Gerrit Cole Rumors
It was on this day in 1986 that Rollie Fingers chose his mustache over the Reds. The veteran closer was offered a Spring Training invite by the Reds on the condition that Fingers shave his famous handlebar in order to meet with the team's facial hair policies. Fingers turned the deal down and instead retired, ending his 17-year Major League career and paving the way for his eventual induction into the Hall of Fame.
Here's the latest from around the NL Central...
- The Cardinals exchanged figures with Alex Gonzalez this offseason but couldn't come to terms, and the veteran shortstop instead signed with the Brewers, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports. The Cards' best offer was a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $1MM plus another $1MM if Gonzalez made the roster, which couldn't top Gonzalez's deal with Milwaukee. A dozen teams scouted Gonzalez's offseason workout sessions, with the Red Sox and Dodgers showing particular interest in the 36-year-old.
- Steve Hammond, Adam Wainwright's agent, is out of the country for the next 10 days so there won't be any immediate extension talks between Wainwright and the Cardinals, B.J. Rains of St. Louis 1380 AM Radio reports (via Twitter). We heard on Monday that both sides were keeping the lines of communication open about a new contract for the ace right-hander.
- Dontrelle Willis talks to CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney about his career, his short-lived retirement, his controversial exit from the Orioles organization and his return to the Cubs on a minor league contract.
- The Pirates are desperate for success but ESPN's Buster Olney notes that the team must weigh the short-term benefit of a winning season against the long-term costs (both developmentally and financially) of calling up young starters Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith noted earlier today that the Pirates could prevent Cole from gaining Super Two eligibility by delaying his callup until mid-June.
As Day Two of the Winter Meetings rapidly approaches, here are some miscellaneous links to get all of you insomniacs out there through the night...
- The Athletics had a fair amount of talks with the Marlins about Yunel Escobar yesterday but will be meeting on Stephen Drew today, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington didn't sound very open to the idea of Gerrit Cole breaking camp with a spot in the Major League rotation when he talked to reporters (including MLB.com's Tom Singer) yesterday. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft reached Triple-A for one start last year.
- The Mets consider Bobby Parnell to be "virtually untouchable" right now, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Tigers tried to acquire Parnell last season but were rejected, according to Rubin. That could explain the report shortly after last year's Winter Meetings that the Mets had considered dealing the flamethrower to an unknown team.
- The Padres had "very rough" extension talks with Chase Headley earlier this year and would like to keep him long-term, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. There's no great urgency since he's controlled for two more seasons, GM Josh Byrnes said Monday, but they'll continue talking over the winter and could work something out in the spring.
- Danny Espinosa isn't bothered by trade talks speculating that the Nationals could deal him to the Rays, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Such a trade would reunite Espinosa with his college teammate, Evan Longoria.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos will be focused on smaller moves to add depth at the Winter Meetings as the team's payroll is "in the dust, the rear-view mirror" of where he thought it was going to be for 2013 (Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reporting). Toronto opened 2012 with an $83.7MM payroll but projects to be in the $120MM range for 2013 as things stand right now.
The first Sunday of the new NFL season has not gone unnoticed by MLB players. The Cubs are celebrating by wearing a NFL jersey of their choice on their flight from Pittsburgh to Houston tonight, reports Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. But, like their season, the idea wasn't without its pitfalls. While Floridian Anthony Rizzo (Dolphins), Baltimore native Steve Clevenger (Ravens), and Virginian Shawn Camp (Redskins) came prepared, others were left to the mercy of jersey shopping in Pittsburgh. So, newly acquired Jason Berken, a Packers season-ticker holder, had to settle for a Steelers jersey. Enough of the gridiron and back to the diamond:
- The Stephen Strasburg shutdown will test all of Nationals' intangibles: its confidence, cohesion, and just plain stubbornness, writes Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.
- Jake Westbrook will miss his next start for the Cardinals with a right oblique injury. MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch reports Chris Carpenter is a possibility to replace Westbrook on Thursday. Carpenter, who has yet to pitch this year after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, is set to throw a simulatated game tomorrow, but Langosch says the team could switch the schedule should they want Carpenter to step in immediately.
- The Pirates are still developing their offseason plans for Gerrit Cole, the first overall selection in the 2011 draft, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia). "We've got to spend some time with him and see where we can place him," Biertempfel quoted GM Neal Huntington as saying. Cole was roughed up in his final Triple-A start (eight runs in just two innings), but Huntingon was philosophical, "The biggest lesson is, Triple-A (batters) can hit 100 mph (pitches). If you keep coming with 100 mph, they're going to keep hitting it. You've got to use all your pitches. Things snowballed on him, things got a little quick for him. He's going to be better for it."
The Games of the XXX Olympiad came to a close today in London. Nearly 11,000 athletes from 204 nations took part in over 300 events in 26 sports. But, none of the Olympic pagentry involved baseball. So, let's celebrate America's National Pastime with the latest news, notes and quotes:
- Not everyone in the Mets front office is sold that they can be a sustained contender moving forward with Ike Davis at first base, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. One internal option would be moving Lucas Duda in from the outfield and some believe that he would be more comfortable at first.
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon wouldn't speak with reporters following a rare on-field appearance before last night's game against the Braves, but he'll have to start answering questions soon, writes David Lennon of Newsday. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Mets, including what their projected payroll will be for 2013 and if the franchise is on the rebound financially.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says Gerrit Cole, last year's top draft pick, will not be a September callup, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia). "We've not talked about it internally. My gut (feeling) is no." Huntington said. "To drop him into bullpen up here in September is not something we have lot of interest in doing. We have a lot of other options, instead of rushing a young prospect." Cole is currently starting at Double-A Altoona.
- The A's had interest in Mike Aviles prior to the trade deadline, but a deal is unlikely now the Red Sox have placed the shortstop on waivers, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser says the chances are slim the A's will acquire a shortstop before the August 31st deadline for playoff-roster eligibility.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
11:27am: Interest in Upton is said to be "huge'' and the Diamondbacks are only interested in making a "perfect" deal, sources tell Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Sources say that the outfielder's limited no-trade list is not the same as it was a couple years ago when it consisted of the Tigers, Indians, A's, and Royals. Detroit, Heyman notes, is a team that would have interest in Upton.
10:54am: The Pirates have had preliminary trade discussions involving the Padres' Carlos Quentin and the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton, major league sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.com. Talent evaluators from both teams have scouted PIttsburgh's farm system in recent days and the teams are preparing lists of prospects they would target in a potential deal.
It is unlikely the Pirates would acquire both outfielders, but they have a strong desire to land one of the two. Quentin, 29, would require a lesser package as he is eligible for free agency after this season. Upton, 24, would cost more in terms of prospects as he is under contract through 2015.
When it comes to trades, the Pirates are said to be more attached to Gerrit Cole than Jameson Taillon, in part because Cole is closer to the big leagues. The D'Backs are looking to compete again in 2013 and would likely target players who are closer to the majors in a deal for Upton. The Padres, meanwhile, are willing to take younger players, as long as they have considerable upside.
Here's the latest from both of MLB's Central divisions...
- MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm doesn't put much stock in the latest Gavin Floyd trade rumors between the White Sox and the Blue Jays because of the Jays organization's "cone of silence" under Alex Anthopoulos. "There’s a general rule of thumb Toronto’s GM likes to use in these type of situations," Chisholm writes. "If a report gets out that a deal is done then it very likely is done. If a report comes out that two teams are discussing something, or that a team and agent have begun serious negotiations, more often than not it’s false."
- Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer declined to comment on whether the team was any closer to a multiyear extension with Matt Garza, reports Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. We heard last month that the two sides planned to talk contract during Spring Training.
- Dusty Baker was non-committal about his future with the Reds as he enters the last year of his contract, Baker told the media (including MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom). "This year, it's my decision, as well as a [Reds] ownership decision. It depends whether I'm asked back. It depends on my feelings," Baker said. "You get to that certain point in your life. We'll see at the end of the year or before it, depending on how things go."
- Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez (a.k.a. Fausto Carmona) has agreed to complete a work program in the Dominican Republic in exchange for having the false identity charges against him dropped, reports The Associated Press. Hernandez is currently on Cleveland's restricted list while the matter is being investigated. It is still unknown when Hernandez will be allowed to obtain a new visa and resume his baseball career.
- The Indians are interested in Jorge Soler, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the Tribe will be outbid for the Cuban outfield prospect. At least nine teams are known to have some level of interest in Soler, with the Cubs considered by "most in the industry" to be the favorites.
- The Pirates' process of rebuilding their minor league system in order to restock their team's talent base is slowly beginning to pay dividends, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole's first pro Spring Training experience and his road to being the first overall pick in last summer's amateur draft are profiled by J. Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Cardinals are optimistic that Matt Holliday will return from a finger injury before the season ends, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Getting the star left fielder would be a major boost for the Cardinals, who are chasing the Braves in the National League Wild Card race. Here's the latest on the NL Central...
- Chris Snyder told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he'd like the Pirates to pick up his $6.75MM option for 2012 (Twitter link). It seems more likely that they'll pay a $750K buyout for the catcher, who has a .772 OPS in 119 plate appearances this year.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says talks between Rafael Furcal and the Cardinals are progressing slowly, according to Nate Latsch and Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The Cardinals aren't gaining momentum on an extension for Lance Berkman, either.
- Gary Hughes, who was named one of the top ten scouts of the century by Baseball America, told the Cubs that he will not return in 2012, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Hughes, a 45-year veteran of pro baseball had been a special assistant under former GM Jim Hendry
- Astros executives met with manager Brad Mills and his coaching staff yesterday to discuss the past year and look ahead to the 2012 roster, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The executives and field staff exchanged ideas about players, particularly free agents and those who will be out of options next Spring Training.
- The Astros are inviting all of their coaches back for 2012, according to senior director of social media Alyson Footer (on Twitter). GM Ed Wade told McTaggart that pitching coach Doug Brocail has yet to commit to returning in 2012 (Twitter link).
- First overall pick Gerrit Cole is likely to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year, Jenifer Langosch writes at MLB.com. The Pirates haven't made an official announcement regarding the right-hander's participation at this point.
A few links for all of you Bucco fans out there to enjoy on your Saturday afternoons:
- No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole is excited to be joining the up-and-coming Pirates, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Cole will pitch in the Pirates' instructional league next month, and GM Neal Huntigton says Cole could head to the Arizona Fall League after that.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looks at the Pirates' decision to build for the future by investing in the draft rather than spending on Major Leaguers. The Pirates' total spends of $17MM this summer and $47MM over the past four seasons are both more than any organization in baseball.
- Langosch points out the success of this process by highlighting that the Pirates are just 57,108 fans shy of matching 2010's attendance mark. Tonight's sellout at PNC Park is the club's 16th this season, which is just three sellouts shy of their single-season record.
- The Pirates may make a 40-man roster move in the coming days to call up a starting pitcher that will replace the injured Paul Maholm, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Biertempfel speculates on Sean Gallagher and Brian Burres. Ross Ohlendorf is also available to return after missing most of the season due to injury.
The deadline for signing draft picks has passed, but there’s still lots of news about 2011 draftees. The latest:
- Padres draftee Brett Austin turned down $1.5MM from San Diego to play for North Carolina State, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres (Twitter link). San Diego selected the catcher with the 54th overall pick in the draft.
- As Jim Callis of Baseball America shows, the Pirates, Nationals and Royals lead all MLB teams in bonus expenditures from 2007-11. Four AL East teams - everyone but the Yankees - are next on the list.
- Callis also details this year's expenditures, with the Pirates, Nationals and Royals again leading the way.
- 2011 draftees Gerrit Cole, Bubba Starling and Danny Hultzen obtained three of the top five bonuses in draft history, according to Callis.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano could use a change of scenery, as Jon Heyman explains at SI.com. One rival GM considers the right-hander a fourth starter, which matches Tim Dierkes’ assessment of Zambrano from yesterday. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, starting with another note on the Cubs...
- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has had good things to say about GM Jim Hendry, but Heyman hears that Hendry is still “at risk” of losing his job. Despite a weekend report to the contrary, Hendry doesn't have any guarantees.
- The Marlins demoted Logan Morrison to the minors because Marlins officials, including manager Jack McKeon, believe the outfielder needs to show more maturity and be less outspoken. It doesn't appear that Morrison will file a grievance.
- One GM called first overall pick Gerrit Cole a “slam dunk” number one starter, Heyman reports. The Pirates signed the former UCLA right-hander to an $8MM deal on Monday.
- The Yankees won’t release Jorge Posada, but it appears that he’ll have to earn a spot on their playoff roster.