Jeff Francoeur Rumors

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.

A Look At Notable Moves Of August 2010

August transactions don't boast the same excitement as their July counterparts, but they can still have ramifications for contenders and non-contenders alike. Teams readying for the postseason will often fine-tune their rosters by adding a specialty piece — a LOOGY or power bat off the bench, for example — and ones looking ahead to next year will look to shed payroll.

There's still a few days left before September arrives, and prominent players such as the Rays' B.J. Upton was claimed as recently as Friday. But in the meanwhile, here's a look back at some of the bigger names who were on the move — whether by trade or waiver claim — in August 2010, and the subsequent fallout (for the complete list, check out MLBTR's Transaction Tracker):

  • Mike Sweeney, acquired by the Phillies from the Mariners on Aug. 4: Seattle sent the right-handed-hitting veteran and what remained of his $650K salary to Philly, where he hit .231/.310/.385 down the regular season's stretch and went 1-for-1 in his lone postseason at-bat. The M's later received cash from the Phils for Sweeney, who signed a one-day contract with the Royals in March and retired.
  • Jim Edmonds, acquired by the Reds from the Brewers on Aug. 9: Cincinnati added Edmonds for its postseason push, sending Chris Dickerson back to Milwaukee in exchange. Edmonds didn't do much, hitting .207/.281/.586 in the regular season before being left off the Reds' postseason roster due to an Achilles injury. He retired this spring after signing a minor league deal with the Cards, while Dickerson was traded in March to the Yankees for Sergio Mitre.
  • Mike Fontenot, acquired by the Giants from the Cubs on Aug. 11: The Lads scooped up Fontenot for infield depth during their run to the World Series in exchange for minor league outfielder Evan Crawford. Fontenot remains in San Francisco is under team control for through 2013, though he could be a non-tender candidate this offseason, as he was last.
  • Derrek Lee, acquired by the Braves from the Cubs on Aug. 18: Lee joined Atlanta after his long tenure in Chicago, the Cubs acquiring three prospects in return. Lee was one of the better acquisitions of this period, posting a fine .287/.384/.465 line for the Braves to help them reach the postseason, though he went just 2-for-16 in their NLDS loss to the Giants. He signed with the Orioles before this season.
  • Pedro Feliz, acquired by the Cardinals from the Astros on Aug. 19: St. Louis sent David Carpenter and cash to Houston in exchange for Feliz, who was added to help out at the hot corner when David Freese was injured. Feliz's already declining bat didn't improve for the Redbirds, who missed the postseason. Feliz signed a minor league deal with the Padres this month, while Carpenter is currently in the Astros' bullpen.
  • Cody Ross, acquired by the Giants from the Marlins on waiver claim on Aug. 22: The Giants added an eventual World Series hero in acquiring Ross from the Marlins, who had little interest in retaining Ross, as he was becoming expensive with his final year of arbitration-eligibility looming.
  • Brian Fuentes, acquired by the Twins from the Angels on Aug. 27: Minnesota added Fuentes to bolster its bullpen, and the lefty threw 9 2/3 shutout innings in the regular season and 2 2/3 shutout innings in the postseason before signing with the Athletics this offseason. The Angels acquired Loek Van Mil from the Twins as a player to be named.
  • Manny Ramirez, acquired by the White Sox on a waiver claim from the Dodgers on Aug. 29: This was arguably the most notable move of the August post-deadline period, but it didn't amount to much for either teams or the player. The White Sox missed the postseason, the cash-strapped Dodgers got some salary relief, and Manny hit a quiet .261/.420/.319 before signing with the Rays this offseason (and eventually retiring). 
  • Manny Delcarmen, acquired by the Rockies from the Red Sox on Aug. 31: The Rox, still in contention for the wild card, needed bullpen depth, so they sent Chris Balcom-Miller to Boston for Delcarmen. The righty didn't pan out in Colorado, posting a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings for a team that missed the playoffs before being non-tendered this offseason. He's kicked around since then.
  • Jeff Francoeur, acquired by the Rangers from the Mets on Aug. 31: Texas sent Joaquin Arias to the Mets for Frenchy, who played well in his brief time in Texas, hitting .340/.357/.491 down the stretch and seeing playing time during the postseason. Arias was waived by the Mets, while Francoeur signed the Royals this offseason and recently inked a two-year extension.

AL Central Notes: Young, Francoeur, Thome, Indians

Fresh off a weekend sweep of the Indians, the Tigers send Justin Verlander to the mound against the streaking Rays tonight. Here are links from the AL Central as Verlander looks to build on the Tigers' division lead and boost his Cy Young candidacy… 

  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that Minnesota was likely going to non-tender outfielder Delmon Young after the season, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (on Twitter). Instead, the Twins traded him to the Tigers.
  • In a detailed piece, Rany Jazayerli explains that he doesn't like the Jeff Francoeur extension for the Royals, even though there's a good chance it'll work out and it probably won't hurt the Royals terribly. 
  • Twins slugger Jim Thome has wanted to return to the Indians ever since he left Cleveland in 2002, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com (on Twitter). Thome hit waivers earlier today. 
  • MLB executives tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that if the Twins gave a valued player like Thome away for nothing, it would draw major scrutiny (Twitter links). For example, there would be loud protests if the Twins released Thome so that he could sign with the Phillies or another team of his choice. 
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Manny Acta both acknowledged to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that their high profile summer acquisition, Ubaldo Jimenez, needs to make mechanical adjustments and modify his pitch sequencing (Twitter link).

Royals Notes: Cabrera, Francoeur, Starling

The Royals signed Jeff Francoeur to a two-year, $13.5MM extension today and the deal has inspired lots of chatter. Here are the latest Royals-related links…

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore sidestepped a question about Melky Cabrera's future in Kansas City, according to MLB.com's Adam Holt. "That's a fair question, it's a question that should be asked," Moore said. "But right now, I'd just as soon not go down that road right now." The Royals control Cabrera's rights through arbitration in 2012 and don't appear to be nearing an extension with him.
  • C. Trent Rosecrans of CBSSports.com says $13.5MM for two years of Francoeur is "probably a bit of an overpayment, but it's hardly cripling" for the Royals who benefit from the outfielder's production.
  • FanGraphs' Eno Sarris agrees, writing that the extension will not cripple the Royals or suppress any prospects on the brink ot the Major Leagues.
  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says we should expect the Royals to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason (Twitter link).
  • The Royals say they started following Bubba Starling's athletic pursuits three years ago, according to the Kansas City Star, which re-publishes a Terez A. Paylor story from 2008 detailing the achievements of the eventual Royals draft pick. Kansas City selected the high schooler fourth overall in June and signed him to a $7.5MM bonus Monday.