Heath Bell Rumors
MLBTR extends its best wishes to Michael Weiner, who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. The executive director of the Players Association expects the treatment to last about one month, according to an MLBPA press release. Here are today's links...
- Roger Clemens told reporters he’s “nowhere near” the shape he’d have to be in to pitch at the MLB level, Alyson Footer of MLB.com reports (Twitter link). The seven-time Cy Young Award winner signed a contract with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters and will pitch on Saturday. One rival executive speculated that the Astros could be a fit for Clemens, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The exec pointed out that Clemens has a good relationship with Astros owner Jim Crane.
- It’s unlikely but not impossible that the Giants will trade for Heath Bell this season, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Bell would have to be placed on waivers for the Giants and Marlins to complete a trade. Approximately $19MM remains on Bell's contract, so it seems likely that he'd clear waivers.
- GM Kenny Williams built the AL Central-leading White Sox, but he doesn't expect to be named MLB's executive of the year, Toni Ginnetti the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "If you don't win it when you win a World Series, you ain't going to win it,'' Williams said.
The Braves became the latest team to beat the struggling Astros tonight, winning a 4-1 result on the back of 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Tim Hudson. With the Braves' win and the Nationals' split of a double-header with the Marlins today, Washington is only two games up on Atlanta in the NL East. Here's the latest from around the division...
- With the Phillies looking to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looked at Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as right-handed hitting free agents who could be paired with lefty bat Nate Schierholtz for a productive outfield platoon that would come at a much cheaper cost than what the Phillies would have paid Hunter Pence in 2013.
- The Nationals don't see new catcher Kurt Suzuki as a "rental," GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman). Suzuki is under contract through 2013 and the Nats plan to keep him along with regular catcher Wilson Ramos, who will be recovered from a torn ACL suffered in May.
- Fangraphs' Eric Seidman looks at how a Jason Bay for Heath Bell/John Buck trade would benefit both the Marlins and Mets in terms of salary relief and filling lineup holes. The two clubs had some discussions before the trade deadline about such a deal, though talks went nowhere at the time.
The Mets and Marlins discussed a change-of-scenery trade that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami for Heath Bell and John Buck, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal was never close, though the contracts and the money matched up well. Bell is signed through 2014, Bay and Buck through 2013. Rosenthal notes that all three players are likely to clear waivers this month, so the two sides could revisit the deal. Here are the rest of his rumors...
- The Astros are paying virtually all of the $9MM left on Carlos Lee's contract, but one club that spoke to the Marlins said Miami wanted as much as $2.5MM in return for the slugger. Talks never progressed.
- The Orioles spoke to the Mariners about Kevin Millwood, but Seattle wanted a better return than what was offered given the right-hander's bargain $1MM salary.
- The Orioles also discussed a deal with the Royals that would have sent one of their young arms to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Broxton. Rosenthal speculates that it may have been Jake Arrieta.
- The Brewers were close to trading Francisco Rodriguez to the Giants about a week before the deadline, but San Francisco backed off after the right-hander blew two saves and allowed six runs in Philadelphia last week.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
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.
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.
Marlins All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery this morning. Stanton had loose bodies removed from his right knee and is expected to be out four to six weeks. He will miss the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. As a result, the Marlins will not have a representative in Kansas City for the Midsummer Classic. This was one topic Marlins President David Samson addressed in his meeting with reporters, including Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- "I spoke to MLB. I think there were a lot of different ways that Tony [La Russa] and MLB could have gone. I think it’s unfortunate. I think that every team should be represented on the line in an All-Star Game," Samson said. "Obviously MLB or Tony or whoever makes the decision had their own view of it, and it’s certainly disappointing."
- Samson flashed a sense humor regarding the All-Star snub when asked about Showtime's The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins. "Instead of sending a player to the All-Star Game, I guess we’re going to send the Showtime crew and it’s going be like Where’s Waldo. We’re going to have the Showtime crew just looking for the Marlin."
- On the loss of Stanton, Samson says "it hurt. He is such an imposing force in the lineup. Carlos Lee was brought in to combine him with Stanton in the lineup. Now it’s sort of back to where you are. But Giancarlo will be back in time to help us. We’re not nearly out of it –- the second wild card or even the division.”
- Samson was asked about the team's inconsistent first half, "I think when you talk about all the excitement going into the season, that’s what leads to this level of disappointment because you don’t expect to be below .500 at the break. But the way things went I think we’re pretty happy to be this close to 500. It could have been a lot worse."
- Samson again showed his sense of humor when asked about the issues with the turf at the new Marlins Park. "The grass sort of reflects our season. It’s brown right now but getting greener."
- Manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters, including Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, that he is looking forward to the return of Juan Carlos Oviedo calling it the "biggest trade of the year." The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez finishes his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 22. Upon his return, Guillen says Oviedo and Heath Bell could be sharing closer duties. "We’ll see how Bell’s throwing and we’ll flip-flop each for whatever reason. It’s going to be a big lift."
The Padres have already pulled off two major offseason trades under GM Josh Byrnes, sending Mat Latos to Cincinnati and obtaining Carlos Quentin from the White Sox. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices,” Byrnes said, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are details from Center’s recent look ahead to the rest of the San Diego’s offseason:
- The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox with the notion that they could extend him, Byrnes said.
- The Padres have already discussed signing Cameron Maybin to a deal that would buy out one or two of his free agent years, according to Center. We heard late in December that the Padres were set to re-start contract talks with the center fielder, who’s on track to hit free agency after 2015.
- No payroll model would have allowed the Padres to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez for $20-25MM per season, according to Byrnes. Former Padres GM Jed Hoyer dealt Gonzalez to Boston for prospects Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo last offseason.
- The Padres were reluctant to offer Heath Bell a third year this offseason, Center writes.
- The Padres could sign a pitcher or two before Spring Training and San Diego native Joel Zumaya is high on Byrnes’ wish list, Center notes.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner would like to see the Mariners pursue Will Venable, "probably one of the more underrated players in the sport."
- The Padres figured prominently on Tim Dierkes' list of the offseason's most surprising trades so far.
On this day last year, the Padres traded Brandon Gomes, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, and Cole Figueroa to the Rays for Jason Bartlett and a player to be named later (though Tampa would eventually send cash instead). Here's some notes from around the league...
- The Reds have had conversations with Jason Kubel, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). GM Walt Jocketty told Fay (Twitter link) that the club does not have the type of money to sign someone to a Josh Willingham-type deal.
- Even after trading for Mat Latos, Reds GM Walt Jocketty still plans on using Aroldis Chapman as a starter, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnatti Enquirer. Jocketty did leave room for a change of heart, however, noting that things could change later on.
- We should soon find out which team won the bidding for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- ESPN's Keith Law feels that the Rockies overpaid for Michael Cuddyer, who he considers to be a part-time player (ESPN Insider link). In Law's opinion, Colorado is receiving perhaps a one win upgrade over Seth Smith, but paying $7-8MM more than Smith would earn.
- In that same piece, Law says that he likes the Twins' gamble on Josh Willingham better, but notes that he should be a DH rather than an outfielder and that the contract is still a gamble because Willingham showed signs of decline in 2011.
- Willingham told MLB.com's Jane Lee that leaving the Athletics wasn't an easy decision, but GM Billy Beane was honest and up front about the fact that he could probably only offer a one-year deal through arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel provides some details on the heavily backloaded contracts that Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle received from the Marlins. Bell's vesting option triggers if he finishes 55 games in 2014, or a combined 100 between 2013-14. He and Buehrle both took signing bonuses deferred withiout interest, and all three have contractual obligations to donate to charity each season.
- Law (via Twitter) prefers Aaron Cunningham to Cory Burns. The Indians acquired Cunningham from the Padres in exchange for Burns yesterday.
The latest on various NL West clubs...
- Heath Bell told MLB.com's Corey Brock he never heard from new Padres GM Josh Byrnes. Bell noted that he passed on offers of a little more money to take a three-year, $27MM deal from the Marlins.
- The Padres' goal is to fix the eighth and ninth innings this offseason, manager Bud Black told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio.
- The Dodgers are closing in on a minor league deal with reliever Alberto Castillo, tweets MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The 36-year-old spent most of the year at Triple-A, posting a 1.91 ERA and 8.1 K/9 in 42 1/3 innings there.
- The Giants are believed to have scheduled a meeting today with Ryan Ludwick's agent Dan Horwits, reports MLB.com's Chris Haft. Ludwick, 33, hit .237/.310/.363 with 13 home runs in 553 plate appearances for the Padres and Pirates this year.
- Phillies senior advisor and former GM Pat Gillick would consider a position as the Dodgers' new president of baseball operations, he told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.
- The Padres are getting hits on Chase Headley, Jason Bartlett, and Orlando Hudson, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, who expects one of them to be dealt by spring training. Hudson, who is owed $7.5MM through 2012, would be a pure salary dump, tweets Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports.
- The Rockies are lukewarm at best on Hudson, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, who wonders if the Giants' Jeff Keppinger could be a fit. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News says the Giants are looking to get creative on the trade front for outfield and infield help.
- Non-tender candidate Joe Saunders told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert he'd like to return to the Diamondbacks, but the decision is up to the team. About a week ago, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that Saunders has a very good chance of returning to the D'Backs on a two-year deal.