Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors
The Blue Jays and Pirates have agreed to swap outfielder Travis Snider for right-hander Brad Lincoln, the teams announced. Both players were selected in the first half of the first round of the 2006 amateur draft.
Snider, now 24, has spent considerable time in the Major Leagues since debuting as a 20-year-old in 2008. However, he has battled injuries and the Blue Jays have optioned him to the minor leagues for extended periods, so his career high in games is 82 (reached in 2010). The left-handed hitter has a career batting line of .247/.305/.429. He has a .235/.270/.559 line in 37 plate appearances this year, including three homers against left-handed pitching.
Snider is on track for arbitration eligibility following the 2013 season. He's under team control through 2016. He joins a left field mix that currently includes Starling Marte, Drew Sutton and Alex Presley.
Lincoln has developed into a dependable late inning reliever for the Pirates, though that's not necessarily what they had in mind when they selected him fourth overall six years ago. He has a 2.73 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 37% ground ball rate in 59 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh this year. The 27-year-old has also started at least five games in three consecutive seasons. His average fastball checks in at 93.2 mph.
Lincoln could be arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2013 season, but he'll remain under team control though 2017. He'll join a Blue Jays bullpen that doesn't have many sure things other than Casey Janssen going forward.
The Cubs have traded left-hander Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash considerations to the Braves in a four-player trade that provides Atlanta with reinforcements for the season's final two months and bolsters Chicago's minor league system. The Cubs obtain right-handers Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino in the trade, which the teams have announced.
Maholm has a 3.74 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.9% ground ball rate in 120 1/3 innings for the Cubs this year. The 30-year-old has never thrown particularly hard; his average fastball checks in at 87.6 mph this year, according to FanGraphs. He earns a $4.75MM salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $6.5MM club option for 2013. The Royals and Pirates appeared to have interest in Maholm earlier this month.
Johnson, 35, has a .307/.361/.452 batting line in 180 plate appearances this year. The right-handed hitter has played all three outfield positions for the Cubs and owns a career .313/.370/.469 line against left-handed pitching. He's signed to a one-year, $1.15MM contract and will hit free agency after the season. Four teams made offers for Johnson today, including the Pirates and Tigers, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.
Vizcaino, who entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, had Tommy John surgery this spring. The 21-year-old posted a 3.06 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 97 innings for three Braves affiliates as he made his way through Atlanta's minor league system in 2011. The right-hander reached the Major Leagues last year, posting a 4.67 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 17 relief appearances.
Chapman, a 25-year-old right-hander, has a 3.52 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings of relief for Atlanta's Triple-A team so far in 2012. The Braves selected him in the 16th round of the 2005 draft.
Maholm joins a Braves rotation that includes Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Ben Sheets and, as of tomorrow, Kris Medlen. The Braves nearly traded for Ryan Dempster this month, but the sides don't appear to have obtained the right-hander's permission.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Johnson had been traded (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported Maholm's role in the trade and first reported that the Braves were the other team involved (Twitter link). ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported that the Cubs were getting two minor league pitchers, including Chapman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Cubs were getting Vizcaino. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
The Cubs removed Reed Johnson from today's game and it appears that the outfielder has been traded, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Four teams made offers for Johnson today, including the Pirates and Tigers, according to Levine.
Johnson, 35, has a .307/.361/.452 batting line in 180 plate appearances this year. The right-handed hitter has played all three outfield positions for the Cubs and owns a career .313/.370/.469 line against left-handed pitching. He's signed to a one-year, $1.15MM contract and will hit free agency after the season.
The Indians think it's unlikely they'll trade right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, tweeted ESPN's Buster Olney this morning. Olney says a Choo trade would require the perfect offer, which fits with yesterday's report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Tribe would need a good Major Leaguer with less than three years of service. Yesterday we heard that the Pirates, Rangers, and Reds have interest in Choo, but a deal with the Rangers isn't happening. The latest on Choo:
- The Phillies are interested in Choo, write Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Phillies appear open to subtracting certain veterans but also adding to their core with players like Choo or Padres third baseman Chase Headley, in whom their interest had been previously reported.
- The Pirates are very reluctant to include 23-year-old outfield prospect Starling Marte in a Choo deal, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Marte is the 36th-best prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America's midseason top 50.
- The Indians would be wiser to part with closer Chris Perez than Choo, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Count the Dodgers among the interested teams, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- Choo badly wants to win, but considers the Indians like his family and has not and will not request a trade, he told reporters including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian yesterday. Regarding his contract status, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer quotes Choo saying, "That's why I have an agent. My agent and the Indians talk about it. I don't want to worry about it. It's a big headache. Scott [Boras] has done this a long time. He knows more than me." Choo is under team control through 2013, a season for which MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $7.6MM salary.
8:36pm: Rosenthal hears that the asking price for Choo is a good Major League player with less than three years of service time (Twitter link).
8:23pm: The Reds are also interested in Choo, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter). Choo would fit Cincinnati's desire for a left-handed bat and a leadoff hitter, but Rosenthal hears that the Indians are reluctant to move Choo.
5:29pm: A deal between the Rangers and Indians for Choo isn't happening, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
4:17pm: The Rangers also have interest in Choo, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report. Texas would prefer to add a left-handed hitter such as Choo to their lineup, but the Indians are reluctant to trade the right fielder. Cleveland would likely look for pitching in a trade, according to the FOX reporters.
11:04am: The Pirates are checking in on Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (on Twitter). The Pirates would likely have to part with 23-year-old outfielder Starling Marte to complete a trade for Choo, Biertempfel writes.
The Indians are likely to keep Choo, but they'll listen to trade offers for him, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported three days ago. The 30-year-old earns $4.9MM this year and will get a raise this offseason when he goes to arbitration for the third and final time. Choo has a .295/.382/.489 batting line with 12 home runs in 422 plate appearances this year.
The Phillies entered this weekend needing to perform well in a critical series against the division rival Braves. Instead, they were swept and now appear to be in the position to sell off several pieces. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies could be baseball's "most active sellers" in the next two days, and that they've laid the groundwork for several trades. Olney's colleague Jayson Stark hears from several teams that the Phillies could make 2-3 trades prior to Tuesday's deadline, though they've yet to officially declare themselves sellers (Twitter link).
CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury agrees that selling is likely, and runs down several of the possibilities for the Phillies in the coming days. Salisbury writes that Shane Victorino is the "most likely" Phillie to be dealt, and lists the Giants, Pirates, Reds and Dodgers as possible destinations for Victorino. Interest in Victorino was said to be "heating up" as recently as yesterday.
The Reds have also inquired on Juan Pierre, and both the Orioles and Cardinals are potential destinations for Joe Blanton according to Salisbury. He also says that Hunter Pence could be moved if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is blown away by an offer, and speculates that Ty Wigginton would fit on several teams looking for bench help.
Salisbury reiterates that the Phillies are likely to keep Cliff Lee for the time being, although he could be shopped this offseason in an attempt to fill multiple holes.
6:38pm: The Pirates have put a high price tag on Correia, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
The 31-year-old Correia has pitched to a 4.24 ERA with 4.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a solid 51 percent ground-ball rate entering play today. Correia is making $3MM in the final season of a two-year, $8MM deal that he signed with the Pirates in December of 2010.
General manager Neal Huntington said that the plan for Correia is to work out of the bullpen for now, but he predicts Correia will be used for some spot starts down the line. Huntington did acknowledge that a move to the bullpen could damage Correia's free agent value this offseason. Huntington went on record as saying the team is open to trading Correia, but only if it makes the Major League team better.
Biertempfel writes that the Pirates are still looking for an upgrade at a corner outfield spot, first base, or shortstop as well as bench help. Several teams are searching for starting pitching, including the Orioles and Braves, although it's not clear that buyers would view Correia as an upgrade to their current options. Correia made his first relief appearance today and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in just two innings, which certainly doesn't make him any more attractive to other teams.
Perhaps no division will be more active at the trade deadline this summer than the NL Central, which houses three sellers (Cubs, Brewers, Astros) and three buyers (Reds, Pirates, Cardinals). Here's the latest from baseball's only six-team division...
- The Cubs are at an impasse with the Dodgers over Ryan Dempster while the Braves continue to monitor the situation according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. People in the game think Atlanta could get involved with Dempster again even though their first deal fell through.
- If the Cubs don't trade Matt Garza this summer, he seems likely to be dealt in the winter, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A trade seems likely as the two sides haven't discussed a contract extension since talks broke off this spring.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the Cardinals have discussed Francisco Liriano with the Twins as they look to bolster their pitching staff before the deadline.
- The Brewers have had some inquiries about Manny Parra, but they may keep him and try him as a starter again, Knobler tweets.
- The Pirates have acquired outfielder/first baseman Christian Marrero from the Braves for infielder Brian Friday, reports Dan Simpson of Talking Chop (on Twitter). Both players will head to Triple-A, adds Michael Sanserino of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Trade buzz surrounding Shane Victorino has started to pick up, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The Reds, Dodgers, Pirates, and Giants all have interest in the outfielder and are scouting the Phillies. Cincinnati also has interest in Juan Pierre.
Victorino, 31, is hitting just .256/.321/.391 this season and will become a free agent this winter. He's owed approximately $6.3MM through the end of the season and thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, any team that acquires him in a trade will not be eligible to receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
Here's a look at the today's Daily Rumble from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark..
- According to clubs that have talked to the Rangers, the club is balking at including shortstop Jurickson Profar and third baseman Mike Olt in any deal. That stance meant losing out on Zack Greinke and could take them out of the mix for Josh Johnson or James Shields.
- Clubs identify the Dodgers, Orioles and Blue Jays as other aggressive suitors for Johnson while the White Sox, Red Sox, Braves, and Royals have checked in.
- Teams that have spoken with the Pirates say they seem to be losing their enthusiasm for Chase Headley. If they dealt for Headley, they would have to move either him or Pedro Alvarez to first base, and neither player has started a professional game there.
- One source told Stark that while the Braves and Ryan Dempster could potentially reverse course and get a deal done that would send the hurler to Atlanta, he "seriously" doubts it will happen.
- While the Rays seem to be listening on offers for several quality players, other teams remain skeptical of how willing they are to move anyone right now. One exec believes that they are simply listening on players in order to gather information for possible deals during the offseason.