead going into the All-Star break, and the GM was meeting with owner Jeffrey Loria this weekend. Miami sits 6.5 games behind the tied Nationals and Braves heading into today’s action.
- It seems unlikely that the Rockies will deal Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez since owner Charles Monfort feels moving either star would negatively hurt Colorado’s ticket sales and TV ratings. “Monfort centers everything around Tulo and Cargo,” a Major League source tells Cafardo. Dick Monfort, the other half of the club’s ownership team, recently said there were no plans to deal wither Tulowitzki or Gonzalez.
In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ask for a trade this offseason. One friend of Tulo told Rosenthal, “I think the guy is going to lose his mind,” due to Colorado’s consistently poor results. He adds that this offseason will be a better time to deal Tulo or Carlos Gonzalez (with an eye on a larger rebuild), and while owner Dick Monfort may prefer to move CarGo, plenty of teams would make sense as a landing spot for Tulowitzki.
Here are some more highlights from Rosenthal’s newest work…
- One reason that Tulo could be particularly frustrated is with the Rockies‘ inability to build a competitive pitching staff at Coors Field. That’s no easy task, as Rosenthal notes, but it isn’t helped by the fact that free-agent pitchers simply don’t want to go there. While Jon Gray and Eddie Butler are promising, Butler joins a long list of currently injured Rockies starters. Additionally, rival scouts opined to Rosenthal that Colorado pitchers are poorly prepared: “They pitch not to hitters’ weaknesses but hitters strengths,” one scout told Rosenthal.
- The Dodgers talked with the Cubs about Jeff Samardzija before he was dealt to Oakland, but talks never got serious, as Los Angeles didn’t want to part with Joc Pederson or Corey Seager.
- Speaking of the Samardzija trade, Rosenthal hears that the deal was almost larger, as the Athletics at one point were trying to get Chicago to include Luis Valbuena in the deal as well. The A’s like Valbuena as a potential second-base upgrade and could rekindle talks for him later this month, but Chicago is reluctant to deal him, as he’s controlled through 2016, according to Rosenthal.
- The Cubs are receiving interest in lefty relievers James Russell and Wesley Wright, both of whom are more likely to be traded than Valbuena.
- Multiple reports today have indicated that the Cardinals have interest in Jake Peavy of the Red Sox, and Rosenthal reports that the two sides spoke a month ago, though not necessarily about Peavy. Boston has interest in the Cardinals’ young outfielders, and while St. Louis won’t deal Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty for Peavy, the teams could expand the deal to include other players and make something work. Rosenthal floats the idea of a scenario in which Allen Craig heads to Boston, though that appears to be speculation.
- In other Red Sox rumors, he writes that the Sox don’t necessarily want to move free agents they would like to re-sign after the season even if they end up as sellers. In other words, Jon Lester and Koji Uehara may stay put regardless of the team’s approach. Beyond that, the team’s chips are largely underwhelming, as Jonny Gomes, Burke Badenhop, Stephen Drew and A.J. Pierzynski either don’t have huge appeal to buyers or would net marginal returns at best.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had a tumor removed from his left index finger Tuesday, writes Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Head athletic trainer Keith Dugger tells Groke that a biopsy will be performed on what they’re hoping is a benign tumor, adding that such a finding isn’t necessarily uncommon. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes that Gonzalez could miss as much as five weeks after having what Dugger described as a “fatty mass with tentacles” removed. Here’s more on the Rox and their division…
- The Rockies have had injury problems of late, with Michael Cuddyer, Jordan Lyles, Eddie Butler, Boone Logan, Nolan Arenado, Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson all on the DL (in addition to Gonzalez), but they’re not done with bad news on that front. Groke’s colleague Patrick Saunders reported this morning that top pitching prospect Daniel Winkler is heading for Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old Winkler — a former 20th-round gem in the draft — had posted a 1.41 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 70 innings at Double-A Tulsa this season.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick spoke with Padres closer Huston Street about the possibility of being traded this summer — a concept that is far from foreign to Street. “I’ll give the same answer I have year after year,” Street told Crasnick. “I have no control over it. I don’t have a no-trade clause, so there’s nothing for me to consider.” Street added that he likes the group in San Diego and doesn’t want to be traded, believing they can win there. Crasnick notes that his $7MM salary and $7MM club option are affordable enough that teams will have interest, but not so steep that the Friars feel they have to move him.
- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley had another setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be reevaluated by the team doctor, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Billingsley recently hit 93 mph in a rehab outing, but he felt weakness in his surgically repaired elbow following a 31-pitch bullpen session yesterday.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.