Jimmy Rollins Rumors

Latest On Athletics’ Search For Infielders

11:18am: It doesn't look like the Athletics will acquire a shortstop today, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).

TUESDAY, 10:55am: MLB Network's Peter Gammons is a hearing a flat "no" on the idea of Drew going to the A's.

MONDAY, 6:03pm: Trade talk about a potential deal that would send Stephen Drew from Arizona to Oakland still has life, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter link). However, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported today that the Athletics have backed off their pursuit of Drew and Yunel Escobar for now, (Twitter link). 

Ken Rosenthal recently reported that the Athletics aren't favored to acquire Drew if the Diamondbacks trade him. Oakland is reluctant to match Toronto's asking price on Escobar, according to Rosenthal. Drew and Escobar are Oakland's top two choices for a shortstop upgrade, Jon Heyman reported today.

The A's looked into the possibility of acquiring Jimmy Rollins, but would have had to take on his entire contract ($11MM per season through 2014 with a vesting option for 2015) to complete a deal, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The price in terms of prospects wasn't high, but there's no guarantee Rollins, a Bay Area native, would approve a trade to Oakland. The Dodgers are no longer a fit for Rollins, Knobler writes.


Crasnick On Athletics, Broxton, Francoeur

The latest rumors from ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick…

  • The Athletics have discussed Jimmy Rollins and Chase Headley as possible upgrades for the left side of their infield, Crasnick reports (Twitter links). However, Rollins' salary would be difficult to fit into Oakland's budget and the Padres' asking price for Headley remains high. The A's seem lukewarm on Yunel Escobar, Crasnick writes. They aren't sure how he'd fit in their clubhouse dynamic. 
  • Jonathan Broxton is the most likely Royal to be traded, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). The Royals want young starting pitching for Broxton, and they’re looking for pitchers who are close to MLB-ready — not Class A types. 
  • Meanwhile, Jeff Francoeur’s trade value is negligible because he’s not producing at the plate.

Phillies Notes: Wigginton, Lee, Pence, Rollins

The Phillies signed Cole Hamels to a historic six-year, $144MM extension this morning. After weeks of rumors, it’s now apparent that Hamels will stay put, but his teammates don’t all enjoy the same security. Here’s the latest on the Phillies…

  • The Yankees considered pursuing Ty Wigginton, but the Phillies aren't offering him up, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • An American League executive suggested the Phillies' deal with Hamels means Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence are available, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies have reached out to "dangle" Jimmy Rollins to other teams in the last two weeks, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The A's have considered Rollins, but he's not currently an option for them.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is waiting to determine whether to buy or sell at the trade deadline, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (Twitter link).
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com isn't convinced the Phillies will go into complete sell mode (Twitter link).


A’s Rumors: Rollins, Hanley, Drew, Escobar

The A's were nine games below .500 in mid-June, but they're now 51-44 following an impressive six-week stretch that's positioned them as contenders for a playoff berth. Here are the latest A’s-related notes and rumors…

  • Rollins is not currently an option for the A's, Slusser reports. Slusser hears from two people who aren't convinced Rollins would approve a deal to Oakland (Twitter links).
  • The A’s pursued Hanley Ramirez aggressively before the Marlins sent him to Los Angeles, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms that the A’s were “very much in on” Ramirez (Twitter link). The Marlins recently offered Oakland a “sweet deal” that would have sent Ramirez to the A's for a couple of minor leaguers and enough cash to cover half of Ramirez’s contract, Knobler writes. But the A’s held off on the deal, and the Dodgers agreed to take on all of Ramirez’s salary.
  • The A’s are still looking to add, Knobler reports. They have been scouting Stephen Drew, have had interest in Yunel Escobar, and have considered the possibility of bringing Oakland native Jimmy Rollins back to the Bay Area.

Stark On Rays, Volquez, Butler, Phillies

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.

Quick Hits: Dodgers, Angels, Ichiro, Bundy

David Wright's remarkable offensive production continued today, as he homered twice against the Nationals. He now boasts a .353/.443/.586 batting line, so he'll have considerable leverage should the Mets look to sign him long-term this coming offseason. Here are today's links…

  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Dodgers seem to have "50 or 60'' things going on with 12 days to go before the trade deadline. Jimmy Rollins is indeed one of the many established players that Dodgers executives are considering, Heyman writes. 
  • The Angels could use Cole Hamels and have the pieces to acquire him if the Phillies make him available, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. “Why wouldn’t you want a guy like that in your rotation?” Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson asked Morosi.
  • Dylan Bundy hasn’t thrown a pitch at the MLB level and Joey Votto is a former MVP who recently signed one of the biggest contracts in baseball history, but they have something in common, according to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: lots and lots of trade value. Left-handers David Price, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw have even more trade value than Bundy or Votto, Cameron writes.
  • Ichiro Suzuki told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan (via a translator) that he’s not sure how he fits in the Mariners’ plans for 2013 and beyond. “If the team is saying they need you, you're necessary, then it becomes a piece,” Ichiro said. “But if it's just coming from the player, it's not going to happen." The Mariners plan to re-sign Ichiro after his contract expires this fall, GM Jack Zduriencik has said.
  • I made a video appearance on the Score’s Getting Blanked Show today, discussing the Dodgers, Angels and Marlins. My conversation takes place at the 12 minute mark, but the entire show is worth watching.

Dodgers Interested In Jimmy Rollins

A baseball executive recently suggested that Jimmy Rollins' contract would be a deterrent if the Phillies were to move him, but they may have one suitor. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade at shortstop, and have some interest in Rollins.

Dodgers shortstops this season have combined to hit a ghastly .227/.284/.302. Dee Gordon has seen the lion's share of the time at the position, and while his 30 steals lead the National League, he's managed an OPS+ of just 56 and is now on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his thumb.

Rollins is batting .261/.315/.414, but that includes a slow start to the season. Since May 29, Rollins has picked up the pace in grand fashion, totaling a .304/.354/.571 triple slash line, belting seven homers along the way. Ultimate Zone Rating suggests that the 33-year-old's defense is exactly on par with his career rate of +5.1 runs per 150 games.

The biggest red flag with Rollins is, of course, the aforementioned three-year contract he signed this offseason. The Phillies guaranteed Rollins $33MM through his age-35 season, and the contract also contains a vesting option for a fourth year at another $11MM. That option is said to be easily attainable for Rollins, and is contingent on plate appearances. As Knobler points out on Twitter, Rollins also has 10-and-5 rights, which give him the ability to veto any potential trade.

The Dodgers have also been linked to both Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels recently, as they look to upgrade both their offense and their rotation prior to the trade deadline.


Rosenthal On Rangers, Angels, Cubs, Marte

It’s time to consider the Angels and Rangers superpowers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Lucrative regional TV deals, an abundance of star talent and the flexibility to make further moves have turned the Angels and Rangers into imposing organizations. Both clubs have both scouted Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, but the Rangers view those pitchers as rentals and are hesitant to part with top prospects for either one. Here are more of Rosenthal’s latest notes:

  • The Brewers haven’t given up on the 2012 season, but they’ve talked about exploiting the Angels-Rangers rivalry, Rosenthal writes. Many executives believe the return for a pitcher like Greinke or Hamels will be surprisingly low because the new collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from obtaining compensation for players acquired midseason.
  • Ryan Dempster, who can veto any trade, has said he would consider going to any contender. The Cubs want to assume the majority of the $6.1MM remaining on Dempster’s salary to obtain better prospects in return. Rosenthal suggests interested teams might look to extend Dempster this summer and keep him off of the free agent market.
  • The Cubs wanted a Gio Gonzalez-like return for Matt Garza last offseason, Rosenthal reports.
  • Rosenthal suggests the Phillies could trade Jimmy Rollins, but points out that the shortstop earns $11MM per season through 2014. “That contract, boy oh boy,” one executive said, suggesting it could deter interested teams.
  • Baseball people express doubt about the star potential of Pirates outfield prospect Starling Marte, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Rockies are pleased that Ramon Hernandez has helped Wilin Rosario develop and don't seem overly earger to trade the veteran Hernandez.
  • The Tigers are scouting Marco Scutaro and they aren’t the only team with interest in the veteran infielder. The Brewers inquired on Scutaro, but talks didn’t progress.

Quick Hits: Jackson, Fielder, Rollins, Hall, Ortiz

Here's a wrap-up of news from around the majors on the day that Edwin Jackson and Casey Kotchman both found new teams

  • The Indians had interest in Jackson but "were not close" to matching the contract Jackson received from the Nationals, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
  • Jackson turned down a three-year, $30MM offer to sign his one-year deal with Washington, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at how Jackson, Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez (all Scott Boras clients) settled for "pillow contracts" this winter to better position themselves for larger deals next year.
  • Prince Fielder, however, never considered a one-year deal, Boras tells James Schmehl of MLive.com.  Boras also says Fielder could have signed earlier in the offseason but was on vacation with his wife, delaying his meetings with interested teams.
  • Jimmy Rollins' $11MM option for 2015 will vest if he makes 600 plate appearances in 2014, or if he makes a combined 1100 PAs in 2013 and 2014, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link).
  • Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall says he has been contacted by some potential Dodgers owners about a job in Los Angeles, but Hall tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he's very happy with the Snakes.  Hall has four years remaining on his contract with Arizona.
  • David Ortiz's arbitration case with the Red Sox is analyzed from both sides by former Astros president Tal Smith, in conversation with Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
  • Fangraphs' Wendy Thurm begins a series looking at which players were the best values at each position over the last two decades, starting with catcher, first base and second base.
  • "The Indians’ bullpen has much more flexibility and depth heading into camp this year," writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian in his breakdown of the Tribe's relief options.

Phillies Re-Sign Jimmy Rollins

The Phillies signed Jimmy Rollins to a deal that will keep the shortstop in Philadelphia, though not for as the length he was said to be seeking.  The deal will pay Rollins $33MM over the next three years with an $11MM fourth year vesting option based on plate appearances. If the option doesn't vest, it can become a team option at $8MM or a player option at $5MM.

13295333Rollins, a lifelong Phillie, has seen his production tail off since his 30-30 MVP season in 2007, but he rebounded to bat .268/.338/.399 last season with 16 homers and 30 stolen bases. His defense has remained a positive even through his age-32 season, according to UZR.

Rollins, ranked seventh on MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agent list, entered the offseason in search of a five-year contract.  The Brewers were among the leading suitors for the 33-year-old's services but officially pulled themselves out of the sweepstakes when they gave a three-year, $36MM deal to third baseman Aramis Ramirez.  Even without Ramirez, Milwaukee's signing of Alex Gonzalez was widely interpreted as a signal that they would not pursue J-Roll any further.

The Cardinals were also candidates to land Rollins after Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, but they had little interest in giving Rollins the five-year pact that he was asking for.  Instead, St. Louis decided to ink Rafael Furcal to a two-year deal worth roughly $14MM.  Ultimately, the market pushed the shortstop and the Phillies back together.  At the start of this winter, seven of our eight writers predicted a Phillies for the Icon Sports Group client.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) first reported that the Phillies and Rollins agreed to a three-year deal with a vesting fourth year option.  Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter) added that the dela would be worth $33MM over three years while Yahoo's Tim Brown (Twitter link) reported that the fourth year option would be worth $11MM.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the fourth year option would be easily attainable.

Photo courtesy of Chris Williams/Icon SMI.