Ike Davis Rumors
If the Rays do end up trading David Price, it won't be their first trade of a young starter. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin revisits four trades of relatively high-profile deals -- those of James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson. The Rays got useful players in all four. The Shields deal, of course, produced AL Rookie of the Year winner Wil Myers, and the Garza deal returned Chris Archer. Kazmir brought back utilityman Sean Rodriguez, while the Rays got Matt Joyce back for Jackson. Fans will likely use the Shields deal (which could continue to pay dividends for the Rays as Jake Odorizzi emerges) as a barometer for a potential Price trade, whether that's fair or not. As FanGraphs' Dave Cameron recently pointed out, the Shields trade shouldn't set the market for deals involving frontline starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, and they pursued Scott Feldman and Ryan Vogelsong before those two players signed with other teams, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. (The Phils extended a two-year offer of about $15MM to Feldman before he ultimately signed with the Astros, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.) Salisbury notes that the Phillies' interest in Feldman and Vogelsong is indicative of the sort of mid-grade starter they'll continue to pursue -- don't expect them to make a splash.
- In the wake of the signing of Curtis Granderson, the Mets could redouble their efforts to trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, writes Newsday's Marc Carig. Since there isn't much besides Stephen Drew (who should be relatively expensive) on the free-agent shortstop market, and since the Mets' budget will only allow them to spend about an extra $13MM, Carig writes that the Mets are likely to try to find a shortstop via trade.
Here's a look at the latest news from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Major league sources say it's not a surprise that the Orioles are willing to deal Matt Wieters. The bigger question is how Baltimore would reshape the roster if they made such a move. The O's don't have much breathing room to spend, but Rosenthal suggests the Orioles could gain flexibility by moving the catcher and also closer Jim Johnson, who projects to earn $10.8MM through arbitration. The O's could then find cheaper alternatives at both positions and be aggressive on the open market.
- If the Royals sign Carlos Beltran or another right-handed slugger, they could afford to trade designated hitter Billy Butler, who is signed for $8MM in 2014 with a $12.5MM club option for ’15. The Mariners are among the teams that covet Butler, a major league source tells Rosenthal.
- The Reds haven’t given up on re-signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they probably would need to trade Brandon Phillips and possibly Homer Bailey to create the necessary room, sources say. We've heard that Phillips is a likely a goner, but Bailey a more difficult call since losing him would require the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, unless they acquired another starter. All that might be too much to ask to accommodate the signing of a $100MM+ free agent, but they'd ideally like to have Choo back to give them another year before putting Billy Hamilton in center field. If they lose Choo, they likely would go with Hamilton and seek out a veteran complement in center.
- The Mets appear likely to trade Ike Davis, who is drawing interest from a number of clubs. Rosenthal also cautions not to be surprised if they move Daniel Murphy as well.
- Opinions are split on Jacoby Ellsbury's value. One rival exec's statistical analysis rated Ellsbury as the top Red Sox player last season, ahead of Dustin Pedroia. Others in the industry, however, are wary of Ellsbury’s diminished power since he has hit only 13 home runs over the past two seasons.
- One rival exec described the Rangers' infield logjam as an untenable situation.
The Astros may not have a realistic shot at winning next season, but they can offer playing time and have a bright future, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. "Someone looking to win a World Series title next year may not think about the Astros as the first place to go sign," says GM Jeff Luhnow. "But having said that, we also have an opportunity."
Luhnow also says the Astros could make a major move if the right opportunity presented itself. "If it’s the right situation for the right player, the right length of years. Houston’s a big city," he says. "We’ve got the capacity to compete with the big boys ultimately, and whether or not we start this year or next year after that, I think eventually it’s coming." Whether a top-notch free agent would be willing to come to Houston at this point is an open question, however. Here's more from around the big leagues.
- The Astros aren't likely to acquire first baseman Ike Davis in a trade with the Mets, Drellich writes. Drellich also notes that the Astros did not have interest in Marlon Byrd, who recently signed with the Philles. Still, the Astros are hoping to add a power bat at first base or in the outfield, and they're open to finding one via free agency or trade.
- The Athletics' signing of Nick Punto doesn't mean they're likely to deal Jed Lowrie, writes the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Punto "has nothing to do with Jed Lowrie. Jed is our starting shortstop," says A's assistant GM David Forst. Lowrie is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
- Brian Wilson wouldn't mind returning to the Dodgers as something other than a closer, as long as they pay him like one, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times tweets. Wilson was excellent down the stretch for the Dodgers last season, but they already have a very good closer in Kenley Jansen.
- Free agent Jamey Carroll is attracting interest, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. The infielder will be 40 in February, but he does not want to retire. Carroll hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season.
- Lefty Randy Wolf is on the comeback trail after sitting out the 2013 season, and he plans to audition for MLB teams later this month, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets. Wolf posted a 5.65 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 157 2/3 innings with the Brewers and Orioles in 2012.
The latest out of Queens, New York, by way of Orlando, Florida..
- Owner Jeff Wilpon says the Mets have been busy and could have something working later this afternoon, tweets David Lennon of Newsday. He also added that the free agent prices in this market could be "scary."
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) says that if something is close with the Mets, it's not with Curtis Granderson since they have yet to meet with his agent.
- Meanwhile, the Mets' interest in Granderson and Nelson Cruz has been overstated, a team insider tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Asked about the Mets enthusiastically being linked to Granderson and Cruz, a team insider said: "I would not believe everything you read."
Executives yesterday predicted a lot of interest in Mets first baseman Ike Davis and that is already taking shape today, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter). The Mets and Brewers reportedly discussed a deal involving Davis and earlier today Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Astros, Orioles, Rays, and Rockies have also checked in on him.
Mark Trumbo is the Angels' most wanted player via trade, but the Halos are very reluctant to trade him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. "He fits us," said someone connected to the Angels. Meanwhile, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos and Chris Iannetta also are getting a fair number of trade inquiries, and they could move one of them. Here's more of Heyman's latest..
- One club with interest in Jacoby Ellsbury says that agent Scott Boras has set Carl Crawford's $142MM contract as a benchmark in discussions, Heyman writes. One rival GM who isn't in on Ellsbury argued that Crawford was better and more durable at the time of his deal.
- The Astros, Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Rockies all have checked in on Mets first baseman Ike Davis, despite his awful 2013 campaign, according to Heyman. In the case of Milwaukee, however, they may prefer re-signing Corey Hart instead.
- Heyman suggests that the Marlins and Cubs could discuss a swap of top prospects and officials from both sides agree that they could have something to discuss. The Cubs have high-end position prospects such as Kris Bryant (who may be untouchable), Javier Baez, and Albert Almora, while Miami has a stockpile of strong young arms.
- We learned last week that Ervin Santana's asking price was $100MM and today Heyman hears that agents Bean Stringfellow, Joe White, and Jay Alou are seeking a five-year, $112MM pact. The agents are going around with a book of arguments to support their case, including some comparisons to Dodgers star pitcher Zack Greinke.
- The A's have joined the fray for free agent Nelson Cruz, but the small-market club could run into problems when it comes to dollars and years, Heyman writes. Oakland has been looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder after declining to pick up the option on Chris Young, but Cruz would be a much bigger splash than anyone anticipated.
The Mets and Brewers discussed a trade that would've sent first baseman Ike Davis to Milwaukee, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. No deal is likely at this time, however, as talks failed to generate much traction.
First base is a definite need for the Brewers, as free agent Corey Hart is drawing interest from several teams, including the Mets themselves. New York is known to be shopping both Davis and Lucas Duda but reportedly would prefer to deal Davis and give Duda a clear shot as an everyday first baseman.
Davis was the Mets' first round draft pick in 2008 but he has struggled to find consistency in the majors. A big second half of the 2012 season gave him 32 homers and a .771 OPS for the campaign but, rather than turn the corner, Davis took another step back in 2013 and hit just .205/.326/.334 with nine homers. Davis' struggles against left-handed pitching would mean that any team acquiring him would need a right-handed platoon partner as well. Despite this, a Major League executive tells Martino that "four or five teams" could be fits for Davis next season.
The Brewers prefer to explore the free agent market rather than talk trades at this stage of the offseason, a source tells Martino. The source also notes that the Brewers aren't likely to trade outfielder Norichika Aoki, which isn't surprising given that Aoki is playing on a bargain $2MM contract for 2014.
The Braves will be moving into a brand new stadium in time for the 2017 season, the team announced today. The new ballpark is located in Cobb County, about 14 miles northwest of Turner Field. The move will end the club's tenure at Turner Field after an even 20 seasons --- "the Ted" was originally built as the main venue for the 1996 Olympic Games and then converted into a ballpark for the start of the 1997 season.
Here are some more items from around the NL East...
- The Nationals are interested in free agent southpaw Boone Logan, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Logan posted strong numbers out of the Yankees bullpen over the last four seasons and is expected to fully recover from recent surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.
- Kilgore notes that Washington is expected to target left-handed relief this winter and besides Logan, the team could also check in on J.P. Howell or Manny Parra, as the Nats had interest in both pitchers last offseason.
- Also from Kilgore, an American League executive tells him that the Nationals would likely have to part with Anthony Rendon as the key piece of a David Price trade package.
- Marlins president David Samson discussed Giancarlo Stanton's contract and the Marlins' policy against no-trade clauses in an appearance on MLB Network Radio's Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on SiriusXM. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel has a partial transcript of Samson's comments.
- If the Marlins are serious about convincing Stanton to stay over the long term, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the club needs more stability in the dugout. Frisaro notes that in Stanton's short career, he has already played under five different managers and five different hitting coaches.
- Of their two first base options, the Mets would reportedly prefer to trade Ike Davis over Lucas Duda, though Andy Martino of the New York Daily News thinks Davis is a better option for the team going forward.
- From earlier today on MLBTR, Zach Links shared some more NL East notes, and we also posted team-centric collections of about the Phillies and the Mets.
- Five or six teams have inquired about Davis and/or Lucas Duda, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports. Duda is considered by some AL teams to be a fit as a designated hitter, Carig tweets.
- Peralta appears to be the Mets' top free agent target, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. The club "really likes" Peralta but they don't know if he intends to sign soon or later in the offseason.
- The Mets have talked to free agent Corey Hart, but Martino gets the sense that they either don't identify him as a top target or aren't that eager to get a deal done with him. Carig (link) also hears from a source that the Mets aren't close to a deal with the Brewers first baseman. "We haven't discussed him in depth enough to say where we'd put him if we got him," the source said.
- The Mets have plans to meet with Curtis Granderson's agent this week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). The outfielder is turning down the Yankees' $14.1MM qualifying offer.
- The Mets have touched base with Marlon Byrd's representatives in the last few days, according to Carig (link). Recently, Steve Adams examined the market for Byrd and concluded that he could fetch a deal in the neighborhood of $16MM over two years.
- A source suggested to Carig (link) that it would make sense for the Mets to take their time in trading Davis and take advantage of a market that is starved for power. Carig (link) hears that the Mets might do just that and hang on to him until later in the offseason when teams will be seeking out less costly alternatives to add power.
- The Mets aren't actively talking to Mike Pelfrey about a possible reunion, but they are open to it, a team official tells Adam Rubin. "I know he is on a long list of guys just like him," the team insider said. The Mets non-tendered the hurler after he earned $5.7MM in 2012.
- The Mets' top priority is shortstop, but they're hardly alone in that, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Possible options for the Mets include Peralta, Erick Aybar, Didi Gregorius, Rafael Furcal, and Jed Lowrie.
Look for a lot of change to the Mets for 2014, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman projects a revamped lineup, not as a specific prediction, but as representative of the kinds of additions the front office is contemplating. It includes Norichika Aoki in the leadoff spot, Andre Ethier batting cleanup, and Jhonny Peralta manning short. Here are the key takeaways from Sherman's piece:
- The Mets are much less likely to chase after top free agents like Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury than they are to add multiple pieces.
- Ike Davis is very likely to be dealt, with Lucas Duda getting an opportunity to play first. Sherman suggests that a Davis-for-Aoki swap could save the Mets money and create a better fit for New York.
- Peralta is definitely on the club's radar, and they could try to sign him early in order to set the tone for the offseason. If they fail to land Peralta, says Sherman, the Mets will check in on the trade market to fill their shortstop void.
- Though Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler may well be off limits, the Mets could deal from their other pitching depth, including Rafael Montero. Sherman floats the concept of a trade with the Dodgers for Ethier or even Matt Kemp, and notes that the team might otherwise pursue Curtis Granderson in free agency.
- Look for the addition of several veteran depth pieces in the pitching staff and bench, says Sherman.
The Orioles announced yesterday that they have hired Dave Wallace as their new pitching coach. Wallace, 66, has 10 years of experience as a Major League pitching coach and filled that role for the 2004 World Series Champion Red Sox. He has served as pitching coach for the Dodgers (1995-97), Mets (1999-2000), Red Sox (2003-06) and Astros (2007) prior to Baltimore's hiring. Here's more out of baseball's Eastern divisions...
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun thinks the Wallace hiring to be somewhat of a surprise, if only for the reason that many felt he ultimately wouldn't take the job. Wallace was serving as the Braves' minor league pitching coordinator and was known to be content with his job. Of leaving his post with the Braves, Wallace told Connolly: "As a teacher, it’s kind of tough sometimes to walk away from those students. But you are also proud because you’ve had somewhat of an influence on what they’ve been able to accomplish in the last few years."
- It remains likely that the Mets will trade either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda this offseason, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but team insiders tell him that it's too soon to tell which player will have more value on the market. COO Jeff Wilpon said yesterday that the team has already begun to receive calls from teams with a need for first base help.
- Martino also points out that Wilpon identified just four players as "solidified" for next year: David Wright, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler. Notably omitted is Daniel Murphy, who could find himself on the trading block with the Mets looking to move Eric Young Jr. to second base on a permanent basis. Martino opines that because of the team's desire for Young to man the keystone, it's actually a good thing that he didn't win a Gold Glove for his work in left field, as it would've made the decision tougher to justify to fans.
- The Blue Jays announced yesterday that they have extended their player development contract with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats through the 2016 season. The Fisher Cats have been the Jays' Double-A affiliate since 2004, winning a pair of Eastern League titles in that time.
- Earlier today, MLBTR's Mark Polishuk peeked into Baltimore's future with the Orioles edition of our Offseason Outlook series.