Francisco Cervelli Rumors

A-Rod, 12 Others To Be Suspended Monday

Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players will be suspended for their involvement with Biogenesis, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Earlier today, we learned Rodriguez is to be suspended through the 2014 season and Heyman names Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli among the Major League players also expected to be suspended, as well as minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, and Cesar Puello. Heyman adds there are also three players on the suspension list whose names have yet to become public.

Heyman writes Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A's right-hander Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not be suspended in connection with Biogenesis, as they have served 50-game penalties already. 

All or almost all of the other 12 players are expected to accept 50-game suspensions, though there could be an additional holdout or two for appeal beyond Rodriguez, reports Heyman. All the players have the option to appeal, but it is believed close to all of them have made agreements for 50-game bans with MLB, Heyman adds. Players who appeal are eligible to keep playing until their case is heard.

Cruz told reporters, including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, "I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything. It's not just about myself, it's also about the team." Today is the 112th game played by the Rangers, so Cruz would be eligible to return for the playoffs (assuming Texas reaches the post-season), if he serves a 50-game suspension beginning Monday. Sullivan surmises the Rangers will recall an outfielder from the minors adding Manny Ramirez is not an option and manager Ron Washington is reluctant to use Jurickson Profar in the outfield. Regardless of what the Rangers end up doing, assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledges, "At this stage of the season, that's a difficult bat to replace."


MLB Preparing 50-Game Suspensions In Biogenesis Case

12:33am: Cruz has not decided whether he will serve his suspension or appeal it, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).

7:17pm: Major League Baseball is preparing 50-game suspensions for Biogenesis-linked players who have not been disciplined in the past, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Players such as Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli are among those facing these 50-game suspensions, as are minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Cesar Puello and Fautino de los Santos. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the vast majority of players connected to these 50-game suspensions — including playoff contenders Cruz and Peralta — are believed to be willing to accept the punishment rather than file appeals. Doing so will allow suspended players to play toward the end of September and into the playoffs, though their teams would be at a significant disadvantage down the stretch

Passan also tweets that MLB has threatened to double the penalty for players who do not cooperate with the suspensions, making cooperation a much more appealing option. Additionally, he adds that players who lied during the investigation could receive an additional 15 games on their suspensions, similar to Ryan Braun's case (Twitter link).

Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal are not likely to receive additional suspensions, having already served 50-game bans, according to Heyman. Both Heyman and Passan agree that Alex Rodriguez remains firm in his refusal to cooperate with a deal, as was reported earlier today. MLB would like Rodriguez to serve a suspension through the 2014 season but could pursue a lifetime ban if he does not cooperate.


Injury Notes: Carpenter, Anderson, Pagan, Chen, Cervelli

As always, the rehabilitation status of injured players can have a major impact on teams' plans as the trade deadline nears. Here are a few updates on some players whose recovery could play a role in the trade market's development:

  • Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter threw over 100 pitches in a bullpen session Friday and could face live hitters shortly, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Though Cards' GM John Mozeliak said recently that Carpenter's status is unlikely to factor into the team's plans, a continued positive trajectory could potentially change that stance.
  • The Athletics received good news on starter Brett Anderson today, with MLB.com's Jane Lee reporting (via Twitter) that he will be shedding his walking boot and beginning to work back from an ankle fracture. She also tweets that manager Bob Melvin is bullish on Anderson returning strong, with Lee suggesting that we could see a repeat of Anderson's mid-August return from last season. While the A's rotation has not exactly been a problem area, some have suggested that Oakland could shop for another arm.
  • It appears that the Giants are prepared to go the rest of the way without center fielder Angel Pagan, with the club putting him on the 60-day DL. The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea also relayed comments (on Twitter) by GM Brian Sabean indicating that the club does not expect him back in 2013. As previously noted, this could make the Giants potential buyers for a Pagan replacement. 
  • On the other hand, in spite of that need (and this evening's earlier report that the club is actively pursuing Ricky Nolasco), San Francisco could instead stand pat. Shea tweets that, according to Sabean, the Giants will not make any acquisitions unless the team turns around its play before the deadline.
  • Though the Orioles recently added a starter in the first significant trade of the pre-deadline market, they could still be considering the addition of more starting pitching. One major factor in Baltimore's internal analysis will surely be the return of Wei-Yin Chen, who has missed much of the year with a strained oblique. Chen looked strong in his rehab outing last night and, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, could take a spot in the rotation as soon as Tuesday. If Chen can pick up where he left off — his ERA stands at 3.04 through his first 47 1/3 innings of the year — it may obviate the need for the O's to revisit the market. 
  • Another day, another bit of bad injury news for the Yankees. As Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports, the catching-strapped club learned yesterday that its primary backstop to start the year, Francisco Cervelli, will have his rehab halted and be shut down for two weeks. With an early August return now the best case scenario for Cervelli and rookie Austin Romine struggling, the Yankees could find it necessary to look for another capable backstop before the trade deadline.


MLB Preparing To Suspend At Least 20 Players In Biogenesis Scandal

9:46pm: Besides Braun and Rodriguez, "other major, major names" are also involved in the Biogenesis case, a source tells Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record (Twitter link).

6:56pm: Major League Baseball is planning to suspend at least 20 players connected to Biogenesis, the Miami clinic under investigation for supplying performance-enhancing drugs, reports T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish of ESPN's Outside The Lines.  Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and begin naming players, with suspensions possibly following within two weeks.

The list of possible suspensions includes Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jhonny Peralta, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto, plus others who are named in documents that the ESPN team haven't had access to, or are known under code names.

MLB officials have also investigated a possible connection between Biogenesis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, as the spokeswoman for Cano's foundation (Sonia Cruz) has had her name appear in some clinic documents.  Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez isn't expected to face suspension for his connection to Biogenesis since the products he obtained from the clinic weren't banned.

The league could look for a 100-game suspension (the penalty for second-time PED offenders) for Rodriguez, Braun and other first-time offenders since both the connection to Biogenesis and previous denials to MLB officials would serve as seperate offenses.  It is unknown how MLB would deal with players like Cabrera or Colon who already have PED suspensions on their record, though these players probably wouldn't face a lifetime ban as three-time offenders — their prior suspensions would likely count as their so-called "first strike," with this next violation putting them in line for 100-game suspensions as well.

Quinn/Gomez/Fish report that, as expected, the accused players will challenge any possible suspensions and it could be difficult for the league to obtain corroborating evidence in the appeals process beyond Bosch's testimony.


Quick Hits: Contreras, Indians, Marlins, Yankees

After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.”  Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.”  Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:

  • Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com.  Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.”  Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
  • The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer.  All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game.  While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
  • With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly.  In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.” 
  • Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman.  Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.  MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here.  Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned.  (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.)  When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option.  I think the two guys are winning.”
  • Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson.  In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in.  Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage.  MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.”  For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.

Venezuelan Links: Mora, Escobar, Cervelli

A trio of venezolanos try to claw their way back to la gran carpa. Yes, that literally translates to "the big carp," but it also means "the big top." Links are in Spanish…

  • Melvin Mora will fly to the states this weekend to begin negotiations with the Giants and Reds, the 40-year-old utilityman told Jonathan Costa Hernández at Líder en Deportes. Mora said his agent received offers from both teams last week, but he didn't yet know the terms. "I haven't had much time for that, due to the kids," Mora said, in reference to his 11-year-old quintuplets.
  • After managing just five innings over the last five years, Kelvim Escobar says he is mounting what will be his final attempt at a comeback. "In two months I'll know where I'm at and the progress of my shoulder," the 36-year-old told Meridiano Television in Venezuela. He said his agent has been contacted by several teams, but they will wait until his shoulder is consistently healthy before attempting to arrange a tryout. In 2009, the Mets signed Escobar to an incentive-laden one year deal, but continued shoulder problems kept him from ever taking the mound.
  • Francisco Cervelli has heard that two teams are interested in obtaining him from the Yankees, but the team doesn't want to trade him, the catcher told Wilmer Reina at La Verdad. The Yankees have reportedly come close to trading Cervelli several times over the last two seasons, but for the moment he is laboring at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and says his singular focus is on improving his offensive output enough for another callup. "I don't know anything about the Major Leagues, not even from the news," he said. "Now I only worry about working at my job and developing as a player."

Quick Hits: Yankees, Pirates, Moyer, Oswalt

C.J. Wilson wasn't at his best tonight in what may have been the final start of his Rangers career. He allowed five walks and four hits through 5 1/3 innings, but he allowed just two runs — enough to keep his team in the game and allow Texas to take a 3-2 series lead. Here are today's links…


AL East Notes: Bundy, Cervelli, Upton, Red Sox

Some news from the AL East…

  • The Orioles have begun negotiations with fourth-overall draft pick Dylan Bundy, reports Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.  Denver Bundy, Dylan's father and also part of his representation team from BBI Sports Group, said today's meeting was "a feeling out process" and the two sides would hopefully discuss figures at their next session on August 10.
  • The Yankees and Pirates almost agreed to a deal that would've seen Francisco Cervelli go to Pittsburgh in exchange for right-hander Brad Lincoln, reports George A. King of the New York Post.  King hears from a Pirates source that the trade "was very close but [the teams] couldn’t agree on the value of the players."  Such a move would have given the Yankees room to call up Jesus Montero as both a backup catcher and as a potential DH platoon partner for Jorge Posada.  Brian Cashman said Montero could potentially be called up once the rosters expand in September.
  • The trade deadline has passed and B.J. Upton is still wearing a Rays uniform, so Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog is already thinking about what a potential Upton extension might cost Tampa Bay.
  • With the Red Sox facing a crunch of prospects for 40-man roster spots this winter, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal wasn't surprised that the Sox moved three of those on-the-bubble prospects in the Erik Bedard trade.  Boston would've risked losing Chih-Hsien Chiang, Tim Federowicz, and Stephen Fife for nothing in the Rule 5 draft had the club not been able to send Chiang to the Mariners and Federowicz/Fife to the Dodgers.
  • By acquiring two first basemen (Chris Davis and prospect Aaron Baker) from their deadline deals, the Orioles appear to be taking themselves out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes this winter, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.  I respectfully disagree with Schmuck — if the O's have a chance at Fielder, they won't hesitate to sign him for the sake of Davis (who has struggled against lefties at the Major League level) or a minor prospect like Baker.  Davis could also be moved into a DH role, or moved to third base while Mark Reynolds become the designated hitter.

Russell Martin Suitors

5:50pm: The Yankees and Red Sox are in on Martin and the Mets and Blue Jays are less interested, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

4:34pm: The Dodgers have not been in contact with Martin's agent since Thursday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter).

3:29pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that Martin will be a catcher next year. The Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Mets all examined his medical information in the last day (Twitter links).

3:09pm: The Mets consider Martin too expensive and too much of an injury risk, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). 

MONDAY, 1:31pm: The Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mets are also thought to be interested in Martin, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.

FRIDAY, 9:16am: The Yankees, who tried to trade for Russell Martin this week, are one of six teams interested in the 27-year-old free agent, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that the Yankees nearly sent Francisco Cervelli to the Dodgers for Martin (Twitter links). In fact, the Yankees and Dodgers even exchanged medical records on Wednesday. 

The Dodgers are nearing a deal with Rod Barajas, but they still have interest in re-signing Martin. Agent Matt Colleran says the Dodgers view his client differently than most teams do.

“They want to continue discussions with the idea that Russ could come back and catch, play second base and third and a little bit out of outfield to see if he likes something like that in the event he ever wants to transition from behind the plate,” Colleran said.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Royals, Rangers, Mariners, Mets or Brewers look to upgrade behind the plate. ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that Martin, who is from Montreal, wants to play on the East Coast (Twitter link).


Interesting Non-Tenders

By our unofficial count, 50 players were non-tendered yesterday.  You can sort the decisions by team in our non-tender tracker.  Those that reached our playing time requirements have been added to the 2011 free agents list, which is robust at the moment.  Let's take a look at some of the more interesting non-tenders.