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David Price Rumors
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals should not overpay to acquire David Price from the Rays by parting with Oscar Taveras. Rosenthal points to the decline of offense around the league and the rarity of controllable sluggers in opining that Taveras is too valuable a commodity to lose. He also notes that the Cardinals aren’t typically big spenders, but adds that the team could create room for Price’s remaining $7MM and roughly $18-20MM 2015 salary by electing not to re-sign free agents such as Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, as well as non-tendering arbitration eligible players such as Peter Bourjos. While St. Louis could put together a formidable package headlined by Carlos Martinez, he also notes that a team like the Dodgers could top such a package perhaps by including prized outfielder Joc Pederson.
Price’s name — and the names of several others — will be hot topics over the coming month. Here’s the latest on the pitching market…
- The Angels are interested in Price but don’t have the prospects to acquire him, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). He adds that Cubs hurler Jason Hammel is on a long list of alternative options for the Halos. Rosenthal also reports that the team would like to acquire left-handed relief, though landing a starting pitcher would allow them to use Hector Santiago in relief.
- In his daily blog post (subscription required/recommended), ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that several teams are looking at alternatives to the market’s two big-name starters — Price and Jeff Samardzija. Several clubs are interested in pulling off a deal similar to the Tigers’ acquisition of Doug Fister from the Mariners back in 2011. As such, the Diamondbacks are receiving interest in Wade Miley, and Padres righty Tyson Ross could become a target as well. Controllable arms like Miley and Ross will be highly appealing to rival clubs, as any team can afford them — regardless of payroll. He adds that the D’Backs and Padres might be years away from contention anyhow, and at that point, Miley and Ross will have become expensive via arbitration.
- Later in his post, Olney writes that the Giants will have a tough time lining up for a Price trade, as their 2015 roster is full of holes that will need to be filled – namely at third base, left field and second base. Price’s 2015 salary would prevent them from addressing their many needs, as would a Samardzija acquisition, albeit to a lesser extent.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports looks at three factors that will impact the Cubs’ ability to maximize their return on a Samardzija trade: Many contenders are hurting more for offense than pitching in 2014; interested parties will have Price as an alternative and may prefer to surrender more talent for the longer, more impressive track record; and Samardzija is seen by some GMs as unlikely to sign an extension regardless of setting. One interested GM confidently told Heyman, “No one’s going to extend him. He’s hitting free agency,” noting that Samardzija’s agency, Frontline Athlete Management, has a history of taking clients to the open market (e.g. Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Mike Hampton).
While no deal is imminent at the moment, rival officials tell ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Rays are prepared to move David Price “right now” if the right offer presents itself (ESPN Insider subscription required and recommended).
Olney notes that the Rays’ litany of injuries and surprisingly poor performances from Evan Longoria and Wil Myers have buried Tampa in the AL East cellar. Waiting for another month or more to move Price presents the Rays with a great risk, he points out, using Matt Garza as an example. The Cubs intended to trade Garza two summers go but waited too long and saw their No. 1 starter go down with a season-ending injury. Olney goes on to write:
“The expectation of rival officials is that sometime in the days ahead, some team is going to call Rays GM Andrew Friedman with the right offer, with enough pitching included to fill Tampa Bay’s organizational need.”
Olney also highlights Price’s improved performance and velocity of late, noting that the league-wide need and his resurgence have made the conditions almost perfect to move the former Cy Young winner. Indeed, while Price’s velocity has been anything but consistent, Fangraphs’ velocity chart on him shows a gradual increase from the beginning of the season, and he’s averaged 93.4 mph or better in five of his past eight starts.
Tampa is said to prefer to trade Price to the National League — or at the very least out of the AL East — but the suitors for Price will be plentiful. Olney speculates on the Giants, Dodgers and Cardinals as possible fits. Other clubs that have been connected to Price in recent weeks have been the Blue Jays and the surprising Marlins. Miami’s NL East rivals, the Braves, are reportedly unlikely to join a pursuit of Price. That’s not surprising, given how much the team had to stretch payroll simply to accommodate Ervin Santana in Spring Training.
The Blue Jays continue to scout Jeff Samardzija, as pro scouting director Perry Minasian was in attendance for yesterday’s outing against the Reds, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Much of the chatter regarding Samardzija to this point has included speculation when it comes to Chicago’s asking price, but Morosi hears “strong indications” that the Cubs would deal Samardzija for a package highlighted by right-hander Aaron Sanchez, left-hander Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey.
Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has maintained that he won’t include all three of those prospects in a deal for Samardzija or any other available pitcher — even David Price — according to Morosi’s report. He also notes that as much as the Blue Jays like Samardzija, they may prefer Price and Philadelphia southpaw Cole Hamels (though the latter isn’t guaranteed to be available).
The Blue Jays reluctance to deal three of their top prospects lines up with previous indicators that they may be more interested in rental players than controllable players due to a strong desire to preserve some of their farm system. Toronto has dealt away some notable prospect value — including Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez and Anthony DeSclafani — to acquire the likes of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. One thing we do know is that Anthopoulos feels he will have ownership’s blessing to expand the team’s payroll if necessary.
As for the three prospects listed by Morosi, Sanchez entered the season with the highest stock of the bunch but has seen his star lose some of its luster after struggling to a 4.08 ERA and issuing 48 walks in 75 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Norris, on the other hand, has been electric, turning in a combined 1.62 ERA and 4.47 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. Pompey ranked just 17th among Toronto prospects (per Baseball America) prior to the season but has boosted his value with a strong .312/.392/.460 batting line, six homers and 27 steals (in 29 attempts).
Dan Jennings was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office show this morning, and the Marlins GM told hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden (as per Bowden’s Twitter account) that owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to “open the checkbook” to make additions before the trade deadline. Miami began the season with one of the league’s lowest payrolls at just under $46MM, yet despite losing ace Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery, the Fish began the day just 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The Marlins could be looking to take advantage of their surprising good form, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported earlier today that Miami has been as aggressive as any team in scouting for upgrades.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- The Braves likely won’t be involved in the bidding for the Rays‘ David Price or the Cubs‘ Jeff Samardzija, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The team is already over budget and still has a solid starting rotation, despite the loss of Gavin Floyd.
- The easiest way for the Phillies to rebuild would be to trade Cole Hamels, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Despite Hamels’ big contract (he is owed approximately $107.5MM through the end of the 2019 season), he is younger and carries fewer health question marks than other veteran Phillies who could be available in trades. “If I were in their boat, I’d really hate to move [Hamels],” a rival executive tells Brookover. “But if you go back to question about which player is going to bring you the most value, you’re going to get the most for that guy. You have to get the most you can for a guy like that. If you don’t, you keep him. But you’re only going to get 1.5 pieces for someone else when you could get a lot more than that for him.”
- When Travis d’Arnaud returns this week, the Mets have the choice of either optioning Anthony Recker to Triple-A or exposing Taylor Teagarden to waivers, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes. Also, Teagarden has the option of becoming a free agent if he is outrighted again. Rubin explores several factors in the decision, such as whether the Mets would mind losing Teagarden, and the effect this roster move could have on catching prospect Kevin Plawecki‘s development.
There may not be a more heavily-discussed player in the leadup to the July 31 trade deadline than David Price. Here’s the latest buzz about the Rays southpaw…
- The Dodgers are considered the favorites to land Price by many around baseball, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Cardinals have recently been scouting Price, and the Giants are also in the mix. The Marlins could have an interest in Price, and had scouts watching his start last Friday.
- Topkin also opines that the Braves, Angels and Indians make sense as possible suitors for Price. Cleveland scouts were present at Price’s most recent start.
- The Rays would prefer to trade Price to the National League, or if not the NL, at least outside of their own division. While an AL East trade isn’t impossible, Topkin believes a division rival would have to give up something beyond the already-large asking price the Rays are seeking for their ace.
- It helps both Price and the Rays if a trade is worked out sooner rather than later, Topkins believes. The Rays can get an early jump on the pitching market and Price seems to be getting frustrated by both Tampa Bay’s struggles and the constant questions about his future.
- While Price is only under contract through the 2015 season, a rival scout tells ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) that teams gunning for a World Series won’t hesitate to give up a big trade package for the lefty. “You worry about the cost of signing him later, and if he walks away, that’s the way it goes. But you’re adding a No. 1 starter who can be a difference-maker for two seasons,” the scout said.
Here’s the latest out of the American League:
- White Sox reliever Scott Downs would see his 2015 option vest if he appears in 55 games this year and does not end the season on the DL, reports MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (via Twitter). The 39-year-old southpaw has seen action in 35 contests (after tonight’s outing), meaning that he has just 20 left to go to trigger the $4.25MM option. MLBTR’s Steve Adams looked yesterday at vesting option situations around the league.
- The Angels bullpen has not only been unreliable, but currently lacks a lefty, writes ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). The club may well look to a trade market that Olney says “should be comparatively flush” with attractive bullpen arms.
- You won’t see the Blue Jays in October if GM Alex Anthopoulos stands pat this summer, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. With Juan Francisco‘s offensive struggles (.586 OPS in the month of June), Griffin wants to see Toronto go out and get a second baseman that can play every day. Among the second baseman that might be available in July, he says, are Nick Franklin of the Mariners, Ramon Santiago of the Reds, Darwin Barney of the Cubs, and Ramiro Pena of the Braves.
- Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays need to start selling. With the club mired in last place, Shelton says it needs to move David Price, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce, and anything not nailed down. Meanwhile, a host of teams with a heavier-than-usual scouting presence for Price’s start tonight included the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Giants, Indians, and Yankees, tweets the Times’ Marc Topkin.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
In the video atop his latest Notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal states that he feels this will finally be the year that the Rays deal David Price, as they can receive max value for him by dealing their ace to a team that can use him for two playoff pushes. He also adds that he expects the Rays to move Ben Zobrist, even though his price tag is affordable, simply because the demand for Zobrist will be so high.
Here are some more highlights from his column…
- Hanley Ramirez‘s poor glove is perhaps the main reason that he and the Dodgers have yet to agree to an extension, Rosenthal writes. He wonders how much that flaw will impact Ramirez’s value on the open market at a time when teams are placing a higher premium than ever before on defense. He adds that if Ramirez does stay in L.A. and shift to third base in the long-term on his next contract, the team may have to trade Juan Uribe and his $6.5MM 2015 salary.
- Looking at other Dodgers issues, Rosenthal writes that many executives around the league expect that it will ultimately be Matt Kemp who is traded to clear the team’s outfield logjam, though it likely won’t happen until the offseason. He adds that the Dodgers are likely to be in the market for a starting pitcher after the news that Chad Billingsley is out for the season, as Josh Beckett and Dan Haren are tough to rely on down the stretch.
- Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez completely revamped his swing mechanics this offseason before he was released by the Astros in Spring Training. He signed a minor league deal with Detroit two days later and found himself teammates with the man whose mechanics he spent the entire offseason studying — Miguel Cabrera. Martinez tells Rosenthal he watched video of Cabrera and Ryan Braun all winter and “re-invented” himself at the plate. It may not be sustainable, but the early results are positive; Martinez is hitting .300/.333/.570 with six homers in 108 PA with Detroit.
Grant Balfour is no longer the Rays‘ closer, as manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that his team is moving to a closer committee. The demotion comes as no surprise following Balfour’s rough performance on Sunday, when he allowed the Mariners to score five runs in the ninth inning. Balfour has struggled badly this season, posting a 6.46 ERA and recording almost as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21) over 23 2/3 innings of work. The 36-year-old signed a two-year, $12MM free agent contract with Tampa in the offseason. If you have Balfour on a fantasy team, stay tuned to @CloserNews (MLBTR’s save-centric sister Twitter account) to keep tabs on the Rays’ bullpen and other late-game situations throughout baseball.
Here’s some more from the AL East…
- The Rays could be sellers at the trade deadline, and Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris looks at some of the club’s veteran pieces with a particular focus on David Price. While Tampa Bay will rightly seek a big prospect haul for Price, Sarris notes the difficulty in finding a contender (especially outside the AL East) who has the necessary minor league depth to swing a trade. Sarris also notes that a fire sale seems unlikely, as the Rays will still look to contend in 2015.
- Peter Gammons discussed several Red Sox topics in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan radio show this morning (WEEI.com’s Conor Ryan has a partial transcript). While Gammons doesn’t think the Red Sox regret signing the struggling Stephen Drew, “there are so many political angles at play here that you’ve just got to wonder, ‘What are they going to be a year from now?” Gammons believes the Boston media’s criticisms of Xander Bogaerts‘ ability to play short pressured the club to re-sign Drew, whereas Gammons felt the Red Sox should’ve acquired an outfielder instead.
- Gammons doesn’t see the Red Sox becoming major sellers if they fall out of the race because they want pitchers like Jon Lester and John Lackey back in 2015 and also “just because of the nature of the Boston fans and because of the nature of the market and because of NESN.” A.J. Pierzynski could potentially become a trade chip if the Sox fell far enough out of a playoff spot, which would open the door for Christian Vasquez to get called up and gain some big league experience.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington won’t make moves for the sake of making moves, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes, as the current roster will have to prove its worth as a contender over the next six weeks to convince the front office to pursue upgrades.
- Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette appeared on Middays With MFB today (again, tip of the cap to WEEI.com’s Conor Ryan) and said that trade talk around the league is slow since so many teams are still technically in contention. “There aren’t many sellers, from what I can tell. Usually after the draft, which was just completed, teams will start calling around, but I only know that there’s just a couple of sellers right now….It’s going to be challenging to add to the team,” Duquette said.
- The Yankees should look to shake up their struggling lineup by getting rid of Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano, Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog opines. Since Derek Jeter won’t be moved down in the lineup due to his stature, Axisa suggests that Jeter actually become the leadoff hitter in order to have the Yankees’ best four hitters (Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Yangervis Solarte) all hit in a row.
Count FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal among those puzzled by David Price‘s revived feud with David Ortiz, as Rosenthal notes that the two seemed to have buried the hatchet after last year’s controversy in the ALDS. While Price has been no stranger to high-profile situations over his career and is widely considered to be a level-headed person, Rosenthal wonders how the Rays ace would deal with increased scrutiny if he is dealt to a more pressurized market than Tampa Bay. Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- The Blue Jays don’t have the prospect depth to pursue Price or Jeff Samardzija on the trade market this summer, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required). Both aces are only under contract through 2015 and seem unlikely to sign extensions to stay in Toronto, so the Jays aren’t willing to pay the high price of several top prospects for such short-term acquisitions.
- The Jays could look to add less-costly pitching help before the deadline, Olney writes, as well as an upgrade at second base, though the Brett Lawrie/Steve Tolleson/Juan Francisco rotation between 2B and 3B is working well. Toronto could also add another bullpen arm (if Sergio Santos isn’t healthy or effective) either before the deadline or into the August waiver period.
- “There’s no magic number for attendance” that will impact whether the Blue Jays make deadline deals or not, team president Paul Beeston tells Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. “If there’s a deal it’s not going to be money that determines if it’s going to be done, it’s going to be wins. If we’re winning we’ll do it. I hope we have that opportunity,” Beeston said.
- The big free agent deals signed by Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury last winter have yet to translate into an improved offense for the Yankees, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes. Beltran has been injured, McCann has struggled and Ellsbury has been miscast as a No. 3 hitter, a lineup spot Ellsbury has often been forced to fill due to injuries. Madden wonders why the Yankees didn’t pursue a first base backup for Mark Teixeira (again battling wrist problems) over the offseason and believes the team needs to sign Kendrys Morales to help the lineup.
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post also looked at the Yankees’ hitting woes and argues that the club could be better served by trading for starting pitching rather than offensive help. If the Yankees’ veteran hitters are healthy, they’re at least known commodities, while New York has several unproven young arms in its injury-riddled rotation.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the 20 biggest disappointments of the 2014 season so far. Near the top of the list: the Rangers unfortunate rash of injuries. Texas will be without Prince Fielder for the rest of the season and Jurickson Profar‘s status is up in the air as well. In total, the Rangers have had 14 players land on the disabled list, twice as many as any other team. More from Cafardo..
- Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija is being watched more than any pitcher by major league scouts. Among those watching are the Blue Jays, who are more convinced than ever they can win the AL East if they obtain a top starter like Samardzija. Meanwhile, one major league scout tells Cafardo that Toronto is still insistent on not giving up Drew Hutchison.
- There’s some concern about David Price‘s performance this season when it comes to Price, including a 3-mile-per-hour dropoff in velocity in recent outings, but one AL GM doesn’t believe the Rays will have trouble getting what they want in a deal. “Unless there’s a reason to believe he has something wrong with his shoulder, pitchers have ebbs and flows with velocity throughout a season,” said the GM. “Price will be fine.”
- The Pirates designated Wandy Rodriguez for assignment last week and they won’t find a deal for him if the medicals are too bad, but the feeling is that some team will take a chance.
- If new Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa starts hiring people in Arizona, Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque could be brought aboard for a front office role.