Cleveland Indians Rumors

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

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

Cubs Attempted To Acquire Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross

The Cubs aimed high at the trade deadline but ultimately settled for pitchers Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to club president Theo Epstein, “the two main players we focused on late ended up not getting moved.” Epstein went on to say that he was aggressive in offering both quality and quantity for top major league talent.

Sources tell Wittenmyer that the two players the Cubs focused upon were pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross. Neither was traded. It was rumored that the Indians were merely gather information about Carrasco’s value while the Padres have been criticized for not knowing “what they really wanted.”

Since signing a four-year, $22MM extension over the offseason, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.90 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. ERA estimators believe he should be at least a full run better than his ERA, as evidenced by a 2.84 FIP. The 28-year-old also has two affordable option years. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians don’t view Carrasco as a building block. However, it is pragmatic to entertain offers at his physical peak.

Ross agreed to a $5.25MM contract in his second year of arbitration. As a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Ross has followed up a breakout 2014 with a solid 3.38 ERA, 9.66 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, and a 63 percent ground ball rate.

The Cubs also aggressively shopped shortstop Starlin Castro, but they found few takers. Javier Baez was one of the players discussed as part of a Carrasco package. Meanwhile, the Braves expressed interest in Jorge Soler while discussing Julio Teheran and other young pitchers. Overall, it’s clear that high quality, club controlled pitching is a top priority for Chicago.


Minor MLB Transactions: 7/31/15

Today’s minor MLB moves..

  • The Rays announced (on Twitter) that catcher Bobby Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
  • The Pirates designated Deolis Guerra for assignment to clear roster a spot for Joakim Soria, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.  Guerra gave up two three-run homers to Brandon Phillips yesterday, which probably didn’t help his job security with the Bucs.
  • The A’s announced that they have acquired lefty Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash.  Doubront was designated for assignment just days ago to make room for the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki.
  • Caleb Thielbar will be designated for assignment to make room for Kevin Jepsen on the Twins‘ 40-man roster, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter).
  • To make room for Jonathan Broxton, the Cardinals have designated Marcus Hatley for assignment, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets.
  • The Brewers announced that they have claimed Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Dodgers.  The well-traveled Guilmet didn’t spend much time with the Dodgers, who selected him off waivers from the Rays on July 10. Guilmet tossed three innings for the club’s Triple-A affiliate prior being designated for assignment.  He’s been very good at Triple-A this season, tallying a 1.95 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 32 1/3 innings between Buffalo, Durham and Oklahoma City.
  • The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they have assigned catcher Dan Butler outright to Triple-A.
  • The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have acquired left-hander Jayson Aquino from the Pirates for cash considerations.
  • The Pirates have outrighted Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.
  • The Cubs have designated Ben Rowen for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets.


Padres To Acquire Marc Rzepczynski From Indians

The Padres and Indians have agreed to a minor swap that will send lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego for outfielder Abraham Almonte, tweets ESPN’s Keith Law.

Rzepczynski, better known as Scrabble, has pitched to a 4.43 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 this season.  For his career, the 29 year old (30 later this month) has posted a 3.81 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 across seven seasons.  Rzepczynski wasn’t mentioned much in trade speculation this month but the Padres apparently had their eye on him to bolster their bullpen.

Almonte, 26, has appeared in 31 games for the Padres this season with a rather underwhelming slash line of .204/.271/.259.  He has fared much better in 61 games for Triple-A El Paso, however, hitting .275/.361/.414.


Latest On Alex Wood

2:35pm: A Cubs-Dodgers deal was never discussed, per Rosenthal (on Twitter). But the Indians did have talks on Wood in a “larger deal.”

2:09pm: The Cubs and Dodgers are discussing lefty Alex Wood, who was just acquired by Los Angeles, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. A match appears to be “a longshot,” a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).


Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers In On Carlos Carrasco

2:32pm: One executive tells Rosenthal that he does not expect a Carrasco trade (Twitter link).

2:12pm: The Dodgers are one of many to discuss Carrasco with the Tribe, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

1:03pm: Boston’s efforts are focused on Carrasco or Tyson Ross of the Padres, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.  Outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. could go in a deal.

7:36am: The Cubs are “among [the] teams engaged in ongoing dialogue” with the Indians about starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The Red Sox are in the market for controllable pitching, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, and they have also talked to the Indians about Carrasco.  Rosenthal says teams continue to call the Indians and make offers on the 28-year-old, who pitched a complete game last nightCrasnick says the Tribe has been involved with a large number of teams on Carrasco.

Since rejoining the Indians’ rotation on August 10th of last year, Carrasco has been a new man, with a 3.07 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.64 HR/9 in 196 1/3 innings.  The Indians deftly signed him to a four-year extension in April, which could run through 2020 if both club options are exercised.  As he’s guaranteed only about $21MM through 2018, Carrasco is a very valuable commodity.

Prior to acquiring David Price, the Blue Jays were “close to a deal that fell apart near the finish line” for Carrasco, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.caAccording to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, the Jays offered Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, and Dalton Pompey for Carrasco.  Interest will presumably be strong from teams looking for more than a rental starting pitcher, but not every team could spare the young players needed to pull off a deal.


Marlins Seeking Controllable Pitching

The latest on the Marlins, who have already shipped Dan Haren to the Cubs…

Earlier Updates

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Marlins are looking for controllable young pitching, with names such as Tyson Ross of the Padres, Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, and Nate Karns of the Rays in play.
  • A number of teams are calling on recently-demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna, tweets Frisaro.  The Marlins have no urgency to move the 24-year-old, who hit 23 home runs last year.
  • The Marlins are shopping for starting pitching today, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, in what he expects to be a busy day for the club.  Frisaro notes that Dan Haren is drawing interest from several teams.  Also, reliever Carter Capps was linked to the Yankees earlier.
  • Earlier this week, the Marlins sent impending free agent Mat Latos to the Dodgers in a 13-player deal, but the move seemed mostly about salary relief for Miami.  The assumption is the Fish are seeking young, controllable starting pitching, since both Latos and Haren will be eligible for free agency after the season.

Pitching Market Notes: Ross, Gallardo, Iwakuma, Indians, Chapman, Pirates

The Padres are “progressing” on multiple deals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Tyson Ross is a key piece among their trade chips. Rosenthal adds that trading him would be considered a concession on the 2015 season, and while that’s likely, it’s certainly possible that the Padres could acquire some MLB-ready talent to make it more even for 2015 purposes than if they went with an all-prospects package. The Padres could add some pieces as well, he notes.

Meanwhile Bob Nightengale of USA Today chimes in on Ross as well, tweeting that executives from other teams are “convinced” that Ross will be dealt. Nightengale says the Cubs continue to push for Ross. (Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark heard that Ross is Chicago’s top pitching target.)

Here’s more on the trade market for pitching help — starters and relievers alike:

  • The Cubs, Blue Jays and Dodgers are the most aggressive teams pursuing Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees and Giants also have some level of interest, he adds. Gallardo started tonight, and things went poorly; the Yankees knocked him around for five runs in six innings, and he struck out just one hitter.
  • Despite a record that is well below the .500 mark, the Mariners aren’t planning to make right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma available, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. While other teams have apparently inquired, they’ve been informed that Mariners ownership prefers to keep him. Iwakuma’s value is down after a shaky, injury-filled season, though given his reasonable $7MM salary and track record, I’d imagine he’d draw no shortage of interest if put on the block.
  • Teams are still in touch with the Indians regarding their crop of young pitching talent, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. There’s nothing close at this time, but the Indians remain willing to engage in conversations. To this point, they’ve reportedly discussed Carlos Carrasco with other clubs, and one can imagine that Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer are of interest to other teams as well. Cleveland did bolster its impressive stockpile of young pitching today — albeit with a future-oriented move — acquiring Class-A lefty and former first-round pick Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss.
  • The D-Backs reportedly have an offer on the table to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke to a pair of executives (Twitter link) about the asking price on Chapman, with one calling it “high” and the other using the term “ridiculous.”
  • Following today’s acquisition of Joakim Soria to strengthen his bullpen, Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he doesn’t plan to acquire an additional starting pitcher prior to tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline (Twitter link).

Cardinals Acquire Brandon Moss

The Cardinals have announced the acquisition of first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss from the Indians in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.

Brandon Moss

With the acquisition of Moss, the Cardinals will add a powerful left-handed bat to their lineup that will replace the injured Matt Adams, who is likely to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn quadriceps muscle. In Adams’ absence, Mark Reynolds has been seeing the lion’s share of playing time at first base, though one would imagine that Moss will now inherit those duties.

The Cardinals are also facing a potential loss of Matt Holliday, who last night injured the same quadriceps muscle that he tore earlier this season. There’s no definitive word on the severity of the injury just yet — he underwent an MRI last night — but an extended absence would be a blow to the Cardinals’ offense that could be partially offset by the addition of Moss. Should Holliday miss a prolonged stretch, Moss is capable of handling the corner outfield, but the Cardinals already have top prospect Stephen Piscotty on the big league roster, and he could slide into left field in that scenario.

Moss was acquired by Cleveland this past offseason in a one-for-one swap that sent second base prospect Joey Wendle to the Athletics. The lefty slugger, who averaged 25 homers per season from 2012-14 in Oakland, has again displayed power in his lone season with Cleveland (15 homers, .190 ISO). However, his walk and strikeout rates have trended in the wrong direction, leaving him with a sub-par .217/.288/.407 batting line on the season. That production is a far cry from the .254/.340/.504 output he showed in his three full seasons with Oakland, though it’s worth wondering if he’s still feeling any lingering effects from offseason hip surgery.

The 31-year-old Moss has typically struggled versus left-handed pitching, and while that should remain the expectation moving forward, the opposite has held true in 2015. Moss is hitting .265/.336/.453 in 131 plate appearances against same-handed pitchers but has just a .191/.262/.382 batting line against righties. Much of the struggles against righties is due to a .221 BABIP when holding the platoon advantage, so one would expect that his production may very well rise with some better fortune. He is, after all, still hitting line drives at a 20.5 percent clip and has actually lowered his infield fly rate.

Moss is earning $6.55MM in 2015 and is controllable through the 2016 season — the Cards will have to sort out the roster when he and Adams are both healthy — but it does seem as though St. Louis paid a steep price in this swap.

The 20-year-old Kaminsky was one of two Cardinals first-round picks in 2013 (Marco Gonzales was the other) and currently ranked as their No. 4 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason update of the team’s top prospects. MLB.com was even more bullish on their own midseason update, ranking him third in the Cardinals’ organization and 88th in all of baseball.

Kaminsky has spent the season pitching at the Class-A Advanced level, where he has a 2.09 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. In their scouting report, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com write that Kaminsky’s fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 95 mph when he needs it, adding that he has the best curveball in the team’s minor league system. His changeup gives him a third pitch that can be solid-average or better. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel would seem to agree, as he pegs Kaminsky’s curveball as a potential 60-grade pitch (on the 20-80 scale), with his fastball, changeup and command all coming in at 50 (average) or better.

St. Louis reportedly discussed Adam Lind with the division-rival Brewers before agreeing to this swap, but it looks as though talks failed to progress, as I wouldn’t imagine they’ll acquire both Moss and Lind, who have somewhat redundant skill sets. Assuming no money changes hands, the Cardinals will be on the hook for about $2.47MM of Moss’ remaining salary.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the one-for-one deal was in place (Twitter link). SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reported late last night that the two sides were discussing a trade involving Moss and Kaminsky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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.