Craig Kimbrel Rumors

Padres Pull Kimbrel Back From Waivers

SATURDAY: The Padres have pulled Kimbrel back from revocable waivers, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). That means that, as expected, Kimbrel will not be traded. The Mets are known to be trying to acquire a reliever they claimed on revocable waivers, but it’s not Kimbrel. Rosenthal writes that six teams claimed Kimbrel, but the Mets were not one of the six.

FRIDAY: Padres closer Craig Kimbrel has been claimed on revocable waivers by an unknown club, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, a club official tells Rosenthal that the Padres have no intention of trading Kimbrel.

Kimbrel is earning $9MM in 2015 as part of a four-year, $42MM contract extension signed with the Braves, and he’s owed about $1.87MM of that sum through season’s end. He’s owed $25MM on top of that sum through the 2017 season, including a $1MM buyout on a $13MM club option for the 2018 season.

After a rocky start to the season in which Kimbrel posted a 5.93 ERA through his first 15 appearances, Kimbrel has been characteristically outstanding. Since May 16, Kimbrel has a 1.73 ERA with a 49-to-13 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings and collecting 26 saves in 27 opportunities.

Acquired in a stunning blockbuster trade on the eve of Opening Day, Kimbrel came to the Padres alongside Melvin Upton Jr. in exchange for outfield prospect Jordan Paroubeck, right-hander Matt Wisler, a Competitive Balance (Round A) Draft Pick and the contracts of Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin (the latter of whom was immediately designated for assignment and released). Kimbrel drew significant interest prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but GM A.J. Preller elected to hold onto the four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.


Reactions To The Padres’ Decision Not To Sell

Despite being 50-53 and an afterthought in the playoff race, the Padres surprisingly opted not to sell at the trade deadline yesterday. Here more on what they did, or didn’t do.

  • One of the most discussed aspects of the Padres’ decision not to sell was that they asked the Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt in return for Craig Kimbrel, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. D-backs GM mentioned the Goldschmidt discussion on KTAR-AM and clarified it later. The Diamondbacks, of course, couldn’t reject the deal fast enough. “[W]e don’t talk about Goldy in any deals and no team has approached me in the almost year that I’ve been here about Goldy, so I was kind of shocked to hear that,” said Stewart. “Like I said, I don’t know if there was sincerity in it, but, yeah, the name did come up.” Piecoro notes that the Padres deny the request was serious, and it surely wasn’t. As FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel tweeted yesterday, it’s not uncommon for GMs to make wild offers. What is perhaps uncommon is for other GMs to reveal them. What the Goldschmidt discussion might suggest, though, is that the Padres were not particularly interested in trading Kimbrel.
  • There are a number of hypotheses as to why A.J. Preller and the Padres decided not to sell, as ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes. “They never knew what they really wanted,” says a rival executive. It would take a brilliant stretch run for the Padres to make the playoffs, and they’ll be in a tough spot — they won’t have gotten anything (except a draft pick) for free agents like Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy and Will Venable, and they’ll still be on the hook for Kimbrel, James Shields, Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton, who will be so expensive collectively that they might have trouble making other moves to get better. They’re putting themselves in a difficult position, and Stark writes that the other teams are mystified by what they’re doing.
  • The Yankees were willing to give up shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo and to take on at least part of the Jedd Gyorko contract in order to acquire Kimbrel, but the Padres declined, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Gyorko is in the midst of a second consecutive disappointing season and has $33MM remaining on his contract beyond 2015, so such a move would likely have helped position the Padres for the future. Mateo, meanwhile, ranks third on MLB.com’s list of the Yankees’ top prospects, earning praise for his outstanding speed in particular. He has a ridiculous 70 stolen bases and a .271/.341/.379 line at Class A Charleston this season.
  • It might also been seen as strange that, given the Padres’ decision not to sell, they also didn’t really buy, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune points out. They only added Indians reliever Marc Rzepczynski. “You have a lot of teams that are in the hunt,” says Preller. “That makes it harder for teams to really look at moving a lot of their pieces, because I think a lot of people, rightfully so, think they’re in contention.” One might think, though, that such conditions might make the more obvious route of selling even more attractive. “We were working through all different scenarios to try to add the club and other scenarios in which other teams were asking about our guys,” says Preller. “Ultimately, we didn’t feel like we got the value that we wanted to get to.”
  • Unsurprisingly, Padres players and management seem excited the team didn’t move any of its top players, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. “It’s a relief,” says Justin Upton. “I think just the sense around the clubhouse is that this front office wants this group, so we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that they didn’t make the wrong decision.”

No Traction Between Yankees, Padres On Kimbrel; Astros Out Too

2:48pm: Drellich tweets that the Astros are out on Kimbrel as well.

2:25pm: There have been “zero talks” between the Yankees and Kimbrels in the run-up to the deadline, Sherman tweets.

2:17pm: Rosenthal tweets that there’s no traction between the Yankees and Padres in Kimbrel talks.

12:54pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees believe the Padres to be discussing a larger deal with other teams that involves Kimbrel.

11:39am: Both Rosenthal and Olney (Twitter links) now say there haven’t been any discussions between the Yankees and Padres regarding Kimbrel recently. Olney says there have been none “so far in this work day,” which could suggest that talks have stalled since their overnight discussions.

Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that multiple teams say GM A.J. Preller has consistently asked for “a ton” in return for Kimbrel.

11:24am: The Yankees are currently the team that is in the hottest pursuit of Kimbrel, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

7:48am: The Yankees and Padres spent much of the night working on a trade to send closer Craig Kimbrel from San Diego to New York, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. The Astros, too, are in the mix for Kimbrel. Stark’s colleague, Buster Olney, tweets that he’s hearing the Yankees connected to Kimbrel as well.

Reports last night indicated that the Yankees would be willing to take on all of the $28MM that Kimbrel is guaranteed through the 2017 season. Stark hears the same but adds that the Yankees are continuing to balk at the possibility of including top prospects Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge in a potential swap. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets that the Padres have sought top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo as well but been denied to this point.

Late last night, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported that the Padres and Astros were at least discussing something big that involved Kimbrel and possibly one of Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner. Stark adds today that it’s not known how much of Kimbrel’s contract the Astros would be able to take on after absorbing the $12MM remaining on Carlos Gomez‘s deal yesterday.



Latest On Yankees’ Pursuit Of Elite Relief Arms

The Yankees have already been connected to Craig Kimbrel this morning, and it’s becoming apparent that they’re in the mix for most of the top relief arms on the market at this point. We’ll keep track of that pursuit in this post…

  • The Yankees are waiting on the Padres in regards to Kimbrel but could turn to the MarlinsCarter Capps, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jayson Stark of ESPN takes it a step further, saying that the Yankees are tiring of waiting on San Diego and are already talking to Miami (Twitter link).

Earlier Updates

  • The Yankees are one of five teams that are “aggressively pursuing” a trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Adding Chapman to the back of a bullpen that already includes Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would give the Yankees perhaps the best late-inning relief trio in all of baseball. Adding a premium bullpen arm appears to be the focus for the Yankees now that a number of starting pitchers have already landed with other teams. New York, though, has been said to be unwilling to part with top prospects Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo in talks for Kimbrel, so it would stand to reason that they’re reluctant to do with Chapman as well, who comes with far less control. He can be a free agent after the 2016 season.

Red Sox Interested In Tyson Ross

The Red Sox like Tyson Ross quite a bit and have been operating “very quietly” in the trade market for starting pitching, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Red Sox have talked to the Padres, with Ross as one possible target, though he notes that they also have the prospect depth to expand a deal to include Craig Kimbrel.

Ross’ name is one of the most popular on the trade market, with many expecting the Padres to aggressively market a number of players today (Ross and Kimbrel included). Boston’s priority has long been said to be to acquire controllable pitching, and Ross, who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season, would fit that mold to an extent.

The 28-year-old Ross is not yet arbitration eligible and has worked to a 3.07 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 60 percent over the past three seasons with the Padres. He’s also drawn interest from the Astros, Cubs and many other teams.


Relief Market Notes: Astros Working Hard, Twins, Lowe

The Astros are “pushing hard” to find an upgrade in the bullpen and have several irons in the fire, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Given the players under consideration, it looks like Houston is aiming high. We just heard of talks with the Padres that may include Craig Kimbrel, and Bowden says they’ve also discussed Joaquin Benoit. As Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweeted earlier, the Rays have spoken with the Astros about pen arms, though he adds nothing seems likely there, and Bowden lists Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee as names that have come up. And Houston has even made inquiries on outstanding Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, he adds.

Here’s more on the relief market, which should be among the most active areas of discussion leading up to tomorrow’s deadline.

  • Though the Twins are in the market for relief help, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that they’re not interested in either Junichi Tazawa or Craig Breslow of the Red Sox. Berardino hears that the Twins are turned off by Tazawa’s five-plus years of service (he’ll be a free agent after 2016) and Breslow’s impending free agency.
  • Mariners right-hander Mark Lowe is drawing quite a bit of interest, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The journeyman reliever is in the midst of a breakout season, having pitched to an incredible 1.00 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in 36 innings this season. Lowe’s average fastball velocity of 95 mph is his best since 2011, and because he took a minor league deal in an attempt to revitalize his career (so far, so good), any team could afford him from a financial standpoint.

Latest On Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel‘s name is still coming up on the trade market, as ESPN’s Buster Olney notes (Twitter links), adding that the Yankees remain positioned to make a run at the Padres’ closer. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted tonight that many outside executives believe that the Yankees will ultimately end up with Kimbrel (though he also points out that industry consensus expected the Yankees to land a top-tier starting pitcher not that long ago as well). Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark linked the Yankees to Kimbrel as well.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports tonight that the Yankees are still in the mix for Kimbrel and have even expressed a willingness to assume the remaining $28MM or so on Kimbrel’s contract in order to help facilitate a trade. The Astros, too, could be interested in making a “stealth try” for Kimbrel, though their involvement to this point is unknown. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears that the Astros are indeed still in on Kimbrel, though tonight’s Carlos Gomez acquisition makes it even less likely that they’ll meet the Padres’ asking price (Twitter link).

The Yankees have been more prominently linked to starting pitching than relief pitching this summer, and those rumors will probably escalate in the wake of today’s injury to Michael Pineda. However, adding an elite reliever to mix in with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would effectively shorten the game for a potentially shaky rotation (in a similar manner to the Royals’ dominant trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera).

Kimbrel got off to a rough start this season, surrendering three early homers that caused his ERA to balloon to a much higher number than observers are accustomed to see in association with his name. He’s returned to his old form over the past couple of months, surrendering just three earned runs over a span of 25 2/3 innings with a 36-to-10 K/BB ratio in that time. Many reports this evening have pegged the Padres as a team that looks to be on the verge of an exceptionally active finish to the non-waiver trade season, so Kimbrel figures to be one of many Padres that will see his name bounced around the league late tonight and into tomorrow.


Stark, Crasnick On Mariners, Cubs, Ross, Padres, Chapman

The Mariners and Cubs have had recent trade talks, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he’s yet to ascertain which specific players were involved. The conversations didn’t center around Starlin Castro, Crasnick continues. Clearly, there could be a wide range of targets at play here, though the Cubs have been connected to pitching upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Some more trade notes from a couple of ESPN’s top reporters…

  • In today’s Rumor Roundup over at ESPN, Jayson Stark writes that other teams view Tyson Ross as the Cubs‘ top trade target. Chicago likes Andrew Cashner but considers him a fallback option, should the price for Ross become too steep. Both Castro and Javier Baez have previously been of interest to the Padres, although Castro’s stock is way down. Stark also reported today that the Cubs are now “aggressively” shopping Castro.
  • From that same piece, Stark adds that other clubs believe Justin Upton, Cashner and Joaquin Benoit are the most likely players to be traded by the Padres, and one particular executive to whom Stark spoke feels it’s “likely” that Craig Kimbrel will be traded as well. In a followup tweet, Stark adds that the number of people who feel Kimbrel will end up with the Yankees is “amazing.” New York already possesses a dominant late-inning duo in the form of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Adding Kimbrel to the mix would give them a trio to rival the three-headed bullpen monster (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) that the Royals rode to the World Series in 2014. The Astros, too, like Kimbrel, according to Stark. However, Houston wouldn’t want to take on all of the money he’s owed.
  • Stark also tweets that the Reds are still discussing Aroldis Chapman with teams, but the price remains very high. At this time, the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Astros are all in the mix for Chapman, who is earning $8.05MM in 2015 and is controlled via the arbitration process for the 2016 season.

Pitching Notes: Leake, Astros, Pirates, Angels, Johnson, Royals

The sudden availability of David Price will shake up the starting pitching market, of course, but there are plenty of less significant, but still notable developments to cover. Let’s take a look in at a few notes on the pitching market.

  • Reds starter Mike Leake is among the many pitchers still being considered by the Blue Jays, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, the club is looking at a variety of arms at a similar level of ability, with the hope of getting the best value out of a deal.
  • The Astros are “monitoring” the market for bullpen pieces, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. They have given at least some thought to quality arms like Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, and Francisco Rodriguez. Houston is also still involved on Cole Hamels, though it still doesn’t seem that they are terribly likely to get him, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Pirates, meanwhile, seem to be looking more at middle relief options, per MLB.com’s Tom Singer. And the Angels are also looking to add another arm to their pen, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter. Los Angeles is looking for something on the order of last year’s addition of Jason Grilli says Gonzalez. Presumably, the same holds for Pittsburgh, which sent Grilli out west last summer in exchange for Ernesto Frieri.
  • With many teams (including those just noted) looking to add arms, the Braves are “getting lots of play” on righty Jim Johnson, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. Johnson isn’t too expensive, has been solid this year, and has obviously spent a lot of time in high-leverage situations, so it stands to reason that he’ll be moved to a contender looking to build out their stable of relief arms.
  • The Royals asked the Tigers about Price before acquiring Johnny Cueto, but moved on to the righty when they learned that Price was not yet being marketed, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • Wondering who the teams listed above could target? MLBTR recently listed the starters and relievers most likely to be available at this year’s trade deadline.

Latest On Padres: Baez, Kimbrel, Deadline Strategy

2:15pm: The Padres have engaged in at least some discussions with the Cubs regarding young infielder Javier Baez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Chicago is said to be pursuing pitching, and we heard last week that they had exchanged ideas with San Diego.

Meanwhile, the Friars seem increasingly likely to hold onto Craig Kimbrel, reports Heyman. The team lost a significant suitor when the Nationals got Jonathan Papelbon, and San Diego has been unable to convince the Yankees to give up shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo in a deal.

11:40am: The Padres continue to explore a wide array of options on this year’s trade market, though they’ve yet to make a move. Multiple reports suggest that the team is still weighing its ultimate approach, perhaps considering major moves while also preparing for a more modest sell-off.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears that rival teams expect San Diego to be “super active” and pursue a “huge deal” of some kind (via ESPN.com’s trade deadline page), with the team said to be considering deals on controllable rotation pieces such as James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and even Tyson Ross.

[RELATED: Rangers Discussing Ross, Cashner With Padres]

The inclusion of those names on the market could even reduce the Phillies’ leverage with regard to Cole Hamels negotiations, executives with other clubs tell Stark. The Phillies, of course, are said to be asking teams with interest to get their bids in on the lefty today.

Meanwhile, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Padres GM A.J. Preller could “take a more measured approach” in selling than he did in compiling assets over the winter. San Diego wants “substantive” value in its deals, per the report.

Efforts to move Shields have not resulted in promising offers of yet, says Lin, and he could become an August trade piece. And while San Diego is indeed discussing both Cashner and Ross, it seems hesitant to part with them. There is some belief within the organization that larger-scale moves could wait for the winter.

The club does still appear likely to move its short-term assets, per the Union-Tribune. There is still at least some possibility, though, that it will hold onto Justin Upton and make him a qualifying offer, with talks not yet having produced a substantial enough return, though it seems rather likely that something with come together on the slugger. Other pieces fairly likely to be dealt include Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit, and Will Venable.