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- Tim Lincecum Undergoes Season-Ending Hip Surgery
- Dodgers To Promote Corey Seager
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- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
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- Minor MLB Transactions: 9/3/15
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Chicago White Sox Rumors
The Blue Jays and Brewers are still discussing Mike Fiers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Rosenthal reported last week that the two sides were talking about a swap involving the right-hander, though he added that the Brewers weren’t terribly interested in moving him.
Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays still have numerous irons in the fire as the deadline approaches. Toronto continues to show interest in frontline starters like Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto and also David Price, if he becomes available.
Fiers isn’t arbitration eligible until after the 2016 season and he’s earning just $513K in 2015. Thanks to making his big league debut later on in his career, the 30-year-old can be controlled through 2019 via the arb process. That team control is one of the reasons that he’s probably appealing to the Blue Jays, but it probably also makes the Brewers reluctant to move him.
Upon first glance, Fiers would seem to be an imperfect fit for Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He’s a right-hander that averages just 89 mph on his fastball and is considered an extreme fly-ball pitcher. However, Fiers’ former teammate, Marco Estrada, has been outstanding for the Blue Jays in 2015.
According to Rosenthal’s report from last week, the Brewers would want multiple pieces as a return in any trade of Fiers. He’s an atypical trade candidate due to the four remaining seasons of control he brings, but the more traditional trade pieces in Milwaukee’s rotation don’t currently hold much appeal. Kyle Lohse, a free agent at season’s end, has struggled greatly in 2015. So, too, has the now-injured Matt Garza, who comes with two more years of a $12.5MM salary.
Rumors from MLB’s central divisions:
- The Twins are in the market for a power reliever, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Minnesota has long been known for their reliance on command and control pitchers. Their bullpen has a league worst 6.08 K/9. The Tigers are next worst with 7.30 K/9. Twins GM Terry Ryan acknowledged the advantage strikeouts can provide in big situations. If somebody’s got the out pitch to be able to get a strikeout, that’s great. Unfortunately there are pitchers that don’t have that capability as much as others, so it makes those sac flies or putting the ball in play with the infield back … it just gives the other offense that advantage.
- Minnesota has spoken with the Padres about relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi lists Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Kelley as possible fits. I would add that Brandon Maurer fits the power pitching profile. However, Benoit and Kelley could both hit free agency after this season. Kelley is unsigned beyond this season, and Benoit has a $8MM club option ($500K buyout). Maurer comes with four more seasons of club control. As such, he’s probably more difficult to acquire.
- The Brewers are drawing plenty of interest in starter Mike Fiers, tweets Tom Haudricourt of MLB.com. However, the club presently plans to keep Fiers. They are more open to trading veterans Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza. Given the performance of both pitchers this season, they’ll have a hard time finding an interested suitor. Garza has a 5.49 ERA in 100 innings while Lohse has scuffled to a 6.29 ERA in 113 innings.
- Prior to being no-hit by Cole Hamels, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer reiterated a need for pitching and bench depth, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN 1000. Hoyer didn’t elaborate about any specific talks. Rogers opines (via Twitter) that the club could seek to make some smaller moves for veterans to bolster depth and balance a young roster. The offense has struggled recently, but the Cubs are still in the thick of the Wild Card race. They’re just 1.5 games behind the Giants for the second slot.
- The White Sox are increasingly willing to trade starter Jeff Samardzija, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Samardzija has performed below expectations this season with a 3.91 ERA, 6.93 K/9, and 1.67 BB/9. However, he’s posted a strong 2.55 ERA over his last eight starts due to a low HR/FB ratio. While teams may no longer view him as an ace, he has failed to last seven innings in just four of his 20 starts this season. This is my speculation: he could prove to be a valuable innings eater for a club on the bubble like the Orioles or Astros. Hayes also notes that the White Sox have lined up Erik Johnson‘s starts with Samardzija. Johnson is in the midst of a breakout season with a 2.59 ERA, 10.05 K/9, and 2.87 BB/9.
- The big story tonight is that the Royals nearly acquired Johnny Cueto from the Reds; read all about that here.
Despite very public statements indicating that the team is all in on 2015, the Orioles are now giving “serious consideration” to selling, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links), Baltimore owner Peter Angelos has previously been disinclined to authorize such a move, but that could change (at least in theory) with several of the team’s better players set to reach free agency. Of course, executive vice president Dan Duquette said on Wednesday that his club will be a buyer. But a sweep at the hands of the division-leading Yankees has certainly impacted the team’s chances of making a run at the AL East.
Here’s more from the division:
- The Blue Jays remain in “active discussions” with the White Sox about right-hander Jeff Samardzija, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Jays have been said to have “strong” interest in adding Samardzija, a potential free agent at the end of the season. Upgrading the pitching staff is the Blue Jays’ top priority in the week leading up to the trade deadline, and Samardzija, whose eight-inning gem on Thursday dropped his ERA to 3.91, would certainly do that. Over his past eight outings, Samardzija has a 2.55 ERA, and he’s lasted at least seven innings in each of those contests. As Peter Gammons pointed out earlier today on Twitter, for a team with bullpen woes in addition to rotation troubles, adding a pitcher that is capable of effectively working deep into games should carry even greater appeal.
- If the Tigers do end up selling, the Blue Jays will have interest in closer Joakim Soria, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit News. Soria would be a pure rental, as he’s a free agent at the end of the year. He’s earning $7MM and has posted an even 3.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his 39 innings this season, though he’s also had an unusually difficult time with home runs, which could make pitching at the Rogers Centre a challenge.
- The Blue Jays‘ pursuit of Scott Kazmir illustrates that it’s “becoming more clear” that the team is open to a rental acquisition, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi notes that the Kazmir talks were never going to get off the ground based on the asking price — “think Jeff Hoffman or Daniel Norris,” says Davidi — especially considering Kazmir’s injury scares. Health concerns are another reason to wonder if the Blue Jays will seriously pursue Johnny Cueto or not, he adds. While the Blue Jays may be warming to the idea of a rental arm, they can’t afford to have their acquisition miss any time, and Cueto’s had a pair of minor elbow issues in 2015.
- While the Blue Jays made a “big push” to land Carlos Carrasco from the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), the trade simply “didn’t get done.” Cleveland isn’t necessarily motivated to trade a starter, though they’re also not entirely ruling out the possibility.
- The Yankees have shown at least some interest in Marlins righty Mat Latos, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports on Twitter. They join a growing list of clubs that have shown some inclination to take a chance on Latos’s resurgence and past success. New York has given public indication that it is not lining up any major moves, but it would be surprising if it does not at least make a few acquisitions at areas of need, and rotation depth could certainly make sense.
Full Story | 40 Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Carlos Carrasco | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | Daniel Norris | Detroit Tigers | Discussion | Jeff Hoffman | Jeff Samardzija | Joakim Soria | Johnny Cueto | Mat Latos | Miami Marlins | New York Yankees | Scott Kazmir | Toronto Blue Jays
The 27-year-old has made just one appearance at the big league level this year and nine in his career. He owns a 5.52 ERA over 102 2/3 Triple-A frames, with 6.4 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9.
12:04pm: The Angels announced that they’ve acquired third baseman Conor Gillaspie from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations. Gillaspie had been designated for assignment by Chicago.
Gillaspie, 28, has struggled to a .237/.276/.364 slash line in 185 big league plate appearances this year. Mix in unfavorable defensive ratings, and he’s been worth a full win below replacement level (by measure of Fangraphs).
To be sure, the still-youthful infielder has shown more in the past. Though his defense has never drawn rave reviews, he managed a sturdy .282/.336/.416 batting line over 506 plate appearances last year. His walks are down while his strikeouts and grounder rate are up in 2015, none of which bode well, but a .275 BABIP isn’t doing him any favors either.
Regardless, the Angels won’t expect more than a fill-in performance from Gillaspie. The Halos have at least a short-term need at third base with David Freese on the disabled list due to a fractured index finger. Adding (at no real cost) an experienced player with a left-handed bat makes sense in the interim, while the club monitors Freese and continues to explore more promising players.
The Cubs have been in discussions with the Phillies regarding Cole Hamels and are interested in adding him to their long-term rotation outlook, sources have told CSNChicago.com’s David Kaplan. The Cubs may also add an additional starter as a depth piece, though that acquisition isn’t expected to be significant, he continues. Kaplan also writes that, contrary to previous reports, the Tigers haven’t yet decided to market David Price. A final decision on whether they’ll take a shot at the postseason or sell veteran pieces could come either this weekend or by next Wednesday, Kaplan hears, though I’d imagine that wasting a gem from Price on a 3-2, extra innings loss to the Mariners was a tough pill for the Tigers to swallow as they determine their deadline strategy.
Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…
- CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes spoke with Jeff Samardzija following an excellent Thursday start in which he fired eight innings of one-run ball. “It’s been totally silent on my end,” said Samardzija when asked about the possibility that he could be traded. Hayes asked a handful of scouts about Samardzija, with one feeling that he’s overhyped and more of a No. 2/No. 3 starter than a No. 1/No.2 starter. A second said that the White Sox could get a B-level prospect back, to which another replied that if that were the max return, Chicago would be better off holding Samardzija and taking a draft pick for him. Hayes writes that the Sox could potentially keep Samardzija in an attempt to re-sign him in free agency. He’s also since tweeted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox tried to re-sign Samardzija this winter even if they do trade him.
- The White Sox haven’t yet publicly waved a white flag, but they’re currently active in trade talks, hears ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The Sox reportedly discussed Samardzija with the Astros prior to Houston’s acquisition of Scott Kazmir earlier this afternoon (also via Crasnick).
- Despite injuries to Alex Gordon and Jason Vargas, Royals GM Dayton Moore tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he’s not feeling pressure to make a trade. “I don’t know if [losing Vargas] changes our approach,” said Moore. “But it does hurt our depth. He was a big part of our team last year and we expected him to be a big part this year. We haven’t had him much of the year. When we’ve had him, he’s been great.” Moore says adding to the current roster is not a “must,” and any trades would depend on the cost of acquisition.
- ESPN’s Keith Law reports that Cardinals southpaw Marco Gonzales is now being represented by CAA Sports (Twitter link). Gonzales, a former first-round pick, was previously represented by Rowley Sports Management. The 23-year-old made an appearance in the Majors last season, posting a 4.15 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, but he’s been limited to Triple-A action this season and also missed time due to injury. Gonzales’ change in representation will be reflected in the MLBTR Agency Database. Remember that if you see any errors or notable omissions, you can let us know via email: email@example.com.
With a string of three consecutive strong starts under his belt, Hisashi Iwakuma would make for an interesting trade candidate, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, as Sherman reports, the Mariners remain hesitant to undergo any sort of sale of veteran pieces as the trade deadline nears. Iwakuma, who’s earning just $7MM this season ($2.86MM remaining), has now allowed just four runs over his past 20 2/3 innings, striking out 18 hitters against four walks in that time. Iwakuma’s name — and the Mariners’ likely reluctance to sell — are both topics that came up on today’s edition of the MLBTR Podcast.
A few more notes from around the AL West…
- The Astros discussed Jeff Samardzija with the White Sox prior to acquiring Scott Kazmir earlier today, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The lack of a consummated trade was not due to the fact that the White Sox weren’t willing to part ways with Samardzija, a source tells Crasnick (Twitter link), but rather just due to the fact that the Astros deemed Kazmir a better fit.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Astros aren’t ruling anything out when it comes to their next move on the trade market. The team could use another bullpen arm — GM Jeff Luhnow has voiced a preference to add a flamethrower — and another bat would make sense as well. However, the Astros’ priority, as one team official tells Rosenthal, is simply “talent.” It would seem, then, that the Astros are open to making further moves to bolster their rotation rather than limiting themselves to bullpen or lineup additions.
- The Angels were already looking at potential third base upgrades before losing David Freese for at least three weeks last night, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. They’re continuing to look at the market for third basemen, but an outfield bat remains the Halos’ top priority, according to Fletcher. Freese hit the DL last night after a Mike Pelfrey fastball broke his right index finger.
- In the meantime, though, it’ll be Kyle Kubitza occupying Freese’s roster spot. The Angels recalled Kubitza, a 25-year-old prospect acquired from the Braves in an offseason swap, prior to today’s game vs. the Twins. Taylor Featherston got the start at third base, though Kubitza did enter the game as a pinch-hitter.
In his latest column at GammonsDaily.com, legendary journalist Peter Gammons writes that while we often get caught up in the fascination of which big names will be dealt, the best moves oftentimes look incremental at first glance. The Cubs’ acquisition of Jake Arrieta in 2013’s Scott Feldman trade wasn’t one of the most notable moves that year, but it’s been a coup for Chicago. Likewise, the three-team deal that sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Avisail Garcia/Frankie Montas to the White Sox and Jake Peavy to Boston was notable, but the impact of the deal looks far greater now than it did at the time. The Indians’ acquisition of Corey Kluber from the Padres in a three-team deal that sent Jake Westbrook to St. Louis and Ryan Ludwick to San Diego didn’t look particularly exciting, either, and the Giants have had huge success with additions like Javier Lopez and Marco Scutaro. All are good examples to keep in mind when looking at any trade that occurs over the next 11 days.
Some highlights from the rumors and rumblings that Gammons hears as the trade deadline nears…
- The Red Sox were optimistic coming out of the break, but their offensive woes through two games have the team wondering about selling pieces of value from the big league roster. At the same time, however, the Sox haven’t ruled out Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels. A Cueto acquisition seems particularly contradictory, given his status as a rental. However, Gammons notes that the Sox have considered the move, thinking that he could help them make a run and that a rental might give them an inside edge on signing him in free agency. Gammons is the second journalist to mention this today, as WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford offered a similar take earlier.
- The Padres were taking bids on pending free agents during the All-Star break, but they’re wondering if improved pitching can carry them into relevancy late in the year. The Padres had an ERA over 4.00 as a team each month but are sitting at 2.93 through 113 2/3 July innings. It’s a small sample, of course, but the team’s talented rotation has underperformed for much of the year. (A suspect defensive alignment can’t have helped matters, of course.)
- The Reds are the “primary seller to watch,” says Gammons, and as one GM points out, it’ll be somewhat unfamiliar territory for the club. “It’s not easy for them,” the GM told Gammons. “Walt Jocketty has been so successful over the years, he hasn’t had much experience with the sell mode. [Owner Bob] Castellini has been reluctant to pack it in.”
- The Red Sox may have at one point discussed Cueto, but Gammons writes that the Astros are presently willing to rent the Cincinnati ace. The Royals could be in that boat as well, he adds.
- Jeff Samardzija is another big rental name on the market, and while the White Sox are hesitant to sell, they expect him to test free agency and know that the Astros and Blue Jays are willing to rent. Gammons adds that the Blue Jays, in particular, have also expressed interest in both Ian Kennedy of the Padres and Mike Leake of the Reds.
- The Dodgers make the most sense for Hamels, and while multiple reports have indicated that they won’t part with Corey Seager or Julio Urias, Gammons hears that they may be hesitant to move prospects in their next tier. Los Angeles is reluctant to part with either right-hander Jose De Leon or catcher Austin Barnes, per Gammons. An NL GM called Phillies president-in-waiting Andy MacPhail a “cautious, prudent trader” and noted that unlike Samardzija, Cueto, Leake, Kennedy and Scott Kazmir, Hamels doesn’t have to be traded right now.
- The Royals, Nationals, Cubs, Mets, Yankees and Pirates are all in the mix for Ben Zobrist at this time.
- Another GM told Gammons that there are “at least 16 teams” that are pursuing bullpen help. The Braves‘ Jim Johnson is drawing quite a bit of interest, with the Blue Jays and Red Sox among the teams to reach out to Atlanta for the purpose of inquiry.
Full Story | 20 Comments | Categories: Austin Barnes | Ben Zobrist | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Cole Hamels | Houston Astros | Ian Kennedy | Jeff Samardzija | Johnny Cueto | Jose De Leon | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Leake | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
The White Sox have entered “listening” mode following a series loss to the Royals this weekend, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Sox, however, will not tear down their club simply because of a poor 2015 season and will not trade Chris Sale, he hears. Chicago views 2015 as the first of a potential three-year window and, as such, is not likely to trade long-term assets. Jeff Samardzija is the most likely candidate to go due to his status as the team’s most notable free agent, according to Rosenthal.
Samardzija, 30, was acquired from the A’s this winter in exchange for Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, Chris Bassitt and Rangel Ravelo. He’s earning $9.8MM this season — of which about $4.12MM is still owed to him — and will be a free agent following the 2015 campaign.
The Sox acquired Samardzija with the hope that he’d be a co-ace atop their rotation alongside Sale, but the bottom line results have been something less than that. Through 132 1/3 innings this year, Samardzija has a 4.08 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 40.2 percent ground-ball rate. Certainly, he hasn’t been helped at all by the Chicago defense, which ranks as one of the worst in Major League Baseball, but that’s not the sole reason for his decline, either. Samardzija’s strikeout rate is easily the lowest of his career since becoming a full-time starter, and his ground-ball rate is a career-low as well. The reasoning behind the drop in strikeouts, though, might not be as clear as one would imagine. Samardzija’s velocity has not significantly declined, nor has his swinging-strike rate, and he’s getting ahead of hitters with a first-pitch strike at nearly a 65 percent clip.
Rosenthal also notes that it’s possible for the White Sox to add some pieces. He doesn’t specify the nature of the types of players they’d add, but presumably, given the mention of a three-year window, they’d be interested in acquiring players that can help them as soon as 2016-17. That could mean they’d look at doing something similar to the Red Sox’ 2014 approach of trading Jon Lester for Yoenis Cespedes. It could also mean that the Sox would prioritize MLB-ready assets over a higher-upside prospect that is further away from the Majors.
The White Sox do have a number of long-term pieces in place. The Sox control Sale, Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia through the 2019 season, while Jose Quintana can be controlled through 2020, while Adam Eaton and Carlos Rodon can be controlled through 2021.
Looking around the rest of their roster, a few more incremental moves could potentially be made. Gordon Beckham, Emilio Bonifacio and Geovany Soto are all on one-year deals, and Alexei Ramirez‘s option is almost certain to be declined at the end of the year. Adam LaRoche is under contract for 2016, though I’d imagine they’re at least open to moving the remainder of his contract following his diminished production in 2015.