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- Tim Lincecum Undergoes Season-Ending Hip Surgery
- Dodgers To Promote Corey Seager
- Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez
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- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
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- Minor MLB Transactions: 9/4/15
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- Quick Hits: Hart, Phillies, Davis
- Front Office Notes: Dipoto, Hazen, Cherington, Angels
- Minor MLB Transactions: 9/3/15
- East Notes: Bradley, Bour, Sabathia
- Tim Lincecum Undergoes Season-Ending Hip Surgery
- Dodgers Designate Andy Wilkins
- Injury Notes: Johnson, Scribner, Blanks
- AL Central Notes: Perkins, Ramirez, Almonte, Indians
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Juan Uribe Rumors
An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.
Here’s more from Rosenthal:
- Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied – and should not be satisfied – until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.“
- Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
- The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
- The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.
Full Story | 21 Comments | Categories: Alex Wood | Ben Revere | Carlos Gomez | Cole Hamels | David Price | Hector Olivera | Houston Astros | Jim Johnson | Johnny Cueto | Jose Peraza | Jose Reyes | Juan Uribe | Kansas City Royals | Kelly Johnson | LaTroy Hawkins | Los Angeles Dodgers | Luis Avilan | Mark Lowe | Mat Latos | Matt Harrison | Mike Fiers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Scott Kazmir | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Troy Tulowitzki | Tyler Clippard | Yoenis Cespedes
SUNDAY, 2:38pm: The Mets took on exactly $2.5MM in the deal, meaning that the Braves chipped in close to $500K, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
FRIDAY, 10:33pm: The Mets have officially acquired both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the division-rival Braves. Two minor league righties — John Gant and Rob Whalen — will head to Atlanta in return.
New York will also absorb about $2.7MM in salary, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). That’s not quite the full amount owed to the two acquired players, but Atlanta is chipping in some salary, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter).
Both Uribe and Johnson would provide options at positions of need for New York. With David Wright still out indefinitely, third base has become a pressing concern, and adding a left-handed corner outfield bat remains a priority. Both of the veterans provide options at the hot corner, and the left-handed-hitting Johnson has ample experience in left.
Uribe, 36, has hit an excellent .285/.353/.464 since coming to Atlanta in a deal with the Dodgers earlier in the year. While his glove hasn’t rated out as highly as it used to, there’s little question that he represents a reliable option at the hot corner. Uribe is owed $6.5MM this season.
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Johnson has been a solid presence in Atlanta since joining the team on a minor league pact. He owns a .275/.321/.451 slash with nine home runs. By making the club, he earned a $1.5MM guarantee for the season.
As for the return to the Braves, Whalen is the name that has appeared on prospect sheets more frequently. He rated as the Mets organization’s 20th-best prospect entering the season, according to Baseball America, which praised his curve ball and promising additional offspeed offerings. Whalen has a reasonably high ceiling despite the lack of a huge fastball. He has not been quite as effective this year, his first at St. Lucie, but still owns a 3.36 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 over 83 innings.
Meanwhile, Gant earned a quick promotion after six excellent starts to open the year. He’s slowed down now that he’s at Binghamton, with a 4.70 ERA and 6.5 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 59 1/3 frames. Gant is a “solid back-end type” with four useful pitchers, per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs on Twitter, who provides video of both of Atlanta’s newest additions and assesses them as likely big league contributors.
Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter link)first reported that a deal to send Uribe and Johnson to the Mets was close. Joel Sherman of the New York Post (links to Twitter) reported the return. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported (via Twitter) that the deal was done.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich said that he is “at least open to considering” a deal involving star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Twitter link). Last we checked in, Tulowitzki said he was not interested in being dealt, and he is believed to have significant sway with club ownership over his status. All said, there remains little reason to believe at present that Tulo is a serious trade candidate.
We already touched upon a series of interesting rumors involving National League clubs earlier today, but here’s the latest out of the NL:
- Despite recent chatter that the Braves could consider dealing starter Julio Teheran, the young righty is “not being shopped,” David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. Given his cheap control, O’Brien says the team would need to be overwhelmed by an offer to consider such a move.
- Indeed, the Braves are more likely to hold off on deciding whether to part with Teheran or outfielder Cameron Maybin, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The more likely trade pieces for Atlanta, he suggests, are veterans on one-year deals such as reliever Jim Johnson, utilityman Kelly Johnson, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The Braves have been asked about outfielder Nick Markakis, who still has three years left on his free agent deal, but the team is not making him available. And while Juan Uribe could well be dealt, the club reportedly prefers to attempt to move Chris Johnson first.
- An executive of a club with interest in adding a hitter says the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That seemingly speaks to the availability of outfielder Jay Bruce, who recent reports indicate is very much in play.
- The Mets are still willing to deal Jon Niese, but are asking for a player with multiple years of control in return, Stark tweets. The southpaw has turned up his performance of late, racking up eight straight quality starts (at least 6 innings pitched, no more than 3 earned runs) since a run of rough outings to end the month of May. He is playing on a $7MM salary this year and represents a $9MM tab for 2016, but can be controlled thereafter through a pair of options ($10MM and $11MM, respectively, each with $500K buyouts). Given New York’s evident budgetary restrictions, it has seemed that moving Niese’s salary could be a way for the club to free resources to allocate to the struggling offense, but it’s not clear whether they’ll have much hope of pulling that off in a single transaction.
Though many consider this to be a sellers’ market, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his latest Trade Buzz column by writing that the starting pitching market could swing in favor of buyers. Only four teams are in desperate need of a rotation upgrade, he notes — the Blue Jays, Royals, Astros and Dodgers — and new names are being added to the pitching market as the deadline nears. Many executives, however, still wonder if the Tigers will really sell. Several throughout the game expect David Price to stay put with the Tigers, Heyman writes. Here are some highlights from his notes on the pitching market as well as the rest of the trade market…
- It’s likely that the Rangers will end up trading Yovani Gallardo, and Heyman points out that an NL team would consider Gallardo a bonus, as he’s hit 13 homers in his career as at the plate. The Rangers could also end up trading Colby Lewis, who could step into the back of a rotation for a club in need of some stable innings.
- The Astros are determined not to trade outfield prospect Brett Phillips, who one Astros-connected person referred to as “an absolute stud” when talking to Heyman. Houston is also interested in virtually every pitcher on the market, though one notable exception is Mike Leake, as the club’s evaluators aren’t particularly high on the Reds right-hander.
- The Angels‘ recent offensive surge has calmed their search for a left fielder, but they still have some interest in both Jay Bruce and Ben Revere. There are concerns among decision-makers, however, that Bruce fits the same streaky profile that the departed Josh Hamilton embodied. Carlos Gonzalez isn’t on the Halos’ radar at this time.
- Scouts that spoke to Heyman don’t seem overly concerned with a pair of poor outings for Cole Hamels. Instead, some believe that he may be feeling the rigors of being on the trade block for more than a year. One AL scout said of Hamels’ last start: “He looks fine. It was 100 degrees. He’s playing for a miserable team. And it may be hard to get motivated.” A pair of AL execs opined that the Phillies will be able to get back at least one “huge prospect.”
- The Giants need to bolster their bench, but a reunion with Juan Uribe isn’t likely. Uribe wasn’t amenable to a bench spot the last time he was with San Francisco, and part of the reason he was dealt from Los Angeles to Atlanta was to get more playing time.
- The Blue Jays‘ interest in Jonathan Papelbon is “fairly limited” at this point, as the club’s focus at this point is primarily on adding to the rotation.
Full Story | 42 Comments | Categories: Ben Revere | Brett Phillips | Carlos Gonzalez | Cincinnati Reds | Colby Lewis | Cole Hamels | David Price | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Jay Bruce | Jonathan Papelbon | Josh Hamilton | Juan Uribe | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Leake | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Yovani Gallardo
In his latest notes column, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com addressed a number of interesting deadline issues, starting with Reds starter Johnny Cueto. There have been suggestions over concern among buyers with the health of the star righty, but Heyman cites one scout from a team with interest who tells him that Cueto “looks fine.” As far as interest, Heyman pegs the Blue Jays, Royals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros as “the most likely and logical landing spots.”
Here are some other highlights from an info-packed piece (which you’ll want to read in full for even more notes):
- The Braves are shopping the recently-acquired Juan Uribe, says Heyman, with the asking price of a “mid-range prospect” and full unloading of the approximately $3MM left on Uribe’s deal. Atlanta has had communications with at least the Mets, per the repor.
- While the Orioles had been looking at adding a starter, Heyman reports that the team now may instead be prioritizing bats. Though the report doesn’t specify a position, we’ve heard in the past that Baltimore had interest in adding to its corner outfield mix.
- Heyman writes that it’ll be interesting to see if Angels lefty C.J. Wilson becomes “even more available” now that Jerry Dipoto has resigned as the general manager. Per Heyman, Wilson was close with Dipoto, and the Wilson signing (five years, $77.5MM) was the one significant free agent pickup that Dipoto was actually responsible for. Angels owner Arte Moreno was behind the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton signings, as many other reports have indicated over the years.
- The Brewers are officially open for business and “may be considering a rather big sale,” one competing team exec tells Heyman. Interest in Jean Segura is down due to his poor play since an early 2013 breakout, but Gerardo Parra‘s big year has lots of clubs asking about him. Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta and Francisco Rodriguez are drawing interest, and the Brewers are open to packaging some of those players to improve the return.
- The Jon Niese saga continues, as Heyman hears that the lefty now doesn’t seem particularly available, with one Mets person telling Heyman that Niese never really was. In other Mets news, Heyman hears that the team floated the idea of a Rafael Montero-for-Ben Zobrist swap when Montero was still healthy, but Montero, of course, has since been injured. The Mets have also talked about Uribe, but there are other names higher on their list.
- While some have connected the Pirates to Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur, the Bucs might be aiming a bit higher, looking at Marlon Byrd of the Reds and Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers — both former Pirates. Heyman lists Ben Zobrist as a target for the Bucs as well. Earlier today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bill Brink linked Pittsburgh to Zobrist, Cliff Pennington and Clint Barmes.
- Yovani Gallardo could hit the trade market if the Rangers end up selling short-term pieces, and he’s not interested in springing for an early extension with his hometown team. Agent Bobby Witt has apparently told the Rangers that Gallardo is looking forward to testing the free agent market.
Full Story | 15 Comments | Categories: Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Ben Revere | Ben Zobrist | C.J. Wilson | Cincinnati Reds | Cliff Pennington | Clint Barmes | Francisco Rodriguez | Gerardo Parra | Houston Astros | Jean Segura | Jeff Francoeur | Johnny Cueto | Jon Niese | Juan Uribe | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Mike Fiers | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Rafael Montero | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Yovani Gallardo
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by reporting that the Dodgers have “quietly continued having dialogue with the Phillies” regarding Cole Hamels. The Dodgers are also giving serious consideration to the rental market and prioritizing Johnny Cueto over others among such targets. The Dodgers “appear determined” to land a top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, writes Heyman, but most executives think they’ll hold onto top prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias. The Dodgers have a deep farm system beyond that pairing (righty Jose De Leon has recently been ranked a Top 25 prospect by Baseball America and ESPN), and one exec tells Heyman that the Phillies’ asking price on Hamels has become “more reasonable” recently. The Dodgers feel that Greinke is a lock to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and while they could possibly re-sign him by adding a year or two to the deal and upping his $24.5MM AAV, Hamels would provide insurance should Greinke sign elsewhere. Jeff Samardzija is also a consideration for the Dodgers, but while they like him, they consider him more of a No. 2/3 starter and don’t love him.
Some more highlights from Heyman’s article, though the synopsis won’t cover everything within the piece, so I’d highly recommend reading it in its entirety…
- The Braves will be deadline sellers, Heyman hears, with Jim Johnson, Juan Uribe and Cameron Maybin among the players that will be available to interested teams. Chris Johnson, too, continues to be available, but there are no takers for his contract, which Atlanta has aggressively tried to move in the past.
- With the Reds expected to trade so many veterans to other clubs, many in the industry expect the team to make a run at extending Todd Frazier beyond his current two-year deal, Heyman writes. (Frazier has one more year of arbitration following his current pact.) Jeff Todd and I have discussed Frazier’s situation on the MLBTR Podcast in the past (and will do so again this afternoon), and I’ve personally taken the stance that given the significant commitments to Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, the Reds could have a difficult time affording Frazier, whose 2014-15 breakout has hugely inflated his price tag. Given the lack of impact bats on the trade market, Frazier would net a king’s ransom and could rapidly expedite the rebuilding process, though the PR hit of trading him with so much control and on the heels of a Home Run Derby victory would of course be significant.
- In other Reds news, Heyman hears Mike Leake‘s ground-ball tendencies are appealing to AL East clubs, and he’s drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox in addition to the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs and Giants. Manny Parra and Marlon Byrd are both “likely to go” as well.
- Asked about the possibility of signing with the Cubs this offseason due to his relationship with skipper Joe Maddon, Tigers ace David Price replied, “Wherever I play baseball next year it’s not going to be because of a manager.”
- The Astros are interested in both Cueto and Leake, and Houston seems willing to deal from its glut of MLB-ready outfield prospects, including Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker. (Previous reports have indicated they’re reluctant to part with Brett Phillips, however, who may be the best among the outfield bunch.)
- The Brewers are now showing a willingness to trade both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, Heyman hears. Though it was previously believed they were reluctant to move Segura, the emergence of Orlando Arcia (the younger brother of the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia) may have changed Milwaukee’s thinking. However, Arcia himself is also drawing a huge amount of trade interest, and the Padres have called to express interest. One NL exec called him the best player he’s seen in the minors this year, while another comped him to Francisco Lindor, but said Arcia is better. Regarding Segura, Heyman hears that the Mets dislike his free-swinging approach.
- The Twins aren’t closed off to the idea of re-acquiring Gomez from the Brewers, but their primary focus at this point is bullpen help.
- The Mets are aiming high in their pursuit of an outfield bat and have both Gomez and Justin Upton on their radar. They’re not likely to add Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers unless they receive bad news on the prognosis of David Wright. They also have little interest in swinging a deal for Uribe.
- Padres officials insist that they haven’t determined their course of action heading into the deadline, but Heyman writes that free-agents-to-be such as Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable could be traded regardless. James Shields‘ backloaded contract limits his value, but one GM felt Benoit has “big value” and Heyman notes that Craig Kimbrel would be in huge demand as well, should the Padres try to recoup some value from that deal.
- Cueto, Samardzija and Leake are atop the Blue Jays‘ wish list, and the team was also in talks with the Braves regarding Jason Grilli prior to his season-ending injury. A top starting pitcher is Toronto’s top priority at this point, says Heyman. He also adds that there’s no evidence to suggest that manager John Gibbons is on the hot seat.
Full Story | 91 Comments | Categories: Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Cameron Maybin | Carlos Gomez | Chicago Cubs | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Clayton Kershaw | Cole Hamels | Corey Seager | Craig Kimbrel | David Price | David Wright | Detroit Tigers | Domingo Santana | Houston Astros | Ian Kennedy | James Shields | Jason Grilli | Jean Segura | Jeff Samardzija | Jim Johnson | Joaquin Benoit | John Gibbons | Johnny Cueto | Juan Uribe | Julio Urias | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Parra | Marlon Byrd | Mike Leake | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Newsstand | Orlando Arcia | Philadelphia Phillies | Preston Tucker | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Todd Frazier | Toronto Blue Jays | Will Venable | Zack Greinke
Assuming normal rest, Cole Hamels is scheduled to start for the Phillies on July 19, July 25 and July 31, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. That July 31st start is a night game, so Hamels could be scratched if he’s dealt prior to the deadline earlier that afternoon (assuming he hasn’t already been traded before the 31st). Here’s some more from Philadelphia and elsewhere around the NL East…
- The Braves had discussed packaging Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson together in trade talks, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports, with the idea that two relievers would bring back a larger return from a bullpen-needy team. That plan was scuttled when Grilli suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon tear yesterday, though Johnson remains a trade candidate.
- Bowman’s piece lists several possible trade chips on the Braves roster, including Johnson, Chris Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Cameron Maybin, Juan Uribe and A.J. Pierzynski. In regards to Pierzynski, Bowman believes Atlanta will try to bring the catcher back in 2016 even if they do trade him this year.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo broadly discussed his team’s general deadline plans with reporters, including Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. The Nats lineup will be boosted by the returns of several stars from the DL, and while Janes feels Washington could use another relief arm, Rizzo praised the job done by current relievers like Aaron Barrett and Blake Treinen.
- It’s only a matter of time before Aaron Nola is promoted to the majors, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes, and he believes the Phillies could call Nola up within “the next couple of weeks, possibly in tandem with a trade deadline move.” This is just my speculation, but promoting Nola to fill Hamels’ roster spot would be a good the-future-is-now type of move.
- Several scouts believe former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto would be a good fit as the Phillies‘ next general manager, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Interestingly, Dipoto’s former assistant GM in Anaheim, Matt Klentak, has also been mentioned in connection to a job in the new Andy MacPhail-run Phillies front office.
- In NL East news from earlier today, the Pirates have interest in Phillies outfielders Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur.
Here’s the latest out of the National League:
- Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday left last night’s game with what looked to be a fairly significant quadriceps strain, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but we can expect more information today. While the team does have options in left — Randal Grichuk, Peter Bourjos, and Jon Jay are all available on the MLB roster, and top prospect Stephen Piscotty is waiting at Triple-A — any lengthy loss would be a huge blow. Holliday, 35, has put up a typically strong (although atypically low-power) .303/.417/.421 batting line thus far. And St. Louis is already dealing with the loss of first baseman Matt Adams to a severe quad injury, leaving some questions in the middle of the order.
- The Mets are in an interesting spot as the trade deadline approaches, with some useful trade chips that are also somewhat redundant assets. Among the young, big league level players who the team could conceivably deal, catcher Kevin Plawecki is not really an option to be moved, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter links). Though he’ll likely be replaced soon by Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets don’t want to sacrifice depth behind the plate. But righty Rafael Montero could well be moved, says Puma, though he’ll need to get over his shoulder issues and back on track to carry the kind of value the team would hope.
- While the Mets continue to receive strong results from their rotation, the club’s handling of the staff has been problematic, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Top lefty prospect Steven Matz is being held down until Super Two avoidance can be assured, says Sherman, while the club struggles to figure out what to do with Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.
- Sherman adds that the club “may have been able” to get Juan Uribe from the Dodgers in exchange for Gee, but passed on the opportunity because the team did not yet appreciate the severity of David Wright‘s back problems. The club is now struggling to fill in at the hot corner, particularly with Daniel Murphy joining Wright on the DL.
Rockies outfield prospect David Dahl suffered serious injuries in a collision today and is undergoing surgery on his spleen, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). Dahl, the club’s top prospect according to Baseball America, likely also has a concussion and broken rib. Needless to say, the immediate concern is with Dahl’s personal well-being, and MLBTR extends its best wishes to him and his family.
- Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is set to miss most or all of the rest of the regular season, a topic that MLBTR’s Steve Adams and I discussed on today’s podcast. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the topic in depth, as well, in an excellent piece. He notes that there is not as much urgency as one might think: the team is playing well regardless, Adams was not exactly a driving force in the first two months, and Mark Reynolds is worthy of an extended look. That being said, if and when the Cardinals do look for an upgrade, Miklasz says the club should not limit itself either to left-handed hitters or to traditional first basemen. There’s plenty more of interest in the article, and I recommend a full read (and a listen to the podcast, of course).
- The Dodgers‘ bullpen has been something of a revelation, but it is being taxed even with Kenley Jansen back for duty, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. Los Angeles starters are in the middle of the pack in terms of total innings, notes Saxon, who says that could be by design — at least in part. The team’s relief corps has shown some cracks, though its incredible start was unsustainable as a general matter. If the Dodgers’ front office is indeed dictating increased bullpen use for strategic purposes, that would also help explain the club’s rather notable hording of relief arms in recent weeks.
- Now-former Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe, who was recently traded to the Braves, says that he never personally requested a deal, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group reports. “When I had the conversation with [Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman] I didn’t demand anything,” said Uribe. “I didn’t ask to play every day. I just wanted to know what my role was.” Friedman had indicated that Uribe’s agent had indicated that a trade to open playing time would be preferred. Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that neither side has expressed bitterness and that there’s room for truth both ways. Friedman indicated that he had been conveyed something of a suggestion of a deal from Uribe’s representatives, rather than a demand of a deal from Uribe himself.
Giants right-hander Juan Gutierrez has a June 1 opt-out clause approaching in his contract that will allow him to request his release if he is not added to the 25-man roster, as MLBTR reported back at the end of Spring Training. The 31-year-old has struggled in some regards at Triple-A this season, as he’s posted a 4.94 ERA thus far. However, he’s posted a nice 21-to-8 K/BB ratio in that time and is sporting a 3.42 FIP, suggesting that he may have better results were it not for a .400 BABIP. Gutierrez worked to a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings for the Giants’ big league club in 2014.
A few more NL West items as the day’s games come to a close…
- Though Juan Uribe was choked up about leaving the Dodgers when interviewed by reporters following last night’s contest, president of baseball operations told reporters today that Uribe’s agents at Praver/Shapiro had made it known earlier in the week that their client would welcome a trade (Twitter link via the Orange County Register’s Pedro Moura). Uribe, Friedman continued, had hoped for a situation that would allow him to play every day. He may very well have that opportunity with the Braves, though Atlanta does have Chris Johnson as an option at the hot corner as well.
- Also via Moura, Friedman told reporters that he’s tried on multiple occasions to acquire left-hander Ian Thomas from the Braves before landing him in this six-player trade. Friedman feels that Thomas’ floor is that of a quality Major League reliever. However, multiple reporters (including the L.A. News Group’s J.P. Hoornstra) have noted that the Dodgers will stretch Thomas out as a starter for now at the Triple-A level.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at a number of different reasons that the Dodgers made the trade. While some have already questioned the move, Rosenthal hears that the Dodgers preferred Callaspo’s switch-hitting bat and ability to cover first base. Rosenthal, too, notes that the team is high on Thomas, and he adds that they weren’t sure if they’d be able to keep Chris Withrow on the 40-man roster this winter, as his 2016 production figures to be somewhat of a question mark. Shedding Uribe’s contract also saves the team not only $1MM in salary, but a greater amount in luxury taxes, as Uribe’s $7.5MM average annual value creates a bigger luxury tax hit than Callaspo’s mere $3MM AAV.
- Tony La Russa’s one-year anniversary as the Diamondbacks‘ chief baseball officer was May 17, and Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that La Russa is pleased with the organization’s progress. “I think we feel good about the front-office team and we feel good about our scouts and scouting directors and our player development and our coordinator,” La Russa said. Of course, that front office looks markedly different, as Dave Stewart has replaced Kevin Towers at GM and been joined atop the baseball operations pyramid by senior VP De Jon Watson. Also new to the organization is scouting director Deric Ladnier, who formerly held that position with the Royals and replaced the well-respected Ray Montgomery in Arizona. With the new front office in place, the team aggressively pursued international free agents and trade veteran players, and the fruits of those efforts are already surfacing with the big league team. Rubby De La Rosa, Buchanan notes, is outperforming Wade Miley, for whom he was traded. (Arizona also got Allen Webster in that deal.) Yasmany Tomas is contributing at the plate, and the decision to trade Trevor Cahill to free up a rotation slot for Archie Bradley has injected some youth and upside into the starting mix (though Bradley has struggled since returning from a line-drive to the face).