Chin-Lung Hu Rumors
Dejan Kovacevic talked to free agent first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz recently. Mientkiewicz seeks a starting job, even while admitting, "I'm everybody's B and C plan. If the two guys they want to sign get hit by a truck, then they think about me."
The 34 year-old hit .277/.374/.379 in 334 plate appearances while playing an above average first base. He earned $1.075MM. The Pirates want him back, but in a utility/clubhouse leader type role. Pirates president Frank Coonelly said today, "We are working hard to convince Doug that returning to the Pirates is an outstanding opportunity for him." Out of gratitude to GM Neal Huntington for giving him a shot this year, Mientkiewicz will give the Pirates a call before he signs anywhere else.
Kovacevic also has an update on the Jack Wilson trade talks. He says the Bucs are focused on the Dodgers, seeking Chin-Lung Hu and Delwyn Young. Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today that the Dodgers' talks for Wilson "remain stalled," while John Perrotto said L.A. "backed off."
Lots to cover in the latest from Ken Rosenthal:
- Jake Peavy to the Cubs is still being explored despite complications: The Cubs are being sold. Ryan Dempster was re-signed for 4 years, $52MM. The Padres are trying to include a third party to net the package GM Kevin Towers is seeking. If this happened then the Cubs would need to move Jason Marquis. Rosenthal suggests the Padres could take him if the Cubs ate around $3MM of his $9MM owed next season, or the Cubs could deal him and cash to another team (Rosenthal suggests the Rockies, Reds, or Giants). Rosenthal also backs the rumors of the Orioles involvement as the third team and having interest in Felix Pie.
- As an update to this post, the Dodgers stopped pursuing Jack Wilson when the Pirates asked for a third player in the package of Chin-Lung Hu and Delwyn Young as compensation for the Dodgers request for cash to reduce Wilson's contract. Wilson is set to make $7.25MM next season with an $8.4 club option or $600,000 buyout, and the Dodgers don't believe Wilson offers enough offensive production to justify those figures. The Pirates agreed to include cash and would offer more cash for a better prospect; however, the Dodgers did not want any part of that.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is back on the scene to get us up to speed with the latest Pirates rumors. Let's start with the team's five veteran trade candidates:
- Jack Wilson: The Tigers and Dodgers are said to be the main suitors. The problem is that neither team wants to send the Pirates top prospects while paying all of the $7.85MM Wilson has coming. Additionally, the Pirates do not view Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-Lung Hu as a possible trade centerpiece. The Bucs have spoken to at least two other clubs about Wilson, but Kovacevic rejects the previously reported three-team scenario. It seems that some of the top free agent shortstops will need to sign to create a better market for Wilson.
- Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche: The Pirates have received "mere inquiries" on these two.
- John Grabow, Ronny Paulino: Grabow is a free agent after '09, so his trade value may never be higher. The Pirates are apparently pushing Paulino, but don't want to sell low on him.
- Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps: These four are described as "as close to untouchable as it gets" for the Pirates.
- On the free agent front, the Pirates have made contact with Paul Byrd. However, GM Neal Huntington implied he's not finding the starting pitching bargains he expected. The Pirates haven't made offers to Doug Mientkiewicz or Jason Michaels; those players are considering proposals from other teams.
- Kovacevic adds: "The Pirates also had discussed acquiring a right-handed power bat for the outfield through free agency, but there has been no known movement on that front." Just looking at who's out there, I imagine this could be referring to Pat Burrell. Still, that's entirely speculative and he's probably out of their price range.
WEDNESDAY, 10:34pm: Rosenthal actually posted this update last night, but we're adding it now. He says the Pirates sought Hu, Delwyn Young, and a third player for Wilson. That caused talks to grind to a halt. Rosenthal added that the Dodgers are showing mild interest in Edgar Renteria but not Orlando Cabrera.
TUESDAY, 6:34pm: Rosenthal says the Pirates wanted Hu and two other young players, and the Dodgers balked at the price.
6:06pm: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are again considering trading for Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. The Bucs would like to receive Chin-Lung Hu in return to replace Wilson at short. The Tigers are known to have interest in Wilson as well. He's set to earn $7.25MM in '09 and has a $8.4MM option for '10 with a $600K buyout. Wilson is known for his defense; he made sixteen more plays than the average shortstop in this year despite playing fewer than 700 innings.
Rosenthal says the Dodgers aren't likely to sign Rafael Furcal and aren't pursuing Orlando Cabrera or Edgar Renteria. He notes that four teams are in on Cabrera.
TUESDAY, 3:49pm: MLB.com's Jim Molony chimes in on the Dodgers' hunt for a shortstop. He says they'll give Nomar Garciaparra a chance, but they are also considering Toronto's David Eckstein. Back on July 3rd, the Baltimore Sun suggested the Orioles were looking at Eckstein.
TUESDAY, 8:53am: Dejan Kovacevic puts the brakes on the Jack Wilson-to-L.A. rumor. He says that while Wilson is not untouchable, the Pirates are not likely to trade him. They consider him affordable and do not have a capable replacement.
Kovacevic says talks with the Dodgers "seem dormant," and the Dodgers never offered a player from their Major League roster. Additional unknown teams have also called about Wilson.
MONDAY: John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times wrote an article Sunday concerning the Dodgers' pursuit of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. Wilson, 30, is hitting .306/.348/.361 in 160 plate appearances this year. He's under contract next year for $7.25MM with an $8.4MM club option for '10. Wilson can block trades to six teams.
Perrotto wrote that Wilson is the Dodgers' primary trade target. He says "a Dodgers source indicated that Los Angeles might be willing to deal center fielder Matt Kemp." A Kemp acquisition would create a logjam until the Pirates are able to move Jason Bay or Xavier Nady. Failing that, Perrotto's sources indicate the Bucs have interest in pitcher James McDonald and shortstop Chin-lung Hu.
Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that the Dodgers' bid for Wilson is on hold as they restructure their offer. If the Dodgers get him, that should eliminate any chance of re-signing Rafael Furcal.
And now...a fresh Ken Rosenthal column.
- An opposing viewpoint: Rosenthal says "any team that acquires C.C. Sabathia would gain an exclusive window to sign him long-term before he reaches free agency." Rosenthal notes that the Brewers and Rays are stacked enough to acquire Sabathia and wouldn't mind taking draft picks for him after the season.
- Casey Blake is drawing trade interest; his versatility is a plus. Rosenthal likes the fit for the Dodgers, Mets, and A's.
- An anonymous general manager tossed out this "trade concept": Adam Dunn to the Dodgers for Juan Pierre, Chin-lung Hu, and cash. Thoughts?
- Teams such as the Braves, Phillies, and Brewers have expressed interest in Zack Greinke at some point, but the Royals plan to keep him. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.
- Earlier this year the Cubs inquired on David DeJesus, but now they seem content with their Jim Edmonds-Reed Johnson platoon. Maybe talks will be rekindled after the season?
- The Astros will talk about any player on the roster without a no-trade clause, which would include Miguel Tejada. Does that mean Jose Valverde, Hunter Pence, and Wandy Rodriguez aren't off limits?
Ken Rosenthal has his latest column up at FoxSports.com. As usual he is not shy about stirring up rumors. Let's take a look at what the rumor-guru has to say:
- Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers will go with Blake DeWitt at third base who has never played a game above AA. This comes after the Dodgers failed to acquire either the Astros' Mark Loretta, who was unavailable and the Royals' Esteban German, who was too expensive. The Royals were asking for the Dodgers' third best prospect, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu.
- He indicates that the Padres and the Rays are pursuing Matt Murton but the Cubs are holding out for a top pitching prospect in return, knowing Murton will be a starter on another club. Rosenthal quotes one GM as saying that the price "is way too high as of now". As many as five teams have shown interest in Murton.
- The Mets are among a dozen teams that have inquired about Brewers pitcher Claudio Vargas, who will not be in the rotation to begin the season. [Update: Sorry about this one. I had forgotten that the Brewers released Vargas earlier this week]
- The Reds have put Ryan Freel on the market, but more teams appear to be interested in Scott Hatteberg. However, Rosenthal indicates that it is unlikely for the Red to trade Hatteberg even if Joey Votto is named the starter.
- The Tigers, Reds and Orioles all tried to acquire backup catcher Brayan Pena from the Braves, but the Braves do not appear interested in letting him go
- Rosenthal says that Pat Gillick's history in Seattle may have played a part in the Phillies inability to land M's reliever Cha Seung Baek, who is out of options but made the roster as a reliever.
- Finally, Rosenthal notes that Mike Piazza is still working out with hopes of landing a gig at some point in '08. Rosenthal thinks that Piazza may have to come to the realization soon that his career may be over.
Jayson Stark has a new column over at ESPN.com. Some highlights:
- Octavio Dotel is almost a lock to be traded, and Chin-Lung Hu remains a possibility. Stark adds that Dodgers GM Ned Colletti scouted reliever John Malone, which I think means Jonathan Meloan. The 23 year-old Meloan throws in the low 90s with a hard slider; he commands his fastball well but carries some health concerns.
- Regarding Jon Garland, we've already heard that the Mariners, Braves, and Yankees are interested. Stark adds the Dodgers, Mets, and Phillies to that list. However, he thinks Kenny Williams really just wants to trade Jose Contreras.
- The Astros, surprisingly, have yet to open shop on their relievers.
- Michael Bourn is the Phillies' top trading chip. Some possible targets: Kameron Loe, Scott Olsen, Ervin Santana, Noah Lowry, and Dontrelle Willis.
You know what I love about the Kansas City Star? The enormous, extreme close-up pixellated player photo that seems to accompany every article. It's bizarre in a good way.
Anyway, Bob Dutton gives us the latest on hot commodity Octavio Dotel. According to Dutton, the Dodgers and Indians are at the forefront, with the Red Sox, Mets, and some other teams monitoring the situation.
As before, Dutton indicates that the Dodgers are the best possibility. They refuse to part with Tony Abreu, however. Abreu is seen as Jeff Kent's replacement at second base, though Kent is still going strong and his 2008 option becomes guaranteed with 550 plate appearances this year. Barring injury, he'll reach that.
This seems parallel to the shortstop situation, where Rafael Furcal is signed through 2008 and Chin-Lung Hu is knocking on the door. For some reason Dutton seems to view Hu as more available than Abreu.
The Indians won't give up outfielders Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco, at least not yet. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms the info. Is Francisco really anything more than a fourth outfielder?
The Red Sox could go after Dotel and Reggie Sanders in a package deal, perhaps with Wily Mo Pena going to KC.
If Dayton Moore gets anything close to his asking price, the Dotel rental will end up a fantastic move.
Ken Rosenthal's got a new column up; let's dive in.
- Fun new rumor: the Nationals are pursuing Adam Dunn. Huh? Makes no sense on the surface. Jim Bowden's possible motivation would be to sign Dunn long-term and make him the cornerstone of the franchise. If he fails at that, all would not be lost given the draft pick compensation. Rosenthal says the market for Dunn beyond Washington is a bit foggy - the Twins, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, and Padres could all get involved but none stand out.
- Rosenthal adds some color to my recent Nationals post. He mentions that Ron Belliard is a name that might interest the Mets, an idea that has come up before. Rosenthal says the Mets will not do a Lastings Milledge for Chad Cordero trade.
- The Dodgers have jumped to the forefront on Octavio Dotel, with Takashi Saito ailing. According to Rosenthal, the Royals aren't demanding the very specific bounty Joel Sherman claimed. Instead, they just want a near MLB-ready player. Rosenthal says Tony Abreu is out of reach but Chin-Lung Hu might not be. He suggests moving Hu to second base to accomodate Tony Pena Jr., which should probably be reversed. It appears the Indians wouldn't surrender Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco for Dotel. I'd give one up, personally.
- I didn't know this: Jermaine Dye can veto a deal to four clubs. With his solid play, interest is picking up. As are Kenny Williams' demands; he wants an elite prospect. The Indians and Red Sox have inquired; the Cubs might make sense too. I thought we had ruled out the Red Sox earlier though.
- The Padres are looking for bench help, perhaps in the name of Ryan Klesko, Mike Piazza, Mark Loretta, or Mike Lamb. Couple of prodigal sons there. Would Piazza be happy as a pricey bench player? Rosenthal says Matt Stairs isn't available. Why not?