Mike Minor Rumors
Links from the NL East...
- There's little question within the Mets organization that Travis d'Arnaud will become the team's starting catcher at some point this year, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. However, d'Arnaud will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, barring an injury. By keeping d'Arnaud in big league camp, the Mets are running the risk that he'll get injured and start picking up MLB service time while on the disabled list, Michael Baron of MetsBlog.com notes.
- The Braves front office doesn't seem concerned about the possibility that their lineup will strike out often in 2013, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. Martino also discusses the re-branding of the Braves in the post-Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox era. “We like talent,” one Braves person said.
- Don't be surprised if Mike Minor of the Braves and Domonic Brown of the Phillies are among the players who break out in 2013. ESPN.com's Keith Law includes these players on his list of former top prospects poised for big performances in the coming season.
- A trade is still the more likely means for Colorado to acquire starting pitching help, according to Renck. Teams are calling about Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer. Renck notes that the two years and $21MM remaining on Cuddyer's contract may be appealing to teams, given the inflated prices we've seen in this year's free agent market.
- The one-year deal signed by Jeff Francis last night will pay the southpaw somewhere north of $750K salary that he earned in 2012.
- Renck also writes that the team included Alex White in this week's Wilton Lopez trade because they no longer viewed White as a starter.
- Within that same piece, Renck reports that in trade talks prior to the Winter Meetings, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor and one of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in exchange for Fowler. Needless to say, the price on Colorado's center fielder remains high.
While the Dodgers have been linked to just about everyone this offseason, they won't be the only NL West club active in Nashville this week. Here are a few updates from around the division:
- Chris Haft of MLB.com (Twitter link) heard from an agent earlier today that the Giants were "bending over backwards" to re-sign Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Haft wonders if Scutaro is next, now that the team has reached an agreement with Pagan.
- The Rockies are targeting late-inning and closer-type pitchers this week, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers would be "shocked" if Shohei Otani declares for MLB and doesn't sign with them, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). However, the Dodgers are skeptical that Otani will come stateside. We heard this morning that the 18-year-old was leaning toward remaining in Japan.
- In discussing Dexter Fowler with the Braves, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link).
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the Yankees had some interest in Chris Nelson last season, and wonders if their interest in the Rockies' infielder could be renewed now that Alex Rodriguez is undergoing hip surgery.
- The Giants are one of five teams with "real interest" in Scott Hairston, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Cardinals, Tigers, Indians, and Yankees round out the list, and Hairston himself hasn't ruled out a return to the Mets.
The Brewers are looking to sell and, based on his most recent start, Zack Greinke is healthy. The right-hander figures to continue drawing heavy interest in the days leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. He’s clearly the top arm available with Cole Hamels locked up to an extension in Philadelphia. The Rangers, Angels, Braves and White Sox are interested in Greinke and the Red Sox and Nationals might be considered suitors too. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Greinke with the most recent rumors up top...
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin's comments this evening were measured compared to ones made earlier today where he sounded certain of a Greinke trade, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. "I just said there was that possibility," Melvin said. "I don't think there's any secret, with the Trade Deadline, that this is a possibility. Zack knows that. We know that. Other teams know that." McCalvy writes that the Rangers, Angels, and Braves appear to be the most serious suitors for Greinke.
- The Dodgers aren't pursuing Greinke at this point, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The White Sox seem completely focused on trying to get Greinke, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- Greinke will be traded before the July 31st deadline, GM Doug Melvin told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Melvin said Greinke could handle pitching in a large market. "There are so many good things about him, it's going to be difficult when we trade him,'' Melvin said. GMs and executives agree Greinke is the prize pitcher available in trades, Nightengale reports.
- One source believes Greinke will be traded before Ryan Dempster, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirmed on WTMJ radio that he's taking phone calls and acknowledged that Greinke could be traded before his next start (transcript via Tom Haudricourt). "At this point we have to listen to opportunities to improve the ball club for the future and still try to win ball games now," Melvin said.
- Melvin added that the Brewers haven't had recent extension talks with Greinke.
- The Brewers are taking calls from teams interested in acquiring Greinke, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "It sounds like he's as good as gone," one person told Haudricourt.
- Haudricourt offers a detailed look at which prospects interest the Brewers’ decision makers. Milwaukee would love to have Rangers shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, but the Rangers consider him untouchable. The Brewers would be very interested in Rangers left-hander Martin Perez and have scouted right-hander Justin Grimm.
- The Brewers are thought to rank Braves right-hander Julio Teheran ahead of Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, according to Haudricourt. The Brewers want pitchers who can contribute at the MLB level soon.
- Milwaukee prefers Angels shortstop prospect Jean Segura to Garrett Richards, Haudricourt writes.
- The White Sox also appear to have considerable interest in Greinke.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors...
- The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
- The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
- The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
- The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.
The Marlins ended their franchise record offensive draught of scoring five runs or less for 25 consecutive games in their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays. And, for good measure, the nine runs were a season-high for the Marlins, who ended their six-game losing streak. Here's the latest news from around baseball.
- The Braves could make starting pitching a priority at the trade deadline because of the growing pains of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado and the uncertainty surrounding Jair Jurrjens, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- The Pirates need to create an opening in their starting rotation when Jeff Karstens returns from the disabled list this week and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thinks a trade could create that opening (via Sulia). Biertempfel reported yesterday the Pirates are shopping Kevin Correia.
- With the Pirates looking for offensive help, the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes the Rockies have players available, including Marco Scutaro. In the same piece, Renck offers his suggestions on who the Rockies should play the rest of the way in 2012, so as to best prepare for 2013.
- The Nationals are not willing to pay a fine in order to exceed their draft bonus pool, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This is a corection to a story Kilgore wrote yesterday. Kilgore writes this stance will lower the amount the Nationals will be able to offer their first round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
- Condolences to the friends of family of Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today. He was 50.
The Cubs are trying to break an 11-game losing streak, their longest in 15 years, as they take on the Pirates this afternoon at PNC Park. Manager Dale Sveum has changed closers, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Sveum didn't reveal who would replace Rafael Dolis if a save opportunity presents itself, but Sullivan writes he did mention James Russell and Casey Coleman.
Here are some more links on this Sunday before Memorial Day.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets the Braves may be looking for starting pitching because of the struggles of Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens. Bowman cautions money will be an issue.
- Manager Bud Black told reporters including Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that Carlos Quentin could make his Padres debut this week when the team travels to Chicago. Quentin has yet to play this season because of knee surgery performed in March.
- Chase Utley also hasn't seen action in 2012 because of a knee injury. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes Utley is feeling better but there is still no timetable for his minor league rehab. Salisbury points out Utley has been working in left field to ease the strain on his knees and to work on his agility.
- Kevin Mulvey has retired, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Mulvey had been pitching in relief with the Mets' Double-A affiliate. Mulvey was part of the Johan Santana trade and rejoined the Mets late in spring training after being released by the Diamondbacks.
Braves left-hander Mike Minor made it clear last week that he’d welcome a trade under certain circumstances. While he doesn’t have the power to demand a deal, his comments appear to have irked Braves decision makers. Should Atlanta decide to address other needs by parting with starting pitching depth, Minor could be traded.
At this point, Minor is competing for a rotation spot with prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, so trade talk is purely speculative. Plus, Minor has options remaining, so he can be sent to the minor leagues whether he likes it or not. Let’s look ahead to how he might be valued on the trade market and to which teams could have interest.
First, what kind of pitcher is Minor? He has a 4.74 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 36.4% ground ball rate in 123 1/3 innings at the Major League level. The 24-year-old's peripheral stats (3.63 FIP, 3.63 SIERA, .359 opponents' BABIP) suggest his ERA is inflated by about a run and can be expected to drop given his skillset.
Teams covet controllable, MLB ready players and Minor fits that description perfectly. Minor, the Braves’ 2009 first round pick, has less than one year of MLB service time (138 days). His relative inexperience means he's not projected to hit free agency until after the 2017 season. He'll be making close to the MLB minimum through 2013, at which point he projects to qualify for arbitration as a super two player.
Minor’s arguably someone who could help a big league team win now by providing steady innings at the back of a rotation. Contenders such as the Red Sox, Tigers and Angels have competition in their rotations entering Spring Training and could have interest. Teams like the Blue Jays, Royals, Athletics, Astros and Pirates aren’t necessarily in win-now mode, but many would figure to have interest in a controllable left-hander who induces swings and misses.
Recent trades involving Michael Pineda, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Mat Latos showed that controllable, young starting pitching is a commodity for which teams are willing to surrender multiple top prospects. Though Minor’s accomplishments don’t compare to those of the pitchers above, he has shown enough as a professional that the Braves could demand one top young player or prospect plus a supplementary piece in a possible trade. There’s no reason to believe GM Frank Wren intends to part with Minor, but if the left-hander does become available, expect him to draw significant interest.
It appears "likely" that MLB will expand the playoffs to include ten teams starting this season, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. Talks to resolve scheduling obstacles have picked up in recent days as the March 1st deadline draws closer. Here are some links from around MLB...
- No new talks have taken place between the Diamondbacks and catcher Miguel Montero, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. The sides are up against a soft deadline of March 20th and are surely monitoring extension talks for backstops Russell Martin and Yadier Molina.
- Braves shortstop Jack Wilson will be sidelined with a right calf injury for four to six weeks, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said internal candidates such as Josh Wilson and Drew Sutton could back Tyler Pastornicky up until Wilson returns.
- Mike Minor annoyed Braves people by suggesting he'd like a trade if he isn't in the rotation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
GM Frank Wren told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Mike Minor is the “incumbent” in the competition for the Braves' final rotation spot because of his experience and left-handedness. However, Minor says he would prefer not to go to Triple-A if he fails to earn a rotation spot after pitching well.
“Then there’s no reason I shouldn’t pitch in the big leagues somewhere,” he said. “If they don’t have room for me here, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade me or just do something with me.”
Minor, 24, clarified his comments to manager Fredi Gonzalez and some teammates, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (Twitter links). Minor says the Braves should trade him if he hasn't earned a lasting spot in the Major Leagues by next year.
Minor owns a 4.74 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 123 1/3 innings at the Major League level. The 2009 first rounder made 15 starts for the Braves last year and another 16 at Triple-A. He is currently vying for the fifth spot in the Braves’ rotation, along with prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.