Justin Smoak Rumors
More links for the evening...
- The Red Sox will find out tomorrow if their claim on Rays righty Ramon A. Ramirez went through, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. This isn't the same Ramon Ramirez that appeared in 70 games for Boston last year.
- Randy Johnson is still undecided about 2010, according to this AP report on ESPN.com.
- The Rangers discussed Arthur Rhodes with the Reds today, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The Rangers are on the lookout for lefty relievers.
- The Rangers are considering Jason Kendall and Rod Barajas behind the plate, according to Sullivan. ESPN.com's Keith Law says this is a problem for the Rangers. He doesn't think much of any of the free agent catchers they're considering.
- Coco Crisp would be up for signing with the White Sox, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Talks between the Twins and Joe Crede are progressing slowly, according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier.
- The Mariners are keeping in touch with Rich Harden's agents, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Nats were interested in Jose Valverde, but they felt his asking price was too high, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Scott Boras will meet with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik tonight. Adrian Beltre is one of Boras' clients, so they'll presumably discuss him.
- White Sox reliever Matt Thornton tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he's recruiting J.J. Putz. Thornton says he and Putz have a long-standing "bromance" that dates back to their Seattle days.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says Justin Smoak and Neftali Feliz are too much to give up for Josh Johnson. Apparently, the Rangers offered the pair of top prospects up.
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus likes the Ivan Rodriguez signing for the Nats, partly because Pudge could help develop Stephen Strasburg.
- By the way, the deal is pending a physical, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- The Braves are interested in Xavier Nady, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Mets may be more inclined to pay top dollar for John Lackey now that they've seen the asking prices of some lesser starters.
- The Cardinals won't be involved with Lackey, but they have interest in signing a lefty bench bat, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach.
The Rangers must be confident in their chances next year. Both T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com and Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com are reporting that the team offered Justin Smoak and Neftali Feliz to the Marlins for Josh Johnson.
If that offer didn't get it done, then the Marlins truly are committed to starting the season with their 25-year-old ace. Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins are still open to an extension with Johnson.
Some links for the morning...
- Jeff Sackmann of the Hardball Times can imagine an excellent Royals team in 2012, but says there's no guarantee we'll see such a thing.
- As MLB.com's Doug Miller shows, cheap, no-name closers can be just as effective as proven commodities.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the addition of Scott Kazmir should help the Angels reach the playoffs once again.
- Tim Hudson and Dan Meyer were traded for each other in 2004. This week, Hudson pitched against Meyer's team for the first time, as MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports.
- Jamey Newberg ranks Justin Smoak and Martin Perez ahead of the other Rangers minor leaguers in this week's prospects report for MLB.com.
5:38pm: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says his team was not involved with Halladay, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
5:10pm: The Blue Jays and Rangers were talking last night when they found that Halladay wouldn't approve a deal to the Rangers, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The sides weren't close to a deal when they found out.
The Jays, like other teams the Rangers spoke with, coveted Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak and Pedro Borbon. Holland's now in the majors and the other three rank on Jonathan Mayo's updated list of top prospects.
3:25pm: Halladay has not been traded, according to Sherman on Twitter. So many wasted words.
10:12am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post has a slew of comments from Ricciardi about a Halladay trade today being highly unlikely. Ricciardi admitted he'd listen again in the offseason, but says keeping Doc today signifies an attempt to contend in 2010.
10:01am: MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers' talks for Halladay "appear to have broken off" and are "somewhere between dead and on life-support." Seems like the Rangers are unwilling to trade pitcher Derek Holland, especially after last night's gem.
9:53am: Yahoo's Tim Brown says the Red Sox will "engage Ricciardi early" today on Doc before going after Adrian Gonzalez or Victor Martinez. However, when quizzed by Brown earlier this morning about the Halladay talks, Ricciardi replied, "Nothing going."
8:34am: One way or another, pitcher Roy Halladay can get some peace of mind about six hours from now when the trade deadline passes. Until then, it's rumor-mania. Yesterday night, things seemed to heat up with the Rangers, but Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi labeled trade talks "dead" in a general sense. Earlier in the day the Red Sox and Dodgers were considered the frontrunners.
This morning, SI's Jon Heyman tells us the Rangers "may have come the closest" to acquiring Halladay. Even more so than the Phillies? Heyman says the Rangers talks hit "a snag or two late Thursday," decreasing the chances for a trade.
Some more links for a quiet Thursday...
- MLB.com's Jen Langosch says it's "almost certain" that Ian Snell will be demoted to Triple A and Dejan Kovacevic confirms the news. Snell has been mentioned in some rumors, but his value's pretty low at this point.
- Chris Iott of MLive.com reports that the Tigers signed two of their picks and a non-drafted free agent.
- Octavio Dotel realizes he could be traded and says nothing will surprise him, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- In a piece for MLB.com, Jamey Newberg says Justin Smoak and Martin Perez lead the list of top Rangers prospects.
- Don't forget to tune in at 6:20 CST when I'll be talking rumors on the TEAM 1380 in St. Louis.
In his latest blog post at ESPN.com, Peter Gammons writes that "unless someone comes up with a Justin Smoak, Matt LaPorta or Brett Wallace," the Red Sox will hold on to Brad Penny and enjoy the depth. He says no one will offer up a prospect like that for a few months of Penny.
Here's the rest of Gammons' rumors:
- Takashi Saito is the pitcher on Boston's staff most likely to be traded.
- Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard "probably won't be tradeable before Aug. 1" because of their injuries.
- Jarrod Washburn could be had.
- The Red Sox have talked to the Angels about infielder Maicer Izturis, but the talks haven't gone anywhere
- Mark Mulder "made considerable progress refinding his delivery after one session with pitching coach Rick Peterson."
- The Mets are looking for an outfield bat. They made a run at Mark DeRosa, but wouldn't discuss Bobby Parnell.
- The Cardinals wouldn't discuss Jason Motte or Chris Perez in exchange for DeRosa.
- The uncertain situation surrounding the Cubs' ownership will likely prohibit any major additions.
Some news from the winter leagues and beyond:
- Kendry Morales homered and doubled in Dominican Winter League play yesterday. "Morales is 9-for-23 and has homered in four of his six games in the Dominican Republic," reports Rotoworld. "He's trying to force the Angels to open up either first base or DH for him next year." Of course, if the Angels can't re-sign Mark Teixeira, Morales may not have to do much forcing (as the Angels have known all along).
- Seen as the future "Babe Ruth of Cuba" until he defected, Dayan Viciedo has been cleared by MLB to be a free agent. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the White Sox ready to snap up the third-base prospect, who is still just 19.
- First-baseman Justin Smoak, the Rangers' first-round pick this year, is hitting .389 in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is quite a ways from MLB, but even so, I can't help but think that the last thing the Rangers really need in their pipeline is more offense...
- Another first-base prospect, the Marlins' Logan Morrison, is leading the AFL in batting average (.457), currently has a 12-game hit streak and has 5 homers through 17 games. Morrison was a 22nd-round pick in 2005, but has come a long way, writes ESPN.com's Jason Grey, who sees in him the man to anchor Florida's 'initial sack' in the future.
- A little more on those two Indian pitching prospects, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel -- 19 years old, they pitched in front of 30 scouts in Arizona on Thursday. Patel hit 90 mph on the radar gun during a 30-pitch session, Singh 84 mph. The two former javelin throwers managed a few breaking balls, as well, and agent Jeff Borris said he expected "multiple offers." No word on whether those offers have come in.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a source that claims the Player's Association will only focus on the status of Pedro Alvarez' contract and not on the contract of Eric Hosmer. Kovacevic says the MLBPA will argue that Hosmer's contract was only delayed so the Pirates could have more time to negotiate with Alvarez.
However, Jonathan Mayo obtained a copy of the grievance filed by the union which suggests that Alvarez' contract will not be the sole focus (emphasis Mayo's).
The Commissioner's Office, without notice to the MLBPA, unilaterally determined to permit Clubs to negotiate with drafted players after the August 15, 2008 deadline, and unilaterally determined to accept agreements by Clubs after the August 15, 2008 deadline.
Mayo feels that the use of plurals in the grievance indicates the union is contesting more than one contract. Mayo says the grievance, combined with MLB not allowing Hosmer to play until this issue is resolved, suggests that this is about more than just the contract status of Alvarez.
Mayo also speculates that part of the desire to make Alvarez the top-paid draftee, may stem from Buster Posey's decision to go with an agent other than Boras. Mayo wonders if Boras is in-part driven to prove Posey made a mistake.
- In the above article, Kovacevic also indicates a third team may have submitted their agreement after the midnight deadline. However, Kovacevic does not name the team. Of the teams to announce their agreements to the public after the midnight deadline, includes the Padres (Allan Dykstra), Rangers (Justin Smoak) and Giants (Posey). Could a third player be dragged into this mess?
- Kovacevic has a second piece in which he details the contentious history between the Pirates and Boras, and how this may have led to the current rift between the two sides.
- Kovacevic is also reporting that Pirates' president Frank Coonelly fired another shot at Boras, blaming the agent for getting Hosmer involved.
- Baseball Prospectus has a list of incidents that could be used as precedents in the Alvarez case.
Below I've collected more interesting remaining links regarding the amateur draft.
- The Royals bumped their offer from $5MM to $6MM and signed top pick Eric Hosmer. Rany Jazayerli was surprised to see Hosmer effectively get more than #1 pick Tim Beckham. The Royals joined the Red Sox and Pirates as teams spending around $10MM on draft picks this year.
- The Rangers resisted a Major League deal for Justin Smoak, and ultimately signed him to a $3.5MM minor league deal. Owner Tom Hicks pined for a hard slot system.
- The story of pitcher Chris Gruler, picked third overall by the Reds in '02, reminds us to temper our enthusiasm for these kids. Many will bust.
- Tim Lincecum says Buster Posey can expect other minor leaguers to treat him differently because of the bonus he received.
- The race is on for Stephen Strasburg, who is separating himself from the pack as the top talent in the '09 draft. The Mariners, Padres, and Nationals all have a shot at him, with the Nats in the "lead." Would the Nats avoid Strasburg due to signability concerns?
11:15pm: Smoak gets $3.5MM, per Jim Callis.
11:07pm: According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, Smoak has been signed to a minor league deal. Terms are not yet known.
10:33pm: MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo heard an agreement between the Rangers and top pick Justin Smoak might be close, a big league deal worth more than $3MM. The Rangers will not confirm it though. Mayo considers Smoak and Yonder Alonso's fates linked.