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Nate Schierholtz Rumors
Tigers executive Scott Reid is scouting Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz and infielder Darwin Barney, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports. The Cubs would be looking for pitching in return. The Tigers have lost outfielder Andy Dirks and shortstop Jose Iglesias to serious injuries. Dirks was slated to form the left-handed side of a left-field platoon with Rajai Davis. The left-handed Scherholtz would seem to fit the bill as his replacement, even though he has mostly played right field in recent years.
Barney has played shortstop only sparingly since 2010, and the Tigers have no real need at second base, with Ian Kinsler in tow. Barney is a strong defensive second baseman, however, and he has played a bit of shortstop this spring with Starlin Castro dealing with a hamstring injury. Barney recently told the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales that he would be fine playing shortstop. "Shortstop is my natural position," he said. "I feel very comfortable over there. The past three years at second base I've still taken balls at short almost every day as part of my workout to stretch my arm out. So I don't look at it as a transition." Barney hit poorly in 2013, with a line of .208/.266/.303 in 555 plate appearances, but he produced enough value with his defense to be above replacement level.
The seven-year, $140MM offer that the Yankees offered Shin-Soo Choo was only on the table for less than a day. As MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince notes, New York offered Choo the contract and then pulled it back almost as quickly in order to instead sign Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45MM deal. "In my opinion, it takes some time to make a decision, maybe at least a couple days," Choo said. "You want to learn a city and a team. They gave me 21 hours." The Yankees' withdrawal could've been due to Beltran simply accepting his offer first, or perhaps because Scott Boras (Choo's agent), reportedly asked the Yankees to match the $153MM the Bombers gave to Jacoby Ellsbury. Choo didn't end up doing too badly for himself at any rate, signing a seven-year, $130MM deal with the Rangers.
Here's some news from around the baseball world…
- CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman lists 14 players who could traded during Spring Training. Most of these names have popped up on the pages of MLBTR over the last few weeks, though one new name is Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner. Heyman says there's "not a great chance" Miami would deal Turner but since the Marlins have a lot of good young pitchers, "folks on other teams speculate this could be the one arm the Marlins might move in that right deal" for offensive help.
- Ike Davis' calf injury has not only set back the Mets' first base competition, but it has also ruined any possible chance of a trade showcase for Davis during Spring Training, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. The Brewers, Pirates and Orioles have all been connected to Davis in trade rumors during the offseason but obviously no move will be made any time soon, as Davis is currently in a walking boot and recently had an MRI on his right calf.
- Speaking of the Pirates' first base search, the team could end up finding its left-handed platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez already on the roster in the form of Andrew Lambo, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. While maturity issues and a 50-game suspension reportedly relating to marijuana use have set back Lambo's career, he is still only 25 and has posted some strong power numbers in the minors.
- "I just don't see what we have to lose," Indians manager Terry Francona says about Carlos Santana's attempted conversion to third base. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal recaps the reasons behind Santana's surprising decision to try the hot corner and how it could be a boon for the Tribe if Santana could handle the position.
- Nate Schierholtz wants to remain with the Cubs but is cognizant of the fact that could be traded, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. The veteran outfielder said he hasn't spoken to Cubs management about staying beyond his current one-year contract. Recent rumors put Schierholtz on the trading block thanks to Ryan Kalish's progress, not to mention the fact that Kalish is playing on a minor league deal while Schierholtz is owed $5MM this season.
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.