Chris Denorfia Rumors

Padres Notes: Benoit, Kennedy, Headley, Cashner

Following the Padres’ trade of Huston Street to the Angels last night, here’s the latest out of San Diego.

  • The Padres’ trade of Street shows about what they’ll expect in return for Joaquin Benoit, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Since most teams would not want Benoit to be their closer, though, the price would have to be somewhat lower than it was for Street.
  • The Pirates and Royals both scouted starting pitcher Ian Kennedy last night, Rosenthal tweets. The Pirates are looking for starters and relievers, Rosenthal notes.
  • The Blue Jays are part of an “ongoing dialogue” regarding Chase Headley, Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Morosi tweets. The Jays have shown interest in Headley in the past.
  • The Padres are likely to trade outfielder Chris Denorfia, Morosi tweets. Denorfia, like Headley, is a free agent this coming offseason, so it makes sense that the Padres could have interest in trading them both.
  • In case you missed it from the Yankees notes post, Andy Martino of New York Daily News reports that the Padres are not likely to trade Andrew Cashner, who was terrific this season before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Cashner is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.

Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.

Stark On Rays, Zobrist, Utley, Cubs, Padres

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and while things figure to get exciting over the next month and change, not everyone is drooling over what might be available.  “To be honest, I don’t see much out there,” an official of one contender told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. “Who’s even selling? And what are they selling? I know there will be guys to trade for. But where’s the quality?”  The whole column is worth a read, but here are some of the highlights from Stark’s latest..

  • The Rays front office believed that they had the talent to win it all this year and that optimism could play into how they approach the deadline.  The Rays aren’t selling and Stark writes that if they believe what they have can power them to a championship next season, they might stand pat and keep the band together.  Teams that have spoken with Tampa Bay see a fire sale as unlikely.
  • The Rays might listen on Ben Zobrist, but one exec who has spoken with the club gets the sense that it would be “really, really difficult” for them to part with him.  The exception to all of this, of course, is David Price.
  • The Phillies are expected to be open for business between now and the deadline, but they might not like the offers that come in.  “Look at their trade chips,” said an NL executive. “Even if they blow it up, dangle [Cole] Hamels and dangle all these other guys, each one of those guys has some reason it will be hard for them to get back what they want.
  • Meanwhile, one exec flatly said a Chase Utley trade is “not happening.”  The sticker price might not be met on Phillies like Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jimmy Rollins, but teams see Domonic Brown as someone whom the Phillies would like to swap for a different young change-of-scenery candidate.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Cubs expect them to move pitcher Jason Hammel in the next two weeks.  That could just be the warm up for Jeff Samardzija, but they continue to tell teams that they’d like to hammer out a new contract with him.  This week we learned that the Cubs ace rejected a five-year, $85MM+ offer.
  • While some teams are beating around the bush, the Padres are aggressively letting teams know that they want to sell.  All of their outfielders, except Cameron Maybin, are available, and that includes Seth Smith, Chris Denorfia, and Will Venable.
  • Several teams report the Dodgers are telling them they’ll listen right now on every one of their outfielders except Yasiel Puig.
  • The Yankees have been asking almost exclusively about starting pitching in their preliminary conversations.
  • Teams that have talked with the Tigers say they’re focused on bullpen upgrades, not shortstop.
  • The Angels are in the bullpen market, but they’re looking hard at left-handed-relief options, not closers.
  • Things are murky around the D’Backs since no one really knows who is in charge their or what their goals are.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore has indicated that the Royals can add payroll, but clubs believe that he won’t get to go-ahead to spend until mid-July.  When and if KC starts buying, they are expected to target right fielders and bullpen arms since that is what they’ve been asking about in conversations.


Padres Could Make Organizational Changes Soon

The Padres are currently 10 games below .500 and 14.5 games behind in the NL West despite a pitching staff that ranks eighth in the Majors in ERA, and ownership is losing patience with the club, according to multiple reports. In an appearance with Darren Smith of Mighty 1090 radio in San Diego yesterday (audio link), Padres CEO Mike Dee said called the team’s current standing “unacceptable.” Dee notes that as an organization, “we’re all accountable,” but he made little effort to hide the fact that changes could be on the horizon.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was not looking at everything and everybody in this organization from top to bottom … We increased payroll 25 percent. We got an enormous commitment by ownership to do that, and it’s not getting done. And when it’s not getting done, everybody and everything gets put under the microscope, and if changes are appropriate, changes will be made.”

While Dee declined to “put a shot clock” on when moves will be made (if at all), he went on to say, “Stay tuned. If it doesn’t turn around, invariably, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.” Specifically, he was critical of the team’s offensive struggles. When asked if manager Bud Black was getting the most out of the roster, Dee replied by saying that even Black himself would answer “no” to that question, though he declined to place any significant amount of blame on the longtime San Diego skipper, stating “It’s not on Buddy, singularly, it’s on the organization. All of us are disappointed. All of us are accountable. The fanbase deserves more.”

This morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports exchanged emails with chairman Ron Fowler, who told him:

At this time, we will not be discussing our situation with any parties outside of our senior management circle. That said, we are terribly disappointed in the team’s offense this year and staying the course (waiting for a turnaround) is becoming less appealing as the ugly losses continue.”

Rosenthal speculates that hitting coach Phil Plantier might be the one who is in the most immediate danger. The Padres are, after all, last in the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, having batted just .216/.275/.344 as a team. Petco Park’s pitcher-friendly setting can’t even be blamed, as the Padres rank last in the Majors with a wRC+ of just 75, and that stat is both park- and league-adjusted. (In other words, Padres hitters have been, as a whole, 25 percent less effective than a league-average hitter, even when adjusting their hitting to account for a pitcher-friendly environment.)

Rosenthal points back to an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee last month, in which Acee suggested that ownership was becoming impatient with Black. Within that piece, Acee noted that while the lack of offense isn’t necessarily Black’s fault, it is his problem. He went on to write that if the team doesn’t look better by season’s end, GM Josh Byrnes would also be a candidate to be replaced.

Rosenthal writes that Black is still among the game’s most respected managers when talking to rival executives, and he could land another managerial job in short order were he to be dismissed in San Diego. Beyond that, Rosenthal writes that roster changes could be on the horizon as well, noting that the team is expected to move multiple veteran pieces prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He lists Seth Smith, Huston Street, Ian Kennedy and Chris Denorfia as candidates to be shipped out.


Quick Hits: Athletics, Phillies, Red Sox, Denorfia

The Athletics have been successful recently because they excel at finding role players, and because manager Bob Melvin helps keep them happy, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes in a piece contrasting the A’s with the Yankees and Mets. “(Melvin) has a good feel of the heartbeat of the clubhouse. You can look around and see when a guy is unhappy, and he calls him in the office. The rest of us might not even know he is doing it,” says Nick Punto. The A’s also get lots of mileage out of players acquired from outside their organization, like Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jesse Chavez. Being in a lower-pressure environment may also help the A’s, who managed to keep their GM in place and take the time to build a top team despite not having a winning season from 2007 through 2011. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Phillies deny that they make a mistake in including prospect Domingo Santana on a list of potential players to be named in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade with the Astros, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. A story in the Houston Chronicle last week stated that Santana had been placed on the list of potential PTBNLs by accident. “There was no mistake,” says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. “If someone said that, they are misinformed because it’s absolutely, unequivocally wrong. It’s false.” Then-Astros GM Ed Wade requested that Santana be placed on the list, Amaro says.  Santana, 21, is now a top prospect with the Astros, hitting .292/.368/.485 so far this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
  • The biggest problem in the Red Sox‘ disappointing season has been its outfield, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. Britton suggests that the team’s decision to allow Jacoby Ellsbury to leave appears defensible, but there weren’t many good backup plans available if Jackie Bradley Jr. struggled, which he has. In addition, Daniel Nava has played poorly, and Shane Victorino has had injury trouble. In hindsight, Britton suggests, the best reasonable move might have been to acquire an outfielder like Chris Denorfia of the Padres in a trade.
  • Denorfia could be a hot name on the trade market this summer, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports predicts (scroll down). Denorfia can play all over the outfield and hit lefties, and he’ll be a free agent after the season. The Padres, meanwhile, have struggled, going 27-34 so far. Denorfia is hitting .265/.313/.368 in 167 plate appearances so far this season, although he’s hit better than that in four straight seasons before this one.

Cafardo On Red Sox, Denorfia, Cruz, Kemp

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that there were two disasters in the city of Toronto last year: mayor Rob Ford and the Blue Jays.  Despite the high expectations, the Blue Jays fell flat and they'll have to rally back this season to re-energize their fan base.  The Blue Jays are at a disadvantage, Cafardo writes, because players aren't always open to playing north of the border and tend not to realize how great it is until they're there.  More from this week's column.. 

  • The Brewers need a first baseman and Mike Carp of the Red Sox appears to be a good fit.  Whether Boston would deal him remains to be seen, however, as they enjoyed his off-the-bench contributions last season.  Carp has shown that he can play every day but he won’t get that opportunity with the Red Sox unless there’s an injury to Mike Napoli
  • While the Red Sox don’t believe they can carry another outfielder, they have expressed some interest in the PadresChris Denorfia, a righthanded bat with a little power who can play center field.  The Red Sox might be able to swing a move like this, Cafardo writes, if they deal Carp or Daniel Nava somewhere.
  • A few general managers think that a one-year pillow contract would make sense for free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz.  It seems that he needs to reestablish his value and if he'd do a one-year pact, it could open more opportunities for him with clubs like the Mariners, MetsBlue JaysOrioles, and others.  The 33-year-old remains one of the best power hitters out there, but teams are wary about PED guys after they’re off the stuff.
  • Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp could still be trade bait as he starts to show what he can do in spring training.  Said one scout familiar with Kemp, “I think he’s going to be a guy who will be OK this year, but you’ll get the best of Kemp the following year as he’s recovered completely from the ankle.
  • The Reds have been very quiet this offseason, but Homer Bailey’s name has come up quite often as possible trade bait.  In fact, they could possibly bring back Bronson Arroyo if they can deal Bailey.

Gammons On Gardner, Denorfia, Drew

Here are some hot stove items from Peter Gammons in his latest piece for his namesake website, GammonsDaily.com…

  • Gammons adds the Phillies to the list of teams who "have taken a run" at acquiring Brett Gardner from the Yankees.  Philadelphia is one of "at least a half-dozen teams" who have checked in on Gardner — we've seen the Tigers, Reds, Indians, and Giants also linked to Gardner earlier in the offseason.  Both Yankees president Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman have said they admire Gardner's play and aren't willing to move him, though Gammons feels that Cashman "won’t move [Gardner] until and unless [Cashman] has to for starting pitching."  This is just my speculation, but Gammons' phrasing could be a hint that the Yankees could shop Gardner if they fail to land Masahiro Tanaka.
  • The Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies are three of "at least a half-dozen teams" who have asked the Padres about Chris Denorfia.  Colorado's interest has presumably dried up due to their acquisition of Drew Stubbs.  San Diego GM Josh Byrnes isn't willing to discuss trading Denorfia as long as he feels the Padres can be contenders, and Byrnes thinks his club's offseason moves could put them in the playoff mix.  The Rangers also showed interest in Denorfia last July before the trade deadline.
  • Mets assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi recently claimed that his team was happy with Ruben Tejada as a starting shortstop and that the free agent shortstop market wasn't to the Mets' liking, but Gammons hears otherwise from an NL general manager.  The GM believes the Mets are concerned about their inexperience up the middle (Tejada at short, Juan Lagares in center and Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate) and are only seeming disinterested in Stephen Drew as part of negotiations with agent Scott Boras.
  • If Drew re-signs with the Red Sox, Gammons doesn't expect Boston to deal Will Middlebrooks, as the team still values his power.
  • The offseason's most interesting overlooked deal is the Athletics/Rangers swap that sent Craig Gentry to Oakland and Michael Choice to Texas, Gammons opines.  Gentry is a right-handed bat who can spell Coco Crisp in center or replace him in case of injury, and "the A’s think Gentry’s comp is at least Peter Bourjos," Gammons writes.  Choice, meanwhile, gives the Rangers a corner outfield bat who can spell Shin-Soo Choo against left-handed pitching.

AL West Notes: Athletics, Rangers, Astros

After a look at the AL East earlier this morning, let's turn our attention out west …

  • While the Athletics are looking to buttress their 4-game division lead by buying at the deadline, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that the club is finding supply to be limited. "Right now there are more buyers than there are sellers, more buyers than last year," says GM Billy Beane. Second base and starting pitching are the needs atop Oakland's wish list, team sources tell Hickey. In spite of the rotation's solid performance to date, Hickey says a trade could allow the team to utilize Brett Anderson in a bullpen role when he returns from injury. Citing Beane's apparent willingness to take on some relatively significant salary obligations, Hickey lists Jake Peavy (White Sox), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Bud Norris (Astros), and Kyle Lohse (Brewers) as potential targets.
  • After adding starter Matt Garza, the Rangers are looking at dealing for an outfielder, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Currently, says Heyman, Alex Rios of the White Sox is the most likely candidate for Texas. Heyman further notes, however, that the club could look to wait out the market in the hopes that players like Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, or the Giants' Hunter Pence become available, with Pence being the most likely among those to change hands. Texas has also considered Chris Denorfia of the Padres, Marlon Byrd of the Mets, and Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins, though Heyman notes that those options would rank below Rios in terms of impact. 
  • The Astros' Mark Appel is the highest-rated player from the recent amateur draft on MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's updated Top 100 prospects list. As Mayo explains in his overview of the changes to the list, the top overall choice leads a group of eight recently-drafted players to crack the top 100. Houston is tied with the Red Sox with the most total players to make Mayo's list, with eight apiece. In terms of a simple weighting metric that Mayo calls "Prospect Points," the 'Stros have the most overall prospect value in baseball in high-end prospects, followed closely by the Twins. Though the Astros passed on top overall prospect Byron Buxton in last year's draft, its strategy enabled it to land the players currently checking in at number nine (Carlos Correa) and number sixty-five (Lance McCullers) instead.

Latest On The Rangers’ Search For Hitters

Even after acquiring Matt Garza earlier this week, reports have indicated that the Rangers are looking for offensive upgrades. They've been linked to Alex Rios, Hunter Pence and Kendrys Morales already, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports now reports that the team has had internal discussions about re-acquiring Michael Young, given the news that Lance Berkman could miss the remainder of the season or even retire.

Heyman cautions that a Young trade isn't a likely outcome, and the Rangers are still more focused on adding outfield bats as they await the fate of Biogenesis-connected outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Yankees, Red Sox and Reds are all said to be considering Young as well. Heyman reports that the Rangers have also expressed interest in Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia and Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd, though reports indicate that the Mets feel little inclination to part with Byrd.

Texas has Manny Ramirez at Triple-A Round Rock, but his bat has cooled since a hot start, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported late last night that the team was unlikely to give Ramirez a shot anytime in the near future. Passan reported that the Rangers may not recall Ramirez at all, and one scout who watched Manny told Passan:

"This isn't Manny Ramirez. This is a 41-year-old still trying to play baseball and not doing it very well."

Ramirez is hitting .250/.318/.417 with three homers in 66 plate appearances since signing with the Rangers and reporting to Triple-A. He's struck out eight times and drawn six walks, but an evaluator told Passan that his bat "looked slow."


Rosenthal On Cardinals, Athletics, Stanton

Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Braves' rotation without veteran Tim Hudson, who sustained a season-ending ankle fracture last night.  Rosenthal notes it's a very young group without Hudson, and seems to be lacking a true number one starter.  Such a pitcher is probably not available on the trade market, which I imagine the Braves will be eyeing more keenly.  Elsewhere from Rosenthal's column:

  • The Cardinals are not actively pursuing the Astros' Bud Norris or the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle.  The Cards didn't push for Matt Garza, but did scout Jake Peavy's last start.  Ervin Santana is available as well, but Rosenthal wonders if "a trade might not be worth the trouble," given the Cardinals' current group of talented young pitchers.
  • The Red Sox never got serious on Garza due to concerns with his injury history.  The Red Sox and Tigers were the other AL clubs in on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was recently traded to the Orioles.
  • After making a late run at Garza, the Athletics are interested in Peavy and Santana.  Sometimes it helps to add to a strength, explains Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers ask the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton "every week," a Major League source tells Rosenthal, and keep hearing "no."  In addition to Alex Rios of the White Sox, the Rangers are considering Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Chris Denorfia of the Padres.  However, they have "not mounted a serious push" for Ruggiano, while the Padres don't plan to trade Denorfia or teammate Carlos Quentin.
  • "Some with the Brewers" wonder if the presence of Ryan Braun might make it more difficult to attract free agents.
  • The Phillies are "narrowing their search for a backup center fielder," writes Rosenthal, and the recently-designated Chris Dickerson could be one option.