Dayton Moore Rumors

AL Central Notes: Shields, Moore, Rios, Castillo

The Royals‘ recent slide has dropped them below the .500 mark and, with so many teams ahead of them in the playoff race, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron believes K.C. should cut its losses and trade James Shields.  There seems to be little chance Shields will re-sign with Kansas City this winter, so the Royals could get more prospect value by dealing him now than they would by getting a single compensation pick if and when he left in the offseason, Cameron opines.

Here’s the latest from around the AL Central…

  • Dayton Moore doesn’t seem to be in sell mode, nor does he necessarily seem to be close on any trades as per comments made to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.  “I’m not going to give up on our team….We need the group of players we have to produce. We believe they will,” the Royals GM said (Twitter links).
  • The Royals had a scout watching the Rangers/Blue Jays series over the weekend, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News believes the right-handed hitting outfielder-needy Royals could’ve been there to watch Alex Rios.  Of course, Rios suffered a sprained ankle during the first inning of Saturday’s game and hasn’t played since.  The sprain isn’t believed to be too serious, yet even a minor injury can’t help Rios’ trade value.
  • The Twins will attend Rusney Castillo‘s showcase for scouts on July 26, 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link).  There is “no sense yet of real interest” from Minnesota, according to Wolfson, and the decision will ultimately come down to how high the bidding gets for the Cuban outfielder’s services.
  • Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn’t expect the Indians to be major players at the trade deadline, either as buyers or sellers.  The Indians are still in the hunt for both the AL Central lead and a wild card spot so they won’t be selling any notable players, but “it would be a shock if they added any high-priced talent.”

Royals Notes: Moore, Rebuilding, Shields

Here’s the latest on the Royals…

  • The Royals’ inability to develop their minor league talent is the cause of the team’s problems, Rany Jazayerli writes for The Kansas City Star.  Despite several blue chip prospects and GM Dayton Moore’s reputation as a player development expert from his time in the Braves’ front office, the vast majority of young would-be Royals stars have struggled at the Major League level, particularly the hitters.  If K.C. continues to lose, Jazayerli feels a management change is needed given that Moore has had eight years on the job.
  • Jazayerli adds a few more notes to his piece on his personal blog.  While the Royals still have time to turn things around given the parity in the American League, they face a tough upcoming schedule and can’t count on any quality reinforcements from the minors.
  • Part of the Royals’ problem could be that they relied on too much young talent all at once, as Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com writes in an examination of how important veteran players can be in helping mentor and acclimate youngsters to the big leagues.
  • James Shields headlines a list of notable starters that Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan feels could be traded.  Getting a good batch of young talent back for Shields might be the last move Moore could make to improve his team for 2015 and beyond, Passan opines, though Passan also notes that Moore has been known to wait too long to move his own players, such as Joakim Soria and possibly current Royal Billy Butler.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Royals, Collins, Padres, Rangers, Hardy, Amaro

In his latest notes column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal wonders just how long the Royals can stand behind GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost given the team’s struggles to this point in the season. Moore called Yost a “consistent leader” when he spoke with Rosenthal and added that the team is only a hot streak or two away from a turnaround. Rosenthal writes that the entire team seems “too comfortable, waiting for a surge that might never come.” More from his column below…

  • On the other hand, Rosenthal doesn’t feel it’d be justified for the Mets to fire manager Terry Collins. Collins hasn’t been afforded the same talent that Yost has, he opines, and his front office has made some questionable decisions behind him regarding the bullpen and the underperforming crop of free agents the team brought in. He notes the team’s sparse spending despite their market, adding that it seems unlikely that Bud Selig would ever confront owner Fred Wilpon, with whom he is close friends.
  • Similarly, the Padres should hang onto skipper Bud Black, Rosenthal proclaims. Recent reports have indicated that he may be on the hot seat. Padres ownership too often has worried about alienating fans with personnel decisions, as they did when they neglected to trade Chase Headley after his 2012 season. Black is a highly regarded manager who has seen six of his pitchers hit the disabled list this season, though even Rosenthal admits that the offense’s follies have been virtually inexplicable.
  • The Rangers‘ glut of middle infield depth could lead them to field trade offers for Elvis Andrus this summer. With Jurickson Profar, Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas all representing possible starting-caliber infielders, Texas does appear to have a surplus. I, personally, would imagine that each of those players could hear his name circulating on the rumor mill in two months’ time.
  • One agent who isn’t affiliated with J.J. Hardy or Derek Jeter suggested to Rosenthal recently that he thought the former would be the latter’s successor with the Yankees. Hardy has a low-maintenance personality, steady glove and experience in the AL East.
  • As has been reported previously, the Astros tried to acquire Collin McHugh last summer when the Mets dealt him to the Rockies, but Rosenthal adds more light on the situation. The team’s scouting department felt McHugh was little more than a long reliever, but the team’s statistical analysts pushed hard for McHugh based on trends they’d seen dating all the way back to his minor league days in 2011. The Astros, of course, claimed McHugh off waivers from Colorado, and he’s cemented himself in their rotation. GM Jeff Luhnow said over the weekend he has no plans to trade McHugh or breakout lefty Dallas Keuchel.
  • Though Kendrys Morales could be a perfect fit for the Mariners‘ offensive woes, rival executives say that the team is still showing the same payroll concerns that caused them to largely shut down spending after the signing of Robinson Cano this winter.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called the possibility of trading Chase Utley a “moot point,” noting Utley’s no-trade protection and desire to remain in Philadelphia. Perhaps of greater interest (and perhaps to the dismay) of Phillies fans, is the following quote from Amaro: I don’t know if we’ll completely ‘sell’ ever. We can revamp, but we can’t completely sell out. We have to have a contending team in 2015 or ’16 — or at least a competitive team.”


AL Notes: Tigers, Royals, Bonifacio, Rays, Astros

If MLBTR had only been around in 1954. On this date 59 years ago, the Yankees and Orioles completed the largest trade in baseball history by naming the eight players to be named later in the 17-player deal. Two weeks prior, the Yankees received Don Larsen (yes, that Don Larsen) Billy Hunter, and Bob Turley from the Orioles in exchange for Harry ByrdJim McDonaldWilly MirandaHal SmithGus Triandos, and Gene Woodling. Let's take a look at what's simmering on the Hot Stove in today's American League:

  • The Tigers are one more bold move away from entering Spring Training with the "Best Team in Baseball" designation, writes Richard Justice of MLB.com. Signing Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, or Curtis Granderson would qualify as that bold move, in Justice's opinion.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore tells the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton his staff will convene Monday morning to determine the fate of their nine arbitration eligible players. "I don't look for us to do anything that is too surprising," said Moore. "We might not tender everybody, but we might. There are some things that we’re kind of working on.
  • Also within Dutton's article, Royals officials acknowledge Emilio Bonifacio is drawing steady interest from other teams, so second baseman Chris Getz may be tendered as insurance against a deal involving the utilityman. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz predicts a $3.3MM arbitration award for Bonifacio and $1.3MM for Getz. 
  • The Rays are likely to tender each of their nine arbitration eligible players and then possibly flip one or more in a trade, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. David Price is the most obvious arbitration eligible trade candidate, but Mooney also lists outfielder Sam Fuld and lefty relievers Cesar Ramos and Wesley Wright as possible chips. If the Rays do tender all nine players, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz expects their arbitration salaries to total $26.6MM.
  • The Astros are already preparing for the 2014 amateur draft as they expect to interview several candidates for the first overall pick by the end of the year, according to the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. The club's approach to the interview process and its slight variations based on whether the player is in high school or college is also detailed by Drellich.
  • On Thanksgving Day, MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the managers and GMs entering the final year of their contract. Today, Jim Margalus of SouthSideSox.com concludes the most front office stability can be found in the AL Central.  

AL Notes: Yankees, A’s, Royals, White Sox, Mariners

With the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly at Yankee Stadium today, Yankees GM Brian Cashman discussed the process that resulted in Yanks' manager Joe Girardi getting the gig over Donnie Baseball back in 2007. Cashman considered those two gentlemen along with fellow late-80's/early-90's favorite Tony Pena. Managing the Yankees, explains Cashman, requires a wide range of skills that go well beyond the playing field. Ultimately, he said that Mattingly lacked the managerial experience that he was looking for: "The area that was a very difficult hurdle for him at the time, and obviously he doesn't have that anymore to deal with, is obviously at the time, he hadn't managed a game in the big leagues. So was I going to be in a position to be comfortable enough to turn over $200 million worth of assets to someone who hadn't done that before in-game."

Here are a few notes from some other American League clubs:

  • The City of San Jose has brought suit against Major League Baseball relating to the Athletics' potential move to the city, alleging various federal and state antitrust claims along with a claim for interference with prospective economic advantage. In a piece for Fangraphs yesterday, Wendy Thurm gave an excellent overview of the background legal principles governing the dispute, along with the procedural and strategic considerations that will frame it. The situation could, of course, have a major impact on the A's budget moving forward. I highly recommend a read.
  • Moving to the AL Central, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan took a look at the Royals' impressive recent run of pitching-fueled success. Even as the team's offense continues to sputter, its starters (and excellent defense) have allowed KC to regain traction in the postseason race. Of course, the squad's rotation is led by arms that were acquired in a series of heavily-scrutinized transactions. GM Dayton Moore traded for James Shields and Wade Davis, dealt for Ervin Santana, and gave a three-year deal to free agent Jeremy Guthrie. While Davis has struggled and Guthrie's peripherals are concerning, the collective rotation ERA stands at 7th in baseball.
  • As the Royals gear up to try and make a run at the playoffs, the AL Central-rival White Sox appear to be readying to sell at the trade deadline. As MLB.com's Kelly Erickson reports, GM Rick Hahn says the team has "had some phone calls — more of the vulture-type phone calls, the type that traditionally we're more accustomed to making." Given the "hole that we've dug for ourselves," says Hahn, "teams are going to look at us as potential sellers when the deadline comes, and they're starting to lay a little bit of that ground work now."
  • The Mariners are coming up on some roster decisions with Dustin Ackley hitting the ball well in Triple-A and Franklin Gutierrez close to returning from the 60-day DL, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. While Ackley's return to the bigs has been delayed while he learns to man the outfield, the seemingly inevitable result will be some roster casualties. Baker tabs outfielder Endy Chavez and pitcher Aaron Harang as potential candidates for the waiver wire.

AL Notes: Royals, Garcia, Cervelli, Teagarden

Here are a few notes from around the American League: 

  • The Royals are a legitimate threat to snag a wild card, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider sub. req'd), because of the team's offseason focus on pitching. GM Dayton Moore had a seven-year plan to turn around the club through a gradual rebuilding process. While the club has developed what Bowden calls "World Series-winning position players at the major league level," however, the pitching never kept pace. Faced with a limited window to keep the young talent together, Bowden credits Moore for making bold moves to bring in Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, James Shields, and Wade Davis to bolster the pitching corps. 
  • The Orioles may be nearing a decision point on Freddy Garcia, as the veteran pitcher will be able to opt out of his contract after his next minor league start, notes MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko. The 36-year-old has been solid thus far over four starts in Triple-A, where he sports a 2.81 ERA over 25 2/3 innings and has fanned sixteen against just two walks. Baltimore just sent down the struggling Jake Arrieta. His rotation spot went at least temporarily to Josh Stinson, who was bombed by the Blue Jays on Wednesday. 
  • The backup catching market could heat up as injuries mount. One day after the Yankees lost Francisco Cervelli for a significant period of time to a fractured hand, Orioles' backup Taylor Teagarden suffered a dislocated thumb. Both figure to be replaced with internal options for the immediate future. But their substitutes — Austin Romine for New York and Luis Exposito for Baltimore — have, respectively, just twenty and twenty-two largely unsuccessful major league plate appearances.

Quick Hits: Cano, Phillies, Royals, Moore

Anibal Sanchez recorded a club-record 17 strikeouts over eight shutout innings in the Tigers' 10-0 win over the Braves tonight, yet Sanchez might not have had the best pitching performance of the evening.  That honor goes to Jordan Zimmermann, who held the Reds to just one hit in a complete game, 91-pitch shutout.  It was the Nationals' second straight one-hitter against the Reds, who hadn't been held to one hit or less in consecutive games since the 1900 season.

Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend…

  • The Yankees and Robinson Cano "would appear to very badly want to reach a deal," CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.  Despite this mutual interest between the two sides, there is apparently a large gap in salary demands — the Yankees were looking at David Wright's eight-year/$138MM extension with the Mets as a comparable while Heyman thinks Cano's agents at CAA may aim as high as Alex Rodriguez's 10-year/$275MM deal.  There is no earthly way the Yankees would hand Cano (or probably anyone) another A-Rod contract but I agree with Heyman's citations of Joey Votto and Prince Fielder's recent contracts as good comparables for a Cano extension.  $200MM is the bare minimum for Cano's next deal, whether it's with the Yankees or another team.
  • The Phillies' attendance is down thus far in 2013, and less ticket revenue could mean less payroll space for the club this offseason, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
  • The Royals' rotation problems had become too great to ignore last winter, thus prompting GM Dayton Moore to make significant moves that now have his team looking like early contenders, ESPN's Jim Bowden writes (Insider subscription required).  "Moore’s original vision might have taken a little longer, but with starting pitching finally in hand, he also might have just bought himself a lot more time," Bowden said, noting that Moore's contract with the Royals is up after the 2014 season.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Royals, Butler, Myers, Rays, Astros

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that Royals GM Dayton Moore is "feeling the heat," in the sense that many want the team to use their prospect base to acquire veterans who can help them win now like the Blue Jays did with their recent blockbuster. Here's more from Rosenthal on Kansas City…

  • Even after acquiring Ervin Santana, the Royals can still fit a free agent like Jeremy Guthrie into their payroll on a back-loaded, multiyear contract.
  • The Mariners covet Billy Butler and would conceivably part with young, high-end pitching to acquire him. Butler is under contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015, though the Royals are unsure if they have enough offense to move him right now.
  • The Rays like top prospect Wil Myers, though the Royals are conflicted about moving him even for a pitcher like Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore.
  • The Astros could be another trade partner for Kansas City since the price to acquire Bud Norris or Lucas Harrell would be lower than it would be for Hellickson or Moore. The impact would be less too, however.
  • Moore is under contract through 2014 and does not appear to be in danger of losing his job, says Rosenthal.

Royals Have No Interest In Clemens

Roger Clemens made his return to the mound for the Sugar Land Skeeters last night with two Royals officials in attendance. Senior pitching advisor Bill Fischer and independent league scout Ron Toenjes were at the game, but Royals GM Dayton Moore quickly doused any speculation of interest, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.

Moore said Fischer, a former pitching coach of Clemens in Boston, was invited to the game by the right-hander and that Toenjes "wasn't sent there to scout the game. He was sent there to be along with Fish, and that's all. We were not there scouting Roger Clemens."  

With Fischer with him in the dugout, Clemens allowed only one hit, no walks, and struck out two during 3 1/3 innings, reports Alyson Footer of MLB.com. Clemens hit 88 mph with his fastball as 24 of his 37 pitches went for strikes. 

"It was good." Clemens said of his outing. "Everyone says it's like riding a bike. I just wanted to make sure I got out of there uninjured but still make a good showing."  

Will this showing lead to a possible return to the Major Leagues? "It's a great deal of work," Clemens said, "and I'm not thinking that at this point."


Odds & Ends: Angels, Willis, Oswalt, Jones

Memorial Day linkage, as Ubaldo Jimenez continues to amaze…