Jeff Francoeur Rumors

AL Central Notes: Royals, Francoeur, Indians, Perez

News out of the American League Central..

  • The Royals are already $12MM over their stated breaking point, which means that money will be a factor in what moves they make, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  Furthermore, they appear committed to starting the season with Jeff Francoeur in right field, limiting interest in  possible alternatives (Twitter link).
  • The adding of bullpen arms doesn't mean that the Indians are necessarily looking to move Chris Perez, General Manager Chris Antonetti told Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com.  "We didn't look at it that way. I think we just looked at it as an opportunity to just improve our team. And Chris is our closer. As we sit here today, I have every reason to think he’s going to be our closer on Opening Day," said the GM.
  • Tony Paul of The Detroit News looks at trade scenarios for the Tigers' Rick Porcello, including the Pirates, Rangers, and Angels.  Several National League teams including the Padres have been said to have interest in the right-hander.

AL Central Notes: Acta, Myers, Francoeur

Bob Feller made his first Major League start on this day in 1936 and immediately set the tone for his Hall of Fame career.  Feller struck out 15 St. Louis Browns hitters, falling just short of the then-AL record of 16 strikeouts in a game.  Perhaps the most impressive stat from Feller's first start was his age — Rapid Robert was just 17 years old.

Here are some items from Feller's former team in Cleveland and elsewhere in the AL Central…

  • The Indians' roster construction is to blame for the team's recent woes, not manager Manny Acta, opines Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Indians CEO Paul Dolan said today that Acta's job is safe for 2013, as well as the jobs of GM Chris Antonetti and team president Mark Shapiro.
  • Brett Myers' $10MM contract option for 2013 will vest if he finishes 45 games this season, but White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that the team will use Myers in any manner necessary as the club battles for the AL Central title.  Myers currently has 36 games finished, seven since joining the White Sox on July 21.  Addison Reed will finish the majority of games down the stretch as the Sox closer, but Myers figures to be the backup closing option should Reed get injured or become ineffective.
  • Royals officials tell Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that Wil Myers might not be called up this season so the Royals can avoid having to protect him (and leave someone else unprotected) in the Rule 5 draft.  Two team officials also think Myers may yet not quite be ready for Major League pitching, despite his .927 OPS in 388 Triple-A plate appearances this season.
  • With Myers in Triple-A, Jeff Francoeur is still the incumbent right fielder.  Dutton reports that the Royals would like to deal Francoeur but aren't willing to do so in a salary dump or for a negligible return.

Crasnick On Athletics, Broxton, Francoeur

The latest rumors from ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick…

  • The Athletics have discussed Jimmy Rollins and Chase Headley as possible upgrades for the left side of their infield, Crasnick reports (Twitter links). However, Rollins' salary would be difficult to fit into Oakland's budget and the Padres' asking price for Headley remains high. The A's seem lukewarm on Yunel Escobar, Crasnick writes. They aren't sure how he'd fit in their clubhouse dynamic. 
  • Jonathan Broxton is the most likely Royal to be traded, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). The Royals want young starting pitching for Broxton, and they’re looking for pitchers who are close to MLB-ready — not Class A types. 
  • Meanwhile, Jeff Francoeur’s trade value is negligible because he’s not producing at the plate.


AL Central Links: Tigers, Royals, White Sox

It's possible that tonight was the last start Francisco Liriano will make as a member of the Twins. Liriano entered with a 2.84 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 since May 30, but was shelled for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. Here are some links surrounding the division…


Bowden On Padres, Tigers, Indians, Royals, Pirates

Here's the latest from around the league, courtesy of ESPN's Jim Bowden

  • The Padres have fielded offers for both Huston Street and Carlos Quentin, but they've yet to seriously debate any of them internally.
  • The Tigers are seeking a second base upgrade and would like to acquire Darwin Barney from the Cubs for a mid-level prospect.
  • The Indians are looking all over to acquire an outfield bat, but they are unable to take back a significant contract and are unwilling to move their best prospects.
  • Meanwhile, the Royals are trying to convince the Indians or Reds to take Jeff Francoeur so they can promote Wil Myers from Triple-A.
  • The Pirates are aggressively trying to land a middle of the order bat while the Orioles are seeking starting pitching and a third base upgrade.
  • There have been rumors of a Mike Morse for B.J. Upton trade, according to Bowden. The Nationals are also looking to add a starter with Stephen Strasburg's innings limit approaching.
  • The Giants have no plans of making a deal similar to the one they made last year, when they traded Zack Wheeler for a rental (Carlos Beltran). They are looking for a bat or two, however.

Quick Hits: Byrd, Royals, Youk, Padres Sale

Marlon Byrd was suspended for 50 games today after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, according to MLB's official PR department (on Twitter). Byrd issued the following statement:

“I made an inexcusable mistake. Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons. I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season.”

Here are some additional links for your Monday evening…

  • Royals general manager Dayton Moore told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he has received zero calls on Jeff Francoeur, Bruce Chen, and Jonathan Broxton (Twitter link).
  • Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com tweets that the reason the Red Sox didn't get more for Kevin Youkilis is because some offers from interested parties simply stated that they would take Youkilis "for nothing," if the Sox were willing to pick up the entire contract.
  • The imminent sale of the Padres could have a positive impact on the Mariners, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The sale price is said to be $800MM — $600MM for the Padres and $200MM for a stake in their upcoming $1.2 billion TV deal with FOX. The Mariners can opt out of their current TV deal in 2015, and could be sitting on top of a "financial windfall," writes Baker. He writes that Mariners "should be able to get more in any pending sale if everything remains equal."
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that yesterday's Youkilis trade has kicked off the trade season, and runs through some big names that could be trade candidates at this year's deadline.

Royals Sending Mixed Signals On Francoeur

The Royals' willingness to trade Jeff Francoeur has fluctuated greatly in recent weeks, major league sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  An official with another club termed their interest in moving the veteran as "back and forth, every other week."

Francoeur should draw even more interest once Kevin Youkilis is traded as clubs looking for right-handed hitting could turn to the Royals rightfielder instead.  Kansas City is within striking distance in the AL Central but strong play from prospect Wil Myers could motivate the club to move the 28-year-old.

Unsurprisingly, Morosi hears that Francoeur is more available than Billy Butler, who is on a longer-term contract  One source said Kansas City would need a "[Zack] Greinke-type" offer in order to part with Butler.


Rosenthal On Royals, A’s, Barney, Orioles

Many baseball people expect the Padres to trade Carlos Quentin, but the team is in a fluid situation, so that assumption is not safe, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Padres should have some payroll flexibility this offseason, so they could keep the outfielder despite their modest budget. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors:

  • Jeff Francoeur has played through ailments and injuries this year and the Royals like his leadership, so they aren’t necessarily looking to trade him.
  • Last August the Royals offered Melky Cabrera the same two-year, $13.5MM contract Francoeur eventually signed, but Cabrera declined the offer and the Royals traded him a few months later.
  • Rosenthal suggests the A’s aren’t eager to trade veterans for marginal returns. The team is hovering around .500 and plays 18 of its next 28 games at home. The A’s would probably love to trade Kurt Suzuki, Rosenthal writes.
  • One exec predicts the Phillies don’t have enough confidence in their outfield depth to trade Hunter Pence this summer.
  • An agent predicts Cole Hamels will sign a monster free agent contract this coming offseason and Rosenthal says the Phillies won’t go near $150MM for six years or $175MM for seven years.
  • Rival teams frequently ask about Darwin Barney and it’s possible the Cubs will trade the second baseman.
  • The Orioles seem to have the most interest in trading for Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Saunders, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Orioles’ Triple-A team, which includes Miguel Tejada, Jamie Moyer and Dontrelle Willis, tops the Orioles’ MLB team in career earnings, Rosenthal notes.
  • One executive suggested a growing number of teams could request 72-hour windows to negotiate extensions with trade targets this summer because of the provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that prevents teams from obtaining draft pick compensation for players acquired midseason. However, players wouldn’t necessarily be interested in signing and it’d cost teams time and leverage.

Royals Notes: Francoeur, Myers, Greinke

The Royals' offense, which ranked sixth in the American League a year ago, now sits next-to-last in scoring with 224 runs. Here's the latest on the 24-34 Royals, before their series with the Brewers begins…

  • Wil Myers’ tremendous minor league numbers have put Jeff Francoeur on the trading block, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Royals could potentially part with Francoeur and call up Myers without damaging the team’s credibility in the short term. However, the Royals intend to be patient with Myers and Francoeur’s two-year $13.5MM contract could deter some suitors.
  • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star explains that Zack Greinke could be a fit in Kansas City this offseason, despite the apparently acrimonious conclusion to his first stint with the Royals. Greinke, a free agent after the season, requested a trade from the Royals following the 2010 season, since he didn’t believe they were close to contending. Billy Butler has had critical words for Greinke in the past, but he’d welcome the right-hander back. “A lot of things get overshadowed when you have that type of talent,” Butler said.

Heyman On Brewers, Liriano, Castro

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com lists 45 potential trade candidates in anticipation of this summer’s deals. Here are some highlights, starting with a team that could be a buyer, rather than a seller:

  • One GM questions Zack Greinke’s ability to thrive in major markets. Keep in mind that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has a buyer’s mindset as the deadline approaches. Greinke and others on Milwaukee’s roster may not be available.
  • Fellow Brewers starter Shaun Marcum is no better than a fourth starter in the American League, according to a GM. It's worth noting that Marcum posted a 3.85 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in five seasons in the American League East when he pitched for the Blue Jays.
  • An American League executive said Padres starter Edinson Volquez “has good value,” Heyman reports.
  • One person said Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano is worth a short-term look.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore may like Jeff Francoeur more than any other team does.
  • Jeremy Guthrie will have to string together some quality outings to restore his trade value, one executive said. 
  • Heyman hears from a Cubs official who says the team hasn't mentioned Starlin Castro's name in trade talks (Twitter link). The Cubs appear to be willing to listen on most of their players, including Castro.