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The Cubs continued their trajectory as baseball's most active team on the trade front this morning when they officially traded Alfonso Soriano and $17.7MM to the Yankees in exchange for right-hander Corey Black. The deal saves the Cubs roughly $6.8MM and brings a power arm that was selected in the fourth round of last year's draft into their system. Here's more on Soriano and the rest of the NL Central…
- Soriano told Gordon Wittenymyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he believes another team would've beaten the eight-year, $136MM contract he signed with the Cubs back in 2006. At least one team told Soriano's agent to give them a chance to beat any offer, but Soriano decided that he wanted the opportunity to join the storied history of the Cubs and bring a championship to Chicago.
- While Brewers GM Doug Melvin recently turned away an inquiry on Kyle Lohse, another Brewers-connected person implied to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that Lohse could be had for the right package of prospects.
- Within that same piece, one GM provided a long list of reasons that Yovani Gallardo isn't drawing interest. Gallardo's velocity is down, he's owed $15MM through 2014 and he also comes with off-the-field baggage in the form of a DUI arrest earlier this season.
- The Pirates announced today that Jason Grilli has a flexor strain in his right arm. He is not a candidate for surgery, which is good news for the Bucs, but he will still miss four to eight weeks. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Pirates become more active in the bullpen trade market.
- Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he has had a lot of conversations but nothing substantial. The Reds would like to add a right-handed bat but feel they can wait until Ryan Ludwick returns from the disabled list. They have a similar stance on waiting for Johnny Cueto, Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton.
ESPN's Jayson Stark quotes a number of executives who feel the trade deadline has lost its luster since many teams have locked up their top young players, teams are reluctant to acquire rental players who carry no draft pick compensation as free agents, and the second wild card has narrowed the market of outright sellers to just a few teams. That said, Stark still has lots of hot stove items for us in his latest Rumblings & Grumblings column…
- Ryan Braun's suspension could drastically change the Brewers' perspective on trading some veteran stars. While Francisco Rodriguez was indeed traded just a day after Braun's suspension was announced, Stark hears that the Brewers are asking for a lot in deals. "One of the problems with dealing with Milwaukee is that [their] trade for [Jean] Segura last year was so one-sided that they want another tilted deal. Not going to happen," an AL executive said.
- The price for Kyle Lohse, for instance, involves the price of a first-round pick. The Crew gave up as first-rounder as compensation for signing Lohse as a free agent in the spring.
- Three scouts who have recently seen Yovani Gallardo say he's been pitching like a fourth or fifth starter. Gallardo in his prime was "close to an ace. [But] lots of pitches on that arm from then to now. He can really pitch, but his stuff [has gone] way back," one scout said. Gallardo has a 4.58 ERA and a career-worst 7.2 K/9 in 21 starts this season, plus he's lost two miles of velocity off his fastball.
- We'd heard that the Yankees and Rangers had checked in on Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano, and Stark adds the Phillies and Giants to the list of a half-dozen interested teams. The Marlins weren't too keen on dealing Ruggiano but he could be expendable now that Christian Yellich and Jake Marisnick have been called up.
- The Phillies' next five games "will determine Michael Young's fate more than anyone else on their roster," said one executive who has talked to the club. Young is seen as "pretty much a lock" to be dealt if the Phils struggle during their road trip through St. Louis and Detroit this week. The Phillies dropped a 4-1 result to the Cardinals last night.
- Jonathan Papelbon hasn't been made available by the Phillies but even if he was, one AL executive thinks Papelbon's contract makes him "practically untradable."
- Stark thinks the Phillies and Marlins are good trade partners on paper since the Phils could use Ruggiano or any of Miami's good relievers. The Marlins aren't willing to move anyone unless they get a great offer, however, and the Phillies aren't willing to move any of their top prospects to facilitate a deal.
- The Nationals could listen on a good offer for Drew Storen, the former first-round pick who is struggling through a tough year. The Nats are in a tough spot trade-wise, however, since the team is largely set at every position yet are still in need of hitting.
- Alex Rios' long slump has lowered his trade value and the White Sox will be hard-pressed to find a team to meet their asking price for the right fielder. The Rangers still have some interest in Rios, as they're looking for an outfielder that can be controlled beyond this season.
- The Red Sox are seen as very likely to add pitching before the deadline. Boston has been linked to Jake Peavy and were interested in Francisco Rodriguez before the Orioles got him.
- The Braves have targeted Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush of the Mariners, Scott Downs of the Angels, Mike Dunn of the Marlins and James Russell of the Cubs in their search for left-handed relief pitching. While Atlanta has been looking at these names and others, however, Stark says the team isn't close to a deal.
- In regards to the Biogenesis scandal, Stark hears from an attorney who believes "virtually every case will be settled by a plea deal. You're going to see a lot of pleas. You're going to see a lot of deals."
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Rios | Atlanta Braves | Biogenesis | Boston Red Sox | Charlie Furbush | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Drew Storen | James Russell | Jonathan Papelbon | Justin Ruggiano | Kyle Lohse | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Miami Marlins | Michael Young | Mike Dunn | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Oliver Perez | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | Scott Downs | Seattle Mariners | Texas Rangers | Washington Nationals | Yovani Gallardo
Francisco Rodriguez's trade to the Orioles may be the first of several moves for the Brewers before the trade deadline, though Brewers GM Doug Melvin hinted that further moves (if any) would require a very high return. Here are the highlights of Melvin's conference call with reporters, including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal…
- As many as six teams had interest in Rodriguez but the field narrowed to three bidders, Melvin said. The other two finalists, besides the O's, were also from the American League. The Tigers and Red Sox were known to have interest in Rodriguez, though it's just speculation on my part that they could have been the two mystery AL teams.
- Melvin spoke highly of Nick Delmonico, the infield prospect acquired from Baltimore. Melvin said he asked the Orioles about Delmonico three weeks ago and were turned down, so the deep trade market for Rodriguez helped the Brewers eventually get the prospect they wanted.
- The Brewers are "not shopping" other bullpen pieces like John Axford or Jim Henderson "but if teams have interest, I have to listen," Melvin said. "We've still got a lot of good young players here. People talk about our pitching but if you trade pitching, you're going to need pitching back for this year, next year and the following years."
- Teams have called about Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse but Melvin said he's "not motivated" to move either starter. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) reported earlier today that the Brewers "need to be blown away" to consider moving Lohse, and the Giants weren't a fit as a trade partner.
- Melvin made it clear that he isn't under any pressure to move veterans just for the sake of rebuilding the roster. "This isn't where we're selling. I'm not a believer in buyers and sellers; I'm a believer in making a good deal," Melvin said. "Deals that help both ball clubs are the best deals to work. When you're selling, you're just moving players because of salary and we don't have to do that."
- Some teams have called about the Brewers' position players though Melvin declined to provide details.
The Brewers have lost four in a row, used 57 different lineups in 80 games this season, and own the third-worst record in all of baseball. The Brewers are expected to be sellers at the Trade Deadline, a fate further cemented with the news of Corey Hart missing the rest of the year with his third knee surgery in 16 months and Ryan Braun out, at least, until after the All-Star break (per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy) with an irritated nerve in his right hand. Milwaukee's best trade chips are a quartet of relievers (John Axford, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Henderson, and Francisco Rodriguez), who have closer experience. Here's the latest Trade Deadline news involving the Brewers:
- GM Doug Melvin admits to receiving calls about his bullpen, but he isn't quite sure what to expect in return, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Teams have to determine what is important to them and how they value relief pitchers," Melvin said. "Sometimes they don't want to give up a lot to acquire them. They think teams will give up guys just to get rid of their contracts. We're not really looking to do that."
- Axford, the Brewers' highest-paid reliever at $5MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two, is aware his name is being floated in trade rumors. "I'm sure there will be talk about it as we get closer to the trade deadline," Axford told Haudricourt. "Teams probably will test the waters and see what the Brewers' response is. I'll be fine with it. You have to block that out and focus on your job here."
- Manager Ron Roenicke has re-inserted Rodriguez into the closer's role, reports Haudricourt's colleague Michael Hunt. Did the idea of showcasing Rodriguez for a Trade Deadline deal have any role in this decision? "None, not to me," said Roenicke. "Not until I meet with (GM) Doug (Melvin) and Doug tells me something different."
- Teams also are reported to have shown interest in Brewers' starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse, but Melvin told Haudricourt trading either one "is not something we have to do. We're not necessarily looking to sell. But if somebody steps up (with a big offer), I'd have to listen."
With the Cubs and Brewers both more than 14.5 games out of first place, the NL Central figures to be the source of plenty of rumors this summer. Both teams have an ample amount of trade chips that should ultimately exchange hands. Here's the latest out of the division…
- The Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Orioles and Blue Jays all had scouts on hand to watch Matt Garza's dominant start against the Brewers today, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Cubs president Theo Epstein told ESPN Chicago's Sahadev Sharma that he owes it to the organization to explore trades of Garza and the team's veteran players to improve the future. Garza added that he doesn't pay attention to rumors.
- From that same piece, Epstein said that trading for additional pool space in this year's international free agency market isn't a huge priority, though he didn't specifically deny rumors that the Cubs are looking to acquire additional funds. For those who don't recall, the new CBA will allow teams to trade international spending money.
- Teams have ramped up their evaluations of Kyle Lohse to determine if he's a worthwhile trade target, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- Albert Pujols told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that St. Louis is still a special place for him and it made him the person that he is today. The longtime Cardinal said he's slightly bitter about the way the front office handled his departure, though he declined to get into specifics on the topic.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin continues to be frank about how the trade deadline may shape up for his underachieving team. Talking to Anthony Witrado of Sporting News, Melvin said on Monday, "For us to win games moving forward, Yovani [Gallardo] should be a part of that, but some teams get in pennant races and need that one guy to get them over the hump. It’s not a slam dunk that I’m going to trade Yovani or [Kyle] Lohse, but you never know. There’s a lot we have to consider about our club right now."
Gallardo is "already a guy teams are charting," an NL Major League scout told Witrado. The 27-year-old righty may emerge as the best starting pitcher available this summer. Cliff Lee may not be available (and some teams would be priced out anyway), while Jake Peavy is on the DL with a rib fracture and Matt Garza comes with the uncertainty of a ten-month layoff. Plus, as Melvin explained, "That Yovani is not a free agent like guys like [Zack] Greinke or Anibal Sanchez last year, he has more value than just two months of a rental, so the package from another team has to be something that will wow me."
Gallardo will have about $2.6MM remaining in 2013 salary at the July trade deadline, and then is owed $11.25MM in 2014 and has a $13MM club option with a $600K buyout for 2015. He can block trades to ten teams, including the Orioles. Having strung together 21 scoreless innings over his last three outings, Gallardo chopped his ERA from 5.25 to 4.09 in the course of about two weeks. Overall he hasn't missed bats this year like he used to, but he still looks like a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher moving forward. The Orioles, Padres, and Giants are among the contenders known to be seeking starting pitching, but almost any team could make room for Gallardo.
Melvin spoke in praise of relievers John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez, who appear to be trade candidates. The Brewers make for an interesting seller, as Lohse is another useful starter and they could offer up one of the market's better bats in Aramis Ramirez.
The Rangers took plenty of flak this offseason for missing out on all of their big targets — namely Zack Greinke and Justin Upton. However, USA Today's Bob Nightengale notes that the team is currently tied for the best record in the American League and also has the AL's best pitching staff despite a host of injuries. Nightengale tells pitching coach Mike Maddux to "take a bow" and praises the organization's recent emphasis on pitching. Here's more from the AL West…
- A deal between the Rangers and another heavily rumored target — Kyle Lohse — was never particularly close, GM Jon Daniels tells Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Dallas. Daniels said the Rangers were very interested in seeing if MLB would allow a one-time sign-and-trade exception for Lohse in order to keep their draft pick, but the situation never reached that point because agent Scott Boras found a market for Lohse. The Rangers never made Lohse an offer.
- The decision to designate Rick Ankiel for assignment "crushed" the Astros' clubhouse, Carlos Pena told Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Pena says that every player on the team loved Ankiel, a testament that Brandon Barnes echoed to Smith. Smith notes that Pena is now alone in his role as elder statesman of a young, inexperienced team.
- Jordan Norberto told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he understands why he was released by the Athletics earlier today. He knows the A's are in a tough spot due to injuries and a full roster, but said he loves the organization and fans and would like to re-sign there. Slusser cautions that there will be plenty of interest in Norberto from other teams, and she even adds that she's already been contacted by an AL scout asking how Norberto's rehab is progressing. Norberto has begun throwing after being shut down for a month.
Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com looked at ten big league managers whose jobs could be in jeopardy this season. Charlie Manuel of the Phillies makes the list as he is in the final year of his contract and potential replacement Ryne Sandberg is on the coaching staff. Ron Gardenhire is another manager could be on the hot seat because of pressure from upper management, but if it's up to GM Terry Ryan, he won't be going anywhere. Here's more from around baseball..
- Baseball could be entering a golden age for trades thanks to changes in the CBA and the wave of extensions reducing the talent level in the free agent pool, writes Joel Sherman of New York Post. Teams are also no longer under the impression that a handful of superpowers will dominate the market, giving other clubs with championship aspirations confidence to make bold moves.
- The Nationals' trade for Denard Span indirectly stemmed from maneuverings involving the Upton brothers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Nats, according to a major league source, made a strong attempt to trade for Justin Upton early in the offseason. But when that didn't happen, GM Mike Rizzo refocused on finding a left-handed hitting center fielder who could bat leadoff and rarely struck out. Span fit the description perfectly and the Braves' signing of B.J. Upton to a five-year, $75MM deal scared them off the free agent market.
- After the Cardinals learned that they would be without Chris Carpenter this season, Kyle Lohse says that he got calls from his former teammates, but not the front office, to gauge his interest in returning, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When asked if he thought they were curious or gathering intelligence for the club, Lohse said: "Both."
The Brewers' Kyle Lohse visited with his old team in the Cardinals' clubhouse on Saturday, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Lohse signed with the Brewers after a long offseason that began with Lohse and his agent, Scott Boras, declining the Cardinals' qualifying offer. There wasn't much of a market for Lohse after that, mostly because the team that signed him would have to sacrifice a draft pick. He finally signed a three-year, $33MM deal with the Brewers. Lohse reflects on the twisting path that led him to Milwaukee: "[Declining the Cardinals' qualifying offer] makes me look bad, [because] that's a lot of money. But is it fair value for what I had done? No," says Lohse. "Even going back on it, I'd still do the same thing. You have to go out and take your chances. Now, going forward, I don't know what other people in my situation are going to do." Here are more notes from the National League:
- Ted Lilly's status with the Dodgers is in question, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes. The Dodgers asked Lilly to make two more rehab starts, but Lilly declined, feeling he is ready for the majors. The Dodgers don't currently have a job available for him on their crowded pitching staff, however. The Dodgers would reportedly like to trade Lilly, who they owe $12MM in 2013.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson denies recent rumors connecting his team to the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Balasis of MetsMerized Online reports. Alderson says his team has not had talks with the Marlins since early spring. Alderson also says the Mets will not trade catcher John Buck.
Here are a few more notes from around baseball:
- Former Rangers hurler C.J. Wilson discussed the "communication issues" with the Texas front office that, he says, led him and other free agents to leave the club, reports Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. "When you're a free agent and the team that you're with tells you that they don't think you're that good or whatever, it doesn't give you any incentive to sign back," said Wilson. "They've played the whole wait-and-see card. It didn't really work with [Josh] Hamilton and it didn't work with me, either." A glance at MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows that Texas has been willing to pay its own in some circumstances, giving large extensions to players like Matt Harrison, Ian Kinsler, and Derek Holland.
- The Giants entered their huge extension with backstop Buster Posey knowing that there is a good chance he will have to change positions, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Posey, a former shortstop, could be moved to third or first in as few as two years, notes Olney. In the meantime, the club can let the situation evolve and see what happens with talented younger players like Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval. For his part, Posey says he would be willing to change positions if "it's something that'll help the team," but that his "passion is being behind the plate,"tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- There are a dozen big league skippers on the hot seat this season, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Don Mattingly of the Dodgers, Mike Scioscia of the Angels, and Terry Collins of the Mets all made Rosenthal's list.
Zach Links contributed to this post.