Juan Uribe Rumors
Despite their rotation surplus, Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are "in no rush" to trade a starting pitcher, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with minor injuries, and Ted Lilly is coming back from shoulder surgery. Even if all the Dodgers' starting pitchers are healthy, one scenario might be for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to begin the season in the bullpen.
Previous reports have indicated that other teams may be trying to force the Dodgers into a tough spot by lowballing them on trade offers until the need to set their 25-man roster forces L.A. to make a decision about how to handle its eight starting pitchers. If one of their starters isn't healthy or if the Dodgers are willing to use several of their starters in relief, that negotiation tactic might not work. Forcing a number of starters to the bullpen, though, would simply move the logjam from one part of the team to another, where it might affect pitchers like Matt Guerrier and a number of younger relievers. Here are more notes from the Dodgers.
- The Dodgers may eat the remaining $8MM on Juan Uribe's contract, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports, but Uribe is trying to recast himself as a utilityman who can also back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Uribe's three-year, $21MM contract, signed after the 2010 season, almost immediately proved to be a poor investment, as Uribe hit .204/264/.293 in the first year of the deal, then .191/.258/.284 in 2012.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says his team should consider letting him go if the team does not make the playoffs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. "If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here," Mattingly says. Mattingly is not under contract for 2014, and Shaikin reports that Mattingly does not expect to receive a contract extension before the season starts.
The Dodgers have an abundance of backup infielders on their 40-man roster, and some of them may be moved, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Nick Punto could be a trade candidate, and Juan Uribe and his $7MM salary could be released, according to Rosenthal.
Punto, 35, appeared in 87 total games for the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2012. He posted a .219/.321/.281 batting line in 191 plate appearances while earning a $1.5MM salary. He'll earn the same amount in 2013 before hitting free agency. Like Punto, Uribe has one year remaining on his contract. He'll earn a $7MM salary in 2013 after missing much of the 2012 season with a wrist injury.
After acquiring Skip Schumaker from St. Louis, the Dodgers have seven backup infielders, including Punto, Uribe, Jerry Hairston, Elian Herrera, Dee Gordon and Justin Sellers. Gordon has drawn interest from many teams and could also be traded. The Dodgers designated Scott Van Slyke for assignment yesterday.
Let's round up a few rumblings from Nashville on players who might be on the trade block...
- The Phillies are dangling pitcher Vance Worley as a trade chip and may be willing to include pitching prospect Trevor May in a deal, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- The Dodgers are becoming aggressive in shopping starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, in a potential sign of confidence regarding a Zack Greinke signing.
- There have been "no conversations" about trading Andre Ethier, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
- One rival executive thinks the Royals will eventually make a deal for Rays starter James Shields, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Within his piece, Knobler explains why the Royals are more inclined to trade Wil Myers than Billy Butler.
- The return the Twins received for Denard Span has somewhat hampered the Indians' efforts to trade Shin-Soo Choo, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains in a pair of Twitterlinks.
- Ramon Santiago's name has surfaced at the Winter Meetings as a potential trade candidate, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter). While Beck isn't sure if the Tigers would move him, he says the utility infielder could draw interest.
- The Dodgers are "aggressively shopping" Juan Uribe in Nashville, but predictably aren't receiving much interest, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets that when he asked an MLB official if the Yankees could have interest in Uribe with Alex Rodriguez out, he was met with a chuckle.
Good news for Dodgers fans as General Manager Ned Colletti confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will not require surgery on his right hip, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Here's more on what Colletti had to say to reporters with all links going to Hernandez's Twitter..
- The Dodgers will make a strong effort to re-sign their relievers, including free agent Brandon League (Twitter link). The former Mariner told reporters yesterday that he has informed the Dodgers that he hopes to return.
- At this point in time, Colletti is leaning towards Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013, Hernandez tweets.
- Meanwhile, the club is heading into the offseason with the idea that Luis Cruz can be the Dodgers' third baseman in 2013 (Twitter link). Cruz, 28, hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers in 78 games for the Dodgers in 2012. It would make sense for the Dodgers to look in-house for an answer at third with limited options at the position on the open market this winter.
- Colletti was asked if Juan Uribe has a place on the team in 2013 and the GM responded "We'll have to see," (Twitter link). To part ways with Uribe, the Dodgers will have to eat the $10.3MM remaining on his deal.
Here's the latest from the NL West...
- Juan Uribe's time with the Dodgers could be nearing an end, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, as the team will need to open a roster spot with Adam Kennedy due back from the DL this week. Uribe has just a .553 OPS in 459 plate appearances since signing a three-year, $21MM free agent contract before the 2011 season. The Dodgers would have to eat the approximately $10.3MM left on Uribe's deal but Hernandez notes this would hardly be a burden to the club's free-spending new owners.
- Melky Cabrera told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he hadn't heard anything from his agent Sam Levinson about tabling extension talks with the Giants until after the season. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area tweets that the two sides "had conceptual talks" about a new contract, so as Schulman speculated, it's possible the discussions never got serious enough for Levinson to bring anything solid to his client.
- Dexter Fowler has played well enough to earn a contract extension, though Troy Renck of the Denver Post thinks the Rockies should wait until midway through next season to explore such a deal just to ensure that Fowler is for real. Fowler is still under team control through the 2015 season and eligible for arbitration three more times as a Super Two player. Fowler is earning $2.35MM this season.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune outlines a few ways that the Padres' prospective new owners can quickly win the favor of San Diego fans.
A few stray links to pass along as the NL All-Stars celebrate their third consecutive victory over the AL ...
- The Indians are trying to acquire Carlos Quentin from the Padres, but the sides "don't have much common ground right now," according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Quentin is an impending free agent and figures to be dealt, as the Friars are unlikely to extend him with their ownership situation still in flux.
- The MLB Players Association is considering filing a grievance on behalf of Indians reliever Nick Hagadone, who was placed on the minor league disqualified list after injuring himself in a fit of frustration following a recent poor outing, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Indians GM Chris Antonetti said Hagadone was angry that he pitched poorly and not because he had been informed he'd been optioned to the minor leagues. Players do not receive salary or accrue service time while on the disqualified list.
- The odds of the Athletics moving to Sacramento, as was recently proposed by the city's mayor, former NBA star Kevin Johnson, is highly unlikely, according to the Contra Costa Times. The A's, meanwhile, remain in stadium limbo.
- The Dodgers may be in an active-roster bind with the impending returns of outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier from the disabled list, and though they could possibly cut ties with oft-injured and ineffective infielder Juan Uribe, that move remains unlikely, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. The balance of the $12MM owed to Uribe over the next season-plus would be tough for the Dodgers to swallow, Dilbeck explains.
The Diamondbacks and Padres were two of the ten teams that cracked $10MM on draft bonus spending this year, according to Baseball America. Here's the latest on those two clubs and their NL West rivals...
- It's wouldn't be surprising to see the D'Backs look into the possibility of acquiring a shortstop this month, despite Willie Bloomquist's solid play in place of the injured Stephen Drew. But Edgar Renteria? One D'Backs source tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the Reds "won't move him" (Twitter link).
- Corey Brock of MLB.com tells the story of Drew Cumberland, the 46th overall draft pick in 2007, who had to retire because of a medical condition that disrupts balance in the inner ears. Hearing the news was understandably tough for the 22-year-old former Padres prospect. "Baseball ... it's my passion. It's what I love," he told Brock.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness responds to Tim Dierkes’ recent suggestion that the Dodgers could trade Juan Uribe for Carlos Zambrano. The Dodgers don’t have sure things on the infield going forward, so they may prefer to hold onto Uribe to ensure that they have at least one regular they can count on heading in to 2012.
The Dodgers are "open for business," according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Los Angeles front office will consider trading potentially useful veterans including Hiroki Kuroda, Jamey Carroll, Ted Lilly, Juan Uribe, Matt Guerrier and others.
Peter Gammons reported over the weekend that the Dodgers, now 42-55, are looking to shed salary. Kuroda is drawing interest and may require compensation to accept a deal, though he the Dodgers may decide to keep him. The Brewers, who are looking to acquire help on the left side of the infield, have checked in on Carroll.
The Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy and owner Frank McCourt is up against MLB in a legal battle that’s not getting any friendlier. Here’s the latest...
- McCourt obtained court approval to use $60MM for his immediate bills and will learn whether he can access the rest of his $150MM loan on July 20th, according to Bill Shaikin and Michael Oneal of the LA Times.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan shows that commissioner Bud Selig has changed his stance on McCourt dramatically since the Dodgers owner took control of the franchise in 2004.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean shot down a rumor about the possibility that infielder Juan Uribe could return to San Francisco this year, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). Baggarly and MLB.com's Chris Haft had both heard that the Dodgers could trade Uribe to the Giants, the team he played for in 2010.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Dodgers are in no substantive trade talks about anyone (Twitter link).
This day in baseball history saw the birth of the Blue Jays in 1943...the Philadelphia Blue Jays, that is. The Phillies adopted the 'Blue Jays' nickname in what new team president Bob Carpenter saw as a break from the club's largely mediocre history. The nickname didn't stick, however, and it wasn't until the Toronto expansion franchise came into being that the Blue Jays name returned to Major League Baseball.
Some news items to take us into the weekend...
- Bobby Abreu's $9MM option for 2012 will vest if he makes 433 plate appearances this season. As Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com points out, the Angels could face a tough playing-time decision since the veteran is coming off his worst full season, yet can still be productive. MLBTR's Mike Axisa recently profiled Abreu as a make-or-break year player, though given Abreu's durability, his status for 2012 shouldn't be in question as long as the Halos play him.
- Juan Uribe tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers contacted his agent almost every day before finally signing him to a three-year, $21MM contract.
- Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner profiles Anthony Rendon, who may be the first overall pick in June's amateur draft.
- Right-hander Brian Sanches is out of options and is battling for the last spot in the Marlins' bullpen, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Sanches has a 2.40 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 120 innings for Florida over the last two seasons, so he'll definitely draw interest if the Marlins put him on waivers or try to trade him.
- Steve Slowinski of Fangraphs.com looks at the 10 completed and about-to-be-completed $100MM contracts in baseball history. Of those 10 players, only four played consistently well enough to make those contracts a wise investment -- Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. (Rangers fans may argue that last one, but Slowinski is strictly looking at player performance.)
- The Orioles agreed to terms with all of their pre-arbitration players except for right-hander Jason Berken, whose contract was renewed, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Berken also had his deal renewed last season.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the top 10 prospects in the Padres' system. Mayo puts three pitchers (Casey Kelly, Simon Castro, Cory Luebke) in San Diego's top four, as he notes the emphasis the team puts on developing young arms.
- In a chat with fans on ESPNChicago.com, Bruce Levine notes that scouts were in attendance to see Carlos Silva during his six-run first inning and subsequent dugout altercation with Aramis Ramirez on Wednesday. Levine says that the Cubs would probably be able to trade Silva, not release him, if they wanted to part ways. There's also the $11.5MM salary Silva is owed for this season that the Cubs would have to swallow if they released the right-hander.