Jeff Francoeur Rumors
With nine days remaining before the trade deadline, the biggest trade chips in baseball are arguably Carlos Beltran (latest rumors) and Hunter Pence (latest rumors). Here are some other relevant links from around MLB...
- The Nationals are in greater need of outfield depth than infield help or a catcher, a baseball source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- The Rays pulled B.J. Upton and prospect Desmond Jennings from their respective games, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). However, Upton says that he has not been traded, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb will undergo surgery on his right shoulder with the intent to pitch again in 2012, according to his agent Jonathan Maurer. This will not be a full surgery of the rotator cuff but it will prevent him from throwing for four months.
- The Tigers would need to eat some salary to move Brandon Inge but teams still believe that the veteran has value, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- The Reds scouted Jason Vargas and Doug Fister when the Mariners visited Toronto this week, a source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Indians team president Mark Shapiro said that he expects the club will make a move in the next ten days, tweets Nick Camino of WTAM 1100.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s looking for a bat to insert at the top of the order or in the middle of the lineup. However, the Reds are also open to acquiring pitching, either for the rotation or the bullpen. The Reds have lots of depth, but Jocketty says he “hates” trading prospects.
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago hears that Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick is open to a role with the Cubs. Gillick said last week that he's open to taking on a full-time role as a team president at some point in the future.
- MLB talent evaluators tell Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have a number of players whose prospect status is starting to rise and who could become elite prospects within a year. Though the Adrian Gonzalez deal made a major dent in Boston’s farm system, Speier’s sources say the Red Sox still have secondary prospects who could be valuable trade bait this summer. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks and right-hander Anthony Ranaudo are among the organization’s top prospects.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports confirms that the Red Sox have had exploratory conversations with the Royals about Jeff Francoeur.
Astros GM Ed Wade has been determining the market for his players, including Hunter Pence, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. Incoming owner Jim Crane urged Wade to do so in case appealing offers emerge. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors:
- Given Wade’s uncertain future in Houston, at least one executive suggests the GM needs to make a "job-saving deal" if he trades Pence.
- The Rays are more likely to trade B.J. Upton than James Shields, though they realize Shields’ value has never been higher (the right-hander won't be going to the Bronx).
- The Phillies remain in contact with the Royals about Melky Cabrera, but the Royals have told teams they’re more likely to deal Jeff Francoeur. Kansas City is asking for a number three starter who’s nearly Major League ready in return for Cabrera.
- Clubs that have inquired on Vance Worley have heard that he’s off of the market.
- The Braves have shown some interest in Heath Bell, whose most aggressive suitors have been the Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies and Angels. The Padres are telling teams that they’ll need to “clearly surpass” the value of two compensatory draft picks in any deal for Bell, though they’re flexible in terms of the type of player they’d accept in return.
- The Padres continue to field calls on Mike Adams, who will be tougher to obtain than Bell.
- The Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks appear to have checked in on Joakim Soria.
- The Red Sox are looking at everything, but aren’t approaching the deadline with much urgency, one AL executive told Stark.
- Rival teams expect that the Dodgers will trade Jamey Carroll and there are indications that Rafael Furcal is drawing interest as well.
- The Marlins, who hope to build momentum before opening their new stadium in 2012, are in a “holding pattern,” Stark reports. They’ve shown interest in third basemen.
- Rival teams report that the Phillies say they won’t move Domonic Brown or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart. Jonathan Singleton is available in the right deal, but the Phillies don’t expect to trade him for a rental player.
- Stark reminds us that commissioner Bud Selig ruled out contraction at the All-Star Game.
The Red Sox are "not pursuing anyone aggressively right now," a source familiar with the team's thinking told WEEI's Alex Speier. Instead, the team is currently trying to determine which internal solutions will work. We've heard the Red Sox named as one of the most aggressive suitors for Carlos Beltran, but that may not be the case.
The Sox are still taking their normal approach of "inquiring about anyone who may make an appreciable difference to the team," in the words of the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo says the Red Sox have inquired on Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others. The team needs include starting pitching, a reliever, an outfielder, and a shortstop, but the Red Sox may prefer internal options in many cases.
Peter Gammons spoke with a host of scouts, general managers, and MLB executives, all of which is compiled in his latest piece at MLB.com, which is chock full of trade-related news:
- The Astros are asking for as much in return for Wandy Rodriguez as the Rockies are for Ubaldo Jimenez. General manager Ed Wade is in a difficult position, caught between an ownership change.
- Half a dozen teams are looking for right-handed offense, but the Rockies won't trade Ryan Spilborghs and the Cubs are holding onto Jeff Baker. Gammons says that reduces that market to Conor Jackson, Josh Willingham, Reed Johnson, Lastings Milledge, and Jeff Francoeur. The Twins recently announced they won't trade Michael Cuddyer as well.
- The Dodgers want to shed salary, but don't have much to shed besides Jamey Carroll and Hiroki Kuroda. Gammons spoke with two East coast executives that said Kuroda, who has a full no-trade clause, won't accept a deal to an East Coast team.
- The Athletics will move veteran bats and probably a reliever or two.
- The Mariners won't have a fire sale, and aren't likely to get much for Erik Bedard in light of his injury.
- The Nationals are willing to trade Tyler Clippard, and have been continually pursuing Michael Bourn. They're also one of several teams who showed interest in Julio Borbon prior to his injury.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is in a tough spot because he doesn't know which way owner Peter Angelos wants him to go, according to a rival GM.
- Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario make it possible for the Rockies to trade Chris Iannetta, but the Red Sox seem content wth their catching options.
It's been a busy weekend for FOX's Ken Rosenthal, who brought us a pair of rumor-packed videos yesterday. He shared a few more tidbits this morning in his newest column, so let's check out the highlights....
- The Phillies are telling teams that they can add about $2MM in salary, which would keep them below the luxury tax threshold. They would also prefer to trade for players they can control through at least 2012, which makes rentals like Carlos Beltran or Heath Bell less appealing.
- Mike Adams is one player under control past this season who has drawn "serious interest" from the Phillies, as we heard yesterday. But the Yankees and Rangers, among other teams, are also very interested in the righty.
- The Royals are pushing to trade Melky Cabrera rather than Jeff Francoeur.
- The Mets attempted to restructure Francisco Rodriguez's contract before sending him to the Brewers, ultimately deciding that trading their closer was the "cleaner" solution.
- When John Danks comes off the disabled list this week, trade talks involving Edwin Jackson could heat up. Given Jake Peavy's injury history though, moving Jackson would be a risky move for a White Sox team just four games back in the AL Central.
- The Orioles are willing to listen to offers for Jeremy Guthrie, but would want pitching back in any trade.
- While they'd like to add a bat, the Indians may need a starting pitcher even more, since they have some question marks at the back of their rotation.
The Royals are looking for "near ready" starting pitching for Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Francoeur realizes the Royals may trade him, but he told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he would prefer to stay in Kansas City long-term. The outfielder has had casual conversations with GM Dayton Moore to express his desire to stay, but the sides haven't discussed their $4MM mutual option for 2012 so far.
“At some point,” Francoeur said, “we’ll talk to Dayton about the option. Maybe get a two or three-year deal or something. I’ve told Dayton that I like it here. I’d love to stay here."
Last offseason, Francoeur signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal and Cabrera signed a one-year $1.25MM deal. The Royals can bring Cabrera back in 2012 by tendering him a contract after the season.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has some interesting tidbits of note in his latest blog post. Here's the latest ...
- The Marlins could be an intriguing seller this month, with closer Leo Nunez, starter Ricky Nolasco, reliever Randy Choate and infielders Omar Infante and Greg Dobbs potentially being made available. However, Florida does not yet consider itself a seller and won't commence an all-out firesale, what with a new ballpark opening in 2012.
- The slow-developing trade market can be attributed to the league's great parity this season, but the generally healthy financial situations of most teams is playing a role, too. Few teams need to dump big contracts.
- The Royals, for example, will be willing to listen on veteran outfielders Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, but Kansas City is under no pressure to trade either one.
- The Mariners, like the Fish, are still deciding whether they are ready to sell. Third-place Seattle is 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rangers.
ESPN's Buster Olney outlined plans for National League teams heading into the trade deadline yesterday, and today he follows up with the American League in an Insider-only column that comes highly recommended. Here's a brief recap...
- The Mark Ellis trade could just be the first domino that falls for the Athletics. Other veterans like Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, and Grant Balfour could follow him out the door.
- The Twins aren't as willing to trade now as they were a few weeks ago, and the big question they have to ask themselves is if eating a chunk of the $5.5MM left on Michael Cuddyer's contract is worth it to trade him.
- We've heard this before, but B.J. Upton and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays figure to draw interest.
- The Red Sox and Angels don't have a lot of financial flexiblity and are more likely to target smaller pieces.
- Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, and Wilson Betemit are all affordable and reasonably productive, but Olney notes that the Royals might want to keep some veterans around so the youngsters don't get pounded.
- The Indians and Mariners will not blow up their rebuild processes despite their surprising runs at contention. Erik Bedard's injury took away Seattle's best chip.
- Poor seasons from Alex Rios and Adam Dunn make it difficult for the White Sox to do anything. They need those two to get back on track more than anything.
- The Yankees are convinced their internal pitching options are better than what's available on the market right now. A Rafael Soriano setback would put them in the reliever market.
- It's all about right-handed relief pitching for the Rangers, who will have plenty of options to choose from. The Blue Jays have lots of bullpen help to deal.
- The Tigers are asking around about pitching, specifically left-handers.
- The Orioles are having an internal debate about whether or not to trade Jeremy Guthrie, but they are expected to at least listen to offers.
A few items of note coming out of the Central divisions as Carlos Carrasco loses his no-hit bid in the sixth in Cleveland:
- Cubs righty Carlos Zambrano is trending in trade rumors recently, as he has already said that he would waive his no-trade clause. We've also learned that the Yankees have no interest in acquiring the hurler. However, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reminds us that no team has actually checked in with the North Siders on the hurler's availability (via Twitter).
- Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur could draw interest at the trade deadline as a fourth outfielder for a contending team, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. However, Francoeur has a strong relationship with GM Dayton Moore and isn't blocking the imminent arrival of any corner-outfield prospects, so the Royals probably aren't feeling any urgency to deal him, according to Dodd.
- The Astros have signed Arizona State lefty Mitchell Lambson, their 19th-round pick, according to Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner (via Twitter). Houston has now signed 28 of its 50 selections, per Goff.
- The Pirates have signed Louisiana Tech lefty Mike Jefferson, their 22nd-round pick, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter).
The trade that sent Vernon Wells from Toronto to Anaheim was the “Holy Grail” of deals for the Blue Jays and the best move of the winter, writes Jon Heyman of SI.com. Jose Bautista's five-year, $65MM contract places second on Heyman's list of teams' top offseason moves. As Heyman says, Bautista could have been in position to earn $100MM or more as a free agent after the season if the Blue Jays hadn't signed him long-term. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- Royals GM Dayton Moore is pleased with Jeff Francoeur's production so far and says the outfielder does a lot of things well, though he “doesn't have a knack for getting on base.” As I showed last week, the Royals are getting lots out of their free agent acquisitions so far in 2011.
- Can Milton Bradley find another job? Five MLB executives expressed at least strong doubt about Bradley's future job prospects in the Major Leagues. His fading offense and poor defense don't make up for the distractions he creates, which led one exec to predict that the outfielder's “career is over” now that Seattle designated him for assignment. Others expect Bradley to get one last chance.
- It's early, but Heyman suggests the White Sox, Tigers and A's look like possibilities for Carlos Beltran this summer. Beltran has a no-trade clause and is impressing scouts early on this season.
- The Red Sox and Blue Jays could be interested in catcher Jordan Weems, a high schooler who is moving up some draft boards.
- Heyman hears that it's “highly unlikely” that the Red Sox would be willing to meet the Mets' asking price for Jose Reyes this summer.