Hanley Ramirez Rumors
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.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com's reports (on Twitter) that the Marlins briefly considered trading Hanley Ramirez to free up money so they could sign Prince Fielder, but they decided against it. Prince is in Detroit now, and Hanley will come to camp as the third baseman.
- The Marlins are prepared to make a significant offer to Yoenis Cespedes according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. He says it'll be four-to-six years in length. Cespedes recently gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and is waiting to be declared a free agent by MLB.
- Meanwhile, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that Cespedes has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami. However, Friasro tweets that Cespedes has no issues playing for the Marlins.
Here's a look at some items out of the AL East..
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) heard from multiple sources today who doubt that the Red Sox will make a play for Hanley Ramirez after trading Marco Scutaro to the Rockies. However, the club is looking at both pitchers and position players now, according to a source (Twitter link).
- The Rays budgeted about $6MM for Carlos Pena but upped their bid to $7.25MM out of fear that the Tigers would jump in after losing Victor Martinez for the season, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
- With Pena aboard, the Rays are probably done shopping, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. While there's some talk of adding a right-handed hitter to the bench, it's not likely to be a major signing. A trade is still possible, however, as they have a surplus of starting pitchers.
- Rob Neyer of SB Nation doesn't understand the logic behind the Red Sox trading Scutaro. While the deal saves the club $6MM, it also means a downgrade at the shortstop position. The club is reportedly comfortable with a Nick Punto/Mike Aviles platoon.
- In a perfect world, Boston would add both Roy Oswalt and Cody Ross if GM Ben Cherington can create a little more financial breathing room, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. The Red Sox, he notes, have kept dialogue open with Oswalt throughout the winter.
- While it's tough to draw conclusions from the Scutaro trade until the money saved is reallocated, it's safe to say that GM Ben Cherington wasn't as comfortable with his pitching as he claimed, says Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal (Twitter links).
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday sees the Yankees signing Raul Ibanez to take some of the at-bats that would have gone to Jesus Montero at DH. The club would prefer a lefty bat and Ibanez isn't terribly concerned about money and plate appearances.
- While he's been given many opportunities to do so, Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette has never firmly denied interest in Manny Ramirez, notes Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that Hanley Ramirez still has a “strong preference” to remain at shortstop, but will deal with his upcoming position change professionally. The Marlins are expected to meet with the infielder in Miami this week, according to Rosenthal. Ramirez indicated to the Associated Press last Friday that he was content to move to third base to accommodate Jose Reyes
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com hears that the Marlins have little or no interest in free agent starters Edwin Jackson or Joe Saunders. However, the Marlins would be willing to trade top prospects to acquire a frontline starter.
- Which Marlins prospects will appeal to rival teams? Outfielder Christian Yelich and right-hander Jose Fernandez top Kevin Goldstein’s list of Marlins prospects at Baseball Prospectus.
Links are in Spanish...
- Hanley Ramirez gave his clearest statement yet on a possible position change, telling the AP's Dionisio Soldevila on Friday, "I've talked with [Ozzie] Guillen, and what we both want is to win with the Marlins. When January arrives, we'll see what happens with the position change and everything else. If it's at third, fine. Wherever they put me, I'll do it in order to win." As for his surgically repaired shoulder, Ramirez described it as responsive and 95 percent healed.
- Cubs closer Carlos Marmol has heard the rumors of his availability, and he told Julio E. Castro C. at Multimedios del Caribe that he's resigned to whatever the team decides to do with him. "It's their business," he said. "For good or bad, I have to accept it. My job is to pitch, not to handle team business. If I stay with the Cubs, great for me, and the same if not. I repeat: This is a business."
- Vicente Padilla has been dominating hitters in his native Nicaraguan league over the last month, and the 34-year-old pitcher told Osman Rosales Cruz at El Nuevo Diario that he wants to sign as a starter with a Major League team. Yesterday, Cruz reported that the Marlins were eyeing Padilla, and in today's piece he describes asking the pitcher about the rumor: "'Truthfully, I can't talk about that,' Vicente insisted at first, but later he came up to me without the recorder and told me, 'Maybe.'"