Giancarlo Stanton Rumors

Quick Hits: Colon, Angels, Cardinals, Stanton, Cashner

The Mets have not yet tried sending Bartolo Colon through revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. One reason this is significant is because Colon would represent one possible upgrade for an Angels team that just lost Garrett Richards to what appears to be a significant knee injury. It’s unclear whether Colon would be claimed by another team before getting to the Angels. He’s pitched fairly well this year, despite his age, and he’s set to make a reasonable salary of $11MM in 2015. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • At least so far, the David Freese / Peter Bourjos trade has worked out fairly well for the Angels, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes. Freese got off to a slow start but has hit well since June, while Fernando Salas has been steady out of the Angels’ bullpen. Meanwhile, Bourjos hasn’t hit well in a part-time role with the Cardinals (although he continues to provide defensive value), and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk has spent most of the season at Triple-A.
  • Calls for the Marlins to trade Giancarlo Stanton may have been premature, writes Rosenthal. Next season, Stanton will still only be 25 and under control through 2016, and the Marlins will have a healthy Jose Fernandez. They might also get more help from young hitters Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, so they could contend in 2015. While they likely won’t be able to sign Stanton long term before he becomes eligible for free agency following the 2016 season, they might be able to simply wait to trade him, perhaps for established players rather than prospects.
  • Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner will make his first start since June 18 on Saturday in Arizona, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. On his way back from a shoulder injury, Cashner pitched five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A El Paso Monday. Cashner has emerged as one of the top starters in the National League in the past two seasons, and he had a 2.76 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings this year before he got hurt.

Marlins Not Trading Stanton, Will Pursue Top-Of-Rotation Starters In Offseason

Reports have surfaced that the Marlins plan to make legitimate run at extending Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, and MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro hears the same, shedding more light on the situation. According to his sources, the Marlins are serious about not only building around Stanton, but supplementing him by adding a top-flight starter this winter. Frisaro says the 2015 payroll could jump to $75MM, which, while modest relative to the rest of the league, would be about $30MM higher than the team’s Opening Day payroll from the current season. He suggests that the team could make a run at James Shields on the open market, who would front the rotation while Jose Fernandez rehabs from Tommy John surgery.

Suffice it to say, Frisaro gets the impression that the Marlins won’t be trading Stanton under any circumstances this offseason. In fact, he hears that even in the event that Stanton doesn’t sign an extension, the team is comfortable going year-to-year and keeping him as long as possible, then watching him leave in free agency. Miami feels that it has built a team that can be a serious postseason contender in 2015 and 2016 — Stanton’s final two years of arbitration eligibility.

As it stands right now, the Marlins could slot a free agent starter atop their rotation and fill in the remaining four spots with Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler. Fernandez projects to return around the All-Star break next year, if not sooner, and the team also has one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball — Andrew Heaney — looming in the minor leagues. With rising young talent such as Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna on board, that would seem to be enough to give them a chance to contend in 2015.

Frisaro adds that in the hypothetical event that the Marlins ever do decide to move Stanton, it won’t be solely for a package of prospects. The Marlins would require Major League talent from another club’s roster in addition to top prospects in order to part with their elite slugger. As Frisaro writes: “You’re not going to see a repeat of the Miguel Cabrera trade. It’s not going to be Stanton for six prospects.”


Red Sox Links: Uehara, Bradley, Stanton

Here’s the latest news out of Fenway Park…

  • Ben Cherington said the Red Sox “haven’t gotten to” the stage of exploring a contract extension for closer Koji Uehara, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports, though they’ll broach the topic in October.  “He’s a guy who has done a great job for us, certainly one of the guys that we would love to have here. We’ll address that after the season,” Cherington said.  As for Uehara, he is “happy and honored they feel that way…Boston has been good for me, but they are one of 30 teams I would consider.”  As Abraham notes, there has been speculation that the Sox could extend a one-year qualifying offer to Uehara since they (unlike many teams) can afford spending approximately $15MM on a one-year deal for a closer.
  • Jackie Bradley Jr.‘s offensive struggles have gotten to the point that WEEI.com’s Alex Speier is wondering about his long-term future with the Sox.  While Bradley hit in the minors and was a heralded prospect entering the season, Speier finds little historical evidence to suggest that Bradley will be able to recover from his poor start and eventually become a decent hitter at the Major League level.
  • If the Marlins are unable to extend Giancarlo Stanton and decide to trade the slugger, John Tomase of the Boston Herald feels “no team is better positioned” than the Red Sox to procure Stanton’s services given the number of top-flight prospects in Boston’s farm system.  The Sox could add a Major League piece to the mix as well in Yoenis Cespedes, though he’d have limited value to Miami given that he can opt out of his contract after the 2015 season.
  • Also from Tomase, the Red Sox are “realistic about their chances” of bringing Jon Lester back in free agency.  Though Boston certainly intends to pursue Lester, the team’s reluctance to commit too much money to over-30 pitchers could see the Sox get outbid by another suitor.


Marlins Plan Offseason Extension Talks With Stanton

As expected, the Marlins are planning to open extension talks with star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton after the season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That seems the logical course after Miami reportedly declined to field trade offers on its best player. While the club intends to make a “legitimate” run at locking up Stanton for the future, some within the front office are reportedly not optimistic about the likelihood of reaching agreement.

The powerful 24-year-old is in the midst of perhaps his finest season as a pro, bouncing back after a down year (by his lofty standards). Through 496 plate appearances in 2014, Stanton has slashed .289/.389/.546 with 27 long balls in the books. Stanton’s career line (.270/.361/.537) is a rare one in today’s game. Of course, that kind of production does not come cheap, and his $6.5MM first-year arbitration salary portends big earnings over his final two seasons of arb eligibility.

With two years of team control left after this season, it could be now or never for Miami to lock up Stanton, who would hit the open market before his age-27 season if he is not signed to a long-term pact. (If neither injury nor ineffectiveness intervene, the free agent bidding for his services would surely be a thing to behold.) Sources tell Heyman that the game’s premier slugger is more motivated to play for a winner than to maximize his earnings, but it remains to be seen whether his personal predilections make it more or less likely that he’ll commit to the Marlins.

Of course, teams will be lining up to talk with the Marlins if negotiations do not progress. With Stanton working hard to round out his game and now profiling as one of the league’s better players and biggest stars, he would have no shortage of suitors. Especially given his age, a not-insignificant portion of the value in Stanton’s rights stems from the exclusive right to negotiate a long-term deal. If Miami cannot cash in on that value, then perhaps another club can. But the Fish apparently are not (rightly, in my view) in any rush to make a move.


Quick Hits: Red Sox, Stanton, Yankees, Pirates

The Red Sox decided to sell last week after it became clear the odds were against them contending, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes in a long piece on the team’s deadline moves. “No matter how we think the team should be playing or could play over the last 60 games or so, the math was against us,” says Sox GM Ben Cherington. “And if we’re really serious about building another team and trying to become as good as we can as quickly as we can, well, what do we need to find out the rest of the way to do that?” Abraham adds that the Red Sox discussed potential trades with 26 of the 29 other teams, ultimately dealing Jon Lester, John Lackey, Stephen Drew and Andrew Miller. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • One player the Red Sox didn’t discuss was Giancarlo Stanton, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The Marlins were bidders for Jon Lester, but they offered a collection of prospects, and the Red Sox did not attempt to pry Stanton away. Of course, from the Marlins’ perspective, dealing an established star like Stanton might have defeated the purpose of trading for another established star in Lester, particularly since Lester is eligible for free agency after the season.
  • When Esmil Rogers entered the game for the Yankees Sunday, he became the team’s 29th pitcher this season, a franchise record, as Katie Sharp of It’s About The Money tweets. That group includes injury cases (Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda etc.), barely used relievers (Bruce Billings, Chris Leroux, Wade LeBlanc, Jim Miller, Cesar Cabral, Jeff Francis) and even former infielder Dean Anna.
  • The Pirates sat out of the trade deadline for the second straight year, but the trading season isn’t over, notes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Bucs made two waiver trades in 2013, acquiring outfielder Marlon Byrd, backup catcher John Buck, and first baseman Justin Morneau. After a quiet July trade deadline in 2014, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Pirates dip into the waiver trade market again.
  • Pedro Alvarez has lost his job as the Pirates’ starter at third base, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Bucs aren’t likely to move him to a different position (probably first base) until after the season, however. The Pirates acquired infielder Jayson Nix Sunday as an additional option at third, although Josh Harrison will likely receive most of the available playing time there.
  • Major League Baseball should consider moving the non-waiver trade deadline to some point in August, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The presence of the second Wild Card causes many teams to consider themselves contenders in late July, leading to few sellers on trade market. Athletics GM Billy Beane says that he approves of the current July 31 deadline but adds that there haven’t been many sellers in recent years. Giants GM Brian Sabean, meanwhile, believes the deadline should be changed.
  • Players who appear likely to clear waivers and become candidates for August trades include Josh Willingham of the Twins, Alex Rios of the Rangers and Carlos Quentin of the Padres, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. That could mean there could be a reasonable market for teams looking for outfielders, especially if Marlon Byrd of the Phillies and Drew Stubbs of the Rockies also clear. John Danks of the White Sox and Scott Feldman of the Astros (who pitched a complete game today) are among the starting pitchers likely to clear.
  • The Dodgers and Brewers had the most interest in Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit, Heyman tweets, noting that Benoit is unlikely to clear waivers.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Marlins Hoping To Buy, Not Looking To Deal Stanton

The Marlins are still hoping to be buyers at next week’s trade deadline, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. Miami has won five of its last six and have rising optimism, although the team is still eight games out of first in the NL East and 5 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race. They’re interested in a starting pitcher and a second baseman to hit atop the order, although the second baseman might be a player from the high minors rather than a major leaguer.

Unsurprisingly, the Marlins do not have interest in trading Giancarlo Stanton, as Frisaro also notes. If they were to sell, the Marlins would have a number of interesting trade pieces, including Stanton, Casey McGehee, Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn.


Cafardo On Napoli, Stanton, Marlins, Rockies

The Red Sox, Rangers and Phillies are all struggling this season but for different reasons, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe touches on each team’s situation in his weekly Sunday notes column.  Boston’s young talent (as either lineup upgrades or trade chips) puts them “in the best shape” according to one AL executive, while Rangers GM Jon Daniels intends to address his team’s injury-riddled rotation at the deadline.  Philadelphia seems to be in the toughest shape of the three given that they both have a number of hard-to-move expensive veterans on the roster, plus Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley haven’t seemed willing to waive their no-trade clauses.

Here’s some more from Cafardo’s latest…

  • The Red Sox have received some calls about Mike Napoli.  The first baseman has spent some time on the DL this year but is still hitting .265/.386/.432 with 10 homers in 316 PA.  The two-year, $32MM contract that Napoli signed last winter carries some limited no-trade protection.  Though Napoli’s bat makes him an attractive commodity, I’d be surprised to see the Sox move him given their own need for power hitting both this season and beyond.
  • A recent Marlins slump led to a renewed series of calls about Giancarlo Stanton, and Miami GM Dan Jennings again reiterated that Stanton isn’t for sale.  Cafardo notes that the Stanton trade rumors won’t die down until he signs a big extension with the Marlins, something that seemed unlikely two offseasons ago when he was upset by the club’s fire sale trade with the Blue Jays.  Now, however, Jennings says, “I think some things have changed for Giancarlo.  He’s taken a leadership role here. He knows we’re serious about winning and how much we want him to be part of that. He’s seen the team come together and the young talent developing around him.”
  • Jennings told Cafardo on Friday that the Marlins would look to be trade deadline buyers if they were within five or six games of the NL East lead going into the All-Star break, and the GM was meeting with owner Jeffrey Loria this weekend.  Miami sits 6.5 games behind the tied Nationals and Braves heading into today’s action.
  • It seems unlikely that the Rockies will deal Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez since owner Charles Monfort feels moving either star would negatively hurt Colorado’s ticket sales and TV ratings.  “Monfort centers everything around Tulo and Cargo,” a Major League source tells Cafardo.  Dick Monfort, the other half of the club’s ownership team, recently said there were no plans to deal wither Tulowitzki or Gonzalez.

Red Sox Reluctant To Move Will Middlebrooks

The Red Sox have been receiving decent trade interest in recent days in third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but Red Sox people are said to seem quite reluctant to deal him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Middlebrooks is on injury rehab following his slow start in Boston but the Sox seem intent on keeping him past July.

Still only 25, Middlebrooks has power, and it isn’t easy to come by power bats in baseball these days. On top of that, if Middlebrooks can show something in the second half, he could be a piece if the Sox try and make a run at Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.  It would obviously take much more than Middlebrooks to get a deal done, but Miami did have some interest in Middlebrooks last winter. Stanton would provide a huge boost for the Red Sox and Boston can build a package with some of the best prospects in baseball to entice Miami if they make Stanton available over the winter. In 21 games this season, Middlebrooks has hit just .197/.305/.324 with two homers.


Astros’ Trade Discussion Notes Leaked

4:30pm: The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:

“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI.  Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible.  This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.

“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information.  While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”

2:29pm: Extensive trade discussion notes, apparently logged by Astros executives about their talks with other teams, have been leaked onto the site AnonBin here and here, with Deadspin breaking the story and Yahoo’s Jeff Passan verifying the authenticity of the logs.  The earliest notes are from June 2013, and the latest are from March of this year.  The Astros have yet to comment on the leak, which provides unprecedented detail into how the team values players and approaches trade discussions.  According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros have been reaching out to people around baseball apologizing for the leaks, and plan to issue a statement soon.

A March feature by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle outlines Ground Control, the Astros’ confidential internal database from which the trade discussion notes were likely taken.  At this time, it’s unclear whether the information reached the Internet via a rogue employee of the team, or by some kind of security vulnerability in Ground Control.  The trade discussion information, mostly from last summer and offseason, is somewhat dated in the fast-moving baseball hot stove world.  The larger ramification is the breach of trust experienced by the many non-Astros executives cited in the notes.  It’s unlikely any team would rule out the Astros as a trading partner based on this breach, but some teams could approach talks with added caution.  Additionally, I imagine the many other teams with such highly sensitive material online are doubling down on security right now.

The Astros’ trade notes from last summer and offseason range from the blockbuster to the mundane; here are some highlights.

  • On November 15th, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow expressed interest with Marlins GM Dan Jennings in slugger Giancarlo Stanton.  From the notes: “[Jennings] said he doesn’t think he’ll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be [George] Springer and [Carlos] Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Luhnow] posited a deal around [Jarred] Cosart and [Delino] DeShields.”  It’s not a big surprise that Luhnow rejected Jennings’ proposal out of hand, as Correa and Springer were ranked #4 and #19 on Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list for ESPN, and are major building blocks for Houston.  That Luhnow didn’t appear to offer either player suggests he was mostly gauging Stanton’s price after an off-year with three years of control remaining.  UPDATE: Jennings has commented to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, saying it’s fabricated that they ever offered Stanton to the Astros or any other team, also using the word “laughable.”
  • Interest in Astros catcher Jason Castro was strong last offseason, with a few surprising suitors.  The Blue Jays and Rangers reached out in mid-October to gauge Castro’s price, the White Sox had “definite high interest,” and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Luhnow in November that he was getting calls from other teams asking if he could get Castro from the Astros for those teams.  Zduriencik offered Dustin Ackley and was turned down.
  • Notes for the Astros’ summer trade discussions begin at June 17th, 2013.  The team ultimately went on to acquire Ronald Torreyes from the Cubs in June, and also dealt veterans Jose Veras, Bud Norris, and Justin Maxwell near the July deadline.  The Astros did not end up acquiring any top 100-type prospects, but they sure did ask for the moon.  For Norris, the Astros sought Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn from the Giants, Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman from the Orioles, Marcus Stroman and more from the Blue Jays, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Garin Cecchini from the Red Sox, and Tyler Glasnow plus Luis Heredia or Nick Kingham from the Pirates.  The Red Sox offered Ryan Lavarnway or Deven Marrero for Norris and were turned down.  In the end, the Astros traded Norris and an international draft slot to the Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a 2014 competitive balance pick.
  • When Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called to express interest in middling Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who had a 5.17 ERA at the time and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, “[Luhnow] told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.”
    Harrell was designated for assignment, outrighted, and traded for a pittance nine months later, so the Astros might have overplayed their hand.
  • “Untouchable” players from other teams were revealed through conversations with their executives.  White Sox GM Rick Hahn wouldn’t consider trading Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, or Avisail Garcia.  Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos considered Brett Lawrie off-limits.  Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco came up as well, in that GM Neal Huntington wouldn’t include him in any Norris deal.  In December talks regarding Harrell, the Giants said they would not discuss Brandon Belt.
  • More random notes: Mets executive Paul DePodesta asked Luhnow if the Astros would consider trading shortstop Jonathan Villar in a Daniel Murphy deal in December…the Marlins expressed interest in Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, and others in December.

NL Notes: Wieland, Stewart, Detwiler, Mets, Stanton

With all the bad news on pitching injuries in recent days, it was refreshing to hear at least some positive reports. Earlier today, we learned that Jon Niese of the Mets is not in need of surgery. And later this evening, Padres GM Josh Byrnes said that an MRI on Joe Wieland's right elbow did not reveal UCL damage, as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Wieland will still be monitored and assessed closely over the coming days, particularly as he is still working back from Tommy John surgery, but will hopefully remain on track to re-start his career and give the club some depth over the coming season. 

  • One injury situation that seems headed in the wrong direction is that of Pirates backup catcher Chris Stewart, who suffered a knee injury. Surgery is "probable," the club said today, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Stewart is set to visit Dr. James Andrews before deciding on a course of action.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney weighed in on the possible opening in Pittsburgh (Twitter links), noting that the team probably prefers to give Tony Sanchez another year of seasoning in Triple-A before promoting him. That could, Olney suggests, leave the club interested in adding a player like Miguel Olivo or one of the Yankees' surplus backstops. (As Olney notes, the Pirates' own surplus of relief arms might make for a good match with New York.)
  • The Nationals will start the year with lefty Ross Detwiler working from the pen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. While Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, and Chris Young battle it out for the fifth and final rotation slot, Detwiler will slide in alongside Jerry Blevins as a southpaw relief option. "He provides something special out of the bullpen," said manager Matt Williams"… We just feel we are a better team with him coming out of our bullpen. He is a power lefty, mid-90s lefty. It doesn't mean he won't start in the future … ."
  • For the Mets, several starting positions still appear to be in flux. At first base, the long-anticipated showdown between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis has not gone anywhere with both still not cleared to run or play defense, writes Anthony Rieber of Newsday. If neither is ready, Josh Satin could take the Opening Day gig by default. Elsewhere, Wilmer Flores is surely a longshot to start at shortstop, but nevertheless he'll get another look there tomorrow, reports ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. While the move comes as Ruben Tejada continues to struggle at the plate and in the field, manager Terry Collins said that the decision is unrelated.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton says he is pleased with how things are going in Miami, but nevertheless "need[s] a season" to assess his long-term future with the club, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com"There's a good vibe here," said Stanton, "and I'd say so if it wasn't."