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- Nationals Acquire Jonathan Papelbon
- Angels Acquire David Murphy From Indians
- Diamondbacks Discussing Aroldis Chapman With Reds
- Angels Acquire David DeJesus
- Jenrry Mejia Suspended 162 Games For Second Failed PED Test
- Dodgers Prioritizing Cole Hamels In Search For Pitching
- Phillies Asking Clubs For Best Offers On Hamels By Tomorrow
- Rockies Prepared To Deal CarGo, May Wait Til Offseason
- Phillies Expect To Trade Papelbon; Nationals “Making Progress” On Deal
- Royals Acquire Ben Zobrist
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- Trade Notes: Chapman, Chavez, Shields, Dodgers, Gomez, Kelley, O’s, Nats
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Craig Kimbrel Rumors
10:18pm: Heyman reports that Kimbrel’s name has “at least surfaced” in talks with the Yankees, but New York’s reluctance to part with any of Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo would need to change before anything could ever come to fruition. As Heyman notes, the Yankees are checking on nearly all available pitchers, so it’s tough to gauge how much significance to place on the fact that his name has been kicked around.
9:41pm: The Nationals are the team that is “hottest” after Kimbrel, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
9:43am: The Nationals, Blue Jays and Astros are among the teams to have shown interest in Padres closer Craig Kimbrel, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Astros, though, are concerned with the financial commitment that comes along with Kimbrel in the future, he adds.
While many would think the same should hold true of the Blue Jays, it should be pointed out that Toronto can potentially see Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Dioner Navarro, Marco Estrada and Maicer Izturis depart as free agents this offseason. Additionally, they’ll finally be freed from the burden of the ill-fated Ricky Romero contract this winter. That means more than $50MM will come off their books.
Of course, some of those departures will be offset by a significant increase to Russell Martin‘s salary on his backloaded contract ($7MM in 2015, $15MM in 2016) and arbitration raises to players such as Josh Donaldson, Drew Hutchison and Justin Smoak, among others. (Donaldson’s raise, in particular, will be substantial.) Kimbrel’s remaining $3.49MM salary in 2015 would fit into the Blue Jays’ reported $5-8MM in-season spending limitations, though such a move would also limit GM Alex Anthopoulos’ ability to address the rotation, which is reportedly his focus.
The inclusion of the Nationals is a bit peculiar at first glance, given Drew Storen‘s excellent 2015 season, but the team has had some bullpen issues beyond Storen. And, as the Royals made abundantly clear in 2014, a deep bullpen is a notable advantage in the postseason. Over the weekend, ESPN’s Jayson Stark speculated this weekend that the Nats could make a play for Kimbrel.
As for the Astros, GM Jeff Luhnow has stated that he’d like to add a flamethrower to his bullpen if an upgrade is made, and Kimbrel’s average fastball velocity is 97.4 mph, so he’d certainly fit that description. His four-year contract’s guaranteed salaries escalate in 2016-17, however. Kimbrel is earning $9MM this year, but that jumps to $11MM in 2016 and $13MM in 2017. He’s also guaranteed at least $1MM via the buyout of his $13MM club option for the 2018 season.
Kimbrel got off to a rough start to his Padres tenure, surrendering 10 earned runs (partially on the strength of three homers) through his first 15 2/3 innings. Since May 19, though, he hasn’t allowed a single homer, and he’s reeled off a 0.76 ERA with a 32-to-10 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings. Recent reports have indicated that the Padres are “pushing” to move some of their big-name, expensive assets.
The Blue Jays, who are on the lookout for pitching help, are still in talks with the Padres about both starters and relievers, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The Padres, of course, have starters Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. The Jays’ payroll could be an issue, however. Morosi writes that, for example, it would be tough for the Jays to take on the remainder of Kimbrel’s contract. Kimbrel is due about $4MM the rest of the season, plus $11MM in 2016, $13MM in 2017 and a $1MM buyout on a $13MM option in 2018. Here’s more from the American League.
- The Blue Jays and Indians nearly completed a deal involving starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. It’s not clear why the deal wasn’t completed, but Carrasco would have provided a long-term fix for the Jays’ rotation — Carrasco is signed through 2018, with team options for 2019 and 2020, and his outstanding peripherals (10.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 2015) suggest he has a strong foundation for future success. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday that the Jays had made a “big push” to trade for Carrasco.
- The Rangers‘ solid recent play suggests that they should make moves to improve their pitching, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. They’re still in the playoff race, but Rangers starters have struggled to work deep into games, and they have a weak bullpen. The team has already decided to steer clear of big names on the rental market, though they’ve been connected to Cole Hamels along with Cashner and Ross.
The Padres are “pushing hard” to trade big-name stars, executives from other teams tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Obviously, Justin Upton, Will Venable and Ian Kennedy are clear trade candidates, since those players are due to become free agents after the season. But James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Craig Kimbrel, who all are controlled beyond 2015, have also come up very frequently in talks, according to Heyman. Other possibilities include Tyson Ross, who’s due for free agency after 2017, and Joaquin Benoit, whose contract contains a club option for 2015.
This isn’t the first time that any of these players have been mentioned in trade talks, of course, but rival executives now seem to think the Padres could be even more active at the deadline than had previously been anticipated. Given how aggressively GM A.J. Preller remade the team last offseason, it would come as little surprise if he were itching to make another round of big trades in the midst of what’s turned into a disappointing season.
Heyman adds that another potential motivation for the Padres to make trades could be to reduce payroll. (ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote earlier today that the Padres were feeling “pressure” to shed payroll beyond 2015 by making trades.) Via Cot’s Contracts, the Padres had an Opening Day payroll of about $108MM this season, about $17MM more than their 2014 figure. Trading someone like Shields, whose contract is backloaded, would help the Padres reduce their already significant payroll obligations for 2016 and beyond.
The Phillies and Nationals recently discussed a trade involving Jonathan Papelbon, but a deal between the two teams does not seem likely, Jake Kaplan of the Inquirer writes. Papelbon would need to approve a trade to Washington, but his preference is to remain a closer, and the Nats already have an excellent one in Drew Storen. Here are more quick notes on relievers.
- Rival executives think that if the Nationals do make a move this week, it will be a big one, ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets. Stark speculates that could mean a pursuit of the Padres‘ Craig Kimbrel or the Reds‘ Aroldis Chapman. Neither of those pitchers have no-trade restrictions. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi wrote last month that the Nationals and Reds had discussed Chapman.
- Trading for Chapman might be tricky, however. Stark also tweets that the Reds have asked other teams for three “higher-level” prospects in return for their closer. The significance of that information depends on how good those higher-level prospects are, but it appears they’re in no rush to part with him lightly. The Reds could certainly wait to deal Chapman, who isn’t eligible for free agency until after next season.
In another twist regarding the free agent deal he signed out of Cuba, Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would be effectively precluded from signing with the team as a free agent after this year unless he is traded away in the interim, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. It was already a matter of common knowledge that the club could not make him a qualifying offer after the year, since his deal requires that he be released five days after its conclusion. But Rosenthal now cites a CBA provision providing that a released player also cannot be re-signed by his club until May 15 of the ensuing year. While Detroit could hold Cespedes and attempt to work out an extension at any point up to five days after the World Series, it would otherwise be unable to bring him back unless he sat out a good portion of the 2016 campaign — a highly unlikely scenario. Of course, moving him now would prevent the team from working out a deal until the power-hitting outfielder becomes a free agent. As Rosenthal notes, Cespedes has told friends that he hopes to remain with the Tigers, and Detroit has given every indication that it intends to compete next year even if it moves some pieces this summer.
- There is increasing action on Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report (Twitter links) that there are multiple clubs involved — some with more apparent interest than the previously-reported Cardinals. The Twins are among the teams continuing to monitor the righty, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
- The Dodgers currently have David Price of the Tigers as their number one target, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But the expectation is that Detroit will hold their decision until next week.
- Indeed, the Giants recently spoke with the Tigers regarding outfielder Rajai Davis, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports on Twitter, but were left with the impression that Detroit is still unsure of its course of action.
- Another player on the Dodgers radar is Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Though nothing is close, the two clubs have had discussions.
- The Blue Jays sought to land Kazmir before he went to Houston, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. With the market beginning to move, the team appears to be ramping up is efforts to add a starter, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
- Both the Blue Jays and the Royals are “all-in” on Reds starter Johnny Cueto, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter links). Kansas City is also considering Mike Leake from Cincinnati as well as Jeff Samardzija, Dan Haren, and Mat Latos. But the club is not interested in Cole Hamels, James Shields, or Yovani Gallardo, per the report.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he has a green light to sell pieces, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. They’ll make moves “if it makes sense, but we’re not going to give away players,” says Jocketty. “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people, but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
- One rival general manager tells Passan that the Pirates are working hard to move first baseman Pedro Alvarez (Twitter link). We’ve heard previously that Pittsburgh has interest in an upgrade, and presumably it would make an addition if it can find a taker for Alvarez.
- Meanwhile, the Padres are officially open for business, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). In addition to Justin Upton, the team could move relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, outfielder Will Venable, and any number of starters. Rosenthal says that Tyson Ross is perhaps the least likely rotation piece to change hands.
Full Story | 53 Comments | Categories: Cincinnati Reds | Cole Hamels | Craig Kimbrel | Dan Haren | David Price | Detroit Tigers | James Shields | Jeff Samardzija | Joaquin Benoit | Johnny Cueto | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mat Latos | Miami Marlins | Mike Leake | Minnesota Twins | Pedro Alvarez | Pittsburgh Pirates | Rajai Davis | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Scott Kazmir | St. Louis Cardinals | Steve Cishek | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Tyson Ross | Will Venable | Yoenis Cespedes | Yovani Gallardo
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by reporting that the Dodgers have “quietly continued having dialogue with the Phillies” regarding Cole Hamels. The Dodgers are also giving serious consideration to the rental market and prioritizing Johnny Cueto over others among such targets. The Dodgers “appear determined” to land a top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, writes Heyman, but most executives think they’ll hold onto top prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias. The Dodgers have a deep farm system beyond that pairing (righty Jose De Leon has recently been ranked a Top 25 prospect by Baseball America and ESPN), and one exec tells Heyman that the Phillies’ asking price on Hamels has become “more reasonable” recently. The Dodgers feel that Greinke is a lock to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and while they could possibly re-sign him by adding a year or two to the deal and upping his $24.5MM AAV, Hamels would provide insurance should Greinke sign elsewhere. Jeff Samardzija is also a consideration for the Dodgers, but while they like him, they consider him more of a No. 2/3 starter and don’t love him.
Some more highlights from Heyman’s article, though the synopsis won’t cover everything within the piece, so I’d highly recommend reading it in its entirety…
- The Braves will be deadline sellers, Heyman hears, with Jim Johnson, Juan Uribe and Cameron Maybin among the players that will be available to interested teams. Chris Johnson, too, continues to be available, but there are no takers for his contract, which Atlanta has aggressively tried to move in the past.
- With the Reds expected to trade so many veterans to other clubs, many in the industry expect the team to make a run at extending Todd Frazier beyond his current two-year deal, Heyman writes. (Frazier has one more year of arbitration following his current pact.) Jeff Todd and I have discussed Frazier’s situation on the MLBTR Podcast in the past (and will do so again this afternoon), and I’ve personally taken the stance that given the significant commitments to Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, the Reds could have a difficult time affording Frazier, whose 2014-15 breakout has hugely inflated his price tag. Given the lack of impact bats on the trade market, Frazier would net a king’s ransom and could rapidly expedite the rebuilding process, though the PR hit of trading him with so much control and on the heels of a Home Run Derby victory would of course be significant.
- In other Reds news, Heyman hears Mike Leake‘s ground-ball tendencies are appealing to AL East clubs, and he’s drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox in addition to the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs and Giants. Manny Parra and Marlon Byrd are both “likely to go” as well.
- Asked about the possibility of signing with the Cubs this offseason due to his relationship with skipper Joe Maddon, Tigers ace David Price replied, “Wherever I play baseball next year it’s not going to be because of a manager.”
- The Astros are interested in both Cueto and Leake, and Houston seems willing to deal from its glut of MLB-ready outfield prospects, including Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker. (Previous reports have indicated they’re reluctant to part with Brett Phillips, however, who may be the best among the outfield bunch.)
- The Brewers are now showing a willingness to trade both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, Heyman hears. Though it was previously believed they were reluctant to move Segura, the emergence of Orlando Arcia (the younger brother of the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia) may have changed Milwaukee’s thinking. However, Arcia himself is also drawing a huge amount of trade interest, and the Padres have called to express interest. One NL exec called him the best player he’s seen in the minors this year, while another comped him to Francisco Lindor, but said Arcia is better. Regarding Segura, Heyman hears that the Mets dislike his free-swinging approach.
- The Twins aren’t closed off to the idea of re-acquiring Gomez from the Brewers, but their primary focus at this point is bullpen help.
- The Mets are aiming high in their pursuit of an outfield bat and have both Gomez and Justin Upton on their radar. They’re not likely to add Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers unless they receive bad news on the prognosis of David Wright. They also have little interest in swinging a deal for Uribe.
- Padres officials insist that they haven’t determined their course of action heading into the deadline, but Heyman writes that free-agents-to-be such as Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable could be traded regardless. James Shields‘ backloaded contract limits his value, but one GM felt Benoit has “big value” and Heyman notes that Craig Kimbrel would be in huge demand as well, should the Padres try to recoup some value from that deal.
- Cueto, Samardzija and Leake are atop the Blue Jays‘ wish list, and the team was also in talks with the Braves regarding Jason Grilli prior to his season-ending injury. A top starting pitcher is Toronto’s top priority at this point, says Heyman. He also adds that there’s no evidence to suggest that manager John Gibbons is on the hot seat.
Full Story | 91 Comments | Categories: Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Cameron Maybin | Carlos Gomez | Chicago Cubs | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Clayton Kershaw | Cole Hamels | Corey Seager | Craig Kimbrel | David Price | David Wright | Detroit Tigers | Domingo Santana | Houston Astros | Ian Kennedy | James Shields | Jason Grilli | Jean Segura | Jeff Samardzija | Jim Johnson | Joaquin Benoit | John Gibbons | Johnny Cueto | Juan Uribe | Julio Urias | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Parra | Marlon Byrd | Mike Leake | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Newsstand | Orlando Arcia | Philadelphia Phillies | Preston Tucker | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Todd Frazier | Toronto Blue Jays | Will Venable | Zack Greinke
Braves president of baseball operations John Hart discussed the upcoming trade deadline and a wide range of other topics in a fascinating Q&A with Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A full read of this excellent interview is highly recommended, but here are some of the highlights:
With July 31 fast approaching, Hart said it’s still an open question: “Do we pick up the phone or answer the phone? I’m not sure yet.” Noting that he “never made any false promises that we were built to win this year,” Hart nevertheless said it’s still possible that the team will make some additions at the deadline. But he cautioned that “we’re not going to be big buyers.”
[RELATED: Braves To Sign Jason Frasor]
Of course, selling is also still a distinct possibility, but Hart made clear that he wouldn’t move veterans just to get something back. “We don’t have the big chip that will take somebody over the top,” said Hart. “If people want good pieces and they can offer us something, yeah. But we’re going to take great care. We’re playing short. There is a very real possibility we won’t do anything.”
Despite a disappointing 39-49 season thus far, the Padres aren’t planning a complete rebuild, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “We think we’re smarter to put all of our energy into competing year after year after year,” says Padres lead investor Peter Seidler. “We think that’s what the fans want, we think that’s what San Diego wants, and we know that’s what we want.” The Padres’ plans also won’t be dictated by the fact that they host next year’s All-Star Game either, however. “I think ultimately, we’re going to make decisions that are for the best of the franchise and not say, ‘Hey, we have to be at this point because we have the All-Star Game in San Diego next year,'” says GM A.J. Preller. The Padres have a few key players set for free agency after the season, including Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy and Will Venable. Many of their other key players, though, including James Shields, Craig Kimbrel, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris, Yonder Alonso, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, are under control beyond this season, so they could conceivably make another run at contention next year. That could be tricky, however, given the talent they parted with to acquire many of those players. Here’s more out of San Diego.
- Some in the Padres organization believe the team should trade Shields this summer, promoting him as a lower-cost option than Cole Hamels, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (subscription only). There’s also belief within the organization that they should consider trading Kimbrel as well. Olney suggests Shields (who will make $21MM in each of the next three seasons, plus a $2MM buyout or a $16MM option in 2019) could make sense for the Cubs, Blue Jays or Dodgers. If the Padres were to trade players like Shields and Kimbrel, though, the question would be how they would explain such an abrupt change of course to their fan base.
- Catcher Yasmani Grandal feels the Padres didn’t handle him well, Matt Calkins of the Union-Tribune writes. The team had Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy all pitch to Rene Rivera, leaving Grandal without enough playing time to find a rhythm at the plate. Grandal thought Padres pitchers should be throwing inside early in counts, and the pitchers disagreed. Also, his 2013 PED suspension might have led to further distrust in the Padres clubhouse. This season, Grandal has hit .276/.398/.519 and framed pitches well after heading to the Dodgers in the Kemp deal, while Padres pitchers have struggled.
Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video at FOX Sports:
- At 36-40, the Padres have considered buying as well as selling at the trade deadline. They could pursue a shortstop and left-handed hitter if they buy. If they sell, they could consider dealing Justin Upton, James Shields and Craig Kimbrel. Upton is the only one of the three who’s eligible for free agency after the season, though, and the Padres might not want to tear down entirely, since they’re hosting the All-Star Game next year.
- The Cubs have considered dealing for Mets left-hander Jon Niese, although they might also aim higher. The salary remaining on Niese’s current deal (he’ll make $9MM next year, plus a $500K buyout or $10MM option in 2016) might also be a slight obstacle to trading him.
- The Blue Jays are interested in pitching, but also perhaps in outfield help. Acquiring an outfielder would help the Jays to keep top young player Dalton Pompey in the minors — he’s currently hitting very well for Double-A New Hampshire after struggling in both the big leagues and in Triple-A this year.
- Former Padres manager Bud Black could be a possibility for the Braves if they eventually decide to replace Fredi Gonzalez. Black worked for the Indians front office when current Braves GM John Hart was in Cleveland, and Braves president John Schuerholz traded for Black all the way back in 1982, when Schuerholz was GM of the Royals.