Cleveland Indians Rumors

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

Central Rumors: Cubs, Lester, Masterson

If the Cubs land Jon Lester, an industry source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) they’re next move would be to pursue a big bat – to go along with Miguel Montero – to try and accelerate their revival. The Cubs are reportedly discussing Montero with the D’Backs in a deal that wouldn’t require them giving up much in the way of assets.  More out of the Central divisions..

  • The Indians kicked the tires on Justin Masterson, but were never really “all in” on bringing him back, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter).
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan says he has no interest in the Blue Jays’ president/CEO role, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter).  “[I’m] very humbled to hear [that], but I’m a GM.  I’m a baseball guy,” Ryan said.
  • Even though word has only recently leaked, White Sox executive Kenny Williams was contacted by the Blue Jays about their team president position shortly after the end of the season, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Current Jays president Paul Beeston is part of the executive search process, which indicates the club isn’t going behind his back to make a change. Williams also likes the idea of being the first African American MLB CEO.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti is comfortable with his current roster, he tells Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (Twitter). The acquisition of Brandon Moss affords the club depth and versatility. We learned earlier tonight that the club would now look to build upon its seven pitcher deep rotation. We could also see them shop Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, or David Murphy, but I doubt they would receive much salary relief in a trade.
  • Ryan went on to say that the Twins have been in serious talks with both agents and clubs about acquiring pitching, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (on Twitter).
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer isn’t making any secret about what he wants to do this winter, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com.  “Clearly we want to add multiple starting pitchers this winter. We need to,” Hoyer said.

AL Central Rumors: Williams, Rodriguez, Indians

The latest from the AL Central..

  • We learned earlier that the Blue Jays had interest in White Sox executive Kenny Williams, but the club did not grant Williams permission to interview. Chicago’s chairman Jerry Reindorf spoke about the decision, saying “this is not the right time,” reports Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.  He went on to say the club is focused on building a contender for 2015.
  • Francisco Rodriguez is among the many relievers that the White Sox are looking at, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Now that the Indians have added Brandon Moss, they will shift their focus to pitching, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Specifically, they’ll aim to add more starting pitcher depth. This is already a strength for the club, but as they say, you can never have enough pitching. Presently, veterans Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin are listed as the sixth and seventh starters.

Indians Designate Bryan Price

The Indians will designate pitcher Bryan Price to make room for recent trade addition Brandon Moss, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. The 28-year-old made his major league debut last season, allowing six runs in two and two-third innings. He was considerably better in the minors, where he posted a 2.48 ERA and 10.9 K/9. The Indians originally acquired Price as part of the Victor Martinez trade with the Red Sox.



Trade Notes: Santana, Mets, Mariners, Reds, Wilson

Your mid-day roundup of trade-related rumors from the Winter Meetings:

  • The Indians have been contacted by teams with interest in dealing for first baseman and former catcher Carlos Santana, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi says that no deal is close, though that leaves unclear whether Cleveland has any actual interest in exploring deals for the slugger, who recovered from a slow start to put up a big 2014. Santana is under club control through 2017 (the last year by club option) at a very team-friendly price.
  • The Mets are not sure whether the Mariners really have interest in dealing one of their young shortstops (Brad Miller and Chris Taylor), Marc Carig of Newsday reports on Twitter. The clubs have been linked to various deals involving pitching from the former and infielders from the latter.
  • While the Reds are giving other teams the impression that they need to shed some salary, they are only willing to consider dealing outfielder Jay Bruce if they are overwhelmed by an offer, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Angels have received some interest in starter C.J. Wilson, but at present other clubs are asking for L.A. to pay for part of his remaining deal, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link).

Trade Notes: Tulo, Swihart, Hamels, Marrero, Samardzija, Swisher, Upton

Here are the latest pieces of information on the trade front from the morning’s action at the Winter Meetings:

  • The Rockies approached the Mets today to gauge interest in discussing star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Martino’s sources tell him a deal that would send Tulowitzki to the Mets is “not happening.” On the other hand, Colorado’s actions obviously suggest that there is at least some possibility that the club would consider dealing him.
  • The Phillies would not demand that the Red Sox include top catching prospect Blake Swihart in a deal involving Cole Hamels, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports on Twitter.
  • Were the Red Sox to make a push for Jeff Samardzija, however, the Athletics would insist on the inclusion of shortstop prospect Deven Marrero, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.
  • Nick Swisher of the Indians is available in trade, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, but there has been minimal interest to date.
  • The Mariners could “circle back” to the Braves regarding Justin Upton if the team does not land free agent Melky Cabrera, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But Seattle is highly unlikely to sacrifice one of its prized young arms in a deal for Upton, he adds.

Indians Acquire Brandon Moss

In a widely anticipated swap, the Athletics have officially agreed to ship outfielder/first baseman/DH Brandon Moss to the Indians in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

Moss, 31, is projected by MLBTR/Matt Swartz to earn $7.1MM this year, his second-to-last of arbitration eligibility. He is an accomplished power bat, with a 135 OPS+ and 76 home runs over the last three years.

But those figures have trended downward in each successive campaign. Then there is the fact that Moss’s value is limited by his poor defense in the outfield. Most worryingly of all, he has dealt with a significant hip issue that required offseason surgery.

The Indians will gladly roll the dice on a recovery, especially since the club will have a chance to decide whether to tender Moss after the season. Moss’s manageable salary offered the chance for Cleveland to add the big bat that many felt they needed, while his health questions lowered the ask. As Jordan Bastian of MLB.com rightly notes on Twitter, Cleveland may well need to do something to clear its logjam of first base/corner outfield type players.

For the A’s, this deal represents the latest sign that GM Billy Beane is firmly committed to cashing in assets that no longer have much potential to accumulate value and/or improve production. Moss joins Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes as former core players who have been moved by Oakland in recent months.

Wendle, a 24-year-old prospect, did not rate among the Indians’ top ten prospects in the recent estimation of Baseball America but did land at ninth on MLB.com‘s most recent list. Wendle’s calling card is his hit tool, with which he combines decent power and solid defense. A broken hamate bone cut the 24-year-old’s season short, but he had put up a .253/.311/.414 line over 370 Double-A plate appearances and owned even an even more robust slash the prior year at High-A.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported on Twitter that the teams’ prior talks were nearing completion. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported (Twitter links) that the deal was done, with Wendle making up the return. John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group first reported the connection between the clubs on Twitter, while Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported that Oakland was interested in Wendle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL Notes: Moss, Samardzija, Yankees, Tigers

Here’s a morning links roundup from the American League:

  • The Athletics are still “inching” toward a deal with the Indians on Brandon Moss, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. A swap is likely to go down over the next few days, Sherman adds.
  • Clubs that have spoken with the Athletics about Jeff Samardzija have been left with the impression that Oakland would not be willing to grant an extension negotiation window as part of the deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. That is perhaps not terribly surprising, as Samardzija does not appear particularly likely to forego a chance at testing the open market.
  • For the Yankees, one side benefit of adding Martin Prado (last summer) and Andrew Miller (just a few days ago) is that it conveys leverage in talks with now-free agent third baseman Chase Headley and closer David Robertson, Sherman writes. While New York is now willing to put a fourth year on the table for both players, says Sherman, it will not match the reported four-year, $65MM offer out to Headley or the $50MM+ asking price of Robertson.
  • While there are several intriguing possibilities for the Tigers at the Winter Meetings, the odds are that the team will make only smaller moves,  if any, per Chris Iott of MLive.com. Iott takes a look at Detroit’s various options for improvement, concluding that most are rather unlikely to take place.

NL Notes: Zimmermann, Amaro, Upton, Parra

Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:

  • The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reportsMatt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
  • The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the RoyalsRangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
  • The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.

Minor Moves: Ramirez, Pena, De La Torre, Hood, Sanabia

We’ve already covered quite a few minor moves today, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America has plenty more to consider. Here’s the latest on the minor league front:

  • The Diamondbacks signed pitcher J.C. Ramirez and re-signed catcher Blake Lalli. The 26-year-old Ramirez pitched 24 innings for Philadelphia in 2013, but performed poorly. He spent 2014 in the Indians system. Scouts like his 94 mph fastball, but he struggles with command and control as evidenced by a 5.63 BB/9 in his major league sample. Lalli, 32 next season, hit .275/.340/.373 in 2014 at the Triple-A level. He briefly appeared in the majors for the Cubs and Brewers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
  • Utility infielder Ramiro Pena has elected free agency after the Braves outrighted him off the 40 man roster. Pena owns a career .244/.288/.330 line over 610 plate appearances in parts of six seasons. Capable of playing shortstop, second, and third base, the 29-year-old offers plenty of flexibility. He’s spent his entire career with the Yankees and Braves.
  • The Reds signed pitchers Jose De La Torre, Marcus Walden, and utility infielder Irving Falu. De La Torre, 29, offers big strikeout stuff with control issues out of the bullpen. He appeared briefly for the Red Sox in 2013. Walden is less flashy than De La Torre, and he has spent most of his minor league career in the rotation. The 26-year-old has posted a 3.92 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 over 622 minor league innings. His results in the upper minors have been markedly worse. Falu, 32 next season, has appeared briefly for the Royals, Brewers, and Padres over the past two years.
  • The Indians have signed outfielder Destin Hood. Possibly one of the gems of the minor league market, Hood hit .298/.348/.460 across three levels last season – mostly with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. The former second round pick struggled prior to the 2014 campaign, which is probably why the Nationals did not add him to their 40 man roster. As Eddy notes, Hood hit .315 and slugged .556 against left-handed pitching last season, making him a good fit for a lefty heavy Cleveland lineup. He’s 25 next season.
  • The Angels signed 26-year-old pitcher Alex Sanabia. The former Marlin has 138 major league innings to his name with a 4.15 ERA, 5.58 K/9, and 2.86 BB/9. The righty should serve as rotation depth.
  • The Marlins signed pitcher Chris Narveson and outfielder Cole Gillespie. Narveson, a former Brewer and Cardinal, has a 4.65 ERA over 396 innings. He pitched in Japan last season with similar results. He’ll turn 33 later this month. Gillespie, once a prospect with the Diamondbacks, has bounced around the league. He’s briefly appeared with five major league clubs and owns a .230/.295/.329 batting line in 270 plate appearances. He’s 31 next season.
  • The Padres have re-signed left-handed pitcher Jason Lane. The former Astros outfielder reached the majors as a pitcher last season and performed well in 10 and one-third innings. He allowed just one run on a home run, struck out six, and walked none in his age 37 season.
  • The Mariners signed 32-year-old pitcher Justin Germano. The soft-tossing righty is best used as minor league depth, although he’s appeared with eight major league clubs over nine seasons. He owns a 5.40 ERA, 5.70 K/9, and 2.92 BB/9 in 330 career innings. His fastball averaged 85.5 mph last season.

AL Central Notes: Plouffe, Donaldson, Hahn

Veteran reporter Dick Kaegel is retiring after over 50 years covering Major League Baseball.  Mike Bauman penned a nice tribute to his MLB.com colleague, chronicling Kaegel’s long career with such outlets as MLB.com (as the Royals beat writer since 2004), the Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Sporting News, to name a few.  Kaegel’s work is very familiar to long-time MLB Trade Rumors readers, and we at MLBTR wish Kaegel all the best in his retirement.

Here’s some news from around the AL Central…

  • The Twins had yet to discuss a multiyear contract with Trevor Plouffe up to Tuesday’s tender deadline, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.  Plouffe is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and is projected to receive a $4.3MM salary in 2015 by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz.  Since Plouffe is a Super Two player with two more arb years left beyond this one, it makes sense that the Twins will eventually explore obtaining some cost certainty, though it might not be this winter given that Plouffe fractured his forearm in September.
  • The Indians were one of several teams who asked the Athletics about Josh Donaldson, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  The A’s said Donaldson wasn’t available, though that obviously ended up not being the case as the third baseman was dealt to the Blue Jays.  Pluto wonders if the Tribe could’ve topped Toronto’s trade package had Donaldson been more openly shopped, or if A’s GM Billy Beane specifically liked what the Jays had to offer.
  • Primarily, we are addressing things for the long term,White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) in advance of the Winter Meetings.  That said, the Sox made a very notable short-term move in signing veteran Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal, and “if the right situation arises on a short-term basis…we would make that move,” Hahn said.  “We are certainly open to short-term fits that make us better in 2015. We have to take it on a case-by-case basis in terms of players who aren’t necessarily going to be under control for the same three-, four- or five-year window we’ve been focused on for the last year and a half.”