Detroit Tigers Rumors
The Royals claimed outfielder Quintin Berry off waivers from the Tigers, announced the team on Twitter. The Royals optioned Berry to Triple-A Omaha; it's unknown where his 40-man roster spot will come from once Salvador Perez is activated from bereavement. Berry had been designated for assignment by the Tigers on Sunday upon their re-acquisition of outfielder Francisco Martinez.
Berry, 28, was drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round in 2006, a round which also produced big leaguers Jeff Samardzija and Chris Davis, among others. He bounced around various organizations until hooking on with the Tigers before the 2012 season. That was his rookie campaign, and he posted a .258/.330/.354 line in 330 plate appearances while playing all three outfield positions. This year at Triple-A, he's limped to a .168/.278/.234 line in 199 plate appearances.
Prior to the 2009 season, Baseball America ranked Berry 25th among Phillies prospects, right after Jarred Cosart and John Mayberry, Jr. and ahead of Trevor May. BA said Berry was a speedster with slightly above-average center field defense, with his offensive ceiling limited by his lack of power.
The Rangers should seriously consider trading Jurickson Profar, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Galloway argues that, despite Davis' strong 2012 and brilliant start in 2013, he won't criticize Jon Daniels' 2011 trade of Chris Davis (and Tommy Hunter) for Koji Uehara, because the trade was intended to position Texas for a World Series run, and the Rangers did in fact make it to the World Series. If the Rangers can arrange a Profar trade that sets them up for another run at a title, Galloway argues that they should make the deal and live with the results. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, however, tells ESPN's Jim Bowden that, while the Rangers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, they plan to keep Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, rather than dealing one of them (both links via Twitter).
As a side note, Galloway calls the Davis/Uehara deal "the worst MLB trade of this decade," even though he refrains from criticizing Daniels for it. Uehara was excellent for the Rangers, particularly in 2012, but he's since moved on, and Davis is currently hitting .357/.440/.754 with 20 home runs for the Orioles. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract in an interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. Rodriguez and the Yankees are currently in the sixth year of the deal, and Rodriguez will make $86MM from 2014 through 2017. Rodriguez has not yet played in 2013. "Alex would even tell you he couldn't live up to [the contract]," Cashman says. "Hopefully he can return to being, at the very least, an above-average player at that position."
- When Jose Reyes returns, the Blue Jays will have to decide what to do with Munenori Kawasaki, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Due to the Jays' contractual obligations to Maicer Izturis and the presence of Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa, there would appear to be no space for Kawasaki once Reyes returns. Griffin suggests that the trade market for Izturis could be better than that of Kawasaki, though the Jays might have to pay some of the approximately $9MM remaining on Izturis' contract.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping for an infusion of arms in this week's draft, Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports. "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," says Sveum. When the Cubs make the No. 2 overall selection, either Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray or Stanford's Mark Appel, or perhaps both, will still be on the board.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan discusses the role of general managers in the draft in an interview with 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey. GMs generally get credit or blame for their draft picks, but other front office personnel may be more responsible for those picks. "My role would be to take the blame when we don't do well, but I also get the praise when we do well. That's not fair," says Ryan. For example, Ryan discusses his role in the selection of Ben Revere, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. "That's a pick that I got praise for I think at the time. I didn't have anything to do with Ben Revere. (Our scouts) did. They all had seen him a lot. I get the praise. 'Good pick, there you go Terry.' Hell, I never even saw (Revere)."
- Quintin Berry, who was recently designated for assignment by the Tigers, could make it through waivers and wind up back with Triple-A Toledo, MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets. Given that Berry is 28 and has hit just .168/.278/.234 so far for Toledo this season, that seems to be a fairly likely scenario.
- When the Blue Jays begin a series in San Francisco Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera will face Giants fans for the first time since being suspended last August for failing a PED test, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Cabrera vanished after receiving word of the suspension, not talking to the San Francisco media. He then signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason. Cabrera says he isn't concerned with how the fans will react to his return. "I don't worry about that, it's up to the fans. It's nothing I have control of," Cabrera explains. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But, I'm not going to worry about that."
The Tigers announced that the club has acquired outfielder/third baseman Francisco Martinez from the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations by June 15. To make room for Martinez on the roster, the club has designated Quintin Berry for assignment.
Martinez, 22, was sent to the Mariners as part of the six-player trade that brought Doug Fister to the Tigers around the 2011 trade deadline. Martinez, who has hit .255/.309/.355 in parts of three seasons at Double-A, will report to Single-A Lakeland.
Berry, 28, has been with Detroit's Triple-A affiliate this season with a slash line of .168/.278/.234. The former fifth-round choice had 330 plate appearances for the Tigers last season and hit .258/.330/.354 with two homers.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if George Brett is being groomed to be the Royals' next manager now that he has committed to being with the team every day as hitting coach. Dennis Gilbert, who represented Brett as an agent and who has fallen short in bids to purchase the Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers, would have installed Brett as manager had he landed one of those clubs. Brett could very well be Ned Yost’s eventual replacement if he boosts Kansas City's offense, but there’s also a lot of sentiment for Jim Fregosi, who has ties to GM Dayton Moore. Here's more from today's column..
- Cafardo spoke to a couple dozen executives, scouts, and players over the past few days about who the top player on the trade block will be and the consensus was Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee. The Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, Angels, and Rangers would really like to have Lee and there are many more clubs who could be in the mix, including the Dodgers and the Yankees, who say they can’t swing it but have the means to do it. One American League exec indicated there would be 20 teams lined up for Lee. Lee might be the last guy Ruben Amaro Jr. wants to trade, but he'd yield the greatest return.
- The Phillies have another interesting piece in Jonathan Papelbon and if they decide they are retooling, they probably don’t need a top closer. Several baseball people say the Tigers would be a tremendous fit for Papelbon since pairing him with that starting rotation would be rather formidable. He would also be an option for the Angels and Red Sox, but the Sox want to give Andrew Bailey every chance to do the job. The Indians would also be a possibility.
- It shouldn’t be long before a long list of teams start to inquire about free agent Grady Sizemore. Sizemore has begun baseball activities after being sidelined by knee surgeries and so far he’s had no setbacks. Cafardo suggests the Mets could be a fit as they are in need of outfield help.
- The White Sox, Blue Jays, and Twins might hold some of this year's top trade chips. “Alex Rios, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and you can add Justin Morneau, are definitely the major guys scouts are focusing on,” said one AL GM.
- After Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury stole five bases Thursday night against the Phillies, it started to dawn on people — including some in the Philadelphia organization — that Ellsbury would be a nice piece in the Phillies’ lineup next season. However, he also hurt his groin during the game, and the injury question popped up.
Here's a look at some highlights from the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- At the age of 27, Phil Hughes will be the youngest pitcher on the open market by far. The Yankees hurler figures to be more in demand that one might think thanks to his high strikeout rate, low walk rate, postseason experience, and his ability to survive - and sometimes thrive - in New York. Hughes' biggest flaw is giving up a lot of home runs, but a more forgiving ballpark could help correct that. Rosenthal suggests that he would do well in the pitcher-friendly parks of the Mets, Padres, Mariners, and Tigers.
- The trade market for starting pitchers doesn't look very attractive at this point, but Yovani Gallardo is one player to keep an eye on. Gallardo hasn't done especially well this season for the Brewers and his fastball velocity is trending downward, but he might be better than any other starter on the block. He's also relatively affordable as he makes $7.75MM this season and $11.25MM next season with a $13MM option for 2015.
- The Dodgers might not be in as strong of a position for Robinson Cano as they initially appeared. Clayton Kershaw is going to go for ~$200MM and the team might not be able to take another contract in that range. As Josh Kosman and Mark DeCambre of the New York Post reported earlier this week, the club will have to commit a greater percentage of their deal to revenue sharing than the originally thought. That could cost them more than $1B over 25 years and that could affect their ability to maintain skyhigh payrolls.
- Much has been made of the workloads of the Pirates' top relievers, triggering speculation that they'll have to trade for relief help at the deadline. That could happen, but team officials note that Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon both have been quite efficient while Justin Wilson has gone back-to-back just twice in his multi-inning role this season. The club also has a number of intriguing options waiting in the wings in Triple-A, most notably Ryan Reid and Jared Hughes.
Before Jake Peavy was traded to the White Sox in July 2009, he almost arrived in Chicago a few months earlier as a member of the Cubs. Peavy was the centerpiece of a proposed trade between the Cubs and Padres (and possibly also the Orioles and Braves) during the 2008-09 offseason, and as Peavy tells CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien, the deal seemed to be virtually finalized before either then-Cubs owner Sam Zell or then-Padres CEO Sandy Alderson pulled the plug on the blockbuster.
Here are some more items from around baseball...
- Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his minor league deal with the Yankees on Friday, and the Orioles are one of several teams scouting the right-hander, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. The Orioles' interest appears to be only of the due-diligence variety, as Connolly says the team doesn't "appear to be too interested," plus Wang won't exercise his opt-out clause unless he sees a clear opportunity at a Major League starting job with another team.
- The Padres should extend their entire starting infield, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune opines. I'm not sure if Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera or Jedd Gyorko had proven themselves as deserving as Chase Headley of a multiyear commitment, nor are the Padres in any real need to lock the three younger players up. Cabrera is already controlled through 2016, Alonso through 2017 and Gyorko through at least 2018 and perhaps longer if he attains Super Two status.
- Before the Giants' win over the Athletics today, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle) that the club wasn't planning any significant changes in light of its recent slump. The Giants' victory today was just their sixth in their last 16 games, and the World Series champions are 29-25 on the season.
- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press discusses a number of Tigers topics during a live chat with readers, including whether the Tigers might yet make moves to upgrade their bullpen or catching or if the club will extend Jhonny Peralta's contract.
- In another live chat, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News feels that the outfield is a long-term issue for the Rangers (David Murphy and Nelson Cruz are free agents after this season) and the team could address this problem by using Jurickson Profar to acquire Giancarlo Stanton. Grant also thinks the Rangers could attempt to acquire Cliff Lee this summer, though it will depend on how Martin Perez and Colby Lewis perform after they return from the DL.
The Tigers are "looking hard" on the trade market for bullpen help, a source who speaks regularly with the team's management tells Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Closer Jose Valverde has been effective since joining the big league club on April 24th, but they remain in the hunt for help. The Tigers' bullpen has a 3.79 ERA, ninth in the American League. The relievers who comprise the current pen have a 2.04 ERA over the last 30 days, with everyone pitching well aside from Phil Coke. Al Alburquerque had been struggling as well; he was sent down today in favor of Evan Reed.
It's difficult to predict which teams will be selling two months from now, but a week ago I took a shot at projecting some relief trade candidates.
Let's start the weekend up with a poll. As MLBTR's Steve Adams noted recently, two young stars (Adam Jones and Miguel Montero) signed significant extensions during May of 2012. While there have not been significant rumblings about any similar deals recently, the Jones and Montero deals both sprung up with relatively little advance buzz: Jones said he was not aware of any talks with the Orioles just a month before his six-year, $85.5MM deal was inked. And the build up to Montero's five-year, $60MM extension consisted largely of the Diamondbacks' acknowledgement that the team was open to in-season negotiations.
Jones had one year of arbitration eligibility remaining when he signed, while Montero would have become a free agent at the end of the year. Both were relatively young (26 and 28, respectively) and fairly well established as above-average players at premium defensive positions. And each had been with their teams for all or virtually all of their big league careers.
With those deals in mind, let's take a look at some generally comparable position players who could be positioned for similar deals. We will not include Robinson Cano, as he is at a different level of performance and contract extension, along with being somewhat older. Anyhow, we already asked MLBTR readers what they think about the likelihood of a Cano extension. Likewise, we'll leave out Chase Headley, given his recent comments. (Also, MLBTR readers just weighed in on a possible Headley extension, with the majority believing a trade was more likely than an extension.)
The Nationals' Ian Desmond, 27, has continued to build off of his emergence last year. He sports a .296/.311/.530 line, although he has also registered seven early errors. The shortstop has spent his entire career in the former-Expos organization, and is poised to hit the open market in 2016. We know the Nats are open to negotiating an extension with Desmond, and the Elvis Andrus signing provides a relevant (albeit imperfect) point of reference.
Orioles' catcher Matt Wieters is another obvious candidate. He will turn 27 later this month, and is looking at free agency in 2016. Ongoing negotiations between Wieters and the O's are seemingly at a simmer, but could pick up at any time. While Wieters is off to a bit of a slow start, slashing just .224/.297/.388 to date, he also probably had less to prove this season than Desmond.
Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox, 29, is similarly situated to Montero. He has played his entire career in Boston, but is set to become a free agent after the season. While the center fielder has not returned to his MVP-level 2011 season, when he exploded for 32 home runs, he has bounced back from his injury-shortened 2012. Thus far, his batting line (.286/.338/.405) and league-leading steal totals (11) are right in line with his strong 2008-2009 seasons. While both player and team appear interested in discussing an extension, Ellsbury's representation by Scott Boras -- and the possibility that he could significantly raise his value with an injury-free 2013 -- could make a deal unlikely.
Jason Heyward of the Braves is two years from free agency at just 23 years old, but as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes notes, the cost-conscious Braves could look to extend him. Heyward is currently on the DL after undergoing an appendectomy, and has had a poor start to the year. Nevertheless, he has established himself as few big leaguers have at his age.
Austin Jackson, the Tigers' center fielder, is a young 26 and still two years from free agency. He is also a client of Scott Boras. But his strong early track record could make him a target for Detroit to try and lock up early. With so many big-money free agent deals on the books, it could make sense for the Tigers to try and save on Jackson by guaranteeing him money in advance. Jackson is off to another good start, putting up a .293/.356/.407 line to go with five steals.
The Phillies have made multiple inquiries on the availability of Giancarlo Stanton over the past several months, Major League sources tell Jim Sailisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but have received the same answer as every other team in baseball: Stanton isn't available for the time being.
Salisbury notes that while the Phils lack a deep farm system, they do have plenty of near-MLB-ready arms such as Jesse Biddle, Jonathan Pettibone and Adam Morgan that could be used to headline a Stanton package. Of course, as Salisbury notes, if and when the Marlins decide to listen to offers on Stanton, they may not be keen on trading him within the division. That hasn't stopped the Phillies -- and reportedly the Mets -- from showing interest.
Salisbury writes that the very reason that the Phillies have such great need for Stanton's services could lead the team to be sellers come the trade deadline. Philadelphia outfielders are hitting just .215/.285/.330, which has contributed to their 13-16 record. Here are the highlights from his list of potential trade chips...
- Cliff Lee could become the prize of the July trade market should the Phillies sell. The Red Sox inquired on Lee before the Winter Meetings but were rebuffed. Given their first-place standing, they could look at Lee as a means to push them toward a World Series run.
- Jonathan Papelbon is another expensive piece that the Phils could move, and Salisbury wonders if the Tigers could be interested, given deep-pocketed owner Mike Illitch's desire to win a World Series. Detroit has had bullpen issues all season and recently re-signed Jose Valverde to reprise his role as closer. However, Salisbury reports that the Tigers are one of the team's in Papelbon's no-trade clause.
- Jimmy Rollins could be moved but would have to waive his full no-trade clause in order for that to happen.
- There's a sentiment that the Phillies would prefer to keep Chase Utley than deal him this summer if he remains healthy. Utley will gain 10-and-5 rights in August, Salisbury notes.
- Salisbury also mentions Carlos Ruiz, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Delmon Young as players the Phillies would consider. Halladay's inconsistency and Howard's price tag would be prohibitive factors in any trade talks for that duo.
ESPN's Jim Bowden, a former GM of both the Reds and Expos/Nationals, recently took a look at Frank Wren's rise to general manager of the Braves. Within his ESPN Insider piece, Bowden identifies three front office executives who, like Wren, are being groomed as successors to their current GMs. He also identifies three candidates who will likely become GMs in other organizations. Here are some highlights from the piece and other GM news...
- Bowden feels that Rockies senior VP Bill Geivett, Tigers VP/assistant GM Al Avila and Athletics assistant GM David Forst are all next in line to become the GM of their respective franchises. Geivett, in particular, is already handling the day-to-day operations, and Bowden feels it's just a matter of time before he's given the official title of general manager.
- Bowden asked present GMs around the game who the top GM candidates outside of their own organizations were. The results, in order, were Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, Cubs VP of scouting and player development Jason McLeod and Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings. Bowden notes that each is blocked for one reason or another but would have plenty of interest from other clubs seeking a new GM.
- Jack Zduriencik's time as GM of the Mariners may be running out, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners once again find themselves last in the American League in runs scored -- the same place they've been for the previous four years under Zduriencik's watch. Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero have yet to establish themselves as big leaguers, and the trades of Cliff Lee and Doug Fister look poor in hindsight. Rosenthal notes that Hisashi Iwakuma is a coup for Zduriencik, and that help is close with Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen at Triple-A. A breakthrough is needed soon, however, and Zduriencik conceded that he knows it.