Philadelphia Phillies Rumors
The Mets' offseason will be a disappointment if the Curtis Granderson acquisition is the only big move, the New York Post's Joel Sherman writes. "If this really is it — after all the buildup asking for patience to let the money of Johan Santana and Jason Bay go away — then this will be a breach with the fan base," Sherman says. "Heading toward another $85 million-ish payroll is — quite frankly — not honoring the commitment. It is being the San Diego Mets." Here are more notes from around the East divisions.
- A.J. Burnett still hasn't decided whether or not to pitch in 2014, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Burnett has previously said he intends to pitch for the Pirates or retire, but Heyman introduces a new possibility -- that Burnett could pitch for the Orioles instead. Burnett resides in Maryland.
- GM Ruben Amaro says the Phillies would eat salary in a trade that improved the team, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Salisbury notes that the Phillies would like to trade Jonathan Papelbon, who will make $13MM in both 2014 and 2015 and has a $13MM vesting option in 2016.
- Despite the signing of Nate McLouth, the Nationals have no plans to deal Denard Span, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Span will continue to be their center fielder and leadoff hitter.
- The Yankees have had "lots of internal discussions" about free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter). The Yankees would like to add two bullpen arms.
Here are a few quick notes from around the East divisions:
- The Orioles have not had discussions with Scott Boras about contract extensions for either Matt Wieters or Chris Davis, CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff tweets.
- The Orioles are interested in finding another starting pitcher, and they've shown interest in free agent Chad Gaudin, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman understands Robinson Cano's decision to leave the Bombers for the Mariners, writes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. "It just comes down to, if the numbers are right, he had 240 million reasons why he should go to Seattle," Cashman says. "And if I was him, I would have done the same thing."
- The Mets talked to Paul Maholm's agent, but they are not expected to sign the veteran lefty, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
TUESDAY: A team that spoke to the Phillies about Brown informed ESPN's Jayson Stark that Philadelphia doesn't sound enthused about the idea of moving Brown and is looking for two to three young players in return (Twitter link)
MONDAY: The Phillies are "actively shopping" Domonic Brown with an eye toward selling high on him in an effort to acquire controllable young pitching, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
Brown, 26, batted .272/.324/.494 with 27 home runs in a breakout campaign for the Phillies in 2013 after being passed over for lackluster outfield options in seasons prior. Brown can be controlled through the 2017 season and isn't arbitration eligible until next winter, so any team acquiring his services would be getting four years of team control.
However, he's graded out as a poor defensive left fielder and showed a sizable platoon split in 2013. Brown batted a strong .281/.336/.521 line with 21 of his homers against right-handed pitching this season but hit just .252/.296/.429 with six homers against lefties.
The Phillies have a top-heavy rotation, with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels sitting atop the mix right now. Cuban signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is a wild card in their rotation's No. 3 slot, while Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone figure to round out the rotation as things currently stand.
10:20am: ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the only way the Phillies would move Hamels or Lee would be in a "win-win" situation in which they receivea huge return and shed the entirety of the remaining salary. In other words, a trade is unlikely.
8:18am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also hears that both Philadelphia aces are in play, but the Phillies won't eat any of the remaining money on either contract (Twitter link).
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is apparently being quite open-minded at this year's Winter Meetings, as he's also said to be "actively shopping" Domonic Brown on the heels of Brown's 2013 breakout. Given the number of teams looking to acquire established pitchers, adding Hamels and/or Lee to a market that already includes David Price and Jeff Samardzija would give interested teams more options to choose from.
Hamels will be 30 at the end of this month and is guaranteed $112.5MM through the 2018 season ($22.5MM annually) with a $24MM vesting option for 2019. Though he started the season slowly, the left-hander posted a very Hamels-like 2.73 ERA from June 1 through season's end, finishing with a 3.60 ERA, 8.3 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9.
Lee, 35, will earn $25MM in each of the next two seasons and has a $27.5MM vesting option for the 2016 campaign. He pitched to a 2.87 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 222 2/3 innings, giving him a league-leading 6.94 K/BB ratio.
Earlier today, MLBTR posted a batch of notes from the National League West. Now, let's take a look at the other teams playing in the Senior Circuit:
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted his skepticism of the Braves' reported interest in Raul Ibanez citing his age (41) and lack of available at-bats (if Atlanta's corner outfielders are healthy).
- The Nationals now appear to be targeting a backup catcher and left-handed bullpen help, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets, suggesting Eric O'Flaherty as an option to meet the latter need. The connection with O'Flaherty corroborates a recent report from the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore.
- O'Flaherty is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and may not be available until May, but it won't scare off the Nationals, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.
- While the Nationals are making a strong run at O'Flaherty, the Phillies and Dodgers have also shown interest, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak provided his explanation of the rash of signings and trades prior to the start of the Winter Meetings to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. "For us, it was limited opportunities," Mozeliak said. "Everything we looked at, everything we wanted to do, everything we found attractive was limited, and we knew that we had to move quickly to attend to those needs or perhaps miss on (the preferred targets) and have to reassess."
- The market for Roy Halladay has yet to develop, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Brian McCann, who grew up a Braves fan, tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he relished his time in Atlanta. "I got to be teammates with Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz," McCann said. "I don't know if it gets much better than that, being from Atlanta."
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
If the Rays do end up trading David Price, it won't be their first trade of a young starter. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin revisits four trades of relatively high-profile deals -- those of James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson. The Rays got useful players in all four. The Shields deal, of course, produced AL Rookie of the Year winner Wil Myers, and the Garza deal returned Chris Archer. Kazmir brought back utilityman Sean Rodriguez, while the Rays got Matt Joyce back for Jackson. Fans will likely use the Shields deal (which could continue to pay dividends for the Rays as Jake Odorizzi emerges) as a barometer for a potential Price trade, whether that's fair or not. As FanGraphs' Dave Cameron recently pointed out, the Shields trade shouldn't set the market for deals involving frontline starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, and they pursued Scott Feldman and Ryan Vogelsong before those two players signed with other teams, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. (The Phils extended a two-year offer of about $15MM to Feldman before he ultimately signed with the Astros, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.) Salisbury notes that the Phillies' interest in Feldman and Vogelsong is indicative of the sort of mid-grade starter they'll continue to pursue -- don't expect them to make a splash.
- In the wake of the signing of Curtis Granderson, the Mets could redouble their efforts to trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, writes Newsday's Marc Carig. Since there isn't much besides Stephen Drew (who should be relatively expensive) on the free-agent shortstop market, and since the Mets' budget will only allow them to spend about an extra $13MM, Carig writes that the Mets are likely to try to find a shortstop via trade.
Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is drawing serious interest from clubs around baseball and a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that roughly ten teams have checked in. Miami is reportedly willing to listen and the Red Sox and Braves are among the clubs that have called. Here's more out of the NL East..
- The Marlins are fans of Rays third baseman Sean Rodriguez and have discussed him internally, a league source tells Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Frisaro wonders aloud if Morrison for Rodriguez and a pitcher could be enough to get a deal done. Miami may be looking for a stop gap solution at third base until Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick in last year's draft, is ready, which could be in 2015.
- Braves GM Frank Wren says he has had plenty of talks with agents and teams so far this winter, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "[We're] putting ourselves in position to add pieces we feel like would help us best," the GM said.
- Wren added that he's targeting starting pitching, bullpen help, and some bench upgrades, but wont' look past anything that can help the team, O'Brien tweets.
- The Braves might be willing to trade some prospects in right deal, but not their premium prospects such as Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh, O'Brien tweets.
- Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News wonders if there's a realistic chance of the Phillies trading Jonathan Papelbon.
Frisaro runs down multiple reasons why the Marlins are likely to trade Morrison.
As we wind up one of the busiest weeks in the history of baseball transactions, here are a few more notes as we head into the weekend...
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is happy to have acquired Dexter Fowler and Scott Feldman before the Winter Meetings, but Luhnow tells reporters (including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle) that his club has more on its to-do list. “To have them both done before the Winter Meetings is a bonus," Luhnow said. "So now that we can focus on the bullpen and focus on potentially another position player somewhere....We may not be done with starting pitching either. We’re still actively talking to some other folks.”
- With the Phillies reportedly shopping closer Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News feels the team will have a tough time given Papelbon's large salary, signs of decline and his possible attitude issues.
- J.A. Happ could be a trade chip for the Blue Jays if the team needed to free up some payroll space, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith writes. Happ is set to earn $5.2MM in 2014 with a $6.7MM team option for 2015. The southpaw was limited to 18 starts in 2013 due to head injuries suffered when he was hit in the head with a line drive, as well as a knee injury also stemming from the incident.
- Also from Nicholson-Smith, nothing is imminent with Yuniesky Betancourt, though a number of teams are still interested in the veteran as infield depth. The Marlins were linked to Betancourt last month.
- Erisbel Barbaro Arruebarruena has a good glove at shortstop, is lacking at the plate and is overall not going to provide the impact of recent Cuban signings, a scout tells MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. "This isn’t like watching Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes. You’re not going to hear from 15 teams. You’ll hear from teams that are hurting a little bit at shortstop," the scout said. Arruebarruena will showcase his skills for teams this weekend, and the Mets have been identified as one of the attending clubs.
After the departures of Brian McCann and Tim Hudson, the Braves have needs, and may not have much money available to meet them, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes in a long essay about what to expect from the Braves in the coming weeks. They could try to trade for a pitcher like Jeff Samardzija, John Lackey or Kyle Lohse, or they could sign Bartolo Colon. Colon is an appealing option for the Braves, O'Brien says, because his age makes him unlikely to receive a huge contract. The Braves also hope to trade Dan Uggla to clear salary. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- Cuban shortstop Erisbel Barbaro Arruebarruena will put on a showcase for clubs this weekend and the Mets will be among the teams in attendance, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Post. The 23-year-old, ranked as the tenth-best prospect in the World Baseball Classic not signed to an MLB club by Baseball America, defected from Cuba in November.
- It appears the Cubs will cede their top pick in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft to resolve a dispute involving former Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The Cubs picked Castillo from the Phillies in 2011, and Castillo missed 91 days of the following season due to injury, then spent the entire 2013 season in the minors. In case of injury, players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must stick on their new teams' active rosters for at least 90 days. The Phillies will receive the Cubs' pick after they filed a grievance regarding Castillo. The Cubs don't plan to select a player this year anyway. The Rule 5 Draft will be held next Thursday.
- A recent report listed a number of teams as possible landing spots for David Price, but it would be easy to overpay for Price, FanGraphs' Dave Cameron argues. Price is a great pitcher, but he's only under control for two more years, and will cost a total of about $30MM for those two seasons. Cameron's back-of-the-envelope math suggests Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco, for example, could be worth about $91MM of surplus value over his six cost-controlled seasons, about three times as valuable as Price. The Royals' trade of Wil Myers and other youngsters for James Shields and Wade Davis was an overpay and should not determine the market for Price, Cameron argues.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
2:39pm: Heyman reports that Nieves is guaranteed $1.125MM and can earn up to $500K in performance bonuses (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 1:36pm: The Phillies announced Nieves' deal, which ESPN's Jayson Stark notes is a Major League pact.
Nieves, 36, hit .297/.320/.369 in 206 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks last season. Arizona retained the veteran with a one-year, $800K deal right around this time last year. For his career, Nieves owns a .242/.283/.314 across ten big league seasons.