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Mike Minor Rumors
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.
The Braves and Orioles discussed a possible Adam Jones trade recently, but talks didn’t progress far, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (all Twitter links). The Orioles wanted Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado and at least two of Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. The Braves weren’t interested at that price, Crasnick writes.
Conflicting reports about the Braves’ interest level in Jones emerged yesterday, but it appears some preliminary discussions occurred. Orioles GM Dan Duquette joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio this week and explained that the Orioles are trying to "build around" Jones. "When you have some good players, other teams are interested," he said. "We're not marketing Adam Jones." However, he stopped short of guaranteeing that Jones would stay put.
The Braves blew a late-inning lead before losing a painful game to the Phillies tonight, but if Atlanta goes on to win in the playoffs this year, their bullpen will probably be a major reason for their success. The Braves’ late inning trio of Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel is as good as it gets.
Health permitting, the three relievers figure to return to Atlanta in 2012, but the same can’t necessarily be said for the Braves’ starting corps. Every one of the eight pitchers who has started a game for the Braves in 2011 is under team control next year and with a trio of MLB-ready arms entering the discussion for big league rotation spots, it won’t be surprising if the Braves hear an offer or two for their surplus arms.
Before we get too carried away with assumptions about health, it’s important to note that two Braves starters are on the disabled list and another one is dealing with an injury. Kris Medlen hasn’t pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August and won’t be ready before 2012. Tommy Hanson is also on the disabled list (shoulder) and Jair Jurrjens (knee) is banged up as well.
Despite those injuries, the Braves have a full rotation: Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Brandon Beachy (pictured), Mike Minor and Randall Delgado. Top prospects Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran (who will start one of tomorrow’s games) also represent viable rotation options for manager Fredi Gonzalez.
All told, the Braves have nine options. Hudson, Lowe, Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy and Minor have all had extended looks in the rotation this year, Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino spent most of the 2011 season in the minors and Medlen, a wild card heading into 2012, hasn’t pitched at all.
Not only do the Braves have nine pitchers around in 2012, most of them are under team control in 2013 (Lowe’s contract expires after next season and the Braves have a $9MM club option for Hudson in ’13). This group isn’t going anywhere.
As unusual as it is for a team to have too much pitching, this Braves team may find themselves with extra arms over the winter. Unlike most teams, however, the Braves already have the main components of their roster in place for 2012. They won’t have many obvious holes to address over the winter.
Yet the Braves aren’t set at every position – shortstop Alex Gonzalez hits free agency and Martin Prado hasn't shown the on-base skills or power you'd expect from a left fielder. If the Braves decide not to retain the slick-fielding Gonzalez and opt to move Prado back into a utility role, they could have holes at shortstop and left field (assuming they don’t view Jose Constanza as a permanent solution).
The Braves are a playoff-caliber team and they seem poised to contend in 2012, but significant needs could emerge within a month or two. Wren avoided last year's free agent frenzy and if he hopes to do the same this offseason without ignoring possible weaknesses, he could make the organization's pitching depth available in trades.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Ken Rosenthal has his weekly Full Count Video up over at FOXSports.com, so let's take a look:
- All GMs — past, present, and prospective — would love a crack at the Cubs' recent opening, says Rosenthal. Some GMs who are in their last contractual year, like Brian Cashman of the Yankees, line up better than others. Rosenthal feels the Rays might let Chicago interview Andrew Friedman, but finds it highly unlikely that the Red Sox would allow the Cubs to interview Theo Epstein, who is under contract through 2012.
- While the Nationals have spent almost $40MM on the Amateur Draft in the past three seasons, Rosenthal says they'd be wise to check in with their first draft pick ever: Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is controlled through 2013, but Rosenthal likens him to another prominent young star, saying that Zimmerman is to the Nats what Troy Tulowitzki is to the Rockies. He feels the Nats should approach their cornerstone about a similar extension before he gets so close to free agency that he considers testing it.
- The Mets were far from the only team interested in Mike Minor at the July 31st trade deadline. The Indians offered the Drew Pomeranz to the Braves in exchange for Minor, thinking that with Atlanta trying to acquire Hunter Pence at the time, the Astros may prefer Pomeranz to Minor. Cleveland would get a more Major League-ready arm in return, but the Braves had no intention of dealing Minor.
- The Rockies will look to add a big bat this winter, preferably at third base or a corner outfield spot. If they can find a third baseman despite a weak market, they may be inclined to pursue a leadoff hitter like the Twins' Denard Span. Rosenthal says the Rox have long coveted Span, and almost drafted him in 2002, but instead took Jeff Francis due to concerns over Span's asking price. Minnesota grabbed Span 11 picks later at No. 20 overall, though they showed a willingness to move him at this year's deadline when negotiating with the Nats.
- The Braves are working hard to acquire an outfield bat, but there are "still no dance partners" according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- The Astros sent $2MM (not $1MM) to the Phillies in the Pence deal, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The Phillies won't have to pay the luxury tax this way, Stark reports.
- Kevin Goldstein and R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus break down the trade that sent Pence to the Phillies.
- The Braves would have included Mike Minor in a deal for Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Braves have six untouchable players (Twitter link).
- The Mets thought they were going to trade Carlos Beltran to the Rangers earlier in the week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Texas was being more aggressive than other teams and even though they weren't willing to include elite prospects, the Mets considered a multi-prospect package. Finally, the Giants offered Zack Wheeler and the Mets moved on from the Rangers, who wouldn't budge on certain requests.
- The Marlins intend to keep Leo Nunez, Omar Infante, Ricky Nolasco and Randy Choate, according to Olney (on Twitter). They've gotten tons of hits on those players, Olney reports.
We learned yesterday that the Astros are deep into trade talks for Hunter Pence and that a deal could be completed today. The Phillies, who appear to be willing to include Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and others in a deal, may have a Friday pre-deadline for reaching an agreement, so that the Astros have time to explore deals with other suitors, like the Braves, Reds and Red Sox. The Pirates, Rangers and Angels aren't seriously in the mix at this point. Here are today's rumors with the latest updates up top:
- The Braves are looking to be creative and are still involved, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- Pence is very likely to be moved now, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. He believes the Phillies are the favorite, with the Indians, Red Sox, and Reds also in.
- A two-team swap remains the Astros' focus, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Indeed, ESPN's Jayson Stark says there's no more talk of three-team deals.
- The Braves have not considered Pence a priority, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. However, Ken Rosenthal tweets that they seek an athletic corner bat who is controlled beyond this year, and Pence fits that description.
- The Phillies currently have no intention of putting Brown in a deal for Pence, tweets Buster Olney.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests the Phillies will continue negotiating with the Astros until Sunday if they need to, since Pence "is the guy" for them (Twitter link).
- The Astros want pitching for Pence, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The Phillies and Astros are exploring potential three-team deals involving Pence, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Jon Heyman of SI.com and Joel Sherman of the New York Post agree (Twitter links). The Phillies may be willing to trade Brown to a third team to get the prospects the Astros want for Pence, Stark writes.
- The Braves offered a package that included prospects they didn’t offer to the Mets for Carlos Beltran, but the Astros turned the offer down, according to Stark. The Braves may be moving on, which would leave the Phillies as Pence’s primary suitor. The Red Sox, Reds, Pirates and Indians appear to have peeled off, according to Stark.
- Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) hears that the Astros don't love the Phillies' prospects, and that may even include Domonic Brown.
- Houston is still playing the Pence market and working to bring other teams into the mix besides the Phillies, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Astros would prefer to deal Pence to the Braves, but Atlanta continues to be very protective of their big-time pitching prospects, tweets Jon Heyman of SI. The Phillies are still working to get something done.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Astros prefer the Braves' prospects to the Phillies' prospects (Twitter link). Atlanta won't give up the "key guy," who is believed to be Mike Minor, Sherman writes.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that the Braves, generally speaking, have zero enthusiasm about giving up Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino or Randall Delgado (Twitter link).
- Pence was told during last night's game that he was being pulled because of a trade, then wasn't pulled, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Reds are in on Pence, but he's the Phillies' to lose, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- There's a sense that the Phillies might be able to obtain Pence by offering Domonic Brown instead of Singleton and including Cosart in the deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Astros still have an "unreasonable" asking price for Pence, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- There's a "huge bidding war" going on for Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter links). The Braves don't value on-base percentage as much as other teams, one NL official told Olney (Pence has a .354 OBP).
Trade rumors have surrounded plenty of Mets players throughout the season, but with just a week until the July 31st deadline, Carlos Beltran is the only major piece the Mets are focused on moving. As we learned yesterday, there is "increasing chatter" that the Giants are emerging as the favorite, but there are still a few other teams in on the outfielder. Here are today's Beltran rumors, with any new updates added to the top of the page throughout the day:
- Beltran has privately told the Mets that he will not accept a trade to an American League team because he doesn't want to alternate between DH'ing and playing center field, and because he's not familiar with the league, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Beltran has a list of seven NL team to whom he would accept a trade.
- One of Sandy Alderson's top Major League scouts, Roy Smith, has been following Giants minor leaguers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! (via Twitter).
- Beltran says that he would be okay with a trade to any of the five teams that have been rumored as destinations, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- The Mets are talking to the Rangers and Red Sox about Beltran but Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) still sees the Giants, Braves, and Phillies as the more probable destinations.
- The Rangers are interested in Beltran because of the potential impact that he can have but they aren’t desperate to add a bat otherwise, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Team officials for two of the clubs in talks with the Mets expect discussions to continue until next weekend, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (on Twitter).
- The Giants, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, and Rangers have each had a scout on hand to watch Beltran this weekend, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan says (via Twitter) the Rangers are "coming hard" for Beltran, though San Francisco is still the frontrunner. Passan singles out Giants prospect Francisco Peguero as one name that may have been discussed.
- The Red Sox see Beltran as a "total longshot," and are more concerned with adding pitching, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
- In his Insider-only blog, Olney says the Mets are looking for a top pitching prospect from the Braves – perhaps Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, or Randall Delgado. One talent evalutor says he can't see GM Frank Wren parting with any of those four arms for Beltran.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at Minor and a few other prospects the Mets may be targeting in Beltran discussions.
Carlos Beltran went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in the Mets' win over the Marlins last night, and every game he plays could be his last with the team these days. Yesterday we learned that because of his no-trade clause, Beltran can not approve a trade until 24 hours after the deal. That means the deadline to move him is July 30th, not the 31st. The Mets have interest in top prospects, but Mike Minor (Braves), Domonic Brown (Phillies), Gary Brown, Zach Wheeler, and Brandon Belt (all Giants) appear to be long shots.
Let's keep track of all the day's Beltran rumors right here, with the latest up top…
- There is "increasing chatter around [the] Mets" suggesting that Beltran will be dealt to the Giants, tweets Newsday's David Lennon.
- Beltran's no-trade clause is considered to be a "ring choice," according to Peter Gammons, as in Beltran will only agree to go to a team that has a legitimate chance at the World Series. Given Beltran's rumored preference to remain in the NL, Gammons feels this narrows the field down to the Phillies, Giants and Braves, with the Major League-leading Phillies perhaps Beltran's "preference."
- Beltran is likely going to be the only Mets player moved before the deadline, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. That said, Martino hears that at least one team has contacted the Mets about Angel Pagan.
- Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas looks at how Beltran would fit into the Rangers' lineup.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets are still shooting for a home run with Beltran, targeting Domonic Brown, Wheeler, and Minor. He notes, however, that with an expiring contract and no possibility for the acquiring team to collect draft picks, the Mets may ultimately have to drop the price tag.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said in today's pre-game show that the Braves won't part with a number of their top pitching prospects to acquire a rental like Beltran, especially since he can't be offered arbitration following the season.
- Jon Heyman of SI tweets that all of the Mets' trade talk currently revolves around Beltran. If they move anyone else, it'll be a late trade.
- ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports that the Rangers remain in play for Beltran. The Mets have increased their scouting of Texas' farm system, redirecting scouts as needed.
- Rival executives tell ESPN's Buster Olney that Mets GM Sandy Alderson is not necessarily conceding eating most of Beltran's salary (Twitter links). It's all part of negotiations and there is some belief within the organization that they'll get some financial relief in a trade.
- Andy Martino of The New York Daily News says the Mets hope to complete a Beltran trade before next weekend (Twitter links). They don't want there to be a frenzy right at the deadline.
- The Reds "have nibbled" on Beltran according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter), but they are hesitant to give up good prospects or take on so much money for a rental.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post