Melky Cabrera Rumors

AL East Notes: Gausman, Melky, Beltran, Yankees

The Orioles have announced that former first-round pick Kevin Gausman will take the hill for Wednesday’s start against the Tigers. Gausman, a consensus Top 30 prospect, debuted with the O’s last season but posted a 5.66 ERA in his 47 2/3 innings with the club. He’ll look to make a better impression this time around.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes that despite being tested three extra times last season and passing all of his mandatory tests thus far in 2014, Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera has been unable to escape the scrutiny that follows him as a former PED user. Cabrera will find out just how heavily that baggage impacts his value when he hits free agency this winter, Crasnick writes, but his teammates are quick to defend his character and skill set.
  • The Yankees‘ injury problems continued to pile up, as offseason acquisition Carlos Beltran was removed from last night’s game and to undergo an MRI after hyperextending his right elbow, ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand writes.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including Brendan Kuty of the Star Ledger, that he’d be “open to any external options” for his starting rotation but added, “…they’re really hard to find this time of year.” The GM wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Adam Warren shifting to the rotation with CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova all on the shelf.

Melky Cabrera Switches To The Legacy Agency

Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera has changed agents, moving from ACES to The Legacy Agency, reports Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal (via Twitter). He will be represented by Peter and Ed Greenberg, along with Chris Leible.

Cabrera is already under contract for 2014, the second year of his free agent deal with Toronto. He will make $8MM as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 campaign in which he saw just 372 pate appearances and posted a .279/.322/.360 slash line. Cabrera is set to hit free agency before the 2015 season at age thirty.


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A-Rod, 12 Others To Be Suspended Monday

Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players will be suspended for their involvement with Biogenesis, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Earlier today, we learned Rodriguez is to be suspended through the 2014 season and Heyman names Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli among the Major League players also expected to be suspended, as well as minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, and Cesar Puello. Heyman adds there are also three players on the suspension list whose names have yet to become public.

Heyman writes Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A's right-hander Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not be suspended in connection with Biogenesis, as they have served 50-game penalties already. 

All or almost all of the other 12 players are expected to accept 50-game suspensions, though there could be an additional holdout or two for appeal beyond Rodriguez, reports Heyman. All the players have the option to appeal, but it is believed close to all of them have made agreements for 50-game bans with MLB, Heyman adds. Players who appeal are eligible to keep playing until their case is heard.

Cruz told reporters, including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, "I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything. It's not just about myself, it's also about the team." Today is the 112th game played by the Rangers, so Cruz would be eligible to return for the playoffs (assuming Texas reaches the post-season), if he serves a 50-game suspension beginning Monday. Sullivan surmises the Rangers will recall an outfielder from the minors adding Manny Ramirez is not an option and manager Ron Washington is reluctant to use Jurickson Profar in the outfield. Regardless of what the Rangers end up doing, assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledges, "At this stage of the season, that's a difficult bat to replace."



MLB Preparing 50-Game Suspensions In Biogenesis Case

12:33am: Cruz has not decided whether he will serve his suspension or appeal it, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).

7:17pm: Major League Baseball is preparing 50-game suspensions for Biogenesis-linked players who have not been disciplined in the past, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Players such as Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli are among those facing these 50-game suspensions, as are minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Cesar Puello and Fautino de los Santos. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the vast majority of players connected to these 50-game suspensions — including playoff contenders Cruz and Peralta — are believed to be willing to accept the punishment rather than file appeals. Doing so will allow suspended players to play toward the end of September and into the playoffs, though their teams would be at a significant disadvantage down the stretch

Passan also tweets that MLB has threatened to double the penalty for players who do not cooperate with the suspensions, making cooperation a much more appealing option. Additionally, he adds that players who lied during the investigation could receive an additional 15 games on their suspensions, similar to Ryan Braun's case (Twitter link).

Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal are not likely to receive additional suspensions, having already served 50-game bans, according to Heyman. Both Heyman and Passan agree that Alex Rodriguez remains firm in his refusal to cooperate with a deal, as was reported earlier today. MLB would like Rodriguez to serve a suspension through the 2014 season but could pursue a lifetime ban if he does not cooperate.


Blue Jays Could Trade Bonifacio, Melky

Utility man Emilio Bonifacio is the most likely player to be traded by the Blue Jays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The Jays are also shopping outfielder Melky Cabrera, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Bonifacio, 28, came over from the Marlins in the November blockbuster.  He's limped to a .214/.254/.314 line on the season.  Cabrera, 28, inked a two-year, $16MM deal that was seen as a potential bargain after he served a PED suspension.  He could face another suspension by way of the forthcoming Biogenesis announcement, but the general feeling is that he already served his time.  His lack of offensive production may be the bigger concern in moving him.


MLB Preparing To Suspend At Least 20 Players In Biogenesis Scandal

9:46pm: Besides Braun and Rodriguez, "other major, major names" are also involved in the Biogenesis case, a source tells Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record (Twitter link).

6:56pm: Major League Baseball is planning to suspend at least 20 players connected to Biogenesis, the Miami clinic under investigation for supplying performance-enhancing drugs, reports T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish of ESPN's Outside The Lines.  Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has agreed to cooperate with the investigation and begin naming players, with suspensions possibly following within two weeks.

The list of possible suspensions includes Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jhonny Peralta, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto, plus others who are named in documents that the ESPN team haven't had access to, or are known under code names.

MLB officials have also investigated a possible connection between Biogenesis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, as the spokeswoman for Cano's foundation (Sonia Cruz) has had her name appear in some clinic documents.  Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez isn't expected to face suspension for his connection to Biogenesis since the products he obtained from the clinic weren't banned.

The league could look for a 100-game suspension (the penalty for second-time PED offenders) for Rodriguez, Braun and other first-time offenders since both the connection to Biogenesis and previous denials to MLB officials would serve as seperate offenses.  It is unknown how MLB would deal with players like Cabrera or Colon who already have PED suspensions on their record, though these players probably wouldn't face a lifetime ban as three-time offenders — their prior suspensions would likely count as their so-called "first strike," with this next violation putting them in line for 100-game suspensions as well.

Quinn/Gomez/Fish report that, as expected, the accused players will challenge any possible suspensions and it could be difficult for the league to obtain corroborating evidence in the appeals process beyond Bosch's testimony.


Quick Hits: Profar, Rodriguez, Kawasaki, Cubs

The Rangers should seriously consider trading Jurickson Profar, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Galloway argues that, despite Davis' strong 2012 and brilliant start in 2013, he won't criticize Jon Daniels' 2011 trade of Chris Davis (and Tommy Hunter) for Koji Uehara, because the trade was intended to position Texas for a World Series run, and the Rangers did in fact make it to the World Series. If the Rangers can arrange a Profar trade that sets them up for another run at a title, Galloway argues that they should make the deal and live with the results. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, however, tells ESPN's Jim Bowden that, while the Rangers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, they plan to keep Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, rather than dealing one of them (both links via Twitter).

As a side note, Galloway calls the Davis/Uehara deal "the worst MLB trade of this decade," even though he refrains from criticizing Daniels for it. Uehara was excellent for the Rangers, particularly in 2012, but he's since moved on, and Davis is currently hitting .357/.440/.754 with 20 home runs for the Orioles. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract in an interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. Rodriguez and the Yankees are currently in the sixth year of the deal, and Rodriguez will make $86MM from 2014 through 2017. Rodriguez has not yet played in 2013. "Alex would even tell you he couldn't live up to [the contract]," Cashman says. "Hopefully he can return to being, at the very least, an above-average player at that position."
  • When Jose Reyes returns, the Blue Jays will have to decide what to do with Munenori Kawasaki, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Due to the Jays' contractual obligations to Maicer Izturis and the presence of Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa, there would appear to be no space for Kawasaki once Reyes returns. Griffin suggests that the trade market for Izturis could be better than that of Kawasaki, though the Jays might have to pay some of the approximately $9MM remaining on Izturis' contract.
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping for an infusion of arms in this week's draft, Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports. "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," says Sveum. When the Cubs make the No. 2 overall selection, either Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray or Stanford's Mark Appel, or perhaps both, will still be on the board.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan discusses the role of general managers in the draft in an interview with 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey. GMs generally get credit or blame for their draft picks, but other front office personnel may be more responsible for those picks. "My role would be to take the blame when we don't do well, but I also get the praise when we do well. That's not fair," says Ryan. For example, Ryan discusses his role in the selection of Ben Revere, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. "That's a pick that I got praise for I think at the time. I didn't have anything to do with Ben Revere. (Our scouts) did. They all had seen him a lot. I get the praise. 'Good pick, there you go Terry.' Hell, I never even saw (Revere)."
  • Quintin Berry, who was recently designated for assignment by the Tigers, could make it through waivers and wind up back with Triple-A Toledo, MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets. Given that Berry is 28 and has hit just .168/.278/.234 so far for Toledo this season, that seems to be a fairly likely scenario.
  • When the Blue Jays begin a series in San Francisco Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera will face Giants fans for the first time since being suspended last August for failing a PED test, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Cabrera vanished after receiving word of the suspension, not talking to the San Francisco media. He then signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason. Cabrera says he isn't concerned with how the fans will react to his return. "I don't worry about that, it's up to the fans. It's nothing I have control of," Cabrera explains. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But, I'm not going to worry about that."

East Notes: Braves, Brignac, Cabrera

After the team's loss of Eric O'Flaherty to injury, the Braves appear likely to trade for a lefty reliever before the trade deadline, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). A trade is unlikely to occur anytime soon, however, since the deadline is more than two months away. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Reid Brignac has mixed feelings about recently being traded to the Yankees, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily news reports. The Rockies designated Brignac for assignment in favor of DJ LeMahieu. "It’s one of those business type things in baseball that happens. I understand some of it, so that’s fine," says Brignac. "But to be traded for by the Yankees is a great experience and I’m very excited to get started and help this team continue winning, because that’s what this team does." The Yankees believe Brignac is better suited to an infield bench job than Alberto Gonzalez, who they designated for assignment to clear space for him.
  • The Giants' recent series against Blue Jays was the first time many of Melky Cabrera's former teammates had seen him since the previous August, when he was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs, Richard Griffin of The Star writes. At that point, Cabrera left without addressing his teammates. But Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt sounded neither particularly excited nor upset to see Cabrera again. "For me, it didn’t bother me. When you see him . . . I gave him a hug in the weight room. I said, 'Is it good.' He said, 'It’s great, man.' Then we walked away," said Affeldt. "It might have been more awkward for him than it was for us. The reality is that we were out there trying to win a game." Cabrera is hitting .283/.319/.376 after signing a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason.

Quick Hits: Giants, Cabrera, Rangers, Rondon, Tigers

Despite reports to the contrary, the Giants never discussed nor offered a deal to Melky Cabrera in the range of $75-85MM prior to the outfielder's 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).  Cabrera was expected to be in line for a major pay day up until that point but a softened market led him to take a two-year, $16MM deal with the Blue Jays over the winter.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Ron Matejko of ESPNDallas.com, not to expect any additions between now and Opening Day.  "I would expect the 25 will come out of [the Rangers clubhouse]," said Daniels.  "I won't 100 percent rule out an outside acquisition, and we do our due diligence and make our calls, things can come about, but you have to be prepared to go in house."
  • Tigers manager Jim Leyland says that it is "possible" that rookie Bruce Rondon will open the season as part of a bullpen by committee, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.  The Tigers have reportedly been looking to acquire a proven closer via trade in recent weeks but using Rondon with other relievers already in-house would be a less-costly middle ground.
  • The Pirates released former first-round pick Aaron Poreda, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).  Pittsburgh picked up the left-hander in last winter's Rule 5 draft but he made just three Double-A starts for the organization in 2012.

NL West Notes: Dodgers, Giants, Capuano, Cabrera

The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches on the mound and it stands to reason that, at some point, they will move at least one of their extra starters for other assets.  Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that Ted Lilly is drawing more interest than Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang at this stage, despite missing most of last season.  Here’s more out of Los Angeles and other notes from the NL West..

  • Rival officials believe that other clubs will wait for the Dodgers to be backed into a corner by the calendar before making a deal for Harang and/or Capuano, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d).  The idea behind that is to push the Dodgers to eat most of the money owed to the pitchers. Harang will make $7MM for this season and has a $2MM buyout on a 2014 option. Capuano, meanwhile, will make $6MM, with a $1MM buyout.
  • Yesterday, Olney wrote that the Giants were in talks on a deal worth roughly $80MM with Melky Cabrera before his suspension, but a source with deep knowledge of the club’s thinking says that no deal was close.  The slugger ultimately landed in Toronto this winter, signing a two-year, $16MM deal.
  • Woody Paige of the Denver Post writes that the Rockies need to upgrade their rotation with Capuano and J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays.  Toronto can afford to part with the former National League rookie of the year as he isn’t slated to be part of the rotation in 2013.