Eduardo Rodriguez Rumors

Quick Hits: Greene, Jones, Drew, Rodriguez, Davis

Tigers starter Shane Greene was never a highly touted prospect or big bonus guy, writes Eno Sarris of ESPN (Insider required). However, Greene’s path to the majors is an interesting story of perseverance. Greene’s father arranged a showcase for Yankee scout Jeff Deardorff. After a strong sandlot performance, the scout invited him to Tampa to throw to hitters. A week later, he was drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round. That’s the story from a high level, but it’s the details that make it interesting. The article is definitely worth a read if you have Insider access.

Here’s more from around the league to round out your Saturday evening:

  • The Yankees acquired first baseman Garrett Jones over the winter to serve as depth for oft-injured sluggers like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, the aging stars have remained healthy so playing time has been scarce for Jones. With the Cardinals in need of a platoon bat to share time with Mark Reynolds, there is some pressure to trade Jones. However, Sherman wonders if the Yankees lineup could survive a Teixeira injury. Would Rodriguez also land on the disabled list if he was forced onto the field? Could Jose Pirela or Stephen Drew cover third if Chase Headley shifts to first. These are questions that GM Brian Cashman must answer before dealing Jones.
  • The Yankees have stuck with Drew despite an abysmal performance, writes Chad Jennings of LoHud. He has hit just .158/.226/.303. He continues to start despite the presence of prospect Jose Pirela on the active roster and Rob Refsnyder at Triple-A. Jennings offers five theories as to why Drew continues to play. In my opinion, they just want to get a full evaluation of Drew before deciding on Plan B.
  • The Red Sox haven’t developed a reliable pitching prospect since they called up Clay Buchholz in 2007, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Bostonians hope that Eduardo Rodriguez is the first example in a reversal of that trend. Rodriguez dominated in his debut. He threw seven-and-two-thirds innings with seven strikeouts, two walks, three hits, and no runs. The club will temporarily use a six-man rotation to give Rodriguez a second audition. It’s not hard to imagine him taking the place of Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, or Joe Kelly if they continue to struggle.
  • Brewers outfielder Khris Davis has torn the meniscus in his right-knee, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. He’ll undergo surgery on Tuesday. Davis is hitting .252/.339/.449 in 168 plate appearances. While no timetable has been announced, past meniscus surgeries have required six to eight weeks of recovery – sometimes more if there are other complicating factors. The Milwaukee lineup has been plagued by various injuries this season, only Adam Lind has been available every day.

AL East Rotation Notes: Tanaka, Rodriguez, Porcello, Odorizzi

The Yankees will welcome Masahiro Tanaka back into the rotation on Wednesday, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com tweets. It remains to be seen whether he can return yet again in top form, but at this point it’s hard to count him out. Tommy John surgery seemed inevitable, and could still be the result, yet Tanaka was excellent in his first four starts of the year before suffering the forearm strain that led to his most recent DL stint.

Here’s more on AL East starting pitching:

  • Meanwhile, the Red Sox will hand the ball to rookie Eduardo Rodriguez at least once more, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. While the club will stay with a six-man rotation for now, that certainly indicates that his audition could result in a permanent spot — no surprise after an excellent first outing in which he tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings.
  • Of course, the Red Sox rotation still has issues. Rick Porcello‘s struggles are one significant concern, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently explained that Porcello has shown little sign of being a top-of-the-rotation starter. Boston owes him $82.5MM over the next four years under his recent extension — not exactly “ace” money, but quite a bit — but Porcello is carrying a 5.37 ERA. The good news is that Porcello, still just 26, is producing an 8.5% swinging strike rate (on the high side for him) and has increased his velocity from last year.
  • It has been a breakout year for Jake Odorizzi of the Rays, who owns a 2.31 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .210/.248/.327 batting line. If that sounds impressive, it’s not exactly all that Odorizzi is aiming for, as Matt Stein of Sports Talk Florida reports“That’s my mindset every time,” he said. Starts with trying to throw a perfect game, move on to a no-hitter, shutout. Just kind of work your way down the line. That’s the mindset I take into every game to be honest with you.” There’s plenty more value for Tampa Bay to tap into, as Odorizzi had just over one year of service time entering the season. All said, it’s beginning to look like it might be time to re-weigh yet again the deal that brought Odorizzi and Wil Myers to the Rays in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis.

Red Sox To Promote Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox will promote top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports (Twitter links).

Mar 12, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (79) throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game at McKechnie Field. The Boston Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Rodriguez may only receive a spot start, per Britton, but regardless it’ll be the first MLB experience for the 22-year-old lefty. Acquired last summer from the Orioles for relief ace Andrew Miller, Rodriguez entered this year (as he did last) as a consensus top-100 prospect league-wide.

With a late May call-up, Rodriguez would stand some chance of achieving Super Two status if he can stick on the roster, but that’s hardly a sure thing. And it seems that he will need to pitch his way into a regular rotation spot, as the club is simply pushing back its current starting five.

Though his value had dipped somewhat at the time he was sent to Boston, Rodriguez was still quite a prize (the result of a trade deadline bidding war). He also quickly restored his former luster, according to reports at the time, by regaining fastball velocity in short order.

After a dominant end to his season at the Double-A level last year, Rodriguez earned a promotion to the highest level of the minors to open 2015. He has not disappointed, striking out 8.2 and walking just 1.3 batters per nine over 48 1/3 innings, posting a 2.98 ERA for Pawtucket.

Now, Boston will see what the youngster can provide at the big league level. It’s no secret that the club’s starting pitching has had its struggles, though the group has been somewhat better in recent weeks. It seems likely that Rodriguez could earn another start, at least, with a solid outing. Certainly, it behooves the Red Sox to give him a chance and see what they have as they weigh outside additions over the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Cole Hamels Rumors: Thursday

Here’s the latest trade buzz about Phillies lefty Cole Hamels

  • “The Cubs have continued to touch base with the Phillies” about Hamels, sources tell Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  The likes of Kris Bryant or Addison Russell are “unquestionably off the table,” yet Chicago has enough prospect depth to get the Phillies’ attention.  Whether it’s Hamels or another notable arm, Wittenmyer expects the Cubs to target starting pitching at the trade deadline.
  • The Red Sox have long been connected to Hamels in trade talks, and while those rumors have primarily swirled around Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe notes that the Phillies also “like” Sox youngsters Jackie Bradley, Deven Marrero, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson and possibly others.  The Phillies have been insisting on Swihart or Betts in any Hamels deal and the Sox have been firm that neither player is being traded.  Also from Cafardo’s mailbag piece, he feels Boston should add an ace but thinks the team will give Rodriguez or Johnson a shot in the rotation before they make a major trade to upgrade their pitching.
  • Of course, there is no evidence that the Phillies will trade Hamels (or Jonathan Papelbon) any time soon, if at all.  GM Ruben Amaro said as much to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, noting that “I have no mandate to trade players. These are not financial deals. These are baseball deals. That’s the beauty of the flexibility our ownership group is giving us. This is really about doing baseball deals. We don’t have to move money.”

AL East Notes: Rays, Orioles, Sabathia, Ramirez

Drew Smyly has been slowed by shoulder tendinitis this spring and may not be ready for the start of the regular season, but Rays manager Kevin Cash isn’t about to panic, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune writes. Meanwhile, Nathan Karns, Burch Smith and Matt Andriese, who began camp competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, could be pitching for a second spot, if Smyly isn’t ready.

Here’s more from the AL East:

  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette sent his best starting pitching prospect, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, to the Red Sox in order to land Andrew Miller last season. If he had his druthers, that’s not neccessarily the deal he would have made, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  “I offered about 50 other pitchers before him,” said Duquette. “It was required that we give up Rodriguez for Andrew Miller. We had to take a shot.” O’s manager Buck Showalter thought the deal was worth it for both teams, but Silverman wonders if Rodriguez could prove to be the next great ace in Boston.
  • CC Sabathia threw live batting practice this morning and remains on track in his recovery from right knee surgery, reports MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “I haven’t had a setback and I’ve been feeling so good,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been able to participate in every drill and haven’t had where I’ve needed a day [off]. I feel good about how we’re going and the pace that we’re moving at.” The Yankees left-hander could make his Grapefruit League debut next week, if an upcoming two-inning simulated game goes well.
  • The Red Sox‘s decision to play Hanley Ramirez in left field is the biggest gamble a team is taking on a position switch, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The AL East is wide open for the taking by any of the five teams, not because of its strength but because of its mediocrity, opines CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam. “I never thought I’d say this,” one talent evaluator told McAdam, “but you could make the case that the AL East is the thinnest division in the game.

Red Sox Notes: Shields, Rodriguez, Ortiz

The Red Sox are scouting Royals ace James Shields today, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets, noting that in September, teams typically keep eyes on impending free agents in whom they have interest. The Red Sox have spent much of the season pursuing hitting, signing Rusney Castillo and acquiring Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, and they’re expected to address their rotation this offseason. Shields is one possible top-tier option, with a return of Jon Lester being another. Previous rumors have connected the Red Sox to Shields. Here are more notes on the Red Sox.

  • Prospect Eduardo Rodriguez has been so dominant since being acquired for Andrew Miller in July that there might be a chance he could be the Red Sox’ next ace, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes. “He has stuff that can possibly dominate a lineup a few times through,” says Triple-A Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles. “Plus arm speed, feel for three pitches. His velocity and the life out of his hand with his fastball, it’s explosive. He’s got swing-and-miss capability. … He looks like he’s one of our best guys.” Speier notes that getting a prospect of Rodriguez’s quality for a rental of a reliever is very rare. After arriving from the Orioles, Rodriguez was terrific in six starts for Double-A Portland before moving up to pitch for Pawtucket in the playoffs.
  • One problem with projecting the Red Sox’ future is figuring out how long David Ortiz will continue to hit, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. At age 38, Ortiz has hit .264/.357/.517, with a number of high-impact home runs. As a big slugger in his late 30s who’s still relatively healthy and consistently productive, Ortiz is already a somewhat unusual player, and it’s unclear how long the Red Sox will be able to count on him.

Gammons’ Latest: Braves, Sandoval, Monfort, Tomas, Padres

Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network contributor Peter Gammons appeared on MLBN’s High Heat yesterday (video link) and published a full notes column today, both of which have plenty of excellent information. Here are some highlights from Gammons’ latest work…

  • While Braves GM Frank Wren did well to patch their rotation with Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang this season, the team’s offense has been woeful, and Wren has the Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton contracts weighing on him. Former Indians GM John Hart, who was brought on as a senior advisor last offseason, could be moved into a more significant role, such as a president of baseball operations (like Theo Epstein in Chicago) or a chief baseball officer like Tony La Russa in Arizona. Hart served as an overseer to Jon Daniels in Texas, and the Braves do have a prime young GM candidate in the form of John Coppolella.
  • Gammons thinks that Pablo Sandoval‘s days as a member of the Giants are numbered. Sandoval will be one of baseball’s most sought-after free agents this offseason, and the Marlins and Red Sox are both “very interested,” according to Gammons. “The Giants, I don’t think have any chance of re-signing him,” he adds.
  • The Rockies had a July deal agreed to that would have sent Jorge De La Rosa to the Orioles in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, but Rockies owner Dick Monfort nixed the trade. De La Rosa was eventually extended on a two-year, $25MM deal, while Rodriguez was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for Andrew Miller. Gammons uses this story as a means of illustrating Monfort’s fierce loyalty — a trait that makes him an enigma even to the Rockies’ own employees. No one in Colorado is quite sure what Monfort will do this offseason, Gammons writes, though trying to pluck former Rockies assistant Thad Levine from the Rangers, where he is currently an assistant GM, is one scenario on which he speculates.
  • At least two dozen teams will be on hand to see Yasmani Tomas‘ showcase in the Dominican Republic this weekend, and Gammons hears that the early front-runners to sign him are the Giants, Phillies, Padres, Rangers and Tigers. All of that, of course, could change quickly following his showcase. The Padres might seem a curious fit there, given the team’s typically tight payroll, but I’d imagine that the international focus of new GM A.J. Preller might be a factor.
  • While the common belief is that Padres manager Bud Black is safe even with the GM change, one person who interviewed for the position told Gammons that he was asked by CEO Mike Dee how he felt about the possibility of Jason Varitek coming on board as the team’s new skipper. Dee, as Gammons notes, is quite familiar with Varitek and his leadership from their days together in Boston. This isn’t the first time that Varitek’s name was connected to the Padres.

Mets Still Talking Ike Davis With Brewers, O’s, Pirates

The Ike Davis rumor mill has calmed down as the holiday season has set in, but Mike Puma of the New York Post provides an update (Twitter link). The Mets remain in contact with the Brewers, Pirates and Orioles regarding Davis, but the team has been unsuccessful in its efforts to pry top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez away from Baltimore.

That the Mets are interested in Rodriguez is no surprise, but neither is the fact that the Orioles won't deal him for Davis. Rodriguez, a 20-year-old left-hander, posted a combined 3.41 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 145 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2013. His numbers took a hit upon reaching Double-A (4.22 ERA in 59 2/3 innings), but that isn't all that alarming when considering the fact that he was one of the youngest players in the league. The average age of pitchers in the Eastern League, for context, was 24.6. Hitters in the Eastern League had an average age of 24.4.

This isn't the first time Rodriguez's name has appeared on the rumor mill, as the Twins reportedly asked for the lefty in exchange for Josh Willingham when the Orioles claimed Willingham on waivers in August. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo currently ranks Rodriguez as baseball's No. 85 prospect, and ESPN's Keith Law ranked him No. 44 in his midseason Top 50 prospect list in July (Insider required). Baseball America ranks him third among O's prospects — behind Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman — noting in their subscription-only scouting report that he has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter.

In short, Rodriguez is a lofty asking price for Mets GM Sandy Alderson when peddling Davis to other clubs — higher than his reported asking price of Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers. Davis is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $3.5MM in 2014 and can be controlled through the 2016 season.


O’s Working On Morse Trade; Unlikely To Land Willingham

12:15pm: The Twins asked the Orioles for multiple pitching prospects in exchange for Willingham, according to Kubatko. Prized lefty Eduardo Rodriguez was among Minnesota's targets. The 20-year-old Rodriguez ranks as the No. 86 prospect in baseball at this time, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

9:42am: The Orioles have been highly active on the waiver market this week, claiming both Josh Willingham of the Twins and Mike Morse of the Mariners. Morse is far likelier to end up with Baltimore it seems, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that a Willingham trade is "not happening at this point" because of the Twins' lofty asking price. Kubatko says the Orioles and Mariners are still actively trying to work out a deal for Morse, though.

Willingham is under contract for 2014 at just $7MM and belted 35 homers for the Twins last season, so it's not a surprise to see them asking a lot even in a down season for Willingham. Despite his low batting average, he's still posted strong OBP and ISO numbers. Morse is a free agent at season's end and owed just over $1.1MM for the remainder of the 2013 season. There have been reports indicating that he's likely to be moved, as he no longer has a place in the Mariners' organization. He hasn't played in either of the team's two games since being claimed by the Orioles.