Domonic Brown Rumors
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.
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.
Earlier today we heard that the Nationals are discussing a contract extension with Ryan Zimmerman and that the agent for Cole Hamels doesn't think Jered Weaver's five-year $85MM deal is that relevant for his client. Here are some more notes on the NL East, starting with Hamels’ teammates in Philadelphia...
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said on MLB Network Radio that the Phillies are operating carefully because they’re up against the luxury tax, Jim Bowden tweets.
- Amaro said Ty Wigginton will play first base regularly until Ryan Howard returns from the disabled list, Bowden tweets. Jim Thome will also get occasional starts at first.
- Amaro said he expects to platoon John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix in left field, Bowden tweets. Unless Domonic Brown wows his bosses in Spring Training, he’ll head to the Phillies' Triple-A club.
- There’s an expectation that the Marlins will try to trade Juan Carlos Oviedo, and the reliever told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he’s mentally prepared for a deal. “It's a business,” he said. “I'd like to stay in Miami, but those are things they decide.”
- Many baseball people still view the Nationals as the favorite to sign Prince Fielder, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
The latest on Athletics lefty Gio Gonzalez, a 26-year-old who is under team control through 2015...
- Talks between the Phillies and A's on Gonzalez were brief, tweets Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. Stiglich says the A's didn't like Domonic Brown enough as a centerpiece.
- The Blue Jays are one of 12 teams in on Gonzalez, reports Susan Slusser (Twitter links).
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears from multiple sources that the Rangers inquired on Gonzalez, but moved on after the A's asked for Martin Perez, Mike Olt, and Leury Garcia.
- The D'Backs were kicking the tires on Gonzalez but don't expect it to go any further, a source tells Nick Piecoro. Jon Paul Morosi would be shocked if Gonzalez is not traded by Opening Day.
- The A's will not trade Gonzalez at the Winter Meetings, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, as they're using their Dan Haren haul as parameters and no one has come close yet. Four years ago, A's GM Billy Beane acquired Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith from the Diamondbacks for Haren and Connor Robertson.
- The Phillies are definitely out on Gonzalez now, tweets Danny Knobler. They would have dealt Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton had they acquired him.
- The A's seek players with zero or little big league experience for Gonzalez, tweets Danny Knobler.
- The Diamondbacks are pushing hard to acquire Gonzalez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler tweets that the Tigers inquired but did not like a price tag that included Jacob Turner, while the Phillies don't look like a match. Ken Rosenthal says the Nationals, Tigers, Reds, D'Backs, Phillies, and Marlins are pursuing Gonzalez.
- There is some buzz about A's reliever Craig Breslow being of interest to the Phillies as well, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Phillies and Athletics discussed a package deal involving Gonzalez and outfielder Domonic Brown, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network and ESPN.com.
Tim Dierkes and Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Some news from the NL East...
- "Folks seem to think the Nationals are going to make [a] big play for C.J. Wilson," tweets Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated. Heyman thinks the Nats will offer Wilson a contract worth around $75-80MM. In August, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thought Wilson could fetch a $100MM deal this winter given the lack of quality starters in the free agent market, but Wilson's postseason struggles will probably prevent him from that nine-figure contract.
- Dealing Domonic Brown or keeping him in the minors in 2012 would be a short-sighted move for the Phillies, argues CSNPhilly.com's Casey Feeney.
- "With supply seemingly exceeding demand" on the free agent closer market this winter, the Mets can look beyond the biggest names (Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, Ryan Madson and Jonathan Papelbon) and still find a solid closer at a reasonable price, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Rubin also says the Mets are looking for another left-handed reliever to pair with Tim Byrdak, as the club worries that Danny Herrera will become less effective as opponents become more familiar with him.
- The Marlins haven't discussed moving Hanley Ramirez away from shortstop or asking Ramirez about a position change, club president David Samson tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- From that same piece, Samson says the Marlins will be "very active" this winter with their expected rise in payroll. "We're going to be very aggressive, but we're not going to be foolish," Samson said. "That's the key. When you raise your payroll, you've got to do it smartly, because if you don't, you are losing 90 games at a higher payroll."
- The Braves haven't yet decided if they will exercise Eric Hinske and Nate McLouth's 2012 options, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McLouth's $10.65MM option will certainly be bought out for $1.25MM, that's a no-brainer. As for Hinske, he's a useful reserve --- he can play first base and both corner outfield spots, and he had a .754 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. Hinske's option is worth just $1.5MM so my guess is Atlanta brings back the former AL Rookie of the Year.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. talked to reporters today at Citizens Bank Park, and David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News has the transcript. Highlights:
- If the Phillies don't re-sign closer Ryan Madson, Amaro will go outside the organization for a replacement, he told reporters including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki today. Madson, a Scott Boras client, could be a tough sign. Amaro said he talked to Madson yesterday, and the righty is excited about free agency. The Phillies can at least get a couple of draft picks as a consolation prize. Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Frank Francisco, Joe Nathan, and Francisco Rodriguez are also on the free agent market.
- Amaro said he'd like Domonic Brown to spend another full season in Triple-A (Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the tweet). Brown, one of the game's top prospects prior to the season, hit .245/.333/.391 in 210 plate appearances in the Majors this year. Most of Brown's starts came prior to the team's acquisition of Hunter Pence. Amaro says Brown has some work to do in left field, a position that will be an "open competition" for the 2012 Phillies.
- Amaro does not think Ryan Howard's torn Achilles tendon will impact the team's offseason moves.
- Free agent signings are more likely than trades.
- The Phillies are still discussing Roy Oswalt's $16MM option internally. Amaro says that "might be a tough one." The Phillies' front office has also internally discussed extending Cole Hamels.
- The Phillies' payroll is expected to be similar to this year's.
The Twins were willing to listen to offers for Francisco Liriano leading up to the trade deadline, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. However, Minnesota wanted a massive prospect return for the left-hander and no club met their asking price. Here’s the latest on the Twins with more of Stark’s notes from around MLB...
- The chances that the Nationals can restart talks with Minnesota about Denard Span over the winter are not good, Stark reports. Minnesota wanted Drew Storen for their bullpen in an attempt to win now, but the Twins’ sense of urgency figures to disappear this offseason.
- Rival teams say the Tigers and Red Sox each believed they were closing in on a deal for Hiroki Kuroda before the right-hander decided not to waive his no-trade clause.
- The Red Sox and Rockies discussed an expanded deal that would have sent Josh Reddick to Colorado and Seth Smith to Boston while considering possible moves involving Ubaldo Jimenez. Talks between the 2007 World Series foes had essentially stopped by Saturday, though.
- Though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has publicly said Domonic Brown was not available, Stark hears from three different teams that the Phillies were willing to move the young outfielder in the right deal.
- Teams that have spoken with the Phillies don’t expect them to be active on the waiver wire this month, since they want to avoid paying MLB’s luxury tax.
Let's take a look at some items as we close in on the 3:00pm (CST) deadline..
- Even though he received a number of calls on him, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. insists that Domonic Brown was never available, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Meanwhile, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says that he never considered trading Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer to the Rockies in a package for Ubaldo Jimenez, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com.
- Several teams, including the Braves and Giants, are interested in the Astros' Michael Bourn, but the outfielder would prefer to stay in Houston, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
- Even though they're getting hits on several useful chips with expiring contracts, the Mets are likely done trading, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
We learned yesterday that the Astros are deep into trade talks for Hunter Pence and that a deal could be completed today. The Phillies, who appear to be willing to include Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and others in a deal, may have a Friday pre-deadline for reaching an agreement, so that the Astros have time to explore deals with other suitors, like the Braves, Reds and Red Sox. The Pirates, Rangers and Angels aren't seriously in the mix at this point. Here are today's rumors with the latest updates up top:
- The Braves are looking to be creative and are still involved, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- Pence is very likely to be moved now, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. He believes the Phillies are the favorite, with the Indians, Red Sox, and Reds also in.
- A two-team swap remains the Astros' focus, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Indeed, ESPN's Jayson Stark says there's no more talk of three-team deals.
- The Braves have not considered Pence a priority, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. However, Ken Rosenthal tweets that they seek an athletic corner bat who is controlled beyond this year, and Pence fits that description.
- The Phillies currently have no intention of putting Brown in a deal for Pence, tweets Buster Olney.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests the Phillies will continue negotiating with the Astros until Sunday if they need to, since Pence "is the guy" for them (Twitter link).
- The Astros want pitching for Pence, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The Phillies and Astros are exploring potential three-team deals involving Pence, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Jon Heyman of SI.com and Joel Sherman of the New York Post agree (Twitter links). The Phillies may be willing to trade Brown to a third team to get the prospects the Astros want for Pence, Stark writes.
- The Braves offered a package that included prospects they didn’t offer to the Mets for Carlos Beltran, but the Astros turned the offer down, according to Stark. The Braves may be moving on, which would leave the Phillies as Pence’s primary suitor. The Red Sox, Reds, Pirates and Indians appear to have peeled off, according to Stark.
- Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) hears that the Astros don't love the Phillies' prospects, and that may even include Domonic Brown.
- Houston is still playing the Pence market and working to bring other teams into the mix besides the Phillies, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Astros would prefer to deal Pence to the Braves, but Atlanta continues to be very protective of their big-time pitching prospects, tweets Jon Heyman of SI. The Phillies are still working to get something done.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Astros prefer the Braves' prospects to the Phillies' prospects (Twitter link). Atlanta won't give up the "key guy," who is believed to be Mike Minor, Sherman writes.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that the Braves, generally speaking, have zero enthusiasm about giving up Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino or Randall Delgado (Twitter link).
- Pence was told during last night's game that he was being pulled because of a trade, then wasn't pulled, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Reds are in on Pence, but he's the Phillies' to lose, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- There's a sense that the Phillies might be able to obtain Pence by offering Domonic Brown instead of Singleton and including Cosart in the deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Astros still have an "unreasonable" asking price for Pence, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- There's a "huge bidding war" going on for Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter links). The Braves don't value on-base percentage as much as other teams, one NL official told Olney (Pence has a .354 OBP).
Hunter Pence has the ability to shake up the trade market for bats; here's the latest...
- It appears more and more that Pence is staying put, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Phillies have been aggressive in pursuing Pence and there are indications that they would include Domonic Brown in a trade for him, according to Jim Salisburyof CSNPhilly.com. The Astros are looking for multiple top prospects for Pence, the Phillies' top target.
- It appears that nothing will happen with Pence now and the Astros will look to trade him in the offseason instead, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler says the Phillies "almost certainly won't get Pence." By the way, Pence's absence from the Astros' lineup tonight is not the sign of a trade but rather just a day off.
- The Braves are turning their attention to Pence, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Another target, Carlos Beltran, is believed to be going to the Giants.
- Two front office men, neither from the Astros or Phillies, told ESPN's Jayson Stark they believed the Phillies had a deal for Pence in the last 24 hours only to have the Astros back off. The Phillies offered Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singelton, and a second-tier pitching prospect for Pence, believes Stark. An Astros official told Stark they haven't said no to any specific proposal, however.
- The Astros want a "very top pitching prospect" for Pence, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, and the Phillies are trying hard. However, Heyman says most believe Pence will stay put.