Carlos Gonzalez Rumors
Several teams have shown interest in the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, but the club hasn't had trade discussions on either player in recent days, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Colorado heard from a number of parties interested in Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings but they reportedly told teams that he wasn't available. Meanwhile, Fowler's name has popped up quite a bit in trade rumors in recent months with the Braves, Reds, and Phillies all showing interest earlier this offseason. Here's more from around baseball..
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said at last night's BBWAA dinner that he was caught off guard by the club's signing of Rafael Soriano, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. "That kind of surprised me,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know we were needing a closer. I thought we were done” this offseason."
- The Rangers are basically paying Matt Harrison as just a slightly above-average starting pitcher in his new deal and even if his results fall back to his peripherals, he'll still outpitch his contract, writes Jack Moore of Fangraphs. Texas agreed to a five-year, $55MM extension with the 27-year-old last week.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider sub. req'd) writes that there are interested teams champing at the bit to get involved in the Justin Upton conversations with the Diamondbacks. The D'Backs spent the early part of the month talking with the Mariners and Cubs, who are both on his no-trade list.
- Several teams asked the Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, reports ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (Twitter link). The Rockies told clubs that both Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki weren't available, having not changed their stance from last month about trading their top two stars.
- The Dodgers' negotiations with Ryu Hyun-Jin will go right down to Sunday's deadline, a team source tells ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Twitter link). Los Angeles will lose negotiating rights with the Korean left-hander if a deal can't be worked out by Sunday. The two sides were thought to be far apart on Tuesday, though the Dodgers and agent Scott Boras had exchanged offers and were continuing talks.
- The Padres are using their bullpen depth, infield depth and Jesus Guzman as trade bait, says Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune as part of his most recent chat with readers.
- Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News) that they looking for, respectively, a fourth guaranteed year and the most expensive possible contract, and were both happy that the Giants met their desires. “I know my age,” Scutaro said. “I was looking for the best contract. This might be my last one. When (the Giants) made the best offer, it was very exciting.”
While the Red Sox and Marlins have both completed major payroll-clearing deals over the last few months in order to rebuild, the last-place Rockies have no plans to deal either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Rockies want to keep their offense strong and, while the team is desperate for pitching, their specific need for controllable groundball pitchers who can handle Coors Field leaves them with a limited number of trade options, even for All-Star talents like Tulowitzki and Gonzalez.
Both players signed major extensions within a three-month span in late 2010-early 2011 and appeared to be installed as franchise cornerstones for the next decade. Tulowitzki had already been locked up through 2013 but his new contract guarantees him $144MM through the 2020 season, which includes a $4MM buyout of a $15MM team option for 2021. Gonzalez is still owed $71MM through the 2017 campaign on the seven-year, $80MM extension he signed before the 2011 season. Neither player has no-trade protection, though they will each receive a bonus (Tulowitzki $2MM, Gonzalez $1MM) if they are dealt.
Besides the salaries, both players carry some red flags. Tulowitzki missed the last four months of the 2012 season due to a groin injury, while Gonzalez's success could be due to his hitter-friendly home ballpark --- Gonzalez has a career 1.054 OPS at Coors Field and just a career .735 OPS on the road.
Ramon Hernandez ruptured his left distal hamstring tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The 36-year-old will undergo surgery next week after playing in just 52 games. Here are more Rockies-related notes from Troy Renck of the Denver Post...
- Hernandez would probably have been an offseason trade candidate, Renck writes (on Twitter). Completing a deal will now be more challenging because of Hernandez’s injuries and age. Hernandez will earn $3.2MM in 2013, the final season of the two-year, $6.4MM contract he signed last offseason.
- The Rockies need pitching, but Renck repeated that he wouldn't trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez for arms (Twitter link). It's risky to assume pitching performances will translate in Denver, as Renck notes.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledges his team’s upcoming series in Atlanta will have an impact on Philadelphia’s trade deadline plans, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. “We have to play well against these guys,” Amaro said. “They’re a very tough team. We don’t necessarily have to sweep ‘em. But it’s important for us to win the series.” Here are the latest rumors from Rosenthal and colleague Jon Paul Morosi...
- Carlos Gonzalez is at or near the top of the Rangers’ wish list of outfielders for 2013, Morosi and Rosenthal report. For now, however, the Rockies are keeping Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler off-limits in trade talks.
- Mariners relievers Shawn Kelley, Josh Kinney and Steve Delabar are drawing mild interest, Morosi tweets.
- Left-hander Glen Perkins is drawing heavy interest, Morosi reports (on Twitter). The Twins have a very high asking price for Perkins, who signed a three-year, $10.3MM extension with the club in March.
- The Orioles would like to add a left-handed reliever, Morosi reports (on Twitter).
- The Giants want a right-handed bat and are expected to make a push for Hunter Pence if the Phillies make him available, Morosi reports (on Twitter). Jonathan Broxton is also of interest for the Giants, Morosi reports (on Twitter).
- The Pirates aren't optimistic about their search for a hitter at this point, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter).
- The White Sox haven't ruled out the possibility of adding another reliever, Morosi reports (on Twitter).
While there has been some speculation that the Rockies could consider moving outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, General Manager Dan O'Dowd says that the standout will be staying put in Colorado, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
O'Dowd says that talk of the team putting the 26-year-old on the block started when Nationals GM Mike Rizzo inquired on him via phone. The Rockies GM says that he told Rizzo that the outfielder wasn't available, and that was the end of it.
O'Dowd added that he has had a great deal of calls on Michael Cuddyer but won't part with him either. He expects to keep Dexter Fowler past the deadline as well but stopped short of calling him untouchable.
"I can't say for certain [we're not trading him] but we put a lot higher value on him than someone looking to acquire him," the GM said. Fowler has put it together since his demotion last season and is hitting .282/.377/.539 with ten homers this season.
The Rockies have baseball's third worst record at 27-44 because they have the game's least effective pitching staff, a crew that has allowed an average of 5.7 runs per game. Offseason pickup Jeremy Guthrie (6.34 ERA) has been both hurt and ineffective, ditto both Jhoulys Chacin (7.30 ERA) and Juan Nicasio (5.28 ERA). Jamie Moyer's feel-good story came to an unceremonious end when he was released after pitching to a 5.70 ERA.
Last weekend, Joel Sherman of The New York Post opined that Colorado should consider trading outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for prospects while noting there is no indication that he is actually available. Troy Renck of The Denver Post countered today by saying CarGo is simply too young, too good, and too affordable to trade. The 26-year-old has hit .328/.385/.604 this season and is under contract for approximately $73.5MM through 2017.
Players like Gonzalez don't getting traded very often, but it's safe to say he would command a monster package. The number of teams that both have a need in the outfield as well as the young players to swing a deal is limited, but the Rockies will surely find suitors if they put one of their two superstar hitters on the market.
MLB executives expect the additional Wild Card teams to slow the trade market this summer, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Cubs and a few other teams such as the Athletics, Astros and Padres are willing to sell now, but most clubs still hope to contend this summer. Here are some notes from Sherman on the trade market:
- No clear difference makers appear to be available right now, Sherman reports. People are generally waiting to see if the Brewers or Phillies decide to trade established stars for controllable talent.
- A Yankees official told Sherman that Ryan Dempster would just “muddy the water” in New York, an indication that the Yankees aren’t overly interested in the Cubs right-hander.
- Though there’s no indication that Cliff Lee and Carlos Gonzalez are available, Sherman makes the case that their respective clubs should consider trades for them this summer. Lee, who has a nine-team no-trade list, would appeal to a number of contenders, and Gonzalez would draw considerable interest in a trade market that currently features few impact hitters.
- Sherman points out that people in the industry see California native Cole Hamels heading toward a big payday from the Dodgers after the season when he hits free agency.
Here's a look at some items out of the National League West..
- The Giants offered Tim Lincecum at least $100MM over five years a couple months back, but it now it appears that the two sides are at least $75MM apart, with the right-hander looking for a seven- or eight-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Jeff Moorad has withdrawn his application to be the controlling partner of the Padres, meaning that John Moores will own the team for the foreseeable future, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres runs down the particulars of what this means for the future of the club. Moorad will remain the Vice Chairman and CEO of the Padres while Moores will remain the majority owner of the team as he has since 1994-95. Krasovic also writes that MLB is likely to approve the 20-year TV deal between the Padres and FOX.
- Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez don't exactly see eye-to-eye with former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on his dissatisfaction with the Rockies, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The pitcher said that he was upset with the club in part because Tulowitzski and Gonzalez received lucrative new deals following the 2010 season while he did not.
The Rockies were one of the most aggressive teams in baseball in terms of extensions last offseason. They locked six of their players up on multiyear deals, including two contracts worth $80MM or more.
It’s still too early to say with much authority that the deals failed or succeeded, but Troy Tulowitzki’s contract doesn’t expire until 2020 at the earliest and that’s a long wait, so let's check in on the deals now. The early verdict? Nearly five months into the season, the Rockies’ new deals are going well, largely because their biggest investments are looking good. That in itself doesn't justify the moves, but it's certainly better than the alternative.
Tulowitzki (ten years, $157.75MM), Carlos Gonzalez (seven years, $80MM), Matt Lindstrom (two years, $6.6MM), Jason Hammel (two years, $7.75MM), Rafael Betancourt (two years, $8.02MM) and Matt Belisle (two years, $6.125MM) all signed long-term last winter. Conventional wisdom says multiyear deals for relievers and megadeals for players already under long-term control aren’t the most prudent ways of spending money, especially for a mid-market team. Nevertheless, the Rockies went ahead with the moves and they’re going well so far this year.
It would be hard to argue that Tulowitzki isn’t the best shortstop in the game. Gonzalez has boosted his walk rate, lowered his strikeout rate and, thanks to a recent hot streak that has included seven home runs in 12 days, raised his season line to .289/.360/.523. Betancourt, Belisle and Lindstrom (now on the DL) have each pitched at least 43 2/3 innings with at least 6.2 K/9, no more than 2.3 BB/9 and an ERA of 3.41 or below. Even Hammel, who just lost his rotation spot to Alex White, provided Colorado with three months’ worth of solid starts before faltering in July and August.
The extensions look good so far, despite the Rockies’ disappointing 63-68 record. At this point, that’s all Colorado could hope for. But every player they locked up could have been on the team this year even if GM Dan O’Dowd hadn’t inked them to long-term deals, so the final verdict on the 2010-11 offseason deals will have to wait for another decade or so.