Kansas City Royals Rumors

Kansas City Royals trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Central Rumors: Cabrera, Royals, Pirates, Cards

The Royals have interest in free agent Asdrubal Cabrera, according to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (via Twitter).  Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Royals have made Omar Infante available, so they could be viewing Cabrera as a potential upgrade. More from the Central divisions..

  • With Francisco Liriano back in the fold, the Pirates are seeking relief help and have some money to spend, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter).  The Bucs, he adds, are fans of Pat Neshek.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) adds that the Pirates are checking the trade market for left-handed relief options.  As it stands, Tony Watson is their only proven lefty reliever after the Justin Wilson deal.
  • The Cardinals‘ primary focus is on finding a right-handed bat off the bench, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. St. Louis will turn their attention to finding a bargain fifth starter/long man type in January as protection for Carlos Martinez.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is making no secret of the fact that he’s going to wait until the New Year to find pitching, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I would be looking for someone who adds depth to what we already have,” Mozeliak said. “I’m not saying I’m searching for that. That might be the time if we might want to bring in an extra arm or two that we might do it. The way I like to think about it is I don’t know what it looks like. Basically, it’s what’s left.
  • In a chat with reporters yesterday, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski stressed the importance of right-handers Joakim Soria and Bruce Rondon, indicating that he’s not about to make a major bullpen move, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com.

NL East Notes: Marlins, Jeter, Upton, Phillies

Despite rumblings to the contrary, Derek Jeter says he’s not making a play to buy the Marlins, writes Christian Red of the New York Daily News.  “You got money for me? A report I’m gonna buy it, who am I buying with? Unless you got money for me,” Jeter said. “You believe everything you read?” More from the NL East..

  • Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter) heard from one AL exec that the Royals have talked to the Braves about outfielder Justin Upton.
  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lays out the case for the Braves trading Upton.  Upton is one year away from free agency and Atlanta wants to build a strong team for 2017 and beyond as they get ready to move into a brand new stadium in Cobb County.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is being more realistic about the value of his players than he was in July, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “Teams just don’t want to give up the talent. They’d rather give up the money than the talent. So we have to have an understanding of that, and at the same time we have to identify the guys that are still pretty talented and not take a bath,” Amaro said.  Right now, the Phillies aren’t receiving a ton of trade interest.
  • If the Marlins can’t find the top of the rotation starter they’re looking for, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com suggests that they should instead make a play for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and build a super bullpen.  With Chapman, Miami could either move Steve Cishek for a starter or a power bat or keep him and use him in the eighth inning, giving them one of the best combos in the National League.

Braves Notes: J. Upton, Johnson, Gattis, Pastornicky

Here’s the latest news on the Braves out of San Diego:

  • Echoing the prior report, president of baseball operations John Hart says that he will keep both Upton and Gattis unless he gets what he is looking for, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The club still has the option of attempting to compete by keeping them and adding another starter and a second baseman.
  • Teams in discussions with the Braves now feel they might be likely to keep Gattis, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
  • The Braves are now packaging Justin Upton and Chris Johnson in trade talks with teams, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates

  • Atlanta is fielding interest on Upton from the Orioles, Rangers, and Padres, Bowman reports (Twitter links).
  • When the Royals asked about Gattis several weeks back, the Braves asked for young righty Yordano Ventura in return. Needless to say, that seems to have been a non-starter.
  • The Braves “seem ready to be aggressive,” sources from competitors tell MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links). Justin Upton and Evan Gattis remain the two most talked-about trade targets, but infielder Tyler Pastornicky and righty Anthony Varvaro “could also be included in talks,” per Bowman. Pastornicky is a 24-year-old infielder who could figure into Atlanta’s plans at second if he is kept. Varvaro, 30, has been a fixture in the Braves pen over the last several years.
  • While there remain several teams that are good potential matches on Upton, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the Padres might be the best given their supply of young, controllable pitching. A note from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today also suggested a viable connection between those clubs on Upton.
  • While there is general agreement that Upton is a more valuable commodity than was the previously-traded Jason Heyward, teams remain hesitant to beat the return for the latter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There is a general sense that the package given up by the Cardinals, headlined by Shelby Miller, may have outstripped Heyward’s value.


Latest On Melky Cabrera

Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Mariners appear to be the favorites for Melky Cabrera, but we later got word that the M’s are still looking at a wide range of outfield options.   Meanwhile, the White Sox, Giants, and Royals have also been linked to him as of late.  Here’s the latest on Cabrera..

  • The Royals will meet with Cabrera’s reps tonight, according to Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star (on Twitter).
  • The Royals seem to think that Cabrera is probably out of their price range, according to Heyman (via Twitter).  The Mariners, he adds, are still the favorites.

Royals Rumors: Gee, Rasmus, Herrera

The latest on the Royals..

  • The Giants and Royals are two teams to watch on Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, but there are other clubs who have checked in as well, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).
  • Colby Rasmus is on the Royals’ list of outfield options, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  Earlier this offseason, our own Jeff Todd profiled Rasmus and identified the Royals as a possibility for him.
  • The Royals are reportedly willing to listen on Greg Holland and Wade Davis and Bob Dutton of The News Tribune hears that they’re also willing to take calls on Kelvin Herrera.  Kansas City is after an outfield bat and they could parlay their strength in the bullpen to solve their corner outfield situation.  In Dutton’s mind, their willingness to move one of the three could signal that they can’t match other offers to sign Melky Cabrera.

Latest On Royals Relievers

11:01am: Kansas City is also receiving interest in Herrera, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The Royals are telling teams that they would prefer not to move any of their relievers, but feel they must listen because the free agent market is so light on bats.

2:22am: The Blue Jays are pursuing a trade for Royals closer Greg Holland, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Holland is “available, but they’re [the Royals] asking for a lot in return,” according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Holland has been one of baseball’s top relief arms for the last four seasons, yet with a rising price tag through the arbitration process (MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects him to earn $9.3MM in 2015), the right-hander may simply be getting too expensive for Kansas City to keep.  The Royals will continue to hear offers for both Holland and Wade Davis during the Winter Meetings, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes, and could be moved to part with either bullpen ace for either an outfielder or a starting pitcher.

The Royals’ top relievers demonstrated their importance throughout the team’s run to the World Series last fall, but the team is currently projected to pay nearly $24MM next season to five bullpen arms — Holland, Davis, Kelvin Herrera (who’s also arb-eligible), Jason Frasor and Luke Hochevar.  Between Holland and Davis, McCullough feels the Royals might prefer to trade Holland, whose delivery and build might lead to fears that he won’t hold up over time.  Holland is also more expensive due to his two remaining arbitration years, whereas the Royals have cost-certainty on Davis due to the club options they hold on his contract.

Holland would obviously generate considerable interest if he was shopped, though McCullough notes that getting top value for him might be tricky.  “The interested club must be close to contention, willing to spend on a niche resource and uninterested in the newfound prevailing logic on relief pitchers,” McCullough writes, namely the fact that teams are less willing than they once were to pay heavily for a “proven closer.”

The Jays check at least one of those boxes since they’re hoping to challenge for the AL East title in 2015, and they’re known to be looking for relief help during the Winter Meetings to address their vacancy at closer.  While Holland would be expensive over his two remaining years of team control, the Blue Jays might prefer giving a big salary to a closer for two seasons rather than guaranteeing four seasons to David Robertson, who Toronto has also been linked to in rumors.  One obstacle to a Holland trade could be that the Jays are themselves a little short on outfield and starting pitching depth, having already traded or non-tendered Anthony Gose, John Mayberry, Andy Dirks, J.A. Happ, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman in several transactions this offseason.


NL Notes: Zimmermann, Amaro, Upton, Parra

Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:

  • The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reportsMatt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
  • The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the RoyalsRangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
  • The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.

Quick Hits: Upton, Robertson, Headley, Ethier, Mets Shortstop

Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

  • The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
  • A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
  • Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.

Rosenthal On Clippard, Royals, Romo, Gregerson

The Nationals are “likely” to trade setup man Tyler Clippard, a source tells FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.  MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Clippard will earn $9.3MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility before hitting the free agent market following the 2015 season, and with closer Drew Storen projected to land a $5.8MM contract as well, moving Clippard would allow the Nats to save some money at the back of their bullpen.

Here’s some more from Rosenthal on the relief market…

  • The Royals have received trade interest in Greg Holland and Wade Davis, and one of the two relief stars could conceivably be moved for a hitter.  Swartz projects Holland to earn $9.3MM in arbitration this winter, while K.C. already picked up their $7MM option on Davis for 2015.  Holland can be a free agent after 2016, the Royals hold two more option years on Davis and Kelvin Herrera is also now arb-eligible, so Kansas City may simply not be able to afford their dominant late-game trio for much longer.
  • Sergio Romo and Luke Gregerson are receiving more interest now that Andrew Miller is off the board.  Neither pitcher has generated much on the rumor mill to date this offseason, though Romo has been cited as one of the Astros’ backup options after Miller signed with the Yankees.
  • The Dodgers are looking for bullpen upgrades but are wary about making any major commitments given how much money they’ve already invested in relief pitching.
  • Speaking of high-priced Dodgers relievers, the team’s new front office “is not enamored with” Brian Wilson.  The righty will earn $9.5MM in 2015 after exercising the player option given to him by previous L.A. general manager Ned Colletti.  Wilson posted a 4.66 ERA, 1.86 K/BB and 5.4 BB/9 over 48 1/3 IP in 2014 while suffering a drop in velocity, though it was his first full season after returning from Tommy John surgery.

Free Agent Notes: Top Pitchers, Rios, Royals, Everth, Astros

With the Winter Meetings nearly upon us, ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke to nine baseball executives regarding the “Big Three” starting pitchers on this year’s free agent market — Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields — and asked when and where they will sign. While answers as to when Scherzer will sign varied, there was a much tighter window on Lester, with all nine believing he will sign between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13. The execs polled by Stark feel that Shields’ market is tied so closely to Lester that he will sign within two weeks of Lester and perhaps even as soon as next week’s Winter Meetings. Many identified Shields as a fallback for teams that miss on Lester. Execs picked Lester to sign with the usual suspects at this point: the Red Sox, Cubs, Giants or Dodgers. Interestingly, Scherzer’s landing spot was predicted to be the Yankees, Nationals, Cubs or Tigers, by the five who were willing to wager a guess on that outcome.

A few more notes pertaining to free agency…

  • The MarinersRoyals, and Indians have all checked in on Alex Rios, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Rios, who joined the Boras Corporation earlier this offseason, has had a fairly quiet market to this point, though one would expect interest to pick up now that Nelson Cruz, Torii Hunter and Yasmany Tomas are off the market.
  • The Royals are looking for a right fielder and a starting pitcher but likely only have the available funds to make a “significant” investment in one of the two areas, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Royals may have to bargain shop for the other, he notes. Kansas City has invested a modest amount of its available funds to the bullpen in the past week, re-signing righties Jason Frasor and Luke Hochevar. However, it’s at least worth noting that Hochevar’s contract reportedly contains performance incentives tied to starting (though it also contains relief incentives).
  • Though the Mets are in need of a shortstop, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes that recently non-tendered Padres speedster Everth Cabrera is not a consideration. Though he’s talented and has twice led the NL in stolen bases, Cabrera has a good deal of off-field issues on his record, including a 50-game PED suspension and more recent legal issues, as he’s been charged with resisting arrest after being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. (Cabrera plead not guilty to those charges today, per the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff Sanders.)
  • Lefty reliever Craig Breslow is drawing significant interest, but his timetable to sign is currently dependent on the rest of the relief market, tweets WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Breslow is coming off a down season but has a strong track record. Interest in Breslow and other relievers could intensify now that Andrew Miller is off the board, I would think.
  • Though the Astros missed out on Miller even after offering him more money than the Yankees did, they’re still on the hunt for relievers, tweets Heyman. Houston remains interested in David Robertson, Sergio Romo and others.