Domonic Brown Rumors

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.

Quick Hits: Lohse, Volquez, Bourn, Phillies, Blue Jays

Padres starter Edinson Volquez is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, but his preference is to sign an extension with San Diego, says Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Before considering a new contract, the Padres want to see Volquez improve his control, Center notes. Volquez allowed 105 walks in 2012. Here are more notes from around baseball…

  • The Dodgers' surplus of starters is yet another factor working against Kyle Lohse as he tries to find a suitable deal this winter, rival officials tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd).  Teams looking for pitching can pick up the phone and call the Dodgers to ask about Chris Capuano or one of their other available starters.  Lohse is obviously a stronger option, but he's also more expensive and teams have less flexibility than they did earlier this winter.
  • Pitcher Kyle Davies agreed to a minor league deal with the Twins that does not include an invite to big league camp, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  The 29-year-old owns a career 5.59 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.
  • New Indians outfielder Michael Bourn says that the offseason market for his services took a turn for the worse after the Twins traded not one, but two center fielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports. The trades of Span and Revere took the Nationals and Phillies out of the market for a center fielder. "I was looking at that like, ‘Man, are you serious?' Those were two teams I pretty much thought would be fighting for me," Bourn says.
  • The Phillies discussed trading Domonic Brown to the Astros this offseason, Jon Heyman reports (on Twitter), but the Phils, still low on talent in the outfield, are reluctant to deal him. The former top prospect is current competing for time in left field with the Phillies.
  • Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hints that the club might turn to Josh Thole or Henry Blanco, rather than J.P. Arencibia, to catch R.A. Dickey, Richard Griffin of TheStar.com reports. The Jays will go with a personal catcher for Dickey, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm notes. Arencibia wants to catch for Dickey, but Thole and Blanco both caught Dickey and his knuckleball when Dickey played for the Mets.

NL Notes: Phillies, Reds, Rockies, Figgins

As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:


Phillies Discussed Alfonso Soriano Deal With Cubs

5:25pm: The deal appears to be a longshot to happen, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  The Phillies were uninterested in Soriano when first presented with the possibility but warmed up to it enough to consider it.

4:31pm: The Phillies have discussed a deal with the Cubs that would net them Alfonso Soriano in exchange for Domonic Brown, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  However, the Phillies might be more inclined to sign a free agent, such as Cody Ross or someone else.

The Cubs are believed to be willing to pay $26MM of the $36MM remaining on Soriano's deal if they can get quality prospects in return.  The Phillies like Soriano offensively but have reservations about his defensive play, despite his improvement last season.  Soriano, who will turn 37 next month, hit .262/.322/.499 with 32 home runs in 615 plate appearances.

Ross would be a better fit for the Phillies' budget than fellow free agent outfielders Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton.  Earlier today we learned that the Mets have kicked the tires on Ross, but would be unwilling to make a commitment to him beyond two years.  The Phillies, Braves, Mariners, Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles have all been linked to Ross so far this offseason.


NL East Notes: Harper, Hamels, Rizzo, Brown

Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels created a stir last night by admitting he hit Nationals rookie Bryce Harper intentionally. Though Harper didn’t publicly express frustration at being hit, GM Mike Rizzo fired back at Hamels this morning. The details and other NL East-related notes…

  • Rizzo called Hamels' act the most "classless, gutless" thing he's seen in his career, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school,” Rizzo said. “He’s fake tough." I’d recommend reading Kilgore’s entire piece for the details.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports points out that Hamels won't be signing with the Nationals next offseason and writes that Rizzo will be lucky if he is not reprimanded for his comments.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com notes that there's "nothing doing" with respect to an extension for Hamels (Twitter link).
  • Morosi expects Harper to stay in the Major Leagues for good, since he's played too well to be sent down to the minor leagues (video link).
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Rizzo's comments were an overreaction to legitimate old school play from Hamels (video link).
  • Bill Ladson of MLB.com suggests the Nationals may make a trade instead of relying on Xavier Nady and Roger Bernadina in left field (Twitter link).
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America hasn't given up on Phillies prospect Domonic Brown despite his struggles. Brown could still hit for a high average with 20 homers per season to go along with plus speed and arm strength, Callis writes.