Felix Hernandez Rumors

Olney On Red Sox, Mariners, Smith, Rangers

Most of the top available starting pitchers currently play in the National League, but there’s still lots of trade talk in the AL this summer. Buster Olney provides updates on the junior circuit trade market in today’s column at ESPN.com. Here are some highlights:

  • The Mariners won’t trade Felix Hernandez, but Kevin Millwood, Chone Figgins, Jason Vargas and Brandon League could be dealt.
  • The Red Sox have focused on adding starting pitching. Some executives believe the Rangers will make a big play for the best starting pitchers available.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox have been asking around about relievers.
  • Teams have called about Seth Smith, but the Athletics will keep him. However, Kurt Suzuki could be available and the A’s will listen to offers for Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.
  • The Indians figure to pursue right-handed bats and Carlos Quentin could be an option in Cleveland, Olney writes.
  • The Blue Jays plan to assess their chances at the All-Star break, and some rival officials expect Toronto to sell.
  • The Orioles need pitching, but Olney doesn’t expect the team to make a major addition. Similarly, the Twins figure to seek pitching in any midseason trades they consider.
  • Here’s MLBTR’s recap of Olney’s look at the NL trade market.

Rosenthal On Hernandez, Castro, Butler

Trading Felix Hernandez for offense would make sense for the Mariners, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests. Hernandez, who’s under contract through 2014 and can block deals to ten teams, has a 3.52 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 94 2/3 innings this year. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…

  • Few teams are willing to take on high salaries and part with premium prospects, Rosenthal writes. This would limit the Mariners’ potential trade partners were they to consider trading Hernandez.
  • The Mariners asked the Cubs about Starlin Castro and asked the Royals about Billy Butler in recent weeks, Rosenthal reports. They also talked to other clubs about potential trades for hitters, but none of the discussions progressed.
  • Virtually every team contacted the Cubs following a report indicating that Castro was available. However, the Cubs haven’t actually put Castro on the trading block.
  • Butler is also relatively untouchable, Rosenthal writes. The Royals consider him a core piece.

Quick Hits: Forbes, Padres, Felix, Athletics

Forbes Magazine calculates the Yankees (unsurprisingly) as the most valuable franchise in baseball, worth an estimated $1.85 billion.  The second-place team on the list are (somewhat surprisingly) the Dodgers at $1.4 billion, up nearly 75% in value from last year as Forbes predicts the team's forthcoming sale and new TV contract will return it to top-tier status.  The Forbes list also reveals which teams lost value from last year and which didn't turn a profit in 2011, as well as looking at how cable TV deals are changing the economics of the game.

Some other news from around the majors…

  • Yasmani Grandal is happy that Padres teammate and fellow catcher Nick Hundley received a contract extension but isn't worried that Hundley's deal impacts his own future with the club, reports Dan Hayes of the North County Times.  "It doesn't matter if somebody got a deal or not. You never know what could happen," Grandal said.  "They could get traded or you could get traded. I'm not only playing for one organization. I'm playing for the 29 others that are out there. That's one way I see it, and if it's not meant to be it's not meant to be. If I don't make it to the big leagues with this club I can make it with any other team."
  • Hundley's reasonable contract could make him a strong trade candidate, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who the Padres could deal this summer if Grandal has a strong first half at Triple-A.
  • Felix Hernandez says he is asked about his future with the Mariners in almost every interview, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, and joked he might hang a banner reading "I'm not going anywhere" over his locker.
  • The Athletics are thus far very pleased with the four prospects (Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole and Derek Norris) they received from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, reports Jeff Fletcher for the Washington Times.
  • Matthew Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
  • Vernon Wells thinks the Blue Jays could make "exceptions" to their policy of not offering contracts longer than five years, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  Ironically, Wells' seven-year, $126MM deal with Toronto in 2006 is no doubt a major reason why the current Jays management team has adopted this policy.
  • Some newly-hired bench bosses make FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's annual list of managers on the hot seat, including Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine.

West Notes: Athletics, Jimenez, Rockies, Hernandez

Items out of the AL and NL West..

  • The Athletics released a statement this afternoon regarding recent reports that MLB might not allow the club to move to San Jose due to the Giants' territorial rights.  The A's point out that out of "the four two-team markets in MLB, only the Giants and A's do not share the exact same geographic boundaries."  The statement also emphasizes that a move to San Jose would benefit other owners when it comes to revenue sharing.
  • For the first time, Ubaldo Jimenez openly admitted that he wanted to be traded from the Rockies, writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSportsArizona.com.  The pitcher watched Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez sign long-term contracts with the club and felt as though he had been put on hold.  Jimenez was looking for a trade this time last year but wasn't dealt until July 30th.
  • There was some buzz about Felix Hernandez's favorable comments regarding his future in Seattle beyond 2014, but Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times cautions not to read too far into them.  Hernandez signed a five-year, $78MM deal prior to the 2010 season and Baker writes that there are no immediate plans to put another deal in front of the ace.

East Notes: Red Sox, Maddon, Wright, Orioles

We know it's been quite the busy day for New York baseball, but let's see what else is happening in both the AL and NL East…

Analysis And Background Of The Montero/Pineda Deal

It's not every day that two of baseball's best young stars are swapped for each other, but the Mariners and Yankees pulled off just such a deal today, as Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi went to Seattle in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos.  Here is some of the early reaction to this stunning trade, plus some information on how the deal came together…

  • "The risk for both clubs is low. The reward for both clubs is outstanding. This could be a transformational deal that will have fans of both clubs buzzing about for a long time," writes MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff.
  • Replacing pitching via minor leaguers or the free agent market is far easier than attracting top-caliber hitters in Seattle, notes MLB.com's Greg Johns.
  • Mike Salk of ESPN 710 Radio in Seattle outlines the reasons why he "loves" the deal for the Mariners.  Also from Salk (on Twitter), he hears from "a non-M's baseball guy" who believes Noesi is a better long-term option than Pineda.
  • The trade makes the Yankees the favorites in the AL East, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.  Miller talks to two scouts who rave about the Yankees' sudden surplus of young pitching that also includes Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.
  • Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog sees Montero as developing into a Carlos Lee-type of hitter who is productive but not quite a superstar.  Cameron thinks the deal will look better for the Mariners if they were to sign a free agent starter like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson, since then the team would have Montero's bat plus a pitcher that could match Pineda's production.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels he took a "huge risk" with the trade, reports The Record's Bob Klapisch (via Twitter).  "I gave up a ton (for Pineda)," Cashman said.  "To me, Montero is Mike Piazza. He's Miguel Cabrera."
  • "Some execs from other AL East teams believe Yankees just made an incredible trade," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
  • The two teams were "talking for weeks" about the deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).  Each side told the other that they had limited funds to address their needs.
  • The Yankees initially tried to acquire Felix Hernandez from the Mariners, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) and were willing to offer a package that included Montero, Betances, Banuelos and more.

AL West Notes: Dipoto, Hamilton, Mariners, Beane

Here's the latest news and notes out of the AL West…

  • The Angels have reached their payroll limit and any further moves will have to come via the trade market, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Dipoto says the club would need "a fairly compelling reason" to trade either Kendrys Morales or Mark Trumbo, but "there are scenarios you could envision."
  • Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that the Angels' signing of infielder Jorge Cantu isn't a sign that the Halos have new concerns about the health of either Morales or Trumbo.
  • Josh Hamilton's hard-nosed style of play (and subsequent injuries) will make it hard for the outfielder to earn top dollar either in free agency or from an extension with the Rangers, writes MLB.com's Lyle Spencer.
  • The Mariners recently turned down inquiries about Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda from Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  This doesn't really represent a failed attempt for Anthopoulos since, as Rosenthal explains, the Toronto GM "routinely asks about the best players on every team. He almost always is told no."
  • The Mariners have addressed most of their offseason wish list, notes MLB.com's Greg Johns, except their biggest need: an impact bat.  Johns says there has been no indication that the biggest name the M's have been connected to this winter, Prince Fielder, has any interest in coming to Seattle.
  • Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle finds it "astounding" that Billy Beane is remaining with the Athletics through this latest rebuilding period, but the A's GM isn't just looking ahead to the club's potential move to San Jose.  "I'm too competitive to 'punt' anything," Beane said. "It's not part of my DNA. I've got an emotional investment in this team, and if we're playing in Oakland, then let's make the best of the situation. I don't leave for clear skies as soon as I start seeing the clouds. I keep thinking something will get better."

Pitching Rumors: Red Sox, Felix, Giants, Jurrjens

The Nationals, Red Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays, Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Yankees and Orioles are among the teams still looking to add one or more starting pitchers this offseason, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Here are more details on the market for starting pitching:

  • The Red Sox are “in on everybody,” Knobler reports. Peter Gammons of MLB Network confirms that the Red Sox are still looking for starters (Twitter link).
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports makes the case that the Mariners should trade Felix Hernandez this offseason, but Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik disagrees. “I still say, as I’ve said all along, we’ve still got the best young pitcher in the game, and that’s pretty darned good,” Zduriencik said. Rosenthal pointed to the prospects the Padres obtained for Mat Latos and the fact that the AL West has become tougher this offseason.
  • The Giants aren’t looking for a free agent to replace Jonathan Sanchez, but are interested in adding pitchers who are willing to accept minor league contracts, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rockies, Tigers and Rangers are among the teams that have expressed some interest in Jair Jurrjens, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Braves have suggested they won’t trade the right-hander within their division.

AL West Notes: Hernandez, Mariners, Angels, Barajas

Here's a look at a few items out of the American League West..

  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has no intentions to trade Felix Hernandez and the organization plans to build around the 25-year-old right-hander, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Angels called to express interest in Rod Barajas after he had already committed to the Pirates, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Angels announced that former big leaguer Hal Morris has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract to become the team's director of pro scouting, writes Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.  After retiring as a player Morris scouted amateur players from 2008-2009 for the Pirates  before joining the Red Sox in 2010. 

New York Notes: Jimenez, Nova, Collins, Wade

The Yankees enter today's action tied for the American League's best record, while the Mets sit at just .500. But it was the team from Queens that enjoyed the better Saturday, slugging four home runs en route to an 11-7 win against the Braves, while C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees were beat up by the Red Sox. As the Mets and Yanks prepare for the rubber matches of their respective series, let's round up the latest links on the two clubs:

  • Speaking to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman, defended the Yankees' inactivity at the trade deadline: "We were ready to do something if there was someone who could make a big impact. If the kid in Seattle (Felix Hernandez) is available, that is different. But we didn’t see huge impact, and now we think we may get huge impact from kids we didn’t trade in August and September."
  • Within the same piece, Blakeley goes on to discuss the Yankees' July pursuit of Ubaldo Jimenez, saying that the organization feels Ivan Nova "is as good as this version of Jimenez."
  • The starting rotation won't be a priority for the Mets this offseason, as GM Sandy Alderson will focus instead on re-signing Jose Reyes and bolstering the bullpen, writes Newsday's David Lennon.
  • While Alderson praised the performance of Terry Collins, the GM said the club wouldn't even think about extending the skipper's contract until after the season, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Collins is currently signed through 2012.
  • Cory Wade, who has recorded a 1.86 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Yankees this year, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Rangers were also interested in signing him after he was released by the Rays, but the Yankees "made a stronger push."