Mark Ellis Rumors
One of the biggest trade chips in baseball - Carlos Beltran - joined the NL West this week, but a handful of impact players could leave the division within 50 hours. Heath Bell, Mike Adams (latest rumors), Ubaldo Jimenez (latest rumors) and Hiroki Kuroda (latest rumors) are all on the block. Here are the latest notes and rumblings from the NL West...
- The Padres have some interest in Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Pirates' interest in Iannetta has cooled.
- The Rockies intend to try to re-sign Mark Ellis, who hits free agency after the season, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com presents the nine pitchers to throw 500 innings for the Rockies before Jimenez. Jason Jennings, Shawn Chacon and Jeff Francis are among the pitchers on the list, so Verducci says Colorado “should absolutely see if they can prey upon the needs of the Yankees, Reds and Tigers.”
- The Giants remain interested in Ramon Hernandez, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Reds haven't made the backstop available at this point, but the Giants have had interest since early July (and perhaps earlier).
- Yhency Brazoban reached an agreement with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, according to a Sports Hochi report that Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along. We heard earlier in the week that the reliever was on the verge of leaving the Diamondbacks' organization for Japan.
No second baseman has suited up for the A's as often as Mark Ellis, but when the 34-year-old lost his starting job earlier this month, it became clear that his time in Oakland would likely end soon. Ellis' nine-year tenure with the Athletics is now officially over. The A's announced that they sent Ellis and cash considerations to the Rockies for right-hander reliever Bruce Billings and a player to be named later.
Ellis hit .217/.253/.290 this year and lost his starting job to 24-year-old second baseman Jemile Weeks. The veteran pinch hit for the A's and even played a little first base, but he wasn't producing on offense the way he did in 2010, when he posted a .358 OBP.
The A's exercised Ellis' $6MM option last offseason and the infielder will be eligible for free agency this fall. He still has $3MM remaining on his 2011 contract and the Rockies will cover $1MM of that, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Though Ellis currently projects as a Type A free agent, draft pick compensation was probably not a major factor in the deal, as there's no guarantee he'll receive an offer of arbitration.
The Rockies have used six second basemen this year: Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Jose Lopez, Eric Young, Alfredo Amezaga and Jose Morales. The group has combined for a .610 OPS, 23rd among MLB second basemen. Herrera, the Rockies' primary second base option, has struggled to hit nearly as much as Ellis; the 26-year-old has a .237/.311/.303 line.
Billings, 25, pitched in his first (and so far only) MLB game on May 27th, when he allowed one earned run on five hits in two innings against the Cardinals. The former 30th round pick has a 4.47 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in his first season at Triple-A and his first full season as a reliever.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
The Giants enter today's action riding a four-game winning streak and holding a half-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West. Despite sitting atop the division, the team is looking for opportunities to upgrade. The Giants' search for catching help has them eyeing Yorvit Torrealba, and catcher isn't the only position where the club could use some help. Here are the latest updates on some of the Giants' trade possibilities:
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe confirms a previous report, writing that Mark Ellis probably won't be headed across the Bay. "We need RBI bats. That's what we're looking for right now," one Giants official said in shooting down the possibility of acquiring Ellis.
- A deal that sends Jose Reyes to San Francisco is looking increasingly like a long shot, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Even if the Mets decide to move Reyes, the Giants would be very reluctant to part with the prospects and pay the salary necessary to complete a trade.
- Within the same piece, Rosenthal quotes a Giants official's response when asked if the club would like to find a more offensively-inclined catcher than their current options: "Name me one (available) catcher hitting over .250."
Here's the latest on the A's and the Giants, including some trade rumors between the two clubs themselves...
- "The Giants are not pursuing" A's second baseman Mark Ellis, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. (Twitter links). The Giants at least checked in on Ellis but have cooled their pursuit for a variety of reasons, including Ellis' salary, his poor performance this season, Oakland's trade demands and the presence of Bill Hall, Emmanuel Burriss and Freddy Sanchez (who could still return from the DL) on the roster.
- Rival scouts have been watching Brian Fuentes and Craig Breslow, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Of the two southpaws, the Athletics would be more apt to move Fuentes since he has around $7.6MM remaining on his contract through 2012, whereas Breslow still has two more arbitration years left. Fuentes also stirred up controversy earlier this season when he criticized then-manager Bob Geren. These two pitchers and Jerry Blevins made MLBTR's Tim Dierkes' recent list of potentially-available left-handers.
- Eli Whiteside has been ignoring the rumors about the Giants' catching search, reports Chris Haft and Adam Berry for MLB.com. The incumbent starter has been hitting well lately, which Whiteside attributes to getting regular playing time.
- Another internal option for the Giants: Triple-A catcher Hector Sanchez. Schulman reports that Barry Zito was very complimentary about Sanchez's game-calling abilities during Zito's recent rehab stint at Fresno. Sanchez, 21, has a .299/.327/.495 line in 226 plate appearances this season, though just 42 of them have been at the Triple-A level.
Some people in the Marlins organization believe new manager Jack McKeon has exactly what it takes to deal with Hanley Ramirez, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Here’s the latest on the Marlins’ shortstop, who is having the worst offensive season of his career:
- Ramirez’s stock “has dropped to Enron levels.” Some rival evaluators say that his poor start is more than a slump and that the shortstop needs to improve his physical condition.
- “If he doesn't change his body,” one scout said. “He's going to have to move [to a different position] sooner rather than later."
- Click here to check out Olney’s analysis of Ramirez from yesterday.
- No one believes the Phillies when they say they have limited financial flexibility for possible trades, Olney writes.
- The Orioles are another possible fit for Mark Ellis of the A’s. The Giants, one team with some interest in Ellis, have been considering other possible infielders, according to Olney.
The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two...
- A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear.
- Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.
The Giants "asked questions" about Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis over the weekend, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman's Ellis note was parenthetical, in an article that focused on the lack of clear sellers here in late June. Still, the assumption is that the Giants asked those questions of Athletics brass, as the teams faced off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Ellis, 34, was hitting .211/.245/.287 in 224 plate appearances this year before hitting the DL with a hamstring strain. The Athletics' longest-tenured player, Ellis is expected to be activated from the DL tomorrow, wrote Jane Lee and Tom Green of MLB.com on Saturday. The strong play of rookie Jemile Weeks in 12 games complicates the second base situation.
Even with the A's hanging around the fringes of contention at 5.5 games out, Ellis could be expendable. Earlier this month I named him as a viable second base trade candidate, with the Giants one of six potential suitors. Ellis has good pop for the position, and his defense is highly regarded. Still, he's a tough sell right now with a $6MM salary. The Giants have a need given Freddy Sanchez's shoulder injury, but in-house they've got Emmanuel Burriss and Bill Hall as well as Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa on the DL.
According to our Transaction Tracker, Billy Beane and Brian Sabean have never matched up for a trade. They represent the game's longest-tenured GMs.
As the Angels and Mariners begin a three-game series at Safeco Field tonight, let's look at some items concerning those clubs and their other two division rivals....
- Could the Angels considering moving Jered Weaver this summer? FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal looks at what might happen if the Halos fall out of contention, with a Weaver deal being the biggest possible move the club could make to rebuild. I looked at Weaver as both a trade and an extension candidate last April.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan looks at some reader suggestions about what the Rangers might do before the trade deadline. Sullivan speculates that the Orioles could be a good trade partner for the Rangers -- Texas wants right-handed relivers (like Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara) and Baltimore could use a first baseman for the future like Chris Davis.
- Athletics southpaw Brett Anderson will not need Tommy John surgery, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. (Twitter link) Dr. James Andrews instead recommended six weeks of rehabilition for Anderson, and the two will meet again in three weeks for a re-evaluation.
- Also from Buster Olney, (via Twitter), the Athletics could find a suitor for Mark Ellis without leaving the Bay Area. The Giants need second base help with Freddy Sanchez possibly out for the season, while the A's might prefer to give playing time at second base to Jemile Weeks or Scott Sizemore. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes listed Ellis as a possible trade candidate in his examination of what the A's might do if they become sellers. Of note: Ellis does have no-trade protection in his contract, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
- The three-team deal between the Mariners, Indians and Mets in December 2008 has proven to be a boon for the M's, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
Happy 92nd birthday to one of baseball's all-time great pitchers, Bob Feller. "Rapid Robert" piled up 266 wins and 2581 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career. In tribute to Feller, it's only appropriate that we start this batch of news items with something from Cleveland...
- Infielder Drew Sutton is eligible for free agency after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Indians, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The article notes that Andy Marte is expected to be removed from the Cleveland roster before the Rule 5 draft deadline. Also from Hoynes (via Twitter), the Phillies claimed shortstop Carlos Rivero on waivers from the Tribe. Rivero has a .676 OPS in 2156 minor league plate appearances, none above the Double-A level.
- Hal Steinbrenner's recent comments about the Derek Jeter talks strike ESPN's Buster Olney "as if he's preparing the NYY fans for an ugly Jeter negotiation" (Twitter link).
- Now that the A's have exercised Mark Ellis' option for 2011, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team will look into an extension for the veteran second baseman.
- Buster Posey and Brian Wilson are the key reasons why the Giants have a chance to win another World Series, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. "How many teams can say, right now, they have zero interest in upgrading at the need-to-have positions of catcher or closer?", Morosi asks. He cites just the Phillies and Twins, and even those two clubs come with question marks.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com thinks the Giants should sign Eric Chavez to a minor-league contract. (Twitter link)
- Bruce Chen wants a multiyear deal but the Royals are "unlikely" to make the left-hander such an offer, tweets The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton.
- It could be a bad omen for David Ortiz's $12.5MM option that another slugging DH (Vladimir Guerrero) had his $9MM option for 2011 declined by Texas earlier today, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Tampa Bay added Elliot Johnson to its 40-man roster, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Without the move, Johnson would've become a free agent. Johnson had a breakout minor league campaign in Triple-A last season, posting a .319/.375/.475 line and winning the International League MVP award.
- In response to a fan mailbag question about Adam Dunn, MLB.com's Bill Ladson warns about the dangers of the Nationals offering a long-term deal to a defensively-challenged slugger. He points out how fans were also wishing the Nats signed Alfonso Soriano to an extension, but in hindsight Washington made the right move.
- Nationals right-hander Collin Balester is looking for members to join his 'Movember' team. Click here to sign up and join Balester in raising money and awareness in the fight against prostate cancer.
The Athletics exercised Mark Ellis' 2011 option, and declined their option for Eric Chavez, according to the team. The A's chose to pay Ellis $6MM next year instead of buying him out for $500K and they chose Chavez's $3MM buyout over his $12.5MM salary. Oakland picked up Coco Crisp's $5.5MM option earlier today.
Ellis, 33, batted .291/.358/.381 in 492 plate appearances in 2010. He posted an above-average UZR/150 for the seventh consecutive season and made just three errors on defense. If Ellis had turned down an offer of arbitration to sign elsewhere, the A's would have obtained a supplementary round pick as compensation for losing a Type B free agent.
Chavez, a former fixture with Oakland, has had five stints on the DL over the last four years and has appeared in just 64 games since 2008. He had five surgeries between September 2007 and June 2009.