Drew Storen Rumors
10:08am: The Twins are unhappy with the Nationals' offer, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Nationals are worried about Span's concussion.
FRIDAY, 9:23am: Talks between the Twins and Nationals are ongoing, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Span and Storen are at the center of discussions, with Roger Bernadina and others in play. The Nationals aren't talking exclusively to the Twins as they search for a center fielder, but Span appears to be high on their list of targets.
THURSDAY, 12:52pm: The Nationals are not willing to trade Storen for Span, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
WEDNESDAY, 3:20pm: The Nationals continue to target Span, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Storen may be in play.
MONDAY, 2:03pm: The Nationals have talked to the Twins about Span, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Nationals are unwilling to trade Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard, though Rosenthal feels Ian Desmond could be of interest to the Twins.
1:30pm: Twins center fielder Denard Span is high on the Nationals' list of targets, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Span would fit the team's desire for a controllable center fielder/leadoff hitter, assuming there are no ill effects from a concussion suffered in June.
Span, 27, is hitting .294/.361/.385 on the season in 255 plate appearances. His center field defense has been a plus in recent years, according to UZR. His team-friendly contract has less than $15MM remaining through 2014, plus a club option for '15. It's not known whether the Twins consider Span expendable; Ben Revere has a .249/.287/.284 line filling in. The asking price would surely be significant.
The Nationals are listening on top relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but such a trade would have to fill a specific long-term need such as center field. Teams are calling on Storen, Clippard, and Todd Coffey.
Potential center field targets for Washington include B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus, and Denard Span, writes Rosenthal. He believes that a reliever alone probably would not bring back a center fielder, but the Nats could also trade shortstop Ian Desmond since some club officials would like to move Danny Espinosa to shortstop.
Storen is under team control through 2016, Clippard and Desmond through '15. Desmond would be an interesting name for teams seeking shortstop help, though he's limped to a .226/.269/.311 line in 361 plate appearances this year.
The Nationals also have starting pitching to spare, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that they will move Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, and Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is a bit of a surprise, as he's got strong strikeout and walk rates and is under team control through 2013.
It's not often that the Brewers and Royals are the two teams dominating discussion around baseball, but that's exactly what's happening today, after the clubs agreed to a blockbuster deal. Let's check out some reactions and a few more details on the trade that will send Zack Greinke to Milwaukee....
- According to Yahoo's Tim Brown (via Twitter), the Dodgers were discussing Greinke and even brought a third team into the mix in an attempt to meet Kansas City's needs. Ultimately, they ran out of time.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Royals were close to a deal that would've sent Greinke to Washington, if not for the right-hander's no-trade clause. MLB.com's Bill Ladson confirms that Greinke turned down a potential trade to the Nationals (Twitter links). Heyman adds that Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa likely would've been involved in the hypothetical deal (Twitter link).
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears that the Royals coveted Jordan Zimmermann, who the Nats were reluctant to give up.
- Heyman tweets that Greinke approved the Brewers and not the Nats because he believes Milwaukee is closer to serious contention. He's also apparently fond of the city.
- According to Heyman (via Twitter), Greinke told the Royals that he wouldn't mind playing for the Yankees, but New York never got close to making a trade for the Kansas City ace.
- The Brewers had some interest in Carl Pavano, who they presumably won't pursue now. As such, the Twins' leverage with Pavano should improve, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that the $2MM going to Milwaukee will cover the buyout for Yuniesky Betancourt's 2012 option, if the Brewers choose to buy him out.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports praises Brewers GM Doug Melvin for choosing an established player over prospects. Rosenthal also examines the trade from the Royals' perspective.
- With Prince Fielder a year from free agency, Melvin saw the team's window for playoff contention closing and moved aggressively to improve the 2011 roster, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Fangraphs' Marc Hulet breaks down the package acquired by Kansas City, noting that their haul is "certainly quantity over quality." In an Insider-only article, ESPN.com's Keith Law makes a similar point, calling the Royals' return "bulk, and fit, but not impact."
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and two front office people he spoke to "really like" the move for the Royals (Twitter link).
In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney says that the first day of Spring Training acts as an artificial deadline for the Royals to trade Zack Greinke. At that point he will show up to the clubhouse and dominate the team's storyline. Olney likens it to the Johan Santana situation from a few years ago, when the Twins felt pressure to move him before pitchers and catchers reported. He adds that Greinke's performance would then be under intense scrutiny, even during Spring Training, and if he pitches poorly his trade value will plummet.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- The Rangers made what was considered an aggressive offer for Greinke at the winter meetings only to learn that they fell way short of Kansas City's demands.
- The Nationals were informed that in order to land Greinke, they would have to part with Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, and Danny Espinosa. Rival executives expect the asking price to come down in the weeks ahead.
- Orlando Cabrera is open to returning to the Twins. Minnesota just finalized a contract with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but right now Alexi Casilla is penciled in as their everyday shortstop.
- The Astros were very much in on Orlando Hudson before he chose San Diego and they signed Bill Hall.
The Nationals are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. However, Kilgore’s source doesn’t expect Washington to trade for either pitcher. Earlier today, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that Royals GM Dayton Moore is actively gauging the market for Greinke.
The Rays and Royals could have interest in Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, but the Nationals are not likely to move either player. However, Kilgore hears that the team would move Danny Espinosa “in a heartbeat.” Roger Bernadina would be available and it’s possible that the Nationals would consider trading Drew Storen or Sean Burnett, according to Kilgore.
FRIDAY, 7:04pm: Kilgore reports that Bruney has refused his minor league assignment. The Nats now have a week to deal the reliever, and will probably release him if they can't find a trade partner. Until Bruney signs with another club, Washington still owes Bruney his $1.5MM salary for 2010.
FRIDAY, 1:35pm: Bruney cleared waivers and now has 24 hours to accept or refuse a minor league assignment, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Bruney told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he isn't sure if he'll accept the assignment.
Bruney, 28, has a 7.64 ERA with 16 Ks and 20 walks in 17.2 innings for the Nats this season. Washington manager Jim Riggleman indicated yesterday that the club might make a roster move involving Bruney. While the limited sample size should not be overlooked, it is worth noting that the velocity on Bruney's fastball has dipped from 94.6 mph last season to 92.8 mph in 2010.
Meanwhile, Storen has been outstanding this year in both Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. Between the two stops, Storen has a 1.12 ERA with 15 Ks and just three walks in 16 innings of work. Baseball America's Prospect Handbook predicts that the 22-year-old - ranked third in the Nats' farm system - could be closing games in Washington by the end of the season.
If Drew Storen stays on the Nationals' roster all season, he will pile up 140 days of service time this year, enough to have a good chance at Super Two status after 2012. There are no guarantees that relievers- young or old- can maintain enough consistency to merit a roster spot all season long. And there are no guarantees that Storen will accumulate a full year of service time in 2011 and 2012.
But Storen's pedigree (drafted 10th overall) and hot start (10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9) suggest he's as likely as any 22-year-old to stay in the major leagues. If he does, he'll be a Super Two in a couple years and will cost the Nationals more because he will go to arbitration four times, instead of the usual three.
Jonathan Broxton, another reliever who arrived in the majors at a young age, will earn $12.825MM for his three arbitration years. That shows that relievers can make big money before they hit free agency. Of course, Broxton has been nothing but dominant since 2006 and it's premature to ask for that kind of consistency from Storen. But if Storen stays healthy and lives up to his potential as a top prospect, he could become a Super Two player and earn even more than Broxton through arbitration.
Links for Sunday night..
- The Pirates have promoted Bryan Morris to Double-A after a sensational start to the season, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. The 23-year-old starter, who has a 0.60 ERA, could earn another promotion by August according to GM Neal Huntington. Morris was one of the main pieces the Pirates received in the Jason Bay trade in July of '08.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter) points out that three former Yankees set-up men have been released in the last 24 hours: Chad Gaudin, Edwar Ramirez, and Brian Bruney.
- Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty says that the club has not yet determined Drew Storen's role and that they will "ease him in", tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com writes that Mets GM Omar Minaya will accompany the team on their trip to Atlanta, though a team official insists that he will be there just to lend support.
Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak....
- Ken Rosenthal writes that the Nationals promoted the 10th overall pick from the 2009 draft, Drew Storen, today. Storen had annihilated minor league hitters across two levels this season.
- Ozzie Guillen understands the reasoning behind GM Kenny Williams' recent public confirmation that he's losing patience with his ballclub, writes Ken Falkoff on MLB.com.
- Two players signed to one-year deals, Justin Duchscherer and Nick Johnson, could require surgeries that would sideline them for most or all of this season. MLB.com's Jane Lee and Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork have the details.
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com tweets that Willy Taveras may not accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers. Taveras was DFA'd by the Nationals last night.
- Luis Ayala has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The Dodgers will have to add Ayala to their 25-man roster by Monday afternoon or release him.
- Earlier in the week, MLB.com's Chris Haft floated the idea of the Giants moving Aubrey Huff to left field to make room at first base for Buster Posey. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Huff is open to the idea and thinks Posey would do well at first base.
- Speaking of Posey, John Sickels asks who you'd rather have: the Giants' prospect or Carlos Santana of the Indians.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes details the Indians' changing draft strategy, and fields readers' Tribe-related questions in a mailbag.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the top ten best investments made by the Pirates' current regime.
- Tony Abreu could be an attractive trade chip if the D'Backs shop him for relief help, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic.
- Ken Griffey Jr. should retire gracefully, writes MLB.com's Hal Bodley.
- We shouldn't be surprised to see Drew Storen arrive in the majors before Strasburg. As Ben Goessling of MASN.com explains, the Nationals may choose to reward Storen for signing so soon after they drafted him.
- Yorvit Torrealba has been one of baseball's best free agent bargains, if you ask MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- In a pre-draft notebook, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo explains why pitcher Peter Tago is gaining on some fellow amateurs and the answer is pretty simple.
- Wondering which pitchers have seen their strikeout rate climb or tumble this year? RotoAuthority has the results for the season so far.
- If Mark DeRosa hits the disabled list, the Giants will rely on their own players, mostly John Bowker, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes the Nationals would like to debut Stephen Strasburg at home, while his colleague Rob Neyer can see the Nats breaking him in on the road. Last night I suggested we could see Strasburg's first MLB start against the Astros in early June.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs says it's too early to worry, but pitching prospect Aaron Crow reminds him a little of another former first rounder in the Royals' system: Luke Hochevar.