Jeff Niemann Rumors

Rosenthal On Wagner, Rays, Hawkins

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from one GM who believes Billy Wagner's best financial move may be to accept arbitration after the season. The Red Sox have the right to offer Wagner arbitration, but they'd have to offer over $8MM, so they could choose not to. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:

  • Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel have performed well for their respective clubs, so the Rays' decision to trade Hammel worked out for everyone.
  • A number of teams are sure to claim LaTroy Hawkins by noon CST today, when his waivers expire, but it's likely the Astros will pull him back. Rosenthal hears that Hawkins is open to returning to the Astros after the season.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels estimates that three quarters of MLB players hit waivers in August, so don't fret about this news if you're a Brewers fan, but Trevor Hoffman, Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper and Felipe Lopez have all been placed on waivers, according to Rosenthal's source. The Brewers say they don't intend on becoming sellers.

Stark On Smoltz, Reds, Strasburg, Thome

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark adds the Astros to the list of teams interested in John Smoltz. Here are the rest of his rumors:

  • The Cubs could look for another bat and another starter, but it depends on how healthy Aramis Ramirez, Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano are.
  • Stark points out that Aaron Harang's 2011 club option becomes a more expensive $14MM mutual option if he's traded. The Reds haven't seemed willing to take on cash in a trade involving Harang or rotation-mate Bronson Arroyo. 
  • The Yanks don't appear to have interest in either Reds starter, or John Smoltz, for that matter. 
  • Don't expect any serious negotiating to occur between the Nationals, Scott Boras and Stephen Strasburg before the last minute. Most execs who Stark surveyed expect Strasburg to sign in the end.
  • The Braves could re-sign Adam LaRoche after the season, when the first baseman will hit free agency. 
  • Jim Thome still impresses scouts and should be able to find work as a DH after the season. 
  • Some teams doubt Vicente Padilla's character because the Rangers are ready to part with him even though they need pitching.
  • Some of Alex Rios' former teammates question the outfielder's work ethic and desire.  
  • Stark hears that Andy Sonnanstine and Jeff Niemann were claimed on waivers and quickly pulled back by the Rays. 
  • The Braves made a quick run at Victor Martinez before the Red Sox acquired him, but didn't get very far. 
  • Though their negotiations with Aaron Crow could theoretically continue into late spring, the Royals may impose a deadline of their own to sign their top pick.  

Rosenthal On Yankees, Angels, Glavine

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees will eventually "target the best available late-inning relievers." Here are some names to watch and the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:

  • The Yankees have already expressed interest in Huston Street.
  • The Rockies, on an eight-game win streak, are just 4.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race and don't want to deal Street until closer to July 31st.  
  • Chad Qualls and Jose Valverde could be options for the Yankees, but both have dealt with health issues and the Yankees would have to be certain they're healthy.
  • The Yankees could pursue Danys Baez
  • Angels GM Tony Reagins says other teams are calling him regularly, but there's "nothing on the horizon."  
  • The Angels could use help just about everywhere and they could deal from depth in the middle infield and behind the plate.  
  • Brandon Wood has been playing some first base in Triple A. 
  • Andy Sonnanstine and Jeff Niemann could be traded if the Rays don't start winning.
  • The White Sox may not receive good prospects in return if they deal Jermaine Dye, since "few clubs, if any" can afford to take on his $11.5MM salary and surrender top young players in the same deal.  
  • Rosenthal hears that any grievance Tom Glavine files against the Braves would be out of principle; he would donate any money awarded to charity.
  • Gregor Blanco could play right field for the Braves if they deal Jeff Francoeur.
  • Rosenthal heard from one scout who was "decidedly unimpressed" with Doug Davis.


The Dodgers’ Rotation

They're 15-8, in first place in the NL West, but the Dodgers face questions about a rotation that includes three ERAs of 5.50 or more. Behind Chad Billingsley and Randy Wolf, they have Clayton Kershaw, who hasn't pitched out the the fifth inning his last two starts, James McDonald, who has walked a batter an inning this year, and Eric Stults, who's allowing two baserunners an inning. Yahoo's Tim Brown takes stock of the rotation and how Ned Colletti will progress with it.

  • Brown says it's unlikely the Dodgers will add Pedro Martinez, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez or Freddy Garcia.
  • One scout's analysis: "There's plenty of pitching available. None you'd want."  
  • Brown suggests the Dodgers need a club like the Indians, Reds or Mariners to fall from contention so some quality arms become available.  
  • If David Price pitches his way into the Rays' rotation, Jeff Niemann could become trade bait.  

The Dodgers could rely on pitchers already in the organization. Hiroki Kuroda is rehabbing, though MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports the righty is likely weeks away from a return. Jason Schmidt is rehabbing too, according to GurnickJeff Weaver pitched well against the Padres last night and Eric Milton and Shawn Estes are stashed away in the minors.


Rays, Rox Agree On Deal For Hammel

SUNDAY 1:02pm: Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times reports Jason Hammel has been notified that he's been dealt to the Rockies. Jeff Niemann will be the Rays fifth starter.

11:00am: Renck is reporting, "The Rockies and Rays have agreed on the parameters of a deal that would land Colorado right-handed reliever Jason Hammel, but Tampa Bay is still mulling other offers." The agreement is still involving Aneury Rodriguez.

SATURDAY 7:21pm: Renck says there "is growing momentum" behind the deal.  Hammel would apparently be used as a reliever initially, and could also spot start.

6:03pm: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times notes that Hammel is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Sunday morning.  The Rockies and Rays could be waiting for that outing to conclude, as to not throw off his schedule.

5:01pm: Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies has learned from a Tampa Bay source that the sides are currently working out the details of the deal.  He has confirmed that the Rays would get Rodriguez in return.

1:52pm: Troy Renck of the Denver Post says there is "growing momentum for a trade to transpire between Tampa Bay and the Rockies involving Hammel."  The Rays are thought to be eyeing Double-A starter Aneury Rodriguez.

11:49am: According to Ed Price of MLB Fanhouse trade talks between the Rays and Rockies have resumed. Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann could be dealt to the Rockies this weekend, according to Price's sources.

Hammel and Niemann are both out of options so the Rays would have to give the 29 other teams a chance to claim one of the pitchers before demoting him to the minors. Since they would likely be claimed, the Rays could try to deal one pitcher to get something in return.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Sheffield, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees

On this date 43 years ago, Tom Seaver signed with the Mets for a $50K signing bonus. Seaver originally agreed to a deal with the Braves, but the contract was voided due to Seaver's status as an amateur at USC. After being ruled ineligible at USC, and the Braves were forbidden from signing Seaver, any team willing to match the original $50K signing bonus were included in a lottery for the rights to the future hall-of-famer. The Phillies, Indians and Mets literally had their names placed in a cap and the Mets were selected. The regular season is only days away and inevitably a former Mets pitcher will throw a no-hitter. Let's see what is being written in the Blogosphere…

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com. If you have a suggestion for this feature, Cork can be reached here.


Rosenthal On Matthews, Thomas, Hammel, Niemann

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column…

  • The Angels attempted to sell the Reds on Gary Matthews Jr., but it was a one-sided discussion. The Reds have no desire to trade Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang for Matthews.  Angels GM Tony Reagins told Rosenthal, "We haven't had much discussions with respect to trades and trade possibilities."   UPDATE: Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay he hasn't talked to the Angels since the Winter Meetings.
  • Free agent DH Frank Thomas is still waiting for an offer.  He intends to delay a decision about retirement until at least the All-Star break.  My thought – his situation just got a bit tougher with Gary Sheffield becoming available.
  • Rosenthal says the Rays could keep both Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann and cut Lance Cormier, if trade offers for the first two aren't acceptable.  Rosenthal adds the Rangers, Nationals, and Indians to the already known suitors (Padres, Pirates, and Rockies).  He names the Brewers as "yet another possibility."  Rosenthal says the Angels attempted to acquire Niemann a year ago but learned from Reagins that they're not actively looking for pitching.
  • The Phillies ate Adam Eaton's contract, but team president David Montgomery is unwilling to do the same to make Geoff Jenkins go away. 
  • Rosenthal says the offers received for Rockies infielder Jeff Baker "have not been enticing."  They may elect to keep him.

Niemann/Hammel Rumors: Padres, Pirates, Rockies

4:53pm: According to John Perrotto of Pirates Report, the Pirates are also interested in Niemann.  He says the Bucs also remain interested in Robert Andino and Jeff Baker.

Additionally, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse says the Rockies have jumped in on Hammel.

11:16am: Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote Saturday regarding the Padres' interest in Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann:

In return, the defending American League champions have inquired about Padres prospects Simon Castro, Wynn Pelzer, Juedy Valdez and Nick Schmidt. The Padres have deemed the price too high. Niemann is out of minor league options, reducing the Rays' trade leverage.

Out of those four Baseball America likes righty Castro the most, ranking him 14th among Padres prospects.  Pitchers Pelzer (16) and Schmidt (21) also make their top 30.

Niemann will make a minor league start today, perhaps his last chance to win the fifth starter job.  The decision will probably be made today; Jason Hammel appears to be the favoriteUPDATE: Niemann tossed six scoreless innings.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Bucs, Jays, Pedro, Pudge, Phils, Twins

On this date 72 years ago, in what may have been the biggest trade in Negro League history, Josh Gibson and Judy Johnson were traded from the Pittsburgh Crawfords to the Homestead Grays for $25K and two players. Earlier this week, Pudge Rodriguez, one of the greatest catchers of this generation, became the latest big-name free agent to find a home. Let's take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…

  • Pirate Revolution takes a look at some players that could become available for the Pirates in the next two weeks as teams trim their rosters, including Jeff Niemann.
  • The 2012 payroll commitments in the AL East do not sit well with Drunk Jays Fans.
  • MLB Notebook attempts to calculate exactly how much teams should be willing to give Pedro Martinez.
  • Jorge Says No! says the Astros and Pedro are a good match and the recent signing of Pudge is an indication that the Astros are going for it this season.
  • The Ghost of Moonlight Graham says Pudge "fooled" the Astros into giving him $1.5MM.
  • The Fightins try to dispel the myth that Raul Ibanez was a poor defensive addition to the Phillies.
  • Twins Geek takes a look at the Twins incredible shrinking payroll.
  • Fire Brand of the American League says the release of Josh Bard has much bigger implications for the Red Sox than might be evident on the surface.
  • Sully Baseball takes a look at the Cleveland Indians all-time homegrown team versus their all-time acquired team.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com. If you have a suggestion for this feature, Cork can be reached here.


Price Could Force Rays To Make Trade

Marc Topkin and Joe Smith are reporting that the Rays still think ’07 first-overall pick David Price is “in need of minor-league development,” and could be headed to triple-A Durham to start the season. Price is hoping to force the Rays’ hand and make the opening day roster.

“It’s not very fun if I’m not here competing for a job,” Price said Monday. “That’s what I came here for, to compete for that fifth spot, and that’s what I want to do. … I want them to not be able to look me in the eyes at the end of spring training and tell me I’m going to (Triple-A) Durham.”

If Price can win the final spot in the rotation, the Rays would likely only have room for one of Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel as a long reliever in the bullpen. Both players are out of minor league options and both would certainly be claimed if the Rays try to sneak them through waivers. If Price impresses in spring training, the Rays may be forced to deal prior to opening day.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.