Jeff Niemann Rumors
Some Winter Meetings rumors courtesy of CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:
- Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado continue to be "as sought after as any players" on the trade market. Atlanta has received calls from 8-10 teams on Jurrjens and "half the teams in baseball" on Prado. Most see Prado as a second base upgrade. The Braves continue to say they don't need to move either player.
- It's been well-documented that the White Sox could trade any combination of John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Carlos Quentin this offseason, but Knobler says they'll listen on Gordon Beckham as well. Many Sox officials are hesitant to concede to rebuilding, despite the fact that GM Ken Williams used that exact word last month.
- If the Tigers are going to make a big free agent signing, it's more likely to be Yoenis Cespedes than anyone else.
- The Rays are open to trading Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis to improve the offense. They're also looking to deal Reid Brignac and upgrade their catching.
The latest on the Rockies from the Denver Post's Troy Renck:
- The Rockies continue to search for starting pitching via trade, having met with a few teams already. They probably won't match the asking prices for John Danks or Wandy Rodriguez, but they could target arms such as Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis, if the Marlins and Rays are willing to deal.
- The club plans to tender Ian Stewart a contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be a Rockie in 2012. Multiple clubs have inquired on Stewart, and Colorado is listening.
- Grady Sizemore won't work out for the Rockies, but the team hopes to get a better read on his health when he visits the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado.
- The Rockies would have interest in LaTroy Hawkins if they opened up a spot for him by trading Huston Street.
Some rival executives and scouts believe the Rays should trade some of their starting pitching depth for offense this winter, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. But executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman sees things differently.
"Starting pitching depth is very fleeting," Friedman said. "While we have it right now, we can't wake up one day with three or four starters, where we have to go looking on the market. We're absolutely doomed if that happens. We're certainly not going into the winter saying we have too much starting pitching."
Knobler reports that the Reds and Tigers were among the teams interested in James Shields at the trade deadline, but the Rays hung onto the durable right-hander instead. Joining Shields in the projected 2012 rotation are David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and, if injury strikes, Matt Moore or Alex Cobb.
The Royals will be interested in trading for pitching help this offseason and it's easy to imagine teams like the Rockies, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Marlins and A's checking in if the Rays are entertaining trade offers.
Every American League East team except the Orioles has a winning record. We've already checked in on the Red Sox and Blue Jays tonight, now here's the latest news out of the Bronx and St. Petersburg...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he doesn't expect to make a trade this week. However, he continues to go through the motions in search of a possible upgrade. “I go into the marketplace with a team that's a championship-caliber team as it sits," Cashman said. "It's hard to upgrade on that.”
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he isn't anticipating major trades (Twitter link).
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the Rays didn't offer Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Colby Rasmus, contrary to earlier reports.
12:08pm: The Cardinals will send Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Rzepczynski, Dotel, and Corey Patterson, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney adds that Miller is then expected to be traded to the White Sox.
12:01pm: This trade is not yet official because of the money involved, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. He says that aspect may need to be reworked before it's approved.
11:35am: A trade of Rasmus to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Dotel, and Rzepczynski is imminent, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He says an announcement could come early this afternoon.
11:22am: Edwin Jackson is definitely going to be traded by the Blue Jays, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Heyman heard it's going to be for Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus. Rasmus being under team control through 2014 and still highly-regarded, the Cards will require more than just two months of Jackson. The two teams have talked about Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, notes Olney, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Cards asked about outfielder Eric Thames.
Rasmus is a popular trade target. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Rays offered one of Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, and Alex Cobb, and the young center fielder is very much available. The Indians have interest as well.
We’ve already checked in on the AL East and taken detailed looks at its two biggest spenders, the Yankees and Red Sox. Here are some new notes from around the division, with an emphasis on teams that could be sellers:
- Though the Rays have told teams they won't trade James Shields, they're willing to discuss Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he has discussed dozens of trade scenarios with executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman (Twitter link). None of the scenarios have involved Shields, who appears to be off of the market.
- Koji Uehara and Jeremy Guthrie are the names bouncing around MLBTR, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reminds us that teams have also called about other Orioles, including Adam Jones, Jim Johnson and Alfredo Simon.
MLBTR's agency database is constantly updated with the latest representation changes. For example, the database reflects our early morning tweet that Rays righty Jeff Niemann is now with Hendricks Sports as he awaits his first arbitration year, rather than CAA. Casey Close's move to Excel Sports Management is in the database as well. If you're ever wondering about a player's agent, MLBTR's database is the best resource on the web.
Some links on a Sunday evening:
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that Chip Hale will be on Terry Collins' coaching staff after losing out on the Mets' managerial job. Meanwhile, Andy Martino of The New York Daily News tweets that both Mookie Wilson and Dave Wallace will "definitely be considered" for the coaching staff as well.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin offers up ten tidbits about new Mets' manager Terry Collins.
- Omar Minaya is in no hurry to accept one of the many offers he's received, writes ESPN's Enrique Rojas. The former Mets GM says he's received offers for various positions from several teams, including some to be an assistant general manager.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tells us that the Pirates are set to hire four coaches for Clint Hurdle's new staff: Ray Searage as the pitching coach, Gregg Ritche as the hitting coach, Jeff Bannister as the third base coach, and Nick Leyva as the bench coach.
- Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times feels that the Rays will hang onto B.J. Upton this offseason and likely won't trade a pitcher (candidates include James Shields, Matt Garza, Jeff Niemann, or Wade Davis) until July, unless the offers get "crazy good" once Cliff Lee signs. He does believe, though, that Jason Bartlett will be traded by Spring Training.
- Bartlett's availability will likely have a negative impact on the market for Marco Scutaro, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer looks at Ruben Amaro's five best and five worst moves, and says the jury is still out on the Philly GM.
Now that six years have passed since the 2004 draft, let's take a look at a few of the choices teams made between prospects at the same position to get a sense of who came out ahead in the great pick-by-pick spin of fate.
- Justin Verlander (Tigers) vs. Phil Humber (Mets) vs. Jeff Niemann (Rays): Here we have a textbook study in the perils of pitching prospects. In Verlander, the second overall pick, the Tigers got a true ace. He has posted three top-seven finishes in the Cy Young voting already, and struck out an incredible 269 batters in 240 innings last year. Picking third, the Mets got an ace as well, sort of: Humber was eventually traded in the deal that landed them Johan Santana. Needless to say, Humber has not been an ace himself, pitching to an ERA over 5.00 at Triple-A for a second straight year in 2010. Niemann, meanwhile, has profiled somewhere in-between, though his 2010 so far suggests he may be fulfilling the promise of his status as fourth overall pick. He's pitching to a 2.83 ERA in 2010, though the strikeout rate (just 5.8 per nine innings) suggests that ERA will likely rise. Overall winner here? Everyone except the Twins.
- Billy Butler (Royals) vs. Josh Fields (White Sox): Well, it certainly appears the Royals got the better of this battle of third basemen. Butler, picked 14th, didn't stick at third, but he is finally getting some attention as a legitimately excellent bat, putting up a .341/.396/.494 line in 2010 so far. Meanwhile, Fields, picked 18th, has struggled to remain on the field, and is actually now property of the Royals as well, coming over this winter in the deal for Mark Teahen. But he will miss most, if not all, of the 2010 season after having hip surgery in April. Fields, 28 in December, has had some impressive Triple-A seasons, so he may eventually fulfill his promise. Butler, however, is clearly here to stay. Overall winner? The Royals. Almost makes up for Alex Gordon!
- Glen Perkins (Twins) vs. Phil Hughes (Yankees): Lost in the many months of Johan Santana trade talks back in 2007-2008, which centered around whether the Yankees would deal Phil Hughes, was the realization that the Twins could have drafted Hughes themselves. Instead, at pick 22, Minnesota took Glen Perkins, a college product out of University of Minnesota. The outlook isn't brilliant for Perkins at this point, with a 7.76 ERA in Triple-A, though his strikeout rate is at least relatively strong. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes has become one of the best pitchers in the American League, with a fantastic 74 strikeouts and 22 walks in 75.1 innings in support of his 3.11 ERA. Hughes won't be 24 until later this month. And among those who won't be celebrating his birthday? The Twins.
Let's finish off our series with the toughest division in baseball...
- Blue Jays: The Jays already traded away most of their top pieces, but they still have three desirable relievers in Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and Kevin Gregg. All three can become free agents after the season. There might be some interest in first baseman Lyle Overbay, who will also hit the open market after the season.
- Orioles: Considering how poorly he pitched before landing on the DL, I'm sure a large part of the Baltimore faithful wouldn't mind seeing Mike Gonzalez go. Alas, that won't happen anytime soon. There always seems to be interest in Luke Scott, who still has two more years of team control left. If they decide to sell at mid-season, Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie could find their way onto the block.
- Rays: The Rays are a player development machine, and they have enough young players to get get pretty much anyone they want. They have enough depth that they could trade one of Reid Brignac or Sean Rodriguez plus one of Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, or Jeremy Hellickson and not miss a beat. If they fall out of it and decide to sell, it doesn't get much better than Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, and Carlos Pena. I believe the term is "stacked."
- Red Sox: Boston has held onto Clay Buchholz for this long, but with his name appearing so frequently on the rumor circuit, it really wouldn't be surprising if they moved him for a big time player. They might still be able to find a taker for Mike Lowell, and there would be interest in Manny Delcarmen if he were made available. They did lose a valuable chip when Junichi Tazawa went down with Tommy John surgery.
- Yankees: They seem unwilling to trade either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, so their best chip is the semi-blocked Jesus Montero. Of course, the Yankees have the ability to absorb even the ugliest of contracts, so maybe we should consider that their biggest trade chip.