Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors

Los Angeles Dodgers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Prospect Notes: Lee, Hultzen, Giolito

The Dodgers have announced that Zach Lee has been promoted and will make his big-league debut tonight in a start against the Mets. The Dodgers will announce a corresponding move later today. The 23-year-old Lee, a first-round pick in 2010, was a top prospect list staple before a rough season with Triple-A Albuquerque in 2014. He’s bounced back nicely with the Dodgers’ new Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season, though, posting a 2.36 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 68 2/3 innings. He’ll become the 14th pitcher to start for the Dodgers in a season that’s featured tons of rotation injuries. Here are a couple more notes on pitching prospects, both of them former first-rounders.

  • Mariners pitcher Danny Hultzen, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, has been shut down with shoulder fatigue and is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links). The Mariners hope he’ll be able to pitch in the Arizona Fall League or in instructs. It’s been a very rough ride for the 25-year-old Hultzen, who has missed most of the last three seasons due to shoulder troubles, including a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
  • The Nationals have promoted top prospect Lucas Giolito to Double-A Harrisburg, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. Giolito, who turned 21 earlier this month, dominated at Class A+ Potomac, posting a 2.71 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 69 2/3 innings there, displaying excellent velocity and a great curveball. MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN’s Keith Law all ranked Giolito among baseball’s top ten prospects heading into the season, and he’s done nothing to diminish that status since then. Law (Insider-only) ranked Giolito the third-best prospect in baseball, behind only the Dodgers’ Corey Seager and the Phillies’ J.P. Crawford, in a recent update to his list.

Dodgers Inform Yasiel Puig They Won’t Trade Him

The Dodgers have told star outfielder Yasiel Puig they will not trade him this summer, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. Puig approached the Dodgers about his status amid whispers that he could be traded to the Reds or another team. It is, of course, difficult to say definitively that a player won’t be traded, but a source tells Heyman that the Dodgers currently have no trade talks in the works involving Puig.

The Dodgers have interest in a variety of top starting pitchers, although they’ve been unwilling to deal top prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias to land an ace. Puig has had a disappointing (though still productive) season, batting just .259/.335/.434 in 212 plate appearances and missing six weeks due to a hamstring injury. There have also been reports that he’s had conflicts with teammates.

In spite of all that, it would be difficult for the Dodgers to get equivalent value for Puig, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal explained last night. Puig is 24 and is a highly dynamic player who posted 5.3 fWAR last season, and he’s under control at what should be reasonable prices through 2019. By way of explaining why trading Puig would be tough, Rosenthal reports that he heard a rumor that the Dodgers could deal Puig and prospects for Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. Rosenthal points out that would make little sense when one considers Cueto is a rental and Chapman will be a free agent after the 2016 season. Puig has much more value than most veteran players, thanks to his talent, years of control, and cost.


Minor MLB Transactions: 7/24/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Cubs have optioned lefty Clayton Richard, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com tweets. It appears that the previously reported DFA only removed him from the 25-man roster, to permit the club to seek optional assignment waivers. Richard could have declined the assignment himself, but apparently chose not to.
  • The Blue Jays have released infielder Ramon Santiago, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. Santiago, 35, slashed just .202/.283/.218 in his 139 plate appearances this year at Triple-A Buffalo. He has seen big league action in 13 straight seasons, but now seems likely to see that streak come to an end.
  • Toronto has also added righty Phillippe Aumont, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets. The former Phillies hurler has never gained traction at the big league level, and hit the open market after declining an outright assignment. He did post a 2.35 ERA over 65 innings at the Triple-A level this year, his best showing in some time.
  • Lefty Ryan Buchter has agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was released by the Dodgers recently after exercising his opt-out. Buchter threw 32 2/3 innings of 1.65 ERA ball at Triple-A, with 10.7 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9.


Indians “Not Motivated” To Deal Starter; Dodgers, Red Sox Have Inquired

The Dodgers and Red Sox have expressed interest in the Indians group of controllable, high-quality starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. But Cleveland is “not motivated” to move an arm unless a “very compelling deal” is presented, per the report (and as GM Chris Antonetti recently said himself).

We heard yesterday that the Blue Jays were looking hard at Carlos Carrasco, with the Indians willing at least to listen. But it seems that Toronto’s efforts have fallen short, at least for the present.

It’s not surprising to hear that Cleveland is getting hits on its starters, which include Carrasco, reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and younger arms such as Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. (Which particular pitchers are receiving the interest has not been reported.) With lengthy and affordable control over all of those pitchers, it would surely take a very significant offer to get something done.

While the Dodgers are an obvious buyer, the Red Sox are not — at least in the traditional sense. But we’ve heard that Boston is considering future-oriented buy-side moves, and that makes Cleveland an interesting potential trade partner.

While both of those clubs are obviously among the larger-budget teams in the sport, that doesn’t make productive, cost-controlled pitching any less valuable to them. Of course, Los Angeles and Boston are also among the organizations best-equipped to take on other salary commitments from the Indians in order to facilitate a trade.


Heyman On Padres, Tigers, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Sox, Reds, Marlins, Yankees

The real question facing the Padres at present is not whether to buy or sell, but how far to go in moving pieces, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. At least one rival GM expects the club to “sell big,” and Heyman says that San Diego is “offering around” closer Craig Kimbrel and starter James Shields, both of whom are under long-term control. While the former would figure to have a wide market, potentially including the Blue Jays, Nationals, and Dodgers, another GM says that he believes the club would have to chip in cash to move Shields. That may indicate that he could become an August trade piece, Heyman suggests, because he could well clear waivers. San Diego is interested in adding a young shortstop, he goes on to note, and has looked at several of the Brewers options (Jean Segura, Luis Sardinas, and top prospect Orlando Arcia).

Here are more highlights from the column:

  • Heyman hears that the Tigers are still weighing their options, too, and have not decided to sell. The club could even add an arm, he says, and is likely to see how its next two series play out before reaching a final conclusion.
  • While the Cubs are indeed willing to consider including Starlin Castro or Javier Baez in a deal for Cole Hamels of the Phillies, a source tells Heyman that the team would not be interested in moving both to add the lefty. Philadelphia’s plans for Hamels remain something of a mystery, but per the report the club may be backing down from its previous high-end demands from clubs like the Dodgers (Corey Seager or Julio Urias) and Red Sox (Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart).
  • There is now virtually no chance that Phillies lefty Cliff Lee will try to make it back this year, and he appears likely to retire over the winter.
  • As they approach the deadline and look ahead to free agency, the Cubs have some limitations on their spending capacity but will nevertheless try to add David Price (at least once he hits the open market). Meanwhile, the team has at least some interest in Reds starter Mike Leake as a trade piece but are somewhat hesitant to pursue rental options. While the Giants have plenty of rotation options, they too have considered Leake.
  • While we’ve just heard a suggestion that the Orioles could reverse course, Heyman says that they are still weighing outfield additions. The team has considered rental pieces like Marlon Byrd, Gerardo Parra, and Justin Upton. And he suggests that Carl Crawford or Shane Victorino could make sense as well; presumably, Baltimore would only be interested in either if their current clubs paid down a good bit of salary.
  • The Orioles intend to make qualifying offers after the season not only to Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, but also to lefty Wei-Yin Chen. The 30-year-old never seemed like a qualifying offer-level player, but was strong last year and has put up even better results in 2015 (while significantly outperforming his peripherals, it should be noted).
  • The Red Sox have received no trade interest in struggling first baseman Mike Napoli, says Heyman, but has gotten hits on Victorino as well as bullpen arms Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa.
  • The White Sox are looking to add some volume if they deal righty Jeff Samardzija, says Heyman. Chicago would like to pick up four young pieces in any trade.
  • While the Marlins have fielded interest in righty Tom Koehler and super utilityman Martin Prado, the club is not interested in dealing either player at present. Meanwhile, Miami is open to dealing veteran Dan Haren, but has rebuffed at least one club that asked for money to be sent along with him.
  • The Yankees are looking at both second base and top rotation candidates, says Heyman, but don’t feel a pressing need to add in either area. New York has no interest in veteran Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill, he adds.
  • Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more notes on many of the teams around the league.

NL East Notes: Alvarez, Cishek, Haren, Mets, Venable, Nats

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez experienced a setback in his rehab from right shoulder inflammation, and his season is now in jeopardy, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Manager Dan Jennings told Spencer and others prior to Thursday’s contest: “He had a recurrence of the shoulder. We’re trying to determine if it’s going to be best for a non-surgical, or surgical procedure regarding the shoulder.” Alvarez’s injury troubles in 2015 have contributed to the team’s disappointing season. If he’s to undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season, Alvarez will have made just four starts in 2015, with the end result being an ERA over 6.00.

Here’s the latest from the NL East…

  • The Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays are still in the mix for former Marlins closer Steve Cishek, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Cishek’s been throwing well since returning from a brief stint at Triple-A, allowing just one earned run with an 11-to-4 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings. Frisaro also adds the Orioles to the list of teams with interest in right-hander Dan Haren, adding to recent reports that have linked the Blue Jays and Dodgers to Haren.
  • Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made a pair of definitive statements to reporters today, writes MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. First and foremost, Alderson said that none of the four young arms in his rotation — Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz — is available in trades. Alderson also insisted that ownership has provided him with the resources to take on a major contract, though he added that the media and fans alike would both take that news with a heavy grain of salt: “Now, none of you will believe me, OK? So I’m not sure why you asked the question and insisted on the answer.”
  • The Mets have interest in Padres outfielder Will Venable, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who echoes previous reports that Gerardo Parra is under Mets consideration as well. According to Morosi, the Cubs are intrigued by both Parra and Venable as well, however, so the Mets have some competition in regards to those two trade targets.
  • Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, tweets that the Mets don’t feel they need to acquire a third baseman while David Wright is on the shelf, because the team is better defensively with Daniel Murphy at third base while Wright is out. Adding an outfielder — preferably one controllable beyond 2015 — is the Mets’ priority.
  • Speaking about the trade deadline in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter links), Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “There’s no trade I could make that could be as the guys we’re getting back [from the DL]. We will certainly be looking, but I don’t know how active we’ll be.”

Deadline Rumors: Cespedes, Cishek, Price, Gallardo, Jays, Royals, Reds, Alvarez, Padres

In another twist regarding the free agent deal he signed out of Cuba, Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would be effectively precluded from signing with the team as a free agent after this year unless he is traded away in the interim, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. It was already a matter of common knowledge that the club could not make him a qualifying offer after the year, since his deal requires that he be released five days after its conclusion. But Rosenthal now cites a CBA provision providing that a released player also cannot be re-signed by his club until May 15 of the ensuing year. While Detroit could hold Cespedes and attempt to work out an extension at any point up to five days after the World Series, it would otherwise be unable to bring him back unless he sat out a good portion of the 2016 campaign — a highly unlikely scenario. Of course, moving him now would prevent the team from working out a deal until the power-hitting outfielder becomes a free agent. As Rosenthal notes, Cespedes has told friends that he hopes to remain with the Tigers, and Detroit has given every indication that it intends to compete next year even if it moves some pieces this summer.

There are a ton of important deadline developments to cover in the wake of the Scott Kazmir trade, so let’s get to them:

  • There is increasing action on Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report (Twitter links) that there are multiple clubs involved — some with more apparent interest than the previously-reported Cardinals. The Twins are among the teams continuing to monitor the righty, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
  • The Dodgers currently have David Price of the Tigers as their number one target, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But the expectation is that Detroit will hold their decision until next week.
  • Indeed, the Giants recently spoke with the Tigers regarding outfielder Rajai Davis, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports on Twitter, but were left with the impression that Detroit is still unsure of its course of action.
  • Another player on the Dodgers radar is Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Though nothing is close, the two clubs have had discussions.
  • The Blue Jays sought to land Kazmir before he went to Houston, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. With the market beginning to move, the team appears to be ramping up is efforts to add a starter, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • Both the Blue Jays and the Royals are “all-in” on Reds starter Johnny Cueto, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter links). Kansas City is also considering Mike Leake from Cincinnati as well as Jeff Samardzija, Dan Haren, and Mat Latos. But the club is not interested in Cole Hamels, James Shields, or Yovani Gallardo, per the report.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he has a green light to sell pieces, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. They’ll make moves “if it makes sense, but we’re not going to give away players,” says Jocketty. “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people, but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
  • One rival general manager tells Passan that the Pirates are working hard to move first baseman Pedro Alvarez (Twitter link). We’ve heard previously that Pittsburgh has interest in an upgrade, and presumably it would make an addition if it can find a taker for Alvarez.
  • Meanwhile, the Padres are officially open for business, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). In addition to Justin Upton, the team could move relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, outfielder Will Venable, and any number of starters. Rosenthal says that Tyson Ross is perhaps the least likely rotation piece to change hands.

Rotation Rumors: Royals, Teheran, Price, Padres

The starting pitching market appears to be in flux, with numerous buyers reportedly considering an array of options and a variety of potential sellers weighing whether to deal away impact arms. Here are the latest rumors on the rotation front:

  • The Royals are interested in both Johnny Cueto of the Reds and Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers, as well as other arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Both, obviously, would be pure rental pieces, and we’ve mostly heard of Kansas City connected to half-year contracts. The club’s level of need certainly went up with the loss of Jason Vargas, though it’s unclear whether that will prompt any effort to add more than one pitcher.
  • Some rival executives believe that the Braves are willing to deal Julio Teheran, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But an Atlanta source indicates that the team sees too much upside in the young righty (and his reasonably-priced extension) to consider such a move. Teheran, 24, has not matched his excellent results over the prior two seasons, but it does seem hard to imagine the club selling low on him unless president of baseball operations John Hart is just not a believer in his future.
  • Rosenthal also addresses the possibility of the Tigers dealing David Price, noting that the team is unlikely to retain him beyond this year if it doesn’t. If and when Detroit puts him on the market, some of the most obviously starting pitching buyers — the Dodgers, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Astros — would have interest, per the report.
  • The Padres are not only all ears on outfielder Justin Upton, but are “listening … intently” on soon-to-be free agent starter Ian Kennedy, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, rival executives say that San Diego would “love” to find a taker for righty James Shields. Given that we’ve also heard suggestions that the Padres are holding conversations regarding Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, it would appear that the club is considering a variety of possible scenarios involving its staff.

NL East Notes: Latos, Haren, Cishek

The Marlins continue to receive interest in both Mat Latos and Dan Haren, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Despite conflicting reports recently, Frisaro hears that the Blue Jays do indeed have some interest in Latos, as do the Cubs. The Blue Jays are also in Haren, per the report,  and so is his former team, the Dodgers (albeit to a lesser extent). Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) characterizes Toronto as having monitored Latos, noting that it remains to be seen whether the team actually pursues him.

A few more Marlins notes …

  • Frisaro feels that it’s more likely that the Marlins will trade Latos than Haren in the next week due to the fact that trading Latos sooner comes with financial savings, whereas Haren’s $10MM salary is entirely paid for by the Dodgers. Haren could still be an August trade candidate, though, in Frisaro’s eyes.
  • Though Haren and Latos are the most popular names among Marlins trade candidates at present, Steve Cishek is drawing interest as well — specifically from the Cardinals, per the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer (Twitter link). Cishek has allowed just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings since returning to the big league roster in mid-June, so it’s certainly plausible to think that Miami could save some money and get at least something back for him.
  • An even more interesting question, perhaps, is whether the Marlins or a hypothetical new team will consider tendering Cishek a contract through arbitration. While he may not earn a significant raise, the reliever has a steep $6.65MM starting point entering his second-to-last year of eligibility.
  • Former Marlins backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia discussed his tenure in Miami with Spencer, He expressed some disappointment with the way things ended and the fact that he did not get a chance to make good on his contract, but acknowledged that he fell short of expectations. On the whole, his comments seemed thoughtful and genuine, and are worth a full read.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/22/15

Here are some recent minor moves from around the game:

  • The Mariners have acquired Triple-A reliever Tyler Knigge from the Phillies in exchange for cash, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Twitter. Knigge, 26, was a 12th-rounder back in 2010 that has advanced as far as Triple-A. He’s spent time there in both 2014 and 2015, working to a 4.89 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 70 innings. His numbers at Double-A and Class-A Advanced were markedly better.
  • Braves reliever David Carpenter was outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Carpenter — not to be confused with the former Atlanta reliever and current Nationals reliever of the same name — has worked 3 2/3 innings in the bigs this season and 46 2/3 innings at the Major League level as a whole. He’s struggled to a 5.40 ERA, though the 27-year-old has a more palatable 2.73 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over the life of his minor league career.
  • The Dodgers recently released righty Ryan Buchter after he opted out of his deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The 28-year-old notched a stellar 1.65 ERA with 39 strikeouts against 16 walks in 32 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season.
  • And the Rays released infielder Vince Belnome, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The 27-year-old Belnome has been solid throughout most of his Triple-A tenure, but he’s slumped to a triple-slash of just .169/.293/.225 in 191 plate appearances this season.
  • The Brewers announced yesterday that they’ve signed lefty Jeremy Horst and released right-hander John Ely. Horst, 29, saw a fairly significant amount of Major League action from the 2011-13 seasons with the Reds and Phillies. He has a career 3.32 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 72 2/3 innings. Horst began the season with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, where he tallied a 1.64 ERA with 42 strikeouts against 16 unintentional walks in 38 1/3 innings. As for Ely, the now-29-year-old Ely logged 115 2/3 innings with the Dodgers from 2010-12 but hasn’t appeared in the bigs since. Injuries have played a role in his absence from the league, but he also struggled to a 7.42 ERA in 13 1/3 innings between Rookie ball and Triple-A this season.