David Price Rumors

Tigers Preparing To “Reboot,” Listening On Price, Cespedes

The Tigers are lining up for a sale, as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the team is telling rivals that they are “rebooting.” GM Dave Dombrowski confirms that he’s ready to listen on all of the team’s pending free agents, as Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets.

That means that Detroit is willing to sell David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and other pieces. “We’re only going to make a trade if we think it makes sense for us,” said Dombrowski (via Beck, on Twitter). “But we think [the reboot] gives us a chance to restock our club.”

Needless to say, adding Detroit’s expiring veteran assets will have a significant trickle-down effect. Price will land atop the market for starters, possibly impacting the Phillies’ efforts to move Cole Hamels as well as the value of other arms. Clubs interested in corner outfielders can now look to Cespedes as well as Justin Upton and Carlos Gonzalez (among other options).

Those two aren’t the only veteran Tigers that should draw interest. Closer Joakim Soria becomes one of the more appealing rental relief arms, while Rajai Davis could be a nice piece (especially in high-leverage situations down the stretch and in the post-season) for a team that has a need in center field. Catcher Alex Avila can also be had, and Alfredo Simon may make for a useful swingman piece.

Price’s market, of course, is where most of the immediate interest will go. As Stark writes, teams like the Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Yankees have been waiting on other pitching moves to see whether Price would be available. Now that he is, expect his market to heat up quickly.

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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.

AL Central Notes: Twins, Polanco, Tigers, White Sox

The Twins announced the call-up of highly-regarded shortstop prospect Jorge Polanco, who will take the roster spot of Trevor Plouffe as he heads to the paternity list. It’s unclear as yet whether Polanco — currently rated the 89th overall prospect in the game by MLB.com — will stick around for a lengthier stretch. He has already seen two brief cameos, and Minnesota probably hopes he’s the future at the position. But the team is struggling to find consistency at shortstop now, as it continues to remain in contention. GM Terry Ryan said yesterday that he isn’t ruling out the possibility of adding a shortstop in the next three days, as MLB.com’s Betsy Helfand reports“If you’ve got a chance to get better, then you look at it,” Ryan said. “If you’ve got a chance to just do something to make a move, that wouldn’t be very smart, either. We’ve got three of them here.” Polanco now joins that group, which also includes Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, and Eduardo Nunez. As I noted in breaking down the shortstop trade market, Minnesota figures as a possible participant, and could find some veteran options available at reasonable prices.

Here’s more from the AL Central:

  • As they approach the deadline, the Twins should exercise caution in making deals for their short-term impact, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN writes. He advocates for a bullpen addition or two, at a relatively low cost, as the best way to balance the team’s solid position in the Wild Card hunt with its long-term interests.
  • Indeed, even with the Royals making big moves to bolster their already high-performing roster, the Twins do not seem inclined to respond to keep up with their division rivals. As MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports on Twitter, Ryan indicated that his moves won’t be dictated by what Kansas City has done: “You still have to do what’s right for your own club,” he said. “You’re not going to be reactionary.”
  • The Twins have steadily enhanced their reliance on analytics, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press writes“It’s probably not at the level the Pirates were at and are at,” says Twins manager of major league administration and baseball research Jack Goin, “but it’s significantly better (than it was). This is just kind of a natural evolution.” You’ll want to give the full piece a read for an interesting look at Minnesota’s changing philosophies.
  • After another rough loss yesterday, the Tigers should be deadline sellers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press opines. While Detroit is still on the periphery of the Wild Card race, four and a half out, the club has now dipped 13.5 games back of the division-leading Royals. For George Sipple of MLive.com, given the club’s veteran core, there’s a case to be made in either direction — adding pieces or selling off expiring veteran contracts — but no real argument for standing pat.
  • With the White Sox now climbing past the Tigers in the standings, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that he believes there’s a better chance of Detroit moving David Price than there is of Chicago parting with Jeff Samardzija. Both will hit the open market after the year, of course. It’s worth bearing in mind that the latter has far less trade value, making it somewhat easier for the White Sox to keep him and plan to recoup prospect value by extending a qualifying offer after the season (with expectations that it will be declined).


Tigers Still Not Selling, Looking At Pitching; Mike Leake “On Radar”

12:53pm: Reds starter Mike Leake is on Detroit’s radar if they choose to buy, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter.

12:34pm: At least one club that is selling pitching believes the Tigers to be “actively shopping,” ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets.

12:08pm: The Tigers have informed clubs over the last day that they are still not selling and could look to add arms, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That matches up with statements yesterday from GM Dave Dombrowski, who told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that his club is “doing everything we can to try and qualify for the playoffs.”

There has been some back and forth on Detroit’s trade status over the last week or so. While an earlier report indicated that the team would be shifting into seller status, and Dombrowski has acknowledged the possibility, more recent indications (including the most recent reports, cited above) are that the decision has yet to be made.

The Tigers have not exactly done much on the field to improve their position. Since exiting the All-Star break, the club has put up four wins against seven losses. As things stand, Detroit is 12.5 games back of the Royals in the AL Central and 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.

Obviously, the two major trade pieces that could be had from the Tigers are ace David Price and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The addition (or exclusion) of either or both to the market will have significant ramifications for other starting pitching and corner outfield trade targets. Closer Joakim Soria could also be an important chip who could have implications for the bullpen market.


Stark’s Latest: Giants, Hamels, Price, Orioles, Gallardo, Alvarez

The latest deadline rumblings from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com

  • The Giants are still searching for starting pitching, but they’re only looking at top-of-the-rotation arms to pair with Madison Bumgarner in a playoff rotation, Stark hears. San Francisco has checked in on both David Price and Cole Hamels, but they’re not considered a favorite to land Hamels from the Phillies, and there’s still no definitive sense that Price has been made available by the Tigers. Yesterday, Stark reported that the Dodgers and Rangers were emerging as the favorites in the Hamels market.
  • The Orioles are speaking with other clubs to get a feel for what kind of return they could get if they market Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, Stark hears. However, rival clubs feel the O’s will only sell if they slide to six or more games back in the Wild Card race — and they’re 3.5 games out with four to play before the deadline at this time. If they make up a bit of ground, they could add a bat, but Stark says it’d likely be a bench piece as opposed to a bigger name. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said last week he would be a buyer regardless of the team’s play, though others have suggested that the Orioles could still end up selling if they struggle enough.
  • Adding help that can be controlled beyond 2015 is the priority for the Rangers, which is why they’re targeting Hamels, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner while also listening to offers on Yovani Gallardo. However, according to Stark, those moves aren’t linked, and Texas could acquire a rotation piece for 2016 but also hang onto Gallardo. Personally, I think Gallardo’s pitched well enough to warrant a qualifying offer. A draft pick and improved odds of making a late run (especially if they do add another rotation arm) present enough value that the Rangers shouldn’t feel obligated to simply take the best offer for Gallardo if the proposed packages aren’t all that impressive.
  • The Pirates are now likely to hang onto Pedro Alvarez after shopping him without success for several weeks. They’ve asked the Brewers, White Sox and Rays about Adam Lind, Adam LaRoche and James Loney, respectively, but with Alvarez in the fold, they’re not likely to make a move at first. Stark adds that multiple sources downplayed the recent reports connecting Pittsburgh to the Red SoxMike Napoli.

More Fallout From The Johnny Cueto Trade

We already collected one set of reactions to the trade of Johnny Cueto to the Royals. Here are a few more odds and ends from the deal.

  • In Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb, the Reds are receiving three potential big-league starters, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes. The Reds sacrificed a draft pick as a result of trading Cueto, but the three lefties they received have more than enough talent to make up for it. The Royals, meanwhile, traded from solid minor league pitching depth.
  • The Yankees scouted Cueto for five weeks, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. The Yankees and Reds also had brief discussions involving Cueto and Yankees starter Ivan Nova, but the talks did not develop. It is, of course, highly unlikely that Nova could have been centerpiece of any Cueto trade. The Yankees have thus far been unwilling to trade top prospects like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino or Greg Bird.
  • The Dodgers did have talks with the Reds about Cueto, GM Farhan Zaidi tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter links). Zaidi thinks the Dodgers will be able to consummate some other trade before Friday’s deadline, presumably one involving starting pitching. Within the Dodgers’ clubhouse, Heyman writes, some players were disappointed that the team didn’t get Cueto, and would like the team to pursue David Price now that Cueto is off the market.

Latest On David Price

Now that Johnny Cueto has been moved to the Royals, one can’t help but wonder if fellow ace David Price will be on his way out of the AL Central.  A deal could very well take place, but it probably won’t happen until very close to the deadline, agent Bo McKinnis told MLB Network Radio.

[Last Thursday], I had some folks that asked me my thoughts.  Then, I said I feel like if they were to go 5-3 in those eight, that [Tigers president/GM Dave] Dombrowski would hang onto him [past the deadline],” McKinnis said, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. “Well, since I made that comment of them needing to go 5-3, they’ve actually gone 2-2 … so it’s kind of hard to say I’m optimistic about us staying. Yet I have no doubt that Dave’s going to drag it to Thursday or Friday. If I was in his shoes, that’s what I would do, because this team was set up to win, and it’s just kind of hard to throw in the towel.”

McKinnis also addressed speculation that there haven’t been contract talks between Price and the Tigers.  That chatter is “incorrect,” though McKinnis says that the two sides have been too far apart to ever make serious headway towards a deal.

When asked about the prospect of allowing another team a 48-hour window to negotiate a long-term deal, McKinnis wouldn’t rule it out, but he seemed skeptical that something could get done.

I try to never say never,” McKinnis said, “so I’m not going to give a blanket no to that, because you don’t know what’s going to be on the other end. They may offer us a billion dollars. You just never know. So I’m not going to say no to it…We’re sitting here two months away from free agency. It’s kind of tough to not wait on that, but I’m not going to say it’s impossible to at least entertain something of that nature.”

The Tigers aren’t necessarily opposed to granting a 48-hour window, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports.   A high-ranking Tigers official told Morosi that the team has no such policy against doing that, even though such windows are rare in MLB trades.

Still, it’s not certain that Price will get moved.  If the Tigers keep their ace, they’ll look to add between now and the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  Right now, they’re currently in the market checking on upgrades.


Dodgers Interested In Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo

The Dodgers view Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo as a backup plan if they do not land Cole Hamels or David Price, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  It was reported last week that the Rangers are listening on Gallardo.

Gallardo, 29, has provided the Rangers with 121 1/3 quality innings since coming over in a winter deal from the Brewers. He owns a 3.19 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 on the year.

But, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Gallardo has given no indication of interest in an extension, making him an expiring asset for a club that has faded of late. Despite his solid work, Gallardo’s value may not quite match his results. His track record is more that of a mid-rotation innings eater than a top-of-the-rotation arm, and ERA estimators take a somewhat dim view of his work this year (particularly a 4.39 SIERA mark).

For his career, Gallardo owns a 3.65 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.


Blue Jays, Brewers Still Discussing Mike Fiers

The Blue Jays and Brewers are still discussing Mike Fiers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Rosenthal reported last week that the two sides were talking about a swap involving the right-hander, though he added that the Brewers weren’t terribly interested in moving him.

Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays still have numerous irons in the fire as the deadline approaches.  Toronto continues to show interest in frontline starters like Jeff Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto and also David Price, if he becomes available.

Fiers isn’t arbitration eligible until after the 2016 season and he’s earning just $513K in 2015.  Thanks to making his big league debut later on in his career, the 30-year-old can be controlled through 2019 via the arb process. That team control is one of the reasons that he’s probably appealing to the Blue Jays, but it probably also makes the Brewers reluctant to move him.

Upon first glance, Fiers would seem to be an imperfect fit for Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He’s a right-hander that averages just 89 mph on his fastball and is considered an extreme fly-ball pitcher. However, Fiers’ former teammate, Marco Estrada, has been outstanding for the Blue Jays in 2015.

According to Rosenthal’s report from last week, the Brewers would want multiple pieces as a return in any trade of Fiers. He’s an atypical trade candidate due to the four remaining seasons of control he brings, but the more traditional trade pieces in Milwaukee’s rotation don’t currently hold much appeal. Kyle Lohse, a free agent at season’s end, has struggled greatly in 2015. So, too, has the now-injured Matt Garza, who comes with two more years of a $12.5MM salary.


West Notes: Price, Astros, Padres, Shields, Clevenger, Rangers

The Giants could pursue Tigers ace David Price if he’s made available, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Per Morosi, substantive talks will await the Tigers decision to compete or sell. Detroit won earlier this afternoon to improve to 48-49. They’re currently 4.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race. The Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Cubs are also interested in Price (tweet).

Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • Astros owner Jim Crane is pleased with the acquisition of Scott Kazmir, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston in a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4). Crane says the club will absolutely make a run at the postseason, and he seems confident that “there’s some deals to be done.” Houston is open to taking on a pricey contract for the right guy, “if it makes good sense.” Crane also confirmed that a hitter is among the many things GM Jeff Luhnow is seeking to acquire. Luhnow himself said he expects to be involved in at least one more trade, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Padres are “ready to sell,” tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. However, the club will first see how they perform in a four game set against the struggling Marlins. San Diego is currently seven games below .500 and 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Four teams stand between the Padres and a Wild Card berth, but the Braves have already started to disassemble. A sweep could put the Friars back in the thick of the race.
  • While San Diego waits to see how the upcoming series transpires, they continue to shop starter James Shields, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN. Stark spoke with one executive who said the Padres would have to eat a big portion of the $65MM remaining on Shields’ contract. Shields is owed $21MM over each of the next three seasons with a $16MM option for 2019 ($2MM buyout). While he’s struggled with home runs this season, he’s also posted career bests in strikeout rate (10.13 K/9) and swinging strike rate.
  • The Mariners have asked the Orioles about Triple-A catcher Steve Clevenger, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Talks did not advance. The 29-year-old is hitting well in the minors with a .327/.402/.408 line in 246 plate appearances. He also performed well in a brief major league audition earlier this season, going 5-for-11.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters that a big weekend could lead the club to simply buy, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Texas is expected to market short term assets like Yovani Gallardo as they walk the line between contending and building for next season.