Franklin Morales Rumors

Red Sox Acquire Franklin Morales

The Red Sox have acquired Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (via Twitter).  In order to make room for Morales, Hideki Okajima has been designated for assignment by the BoSox.

Boston has until November to either agree on a player in the Morales trade or pay a nominal amount of money to the Rockies, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.

Morales was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2008 season.  The left-hander throws the ball extremely hard as evidenced by his 94.4 mph fastball last year.  Across parts of five big league seasons, he owns a 4.83 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9.

The 25-year-old is out of options and the Rockies have reportedly been concerned about losing him to waivers.  Yesterday we learned that the Rockies were measuring trade interest in Morales as well as fellow fireballer Felipe Paulino

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) first reported that the two sides were close to an agreement while Troy Renck of The Denver Post (via Twitter) reported that a deal was completed.

Rockies Measuring Trade Interest In Paulino, Morales

The Rockies are "expected to continue measuring trade interest" in hard-throwing pitchers Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.  At least one NL Central team has expressed interest in Morales, he adds.  Both pitchers are out of options, so the Rockies can't demote them without exposing them to waivers.

Paulino, 27, was acquired from the Astros in November for Clint Barmes.  He throws hard and gets strikeouts, but allows tons of hits and plenty of walks and home runs.  He's relieving now, but has 34 career starts to his name.  Paulino missed a good chunk of 2010 with a shoulder injury. 

Morales, 25, was considered the eighth best prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2008 season, according to Baseball America.  He has a higher profile than Paulino, having made a couple of playoff starts in '07 and served as the Rockies' closer at times.  There might be five or six lefties in the Majors who throw harder than Morales.  However, he's prone to flyballs and walks and has also battled shoulder injuries.  Paulino and Morales are projects, so they make the most sense for non-contenders.

Rosenthal On Chapman, Braves, Rockies, Norris

Aroldis Chapman went on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation today, after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on the Reds’ options for proceeding with the struggling Cuban left-hander. Here’s the latest on Chapman plus notes from around the league:

  • A veteran scout insists that the Reds need to demote Chapman and make him a starter, but pitching coach Bryan Price isn’t so sure that a demotion is the way to go. He points out that Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson took time to develop. “Both struggled with command until they got enough work to figure out how their body works, how to put their hand in the right position to throw quality strikes,” Price said.
  • The Braves would ideally add a leadoff hitter and put Martin Prado second in the order, according to Rosenthal. He suggests the Braves could target leadoff options Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Denard Span or David DeJesus via trade or free agency after the season.
  • The Rockies appear to be concerned about losing out of options relievers Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales to waivers.
  • Astros GM Ed Wade says Bud Norris has become a much more mature pitcher. The 26-year-old right-hander has 60 strikeouts in 50 innings this year.

Odds & Ends: Marlins, Wigginton, Rockies, Wood

It was on this day in 1905 that Shirley Povich, one of the great sportswriters of all time, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Povich, who passed away in 1998, would've been 105 today and no doubt still would've been keeping an eye on Stephen Strasburg for the Washington Post.

Some news items….

Colorado Re-Signs Matt Belisle, Randy Flores

8:42 PM: The Denver Post's Troy Renck has an update on the contract details

6:25 PM: The Rockies re-signed relievers Matt Belisle and Randy Flores to one-year contracts on Thursday.  Terms of the deals weren't announced, though both pitchers were eligible for salary arbitration.  Belisle, a right-hander, posted a 5.52 ERA but a strong 4.4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 appearances last year with Colorado after spending his first five big-league seasons in Cincinnati.  Southpaw Flores appeared in 27 games for the Rockies last season, recording a strong 10.5 K/9.

Tracy Ringolsby believes that with Belisle and Flores back in the fold, Joe Beimel is the odd man out in the Rockies' bullpen.  Beimel had a 4.02 ERA in 26 games with Colorado after being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline, but Ringolsby thinks that Colorado will stick with Flores and Franklin Morales as their main left-handed relief options.

In other Rockies news from Thursday, the club outrighted reliever Joel Peralta and infielder Omar Quintanilla,  Peralta (who is now a free agent) is still being pursued for a minor-league contract while Quintanilla is on the Triple-A Colorado Springs roster.

Morales To Rejoin Rockies

Franklin Morales will rejoin the Rockies on Monday and is scheduled to start on Tuesday, according to Tracy Ringolsby.

"The question is who will go to make room for Morales. The likely candidate would be Matt Belisle, who was added to the roster on April 8, when Morales was sent to Triple-A… Belisle, a non-roster invitee to spring training, is believed to have signed a 45-day clause when he was placed on the big-league roster, meaning the Rockies could send him out anytime in the first 45 days after he joined the team, and they would be responsible for only a pro-rated portion of his big-league salary, not the full amount, and he would accept a minor-league assignment if he clears waivers."

Morales was Colorado's most consistent starter in  spring training and carried over that success into his first April start where he threw six innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks, striking out six. He followed that start with five scoreless ones for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The lefty was a prized prospect whose control, command and velocity problems set him back in 2008. Morales has been working on his consistency and still has front of the rotation upside. Ringolsby says "the Rockies feel they need to recall him to keep Morales moving forward."

Rockies Agree To Contracts With 21

Steve Foster of reports that the Rockies have signed 21 players to one-year contracts. Some of the more recognizable names include Chris Iannetta, Greg Smith, Ryan Spilborghs, Matt Murton and Franklin Morales.

Renck’s Mailbag: Snell, Helton, Holliday

Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post published a mailbag today with some good rumors.

  • The Pirates wanted Franklin Morales, Esmil Rogers, and Chris Nelson for Ian Snell.  Can’t blame ‘em for asking.
  • Last winter, the A’s asked for Ubaldo Jimenez in a deal for Dan Haren.  As good as Haren’s been, the Rockies still have to be happy they passed.
  • Renck doesn’t see the Rox picking up Shawn Chacon – reportedly he has not been working out over the past month.
  • Renck reveals that Todd Helton asked the Rockies upon signing his megadeal that money not be deferred.  Nonetheless it’d be an intriguing way to free up cash to use on Matt Holliday.  Renck feels the Rockies might offer Holliday five years, while he’ll seek seven.

Rockies Intensify Search For Fifth Starter

The Rockies and Pirates were in discussions about starter Ian Snell before the non-waiver trade deadline, but Pittsburgh’s asking price of Franklin Morales was to high for the Rox to match, effectively killing the deal.

After another bad outing from one of their starters this week, however, and knowing they will look for a fifth starter via the waiver wire, the Rockies may have to revisit the Snell talks, as Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post thinks he would’ve been a "tantalizing option;" Renck also mentions Josh Fogg as an alternative for the Rox.

Fogg pitched for the Rockies in 2006 and Snell drew some interest from the Mets before the deadline.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for Post-deadline rumors? Comments? alexo05 [at] umpbump [daught] com.

Blocked Prospects: Joe Koshansky

25 year-old first baseman Joe Koshansky played for the same University of Virginia team as Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds. Like Reynolds he was drafted in 2004, falling (to the surprise of some) to the sixth round (pick 190).

He’s moved steadily through the Rockies system and in 2005 was named Baseball America’s Rockies Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .291/.373/.603 with 36 home runs in 453 A ball at bats. He’s maintained similar averages at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, although his power has steadily declined.  On top of that, Koshansky plays at the highest elevation of any pro park in the country

He’s also a bit of a stikeout artist — once every four plate appearances through his minor league career. In this sense he’s the antithesis of Todd Helton, the guy currently occupying first for the Rockies. Unless Helton (signed through 2011 for a mountain of money) goes into severe mid-30s decline or is injured Koshansky is officially blocked at first.

Koshansky has said he’s open to moving to a corner outfield position, but with Brad Hawpe having signed an extension, and ongoing talks to sign Matt Holliday long term, a switch to the outfield is even less likely than getting past Helton. For the time being he’s stuck in Colorado Springs where he’s currently leading the team in both HRs and total bases to go along with a .441 OBP.

Time to cast this line out and see who’s biting. With Franklin Morales off to a terrible start and Mark Redman being Mark Redman, one would think the Rockies might be on the lookout for a starter come July. Flipping Koshansky could be the ticket.  The Rox were able to snag a couple of live arms back in ’06 when they traded Ryan Shealy to KC. 

Aaron Shinsano writes for East Windup Chronicle.