Hanley Ramirez Rumors
After 11-plus seasons in Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki has been traded to the Yankees. The Mariners responded to Ichiro’s trade request last night, sending the outfielder to New York for right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. Here’s the latest from the AL East, starting with some reactions to the big trade...
- Though Ichiro has been a star for his entire MLB career, he's now a role player on the Yankees, Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains.
- The Yankees asked about Shane Victorino and Denard Span before completing the deal for Ichiro, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. The Phillies appear to have suggested a high asking price for Victorino (though they aren't yet committed to selling) and the Yankees believed the Twins’ asking price for Span was too high.
- The Red Sox were still listening to the Marlins about possible deals involving Hanley Ramirez last night, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. The Marlins have never been more open to trading Ramirez.
The Marlins aren’t thinking about firing manager Ozzie Guillen, but are expected to continue discussing potential trades in the week leading up to the MLB trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The 45-51 Marlins sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit yesterday, signaling that they don’t expect to contend in 2012. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes...
- Hanley Ramirez could be the next player traded, Rosenthal reports. The Marlins tried to send the third baseman to Boston last week and they’re still open to moving him.
- The Marlins figure to shop Heath Bell aggressively, even though he’s just four months into a three-year contract.
- Teams covet Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Ichiro Suzuki is “a lot better than you think” once you take defense and baserunning into consideration, one executive tells Rosenthal. The Yankees acquired the veteran outfielder from Seattle yesterday.
- The Rangers would love to obtain a top-of-the-rotation starter, but they believe they could address their rotation issues internally if necessary. Cole Hamels will be atop the Rangers’ list of potential targets if the Phillies don’t re-sign him.
- The Phillies are indicating to other teams that they’re eager to move Hunter Pence. The right fielder will remain under team control through 2013, when he’s expected to obtain a raise and earn $13-14MM.
- Rosenthal mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: the Nationals are among the teams interested in Zack Greinke.
The Marlins positioned themselves as sellers earlier today when they traded Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers for a package of prospects highlighted by Jacob Turner, and it doesn't sound like they're stopping there. In talking to teams around the league, Scott Miller of CBS Sports hears that the Marlins have "never been more open" to the idea of trading long-time franchise cornerstone Hanley Ramirez.
As Miller notes, the Fish don't feel they're far from contending, they simply have soured on a mix of players that has underperformed. Ramirez's most recent antics, in which he punched a cooling fan in the dugout, now have him unavailable to play. Ramirez stopped taking medication for the cut he sustained, which has led to an infection in his hand.
Ramirez is signed through 2014 and will make $15.5MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014. The former MVP candidate is batting just .246/.322/.430 with 14 homers and 14 steals.
Miller was told by a source familiar with the Marlins' thinking that they are likely to hang onto right-hander Josh Johnson, who was scouted heavily tonight. Unlike Sanchez, Johnson has one year of team control left, which is why the Marlins preferred to move Sanchez. Johnson will earn $13.75MM in 2013 -- the final year of a four-year, $39MM pact he signed prior to the 2010 season.
Randy Choate, who is finishing up a two-year contract, is also expected to be traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to Miller. The 34-year-old lefty slayer has pitched to a 2.19 ERA in 24 2/3 innings and held same-handed hitters to a minuscule .136/.188/.169 triple slash line. Choate signed a two-year, $2.5MM deal in December of 2010.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers could wait until the offseason to trade Justin Upton instead of moving him within the next eight days. A patient approach makes sense for the Diamondbacks if it allows them to maximize their return, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. Here are some more notes from Heyman...
- One general manager doesn’t know where he’d play Hanley Ramirez on defense. "He's not a third baseman, he's not a shortstop anymore. I wouldn't know where to hide him," the GM told Heyman.
- The Twins don’t seem interested in trading Josh Willingham, but a long list of teams would have interest if Minnesota makes the outfielder available.
- John Lannan made a successful spot start for Washington over the weekend, but it’s clear he’s not in the team’s long-term plans. Heyman suggests it’d be best if the Nationals can find a way to trade the left-hander, who earns a $5MM salary in 2012.
1:10pm: There's no current discussion involving Crawford, Ramirez and Bell, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The idea surfaced briefly as a concept and immediately died.
12:57pm: The Red Sox and Marlins are discussing a trade that would send Carl Crawford to Miami for Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The Marlins approached the Red Sox about the possible blockbuster, Nightengale reports.
The biggest impediment to the deal is the Marlins' indecision about their course for the rest of the 2012 season. Miami VP Dan Jennings is in Boston scouting Crawford, according to Nightengale. The potential trade would be the second-biggest contract swap in history, trailing only the 2004 trade involving Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano, Nightengale writes.
Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today that the Red Sox are determining trade interest in Crawford. However, GM Ben Cherington says there's "nothing going on" with the left fielder, who is in the second year of a seven-year, $142MM contract he signed following the 2010 season.
The Red Sox are contacting teams to determine their trade interest in Carl Crawford, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Red Sox reached out to both the Marlins and the Dodgers, but no deal appears close.
“There’s nothing going on with Carl,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told Rosenthal. “He’s our left fielder and we’re glad to have him back in our lineup.”
Crawford is in the second year of a seven-year, $142MM contract he signed following the 2010 season. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams and states that teams can’t flip him to the New York Yankees. Crawford, who returned from the disabled list two days ago, has lingering elbow issues that could require Tommy John surgery at some point. The 30-year-old posted a .255/.289/.405 line last year in his first season with the Red Sox.
Some Marlins officials are frustrated with Hanley Ramirez, so Rosenthal suggests Cherington could look to acquire the former Red Sox prospect for Crawford. Jose Reyes could also be considered a trade chip, Rosenthal writes.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he expects a “lightning round” of trades during the 48-hour period leading up to the July 31st trade deadline. “That's when things really are going to pick up," Towers predicts. Until then, here are Nightengale’s latest rumors:
- The Dodgers are the leaders for Ryan Dempster, a Cubs official told Nightengale (latest Dempster rumors here).
- Meanwhile, the Rangers and Tigers would love to trade for Matt Garza.
- Justin Upton will be traded, Nightengale writes. It’s a question of whether the Diamondbacks complete the trade now or after the season.
- The Diamondbacks plan to trade shortstop Stephen Drew by the end of the month. They talked to the Mariners about a potential deal, but infielders Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager and pitching prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton are off-limits in trade talks.
- Nightengale suggests the Marlins and Mariners could consider trades for Hanley Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki, respectively.
Some links to tide you over until tonight's first pitch...
- The Mariners would have traded Michael Pineda to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and another prospect,Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. One executive tells Elliott that “Toronto said no at Lawrie.”
- Angels first baseman Albert Pujols told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he's not going to lose his edge, even after signing a massive free agent contract. "I always have that chip on my shoulder, no matter what kind of success I've had," Pujols said. He added that he wouldn't be hurt if the Cardinals assigned his former number 5 to another player.
- Major League Baseball is on the cusp of a new era, Tom Verducci of SI.com writes. The sport is doing well thanks to extended labor peace and growing TV revenues.
- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expects big things from his third baseman, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post writes. "Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be MVP in this league," Guillen said.
Links are, you guessed it, in Spanish...
- Anibal Sanchez has looked strong this preseason, but the 29-year-old told Wilmer Reina at the Venezuelan daily La Verdad that his history of shoulder problems is more than just a memory. "I've never pitched without pain. There's always a small problem with something," Sanchez said. "I have five scars inside my shoulder, and some nerve has to be touching those." Sanchez has bounced back from three injury-shortened campaigns to log 190-plus solid innings in 2010 and 2011, but he said last month the team has yet to approach him about keeping him off the the free agent market next winter. Back in January, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith analyzed Sanchez as an extension candidate.
- Despite an offseason of predictions to the contrary, Hanley Ramirez says he is confident and, yes, even content at third base. "I feel really happy. If I had known that, I would have changed before. I really feel comfortable here," Ramirez told Juan Mercado at the Dominican paper El Día. "I like playing third base, because I'm more relaxed and it makes me focus more, because I have to be prepared for every pitch."
- Jose Contreras told Luis Rangel at the El Nuevo Herald that he feared the worst when he learned he needed surgery on his pitching arm last summer. "When they told me that, I said, 'Wow! My career is done,'" Contreras recalled. "I'm not a young man. I'm 40 years old, and an operation is difficult." However, the Cuban swingman has worked his way back and says he's nearly ready to fulfill the second year of the two-year deal he signed with the Phillies in 2010. "At the moment I can say that I feel good, and if everything goes well in Spring Training, with a couple more good outings this spring, I'll be ready for the season," Contreras said.
In this morning's column, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe takes a look at some of the emerging storylines in the American League East. In New York, Francisco Cervelli is set to be the backup catcher, but could become trade bait for the Yankees with Austin Romine knocking on the door. The catching situation with Tampa Bay is also worth keeping an eye on as Jose Molina needs a backup. The Rays could pick up Ivan Rodriguez or deal from their pitching surplus to fill the vacancy. If they trade Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis, Cafardo writes that it would be for a catcher. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Phillies are making it clear to teams that they would eat as much as $2MM of Joe Blanton’s $8MM deal in a trade. Moving Blanton would allow the Phillies to have payroll flexibility and bump Kyle Kendrick into the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Yesterday, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos scouted the Phillies game and left after Blanton's exit.
- Meanwhile, the Nationals continue to dangle left-hander John Lannan. The club is spreading word that the 27-year-old is available in a deal, particularly one for a center fielder.
- The Braves are in need of a left field power bat and right-hander Jair Jurrjens could be the trade bait for one.
- At some point, Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar will have to move to second base to make room for Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Escobar loves being a shortstop, so there is a bit of trepidation among some in the organization as to how he will accept this.
- Meanwhile, many feel that the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez won't stay happy for long at third base and eventually will demand a trade.
- With several teams in the market for a center fielder, Cafardo asked a National League scout if the Yankees would entertain a deal for Brett Gardner. Gardner is currently slated to start in left field for the Yanks but a National League scout said that at some point the club might seek out a more traditional left field option.
- The Red Sox are impressed with Chris Carpenter's live fastball but privately they are not happy with what they wound up getting in exchange for Theo Epstein.