Jimmy Rollins Rumors

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.


Quick Hits: Tigers, Bailey, Braun

Links for Wednesday night, as we wonder which team won the rights to negotiate a contract with Yu Darvish

  • The chances of Jimmy Rollins signing with the Tigers seem incredibly thin, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers had "minimal" discussions with Aramis Ramirez’s representatives, Chris Iott MLive.com reports. The Tigers did not make the third baseman a formal offer before the Brewers signed him.
  • Athletics closer Andrew Bailey admits that he doesn't know where he'll be pitching next year, but the trade candidate sounds prepared for the possibility that he'll be dealt before Opening Day, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Bailey grew up on the East Coast and says he has an understanding of what it would be like to pitch for a team like the Red Sox.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he's moving forward under the assumption that Ryan Braun will be in the lineup next year, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The Brewers are doing "business as normal," though Braun tested positive for a banned substance and faces a possible 50-game suspension.

NL East Links: Rollins, Conrad, Mets, Baxter

Eight years ago today, the Braves acquired J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero from the Cardinals in exchange for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and a pitching prospect named Adam Wainwright. Here's the latest from the NL East (all links go to Twitter) …

  • Dan Lozano, agent for Jimmy Rollins, told a source of ESPN's Jayson Stark that he is having dialogue with a team other than the Phillies. The Tigers are believed to have interest, however Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says they insist they won't pursue the shortstop. People with other teams believe they will though, according to Knobler.
  • The Braves non-tendered Brooks Conrad yesterday, and Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution heard that the team told him to check out the free agent market. They do have interest in bringing him back on a minor league deal, though.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that adding starting pitching will be tricky because they need to have the flexibility to move a new starter to the bullpen or even option him to the minors.
  • The Mets have interest in bringing Mike Baxter back according to Rubin, though it depends on what the market offers the outfielder. Baxter was non-tendered yesterday.
  • Alderson told Andy Martino of The New York Daily News that minority sales of the Mets could be complete next month. The GM answered more financial questions on FOX Business' "After The Bell," today. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo has a transcript.
  • MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports (on Twitter) that Nick Green's minor league contract with the Marlins has been finalized. The infielder has not played in MLB since 2010, but he gets an invite to Spring Training.

Brewers Notes: Rollins, Ramirez, Fielder

The Brewers grabbed headlines on the trade and free agent market yesterday. Here’s more news from Milwaukee…

  • Before signing Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers pursued Jimmy Rollins and told agent Dan Lozano that they'd be willing to offer a four-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "We can’t and sit and wait like other clubs," GM Doug Melvin told Rosenthal.
  • Ramirez will earn just $6MM in 2012, according to Rosenthal. He'll earn $10MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014 with a $4MM buyout on a mutual option for 2015, Rosenthal reports. The 2014 salary includes $6MM in deferred money.
  • Melvin explained to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that a small market team such as Milwaukee doesn’t generally sign top free agents such as Prince Fielder (Twitter link). "We have to face the reality of the smallest market and the best young player in free agency and how does it work," the GM said.
  • The Boras Corporation put together a 73-page binder detailing Fielder's accomplishments and ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explains how it ended up in the slugger's 'man cave' beside his Sliver Slugger awards. One unnamed GM admits to looking forward to annual books on Boras clients: "I think they're a curiosity," the GM said. "It's kind of like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar," the GM told Crasnick. "You look forward to it coming out each year. But you're not really going to do anything about it."

Quick Hits: Bell, Reyes, D’Backs, Rox, Rollins

A handful of odds and ends as Friday night winds down …

  • Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the breakdown on Heath Bell's and Jose Reyes' respective contracts with the Marlins. Bell's 2015 club option for $9MM will vest if he finishes 55 games in 2014 or 100 games in 2013-14. Reyes will earn a $1MM bonus if he wins a World Series MVP.
  • D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters, including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, that he's looking to fortify his bullpen and perhaps add another starting pitcher (Twitter link).
  • The Rockies are looking for a short-term answer at third base so as not to block the path of prospect Nolan Arenado, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro will meet with shortstop Jimmy Rollins' agent, Dan Lozano, on Saturday, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez told Spanish-language sports talk radio show Los Cronistas in Venezuela that he had offers from the Giants and the Mets but that he chose to sign with Milwaukee because he wanted to be a starter (Twitter links). Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation.