Detroit Tigers Rumors

Detroit Tigers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Quick Hits: Francona, Price, Flores

If team president Mark Shapiro departs to become president of the Blue Jays, Indians manager Terry Francona would not be likely to exercise an opt-out in his deal, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Francona’s opt-out allows him to leave the organization if Shapiro or GM Chris Antonetti were to leave first. He says he will not use that clause to try to land a job elsewhere. “When I came here, I think I was pretty honest about the fact that I came here because of Mark and Chris,” he says. “Since I’ve been here, my relationship with them has certainly grown, but also with the other people here, to the point where, I guess my point is I would never use that as leverage. That was not the spirit of the way it was written, nor would I use it like that.” Francona is currently in the midst of a deal that will carry him through 2016, at which point a new, two-year deal will kick in. That deal includes team options for 2019 and 2020. Here are more quick notes from around the league.

  • David Price was not surprised that the Tigers traded him, MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. “Just kind of understanding everything in the organization, not really,” said Price when asked if the deal caught him off-guard. “The Tigers are never sellers. They’re always buyers and they’re always making playoff runs and stuff like that. But at that time, I thought that was probably the best move.” Price describes his last few weeks with the Tigers as “just a weird time” in which it was unclear what direction the team would go at the trade deadline.
  • Wilmer Flores has become a “cult hero” to Mets fans, as ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin notes. Flores openly cried upon hearing that he would be traded from the Mets to the Brewers. After the deal that was supposed to send Flores to Milwaukee and Carlos Gomez to New York fell through, the Mets have played brilliantly, and he’s become a symbol to Mets fans who love him for wanting so badly to stay with the team. “If you’re saying it has something to do with it, I don’t know. I can’t tell you,” says Flores about his crying on the field. “But since that day, it’s been really fun. On the road and playing at home, it’s been really fun. I can’t tell you it was because of that.”

Shane Greene To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

4:07pm: Head trainer Kevin Rand said that Greene will begin throwing in two months and is expected to be ready for Spring Training, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

3:50pm: Tigers right-hander Shane Greene will undergo season-ending surgery, manager Brad Ausmus told reporters, including MLive.com’s James Schmehl and MLB.com’s Jason Beck (Twitter links). Doctors will operate on Greene’s right shoulder to repair an issue with his circumflex artery, which has been causing psuedoaneurysm symptoms in his right arm. Greene had been experiencing numbness in his throwing hand.

The 26-year-old Greene was acquired from the Yankees this offseason in a three-team deal that sent Didi Gregorius from the D-Backs to the Yankees and lefty Robbie Ray from the Tigers to the D-Backs. Greene’s torrid start to the season generated quite a few headlines, but it was largely fueled by a microscopic BABIP, and his strikeout rate had plummeted with the Tigers. He struggled from late April through early June and found himself demoted to Triple-A, though it’s very possible that the issue he’s now getting corrected has been affecting him for a large portion of the season.

Greene presumably would’ve been in line for a September call-up in order to perhaps earn a guaranteed role in Detroit’s rotation in 2016. However, he’ll now enter the offseason with a bit more uncertainty surrounding his 2016 status. Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander are locks to return to the rotation next year, health permitting, and trade acquisitions Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd would seem to have strong cases as well. Greene figures to be in the mix along with that pair of young lefties along with right-hander Buck Farmer and lefty Kyle Lobstein.

Of course, new general manager Al Avila may want to bring in some additional rotation options either via free agency or trade. Following Dave Dombrowski’s exit from the Detroit front office, Avila’s comments had a win-now tone, so it seems reasonable to expect that he’d seek some more stability in the starting rotation this winter.


Cafardo On Dombrowski, De Aza, Buchholz, Lackey

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe runs down the candidates for the Red Sox GM job.  Frank Wren, who has a history with new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, is believed to be the favorite for the gig, but there are many other candidates who could be in the mix.  Cafardo runs down several intriguing names, including ex-Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd.  For what it’s worth, O’Dowd told Cafardo that he enjoys his current job as an MLB Network analyst and has no idea whether Dombrowski would consider him for a position.  Here’s more from Cafardo….

  • In addition to the Dodgers, the Giants also had interest in acquiring Red Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza after he cleared waivers, but they felt the asking price was too high, Cafardo writes.  Boston acquired De Aza from the Orioles in early June and one has to imagine that the NL West clubs were drawn to him, in part, because he would have served as a highly-affordable rental.  The Red Sox were on the hook for only $1MM of his salary after acquiring him from Baltimore.
  • Ben Cherington probably would have picked up the $13MM option on the injury-prone Clay Buchholz, but Cafardo isn’t sure if Dombrowski will do the same.  One AL GM told Cafardo that Buchholz would likely be in line for “around $15MM on a three-year deal” if he were to hit the open market.
  • Cafardo doesn’t buy the theory that the Red Sox hired Dombrowski quickly in order to give him more time to trade Pablo Sandoval or Hanley Ramirez.  To deal either of the struggling sluggers, Boston “would have to eat major money and that may not be in the cards.”
  • Sources close to Cardinals hurler John Lackey tell Cafardo that the veteran wants to stay in the National League because he’s had an easier time pitching there.  St. Louis has interest in a reunion, though not on a lengthy contract since Lackey turns 37 in October.
  • Tigers adviser Scott Reid has been mentioned as someone Dombrowski could bring with him to the Red Sox, but at this time, Dombrowski has not asked permission to speak with Detroit executives.  Many of those execs also received promotions after Dombrowski’s departure, so it’s not clear if they can be lured away.
  • Agent Alan Nero believes there will be a ripe market for Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. “We’re just preparing for the process right now,” Nero said. “We believe there’s going to be a lot of interest as there was with [Jung Ho] Kang. Major league teams certainly covet right-handed power.” The Red Sox have been scouting the Nexen Heroes star for most of the season and Cafardo suggests that they could platoon him with left-handed-batter Travis Shaw. Even though Park could carry a notable price tag via the posting system, that could be cheaper for the Sox than going after the likes of Chris Davis or Justin Morneau on the open market.


Quick Hits: Dodgers, Stanton, Astros

Even though they’re likely to make the postseason, the Dodgers are one of the 10 most disappointing teams in baseball, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. From the mouth of one NL executive, “they have done the near impossible – they have a $300 million payroll and yet they haven’t gone all in for 2015.” Of course, they still have time to find a patch or two for their beleaguered bullpen. While they aren’t my vote for most disappointing, it’s fair to wonder why they’re only 1.5 games up on the Giants.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Of Sherman’s 10 disappointing teams, the Nationals, Tigers, and Red Sox are likely to receive the most attention. Boston struggled from day one. In retrospect, nobody was surprised by the shoddy pitching staff. However, the vaunted offense never arrived after March. The Nationals and Tigers are surprising candidates. Detroit is only four games out of the second Wild Card, but they packed up shop at the trade deadline by cashing in on Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, and Joakim Soria. The Nationals are viewed as the more likely of the two to reach the postseason, but they’re 4.5 games behind the Mets and 9.5 back from the Cubs. However, they do have better roster cohesion and only one team to leapfrog in the standings.
  • The Marlins also appeared on Sherman’s list, and slugger Giancarlo Stanton expects to see “big changes” over the offseason, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Meanwhile, club president David Sampson mentioned a non-personnel change that could be coming for 2016. The fences may be lowered and moved in prior to next season. Miami is a tough park for home runs, but run scoring is roughly neutral. Closer walls could help Stanton and others bash even more home runs.
  • The Astros and Dodgers are among the most forward thinking teams in the game, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The Dodgers obviously have a much larger war chest, but money doesn’t solve every problem. Per Los Angeles president Andrew Friedman, “more resources help you, at least in theory, more in the free-agent market. You look back over time, and it’s very hard to invest wisely. So coming from the Rays, you were almost insulated from making those mistakes in the free-agent market.” Both clubs are emphasizing the value of young, cost controlled stars. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow also commented on the process of discovering marginal advantages over other teams and hoping to hide them for as long as possible. The article itself is well worth your time with excellent quotes from several executives.

Tigers Release Marc Krauss

The Tigers have released first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports on Twitter. Detroit needed his roster spot for the addition of just-acquired starter Randy Wolf.

Krauss, 27, opened the year with the Angels and spent time with the Rays before being claimed by Detroit. He’s struggled all season long, putting up a .141/.173/.256 batting line in 81 total plate appearances. Krauss has continued to put up good numbers in the minors, compiling 292 plate appearances of .280/.408/.423 hitting at the Triple-A level on the year.


AL Central Notes: Zobrist, Medlen, Shapiro, Dombrowski, Norris

Recently-acquired Royals utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist says that he’s very much open to a return to Kansas City, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports“Certainly, this had been one of the teams I liked the look of,” he said. “And now, since I’ve been here, it’s a place I want to stay longer. Being here has certainly done nothing but make this [team] go up on my list.” Of course, the versatile and still-productive 34-year-old figures to be as widely pursued on the winter’s free agent market as he was at this year’s trade deadline. Zobrist was already playing well before the trade, but has slashed an outstanding .357/.446/.600 in his first 83 plate appearances with his new club.

Here’s more from Kansas City and the rest of the AL Central:

  • The Royals will hand the ball to Kris Medlen for his first start with the club on Monday, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. Medlen, 29, has returned nicely after a long layoff for multiple Tommy John surgeries, tossing 14 1/3 innings of 2.51 ERA ball with 14 strikeouts against five walks. His average fastball velocity is as good as ever. Medlen is owed just $5.5MM next year and can be controlled with a $10MM option ($1MM buyout) in 2017. So far, that’s looking like a nice risk for the Royals.
  • Indians president Mark Shapiro declined to comment on recent reports indicating that he could be a candidate to take over the Blue Jays‘ presidency, Zack Meisel of the Plain Dealer reports. The long-time Cleveland executive, still just 48 years old, could conceivably be enticed by the possibility of gaining “power and resources,” the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes writes in an interesting piece.
  • There was a creeping sense of suspicion when he was not approached to discuss a new deal over the summer, former Tigers GM (and newly-minted Red Sox president of baseball operations) Dave Dombrowski tells MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio link). Dombrowski maintained, however, that he remains unaware what precisely led Detroit to release him from its contract when it did.
  • Just-added Tigers lefty Daniel Norris could end up missing the rest of the year with an oblique injury, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. Manager Brad Ausmus says that Norris is likely to miss at least a month. The 22-year-old, added as the key piece of the David Price trade, figures to be a key piece of the Tigers rotation next year and for the foreseeable future. He recently joined the MLBTR Podcast to discuss that deal and his approach to the game.

Tigers Acquire Randy Wolf From Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have traded veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, who had been with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, to the Tigers in exchange for cash considerations, per Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith (Twitter link).

The 38-year-old Wolf has been excellent at the Triple-A level this season, compiling a 2.58 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 139 2/3 innings. Recent injuries to Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris — both of whom were placed on the disabled list today — left the Tigers looking for rotation depth, and Wolf had asked for his release from the Blue Jays to pursue a big league opportunity elsewhere (per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman). However, Toronto kept him around due to the possibility that they could promote him themselves come September. However, it would appear that upon learning of a big league opportunity for the veteran elsewhere, Toronto has made a trade to accommodate his desire to return to the big leagues after a strong season in the minors.


Injury Notes: Pressly, Perkins, Pence, Phelps, Greene, Hultzen

There’s been quite a bit of news on the injury front today, with Maikel Franco landing on the disabled list due to a fractured left wrist, and Michael Saunders being shut down for the season by the Blue Jays. That’s only the tip of the iceberg today, though, as a number of players have either been shut down or are heading for MRIs today. Here’s a look around the league…

  • Twins right-hander Ryan Pressly has been shut down for the season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a lat strain, GM Terry Ryan told reporters, including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Pressly, a former Rule 5 pick by the Twins, was a bright spot in the ‘pen for Minnesota this season when healthy. In 27 2/3 innings, he notched a 2.93 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate to go along with a career-best 94.2 mph average fastball. He’ll accrue enough service time to clear two years of service but will fall shy of Super Two status.
  • That’s not the only potential blow facing the Twins‘ bullpen, as the team announced after tonight’s loss that Glen Perkins will return to the Twin Cities to undergo an MRI on his ailing neck. As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes, Perkins’ symptoms are similar to the ones he experienced late in 2014 when a nerve injury ended his season prematurely. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that Perkins will receive a cortisone shot as well. The Twins, who have one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball, can scarcely afford to lose their best reliever for an extended period of time. Perkins has followed up a 1.21 first-half ERA with an 8.10 mark since the All-Star break.
  • Hunter Pence underwent an MRI on his left oblique, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area (all Twitter links). Pence will miss a least a few games, and the Giants hope to have his results in the near future. As Pavlovic points out, Pence appeared to suffer an injury in his final swing of last night’s game, as he clutched his side following the plate appearance.
  • The Marlins announced that right-hander David Phelps is out for the season with a stress fracture in the radius of his right forearm. Injuries have caused the Fish to lean on Phelps perhaps more than they’d expected, but in 23 appearances (19 starts) he’s posted a 4.50 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 across 112 innings — just one shy of his career-high.
  • Shane Greene has hit the minor league disabled list with the Tigers, per John Wagner of the Toledo Blade (Twitter link). Greene is getting checked out by team doctors after reportedly experiencing numbness in his fingers — a potential indicator of nerve damage, among other injuries.
  • There’s continued bad news on the injury front for former Mariners top prospect Danny Hultzen, who will be shut down until Spring Training, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. As Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune points out (via Twitter), Hultzen will be out of minor league options next season, meaning the former No. 2 overall pick will need to either make the club or be exposed to waivers. Injuries have completely derailed Hultzen’s career thus far, as the Virginia product has thrown just 43 2/3 innings over the past three seasons combined.

Cafardo On Chapman, D’Backs, Utley

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looked at several managers who could be out of a job this winter.  Among the skippers listed is Nationals manager Matt Williams, who has come under fire at times for his in-game decisions.  Still, in his defense, Cafardo notes that Williams has had to deal with poor performances by players like Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, not to mention injuries.  Other situations to monitor include the Reds (Bryan Price), Phillies (Pete Mackanin), Tigers (Brad Ausmus), and Mariners (Lloyd McClendon).  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • When the D’Backs and other clubs called on Aroldis Chapman at the deadline, the Reds were asking for an “incredibly unrealistic” return, according to one GM who spoke with Cafardo.  “I couldn’t believe it,” the GM said of the asking price for the closer.  Still, it sounds like Reds GM Walt Jocketty will at least listen on him this winter and the price tag could be more palatable for interested teams.  “I think teams would give up three very good prospects for him,” said one AL GM, “but I think that’s as far as it would go.”  Recently, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that many in baseball are questioning Jocketty’s decision to hang on to Chapman past the July trade deadline.  Heyman also noted that Arizona could pursue him once again this offseason.
  • As of Friday, the Giants had no idea how their pursuit of Phillies second baseman Chase Utley would go.  GM Bobby Evans acknowledged over the weekend that he’s still in pursuit of Utley, but one has to wonder how far they’re willing to go with Joe Panik on the verge of returning.
  • If the Nationals wind up replacing Ian Desmond this winter, they have a very capable replacement on deck in Trea Turner.  “He’s a baseball player,” one veteran AL scout said of Turner. “He’s going to be an All-Star player in the big leagues. I don’t see how he misses. He has great instincts for the position and the game in general. He’s got those [Dustin] Pedroia qualities.”  Turner, rated as the No. 65 prospect in baseball heading into the 2015 season, is hitting .306/.349/.422 at Triple-A Syracuse.
  • Nationals director of player development Doug Harris could emerge as the frontrunner for the Brewers‘ GM job, Cafardo writes.  Doug Melvin, who has stepped down as president/GM to take on an adviser role, was the GM in Texas while Harris was an exec there.
  • As team president Theo Epstein enters his walk year in 2016, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is expected to start discussing a new deal with him soon.   If he can’t offer him enough money to stay in Chicago, Cafardo wonders aloud if he could go elsewhere or maybe even circle back to the Red Sox.

Heyman’s Latest: Jays, Goldschmidt, Teheran, Chen, Epstein, Gordon, Gray

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by chronicling the efforts of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Perhaps most interesting are some of the items about trades the Jays elected not to make. As Heyman notes, the Reds asked for right-hander Marcus Stroman in exchange for Johnny Cueto, but Stroman was a deal-breaker in all trade talks with Toronto. Dating back to the offseason, the Blue Jays considered signing Craig Breslow, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford and Rafael Soriano, as well as some larger names, including David Robertson, whom they considered “closely.” (Toronto never made a firm offer to Robertson, though, Heyman writes.) The Blue Jays’ willingness to include Daniel Norris in a trade for David Price effectively shut every other team out of the market, per Heyman, as others weren’t willing to discuss their absolute top prospects. The Yankees, for instance, wouldn’t part with Luis Severino, while the Dodgers steadfastly refused to part with Corey Seager or Julio Urias.

More highlights from the article (which is worth checking out in its entirety, as there’s far more than can be recapped here with any form of brevity)…

  • Paul Goldschmidt is under team control through 2019, but the D-Backs will attempt to extend him further this offseason, per GM Dave Stewart. “We want to make him a lifetime Diamondback,” Stewart told Heyman. I imagine the price tag there will be extraordinary, as Goldschmidt has gone from rising talent to unequivocal superstardom since signing his initial extension with Arizona. Heyman also reports that the D-Backs will take a shot at extending the arbitration-eligible A.J. Pollock. While not a household name, Pollock probably earns my personal vote as the most underrated player in baseball.
  • The Braves have been making an effort to shed contracts that reach beyond the 2016 season, and Heyman writes to “look for them to take offers on Julio Teheran” this offseason. Clearly, Atlanta would be selling low on a talented arm that comes with a very reasonable contract. Teheran signed a six-year, $32.4MM extension prior to the 2014 season, but he’s logged a 4.57 ERA due in part to diminished control in 2015.
  • The Orioles will make left-hander Wei-Yin Chen a qualifying offer this winter, Heyman reports. Chen might not seem like a prototypical QO candidate, but he’s a lock to turn it down, in my mind, coming off a very nice season at age 30. He should draw pretty significant interest this winter, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted in examining Chen’s free agent stock.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is up for an extension at an excellent time, as the Cubs’ rebuild looks to be paying tremendous dividends. Epstein has been earning about $4MM per year with the Cubs, but Heyman hears from some in the industry that the expectation is for Epstein to top Andrew Friedman’s reported $7MM annual salary with the Dodgers if and when he signs a new deal.
  • Despite a poor season for the Reds, there’s a sense among some that they may keep manager Bryan Price. The second-year Reds skipper has had to deal with the losses of Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey, among many injuries to others in 2015.
  • There’s been some buzz about the Tigers trimming payroll, but Heyman spoke to multiple sources close to the situation who say that talk might be overstated. One spoke specifically about the Ilitch family’s continued commitment to winning. Heyman speculatively mentions Justin Upton as a player that has previously piqued Detroit’s interest. He also lists the White Sox as a team that may show interest in Upton.
  • The Royals are serious about trying to make Alex Gordon a lifetime member of the organization. It’ll be tough for Kansas City to do so if he’s seeking something in the vicinity of Shin-Soo Choo money ($130MM), but the increased revenue they’re receiving from the Kansas City baseball renaissance could allow them to spend more than they would’ve in previous seasons.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Johnny Cueto as a free agent, and adding a right-handed arm does intrigue them. Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu and Julio Urias (expected to eventually join the L.A. rotation) are all left-handed, as is fellow offseason target David Price, whom Heyman terms a “more obvious target” for Friedman & Co.
  • The Brewers are serious about trying to emphasize analytics with a new GM hire, as the Attanasio family (the team’s owners) are big believers in the growing statistical trend. Mark Attanasio’s son, a former basketball player, is an MIT grad with a strong foundation in basketball analytics. John Coppolella, Thad Levine, David Forst, Mike Hazen, Billy Eppler, Michael Girsch and Jerry Dipoto are among the names that Heyman feels could be fits in Milwaukee’s GM seat.
  • “Not happening. Not even slightly,” was the response from Athletics general manager Billy Beane when asked by Heyman about the possibility of trading Sonny Gray this winter. That’s a pretty emphatic denial, and while some will recall similar comments made about Josh Donaldson last October, those came from an anonymous executive as opposed to an on-record denial from Oakland’s top decision-maker.