Joba Chamberlain Rumors

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.


Yankees Aggressively Pushing Chamberlain, Hughes

The Yankees are aggressively pushing trades involving Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, an AL executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  In fact, a deal sending Chamberlain to a National League team could happen soon, though nothing is imminent on either front.

Yesterday we learned that the Phillies have expressed interest in Chamberlain as they feel out the market for Michael Young.  However, as Tim Dierkes noted yesterday, the market for the 27=year-olds is somewhat limited as they are in their walk years and not of much use to non-contenders.  In the case of the Phillies, they may see themselves as buyers with a real chance to win this year, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears.

Chamberlain typically wouldn't garner trade attention, but a team in need of bullpen help could bite.  The right-hander has a 5.75 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 22 relief appearances this year.  Hughes, meanwhile, has a 4.55 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 17 starts. 


Braves Interested In Joba; Giants Eyeing Twins’ Pen

4:36pm: Schulman notes that excepting Glen Perkins, whom the Twins are unlikely to trade, the interesting reliever for the Giants in Minnesota's bullpen is Casey Fien. However, Schulman doesn't know whether the righty, who's posted a 3.55 ERA in 38 appearances, is available.

11:33am: Elder, a Giants scout, was in Minnesota last night to see the Twins' bullpen rather than Chamberlain, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Casey Fien,Jared BurtonBrian Duensing, and Josh Roenicke appeared for the Twins, with Burton and Duensing struggling.

10:30am: The Braves and Giants have an interest in Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, a pair of American League talent evaluators told George A. King III and Dan Martin of the New York Post.  The Braves' Jim Fregosi saw Chamberlain Friday night, while the Giants' Lee Elder attended last night's game "exclusively to watch Chamberlain."

Chamberlain, 27, has a 5.75 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.77 HR/9, and 35.5% groundball rate in 20 1/3 innings this year.  He missed most of May with an oblique strain.  Chamberlain has worked at 95-97 miles per hour as of late and seems a good candidate for a change of scenery.  Once an untouchable starting pitching prospect, Chamberlain is in his contract year and isn't expected to be with the Yankees next season.  The Braves are known to be in the market for relief help; they last matched up with the Yankees in a minor trade in November 2010.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.



Rosenthal’s Latest: M’s, Yanks, Roenicke, Rays, Cubs

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a lengthy new article discussing All-Stars, some of the game's top young hitters and a plethora of hot stove info. Here are some highlights…

  • Rival executives around the league are critical of the Mariners for rushing their top prospects, but Rosenthal notes that Nick Franklin has been more than up to the challenge, and Brad Miller earned his promotion with his minor league performance. Regarding the struggling Mike Zunino, GM Jack Zduriencik told Rosenthal: "We planned all along to get Mike to Seattle at some point in July … He wasn't expected to be a big contributor offensively if it was now, July, September … but he has held his own, and what he is receiving now will set him up for 2014 and beyond."
  • Multiple scouts have questioned the work ethic of the Brewers' players, with one telling Rosenthal "there's a lot of quit on that team." Rosenthal writes that it isn't manager Ron Roenicke's fault that Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez have been injured, but the negative reports could be an "ominous sign" for Roenicke. Rosenthal tweets a correction, noting that Roenicke is signed through 2014, not through 2013 as he initially reported.
  • The Yankees aren't planning a fire sale, but if they did, they'd have some of the most attractive trade chips in the game. The Yankees could part with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, however, and Rosenthal adds Curtis Granderson's name to the mix, assuming the injured outfielder gets healthy in time.
  • The Rays aren't looking to add a starting pitcher with both David Price and Alex Cobb likely to return in the near future. If the Rays make any moves at all, they'll be for impact players regardless of position.
  • The Cubs are "all but certain" to trade pending free agents Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg and Scott Feldman, but they're not in a rush to deal Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus, both of whom are controlled beyond 2013. 

Martino’s Latest: Hughes, Joba, Nats, O’s, Nolasco

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has a new column up that is loaded with trade deadline info after speaking to several Major League executives over the past few days. Here are some highlights from his excellent article…

  • One National League executive told Martino that the Yankees won't be able to get a useful bat or prospect back for either one of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
  • The Nationals are the most aggressive buyer on the market at this point, and their primary focus is on starting pitching. "They're calling everybody, said Martino's source. The Nationals recently placed the struggling Dan Haren on the disabled list, and Chris Young has been worse at Triple-A with a 7.88 ERA.
  • The Orioles are also making calls as part of a search for starting pitching, which lines up with reports from last week.
  • Martino spoke with another NL official who told him that the Marlins are "aggressively" shopping their pitchers. Ricky Nolasco is known to be available, and they're said to be open to dealing Ryan Webb as well. I'd imagine that the team will be willing to listen to offers on Kevin Slowey and Chad Qualls also. It would make sense to listen on Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek, though previous reports state that the Fish would like to hold onto both relievers.
  • Nolasco's name came up in February trade talks with the Mets, and one NL executive says that the Marlins are still "desperate" to move him. The Mets aren't a fit for Nolasco at this point, but Martino reiterates that the team could act as buyers this July, despite their losing record, as they look to add outfielders with multiple years of team control.

Quick Hits: Red Sox, Posey, Cano, Indians

Pirates GM Neal Huntington and Rays GM Andrew Friedman claim that their decisions to leave Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Wil Myers (Rays) in the minors to start the 2013 season were motivated not by service-time concerns, but by those players' readiness, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reports. Mayo says the scouts he's spoken to can't blame Huntington for sending Cole to Triple-A Indianapolis, since Cole has very limited experience at that level. Friedman, meanwhile, says that he needs to be sure a player is ready before having him compete in the tough AL East. "The AL East will expose very quickly any weaknesses that you have," he says. "So when we bring someone here, we need to feel that he's ready to step in and help us win right away."

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in contrast, says his organization promoted Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the season — even though doing so could affect Bradley's timetable for free agency — because Bradley is one of the organization's 25 best players, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. "At the end, if there was that level of confidence that he was part of the best 25-man roster, then we felt he should be on the team. That’s part of our responsibility to the fans and to the organization," Cherington says. In addition, Cherington notes, the Red Sox begin their season with plenty of games within their division, and it's especially crucial that they do well in those games. Their first four series against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays, all AL East opponents. Here are more notes from around the majors.

  • The Giants have locked up catcher Buster Posey with an eight-year, $159MM extension, but in Keith Law's latest podcast for ESPN, Posey's agent, Jeff Berry of Creative Artist Agency (CAA), contemplates what might have happened if Posey and the Giants had decided to go year-to-year through the arbitration system. Berry argues that Posey's situation would have been unique, because Posey has won an MVP and a Rookie of the Year award and has played for two World Series-winning teams, but after missing much of 2011 to injury, he doesn't have particularly impressive career bulk counting stats, which are a factor in arbitration hearings. "The challenge, first and foremost, in the arb system was looking at, 'Wow, this guy has accomplished things that no one else has ever done, but [among superstars in the arbitration process] he's also played less than anyone,'" Berry says.
  • Reacting to Robinson Cano's decision to fire Scott Boras and hire CAA and the rapper Jay-Z as his representation, one agent says that "Jay-Z doesn’t know s— about baseball," Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News writes. "You don’t hire a real estate agent to do neurosurgery," the agent continues. O'Keeffe goes on to note that, of course, Jay-Z will not be negotiating a deal for Cano, who will be a free agent after the season. That duty will go to CAA, which represents Posey and a number of other MLB stars. Here are more reactions to Cano's agency switch.
  • This year's Indians are excited about the team's offseason spending spree, Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. "Hats off to Chris Antonetti and the Dolan family, after losing 94 games [in 2012] they very easily could have folded up shop and said, 'Let’s wait for a few more young kids to develop and see what we’ve got,'" says Jason Giambi, who signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland in February. Instead, he says, "[t]hey went out and got some guys and spent some money. They put together a good ballclub, now we have to answer the bell and play good."
  • The Rangers had scouts watching pitcher Joba Chamberlain in spring training, but the Rangers and Yankees never ended up discussing a deal, George A. King III and Zach Braziller of the New York Post write. King and Braziller note that Chamberlain impressed the Yankees with a spring training performance that included nine strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.

Cafardo On Chamberlain, Cishek, Royals, Rangers

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks all 30 managers in the major leagues.  In Cafardo's view, you're doing something right if you're managing in MLB, so there are no negative comments for any of the skippers.  Buck Showalter takes third place for his work with the surprise Orioles last season. Rays manager Joe Maddon takes second for his innovative ways.  The top spot, however, goes to the Giants' Bruce Bochy.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • We learned last week that the Rangers are scouting Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees and one AL scout believes that the Bombers believe they have gone as far as they can with the right-hander.  “They would deal him in a heartbeat and then fill in with one of their starters in the bullpen,” said the scout. “If Texas would give up Mike Olt, a deal could get done there.
  • The Marlins' Steve Cishek is drawing considerable interest from teams looking for a reliever.  One scout says that the side-arming sinker baller is likely on most wishlists around baseball.
  • The Royals are open to moving Luke Hochevar (albeit, for a higher-than-expected price) but they're also willing to trade projected No. 5 starter Bruce Chen.
  • The PhilliesYuniesky Betancourt has improved his visibility and it wouldn't be shocking to see a team deal for him before Opening Day.  The shortstop has a March 24th opt out date and he is on the Cardinals' list as they look to replace Rafael Furcal.
  • Cafardo believes that there is an obvious trade to be made involving Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello and the Red Sox's Andrew Bailey.  However, Boston's rotation is full right now and they already have Allen Webster waiting in the wings.
  • One National League GM says that teams will be kicking themselves for missing out on Kyle Lohse, despite the draft pick compensation that he will cost.  “That’s the way it’s going to go,” said the GM, “but you also don’t want to overpay for a pitcher who has been hanging around that long. If you can’t get him at your price, then you look foolish paying what he was asking two months ago.” In Cafardo's view, the Rangers are still the most logical destination.
  • Manny Acta, who is now serving as an analyst for ESPN, has said that he hopes to get back into managing.  However, he says that he's not interested in becoming a GM.

Yankees Notes: Rivera, Chamberlain, Cooper

While it’s possible to replace Mariano Rivera for a day or even for a season, replacing him for 15 to 20 years represents another challenge altogether, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. “You are replacing someone who has done things in the game that may never be done again,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Sherman. “You are replacing someone who is basically irreplaceable.” Rivera will retire following the 2013 season.

Here are more Yankees-related notes…


AL East Notes: Chamberlain, Damon, Rolen

MLBTR’s Offseason in Review series began today with a look at the Rays’ busy winter. Here are some notes from the rest of the AL East…

  • The Yankees are tired of the physical and verbal risks surrounding Joba Chamberlain in the view of Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The team expects to benefit from having Chamberlain in the bullpen this year, but won’t want to invest multiple years in him when he hits free agency next offseason.
  • Teams were once willing to overlook Johnny Damon’s below-average defense to obtain his bat, but Damon hit poorly in 2012. As Sherman notes, teams like the Yankees want offense, yet are passing on the 39-year-old because of doubts regarding his ability.
  • The Red Sox haven’t called on free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. However, there’s a belief that Rolen would be interested in talking to the Red Sox. It’s not something the Red Sox are expected to consider unless Will Middlebrooks’ wrist injury turns out to be more serious than initially anticipated.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Chamberlain, Drew

There's no denying that David Ortiz has been the game’s top designated hitter over the course of the last decade. You arrive at the same conclusion whether you use home runs, OPS or wins above replacement; no one has been better than Ortiz. Yet the rest of the designated hitters in the AL East aren't nearly as imposing: Adam Lind, Luke Scott, Travis Hafner and Wilson Betemit. Here are the latest links from the division…

  • MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, that he has his doubts about the Yankees’ plans of avoiding the MLB luxury tax by 2014 (Twitter link). "I imagine Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I’ll believe it when I see it," Weiner said, in reference to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.
  • Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues expects some team to give Joba Chamberlain the chance to start next offseason, when the right-hander hits free agency. Axisa suggests a two-year, $10MM deal such as the one Carlos Villanueva signed could be enough to land Chamberlain. Don’t expect the Yankees to sign him for that kind of money, though.
  • The Red Sox didn't sign free agents just to trade them midseason, Nick Cafardo writes in a mailbag at the Boston Globe. However, Cafardo could imagine the Red Sox trading Stephen Drew if Jose Iglesias blossoms into a passable offensive contributor.