Joba Chamberlain Rumors

Tigers Have Serious Interest In Joba Chamberlain

THURSDAY: The Tigers have "serious" interest in Chamberlain, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY, 1:46pm: The Tigers are a possible destination for Chamberlain as well, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

1:32am: The Astros are interested in Joba Chamberlain as a buy-low option, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Twitter). Chamberlain is the latest free agent to be linked to the Astros, who also reportedly have some interest in Michael Morse, Jesse Crain, and Chad Gaudin, among others.

Chamberlain, 28, had arguably the worst year of his big league career in 2013, posting a 4.93 ERA in 45 appearances for the Yankees. However, his 3.54 ERA on the road was significantly better than his 6.23 mark at home, and his velocity and strikeout rates remained solid. Assuming he can reduce his control issues going forward, he looks like a solid bounceback candidate.

On Tuesday, we heard that Chamberlain had received a one-year, $3MM proposal from an interested team. It initially appeared as if the Diamondbacks had put that offer on the table, but at least one report suggested Arizona hadn't offered the right-hander a contract. The Cubs and Royals were also mentioned as potential suitors for Chamberlain over the weekend.


Joba Chamberlain Has One-Year, $3MM Offer

3:17pm: A high-ranking Diamondbacks official tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that no offer has been made to Chamberlain (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted earlier, however, that Chamberlain does indeed have a one-year, $3MM offer. Money isn't the driving factor for Chamberlain, however, according to Rosenthal.

2:56pm: The D-Backs have made a one-year offer to Joba Chamberlain worth roughly $3MM, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.

The 28-year-old former top prospect struggled through his worst season as a Major Leaguer in 2013, posting a 4.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 and a 41.5 percent ground-ball rate in 42 innings for the Yankees. Chamberlain was significantly better away from Yankee Stadium, posting a 3.54 ERA on the road compared to a 6.23 mark at home in a roughly equal sample size. Chamberlain's velocity remained strong, as he averaged a healthy 94.7 mph on his fastball.


Central Notes: Phillips, Axford, Joba, Buck

Here's the latest news from both the NL and AL Central divisions…

  • The Brandon Phillips trade rumors may have temporarily stopped, though Reds president/CEO Bob Castellini left the door slightly open when talking to reporters today (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay).  "Brandon is part of the team, boys," Castellini said.  "Walt [GM Walt Jocketty] was just exploring.  You have to understand what he's up against. He's got to look around. Brandon Phillips is an integral part of this franchise….But you never say never."
  • The Cubs and John Axford share a mutual interest in each other, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports.  Axford would get a chance to compete for the Cubs' closing job, though the right-hander seemingly has plenty of opportunities around the league, with a reported 14 teams checking in following his non-tender from the Cardinals.
  • The Cubs and Royals are two of the teams who have shown interest in Joba Chamberlain, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets.  No signing seems to be imminent for either team, however.  Chamberlain is another relief arm who has drawn significant attention on the open market, as he may be seen as a reclamation candidate after some tough seasons with the Yankees.
  • The Twins have spoken to John Buck's agent, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, and a source tells Berardino that Buck is Minnesota's top target amongst available catchers.  It isn't clear how interested in the Twins are, however, given that Josmil Pinto is still the club's preferred choice to take over the everyday catching job now that Joe Mauer has been moved to first base.
  • Carl Pavano talked with Berardino about his comeback attempt from a freak snow-shoveling accident that left him with a ruptured spleen and sidelined the veteran righty for the entire 2013 season.  Pavano said the Twins haven't contacted him about a return: "I haven't really talked to them.  I don't know if that would be a good fit anyway. I think we're in different places. They need those younger guys in their rotation."


Olney’s Latest: Nolasco, Twins, Joba, Royals, Peralta, Headley

Major League Baseball is in a race against the clock to change the rules and eliminate home-plate collisions, writes ESPN's Buster Olney in his latest Insider-only column. MLB GMs were "100 percent" in favor when the issue of a rule-change was raised at the GM Meetings this week, says Olney. As one team lawyer pointed out to Olney, MLB has no choice but to scramble to get something in place for next season: "Everybody has said that there needs to be a change [in the rules], and if somebody gets hurt [in 2014] they could sue and claim that Major League Baseball knew there was a problem and didn’t do anything about it." Here are just a few of the highlights from Olney's highly informative piece:

  • Ricky Nolasco already has a three-year offer in hand, and that same team has indicated that it may be willing to extend the offer to four years. Nolasco's agent, Matt Sosnick, told Olney that his client's preference is still to return to the Dodgers.
  • Teams are racing to make their best offers to pitchers like Tim Hudson and Bronson Arroyo, knowing that those arms might not require the potential four- and five-year deals that Nolasco, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez are targeting.
  • The Twins have made it clear that they're looking to sign two good veteran arms, and in a separate tweet Olney notes that they're being very aggressive on the free agent market. In addition to their interest in Arroyo, it's possible that they're in on Nolasco, says Olney.
  • The Royals have had internal discussions about adding Joba Chamberlain on a one-year deal, and as Olney points out, Kansas City pitching coach Dave Eiland was Chamberlain's pitching coach with the Yankees earlier in his career.
  • The Royals would also like to sign Josh Johnson to a one-year deal in an attempt to recreate the magic of last year's Santana acquisition.
  • Jhonny Peralta is looking for "huge" money, according to Olney's sources. Olney writes that Peralta is seeking "much" more than three years and $45MM. I predicted a three-year, $36MM pact for Peralta in my recent free agent profile of the former Tiger.
  • The Padres haven't had any extension talks with Chase Headley this offseason, and as it stands right now, there are no plans to begin negotiations.

Crasnick On Cano, Tanaka, Price, Ellsbury

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick checked in with 21 general managers, assistant GMs, player personnel people, and scouts to get their take on some of the biggest storylines of the winter.  Here's a look at some of the highlights..

  • Almost everyone sees Robinson Cano staying put with 19 votes for the Yankees, one vote for the Dodgers, and one for the Cubs.  Nearly everyone sees Cano getting a seven- or eight-year deal worth $160MM-$230MM and no one expects him to approach the $300MM figure he was asking for from the Bombers earlier this year.  It should be noted that the GM that picked the Cubs said that he has no inside info to support that pick.
  • Nine execs see Masahiro Tanaka landing with the Dodgers while six chose the Yankees.  All but a handful of those surveyed think his payout will exceed the $60MM Yu Darvish got from the Rangers.  Tanaka is ranked as the top available pitcher by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
  • Seventeen of the 21 participants in the survey say David Price will get traded this winter.  Where will he land?  The Rangers got nine votes and the Dodgers got four nods with one vote each for the Nationals, Cardinals, Angels, and Astros.
  • Opinions were somewhat split on whether Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo fChoo will provide better value over the course of their next deals.  Twelve execs said Ellsbury, eight voted for Choo, and one GM declined to vote, saying that neither one will match what they get.
  • When asked to pick the best pitcher between Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, and Ubaldo Jimenez, ten execs chose Garza.  Most seemed to agree that the lack of quality starting pitching available will lead to all three being overpaid.  One American League scout seemed to like Jimenez on some level but was skeptical of him long-term.  "Ubaldo has the best chance to give you impact in the short term, but I am not buying him over the course of 3-4 years," the scout said.
  • When asked which former Yankees prospect has a better chance of succeeding elsewhere with a change of scenery, Phil Hughes was the overwhelming choice over Joba Chamberlain.
  • Crasnick asked the execs which aging pitcher had the most left in the tank between Roy Halladay, Hiroki Kuroda, and Tim Hudson.  Kuroda had the backing of 12 people surveyed, Hudson got eight votes, and Halladay had just one exec in his corner.  "Maybe the chances of [Halladay] coming back aren't real good if you look at it objectively," a scout said. "But if the guy wants to [keep pitching] and be successful, I wouldn't put it past him."

Yankees Notes: Granderson, Jeter, Chavez, Joba

By all accounts, it looks like the Yankees will be big players in free agency this winter, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes.  The Yankees may have at least a dozen players in mind, and Heyman adds the names of Scott Feldman and Bronson Arroyo to the long list of free agents who have already been linked to the Bombers.  One would suspect that Feldman and Arroyo would be backup plans should New York not be able to land a higher-profile starter like Masahiro Tanaka.  Here's the latest out of the Bronx…

  • The Yankees "obviously" want Curtis Granderson to reject the team's $14.1MM qualifying offer so they can pursue other free agent outfield options.  While Granderson says he's still considering accepting the one-year deal, he seems likely to find a solid multiyear offer on the open market, his injury-shortened 2013 season notwithstanding.
  • Hal Steinbrenner was the one who negotiated Derek Jeter's one-year, $12MM deal for 2014, Heyman reports.  Steinbrenner is "very involved" in the team's dealings this winter, according to a source.
  • The Yankees have discussed bringing back Eric Chavez, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports.  Chavez would provide needed bench depth, and he wouldn't require a big commitment since he only wants a one-year contract.  There does seem to be mutual interest between Chavez and the Diamondbacks for 2014, however.
  • Joba Chamberlain hasn't received any attention from the Yankees but over a dozen other clubs have checked in on the free agent reliever, WFAN's Sweeney Murti reports (Twitter link).  It has been widely reported that the Yankees will part ways with their former top prospect.
  • The 10-year contracts given to Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols when both men were in their 30's are reasons why the Yankees shouldn't make a decade-long commitment to 31-year-old Robinson Cano, MLB.com's Mike Bauman opines.

Yankees Links: Oppenheimer, Payroll, Joba, Drew

It was 10 years ago today that the old Yankee Stadium hosted the last World Series game in the building's storied history.  It wasn't a memorable one for the Yankees, as they were shut out by Josh Beckett in Game Six of the 2003 World Series and the Marlins clinched the title.  Here's the latest news about the Bronx Bombers…

  • Damon Oppenheimer will remain as the Yankees' amateur scouting director, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.  Oppenheimer's job was rumored to be in jeopardy due to a series of less-than-fruitful drafts but the Yankees' highly-regarded 2013 draft class may have saved him.  Mark Newman, the club's senior VP of baseball operations, could still be in danger of being fired, Feinsand notes.
  • Even if the Yankees spend $300MM on free agents this offseason, ESPN's Mike Petriello (Insider subscription required) doesn't think it will be enough to offset its declining veterans and lack of farm system reinforcements.
  • Joba Chamberlain's days as a Yankee are finished, according to Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog in his review of Chamberlain's 2013 season.  "I don’t think [the Yankees] will bring him back under any circumstances, not even on a minor league contract," Axisa writes.  Chamberlain posted a 4.93 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 42 relief innings last year and has fallen out of favor with the Yankees.
  • Stephen Drew's ability to play both shortstop and third base would fill a valuable need for the Yankees next season, but ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand doesn't think Drew would sign for a team that might not have a regular starting job for him if Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are around.  The Bombers also wouldn't want to give up their first round draft pick to sign Drew if the Red Sox make Drew a qualifying offer.
  • David Robertson doesn't know if he'll be the Yankees closer next year but the reliever tells MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he's ready for the challenge of taking over from Mariano Rivera.  As I wrote in my Offseason Outlook piece about the Yankees, it wouldn't be surprising if New York brings in a veteran with closing experience to at least compete with Robertson for the job.

AL Central Notes: Morneau, Tigers, Rios, Peavy

We'll end the evening with some links from the AL Central …

  • Twins first baseman Justin Morneau talked to reporters, including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger, about the recent trade rumors that have circulated. While he has a six-team no-trade clause, Morneau said that none of those teams are among the clubs reportedly interested in dealing for him.
  • Morneau also expressed that he hopes to stay in Minnesota, but has not been contacted about an extension. Set to become a free agent in 2013, the 32-year-old figures to be worth far short of his now-expiring six-year, $80MM deal.
  • For his part, Twins owner Jim Pohlad told La Velle E. Neal II of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that, while he would not "feel great about [Morneau] being traded," the team ultimately must "do whatever it takes to win." He added that Minnesota has twice rebuffed Morneau when he approached the club to try and discuss an extension.
  • Even with Joaquin Benoit, Drew Smyly, and Bruce Rondon pitching well at the back of the bullpen, the Tigers continue to explore the trade market, according to CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. He says that Detroit is scouting the Marlins, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, and Astros in search of bullpen pieces.
  • While Knobler does not connect the Tigers to any specific relievers, he does say that the team is not interested in Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees. Dan Martin of the New York Post, on the other hand, reports precisely the opposite. (Hat tip to River Ave. Blues.) He writes that the Tigers may be one of the only teams interested in Chamberlain, with the Phillies, Braves, and Giants not intrigued.
  • There was a moment of excitement tonight when White Sox outfielder and trade candidate Alex Rios was pulled from the game after the sixth inning. Rumored to have been seen hugging in the dugout, it turns out that Rios was pulled for not hustling on the basepaths. MLB.com's Scott Merkin was among the first (Twitter link) to firmly quash the speculation that a Rios trade had gone down. 
  • Since peaking in late May with an OPS that reached .928, Rios has seen his on-base and (especially) power numbers plummet. On the heels of two substandard months, Rios now stands at a league-average OPS of .755 for the year, making him a less compelling trade piece than he looked to be back in May. 
  • Expect a lot of teams to be watching Jake Peavy's start today for the White Sox. Peavy, who could be the most valuable starter available since he is controlled through next season, will look to prove that he is healthy and effective after a DL stint.

Bowden’s Latest: Garza, Rox, Rios, Morneau, Perkins

The trade deadline is just two weeks away, and with the All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio writes that the market will pick up rapidly beginning Friday. Here are some highlights from the highly informative article penned by the former GM of the Reds, Expos and Nationals (ESPN Insider required and recommended)…

  • Bowden hears there's an 80 percent chance that Matt Garza will be traded before his next scheduled start (Monday or Tuesday of next week). The Rangers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks are still involved, He describes the D-backs as "dark horses," adding that their odds in the Garza sweepstakes would increase if they were willing to part with left-hander David Holmberg.
  • The Rockies could also be interested in Garza, but they're not clear-cut buyers right now, and the prospective cost is prohibitive to them. If they were to sell, Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could be had. Michael Cuddyer could be moved, but only if Colorado is "blown away."
  • The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Alex Rios thus far. Bowden feels that offers will improve as the deadline draws closer.
  • The Justin Morneau era in Minnesota is coming to an end, and the Twins are prepared to trade the former MVP, according to Bowden. The Rays, Pirates and Yankees are said by Bowden to be possible destinations for Morneau.
  • The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have all inquired on Twins closer Glen Perkins and been turned away. Those four teams are all monitoring the health of Jesse Crain as well.
  • The Yankees are trying to use Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to acquire a bat but have had no luck thus far. None of those players figure to interest the Twins in regards to Morneau, Bowden adds, given the impending free agency of Hughes and Chamberlain and the presence of Joe Mauer behind the plate for the Twins.

Phillies Expressed Interest In Joba Chamberlain?

WEDNESDAY, 1:27pm: A source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the Phillies are not among the clubs pursuing Chamberlain.

TUESDAY, 9:05am: The Phillies are amenable to trading infielder Michael Young and have expressed interest in Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.  Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz may be available as well, since the 34-year-old is a free agent after the season.  He'd make sense for the Yankees, one of few contenders with a clear need behind the plate.

So what's getting in the way of a deal?  The Phillies' status as a team on the bubble is one factor, as they have three weeks remaining until the trade deadline to pull closer than their current 7.5 games out.  Lack of interest from the Yankees seems to be another — GM Brian Cashman's interest "has been lukewarm at best," writes Feinsand.     

The Chamberlain-Young-Ruiz trade scenario only makes sense if the Phillies are looking for a way to dump Young's salary, as Feinsand suggests, and/or if they also receive a prospect in return.  Otherwise, renting Chamberlain in his contract year only makes sense for the Phillies if they're making a push toward contention.  That's the general problem with the idea of Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as trade chips for the Yankees: non-contenders have little need for players in contract years.  A contender-to-contender deal could work; for example, the Braves were reportedly interested in Chamberlain earlier this month.