Nate Schierholtz Rumors
In an interesting piece for Sports Illustrated, Richard Deitsch posed a range questions to a group of five outstanding baseball writers -- Jay Jaffe of SI.com, La Velle Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle -- who represent different aspects of the baseball media sphere. Here are some more links from the day:
- Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz could be had via trade, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The "progress" of Ryan Kalish makes that a possibility, says Morosi. Schierholtz is owed $5MM this year before qualifying for free agency. As Moroso mentions, the Tigers are a club that could hypothetically be interested in Schierholtz given the injury to Andy Dirks.
- The Cardinals introduced new infielder Aledmys Diaz today, as the Associated Press reports (via the Boston Herald). Though the Cuban was brought in for a relatively meager $8MM guarantee over four years, Cards GM John Mozeliak says that the team is "very confident that [Diaz] can be an offensive middle infielder, especially a shortstop." Mozeliak said the club would exercise patience with its new addition, who has not played competitively for some time.
- Though the Mariners' additions of Corey Hart and Logan Morrison over the offseason raised some questions about incumbent first baseman Justin Smoak, manager Lloyd McClendon says that Smoak will remain the starter, MLB.com's John Schlegel reports. It seemed more recently that things were headed in that direction, but McClendon's statements today would make a trade of Smoak a surprise at this point. "Will other guys play first? Yeah," McClendon said, "But Smoak is my first baseman."
- The independent Suger Land Skeeters have invited former NBA star Tracy McGrady to their spring camp, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. At 34, McGrady is working to build up arm strength and develop an off-speed offering.
The Cubs and outfielder Nate Schierholtz have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year pact worth $5MM, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Schierholtz is represented by Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal of All Bases Covered Sports Management.
Chicago picked Schierholtz up on an affordable one-year, $2.25MM contract last offseason after he was non-tendered by the Phillies (Philadelphia had acquired him in the Hunter Pence trade with San Francisco). The 29-year-old Schierholtz slashed .251/.301/.470 with career-bests in home runs (21), RBIs (68), runs (56) and plate appearances (503). As usual, most of his damage came against right-handed pitching, as can be seen in his .262/.300/.499 slash line against them. He received just 66 PAs against left-handers, clearly indicating his role as a platoon player.
3:54pm: MLB.com's Bill Ladson spoke with a source who said that Storen is more likely to be dealt than Clippard. Rizzo told MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko that trade talk of Storen and Clippard is overblown, as he's yet to receive an actual offer (Twitter link).
11:08am: Talks between the Cubs and Nationals regarding Storen and Clippard are dead, according to Kilgore (on Twitter).
TUESDAY, 10:34am: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that both Storen and Clippard are generating interest on the trade market, with Clippard being the more popular name (Twitter link). GM Mike Rizzo would need to have his "socks knocked off" to move either reliever, however, according to Kilgore.
MONDAY, 4:28pm: Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter links) hears from a source that the Nats would listen to offers on Storen, though any talks with the Cubs are in the very early stages at this point. Kilgore identifies Nate Schierholtz and James Russell as a couple possible fits for Washington if negotiations became more serious.
4:00pm: The Cubs are looking to the trade market in their search for relievers and have eyed both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen of the Nationals, among others, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).
Clippard, 28, is controlled through the 2015 season and has a 2.73 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 over the past five seasons. Storen, 26, may have fallen out of favor to an extent with the Nats in 2013 following a career-worst 4.52 ERA and a brief demotion to the minors. The former No. 10 overall pick owns a career 3.40 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 since being promoted in 2010, however.
Today's news out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Brewers are considering bringing back Corey Hart to fill their first-base need and it appears they may favor him over other first base options like Mets first baseman Ike Davis and free agent Justin Morneau, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A Brewers person didn't look overly enthused when asked about Davis or Morneau and added that the rumored trade of Norichika Aoki for Davis would not be happening.
- Agent Scott Boras says that he's gotten good interest from a "variety of teams" on client Mike Pelfrey and said the Twins are amongst those clubs, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. He also claims that Pelfrey holds a multi-year offer.
- The Cubs don’t plan to drop big bucks on a free agent catcher like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and sources tell Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com they have their eye on a cheaper target: Kurt Suzuki. The Cubs are seeking out a veteran backstop to complement Welington Castillo.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there's been ongoing trade interest in Nate Schierholtz since mid-season.
- Justin Masterson will listen if the Indians want to approach him with a multi-year offer, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
The Diamondbacks have interest in trading for Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Schierholtz, 30 in February, smacked 21 home runs in 503 plate appearances for the Cubs this year. In an article Sunday, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic speculated on Schierholtz as a possible fit for the Diamondbacks, who were rumored to have an eye on Cubs righty Jeff Samardzija prior to the trade deadline.
With more than five years of big league service time, Schierholtz is arbitration eligible and under the Cubs' control for one more season. Matt Swartz has projected a $3.8MM salary for 2014, a $1.55MM raise on Schierholtz's 2013 base salary. The Cubs inked Schierholtz to a one-year deal in December of last year after he was non-tendered by the Phillies. They were able to offer him the most playing time of his career while making sure he faced left-handed pitching only 13% of the time. He responded with a .251/.301/.470 line as the Cubs' primary right fielder.
D'Backs GM Kevin Towers has talked about his desire to add a power-hitting corner outfielder. Gerardo Parra seems to have one of the team's outfield spots locked down, with Adam Eaton, A.J. Pollock, and Cody Ross also in the mix. Given Arizona's limited payroll flexibility, Schierholtz could hold extra appeal at less than $4MM.
There has been plenty of news out of baseball's Eastern divisions already today; the Phillies' agreement with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is in jeopardy, the Blue Jays released Michael Schwimer and Alex Rodriguez has officially filed an appeal of his 211-game suspension. Here's more on a releatively busy August day for MLB's east coast teams...
- An MRI on Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli's hips showed that his avascular necrosis (a degenerative hip condition he learned he had last offseason) has not worsened, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford spoke to Napoli about his upcoming free agency, and Napoli said he feels more at ease this time around and is relieved to know that his condition hasn't worsened.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Red Sox DH David Ortiz doesn't think last year's team would have rallied to erase a 5-0 defecit and defeat the Astros 15-10 as they did last night. “I would say it was a lot of things going on and I don't think a lot of guys were focused on the things that we need to do to win ballgames.” Ortiz went on to praise Boston GM Ben Cherington and the team's front office for making tough decisions and reworking the entire organization in such a short time.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins never got to the point where they even received specific names in trade proposals for Giancarlo Stanton this July. Four high-ranking officials shot down a rumored blockbuster proposal from the Pirates involving Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole. Frisaro adds that the Marlins want to build around Stanton and will discuss a long-term contract this offseason.
- There was less risk to keeping Nate Schierholtz around than there was in non-tendering him for the Phillies last offseason, opines David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Murphy questions GM Ruben Amaro Jr.'s claim that the team couldn't get a good look at Schierholtz last season as he missed time with a broken toe shortly after being acquired, noting that team could've tendered him a contract and just traded him at the end of Spring Training if they weren't impressed. However, as Murphy notes, Schierholtz alone would not have come close to solving all of the Phillies' 2013 problems.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman is operating under the assumption that he will have A-Rod for the remainder of the season, but he's also scouting the trade market for secondary options, writes MLB.com's Joey Nowak.
Though the Cubs listened to offers for Jeff Samardzija at the deadline, they "never came close with any deal," GM Jed Hoyer reveals in a report by Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. However, the club plans to explore a contract extension for their right-hander this winter, with Hoyer ranking it "very high" on the Cubs' priority list. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined the cost of locking up Samardzija earlier this week, placing the floor of such a deal in the range of the five-year, $55MM extension Matt Harrison inked with the Rangers this winter. More Thursday night Cubs links:
- The Cubs are likely to actively pursue trading Samardzija if they're unable to agree on an extension this winter, instead of merely listening, as they did this year, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. That matches an earlier report from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The team is also expected to pick up David DeJesus' $6.5 million option, Sullivan says.
- DeJesus drew interest at the deadline, as did fellow outfielder Nate Schierholtz and pitcher James Russell, sources tell Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. "We thought we had a high but not unreasonably high price on some of the guys, but a lot of the guys we were being asked about we control going forward," Hoyer said, referencing DeJesus, Schierholtz and Russell. "In some ways it makes our winter potentially easier." The Northsiders have a say in where each of those players ends up next year, Rogers notes.
- The Cubs have had preliminary discussions on who they may end up placing on waivers with an eye toward an August deal, Hoyer says in an article by Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. However, the executive added that he believes teams with specific holes to fill were able to do so by putting together deals before the deadline.
29-year-old Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz is one of the better bats on the trade market. He deserves credit for his strong work this year against right-handed pitching, but it's also a weak market for bats. Schierholtz is under team control for 2014 as an arbitration eligible player, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz suggests a salary in the $4.2MM range. 33-year-old center fielder David DeJesus is another candidate to be moved today; he comes with a $6.5MM club option for 2014. DeJesus recently returned from a shoulder sprain. The latest on that pair as well as the Cubs' other trade chips...
- It looks like Schierholtz is staying put with the Cubs, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
Earlier Cubs Updates
- There's much more action on James Russell right now than Kevin Gregg, according to ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine (on Twitter).
- The Cubs expect to trade either Schierholtz or DeJesus, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and DeJesus might be more likely. The Pirates are in on both.
- The Cubs appear more likely to trade Schierholtz than relievers Kevin Gregg or James Russell, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
The Cubs have plenty of trade chips remaining, but time is running out to deal them as tomorrow's 4pm ET deadline looms. Here's the latest...
- The Pirates remain interested in Nate Schierholtz, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Concerns surrounding his shoulder cause the Bucs to switch gears to Alex Rios a few weeks back, but Schierholtz has demonstrated his health with strong play of late. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Schierholtz is likely to be traded.
- Levine also reports that James Russell was nearly acquired by the Braves last week, and he's now drawing interest from the Reds. The Braves have since acquired Scott Downs to fill the left-handed void in their bullpen. Russell had a rough outing in the first game of today's doubleheader, allowing a three-run home run to Khris Davis plus two other hits and a free pass.
- Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg are the two Cubs most likely to be dealt prior to tomorrow's deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Time reports. The Pirates and Tigers are scouting the Cubs' series with the Brewers, with the Bucs looking for outfield help and the Tigers on the hunt for bullpen help.
- The Blue Jays have also been scouting the Cubs for the past week, according to Wittenmyer, but that's likely because they're looking to add pieces for 2014.
- Wittenmyer adds that Carlos Villanueva isn't likely to be traded, as the Cubs value his versatility and cheap contract as they look to shuffle the roster again in 2014.
ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today. Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday. In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value. Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal. Elsewhere in Stark's column:
- The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick. There are no indications a deal is in the works.
- The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
- The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
- Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available." Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move. Are they that hard up for cash?