Detroit Tigers Rumors

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

East Notes: Lee, Hamels, Braves, Price, Orioles

There were plenty of scouts on hand for the Phillies‘ matchup tonight, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (links to Twitter). Among the players presumably being eyed were starter Cliff Lee, fresh off a lengthy DL stint, and southpaw reliever Antonio Bastardo. Clubs with representatives on-hand included the Tigers, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers, Angels, Royals, Giants, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Mariners, though Crasnick adds that all were not necessarily looking at Lee in particular. The return start for Lee did not go well for the veteran lefty, as he surrendered 12 base hits (11 singles and one long ball) and six earned runs to go with three strikeouts and a walk over 5 2/3 innings.

Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:

  • The Phillies are telling clubs that starter Cole Hamels is not available, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. Hamels looks to be the best trade piece on the club’s current MLB roster, but Philadelphia may well prefer to keep the 30-year-old as it attempts to avoid a total rebuild.
  • The Yankees appear on Lee’s twenty-team no-trade list, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lee also listed New York on last year’s version of his slate of clubs to which he can decline to be dealt.
  • For the Braves, the trade deadline is likely to bring aid to the bullpen and bench, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. A left-handed reliever has long been on the club’s list, and Bowman says that the club might also look to add a bench bat that would improve the team’s anemic pinch-hitting results. As Bowman notes, Jordan Schafer and Ryan Doumit have both largely been ineffective in that role.
  • The Rays now seem more likely than ever to take the decision whether to deal David Price right up until the trade deadline, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post“I think they take it down to the wire,” an executive told Sherman. “That allows them to make sure they know who they are while making a couple teams sweat to the end that one of their competitors are going to get him. … It wouldn’t surprise me if Price actually ends up a July 31 decision.”
  • Meanwhile, the Orioles are looking at a broad array of options to bolster their club, reports MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli. In particular, the club is looking at both starting and relief arms, and has indicated to at least three clubs that righty Miguel Gonzalez could be moved. One of those teams is the Padres, who of course hold one of the better available starters in Ian Kennedy. A.J. Burnett of the Phillies is also on Baltimore’s radar, as is Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies, though Ghiroli says that Colorado was asking for top prospect Kevin Gausman to be included. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that executive vice president Dan Duquette remains hesitant to part with the club’s best prospects, and could ultimately take things down to the wire to get the right deal. (That, of course, was the strategy that Baltimore employed in this year’s free agent market, though last year the club started buying somewhat early at the deadline.)

Relief Market Notes: Buyers, Red Sox, Tigers, Phils, Cubs, Cishek

As usual, the relief market promises to be active in the coming days. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports via Twitter, one executive with a reliever to shop cited the Tigers, Indians, Orioles, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Giants, Dodgers, and Pirates as clubs that are in the market.

Here’s more on possible pen moves:

  • While many teams have interest in shoring up their bullpens, many top relief targets might not ultimately be moved, Rosenthal also tweets. He names Koji Uehara (Red Sox), Joakim Soria (Rangers), and Joaquin Benoit (Padres) as quality late-inning hurlers who could stay put.
  • The Red Sox have received plenty of interest in both Uehara and southpaw setup man Andrew Miller, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, but the pair is not going to be dealt at this point given the club’s recent winning streak, which reached five games tonight.
  • Among the most active buyers are the Tigers, who have scouted virtually all the available arms, tweets ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. Detroit is showing interest in Antonio Bastardo of the Phillies, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, though the team is indeed keeping its eye on a wide variety of possibilities. That includes fellow Philly Jonathan Papelbon, adds Morosi.
  • After shipping out their top two targets, the Cubs are receiving the most hits on lefty James Russell, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Two other pen pieces — southpaw Wesley Wright and swingman Carlos Villanueva — are also “in play,” says Wittenmyer.
  • Marlins closer Steve Cishek is a recent addition to the rumor mill, though MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro says that Miami has told opposing clubs that they do not intend to deal the righty. The 28-year-old comes with three more years of control through arbitration, though he’ll be well-paid after taking home $3.8MM as a Super Two. Meanwhile, with the Fish hoping to make a run at extending star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton after the season, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald cites a source who tells him that shipping out Cishek could have a negative impact on that effort.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Milone, Phillies, White Sox

The Cubs have the prospect depth necessary to acquire David Price from the Rays, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, and acquiring Price (and then extending him past 2015) is just the kind of big move Rosenthal feels the Cubs need to get them into contention sooner rather than later.  Price is intrigued by the idea of playing in Chicago, friends of the southpaw say, and Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson was Price’s pitching coach at Vanderbilt.

Here’s some hot stove buzz from Rosenthal’s latest piece…

  • The Athletics are getting calls about left-hander Tommy Milone, who lost his rotation job when Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs.  The 27-year-old Milone is controlled through 2017 and has a 3.84 ERA, 3.23 K/BB rate and 6.5 K/9 over 468 2/3 career innings, though his significant home/road splits could make some teams wary about his effectiveness outside of Oakland.  The A’s aren’t too keen to move Milone since they value having rotation depth.
  • The Phillies are willing to eat some money on their major veteran contracts in order “to effectively buy prospects” in trades, though with teams so hesitant to move their young talent, Philadelphia might be better served by just pursuing salary relief.
  • Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon “is generating little interest,” sources tell Rosenthal.
  • Many of the would-be best trade chips on the White Sox aren’t producing, which could make it tough for the Pale Hose to make deadline deals.  Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, for instance, look more like non-tender candidates than valuable acquisitions in the view of one rival executive.  John Danks might be the most attractive trade candidate on the Chicago roster, while the Sox might wait until the winter to explore dealing Alexei Ramirez when the trade market is more open.
  • The Blue Jays‘ search for offense could be mitigated by the impending returns of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie from the DL within the next week or two.  Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday that he was still looking to add a bat before the trade deadline.
  • Eugenio Suarez has played well enough at shortstop that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski doesn’t think his team will look for an upgrade at the position before the deadline.  Rosenthal notes that Suarez’s presence could create a bit of a logjam next season when Jose Iglesias returns from injury.
  • The Tigers do have a need for more lineup balance, as the team is short on left-handed hitters.
  • With so little prospect depth, Rosenthal thinks the Yankees‘ best trade strategy would be to offer salary relief for large contracts.  In hindsight, Rosenthal writes, the Yankees might’ve been better off trading Robinson Cano for prospects last summer, even though being a deadline seller is unheard of for the always-contending Yankees.


Tigers, Pirates, Indians Interested In Benoit

The Tigers, Pirates and Indians are interested in Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The Padres have already shipped out one reliever with closing experience, trading Huston Street to the Angels, but Heyman writes that Benoit will likely fetch a less attractive return, since teams generally view him as a setup man, not a closer.

Heyman notes that the Tigers or Pirates could use Benoit in the eighth inning, allowing Joe Nathan or Mark Melancon, respectively, to continue to close. (Those two teams are also interested in Joakim Soria of the Rangers, Heyman notes.) It isn’t yet clear whether the Indians will be buyers.

Benoit is owed $8MM next year plus $8MM or a $1.5MM buyout in 2016. His 2016 option will vest if he finishes at least 55 games in 2015. Benoit has a 2.04 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 39 2/3 innings with San Diego this year.


Minor Moves: Moseley, Tanaka, Crowe

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Marlins have signed pitcher Dustin Moseley, according to MiLB.com. Moseley, who missed 2013 and all of this season so far due to shoulder trouble, last appeared in the Majors with the Padres in 2012 and has also pitched for the Angels and Yankees. In June, MLBTR reported that Moseley was looking to sign with a new team. For his career, Moseley has a 4.67 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in parts of seven big-league seasons, pitching both as a starter and in relief.
  • Infielder Kensuke Tanaka has requested his release from the Rangers‘ Triple-A club, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Tanaka made his MLB debut last season for the Giants slashing .267/.353/.267 in 34 plate appearances (15 games). The 33-year-old signed a minor league contract with the Rangers last December and has posted a .258/.340/.371 line in 245 plate appearances for Round Rock this year.
  • The Tigers have released outfielder Trevor Crowe from their Triple-A affiliate, per the International League’s transactions page.  The 30-year-old, who signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in January, slashed .240/.291/.349 in 278 plate appearances for Toledo with most of his playing time coming as the Mud Hens’ DH. Crowe, the 14th overall selection in the 2005 draft by the Indians, played 60 games for the Astros last year batting .218/.287/.291 in 181 plate appearances.
  • Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, three players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ian Stewart (Angels), Deck McGuire (Blue Jays), and Jimmy Paredes (Royals).

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Rangers, Castillo, Ziegler, Butler

The Rangers believe they can be competitive in 2015 and therefore won’t be trading players like Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre or Elvis Andrus, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Even with a number of talented young infielders in their system, they don’t want to trade Andrus, who is an important figure in their clubhouse. They will, however, consider dealing Joakim Soria and Alex Rios. The Tigers have shown interest in Soria, and the Mariners, Blue Jays, Giants or Royals could all be fits for Rios. Reliever Neal Cotts could also fetch a nice return for Texas. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Cubs, White Sox, Braves and Giants all have interest in Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes. Sanchez notes that Castillo has received comparisons to Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kenny Lofton. All teams throughout MLB are likely to be represented at Castillo’s showcase next week.
  • The Tigers have asked about the availability of reliever Brad Ziegler, but the Diamondbacks are likely to keep him, tweets FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi. Ziegler has pitched well this year and is under contract for $5MM in 2015, with a reasonable option on his services the following year.
  • Billy Butler believes the Royals should pick up the $12.5MM 2015 option on his contract, but if they don’t want to, he’s willing to renegotiate so he can stay in Kansas City, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes. “My numbers throughout my contract suggest they should (pick it up),” says Butler. “Maybe not the way I’ve necessarily played this year, but that’s the reason you play a full 162 games. … That’s the reason why you have a track record.” Butler has struggled this year, with a .272/.324/.354 line in 383 plate appearances that’s well below his career norms.
    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article762548.html#storylink=cpy

Minor Moves: Shackelford, Valdespin, Shreve

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

  • The Brewers (via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy on Twitter) have announced that pitcher Kevin Shackelford has been outrighted to Double-A Huntsville. The Brewers designated Shackelford for assignment when they claimed Irving Falu earlier this week. Shackelford pitched well this year for Class A+ Brevard County but has struggled at Huntsville, posting a 6.35 ERA with 3.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 28 1/3 innings there.
  • The Marlins announce that they’ve selected the contract of IF/OF Jordany Valdespin, optioned Justin Bour to Triple-A New Orleans, and moved Rafael Furcal to the 60-day disabled list. After a poor 2013 season with the Mets, Valdespin signed a minor league deal with the Marlins, then hit .270/.374/.437 in 265 plate appearances at New Orleans.
  • The Braves have purchased the contract of lefty Chasen Shreve from Double-A Mississippi and optioned Luis Avilan to Triple-A Gwinnett, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. The Braves have struggled with lefty relief, and Shreve posted a 2.48 ERA with 12.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 at Double-A.
  • The Tigers have released catcher Ronny Paulino, according to MiLB.com. Paulino had appeared in 13 games for Triple-A Toledo in 2013 before receiving a 100-game PED suspension this offseason. He has not yet played this season. The former Pirates starting catcher has also appeared in the big leagues with the Marlins, Mets and Orioles, last playing in the Majors in 2012.
  • The Tigers announced that they have purchased the contract of P Drew VerHagen, who is slated to start one game in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Indians. To clear space for VerHagen on their 40-man roster, the Tigers moved reliever Joel Hanrahan to the 60-day DL. VerHagen, a fourth-round draft pick in 2012, had pitched 110 1/3 innings for Triple-A Toledo, posting a 3.67 ERA, 5.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.

Tigers, Rangers Discussing Joakim Soria

11:10am: Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, adds that the Tigers are also interested in Joaquin Benoit but are not actively pursuing Huston Street at this time (Twitter links). The Tigers, according to a rival executive with whom Rosenthal spoke, are interested in adding a reliever that doesn’t view himself as a pure closer, suggesting that a new acquisition may not supplant Nathan as the primary ninth-inning option.

9:57am: The Tigers and Rangers are having ongoing discussions about Texas closer Joakim Soria, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports 1 (on Twitter).

The back end of the bullpen was a worry that Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski hoped not to have when he signed Joe Nathan this offseason, but the former Twins/Rangers stopper hasn’t pitched like himself in 2014. Nathan has posted a 5.61 ERA in 33 2/3 innings with the Tigers, and while his strikeout rate remains strong (9.4 K/9), his walks are up and his fastball is averaging a career-worst 91.7 mph. That velocity dip could have something to do with the increase in his home run rate and decrease in swinging-strike rate as well.

Soria, on the other hand, has been excellent in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The former Royals closer has turned in the best strikeout and walk rates of his career (11.9 K/9, 1.2 BB/9) en route to a 2.67 ERA and 16 saves in 30 1/3 innings of relief work.

An acquisition of Soria would give the Tigers an improved ninth-inning option not only for 2014 but also 2015, as his contract contains a $7MM club option ($500K buyout). Beyond that, Soria is highly affordable in 2014, as he’s earning just a $5.5MM salary, of which $2.19MM remains.

This would be the second straight season in which the Tigers have acquired bullpen help, should a deal come to fruition. However, the asking price on Soria will undoubtedly be higher than last year’s asking price for Jose Veras. Detroit sent Danry Vasquez and David Paulino to Houston in order to complete that deal.

The Rangers have reportedly been receiving a good deal of interest in their bullpen arms, and they’ve already shown a willingness to move veteran pieces by sending Jason Frasor to the Royals this week.


AL Central Notes: Hanrahan, Tigers, Indians, Moore, Yost

It’s been more than two months since the Tigers inked Joel Hanrahan, but GM Dave Dombrowski tells Chris Iott of MLive.com that there’s still no timetable for the former All-Star’s return. “Really, there have been no expectations,” said Dombrowski. “Really, he’s made progress, but I can’t also say that he’s close.” As Iott notes, it’s all but certain that Hanrahan won’t return prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which is unfortunate for Detroit, as it doesn’t give them an opportunity to fully assess what they have in their bullpen.

Here’s more from the AL Central…

  • Iott spoke with Dombrowski for a second piece at MLive.com, but the GM wouldn’t tip his hand when asked about his trade deadline approach. Dombrowski acknowledged that most feel he needs to pursue bullpen help, but he also noted recent improvements from Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke. Iott writes that by process of elimination, the bullpen is the most likely spot for the Tigers to improve. Dombrowski said the level of trade talks to this point has been pretty standard, but he expects them to pick up now that the All-Star Game is complete.
  • In a similar interview, Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer attempts to read between the lines on some vague comments from Indians GM Chris Antonetti. One thing that Antonetti did imply is that he’s not overly interested in rental pieces: “We’re exploring a lot of different things, opportunities to improve our team for the balance of this season and then position us better moving forward, too. We’ve spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we’d have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.”
  • Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star spoke with Royals owner David Glass about a plethora of Royals-related topics in an excellent Q&A. Some highlights of note are that Glass expressed confidence in GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost, refusing to call this a “make or break year” for Yost. He also said he doesn’t feel his club necessarily needs to make a move to contend, but he would consider adding payroll in trades if it created an obvious opportunity for improvement. Regarding James Shields, he wasn’t sure how involved the Royals would be in pursuing him as a free agent.

Latest On Huston Street And Closer Market

With his club sitting 12 games back in the NL West at the All-Star break, Padres closer Huston Street certainly looks to be a prime trade candidate. The 30-year-old righty owns a 1.09 ERA through 33 games and 33 frames on the year, with a sparkling 9.3 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. This is his third straight season of sub-3.00 ERA work. Street is playing on a $7MM salary for 2014, and can be controlled for $7MM next season via club option.

Here’s the latest news on Street and the rest of the closer market:

  • Street expects to be dealt, he tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). The club has approached him to discuss that possibility, he adds.
  • San Diego has had enough discussions regarding Street that a deal does indeed appear likely, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club is, however, somewhat hesitant to part with both Street and set-up man Joaquin Benoit, Heyman adds.
  • The Angels are one club looking at Street, reports Heyman. The club’s interest was reported yesterday by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Los Angeles has also considered Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies, but his contract is an obvious turn-off. (On the other hand, of course, he would presumably require less of a prospect return to acquire.)
  • Also weighing a move on Street are the Pirates, says Heyman. The Orioles and Giants have been mentioned by sources as other speculative possibilities. But Heyman says that those clubs appear more likely to prioritize rotation help.
  • Though the Tigers have been mentioned as a team that could conceivably be interested in late-inning relief help, Heyman says that Detroit has not indicated interest in bringing in an option to challenge or supplant Joe Nathan.