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Nick Castellanos Rumors
The 34-35 Tigers trail the AL Central-leading Indians by 2.5 games, but owner Mike Ilitch remains confident in the people running his team, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press reports. “I know we’ve got the right foundation,” Ilitch said, “the right people in place.” Here are more notes on the Tigers from Sharp…
- Ilitch expects the Tigers to enjoy a boost in offense and leadership if Victor Martinez returns this season. “He was really our leader, and he’s starting to come around again,” Ilitch said.
- Sharp wonders if the Tigers would consider trading Rick Porcello for a veteran starter or a right-handed bat with power. GM Dave Dombrowski could make Porcello available now or in the offseason if Jacob Turner is ready for a full-time starting role in 2013. Porcello, 23, has a 4.95 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 80 innings this year and will remain under team control through 2014.
- Turner, Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia are as close to untouchable as minor league prospects get, Sharp writes.
It was on this day in 1966 that the Mets made one of the most infamous draft blunders in history, taking Steve Chilcott with the first overall pick of the June amateur draft. Chilcott became the first #1 pick to never play a game in the Major Leagues, while the A's fared a bit better with the #2 selection — Reggie Jackson.
Let's check out some news from around baseball as we prepare for some interleague action…
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said no decision has been made about releasing Manny Ramirez, reported Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News, though Beane also wasn't sure when or if Ramirez would be called up to Oakland. Ramirez has completed his 50-game suspension but has been hampered by a leg injury and isn't hitting well in Triple-A.
- In a radio appearance on 95.7 FM The Game, Athletics managing general partner Lew Wolff said that he wants to keep the team in the Bay Area and his ownership group has no plans to sell the A's. Wolff predicted that in five years, the A's would be playing in a new stadium in San Jose. (All links at to Twitter.)
- The Orioles have signed third-round pick Adrian Marin, as announced by Marin himself on his Twitter page. Marin is a high school shortstop who was originally committed to the University of Miami.
- The Rangers announced the signings of 18 draft picks, including all of their selections between the fourth and tenth rounds.
- The Tigers shouldn't trade top prospect Nick Castellanos in an effort to win this season at the sake of the minor league system, writes Jamie Samuelsen for the Detroit Free Press.
- ESPN's Keith Law examines how teams' first-round draft picks fit in among their organizations' other top prospects.
- The Twins have hurt themselves by not dealing veterans at the trade deadline in recent years and shouldn't make that same mistake again this season, opines Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Souhan does name a few players, however, he thinks the Twins shouldn't deal: Jared Burton, Glen Perkins, Jamey Carroll and Josh Willingham.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes an early look at the trade deadline in his latest Hot Corner video, naming the Twins, A's, Padres and Cubs as the few clubs who are clear sellers, with the Cubs "probably the biggest seller out there." Rosenthal also thinks the Astros will likely join this group as they want to get rid of their high-priced veterans, though Houston is playing well right now.
- In terms of potential sellers, Rosenthal names the Brewers, as they could look to move Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and/or Francisco Rodriguez if they fall out of contention. The Phillies "are kind of hanging on a precipice" in the tough NL East and unless they get more concrete news about the health of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay, Philadelphia could become sellers as well and look ahead to 2013.
- Fredric Horowitz has been hired as the arbitrator between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association, reports the Associated Press. Horowitz replaces Shyam Das, who was fired in the wake of his decision to lift Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.
Here's a round-up of news from the AL Central…
- With Miguel Cabrera taking over at the hot corner for the Tigers, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press looks at how the switch affects the progress of third baseman Nick Castellanos, one of the team's top prospects. I can't see this being a major long-term issue — Castellanos is just 19 and I can't see Cabrera staying on third for very long, given his defensive limitations. If anything, Victor Martinez could be the odd man out, with Prince Fielder locked in at first and Cabrera probably requiring a move to DH sooner rather than later.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star covered a number of Royals topics as part of a live chat with fans earlier today.
- The players the Indians acquired for C.C. Sabathia in 2008 have produced -0.6 WAR in the three-plus seasons since the trade, writes Fangraphs' J.P. Breen. "The Indians still have nine years of control between [Matt] LaPorta and [Michael] Brantley, but neither appear destined for full-time roles at the big league level," Breen writes.
- Twins starter Francisco Liriano has worked on his mechanics and better locating his fastball this winter in preparation for what could be a make-or-break season for the southpaw, reports Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Radio.
- Dick Allen's arrival in 1972 didn't just make the White Sox better on the field, but his presence might have also helped keep the team in Chicago, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
The Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rangers are among the teams pursuing Athletics left-hander Gio Gonzalez, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The bidding figures to heat up a bit once the posting period for Yu Darvish ends at 4pm CT tomorrow. Here's the latest on Gonzalez, courtesy of Knobler…
- The Athletics did indeed ask the Marlins for Mike Stanton in a trade, though the talks understandably went nowhere.
- A's GM Billy Beane in enamored with Tigers' top pitching prospect Jacob Turner, and Detroit is willing to move him for Gonzalez. They balked at Beane's request for prospects Nick Castellanos and Drew Smyly in addition to Turner, though.
- If the Tigers don't swing a trade for Gonzalez, Knobler says that they'll likely find a Brad Penny-type to be their fifth starter (Twitter links). They also want to find an upgrade at second or third base.
- The Red Sox have shown just as much interest in Gio as they have closer Andrew Bailey.
- The Phillies also inquired about Gonzalez, but the Athletics didn't like what they had to offer.
Here's the latest from some of baseball's central clubs, as the division-leading Tigers stage a comeback against the O's on the strength of a Miguel Cabrera three-run bomb …
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who signed a one-year extension through 2012 on Monday, won't retire even if his club goes deep into the postseason, two sources tell Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs knew within two hours of Carlos Zambrano's tirade that he wasn't serious about retiring, and the righty returned his belongings to his locker later that night, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Of course, these are the events that led to Big Z being added to the disqualified list earlier today.
- The Brewers probably won't reach agreement with their first-round picks, Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley, before Monday, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter).
- Talks twixt the Indians and first-round pick Francisco Lindor (No. 8 overall) could also come down to the wire on Monday, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Lindor, a shortstop, is represented by Sportsmeter, LLC, the same agency that brokered supplemental rounder Nick Castellanos' $3.45MM bonus with the Tigers last season, as Bastian notes. That sum was the fifth-highest among last year's first and supplemental rounders.
3:51pm: The player to be named later in this trade is one of the Tigers' top three picks from the 2010 draft, tweets ESPN's Shannon Drayer. That means Nick Castellanos, Chance Ruffin, or Drew Smyly. I'm guessing Ruffin or Smyly.
12:08pm: The Tigers added pitching today, acquiring starter Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from the Mariners for third baseman Francisco Martinez, outfielder Casper Wells, southpaw Charlie Furbush, and a player to be named later. The Tigers have Fister for the long haul, as he's under team control through 2015 and isn't arbitration eligible until after next season. Both teams have confirmed the trade.
Fister, 27, has a 3.33 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9, and 46.4% groundball rate in 146 innings this year. The big righty's walk rate ranks seventh in the AL, his innings total tenth. His 6.95 innings per start average is a welcome contrast from the Tigers' non-Verlander starters, who all average around six. Drafted in the seventh round in 2006, Fister (pictured) never cracked a Baseball America top 30 Mariners prospect list, but he's become a solid mid-rotation innings eater. The acquisition sets up the Tigers' front four starters beyond this season, with Brad Penny eligible for free agency but Fister, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello under team control.
Pauley, 28, has a 2.15 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9, and 49.0% groundball rate in 54 1/3 relief innings for Seattle this year. His relief innings total ranks second in the American League. He's potentially under team control through 2015 as well. Pauley adds depth to the Tigers' bullpen with righty Al Alburquerque battling elbow inflammation. Those holding Pauley in fantasy leagues can probably cut bait, explains Dan Mennella of CloserNews.
Martinez, 20, is currently with the Tigers' Double-A club. Baseball America ranked him fourth among Tigers prospects prior to the season, noting he's always played against older competition and has projection remaining.
Wells, 26, is hitting .257/.323/.451 in 125 plate appearances for the Tigers. A right-handed hitter, Wells can play all three outfield positions. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Wells 19th among Tigers prospects, explaining that "his holes at the plate will limit him to being a role player in the big leagues."
Furbush, a 25-year-old rookie, has a 3.62 ERA in 32 1/3 innings this year, mostly in relief. This year at Triple-A he posted a 3.17 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 1.2 HR/9 in 54 innings. Baseball America ranked him 26th among Tigers prospects prior to the season, noting that the Tommy John survivor used deception to rack up strikeouts in the minors. Furbush lacks a true plus pitch, according to BA. As for the player to be named later, he'll be chosen from a group of three on or before August 20th according to Jon Paul Morosi.
Hiroki Kuroda will listen to anything the Dodgers present to him before next Sunday's trade deadline, but as we learned yesterday, the team has yet to approach him about waiving his no-trade clause for any specific destination. With the Tigers, Indians, Yankees, Rangers, and Red Sox potentially in the mix for the right-hander, let's keep tabs on today's rumors here, adding the latest updates to the top of the list:
- A scout who spoke to Yahoo's Jeff Passan (Twitter link) thinks the Tigers could be the favorites for Kuroda, and that they may not have to give up top prospects Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver or Nick Castellanos to land him.
- We've already heard that Cleveland is targeting Kuroda, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms (via Twitter) that the Indians have talked to the Dodgers about a deal.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (Twitter link) hears the Dodgers think Kuroda might agree to go somewhere for the next two months. The Dodgers believe, however, that if the right-hander is pitching in the Majors in 2012, it will be in Los Angeles.