Joba Chamberlain Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Burton, Brian 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Phillies' Yuniesky 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.
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...
- The Rangers are scouting Joba Chamberlain, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Texas special assistant Don Welke was assigned to watch Chamberlain pitch against the Cardinals earlier in the week, according to King.
- The Yankees will look at left-handed hitting first baseman David Cooper, Sherman reports (Twitter links). The Blue Jays released the 26-year-old earlier today, making him a free agent. However, Cooper is battling a back injury that could end his career.
- Sherman has been told the Yankees will also look into Brennan Boesch (Twitter link). The Tigers released the left-handed hitting Boesch earlier today and he’s already drawing lots of interest.