Kevin Millar Rumors

Indians Notes: Pavano, Free Agent Options

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains that the Indians would have been hesitant to offer Carl Pavano arbitration if they hadn't traded him to the Twins. After a healthy season, he could command close to $10MM if offered arbitration and the Indians are reluctant to commit that much to the righty, though they may end up bringing him back. Here's more on some free agents the Indians may consider:

  • GM Mark Shapiro is looking to add a right-handed hitting first baseman. Hoynes wonders if Robb Quinlan (.651 OPS vs. LHP last year) and Kevin Millar (.723 OPS vs. LHP last year) might fit. Either player would presumably be cheap compared to other options on the market.
  • The Indians are looking for an extra infielder. Hoynes suggests Ronnie Belliard, Alex Cora and Craig Counsell could be fits for the Tribe.  

Can The Blue Jays Re-Sign Scutaro & Barajas?

The Blue Jays would like to re-sign Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas and John McDonald, but retaining the free agents may not be realistic. GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press that he's not necessarily bringing them back.

"As much as I like John McDonald, Rod Barajas and Marco Scutaro, there might be alternatives that make this organization better and are the right alternatives for this team," Anthopoulos said.

Scutaro is one of the offseason's most appealing free agent shortstops. He hit .282/.379/.409 and was a solid defender, according to UZR/150, so he's in line for a raise from his 2009 salary of $1.1MM.

"We'd like to bring them back," Anthopoulos said, "(but) everything has to fit with respect to what the alternatives are and with respect to what their financial requirements are. I'm starting to get a pretty good handle on where their expectations are with respect to the market and what they feel their value might be."

Scutaro will be a Type A free agent, so the Blue Jays will obtain two top draft picks if he turns down an arbitration offer to sign elsewhere. Barajas will be a Type B free agent; the Jays won't necessarily offer him arbitration.

Davidi also reports that the Blue Jays won't bring Kevin Millar back for another season. The 38-year-old hit .223/.311/.363 in his lone season with the Jays.


September Trade Candidates

We won't see nearly as many trades as we did in July, or even in August, but teams can still make deals. New acquisitions won't be eligible to play in the post-season, but they could still help their new clubs make the playoffs. Here are a few of the players who could be dealt this month:

  • Mark Hendrickson and Danys Baez are among the players known to have cleared waivers; they could appeal to clubs.
  • Kevin Millar has managed a .750 OPS against lefties in an otherwise disappointing offensive season, so clubs may want him off the bench, especially considering his reputation as a positive clubhouse presence. His teammate, John McDonald, could appeal to teams as a defensive specialist. He has a well-earned reputation as an excellent defender up the middle.
  • Buster Olney suggested today that the Rangers will look into infielders now that Michael Young is injured. Jamey Carroll could appeal to the Rangers and other clubs.
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that the Phillies have an eye on Nomar Garciaparra.


More August Trade Candidates

Nobody's been traded so far in August, but deals are sure to go through. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick considers some trade candidates:

  • Doug Davis and Jon Garland 
  • Heath Bell – An unlikely trade candidate, since he's sure to be claimed, but he could be dealt even if he's claimed (to the NL team with the worst record among all claiming teams).
  • Lyle Overbay – He makes $7MM next year, a deterrent for possible suitors.
  • Justin Duchscherer - Some health concerns remain, as he hasn't pitched in the majors this year.  
  • Kevin Millar, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi – Veteran bats for the playoffs.
  • Jamey CarrollMark Teahen's another utility type, but he's less likely to be dealt than Carroll.  
  • Carl Pavano – Just don't expect the Yankees to come calling. 
  • Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers  
  • Miguel Batista 

  Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks into Mariners trade candidates:

  • Russell Branyan won't clear waivers, but the Mariners could consider dealing six weeks of Branyan to the claiming team for a decent prospect.
  • Like Duchscherer, Erik Bedard has to prove he's healthy before anyone will commit to him.
  • Baker expects the Mariners to try to move Adrian Beltre. They won't want to offer him arbitration after the season and risk paying him $14MM or so next year, so now's their chance to get a return for Beltre. They would almost certainly have to pick up salary in the process.

Cafardo’s Latest: Martinez, Boston, Pitching

In his latest piece for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo reports that the Indians turned down an offer of Clay Buchholz for Victor Martinez according to an NL scout. The Red Sox then countered with a package of Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, and an outfield prospect, but the Indians turned that down as well.

Let's round up the rest of Cafardo's rumors…

  • In addition to Boston, the Indians are also fielding offers from the Rays and Giants for Martinez, but aren't inclined to make a deal unless a team's best prospects are involved.
  • Cafardo runs through the list of other pitchers that "could be pried away," including Scott Kazmir, Cliff Lee, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, and George Sherrill. He says it'll take "a blockbuster package" to land Lee.
  • Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar are also available.
  • The Red Sox will "dip in the (Roy) Halladay sweepstakes" if the price comes down, but otherwise will look for a righthanded bat that can play the outfield.
  • Cafardo says it will be interesting to see if the Yankees, Phillies and Dodgers are aggressive at the deadline or take a pass, considering all three clubs are playing well right now.
  • The White Sox could pull off something big because GM Kenny Williams "has a bit of gambler in him."
  • It'll be interesting to see if the Giants' plans to add a bat are put on hold after the sudden death of principal owner Sue Burns.
  • Twins GM Bill Smith may add a middle infielder and/or a reliever before the deadline. Last night we learned that they were "deep into talks and talking composition of a deal" with the A's about Orlando Cabrera. The team might be able to stretch it's normal payroll with Target Field opening next year.
  • Cafardo proposes a "swap of underachieving Scott Boras clients," J.D. Drew and Magglio Ordonez.
  • While there is some uneasiness about there not being any substantive talks between the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg, those kind of deals can come together quickly. The signing deadline is August 17th.
  • The Rangers are unable to add payroll, which will hamstring their efforts that the trade deadline.

Rosenthal’s & Morosi’s Latest: Halladay, Cabrera, Glaus

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that the Phillies and Blue Jays are getting closer on a potential Roy Halladay deal, but nothing is imminent. The Rangers and Dodgers have both expressed interest in Halladay, but did not talk with Toronto on Friday. The Angels have reportedly improved their offer for the former Cy Young Award winner, but it's unlikely they'll match Philadelphia's package. The Yankees have also expressed interest, but Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has yet to engage them in discussions.

In a separate column, Rosenthal and Morosi fork over a slew of rumory goodness…

  • Don't be surprised if the Red Sox "show renewed interest" in shortstop Orlando Cabrera before the deadline. O-Cab was hitting .365-.377-.500 in his last 30 games coming into tonight.
  • The addition of Matt Holliday ensures that the Cardinals will look to move Troy Glaus. The Giants, Braves, Rangers and Tigers are expected to show interest in the former AL homerun champ.
  • One GM had this to say about the Holliday deal "In light of the current climate, good return on a 70-game guy. All based on what (Wallace) turns out to be. We are not high on the other two guys."
  • Meanwhile, a scout offered this about Brett Wallace: "He can hit but he throws like a girl. They acquired a DH — I think he might be Jack Cust Jr. with fewer Ks. (Outfielder Shane) Peterson is the hidden gem!"
  • The Jays are pushing Scott Rolen and Kevin Millar in trade talks, while a number of their bullpen arms are drawing interest.
  • The Marlins expressed interest in Holliday at one point, but wanted the A's to pick up most of the money owed to him this year. The Reds also inquired.
  • A bid to get Holliday ended for the Tigers when the A's asked for prospects Casey Crosby and Scott Sizemore.
  • Anaheim is indeed interested in Scott Kazmir, spurred on by input from pitching coach Mike Butcher, who once held the same position with Tampa.
  • The Cubs don't appear to be in any serious talks to acquire another catcher.
  • One scout familiar with the Reds said they "are listening on about everyone."
  • The Rangers have interest in lefty relievers George Sherrill and Scott Downs.
  • Sherrill is also on the White Sox's radar.
  • Oakland is reluctant to move reliever Michael Wuertz, but there is so much interest in him that the team might get the return it desires.
  • A number of clubs are expected to watch Justin Duchscherer on his rehab assignment as he comes back from elbow surgery.
  • The article closes with an amusing text message exchange between Skip Schumaker and Mark DeRosa.

Jays Not Looking To Add Arms Or Deal Overbay

Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reported yesterday that the Blue Jays are not looking outside the organization for pitching help or trying to deal Lyle Overbay. The Jays are hanging on to first place in the AL East by a half game after losing four straight. Here are the details from Blair's blog entry:

  • The Jays plan to rely on pitchers within the organization such as Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero (both returning to the team).
  • The Jays aren't even scouting Mark Mulder
  • The Jays would listen to offers for Lyle Overbay, who has an OPS of .867 and as many walks as strikeouts (17). However, they don't have the depth to deal Overbay because, as Blair points out, Kevin Millar "is not an option" as an everyday player. 
  • Overbay makes $7MM this year and the same amount in 2010, but he plays good defense. Last year he was the seventh-best defensive first baseman in the majors according to the plus/minus system.
  • Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi says he hasn't been proactive on the trade front.  
  • He says he's under no pressure to lower payroll. 

Blue Jays Sign Kevin Millar

4:00pm: The Blue Jays have a press release out.

3:16pm: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Blue Jays and Kevin Millar reached an agreement on a minor league deal.  Millar, 37, hit .234/.323/.394 in 610 plate appearances for the Orioles last year.  Rosenthal notes that Millar has been in the AL East since the Red Sox snagged him in February of ’03.


Jays, Kevin Millar Close To Deal

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, first baseman Kevin Millar is "almost certain" to sign a minor league deal with the Blue Jays today or tomorrow.  The Mets, Yankees, Nationals, and Rangers had also been in on Millar.  Rich Aurilia has been recommended for the Mets by several writers, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post learned they’ve yet to make contact with his agent.

Millar, 37, hit .234/.323/.394 in 610 plate appearances last year.


Blue Jays Make Offer To Kevin Millar

MONDAY: Schmuck mentioned this on Thursday; J.P. Ricciardi confirmed it today: the Blue Jays have a minor league offer out to Millar currently.

THURSDAY: Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun talked to free agent first baseman Kevin Millar, who will not be offered a contract from the Orioles for ’09.  Millar is surprised and frustrated by their lack of interest, saying:

"Yeah, the bottom line is, obviously, they want to go in a different direction.  Now, what that means, I don’t know. Are they going to win games this year? No. Obviously we know that going in. You’ve got to be realistic."

True, the team isn’t quite ready to contend, but it’s rare to hear a player say it so bluntly.  Millar has drawn interest from the Blue Jays and Giants so far this winter.  He hit .234/.323/.394 in 610 plate appearances in ’08.