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- MLB Wins Collusion Case Versus Barry Bonds
- Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter
- Chris Perez Retires
- Hanley Ramirez To Play First Base For Red Sox In 2016
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Martin Prado Rumors
Though the non-waiver trade deadline came and passed with Martin Prado remaining in a Marlins uniform, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that the Miami front office is still “certainly open” to trading Prado. However, Miami’s price tag on the veteran appears to remain exorbitant, as Frisaro notes that interested teams would have to overpay in order to acquire him.
Miami clearly places a huge value on Prado’s leadership and clubhouse presence, as the common refrain for a long time leading up to the non-waiver deadline was that the Marlins weren’t interested in trading him at all. Shortly before the deadline, it was reported that the Fish would be open to dealing Prado for a “big return,” and that’s apparently still the case (despite his lackluster offense since that report).
While Prado is a solid player, to be sure, it’s ambitious to seek a significant return. At 31 years old (32 in October), he’s on the wrong side of his prime. He’s also not particularly cheap, nor has he been all that productive in 2015. Prado is earning $11MM this season and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM of that sum each year as part of the offseason trade that sent Prado to Miami and Nathan Eovaldi to New York.
Prado is hitting .270/.315/.353 on the season, and while some of the poor power numbers can be attributed to his Yellowstone-esque home environment(only AT&T Park and Kauffman Stadium have suppressed right-handed home runs more than Marlins Park), his park-adjusted batting line is still about 15 percent below the league average, per metrics like OPS+ and wRC+. An elite shortstop with that bat might warrant a fairly sizable return, but third base and even second base typically contribute more offensive output than Prado has in 2015.
It’s unclear whether or not Prado has already been run through waivers, but if he’s claimed on waivers, that would seem to further reduce the chances of a team striking a deal for him, as the Marlins would lose the benefit of competition in their trade efforts. Frisaro speculatively lists the Yankees as a fit for Prado, and while the fit makes sense, Hal Steinbrenner said yesterday that he was against trading the organization’s top prospects, and that would seemingly be the price to acquire Prado.
There’s no doubt that Prado would improve a large number of contending teams; he has a history of solid, albeit unspectacular offense to go along with defensive versatility and an excellent reputation as a teammate. All of these components make him a desirable piece to other teams, but not necessarily one for which an opposing club will pay a premium in a trade. If the Marlins weren’t overwhelmed by an offer prior to July 31, it’s tough to envision that scenario playing out in August.
The Dodgers made several additions at the trade deadline yet didn’t move any of their top prospects to do so, a tactic that team president Stan Kasten generally prefers. “I think I am well known, both by reputation and by my own comments, as having a deep, deep need to develop the farm system as a way of sustaining excellence over the long haul,” Kasten tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “It takes discipline to avoid the short term for the long term. And I think we have done that. That doesn’t mean we won’t trade anyone. We will. But we are going to keep our focus on retaining the majority of our high-end prospects so that we can be good and don’t have these pressing needs at the deadlines.”
Here’s some more from around the league as the baseball world still settles down from a busy pre-deadline week…
- It seems like the Mariners are looking ahead to 2016, though GM Jack Zduriencik described his team’s deadline moves as helpful for both the present and future. “It’s more about the future, yeah, but also the production you are getting at the big-league level and if you can replace that and still be competitive while adding talent to your organization,” Zduriencik told reporters, including The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. “I think that’s what we accomplished.”
- A whopping 44 of the 57 prospects dealt over the last two weeks were pitchers, as several team officials told Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper that there weren’t many quality minor league position players available on the trade market. Cooper breaks down the 57 traded prospects, which included six members of BA’s list of the top 50 prospects in the sport.
- Looking ahead to the August waiver period, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick lists several players who could still be on the move this month. One of the names listed, Martin Prado, probably won’t be dealt as Marlins officials say Prado is in the team’s plans for 2016. It was reported prior to the July 31st deadline that Miami could move Prado but only for a major return.
- James Shields, Jeff Samardzija and Starlin Castro are three more players who could be August trade candidates, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says (Twitter link).
- All 30 general managers receive grades for their trade deadline performance from ESPN’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required). The Blue Jays‘ Alex Anthopoulos was the only GM to receive an A+, while the Diamondbacks‘ Dave Stewart was the only GM to get an F since Arizona didn’t make any deadline trades.
The Dodgers are having active discussions on utilityman Alex Guerrero, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Though Guerrero’s contract allows him to opt into free agency after the year if he’s dealt, Rosenthal notes that he’s expressed a willingness to work out a deal with a new team if he’s traded. Guerrero’s production has fallen back after a blistering early showing, and he’s lost playing time along the way, but he does offer relative youth and has shown good power. The 28-year-old has also dealt with a seemingly minor back issue of late. Los Angeles has several other similar utility options, as well as an overflowing stock of outfield pieces, so it’s certainly plausible to imagine that he’d have more value to another team.
Let’s take a look in at some other notable market developments as we continue to see significant activity in advance of Friday’s trade deadline:
- It’s not yet clear whether the Mariners will move pending free agent righty Hisashi Iwakuma, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Seattle has, however, received interest from several clubs. Since a mediocre and injury-plagued start to the year, Iwakuma has turned in three consecutive solid outings and could be a nice mid-rotation piece for a contender.
- The Marlins are increasingly “confident” they’ll find a taker for starter Mat Latos, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Latos has pitched well of late and has appeal as a reasonably high-upside rental piece. According to the report, the market for his services is “coming into focus.”
- Marlins infielder/outfielder Martin Prado increasingly seems available, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). An executive from another club says that the Fish appear to be “open to at least contemplate” a deal, which seemingly indicates slightly more availability than we heard yesterday (when Miami was said to be interested only for a sizable offer). Sherman notes that the Yankees and Mets could join the Royals with interest in Prado as a secondary option to Ben Zobrist (who is expected to be dealt in short order).
- The Cardinals are looking at possible bullpen additions to slot alongside the just-acquired Steve Cishek, Heyman tweets. St. Louis will hope to bring back righty Jordan Walden in the relatively near future, as he’s progressing through a rehab assignment, but the club has been active in recent years in adding pitching depth.
- Padres righty Tyson Ross remains a hotly-pursued name on the market, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. He’s drawn interest from teams like the Blue Jays, Astros, Dodgers, and Rangers, per the report. Expectations are that Ross would require a significant return, and Heyman notes that the team would likely prefer to move other pitching assets.
Full Story | 12 Comments | Categories: Hisashi Iwakuma | Houston Astros | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Martin Prado | Mat Latos | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Tyson Ross
Reports of teams showing interest in Marlins infielder Martin Prado have been circulating for weeks, but to this point, there’s been little to suggest that the Marlins are open to moving the versatile 31-year-old. However, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com now reports that the Marlins are at least open to moving Prado, though it would take something “big,” and the team is still reluctant to part with him (Twitter links).
A shoulder sprain cost Prado about a month this summer, but he’s been roughly as productive since returning from the DL as he was prior to the injury. Overall, he’s hitting .273/.312/.369 and playing strong defense at third base, as he has whenever he’s been asked to man the hot corner throughout his career. Prado is capable of handling multiple positions, though, as he’s logged more than 2000 innings at third base, second base and left field in his career. Defensive metrics consider him a bit below average at second base, but he again grades out quite well in left.
Prado is earning $11MM in both 2015 and 2016, though the Yankees are picking up $3MM of the tab on that salary in each season. Prado has been connected to several teams, including the Mets and, most recently, the Royals. Frisaro, though, hears that Kansas City’s interest in Prado at this time is “minimal.” Given his defensive versatility, Prado would likely draw interest from many of the same teams that have been connected to Ben Zobrist.
The Marlins, though, seem to value Prado beyond his production — a significant return on a player whose park-adjusted production is about 10 percent below the league average seems unlikely. Much has been written about Miami’s appreciation of Prado’s leadership and clubhouse presence, but the Marlins would have a better hope at obtaining something notable in return were his production at the plate closer to the .289/.339/.423 line (108 OPS+) that he recorded from 2012-14.
JULY 27: Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals are expected to remain in the Ben Zobrist market “until the end,” which adds another versatile target to the list of Royals targets.
Zobrist, unlike Prado, is a rental player that’s eligible for free agency this offseason. He’s a bit more affordable, though, earning $7.5MM this season (of which $2.9MM remains). Zobrist is a better hitter than Prado and comes with the bonus of being a switch-hitter. He’s batting .268/.354/.447 and would be an excellent stopgap for Kansas City until Gordon is healthy enough to return to the lineup. Upon his activation, Zobrist would then be an immediate upgrade over Infante. The Athletics, who have already traded Scott Kazmir and could soon trade Tyler Clippard, are believed to be willing to part with Zobrist as well.
JULY 26: The Royals have interest in Marlins infielder Martin Prado, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The 31-year-old Prado recently returned from a shoulder injury and is batting .277/.316/.374 in 308 plate appearances in his first season in Miami. He’s making $11MM this season and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM of that in each season. Morosi notes that the Royals would need to receive cash from the Marlins in the deal. Whether the Marlins would agree to send any is unclear — another recent report indicated that they weren’t interested in dealing Prado at all.
In any case, the Royals have a good player, Mike Moustakas, at third base, where Prado has played most of this year. But Royals second baseman Omar Infante has mostly struggled, so Prado could potentially help at that position. Also, he can help the Royals in the corner outfield while they wait for Alex Gordon to return from the DL — right fielder Alex Rios has hit just .256/.290/.333 this season.
The Braves have been determined to deal away Chris Johnson for some time, and the third baseman tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that he hopes to find a new home. “I’ve been called in the manager’s office,” said Johnson. “[Manager Fredi Gonzalez] has told me they are trying to move me. I want to be moved, and they want to move me. Hopefully, something gets done.”While saying he’s enjoyed his time in Atlanta, Johnson emphasized that he is interested in receiving a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere. Obviously, the Braves are looking to shave off as much of Johnson’s contract as possible. Under the extension he signed early in the 2014 campaign, he is due roughly $19.99MM (including $2.52MM for this season and the buyout of a 2018 option).
A bit more on the Braves and their division…
- Kelly Johnson has parlayed a minor league deal into a critical role on the Braves, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Johnson credits first-year hitting coach Kevin Seitzer with helping him to shorten his swing and improve his overall approach at the plate. Of course, as a veteran on a one-year deal with a losing team, Johnson’s name may pop up over the next few days as a trade candidate; I listed him and three others Braves when looking at the trade market for third basemen earlier today.
- The Mets continue to be intrigued by Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They’re also looking at Justin Upton and Carlos Gomez, though multiple reporters (most recently Marc Carig of Newsday, who also reported interest in Parra late last week) have characterized that type of high profile acquisition as a long shot. Parra, Heyman notes, is drawing quite a bit of interest around the league.
- Peter Gammons relays an anecdote from the 2012 trade deadline that could have vastly reshaped the current state of two franchises. When the Red Sox and Mets were discussing a trade for veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach, Boston initially asked about right-hander Jacob deGrom, who had recently undergone surgery. (deGrom was never projected to become the ace that he presently is, of course, and he had just undergone surgery.) However, after talking it over with his minor league evaluators, GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets passed. The two sides eventually lined up on a deal that sent right-hander Pedro Beato to Boston.
- Marlins third baseman Martin Prado tells Zach Buchanan and Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic that he’s not concerned with the possibility that he could be traded for the third time in the past year. Prado says there’s no sense in thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is going to happen again,” and he’s instead focused on helping his teammates out. He’s candid when addressing the current state of the Marlins, however. “We’re in a pretty bad situation here,” says Prado. “I’m just trying to bring good energy for my teammates and my team. That’s all I can do right now.”
Though he admitted that he’s not privy to the front office’s discussions, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he expects ace Cole Hamels to be traded. “We’re not involved on the field,” said Mackanin. “But the whole point of this year basically is to see young guys, help us get ready for next year and beyond. If we can get good deals for Hamels and good deals for whomever else there might be out there, (Jonathan) Papelbon.” Hamels recently told Salisbury that he’s open to a trade to any club, including the Blue Jays and Astros. Previous reports had indicated that Hamels would block a deal to either club.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- The Tigers are scouting the Marlins‘ starting pitchers, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). There could be very little to read into here, as multiple teams are likely scouting the Marlins, and the Tigers of course are scouting other clubs. Nonetheless, a pitching matchup, at least on paper, does seem to exist between the two sides. The Tigers have seen Shane Greene lose his spot in the rotation and received little from Justin Verlander to this point. A solid addition to the rotation would make some sense, and the Marlins have a surplus now that Jose Fernandez is healthy. Fernandez joins Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart in the rotation. Latos and Haren, though, are free agents at season’s end, and the team has internal replacements capable of slotting into the rotation in the event of a trade.
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears that the Marlins are indeed willing to listen to offers on Latos and Haren. He adds Steve Cishek to that list as well and unsurprisingly says that the fallen closer likely will be non-tendered this offseason. Jackson, like other reporters, hears that the team isn’t entertaining the idea of moving Martin Prado at this point.
- Mets captain David Wright is “extremely optimistic” that he can begin baseball activities next week, tweets ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Wright won’t begin hitting in that time, however. Previously, the Mets have expressed hope to have the third baseman back by the All-Star break, though that timeline is fast approaching and Wright is still quite a ways from a rehab assignment.
As others have noted today, the news that Giancarlo Stanton will miss four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone increases the likelihood that the Marlins will reach a conclusion that they might have reached anyway: 2015 doesn’t appear to be their year. Under owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins have never been shy about change — they’ve traded players, replaced managers and changed organizational directions far more rapidly than other franchises might. Their 31-45 start already seemed likely to lead them to sell, even before Stanton’s injury.
In fact, this year’s Marlins team bears certain similarities to their 2012 club. The 2012 team headed into the offseason intending to make a splash. Instead, they flopped, and in July, they dealt Carlos Lee, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez.
What do the 2015 Marlins have to sell, though? This year’s team doesn’t appear to be primed for a complete rebuild, and thus it doesn’t have many top-quality trade chips like Ramirez or Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins still have Stanton and Christian Yelich signed to long-term deals, and Jose Fernandez is cost-controlled and is clearly an elite pitcher when healthy. The Marlins seem highly likely to keep those players, even though Yelich is having a disappointing season and Fernandez is only on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery. Here’s a look at who the Marlins could consider trading.
- Dan Haren and Mat Latos are eligible for free agency after the season, so they seem like obvious trade candidates. The question is what the Marlins will be able to get back. Haren is having a solid season, but he seemed mostly unwanted as of last winter, and his age (34) and stuff (Haren’s admirably self-effacing “Ithrow88″ Twitter handle isn’t even accurate anymore, since his fastball has averaged 86 MPH this season) suggest he won’t fetch much now, either. Still, useful starting pitching is useful starting pitching, and the Marlins might try convincing a team in a homer-suppressing ballpark to give up a prospect or two for Haren. The Phillies got two fairly good lottery tickets in Victor Arano and Jesmuel Valentin for Roberto Hernandez last year — that might provide a good template, even though the stock of both players has slipped in 2015. The Marlins might also have to convince Haren to play for the team they trade him to if it’s not a West Coast team, given that he considered retiring last offseason rather than heading to Miami.
- Latos currently has a 5.49 ERA and missed time due to a knee injury, so his trade value would appear very limited. Since he would only be a rental, there would be little point in a contending team taking him on as a project, even though his peripherals suggest he should be somewhat better than that ERA. The curse of struggling teams trying to become deadline sellers is that they typically mostly have disappointing players to sell, and Latos is a case in point. It’s not impossible, though, that Latos could raise his trade value by pitching well over the next month.
- As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out today, Martin Prado‘s versatility could make him an interesting trade chip next month, since he can play third base, second base and both outfield corners. First, though, he’ll have to show he’s healthy — he’s currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. He’s owed $11MM both this year and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM in each of those years.
- Pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand were both recently the subject of rumors. Koehler missed a start last week with neck and back pain, but his successful return today should help the Marlins’ cause if they choose to trade him. The problem is that neither Koehler nor Hand are the kinds of difference-makers most appealing to contenders — a contending team likely wouldn’t want either one of them starting a playoff game. And since they’re also cheap and capable of eating innings, they could have value to the Marlins as they retool. David Phelps, who has been solid but not outstanding in his first season in Miami, falls into the same category.
- Mike Dunn isn’t having a good season by traditional measures, with a 4.68 ERA, but his strikeout rate (9.0 K/9 in 2015) and velocity remain intact, so a contender might view him as a sneaky way to upgrade the left side of its bullpen, especially since his contract is reasonable. He’s signed through next season, though, so the Marlins could also decide the better route might be to keep him around for another year and hope he rebounds.
- Like Dunn, Steve Cishek has a poor ERA this year. Unlike Dunn, though, Cishek isn’t cheap, at $6.65MM, and his control issues are a key reason for his downturn in performance. It would likely be hard for the Marlins to deal Cishek without taking on salary, despite his closer pedigree.
- Infielder Jeff Baker is a career .297/.352/.513 hitter against lefties, so he could conceivably help a contender in need of a right-handed bat. He’s mostly limited to first base at this point, however, so his utility is limited.
Other Marlins veterans, like Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki, probably have even less trade value than most of the players mentioned above. The Marlins could, of course, make outside-the-box trades involving some of their better, younger players (Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria, Marcell Ozuna), and given the Marlins’ history, it would be unwise to discount that possibility. (Relievers A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps would make very interesting trade pieces if the Marlins were to make them available.) Unlike the 2012 team, though, the 2015 Marlins don’t have many veteran trade candidates who appear likely to command a significant return.
Giancarlo Stanton‘s injury is a loss for baseball as a whole, and the first domino likely to fall as a result is that the Marlins will become sellers, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The team should trade free-agents-to-be Dan Haren and Mat Latos. Infielder Martin Prado is also worth watching if he can prove his shoulder is healthy by the deadline, and he might make sense for the Mets, since he can play multiple positions and provide an insurance policy at third base. Prado’s versatility could make him an attractive target for many other teams as well, Sherman suggests. Here’s more from the National League.
- Dee Gordon has blossomed with the Marlins, but the seeds of his growth this season had already been planted before his 2014 season with the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. “I was terrible for two years. No one has to provide any fire for me. The chip on my shoulder is self-inflicted,” he says. After struggling in 2012 and 2013, Gordon seemed to hit his stride last season, but this year, he’s been outright brilliant, currently leading the NL in batting average (.356) and hits (110). Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says he thinks Gordon might have been somewhat motivated by the Dodgers trading him to Miami last winter, but that doesn’t bother Mattingly. “He doesn’t seem vengeful or anything,” says Mattingly. “I hope when he plays San Francisco or Colorado or Arizona or San Diego that he’s really motivated to show us.”
- More than four months after the FBI seized computers from the Cardinals while investigating their hacking scandal, the team is still waiting for the fallout, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. At this point, there’s no indication that owner Bill DeWitt, GM John Mozeliak, or any other top brass were involved. “I’m not beating myself up, because I feel I haven’t done anything wrong,” says Mozeliak. “I beat myself up because I feel the organization has taken a black eye and I feel bad for that. And I feel bad because the (front-office) team we’ve assembled might be broken up.” Commissioner Rob Manfred could punish the Cardinals with fines, suspensions or lost draft picks, Strauss writes, although there’s little to no chance the team would be denied postseason eligibility.