Chris Carter Rumors

West Notes: Angel Stadium, Carter, D’backs Front Office

The Angels have cut off talks with the city of Anaheim regarding a new ballpark lease arrangement, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Owner Arte Moreno says that the club can afford to build a new ballpark, and indeed the team is exploring its options in other Los Angeles-area locations. After agreeing upon a “deal framework” a year ago, the parties have been unable to finalize a new contract.

Here’s more out of the west:

  • Astros slugger Chris Carter will be shopping for a new agent after losing former adviser Dave Stewart, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports on Twitter. The decision is a particularly important one for Carter, 27, given that he will qualify for arbitration as a Super Two player in the coming offseason. His 37 home runs make for a nice arb case, of course, but his raise will be well-deserved. Carter’s bottom-line production over the last three years: .228/.322/.480 (121 OPS+) over 1,409 plate appearances with 82 long balls.
  • Stewart, of course, made the rounds today after being announced as the Diamondbacks‘ new general manager. One burning question has been how Arizona will incorporate statistical analysis into its decisionmaking, and Stewart told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link) that the organization must “get on board with it” after having not done so to present. That does not mean that the club will turn its back entirely on its scouting and culture-heavy focus; to the contrary, Stewart made clear that he hopes former GM Kevin Towers will stay on and discussed the importance of developing an organizational culture in several interviews.
  • One element of the D’backs decisionmaking structure that has become clear is that De Jon Watson will play an important role in developing and disseminating information. In an appearance on the team’s television broadcast, Watson said that he will have wide-ranging responsibilities in the arenas of amateur scouting, player development, and MLB roster construction. He indicated that he likes the idea of being able to have such a broad role. That being said, Watson said the club intends to keep scouting director Ray Montgomery and player development director Mike Bell in their present roles.
  • Turning to the actual ballclub, Stewart said in an appearance on 98.7′s Burns & Gambo show that Arizona has no intention of dealing away young talent. Calling the team’s farm system “pretty much depleted,” Stewart said that rebuilding depth — rotation candidates, especially — was a key focus. That being said, Stewart indicated that he hopes to put a winning club on the field quickly and will look to the free agent market for a “front end guy.”

Astros Looking To Move Chris Carter

3:11pm: Though Seattle is in need of offense, the Mariners don’t have interest in Carter, a source tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

3:08pm: The Astros are looking to trade first baseman/DH Chris Carter, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old Carter has plenty of power, as evidenced by the 50 homers he’s mashed since Opening Day 2013 (21 this season). However, the righty slugger is hitting just .212 with a .291 OBP despite a .474 slugging percentage that is huge, considering his paltry batting average.

Carter also comes with limited defensive value. He has some experience in left field, but the results haven’t been pretty (-29.6 UZR/150, -7 DRS in 509 innings). He’s also highly strikeout prone, having whiffed in 31.7 percent of his PAs this season and 33.9 percent in his career. Carter will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and is under team control through 2018.


Cafardo On Utley, Gonzalez, Crain, Yankees

As impressive as young players like Manny MachadoMiguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Yasiel Puig have been, no one was more spectacular than young Alex Rodriguez, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  However, A-Rod has since tarnished his legacy by being linked to performance enhancing drugs.  It all comes back to Rodriguez's love of baseball, because for him, being the best was never good enough.  Now he finds himself rehabbing from injury in Tampa, Florida and no one knows how it will play out.  Rodriguez could retire because of a physical disability and collect the remaining $114MM on his contract or he return to the Yankees after the All-Star break and provide the righthanded bat they sorely need.  Here's more from today's column..

  • One team that has at least discussed acquiring the PhilliesChase Utley is the Royals.  Kansas City would love to stabilize their lineup and/or second base situation with someone of Utley’s caliber.  Meanwhile, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he wants the second baseman to retire in a Phillies uniform, if possible.
  • The Red Sox are one of the teams extremely interested in Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, but they won’t break the bank for him, according to a team source.  The Sox were certainly burned by the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing and don’t want to get burned again on a deal for the 26-year-old righthander. Even though Gonzalez seems to be the real deal, past injuries seem to be giving some teams pause. 
  • White Sox reliever Jesse Crain will draw interest and Cafardo warns not to rule out the Red Sox. Pitching coach Juan NIeves coached him in Chicago and he’s a stable force at the end of games.  Meanwhile, there will be others vying for Crain, including the Orioles and Yankees.  Our own Charlie Wilmoth recently examined Crain as a trade candidate.
  • FIrst baseman Chris Carter is an interesting righthanded bat the Astros would move for the right package of young players. The Yankees are a possibility since they need a righthanded hitter who can play first base and the outfield.  Even though he strikes out a lot, the 26-year-old Carter could be an intriguing option for clubs. 
  • The Cubs have a lot of desirable trade pieces, starting of course with Matt Garza, who could be dealt sooner rather than later – maybe even sooner than the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco.  Besides Garza, there’s been a lot of interest in outfielder Nate Schierholtz and veteran righthander Scott Feldman, who Cafardo sees as a match for the Orioles.  Outfielders Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus along with relievers Kevin Gregg and James Russell could be moved as well.
  • While the Twins say that Glen Perkins is not available, they should expect some club – possibly the Tigers - to offer a substantial package.


Trade Reaction: Athletics-Astros Deal

The Athletics and Astros completed a five-player trade that fortifies the 2013 A’s and adds depth to Houston’s organization. Infielder Jed Lowrie and right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez join the Athletics in exchange for first baseman Chris Carter, starting pitcher Brad Peacock and catching prospect Max Stassi. Here’s the latest reaction to the trade, which was officially announced last night:

  • While the deal fits into Houston’s long-term vision, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders how low the Astros can go before becoming an embarrassment to MLB. The Astros have lost a total of 213 games since 2011, and it seems likely that they’ll struggle again in 2013. “There aren’t many years where you can say one team will definitely have the No. 1 pick,” a rival GM told Rosenthal. “But they will definitely have the No. 1.” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow maintains that his primary objective is putting together a consistent winner. “Whether that’s ’14, ’15, ’16, we don’t know. But that’s what we’re working toward. So, any move we make has to be seen in that light.”
  • The Astros added three young players with value, "but no star potential" ESPN.com's Keith Law writes. It's a good return in terms of value, though none of the newcomers are likely to become All-Stars. Law wonders if the Astros could have obtained a possible star in the deal instead of adding depth.
  • The 2013 Athletics have a deeper, better infield following the trade, FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan explains. Meanwhile, the Astros have more talent now than they did at this time yesterday.
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney points out that Bud Norris’ $3MM salary now leads the Astros. That’s less than the average MLB salary and what Zack Greinke will earn in three weeks, as Olney points out. It's possible the Astros will have a historically poor record. "What you question is, how bad can they be," an NL official told Olney.
  • Entering the offseason it was clear the A’s needed to bolster the left side of their infield, and I like that they’ve managed to accomplish that goal at a reasonable cost. That said, I can see why the Astros decided to move Lowrie at a time that his trade value remains reasonably high.

Athletics Acquire Jed Lowrie In Five-Player Deal

The Astros announced that they sent shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Athletics in a five-player trade. The Astros acquire first baseman Chris Carter, starting pitcher Brad Peacock and catching prospect Max Stassi from the A's in the deal, which sends right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez to Oakland along with Lowrie. Jed Lowrie

The Astros are trading Lowrie approximately one year after acquiring him from the Red Sox. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow maintained throughout the offseason that he didn't want to trade Lowrie unless he could obtain impact players in return.

“This trade gives us power, pitching and catching,” Luhnow said in a statement released by the team. “Three valuable commodities that will help improve our organization.”

Lowrie, who turns 29 in April, enjoyed arguably his best season in 2012 — his lone season in Houston. After being traded from the Red Sox along with Kyle Weiland in exchange for Mark Melancon, Lowrie hit .244/.331/.438. He hit a career-high 16 home runs, but was held to just 97 games due to a thumb sprain and an ankle injury. Unfortunately, those 97 games also represent a career-best for Lowrie as well.

Lowrie is set to earn $2.4MM in 2013 after avoiding arbitration with the Astros last month. He'll be eligible for arbitration a third and final time next offseason and is eligible for free agency following the 2014 season. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out (on Twitter), the Astros now have less than $15MM in guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season.

The 28-year-old Rodriguez struggled in 2012, posting a 5.37 ERA in 70 1/3 frames for the Astros. However, his FIP (4.22) and xFIP (4.23) are nearly identical to the marks he posted in 2011 when his ERA was 3.96. He averaged 93.9 mph on his heater last season and has fanned 136 batters in 123 1/3 innings. He can be controlled through 2017.

Peacock, who turned 25 on Saturday, ranked fourth on Baseball America's list of Top 10 Athletics prospects. The right-hander was a key component of last winter's Gio Gonzalez trade but had a down season in 2012. He had a 6.01 ERA, 9.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 134 2/3 innings for Oakland's Triple-A affiliate. BA's Jim Shonerd wrote in November that Peacock pitched up in the zone too frequently in 2012, and added:

"When he's going well, he still shows three quality pitches. Peacock's fastball works at 91-95 mph but lacks movement, underscoring the need for better command. He also flashes a sharp curveball and a changeup with depth. He has added a slider/cutter hybrid to help induce weak contact, but it remains a work in progress."

Stassi, 21, entered the season as Oakland's No. 14 prospect, according to BA. He spent 2012 at High-A Stockton, where he batted .268/.331/.468 with 15 homers in 360 trips to the plate. He's been bothered by shoulder problems throughout his professional career, but BA praises his compact swing, solid power and ability to use the middle of the field.

The 26-year-old Carter is a former top prospect in his own right, and he displayed the power that earned him that distinction in 2012. Carter batted .239/.350/.514 with 16 homers in 260 plate appearances for the A's. He is under team control through 2018 and is not yet eligible for arbitration.

Beane has now traded away two of the four players he acquired in last offseason's trade of Gonzalez. He moved A.J. Cole back to Washington in a trade that sent John Jaso to the A's and Mike Morse to the Mariners. Tommy Milone and Derek Norris still remain a part of the A's organization.

Steve Adams also contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


A’s Notes: Lineup, Young, Cespedes, Nakajima

The Athletics held their A's Fan Fest today with manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane hosting a Q&A session. Here are the highlights:

  • Melvin says second base will be an open competition between Scott Sizemore and Jemile Weeks while Grant Green, the A's fourth-best prospect as ranked by MLB.com, will also receive a hard look, reports MLB.com's Jane Lee (Twitter links).
  • Melvin plans to continue with the Brandon Moss/Chris Carter platoon at first base, tweets Lee
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets the A's will not use any one set lineup because Melvin has multiple options depending on matchups and who's hot. 
  • Melvin views Coco Crisp as the starting center fielder with Chris Young moving around all three outfield spots, Lee tweets.
  • Young says being reunited with Melvin is "like a breath of fresh air." (A's team Twitter feed).
  • Melvin calls Yoenis Cespedes one of most talented players in the league and Beane adds he wouldn't be surprised if the 27-year-old Cuban takes it to another level, Slusser tweets
  • Beane is confident Hiroyuki Nakajima will make a successful transition to MLB, tweets Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com. In fact, Beane joked he will have a tougher transition in dealing with the effervescent Japanese shortstop.
  • Beane expects their top prospect, outfielder Michael Choice, to open the season in Triple-A, unless something unforeseen happens, according to Pratt (via Twitter).
  • The A's are convinced shortstop Addison Russell, last year's first round draft choice, is mature enough to be invited to Spring Training even though it wasn't part of his contract, writes Slusser on Twitter. Slusser adds this is an indication of how much the 19-year-old has wowed the front office.

A’s Asked About Lowrie; Interested In Aledmys Diaz

The Athletics talked to the Astros about a possible trade involving Jed Lowrie earlier this winter, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  The A's weren't prepared to meet Houston's asking price of both Chris Carter and a young pitcher in exchange for Lowrie, who has drawn interest from several teams this winter.  Hiroyuki Nakajima has since been signed and is slated to be Oakland's regular shortstop, though Slusser speculates that the A's could revisit Lowrie if they develop a need for an infielder during the season. 

Lowrie was limited to 387 plate appearances last season due to DL stints with ankle and thumb injuries, and .244/.331/.438 with 16 homers in his first season in Houston.  He was arb-eligible for the second time this winter, avoiding the process by agreeing to a one-year, $2.4MM deal with the Astros.

The A's could also add depth at shortstop in the form of Cuban prospect Aledmys Diaz, as Slusser reports the club will have scouts at Diaz's workout later this month.  At least ten teams (including the Twins and Cardinals) are known to be interested in Diaz, a 23-year-old who can be signed without having his salary count against the international signing cap.


Chris Carter Signs With Seibu Lions

Outfielder Chris Carter is now playing with the Seibu Lions, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin (on Twitter). This is the Chris Carter who was traded from the Red Sox to the Mets for Billy Wagner in 2009, not the current Athletics prospect.

Carter, 29, has hit .263/.316/.374 with four homers in 206 big league plate appearances spread across three seasons. He spent last year in Triple-A with the Rays and Braves, hitting .286/.331/.488 with 14 homers in 308 plate appearances. The left-handed swinger has experience at both corner outfield spots as well as first base.


Minor Deals: Castillo, Vazquez, Gotay, Carter

We'll keep track of all of the day's minor deals right here:

  • The Diamondbacks have signed left-handed pitcher Alberto Castillo, according to CBSSports.com. Castillo, 35, was designated for assignment by the Orioles on June 10th.  The veteran has a 2.89 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 across four seasons of play at the Triple-A level.
  • The Blue Jays signed infielder Ramon Vazquez to a minor league deal, according to the CBSSports.com transactions page.  The 35-year-old last appeared in the majors in 2009 when he spent the year with the Pirates.  Vazquez has experience playing shortstop, second base, and third base.
  • The Braves signed infielder Ruben Gotay and outfielder Chris Carter to minor league deals and assigned them to Triple-A Gwinnett, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Gotay last appeared in the bigs with Atlanta in 2008, while Carter played in 100 games with the Mets last season.

Minor Moves: Carter, Ramirez, Dopirak, Redding

The latest minor moves…

  • Baseball America's Matt Eddy posted a comprehensive list of recent minor league transactions, including a swarm of draft pick signings and undrafted free agent pickups from the last week.
  • The Rays released Chris Carter according to the Triple-A International League transactions page. The 28-year-old hit .270/.309/.460 with ten homers in 233 plate appearances.
  • The Astros released catcher Max Ramirez and first baseman/DH Brian Dopirak, tweets Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.  The Astros had signed Ramirez in May after he'd been released by the Cubs.  Dopirak was added in December.  Both players had OBPs under .290 in their brief Triple-A stints.
  • The Phillies signed righty Tim Redding to a minor league deal, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  The 33-year-old posted a 6.59 ERA in 13 starts for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate this year.
  • The Angels inked righty Jerome Williams for their Triple-A rotation, tweeted his agency Full Circle Sports Management.  The 29-year-old was drafted 39th overall by the Giants back in '99, one pick after the Rangers grabbed Colby Lewis.  Williams hasn't pitched in the bigs since '07.