Jeremy Hellickson Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Rays and Cardinals had serious talks about a trade that would have sent Colby Rasmus to Tampa Bay last year, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). The center fielder appeared to request a trade last summer, though he later denied doing so.
The Cardinals might be willing to move Rasmus now, though Strauss and colleague Bernie Miklasz suggest a deal is unlikely. Rasmus is the most attractive trade chip GM John Mozeliak has, but Miklasz expects the Cardinals and their center fielder to be “stuck with each other” for a while.
The Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a trade, according to Strauss. However, Tampa Bay doesn't necessarily covet Rasmus, especially at that price. Rays center fielder B.J. Upton homered in three of five games leading up to the All-Star break and his .239/.325/.427 line resembles Rasmus' .246/.329/.413 line.
On this date three years ago, the newly acquired C.C. Sabathia homered and pitched a complete game to help the Brewers beat the Reds 3-2. The Brewers' latest acquisition, Francisco Rodriguez, probably won't get too many chances to swing the bat this summer, but he could help Milwaukee reach the playoffs again...
- Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg told ESPN Chicago's "The Waddle & Silvy Show" that he wants to manage in the Major Leagues and would consider returning to Chicago if the Cubs asked him to manage at some point. Sandberg, who was a candidate for the Cubs' managerial opening over the winter, now manages Philadelphia's Triple-A affiliate. ESPNChicago.com has highlights from the conversation.
- The Pirates announced that they have signed fourth round pick Colten Brewer and eighth round pick Jason Creasy. Now that they've signed the pair of high school right-handers, Pittsburgh has locked up 16 players from last month's draft.
- The Rockies like Colby Rasmus, but don't match up well with the Cardinals on a potential trade, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Cardinals might be willing to trade Rasmus, who ranks 41st on Dave Cameron's annual list of players with the most trade value at FanGraphs.com.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in a chat today that the Cardinals would most covet Jeremy Hellickson in a potential trade involving Rasmus and the Rays.