Matt Harvey Rumors
Scott Boras isn't generally in favor of pre-free agency extensions, but he ultimately lets his players decide for themselves, he tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. "I don’t think there’s any question that the reason a club offers a player guarantees when they don’t have to is they deem it to be beneficial to them -- just by the nature that they offer them," says Boras. "So if the club is doing something beneficial for the club, obviously most likely it’s not beneficial to the player." Regardless, Boras' general stance doesn't mean he's not open to pre-free agency deals in certain situations -- he himself cites the Carlos Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus deals, both of which he negotiated. The discussion comes in the context of questions about a potential extension for the Mets' Matt Harvey, but that doesn't sound particularly likely, given that Boras represents him and he turned down a substantial bonus offer after being drafted out of high school by the Angels. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Cubs, who have the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, will choose between four players: Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant, and UNC third baseman Colin Moran. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat notes that they'll get another chance to watch all except Appel, since Oklahoma, USD and UNC are all in the field of 64 for the NCAA Division I baseball championship. Just over 50% of you predict that Astros will select Gray with the first overall pick, which would leave the Cubs to choose from Appel, Bryant and Moran.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos characterizes this year's draft as "a down year" in a podcast interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. "It's just not nearly as deep. That being said, there's going to be a bunch of really good big-league players that come out of this draft," just as is the case every year, Anthopoulos says. Anthopoulos also notes the Blue Jays have had a difficult time figuring out who might fall to them with the No. 10 overall pick and who to select when the time comes. "There's really no clear-cut player with the players who are going to be remaining," he says.
- Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg isn't interested in talking about the trade deadline, Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports. "I almost look at it as a little disrespectful to the guys on the team that are here because this is a good product," says Gregg. "This isn’t like we’re getting our butts kicked on a daily basis and they’re looking to clean house. ... To be looking at what the future holds in June or July is worthless to me." Gregg says he still hopes the Cubs will wind up in contention, although that possibility seems remote, given that the team is 13 games back in the NL Central and that the three teams ahead of them all have one of the best records in baseball so far this year.
- Second baseman Derek Dietrich, who was traded from the Rays to the Marlins last December for Yunel Escobar, is finding it strange to be at Tropicana Field as a visiting player, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. "It is a little weird being in this side of the clubhouse," says Dietrich. "The Rays do a great job in raising their players. They really prepare you to be a successful big leaguer. I definitely got better in their organization. I appreciate everything they did for me, giving me that first opportunity. But I'm happy to be here, and be with the Marlins." The Rays picked Dietrich in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He's hitting .237/.308/.424 in 59 at bats in his rookie season with Miami.
The Yankees' Phil Hughes could be a possible free-agent fit for the Mets this winter, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets. Hughes' fly-ball tendencies would make homer-suppressing Citi Field a good ballpark for him, and the Mets will have plenty of money available, DiComo argues. Hughes has a 5.51 ERA so far this year, with 8.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Here are more notes from the Mets.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he "wouldn't say there's a timetable" for the promotion of Zack Wheeler, Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports. But it sounds like it won't be long. "I would say that if he continues to pitch well, he’d be here sometime in the near future," says Alderson. Wheeler struggled Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas against Salt Lake, allowing five runs, three earned, and two home runs in four innings while striking out four and walking three. For the season, Wheeler has a 4.13 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 while playing in the tough pitching environment of Las Vegas.
- Wheeler feels like he's "just waiting on time," the Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa writes. "I think I'm ready, but it is really not my decision." Costa notes that Wheeler's service time clock could play a role in the Mets' decision, citing potential concerns that he could become a Super Two player and become eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season. Costa also discusses comparisons between Wheeler and Matt Harvey, and notes that it will be very difficult for Wheeler's start in the majors to equal Harvey's even if Wheeler pitches brilliantly. Harvey's phenomenal start to his career has lifted him above Wheeler in status, even though Wheeler has pitched perfectly well in his own right.
Agent Jamie Murphy of TWC Sports, in an interview on Buster Olney's Baseball Tonight podcast on ESPN, says that client-stealing by other agents isn't particularly prevalent in baseball. When players do change agents, Murphy says, it's mostly "for the right reasons," such as, for example, a player changing from an inexperienced agent to a more experienced one. Murphy represents Nick Markakis, Mark Ellis and David Aardsma. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Ted Lilly will start for the Dodgers next Wednesday, with Chris Capuano heading to the disabled list with a calf strain, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. The Dodgers had a brief standoff with Lilly last weekend when the lefty refused a minor-league rehab assignment. That flareup was resolved, but it still wasn't clear whether the Dodgers might trade Lilly. But with Zack Greinke and Capuano on the DL and Aaron Harang gone via trade, the Dodgers' quandary about what to do with Lilly appears to be resolved, at least for now.
- Former Mets GM Omar Minaya credits former scouting director Rudy Terrasas with advocating for Matt Harvey when New York picked him No. 7 overall in the 2010 draft, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. "Rudy Terrasas was the one who brought him to my attention. Rudy deserves a lot of the credit for this one," Minaya says. "The thing that impressed me most about Harvey was the way he sustained velocity. He was throwing 96, 97 late in the game. He’s doing that now, and he had that when I saw him in college." Harvey has pitched brilliantly so far this season, posting an 0.82 ERA while striking out 25 batters and walking six in his first 22 innings.
The Yankees turned the first 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play in Major League history tonight in the eighth inning of their 5-2 win over the Orioles. Manny Machado was the unlucky Oriole who put the ball into play and he represented the third out while he was caught between first and second base.
Here are some news items from around the majors as we head into the weekend...
- Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has spoken to an opposing GM about a closer within the last week, Dombrowski told Jim Bowden during an interview on MLB Network Radio (Twitter link).
- The Mets haven't had any internal discussions about offering Matt Harvey an extension, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports, and likely won't do so until after the season at the earliest. Costa hears from a team of business students who project a four- or five-year deal worth $30-$35MM following the 2014 season as a fair possible extension for Harvey, though Costa wonders if Harvey (and agent Scott Boras) would agree to such a contract.
- Jason Isringhausen hasn't officially retired since he is open to pitching again in the right situation, but the veteran reliever tells FOX Sports Midwest's Ben Frederickson that "as of last year, I left on my terms. So, if it never happens again, I'm perfectly happy."
- Now that teams can trade from their pools of international bonus money, Baseball America's Ben Badler looks at which clubs might look to acquire or sell some of their funds this summer.
- In an ESPN Insider piece (subscription required), Jim Bowden discusses why he thinks a Jurickson Profar-for-Oscar Taveras deal would work for both the Rangers and Cardinals. Such a swap would be what Bowden calls a "challenge" trade that can shape a franchise, akin to the one he made as Reds GM in 1992 when he dealt Paul O'Neill to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly. Of course, as Bowden notes, that deal backfired badly for him: "True, that O’Neill-for-Kelly deal will haunt me to my grave, but it was the gutsiest trade I’ve ever made."
- A Profar-for-Taveras deal wouldn't make sense for the Rangers at this time, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett opines. Rather than deal for another prospect, Durrett argues Texas could move Profar as part of a package for a proven Major League star like David Price or Giancarlo Stanton. Or, the Rangers could simply keep Profar for themselves and instead move Ian Kinsler to first base or the outfield to make room.
Matt Harvey has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, and the Mets hurler appeared on the Baseball Tonight podcast with ESPN's Buster Olney to discuss how he could have signed with the Angels out of high school (Harvey appears near the 28:50 mark of this audio link). Here's more from the Eastern divisions...
- Tim Wakefield is joining the Red Sox as a special instructor and the honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- We're less than two weeks into the season, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times points out that's long enough for the Rays to delay Wil Myers' free agency by a season if they wish to call him up. The team will need to wait until June to prevent him from reaching Super Two status, however.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Ben Zobrist is one of the two best players in the game, dating back to 2009, according to WAR. Rosenthal spoke with Baseball-Reference.com founder Sean Forman and Zobrist himself about the statistic.
- The Marlins TV ratings are at an all-time low, according to Clark Spencer and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Spencer writes that the ratings may see an uptick every five days when rookie Jose Fernandez starts, but the fans are simply too bored with the team to care most days.
- Denard Span and B.J. Upton of the Nationals and Braves, respectively, will be on the same field for the first of many times in the coming seasons on Friday, writes Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Comak writes that there's a chance that this outcome could've come about with the pair's jerseys being flipped, had the offseason played out a bit differently.
The latest on the Mets...
- Mike Puma of The New York Post reports that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are the team's only untouchables in trade talks. GM Sandy Alderson is expected to explore trades more than free agents this winter, and they have "some interest" in White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers.
- Lucas Duda had surgery yesterday after fracturing his wrist moving furniture, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says that could take Ike Davis completely off the trade market. Duda was the club's backup plan at first base, though he is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
- David Lennon of Newsday says (on Twitter) that it would be very tough for the Mets to trade R.A. Dickey from a public relations perspective even if the two sides can't work out a long-term deal.
- John Harper of The New York Daily News writes that Alderson has plenty to prove following his first two years on the job. Outside of the Wheeler trade, Harper says his moves haven't worked out too well.
Some links pertaining to MLB's two eastern divisions as Prince Fielder is crowned Home Run Derby champion for the second time...
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes that Jonathan Papelbon says he and his teammates understand the business side of the game, but that trading Cole Hamels would still not go over well in their clubhouse.
- Carlos Beltran told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca and other reporters that the Blue Jays showed interest in him this offseason, but never made a formal contract offer. Beltran said the Indians and Rays were also interested, but most AL clubs wanted him to spend significant time at DH, and he wanted to play in the field regularly. According to Beltran, he would have considered the Giants, but they never called.
- The Mets are open to adding veteran pieces at the trade deadline this year to strengthen the club, but they won't be trading top prospects like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman offers speculative lists of relievers and catchers who could interest GM Sandy Alderson.
- Heyman also writes that the Braves are not currently in extension talks with Michael Bourn, and that Bourn will likely be pursued by the Giants this winter when he hits free agency.
The Nationals rewrote Major League history on Sunday in yet another sign that the beleaguered franchise has turned the proverbial corner. Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi became the first rookies to hit back-to-back home runs to lead off a game in the modern era. Here's the latest odds and ends from around the league as we look forward to Monday's amateur draft...
- Alfonso Soriano is open to being traded to a contender as he concedes his career is winding down at 36, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Soriano has made himself an attractive trade candidate with a 2012 slash line of .267/.311/.460, but remains unlikely to be moved thanks to his hefty contract. The Cubs owe Soriano the remainder of his $18MM salary for this year and $36MM over the next two seasons.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum hasn't seen team president Theo Epstein or scouting chief Jason McLeod in days and that's because they are in lockdown mode for Monday's amateur draft, says Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Theo and Jason and Jed (Hoyer), they've had a whole different system in the draft, and obviously it's worked pretty well," Sveum said. "The high picks they had in Boston panned out pretty good." Equipped with the sixth pick in the draft, the Cubs are expected to take high school center fielder Albert Almora or Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa based upon projections from Baseball America.
- Look for the Mets to consider making minor moves at the trade deadline rather than taking on salary to acquire an expensive veteran, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com. Cerrone points to Buster Olney's comments on Sunday night in which he stated that the team is focused on the big picture when Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler arrive in Queens in as soon as 14 months.
Mariano Rivera suffered an apparent right knee injury while shagging fly balls during batting practice today in Kansas City. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the details about the injury, which has been initially diagnosed as a twisted knee (Twitter link), though Rivera will undergo an MRI tonight. If the injury requires Rivera to miss time, it would be the legendarily durable closer's first DL stint since 2003. Follow @CloserNews for the latest on Rivera's status and how his possible absence would impact the Yankees' bullpen.
Here's some news from both Big Apple teams...
- Joba Chamberlain has been transferred to the 60-day DL, the Yankees announced today. In corresponding moves, Jayson Nix has been called up from Triple-A and Eric Chavez has been put on the seven-day DL due to a possible concussion.
- The Mets have no plans to call up star prospect Matt Harvey to become the team's new fifth starter, GM Sandy Alderson told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. “Aside from Matt himself -- and I love that he thinks this way -- there is no one in the organization who feels he is ready to be in the major leagues,” Alderson said. "When we bring him up, we hope to do so and not have to send him back. This is not about filling an immediate need. This is about the long-term stability of the organization and the team.” To that same end, the Mets will also not call up any of their other top pitching prospects like Zack Wheeler or Jeurys Familia.
- "There are no other options" for the Mets in regards to Jason Bay other than to hope that he returns from the DL fit and starts hitting, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo as part of a reader mailbag. I wouldn't say Bay is completely untradeable, as the Mets may be able to move him for another bad contract, though that wouldn't really help the situation. Bay is owed approximately $13.3MM over the remainder of this season and $16MM in 2013, though as DiComo notes, Bay's injury problems make it unlikely he will get the necessary plate appearances for his 2014 $17MM club option to vest.
The Marlins will break in their new ballpark tonight when they host the Cardinals and the regular season gets started in earnest. Here are some links from the NL East...
- The Mets "have taken a step backward in the short term" Mike Puma of the New York Post writes in his season preview. Puma points out that David Wright will look to prove himself worthy of an extension and suggests pitching prospect Matt Harvey could be called up by July.
- Mets VP of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta took questions in a Baseball Prospectus chat yesterday and explained that he'll be thrilled if Harvey and Zack Wheeler become dependable starters in the Major Leagues. "If they do, we'll be happy with the results in the long run," DePodesta added.
- Commissioner Bud Selig told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the Nationals are generating lots of buzz this spring. "In terms of people talking about a club that is clearly coming on, it’s the Nationals,” Selig said. The commissioner credits Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg for providing fans with "hope and faith.”