Michael Brantley Rumors
Some news items as we say goodbye to March and hello to another great baseball-filled April...
- ESPN's Rob Neyer thinks the Rangers should just go ahead and acquire Mike Lowell, since the reported $3MM gap between Texas and Boston is a small price to pay for solidifying the Rangers' first base platoon. Given the number of conflicting reports about the deal, it's hard to say if a Lowell-to-Texas trade is imminent or a longshot at this point.
- Tim Redding talks to The Denver Post's Jim Armstrong about being assigned to Colorado's Triple-A team. Four days ago, Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies pointed out that Redding has an opt-out clause he can use if he finds a spot on another team's 25-man roster. That's unlikely; Ringolsby says the Mariners scouted Redding but came away unimpressed.
- The Indians were hoping to hold up Michael Brantley's service clock, but his strong Spring Training and Russell Branyan's injury forced the club's hand, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Brantley will now be Cleveland's starting left fielder on Opening Day.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times takes a look at Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, who is out of options and faces a tough task in finding a roster spot given the Mike Napoli-Jeff Mathis combo behind the plate in Los Angeles. If the Angels are forced to put Wilson on waivers, you'd figure that several teams would be interested in a catcher who has a solid .283/.338/.423 line in 2642 minor league plate appearances.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com chatted with fans about a number of A's and Giants-related topics, including Urban's belief that the extensions for Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt may have been inspired by San Francisco's confidence in their upcoming crop of position players.
- In another online chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentioned that the Cardinals are interested in acquiring a left-handed power bat for the bench. Strauss noted the club's "history of eleventh-hour spring training moves."
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince has a terrific Inbox column that addresses a number of Cleveland issues raised by fans, present and future.
Among the goodness:
- Castrovince notes that it will be unlikely the Indians call up Michael Brantley for the majority of the season. The less that Brantley plays in 2010, the less likely he is to qualify for arbitration after the 2012 season. Less time in 2010 should stretch non-arb years to 2013.
- Mark Grudzielanek has really impressed Castrovince, and he believes the 39-year-old has a very good chance of making the roster.
- Though he's often mentioned as a trade candidate, Castrovince isn't at all certain Jhonny Peralta will be traded this summer. Also uncertain: if Cleveland will pick up Peralta's $7MM option after the season.
Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com discusses some Tribe topics in a fan mailbag...
- Castrovince thinks Michael Brantley will be in Cleveland by midseason, as the Russell Branyan signing was made with an eye towards postponing Brantley's major league service clock. A strong first half of the season for Branyan could get the veteran traded, thus creating regular playing time for Brantley in left field and Matt LaPorta moving to first.
- Speaking of veterans being dealt, Castrovince says "it's hard to imagine Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood and Branyan remaining with this club beyond the 2010 season, and Jhonny Peralta's future here is also in question."
- We've heard about Shin-Soo Choo's looming conflict with his South Korean military service and how it may affect his playing career. Castrovince argues that a compromise (such as Choo postponing his service until after his career is over) would work best for both the player and the government. Castrovince notes that the South Korean government might not want to be seen as forcing one of the country's sporting heroes away from playing major league baseball.
- In the wake of Choo switching agents from Alan Nero to Scott Boras, Castrovince reported in a separate blog post that another Nero client in Cleveland (Asdrubal Cabrera) "has no plans" to change his representation. Castrovince also notes that Boras has his eye on Indians prospect Carlos Santana and is "pursuing him hard."
- In another article, Castrovince discusses Grady Sizemore's future with the Tribe. He believes that Sizemore's contract is structured well enough that "the Indians find it difficult to imagine a scenario in which they'd be compelled to deal him to another club in either of the next two years."
Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer sat down for a chat with Indians team president Paul Dolan and some other front office personnel. Lots of interesting information came to light, so let's dig in...
- Dolan indicated that the team was $16MM in the red in July and headed towards $20MM. The trades of Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, and Carl Pavano bring that number down to about $12MM.
- Jake Westbrook's injury will actually save the team money because insurance will cover about 50% of his $11MM salary.
- Had the Tribe not made any moves at the deadline, they would have been looking at about $30MM in losses next year because of declining attendance.
- Dolan has "no plans" to sell the team, nor has he received any serious offers.
- "Mark Shapiro will be the general manager next year; that has never been in question," said Dolan. "He has done a very good job of rebuilding the franchise once after the 1990s. Our fans may not realize it, but our franchise is viewed around baseball as one of the better ones in the game."
- The future of manager Eric Wedge will be decided after the season, and the $1.3MM owed to him in 2010 will "not be factor."
- Pluto also provides some notes about several Tribe prospects, including Carlos Carrasco and Michael Brantley. Carrasco was acquired in the Lee trade, Brantley in last year's CC Sabathia deal.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Indians have chosen 21 year-old outfielder Michael Brantley to complete the C.C. Sabathia trade.
Heading into the season, Baseball America saw Brantley as a "fourth outfielder who can be a useful pinch-hitter." Brantley proceeded to hit .319/.395/.398 in Double A.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians made decide on the final player in the C.C. Sabathia trade today. Hoynes says the Indians are leaning toward outfielder Michael Brantley over third baseman Taylor Green. Hoynes reminds us that the Indians have already received Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, and Rob Bryson from the Brewers.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer details an interesting arrangement between the Brewers and Indians regarding the player to be named later in the C.C. Sabathia trade (hat tip to Anthony Castrovince). Hoynes says the Indians get to choose the player if the Brewers make the playoffs; otherwise, the Brewers choose. The Brewers have roughly a 70-80% chance of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Hoynes says the candidates include four possible players, with outfielder Michael Brantley and third baseman Taylor Green among them. Baseball America had Green ranked ahead of Brantley heading into the season, but it seems pretty close.
The CC Sabathia trade is complete, but there's still some good info floating about.
- Michael Silverman says the Brewers wanted players such as Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, Jed Lowrie, and Josh Reddick from the Red Sox in various Sabathia scenarios.
- The Dodgers apparently talked about dealing Matt Kemp and one of Jonathan Meloan/James McDonald for Sabathia, Casey Blake, and Jamey Carroll.
- Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan analyzes the trade.
- Turns out Sabathia prefers CC over C.C.
- The agent for Brewers prospects Michael Brantley and Taylor Green believes both are in play as the player to be named later in the Sabathia deal.
- MetsBlog reports that Mark Shapiro approached Omar Minaya, suggesting the Mets had the necessary players to make a trade for Sabathia. Matthew Cerrone believes the Mets would've had to give up Fernando Martinez and two pitching prospects.
- The Phillies were the Indians' backup plan in case the Milwaukee deal fell through. The Phillies weren't a great fit because the Indians preferred a young power hitter to a young pitcher.
- The Yankees had interest, but the price was too high for Brian Cashman. That price may have included Phil Hughes. The Yanks reportedly required a signing window in any Sabathia deal, also.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry says nothing's changed for his team.
- Brewers fans are ecstatic to have Sabathia.
Let's round up today's C.C. Sabathia links in a fresh post.
- The Brewers' trade for ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia is official. As a reminder, the Indians will receive Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, and maybe Taylor Green. Paul Hoynes says Michael Brantley could end up the player to be named later instead of Green. Ken Rosenthal suggests Lorenzo Cain may also still be possible. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo analyzes the prospects received by the Indians.
- Here's an interesting link. This is apparently the blog of agent Joshua Kusnick of Double Diamond Sports Management. Among others, Kusnick represents Cain, Brantley, and Green. He says Green hasn't been informed of anything but seems more likely to be included than Brantley.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan calls the package of players an "OK haul."
- ESPN's Keith Law agrees, suggesting that Mark Shapiro should've held out for a higher probability return. He sees Bryson as the key to the deal. The 20 year-old is a projectable live arm.
- Joel Sherman says the Brewers aren't done - they want to add a late-inning reliever as well.
- Indians owner Paul Dolan explains the Sabathia trade in a letter to fans.
- Rosenthal has details of other teams' attempts to acquire Sabathia. He says the Dodgers wanted the Indians to package Sabathia with Casey Blake. Surprisingly, the Yankees were "very heavily involved." They did not want to give up Phil Hughes, however.
- Most articles seem to assume that the Brewers have no chance of signing Sabathia. I agree that it's unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out. We've read repeatedly that Sabathia does not intend to chase every last dollar. What if he loves Milwaukee and he leads the team deep into the playoffs? The Brewers could let Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne leave and put that money toward a competitive five-year Sabathia offer. It's not out of the question.