Jason Heyward Rumors
Some links for Wednesday night...
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo released his list of the top 50 prospects in the game. Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg rank one-two.
- Livan Hernandez sent a contract proposal to Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo back in December, but he never received a response according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach reports that Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak confirmed that any pickups from here on out would be on the offensive side of the roster.
- Scott Boras said that "The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon during the entire process," according to a tweet from Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. In a second tweet, Kepner says Boras indicated that the two-year, $14MM offer the team reportedly made was conditional on whether or not Nick Johnson would sign.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure reports that 17-year-old righty Rafael DePaula is back on the market after being suspended for a year by MLB after lying about his age. His agent hopes to have him signed within the next 15-20 days, and Arangure mentions that both the Yankees and Red Sox are interested.
- Pirate relievers Anthony Claggett and Steven Jackson both cleared waivers according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, and have been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Claggett was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Octavio Dotel, Jackson for Ryan Church.
- Astros' GM Ed Wade said that signing Wandy Rodriguez to a long-term deal would become a "front-burner discussion for us" if he repeats his 2009 success in 2010, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Wandy had a 3.02 ERA with an 8.4 K/9 in 205.2 innings last season.
- Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com says that the Braves have discussed Johnny Damon recently, but came up with three reasons why he wasn't a fit.
- David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News lays out the Phillies' payroll commitments for the next four years. As of right now, the team stands to shed almost $70MM off the books following the 2011 season.
Some Saturday links:
- The Mets have yet to make an offer to John Lackey and continue to focus on Jason Bay, according to David Lennon of Newsday (via Twitter).
- Meanwhile, Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets would be willing to give Bay a five-year deal if necessary.
- Braves GM Frank Wren said the club is open to retaining Kelly Johnson at a lesser salary, he said that he would be better suited to an opportunity where he could get more at-bats, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- While Wren continues to explore other options on the open market, the club is leaving the door open for Jason Heyward to win the job in right field, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Prior to being selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft and sold to the Dodgers, Carlos Monasterios told Bravos de Margarita that both the Dodgers and the Tigers were in contact with him (passed along by Diamond Leung).
- The Red Sox trade of Mike Lowell to Texas has not been officially completed as Rangers officials are looking over the third baseman's thumb, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Recently non-tendered Jack Cust could be a fit for the White Sox, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic that the club still has room to spend this winter.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that barring something that's not currently on the team's radar, the second baseman job will go to Blake DeWitt plus a veteran, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us the latest minor league transactions. Most notably, former Seton Hall Prep standout and Yankees' first round selection Eric Duncan has landed with the Braves.
We've been hearing for a while that the Braves may trade from starting pitching depth to free up money, but what other moves might we see? MLB.com's Mark Bowman has some answers:
- Braves GM Frank Wren says there are "a lot of trade conversations going on" around the league.
- The Braves don't seem concerned about finding another outfielder, because they will consider letting top prospect Jason Heyward start the season in the majors. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Braves sign an affordable outfielder, in case they decide to keep Heyward in the minors for a couple months.
- The Braves are interested in Billy Wagner.
- Free agent Adam LaRoche would be a good fit, but the Braves, who have prospect Freddie Freeman in the system, may hesitate to offer LaRoche a multi-year deal.
- Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse hears that the Braves will deal Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez.
- Piliere adds that the market for Rafael Soriano should be strong.
If and when Tim Hudson signs an extension with the Braves, MLB.com's Mark Bowman says GM Frank Wren appears likely to shop Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. Moving one of the two veterans would create the financial flexibility to allow the Braves to pursue a first baseman, a closer and, possibly, an outfielder.
It's a "strong possibility" that Adam LaRoche, Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano will all sign elsewhere as free agents. Bowman says the Braves may consider signing Billy Wagner or trading for Matt Capps if they don't retain Gonzalez and Soriano.
Jason Heyward looms in the minor leagues. He's arguably the game's top prospect, but the Braves may choose to sign an outfielder. This would enable Heyward to pick up more minor league experience - he's only played 50 games in the upper minors - and would allow the Braves to prevent Heyward from becoming a Super Two. It's the strategy they used with Tommy Hanson this year and it makes sense to do the same with Heyward.
Last week, Tim suggested the Braves spend on a first baseman and a left fielder. To cut costs, he recommends the Braves save on the bullpen. Trading Vazquez would free up $11.5MM for the upcoming season and trading Lowe would free up $15MM, but the Braves may ultimately need the pitching depth.
Some more afternoon links...
- Jason Heyward - probably the game's best prospect - looks great so far in the Arizona Fall League, according to Jason Grey of ESPN.com.
- MLB.com's Mike Bauman says so far the Yankees' decision to commit hundreds of millions to C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett looks good.
- As Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports, Ned Yost stressed his experience during his interview for the Astros' managerial opening.
- James Schmehl of MLive.com suggests the Tigers should at least consider replacing hitting coach Lloyd McClendon with Rudy Jaramillo or another top batting instructor.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that the Rangers promoted four members of their front office.
Another round of links...
- Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reports that the Angels don't have a firm payroll for 2010 at this point.
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has made a couple of his best deadline deals the past two seasons. Jason Bay and Victor Martinez have been major contributors ever since arriving in Boston.
- As Baseball America's Conor Glassey notes, the Nationals have a worse record the the Royals, Pirates, or any other team, so they're the favorites to land next year's first overall pick.
- Congrats to Jason Heyward, BA's minor league player of the year.
Top prospect Jason Heyward reminds ESPN.com's Buster Olney and Mississippi Braves manager Phillip Wellman of the same player: Darryl Strawberry. Heyward's still in AA, but he's only 19 and he has an OPS over 1.200 so far in the upper minors. He's easily one of the top prospects in baseball, along with teammate Freddie Freeman. Braves GM Frank Wren notes that pitchers Julio Teheran, Craig Kimbrel and Jose Ortegano have all impressed this year as well.
12:08pm: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says Towers still considers the Braves the best match for a Peavy trade. Cafardo says the Braves appear willing to trade shortstop Yunel Escobar. He adds that the Red Sox haven't been ruled out but they're far down the list.
9:35am: Padres GM Kevin Towers arrived early at the GM meetings, with trading Jake Peavy high on his to-do list. The latest from Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
- Towers is "focused on three" teams. Krasovic believes these to be the Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves. He's matched up with Jim Hendry and Ned Colletti before, and has known Frank Wren for many years. It is believed that Towers would charge the Dodgers a premium for being in their division. The Braves do not want to include top prospects such as Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward.
- Towers isn't opposed to a three-team deal, but he's never done one. He'd prefer to make a normal direct trade.
- Towers wants quality over quantity, saying the right two or three players could get it done.
Jake Peavy, on the block:
- According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Braves have told the Padres they will not deal Tommy Hanson in a package for Jake Peavy. This despite heavy scouting of Hanson by the Padres in recent days. MLBTR touched on this topic on Friday, but it seems the Braves are standing pat that even Peavy won't loosen their grip on their prospects. If the Padres are putting something together with the Braves, it's not likely to be structured around Hanson, or Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward and Julio Teheran for that matter. As MLBTR noted before, it could all be speculation from rival GMs.
- Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune brings us information from Baseball America: Peavy would waive his no trade clause to play for the Cubs. While Rogers notes there's not much of a fit he suggests a package that includes a swap of Adrian Gonzalez and Derrek Lee. Intriguing, but far fetched.
As Kevin Towers and Barry Axelrod intended, things are slowing down on the Jake Peavy front. The Braves, considered the favorite, got the word out yesterday through the AP that they do not want to trade top prospects. Of course, that may have been a strategic move.
- Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked to Braves GM Frank Wren today. Wren says there are players he will not trade under any circumstances, and O'Brien believes three of those are Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward, and Julio Teheran. Freddie Freeman, Jordan Schafer, and Gorkys Hernandez are close to untouchable, according to O'Brien.
- ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Braves may have enough quality young players to pull off a Peavy deal without surrendering Heyward, Hanson, or Jair Jurrjens.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that the Cardinals do not have what the Padres are looking for in a Peavy trade.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock says not to expect movement on a Peavy deal for the next week or so, as Towers takes a step back and conferences with the pitcher. Towers wants to figure out which teams he can engage before the November 3-6 GM meetings. Peavy's five preferred clubs are known publicly, so perhaps Towers hopes to expand that list.
- Jason Rosenberg analyzes the MLB.com report over at his blog.