Carlos Quentin Rumors

West Notes: Dodgers, Aiken, Padres, Posey, Angels

The Dodgers will change their Triple-A affiliation from Albuquerque to the Oklahoma City RedHawks next season, Michael Baldwin of the Oklahoman reports. Oklahoma City is currently affiliated with the Astros. Mandalay Baseball Properties will reportedly sell the RedHawks to a group tied to the Dodgers for a sum in the $22MM to $28MM range. Baldwin writes that the Dodgers are trying to get out of Albuquerque, a difficult environment in which to evaluate prospects because its park is so favorable to hitters. The move is part of what could be a big shakeup in the Pacific Coast League, with the Athletics also moving from Sacramento to Nashville (currently a Brewers affiliate) and the Giants moving from Fresno to Sacramento. It’s unclear where the Astros and Brewers will end up in such a scenario. Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • Brady Aiken may have selected a junior college after being selected first overall and then going unsigned in a dispute with the Astros, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets. Aiken could end up at Yavapai JC in Arizona, which has helped develop future big-leaguers like Curt Schilling, Kole Calhoun, Bob Milacki, Billy Hatcher and Kyle Blanks.
  • Carlos Quentin is likely “on his way out” with the Padres, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes in a recent chat. Quentin is under contract for $8MM in 2015, but the Padres likely won’t want to keep him, given his struggles to stay healthy. (What they might do with him is a different question — it’s hard to imagine Quentin having much trade value, given that he’s hit poorly in limited action this season.) Seth Smith and Rymer Liriano are the only near-locks for spots in the San Diego outfield next year, Lin writes.
  • With Andrew Susac emerging as a potential starting option at catcher and Buster Posey showing signs of wear, the Giants might consider moving Posey to a new position in the future, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News writes. The Giants have no plans to move Posey at this time, however. If Posey does eventually move, he will probably move to first base.
  • With Garrett Richards out for the rest of the season, the Angels will presumably be looking for pitching, and Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com has a list of pitchers who might be available. Given the obstacles to making August trades, perhaps it’s no surprise that it isn’t an incredibly inspiring list, with some of the better options possibly being either unwilling to play for the Angels (A.J. Burnett, who can block trades to West Coast teams) or unlikely to make it all the way to them on waivers (Mat Latos).

Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.

Padres GM Josh Byrnes Could Be On Hot Seat

GM Josh Byrnes’ relationship with the Padres’ ownership has “deteriorated,FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, and one scenario is that the team could fire Byrnes and replace him with fellow Padres exec A.J. Hinch on an interim basis. Tony Gwynn’s recent passing could prevent the Padres from making such a move immediately, but Rosenthal suggests that they’ll need to make a decision soon, with the trade deadline on the horizon. Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin (who could waive his no-trade clause), Ian Kennedy and Huston Street could all wind up on the trade market, and the team could also get plenty of talent if it traded Andrew Cashner.

Reports last week indicated that there could soon be a shakeup within the Padres organization, with hitting coach Phil Plantier and manager Bud Black possibly among the most vulnerable, though Rosenthal reports that it’s Byrnes whose situation is most uncertain. At 32-42, the Padres are in the midst of what could be their fourth straight losing season, despite a payroll increase last winter.



Carlos Quentin Open To Waiving No-Trade Clause

If teams come calling on Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, the veteran is willing to think about waiving his no-trade clause to help facilitate a deal, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Quentin’s complete no-trade clause was a big part of why he agreed to sign a team-friendly three-year, $27MM extension with San Diego a couple of years ago, but he would entertain the idea of going elsewhere this summer.

For Quentin to draw interest, of course, he’ll have to start doing better at the plate.  He currently owns a .192/.294/.342 slash line with a .637 OPS, exactly 200 points below his career .837 OPS.  However, there are no shortage of teams looking for a big bat and an American League team could use Quentin as a DH and give his aching knees a rest.  Quentin won’t greenlight any old trade to the AL, but he’ll think about it for some teams.

A trade could put Quentin in a playoff race but it could also carry financial incentive.  Quentin makes $9.5MM this year, $8MM in 2015, and has a $10MM mutual option in 2016. That option does not have a buyout, but a $3MM buyout will trigger if he can somehow play 320 games from 2013-15.  It might be a longshot regardless — he is 212 games shy of that number — but he might have a shot of reaching 320 games if he plays DH over the next year and a half.

San Diego hasn’t yet approached Quentin about the possibility of a trade, but Heyman writes that they seem to be aware that he’s ready to be reasonable should the situation arise.


West Notes: Belt, Giants, Quentin, Napoli

The Giants received some tough news tonight, as young first baseman Brandon Belt suffered a broken thumb on a hit-by-pitch, CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly tweets. San Francisco does have internal options, Baggarly writes, with recent signee Travis Ishikawa and career minor leaguer Adam Duvall on the team’s Triple-A roster. Among currently active players, outfielder Michael Morse has spent significant time at first. The best bet in the immediate term, Baggarly says, is for Buster Posey to shift from behind the plate.

Here’s more from San Francisco and some other western division clubs …

  • Even before Belt’s injury, the Giants were already looking forward to some roster moves with righty Matt Cain and lefty David Huff nearing returns from the DL. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, the club will probably not try to sneak one of their so-far-outstanding relievers through waivers. Instead, outfielder Juan Perez and pen arm George Kontos will likely lose their spots since they can be optioned down.
  • Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin is nearing a return, which could come on the team’s upcoming road swing, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Quentin signed a three-year extension in the middle of the 2012 season that guarantees him $27MM through 2015 and includes a $10MM option ($3MM buyout) for 2016. While Quentin has done nothing but hit when healthy — he had a 145 OPS+ last year in a half-season of work — injuries have limited his time on the field. Sporting a league-worst 67 wRC+, San Diego will no doubt hope that Quentin can begin to make good on his contract. But with the club buried well back in the NL West, a healthy and productive return from Quentin could hypothetically make him a trade target this year or next.
  • Former Rangers backstop Mike Napoli said today that he thought about returning to Texas before re-signing with the Red Sox, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. “If there was any other place I’d be happy playing,” said Napoli, who has since converted to first, it’d be Texas.” Though the Rangers showed interest in Napoli last November, he told his agent that he preferred to stay in Boston. “I don’t think it ever got to where push came to shove,” Napoli said of talks with his previous team.

NL West Notes: Quentin, Fried, Belt, Tulo, Owings

Carlos Quentin tells Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune that at one point in the 2013 season, his injuries were nagging him to the point where he weighed retirement. The 31-year-old recalls thinking, "I can’t produce and do well, so I shouldn’t be out here." Quentin admitted to Acee that he wasn't honest last Spring when speaking about how healthy he was, but Acee notes the change in Quentin's demeanor this offseason as he told reporters that he wants to set a new career-high in games played this season.

The latest on the Padres and the rest of the NL West below…

  • Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports that Padres top prospect Max Fried has been shut down for at least two weeks due to soreness in the flexor-mass area of his left (pitching) elbow. GM Josh Byrnes said Fried initially felt the soreness when playing long-toss from 120 feet. "At this stage of his career, this time of year, we’re obviously gonna be careful and make sure he’s symptom-free before he gets going," Byrnes said. "There was still enough soreness in there that we’re gonna be conservative and make sure we knock it out."
  • Giants first baseman Brandon Belt told reporters, including MLB.com's Chris Haft, that receiving the biggest payday of his life — a $2.9MM contract to avoid arbitration two nights ago — was a "magical" moment. Belt added that he would be open to discussing a long-term deal to remain in San Francisco: "I think anybody would be open to a long-term extension, especially with this organization. It's a first-class organization."
  • Troy Tulowitzki knows that rumors will fly over the next year, as talk of the Yankees needing to replace Derek Jeter will likely connect him to the Bronx, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Tulo, who has looked up to Jeter since his youth and wears No. 2 in the Yankee Captain's honor, tells Renck that he's used to trade rumors and will remain focused on helping the Rockies win games.
  • Chris Owings never let the Diamondbacks' acquisition of Didi Gregorius faze him last year, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Owings was thought of as the club's shortstop of the future when he was drafted in 2009 but looked to have been passed up by Gregorius at the time of last year's trade. Rather than dwell on it, Owings focused on his game and won the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's MVP Award, once again positioning himself a long-term answer for Arizona at short, writes Gilbert.

Orioles Have Internally Discussed Carlos Quentin

3:10pm: MLB.com's Corey Brock noted on Twitter that Quentin has a full no-trade clause as part of the contract extension he signed last July.

12:05pm: The Orioles are giving thought to trading for a bat and one of the players that the club has talked about internally is Carlos Quentin of the Padres, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  The slugger is signed through 2015 for roughly $24MM in total.

Last night we learned that the Orioles could have more payroll flexibility than they've been letting on and are considering making a major splash before this week's deadline.  That significant move could be making a play for a top available starter like Jake Peavy or bolstering the offense with someone like Quentin or Justin Morneau.  However, it's not a given that San Diego will part with Quentin as a source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports last week that they don't plan to trade the veteran. 

Quentin, 31 in August, is hitting .278/.366/.500 with 13 homers through 80 games this season.  For his career, the two-time All-Star owns a .255/.351/.492 slash line across eight seasons with the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Padres.  


Rosenthal On Cardinals, Athletics, Stanton

Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Braves' rotation without veteran Tim Hudson, who sustained a season-ending ankle fracture last night.  Rosenthal notes it's a very young group without Hudson, and seems to be lacking a true number one starter.  Such a pitcher is probably not available on the trade market, which I imagine the Braves will be eyeing more keenly.  Elsewhere from Rosenthal's column:

  • The Cardinals are not actively pursuing the Astros' Bud Norris or the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle.  The Cards didn't push for Matt Garza, but did scout Jake Peavy's last start.  Ervin Santana is available as well, but Rosenthal wonders if "a trade might not be worth the trouble," given the Cardinals' current group of talented young pitchers.
  • The Red Sox never got serious on Garza due to concerns with his injury history.  The Red Sox and Tigers were the other AL clubs in on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was recently traded to the Orioles.
  • After making a late run at Garza, the Athletics are interested in Peavy and Santana.  Sometimes it helps to add to a strength, explains Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers ask the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton "every week," a Major League source tells Rosenthal, and keep hearing "no."  In addition to Alex Rios of the White Sox, the Rangers are considering Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Chris Denorfia of the Padres.  However, they have "not mounted a serious push" for Ruggiano, while the Padres don't plan to trade Denorfia or teammate Carlos Quentin.
  • "Some with the Brewers" wonder if the presence of Ryan Braun might make it more difficult to attract free agents.
  • The Phillies are "narrowing their search for a backup center fielder," writes Rosenthal, and the recently-designated Chris Dickerson could be one option.

Padres Notes: Headley, Trades, Upton

The Padres' 6-15 record is the second-worst in baseball and fans are starting to get impatient, judging by the tone of several questions (or just outright rants) posed to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune during his latest online chat.  Here are a few of the hot stove notes from Center…

  • Some fans are calling for a fire sale but Center points out that such a move wouldn't be prudent given how many Padres are underachieving.  "Even if the Padres started unloading players, what would they get for what they have? Unfortunately, they couldn't sell high in very many areas right now. Honestly, unloading might only make it worse," Center writes.
  • Chase Headley is perhaps the only Padre that would fetch a premium return on the trade market, though Headley himself has struggled (.547 OPS) since returning from the DL.  Center notes that Headley's struggles could actually help the Padres long-term since it would lower Headley's price on a possible extension.
  • Since Headley is under team control through next season, Center doesn't think the Friars need to decide on the third baseman until mid-2014.  That said, losing Headley "might be a major blow to the new owners' already weakening perception among fans."  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at a few of the teams who might be interested in acquiring Headley should San Diego put him on the market this summer.
  • Center speculates that Carlos Quentin could be open to waiving his no-trade clause if he was dealt to an AL club where he could serve as a designated hitter. 
  • Josh Byrnes was given permission by team management to pursue a trade for Justin Upton this past winter.  The Diamondbacks wanted a package from the Padres that would've included Headley "and more" Major League talent, not only prospects.  Ultimately the D'Backs had concerns about dealing Upton to a division rival and the talks led nowhere.  Any San Diego/Arizona trade, of course, contains some extra baggage given that Byrnes used to be the Diamondbacks' GM and Kevin Towers is a former Padres general manager.
  • Firing Bud Black may not be the answer, as Center believes Black "has the same ingredients" as former Padres manager Bruce Bochy.  Despite Bochy's four division titles in 12 years as Padres' manager, the club let him go to the Giants, where he has since won two World Series championships.

Quick Hits: 42, Ortiz, Quentin, Cubs

Tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. Every player, coach, and umpire will honor Robinson by wearing his iconic jersey number 42 and it is a significant ritual appreciated by today's generation of players. "It's definitely one of those things you take a lot of pride in, putting on that jersey," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (as quoted by MLB.com's Tom Singer). "What (Robinson) went through, stepping up and being that guy to take that important step…it's something we need to always remember." This weekend, the nation remembered the Hall of Famer by making the biopic 42 the domestic box office champion with $27.3MM in ticket sales. This is the first time a baseball movie has ever grossed more than $20MM in its opening weekend and is also an opening weekend record for any baseball-themed movie when adjusted for inflation, according to Forbes. Here's the latest news and notes from America's Pastime:

  • David Ortiz was scratched from his Triple-A rehab start today due to illness and it could become a very expensive setback, reports Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Ortiz's 2014 salary will be cut by $2MM (from $15MM to $13MM), if he spends more than 20 days on the disabled list and day 20 is next Sunday. His next rehab start could come tomorrow.    
  • Carlos Quentin announced he has withdrawn his appeal and will start serving his eight-game suspension today (first reported by the USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Twitter). "I’ve had time to have dialogue with Major League Baseball and a chance for the players association to protect me and my rights as a player,” Quentin told reporters including Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “When that time passed, I’ve prepared to serve my suspension." Quentin will miss the Padres' three-game series against the Dodgers, which begins tomorrow in Los Angeles.
  • The Cubs could designate Brent Lillibridge or Alberto Gonzalez for assignment when Darwin Barney is activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, speculates the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles.