Jake Arrieta Rumors

Padres Expected To Pursue Starting Pitching

The surprising Padres are off to a 38-38 start despite a 4.56 ERA from their starters that ranks as the second-worst mark in the National League. In fact, only five teams in all of baseball have a worse ERA from their rotation. It isn't surprising to see Jon Heyman of CBS Sports report that the Friars will be on the lookout for candidates to improve their starting rotation in the coming five to six weeks as the trade deadline draws near.

Heyman reports that the Padres have more money to spend than in previous years, and while it's a long-shot, they've discussed Jake Peavy internally. A more realistic target could be the Orioles' Jake Arrieta, whom Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported as a possible Padres target over the weekend. Heyman adds that younger starters like Arrieta are probably more realistic targets for the Padres, as they could add to an emerging core of controllable talent like Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Everth Cabrera.

East Notes: Davis, Haren, Arrieta

The AL East is home to the hottest team in baseball as the Blue Jays tied a franchise-record by winning their 11th consecutive game this afternoon and is the only division in baseball where every team has a winning record. Joel Sherman of the New York Post asked executives and scouts from the other five divisions to predict the finishing order in the AL East. The stunning result? The Red Sox are the favorite to win the division and no one polled sees the Yankees finishing higher than third. The consensus is the Yankees will be the AL East cellar-dwellers citing age, injuries, lack of depth in the minors, and a reluctance to add future payroll. Sherman also breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of the entire division and adds his summation for each team. Elsewhere in MLB's East divisions:  

  • The Mets had an oppportunity to recall Ike Davis when Lucas Duda landed on the disabled list, but the club decided against such a move. According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, the Mets wanted to protect Davis as they are entering a stretch where they face several left-handers. "You don’t want to put him back in a funk right away," manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Ackert. Davis is hitting .310/.463/.690 with four home runs in 54 plate appearances since being sent to Triple-A Las Vegas.
  • The Nationals may try to bolster their starting rotation with a trade after Dan Haren was placed on the disabled list, reports the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Haren signed a one-year, $13MM contract with the Nationals after his option was declined by the Angels when a proposed trade with the Cubs fell through over reported injury concerns.  
  • The name of the recently demoted Jake Arrieta keeps coming up as a possible trade chip for the Orioles. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes the Orioles are eventually going to have to think long and hard about how the right-hander fits and what's best for his development. Encina guesses a move to the bullpen could be part of that plan, which would allow Arrieta to concentrate on pitching in smaller spurts. 
  • ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) sees Arrieta as a Chris Davis-type situation: the talent is there, but the question is whether it will translate at some point. 

Edinson Volquez Drawing Interest

Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez is drawing trade interest from other clubs, according to Bill Center of U-T San Diego.  A number of teams had scouts at yesterday's game to check out the right-hander in person.

The Orioles could be among those clubs with interest in Volquez and they have "apparently" mentioned the name of former top pitching prospect Jake Arrieta.  The 27-year-old had a solid debut campaign in 2010 but has been inconsistent on the hill ever since.  One scout suggested the Orioles might also be interested in swapping Arrieto for Anthony Bass.

Volquez, soon to be 30, has an ERA of 5.67 this season with 7.3 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.  The right-hander is earning $5.725MM this season and will be a free agent this winter.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Yankees, Romero

The home run by the Athletics' Adam Rosales that never was on Wednesday could become the shot heard around the world in the debate over instant replay. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle are both advocating for a five-man umpiring crew. Haudricourt rebuts arguments that it is too expensive to add a fifth umpire or too time consuming to expand replay noting MLB is an $8B industry and the discussions over blown calls waste more time than a replay. Slusser supports a fifth umpire to monitor games from a booth in the press box and a neutral crew in New York of perhaps three people to have access to all available replay angles and make the final call on all video reviews. John Shea, Slusser's colleague at the Chronicle, doesn't believe expanded replay will help immediately because, until umpires are better held accountable for their errors, you cannot trust the people overseeing the system. Let's review the news from the American League East:

  • Wei-Yin Chen left today's game with what the Orioles are calling a strained right oblique although the lefty hopes it is only a cramp and will be evaluated on their off day, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have several in-house options, if Chen lands on the disabled list, tweets CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, including Jair Jurrjens, who has a June 15 opt-out clause. Jake Arrieta, another possible in-house candidate, did not make his scheduled start in Triple-A today because of a tender shoulder, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com (via Twitter)
  • The Yankees will soon face some tough decisions regarding roster spots and playing time as several of their injured players are nearing a return to action, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Blue Jays will remain patient with Ricky Romero because of the $23.1MM guaranteed the left-hander through 2015, even if it is just to make him attractive in a trade, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. That patience will be further tested by Romero's dismal debut at Triple-A Buffalo yesterday: six runs allowed on ten hits with five walks, a balk, and a wild pitch in 3 2/3 innings. "I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Burnett, Arrieta, Ichiro

The Orioles entered the eighth inning of yesterday's game with a lead and held on to pick up the victory. That might not seem all that noteworthy on the surface, but as MLB.com's Matthew Leach writes, yesterday marked the 100th straight win in games where the Orioles have held a lead through seven innings. Leach examines all the aspects of the Orioles' roster that have led to their improbably success with late inning leads. Here's more on the AL East…

  • Alex Burnett spoke candidly with Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca regarding the waiver process that led him to end up in the Orioles' organization, and he didn't sound happy about his brief stint with the Blue Jays. Burnett said he was "shocked" to be designated for assignment by Toronto and wondered what the point of his claim was. He also adds that he's had to have his car shipped across the country twice, break two leases and send his pregnant wife home because the constant moving would have been too difficult. Burnett said he's thankful that his process has been relatively quick, and he feels bad for Casper Wells, who spent the better part of three weeks in waiver limbo. Burnett hopes that the process will be brought up at the next Players Association meeting. MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth recently looked at the waiver process in depth.
  • Davidi notes that the silver lining for these players is that they do collect a Major League salary and Major League service time while they are on waivers. 
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick spoke with an AL scout regarding Orioles' right-hander Jake Arrieta and was told, "I know 29 teams that would be takers" (Twitter link). Arrieta's raw stuff draws consistent praise despite poor results. He was optioned to Triple-A yesterday.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports also talked to scouts regarding Arrieta, who said that he has "electric stuff." Knobler writes that Arrieta is simply too talented for the Orioles to give up on.
  • Another scout told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Yankees should be very concerned about Ichiro Suzuki: "His timing is all off. He looks terrible." Ichiro signed a two-year, $13MM contract with the Yankees this offseason.

AL East Notes: Drew, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays

On this date 21 years ago, the Blue Jays signed free agent starter Jack Morris to a two-year contract. The right-hander had recently led the Twins to a memorable World Series win over the Braves, out-pitching John Smoltz with ten shutout innings in the deciding seventh game. Morris won 21 games for the 1992 Blue Jays, and Toronto captured its first World Series title. Though Morris struggled in 1993, the Blue Jays successfully defended their title. Now 57, Morris is a candidate for Hall of Fame induction. Here are today's AL East links…

  • Stephen Drew will obtain $500K if he reaches 500 plate appearances in 2013, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Drew agreed to terms with the Red Sox on a one-year, $9.5MM deal yesterday.
  • The Orioles have spoken with at least six teams about possible trades, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports. The Orioles are seeking a middle of the order bat, but aren't willing to trade their best prospects to obtain one. While there's some interest in pitchers such as Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, there are indications the Orioles wouldn't want to trade more than one of them. Plus, their trade value isn't particularly high.
  • The Blue Jays are prioritizing present gains over future potential, Shi Davidi writes at Sportsnet.ca. But it's not about a one-year gamble for GM Alex Anthopoulos. "This allows us to really put what we feel is a contending team together for an extended run, for a three-to-five year period," Anthopoulos said. An interesting note from Davidi's piece: Zack Greinke will out-earn Dickey's $30MM contract about a month into the 2014 season. The two contracts were signed under different circumstances, of course, but it’s still noteworthy.
  • Curtis Granderson expects to hit free agency after the 2013 season, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. The Yankees have a team policy of waiting until players hit free agency before negotiating extensions, and Granderson doesn’t expect GM Brian Cashman to make an exception for him. “I’m just excited to play this year, and then, once we get to the end, we’ll take it at that point,” he said.
  • In a separate piece, Davidoff suggests that the best-run teams — he cites the Rays as one example — look to contend every year instead of targeting specific windows.

Chase Headley Rumors: Monday

With a .267/.363/.423 line that looks even better on the road, 28-year-old Padres third baseman Chase Headley has drawn interest from many teams this month.  Throw in team control through 2014 and you've got a hot commodity, but it appears Headley may stay put for now.  The latest:

  • The Padres wanted Jake Arrieta and two prospects for Headley, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links).  After Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, Arrieta is the young Orioles player rival teams covet most, Connolly writes.  However, those clubs are trying to buy low on Arrieta.  Connolly reports that one of the two prospects the Padres sought with Arrieta is a high ceiling player at Class A Delmarva.
  • The Padres told clubs Sunday they'll keep Headley unless the market changes dramatically, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.  Earlier, Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote that the Padres expect to decide today whether to keep Headley.
  • The Athletics won't trade starting pitching prospect Dan Straily in a Headley deal, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network.  Lightly regarded by prospect gurus prior to the season, the 23-year-old is in the midst of a breakout campaign and is now considered a quality pitching prospect.  Still, despite leading the minor leagues in strikeouts, Straily did not crack top 50 prospects lists published by ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball America this month.

Stark On Marlins, Phillies, Dodgers, Garza, Twins

Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark

  • One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
  • Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
  • The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
  • Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
  • The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
  • Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
  • In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
  • The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
  • The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
  • The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official. 
  • The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis

Quick Hits: Drew, Arrieta, Pirates, Mariners

A few odds and ends to pass along as this busy Tuesday night winds down …

  • The Diamondbacks are less likely to trade shortstop Stephen Drew now that they've removed Ryan Roberts from the roster, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com. GM Kevin Towers said there's no deal out there for Drew "that's going to make us better."
  • The Orioles may not have a choice but to trade starter Jake Arrieta if they'd like to improve their Major League roster without dealing any of their prized prospects, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Baltimore has told potential trade partners that Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
  • The Pirates made a bid to acquire Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, but talks hit a snag when Philly asked for right-hander Brad Lincoln, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The Pirates are "definitely going for it" and would like to acquire an outfielder or first baseman, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
  • The Mariners have released minor league pitcher Jeff Marquez, tweets Triple-A Tacoma announcer Mike Curto. In his place, D.J. Mitchell, acquired from the Yankees in the Ichiro Suzuki trade, will start.