- Cuban third baseman Yanio Perez has drawn interest from the Astros, Padres, Rangers, Reds and Rockies, as per a report from MLB Pipeline (Twitter link). The 20-year-old was ranked by Pipeline as the 10th-best player available in this year’s July 2 international market, and he is known to have impressive raw power, makeup and above-average speed. Perez is subject to international bonus pool guidelines.
Here’s the latest on some notable players whose names have popped up in trade speculation…
- The Phillies are scouting the Marlins’ rookie league affiliate for prospects in a possible Jeremy Hellickson trade, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). The two NL East rivals have been connected to Hellickson rumors for a few weeks now, as Miami is known to be searching for rotation help. Given the lack of premium talent within the Marlins’ farm system, Hellickson could be a more reasonable acquisition than other Marlins targets like Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore or even Chris Sale. The Pirates, Red Sox and Orioles are among the teams also linked to Hellickson in trade rumors.
- The Rangers are exploring many trade options and have been linked to multiple teams, though they don’t appear to have had any “substantive talks” with the Reds, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Texas has been linked to Jay Bruce, and the right fielder could be a fit with Shin-Soo Choo constantly battling injuries and Prince Fielder gone for the season, though Grant seems to imply that the Rangers’ interest in Bruce didn’t get too far. Anthony DeSclafani would certainly the attract the Rangers and other pitching-needy teams if Cincinnati made him available, though DeSclafani’s breakout year may have also made him into a building block for the rebuilding Reds.
- The Braves are “aggressively shopping” Erick Aybar and left-handed relievers, a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Aybar would seem to have limited trade value given his horrible year at the plate, as his brief hot streak in June gave way to more struggles in July. Southpaws Hunter Cervenka and Ian Krol have generated some trade buzz already, and it’s possible Atlanta could be trying to sell high on Dario Alvarez. (UPDATE: Rosenthal’s tweet also listed Jeff Francoeur as a trade chip, but he has since issued a correction saying that the Braves aren’t shopping Francoeur and will only deal him if they get a big offer.)
- The Twins are in “listening mode — at best” on right-hander Kyle Gibson, a source on a contender tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links). The Twins “appear more focused” on trading Ervin Santana or Ricky Nolasco, which is no surprise given that the team would love to get some salary relief from either of those big contracts. Gibson has yet to truly live up to his former top prospect status, though he put up solid numbers in 2015 as a low-strikeout ground ball specialist. Gibson will become eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter, and he is under team control through 2019.
- Also from Berardino (Twitter links), he speculates that the Twins could try to position themselves as the proverbial “third team” in a three-team trade. The Twins have some prospect depth that could be offered to contenders short on quality minor leaguers (Berardino cites the Marlins, Tigers, Mets and Orioles here) to help facilitate some deals, with Minnesota receiving some players who could help them next season but who are also still in their pre-arbitration years.
- The thinness of the pitching market means it would make sense for the rebuilding Reds to listen to offers for righty Anthony DeSclafani, according to Rosenthal, who adds that the timing might not be right for Cincinnati to deal him. Given that DeSclafani is under club control through the end of the 2020 season, the Reds could build around him or keep him for now and hope his trade value continues increasing. The 26-year-old has been stellar this season, notching a 2.50 ERA, 7.15 K/9 and 1.61 BB/9 in 50 1/3 innings.
- Sticking with Cleveland, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians “are not on” Reds right fielder Jay Bruce despite some other reports that have connected the two clubs. Rather, Cleveland is seeking left-handed relief pitchers and, when it comes to their preference between Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, Cleveland prefers the more controllable Miller to Chapman.
Reds right-hander Jon Moscot announced (on Twitter) today that he underwent elbow surgery, and C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted soon after that the 24-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery.
Moscot, a fourth-round pick of the Reds in 2012, debuted for Cincinnati last season and tossed 11 2/3 innings across three starts, and he’s made five starts for the 2016 Reds as well. Though Moscot has a solid minor league track record, having pitched to a 3.79 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in 448 1/3 innings, but he’s yet to see that success translate to the Majors. In 33 big league innings, he’s posted a 6.82 ERA with a 16-to-15 K/BB ratio and a 38.1 percent ground-ball rate. His 2015 campaign came to an end when he dislocated his non-throwing shoulder.
While Moscot has been working out of the club’s Triple-A rotation, his loss will serve as a hit to the club’s depth chart, though Cincinnati certainly has a large number of arms to vie for spots in the rebuilding rotation. Anthony DeSclafani, Dan Straily, Cody Reed and Brandon Finnegan currently sit in the Cincinnati rotation, with a mending Homer Bailey working his way back to join. Beyond that, the Reds have the recently demoted John Lamb in Triple-A as well as top prospects Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett as options in the near future. Beyond that grouping, right-handers Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias have both worked as starters for Cincinnati over the past year, though each is currently in the big league bullpen.
The Reds have claimed righty Abel De Los Santos off waivers from the Nationals, per an announcement from Washington. The Nats needed a 40-man spot to make way for the promotion of Reynaldo Lopez, who’ll take the active roster spot of the DL’ed Sammy Solis.
De Los Santos is a 23-year-old righty who came to the Nats in the 2014 trade that sent Ross Detwiler to the Rangers. He did reach the major league level briefly last year, but has spent most of his time in the last two campaigns in the upper minors.
This year, De Los Santos owns a 3.67 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 6.0 BB/9 across 34 1/3 frames split between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. His walk rate has been creeping up as he has ascended the ranks, but generally he seems like a useful potential future reliever. Cincinnati will start him off on optional assignment to Double-A.
- The Reds are expressing optimism over the most recent surgery for catcher Devin Mesoraco, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. Manager Bryan Price called it “preventative surgery,” with team and player taking advantage of his absence the rest of the way to do the work on his right hip that was previously performed on his left. Notably, Cincinnati expects that Mesoraco will be ready for catching drills in early 2017, and there’s clearly hope that he’ll be able to return to his duties behind the plate. Team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremcheck also discussed the procedure, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. There’s plenty of detail on the issue to digest, but the net of it seems to be that Mesoraco had begun to experience some signs of trouble and this proved a good time to get out ahead of the matter.
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, already out for the season due to shoulder surgery, underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip, the team announced today (Twitter link). Per the Reds, Mesoraco is targeting a mid- or late-January return to catching drills. This marks the second significant hip surgery for Mesoraco in the past year, as the 28-year-old underwent surgery to repair his other hip last season, cutting his 2015 campaign short.
Injuries have limited Mesoraco to a mere 39 games over the past two seasons, during which he’s batted just .158/.245/.200. Mesoraco’s inability to stay on the field has been one of a litany of factors in the Reds’ fall in the National League Central, and his shortened 2016 campaign deprives the club of what could have been a highly appealing trade candidate had he enjoyed a rebound from last season’s hip operation.
From a bigger-picture standpoint, a pair of hip surgeries is troubling for any player’s long-term health outlook but especially for a catcher, as Mesoraco’s position is the most physically demanding in the game. That his non-throwing shoulder was the shoulder that required surgery earlier this season is a small silver lining, but suffice it to say there will be ongoing questions about Mesoraco’s durability until he proves capable of handling a catcher’s workload in the wake of these operations. Cincinnati had already begun to experiment with deploying Mesoraco in left field last season in reaction to his initial hip injury, so perhaps they’ll be open to mixing in some outfield time for Mesoraco in the future in an effort to keep him healthy.
The timing of Mesoraco’s injury-plagued seasons couldn’t have been any worse for Cincinnati. Mesoraco enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2014, fulfilling his status as a long-heralded top prospect with a .273/.359/.534 batting line and 25 home runs. That led the Reds to lock him up with a well-deserved four-year, $28MM contract extension, but he’s scarcely been able to take the field since putting pen to paper on that deal.
The latest 10 Degrees column from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is rife with trade talks as the non-waiver deadline now sits just two weeks away. Passan begins by dedicating further ink to the oft-discussed Kyle Schwarber, writing that no player in baseball is more appealing to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, but the Cubs remain steadfast in their desire to hold onto him. Passan writes that perhaps if the Yankees were willing to part with both Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs could waver, but the commonly repeated refrain at this point seems to be that Chicago simply isn’t interested in moving Schwarber.
More highlights from Passan’s column, which is well worth a full look-through…
- The Yankees “are going to trade Chapman” within the next two weeks, Passan definitively notes on more than one occasion. While New York won’t fully tear down the roster, rental players like Chapman and Carlos Beltran figure to draw plenty of attention. Beltran’s poor defense makes him a tough sell to an NL club, but an AL club with a need at DH and some occasional outfield at-bats would significantly boost its lineup by adding Beltran to the mix.
- The Red Sox, Rangers, Orioles, Blue Jays and Dodgers are all expected to be in the bidding for Athletics ace Rich Hill, as are the Tigers, who have been calling around and asking about rotation upgrades, per Passan. The A’s, however, haven’t been willing to hold any meaningful talks about Sonny Gray, whose stock is at a low point right now in the wake of some highly uncharacteristic struggles. Passan also notes that Josh Reddick is “very unlikely” to reach an extension with Oakland at this juncture, though if the A’s were really only open to a three-year deal even as recently as July 9, I’d contend that it was never really a possibility in the first place.
- A match between the Rangers and Rays centering around controllable pitching is readily apparent, and some sources have expressed to Passan that they believe the Rangers are willing to part with prized slugger Joey Gallo in order to land a long-term rotation piece. Gallo, of course, is arguably the most powerful prospect in all of Minor League Baseball but doesn’t have a clear long-term fit on the Rangers’ roster now that Adrian Beltre has been extended. He could theoretically be shifted across the diamond to first base or transition to the outfield, though, if the Rangers do hold onto him, so it’s not as though he has nowhere to play on the club in the near future.
- Clubs that were pursuing Brad Ziegler were stunned by what the D-backs accepted in exchange for him, according to both Passan and Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (links to Twitter). Passan writes that the Indians, Blue Jays and Cubs all expressed interest in Ziegler and were all met with asking prices of Top 100-type or even Top 50-type prospects in return. Arizona, however, acquired a pair of prospects that weren’t nearly that well regarded in return. One NL GM who spoke to Gammons wondered if Dave Dombrowski’s close relationship with Tony La Russa impacted the negotiations.
- Scouts have raved about Matt Shoemaker since his return from the minors, with one telling Passan that his splitter is the best he’s seen this season. The Angels don’t want to go into a full rebuild and are loath to move controllable pitching, but Shoemaker would draw strong interest.
- The Reds don’t want to trade Anthony DeSclafani, but the dearth of quality arms on this summer’s trade market and on the upcoming free agent market gives Cincinnati a chance to cash in on what could potentially be a big chip. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted as much when examining the trade market for starting pitchers last week.
- The Indians, Rangers, Nationals, Orioles, Giants and Dodgers have all at least checked in on Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. Passan writes that Cleveland could be the favorite, which seems curious in light of Tyler Naquin’s recent breakout and reports that Michael Brantley is making better progress than expected. If such reports about Brantley are more of a smokescreen from the Cleveland front office than a genuine representation of the star outfielder’s progress, the interest in Bruce would make more sense. If not, it’s tough to see where Bruce would fit in with Naquin, Brantley, Rajai Davis and Jose Ramirez all representing outfield options (to say nothing of Lonnie Chisenhall, who is hitting well but not exactly replicating last season’s eye-popping defensive metrics). Cleveland has been more heavily tied to bullpen help of late, and, from my vantage point, had a greater need behind the plate than in the outfield even before the weekend injury to Yan Gomes.