Mark Reynolds Rumors
Two weeks from now, the regular season will be underway. In the meantime, here are some links, including injury updates on a trio of pitchers...
- "We are pretty comfortable with the team that we have right now," said Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to reporters (including MLB.com's Bill Ladson). "If something comes up to improve ourselves, we'll certainly investigate it. We are not selling anybody or shopping anybody or making a lot of phone calls, because we are comfortable where we are at."
- The Blue Jays have five roster spots up for grabs - left field, fifth starter, utility infielder, two bullpen spots - but there are clear frontrunners for each job according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. The team doesn't want to delay any official moves, but they also want to make sure everyone gets enough playing time to audition for jobs.
- Royals closer Joakim Soria will undergo Tommy John surgery on April 3rd, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (Twitter links).
- Chris Carpenter is out indefinitely with a nerve issue, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters, including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link). Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests Carpenter will likely miss two months or more (Twitterlink).
- Joba Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle and lost a life-threatening amount of blood yesterday, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports. The injury will end Chamberlain's season and could threaten his career.
- One scout says Mark Reynolds isn't appealing, especially given his $7.5MM salary, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. The Orioles are shopping Reynolds and teammate Kevin Gregg.
- Padres owner John Moores could earn a substantial profit when he sells his team, partly because bidders who fail to purchase the Dodgers may view Padres as consolation prize, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports.
- Former All-Star reliever Chad Cordero tells Jonathan Hacohen of MLB Reports that he's getting the itch to play again and will attempt to come back to the Major Leagues in 2013. The 30-year-old reliever took time off to deal with the death of his infant daughter, but he's not ready to give up on baseball yet.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Orioles are shopping right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg and corner infielder Mark Reynolds, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. Both players are under contract for 2012 with club options for 2013.
Gregg, 33, posted a 4.37 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings of work last year, his first season in Baltimore. He'll earn $5.8MM in 2012 and his contract includes a $6MM club option for 2013. I'd be surprised if a team took on more than $2MM of his salary in a trade.
Reynolds, 28, hit 37 homers and posted a .221/.323/.483 line last year, while playing first and third base. He led the league in strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season, striking out in approximately one third of his 620 plate appearances. He'll earn $7.5MM in 2012 and his contract includes a $11MM club option for 2013 ($500K buyout).
Jim Johnson is the current favorite to close games for manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles are open to trading Kevin Gregg and absorbing some of the $5.8MM he'll earn in 2012, Connolly reports. I find it hard to imagine a team taking on more than $1.5MM of Gregg's salary given the 53K/40BB ratio he posted in 2011 and the availability of other free agent relievers.
The Orioles discussed a Brandon League deal with the Mariners at the Winter Meetings and expressed interest in Seattle starter Jason Vargas at the time, according to Connolly. Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Reynolds also surfaced in the trade talks, Connolly reports. The Angels and Rays have also been linked to Cordero, who probably won't return to Cincinnati now that Ryan Madson is set to join the Reds.
The Orioles are looking for a backup catcher, an outfielder, starting pitching and relievers, executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette told Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Duquette hopes to make trades and sign free agents in the near future to address the team’s needs. Here are the details:
- The Orioles like Mark Reynolds’ defense better at first than at third. Duquette continued to downplay the likelihood of a major expenditure at first.
- Expect Matt Antonelli and Chris Davis to contribute at third base in 2012, though Duquette endorses the players in considerably different ways. "He looks like a ballplayer. He's got a good look about him, and he's a former No. 1 pick,” Duquette said of Antonelli. “If you take a look at Bill James' projections, they're projecting Davis to slug at .500 next year,” he said of Davis. Duquette added that he expects Antonelli to be healthy and likes his ability to get on base.
- Manager Buck Showalter prefers to rotate players in and out of the DH spot and Duquette will “be guided by [the manager's] preference." Don’t count on David Ortiz signing in Baltimore. “A 36-year-old DH would be a luxury for us," Duquette said.
- The Orioles will attempt to trade for a backup catcher and they have offers out to some minor league free agents, according to Kubatko (Twitter link).
- Earlier today, Jon Heyman reported that the Orioles have expressed interest in free agent Jason Varitek.
Earlier this week we learned that the Orioles are close to a deal with Korean right-hander Chong Tae-Hyon and the pact should become official after he undergoes a physical. Here's more on the O's..
- Mark Reynolds' propensity for striking out didn't faze the Orioles much when they traded for him last winter, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. The O's acquired the 28-year-old from Arizona for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio roughly one year ago. Manager Buck Showalter is leaning towards playing Reynolds at first this year with Chris Davis at third base.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com takes a look at Baltimore's rotation and notes the club would be willing to deal Chris Tillman. Tillman, 23, posted a 5.52 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 13 big league starts last year.
- While the Orioles are waiting to see if Yu Darvish will be posted, fellow NPB pitcher Wei-Yin Chen is another name to keep an eye on, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. Earlier this month, Tim Dierkes wrote that the 26-year-old left-hander could be signed for less than $20MM over four years.
- The Orioles' interest in adding relief pitchers could open the door for Jim Johnson to return to the rotation and Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com is all for it. Melewski could see Johnson thriving in a starting role as he has enough quality pitches to make the transition.
The success of the Orioles' offseason hinges, in large part, on their ability to add to the pitching staff. But at the General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee today, newly-appointed GM Dan Duquette suggested he'll let the market develop before obtaining pitching reinforcements.
"Everybody else is chasing it, too," Duquette told MLBTR. "We have to wait for the sharks to feed and then we'll wait to see what's left over."
In other words, it doesn’t appear that the Orioles will sign highly-coveted free agents such as C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. Baltimore begins the offseason with internal rotation candidates such as Jeremy Guthrie, Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Jo-Jo Reyes.
Duquette also noted that the defensive alignment for Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis remains undetermined, though manager Buck Showalter is leaning toward playing Reynolds at first with Davis at third. Duquette hasn't yet considered extensions for Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, but he wants to keep both players in place, so the topic may come up after December.
The Orioles shook things up yesterday, releasing Justin Duchscherer, who never appeared in a game for Baltimore, and claiming Jo-Jo Reyes, who is now a member of Buck Showalter's bullpen. Here's the latest on the Orioles...
- Baseball America's Jim Callis told Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that he doesn't believe Trevor Bauer's deal with Arizona wil impact the Orioles' discussions with top pick Dylan Bundy. As a high schooler, Bundy has more leverage than Bauer, who wanted to get on the field and kick-start his career.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explains that while Mark Reynolds may be better than advertised at the plate, his defense is hard to watch at times. Reynolds, who will earn $7.5MM next year, has 24 homers and a .224/.337/.486 line this year.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that developing pitching takes time and patience. "If you’ve got six or seven guys with a chance to be pretty good and two, three or four hit, you’re lucky,” Showalter said. As Rosenthal shows, Baltimore's pitching has faltered since pitching coach Mark Connor resigned in June.
The top two teams in the American League Central are both looking for starting pitching depth and, in at least a couple of instances, they're interested in the exact same pitcher. The Indians and Tigers have interest in Aaron Harang, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Heyman reported that both clubs have interest in Hiroki Kuroda.
The Indians, who lead the Tigers by a half game after today's win, are looking to add a starting pitcher (here's a look at who's available). The Tigers hope to do the same and have some interest in Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeremy Guthrie, Derek Lowe and others.
Harang, 33, has a 3.19 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 through 93 innings this year. He may be profiting from pitcher-friendly Petco Park and the fact that opponents are hitting just .281 against him on balls in play (26 points below his career mark).
The ten-year veteran earns $4MM this season with a $5MM mutual option for 2012 ($500K buyout). He doesn't project as a ranked free agent under the Elias formula, so draft pick compensation does not appear to factor in to Harang's trade value.
Some news tidbits from Charm City...
- Teams have contacted the Orioles about J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. Jones would seemingly be untouchable and (as Heyman notes) Hardy and the Orioles are working out an extension, though Hardy would be a strong trade chip if negotiations fall apart. Reynolds and Markakis are also probably unlikely to be dealt unless Baltimore is having second thoughts about paying Markakis over $47MM between now and the end of the 2014 season.
- In a radio interview with 105.7 The Fan's Ken Weinman and Vinny Cerrato, ESPN's Keith Law thinks the team "should go out and deal any veteran player who is not likely to be part of the next good Orioles team. That’s anyone who is not under contract for 2013 or beyond. You’ve got to trade them for prospects, even if it’s a mid-level prospect. Trust your scouts. Go out and add the depth to your farm system. Sometimes you get lucky.” Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun has transcribed some of the interview's highlights, plus a link to the audio of the full interview.
- Koji Uehara "has drawn tepid interest" on the trade market due to his injury history and his age, reports MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. There is more interest in Jim Johnson, but the O's are considering making Johnson a starter next season and have told other teams that Johnson isn't for sale.
- Andy MacPhail tells Ghiroli that the pitching staff is "definitely something we are looking at to try to augment" at the trade deadline. To this end, if Jeremy Guthrie is traded, Baltimore would want at least one Major League-ready pitcher in return to eat Guthrie's innings.
- Also from Ghiroli, MacPhail didn't comment on his own status with the club. MacPhail's contract as Baltimore's president of baseball operations is up after this season.
Players who have performed well this month are more likely to intrigue buyers for at least two reasons. First of all, strong performance is an indication of health. Secondly, MLB teams have diverted some scouting efforts from amateurs to the pros since this year’s draft concluded about a month ago.
As a result, it’s fair to say that players who have been performing well this past month are more likely to draw interest at the trade deadline than players with similar overall numbers who had hot starts then cooled off later in the season. Here’s a look at some players who have been performing particularly well over the course of the past 30 days:
- Michael Cuddyer - The Twins aren’t prepared to sell yet, but Cuddyer would be a candidate to go if they do decide 2011 isn’t their year. He has a .378/.458/.633 line this month.
- Melky Cabrera - Cabrera is under team control through 2012 as an arbitration eligible player, so Kansas City’s front office may decide to keep him around for another year. His .342/.374/.470 line this month would appeal to contenders, though.
- Mark Reynolds - The slugger has ten homers in the past 30 days after starting the season slowly. He earns $7.5MM in 2012 and has an $11MM option for 2013 ($500K buyout).
- J.J. Hardy - Like Reynolds, Hardy had a power surge this month. He hit seven homers and added a .269/.306/.600 line. The Orioles are negotiating an extension with the shortstop, so there’s a good chance he stays in Baltimore.
- Coco Crisp - Crisp has a respectable .298/.364/.426 line this month.
- Carlos Pena - Like Reynolds, Pena strikes out a ton and has a low batting average. But his hot streaks can carry teams and he hit ten homers with a .240/.306/.600 line this month. Tim Dierkes examined Pena as a trade candidate earlier today.
- Livan Hernandez - GM Mike Rizzo says the Nationals will be buyers and sellers this month. Presumably some rival clubs are hoping the dependable Hernandez is available this summer, since he has a 3.62 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 this month.
- Edwin Jackson - It’s not surprising that clubs are inquiring on Jackson given that he has posted a 4.05 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 this month. And his 2.52 xFIP suggests he has pitched better than his ERA indicates.
- Ryan Dempster - Across town, Dempster could draw interest as well. The right-hander has a 2.59 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 this month.
- Carlos Villanueva - Though he may not be a trade candidate in the traditional sense, Villanueva’s success in the rotation has presumably drawn the attention of front offices around baseball. He has a 2.84 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 this month.
- Hiroki Kuroda - Kuroda will require compensation to waive his no-trade clause, but he is already drawing interest. The right-hander has a 2.30 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 this month.
- Aramis Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Hunter Pence have been playing well, but it seems unlikely that they'll be dealt this month. I’m ignoring relievers, since many relievers have worked ten innings or less this month and that’s a minute sample size.