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- Masahiro Tanaka Has Slightly Torn UCL
- Brandon Phillips Tears Ligament In Thumb
- Yadier Molina Out 8-12 Weeks For Thumb Surgery
- Indians Acquire Chris Dickerson
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Cleveland Indians Rumors
The Giants are interested in Indians infielders Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Aviles, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com (via Twitter). Of course, the Indians have to decide they are sellers, which might come down to the trade deadline. Cleveland’s record is currently 49-47 and they’re 5.5 games behind the Tigers in the division. They’re one of three teams sitting just two games back of the Mariners for the second wild card spot.
Cabrera, 28, will be a free agent following the 2014 season. The shortstop is owed roughly $4MM. His defense draws critical remarks. Over the years, many insiders have speculated Cabrera is better suited to play second base, which fits the Giants‘ needs. Aviles, a 33-year-old utility infielder, has a $3.5MM club option for 2015 ($250,000 buyout).
- According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, GM Brian Sabean is unsure where to focus his attention in the trade market. The Giants can stand to improve in multiple areas, including second base, outfield, and the bullpen. Unsurprisingly, Sabean identifies price and availability as the likely determining factors in any trade.
- Marco Scutaro recently returned from the disabled list, but he’s only played one out of four games since re-joining the club. His ability to stay on the field and perform will probably affect the club’s interest in players like Cabrera and Aviles.
- Also per Schulman, outfielder Angel Pagan is expected to remain out beyond the trade deadline. He has yet to resume swinging the bat.
It’s been more than two months since the Tigers inked Joel Hanrahan, but GM Dave Dombrowski tells Chris Iott of MLive.com that there’s still no timetable for the former All-Star’s return. “Really, there have been no expectations,” said Dombrowski. “Really, he’s made progress, but I can’t also say that he’s close.” As Iott notes, it’s all but certain that Hanrahan won’t return prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which is unfortunate for Detroit, as it doesn’t give them an opportunity to fully assess what they have in their bullpen.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- Iott spoke with Dombrowski for a second piece at MLive.com, but the GM wouldn’t tip his hand when asked about his trade deadline approach. Dombrowski acknowledged that most feel he needs to pursue bullpen help, but he also noted recent improvements from Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke. Iott writes that by process of elimination, the bullpen is the most likely spot for the Tigers to improve. Dombrowski said the level of trade talks to this point has been pretty standard, but he expects them to pick up now that the All-Star Game is complete.
- In a similar interview, Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer attempts to read between the lines on some vague comments from Indians GM Chris Antonetti. One thing that Antonetti did imply is that he’s not overly interested in rental pieces: “We’re exploring a lot of different things, opportunities to improve our team for the balance of this season and then position us better moving forward, too. We’ve spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we’d have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.”
- Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star spoke with Royals owner David Glass about a plethora of Royals-related topics in an excellent Q&A. Some highlights of note are that Glass expressed confidence in GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost, refusing to call this a “make or break year” for Yost. He also said he doesn’t feel his club necessarily needs to make a move to contend, but he would consider adding payroll in trades if it created an obvious opportunity for improvement. Regarding James Shields, he wasn’t sure how involved the Royals would be in pursuing him as a free agent.
Rafael Soriano needs 32 more games finished to cause his $14MM club option to vest, but the Nationals closer says that vesting option or not, he wants to return to Washington in 2015, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports. Soriano would need to get up to the 62-finish mark (a career high) to make it, though with the Nats in a tight pennant race, they’ll undoubtedly need their closer as much as possible down the stretch.
Here’s some more news and notes from around baseball…
- Scouts for the Indians have been told to focus their attention on Rays minor leaguers, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo reports, and Cotillo wonders if this could suggest that Cleveland is revisiting talks for David Price. Cleveland and Tampa discussed a Price trade during the offseason, as Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, that involved Carlos Santana and Danny Salazar going to the Rays. (Tampa Bay also had interest in Francisco Lindor but the Indians consider Lindor virtually untouchable in any trade.) A new trade package, Cotillo speculates, could be Santana/Salazar for Price and a couple of Rays prospects, hence the Tribe’s interest in scouting Tampa’s farm system.
- Also from Cotillo, the Angels made the same three-year, $15.75MM offer to both Joe Smith and Edward Mujica this past offseason and told both pitchers that the contract would go to whichever accepted first. Smith took the deal first and is enjoying a strong season, even moving into the Halos’ closing job. Mujica, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $9.5MM deal with the Red Sox and has struggled to a 5.45 ERA in 34 2/3 IP.
- The Giants are still without agreements for five of their top 10 draft picks, a situation Cotillo believes could be due to the club devoting their time and draft pool resources to signing first-rounder Tyler Beede, who couldn’t negotiate until after the College World Series.
- Despite the number of recent stars to come out of Cuba, teams are still relying on very little or no scouting information when signing these players, Danny Knobler writes for Bleacher Report. Knobler’s piece explores the future of the Cuban talent pipeline while also delving into the limited data the White Sox and Dodgers, respectively, had when signing Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig to major contracts.
- While the Royals‘ farm system is still considered strong, it is short on prospects ready to help at the Major League level, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes. Thanks to a few thin drafts, the prospect package sent to Tampa Bay in the James Shields trade and the fact that many of their top prospects of recent years are already in the bigs, “between Omaha and their [Double-A] club, there’s nobody that looks like they’re going to jump up soon as a significant piece,” an AL executive said.
Entering the All-Star break, the Indians find themselves at .500 and in third place in the AL Central, trailing the Tigers by 7.5 games. Before Cleveland’s 3-2 win over the White Sox, GM Chris Antonetti chatted with reporters for 25 minutes. Here are the highlights (MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian has the complete transcript) :
- Antonetti hasn’t decided whether the Indians will be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline. “We’re exploring a lot of different things, opportunities to improve our team for the balance of this season and then position us better moving forward, too. We’ve spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we’d have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.“
- The Indians’ trade strategy is muddied by the fact there isn’t one glaring weakness on the roster. “It’s actually one of the interesting challenges that we have,” Antonetti said. “So, for us to improve, we need to improve upon a higher standard. And, in some cases, we’re counting on guys that we’ve already made commitments to rebounding. So, it’s a little bit of a different dynamic for us as we look to try to improve our roster.“
- The Indians will “potentially” explore the trade market for starting pitchers. “The one thing we continue to believe is we have quality Major League starting pitchers,” said Antonetti. “Anytime you acquire a guy, you have to think about who it displaces from the team and the rotation, in that case. You have to have a high degree of confidence that it’s an improvement.“
- Antonetti traded for Chris Dickerson because his ability to play all three outfield positions and his success against right-handed pitching is a nice complement to the club in the wake of Michael Bourn‘s hamstring injury. Antonetti added he had interest in Dickerson as a free agent this past offseason, but couldn’t commit at-bats to him at the time.
- Yesterday, the Indians acquired Nick Maronde from the Angels. Antonetti has liked the left-hander “for quite a while” and acknowledged the 24-year-old has had “some trouble throwing strikes, but we think that there’s significant upside there and a guy worth taking a chance on. “
In his latest video, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports says it would be “just like” Angels owner Arte Moreno to acquire David Price. Since L.A. lacks a prospect of Addison Russell‘s quality, they will need to trade somebody off their major league roster. Rosenthal mentions C.J. Cron and Tyler Skaggs as likely suspects, but he suggests that price may be too steep for the contending Angels. Here’s more from Rosenthal.
- If the Angels do fall short on Price, they could turn their attention to acquiring a reliever like Rangers closer Joakim Soria.
- The Orioles would like to add a left-handed bat. Seth Smith was on the radar before he signed his extension with the Padres. The O’s are scouting pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Ian Kennedy. They could also target relievers.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects to miss Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips for five to six weeks. Cincinnati would like to add a first baseman and somebody to split time with Ramon Santiago at second base. Unfortunately, the club’s record $112MM payroll will force Jocketty to get creative with any additions.
- It’s unclear whether the Indians will buy or sell at the trade deadline. Even if they do find themselves as sellers, they aren’t likely to aggressively shop pieces besides shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Rosenthal offers the Mariners as one team who could benefit from the switch-hitting shortstop.
The Angels have traded left-handed reliever Nick Maronde to the Indians for cash considerations, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. He was designated for assignment earlier in the week.
Maronde, 24, has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues, although he has totaled only 17 and 2/3 innings. He featured solid control during his first two professional seasons (2011 and 2012), but the wheels fell off upon reaching the majors. He’s pitched at four different levels this season and allowed between 9.95 and 18.00 BB/9. Needless to say, the Indians will hope he can recover some semblance of control while maintain his strong strikeout rates.
The Rays are trying to maintain their focus despite the possibility of pitcher David Price being traded, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports. “It’s something I try not to think about, and I try not talk about it with my teammates,” says Price. “That’s the last thing I want them to be doing, is thinking about if we don’t win I could be gone.” More losing could encourage the Rays’ management to deal Price, Mooney suggests. The Rays had won nine of 11 games before losing their last two, but they’re in last place in the AL East, 10.5 games out of first. Here’s more from the American League.
- The Red Sox are in a similar situation, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. “It’s out of your control,” says veteran reliever Andrew Miller. “You can’t do any good worrying about things that are out of your control.” Miller joins Burke Badenhop and Craig Breslow as relievers who could be traded, along with starting pitcher Jake Peavy and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
- The Indians‘ recent acquisition of outfielder Chris Dickerson from the Pirates reflects Ryan Raburn‘s poor play this season, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. Dickerson is a nice fit for the Indians given his ability to hit righties, Hoynes says, but if Raburn had been hitting as well as he did last season (when he hit an ultra-valuable .272/.357/.543 in a part-time role), the Indians might have addressed Michael Bourn‘s injury by moving Michael Brantley to center and playing Raburn in a corner.
Here are today’s outright assignments and minor transactions from around the league…
- Orioles right-hander Julio DePaula has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Double-A Bowie, according to Baltimore’s transactions page. DePaula didn’t appear in a game with the Orioles after his brief promotion and was designated for assignment when Bud Norris returned from the DL earlier this week.
- Right-hander Mark Lowe has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment with the Indians, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (on Twitter). The hard-throwing Lowe has a career 4.16 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 281 1/3 innings of relief work at the Major League level.
It’s not surprising to see St. Louis pursuing catching depth after yesterday’s news that Yadier Molina will miss the next eight to 12 weeks in order to have a torn ligament in his thumb surgically repaired. The 31-year-old Kottaras has long been known to have an excellent eye at the plate and some power. The career .216/.326/.415 hitter has 14 percent walk rate in 847 Major League plate appearances, and his .199 isolated power mark (slugging minus batting average) is well above-average for any hitter, let alone a catcher.
This, of course, doesn’t preclude the Cardinals from pursuing further upgrades behind the dish as the summer wears on. For the time being, however, he should be able to provide a solid OBP if the Redbirds prefer him to one of Tony Cruz or Audry Perez, neither of whom offers much with the bat.
Originally recalled for a two-day period with Darwin Barney on paternity leave, Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara has been informed that he will be with the team at least through the All-Star break, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Alcantara, who ranked 33rd on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s Top 50 prospects, says he was surprised by the news. Manager Rick Renteria offered praise for the 22-year-old, who collected his first four Major League hits in today’s contest.
Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…
- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey left today’s game after five innings due to a slight strain in his right knee, but he won’t see his name added to the list of significant injuries that have stricken contending teams today. The Reds have announced that he is expected to make his next start.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s glad to see Vance Worley performing well with the Pirates, though he did imply that it’s too early to say that the Twins gave up on Worley too soon: “Give him a little time to see what he does over the course of starts. We’ll talk about that in October. See how it goes. I know he’s done well.”
- The Indians are hopeful that Justin Masterson‘s two weeks on the disabled list will not only give him a chance to heal, but to help him get his mechanics back in line, reports MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway feels that Masterson’s knee has affected the way he’s been able to land during his delivery, which would explain the sharp decrease in velocity Masterson has seen this year.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn would need to receive an offer that knocks his cell phone out of his hands in order to trade Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia or Jose Abreu, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. However, Hahn notes that oftentimes, a trade will come together when a rival club’s initial inquiry is on a player that is unavailable, as it leads to the suggestion of alternative options.