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Clint Barmes Rumors
9:12:pm: The Astros also placed Clint Barmes on waivers, reports Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle. Houston was telling teams that their shortstop was unavailable before the trade deadline, and Barmes has indicated a willingness to stay with the club beyond this season.
2:01pm: The Astros have placed Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers on waivers, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The move starts the timetable for potential trades involving Rodriguez and Myers.
Rival teams now have two business days to place a claim on the starting pitchers, both of whom have signed extensions in the past year or so. If no one claims them, the Astros will be free to trade with all clubs. If a team makes a claim, the Astros will have the choice of handing the claimed player and his salary over, pulling him back off of waivers or working out a trade with the claiming team within two business days. By placing the starters on waivers now, the Astros are giving teams an extra two days – the weekend – to contemplate making a claim.
Though it's not usually noteworthy for players to hit waivers in August, Rodriguez and Myers have both been considered trade candidates this summer and it won't be surprising if they are dealt. Myers has $14MM guaranteed on his contract after 2011 and Rodriguez has $23MM guaranteed plus a $13MM option that becomes a player option after a trade.
SATURDAY, 9:48pm: The Cardinals are likely to receive cash in the deal and they'll send a minor league outfielder to the Dodgers, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The outfielder is not currently on St. Louis' 40-man roster, Goold reports.
8:40pm: Furcal will approve the trade, Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets.
1:40pm: The teams are a step away from completing the deal, hears Goold.
SATURDAY, 12:00pm: Though Furcal has no-trade protection, he's open to a deal to the Cardinals, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The two teams continue to talk.
6:34pm: The Cardinals are prioritizing a trade for a shortstop, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss hears it's more likely than not that GM John Mozeliak pulls off a deal before Sunday's deadline, and feels that the rumored move is a difference-maker.
Difference-making shortstops are hard to come by in this trade market, unless the Marlins decide to listen on Hanley Ramirez or the Mets on Jose Reyes. The names I'd expect to be available are not nearly as exciting: Jamey Carroll and Rafael Furcal. The Astros are telling some teams Clint Barmes is not available, tweets MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
The latest buzz from the NL Central…
- The Brewers have discussed Clint Barmes, Coco Crisp and Jerry Hairston Jr., according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Ramon Hernandez of the Reds is "not on the block," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
- "We're still exploring both [starters and relievers]," said Cardinals GM John Mozeliak to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. "But when it comes down to it, I think the reliever market’s got more opportunities." Mozeliak also indicated that the team could conceivably add payroll both this year and next in a trade.
- An AL executive told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that while the Astros asked for a big return for lefty Wandy Rodriguez a few weeks back, they now "will take little at deadline to get rid of most of his contract" (Twitter link). Rodriguez has about $38MM left on his contract if he exercises his 2014 player option. He's a bit overpaid, but presents a nice opportunity for a team to add a solid starter without giving up top prospects.
- The Reds are not close on any deals, GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). While Jocketty would not reveal his list of untouchable prospects, he laughed when Fay mentioned catcher Devin Mesoraco. Earlier today we learned that the Rockies asked for Mesoraco and Aroldis Chapman in an Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Jocketty seems disinclined to trade prospects for rentals.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin seeks a left-handed reliever, but told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the market "isn't very strong." It's a similar story with the Brewers' other main needs, shortstop and third base.
Already today we've seen the Pirates add one player and contemplate more changes. We've seen the Brewers express interest in a versatile infielder and learned about how the Cubs intend to approach the deadline. Here's the rest of the day's news from the NL Central…
- Rival GMs believe Pirates GM Neal Huntington over-values his prospects, so they're suspicious that he can be an effective 'buyer,' according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Pirates haven't made progress toward a contract extension with Paul Maholm, according toJenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Pittsburgh has a $9.75MM 2012 option for Maholm, who has said he'd like to remain with the Pirates long-term.
- The Brewers have had internal discussions about Clint Barmes of the Astros, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- The Brewers expressed interest in Jeff Keppinger before the Astros sent the infielder to San Francisco, according to Crasnick (on Twitter). Milwaukee continues looking for help on the left side of the infield.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin made the first major trade of the summer, acquiring Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets, but he says there’s "not much happening right now," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds are “definitely” buyers. “We’re looking to upgrade any area,” Jocketty said. For more detail on the Reds’ needs, check Tim Dierkes' analysis from yesterday.
Of all the teams in baseball, the 18-30 Astros are likeliest to become sellers this summer, in the eyes of ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Yet Stark suggests there may be a shortage of sellers, since so many teams are within striking distance of a playoff berth. Here are the details, as the summer trade market starts to take shape:
- Houston GM Ed Wade says it makes sense to explore “anything that builds the type of depth that will get us where we need to be."
- Rival teams believe Wade would listen to offers for players like Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Clint Barmes and Bill Hall, but the GM says he’s “going to be very protective of [Houston’s] younger players."
- Stark hears that the Braves, Orioles and Phillies have some interest in Hunter Pence. A rival executive says Wade would need an immense haul to justify trading Pence, who is under team control through 2013.
- The Phillies’ interest in Pence may be overstated. Pence’s $6.9MM salary appears to be about double what Philadelphia can add and at this point, the Phils are just creating a shopping list of possible targets.
- The Braves are “actively stepping up” their search for hitting. They’ve been looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and would also like a utility infielder who can handle shortstop. They signed longtime shortstop Julio Lugo yesterday.
Some links to browse through on your Sunday afternoon…
- The Matt Holliday contract is looking better every day, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Miklasz compares Holliday's deal to several other outfielders, including Alfonso Soriano and Jason Bay, in pointing out the early returns on the Cardinals' investment in Holliday.
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at some of the biggest trades to date from Twins GM Bill Smith as the trade deadline approaches. The Twins figure to be full-fledged sellers for the first time under Smith's watch.
- Neither the Astros nor the Rockies are looking like winners of the Clint Barmes-for-Felipe Paulino swap this past offseason, writes the Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine. The Rox just DFA'ed Paulino while Barmes is hitting .191 in Houston. As Levine points out, the Astros' bigger loss to the Rockies was former closer Matt Lindstrom.
- Zach Berman of the New Jersey Star Ledger takes a look at Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and his quest to become a Major League manager.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports opines that the Red Sox are a great team, but not yet complete as their bullpen has been overworked and exposed by a struggling rotation. He wonders if Boston will be in the hunt for an elite upgrade to its rotation prior to July 31 to take some of the pressure off the bullpen.
The Astros designated Joe Inglett for assignment to create roster space for Clint Barmes, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Barmes was hit by a pitch in Spring Training and has now recovered from a fractured hand.
Inglett hit .208/.208/.250 in 24 plate appearances for the Astros, who acquired him from the Rays this spring. The 32-year-old appeared in 102 games for the Brewers last year, hitting .254/.331/.401 and playing second base, left field and right field. He has also played shortstop, third base and center field over the course of his six-year MLB career. The left-handed hitter has a .286/.345/.397 line in the majors.
Barmes has not appeared in a big league game for the Astros since they acquired him for Felipe Paulino last November. He hit .235/.305/.351 in 432 plate appearances for Colorado last year, playing short, second and third.
The Astros remade their middle infield this offseason, but they have yet to see new shortstop Clint Barmes play an official game in their uniform. He's currently recovering from a fractured hand suffered in Spring Training, but he's already thinking beyond his rehab and to the future, telling Stephen Goff of Examiner.com that he hopes to remain in Houston beyond this season.
Barmes, 32, will earn $3.925MM this season, his final one as an arbitration-eligible player. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, when he would be one of the few legitimate everday middle infielders available on the market. Although he hit just .235/.305/.351 with the Rockies last season, Barmes hit a respectable .264/.306/.452 with 34 homers and 25 steals from 2008-2009. Aside from a hiccup in 2007 and 2008, UZR has liked his defense at short.
Notes from the NL Central…
- Zack Greinke talked to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his frustrations with the media and the reason he believes he can get to know his teammates without going out to dinner with them every night.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has more from Greinke.
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio told Haudricourt that this year's Brewers team could help him reach one of his biggest life goals. "One thing I want before I kick the bucket is a World Series ring for the Milwaukee Brewers," Attanasio said.
- Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that Corey Wimberly, who arrived in Pittsburgh in an offseason trade with Oakland, intends to make it impossible for the Pirates not to place him on their 25-man roster. The speedy utility player stands just 5'8" and says he's well-suited for the National League.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle wonders where the critics of the Brandon Lyon signing have gone. Many analysts panned the reliever's three-year, $15MM deal last winter, but Lyon went on to stay healthy and produce for the Astros in 2010. His performance may have helped other relievers, as I explain here.
- Jiovanni Mier, the Astros' 2009 first rounder, has added 20 pounds of muscle and impressed the team's front office, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
- Clint Barmes is looking forward to playing shortstop again, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The new Astros infielder admitted that while he enjoyed playing in Colorado, he knew he'd have to go elsewhere if he wanted regular playing time.
- Miguel Cairo is happy to have finally earned a multiyear contract, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. The veteran infielder signed a two-year deal with the Reds in December.
Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.
Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:
- The Angels have agreed to terms with Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register tweets that Kendrick will earn $3.3MM, Willits $775K (on Twitter).
- The Giants agreed to terms with Santiago Casilla on a one-year deal worth $1.3MM with incentives, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas (on Twitter). The team also announced that they avoided arb with Jonathan Sanchez and Ramon Ramirez (on Twitter). Sanchez will earn $4.8MM with incentives tweets Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle while Ramirez will earn $1.65MM according to Janie McCauley of The Canadian Press.
- The Braves agreed to terms with Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Moylan gets $2MM, O'Flaherty gets $895K according to Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
- The Mariners agreed to terms with Brandon League, David Aardsma and Jason Vargas, the team announced. Aardsma will earn $4.5MM with plenty of incentives, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (plus Twitter link).
- The Rangers agreed to terms with C.J. Wilson and Nelson Cruz, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links). Cruz gets $3.65MM, and Wilson gets $7.05MM with a chance to earn another $100K according to his agent Bob Garber, via email.
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