Mike Olt Rumors
It was reported over the weekend that the Rangers attempted to acquire Andrelton Simmons from the Braves in order to flip him to the Diamondbacks as part of a package for Justin Upton. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports takes the story one step further, adding that the Rangers are so interested in Upton that they were willing to flip top prospect Mike Olt for Simmons to facilitate the trade. Knobler reports that the D-backs want Simmons, but the Braves will keep him rather than making a run at Upton to fill their own corner outfield needs (Twitter links).
The attachment to Simmons isn't a surprise. He batted .289/.335/.416 with three homers in 49 games this season, but was far more impressive with his glove. Simmons posted an astounding 31.6 UZR/150, and John Dewan's Fielding Bible pegged him at +19 runs despite totaling only 426 innings.
Arizona would like a young shortstop in a trade for Upton, but the Rangers are reluctant trade either Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar. The 24-year-old Olt ranked 43rd on Baseball America's Top 100 prosspect list prior to 2012, but emerged as one of the game's top prospects with a monstrous season at Double-A. He batted .288/.398/.579 with 28 home runs and made his Major League debut, appearing in 16 games for the Rangers down the stretch.
Here's the latest from Joel Sherman of The New York Post...
- The Mets are making progress, albeit slowly, in contract talks with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The impression is that there is still a substantial gap in talks with Dickey, and they've been gauging his trade value during the GM Meetings. They are not doing the same with Wright, however.
- The Yankees would not do a two-year deal worth $20MM or so for Torii Hunter since they want to get under the luxury tax threshold next year. They are fixated on one-year contracts this offseason and could fill their right field hole with a low-cost platoon.
- "The Yankees are not on him," said a source about Justin Upton, in part because they're unsure if he's a good fit for New York (Twitter link). The Rangers and Rays are strongest early players for Upton, and Sherman gets the sense that the D'Backs want to act quickly (Twitter links).
- The Diamondbacks want high-end, MLB ready players in return for Upton and would love to get Jurickson Profar or (more likely) Elvis Andrus from the Rangers. They don't love Mike Olt, however (Twitter links). GM Kevin Towers likes Yankees prospect Mason Williams, but he is several years away from the show and unlikely to be enough to headline a trade package (all Twitter links).
- Next year's crop of free agent starting pitchers is weak, which could benefit Zack Greinke since teams won't be able to find a stopgap and reassess next year. Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum highlight next winter's pitching crop, and both come with question marks.
- The Mariners, who have young pitching, are said to be talking to the Royals and Twins, who have young hitting. Seattle would love to pry Wil Myers, Aaron Hicks, and/or Ben Revere loose.
- Jason Bay didn't produce with the Mets, but he lived up to his billing as a hard worker and good teammate. Sherman expects the outfielder to take a low-salary, change of scenery deal (Twitter link).
- Mets officials think Scott Hairston will get a two-year deal worth between $8-10MM this winter.
The results of Josh Johnson’s start against the Padres and Roy Halladay’s start against the Braves could have major consequences for the trade market, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. More than a dozen scouts are on hand to watch Johnson pitch in Miami today, while Halladay is attempting to prevent the Braves from sweeping the Phillies out of town and, possibly, out of the playoff mix. Here are the details from Stark:
- MLB executives are wary of Johnson’s past shoulder troubles, his career-high ERA and his diminishing fastball velocity, but no other available starter has his kind of stuff. The Marlins continue to look for a “dream package” for Johnson and they’re prepared to keep him if no club meets their asking price, Stark reports.
- The Rangers seem especially cautious about Johnson, but they have people watching his start today. The Marlins told the Rangers they aren’t interested in discussing a trade unless Mike Olt is involved, yet the Rangers haven’t been willing to make Olt available.
- As of last night, the Phillies were telling clubs they haven’t decided how they’ll approach the deadline. They’ve likely done enough talking to trade Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton in short order if necessary, Stark writes.
- The Phillies continue dangling Hunter Pence, but seem intent on waiting until the offseason to start serious trade discussions.
- Philadelphia could keep its trade chips for now and make moves in August, when players have to be placed on waivers to be dealt.
Besides the Angels and Brewers themselves, perhaps no team was as impacted by the Zack Greinke trade as the Rangers. Here's the latest on the Rangers' own pursuit of Greinke and how they plan to counter the Angels' newest salvo in the battle for the AL West.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that the Rangers were the other finalist for Greinke's services. The Rangers offered Leury Garcia, Chad Bell and Justin Grimm to the Brewers.
- Had the Rangers been willing to include third base prospect Mike Olt in their offer to the Brewers, Greinke probably would've ended up in Texas, USA Today's Bob Nightengale. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, however, reports the Brewers wanted Martin Perez and didn't "insist" on Olt or Jurickson Profar, though Texas still felt the requested package of prospects was too much (both links are to Twitter).
- With Greinke gone, the Rangers won't necessarily try to acquire Josh Johnson or James Shields, a source tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Marlins and Rays have put a high price tag on their aces and the Rangers may wait to see if they lower their demands. Sullivan notes that if the Rangers weren't willing to deal the likes of Olt for Greinke, they wouldn't trade him or other top prospects for another pitcher who they didn't value as highly.
- The Rangers also valued Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee more than they did Greinke, reports Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Hamels just signed an extension to remain in Philadelphia and the Rangers shied away from the large salary still owed to Lee through the 2015 season.
- The Rangers are "unlikely" to get Johnson, while they're still in play for Shields, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
Zack Greinke is on his way to the Angels and the ripple effects of this big move are reverberating throughout baseball. Here is some of the early reaction to the big deal and how it will impact other clubs as we approach the trade deadline...
- Los Angeles paid a "significant" price for Greinke, especially given that he's only under contract through the rest of this season, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required). As for the minor league package going to Milwaukee, "it's only marginally less than the Brewers initially gave up for two years of Greinke, but has a lot more risk, as all three of the prospects involved have fairly low floors," says Law.
- The Angels "must be thrilled" over acquiring Greinke without having to deal Peter Bourjos or Garrett Richards, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Greinke trade could it for the Angels' deadline moves. "This in all likelihood will be all we do," GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (Twitter link).
- Dipoto also told DiGiovanna that he hasn't discussed an extension yet with Greinke, who can be a free agent after this season. An AL executive tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link) that the Angels must have gotten "at least [an] inkling from [the] Greinke camp he can be re-signed" or else they wouldn't have made the deal.
- Greinke told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that he enjoyed his time in Milwaukee and would be open to returning if the Brewers pursued him in free agency. The right-hander described his choice to not sign an extension with the Brewers as "a business decision."
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told reporters (including Haudricourt) that he "zeroed in" on three suitors for Greinke before narrowing the field down to just two teams. "We got a lot of phone calls. When you have a player of Zack's caliber, a lot of people are instructed to make a phone call to get involved," Melvin said.
- The Angels were reportedly high on Greinke's list of preferred trade destinations, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Greinke also would've liked to pitch for the Braves and Cardinals.
- The Rays were hoping that if Greinke was dealt to the Angels or Rangers, it would move the other to "pay big" for James Shields, reports Sherman (Twitter link). Other executives, however, think the Rangers prefer Josh Johnson over Shields.
The Marlins are willing to listen on most of their players, including Josh Johnson. But there’s no guarantee they’ll deal the 28-year-old right-hander, who is under contract for 2013. While his salary has risen to $13.75MM, he’s still an attractive commodity to teams seeking starting pitching such as the Rangers and Blue Jays. Here are the latest rumors on Johnson:
- Executives expect the Marlins to trade Johnson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. The Rangers are viewed as the favorites to acquire him.
- Executives expect the Angels, Orioles, Blue Jays and Rangers to push for Johnson, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
- The Rangers haven't yet agreed to surrender Olt in a trade for Johnson, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets.
- The Marlins had not intended to trade both Hanley Ramirez and Johnson, but that stance could be changing given the interest in Johnson, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets
- The Rangers are one of the teams actively pursuing Johnson, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. They'd be willing to trade top prospect Mike Olt for Johnson, Nightengale writes.
- There’s a 50-50 chance the Marlins move Johnson, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (on Twitter). The Marlins are holding out for a great offer.
- There should be a “feeding frenzy” for Johnson, an executive tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Rangers would like to add an elite starter and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests they’ll pursue Johnson. The Rangers could also ask about Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke, Olney writes (Twitter link).
Scouts will be watching Brewers ace Zack Greinke very closely tonight as he makes his first start since July 13. The right-hander was given 10 days' rest in an effort to see him "recharge his batteries," as Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin phrased it. We'll keep tabs on Greinke rumors in this post, with the latest going up top.
- The Brewers' ideal scenario is to trade third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Dodgers in exchange for pitching prospect Zach Lee and then deal Greinke to the Rangers for third base prospect Mike Olt, reports Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (via Twitter). Bowden adds that such a sequence of moves is unlikely, however.
- The teams that are known to have interest in Greinke, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, are: the Rangers, Orioles, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers.
A handful of teams still don't know whether to buy, hold or sell with eight days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports. Expanded playoffs are on the horizon for the first time, so more teams than ever are within striking distance of a postseason berth, and the trade market is unsettled as a result. Here are the latest notes from Passan and colleague Tim Brown...
- The Diamondbacks “adore” Rangers third base prospect Mike Olt, Passan writes. Olt could help the Rangers put together a competitive trade offer for 24-year-old right-fielder Justin Upton.
- Rival executives know the Braves are looking for pitching, which means Atlanta is up against extra-high asking prices, according to Passan. The Braves will acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs for Randall Delgado if Dempster approves the trade.
- The Twins are listening on Justin Morneau, Tim Brown reports. Minnesota wants teams to surrender a big leaguer for Morneau, while absorbing his entire contract ($14MM per season through 2013). That's a high asking price for a player with a history of concussion issues and a .744 OPS.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.