Edinson Volzquez Rumors
It has been an eventful day for the Reds, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, and not just because they let go of pitching coach Dick Pole. Other Cincinnati notes from Sheldon:
- When asked if Paul Janish will be the Reds' starting shortstop in 2010, manager Dusty Baker said that he had yet to "come up with a definitive decision." GM Walt Jocketty indicated that surrounding Janish with more dangerous bats would help justify keeping his glove in the lineup. The 26-year-old shortstop has a +17.8 UZR/150 in 2009, but has hit just .215/.297/.308 in over 250 plate appearances.
- Edinson Volquez is pleased with his progress recovering from Tommy John surgery. Cincinnati expects him back around the All-Star break next season.
- Jay Bruce no longer plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has been on a tear since coming off the disabled list on September 14, hitting .316/.422/.684, though he says the hot streak isn't a major factor in his decision. He should be healthy and ready to produce a stronger campaign in 2010.
More links for the morning...
- At the Hardball Times, Adam Guttridge uses his trade evaluation system to break down some of last week's deals. He says the Phillies, Red Sox and White Sox overpaid to acquire star players.
- Todd Helton tells MLB.com's Thomas Harding it's nice to see the Rockies adding, rather than subtracting at the deadline.
- Via Twitter, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that Edinson Volquez had Tommy John surgery and will miss a year. What a blow for the Reds.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reviews the new-look Pirates organization.
The Cincinnati Reds remain interested in free agents Rocco Baldelli and Jerry Hairston Jr., MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon that he has talked with their agent, Casey Close, during the weekend.
Jocketty said that he expects something to happen this week with regard to Hairston Jr.
The Reds have had no talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Andruw Jones and appear not to be interested, Sheldon notes.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay also spoke with Jocketty. In addition to the Reds' stance on Baldelli, Hairston Jr. and Jones, Fay notes that the Reds won't be trading first baseman Joey Votto.
Jocketty also told Fay that Votto (Canada), Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic) might play in the World Baseball Classic.
Time for some random linkage.
- I'll be on XM Radio today at about 5pm CST - channels 176-189 with Mike Ferrin.
- The Dodgers signed Jerome Williams - remember him?
- Viva El Birdos runs through starting pitchers who might be on the Cardinals' radar.
- Sam Mellinger of the KC Star takes a look at Dayton Moore's trade record. Meanwhile, Joe Posnanski explains why the Royals should sign Barry Bonds.
- Ken Rosenthal doesn't want to let Ed Wade off the hook in the Shawn Chacon dustup.
- Red Reporter thinks the Reds are winning the Edinson Volquez-Josh Hamilton swap.
- Rangers first base prospect Chris Davis is getting the call.
- Russell Branyan has been training his eyes.
- "Unsubstantiated report" - the Phillies might have interest in recently-designated reliever Vinnie Chulk.
- Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker expects the team to shop Ichiro.
- Buster Olney sees the Rays as a sleeper in the C.C. Sabathia derby.
- Omar Minaya defends the Luis Castillo signing.
Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch relays a Walt Jocketty radio show appearance. Jocketty reportedly named five untouchable Reds players: Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Edwin Encarnacion. Hunter is surprised to see Encarnacion labeled off-limits. The 25 year-old third baseman has a career line of .268/.344/.450 in 396 games. With several .900+ OPS months on his resume, EE has shown flashes of star potential offensively.
Veterans Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Brandon Phillips apparently did not make the list. Only Arroyo has been mentioned in trade rumors this year; the rest seem unlikely to go anywhere. But it should be noted that Jocketty wasn't with the organization when the Cordero, Harang, and Arroyo contracts were signed and might be more willing to move them.
Recently Bob Nightengale of USA Today revisited the off-season deal that sent Edinson Volquez from the Rangers to the Reds for Josh Hamilton. Nightengale noted that both teams have no regrets and that the deal "continues to reverberate around baseball".
Rarely does a deal work out so well for both teams, especially so soon. Volquez is one of the early candidates for the NL Cy Young and Hamilton is an early leader for the AL MVP. Both are expected to be All-Stars next month.
It is rare for two teams to swap young players of this caliber, although this was just one of two such deals this past winter. The Twins and Rays swapped Matt Garza and Delmon Young. Unlike the Volquez-Hamilton deal, the Garza-Young deal has been more beneficial for the Rays, at least early on.
This got me thinking...Has there ever been another deal in which two young major leaguers with this level of potential were swapped for each other and made such an immediate impact for their new clubs?
Let's here your thoughts in the comments...
4:45pm: Updating the Tavarez item - the Boston Herald reports that he's accepted a minor league assignment in order to buy the Red Sox more time in trading him.
10:38am: Here's today's link collection.
- MLB.com's Dick Kaegel hears the Royals are leaning toward an impact bat in the June draft. Baseball America predicted catcher Buster Posey, while Jonathan Mayo went with first baseman Eric Hosmer. First baseman Justin Smoak is another possibility.
- Paul DePodesta tells a story about the gamesmanship of the draft.
- Hank Steinbrenner says there's a chance Brian Cashman will be the Yankees' GM next year, if he wants to be. He might be able to find a better situation. If there's a new GM, his first task might be negotiating with Scott Boras for Mark Teixeira.
- The Rockies still might have mild interest in Julian Tavarez, who will become a free agent today.
- The Marlins, Rockies, and Rangers were the three clubs interested in Edinson Volquez when he was a kid in the Dominican.
You all know the story with Hamilton. Former first overall pick by the Rays in '99, immensely talented. Derailed by drug problems for many years, then posted an incredible half season in the Majors for the Reds despite little experience above A ball. He put up a .922 OPS for the Reds, and seems like a great gamble by Jon Daniels despite health concerns. He'll turn 27 in May; hopefully the Rangers let him stay in center. Hamilton leaves a park that inflates left-handed home runs by about 28% to a park that inflates them by 24%. His departure clears a path for top prospect Jay Bruce.
Volquez, 24, is also immensely talented. He kept stalling at the big league level but finally seemed to figure it out in September. Baseball America calls his stuff "electric," describing a mid-90s heater paired with a mid-70s change-up. One concern here is that Volquez is a flyball pitcher. Wayne Krivsky took an interesting route to add an intriguing starter; I wonder if the move takes them out of the Erik Bedard sweepstakes. It's been speculated that the Reds could go after Mike Cameron to fill their new center field void.
Herrera, 23, is a southpaw relief prospect. Check out this info from Baseball America. He barely registers 5-foot-7, 145 pounds. He tops out at 84mph but throws some kind of screwball to offset the weak heat. This trick helped him post an 11.0 K/9 in Double A this year.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has all the latest hot stove buzz around the Rangers.
- The Rangers are nearing a deal with Eddie Guardado. Everyday Eddie might be a dark horse to close, if he can flash his late season form again. The Reds decided in October that he was not worth $3.5MM, and declined his option. Guardado is 37.
- The Rangers hope to add some kind of veteran starter. Bartolo Colon and Jason Jennings are still options, but Mark Prior and Freddy Garcia pretty much are not. Sullivan names Mike Maroth, Mark Hendrickson, and Josh Towers as pitchers of interest.
- Mike Cameron could be an option for center field if he'll take a one-year deal. A multiyear demand would also take the Rangers out of the running for Corey Patterson.
- Sullivan notes that the Reds want Edinson Volzquez for Josh Hamilton, a possibility he first mentioned three weeks ago. Jamey Newberg doesn't think Volquez would cut it. Other trade options could include Andre Ethier, Coco Crisp, and Juan Pierre.
- The Rangers will pass on a Kevin Mench reunion.