Juan Pierre Rumors
Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison could miss the rest of the season, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Miami placed Morrison on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation earlier today. Here are some more NL East links...
- The Phillies may start a partial sale after two consecutive losses to the Braves, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre and Joe Blanton could be moved.
- There's interest in Scott Hairston, but the Mets may value him more than his potential suitors do, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (on Twitter). The Mets see the value of finishing strong and Hairston could help them over the course of the season's final two months.
- Teams are expressing zero interest in left-hander Tim Byrdak, a Mets person tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The 38-year-old has a 4.76 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in an NL-leading 53 appearances this year.
- The Mets haven't been impressed by offers for Daniel Murphy, Martino reports (on Twitter). "We're not trading Murphy for a reliever," a Mets person told Martino.
The results of Josh Johnson’s start against the Padres and Roy Halladay’s start against the Braves could have major consequences for the trade market, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. More than a dozen scouts are on hand to watch Johnson pitch in Miami today, while Halladay is attempting to prevent the Braves from sweeping the Phillies out of town and, possibly, out of the playoff mix. Here are the details from Stark:
- MLB executives are wary of Johnson’s past shoulder troubles, his career-high ERA and his diminishing fastball velocity, but no other available starter has his kind of stuff. The Marlins continue to look for a “dream package” for Johnson and they’re prepared to keep him if no club meets their asking price, Stark reports.
- The Rangers seem especially cautious about Johnson, but they have people watching his start today. The Marlins told the Rangers they aren’t interested in discussing a trade unless Mike Olt is involved, yet the Rangers haven’t been willing to make Olt available.
- As of last night, the Phillies were telling clubs they haven’t decided how they’ll approach the deadline. They’ve likely done enough talking to trade Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton in short order if necessary, Stark writes.
- The Phillies continue dangling Hunter Pence, but seem intent on waiting until the offseason to start serious trade discussions.
- Philadelphia could keep its trade chips for now and make moves in August, when players have to be placed on waivers to be dealt.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says the Rays have a tough decision to make about trading James Shields. Clubs interested in acquiring him have to figure out how to value him - as an ace who finished third in the Cy Young voting last year, or as an innings-eater with a 4.52 ERA like this year. Similar questions are being asked about Josh Johnson of the Marlins. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Rival executives don't believe the Angels gave up any blue-chippers for Zack Greinke and that they have a good chance to retain him beyond this season.
- Olney believes the Reds and Phillies could match up well in a trade. Cincinnati is seeking a leadoff-type hitter type and Philadelphia has Shane Victorino or Juan Pierre to offer.
- The Orioles and Phillies are two teams to watch in the race for Chase Headley. Both clubs are seeking long-term third base solutions.
- Other clubs have called the Diamondbacks about Stephen Drew, but those teams now sense that Arizona will keep its shortstop according to Olney (on Twitter).
It was on this day in 1961 that commissioner Ford Frick suggested that "a distinctive mark" would be placed on a new home run record if a player eclipsed Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 homers in more than 154 games (the length of Ruth's season in 1927). Though no such notation ever used in any sort of official record, it was still popularly believed that Frick and Major League Baseball had asterisked Roger Maris' 61-homer season.
Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium...
- The Yankees don't have interest in Juan Pierre or Rick Ankiel, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). The Bombers' search for outfield help will intensify with the news that Brett Gardner will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery, though Gardner's agent Joe Bick says Gardner still hopes to return this season, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Wandy Rodriguez is "not even on [the Yankees'] radar," a source tells Marc Carig (Twitter link). The Yankees reportedly had scouts on hand to watch Rodriguez pitch on Wednesday.
- The Yankees have released right-hander Nelson Figueroa, according to Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune (passed on by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog). Figueroa, 38, signed a minor league deal with New York in April and had a 3.96 ERA in 17 Triple-A games, nine of them starts.
- Darnell McDonald has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Collins. The Yankees designated McDonald for assignment on Tuesday to create roster space for C.C. Sabathia's return from the disabled list.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.
The Reds are among the teams showing interest in Juan Pierre, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Phillies have not yet indicated a willingness to sell, but that won't stop clubs from calling.
Pierre, 34, is hitting a solid .317/.355/.387 with 20 steals in 23 chances while taking over Philadelphia's left field job on an everyday basis. Cincinnati is said to be seeking a leadoff hitter type, and Pierre certainly fits the bill.
We already looked at some Phillies items in today's edition of NL East Notes, but here are a few more news bits from the five-time defending NL East champions...
- The Phillies are having a hard time finding infield depth since their payroll is "close to tapped out," tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but the club is still looking.
- Cole Hamels told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that nothing will change in his extension talks with the Phillies once the season begins, though Hamels did say, "My only understanding is if you sign anybody before opening day, you have to deal with the luxury tax...I understand that's where the Phillies are." This is actually no longer the case under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement but Gelb thinks Hamels bringing up this "unprompted detail" is an "interesting" hint. Hamels' agent, John Boggs, also represents Adrian Gonzalez, whose extension with the Red Sox was announced last April but allegedly finalized months earlier so Boston could avoid paying an extra luxury tax penalty.
- The Phillies announced the purchase of Juan Pierre's contract, so the veteran outfielder will now earn a guaranteed $800K salary in 2012, plus potentially more with incentives. Pierre will serve as a backup outfielder and pinch-runner, though he could see some starting time given the Phillies' unsettled left field situation.
- With Pierre filling that extra outfield role, Scott Podsednik told Matt Gelb that his chances of making the club are "not looking too good." When asked if he would accept an assignment to the minors, Podsednik said it "depends on the situation." As Gelb notes, Podsednik's minor league contract with the Phillies didn't have an opt-out clause, so Podsednik essentially would have to either accept the assignment or retire. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., however, said Pierre's roster spot didn't necessarily mean Podsednik also wouldn't make the team.
The Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games last season, but were denied a World Series berth by the now-champion Cardinals. This offseason, they re-signed Jimmy Rollins, extended Kyle Kendrick, and added Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Thome, Laynce Nix, and Dontrelle Willis to bolster their bench and bullpen. Here's the latest on the defending NL East Champions...
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and assistant GM Benny Looper are well aware that trades they've made to acquire Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence, and others will eventually be painful, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro and Looper both discuss how difficult it was to part ways with players like Travis d'Arnaud and Anthony Gose. Amaro didn't deny the November report that he attempted to re-acquire D'Arnaud.
- The Phillies are the only team who reached out to Juan Pierre this offseason, the outfielder told the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro. Pierre inked a minor league deal back in January.
- In the same piece, Navarro writes that Willis and Pierre are happy to be in camp together. The pair won a World Series together with the Marlins in 2003, and have remained very close friends since. Pierre is the godfather of all three of Willis' daughters, and the two refer to each other as "brothers." Willis also noted that the Marlins have shown interest in him again since trading him.
- Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Halladay isn't a big fan of the extended playoffs. Halladay doesn't like the concept of opening a five-game series with two road games, nor does he like the thought of a 162-game season coming down to one game.
- Freddy Galvis is working out at second base and third base with the hopes of making the big league team as a utility infielder now that Rollins has re-signed, according to the Inquirer's Matt Gelb.
We're less than six weeks away from the first regular season game of 2012, and less than one week away from Spring Training games. Let's take a look at some odds and ends from around the league...
- Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre can opt out of his minor league contract if he's not on the Major League roster on March 31, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pierre, however, is a leading candidate for a roster spot, notes Brookover.
- The Cubs will have to double down on Matt Garza or trade him for a haul of prospects to make the best of his acquisition last offseason, opines Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
- Dodgers reliever Todd Coffey took a circuitous route to the Majors, writes Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com. Coffey was a 41st-round pick of the Reds under the now defunct draft-and-follow practice, but he instead accepted a nominal contract offer and began his professional career as a 17-year-old.
- New Astros owner Jim Crane is well on his way to showing that he's a good MLB owner, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- It's time for the KBO to alter some of its policies, writes Allen Wolf of the Korea Times. Although this is an opinion piece, Wolf offers some interesting insights into the machinations of the KBO.
MLBTR's Dan Mennella contributed to this post.
- Pierre would earn $800K on the Major League roster and he could earn additional incentives based on plate appearances, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The outfielder signed a minor league deal with the Phillies last week.
- Belisle will earn $4.1MM in 2013 and his extension includes a mutual option worth $4.25MM for 2014, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. If Belisle accepts his half of the option, the Rockies can still decline for $250K. The deal includes $450K in incentives for games finished.
- Andrus gets a signing bonus of $750K, $2.375MM in 2012, $4.8MM in 2013, and $6.475MM in 2014, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets.