Drew Smyly Rumors
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet interviewed Royals GM Dayton Moore about the team's playoff hopes, his offseason moves and the difficulty of making trades. Asked about the tough decision to part with Wil Myers, Moore said the focus in trades has to be on what is acquired rather than what is given up: "If you focus on what you’re losing, you’ll never make a deal. You’ll be paralyzed. You have to focus on what you’re getting in return and that’s what we focused on."
More items pertaining to the Royals and the AL Central...
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick also looks at the Royals' high expectations, talking about the team's acquisition of Shields and the heavy emphasis placed on defense. Moore makes it clear to the club's scouts that he wants players with the discipline to focus for nine innings and the ability to continue to prioritize defense even in the midst of slumps at the plate. Shields and manager Ned Yost both spoke about this emphasis. Crasnick also discussed the turnaround of some of the team's young hitters with last year's interim hitting coach and Hall of Famer George Brett.
- Phil Hughes tells Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he's enjoying his transition to a new team after a "nightmare" season with the Yankees in 2013. Hughes, who has become fast friends with Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, says he enjoys the laid-back atmosphere. Now sporting a beard, Hughes feels that back pain that cost him most of Spring Training last season likely contributed to his struggles. Minnesota, of course, gambled on Hughes' youth and pedigree by signing him to a three-year, $24MM deal this offseason that was far larger than most had expected for the 27-year-old.
- Chris Iott of MLive.com answered reader questions and offered his take on the chances of Max Scherzer inking an extension prior to Opening Day. Iott pegs the chances of a long-term deal for the 2013 Cy Young winner at about 10 percent, noting that he simply can't envision it realistically happening.
- Also of note from Iott is that the Tigers are fully committed to using Drew Smyly as a starter. Iott writes that the club won't be making any last-minute additions of a veteran starter and expect the left-handed Smyly to be in their rotation for a long time.
- Iott also spoke with manager Brad Ausmus about trade acquisition Robbie Ray. Detroit's new skipper told him that Ray, acquired from the Nationals in the Doug Fister trade, has a deceptive delivery that allows his fastball to play up a couple of miles per hour. Ausmus anticipates Ray getting a lot of foul balls on fastballs up in the zone, believing that hitters will have a tough time keeping up with the pitch.
- The Tigers announced that non-roster invitee Eduardo Sanchez suffered an olecranon stress fracture of his right elbow and will miss an extended period of time. The former Cardinals setup man inked a minor league deal with Detroit in January and was vying for a spot in their bullpen.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the Indians know Trevor Bauer probably isn't ready for the Majors, which is what prompted their late signing of Aaron Harang to serve as depth. Bauer has altered his delivery somewhat and got mixed results in yesterday's game against the Reds.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon is dissatisfied with the Phillies' current direction, MLB.com's Todd Zalecki reports. In the midst of an eight-game losing streak, Philadelphia has fallen to seven games below .500, and that's not what Papelbon anticipated when he signed with the Phils. "I definitely didn't come here for this," he says. He also doesn't sound optimistic when asked about the Phillies' future. "Oh man," he says. "We could be here all day."
Papelbon is of the opinion that the Phillies need to undergo an overhaul, similar to that of his former team, the Red Sox (whose overhaul, ironically, included losing Papelbon to free agency). He says he does not want to be traded, but adds that he does not want to stay in Philadelphia if his team continues on the same path.
- The Tigers and Rangers have discussed the possibility of a deal that would send Joe Nathan to Detroit, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. Right now, though, the Rangers are asking a lot, and Morosi says there is "no momentum toward a deal." As MLBTR's Aaron Steen noted yesterday, Joakim Soria could close for the Rangers if Nathan were to depart. The Rangers could target the Tigers' current setup man, Drew Smyly, if they were to deal Nathan, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.
- The Tigers are not trying to trade for Papelbon, Morosi tweets, but Luke Gregerson of the Padres is a possibility (Twitter links).
- The Padres and Brewers are the top sellers for bullpen arms, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. The Padres can offer Gregerson and Joe Thatcher, while the Brewers have John Axford and Mike Gonzalez. The Astros, meanwhile, could deal Jose Veras or Wesley Wright, while the Angels could move Scott Downs.
Aside from similar modest batting averages, you could hardly find two more different players than Harmon Killebrew and Luis Aparicio but it was on this day in 1984 that both AL Central greats were inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Killebrew slugged 573 homers in his career and was a classic three-true-outcomes power hitter, while Aparicio hit just .262/.311/.343 in his career but made it Cooperstown on the strength of his defense (nine Gold Gloves) and speed, leading the league in steals nine times and finishing with 506 stolen bases in his career.
Here are some more notes from around the AL Central...
- The Indians were one of the teams interested in Kelvim Escobar before the right-hander signed a minor league deal with the Brewers earlier today, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
- Indians chairman and CEO Paul Dolan has been officially named as the club's control person by Major League Baseball's owners, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Dolan is now officially the Tribe's person in charge of the team's operations and its adherence to league rules.
- The White Sox are looking to add a reliever and a left-handed hitter before the season starts, writes ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine as part of an online chat with fans that also covers a number of Cubs-related topics.
- In response to another fan question, Levine doesn't think the White Sox have any interest in Kyle Lohse.
- Rick Porcello's name has surfaced in many trade rumors since the Tigers signed Anibal Sanchez, but Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press doesn't think the Tigers should move either Porcello or Drew Smyly since the team needs the pitching depth.
The Tigers are reportedly receiving interest in Rick Porcello, and according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports the team is also fielding calls on Drew Smyly (Twitter link). Detroit isn't necessarily committed to trading one or the other, but Knobler guesses that one of the two will go.
Having signed Anibal Sanchez to a five-year contract, the Tigers now possess an enviable surplus of starting pitching. Sanchez will join Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister in a rotation that will be rounded out by either Porcello or Smyly.
Smyly, 23, made his Major League debut this season and posted a strong rookie campaign. The southpaw pitched to a 3.99 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 39.9 percent ground-ball rate in 99 1/3 innings. Sabermetric stats such as FIP (3.83), xFIP (3.87) and SIERA (3.75) all support his success. Teams such as the Angels, Pirates, Padres, Twins and Phillies are all on the lookout for starting pitching this offseason and would likely have interest in Smyly, though that's just my speculation.