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Chase Headley Rumors
- The Padres’ trade of Street shows about what they’ll expect in return for Joaquin Benoit, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Since most teams would not want Benoit to be their closer, though, the price would have to be somewhat lower than it was for Street.
- The Pirates and Royals both scouted starting pitcher Ian Kennedy last night, Rosenthal tweets. The Pirates are looking for starters and relievers, Rosenthal notes.
- The Blue Jays are part of an “ongoing dialogue” regarding Chase Headley, Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Morosi tweets. The Jays have shown interest in Headley in the past.
- The Padres are likely to trade outfielder Chris Denorfia, Morosi tweets. Denorfia, like Headley, is a free agent this coming offseason, so it makes sense that the Padres could have interest in trading them both.
- In case you missed it from the Yankees notes post, Andy Martino of New York Daily News reports that the Padres are not likely to trade Andrew Cashner, who was terrific this season before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Cashner is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.
The Blue Jays and Padres continue to discuss a Chase Headley trade, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. His colleague Ken Rosenthal adds that some within the Jays organization think that the team’s most acute need is a hitter, rather than a starting pitcher. In late June, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Blue Jays had interest in Headley and that the Padres would be willing to deal him. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- The Cubs dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel early in the trading season, and for a package based around a position player, because Addison Russell was too good to pass on, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes. “There was no pitcher available even close to the caliber of player that Addison Russell is,” says team president Theo Epstein.
- The Cubs now have a top-notch collection of hitting prospects, but don’t have nearly as much pitching. They believe, however, that they can use that to their advantage, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. It’s hard to find hitters in today’s low-offense environment, and the Cubs have plenty of them. “If you look at the way the game is going, the batter-pitcher dynamic has shifted in recent years dramatically in favor of the pitcher,” says Epstein. “So there are more effective pitchers out there right now than there are position players.” The Cubs also feel they can compensate for their lack of pitching by acquiring a top-of-the-rotation starter within the next couple of years. Epstein also seems to allude to the possibility that the Cubs will make trades for pitching in the future.
- A pair of Rockies are making their 2014 debuts with rookie-level Grand Junction, Patti Arnold of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Former Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, who’s working his way back from an elbow injury, pitched a scoreless inning today, striking out one and walking one. Also, Kyle Freeland, the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, will make his pro debut on Wednesday.
- The Diamondbacks placed now-Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy on waivers six to eight weeks ago, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. That means anyone could have claimed him and assumed the remainder of his $9MM salary for 2014. No one bit.
- Red Sox first-round pick Michael Kopech will be represented by MVP Sports Group, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets.
JULY 5: The Blue Jays appear to favor Prado over Hill because of the former’s positional flexibility (starts at every infield spot plus left field since 2012), tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
JULY 4: The Blue Jays are “heavily scouting” Diamondbacks infielders Aaron Hill and Martin Prado, as well as Padres third baseman Chase Headley, ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter link). The Jays were known to be interested in Headley, though the two Arizona infielders are new additions to Toronto’s search for help at either second or third base.
The problem with this trio of players, as Bowden observes, is that all three carry large salaries and are in the midst of disappointing seasons. Headley is owed a little over $5MM for the remainder of the year but is a free agent this winter, whereas Hill and Prado are both under contract through 2016.
Hill is owed approximately $29.3MM over the remaining 2.5 years of his deal and is hitting just .248/.285/.368 with six homers through 337 plate appearances this year. The last time Hill hit that poorly was during the 2010-11 seasons when he was, ironically, playing for the Jays. After being dealt to the D’Backs in August 2011, Hill regained his stroke and posted an .860 OPS over 1030 PA in 2012-13.
Prado, meanwhile, is hitting only .268/.313/.360 with three home runs over 351 PA. He has played mostly at his preferred third base spot this year, though he also has a lot of experience as a left fielder or second baseman. Prado is owed around $27.3MM through the 2016 season.
Toronto is known to be looking for help at either second or third base, with the idea that Brett Lawrie (when he returns from the DL) will man the other position. Given Lawrie’s fielding ability at third, Hill would seem like the more natural fit since Prado is much better defensively at third (career 4.4 UZR/150) than at second (-7.9 UZR/150). It’s possible the Jays might also prefer Hill due to his familiarity with playing on the Rogers Centre turf, though that’s just my speculation.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Here is the latest out of the American League East …
- The Rays may be more likely to hold off on making decisions on possible deals given the team’s recent run of success, club owner Stuart Sternberg tells Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). A 7-3 stretch has brought the club to within ten games of the top of a division that still looks very much up for grabs.
- Of course, Tampa’s most notable potential trade chip is ace David Price, who said yesterday the he expects to stay with the team if it can maintain its current play (via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News). If he is ultimately dealt, though, the team figures to have little trouble finding suitors. ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider link) broke down the trade packages that the Rays might command from hypothetical trade partners (the Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers, and division-rival Blue Jays).
- The Yankees have had interest in Padres‘ third baseman Chase Headley in the past, but “aren’t strongly pursuing” him right now, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A report yesterday indicated that the club is, however, scouting the third bagger.
- While the Yankees‘ underwhelming array of infielders has led to strong suggestions that the club could shop for help, David Lennon of Newsday writes that the club has an internal option worth trying in Rob Refsnyder. The 23-year-old second baseman has been strong in his first stints at both Double-A (.342/.385/.548) and Triple-A (.364/.494/.606) this season. One issue is that Refsnyder is still learning the keystone after converting from the outfield, but GM Brian Cashman indicated that the club is quite high on him. “He’s moving himself very fast,” said Cashman. “It’s been pretty impressive. No doubt he’s forcing us to pay attention.”
Former Orioles and Mets GM Frank Cashen has passed away at the age of 91. As Baseball America’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo writes, Cashen played an important role in composing Baltimore’s outstanding teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s before wheeling and dealing to put together the Mets’ 1986 World Series-winning roster. MLBTR sends its condolences to Cashen’s family and friends around the game.
Here are the latest rumblings as we turn the page to July …
- The Yankees are regularly scouting Padres third baseman Chase Headley, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Should they pursue the struggling veteran, New York could have competition from a division rival, as it was recently reported that the Blue Jays are also interested in Headley. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said today that he is preparing to act aggressively in upgrading the club’s roster, as Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger reports. Nevertheless, Cashman did not sound inclined to pay a heavy surcharge to make acquisitions well in advance of the deadline.
- Of course, whether or not he is dealt, all signs point to Headley hitting the open market following this season, where he will be joined by Giants third bagger Pablo Sandoval. At present, there are no ongoing extension talks between San Francisco and Sandoval, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish. Of course, GM Brian Sabean locked up two prominent free agents-to-be (Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum) at the last minute last year.
- The Diamondbacks are looking to set their club up for 2015 rather than launching a full rebuild, reports MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. GM Kevin Towers indicated that the club hopes to shed some salary, but will focus on achieving a useful return. “We’re not payroll dumping, we’re looking to get good players back,” he said. “It would be nice to be able to save some payroll and get good players back. I know how [managing partner Ken Kendrick] and [CEO Derrick Hall] are and they are always going to lean towards getting the better players instead of trying to save money.” Towers said that the market is still developing, with just “a couple of clubs that are trying to get in front of people.”
- The Marlins are surveying the market with an eye on landing an established starting pitcher, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Miami would also like to add an experienced veteran middle infielder in the wake of Rafael Furcal‘s injury.
- White Sox hurler Jose Quintana could become what Doug Fister was in 2011, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Quintana has little trade hype, but like Fister, says Morosi, he could wind up getting traded and help his new team win its division. Of course, with Chicago now looking a threat to field a young and talented team in coming seasons, it is doubtful that the 25-year-old lefty (who is under club control through 2018) will come cheap.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The results of today’s Giants-Reds and Dodgers-Cardinals games look like the crest of a sea change that has reshaped the NL playoff race. Homer Bailey took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Giants, and the Reds emerged with a 4-0 win. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 Cardinals in seven innings as the Dodgers cruised to a 6-0 victory. The Dodgers, 9 1/2 games out of first in the NL West three weeks ago, are now even with the Giants, and the Reds are now tied with St. Louis for second place in the Central. With two teams near the top in the NL East as well, and a wide-open Wild Card picture, there could be plenty of competition for veteran talent at the trade deadline. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Third baseman Chase Headley says he doesn’t feel the Padres are the reason he’s inconsistent, and doesn’t think a change of scenery will help him, Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “Even when things are going full-on crappy, like now, I’m confident that sometime in the near future, I’m going to get healthy, stay healthy and start playing the way I know I’m capable of,” says Headley. “I don’t look at it like, ‘Man, I gotta get out of here to be me again.’ I’m going to be me again, whether it’s here or somewhere else.” Headley is currently hitting .207/.294/.332 while dealing with a herniated disk in his back, but his banner 2012 season likely ensures there will be plenty of interest in him, both at the trade deadline and when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
- The Braves‘ constant stream of young talent helps keep them consistently competitive and prevents them from having to rebuild, Marc Narducci of Philly.com writes. “What they have done in our organization is pretty special,” says Freddie Freeman. “They have great development people and it seems like when a guy is ready, they don’t let him sit there and they give him at-bats – and that is what they did with me.” Narducci contrasts the Braves’ approach with that of the Phillies, who seem to keep older players longer and often lack interesting young players to plug into their lineup when playing time finally becomes available.
- The Red Sox should consider trading Koji Uehara, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase points to the Rangers’ 2003 trade of Ugueth Urbina to the Marlins for Adrian Gonzalez and two other players as evidence of the good things that can happen when a team deals an experienced closer. As Tomase himself notes, of course, it’s very rare to receive a player of Gonzalez’s caliber in return for a reliever. And of course, first the Red Sox need to figure out if they’re buyers or sellers. “Here’s how I view it from the outside. The first thing you have to do is cross that bridge and say, ‘Is it even worth it for us to go out and try to fill two or three holes?‘” says John Hart, the former Rangers GM who pulled off the Gonzalez deal.
- Sox starter Jake Peavy will be a free agent this winter, and the emergence of Rubby De La Rosa has led to speculation about the possibility Peavy could be traded. But Peavy says he’s not concerned about trade rumors, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes. “I have a great relationship with my pitching coach (Juan Nieves), my manager (John Farrell) and my general manager (Ben Cherington). We’re all very open with each other. I don’t need any clarity on any situation involving anything,” says Peavy. “If you start worrying about stuff like that, your focus is off where it needs to be and it’s going to affect things.”
Reports have noted that the Blue Jays are looking for upgrades at second base or third base for the past few days, and Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that multiple baseball sources have confirmed that Chase Headley is among Toronto’s targets. San Diego appears willing to move the struggling third baseman, as one source tells Sanders that the Friars are “open for business” on talks involving anyone except ace Andrew Cashner.
Headley’s trade value is a bit tough to determine for a number of reasons. He’s earning $10.25MM this season in his final year before free agency, but he hasn’t played up to his standards, having produced just a .199/.286/.328 line with six homers and a pair of steals. Beyond his somewhat high salary is the fact that he underwent an epidural injection in an attempt to alleviate pain in his back caused by a herniated disc. He missed four games following the epidural and is back on the field, but as Sanders notes, interested parties seem likely to wait a bit to see how Headley responds to the treatment.
Lastly, the Padres may simply not wish to sell low on Headley, who in 2012 was a legitimate MVP candidate but has been bothered by injuries since. Headley rode a monstrous second-half surge that season to a fifth-place finish in the MVP voting, batting .308/.386/.592 after the All-Star break. Knowing that his diminished performance will lead to a lesser return in terms of prospects, San Diego may prefer to hope that Headley finishes with a strong performance. That could lead the Padres to make a qualifying offer and receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, though that scenario is my own speculation and not something included in Sanders’ report.
The Blue Jays have relied heavily on Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco at the hot corner this season. Francisco has seen a good deal of playing time against right-handed pitching, with Lawrie shifting to second base on those days. When the Jays face a lefty starter, Lawrie has shifted back to third with one of Steven Tolleson or Munenori Kawasaki handling second base. However, Lawrie is currently on the DL and Francisco’s bat has cooled, even against right-handed pitching. Francisco is hitting just .164/.215/.377 in the month of June, and that slide, coupled with his poor defense at third, have likely played into Toronto’s motivation to search for upgrades.
Here’s the latest out of San Diego:
- Third baseman Chase Headley will be coping with a herniated disc for the rest of the season, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). Sanders says it will take six to eight weeks to know whether the issue will resolve itself. It remains to be seen what impact the news will have on efforts to trade Headley, if he is shopped. In my view, to bring back anything close to the value he once seemed to hold, the veteran will need to turn around his lagging play and show that his back is not a problem. (An earlier version of this bullet incorrectly suggested that Sanders had reported that surgery was a possibility.)
- San Diego is moving ahead with interviews for its newly-created GM opening, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports in a series of tweets (1; 2; 3; 4). Among the candidates are current Padres front office members A.J. Hinch and Omar Minaya, as well as former Marlins president Larry Beinfest. The Friars have asked permission to interview candidates from other clubs, including Billy Eppler (Yankees), Mike Hazen (Red Sox), Thad Levine (Rangers), Jason McLeod (Cubs), David Forst (Athletics), and Michael Girsch (Cardinals). It is highly unlikely, says Rosenthal, that the club will have a new GM installed before the trade deadline, though it is possible that the new top baseball decisionmaker will have been chosen at that point.
- Club president Mike Dee created the list of candidates by “talking to people the last two months to identify the bright general managers, assistant general managers and directors of player personnel and others,” club executive chairman Ron Fowler tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock. The club has already received permission to meet with at least two of the candidates noted above, says Brock, and could consider other candidates like John Coppolella of the Braves and Damon Oppenheimer of the Yankees.
- Longtime executive Andy MacPhail is hoping to make a return to the game, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and would have interest in the Padres GM role.
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.
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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.