Craig Breslow Rumors

Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration With Craig Breslow

The Diamondbacks and Craig Breslow have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.795MM reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The Baratta Partners client filed for $2.1MM while the team countered with $1.5MM as our Arbitration Tracker shows.

Breslow, 31, came to Arizona in the Trevor Cahill trade. The lefty reliever pitched to a 3.79 ERA in 59 1/3 innings last season with the Athletics, though left-handed hitters tagged him for a .352/.394/.473 batting line in exactly 100 plate appearances. All of the Diamondbacks' arbitration-eligible players are now under contract for 2012.


D’Backs Acquire Cahill, Breslow From A’s

SATURDAY: Slusser reports that the cash considerations going to the Diamondbacks will be "a couple of hundred thousand dollars."

FRIDAY: As was rumored earlier today, the Diamondbacks have acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow from the Athletics for minor leaguers Jarrod ParkerCollin Cowgill and Ryan Cook, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) and Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter). The Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

The centerpiece of the trade for Arizona is Cahill, a right-handed starter who has logged more than 175 innings in each of his three seasons as a Major Leaguer. The groundballer (53.3% career rate) is under team control at least through 2015 and perhaps through 2017, depending on two club options. He'll join Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the D'Backs' rotation, with Josh Collmenter and perhaps (or not) Joe Saunders at the back end.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the timing was right to make a move of this nature:

“A lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod Parker was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Charles Brewer, we feel we’ve got depth in the starting rotation – also, Wade Miley. We see a window here, specifically in the NL West. We’re kind of in a go-for-it mode.”

Clearly, Cahill will be counted on as one of the mainstays of the D'Backs' rotation, but it wasn't long ago he seemed destined to remain in Oakland after inking a multiyear extension in April:

"I defintely thought I’d be with them a bit longer. But their history is, they usually keep guys when they don’t make too much, then trade them off for prospects. I thought I’d be there longer, but I'm glad to be part of a team that’s headed in the right direction."

Breslow, a lefty reliever, kicked around earlier in his career before latching on with the A's the past three seasons. He's posted a career 3.80 FIP, and with no significant lefty/righty splits, Towers said Breslow will likely be used as a swing lefty out of Kirk Gibson's bullpen in 2012. He is eligible for free agency after 2013.

In Parker, Cowgill and Cook, the A's get three prospects who all have far less than a full season of service time. Of them, Parker, a right-handed starter, is regarded by scouts as having the highest ceiling. Now 24, Parker pitched mostly in the minors in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 19 in Keith Law's top 50 minor league prospects in July.

Cowgill is a 25-year-old outfielder who made his Major League debut in 2011 after posting a .383 career on-base percentage in parts of four minor league seasons. Cook was a starter in the minors before being converted to relief work in 2011. He has a "strong arm, chance for a good slider," tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix first tweeted the rumored trade, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Piecoro, Slusser and Gilbert all filled in with details.


A’s Unlikely To Trade Gio Gonzalez At Meetings

The latest on Athletics lefty Gio Gonzalez, a 26-year-old who is under team control through 2015…

Tim Dierkes and Luke Adams contributed to this post.



Athletics Place Harden, Crisp, Breslow On Waivers

A trio of Athletics were placed on waivers recently, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: starter Rich Harden, center fielder Coco Crisp, and lefty reliever Craig Breslow.  Placing the three on waivers does not necessarily mean the A's want to trade them.  But if they were placed this afternoon then the clock is now ticking to make a claim, with the window closing after 48 hours.

The Red Sox pulled out of a trade deadline deal for Harden over physical concerns, but the 29-year-old righty continues to take his turn in the rotation for the A's.  His big-time strikeout rate is back in an eight start sample, though Harden remains prone to free passes and home runs.  Owed just $360K plus performance bonuses, claiming Harden would not be terribly risky despite his extensive injury history.

Crisp, 31, is hitting .274/.329/.392 in 441 plate appearances this season, already his highest total since '07.  He leads the American League with 37 steals and his defense is typically well-regarded.  He has a shot at Type B status, so the A's probably won't let him go for nothing.  Crisp has about $1.39MM remaining on his contract.

Breslow is under team control through 2013, assuming he's tendered contracts for the next two seasons.  The brainy 31-year-old has been hittable this year, especially against left-handed hitters.


Cafardo On Clippard, Pence, Upton, Myers

In a conversation with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino echoed John Henry's sentiment from earlier this week: Whether or not Boston makes a move at the deadline, the luxury tax won't be an issue. Lucchino said the Sox have paid the tax before, and would be willing to do so again if the right deal came along. Here are some other highlights from Cafardo's weekly notes column:

  • The Rangers have made "a lot of inquiries" on Tyler Clippard. The Braves, Yankees, and Red Sox also have varying levels of interest in the Nationals' setup man.
  • According to an Astros source, the team intends to hold on to Hunter Pence. However, Cafardo points out that could change in the offseason, with the new ownership group (and possibly a new GM) in control.
  • Some Nationals people believe a change of scenery would greatly benefit B.J. Upton, and are considering "offering the moon" for him.
  • There hasn't been a whole lot of interest in Brett Myers yet. "We’ve had a couple of bites from National League teams, but not much else," said an Astros official.
  • Athletics lefty Craig Breslow is drawing interest from the Yankees and Red Sox.

Heyman On Astros, Adams, Matsui, Yankees

Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has ordered a decrease in payroll from $76MM to $60MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Here’s the latest on Houston’s deadline plans and other notes from around MLB:


Pirates Mulling Breslow, Willingham

2:29pm: The Pirates and A's aren't discussing a package deal involving Willingham at this point, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The two clubs have discussed relief pitching.

12:18pm: The Pirates are mulling a possible trade with the Athletics for lefty Craig Breslow and outfielder Josh Willingham, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Biertempfel believes Garrett Jones would probably be part of the package going to Oakland in such a deal.

The Pirates have a need for left-handed relief, while Willingham would serve as a useful right-handed bat in right field.  The 32-year-old is hitting .244/.321/.434 on the season, but must prove he's past an Achilles injury.

The Pirates are enjoying increased financial flexiblity due to improved attendance, president Frank Coonelly told ESPN's Buster Olney.  Coonelly also mentioned that he envisions GM Neal Huntington remaining at the helm "for a long time."


West Notes: Pentland, Bell, Breslow, Bedard

The latest on a few AL and NL West clubs…

  • The Dodgers fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland and named Dave Hansen interim coach through season's end, the team announced on Twitter.  Not that it's entirely Pentland's fault, but the Dodgers are 15th in the NL with 3.63 runs scored per game.
  • Padres closer Heath Bell appeared on ESPN's Doug Gottlieb show yesterday.  He thinks his top three suitors are the Rangers, Phillies, and Cardinals, and believes he'd probably close only for the Cards.  SI's Jon Heyman says the Padres have considered taking draft picks for Bell after the season or re-signing him if they don't get what they want this month.  Heyman lists the Phillies, Reds, Rangers, Cardinals, Pirates, Angels, (and the White Sox and Yankees to a lesser degree) as suitors.  By the way, check out our Bell archive over at CloserNews for fantasy advice.
  • Athletics lefty Craig Breslow interests the Brewers, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Morosi expects many A's to be dealt this month, and notes that the Rangers, Orioles, Giants, Pirates, Blue Jays, Brewers and Reds scouted Tuesday's game in Detroit.
  • Trade candidate Erik Bedard will likely have his return delayed until after the Mariners' series with Boston at Fenway this weekend, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  He might have one start to display his health prior to the July deadline.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told SI's Jon Heyman he hasn't heard nor has he asked about his situation.  Zduriencik's contract is up after this season.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti explained to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that "it's not that cut and dry" to label his club buyers or sellers.  Though the team has no chance in 2011, Colletti may be willing to acquire players who are controlled beyond this year.

Bay Area Notes: Ellis, Breslow, Fuentes, Whiteside

Here's the latest on the A's and the Giants, including some trade rumors between the two clubs themselves…

  • "The Giants are not pursuing" A's second baseman Mark Ellis, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  (Twitter links).  The Giants at least checked in on Ellis but have cooled their pursuit for a variety of reasons, including Ellis' salary, his poor performance this season, Oakland's trade demands and the presence of Bill Hall, Emmanuel Burriss and Freddy Sanchez (who could still return from the DL) on the roster.   
  • Rival scouts have been watching Brian Fuentes and Craig Breslow, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Of the two southpaws, the Athletics would be more apt to move Fuentes since he has around $7.6MM remaining on his contract through 2012, whereas Breslow still has two more arbitration years left.  Fuentes also stirred up controversy earlier this season when he criticized then-manager Bob Geren.  These two pitchers and Jerry Blevins made MLBTR's Tim Dierkes' recent list of potentially-available left-handers.
  • Eli Whiteside has been ignoring the rumors about the Giants' catching search, reports Chris Haft and Adam Berry for MLB.com.  The incumbent starter has been hitting well lately, which Whiteside attributes to getting regular playing time.
  • Another internal option for the Giants: Triple-A catcher Hector SanchezSchulman reports that Barry Zito was very complimentary about Sanchez's game-calling abilities during Zito's recent rehab stint at Fresno.  Sanchez, 21, has a .299/.327/.495 line in 226 plate appearances this season, though just 42 of them have been at the Triple-A level.

A’s, Breslow Avoid Arbitration

The A's avoided arbitration with Craig Breslow and agreed to a one-year, $1.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (Twitter link). The A's had filed at $1.55MM and Breslow has countered with $1.15MM, so the lefty's new deal is worth slightly more than the $1.35MM midpoint.

Breslow, 30, logged 74 2/3 innings for the A's last year, posting a 3.01 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. The five-year veteran generally induces more fly balls than ground balls; last year his fly ball rate (55.8%) nearly doubled his ground ball rate (29.6%).

Breslow majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale before the Brewers took him in the 26th round of the 2002 draft.

As MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows, all of Oakland's arbitration eligible players are now under contract for 2011.