Jermaine Dye Rumors
4:28pm: The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham wonders (via Twitter) if Mike Lowell will be traded to the Angels in light of Morales' injury. He notes that the Red Sox would likely have to eat a large portion of Lowell's salary.
2:16pm: ESPN's Mark Saxon tweets that the Angels are saying Morales' injury is not season ending, though he doesn't provide a timetable for the slugger's return. As Saxon points out in another tweet, Mike Napoli will start at first base today for the first time since his minor league days.
10:57am: Following one of the more unusual injuries in recent years, the Angels now face the problem of how to replace their most productive hitter. Kendry Morales, who was hitting .290/.346/.487 with 11 homers, fractured his leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam last night, and could miss the rest of the season.
Robb Quinlan and Mark Trumbo are in-house candidates to step in for Morales, but the defending AL West champs will likely consider acquiring an impact player to boost an offense that, even with Morales, has hit just .248. After all, despite playing sub-.500 ball so far, they're very much in contention, sitting only 3.5 games out of first place.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Angels have plenty of options when it comes to finding a new first baseman. He suggests that Paul Konerko and Lance Berkman are the two most attractive and realistic trade targets for the Angels, though he acknowledges that the club won't have much leverage, given their desperate need for a middle-of-the-order bat. The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales agrees that Konerko could be a fit for the Angels, noting that the White Sox first baseman has a relationship with Mike Scioscia that dates back to their days with the Dodgers.
DiGiovanna names a handful of other possible targets for the Angels, including Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Russell Branyan, and Prince Fielder. Obviously, some of those sluggers are less available than others. Jermaine Dye, Ryan Garko, and Carlos Delgado (when he's healthy) are a few more available, low-cost options the team could look at, according to DiGiovanna.
Even if the Angels decide to make a move, it may not happen for a month or two, coming closer to the trade deadline. However, in the wake of Morales' injury, it's safe to put them near the top of the list of teams who will be shopping for a power hitter this summer.
5:57pm: Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was told that the Giants "have no serious interest" in Burrell, while the Padres apparently "have no interest at all," according to a tweet from MLB.com's Corey Brock.
5:22pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Burrell's preference is to return to the National League. Rosenthal also notes that Jermaine Dye's chances of finding a deal close to his asking price will be greatly diminished given that Burrell is now on the market and available at the minimum salary.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pretty much eliminates the Red Sox from the Burrell sweepstakes, adding that the club "wouldn't have a space for another one-dimensional player" at DH what with Mike Lowell and David Ortiz currently filling the position.
3:48pm: The Padres and Giants are interested in Pat Burrell, according to the chatter that Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News hears (Twitter link). Burrell, who will cost a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum now that he's a free agent, may be considering offers.
The Giants (14th in the NL in runs) and the Padres (13th in the NL in runs) could both use offense. Andres Torres, Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff are hitting well enough for the Giants in the corner outfield spots and at first. Kyle Blanks has not produced so far for the Padres, but it's hard to imagine the Padres letting Burrell loose in the outfield, since he has played just nine innings there since 2009.
Burrell, who hit .202/.292/.303 for the Rays this year, is not necessarily a candidate for an everyday job on either team. They may be eyeing him as a potential source of bench power. The Padres could look to replace one former Phillie with another if they don't expect Matt Stairs to emerge from his early-season slump.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that the Phillies are not interested in bringing Burrell back to Philadelphia.
- R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs examines Austin Kearns' resurgent season and says it's possible that the outfielder appears in trade rumors this summer. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see the Indians shop Kearns.
- FOX Sports Arizona profiled agent Jonathan Maurer, who represents Brandon Webb, among others.
- Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post has a profile of top amateur Bryce Harper that's well worth reading. Baseball America's Nathan Rode chatted with Harper and found that the prospect loves to catch and play the outfield.
- Mike Lowell doesn't see a role for himself on the Red Sox and wonders if the team would be better off without him, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Lowell explained his frustration to Rob Bradford of WEEI earlier today.
- I joined Jeff & Jeff on KFNS St. Louis earlier today; click here to listen.
- Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link) talked to Eric Chavez, who said Jermaine Dye is "at peace being at home" and is not working out. This counters a quote from Dye's agent Bob Bry from May 11th, when Bry said Dye "continues to work out every morning and hits most days and is still waiting for an opportunity with a team that has a chance to advance to the playoffs."
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider wonders if Stephen Strasburg will make his big league debut June 4th against the Reds at Nationals Park. SI's Tom Verducci contrasts the Nats' careful handling of Strasburg to the Reds' approach with Mike Leake.
- Jim Margalus of Sox Machine presents his guide to a White Sox fire sale.
- AOL FanHouse's Steve Phillips explains the many responsibilities of a general manager.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News notes that "the possibility of Cliff Lee falling into the hands of a rival faction [of the Phillies] is something that, at the very least, is worth pondering."
- Free agent lefty Brian Shouse hopes to continue his Major League career, writes Stan Morris of The Journal Star.
In his latest Full Count video for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal says that retirement could become a more realistic option for Ken Griffey Jr. if the 40-year-old continues to see less playing time. Rosenthal adds that, during their past two contract negotiations, Griffey and agent Brian Goldberg have discussed with the Mariners "how a phase-out might occur," since Griffey hopes to continue his relationship with the team after his retirement. Here are Rosenthal's other hot stove notes:
- Although Carl Crawford likely won't be a Ray past this season, the club has a chance to retain Carlos Pena. With Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee, and Paul Konerko eligible for free agency after this year, and Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, and Prince Fielder potentially hitting the open market in 2011, there are a slew of alternatives to Pena. A power-starved club like the Mariners and Orioles could make a run at Pena, but it's still possible he ends up back in Tampa Bay, assuming there's mutual interest.
- If the White Sox decide to blow up their roster, it may happen sooner rather than later, given the ten and five rights that will kick in for A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle this summer. Pierzynski, Konerko, J.J. Putz, and Andruw Jones would be the most likely trade candidates.
- Although the Padres spoke to Jermaine Dye in the offseason, they'd prefer to stick to their current, younger players. If they decide to add a bat, it's more likely to be an active outfielder than the inactive Dye.
Jermaine Dye would play for the Padres, according to Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Dye's agent Bob Bry said earlier this week that the 36-year-old outfielder continues to work out and hit in anticipation of a big league job. The 22-12 Padres, who lead the NL West, appeal to Dye.
"San Diego was one of the places Jermaine was excited about playing," Bry said.
Sullivan reports that the Padres "had dialogue" with Dye and his representatives last offseason, but chose to rely on youth instead. So far, the Padres' offense ranks 13th out of the 16 National League teams with 143 runs scored. Corner outfielders Kyle Blanks and Will Venable have started slowly.
It's not clear that the Padres are interested in Dye or that he could help them win. After hitting 20 homers in the first half last year, Dye slowed down and hit seven in the second half with a .179/.293/.297 line. The advanced fielding metric UZR suggests Dye's outfield defense was considerably worse than average last year. Still, Dye is the most readily-available hitter for teams seeking 25-homer power.
Let's check out some links on a beautiful evening in New Jersey..
- Indians manager Manny Acta says that he's still focused on developing the team's young talent, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.
- Adam Dunn says that signing another two-year deal wouldn't be his preference, though he's not opposed to it, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- Other clubs are upset over Toronto's reported agreement with Adonis Cardona, writes Jeremy Sandler of the National Post.
- Even more from Baggarly, as he tells us not to expect the Giants to sign Jermaine Dye or call up Buster Posey in the coming days.
- Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter) doesn't think the Giants would benefit from bringing back Ryan Garko.
- Former Royals manager Trey Hillman said that the team had a lengthy players-only meeting prior to being swept by the Rangers, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean, and hitting coach Hensley Meulens are "talking over options" following a 1-hit loss to San Diego, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter).
- The Reds have promoted Yonder Alonso to Triple-A Louisville, tweets Ben Badler of Baseball America. Baseball America's 2010 Prospect Handbook rated Alonso ahead of Mike Leake in Cincinnati's farm system but behind Todd Frazier.
- MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez writes that Major League Baseball is hoping to clean up the sport in Venezuela.
It's still early - probably too early to draw definite conclusions about teams' strengths and weaknesses - but let's take a look at some clubs that could look to improve in certain areas. This is purely speculative, and remember - these weaknesses could become strengths in a matter of weeks.
- Nationals right fielders are hitting .159/.276/.327 this year. No one player is to blame, as Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina, Cristian Guzman, Justin Maxwell, Mike Morse and Willy Taveras have all spent time in right this season. None of those players has hit more than three homers, but Jim Riggleman recently told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he has confidence in Harris and Bernadina because of their defense.
- Possible solutions: Jose Guillen could become available, though the Royals say they don't expect to make moves soon. Free agents Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield would likely bring more power than the Nats' current mix.
- The Cubs have used six right-handers in relief this year and only one - Carlos Marmol - has an ERA below 6.00. Now ERA can be deceiving, but Marmol and Carlos Zambrano are the only Cubs relievers who have struck out more batters than they have walked (Marmol by a wide margin, as he has an astounding 18.4 K/9 rate).
- Possible solutions: As Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports, the Cubs could call on Triple A right-handers Jay Jackson and Casey Coleman. The Cubs could also look to the free agent market; is Juan Cruz worth a flier? Alternatively, GM Jim Hendry could call up the Mariners or D'Backs, two teams with all-right-handed bullpens.
- The Mariners appear fine without a left-handed reliever, but the D'Backs, who don't have a left-handed pitcher on their active roster, have allowed a .294/.356/.496 line against lefty batters this year. The D'Backs have a bullpen ERA of 7.09, so righties are hitting them, too.
- Possible solutions: The D'Backs could pursue a trade for a left-hander, but GM Josh Byrnes told Nick Piecoro that he would prefer to be patient. There isn't much available on the free agent market, other than Eddie Guardado. The D'Backs could call on Jordan Norberto, who was in the majors earlier in the year, or Zach Kroenke, also at Triple A. Baseball America placed the two pitchers 29th and 30th respectively when ranking top D'Backs prospects before the season.
The draft is less than a month away and once again, the Nationals appear likely to select the nation's best-known amateur with the first overall pick. Here are the details on the team's draft strategy and a couple other Nats-related notes:
- Former Nationals GM and current FOX Sports analyst Jim Bowden says Washington will take Bryce Harper with the first overall pick (Twitter link). Bowden believes the teenager's makeup is fine, even if he is a little immature. Last month the Nats said nothing was "etched in stone," but the club is monitoring Harper closely, at the very least.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he feels good about the team's options in right field. 'We're going to find out what these players can do," Rizzo said in reference to Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell. That means we shouldn't expect the Nats to sign Jermaine Dye or another free agent right fielder any time soon.
- The Nationals released Mike Daniel, an outfielder chosen in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, according to MASN.com's Ben Goessling (via Twitter).
- The Nationals need starting pitching, president Stan Kasten told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. As Kasten says, every team needs pitching and the Nats are no exception. Kasten chose not to predict when 2009 first rounders Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen will make their MLB debuts.
Links to check out as we await Cliff Lee's Mariners debut...
- BoSox manager Terry Francona says that the upcoming player move to make room on the roster for Daisuke Matsuzaka will almost certainly involve a pitcher, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- If you play fantasy baseball, be sure to follow our @closernews feed on Twitter. We've got instant news on all closer situations, enabling you to conquer the save category.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Ryan Howard extension negotiations, speaking to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Howard's agent, Casey Close.
- In an MLB.com mailbag, T.R. Sullivan suggests that Frank Francisco could be a prime trade candidate in July, particularly if the Rangers are slipping from playoff contention.
- Luis Mendoza cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Mendoza was designated for assignment by the Royals last week.
- GM Jim Hendry says prospect Starlin Castro will join the Cubs at some point this season, but he won't say how soon, according to ESPNChicago. A source told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago earlier in the week that Castro's promotion could be right around the corner.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer doesn't think the White Sox have any need for Jermaine Dye. We heard earlier today that Dye believes he'd be a fit for the South Siders.
- Talking to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse, Brewers outfielder Jody Gerut explained why the Padres should retain Adrian Gonzalez.
- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez answered questions from Denver Post readers, explaining that "it's a really bad feeling when you get traded" and he'd like to sign a contract "for a few years." Gonzalez is not arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, and he's represented by Scott Boras.
- The Yankees are not typically inclined to sign young players to long-term deals. It makes sense to maintain flexibility, as they did going year-to-year with Chien-Ming Wang. On the other hand, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that Robinson Cano's extension has worked out quite well. Will the Yankees exercise his $14MM club option for 2012, or choose the $2MM buyout?
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald believes that the future of the Red Sox catching position points more toward Adalberto Ibarra than Victor Martinez.
The White Sox rank 11th in the American League with four runs scored per game. Their .309 OBP ranks 12th; their .390 SLG places 9th. Like most teams, the Sox have several players hitting above their ability (Paul Konerko, Andruw Jones), and several players below (Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, A.J. Pierzynski). The Sox projected to have a below-average offense from the start, but if they just wait it out they'll improve on the current output.
Pierre has been particularly disappointing, as has the team's production from their DH rotation. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes free agent Jermaine Dye could help, and Dye agrees. He wants to do more than just DH, potentially helping at outfield and first base. Dye also clarified recent rumors, saying the Cubs' $3MM offer wasn't formal and he spoke last to the Brewers. He added, "I'm not going to a bad team, and I'm not playing for $1.5 million."
It doesn't make sense for the Sox to bid much more than that, so money would be one issue. Manager Ozzie Guillen isn't sure where he'd put Dye, and thinks the player might need a month to be ready (Dye says two weeks). Whether or not there's a fit with the White Sox, Guillen wants to see Dye come back and play for a big league team.