Ramon Hernandez Rumors
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.
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...
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Dodgers' pursuit of trades for Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez began as early as last April. The new ownership looked ahead to the free agent market for first basemen and shortstops and knew the upgrades they sought wouldn't be available.
- Yorvit Torrealba could force the Rockies into a decision regarding their catching situation, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The team loves his veteran leadership and handling of young pitchers, and could look to trade Ramon Hernandez before the end of Spring Training.
- The Rockies are scouting out of options pitchers who could appear on waivers later on this month, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The Rockies' rotation features lots of uncertainty and some optimism at this stage, Renck writes. Here's MLBTR's list of out of options players.
- Buster Posey and the Giants are not close on an extension, but if it happens, the best comparable for a deal would be Joey Votto's 12-year pact and not a three-year one, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Prized offseason acquisition Zack Greinke left his Dodgers teammates this morning to have his right elbow examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, but the club insists that it's strictly a precautionary move, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The Dodgers are reportedly prepared to sit on their pitching surplus for now in part because of minor health issues that Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with.
Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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).