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Mark Buehrle Rumors
Here’s the latest from Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, courtesy of a series of tweets from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, plus a full piece from Davidi…
- Rumors that the Jays could be shopping Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey are untrue, as Anthopoulos said the club is counting on the two veterans to provide innings. “I’ve read at various times that they’re available in trades or being shopped – completely false. They’ve never come up at any point in time, their names have never come up once, and we need them to be on this team,” the GM said.
- The Jays could still be looking to add more outfield depth, particularly one who could provide a stolen base threat. “In a perfect world we’d like to add some speed, obviously a guy that can play centre field but we don’t need that…Ever since we lost [Anthony] Gose, that speed element, we’ve been trying to find that guy,” Anthopoulos said. Davidi opines that Eric Young could be a possible fit for this role.
- Several teams have shown interest in Dioner Navarro, who wants a starting catching job that obviously is no longer available in Toronto thanks to Russell Martin‘s presence. “If we can find the right deal for Navarro we’ll do that, we find him an everyday job, we’ll do that, but there are scenarios he can still get playing time,” Anthopoulos said, noting that Navarro could see some time at DH with the Jays.
- Anthopoulos would “ideally…like to add more than one” reliever to the bullpen, with two new relief arms seemingly the aim. They figure to target relief help, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll find it immediately. Anthopoulos says it’s “telling” that the Blue Jays don’t have any offers out to relievers right now.
- Anthopoulos says that the Jays, who have already added Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders this offseason, feel good about their position players.
- The Jays do not “love” David Robertson or any other player, Anthopoulos says, denying a recent report. Anthopoulos’ comments sound mostly theoretical, however, and perhaps shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the Jays aren’t interested in Robertson.
- Anthopoulos would not comment on reports about the future of president and CEO Paul Beeston, but said the situation would not impact the Jays’ ability to sign free agents.
In the wake of yesterday’s report Rays ownership has discussed relocating the franchise to Montreal, Commissioner Bud Selig paused and then declined to answer whether Tampa Bay is a viable major league market, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Selig did say, however, the team needs a replacement for Tropicana Field. “The team has to have a ballpark that makes them competitive,” the commissioner said before Game Four of the World Series. “It doesn’t produce the kind of revenue they need.”
In other news involving the Rays and the American League:
- Change is coming to the Rays and the front office and players alike don’t see it as a negative, writes the Tampa Tribune’s Roger Mooney. “Whoever we bring in here, they’re going to set the scheme and how they want to win games and be a successful organization,” said pitcher Alex Cobb. “When that trickles down to the players, all that is is us playing up to our capabilities, and that doesn’t matter who is in the dugout or the front office.” Mooney notes all coaches are under contract for 2015; but, if the new manager is from outside the organization, there may be changes to the staff.
- In today’s mailbag, a reader proposed his Indians offseason plan to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer: trade Jason Kipnis and David Murphy for prospects to free up money, then use that money on Victor Martinez. Hoynes doesn’t see the Tribe trading Kipnis so soon after giving him a $50MM+ extension, despite his bad year. The reader’s ambitious plan also calls for Cleveland to have one of their young outfielders form a platoon with Nick Swisher and, given his $15MM salary, Hoynes believes the team wants to see him in the lineup every day.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe identified Mark Buehrle as a trade candidate earlier today and Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets the Twins have long been admirers of the Blue Jays hurler. Still, his $19MM salary is too high.
- If the Jon Daniels-Jeff Banister partnership works in Texas, it will continue a trend in the game of a college educated GM with no professional playing experience working with a baseball lifer as manager, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe details the challenges faced by the Braves and Dodgers this offseason. John Hart and Andrew Friedman differ in age, style, and substance, but they face similar roadblocks. Here’s more from Cafardo..
- Scouts who have seen pending free agent James Shields over his career feel he’s changed from a fastball/changeup pitcher to a fastball/cutter pitcher. At one time his changeup was unhittable and the cutter, which has now taken over, is hittable at times. Shields is still effective but there is some bewilderment over his repertoire.
- Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle will be made available in a trade, though his $19MM contract will be a deterrent unless the Jays are willing to assume part of it. Still, he seems more tradable than knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
- Cafardo expects Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist to draw a lot of trade interest this offseason. In fact, new Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman might want to reunite with him in Los Angeles.
- The White Sox would love to move John Danks, but the $28.5MM owed to him over the next two years will be a deterrent to teams. Meanwhile, pitching coach Don Cooper still believes Danks, who has lost some of his heat, could become the second coming of Buehrle and pitch effectively in the mid-to-high 80s.
- The Twins haven’t asked Torey Lovullo for a second interview yet, but he also hasn’t been told he’s out of the hunt.
Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos met with the media, including Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi (Twitter links) and the National Post’s John Lott, for 50 minutes today before Toronto’s season finale against Baltimore. Here are the highlights:
- Anthopoulos declined to put a figure on the team’s 2015 payroll, but expects to have the financial flexibility to make moves and has “some ideas on trades and free agents.”
- The Blue Jays will make a competitive offer to Melky Cabrera, but Anthopoulos reiterated the club’s policy of limiting contracts to five years “is still firmly in place. That’s not going to change.”
- On the Jays’ starting rotation, “I wouldn’t feel good going into the season with five,” Anthopoulos said. “Philosophically speaking, you want to hoard as much as you can, keep as much depth as you can.” To that end, Anthopoulos hinted J.A. Happ‘s $6.7MM option will be exercised and Aaron Sanchez (“frontline starter potential“) will be stretched out in Spring Training. He will, however, at least consider trade offers for established arms.
- The Blue Jays will eschew big-name relievers and focus on set-up arms in an effort to rebuild their bullpen. Sanchez may pitch in relief sometime during the course of 2015, but only to manage his innings.
- “Yes,” was Anthopoulos’ reply when asked would he hire John Gibbons if he had a managerial opening next season.
- Brett Lawrie is slated to play third base next year, but could be moved to second if an impact third baseman is acquired. As for evaluating the other position players, Anthopoulos will place a premium on durability.
- Nicholson-Smith opines bench upgrades will most likely be accomplished through trades rather than free agency.
Every small-market team dreams of building a rotation of young, controllable arms, and Peter Gammons (in his latest piece for Gammons Daily) feels the Indians have done just that in Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. Salazar was signed as an undrafted high schooler and the other three were acquired in trades, giving the Tribe an enviable collection of pitchers for both their wild card push this season and to stay in contention for years to come.
Here’s some more from around the game as we head into the weekend…
- The Astros have made little progress in negotiations with draft pick Jacob Nix and the situation between the two sides seems likely to proceed to a hearing, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The MLBPA filed a grievance on Nix’s behalf after Houston withdrew an offer to the fifth-rounder that had seemingly been agreed-upon.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow hasn’t decided whether to make his managerial search candidates known to the public, he tells Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle.
- Mark Buehrle‘s future with the Blue Jays is discussed by several Sportsnet writers and broadcasters. Buehrle will earn $19MM in 2015, his last year under contract, and the feeling amongst the panel is that the Jays could explore trading the veteran in order to free up payroll space. While Buehrle still has value on the mound and as a mentor to Toronto’s young starters, that might not be worth the $19MM piece he takes out of what could be a limited Jays budget.
- Koji Uehara will be temporarily replaced by Edward Mujica as the Red Sox closer, manager John Farrell told reporters today (including MLB.com’s Steven Petrella). Uehara has slumped badly over his last few outings, indicating to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that GM Ben Cherington may have erred in not dealing Uehara at the trade deadline. Uehara is a free agent this winter and, at the very least, his struggles have eliminated any chance of the Sox extending him a qualifying offer.
- Right-hander John Holdzkom began his season in independent ball and now may end it on the Pirates‘ Major League roster. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at Holdzkom’s seven-year journey through the minors that finally led to his Major League debut last Tuesday.
We’ll use this post to track the players placed on revocable waivers today …
- The Blue Jays also placed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on waivers on August 25th, Cafardo tweets. That means that he will either clear or have his claim awarded to a team at some point today. (Of course, that does not mean he will ultimately change hands.) Dickey is owed $12MM next year and comes with a $12MM club option ($1MM buyout) for 2016. He has not shown his Cy Young form since coming to Toronto, and owns a 4.11 ERA over 400 1/3 innings across the last two seasons.
- The Red Sox placed a series of younger players on revocable waivers yesterday, Cafardo tweets. Bryce Brentz, Drake Britton, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Anthony Ranaudo all hit the wire on Tuesday, and would all appear to be unlikely to clear or be included in any deal.
- Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle has been placed on revocable waivers, according to a tweet from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The 35-year-old lefty has had one of his finest seasons, posting a 3.41 ERA over 161 frames, but is guaranteed $19MM next year in the last season of his heavily backloaded four-year, $58MM contract. Toronto had figured to be a buyer for much of the year, and may well still hold onto its veteran pieces for next year, but now looks to be a longshot for the postseason after slipping back to .500. It is not clear precisely when Buehrle went on the wire.
For a more complete explanation of how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR’s August Trades primer. You can also check out MLBTR’s list of players that have cleared revocable waivers to see who is eligible to be traded to any team.
The bullpen was one of the Blue Jays’ few strengths in 2013 and yet the relief corps has gotten off to a terrible start this year, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. Last night’s blowup against the Royals was only the latest in a series of late-game meltdowns for the bullpen, which has a cumulative 5.08 ERA that ranks as the third-worst in the majors. Here’s some more news from Toronto…
- Cubs scout Dave Littlefield was in Buffalo last night to watch Marcus Stroman‘s six no-hit innings for the Triple-A Bisons, Davidi reports. Chicago reportedly asked for both Stroman and Aaron Sanchez as part of a trade package for Jeff Samardzija in the offseason, a deal that the Jays rejected out of hand. Littlefield’s presence could indicate a continued interest on the Cubs’ behalf or, as Davidi notes, simple due diligence.
- Steve Pearce turned down the Jays’ waiver claim on his services in order to return to the Orioles because he could receive everyday playing time in Baltimore, according to Davidi. Pearce will likely receive regular work at first base for the O’s while Chris Davis is out with an oblique injury. The Blue Jays were looking at Pearce to start against left-handers as part of a DH platoon with Adam Lind.
- If the Jays aren’t in contention by midseason, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star notes that Mark Buehrle would likely have the most trade value of any Blue Jays starting pitcher. The veteran southpaw has been the Jays’ best starter in 2014 and, as Griffin notes, Buehrle’s consistent track record means that a trade partner knows exactly what they’re getting. Moving Buehrle would also free up payroll space for the Jays — he is owed approximately $15MM over the rest of 2014 and is owed $19MM in 2015.
- Also from Griffin’s piece, he interviews Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava about several prospects at all levels of Toronto’s minor league system.
Brian Roberts spoke with Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun yesterday about his decision to join the Yankees and leave an Orioles organization that was the only one he'd ever played for professionally. Roberts explained that he decided to join a new club in part because "the opportunity to be an Oriole wasn't there anymore." The second baseman indicated that Baltimore never approached him about a return. "We really didn't have any conversations about [a return]," said Roberts. "I don't think it's my place as a player to necessarily go to an organization and ask for a job." Roberts had nothing but positive things to say about his time with the Orioles, but said he is excited at the chance to don pinstripes. "[W]e felt like that was the best opportunity when it came to everything we were looking for, when it came to an opportunity to play and an opportunity to win and several other things that our family was looking at."
Here are some more notes from the American League:
- The Mariners are "in on" closer Fernando Rodney, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Seattle was said to have interest in Rodney during the Winter Meetings. As Brown notes, other clubs in pursuit of the former Ray reportedly include the Mets and Orioles.
- While the Yankees may be done adding significant players before the start of the season, ESPN's Buster Olney explains (Insider subscription required and recommended) that New York could potentially add a talented player in a trade-deadline salary dump. Olney lists several players who could conceivably become available for little more than salary relief, depending upon their team's performance.
- Among the players on that list is Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, who Olney says was dangled in trade talks within the past year. Olney calls the southpaw a "plow horse … being paid like a racehorse." The sturdy-but-unspectacular Buehrle is owed $37MM over 2014-15 under his backloaded deal. Moving the 34-year-old's contract could represent an easy way for the team to shed dollars if it is not in contention, says Olney.
- Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are still talking with the Cubs about acquiring pitcher Jeff Samardzija, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Indeed, Toronto has been the "most aggressive team" with regard to Samardzija, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter), although Chicago is still working to extend him even as the team explores trade options.
The Rays might be the only contending team that doesn't need to do anything at the deadline, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. As for the other 13 clubs that are still in the hunt, Cafardo runs down each of their needs in advance of Wednesday's deadline. The Cardinals would like to add a starter and perhaps a middle infielder, but are good to go with what they have. The Rangers got their big fish in Matt Garza, but they'll still be on the hunt for a right-handed hitting outfielder as their concern grows over Nelson Cruz. Meanwhile, not every club has the resources to make the upgrades that they'd like to. The Reds have three top arms on the shelf in Johnny Cueto, Jonathan Broxton, and Sean Marshall, but they might not have enough to obtain another. Here's more from today's column..
- Contrary to some reports, the Twins have received “numerous calls” on Justin Morneau, according to a major league source. The Blue Jays are one team that has expressed interest in the Canadian.
- Scouts and executives are split on whether the Blue Jays could sell off Mark Buehrle and/or Josh Johnson. Buehrle, 34, isn’t the same pitcher he used to be, but he shows that he has value for a contender with performances like Thursday against the Astros.
- Jose Veras has done well as the Astros' closer and he’s receiving a lot of attention from teams looking for a late-inning reliever. However, teams are wary of the fact that Veras hasn't had to deal with real pressure and the Astros' high asking price. “I don’t think you can make a blanket statement like he pitches for the Astros so there’s no pressure,” said an American League GM. “If you look at his performances, he comes in when there’s pressure and he handles it well.”
- Manny Ramirez was getting rave reviews in his first week for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate, but he's now slumping. Texas isn’t bringing him up any time soon, and the Rangers remain focused on acquiring a bat.
- Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey is an under-the-radar guy whose performance is peaking and he's available since he'll be a free agent at season's end. It's a small sample size for sure, but Pelfrey has a 2.28 ERA in four July starts.
Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Braves' rotation without veteran Tim Hudson, who sustained a season-ending ankle fracture last night. Rosenthal notes it's a very young group without Hudson, and seems to be lacking a true number one starter. Such a pitcher is probably not available on the trade market, which I imagine the Braves will be eyeing more keenly. Elsewhere from Rosenthal's column:
- The Cardinals are not actively pursuing the Astros' Bud Norris or the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle. The Cards didn't push for Matt Garza, but did scout Jake Peavy's last start. Ervin Santana is available as well, but Rosenthal wonders if "a trade might not be worth the trouble," given the Cardinals' current group of talented young pitchers.
- The Red Sox never got serious on Garza due to concerns with his injury history. The Red Sox and Tigers were the other AL clubs in on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was recently traded to the Orioles.
- After making a late run at Garza, the Athletics are interested in Peavy and Santana. Sometimes it helps to add to a strength, explains Rosenthal.
- The Rangers ask the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton "every week," a Major League source tells Rosenthal, and keep hearing "no." In addition to Alex Rios of the White Sox, the Rangers are considering Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Chris Denorfia of the Padres. However, they have "not mounted a serious push" for Ruggiano, while the Padres don't plan to trade Denorfia or teammate Carlos Quentin.
- "Some with the Brewers" wonder if the presence of Ryan Braun might make it more difficult to attract free agents.
- The Phillies are "narrowing their search for a backup center fielder," writes Rosenthal, and the recently-designated Chris Dickerson could be one option.
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