Ivan Nova Rumors

Ubaldo Jimenez Rumors: Sunday

With July 31st just two weeks away, Ubaldo Jimenez is one of the most surprising names being floated in trade rumors. Would the Rockies actually move Jimenez less than a year after he finished third in NL Cy Young voting? ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link) talked to one talent evaluator who put the chances of a deal at one in four: "It has to be something that makes sense for the Rockies [right now]." Another evaluator thinks "it's more trolling than intent on moving" on Colorado's part (Twitter link). Here's a roundup of the rest of today's Jimenez-related notes....

  • MLB.com's Peter Gammons says the Rockies think there's about a 10% chance Jimenez is traded this month. Colorado is looking for two prime prospects, along with one or two big-league ready players, including a starting pitcher.
  • The Rockies and Yankees match up well, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman. Colorado likes Jesus Montero, but the Yanks are reluctant to include Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, or Ivan Nova along with Montero.
  • Heyman says (via Twitter) that the Rockies have talked to the Yankees, and "probably" the Red Sox, Tigers, Reds, and others as well.
  • Some teams interested in Jimenez believe that if the Rockies hang on to him now, he's a decent bet to be traded this winter, when available top pitching will again be scarce and more clubs could get involved, writes Olney.
  • One more note from Olney's article: Given Jimenez's inexpensive price tag through 2013, there would be very little financial risk for any team acquiring the right-hander, which is one reason why the Rockies' asking price is so high.
  • Speaking of that asking price, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies would have to be "absolutely overwhelmed" to move Jimenez. "It would have to be a Herschel Walkerdeal," O'Dowd added, referring to the 1989 NFL trade that earned the nickname "The Great Train Robbery."
  • There seems to be a potentially game-changing pitcher connected in trade rumors to the Yankees every July, and this year it's Jimenez, writes Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News.

Heyman On Bautista, Wakefield, Dominguez, Perez

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jon Heyman of SI.com that he thought carefully before locking up Jose Bautista to a $65MM extension. "When you spend that kind of money, I don't think you can ever be completely comfortable," Anthopoulos said. "And I am one to agonize over everything, anyway,'' Both Anthopoulos and Bautista acknowledged that a second 54-homer season is unlikely, but that doesn't mean the former utility player can't produce. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors...

  • Boston's front office has not seriously considered cutting Tim Wakefield.
  • Dennys Reyes, who can opt out of his contract Friday, will likely make the team as well, according to Heyman.
  • Two scouts say Marlins third baseman Matt Dominguez isn't ready to hit in the major leagues. However, he's an above-average defender.
  • Though manager Joe Girardi won't say as much, Ivan Nova has locked up the Yankees' No. 4 starter job, according to Heyman.
  • It appears that Oliver Perez will find a job. The Yankees and Brewers aren't interested.
  • Scouts tell Heyman that Twins pitching prospect Kyle Gibson isn't far from the majors.

Twins Notes: Liriano, Yankees, Cuddyer

Some notes from the Twin Cities...

  • The Twins turned down a Yankee offer of Ivan Nova and Ramiro Pena for Francisco Liriano earlier this winter, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.  The Twins, however, are interested in left-handed pitching prospect Manuel Banuelos and want him included in any package from New York.  Rosenthal thinks the two teams will revisit negotiations before Opening Day, but notes the two sides haven't talked "in at least a month."  Minnesota assistant GM Rob Antony said last week that the Liriano trade speculation was nothing but rumors. 
  • The Twins didn't have "serious" negotiations about an extension with Liriano this winter.  Rosenthal speculates that Minnesota may have concerns about Liriano's durability, since "otherwise, an extension makes perfect sense."  Liriano can be a free agent after 2012 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes saw the southpaw as an extension candidate last fall.
  • Michael Cuddyer is slightly upset, but understanding, about the Twins not discussing a contract extension with him over the winter, writes Kelsie Smith of the Pioneer Press.  Cuddyer can be a free agent after the season and Smith argues that the Twins would miss Cuddyer's clubhouse leadership if he were to depart.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Gonzalez, Pirates, Elias

On this date way back in 1976, the Mariners and Blue Jays each selected 30 players in the expansion draft. Seattle drafted outfielder Ruppert Jones from the Royals with the first pick, then Toronto grabbed the versatile Bob Bailor from the Orioles with the second pick. The full results of the expansion draft can be found here.

We had to do some expanding of our own this week - get ready for what I'm certain is the largest BBWI in MLBTR history...

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

The Yankees' 2011 Rotation

Continuing MLBTR's look at next season's probable and possible starting rotations, today we look at a staff that will likely be one of, if not the most, expensive in baseball.  The Yankees spent a little more than $63.5MM on their top five starters in 2010, and that total looks to go up next season.

Three spots in the rotation are secure.  C.C. Sabathia's 2.34 K/BB ratio is on pace to be his lowest since 2004 and his 3.0 BB/9 is on pace to be his highest since that same '04 season, but while these peripherals are of a minor concern when you have $115MM committed to a pitcher through 2015, Sabathia is still one of the top pitchers in the American League.

A.J. Burnett has had his typical hot-and-cold season, posting a 6.7 K/9 ratio that would be his lowest since 2001.  New York fans can expect to look forward to the Burnett rollercoaster of form for the next 3+ seasons.

Phil Hughes' first season as a regular starter got off to a tremendous start with a 2.70 ERA in April and May, though his June and July (5.34 ERA) were a different story.  The Yankees are already being cautious about their young star's innings total and have put an unofficial "Hughes Rules" cap of 170 IP on the right-hander for the rest of the season.  Hughes may be limited for the rest of 2010, but will be back in full force for next season.  He will reach arbitration for the first time this winter, so it's possible the Yankees may explore a longer-term deal to cover his arb years.

The fourth spot in the rotation will depend on the feelings of Andy Pettitte.  As he has for the last four winters, the veteran left-hander will decide on whether he wants to retire, or sign a one-year deal with the Yankees.  Pettitte can certainly still pitch --- he's enjoying one of his best seasons (a 2.88 ERA, 2.37 K/BB ratio in 18 starts) though he's currently sidelined with a groin injury.  If Pettitte does return, he'll get a pay bump from the $11.75MM contract he signed last December, but the Yankees surely wouldn't mind giving a raise to a franchise stalwart that can still perform at a high level.

It's almost a certainty that Javier Vazquez won't be back with the Bronx Bombers next season.  The only question now seems to be whether the Yankees will offer arbitration to the free agent right-hander, as Vazquez is still hanging onto a Type A free agent status

Depending on what Pettitte does, at least one spot in the New York rotation is available for 2011.  It's widely expected that the Yankees will make a hard push to fill that spot with Cliff Lee when he reaches free agency this winter.  (They almost had him at the deadline had their trade with Seattle not fallen through at the eleventh hour.)  The Rangers have expressed their interest in re-signing Lee now that their ownership transfer has been settled and certainly other teams will look into the left-hander, but given that Lee will command a contract worth more than $20MM per year, it gives the Yankees the obvious advantage if things turn into a bidding war.

So if Lee (or another free agent starter) replaces Vazquez and Pettitte returns, New York is set.  If Pettitte retires, then he will likely let the Yankees know early in the offseason so the club can plan accordingly.  With the Bombers' big payroll, there's really no shortage of options for what they could do to fill that fifth spot in the rotation.  Free agents with AL East experience like Bronson Arroyo or Ted Lilly could be of interest, or perhaps the Yankees could go after a veteran with something to prove coming off an injury (i.e. Brandon Webb or Aaron Harang) who could be had at a small discount.

With Alex Rodriguez going on the DL today, 23-year-old Ivan Nova has been called up and will be inserted into the rotation for at least one start.  Nova has had an impressive year at Triple-A Scranton, posting a 2.86 ERA and 2.4 K/BB ratio in 23 starts.  If Nova does well in his late-season audition he could get a chance at more work in September should Hughes get shut down or have a turn skipped.  It's hard to see Nova or any other young starter, however, be given a clear shot at a rotation spot next year since the Yankees don't really have any starting prospects who aren't at least a year away from serious consideration.

Sergio Mitre and Dustin Moseley have made spot starts for New York this season and could be re-signed to provide rotation depth for 2011.  Both men are definitely backup options and could also be replaced by similar low-cost veteran pitchers that can alternate between the rotation and the bullpen as the situation warrants.

Yankees Rumors: Soria, Dunn, Lilly

11:23am: The Yankees dangled Jesus Montero in talks for Joakim Soria, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark, but the Royals weren't interested.

7:31am: SI's Jon Heyman dished Yankees rumors in yesterday's column...

  • The Yankees "made a big proposal" for Soria. With three club options, the 26-year-old righty is under team control through 2014.  Had Soria not signed a team-friendly extension in May of 2008, he'd be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.  The only blemish on his record was missing most of May last year with a sore shoulder.  How do the Yankees and Royals match up?  You'd expect Dayton Moore to pursue Montero or Austin Romine, though the Royals already have Billy Butler and Wil Myers in the organization.
  • Heyman notes that the Yankees "have been in touch" with the Nationals about Adam Dunn, but "so far found the price prohibitive."  With six days until the trade deadline, will Mike Rizzo drop the price on Dunn?  Heyman also links the Yankees to familiar names Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, and Cody Ross.
  • Heyman doesn't see the Yankees going after Roy Oswalt, but tweets that they like Ted Lilly.  Teams like the Cubs and Astros have to hope the Diamondbacks' unimpressive return for Dan Haren doesn't have a ripple effect on their available starters.
  • Heyman tweets that the Yankees' offer for Haren consisted of righties Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister plus one or two prospects.  Baseball America viewed Nova and McAllister as future No. 4 types heading into the season.

Dan Haren Rumors: Saturday

The Diamondbacks seem determined to move ace Dan Haren before his next start on Tuesday, and it appeared as though the Yankees became the favorite to land the right-hander yesterday. D-Backs' CEO Derrick Hall hedged his bets, saying there was no front-runner, and that other clubs had offers "of at least equal value out there." The Twins, Tigers, Phillies, and Cardinals all continue to maintain interest in Haren as well. 

With all that in mind, here is today's collection of Haren rumors, with more to come...

  • Haren's no-trade list probably won't matter in the way that it has for Roy Oswalt, as Haren wants to have a chance to win, a source told Olney (via Twitter).
  • Haren would prefer to stay in the west, a source told Heyman (via Twitter).  However, the hurler is willing to consider all suitors, which is why talks continue with clubs like Detroit and Minnesota.
  • It is possible that the Phillies will trade Jayson Werth in order to get the prospects necessary to land Haren, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Alternatively, the D'Backs could take advantage where the Phillies' farm system is strongest: its lower levels.  Arizona is said to have interest in one single-A player in particular, 18-year-old slugger Jonathan Singleton.
  • The Tigers don't want to give up Jacob Turner for Haren and they are also on Haren's no-trade list, tweets Heyman.  He adds that Ted Lilly is a "possible second choice" for Detroit.
  • There have been no conversations today between the D'Backs and the Yankees, says Olney (via Twitter).
  • Arizona is asking the Tigers for pitchers Jacob Turner and Andrew Oliver, tweets Olney.
  • The Dodgers were actively talking to Arizona about Haren before Josh Byrnes was fired according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). They are not a prominent suitor now.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney says the Yankees do not value Haren as much as they did Cliff Lee, and they consider him a risk because of his performance this year (Twitter links). Hence their reluctance to take on Haren's entire contract and deal a boatload of prospects.
  • The Yankees are willing to surrender Nova, pitching prospect Zach McAllister, and two prospects for Haren, but they will not eat money and include Chamberlain in a trade, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. McAllister's father works in Arizona's scouting department. In a second tweet, Heyman says the Yanks would be willing to pay all of the money left on Haren's deal, but they balked at taking Chad Qualls and Chris Snyder as well.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees were "never close" to a deal for a Haren, having rejected a D-Backs' proposal that would have sent Joba Chamberlain, highly regarded pitching prospect Ivan Nova, and two others to Arizona. The Yanks countered with a package built entirely around prospects. Another sticking point is the $33MM left on Haren's contract, which the D-Backs wanted the Yanks to assume in full. New York, like other interested clubs, wanted the quality of the players in the deal to be dependent on how much of Haren's contract Arizona is willing to eat.
  • Sean Brennan, Mark Feinsand, and Roger Rubin of The New York Daily News spoke to a source who indicated that while the Yankees would like to swing a deal for Haren, they won't do so "at all costs."

Dan Haren Rumors: Friday

The D’Backs have started exchanging names with teams about possible Dan Haren trades and the Tigers, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals and Twins appear to have varying degrees of interest in the righty. That’s just the abbreviated version of what we heard yesterday, but there’s more. The D’Backs’ asking price? High-quality major league-ready pitching. With that in mind, here are today’s Dan Haren rumors, with more to come:

  • Updating his earlier story, Magruder quotes Hall, the D'Backs CEO, as saying: "There are some other teams involved that have deals of at least equal value out there. I would not categorize the Yankees as a front-runner."
  • In a piece for FOXSportsArizona.com, Jack Magruder notes that the Yankees aren't one of the teams that require Haren's approval. Magruder also suggests a trade with the Yanks could involve New York taking on other players that the D'Backs would like to move, such as Aaron Heilman, Chad Qualls, or Chris Snyder.
  • D'Backs' CEO Derrick Hall tells Piecoro (Twitter link) that there's no clear front-runner for Haren and reiterates "nothing [is] imminent." However, most reports still indicate that the Yanks are the favorite. AOL FanHouse's Frankie Piliere (via Twitter) and Morosi both hear that Ivan Nova could be a key piece in a Haren trade with New York.
  • Expanding on his earlier tweet, Price hears that nothing is imminent between the Yankees and Arizona, but that the D'Backs "seem determined" to move Haren before his next start on Tuesday.
  • According to Rosenthal, the Yankees appear to be the front-runners for Haren now, with the D'Backs telling clubs that they're in "advanced negotiations" with one team. Ed Price of AOL FanHouse adds (via Twitter) that the Cardinals may be out of the Haren sweepstakes.
  • The Yankees are actively talking to the D’Backs about Haren, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. If the Yanks can acquire Haren for prospects, Stark says they are poised to accelerate talks.
  • The Cardinals aim to add an innings-eater this summer, though not necessarily an ace, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Tigers and Twins, who both have interest in Haren, are on his no-trade list, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Haren would also have to approve a trade to the Rays or Reds. Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported that the Twins were on Haren's list. 
  • The D'Backs have told rival teams that they are intent on moving Haren before the deadline, according to Olney (via Twitter).
  • MLB executives tell ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that the D’Backs seem much more willing to deal Haren these days. Some talent evaluators believe the Tigers would have a tough time building an offer for Haren without including pitching prospect Jacob Turner.
  • A D'Backs source tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that expectations have shifted and it seems more likely that the D'Backs will trade Haren.

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