Lance Berkman Rumors
Here are some interesting tidbits courtesy of Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com:
- The Red Sox wanted to acquire then Mariners starter Erik Bedard so badly that they tried to trade for the lefty while he was still on the disabled list in July. Fortuitously, Bedard threw a simulated game at Fenway Park when the M's were in Boston on July 23, shortly before his return from the DL. So, the Red Sox had a good chance to scout him before making an offer to Seattle and consummating the eventual trade.
- Offseason negotiations between impending free agent David Ortiz and Boston "will not necessarily go smoothly," opines Rosenthal. The Red Sox will want to limit the years on a new deal for Papi, while the DH will seek a multiyear pact and a raise on his $12.5MM annaul salary.
- Rangers lefty Mike Gonzalez, acquired last week from the Orioles, could be a huge pickup for Texas, which lacks a lefty killer in its bullpen.
- Texas was serious about acquiring Lance Berkman from the Cardinals, but the Big Puma didn't want to be a rental player for the second consecutive year, according to Rosenthal, and St. Louis wanted to retain the veteran slugger in hopes of re-signing him this offseason.
The Pirates signed Aramis Ramirez as an amateur free agent on this date in 1994. Ramirez spent five and a half seasons with the Pirates before they shipped him to the Cubs. Here are the latest links from the only division Ramirez has ever known...
- The Brewers are talking about possible upgrades, but aren't close on completing any deals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writers are in general agreement that a deal between the Cardinals and Lance Berkman seems likely next year.
- Reds closer Francisco Cordero told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he would love to return to Cincinnati in 2012 and pitch under Dusty Baker again. The Reds have a $12MM club option for Cordero ($1MM buyout), who says he'd like to retire with the Reds.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes took a look at the upcoming closer carousel earlier today. Don’t forget to check out closernews.com for the latest fantasy news on relievers.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm
- Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Dontrelle Willis, Reds - Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list. He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
- Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs - Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
- Chris Capuano, Mets - Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds - His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th. $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest. The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however. At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
- Bruce Chen, Royals - Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window. But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013. He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.
- Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals - His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals - Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
- Ted Lilly, Dodgers - He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball. With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.
- Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Chad Qualls, Padres - Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
- Bill Bray, Reds - Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties. He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers - A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
- Huston Street, Rockies - Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
- Brian Fuentes, Athletics - He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
- Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
- Mike Gonzalez, Orioles - Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties. The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
- John Grabow, Cubs - He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
- D.J. Carrasco, Mets - The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December - their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April. He stayed there until mid-June.
- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart. The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - This one was also obvious. SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals - Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency. Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
- Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
- David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
- Conor Jackson, Athletics - Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
- David DeJesus, Athletics - DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
- Hideki Matsui, Athletics - The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
- Jason Bay, Mets - With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected. It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
- Willie Harris, Mets - The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
- Angel Pagan, Mets - It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
- Carlos Lee, Astros - No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year. El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
- Johnny Damon, Rays - Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak acknowledged to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that trading Berkman doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the team’s 2012 plans (Twitter links). The Cardinals are more inclined to keep him and attempt to work out a deal after the season, because signing Berkman from another team would likely cost St. Louis a top draft pick.
- There's a definite possibility that MLB won't approve the sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
- However, Astros officials told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that they haven't been informed that Crane's bid is in trouble.
Lance Berkman told reporters that he doesn't expect the Cardinals to trade him by tomorrow's deadline, MLB.com's Matthew Leach reports. Despite rumors that the Rangers could have interest, Berkman expects to finish the year in St. Louis.
“I’m not going to get moved,” he said. "I think the ship has sailed. I really do."
Berkman explained that he wants to stay put and believes that the Cardinals want to keep him. Since Berkman projects as a low Type-A free agent, the Cardinals could end up with two compensation picks in next year's draft if he declines an arbitration offer to sign elsewhere. As a result, GM John Mozeliak would likely require significant prospects in any deal.
The Rangers placed Nelson Cruz on the disabled list and expect to be without him for three weeks. However, GM Jon Daniels said he expects to rely on internal solutions and the Rangers have called up Leonys Martin to take Cruz's place on the roster. Texas remains interested in Berkman, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
The Cardinals have until tomorrow to weigh all offers for Berkman, who has cleared waivers. The 35-year-old has a .289/.405/.570 line with 30 homers.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has been tweeting up a storm today...
- The Giants are among the most active teams on the trade market; Morosi says they're seeking bullpen help and maybe a bat. Nine relievers are known to have cleared waivers, while others such as Chad Qualls, Jamey Wright, Matt Capps, Todd Coffey, Mike MacDougal, Octavio Dotel, and Joe Nathan could be available in my estimation. More speculation from me: position player targets could include Jose Molina, Ryan Doumit, Melky Cabrera, Marlon Byrd, and Angel Pagan.
- The Braves seek bench help in advance of tomorrow's waiver trade deadline. They signed Wes Helms a few weeks ago.
- There's currently no momentum toward a trade between the Cardinals and Rangers for Lance Berkman, tweets Morosi. The Cardinals might require a return on par with the two draft picks they could receive if they offer arbitration to Berkman and he turns it down to sign elsewhere. Berkman cleared waivers, reported Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday.
We've already checked in on the Pirates and here's the latest on the rest of the NL Central as the first-place Brewers rest...
- Jim Crane's purchase of the Astros is on hold because MLB is investigating employment and war profiteering charges against the incoming owner, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. However, current owner Drayton McLane remains optimistic that the sale will go through within ten days.
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com says the Cardinals will likely find a way to bring Chris Carpenter back in 2012, even if it doesn't mean exercising his $15MM option. I took a close look at the option last week, explaining that there are ample reasons for the Cards to pick it up.
- Though Lance Berkman projects as a Type A free agent in the National League, he would be a much higher Type A free agent in the American League, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports (on Twitter). It's noteworthy since the Rangers just lost Nelson Cruz to the disabled list and could consider Berkman, who has cleared waivers.
Ichiro Suzuki's streak of ten consecutive 200-hit seasons will likely end this year, since he's 49 hits away from 200. But as the Mariners point out, Ichiro has picked up at least 49 hits in a month six times in his career. Here are some more notes from the AL West...
- The A's will need to make a 40-man roster move tomorrow, when they add Neil Wagner to their active roster, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). They'll have room on the 25-man roster once Jerry Blevins clears waivers tomorrow.
- The Rangers expect Nelson Cruz to miss three weeks with a strained left hamstring, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). The Rangers could consider Lance Berkman of the Cardinals, but GM Jon Daniels indicated that he expects to find help from within the organization.
- Wilson notes that Leonys Martin will take Cruz's roster spot for now and that a Berkman deal seems unlikely (Twitter links).
- As Kevin Baxter of the LA Times explains, the Angels have been playing better partly because of Vernon Wells' increased productivity. The offseason acquisition started off slowly and his season line is still just .216/.249/.393, but he has four multi-hit games in his last six contests.
Lance Berkman is the Rangers' prime target if they look outside the organization for help in the wake of Nelson Cruz's hamstring injury, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. However, GM Jon Daniels advised caution until the team sees Cruz's MRI, and added, "More than likely, any moves we make will be from inside the organization."
So keep in mind that for the Rangers to get serious on Berkman or any other trade or claim candidate, the prognosis on Cruz would have to be bad and Daniels would have to change his mind. That said, Berkman would be a fantastic addition for the Rangers, as he ranks fourth in the NL with a .405 OBP and third with a .570 slugging percentage.
Berkman has reportedly cleared waivers, the reason for which I have no idea. His salary is relatively modest, with $1.32MM remaining to date. He projects as a low Type A free agent in the NL, and an arbitration offer seems probable, so the Rangers would have to give up something of value to get him. Big Puma is, of course, a native Texan who spent the vast majority of his career with the Astros.
Lance Berkman recently suggested that he’ll be prepared to walk away from the game after the season if he doesn’t see contract offers he likes as a free agent. But he said today that he intends to play in 2012 and that the Cardinals would be his “first choice,” according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.
"I'm sure I'll play next year somewhere," he said. "Hopefully it will be here [in St. Louis], but part of that is not up to me.”
Berkman explained that St. Louis appeals to him because the Cardinals have a “great group of guys” and aren’t rebuilding. The 35-year-old signed a one-year, $8MM deal with the Cards last offseason. He has a .291/.404/.576 line with 29 home runs this year and projects as a Type A free agent, according to our latest rankings.
Last week Berkman told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he'd prefer to land in one of "three or four" destinations. The Astros, who traded Berkman to the Yankees last summer, wouldn't be a fit for him anymore.