Francisco Liriano Rumors
Perhaps no division will be more active at the trade deadline this summer than the NL Central, which houses three sellers (Cubs, Brewers, Astros) and three buyers (Reds, Pirates, Cardinals). Here's the latest from baseball's only six-team division...
- The Cubs are at an impasse with the Dodgers over Ryan Dempster while the Braves continue to monitor the situation according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. People in the game think Atlanta could get involved with Dempster again even though their first deal fell through.
- If the Cubs don't trade Matt Garza this summer, he seems likely to be dealt in the winter, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A trade seems likely as the two sides haven't discussed a contract extension since talks broke off this spring.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the Cardinals have discussed Francisco Liriano with the Twins as they look to bolster their pitching staff before the deadline.
- The Brewers have had some inquiries about Manny Parra, but they may keep him and try him as a starter again, Knobler tweets.
- The Pirates have acquired outfielder/first baseman Christian Marrero from the Braves for infielder Brian Friday, reports Dan Simpson of Talking Chop (on Twitter). Both players will head to Triple-A, adds Michael Sanserino of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
4:58pm: The Angels and Orioles remain in the mix for Liriano, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
12:41pm: The Orioles have inquired about Francisco Liriano, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Baltimore is looking to acquire a starting pitcher and their chances at a high-end starter such as Zack Greinke aren’t great, so they’re inquiring on other arms.
Jayson Stark reported yesterday that Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded. The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays and Braves are believed to have some interest in Liriano, Heyman reported earlier this month. The 28-year-old left-hander has a 5.31 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in 100 innings this year. He earns $5.5MM and is eligible for free agency after the season.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
- The Brewers are not ready to declare themselves sellers, but after losing three straight games to the Reds over the weekend Milwaukee is moving in that direction, Rosenthal reports. “We’ve put ourselves in a position where it’s a tough hill to climb,” GM Doug Melvin acknowledged. The Rangers, Angels, Braves and Nationals are among the teams that have shown some level of interest in Zack Greinke, according to Rosenthal. The 44-50 Brewers could also trade Randy Wolf, Francisco Rodriguez and George Kottaras, among others.
- The Phillies and Dodgers have discussed Shane Victorino, Morosi reports (on Twitter). However, there’s no momentum toward a deal at this point.
- The Blue Jays are still looking for a starting pitcher even after acquiring J.A. Happ, Morosi notes (on Twitter).
- The Twins haven’t put Josh Willingham on the trade market yet, but he’s in high demand, Morosi reports (on Twitter).
- The Twins are inclined to listen to trade offers for Francisco Liriano, because they could obtain power arms for the future by completing a deal, Morosi reports.
- MLBTR summarized more rumors from Rosenthal earlier today.
As Tigers left-hander Phil Coke celebrates his 30th birthday, here's are a few rumors from around the AL Central...
- The Twins are looking for pitching in exchange for Francisco Liriano and in any deadline deal, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports.
- Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez is expected to soon receive a new visa that would allow him to return to the United States, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Hernandez has been training in the Dominican Republic but would require some minor league starts before returning to the Tribe and may yet face a suspension for using his false "Fausto Carmona" identity, though the Indians don't think a suspension is likely.
- James Schmehl of MLive.com suggests the Tigers could trade the extra draft pick they were awarded in yesterday's inaugural competitive balance lottery. The Tigers will get a compensation pick after the second round and, unlike other MLB draft picks, these competitive balance picks are allowed to be dealt.
The Twins have the worst record in the AL and lots of pieces to offer at the trade deadline. Here's the latest from Minnesota, courtesy of 1500ESPN.com's Phil Mackey...
- The Angels and Blue Jays are among the teams who have shown legitimate interest in Francisco Liriano. The Red Sox had internal discussions about the left-hander as far back as Spring Training, but their current level of interest is unknown.
- The Twins have no interest in taking on Jonathan Sanchez and his pro-rated $5.6MM salary, but he is a "possibility" if he clears waivers and becomes a free agent. The Royals designated Sanchez for assignment yesterday.
- The Reds have been looking for a leadoff man and have been scouting Denard Span.
Nationals starters lead MLB in everything from ERA (3.21) to wins above replacement (10.7) to average fastball velocity (93.6 mph), but the team’s decision makers are eyeing rotation help all the same. The Nationals are exploring trades for starters, including Ryan Dempster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Zack Greinke of the Brewers, who was nearly traded to Washington following the 2010 season, and Francisco Liriano of the Twins are among the other potential targets for the Nationals, Rosenthal reports. Meanwhile, the Braves, Tigers, Dodgers and Red Sox are among the other clubs pursuing Dempster.
The Nationals’ interest in adding pitching depth makes sense given the team’s stated intention to limit Stephen Strasburg’s innings. John Lannan is an internal candidate to start for Washington if GM Mike Rizzo doesn't find any deals to his liking.
The Nationals are also seeking an everyday catcher, and Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies is one of their potential targets, Rosenthal reports. Wilson Ramos is out for the season, so the Nationals have been relying on Jesus Flores and Jhonatan Solano behind the plate.
The White Sox lead the AL Central with a 49-39 record, and they are considering at least one high-profile midseason reinforcement. The White Sox have Zack Greinke on their radar, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today. Here are the latest AL Central rumors, starting in Chicago...
- The White Sox agreed to sign Dominican prospect Luis Castillo for $450K, the Dominican Prospect League announced. The league release describes Castillo as a "man child" who hits the ball hard and runs well for his size.
- The Tigers and White Sox are both prioritizing starting pitching in trade talks, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports.
- The Twins haven't made Josh Willingham off-limits to other teams, but they aren't shopping him, Phil Mackey and Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com report. Willingham, who's in the first year of a three-year, $21MM contract, is "definitely" Minnesota's most valuable trade chip, 1500ESPN.com reports. However, the Twins are enjoying Willingham's production and would prefer not to trade a player so early in a multiyear contract.
- The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays and Braves are believed to have some interest in Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, Heyman reports.
The Mariners don’t intend to trade Felix Hernandez this summer, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported yesterday. However, many other stars will be available in trade talks between now and the end of July. Here are Morosi’s latest notes and rumors:
- The Dodgers and Tigers are among the most serious suitors for Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, Morosi reports. Ten teams have reportedly shown interest in Dempster.
- One executive predicts Shane Victorino will be the first big-name player traded. The Dodgers have some interest in Victorino, and the Rangers, Tigers, Pirates, Marlins and Giants have all scouted him recently.
- The Blue Jays and Angels are showing interest in Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, Morosi reports. Liriano has a 2.83 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings since returning to Minnesota's rotation at the end of May, so many teams have been watching the Twins on days Liriano starts.
After missing two years due to elbow injuries, righty Ben Sheets made a triumphant comeback start today as a member of the Braves, tossing six scoreless innings against the Mets for the win. Should Sheets manage a dozen decent starts for the Braves, the minor league signing will stand as a shrewd under-the-radar move by GM Frank Wren. Today's shrewd, under-the-radar links:
- "I feel like myself. That's one thing I can say I never felt like in Oakland," Sheets told reporters today including Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sheets signed a one-year, $10MM contract with the A's prior to the 2010 season despite missing all of '09.
- "It's just as necessary for the Yankees to have young players with a few years of control as it is for the Twins or the A's," GM Billy Beane explained to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times yesterday. The A's GM has been trading away players further from free agency lately, but this year Beane's club is surprisingly in the mix for a wild card spot.
- Scouts from the Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Mets, Reds, Padres and Nationals have attended recent Francisco Liriano starts, report Phil Mackey and Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, though some of those clubs may have had other interests. Slugger Josh Willingham would require a lopsided offer and seems likely to stay put, as we've heard before. Willingham is signed through 2014 and is interested in staying with the Twins beyond his current contract.
- Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer had Mike Trout second on his board for the 2009 draft, after only Stephen Strasburg, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. The Angels had two consecutive picks at 24 and 25, with the Yankees at 29, and Oppenheimer thought he might get Trout once the Halos took another high school outfielder in Randal Grichuk at 24. Of course, Angels scouting director Eddie Bane took Trout at 25. Trout told Harper he's motivated by all the teams that passed on him.
- The Diamondbacks signed Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler. BA says Alcantara draws praise for his defense, and the D'Backs had been favored to sign him. BA ranked Alcantara 18th overall in the July 2nd class.