Cleveland Indians Rumors

Cleveland Indians trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Reactions To And Impact Of The Troy Tulowitzki Deal

The blockbuster trade sending start shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies to the Blue Jays is now official. He’s officially heading to Toronto along with veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. In return, the Rockies will pick up the rest of the contract of Jose Reyes (saving about $50MM against Tulo’s deal) and add three quality right-handed pitching prospects (Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco).

Here are the some of the many reactions to the overnight deal, along with the latest notes from the teams involved:

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ persistent approach paid off in the end, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. According to Rosenthal, Anthopoulos first contacted Rockies GM Jeff Bridich about the possibility of acquiring Tulowitzki this winter, but Bridich wasn’t interested in taking on Reyes as part of the return. The same held true in May, but there was a bit of traction in early July, and business picked up quickly on Monday night. (Rosenthal adds that Anthopoulos took the same dogged approach with A’s GM Billy Beane in offseason talks for Josh Donaldson.)
  • After being promised that he’d be consulted prior to any trade, Tulowitzki instead found out when manager Walt Weiss, with tears in his eyes, pulled the franchise cornerstone from the game in the ninth inning on Monday, reports Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. The Rockies, Passan continues, asked that Tulo not publicly demand a trade so as not to weaken their stance in discussions, and he obliged. Both Passan and Rosenthal note that Tulowitzki is not pleased with the manner in which his exit from Colorado was handled. Notably, Passan writes that the Rockies’ young players have said to one another since the trade that owner Dick Monfort should have flown into Chicago to inform Tulowitzki in person. This type of ugly exit sets a bad precedent with remaining stars around whom the Rockies want to build (e.g. Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickerson), Passan opines.
  • As for Arenado, he expressed some dismay at the situation to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post“I don’t know any of these dudes we got,” Arenado said. “But I think if we were going to trade Tulo, I would think it would be for an ace, an established veteran pitcher. Obviously we are starting to rebuild from the ground up.” (To be fair, it seems that Arenado was referring to the prospect pitching that came back in the deal, not the veteran Reyes.)
  • Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays are still intent on adding starting pitching, and he speculatively wonders if the addition of Tulowitzki’s imposing bat will make it easier for the Blue Jays to part with Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to make that happen. But reports have indicated that won’t occur, and GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed in his press conference that the team does not intend to move its big league bats to add arms (via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, on Twitter). In Passan’s piece above, he notes that the team will be active on the pitching front but deal from its prospect depth instead of its big league roster.
  • The team does, however, intend to remain active on the market for relievers and, especially, starters. Anthopoulos said he hopes to make staff additions over the next few days, as Sportsnet’s Arash Madani tweets.
  • Coming out of this deal, the Jays could look to add another option in left field, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. He also cites a report from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun regarding the failure of Toronto’s recent attempt to pry Carlos Carrasco away from the Indians. Hoffman would have been a part of that deal, along with highly-regarded prospects Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey, which could explain in part how things worked out. (It’s also an indication of what kind of price Carrasco could command.)
  • Looking ahead, Anthopoulos says that the Blue Jays see Tulowitzki as a future piece for the club, as Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports on Twitter“We would have taken Tulowitzki in the offseason, we just couldn’t get a deal done,” said the Toronto GM. “This is not a July deal.”
  • Several rival executives believe the Rockies will keep Reyes with hopes that he’ll regain some value over the second half, Passan tweets. Certainly, playing at Coors Field promises to boost his batting line, though injuries have long been an issue for the Rockies. The strategy certainly does make some sense at first glance, though, as the team may not be prepared to hand the everyday job to prospect Trevor Story and Reyes could find a much wider market over the winter. I’d also add that he could factor as an August trade piece in the event that a contender has a need arise.
  • The Cardinals talked with the Rockies about Tulowitzki before he was moved, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Morosi notes that Tulowitzki is close with outfielder Matt Holliday, so that might have been a good fit for the shortstop.
  • The Rockies and Cardinals have discussed Tulo in the past, but a deal never came together because the asking price was “absurd,” one source tells Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.  Various sources have indicated that the Rockies sought a package that included, at times, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams — and possibly all three. That was too much for the Cardinals, who also made it clear that Michael Wacha was not going to be in such a deal.
  • The Yankees, meanwhile, were never even engaged by the Rockies before the deal was struck, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. While New York had long seemed a plausible destination, we also heard earlier today that the Mets passed on an opportunity to get involved.
  • It was notable, of course, that the Jays made this big of a splash to add a position player, but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues that the team’s desire to add pitching shouldn’t preclude it from upgrading in any way possible. Bolstering the team’s lineup (as well as its defense) still adds runs to the ledger, and Cameron suggests that Toronto may well be correct in assessing that it made more sense to utilize its young arms in this deal than to move them for a rental arm (or, perhaps, a somewhat less productive and/or risky controllable starter). It’s a lengthy and detailed piece — all the more impressive since Cameron pulled it together not long after the deal went down — and is well worth a full read.
  • Obviously, Toronto did give up real value to bring in one of the game’s biggest stars. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs breaks down the three hurlers involved in the swap. He explains that Jeff Hoffman still has plenty of upside, but appears to have dialed back the aggressiveness in his delivery since his return from Tommy John surgery. Miguel Castro, meanwhile, has a live arm but needs significant refinement. And Jesus Tinoco fits roughly the same profile, delivering ample tools to dream on but figuring as a possible future pen arm if he does not develop as hoped.
  • For ESPN.com’s Keith Law, despite the promise of the departing arms, the deal represents a win for the Jays given that they did not have to part with either Norris or Aaron Sanchez. He sees Hoffman more as a future mid-rotation starter than a top-line arm, with Castro looking like a strong future reliever and Tinoco a back-end rotation piece.

Angels Acquire David Murphy From Indians

The Angels announced that they’ve acquired outfielder David Murphy from the Indians in exchange for infield prospect Eric Stamets. Initial news of the swap came just minutes before the Angels announced the acquisition of fellow lefty-swinging outfielder David DeJesus.

David  Murphy

Murphy, 33, is making $6MM this season and has a $500K buyout on his $7MM 2016 team option. He has slashed .296/.344/.437 with five homers in 229 plate appearances this season for the Indians, serving primarily as a platoon option in the corner outfield.

The Angels already have lefty hitters (Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun) in the outfield corners, although Joyce has struggled this season. It stands to reason, then, that Murphy and DeJesus will provide the Angels with a pair of lefty bats to deploy in left field and at DH. Either would make a fine platoon partner for the recently acquired Shane Victorino, and they could both find themselves in the lineup versus tough righties, perhaps at the expense of young first baseman/designated hitter C.J. Cron.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Monday that Murphy was on the Halos’ radar.

When faced with the possibility that he could lose playing time back in January, Murphy said that he would be open to a trade.  Many months later, Murphy has been moved out of Cleveland, though his playing time didn’t dip much in 2015.

Stamets, a 23-year-old shorstop, was a sixth-round pick of the Halos in 2012. In Double-A this year, the defensive-minded Stamets has hit .248/.306/.360 with three homers in 241 plate appearances. The youngster has also swiped five bases.

Baseball America ranked Stamets as the No. 23 prospect in the Angels’ system following the 2014 season. “Stamets would be one of the top prospects in baseball if he could hit as well as he plays defense,” BA writes.

Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times first reported (via Twitter) that the Angels were about to acquire Murphy. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that an agreement was in place (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted Stamets’ inclusion.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Marlins Fielding Interest In Marcell Ozuna; Indians Have Inquired

The Marlins have been getting calls on outfielder Marcell Ozuna, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter links). According to his colleague, Barry Jackson (via Twitter), the Marlins front office is gathering today to decide how to proceed with Ozuna.

One club that’s placed a call is the Indians, says Spencer, who adds that Miami has sent scouts to watch Cleveland’s starters. While it may be too soon to tell whether there’s serious interest between the two clubs, it’s certainly an intriguing possibility.

Both the Marlins and the Indians have been expected to hold onto controllable talent, but obviously there’s a possibility that similar assets could be swapped to better meet each club’s needs. Miami pulled off just such a deal last summer when it acquired Jarred Cosart.

Ozuna, 24, rebuffed Miami’s efforts over the winter to make him the third young outfielder to reach a long-term extension. He’s since been demoted to Triple-A after a .249/.301/.337 start to the season. Of course, Ozuna showed much more last year, putting up a .772 OPS with 23 home runs and contributing strong defense in center. And he’s done nothing but rake since going back to the minors.

We’ve addressed the Indians’ rotation chips several times in recent days, as reports have emerged suggesting that the team will at least listen on its various interesting pieces. A young player with Ozuna’s upside and control would obviously hold significant appeal, and he’s probably the kind of piece that would need to be involved to get something done. It remains unclear which particular pitchers would prove most enticing to the Fish, but names like Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer could all conceivably hold significant appeal.



Outfield Market Notes: Maybin, Reddick, Mets, Angels, Parra, Gomez

Though the Braves have fielded plenty of interest in the revived Cameron Maybin, and have considered moving him, the team now feels it “would need to be blown away with an offer” to make a deal, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Contrary to an earlier report, Bowman adds, an Atlanta source vehemently denied the suggestion that Maybin had been dangled in an earlier effort to add Angel Pagan of the Giants. Maybin, 28, has been one of the game’s best turnaround stories, with his play dramatically altering perceptions of both his contract and the deal that brought him to Atlanta (which was already widely viewed as a Braves win).

Here’s more on the still-developing outfield market, which just saw one move with Shane Victorino heading to the Angels:

  • The Athletics seem unlikely to move outfielder Josh Reddick, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. In his comments after today’s Tyler Clippard trade, GM Billy Beane said that his club is not presently working on deals involving players who are under future control.
  • Despite a trio of acquisitions already completed, the Mets are still looking at a handful of outfield options, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets. New York has, of course, just brought up top prospect Michael Conforto with Michael Cuddyer on the DL, but the team also designated John Mayberry Jr. and could use another quality option.
  • A source also tells Marc Carig of Newsday that the Mets are still shopping for outfield bats. Carig notes that the team could wait for asking prices to drop on deadline day.
  • The Angels are also still looking at left-handed hitting outfielders after adding Victorino, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that Jay Bruce (Reds), David Murphy (Indians), and Ben Revere (Phillies) are all still on their radar.
  • Gerardo Parra of the Brewers is also a player that the Angels are interested in, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Heyman breaks down his market, citing the Mets and Orioles as prime suitors (along with the Halos) for the left-handed hitter. There’s also a classic mystery team involved, per the report.
  • Heyman adds that some in the Brewers organization do not believe that Carlos Gomez will end up being dealt. Milwaukee is somewhat hesitant to move an affordable, in-prime player with control remaining.
  • Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Trade Market series for all the most likely outfield trade pieces. We’ve covered both center field candidates as well as corner options.

Rosenthal On Gomez, Rangers, Choo, Gyorko

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez is attracting interest from contenders and non-contenders alike.  The Rangers and Indians have reached out, while the Giants and Astros find Gomez appealing.  Rosenthal notes that the Giants may not have the prospects required, while the Astros “appear more focused on bullpen help.”  Gomez is under contract next year for just $9MM, after which he’ll reach free agency as a 30-year-old.  In a June 1st poll, 80% of MLBTR readers said the Brewers should trade Gomez this summer.  He would appeal to many teams beyond the four listed by Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers are “acting aggressively as both buyers and sellers,” according to Rosenthal.  That explains the interest in Gomez and Cole Hamels and their willingness to listen on pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Wandy Rodriguez, who will be free agents after the season.  I should note that Colby Lewis will also be a free agent after the season, but he’s chosen to stay with Texas multiple times when given the opportunity to shop around.  On Friday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had quotes from Rangers GM Jon Daniels about the team’s deadline stance.
  • Rosenthal says the Indians are similarly looking at both additions and subtractions this week, “exploring deals for players who could fit for next season and beyond while listening to proposals for their starting pitchers and corner players such as David Murphy and Ryan Raburn.”  Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca wrote yesterday that the Indians came close to trading pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the Blue Jays, but the deal fell apart for unknown reasons and is no longer on the table.
  • The Rangers are expected to trade Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, Rosenthal writes.  I imagine that may require some kind of bad contract swap, as Choo recently turned 33, can block deals to ten teams, and is owed $102MM from 2016-20.
  • The Padres are shopping second baseman Jedd Gyorko hard, tweets Rosenthal.  The 26-year-old signed an extension under the previous Padres regime, and at the deadline he’ll be owed more than $33MM through 2019.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote about Gyorko and all the other second base trade candidates last week.  Rosenthal suggests the Padres could rid themselves of Gyorko’s contract by attaching him to a more desirable player, pitcher Tyson Ross for example.  The Braves employed this tactic in April, pairing Melvin Upton with Craig Kimbrel.

AL Notes: Blue Jays, Carrasco, Rangers

The Blue Jays, who are on the lookout for pitching help, are still in talks with the Padres about both starters and relievers, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The Padres, of course, have starters Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. The Jays’ payroll could be an issue, however. Morosi writes that, for example, it would be tough for the Jays to take on the remainder of Kimbrel’s contract. Kimbrel is due about $4MM the rest of the season, plus $11MM in 2016, $13MM in 2017 and a $1MM buyout on a $13MM option in 2018. Here’s more from the American League.

  • The Blue Jays and Indians nearly completed a deal involving starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. It’s not clear why the deal wasn’t completed, but Carrasco would have provided a long-term fix for the Jays’ rotation — Carrasco is signed through 2018, with team options for 2019 and 2020, and his outstanding peripherals (10.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 2015) suggest he has a strong foundation for future success. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday that the Jays had made a “big push” to trade for Carrasco.
  • The Rangers‘ solid recent play suggests that they should make moves to improve their pitching, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. They’re still in the playoff race, but Rangers starters have struggled to work deep into games, and they have a weak bullpen. The team has already decided to steer clear of big names on the rental market, though they’ve been connected to Cole Hamels along with Cashner and Ross.

Angels Interested In David Murphy

The Angels are among the teams interested in Indians corner outfielder David Murphy, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports report (on Twitter). The lefty-hitting Murphy is in the midst of a solid season in Cleveland in which he’s batted .299/.347/.443 in 224 plate appearances. The 33-year-old is making $6MM this season and has a $500K buyout on his $7MM 2016 team option.

The Angels already have lefty hitters (Matt Joyce and Kole Calhoun) in the outfield corners, although Joyce has struggled this season, and Murphy could also help righty C.J. Cron (who has a .679 OPS this season and has done most of his damage against lefties) at DH. Last week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Indians would like to receive younger hitters in return for Murphy or Ryan Raburn.


Indians “Not Motivated” To Deal Starter; Dodgers, Red Sox Have Inquired

The Dodgers and Red Sox have expressed interest in the Indians group of controllable, high-quality starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. But Cleveland is “not motivated” to move an arm unless a “very compelling deal” is presented, per the report (and as GM Chris Antonetti recently said himself).

We heard yesterday that the Blue Jays were looking hard at Carlos Carrasco, with the Indians willing at least to listen. But it seems that Toronto’s efforts have fallen short, at least for the present.

It’s not surprising to hear that Cleveland is getting hits on its starters, which include Carrasco, reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and younger arms such as Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. (Which particular pitchers are receiving the interest has not been reported.) With lengthy and affordable control over all of those pitchers, it would surely take a very significant offer to get something done.

While the Dodgers are an obvious buyer, the Red Sox are not — at least in the traditional sense. But we’ve heard that Boston is considering future-oriented buy-side moves, and that makes Cleveland an interesting potential trade partner.

While both of those clubs are obviously among the larger-budget teams in the sport, that doesn’t make productive, cost-controlled pitching any less valuable to them. Of course, Los Angeles and Boston are also among the organizations best-equipped to take on other salary commitments from the Indians in order to facilitate a trade.


AL East Notes: Orioles, Samardzija, Soria, Carrasco, Latos

Despite very public statements indicating that the team is all in on 2015, the Orioles are now giving “serious consideration” to selling, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links), Baltimore owner Peter Angelos has previously been disinclined to authorize such a move, but that could change (at least in theory) with several of the team’s better players set to reach free agency. Of course, executive vice president Dan Duquette said on Wednesday that his club will be a buyer. But a sweep at the hands of the division-leading Yankees has certainly impacted the team’s chances of making a run at the AL East.

Here’s more from the division:

  • The Blue Jays remain in “active discussions” with the White Sox about right-hander Jeff Samardzija, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Jays have been said to have “strong” interest in adding Samardzija, a potential free agent at the end of the season. Upgrading the pitching staff is the Blue Jays’ top priority in the week leading up to the trade deadline, and Samardzija, whose eight-inning gem on Thursday dropped his ERA to 3.91, would certainly do that. Over his past eight outings, Samardzija has a 2.55 ERA, and he’s lasted at least seven innings in each of those contests. As Peter Gammons pointed out earlier today on Twitter, for a team with bullpen woes in addition to rotation troubles, adding a pitcher that is capable of effectively working deep into games should carry even greater appeal.
  • If the Tigers do end up selling, the Blue Jays will have interest in closer Joakim Soria, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit News. Soria would be a pure rental, as he’s a free agent at the end of the year. He’s earning $7MM and has posted an even 3.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in his 39 innings this season, though he’s also had an unusually difficult time with home runs, which could make pitching at the Rogers Centre a challenge.
  • The Blue Jays‘ pursuit of Scott Kazmir illustrates that it’s “becoming more clear” that the team is open to a rental acquisition, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Davidi notes that the Kazmir talks were never going to get off the ground based on the asking price — “think Jeff Hoffman or Daniel Norris,” says Davidi — especially considering Kazmir’s injury scares. Health concerns are another reason to wonder if the Blue Jays will seriously pursue Johnny Cueto or not, he adds. While the Blue Jays may be warming to the idea of a rental arm, they can’t afford to have their acquisition miss any time, and Cueto’s had a pair of minor elbow issues in 2015.
  • While the Blue Jays made a “big push” to land Carlos Carrasco from the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), the trade simply “didn’t get done.” Cleveland isn’t necessarily motivated to trade a starter, though they’re also not entirely ruling out the possibility.
  • The Yankees have shown at least some interest in Marlins righty Mat Latos, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports on Twitter. They join a growing list of clubs that have shown some inclination to take a chance on Latos’s resurgence and past success. New York has given public indication that it is not lining up any major moves, but it would be surprising if it does not at least make a few acquisitions at areas of need, and rotation depth could certainly make sense.

Nick Hagadone Out Six To Nine Months Following Elbow Surgery

Indians left-hander Nick Hagadone underwent an elbow procedure that is being termed “internal fixation of his left elbow medial epicondyle” today, via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link). Dr. James Andrews, who performed the operation, estimated a recovery time of six to nine months.

While epicondyle injuries aren’t exactly commonplace, this marks the second time this season that an Indians pitcher has incurred such an injury. Gavin Floyd, who signed a one-year, $4MM contract this offseason, fractured the epicondyle in his right elbow for a second straight season and was unable to throw a pitch for Cleveland during the regular season.

Hagadone’s injury will bring his 2015 season to a close, and it least raises the possibility that it’ll bring his Indians career to a close as well. The 29-year-old entered the season with two years, 56 days of service time under his belt, so he’ll reach three years of service and therefore qualify for arbitration following the season. While his price tag won’t be exorbitant due to the injury-shortened year and his so-so career marks, Cleveland will be forced to decide whether to give him his first bump above the general vicinity of the league minimum (he’s earning $517K this season) or non-tender him. Of course, even if they’re not comfortable with a raise, Cleveland could non-tender Hagadone and re-sign him for a smaller amount or on a minor league deal.

Originally acquired from the Red Sox in the Victor Martinez trade back in 2009, Hagadone has spent parts of the past five seasons in the Cleveland bullpen. While he produced unspectacular results for much of that period, he’s been better since Opening Day 2014, notching a 3.55 ERA (a near-mirror image of his 3.53 FIP) with 9.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings. Hagadone’s career ERA is a less inspiring 4.72. He’s never struggled to miss bats (9.3 K/9), but he’s battled control issues (4.6 BB/9) and has had some issues against right-handed hitters. While lefties have a career .210/.293/.327 slash line against Hagadone, righties have hit him at a .257/.354/.410 clip.