Mark Trumbo Rumors
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.
After making strong plays for free agents Jose Dariel Abreu, Brian McCann, and Carlos Ruiz, the Rockies are searching hard for impact bat and relief help. The Rockies have talked with the Angels about slugger Mark Trumbo and called the Royals about their surplus of relievers, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
Trumbo, of course, will be hard to pry away and has drawn interest from several clubs in need of a power bat. A deal with KC might be easier to swing, writes Renck, as Colorado's main trade piece, center fielder Dexter Fowler, could be a fit in Kansas City. Opposing execs have said for weeks that the Rockies are open to trading Fowler and they've already talked with Carlos Gonzalez about playing in center if necessary.
Royals relievers Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are reportedly "very available" via trade, and Wade Davis could be a trade candidate after the signing of free agent starter Jason Vargas. Both Crow and Collins are headed into the first year of arbitration eligibility and MLBTRs Matt Swartz projects them to earn $1.9MM and $1MM, respectively. Davis will make $4.8MM in 2014 and has three club options for 2015 through 2017. Renck adds that the Rockies attempted to acquire Davis from the Rays multiple times prior to his inclusion in last winter's James Shields-Wil Myers blockbuster.
Fowler was hampered by multiple hand injuries in 2013 and he started just three games in September because of a knee injury. Fowler, who will make $7.35MM this season, posted a .263/.369/.407 slash line in 2013.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Mark Trumbo is the Angels' most wanted player via trade, but the Halos are very reluctant to trade him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. "He fits us," said someone connected to the Angels. Meanwhile, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos and Chris Iannetta also are getting a fair number of trade inquiries, and they could move one of them. Here's more of Heyman's latest..
- One club with interest in Jacoby Ellsbury says that agent Scott Boras has set Carl Crawford's $142MM contract as a benchmark in discussions, Heyman writes. One rival GM who isn't in on Ellsbury argued that Crawford was better and more durable at the time of his deal.
- The Astros, Orioles, Rays, Brewers and Rockies all have checked in on Mets first baseman Ike Davis, despite his awful 2013 campaign, according to Heyman. In the case of Milwaukee, however, they may prefer re-signing Corey Hart instead.
- Heyman suggests that the Marlins and Cubs could discuss a swap of top prospects and officials from both sides agree that they could have something to discuss. The Cubs have high-end position prospects such as Kris Bryant (who may be untouchable), Javier Baez, and Albert Almora, while Miami has a stockpile of strong young arms.
- We learned last week that Ervin Santana's asking price was $100MM and today Heyman hears that agents Bean Stringfellow, Joe White, and Jay Alou are seeking a five-year, $112MM pact. The agents are going around with a book of arguments to support their case, including some comparisons to Dodgers star pitcher Zack Greinke.
- The A's have joined the fray for free agent Nelson Cruz, but the small-market club could run into problems when it comes to dollars and years, Heyman writes. Oakland has been looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder after declining to pick up the option on Chris Young, but Cruz would be a much bigger splash than anyone anticipated.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe offers up a primer for this week's GM Meetings. Cafardo's first rule for the meetings is to never believe a GM when he says that a player will not be traded. New Marlins GM Dan Jennings has said that Giancarlo Stanton won't be moved, but everyone has a price. Cafardo also cautions not to buy into the notion that the Tigers won't find a way to enhance the team and also keep Max Scherzer after next season. Here's more from today's column..
- If the Red Sox don’t re-sign Mike Napoli, the 27-year-old Mark Trumbo will be on their list of players to pursue. Trumbo, who would come at half Napoli’s price, is under club control until after the 2016 season and boasts tremendous right-handed power. The Angels could use a third baseman and a pitcher and Cafardo wonders if Will Middlebrooks and Felix Doubront might suit them. The Pirates and Rays could also be fits for the Halos slugger.
- One or both of Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp could be dealt this offseason thanks to the Dodgers' surplus. The Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, and Blue Jays are among the clubs that could have interest.
- The Phillies are among the clubs that have shown interest in Bronson Arroyo, but no offer has been made just yet. The Giants and Twins have also been reported to have interest in the durable veteran, but none of the interested teams have put an offer on the table just yet.
- While the Blue Jays have other priorities, they’ll also dip into the outfield market if they feel Melky Cabrera can’t give them what they expected. Cabrera recently had a spinal tumor that was causing him leg pain removed.
- Despite having a glut of pitchers, the Red Sox are still high on Tim Hudson. To make room for the 38-year-old, the Red Sox could move Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster if they have to. However, teams seem more interested in John Lackey since he'll earn the minimum salary in 2015. A clause in Lackey's contract called for him to get the minimum in '15 if he underwent Tommy.John surgery.
- The Red Sox probably won't offer more than a couple of years to retain Stephen Drew with his market rapidly expanding. The Yankees could be a fit with Derek Jeter being in the final year of his contract and likely to see more DH time.
- A few GMs are already lamenting the cost of free agent pitching with possible $80MM-$100MM price tags on the likes of Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco. That's why the Yankees' pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka, a potential No. 2 starter, makes more sense than paying big bucks for a No. 3 or 4 type.
- The Blue Jays picked up Adam Lind's option, but don't be surprised if Toronto tries to move him.
Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- Both LA teams are interested in acquiring David Price from the Rays. The Angels may have a slight edge because they can put together package with bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers have an overstocked rotation.
- Joe Nathan should be of interest to both the Tigers and Yankees even though the latter seems to have settled on David Robertson as Mariano Rivera's replacement.
- There may be no better time for the Red Sox to trade John Lackey than right now.
- The Red Sox may consider re-signing Joel Hanrahan after he recovers from Tommy John surgery to provide protection for incumbent closer Koji Uehara.
- Franklin Gutierrez, whose $7.5MM club option was declined by the Mariners, is an intriguing player who can still perform at a high level when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue for Gutierrez with six trips to the disabled list in the last four years.
- Johan Santana, whose $25MM club option was declined by the Mets, is another pretty good low-cost gamble.
The Padres have interest in Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter). The Angels are known to be interested in acquiring pitching for Trumbo, however, and Shaikin notes that San Diego might not be the best match -- their collection of young pitching includes several players (Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly) who are in various stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Yonder Alonso hit .281/.341/.368 as the Padres' primary first baseman in 2013. Trumbo would likely be an upgrade, although it remains to be seen how his power-dependent game would play in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Trumbo appears set to make about $4.7MM in 2014, his first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Angels' desire for young, controllable pitching is no secret, and ESPN's Buster Olney reports that they've indicated to other teams a willingness to trade center fielder Peter Bourjos or first baseman Mark Trumbo to acquire such talent (Twitter link).
Bourjos and Trumbo both have three years of team control remaining, and each is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Bourjos, who turns 27 in March, will earn $1.1MM in 2014. Trumbo, set to turn 28 in January, is projected by Swartz to see his salary jump to $4.7MM.
The salary gap between the two is sizable due to the fact that arbitration rewards Trumbo's power-oriented game while overlooking Bourjos' speed- and defense-oriented game. In terms of WAR, both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference feel that Bourjos has actually been more valuable through 354 big league games than Trumbo has through 450. Bourjos has been worth 9.0 fWAR and 8.4 rWAR to Trumbo's 6.6 fWAR and 7.6 rWAR.
Trumbo has shown more durability than Bourjos, appearing in at least 144 games in each of the past three seasons and slashing .251/.300/.473 with 95 home runs in that time. On-base percentage is unlikely to ever be one of his strong points, but his right-handed power is among the game's best, and he's been a solid defender at first base by both UZR and DRS.
Pointing out Bourjos' lack of games played isn't entirely fair, given that the majority of the time he's spent on the disabled list has come as a result of being hit by a pitch on the wrist two different times. He does have a pair of hamstring-related DL stints as well, though the hamstring issues have amounted to less time on the shelf than his wrist woes. Over the past three seasons, Bourjos is hitting .262/.321/.401 (104 OPS+). Since his promotion to the Majors, he's tied with Michael Bourn for second among center fielders in defensive value added, according to Fangraphs, trailing only Carlos Gomez for the league lead.
The free agent market offers little in the way of reliable, right-handed power at first base, with Mike Napoli representing the best option. Corey Hart belongs in that conversation too, but he was unable to take the field in 2013 after surgery on both knees. Likewise, the center field market is bleak beyond one high-priced star and another coming off an inury-riddled season. Jacoby Ellsbury may sign the second-biggest contract of the offseason, and Curtis Granderson was hit by a pair of pitches that resulted in a pair of broken bones and nearly 100 games on the DL. With little help on the free agent market, three years of Bourjos or Trumbo will be highly desirable alternatives that should net at least one solid young arm, should the Angels pull the trigger on a deal.
The Angels are also said to be willing to trade Howie Kendrick this offseason, and Erick Aybar was discussed at this year's trade deadline, so he could be on the block as well. Also on the trade front, the Blue Jays are interested in Hank Conger or Chris Iannetta. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto figures to be in for a busy offseason and will have plenty of avenues to explore in order to add the young pitching he's looking to acquire.
Hunter Pence's new five-year deal with the Giants isn't the only extension talk in the Bay Area. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Josh Donaldson is very open to the idea of signing a long-term deal with the Athletics. Donaldson tells Slusser that he and his agent, Hunter Bledsoe, have discussed the possibility, and he would "absolutely love" to sign an extension, provided it's a fair deal.
Said Donaldson: "I'm a guy who's been downplayed my entire career. Even when I was a first-round draft pick (in 2007), I took 10 percent less than the guy before me. I just want something fair, something that's justified." Donaldson's .302/.383/.502 batting line, 24 homers and elite third base defense should earn him some AL MVP votes. Here's more from the AL West...
- Mark Trumbo might be the Angels' best trade chip in their quest for controllable young pitching this offseason, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Mariners, Pirates and Royals all had interest in Trumbo this past July, according to Gonzalez, and more teams figure to be interested over the winter. Trumbo told Gonzalez that he doesn't fear the change that would come with a trade like he would have earlier in his career.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who has told the team he won't be back in 2014, told reporters (including Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times) that he wouldn't even accept a five-year extension from the team. Wedge cited a difference between his vision for the team and the vision of GM Jack Zduriencik, president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln. Wedge felt the team needed to supplement young talent with proven talent and told Baker that he didn't have as much say in personnel decisions as he'd have liked.
- A statement released by the Astros explained the team's position in the wake of a report that Comcast filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition on behalf of the Comcast SportsNet Houston network that the Astros co-own with the Houston Rockets and NBC Universal. Brian McTaggart has the gist of the statement in an article for MLB.com. The statement alleges that Comcast improperly filed the petition to try to block the Astros from terminating the club's media rights agreement with Houston Regional Sports Network. "We will continue to work toward obtaining full carriage so that all of our fans are able to watch the Astros games while making sure that the Astros are able to compete for championships," the statement read.
As noted earlier today, the Angels' acquisition of infielder Grant Green from the Athletics looks to be a sound move thus far, but the team still has plenty of holes, namely in the pitching department. Here's more on the Halos...
- Asked by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times whether or not GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia would return next season, owner Arte Moreno declined comment. Not surprisingly, Scioscia told Shaikin that he wants to remain with the Angels. He says he has not given any thought to one day managing his hometown Phillies now that Charlie Manuel has been fired.
- One general manager told Peter Gammons of the MLB Network that the Angels have the two most unmovable contracts in baseball in Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. The same GM added that they "have no farm system" after trading for Zack Greinke and forfeiting their 2013 first-rounder to sign Hamilton, and they've wasted the inexpensive years of Mike Trout's career.
- Dipoto failed on his four offseason pitching acquisitions, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton have contributed very little for the Halos, which Dipoto himself acknowledged. The team is confident that Burnett will be healthy for 2014, but DiGiovanna writes that Blanton could be released in the offseason and Hanson non-tendered. The thin market for free agent pitching might ultimately lead the Halos to consider trading Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick for young, controllable pitching help.
The Pirates tried to make a play for Angels first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links) heard rumblings of interest from the Pirates earlier today and noted that they might have been open to parting with a young starter.
Meanwhile, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) hears that the Angels had no interest in a Trumbo deal with the Bucs.
Even though Trumbo's name has come up at times in recent years due to a surplus, the Halos are high on the 27-year-old and didn't want to part with him this summer. In 448 plate appearances this season, the 2012 All-Star has a .249/.313/.473 slash line with 23 homers.