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Detroit Tigers Rumors
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.
Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy is scheduled to start today against the Astros. The Red Sox have no contingency plan in place in case he’s unable to start, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes, which likely means no trade is imminent. “If I’m made aware that something is imminent there will be a contingency plan, but there’s no contingency for him,” says manager John Farrell. The Red Sox will likely trade Peavy in order to clear space for younger pitchers in Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman. Here’s more from the American League.
- Less than two months after signing with the Red Sox, Stephen Drew is contemplating the possibility of being traded, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. “Hopefully I’m here for the year. But I can’t tell you that,” says Drew. The shortstop says he has “no regrets” about rejecting the Red Sox’ qualifying offer, a decision that ultimately cost him money. But, he says, “It’s something that, we’ve got to look at that rule that kind of hurt some players and myself. It’s difficult to come up here and these guys have three months on you until the season’s over all the time.”
- The Tigers are likely to be linked to plenty of relievers as the trade deadline approaches, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes. The Tigers aren’t likely to take on a big commitment, which could make someone like the Padres’ Joaquin Benoit (who is due significant salary in 2015) a less likely target than someone like the Rangers’ Joakim Soria (who will be a free agent after the season if his club option is declined).
9:13pm: Texas wants a “substantial package” to move Soria, report T.R. Sullivan and Grace Raynor of MLB.com. The asking price is believed to be two or three prospects.
1:51pm: The Rangers are receiving trade interest in a number of their bullpen arms, according to multiple reports. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the team is listening on right-hander Jason Frasor and lefty Neal Cotts, and both have generated some interest. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Angels, Blue Jays and Tigers have been in contact with the Rangers about closer Joakim Soria (Twitter link).
As Sullivan points out, both Frasor and Cotts are free agents at season’s end. While Frasor has scuffled of late, yielding five runs over his past 3 1/3 innings, he still boasts a solid 3.38 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate. The 36-year-old is earning a highly affordable $1.75MM this season, meaning that he’s owed about $765K through season’s end.
Cotts, 34, reemerged in the Majors last season after an absence of four years and put his injury woes behind him with an electric 1.11 ERA in 57 innings for Texas. He’s taken a step back in 2014 but has a solid 3.55 ERA with 45 strikeouts against 15 walks in 38 innings. However, after dominating opposing lefties in 2013, he’s surrendered a .281/.328/.456 batting line against same-handed hitters in 2014. It shouldn’t come as a total shock, as Cotts does have a reverse-platoon split for his career, but certainly not one this pronounced. Cotts is earning $2.2MM this season, meaning he has roughly $962K remaining on his deal.
As for Soria, the Tigers and Angels come as no surprise, as both have dealt with significant bullpen issues in 2014. However, the Blue Jays are a bit of a surprise club to see listed here. In another series of tweets, Rosenthal adds that while the club does like Soria, the team is also toying with the idea of promoting top prospect Aaron Sanchez to work out of the bullpen this season. Fellow top prospect Daniel Norris could even join him eventually, Rosenthal adds, making for a situation that would resemble the dynamic pairing of Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez with the Cardinals last year.
Soria is in the midst of one of perhaps his finest season. In his second year back from Tommy John, the 30-year-old has a 2.76 ERA with a whopping 12.3 K/9 and a minuscule 1.2 BB/9 in 29 1/3 innings. Sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (0.80), xFIP (1.93) and SIERA (1.58) all feel that he’s doing the best work of his career. Though he has a higher salary at $5.5MM, Soria unquestionably will come with the highest asking price in a trade. He has an affordable $7MM club option on his contract for 2015, and the Rangers do have eyes on contending next season, when they hope to have better luck on the injury front.
Here are today’s notable draft signings, with all slot bonus information courtesy of Baseball America. The newest signings are at the top of the post…
- The Tigers have signed eighth-rounder Artie Lewicki for just a $60K bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). The Virginia right-hander is a “steal” for Detroit in the eyes of Callis, who praises his 92 to 95 mph fastball and mid-80s slider/cutter. Lewicki’s bonus saves the Tigers nearly $100K (slot value of $154,200), though “senior signs” such as this often come with some savings.
- The Tigers also signed fourth-rounder Adam Ravenelle, as the 21-year-old right-hander announced himself on his Twitter page. He’ll receive a $412K bonus, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, slightly above the $392.4 slot value attached to the 130th overall pick. A junior out of Vanderbilt, Ravenelle was rated 113st in Baseball America’s prospect rankings and 151st by MLB.com. Ravenelle didn’t pitch much over his first two seasons at Vandy due to injury, though the MLB.com scouting report projects him as a possible setup man or even a future closer with a mid-90s fastball and a promising breaking ball.
The Independence Day trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics is definitely the top story of the day. When we polled MLBTR readers last week over which pitcher would be traded first, Hammel was the resounding top choice with 31.05% of readers picking the right-hander. Samardzija came in third with 16.19% of the vote. David Price (24.07%) was the only other pitcher to finish with over 10% of the vote, and it very well could have been Price headed to Oakland. Let’s focus our attention on some of the other rumors and notes of the day.
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports the Tigers are interested in re-acquiring Joaquin Benoit (via Twitter). Of course, Benoit is in the midst of a fantastic season with the Padres. He’s pitched to a 1.26 ERA with 10.09 K/9 and 1.77 BB/9.
- The Angels are also interested in Benoit according to Morosi (Twitter). It’s unclear if that interest remains after the acquisitions of Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher.
- Morosi (also on Twitter) notes that the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Giants are interested in Diamondbacks infielders. Veterans Aaron Hill and Martin Prado have been frequently connected to rumors, although the club does have additional shortstop depth too.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the Twins are expected to make Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia available barring a sudden turnaround. Both players will be free agents after the season and aren’t good candidates for a qualifying offer. Willingham has been productive when healthy including a .228/.377/.441 batting line in 162 plate appearances this season. Heyman mentions the Red Sox and Mariners as two clubs in need of offense. To me, Correia looks more like a roster patch for a contender with his 4.95 ERA and 4.11 FIP.
- The Marlins made a club record number of moves in June writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. A total of 45 transactions were made in June. The previous one-month record was 30 moves. July could bring more of the same for the Fish with Tom Koehler and Adeiny Hechavarria scheduled to return soon.
- Oft-injured Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia will undergo season ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome according to Derrick Goold and Joe Trezza of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The club wasn’t counting on a return by Garcia, who has been on the disabled list since late June. The news provides additional incentive for the club to explore the trade market.
- The White Sox have made several big-dollar signings: shortstop Ricardo Mota has signed for $750K, second baseman Felix Mercedes will receive a $950K bonus, and catcher Jhoandro Alfaro (brother of Rangers’ prospect Jorge) will get $750K, according to Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com (links to Twitter). Earlier, we learned that shortstop Amado Nunez has agreed to a $900K bonus with Chicago, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets. The club has announced all four signings, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Nunez is perhaps the highest-rated of the foursome, with MLB.com and BA both rating him the 26th-best available prospect. Though he lacks any eye-popping tools and may ultimately need to move off of shortstop, BA says that his broad-based talents tend to show up in game action.
- The Yankees have agreed to a $750K bonus with shortstop Diego Castillo, tweets MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The highly-rated Venezuelan prospect (16th by MLB.com, 24th by BA) is small in stature but shows promising skill up the middle and a nice line-drive swing at the plate.
- Julio Martinez has signed with the Tigers for $600K, reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com (via Twitter). Martinez, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic, placed 19th on MLB.com’s ranking, owing largely to his hit and power tools.
- The Astros have agreed to sign righty Franklin Perez and shortstop Miguel Sierra for $1MM each, reports Sanchez (via Twitter). MLB.com rated them the 21st and 23rd best available prospects, respectively, while Baseball America had them at 15th and 19th on its list. Perez is said to have a good fastball and advanced approach on the mound, while Sierra profiles as a solid all-around player with a line-drive stroke and the ability to stay at short.
- The Twins have reached agreement on a $800K bonus with righty Huascar Ynoa, tweets Sanchez. The younger brother of record-holding international signee Michael Ynoa, the Dominican landed at 17th among available prospects on the MLB.com list and 14th in the eyes of Baseball America, which credits him with outstanding stuff but streaky control.
In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reminds everyone why experienced foreigners like Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu are considered eligible for Rookie of the Year awards. Of course, players like Abreu and Tanaka come with years of professional experience, but they still have to make a significant transition when it comes to the move to MLB, both professionally and culturally. Here’s more from Rosenthal..
- High school left-hander (and first overall draft choice) Brady Aiken reportedly arrived in Houston last Monday, which would indicate that an agreement was close, but a week later nothing has been announced and neither side is saying why. The holdup, Rosenthal says, bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals. If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011. Of course, this is just speculation on Rosenthal’s part and only the parties involved know whether there is any kind of issue with Aiken’s physical.
- D’Backs outfielder and fan favorite Gerardo Parra might be among the least likely in Arizona to be traded. With A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo on the disabled list, a trade of the 27-year-old would leave the club short on experienced outfielders. It’s also unclear how much Parra would bring back in a trade. Parra is making $4.85MM in his third year of arbitration and amounts to little more than a platoon player, given his career .586 OPS against left-handers. Third baseman Martin Prado, earning $11MM per season through 2016, is another player the D’Backs might opt to keep, even though he has struggled at the plate as well. Second baseman Aaron Hill, meanwhile, is expendable given their surplus of middle infielders.
- It would be surprising if the Dodgers traded an outfielder considering the recent injury woes of Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, and Andre Ethier.
- The Tigers didn’t re-sign Joaquin Benoit last winter because they didn’t want to pay him closer money, but he still makes sense for them as a mid-season pickup. The Padres reliever, who turns 37 in July, is owed about $3MM this season and $8MM next season with an $8MM team option or $1.5MM buyout for 2016.
- Jake Arrieta probably has the best stuff of any Cubs starter right now but, of course, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are more likely to be traded since Arrieta is under club control through 2017. Lefty Travis Wood, meanwhile, could be an extension candidate once the Cubs complete their rotation selloff.
Here are today’s notable amateur draft signings, with all slot information provided by Baseball America…
- The Athletics have signed third-rounder Brett Graves, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (via Twitter). Graves signed for a $510K bonus, giving the A’s a slight discount on the $519.2K slot price attached to the 101st overall selection. Graves is a 6’1″, 173-pound right-hander from the University of Missouri. He was ranked as the 59th-best draft prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law, 61st by Baseball America and 80th by MLB.com. The BA scouting report noted that Graves “appeared to be losing steam as the college season wound down,” which could explain why he was still available after the first 100 picks.
- The Tigers have signed ninth-round pick Josh Laxer, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Laxer signed for the $143.9K bonus price assigned to the 280th overall pick, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (Twitter link). Laxer, a right-handed reliever from Ole Miss, has a fastball that can touch 96mph at best, though Baseball America’s scouting report noted that he’ll have to work heavily on his command.
- The Orioles announced the signing of left-hander Max Schuh, their seventh-round draft choice. No terms were announced, though the slot value for the 211th overall pick is $179.9K. Schuh is a 6’4″, 210-pound southpaw out of UCLA. Baseball America’s scouting report projects Schuh as a reliever since he only has a two-pitch repertoire, though both his pitches (a fastball and slurve) were considered to be very good, and Schuh could add velocity to his 86-91mph heater.
Here’s the latest from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo:
- With David Price of the Rays on the trading block, Cafardo asks Brewers GM Doug Melvin about the process of trading, or trading for, a top starting pitching. Melvin has been on both sides of that process, having traded Zack Greinke and having acquired Greinke and C.C. Sabathia. Melvin says he would have been willing to trade Greinke within the NL Central, but for an extra charge. “I had teams within the division asking for him, and my approach to that is this: I had no problem doing it, but I had to get a little extra if I was going to do it. And that’s what I told them,” he says. Even assuming that’s the Rays’ policy too, though, it isn’t clear there’s a great matchup between them and any other AL East team. The Blue Jays are one possibility, but Cafardo writes that they seem to be more interested on a lower-tier starter like Jason Hammel of the Cubs.
- A source tells Cafardo, “You could argue that Hammel is the most sought-after player, positional or pitcher, in the trade market right now.”
- This season, the Pirates are likely to pursue a starting pitcher and a reliever, but not an offensive player.
- Victor Martinez wants to stay with the Tigers. One potential hitch as he heads toward free agency, though, is that the Tigers will have to figure out how long Miguel Cabrera will be able to play defense until Detroit needs to move him to DH.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark hosted a chat with readers today and touched on a number of hot stove topics with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline roughly a month away. Here are some highlights, though the entire thing is worth a read-through for those interested in next month’s deadline…
- Stark has received no indications that the Yankees are shopping for a third baseman. He hears that they’re prioritizing the rotation over everything else at this time.
- Domonic Brown‘s trade value is dropping by the day, says Stark. Scouts have been watching Brown (and the Phillies in general) over the past couple of weeks, and Philadelphia is trying to bill Brown as “a guy who did it once before so he can do it again.” However, Stark has a hard time seeing Brown fetching anything more than another change-of-scenery candidate.
- Jeff Luhnow and the Astros view most relievers as interchangeable parts, making it likely that they’ll be very willing to move names like Chad Qualls and Tony Sipp next month.
- Right-hander Ken Giles has impressed so much that Stark expects the Phillies to ratchet up their efforts to trade Jonathan Papelbon, and with Papelbon pitching better than he has in years, this is the perfect time to do it, he opines. Giles has thrown just seven innings for the Phils, but he’s averaged 97.1 mph on his heater with a 12-to-3 K/BB ratio and a ground-ball rate north of 55 percent.
- The Dodgers have been telling teams that they won’t move Joc Pederson or Corey Seager this summer, according to Stark. If that’s indeed the case, that should take them out of the running for David Price (in my opinion).
- Stark doesn’t get the sense that the Tigers are shopping for a closer, which meshes with yesterday’s comments from GM Dave Dombrowski. Detroit doesn’t think Joe Nathan is finished yet.