Jed Lowrie Rumors

NL Central Notes: Lowrie, Brewers, Cardinals

The NL Central includes the Senior Circuit's most potent offense (the Cardinals) and its lowest-scoring team (the Cubs). The Cardinals outscore the Cubs by more than one run per game (4.88 runs per game vs. 3.69). Here are the latest links from the NL Central…

  • The Astros are telling teams they're open to more trades, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Even Jed Lowrie, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained ankle for the past two weeks, is available.
  • Brewers president of baseball operations Doug Melvin joined Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and explained how the Zack Greinke trade went down (audio here).
  • The Brewers released Seth McClung, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The right-hander, who last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2009, appeared in 21 games for Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate this year, posting a 6.36 ERA in 103 1/3 innings.
  • The Cardinals have never been more open to trading pitching prospect Shelby Miller, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. However, at least one team has lost interest in Miller.
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum will be surprised if Ryan Dempster isn't traded, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Click here for the latest rumors surrounding the right-hander.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Cardinals, Greinke, Astros, Rasmus

With Chris Carpenter set to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a nerve condition in his shoulder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals are in the market for at least one starter and one reliever. St. Louis has trade chips though the new collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow teams to recoup draft pick compensation for rental players, changing the landscape.

Let's round up the rest of Rosenthal's rumors…

  • Zack Greinke would likely welcome a trade to – and a chance to sign long-term with – the Cardinals, though it's unclear if the Brewers would be willing to trade him within the division.
  • The Astros are prepared to move Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, though Jed Lowrie is essentially unavailable. Rosenthal says they could be an obvious trade partner for St. Louis since GM Jeff Luhnow spent nine years in the Cardinals' front office.
  • The Cardinals may not want to invest $20MM+ annually into a pitcher, but both Lance Berkman ($12MM) and Kyle Lohse ($11.875MM) will be off the books after this season.
  • The Blue Jays' immediate strategy may be to acquire a modest rotation upgrade before reassessing at the trade deadline, shortly before Brandon Morrow returns from his oblique injury. Rosenthal believes they should consider selling high on Colby Rasmus.
  • Teams continue to call the Angels about Peter Bourjos and some believe he could be the centerpiece of a deal for a quality starting pitcher. The Halos believe the young outfielder is a building block for the future, however. They do not appear to be in the market for a pitcher at the moment.
  • The difference in income tax rates between Texas (none) and California (among the highest in the country) was an issue for Astros first baseman Carlos Lee as he mulled over a potential trade to the Dodgers. Los Angeles may have been willing to help "bridge the gap" had he shown enthusiasm for the deal.

Carlos Lee Rumors: Saturday

Last night we learned that the Dodgers and Astros are in serious talks about a trade involving Carlos Lee, though the two sides also discussed Jed Lowrie at one point as well. Dodgers' pitching prospect Garrett Gould was rumored to be involved and he was scratched from last night's start, perhaps an indication of how far along things are at the moment. Here's the latest on Lee, the Astros, and Dodgers, with the latest up top…

  • Lee told reporters (including McTaggart) that he expects to make his decision about waiving the no-trade clause by tomorrow.
  • Olney hears that the Dodgers' attitude toward the trade is: "Something else will come up (if it falls through). We'll get somebody." (Twitter link)
  • Sources tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the deal would be Lee and cash to ‪the Dodgers‬ for Gould (Twitter links). It's still unclear if Lee will waive his no-trade clause.
  • As of early-afternoon today, Lee continues to tell the Astros that he will not waive his no-trade clause according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
  • Lee met with GM Jeff Luhnow this morning and told reporters (including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart and The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine) that the Dodgers have made an offer (Twitter links). He is going to take some time to decide if he wants to accept the trade, and he has not been given a deadline for his decision. He's unsure if he'll have an answer this weekend.
  • The Astros "will do cartwheels'' if the trade is completed according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The hard part won't be agreeing to the pieces involved, but getting Lee's approval. Heyman mentions that Houston is willing to trade just about anyone on their roster, but it'll take quite a bit to part with Lowrie.
  • The Dodgers prefer to take on salary rather than give up quality prospects under their new ownership, write Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Lee is owed just under $9MM for the remainder of the season.
  • As a reminder, the Dodgers are one of the 14 teams on Lee's no-trade list, so he can veto a deal. Lee does not have traditional 10-and-5 protection, having essentially traded it for a full no-trade clause during the first four years of his six-year, $100MM contract back in 2007.


Dodgers, Astros Discussing Trade

10:11pm: The Dodgers asked about Lowrie, but he's not in the current talks, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  A source says that there's a 50-50 shot that Carlos Lee accepts a deal to Los Angeles for pitching prospects.

9:57pm: Dodgers‬' talks with ‪Astros‬ involve Carlos Lee, not Jed Lowrie, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Lee would need to a approve deal and has the right to block a deal to the Dodgers.

9:02pm: The Dodgers are talking to the Astros about a trade that would send Jed Lowrie to the Dodgers with minor-leaguers Zach Lee and Garrett Gould headed to Houston, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  One source place the odds of the deal taking place at about 50-50 right now, Olney tweets.

Sources also say that others could be involved in the talks, according to Olney (via Twitter).  Lowrie would provide the Dodgers with options at shortstop and third base to go along with a power bat.  The 28-year-old has a .262/.350/.492 slash line with 14 homers in 68 games this year.

Lee, 20, was the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2010 and signed with the club over attending LSU on a football scholarship.  The right-hander was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga earlier this week after turning in a 4.55 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 12 California League starts in 2012.

Gould, also a right-hander, was the club's second-round pick in '09 out of Wichita, Kansas.  The soon-to-be 21-year-old has made 12 starts and three relief appearances in the California League this year, posting a 5.12 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.


Central Notes: Jed Lowrie, Jorge Soler, Cardinals

It was on this day in 1973 that Cardinals infielder Joe Torre hit for the cycle in a 15-4 rout of the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. The future Yankees manager would complete the feat by hitting a single with two outs in the ninth inning. Torre would go on to play in the All-Star Game for the ninth and final time a few weeks later. Let's check in on the latest news and headlines out of the National League Central…

  • The Astros have benefited greatly from buying low on shortstop Jed Lowrie as he's found his groove with Houston after injuries plagued his time with the Red Sox, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. New general manager Jeff Luhnow made the trade to get Lowrie upon being hired by the Astros and in his mind, he's acquired a player who can be one of the top five shortstops in the league on an annual basis. 
  • Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com expects the Cubs to add Jorge Soler to the team's 40-man roster upon his official signing after designating Randy Wells for assignment on Wednesday. Soler has until July 1 at 11:59 p.m. to sign the deal with Chicago or he stands to lose approximately $27MM as any international deal signed after that date can only be for a maximum of $2.9MM.
  • The Cardinals are nearing their draft pool bonus cap and don't want to put themselves in a position where they lose a 2013 draft pick as two players remain unsigned, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Astros, Lowrie Avoid Arbitration

The Astros announced that they avoided arbitration with infielder Jed Lowrie, signing him to a one-year contract for 2012. CAA represents Lowrie, who joined the Astros in the December trade that sent Mark Melancon to Boston. Lowrie's deal is worth $1.15MM plus performance bonuses, CAA tweets.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, first-year GM Jeff Luhnow has now avoided arbitration with all of the team's eligible players. Lowrie filed for $1.5MM and the Astros countered with an offer of $900K for a midpoint of $1.2MM.

Lowrie posted a .252/.303/.382 line with six home runs as a shortstop/third baseman in Boston last year. Mike Aviles, Robert Andino and Blake DeWitt were relevant to his case, as I explained this afternoon.


Alexi Casilla & Jed Lowrie Head To Arbitration

Only two of the 13 remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players filed for less than $2MM: Alexi Casilla and Jed Lowrie. Though they’re reasonably similar in terms of career stats, Casilla is arbitration eligible for the second time, so the players relevant to his case are different than the players relevant to Lowrie’s.

Casilla, who earned $865K in 2011, posted a .260/.322/.368 line with two home runs in 365 plate appearances while playing second base and shortstop last year. He filed for $1.75MM, while the Twins countered with a $1.065MM submission for a midpoint of $1.407MM. 

Current infielders who put together similar Arb 1 seasons to Casilla’s 2011 campaign include Aaron Miles, whose salary jumped from $1MM to $1.4MM after the 2007 season, Alfredo Amezaga, whose salary jumped from $945K to $1.3MM after the 2008 season, and Jeff Baker, whose salary jumped from $975K to $1.175MM after the 2010 season. All three are among the possible comparables for Casilla's case, in my view, though his representatives may focus on similar players who settled above the midpoint.

Lowrie filed for $1.5MM after a season in which he posted a .252/.303/.382 line with six home runs as a shortstop/third baseman in Boston. The Astros offered their new infielder $900K for a midpoint of $1.2MM.

Mike Aviles, who essentially replaces Lowrie on Boston’s roster, may be his top comp in arbitration. Aviles settled at $1.2MM — Lowrie's midpoint — after a highly similar platform season. Aviles has better career numbers across the board, and that should help the Astros build their case. On either side of Aviles, we have two first-time eligible infielders from the current service class: Robert Andino at $1.3MM and Blake DeWitt at $1.1MM. Andino had a strong platform year, while DeWitt has the career bulk and both will figure in to Lowrie's case.


Red Sox Acquire Melancon For Lowrie, Weiland

The Red Sox acquired reliever Mark Melancon from the Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and starter Kyle Weiland, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first tweeted that Weiland was traded to Houston in a deal that involved a reliever going to Boston.  The deal marks the first trade involving Major Leaguers by both Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington since taking over their respective roles. 

Melancon, 26, turned in a 2.78 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, and 56.7% groundball rate in 74 1/3 innings this year, saving 20 games in 25 tries.  The right-hander won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and won't hit free agency until after the 2016 campaign.  Acquiring Melancon will bolster Boston's bullpen, but they're unlikely to stop here, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Boston has reportedly been after A's closer Andrew Bailey and Rosenthal says that they can't be ruled out on Ryan Madson.

Lowrie has been drawing a good deal interest from clubs this offseason.  The infielder's name also came up during the Winter Meetings when the Red Sox met with the Rangers and discussed possible trades.  In 341 plate appearances for Boston last season, the oft-injured Lowrie hit .252/.303/.382 with six homers.  Lowrie has been used all around the infield, but he's likely to take over as the Astros' starting shortstop.  He's arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and MLBTR projects a $1.2MM salary.

Weiland, 25, struggled in 24 2/3 innings in his Red Sox debut this year.  At Triple-A, he posted a 3.58 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, and 0.70 HR/9 in 128 1/3 innings.  A third-round pick in 2008, Baseball America ranked Weiland 20th among Red Sox prospects prior to the season.  BA says the former Notre Dame closer "relishes pitching inside" and his "best pitch is a low-90s fastball that peaks at 95 but is most notable for its hard sink."  The Astros plan to use Weiland as a starter in 2012, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

The Astros will have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, as it was full prior to the trade.


Red Sox, Rangers Discussing Trades

The Rangers met with the Red Sox this morning, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  The Sox have interest in Rangers relievers Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe, while the Rangers like infielder Jed Lowrie.  Uehara and Lowe are both eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, while Lowrie is under team control through 2014.

The Orioles and other teams are interested in Uehara as well, but the Rangers still hold him in high regard despite his struggles late in the year for them.


Latest On A’s-Red Sox Andrew Bailey Talks

8:49am:  The talks are not that far along and the A's have not asked for Middlebrooks, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  The A's would need more, but WEEI's Alex Speier tweets that they've liked Lars Anderson, Raul Alcantara, and Brandon Workman.  Things are currently quiet on the Bailey-Red Sox trade front, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston

6:39am: The A's asked the Red Sox for third base prospect Will Middlebrooks, writes the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. It's probably safe to assume that Middlebrooks, 23, is not one of the prospects mentioned in Gammons' proposal.

5:01am: Peter Gammons of MLB Network tweets that the Athletics are considering a trade offer from the Red Sox that includes Josh Reddick and prospects in exchange for Andrew Bailey. Jed Lowrie is not in this proposal.

The 24-year-old Reddick appeared at all three outfield spots for the Sox in 2011 (earning stellar reviews from UZR and DRS in an admittedly small sample) and hit a solid .280/.327/.457 in 278 plate appearances.

The A's stand to lose their entire starting outfield of David DeJesus (already signed with the Cubs), Coco Crisp, and Josh Willingham to free agency this offseason, so it makes sense that they would have interest in controllable outfielders.

The two teams were reportedly set to meet on Tuesday to discuss a potential Bailey trade, though is is the first we've heard of the results.