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Dan Jennings was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office show this morning, and the Marlins GM told hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden (as per Bowden’s Twitter account) that owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to “open the checkbook” to make additions before the trade deadline. Miami began the season with one of the league’s lowest payrolls at just under $46MM, yet despite losing ace Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery, the Fish began the day just 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The Marlins could be looking to take advantage of their surprising good form, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported earlier today that Miami has been as aggressive as any team in scouting for upgrades.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- The Braves likely won’t be involved in the bidding for the Rays‘ David Price or the Cubs‘ Jeff Samardzija, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The team is already over budget and still has a solid starting rotation, despite the loss of Gavin Floyd.
- The easiest way for the Phillies to rebuild would be to trade Cole Hamels, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Despite Hamels’ big contract (he is owed approximately $107.5MM through the end of the 2019 season), he is younger and carries fewer health question marks than other veteran Phillies who could be available in trades. “If I were in their boat, I’d really hate to move [Hamels],” a rival executive tells Brookover. “But if you go back to question about which player is going to bring you the most value, you’re going to get the most for that guy. You have to get the most you can for a guy like that. If you don’t, you keep him. But you’re only going to get 1.5 pieces for someone else when you could get a lot more than that for him.”
- When Travis d’Arnaud returns this week, the Mets have the choice of either optioning Anthony Recker to Triple-A or exposing Taylor Teagarden to waivers, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes. Also, Teagarden has the option of becoming a free agent if he is outrighted again. Rubin explores several factors in the decision, such as whether the Mets would mind losing Teagarden, and the effect this roster move could have on catching prospect Kevin Plawecki‘s development.
There may not be a more heavily-discussed player in the leadup to the July 31 trade deadline than David Price. Here’s the latest buzz about the Rays southpaw…
- The Dodgers are considered the favorites to land Price by many around baseball, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Cardinals have recently been scouting Price, and the Giants are also in the mix. The Marlins could have an interest in Price, and had scouts watching his start last Friday.
- Topkin also opines that the Braves, Angels and Indians make sense as possible suitors for Price. Cleveland scouts were present at Price’s most recent start.
- The Rays would prefer to trade Price to the National League, or if not the NL, at least outside of their own division. While an AL East trade isn’t impossible, Topkin believes a division rival would have to give up something beyond the already-large asking price the Rays are seeking for their ace.
- It helps both Price and the Rays if a trade is worked out sooner rather than later, Topkins believes. The Rays can get an early jump on the pitching market and Price seems to be getting frustrated by both Tampa Bay’s struggles and the constant questions about his future.
- While Price is only under contract through the 2015 season, a rival scout tells ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) that teams gunning for a World Series won’t hesitate to give up a big trade package for the lefty. “You worry about the cost of signing him later, and if he walks away, that’s the way it goes. But you’re adding a No. 1 starter who can be a difference-maker for two seasons,” the scout said.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column…
- Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger. It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
- The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes. Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy. “We’re meeting on it. Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
- The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded. Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
- The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL. With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job. Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
- Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
- Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston. “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo. “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.” This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
- While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder. Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
- The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available. Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
- Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing. “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
- The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Ben Revere | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Quentin | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Chris Denorfia | Christian Vazquez | Danny Espinosa | Grady Sizemore | Kendrys Morales | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Matt Kemp | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | Nate Schierholtz | Newsstand | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Seth Smith | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
After the Reds’ agreement with Alex Blandino yesterday, 25 of this year’s 34 first-round picks have signed or at least agreed to terms on their signing bonus. Here are some of the latest draft-related (non-signing) news items from around the league…
- As noted by Baseball America earlier this week, the White Sox have $6.58MM that they can spend on top pick Carlos Rodon without losing future draft picks (Twitter link). Chicago’s situation with Rodon is somewhat similar to the one the Mariners faced with Alex Jackson, with whom they agreed to terms earlier this week. Both Rodon and Jackson are advised by Scott Boras, and both teams signed picks 2-10 prior to dealing with their first-rounder. Because picks beyond the 10th round don’t count against a team’s bonus pool (unless a team gives a bonus of more than $100K in rounds 11-40), that basically places a firm limit on what type of bonus they can offer. If anything, Jackson may have had more leverage as a high school player. MLB.com’s Jim Callis recently noted that he fully expects Chicago to sign Rodon, though he added that the Sox haven’t inked a notable Boras draftee since Alex Fernandez back in 1990 (Twitter links).
- MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that the Marlins considered Tyler Kolek the top player in this year’s draft, even over No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken. Had Miami selected first overall, they’d still have taken Kolek, Frisaro reports. Had Houston taken Kolek, however, Aiken was No. 2 on their board.
- While the Mets and top pick Michael Conforto are in agreement on a signing bonus in the range of $2.987MM, as reported earlier in the week, there does appear to be a bit of work left to do before the deal becomes official, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It isn’t clear exactly what the holdup is at this time, he adds, stating that it could be an issue of language within the contract. Whatever the issue, his signing bonus doesn’t appear to be a factor anymore.
- Cardinals third-rounder Trevor Megill has decided to return to college for his senior season rather than sign with St. Louis, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Megill’s draft stock plummeted after he required Tommy John prior to his junior season at Loyola Marymount. MLB.com’s Jen Langosch noted recently that Megill would likely require an over-slot bonus or would return for his senior year.
Here are Wednesday’s notable mid- to late-round draft signings, with all slot information coming courtesy of Baseball America…
- The Marlins have agreed to an over-slot, $400K bonus with seventh-rounder Anfernee Seymour, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). BA ranked Seymour 396th among draft prospects, noting that the high school outfielder has legitimate 80-grade speed and a strong throwing arm that make him an intriguing center field prospect. A native of the Bahamas, Seymour’s hit tool raises question, and he has well below-average power, per BA. His slot value was $205,700.
We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves right here:
- Pitcher Randy Wolf has cleared outright waivers and elected free agency, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). The 37-year-old southpaw ultimately threw 25 2/3 frames for Miami, working to a 5.26 ERA and registering 19 strikeouts against just six walks. He will now look for his fourth organization of the season.
- Outrighted on Monday, Diamondbacks corner infielder/outfielder Nick Evans has decided to accept his assignment rather than electing free agency, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 28-year-old saw only 11 plate appearances with Arizona, but managed a home run in his only hit. It was his first taste of the big leagues since a run of partial-season action with the Mets between 2008-11. Evans has been enjoying his finest season at Triple-A, and he will return to a .335/.393/.641 triple-slash.
- MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows only two players in limbo, each of whom was designated yesterday: Grady Sizemore (Red Sox) and Josh Stinson (Orioles).
The Marlins have agreed to a minor league deal with pitcher Brad Penny, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter links). Penny is represented by Jonathan Maurer and Millenium Sports Management.
If the 36-year-old righty can return to the big leagues, he will make a prorated $800K salary. Should he not receive a call-up by July 31, he will be able to exercise an opt-out clause, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Cotillo adds that the incentives could drive the deal into seven figures.
Penny started a comeback attempt with the Royals over the spring, but he and Kansas City reportedly agreed to a release when it became clear that he would not make the team’s Opening Day Roster. In four Spring Training frames, Penny allowed 13 hits (including two long balls) and seven earned runs.
Of course, Penny started his career with the then-Florida Marlins back in 2000. At his best, in 2007 with the Dodgers, Penny tossed 208 innings of 3.03 ERA ball. He last featured as a starter in the bigs in 2011, working to a 5.30 ERA in 181 2/3 frames. Penny threw 28 innings out of the bullpen for the Giants in 2012, posting a 6.11 ERA and striking out only 3.2 batters per nine innings.
The latest trade deadline news and rumors out of the National League …
- Even as the team explores the possibility of an extension, the Cubs are still indicating to other clubs that top starter Jeff Samardzija is available, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. As Wittenmyer notes, Chicago engaged in “lukewarm final talks” with Matt Garza last year prior to dealing him away.
- We heard last night that the Blue Jays were keeping a close eye on Samardzija. Further reports indicate that, unsurprisingly, they were not alone in watching his start last night. The Giants took a look, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, as did the Royals, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Also present, albeit with unknown targets in their sights, were scouts for the Angels, Indians, and Reds, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- Diamondbacks starter Bronson Arroyo has a sprained UCL and is now on the DL for the first time in his career, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter links). Though the current plan is for Arroyo to rest for about ten days, the injury certainly throws some uncertainty into his potential status as a trade candidate this summer. Arroyo’s calling cards, of course, are his remarkable durability and consistency. The injury suggests a potentially increased risk for a pitcher who is 37 years old, has 3,469 2/3 professional innings on his right arm, and is owed not only the rest of a $9.5MM salary for this year but also $14MM in future guarantees.
- Phillies president David Montgomery says that he is confident in GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and his staff, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I just believe that group of people gave us the successful period we had,” Montgomery said. “They had different roles in it. I know people focus on Ruben’s role having changed vis-a-vis 2009 vs. 2008. … [Y]ou have to look at the whole body of work. Have we been served well? My answer to that is yes.” Regarding the team’s operating strategy, he said that it will continue to “pay attention to both today and tomorrow, and to do what’s right in both cases.”
- While it remains unclear whether the Phillies would be willing to deal either or both of their veteran middle infielders (Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins), or if the players would in turn be amenable to waiving their no-trade protection, it is also worth considering what kind of value they might bring back. “I don’t know if some of those guys will get you enough in return to warrant making the trade,” an American League executive told the Inquirer’s Bob Brookover. The unnamed exec did indicate that some teams may be willing to look past the negative clubhouse reputation of closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose strong performance to date could make it possible for the Phils to offload him and save some future cash.
- The Marlins are open to dealing for rotation help, but will first explore internal solutions, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Miami just promoted youngsters Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani. If the club does ultimately consider dealing away close-to-the-bigs talent in exchange for an established starter, Frisaro says that it would likely aim for a player that it can control beyond the season. He floats the possibility that the Fish could dangle infield prospect Derek Dietrich, who offers intriguing left-handed power.
Here are Tuesday’s notable mid- to late-round draft signings, with all slot information coming courtesy of Baseball America…
- The Indians have signed fourth-round pick Sam Hentges to a $700K deal, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That is nearly $300K higher than the 128th selection’s $400.2K slot allocation; he’ll also get a $160K scholarship. As noted below, Cleveland had already spent much of its existing padding on third-rounder Bobby Bradley. The high school lefty out of Minnesota was rated the 213th available player by Baseball America.
- Rockies fifth-rounder Kevin Padlo has signed for $650K, tweets Callis. Padlo was taken with the 143rd overall choice, which came with a $346.3K allocation. The high school third baseman, who was rated the 129th-best player available by Callis and fellow MLB.com writer Jonathan Mayo, was said to be a late mover up draft boards.
- The Athletics have gone above-slot for two choices, sixth-rounder Trace Loehr and eighth-rounder Branden Kelliher, reports Callis (Twitter link). Loehr will get a $600K bonus (against a $215.9K slot allocation), while Kelliher will get $450K ($215.9K slot). Those overages will take a decent chunk out of the savings that Oakland secured by agreeing with five other top-ten-round choices last Thursday.
- Yankees fourth-round choice Jordan Montgomery has signed for the slot value of $424K, tweets Callis. Montgomery, a junior lefty for the University of South Carolina, was the 120th-best player in the draft, according to Baseball America.
- The Indians have inked third-round selection Bobby Bradley, a high school first baseman, the club announced today. Bradley lands an above-slot $912.5K bonus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Bradley was taken with the 97th overall selection, which comes with a $539.6K slot allocation. Running the math on MLB.com’s draft bonus tracker, Cleveland had a cumulative under-slot tally of $501.3K prior to inking Bradley. The team has yet to sign two other high school draftees from its first ten rounds: Simeon Lucas (seventh round) and Micah Miniard (eighth). MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, who rated Bradley the 68th-best available player, said that Bradley offers an unusually advanced left-handed bat with good power. He had been committed to LSU.
- Jim Callis of MLB.com reports (via Twitter) that the Rays have agreed to terms with fourth-rounder Blake Bivens on an over-slot, $465K bonus. Bivens, a high school right-hander out of Virginia, was slotted to receive $404K. Callis notes that he has a chance for a plus fastball and curveball. BA ranked Bivens 124th among draft prospects.
- Marlins fourth-round pick Brian Schales agreed to the full slot value of $490K for the 107th overall selection, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). A shortstop out of Edison High School in California, Schales didn’t rank on Keith Law’s Top 100, MLB.com’s Top 200 or BA’s Top 500 prior to the draft.
- Cotillo tweets that the Marlins also agreed with their fifth-round selection, Casey Soltis, on an over-slot $450K bonus (slot was $366,900). Soltis was a consensus top draft prospect among major media outlets, placing 97th on Law’s list, 100th on BA’s and 113th on MLB.com’s. Law feels he can stick in center due to his athleticism, while the other two think he may be ticketed for right field. There are questions about his power as well, but his speed draws praise.
- The Twins and fifth-rounder Jake Reed agreed to a $350K bonus that saves Minnesota about $6,400, Cotillo tweets. After starting for his first two seasons with Oregon, Reed was moved to the bullpen and settled in as the Ducks’ closer. With a sinking fastball touching 97 mph and a hard slider, he ranked 123rd on MLB.com’s list and 155th on BA’s. He is one of many power relievers selected by Minnesota.
- The Indians went nearly $200K over slot on eighth-round pick Micah Miniard, Cotillo reports. BA, who ranked Miniard 393rd among prospects, noted that the Kentucky high school right-hander’s velocity touched 94 mph last fall but dipped into the mid-80s this season.
Justin Verlander‘s recent struggles are “a giant concern” for the Tigers, writes James Schmel of MLive.com, because Verlander himself admits that he isn’t sure how to fix them. Verlander told reporters that he doesn’t feel he’s at the point in his career where he needs to reinvent himself on the mound, though he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the same velocity he used to have and said he didn’t blame the fans for booing him last night as he left the game. Verlander yielded seven runs on 12 hits last night and has posted a 7.83 ERA with a woeful 26-to-20 K/BB ratio over his last 43 2/3 innings (seven starts). He is averaging a career-worst (though still solid) 92.6 mph on his fastball.
Here’s more on the Tigers and the baseball’s Central divisions…
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers aren’t planning on making a move to upgrade at shortstop, as they like what they’ve seen from rookie Eugenio Suarez since his promotion to the Majors (Twitter link). It’s tough not to like what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old Suarez, who is hitting .346/.452/.808 with three homers through his first 10 games. Clearly, he’s due for some regression, but the optimism is understandable.
- An AL scout tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago that he’s spoken to the Cubs about both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he hasn’t gotten any indication from Chicago that any of their other starters are available (Twitter link). That contrasts recent reports that the team would be willing to listen to offers on Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta. Given Jackson’s remaining salary, it seems hard to believe that Chicago wouldn’t be open to moving him.
- The Pirates weren’t looking to trade right-hander Bryan Morris before trading him to the Marlins, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, Miami expressed interest in the deal after being attracted to an increase in Morris’ velocity and the addition of a two-seam/sinking fastball to his repertoire, and the two sides were able to strike a deal. Pittsburgh received Miami’s Competitive Balance Round A pick (No. 39 overall), used to draft (and sign) Connor Joe, while Miami has been rewarded to this point with 9 1/3 innings of scoreless relief from Morris, who has shown greatly improved command.
- Twins closer Glen Perkins offered some candid comments regarding catcher Josmil Pinto on 1500 ESPN Radio with Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While he was highly complimentary of Pinto’s offensive skills, the left-hander was blunt in his description of Pinto’s defense: “He’s a long, long ways away, to be honest with you. …his pitch framing, he’s got some work to do.” Perkins flatly he said Pinto is “surely not at the big-league level as far as catching for me.” Perkins went on to preach the importance of framing and praise veterans Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Molina for their prowess at the skill. Minnesota recently sent Pinto to the minors to get more consistent at-bats and consistent time behind the plate. He’s spent much of the season DHing while Kurt Suzuki, whose offensive contributions have been somewhat surprising, has done the bulk of the catching.
- After leaving the Reds organization to take a “mental break,” the representative of reliever Carlos Marmol says that the righty may not look to return this season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Agent Paul Kinzer told Heyman that Marmol decided to return to the Dominican Republic to deal with unspecified personal issues, and has had no physical problems.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.