Cleveland Indians Rumors

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

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.


Indians Listening On Starters; Discussed Carrasco With Blue Jays

The Indians may be more willing to listen to trade scenarios regarding their controllable pitching than they have indicated publicly, according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). In particular, they’ve spoken with the Blue Jays regarding righty Carlos Carrasco.

There are other appealing arms under long-term control in Cleveland — Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer most notable among them. But the report indicates that the Indians are most willing to consider a deal involving Carrasco. The 28-year-old carries only a 3.94 ERA this season after last year’s breakout, but his peripherals (10.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 49.0% groundball rate) suggest he’s rather an elite performer. And ERA estimators all value his work this season at a sub-3.00 level.

Expanding Carrasco’s value is the fact that he’s only just started playing under a four-year, $22MM extension inked over the winter. That deal includes two option years (both of which include escalators) that could boost its total value to $48MM. Even at that price, though, it looks to be quite a bargain. And the flexibility at the back end limits the already-reasonable risk.

With the Tigers still debating whether to market David Price and the White Sox still waiting to decide on Jeff Samardzija, the AL Central suddenly seems to hold the key to the starting pitching market. It remains to be seen whether some or all of those players will seriously be marketed, though at least Samardzija seems a good bet to change hands.

Carrasco, though, would be a much more palatable target for Toronto since he comes with plenty of affordable future control. As Passan notes in his report, the Jays have a number of notable young talents that would certainly hold appeal to Cleveland — he mentions Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, and Anthony Alford — and it would be much easier to part with one or more for a non-rental.

On today’s MLBTR podcast, Steve Adams and I discussed the possibility of Cleveland moving an asset such as Carrasco — possibly as a means of offloading some of the big salaries owed to players like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. It’s unclear what kind of deal might conceivably be structured between the two clubs, but it’s notable (as Steve and I also covered) that Toronto has significantly more open payroll capacity in the future than they do at present. Taking on some later-in-time money could in theory offer a route to acquiring a controllable arm while limiting the damage to the club’s talent pipeline.


Indians Unlikely To Trade Moss, Aviles; Listening On Chisenhall

The 2015 Indians have not yet made good on their evident promise, in spite of quality performances from many of the team’s better long-term pieces. That frames them as a possible seller, though a late run is not out of the question. Reflecting recent comments from GM Chris Antonetti, however, the latest rumors suggest that a large-scale sell-off is unlikely, with the club perhaps looking instead to re-tool for 2016.

  • Cleveland is “unlikely” to deal outfielder Brandon Moss, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The 31-year-old would undoubtedly draw interest, though he’s produced a somewhat tepid .220/.293/.424 batting line. Moss does have 15 home runs, has suffered from a .261 BABIP despite a ton of hard contact, and is earning only $6.5MM with one year of arbitration control remaining. He’s also looked better in the field in the eyes of advanced metrics. All of those factors leave the Indians motivated to keep him in the fold for next season.
  • An entirely different set of considerations will likely keep Mike Aviles in Cleveland, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The veteran utilityman is dealing with a terribly unfortunate family situation, as his four-year-old daughter is being treated for leukemia at the Cleveland Clinic. Despite receiving some interest, the Indians have (admirably) determined not to trade Aviles in light of those circumstances.
  • The Indians are, however, willing to move third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. He’s currently playing in Triple-A after scuffling to start the year and only comes with two more years of control (his salary this year is $2.25MM). But the 26-year-old has shown more in the past and is putting up solid, if unspectacular, numbers at Columbus. Olney suggests he could be a bench piece for a team like the Mets, and the former top-fifty prospect carries some upside down the line.

2016 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Reds have drawn the first competitive balance selection in the 2016 draft, as Cash Kruth of MLB.com reports. While the precise draft slots remain to be determined, Cincinnati will pick after the conclusion of the first round (including compensation choices).

Here is the order of the selections, which were determined by lottery between the clubs that fell among the ten smallest markets and/or the ten smallest revenue pools league-wide. Other teams that participate in revenue sharing are also eligible, but only for the second round.

Round A (selections occur after first round)

1. Reds
2. Athletics
3. Rockies
4. Diamondbacks
5. Marlins
6. Pirates

Round B (selections occur after second round)

1. Padres
2. Indians
3. Twins
4. Brewers
5. Orioles
6. Rays

These results mean that the Cardinals, Royals, and Mariners failed to receive a pick despite being eligible. With some restrictions, the picks can be traded — and increasingly have been in recent seasons. You can take a look at this year’s draft results and slot values to get an idea of the range of selections (and drafted players) that the most recent competitive balance awards ultimately represented.