Mat Gamel Rumors
Earlier tonight, the Cardinals hired Mike Matheny as their new manager, despite the fact that he's never managed at any professional level. Here's some more on that and other news from around the NL Central:
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com calls it a "fascinating hire"and a tough job for Matheny to follow a legend that went out with a title. Knobler also wonders if the Cardinals will hire an experienced bench coach for their rookie manager, something the White Sox didn't do with Robin Ventura (Twitter links).
- Former Red Sox and Dodgers manager Grady Little is an possible candidate for such a role, tweets Knobler.
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com tweets that he hasn't covered a player in the last 10 seasons who was "better-regarded by EVERYONE" than Matheny.
- The Brewers' financial situation has changed drastically since the club offered Prince Fielder a five-year, $100MM extension in the spring of 2010, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Several players have been extended or traded for since then, and a big salary for Fielder no longer makes sense. Haudricourt says some in the organization feel it's time to let Mat Gamel have a shot at first base. The 26-year-old hit .310/.372/.540 with 28 homers in Triple-A last year.
The Brewers’ season is over and while GM Doug Melvin wishes his club were in the World Series, he’s proud of its accomplishments. "There's just too many good things that happened this year for me to be hanging my head,” he said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here are more details from today’s press conference via Haudricourt:
- Melvin and Brewers owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November to discuss what kind of offer they can make free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
- The Brewers aren’t concerned about Shaun Marcum’s health, though the right-hander struggled in the postseason.
- Melvin said Yuniesky Betancourt was “a better player than what his critics said.” The Brewers have a $6MM option ($2MM buyout) for the shortstop in 2012 and Melvin declined to say whether they'll pick it up.
- Melvin explained that he would like to improve defensively without sacrificing on offense.
- He said the Brewers will seriously consider giving Mat Gamel a chance to make an impact in the Major Leagues if an opportunity emerges (i.e. Fielder signs elsewhere).
- The Brewers haven’t talked about moving Corey Hart to first base.
- Melvin said he’ll check in with free agents LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito. Francisco Rodriguez is likely to sign elsewhere, probably as a closer.
- Melvin said Casey McGehee can still be a good player, despite his disappointing 2011 campaign.
- Craig Counsell hasn’t told the Brewers whether he intends to play again next year, but it sounds as though Melvin would have some interest in re-signing him. Melvin also expects to speak to Jerry Hairston Jr. and his representative.
- Mitch Stetter, Manny Parra and Josh Wilson are non-tender candidates, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained this week.
The latest on the Brewers on a night that owner Mark Attanasio, a native of the Bronx, watched his hometown team beat up on the club he owns...
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Jack Curry of the YES Network that Ryan Braun could be the Brewers' answer to Cal Ripken Jr. or Derek Jeter (Twitter link). Braun, who is signed through 2020, has a .308/.390/.554 line with 16 homers this year.
- Braun has been among the most productive hitters in the league, but he told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that Prince Fielder "has probably been the MVP in the National League" so far. Fielder has a .305/.426/.611 line with 21 homers and a league-leading 68 RBI.
- Melvin told Knobler that Fielder has had a "great attitude" this year. The GM isn't going to distract Fielder, a prospective free agent, with extension discussions any time soon.
- Mat Gamel, who may take over at first base if Fielder leaves as a free agent, told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he remains focused on 2011, not Fielder's possible departure.
- The Cardinals have minimal interest in Sergio Mitre, who was designated for assignment by Milwaukee yesterday, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch (on Twitter).
- The Brewers would like to strengthen their bench, potentially with a right-handed hitter, according to Knobler.
Here are some Sunday evening Quick Hits as the Reds take on the Giants..
- The Astros have been dominating the rumor mill over the last several weeks in Major League Baseball, writes Stephen Goff of Examiner.com. Teams have been calling GM Ed Wade about deals but even he isn't safe from rumors as he's said by some to be on the hot seat.
- The Pirates are actively looking to acquire a catcher after losing their top three catchers to injury. Meanwhile, they don't feel that top catching prospect Tony Sanchez is ready for a big league promotion, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Kevin Millwood, who recently signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox, says that he's progressing with each Triple-A outing, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. The veteran signed a minor league deal with the Yankees earlier in the year but opted out on May 1st.
- Stephen Goff of Examiner.com (via Twitter) tips his cap to Astros scouting director Bobby Heck for already getting 26 out of their 50 Draft picks signed.
- The Brewers are thinking about a mid-week promotion for Mat Gamel, but the club won't have to designate anyone for assignment to make the move, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Relievers Marco Estrada and Tim Dillard both have a minor league option remaining.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt has some updates for Brewers fans as the organization looks to the future. It appears that Corey Hart's recent three-year extension may only be the beginning as the Brew Crew tries to set itself up for future success.
The Brewers will offer an extension to Rickie Weeks, who's enjoying a fine rebound season after an injury-shortened 2009. The former number-two overall pick is hitting .272/.368/.485 with 23 home runs and seven steals on the year. His speed numbers may be down, but Weeks still remains a power/speed combination and an offensive force at second base. Weeks will need to replace his agent, and once he accomplishes that, an extension will be offered.
One player who the Brewers likely won't be able to agree with is Prince Fielder. The Scott Boras client was offered an extension in the neighborhood of five years and $100MM, but the Brewers completely cut off talks when they learned he was seeking nearly double that amount -- likely looking for a deal similar to Mark Teixeira's eight-year, $180MM contract. Haudricourt says that the Brewers won't advertise it for now, but they're likely to shop Fielder this offseason to bolster their rotation.
Losing Fielder leaves a hole in the offense, but it's possible the club is looking to replace him with Mat Gamel, or move Hart to first base and place Gamel in right field. As Haudricourt points out, Hart was drafted as a first baseman, and his 6'6" frame is conducive to the position.
It's possible that Lorenzo Cain dethrones Carlos Gomez as the club's everyday center fielder. The Brewers were clearly looking for more than Gomez's .286 OBP when they traded J.J. Hardy to Minnesota for him this past offseason.
If Milwaukee does indeed try to make Fielder available, there will be no shortage of suitors. While the free agent market does feature Adam Dunn, the majority of others consist of injury risks, fading stars, players coming off career years, or some combination of the three.
The Braves are interested in adding a right-handed hitting outfielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Melky Cabrera and Nate McLouth have not hit well for the Braves, and Jason Heyward's now slumping. Eric Hinske has played tremendously, but can't be expected to post an OPS near 1.000, so the Braves may deal from pitching depth for a bat. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:
- The Marlins are actively seeking relief help.
- Rosenthal says the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers - yes, the Brewers - could be interested in Cliff Lee this summer. The Brewers could provide the Mariners with a hitter like Corey Hart or Mat Gamel and trade Lee to a third team for younger pitchers.
- The Cubs would love to deal Kosuke Fukudome, but he will earn more than $21MMM between now and the end of 2011, so trading him will not be easy. Click here for more from Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi on Fukudome's availability.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein will probably look to acquire a reliever this summer.
Happy birthday, Jayson Werth! Let's celebrate by reading these news items...
- FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi outlines the unique contract situation of right-hander Chris Resop, who has been a revelation as a starting pitcher this season for Atlanta's Triple-A team.
- A bit further down the FOX Sports Buzz page, Morosi notes that Mat Gamel's time playing first base during his rehab assignment isn't necessarily a hint about Prince Fielder's fate in Milwaukee.
- In response to a piece about the Dodgers' spending under Frank McCourt, Fanhouse's Tom Krasovic relates how L.A. shipped Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the Casey Blake deal rather than pick up $2MM of Blake's salary. If Santana becomes the star catcher that he's projected to be for the Tribe, Dodger fans might be regretting that $2MM worth of savings for a long time.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants may have Eric Hacker replace the struggling Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation. Star prospect Madison Bumgarner has pitched well in Triple-A this season, but Schulman thinks the Giants want the young left-hander to have more innings at that level before they bring him up to the majors.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that the recently DFA'ed Willy Taveras worked out in Houston this week. The Astros offered Taveras a minor league deal over the winter, so Taveras' workout could represent a rekindling of the club's interest, or it could've just been a courtesy extended to a former Astro.
- Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks Michael Brantley and the Indians would both be better served by having the outfield prospect back in the majors. Pluto points out that if the Tribe are trying to stall Brantley's service time, then they shouldn't have had him start with the club on Opening Day.
- The Rays have had almost as many key injuries as the Yankees this season, but Tampa Bay's depth made them better prepared to deal with it, writes Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog.
- Speaking of those Yankee injuries, Brian Cashman said today that the club would look within their system to fill the holes, reports Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
Links for Saturday...
- David Ortiz said he isn't letting his contract situation get to him, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Big Papi will earn $12.5MM this year, and the Red Sox hold an option at the same salary for 2011 with no buyout. Tough to see them picking that one up.
- An interesting point raised by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy: The Brewers essentially traded Hernan Iribarren to the Rangers for Joe Inglett. Milwaukee picked up Inglett in January after he was waived by Texas. Mat Gamel and Inglett are now in the mix for the Brewers' final bench spot.
- Edward Salcedo was officially introduced to Braves reporters this morning, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The 18-year-old Dominican shortstop said that Atlanta was the only organization to show significant interest in him over the past two years.
- Jim Edmonds may be playing his way into a role with the Brewers, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Both the Diamondbacks and Mariners had interest in Dana Eveland before he was acquired by the Blue Jays, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com spoke to a scout who wouldn't be surprised if the Marlins traded lefty Andrew Miller (link goes to Twitter).
- David Murphy is just biding his time on Texas' bench, writes Anthony Andro of The Star-Telegram. Murphy is a .278/.336/.465 career hitter, but he might get too expensive for a bench job as he enters his first arbitration year after 2010.
- Ben Shpigel of The New York Times reports that Yankees' hitting coach Kevin Long was analyzing videotape of Curtis Granderson to help him improve against lefthanders way back in November, a month before the team traded for him.
Links for Thursday...
- The Marlins aren't that confident in Kiko Calero's ability to hold up as well as he did last year, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Nationals designated right-hander Marco Estrada for assignment to make room for Tyler Walker according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, via Twitter.
- The A's have no interest in Eric Byrnes, tweets Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.
- The Dodgers are a finalist for Derrick Turnbow, tweets MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
- The Mets are interested in Josh Fogg, according to Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.
- Mike Timlin said on WEEI.com that he will stay in retirement this year. Last year, Timlin pitched in the Rockies' minor league system.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports notes that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is "open to anything." The Jays could stand to add a corner outfielder and there are a number of options available should the Jays decide to pursue them.
- I wrote an article for my fantasy website, RotoAuthority.com, suggesting that overhyped "sleepers" can still provide a profit.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets that Gary Sheffield might be a good fit for the Reds, and that Sheff was "on his way" to the Diamondbacks before they signed Adam LaRoche.
- Brandon Webb still contends that re-signing with the D'Backs is his first choice, in an article written by MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Reds, Padres, White Sox, and Royals inquired on the Yankees' Brett Gardner this winter, with hopes of using him as a starting center fielder.
- Bill Shanks of Scout.com makes a case for the Braves to sign Johnny Damon.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Dodgers are one club eyeing Garret Anderson for a fourth outfielder role.
1:19pm: Earlier in the week Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the club isn't currently talking trades with the Mariners. A deal is still possible, but the Brewers have shown no inclination to trade Gamel.
10:59am: The Mariners are trying to trade one of their young players and lock another one up long-term, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal hears that the Mariners are trying to trade Brandon Morrow for a corner infielder or DH. The M's may re-visit talks with the Brewers about a Mat Gamel for Morrow swap.