Jurickson Profar Rumors

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.

Rosenthal On Farrell, Indians, Nationals

The Blue Jays shouldn’t part with manager John Farrell unless they are confident they can hire a comparable replacement and make the Red Sox pay dearly for their former pitching coach, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Blue Jays could start by asking for Clay Buchholz again, Rosenthal suggests. Here’s more from around MLB, starting with Farrell…

  • People who know Farrell find it difficult to believe he’d try to force his way out of Toronto, Rosenthal reports. The Blue Jays appear to value Farrell and don’t want to see him leave.
  • Most MLB teams wanted to develop Jurickson Profar as a pitcher when he was an amateur player, Rosenthal reports. The Rangers built a relationship with Profar, who wanted to play shortstop.
  • Scouts following the Indians like the team’s up-the-middle talent, but say the body language of manager Manny Acta suggests he’s resigned to losing. The Indians are expected to consider trade offers for Justin Masterson, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez this offseason and rival teams wonder if they’d listen to offers for Asdrubal Cabrera.
  • Indians officials are “livid” with Perez for his comments about the team’s ownership and top baseball executives, Rosenthal writes. Perez questioned the Indians’ decision making and spending last week in an interview with Jon Paul Morosi. Some executives viewed those remarks as an attempt to get traded, Rosenthal reports.
  • One Orioles person points out that Andy MacPhail traded for many of the Orioles’ key players in a series of successful deals. MacPhail dealt for players such as J.J. Hardy, Pedro Strop, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Robert Andino and Adam Jones before stepping down following the 2011 season.
  • Though the Nationals would like to retain Adam LaRoche, they can rely on internal options if the first baseman’s asking price reaches the three-year, $33-36MM range. Similarly, the Nationals might decide not to pursue Michael Bourn despite the long-standing expectation that they will offer him a competitive free agent contract.
  • The Brewers will need to sign a starting pitcher and fix their bullpen this coming offseason, Rosenthal writes.

AL West Notes: McCarthy, Maddon, Profar, Mariners

The Rangers are the only AL West club in action tonight, as a win over the Royals can stretch Texas' lead in the division to six games over the A's.  Here's the latest from the AL West…

  • Athletics right-hander Brandon McCarthy underwent surgery last night to stabilize a skull fracture and remove an epidural hemorrhage, according to a team press release.  A CT scan taken today revealed that McCarthy's condition improved, and A's GM Billy Beane is quoted as saying McCarthy is "stable, awake and alert."  McCarthy was struck in the head yesterday by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar.
  • Scott Miller of CBS Sports relates how, in 1996, then-Angels GM Bill Bavasi tried to hire Sparky Anderson as the Halos' manager, with the idea that Joe Maddon (then a coach with the team) would take over from Anderson after two years.  The idea didn't come to fruition but Maddon remained on the staff and served as Mike Scioscia's bench coach when the Angels won the 2002 World Series, before eventually moving on to manage the Rays.
  • Jurickson Profar tops MLB.com's latest ranking of the 100 best prospects in baseball.  The Rangers shortstop made his Major League debut on Sunday and homered in his first plate appearance.  From that same list, the Mariners have the highest overall ranking for their multiple prospects, led by starters Taijuan Walker (fifth) and Danny Hultzen (ninth).

Quick Hits: Rockies, Mets, Profar

The Braves defeated the Rockies 1-0 this afternoon behind one unearned run and another strong start from Tim Hudson. Atlanta now has a 78-60 record and their chances of making the playoffs exceed 90%, according to Baseball Prospectus. Here are today’s links, starting in Colorado…

  • There are still no winners in the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland for Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. White and Pomeranz have been disappointments in the year-plus since the 2011 trade and both must improve the command of their secondary pitches to start seeing better results, Renck writes.
  • The Mets are expected reduce their losses from the $70MM range to $23MM this year, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports. The Mets cut their payroll considerably last offseason and it currently sits in the $94.5MM range, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Their payroll is expected to stay in the same range for 2013.
  • Jurickson Profar belongs at the MLB level even if he isn't as physically imposing as some of the sport's other young stars, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. Profar, the 19-year-old shortstop prospect who was recently called up by the Rangers, has impressive makeup at a young age, Passan writes.

Quick Hits: Profar, Strasburg, Miller, Inge, Phillips

Baseball has always been a game for the young and old alike and today captured that sentiment perfectly. First, the young. The Rangers' Jurickson Profar made his Major League debut a memorable one by becoming the second youngest player and only the third teenager to homer in his first career at-bat. Profar, a last-minute substitute at second base for Ian Kinsler, also doubled becoming the youngest player since Andruw Jones (1996) to hit a four-bagger and a two-bagger in his debut and the first AL player to do so since Ken Griffey Jr. (1989). Now, the old. The Astros celebrated Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton's 85th birthday with a bobblehead day and induction into the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor. This year marks Hamilton's 59th and final season calling baseball games. Elsewhere around baseball:

  • Stephen Strasburg will make two more starts for the Nationals with his final one coming September 12 against the Mets, tweets MASNSports.com's Dan Kolko. Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement following the Nationals' 4-3 win over the Cardinals. In separate tweets from Kolko, GM Mike Rizzo confirmed Strasburg's shutdown date saying, "That seems like the right number of innings to end his season. I don't think he's going to fight me on it. I know he'll be unhappy about it. He's an ultimate competitor."
  • The Cardinals have decided to include top pitching prospect Shelby Miller in their batch of September call-ups this week, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Miller, the team's first round pick in 2009 who has created concerns over his conditioning and willingness to be coached, redeemed himself in his last ten starts at Triple-A Memphis amassing a 7-2 record, 2.88 ERA, 70 K's, and seven walks while limiting opposing hitters to a .217 average. Strauss says there is no plan for Miller to receive a start and will be used in mop-up situations. The Cardinals will have to add Miller to the 40-man roster before activating him.
  • Brandon Inge will likely have season-ending surgery this week after re-injuring his right shoulder last night, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Inge says he wants to return to the A's next season in a utility role, if they will have him.
  • Catcher Paul Phillips has decided to call it a career and become a coach at Lipscomb University, tweets the Colorado Sky Sox PR Department (Rockies' Triple-A club). Phillips spent 2012 playing for the Brewers' and Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliates. Phillips, who last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Rockies, will finish with a slash line of .262/.298/.357 in 91 games over seven seasons with the Royals, White Sox, and Rockies.