Newsstand Rumors

Cubs Acquire Tommy Hunter For Junior Lake

The Cubs have acquired right-hander Tommy Hunter from the Orioles, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. ESPN’s Buster Olney adds that outfielder Junior Lake will go back to Baltimore in the deal.

[RELATED: Cubs Acquire Dan Haren]

Hunter, 29 this month, has a 3.63 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.60 HR/9, and 46.3% groundball rate in 60 2/3 innings for the Orioles this year. Hunter joined the Orioles four years ago along with Chris Davis, in a trade with the Rangers for Koji Uehara. Since 2013, he has a 3.05 ERA in 191 2/3 innings out of the Orioles’ bullpen. He’s earning $4.65MM this year, and will become a free agent after the season. He’s the lone addition to a Cubs bullpen that includes Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Jason Motte, Justin Grimm, Rafael Soriano, and James Russell.

Lake, 25, has struggled in the Majors with a .241/.283/.380 career line. He has played well at Triple-A this year, with a .315/.404/.472 line in 231 plate appearances. Prior to the 2013 season, back when Lake was still an infield prospect, Baseball America said he had “tantalizing tools and inconsistent performance.” If Lake does become a useful big leaguer, he’ll be a late bloomer. He’s the second outfielder the Orioles acquired today, as they made a bigger splash earlier by acquiring Gerardo Parra from the Brewers.


Red Sox Acquire Ryan Cook

The Red Sox acquired reliever Ryan Cook from the Athletics, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The A’s will receive a player to be named later, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.

Cook, 28, has pitched in the Majors for parts of five seasons with solid overall numbers.  Acquired by the A’s from the D’Backs in the December 2011 Trevor Cahill trade, Cook made the All-Star team in 2012 and saved 14 games.  However, he missed time with a shoulder injury and forearm strain last year, and was optioned to Triple-A out of spring training.  That’s where he’s spent most of this season, compiling a 4.05 ERA in 33 1/3 innings.  The Red Sox will potentially control Cook through 2018 as an arbitration eligible player.


Pirates, Dodgers Swap Jose Tabata, Michael Morse

The Pirates have announced that they’ve acquired Michael Morse and cash from the Dodgers for outfielder Jose Tabata. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was the first to tweet that a deal had been struck.

The Dodgers recently acquired Morse in the 13-player Mat Latos / Hector Olivera deal, although Morse was seemingly included in the deal mostly so that the Marlins could shed his salary. He’s making $7MM this year and $8MM next, and is in the midst of a bad season, batting .213/.276/.313, a very poor line, particularly given that he provides little defensive value. Nonetheless, he’s right-handed and hit well in 2014, and the Pirates have struggled to find right-handed hitting depth, given injuries to Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Corey Hart, along with Hart’s own poor performance. The Pirates also might hope that Morse can help the left-handed Pedro Alvarez at first base.

Tabata’s is surely headed the Dodgers’ way largely to offset Morse’s salary. The Pirates had already repeatedly outrighted the disappointing Tabata, who has about $6.75MM remaining on the long-term deal he signed with the Bucs in 2011. He’s spent most of the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s batted .291/.364/.345 in 165 plate appearances. Nonetheless, he’s young enough (with a listed age of 26) and has enough on-base ability that he might be able to help someone in a bench role. He will not need to be added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.



Cubs Acquire Dan Haren

The Cubs have acquired righty Dan Haren from the Marlins for shortstop Elliot Soto and righty Ivan Pineyro. The Marlins will also send $500K in the deal, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets.

"JunHaren, 34, has had a nice season in Miami after several marginal campaigns over the last three years. He’s worked to a 3.42 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 on the year.

But those results have come in spite of a continued velocity decline (86 mph on his fastball on the year) and, more worryingly, less-than-excellent peripherals. ERA estimators see him as a 4+ ERA arm in terms of his actual contributions, with a low BABIP (.248) and high strand rate (82.6%) aiding his run prevention.

That being said, Haren has provided 129 innings already, showing the kind of durability that he did as a much younger starter. And the Cubs have reportedly been seeking not only young, controllable starting pitching but also depth pieces for the current season. With Haren set to become a free agent after the year, he certainly figures to fill some innings down the stretch.

Financials have played a big role in Haren’s market, with some teams talking with Miami asking for cash to come with him. It’s unclear as yet how that will work out in this trade.

The Marlins picked up Haren in the offseason as part of the Dee Gordon deal, with the Dodgers chipping in $10MM (the equivalent of Haren’s salary this season) in the trade. In the meantime, though, he’s begun racking up incentives through his high games started and innings tallies. If he maxes them out, as he’s on pace to do, he’d tack on another $3MM in obligations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Wittenmyer initially reported that Haren was headed to Chicago, with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reporting the Marlins would receive Soto and Pineyro.


Blue Jays Acquire Ben Revere

2:39pm: Revere acknowledges that he’s been traded, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News tweets. Pitchers Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado are headed to Philly in return, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports on Twitter.

1:07pm: The Blue Jays have agreed to acquire outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports on Twitter. He joins a bevy of other additions heading to Toronto in a busy deadline for GM Alex Anthopoulos.

Jul 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Ben Revere (2) in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 5-4 in the tenth inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Revere owns a .298/.334/.374 slash on the year and while contributing 24 steals. That’s a fairly typical line for the speedy, left-handed-hitting outfielder. As Steve Adams of MLBTR noted earlier today, that brings something of a different element to Toronto’s high-powered offense.

In spite of his running ability, Revere is not generally considered an excellent defensive outfielder. But he has drawn much more positive ratings from both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved in 2015.

For Toronto, Revere could make sense as a platoon partner for Kevin Pillar in center as well as the team’s combination of Danny Valencia and Chris Colabello in left. All of those players hit from the right side of the plate.

The Phillies will pay the remainder of the $1.2MM owed Revere this season, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets. The Jays can control him for two more seasons through arbitration.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Twins Acquire Kevin Jepsen

1:44pm: The Twins have announced the trade.

1:27pm: The Rays will be getting minor league righties Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia from the Twins, tweets La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

12:59pm: The Twins and Rays are in agreement on a trade that will send right-hander Kevin Jepsen to Minnesota, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Bullpen help has been the Twins’ primary need for quite some time, as the team lacks quality setup options for Glen Perkins, with the possible exception of converted starter Trevor May, who has recently been handling the eighth inning in Minnesota. Blaine Boyer, Aaron ThompsonBrian Duensing and Casey Fien have all had struggles at various times this year, with Thompson already having been shipped to Triple-A.

Jepsen, 31, should provide some stability, though he isn’t necessarily an elite upgrade. He has a solid track record dating back to 2012 (3.12 ERA in 187 1/3 innings), but his strikeout rate and control have both taken a step back in 2015. Jepsen’s averaged 4.3 walks per nine against 7.3 strikeouts per nine, both of which are departures from his career marks and his rates in recent seasons. Even without a return to his previous strikeout levels, though, Jepsen will improve the strikeout rate in a Twins bullpen that handily ranks last in the Majors in strikeout.

Jepsen is earning $3.025MM in 2015 and is controllable through the 2016 season, so he’ll likely be ticketed for a raise into the mid-$4MM range or so this winter.


Cardinals Acquire Jonathan Broxton

2:10pm: St. Louis will receive $3MM in the trade, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But $2MM of that is contingent upon the Cardinals declining Broxton’s 2016 option, meaning that Milwaukee will effectively be picking up $1MM of Boxton’s remaining 2015 tab.

11:13am: The Cardinals have officially acquired reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported on Twitter. Outfielder Malik Collymore is going to Milwaukee in the deal, and there will be an unknown amount of cash headed with Broxton to St. Louis (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, on Twitter).

"Jun

Broxton represents yet another turnaround reliever candidate acquired by St. Louis in recent years, including Steve Cishek just days ago. The Cardinals had been rumored at times to be seeking starting pitching depth, but ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that the team may have elected instead to deepen its pen. That should not only provide additional options as the club waits for the return of Jordan Walden, but will also reduce the burden on its rotation.

The 31-year-old owns an unappealing 5.89 ERA on the year, but his fastball is still averaging better than 94 mph and his peripherals are more encouraging. Broxton has compiled 9.1 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.5% groundball rate. SIERA grades his contribution at a promising 2.89 ERA estimation.

Broxton is playing in his eleventh big league season, and he’s racked up 576 innings of 3.25 ERA pitching along the way. He no longer posts quite the gaudy strikeout tallies of his youth, and has had some rough seasons along the way, but all said it’s an impressive overall body of work.

Of course, another significant issue with the veteran is his contract. Broxton is owed $9MM this year as well as a $1MM buyout on his $9MM option for 2016. It remains unknown how the financials will shake out, but St. Louis will likely receive some money along with the right-hander.

For the Brewers, moving salary was undoubtedly the primary motivation in striking the deal. The club has now shipped out a variety of veteran players, adding prospects and saving money along the way. It still has several possible trade pieces in its holster, including first baseman/DH Adam Lind and closer Francisco Rodriguez.

In Collymore, Milwaukee adds a 20-year-old outfielder who has played exclusively in the low minors over three years in the St. Louis organization. He’s only compiled 347 total plate appearances in that span, putting up a .286/.360/.429 slash, though he has not hit well in limited time in the Appalachian League this season. His stronger output in Rookie ball last season did earn him the 27th ranking on Baseball America’s pre-season Cardinals prospect list. BA says that he has some upside and raw power, but he has yet to show much in-game pop (at least in terms of home run tallies) and is still somewhat without a home on the defensive side of the equation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Mets Making Push For Yoenis Cespedes

1:32pm: Talks between the Mets and Tigers “reignited” on Wednesday night after there had been little contact between the two clubs, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who calls a Cespedes acquisition a possibility for the Mets.

1:27pm: The Mets are making a push to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Earlier today the Mets were linked to Cespedes in connection with some doubt regarding Michael Cuddyer‘s health.

The Mets have been working fervently to acquire an outfield bat over the past couple of days. After a near-deal for Carlos Gomez disintegrated, they’ve been tied heavily to the Reds’ Jay Bruce, though those talks are now also said to have cooled. Cespedes wouldn’t fit the Mets’ desire to add a bat that is controlled beyond the 2015 season, but he would certainly provide a boost to a Mets offense that has failed to score enough runs to support an outstanding young pitching staff.

The Tigers figure to be extra-motivated to deal Cespedes, as he’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer this winter and thus can’t even bring back a draft pick as compensation if he isn’t moved today.


Yankees Designate Garrett Jones

The Yankees announced they have designated first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment.  The team also outrighted lefty Chris Capuano and reinstated outfielder Slade Heathcott from the 60-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A.  Jones, 34, joined the Yankees in the December Martin Prado trade with the Marlins.  He hit .215/.257/.361 in 152 plate appearances for the Yankees.

New acquisition Dustin Ackley will report to the team tonight.


Blue Jays Acquire Mark Lowe

1:07pm: Lefty Rob Rasmussen is the final minor leaguer headed to Toronto, the Blue Jays revealed in officially announcing the trade.

12:55pm: Left-hander Jake Brentz is also in the package for Lowe, Heyman tweets.

12:45pm: Class-A left-hander Nick Wells is one of the three players heading to Seattle, Heyman tweets. Wells was the Blue Jays’ third-round pick in 2014.

12:24pm: The Mariners are netting three minor leaguers in the deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

12:16pm: The Jays have acquired Lowe, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

12:12pm: The Blue Jays are moving towards a trade that will acquire veteran right-hander Mark Lowe from the Mariners, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

Lowe’s name doesn’t leap off the page as an exciting target based on his track record, but he’s in the midst of an astounding breakout season. Lowe has a pristine 1.00 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in 36 innings for Seattle this season, and his 95 mph average fastball is the best heat he’s shown since 2011.

By adding Lowe, who signed a minor league deal this winter, the Blue Jays have secured a relief upgrade that comes with the most minimal of financial commitments. One would think that played a factor in the decision to target him (in addition to his excellent numbers), as the Blue Jays have been said to be on a limited budget and took on quite a bit of cash to acquire David Price yesterday. Lowe will be a rental for the Mariners, as he’s logged well over the necessary six years of big league service required to qualify for free agency at season’s end.