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The Brewers lead the NL Central by half a game, but they lost their center fielder to injury last night. Here's the latest from the division…
- "There is some urgency, but not tremendous urgency" said Reds GM Walt Jocketty to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon when asked about making a trade before the deadline. "I still have a lot of confidence that we're good enough to win, but if there is a chance to upgrade the club, we would try to pursue it."
- MLB.com's Peter Gammons spoke to three AL clubs who have "no interest" in Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, fearing the NL-to-AL switch (Twitter links).
- Stephen Goff of the Houston Astros Examiner hears that Michael Bourn's name isn't coming up much on the trade market, though writers continue mentioning the speedy outfielder as a trade candidate (Twitter link).
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he may look for center field help to restore outfield depth (Twitter link). Carlos Gomez fractured his left clavicle last night.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests Cubs GM Jim Hendry may be best-suited to lead the organization after 2011. Some baseball insiders believe former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes and current Dodgers GM Ned Colletti would be near the top of the Cubs' list of possible replacements, Wittenmyer writes. Reports linking the Cubs to longtime executive Pat Gillick and White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn have been shot down, according to the Sun-Times.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that incoming Astros owner Jim Crane hasn’t told current GM Ed Wade to keep any particular player.
- Hunter Pence is likely staying in Houston, since the Astros aren’t seeing multi-player offers they like, according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network (on Twitter). Gammons explains that the market for Wandy Rodriguez is hurt because AL teams are wary of NL pitchers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in…
- Ned Colletti is under contract as Dodgers GM through 2012, but he has an out-clause after that. MLB is unlikely to stand in the way if another team asks to interview him before then though.
- The consensus is that the Cubs need to show some progress if GM Jim Hendry is going to keep his job beyond this season. The team's 14-17 start already has some in the game speculating about possible successors, which might include Colletti, former Diamondbacks GM and current Padres executive Josh Byrnes, and White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn. If the ChiSox are worried about losing Hahn, Rosenthal says they could promote him to GM and promote Kenny Williams to club president.
- Most expect the White Sox to "snap out of it," but if not, they could be a team to watch as the trade deadline approaches. One GM said Williams is not the type to "sit there in no man's land," so expect some rumblings about free agents to be Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson. Some believe Buehrle would only accept a trade to the Cardinals though.
- Their most intriguing chips are John Danks and Carlos Quentin, who are under team control as arbitration-eligible players in 2012. Danks could bring a significant return.
- The Royals could be quite busy if they remain in contention. The Zack Greinke trade and Gil Meche's retirement freed up significant cash, and the team could be both buyers and sellers. Wilson Betemit is expendable because of top prospect Mike Moustakas, possibly to the Marlins, and they could look to deal either Jeff Francoeur or Melky Cabrera. One thing they will need in return: bullpen reinforcements. The Kansas City bullpen is throwing a ton of innings.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Carlos Quentin | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Edwin Jackson | Jeff Francoeur | Jim Hendry | John Danks | Josh Byrnes | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mark Buehrle | Melky Cabrera | Miami Marlins | Ned Colletti | St. Louis Cardinals | Wilson Betemit
Eighteen years ago today, the Angels traded Lee Stevens to the Expos for minor leaguer Jeff Tuss, but Tuss refused to report to his new team. Keith Morrison, another minor leaguer, was included in the deal instead, and Tuss never played affiliated baseball again.
Here are today's batch of links…
- Chris Carpenter told MLB.com's Matthew Leach that he's not worried about his future with the Cardinals. The right-hander is under contract for 2011 with a $15MM club option for 2012, but an extension for Albert Pujols might push the 35-year-old Carpenter out of town if the team needs to shed payroll.
- Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star reports that the Blue Jays offered Russell Martin the same amount of money as the Yankees, but the catcher signed with New York because of a better opportunity to win (Twitter link). Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press tweets that the Jays wanted Martin to catch four times a week as well as play another position.
- Jeff Francis said the Blue Jays did not show any interest in him before he joined the Royals according to Davidi on Twitter. Francis grew up in Canada, but nowhere close to Toronto.
- Chad Jennings of the The Journal News takes a look at the Yankees' multiyear relief contract from the last decade.
- Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has pledged to keep negotiations about a contract extension with Albert Pujols private.
- The Rangers offered Jim Thome more than $4MM before he decided to sign with the Twins for $3MM, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). We knew that Thome turned down more money from Texas, but now we know how much.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told fans that he has confidence in GM Jim Hendry at today's Cubs Convention according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter).
- Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer says this winter's market for free agent relievers has been wonderful for Ryan Madson. The Phillies' setup man is due to become a free agent next offseason after his three-year, $12MM contract expires.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told reporters in Anaheim that he has "the highest level of confidence" in his GM Jim Hendry, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. However, Ricketts stopped sort of guaranteeing Hendry's job security:
"The fact is right now, Jim is our general manager, I support him, I think he does a great job, and after that we'll just take it one day at a time," the chairman said.
The Cubs have the highest payroll in the National League and are nine-and-a-half games back in the Central division. Hendry has received quite a bit of heat from Cubs fans and the critics haven't gotten any quieter as they're on pace for their second consecutive season without a playoff berth. Even though he wouldn't guarantee Hendry's job beyond 2010, Ricketts declined to point the finger at anyone in particular.
"I'm not going to assign blame to anyone or anything," said Ricketts. "The fact is we came into the season, we had what appeared to be a pretty strong lineup. It hasn't worked out for whatever reason and it seems like the guys are putting it together now and let's just keep winning."
Meanwhile, the club is reportedly looking to shed some cumbersome contracts as they head into the Trade Deadline. There are several deals that go beyond 2010 that the Cubs would like to move, but their most tradeable big salary player is likely Kosuke Fukudome.
Links for Thursday, as we wait to see how much more damage Vladimir Guerrero will inflict upon the Angels tonight…
- Mark Prior's agent says that one club wants to sign the right-hander after his workout this week, tweets Tom Krasovic of AOL Fanhouse. Prior reportedly hit the magic number of 90 mph during his workout.
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer indicates (via Twitter) that extension talks for Joey Votto will wait until after the season.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post tweets that the Yankees will not designate Chad Gaudin for assignment when they call up Dustin Moseley. The team has an empty spot on its 40-man roster, and is likely to place someone on the DL or option another reliever to Triple-A instead.
- Jim Hendry of the Cubs is the easiest general manager to make a deal with, according to a poll of GMs from around the league conducted by ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The sale of the Rangers is heading to a one-day auction that will be held on July 16th, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
On this day back in 2003, the Tigers became the first team in baseball history to have four pitchers make their Major League debut in the same game. The starter was 20-year-old Jeremy Bonderman, who gave way to 22-year-old Wil Ledezma, 25-year-old Chris Spurling, and 23-year-old Matt Roney before "veteran" closer Matt Anderson entered the game. Anderson was just 25-years-old at the time, but the first overall pick of the 1997 draft already had 210 big league appearances to his name.
The Tigers went on the finish the season 43-119, and were rewarded by selecting Justin Verlander with the second overall pick the following season. Here's this week's set of links from around the web…
- A Cubbies Consilience throws some kudos Jim Hendry's way for his offseason.
- Camden Crazies calls the O's trade for Julio Lugo an okay one.
- The Kept Faith finds some players Kevin Towers passed on while he was the Padres' GM.
- 1 Blue Jays Way remembers Roy Halladay's time in Toronto.
- Meanwhile, Around The BasePath looks at some expectations for Halladay's first year in Philadelphia.
- Drunk Jays Fans wonders why Lyle Overbay was named the team's every day first baseman when he can't hit lefties.
- Lookout Landing compares Eric Byrnes and Ryan Langerhans with regards to the Mariners' spare outfielder's job.
- Bronx Bombers Beat examines the Yankees' plan for Phil Hughes.
- More Hardball lists the players who will begin the season on the disabled list.
- Capitol Avenue Club rounds out the Braves' roster.
- Crashburn Alley looks at the Phillies' winners and losers from Spring Training.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Baseball Blogs Weigh In | Chicago Cubs | Eric Byrnes | Jim Hendry | Julio Lugo | Kevin Towers | Lyle Overbay | New York Yankees | Phil Hughes | Philadelphia Phillies | Roy Halladay | Ryan Langerhans | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Toronto Blue Jays
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reflects on Eric Byrnes' time with the D'Backs.
- Skip Schumaker tells MLB.com's Matthew Leach that he and the Cardinals are nearing an agreement on a 2010 contract.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets that the Marlins were willing to offer $20MM to Aroldis Chapman.
- MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes that a handful of teams have contacted Jim Thome, including the Rays, though nothing is imminent.
- Owner Tom Ricketts defended general manager Jim Hendry this Saturday at the Cubs' annual convention, according to Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
- Shi Davidi from the Canadian Press spoke with both Justin Morneau and Jeff Francis at Baseball Canada's Annual Awards Banquet Saturday. Morneau expects to begin full workouts in a couple of weeks as a season-ending stress fracture in his back appears to have healed without issue. Francis is recovering from shoulder surgery but expects to be ready for Spring Training.
- Bill Ladson tweets that Ryan Zimmerman thinks the Nationals are having their best offseason since he's been with the organization. Some of the larger moves we've seen the Nats make include signing Jason Marquis, Matt Capps, and Ivan Rodriguez, in addition to trading for Brian Bruney.
- Eric Chavez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he is comfortable with shifting to a utility role after the addition of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter) "overheard" that the Brewers will sign at least one more pitcher. Recently, Milwaukee outrighted pitcher Omar Aguilar to Triple-A, though assistant GM Gord Ash claimed it wasn't in anticipation of an acquisition.
- ESPN's Buster Olney writes that the Marlins didn't give Josh Johnson an extension just to appease the "Powers That Be". Those within the organization expected the deal to get done well before the joint press release from the commissioner's office and the players' union.
- Olney also writes that the Marlins are still looking for bullpen help and will sift through the remaining free agent relievers, including Kiko Calero. Florida declined to offer arbitration to Calero, to avoid giving him a raise on his $500K salary in 2009.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Aroldis Chapman | Chicago Cubs | Eric Byrnes | Eric Chavez | Jeff Francis | Jim Hendry | Jim Thome | Josh Johnson | Justin Morneau | Kevin Kouzmanoff | Kiko Calero | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Omar Aguilar | Skip Schumaker | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Washington Nationals
Brendan Bianowicz continues to update the GM Trade History series, covering the NL Central today. Click below to download Excel spreadsheets chronicling trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks for each GM.
The Cubs' sale to the Ricketts family has been finalized, which should bring some shred of optimism amidst the already-defeatist tone some of these stories have taken during the Cubs' current slump:
- Gordon Wittenmyer at the Chicago Sun-Times talked to 3B Aramis Ramirez, who gave the oft-maligned GM Jim Hendry a vote of confidence. "I hope he stays…He's done his job," Ramirez said.
- In the same article, Hendry says he won't use the previously looming uncertainty of ownership as an excuse for the Cubs' problems, acknowledging the Cubs' high payroll of around $140MM in recent past.
- Wittenmyer also heard that Lou Piniella intends to return to manage the Cubs in 2010, the final year of his contract, despite not giving hard answers on his return earlier this season. He cites the sale as a reason to stay.
- Rick Morrissey at the Chicago Tribune says that there are "no quick fixes" with this Cubs team and that fans should temper their expectations with the new ownership group.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo shares some notes on Manny Ramirez and around the league. Let’s have a look, bullet-point style:
- He cites an AL Exec who says, "I’ll be honest, I never thought Ramirez would walk away from… one year, $25 million. That’s better than the $20 million option he had torn up… If he has another great year, he gets another $25 million for one year? Or maybe a team then decides, ‘OK, this guy has behaved himself for a while, continues to produce at a high level now, let’s commit for another two years to him.’ Unless a team like the Yankees comes in at the last minute and gets it done, I just don’t see where he’s going to make more than $25 million." Cafardo adds that "Brian Cashman insists it won’t happen."
- A quote from Rich Hill on his being traded to the Orioles: "[Cubs general manager] Jim Hendry really took care of me. He wanted to create an opportunity for me that he told me probably didn’t exist in Chicago, so I’m grateful. I know Baltimore tried to deal for me last year and it didn’t work out, but this time they made it work." Hill also adds that he’s over his back injury and will rediscover his control.
- Ben Sheets not signing anywhere until June hurts the Brewers two-fold: they may have to foot the bill for the surgery and won’t receive a first round draft pick for losing a Type-A free agent. Sheets has a torn flexor tendon, as revealed by an exam with the Texas Rangers. On the other hand, MLBTR has noted that in June, after his surgery, he won’t cost a draft pick to sign.
- Andruw Jones on playing in Boston: "It’s too cold there. There’s too much stuff going on."
- Bobby Abreu may have to settle for a one or two year deal at $3MM. Cafardo lists the Angels, Mets, Braves, Dodgers, and Mariners.
- Expect an incentive-laden deal for one year between Tom Glavine and the Braves. As MLBTR has noted, their latest offer was between $1-2MM with no incentives.
- Mark Mulder could be a useful back end starter and he’s almost ready to put himself on display to teams.
- Shea Hillenbrand is 32 and receiving no interest. Cafardo wonders if he’s "being punished for past transgressions?"
- Cubs, White Sox, and Dodgers are lined up for Orlando Hudson; however, the transfer of ownership may have temporarily tied the hands of Jim Hendry to do anything until Tom Ricketts takes over.
- The A’s are continuously interested in Orlando Cabrera, Adam Dunn, and Abreu.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Dunn | Andruw Jones | Atlanta Braves | Ben Sheets | Bobby Abreu | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Jim Hendry | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Ramirez | Mark Mulder | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Orlando Cabrera | Orlando Hudson | Rich Hill | Seattle Mariners | Shea Hillenbrand | Tom Glavine