Derrek Lee Rumors

Pirates Notes: Maholm, Lee, Ludwick, Jones

Despite the Pirates' midseason flirtation with the pennant race, they're going to finish below .500 again, barring a late-season surge. Here's the latest on the 62-71 Pirates from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

  • The Pirates still haven’t approached Paul Maholm about a possible extension, according to Biertempfel. The club has a $9.75MM option for Maholm in 2012 and they expect to keep him around, despite the shoulder strain that currently has him on the disabled list. "It's a no-brainer to want to try to keep him here," GM Neal Huntington told Biertempfel.
  • Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick will get lots of playing time when they return from the disabled list, since it could affect the Pirates' ability to attract players to Pittsburgh. "How you treat players is a recruiting piece," Huntington said.
  • The Pirates haven’t given up on Garrett Jones, who is hitting well in August and now has a .249/.331/.452 season line with 15 homers.
  • Right-hander Chris Leroux would like to move from the bullpen to the rotation, but that seems unlikely, according to Biertempfel. Leroux, who has been excellent in 13 innings out of the ‘pen this year, is out of options.

A Look At Notable Moves Of August 2010

August transactions don't boast the same excitement as their July counterparts, but they can still have ramifications for contenders and non-contenders alike. Teams readying for the postseason will often fine-tune their rosters by adding a specialty piece — a LOOGY or power bat off the bench, for example — and ones looking ahead to next year will look to shed payroll.

There's still a few days left before September arrives, and prominent players such as the Rays' B.J. Upton was claimed as recently as Friday. But in the meanwhile, here's a look back at some of the bigger names who were on the move — whether by trade or waiver claim — in August 2010, and the subsequent fallout (for the complete list, check out MLBTR's Transaction Tracker):

  • Mike Sweeney, acquired by the Phillies from the Mariners on Aug. 4: Seattle sent the right-handed-hitting veteran and what remained of his $650K salary to Philly, where he hit .231/.310/.385 down the regular season's stretch and went 1-for-1 in his lone postseason at-bat. The M's later received cash from the Phils for Sweeney, who signed a one-day contract with the Royals in March and retired.
  • Jim Edmonds, acquired by the Reds from the Brewers on Aug. 9: Cincinnati added Edmonds for its postseason push, sending Chris Dickerson back to Milwaukee in exchange. Edmonds didn't do much, hitting .207/.281/.586 in the regular season before being left off the Reds' postseason roster due to an Achilles injury. He retired this spring after signing a minor league deal with the Cards, while Dickerson was traded in March to the Yankees for Sergio Mitre.
  • Mike Fontenot, acquired by the Giants from the Cubs on Aug. 11: The Lads scooped up Fontenot for infield depth during their run to the World Series in exchange for minor league outfielder Evan Crawford. Fontenot remains in San Francisco is under team control for through 2013, though he could be a non-tender candidate this offseason, as he was last.
  • Derrek Lee, acquired by the Braves from the Cubs on Aug. 18: Lee joined Atlanta after his long tenure in Chicago, the Cubs acquiring three prospects in return. Lee was one of the better acquisitions of this period, posting a fine .287/.384/.465 line for the Braves to help them reach the postseason, though he went just 2-for-16 in their NLDS loss to the Giants. He signed with the Orioles before this season.
  • Pedro Feliz, acquired by the Cardinals from the Astros on Aug. 19: St. Louis sent David Carpenter and cash to Houston in exchange for Feliz, who was added to help out at the hot corner when David Freese was injured. Feliz's already declining bat didn't improve for the Redbirds, who missed the postseason. Feliz signed a minor league deal with the Padres this month, while Carpenter is currently in the Astros' bullpen.
  • Cody Ross, acquired by the Giants from the Marlins on waiver claim on Aug. 22: The Giants added an eventual World Series hero in acquiring Ross from the Marlins, who had little interest in retaining Ross, as he was becoming expensive with his final year of arbitration-eligibility looming.
  • Brian Fuentes, acquired by the Twins from the Angels on Aug. 27: Minnesota added Fuentes to bolster its bullpen, and the lefty threw 9 2/3 shutout innings in the regular season and 2 2/3 shutout innings in the postseason before signing with the Athletics this offseason. The Angels acquired Loek Van Mil from the Twins as a player to be named.
  • Manny Ramirez, acquired by the White Sox on a waiver claim from the Dodgers on Aug. 29: This was arguably the most notable move of the August post-deadline period, but it didn't amount to much for either teams or the player. The White Sox missed the postseason, the cash-strapped Dodgers got some salary relief, and Manny hit a quiet .261/.420/.319 before signing with the Rays this offseason (and eventually retiring). 
  • Manny Delcarmen, acquired by the Rockies from the Red Sox on Aug. 31: The Rox, still in contention for the wild card, needed bullpen depth, so they sent Chris Balcom-Miller to Boston for Delcarmen. The righty didn't pan out in Colorado, posting a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings for a team that missed the playoffs before being non-tendered this offseason. He's kicked around since then.
  • Jeff Francoeur, acquired by the Rangers from the Mets on Aug. 31: Texas sent Joaquin Arias to the Mets for Frenchy, who played well in his brief time in Texas, hitting .340/.357/.491 down the stretch and seeing playing time during the postseason. Arias was waived by the Mets, while Francoeur signed the Royals this offseason and recently inked a two-year extension.

Elias Rankings For Free Agents Who Switched Leagues

Every summer prospective free agents on non-contenders get traded to new teams and, sometimes, to different leagues. The Elias Rankings for free agents are separate for the American and National Leagues, so players who projected as Type Bs in the American League won't necessarily project as Type Bs if they are dealt to the NL. Here's an update on the Elias Rankings for the prospective free agents who were traded between leagues last week (current projections, last week's projections):

  • Edwin Jackson, Cardinals – A Type B in the American League, Jackson remains a Type B with St. Louis.
  • Octavio Dotel, Cardinals – He was a Type B with Toronto and his status hasn't changed.
  • Orlando Cabrera, Giants – He remains unranked in the NL. He's close to Type B status, however.
  • Derrek Lee, Pirates – Like Cabrera, Lee remains unranked, but within striking distance of Type B status.
  • Kosuke Fukudome, Indians – Though Fukudome cannot be offered arbitration, his projected ranking changed from a Type B to unranked.


Pirates Acquire Derrek Lee

There's no question about it at this point – the Pirates are buyers. The Pirates and Orioles announced tonight that the Pirates acquired Derrek Lee from Baltimore for minor league first baseman Aaron Baker.

DLee

The 35-year-old Lee (pictured) has a .248/.306/.409 line in 360 plate appearances this year and earns $7.25MM. His play has improved in July, however; he has a .261/.306/.533 line with six homers this month. Pirates first basemen (led by Lyle Overbay) have hit .228/.303/.343 with just eight homers this year, so their interest in Lee's power potential is understandable.  The Pirates will pay Lee's remaining $2.3MM, with the Orioles covering bonus clauses.

“He is an experienced, productive right-handed hitter and solid defender who should add to our team on thefield and in the clubhouse,” Pirates GM Neal Huntington said in a statement.

Though his contract expires after the season, Lee doesn't project as a ranked free agent, so he probably won't be tied to draft pick compensation. 

Baker, 23, has a .285/.353/.474 line with 15 homers in Class A Bradenton this year. The 2009 draft pick did not crack Baseball America's preseason list of the Pirates' top 30 prospects.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun broke the news and MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, Rob Biertempfel and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review also contributed to the story.  Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Pirates Acquire Derrek Lee

10:51pm: The Orioles announced the deal.

10:10pm: The Orioles will get minor league first baseman Aaron Baker from the Pirates in the deal, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).

Baker, 23, has a .285/.353/.474 line with 15 homers in Class A Bradenton this year. The 2009 draft pick did not crack Baseball America's preseason list of the Pirates' top 30 prospects.

10:07pm: The Pirates are "very likely" to acquire Lee tonight, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter).

9:40pm: It doesn't appear that the Pirates will have to take on much salary, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter).

9:07pm: The Orioles will obtain a Class A hitter, Connolly reports (on Twitter).

8:57pm: The Pirates are "getting very close" to acquiring Lee, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). A deal is "very likely," Connolly reports. The Orioles are likely to send cash to Pittsburgh and obtain a Class A player.

4:54pm: The Orioles are looking to move Derrek Lee as soon as they can, mostly for salary relief, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (on Twitter). The first baseman left in the eighth inning of this afternoon's game and is not in the lineup for the second half of today's double-header, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter).

The 35-year-old has a .248/.306/.409 line in 360 plate appearances this year and earns $7.25MM. His play has improved in July, however; he has a .261/.306/.533 line with six homers this month. Lee, who was dealt to the Braves last August, would be an August trade candidate if the Orioles don't move him this weekend, as there's a good chance his salary would clear waivers.

Though his contract expires after the season, Lee doesn't project as a ranked free agent, so he probably won't be tied to draft pick compensation. The Pirates inquired on Lee and the D'Backs could also be a fit.


Pirates Rumors: Willingham, Pena, Lee

It's been awfully quiet on the Pirates rumor front lately, but maybe that's just because the team's front office is keeping a lid on it.  The latest:

  • Talks between the Pirates and A's about Josh Willingham are finished, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The talks never intensified.
  • The Pirates and A's are talking, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, as Oakland can fill the Pirates' need for a bat and a reliever.
  • The Pirates inquired on Carlos Pena but sensed the Cubs weren't motivated to trade him, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  The Bucs are not sure that Pena's predecessor, Derrek Lee of the Orioles, is an upgrade for them.  I think he would be.
  • The Pirates had interest in lefty Charlie Furbush before the Tigers sent him to Seattle today, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

AL East Notes: Uehara, Yankees, Lee, Guthrie

On this date last year, the Orioles traded Miguel Tejada to the Padres for Wynn Pelzer and the Blue Jays traded Brett Wallace to the Astros for Anthony Gose. Here's the latest from the AL East as we await today's first trade…


AL East Notes: Lee, Rays, Yankees, Jackson

The American League East welcomed a new center fielder to the division today, but it may not be long before another one gets traded. Here’s the latest from a division that currently has four former first rounders patrolling center field: B.J. Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones and, now, Colby Rasmus:

  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun suggests that the Pirates or Diamondbacks might want to take a look at Derrek Lee, who can provide defense, leadership and some power down the stretch. The Orioles might be able to obtain some salary relief and a low level prospect or two for the first baseman, who would likely clear waivers in August.
  • The Rays signed third round pick Johnny Eierman for $550K, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). Eierman is unusually athletic and will probably become an outfielder, Callis writes.
  • The Yankees signed 14th rounder Rookie Davis to a deal worth $550K, according to Callis (on Twitter). The right-hander/first baseman obtained the biggest bonus so far for any player selected after the third round.
  • Edwin Jackson, now a member of the Cardinals, was never on Boston's radar, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (on Twitter). 

Orioles Notes: Uehara, Guthrie, Johnson, Lee

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and owner Peter Angelos met to discuss possible deals this week, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec suggests the Orioles will make one or two moves in the next ten days; here are the names to watch:

  • There’s a lot of action on Koji Uehara now, despite some concern about the 36-year-old’s age and health. The Orioles are listening to offers and willing to move Uehara, but they want something of value in return for him. If they don’t like the offers they see, they will welcome him back next year (a $4MM option for 2012 will vest once Uehara makes 15 more appearances).
  • The Orioles don’t have much pitching depth, but they appear to have softened their stance on Jeremy Guthrie. Zrebiec gets the sense that “if they can get a decent return for Guthrie, they’ll send him packing.” That said, the O’s would likely look to obtain at least one MLB-ready starter in a trade for Guthrie.
  • The Orioles and Phillies are not in the midst of serious trade talks.
  • Baltimore would likely need a substantial haul to part with Jim Johnson, who could be a part of next year’s rotation.
  • There’s no urgency when it comes to Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero, since both would likely clear waivers. That means MacPhail can afford to wait until August to consider deals.

Rosenthal On Reyes, Rodriguez, Nationals, Orioles

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports brings us some interesting tidbits in this week's installment of Full Count..

  • The Mets will not sign Jose Reyes to a monster contract similar to the one given to Carl Crawford (seven-years, $142MM).  However, despite the Mets' financial troubles, keeping Reyes is not out of the question if he's willing to accept a shorter deal in the vicinity of three-years, $45-50MM.  Reyes, if healthy, will get more than that on the open market but it's still not a sure thing that the club will deal him.  They'll have to consider their position in the standings, how it would impact attendance, and what the return in a trade would be versus the high draft picks they would get if Reyes left via free agency.
  • The Mets won't have to worry about Francisco Rodriguez finishing 55 games if they deal him to a club that would use him as a set-up man as opposed to a closer.  The Rangers, for example, have Neftali Feliz (if healthy) to finish games.  K-Rod can block deals to as many as ten clubs as part of his deal but the Mets, to facilitate this deal, would gladly pick up the $3.5MM buyout to get rid of him.
  • Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is one of a handful of managers whose future is uncertain beyond this season.  The club has yet to pick up his option for '12 even though most in the game say that the Nats are on the right track.  Riggleman's agent told Rosenthal that he is hopeful that the club will either exercise the option or sign him to a multi-year deal by Father's Day.
  • The Orioles collected a number of veterans on one-year deals thinking that, at the very least, they'd have trade chips at the deadline.  General Manager Andy MacPhail & Co. may need to think again as Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero have done very little at the plate and J.J. Hardy has missed most of the year with an oblique injury.  All of this could change, but Rosenthal wonders if manager Buck Showalter and owner Peter Angelos would even approve of a sell-off.