Josh Towers Rumors

Padres Rumors: Loretta, Iguchi, Peavy, Barrett

Tom Krasovic fills us in on the latest with the Padres.

  • Kevin Towers is considering Mark Loretta and Tadahito Iguchi as second base options.  Loretta has expressed interest.  I wonder how this will make the Padres feel; his strong flirtations may turn them off.
  • Jake Peavy will get full no-trade protection for 2008-10, limited for 2011-12.
  • As reported yesterday Towers is in talks for Mark Prior and Josh Towers.  Towers said that himself?  Tampering!
  • The Padres still expect Michael Barrett to accept arby.  Krasovic mentions the Cubs actually considered having Barrett switch positions last year.  Yes!  Barrett should market himself as a third baseman and play the field.
  • The Padres recently talked about a multiyear (probably two year) deal with Mike Cameron.

Padres Working On Trade For A Starter

The Padres have already signed Greg Maddux and Randy Wolf this winter, but GM Kevin Towers isn’t done.  He’s expecting to finish a trade before the Padres leave Nashville.  Tom Krasovic thinks it might be Mark Prior or Josh Towers.

Both are said to be non-tender candidates, but surely the Cubs and Jays can work out deals rather than lose the pitchers for nothing.  Prior is the high risk high reward guy, Towers is the opposite.

Jays Likely To Offer Towers Arbitration

Josh Towers has pretty much proven to be less than useful in the AL East.  However, his peripheral stats aren’t too shabby and most speculate a move to the easier league would turn him into a solid #4 starter.  J.P. Ricciardi knows this, and is likely to offer arbitration to Towers.

Towers is due for a bump from the $2.9MM he made in ’07.  I’ll guess he’ll land in the $3.5-4MM range.  Ricciardi is paying lip service to the idea of keeping Towers around, but he’ll surely explore the trade market for him.  He might be disappointed – no one thought highly enough of Towers to claim him on waivers last August.  Maybe that was related to his criticism of the Jays’ coaching staff a few weeks earlier.

Nonetheless, the Rockies, Padres, and Phillies have all expressed interest in Towers in the past.  Those three clubs are still hunting for pitching. 

Padres Rumors: Crisp, Pie, Andruw, Eckstein

Tom Krasovic continues to set the standard for Padres inside information.  Today’s column is especially delicious for rumor junkies, with tons of new material to chew on.

  • Kevin Towers expects to fill his center field vacancy via trade.  He may first want to wait to see if Mike Cameron accepts the team’s upcoming offer of arbitration.  Cameron is a Type B free agent.  Remember that he will be limited to 137 games in ’07. 
  • As for trade candidates, Coco Crisp is on the radar but the Padres smartly won’t part with Chase Headley
  • Krasovic notes that Bud Black’s connection with Angels manager Mike Scioscia could play a role now that Trader Bill Stoneman isn’t the GM.  Reggie Willits or Nathan Haynes might be in play for the Padres.
  • The Padres really seem to like Felix Pie, and could re-open talks that would include Khalil Greene.  They’ve asked about Tony Gwynn Jr. of the Brewers in the past.  And it does sound like the Royals are willing to talk about David DeJesus.
  • Sounds like the Padres will offer Andruw Jones $14-16MM on a one-year contract.  Scott Boras hasn’t seemed open to this with Jones, but time will tell.
  • The Tigers will have competition from the Padres for Geoff Jenkins.  Krasovic envisions a Jenkins/Scott Hairston platoon in left and expects the Friars to make an offer.
  • Two starters will be acquired even after Greg Maddux is retained.  Rehabbing former Mark Prior and Matt Clement would both like to play in San Diego.  There has to be some sort of cosmic rule about having three ex-Cubs in the rotation.  That is not recommended.  Plus the Padres were on Curt Schilling‘s list.  And don’t forget the team’s previous trade interest in Josh Towers, who seems likely to be non-tendered and could be solid in PETCO.
  • The Padres could pursue David Eckstein as a second baseman and leadoff man.  But that would seemingly block Matt Antonelli for longer than necessary.  Plus such a switch wouldn’t be in Eckstein’s best interests financially.
  • Towers likes Jason Kendall, perhaps as a backup, but faces opposition in the organization.
  • In another article, Towers lends credence to the theory that the Marlins could sign Alex Rodriguez

Jays To Retain Stairs, Cut Towers?

I feel like with two guys named stairs and towers I could craft some sort of amusing play on words.  Oh well.  Here’s the latest on the Blue Jays.

  • They’ll pass on A-Rod, says J.P. Ricciardi.  No surprise there, but now it’s official.  They could still stand an upgrade at shortstop though.  Unless Travis Hafner teaches John McDonald how to hit.  Hafner needs to get himself in order first though.
  • The Jays also hope to re-sign Matt Stairs, who wants a raise from last year’s $850K.  Maybe $3MM would get it done.  Stairs was shielded from southpaws a bit but raked .289/.368/.549 overall in 357 ABs.  As I noted before, signing Stairs could result in Reed Johnson being non-tendered.
  • Speaking of non-tendering, Allan Ryan says "Josh Towers‘ time as a Jay has clearly passed."  Doesn’t he at least get a gold watch?  Towers earned $2.9MM this year while posting a 5.38 ERA in 107 innings.  Unless the price gets to the silly Jason Marquis territory Towers could be the bargain of the winter for a team like the Padres.  By the way, he’s from California.  Check out a list of other non-tender candidates here.  The Cubs, by the way, haven’t decided on Mark Prior but could cut him and then offer him a lower deal.
  • The Jays hope to retain Sal Fasano and Joe Kennedy.

Padres Like Josh Towers

Throw 30 year-old starter Josh Towers into a big ol’ ballpark in the National League, and he could be a very useful back-rotation guy.  The Jays already saw this happen with Dave Bush.  With a 3.6 K/BB and a home run problem, Towers is definitely San Diego’s type.

Turns out that Padres GM Kevin Towers pursued Josh Towers this summer but wouldn’t part with Nick Hundley, Will Venable, or David Freese.  The Jays can either go to arbitration with Towers this winter or nontender him.  Even if arbitration would result in a salary around $4MM, it might make sense to sign and then trade him.

You can view my complete list of non-tender candidates here.

Another tidbit: the same San Diego Union-Tribune column linked above mentions that the Padres asked for Tony Gwynn Jr. from the Brewers during the Scott Linebrink discussions.

Rockies Rotation In Shambles

The Rockies are five games out in the NL West and two out in the Wild Card.  Baseball Prospectus sets their playoff odds at a healthy 22-27%.  Their main strength has been team OBP (second best in the league).  The Rockies’ offense has dominated at Coors Field.  They’ve also had some fine relief work from Manny Corpas, Jeremy Affeldt, and even Jorge Julio

But to have a legitimate shot, the Rockies need to sort out their starting rotation.  According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, injuries to Jason Hirsh, Rodrigo Lopez, and Aaron Cook have decimated the starting staff.  The current five consists of Jeff Francis, Josh Fogg, Ubaldo Jimenez, Elmer Dessens, and maybe rookie Franklin Morales.  Recently-acquired Ramon Ortiz will stay in the pen for now.  There doesn’t seem to be talk of using Taylor Buchholz in the rotation again.

While Jimenez was dominant yesterday against the Padres, control figures to remain a problem for him.  Same deal with Morales.  Cook should only miss three starts, and the Rockies desperately need him back.  Lopez is out for the season and Hirsh’s contribution will be minimal.  Fogg and Dessens are mostly just filler.

Since it’s August, the only real trade possibility is to acquire more filler.  Renck specifically mentions Steve Trachsel and David Wells as pitchers on the radar.  We’ve also seen the Rox linked to Josh Towers.  Trachsel and Towers have already cleared waivers, and Wells probably will soon.  As always, good starting pitching is hard to find.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Possible Waiver Deals

Ken Rosenthal has a new post up; below are some points of interest for rumor-hounds like us. 

  • Josh Towers and Steve Trachsel have both cleared waivers.  You’ll find their contract info as well as a complete list of those who have cleared waivers here.  Rosenthal says the Rockies are monitoring both pitchers; they were forced to start journeyman Tim Harikkala today.  The Rox also called the A’s about Chad Gaudin but found the price prohibitive.  Another reason a Gaudin trade wouldn’t make sense is that he wouldn’t pass through waivers. 
  • Towers is attracting multiple suitors.  I think he’ll have moderate success in the NL as a #4 starter.
  • Mark Loretta and Mike Lamb were both claimed on waivers and then pulled back, so they’re not going anywhere. 
  • The Yankees have no reason to throw down a chunk of change on a free agent starter this winter.  They’re all set for 2008 with a formidable rotation of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, and Andy Pettitte.  I think we’ve learned by now that there’s really no such thing as a surplus of starting pitching, so I imagine the Yanks will only trade Kei Igawa in the right deal.  Buster Olney said this morning that there was a 50% chance of Igawa going to the Padres soon.  Additionally, it will be nice to have Ian Kennedy around as the sixth starter.

Josh Towers is Available. Does Anyone Care?

Turns out Josh Towers had some nasty things to say about the rest of his club after yesterday’s loss.  I guess they weren’t that bad, but by the established standard of "we all went out there and battled" quotes, he really let his ‘mates have it.

Towers has gone through waivers unclaimed before, so it would seem that if J.P. Ricciardi wants to get rid of him, he’ll have to eat some salary.  But that presumes that somebody would take him at any price, and J.P. is casting doubt on that:

"The only guy we got a call on was Towers, with Philadelphia," GM J.P. Ricciardi had admitted just prior to the game. "They came to see him (vs. the M’s) and we never received another call back. Maybe he wasn’t their cup of tea."

I’m a little surprised no one has bit on Towers in all this time; he was dreadful last year, sure, but he’s always kept walks down, and he’s been pitching his entire career in the AL East.  He would seem like a decent fit for the Phils or the M’s.  At this point he seems like a Kei Igawa backup plan of sorts.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

Blue Jays Not Interested In Jack Wilson

It sounded dubious when it first surfaced, and now J.P. Ricciardi has spoken: the Blue Jays are not interested at all in Jack Wilson.  Did the Pittsburgh front office plant that one?

Ricciardi does seem open to trading Josh Towers.  As far as I can tell, Towers doesn’t reach free agency until after 2009.  For an NL team, Towers could help at the back end of a rotation.  Thing is, no one seems to be actively searching for a backend rotation guy.