Carlos Santana Rumors

Indians Notes: Shapiro, Carrasco, Santana

On this date in 1997, Jim Thome hit his 40th homer of the season for the Indians, who went on to win the American League pennant. Here's the latest on the current version of the Indians, who have a 0.0% chance of returning to the postseason this year, according to Baseball Prospectus' playoff odds report

  • Indians president Mark Shapiro hasn't had contact with the Cubs about their open GM job, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Shapiro is involved in making the Indians more successful on and off the field and appears to be happy in his role, Hoynes writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported yesterday that the former GM might be intrigued by the Cubs job.
  • The Indians announced that Carlos Carrasco had Tommy John surgery in New York City today, as Dr. David Altchek repaired the ulnar collateral ligament in Carrasco’s right elbow. Recovery time is generally a year or more, so the Indians won’t be counting on Carrasco in 2012.
  • Indians manager Manny Acta told Todd Wills of MLB.com that Jeanmar Gomez will be a name to consider for next year's rotation. Gomez has allowed just three earned runs in 17 1/3 innings since being recalled from Triple-A at the end of August.
  • Carlos Santana could be a long-term solution behind the plate or at first base, Acta told Wills. The Indians' decision will depend, in part, on others, such as Matt LaPorta.
  • The 26-year-old LaPorta has had his chances. In what amounts to two full seasons, he has 30 homers and a .234/.300/.394 line. He has always destroyed minor league pitching, but he hasn't helped the big league club nearly as much as expected.

Stark On Upton, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Fox

One GM told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he’d like to see the season shortened because it’s a mental and physical grind for the players and they could use more rest to regroup. Stark provides and passes along many suggestions, including a national doubleheader day (what’s not to like about that?) and expanding the active rosters beyond 25 players. Here are the latest rumblings from around MLB…

  • Though a couple of American League teams made strong proposals for Justin Upton last winter, D’Backs president Derrick Hall says it’s doubtful that Arizona would be in first place without their 23-year-old right fielder. About two dozen teams expressed interest in the former first overall pick last offseason. Put another way, only five teams weren’t interested.
  • There are signs that the 26-29 Pirates are going to make a run at .500 instead of trading MLB players for prospects this year. One NL assistant GM says he would shoot for .500 to start changing the perception that the Pirates are perennial losers.
  • Though the Indians understand the injury risks for catchers (Carlos Santana missed the end of the 2010 season after a home plate collision), GM Chris Antonetti says his front office appreciates “the potential competitive advantage of getting exceptional production behind the plate.”
  • They’ve already signed Kevin Millwood and now Red Sox are “poking around” for another starter to stash at Triple-A, according to Stark.
  • The Orioles, who designated Jake Fox for assignment this week, are trying to trade him and at least one scout expects them to find a taker.

 


Only One Extension For Catchers This Offseason

Extension season might not be over yet, but if recent history is any indication, we've seen most or all of this spring's extensions. You have to go back to 2008 to find an extension completed in May or June, so there's a chance that Ryan Braun's deal will be the last one of its kind for a few months.

If that's the case, 37 players will have signed extensions since the beginning of the 2010-11 offseason. Exactly one of those players, Ryan Hanigan of the Reds, is a catcher. It's noteworthy, if not downright surprising, that no starting catchers signed extensions when you consider that dependable catching is hard to come by and that teams spent aggressively last winter.

Unlike the 2009-10 offseason, when the Twins extended Joe Mauer, no backstop was an obvious candidate for an extension. Mike Napoli is getting expensive and he doesn't have a reputation as a good defender. Matt Wieters hit just .249/.319/.377 last year, so it's understandable that the Orioles didn't commit to him on a mutliyear deal. And it would have made little sense for the Indians to extend Carlos Santana, who had an operation to repair a damaged knee ligament (his LCL) last August.

Buster Posey was an extension candidate, but there's no rush for the Giants to extend him, since he's under team control through 2016. Perhaps the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year will be in line for a long-term deal after 2011 if he repeats his breakout rookie performance.

Geovany Soto would have been a more traditional candidate for an extension. He hit .280/.393/.497 with 17 homers last year and was arbitration eligible for the first time in his career after the season. Soto is young enough for the Cubs to want him to keep him around (28) and close enough to free agency that they might be thinking about securing his services for an extra season or two (Soto is eligible for free agency after 2013). They didn't agree to terms on a long-term contract and instead signed a one-year, $3MM deal.

Given the circumstances surrounding each extension candidate, it's easier to see why Hanigan was the only backstop to sign long-term. Next year, however, more catchers, including some of the ones above, could sign extensions. Elite catchers don't hit free agency often, so the teams that develop catching may choose to keep it in place long-term by offering promising catchers extensions.



Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cox, Crawford, DeJesus

Two years ago today the Athletics acquired Matt Holliday from the Rockies in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. Holliday hit .286/.378/.454 in exactly 400 plate appearances with Oakland before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package led by Brett Wallace at the 2009 trade deadline.

Street has battled injuries but has been solid when on the mound for Colorado, pitching to a 3.30 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 109 innings. Smith has appeared in just eight games for the Rox (all starts), putting up a 6.23 ERA. The real get was CarGo, who will certainly be in the MVP mix after a .336/.376/.598 season with 34 doubles, 34 homers, 26 stolen bases, and a batting title.

The hot stove league will certainly bring us more blockbuster trades, but for now you'll have to settle for this long collection of links, the best the blogosphere had to offer this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.


Odds & Ends: Bettis, Royals, Astros, Pierzynski

Links for Friday, as interleague play resumes…


Odds & Ends: Santana, Morales, Rangers, Mariners

Links for Thursday, as Omar Vizquel goes deep for the first time this year…


Indians Not Engaged In Any Trade Talks

Despite owning the second worst record (19-31) and run differential (-64) in the American League, Indians' GM Mark Shapiro is under no orders from CEO Paul Dolan to make trades and cut payroll like he has during the last two seasons, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes

"We are not actively engaged in talks about anyone right now," said Shapiro. "The season's natural cycle will dictate when we consider some alternatives. We're not mandated to make any trades for monetary reasons.

"We'll look at each trade (possibility) as an opportunity to acquire talent and it's budgetary impact. But the acquisition of talent will be the primary driver."

Shapiro indicated that he could explore trades involving "anyone in the last year of their contracts," so that includes Russell Branyan, Austin Kearns, Mark Grudzielanek, Jhonny Peralta, Mike RedmondJake Westbrook, and Jamey Wright. Even if they move Westbrook, the Indians feel they may have a chance to re-sign him after the season as a free agent.

Top prospect Carlos Santana is expected to be up at some point this season, but Shapiro did make sure to mention that his defense needs to improve, particularly his throwing. They plan on taking advantage of every day possible in the minors to help him develop, which shows that the team is looking for production on both sides of the ball, not just at the plate.

The Indians figure to be a prominent player at the trade deadline this year given their inventory, with Westbrook representing to be their most desirable chip. Even though he's still owed about $7.6MM this season, his 4.36 ERA in 11 starts might be a big enough upgrade to justify the cost for some teams. 


When To Expect Top Prospects

From now on, teams that call prospects up to make their major league debuts no longer have to worry that those players will go to arbitration an extra time. It's now June and prospects that debut from this point on will not pick up more than 124 days of MLB service time this year. There's almost no chance that that would be enough for super two status after 2012. We all know when to expect Stephen Strasburg, but let's take a look around the majors and anticipate the arrivals of some more top prospects:

  • Mike Stanton – You thought Jose Bautista had a lot of homers? Stanton hit his 19th and 20th of the season tonight at AA in front of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. The 20-year-old Stanton, ranked by Baseball America as the Marlins' best prospect this offseason, entered today's action with 39 walks and 50 strikeouts. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says it may not be long before Stanton is playing in the majors.
  • Carlos Santana – The 24-year-old catcher began the season as one of the best prospects in baseball and he has lived up to expectations so far in 2010. Santana has hit .315/.450/.565 at Triple A with ten homers and more strikeouts than walks. Lou Marson, who is actually younger than Santana, struggled early on for the Indians, but has impressed Indians manager Manny Acta lately. Still, Marson has a .216/.270/.276 line this season, so Santana appears to have more offensive potential.
  • Pedro Alvarez – The Pirates, who have scored the second-fewest runs in the National League, might be tempted by the .261/.349/.511 line Alvarez has posted in Triple A. No Pirate has a slugging percentage as high as the one Alvarez has posted in the minors and just Ryan Doumit and Andrew McCutchen have been getting on base as much. 

Stanton, Santana and Alvarez have played well, but they aren't the only ones who could arrive in the majors before long. Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman and Brett Wallace could conceivably get the call within a few weeks.


Odds & Ends: Resop, Gamel, Santana, Bumgarner

Happy birthday, Jayson Werth!  Let's celebrate by reading these news items…


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Thursday night linkage..