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Carlos Lee Rumors
The Mets and Marlins discussed a change-of-scenery trade that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami for Heath Bell and John Buck, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal was never close, though the contracts and the money matched up well. Bell is signed through 2014, Bay and Buck through 2013. Rosenthal notes that all three players are likely to clear waivers this month, so the two sides could revisit the deal. Here are the rest of his rumors…
- The Astros are paying virtually all of the $9MM left on Carlos Lee's contract, but one club that spoke to the Marlins said Miami wanted as much as $2.5MM in return for the slugger. Talks never progressed.
- The Orioles spoke to the Mariners about Kevin Millwood, but Seattle wanted a better return than what was offered given the right-hander's bargain $1MM salary.
- The Orioles also discussed a deal with the Royals that would have sent one of their young arms to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Broxton. Rosenthal speculates that it may have been Jake Arrieta.
- The Brewers were close to trading Francisco Rodriguez to the Giants about a week before the deadline, but San Francisco backed off after the right-hander blew two saves and allowed six runs in Philadelphia last week.
5:05pm: Two teams told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Marlins thought they had traded Lee to the Yankees today (Twitter link). However, Lee wouldn't waive his no-trade clause. The sides were never close to completing a trade, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes (on Twitter).
10:40am: The Marlins are trying to unload first baseman Carlos Lee, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. At this stage in his career, Lee is a low-power 36-year-old with little defensive value, so teams might view him as a right-handed bench bat. The Marlins added Lee earlier this month, with the Astros paying most of his $18.5MM salary.
Links from around MLB, on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline…
- The Indians continue to insist they don't expect to trade Justin Masterson or Shin-Soo Choo, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark writes. They'd have to be overwhelmed to trade Choo, but an NL exec says Masterson is "definitely" on the market.
- The Marlins are begging teams to take Carlos Lee off their hands, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com explains the challenges the Phillies face and how they arrived where they are today.
- The Pirates continue trying to add a right-handed outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
The Athletics, Orioles, Pirates and Indians are pursuing Chase Headley most aggressively, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. The Pirates and Indians seem less motivated to complete a deal now, but the A’s and Orioles haven’t backed off. The Diamondbacks, Phillies and Yankees checked in on Headley, and the Dodgers were seriously interested until they traded for Hanley Ramirez. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors…
- The Braves are telling teams they’re shifting their focus away from the rotation to possible bullpen and bench upgrades, Stark reports.
- The Marlins are working hard to trade Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee, Stark writes. Ricky Nolasco is also available.
- The Rangers are mainly focused on Zack Greinke and James Shields, but the odds of a trade involving Shields are diminishing because Evan Longoria is on his way back to the Rays’ lineup.
- The Cubs are offering to absorb all but $2MM of Alfonso Soriano’s contract, Stark writes. The left fielder earns $18MM per season through 2014 and the Cubs might take it all on for the right prospect.
- The Phillies are still considering trading Shane Victorino, but they are likely to wait a few days before making a decision on his future.
- The Padres have told teams they are likely to trade Huston Street if they can’t sign him to an extension. The Padres are expected to attempt to lock Street up to a one-year extension.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty "feels a need to do something" and has asked around for a middle-of-the-order hitter, Stark reports.
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Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark…
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
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The Marlins traded Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit yesterday in what could be the first in a series of trades. Marlins officials have told other teams they are “open for business,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Randy Choate are already drawing trade interest.
The Marlins intend to complete trades that make sense from an on-field perspective, Rosenthal reports. Miami, which now has a 45-51 record, isn’t looking to dump salaries. The Marlins will absolutely try hard to move Heath Bell, but they’re not optimistic about the chances of completing a trade involving their newly-signed closer, Rosenthal reports. Bell is in the first year of a three-year, $27MM contract signed last offseason.
The Athletics have jumped into trade talks for Ramirez, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The Blue Jays and Red Sox are also involved, according to Nightengale. The Marlins are open to moving Ramirez, but they’re likely to keep Johnson, who’s coveted by other teams.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.
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The Astros sent Carlos Lee to the Marlins for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen in a deal that was announced earlier today. The trade provides the Marlins with much needed stability at first base and gives the Astros two more young pieces as they continue to build for the the future. Here are some reactions to the deal:
- With the lowest OPS production at first base in the big leagues this season, the Marlins' acquisition of Lee makes for a natural fit given the veteran's reputation as a professional hitter, says Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com (video link).
- Dominguez and Rasmussen may eventually find themselves playing in Houston, but don't look for the duo to develop into stars, writes Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
- The ceiling for the Astros' newest prospects projects Dominguez as a defensive replacement and Rasmussen coming out of the bullpen, predicts Keith Law of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow spoke with the Marlins about a potential Lee trade for over a week with conversation intensifying on Wednesday morning, reports Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
- Luhnow says Chris Johnson remains the Astros' third baseman with Dominguez providing insurance for the team given Johnson's health issues, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).
The Marlins have played to a 38-42 record since changing their name and logo, moving to a new stadium and spending aggressively on free agents, but the slow start will not stop them from adding midseason reinforcements before this year's trade deadline. The Marlins have acquired Carlos Lee from the Astros for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen, the teams announced. The move should provide Miami with some much-needed offense at first base and add depth to the Astros' minor league system.
“Carlos has been an important part of our team and our community in Houston for almost six seasons and he will be missed,” GM Jeff Luhnow said. “We made this move with an eye towards the future, and are very excited about adding Dominguez and Rasmussen to our talent base. Both players have a bright future.”
Lee, 36, is earning $18.5MM in the final season of a six-year, $100MM contract. The Astros are covering all but the pro-rated minimum of Lee's salary, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Though Lee didn't enjoy no-trade protection in the form of ten and five rights, his contract allowed him to block trades to 14 clubs. The Marlins weren't on Lee's 14-team no-trade list.
Lee has five homers and a .286/.336/.412 batting line in 274 plate appearances so far in 2012. He has slowed down in recent years, but his bat will still represent an upgrade over Gaby Sanchez's .194/.240/.283 batting line.
Dominguez, 22, has a reputation as a strong defensive third baseman, but he projects as a below-average hitter. The 2007 first round selection posted a .234/.291/.357 batting line at Triple-A this year and he has a .252/.321/.410 batting line in six minor league seasons. Dominguez, who appeared in 17 games on last year's Marlins team, ranked fourth on Baseball America's list of top Marlins prospects following the 2011 season.
Rasmussen, 23, entered the season as Miami's seventh-best prospect, according to Baseball America. The 5'9" left-hander has a 3.90 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 87 2/3 innings as a starter at Class A Jupiter this year. The Marlins selected him in the second round of the 2010 draft.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported the deal. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
With Chris Carpenter set to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a nerve condition in his shoulder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals are in the market for at least one starter and one reliever. St. Louis has trade chips though the new collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow teams to recoup draft pick compensation for rental players, changing the landscape.
Let's round up the rest of Rosenthal's rumors…
- Zack Greinke would likely welcome a trade to – and a chance to sign long-term with – the Cardinals, though it's unclear if the Brewers would be willing to trade him within the division.
- The Astros are prepared to move Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, though Jed Lowrie is essentially unavailable. Rosenthal says they could be an obvious trade partner for St. Louis since GM Jeff Luhnow spent nine years in the Cardinals' front office.
- The Cardinals may not want to invest $20MM+ annually into a pitcher, but both Lance Berkman ($12MM) and Kyle Lohse ($11.875MM) will be off the books after this season.
- The Blue Jays' immediate strategy may be to acquire a modest rotation upgrade before reassessing at the trade deadline, shortly before Brandon Morrow returns from his oblique injury. Rosenthal believes they should consider selling high on Colby Rasmus.
- Teams continue to call the Angels about Peter Bourjos and some believe he could be the centerpiece of a deal for a quality starting pitcher. The Halos believe the young outfielder is a building block for the future, however. They do not appear to be in the market for a pitcher at the moment.
- The difference in income tax rates between Texas (none) and California (among the highest in the country) was an issue for Astros first baseman Carlos Lee as he mulled over a potential trade to the Dodgers. Los Angeles may have been willing to help "bridge the gap" had he shown enthusiasm for the deal.