Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Rumors
Steven Cohen, the hedge fund billionaire who was a finalist to purchase the Dodgers in 2012, faces Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that he failed to investigate evidence of possible insider trading by his employees, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. A partnership between Cohen and the Los Angeles-based doctor and investor Patrick Soon-Shiong was one of three finalists in the bidding, but the two were eventually outbid by Guggenheim Baseball Management, which has spent lavishly to bring in marquee players like Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke. Cohen eventually had to settle for a minority stake in the Mets. As Shaikin notes, a high-profile battle between Cohen and the federal securities regulator would probably have put a damper on the Dodgers' playoff chase this summer. Here's more out of the NL West..
- One GM tells Peter Gammons of MLB.com (via Twitter) that word is the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez something in the neighborhood of $50MM over five years and if they do, he'll wind up in L.A. Recently we learned that the the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Braves are now in the mix for Gonzalez along with the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, and Red Sox, who have all been showing serious interest in his services for quite some time.
- Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is likely to remain with San Francisco through the end of the season, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. The Giants have a stronger bond with Pence than the Phillies did when they sent him to San Francisco last July, as the right fielder delivered an inspirational speech that helped boost the Giants in last year's NLDS with the Reds. Accordingly, the Giants would have to either drop out of the race or be overwhelmed by an offer to consider trading him. However, he'd likely draw interest from the Pirates and several other clubs if the Giants decide to make him available.
- The Dodgers bought the most talented team in the NL West, but that doesn't mean that they'll finish first, opines Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Earlier tonight, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports took a look at the Twins' trade chips, noting that the market for Justin Morneau is soft at this time, with a few interested parties deterred by the $6MM remaining on the former MVP's contract. Here's more on Morneau and the rest of the AL Central...
- Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that the M&M Boys (Joe Mauer and Morneau) in Minnesota is coming to an end. Berardino took some time over the All-Star break to talk to Mauer and former teammates Michael Cuddyer, Joe Nathan and Carlos Gomez about Morneau's leadership abilities. All spoke with the utmost respect for the Canadian slugger.
- Royals general manager Dayton Moore is not in sell mode despite the team's recent slide in the standings, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Moore says he won't shift gears and focus on the future, though that doesn't mean he won't acquire players who can help the team beyond 2013. He also won't entertain offers for free-agent-to-be Ervin Santana.
- A source close to Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez told Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities that there's no steam between the Twins and Gonzalez (Twitter link). Earlier tonight, the Twins were connected to Gonzalez but listed as a long shot due to his price tag.
- The White Sox and Indians are two of the three teams that MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports as suitors for 19-year-old Cuban right-hander Leandro Linares (Twitter links). The Marlins also have interest in Linares, who does fall under the newest CBA's international signing guidelines.
THURSDAY: Jaime Torres, Gonzalez's agent, told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com that he doesn't expect a deal to go down this weekend but that he hopes to announce an agreement next week. Torres is working on Gonzalez's visa process while the most interested teams make "their last internal consultations," the agent said.
Rojas added the Yankees, the Twins and the Marlins to the list of teams interested in the righty, citing a source close to Gonzalez, though the source adds that Minnesota and Miami are not expected to win the bidding because of Gonzalez's high salary demands.
WEDNESDAY: The market is taking shape for Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and the right-hander could sign with a club as early as next week, an industry source tells MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. There's also a trio of new teams in the mix for Gonzalez in the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Braves. They'll vie with the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, and Red Sox, who have all been showing serious interest in his services.
While teams are working the phones vigorously to land an impact pitcher before the July 31st deadline, Gonzalez could provide a boost to a contender without giving up anything other than money. Scouts believe Gonzalez needs only a few starts in the minors before making his MLB debut and his addition could move the needle as much as finding an arm via trade.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department and is free to sign with Major League teams, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter link). It isn't expected to take long for Gonzalez to find a club, as Sanchez believes the righty could be signed within the next two weeks.
Gonzalez, 26, is old enough that his contract wouldn't count against a team's international signing cap, and thus the highly-touted pitcher is expected to command a deal worth as much as $60MM over five years. The Dodgers are thought to be the favorites to sign Gonzalez, while the Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs and Twins are also known to have some interest.
It's the start of trade season with July underway, but the Rangers made the biggest splash of the day with a minor league signing. Fresh off of a very successful stint in Taiwan, Manny Ramirez will attempt to join the majors for the first time since his brief stint with the Rays in 2011. Whether Manny can bring his hot hitting from overseas to Arlington, Texas, however, remains to be seen. Here's more out of the AL West..
- Some many wonder if Ramirez is worth the gamble at age 41, but in the case of the Rangers, he absolutely is, opines Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com. Texas needs a right-handed bat ever since Opening Day and Ramirez's minor league deal is a no-risk move.
- Before signing with the Rangers, Ramirez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter) that he also had conversations with the Nationals. The slugger believes that Washington had some interest in him as a pinch hitter.
- The Angels have scouted Cuban pitching prospect Miguel.Alfredo Gonzalez, but likely will not compete for him as hard as others, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez is being pursued by a number of clubs, but we've heard recently that the Yankees won't try to sign him and he's "not a fit" for the Nationals either.
“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.