Peter Bourjos Rumors
With Chris Carpenter set to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a nerve condition in his shoulder, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals are in the market for at least one starter and one reliever. St. Louis has trade chips though the new collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow teams to recoup draft pick compensation for rental players, changing the landscape.
Let's round up the rest of Rosenthal's rumors...
- Zack Greinke would likely welcome a trade to - and a chance to sign long-term with - the Cardinals, though it's unclear if the Brewers would be willing to trade him within the division.
- The Astros are prepared to move Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, though Jed Lowrie is essentially unavailable. Rosenthal says they could be an obvious trade partner for St. Louis since GM Jeff Luhnow spent nine years in the Cardinals' front office.
- The Cardinals may not want to invest $20MM+ annually into a pitcher, but both Lance Berkman ($12MM) and Kyle Lohse ($11.875MM) will be off the books after this season.
- The Blue Jays' immediate strategy may be to acquire a modest rotation upgrade before reassessing at the trade deadline, shortly before Brandon Morrow returns from his oblique injury. Rosenthal believes they should consider selling high on Colby Rasmus.
- Teams continue to call the Angels about Peter Bourjos and some believe he could be the centerpiece of a deal for a quality starting pitcher. The Halos believe the young outfielder is a building block for the future, however. They do not appear to be in the market for a pitcher at the moment.
- The difference in income tax rates between Texas (none) and California (among the highest in the country) was an issue for Astros first baseman Carlos Lee as he mulled over a potential trade to the Dodgers. Los Angeles may have been willing to help "bridge the gap" had he shown enthusiasm for the deal.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers says he’s been impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper from an offensive and defensive standpoint, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. "They can beat you on the basepaths. They impact the game defensively,” Towers said. “They can beat you with key hits or the long ball. They're both very special." Here are Stark’s latest rumors from around MLB...
- One American League executive says the Cubs are basing their asking price for Matt Garza on last summer’s Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This means it’ll take two controllable, young players with upside to pry the right-hander away from Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein.
- Other teams say the Orioles are involved in the Garza talks. However, Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy aren’t going to be available in summer trade talks with any club.
- The Braves are looking for "an impact starting pitcher" and they’ve scouted trade candidate Jason Vargas extensively
- The Angels are desperate to add a really good bullpen piece and would dangle Peter Bourjos in the right deal, according to rival teams.
- One executive doesn’t expect Luke Gregerson of the Padres to become available, though there would be heavy demand if San Diego were willing to listen.
- Another executive suggests the Red Sox could trade Kelly Shoppach and call Ryan Lavarnway up from the minor leagues.
- The Twins continue to tell teams they expect to hold onto Josh Willingham.
- The Marlins are telling rival teams they haven’t discussed becoming sellers this summer. The Phillies also seem to want to add, not subtract. The Phils are considering a long list of relievers and have asked the Padres about Chase Headley.
- The Diamondbacks have “window-shopped” for bullpen depth, Stark writes. Towers says he prefers his current team, now 38-37, to the one that won the NL West a year ago.
- Stark also reported on the Blue Jays' approach to the trade deadline and you can read the details here.
The Nationals are 12 games over .500 for the first time since July 23, 2005 after sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend. The 2005 Washington squad would go on to finish the season 81-81 with a starting lineup featuring the bats of Vinny Castilla and Brad Wilkerson. Here's the latest odds and ends from around the league...
- The emergence of rookie Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo's increased presence in the outfield has cost Peter Bourjos significant playing time, but that doesn't mean the Angels center fielder is in danger of losing his spot on the roster or being traded, writes Trey Scott of MLB.com. Count manager Mike Scioscia among Bourjos' supporters as he believes the second-generation big leaguer can aid the team even while playing in a limited capacity. "It's difficult for a young player that has the ability to play every day but isn't in there," Scioscia said. "But Peter is going to help us win games."
- The starting point for recently signed draft picks in the Cardinals organization is less about potential and more about current ability, says Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While not all of the 44 players drafted by the Cardinals will ultimately sign with the franchise, the ones who do will begin their careers across three Class-A short-season affiliates. It's not unheard of for a top pick to make it to a full-season club in his first year like Kolten Wong in 2011, but the likelihood of doing so stems from how quickly the player signs his contract after being drafted.
- The subtle, confident nature of new Astros owner Jim Crane should prove to benefit both his franchise and the city of Houston, contends Chris Baldwin of CultureMap Houston. Crane's decision to hire Jeff Luhnow as the Astros' general manager has paid immediate dividends as the team signed first overall pick Carlos Correa for $2.4MM below slot value, giving them a stronger chance to sign Lance McCullers, selected 41st overall. The decision to draft Correa was a surprise to many and speaks to the organization's belief system in which the Astros will take calculated risks that are swiftly executed once a decision is reached.
After 8,020 games, the Mets finally have their first no-hitter in franchise history thanks to Johan Santana's brilliant performance tonight against the Cardinals. Santana's bid was saved in the seventh inning by Mike Baxter as he sacrificed his body to make an incredible catch against the leftfield wall. The left-hander threw 134 pitches in total but said after the game that he had no intentions of coming out of the game early. Here's more out of the Eastern divisions..
- According to a baseball source, there is a feeling that Bryce Harper is not the long-term answer in center field for the Nationals and the club still has interest in Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos and Twins outfielder Denard Span, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com. However, the source said there haven't been any talks between the Nats and those clubs and wouldn't be the surprised if nothing happened until the offseason.
- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis told Ian Browne of MLB.com that he's not fazed by the recent trade talk surrounding him. Boston GM Ben Cherington denied a report saying that they are telling teams that the veteran is available but the White Sox and Rangers are among the clubs that have checked in on him.
- The Red Sox could be forced to cut veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik once Darnell McDonald or Cody Ross return, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. For his part, the 36-year-old doesn't sound ready to hang 'em up just yet. "Until I can't go out and steal a base, until I'm not running that well, I'd be doing myself an injustice by not trying to go out and play," Podsednik said.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- Rosenthal says it's interesting that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro declined comment after Nationals GM Mike Rizzo criticized Cole Hamels for intentionally hitting Bryce Harper. It may be an indication that the relationship between the club and the free agent-to-be left-hander is touchier than it has been in the past.
- Hot starts by the Orioles and Adam Jones should reduce the chances that the center fielder is traded this summer and could create momentum for a long-term deal. Jones has emerged as a leader in the clubhouse and is a piece they could build around going forward, along with prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado.
- The Nationals have been trying to acquire Peter Bourjos since last offseason, but the Angels view the center fielder as a long-term asset and possible replacement for Torii Hunter. Hunter will become a free agent after the season, but that does not mean Bourjos is untouchable.
- The Padres have Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, and four starting pitchers on the disabled list, and Rosenthal says they could infuse some young talent into the roster by trading some of their back-end starters. They need Tim Stauffer (elbow) to get healthy and for Clayton Richard (5.32) to pitch better first.
Despite reports to the contrary, Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto denies that the club is actively shopping centerfielder Peter Bourjos, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Yesterday, the Angels were said to have had preliminary discussions with the Nationals involving Bourjos.
"We are not actively shopping him or looking for a fit for him. We believe he's an asset for us," Dipoto said.
The Royals, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays also reportedly checked in on the outfielder's availability. However, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez said earlier today that there's no more truth to the Bourjos-Nationals rumors now than there was this offseason. The Nats were actively searching for a solution in center field this winter and had the 25-year-old high on their wish list.
FRIDAY: MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez hears there's no more truth to the Bourjos-Nationals rumor now than there was this offseason (Twitter link).
THURSDAY: The Angels and Nationals have had preliminary discussions about a trade involving Peter Bourjos, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Royals, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays also checked in on the outfielder's availability.
It's unclear how far along the talks are, but Bourjos would give Washington the long-term center field solution they've been seeking. Anaheim could use their outfield surplus to shore up the bullpen, a priority according to Morosi. The Nationals are currently without Drew Storen (elbow) and Brad Lidge (hernia) but could be more open to a trade involving a reliever once one or both guys get healthy.
The Angels could also be in the market for a catcher following Chris Iannetta's injury, mentions Morosi. Iannetta will miss up to eight weeks following wrist surgery, the team announced today.
“The rhythm and roles in the bullpen, the flow of the lineup, consistency of the lineup... we haven’t gotten anything going,” GM Jerry Dipoto told Rosenthal when asked about his team’s slow start.
As the first month of the season nears completion, Angels relievers have a 4.96 ERA (28th in MLB) with 6.8 K/9 (27th in MLB) and 4.6 BB/9 (24th in MLB). Stark hears that the Angels are dangling second-tier prospects for relievers at the moment and notes that other teams are eyeing center fielder Peter Bourjos as a possible trade candidate. Bourjos is off to a slow start at the plate and could be deemed expendable given the presence of top prospect Mike Trout at Triple-A. Other clubs don’t expect the Angels to trade Mark Trumbo, Stark notes.
MLBTR has looked at trade candidates such as Huston Street, Grant Balfour and Brett Myers in recent weeks. However, Rosenthal points out that the Angels would likely have to overpay to obtain such a pitcher now.
The Nationals are set to rely on some combination of Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Jayson Werth in center field this year, but they’re not ruling out potential acquisitions at the position. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains that any trade would have to provide the team with something more than a stopgap.
“I think if we can answer our long-term question now, we’ll do so,” GM Mike Rizzo told Kilgore. “We won’t make the change for a short-term answer.”
Kilgore reports that the team doesn’t want to block prospects such as Michael Taylor, Brian Goodwin and Eury Perez unless the possibility of a significant upgrade exists. Remarkably, 25 Nationals have started at least one game in center field since the team moved to D.C.
The Nationals have had internal discussions about making pushes for Peter Bourjos and Adam Jones, Kilgore writes. They've also been linked to Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks. B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino are set to hit free agency after the 2012 season, when the Nationals could bid for their services if they haven't yet found a center fielder.
Here's a look at some highlights from today's column by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe..
- One National League GM said that Roy Oswalt's desire to pitch closer to home has some teams wondering if the hurler might not be enthused about pitching this season. "Everyone knows he has back issues, but the thing that bothered teams was that all of a sudden, he wanted to be closer to home and wanted to start picking and choosing where he wanted to be. A lot of people felt he lost that desire he used to have to pitch, and now we’re seeing him say, ‘Maybe I’ll show up somewhere around midseason and make just as much as I’d make if I signed now,'" said the GM.
- The Angels are unlikely to outright release Bobby Abreu as they owe him $9MM, but their efforts to deal him have been fruitless so far.
- Peter Bourjos, meanwhile, is still prominent on the Nationals’ wish list for center fielders, but the Angels want considerable value back if they deal him. With Torii Hunter in the final year of his contract, there is room for the Halos to keep both Bourjos and Mike Trout.
- Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will be a top "go get" guy before the deadline for teams needing an extra piece. Astros people remain surprised at the lack of interest in Rodriguez, even with the club willing to pick up about half the $36MM owed to him.
- Indians pitcher Derek Lowe has strong interest in returning to the Red Sox after this season as a starter or reliever. Cafardo writes that the veteran could have been an interesting solution as the BoSox's fourth or fifth starter, but picking up a large chunk his salary from the Braves didn't interest Boston.
- Jason Varitek's friends still insist that he is leaning toward retirement as he can’t envision himself in a non-Red Sox uniform. However, he feels that he can still play and at least be a backup catcher somewhere.