Ramon Hernandez Rumors

Cafardo On Hernandez, Upton, Bard, Gordon

As teams scan the trade market for pieces that can make a difference down the stretch, many GMs are experiencing sticker shock, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  “Some of the demands out there are ludicrous,” said one NL adviser. “We asked about a lefty pitcher and they asked us for our best pitching, best hitting, and a couple of other established players. I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ That’s why I’m thinking despite all the talking, I’m not sure much is going to get done.”  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • The Rays have sniffed around on Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez.  The Mets and Nationals are also said to have interest in the veteran, though teams are wary of the $3.2MM owed to him in 2013.
  • Diamondbacks rightfielder Justin Upton hasn’t drawn as much interest as expected.  The Pirates obviously have a great deal of interest in him but find the asking price was prohibitive.  Pittsburgh may also be interested in B.J. Upton of the Rays and they inquired on Billy Butler of the Royals and the Phillies' Shane Victorino.
  • The Cubs could be interested in Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard in a Matt Garza trade. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod all have a strong history with the right-hander.
  • There hasn't been much news about him in the last week or so, but Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach remains a viable option for teams like the Mets in need of a catcher.  Boston can afford to part with him as well with Ryan Lavarnway waiting in Pawtucket. 
  • Cafardo cautions not to dismiss possible interest by the Yankees in Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, with Brett Gardner having surgery.
  • The Orioles, Tigers, and Royals are among the teams that have made inquiries on Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas.

Mets Rumors: Broxton, Bullpen, Deadline Plan

Here are a few links Mets links as the Amazin's open an important three-game set against the NL East-leading Nationals tonight in Washington. …
  • The Mets are "paying close attention" to Royals closer Jonathan Broxton, a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Broxton has put together a nice rebound campaign as Kansas City's stopper after his stock had tumbled due to injuries in 2010-11. Meanwhile, the Mets could use reinforcements for a spotty relief corps that is without closer Frank Francisco, who has been sidelined by an oblique injury since June.
  • To that end, the Mets are seeking bullpen help, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, although they're finding most relievers to be too pricey in terms of trade compensation or too insignificant of an upgrade. The Brewers, for one, are telling teams that former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez is available but they are unwilling to eat any of the remaining $4MM owed to him. K-Rod, incidentally, was named Milwaukee's closer today.
  • The Mets are also looking for a veteran catcher, according to Heyman, and have talked to the Rockies about Ramon Hernandez, but New York is not willing to pay the $3.2MM owed to Hernandez through next season. 
  • GM Sandy Alderson said all of the organization's scouts have been deployed to the Major League, adding "we are buyers," according to Rubin. Alderson also said pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will not pitch in the big leagues this season and will soon be promoted to Triple-A (Twitter links).

Nationals Interested In Ryan Dempster, Others

Nationals starters lead MLB in everything from ERA (3.21) to wins above replacement (10.7) to average fastball velocity (93.6 mph), but the team’s decision makers are eyeing rotation help all the same. The Nationals are exploring trades for starters, including Ryan Dempster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Zack Greinke of the Brewers, who was nearly traded to Washington following the 2010 season, and Francisco Liriano of the Twins are among the other potential targets for the Nationals, Rosenthal reports. Meanwhile, the Braves, Tigers, Dodgers and Red Sox are among the other clubs pursuing Dempster. 

The Nationals’ interest in adding pitching depth makes sense given the team’s stated intention to limit Stephen Strasburg’s innings. John Lannan is an internal candidate to start for Washington if GM Mike Rizzo doesn't find any deals to his liking. 

The Nationals are also seeking an everyday catcher, and Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies is one of their potential targets, Rosenthal reports. Wilson Ramos is out for the season, so the Nationals have been relying on Jesus Flores and Jhonatan Solano behind the plate.

Rosenthal On Rangers, Angels, Cubs, Marte

It’s time to consider the Angels and Rangers superpowers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Lucrative regional TV deals, an abundance of star talent and the flexibility to make further moves have turned the Angels and Rangers into imposing organizations. Both clubs have both scouted Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, but the Rangers view those pitchers as rentals and are hesitant to part with top prospects for either one. Here are more of Rosenthal’s latest notes:

  • The Brewers haven’t given up on the 2012 season, but they’ve talked about exploiting the Angels-Rangers rivalry, Rosenthal writes. Many executives believe the return for a pitcher like Greinke or Hamels will be surprisingly low because the new collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from obtaining compensation for players acquired midseason.
  • Ryan Dempster, who can veto any trade, has said he would consider going to any contender. The Cubs want to assume the majority of the $6.1MM remaining on Dempster’s salary to obtain better prospects in return. Rosenthal suggests interested teams might look to extend Dempster this summer and keep him off of the free agent market.
  • The Cubs wanted a Gio Gonzalez-like return for Matt Garza last offseason, Rosenthal reports.
  • Rosenthal suggests the Phillies could trade Jimmy Rollins, but points out that the shortstop earns $11MM per season through 2014. “That contract, boy oh boy,” one executive said, suggesting it could deter interested teams.
  • Baseball people express doubt about the star potential of Pirates outfield prospect Starling Marte, Rosenthal reports.
  • The Rockies are pleased that Ramon Hernandez has helped Wilin Rosario develop and don't seem overly earger to trade the veteran Hernandez.
  • The Tigers are scouting Marco Scutaro and they aren’t the only team with interest in the veteran infielder. The Brewers inquired on Scutaro, but talks didn’t progress.

Latest On Mets, Rockies, Hernandez

The Mets are interested in Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, but New York officials aren’t willing to offer significant prospects to complete a trade, the New York Post reported yesterday. The Mets have shown a willingness to take on most, but not all, of Hernandez’s annual $3.2MM salary for 2012 and 2013 once the catcher comes off of the disabled list, Joel Sherman of the Post reports today.

“We are not talking about acquiring Gary Carter in 1985 here,” one Mets person told Sherman. 

The Rockies really like Mets minor leaguers Matt Den Dekker and Josh Edgin and they also have interest in prospects Wilfredo Tovar, Jacob deGrom and Domingo Tapia, Sherman writes. The Rockies have suggested the Mets might want to expand discussions to include left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds, but the Mets aren’t interested, according to Sherman.

Joel Sherman noted yesterday that the Mets also have interest in Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox and Miguel Olivo of the Mariners. For an expanded look at potentially available catchers click here.

Mets Interested In Ramon Hernandez

1:35pm: The Mets see the Rockies' desire to trade Hernandez as a salary dump and are unwilling to offer much of a prospect in return, writes Sherman.

1:10pm: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets the asking price for Hernandez is still high, so it's doubtful anything will happen in the next two weeks.

11:20am: Nothing is imminent between the Mets and Rockies but talks could accelerate when Hernandez comes off of the disabled list this week, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.

10:22am: The Mets are very interested in Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, a source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Other backstops that interest GM Sandy Alderson & Co. include Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox and the Mariners' Miguel Olivo.

One source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the discussions are serious enough that he believes that Hernandez will wind up as a Met, though he stopped short of offering a guarantee.  The source added that Alderson was trying to expand the deal to include left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds.

Rubin notes that Rockies like Mets infielder Justin Turner and tried to acquire him last offseason before obtaining Marco Scutaro.  He suggests that the Mets could get a deal done without losing key minor leaguers and instead draw from the likes of shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, right-hander Domingo Tapia, outfielder Matt Den Dekker, and left-hander Josh Edgin.

Hernandez is nearly ready to return to action after suffering a hand injury, but Wilin Rosario has since taken over as Colorado's starting catcher.  The 36-year-old is in the first season of a two-year, $6.4MM pact.

Rockies Notes: Cuddyer, Hernandez, Spilborghs

It's been a busy day for the Rockies, who agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a 2012 contract, non-tendered Ryan Spilborghs and Cole Garner and officially announced their deal with Ramon Hernandez. Here are more details on the team:

  • GM Dan O’Dowd told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that the Rockies have not made Michael Cuddyer an official offer (Twitter link). The Rockies appeared to be pushing for the versatile free agent earlier today. They expect they'll have to surpass the Twins’ three-year, $25MM offer to obtain him, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (on Twitter).
  • Hernandez will earn $3.2MM in 2012 and the same amount in 2013, Renck tweets. The contract doesn’t include a signing bonus, but does have “standard” incentive clauses.
  • O'Dowd has interest in re-signing Spilborghs for less than he would have made through arbitration, according to Renck (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2MM salary for the outfielder.

Rockies Sign Ramon Hernandez

The Rockies offically signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to two-year contract today.  The deal is worth $6.5MM, reported Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. In a related move, Colorado traded Chris Iannetta to the Angels for Tyler Chatwood on November 30th, the same day they reached an agreement with Hernandez. Hernandez is represented by Eric Goldschmidt, as our Agency Tracker shows. 

Hernandez, 35, started the offseason as a Type A free agent, but he was reclassified as a Type-B as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. The Reds will receive a supplemental first round pick for losing Hernandez, but the Rockies will not lose a pick.

The signing gives Colorado a veteran presence behind the plate to help with a young rotation that figures to include the likes of Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin, Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Esmil Rogers, and Clayton Mortensen. Hernandez hit .282/.341/.446 with a dozen homers in 328 plate appearances for the Reds last season. He also threw out a whopping 23 of 62 attempted basestealers, a well above average 37.1%. Colorado will be his fifth big league team.

Tim Dierkes ranked Hernandez 31st on his list of the top 50 free agents. The leaderboard for our free agent prediction contest can be found here.

NL West Links: Sandoval, Cuban, Kuroda, Hernandez

With Heath Bell now on his way to Miami, the Padres are more likely to look to the trade market than free agency for late-game help, tweets MLB.com's Corey Brock.  Some more from the NL West here….

  • Ryan Morgan, Pablo Sandoval's agent, told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he has had "very broad discussions" with Giants VP Bobby Evans about Sandoval's 2012 contract and that Sandoval is open to a multiyear contract.  Sandoval is going through the arbitration process for the first time this winter and Baggarly thinks the two sides could revisit the idea of an extension if Sandoval shows up in great shape to Spring Training.
  • Mark Cuban is interested in bidding to become the new Dodgers' owner, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Cuban will receive a "bid book" that contains the team's financial information, though having a bid book doesn't necessarily mean Cuban will indeed make a bid to buy the team.
  • The Dodgers have already much of their free money this winter and are still short two starting pitchers, reports Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times.  Both Dilbeck and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) don't think the Dodgers will have enough to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda.
  • Also from Knobler (via Twitter), the Rockies turned down the Braves' offer of Martin Prado in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith and prospect Nolan Arenado.  Given that Arenado is one of Colorado's top prospects, this was a total pie-in-the-sky offer from the Braves.
  • Newly-signed Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez appeared on the Venezuelan sports radio show Los Cronistas today (Twitter link, in Spanish) and said he isn't sure if he'll be physically able to keep playing beyond his current contract.  Hernandez will be 37 by the time his two-year deal with Colorado expires.  Thanks to Nick Collias of our sister site Rumores de Beisbol for the translation.
  • Justin Upton holds the top spot on Keith Law's list of the top 50 players who are 25 years old and under (ESPN Insider subscription required).

Rockies Notes: Prado, Millwood, Hudson

The Rockies have been busy this evening. They traded Chris Iannetta to the Angels for Tyler Chatwood and agreed to terms with Ramon Hernandez on a two-year deal. Here are the rest of the day’s notes on the Rockies: