Giancarlo Stanton Rumors
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels haven't heard anything new about Nelson Cruz's links to the Biogenesis scandal, but Daniels tells ESPN Dallas' Todd Willis that he has thought about the possibility of losing his right fielder to suspension. "We really are somewhat intentionally and maybe wisely in the dark on this. And so we we're going to sit back and wait for the best and try to make our club as strong as possible," Daniels said. If Cruz is indeed suspended for the rest of 2013, it could intensify the Rangers' search for batting help. In another piece from Willis, Daniels admitted that his club's offense hasn't been up to par and if Texas makes another move, it would likely be for a bat.
Here are some more items from around baseball...
- The Giants have shown no interest in trading Hunter Pence, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets. We heard on Sunday that Giants were unlikely to deal Pence unless they received a blow-away offer or they fell out of the NL West race. The latter could be close to happening, given the Giants' 46-54 record.
- The Phillies will send a scout to Brian Wilson's throwing session on Thursday, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. GM Ruben Amaro said the team will leave "no stone unturned" in their search for relief help, hence their interest in Wilson's progress. Amaro noted this isn't the first time the Phillies have checked in on Wilson, who hasn't pitched since April 2012 due to Tommy John surgery.
- Justin Morneau's July slump has just about destroyed his trade value, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities writes. Between Morneau's poor form, injury history, impending free agency and salary, Mackey doesn't think the Twins will be able to get even "a second-tier prospect" for the former AL MVP.
- The Dodgers are looking for veteran relief depth, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports, though Saxon notes that could even be a luxury piece given how the team is firing on all cylinders right now.
- If the Marlins are to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone hears that Miami wouldn't want prospects, but rather "equal value" -- a young star player who is controllable for longer than Stanton's three seasons of team control. For instance, if the Mets wanted Stanton, the Marlins would want Matt Harvey in return.
- Baseball America subscribers can read Ben Badler's scouting report on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Cuban right-hander who has drawn interest from at least 10 teams.
The Marlins have improved greatly over the course of the season, as evidenced by their 22-17 record since May 31. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes that the team attributes the success to a young core coming together and isn't likely to sell significant pieces to jeopardize that core.
According to Frisaro, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn are all considered building blocks and are likely to stay put with the Fish. All of that could change if the Marlins are overwhelmed by a team willing to overpay, but even a package for Cishek would have to start with a team's No. 1 prospect, according to Frisaro. As it stands, the 27-year-old closer is not available.
Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls may still be dealt, as could position players Placido Polanco, Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano. That quintet of veterans has less team control than the untouchables listed by Frisaro, and those players likely aren't seen as core members of the team going forward. It's likely that the Marlins' biggest July trade has already occurred in the form of the Ricky Nolasco trade. The Marlins, according to Frisaro, may be more active on the August waiver trade front than before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
While a deal sounds unlikely, the team has still received plenty of hits on Stanton as well as its many bullpen arms. Ruggiano has also drawn some interest from teams like the Rangers and Yankees, although he's another player the team isn't in a rush to trade.
- The Padres, who are now 42-54, have decided they're sellers, Knobler writes. They will listen to offers for Chase Headley (who is eligible for free agency after next season), but Knobler suggests they're in no rush to deal him. Instead, they could deal Edinson Volquez and/or bullpen arms like Huston Street.
- The Orioles have already traded for Scott Feldman, and they might continue to be active on the trade market, but Knobler suggests their biggest addition might come from the promotion of Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, who is hitting .367/.406/.467 in his first 15 games at Triple-A Norfolk.
- Knobler confirms that the Cardinals have talked to the Cubs about Matt Garza, and suggests that the two teams' front offices might not find the possibility of trading with one another quite as strange as some fans might. Knobler notes that the last significant deal between the rival squads occurred in 2002, when the Cubs sent Jeff Fassero to St. Louis.
- Elsewhere, Knobler writes that the Marlins may be becoming less inclined to trade Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins feel that they could improve quickly, and may want to wait to see how Stanton (who is only 23 and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season) and their other top young players perform together. The Marlins will continue to shop relievers and older position players, but youngsters like Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner and Marcell Ozuna evidently have the Marlins wondering whether they could join Stanton as part of the core of the next good Marlins team.
Dreaming of slugger Giancarlo Stanton manning right field for your contending team this summer? Forget about it. Multiple reports this week suggest Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will not trade Stanton before the July 31st deadline. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Loria is "adamant about wanting to build around Stanton." And two days ago, ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote that officials of three different teams told him Loria "has decided this isn't the time to deal him."
Stanton, who is under the Marlins' control through 2016, "remains extremely unlikely to sign with the club long term," according to Rosenthal. Regardless, Rosenthal hears Loria is "hell-bent on winning in the near future - and proving that he made the right baseball decisions when he tore apart his roster." The Marlins traded Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Edward Mujica, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck in the last year, but as Rosenthal notes, many of their young players are coming on strong. How interesting would it be if this team made significant acquisitions during the offseason? Top free agents would be extremely wary, but money talks and trades remain possible.
The Marlins do have trade candidates this summer aside from Stanton, including Ricky Nolasco, Placido Polanco, Greg Dobbs, Juan Pierre, Jeff Mathis, Chad Qualls, Ryan Webb, Kevin Slowey, Steve Cishek, and Mike Dunn.
The latest column from ESPN's Jayson Stark is jam-packed with trade-related information. Highlights:
- One National League executive predicted that the Cubs' Matt Garza will be the first pitcher traded; he's thought to be eminently available, as the Cubs are not comfortable with his asking price on a potential new contract. The Padres and Dodgers are among the teams pursuing Garza, reported Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today.
- The Astros are looking for volume in any deal they make, one NL exec told Stark. Bud Norris is an obvious trade chip for Jeff Luhnow and company, while I imagine Carlos Pena, Jose Veras, Erik Bedard, Lucas Harrell, Wesley Wright, Ronny Cedeno, and others can be had as well.
- The Dodgers are not actively dangling right fielder Andre Ethier. What's more, the team still views itself as a buyer despite being eight games out. They may be interested in adding a third baseman they can control for multiple years, implies Stark.
- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche could be dealt, hears Stark, in a scenario where Ryan Zimmerman moves to first base, Anthony Rendon moves back to third base, and Danny Espinosa gets healthy. LaRoche's name is not out there at present, however.
- The Brewers will "gladly listen" on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, as well as any position player other than Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun. I wonder if that means names such as Jonathan Lucroy and Norichika Aoki will be in play next month.
- Execs who spoke to Stark seem divided on whether the Brewers want to trade Yovani Gallardo, with one saying, "To be honest, I think they would love to move him." Click here for thoughts from Brewers GM Doug Melvin on the situation.
- The Phillies are talking to the Red Sox and Tigers about closer Jonathan Papelbon right now, one exec tells Stark, even if they say otherwise.
- Officials of three teams that have talked to the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton are convinced owner Jeffrey Loria won't trade him this summer. In an April poll of over 13,000 MLBTR readers, over 40% thought Stanton would be dealt this summer.
- Other teams say the Tigers are willing to surrender top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia if necessary. The team is focused on finding a closer.
- The Braves are "all over the bullpen market," which jives with a couple of other reports today.
- The Giants "have taken on a whole new fervor in the last week in their hunt for another starter." They've been connected often to Nolasco, but there are around 20 viable candidates out there of varying quality. The Orioles could make a move before the All-Star break, hears Stark, and they seem to be prioritizing starters over relievers.
Ricky Nolasco would not mind pitching for the Giants, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don’t think anybody would be disappointed to come to San Francisco. I like everything about this place: mound size, good place to pitch, crowd is great and a great team. What’s not to like?" Meanwhile, the Marlins are laying the groundwork for a Nolasco trade, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. "They don't screw around," a source tells Rodriguez. "The second they get the deal they like they'll do it." In 15 starts this year, Nolasco has a 3.61 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Pirates "need" the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield argues. Schoenfield points out that the Pirates rank last in the National League in OPS at right field (with Travis Snider's disappointing season thus far being the main reason why). Also, the Pirates have a strong farm system with the sorts of prospects that could well tempt the Marlins. Schoenfield suggests that the Pirates could deal Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco, both Top 100 prospects, along with catcher Tony Sanchez and an additional pitching prospect. That would still leave the Bucs with a good crop of young players that would include Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Alen Hanson, Josh Bell and their 2013 draft class, but it would be a high price, as one would expect. Stanton isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, so the Pirates would be receiving a huge, and immediate, upgrade for the next several years. But the Bucs' financial situation makes their farm system a crucial part of any success they might have, so the penalty for missing on such a huge trade would be very high.
- The Yankees will be looking for hitters at the trade deadline, but one problem is that the uncertain timing of the returns of the Yankees' many injured hitters makes it difficult to know which positions they should aim to upgrade, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Also, the Yanks would still like to keep their payroll under $189MM in 2014, which could make it tricky to trade for players signed beyond 2013.
- Manny Ramirez is still looking for an opportunity with a Major League club, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweets. Ramirez is also looking for a chance to play in Japan. Ramirez, 41, played briefly for the Rays in 2011, and appeared in 17 games for the Athletics' Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in 2012.
Jayson Stark's latest Rumblings & Grumblings column for ESPN came out yesterday; here are some highlights.
- There have been enough informal conversations between Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers on a contract extension that both sides expect a deal to get done, a friend of the player tells Stark. The tricky part is that a new deal would begin with the 2016 season, at which point Cabrera will be 33. It seems likely that Cabrera would need an average annual value in the $30MM range, but Stark's sources picture anywhere from three to five additional years.
- Some of Stark's sources don't consider Yankees second baseman and #1 2014 free agent Robinson Cano the type of player to build a team around. One exec, though, told Stark, "I can't imagine him leaving."
- Stark hears Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw seeks a ten-year deal, which would be the first for a pitcher since Wayne Garland signed a ten-year, $2.3MM deal in 1977 (those were different times). One exec can't possibly see Kershaw leaving L.A., and could picture $200-210MM over seven years. Even that would be well beyond C.C. Sabathia's record seven-year, $161MM deal, which was signed on the open market with the Yankees after the '08 season and included an opt-out clause. I feel that Kershaw's agents at Excel Sports Management have to score an opt-out in any new deal, especially with the Dodgers giving them to Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- One exec suggests the Angels offer Mike Trout the Buster Posey deal, which amounted to eight years and $159MM in new money. Stark says "folks around the game" do not see Trout signing, however.
- The Orioles and Yankees are "leading the parade of teams that already have interest" in Miami's Ricky Nolasco. The 30-year-old is easily the highest-paid Marlin, and should have about $7.7MM remaining on his contract at the trade deadline. Nolasco has a 3.61 ERA in 82 1/3 innings, and sports his best strikeout rate since 2010.
- Would anyone sign Alex Rodriguez, if the Yankees end up releasing him? "No chance," says one executive.
- The Marlins have shown no interest in dealing right fielder Giancarlo Stanton midseason, say clubs that have inquired, though Stark thinks Marcell Ozuna's emergence could push them toward trading Stanton this winter. Stanton should return from a hamstring injury next week.
In his latest edition of Rumblings & Grumblings, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark looks at what we've learned around the 30-game mark of the season. The Red Sox have spent their money better than any team in baseball as Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, and Shane Victorino (before his back issues) have gotten off to excellent starts. Meanwhile, it looks like the Braves have made the best trade of anyone so far as they landed Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado and four players that aren't currently in the majors. Here's more from today's column..
- Teams that have checked in on Brian Wilson have been told that his target date to throw for interested clubs should be around the All-Star break. Wilson wants to ensure that he's fully recovered from Tommy John surgery before auditioning again.
- Giancarlo Stanton's hamstring injury should probably put any talk of a July trade to rest. "If they trade him in-season, they probably wouldn't get any major league talent," said one exec. "So given everything that's happened with their team and their attendance, are they really in a position to make a deal for him where they just get back prospects? Probably not." The exec concluded that the Marlins are better off waiting until the offseason and getting big league ready talent back for their star.
- The Rays may be the most closely-watched team in the league by contenders over the next few months. Teams know the Rays will keep David Price in July if they're alive in the AL East, and will listen hard if they're out of contention. If they're caught in between, one exec believes that the Rays still might move him if they feel like they're not good enough to win it all. The hurler's price tag is expected to by skyhigh if he hits the open market after the 2015 season.
- The buzzards are already starting to circle over the Phillies, Stark writes, but club officials have told teams that have checked in that they still expect their club to contend and won't even think about selling for another two months.
- If a Phillies sell-off happens, the biggest buzz would include impending free agent Chase Utley. One exec who has checked into things says his impression is that the Phillies would approach Utley first and get a feel for whether he wants to go elsewhere. Utley, who will be just short of 10-and-5 rights at the deadline - can block trades to 21 teams.
- Execs say they'd rather trade for Lucas Harrell than Bud Norris if they had a choice between the Astros pitchers. Harrell has two more years of control and one scout says that the big knock on Norris is that he's still basically a "two-pitch guy". Quite a few teams also think he profiles more as a bullpen weapon on a contender even though he's the Astros' ace.
- The Yankees want a right-handed bat, but one scout feels that they don't have enough pieces to land an impact deal. The Bombers added one right-handed hitter when they traded for Chris Nelson earlier this week.
The Phillies have made multiple inquiries on the availability of Giancarlo Stanton over the past several months, Major League sources tell Jim Sailisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but have received the same answer as every other team in baseball: Stanton isn't available for the time being.
Salisbury notes that while the Phils lack a deep farm system, they do have plenty of near-MLB-ready arms such as Jesse Biddle, Jonathan Pettibone and Adam Morgan that could be used to headline a Stanton package. Of course, as Salisbury notes, if and when the Marlins decide to listen to offers on Stanton, they may not be keen on trading him within the division. That hasn't stopped the Phillies -- and reportedly the Mets -- from showing interest.
Salisbury writes that the very reason that the Phillies have such great need for Stanton's services could lead the team to be sellers come the trade deadline. Philadelphia outfielders are hitting just .215/.285/.330, which has contributed to their 13-16 record. Here are the highlights from his list of potential trade chips...
- Cliff Lee could become the prize of the July trade market should the Phillies sell. The Red Sox inquired on Lee before the Winter Meetings but were rebuffed. Given their first-place standing, they could look at Lee as a means to push them toward a World Series run.
- Jonathan Papelbon is another expensive piece that the Phils could move, and Salisbury wonders if the Tigers could be interested, given deep-pocketed owner Mike Illitch's desire to win a World Series. Detroit has had bullpen issues all season and recently re-signed Jose Valverde to reprise his role as closer. However, Salisbury reports that the Tigers are one of the team's in Papelbon's no-trade clause.
- Jimmy Rollins could be moved but would have to waive his full no-trade clause in order for that to happen.
- There's a sentiment that the Phillies would prefer to keep Chase Utley than deal him this summer if he remains healthy. Utley will gain 10-and-5 rights in August, Salisbury notes.
- Salisbury also mentions Carlos Ruiz, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Delmon Young as players the Phillies would consider. Halladay's inconsistency and Howard's price tag would be prohibitive factors in any trade talks for that duo.
Sixty-six years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier when he made his Major League debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After an 0-for-3 debut, Robinson went on to hit .297/.383/.427 with 12 home runs, a league-leading 29 stolen bases and won Rookie of the Year honors. As MLB.com's Richard Justice writes, the movie "42" introduces Robinson to a new generation of Americans and helps to immortalize the legacy of one of America's most courageous figures: "Robinson paid an incomprehensible price in the pain he endured and the responsibility he carried," writes Justice.
Baseball as we know it would not be the same were it not for Robinson's courage, talent and perseverance. Here's a look at some news from around the league on Jackie Robinson day...
- In his latest MLB.com mailbag, T.R. Sullivan writes that the Elvis Andrus extension, while risky for the Rangers, is still beneficial to the team. He credits Scott Boras for "astutely putting risk" on Texas.
- Within that same piece, Sullivan writes that the Rangers would trade a package of prospects highlighted by Jurickson Profar "in the blink of an eye" if it meant landing David Price from the Rays or Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America feels that Mark Appel has plenty of leverage in the upcoming draft and will likely sign a bonus in the $6MM neighborhood. As Callis notes, teams can't risk offering something like a $5MM "take it or leave it" offer and signing the rest of their picks. Doing so could ultimately lead to paying over slot to sign Appel, costing them future picks. It's in the best interest of whoever drafts Appel to sign him first, and doing so could prove highly expensive.
- Callis also notes that Appel and Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray have established themselves as the clear-cut top two prospects in the draft.
- Major League Baseball is making progress on its investigation of the Biogenesis scandal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, it appears MLB is looking for "a smoking gun" before taking what could be its only chance to question players such as Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun who have been connected to the Miami clinic. Heyman confirms that MLB has purchased Biogenesis documentation, but notes that the MLBPA will be sure to question documents that were produced after a cash transaction.