Corey Hart Rumors
Much has been made of the surprising first-place Padres' needs as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. It's a known fact that they've relied on tremendous pitching to win in spite of an offense that ranks 27th in the Majors with a .701 team OPS and 21st with 396 runs scored.
The San Diego Union Tribune's Tim Sullivan says that manager Bud Black made a subtle pitch to Corey Hart, a known Padres target, at the Home Run Derby, opining to the Milwaukee right fielder that a lot of his home runs would also have gone out in Petco Park to gauge a reaction. While Hart kept an even keel and simply replied, "Yeah, they would have," Black says he wanted Hart to know that the Padres were interested.
Padres closer Heath Bell also spoke with Hart, and relayed that Hart isn't happy to be on the trading block. If he does get moved, he would like to train in Arizona near his newly-purchased house.
While Hart's 22 home runs would look nice in the middle of the Padres lineup and add some much needed support for Adrian Gonzalez, it's worth noting that the offense may no longer be the club's main focus.
Padres general manager Jed Hoyer did acknowledge that they have the resources to improve both the offense and the defense, but said that the odds of a significant improvement to both seemed "remote." Any trades that send away cost-controlled young players will require a return that's controlled beyond 2010 for the Padres as well, according to Hoyer, who stressed that financial limitations make cost-control important to San Diego.
Sullivan asked Bell about his personal wish list for acquisitions, and Bell named Hart, Cody Ross, Miguel Tejada, and Milton Bradley before floating a unique idea: acquire Lance Berkman and put him back in the outfield. It's unlikely that Berkman would play a respectable outfield at this point, but the scenario suggests that Bell clearly would like to see a proven, veteran bat added to the lineup.
On this date in 2001, Fred McGriff invoked his no-trade clause to block a deal that would have sent him from the last place Devil Rays to the first place Cubs. The Crime Dog was born and raised in Tampa, but he relented and agreed to the deal 11 days later. Tampa Bay received Manny Aybar and Jason Smith in return for McGriff, who was unquestionably the greatest player in franchise history at the time.
Hear are some links with the deadline rapidly approaching...
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness scouts the starting pitcher and relief pitcher market for the Dodgers.
- Bleacher Report says the Giants would be filling one hole and creating another if they trade for Corey Hart.
- Disciples of Uecker feels it is unrealistic to expect the Brewers to retain Prince Fielder long-term.
- 1 Blue Jays Way chimes in on the Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez swap.
- Meanwhile, Beyond the Box Score wonders how much Yunel Escobar's bad attitude cost the Braves.
- Royals Review takes a quick look at the trade history between the Royals and Yankees.
- El Lefty Malo tries to nail down Jonathan Sanchez's trade value.
- Yankeeist looks at some solutions for the Yankees' DH vacancy.
- Gear Up For Twins Baseball has some suggestions to help improve the Twins.
- River Ave. Blues wants to see the Yanks go for the kill and acquire Adam Dunn.
- Sports: A Game of Inches analyzes the Cliff Lee non-trade to the Yanks and his eventual move to the Rangers in a four part series (parts one, two, three, four).
The Brewers asked the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner in exchange for Corey Hart, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Giants GM Brian Sabean is understandably hesitant to deal either pitcher.
The Brewers appear willing to deal Hart, though the right fielder has been red-hot since the middle of May. The Giants, Rays, Padres and Braves are among the teams interested in the 28-year-old. Hart has a .288/.349/.569 line with 21 homers this season after a disappointing 2009 campaign. He earns $4.8MM this year and doesn't become a free agent until after 2011.
Sanchez has a 3.47 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 this season. The Giants control the 27-year-old's rights through 2012. Baseball America ranked Bumgarner second among Giants prospects before the season (after Buster Posey). So far in 2010, the 20-year-old left-hander has started four games and posted a 2.57 ERA.
Brewers right fielder Corey Hart is "being eyed" by the Rays and Padres, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Two days ago, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune tweeted that the Rays "appear to be getting serious" about Hart. And don't forget the Giants, whose interest is well-known to MLBTR readers as well as Hart himself.
Hart fits a criteria shared by the Giants and Padres: he's under team control for 2011. He has about $2.16MM remaining on this year's contract, and he'll be arbitration-eligible for 2011. Hart posted an All-Star first half: .288/.349/.569 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs in 338 plate appearances. But any suitor has to be concerned that the Brewers are selling high. Just three months ago, I wrote that Hart "stands a good chance of being non-tendered" after the 2010 season. ESPN's Keith Law had this to say on July 8th:
"I wouldn't trade anything of value for Hart. His first half is way over his head, and hitters who can be beaten that easily would scare me if I was looking to acquire them for a playoff run."
The Giants might be wary; Shea says GM Brian Sabean "doesn't appear to be willing to move any of his starting pitchers, which the Brewers would demand." Tommy Rancel of DRaysBay expects the Rays to take a cautionary stance as well. As for the Padres, FOX Sports' Jim Bowden tweeted word from owner Jeff Moorad that adding a bat is secondary to starting pitching. Perhaps the Giants, Rays, and Padres are three teams that wouldn't mind adding Hart but won't overpay to do so.
Another round of links for Monday, as Big Papi keeps on hitting...
- The Orioles have some interest in Mark Prior and will continue to keep an eye on him, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com.
- Matt Capps told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he doesn't want the Nationals to trade him.
- Cliff Lee told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he hopes to negotiate a no-trade clause into the free agent deal he signs after the season. Lee reflected on "a whirlwind few days" with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- The Nationals have yet to discuss a pro contract with first overall pick Bryce Harper, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (via Twitter). The sides have until August 16th to work out a deal and it would be a surprise to see them agree much before then.
- Corey Hart repeated to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he wants to remain a Brewer, but told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he has thought about becoming a Giant (Twitter link).
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs places Phillies prospect Domonic Brown 50th on his list of MLB players with the most trade value.
The Brewers are listening to offers on Prince Fielder and Corey Hart, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The tweet echoes a similar report by Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse, though Olney suggests that the Brewers have no interest in moving Rickie Weeks.
Fletcher reported that the Brewers were entertaining offers for Fielder because they don't expect to be able to re-sign him when he hits free agency in 2011. Olney offers similar thoughts in two more tweets, indicating there's a very slim chance Milwaukee could afford to lock up the Scott Boras client to an extension. Boras figures to be looking for a contract larger, in both years and dollars, than Ryan Howard's five-year, $125MM deal. Earlier this season, Fielder and Boras turned down an extension offer similar to Howard's, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
Meanwhile, the Giants have been the team most frequently linked to Hart, though the last rumor we heard had the Brewers asking for more than San Francisco was willing to pay. Hart will earn $4.8MM this year, while Fielder is making $10.5MM. Each player will be eligible for arbitration for the last time in 2011 before becoming free agents.
In a final tweet, Olney adds that David Bush could also be an interesting trade chip for the Brew Crew if they go into sell mode. Bush, who will be eligible for free agency this winter, has a 4.23 ERA in 17 outings this year, including a 2.74 mark since his seven-run blow-up in Minnesota on May 21st.
FRIDAY, 12:50pm: Rosenthal says the Giants aren't ready to act on a trade for Hart (Twitter link). They would prefer a left-handed bat and would rather give up prospects than a major league arm like Jonathan Sanchez.
WEDNESDAY, 8:48pm: Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets that the two sides are expected to talk about a possible Hart trade before their series ends tomorrow night. Rosenthal notes that Milwaukee likes Jonathan Sanchez, but it remains to be seen if a deal can be worked out.
TUESDAY, 7:40pm: Updating his initial report, Schulman adds that the Brewers haven't decided yet whether or not they want to move Hart, so talks between the two teams aren't far along.
7:00pm: Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News says (via Twitter) that the Brewers will only deal Hart this week if a team overpays. The Giants, who don't seem entirely convinced that Hart would have as much success in their ballpark, probably aren't going to do that. Schulman, meanwhile, tweets that it would likely take "Sanchez-plus" to pry Hart from the Brew Crew.
6:24pm: The Giants could be "focusing on a possible trade" involving Corey Hart, tweets Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Giants were recently reported to have interest in the Brewers' outfielder, and Schulman noted yesterday that the Giants' brass may have been scouting players at the Giants-Brewers game.
Despite Pat Burrell's success in San Francisco so far (.316/.391/.553), the Giants have still been linked to outfield bats, such as David DeJesus and Jose Guillen. Hart would be of particular interest to the Giants, since he's under contract through 2011, and Brian Sabean has said his club would like to avoid merely renting players for a couple months.
When we asked nearly two weeks ago whether the Brewers ought to deal Hart, over half of our poll respondents suggested that trading the 28-year-old would be in Milwaukee's best interest. For their part though, the Brewers aren't eager to hold a fire sale, particularly with players like Hart and Prince Fielder, who are under team control past this season. In a second tweet, Schulman cautions that Hart, in the midst of a potential career year, would not come cheaply for the Giants.
Some links for Thursday, a day that has even the most intense baseball fans wondering about LeBron James' decision...
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reviews all of the players Pirates' GM Neal Huntington has acquired after they were designated for assignment by another team. The best of the lot: Delwyn Young.
- Tony LaRussa is happy with the Cardinals' recent bullpen additions, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. St. Louis added Mike MacDougal today and Renyel Pinto about two weeks ago.
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer confirmed to Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio that the Padres have payroll flexibility and would like to add a well-rounded hitter and a starting pitcher (all Twitter links).
- Peter Gammons notes a Corey Hart-Mike Minor rumor (via Twitter). The Braves are interested in Hart and other right-handed hitting outfielders, but Hart tells MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he wants to stay in Milwaukee.
- The Mets, Phillies, Rays and Dodgers are among the teams watching Roy Oswalt today, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).
- Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog hears that the Mets, Phillies and Rangers are among the many teams eyeing Ben Sheets.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson dials the clock back to 1999 and takes a look at the little league team that included Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake.
- Cubs draftee Matt Szczur has a deal that will give him an additional $500K if he gives up football, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.
- Jamey Newberg says the Rangers should seriously consider trading Chris Davis or Justin Smoak if there's a real chance to improve the club.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the D'Backs will listen to offers for Dan Haren, but will likely have to be blown away to deal him (Twitter link).
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun asks Orioles fans: should the O's have any untouchable players in trade talks this year?
- Billy Wagner repeated something he said earlier in the year, telling Ray Parrillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he intends to retire after 2010.
- Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies - like every other team in baseball - would be better with Cliff Lee.
- David Ortiz tells John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he hopes to talk to the Red Sox about staying in Boston after this season. The Red Sox hold a $12.5MM option for Big Papi in 2011.
As the rumors keep swirling around Adam Dunn, ESPN.com's Buster Olney says he believes the Nationals should consider locking the slugger up if they can do so for $44-48MM. That seems like a lot, but Dunn, who hit three homers last night, is as consistent as it gets and home run hitters are harder to find these days. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors:
- Rival teams wouldn’t be surprised to see the Blue Jays become one of the more aggressive sellers this summer. They could offer relievers, like Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs, plus All-Star catcher John Buck and MLB home run leader Jose Bautista.
- Olney’s sources say the Marlins and Rockies would match up well for a Dan Uggla deal if the Marlins fall from contention.
- The Brewers and Giants started talking about a Corey Hart trade last week. The Brewers will likely demand a lot for Hart, but it appears that talks have already begun.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says the team will explore starting pitching options, but could add a bat. "I just don't know if I can do both," Mozeliak said.
- Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News doesn't expect to see the Giants and Brewers strike a deal in the coming days.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean and one of his top evaluators, Lee Elder, may have been scouting Brewers players at today's Giants-Brewers game, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman lists Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, and Ryan Braun as potential targets.
- There are scouts from 14 different clubs at tonight's Red Sox-Rays game, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- A scout told Dan Hayes of the North County Times (via Twitter) that the inconsistent delivery of recently DFA'd Sean Gallagher is "disappointing". The righty has been with three clubs in four big league seasons.
- Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs argues that Jayson Werth would have a whole lot of trade value if the Phillies made him available.
- The Pirates agreed to terms with six international 16-year-olds, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Brewers' approach to the trade deadline could depend on the outcome of the meetings the team's scouts are having this week, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Four GMs predicted to Peter Gammons that Carlos Gonzalez will be one of the NL's ten best players next year (Twitter link).
- Rival scouts tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that they rank Matt Thornton as one of the game's top ten relievers.
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs takes our latest Elias rankings and examines what they mean for Carl Pavano and Adrian Beltre.
- Omar Infante thought he had been traded when Braves GM Frank Wren phoned to tell him he had made the All-Star team, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.