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Jorge Soler Rumors
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks the top ten managers in baseball. Don Mattingly of the Dodgers tops the list as he has the club off to a surprising 38-22 record, putting them four games above the Giants in the NL West. Robin Ventura (White Sox), Terry Collins (Mets), Bobby Valentine (Red Sox), and Buck Showalter (Orioles) round out the top five. Here's more from Cafardo..
- Only Kevin Towers knows for sure if the inconsistent Justin Upton could ever be available in a deal. However, a few baseball evaluators wouldn’t mind tempting the Diamondbacks with a package. Arizona doesn't need pitching, so the Red Sox can't use someone like Clay Buchholz to get him.
- The Phillies may be more interested in Will Middlebrooks than Kevin Youkilis, a major league source told Cafardo. However, it doesn't look like the Red Sox would have interest in dealing Middlebrooks.
- The Orioles' new six-year, $85MM deal with Adam Jones has led to speculation on how the Red Sox will approach Jacoby Ellsbury, who can be a free agent after the 2013 season. However, there's reason for both sides to wait. As an Oregon native who shuns the spotlight, Ellsbury may want a quieter market. The Sox, meanwhile, would want to see Ellsbury stay healthy for a while before committing 6-8 years to him.
- While the Mariners haven’t given indications that they will sell off veteran pieces, teams are targeting them as a seller. The M's have already received some inquiries for Brandon League.
- The Rays have to be looking for a middle infielder, which are extremely hard to come by. Tampa Bay is anxious to upgrade from the defensive play of Sean Rodriguez.
- The Red Sox really like Jorge Soler, but they don’t appear to be the front-runners for him.
The Astros, Cubs, Pirates, Indians, Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Blue Jays appear to have some interest in Jorge Soler, while the Marlins and Mets are not pursuing him. The Cuban outfield prospect must sign by July 2nd if he aims to avoid spending restrictions imposed under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement. Here’s the latest:
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed to Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that they "won't be a player" for Soler (Twitter link). "I don't know who his agent is. Tells you how involved we are," added Dipoto.
- The next round of bids for Soler are due this weekend, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers have been the most aggressive teams so far, Olney reports.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Soler may be trying to establish his residency paperwork through Haiti, instead of the Dominican Republic, where he has been living and working out. Some agents say they would never consider trying to establish a Cuban player's residency through Haiti, which is not known for accurate record keeping.
- However, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com hears that MLB verified Soler's residency in Haiti before granting him free agency (Twitter link). It's not an issue, according to Crasnick's source.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Someone finally got to Aroldis Chapman and, of all teams, it was the light-hitting Pirates. Chapman allowed back-to-back doubles to lead off the 10th inning, allowing his first earned run of the 2012 season and first since September 10, 2011 — a stretch of 35 straight scoreless innings. Pittsburgh won the game by a 5-4 score.
Here's the latest from the NL Central…
- Joel Hanrahan doesn't think the Pirates will trade him this summer, the closer tells Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Cook opines that Pirates ownership's commitment to re-signing top players will be questioned if Hanrahan doesn't receive a long-term extension. Hanrahan told Cook he didn't think much about trade rumors, though we know he at least reads them on this very website.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow confirmed that his team still has an interest in Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Luhnow wouldn't say if the Astros had submitted a contract offer by today, the reported deadline set by Soler's agents.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien about how he was almost dealt to the Cubs in 2003, as the Cubs offered the Twins a package of Juan Cruz and Todd Wellemeyer for the catcher. Pierzynski said that he'd like to remain with the White Sox when he hits free agency this winter but if the Southsiders' local rivals from Wrigleyville were to contact him, “if they were the only team that came after me and I wanted to continue to play, how could I say no?"
- Francisco Rodriguez wants to remain with the Brewers through the rest of this season, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, though the reliever said he'd like to close again, in all likelihood for a new team since John Axford is ensconced as Milwaukee's stopper.
R.A. Dickey was masterful again today, throwing 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball in the Mets' 3-1 victory over the Nationals. Dickey has now thrown 24 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and is approaching Jerry Koosman's club record scoreless inning streak of 31 2/3 innings.
Here's the latest from around the NL East…
- The Marlins are not pursuing Jorge Soler, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (via Twitter). The Marlins didn't submit an offer by Thursday, the deadline set by Soler's representatives for teams to propose a contract for the Cuban outfielder.
- Mets right-hander Jack Egbert has cleared waivers and will go to Triple-A Buffalo, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Egbert was designated for assignment on Tuesday.
- The Braves signed third-round draft pick Bryan De La Rosa, tweets Jim Callis of Baseball America. De La Rosa, a high school catcher, signed for his exact slot value of $408.3K.
- In NL East news from earlier today, the Nationals signed several draft picks and outlined their draft day strategy, while the Braves and Mets each reached agreements with their first-round picks.
Links from around baseball as Wednesday becomes Thursday..
- Padres closer Huston Street is excited to return to action but is also aware that he might not stay long with the trade deadline less than two months away, writes Dan Hayes of the North County Times. Street is earning $7.5MM this season with a $9MM team option for 2013 that can be bought out for just $500K.
- A number of teams seem to be in on Jorge Soler, but it doesn't appear that the Mets will be one of them. Despite the recent Bernie Madoff settlement, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (via Twitter) hears that the club still doesn't plan to pursue him.
- Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal spoke with Mark Prior about his latest effort to get back to the big leagues with the Red Sox. Boston signed the right-hander to a minor league deal last month.
- Agent Scott Boras told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he believes the draft has become a "mockery" after the changes to the rules under the new collective bargaining agreement.
- Major League Baseball vice president/baseball development Jimmie Lee Solomon has been fired by commissioner Bud Selig, industry sources confirm to Eric Fisher of the Sporting News. Solomon spent 21 years working with MLB. Josh Leventhal of Baseball America first reported the news on Tuesday.
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com previews the upcoming trade deadline and the teams that are straddling the fence between buying and selling.
A couple of items on the 19-37 Cubs..
- The Cubs are saying that they'll try to sign Matt Garza, but rival GMs believe that there is a decent chance of a trade, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It could come down to an AL East battle for his services, Heyman adds, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays all in the mix.
- The Cubs were one of several teams that had representatives at Jorge Soler's workout today, writes Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer admitted that the club has done their fair share of homework on the highly-touted prospect. “We’ve been following this carefully and we certainly plan to be involved," Hoyer said.
The Pirates own the eighth overall pick in tonight's amateur draft, the first time they've selected outside of the top five since picking Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick in 2005. Here's the latest from Pittsburgh…
- The Pirates will be bidders for 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). They will not budge from their pre-determined value and won't offer Yoenis Cespedes money, however. Soler was declared a free agent by MLB over the weekend.
- The Bucs are converting pitching prospect Stetson Allie into a position player, reports Biertempfel and Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Allie signed for $2.2MM as the 52nd overall pick in the 2010 draft but has walked 37 batters in 26 2/3 pro innings. Baseball America ranked him as the club's ninth best prospect coming into this season.
The Dodgers have been sliding as of late and though they could use some reinforcements, they might not get them any time soon. General Manager Ned Colletti said that he has been contacting other teams for the last month to inquire about potential trades but hasn't found much yet, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. More from around baseball..
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) wonders if both of the players in the Michael Bowden-Marlon Byrd trade could be designated for assignment. Bowden was DFA'd by the Cubs yesterday to make room for right-hander Jairo Asencio while Byrd could be DFA'd by the Red Sox when Darnell McDonald returns.
- Jorge Soler's agent, Barry Praver, has requested that offers for his client be submitted by Thursday, June 7th, a source tells Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (via Twitter).
- The Red Sox aren't aggressively shopping Kevin Youkilis right now because he has been hitting well and the club doesn't know when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury will be back, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd).
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider req'd) suggests three trades to help fix the Cubs.
11:52am: Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Soler's agent, Bart Hernandez of the Praver Shapiro Sports Management group, still must produce a) an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Asset Control, or b) two permanent residency documents from a new country before any contract can be finalized.
10:39am: Jorge Soler has been declared a free agent and is now eligible to sign with any team, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 20-year-old Cuban outfielder will be subject to the spending restrictions imposed by the new collective bargaining agreement as of July 2nd, but he can sign for any amount prior to then.
The Indians, Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, Marlins, Blue Jays, and Astros are said to have interest in Soler, and I'm sure many other clubs will get involved as well. Back in March we heard bogus reports that the Cubs had agreed to a contract with the outfielder. Two GMs speculated that the bidding would exceed five years and $15-20MM back in February.
The Braves announced that they’re retiring John Smoltz’s number 29 to honor the right-hander’s contributions over the course of 20 seasons with Atlanta. Here are today’s links…
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine publicly questioned Kevin Youkilis' commitment, but GM Ben Cherington says the entire organization knows Youkilis works and plays hard. "Bobby's acknowledged that he shouldn't have said what he said and spoke to Kevin about it,'' Cherington told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The Red Sox aren’t likely to deal for an outfielder to fill in while Jacoby Ellsbury’s on the disabled list, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears from a team source.
- MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli wonders if it’s time for the Orioles and Kevin Gregg to part ways (Twitter link). Gregg, who had a rough outing in Toronto yesterday, will earn $5.8MM this year. I expect the Orioles to decline their $6MM club option for Gregg this coming offseason.
- As far as MLB teams know, Jorge Soler isn’t officially a free agent yet, Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets. This means teams can’t yet negotiate with the promising young outfielder.