Kendry Morales Rumors
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says that the Angels "appear to be lining up an offer" for Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman. The Halos might have an advantage over other clubs in the Chapman sweepstakes because of first baseman Kendry Morales, who has become a good friend of the lefthander.
"Selfishly, we're a nice fit. It's hard to come over here, and Kendry gives him some idea of the pitfalls of the adjustment," Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said. "It's a fit, but who knows? It depends on the price."
So far only two teams have made an offer to Chapman (the Red Sox and Marlins), and Bane said that he doesn't "see a team like Oakland or Kansas City or someone like that getting him." We just learned about the A's interest in Chapman two days ago.
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman...
- The Phillies had a "brief talk" with the Red Sox about Mike Lowell, but Heyman finds a free agent signing more likely.
- A competing agent believes Fern Cuza might be able to get a three-year deal for Miguel Tejada, which seems unlikely to me. Heyman says Tejada is drawing interest from the Cardinals, Astros, Giants, Phillies, and Rangers. The Rangers keep getting linked to starting infielders, but they're really only looking for a backup.
- Heyman notes that the White Sox signing Andruw Jones represents a rare Kenny Williams-Scott Boras matchup. He says Boras tried to sell the Sox on bringing back Joe Crede, prior to their Mark Teahen acquisition.
- Kendry Morales apparently advised Aroldis Chapman to switch from API to the Hendricks brothers.
Links for Wednesday...
- Due to Bengie Molina's injury, the Giants have changed their mind and called up top prospect Buster Posey according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. So Posey's clock starts earlier than planned.
- Speaking of service time, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tells me Cameron Maybin's call-up gives him 129 days of service time after this year. That puts him on the fringe of Super Two status after the 2011 season.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick ranks the impact of trades made by contenders in July. He talked to an exec who thinks Matt Holliday "could make an extra $3MM a year as a free agent this winter because of his strong finish."
- Yahoo's Gordon Edes has his trade deadline winners and losers.
- Ryan Doumit's agent Matt Sosnick shot down recent negativity surrounding his client, while Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gets to the bottom of the catcher's recent benching.
- Brad Penny still hates the Dodgers, a team he'll face twice this month according to Baggarly. Baggarly also has a quote from Penny ripping on the Marlins.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has more from Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, who knows he gained trade value when the team delayed his free agency.
- J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics wonders whether the Braves should pick up Tim Hudson's $12MM option for 2010. Hudson has the right to void that option, not that he would. Back in January Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said the Braves "fully intend to exercise it, barring some unexpected turn of events."
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes that Kendry Morales has matched the production of the Angels' former first baseman, $180MM man Mark Teixeira.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has comments from Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes on the team's Jon Rauch-Kevin Mulvey swap. Piecoro says the D'Backs have about $23MM to work with this winter as they presumably look to add pitching.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times guesses Ken Griffey Jr. will retire after this season.
Some links for your Friday afternoon...
- Baseball America lists the hottest prospects in the country. Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Martin Perez are some of the more recognizable players heating up.
- A's prospect Brett Wallace tops Marc Hulet's list of top prospects traded this summer over at FanGraphs.
- Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail hears that the Jays have no interest in Jason Giambi.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia tells ESPN.com's Tim Kurkjian the keys to his club's suddenly unstoppable offense: effective baserunning and contributions from all 13 position players. Kendry Morales has performed well at first in place of Mark Teixeira and the rest of the Angels are all hitting.
- Torii Hunter, who was having a big year before hitting the DL, experienced a setback this week, according to his blog.
- The Angels signed 40th overall pick Tyler Skaggs for an undisclosed amount, according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times.
In his latest article, Jayson Stark also discusses the many Rockies and Angels thought to be available. Here are the latest rumors:
- The Phillies are "hunting quietly" for right-handed outfielders. Ryan Spilborghs is on their radar.
- One official said Dan O'Dowd would consider moving "anyone" on the Rockies.
- The Rangers are believed to be watching Huston Street closely.
- Jason Marquis could become available too, but some think the Rockies should hang on, given his success.
- The Angels seem willing to listen on Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis and their entire infield, which consists of Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins.
- They appear to have interest in young, high-upside pitchers, which could mean they're unsure they'll re-sign John Lackey after the season.
- The Dodgers are "sending out signals" that Juan Pierre could be available when Manny Ramirez returns. It's unclear whether the Dodgers would pick up any of the $15MM or so remaining on Pierre's contract.
- Among top starters, Erik Bedard is "most frequently connected with the Phillies," but many people around baseball doubt he would fit in Philadelphia.
- Phillies prospects Lou Marson and Michael Taylor are likely available, but J.A. Happ, Antonio Bastardo, Dominic Brown, Kyle Drabek, Jason Knapp, Jason Donald and Carlos Carrasco would be much harder to acquire.
- One scout thinks the Pirates may have acquired three future stars for Nate McLouth.
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.
CC Sabathia is 6-0 since getting traded to the Brewers, and naturally his teammates are thrilled to have him. Especially Prince Fielder, who said of his new ace, "I'm like his mini-me."
Angels owner Arte Moreno said it was "emotional" for him to trade home-grown first baseman Casey Kotchman, but that he won't regret the move even if new Angel Mark Teixeira leaves as a free agent after the season. He mentioned budding AAA star Kendry Morales as a possible replacement.
The News Tribune's Larry LaRue worries that the Mariners won't be able to keep Raul Ibanez after the season. Ibanez has said he'd like a 4-year deal, but LaRue sees the M's offering three at most. Plus, he notes that it's a little late for them to start talking about a contract extension.
Brian Giles is annoyed that details of his vetoed trade to Boston became public. "I didn't know everybody was supposed to know, especially when it wasn't a done deal and it wouldn't go down," Giles said. "It's kind of between myself and my agent and Boston and the Padres." He also expressed a desire to stay with the Pads---a preference that was greeted with suspicion by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
And President George W. Bush thinks Carlos Lee's contract is just fine.
12:10am: SI.com's Jon Heyman is hearing the Braves are locked in on the D'Backs, so I'm not sure who to believe. Heyman believes the Rays could be the fallback.
11:42pm: Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune has a source saying there's "no way" the D'Backs acquire Teixeira or Manny Ramirez. The Braves proposed a package of Scherzer, Parker, and Tracy for Tex. Sounds like these two teams are not close to being on the same page.
11:29pm: MLB.com's Mark Bowman checks in. His source says the Yankees, Rays, and Angels are more likely to acquire Teixeira than the D'Backs. Frank Wren isn't having the Tracy over Jackson idea.
11:06pm: Buster Olney heard from sources that the Braves are leaning toward the D'Backs. He believes a deal could be structured around Tracy and a non-Scherzer pitching prospect. Will Carroll believes the Braves have two solid offers and a third on the way, and Tex could be traded by tomorrow.
10:32pm: Ken Rosenthal has the D'Backs as frontrunners for Tex, noting that they'll trade Tracy but not Jackson. Micah Owings or a prospect not named Scherzer or Parker could also be included. Tracy and Owings does seem superior to two draft picks. Rosenthal notes that the D'Backs would not attempt to re-sign Teixeira after the season. Meanwhile, Will Carroll heard that the Orioles and Dodgers also inquired.
9:39pm: Steve Gilbert of MLB.com has a source saying the D'Backs don't want to part with Conor Jackson, Max Scherzer, or Jarrod Parker for Teixeira.
7:12pm: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked to GM Frank Wren, who says the Braves have deals on the table right now for Teixeira. Wren is still trying to find the best deal.
6:38pm: The Braves are now taking bids for Teixeira. ESPN's Jayson Stark says the teams in the mix are the D'Backs, Red Sox, Rays, and Angels. Still, Arizona seems the most logical fit. The Angels won't trade Casey Kotchman, and the Braves don't care for Kendry Morales.
5:08pm: According to Yahoo's Steve Henson, negotiations between the Braves and Diamondbacks for first baseman Mark Teixeira are "pretty far along." Henson talked to a front office source from another team interested in Tex. The Braves reportedly want a prospect plus Chad Tracy or Conor Jackson.
ESPN's Keith Law wrote earlier today that the Braves have at least four suitors for Teixeira.
A trusted Angels source gave me the scoop on the team's inquiries concerning third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
Word is that Los Angeles offered first baseman Kendry Morales straight up for Ramirez and the Cubs turned it down. Morales, a 23 year-old Cuban defector, was called up to start for the Angels after hitting .311/.352/.463 in 42 Triple A games. He responded by hitting just .240/.302/.388 in 183 ABs between the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th spots in the batting order.
According to Baseball America, Morales's defensive deficiencies limit him to first base or DH. Still, a team could probably get away with sliding him down one more notch on the defensive spectrum to left field. If the Cubs decide to retain the hot-hitting Ramirez this month, they'd better be sure he's not planning on exercising his out-clause and testing the free agent market.
My source also indicates that Morgan Ensberg is unlikely to be traded given his shoulder condition.