Jeremy Hellickson Rumors
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.
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.