Domonic Brown Rumors

Stark On Yankees, Brown, Astros, Papelbon, Dodgers

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.

Stark On Rays, Zobrist, Utley, Cubs, Padres

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and while things figure to get exciting over the next month and change, not everyone is drooling over what might be available.  “To be honest, I don’t see much out there,” an official of one contender told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. “Who’s even selling? And what are they selling? I know there will be guys to trade for. But where’s the quality?”  The whole column is worth a read, but here are some of the highlights from Stark’s latest..

  • The Rays front office believed that they had the talent to win it all this year and that optimism could play into how they approach the deadline.  The Rays aren’t selling and Stark writes that if they believe what they have can power them to a championship next season, they might stand pat and keep the band together.  Teams that have spoken with Tampa Bay see a fire sale as unlikely.
  • The Rays might listen on Ben Zobrist, but one exec who has spoken with the club gets the sense that it would be “really, really difficult” for them to part with him.  The exception to all of this, of course, is David Price.
  • The Phillies are expected to be open for business between now and the deadline, but they might not like the offers that come in.  “Look at their trade chips,” said an NL executive. “Even if they blow it up, dangle [Cole] Hamels and dangle all these other guys, each one of those guys has some reason it will be hard for them to get back what they want.
  • Meanwhile, one exec flatly said a Chase Utley trade is “not happening.”  The sticker price might not be met on Phillies like Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jimmy Rollins, but teams see Domonic Brown as someone whom the Phillies would like to swap for a different young change-of-scenery candidate.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Cubs expect them to move pitcher Jason Hammel in the next two weeks.  That could just be the warm up for Jeff Samardzija, but they continue to tell teams that they’d like to hammer out a new contract with him.  This week we learned that the Cubs ace rejected a five-year, $85MM+ offer.
  • While some teams are beating around the bush, the Padres are aggressively letting teams know that they want to sell.  All of their outfielders, except Cameron Maybin, are available, and that includes Seth Smith, Chris Denorfia, and Will Venable.
  • Several teams report the Dodgers are telling them they’ll listen right now on every one of their outfielders except Yasiel Puig.
  • The Yankees have been asking almost exclusively about starting pitching in their preliminary conversations.
  • Teams that have talked with the Tigers say they’re focused on bullpen upgrades, not shortstop.
  • The Angels are in the bullpen market, but they’re looking hard at left-handed-relief options, not closers.
  • Things are murky around the D’Backs since no one really knows who is in charge their or what their goals are.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore has indicated that the Royals can add payroll, but clubs believe that he won’t get to go-ahead to spend until mid-July.  When and if KC starts buying, they are expected to target right fielders and bullpen arms since that is what they’ve been asking about in conversations.

Phillies Notes: Brown, Papelbon, Lee, Hamels

The Phillies have been involved in a handful of rumors this week in Orlando, as reports surfaced suggesting that the team is open to moving Domonic Brown, as well as aces Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. However, it sounds like the price tags on any of those players would be extremely high, reducing the likelihood of a deal. Here's the latest on the Phillies:

  • One club told Peter Gammons (Twitter link) that the possibility of attaching Brown to Jonathan Papelbon in a trade is in play for the Phillies. In that scenario, Philadephia would use the savings to pursue starting pitching help.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly spoke to a few people who have "knowledge of the inner workings" of the team, and received mixed reactions on whether the Phillies would really move Lee or Hamels. One source called the rumors a "smokescreen" while another suggested the club might trade Lee, but not Hamels.
  • For his part, GM Ruben Amaro called the Lee and Hamels rumors "silly," according to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News.
  • Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com wonders if the Angels' trade of Mark Trumbo might provide a blueprint for the Phillies and Brown, considering both players are corner outfielders with big bats and limited defensive value.
  • The Phillies are satisfied with their offense and aren't looking to make significant additions, but David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News notes that everything will have to break right for it to be an impact lineup.


Phillies Seeking Two Or Three Young Players For Domonic Brown

TUESDAY: A team that spoke to the Phillies about Brown informed ESPN's Jayson Stark that Philadelphia doesn't sound enthused about the idea of moving Brown and is looking for two to three young players in return (Twitter link)

MONDAY: The Phillies are "actively shopping" Domonic Brown with an eye toward selling high on him in an effort to acquire controllable young pitching, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).

Brown, 26, batted .272/.324/.494 with 27 home runs in a breakout campaign for the Phillies in 2013 after being passed over for lackluster outfield options in seasons prior. Brown can be controlled through the 2017 season and isn't arbitration eligible until next winter, so any team acquiring his services would be getting four years of team control.

However, he's graded out as a poor defensive left fielder and showed a sizable platoon split in 2013. Brown batted a strong .281/.336/.521 line with 21 of his homers against right-handed pitching this season but hit just .252/.296/.429 with six homers against lefties.

The Phillies have a top-heavy rotation, with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels sitting atop the mix right now. Cuban signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is a wild card in their rotation's No. 3 slot, while Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone figure to round out the rotation as things currently stand.


East Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Ellsbury, Phillies, Tanaka

Agent Scott Boras believes the Rays should relocate, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. When asked to describe the Rays' status, Boras replied, "I would say the Tale of Two Cities, the one they're in and the one they should be in.'' Boras says the Rays have built a team that fans should want to see, but so far, the Tampa area hasn't provided the team with attendance to match. "I don't know, maybe New Jersey would like that winning percentage," Boras says. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says teams have been calling about Boston's starting pitching, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. The Red Sox have six solid starting pitching options in Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront.
  • The Red Sox are preparing for what might happen if they can't re-sign outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, MLB.com's Paul Hagen reports. "Whether it's Ellsbury or any of our free agents, I don't think you find a carbon copy where you're exactly replacing the skills," Cherington says. "The challenge then is to try to make the team just as good in other ways." Boras, Ellsbury's agent, often is in no hurry for his clients to sign, so it makes sense that the Red Sox would be formulating backup plans, even if they aren't ruling out the possibility that Ellsbury will return.
  • The Phillies might be willing to trade outfielder Domonic Brown, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Such a move would create an opportunity for them to add another free agent outfielder to pair with Marlon Byrd. Rosenthal cites Brown's poor defense as one reason the Phillies might want to deal him. Some of the available free agents, like Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran, aren't much better defensively, but at least dealing Brown might help the Phillies upgrade at other positions. The Phillies deny that they are interested in dealing Brown, Rosenthal notes.
  • One reason the Yankees are so interested in starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is that his posting fee would not count account their luxury-tax threshold, Rosenthal writes. Tanaka therefore is more appealing to teams like the Yankees and Dodgers who have luxury-tax issues.

NL East Rumors: Brown, Mets, Aceves, Phillies, Price

The latest from the NL East..

  • The Phillies are willing to listen on Domonic Brown, but a rumored Brown-for-Jose Bautista swap isn't happening, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • Jeff Wilpon said the Mets are close to making some sort of transaction earlier today, but GM Sandy Alderson seemed genuinely surprised when that was relayed to him by reporters, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
  • The Mets are among the clubs with interest in former Red Sox hurler Alfredo Aceves, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro isn't eager to move young talent, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  "Everybody is looking for the same thing, and that's young controllable players. There is no reason for us to be moving any of them," the GM said.
  • A trade to land Rays ace David Price would probably call for the Nationals to part with Anthony Rendon, Lucas Giolito, and another prospect or two from the club's top-tier, writes Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider.  Because of the steep price, it's probably not worthwhile.

Phillies Won’t Trade Brown, Utley, Hamels

The Phillies are willing to listen to offers on any players except Domonic Brown, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. That includes Cliff Lee, though general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s preference is to hang onto him, and he'd need to be blown away to move his ace left-hander.

The Phillies view Hamels' poor season as an aberration, according to Salisbury, and their desire is for Hamels and Lee to front their rotation in 2014. Utley, of course, is said to be working on an extension with the Phillies, and Brown has emerged as the young power bat that the Phillies have hoped he could become.

Boston is currently the most interested team in Lee's services, according to Salisbury, and their interest dates back to the offseason when they were told he wasn't available. Salisbury adds that the Red Sox's reluctance to part with Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr. makes it likely that Lee will likely remain with the Phillies beyond the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Recent reports have indicated that Lee would require three or four top prospects to acquire, though at least one NL executive speculated that he did think Lee would be traded.

Both the Yankees and Red Sox continue to show interest in Michael Young, and Salisbury writes that Jonathan Papelbon is "very much available" as well. He notes that the Tigers' interest in Papelbon had cooled even before their acquisition of Jose Veras on Monday, so there may no longer be a fit between the two sides.


East Notes: Rays, Byrd, Brown, Red Sox

The Rays tend to stand pat at the trade deadline, and you can expect the same this time around, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Right now, the Rays have one of their best squads in the past six seasons, strong pitching, a solid bullpen, and the offense is doing better than expected.  "I like what we have now," manager Joe Maddon said. "With everybody staying well I don't anticipate us doing anything."  Here's more out of the AL and NL East..

  • Consistent with what we've been hearing, the Mets say that they aren't in a rush to trade outfielder Marlon Byrd, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post.  ”It would have to be significant [talent],” Alderson said before last night's game. “I don’t want to add to the speculation because I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we want to remain competitive.”  Byrd is hitting .267/.313/.498 with 15 homers while the Mets are 40-50, 12 games back from the first place Braves.
  • Domonic Brown is shining for the Phillies, but they almost let him get away, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Brown was an untouchable during talks in 2009 with Toronto for Roy Halladay but two baseball sources said Brown's name was discussed in the 2011 trade with the Astros for Hunter Pence.
  • The Red Sox aren't feeling pressured to make a trade before the deadline, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  Even if Clay Buchholz has another setback, the BoSox can still get by with what they have, in Silverman's estimation.

NL East Notes: Mets, Braves, Brown

Links from the NL East…

  • There's little question within the Mets organization that Travis d'Arnaud will become the team's starting catcher at some point this year, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. However, d'Arnaud will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, barring an injury. By keeping d'Arnaud in big league camp, the Mets are running the risk that he'll get injured and start picking up MLB service time while on the disabled list, Michael Baron of MetsBlog.com notes.
  • The Braves front office doesn't seem concerned about the possibility that their lineup will strike out often in 2013, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. Martino also discusses the re-branding of the Braves in the post-Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox era. “We like talent,” one Braves person said.
  • Don't be surprised if Mike Minor of the Braves and Domonic Brown of the Phillies are among the players who break out in 2013. ESPN.com's Keith Law includes these players on his list of former top prospects poised for big performances in the coming season.

Quick Hits: Lohse, Young, Phillies, PED Supensions

In 2008, Kyle Lohse waited until March to sign and landed in the place he'd call home for five seasons — St. Louis. Spring Training is underway again, and Lohse again remains unsigned. However, unlike 2008 when he had a career 4.82 ERA, Lohse is coming off a 3.11 ERA over his past 399 1/3 innings. ESPN's Buster Olney talked to a longtime MLB evaluator who says in addition to draft pick compensation, AL teams are wary of Lohse's poor AL track record. The evaluator also added that teams shy away former Cardinals pitchers, as they often struggle to find success elsewhere (Twitter links).

More from around the Majors…

  • Phillies ace Cliff Lee told Jayson Stark of ESPN that he was "baffled" by the way the Rangers treated Michael Young in his final years with the team. Lee called Young the "perfect teammate" and the "heart and soul" of the Rangers team. "…in my opinion, you want guys like Michael Young around," said Lee, who was reunited with his former teammate after the Phillies traded for him this winter.
  • Both Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have offered strong praise for Phillies prospect Domonic Brown this Spring, writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. Murphy opines that both players feel this is the time to finally give Brown a chance to be an everyday Major Leaguer.
  • Michael Weiner, the exeutive director of the MLB Players Union, spoke with reporters (including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca) about drug testing and the possibility of more severe punishment for players who have been discovered to have multiple offenses in the past. Weiner discusses the fine line between representing players who are subject to discipline and attempting to enforce a clean game. Weiner also says that after Spring Training, there will be discussions about whether or not the new qualifying offer system is working as intended, given the damage to Lohse's market.
  • Former TwinsRangers and Astros minor leaguer Mark Hamburger has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive on two instances for recreational drug use, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy. Hamburger, a free agent after being released by Houston earlier this month, would have to serve out his suspension upon signing with a new team.