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Huston Street Rumors
The Padres are currently 10 games below .500 and 14.5 games behind in the NL West despite a pitching staff that ranks eighth in the Majors in ERA, and ownership is losing patience with the club, according to multiple reports. In an appearance with Darren Smith of Mighty 1090 radio in San Diego yesterday (audio link), Padres CEO Mike Dee said called the team’s current standing “unacceptable.” Dee notes that as an organization, “we’re all accountable,” but he made little effort to hide the fact that changes could be on the horizon.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was not looking at everything and everybody in this organization from top to bottom … We increased payroll 25 percent. We got an enormous commitment by ownership to do that, and it’s not getting done. And when it’s not getting done, everybody and everything gets put under the microscope, and if changes are appropriate, changes will be made.”
While Dee declined to “put a shot clock” on when moves will be made (if at all), he went on to say, “Stay tuned. If it doesn’t turn around, invariably, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.” Specifically, he was critical of the team’s offensive struggles. When asked if manager Bud Black was getting the most out of the roster, Dee replied by saying that even Black himself would answer “no” to that question, though he declined to place any significant amount of blame on the longtime San Diego skipper, stating “It’s not on Buddy, singularly, it’s on the organization. All of us are disappointed. All of us are accountable. The fanbase deserves more.”
This morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports exchanged emails with chairman Ron Fowler, who told him:
“At this time, we will not be discussing our situation with any parties outside of our senior management circle. That said, we are terribly disappointed in the team’s offense this year and staying the course (waiting for a turnaround) is becoming less appealing as the ugly losses continue.”
Rosenthal speculates that hitting coach Phil Plantier might be the one who is in the most immediate danger. The Padres are, after all, last in the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, having batted just .216/.275/.344 as a team. Petco Park’s pitcher-friendly setting can’t even be blamed, as the Padres rank last in the Majors with a wRC+ of just 75, and that stat is both park- and league-adjusted. (In other words, Padres hitters have been, as a whole, 25 percent less effective than a league-average hitter, even when adjusting their hitting to account for a pitcher-friendly environment.)
Rosenthal points back to an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee last month, in which Acee suggested that ownership was becoming impatient with Black. Within that piece, Acee noted that while the lack of offense isn’t necessarily Black’s fault, it is his problem. He went on to write that if the team doesn’t look better by season’s end, GM Josh Byrnes would also be a candidate to be replaced.
Rosenthal writes that Black is still among the game’s most respected managers when talking to rival executives, and he could land another managerial job in short order were he to be dismissed in San Diego. Beyond that, Rosenthal writes that roster changes could be on the horizon as well, noting that the team is expected to move multiple veteran pieces prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He lists Seth Smith, Huston Street, Ian Kennedy and Chris Denorfia as candidates to be shipped out.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had a tumor removed from his left index finger Tuesday, writes Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Head athletic trainer Keith Dugger tells Groke that a biopsy will be performed on what they’re hoping is a benign tumor, adding that such a finding isn’t necessarily uncommon. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes that Gonzalez could miss as much as five weeks after having what Dugger described as a “fatty mass with tentacles” removed. Here’s more on the Rox and their division…
- The Rockies have had injury problems of late, with Michael Cuddyer, Jordan Lyles, Eddie Butler, Boone Logan, Nolan Arenado, Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson all on the DL (in addition to Gonzalez), but they’re not done with bad news on that front. Groke’s colleague Patrick Saunders reported this morning that top pitching prospect Daniel Winkler is heading for Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old Winkler — a former 20th-round gem in the draft — had posted a 1.41 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 70 innings at Double-A Tulsa this season.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick spoke with Padres closer Huston Street about the possibility of being traded this summer — a concept that is far from foreign to Street. “I’ll give the same answer I have year after year,” Street told Crasnick. “I have no control over it. I don’t have a no-trade clause, so there’s nothing for me to consider.” Street added that he likes the group in San Diego and doesn’t want to be traded, believing they can win there. Crasnick notes that his $7MM salary and $7MM club option are affordable enough that teams will have interest, but not so steep that the Friars feel they have to move him.
- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley had another setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be reevaluated by the team doctor, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Billingsley recently hit 93 mph in a rehab outing, but he felt weakness in his surgically repaired elbow following a 31-pitch bullpen session yesterday.
Padres fans got some welcome news this evening, as it was announced that Time Warner Cable will begin airing Padres games for the coming season, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. As Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs has explained, the failure of Time Warner (and, at the time, AT&T U-verse and DISH Network) to agree to the Fox Sports San Diego subscriber fee not only left many fans without access to games, but put a significant dent in the Friars' expected annual payout. Here's more from San Diego and the rest of the NL West:
- When the Padres inked reliever Joaquin Benoit to a two-year, $14MM deal earlier in the off-season, it raised an immediate question whether he or incumbent Huston Street would close. As Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, both back-end arms are content with the situation and their roles. "[Street] is going to shut the door," said Benoit, "and I'm going to try to give him as many games with leads as I can." For his part, Street — whose deal includes a $7MM club option for 2015 — says that he understands the business side of things and hopes only for success for his new teammate. "It's a smart move on the Padres' part," he said. "It gives them options for 2015. It gives them options if I go down. It gives them options if I struggle."
- After a breakout campaign last year put him in position for a nice payday as a Super Two, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has yet to reach agreement with his club on a price for his 2014 season. The sides' filing figures ($3.6MM against $2.05MM) are the furthest apart in relative terms among remaining arbitration cases. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, however, it remains likely that a hearing will be avoided, as team and player both recently expressed an expectation that a settlement will be forthcoming.
- Despite adding another rotation arm in Bronson Arroyo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that top prospect Archie Bradley can still earn a starting spot out of camp, reports FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder. "We want to get out of the gate quick," said Towers. "I've said from the beginning, with Archie, it's not about trying to save a year, save money. We need to win games. If he's ready coming out of the spring and we're a better ballclub with Archie being in it, he's going to be there." Putting the 21-year-old on the MLB roster for Opening Day would mean giving up the ability to extend team control for an extra season, but Towers' statement indicates that is still a real possibility. (On the other hand, given that factor and Bradley's limited seasoning, it will probably be a tall order for him to unseat one of the expected five as a practical matter.) Fellow righty Randall Delgado would likely join the bullpen if he does not earn a turn in the rotation, said Towers, since he is out of options.
- The Arroyo signing has earned mixed reviews; as MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth opined, for example, the $23.5MM guarantee that he received is a debatable investment in a market that promised Paul Maholm just $1.5MM. One under-the-radar issue with Arroyo, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, is that his pronounced struggles against lefties have been masked somewhat by pitching in a division (the National League Central) that has not featured the volume of left-handed bats to take full advantage of the platoon split. In particular, Cameron says, should the Diamondbacks reach the post-season, Arroyo's achilles heel could significantly impair his usefulness to his new club.
The Diamondbacks are interested in flying to Japan to meet with Masahiro Tanaka, although they have not yet scheduled a meeting, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com reports. The Diamondbacks have been connected to Tanaka and other top free-agent starters, although Piecoro notes that it will be tricky for them to outbid the Yankees and other big-market teams for Tanaka's services. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Yankees are the favorites to get Tanaka, but he would provide such a big boost to the Angels' rotation that he could change the complexion of the AL West if he heads to Anaheim, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Sulia).
- The futures of Padres relievers Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street are intertwined, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Bill Center writes. The Padres have signed Benoit to a two-year deal that pays him $6MM in 2014 and $8MM in 2015, with an $8MM option for 2016 and a $1.5MM buyout. The option vests, however, if Benoit finishes 55 games in 2015, which would only happen if he were the closer for almost the entire season. Street, meanwhile, will be paid $7MM in 2014, with a $7MM option for 2015. Street will close for the Padres in 2014, but it's unclear what will happen after that. "Huston has done it very well for a long time. Benoit has done it for four years. Huston is a pro. Nothing changes here," says Padres GM Josh Byrnes. "We do have a decision for 2015. Nothing is guaranteed for 2015."
Just over a year ago, the Dodgers announced their presence as big-money acquirers by trading for infielder Hanley Ramirez. While Ramirez has battled injury at times, he has certainly re-established himself as a top-line big leaguer with a .315/.367/.544 line to go with 21 home runs and 14 stolen bases in the last year. As ESPN's Mark Saxon explains, Ramirez has seemed energized since donning Dodger blue and has been on fire since returning from a DL stint in early June. He remains under team control for 2014 at a cost of $16MM. On the other hand, the primary piece that Los Angeles shipped out to acquire Ramirez – pitcher Nathan Eovaldi — has been solid so far in Miami. The 23-year-old currently owns a 3.54 ERA in 40 2/3 MLB innings. Here's more out of the NL West..
- The Giants will listen to offers on Hunter Pence, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. At this stage of the season, the club believes that they have to be open to everything. San Francisco certainly likes Pence and wants to keep him long term, but with a lack of offense out there, they could get a very strong return for him. It was recently reported that the Rangers have interest in acquiring Pence.
- Padres stars Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Huston Street are likely to stay in San Diego but it appears that Luke Gregerson will be changing uniforms, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- After Gregerson and Chris Denorfia, the Padres getting the most interest are Street, left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, and outfielder/first baseman Jesus Guzman, writes Bill Center of U-T San Diego.
- The Giants are searching for their identity as the deadline approaches, writes MLB.com's Andrew Owens. Manager Bruce Bochy has instructed his players to tune out the trade rumors between now and July 31st.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
3:11pm: MLB.com's Corey Brock writes that the Padres are seeking controllable young pitching in trades, and Gregerson is receiving the most interest from other clubs currently. Gregerson tells Brock that he's not paying attention to the rumors swirling around his name and is just "living for today" and enjoying his time with the Padres.
12:50pm: The Padres are receiving a lot of interest in Luke Gregerson, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He adds that more teams are calling the Padres about Gregerson than they are about closer Huston Street.
That teams are more interested in Gregerson than Street isn't much of a surprise, given Gregerson's stronger numbers and cheaper price tag. While Street is earning $7MM in 2013 and again in 2014 (with a $7MM club option for 2015), Gregerson is earning just $3.2MM this season after his second year of arbitration eligibility. He will be arb-eligible once more this offseason before hitting free agency in the 2014-15 offseason.
Gregerson, 29, has a 2.98 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 46.7 percent ground-ball rate in 42 1/3 innings this season. He drew significant interest from the Tigers during Spring Training, with Detroit reportedly offering Rick Porcello in exchange for Gregerson (though GM Dave Dombrowski refuted that claim). More recent reports suggest that the Tigers are showing "continued interest" in San Diego's setup man.
The three most prominent starting pitcher trade candidates reside in baseball's Central divisions: Matt Garza (Cubs), Jake Peavy (White Sox), and Yovani Gallardo (Brewers). The latest on the Garza rumors can be found here while Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports at least a half dozen scouts, including ex-Cub GMs Jim Hendry (Yankees) and Ed Lynch (Blue Jays) were on hand to see Peavy's outing against the Braves last night. "There are a lot of eyes on me, period," Peavy said after allowing two earned runs on seven hits during his six-inning stint (96 pitches). "I was trying to win for (27,294 fans) who came to support us. Whatever the scouts see, they see. I love to play and I love to compete. I want to win, that's the bottom line." The bottom line with Gallardo, according to a tweet from ESPN's Jayson Stark, is not a lot of enthusiasm for what two executives called a "4-5 starter" despite tossing six and 1/3 shutout innings against the Marlins last night. Here's more from the Central:
- The Tigers have made initial inquiries with the Padres about their relievers, sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link). Morosi lists Huston Street and Luke Gregerson as possibilities.
- Both the Tigers and Red Sox are scouting Brewers' closer Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- The Pirates' biggest need is another bat but they are also exploring the pitching market and seeking a bench upgrade, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel (Twitter link), "We know players we want and we know what we're willing to give up. We're willing to stretch lot on some guys, not so much others."
- Huntington acknowledges he has the flexibility to add payroll "within reason," but would not elaborate, per a Biertempfel tweet.
- The Pirates had lost three in a row and Huntington blamed their struggles on BABIP, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates have also scuffled with runners in scoring position breaking an 0-for-29 drought with a pair of RBI singles this afternoon.
- Brandon Phillips addressed the reaction to his recent comments in a Cincinnati Magazine article, which quoted him as saying the six-year, $72.5MM contract extension he signed with the Reds in 2012 was a "slap in the face" and that GM Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini lied to him during the process. "Do I feel like they lied to me? If someone tells me they don’t have no money and you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like?" Phillips told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, referencing the ten-year, $225MM deal first baseman Joey Votto completed with the Reds about a week before his own deal was announced. "I’m very happy for Joey, don’t get me wrong," the second baseman added. "It was basically, if you think about it, I was saying I thought I wasn’t going to be a Cincinnati Red … if y’all want to take that to the negative way, be my guest, that doesn’t bother me."
- While there has been a great deal of speculation about Justin Morneau and other Twins, rival executives haven’t sensed a big push from Minnesota to make deals, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Brandon Phillips | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Detroit Tigers | Francisco Rodriguez | Huston Street | Jake Peavy | Luke Gregerson | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Neal Huntington | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | Yovani Gallardo
The Blue Jays will add Carlos Delgado to the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre this weekend — an honor bestowed upon the greatest Jays in franchise history. Delgado spent a dozen seasons with the Jays, hitting .282/.392/.556 with 336 homers in 6,018 plate appearances. He will join Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Tony Fernandez, George Bell and Dave Stieb as players to receive the distinction. Here's more from around the league…
- ESPN's Keith Law unveiled the latest edition of his Top 50 prospects (ESPN Insider required and recommended), and it's fronted by Twins Class A Advanced center fielder Byron Buxton, though Law cautions that even he is a little uncomfortable with the amount of hype Buxton is receiving. Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Miguel Sano and Francisco Lindor round out Law's Top 5.
- The Mets will need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Marlon Byrd, writes Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger. "Overwhelmed," of course, is a relative term, and manager Terry Collins states things more lightly later in the article: "Right now, Marlon Byrd’s a huge piece. If Marlon Byrd’s going to get moved, we’re going to get something good back." Castillo's article meshes with previous reports that the Mets may simply stand pat at the deadline.
- A team official tells Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets haven't had any action yet on Byrd or closer Bobby Parnell (Twitter link).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden examines the trade market for relievers (video link), naming all of the usual suspects that have been mentioned previously but also adding Jared Burton, Huston Street and Luke Gregerson, who haven't been mentioned often this summer. All three are controlled beyond 2013. Bowden's colleague Buster Olney tweeted earlier today that the Diamondbacks continue to be players on the relief pitching market.
- Uncertainty surrounding Clay Buchholz's injuries hasn't changed Boston's approach to the trade deadline, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox still plan to be "selective" as they debate possibilities to upgrade what they consider to be strong rotation depth. The team is also still interested in upgrades at third base and in the bullpen.
6:53pm: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied that he had proposed any deals involving Porcello, including any offers to the Padres, reports Lynn Henning of The Detroit News. Dombrowski acknowledged that his "phone has been ringing a lot," and added that "this is the best I've ever seen [Porcello] throw the baseball."
12:07pm: The Padres have turned down two offers from the Tigers, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter). The Padres declined to take Porcello for Huston Street or Luke Gregerson, a Tigers source told Bowden.
THURSDAY, 8:33am: The Cardinals are checking out Porcello, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter).
WEDNESDAY: The Rangers and Padres are the teams most actively discussing potential Rick Porcello trades with the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report. The Orioles have also scouted the right-hander.
Despite the strong interest, rival teams wonder if the Tigers will actually trade Porcello. Instead of making a deal, the Tigers could choose to keep Porcello and use Drew Smyly in the bullpen or as a starter at Triple-A Toledo. The FOX writers report that the Tigers will not move Porcello unless they obtain a strong return.
The Padres made an “aggressive” offer last week and the Tigers rejected it, Rosenthal and Morosi report. Talks with the Rangers are not advanced at this point. The Tigers appear to like shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and right-handed pitching prospect Nick Tepesch. Detroit would want a third player added to the package, but the Rangers are reluctant to move even Tepesch.
The Red Sox could have interest in Porcello, yet they don’t want to reduce their bullpen depth, the FOX duo reports. The Orioles aren’t inclined to pursue Porcello aggressively, as they have many young starting pitchers of their own.
The Tigers also seek a right-handed hitting outfielder. They have talked about re-acquiring Casper Wells from the Mariners, Rosenthal and Morosi report. The Tigers traded Wells to Seattle midway through the 2011 season in the deal that sent Doug Fister to Detroit.
Huston Street is off of the trade market and in the Padres' long-term plans. The team agreed to sign the 28-year-old right-hander to a two-year extension that includes a club option for 2015. The contract between the Padres and the Hendricks Sports client will be worth $14MM and the '15 option will be valued at $7MM, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports.
“Huston is an established closer and has proven to be a valuable leader and teammate,” GM Josh Byrnes said in a press release. “We are very excited to have him be part of this organization going forward.”
The Padres worked to lock Street up this week and were prepared to trade him if an extension didn't seem possible. Street's previous contract included a $9MM mutual option for 2013 ($500K buyout). He would have been a free agent following the 2012 season unless both sides had exercised the option.
Street has a 0.91 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 40% ground ball rate in 29 2/3 innings for the Padres this year. He has a 2.97 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 38.1% ground ball rate in eight seasons with the Athletics, Rockies and Padres.
Street earns $7MM per season in 2013-14 and there's no buyout on the 2015 option, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). His $7MM salary will now represent a substantial portion of the Padres' payroll — $55.6MM entering the 2012 season.
This marks the second time in eight days that Byrnes has signed a potential trade candidate to a multiyear extension. The Padres agreed to sign Carlos Quentin to a three-year, $30MM extension one week ago today. Street, Quentin and Cameron Maybin now represent the Padres' largest financial commitments for 2013 and beyond.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.