Chris Davis Rumors
As the Angels and Mariners begin a three-game series at Safeco Field tonight, let's look at some items concerning those clubs and their other two division rivals....
- Could the Angels considering moving Jered Weaver this summer? FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal looks at what might happen if the Halos fall out of contention, with a Weaver deal being the biggest possible move the club could make to rebuild. I looked at Weaver as both a trade and an extension candidate last April.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan looks at some reader suggestions about what the Rangers might do before the trade deadline. Sullivan speculates that the Orioles could be a good trade partner for the Rangers -- Texas wants right-handed relivers (like Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara) and Baltimore could use a first baseman for the future like Chris Davis.
- Athletics southpaw Brett Anderson will not need Tommy John surgery, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. (Twitter link) Dr. James Andrews instead recommended six weeks of rehabilition for Anderson, and the two will meet again in three weeks for a re-evaluation.
- Also from Buster Olney, (via Twitter), the Athletics could find a suitor for Mark Ellis without leaving the Bay Area. The Giants need second base help with Freddy Sanchez possibly out for the season, while the A's might prefer to give playing time at second base to Jemile Weeks or Scott Sizemore. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes listed Ellis as a possible trade candidate in his examination of what the A's might do if they become sellers. Of note: Ellis does have no-trade protection in his contract, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
- The three-team deal between the Mariners, Indians and Mets in December 2008 has proven to be a boon for the M's, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
The Rangers were close to sending Michael Young to the Rockies for two young players before the season, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. The deal didn’t go through, but the Rangers appear to have assured the Rockies that they’ll have the first chance to acquire Young if he becomes available once again. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors:
- One GM told Heyman that Mets Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus looks like a Quadruple A player.
- The Rays could have interest in adding a hitter now that Manny Ramirez isn’t around and Heyman suggests Chris Davis would be a fit. I wrote last month that the Rays are one team that could have interest in the first baseman if the Rangers make him available.
- C.J. Wilson could ask for $82.5MM on his next contract, as Heyman points out. The left-hander hits free agency after the season and could compare himself to A.J. Burnett and John Lackey in negotiations with the Rangers and/or other clubs.
- Alex Rodriguez worked out with Melky Cabrera this offseason and “begged” the Yankees to sign the outfielder to no avail.
- The Orioles are “very high” on Jake Arrieta, the 25-year-old who made 18 starts as a rookie in 2010 and remains in Baltimore’s rotation.
Links for Saturday evening..
- New to Arizona, J.J. Putz tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he's a perfect fit for the Diamondbacks.
- Second baseman Josh Barfield is competing for a utility spot on the Phillies but isn't concerned with talk of Luis Castillo, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton of The Providence Journal wonder how much longer Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will continue to play. Varitek could be asked to backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011 but could still be given plenty of playing time in a platoon. McPherson set the over/under at 2.5 years but Britton takes the under, pointing out that the list of catchers who have played the most games is chock full of players who retired before reaching 40-years-old. The team captain will celebrate his 39th birthday in less than a month.
- Pirates left-hander Joe Beimel was scratched again due to elbow pain today, which seems to contradict what GM Neal Huntington said yesterday after picking up Garrett Olson off of waivers, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Huntington insisted yesterday that the addition of Olson was not motivated by concern about Beimel or Scott Olsen.
- Pittsburgh right-hander Kevin Hart was on the bubble for a roster spot with the club and out of options for 2011, but the club will now have more time to consider him after a shoulder injury sent him to the 60-day DL, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs rallies against the tyranny of the corner label.
- Red Sox veteran David Ortiz told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the pressure isn't off, even with the new additions.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) hears from a talent evaluator that the best way for Kevin Millwood to get back to the big leagues is by signing with a team and pitching in games. "That's no way to win a job -- sitting at home," said the source. Millwood's fastball was clocked at 85 mph during a recent workout.
- The Rangers ackowledge that Chris Davis has opened some eyes with his strong Spring Training, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. He's under consideration for a roster spot, though teams have inquired about his availability.
- Now without star second baseman Dan Uggla, the Marlins are once again in a transitional phase, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- While he really enjoyed his time in Houston, Lance Berkman is happy to be with the Cardinals, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
A couple items of note with respect to two Rangers players who could be on the trade block...
- The Rangers, well-stocked at catcher, may have been showcasing backstop Taylor Teagarden for a potential trade partner in the Padres in their Cactus League game on Thursday, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Texas has Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Treanor and Mike Napoli (who will also DH and play first base) on the catching depth chart, so Teagarden will not likely make the big league team out of camp, writes Sullivan. Earlier this spring, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports pegged the Royals as a potential landing spot for Teagarden.
- David Golebiewski of Fangraphs had a look at the five potential destinations for Chris Davis recently put forth by Ben Nicholson-Smith, and the takeaway looks to be that Davis' best shot may be to take over third base or DH duties for a team that is especially weak offensively at either of those positions and can stomach Davis' low OBP and bad glovework. The best fits could be for Davis to take over third from the old platoon of Melvin Mora and Geoff Blum in Arizona, or as a third-base stop gap for Matt Dominguez or Lonnie Chisenhall of the Marlins and Indians, respectively. With Davis' skills limiting him to such a narrow profile, Golebiewski thinks he could probably fetch a modest return, like a decent reliever, in a trade.
- Chris Davis, who suggested earlier in the week that he wouldn't oppose a trade, clarified his thoughts on 103.3 ESPN's Ben and Skin show, without changing his stance much. "If they're not going to give me an opportunity to play in Arlington I think the fairest thing and the right thing to do would be to give me a chance to play somewhere else," Davis said.
- I looked at potential destinations for Davis yesterday and today Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests one of the teams I mentioned makes sense (Twitter link). Heyman likes the Rays as a potential suitor for Davis.
- Many of the Angels' established hitters tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they're enjoying watching powerful first base prospect Mark Trumbo this spring.
- As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, the Mariners released and re-signed Nate Robertson after learning that he needs elbow surgery.
Teams are asking the Rangers about Chris Davis and, by the sounds of it, he wouldn't mind if they listened to offers. Davis told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that he wouldn't oppose a trade if the Rangers were interested in making one.
“I just want to be in the big leagues, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” Davis said. “In all fairness, I’ve done everything the Rangers have asked me to do. I’ve been a good sport about it. I’ve had a smile on my face and a good attitude about it. When it comes down to it, the fair thing to do is to give me a shot either here or somewhere else.”
Mitch Moreland is the favorite to become the Rangers' regular first baseman, so Davis, who has an option remaining, could find himself headed back to the minors despite his strong spring. But the 24-year-old Texan has some appeal to other clubs.
So which teams could use a powerful, affordable player who can play first and third and who has yet to hit left-handed pitching or hold down a job in the majors for a full season? Here's a speculative look at some teams that may have called GM Jon Daniels about the former top prospect:
- D'Backs - Though the D'Backs have been discussing another one of Texas' infielders, Davis doesn't appear to be a likely fit for Arizona. The D'Backs already have a couple veteran third basemen and three left-handed first basemen (Brandon Allen, Juan Miranda and Russell Branyan) in the mix.
- Marlins - Another one of the teams that inquired about Michael Young, the Marlins could acquire Davis to complement right-handed corner players Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez and Wes Helms.
- Indians - Jason Donald, Matt LaPorta and Jayson Nix, three right-handed hitters, figure to get most of the playing time at the corners for now. Two left-handed hitters, Nick Johnson and top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, threaten to join the big league club before long, but until then the Indians could mix Davis' left-handed bat in and see what happens.
- Rays - Though Dan Johnson and Ben Zobrist are capable of playing first, the Rays might like the idea of buying low on Davis.
- Blue Jays - The Blue Jays could also be intrigued. However, they appear set at the corners and DH with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.
As Mitch Moreland solidifies his case to become the Rangers’ regular first baseman, the team is receiving inquiries on the availability of another young infielder. GM Jon Daniels told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that rival teams are calling about Chris Davis.
"We have been asked about him," Daniels said. "Obviously there is no clean fit as we sit in Spring Training, but we all know things can change. We have to be prepared for anything. We've got time to see how things play out."
Davis doesn’t seem likely to win the starting first base job despite a .387 spring average and two home runs. Manager Ron Washington says it's Moreland's job to lose and that he has been impressed with the first baseman's offense and defense.
The Rangers could send Davis to the minor leagues without exposing him to waivers if they aren’t swayed by any offers, since the 24-year-old has an option remaining. Davis, who has been playing third base this spring, has a .248/.300/.459 line in three seasons as a major leaguer. Like Moreland, he struggles against left-handed pitching.
I looked ahead to the year that awaits the two first basemen last week.
- The Rockies' offer of a seven-year, $80MM extension was probably less than Gonzalez could have earned between arbitration and potential free agency several years down the road, writes Heyman, but Gonzalez accepted it anyway.
- Gonzalez, who grew up poor in Venezuela, is exceptionally mature and humble for his age, according to Heyman, and rather than chase top dollar, he preferred the security of the long-term deal with a team that's he comfortable with.
- Gonzalez had the full support of his agent, Scott Boras, whose clients typically go to free agency rather than signing extensions. Boras provided Gonzalez with the information indicating that Gonzalez could probably make more money if he waited till free agency.
- Boras praised Gonzalez for handling and analyzing the information, noting that Gonzalez turned down three or four offers before accepting the one that he did.
- Turning down top dollar is not new for Gonzalez, however. He accepted a $150K bonus as a 16-year-old international free agent when he could have demanded as much as $1MM, writes Heyman.
- Gonzalez is a close friend of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who also signed a long-term extension with Colorado this offseason. Tulowitzki said part of the reason he signed his extension is because Gonzalez had told him that he wanted to sign long-term, too.
The Phillies are concerned about Chase Utley's injured right knee but, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com they hadn't called the Rangers about Michael Young as of this morning. Here's the latest on the Phillies and notes from around the league:
- Phillies scout Charley Kerfeld had been watching the Rangers and may have been scouting Young.
- Chris Davis has an option left, so the Rangers are expected to send him down to start the season in the minors, despite his strong spring performance so far.
- 22-year-old Dodgers prospect Rubby De La Rosa is impressing with his upper-90s fastball and command.
- Though the Padres would like Bengie Molina to return to action at a bargain price, they're under the impression that the backstop is in "retirement mode." The Padres expressed interest in Molina earlier in the week, after Gregg Zaun retired, but they don't have much left in their budget.
- It remains unlikely that Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo will break camp with the Mets, even though the team doesn't have tremendous depth from the left side out of the bullpen or at second base.
To call 2011 a make or break year for Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis wouldn't technically be right. They aren't even arbitration eligible yet, so they can't really 'make it' the way prospective free agents can. But this season will undoubtedly be crucial to determining the future of the two first basemen and whether they stay in Arlington.
Davis arrived in the majors two years before Moreland as a highly-touted prospect. His .311/.370/.569 minor league line has yet to translate to the majors, however; the 24-year-old has hit just .248/.300/.459 as a major leaguer. Southpaws have held Davis to a .666 OPS, but he has shown power overall, hitting one homer per 20.7 at bats.
Moreland (pictured), who's a year older than Davis, debuted last year and posted a .255/.364/.469 line in 173 plate appearances before posting a .900 OPS in the postseason. Like Davis, he's a left-handed hitter who struggles to hit southpaws (.604 OPS last year). He's the favorite to win the starting job and has impressed GM Jon Daniels, who told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that "our guys viewed him as one of the best workers and makeups [around]."
Neither player has any guarantees from the Rangers, who are in win-now mode and aren't in a position to be overly patient with developing players. Davis has drawn trade interest in the past, so the Rangers could consider dealing him if he doesn't produce more or becomes redundant. Moreland has done everything the Rangers have asked him to do, but he's just 224 plate appearances into his MLB career, even if you count the playoffs. Let's not assume that he can be a cog at first base.
Next year's free agent class features Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, two sluggers who figure to be looking for deals worth $180MM-plus. It's not hard to imagine Texas pursuing Fielder or Pujols next winter if the Rangers continue winning and the new ownership group decides its new TV deal allows for expanded payroll.
Even if the Rangers don't go after the most intriguing and expensive free agent first basemen, others, such as Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena, will be available (or the Rangers could opt to make Michael Young their everyday first baseman). Whether second tier first basemen like Lee and Pena appeal to the Rangers front office depends in large part on how Moreland and Davis perform over the course of the next six months.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.