Jordan Zimmermann Rumors
The Nationals expect Stephen Strasburg to return to the Major Leagues one week from today. Here are some links from D.C. in the meantime...
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he intends to handle Strasburg with "kid gloves" as the right-hander completes his return from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last September.
- Livan Hernandez said today that he wants to return to Washington in 2012, even if it means working in middle relief next year, Kilgore reports (on Twitter).
- Top 2010 draft pick Bryce Harper will suit up for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League this year, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes. Harper, who made it to Double-A in his first professional season, is now recovering from a hamstring injury.
- Kilgore suggests Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann could be an extension candidate this offseason. Zimmermann, a likely super two player, came back from Tommy John surgery to put together a fantastic season in 2011, but he has now reached his innings limit for the year.
- For a look at a key member of the Nationals' front office, check out MLBTR's piece on GM candidate Bryan Minniti.
Players with zero to three years of service time are under team control and don't have the power to negotiate their salaries. Most of these players agree to terms with their clubs on deals worth $400-500K, but some don't agree to terms and their clubs renew their contracts instead (it doesn't affect the player's timeline for arbitration or free agency). Here's the latest on the NL East, including news on some contract renewals:
- The Nationals announced that they have renewed the contracts of right-handers Tyler Clippard and Jordan Zimmermann.
- The Marlins renewed the contracts of four of their own players, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter). The team did not agree to terms with Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton or Ryan Webb.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan shows that Jason Heyward is uncharacteristically mature for a 21-year-old. The Braves right fielder tells Passan that he can improve upon his standout rookie season, something that would please new manager Fredi Gonzalez.
It's not often that the Brewers and Royals are the two teams dominating discussion around baseball, but that's exactly what's happening today, after the clubs agreed to a blockbuster deal. Let's check out some reactions and a few more details on the trade that will send Zack Greinke to Milwaukee....
- According to Yahoo's Tim Brown (via Twitter), the Dodgers were discussing Greinke and even brought a third team into the mix in an attempt to meet Kansas City's needs. Ultimately, they ran out of time.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Royals were close to a deal that would've sent Greinke to Washington, if not for the right-hander's no-trade clause. MLB.com's Bill Ladson confirms that Greinke turned down a potential trade to the Nationals (Twitter links). Heyman adds that Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa likely would've been involved in the hypothetical deal (Twitter link).
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears that the Royals coveted Jordan Zimmermann, who the Nats were reluctant to give up.
- Heyman tweets that Greinke approved the Brewers and not the Nats because he believes Milwaukee is closer to serious contention. He's also apparently fond of the city.
- According to Heyman (via Twitter), Greinke told the Royals that he wouldn't mind playing for the Yankees, but New York never got close to making a trade for the Kansas City ace.
- The Brewers had some interest in Carl Pavano, who they presumably won't pursue now. As such, the Twins' leverage with Pavano should improve, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that the $2MM going to Milwaukee will cover the buyout for Yuniesky Betancourt's 2012 option, if the Brewers choose to buy him out.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports praises Brewers GM Doug Melvin for choosing an established player over prospects. Rosenthal also examines the trade from the Royals' perspective.
- With Prince Fielder a year from free agency, Melvin saw the team's window for playoff contention closing and moved aggressively to improve the 2011 roster, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Fangraphs' Marc Hulet breaks down the package acquired by Kansas City, noting that their haul is "certainly quantity over quality." In an Insider-only article, ESPN.com's Keith Law makes a similar point, calling the Royals' return "bulk, and fit, but not impact."
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and two front office people he spoke to "really like" the move for the Royals (Twitter link).
In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney says that the first day of Spring Training acts as an artificial deadline for the Royals to trade Zack Greinke. At that point he will show up to the clubhouse and dominate the team's storyline. Olney likens it to the Johan Santana situation from a few years ago, when the Twins felt pressure to move him before pitchers and catchers reported. He adds that Greinke's performance would then be under intense scrutiny, even during Spring Training, and if he pitches poorly his trade value will plummet.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- The Rangers made what was considered an aggressive offer for Greinke at the winter meetings only to learn that they fell way short of Kansas City's demands.
- The Nationals were informed that in order to land Greinke, they would have to part with Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen, and Danny Espinosa. Rival executives expect the asking price to come down in the weeks ahead.
- Orlando Cabrera is open to returning to the Twins. Minnesota just finalized a contract with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but right now Alexi Casilla is penciled in as their everyday shortstop.
- The Astros were very much in on Orlando Hudson before he chose San Diego and they signed Bill Hall.
The Mariners could presumably ask for a king’s ransom in exchange for Felix Hernandez, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports thinks Seattle should build around the reigning Cy Young Award winner, not trade him. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:
- The Cubs are still willing to trade Kosuke Fukudome, but they’d likely have to cover some of the $13.5MM the outfielder is set to earn in 2011.
- Were it not for his salary, the Reds might be a more serious suitor for Zack Greinke. However, a rival executive says Cincinnati is “tapped out,” payroll-wise.
- The Nationals’ pursuit of Greinke has slowed and one source says it’s because of the team’s reluctance to include Jordan Zimmermann in a potential deal.
- Adrian Beltre remains a “focus” for the Angels.
- The Rangers, however, are more inclined to re-sign Vladimir Guerrero and add a first baseman than pursue Beltre, according to Rosenthal’s sources.
- Don’t expect Texas to spend on a top free agent reliever, even if Neftali Feliz moves to the rotation.
- Kerry Wood wants a two-year, $12MM deal, Rosenthal reports.
- Another former Yankee, Carl Pavano, is searching for considerably more. He wants a three-year deal worth $10-11MM per season, one GM says. The Rangers are not pursuing Pavano right now.
The Nationals are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. However, Kilgore’s source doesn’t expect Washington to trade for either pitcher. Earlier today, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that Royals GM Dayton Moore is actively gauging the market for Greinke.
The Rays and Royals could have interest in Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, but the Nationals are not likely to move either player. However, Kilgore hears that the team would move Danny Espinosa “in a heartbeat.” Roger Bernadina would be available and it’s possible that the Nationals would consider trading Drew Storen or Sean Burnett, according to Kilgore.
12:22pm: A Dodgers source tells Yahoo's Steve Henson Loney will not be traded because he'd be too expensive to replace on the open market (Twitter link). Rosenthal now agrees that Loney will not be traded.
11:39am: The Nationals, Cubs, and Brewers have inquired on Dodgers first baseman James Loney, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Loney is available, says Rosenthal. Rosenthal notes that the Brewers would only want him in the unlikely event of a Prince Fielder trade. The Cubs and Nationals appear to be focused on Carlos Pena, says Rosenthal.
Loney was tendered a contract on December 2nd, so he'll earn $4.5-5MM in 2011 after a disappointing '10 season. The Dodgers' asking price doesn't appear to be reasonable, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that they wanted Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann from Washington.
On this day last year, the White Sox acquired Horacio Ramirez from the Royals for minor-leaguer Paul Orlando. Today, they got Alex Rios for nothing.
- Matt Eddy at Baseball America has a useful guide to the past week's minor-league transactions.
- Tough break for the Nationals: According to Chico Harlan at the Washington Post, prized young arm Jordan Zimmermann has a torn ligament that will likely require up to 18 months to repair. Speculation, but perhaps this could further press the Nationals in the Stephen Strasburg negotiations?
- Ken Davidoff at Newsday likes the Alex Rios move for both teams.
- Game of Inches analyzes some metrics and sees the Rios move as a big win for J.P. Ricciardi.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that talks have fallen off between the team and first-round selection Mike Leake. Last week's above-slot signing of Mike Minor by the Braves didn't help matters.
According to Chico Harlan, the Nationals have made some major changes to their 25-man roster. Here's a quick synopsis of the moves:
- Josh Bard: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
- Saul Rivera: Optioned to AAA-Syracuse
- Wil Ledezma: Designated for assignment
- Steven Shell: Designated for assignment
The quartet was replaced by pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Garrett Mock, Jason Bergmann, and veteran Kip Wells.
Following today's loss to the Marlins, which completed the second three-game sweep of the Nationals this season for the Fish already in 2009, Manny Acta was not shy about the bullpen:
Chico Harlan of the Washington Post offers up a number of Nationals rumors.
- Wily Mo Pena was placed on waivers, meaning that any team can claim him and take on his $2MM salary. As Harlan points out, no team will claim him so Pena will have to choose between free agency and a minor league assignment. Apparently Pena declined to comment this morning, but shook hands with many in the Washington clubhouse before heading out (leaving a full locker behind).
- Collin Balester was optioned to AAA so Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann are the team's 4th and 5th starters.
- Catcher Javier Valentin declined a minor league assignment and became a free agent.
- Yesterday, Harlan spoke with Austin Kearns and Josh Willingham about the possibility of reduced playing time and both players said they want to play out the spring first.