Ian Kennedy Rumors

Matt Holliday Rumors: Wednesday

8:40pm: Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd says he is "completely open-minded to anything" in a Holliday deal - a premium starter is not a requirement.

2:38pm: Renck says the Rockies have talked to the Rays about Holliday, as the Rays have an abundance of pitching.  He also believes the Rays might be willing to give up Carl Crawford for Holliday.

9:54am: According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, there is too much momentum toward a Matt Holliday trade for the Rockies to turn back now.  Sherman figures a deal could go down in December.  He notes the Rockies' appreciation of Yankees pitcher Ian Kennedy, though he wouldn't be the centerpiece of a trade.

Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post did an exclusive interview with Holliday, who questioned the Rockies' ability to contend every year.  Holliday disputed the notion that his contract talks with the Rockies were a distraction to the team.

Will Rockies Trade Taveras?

Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras hit .251/.308/.296 in 538 plate appearances this year, a major drain on the team's offense.  Defensively, Taveras had a big year in 2006 but has been below average since.  Quad and knee injuries may be the culprit, though Taveras has been able to steal bases.

Taveras wants to play every day, but it probably won't be for the Rockies.  Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post fully expects him to be traded this winter.  Taveras was claimed off waivers in August, possibly by the Nationals, Phillies, or Mets (obviously no trade agreement was reached).  Taveras is arbitration-eligible, and there's been no indication the Rockies are considering non-tendering him.

Today Renck suggested Taveras for Ian Kennedy is "not a longshot."  River Ave. Blues hates the idea, noting that the Yankees already have two superior center fielders on the roster.

Heyman's Latest: Yankees Offseason Plans

The latest column by Jon Heyman of SI.com is full of all kinds of Yankees notes:

  • They will pursue a top-of-the-rotation starter, and yes, C.C. Sabathia is one of them, but the list also includes A.J. Burnett, Jake Peavy, Derek Lowe, and possibly Ben Sheets. As we wrote yesterday, Peavy's agent said he'd need "a lot of convincing" to approve a deal to the American League.
  • According to Heyman the goal is for the Bombers to "secure more than one of them."
  • The Yankees have targeted Mark Teixeira but may also take a look at Manny Ramirez (Heyman has mentioned the Manny to the Yankees possibility before, as has Ken Rosenthal).
  • Interest in Teixeira almost certainly means that Jason Giambi is not returning in 2009.
  • Center field is another position the Yankees hope to fill, but they may go the trade route and Heyman mentions Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy as possible bait.
  • If Mike Mussina decides to pitch again in 2009, the Yankees would want him back. A couple of weeks ago, Buster Olney wrote about a "growing sense" that Mussina would be returning for another season.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05  -at- umpbump -dot- com.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Trade Deadline

Some random links as we head toward the trade deadline, from the Blogosphere...

  • One writer at Bugs and Cranks thinks that the Rockies should not lower their demand for Brian Fuentes and feels that the Cardinals are the most likely team to land the closer.
  • UmpBump wants the Rockies to keep Matt Holliday and would prefer moving Garrett Atkins, allowing Ian Stewart to play third.
  • Meanwhile, another writer at Bugs and Cranks wants the Cardinals to pass on Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, but think St. Louis should go after George Sherrill and/or Fuentes.
  • Outs Per Swing does not feel that the Rays need to add a player like Xavier Nady, but they are also skeptical that Rocco Baldelli can be the right-handed bat the team needs.
  • MetsBlog does not see the Mets landing George Sherrill or Huston Street, noting the O's are asking for too much and the Mets will not meet the A's demands. MetsBlog also feels the Mets have more obvious holes than relief pitcher.
  • River Ave. Blues says the recent success of Ian Kennedy in Triple A has given the Yankees a very big chip in the trade market.
  • Drunk Jays Fans says Roy Halladay will not be traded, despite recent reports that the Jays were secretly shopping him.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex and can be reached here.

The Price For Fuentes

According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have asked various teams for the following players for closer Brian Fuentes: Wade Davis, Ian Kennedy, Clay Buchholz, and Jon NieseTracy Ringolsby says no concrete offers have been made for Fuentes yet.

Fuentes will provide two months of solid relieving, and possibly two draft picks after that.  But alternatives are plentiful, and the Rockies are in danger of overplaying their hand if the price doesn't come down soon.  It doesn't help the Rockies that the Nationals accepted Emilio Bonifacio for for 2.3 years of Jon Rauch.

Phillies No Longer Interested In Fuentes?

MLB.com's Trade Talk blog speculates that the Phillies may no longer be pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, after Philadelphia traded three prospects for Joe Blanton. The blog wonders, "How many chips do (the Phillies) have to play?" Then, the blog hedges its bets:

If an earlier report is correct, the Rockies have asked the Phillies for right-hander Carlos Carrasco or catcher Lou Marson in return for Fuentes, so something could still be possible.

Trade Talk goes on to say that the Rockies would "hit the jackpot if a team came up with a young, talented starter -- like, say, the Yankees' Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy, or a couple of top Double-A prospects such as the Rays' Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson."

It's highly unlikely the Phillies will deal Carrasco, the organization's top prospect, for a set-up man. It's an absolute impossibility that the Yankees will trade Hughes for Fuentes. The Rays are still considered the front-runners for Fuentes, the blog says.

Coley Ward writes for Umpbump.com and can be reached here.

Sherman's Latest: Bay, Nady, Holliday, Fuentes, Blake

The New York Post's Joel Sherman is working hard today, filing blog posts here and here.

  • Multiple teams are in the hunt for a right-handed hitting outfielder: the Mets, Rays, and maybe the Yankees.  The Pirates are asking for too much for Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, while the Rockies are waiting to see what Bay costs so they can ask for more for Matt Holliday.  The Rays' might find their solution internally, with Rocco Baldelli.
  • Holliday as a replacement for Manny Ramirez this winter?  Right now it's just a couple of execs speculating to Sherman.
  • The Rockies want either Jon Niese from the Mets or Ian Kennedy from the Yankees for Brian Fuentes, but the two New York clubs aren't having that.
  • Nolan Ryan doesn't want to punt on '08 with the Rangers.
  • Sherman wonders if the Marlins could match up with Texas on a catcher.
  • Juan Rivera is not available at this point.
  • Casey Blake is likely to be traded, partially because the Indians probably wouldn't offer him arbitration after the season.  The Mets and Yankees are said to have "at least mild interest."

Odds & Ends: Kennedy, Rays, Bonds, Wagner

And now for something completely different, Odds and Ends:

  • ESPN reports that the Yankees optioned Ian Kennedy to Triple-A.  To take his place, they recalled Darrell Rasner who in 5 Triple-A games is 4-0 with 0.87 ERA and 27 K in 31 IP.  Kennedy relies on control and control he has had not.  He has the highest percentage of working into hitters counts of anyone in the bigs.
  • The Rays are the first team ever to hold the first pick in back-to-back years, and unlike last year when they selected David Price without thinking twice, they are presently undecided.  According to Marc Lancaster, "It's a safe bet their choice will come from the following pool: Vanderbilt 3B Pedro Alvarez, Griffin (Ga.) High SS Tim Beckham, Florida State C Buster Posey, Missouri RHP Aaron Crow, University of San Diego LHP Brian Matusz and Riverside (Calif.) Patriot High C Kyle Skipworth."
  • Art Spander in the Oakland Tribune calls on Billy Beane to sign Barry BondsMike Sweeney and Frank Thomas aren't enough.  Says Spander, "[Bonds] still can put balls in the seats and... butts in the seats. As opposed to you putting a tarp over them. The A's have to stop being a secret and start becoming an attraction."
  • Brian Cashman: Phillies GM?  So speculates Jim Salisbury.  With no Johan but an injured Phil Hughes and ineffective Ian Kennedy, Cashman could find himself jettisoned by default from the organization should they miss the playoffs.  Pat Gillick's contract is up after this year and Cashman once looked favorably on that gig.  But if you ask me, Mr. Salisbury is getting way ahead of himself.
  • Billy Wagner tells the New York Post's Steve Serby that he expects to retire after 2009.  And he still hasn't had a bagel.  That blows my mind.

By Nat Boyle

Yankees Interested In Harden?

According to a source of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, "the Yankees have apparently expressed interest in Rich Harden."  Slusser believes the A's would demand full price for Harden, perhaps asking for Ian Kennedy and young pitchers.

If you look at this from each party's point of view, it doesn't seem like a trade could be reached anytime soon.  Harden would be a tantalizing #1 starter for the Yankees, but why pay full price for a guy who's pitched 200 innings over the last three years?  Replacing Kennedy with Harden could deplete the team's starting pitching depth.

On the other hand, if you're Billy Beane, why trade Harden at a discount right now? He is nowhere near his peak value.  The one reason to do it might be if Beane does not believe Harden will return to good health this year or next.  Joe Pawlikowski weighs in on this rumor over at River Ave. Blues.

Twins Wanted Wang/Kennedy For Santana?

According to Buster Olney in his blog today:

The Twins tried to re-engage the Yankees Monday night, calling and asking, again, for Hughes to be in a package. The Yankees said no, and the Twins then asked, instead, for Chien-Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy, and the Yankees said no.

This differs from Bob Klapisch's take yesterday.  Klapisch said the Twins' last-ditch proposal to the Yankees was for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and a top prospect.  Regardless, the Yankees preferred to enter the '08 season with Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain in the rotation.  Kennedy and Mike Mussina will compete for the fifth spot.

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