J.A. Happ Rumors
The Astros and Blue Jays have completed a ten-player trade, the teams announced. The Astros obtain seven players from Toronto: right-hander Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, minor leaguers Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Carlos Perez, and a player to be named. The Astros send left-hander J.A. Happ (pictured) and right-handed relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to Toronto in the trade.
“Once again we are adding depth to our minor league system with quality young players," GM Jeff Luhnow said in a team press release. "We really feel this will help us moving forward and are extremely excited about the players we’ve added to our organization.”
Cordero and Francisco don't have assurances of staying with the Astros beyond 2012. Cordero, 37, has a 5.77 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings this year. He signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $4.5MM before the season. Francisco, 30, earns $1.54MM this year and will be arbitration eligible again this coming offseason. He posted a .240/.296/.380 batting line in Toronto and battled a hamstring injury, so he could be considered a non-tender candidate.
The Blue Jays selected Wojciechowski in the supplementary first round of the 2010 draft. The 23-year-old has a 4.05 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in parts of three minor league seasons. He ranked tenth on Baseball America's offseason list of Toronto's best prospects. Musgrove, 19, was a supplementary first round selection of Toronto's in the 2011 draft. The 6'5" right-hander has a 3.31 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 32 2/3 innings over the course of two pro seasons.
Rollins, 22, has a 2.46 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of two pro seasons. The Blue Jays selected the left-hander in the 24th round of the 2011 draft. Perez, 21, has a .275/.358/.447 batting line at Class A Lansing this year. The Venezuelan catcher has a career .777 OPS in parts of five minor league seasons.
Lyon, 32, is also on track to hit free agency this coming offseason. The former Blue Jays reliever has a 3.25 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 36 innings with Houston this year. Lyon, who pitched in Toronto from 2001-02, earns $5.5MM this year in the final season of a three-year, $15MM contract.
This marks the second time in three years that Happ has been involved in a midseason trade. The Astros acquired the left-hander from Philadelphia along with current Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Gose for Roy Oswalt in 2010. Happ, 29, has a 4.83 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 104 1/3 innings so far in 2012. He's earning a salary of $2.35MM this year and will remain under team control through 2014.
Carpenter, 27, has a 6.07 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 29 2/3 innings out of the bullpen this year. The right-hander has a strong minor league record: a 2.97 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in five seasons.
The Blue Jays announced that they called up Travis Snider. The 24-year-old had a .335/.423/.598 batting line at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Just one win shy of the Astros' franchise win record, Roy Oswalt is leaving the only team he's ever known. The 32-year-old righty approved a trade to the Phillies, who sent J.A. Happ and low minors prospects Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar to Houston for Oswalt and $11MM. The Astros then flipped Gose to the Blue Jays. The Phillies will not pick up Oswalt's 2012 option, but will add $1MM to the buyout as compensation. Seven months after trading Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects, the Phillies added a different ace to their rotation to support Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Oswalt has a 3.42 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9 in 20 starts this year.
Oswalt asked the Astros for a trade in late May, and talks ensued with the Phillies, Cardinals, Rangers, Padres, and Dodgers, among others. Astros owner Drayton McLane dealt directly with Phillies president David Montgomery to complete the complicated trade. As expected, Oswalt's full no-trade clause, his 2012 option, and the $23.46MM guaranteed to him through '11 were significant obstacles.
Happ, 27, finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last year with a 2.93 ERA in 166 innings. However, he's tallied only 53 pro innings in 2010 due to an April forearm injury. Happ won't go to arbitration until after the 2011 season and the Astros control his rights through 2014.
Gose, a speedy center fielder playing at the High A level, was ranked sixth among the team's prospects by Baseball America heading into the season. He rates highly for his speed, defense, and arm tools, but remains a work in progress.
Villar, a shortstop in Low A ball, was ranked 22nd among Phillies prospects heading into the season. The results haven't been there yet but BA says he has "plus tools across the board except for power."
Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston first reported the agreement late Wednesday night, while Ken Rosenthal, Jayson Stark, Jon Heyman, Matt Gelb, Amy K. Nelson, Jerry Crasnick, and Danny Knobler contributed more information today.
1:53pm: The deal is done, tweets Rosenthal. Piecing this together, it appears the Astros send Oswalt and $11MM to the Phillies for Happ, Gose, and Villar, with the Phils potentially adding $1MM to Oswalt's buyout but not exercising his option.
1:44pm: Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's option is actually a mutual one. With the trade, his buyout will increase from $1MM to $2MM if the Phillies pick up the option and he declines, and remain at $2MM "if he simply opts out on his own." Rosenthal adds that the third player in the deal will be shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar. Some sources spell it "Villan," including the Baseball America Handbook.
1:34pm: Oswalt has accepted the deal, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
12:51pm: Gose and Happ are definitely in the deal, tweets CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury.
12:12pm: Oswalt plans to OK the deal, but it's not official yet, reports Stark. He adds that the Astros will be sending $11MM. Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's 2012 option will not be exercised; he'll be compensated some other way. ESPN's Amy K. Nelson tweets that Oswalt will get $1MM added by the Phillies to the buyout of his '12 option. She adds that the details are being worked out now regarding Oswalt retaining his no-trade clause.
10:43am: Rosenthal tweets that he hears Singleton is not in the deal.
9:04am: The Astros will receive three players for Oswalt, tweets Rosenthal, while also paying a "very significant" part of his salary. Happ will be one of the three. Astros owner Drayton McLane has been negotiating directly with Phillies president David Montgomery, reports CBS' Danny Knobler.
7:37am: SI's Jon Heyman hears the Astros and Phillies were discussing Happ, righty Vance Worley, and two younger pitchers (Twitter link). Worley, a 22-year-old righty, spent most of 2010 at Double A, posting a 3.20 ERA, 6.6 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9. Baseball America ranked him 18th among Phillies prospects heading into the season, predicting a future as a back-end starter or middle reliever.
1:08am: The Astros and Phillies have reached an agreement on a Roy Oswalt trade, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston. Berman says the Astros are now waiting for Oswalt's approval, having hammered out the players and money with the Phils. Wednesday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had reported that the players were "pretty much agreed on." Lefty J.A. Happ has been a rumored part of the deal for a while now.
Oswalt's contract has $5.46MM left from his $15MM salary this year, $16MM in 2011, and a 2012 option for $16MM with a $2MM buyout. It remains to be seen how the Astros and Phillies settled the financials and whether the Phils will pick up Oswalt's option, though SI's Jon Heyman hears that the Astros are sending a lot of money to the Phillies (Twitter link).
Ted Lilly may have made his last start as a Cub last night, tossing five-plus shutout innings in Houston while lowering his ERA to 3.69. The latest on the lefty up top:
- The Dodgers are more focused on Lilly and Paul Maholm than Roy Oswalt, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- The market for Lilly has picked up, according to Stark (on Twitter). The Tigers are involved, and so are the Dodgers, Twins and Phillies.
- The Phillies have inquired on Lilly, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter). Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears rumblings about a possible Lilly-J.A. Happ deal (Twitter link). However, Stark hears that the Phils, who are on the lefty's no-trade list, won't deal Happ for Lilly. The Twins and Dodgers remain involved, but the Mets are waiting to hear "from above" before pursuing Lilly more aggressively, according to Rosenthal.
- The Cubs have indicated a recent willingness to assume some of the $4.43MM owed to Lilly, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. That'd help the chances of a Dodgers deal. Unfortunately for the Cubs, potential Lilly suitors like the Mets and Tigers may be reassessing their chances.
- The Twins have asked about Lilly, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but their presence on his no-trade list means he'd require additional compensation to accept a deal.
The lowdown on Roy Oswalt, with the newest buzz up top...
- The Phils and Astros have a deal in place that would send Oswalt to Philadelphia, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports in Houston. Oswalt, who is aware of the potential deal, can make it official by waiving his no-trade clause. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman are working to confirm the story on Twitter.
- Talks between the Phillies and Astros have intensified in the last day, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. The clubs have more or less agreed on players - J.A. Happ and prospects would go to Houston - but they can’t agree on how much salary the Astros will absorb. Jayson Werth is off the market, so taking on payroll won’t be easy for the Phils.
- The Dodgers are now more focused on trying to obtain Ted Lilly or Paul Maholm.
- The Phillies and Astros are now dealing one-on-one, with no other teams involved, according to Olney (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Phillies are the favorites to acquire Oswalt and notes (on Twitter) that the Yanks inquired once.
- Three or four teams will likely be involved if the Phillies acquire Oswalt, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
- Astros owner Drayton McLane told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle that a trade seems likely. "I'd say it's about 60% that something could be done and 40% that Roy will be here next year," McLane said.
- Oswalt is telling friends that he can’t wait to leave Houston, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff. The righty says he won’t necessarily insist that teams pick up his 2012 option.
- Oswalt wants ample time to decide on any trade, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. He doesn't want the Astros coming to him an hour or two before Saturday's deadline.
- The Reds made a cursory call on Oswalt, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but no names were exchanged. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote today that Oswalt is too expensive for the Reds.
- The Cardinals are out and the Dodgers are making no progress, reports Rosenthal. The Phillies' front office is still divided about giving up prospects and taking on Oswalt's contract, though the players they'd send to the Astros are "pretty much agreed on." Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that the Cardinals remain in contact with the Astros for Oswalt.
- If Oswalt takes the mound Friday night against the Brewers, "the odds of him being traded are down to almost nothing" says Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Astros are "working very, very hard" to find an acceptable Oswalt deal despite all the obstacles.
- The Phillies "remain top contenders" for Oswalt, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Zolecki's source thinks Oswalt's 2012 club option "is not the sticking point it has been made to be." On the other hand, ESPN's Jayson Stark feels that if the Phillies retain Jayson Werth as expected they won't have a way to clear 2010 payroll for Oswalt.
There's still plenty of news in the baseball world outside of today's surprising deal. Let's dive in..
- Derek Czenczelewski and Gil Bransford of ESPN took a look back at the best and worst trades in Rangers history.
- Ben Davis will take one more shot at the big leagues, this time as a pitcher, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- The Red Sox were serious about David DeJesus before his injury, a rival executive tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Indians are drawing only mild interest in pitcher Jake Westbrook, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Trade bonuses in his contract remain an obstacle, even though Cleveland would be willing to include cash in the deal, Rosenthal adds (via Twitter).
- Mets GM Omar Minaya declined to give his coaching staff a vote of confidence, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Hitting coach Howard Johnson appears to be the most vulnerable of the bunch.
- Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ has looked good as scouts have had an eye on him leading up to the deadline, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Happ would likely head to Houston in a deal for Roy Oswalt.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels continues to say that the club will look internally for improvement, writes ESPN.com's Jeff Caplan.
Links for Sunday, as Jim Thome cranks his 576th career home run....
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he's actively talking to clubs, but nothing is imminent.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock offers his opinion (via Twitter) of how the Padres should prioritize their needs at the deadline: a starting pitcher and middle infield depth.
- CSN's Jim Salisbury tweets that the Astros, Rays, Giants, and Pirates all have scouts at today's Phillies game. Both J.A. Happ and Jayson Werth are appealing to other teams.
- Jim Edmonds implied that he's leaning toward retiring at season's end, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- A close friend of Josh Byrnes tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the former Diamondbacks GM has no shortage of job offers. Within the column, Cafardo also speculates on the availability of players such as Joakim Soria, Livan Hernandez, and Mike Gonzalez.
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan reiterated that a right-handed first baseman was at or near the top of the club's wish list, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.
- Jim Leyland tells Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press that Dave Dombrowski hasn't informed him of any trade targets during the last two weeks. Specifically, Leyland hasn't heard anything about Ted Lilly or Mike Lowell from the Tigers' GM.
- Referring to trade rumors or contract years as a "distraction" is overblown, according to MLB.com's Alyson Footer.
- Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer has six tips for Ruben Amaro Jr. to keep in mind as the trade deadline approaches, while John Tomase of the Boston Herald would like to see Theo Epstein exercise restraint this week.
The Phillies are exploring acquiring Roy Oswalt and moving Jayson Werth in a companion trade, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says nothing is close, but Ed Price of AOL FanHouse says the Oswalt talks are "heavy." Oswalt has yet to be presented with a deal for his approval. Stark says the Phils have also discussed Dan Haren, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ben Sheets as they leave no rock unturned. As for Werth, Stark believes the Rays "head the list of interested teams." The impending free agent would be moved to save money, stock the farm system, and open up a spot for Domonic Brown. Stark says the Red Sox, Giants, and Padres are also interested in Werth.
The Phillies recently optioned Kyle Kendrick to the minors and lost Jamie Moyer to an elbow strain, so they could use starting pitching depth. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. hinted today that the club could acquire a starter by Saturday. The Phils have already committed $135MM to next year's payroll, so adding an expensive arm like Haren or Oswalt would take some maneuvering.
Click here to predict the Phillies next move.
12:45am: Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider has had this info for quite a while today - the Phillies will get Aumont, Gillies, and righty Juan Ramirez from Seattle.
11:33pm: Rosenthal reports that the Phillies get $6MM from the Jays. Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and probably Travis D'Arnaud are headed to Toronto, Rosenthal says. Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and a third player are apparently headed to Philadelphia.
10:12pm: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter) has Toronto getting Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D'Arnaud; Philly getting Roy Halladay and Phillippe Aumont; and the Mariners getting Cliff Lee, plus another piece (or, pieces).
9:46pm: One Mariner prospect headed to Philly would be 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies, writes Stark in his latest update.
9:25pm: As the deal stands now, M's prospects would only be going to Philadelphia, not Toronto, sources tell Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
9:15pm: After going through several incarnations over the last 48 hours, the latest version of the deal has outfielder Michael Taylor, catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud, and a pitcher - either J.A. Happ or Kyle Drabek - going to Toronto, writes Stark in his latest update.
Under this scenario, the Phillies would get to hang on to Domonic Brown and would recieve Phillippe Aumont.
8:26pm: Check that. Aumont is in the deal, but heading to the Phillies rather than the Jays, says Elliott (via Twitter).
7:51pm: Elliott says (via Twitter) that Drabek is in the deal, but Aumont is not.
7:11pm: M's shortstop prospect Carlos Triunfel could be in the deal in place of Saunders, tweets Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
7:04pm: Drabek and "other top [Phillies] prospects" will be involved in the deal, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter). According to Salisbury, Brown will remain with the club.
6:55pm: J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton took physicals and could be a part of the deal, writes Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. Domonic Brown also took a physical today, who is said to be coveted by the Jays.
6:46pm: "People" tell Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that Aumont is not a part of the deal (via Twitter).
6:18pm: An interesting update to Jayson Stark's article. Prior to turning to the M's, the Phillies first attempted to complete a two-team deal with Toronto alone for Halladay. However, when Philly refused to include their top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek - as they did last summer - they got Seattle involved.
The Phillies also tried to move Joe Blanton in an effort to make space on the payroll for Doc - but couldn't get enough back to allow them to make a Halladay deal. Stark also adds that the team did no actual negotiating with Lee on an extension but had heard that he was seeking a C.C. Sabathia-type contract. This was apparently enough to put a scare into Ruben Amaro Jr. & Co.
5:20pm: Jon Heyman (via Twitter) hears that Morrow may not be leaving Seattle after all. He also hears that Aumont is likely involved the trade and "perhaps" Saunders as well.
5:00pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark heard this deal is close but not done. He says Halladay's extension would be just three years and $60MM (starting in 2011), with possible vesting options for another year or two. Aside from Aumont, the M's would also give up two others in the deal. The Jays would get Phils catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud and Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor plus one other player. The Blue Jays prefer Brown.
3:56pm: Rosenthal and Morosi write that pitcher Phillippe Aumont of the Mariners and "possibly" outfielder Michael Taylor of the Phillies are among the players heading to Toronto in the trade. They add that outfielder Michael Saunders and pitcher Brandon Morrow are "in play." The FOX duo confirms an agreement is in place to send Halladay to the Phillies and Lee to the Mariners. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian sees an official announcement Wednesday at the earliest.
3:17pm: In an article, Heyman notes that Halladay's extension "is expected to be a formality" (though it may not be done today). Heyman appears certain that an agreement has been reached on a Phillies/Jays/Mariners deal that will net the Phils Halladay. Lee's agent Darek Braunecker hasn't heard anything, tweets Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
2:56pm: Heyman tweets that a three-way deal has been agreed to with Halladay going to the Phillies and Lee to the Mariners. The Phillies are now trying to sign Halladay to an extension. However, in a subsequent tweet, Heyman apologizes for a quick trigger finger and says that while the Ms are confirmed as the third team he is checking to verify they'll get Lee. And MLB.com's Noah Coslov has no confirmed deal from Lee or the Ms.
2:36pm: Morosi tweets that MLB hasn't granted the Phils permission to negotiate with Halladay yet, but a deal "looks close."
1:49pm: CSN's Jim Salisbury reports today that the Phillies are "actively talking" about a contract extension with Roy Halladay's agent, according to two baseball sources. One of those sources told Salisbury Doc is likely to take a physical with the Phillies this week. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Andy Martino adds that Halladay and his agent have checked into a Philadelphia-area hotel.
What's more, Salisbury writes of "indications that pitcher Cliff Lee could be traded." SI's Jon Heyman wrote today that Lee would take no discount to sign an extension. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports write that "a three-team blockbuster that would send Halladay to the Phillies and Lee to another club is under discussion." They add that the Mariners have "contemplated dealing for Lee in recent days," but a straight Phillies-Jays trade is also possible. The writers say these complex talks involve the Phils receiving money to put toward Halladay's $15.75MM salary next year.
Questions: would Halladay command a C.C. Sabathia contract, even though he'll be 33 in May? (The New York Post's Joel Sherman suggests Halladay would take less to play for the Phillies). And which teams could match up for Lee aside from the Mariners? The Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox were linked to Lee in July trade talks, but things have changed since then.