Huston Street Rumors

NL Notes: Hamels, Lee, Burnett, Colon, Padres

The Rockies, who have lost four in a row and 11 of their last 15, own the National League’s worst record and the third-worst mark in all of baseball. The franchise faces six key questions, according to the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, including whether to trade Troy Tulowitzki and to overhaul the front office to appease the disgruntled fan base. Saunders doesn’t see either happening because owner Dick Monfort is an extremely loyal and stubborn man. Saunders writes Tulowitzki could force a trade if he is willing to be portrayed as the disloyal, bad guy. Elsewhere in the NL:

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


West Notes: Padres, Headley, Angels, Street

The Padres can control Tyson Ross for another three seasons, but to justify the rising cost, they’ll need more games like the gem he delivered yesterday, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego.  Through 21 starts this season, the All-Star owns a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. Here’s more out of the Western divisions..

  • Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that “Chase Headley is free agent at the end of the year, so we are acting accordingly.”  Hinch also indicated that several teams are interested in the third baseman.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he started working on the Huston Street deal right after the June draft about six weeks ago.
  • Dipoto went on to add that the Angels are not likely to do any more deals this month unless there is an injury to a starter (link).  However, the Halos will remain in “feeler mode” just in case.
  • The Astros have a major perception problem, writes ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider sub. req’d).  Between the Brady Aiken situation, their handling of George Springer, and the widespread belief that they tanked the 2013 season, many are questioning Houston’s game plan.

Reactions To The Huston Street Trade

Here’s a collection of reactions to and fallout from the trade of closer Huston Street from the Padres to the Angels.

  • The fact that the Angels could control Huston Street for 2015 was a key factor in trading for him, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Were it not for the fact we had the ability to control Huston for a year and two months, it would have been far more difficult to justify giving up the type of package we gave up to get him,” says GM Jerry Dipoto.
  • Angels reliever Joe Smith doesn’t mind ceding the closer’s job to Street, DiGiovanna writes. “If they think it’s better for the ballclub, I’m all for it. I signed my life away, so to speak, last off-season. I came here to win,” he says. “If they think he can help this club, bring it on.”
  • From the Padres’ perspective, the deal increases the likelihood that Chase Headley will be traded this month, R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus writes (subscription only). The inclusion of second baseman Taylor Lindsey in the deal likely bumps Jedd Gyorko to third base. Gyorko had a disastrous start to his season is no sure thing himself, of course, but the Street trade makes the Padres’ future infield at least a little clearer.
  • The Padres did quite well in the deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. Heyman cites another team’s GM who sounds excited about R.J. Alvarez (“could be a future closer“) and Jose Rondon, in particular, even though he doesn’t like Lindsey as much.


Angels Acquire Huston Street From Padres

The Angels have officially agreed to acquire All-Star closer Huston Street from the Padres, as first reported by Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). It is a four-for-two deal, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first tweeted.

In return for Street and 2013 sixth-round draft choice Trevor Gott, San Diego will receive second base prospect Taylor Lindsey, who entered the year as the Halos’ top-rated prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, as well as 23-year-old righty R.J. Alvarez, who BA ranked fourth among Angels prospects. Two other minor leaguers are also headed to San Diego: rising shortstop prospect Jose Rondon and righty Elliot Morris.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres

Street has been one of the most effective late-inning relievers in baseball this year. In his age-30 season, Street owns a 1.09 ERA backed by 9.3 K/9 against just 1.9 BB/9. He also sports a 42.5% groundball rate that is his best mark since his rookie year of 2005. While Street’s earned run mark is propped up somewhat by the fact that he has a remarkable 100% strand rate, ERA estimators also like his work thus far (2.90 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 2.46 SIERA).

Street’s contract, of course, makes up a good portion of his appeal, and also presumably opened up a broader market for his services. He is owed only the remainder of his $7MM salary this year and comes with a $7MM club option for 2015. That manageable commitment arguably made him the most attractive closer acquisition candidate on the market this year — at least, that is, unless and until the Red Sox make Koji Uehara available. It appears that the Angels decided it was worth parting with a larger prospect haul to add Street, and do so now, rather than waiting to pursue one of the more expensive relief options that might have been had, such as Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies.

For the Angels, Street represents fourth reliever added in the last month, joining Joe Thatcher, Jason Grilli, and the since-released Rich Hill. Street will presumably bump Joe Smith out of the closer role that he has occupied since deposing Ernesto Frieri, who was of course dealt for Grilli. Of course, Smith — who inked for $15.75MM over three years before the season — has been every bit as good as Street this year (2.32 ERA with 9.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 58.1% groundball rate).

The other piece of the deal for Los Angeles, Gott, had been throwing at Double-A after earning a mid-season promotion. The 21-year-old has just a 4.63 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 6.9 BB/9 through 11 2/3 frames at that level, but had worked to a 3.16 mark on the back of 8.9 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 through 31 1/3 High-A innings. Gott did not rank among San Diego’s thirty best prospects entering the year in the eyes of Baseball America.

San Diego looks to have achieved a strong return for Street. Lindsey, 22, was taken in the sandwich round of the 2010 draft and landed in the 93rd overall spot on Baseball America’s top-100 prospect list. His calling card is his unconventional but effective left-handed bat. He profiles as an average runner and fielder, according to BA. In his first season at Triple-A, Lindsey owns a .247/.323/.400 slash with eight home runs and seven stolen bases.

Though it is generally unwise to look too far ahead with prospects, it appears that Lindsey is close to earning a shot at big league playing time and makes for a nice fit with San Diego. With Chase Headley set to hit the open market this coming offseason (if he is not traded earlier), Jedd Gyorko could slide to the hot corner with Lindsey slotting in at second. (Of course, 2011 San Diego first-rounder Cory Spangenberg is also filtering up the system as a keystone option, though his prospect sheen has dimmed in recent years.)

For his part, Alvarez has dominated upon being promoted to Double-A for the 2014 campaign. Exclusively a reliever, he has allowed just one earned run in 27 innings of work, striking out 12.7 while walking just 3.3 batters per nine. That performance supports Baseball America’s scouting report from before the season, which praises Alvarez for his big fastball and power slider. Indeed, according to BA, the Friars may have picked up their closer of the future by dealing their closer of the past, as Alvarez has 9th-inning upside.

In the meantime, presumably, Joaquin Benoit will step into San Diego’s closer role. He has been outstanding, with a 1.86 ERA and 10.5 K/9 versus 2.1 BB/9, since signing a two-year, $15.5MM deal (with a $8MM club option for 2016). The veteran could still be dealt, Rosenthal tweets, but San Diego will “raise the bar” on its demands having already shipped out its incumbent closer.

As for Rondon, a 20-year-old from Venezuela who was rated the Halos’ 12th-best prospect coming into the year, Baseball America says he has a good hit tool and approach, but lacks any power to speak of. He is not much above average on the bases and is a good, but not spectacular fielder who could become a second baseman or utility player as he moves forward. Of course, the youngster has only raised his stock with a strong .327/.362/.418 slash in 324 plate appearances at the High-A level this year. With half a year in the books, Rondon had already jumped to 5th among Angels prospects on MLB.com’s ranking.

Morris, 22, was a fourth-round selection last year for Los Angeles who signed for a $387.3K bonus. He has moved up to the High-A level in his second season as a professional, and owns a 4.17 ERA through 45 1/3 innings with 7.9 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9.

Bowden tweeted that Rondon was part of the deal, while Rosenthal tweeted Gott’s inclusion.


Angels Close To Acquiring Huston Street

9:57pm: Another player is expected to be going with Lindsey to the Padres, tweets Rosenthal. One possibility, according to a tweet from Brown, is 23-year-old righty R.J. Alvarez.

9:47pm: A deal is being finalized to send Street to the Angels, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

9:18pm: The sides are indeed close, with second base prospect Taylor Lindsey expected to be part of the return to San Diego, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Medicals have been exchanged, Rosenthal adds, which is obviously one of the final steps to a swap.

9:15pm: A deal could happen tonight, with talks currently at a “sensitive” stage, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).

9:05pm: The sides are “getting closer” on a deal involving Street, but still have ground to cover, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

5:30pm: “Nothing is imminent” between the Angels and Padres regarding Street, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).

5:16pm: The Angels are one of several teams in on Street, and no deal has been finalized, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

5:00pm: The Angels are close to finalizing a deal to add closer Huston Street from the Padres, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

Los Angeles has indeed looked like a good fit for the 30-year-old righty. Certainly, he has more than justified his $7MM salary this year, with a 1.09 ERA on the back of 9.3 K/9 against just 1.9 BB/9. That also makes his $7MM club option for 2015 look quite attractive.


Tigers, Rangers Discussing Joakim Soria

11:10am: Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, adds that the Tigers are also interested in Joaquin Benoit but are not actively pursuing Huston Street at this time (Twitter links). The Tigers, according to a rival executive with whom Rosenthal spoke, are interested in adding a reliever that doesn’t view himself as a pure closer, suggesting that a new acquisition may not supplant Nathan as the primary ninth-inning option.

9:57am: The Tigers and Rangers are having ongoing discussions about Texas closer Joakim Soria, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports 1 (on Twitter).

The back end of the bullpen was a worry that Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski hoped not to have when he signed Joe Nathan this offseason, but the former Twins/Rangers stopper hasn’t pitched like himself in 2014. Nathan has posted a 5.61 ERA in 33 2/3 innings with the Tigers, and while his strikeout rate remains strong (9.4 K/9), his walks are up and his fastball is averaging a career-worst 91.7 mph. That velocity dip could have something to do with the increase in his home run rate and decrease in swinging-strike rate as well.

Soria, on the other hand, has been excellent in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The former Royals closer has turned in the best strikeout and walk rates of his career (11.9 K/9, 1.2 BB/9) en route to a 2.67 ERA and 16 saves in 30 1/3 innings of relief work.

An acquisition of Soria would give the Tigers an improved ninth-inning option not only for 2014 but also 2015, as his contract contains a $7MM club option ($500K buyout). Beyond that, Soria is highly affordable in 2014, as he’s earning just a $5.5MM salary, of which $2.19MM remains.

This would be the second straight season in which the Tigers have acquired bullpen help, should a deal come to fruition. However, the asking price on Soria will undoubtedly be higher than last year’s asking price for Jose Veras. Detroit sent Danry Vasquez and David Paulino to Houston in order to complete that deal.

The Rangers have reportedly been receiving a good deal of interest in their bullpen arms, and they’ve already shown a willingness to move veteran pieces by sending Jason Frasor to the Royals this week.


Angels Don’t Match Up For Kennedy, Still Pursuing Street

The Angels and Padres don’t match up on a deal for right-hander Ian Kennedy, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the two sides are still discussing closer Huston Street (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Padres are still listening to offers from other clubs with interest in Kennedy.

The Angels have been connected to Street several times, and the pitcher himself even said he would welcome a trade to the Halos when asked by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. That’s not to say that Street wants to be traded to Anaheim — he’s said multiple times that he loves San Diego — but rather that if he is traded, he’d prefer it to be to a contending team. Street also told Shaikin how exciting the concept of playing alongside names like Mike Trout and Albert Pujols would be, and he offered high praise for manager Mike Scioscia.

According to Shaikin, the Angels prefer Street to Jonathan Papelbon and Joakim Soria. Street, who has pitched to a 1.09 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 33 innings this season, is earning $7MM and has a $7MM club option on his contract for 2015. As such, the price tag on him is likely to be fairly substantial, though not as steep as the presumed price tag on Kennedy.

As far as Kennedy goes, it’s not entirely surprising that the two sides don’t match up. The Angels’ weak farm system has been well documented, and there’s been a great deal of speculation that they could have trouble landing significant upgrades on the trade market. In a second piece, Shaikin spoke with GM Jerry Dipoto, who said that he doesn’t want to deal any pieces from his big league roster in trades.

That, of course, implies that a young player who could be of interest to a rebuilding club, such as slugging first baseman/DH C.J. Cron, isn’t likely to find himself as part of a trade. As Shaikin writes, Dipoto knows that means he doesn’t have the pieces to acquire David Price, but the team is still in active pursuit of pitching upgrades. Based on all of these reports, it seems that Street is the primary target for the time being, though I’d expect the Angels to cast a wide net over the next few weeks.


Latest On Huston Street And Closer Market

With his club sitting 12 games back in the NL West at the All-Star break, Padres closer Huston Street certainly looks to be a prime trade candidate. The 30-year-old righty owns a 1.09 ERA through 33 games and 33 frames on the year, with a sparkling 9.3 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. This is his third straight season of sub-3.00 ERA work. Street is playing on a $7MM salary for 2014, and can be controlled for $7MM next season via club option.

Here’s the latest news on Street and the rest of the closer market:

  • Street expects to be dealt, he tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). The club has approached him to discuss that possibility, he adds.
  • San Diego has had enough discussions regarding Street that a deal does indeed appear likely, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club is, however, somewhat hesitant to part with both Street and set-up man Joaquin Benoit, Heyman adds.
  • The Angels are one club looking at Street, reports Heyman. The club’s interest was reported yesterday by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Los Angeles has also considered Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies, but his contract is an obvious turn-off. (On the other hand, of course, he would presumably require less of a prospect return to acquire.)
  • Also weighing a move on Street are the Pirates, says Heyman. The Orioles and Giants have been mentioned by sources as other speculative possibilities. But Heyman says that those clubs appear more likely to prioritize rotation help.
  • Though the Tigers have been mentioned as a team that could conceivably be interested in late-inning relief help, Heyman says that Detroit has not indicated interest in bringing in an option to challenge or supplant Joe Nathan.

Angels Trying To Deal For Kennedy, Street

The Angels are trying to acquire starting pitcher Ian Kennedy and closer Huston Street from the Padres, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The two teams have discussed a possible deal for Street, but not yet for Kennedy.

Acquiring both players will be tricky for the Angels, Rosenthal suggests, because the Padres control both Kennedy and Street through 2015. They are more inclined to trade players  who are eligible for free agency after the season, like Chase Headley and Chris Denorfia. Another potential obstacle is that the Padres’ ownership might hope to quickly build a competitive team — the recent signing of Seth Smith to a two-year extension suggests that the Padres do not wish to rebuild for long. They could potentially trade Headley and Denorfia, but keep Kennedy and Street for next season.

The Padres might acquire Triple-A second baseman Taylor Lindsey in a deal for Kennedy and Street, Rosenthal writes. The Angels do not have a strong farm system, so it might be tough for them to assemble the talent needed to swing a big trade, at least not without dealing big-league players of their own.


Padres Notes: Kennedy, Street, Management

Here’s the latest from San Diego…

  • Ian Kennedy is perhaps the Padres’ biggest trade chip, yet the team isn’t eager to deal the right-hander, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.  Kennedy has pitched well (3.72 ERA, 3.19 K/BB, 9.3 K/9 in 181 2/3 IP) since coming to the Friars last season and the club still has him under control through the 2015 campaign.  “Unless an offer blows them away, the Padres’ owners, eager to contend, may be compensating Kennedy handsomely in 2015,” Lin notes, as Kennedy has one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining and will earn a nice raise over his current $6.1MM salary.  FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Orioles had been scouting Kennedy.
  • I’ve allowed myself to be open to whatever happens, happens.  Last year I definitely did not want to be traded. Now, my plan is to play for whatever uniform they put me in,” Huston Street tells Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown.  Street’s excellent season has drawn some trade attention from other clubs, and while the closer noted that he likes San Diego and believes the team can still be competitive, “I lean heavily toward the want-to-win side of the equation.”
  • Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune answers questions about the trade deadline, the Padres’ GM search and several other topics as part of an online chat with fans.