Jeremy Hellickson Rumors
Links for Tuesday, exactly one year after the Rockies released Russ Ortiz. It was the third time a major league organization released Ortiz in 2009 and a preview of April 2010 when the Dodgers released him. Here are today's links...
- Hiroki Kuroda denied to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he intends to play in Japan next season. "I really haven't decided anything," the right-hander said (Twitter links)
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that there has been no progress on a contract extension for Adam Dunn. The first baseman told reporters recently that he "assumes" he will finish the year without a deal in place.
- Within the same piece, Ladson mentions that Chien-Ming Wang will not pitch this year because of shoulder weakness. The Nationals signed Wang to a one year deal worth $2MM last winter and control him as an arbitration eligible player next year.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Jack Curry of the YES Network that C.C. Sabathia has done "exactly what they hoped for" when they signed him last offseason, and that includes his presence in the clubhouse (Twitter links).
- Shin-Soo Choo will likely be able to avoid military service in South Korea if he helps his country win a gold medal in baseball at the Asian Games this November, as MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince explains.
- Agent Scott Boras told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Choo may sign an extension with the Indians this offseason. "Things have a way of working out with the good players," Boras said.
- Baseball America named Jeremy Hellickson its 2010 minor league player of the year.
- It's looking like the Marlins will sign Ricky Nolasco to a one year deal through arbitration, instead of negotiating a long-term deal, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Arizona president Derrick Hall likes former Padres GM Kevin Towers and interim D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. The D'Backs haven't had a permanent GM or manager since firing Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch earlier in the summer.
Let's dive into the latest edition of Full Count by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Rival executives still can't figure out what the Nats were thinking by not trading Adam Dunn as some believe that they will not re-sign the slugger. If they dealt him, they would have saved about $4MM in salary and another $2MM in draft pick bonuses. The players they would have gotten in return would already have minor league track records and would have been closer to the majors. Though next year's draft figures to be very deep, Rosenthal notes that draft picks take money and time.
- If Boston stays in contention, they will push hard to get a left-handed bat to complement Lowell at first and Carlos Delgado may just be the beginning. Even after signing Delgado, the BoSox will continue to scour the market for players such as Adam LaRoche and Lyle Overbay. Earlier today, we learned that the Red Sox have shown interest in another left-handed hitting first baseman, Chris Davis of the Rangers.
- Jeremy Hellickson gives the Rays a sixth rotation option for 2011, but that doesn't mean that the Rays will have enough of a surplus for a trade. They have depth but they're not quite as deep as they were following the 2008 campaign. Rosenthal believes that they are better off keeping what they have intact and putting one of their starters in the bullpen.
- Recently, Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters that the club has approached him about a contract extension. Logically, he deserves a pay raise based on the team's performance this season. However, ownership may not want to go that route. Given the volatility expected in the managerial ranks this winter, the Reds will have plenty of options should they look elsewhere for a skipper.
In today's blog post at ESPN, Buster Olney discusses the trade value of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, which might not be as good as owner Drayton McLane would like. One GM noted that Houston's ace battled back trouble last year, which makes him a scary investment because of the potential to underperform and/or breakdown.
Another executive noted that the contracts of both players might be prohibitive. Oswalt is guaranteed $33MM through 2011, while Berkman is making $15MM this season with a $2MM buyout of his $15MM club option for next season. It's also worth noting that the first baseman is hitting just .185/.290/.352 in 62 plate appearances since coming off the disabled list. If McLane decides to move one of his franchise players, it might be a tough pill to swallow since the return is expected to be less than stellar.
Here's the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Despite having the game's best record and run differential, the Rays need a righthanded reliever and lefty hitting designated hitter. The latter will likely have to come from outside the organization, and the opportunity to acquire such a player will assuredly arise during the summer. Remember, the Rays do have Hank Blalock hitting .388/.448/.541 in Triple-A.
- Olney speculates that the team could use top prospect Jeremy Hellickson as that righty reliever, though it might compromise their rotation depth since he's effectively their sixth starter.
- Kerry Wood's injury probably increased the chances that he'll be traded, because now his $11MM option for next season is unlikely to vest.
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.
7:12pm: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says Mariners catcher Rob Johnson and Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were discussed in these Hermida talks, but no match was found.
6:31pm: Baker says the Marlins wanted catching prospect Adam Moore from the Ms in a Hermida deal. Baseball America ranks Moore as the Mariners' sixth best prospect. They say he looks like a future big league starting catcher; he'll start '09 at Triple A.
5:31pm: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald says the Ms and Rangers initiated the Hermida talks, and they didn't get far.
4:44pm: Geoff Baker says the Marlins offered Hermida to the Mariners and Rangers for catching.
12:26pm: Berardino has an update. He says the Marlins proposed trading Hermida to the Rays for two pitchers, likely among Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, and Mitch Talbot. The Rays rejected the offer and it's unlikely to be revisited.
Berardino now says the Reds have yet to inquire on Hermida.
12:04pm: Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses Jeremy Hermida trade possibilities in a blog post today (hat tip, Rays Index). He says the Reds have definitely shown interest, and also discusses the Rays. Berardino's sources believe Micah Owings could be had, but not Johnny Cueto. In the case of the Rays it'd apparently take Andy Sonnanstine rather than Edwin Jackson.
By the way, the Marlins have talked about the possibility of moving Hermida to left field if they keep him. Hermida has been a slightly above-average right fielder according to the plus/minus system.
THURSDAY, 10:33am: SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Reds seek players such as Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson in a Dunn trade. Niemann probably could be had.
WEDNESDAY, 10:13pm: Finally, some Dunn rumors. ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Rays are talking with the Reds about Dunn, though he's their Plan B to Jason Bay. I imagine Dunn would DH for the Rays.
9:25pm: According to SI.com's Jon Heyman, the Diamondbacks offered Chad Tracy to the Reds for Adam Dunn. He says another NL team has also inquired on Dunn.
However, GM Walt Jocketty said a few hours ago he hadn't talked to anyone about Dunn today.
5:59pm: Jayson Stark reports that the Rays and Pirates haven't had much dialogue today, and that talks have slowed. The Pirates have backed off just a bit, but may want to see what happens with Manny Ramirez in case they can get the Red Sox interested.
3:16pm: Kovacevic has more. Brignac and Jeff Niemann's names are coming up in the Tampa Bay talks. ESPN's Jayson Stark heard the same, and adds that Hellickson, David Price, and Wade Davis are off-limits.
The Cardinals are in on Bay but not John Grabow. Kovacevic says Colby Rasmus is untouchable, making the Pirates lean toward the Rays. He adds that the Mets seem out of the running.
1:23pm: The Pirates and Rays are still talking, with the Cardinals lingering. Dejan Kovacevic says Reid Brignac and Jeremy Hellickson are on the Bucs' radar.
12:30pm: Heyman talked to one NL source who puts the chances of a Bay trade at 50-50. The Pirates are looking around to see if they can beat the Rays' offer.
11:13am: SI.com's Jon Heyman checks in on Bay. He says the Rays are flirting, while the Mets, D'Backs, and Cardinals are also in the mix. ESPN's Buster Olney says the Rays and Pirates are "talking constructively to bridge the gap." Rays manager Joe Maddon admits some "very interesting stuff" is on the table.
8:43am: According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates are deep into talks with the Rays and other teams about left fielder Jason Bay. However, no "truly elite prospect" has been offered yet, and the chances are better than 50-50 that Bay stays. And who would move to right field for the Rays - Bay or Carl Crawford? The Braves are considered out of the mix.
Shortstop Jack Wilson seems likely to stay, while reliever John Grabow will probably be dealt.
ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new Rumblings and Grumblings up. You may want to grab a glass of water or something, because this is a beast of a column.
- If the Braves have a bad weekend and decide to trade Mark Teixeira, a deal could come together quickly. Stark says the Braves have already touched base with the Rays, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Yankees. Where Tex fits on the Rays, I'm not sure. Additionally, interest in Will Ohman is said to be "massive."
- A Jorge Posada move to first base could affect the Yankees' interest in Teixeira this winter.
- Though Brian Fuentes has many suitors, the Rockies have actually exchanged names with only the Marlins and Yankees. GM Dan O'Dowd has not dropped his price. By the way, Todd Helton's injury takes Garrett Atkins off the market. As for Matt Holliday, many execs believe the Rockies will never trade him.
- The Phillies are focused on a left-handed reliever, with Fuentes, Damaso Marte, George Sherrill, and Jack Taschner in the mix.
- The Phillies were scared off by the asking prices on Holliday and Xavier Nady, and never even made an offer. They still could acquire a lesser hitter.
- The Pirates are inspiring much grumbling with high asking prices for Jason Bay, Nady, Marte, John Grabow, and Jack Wilson.
- The Rangers are looking for young, controllable starting pitching. Vicente Padilla is available, with the Tigers and Yankees showing mild interest. Eddie Guardado and Jamey Wright are not available.
- In pursuing Jarrod Washburn, Bronson Arroyo, and Padilla, the Yankees are demonstrating their plan to reduce the prospect price for pitching by taking on a decent-sized contract.
- While A.J. Burnett is "eminently available," no trade talks are cooking. The Jays apparently won't deal him within the division. Other Jays veterans might be available, though Roy Halladay isn't among them.
- The Tigers are looking for pitching and a long-term shortstop. They'd be willing to move Gary Sheffield, though they'd have to eat salary.
- Top Rays prospects such as Wade Davis, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson are off-limits. Rays Index recently ran through the more likely trade candidates.
- The Braves asked the Royals about Jose Guillen, but Dayton Moore is asking for a ton.
- Stark says the Twins' talks for Adrian Beltre are "far from dead." The Twins are zeroed in on a third base upgrade. Beltre, by the way, has the Dodgers on his no-trade list. Joe Christensen says the Twins have found the asking price prohibitive for various third basemen.
- The Rangers are looking for a young pitcher for Hank Blalock, who is drawing interest from the Twins, Giants, and Dodgers. The Dodgers also like Casey Blake, who is likely to be traded somewhere.
MLB.com's Trade Talk blog speculates that the Phillies may no longer be pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, after Philadelphia traded three prospects for Joe Blanton. The blog wonders, "How many chips do (the Phillies) have to play?" Then, the blog hedges its bets:
If an earlier report is correct, the Rockies have asked the Phillies for right-hander Carlos Carrasco or catcher Lou Marson in return for Fuentes, so something could still be possible.
Trade Talk goes on to say that the Rockies would "hit the jackpot if a team came up with a young, talented starter -- like, say, the Yankees' Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy, or a couple of top Double-A prospects such as the Rays' Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson."
It's highly unlikely the Phillies will deal Carrasco, the organization's top prospect, for a set-up man. It's an absolute impossibility that the Yankees will trade Hughes for Fuentes. The Rays are still considered the front-runners for Fuentes, the blog says.
Let's dig into those recent Rays-Rockies rumors.
- Southpaw reliever Brian Fuentes has been linked to the Marlins, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, A's, Cubs, Cardinals, and Rays. Troy E. Renck wrote Saturday that the Rays are the most aggressive suitor, noting that the Rockies like Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson. Trading either for Fuentes does seem crazy and unlikely. Nonetheless, MLB.com Rays beat writer Bill Chastain verifies the Rockies' interest in Davis.
- As for Matt Holliday, Chastain says the Rockies want David Price. While Price is probably untouchable, we have seen top prospects like Cameron Maybin, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gonzalez, and Matt LaPorta traded in recent months.