Ramon Hernandez Rumors

NL Notes: Chapman, Stewart, Rockies, Braves

St. Patrick's Day is as much of a baseball holiday as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day thanks to former Reds GM Dick Wagner. Tom Singer of MLB.com chronicles how the baseball tradition of wearing the green came about 35 years ago. Elsewhere from the Reds and the rest of the National League:

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects a decision in the next few days on whether Aroldis Chapman will pitch out of the bullpen or be moved into the starting rotatation, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Chapman stated publicly he wants to close, which didn't sit well with Jocketty. "We don’t let every player tell us how they want to be used," the GM told MLB.com.
  • Ian Stewart's lingering left quad injury could affect his chances at making the roster and how the Cubs build their bench, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Brent Lillibridge, Luis Valbuena, Edwin Maysonet, and Alberto Gonzalez are competing to fill that void while manager Dale Sveum mentioned Steve Clevenger could be an interesting option and added the team is watching all the waiver wires. 
  • The Rockies are giving serious consideration to making Nolan Arenado their starting third baseman with one club official telling Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com "it’s a tough call." If Arenado receives the nod, Rosenthal believes incumbent third baseman Chris Nelson could be used to acquire a veteran starting pitcher.
  • Within the same piece, sources tell Rosenthal the Rockies want to move Ramon Hernandez and are willing to assume some of his $3.2MM salary to facilitate a trade.
  • Don't expect the Braves to have any interest in the recently released Matt Diaz because there isn't a need right now, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Marlins have returned Rule 5 selection Braulio Lara to the Rays, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The left-hander appeared in four games for the Marlins this spring throwing four innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Angels Looking For Backup Catcher

SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.

FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  

The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta.  As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin.  Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.  

Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish.  While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday.  Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake.  For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.

If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade.  A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop.  Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Ramon Hernandez Drawing Trade Interest

A few teams looking for an extra catcher are talking to the Rockies about acquiring Ramon Hernandez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).  The Yankees haven't inquired but the Angels, Pirates, Rays, and Phillies could all have interest (Twitter link).

The Rockies have a surplus of catchers with Hernandez, Wilin Rosario, Jordan Pacheco, and Yorvit Torrealba in the fold.  Colorado is said to like Torrealba's veteran leadership and his handling of young pitchers, making fellow veteran Hernandez expendable.  Hernandez, 36, is set to earn $3.2MM this season on the backend of his two-year pact.



NL West Notes: Dodgers, Hernandez, Rockies, Posey

Earlier today we heard that the Padres haven't settled on a long-term strategy for third baseman Chase Headley. They'll hold onto him for now, but could trade or extend him later in 2013. Here are more notes from the Padres' division…

Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Hernandez, Morneau, Blue Jays, McClellan

Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports speculated that the Rockies could trade a catcher in order to bolster their pitching staff and of the team's three backstops, Ramon Hernandez would be the most likely to go.  The 36-year-old, who is earning $3.2MM this season on the backend of his two-year deal, has learned not to be bothered by trade talk, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding.  "I remember when I was with the Reds, it was the same thing..The last few days before the deadline, the Giants' manager told me, 'You're leaving with us. You're going back to San Francisco.' Then later on I was told I wasn't going anywhere until the end, right at the deadline. Then the Reds put me on waivers, somebody claimed me, they pulled me back out, and I didn't go anywhere."  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Twins star Justin Morneau downplayed comments he made earlier this week in which he said that it would be "very cool" to play for the Blue Jays since he grew up in Canada, writes Phil Miller of the Star-Tribune.  While he didn't disown the remark but he did restate his desire to win in Minnesota.
  • Pitcher Kyle McClellan wants to be more than just insurance for the Rangers this season, writes Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com.  The right-hander signed a minor league deal with Texas this winter and can opt out of his deal on March 22nd if he does not make the big league roster.  The Rangers could potentially use McClellan as a starter or place him in the bullpen.
  • John Maine is looking to get back on track with the Marlins in 2013 and the former Mets hurler says that he is throwing without pain for the first time since 2012, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

Rockies Could Trade For Starter

The Rockies' offense out-scored all but two National League clubs in 2012, even though Troy Tulowitzki missed two thirds of the season. The Colorado offense should again be prolific, but the pitching staff remains a concern. In an attempt to balance out their roster, the Rockies might trade a position player for a starting pitcher, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

The Rockies aim to add another capable starting pitcher to a rotation that now includes Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa, Drew Pomeranz and Juan Nicasio. According to Rosenthal, the Rockies hope to add someone in the Josh Fogg mold — a pitcher capable of posting a 4.50-4.75 ERA for 150-175 innings.

The Rockies might look to bolster their pitching staff by trading a catcher. Wilin Rosario, Ramon Hernandez, Jordan Pacheco and Yorvit Torrealba provide manager Walt Weiss with an abundance of choices behind the plate. Hernandez is the player the Rockies would most like to deal, Rosenthal writes.

The Dodgers have starting pitching depth and might be positioned to trade someone like Chris Capuano. I expect they could match up with the Rockies depending on their confidence in the tandem of A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz and their willingness to trade within the division.


Rockies Notes: Hernandez, Gonzalez, Tulowitzki

Ramon Hernandez ruptured his left distal hamstring tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The 36-year-old will undergo surgery next week after playing in just 52 games. Here are more Rockies-related notes from Troy Renck of the Denver Post…

  • Hernandez would probably have been an offseason trade candidate, Renck writes (on Twitter). Completing a deal will now be more challenging because of Hernandez’s injuries and age. Hernandez will earn $3.2MM in 2013, the final season of the two-year, $6.4MM contract he signed last offseason.
  • The Rockies need pitching, but Renck repeated that he wouldn't trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez for arms (Twitter link). It's risky to assume pitching performances will translate in Denver, as Renck notes.

AL West Links: Millwood, Lee, Athletics

Daniel Straily will make his Major League debut tonight in Oakland, starting for the A's against the Blue Jays.  Straily was an unheralded minor league arm heading into 2012 but exploded to lead the minor leagues with 175 strikeouts in 138 1/3 combined innings at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, plus a 2.60 ERA and a 4.73 K/BB ratio. 

Here are some more items from around the AL West…

  • The Mariners weren't eager to move Kevin Millwood at the trade deadline and put a "very high price tag" on the veteran starter, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
  • Though the Rangers asked the Phillies about Cliff Lee before the trade deadline, Texas didn't put in a waiver claim on the left-hander, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  The Dodgers were awarded the claim on Lee earlier today.  Lee would've had to pass unclaimed through every NL team and every AL team except the Yankees for Texas to win their claim, had they submitted one.
  • With Kurt Suzuki now in Washington, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the Athletics could be in the market for a veteran catcher.  Slusser (Twitter links) suggests the A's could look at the likes of Yorvit Torrealba and Ramon Hernandez in waiver deals, as catchers are easier to find right now than shortstops, another of Oakland's needs.

Heyman On Morneau, Dodgers, Athletics, Mets

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

  • The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Giants "appear to have some interest" in Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.  Heyman notes that the Dodgers are looking at many offensive options, possibly as many as 10.  Morneau, 31, has somewhat bounced back to a .260/.322/.457 line after a 2011 season lost to concussion symptoms and other injuries.  He has $5MM in salary remaining this year and is owed $14MM in 2013.
  • The Athletics' top two choices for a shortstop upgrade are still Stephen Drew of the Diamondbacks and Yunel Escobar of the Blue Jays.  The A's remain interested in Padres third baseman Chase Headley as well, but Heyman finds a match unlikely.
  • The Mets have talked about Geovany Soto of the Cubs, Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox, and Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies, but the prices are too high on these catchers.  Heyman says the Mets may be willing to delay their catcher search until the winter.

Mets, Cubs Discussed Geovany Soto

The Mets talked with the Cubs about the possibility of trading for catcher Geovany Soto, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. However, the sides aren’t likely to complete a trade.

While the Mets are comfortable entering the 2013 season with Josh Thole as their everyday catcher, they’d like to add a proven backstop who bats from the right side to complement Thole. The Mets could re-start talks for Soto or another right-handed hitter this offseason, Martino reports. The Mets also had some interest in Ramon Hernandez and Kelly Shoppach, but couldn’t agree on a price with the Rockies or Red Sox.

Soto, 29, has a .195/.278/.345 batting line in 194 plate appearances for the Cubs this year. The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year earns $4.3MM in 2012 and will go to arbitration for the third time this offseason unless he's non-tendered.