John McDonald Rumors

Odds & Ends: Astros, Indians, Reds, O’s, Reyes

Assorted rumblings from around the majors…

O’s Interested In John McDonald

According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter), the Orioles are interested in free agent infielder John McDonald.

McDonald, 35, hit .258/.271/.384 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 152 plate appearances this season for the Blue Jays.  The Orioles are expected to let Melvin Mora walk this offseason in lieu of exercising his $8MM option for 2010 and could use some inexpensive infield depth.  McDonald was well above average defensively this season with a 10.5 UZR/150 (per FanGraphs).  He made $1.9MM in 2009.

Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox Shortstop Options, Griffey, Suppan, Mulder, Glavine

The Red Sox have been trying to find a long term solution at shortstop ever since the Nomar Garciaparra trade back in 2004, and while the recent pickup of Alex Gonzalez has provided some stability, the team still needs to find a solution for next year and beyond. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says that first, the Sox have to decide if "they can afford to carry a light-hitting, great-fielding shortstop or sacrifice a bit of defense to aim for a more balanced lineup."

He presents some possible solutions to their seemingly perpetual shortstop issues, so let's round 'em up…

  • Marco Scutaro: The 33-yr old has enjoyed a tremendous season for Toronto (.282/.380/.411), and projects to be a Type-A free agent. He made just $1.1MM this season, and it seems likely that the Blue Jays would offer him arbitration.
  • Hanley Ramirez: Cafardo mentions that it still remains to be seen if Hanley can stick at short long term, but there is no question that he's one of the five best players in the game today. Given his team friendly contract that will pay him $64.5MM between now and 2014, the Sox would have to offer a bounty of young talent just to get their foot in the door.
  • Miguel Tejada: A projected Type-B free agent this offseason, it seems unlikely that the Astros would offer him arbitration. He could be a one year stopgap at shortstop, and perhaps enjoy an offensive resurgence similar to Mike Lowell thanks to Fenway Park and the Green Monster.
  • J.J. Hardy: As Cafardo notes, it "would take a leap of faith to think that his horrid season is an aberration." However, he did hit .280/.333/.470 from 2007-2008, and they'd definitely be buying low.
  • Jose Reyes: We've seen plenty of talk that the Mets should trade Reyes, but it remains to be seen if they actually will. Can you imagine Reyes and Jacoby Ellsbury on the bases?
  • Troy Tulowitzki: Cafardo admits it's a long shot, but everybody has a price. Considering that Tulo is guaranteed just $29.25MM between now and 2014 and is hitting .283/.363/.526 this year, doesn't it seem like it might be easier to acquire Hanley?
  • Cafardo also throws out the names of several other possible options, including Adam Everett, John McDonald, Omar Vizquel, Stephen Drew, and Brandon Wood.

The Red Sox still have Jed Lowrie in-house, but he's missed considerable time this year with wrist problems. It would be a stretch to think that 19-yr old Cuban signee Jose Iglesias could fill in next year, but stranger things have happened. I'll throw the name of one more impending free agent out there: Felipe Lopez. He last played shortstop regularly in 2007, but it's at least worth considering.

Here's the rest of Cafardo's non-Red Sox rumors…

  • Ken Griffey Jr. would like to return to Seattle for another year, and "probably can if his price is right." Junior is hitting .218/.325/.393 in 382 plate appearances this year, almost exclusively as a DH.
  • The Brewers placed Jeff Suppan on trade waivers last week, and Cafardo says it'll be interesting to see "if any contending team still looking for an experienced starter puts in a claim or tries to make a deal for him." Considering there's still $14.5MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, I'd guess no one puts a claim in.
  • Hardy was also placed on trade waivers.
  • Free agent pitcher Mark Mulder has decided not to make a comeback this year even though he made progress with his throwing program. He's likely to play winterball though.
  • Agent Gregg Clifton says client Tom Glavine is unlikely to attempt a comeback next year, and has started to field calls about broadcasting opportunities.

September Trade Candidates

We won't see nearly as many trades as we did in July, or even in August, but teams can still make deals. New acquisitions won't be eligible to play in the post-season, but they could still help their new clubs make the playoffs. Here are a few of the players who could be dealt this month:

  • Mark Hendrickson and Danys Baez are among the players known to have cleared waivers; they could appeal to clubs.
  • Kevin Millar has managed a .750 OPS against lefties in an otherwise disappointing offensive season, so clubs may want him off the bench, especially considering his reputation as a positive clubhouse presence. His teammate, John McDonald, could appeal to teams as a defensive specialist. He has a well-earned reputation as an excellent defender up the middle.
  • Buster Olney suggested today that the Rangers will look into infielders now that Michael Young is injured. Jamey Carroll could appeal to the Rangers and other clubs.
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that the Phillies have an eye on Nomar Garciaparra.

Trade Candidates: Middle Infielders

The Mets, Reds, Cardinals, Twins, Cubs, Brewers and Giants could all potentially look for middle infield help. Here are some trade candidates, listed from largest 2009 salary to smallest:

  • Miguel Tejada – His $13MM salary would be too much for some teams if the Astros made him available, but his 32 extra base hits and low strikeout numbers sure look good.
  • Julio Lugo – He makes $9MM this year and the same amount next year, so the Red Sox would presumably take on salary in any deal. The 33-year-old is hitting .370 since the beginning of June.
  • Cristian Guzman – At $8MM this year and next he's not cheap, but he's consistently hit for a high average in recent years.
  • Jack Wilson – He makes $7.25MM this year and his team will have to buy him out for $600k to avoid paying him even more in 2010. However, he's a good defender who puts the ball in play and has doubles power.
  • Freddy Sanchez – He'll make over $6MM this year and his 2010 option for $8MM will likely vest. It's a lot of money, but the former batting titlist is a better hitter than most middle infield trade candidates.
  • Dan Uggla The most powerful option available may not be available, after all. The Marlins are in it, so they may keep Uggla and his $3.5MM salary.
  • Orlando Cabrera – He's posted a .610 OPS this year and he'll make $4MM- not an enticing combination, but the A's are falling far out of the race.
  • Felipe Lopez – At just $3.5MM, his .771 OPS looks good, in spite of the big strikeout total.  
  • Jamey Carroll - As a free agent-to-be on the Indians, he's a candidate to be moved. The 35-year-old has a .735 OPS to go along with his $2.5MM salary.  
  • Cesar Izturis – He'll earn $2.4MM this year and $2.6MM in 2010. He's on the DL, recovering from an apendectomy, and his slow recovery is making it less likely that he'll be traded.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt – His $2MM salary is deceptive, as he's still guaranteed about $10MM before his deal expires. That figure, plus his .609 OPS mean he'll likely be staying put, but he could be had. 
  • John McDonald – He's barely played at all for the Jays, but McDonald, who makes $1.9MM,  could work for a team looking for a defensive specialist. 
  • Yunel Escobar - He makes just $425k this year and Buster Olney says the Braves would consider dealing him for a bat.
  • Blake DeWitt – The Dodgers have Orlando Hudson playing second base, so DeWitt could be expendable. He's making just $405k, but his Triple A numbers are uninspired.
  • Adam Kennedy – The A's are just paying Kennedy the major league minimum and he's produced an OPS approaching .800 for them. 

Edes On Francoeur, Nick Johnson, Valverde

8:10pm: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the Red Sox-Francoeur rumor:

Talked to someone in Braves organization who sort of dismissed the Red Sox rumor. Said he hadn’t heard one thing about them having any serious interest in Francoeur or scouting him recently.

9:01am: Yahoo's Gordon Edes wrote about many different trade scenarios in his column last night.

  • Edes seconds Ken Rosenthal's rumor that the Red Sox have been scouting Jeff Francoeur.
  • The Nationals have been scouting the Mets' Triple and Double A teams, trying to figure out a possible return for Nick Johnson.  Names of interest for Washington: Jon Niese, Mike Antonini, Eddie Kunz, and big leaguer Bobby Parnell.  The Red Sox also had interest in Johnson, but not for the price of Michael Bowden.  Back to the Mets – Joel Sherman of the New York Post has a list of available players they could consider aside from Johnson, including Jermaine Dye, Ben Francisco, Adam LaRoche, and Eric Hinske.
  • Edes likes the fit of Jose Valverde with the Rays, but speculates that the Astros could ask for Wade Davis in return.  Six years of Davis would be a huge price to pay for a few months of Valverde plus possible draft picks.  Edes also likes Mark DeRosa for Tampa Bay, but they seem well-equipped to handle Akinori Iwamura's injury with internal options.
  • Edes names the Phillies, Brewers, Royals, and Twins as possible suitors for Brad Penny.  Edes adds that the Phillies "are already making plans for life without Brett Myers" after this season.
  • The shortstop market includes Jack Wilson and perhaps John McDonald, but could become more interesting for a team like Boston if the Indians make Jhonny Peralta available.

Blue Jays To Sit Out Free Agent Market?

Beyond attempting to re-sign starter A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi does not intend to dabble in free agency this year.  He told’s Jordan Bastian he’d probably stay in-house.  Ricciardi shot down rumors of interest in Jason Giambi, Milton Bradley, and Rafael Furcal.  Drunk Jays Fans doesn’t buy the talk, though.

Trades are Ricciardi’s ideal route, though Richard Griffin notes J.P. has rarely dealt prospects for Major Leaguers.  Griffin believes big league trade chips may include B.J. Ryan, John McDonald, and Lyle OverbayJason Frasor could be another.

Tigers Want Short-Term Shortstop

According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers seek a short-term solution at shortstop.  The Tigers like the idea of using prospect Cale Iorg in 2010.  That means they won’t be signing free agents Orlando Cabrera and Rafael Furcal.  The Tigers view the relief market in the way – they like their long-term options (Ryan Perry, for example).

The Tigers have "mild interest" in Khalil Greene, who is signed through 2009.  They don’t like his $6.5MM price tag, which might mean Jack Wilson is also too pricey.  John McDonald is a more affordable name on the radar (the pitchers certainly wouldn’t mind).

The Tigers have an eye on the Rangers’ catchers, Gerald Laird in particular.  It might be tough to make a deal, as the Tigers don’t have pitching to spare.

Angels Eyeing Backup Shortstops

FRIDAY: Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi confirmed he’s in discussions with the Angels about his shortstops.

THURSDAY: With Maicer Izturis out for the season and Erick Aybar day-to-day, the Angels are looking to acquire a veteran backup shortstop.  Backup at second base wouldn’t be a bad idea either, in case Howie Kendrick‘s injury is serious.  Mike DiGiovanna names John McDonald, David Eckstein, Marco Scutaro, Juan Castro, and Jamey Carroll as targets.  The numbers on these guys:

  • McDonald: .222/.269/.292 in 162 PAs.  Owed $350K in ’08, $1.9MM in ’09.
  • Eckstein: .274/.353/.357 in 293 PAs.  Owed $830K in ’08.
  • Scutaro: .265/.347/.348 in 475 PAs.  Owed $290K in ’08, $1.1MM in ’09.
  • Castro: .194/.233/.250 in 118 PAs.  Owed minimum, Reds paying contract.
  • Carroll: .271/.355/.346 in 314 PAs.  Owed $400K in ’08, $2.5MM club option for ’09 with $0.15MM buyout.

Scutaro seems like the best fit; Carroll has not played shortstop this year.  It is not known whether any of these players have cleared waivers.  Who do you think the Angels should target?

Odds and Ends: Hart, Ellis, Mientkiewicz, Varitek

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