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Wednesday night linkage..
- Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens is drawing some trade interest, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM last season and could be a non-tender candidate for next season. While he finished the year healthy, he may not have a spot in Atlanta's deep rotation next year.
- Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey now sounds very optimistic about his future with the Mets, a marked change from his tone just a couple of months ago, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter) hears that the Blue Jays may sign a second baseman in the next few days, though it's not clear who it might be.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that he is “probably unlikely” to trade for a starting pitcher this winter and might instead address that need in the free agent market, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are looking to add a No. 2 or 3 pitcher to put alongside ace Clayton Kershaw.
- Earlier today, the Dodgers formally announced that they have hired Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. McGwire previously served as the Cardinals' hitting coach but hooked on with the Dodgers as he can now work closer to his home in Irvine, California.
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hired Praver Shapiro Sports Management to represent him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. You can keep track of every player's representation with MLBTR's Agency Database.
- Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson interests the Cubs, but they don't have the trade chips to land him, Heyman tweets.
- The Red Sox announced that they have named Juan Nieves as their new pitching coach. Nieves spent the last 14 seasons in the White Sox organization and most recently served as their bullpen coach.
- Agent Joe Urbon told Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter) that outfielder Grady Sizemore plans to play in 2013. Indians GM Chris Antonetti has said that he is open to bringing Sizemore back, but for less than the $5MM he received last year.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco says that the club won't rush to fill their void in the outfield, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Instead, the Mets plan to let the market define itself first.
Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is drawing more trade interest than any other member of the Tampa Bay rotation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There’s been lots of speculation surrounding James Shields, but it’s Hellickson who has been most popular in the early going of the offseason. Talks are expected to continue at the GM Meetings in California later this week, Heyman writes.
Hellickson, 25, just completed his second full season at the MLB level. He posted a 3.10 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 177 innings over the course of 31 starts. The 2011 Rookie of the Year won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and he'll remain under team control through 2016. Agent Scott Boras represents Hellickson, an indication that agreeing to a long-term extension could be challenging.
Both Hellickson and Shields drew interest at the 2012 trade deadline. The Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Twins, Royals and Blue Jays are among the many teams seeking starting pitching this offseason.
Three AL East executives said they view the Red Sox as the Yankees’ greatest intra-divisional threat this year, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. “There is just too much talent on that roster for them not to contend,” one of the executives said of the Red Sox. Here are the latest notes and rumors from Sherman…
- The Red Sox are trying to find a high-end starting pitcher or a shortstop, one official told Sherman.
- Boston tried to flip Carl Crawford to Miami to address their shortstop situation, Sherman reports. However, GM Ben Cherington said on WEEI in Boston today that there was just one conversation with Miami and that talks about Crawford never got serious (Twitter link via Rob Bradford).
- Boston “wants [Crawford] out in the worst way,” Sherman hears from an exec.
- James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis are drawing lots of interest, Sherman writes. The Rays are hoping demand for Shields spikes once Zack Greinke gets traded. It's conceivable that a bidding war could emerge between the Angels and Rangers.
Several teams, including the Tigers and Angels, had scouts in attendance for Rays right-hander James Shields' start against Seattle today, write Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates, Giants, and Blue Jays also had scouts on hand, indicating that Shields could be a hot commodity as the deadline approaches. As for Detroit, sources say that the Tigers have had interest in Shields for years and could ply him away with catching prospects Rob Brantly and James McCann. The Rays aren't necessarily shopping Shields but GM Andrew Friedman will listen to offers on him as well as Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and Wade Davis, sources say. Here's more out of the AL East..
- As you might imagine, the ten-player deal between the Blue Jays and Astros wasn't exactly easy to put together. Houston GM Jeff Luhnow told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter) that he had 20 conversations with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos last night alone.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette told reporters, including Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun that he's on the lookout for high on-base percentage hitters. “Hopefully, [Omar Quintanilla] is a good on-base man. Take a look at his OBP capabilities with the Mets. He was good. We hope he brings the same [thing] with us. … "[But] we are looking at our on-base capabilities. No question. We need to do a better job with that," Duquette said.
- Anthopoulos told reporters that the two teams will work out the player to be named later in the trade by the end of August, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…
- The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
- The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.”
- The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
- Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
- The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
- Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
- The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
- The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Billy Butler | Brandon McCarthy | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Edinson Volquez | Houston Astros | James Shields | Jason Giambi | Jeremy Hellickson | Jimmy Rollins | Joe Blanton | Josh Johnson | Kansas City Royals | Kyle Kendrick | Marco Scutaro | Matt Belisle | Matt Reynolds | Miami Marlins | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Placido Polanco | Rafael Betancourt | San Diego Padres | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Wade Davis | Wandy Rodriguez | Washington Nationals
James Shields isn’t the only member of the Tampa Bay pitching staff who could be traded this summer. The Rays are open to moving any of their right-handed starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Right-handers Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer would all appeal to teams in need of pitching. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- The Rays probably won’t sell if it appears Evan Longoria will be able to return before long, but the third baseman’s timeline remains unclear.
- It’s highly unlikely that the Athletics will trade Bartolo Colon, Rosenthal reports. The A’s value Colon more than the mid-level prospects they’d be able to acquire for him in a trade.
- Executives say the Angels have enough young talent to trade for a pitcher of Zack Greinke’s caliber. Though GM Jerry Dipoto is reluctant to trade Peter Bourjos and Garrett Richards, both would appeal to other teams. One executive noted that prospects Jean Segura and Kaleb Cowart are also appealing trade chips.
- The Angels are looking for a left-handed reliever, Rosenthal reports.
- The Cubs are exchanging names with teams interested in Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers, Tigers, Braves and Red Sox are in the mix. A friend of Dempster’s said the right-hander would probably approve a trade to Boston but considers the Dodgers a better fit. The Dodgers have enough prospects to build a package for Dempster, rival executives tell Rosenthal.
- The Red Sox are still interested in Matt Garza, another potential trade chip.
- The prospect-rich Blue Jays are interested in Justin Upton. GM Alex Anthopoulos is pursuing numerous players and willing to listen on all of his own players, Rosenthal writes. The Pirates have shown considerable interest in Upton, but the Diamondbacks don’t view Pittsburgh as a fit.
- The Rangers are almost certain to bolster their bench. One option: upgrade over catcher Yorvit Torrealba.
- It’s not surprising to see the Giants pursuing relief help, Rosenthal writes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Cobb | Atlanta Braves | Bartolo Colon | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Detroit Tigers | James Shields | Jeremy Hellickson | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Peter Bourjos | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Dempster | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Wade Davis | Zack Greinke
Mets first baseman Ike Davis is being treated for a form of Valley Fever, though the team says Davis' infection is non-contagious and not very serious (via Mike Puma of the New York Post on Twitter). Davis says he has yet to receive an official diagnosis and hasn't experienced any symptoms. In recent years, Conor Jackson has also dealt with Valley Fever, missing most of the 2009 season with a more severe case of the infection.
Here are some (non-medical) news items from around both East divisions….
- Jim Johnson seems to have enough of a lead over Kevin Gregg for the Orioles' closer job that Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports that Gregg could be traded if Johnson's back is healthy. Gregg struggled in his first season in Baltimore and to move him, the O's would have to eat a big portion of Gregg's $5.8MM salary for 2012.
- The Rays have renewed Jeremy Hellickson's contract for 2012, the team announced today. Hellickson isn't eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season and is under team control through 2016. The Rays also announced they had come to terms with 22 other players with less than three years of Major League experience, including such notable names as Desmond Jennings, Alex Cobb and Matt Joyce. Tampa Bay's entire 40-man roster is now under contract for 2012.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks the Braves may have cost themselves by waiting to extend Brian McCann. Yadier Molina's five-year, $75MM extension with the Cardinals will probably raise the price for McCann to as much as $18-$20MM or even more per season. O'Brien thinks AL teams have an advantage over the Braves if McCann hits free agency, since McCann wouldn't have to play the field in his later years if he went to the American League. McCann is under contract through 2012 and the Braves hold a $12MM club option on the All-Star catcher for 2013.
- The Blue Jays may be the best-positioned of any team to benefit from the expanded playoff format, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- The two East divisions boast seven of the top 16 fantasy pitchers in baseball, according to Mike Axisa's rankings for Roto Authority. The Phillies alone have three pitchers in the top seven, including Roy Halladay in the top spot.
The Yankees, Red Sox, and the rest of the AL East have been overshadowed this morning by a big spender out west, but here's what's going on in the division:
- The Orioles designated reliever Willie Eyre for assignment to make room on the roster for Dana Eveland, announced the team. The 33-year-old would have been arbitration eligible. The O's also announced second baseman Greg Miclat will go the Texas as the player to be named later in the Taylor Teagarden deal.
- The Blue Jays have designated Brian Jeroloman for assignment, tweets MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. The move clears a roster spot for the returning Kelly Johnson.
- Greg Golson has been released by the Yankees, tweets MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Having added two players in this morning's Rule 5 draft, the Yanks needed space on their roster, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Yankees are close to signing former Indians prospect Adam Miller to a minor league deal, tweets Sherman. Miller ranked among Baseball America's top 100 prospects for five straight years from 2005 to 2009.
- The Rays are open-minded about listening to trade offers, even for players like James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. However, they'd need a very large return for their high-end pitchers.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal looks at a few Red Sox trade chips, as the team searches for pitching help.
Kimbrel received all 32 first-place votes, becoming the tenth unanimous selection. Freddie Freeman, Vance Worley, Wilson Ramos, Josh Collmenter, Danny Espinosa, Darwin Barney, and Kenley Jansen also received votes in the NL. Kimbrel tied John Axford for the NL saves lead with 46, setting a rookie record in the process.
Mark Trumbo, Eric Hosmer, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley, Desmond Jennings, and Jordan Walden followed Hellickson in the AL. Hellickson posted a 2.95 ERA in 189 regular season innings for Tampa Bay this year.
Until the Red Sox and Cubs agree to compensation for Theo Epstein’s departure, Boston’s GM situation will dominate headlines out of the American League East. Here’s the latest news from the division, starting with an update on the Red Sox…
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com previews the market for David Ortiz and concludes that he won't have an overwhelming number of suitors this offseason. Speier suggests the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels and Mariners are possible fits for the slugger, though some of those teams won't have strong interest. I can see the Orioles getting involved, depending on who their next GM is.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com previews the Orioles' 2012 bullpen and points out that there's a lot of uncertainty at this point. Jim Johnson could move to the rotation, Willie Eyre and Jo-Jo Reyes could be non-tendered and the Orioles are likely to add relievers from outside of the organization.
- Congratulations to Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, who is Baseball America's 2011 Major League Rookie of the Year. The 24-year-old right-hander posted a 2.95 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 over the course of 189 innings in his first full season.