Cleveland Indians Rumors
The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have designated infielder Cord Phelps for assignment. The move frees up enough space for the team to add Jesus Aguilar, Austin Adams, Bryan Price, Eric Gonzalez and Carlos Moncrief to the 40-man roster, thereby protecting each from next month's Rule 5 Draft (Twitter link).
The Indians picked Phelps in the third round out of Stanford back in 2008. He has strong career numbers at the Triple-A level, having slashed .286/.367/.471 in 1,576 plate appearances at the level. Those numbers haven't translated to the Majors, however, where the switch-hitter has managed just a .159/.221/.248 slash line in 123 plate appearances. Phelps, who turns 27 in January, has primarily been a second baseman throughout his career, but he saw some time at first base and in left field this season at Triple-A as well.
Here's today's look at the various coaching hirings and vacancies around the Majors...
- The Indians announced that they have hired Matt Quatraro as their new assistant hitting coach (Twitter link). Quatraro, 40, was an eighth-round pick of the Rays in 1996 and posted a career .286/.343/.416 batting line in eight minor league seasons. He has served as the Rays' minor league hitting coordinator for the past four seasons.
- It's been 52 days since Rich Dubee informed the Phillies that he would not return as the pitching coach, and Philadelphia's list of replacement candidates includes 12 names at this point, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Among the candidates are Bob McClure, Randy St. Claire and Rafael Chaves.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn says that the intensity of trade talks has picked up in the past few days, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com (Twitter links). "We well could have something in the next day or it could take through Orlando (Dec. 9-12) when the logjam sort of breaks,” Hahn said. More out of the AL Central..
- Hahn says he doesn't have new info on Paul Konerko, but his situation has not hamstrung their offseason plans, tweets Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. "I don’t think Paulie wants to play just to be on the bench or a farewell tour. That’s not him..He would want to play only if he felt he had something left in the tank and something to add to a club," Hahn said, according to Merkin (Twitter links).
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (on Twitter) hears that multiple teams have expressed interest in Matt Albers. Albers, 31 in January, posted the third best ground ball rate among regular relievers last season for the Indians and throws fairly hard. Tim (link) thinks a two-year deal is possible for the veteran. Albers posted a 3.14 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 56 appearances in 2013.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan says that he parted with Duke Welker earlier today because he needed a starter like Kris Johnson more than a reliever like Welker, writes MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. "We were looking for starting pitching," Ryan said. "It doesn't mean we didn't like what we had in Welker."
Let's take a look at the latest from the MLB's Central divisions:
- Multiple teams have approached the Indians with interest in Drew Stubbs, Buster Olney writes in an article for ESPN Insiders (sub. req'd). MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected that Stubbs is on track to earn $3.8MM in arbitration this offseason after hitting just .233/.305/.360 in 2013. However, Olney says a salary in that range in today's market is acceptable for a player like Stubbs, who's a strong defender with power and speed and can handle all three outfield positions.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian considers a rumored swap of Indians righty Corey Kluber and two minor leaguers for the Angels' Mark Trumbo, which was later shot down by Angels GM Jerry Dipoto. While Trumbo's right-handed power would help the Indians, such a deal undervalues Kluber, who was one of the better starters in the AL for much of 2013, Bastian says.
- Pitching is the highest priority for the Indians this offseason, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer notes in a reader mailbag column. The Tribe faces the possibility of losing free agents Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir from the rotation, while Joe Smith, Chris Perez, Rich Hill and Matt Albers could all depart from the bullpen.
- A Wednesday night deadline looms for teams to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft, and for the Royals, that means deciding who from a list of approximately six players is worth protecting, The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton says. As Dutton notes, it can be easier to stash an arm than a position player on the 40-man for an entire season, as pitchers can be used in a mop-up role in the bullpen.
- Some have suggested that Darwin Barney may not be long for the Cubs' roster, Carrie Muskat writes in response to a reader question for MLB.com. On the cusp of arbitration after slashing just .208/.266/.303 in 2013, Barney is a non-tender candidate, though MLBTR's Tim Dierkes believes that may be a bit hasty given that Barney's only likely to earn around $2.1MM in his first go at the arbitration process. If the Cubs do decide to part ways with the infielder, Luis Valbuena would be one possible replacement, Muskat says.
Today's news out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Brewers are considering bringing back Corey Hart to fill their first-base need and it appears they may favor him over other first base options like Mets first baseman Ike Davis and free agent Justin Morneau, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A Brewers person didn't look overly enthused when asked about Davis or Morneau and added that the rumored trade of Norichika Aoki for Davis would not be happening.
- Agent Scott Boras says that he's gotten good interest from a "variety of teams" on client Mike Pelfrey and said the Twins are amongst those clubs, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. He also claims that Pelfrey holds a multi-year offer.
- The Cubs don’t plan to drop big bucks on a free agent catcher like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and sources tell Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com they have their eye on a cheaper target: Kurt Suzuki. The Cubs are seeking out a veteran backstop to complement Welington Castillo.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there's been ongoing trade interest in Nate Schierholtz since mid-season.
- Justin Masterson will listen if the Indians want to approach him with a multi-year offer, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
General Manager Brian Cashman told reporters, including Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter), that you can rule out the Yankees signing Brian Wilson after his agent told the team he won't shave his beard. While you ponder that, here's the latest on Wilson..
- Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) hears that the most interested teams are the Giants, Dodgers, Indians, Tigers, Rockies, Mariners, and Red Sox. The Reds could also jump in, depending on whether Aroldis Chapman moves to the rotation.
Here's a look at the latest from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, with all links going to Twitter..
- The Yankees are talking to the Cardinals about a deal for third baseman David Freese, a source tells Feinsand (via Twitter). The Cardinals could theoretically part with Freese since they can move Matt Carpenter to third base and use Kolten Wong at second. Freese, 30, would give the Yankees a solid plan B in the event that Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld. Even if the suspension isn't upheld, A-Rod will probably have to play a good amount of DH. Freese hit just .262/.340/.381 with nine homers last season but his career slash line of .286/.356/.427 is much stronger.
- A source says the says Mariners have "no interest" in Jacoby Ellsbury but the Cubs appear to be stealthily waiting in the wings (link). The Cubs are probably targeting 2015 to make a move towards contending but its possible that they'll look to make a splash this winter in advance of that.
- According to Rangers source, the club is working to schedule Carlos Beltran for a visit to Dallas (link). Two other teams are believed to be working on the same thing. Feinsand lists the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, Indians, and Mariners as the other clubs showing serious interest and notes that they're all AL clubs (link).
Clint Hurdle of the Pirates and Terry Francona of the Indians have won the Manager of the Year awards in their respective leagues, MLB.com announced Tuesday night. The other finalists in the National League were the Braves' Fredi Gonzalez and the Dodgers' Don Mattingly. In the American League, the other finalists were John Farrell of the Red Sox and Bob Melvin of the Athletics.
Hurdle led the Pirates to a 94-win season, making 2013 their first winning season and first playoff berth since 1992. The team exceeded expectations in 2013 thanks to strong pitching and an aggressive approach to defensive shifts. Hurdle received 25 of 30 possible first-place votes. Francona, who led a revived Indians team to 92 wins, received 16 of 30 possible first-place votes. He narrowly beat out Farrell, who had 12 first-place votes.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com hears the Mets aren't considering a reunion with Scott Kazmir. Earlier today, we heard that the Indians don't expect to hang on to the left-hander as he's likely to command a multi-year pact and they're not willing to go beyond one. Here's more from around baseball..
- Royals manager Ned Yost told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (Twitter links) that his priorities are starting pitching and second base. Yost also indicated that Carlos Beltran, Brandon Phillips, and Ervin Santana have popped up in discussions.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti is scheduled to talk to agent Dan Lozano about two of his clients, closers Fernando Rodney and Brian Wilson, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. Cleveland is looking into out-of-house closing options after parting ways with Chris Perez.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he's looking to add "400 innings" to the rotation this winter, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he has scouted Masahiro Tanaka extensively and hopes to be in the mix for him, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
- If Carlos Ruiz really has a two-year, $20MM offer on the table, then he probably shouldn't let it sit for too long, opines MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter).
- Nationals assistant GM and VP of player personnel Roy Clark has the club to take a job with the Dodgers, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
The latest from the AL Central..
- Free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf had breakfast together at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) cautions not to read into it.
- The Indians aren't optimistic about their chances of re-signing Scott Kazmir this winter, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Tribe would be interested in a one-year deal for the left-hander but believe he's certain to have multi-year offers after resurrecting his career in Cleveland this past year, posting a 4.04 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Royals would like to reunite with Carlos Beltran but they fear being outbid by large market clubs like the Yankees, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if the Twins might give Bronson Arroyo a three-year deal to anchor their rotation. Meanwhile, sources tell Rosenthal the Giants are among the teams considering Arroyo, but they would prefer to strike a quick, affordable two-year deal for a No. 4 starter.
- The White Sox like Curtis Granderson, but they may feel that he's not worth the type of contract that he will command or losing a second-round pick, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer looks at some of the Indians' internal candidates that could help fill the void if Ubaldo Jimenez goes elsewhere. “I think Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister are capable of doing that,” said pitching coach Mickey Callaway. “But we need them to stay healthy and log innings like Ubaldo did the last two years.”
- Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press examines Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays as a possible trade target for the Twins.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs tackles the question of whether the Tigers should trade Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello this winter. Yesterday, we learned that Detroit is open to dealing one or the other.