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Chris Sale Rumors
The Cubs' rare visit to Yankee Stadium this week led to some introspection about how the Cubs have kept a modest payroll during their rebuild, while the Yankees responded to a non-playoff year by splurging on several major free agents. It was only a few years ago, however, that the Cubs themselves were a big free agent target, and C.C. Sabathia talked to reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times) about his interest in coming to Wrigley Field during the 2008-09 offseason. Wittenmyer reports that Sabathia let Cubs managment know, via his friend Derrek Lee, that he wanted to sign with Chicago that winter. Of course, Sabathia instead signed with the Yankees and the rest is history.
Here's the latest news about both the Cubs and White Sox…
- Jeff Samardzija feels a responsibility to the players' union to strive for a big contract, the Cubs righty tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney, and he doesn't seem to be a fan of some of the multiyear deals being signed by pre-arbitration pitchers around the game. "Personally, numbers and money don’t really drive me. What does drive me is protecting and setting up the players behind me, the future generations, so that I’m not signing any of these crummy early deals for seven or eight years," Samardzija said. "When you’re hitting your prime and you’re hitting free agency — like it’s supposed to be done — then that’s the way it sets up for guys behind you. I definitely have a responsibility to the players that are younger than me and approaching arbitration or approaching free agency to keep the numbers where they should be."
- The Cubs need to accept that paying a high price for an ace pitcher is the cost of doing business and thus sign Samardzija to an extension, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune opines.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer appeared on the Kap & Haugh radio show to express his belief that the Cubs will soon once again become a popular landing spot for players. "Theo [Epstein] and I have no concern guys will want to play here from around baseball when we get this turned. We’ll be a destination for guys," Hoyer said (quote from David Kaplan's Twitter account).
- Hoyer, Epstein and the White Sox scouting director attended a recent start from East Carolina right-hander Jeff Hoffman, ESPN's Keith Law tweets. The Sox and Cubs pick third and fourth, respectively, in the June amateur draft and Hoffman is expected to be an early choice off the board — Baseball America recently ranked Hoffman fifth on their list of draft prospects.
- Chris Sale carried some red flags in the 2010 draft but the White Sox are enjoying the fruits of taking a chance on the southpaw with their 13th overall pick, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan writes. Sale's status as "the player with no comps" made many teams worry that he couldn't handle a starter's workload, let alone become an ace.
Matt Kemp's agent, former MLB pitcher Dave Stewart, told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that he expects his client to be traded this offseason. Said Stewart: "I haven't heard a player's name floated around like that and something not happen." Stewart may be thinking back to last offseason's Justin Upton saga with that comment, but it's worth noting that several big-name trade candidates have been rumored to be on the block only to stay put, with Chase Headley coming to mind off the bat for me. Here's more out of the NL West…
- The Diamondbacks are one of the teams with the most aggressive interest in White Sox ace Chris Sale, but there's no guarantee that the Sox have made him available, per ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Earlier today it was reported that the Sox are looking to move a starting pitcher, but Sale would require an even bigger package than David Price will command.
- "I think we are still in the market for a starting pitcher, another bat, and as I've said before, our bullpen is not closed," Rockies director of Major League operations told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Owner Dick Monfort recently said he could see the payroll stretching to $95MM, Saunders notes.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports that the Rockies were "deep" in talks with the A's for Brett Anderson last week but talks slowed due to concerns over Anderson's medical reports. Harding notes that the two sides could resume talks this week.
- The Padres and Diamondbacks could be two teams to show interest in recently DFA'ed Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks, writes Mike Beradino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. D-Backs GM Kevin Towers was the Padres' GM when San Diego finished runner-up to the Twins in bidding for the Australian right-hander as a free agent. Likewise, Padres director of international scouting Randy Smith was in the same role with San Diego when the Twins signed Hendriks in 2007.
The White Sox are looking to move a starting pitcher, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. While the Sox would love to unload John Danks' contract, they recognize how difficult that would be. Passan adds that Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago are both available. In order to move Chris Sale, the White Sox would need a package even bigger than the one that expected to be needed to land David Price, according to Passan (Twitter links).
Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with an executive that has been in regular contact with the Sox regarding Sale (Twitter link) and was told: "We have asked million times about Sale and never felt they would trade him." Likewise, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune spoke with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf who said that while the only untradeable player he's seen in his time as chairman of the White Sox and Bulls was Michael Jordan, the team isn't looking to move Sale and sees him as a big part of its success going forward.
Quintana has been said to be off limits in trades, though reports last night indicated that the Padres have asked for Quintana in trades for Chase Headley. Quintana can be controlled through 2018 while Santiago is controllable through 2017. Santiago has been said to be easier to acquire than Quintana.
As for Danks, he is owed $42.75MM through the 2016 season — an average annual value of $14.25MM. Still just 28 years old, Danks underwent shoulder surgery in 2012 and has a 5.02 ERA over 192 innings over the past two seasons.
The White Sox are open to discussing trades for Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi notes that Sale, who can be controlled for a whopping six years at just over $55MM, would command significantly more than even David Price could net the Rays. Morosi runs down a list of several reasons as to why it could make sense for the ChiSox to move their ace this offseason. Here are a few more links pertaining to the South Siders…
- Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago spoke to White Sox GM Rick Hahn this morning (Twitter link). Hahn told Hayes that he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't at least listen to offers, but he would need an "unfathomable" return to part with Sale.
- One GM told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he thinks teams are pushing the White Sox to reconsider their unwillingness to part with Sale when asked this morning (Twitter link).
- The White Sox are in the process of trying to bring Juan Uribe back to Chicago, reports David Vassegh of FOX Sports 570 AM Radio in Los Angeles (on Twitter). Uribe would fill a need for the Sox, though as GM Rick Hahn told me at last month's GM Meetings, his team prefers left-handed bats.
- The White Sox never got involved on Chicago native Curtis Granderson, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Grandy Man signed a four-year, $60MM deal with the Mets last week.
As the White Sox look to rebound from their 99-loss season, everyone is available on the trade block. Well, almost everyone. Avisail Garcia, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and the newly-acquired Jose Dariel Abreu are off limits, executives told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
Meanwhile, multiple MLB execs confirmed that the White Sox are open to any and all avenues to reconstruct the roster, outside of moving those four players, of course. General Manager Rick Hahn wouldn't comment on three of the four but he did take the time to say that Sale is off limits.
“There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success,” Hahn said. “Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.”
The Orioles currently stand to take the second wild card spot in the American League, and they've already bolstered their pitching staff with the additions of Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. Here's the latest on their trade targets, courtesy of Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:
- Connolly feels the Phillies' Michael Young is the best fit for the Orioles at DH, but the team hasn't made an aggressive push for him at this point. Connolly expects Young to go elsewhere if traded.
- The Orioles are interested in the Mets' Marlon Byrd. However, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes today that Byrd is "highly unlikely" to be traded. Connolly also believes Mariners lefty reliever Oliver Perez is the most likely player to be acquired by the Orioles.
- Connolly says to forget about Cliff Lee and Jake Peavy. Instead, the O's have coveted the Astros' Bud Norris and Chris Sale of the White Sox.
- Connolly expects the Orioles to pass on the Twins' Justin Morneau.
- Orioles minor leaguers Mike Wright, Tim Berry, and Christian Walker have piqued teams' interests.
- Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette feels he has the money and prospects to make a deal, if the right one comes along.
Much of the chatter from the AL Central has centered around Jake Peavy of the White Sox. You can catch up on Monday's Peavy rumors here, but there's still plenty of other trade talk surrounding the division. Here's the latest out of the AL Central with less than 48 hours until the trade deadline…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who told Sherman that the club's acquisition of Jose Veras earlier today will likely be the lone move he makes prior to the deadline (Twitter link).
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Tigers have maintained trade dialogue with the Giants, even after the Veras acquisition.
- The White Sox are still telling teams that ace Chris Sale is not available in trades, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- MLB.com contributor Joel Hammond conducted a Q&A with Indians GM Chris Antonetti regarding the upcoming trade deadline. Antonetti conceded that the bullpen needs to get better at retiring left-handed batters and also discussed how changes in the newest CBA have impacted the summer trading process. Antonetti told Hammond that August might now represent a better opportunity to acquire players, as there will be more separation from bubble teams who aren't sure whether to buy or sell in July.
- Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City examines the roadblocks that would get in the way of the Royals acquiring Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar from the Angels. Both members of the Halos' double-play tandem are reportedly on the market, and either could fill the Royals' gap at second base. However, the prospect price tag and salary implications are difficult to overcome, Flanagan notes.
- The Royals scouted the Twins in their recent series against the Mariners, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Berardino doesn't list specific names, but remember that Twins GM Terry Ryan didn't mind dealing within the division last summer when he sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox.
If Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports were in charge of the White Sox, he would make Chris Sale available via trade. With an incredibly thin starting pitching market, some smart team is going to capitalize and put a top-of-the-rotation hurler in play and the White Sox should be that team. Some in baseball believe Sale can be had but one GM on the lookout for a starter says that he has had numerous conversations with Rick Hahn, and Hahn never once has mentioned Sale. Sale is only 24 and is in the first year of a club-friendly, five-year, $32.5MM contract that includes club options of $12.5MM for 2018 and and $13.5MM for ’19. Here's more on the White Sox..
- The Red Sox are looking everywhere for relief help and are interested in White Sox relievers Addison Reed, Matt Thornton, and Matt Lindstrom, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The White Sox have been asking for major-league ready or near-ready prospects in their trade talks, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) suggets five blockbuster trades for teams, including a swap between the White Sox and Pirates. Bowden's hypothetical has Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez heading to Pittsburgh for outfielder Gregory Polanco, pitcher Nick Kingham, and shortstop Jordy Mercer. Bowden reasons that the deal will give the White Sox an excellent prospect in Polanco while allowing them to get younger and free up dollars.
The latest out of the American League Central…
- Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com spoke with a league source who confirmed Jon Heyman's report from earlier this week that the White Sox are open for business, with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. Hayes' source said that in the event the Sox were to make Sale available, he'd fetch an even larger haul than the Padres received for Mat Latos.
- The Twins have begun to receive phone calls on Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morneau is a free agent at season's end, while Willingham is owed $7MM in 2014.
- The Twins will not be in attendance for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's showcase in Tijuana tonight, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The Twins have seen Gonzalez "a ton" already, he adds, noting that his price tag makes him a long shot for Minnesota.
- Indians minor league right-hander Dillon Howard has been suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Howard was the Tribe's second-round selection in 2011 and ranked as the team's No. 25 prospect prior to the season, according to Baseball America.
We heard last week that the White Sox had begun to receive calls on their veteran players. Now, rival executives tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the ChiSox are "open for business" and willing to discuss anyone on their roster with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko.
That means that even John Danks, who just last year signed a five-year, $65MM extension with the Sox, could be had in the right deal. The team also has desirable trade chips like Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton and Jake Peavy (though he's currently on the DL). Heyman also adds that Jeff Keppinger's name has already come up in conversations, despite the fact that he signed a three-year deal just this past offseason.
Not surprisingly, one executive told Heyman that Adam Dunn will be difficult to move. Dunn is owed $15MM in 2014 and is hitting .194/.303/.460 this season. Another said that Peavy will be tough to find a match for as well. The White Sox will have a high asking price on their co-ace, but teams won't have much time to determine if he's truly healthy.
Another executive told Heyman that the Mets could look at Ramirez as a potential long-term option at shortstop. While he's not hitting for power anymore, Ramirez is batting .280/.308/.345 with 18 stolen bases and outstanding defense, according to advanced metrics like UZR and DRS. He's owed $10MM in 2014 and has a $10MM club option for 2015 on his contract as well.