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Houston Astros Rumors
The Rule 5 draft goes down tomorrow and we’ll keep track of the latest rumblings here..
- The Blue Jays are unlikely to pick anyone in the Rule 5 draft and are worried about losing two or three of their guys, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).
- Some names being talked about in advance of the Rule 5 draft are Jarlin Garcia of the Marlins, Carlos Melo of the Indians, and J.R. Graham of the Braves, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The industry expectation is that the Mets will lose right-hander Logan Verrett in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Clubs see Verrett working as a back end starter or a seventh-inning reliever.
- There’s talk that the Diamondbacks might select Astros catcher Roberto Pena with the top pick, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, Callis (Twitter link) says it’s very possible that someone will take a chance on Delino DeShields Jr. and pluck him from the Astros. Yesterday, Houston GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, that he did not anticipate a team taking the former No. 8 overall pick.
Heyman attributes that to the fact that he is not saddled with draft compensation, as he was this time last year. But I would suggest that there is probably a general sense that a bargain could be had for a team that can present Drew with a desirable opportunity.
Among the clubs with some level of interest are the Yankees, Mets, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Marlins. That lengthy set of club names probably encapsulates a variety of possible uses for Drew, ranging from a regular job at short to an intended use at another position to a pure utility role.
Free agent reliever Pat Neshek is in the midst of talks with the Astros and two other teams, and he could soon agree to terms, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Recent reports have connected the Blue Jays and Pirates to Neshek, although it’s unclear if those are the other two teams in negotiations. The Astros, meanwhile, have lately been linked to relievers like Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo and Luke Gregerson.
Neshek is coming off an outstanding season with the Cardinals in which he posted a 1.87 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and a measly 1.2 BB/9 in 67 1/3 innings. MLBTR’s Steve Adams predicted in October that Neshek’s breakout season at age 33 would earn him a two-year, $10MM deal this offseason.
The Astros came up short in their pursuit of David Robertson and Andrew Miller, but they still intend to acquire multiple relievers either in free agency or via trades, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (via Twitter). Here are some of the latest notable relief names connected to Houston…
- The Astros contacted the Nationals about Tyler Clippard though talks “didn’t get far,” Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports.
- The Astros have spoken to Sergio Romo and Luke Gregerson, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter).
- Outfielder L.J. Hoes is being made available in trades for relief help, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Hoes has hit .235/.288/.331 over 321 career plate appearances with Baltimore and Houston, receiving playing time off the bench in each of the last two seasons.
- Astros owner Jim Crane spoke to Evan Drellich today, reiterating that the team has at least $20MM to spend this offseason and potentially more. “Definitely that money’s available if they need it, and we could stretch a little if we need to and if something came in our direction we felt was the right piece that improved the team,” Crane said. Also from this piece, Drellich notes that Crane was personally involved in process of trying to recruit Miller.
The Astros extended the contract of GM Jeff Luhnow within the last year, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Club owner Jim Crane didn’t exactly remember when the extension was finalized but he believed it to be last offseason.
Luhnow was hired following the 2011 season, and has since presided over an extensive rebuilding plan that saw the Astros almost completely strip their roster of Major League veterans in order to reload with young talent. The results haven’t been pretty on the field (Houston is 176-310 over the last three seasons) but the franchise has amassed one of the deeper prospect pools in baseball and now seems to be looking to again spend on veteran talent. As Drellich notes, the 2014 season was a troublesome one for Luhnow, who faced criticism for the team’s failure to sign first overall draft pick Brady Aiken, a personality clash with ex-manager Bo Porter and a leak of trade discussions with other teams.
Here’s the latest from Angel Stadium…
- The Angels are targeting the Rockies‘ Josh Rutledge, the Astros‘ Marwin Gonzalez, the Tigers‘ Eugenio Suarez and the Cardinals‘ Pete Kozma in their search for middle infield depth, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Rutledge would require the most back in return since he has experience in an everyday role.
- Also from Fletcher’s Twitter account, he reports that the Angels aren’t interested in Brandon Beachy or Kris Medlen. Both starters underwent Tommy John surgery last year and were recently non-tendered by the Braves.
- GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team is “probably not” going to pursue more international players during the 2014-15 signing period, though “we’re open to it.” The Halos have already far exceeded their bonus pool for the 2014-15 period thanks to their $8MM expenditure on Roberto Baldoquin, an overage that will prevent them from spending any significant money when the 2015-16 international market opens.
- The player most often asked about by other teams is catcher Carlos Perez, Dipoto said.
Here’s the latest from Toronto…
- The Blue Jays asked the Diamondbacks about both left-hander Wade Miley and outfielder Mark Trumbo earlier this winter, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. Arizona, in turn, asked for some of the Jays’ young pitching in return. Interestingly, the Jays didn’t plan on keeping Trumbo, but rather flipping him to the Mariners for Michael Saunders, a player Toronto landed anyway by dealing J.A. Happ to Seattle.
- Also from Elliott, the Jays have looked into signing free agent relievers Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson. Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi also notes that the Astros and Yankees are among the other clubs interested in Gregerson’s services.
- The Blue Jays are one of three teams who have spoken to veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth, Davidi reports.
- Munenori Kawasaki has looked into options in Japan and may now be considering returning in North America on a minor league deal, according to Davidi. The Blue Jays would seem to be natural candidates to bring Kawasaki back, though manager John Gibbons wasn’t sure what was going on between the team and the infielder.
David Robertson did such a good job replacing Mariano Rivera that the Yankees might now have a more difficult time replacing Robertson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have big-time talent, but have also both had frustrating seasons in the recent past. The Yankees could pursue a closer like Jason Grilli, or perhaps mix and match Betances and Miller at closer. The team has plenty of strong bullpen pieces, but no one who represents the obvious fix for the closer role that Robertson did last year. Here’s more out of the Bronx.
- Now that the White Sox have swooped in to nab Robertson, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes that the Yankees will turn their attention to the middle of their starting rotation, where the departure of Shane Greene in the Didi Gregorius trade leaves them thin. The Yankees would also like to re-sign Chase Headley, although Madden notes that the Astros are rumored to have offered him five years and $65MM.
- The Yankees will try to keep outfielder Slade Heathcott and pitcher Jose Campos by re-signing them to minor-league deals, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York tweets. The Yankees non-tendered the pair last week even though neither were eligible for arbitration. Both have struggled with injuries, but they still have upside if they can stay healthy. As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues explains, non-tendering Heathcott and Campos allows the Yankees to avoid losing them through waivers. They’re now free agents, but the Yankees may have an edge in their attempts to re-sign them, due to their histories with the organization.
The latest bullpen news..
- The Braves have interest in free agent reliever Jason Grilli, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The Yankees have reportedly discussed Grilli as well.
- The Astros have yet to talk to Grilli, but that could change, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
- Veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth is out pounding the pavement in an effort to find a deal, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Farnsworth told Topkin that he’s “too young to coach.” Farnsworth pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 35 appearances for the Mets and Astros last season.
The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..
- There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
- Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).