Colby Rasmus Rumors
ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes that the Braves are the frontrunners for Carlos Beltran right now thanks to their assortment of pitching prospects, such as left-hander Mike Minor (Twitter link). Click here for more details on Beltran and keep reading for more of Olney's rumors:
- General managers tell Olney that it's hard to obtain value for right-handed relievers now, since the market is flooded (Twitter link).
- Some teams are convinced that the Blue Jays’ interest in Heath Bell revolves around the reliever's Type A status, according to Olney (on Twitter). Bell projects as one of the top rated free agent relievers under the Elias free agent rankings.
- Olney reports that some rival executives believe the Cardinals would trade Colby Rasmus despite the fact that GM John Mozeliak says his center fielder is staying put (Twitter link).
The Rays, Nationals and Red Sox are among the teams that called the Cardinals about Colby Rasmus, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. However, GM John Mozeliak says he's "not shopping" his center fielder and insists that a deal remains "highly unlikely" (Twitter link).
Rasmus, who is arbitration eligible for the first time after the season, has a .241/.326/.404 line with nine home runs in 369 plate appearances this year. His 2012 salary will reach seven figures through arbitration and he's under team control through 2014.
The Nationals are listening on top relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but such a trade would have to fill a specific long-term need such as center field. Teams are calling on Storen, Clippard, and Todd Coffey.
Potential center field targets for Washington include B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus, and Denard Span, writes Rosenthal. He believes that a reliever alone probably would not bring back a center fielder, but the Nats could also trade shortstop Ian Desmond since some club officials would like to move Danny Espinosa to shortstop.
Storen is under team control through 2016, Clippard and Desmond through '15. Desmond would be an interesting name for teams seeking shortstop help, though he's limped to a .226/.269/.311 line in 361 plate appearances this year.
The Nationals also have starting pitching to spare, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that they will move Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, and Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is a bit of a surprise, as he's got strong strikeout and walk rates and is under team control through 2013.
The NL Central lead seems to change hands on a daily basis, meaning we can expect plenty of trade talk over the next two weeks as the Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds attempt to gain an edge in a tight race. Here's the latest from out of the division:
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry has "no interest" in moving Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster this season, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB.com.
- New Astros ownership would like to cut payroll to $60MM, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (via Twitter). As such, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers are "being shopped," though Houston will likely hang on to Hunter Pence.
- Discussing those three Houston trade candidates, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Astros would have to be "completely blown away" to move Pence, but Myers is very much in play, and there could be a decent market for him. Rodriguez falls somewhere in between - the Astros have fielded plenty of inquires, but it would take a big package to get a deal done.
- Heyman thinks that Jamey Carroll would be a good addition for the Brewers (Twitter link).
- Colby Rasmus' father confirmed to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his son has requested a trade in the past. Strauss breaks down some of the reasons why the Cardinals and Rasmus seem to have trouble seeing eye to eye.
The Rays and Cardinals had serious talks about a trade that would have sent Colby Rasmus to Tampa Bay last year, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). The center fielder appeared to request a trade last summer, though he later denied doing so.
The Cardinals might be willing to move Rasmus now, though Strauss and colleague Bernie Miklasz suggest a deal is unlikely. Rasmus is the most attractive trade chip GM John Mozeliak has, but Miklasz expects the Cardinals and their center fielder to be “stuck with each other” for a while.
The Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a trade, according to Strauss. However, Tampa Bay doesn't necessarily covet Rasmus, especially at that price. Rays center fielder B.J. Upton homered in three of five games leading up to the All-Star break and his .239/.325/.427 line resembles Rasmus' .246/.329/.413 line.
On this date three years ago, the newly acquired C.C. Sabathia homered and pitched a complete game to help the Brewers beat the Reds 3-2. The Brewers' latest acquisition, Francisco Rodriguez, probably won't get too many chances to swing the bat this summer, but he could help Milwaukee reach the playoffs again...
- Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg told ESPN Chicago's "The Waddle & Silvy Show" that he wants to manage in the Major Leagues and would consider returning to Chicago if the Cubs asked him to manage at some point. Sandberg, who was a candidate for the Cubs' managerial opening over the winter, now manages Philadelphia's Triple-A affiliate. ESPNChicago.com has highlights from the conversation.
- The Pirates announced that they have signed fourth round pick Colten Brewer and eighth round pick Jason Creasy. Now that they've signed the pair of high school right-handers, Pittsburgh has locked up 16 players from last month's draft.
- The Rockies like Colby Rasmus, but don't match up well with the Cardinals on a potential trade, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Cardinals might be willing to trade Rasmus, who ranks 41st on Dave Cameron's annual list of players with the most trade value at FanGraphs.com.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in a chat today that the Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a potential trade involving Rasmus and the Rays.
The Cardinals "might reconsider [their] stance" on trading center fielder Colby Rasmus, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He adds that GM John Mozeliak "would have to acquire a significant return for Rasmus but may be willing to plumb long-standing interest from the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays."
Rasmus, 24, is showing "only halting development" in Strauss' opinion. He's hitting .246/.329/.413 with nine home runs in 360 plate appearances this season. That's solid for a center fielder, but a decline from last year's numbers. Defensively, Rasmus put up a strong UZR in '09 but has been below-average in over 1,800 center field innings since then. If Rasmus were to be traded, Jon Jay would become the Cardinals' starting center fielder.
Even with his stock slightly down, Rasmus would be a hot commodity on the trade market. I can see why he'd interest the Rays, who control center fielder B.J. Upton through 2012 but could control Rasmus through '14. Rasmus could jump past $3MM in arbitration next year against perhaps $7MM for Upton. Upton could be moved in a separate deal, though the Nationals would probably be interested in both center fielders. It'd be a big win for the Cardinals to somehow pry James Shields loose in a Rasmus deal, but with Shields' ace performance and his contract offering options through '14, a direct swap doesn't seem to benefit Tampa Bay enough.
The Central divisions are home to not just the four worst records in baseball (the Twins, Astros, Cubs and Royals) but also to the Cardinals and their MLB-best 37-25 record. Here's some news from the middle of the baseball map...
- Phil Humber's improbable journey from being a third overall pick to injury-riddled obscurity to a star in the White Sox rotation is chronicled by ESPNChicago's Jon Greenberg.
- The Cubs have no plans to rush Brett Jackson to the Major Leagues, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Jackson just recently returned to action after a finger injury. Muskat's piece also contains updates on several other Cubs prospects.
- The Cardinals would be "crazy" to think about dealing Colby Rasmus, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Tigers took position players with 10 of their first 11 draft picks, and 24 of their first 29 picks were college players. Baseball America's John Wagner looks at how both trends were a departure from Detroit's recent draft strategies.
- Bill Hall has cleared waivers and is now a free agent, tweets Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle. Hall was put on release waivers by the Astros on Monday.
- The Astros can also claim the first signing of the 2011 Amateur Draft, as 44th-round pick Blake Ford told Stephen Goff of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) that he will sign tonight. Ford, a right-hander from Lamar University, happened to have tickets to tonight's Astros-Cardinals game so he figured he would take care of his contract while at the ballpark. Also from Goff, the Astros have already signed two other draft picks.
The fact that the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992 isn't stopping new manager Clint Hurdle from aiming high in 2011. Speaking to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hurdle said that "people can laugh," but Pittsburgh will head into the season with the goal of winning the NL Central. Here are the latest updates on the Pirates and the rest of the division they hope to win:
- Hurdle was a major factor in Lyle Overbay's decision to sign with the Pirates, as Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains.
- As ESPN's Buster Olney hinted yesterday on Twitter, Albert Pujols is serious about his Spring Training negotiating deadline. In Olney's Insider-only blog, he says that if the deadline passes without an extension in place, "all bets are off. Because the talks will shift from a nice one-on-one conversation between the Cardinals and their star player to being a straight bidding war."
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that trade rumors surrounding Colby Rasmus were blown out of proportion. According to Mozelieak, most of the calls he received on Rasmus were from teams who were "bottom-fishing," thinking the Cards might part with the 24-year-old at a reduced price.
- The Astros will face a tough decision this year regarding the future of Wandy Rodriguez, writes Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. Justice expects the team to try to extend the left-hander, a possibility the Astros and Rodriguez have already discussed, but cautions that "the money can't get crazy."
MLBTR wishes all of its American readers a very happy Thanksgiving. For those readers not from the USA...uh, happy Thursday! Onto some news items:
- "Three contending clubs" have a "persisting interest" in Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss noted in a follow-up tweet that these are teams with a "new interest," so presumably that eliminates past suitors like the Braves, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and White Sox. The Rasmus rumor mill seemed to have petered out, with the most recent report stating that there was a 99% chance that Rasmus would still be in St. Louis next season.
- Dennis Gilbert will not try to buy the Houston Astros, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Gilbert led a group bidding for the Rangers earlier this year and has been rumored to be a potential future ownership candidate for the Dodgers.
- The Twins are "very much in on" Tsuyoshi Nishioka, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. We heard last week that Minnesota had an interest in the Japanese infielder.
- When Kevin Towers was general manager of the Padres, he planned to eventually bring Trevor Hoffman back to San Diego so the future Hall-of-Fame closer could retire as a Padre, tweets Fanhouse.com's Tom Krasovic. Though Towers has moved on to Arizona, Krasovic says there's a chance Hoffman could still return to San Diego now that Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta are no longer with the organization.
- Bill James talks to CBSSports.com's Evan Brunell about a variety of topics, including the new Mets front office, the Justin Upton trade rumors and what the Royals should do with Zack Greinke.
- Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog wishes the Derek Jeter negotiations moved as smoothly as Mike Mussina's contract talks with the Yankees after the 2006 season.