Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Rumors
“I am positive he’s the best prospect I’ve seen in (more than a decade) of full-time scouting,” a National League scout raved to Baseball America's J.J. Cooper about Twins prospect Byron Buxton. “It’s not even close. Tools, athleticism, feel and vision. Time will tell what kind of major league player he becomes, but the sky is the limit.” Other scouts shared similar praise and there's even a belief that Buxton is as good a prospect as Mike Trout was before his legendary 2012 season.
Here's the latest from around the majors as we head into July...
- Buxton was taken second overall by the Twins in the 2012 draft, with the Astros passing on the outfielder to select Carlos Correa at #1 and then using their surplus bonus pool money to sign Lance McCullers and Rio Ruiz. Cooper surveys scouts who have been all four youngsters play and discovers that the majority would take Buxton alone over the other three, even though Correa/McCullers/Ruiz are themselves strong prospects.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos watched Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez pitch on Friday in Tijuana, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports (Twitter link). The Jays made a high-profile signing out of Cuba three years ago when they signed shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to a four-year, $10MM contract.
- Two Cardinals officials say that trading within the NL Central is "not desirable" and GM John Mozeliak said that the club isn't going to move top prospects like Oscar Taveras or Michael Wacha, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Cards are likely to look for relief help before the deadline, or perhaps a starter that would then send a current rotation member into the bullpen.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer chimed in on some Reds-related trade deadline discussion on Twitter this afternoon. Finding relief pitching is the priority for the Reds and it's doubtful that they're looking for starters. Prospects Billy Hamilton and Robert Stephenson are probably untouchable in trade talks. White Sox reliever Jesse Crain is a realistic trade target for Cincinnati, while Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo and Mariners slugger Michael Morse are not.
- Mariners right-hander Josh Kinney was listed on the Tacoma Rainiers roster today, Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto tweets, so it appears as though Kinney has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A. Kinney has been recovering from a rib injury for the entire season and was just reinstated from the 60-day DL on Friday.
The Yankees dropped a 4-2 result to the Orioles tonight, giving the Bombers an 11-16 record in June and extending their losing streak to five games. Here's the latest from the Bronx...
- Alex Rodriguez and Yankees GM Brian Cashman shared some harsh words this week but team president Randy Levine told ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor that the Yankees both want and "need Alex back" as soon as possible. "We are desperate for his right-handed power, and he's better than any third baseman on this team right now," Levine said. "Alex is going to help us. Obviously, it's no secret that we're struggling against left-handed pitching, that our whole offense is struggling, and that we've had very, very serious injuries....Any semblance of A-Rod would help us. Even last year's A-Rod would be a big upgrade over what we have right now."
- The Yankees have scouted Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez but won't pursue signing him, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. One scout tells King that it "looks like the Dodgers" will sign the 26-year-old, echoing rumors that the Dodgers are willing to "go all out" to acquire Gonzalez.
- Also from King, the Yankees are interested in two players from the Dominican Republic: third baseman Rafael Devers and center fielder Leonardo Molina. The Yankees have been considered to be the "most likely suitor" for the 15-year-old Molina, while the Phillies and Red Sox have also been linked to Devers.
As impressive as young players like Manny Machado, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Yasiel Puig have been, no one was more spectacular than young Alex Rodriguez, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. However, A-Rod has since tarnished his legacy by being linked to performance enhancing drugs. It all comes back to Rodriguez's love of baseball, because for him, being the best was never good enough. Now he finds himself rehabbing from injury in Tampa, Florida and no one knows how it will play out. Rodriguez could retire because of a physical disability and collect the remaining $114MM on his contract or he return to the Yankees after the All-Star break and provide the righthanded bat they sorely need. Here's more from today's column..
- One team that has at least discussed acquiring the Phillies' Chase Utley is the Royals. Kansas City would love to stabilize their lineup and/or second base situation with someone of Utley’s caliber. Meanwhile, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he wants the second baseman to retire in a Phillies uniform, if possible.
- The Red Sox are one of the teams extremely interested in Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, but they won’t break the bank for him, according to a team source. The Sox were certainly burned by the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing and don’t want to get burned again on a deal for the 26-year-old righthander. Even though Gonzalez seems to be the real deal, past injuries seem to be giving some teams pause.
- White Sox reliever Jesse Crain will draw interest and Cafardo warns not to rule out the Red Sox. Pitching coach Juan NIeves coached him in Chicago and he’s a stable force at the end of games. Meanwhile, there will be others vying for Crain, including the Orioles and Yankees. Our own Charlie Wilmoth recently examined Crain as a trade candidate.
- FIrst baseman Chris Carter is an interesting righthanded bat the Astros would move for the right package of young players. The Yankees are a possibility since they need a righthanded hitter who can play first base and the outfield. Even though he strikes out a lot, the 26-year-old Carter could be an intriguing option for clubs.
- The Cubs have a lot of desirable trade pieces, starting of course with Matt Garza, who could be dealt sooner rather than later - maybe even sooner than the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco. Besides Garza, there’s been a lot of interest in outfielder Nate Schierholtz and veteran righthander Scott Feldman, who Cafardo sees as a match for the Orioles. Outfielders Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus along with relievers Kevin Gregg and James Russell could be moved as well.
- While the Twins say that Glen Perkins is not available, they should expect some club - possibly the Tigers - to offer a substantial package.
Paul Konerko isn't interested in discussing a potential trade from the White Sox to a contender, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports on Twitter. "I don’t know many teams that are going to want a guy who can’t play," the first baseman said. Konerko, 37, is nursing a back injury and hasn't played since June 23rd. As Merkin notes, Konerko has ten-and-five rights, meaning he cannot be traded without permission. The White Sox reportedly aren't interested in moving him anyway, even though they expect to be sellers at the deadline. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Orioles are interested in the Cubs' Matt Garza after being "lukewarm" on him previously, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports via Twitter. However, they believe the Cubs' current asking price is too high.
- A team source says Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is "not a fit" for the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, via Twitter. The Nats had two scouts watch Gonzalez pitch this month but believe he'll be overpriced.
- The Yankees aren't involved in discussions for Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco "or any other pitcher," FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says via Twitter, noting that offense is the team's primary need.
- It sounds as though A's GM Billy Beane will give serious thought to re-signing Grant Balfour, despite having two cheaper heir-apparents in the fold, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Fresh off of wielding the biggest budget in the domestic amateur draft, the Astros are preparing once again to open the club's wallet for some high-risk, high-reward prospects. The 16-year old international signing period opens on July 2, and Houston will have an available bonus pool of $4.9MM to spend, the most in all of baseball. As GM Jeff Luhnow described it to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, the onset of the signing period "is basically a free-for-all." Luhnow continued: "From Monday at midnight and Tuesday at midnight, there will be about $20-30MM spent by the industry in that one day."
- As MLBTR's Marc Hulet explained earlier today, Baseball America's Ben Badler is a key source of information on the July 2 market. Expanding on his previous work, Badler released his list of the top thirty available prospects who are expected to sign just a few days from now. He also provides an excellent explanation of the way the market works. His top five players are Eloy Jimenez (outfielder, Dominican Republic), Gleyber Torres (shortstop, Venezuela), Rafael Devers (third baseman, D.R.), Luis Encarnacion (third baseman, D.R.), and Leonardo Molina (center fielder, D.R.).
- One international prospect who will not go through the draft process is 26-year-old Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. As the recently-declared free agent awaits government authorization to begin negotiating a deal, he has already been heavily scouted by interested clubs. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez notes (via Twitter) that he expects Gonzalez to sign quickly once the government clears him.
- Meanwhile, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler -- who reported that Gonzalez could get as much as $60MM on a five-year pact -- tweets that the Dodgers could be planning to "go all out" to sign the hurler. Peter Gammons, likewise, said on Twitter that there were many teams interested but that "the bets are still on the Dodgers."
- The deep pockets of Los Angeles, along with the broad interest of many big league clubs, could drive a substantial price for Gonzalez. A reported 45 scouts were on hand to watch him throw for the Tijuana Toros, writes Knobler. Teams that sent representatives included the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Angels. Knobler says that scouts have estimated a Gonzalez signing bonus at anywhere from $40MM to $60MM and above.
The latest out of the American League Central...
- Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com spoke with a league source who confirmed Jon Heyman's report from earlier this week that the White Sox are open for business, with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. Hayes' source said that in the event the Sox were to make Sale available, he'd fetch an even larger haul than the Padres received for Mat Latos.
- The Twins have begun to receive phone calls on Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morneau is a free agent at season's end, while Willingham is owed $7MM in 2014.
- The Twins will not be in attendance for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's showcase in Tijuana tonight, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The Twins have seen Gonzalez "a ton" already, he adds, noting that his price tag makes him a long shot for Minnesota.
- Indians minor league right-hander Dillon Howard has been suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Howard was the Tribe's second-round selection in 2011 and ranked as the team's No. 25 prospect prior to the season, according to Baseball America.
The Giants are hoping to get back to the .500 mark as they take on the Dodgers tonight and one might expect them to be eager to upgrade their roster for a late-season push. However, we learned earlier today that San Francisco isn't planning to make a deal anytime soon. At this stage, GM Brian Sabean believes that the asking price is simply too high for the desirable players on the block, but that can certianly change as we approach the deadline. Here's more out of the NL West..
- The Dodgers are determined to find an upgrade at third base and their pitching over the next five weeks, tweets JIm Bowden of ESPN.com. The Dodgers have given Juan Uribe a great deal of time in the hot corner this season and so far he has responded with his best offensive season in a while, hitting .268/.356/.399 over 50 games.
- Speaking of the Dodgers, they had multiple scouts watching Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez in his most recent game, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Dodgers are reportedly one of several clubs interested in Gonzalez and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington recently watched him throw in person.
- The word in the scouting community is that Gonzalez could get as much as $60MM across five years, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Any trade the Rockies make would likely happen after All-Star break in the two weeks before trading deadline on July 31st, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Cuban standout Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been officially declared a free agent, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). However, the hurler does not have U.S. Treasury clearance yet to negotiate with MLB teams yet, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Late last week, Gonzalez threw for teams in Tijuana and Ben Cherington was reportedly the only GM in attendance. However, the Red Sox aren't the only team interested in the right-hander. Several other clubs are said to be in the mix, including the Dodgers, who sent their three top scouts to watch the audition on Thursday.
While Ben Cherington was the only GM that was in attendance for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's audition yesterday, the Red Sox aren't the only team with interest in the Cuban right-hander. The Dodgers sent three of their top scouts to Tijuana on Thursday to find out if they might have another exciting Cuban import to join Yasiel Puig, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Agent Jaime Torres declined to say how many clubs sent representatives to the Tijuana showcase but said there was "a great turnout." Meanwhile, Gonzalez is scheduled to put on another display for teams next Friday where he could pitch five innings, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Here's more from around baseball..
- After designating him for assignment on Tuesday, Mets assistant GM John Ricco acknowledged that the club is soliciting trade offers for Collin Cowgill, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Ricco added that the Mets would try to get Cowgill through waivers and send him to Triple-A Las Vegas if they were unable to get a suitable deal rather than release Cowgill.
- Hisashi Iwakuma's name has popped up in rumors, but the Mariners intend to hang on to him. "Trust me," M's GM Jack Zduriencik told Peter Gammons (on Twitter), "we're not going to trade him." The 32-year-old has a 2.06 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 through 15 starts this season.
- Diamondbacks right-hander Randall Delgado hired Beverly Hills Sports Council, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). You can look up agency info for just about every major leaguer with MLBTR's Agency Database.
Manny Ramirez wants to return to the Majors, but Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com spoke with an official who doesn't think he'd be a fit with the Yankees, despite the Yanks' recent offensive woes: "Can't see him in the Bronx given all the baggage he brings," said Marchand's source. Marchand also polled readers, who are split about 50-50 on whether or not they would approve of a Ramirez acquisition at this point. Here's more on the AL East...
- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was the only Major League GM present to watch Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's recent showcase in Tijuana, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Numerous other teams were there to see him, though they were represented by scouting directors and assistant GMs. One executive told Rosenthal: “The world was there to see him. A million teams were in there."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees should consider selling low on Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in order to supplement their roster with some right-handed bats that can help alleviate the team's woes against left-handed pitching. Both are free agents at season's end, and neither is a key component to their success at this point, opines Sherman.
- In light of the Red Sox's recent closer shuffle, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal asks if the best solution is for the Sox to re-acquire Jonathan Papelbon. As MacPherson points out, the Sox have tasked four relievers with replacing Papelbon -- Andrew Bailey (twice), Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves and Joel Hanrahan -- and none have been able to get the job done to this point.