Kevin Gregg Rumors
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.
Baseball's central divisions have four clear sellers in the Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Twins. At seven games out, the Royals are on the bubble. The team sees "a winning record as an important secondary goal even if they don’t reach postseason," according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, so they may stand pat. Meanwhile, the Tigers, Indians, Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are the five central division buyers. Links from both divisions...
- In a Q&A mailbag, a reader asks Dutton how hot the seat is under Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dutton writes that despite fan criticism for the team's longtime decision maker, there's nothing to suggest his job is actually in jeopardy. Elsewhere in the mailbag, Dutton notes that there is no indication the team is shopping starter Ervin Santana, and that he does not expect the team to reduce payroll next year.
- "We ought to know and be right on the first couple of picks. But it's those middle-round guys that your scouts push and say, 'We need to get this guy,' who make your organization," Royals senior advisor to the GM Mike Arbuckle told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick in regard to former 10th round draft pick Greg Holland, now the team's All-Star closer.
- "Trying to think like another team, usually the guys who are traded are going better than I am," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune on his minor league rehab assignment in the Southern League. Konerko, 37, is battling a back injury in the last year of his contract with the White Sox.
- Cubs closer Kevin Gregg is on the trading block alongside starter Matt Garza, and Gregg seems ready to jump to a contender. "Garza’s a headline piece, but I think that in the baseball world, people are looking for relievers. I hope I’m on that list," Gregg told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times recently. The 35-year-old has enjoyed an improbable rise back to prominence and the Cubs' closer job, though he has a 7.36 ERA over the last month.
- Speaking to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Pirates GM Neal Huntington explained that his strong farm system gives him the confidence to make trades without depleting it. Huntington didn't rule out rental players, saying, "We've never gone in with a premeditated view on rentals, whether we want or don't want them. We've gone into the Deadline to impact that year's club as best we could. Now, while it does not make a ton of sense for us to give up an elite prospect for a two-month rental, you've always got to have the majority of attention on today."
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Former Colorado Rockie Ryan Spilborghs has been blogging for The Denver Post about his experiences playing for the Seibu Lions in Japan this season, and he weighs in on the issue of PEDs in his latest post. While Spilborghs doesn't approve of PED use, he suggests that baseball's long season can push players too far without giving them enough time to recover. A better model may be the schedule adopted by Japan's NPB league, which has teams playing 144 games in about 180 days, Spilborghs says.
Some more notes from around the senior circuit...
- Ike Davis will rejoin the Mets on Friday for their matchup with the Brewers, a source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Davis was demoted on June 10 after hitting just .161/.242/.258 in 207 plate appearances, but work with Triple-A coaches to address a hitch in Davis' swing was apparently successful, as the first baseman has compiled a .293/.424/.667 line with the Las Vegas 51s. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes speculated in a May post that Davis could be a non-tender candidate this offseason.
- The Dodgers are expected to activate outfielder Carl Crawford from the DL as soon as Friday, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Los Angeles will soon be faced with a long-anticipated glut of regular outfielders, with Crawford joining Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and sensation Yasiel Puig on the active roster. Manager Don Mattingly acknowledges that it will be a "sticky" situation to manage. It remains to be seen whether the Dodgers will consider moving Andre Ethier, who was given a five-year, $85MM extension just over a year ago.
- While Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers has been the subject of trade dialogue, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the righty is determined not to let the rumors affect him. "We all hear things. I'm not going to lie. ... But basically I just leave it at that. I hear them, and then don't think about it too much." Gallardo did acknowledge, however, that he had become aware of some of the teams on his no-trade list.
- Though the loss of Jesse Crain to the DL dampens the reliever market, a number of potentially available NL hurlers could help bolster a contender's bullpen, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes. The Cubs' Kevin Gregg has earned 14 saves in 15 opportunities, while the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez is a perfect seven for seven in save chances and could help the Tigers, Rosenthal says. John Axford, Milwaukee's former closer, could also be a useful piece.
- The Marlins could offer Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, or Ryan Webb, as they have power arms in the pipeline and "never mind trading relievers," according to Rosenthal. Both Cishek and Dunn have been effective for the Fish and become eligible for arbitration after this season. Miami could have a tougher time finding a taker for Webb, however, as he's shown discouraging strikeout and walk trends.
- Rosenthal is also less high on the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon, noting his high salary and declining strikeout rate, and the Brewers' Michael Gonzalez, a lefty who opponents have managed a .746 OPS against despite his high K/9 rate.