Mike Dunn Rumors

Relief Market Rumors: K-Rod, Wilson, Duensing, Coke

With just over a week to the trade deadline, there's still been only one significant move for a reliever — Boston's acquisition of Matt Thornton. Plenty of teams are on the lookout for bullpen help, however, including the Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Diamondbacks and more. With a potential Jason Grilli injury last night, more bullpen rumors could begin to circulate. Here are the latest relief rumblings from around the baseball world…

  • The Red Sox, Dodgers and Tigers are all keeping close tabs on Francisco Rodriguez, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Sox and Dodgers, in particular, were said by Crasnick to have scouts "all over" Rodriguez this week. Detroit, meanwhile, isn't as interested as it once was due to the strong recent performance of Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly (Twitter links).
  • Former closer Brian Wilson threw for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen catcher Billy Hayes yesterday, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The session was a personal favor to Wilson and not an indicator that a deal is coming, Baggarly writes. However, Wilson looked nearly Major League ready, and Baggarly feels that the willingness to afford Wilson this favor suggests that any ill will between the two sides following Wilson's offseason non-tender has subsided.
  • The Braves continue to search for left-handed relief help, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio, who lists Oliver Perez, Mike Dunn, Glen Perkins, Scott Downs and James Russell as potential targets. Bowden notes that Perkins is unlikely, likely because of the numerous reports that the Twins won't move their closer.
  • While the Twins aren't interested in moving Perkins, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves may have interest in another Minnesota lefty who may be available — Brian Duensing (Twitter link). Duensing has two years of team control remaining and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • One more note from Crasnick, who tweets that the Braves also checked in on Phil Coke in their quest for lefty relief help, but nothing came of the talks with the Tigers. Coke has had a brutal season because of overexposure against right-handed hitters, but he's held lefties to a .231/.271/.346 batting line.
  • For more on the relief trade market, check out my examinations of the market for left-handed relievers and the market for right-handed relievers. Also, for all fantasy players out there, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter to keep up to speed with closer injuries, performance, usage and more.

Marlins Unlikely To Make Major Trades

The Marlins have improved greatly over the course of the season, as evidenced by their 22-17 record since May 31. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes that the team attributes the success to a young core coming together and isn't likely to sell significant pieces to jeopardize that core.

According to Frisaro, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn are all considered building blocks and are likely to stay put with the Fish. All of that could change if the Marlins are overwhelmed by a team willing to overpay, but even a package for Cishek would have to start with a team's No. 1 prospect, according to Frisaro. As it stands, the 27-year-old closer is not available.

Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls may still be dealt, as could position players Placido Polanco, Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano. That quintet of veterans has less team control than the untouchables listed by Frisaro, and those players likely aren't seen as core members of the team going forward. It's likely that the Marlins' biggest July trade has already occurred in the form of the Ricky Nolasco trade. The Marlins, according to Frisaro, may be more active on the August waiver trade front than before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

While a deal sounds unlikely, the team has still received plenty of hits on Stanton as well as its many bullpen arms. Ruggiano has also drawn some interest from teams like the Rangers and Yankees, although he's another player the team isn't in a rush to trade.


NL Notes: Davis, Dodgers, Gallardo, Relievers

Former Colorado Rockie Ryan Spilborghs has been blogging for The Denver Post about his experiences playing for the Seibu Lions in Japan this season, and he weighs in on the issue of PEDs in his latest post. While Spilborghs doesn't approve of PED use, he suggests that baseball's long season can push players too far without giving them enough time to recover. A better model may be the schedule adopted by Japan's NPB league, which has teams playing 144 games in about 180 days, Spilborghs says.

Some more notes from around the senior circuit…

  • Ike Davis will rejoin the Mets on Friday for their matchup with the Brewers, a source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Davis was demoted on June 10 after hitting just .161/.242/.258 in 207 plate appearances, but work with Triple-A coaches to address a hitch in Davis' swing was apparently successful, as the first baseman has compiled a .293/.424/.667 line with the Las Vegas 51s. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes speculated in a May post that Davis could be a non-tender candidate this offseason.
  • The Dodgers are expected to activate outfielder Carl Crawford from the DL as soon as Friday, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Los Angeles will soon be faced with a long-anticipated glut of regular outfielders, with Crawford joining Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and sensation Yasiel Puig on the active roster. Manager Don Mattingly acknowledges that it will be a "sticky" situation to manage. It remains to be seen whether the Dodgers will consider moving Andre Ethier, who was given a five-year, $85MM extension just over a year ago.
  • While Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers has been the subject of trade dialogueAdam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the righty is determined not to let the rumors affect him. "We all hear things. I'm not going to lie. … But basically I just leave it at that. I hear them, and then don't think about it too much." Gallardo did acknowledge, however, that he had become aware of some of the teams on his no-trade list.
  • Though the loss of Jesse Crain to the DL dampens the reliever market, a number of potentially available NL hurlers could help bolster a contender's bullpen, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes. The Cubs' Kevin Gregg has earned 14 saves in 15 opportunities, while the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez is a perfect seven for seven in save chances and could help the Tigers, Rosenthal says. John Axford, Milwaukee's former closer, could also be a useful piece. 
  • The Marlins could offer Steve CishekMike Dunn, or Ryan Webb, as they have power arms in the pipeline and "never mind trading relievers," according to Rosenthal. Both Cishek and Dunn have been effective for the Fish and become eligible for arbitration after this season. Miami could have a tougher time finding a taker for Webb, however, as he's shown discouraging strikeout and walk trends.
  • Rosenthal is also less high on the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon, noting his high salary and declining strikeout rate, and the Brewers' Michael Gonzalez, a lefty who opponents have managed a .746 OPS against despite his high K/9 rate.

MLBTR's Jeff Todd contributed to this post.



Marlins Getting Calls On Cishek, Webb, Dunn, Qualls

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the Marlins are receiving quite a bit of interest in their bullpen, with left-hander Mike Dunn and righties Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls all drawing interest.

While the Fish have hardly enjoyed a successful season, their bullpen has been reasonably effective, ranking 17th with a 3.73 ERA and 16th with a 3.68 FIP. The veteran Qualls is a free agent at season's end, but the rest of the Marlins relievers figure to have higher costs due to the extra team control that they have.

The 28-year-old Dunn is controlled through 2016 and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season. Cishek, 27, is controlled through 2017 and is also arb-eligible for the first time this offseason. Webb is controlled through the 2015 season and is eligible for arbitration a second time this winter. He is making $975K this season.

The Marlins have been said to be open to dealing Webb, but their preference is to hang onto Dunn and Cishek. Of course, Ricky Nolasco has been the Marlins' hottest trade chip, with three teams currently rumored to be in heavy pursuit of the 30-year-old right-hander.


Marlins Open To Dealing Nolasco, Webb; Not Cishek, Dunn

The Marlins are open to trading Ricky Nolasco and could also move right-hander Ryan Webb for the right offer, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports.  Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn are not on the market, however, as the Fish had told clubs that the two relievers aren't for sale.

Nolasco's name has come up in rumors at each of the last two July trade deadlines and the buzz continued this past winter during the Marlins' fire sale.  Matt Sosnick, Nolasco's agent, said in December that his client would have preferred to be traded elsewhere though Nolasco never officially asked to be dealt.  Nolasco is currently enjoying one of the best seasons of his eight-year career, as the right-hander has a 3.61 ERA, 3.35 K/BB ratio and 7.3 K/9 through 13 starts. 

A source tells Frisaro that the Marlins would receive a mid-level prospect in return for Nolasco, a fair return given that Nolasco is due to hit free agency this winter.  Nolasco is hitting the open market a little later than most (he'll be 31 years old on Opening Day 2014) but he could get a lot of attention this winter given how many injury questions surround most of the other top free agent arms.

Webb, 27, has a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings out of Miami's bullpen this season despite some unimpressive (6.00 K/9, 4.8 BB/9) peripheral numbers.  Webb has a 3.43 ERA in 225 2/3 career innings and has been tough on right-handed hitters, holding righty bats to a .248/.307/.286 line over his career.  Webb is eligible for arbitration for the second time after this season and came to the Marlins (along with Edward Mujica) from the Padres in November 2010 in the deal that sent Cameron Maybin to San Diego. 

Cishek and Dunn will both be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason.  Cishek has had a few shaky outings en route to a 4.50 ERA in 24 innings, though he has held onto the closer's role and recorded five saves.  Cishek drew a lot of interest from other teams in March and would probably be ticketed for a non-closing job with a new team.  Dunn, a southpaw, has a 3.08 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 26 1/3 IP this season, all slightly down from his career averages of 3.68 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9.


Rosenthal On Cubs, Brewers, Marlins

Ken Rosenthal's new video for FOX Sports offers a variety of trade tidbits on the Cubs, Brewers and Marlins.

  • Matt Garza of the Cubs makes an intriguing trade candidate, but Rosenthal says that one can't rule out the possibility that the Cubs will keep Garza and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, hoping to collect draft-pick compensation. Scott Feldman might also be traded, but Rosenthal notes that his peripherals indicate he has been lucky so far.
  • Alfonso Soriano has only one year left on his eight-year, $136MM contract, which could make him a more attractive trade target than in years past, Rosenthal notes, but Soriano also has a no-trade clause, allowing him to control his destination.
  • The Brewers, meanwhile, have fewer trade options, Rosenthal argues. Corey Hart is hurt, Rickie Weeks is in the midst of a poor season, and Aramis Ramirez is owed $16MM in 2014 and has a $4MM buyout on his mutual option the following season. The Brewers will be "reluctant" to trade Yovani Gallardo, whose contract carries him through next season and gives the Brewers an option on his services in 2015.
  • The Marlins have received calls on relievers Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn, Rosenthal reports.

Braves Acquire Dan Uggla

The Braves landed one of baseball's most powerful second basemen today, acquiring Dan Uggla from the division rival Marlins for utility man Omar Infante and lefty reliever Mike Dunn

Uggla, 31 in March, had another fine season in 2010 with a .287/.369/.508 line in 674 plate appearances.  Uggla is one season away from free agency, and extension talks with the Marlins broke off after he rejected a four-year, $48MM offer.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels that the Braves will attempt to sign him long-term.  Martin Prado will step in at third base as Chipper Jones recovers from knee surgery or log innings in left field if necessary, tweets Rosenthal.  Uggla should be happy to remain at second base.

Infante, a super-utility type, hit .321/.359/.416 in 506 plate appearances for the Braves this year.  He's under contract through 2011 at $2.5MM with another possible $1MM in plate appearance incentives.  The loss may put the Braves in the market for a utility player, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Dunn, 26 in May, is a hard-throwing left-handed reliever who came to Atlanta from the Yankees a year ago in the Javier Vazquez deal.  Dunn racked up big-time strikeout and walk numbers this year between Triple-A and the Majors.  The intra-division asking price for Uggla was expected to be large, but this is a disappointing return for the Marlins.  They have succeeded in revamping their bullpen for the long-term, adding Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Dustin Richardson, and Dunn in recent trades.

The Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Tigers were other reported suitors for Uggla.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick broke news of the agreement on Twitter, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Mark Bowman of MLB.com provided updates as the story developed.


Braves Close To Nearing Deal For Dan Uggla

The Braves "appear to be very close to nearing a deal" for Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, tweets MLB.com's Mark BowmanKen Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted minutes ago that the division rivals are discussing a deal that would send Uggla to Atlanta for utility man Omar Infante and lefty reliever Mike Dunn.

Infante, a super-utility type, hit .321/.359/.416 in 506 plate appearances for the Braves this year.  He's under contract through 2011.  Dunn, 26 in May, is a hard-throwing left-handed reliever who came to Atlanta from the Yankees a year ago in the Javier Vazquez deal.  Dunn racked up big-time strikeout and walk numbers this year between Triple-A and the Majors.  The intra-division asking price for Uggla was said to be large, but this return would be OK at best.


Yankees Acquire Vazquez; Melky To Braves

The Yankees and Braves agreed to a trade that solidifies New York's rotation and gives Atlanta enough payroll flexibility to pursue a bat. The Yankees acquire Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan in exchange for Melky Cabrera, cash (according to ESPN.com) and prospects Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino. We first heard of the trade talks from Buster Olney, Joel Sherman confirmed that the Yanks were after Vazquez and Jon Heyman provided the details. Check out an in-depth chronology of the trade here.

The Yankees re-acquire one of the better, more durable strikeout pitchers in the game. Vazquez has pitched 198 innings or more every year of this decade and he's struck out at least 150 batters in every one of those seasons. You can make the argument that he was one of the best pitchers in the NL last season, whether you like advanced stats (6.6 WAR) or simple ones (2.87 ERA, 238 Ks).

The Yanks also obtain Logan, a 25-year-old lefty who has been hittable so far in his major league career, and the chance for compensation picks after 2010. If Vazquez becomes a Type A free agent (he would have been one this year) and turns down the team's offer of arbitration to sign elsewhere, the Yankees would get two top picks.

As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says, the Braves obtain a decent outfielder who's getting paid less than what he's worth and a prospect with significant upside (Vizcaino), all while saving $8MM or more (I'm guessing Melky makes $2.5-3MM next season). The Braves dealt from strength and the pitchers they obtained have lots of potential, if you ask MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.