Mark Trumbo Rumors
Here's the latest from the AL West...
- The Rangers may be trying to trade Koji Uehara to clear payroll space for not necessarily Roy Oswalt, but rather a left-handed reliever like Mike Gonzalez, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. We heard last month that Texas was interested in Gonzalez. Both Uehara and Gonzalez were acquired by Texas in separate trades with the Orioles last summer, but while Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers throughout their playoff run, Uehara struggled in the ALDS and ALCS and was left off the World Series roster. Uehara, who has a limited no-trade clause, already rejected one deal that would've sent him to the Blue Jays.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at various scenarios facing the Angels surrounding Mark Trumbo's ability to play third base and Kendrys Morales' health.
- The Mariners have two players on their 40-man roster who are out of options: Mike Carp and Cesar Jimenez. As MLB.com's Greg Johns explains, Luis Rodriguez is also out of options but, as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, he isn't on Seattle's 40-man roster.
- Also from Johns' mailbag piece, he doesn't think the Mariners need to sign a veteran DH like Johnny Damon or Vladimir Guerrero, arguing that the playing time is better served for young players like Carp, Jesus Montero and Casper Wells.
- The Mariners inquired about Yankees prospect Mason Williams during the Michael Pineda trade talks, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Williams, a 20-year-old center fielder, enjoyed a breakout campaign at low Class-A Staten Island last season, hitting .349/.395/.468 in just his second year of pro ball. Heyman is "hearing raves" about Williams' potential.
Albert Pujols is a great problem to have. The Angels created a serious logjam by signing the greatest hitter of the generation last month, as they now have about five players -- Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu -- competing for the two corner outfield spots and DH. That doesn't include Mike Trout, another outfielder and arguably the best prospect in baseball.
The Angels have indicated a willingness to keep Abreu because his left-handed bat helps balance out a righty heavy lineup, plus Wells and Hunter are unlikely to be traded given their salaries. Trumbo and Morales are first basemen like Pujols, and figure to be among the first to go if a trade is made.
Trumbo, 26 next week and with five years of team control left, finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2011. That was due to his gaudy home run (29) and RBI (87) totals though, not his batting average (.254) or OBP (.291). Power is becoming harder to find these days, and Trumbo certainly has plenty of it. We know the Angels are looking for bullpen help, and if yesterday's Anthony Rizzo trade is any indication, the Angels could get a young, cost controlled power arm for their bullpen by dealing their incumbent first baseman. I'm just speculating, but the Indians, Pirates, Brewers, and Rays make sense as trade partners.
Morales, on the other hand, is 28 with just two more years of team control left. His value is way down because he hasn't played in a year and a half due to leg and ankle injuries, though he's recently been cleared "ramp up" baseball activities during his rehab according to Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times. Prior to the injury, he'd hit .302/.353/.548 with 45 homers in 203 games from 2009-2010. The Halos would probably be selling low on Morales by trading him now, but they stand to save just about $3MM by moving him according to our projections. Again, those same four teams make sense as trade partners.
The Angels have indicated that Trumbo will work out at third base during Spring Training to see if he can get some at-bats there, but they might not have a better trade chip at their disposal (assuming Trout is off the table). It's worth noting that they just signed Jorge Cantu to a minor league deal to serve as depth at both corner infield spots, so they have some protection there.
Links for Thursday night, starting with a pair of notes on the offseason's top remaining free agent...
- The Nationals appear to be a leading suitor for Prince Fielder, but first baseman Adam LaRoche told MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that he won’t hold grudges if he’s not a part of Washington’s plans for 2012. “Hopefully, I'll be a part of it. If not, that's life," he said.
- If the Mariners are serious about making Fielder a competitive offer without hamstringing the organization, they could propose a backloaded seven-year, $155MM deal that includes an opt-out after three years, Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner explains.
- ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick suggests the Marlins are convinced Javier Vazquez is retiring (Twitter link). Miami rounded out its rotation today, obtaining the unpredictable Carlos Zambrano for Chris Volstad.
- Angels infielder Mark Trumbo says the stress fracture in his right foot is taking longer than expected to heal and that his rehabilitation will likely extend to late February, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times.
- The Braves’ interest in Rockies outfielder Seth Smith has cooled, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rays, who had interest in Smith earlier in the offseason, are not in the hunt any longer, Renck writes.
- The Rockies aren’t actively pursuing Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, though they continue to monitor the market for starting pitching, according to Renck.
- The Mets continue to look for a shortstop to back up Ruben Tejada, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. They brought Omar Quintanilla in on a minor league deal this week, but the move doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for shortstop depth. Jack Wilson and Ryan Theriot have been linked to the Mets this offseason.
Needless to say, people will be talking about the Angels' blockbuster contract with Albert Pujols for years, if not decades, to come. We published one batch of reactions to the signing yesterday, and now here are some fresh perspectives about the impact of the already-legendary deal...
- The Angels have agreed to a 20-year TV contract with Fox Sports worth at least $3 billion, reports Bill Shaikin and Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times. With the Dodgers' deal with Fox struck down in court and the Lakers moving to Time Warner Cable, the Angels had a clear line to this huge new deal and revenue stream. As Shaikin and Baxter put it to Halos fans, Pujols was "brought to you by Frank McCourt and Kobe Bryant."
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs looks at how major signings rarely lead to long-term boosts in attendance.
- There is no truth to rumors the Angels and A's were discussing a trade involving Mark Trumbo and Andrew Bailey, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser's source calls the rumor "total fiction."
- During labor talks, Arte Moreno was critical of other owners signing players to expensive, long-term contracts, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Adrian Gonzalez's seven-year, $154MM contract with the Red Sox "looks rather incredible now," writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier. "There is a good chance that Gonzalez will be a better player than Pujols for the next seven years. But even if he is not...the difference will not be as wide as a nine-figure contract chasm would suggest."
Albert Pujols and the Angels agreed to a $254MM deal today that will keep the longtime Cardinal under contract until he's 41. As you can imagine, the signing has inspired some reactions across the league. Here are a few takes and additional details on the second-largest contract in baseball history:
Tim Dierkes' take: In hindsight, it was odd to be talking about offers in the $200MM range on the open market for Pujols, who still may be the best hitter in baseball. It seems that ultimately the Cardinals were way behind in their offer, as both the Marlins and Angels offered over $40MM more. Before the 2011 season, a contract for Pujols topping Alex Rodriguez's $275MM seemed possible in free agency, but a rough start to the season and the lowest walk rate of Pujols' career might have given a few teams pause. Plus, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't involved.
Almost all long-term contracts end badly. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows that, and he's going for broke for the next three to four years. I generally appreciate an owner who is willing to do that. We see teams overpay for dozens of free agents every winter; Angels fans should be glad their owner did it for the best free agent in years.
I can't speak for Cardinals fans, but I don't see cause to be angry toward Pujols or the team. The Cardinals made the best offer they could reasonably afford, and it was nowhere near the others. They still have a strong team and the glow of two recent World Series wins. As for Albert, if I was him I wouldn't have agreed to a contract that made me the fourth-best-paid first baseman in the game.
Additonal Pujols reactions:
- The signing makes the Angels much better in the short term, but it's "almost unthinkable that this contract will look like a good one in 2021 when we look back on it after its conclusion," writes ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider required).
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs agrees with Law, saying the Angels will need a lot of breaks in order for the deal to work out long-term.
- The Angels were the "unlikely beneficiary of the Cardinals' inactivity," says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Cardinals fans have the right to feel bitter, but comparing Pujols to LeBron James is misguided, since Pujols and the Cards won two championships, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- "I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said as part of a statement, thanking Albert for his achievements and community contributions.
- Two other FOX Sports scribes provided their takes on the deal as well.
- At today's press conference, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto praised the athleticism of Mark Trumbo, now the Angels' former first baseman. Dipoto mentioned third base, designated hitter, and the outfield as possibilities for Trumbo, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Appearing on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Dipoto said the Angels didn't get heavily involved with Pujols until the last 24 hours before they reached an agreement.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a few National League GMs who are happy to see Pujols switching leagues. "I'll miss seeing him," said Reds GM Walt Jocketty. "But I won't miss facing him."
- Typically big spenders, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't in on the Pujols bidding. Yanks GM Brian Cashman "gave it a nice, respectful no" when Pujols' camp approached him, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Sox GM Ben Cherington said it would have taken "huge, fundamental changes" to the team's roster and payroll to sign Pujols, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- As we discussed earlier, the Angels' offer wasn't the largest one Pujols received -- the Marlins' ten-year proposal topped it.
- Jim Leyland is fine with his contract being extended for just one year by the Tigers since he isn't sure how long he'll keep managing, reports Chris Iott of MLive.com. "I want to make sure that I'm giving the Tigers everything they're paying for, and when that day comes that I'm not, I'm going home," Leyland said. The manager also said that a year from today, he hopes he'll be signing another one-year extension.
- Meanwhile, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press thinks the Tigers were wise to extend Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski.
- The Phillies don't plan to look for outside help at third base if Placido Polanco misses a lot of time with his sports hernia, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Ruben Amaro said that the Phils will use Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez at third in Polanco's place.
- Mark Trumbo was never a highly-regarded prospect, and the Angels first baseman tells Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that he uses those scouting reports as incentive to prove the critics wrong.
- Michael Taylor called the trade deadline "the toughest day of the year for me," reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Athletics' prospect was disappointed that the team didn't move any of their outfielders, thus creating room for him on Oakland's Major League roster.
- The Nationals aren't yet sure when Tom Milone and Brad Peacock will be called up from Triple-A but the team definitely wants to give both pitchers some Major League experience, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Dodgers are on pace to lose at least $27MM this season and Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times predicts that figure may be a conservative estimate.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis answers questions relating to minor league prospects and draft signings in the latest edition of "Ask BA."
- The Braves "were heavy in on getting either" Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence at the trade deadline but their unwillingness to part with top prospects Julio Teheran, Mike Minor or Randall Delgado halted both deals, tweets Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. The fact that Atlanta was able to acquire Michael Bourn without giving up any of those prospects is a nice deadline win for the Braves and GM Frank Wren.
On this date in 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers acquired announcer Ernie Harwell from the Atlanta Crackers for catcher Cliff Dapper in an unconventional trade that the Dodgers won easily. Here's the latest on L.A.'s two teams...
- James Loney tells Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times that he loves playing for the Dodgers and hopes the team wants him back in 2012. The first baseman is under team control next year, but would earn a raise from $4.875MM if the Dodgers offer arbitration, which makes him a prime non-tender candidate.
- Clayton Kershaw was the National League's pitcher of the month in July and his season numbers are now more impressive than ever. The 23-year-old has a 2.68 ERA with a league-leading 177 strikeouts, a career-best rate of 2.3 BB/9 and a career-best 13 wins. It should all translate into a salary of $5MM or more next year, when Kershaw is arbitration eligible for the first time.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins tells Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that having lots of powerful bats at first base is a "good problem." Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo and C.J. Cron give the Angels an abundance of power at first base and Reagins says situations like this "have a way of working themselves out."
- The Angels are considering replacing the struggling Joel Pineiro in the rotation, according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter). It's not clear whether the Angels will look to the bullpen, the minors or outside of the organization.
It was on this day in 2004 that Alex Cora (then with the Dodgers) engaged the Cubs' Matt Clement in an epic at-bat. In the bottom of the seventh, Cora fouled off 14 consecutive pitches from Clement before finally sending the 18th pitch of the at-bat over the fence for a two-run homer. Los Angeles went on to win the game 4-0, and Cora went on to hit a career-high 10 home runs that season.
Some news items from both of Los Angeles' teams...
- Commissioner Bud Selig said the outcome of MLB's investigation into the Dodgers' finances is not "predetermined," as Frank McCourt claimed weeks ago. "We wouldn't have to go through all this if it was predetermined. I'm doing it because I think it is the right thing to do," Selig said. Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times has the full transcript of Selig's remarks to the media.
- Hong-Chih Kuo's agent says his client isn't considering retiring due to his latest bout with "the yips," reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Kuo was put on the disabled list yesterday with anxiety disorder. The left-hander has an 11.57 ERA in 4 2/3 innings of work with the Dodgers in 2011 after posting a 1.96 ERA over the previous three seasons.
- This is Kuo's second bout of the yips in his career, and the fact that he has overcome these issues before is a good sign, Pirates broadcaster Steve Blass tells Ken Gurnick. Blass would know -- the yips became known as "Steve Blass Disease" in the early 1970's when Blass went from one of the Bucs' top starters to unable to throw the ball over the plate.
- Howie Kendrick's hot start is largely due to such unsustainable peripheral stats as a .396 BABIP, writes Chris Cwik of Fangraphs. However, as Cwik notes, "Even with the regression, Kendrick might post the most valuable season of his career."
- The Angels are keeping calm over the news that Kendrys Morales will be out of the season, reports MLB.com's Lyle Spencer. "It messed us up last year when we lost Morales," said Torii Hunter. "It was a huge blow. We didn't know how we'd replace him, and we struggled all year with it...This year, we've adjusted. He's not here. We've played without Kendrys now." Mark Trumbo will get the bulk of the playing time at first base and while Trumbo is inexperienced, as Spencer recalls, "few experts thought Morales could replace Mark Teixeira" at first for the Halos in 2009.
There are two intra-divisional matchups between NL and AL West rivals slated for tonight. The Rockies face the Diamondbacks at Chase Field while the Mariners host the Rangers. Here are some tidbits from the western divisions...
- "There is discussion in the [Giants'] executive offices as to how long they can stay with [Miguel] Tejada and Pat Burrell," reports Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Reyes has been mentioned as a trade target for the Giants, though Brian Sabean denied his club's interest yesterday.
- Thanks to Justin Smoak's emergence, the Mariners seem to have gotten the best of the three recent Cliff Lee trade packages, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- If Mark Trumbo keeps hitting and Kendrys Morales is out of action for most of the season, Eric Denton of the LA Angels Insider blog notes that the Angels could face a tough choice this offseason. Denton suggests the Halos could even non-tender Morales, but if they do choose to move the first baseman, surely you'd think the team could find a trade partner.
- We know the Diamondbacks have an interest in UCLA prospect Gerrit Cole with the third pick of the upcoming amateur draft, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds a couple of other interesting nuggets about the right-hander. Arizona also has the seventh overall pick, but Piecoro notes that since that pick is unprotected, the D'Backs "almost certainly couldn’t risk drafting him" at that spot if they pass on him at #3. Cole is represented by Scott Boras and could be a difficult signing.
- Cole was drafted 28th overall by the Yankees in the 2008 draft but he didn't sign. Piecoro "got the sense from talking with other scouts and executives that there are still some people in the game harboring a grudge toward Cole" since Cole didn't let it be known that he wasn't interested in signing back in 2008.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock profiles A.J. Hinch, the former D'Backs manager who is now the Padres' vice president of professional scouting.
- Julio Borbon welcomes the center field competition of newly-signed Rangers prospect Leonys Martin, reports Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.