Marlon Byrd Rumors
The Orioles currently stand to take the second wild card spot in the American League, and they've already bolstered their pitching staff with the additions of Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. Here's the latest on their trade targets, courtesy of Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun:
- Connolly feels the Phillies' Michael Young is the best fit for the Orioles at DH, but the team hasn't made an aggressive push for him at this point. Connolly expects Young to go elsewhere if traded.
- The Orioles are interested in the Mets' Marlon Byrd. However, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes today that Byrd is "highly unlikely" to be traded. Connolly also believes Mariners lefty reliever Oliver Perez is the most likely player to be acquired by the Orioles.
- Connolly says to forget about Cliff Lee and Jake Peavy. Instead, the O's have coveted the Astros' Bud Norris and Chris Sale of the White Sox.
- Connolly expects the Orioles to pass on the Twins' Justin Morneau.
- Orioles minor leaguers Mike Wright, Tim Berry, and Christian Walker have piqued teams' interests.
- Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette feels he has the money and prospects to make a deal, if the right one comes along.
It's been 731 days since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for Zack Wheeler, and while that trade looks brilliant now, it also represents the last July trade that involved the Amazin's. Here's more on New York's National League club...
- Tim Byrdak's contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the Mets should another team offer him a Major League roster spot, MLBTR has learned. After being contacted by an interested team, the Mets would have 48 hours to add Byrdak to their own big league roster. If they chose not to do so, Byrdak would be free to join the new team, and the Mets would receive no compensation. The clause is similar to the one that allowed Jason Grilli to leave the Phillies and join the Pirates in 2011. Byrdak currently has a 2.45 ERA and 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 11 innings at High-A St. Lucie as he works his way back from shoulder and knee surgeries in late 2012.
- A Mets executive told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he would be surprised if manager Terry Collins were replaced after the season. The Mets are happy with the job that Collins has done, and the executive says the team is doing a good job of "sprinting to the finish line" with Collins at the helm (Twitter links). Collins still only under contract through the 2013 season.
- Puma's colleague, Joel Sherman, tweets that left-handed relief is in such high demand, the Mets actually received calls checking in on how Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano were progressing in their rehab.
- Nothing has changed on the Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell front, according to Sherman (on Twitter). The Mets have received nibbles on both, but not nearly enough to make a deal likely.
- The Mets are seeking a "Wheeler type" top prospect in exchange for Parnell, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Given that exborbitant price tag, it's no surprise that interest hasn't picked up much.
- Sherman adds that the Mets had hoped to see interest in Daniel Murphy, John Buck and Eric Young Jr., but to this point they haven't received calls on that group. As such, they're likely to simply try to win as many games as they can with the current group in the season's second half.
Four straight losses have dropped the Rangers to 1.5 games out in the wild card. Here's the latest:
- The Rangers aren't planning on making any major moves prior to the deadline, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. General manager Jon Daniels doesn't think his team will acquire a significant right-handed bat, nor does he plan on trading Joe Nathan. Daniels told Wilson that the idea of trading Nathan never gained much traction: "We'll talk about anything," Daniels said. "That's our jobs, but talking about something and having it happen are very different things." Wilson adds that the Rangers haven't had any serious talks about Alex Rios, Hunter Pence or Kendrys Morales recently, and they were never that big on the idea of re-acquiring Michael Young or Marlon Byrd.
- The Rangers are strongly considering standing pat, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
- Manny Ramirez doesn't have an opt-out in his minor league deal with the Rangers, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but the team "never intended to keep him dangling." They haven't yet decided whether they'll keep Manny in the organization, though they aren't expected to promote him. The 41-year-old is hitting .269/.347/.418 in 75 Triple-A plate appearances.
- "I've never had to worry about this stuff before and I'm not going to start now," closer Joe Nathan told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News regarding his rumored availability. It's hard to picture which contender could offer a quality bat for a closer, anyway.
Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned today amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Two sources told Spencer the agent for recently-demoted second baseman Derek Dietrich contacted the team several months ago to report an incident where Martinez erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed a player by his neck and neck chain. The MLBPA was notified of the alleged incident, as well as others involving Martinez, and the union then contacted the Commisioner's office and that office was expected to contact the Marlins on Tuesday, Spencer reports. Martinez, who had never been a Major League coach before this season, was owner Jeffrey Loria’s hand-picked selection to become Marlins' hitting coach. The Red Sox also had interest in hiring Martinez before he took the job with the Marlins. In other news and notes coming from the NL East:
- The Phillies are still not acknowledging the signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as sources say the Cuban right-hander is awaiting visa approval, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gonzalez reportedly agreed to a six-year, $48MM contract with the Phillies, which could be worth as much as $59MM.
- Gelb also tweeted that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins indicated he is not willing to waive his no-trade clause, if asked.
- There is no indication the Phillies are aggressively taking offers for Chase Utley in the event a contract extension cannot be reached, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The Braves have not had any conversations with the Royals regarding Ervin Santana, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, he would like to add some more depth before the Trade Deadline. "If we could tweak or improve certain spots on the bench, I think that would be one place that we would attack," Rizzo said. "We’ve got a lot of trade discussions. We’ve received calls, we’ve made calls."
- Manager Terry Collins doesn't expect the Mets to make any moves prior to the Trade Deadline, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Marlon Byrd is the Met name most mentioned in trade rumors and a team source tells Ackert the asking price is a top 10-15 prospect.
After a look at the AL East earlier this morning, let's turn our attention out west ...
- While the Athletics are looking to buttress their 4-game division lead by buying at the deadline, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports that the club is finding supply to be limited. "Right now there are more buyers than there are sellers, more buyers than last year," says GM Billy Beane. Second base and starting pitching are the needs atop Oakland's wish list, team sources tell Hickey. In spite of the rotation's solid performance to date, Hickey says a trade could allow the team to utilize Brett Anderson in a bullpen role when he returns from injury. Citing Beane's apparent willingness to take on some relatively significant salary obligations, Hickey lists Jake Peavy (White Sox), Edinson Volquez (Padres), Bud Norris (Astros), and Kyle Lohse (Brewers) as potential targets.
- After adding starter Matt Garza, the Rangers are looking at dealing for an outfielder, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Currently, says Heyman, Alex Rios of the White Sox is the most likely candidate for Texas. Heyman further notes, however, that the club could look to wait out the market in the hopes that players like Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, or the Giants' Hunter Pence become available, with Pence being the most likely among those to change hands. Texas has also considered Chris Denorfia of the Padres, Marlon Byrd of the Mets, and Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins, though Heyman notes that those options would rank below Rios in terms of impact.
- The Astros' Mark Appel is the highest-rated player from the recent amateur draft on MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's updated Top 100 prospects list. As Mayo explains in his overview of the changes to the list, the top overall choice leads a group of eight recently-drafted players to crack the top 100. Houston is tied with the Red Sox with the most total players to make Mayo's list, with eight apiece. In terms of a simple weighting metric that Mayo calls "Prospect Points," the 'Stros have the most overall prospect value in baseball in high-end prospects, followed closely by the Twins. Though the Astros passed on top overall prospect Byron Buxton in last year's draft, its strategy enabled it to land the players currently checking in at number nine (Carlos Correa) and number sixty-five (Lance McCullers) instead.
Even after acquiring Matt Garza earlier this week, reports have indicated that the Rangers are looking for offensive upgrades. They've been linked to Alex Rios, Hunter Pence and Kendrys Morales already, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports now reports that the team has had internal discussions about re-acquiring Michael Young, given the news that Lance Berkman could miss the remainder of the season or even retire.
Heyman cautions that a Young trade isn't a likely outcome, and the Rangers are still more focused on adding outfield bats as they await the fate of Biogenesis-connected outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Yankees, Red Sox and Reds are all said to be considering Young as well. Heyman reports that the Rangers have also expressed interest in Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia and Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd, though reports indicate that the Mets feel little inclination to part with Byrd.
Texas has Manny Ramirez at Triple-A Round Rock, but his bat has cooled since a hot start, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported late last night that the team was unlikely to give Ramirez a shot anytime in the near future. Passan reported that the Rangers may not recall Ramirez at all, and one scout who watched Manny told Passan:
"This isn't Manny Ramirez. This is a 41-year-old still trying to play baseball and not doing it very well."
Ramirez is hitting .250/.318/.417 with three homers in 66 plate appearances since signing with the Rangers and reporting to Triple-A. He's struck out eight times and drawn six walks, but an evaluator told Passan that his bat "looked slow."
Earlier today, the Phillies placed Domonic Brown on the seven-day disabled list with concussion-like symptoms. The move was retroactive to July 24, meaning he'd be eligible to return next Wednesday. As general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. noted to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the speed with which Brown can return will have an impact on the team's decision to buy or sell heading into the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Here's more on the Phillies and the rest of th NL East...
- Also from Salisbury's piece, Amaro was hesitant to discuss reports that he and his staff are working on an extension for Chase Utley. Salisbury writes that if the Phillies don't think they can sign him long-term, they'll probably move him. When asked if Utley will be a Phillie after the deadline, Amaro replied, "I would think so."
- Many teams are keeping an eye on Marlon Byrd whether they admit to it or not, a Major League executive told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets are still planning to hang onto both Byrd and Bobby Parnell, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported today. Martino cites a source "with direct knowledge of the Mets' plans" as saying the pair will remain with the team unless they receive an offer they simply can't turn down.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post examines the uncertainty that surrounds the Nationals' bullpen, noting that it's possible the team could option former closer Drew Storen to the minors to rediscover himself. Storen has a 5.40 ERA and 1.46 WHIP with 9.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 41 2/3 innings this season.
- Kilgore also notes that it's likely the Nationals will trade one of their relievers this offseason. Rafael Soriano is set to make $14MM in 2014, while Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard will both receive raises on their respective 2013 salaries of $2.5MM and $4MM via arbitration. Kilgore notes that the Nats could do what would've seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago by trading one of their relievers now in order to maximize the return.
Here's a look at the latest trade rumblings from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com..
- We know that the Rangers have interest in Alex Rios, but the Royals also like the White Sox outfielder, Knobler writes. The Royals have been talked about more as sellers and we know that they're willing to discuss Ervin Santana, but KC has also been looking to add under-control players who could fill their needs in right field or at second base. It's not clear how much the division rivals have talked, however.
- The Braves need their hitting to improve, but they're scouring the market for bullpen help, writes Knobler. The main focus has been on finding a left-handed reliever, but they've also looked at right-handed bullpen help and even at starting pitchers. Left-handers like the Brewers' Mike Gonzalez and James Russell of the Cubs would make sense for them. Marlins lefty Mike Dunn has also been mentioned by some teams, but the Braves have been told he won't be traded.
- In addition to Rios, the Rangers also have their eye on the Mets' Marlon Byrd (Twitter link). Last week it was said that the Mets need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Byrd.
The Blue Jays will add Carlos Delgado to the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre this weekend -- an honor bestowed upon the greatest Jays in franchise history. Delgado spent a dozen seasons with the Jays, hitting .282/.392/.556 with 336 homers in 6,018 plate appearances. He will join Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Tony Fernandez, George Bell and Dave Stieb as players to receive the distinction. Here's more from around the league...
- ESPN's Keith Law unveiled the latest edition of his Top 50 prospects (ESPN Insider required and recommended), and it's fronted by Twins Class A Advanced center fielder Byron Buxton, though Law cautions that even he is a little uncomfortable with the amount of hype Buxton is receiving. Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Miguel Sano and Francisco Lindor round out Law's Top 5.
- The Mets will need to be "overwhelmed" to trade Marlon Byrd, writes Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star Ledger. "Overwhelmed," of course, is a relative term, and manager Terry Collins states things more lightly later in the article: "Right now, Marlon Byrd’s a huge piece. If Marlon Byrd’s going to get moved, we’re going to get something good back." Castillo's article meshes with previous reports that the Mets may simply stand pat at the deadline.
- A team official tells Mike Puma of the New York Post that the Mets haven't had any action yet on Byrd or closer Bobby Parnell (Twitter link).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden examines the trade market for relievers (video link), naming all of the usual suspects that have been mentioned previously but also adding Jared Burton, Huston Street and Luke Gregerson, who haven't been mentioned often this summer. All three are controlled beyond 2013. Bowden's colleague Buster Olney tweeted earlier today that the Diamondbacks continue to be players on the relief pitching market.
- Uncertainty surrounding Clay Buchholz's injuries hasn't changed Boston's approach to the trade deadline, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox still plan to be "selective" as they debate possibilities to upgrade what they consider to be strong rotation depth. The team is also still interested in upgrades at third base and in the bullpen.
Giants fans have been concerned about Tim Lincecum as of late, but he looked stellar last night as he pitched a no-hitter against the Padres. The Freak tossed an eye-popping 148 pitches to get there, one shy of the watermark set by Edwin Jackson in 2010. Here's more from around baseball..
- Phil Hughes has been mentioned quite a bit as a trade candidate for the Yankees and while one might expect them to seek out a piece to help them in 2013, like a righty-hitting corner bat with power, they would prefer a player that they can control in the future, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. If the Yankees keep Hughes, they are prepared to give him the 2014 tender (roughly $13.8MM) as they believe that outside teams will bid on him even with compensation attached. In the event that they're wrong, the Bombers see it as low risk to have Hughes on a one-year deal and believe, at worst, he would still be tradeable.
- The Mets could trade Marlon Byrd, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter) opines that nobody is going to give them anything close to a significant piece for a rental with a .313 OBP. This weekend, General Manager Sandy Alderson said that he isn't in a rush to deal the outfielder.
- The Cubs figure to be an attractive trade partner for contending clubs this summer, but president Theo Epstein didn't see it working out that way. "We wanted to be buyers this year," Epstein told reporters, including MLB.com's Chad Thornburg. "With a few breaks, this year, we could've been in a much different situation. Some one-run games early change, and different bullpen situations [we'd have different results]. The goal every year is to be in position where you're looking to add and have a strong pennant push."
- After helping the Cubs top the Cardinals, Matt Garza spoke with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) about what the immediate future might hold for him. While he says that he's focusing on pitching the best he can, he admits that it would be tough for him to leave the Cubs. Meanwhile, he still pegs the odds of signing an extension with Chicago at 50/50.
- Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record writes that Yankees fans hoping for a major splash shouldn't hold their breath between now and the end of the month. “There’s not a lot out there for [GM Brian Cashman],” said one rival executive, who added that Michael Young isn’t currently available and the Bombers aren’t particularly interested in Byrd.