Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Angel Castro, Bruce Billings

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Athletics have acquired righty Angel Castro from the Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations, St. Louis announced. Castro, a 31-year-old righty, has never seen MLB action. He owns a 4.01 ERA through 94 1/3 frames on the year at Triple-A, spending time both as a starter and reliever, and has posted 6.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9.
  • Right-hander Bruce Billings, who was released by the Yankees last week, has inked a minor league pact with the Dodgers, reports MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo (on Twitter). Billings, 28, allowed four runs in four innings for the Yanks this season and has struggled in the minors as well, posting a 5.06 ERA with a 54-to-27 K/BB ratio in 80 innings (15 starts) for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Billings’ career marks of a 4.37 ERA and 7.8 K/9 rate at the Triple-A level are noticeably better.

Dodgers Not Done Pursuing Pitching Help

The Dodgers swung a trade with the Phillies yesterday and acquired right-hander Roberto Hernandez due to concerns over the health of Josh Beckett, but GM Ned Colletti told reports, including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, that he hopes to make at least one more move. “There’s another pitcher out there we’re trying to get,” Colletti said.

Colletti said that the Dodgers would like to add a swingman to replace Paul Maholm, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, and added that the club is also looking at back-of-the-rotation arms and late-inning relievers. Referring to the Hernandez trade, Colletti candidly admitted that the trade talks accelerated quickly, as he hoped to swing a deal before news of Beckett’s injury broke. “Ruben [Amaro Jr.] could hold me up for even more,” he stated.

A number of back-end arms that I mentioned in last month’s look at the trade market for starting pitchers could likely be had for very little return from the Dodgers, including Kyle Kendrick, Kevin Correia and Colby Lewis. Bartolo Colon could represent a potentially more expensive but still effective option, assuming he clears waivers (which is highly likely). MLBTR’s Jeff Todd examined the trade market for right-handed relievers and left-handed relievers, and while some of them have since been dealt (as have some from the list of starters), many of those names could come into play as well.


Quick Hits: Preller, Lester, Hernandez, Manny

We at MLBTR would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our readers — both longtime fans and newcomers alike — for the overwhelming support we received on July 31 this year. MLBTR shattered its previous highwater mark for most pageviews in a single day, as the 4,487,005 views we received on deadline day dwarfed the previous peak of ~3.5MM views. This site wouldn’t exist without loyal readers and who frequent the page and commenters who strengthen the community through discussion and speculation on each post. Thank you for the continued support!

Onto tonight’s links from around the league!

  • New Padres GM A.J. Preller is impressed with the rotation that he’s inheriting in his new post, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Preller’s new team boasts a rotation fronted by Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Jesse Hahn, and Brock wonders if the team will make a second run at extending Cashner with a new GM in place. Of his new club, Preller said to Padres fans: “I want Padres fans to understand that it’s not going to be smooth sailing from Day 1, But I can promise you we’re going to have the hungriest, hard-working group of employees in the game.”
  • A theoretical return to the Red Sox for Jon Lester could follow the same path as Mike Lowell‘s return following the 2007 season, writes WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Lowell spoke with Bradford at length about his decision to reject a four-year, $48MM offer from the Phillies in favor of a three-year, $38MM offer to return to Boston. Lowell feels that Lester might not feel the need to take something like $150MM over seven years, but he adds that the Red Sox can’t simply offer a four-year deal if the rest of the market is willing to offer five or more years.
  • Uncertainty surrounding Josh Beckett‘s health for the remainder of the season and an unwillingness to part with their top three prospects led to the Dodgers‘ acquisition of Roberto Hernandez earlier today, writes Tim Brow n of Yahoo Sports. Brown feels the decision to hang onto Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias was defensible and notes that a team source told him that Beckett could need season-ending surgery.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that the team felt it made sense to flip Hernandez, as they had no plans to make a qualifying offer following the season (Twitter link). While that’s hardly a surprise, the philosophy behind the move could be applied to other current Phillies such as Kyle Kendrick, although that’s just my own speculation.
  • Cubs prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara both offer high praise for Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez and the help they received on their swing mechanics from the former MVP candidate, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times“He helped my approach to right-center, [following] his routine every day, going to the cage, the way he works,” said Baez. “He’s always got a bat in his hand doing something, either swinging the bat or just hitting in the cage. He talked to a lot of the guys. A lot of people learned from him.” In his most recent chat with readers, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote that he was a believer in Ramirez’s positive influence on Baez.


Dodgers Designate Chone Figgins For Assignment

The Dodgers have designated infielder Chone Figgins for assignment, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

The 36-year-old Figgins inked a minor league pact with the Dodgers this offseason and made the club out of Spring Training to the surprise of many. He spent a good deal of time on the disabled list this year due to a left quad injury. Figgins had been on a minor league rehab assignment, but his rehab window expired yesterday, and the Dodgers chose to DFA him rather than reinstate him on the 25-man roster.

When healthy this year, Figgins tallied 76 plate appearances and posted a .217/.373/.267 batting line while seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. Though he was once an incredible valuable and versatile infield option for the Angels, it’s been years since Figgins hit well enough to justify regular playing time.


Players Who Have Cleared Revocable Waivers

MLBTR will continue to update this post as players reportedly clear revocable trade waivers, making it a running list of players that may be traded to any club in the season’s final two months. Remember though, players must be acquired by Aug. 31 to be eligible for their new team’s postseason roster. Click here for a further explanation of the August waiver and trade rules. Also bear in mind that a player’s no-trade rights remain effective even if he clears waivers. Player names are linked to the source articles, and this article can always be found under the MLBTR Features portion of the sidebar on the right side of the page.

Last Updated: 8-26-2014

  • Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks — Still owed $12.8MM (including the buyout of two successive club options after next season) on a no-longer-attractive contract, Cahill remains a somewhat intriguing option at just 26 years of age. Though he owns just a 4.54 ERA over 83 1/3 innings on the year, including his first significant stretch of bullpen work, Cahill actually sports a career-best 3.72 FIP.
  • Scott Feldman, Astros — In the first year of a front-loaded $30MM contract, Feldman was owed roughly $20.36MM through the 2016 season at the time he reportedly cleared waivers. He’s missed a coupled weeks with biceps tendinitis in 2014 but been healthy otherwise and soaked up some innings with a reasonable 4.37 ERA (through Aug. 25) for Houston. He’s not an elite arm, but he could have appeal to a team in need of solid innings, particularly if Astros GM Jeff Luhnow were to sweeten the deal with some cash.
  • Bartolo Colon, Mets — The 41-year-old Colon was guaranteed $12.77MM through 2015 at the time he cleared waivers on Aug. 25. He’s pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 167 1/3 innings, more than justifying the commitment that the Mets made to him as a free agent. Colon’s age will scare off some contenders, but he looks the part of an effective starter, and with one year at $11MM remaining after the season, his salary isn’t exorbitant.
  • Yu Darvish, Rangers – It is somewhat hard to imagine that Darvish’s current DL stint for elbow inflammation would be enough to scare away other clubs from the outstanding righty. He has produced stellar results (3.06 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 over 144 1/3 innings on the year), only just turned 28, and is guaranteed a modest $31MM over the next three seasons (though the last year could turn into a player option). The likelier possibility, perhaps, is that other clubs felt it would not be possible to achieve a deal, especially while he is out of action to have his elbow looked at.
  • Adrian Beltre, Rangers – If anything, the lack of a claim on Beltre is more surprising (if only because of Darvish’s injury situation). The 35-year-old is in the midst of a typically outstanding year, with a .318/.373/.498 slash with 17 home runs and excellent defense. He is owed $34MM over the next two years, which is a large sum given his age. But that is a bargain for his production, and the $16MM salary for 2016 has injury protections built in.
  • Elvis Andrus, Rangers – That Andrus was left unclaimed could represent something of a statement on the league’s view of his contract. His eight-year, $120MM extension (which includes both opt-out and vesting option provisions) is set to go into effect next season. Just 25, Andrus has not produced offensively either this year or last (.271/.326/.337 cumulative line), and his high-level defense and baserunning are probably not enough on their own to justify his pay level.
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers – Choo has thus far failed to live up to the seven-year, $130MM deal that brought him to Texas. He owns a .241/.341/.371 slash in that contract’s first year, with 12 home runs and just three stolen bases. While there is time for Choo to rebound, he is promised far too much future cash ($116MM) for another team to have placed a claim.
  • Jon Niese, Mets — It’s a bit surprising that teams would let a controllable, highly affordable arm like Niese clear waivers. He’s owed about $1.34MM through season’s end (as of his clearing on Aug. 11) and is guaranteed $7MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016. Niese’s deal contains a $10MM club option for 2017 and $11MM club option for 2018, each with a $500K buyout. He’s not an ace, but he’s a reliable mid-rotation arm that is on the verge of finishing his third season with a sub-3.75 ERA. The asking price will be sky-high — justifiably so — making a trade unlikely.
  • Curtis Granderson, Mets — The Grandy Man has recovered from a slow start to post strong numbers since May 1 (.258/.360/.447 from May 1 through Aug. 11), but the odds of a team taking on the roughly $50MM he has remaining on his deal are slim. It also would set a poor precedent with future free agents if the Mets issued a four-year deal, only to trade him in the first year of the contract. Don’t expect a trade.
  • Ian Desmond, Nationals — That Desmond would clear is surprising, but it’s likely that the other 29 clubs knew that GM Mike Rizzo wouldn’t deal his shortstop in the midst of a playoff push anyway. Desmond is earning $6.5MM in 2014 and $11MM in 2015 before being eligible for free agency, so he’d have plenty of trade value. An in-season trade would be shocking, however, with the Nats fighting for a division title.
  • Gio Gonzalez, Nationals — Gonzalez is controlled relatively cheaply through the 2018 season ($23MM guaranteed through 2016 plus a pair of $12MM options), making it a virtual lock that he’s not going anywhere prior to season’s end. With four years of control, he could fetch a haul in the offseason, but teams are rarely willing to move an established starter with that type of control. He’s extremely likely to be a National again in 2015.
  • Kevin Correia, Twins — The Twins sent Correia through waivers at the beginning of the month, as he had reportedly already cleared by the time the Dodgers acquired him on Aug. 9. The Dodgers are on the hook for the remaining $1.5MM on his contract, and he’ll be a free agent at season’s end.
  • Alex Rios, Rangers — Rios is owed roughly $3.62MM through season’s end (as of Aug. 7) as well as a $1MM buyout on next year’s $13.5MM club option. While he’s enjoyed a decent season at the plate, a good deal of his slugging percentage comes from a high number of triples, rather than his usual contribution of double-digit home runs. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that teams are wary of Rios’ declining home run power, so the Rangers have some obstacles in trying to work out a trade for their right fielder.
  • Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies — Papelbon cleared waivers on Aug. 6, to the surprise of very few, given the fact that he is owed $13MM in 2015 and has a vesting option for the 2016 season. Papelbon’s ERA and K/BB numbers remain appealing, but he’s survived with an abnormally low BABIP while seeing his average fastball velocity diminish to 91.4 mph. He has a limited no-trade clause but has said he’d waive those rights to join a contender. Philadelphia would have to eat some salary in order to facilitate a deal, however.
  • Matt Kemp, Dodgers – Though Kemp has shown flashes of returning to his prior form at the plate, he is owed too much money after this year ($107MM) and comes with too many questions (injuries, defense) to warrant a claim. In any event, the Dodgers seem disinclined to trade him.
  • Andre Ethier, Dodgers — If any Dodgers outfielder were to move, Ethier might be the likeliest option, but a .672 OPS won’t be appealing to interested parties. Even less appealing, however, will be the $56MM he is guaranteed following the 2014 season. That number could rise even further as well, as 550 PA in 2017 would trigger a $17.5MM vesting option ($2.5MM buyout). Clearly, L.A. would have to pay a significant portion of Ethier’s salary to move him, as his production in 2014 has been near or below replacement level (depending on your preferred version of WAR).
  • Carl Crawford, Dodgers — The 33-year-old Crawford may be even more untradeable for the Dodgers, as he’s owed $62.5MM beyond the 2014 season and is hitting just .236/.271/.341 in what has been an injury-riddled season. The Dodgers have motivation to move at least one of their overpriced outfielders, with top prospect Joc Pederson likely ready to make the move to the Majors, but they’ll be hard-pressed to do so.
  • Josh Beckett, Dodgers — Owed a much more reasonable $4.73MM (as of Aug. 5), Beckett is a more desirable commodity for interested parties. However, he’s currently occupying a slot in L.A.’s rotation, and he’s produced a surprisingly excellent 2.88 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 112 innings this season. The contending Dodgers don’t seem likely to deal from their rotation depth. The loss of Paul Maholm to a torn ACL has already weakened their rotation depth.
  • Brett Gardner, Yankees — Gardner is owed $50MM from 2015-18, and the Yankees weren’t likely to have given any serious consideration to dealing him anyhow. The speedster has shown more power than ever this season and has been New York’s most valuable position player. He’s staying put.
  • Martin Prado, Yankees — Owed $11MM in 2015 and in 2016, Prado’s salary and struggles with the bat have combined to offset a great deal of the value his versatility provides to his team. The Yankees acquired Prado just minutes before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so it seems unlikely that they’d move him this quickly.
  • Stephen Drew, Yankees — Drew is owed about $4.24MM from Aug. 5 through season’s end, making it unsurprising that a team neglected to claim him on waivers. His bat showed some life in July and in early August, but the impending free agent’s overall numbers are pretty woeful. Another two or three weeks of solid offense could make him a trade candidate if the Yankees fall out of the playoff picture, however.

Note: This is not a complete list of all players to have cleared revocable waivers. Many players are placed on waivers and pass through unclaimed without ever going reported. This is merely a list of the names that have reportedly cleared waivers according to major media outlets around the game.


Kemp, Ethier, Crawford, Beckett Clear Waivers

All three of the Dodgers’ highly-paid, veteran outfielders — Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford — have cleared revocable waivers along with pitcher Josh Beckett, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Infielder Hanley Ramirez, however, was claimed (which, of course, does not mean he will be changing teams).

While several of those players may be useful to another contender, a claim has always seemed unlikely given the large sums owed to Kemp ($107MM), Ethier ($56MM), and Crawford ($62MM) after this season. Beckett is much more affordable, particularly since he is on an expiring contract, but has had injury issues and more importantly would not seem to be a realistic trade candidate in any event.

Though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has made clear that he has no intentions of dealing away Kemp — who, in any event, has been an important contributor of late — it is now at least hypothetically possible that something could come together on one of the three Dodger outfielders over the next several weeks.


West Notes: Goldschmidt, Angels, Sizemore, Dodgers

Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is likely out the rest of the season after being hit in the hand by Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri, AZCentral.com’s Nick Piecoro tweets. After finishing second in NL MVP balloting in 2013, Goldschmidt was in the midst of a strong follow-up season, batting .300/.396/.542 in 479 plate appearances. Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • The Angels were counting on the returning C.J. Wilson to have the same effect as a major trade deadline pickup but that wasn’t the case in his outing last night, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The A’s could be in need of infield depth after Nick Punto suffered a hamstring injury and Susan Slusser of San Francisco Chronicle hears that they were talking with Scott Sizemore‘s agent even before the injury.  Sizemore was released by the Yankees on Friday.  Sizemore has seen time in parts of four MLB seasons, with his best work coming in 2011 when he compiled a .245/.342/.399 line through 429 plate appearances with the Tigers and Athletics.
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, top Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias stayed put through the trade deadline. “If we didn’t think Joc, Corey or Urias had a chance to be impact players, they’d be out of here,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  The Dodgers were linked to several high-end trade candidates, including David Price.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Cafardo On Blue Jays, Kemp, Red Sox, Stanton

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the waiver deadline period could produce some significant deals around baseball. The Phillies probably won’t find deals for Jonathan Papelbon (contract) and Cliff Lee (health concerns plus contract) but A.J. Burnett could conceivably be moved.  Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continue to, as one executive said to Cafardo, “kick the tires on just about everything but never seem to do anything.”  More from today’s column..

  • The Red Sox may have been scouting Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but their dialogue with the Dodgers was virtually nonexistent despite the constant rumors connecting the two.  The Dodgers, Cafardo writes, were never going to deal Kemp, who has been one of their best right-handed hitters.
  • The Dodgers were also never really in on Red Sox hurlers Jon Lester or John Lackey but really wanted Andrew Miller and came close to giving Boston one of their best pitching prospects for him.
  • It seems as if the Red Sox and other teams have finally come to the realization that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going anywhere and that could be a reason why the Red Sox obtained Yoenis Cespedes, who obviously isn’t as good but has the power and athleticism to improve. For now, he seems to feel that Miami is moving in the right direction and appears to be all in on staying with the Marlins.
  • The buzz around baseball is that the Cubs will be all in on Jon Lester.  Cubs president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod were in Boston with Lester during his trying times.  Also, the Cubs will have to rebuild their rotation at some point and adding Lester would be a major, major step in that direction.

Released: Gonzales, Cavazos-Galvez, Roberts, Tejada

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays released right-handed pitcher Tyler Gonzales, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 2012 supplemental first rounder did not pitch this season. He never advanced past the GCL where he posted a 9.24 ERA in 25.1 innings.
  • The Dodgers released Triple-A right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez, according to Eddy (via Twitter). The former 12th round pick, now 27 years old, has seen his power decline in recent seasons. He spent most of the 2014 season in Double-A, where he posted a tepid .227/.261/.330 line.
  • The Twins released injury prone left fielder Nate Roberts from their High-A roster (also Eddy on Twitter). Roberts was taken as a fifth rounder in the 2010 draft and combined to hit .305/.434/.460 over 945 professional plate appearances. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed his career.

Earlier

  • Former MVP Miguel Tejada has been released by the Marlins, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. The longtime MLB veteran had a comeback bid derailed by a shoulder injury, but plans to play winter ball and weigh another attempt.
  • The Reds have released pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to the International League transactions page. According to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter), Rowland-Smith opted out of his deal. The veteran lefty has not managed to find his form this year, and owns a 4.66 ERA in 29 Triple-A innings for the Reds and Blue Jays. He also spent time with the Diamondbacks at the MLB level, allowing four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
  • The Giants have released lefty Jose De Paula, according to the MLB transactions page. He had recently been designated for assignment. The 26-year-old has a 4.21 ERA over 51 1/3 frames in his first attempt at the Triple-A level, backed by 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.

Brad Johnson contributed to this post.


July Trade Recap: NL West

We’re on to our last installment of this year’s July trade recaps. You can read the rest here: AL WestAL CentralNL CentralAL East and NL East.

Diamondbacks

Dodgers

Giants

Padres

Rockies

Synopsis

The buyers didn’t do much buying, and only two of the sellers did much selling. All said, the division supplied five players to the Yankees alone, moving out salary while bringing back relatively little in terms of talent. Ultimately, the sharp division of contenders and non may have contributed to the outflow of talent, with the cellar-dwellers perhaps hesitant to further enrich the bigger-budget clubs at the top.

We’ll start in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers were rumored to be in on several high-profile players, including David Price of the Rays. But GM Ned Colletti warned that he was disinterested in allowing a raid of the team’s top farmhands, and followed through on that by essentially standing pat at the deadline. The minor deal for Barney notwithstanding, the Dodgers will take their roster as it came … unless, of course, an August trade is in the offing. A move of some kind for a starter still seems likely, with Dan Haren continuing to scuffle and Paul Maholm out for the year. It’s been a rollercoaster of rumors for the club’s three costly veteran outfielders, and a deal for one of them remains a possibility as well.

The Giants have had leaks spring up all over the roster, and managed to plug one by adding Peavy. With Matt Cain seemingly destined to miss the rest of the year, another starter moved from “want” to “need.” But that’s more a patch than an upgrade. And left unremedied, thus far, is San Francisco’s gaping hole at second. The club has cycled through several veteran options, and will now give a try to some younger players, but still seems in need of an August addition of some kind at the keystone.

For San Diego and Arizona, the playbook was fairly similar: move off some future salary and add some prospect depth in return. It would probably be a stretch to say that either club added impact talent, but certainly both picked up players with value who should have a future role at the major league level.

The Padres decided not to move two possible trade pieces in Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy — in part, perhaps, due to the fact that the team is still working to hire its new general manager — but both players are under control going forward. It was largely a fond farewell for Street, who pitched well, delivered a nice return, and had a replacement to take over. The same could not be said of Headley, who the team (rightly or wrongly) failed to cash in on each of the last two years before dealing him for a pittance. San Diego will take solace in the fact that he was not inked to an extension at the height of his value.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, dealt away a player who likewise seems emblematic of a missed opportunity. Prado, the key piece of the Justin Upton deal, was expected to be an anchor in Arizona. Instead, he never hit his stride and was packed off for a decent but flawed prospect. McCarthy, too, never provided what had been hoped for. While some have questioned the return for Parra, it is far from clear that more should have been expected; his poor performance and rising salary make him a possible non-tender. It remains to be seen whether the D’backs will find a taker for Aaron Hill (San Francisco?), but he would deliver only some salary relief. The club seems somewhat curiously unwilling to part with its remaining bullpen pieces, though several would figure to bring a decent return.

And in Colorado … well, the Rockies did nothing. Owner Dick Monfort said at various times that he wanted to retain pending free agents like Michael Cuddyer and Jorge De La Rosa, and continue to employ players with one more year of non-guaranteed control, such as Brett Anderson, LaTroy Hawkins, and Drew Stubbs. Of course, there are few indications — beyond a BABIP-fueled early start to the year — that the club’s current mix is particularly likely to result in true contention. Bringing back the above-mentioned players will likely account for all of the team’s payroll space, if it does not require salary to be shed elsewhere. And failing to move any names from an already-crowded roster (especially among position players, outfielders in particular) will reduce team’s flexibility. The focus has always been on whether the Rockies will ultimately move stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez – speculation seems to go with whichever happens to be healthy — but perhaps the real issue lies with the organization’s seeming inability to conceive of bold, well-thought-out action in any particular direction. It could be an interesting winter for the Rockies, if the team decides to re-analyze its approach to building a roster and decisively pursue a new course.