Kevin Gregg Rumors
7:23pm: While the Mets are indeed looking for a late-inning reliever, and could give out a MLB deal to get one, the club is unlikely to land Rodney, a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).
4:44pm: Though the Mets recently announced the signing of Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, the team still has some money allotted for a "closer type" reliever, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, citing a source that is not affiliated with the club.
Fernando Rodney is believed to be New York's top target, but Rubin's source wouldn't rule out Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan or Ryan Madson either. Other relievers on the market that come with closer experience include Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey and Brandon Lyon, though Lyon spent last season with the Mets with less than favorable results (4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings). Those next three names are just my speculation, not names that were mentioned by Rubin or his source.
Rubin writes that incumbent closer Bobby Parnell is confident that he will be healthy following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. However, as Rubin points out, the Mets have little in terms of a fallback plan should Parnell go down with another injury. Hard-throwing Vic Black projects to be next in line for the closer's throne, and he has a total of 17 big league innings under his belt.
Both the Mets and Yankees have already made notable signings this offseason, but both Big Apple franchises still need bullpen help, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters that his team would "take a hard look at" adding veteran relief arms, and to that end, Martino reports that Alderson met with the agent for John Axford and Kevin Gregg on Wednesday. The Orioles, Cubs, Mariners and Indians are some of the many teams who have shown interest in Axford while Gregg's market has been much quieter.
Here are some more items about the Amazins...
- "I think it's more likely if we come up with a 'high-end' shortstop or someone we like, it's more likely to come in a trade," Alderson told reporters, including Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. This seems to hint that the Mets have moved on from Stephen Drew, though Silverman wonders if Alderson could simply be engaging in some gamesmanship. The Mets have been linked to Drew this winter but aren't eager to give the shortstop a two-year contract.
- The Mets feel like they would have to overpay to sign Drew and keep him from re-signing with the Red Sox, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Mets' next move, therefore, is to acquire a young shortstop in a trade. Rosenthal cites the names of the Diamondbacks' Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings and the Mariners' Brad Miller and Nick Franklin as shortstops who could be candidates to be dealt, though Seattle might not be open to such talks right now since they're "currently preoccupied" with trying to acquire David Price from the Rays.
- With Johan Santana and Jason Bay off the books, the Mets are closer to finding the so-called payroll "sweet spot" when no single player accounts for an overly-large percentage of a team's payroll, Newsday's Marc Carig writes. David Wright accounts for roughly 24% of the Mets' projected 2014 payroll, and while this is a larger share than most teams would prefer, Wright is at least the Mets' best player, Carig notes.
Kevin Gregg blasted the Cubs after misunderstanding comments from manager Dale Sveum and president Theo Epstein said it was possible that he would release the veteran. However, the Cubs decided over the weekend to accept Gregg's apology for the incident and will hang on to him, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Rockies are not shopping all-stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, sources with direct knowledge of the club's plans told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. There's still a very small possibility that one will be dealt to address multiple needs, but there is zero likelihood that both will be moved. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Rockies ownership doesn't have much interest in moving either player.
- Also from Renck, he expects the Cardinals to pursue a trade for Tulowitzki this offseason.
- After being shut down for the season, Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick is now shifting his focus towards 2014 and thinking about where he could be pitching next season, writes Kevin Roberts for MLB.com. Kendrick, who made $4.5MM this season, will be eligible for salary arbitration this offseason.
- Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review puts the spotlight on Dan Fox, the man who built the Pirates' analytical department.
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince offers up a list of what he considers to be the Top 10 acquisitions of this past offseason, headlined by the Pirates' signing of Francisco Liriano. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has also tabbed Liriano as the best open-market pick-up of 2013. Recently, MLBTR's Steve Adams got GM Neal Huntington's take on that signing as well as some other recent offseason acquisitions. Here are a few more notes from the National League's Central division:
- A Reds player told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link) that pending free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo "loves it" in Cincinnati and that teammates have been "working on him"to stay in town. Of course, with several big contracts already on the books, and with Billy Hamilton potentially ready to help at the MLB level, it has been fairly questioned whether the Reds would be in the mix for Choo.
- Cinci GM Walt Jocketty says the team is in fact interested in bringing back Choo, fellow Enquirer newsman C. Trent Rosecrans reports. "We feel we have a good fit for him," Jocketty explained. "We have a winning team that is built to win." The GM implied that the team had hoped to talk extension with Choo's agent, Scott Boras, earlier this year. "We've expressed to him all year [sic] our interest in re-signing him," said Jocketty. "He's wanted to wait or maybe Scott wants to wait until the year is over. We have interest in re-signing. We'll do everything we can to make that happen." Now set to hit the market after an outstanding season, Choo's price tag figures to be higher than it would have been in a mid-year extension scenario. He currently occupies the fifth slot on the 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
- After apparently misunderstanding comments from manager Dale Sveum regarding save opportunities down the stretch, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg blasted the organization in the media. As detailed by ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and Jesse Rogers, GM Theo Epstein says that he could release Gregg, and will consider the decision overnight. Epstein explained that the team had no intentions of removing Gregg from his role, but instead wanted to allow recent acquisition Pedro Strop to finish a few games.
- Even if Gregg holds on with Chicago for the rest of the year, the incident -- along with Strop's audition -- could impact whether the team has any interest in bringing him back next year. Though he has cooled down considerably after a remarkable comeback in the season's earlygoing, Gregg has notched 32 saves on the year. Either way, as Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com notes, Gregg recently triggered a $500k bonus by finishing his 50th game of the year.
29-year-old Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is one of the better bats on the trade market. He deserves credit for his strong work this year against right-handed pitching, but it's also a weak market for bats. Schierholtz is under team control for 2014 as an arbitration eligible player, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz suggests a salary in the $4.2MM range. 33-year-old center fielder David DeJesus is another candidate to be moved today; he comes with a $6.5MM club option for 2014. DeJesus recently returned from a shoulder sprain. The latest on that pair as well as the Cubs' other trade chips...
- It looks like Schierholtz is staying put with the Cubs, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Earlier Cubs Updates
- There's much more action on James Russell right now than Kevin Gregg, according to ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine (on Twitter).
- The Cubs expect to trade either Schierholtz or DeJesus, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and DeJesus might be more likely. The Pirates are in on both.
- The Cubs appear more likely to trade Schierholtz than relievers Kevin Gregg or James Russell, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
The Cubs have plenty of trade chips remaining, but time is running out to deal them as tomorrow's 4pm ET deadline looms. Here's the latest...
- The Pirates remain interested in Nate Schierholtz, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Concerns surrounding his shoulder cause the Bucs to switch gears to Alex Rios a few weeks back, but Schierholtz has demonstrated his health with strong play of late. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Schierholtz is likely to be traded.
- Levine also reports that James Russell was nearly acquired by the Braves last week, and he's now drawing interest from the Reds. The Braves have since acquired Scott Downs to fill the left-handed void in their bullpen. Russell had a rough outing in the first game of today's doubleheader, allowing a three-run home run to Khris Davis plus two other hits and a free pass.
- Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg are the two Cubs most likely to be dealt prior to tomorrow's deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Time reports. The Pirates and Tigers are scouting the Cubs' series with the Brewers, with the Bucs looking for outfield help and the Tigers on the hunt for bullpen help.
- The Blue Jays have also been scouting the Cubs for the past week, according to Wittenmyer, but that's likely because they're looking to add pieces for 2014.
- Wittenmyer adds that Carlos Villanueva isn't likely to be traded, as the Cubs value his versatility and cheap contract as they look to shuffle the roster again in 2014.
ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today. Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday. In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value. Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal. Elsewhere in Stark's column:
- The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick. There are no indications a deal is in the works.
- The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
- The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
- Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available." Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move. Are they that hard up for cash?
Though Cubs closer Kevin Gregg seems a near-lock to be traded by tomorrow afternoon's deadline, we've heard little in the way of specific teams linked to him. However, the Rockies have had interest in Gregg, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post today.
The Rockies have "been prepared to act as a buyer and seller" as they sit 6.5 games out in the NL West, according to Renck. That explains their interest in bolstering the bullpen despite a willingness to listen on Josh Outman. Renck adds that while the Rockies are unlikely to trade injured closer Rafael Betancourt, it hasn't been ruled out. The 38-year-old is "slowly recovering from an appendectomy," writes Renck.
The Cubs have been baseball's most active team on the trade front, and they seem likely to make another move or two, even after dealing Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Scott Hairston and Alfonso Soriano. Here's the lastest regarding the north side of Chicago...
- Nate Schierholtz is the most likely piece to be traded next, a league source tells Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. Schierholtz has told agents Scott Leventhal and Damon Lapa to inform the Cubs he's happy in Chicago and would like to stay. He adds that he doesn't follow trade rumors and accepts that he has no control over what management does. The Rangers and two or three other teams have shown interest in Schierholtz of late, according to Rogers.
- The asking price on Jeff Samardzija is "higher than the Sears Tower," according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Cubs are essentially asking that teams let them take what they want from their farm systems. While the Diamondbacks have shown interest, several other teams have made offers as well.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes that Kevin Gregg would be happy to return to the Cubs even if he's dealt before Wednesday's deadline. Gregg offered high praise for the coaching staff, his teammates, the city of Chicago and the organization as a whole. Unlike Schierholtz, Gregg enjoys following the rumor circuit and the transactions wire.
A month ago, White Sox reliever Jesse Crain appeared very likely to be traded at the deadline, but now, it looks like it would be tricky for the team to deal him. Crain's shoulder injury, which has kept him out since June 29, is still a problem, and he won't throw until next week, as Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) has an idea of how a trade might work despite that injury, though -- the Sox might ship him to a contender in a conditional deal, with the return predicated upon how much he's able to pitch down the stretch. Here are more notes out of Chicago.
- The Blue Jays asked the White Sox about trading for second baseman Gordon Beckham earlier this season, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. There is currently no activity on that front, however. The Jays are now 14 games out of the AL East race, and it would be surprising to see them trade for a veteran. Also, the Jays' top infielders are now healthy.
- "At least five teams" are interested in Cubs lefty reliever James Russell, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago reports. Russell does not become a free agent until after the 2015 season, however, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says his top priority is trading players who are set to become free agents after the season, like Kevin Gregg. "Potentially, we will be hearing from people on the guys who we don’t control after this year," says Epstein. "It would make more sense moving those guys."
- The Cubs have already dealt Scott Feldman, Scott Hairston, Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, and they're not sure if they're done dealing, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. "There are some things we'd like to explore, and if we can find the right fit and bring value back to the organization, sure, we would be [interested]," says Epstein. Of the veterans still with the Cubs, Gregg and outfielder Nate Schierholtz appear most likely to be traded.