Jean Segura Rumors

Quick Hits: Heyward, Segura, Giants, Joseph

Jason Heyward got off to a slow start with the Cardinals but he posted a .960 OPS and five home runs over 100 plate appearances from May 27 to June 27.  As Heyward tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the improvement came in no small part due to intensive work on his swing, and it seems like things are finally clicking for the right fielder.  If Heyward can keep this hot hitting going throughout the season, it will send his free agent value soaring; MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has speculated that if Heyward could land a $200MM contract if he delivers a big season and proves he can be a consistent force at the plate.  Here’s some more from around baseball as we head into the new week…

  • The Brewers haven’t told inquiring clubs that they’re not trading Jean Segura, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, but the team would clearly want a lot in return for the shortstop.  Haudricourt ranks Milwaukee’s roster in terms of likely trade targets, and the only seeming untouchables being Jonathan Lucroy and young arms like Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson and others.
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle believes that the Giants‘ top priorities heading into trade season are fixing the bench, improving the outfield if Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki have longer-term injuries, and addressing the rotation.  He adds that while it seems like San Francisco needs to dabble in the market for a front of the rotation starter, it might be too tall of an order.  Over the weekend, Giants GM Bobby Evans acknowledged that it could be hard to pull off a deal for a high-end starter given the team’s glut of pitchers with limited trade value.
  • Phillies prospect Tommy Joseph is being shifted from catcher to first base, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Multiple concussions and a wrist injury limited Joseph to just 63 total games in 2013-14, and after suffering another concussion this season, the decision was made to end Joseph’s catching career for the sake of his health.  The Giants drafted Joseph in the second round of the 2009 draft and he came to Philadelphia as part of the Hunter Pence trade package.
  • The Padres may “take a more measured approach” to their spending when the July 2 international market opens, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.  The Padres are already scouting the 2016-17 international class and may be looking to spend more heavily next year when several big-market teams will be under bonus penalties and out of the market for the top prospects.

Mets Looking To Trade Starter Soon

6:33pm: Newsday’s Marc Carig hears that the Mets have indeed discussed Aramis Ramirez with the Brewers. Any trade involving Ramirez would be more about how much of his contract the Mets would take on as opposed to what the Brewers would get in return. As for Segura, Carig writes that he’s not likely to be made available.

Though the two sides have talked, a Ramirez trade seems unlikely. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal hears that there’s little traction in Ramirez discussions because Milwaukee is uninterested in Niese (Twitter links). While Gee might be a better fit, there would be a lot more financial legwork to figure out in that scenario, per Rosenthal. Gee is owed a bit more than $3MM through season’s end, but Ramirez is owed an additional $8.8MM.

It could be argued that adding Ramirez wouldn’t be an upgrade for the Mets anyhow. While the team may very well benefit from upgrading by replacing Niese or Gee with Matz, much of that benefit could be outweighed by the lack of flexibility to make future moves as well as the possibility that Ramirez continues to produce at a sub-replacement-level pace.

5:37pm: The Mets have placed their efforts to trade a starting pitcher on hold during the draft but will now look to trade a starting pitcher “in short order,” tweets Newsday’s David Lennon. That lines up with recent reports from ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin and the New York Post’s Mike Puma stating that lefty Steven Matz could be up in the near future — perhaps before the end of June.

In order to accommodate Matz, the team seems likely to increase its efforts to find a taker for lefty Jon Niese (earning $7MM in 2015 and guaranteed $9MM in 2016 plus a pair of club options) or righty Dillion Gee (earning $5.3MM in 2015 and controllable via arbitration for the 2016 season). Both Niese and Gee could be viewed as superfluous with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and the veteran Bartolo Colon all representing options, to say nothing of Matz or the currently injured Rafael Montero.

Furthermore, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Mets and Brewers have had preliminary trade talks, with the Mets eyeing Milwaukee’s position players (Twitter link). That might lead to speculation regarding Aramis Ramirez, though in yesterday’s report, Rubin stated that the Mets have little to no interest in Ramirez. The Mets feel that Ramirez’s skills are diminishing, and they’re still hopeful that David Wright will contribute in 2015, so they prefer more versatile bats that can handle multiple positions.

Speculatively speaking, Jean Segura would make sense for the Mets, who have long been looking for an upgrade at shortstop due to defensive deficiencies with Wilmer Flores. Of course, Segura himself is not regarded as an elite defender, though his .287/.322/.408 batting line is superior to Flores’ .245/.270/.417 triple-slash. Segura also comes with an additional three years of club control beyond the 2015 season, making the likely asking price relatively significant. As such, it’s tough to imagine Gee or Niese serving as a significant component in a trade for Segura, though the Mets could always add other pieces.

It’s worth emphasizing, of course, that Morosi categorized trade talks between New York and Milwaukee as “preliminary,” and there are plenty of other teams that may have interest in swapping a versatile, if unspectacular bat for a veteran innings eater that can stabilize the back end of a rotation.

There are a number of other teams looking for some stabilization in the rotation. The Astros and Rays, for instance, have both incurred injuries to starters and have some versatile pieces to offer. Luis Valbuena hasn’t hit especially well this season, but he’s a earning a not-insignificant $4.2MM and could add some power to the Mets’ lineup, with the injured Jed Lowrie slotting back into his position once activated from the DL. The Rays have a number of versatile pieces, including Logan Forsythe, Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera. Forsythe has probably been too valuable for Tampa to move, however, while Franklin would figure to have more trade value than that of a back-end starter, and Cabrera has played quite poorly of late. A couple other versatile pieces that could be theoretical trade fits if the Mets can sweeten the deal would be the Mariners’ Brad Miller and the Dodgers’ Alex Guerrero.

A player such as Martin Prado or Ben Zobrist would seem to be a strong fit for the Mets’ desires, as Rubin noted yesterday, though they, too, would be difficult to acquire without including pieces beyond Gee or Niese.

As the above speculation indicates, it’s difficult to find an obvious fit for the Mets, as neither Gee nor Niese is teeming with trade value. GM Sandy Alderson will likely have his work cut out for him if his aim is to both free a spot in his rotation for Matz and add a bat that can help at the Major League level in one fell swoop. One way of accomplishing the goal would be to include Montero in a trade, but the promising young hurler has been on the disabled list since late April with a shoulder issue and has not yet begun a rehab assignment.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Mets, Tigers, Yankees, Coghlan

The Mets appear to be keeping tabs on Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez and shortstop Jean Segurareports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in his latest video. Of the two, Ramirez is the more practical target for New York. He is expected to retire after the season and does not have a no-trade clause. The Mets are also interested in Ben Zobrist, but they believe other teams will outbid them.

  • The Tigers may not need to buy at the trade deadline due to the impending returns of Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, Bruce Rondon, and Alex Avila. The lineup has struggled to push runs across the plate, but they lead the AL in OBP. When asked by Rosenthal, GM Dave Dombrowski said there are no scenarios under which the club could become deadline sellers. That means David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Alfredo Simon are unlikely to be traded.
  • The Yankees rotation may not be a priority at the trade deadline if the current starters remain healthy. In addition to the current options, Ivan Nova will begin a rehab assignment soon. Prospects Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell provide further depth. The club could still acquire a star like Cole Hamels, but GM Brian Cashman says some of their top prospects are untouchable.
  • The easiest position for the Cubs to upgrade is left field. Chris Coghlan is hitting just .224/.298/.421 on the season. An unusually low .245 BABIP explains his low average. The club could hope for BABIP regression or replace him in one of several ways. They could trade for somebody like Zobrist. Alternatively, Javier Baez could be promoted to man third base with Kris Bryant moving to the outfield.


Brewers Notes: Draft, Braun, Gomez, Lucroy, Melvin

The Brewers will have the 15th overall selection in next month’s amateur draft and, while there is no consenus top pick, Milwaukee is confident it can land an impact player, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think a little bit more is being made out of (the volatility),” said Vice President of Amateur Scouting Ray Montgomery. “I think the draft has good depth, if it lacks what people might consider a more obvious first pick, or first couple, compared to drafts in the past. But the depth of the draft and the pool of talent, I think, is good.” Montgomery will be overseeing the draft for the Brewers for the first time and does not feel any extra pressure with GM Doug Melvin contemplating a rebuild. “I don’t think Doug’s worried about it, so it’s certainly nothing for me to worry about,” Montgomery told Haudricout. “In terms of adding talent, it’s our job to acquire the best available players, and they’ll work their way through the system the way they should, based on each individual time line.

Here’s more on the Brewers from Haudricourt’s colleague Todd Rosiak, who hosted a recent online chat:

  • Rosiak thinks the Brewers would like to trade Ryan Braun, but it is highly unlikely they will agree to absorb any of the money he’s owed. As a result, their trading partners would certainly be limited to big-market teams, and there would likely be questions regarding Braun’s thumb and his past PED issues.
  • The Brewers have many trade candidates (as explored by MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth), but Rosiak feels Jean Segura may not be one of them. The shortstop provides the team with both cost certainty and growth potential. With the pending retirement of third baseman Aramis Ramirez and the dearth of free agent options, Milwaukee could slide Segura over to the hot corner next year.
  • Rosiak does not see Carlos Gomez re-signing with the Brewers when his contract expires after the 2016 season, so trading him now will maximize their return and the longer they wait the less his value becomes.
  • The Brewers could also receive a massive haul for catcher Jonathon Lucroy, but will most likely rebuff any offers because the franchise does not have a ready replacement.
  • It is telling neither owner Mark Attanasio nor Doug Melvin have been commenting publicly on the GM’s future in the organization. Rosiak envisions a scenario where Melvin is promoted to president and a new general manager is hired.
  • The Brewers lost their edge under Ron Roenicke despite his reputation as a player’s manager. Rosiak notes, in most situations, a looser leash winds up choking the skipper resulting in his dismissal.

 


Rosenthal’s Latest: Papelbon, Marlins, Padres, Angels, Twins

The Marlins showed interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon right around when they fired Mike Redmond, reports Ken Rosenthal in his latest video for FOX Sports. However, it’s unclear if the club will buy after a slow start to the season. Prior to the season they promised Giancarlo Stanton that they will aim to compete, but there may come a point where it makes more sense to trade some of the higher priced mercenaries. Players like Mike Morse, Dan Haren, and Mike Dunn could find themselves on the trade block. Here’s more from Rosenthal.

  • The Padres are scouting the Brewers for a shortstop. They may lack the prospects to acquire Jean Segura, but San Diego GM A.J. Preller is familiar with Luis Sardinas from his days in the Rangers system. The Brewers are also taking calls on right-hander Mike Fiers, but they’re not interested in trading him.
  • The Angels have plenty of starting pitching depth to acquire offensive firepower. They could call upon Andrew Heaney if they trade a major leaguer pitcher. Alternatively, Heaney or Nick Tropeano could be offered in a swap. The Halos also have Tyler Skaggs and Sean Newcomb as long term options. Skaggs is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Newcomb is working his way through the system (currently in High-A) after being selected 15th overall last June.
  • The Twins aren’t yet buyers, but they’ll receive reinforcements when Ervin Santana and Casey Fien return to action. Santana is eligible to return from his PED suspension on July 4. Fien is currently on the disabled list. The club has received poor production from center field and designated hitter. They could stick with Aaron Hicks in center with Kennys Vargas as the primary designated hitter, but the addition of a “big bopper” would improve the overall outlook. My own speculation: I wonder if a combination of Ben Revere and Ryan Howard would make sense – assuming the Phillies ate enough cash.

Heyman’s Latest: Hamels/Jays, Lucroy, Baez, Correa, Alvarez

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has published the latest installment of his weekly Inside Baseball column, and he kicks it off by reporting that the Blue Jays have inquired on Cole Hamels. However, Heyman hears that Hamels was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to allow a trade to Toronto, which is a blow for both clubs. The Jays desperately need help in both the rotation and the bullpen, and the Phillies, Heyman notes, would love to get their hands on young pitchers with the upside of Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. The Blue Jays have a bit of financial leeway after going with inexpensive options at second base, center field and left field, and Heyman writes that the Blue Jays are expected to look at other potential front-line starters this summer as they become available. (He speculatively mentions Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir, though neither’s available just yet.) Additionally, Heyman notes that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons’ job is safe, as GM Alex Anthopoulos has a strong relationship with the skipper and recognizes that the team’s problems are roster-related and shouldn’t be pinned on Gibbons.

Some more highlights from the column, though it’s worth a read in its entirety…

  • The Braves are said to be disappointed in the play of Christian Bethancourt, even from a defensive standpoint, and recently inquired with the Brewers on Jonathan Lucroy. However, Atlanta executives were told by the Brewers that Lucroy isn’t available at this time. That the Brewers wouldn’t trade Lucroy isn’t a shock; he’s owed a very affordable $4MM in 2016 with a $5.25MM option for the 2017 season, so even if the team can’t quickly right the ship, he’d still have enormous trade value at the 2016 trade deadline. More interesting, to me, is that the Braves would so quickly look for an upgrade over Bethancourt and that they’re acting somewhat as buyers. Lucroy, of course, could be called a long-term piece that would be around to help the team when its rebuild is closer to completion. However, acquiring him would surely require the sting of parting with some of the key components of that rebuild.
  • Some rival execs feel that the Cubs are willing to part with Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach in trades, in part because each was drafted under the previous administration and is not held in as high a regard by the new front office. Each player comes with issues, however, as Baez is trying to cut down on his swing and improve his contact skills, while a scout described first baseman Vogelbach as a “30 fielder” to Heyman (in reference to the 20-80 scouting scale).
  • There are members of the Astros‘ field staff that want to see Carlos Correa with the team right now, but Houston will likely keep him in the minors for another month or so in order to lessen the risk of Correa achieving Super Two status. I’ll add that the Astros will have a more legitimate claim that Correa still needs minor league time than other teams in similar situations have had in the past. Correa is still just 20 years old and has only nine games of experience at the Triple-A level, though he’s continued his brilliant work at the plate there, hitting .326/.362/.558 with a pair of homers. Also of interest to Astros fans — or to fans of teams needing outfield help — the Astros are on the lookout for starting pitching upgrades, and outfield prospect Preston Tucker “seems to be available.” Tucker recently made his MLB debut and has a .963 OPS through 34 plate appearances to go along with a strong minor league track record.
  • Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez has been pitching for years with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, according to Heyman. Some have described it as a “90 percent tear,” but he’s been able to pitch effectively in spite of the issue. Alvarez wouldn’t be the first to pitch through a UCL tear; Ervin Santana and Adam Wainwright are both recent examples of pitchers who pitched for many seasons with partially torn UCLs. Wainwright ultimately underwent Tommy John, though Santana’s is said to have healed and is no longer an issue. In another Marlins-related note, Heyman hears that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez is “under the microscope” with both Jarred Cosart and Steve Cishek struggling greatly in 2015.
  • Brewers starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza have little trade value due to their 2015 struggles, but Lohse’s lesser financial commitment and superior clubhouse reputation give him more value. The team is reluctant to trade not only Lucroy, but shortstop Jean Segura as well. The Brewers are a bit more open to dealing Carlos Gomez than that pair, as Gomez is closer to free agency (he’s controlled through 2016).
  • The Mets remain reluctant to trade any of their top arms, as they’ve seen on multiple occasions how quickly Tommy John surgery or other injuries can thin out a club’s depth. (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz have all had TJ in their careers.) The Mets are also not rushing to find a shortstop, but they have indeed been “all over the map” in terms of trade possibilities with the Cubs.
  • Coco Crisp‘s neck injury is apparently quite serious, and there’s a fear that the oft-injured Athletics outfielder will ultimately require surgery that could bring his season to an end.
  • The Blue Jays would still like to extend both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but there have yet to be serious discussions with either slugger’s camp. Both players are controlled through the end of the 2016 season.

Heyman’s Latest: Tulo, Soriano, Correa, Garza, Segura, Mets

The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the YankeesGiants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.

Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…

  • The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
  • Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
  • Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
  • Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
  • Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
  • It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
  • The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
  • In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.

NL Central Notes: Brewers, Reds, Mesoraco, Jay, Segura

In his latest piece at FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal opines that the Reds and Brewers represent two of the teams that most desperately need to take a step back and sell some veteran pieces in order to improve for the future. However, Rosenthal notes that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Reds owner Bob Castellini are both exceptionally committed to winning, and either one could see enough misleading signs on the current roster to be persuaded into pushing for contention this season. The Brewers are 5-4 under Craig Counsell and have Jonathan Lucroy nearing a return from the DL, while the Reds have Michael Lorenzen now in the rotation, with Raisel Iglesias presenting a potential option to help a woeful bullpen. Despite that, Rosenthal feels the two NL Central clubs need to focus on the future — a sentiment with which I agree, as the other three teams within the division appear poised for long-term success, while the Brewers and Reds lack deep farm systems.

Here’s more from the NL Central…

  • Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco‘s injury situation continues to take some twists and turns, but it seems he is on the mend somewhat. As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, Mesoraco says he is increasingly optimistic that he will be able to stave off hip surgery, which once seemed likely. Now, the club is working him out in the outfield as it looks for a way to get his bat in the lineup while he tries to prepare again for catching duties.
  • The Cardinals have placed center fielder Jon Jay on the disabled list due to tendinitis in his left wrist. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted last night, the injury to Jay had the Cards pondering a roster move, but Randal Grichuk is recovering from a back injury, and Stephen Piscotty is not on the 40-man roster. Xavier Scruggs has been recalled from Triple-A, but if a long-term need arises, I don’t imagine that he’d be the preferred option. If there’s a silver lining for St. Louis, it’s that Peter Bourjos has hit quite well this season and presents an elite defensive option while Jay is on the shelf.
  • Jean Segura is the latest member of the Brewers to land on the disabled list, as the team announced that he will be sidelined with a broken pinkie finger in his right (throwing) hand. Prospect Luis Sardinas, acquired from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade, has been recalled to fill Segura’s spot, but the loss of Segura is another blow to a Brewers club that, as mentioned above, seems destined to end up trading veteran pieces this summer.
  • Of particular note on the Segura injury front is that Segura himself has seen his name floated, at least in speculative fashion, as a potential trade chip for the Brewers. While the missed time will do little to enhance his trade value, it does give Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin the opportunity to see what he has in Sardinas. The 21-year-old switch-hitter was ranked as a Top 100 prospect with the Rangers prior to both the 2013 and 2014 seasons (per Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus), and he hit a solid .288/.324/.386 in 141 Triple-A plate appearances this season. If Sardinas looks capable of assuming a larger role with the Brewers, the concept of trading Segura would become less of a stretch. Segura is, after all, slated to become arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and would figure to return some nice talent, as he is controllable through 2018 and has looked better at the plate in 2015 than he did in 2014. (He is still, admittedly, quite a ways from his 2013 peak, however.)

Heyman On The Brewers: Counsell, Lucroy, Segura

In his newest column for CBS Sports, Jon Heyman examines how the Brewers are hopeful that new manager Craig Counsell can help turn the club around, yet GM Doug Melvin has also “already sent out feelers” to other teams if Milwaukee continues to struggle.  Here are more Brew Crew-related notes from Heyman’s piece…

  • Counsell received a strong vote of confidence from Melvin, which included an 18-point e-mail to owner Mark Attanasio arguing why Counsell was the ideal choice to replace Ron Roenicke.  As Heyman notes, the club may have been better served to fire Roenicke after last year’s late-season fade rather than guaranteeing his 2016 option and letting him continue to manage.
  • While Melvin is “planning to consider just about anything in terms of trades,” Jonathan Lucroy and Jean Segura (in that order) are the Brewers’ two most untouchable players.  “I guess you have to be open to everything. But you’d have to be overwhelmed….[Catcher and shortstop] are positions that can take years to fill,” Melvin said.
  • Carlos Gomez is likely the Brewers’ top trade chip, and would undoubtedly generate the most interest from other teams if he’s shopped.  MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently explored Gomez’s trade candidacy in the subscriber-only MLBTR Newsletter.
  • The Dodgers, Astros and Cardinals all seem like fits for Kyle Lohse, rival GMs tell Heyman.  Lohse formerly pitched for the Cardinals and also has ties to Houston, as GM Jeff Luhnow was in the St. Louis front office when Lohse pitched for the team.  The surprising Astros have already been considering starting pitching upgrades, while the Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu) and Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia) are both looking to replace injured starters.
  • Matt Garza is owed roughly $35MM through the 2017 season and has a $13MM club option for 2018 that can vest into a guaranteed year.  With this in  mind, “I’m not sure anyone would want him,” a rival executive said about Garza, who has a 4.58 ERA and unimpressive peripherals over six starts.
  • Scooter Gennett received some interest from the Angels and others during the offseason and could be shopped again to clubs in need of second base help.

Heyman’s Latest: A-Rod, BoSox, Bryant, Ventura, Gordon, Duda

In this week’s edition of his Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by looking at the contentious courtroom showdown that stands between Alex Rodriguez and as much as $30MM worth of home run milestone bonuses. As Heyman notes, people on all sides of the case have reasons to dislike A-Rod. Rodriguez filed a lawsuit (that was eventually dropped) against the MLBPA, and he parted ways with agent Scott Boras more than six years ago. The Yankees’ reasons for resenting Rodriguez are obvious, as are those of the league, with whom Rodriguez battled to reduce a 212-game suspension to a still-significant 162 game ban. Heyman looks at the arguments that can be made by both sides as well as the potential fallout once the situation is finally resolved.

Some highlights from the latest edition of Heyman’s newest weekly column…

  • Though the Red Sox aren’t blinking when it comes to trade talks with the Phillies regarding Cole Hamels, one rival GM considers Boston the favorite. The Phillies quite like center field prospect Manuel Margot, and Boston does have other nice pieces. Heyman notes that one scout actually expressed concern to him about Mookie Betts‘ ability to hit the ball on the outer half of the plate, but the Sox remain steadfast in their refusal to part ways with Betts.
  • The Cubs aren’t concerned with a potential grievance being filed against them on behalf of Kris Bryant. Rather, their main concern is trying to find a way to extend him beyond his current allotment of team control. Heyman hears that Cubs are already considering trying to make him a Cub for life, though he also notes that it’s a bit early for those discussions.
  • White Sox skipper Robin Ventura signed an extension of an unreported length prior to the 2014 season, and Heyman now hears that Ventura is under contract through the 2016 season. The contract length is said to be of little importance to ChiSox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who loves Ventura.
  • The Royals plan to try to do “whatever they can” to retain Alex Gordon beyond the 2015 season. The 32-year-old Gordon’s $12.5MM player option has increased to $13.25MM based on performance escalators, per Heyman. While Gordon has implied that he will exercise the option in the past, it’s exceptionally difficult to envision him merely picking up the option rather than trying for a highly lucrative multi-year deal. The Royals never felt they had a great shot at retaining James Shields, but their hope with Gordon is that the career Royal and Nebraska native might be easier to retain. Heyman adds that while the club is interested in trying to extend Salvador Perez beyond the 2019 season, those talks aren’t likely to come until after the season.
  • Juan Uribe is off to a decent start with the Dodgers, but the hot play of Alex Guerrero and the addition of Hector Olivera in Spring Training could eventually lead to Uribe becoming available on the trade market. Uribe’s at hasn’t lined up with his previous seasons to this point, but he’s hit a perhaps surprisingly strong .293/.333/.435 dating back to Opening Day 2013.
  • Rival executives are anxiously anticipating a Brewers fire sale following the club’s awful 5-17 start to the season, Heyman hears. One exec listed Carlos Gomez, Khris Davis, Jean Segura, Gerardo Parra, Kyle Lohse and Francisco Rodriguez as players who will draw interest, noting that Jonathan Lucroy is probably untouchable, while Matt Garza and Ryan Braun are somewhat overpriced.
  • The Mets were trying for a three-year extension that contained a club option and would’ve guaranteed Lucas Duda a bit shy of $30MM. I’d imagine that with Duda could end up the beneficiary in that scenario, particularly if he can sustain the increase in his walk rate and the more notable decrease in his strikeout rate.
  • Multiple Yankees people have shot down the notion that the team would pursue Hamels when asked by Heyman. One replied that the team is “not looking” at Hamels, while another wondered if Hamels is still a legitimate ace or more of just a big name.