Detroit Tigers Rumors

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

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.


Blue Jays Acquire David Price For Three Prospects

The Blue Jays have officially agreed to acquire star lefty David Price from the Tigers, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Medicals have been reviewed and will pose no issues, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. No money is changing hands in the deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter, as Toronto will be responsible for the rest of Price’s $19.75MM annual tab.

The marquee piece coming in return is top Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris, Heyman adds. The full haul also includes two other lefties, Jairo Labourt, and Matt Boyd, as Gideon Turk of BlueJaysPlus was first to note on Twitter.

May 26, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

David Price is reportedly set to join Troy Tulowitzki with the Blue Jays.

It’s the second time in two years that Price has been featured as a marquee summer trade chip. This time, of course, he’s a pure rental with one function: driving his new team to and through the post-season this year. Toronto has seven games to make up in the division and is two back in the Wild Card chase, so it’s certainly a bold undertaking.

Price joins Troy Tulowitzki in Toronto after a pair of bold trade deadline moves for the Jays, who are set to field an array of the game’s top stars. If the trade for Tulowitzki wasn’t an all-in move, this one surely was. Both players have been among the very best in the game at their respective positions for the better part of the last decade, but remain young enough (29 and 30) to remain in their general prime.

Indeed, Price has pitched to a 2.53 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 146 innings on the year. That puts him on pace for a 200+ inning campaign with excellent results, Since his first full season in the big leagues, in 2010, Price has rated third in the majors among all starters in terms of fWAR, fourth in innings (1,224), and tenth in ERA (3.01)  among qualifying starters. He has struck out 8.6 and walked 2.2 batters per nine innings in that span.

For the big lefty, the move means he’ll have a chance to hit the open market after the year without a qualifying offer dragging him down. Of course, that probably means more for the many clubs that are likely to chase him than it does for Price’s already-excellent earning power.

Toronto obviously had to part with significant assets to land Price. Norris just took the 18th spot on Baseball America’s mid-season round-up of the game’s best prospects. He’s a 22-year-old with loud stuff but sometimes-shaky control, as evidenced by his seventeen walks in thirty big league innings. But he’s got plenty of upside, obviously, particularly if he can harness his offerings. Over 90 2/3 frames at Triple-A this year, Norris owns a 4.27 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. But he was much better last year, putting up double-digit K/9 numbers and allowing only 3.1 walks per nine en route to a 2.53 earned run mark in 124 1/3 minor league innings.

Labourt, 21, is working at the High-A level and ranks 19th on MLB.com’s latest ranking of his now-former club’s prospects. The large-bodied sinkerballer could become a “future workhorse,” says MLB.com, though he’s scuffled somewhat this year. Over 80 1/3 innings, Labourt owns a 4.59 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9.

The 24-year-old Boyd has spent most of the year in the high minors after a brief (and rough) two-start stint in the majors. He earned the 11th spot on MLB.com’s Toronto board. He doesn’t have a huge arm, but excels with feel, command, and deception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Aftermath Of The Mets’ Near Acquisition Of Carlos Gomez

As most are aware by now, the Mets and Brewers had agreed to a trade that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez to New York in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, but medical concerns derailed the agreement. Reports last night surfaced to say that Gomez’s hip was the issue, though agent Scott Boras issued an adamant denial to FOX Sports saying that Gomez is healthy and has never seen a hip specialist.

Some additional context to the situation as well as the latest on the trade rumors pertaining to both teams in the wake of the failed deal…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez had an MRI three to four weeks ago for an abductor issue — not a hip issue — and the reports from that test said he had no issues with his abductor or his hip (Twitter link).
  • Sherman also spoke to Brewers GM Doug Melvin (All Twitter links), who informed him that while the Mets have concerns over Gomez’s medical records, the Brewers do not. Said Melvin: “I don’t believe Carlos Gomez has a physical issue. Our training staff won best in baseball the last 2 years. We take a lot of pride in that. We don’t think anything is wrong with him besides any nick that happens to any ballplayer.”
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hears that the ultimate issue in the trade may have been financial. A source tells Haudricourt that the initial scenario being discussed would have sent Juan Lagares to Milwaukee, but the Brewers were hesitant because of a publicly known elbow issue through which he is playing and because of Lagares’ $23MM extension, which kicks in next season. The next iteration of the trade became Wheeler and Flores for Gomez, but the Mets then asked that the Brewers include their 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick, which Milwaukee declined to do. Following that, the Mets asked for cash considerations to be included, but the Brewers were also unwilling to pick up any of the tab. It was at that point that the Mets backed out, citing Gomez’s hip, sources tell Haudricourt. (Sherman heard much of the same — Twitter links — though Haudricourt’s report provides much more context on the matter.)
  • The Mets will remain active on the trade market, it seems, and Marc Carig of Newsday hears that the team’s “clear preference” is to get someone who can play center field (Twitter link). Given Lagares’ injury, it makes sense to see the Mets targeting help in that area. I recently broke down the trade market for center fielders, for those wondering what options could be available to New York.
  • The Mets aren’t in on the Padres’ Justin Upton, partially due to his status as a half-season rental, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The Mets would prefer to avoid rental players, he adds, though he does also note that the team has at least checked in with the Tigers on Yoenis Cespedes following the collapse of the Gomez deal.
  • It’s unclear where this scenario leaves the Mets in terms of trade direction, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The team likes Gerardo Parra but was also unable to agree on a price point in discussions with the Brewers. New York also likes Jay Bruce, but he doesn’t fit their desire for someone who can handle center field. Bruce has just 285 big league inning in center — all coming in 2008.

Pitching Notes: Teheran, Karns, Ross, Giants

We just checked in on Yovani Gallardo, who may or may not be dealt before the deadline. Here’s the latest on the starting pitching market, which was one of many topics covered in today’s podcast with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

  • Despite reportedly being prepared to deal Alex Wood to the Dodgers, the Braves are still listening on Julio Teheran, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). He suggests, however, that the club may just be hoping for an overpay rather than actively shopping the young righty.
  • Given their starting depth, the Rays have indicated a willingness to listen to offers on right-hander Nate Karns, Passan reports on Twitter. Karns is already 27, but has ample team control and has emerged with 115 innings of 3.37 ERA pitching this year.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross is “drawing intense interest,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The AstrosBlue JaysCubs, and Dodgers are all in the mix, says Heyman, and Houston could be the “at the forefront” of efforts to pry him away from San Diego. Notably, many of those clubs are also viewed as prime contenders for David Price. Heyman further breaks down Price’s market in an article today.
  • The Giants are also said to be looking into a run at Price after falling short in a “late push” for Cole Hamels (per Rosenthal, on Twitter). GM Bobby Evans says he doesn’t foresee the club parting with players from the team’s current everyday lineup in any deals, as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweets. But the Tigers do like several of San Francisco’s minor league arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, which could make them plausible pursuers of the ace lefty.

Pirates Pursuing Joakim Soria Trade

The Pirates and Tigers are nearing a trade that would send Joakim Soria to Pittsburgh, reports MLive.com’s James Schmehl (via Twitter). Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had recently reported (also via Twitter) that the Bucs had interest in acquiring 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, if a trade is indeed completed, would be for Soria to 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.

This post was originally published on July 30, 2015 at 4:48pm CT.


Blue Jays Deal For David Price “Imminent”

11:28am: A deal sending Price to Toronto is “imminent,” Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.

It’s unconfirmed, but rival execs expect Daniel Norris and Anthony Alford to be in the deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links).

11:17am: As Toronto emerges, other suitors seem to be falling back in the discussion. The Yankees “have tried” to join the discussion, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but it’s not clear they’re willing to include as much in the way of top prospects. The Giants are “pessimistic” of getting something done, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have no plans of including Alex Wood — if they acquire him — in deals to any other teams, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets.

11:05am: The Jays are “closing in” on a deal for Price, Heyman tweets.

10:58am: Toronto has emerged as a “strong favorite,” Heyman reports. A deal could come together quickly, he adds.

10:48am: The Blue Jays are making a “major push” to acquire star lefty David Price, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Toronto has long been said to be pursuing one or more arms to bolster its staff, and the ace lefty would certainly do that and more.

While the presence of the Jays on the market for Price is not exactly unexpected, it’s notable that the team intends to be a serious contender for his services. Toronto already used several significant trade pieces to acquire star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and has been rumored to be discussing a range of options in that regard.

The Dodgers have frequently been mentioned as the most likely club to land Price, as Los Angeles still seemingly wants to add a top-quality arm after missing on Cole Hamels. But the Dodgers are still working to complete a complicated deal with the Braves and Marlins that would have major implications for the pursuit of Price. Other teams, too, remain potential challengers for the service of Price, one of the game’s most durable, highest-quality starters.

All said, Toronto’s participation in the market ought to drive up the ask on the veteran southpaw. The Jays still have several highly appealing young pieces, including young starters such as Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez, that could theoretically be dangled, though it remains unclear what kind of package Toronto will offer — let alone what Detroit is looking to accomplish in a trade.


Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros Show Initial Interest In David Price

David Price has generated significant early interest since the Tigers declared themselves open to offers earlier today. Several teams have already emerged as early leaders to get the ace lefty.

Per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays, and Yankees are all in contact with Detroit and make up the “four main teams” in the mix. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who was first to note that the Blue Jays had made contact on Price, adds the Astros as a team that is in discussions (Twitter link).

Especially with Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels now off the market, Price is undoubtedly the best pitching trade piece remaining. He was dealt at the last minute in 2014 for an interesting package in a three-team deal, and now seems destined again to be one of the most-watched names in the final two days leading up to the deadline.


Tigers Preparing To “Reboot,” Listening On Price, Cespedes

The Tigers are lining up for a sale, as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the team is telling rivals that they are “rebooting.” GM Dave Dombrowski confirms that he’s ready to listen on all of the team’s pending free agents, as Jason Beck of MLB.com tweets.

That means that Detroit is willing to sell David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and other pieces. “We’re only going to make a trade if we think it makes sense for us,” said Dombrowski (via Beck, on Twitter). “But we think [the reboot] gives us a chance to restock our club.”

Needless to say, adding Detroit’s expiring veteran assets will have a significant trickle-down effect. Price will land atop the market for starters, possibly impacting the Phillies’ efforts to move Cole Hamels as well as the value of other arms. Clubs interested in corner outfielders can now look to Cespedes as well as Justin Upton and Carlos Gonzalez (among other options).

Those two aren’t the only veteran Tigers that should draw interest. Closer Joakim Soria becomes one of the more appealing rental relief arms, while Rajai Davis could be a nice piece (especially in high-leverage situations down the stretch and in the post-season) for a team that has a need in center field. Catcher Alex Avila can also be had, and Alfredo Simon may make for a useful swingman piece.

Price’s market, of course, is where most of the immediate interest will go. As Stark writes, teams like the Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Yankees have been waiting on other pitching moves to see whether Price would be available. Now that he is, expect his market to heat up quickly.

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Pitching Notes: Leake, Astros, Pirates, Angels, Johnson, Royals

The sudden availability of David Price will shake up the starting pitching market, of course, but there are plenty of less significant, but still notable developments to cover. Let’s take a look in at a few notes on the pitching market.

  • Reds starter Mike Leake is among the many pitchers still being considered by the Blue Jays, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, the club is looking at a variety of arms at a similar level of ability, with the hope of getting the best value out of a deal.
  • The Astros are “monitoring” the market for bullpen pieces, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. They have given at least some thought to quality arms like Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, and Francisco Rodriguez. Houston is also still involved on Cole Hamels, though it still doesn’t seem that they are terribly likely to get him, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Pirates, meanwhile, seem to be looking more at middle relief options, per MLB.com’s Tom Singer. And the Angels are also looking to add another arm to their pen, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter. Los Angeles is looking for something on the order of last year’s addition of Jason Grilli says Gonzalez. Presumably, the same holds for Pittsburgh, which sent Grilli out west last summer in exchange for Ernesto Frieri.
  • With many teams (including those just noted) looking to add arms, the Braves are “getting lots of play” on righty Jim Johnson, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. Johnson isn’t too expensive, has been solid this year, and has obviously spent a lot of time in high-leverage situations, so it stands to reason that he’ll be moved to a contender looking to build out their stable of relief arms.
  • The Royals asked the Tigers about Price before acquiring Johnny Cueto, but moved on to the righty when they learned that Price was not yet being marketed, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • Wondering who the teams listed above could target? MLBTR recently listed the starters and relievers most likely to be available at this year’s trade deadline.