Detroit Tigers Rumors

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

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.

Cafardo’s Latest: Gray, Iwakuma, Red Sox, Padres

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo recaps the trade deadline moves, evaluates which teams fared well or poorly with their transactions (or lack thereof) and also looks ahead to the August trade market in his latest column.  Some highlights…

  • “Plenty of teams” approached the A’s about a trade for Sonny Gray, though unsurprisingly, Oakland held onto the young ace.
  • The Mariners believe they can re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma (a pending free agent) for one or two more seasons.  For this season, the M’s decided to keep the righty at the deadline, though Iwakuma drew interest from multiple teams.
  • Mike Napoli could be an August trade candidate, as one GM called him “a guy teams want to see a little bit more of” to see if Napoli can heat up at the plate.  The Red Sox first baseman is only hitting .206/.307/.387 with 13 homers over 362 plate appearances.  Boston shopped Napoli prior to the July deadline though the Pirates were the only team known to have any interest.
  • There was some deadline day speculation that the Padres could make a run at Pablo Sandoval, though no deal materialized.
  • The Red Sox pursued Cole Hamels for 18 months but are still looking for a rotation-topping ace as Hamels ended up dealt to Texas.  Cafardo wonders if all this wasted time will hurt Boston, as he feels the Sox could’ve matched or topped the prospect package the Phillies got from the Rangers.  Now, the Red Sox will have to spent far more than Hamels’ remaining salary to obtain an ace this winter.
  • One team evaluator though the Phillies ultimately fared well in their deadline deals for Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere, though “from where they started in their demands to where they wound up, it’s quite a fall. But if you look around at other deals, nobody was giving up No. 1 or 2 prospects. They settled for quantity in some cases, but they got a fair share of quality, as well.”
  • Cafardo was surprised to see the Tigers deal Joakim Soria, “as relievers of this ilk are hard to come by and the Tigers have a history of being unable to identify them. They finally did with Soria and yet they traded him.”
  • The fact that the Tigers entrusted GM Dave Dombrowski with trading Soria, Yoenis Cespedes and David Price could be a sign that Dombrowski may remain in Detroit, Cafardo opines.  The two sides hadn’t made progress on an extension as of early July, though Dombrowski’s last extension to remain with the Tigers (in 2011) wasn’t settled until August of that year.
  • You can add the Nationals to the list of teams that showed some interest in Justin Upton, as Cafardo writes that Washington “considered” a move for the Padres outfielder.
  • Speaking of Upton, Cafardo thinks the Padres could move both he and James Shields in August if the team finally decides they’re out of the race.  I would think an Upton deal would be extremely difficult, since any number of teams would put in waiver claims to block him from going to a rival and wouldn’t hesitate taking on the roughly $5MM remaining on Upton’s contract.  As for Shields, his much longer and pricier contract makes him unlikely to be claimed on waivers, so Cafardo thinks a team like the Yankees could make a move for Shields to upgrade their rotation.

East Notes: Valencia, Red Sox, Fulmer

The Blue Jays‘ somewhat surprising decision this morning to designate Danny Valencia for assignment confused many fans. Valencia has, after all, had a very strong season at the plate, batting .296/.331/.506, and he’s capable of playing several positions and raking against lefties. As Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith explains, manager John Gibbons told GM Alex Anthopoulos that he wanted new acquisition Ben Revere to play every day rather than platooning, leaving one of Valencia or Chris Colabello without much of a role. The Blue Jays ultimately decided to keep Colabello, and Anthopoulos thinks Valencia will be claimed on Monday. The GM suggests the Jays aren’t done tweaking their roster, so they could make a minor move or two to improve it, perhaps adding an outfielder.

  • The Red Sox were relatively quiet at the deadline, but they expect to look quite different by April, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes. “I think it’s incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” says GM Ben Cherington. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week. And so we went into it with the mindset, we’re going to pursue things we think fall in line with ways we need to improve between now and Opening Day.” Cherington notes that it’s still possible the Red Sox could make deals in August. Potential trade candidates include Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza.
  • The Mets repeatedly refused to trade pitching prospect Michael Fulmer, and were able to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers only when they finally relented, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. To Tigers exec Dave Dombrowski, Fulmer was the key to the deal (which also included another solid pitching prospect, Luis Cessa). “We consider Fulmer a premium-type guy,” Dombrowski says.


AL Central Notes: Cespedes, Tigers, White Sox

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and Mets GM Sandy Alderson got to know each other a little bit better on Friday.

We must have had at least 20 conversations with Sandy Alderson today,” the Tigers GM said, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (on Twitter).

All of that talking wasn’t for nothing as the two sides agreed to a deal sending Cespedes to New York this afternoon. The Mets didn’t want to part with Michael Fulmer until today, but they had a change of heart that paved the way for the deal. Here’s more out of the AL Central..

  • The Tigers made the Yoenis Cespedes deal with the Mets with the belief that they’ll be reunited again this winter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Dombrowski said the Tigers didn’t come close to making any other trades, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn is a little bit frustrated that he couldn’t make a splash today as he was optimistic something would get done, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets.  In the end, he says that the cost did not justify the return.
  • Hahn said the only big change in the White Sox‘s strategy was considering short-term rentals, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Ultimately, however, he didn’t want to hurt the club’s long-term future.

Mets Acquire Yoenis Cespedes

The Mets have officially acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, as Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com first reported on Twitter. In return, Detroit will get righties Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa from New York, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Twitter. GM Sandy Alderson says the Mets will pay all of the approximately $3.75MM remaining on Cespedes’ 2015 salary, David Lennon of Newsday tweets.

Jul 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) rounds the bases on right fielder J.D. Martinez ( not pictured) two run double during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles  at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the move, New York finally lands the power bat it was rumored to be pursuing for some time in the lead-up to the deadline. New York had already added reliever Tyler Clippard, third baseman Juan Uribe, and utilityman Kelly Johnson. After a widely-reported deal for Carlos Gomez fell through, the Mets turned their sights to alternatives and ultimately landed the 29-year-old slugger.

The Mets were said to be going after a controllable piece that was capable of playing center field, such as Gomez, but changed course in adding the free-agent-to-be Cespedes, who has spent most of his time in left. With Michael Cuddyer potentially out longer than had been hoped, Cespedes figures to take over there. But the club is also reportedly considering utilizing Curtis Granderson in center in some situations, as incumbent Juan Lagares has struggled since signing a significant extension before the season.

Cespedes is highly talented, if sometimes inconsistent, but he’s been outstanding in 2015. He’s hitting close to the levels he did in his breakout rookie campaign back in 2012, after two high-power/low-OBP seasons in between, with a .293/.323/.506 slash and 18 home runs through 427 plate appearances. Cespedes is delivering more hard contact, a better line-drive percentage, and more home runs per flyball than he has over any single full season. And Cespedes has increased his output on the defensive side of the ledger as well, drawing strong reviews from defensive metrics.

MLB.com now ranks Fulmer and Cessa the fifth- and ninth-best prospects, respectively, in an improved Tigers farm system. The 22-year-old Fulmer, the 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft, was in the midst of an impressive season at Double-A Binghamton, posting a 1.88 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 86 innings. MLB.com notes that his fastball is regularly in the mid-90s, and that he has a strong slider and a changeup good enough that he could one day be a Major League starter.

Cessa, meanwhile, is a 23-year-old converted infielder who performed well for Binghamton, with a 2.56 ERA, 7.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 77 1/3 frames. He struggled after a promotion to hitter-happy Triple-A Las Vegas, but maintained his solid peripherals, striking out 24 batters and walking four despite allowing an unsightly 23 earned runs in 24 1/3 innings there. MLB.com notes that his fastball is generally around 93 MPH, and that he could wind up in the back end of a big-league rotation.

Cespedes now finds himself on his fourth team since last summer. He was dealt from the Athletics to the Red Sox, then to the Tigers over the winter, before landing in New York. It’s an unlikely series of transactions, all said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Mets Making Push For Yoenis Cespedes

1:32pm: Talks between the Mets and Tigers “reignited” on Wednesday night after there had been little contact between the two clubs, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who calls a Cespedes acquisition a possibility for the Mets.

1:27pm: The Mets are making a push to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Earlier today the Mets were linked to Cespedes in connection with some doubt regarding Michael Cuddyer‘s health.

The Mets have been working fervently to acquire an outfield bat over the past couple of days. After a near-deal for Carlos Gomez disintegrated, they’ve been tied heavily to the Reds’ Jay Bruce, though those talks are now also said to have cooled. Cespedes wouldn’t fit the Mets’ desire to add a bat that is controlled beyond the 2015 season, but he would certainly provide a boost to a Mets offense that has failed to score enough runs to support an outstanding young pitching staff.

The Tigers figure to be extra-motivated to deal Cespedes, as he’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer this winter and thus can’t even bring back a draft pick as compensation if he isn’t moved today.


Yoenis Cespedes Rumors: Friday

Yoenis Cespedes is the Tigers’ top rental piece now that David Price is in Toronto. He’s widely expected to be dealt today following the trades of Price and Joakim Soria, especially because he cannot receive a qualifying offer at the end of the year, even if the Tigers keep him. (Cespedes’ contract calls for him to be released at its end so he can reach free agency despite not having six years of service.)

Here are today’s Cespedes rumors…

  • The Angels have had discussions with the Tigers regarding Cespedes, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Earlier Updates

  • Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post tweets that the Nationals do not have interest in Cespedes.
  • The Nationals are a surprise possibility for Cespedes, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. GM Mike Rizzo is said to love him, Heyman notes. It’s somewhat unclear where Cespedes would slot into the Nationals’ outfield if everyone is healthy, though. Heyman also lists the Mets as suitors for Cespedes, and rumors do suggest that the two sides are at least having preliminary talks.
  • The Tigers‘ asking price on Cespedes is currently high, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, with the belief being that Detroit would ask the Orioles for Kevin Gausman in return. The Orioles, reportedly, are loath to part with the former No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Orioles could still make a Cespedes trade work even after acquiring Gerardo Parra, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Corner outfield help has been the Orioles’ top target over the past week.
  • Olney’s colleague, Jayson Stark, tweets that other clubs feel that the White Sox are struggling with how the impact of Cespedes or fellow corner outfielder Justin Upton would impact the current roster. The ChiSox already have a logjam at first base, DH and the corner outfield. I’d suggest that Avisail Garcia could be demoted to Triple-A. The Sox remain high on him, but he’s not showing much power and has struggled in the field. As of yesterday, the Sox had flipped the switch from “seller” to “buyer” and were said to be aggressively pursuing offensive upgrades, including Cespedes and Upton.

Mets May Have Concerns With Cuddyer; Have Interest In Tigers’ Yoenis Cespedes, Rajai Davis

12:08pm: New York is talking with Detroit about Cespedes, Rosenthal tweets. At this point, he’s one of many options, per the report.

12:05pm: As previously reported, the Mets are open to numerous outfield possibilities as the trade deadline approaches. The club has some concern that outfielder Michael Cuddyer “may not be back,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links), which certainly would appear to add a new component to the decisionmaking process.

The veteran had been expected to experience only a relatively short DL stint. It’s not entirely clear, though, what the new issues are that are referenced by the report, or what kind of absence might be expected.

Per Rosenthal, the names currently being considered by New York include not only the oft-discussed Jay Bruce (Reds), Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers), Justin Upton (Padres), and Will Venable (Padres), but also Rajai Davis of the Tigers. Davis is a speedy right-handed hitter who is capable of playing center field, where Rosenthal says the team has real concerns about incumbent Juan Lagares (who fits a similar general profile).


Pirates Acquire Joakim Soria

The Pirates announced on Thursday that they have acquired Tigers closer Joakim Soria in exchange for shortstop JaCoby Jones.

Joakim Soria

The Pirates have been known to be interested in bullpen help since last week and swung a minor deal to add Joe Blanton to the mix last night, but Soria would represent a much higher-profile addition to the Pittsburgh ‘pen. A free agent at season’s end, the 31-year-old Soria is earning $7MM this season. He began the year as the Tigers’ primary setup option, but Joe Nathan blew out his arm in the early stages of the season, and Soria has seamlessly returned to a ninth-inning role with which he is quite familiar.

Soria has worked to a strong 2.85 ERA in 41 innings this season, although he’s also been uncharacteristically homer-prone, yielding what is already a career-high eight long balls on the season (1.76 HR/9). Home run rate can have quite a bit of randomness to it, so perhaps the Pirates are unconcerned (they’ve done well with other previously homer-prone arms such as A.J. Burnett and Mark Melancon). Both Soria’s walk rate (2.4 BB/9) and strikeout rate (7.9 K/9) are also down from an excellent 2014 season, but his bottom-line results remain strong.

It seems unlikely that Soria would supplant Melancon as the team’s closer, so the more likely scenario is that Soria will share setup duties with left-hander Tony Watson, who is enjoying a strong season in his own right. The Pirates have received strong production from their relief corps as a whole, although it’s been somewhat of a top-heavy unit, and a rental of Soria would deepen the group and help take some pressure off the rotation in the season’s final months.

Jones, a third-round pick from the 2013 draft, ranked as Pittsburgh’s No. 12 prospect on MLB.com’s midseason Top 30. Baseball America placed Jones 10th on their midseason Top 10 list for the Pirates.

Both Baseball America and MLB.com praise Jones’ combination of power and speed but note that he’s raw and a bit inexperienced at shortstop after playing mostly second base and center field at LSU. BA notes that he has a propensity to swing and miss, while MLB.com praises his aggressive style on the basepaths and pure athleticism.

Jones recently reached Double-A but has just three games at that level. He’s batting a combined .260/.319/.398 across two levels in the minors this season and is a .277/.336/.445 career hitter overall in his pro career.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first connected the two sides (via Twitter), and MLive.com’s James Schmehl said a deal was getting close (also via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the deal was done (Twitter link), and Biertempfel tweeted that Jones was headed to Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


White Sox Aggressively Pursuing Bat; Interested In Upton, Cespedes

4:00pm: The White Sox are interested not only in Cespedes but also in the Padres’ Justin Upton, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

2:41pm: The White Sox are flipping the script and aggressively pursuing a bat, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. Among the many players they’ve inquired about, per the report, is Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers.

It remains unclear at present precisely where the club would like to add. Cespedes, of course, is a rental outfielder, but Chicago has received fairly marginal production at almost every spot on the diamond. First base (Jose Abreu) and center field (Adam Eaton) seem to be the only two positions where an upgrade would not make any real sense, though obviously the team is unlikely to replace veterans like Alexei Ramirez (at short) and Melky Cabrera (in the outfield). That Cespedes holds interest seems to suggest that Chicago is willing to take time away from Avisail Garcia and/or Adam LaRoche (the team’s right fielder and primary DH, respectively).

More importantly, perhaps, is the question of what kind of price the club might be willing to pay to get something done and whether the team is considering a move for controllable assets. Chicago is not exactly in an enviable position, though the team has played better of late. The division-rival Tigers are selling despite the fact that they are only one game behind Chicago in the standings. The White Sox are 11.5 games back of the leading Royals, and remain two-and-a-half out of Wild Card position.

With the team pursuing a bat, it would seem highly unlikely that righty Jeff Samardzija will be moved. That had already seemed to be the case, so perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that the club prefers to enhance its chances with an addition, rather than simply standing pat.