Derek Holland Rumors

Cliff Lee Rumors: Wednesday

The Cliff Lee trade talk started intensifying yesterday, as the Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers now have a new suitor to out-bid: the Rays. Not only are the Rays on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, they are ready to add payroll and appear willing to part with B.J. Upton. The Yankees are confident that they can jump in and pry Lee away from their divisional foes, but let's not rule out the Yanks' crosstown rivals. Here is the latest on Cliff Lee, with more rumors to come throughout the day:

  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are working hard to acquire Lee, but nothing is imminent. Texas has plenty of minor league talent to offer, but they don't appear to be willing to move Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez according to Sullivan. Derek Holland, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia could all be fair game.  Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Mariners "inquired about the availability" of Davis and Saltalamacchia.  Righty Alexi Ogando is said to be on the Mariners radar, though "there is some resistance to include him in a deal" on the Rangers' side. 
  • Morosi expands on his earlier tweet, saying that the Reds and Mariners have exchanged names "in preliminary fashion," though the two sides have yet to exchange firm proposals. One GM called Cincinnati a "sleeper" in the Lee sweepstakes.
  • CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam checked on the status of Boston's interest in Lee earlier today, and heard that the asking price was too high (Twitter links). Seattle wants a "stud catcher" close to the bigs, which the Red Sox simply don't have.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets the impression that the Mariners aren't close to moving Lee, at least not to the Twins. He was also told that the two sides haven't exchanged official proposals, and that the Ramos-Hicks talk is "pure speculation."
  • The Mariners are seeking a “mammoth return” for Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One executive interested in the left-hander said the Mariners made a “crazy ask,” demanding an even better package than Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks.
  • FOX reports that the Twins offered Ramos and Kevin Slowey for Lee. At the moment, the Twins, Mets, Yankees and Rangers are most actively engaged with the Mariners in trade talks.
  • The Mariners are calling teams back and telling them that it will take two blue-chip prospects plus a third young player to acquire Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
  • Two scouts tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that third base prospect Juan Francisco would be the Reds' best trade chip, not Yonder Alonso (Twitter link).
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees are not engaged in trade talks for Lee now. They are confident they could acquire the left-hander, but do not intend to deal for him. Olney says the Twins are the favorites to acquire Lee, followed by the Reds, the Rays, the Mets, the Rangers and the field.
  • The Mets officials who have spoken to Joel Sherman of the New York Post don’t seem concerned that the Twins are the perceived frontrunners for Lee. The perception within the game is that the Mariners are leaning more toward scouting than number crunching, and the Mets believe that will work in their favor.

Rangers May Look Internally To Improve Rotation

Texas will look to improve their starting five from within, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Even though the club has the minor league talent to make a deal at the deadline, their financial situation could very well prove to be an impediment. 

The Rangers are looking forward to Rich Harden and Derek Holland rejoining the rotation.  Harden is on the disabled list with a strained back muscle and is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow.  Holland, who is dealing with inflammation in his left shoulder and a sprained right knee, could be close to throwing live batting practice as well.  Both hurlers could be back in action before the Trade Deadline.

General Manager Jon Daniels says that even though he has his "finger on the pulse" of the trade market, he wants to see how the two look before looking to deal for an arm:

"We're very focused on improving the rotation internally right now," Daniels said earlier today. "From a health standpoint we've got a couple of guys that we'd like to get back after the All-Star break. A lot depends on how both proceed this week."

Cliff Lee continues to be atop the Rangers' wish list and Roy Oswalt's name has come up frequently.  However, Texas may be content to just stick with cards that they have.


Derek Holland On Track For Super Two Status

When Derek Holland makes his 2010 debut tonight, his major league service time starts piling up once again. If Holland stays in the majors until the end of this season, he has a good chance at becoming a Super Two player after next year. That means he would go to arbitration four times instead of three and would likely make millions more than he otherwise would. 

Here's how it breaks down: Holland has 170 days of service time now. He can pile up 145 more days of service time this year if the Rangers keep him in the majors all season. That would leave Holland with 1.143 years of service time after this season. With another full year in the majors, he could have 2.143 years of service time after 2011, which be enough for Super Two status.

Holland's Super Two status depends on two things: the time he spends on the roster this year and the time he spends on it next year. If he doesn't see the minors again, he'll go to arbitration four times. So is he ready for the majors? The stats suggest he is. In 38.2 innings at Triple A, the 23-year-old lefty has a 0.93 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.



Top Trade Chips: AL West

We've completed the National League, so now it's time to jump over to the so-called junior circuit…

  • Angels: They moved three pretty good young players to get Scott Kazmir last season, so they might prefer to hold onto the rest of their top prospects. Their best chip is someone you may not have heard of, out of options catcher Bobby Wilson. He's on the 25-man roster but has barely played as the third stringer, yet how many teams would love to have a 27-year old catcher with a very good defensive rep, a .290/.345/.425 batting line in 820 Triple-A plate appearances, and six years of team control left? Pretty much all of them. He'll never clear waivers if the Halos try to send him back to the minors.
  • Athletics: Oakland has plenty of young pitching, but Billy Beane likes to hang on to those kind of guys, and for good reason. With ten infielders on the 40-man roster, someone like Jake Fox or Eric Patterson could be moved, as could outfielders Travis Buck or Gabe Gross since Michael Taylor is coming fast. Plus there's always Ben Sheets.
  • Mariners: Jack Zduriencik surrendered a good amount of prospect depth this offseason by acquiring Cliff Lee, but no one will argue with that move. Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, will make Jose Lopez expendable in short order, and they could choose to make one of two minor league outfielders – Michael Saunders or Greg Halman – available. Seattle's best trade chip might be their potential ability to absorb some money.
  • Rangers: Texas is absolutely loaded with young players, so they have plenty of pieces to offer. They can move Chris Davis because Justin Smoak is knocking on the door, or they could move Derek Holland because Martin Perez isn't too far away. They dangled Max Ramirez this winter, and outfielder David Murphy is about to get expensive through arbitration, so he could find himself on the block. Bottom line: the Rangers have the pieces to go out and get anything they need or want.

No Active Millwood Talk For Brewers

Earlier today, it was reported that the Brewers have inquired about Kevin Millwood's availability. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says that while that may very well be true, it hasn't been anytime recently. According to McCalvy, Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he hasn't spoken with Brewers GM Doug Melvin in weeks.

Despite a lack of active talks, McCalvy states that the Rangers remain a possible trade target for the Brewers, even if Millwood isn't involved, due to their depth of options at starting pitching. While many teams would like to try to pull Tommy Hunter or Derek Holland away though, the Rangers would be more inclined to deal someone like Brandon McCarthy, writes McCalvy.

Whether or not Milwaukee is a match for Texas is yet to be seen. Texas would like to add a right-handed bat, but the best Milwaukee will be able to offer is Corey Hart, who is coming off a disappointing 2009 season. The Rangers interest in Hart may be dependent on whether or not free agent Marlon Byrd finds himself back in Texas next season.

McCalvy feels that the Rangers are likely to hold onto Millwood this winter and build their rotation around him and Scott Feldman. It's not hard, however, to see the logic behind dealing a 35-year-old coming off his best season since 2005. And, as McCalvy points out, the Brewers have been linked to Millwood in the past.


Rangers Notes: Byrd, Holland, Feliz

It's hard to gauge what the Texas Rangers will look to do this offseason.  There are reports that they are interested in acquiring outfielder Milton Bradley from the Cubs, who would likely eat a large chunk of the $21MM owed to him over the next two years of his contract.  At the same time, they may not have the cash necessary to retain Marlon Byrd, who has posted .283/.328/.483 with a career-high 20 HRs.  Buster Olney and the Baseball Prospectus staff break down the season that was for the Rangers and what they can expect going forward.  An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are the nuts and bolts of it:

  • Signing John Lackey, widely regarded as this offseason's top free agent starter, would certainly bolster their rotation.  However, Buster Olney says that GM Jon Daniels could be handcuffed financially by the impending change in ownership. 
  • Olney also theorizes that Daniels may not be able to roll the dice on the problematic Bradley, for fear of a public relations backlash under a new regime.
  • The ownership situation is murkier than most, as anywhere between four and six groups are in contention to purchase the club.  One group is led by team president Nolan Ryan, whose involvement is largely considered productive.
  • The aforementioned Byrd earned $3MM in 2009, the final year of his contract.  Re-signing him might require a two or three-year commitment at triple the price.
  • Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus says that the Rangers have a good amount of pitching talent, but feels that they must live up to their potential.  Rookies Derek Holland (ERAs of 5.77 in August and 10.20 in September) and Neftali Feliz have run out of gas down the stretch, but have shown tons of upside.  If the Rangers feel confident in Matt Harrison and oft-injured Brandon McCarthy, they might not have to spend on a high-priced arm this winter to complement Kevin Millwood.

Rangers Notes: Byrd, Holland, Feliz

It's hard to gauge what the Texas Rangers will look to do this offseason.  There are reports that they are interested in acquiring outfielder Milton Bradley from the Cubs, who would likely eat a large chunk of the $21MM owed to him over the next two years of his contract.  At the same time, they may not have the cash necessary to retain Marlon Byrd, who has posted .283/.328/.483 with a career-high 20 HRs.  Buster Olney and the Baseball Prospectus staff break down the season that was for the Rangers and what they can expect going forward.  An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are the nuts and bolts of it:

  • Signing John Lackey, widely regarded as this offseason's top free agent starter, would certainly bolster their rotation.  However, Buster Olney says that GM Jon Daniels could be handcuffed financially by the impending change in ownership. 
  • Olney also theorizes that Daniels may not be able to roll the dice on the problematic Bradley, for fear of a public relations backlash under a new regime.
  • The ownership situation is murkier than most, as anywhere between four and six groups are in contention to purchase the club.  One group is led by team president Nolan Ryan, whose involvement is largely considered productive.
  • The aforementioned Byrd earned $3MM in 2009, the final year of his contract.  Re-signing him might require a two or three-year commitment at triple the price.
  • Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus says that the Rangers have a good amount of pitching talent, but feels that they must live up to their potential.  Rookies Derek Holland (ERAs of 5.77 in August and 10.20 in September) and Neftali Feliz have run out of gas down the stretch, but have shown tons of upside.  If the Rangers feel confident in Matt Harrison and oft-injured Brandon McCarthy, they might not have to spend on a high-priced arm this winter to complement Kevin Millwood.

Odds And Ends: Halladay, O’Day, Scott, Giambi

Some links for the morning…

  • Be here at 2pm CST for this week's chat.
  • Jamey Newberg compares Roy Halladay and Derek Holland since July 31st and shows that the Rangers are looking good even though they didn't deal for Doc.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post says designating Darren O'Day for assignment was an "under-the-radar mistake" by the Mets.
  • MLB.com's Spencer Fordin says the Orioles are trying to evaluate Luke Scott at first base to see if he can play there long-term. No one's hitting him anything, so the O's are having trouble reading his ability.
  • Jason Giambi tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he has no problem playing in the minors or coming off the bench for the Rockies.
  • Curt Schilling said on WEEI in Boston that he's not surprised to hear Billy Wagner is passing up the chance to enter a playoff race.

Roy Halladay Not Traded

5:38pm: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says his team was not involved with Halladay, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.

5:10pm: The Blue Jays and Rangers were talking last night when they found that Halladay wouldn't approve a deal to the Rangers, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The sides weren't close to a deal when they found out.

The Jays, like other teams the Rangers spoke with, coveted Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak and Pedro Borbon. Holland's now in the majors and the other three rank on Jonathan Mayo's updated list of top prospects.

4:20pm: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports that Ricciardi was "never moved by a club" to trade Halladay, though two or three teams were serious about acquiring him and ten inquired. 

3:25pm: Halladay has not been traded, according to Sherman on Twitter.  So many wasted words.

10:12am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post has a slew of comments from Ricciardi about a Halladay trade today being highly unlikely.  Ricciardi admitted he'd listen again in the offseason, but says keeping Doc today signifies an attempt to contend in 2010.

Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports via Twitter that the Tigers never got to the point of exchanging names on Halladay.  Instead, they've reportedly acquired Jarrod Washburn.

10:01am: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers' talks for Halladay "appear to have broken off" and are "somewhere between dead and on life-support."  Seems like the Rangers are unwilling to trade pitcher Derek Holland, especially after last night's gem.

9:53am: Yahoo's Tim Brown says the Red Sox will "engage Ricciardi early" today on Doc before going after Adrian Gonzalez or Victor Martinez.  However, when quizzed by Brown earlier this morning about the Halladay talks, Ricciardi replied, "Nothing going."

8:34am: One way or another, pitcher Roy Halladay can get some peace of mind about six hours from now when the trade deadline passes.  Until then, it's rumor-mania.  Yesterday night, things seemed to heat up with the Rangers, but Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi labeled trade talks "dead" in a general sense.  Earlier in the day the Red Sox and Dodgers were considered the frontrunners.

This morning, SI's Jon Heyman tells us the Rangers "may have come the closest" to acquiring Halladay.  Even more so than the Phillies?  Heyman says the Rangers talks hit "a snag or two late Thursday," decreasing the chances for a trade.


Roy Halladay Rumors: Thursday Night

1:04pm: Rosenthal and Morosi report that the Blue Jays are asking for Holland, Justin Smoak and two other prospects.

11:47pm: Heyman reports that the Rangers had a "pretty decent chance" to acquire Halladay today. With just over 15 hours to go, the Rangers' chances appear to have decreased in recent hours, Heyman says.

10:52pm: Sources tell Grant that the Rangers have asked the Jays to pay a significant amount of Halladay's 2009 salary in a potential trade. Ryan confirmed that the team would need ownership approval to make a trade for Halladay.

9:59pm: Rangers president Nolan Ryan told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that the Rangers are pursuing Roy Halladay, but says it's premature to predict whether a deal will happen. 

Ryan confirmed to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that the Rangers have had discussions with the Jays "for awhile and there have been names talked about."

9:27pm: Ricciardi is "not saying definitively" that Halladay will remain a Blue Jay, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. However, the GM says it's looking more and more like Halladay will stay put.

9:23pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that, as of an hour ago, the Jays had no active talks about Halladay. The Dodgers approached the Jays yesterday, but the two sides aren't in the process of exchanging names.

8:38pm: MLB.com's Jordan Bastian hears that there's "nothing to" the reports that the Rangers are going hard after Halladay.

8:30pm: Evan Grant of D Magazine hears that talks between the Blue Jays and Rangers remain "very serious."

8:17pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman says "nothing seems hot" on the Halladay front, even though many executives would be surprised if the Jays' ace isn't playing for a different team by the weekend.

8:11pm: Sullivan hears indications that the Rangers are willing to take on the rest of Halladay's contract if they can agree on which players to send the Blue Jays. Vicente Padilla, Marlon Byrd and Hank Blalock are free agents after the season, so the Rangers could create space for Halladay's $15.75MM salary by letting the trio of veterans walk after the season.

6:40pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hear from a major league source who says the LA Times report below is "not accurate." However, FOX Sports hears that the Rangers have a legitimate chance of trading for Halladay.

6:22pm: So just how much do the Blue Jays want for Halladay? Marlins president David Samson told 790 The Ticket that J.P. Ricciardi wants "two left legs, a right arm and a left cerebellum" for Doc, according to the Miami Herald.

6:06pm: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan hears that the Rangers have "significant ongoing communications" with the Blue Jays. He also suggests that the Rangers won't let money prevent them from acquiring Halladay if they can do so for a reasonable price.

5:57pm: Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that the Dodgers and Blue Jays spent the afternoon "negotiating extensively" over Roy Halladay. Apparently talks aren't "dead" after all. The Dodgers would allow the Jays to get a "haul of prospects" but are trying to acquire Halladay without giving up Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley.

5:38pm: Here are the latest highlights from the incessant stream of Roy Halladay rumors. The Jays aren't talking actively with anyone. Not the Red Sox, not the Yankees, not the Rangers. The Dodgers acquired George Sherrill for a pair of minor leaguers, but they still have enough pieces to tempt the Jays. Like the Angels, they're focused on relievers now. GM J.P. Ricciardi says he has "nothing going on," but won't rule out a trade until the deadline is upon us. On to tonight's rumors:

  • Ricciardi tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney what he told Jack Curry earlier today: talks are "dead," but the Jays would listen to offers for Doc.