Carlos Ruiz Rumors

Cafardo On Buchholz, Samardzija, Cueto, Hamels

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pit Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts against Tigers shorstop Jose Iglesias.  Of course, Boston once had both, but Iglesias was shipped out in 2013 in a three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Fenway.  Bogaerts offers more potential as a hitter, but Iglesias clearly has the superior glove.  That difference in the field never made Bogaerts doubt himself, however.

No, that’s just a guy who’s really gifted beyond anyone else,” Bogaerts said. “I just paid attention to trying to get better. I never compared myself to him because you can’t compare anyone to him. He’s a great defensive player and flashy.”

More from today’s column..

  • The same teams that are pursuing Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz are going after White Sox hurler Jeff Samardzija.  That list of teams includes the Royals, Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels, and Dodgers, according to Cafardo.  Late last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Astros are also interested in Samardzija.  Meanwhile, at this time, the Red Sox reportedly are not interested in moving Buchholz.
  • The Astros are a team to watch in July as they could get very aggressive in their pursuit of a starter.  Cafardo hears that the Astros have been evaluating Reds pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake quite a bit.  Cole Hamels obviously stands as one of the biggest prizes out there, but Cafardo feels he likely wouldn’t sign off on a trade to Houston.  Over the weekend, Hamels indicated that he would be “open-minded” to being traded to any team.
  • Giants GM Bobby Evans told Cafardo that his club is out of the starting pitching market for now thanks to the upcoming returns of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.
  • The Phillies would like to sell off their pieces little by little rather than make a ton of deals right at the deadline.  However, Cafardo hears that teams aren’t coming to the table with actual offers yet, leaving the Phillies frustrated.
  • Baseball execs who spoke with Cafardo say the Mets are still the best match for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  A package for Tulo could start with left-hander Steven Matz, who makes his big league debut today.
  • Even at his advanced age, one NL evaluator feels that Phillies veteran Carlos Ruiz is still “a better option than “more than 50 percent of the catchers in the league.”
  • Some teams are concerned with Hamels’ poor performance in interleague play while others see it just as a fluky thing.  Hamels has a career 4.73 ERA across 31 interleague starts.

Quick Hits: Harper, DBacks, Phillies, Gregorius

Here’s the latest from around the league as the evening winds down:

  • Bryce Harper may be likely to enter free agency after the 2018 season, but Yankees fans shouldn’t start counting their chickens just yet. Bill Shaiken of the LA Times believes the Dodgers have a better chance to sign Harper. The Yankees roster is aging and none of their prospects are among Baseball America’s top 30. Meanwhile, the Dodgers may have a brighter future when Harper is a free agent. They have a young, talented active roster with Corey Seager and Julio Urias waiting in the minors. Harper could prove to be a valuable supplement to young assets like Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal. Of course, this all assumes the Nationals can’t manage an extension or that they won’t trade him to another team that can.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart “does not seem inclined” to trade for pitching at the trade deadline, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The club has plenty of young depth both in the majors and the minors, but Stewart wants to continue developing internally. Arizona is currently fourth in the NL West and 7.5 games behind the first place Dodgers. They’re also five games back in the Wild Card hunt. In my opinion, there will be more pressure to improve the rotation and bullpen if the club is within a few games of the plays at the deadline.
  • Don’t expect the Phillies to sit on their veteran assets at the trade deadline, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Last July, the Phillies controversially opted to hold steady, but the club is now more thoroughly committed to rebuilding. Lawrence runs through possible destinations and hypothetical trade packages for the team’s remaining veterans. Interestingly, he believes the performance and complicated contracts of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz will make them harder to trade than Ryan Howard.
  • The Yankees trade to acquire Didi Gregorius doesn’t look so bad after the Tigers optioned starter Shane Greene to Triple-A, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Greene began the season with a 0.39 ERA in three starts, but he has since allowed just under a run per inning. Of course, Gregorius has hardly lit the world on fire with a .228/.287/.298 line and 0.4 UZR. While it’s much too early to declare a winner of this modest trade, perhaps we should be looking at the Diamondbacks. They acquired Robbie Ray in the swap. Through three starts, he has a 1.53 ERA with 6.62 K/9 and 2.55 BB/9. Just don’t forget how Greene looked through three starts!

Phillies Notes: Rodriguez, Ruiz, Halladay

With Cliff Lee on the 60-day DL, 23-year-old Joely Rodriguez is now in the mix for a Phillies rotation job, Jake Kaplan of the Inquirer writes. The Phillies acquired Rodriguez from the Pirates for Antonio Bastardo in the offseason. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Kevin Slowey and Paul Clemens are also possibilities. Rodriguez is getting an opportunity he wouldn’t have gotten with the Pirates, who are deliberate with prospect promotions — Rodriguez posted a 4.84 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 134 innings at Double-A last year and has no Triple-A experience. Here’s more from the Phillies.

  • Catcher Carlos Ruiz will be key to the Phillies’ likely transition from a rotation built around Lee and Cole Hamels to one built around youngsters like Aaron Nola and Jesse Biddle, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News writes. “I believe you help make them comfortable and they’re going to show what they’ve got,” says Ruiz. “That’s one key, I always try to, and Chase [Utley], Howie [Ryan Howard], too, that way you talk to these guys in different ways and do [your] part.” Ruiz has two years plus an option remaining on the contract, but there’s obviously the possibility that the Phillies could trade him, just as they traded Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd. Ruiz said he has spoken with his agent about that possibility but generally doesn’t worry about it much.
  • Roy Halladay joined Lee and Hamels in the Phillies’ dugout while visiting with his old team on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Halladay, who retired following the 2013 season and is considering a second career as a sports psychologist, says he can relate to how Lee must feel in light of his injury. “Any time you can’t go out and do what you’ve done your whole life, it’s a challenge,” says Halladay.


Phillies Could Look To Add Veteran Shortstop, Catcher During Camp

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that he could look to add a veteran shortstop and catcher to his club, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. While Amaro does not expect to make a move before camp opens, he indicated that the club will have its eyes out for additions over the course of the spring.

Philadelphia is obviously charting a different path this year than it has in recent campaigns. With several veterans already dealt away and others possibly to follow, the Phils will no doubt continue to fill a roster with low-priced, good-clubhouse veterans and players with some manner of upside.

At short, Freddy Galvis currently sits atop the depth chart with Jimmy Rollins now in Los Angeles. Additional competition and depth certainly makes some sense there. Behind the dish, veteran Carlos Ruiz seems likely to open the year with the club but could certainly become a trade candidate at some point during the season, if not sooner. With players like Cameron Rupp, Koyie Hill, and John Hester the top names behind him, another option makes some sense.


Cafardo On Fowler, Astros, Hammel, Miley

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked about a dozen GMs in Phoenix about the Yankees’ situation and not one of them thought the Bombers would stay away from a major signing.  For all the talk about the Cubs being a major player for Jon Lester, the Red Sox are still fearful that it’ll be the Yankees that swoop in and grab him.  More from today’s column..

  • Both center fielder Dexter Fowler and catcher Jason Castro are available in a deal and the Astros wouldn’t mind dealing for bullpen help.   Fowler had a decent year and enjoyed more success as a right-handed hitter.  The 28-year-old (29 by Opening Day) slashed .327/.419/.467 as a right-handed hitter but hit just .260/.361/.376 from the other side of the plate.  Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle has heard that the asking price is high on Castro and that there aren’t any contract talks currently taking place between the two sides.
  • Jason Hammel’s agent, Alan Nero, told Cafardo that teams have called on his client but no great advancements have been made on a contract.  Nero figures the secondary pitching market may take a while to develop.
  • Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley has become a popular trade target of a few teams, and while Arizona will listen, it will take a haul to get him.
  • Free agent catcher David Ross wonders whether his status with the Red Sox hinges on whether they sign Jon Lester.  Lester and Ross had a great run together in 2013 and the catcher tells Cafardo that the two will get together after Thanksgiving.  Ross says that he’s begun to field interest from other teams in the interim.
  • The Phillies will shop Carlos Ruiz and while plenty of teams need catchers, his age (35) and his contract will be a problem.  Ruiz has two years left on his deal at $8.5MM per year plus a $4.5MM option for 2017 that can bought out for $500K.

Placed On Revocable Waivers: Monday

Now that we’re beyond the July 31st trade deadline, players must pass through revocable trade waivers in order to be dealt to another team.  MLBTR’s Jeff Todd broke down the August trade rules and what it means when you see several major names placed on waivers over the next few weeks.

Here are today’s notable players who have reportedly been placed on revocable waivers…

  • Also going on revocable waivers today were Jason Hammel of the Athletics and Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks, Rosenthal tweets. As Rosenthal notes, it seems likely that clubs will claim Miley, but that he will be pulled back by Arizona. As for Hammel, a deal still seems rather unlikely since Oakland dealt away some important rotation depth in Tommy Milone.
  • Hitting the wire today from the Phillies were Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz, Rosenthal tweets. They will be on waivers until Wednesday.
  • The Phillies placed Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Kyle Kendrick on revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  The moves all took place on Saturday, so since the waiver period lasts 47 hours, we could know by today if any of the players were claimed.  I’d expect Bastardo and Burnett to be claimed given that both drew significant interest before the July 31st deadline, and there is virtually no chance any team would claim Howard and risk being stuck with the roughly $68MM remaining on his contract.

Quick Hits: Angels, Alderson, Dodgers, Ruiz, White Sox

In a must-read piece for ESPN The Magazine, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus provides a riveting look into the Angels' efforts to turn around the organization's languishing farm system. Focusing on the philosophies of assistant GM (and former big leaguer) Scott Servais, Miller explores how the Halos hope to emulate the shockingly simple methods of the Cardinals while infusing deep, data-driven analysis into their player-development efforts. 

Here are more links from around the game to finish the day:

  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson hopes to stay in his role for two or three more years, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 66-year-old, who took the helm in October of 2010, is currently under contract for the following season with a club option for 2015.
  • New Dodgers TV network SportsNet LA has yet to reach agreement with many local pay-TV distributors, reports Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, which means that a majority of Los Angeles viewers would be without Dodgers games if the season started today. Though the network expressed confidence that deals will be in place by the onset of the 2014 campaign, Flint explains that negotiations promise to be tense.
  • In an interesting profile of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that little notice was given to the fact that Ruiz has been cleared by MLB to use Adderall in the coming season. That is the very substance for which Ruiz was suspended at the start of last season. Brookover paints a picture of a genuinely passionate backstop who is ready to earn his new three-year, $26MM contract.
  • A major factor in the White Sox' rebuilding plans is number-two starter Jose Quintana. As MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes, the work of scouts Daraka Shaheed and Joe Siers was responsible for bringing Quintana into the Chicago organization as a minor league free agent from the Yankees, and for setting him on the trajectory to serve as a starter. The 25-year-old, who notched a 3.51 ERA in an even 200 innings last year, is likely to become arbitration-eligible next season as a Super Two. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at the excellent work of Shaheed and Siers in examining the increasing number of Major League deals for minor league free agents.
  • Busy as the Sox were this off-season, no single addition carries as much risk (and, perhaps, upside) as 27-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu. As Merkin reports, the big Cuban — who inked a six-year, $68MM deal in late October — has drawn rave early reviews for his professionalism both at the plate and in terms of effort.

New York Links: Citi Field, Cano, McCann

What better to go with your Thanksgiving apple crisp than some baseball news from the Big Apple?  Here's the latest from the Mets and Yankees…

  • Citi Field's reputation as a pitchers' park has generated concerns amongst some of the Mets' free agent targets, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports.  Though Citi Field's fences were brought in before the 2012 season, the club's pitcher-friendly history is “something that is still in the (players’) heads out there, that it’s a tough park to hit in,” one agent said.  "They see what David Wright went through there and it makes them a little nervous I think."  As Ackert notes, Citi Field allowed an average of 1.2 home runs per game in 2013, the tenth-most of any stadium in the majors.
  • The Mets have an interest in signing right-hander Armando Galarraga and southpaw Victor Garate, Rafael Tejera reports (via Twitter).  Both pitchers have also been offered contracts by teams in Asia.  As ESPN New York's Adam Rubin notes, the Mets would "undoubtedly" only be interested in the two hurlers on minor league deals.
  • The Yankees were set on Brian McCann as their top catching target and had only passing interest in Carlos Ruiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports.  The Bombers made no "serious overtures" to Ruiz and had slightly more substantive talks with Saltalamacchia, though one industry source described Salty only as the Yankees' "Plan B" if McCann signed elsewhere.
  • "There’s no imaginable, alternate usage of the Yankees’ resources that will give them a roster superior to one featuring [Robinson] Cano," Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.  Cano will "get paid" by someone, however, as all elite free agents do, and Davidoff expects the Yankees to pay at least $200MM to retain the second baseman.  If another team goes substantially beyond a projected eight-year/$200MM offer, then Davidoff says the Yankees "would have an intellectual right" to let Cano leave.
  • Earlier today, we learned that Yankees free agent hurler Phil Hughes should be able to find a multiyear on the open market, which puts the Mets out of the running for the right-hander's services.

AL East Notes: A-Rod, Red Sox, Ruiz, Ellsbury

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post gives Alex Rodriguez credit for betting on himself, but he won't be betting on the Yankees star this time.  A-Rod is taking his case to a courtroom rather than an arbitration hearing room and two sources tell Davidoff that there won't be a resolution on his 211-game suspension until early January. Today's big AL East news was the Yankees' five-year deal for Brian McCann earlier tonight, but here's more from the division:

  • One executive called Carlos Ruiz a “good buy-low” catching option for the Yankees, but they never showed much interest, a source tells Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter).  The Phillies re-signed Ruiz to a three-year, $26MM deal last week.
  • The Red Sox talked to the Angels about Peter Bourjos before he was sent to the Cardinals, but the discussions "didn't go very far," tweets Brian MacPherson of the Provdence Journal.
  • The Red Sox can turn to Jackie Bradley Jr. if Jacoby Ellsbury goes elsewhere rather than making a dramatic move, MacPherson writes.  It's a new position for the BoSox, as they have historically had to go out-of-house after losing significant free agents.  However, Boston will still probably add someone in support of Bradley as a safeguard.

Stark’s Latest: Cano, Price, Ruiz, Red Sox, Wilson, Nathan

For his latest Rumblings & Grumblings piece, ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with several executives about the ultimate destination of Robinson Cano. One NL executive said: "I keep hearing there's no interest. I don't believe it." Stark agrees and hypothesizes that the lack of a market for Cano has been well-crafted by the Yankees leaking their own seven-year, $168MM offer in reaction to Cano's $310MM demand. One AL exec told Stark: "If you had a situation where everyone remained objective and everyone played it smart and you had teams that thought they could sign Robinson Cano for $120 million, you'd probably have five or six teams in on it. Then you'd set $120 million as the starting point and start the bidding, and see how much higher it gets." Stark feels that by starting the bar high, the Yankees have set the early market to a market of one. The same NL exec who didn't buy the lack of interest said that eventually teams who are chasing Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Brian McCann will say, "Wait a second. Cano's a much better player than those guys," and change direction. Stark runs down some possible late-emerging suitors. Here's more from his excellent piece…

  • Stark reports an unknown wrinkle in the David Price trade saga. Price signed a one-year, $10.1125MM contract to avoid arbitration last January, but $5MM of that sum comes in the form of a signing bonus that is deferred to next year. While it was presented as a tax-related issue at the time, Stark notes that the Rays can use it as leverage in a trade, agreeing to take a slightly lesser package if the acquiring team pays that additional $5MM.
  • The Phillies upped the ante and guaranteed Carlos Ruiz a third year because they were convinced that he would sign with the Red Sox if they didn't. The Phils looked hard at alternatives but were highly uncomfortable with the prices on other targets. For that reason, other teams haven't been as critical of the deal, though they've all offered high praise to Ruiz's agent, Marc Kligman.
  • The Ruiz contract helps both McCann and particularly Jarrod Saltalamacchia, agents and an AL executive told Stark. Stark has heard that one reason the Red Sox were so interested in Ruiz was that they don't want to commit more than two years to a catcher, suggesting that Saltalamacchia is a goner in Boston.
  • The Tigers' search for a closer has begun to lean more in favor of Brian Wilson than Joe Nathan, but Wilson's agent, Dan Lozano, may want to wait out the market, which isn't GM Dave Dombrowski's style, Stark points out.
  • Bartolo Colon and agent Adam Katz aren't rushing into one-year contracts as they wait to see if someone will tack on a second guaranteed year in the wake of Tim Hudson's two-year, $23MM deal.