Justin Ruggiano Rumors

Latest On Royals’ Search For Outfielder

The Royals are in the market for a right-handed hitting bat to play right field, but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the team isn’t in on Boston’s Jonny Gomes or Minnesota’s Josh Willingham (Twitter links). Additionally, Crasnick tweets that he isn’t sure the Royals view Chris Denorfia and Justin Ruggiano as upgrades over Justin Maxwell, who is hitting well in Triple-A.

The Royals don’t feel that Gomes is capable of handling right field, and the same applies to Willingham as well. (As Crasnick notes, Willingham’s July swoon hasn’t helped his value.) Crasnick hears from one AL executive that the Twins would very much like to move Willingham, but they’re simply not getting much interest at this time.

Gomes, Willingham, and Denorfia are all free agents at season’s end, while Ruggiano would remain under team control via arbitration. The Royals were said at one point to have interest in Marlon Byrd, but a report yesterday indicated that they were backing off both Byrd and Alex Rios. The Royals are on Byrd’s limited no-trade clause, and he’d reportedly like the Royals to guarantee his $8MM option for 2016 in order to waive that clause.

If you’re wondering who else could be available, MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently took a look at the trade market for corner outfielders.


Central Notes: Pirates, Ruggiano, Pirates, Bastardo

If the Pirates can’t land a reliever this week, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests that the Bucs could move Edinson Volquez to the bullpen.  Volquez, who has hit 98 mph on the gun this season, has been trending down since April. More from the Central Divisions..


Stark’s Latest: Lester, Miller, Byrd, Kemp, Danks, Rios

With roughly three days until the non-waiver trade deadline, here are some highlights from the latest Rumblings & Grumblings column by ESPN’s Jayson Stark

  • The Red Sox have contacted every contending team in each league and told them that Jon Lester is available for a two- to three-prospect package fronted by at least one upper-echelon prospect. One executive, however, tells Stark that the Sox simply can’t get as much as the Rays would get if they moved David Price, which isn’t surprising, given Lester’s impending free agency and the remaining year of control that Price has.
  • Lester isn’t the only player being shopped — Boston has firmly planted a “for sale” sign in the ground, and they’re willing to move any impending free agents with the exception of Koji Uehara, whom they hope to re-sign. They’re peddling Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes and Craig Breslow. The price for Miller is also exorbitant at this time, however, as officials from two interested clubs tell Stark that Boston has asked for one of the top prospects plus a lesser prospect.
  • The Giants have asked the Phillies about Marlon Byrd, but their main priority is second base. The Reds are reassessing their stance after losing eight of nine games, and the Royals have backed off of Byrd. The Mariners appears to be the most logical option, but Byrd still wants his $8MM 2016 vesting option guaranteed to approve a trade there.
  • Byrd tells Stark that he’d have to think long and hard if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. came to him and asked him to approve a trade to a team on his no-trade clause. While his hope was to retire a Phillie, he  appreciates how aggressive Amaro was in signing him. “[Ruben] made it easy for me this offseason,” he said. Still, given the odds that he’d want some form of perk to approve a trade, it’s no longer certain that he gets dealt.
  • While the Red Sox and Mariners have been connected to Matt Kemp, officials from other clubs tell Stark they feel an offseason trade is much more likely than an in-season deal.
  • The White Sox have had scouts watching the Yankees‘ surplus of minor league catchers in recent weeks, fueling speculation that the Yanks would like to acquire John Danks.
  • Some officials believe the Yankees would like to find a right-handed hitting platoon partner to pair with Ichiro in Suzuki in right field. New York wants an option that doesn’t have commitments beyond 2014, making names like Justin Ruggiano of the Cubs and Chris Denorfia of the Padres as possible targets. Earlier today it was reported that Denorfia could be moved soon.
  • The Royals have decided that Alex Rios isn’t a good fit for their right field need. Because the team is unable to take on much additional salary (if any), they could wait until August to add a bat.
  • While Troy Tulowitzki‘s name has had a lot of buzz around it, club officials from interested teams tell Stark there’s no indication he is available. Rather, the Rockies are open to moving bullpen arms Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers, LaTroy Hawkins and Matt Belisle. However, the team would only move Hawkins if they’re overwhelmed. That seems a bit odd, given his age, but Hawkins does have a cheap club option and has drawn praise in Denver for his mentoring of younger talent.
  • The D’Backs are telling clubs that they’d move Addison Reed, but they don’t want to move Brad Ziegler. Arizona is also willing to move Aaron Hill and Oliver Perez. They’ll listen on Martin Prado and Josh Collmenter, although they’re more hesitant to deal them.
  • The chances of Cliff Lee being traded before August are almost nonexistent. Scouts who have seen him don’t think he looks close to healthy, and the money he’s owed is of course problematic.


Central Links: Cubs, Twins, Prospects, Sox

While the Cubs are among the most clear-cut sellers at this year’s deadline, the team may hang onto Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Both are enjoying solid seasons and both are controlled through 2016. While the team wants to get as much young talent in the door as possible, each provides a veteran presence to help with the club’s impending influx of young talent.

Here’s more from baseball’s Central divisions…

  • Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that it was difficult to designate Matt Guerrier for assignment, given the right-hander’s history with the club. “That’s not the way you like to see things go,” said Ryan. “He’s a class guy. He’s been a great member of this organization for about a decade.” The GM added that it’s too soon to tell if Guerrier will accept an outright assignment, but Berardino gets the impression that Guerrier’s time with the Twins organization is done.
  • Berardino also asked Ryan if he expected more moves for the Twins in the coming week after trading Kendrys Morales to Seattle for righty Stephen Pryor yesterday (Tout link). Ryan replied: “It’s always active, Mike, at this time of year. You’re going to have activity, especially if you’re in a situation that the Twins are in right now. We’re going to have active calls, whether you place them or field them, it’s going to be a little busy. … We’ve got some people here that there will be interest in.”
  • One more from Berardino, who spoke with Twins backstop Kurt Suzuki about the possibility of being traded. Suzuki says he’s not focusing on rumors circulating his name because it’s out of his control but admitted that it’s not always easy to do and can be tough for families. Berardino wonders if the Minnesota would reignite its interest in former Twin A.J. Pierzynski, should Suzuki be dealt. Minnesota made a two-year offer to Pierzynski in the offseason.
  • The Pirates sit atop Jim Callis of MLB.com’s list of five contenders that are best-positioned to make trades due to young talent. He lists Josh Bell, Austin Meadows, Harold Ramirez, Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Alen Hanson and Reese McGuire as appealing chips, noting that, “No contender can match the Bucs’ combination of prospect quality and quantity.” The Dodgers, Cardinals, Mariners and Royals round out Callis’ list.
  • Jim Margalus of SB Nation’s South Side Sox wonders why the White Sox (and teams around the league in general) have been so hesitant to trade within their own division and opines that this stigma shouldn’t prevent a deal sending Dayan Viciedo to the Royals, who reportedly have interest. Margalus runs down the list of previous intra-division trades and sees no catastrophes to speak of.

Cubs Avoid Arbitration With Justin Ruggiano

The Cubs have avoided arbitration with outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who will earn $2MM next season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports via Twitter. Chicago picked up Ruggiano, who turns 32 in April, from the Marlins in mid-December. 

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Ruggiano settled for just under the midpoint between his $2.45MM filing number and the team's $1.6MM counter. His 2014 salary lands just above the $1.8MM that MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected

Ruggiano, who swings from the right side of the plate, had a stellar 2012 season in which he posted a .313/.374/.535 line and notch 13 homers and 14 steals over just 91 games. He took a step back last year, however, receiving a career-high 472 plate appearances but registering only a .222/.298/.396 triple-slash. Ruggiano did knock 18 long balls and swipe 15 bags, but Baseball-Reference valued his contributions at replacement level while Fangraphs credited him at about one win.


Marlins, Cubs Swap Ruggiano For Bogusevic

The Marlins announced that they have traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.

Ruggiano, who turns 32 in April, wasn't able to repeat a breakout 2012 campaign that saw him bat .313/.374/.535 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 91 games for the Marlins. The Texas A&M product slipped to a .222/.298/.396 batting line in 2013, though he did continue to show plus power and speed; Ruggiano posted career-bests in homers (18) and stolen bases (15) in a career-high 472 plate appearances.

Bogusevic, set to turn 30 in February, batted .273/.323/.462 in 155 PAs for the Cubs in 2013. He's a career .236/.313/.370 hitter in 773 trips to the plate, suggesting that he's unlikely to continue that trend. However, like Ruggiano, he can play all three outfield spots. Defensive metrics have been more kind to Bogusevic than Ruggiano, and Bogusevic is not yet arbitration eligible. Ruggiano, on the other hand, projected to earn $1.8MM this season (per MLBTR's Matt Swartz). Essentially, the Marlins improved a bit defensively and saved some money at the expense of some right-handed pop.


Marlins Nearing Justin Ruggiano Trade

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald hears that the Marlins are about to trade outfielder Justin Ruggiano (Twitter link).


Justin Ruggiano, Greg Dobbs On Trade Block?

The Marlins appear to be exploring trade options for players besides Logan Morrison as the third day of the Winter Meetings gets underway in Orlando. A source tells Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (Twitter link) that the Fish are listening to offers for Justin Ruggiano, while MLB.com's Mark Bowman (Twitter link) hears that the club may soon move Greg Dobbs.

Ruggiano, 31, recorded an impressive .313/.374/.535 slash line in 320 plate appearances in 2012, but slipped to a more pedestrian .222/.298/.396 in an expanded role in 2013. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter. Dobbs' production was also on the decline this past season, as his .603 OPS was about 100 points lower than his rate over previous two seasons with the Marlins. Bowman suggests that the veteran utilityman may be a fit for the Braves.

Both players figure to cost about the same amount in 2014, as Dobbs inked a one-year, $1.7MM extension in September, while Ruggiano projects for an arbitration salary in the neighborhood of $1.8MM.


Marlins Links: Morrison, Qualls, Cishek, Hill, Abreu

Yesterday, MLBTR's Matt Swartz detailed why he projects Giancarlo Stanton will earn $4.8MM in arbitration this offseason.  It's a number that could fluctuate, as Swartz notes that Stanton's salary could range between $4-6MM and that he could earn more from a new team if he's traded, as his new club would likely want to avoid "breaking rapport with an ugly negotiation."  Here's some more on the team from South Beach…

  • Logan Morrison is receiving a lot of trade interest, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report (Twitter links).  Morrison was Miami's most asked-about player at the GM Meetings besides Stanton, and while no deal is close, the Marlins are listening to offers.  Morrison is projected to earn a modest $1.7MM in his first time through the arbitration process and hit .242/.333/.375 in 333 PA last season.
  • The Marlins are interested in re-signing right-hander Chad Qualls, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports.  Qualls posted a 2.61 ERA, 2.58 K/BB, and 7.1 K/9 in 62 relief innings last season, and the veteran reliever "is weighing all of his options" in free agency.
  • Also from Frisaro, closer Steve Cishek is "not available as a trade piece."  The Marlins were adamant about keeping Cishek last summer and it appears their stance has not changed, even though Cishek will get expensive as a Super Two player.  Cishek is projected to earn $3.2MM as a first-time arbitration eligible player this offseason.
  • Michael Hill, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, told The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer that his club would prefer to acquire experienced players who still have three or more years of team control remaining.  That Major League experience is key, Hill said: "We want talent, but we’ve done our prospect deals. We’re trying to get better and acquire players that help us now, and in the future."
  • Hill also seemed to hint that Justin Ruggiano could be a trade chip this offseason.
  • The Marlins weren't very close to signing Jose Dariel Abreu, Spencer reports.  Miami "dropped out of the bidding early" after they "made a legitimate initial offer" for the Cuban slugger.  Abreu eventually signed a six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox.

Quick Hits: Lee, A’s, Rays, Yankees

In reality, the Red Sox were a "non factor" for Cliff Lee before they landed Jake Peavy, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Will he get moved today to another club?  Baseball people are highly doubtful anyone would meet the supposed Phillies' asking price of three top prospects for a pitcher who has $70MM left on his deal through 2015.  "I don't know of a team in baseball that would [do] that. Taking on that much money and giving up three legit prospects seems like a stretch for anyone," one exec said.  Here's more from around baseball as we approach the 3pm central deadline..

  • The A's are still pursuing bullpen depth, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Phillies say they're not upbeat about making any deals today, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.  Michael Young is still in play, but there's no clear destination for the third baseman.
  • The Cardinals are leaning towards standing pat at the deadline unless there is a last minute drastic change, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the Rays have been looking into at least one more potential deal, presumably to add a bat.  Tampa Bay made a splash earlier this week when they landed Jesse Crain in a swap with the White Sox.
  • The Yankees were mainly working on smaller acquisitions like Alberto Callaspo this week and didn't have any interest in Alex Rios once they landed Alfonso Sorianotweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Callaspo wound up going from the Halos to the A's.
  • The Marlins don't expect to do much today and plan to keep Chad Qualls, Justin Ruggiano, and other trade chips if they can't get good value in return, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Meanwhile, the Marlins are gauging interest in Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com
  • The Royals' search for a second baseman continues, but they don't appear to be close on anything at the moment, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  “Anything’s possible,” one club official said. “We looking at a lot of things, but I doubt anything get done unless things change in the last few hours.
  • The Indians got the left-handed reliever they needed yesterday in Marc Rzepczynski and would still be open to a rotation upgrade, but they don't like the price so far, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  For now, the Tribe is prepared to stand pat.
  • There are a lot of present and veteran Braves who think the club is making a serious mistake by allowing Brian McCann hit the open market at the end of the season, writes Peter Gammons at GammonsDaily.com. "Only the people around the team understand what he means to that pitching staff. He’s a star player in the team concept,” said David Ross of McCann, who also leads the team with a .884 OPS.
  • Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com spoke with Nationals players to get their take on the trade deadline.  Scott Hairston and Adam LaRoche have both been involved in multiple deadline deals.