Jason Heyward Rumors

Braves Notes: Heyward, Chipper, Coaches, Reyes

The Braves will be facing extra pressure this offseason as the team tries to recover from its September collapse.  Here's the latest from Turner Field….

  • "There is some sentiment within the organization that Atlanta might be better off dealing Jason Heyward," writes ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required).  Heyward suffered through a difficult sophomore season and as a result, "there are voices within the franchise asking the question of whether he can be counted on" as a long-term building block.  I'd say that there's little chance the club gives up such a promising young talent, though as the Yunel Escobar trade showed, the Braves aren't afraid to deal a quality player if they feel the player isn't a fit.  The Braves would be selling low on Heyward, though they would still recoup a nice return given his reputation and impressive 2010 rookie season.
  • Chipper Jones says the team's September failure hasn't affected his decision to return in 2012, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Fredi Gonzalez confirmed that the entire Braves' coaching staff will return next year, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
  • The Braves don't require a major overhaul, opines Fangraphs' Eno Sarris, though he suggests a few position switches that could improve the team's defense.   
  • ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription req'd) agrees that the Braves don't need to shake up their roster and suggests that Atlanta could be one of the top suitors for Jose Reyes.  Bowden also notes that the Braves have fewer looming issues than their September collapse partners in Boston: "While age and a barren farm system dim the Red Sox's upside going into 2012, the Braves have a much brighter outlook."

Casey Close To Represent Jason Heyward

Jason Heyward has switched agents and is now represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management, instead of Career Sports Entertainment, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Bowman suggests that Heyward is following Victor Menocal, a former Career Sports agent.

Heyward, one of the game’s top young stars, is arbitration-eligible after 2012 and eligible for free agency after 2015. The 2007 first rounder has a .269/.383/.458 line with 25 homers in a year and a month as a big leaguer.

Close left CAA Sports in February and recently joined the New York-based agency Excel Sports Management. He continues to represent 12 former CAA clients, including Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard. For the latest on all agencies and players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.


NL East Notes: Zimmermann, Marlins, Heyward

Players with zero to three years of service time are under team control and don't have the power to negotiate their salaries. Most of these players agree to terms with their clubs on deals worth $400-500K, but some don't agree to terms and their clubs renew their contracts instead (it doesn't affect the player's timeline for arbitration or free agency). Here's the latest on the NL East, including news on some contract renewals:



Odds & Ends: Miner, Gorzelanny, Heyward, Twins

Links for Wednesday, as the lights go out at Wrigley Field…

  • Tigers pitcher Zach Miner will undergo Tommy John surgery, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.
  • The Tigers are better-known for developing power arms, but as Beck shows, the Tigers have successfully developed some position players, too.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Cubs don't appear to be involved in serious talks to trade Tom Gorzelanny, but wonders if clubs like the Tigers and Rangers could inquire if the lefty becomes available.
  • You knew Jason Heyward was good, but Dave Cameron of FanGraphs puts the outfielder's amazing start in perspective, saying he's on his way to "one of the great rookie seasons of all time."
  • Meanwhile, Cameron wonders if the Rays should deal B.J. Upton to a team looking to capitalize on talent. It would save the Rays money and improve their chances of keeping Carl Crawford around.
  • One AL assistant GM told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he doesn't expect the Twins to trade for a reliever this summer.
  • 2010 draft prospect and Arlington native Michael Choice tells Chris Cox of MLB.com that it would be "a dream come true" to play for the Rangers, who pick 15th this year. Jonathan Mayo, Frankie Piliere and Keith Law all predicted Choice would be selected before that in their most recent mock drafts.

Odds & Ends: Strasburg, Piniella, Ely, Marlins

Jamie Moyer, we are all witnesses.  Some quick notes as we finish up the work week….

  • Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit and one walk over six shutout innings in his debut for Washington's Triple-A affiliate, reports The Associated Press.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com predicts the Cubs' woes may drive Lou Piniella into retirement when his contract is up after this season.
  • The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers erred in sending rookie right-hander John Ely back down to the minors so quickly.
  • Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald has some details of Florida owner Jeffrey Loria's chat with reporters today.  Loria dismissed any problems between him and manager Fredi Gonzalez, though Spencer notes that Loria "never exactly came out and said Gonzalez's job was 100 percent secure."  Loria was vague about when Mike Stanton would be called up to the majors, but the owner noted that the Marlins "don't want him to come and fail. If he's going to come here, he's going to come here to stay."
  • Speaking of Stanton, his name came up more than once during Baseball America's J.J. Cooper's chat with fans today.  When asked if he'd rather have Stanton or Jason Heyward for the next 10 years, Cooper's answer was "Heyward and it didn't really take any time to think about it," though that's more of a nod to Heyward's limitless potential than a slight towards Stanton.
  • Brian McCann revealed today that he is having more vision problems, and he will again start wearing glasses in the field, reports David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via Tweets here and here) that the Mariners will still be paying Milton Bradley while he is on the team's restricted list.
  • Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News writes that of all the catcher possibilities the Rangers looked at over the winter, little-regarded Matt Treanor became the team's "savior" due to his solid defensive and game-calling skills.  (Probably on purpose, Taylor doesn't mention Treanor's .619 OPS.) 
  • Aaron Rowand, like Barry Zito, is also starting to live up his big Giants contract, writes Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.  Urban notes that Rowand's early-season success may be due to a better offseason fitness regiment and a total swing overhaul.

Odds & Ends: Antonetti, Harper, Embree

Links for Wednesday…


Odds & Ends: Britton, Beckett, Crawford, Blue Jays

Links for Friday…


Looking At The Needs Of Some Contenders

With Spring Training wrapping up around the country, teams are finalizing their rosters and picking the 25 players they'll start the season with. There's always room for improvement, but some contenders have some very obvious weak spots on their rosters. Here's a look at some of them, which may need to be addressed during the season…

  • Angels, third base: Brandon Wood and Maicer Izturis will get the first cracks at replacing Chone Figgins, but if neither is up to par, the Halos might be looking for a fill-in at the hot corner.
  • Braves, outfielder: Superstar in training Jason Heyward will start the year in right, but incumbent centerfielder Nate McLouth had a brutal spring (6-for-51), which may push Melky Cabrera into full-time duty.
  • Rays, setup man: With J.P. Howell on the shelf due to a bum shoulder, the team has no obvious candidate to hand the ball off to new closer Rafael Soriano. Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour represent solid options, but if Howell misses more time than expected, the Rays might be looking to add a reliever.
  • Twins, closer: This is the most obvious hole of them all. Joe Nathan is out for the season after having elbow surgery, and Jon Rauch will get the first chance to replace him. 
  • Yankees, left field: The team is breaking camp with Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames set to share time in left, but we've already seen a scenario laid out in which they might need help sooner rather than later.

That doesn't include all of the clubs that could very well be looking to add a starting pitcher at some point, like the Mariners, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers. Some other holes aren't so obvious though. Maybe the Red Sox could use another reliever (who couldn't?), or perhaps Seattle will go looking for a big bat that fits into their extreme run prevention plan. 

What other areas of need to do you see out there for contenders?


Odds & Ends: Gaudin, Stairs, Lowell, Darvish

Links for Monday…


Odds & Ends: Giants, Harper, Heyward, Padres

Some links as the weekend draws closer…