Julio Borbon Rumors
The Twins are kicking the tires on Rangers center fielder Julio Borbon, a team official tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Wolfson senses the Twins won't trade for Borbon, but could claim him off waivers if he's available to them. Wolfson notes that struggling rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks is a factor for the Twins.
Borbon, 27, was designated for assignment by the Rangers yesterday. During the first month of the season, last season's records are used to determine waiver order, so the Astros, Cubs, and Rockies will have a crack at Borbon before the Twins if he does hit waivers next week. Borbon hit .304/.349/.433 in 584 Triple-A plate appearances last year.
Borbon has long been expected to be the odd man out upon Tepesch's promotion to the varsity squad. The out-of-options outfielder posted a .304/.349/.433 slash line for Triple-A Round Rock in 2012. The Rangers will have ten days to find a trade for the 27-year-old, but it's unlikely that they'll get much for him as he has yet to establish himself in the majors.
Rangers outfielder Julio Borbon describes his future as "a real question mark," Evan Grant of DallasNews.com reports. Texas appears likely to trade Borbon or designate him for assignment, when they add starter Nick Tepesch to their active roster on Tuesday. If the Rangers designate Borbon for assignment, the Astros might claim him, Grant says. Borbon hit .304/.349/.433 for Triple-A Round Rock in 2012. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- Ranger-turned-Angel C.J. Wilson understands why Rangers fans weren't happy to see fellow former Ranger Josh Hamilton play in Arlington for the Angels this weekend, MLB.com's Lyle Spencer reports. "We're all baseball players," Wilson says. "It's not real life. Sports gives you something to cheer for or boo about. It's your choice. They're not going to cheer for him, obviously." Hamilton signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the Angels in December.
- The upcoming Yankees-Indians series in Cleveland will be a reunion for both Nick Swisher and Travis Hafner, Zack Meisel of MLB.com reports. "Oh, man, that's going to be the jam," says Swisher, who left New York in the offseason and signed a four-year, $56MM contract with the Indians. Hafner signed a one-year, $2MM contract with the Yankees in February.
Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman has made the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (on Twitter). Freiman hit .298/.370/.502 for Double-A San Antonio in the Padres system last year. The Astros took him in the Rule 5 Draft, and he was later claimed by the A's. He will have to stick on Oakland's roster throughout the season if the A's intend to keep him. Freiman is expected to play primarily against lefties. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says the biggest hangup during negotiations of the Paul Goldschmidt extension was the team option at the end, AZCentral.com's Nick Piecoro writes. Goldschmidt's contract is a five-year deal that begins in 2014 and includes a $14.5MM team option for 2019, with a $2MM buyout. The contract guarantees Goldschmidt $32MM total. "We wanted at least a year of free agency and probably the thing that took the most time was they didn’t really want an option year," Towers says. "A mutual option, no option, guarantee six years. We had to have some kind of an option."
- Julio Borbon has made the Rangers' 25-man roster, but he might not have a spot when the Rangers add fifth starter Nick Tepesch on April 9, says MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Borbon is out of options, and the Rangers say they have had trade discussions about him. Borbon is 27 and has yet to establish himself in the majors, though, so other teams likely wouldn't be willing to part with solid talent in a trade.
Here are some notes from Texas:
- The Rangers announced via press release that infielder Brandon Snyder "has requested and received his unconditional release from his minor league contract." Snyder, a former 1st round pick of the Orioles, hit .277/.309/.446 in 69 plate appearances last year for Texas.
- The Rangers have asked pitcher Nate Robertson to accept an assignment to Triple-A, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Though he has not pitched in the big leagues since 2010, Robertson has over seven years of service time and must therefore assent to such a move. Robertson is expected to agree to the assignment, though he will keep looking for opportunities with other major league clubs and expects the Rangers to work with him should he find a chance.
- Outfielder Julio Borbon is still waiting to find out what will happen to him with GM Jon Daniels working hard to trade him, according to Sullivan. With Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry set to man center field, and Borbon out of options, he seems destined for waivers if Daniels cannot find a deal.
Let's take a quick look at some Texas Rangers news:
- The Rangers and CEO Nolan Ryan are on a "sad, unnecessary collision course," writes Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman. It seems more likely than not that Ryan will leave the club that he "helped rescue from despair," says Bohls, who cites a source "close to Ryan" who said it was '70-30' that he leaves." Boyls further opines that while Ryan is "not completely blameless in this soap opera because he's overstepped his bounds at times," he "has done too much and meant too much to be treated so callously."
- With highly-touted infield prospect Jurickson Profar headed to Triple-A in favor of Leury Garcia and Nick Tepesch taking the fifth rotation spot, the Rangers are continuing to hone their roster by "having trade discussions with other teams about outfielder Julio Borbon," writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Texas is "ready to go with Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin as their center fielders," says Sullivan, making Borbon expendable. According to GM Jon Daniels, "based on the interest we've received" in Borbon, the club would be "shocked" if he cleared waivers if the team sought to stash him in Triple-A.
- The Rangers also hope to work out a trade to keep Rule 5 pick Coty Woods, reports Sullivan. Since Woods cleared waivers, the club has 72 hours to reach a deal with the Rockies if they hope to hold on to him.
- Regarding the rotation, Sullivan writes that the team is committed at this point to Tepesch. "The Rangers were never seriously interested in free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse and they have no ongoing trade discussions with other teams about starting pitching. They have scouted Dodgers pitchers Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang but did not get good reports back and there is nothing going between the two teams."
Here's the latest news out of Surprise, Arizona, as the Rangers begin their Spring Training preparations...
- Elvis Andrus told reporters (including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that he'd be happy to continue exploring a multiyear extension with Texas. “If they want to keep talking and get to a point where there is a really great offer for my future, yeah, I’d do it for sure,” Andrus said. The team has interest in locking Andrus up, though Grant notes the two sides haven't made much progress in limited negotiations this winter.
- Grant speculates that Andrus and agent Scott Boras' idea of "a really great offer" might be an eight- or ten-year contract with an average annual value of around $15MM. The Yankees could be a "looming" factor in negotiations, Grant writes, as Andrus is under contract through the 2014 season, which is also when Derek Jeter's contract will be up.
- Lance Berkman talked to MLB.com's Alyson Footer about his decision to sign with the Rangers, his injury concerns and how close he came to retiring this offseason. Health permitting, Berkman said that he would like to play two more seasons before calling it a career.
- Julio Borbon is facing a make-or-break situation in Spring Training but the outfielder told reporters (including ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett) that he changed his offseason regimen and is confident of making the Opening Day roster. Borbon is out of options and would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors, though the Rangers may not have room for him with Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and Mike Olt all in the mix for part-time outfield jobs.
Peter Gammons spoke with a host of scouts, general managers, and MLB executives, all of which is compiled in his latest piece at MLB.com, which is chock full of trade-related news:
- The Astros are asking for as much in return for Wandy Rodriguez as the Rockies are for Ubaldo Jimenez. General manager Ed Wade is in a difficult position, caught between an ownership change.
- Half a dozen teams are looking for right-handed offense, but the Rockies won't trade Ryan Spilborghs and the Cubs are holding onto Jeff Baker. Gammons says that reduces that market to Conor Jackson, Josh Willingham, Reed Johnson, Lastings Milledge, and Jeff Francoeur. The Twins recently announced they won't trade Michael Cuddyer as well.
- The Dodgers want to shed salary, but don't have much to shed besides Jamey Carroll and Hiroki Kuroda. Gammons spoke with two East coast executives that said Kuroda, who has a full no-trade clause, won't accept a deal to an East Coast team.
- The Athletics will move veteran bats and probably a reliever or two.
- The Mariners won't have a fire sale, and aren't likely to get much for Erik Bedard in light of his injury.
- The Nationals are willing to trade Tyler Clippard, and have been continually pursuing Michael Bourn. They're also one of several teams who showed interest in Julio Borbon prior to his injury.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is in a tough spot because he doesn't know which way owner Peter Angelos wants him to go, according to a rival GM.
- Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario make it possible for the Rockies to trade Chris Iannetta, but the Red Sox seem content wth their catching options.
There are two intra-divisional matchups between NL and AL West rivals slated for tonight. The Rockies face the Diamondbacks at Chase Field while the Mariners host the Rangers. Here are some tidbits from the western divisions...
- "There is discussion in the [Giants'] executive offices as to how long they can stay with [Miguel] Tejada and Pat Burrell," reports Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Reyes has been mentioned as a trade target for the Giants, though Brian Sabean denied his club's interest yesterday.
- Thanks to Justin Smoak's emergence, the Mariners seem to have gotten the best of the three recent Cliff Lee trade packages, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- If Mark Trumbo keeps hitting and Kendrys Morales is out of action for most of the season, Eric Denton of the LA Angels Insider blog notes that the Angels could face a tough choice this offseason. Denton suggests the Halos could even non-tender Morales, but if they do choose to move the first baseman, surely you'd think the team could find a trade partner.
- We know the Diamondbacks have an interest in UCLA prospect Gerrit Cole with the third pick of the upcoming amateur draft, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds a couple of other interesting nuggets about the right-hander. Arizona also has the seventh overall pick, but Piecoro notes that since that pick is unprotected, the D'Backs "almost certainly couldn’t risk drafting him" at that spot if they pass on him at #3. Cole is represented by Scott Boras and could be a difficult signing.
- Cole was drafted 28th overall by the Yankees in the 2008 draft but he didn't sign. Piecoro "got the sense from talking with other scouts and executives that there are still some people in the game harboring a grudge toward Cole" since Cole didn't let it be known that he wasn't interested in signing back in 2008.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock profiles A.J. Hinch, the former D'Backs manager who is now the Padres' vice president of professional scouting.
- Julio Borbon welcomes the center field competition of newly-signed Rangers prospect Leonys Martin, reports Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
A few more links for your Saturday afternoon viewing pleasure...
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun expects the Orioles to call up infielder Justin Turner, outfielder Joey Gathright and catcher Robby Hammock when rosters expand on September 1. The O's might also want to add some bullpen depth.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer takes a look back, and a look forward, at the Reds' trade for Scott Rolen. "There's no question Rolen is a big upgrade over Edwin Encarnacion," Fay writes. "But the Reds gave up young pitching in the deal, and Rolen's salary really hamstrings the club as far as payroll flexibility."
- Marc Hulet of Fangraphs reviews the career of "under-hyped" outfielder Julio Borbon, who has been on fire since his promotion to the Rangers on August 7. Can he maintain the pace?