Marcus Stroman Rumors

Market Impact Of Tulo Deal: Reyes, CarGo, Mets, Blue Jays

With Troy Tulowitzki reportedly heading from the Rockies to the Blue Jays, it’s a different trade market today than it was yesterday. Toronto declared itself committed to the present in spending several important trade chips on the star shortstop. Meanwhile, the Rockies now have another expensive veteran shortstop that features as a trade candidate in Jose Reyes. Though we’ve yet to hear anything regarding Colorado’s intentions with regard to Reyes, early indications are that the club is motivated to deal outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Here are some potential areas of impact of the blockbuster:

  • The Rockies did not add Reyes with a deal already in place to move him elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported overnight on Twitter (as we noted in the Tulo deal post). While another move makes sense at first glance — Colorado is not in contention, and could turn to prospect Trevor Story and/or utilityman Daniel Descalso — it’s far from a sure thing. As I explained in assessing the trade market for shortstops, despite the relative lack of quality veterans available via trade, it’s also not clear that there’s much demand at the position.
  • The Mets are uninterested in bringing back Reyes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. New York still has a potential need up the middle, but the veteran has not shown enough for the club to be amenable to taking on his big contract. In fact, the Mets declined a chance to land Reyes already, as the Blue Jays were widely shopping his deal, per Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • Neither do the Mets intend to pursue Gonzalez, Marc Carig of Newsday hears (Twitter link). Though New York appears still to be in the market for outfield bats, the team may not be willing to consider that level of salary commitment.
  • While the Blue Jays have sufficient lineup depth to move a major league bat for pitching, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the club does not have any plans to do so this summer. That had seemed at least one plausible path to improving the club’s rotation over the next few days. It remains to be seen how the loss of three talented pitching prospects in the Tulo deal will impact Toronto’s efforts to build out its staff. Certainly, the Jays have now evidenced a willingness to give up future assets to improve their team in the near term, but it’s unclear as yet whether they’ll be more or less inclined to do more of the same in chasing arms.
  • In a tweet this morning, Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman indicated that he’s still focused on trying to work back by September. That may be somewhat optimistic, but it is worth remembering that he’s working back from a knee injury rather than arm problems (though Toronto will want to prevent the latter from developing out of the former). A hypothetical return from Stroman is still probably too much of a wild card to have an impact on Toronto’s current plans, but adding him back to the rotation would obviously represent a major boost at no cost.

NL Rumors: Bruce, Mets, Cueto, Padres

The Reds already made one big move today, could another be around the corner?  The Mets are heavily scouting outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Recently, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com heard that the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, and that could be an indication that Bruce is very much available.

Here’s more from the National League..

  • The Blue Jays‘ talks with the Reds concerning Johnny Cueto never gained traction, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Davidi hears that the Reds were asking for a package headlined by Marcus Stroman.  Cueto, of course, went from the Reds to the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
  • “Industry perception” is that there is some pressure on the Padres to move out future payroll as the deadline approaches, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  On Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Tyson Ross was drawing the most interest of any of the Padres’ starting pitchers.  Of course, when it comes to finances, the Padres would surely prefer to move the contract of James Shields.
  • The Marlins should get a better indication what they can get for Mat Latos after learning the details of the Johnny Cueto deal, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets.

AL East Notes: Bogaerts, Porcello, Stroman, Hoffman, O’s

As Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes, agent Scott Boras recently addressed the progress of client Xander Bogaerts, who struggled in his first full big league season but enters the 2015 All-Star break hitting .304/.338/.411. As Speier notes, Bogaerts is currently on pace to hit free agency entering his age-27 season — a rare occurrence for any player. Boras noted that rarity, making sure to point out that fellow client Bryce Harper will have an early taste of free agency, but denied that he discourages his clients from signing long-term deals before free agency. Boras maintains that he’s “absolutely” open to long-term deals for clients. Said Boras: “With our clients, we give them a lot of information. I always tell teams, I don’t know of any players we have that haven’t signed a deal that they felt was a value deal for them.” For his part, Bogaerts said that he loves playing in Boston and hopes to remain there, although clearly he’s quite a ways from having to face the possibility of playing elsewhere.

More from the AL East…

  • Rick Porcello spoke with WEEI.com’s John Tomase about his disastrous first half and the importance of trying to take away some positives from the season’s first few months. Porcello, who will spend the All-Star break decompressing at his family’s home in southern Vermont, maintained that he was not feeling the pressures that can come along with signing a large contract. “They brought me over here because of what I’ve done and who I am,” said Porcello. “That’s the most important thing. There’s no added pressure on myself. I am who I am. I can’t try and be somebody else or do something I’m not capable of doing. So that hasn’t factored into it at all.”
  • The Blue Jays are “regularly being asked for Marcus Stroman” as a return in trades for pitching, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Despite the fact that Stroman won’t contribute to the team in 2015 after tearing his ACL this spring, the Blue Jays won’t be trading him, Davidi writes. Looking at the trade history of GM Alex Anthopoulos, Davidi notes that it’s probably more likely to see the Blue Jays acquire someone with some team control remaining. He lists the Padres as a speculative trade partner, noting that both Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross would fit that mold. Acquiring a starter or two would allow the Blue Jays to transfer Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen to help fix the team’s relief woes, though trade possibilities exist there, too. Jonathan Papelbon said at yesterday’s All-Star festivities that he considered the Jays a “good fit” and would waive his no-trade clause to go there.
  • As Alykhan K. Ravjiani of Postmedia first tweeted, the Blue Jays have promoted top prospect Jeff Hoffman to Double-A. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet notes that the promotion comes at a time when the Jays are on the hunt for pitching, and Hoffman is likely to be asked about frequently, perhaps along with prospects Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Hoffman was a candidate to be selected first overall in the 2014 draft but fell to the Blue Jays with the ninth pick after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Now healthy, Hoffman has a 3.21 ERA through his first 11 starts with Class-A Advanced, where he’s averaged 6.1 walks against 2.4 walks per nine innings.
  • Though man Orioles fans believe the team’s diminished run production to be a reason for the club’s struggles, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski opines that questionable starting pitching is the greater culprit. While the decisions to let Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis leave via free agency has had a negative impact on the offense, poor performances from Chris Tillman, Bud Norris and more recently, Miguel Gonzalez, have left Baltimore with a 4.20 ERA from its rotation.


Blue Jays Expect To Be Active On Pitching Market

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos indicated that he’s working hard to add pitching this summer in an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The FAN (article via Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith). And he left little doubt that he sees the club as a buyer.

“We still need to make upgrades in the rotation and the bullpen, that goes without saying,” said the Jays GM. “I’d love to land both. What we come away with or don’t come away with, I have no idea. Clearly we’re looking to be active. We’re looking to add and make the club a lot better.”

As Nicholson-Smith explains, there is at least some hope of an internal boost as well. Just-promoted rookie Matt Boyd is interesting enough to get a showcase, and the club expects to welcome Aaron Sanchez back from the DL in the near future. While Toronto anticipates that Sanchez will start, Anthopoulos says his role will depend upon the state of the rotation. And there’s even some possibility — albeit, perhaps, fairly remote — that Marcus Stroman could attempt a late-season return, though the team will surely err well on the side of caution with the prized righty.

Interestingly, Anthopoulos also discussed his broader strategy on the market, citing legendary investor Warren Buffett in saying: “It’s better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” As Nicholson-Smith notes, value-based dealing was something of a hallmark of the GM’s earlier years, but it seems that his outlook has evolved somewhat.

One undoubtedly high-quality and high-value asset that the Blue Jays possess is the contractual control over third baseman Josh Donaldson, who can be retained via arbitration through the 2018 season. That makes an extension more a future consideration, per Anthopoulos. “There’s no sense of  urgency since we still have him for a very long time,” he explained.


Blue Jays Release Juan Oramas

TUESDAY: Toronto has released Oramas, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The club says it did so to allow him to pitch in Mexico, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star tweets.

SUNDAY: The Blue Jays have announced they have designated left-hander Juan Oramas. Toronto also placed Marcus Stroman on the 60-day disabled list, which creates the needed roster spots for second baseman Devon Travis and right-handers Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna.

Oramas only got 1 1/3 spring innings to show his stuff to the Jays after being claimed over the winter. The 24-year-old owns a 4.32 ERA over 204 career Triple-A innings, averaging 8.2 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9. He has yet to crack the big leagues.


AL East Notes: Cash, Closers, Jaso

The Rays are considered leaders in analytics, so perhaps it’s no coincidence they hired former catcher Kevin Cash, writes Michael Kolligian of MLB.com. Former catchers account for 12 of the last 19 World Series winning managers. Joe Torre is responsible for four of those victories. While there are a number of confounding variables, former catchers are always popular managerial candidates. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • While most teams are quick to name a closer, the Yankees are taking a wait-and-see approach, writes Andrew Simon of MLB.com. New York has two excellent but unproven options in right-hander Dellin Betances and southpaw Andrew Miller. Selecting a closer could come down to bullpen composition, said manager Joe Girardi. “I think it’s affected by possibly losing someone out of your bullpen to a starting role. That changes things. So we’ve got to figure that out first, then we put the rest of it together.” To me, this means that Miller is more likely to close if Adam Warren earns a gig in the rotation. Betances provided great value in multi-inning appearances last season. If Warren returns to the pen, the Yankees may prefer Miller to be available for tough left-handed hitters.
  • The trickle down effect from Marcus Stroman‘s season-ending injury could cause the Blue Jays to roster a third left-handed reliever, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. With Stroman out, prospect Aaron Sanchez is likely to make the rotation with lefty Brett Cecil filling in as the closer. Southpaw Aaron Loup is also expected to make the roster. Jeff Francis and Colt Hynes are internal options for the third lefty role. Externally, Cardinals reliever Sam Freeman and Nationals pitcher Xavier Cedeno were connected to the Mets earlier this evening.
  • John Jaso suffered two concussions in the last two seasons that have put his career in jeopardy, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Presently, Jaso feels fine, but he’s unsure if he can catch. Per Jaso, “if they were to say, ‘Here, catch tomorrow,’ I don’t know. That’s the scary part. Like I don’t know if I could take one, take 40 foul tips, what it would be…What I do know is that the longer I have between episodes, the stronger I’ll be. It’s letting the brain heal all the way again. You might think it’s gone, you might think you are all right, but it’s still there.

Blue Jays Notes: Stroman, Estrada, Bullpen

The devastating loss of Marcus Stroman for the season greatly increases the likelihood that top prospect Aaron Sanchez will be in the Blue Jays’ rotation rather than bullpen, as many had assumed, writes MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. Sanchez, Daniel Norris and Marco Estrada will compete for the final two rotation spots behind R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison. Chisolm notes that if Sanchez does end up in the rotation, an already thin bullpen becomes even thinner, as Brett Cecil becomes the likely closer, with Aaron Loup the top setup option. Behind that duo, Estrada could relieve if he doesn’t win a starting role, and the club can also look to Steve Delabar, Wilton Lopez, Todd Redmond, Kyle Drabek, Jeff Francis and prospect Miguel Castro. One thing no one should expect, Chisolm writes, is a significant trade. GM Alex Anthopoulos all but ruled that out, stating to reporters: “Those guys aren’t normally available in March, actually there might be one but I don’t know that we can afford that right now.” Presumably, Anthopoulos was referring to Cole Hamels.

Here are some more Blue Jays items as they plan for a season without their projected top starter…

  • Writing for FOX Sports, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron opines that the Jays should give Estrada the first crack at the vacant rotation spot. Cameron notes that while Estrada was undeniably ineffective in 2014, he was a useful rotation piece in 2012-13, getting by with a skill-set similar to that of Jered Weaver; that is to say, he succeeded despite below-average velocity as a result of his ability to command the zone and induce a tremendous amount of infield flies. One shouldn’t expect Estrada to morph into Weaver, of course, but Cameron concludes that Estrada could be useful enough in the first half for the Blue Jays to see if the rest of their team lives up to its potential, and at that point, go rent an ace for the stretch run. Using Estrada in the rotation would also allow Sanchez to pitch at the back of the bullpen, giving the team a bit more relief depth.
  • Castro and fellow right-hander Roberto Osuna, both 20, have a chance at cracking the team’s bullpen, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. While each is considered a long shot, the duo has impressed Blue Jays management with their power arms and advanced feel, particularly Castro. “If he’s really, really good this spring, there’s an outside shot he could be on the team simply because he’s advanced,” said manager John Gibbons, who noted that Castro is impressive not only due to power stuff but because he can throw strikes. Gibbons also touched on the fact that while there wasn’t necessarily a philosophical change in the organization last year, they acted more aggressively with young arms like Sanchez and Norris and could do so again to help fill out the bullpen.
  • Since publishing that article yesterday, Nicholson-Smith has tweeted that Castro’s odds to make the club seem to be getting better with every passing day. It likely helps that Castro fired two scoreless innings today, yielding one hit and no walks with two strikeouts.

Marcus Stroman Likely Out For Season With Torn ACL

Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman has a torn ACL and is expected to miss the season, the club announced. While a knee injury may carry less long-term risk than would a problem with Stroman’s valuable right arm, the news nevertheless constitutes a huge blow to the Jays and a significant set-back for the prized 23-year-old.

The stakes are high for the Blue Jays after a win-now offseason spent bolstering the club’s lineup with veteran additions. Stroman had been expected to lead the rotation after a strong rookie year in which he posted a 3.65 ERA over 130 2/3 frames with 7.6 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. Drawing rave reviews from scouts, Stroman also posted peripherals that suggested he was even better than his earned run mark.

Toronto expects to fill the void internally, at least this spring, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. Marco Estrada will compete with top prospects Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez for a rotation spot, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters. Of course, that will not only have implications for the team’s overall starting depth, but will take away options from an already less-than-ideal bullpen situation.

As others have noted, Toronto was said to be tapped out already in terms of 2015 spending, making a significant addition seem a difficult fit. Estrada does have plenty of big league time under his belt, some of it promising, while Norris and Sanchez bring plenty of upside. Of course, while the free agent market is currently lacking in supply, the team will potentially have the ability to attract a veteran who does not make an Opening Day roster and exercises an opt-out clause. And it is worth remembering as well that Johan Santana is under contract with the Jays.


Pitching Notes: Pen Market, Beimel, Mets, Coke, Stroman

The Blue Jays and Indians appear not to be involved with any of the three best remaining relievers — righties Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Joba Chamberlain — according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider link). Other theoretically plausible landing spots seem fairly dried up as well, he notes in assessing the most likely remaining suitors.

Here are a few more pitching notes:

  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says that the club spoke with lefty reliever Joe Beimel but that a deal could not be reached, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN tweets. Beimel had a nice rebound campaign last year in Seattle, and is one of the few southpaws left on the market.
  • The Mets will not be dealing away any pitchers unless circumstances change, Marc Carig of Newsday reports (Twitter links). Dillon Gee generated the most discussion, but New York never found an offer it liked and its prospective trade partners went with other options.
  • We checked in earlier this evening on K-Rod and lefty Phil Coke, each of whom has received some interest from the Marlins. Within that post, we noted a report from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter) indicating that Coke still has hope of landing a big league pact.
  • Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays is likely not going anywhere any time soon, but I can’t help but link to this interesting piece from Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs, who explains that Stroman’s arsenal of pitches looks like it was assembled from amongst the best offerings of some of the very best arms in the game.

Chicago Links: Beckham, Quintana, Russell, Wright, Garcia, Samardzija

The White Sox are willing to move second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but Jose Quintana isn’t available (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Beckham opened the season on the disabled list and had a strong month of May after being activated, but he’s cooled since that time and is hitting .248/.302/.395. He’s under team control through 2015 and is earning $4.18MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this season. It’s not entirely surprising that the team wouldn’t move Quintana, as he just inked a five-year, $21MM contract extension in Spring Training. He’s in the midst of his finest season in the Majors to this point, having posted a 3.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.

Here are a few more items pertaining to the Sox and their north-side counterparts…

  • Left-handers James Russell and Wesley Wright are both drawing trade interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Each southpaw is under team control through the 2015 season, and each has a 2.22 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season. Wright, who is earning $1.43MM is slightly more affordable than Russell and his $1.78MM salary.

Earlier Links

  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that injured outfielder Avisail Garcia has been cleared to resume baseball activities (via CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes). While he has a long way to go and it’s a long shot, Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Garcia could play in the Majors again this season.
  • Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Cubs talked with the Blue Jays regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before trading the pair to the A’s on Independence Day. The Cubs were asking for Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in addition to “at least” one of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey. That’s a steep price to pay, to be sure, though none of those prospects are as highly regarded as the centerpiece Chicago did acquire in the deal — shortstop Addison Russell.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard the same five names, though he hears that they were discussed in various combinations, and the Blue Jays didn’t discuss packages to acquire both pitchers (Twitter links). One scout tells Rosenthal that Norris and Stroman could both be No. 1 or No. 2 types of starters, and the Jays would be “crazy” to deal them.
  • Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he had extensive negotiations with the Cubs to acquire both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he doesn’t think the Cubs could have landed a better package than they one they wound up taking from Oakland, regardless of who they were dealing with. CBS New York has highlights and audio from the conversation.