James McDonald Rumors

Pirates Notes: Pitching, McDonald, Jones, Doumit

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette touched on several Buc-related hot stove topics in an online chat with fans.  Here are a few of the highlights…

  • If the Pirates make any significant winter moves, Kovacevic thinks "there's a better chance that you'll see money invested in pitching than in offense," both because Pittsburgh has more of a pressing need for quality arms and since finding pitching help could be easier.  Kovacevic notes, however, that GM Neal Huntington needs to work at "upgrading the team's mechanisms for finding real pitching talents."
  • Speaking of acquiring pitching, Kovacevic calls the deal that brought James McDonald and Andrew Lambo to Pittsburgh for Octavio Dotel "outstanding."  McDonald has a 3.49 ERA and 2.44 K/BB ratio in eight starts since joining the Bucs.
  • The Pirates may be in the market for a right handed-hitting first baseman or right fielder to be a platoon partner for Garrett Jones.  Kovacevic's Post-Gazette colleague Chuck Finder reported over the weekend that the team was no longer looking at Jones as an everyday player.
  • Kovacevic believes that Ryan Doumit's starts in right field over the last two months have been intended to showcase Doumit for a potential trade.  Doumit is slated to earn $5.1MM next season, the third-highest salary of any player projected to be on the 2011 roster (behind Chris Snyder and Paul Maholm).   

Dodgers May Add To Payroll To Make A Deal

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that "there are strong indications" that the Dodgers have been given the go-ahead from owner Frank McCourt to add to the team payroll (if necessary) at the trade deadline.  We heard earlier today that the Dodgers have $2-3MM "to play with" in terms of adding salary, but it's unknown as to whether or not this additional bump can account for an acquisition that doesn't move another major-league salary off of the roster.

Jackson lists several starters and relievers whom the Dodgers have shown some degree of interest in: Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Paul Maholm, Roy Oswalt and Ben Sheets.  Jackson notes that Lilly and Maholm are both around the bottom of Los Angeles' wish list, and he notes the major payroll increases that would be necessary if Oswalt or Haren were acquired.  Given McCourt's ongoing financial issues stemming from his divorce, it's safe to presume that whatever payroll increase the owner agrees to might be a short-term one for the rest of this season, rather than a multi-year commitment to a Haren or an Oswalt.

In terms of what prospects the Dodgers would have to give up to acquire any of these pitchers, Jackson says that shortstop Dee Gordon and righties Ethan Martin and Chris Withrow (the top position and pitching prospects, respectively, in the L.A. system) "are unlikely" to be dealt.  Aaron Miller, however, is singled out as being "a hot commodity" apart from some other minor-leaguers that are attracting the interest of other teams.  Miller, a southpaw taken 36th overall in the 2009 amateur draft, has a 3.10 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 ratio in just over a year as a professional and is currently pitching at Double-A. 

While GM Ned Colletti says that "pitching continues to be our priority," he also noted that the Dodgers might look to acquire an outfielder in the wake of injuries to Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson.  Fanhouse.com's Ed Price reports (via Twitter) that the Rays have "some interest" in Dodgers right-hander James McDonald and speculates that B.J. Upton could be a potential trade target if Los Angeles really wants to make a splash in its outfield.  Obviously, given that the Rays have said that they aren't "selling low" on Upton, L.A. would need to add much more than just McDonald to the trade package.

The Dodgers’ Fifth Rotation Spot

The front of the Dodgers' rotation is pretty well set, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla set to occupy the first four spots. There's no shortage of candidates for that fifth spot, but as Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times notes, most of the contenders have unfavorable contract situations. 

Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger are both out of options, Carlos Monasterios is a Rule 5 pick, and both Ramon and Russ Ortiz are believed to have out clauses in their contracts. The one rotation candidate that doesn't have any strings attached is James McDonald, but it doesn't help that he has a 20.25 ERA and a 3.56 WHIP in just over five innings this spring. Regardless of who LA picks for that last spot, there's a chance they'll lose some depth as the other guys succumb to roster limitations.

Let's open this one up for discussion. Who do you think the Dodgers should put in their last rotation spot, and what should they do with the other players? Essentially your choices are a) put them in the bullpen, or b) risk losing them to waivers/out clause/Rule 5 rules. Here are the Spring Training stats, not that they mean anything. 

Failed Deadline Blockbusters

Today was hectic, but imagine how much wilder it would have been if these two deals had gone through:

  • Via Twitter, Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Padres almost dealt Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers for James Loney, Russell Martin, Blake DeWittJames McDonald and Ivan Dejesus. Wow.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports confirms that the division rivals considered a blockbuster deal involving those players.
  • Knobler also says the Rangers and Angels both pursued Heath Bell aggressively this afternoon. The Angels and Padres were discussing Jose Arredondo, Sean O'Sullivan and Sean Rodriguez
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says his team was involved in a "big one that didn't happen," according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • The Crew also had interest in Jarrod Washburn and Brian Bannister.
  • Melvin says everyone asked the Brewers for Mat Gamel and Alcides Escobar. Since the Brewers didn't want to deal either prospect and don't have the young pitching to offer rival teams, they had limited options.

Roy Halladay Rumors: Thursday

5:07pm: Ricciardi tells Ed Price of AOL FanHouse that he's not ruling out a trade. "We're waiting 'til 4 o'clock tomorrow," Ricciardi said.

4:23pm: Jack Curry of the New York Times has additional comments from Ricciardi on Halladay:

"We've got nothing going on.  We expect him to be with us."

The Phillies are out, and the other suitors failed to wow Ricciardi.

3:19pm: Rosenthal and Morosi say the Dodgers have enough in their system to make a competitive offer for Halladay, even after acquiring Sherrill.  And for Evan Grant's thoughts on the Rangers and Halladay, click here.

However, in another entry Rosenthal and Morosi talk to J.P. Ricciardi and label the Halladay sweepstakes "all but over."  Ricciardi's comments indicate the same.  Toronto's GM seems intent on keeping Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, and others if Doc stays.

2:23pm: Morosi says Halladay is looking unlikely for the Angels, who shot down a Toronto proposal that included Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, and Brandon Wood

The Halos are also looking for bullpen help, with names such as Heath Bell and George Sherrill in play (their offer for Mike Wuertz fell short).

1:26pm: Rosenthal and Morosi have a source saying things are "very quiet" on the Halladay front.  Still, the Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox remain interested.

1:14pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown sees the Dodgers and Red Sox as the frontrunners for Doc in what is shaping up as a two-team race.  Brown says the only Major Leaguer in the Dodgers' offer is James McDonald, while the Sox will part with Clay Buchholz, one of Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Lars Anderson, and some lesser prospects.  My guess is that the Red Sox find a way to get this done, given the quality they're already offering.  ESPN's Jayson Stark says one Dodgers prospect who is off-limits is shortstop Devaris Gordon.

Meanwhile, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says the Jays wanted Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, and Casey Crosby from the Tigers for Halladay.  Henning says the Tigers bowed out upon that request.  Henning adds that the Tigers would consider adding Adam Dunn or Josh Willingham but the price is steep on the sluggers as well.

12:59pm: A Rosenthal/Morosi source with knowledge of the Jays' thinking discusses a package of Dodgers minor leaguers that could catch Toronto's attention in a Halladay deal.

12:21pm: Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal sees the Dodgers in the lead for Halladay, with the Rangers in the mix and talks with Boston calming down.

9:09am: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe feels the chances of the Red Sox acquiring Halladay are "remote," and believes that Boston has yet to increase their initial offer for him.  And in an earlier column, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald said the Blue Jays and Red Sox have not been in contact over the last three days.

8:37am: SI's Jon Heyman says the Dodgers balked at the Blue Jays' asking price for Halladay and are moving on to Orioles closer George Sherrill.  Check out yesterday's Sherrill info here.

Meanwhile, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun finds Halladay unlikely to be traded.  ESPN's Buster Olney says there are "no active talks" at present.

7:55am: We'll start with a review of yesterday's Roy Halladay rumorsThe Phillies acquired Cliff Lee instead, cutting into J.P. Ricciardi's leverage for Doc.  Ricciardi now has the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers, and possibly Angels and Rays to work with.  The Blue Jays' GM is thinking about keeping Halladay for 2010, based on his comments to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  On to a few new links…

The Dodgers’ Rotation

They're 15-8, in first place in the NL West, but the Dodgers face questions about a rotation that includes three ERAs of 5.50 or more. Behind Chad Billingsley and Randy Wolf, they have Clayton Kershaw, who hasn't pitched out the the fifth inning his last two starts, James McDonald, who has walked a batter an inning this year, and Eric Stults, who's allowing two baserunners an inning. Yahoo's Tim Brown takes stock of the rotation and how Ned Colletti will progress with it.

  • Brown says it's unlikely the Dodgers will add Pedro Martinez, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez or Freddy Garcia.
  • One scout's analysis: "There's plenty of pitching available. None you'd want."  
  • Brown suggests the Dodgers need a club like the Indians, Reds or Mariners to fall from contention so some quality arms become available.  
  • If David Price pitches his way into the Rays' rotation, Jeff Niemann could become trade bait.  

The Dodgers could rely on pitchers already in the organization. Hiroki Kuroda is rehabbing, though MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports the righty is likely weeks away from a return. Jason Schmidt is rehabbing too, according to GurnickJeff Weaver pitched well against the Padres last night and Eric Milton and Shawn Estes are stashed away in the minors.

Jake Peavy Rumors: Tuesday

9:58pm: Peavy apparently rejected one trade, to an American League team with a small ballpark.

12:12pm: David O’Brien says Braves and Padres officials met Sunday and Monday to talk Peavy, discussing proposals not including Tommy Hanson.  The Braves remain the favorite.

12:08pm: Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he is not engaged in talks for Peavy.

10:32am: Joel Sherman says the Yankees have shown no early movement toward Peavy.  Free agents just make more sense.  Still, Jay Paris snagged some good quotes from Axelrod and Towers about the Yankees possibility.

8:52am: Peavy’s agent, Barry Axelrod, says they have not given approval for the Yankees or Angels.  Axelrod reiterated that the Yankees would have to pay a premium (likely an extension).  Towers said he doesn’t believe the Angels would have to pay the same premium.

8:35am: Towers also doubts Peavy would approve a trade to Milwaukee.

8:03am: Let’s kick off a fresh post for today’s Jake Peavy rumors.  A reminder of the latest news: Peavy has preapproved the Yankees and Angels, bringing his total to seven teams.  Padres GM Kevin Towers indicated that Peavy would not approve a trade to Boston.

Towers referenced the Dan Haren and Mark Teixeira deals while indicating he wants quality over quantity back.  CBS’s Scott Miller has info on some players discussed.  He says Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Rich Hill are available from the Cubs.  With the Dodgers, Chad Billingsley and James McDonald have been discussed.  We know Towers wants more from the Dodgers, but Billingsley seems unlikely.

Dodgers Acquire Maddux

11:51am: Tony Jackson says the Padres will pay about $1.3MM of Maddux’s remaining salary, with the Dodgers taking on $900K.

WEDNESDAY, 8:43am: Tom Krasovic has more.  The Phillies apparently offered a better package for Maddux earlier this year, but he would not approve a trade there.  So the Dodgers will pay a significant amount of Maddux’s remaining salary and the Padres will choose two low-level minor leaguers from a list by October 15th.  They wanted James McDonald or Scott Elbert but the Dodgers wouldn’t do it.

8:52pm: Paul DePodesta weighs in on the Maddux trade.  He mentions in the comments that the Padres want players as opposed to cash considerations.

4:28pm: The deal is done, for two minor league players to be named later or cash considerations.  Still not sure how Maddux’s remaining salary will be split.

TUESDAY, 8:42am: The L.A. Times says Maddux has been traded for two players to be named later.  The Dodgers will pay at least part of Maddux’s remaining Maddux’s remaining $2.35MM.  Keith Law says the deal makes sense for both sides.

MONDAY, 11:25pm: The AP is now saying an agreement has been reached and the trade will be announced Tuesday.  ESPN’s Rob Neyer wonders if one motive for the Dodgers is to save keep Clayton Kershaw‘s innings down.

9:50pm: Through a team spokesman, GM Ned Colletti said a deal is not done.  The L.A. Times still says an agreement has been reached, while the L.A. Daily News says they’ve agreed in principle but the deal has not been finalized. 

8:31pm: Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News says the Dodgers and Padres are actively engaged in talks for Maddux, but isn’t sure how far along the discussions are.

8:09pm: According to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, the Dodgers have acquired Greg Maddux from the Padres.  Further details are not yet known.  The Dodgers had been looking for starting pitching, since they’re not counting on much from Brad Penny.

Dodgers Looking For Shortstop Help

TUESDAY, 3:49pm: MLB.com’s Jim Molony chimes in on the Dodgers’ hunt for a shortstop.  He says they’ll give Nomar Garciaparra a chance, but they are also considering Toronto’s David EcksteinBack on July 3rd, the Baltimore Sun suggested the Orioles were looking at Eckstein.

TUESDAY, 8:53am: Dejan Kovacevic puts the brakes on the Jack Wilson-to-L.A. rumor.  He says that while Wilson is not untouchable, the Pirates are not likely to trade him.  They consider him affordable and do not have a capable replacement.

Kovacevic says talks with the Dodgers "seem dormant," and the Dodgers never offered a player from their Major League roster.  Additional unknown teams have also called about Wilson.

MONDAY: John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times wrote an article Sunday concerning the Dodgers’ pursuit of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson.  Wilson, 30, is hitting .306/.348/.361 in 160 plate appearances this year.  He’s under contract next year for $7.25MM with an $8.4MM club option for ’10.  Wilson can block trades to six teams.

Perrotto wrote that Wilson is the Dodgers’ primary trade target.  He says "a Dodgers source indicated that Los Angeles might be willing to deal center fielder Matt Kemp."  A Kemp acquisition would create a logjam until the Pirates are able to move Jason Bay or Xavier Nady.  Failing that, Perrotto’s sources indicate the Bucs have interest in pitcher James McDonald and shortstop Chin-lung Hu

Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that the Dodgers’ bid for Wilson is on hold as they restructure their offer.  If the Dodgers get him, that should eliminate any chance of re-signing Rafael Furcal.

CC Sabathia Links

The CC Sabathia trade is complete, but there’s still some good info floating about.