Giancarlo Stanton Rumors
Here are some National League notes to round out the evening ...
- The Marlins are not going to trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, newly minted GM Dan Jennings emphatically asserted. As ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (via Twitter), Jennings said that "Mr. Stanton is not available" and that the team is "building around him."
- The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
- Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers said yesterday that he was "curious" about free agency but "open-minded going into the off-season," Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. He also expressed some frustration with the recent reports that he turned down a $300MM deal from the club. Now, says Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck, the team may be facing something of a catch-22: the team surely must sign him at some hard-to-fathom rate, but the risks are enormous.
- Though the Cardinals' future remains unquestionably bright given the organization's array of young talent, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club faces some significant questions. If Carlos Beltran can be brought back on a reasonable deal, Miklasz writes, it is possible that the club will use super-prospect Oscar Taveras in center with a combination of Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base and the corner outfield. But if Beltran leaves, he says, it is not unrealistic to think the club might pursue Jacoby Ellsbury.
- The club's greatest hole, of course, is at shortstop. GM John Mozeliak needs to make a proactive move at this point, says Miklasz, either by signing a player like Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta or by trading from the team's pitching depth. Fellow Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel looks at some possible trade targets for the team.
- For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported - our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.
While there's been plenty of speculation regarding changes to the Marlins' front office lately, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that there's little chance the team will make the ultimate change to its big league roster by trading Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. One MLB official told Frisaro he doesn't see "any scenario" where the Fish would trade their prized right fielder, and another source indicated to him that the Marlins would like to build around Stanton next season.
Miami controls Stanton through 2016, and his salary figures to skyrocket this offseason, as he is eligible for arbitration for the first time. Frisaro speculates that a salary north of $7MM is attainable, and notes that such a number is "highly affordable" for the Marlins.
Ideally, the club would like to extend Stanton, writes Frisaro, but they have some concerns about his durability. Those concerns would seem to be justified, as Stanton missed more than 40 games this season due to injury -- most of which was the result of a hamstring issue that landed him on the disabled list. In 2012, he underwent knee surgery to remove loose bodies -- a procedure that cost him a month of action. Stanton's raw power is arguably unmatched, but his total of games played has declined in each of the past two seasons. Assuming he plays all three games this weekend, he will have averaged 130 games per season from 2011-13.
If they decide to pursue an extension, one way the Marlins could increase Stanton's interest in remaining with the organization would be to bring in the fences, according to Frisaro. The slugger recently told Frisaro he thought Marlins Park cost him multiple home runs this season, adding: "I want the normal ones, too. Where I don’t have to crush it 500 feet all the time."
Frisaro notes that the team's payroll is likely to be around $37MM in 2014, which could make it difficult to supplement Stanton's bat with other solid hitters. However, the club currently has just $8.2MM committed to the 2014 payroll: $1.5MM to Jeff Mathis, $1.7MM to Greg Dobbs following yesterday's somewhat questionable extension, $4MM of Heath Bell's remaining salary and a $1MM option on Jacob Turner that is a lock to be exercised.
Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb, Logan Morrison, Mike Dunn, Justin Ruggiano and Chris Coghlan are eligible for arbitration in addition to Stanton. Even if all those players are retained and given raises, however, the team should have a bit of money to work with in free agency. One thing working in their favor is that the Marlins likely don't feel a need to spend heavily on starting pitching; Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez each posted an ERA and FIP under 4.00, while Turner had a 3.74 ERA and 4.42 FIP.
For the Red Sox, 2013 has increasingly taken on the feel of a triumphant return to glory. Now enjoying a seemingly insurmountable division lead, the Sox have engineered one of the greatest season-to-season turnarounds ever. Jonah Keri of Grantland looks back on each of the key free agent signings made by GM Ben Cherington, arguing that the team's "passel of midlevel free agents" were hardly the overpays that they were labeled. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Phillies are still interested in Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he's tried to trade for him "at least ten times," writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Unfortunately for the Phils, Marlins president Larry Beinfest has rebuffed them each time and made it clear that they're not moving him.
- A Mets source told Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) that manager Terry Collins isn't being evaluated by wins and losses in September. "There's different criteria at different times of the year," the offical said.
- Alex Rodriguez's attorneys fear that the MLBPA won't fight hard for their client as he fights a 211-game ban, writes Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News. Sources say that the relationship between team A-Rod and the union is rather uneasy at this point.
- Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey needs 10.2 innings to reach a $100K bonus and manager Ron Gardenhire won't get in his way as he says that he never lets bonuses affect his decisions, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
- Regardless of his light-hitting, Brendan Ryan left his mark on Mariners baseball, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The shortstop was traded to the Yankees earlier this week for a player to be named later.
- Three years after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126MM deal, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says that he's still pleased about the deal, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
On this date in 1961, 40-year-old Warren Spahn became the 13th pitcher in MLB history to win 300 games as he went the distance in the Milwaukee Braves' 2-1 victory over the Cubs. The complete game was the 317th for the left-hander, who also drove in Milwaukee's first run with a sacrifice fly. Spahn was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 with 363 victories, the most by any left-hander and the most by any pitcher who played his entire career in the live ball era. Here's more from this era's National League:
- Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is having a strong season behind the plate and he's showing the club he can be a valuable piece for the future. The same can't be said for the rest of the catchers in the Chicago farm system and the position is thin enough that GM Jed Hoyer said this weekend the front office plans to make acquiring more backstops a priority this winter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Walt Weiss signed only a one-year contract to manage the Rockies this season, but he told the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders he wants to return in 2014. "Yes, sure. I knew it wasn't going to be all fun and games," Weiss said. "I have been through enough Major League seasons to understand that you'll get beat up. But I want to be a part of building something special here. That's what drives me."
- The final weeks of the season provide the Rockies a platform for cold-hard analysis, opines Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies need more talent and Renck names Giancarlo Stanton and Nelson Cruz as aquisitions who could fill the club's void of a right-handed power bat and Jesse Crain should be a free agent priority as a much needed late-inning arm.
- The Phillies need to provide clarity to their managerial situation, according to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Brookover writes the assumption is Charlie Manuel will step aside for Ryne Sandberg and, if that is the Phillies' desire, the announcement should be made now so Manuel can use the remainder of the season as a well-deseved bow for being the franchise's winningest manager while also giving the players, who will be around when Spring Training opens in February, an idea of what they can expect from their next manager.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
There has been plenty of news out of baseball's Eastern divisions already today; the Phillies' agreement with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is in jeopardy, the Blue Jays released Michael Schwimer and Alex Rodriguez has officially filed an appeal of his 211-game suspension. Here's more on a releatively busy August day for MLB's east coast teams...
- An MRI on Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli's hips showed that his avascular necrosis (a degenerative hip condition he learned he had last offseason) has not worsened, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford spoke to Napoli about his upcoming free agency, and Napoli said he feels more at ease this time around and is relieved to know that his condition hasn't worsened.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Red Sox DH David Ortiz doesn't think last year's team would have rallied to erase a 5-0 defecit and defeat the Astros 15-10 as they did last night. “I would say it was a lot of things going on and I don't think a lot of guys were focused on the things that we need to do to win ballgames.” Ortiz went on to praise Boston GM Ben Cherington and the team's front office for making tough decisions and reworking the entire organization in such a short time.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins never got to the point where they even received specific names in trade proposals for Giancarlo Stanton this July. Four high-ranking officials shot down a rumored blockbuster proposal from the Pirates involving Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole. Frisaro adds that the Marlins want to build around Stanton and will discuss a long-term contract this offseason.
- There was less risk to keeping Nate Schierholtz around than there was in non-tendering him for the Phillies last offseason, opines David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Murphy questions GM Ruben Amaro Jr.'s claim that the team couldn't get a good look at Schierholtz last season as he missed time with a broken toe shortly after being acquired, noting that team could've tendered him a contract and just traded him at the end of Spring Training if they weren't impressed. However, as Murphy notes, Schierholtz alone would not have come close to solving all of the Phillies' 2013 problems.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman is operating under the assumption that he will have A-Rod for the remainder of the season, but he's also scouting the trade market for secondary options, writes MLB.com's Joey Nowak.
8:44pm: While multiple teams made offers to Miami for Stanton, the Pirates were not one of them, the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer reports on Twitter. Spencer adds (also on Twitter) that the Marlins declined to discuss Stanton with any teams, and therefore never exchanged names on any potential deals.
8:15pm: While the Pirates ultimately stood pat on trade deadline day (apart from a post-deadline deal for minor-leaguer Robert Andino), the club made a real push to acquire slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Pittsburgh worked hard to acquire Stanton, according to Biertempfel, who says that the club's best offer forced Miami to consider dealing their star right-fielder. Last we heard, the Marlins were set to hold onto Stanton in spite of intense interest around the game. As one of the game's premier power hitters at just 23 years of age, and set to enter arbitration for the first time next year, there is no question that Stanton would bring back a massive haul in any trade. While the Marlins continue to resist the urge to deal their best asset, he will certainly be one of the most interesting players to watch over the coming offseason.
The latest out of the AL East...
- The Red Sox "may be willing to part with whatever it takes" in hopes of acquiring the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, a league source tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Still, the Marlins have pretty much closed the door on trading Stanton for now.
- The Red Sox should trade top prospect Xander Bogaerts and more to get Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, while Dave Cameron of FanGraphs gives his take on that idea.
- "The deals we’ve seen so far, teams have gotten a pretty good return," Red Sox Ben Cherington said of this year's trades, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
- The Rays acquired reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox yesterday, with the return to be determined after the season. Crain has been out since late June with a shoulder strain, and the White Sox seemingly tried to rush him back into action. "Hopefully this time we'll take our time and be ready for the rest of the year," Crain said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- Josh Johnson accepting a qualifying offer might be an unacceptable risk for the Blue Jays given their limited financial flexibility next year, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Speaking to Jeff Blair on the Fan 590 on Friday, Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick said he expects the Jays to make a qualifying offer and "hang compensation on" his client, affecting the pitcher's value in the free agent market. Sosnick didn't say it explicitly, but he seemed to imply they would accept a qualifying offer. Sosnick believes we're headed toward "the worst free agent pitching market in the last 10 to 15 years," but Johnson isn't likely to be a part of it.
- The Yankees are in danger of being "a club that isn’t good enough to legitimately contend and not bad enough to completely tear down," writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues. Axisa feels the Yankees will have to scrap their plan to keep the payroll under $189MM next year, if they re-sign Robinson Cano. Otherwise, they'll have to rebuild.
After a look at the AL East earlier this morning, let's turn our attention out west ...
- While the Athletics are looking to buttress their 4-game division lead by buying at the deadline, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that the club is finding supply to be limited. "Right now there are more buyers than there are sellers, more buyers than last year," says GM Billy Beane. Second base and starting pitching are the needs atop Oakland's wish list, team sources tell Hickey. In spite of the rotation's solid performance to date, Hickey says a trade could allow the team to utilize Brett Anderson in a bullpen role when he returns from injury. Citing Beane's apparent willingness to take on some relatively significant salary obligations, Hickey lists Jake Peavy (White Sox), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Bud Norris (Astros), and Kyle Lohse (Brewers) as potential targets.
- After adding starter Matt Garza, the Rangers are looking at dealing for an outfielder, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Currently, says Heyman, Alex Rios of the White Sox is the most likely candidate for Texas. Heyman further notes, however, that the club could look to wait out the market in the hopes that players like Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, or the Giants' Hunter Pence become available, with Pence being the most likely among those to change hands. Texas has also considered Chris Denorfia of the Padres, Marlon Byrd of the Mets, and Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins, though Heyman notes that those options would rank below Rios in terms of impact.
- The Astros' Mark Appel is the highest-rated player from the recent amateur draft on MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's updated Top 100 prospects list. As Mayo explains in his overview of the changes to the list, the top overall choice leads a group of eight recently-drafted players to crack the top 100. Houston is tied with the Red Sox with the most total players to make Mayo's list, with eight apiece. In terms of a simple weighting metric that Mayo calls "Prospect Points," the 'Stros have the most overall prospect value in baseball in high-end prospects, followed closely by the Twins. Though the Astros passed on top overall prospect Byron Buxton in last year's draft, its strategy enabled it to land the players currently checking in at number nine (Carlos Correa) and number sixty-five (Lance McCullers) instead.
Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report that Corey Black would he headed from the Yankees to the Cubs in this morning's Alfonso Soriano trade. Here's more from Sherman (all Twitter links) on a plethora of topics as the trade deadline continues to draw nearer...
- The Braves were already interested in Bud Norris prior to Tim Hudson's season-ending injury, and that loss has only intensified their pursuit, Sherman reports. Yesterday, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Braves were in active pursuit of Norris.
- The Nationals are focusing their efforts on starting pitching with Taylor Jordan on an innings limit and concerns surrounding Ross Detwiler's injuries, according to Sherman.
- Sherman tweets that the Rangers and Pirates regularly check in with the Marlins in regard to Giancarlo Stanton but are turned away each time. The decision comes straight from ownership, as Jeffrey Loria does not want to see Stanton traded.
- The Cubs' plan this summer was to jump the starting pitching market early, before Jake Peavy and Ervin Santana were ready to be traded. Following their early trades of Scott Feldman and Matt Garza, the focus shifted to moving as much of Alfonso Soriano's contract as possible. With those goals accomplished, the Cubs will move bullpen pieces and are "definitely" listening to offers for right fielder Nate Schierholtz, Sherman reports.
Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Braves' rotation without veteran Tim Hudson, who sustained a season-ending ankle fracture last night. Rosenthal notes it's a very young group without Hudson, and seems to be lacking a true number one starter. Such a pitcher is probably not available on the trade market, which I imagine the Braves will be eyeing more keenly. Elsewhere from Rosenthal's column:
- The Cardinals are not actively pursuing the Astros' Bud Norris or the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle. The Cards didn't push for Matt Garza, but did scout Jake Peavy's last start. Ervin Santana is available as well, but Rosenthal wonders if "a trade might not be worth the trouble," given the Cardinals' current group of talented young pitchers.
- The Red Sox never got serious on Garza due to concerns with his injury history. The Red Sox and Tigers were the other AL clubs in on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was recently traded to the Orioles.
- After making a late run at Garza, the Athletics are interested in Peavy and Santana. Sometimes it helps to add to a strength, explains Rosenthal.
- The Rangers ask the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton "every week," a Major League source tells Rosenthal, and keep hearing "no." In addition to Alex Rios of the White Sox, the Rangers are considering Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Chris Denorfia of the Padres. However, they have "not mounted a serious push" for Ruggiano, while the Padres don't plan to trade Denorfia or teammate Carlos Quentin.
- "Some with the Brewers" wonder if the presence of Ryan Braun might make it more difficult to attract free agents.
- The Phillies are "narrowing their search for a backup center fielder," writes Rosenthal, and the recently-designated Chris Dickerson could be one option.