Jurickson Profar Rumors

Quick Hits: Profar, Arbitration, Rockies, Epstein

Jurickson Profar tops Baseball America's newly-released list of the top 100 prospects in the game.  The Cardinals, Marlins and Twins each placed six prospects amongst the top 100, and BA's John Manuel and J.J. Cooper discussed the list in a reader chat.  If there was any doubt that Profar was the cream of the minor league crop, the Rangers shortstop also ranked first on the top 100 prospect lists recently released by MLB.com and ESPN's Keith Law

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • The 133 players who filed for arbitration last month received an average salary increase of 119%, according to a report by The Associated PressBuster Posey had the biggest raise, going from $615K in 2012 to $8MM in 2013.  The AP also examines why no arb cases went to hearings this winter, the first time this has ever happened.  You can check out the results of every arbitration case on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
  • The Denver Post's Patrick Saunders looks at a number of Rockies-related topics in a reader mailbag, including how the Rockies largely stood pat with their pitching staff over the winter, instead hoping that improved health from incumbent starters upgrades the rotation.  Saunders also doesn't see Kyle Lohse as a fit with Colorado, as Lohse likely has no interest in pitching at Coors Field and the Rockies aren't keen to spend big money on a free agent starter.
  • Theo Epstein talks to CSN Chicago's David Kaplan about his first 16 months as Cubs president, the progress that the franchise has made and what still has to be done to make the team successful.
  • Right-hander Seth McClung has been throwing for teams, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports (Twitter link).  McClung, 32, last pitched in the Majors in 2009 as a reliever and spot starter for the Brewers and has since pitched in the minors for the Brewers, Rangers and Cubs. 
  • Freddy Sanchez is looking to keep playing and has turned down minor league offers in hopes of finding a Major League job as a utility infielder, Sanchez's agent Paul Cobbe tells Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area.  Sanchez, 35, hasn't played in a game since June 2011 due to shoulder and back injuries but around 20 teams reportedly asked to see his medical records this offseason.  Cobbe says Sanchez would love to re-sign with the Giants but they don't want to sign him to a guaranteed contract.

AL West Notes: Norris, Luhnow, Athletics, Profar

The Mariners dominated headlines around baseball today, agreeing to an extension with Felix Hernandez, agreeing to terms with Joe Saunders, finalizing a one-year deal with Kelly Shoppach and designating Shawn Kelley for assignment.  While the bulk of the news from the AL West came from Seattle, here are some more items from around the division…

  • In an interview on the MLB Network (video link), Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said he was looking forward to having Bud Norris in the rotation next season and that he wasn't currently talking to anyone about trading the right-hander.  Luhnow noted, however, that the Astros' recent history has shown "we're willing to talk to any club about any player if we feel the deal furthers our strategy to develop the best young talent in baseball….We'll continue to look at all options."  FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday that Norris was available and that the Cardinals, Padres and Orioles were all interested in Norris during the Winter Meetings.
  • Speaking of Houston's recent moves, Luhnow's trades as Astros general manager are recapped by MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
  • "Our currency is not cashOur currency is young players," Athletics GM Billy Beane tells CBS Sports' Danny Knobler. While the A's won't see a major payroll increase in 2013, the team has been dealing young talent in exchange for more expensive veterans this offseason since Oakland feels it can contend next season.  
  • The topic of a Jurickson Profar-for-David Price deal was recently posed to ESPN's Keith Law during a radio appearance, and ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett goes further in-depth in analyzing the specifics of such a trade between the Rangers and Rays.  Durrett would make the trade since it would give the Rangers a proven ace, while Law wouldn't make the deal one-for-one since Texas would be giving up too many years of team control.  Law, however, doesn't think Tampa Bay would consider such an offer anyway since, "it would be very hard for the Rays to justify a deal like that with the perceived value of Price."

Padres, D’Backs Discussed Upton, Kubel, Headley

11:37pm: The Padres and D'Backs found no match in trade talks about Upton or Jason Kubel, reports Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). San Diego doesn't want to move Headley and they don't have a spot for Kubel with Carlos Quentin on the roster.

3:27pm: The Padres and Diamondbacks have had on-and-off discussions about a deal involving Justin Upton and Chase Headley since July, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  However, those talks have yet to result in a deal.

Even though that deal hasn't worked out, the Diamondbacks continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Rangers and Mariners while also considering offers for Jason Kubel.  The Rangers want to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt rather than shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar and they're willing to add a top pitching prospect and a third quality piece to the package, sources say.

However, sources tell Rosenthal that the D'Backs believe they could make an even better deal for Upton with another club like the Mariners, who are aggressively trying to add a power hitter.  However, as we've heard before, Seattle is on Upton's four-team no-trade list and he's not inclined to approve a deal to the M's.  The Mariners might be able to change Upton's mind with a lucrative contract extension.

Earlier this week we learned that the Braves have also inquired on Upton.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Justin Upton Rumors: Monday

We'll round up today's rumors on Justin Upton, one of the winter's most intriguing trade candidates, right here, with the latest updates added to the top of the page throughout the day…

Earlier updates:

  • The Diamondbacks are said to be one of the most aggressive teams at the Winter Meetings so far, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney, who says rival teams believe Arizona will move Upton.
  • The Rangers haven't given up on Upton, though the D-Backs continue to insist Elvis Andrus is included in any deal, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Texas would prefer to build a package around players like Mike Olt and/or Derek Holland rather than giving up Andrus or Jurickson Profar, according to Rosenthal.
  • Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com tweets that the Rangers and D-Backs are still talking about Upton, but that there's "nothing there" at the moment.

Rosenthal On Royals, Uehara, D’Backs, Span, Catching

Here are the latest hot stove items from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal….

  • Teams in search of bullpen help have been looking at Royals right-handers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow, though Kansas City isn't likely to trade any of its Major League players unless they can move Jeff Francoeur.
  • The Royals bolstered their pitching staff by re-signing Jeremy Guthrie and trading for Ervin Santana, but Rosenthal still feels the team needs a true ace.
  • The Phillies are interested in free agent reliever Koji Uehara.
  • The Diamondbacks could deal Jason Kubel instead of Justin Upton, which would be an easier move to make though Kubel would bring back a lesser return.  A source tells Rosenthal that the Rangers are still interested in Upton but are waiting for the D'Backs to back down on their demands for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in return.
  • Denard Span could be a good trade target for a club that doesn't want to pay for one of the expensive center fielders on the free market.  With the Twins desperate for pitching, Rosenthal speculates that a team like the Braves (who need a center fielder and have pitching depth) could be a trade partner.
  • The free agent catching market is stalled since the Red Sox and Blue Jays have catchers available for trade, plus the Yankees are waiting to address their pitching before making a decision on Russell Martin.
  • Speaking of the Blue Jays' catching depth, Rosenthal thinks that Toronto is in no hurry to deal J.P. Arencibia, as a dependable catcher is needed if top prospect Travis D'Arnaud hasn't recovered from his season-ending knee injury.
  • Reed Johnson is drawing interest from several teams, including the Braves, who acquired Johnson from the Cubs last July.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Upton, Rays, Youkilis, Dodgers

Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • The Rangers continue to insist that they will not trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Justin Upton, which could allow the Rays to emerge as the front-runner. They could offer the Diamondbacks James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson in addition to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.
  • The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
  • The Orioles and Nationals are still engaged in a dispute over money received from MASN — both clubs own the network, but Baltimore's stake is nearly 90% — though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said that will not limit the club's ability to spend.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is not concerned about finding a pure closer. He intends to add the best bullpen arms he can and let things figure themselves out.
  • A rival executive told Rosenthal that he expects Dan Haren to sign with the Padres. Haren is a West Coast guy and Padres GM Josh Byrnes originally acquired him from the Athletics while running the Diamondbacks a few years ago.
  • “Like him. Don’t love him," said a Red Sox official when asked about Adam LaRoche. Boston is reportedly pursuing the first baseman.
  • Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Both right-handers are coming off Tommy John surgery.

Nightengale On Hunter, Dodgers, Greinke, Simmons

Here's the latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today

  • The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" Torii Hunter according to a team executive. GM Ned Colletti wouldn't confirm the team's interest, but he did say that he did not have any trade talks about Andre Ethier during the GM Meetings this week.
  • The Dodgers will have meetings early next week to formulate a plan that involves signing Hunter and acquiring a frontline starter. They've already spoken to representatives for Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, but are out on Ryan Dempster.
  • The Rangers tried to acquire Andrelton Simmons from the Braves so they could flip him to the Diamondbacks in a deal for Justin Upton. Arizona wants a young shortstop, but Texas is loath to give up Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Atlanta wouldn't budge, however.

Justin Upton Rumors: Thursday

With the Diamondbacks in "active discussions" about Justin Upton, there has been no shortage of trade buzz about the former No. 1 overall draft pick.  While the Braves and Yankees are reportedly not interested in Upton, teams as the Red Sox, Rangers and Rays are, though the Rays ironically can't make a serious push until Justin's brother B.J. rejects Tampa Bay's qualifying offer, though he is expected to do so by tomorrow.

Here's the latest about Upton from around the league, with the newest items at the top of the page…

  • With input from rival executives, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic lists the Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers and Braves as the top five possible suitors for Upton, with the Pirates and Royals as darkhorse candidates.
  • D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including Nick Piecoro) that despite some rumors to the contrary, he has had "zero issues" with Upton from a character standpoint.  Towers is in "no rush" to make a deal for Upton and said that a potential trade won't prevent him from making other offseason moves.  With starting pitching at such a premium in the game, Towers doubted the Snakes would be able to obtain a top pitcher "even in an Upton deal." (All links are to Piecoro's Twitter account.)
  • The Rangers aren't willing to include either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in a deal for Upton, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link), which will likely end trade talks between Texas and Arizona.
  • The Red Sox are currently on Upton's four-team no-trade list, though he is willing to waive that protection in Boston's case, reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (Twitter links).
  • The D'Backs would take a "good young starter" as the "centerpiece" of an Upton trade, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Tigers are doing background work on Upton, tweets Nick Piecoro, though the Tigers may not have yet "talked specifics" with the D'Backs.
  • "Don't expect" the Blue Jays to acquire Upton, tweets Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

Sherman’s Latest: Dickey, Wright, Hunter, Upton

Here's the latest from Joel Sherman of The New York Post…

  • The Mets are making progress, albeit slowly, in contract talks with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The impression is that there is still a substantial gap in talks with Dickey, and they've been gauging his trade value during the GM Meetings. They are not doing the same with Wright, however.
  • The Yankees would not do a two-year deal worth $20MM or so for Torii Hunter since they want to get under the luxury tax threshold next year. They are fixated on one-year contracts this offseason and could fill their right field hole with a low-cost platoon.
  • "The Yankees are not on him," said a source about Justin Upton, in part because they're unsure if he's a good fit for New York (Twitter link). The Rangers and Rays are strongest early players for Upton, and Sherman gets the sense that the D'Backs want to act quickly (Twitter links).
  • The Diamondbacks want high-end, MLB ready players in return for Upton and would love to get Jurickson Profar or (more likely) Elvis Andrus from the Rangers. They don't love Mike Olt, however (Twitter links). GM Kevin Towers likes Yankees prospect Mason Williams, but he is several years away from the show and unlikely to be enough to headline a trade package (all Twitter links).
  • Next year's crop of free agent starting pitchers is weak, which could benefit Zack Greinke since teams won't be able to find a stopgap and reassess next year. Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum highlight next winter's pitching crop, and both come with question marks.
  • The Mariners, who have young pitching, are said to be talking to the Royals and Twins, who have young hitting. Seattle would love to pry Wil Myers, Aaron Hicks, and/or Ben Revere loose.
  • Jason Bay didn't produce with the Mets, but he lived up to his billing as a hard worker and good teammate. Sherman expects the outfielder to take a low-salary, change of scenery deal (Twitter link).
  • Mets officials think Scott Hairston will get a two-year deal worth between $8-10MM this winter.

Olney On Price, Andrus, Leyland

Some talent evaluators believe Rays left-hander David Price could be traded this winter, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Here’s the latest from Olney, who runs down potential suitors for Price in his latest column…

  • Price’s trade value will never be higher than it will be this winter, Olney writes. However, the left-hander’s salary will rise considerably from $4.35MM following his Cy Young-caliber 2012 season. This means the budget-conscious Rays will probably decide to part with Price at some point between now and when he hits free agency after the 2015 season. “There will be a day when the Rays trade him,” Olney writes. 
  • Tampa Bay could seek up-the-middle players for Price, who has extraordinary trade value as a controllable top-of-the-rotation left-hander.
  • There’s a wide expectation that the Rangers will trade Elvis Andrus this winter. But Andrus isn’t a great fit for the Rays given his salary and service time, so they’d presumably ask about shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar in talks for Price.
  • It’s hard to imagine the Royals obtaining Price from the Rays without giving up Wil Myers, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas or Eric Hosmer, Olney writes.
  • Though the Tigers aren’t a strong defensive team their pitchers haven’t complained publicly about the glovework behind them. Olney credits Detroit’s player and manager Jim Leyland for this display of support.