Carlos Santana Rumors
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.
Happy birthday, Jayson Werth! Let's celebrate by reading these news items...
- FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi outlines the unique contract situation of right-hander Chris Resop, who has been a revelation as a starting pitcher this season for Atlanta's Triple-A team.
- A bit further down the FOX Sports Buzz page, Morosi notes that Mat Gamel's time playing first base during his rehab assignment isn't necessarily a hint about Prince Fielder's fate in Milwaukee.
- In response to a piece about the Dodgers' spending under Frank McCourt, Fanhouse's Tom Krasovic relates how L.A. shipped Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the Casey Blake deal rather than pick up $2MM of Blake's salary. If Santana becomes the star catcher that he's projected to be for the Tribe, Dodger fans might be regretting that $2MM worth of savings for a long time.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants may have Eric Hacker replace the struggling Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation. Star prospect Madison Bumgarner has pitched well in Triple-A this season, but Schulman thinks the Giants want the young left-hander to have more innings at that level before they bring him up to the majors.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that the recently DFA'ed Willy Taveras worked out in Houston this week. The Astros offered Taveras a minor league deal over the winter, so Taveras' workout could represent a rekindling of the club's interest, or it could've just been a courtesy extended to a former Astro.
- Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks Michael Brantley and the Indians would both be better served by having the outfield prospect back in the majors. Pluto points out that if the Tribe are trying to stall Brantley's service time, then they shouldn't have had him start with the club on Opening Day.
- The Rays have had almost as many key injuries as the Yankees this season, but Tampa Bay's depth made them better prepared to deal with it, writes Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog.
- Speaking of those Yankee injuries, Brian Cashman said today that the club would look within their system to fill the holes, reports Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
Thursday night linkage..
- Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana is making major strides behind the plate, writes The Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises.
- Boston GM Theo Epstein doesn't believe that personnel changes in May can make much of an impact, writes Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald.
- Astros outfielder Carlos Lee says that he may retire following the 2012 season, writes Bernardo Fallas of The Houston Chronicle. Lee is due to make $18.5MM in each of the next three seasons.
- The Mariners have promoted Michael Saunders after placing Milton Bradley on the restricted list, tweets Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle.
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com spoke to Scott Podsednik, who said that he wasn't surprised that the White Sox didn't come up with an offer strong enough to keep him. After months of negotiation, Scotty Pods signed a one-year, $1.75MM deal with Kansas City, which included a 2011 club option.
Links for Sunday....
- Injuries have really soured the Royals' half of the Mark Teahen trade so far. Both Chris Getz and Josh Fields are on the disabled list, and the Associated Press reported today that Fields will undergo hip surgery that will likely end his season.
- Ethan Trex has an interesting article up on CNN.com that highlights some unusual contractual clauses over the years, including George Brett becoming partial owner of a Memphis apartment complex back in 1984 and Charlie Kerfeld receiving 37 boxes of orange Jell-O in 1987. Seriously.
- It looks like a trend is developing in the NL Central. A few days after the Cubs moved Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers will do the same thing with Jeff Suppan and his $12.5MM salary. As for Zambrano, the Cubs won't use him on back-to-back days for now, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tries to play matchmaker and work out a Carlos Silva-George Sherrill/Jamey Carroll trade between the Cubs and Dodgers. I'm not sure such a swap necessarily makes sense for either team, given the Cubs' lefty surplus and Silva's price tag next year.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that Victor Martinez is working overtime to improve his throwing, presumably hoping to silence the constant rumblings about the Red Sox shopping for a catcher.
- The latest mailbag from Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer includes a Carlos Santana update and an assessment of the Indians' free agent prospects following the 2010 season.
When ESPN's Keith Law ranked baseball's top prospects earlier this year, only two players placed ahead of Indians catcher Carlos Santana: Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg. So far in 2010, Santana, who is currently day-to-day with a knee bruise, has done nothing to dissuade the notion that he's a future star. The 24-year-old has posted a ridiculous .364/.451/.727 slash line, homering four times in 51 Triple-A plate appearances. So when will we see him in an Indians' uniform?
Cleveland's catching duo of Lou Marson and Mike Redmond has been unproductive thus far, to say the least. With only two singles and two walks in 28 plate appearances, Marson's numbers coming into today sit at .080/.148/.080, and Redmond's (.190/.227/.238) aren't much better. Even if Santana takes some time to adjust to playing at the Major League level, he should still be an immediate upgrade.
The Indians have already postponed Santana's free agency for a year by keeping him in the minors until now, and will have to decide how much longer they'll delay his big-league debut. In an article for ESPN.com, Baseball Prospectus' Christina Kahrl suggests that in the AL Central, the Indians are "contenders by default" and that they're "minimizing their already slim playoff chances" as long as Santana remains at Triple-A Columbus. As one of the more cost-conscious teams in baseball though, Cleveland could save millions by putting off a Santana promotion until June, preventing the catcher from eventually qualifying as a Super Two player.
For a team with deeper pockets and more serious postseason aspirations, calling Santana up now would be a no-brainer. At 24, he appears ready to contribute in the bigs, and he'd replace a black hole of production behind the plate in Cleveland. However, even in the AL Central, it's unlikely that the Indians have the talent to make a playoff run this season, meaning we shouldn't expect to see Santana called up for at least a few more weeks. It may test the patience of Indians fans, but for an organization frequently forced to trade away their pricier stars, looking to the future and delaying Santana's service time clock is the right move.
A wrap-up of some items as we head into the weekend...
- Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle wonders if the Athletics erred in dealing promising outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to Colorado.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli says that the Orioles are holding off on any potential Luke Scott trades until they see if Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold are healthy and can handle regular roles.
- Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock tells MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that the team isn't looking at free agent relievers to fill in for the injured Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero: "We're keeping our eyes open, but we're not actively pursuing. People are calling us more than we're calling them."
- The Indians have no interest in the recently-released Elijah Dukes, reports The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes.
- Speaking of the Tribe, they announced in a press release that seven players were optioned to their minor league camp, the most notable of these being top catching prospect Carlos Santana. Indians GM Mark Shapiro told Hoynes that Santana was being sent down to work on his defense, but noted that Santana will "be on an accelerated program" due to his impressive bat. The ESPN Insider Rumors page speculates that the club may have made the move to delay the start of Santana's major league service time.
- In the wake of Cliff Lee's suspension, abdominal strain and possible DL stint, Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog notes (via Twitter) that signing Jarrod Washburn as a replacement wouldn't work since Washburn wouldn't be fit for the start of the season anyway.
- MLB.com's Marty Noble covers several topics in a reader mailbag, including how Mets prospect Fernando Martinez "is less likely trade bait now" than he has been in the past two years.
- Arn Tellem, Hideki Matsui's agent, was originally told by the outfielder that he wanted to play in the majors for 10 years, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Matsui is about to enter his eighth season, and though his current contract with the Angels is just for the 2010 campaign, I suspect the 2009 World Series MVP will last that full decade.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com discusses some Tribe topics in a fan mailbag...
- Castrovince thinks Michael Brantley will be in Cleveland by midseason, as the Russell Branyan signing was made with an eye towards postponing Brantley's major league service clock. A strong first half of the season for Branyan could get the veteran traded, thus creating regular playing time for Brantley in left field and Matt LaPorta moving to first.
- Speaking of veterans being dealt, Castrovince says "it's hard to imagine Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood and Branyan remaining with this club beyond the 2010 season, and Jhonny Peralta's future here is also in question."
- We've heard about Shin-Soo Choo's looming conflict with his South Korean military service and how it may affect his playing career. Castrovince argues that a compromise (such as Choo postponing his service until after his career is over) would work best for both the player and the government. Castrovince notes that the South Korean government might not want to be seen as forcing one of the country's sporting heroes away from playing major league baseball.
- In the wake of Choo switching agents from Alan Nero to Scott Boras, Castrovince reported in a separate blog post that another Nero client in Cleveland (Asdrubal Cabrera) "has no plans" to change his representation. Castrovince also notes that Boras has his eye on Indians prospect Carlos Santana and is "pursuing him hard."
- In another article, Castrovince discusses Grady Sizemore's future with the Tribe. He believes that Sizemore's contract is structured well enough that "the Indians find it difficult to imagine a scenario in which they'd be compelled to deal him to another club in either of the next two years."
Some Saturday afternoon tidbits....
- Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman spoke about what he thinks Elijah Dukes can do next season, writes Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com.
- Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score thinks the Astros have overpaid for the players they've picked up this offseason.
- Kelly Thesier of MLB.com points out that for all of the talk about the Twins' need for a third baseman, the club is only looking for a "short-term stopgap" given the presence of top prospect Danny Valencia. Thesier's mailbag piece also shoots downs a couple of Twins-related trade rumors and discusses the club's attempt to re-sign Joe Mauer.
- In another MLB.com mailbag, Chris Haft says there hasn't been any talk of the Giants signing Carlos Delgado (though he would fit their need for a left-handed bat) and proposes that Ryan Church would be a better outfield option for San Francisco than Rick Ankiel.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Chris Capuano about the pitcher's attempt to return from (his second) Tommy John surgery.
- The Reds' budget may limit them to just pinch-hitting options in their search for a hitter, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com grades the top 20 prospects in the Mets and Indians systems. The only player on either list to rate an A-grade was Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana.
- Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks at the youngsters who will be fighting to be the Dodgers' No. 5 starter next season. Jackson points out that these pitchers might be going for the No. 4 spot too if L.A. doesn't sign a veteran starter before Opening Day.