Placido Polanco Rumors

Quick Hits: Indians, Scutaro, Twins, Polanco

The Indians are focused on trade candidates who are under team control beyond 2012, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). This means players such as Shane Victorino aren’t ideal targets for Cleveland. Here are more links from around MLB for Thursday afternoon…

  • Marco Scutaro is the most likely Rockies player to be dealt this month, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. The Nationals and Rays are among the teams watching Scutaro, Renck notes.
  • The Twins are hoping Carl Pavano and Matt Capps get healthy and pitch well in August so they can pass the pitchers through waivers and consider trading them, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles, who continue looking for a third baseman, would have "tried hard" to acquire Placido Polanco if the Phillies hadn't placed him on the disabled list, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

Orioles Have Inquired On Polanco, LaHair, Headley

The Orioles have been making calls to other teams in search help at their corner infield positions, and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that they've made calls specifically regarding Placido Polanco, Bryan LaHair and Chase Headley.

General manager Dan Duquette is in search of a high on-base percentage who can hit near the top of the Orioles' batting order. An industry source cautioned Connolly in telling him that the O's talks regarding the trio have been preliminary.

Orioles third basemen have combined to hit .233/.291/.383, and their first basemen haven't fared much better at .237/.316/.415. They've primarily used a combination of Wilson Betemit, Mark Reynolds, and Chris Davis at the positions this season, but all are defensive liabilities and Davis has been shifted to an outfield role.

Connolly speculates that Polanco may be the best fit, as he would cost the cheapest of the three to acquire. Headley figures to be one of the most coveted players that is potentially available this summer, and LaHair is controllable through the 2017 season. Polanco earns $6.25MM this season and has a $5.5MM mutual option with a $1MM  buyout for the 2013 season.


Stark On Rays, Volquez, Butler, Phillies

The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…

  • The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
  • The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.” 
  • The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
  • Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
  • Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
  • The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
  • Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
  • The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
  • The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.


Olney On Rays, Quentin, Polanco, Marlins, Darvish

After ranking MLB's best rotations, bullpens, infields, outfields, and lineups in December, ESPN.com's Buster Olney opened up 2012 with his overall power rankings.  The Rays are ranked No. 1 thanks in large part to their outstanding rotation.  This year, Matt Moore joins the mix and Olney writes that the left-hander has the numbers and the ability of Stephen Strasburg without the same level of hype behind him.  Of course, the club still has some issues to address, such as the identity of their first baseman and designated hitter.  However, Olney feels that their pitching makes them the top club in baseball at present.  Here are some highlights from today's column..

  • It's possible that the Padres could negotiate a very team-friendly two- or three-year deal with the Carlos Quentin before arbitration.  However, it's hard to imagine the club investing heavily in the outfielder before gauging how much he can stay on the field and how his power translates to pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
  • The Phillies would still like to find an alternative to the oft-injured Placido Polanco.  In October, skipper Charlie Manuel said that he would be in favor of an upgrade at third base if possible.  The club dangled Polanco in early December when it seemed as if they might lose Jimmy Rollins to free agency and look to sign Aramis Ramirez to play third.
  • The Cubs are talking with a number of teams about Matt Garza, including the Marlins.  A lot of baseball scouts are not wild about the quality and depth of the prospects in Miami's farm system.
  • Yu Darvish is not yet signed with the Rangers, but rival executives don't believe he has much leverage and will eventually work out a deal.

Rockies Acquire Kevin Slowey

THURSDAY: The Twins acquired righty Daniel Turpen from the Rockies to complete the Slowey deal, they announced today.  Turpen, 25, posted a 4.83 ERA in Double-A this year.  He was taken by the Yankees from the Red Sox in last year's Rule 5 draft, then returned to Boston and later traded to Colorado.

TUESDAY: The Rockies agreed to acquire starter Kevin Slowey from the Twins for a player to be named later, reports MLB.com's Thomas Harding.  The Twins have since announced the trade.

Slowey

Slowey, 27, was widely regarded as a non-tender candidate had he remained with the Twins until next week's deadline.  He projects to earn $2.7MM through arbitration in 2012, and is under team control through 2013.  One of the game's most extreme flyball pitchers, Slowey (pictured) doesn't seem a great fit for Coors Field.  The other concern is that Slowey hasn't compiled big innings totals in the Majors.  Still, he limits free passes as well as anyone and could be a useful back-end rotation addition for Colorado.  The Rockies also added starter Tyler Chatwood last week in a trade with the Angels.

The Rockies may have other irons in the fire, as Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post reported earlier that they've discussed a deal with the Reds involving closer Huston Street for starter Edinson Volquez.  It's unclear whether those talks are still active given the Slowey acquisition.  Renck also wrote that the Rockies have interest in trading for the Phillies' Placido Polanco or the Braves' Martin Prado, and asked the Cubs about D.J. LeMahieu and Scott Maine in Ian Stewart talks that have since lost momentum.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Phillies Not Shopping Polanco, Backing Off Ramirez

The Phillies are no longer shopping Placido Polanco and are "backing off" their pursuit of Aramis Ramirez, a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

This would seem to indicate optimism about re-signing Jimmy Rollins, as we heard earlier that the Phillies would be interested in trading Polanco and acquiring Ramirez if they were unable to bring back Rollins. However, Rosenthal says this decision is unrelated to the club's negotiations with their longtime shortstop.

The Angels and Brewers are among the teams still in on Ramirez, tweets Rosenthal.


Latest On Placido Polanco

8:20pm: The Rockies are no longer interested in Polanco because they don't feel he can play second base, tweets Rosenthal.

TUESDAY, 12:16pm: The Phillies are not shopping Polanco and are only interested in trading him if they can't re-sign Jimmy Rollins, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.  The Phillies refer to keep Rollins and Polanco on the left side of their infield, but they could add someone like Aramis Ramirez if Rollins leaves.  Stark says the Phillies are willing to eat about a third of Polanco's contract, which equates to $2.4MM.

MONDAY, 11:50am: The Phillies are actively trying to trade third baseman Placido Polanco, a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  That'd open up third base for free agent Aramis Ramirez, for whom the Phillies are reportedly strong players.  Polanco, 36, is owed $7.25MM through 2012.

The Phillies have cooled on free agent Michael Cuddyer, Rosenthal reported earlier today.


Phillies’ Manuel In Favor Of Third Base Upgrade

In two seasons with the Phillies, third baseman Placido Polanco has struggled to stay healthy and on the field.  Despite being named an All-Star for the second time in his career in 2011, manager Charlie Manuel says that he would be in favor of an upgrade at the position, writes MLB.com's Nate Mink.

"If we need to upgrade and we can, we should do it," the skipper said on Wednesday.

Polanco is guaranteed $6.25MM next season, but Mink writes that it shouldn't handcuff the Phillies from exploring other options at third base.  Manuel doesn't think that the Phillies need a power bat at the position, but durability will be a major focus for the club this offseason.

Polanco underwent surgery yesterday to repair two sports hernias, which could sideline him for the beginning of the 2012 season.  The 36-year-old played in 132 games in 2010 and just 122 this past year.


Phillies Notes: Utley, Polanco, Knapp

The latest on the Phillies, before they take on their intra-state rivals far from Pennsylvania…

  • The Phillies' goal with Chase Utley is to avoid surgery at all costs, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
  • As Olney points out in a column at ESPN.com, this is the point in the spring where injuries have a good chance of impacting Opening Day rosters.
  • The Phillies say they aren't worried about Placido Polanco, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The infielder, who is dealing with a hyperextended elbow, practiced yesterday and won't play in a game for at least two days.
  • Former Phillies prospect Jason Knapp tells Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he was healthy when Philadelphia sent him to Cleveland as part of the summer 2009 Cliff Lee trade. Knapp, still just 20, has recovered from shoulder problems to re-establish himself as one of Cleveland's top prospects.

Rosenthal On Phillies’ Infield Options

7:30pm: According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Phillies haven't talked to the Nationals about Kennedy.

1:31pm: The Phillies learned today that Chase Utley will be out for several weeks due to thumb surgery, and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com chimes in with some possible replacement options. He notes that the replacement doesn't necessary have to be a second baseman (Twitter link), because the team can use Placido Polanco at that position once he's healthy. That opens up the possibility of a trade for a third baseman.

Rosenthal says that former Phillie Pedro Feliz is an unlikely target, citing a scout who says his bat speed is "gone." Feliz has hit just .229/.255/.317 in 255 plate appearances this year, and his trademark defense has declined back to a -4.3 UZR this season. The Fox Sports scribe throws the names of Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, Adam Kennedy, and Jose Lopez into the mix (Twitter links). The Mariners are actively trying to move Lopez, according to Rosenthal. 

For the now, Philadelphia will try to tread water with the combination of Wilson Valdez and Greg Dobbs at second and third, respectively. They've combined to hit just .222/.252/.338 in 222 plate appearances this season, and Jack Moore at FanGraphs chronicled just how big of a downgrade this is for the Phillies.