Jorge Cantu Rumors
We've heard that Ty Wigginton is the Rockies' top target for a right-handed bat, but the club has other targets for that role, as well as interest in several other players, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Let's go over some of them:
- Jorge Cantu is one alternative to Wigginton, despite a miserable second half to the 2010 season. GM Dan O'Dowd acknowledged that they'd prefer someone who can play in the outfield, but that's not critical.
- The Rockies have soured on Josh Willingham due to Washington's asking price and concerns over the 31-year-old's knee. They've also called about Jeff Francoeur, believing he could handle first base.
- Colorado would have interest in Rich Harden in a bullpen role, if the righty would be willing to make the switch from starting pitching. There's also the question of whether or not the injury-prone Harden could hold up physically. Renck says the Rox have tried to acquire Harden numerous times in the past, but to no avail.
- Colorado is also looking at Kevin Gregg, Bobby Jenks, Brian Fuentes, Jesse Crain, and Pedro Feliciano, though the first three prefer to close, which won't happen in Denver.
- The Rockies also haven't closed the door on Joe Beimel, who tells Renck he'd love to come back to Colorado.
- The Rockies are interested in Troy Glaus, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Glaus could be a right-handed version of Jason Giambi, who wasn't a natural complement to Todd Helton since both bat from the left side.
- The Rockies are still "in the mix" for David Bush, but probably not for Aaron Harang, according to Renck (on Twitter). Both pitchers appeared on Renck's recent list of pitching targets for the Rockies.
- Renck reminds us that Jorge Cantu, Jose Lopez and Kevin Kouzmanoff are options for the team (Twitter link). Only Cantu is a free agent; Kouzmanoff and Lopez are non-tender candidates.
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd says he has told Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez that he wants to lock them up long-term, according to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. O'Dowd has discussed a long-term deal with Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, but he doesn't have to worry about locking Jimenez up. The right-hander is under team control through 2014.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears (on Twitter) that De La Rosa turned down multiple offers for more money to re-sign in Colorado.
The Rockies have expressed interest in Athletics' third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. He adds that Jose Lopez, Jorge Cantu, and Ty Wigginton are also on Colorado's radar in a second tweet, calling the team "quietly aggressive" during the GM Meetings.
Kouzmanoff is a non-tender candidate, even moreso now that the A's have brought in Edwin Encarnacion and are aggressively bidding on Adrian Beltre. Renck adds that he would fill the role of Melvin Mora for Colorado, pushing Ian Stewart at third base and potentially platooning with him. Cantu, Lopez, and Wiggington could all do the same as well. Earlier today we learned that the Rockies also have interest in Alex Gordon.
When the Marlins traded Jorge Cantu to the Rangers before this year's July 31st deadline, it was a prime opportunity for Cantu to turn his season around. Playing for a postseason contender in a hitter-friendly park, the 28-year-old was in a good position to improve his stock with a productive stretch run. It's still possible that Cantu will come up with some timely hits in the playoffs for the Rangers, but so far, his time in Texas has been a major disappointment. In 75 plate appearances, Cantu has hit .206/.270/.265 and has yet to drive in a run.
Prior to the season, Cantu was coming off a two-year stretch in Florida in which he hit .283/.336/.462, averaged over 20 homers per season, and logged playing time at both corner infield positions. His performance earned him a $6MM contract for his final year of arbitration eligibility, but his discouraging 2010 campaign doesn't bode well for his impending free agency.
When teams consider Cantu this winter, one thing working in his favor is his history. This isn't the first time the infielder has had a letdown year following a successful one - in 2006, on the heels of a .286/.311/.497, 28-homer season for the Rays, Cantu hit just .249/.295/.404. His drop-off in OPS that season (.808 to .699) looks awfully similar to his decline from 2009 to 2010 (.788 to .691). Cantu rebounded nicely after signing with the Marlins, and he's still young enough that he could do so again.
Even if a club takes a chance on Cantu's ability to bounce back though, it's hard to imagine him landing more than a short-term deal. The first base market is flush with alternatives, and Cantu has never been a strong defensive third baseman, according to UZR. Cantu's best option may be signing an affordable one-year deal in the hopes that he can rebuild his value and ink a long-term contract next winter, entering his age-30 season.
After months of rumors and speculation, the Marlins finally traded Jorge Cantu. They sent him to the Rangers for AA righties Evan Reed and Omar Poveda in a deal that became official this evening. The Marlins will pay $600K of the $2.2MM remaining on Cantu's salary.
Cantu, 28, is hitting .259/.308/.408 this season with ten homers. The 28-year-old becomes a free agent after the season and has said he would like to sign with the Marlins. At this point, the club is considering multi-year deals for some of Cantu's former teammates.
Reed, 24, has a 1.76 ERA as a reliever in the upper minors this year. He has posted 7.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 across two levels so far in 2010.
Poveda is now on the disabled list, recovering from Tommy John surgery, but Baseball America ranked him 20th among Rangers prospects entering the season. BA explained then that Poveda "profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter."
9:11pm: The Rockies are out on Cantu, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter).
3:49pm: The Giants are "not heavily considering" Cantu, a source told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). The Rockies are still looking at Cantu, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
8:25am: The Giants are making a strong run for Marlins corner infielder Jorge Cantu, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They may hold an edge over the Rangers and Rockies, who remain involved. He says the Fish are believed to be seeking a young lefthander. The Giants have been using Travis Ishikawa at first base lately, while third baseman Pablo Sandoval is set to return from personal leave tonight.
In terms of young lefties, the Giants have reliever Dan Runzler on the DL with a knee injury and starter Eric Surkamp at High A. Clayton Tanner and Craig Clark also fit into their Baseball America top 30 prospect list heading into the season. Joe Martinez cracked the list the prior year. The Marlins asked about Tanner during the Winter Meetings, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
Yesterday ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote that the Rangers and Marlins' talks for Cantu appeared hung up over dollars. The Rangers want the Marlins to assume all of the $2.22MM remaining on Cantu's contract.
Cantu, by the way, names the Marlins as his first choice when he hits the free agent market (ESPN's Amy K. Nelson via Twitter).
11:39am: The Rockies were telling teams yesterday that "they're waiting until Friday to assess where they are in the standings before they decide if they're still buyers," according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.
10:25am: The Rockies are now eight games out in the NL West and 5.5 back in the wild card. Talking to Dave Krieger of the Denver Post, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd explained that the club has been struggling across the board, and trades can't fix everything. O'Dowd also talked about the expectation that plenty of players will be available in August:
"There's really not a ton of players on the market right now in the impactful category. There's one in particular I think if we're not able to acquire by the 31st probably wouldn't be there. The rest we've come across I don't think the 31st is necessarily a firm deadline."
O'Dowd appears to be referring to Jorge Cantu as the one target who will be traded by Saturday. Cantu is actually having a pretty bad year though; he's in the same offensive range as B.J. Upton, Jhonny Peralta, Howie Kendrick, and Jeff Francoeur. The Rockies might miss out on Cantu, as the Giants are said to be stepping up their pursuit.
O'Dowd talked about the bullpen market, saying he doesn't think it's possible to acquire a reliever who's pitching well right now. He also touched on the chances of the Rockies selling:
"I don't think we're going to be a seller unless it's something that fits with us strategically short term and long term. I still think we could even add if the right player was there for us, but it's got to be the right player. If we can rearrange some furniture a little bit in the process of doing that, we certainly would look at that."
Krieger thinks that means O'Dowd is willing to tinker with the team's offense. I wonder if an Aaron Cook trade fits with O'Dowd's strategy, as Jhoulys Chacin could replace him adequately right away. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote yesterday that the Rockies are quietly shopping Cook.
3:17pm: Coghlan's injury won't prevent the Marlins from dealing Jorge Cantu, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. Capozzi reports that the Marlins continue discussing Cantu with other teams and suggests there's a "good chance" that the club trades Cantu. The Marlins appear to be asking for a "big prospect" from the Rangers for Cantu, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter).
10:56am: With the news that Chris Coghlan tore the meniscus in his left knee in Sunday's pie-related incident, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the Marlins are leaning toward keeping outfielder Cody Ross. The loss of Coghlan depletes the team's outfield depth, and the Marlins are still within spitting distance of the playoffs.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports actually tweeted two days ago, before the Coghlan injury, that a Ross deal was unlikely. Now, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says on Twitter that trading Ross is a "definite no-go" for the Marlins.
Frisaro says Ross has drawn attention from the Braves, Dodgers, and Red Sox. He doesn't rule out a deal, but says it'd "have to completely make sense." The Phillies and Yankees have also been linked to the 29-year-old outfielder.
2:54pm: The Rockies had feelers out a week ago on names ranging from Adam Dunn to Dan Haren, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman says the Rockies are now "quietly shopping" Aaron Cook and are willing to help make the financial aspect work. Cook is still owed $3.75MM this year if traded, plus $10.25MM for 2011, a $500K buyout for '12, and $125K per year if he reaches 200 innings.
7:51am: The Rockies are preparing for the possibility of becoming sellers, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They've not yet committed to that course, but they're eight games back in the NL West. But at 4.5 games out of the wild card, the Rockies still appear to have a legitimate playoff shot. Baseball Prospectus' postseason odds report puts their chances at a healthy 23.4% despite a recent losing streak.
Rosenthal says the Rockies are still eyeing Jorge Cantu and could move Melvin Mora, Ryan Spilborghs, and/or Brad Hawpe regardless of their direction. If the team's rough week continues and they start thinking about 2011, Jorge de la Rosa would be an interesting addition to the trade block. Rosenthal names Aaron Cook, Rafael Betancourt, and Joe Beimel as other possibilities.
De La Rosa has made three starts since returning from the DL for a finger injury. His last effort was solid, and he takes on the Pirates tonight. He'll be a free agent after the season and currently profiles as a Type B.
Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth told ESPN's Jayson Stark he's "not up late reading the blog sites" regarding trade rumors, but he doesn't expect to be dealt. Stark agrees, though he notes that the Phillies did toss Werth's name out there to many teams. On to Stark's other rumors...
- The Dodgers are looking at Ted Lilly, but they haven't completely abandoned the idea of acquiring Roy Oswalt. Still, the impediments to an Oswalt deal remain significant. Lilly appears certain to be traded.
- Josh Willingham is drawing interest from the Braves, Rays, and Red Sox. Adam Dunn remains a trade candidate as well, but the Nationals would only deal one of the two.
- Money might be holding up a Jorge Cantu-Rangers deal, as the Rangers can't add any payroll and would want the Marlins to pick up the entire $2.25MM tab.
- The Padres have been linked to infielders Ryan Theriot and Jeff Keppinger, as outfield targets such as David DeJesus, Corey Hart, and Jayson Werth drop out of the picture for various reasons.
- Don't look for anything major from the Red Sox outside of some bullpen tweaking. They will prowl the waiver wire in August, though.