Chris Davis Rumors
9:54pm: The Cubs and Rays met again to talk about a potential trade that would send Garza to Chicago for prospects, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Brewers and Rangers have also met with the Rays about Garza, but the Cubs have the strongest current bid, according to Levine. However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hears that talks between the Rays and Brewers did not progress (Twitter link).
5:17pm: The Rays have been uninspired by the offers for Garza and may hold on to the right-hander until next summer, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
Garza, 27, would be the best available pitcher aside from Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke. He posted a 3.91 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, and 35.8% groundball rate in 204 2/3 innings this year. Garza could earn $6MM+ in arbitration for 2011 and is under team control through '13. As a Super Two, he'll go to arbitration four times. Garza probably has a touch more trade value than Shaun Marcum did despite the higher salary, given the extra year of control. We learned yesterday that Garza may also interest the Rangers and Brewers.
8:52pm: The Cubs like Davis, but don't want to part with much in a trade, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).
Davis, 24, has the makings of a slugger, but has struggled to realize his potential. He has 39 homers in 872 big league plate apperances, which projects to 25 or 30 over the course of a full season. Davis has a .248/.300/.459 line in parts of three major league seasons and he strikes out in 32% of his plate appearances.
The Rangers claimed O'Day off of waivers from the Mets in 2009 and saw him develop into a valuable cog in their bullpen. The sidearmer has a 1.99 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 117 2/3 innings for Texas.
The Rangers are getting "much trade interest" in first baseman Chris Davis, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Major league sources say that Davis has become a popular name and the Red Sox, who picked up Carlos Delgado today, are among the teams that have shown interest.
Davis is now back in Triple-A Oklahoma where he has hit .355/.409/.552 with ten homers in 72 games this season. However, the corner infielder was unable to replicate that in the majors this year, posting a slash line of .188/.265/.267 in 31 games. Despite his struggles in the major leagues this season, there are some who feel that he could be a late-blooming bat in the mold of Carlos Pena or Russell Branyan.
Sullivan points out that Davis is unlikely to get traded in-season as he probably wouldn't clear waivers. However, if Mitch Moreland makes a strong case for being the Rangers' starting first baseman, then Davis could be a trade candidate this winter.
Now that Justin Smoak is on his way to Seattle, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Rangers are looking at Chicago's Xavier Nady. Chris Davis has already been called up from Triple-A to take over first base for Texas, though Davis was sent down in April due to his unimpressive .556 OPS in 53 plate appearances that necessitated Smoak's call-up earlier this season.
Nady, meanwhile, has a line of .233/.305/.361 line in 151 PA for the Cubs as he tries to recover from major elbow surgery last year. Nady is the last man on the depth chart in a crowded Cubs outfield, and has about $1.6MM still owed to him from the one-year deal he signed with Chicago last January. Nady can earn $2.05MM more due to games-played incentives, which the Rangers would also have to take into consideration should they have a more prominent role in mind for the veteran.
If Texas did acquire the right-handed hitting Nady, it would make sense to platoon him with the left-handed hitting Davis (who has a career .671 OPS against lefties). The Rangers were, however, willing to install a rookie as the everyday first baseman when they called up Smoak, so it's reasonable to think that they'd still show some faith in Davis by letting him take some cuts against major league southpaws. Davis had a whopping .958 OPS for Triple-A Oklahoma City so perhaps he's gotten his confidence back.
The Twins aren’t close to a deal for Cliff Lee, but the Rangers are working hard to acquire him and a number of other clubs are involved. The Mariners are seeking a monster return for Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Click here to check out yesterday’s Lee rumblings and check back throughout the day for the latest on the lefty:
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that talks between Seattle and the Reds have yet to "hit the serious stages." No formal proposals have been exchanged between the two teams.
- Lee appeared on ESPN 710's Brock and Salk earlier today, and said that he and his agent approached the Mariners about an extension before the season only to be told that the team wasn't "going to go down that road."
- The Mariners are interested in some of the game’s top prospects and young players, sources tell Jon Heyman of SI.com. Their wish list includes catching prospects Jesus Montero (Yankees) and Wilson Ramos (Twins) plus Justin Smoak and Wade Davis. A competing team says the Twins are a “real” threat to acquire Lee, though we’re not accustomed to seeing them give up lots of talent at the deadline.
- A rival executive told Heyman that the Rangers discussed Chris Davis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a possible Lee trade. As we heard earlier today, the Mariners prefer Smoak and would want more than Davis and Saltalamacchia.
- The Mariners asked the Yankees for at least three prospects, including Montero, according to Heyman.
- B.J. Upton’s name has come up, but Heyman suggests the Rays haven't offered him to the Mariners.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times hears rumblings that the White Sox, who just lost Jake Peavy to the DL, are at least 'kicking tires' on Lee. That would not be a surprise given Kenny Williams' track record.
- One MLB GM told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Rangers are the favorites to acquire Lee. The Rangers don’t want to include Justin Smoak in a trade and at least one rival executive believes they would be ‘crazy’ to do so. The Rangers’ desire to hold onto Smoak is one of the biggest barriers remaining between the two teams. If the Rangers trade Smoak, they could call on Chris Davis, who has a .961 OPS in Triple A.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears the Mets mentioned with Lee less and less frequently (Twitter link). The Mariners are looking to obtain a major league-ready power bat, but the Mets don't want to part with Ike Davis.
- Jack Curry of the YES Network says the Yankees are being thorough and will inquire on Lee, just as they would on any available player of his caliber (Twitter link). That doesn't mean the Yanks are willing to out-bid everyone else, however.
- The Rangers and Mariners continue to discuss a possible Lee trade, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. The Rangers have spoken to numerous teams to figure out what it will take to improve the club for the stretch run.
- In case there was any doubt remaining about the Mariners' asking price, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer clears it up. An insider tells Fay that "it's going to take a ton," but Fay does not get the sense that a trade is about to happen.
- The Rangers have financial restrictions, but MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that they have some money ‘tucked away’ for making moves. GM Jon Daniels is ‘fully engaged’ in the Lee trade talk.
- We know a lot of teams are interested in Lee, but how many? “Pretty much every team within five games of the playoffs," a source tells Ken Davidoff of Newsday (That's 17 teams). We’ve heard that the Mets may have trouble adding payroll, but GM Omar Minaya and his front office are operating as though they can add salary. That means Lee and Ted Lilly could be targets for the Mets.
The Cliff Lee trade talk started intensifying yesterday, as the Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers now have a new suitor to out-bid: the Rays. Not only are the Rays on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, they are ready to add payroll and appear willing to part with B.J. Upton. The Yankees are confident that they can jump in and pry Lee away from their divisional foes, but let's not rule out the Yanks' crosstown rivals. Here is the latest on Cliff Lee, with more rumors to come throughout the day:
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are working hard to acquire Lee, but nothing is imminent. Texas has plenty of minor league talent to offer, but they don't appear to be willing to move Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez according to Sullivan. Derek Holland, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia could all be fair game. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Mariners "inquired about the availability" of Davis and Saltalamacchia. Righty Alexi Ogando is said to be on the Mariners radar, though "there is some resistance to include him in a deal" on the Rangers' side.
- Morosi expands on his earlier tweet, saying that the Reds and Mariners have exchanged names "in preliminary fashion," though the two sides have yet to exchange firm proposals. One GM called Cincinnati a "sleeper" in the Lee sweepstakes.
- CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam checked on the status of Boston's interest in Lee earlier today, and heard that the asking price was too high (Twitter links). Seattle wants a "stud catcher" close to the bigs, which the Red Sox simply don't have.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets the impression that the Mariners aren't close to moving Lee, at least not to the Twins. He was also told that the two sides haven't exchanged official proposals, and that the Ramos-Hicks talk is "pure speculation."
- The Mariners are seeking a “mammoth return” for Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One executive interested in the left-hander said the Mariners made a “crazy ask,” demanding an even better package than Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks.
- FOX reports that the Twins offered Ramos and Kevin Slowey for Lee. At the moment, the Twins, Mets, Yankees and Rangers are most actively engaged with the Mariners in trade talks.
- The Mariners are calling teams back and telling them that it will take two blue-chip prospects plus a third young player to acquire Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- Two scouts tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that third base prospect Juan Francisco would be the Reds' best trade chip, not Yonder Alonso (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees are not engaged in trade talks for Lee now. They are confident they could acquire the left-hander, but do not intend to deal for him. Olney says the Twins are the favorites to acquire Lee, followed by the Reds, the Rays, the Mets, the Rangers and the field.
- The Mets officials who have spoken to Joel Sherman of the New York Post don’t seem concerned that the Twins are the perceived frontrunners for Lee. The perception within the game is that the Mariners are leaning more toward scouting than number crunching, and the Mets believe that will work in their favor.
3:33pm: Andrew Baggarly of The San Jose Mercury News tweets that the deal is now official.
THURSDAY, 3:15pm: Baseball America's Jim Callis hears from a source that Michael Main will be the player to be named later going to San Francisco (Twitter link). Main was the 24th overall selection in the 2007 draft, and was ranked as the 21st best prospect in the Rangers' system by Callis' publication before the season.
In a second tweet, Callis notes that the deal is similar to the Casey Blake-Carlos Santana trade in that the Rangers had to give up a quality prospect to get the Giants to kick in money to pay Molina's salary.
WEDNESDAY, 9:03pm: The Rangers acquired Bengie Molina and cash for Chris Ray and a player to be named later today. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported that the sides were deep in discussions about Molina and Scott Boeck of USA Today added the details soon afterwards. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News noted that the Giants will send the Rangers cash (Twitter link).
Molina, 36 in July, is hitting .257/.312/.332 this year. The Giants can shift the full-time catching duties to Buster Posey, play Aubrey Huff at first and rely on Andres Torres, Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz in the outfield. They don't need a catcher, but the Rangers do - Texas' backstops have hit .212/.311/.328 this year. Those numbers are eerily similar to Molina's, though there's no question that Molina's offensive track record inspires more confidence than Matt Treanor's.
Molina has about $2.3MM remaining on the $4.5MM deal he and the Giants agreed to last winter. The Rangers can add rental players, though the team's ownership transfer will limit its ability to take on long-term contracts.
Ray, who earns $975K this year, has a 3.41 ERA in 31.2 innings of work. However, the 28-year-old has walked as many batters as he has struck out (16). This is the second consecutive summer the Rangers have acquired a catcher (Ivan Rodriguez, 2009) and the second time a Molina brother has been traded (Jose Molina, 2007).
Let's dive into the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- While Dan Haren's trade value isn't exactly peaking, the D'Backs have internally discussed moving the 29-year-old hurler. Another option would be to move No. 2 starter Edwin Jackson. The combined salary of the two pitchers is set to jump from roughly $12.8MM this season to $20.5MM in 2011. That increase could be too much for Arizona to handle, even with Brandon Webb's salary coming off of the books.
- The Brewers are once again drawing interest in outfielder Corey Hart. The Giants, Padres, and A's are among the teams that could use a boost in the outfield and Milwaukee will seek starting pitching in return. Rosenthal doesn't see the Giants as a fit because they won't part with any of their starters and their outfield situation has recently improved. Meanwhile, the A's and Padres want to be comfortable with their overall health and chances before they make any moves. If Jim Edmonds and Jody Gerut get healthy, Hart could be dealt. Hart is under team control through 2011, should his team choose to tender him a contract.
- The Rangers still believe that either Justin Smoak or Chris Davis will be their long-term answer at first base, but they could seek a veteran stopgap for the second half of the season. Paul Konerko is likely too rich for their blood. Cleveland's Russell Branyan would be a more economical solution.
The Texas Rangers are facing an impending decision on whether to call super-prospect Justin Smoak up to replace struggling first baseman Chris Davis. Smoak, who is ranked as baseball's ninth-best prospect by Keith Law and 13th overall by Baseball America, currently remains in Triple A. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of bringing Smoak to the majors in the near future.
- As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith pointed out in his piece on calling up top prospects, if a player makes his major league debut after April 19th, he won't earn a full year's service time this season. So the Rangers could call up Smoak as early as this week and still have delayed his free agency by a year.
- Davis is off to a homerless, .229/.289/.343 start to the 2010 campaign, while Smoak has been tearing the Pacific Coast League up (.353/.500/.647 with two homers).
- When the Rangers drafted Smoak in 2008, Baseball America praised his fielding, citing "Gold Glove-caliber actions and soft hands." Davis's defense at first base is slightly below average (career -2.7 UZR/150).
- The AL West race looks wide open, and the Rangers presumably want to field their best possible lineup immediately. Delaying Smoak's debut for another month and a half could compromise their chances of contending.
- If Texas calls Smoak up before late May or early June, he will earn enough service time to eventually qualify as a Super Two, hitting arbitration a year early.
- It's probably too soon in the season to give up on Davis, considering his career numbers include a .481 slugging percentage and a 162-game average of 30 homers.
- There's no guarantee that Smoak will thrive at the major league level right away. Even a can't-miss prospect like Matt Wieters posted a mere .263/.308/.369 line in the first 70 games of his career.
- Smoak's underwhelming Triple A numbers last season also suggest he could use more seasoning, though they can be partially attributed to a strained oblique.
In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider required and recommended), Buster Olney writes that Rangers' first base prospect Justin Smoak is off to a strong start in Triple-A and could push Chris Davis either out the door or onto the bench. Smoak is hitting .300/.475/.567 with two homers in 40 plate appearances so far this year, while Davis is off to a .194/.265/.290 start with 10 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances.
Here's the rest of Olney's rumors...
- A possible reason why Orioles owner Peter Angelos declined to hire Cal Ripken Jr. is because of "concern about whether the addition of the legend would lead to office politics and ugly fallout."
- With the Angels carrying three catchers, Olney speculates that Boston could be a trade match for Jeff Mathis, and wonders if the talks could be expanded to include Mike Lowell given the Halos' troubles at the hot corner. Red Sox catchers have thrown out just one of 17 base stealers this season, and Mathis has thrown out 23% of would-be base stealers in his career.