Matt Murton Rumors
Steve Foster of InsidetheRockies.com reports that the Rockies have signed 21 players to one-year contracts. Some of the more recognizable names include Chris Iannetta, Greg Smith, Ryan Spilborghs, Matt Murton and Franklin Morales.
Links for Thursday...
- Lot of people tossing around the number of unsigned free agents...I have it at about 80, at least if we draw the line at players that are remotely useful. Here's my list.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues would like to see the Yankees sign Mark Grudzielanek.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's will attend Andy Sisco's Friday workout.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com takes a stab at the All-Free Agent team.
- The Rockies did not acquire Matt Murton as a precursor to another deal, Troy Renck learned.
- The Blue Jays designated catcher Curtis Thigpen for assignment to make room for Brian Burres.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star shows that MLB has done a nice job of keeping player salaries at 40-45% of the game's revenue in recent years (as opposed to 62% in the NFL).
- RotoAuthority looks at how you can combine a Rich Harden type with a Randy Wolf type to create a top ten fantasy baseball starting pitcher.
According to a press release, the Rockies acquired outfielder Matt Murton from the A's for infielder Corey Wimberly.
Murton, 27, has a career line of .288/.354/.438 in 1002 plate appearances. He's been involved in two big trades - the Nomar Garciaparra deal in '04 and the Rich Harden trade last year. Murton spent most of '08 in the minors and did not show much power.
Wimberly, 25, ranked as the Rockies' 26th-best prospect in the '09 Baseball America Handbook. He went unclaimed in the Rule 5 draft in December after hitting .291/.370/.345 in Double A. The speedster is said to be in the Bip Roberts mold, according to BA.
Here's a look back at the biggest stories MLBTR covered for the week of July 6 - 13:
- The Brewers completed a deal for C.C. Sabathia, sending Matt LaPorta and other prospects to Cleveland in return. Sabathia's looked great so far, and LaPorta's already making an impact in the Indians minor league system. Looks good for both teams right now if you ask this guy.
- The Cubs answered their division rival quickly, landing Oakland ace Rich Harden along with Chad Gaudin in exchange for Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, and Josh Donaldson. Harden was brilliant in his debut. I think this could be another win-win trade, if Harden stays healthy.
- It was once again made clear that no one has interest in Barry Bonds, even at this juncture of the season. Seems like we've heard this once or twice before...
- It was a long time coming: The Mariners released Richie Sexson. Could the Yankees be interested?
- With likely season-ending injuries to both Eric Byrnes and Moises Alou (possibly career-ending in Alou's case), both the D'Backs and Mets are in the market for corner outfielders. Raul Ibanez should be appealing to both clubs, though the Mariners may not be interested in trading him, Jim Riggleman says. Carlos Beltran voiced his support of acquiring Ibanez. I personally don't see why Seattle wouldn't pull the trigger, but I'm not a Major League GM, I suppose.
- Tim updated both the first base and catcher markets in the Trade Market Series.
- The Twins had internal discussions on Adrian Beltre. A third base upgrade would certainly be nice, but they're not known for making big moves at the deadline. Could Bill Smith change that reputation in his first year as GM?
Buster Olney's blog post is overloaded with rumors today. Here's a rundown:
- Olney's Speculation: Will the Red Sox will express interest in Khalil Greene with Julio Lugo on the DL for 4-6 weeks? Olney also wonders if the Dodgers will seek Huston Street if Takashi Saito is seriously hurt.
- Scout Speculation: Huston Street and Matt Murton to the Rays for prospects?
- Bobby Kielty was granted release by the Red Sox.
- Richie Sexson could decide where to go based on greatest offered playing time. I'd say that's expected for a veteran starter.
- Olney says that requests for Max Scherzer are keeping the Dbacks from making any moves, such as for Raul Ibanez.
- David Ortiz is slated to return to the lineup on July 25th, which leaves the Red Sox less than a week to evaluate him and make a move if necessary. Olney details some options:
- Acquire a hitter during the waiver period after the deadline. This would rule out comparable replacements such as Matt Holliday or Mark Teixeira.
- Make a "preemptive strike" for Holliday or Teixeira costing them "at least one of their best prospects".
- Target a "second or third tier bat" such as Ibanez or Xavier Nady.
- Continue on with or without an effective Ortiz, hoping their offense is good enough.
I've got some odds and ends related to the Rich Harden and CC Sabathia trades.
- The Cub Reporter had an interesting post yesterday, stating that Harden can demand a trade after this season under the old CBA. The Cubs could always sidestep that by declining Harden's $7MM option and going through the arbitration process with him. I ran this by a source close to the situation, and he said the Cubs are not worried about Harden demanding a trade.
- Bruce Miles talks about the "great personal and working relationship" between GMs Jim Hendry and Billy Beane.
- Susan Slusser says Beane never inquired on the Cubs' top draft pick from 2007, third baseman Josh Vitters. She says the A's did not consider it appropriate to ask for a player they had no chance of getting.
- Slusser adds that "there is thought among other clubs that the A's might deal Matt Murton or Eric Patterson."
- Authors at the Hardball Times did a roundtable about both trades.
- Squawking Baseball praises Beane's boldness.
- The Royals spoke internally about Sabathia, but it never got to the point of a discussion with the Indians.
5:36pm: The AP story is out. The Cubs get Harden and Chad Gaudin for Gallagher, Murton, Patterson, and catching prospect Josh Donaldson. Jim Hendry did his best to counter the Brewers' acquisition of CC Sabathia, and Gaudin is more than a throw-in. The A's get three MLB-ready players plus a solid offense-oriented catching prospect. Gallagher would have to be considered the centerpiece for Oakland.
5:25pm: Dave Kaplan of WGN Radio in Chicago reports that the Cubs have acquired Rich Harden from the A's. Sean Gallagher is reportedly part of the deal, and possibly Matt Murton. Hal McCoy says Eric Patterson and another minor leaguer are also included. More when I have it.
Harden, 26, has been dominant in 13 starts for the A's this year. The injury-prone Harden is a tantalizing player; he's only topped 130 innings once but has a career ERA of 3.42. The latest concern: decreased velocity/dead arm in his last start.
Harden has a $7MM club option for '09, which is highly likely to be exercised.
- The Rays are focused on a right-handed hitter. Matt Murton and Xavier Nady are on the radar.
- As you know, the White Sox fired scouting director Dave Wilder and two scouts for violations of the team's scouting and signing procedures in Latin America. At the time, the Chicago Tribune said the investigation involved skimming and was limited to the Sox. However, Gammons says Wilder is telling investigators about other teams.
- Gammons agrees with Scott Merkin of MLB.com - the White Sox will not be active in the trade market.
ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog entry up, with the focus on the Cubs' desire to add a starting pitcher. Gammons talked to a Cubs official who said, "We almost certainly will do something. But we really don't want to give up Sean Gallagher at this point."
Here's a quick rundown of the candidates:
- C.C. Sabathia - Cubs don't believe they have enough to get him.
- Rich Harden - Gammons doesn't specifically say the Cubs are interested, just that they're monitoring Oakland.
- Randy Wolf - The Cubs have interest, and Gammons says Wolf would waive his no-trade to go to a contender. Plus, Wolf treated the Cubs well when they courted him in the 2006-07 offseason. Gammons adds that the Padres still like Matt Murton. History has shown that Jim Hendry and Kevin Towers work well together on trades.
- A.J. Burnett - The Cubs "also keep looking" at him. Last Thursday, Gammons' colleague Jayson Stark hadn't found "any indication that the Cubs have even batted his name around."
- Aaron Cook - Gammons says the Cubs would love him, but Rockies' GM Dan O'Dowd said earlier this month, "We're not doing anything with Cookie."
- Bronson Arroyo, Kevin Millwood - Gammons says the Cubs have "kicked around" these names.
THURSDAY: Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times talked to a Cubs insider who says the team has had no talks with Boston about Crisp since spring training. By the way - Crisp recently strained a muscle in his hand, but it's not considered serious.
WEDNESDAY: It's been suggested that trade showcasing is a misconception. Nonetheless, Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan believes they may be doing just that with Matt Murton right now. Murton was hitting .298/.397/.382 in Triple A, showing much less power than he had in the Majors. He did pick it up to a .495 SLG in May though. He has a chance to play left field regularly for the Cubs with Alfonso Soriano out.
Sullivan says the Cubs sent Special Assistant to the GM Ken Kravec to scout the Red Sox recently, perhaps with an eye on Coco Crisp. He says the Cubs might be willing to trade Boston native Rich Hill in a deal. Center field does not seem an immediate concern for the Cubs, as Jim Edmonds is hitting .309/.351/.515 in 68 plate appearances for them.