Detroit Tigers Rumors
6:53pm: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied that he had proposed any deals involving Porcello, including any offers to the Padres, reports Lynn Henning of The Detroit News. Dombrowski acknowledged that his "phone has been ringing a lot," and added that "this is the best I've ever seen [Porcello] throw the baseball."
12:07pm: The Padres have turned down two offers from the Tigers, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter). The Padres declined to take Porcello for Huston Street or Luke Gregerson, a Tigers source told Bowden.
THURSDAY, 8:33am: The Cardinals are checking out Porcello, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter).
WEDNESDAY: The Rangers and Padres are the teams most actively discussing potential Rick Porcello trades with the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report. The Orioles have also scouted the right-hander.
Despite the strong interest, rival teams wonder if the Tigers will actually trade Porcello. Instead of making a deal, the Tigers could choose to keep Porcello and use Drew Smyly in the bullpen or as a starter at Triple-A Toledo. The FOX writers report that the Tigers will not move Porcello unless they obtain a strong return.
The Padres made an “aggressive” offer last week and the Tigers rejected it, Rosenthal and Morosi report. Talks with the Rangers are not advanced at this point. The Tigers appear to like shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and right-handed pitching prospect Nick Tepesch. Detroit would want a third player added to the package, but the Rangers are reluctant to move even Tepesch.
The Red Sox could have interest in Porcello, yet they don’t want to reduce their bullpen depth, the FOX duo reports. The Orioles aren’t inclined to pursue Porcello aggressively, as they have many young starting pitchers of their own.
The Tigers also seek a right-handed hitting outfielder. They have talked about re-acquiring Casper Wells from the Mariners, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The Tigers traded Wells to Seattle midway through the 2011 season in the deal that sent Doug Fister to Detroit.
The Yankees could sign free agent Kyle Lohse, but GM Brian Cashman isn't interested, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. "I don’t think it would make any sense whatsoever," says Cashman. "We have all of our pitching intact. Our problem is not our pitching. Pitching is our strength." Rosenthal suggests that one solution for the Yankees' problems with injuries to their position players would be to sign Lohse and then trade either Ivan Nova or David Phelps for offense, but that doesn't sound likely.
- The Tigers should not trade starting pitcher Rick Porcello, who could be on the verge of a "career breakthrough," Rosenthal writes. Rosenthal says scouts from the Padres, Rangers, Red Sox, Orioles, Dodgers and Cardinals were all in attendance to watch Porcello pitch a minor-league game Wednesday. One possibility for the Tigers to keep Porcello, Rosenthal says, is to put him in their rotation and then send Drew Smyly to Triple-A or use Smyly as a reliever.
- The Tigers seem likely to trade Porcello, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter). Martino quotes an unnamed executive who says the Tigers have been "actively calling around on" Porcello. Martino clarifies that the Tigers have been actively initiating talks regarding Porcello with other teams.
- The Nationals continue to be unconcerned about their lack of a second lefty reliever to pair with Zach Duke, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Instead, the Nats will allow their right-handers, especially Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus, face lefties. "I have a great deal of comfort zone with some of my right-handers facing left-handed hitters," manager Davey Johnson says.
- As with most teams, players' option statuses will be an important factor for the Astros as they decide who will break camp with the team, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes. Tyler Greene, Lucas Harrell, Philip Humber, Fernando Martinez, Justin Maxwell and Wesley Wright are all out of options, and McTaggart reports that the only one who might not make the team is Martinez, who hit .314/.367/.507 in Triple-A Oklahoma City last year and .237/.300/.466 in 118 at bats with the Astros. The Astros risk losing him on waivers if he does not make their 25-man roster.
IF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo won a spring training invite with the Tigers after emailing GM Dave Dombrowski his resume, MLive.com's James Schmehl reports. "I just sent it to Dave and told him I was interested in being a part of the organization," says Tuiasosopo. "At the end of the day, it’s my career and I wanted to fight for myself." The Dodgers, Reds, Rockies and Twins were all possible options for Tuiasosopo. Here are more notes from around the AL Central:
- The Indians' payroll could be up to $12MM higher than it was last year, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The leap in payroll is, of course, due primarily to the signings of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds. The Indians have four other players (Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson) who will make over $5MM in 2013. Last year, the Indians paid over $5MM to only one player, Travis Hafner.
- The Royals are hunting for a lefty-hitting outfielder to spell Jeff Francoeur, but their chances of finding one from outside the organization seem "slim," Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports. As an internal alternative, the Royals are considering David Lough, a lefty who spent most of last season at Triple-A Omaha and has hit .500/.513/.711 this spring.
Congratulations to the Dominican Republic for capturing its first World Baseball Classic title, gaining a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico in tonight's championship final. The DR finished with a perfect 8-0 record in the competition, led by tournament MVP Robinson Cano and seven saves by closer Fernando Rodney. One downside for the Dominican team (and the Dodgers) is that Hanley Ramirez left in the sixth inning with a jammed thumb and will likely undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- The Mariners will likely be one of the trade deadline's busiest teams whether they're in contention or not, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes. The M's could look to deal one of their several short-term veterans if they're out of the race, or could augment their Major League roster if they're in the hunt for a playoff spot.
- In past years, the Yankees might have responded to Mark Teixeira's injury by simply acquiring a proven everyday bat like Justin Morneau, but Davld Waldstein of the New York Times uses this hypothetical trade to illustrate how the Yankees' philosophy has changed under Hal Steinbrenner.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco talks to Alexander Hyacinthe of Metsblog about how the team views the 2013 season and what they expect from their young core players in the coming year.
- The Tigers could keep Rick Porcello due to dissatisfaction with current trade offers and because they may be forced to use Drew Smyly as a long reliever, Lynn Henning of the Detroit Free Press reports. Smyly projects as the Tigers' fifth starter if Porcello is moved.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck looks at some of the Tigers' bench options at the back of their roster. Don Kelly, who signed a minor league deal with the Detroit in January, can opt out of his contract if he doesn't win a roster spot but Beck believes Kelly has won a spot on the team.
- Catcher Brian Jeroloman became a "phantom ballplayer" when he spent over a month on the Blue Jays' roster in 2011 but never actually appeared in a game due to injuries. Now in the Indians' minor league camp, Jeroloman talks to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian about his quest to "officially" become a Major Leaguer.
- We've already heard that the Dodgers may hold onto their surplus of starting pitching, though Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano's trade value may have dropped anyway given their struggles during Spring Training, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports.
The Orioles recently discussed signing Kyle Lohse last week and are still scouting Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, but team officials are currently satisfied with their pitching depth and probably won't make any major acquisitions, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.
Though Lohse and Porcello would add some veteran (and postseason) experience to Baltimore's staff, Rosenthal notes that Baltimore already has ten pitchers battling for rotation spots. These pitchers include such promising young arms as Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Brian Matusz, all of whom aren't expected to make the rotation but will be in the minors and (in Matusz's case) in the bullpen for reinforcements should a need arise.
The O's have toyed with the idea of acquiring a veteran pitcher throughout the winter and have been linked to such names as Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Javier Vazquez. They have shown interest in Lohse as well, though only if Lohse and agent Scott Boras were willing to lower their asking price and accept a one-year deal. I listed the Orioles as a darkhorse candidate in my examination of Lohse's market last month, and as Rosenthal notes, Baltimore could stomach losing their first round pick (23rd overall) in order to sign Lohse since the team received an extra pick (37th overall) in the competitive balance compensation round.
Likewise, Rosenthal speculates that the Orioles could answer the Tigers' need for bullpen help and a right-handed hitting outfielder by offering a trade package like Nolan Reimold and a reliever in exchange for Porcello. Baltimore is one of many teams who have been scouting Porcello during Spring Training. Porcello projects as the Tigers' fifth starter though he could be expendable if Detroit feels confident that Drew Smyly is ready for a rotation spot.
ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine held his weekly chat with fans today and discussed several topics about both Windy City teams, including these hot stove items...
- A source on the Tigers told Levine that the club wasn't interested in acquiring Carlos Marmol. Levine recently reported that Detroit was one of several teams who were looking at Marmol. There has been much speculation that the Tigers are looking for relief pitching to help their unsettled closing situation.
- There is currently "no movement" on the Marmol trade front. Levine doesn't think Marmol or Alfonso Soriano will be traded given the injuries that have hit the Cubs this spring.
- The Cubs are looking for extra pitching depth and a utilityman who can play both the infield and outfield.
- The White Sox will keep Gavin Floyd at least until July and perhaps beyond depending on where they are in the pennant race, Levine opines. Floyd was rumored to be on the trade block earlier this winter and could be the odd man out of the Sox rotation if John Danks is healthy.
- Earlier today on MLBTR, Ben Nicholson-Smith reviewed the White Sox offseason.
Pirates catcher Russell Martin thought he would be returning to the Yankees this offseason, Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports. "I thought I was going to be in pinstripes. I thought I was going to be penciled in there, but shows how much I know," Martin says. "There’s really no hard feelings or anything like that. I see it as a business move, and that’s it, really." After catching for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, Martin agreed to a two-year deal with Pittsburgh in late November. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- Martin also says the Yankees' current catchers, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart, are well-equipped to replace him, particularly on defense. "Both those guys can catch," Martin says. "I learned some stuff from Stewart last year just on how quick he is, first of all. Just throwing the ball to second base, and how quick his hands are. His game calling is really good. His receiving’s really good. So defensively, both those guys have got a lot of upside."
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has to figure out what to do with the team's two players from the Rule 5 Draft, pitcher Kyle Lobstein and second baseman Jeff Kobernus, MLB.com's Jason Beck writes. It might be possible for Dombrowski to work out a trade with the Rays to keep Lobstein and send him to the minor leagues, Beck suggests, but swinging a deal with the Nationals to keep Kobernus will be more difficult.
- The Dodgers have signed four international players, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Three of those players, shortstop Dennis Santana, shortstop Carlos Aquino and left-handed pitcher Cesar Romero, are from the Dominican Republic. The fourth, Dashenko Ricardo, is from Curacao and played catcher for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Ricardo had previously played in the Orioles and Giants organizations. The Giants released him in January.
Kyle Lohse is starting to get "antsy" about not yet having a contract, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Much of Rosenthal's item on Lohse focuses, however, on the possibility that the Cardinals won't get a compensation pick for Lohse, which would happen if Lohse doesn't sign with a new team before the draft in June. Rosenthal writes that Lohse's situation might encourage MLB to allow sign-and-trades, which would give teams who don't wish to lose draft choices more flexibility to sign players who have declined qualifying offers. Here's more from Rosenthal ...
- Rosenthal reports that the Royals are looking for an outfielder they can use in place of Jeff Francoeur against good right-handed pitching.
- The Padres like Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello, Rosenthal notes, but are unwilling to part with a "top reliever." The Angels might make sense as a destination for Porcello, but the Angels are currently more concerned with finding a backup catcher and a relief pitcher.
- The Dodgers still appear likely to deal either Chris Capuano or Aaron Harang.
- Chris Snyder of the Nationals is almost certain to be dealt before the season begins, Rosenthal says.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks all 30 managers in the major leagues. In Cafardo's view, you're doing something right if you're managing in MLB, so there are no negative comments for any of the skippers. Buck Showalter takes third place for his work with the surprise Orioles last season. Rays manager Joe Maddon takes second for his innovative ways. The top spot, however, goes to the Giants' Bruce Bochy. Here's more from Cafardo..
- We learned last week that the Rangers are scouting Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees and one AL scout believes that the Bombers believe they have gone as far as they can with the right-hander. “They would deal him in a heartbeat and then fill in with one of their starters in the bullpen,” said the scout. “If Texas would give up Mike Olt, a deal could get done there.”
- The Marlins' Steve Cishek is drawing considerable interest from teams looking for a reliever. One scout says that the side-arming sinker baller is likely on most wishlists around baseball.
- The Royals are open to moving Luke Hochevar (albeit, for a higher-than-expected price) but they're also willing to trade projected No. 5 starter Bruce Chen.
- The Phillies' Yuniesky Betancourt has improved his visibility and it wouldn't be shocking to see a team deal for him before Opening Day. The shortstop has a March 24th opt out date and he is on the Cardinals' list as they look to replace Rafael Furcal.
- Cafardo believes that there is an obvious trade to be made involving Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello and the Red Sox's Andrew Bailey. However, Boston's rotation is full right now and they already have Allen Webster waiting in the wings.
- One National League GM says that teams will be kicking themselves for missing out on Kyle Lohse, despite the draft pick compensation that he will cost. “That’s the way it’s going to go,” said the GM, “but you also don’t want to overpay for a pitcher who has been hanging around that long. If you can’t get him at your price, then you look foolish paying what he was asking two months ago.” In Cafardo's view, the Rangers are still the most logical destination.
- Manny Acta, who is now serving as an analyst for ESPN, has said that he hopes to get back into managing. However, he says that he's not interested in becoming a GM.
Earlier today, we learned that the Cardinals are interested Astros pitchers Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris while also shopping for available shortstops. The Cards were somewhat expected into looking at help at shortstop but their interest in pitching is a fairly new development. Here's more out of St. Louis and other notes out of the Central divisions..
- It would be a curious move for the Cardinals to trade from their surplus of young upside pitching to acquire more experienced pitching when their more obvious need is at shortstop, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, it's not surprising to Goold (Twitter link), that the Cards would go bargain hunting with a call to the Astros.
- More from Goold, who notes that if the Cardinals really saw a need for starting pitching, they could re-engage Kyle Lohse (Twitter link). Lohse, of course, would only require money and not the forfeiture of prospects. Goold doesn't see Lohse settling for a one-year deal yet, however.
- In a Q&A, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the talk of the Royals asking for a lot to part with Luke Hochevar is more than a rumor. The Royals appear to want a guy who could help the big-league club or a legitimate prospect and don’t want to eat a lot of his $4.56MM salary.
- When asked about an extra right-handed hitting outfielder, Tigers manager Jim Leyland responded "We want one. You can take that to the bank. It's 99.9 percent (sure) we'll have one," according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News (on Twitter).