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- Reds To Retain Bryan Price
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- Greg Holland To Undergo Tommy John Surgery On Friday
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Mike Leake Rumors
Reports have already indicated that the Giants will have interest in retaining Mike Leake beyond this season, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds a division rival to the mix of teams expected to pursue the right-hander (Twitter link). Per Nightengale, the D-Backs, in addition to the Giants, will show interest in Leake as a free agent once the season ends. Arizona is known to be on the hunt for rotation upgrades, and Leake would certainly add some stability; he’s shown the ability to thrive in a homer-friendly setting in Cincinnati, thanks in part to strong ground-ball tendencies, and he of course is familiar with Arizona, having played his college ball at ASU. Leake wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation fix the D-Backs have previously mentioned, but he’d be a nice source of 30-plus starts and about 200 innings to pencil into the rotation behind Patrick Corbin. Leake said Wednesday evening that he hopes to make a quick decision in free agency rather than spend a lengthy period of time feeling out the market. He did call it a “strong possibility” that he’d have interest in returning to the Giants, though he stopped short of saying he considered them an early favorite in free agency.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Yesterday might have marked Ian Kennedy‘s final start as a member of the Padres, and if it did, he ended his San Diego tenure with a flourish, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Kennedy, a free agent after the season, allowed one run on five hits and no walks with 11 strikeouts in six innings versus the Brewers. “There’s plenty of opportunities to talk,” Kennedy replied when asked about his potential departure from the Padres. “I think [general manager] A.J. [Preller] and [agent Scott Boras] have a good relationship. I feel I have the same relationship with him [Preller].” Kennedy will likely be the recipient of a qualifying offer, per Brock, and I can’t personally envision him accepting the one-year deal. Kennedy added that he thoroughly enjoyed his time in San Diego but is “excited” to see what awaits on the open market. As Brock notes, he’s the lone pitcher in the NL to make 30-plus starts in each of the past six seasons, and he also posted a 2.63 ERA over his final 17 starts, so interest in Kennedy should be strong.
- Brett Anderson‘s final start of the season was also a strong one, writes the O.C. Register’s Bill Plunkett. And, in making that final start, he positioned himself to be added to the Dodgers‘ postseason rotation after some recent struggles and earned himself some extra cash, as Anderson will earn $2.4MM worth of incentives on top of his $10MM base salary based on innings pitched. The oft-injured southpaw discussed with Plunkett what it means to him to have completed a full, healthy season. “For all of the stuff I’ve been through the last handful of years to be able to make pretty much every start they asked me to is pretty special,” said Anderson. “Zack [Greinke] and Clayton [Kershaw] make it look easy, but double-digit wins in the big leagues is a tough thing to do [Anderson won 11] so I take pride in that.” Of course, more than pride was at stake, as Anderson will hit the open market looking for a multi-year deal this winter.
Mike Leake turned in one of the strongest starts of his career in his final trip to the mound before becoming a free agent last night, as he fired a two-hit shutout against the Dodgers. Following the contest, Leake told reporters, including Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area and the San Jose Mercury News’ Andrew Baggarly, that he doesn’t want a prolonged venture on the free agent market. “I’d rather not wait,” he told the media. “I’d like to pick a team and get ready to go with that team.”
Asked specifically about the notion of returning to San Francisco, the California native replied: “It’s a strong possibility that this is a place I’d like to play. It’s kind of wait-and-see. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The Giants parted with their top-ranked prospect, right-hander Keury Mella, and utility man Adam Duvall in order to acquire Leake from the Reds on July 30. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t make the roster decisions, but he offered praise for Leake and noted that the entire organization is a fan of his arm. “It’s obvious we like Mike a lot,” said Bochy (via Baggarly). “We traded for him. He’ll have some choices, some options, but we think a lot of him. That’s why we acquired him.” As Pavlovic notes, Leake was a childhood teammate of Brett Bochy, so the team’s skipper is quite familiar with him. A new deal with Leake is high on the team’s priority list this winter, Pavlovic adds.
Leake’s results since coming over from Cincinnati haven’t been as strong as they were in his past two and a half seasons with the Reds, but he’s been bothered by a hamstring strain and a bit of forearm discomfort, though neither seemed to trouble him Wednesday evening. Bochy called Leake’s hamstring injury a “freak deal,” suggesting that there isn’t much worry over the issue lingering.
With the Giants, Leake pitched to a 4.07 ERA with 4.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 52.3 percent ground-ball rate. On the season as a whole, he totaled a 3.70 ERA for the second consecutive year and averaged 5.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 with a 51.8 percent ground-ball rate across 30 starts and 192 innings. He fell just shy of his second straight 200-inning season, but Leake has nonetheless been a durable rotation piece over the past three seasons, averaging 31 starts and 200 innings per year.
That type of durability has been something the Giants lacked throughout the 2015 campaign, as the team relied on nine different starting pitchers, only two of whom topped 120 innings (Chris Heston threw 174 innings, and Madison Bumgarner tossed 218 1/3). That same durability, though, will make Leake appealing to other teams, as will his high ground-ball rate, his consecutive seasons of a sub-4.00 ERA in Cincinnati’s very hitter-friendly home park and his age. At just 27 years old right now, Leake will pitch the first season of his new free-agent deal at 28, making him considerably younger than most free agent pitchers and lending credence to the notion of him signing a five-year deal on the open market.
Despite a terrible second half following up what had been an already underwhelming season, multiple executives tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that they expect White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija to do just fine in free agency. As has been said on many occasions, scouts love Samardzija’s raw stuff and competitive nature, and as Heyman points out he’s a relatively low-mileage arm due to his days as a wide receiver and time spent in the bullpen early in his MLB career. Two execs told Heyman they expect Samardzija to top Ervin Santana‘s four-year, $55MM contract, with one saying he should “blow it away.” Unsurprisingly, Heyman hears that the Sox will extend a qualifying offer to Samardzija. I’ll join Heyman and the execs to whom he spoke in saying I’d be shocked to see Samardzija accept.
More from Heyman’s latest Inside Baseball column…
- Frank Wren is seen as a likely hire for Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, though Heyman notes that Wren may receive a role other than GM. Turning to other GM openings, Heyman lists Jerry Dipoto as the favorite for the Mariners‘ GM gig and calls current A’s assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz a favorite for the Brewers. Milwaukee is said to be seeking someone who is extremely analytical, and they’ve felt that some who have interviewed haven’t fit that description well enough. Billy Eppler is still the favorite for the Angels‘ slot, Heyman writes. He doesn’t list a favorite for the Phillies, though he again connects Angels AGM Matt Klentak and Royals AGM J.J. Picollo to the position. Also according to Heyman, Ben Cherington turned down an interview with the Mariners, as his current plan is to take some time away from the rigors of GM work.
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald recently wrote that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is very open to trading Marcell Ozuna, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill expressed a desire to keep the talented-but-struggling center fielder when speaking to Heyman. “He’s extremely talented and very much in our plans moving forward,” said Hill, although such a line is to be expected from an on-record executive anyway. Even if the intent is to shop Ozuna, Hill wouldn’t come out and say it.
- Nationals skipper Matt Williams is “all but assured of a pink slip” following the season barring a miraculous playoff surge, per Heyman. On the opposite end of the spectrum is interim Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, who looks like he’ll be given a chance to shed the “interim” portion of his title in 2016. Brad Ausmus is indeed expected to be let go by the Tigers following the season, he also writes, and Ausmus could find himself in the dugout for the Padres if that comes to pass.
- The Giants hope to add at least one, if not two starting pitchers this offseason, and a run at retaining Mike Leake appears to be one possible scenario. San Francisco is expected to work out a reunion with Tim Lincecum as well, he adds; the two-time Cy Young winner had hip surgery that ended his season earlier this month, though his surgeon strongly believes that the operation will help Lincecum restore some of his disappearing velocity.
- Mariners ownership and those remaining in the front office want Hisashi Iwakuma back, so much so that they told other clubs at the deadline that they wouldn’t even consider trading him, Heyman writes. Iwakuma is keen on returning to Seattle as well, he notes. Of course, a run at Iwakuma would have to align with the thinking of whichever new executive steps into the GM’s chair.
- Not that there should’ve been any doubt, but Heyman notes that the Blue Jays intend to pick up the club options on Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. That’s hardly a surprise, as the respective $10MM and $14MM options on the right-handed sluggers are probably two of the easiest option decisions you’ll ever see.
- Joel Hanrahan isn’t in a rush to return from his second TJ surgery and may not attempt to pitch in the Majors again until 2017. Best of luck to Hanrahan, who has seen injuries destroy the past three seasons of his career.
Full Story | 13 Comments | Categories: Ben Cherington | Billy Eppler | Boston Red Sox | Brad Ausmus | Chicago White Sox | Dan Kantrovitz | Detroit Tigers | Edwin Encarnacion | Frank Wren | Hisashi Iwakuma | J.J. Picollo | Jeff Samardzija | Jerry Dipoto | Joel Hanrahan | Jose Bautista | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Marcell Ozuna | Matt Klentak | Matt Williams | Miami Marlins | Mike Leake | Milwaukee Brewers | Pete Mackanin | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Tim Lincecum | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
Though the Diamondbacks have a strong anti-analytics reputation, team president Derrick Hall told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they’ve hired a pair of full-time employees and two interns recently to add to their growing analytics department. Chief baseball officer Tony La Russa disputed the notion to Rosenthal as well, noting that he feels the data provided by D-Backs analysts is important for game preparation. La Russa wants manager Chip Hale and his coaches to employ “observational analytics” during games, though — that is, to adjust based on what they see on the field and in their guts. That, of course, sounds like a decisively non-analytical approach. The additions to the staff are noteworthy, to be sure, but it’s worth questioning how much buy-in there is at the top of the food chain given quotes such as this one from La Russa: “But once the game starts, you’ve got to really make sure that you don’t let some of the preparation change what your guts and brain are telling you when you look out at the field. During the game, you observe. That supersedes what you would have learned from the preparation going in. … You have to allow your managers and coaches to make adjustments. That’s how you can win extra games.”
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Daniel Hudson has spent the season in the Diamondbacks‘ bullpen and seen his velocity tick up to triple digits while working in relief, but the former starter and two-time Tommy John victim tells the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro that he believes he can return to the rotation. “I’d really like to try it again and if we get to a point where we say, ‘Well, we don’t know if this is the smartest thing to do,’ then I’ll be perfectly fine doing whatever they need me to do and just going like that the rest of my career,” says Hudson. As Piecoro notes, the righty was initially placed in the ‘pen because doctors didn’t want him tossing more than 80-90 pitches per outing, and there were questions about how deep he could work into games early on as he reestablished his control.
- We’ve touched upon the state of uncertainty in the Giants future rotation several times recently, and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle is the latest observer to offer his take of the situation. The upcoming rotation market has a lot of talent, of course, but many of its better arms of it will at least start out looking for nine-figure guarantees. Schulman says the “most likely scenario” for San Francisco is to try to bring back Mike Leake, who he pegs in the six-year, $90MM range, while also looking to deal for another mid-rotation arm.
- The Padres face ongoing shortstop questions, and Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune takes a look at the early returns from the latest player under consideration at the position: Jedd Gyorko. Still just 26 and locked up for years to come, Gyorko has come alive at the plate in recent months. While he’s only logged 103 frames at short, Lin suggests that he’s shown enough at least to merit a continued look the rest of the way. With an upcoming shortstop market that is fronted by players like Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, and Alexei Ramirez, there are certainly some free agents that could warrant consideration as everyday options — to say nothing of the possibility of a trade. But Gyorko’s work at short potentially gives the team some flexibility in its acquisition plans.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times breaks down the international bonus pool game undertaken each year by major league clubs. The Mariners, for instance, were able to free some extra spending capacity in the recent Austin Jackson deal, taking a slot from a team (the Cubs) that had already committed to exceed its own limit and take on the resulting penalties. It’s a good breakdown of a somewhat convoluted system for those who wonder how it works.
Here are a few notes from out west to end the evening:
- There appears to be some mutual interest in a continued relationship between the Giants and recently-acquired righty Mike Leake, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports on Twitter. Manager Bruce Bochy likes what he’s seen from the 27-year-old workhorse, who has pitched to a 3.16 in his 25 2/3 frames with his new club. And it appears that Leake is pleased thus far with his new environs. Of course, he figures to receive a wide range of interest on the coming free agent market. Though he’s never been a dominant pitcher, Leake offers a nice package of youth, health, and consistently solid production.
- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau discusses his latest comeback effort with MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby, saying that he understands the need to careful given his history of concussions. Those unfortunate injuries changed his career trajectory, of course, but he’s still a useful big league player at age 34. Morneau says he’s increasingly worked to take excellent care of his body as he’s gotten older, but like most regulars has always played through typical bumps and bruises. He will return to the open market after the season unless both he and Colorado exercise a $9MM mutual option.
The Blue Jays have decided to shut down ailing outfielder Michael Saunders for the remainder of the season, manager John Gibbons told reporters, including Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (Twitter link). Acquired in a one-for-one swap that sent J.A. Happ to Seattle this winter, Saunders tore the meniscus in his knee when he tripped over a sprinkler head in Spring Training. He was originally projected to miss half the season, but that timetable was accelerated to about six weeks after he had a large portion of the meniscus surgically removed. Saunders returned for nine games in early May but had lingering effects from the surgery. He had fluid drained from the knee and a cortisone shot, but neither proved effective enough to keep him from the disabled list for a second time. Those nine games will be the only ones in which Saunders takes the field in 2015. Uncertainty surrounding Saunders’ knee makes him a non-tender candidate, although he won’t receive much of a raise (if any) on this year’s $2.875MM salary. That makes him a nice low-cost asset with some significant upside; Saunders has always been injury prone but batted .248/.320/.423 with 162-game averages of 19 homers and 18 steals from 2012-14 despite playing his home games at the spacious Safeco Field.
A few other items pertaining to the Blue Jays, who narrowly trail the Yankees for the AL East lead…
- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale spoke to a number of Blue Jays players as well as Anthopoulous about the club’s flurry of trade deadline activity. Notably, Nightengale reports that the Jays had a trade for Mike Leake worked out with the Reds prior to acquiring David Price, but talks for Price ignited shortly before the trade with Cincinnati was finalized. Price himself offered an interesting take on the trade deadline, telling Nightengale that he thought he was going to be traded to the Yankees prior to learning of the move to Toronto.
- Nightengale asked Anthopoulos about the contrast to last year’s trade deadline, when the Blue Jays had a better record but did not make a move. “It was different last year,” the GM explained. “We had a lot of holes, a lot of guys hurt, and we weren’t going to (deal) without doing some real long-term damage to the organization. If we had done some of those deals, [Kevin] Pillar and [Josh] Donaldson are not on this team right now.” The implication there, of course, is that Pillar was in demand from other clubs, as were some combination of prospects Franklin Barreto, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, who went to Oakland in the Donaldson swap.
- Mark Buehrle spoke to Nightengale about how he has fallen in love with the Blue Jays and the city of Toronto after initially being upset to be traded there in 2012. “Before I came here, this was a place where I never wanted to play,” Buehrle candidly explained. “…You come here as a visitor, and you have the customs, trying to figure out your phone bills, the money exchange, the temperature readings. But now that I’ve played here, it’s been so great. It’s just such a great place to live and play. They make it so comfortable for you.” Nightengale’s entire article is well worth a read, particularly for Blue Jays fans.
- Marcus Stroman will throw a 40-pitch simulated game at the team’s Spring Training complex in Dunedin, Fla., next Monday, reports Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair. If all goes well there, he’ll throw a 55-pitch simulated game on Aug. 29 and then make a rehab outing at Triple-A in early September before Buffalo’s season closes on the seventh. That Triple-A outing will determine whether or not Stroman can return to the club in 2015. GM Alex Anthopoulos shared a generally positive outlook on Stroman’s progress in a message to Blair, saying, “I’ve seen videos of his bullpen sessions, and he looks great.”
In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides a laundry list of free agent and trade-related info. He kicks off the piece with a lengthy look at the curiously passive approaches of two teams that were seen as likely to be active sellers: the Reds and Padres. San Diego GM A.J. Preller told Heyman that his team discussed a number of deals and felt that, ultimately, the long-term nature of most of the Padres’ trade chips outweighed the value they were offered. The one notable exception is Justin Upton, who, as first reported by Buster Olney, could’ve fetched Michael Fulmer from the Mets. Regarding Upton talks, Preller told Heyman: “…the evaluation was what we’re being offered versus the value of the pick and having Justin for the rest of the year. There were offers right on the line, but none that made us move.” As for the Reds, Heyman notes that many are questioning the team’s decision to hang onto Aroldis Chapman, who is controlled through 2016, when the Reds may not be competitive until 2017. The Reds backed out of a Jay Bruce-for-Zack Wheeler swap, a source tells Heyman, with a second source telling him that Cincinnati simply “got cold feet” when it came to dealing Bruce. He also spoke to a number of executives who expressed disbelief that neither team was more active at the deadline.
Some more highlights from his column, though there’s far more in the full article than can be summarized here, so it’s worth reading in its entirety…
- The Diamondbacks are still seeking an elite closer after coming up empty in their pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, and they might pursue him again this winter. Heyman lists their priorities as: a closer, a starting pitcher (someone below the tier of Johnny Cueto/David Price) and a bat to slot behind Paul Goldschmidt in the order. The Snakes talked about deals for Jeremy Hellickson, Oliver Perez and Cliff Pennington. They came the closest to trading Hellickson, who drew interest from the Pirates and Blue Jays, he adds.
- Kevin Gausman‘s name was very popular in trade talks with the Orioles, as he was asked for by the Rockies (in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez), the Tigers (Yoenis Cespedes) and Padres (Justin Upton). The Orioles also talked to the Dodgers about Carl Crawford (for a lesser package) but found his injury history and contract too risky.
- Others are “convinced” that the Cubs will land one of the top starting pitchers on the market this winter, with Price as a leading candidate but Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Cueto all landing on Chicago’s radar as well. The Cubs are expected to shop both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez this winter. The Padres‘ interest in Baez has been reported many places, though they do have some reservations about Baez’s approach at the plate (as, I would imagine, most teams do).
- The Blue Jays, Astros and Giants all expressed interest in White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija, but the White Sox‘ winning streak plus so-so offers led the team to hold onto the right-hander. Heyman hears that the return would’ve been similar to the one the Reds ultimately got in exchange for Mike Leake, so the Sox simply held onto Samardzija. (Speaking of Leake, he adds that industry consensus pegs Leake as the most likely rental to stay with his new club — perhaps not surprising given Leake’s ties to California and the Giants’ history of retaining such pieces.)
- The Indians received interest not only in Carlos Carrasco, but also in Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. The Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox all tried for Carrasco.
- The Rockies were always more motivated to trade Troy Tulowitzki than Carlos Gonzalez, as the drama surrounding Tulo had become soap-opera-esque. The team didn’t shop Jose Reyes after the Tulo deal but did have his name come up in talks; Heyman writes that the Yankees are one club that “may have fit,” as they could’ve used him at second base.
- The Angels made a brief run at Yoenis Cespedes but didn’t come close to landing him. Cespedes won the hearts of Mets fans in part by expressing an interest in signing long-term to remain in Queens, but as Heyman notes, Cespedes did the same in Boston and Detroit without any results. A long-term pact between the Mets and Cespedes is more likely than a reunion with the Tigers though, Heyman writes, as Detroit isn’t likely to enter a bidding war for the outfielder, let alone win one.
- The Dodgers showed more interest in Cole Hamels than they did in either Price or Cueto. They were completely closed off to the idea of trading either Corey Seager or Julio Urias, though. He adds that right-hander Jose DeLeon wasn’t available in talks for rental pieces, which could imply that he was at least attainable in Hamels talks.
- Dan Jennings is expected to be welcomed back to the Marlins‘ front office this winter, when the team will search for a long-term manager to replace him. The Marlins are also planning on trying to extend Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria this offseason, he hears. Talks for Hechavarria went nowhere last winter, and the shortstop’s batting line is nearly identical to its 2014 mark. Defensive metrics are far more impressed with Hechavarria’s work this season, though, for what it’s worth.
- While Rays relief aces Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger were oft-mentioned in rumors leading up to the deadline, other teams came away with the impression that Tampa Bay wasn’t that interested in moving either.
- There’s an “unhappy scene” surrounding the Nationals and manager Matt Williams, Heyman hears. Williams isn’t beloved by many of the team’s players, who feel that he’s “not loose” and “never relaxed.” There are those who have also questioned his bullpen usage, from the decision not to use Drew Storen/Tyler Clippard in the final game of last year’s NLDS to leaving both Jonathan Papelbon and Storen in the bullpen in close road games versus the Mets shortly after acquiring Papelbon (only to have both pitch with a five-run deficit in the next series). Heyman spoke to one Nats player who said the team is loose and has fun regardless of Williams’ demeanor. “I don’t think it affects us,” said the player. “That’s just how he is.”
Full Story | 49 Comments | Categories: Adeiny Hechavarria | Arizona Diamondbacks | Aroldis Chapman | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brad Boxberger | Carl Crawford | Carlos Carrasco | Carlos Gonzalez | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Cliff Pennington | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Corey Kluber | Corey Seager | Danny Salazar | David Price | Dee Gordon | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Jake McGee | Javier Baez | Jay Bruce | Jeff Samardzija | Jeremy Hellickson | Johnny Cueto | Jordan Zimmermann | Jose Reyes | Julio Urias | Justin Upton | Kevin Gausman | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Mike Leake | New York Mets | Oliver Perez | Paul Goldschmidt | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Starlin Castro | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Trevor Bauer | Troy Tulowitzki | Washington Nationals | Yoenis Cespedes | Zack Greinke | Zack Wheeler
Giants rental acquisition Mike Leake will miss his upcoming start with a hamstring strain suffered during routine workouts, reports Chris Haft of MLB.com. While the Giants and Leake are both hopeful that he’ll miss just the one outing, but says he won’t know until today. It sounds like the maximum amount of time he’ll miss will be two starts, and swingman Ryan Vogelsong will step into the rotation in his place. The Giants traded their top prospect, righty Keury Mella, to the Reds along with corner infielder Adam Duvall in exchange for Leake on July 30.
More from the NL West…
- The Mets offered right-hander Michael Fulmer to the Padres in exchange for Justin Upton near the trade deadline prior to acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported earlier this week. That, clearly, wasn’t enough to get a deal done, as Upton remains in San Diego and Fulmer was eventually traded to the Tigers (along with fellow righty Luis Cessa) for Cespedes.
- Peter Gammons spoke to Padres GM A.J. Preller, who addressed the notion of buying and selling as well as the perceived inactivity of his club. “When someone said, ‘it’s easier to buy than sell,’ that did bother me,” Preller told Gammons. “That implies that we did little preparation. They don’t realize the three weeks to a month that so many of our scouts and baseball people were out on the road, going from town to town without seeing their families, trying to find the right players. They worked their hearts out for the Padres.”
- Though Wilin Rosario‘s name has been kicked around in trade rumors for the better part of a year, he remained in Colorado at the trade deadline and apparently drew relatively limited interest. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post asked Rockies GM Jeff Bridich about the decision not to move Rosario and was told, “The trading queries were pretty quiet on Wilin.” Saunders says that sources outside the Rockies organization placed too much value on Rosario; the Rockies see him as a Major League talent, writes Saunders, but some other clubs view him as more of a fringe big leaguer.
In a pair of excellent columns, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet and Jonah Keri of Grantland offer behind-the-scenes looks at the chaotic week of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the trade deadline. Each spoke directly to Anthopoulos, and while Keri’s piece focuses on blockbuster deals for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Zwelling’s looks at each day of Anthopoulos’ week leading up to the deadline (including those trades and other discussions) — painting a vivid picture of the life of a general manager during one of the most chaotic times of the year.
Some highlights from each piece, although I’d highly recommend reading each in its entirety…
- Both Zwelling and Keri note that talks between the Blue Jays and Rockies date back to the offseason, but the initial concept of Jose Reyes and pitching prospects for Tulowitzki surfaced in late May. Anthopoulos, Zwelling writes, had been unwilling to part with Jeff Hoffman until the day that Tulowitzki was traded. When Hoffman’s name was put on the table, talks with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich accelerated quickly. Zwelling’s piece also provides a glimpse into the difficult task of Anthopoulos informing Reyes that he’d been traded.
- Meanwhile, Anthopoulos told Keri that the decision to add Tulowitzki did have its detractors within the Toronto front office. “They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up,” said Anthopoulos. However, his take on the situation varied. “Players like that don’t become available,” said the Toronto GM. “They sign 10-year contracts and become the face of a franchise. It wasn’t an easy decision. It was weird, the process was long and stressful … but it was also a lot of fun.”
- Zwelling writes that Anthopoulos was in negotiation for players such as Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra and Mike Leake as well, but an eventual phone call from Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski caused him to shift his focus to Price. Dombrowski had told Anthopoulos a week before the trade deadline that he’d call him if he decided to move Price, and despite the fact that Anthopoulos saw constant rumors about Price’s availability, his respect for Dombrowski prevented him from calling to check in. “His guarantee that he’d call me was all I needed,” said Anthopoulos. “Dave’s a complete pro. No matter what was being said in the media, I was going to take his word for it. When and if the time presented itself, he was going to call.”
- Anthopoulos tells Zwelling that while there was pressure to get a deal for Price and/or another starter done, he did have a fallback plan. Anthopoulos had a standing agreement in place for a yet-unnamed lesser pitcher than Price that he could’ve swung on July 31, but the move for Price halted that need.
- Keri notes that Anthopoulos was on the phone with Mariners counterpart Jack Zduriencik discussing Mark Lowe when Dombrowski came calling with the info that he was ready to move Price. “I’m dying to jump off the phone, but I don’t want to do that to Jack,” said Anthopoulos. “I did really want Price, though. So I did hurry it along.”
- Keri cites a Blue Jays source in reporting that the Blue Jays nearly had a trade completed for the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco, but talks fell apart just as the Jays thought they had something worked out. The Jays also checked in with the Phillies on Cole Hamels over the winter, in Spring Training, before the All-Star break and with 10 days to go before the trade deadline, Keri reports, but were repeatedly told that Hamels wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Toronto. Anthopoulos also aggressively pursued the Padres’ Tyson Ross, according to Keri’s source, though he gives no indication that anything was as close with Ross as it seemingly was with Carrasco.
Full Story | 14 Comments | Categories: Alex Anthopoulos | Ben Zobrist | Carlos Carrasco | Cleveland Indians | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | David Price | Gerardo Parra | Jeff Hoffman | Jose Reyes | Mark Lowe | Mike Leake | Newsstand | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Toronto Blue Jays | Troy Tulowitzki | Tyson Ross
Ian Kennedy‘s deadline day experience was already stressful enough given the number of rumors swirling around his future with the Padres, but the righty’s day was even more hectic since it marked the birth of his fourth daughter. As he related to reporters (including Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune), Kennedy was originally supposed to go on the paternity list to be present for the birth, but a grounded flight in Miami meant that Kennedy decided to make his scheduled start against the Marlins that night. He wound up pitching well in the Padres’ extra-innings win, allowing two runs in seven innings. Kennedy spent his time on his would-be flight “texting with his wife and periodically checking MLBTradeRumors.com,” so if Kennedy is reading this, thanks for making us part of your big day…and congratulations on your family’s new addition!
Here’s some more from around the NL West…
- The Padres‘ quiet deadline drew some varied reaction around the league, and in another piece from Dennis Lin, he hears from rival officials that the Friars had huge asking prices despite allegedly being in “sell mode.” Some deals seemed close at times, though the Padres then countered with offers that the other team didn’t want to match.
- GM A.J. Preller told reporters (including MLB.com’s Corey Brock) that he doesn’t mind criticism about his team’s lack of notable moves, and that “ultimately we didn’t see value for the moves we wanted to be made at that time.” Preller hinted that the team could be active in the August waiver trade period, and Brock writes that the Padres are expected to keep looking for a shortstop.
- Mike Leake was a perfect deadline acquisition for the Giants, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes. The deal not only makes them a win or so better for the regular season, but Leake could potentially pay big dividends in the playoffs. All in all, Law feels that the market undervalued Leake’s impressive skill set.
- Leake, for his part, thought he was getting traded to the AL East and not San Francisco, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets.
- Troy Tulowitzki‘s final season with the Rockies and the sequence of events that led to his trade to the Blue Jays is chronicled by Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.