Newsstand Rumors

Astros Sign Daz Cameron To $4MM Bonus

TODAY: The Astros have officially announced Cameron’s signing.

YESTERDAY, 2:20pm: Cameron’s bonus will indeed come in right at $4MM, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter).

2:04pm: The Astros and No. 37 overall selection Daz Cameron have an agreement in place, and Cameron is in Houston to sign his contract, reports Mark Berman of FOX Houston. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets that an introductory press conference will be held tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. Cameron, a Scott Boras client and the son of former Major Leaguer Mike Cameron, has been widely expected to require a significantly over-slot bonus in order to forgo his commitment to Florida State.

Cameron, a high school outfielder from Georgia, was rated by most as a Top 15 talent in this year’s draft, but signability issues caused him to slip to the Astros with the 37th selection. Baseball America ranked Cameron as the fifth-best prospect in this year’s draft, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked him sixth on their Top 200. Both ESPN’s Keith Law and Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated Cameron as the No. 12 prospect in this year’s draft, and many mock drafts leading up to the actual event had him going in the top five or six picks.

BA’s scouting report notes that Cameron is a divisive player, as some scouts are put off by the fact that he doesn’t always perform against premium pitching. However, BA notes that he has elite bat speed and hand-eye coordination, which position him well to make necessary adjustments down the line. BA notes that he could have average-or-better tools across the board and can stick in center field as a regular at the position. Both Law and McDaniel agree that Cameron could one day be a big league center fielder, although his tools didn’t develop into the potential No. 1 overall type of talent that some had expected earlier in his high school career.

As I noted when the Astros signed No. 2 pick Alex Bregman, the team has saved $2.3MM on other picks, which it can put toward offering Cameron a well above-slot bonus. The No. 37 pick’s slot bonus is $1.669MM, so the Astros could reasonably offer roughly $4MM to Cameron in order to sign him.


Pete Mackanin To Manage Phillies For Rest Of Season

Pete Mackanin will manage the Phillies for the remainder of the 2015 season, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today. Mackanin, formerly Ryne Sandberg’s third base coach, has been managing the team since Sandberg’s sudden resignation last week. The Phillies also announced that Jorge Velandia, the team’s assistant minor league field coordinator, will join the Major League staff as an assistant coach.

The 63-year-old Mackanin had a nine-year career as a Major Leaguer and is now, strangely, in the midst of his third stint as a team’s interim manager following a midseason firing/resignation. Mackanin was the Pirates’ interim manager for the final month of the 2005 season after Lloyd McClendon was fired, and he served as a temporary skipper for the Reds in 2007 after Jerry Narron was dismissed. Mackanin has also served as a manager in the minor leagues, and he’s occupied various Major League coaching roles over parts of 13 Major League seasons (including a stint as the team’s bench coach). Earlier today, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that he got the sense the Phillies simply needed to make sure that Mackanin was comfortable managing the club for the rest of the year.

The Phillies yesterday announced the hiring of Andy MacPhail as the successor to president Pat Gillick, adding that MacPhail’s title of president would become official following the season when Gillick retires. It stands to reason that MacPhail will oversee the hiring of a permanent manager, although it’s certainly possible that Mackanin would be in the mix for that position if he desires. He’s been with the Phillies organization since 2009.


Giants Designate Casey McGehee For Assignment

The Giants announced this morning that Casey McGehee has been designated for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for infielder Ehire Adrianza, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A.

There was some confusion surrounding McGehee’s first removal from the roster this year. The Giants announced that he’d been designated for assignment, but McGehee had merely been designated off the 25-man roster in order to be optioned to Triple-A. As a player with five-plus years of big league service, he had the right to refuse the option, but he accepted and remained on the 40-man roster.

Today, the Giants explicitly stated in the announcement that McGehee has been removed from the 40-man roster, making this a standard DFA in which the team will now have 10 days to trade McGehee, release or attempt to outright McGehee. (He could refuse an outright assignment without forfeiting his 2015 salary due to service time.)

McGehee was acquired from the Marlins this offseason in a trade that sent Luis Castillo and Kendry Flores to Miami. San Francisco had hoped that McGehee would produce something similar to the .285/.355/.357 batting line he posted in his return to the Majors last season, helping in part to offset the loss of former franchise cornerstone Pablo Sandoval.

That hasn’t been the case, however, as McGehee has struggled to a .213/.275/.299 batting line in 138 plate appearances this season. He did hit well in his initial demotion to Triple-A, slashing .357/.391/.571 with two homers in 46 plate appearances, though, and he’s batted 5-for-17 with a pair of doubles and three walks since rejoining the big league club.

McGehee, though, didn’t receive a crack at regular playing time upon being brought back from Triple-A due to the strong play of Matt Duffy at the hot corner. Duffy has slashed .303/.349/.491 this season, usurping McGehee as the everyday third baseman and leaving him without a clear path to playing time as a member of the Giants.

This offseason, McGehee avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.8MM contract. He’s still owed $2.54MM of that salary, so it seems unlikely that a team would claim him off waivers and take on the remainder of that deal. However, the Giants will have the ability to eat some cash in a potential trade of McGehee, and teams with interest could also simply wait to see if McGehee ends up a free agent, at which point he could be signed for the pro-rated version of the league minimum. (That portion of his salary would then come off the Giants’ books, though they’d still be responsible for the lion’s share of his remaining contract.)



Follow MLB Trade Rumors On Instagram

Today, MLB Trade Rumors is proud to announce the launch of our new official Instagram account: @TradeRumorsMLB.  No, we won’t be posting pictures of our lunches.  Instead, each day, we’ll be sharing conversation-inspiring images about the hottest topics in baseball.  From there, we invite you to give us a like, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section, and even share the link with a friend.

Today’s Instagram picture asks you to predict which team will acquire Cole Hamels.  Will it be the Rangers, who have had talks with the Phillies this month regarding the left-hander?  Will the Yankees win the Hamels sweepstakes now that they’re not ruling out a pursuit of the superstar pitcher?  Could the surprising Astros make a run at the Philadelphia ace?  Or will it be one of the many other contending clubs that have interest in the 31-year-old?  Follow us on Instagram today and let us know!


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Dylan Bundy Shut Down Indefinitely

Highly-regarded Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has been shut down indefinitely as he continues to deal with shoulder issues, manager Buck Showalter told reporters (press conference video and story via the Baltimore Sun). There is currently no schedule for the former fourth overall draft pick to return to action.

Bundy reached the majors briefly in his first full season as a pro at just 19 years of age, and entered the 2013 campaign rated as the game’s second best overall prospect. But he never threw a competitive pitch that season and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.

More recently, elbow issues have given way to shoulder concerns for the 22-year-old. Bundy experienced soreness about a month ago while working at Double-A and has not pitched since.

As the Sun’s Dan Connolly reports (links to Twitter), famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews found evidence of calcification in the back area of the shoulder. The incomparably experienced Andrews indicated to Bundy that he’d never before observed that type of calcium buildup in that area. Per the report, the calcium accumulation should at some point no longer cause pain, but Bundy will need to wait until then to get back on the mound.

That makes for an uncertain timeline. “Dylan throwing again is not imminent,” said Showalter. Details of Bundy’s path back to action remain sketchy, as Showalter explained that he’ll be “just kind of shut down for the near future, for a while, [to] kind of let everything calm down [and] see where we are. … He won’t be throwing for a little while, we’ll see how long that is.”

The latest medical evaluations may actually not be entirely negative, the skipper suggested, as he noted that he has not “heard surgery mentioned” as a possibility. Bundy himself added that there is no current thought that a surgical procedure will be necessary, as Connolly tweets. While Bundy says he hopes to be able to pitch again this year, he adds that a return that swift seems unlikely.

Notably, because Bundy signed a major league deal out of the draft (as is no longer permitted), he has already burned through all of his option years despite just one big league call-up, Connolly notes on Twitter. That obviously could complicate the team’s ability to retain him if he is not ready to contribute at the big league level come next spring.

Meanwhile, Showalter also noted that former first-round pick Matt Hobgood will need shoulder surgery. Hobgood, 24, went fifth overall back in 2009, but has never been able to harness his potential. He owns a 4.98 ERA over 325 career innings in the minors and has been working as a reliever over recent seasons.

Baltimore did get somewhat more promising news on another young arm, Hunter Harvey. Showalter said that the 20-year-old right-hander will soon begin a throwing program after being diagnosed with a flexor mass strain in his forearm earlier in the year. Harvey entered the season as a consensus top-100 prospect.


Blue Jays Expect To Be Active On Pitching Market

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos indicated that he’s working hard to add pitching this summer in an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The FAN (article via Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith). And he left little doubt that he sees the club as a buyer.

“We still need to make upgrades in the rotation and the bullpen, that goes without saying,” said the Jays GM. “I’d love to land both. What we come away with or don’t come away with, I have no idea. Clearly we’re looking to be active. We’re looking to add and make the club a lot better.”

As Nicholson-Smith explains, there is at least some hope of an internal boost as well. Just-promoted rookie Matt Boyd is interesting enough to get a showcase, and the club expects to welcome Aaron Sanchez back from the DL in the near future. While Toronto anticipates that Sanchez will start, Anthopoulos says his role will depend upon the state of the rotation. And there’s even some possibility — albeit, perhaps, fairly remote — that Marcus Stroman could attempt a late-season return, though the team will surely err well on the side of caution with the prized righty.

Interestingly, Anthopoulos also discussed his broader strategy on the market, citing legendary investor Warren Buffett in saying: “It’s better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” As Nicholson-Smith notes, value-based dealing was something of a hallmark of the GM’s earlier years, but it seems that his outlook has evolved somewhat.

One undoubtedly high-quality and high-value asset that the Blue Jays possess is the contractual control over third baseman Josh Donaldson, who can be retained via arbitration through the 2018 season. That makes an extension more a future consideration, per Anthopoulos. “There’s no sense of  urgency since we still have him for a very long time,” he explained.


Phillies Hire Andy MacPhail As Pat Gillick’s Successor

5:15pm: Gillick tells ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (links to Twitter) that Amaro will retain full authority at least through the end of the season. “Ruben is going to be the GM through the end of the season,” said Gillick. “He’s going to make any of the deals that we make. He still has that authority. That’s his job — to change personnel. That’s not going to change.”

1:38pm: The Phillies announced that they have hired MacPhail, who will serve as a special assistant to Gillick for the remainder of the season before assuming the role of president at the end of the year. The team’s official statement is as follows:

“The Phillies announced today the hiring of Andy MacPhail to succeed Pat Gillick as president of the club following Gillick’s retirement shortly after the season ends. As president, MacPhail will oversee the entire organization, both its business and baseball operations. For the remainder of the season, MacPhail will serve as a special assistant to Gillick, during which time he will work closely with Gillick and chief operating officer Michael Stiles to become acclimated with the club’s operations and its personnel.”

Phillies principal owner John Middleton praised MacPhail’s blend of traditional baseball acumen and his prowess with analytics in a statement issued with today’s press release:

“Andy brings an uncommon blend of old school experience and new age thinking. … In 1986, Andy was the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball when he served in that role for the Twins. The following year, he became the youngest GM to win a World Series title. When the Orioles hired him eight years ago, Andy became the first president of baseball operations in Major League Baseball. During his tenure in Baltimore, he greatly expanded the use of statistical analysis in player evaluations. That’s the new age thinking.”

10:16am: The Phillies have called a press conference at 2:30pm ET to “announce new Phillies leadership.” As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki indicates, the presser will announce the widely expected hiring of Andy MacPhail to head the team’s baseball operations department (Twitter links). However, he adds that no new manager will be named this afternoon, and Ruben Amaro will remain in the GM’s chair, for now.

Last week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that MacPhail would be hired within the week to fill a role similar to that of interim president Pat Gillick. Reports of the club’s interest in MacPhail date back to mid-June, when CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury first broke the news.

By bringing MacPhail on board, the Phillies will hire an executive with experience in leading three franchises. MacPhail was the Twins’ GM during the team’s 1987 and 1991 World Series victories. He served as the Cubs’ president for more than a decade from the mid-90s into the mid-2000s, including the team’s 1998 and 2003 postseason berths. MacPhail moved from Chicago to Baltimore, where he served as president of baseball operations and helped lay the foundation for the perennial contender that is now in place in Baltimore. MacPhail acquired Adam Jones and Chris Tillman in a lopsided trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle, and he also acquired Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in exchange for Koji Uehara. J.J. Hardy‘s presence in Baltimore is also MacPhail’s doing; he acquired the shortstop from the Twins (alongside the remaining money on Brendan Harris‘ contract) in exchange for relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.

By coming on board with more than a month until the trade deadline, MacPhail will be in position to do some evaluation and weigh in on what is expected to be a franchise-altering month for the Phillies. Names like Aaron Harang, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere could all find themselves traded within the month, but the most impactful expected move, is of course, a potential trade of Cole Hamels. The longtime Phillies ace is the type of elite arm that can command a package significant enough to single-handedly reshape the team’s future, and the veteran executive will now be in place to have some input on that critical trade.

Additionally, MacPhail will be able to evaluate internal matters, including Amaro’s position with the team and, potentially, the hiring of a new manager to oversee the club in the wake of Ryne Sandberg’s resignation.


Giancarlo Stanton Has Broken Bone In Hand

TODAY: Stanton underwent surgery today and is indeed expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action, the Marlins told reporters (including MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro).

SATURDAY, 1:00pm: Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that no decision on a specific course of action will be made on his client prior to being re-evaluated later today (Twitter link).

9:25am: Stanton will be out four to six weeks, according to ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian (via Twitter). Frisaro reports (also via Twitter) that Stanton will have surgery and that the injury is to Stanton’s hamate bone.

9:07am: Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has a broken bone in his hand, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (all Twitter links). Stanton’s injury occurred while swinging in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game against the Dodgers. The severity of the injury is unknown, although hand injuries can often be troublesome for hitters, affecting their power in particular. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that Stanton is experiencing lots of swelling and will likely miss significant time. The injury comes in the midst of a banner season for Stanton, who led the National League in homers with 27 and RBIs with 67. He’s currently hitting .265/.346/.606.

As Rosenthal notes, Stanton’s injury could affect the Marlins’ approach to this summer’s trade market, possibly making them sellers. Rosenthal suggests that, given their huge contract with Stanton, the Marlins are unlikely to trade players who appear set to contribute over the long haul. They could, however, trade more short-term assets, like Mat Latos and Dan Haren, who are both eligible for free agency after the season. Neither of those pitchers are likely to have much trade value, although Haren is in the midst of a decent season.

After a busy offseason that included the acquisitions of Latos, Haren, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki as well as extensions for Stanton and Christian Yelich, the Marlins have been a significant disappointment. They’re in the midst of a five-game losing streak and are currently 30-45, ahead of only the Phillies in the NL East.


Astros Targeting Cueto Over Hamels

In recent weeks, the Astros have been connected to Phillies ace Cole Hamels, but it doesn’t sound as though he’s their top pitching target.  Instead, it’s Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto that is atop Houston’s wish list, according to sources who spoke with Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

One of the main reasons for their preference of Cueto over Hamels is that the Astros are seeking out a 2015 rental or possibly someone whose contract runs for one more year.  With a hefty contract that runs through 2018, Hamels simply doesn’t fit the bill.  Cueto, meanwhile, is only owed the prorated portion of his 2015 salary of $10MM, which is a little over $5MM the rest of the way.  Hamels, meanwhile, is set to earn the balance of his $22.5MM salary for the remainder of this season, $22.5MM in the next three seasons, and a $20MM option/$6MM buyout that can vest with good health and a certain number of innings pitched.

For his part, Hamels recently indicated that he would be “open-minded” to being traded to any team, including the Astros.  Instead, it sounds like Houston has their attention focused on the Reds’ pitching, where other suitors include the Dodgers, Yankees, and Blue Jays, a source tells Drellich.  All in all, Drellich hears that the Phillies have been pumping up the perception of the Astros’ interest as negotiating leverage in talks about Hamels.

The Astros are casting a wide net in their effort to add a solid starter to their rotation to go with Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Vincent Velasquez, and Lance McCullers.  In addition to Cueto and Mike Leake, the Astros are doing their homework on A’s lefty Scott Kazmir, Brewers right-handers Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse, and White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija.


Cole Hamels Would Consider Trade To Any Team

Phillies ace Cole Hamels is “open-minded” to being traded to any team, including the Blue Jays and Astros, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I have not been approached,” says Hamels. “When I’m approached, then I can make a decision and provide an answer about a team. But I’m open-minded on everybody and everything.”

Hamels’ contract allows him to block trades to all teams except the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Nationals, Padres, Rangers, and Yankees. Previous reports had suggested he would block trades to the Blue Jays and Astros if given the chance, but that apparently isn’t the case.

Hamels adds that he didn’t foresee the Astros’ strong performance this year when he failed to mark them for inclusion on his list of approved teams. “They just didn’t make the nine-team list,” he says. “When I made the list in October –- who knew?

The Phillies owe Hamels about $86MM guaranteed through 2018, including a $6MM buyout on his vesting/club option for 2019. As Salisbury notes, the absence of certain teams (such as the Red Sox, although it now appears less likely that the Red Sox would acquire him after their underwhelming start) from Hamels’ approved-trade list could give him leverage to ask the team acquiring him to pick up his option. Hamels has lately been connected to the Yankees and Rangers as well as the Blue Jays.