Chris Denorfia Rumors
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.
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."
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.
The Padres have agreed to a contract extension with outfielder Chris Denorfia that will keep him in San Diego through 2014, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter). The Pro Star Management client will earn $2MM in 2013 and $2.25 in '14, Brock tweets.
“We are excited to extend Chris to a two-year contract through 2014,” said General Manager Josh Byrnes. “He has proven to be a valuable and versatile player for us over the last three seasons, and his style of play is infectious.”
Denorfia's deal will cover his final year of arbitration eligibility as well as his first free agent season. The 32-year-old has a .279/.340/.419 slash line across three seasons with the Padres. Denorfia has experience at all three outfield positions but has primarily played the corners since 2011.
This season, Denorfia is earning $1.165MM after avoiding arbitration with the Padres in December. Byrnes reportedly received a good amount of trade interest in the outfielder prior to this year's deadline but opted to hold on to him.
- The Dodgers won't trade top pitching prospect Zach Lee for a rental player like Ryan Dempster, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). We heard earlier today that Los Angeles had made the Cubs an offer for Dempster.
- Though the Diamondbacks and Pirates have had trouble connecting on a trade match for Justin Upton, the outfielder remains "at or near the top" of Pittsburgh's search for a hitter, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Diamondbacks have signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Ismael Pena, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Badler describes Pena as "a 6-foot-3, 175-pound lefty with a sound swing, a good approach and a hit-first, power-second profile. He's an average runner with a 45 to 50 arm on the 20-80 scale."
- Huston Street was "aggressively" pursued by the Mets last winter, a source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter link), but through the Mets are searching for bullpen help now, they don't think the Padres will move the closer. We heard earlier today that the Padres were looking to propose long-term extensions to Street and Carlos Quentin before the trade deadline.
- Street and Chris Denorfia have drawn more trade interest than Quentin, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Also from Center, the Pirates and Orioles are "among the teams pushing hardest" for Chase Headley. Center added the Mariners to the long list of Headley's suitors. The third baseman himself says he has heard "between six and 10 teams" have shown interest.
Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
- The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
- The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
- The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
- The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
- The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
- The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
- Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.
The Padres have agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal worth $800K, but two of San Diego's other outfielders may find themselves on the open market before long. MLB.com's Corey Brock hears that the Padres will non-tender Tony Gwynn Jr. and Scott Hairston (Twitter links).
Most MLBTR readers said R.A. Dickey was the best minor league signing of the year when we voted earlier in the month, but the Mets fell out of contention long ago, so Dickey didn't have much of an impact on this year's pennant race. The five minor league deals below had lasting effects on the 2010 pennant race:
- Rays sign Joaquin Benoit - The reliever has a 1.39 ERA in 61 games with 11.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. Amazingly, Benoit has allowed just 28 hits in 58.1 innings.
- Reds sign Miguel Cairo - There are bigger stars on the Reds, but Cairo has batted .289/.352/.411 and played all four infield positions. Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty deserves credit for this find.
- Yankees sign Marcus Thames - Thames has hit .287/.352/.500 this year with 12 homers in 227 plate appearances.
- Giants sign Pat Burrell - GM Brian Sabean bought low on Burrell, who has responded with 17 homers and an .869 OPS in San Francisco. Burrell is playing the way he did in 2008 and without that kind of production, the Giants probably wouldn't be leading the NL West.
- Padres sign Chris Denorfia - Denorfia has hit .264/.332/.435 in 302 plate appearances for the Padres, who have seen outfielders Tony Gwynn and Kyle Blanks miss significant time with injuries.
The San Diego Padres have signed Chris Denorfia to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. Denorfia, who will receive an invite to Spring Training, has posted respectable career numbers in the majors (.279/.356/.380), albeit in only 237 plate appearances. The 29-year-old outfielder spent the last two years with the Oakland A's organization.
Meanwhile, Brock also shares some information from Padres CEO Jeff Moorad regarding Adrian Gonzalez. Moorad says that "there's nothing active" or currently "on the table" involving the first baseman. The Red Sox have been linked to Gonzalez most frequently in trade rumors, but Moorad doesn't believe GMs Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have had any conversations since the Winter Meetings. Still, Moorad concedes the Padres would "be silly not to listen" on any Gonzalez offer that would "dramatically improve" the club. The catch there, of course, is that even a strong haul of prospects probably has no chance of dramatically improving the Padres for at least a year or two.
One more note from Moorad: After the Padres slashed payroll by nearly $30MM heading into 2009, the team may have a little more breathing room this winter. Moorad says Hoyer "has money to spend, not a lot, but money to spend." San Diego's 2009 salaries totaled around $43MM, while 2010 could potentially see them up closer to $50MM. This slight flexibility perhaps explains the club's decision to retain Kevin Correia, following rumors that the righty would be non-tendered.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A's and Red Sox are "believed to be discussing Coco Crisp again." Slusser wonders whether the Sox could target Chris Denorfia.
Crisp is guaranteed $11MM over the next two seasons, assuming his 2010 option is bought out. Oakland seems like a nice fit for Crisp as they seem likely to fully appreciate the value of his tough-to-quantify defense.
There seems only a slim chance Crisp makes the Japan trip with the Sox. He's making progress on his groin injury, but any acquiring team is probably going to want to see him in games first.