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Matt Harvey Rumors
While attention remains focused on Cole Hamels, clubs should consider trading for Cliff Lee instead, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.com. Lee’s struggles in 2014 can be chalked up to injury and bad luck, so teams should be willing to take a bet on better performance. Cameron thinks the Phillies should bite the bullet and swallow the entire $25MM owed to Lee this season, leaving an acquiring club to cover the $12.5MM buyout or $27.5MM club option for next season. If the Phillies eat enough money, they should receive at least one notable prospect in exchange for the ace. Lee dealt with a recurring elbow injury last season, so rivals are probably playing wait-and-see.
- The Phillies are easing Lee back into regular action, reports Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. Most pitchers are throwing bullpens every other day, but Lee will work from the mound every third day. His health this spring will determine if he is a salable asset. One consideration to keep in mind – Lee’s partial no-trade list includes many of the clubs most likely to acquire him. Meanwhile, Hamels list appears to name places least likely to contend.
- Hamels wants to play for a winner, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. He is comfortable in Philadelphia and hopes the club can be surprise contenders this season. However, he’s also pragmatic. He understands GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has to address the big picture, which could include dealing him to greener pastures.
- Mets ace Matt Harvey will pitch within the first five games of the season, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN. Manager Terry Collins says the club won’t skip any of his starts either. It was previously reported that Harvey will be on a strict innings limit, but they’ve backed off that position in the last day.
- The Marlins continue to consider Francisco Rodriguez, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. We recently learned K-Rod is seeking a one-year, $10MM guarantee. The Marlins appear to be interested in a much lower rate.
While there have been indications that the Marlins won’t trade Giancarlo Stanton, many writers continue to speculate and discuss the possibility with league sources, and ESPN’s Buster Olney is the latest to talk Stanton with executives from around baseball (ESPN Insider required). Olney spoke to many executives about the potential NL MVP, with one telling him, “No team is going to give up the kind of prospects that is going to be required without knowing they’re going to be able to keep him.” The “kind of prospects” to which that official refers, according to Olney, is a Top 5 type of prospect that can serve as the anchor for the deal in front of many other well-regarded prospects. One executive half-joked that the Dodgers, for example, should open negotiations by simply offering all three of Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias, as the price will be astronomical. (Olney notes that Miami would ask for two of the three at the very least.) Olney names several teams that have the necessary prospects, including the Cubs (Kris Bryant), Cardinals (Oscar Taveras, presumably, as he doesn’t specify) and Astros (Carlos Correa, presumably) among others. And Stanton’s price tag on Stanton’s next major contract? Execs polled by Olney pegged him for a deal in the $250-300MM range, though it seems possible for that expectation to rise if he hits free agency after two more elite and healthy seasons.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Stanton is the focus of the latest from Grantland’s Jonah Keri, who looks at the historic company with which Stanton has aligned himself early in his career. Keri’s excellent piece points out that Stanton is just the 11th player in history to have 150+ homers through his age-24 season. Additionally, when looking at players who have signed contracts for $180MM+, only two had amassed a higher WAR total than Stanton’s 20.9 (Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols). Keri and researcher Michael Bonzagni “scoured” history books to find a player with the same level of skill, youth and success that was traded at this juncture of his career, and the only comparison they could find came back in 1919 — a man by the name of George Herman Ruth.
- Rehabbing Mets starter Matt Harvey will throw a few more bullpen sessions and then be shut down until the spring, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. He will reach the point of using all his pitches and throwing in a simulated inning setting, but will not face batters until ramping back up. Needless to say, Harvey’s recovery is a critical piece of the club’s plans both in the immediate and long term.
- James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the legal battle between the Orioles and Nationals over the latter’s television rights with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) will drag on for at least three more months. The O’s have until Sept. 23 to file an amended petition to the New York Supreme Court, and the Nationals and MLB have until Oct. 20 to file a cross petition to dispute the other side’s claims. All parties involved will meet before a judge for a Dec. 15 hearing, Wagner adds.
After going through a number of difficult times with MLB, Rob Manfred is more than ready to take over as commissioner, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Manfred started working for MLB as an outside counsel in 1994, so he definitely knows what a crisis situation is all about. More from around baseball..
- In a radio interview last week, Matt Harvey reiterated that he is eager to get back to action for the Mets and said he is throwing in the mid-90s in his sessions. Later, manager Terry Collins got in touch with the star hurler. “And I explained to him, I understand that,” Collins said of Harvey’s desire to get back to pitching, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. “But the process is right now, you’ve got to understand it’s the big picture, and the big picture is 2015. So back off.”
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post explores why the Mets and Cubs, who seem perfectly suited to swing a trade (pitching for a shortstop), have yet to take the leap. A NL executive tells Sherman the Mets “don’t make a lot of trades and that is because they really don’t like to give up what they perceive as their big talent, unless they can convince you to give them $2 for their 35 cents.“
- White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters, including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, he will consider promoting Carlos Rodon (the third overall selection in this year’s draft) when the rosters expand in September. “If he’s doing well enough to come up here, yeah,” Ventura said. “If he’s available and he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. I would like to see it but he’s got to be ready to go.” Rodon, who is not on the White Sox’s 40-man roster, was promoted to Triple-A yesterday.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) if the club can “find a reliever that can help us late in the games we will consider it.”
- The Astros have decisions to make on a pair of injured right-handed relievers, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Matt Albers (out since April with shoulder tendinitis) has a 2015 club option and Jesse Crain (who has been sidelined since undergoing surgery for biceps tendinitis last October) signed a one-year deal in January and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would like to see them pitch this season before deciding their fates. “It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games.” said Luhnow. “I’m sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year.”
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Rehabbing Mets ace Matt Harvey hopes to return to big league action at the end of this season, the righty tells Tom Verducci of SI.com. While Harvey acknowledged that he would not push to return before being cleared, he said he wants to re-establish himself on the hill before the year is out. “I just want the peace of mind,” said Harvey. “I want to go back out there and know I still have the stuff to strike out major league hitters.” For his part, club GM Sandy Alderson sounded a cautious note, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. “Not being a medical doctor and not really faced with that decision previously, I’ll reserve judgment,” he said. “But the one thing we don’t want to do is be put in a situation where someone — Matt, or anyone else — has a setback because we’ve pushed the natural recovery processes further than we should have.”
Here’s the latest on some injury situations around the game that could potentially have transactional implications:
- Cliff Lee of the Phillies underwent an MRI today on his left elbow, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. The durable and excellent lefty has been throwing through elbow tenderness for the last several weeks, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the discomfort increased in his last start. The 35-year-old has been diagnosed with a flexor pronator strain, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though a full assessment will await the results of the MRI. Needless to say, a prolonged absence or ongoing injury questions could not only have ramifications for the Phils’ ability to stay in the post-season race, but could heavily impact the summer’s starting pitching trade market. Lee, who has 21-club no-trade rights, is owed $25MM this year and next before a 2016 vesting/club option that comes with a $12.5MM buyout.
- Mariners first baseman/outfielder/DH Corey Hart is expected to miss four to six weeks, reports MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). That news — and Stephen Drew‘s signing with the Red Sox today — has fueled calls for Seattle to take another look at re-signing first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales. Should Morales stay a free agent until the upcoming amateur draft, of course, he will be free to sign anywhere without costing his new team a pick, and without returning a compensatory choice to the M’s.
- Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran still hopes to play through the bone spur in his elbow, but if surgery is required he would be out for about two months, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Beltran saw Dr. James Andrews today, who confirmed the original diagnosis. It appears that the question at this point is whether or not Beltran can deal with the pain while playing at full speed.
Here's the latest from both Queens and the Bronx…
- The Mets' financial situation is examined by Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of the New York Times, as offseason spending on the likes of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon basically just amounted to a reinvestment of the payroll that was coming off the team's books from 2013.
- Matt Harvey is under the Mets' control through the 2018 season, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks ahead to whether the Mets can address their payroll issues in time to sign Harvey to an extension. If not, Harvey would be a prime free agent target for the Yankees, especially since Harvey grew up a Bombers fan and loves pitching in New York. Scott Boras, Harvey's agent, feels the Mets have the resources to keep the righty in the fold: “They have David Wright signed [long-term], and in four years the idea is they can have another iconic New York player signed [long-term]. This is New York. It is about having iconic players.The bigger issue is the Mets have all the benefits of their market to keep an iconic player — the City, a relatively new stadium, a TV network. That fits the mold of good business in New York.”
- “It’s like growing up playing in your backyard. You never want to leave that place, those guys,” Robinson Cano tells GQ's Daniel Riley about his time with the Yankees. “The three high points as a Yankee for me: when [Derek] Jeter got 3,000 hits, Andy [Pettitte]’s last game, and Mariano [Rivera]’s final ceremony. Those are the things that stick in your mind, in your heart.” The new Mariners second baseman also discusses his hiring of CAA and Roc Nation Sports as his new agents, and his life growing up in San Pedro de Macoris.
- If Michael Pineda is healthy and pitches well in 2014, it wouldn't be a bad idea for the Yankees to explore trading the young right-hander for an everyday player, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues writes as part of a reader mailbag post. Pineda's history of shoulder problems could make it hard for the Yankees to rely on Pineda in the long term, so selling high for infield help could make some sense.
Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown writes that the Phillies-Ben Wetzler saga is a reminder that the current system, in which NCAA rules permit players to retain "advisors" but not agents who personally negotiate with MLB clubs, is broken. Commenting for the article, Scott Boras noted that "anyone in America can have an attorney –- a representative –- for a complicated negotiation, except an athlete who signed a letter of intent to an NCAA institution." It's time for a change in the rules, Boras argues, as "teams annually solicit and participate in a process where they're knowingly violating NCAA rules and jeopardizing the student-athlete eligibility." Here's more from around the NL East:
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the incident in comments today, telling The Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb and other reporters that he isn't worried about how it will impact the club's reputation. "I think people know we do things professionally and the way we go about our business," he said. "So I think our reputation is very good." Amaro didn't address his role in the process beyond saying that he was "aware" Wetzler was being reported.
- Bobby Abreu's strong performance in Venezuelan winter ball set him up for a tryout with the Phillies, reports Gelb. Abreu is almost guaranteed to make the club's roster as a bench bat if he perfomes adequately in Spring Training.
- Mets ace Matt Harvey threw for the first time since Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com's Marty Noble writes. The Mets would prefer to keep the story of Harvey's progress quiet, however.
The Mets have announced that ace Matt Harvey has elected to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery later this month.
Harvey's absence for the 2014 season will be a crushing blow, as the 24-year-old was worth a robust 6.1 wins above replacement (per Fangraphs) in just 178 1/3 innings this season. Harvey pitched to an electric 2.27 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate over the course of his first full season at the Major League level in 2013.
The Mets were expected to be aggressive players on the free agent market with an eye toward contending in 2014 with David Wright healthy at third base and a young pitching core fronted by Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jonathon Niese. They still appear poised to make a splash on the free agent market this winter, though the news that they will officially be without Harvey in 2014 has to significantly dampen expectations for the team's ultimate performance next season.
Though the team has numerous young pitching options, the confirmation that Harvey will be sidelined for the entirety of the 2014 campaign could increase the likelihood that the team adds a veteran starting pitcher to a wishlist that reportedly already includes Shin-Soo Choo.
Earlier today, we learned that Marlins owner Jeffery Loria seems to be taking the lead on baseball decisions as rumors swirl about the job security of president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. Here's more out of the NL East..
- Yesterday we learned that for the time being, Mets ace Matt Harvey will try to avoid Tommy John surgery by rehabbing his throwing elbow this fall. However, the Mets' statement on the situation seemed to take a more glass-half-empty view of the plan. According to the club, doctors determined that "surgical repair would likely be necessary, unless [Harvey] could complete a throwing program free of elbow-related symptoms."
- Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation wonders what Jayson Werth would make on the open market if he were a free agent this winter. Werth's seven-year, $126MM deal looked like an overpay on the part of the Nationals three years ago, but he's in the middle of a surprisingly strong campaign, hitting .320/.397/.533 with 23 homers. He's owed $83MM over the next four seasons and while he wouldn't get that much if he were headed towards free agency, Brisbee could see $65MM on a four-year deal.
- Last night could have been Roy Halladay's final home start in a Phillies uniform. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com asks if he should be brought back for 2014 and concludes that he would be worth it on a low-cost one-year deal with incentives.
The plan of action could change later this offseason, but for now, Matt Harvey has decided to try and avoid undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The young Mets ace will try to rehab his right elbow for a month or two and then throw to see if he bounces back well from the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Here's more on the Mets and the rest of the NL East…
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog isn't on board with the Mets bringing Terry Collins back for next season and beyond. The Mets have stopped short of officially saying that Collins will manage the team in 2014, but all indications are that he will be back in the dugout.
- Look for Elliot Johnson to be back with the Braves in a super-utility role next season, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com within his latest column. Atlanta is quite pleased with their August waiver claim on the 29-year-old as he has done a capable job of filling in for second baseman Dan Uggla.
- More from Rosenthal's piece, as he writes that Danny Valencia’s strong play with the Orioles could make him an appealing option for the Marlins, who will be looking for help at third base this winter. It doesn't hurt that Valencia has strong ties to the area as he was born in Miami, grew up in nearby Boca Raton, and attended the University of Miami.
- The Phillies are a prime example of how fortunes can change quickly in the game of baseball, writes MLB.com's Paul Hagen. The Phillies opted to keep their aging core in tact this season despite being bogged down by injuries.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Yesterday it was reported that the Mets are likely to target Shin-Soo Choo as a free agent this offseason. Choo projects as one of the top names available and would serve as a long-term upgrade in right field, should the Mets be able to entice him more than the host of other suitors Choo figures to have. Here's more on Choo and other Mets-related issues…
- General manager Sandy Alderson told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he "certainly [hasn't] ruled out a big-ticket item" on the free agent market this winter, though he didn't mention Choo by name. One Mets-connected person told Heyman, however, that Choo "fits the bill" in terms of what the team is looking for.
- Also in that piece, Heyman adds that Jacoby Ellsbury isn't likely to be a prime target for the Mets because they're pleased with the emergence of Juan Lagares in center. While Lagares' .264/.301/.385 batting line has hardly set the world on fire, he's been worth three wins above replacement, per Fangraphs, due to his incredible center field defense.
- Finally from Heyman's article, one top Mets executive expressed relief that the team didn't end up signing Michael Bourn last offseason. The Mets, of course, pursued Bourn heavily and lobbied to be able to keep their No. 11 overall pick in signing him, but Cleveland swooped in with a four-year, $48MM offer and landed the speedster.
- Ruben Tejada's play for the remainder of the season rest is important, because it might mean one less position that needs to be filled this winter, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Yesterday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wrote that the Mets are likely to explore external options this winter and they may even shop Tejada.
- Matt Harvey told reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, that he's optimistic about his chances to avoid Tommy John surgery. Harvey is slated to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, after which Andrews will confer with Dr. David Altchek on the best course of action for the Mets ace.
Zach Links contributed to this post.