Jose Ceda Rumors
MLB.com's Alyson Footer makes it official - the Astros did not offer arbitration to Type B free agents Randy Wolf and Mark Loretta or Type A free agent Doug Brocail. The Astros still hope to re-sign Brocail.
Just like the Cubs with Kerry Wood and the D'Backs with Adam Dunn, Wolf is a quality player who was not offered arbitration due to payroll concerns.
Richard Justice figures it may have come down to Wolf or Jose Valverde for the Astros, and they chose Valverde. Another note in Justice's post - the Astros had their eye on Jose Ceda before he was traded to the Marlins.
A look at the latest column from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal:
- Rosenthal wonders if Jason Varitek's viral sickness and divorce last year contributed to his poor performance at the plate.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s wife gave him her blessing to play anywhere he'd like. If he's focused on getting a ring, Seattle might not make sense. Griffey's doctor believes his knee will be in better shape in 2009.
- Padres GM Kevin Towers wonders if Jake Peavy would've accepted a trade to the Braves, given Atlanta's club policy against no-trade clauses. Towers isn't talking to the Braves, Dodgers, or Yankees about Peavy, and Rosenthal says he's "not making much headway" with the Cubs. ESPN's Peter Gammons says the Cubs' loss of Jose Ceda lessens their chances, while Frank Wren still believes Peavy will end up a Brave.
- The Cubs hope to resolve the Ryan Dempster situation this week. The team wants to do a four-year deal.
- The Giants are still in on Juan Cruz after their Jeremy Affeldt signing.
- The Phillies gave Pat Burrell "parameters" for a new deal, while Rosenthal speculates on the Giants and Dodgers as other possible fits.
The Cubs acquired one year of reliever Kevin Gregg for six of Jose Ceda yesterday. Chicago teams apparently went 0 for 2 yesterday, as the reactions favor the Marlins.
- Dave Cameron says swapping out Kerry Wood for Gregg in the pen loses the Cubs one to two wins.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo says Ceda resembles a young Lee Smith, and profiles as a future closer. Ken Rosenthal talked to an exec who drew an Armando Benitez comparison, in a good way.
- ESPN's Keith Law calls the deal a "heist" for Florida.
- Paul Sullivan takes a look at Wood's legacy in Chicago.
4:12pm: Dave Cameron sees a net loss of 1-2 wins for the Cubs, swapping out Wood with Gregg.
2:18pm: GM Jim Hendry says the Cubs will part ways with lifetime Cub Kerry Wood. Replacing him with Gregg should save the team a good $6MM. The Cubs just couldn't pony up a huge multiyear deal for Wood.
12:57pm: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs acquired Kevin Gregg from the Marlins today. It seems that Gregg could become the Cubs' setup man for Carlos Marmol if Kerry Wood departs.
1:47pm: This Scott Miller column is from yesterday, but it has some good info. Miller's source believes the Braves are the frontrunners for Peavy and are willing to include Gorkys Hernandez. Additionally, the source said the Cubs are very aggressive and the Dodgers are making a strong pitch.
12:53pm: Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald says Samardzija is not on the table and has a full, not partial, no-trade. Additionally, the Cubs have not thrown Fontenot into the mix. Miles gives a 50-50 chance of the Cubs getting Peavy.
9:39am: GM Kevin Towers expects to trade Jake Peavy before the winter meetings, saying, "The train's kind of left the station." Continuing the metaphor, Barry Axelrod said, "The only thing we've got is a brake."
According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, the Cubs have moved in front of the Braves in the battle for Peavy. Passan says the Padres want Jeff Samardzija (who has a limited no-trade clause), and the Cubs could also include players such as Felix Pie, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, and Donald Veal. Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests Rich Harden or Mike Fontenot could be involved. De Luca notes that a Peavy trade would probably prevent the Cubs from acquiring Brian Roberts. ESPN's Buster Olney believes Josh Vitters would have to be involved, while the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles adds Jose Ceda, Welington Castillo, and Mitch Atkins as possibilities. Miles does not see the Cubs as a player for C.C. Sabathia, by the way.
The Padres would prefer a deal with Atlanta, but can't pry Tommy Hanson loose. The Braves are willing to trade Yunel Escobar, Charlie Morton, and Jordan Schafer.
Meanwhile, Tom Krasovic at the San Diego Union-Tribune says Peavy and Barry Axelrod are concerned about the Braves' shortstop situation if they are to include the defensively-talented Escobar. Perhaps the Braves could sway them by outlining some contingency plans at the position.
Quite a bit of info is floating about this evening regarding the Cubs' quest to add an outfielder. Let's put it all together.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman names Coco Crisp, Jay Payton, Marlon Byrd, and Brandon Inge as possible targets. Inge makes the least sense given his salary and the Tigers' need for him while Curtis Granderson is out.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark confirms Ken Rosenthal's assertion that the Cubs are leading the pack for Reed Johnson. Stark speculates that such an acquisition could prompt the Cubs to trade Matt Murton.
- ESPN's Peter Gammons says Red Sox scout Allard Baird is currently observing the Cubs. Other scouts in 'zona are speculating about a Sean Gallagher for Crisp scenario. Gammons notes that the Red Sox wouldn't mind getting Murton back, either. He thinks the Sox are wary of trading Crisp right now though, echoing a sentiment from Buster Olney.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that the Rangers want Murton plus one of Jose Ceda, Gallagher, or Donald Veal for Byrd. Jim Hendry did recently re-engage the Rangers, according to Grant.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec says the Cubs offered the Orioles Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, and possibly Jose Ceda for Brian Roberts earlier this spring. As you know, there are differing schools of thought on whether the Cubs took the initiative and made an offer. And Ceda's inclusion is questionable.
Regardless, one player Baltimore may have in mind is pitcher Sean Marshall. The Cubs do not have room for the lefty in the rotation or the bullpen - always a situation conducive to trade rumors - and the Orioles had scouts in the stands yesterday, during Marshall's start against the Rockies.
Marshall said he doesn't pay any attention to those guys, however. "They're there every day."
Following the Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard trades, most assumed that the next Baltimore player to go would be Brian Roberts. There were conflicting reports yesterday regarding whether or not the Cubs offered 21-year old reliever Jose Ceda, but today it appears that nothing is imminent.
Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun sees no activity either, and offers his opinion that the Orioles may be better off beginning the season with Roberts in the lineup:
The chances of the Orioles obtaining full value for him in trade might actually increase if he gets off to a good start, and the market for him could expand if another contending club suffers a costly injury at second base or at the top of its batting order.
Schmuck also notes that Roberts isn't exactly blocking anyone's progress due to Baltimore's lack of a second base prospect, which is a pretty accurate assessment. Among their list of the top 30 prospects within the Orioles system, Baseball America mentions one middle infielder, shortstop Tyler Henson, who comes in at #22 and is yet to play above Class-A ball.
But the Orioles may be in the market for pitching, especially given the news that 23-year old Adam Loewen had to be pulled from his scheduled start yesterday due to a sore shoulder. Loewen's 2007 season ended in May following a stress fracture in his elbow.
FRIDAY, 7:42pm: I have it on good authority that Ceda has not, in fact, been added to any kind of offer to Baltimore. With minor league games having begun today, the O's are still doing their due diligence. Dave van Dyck's sources agree that no deal is imminent.
FRIDAY, 7:13am: We've actually got some movement this morning on the Brian Roberts front. According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs have added hard-throwing 21 year-old reliever Jose Ceda to their offer. They'd also send Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, and Donald Veal to Baltimore. The Cubs had been holding out on Ceda, a nasty relief prospect. With him included, they'd be sending their three best pitching prospects (according to Baseball America) in the 4-for-1 deal.
Wittenmyer also notes that the deal could be expanded to a 5-for-2 with cash if Jason Marquis and Jay Payton are included. He believes a deal will get done before Opening Day, but it may go down to the wire.
SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote on Monday that the Cubs and Orioles had resumed talks for Brian Roberts. However, Cubs GM Jim Hendry came out on Wednesday and said he hadn't had any trade talks for five or six days. Tonight, the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec chimes in, confirming Hendry's statement of inactivity.
Zrebiec was able to confirm from two sources that the Cubs offered Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, and another unknown player for Roberts. The teams can't agree on the fourth player, and the O's may want a fifth too. The Orioles are said to like top Cubs' prospects like Jose Ceda, Felix Pie, and Tyler Colvin. Andy MacPhail is clearly demanding a high price for two years of his second baseman. Zrebiec also confirms that the Cubs and Orioles have talked about a scenario where outspoken veterans Jason Marquis and Jay Payton are in the deal.
For now, it appears that the Cubs will open the season without Roberts. I'm of the opinion the Cubs would be better off going with Mark DeRosa and Cedeno as their doubleplay combo over Roberts and Ryan Theriot.