Roy Halladay Rumors

Phillies Notes: Manuel, Rollins, Lannan, Halladay

In an interview with CSNPhilly.com's Leslie Gudel, outgoing Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke frankly about the talent he was given to work with over the last two seasons. Asked whether he had the pieces to win over 2012-13, Manuel left no question of his feelings: "No. I can straight-face tell you that." He says he "always figured we'd add the pieces and things like that," as the team had in years past. "They always went out and they always got pieces and they always put them on our team and gave us a good opportunity to win. They put us in a good position to win and it was up to us to do that." More out of Philly …

  • Starter Roy Halladay says that, while he respects Manuel, a change was needed. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Halladay thinks that interim manager Ryne Sandberg will "bring back a little more of the Philly baseball style than we've had the last couple of years." According to the veteran righty, "We haven't had that whole team effort, that whole team hustle. … Guys being at places on time; being on the field on time; taking ground balls; taking extra BP. All of those little things that nobody thinks makes a difference."
  • Indeed, Sandberg has already announced his presence by calling out veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Gelb reports. "Is he stubborn or [has he] created habits that are hard to change?" queried Sandberg. "I've seen him practice. And what he practices, he takes into the game. I believe there is some tweaking there as far as practice habits and what he practices."
  • Meanwhile, Halladay himself took the hill for an important rehab start tonight. Reviews were not promising, with CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reporting (via Twitter) that Halladay managed only 52 strikes in 90 pitches, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out four. According to Salisbury, also via Twitter, Halladay "does not look ready." Gelb concurred with that assessment, though he noted that Halladay seems determined to start for the Phils on Sunday. (Twitter links.) For more details on Halladay's evening, see this piece from David Murphy, Gelb's colleague with the Inquirer.
  • Another Philadelphia starter is headed in the opposite direction, with Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reporting that John Lannan will be shut down for the season and is likely headed for surgery. Assistant GM Scott Proefrock said that he believes Lannan "ruptured [a] tendon" in his left knee. Already a non-tender candidate, the 28-year-old struggled to a 5.33 ERA over 74 1/3 innings in his first year in Philadelphia and could be left looking for a minor league deal for 2014.

NL East Notes: Nationals, Zimmerman, Halladay, Abreu

While first baseman Freddie Freeman has had an outstanding campaign for the Braves, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been the team's most valuable contributor. While Fangraphs values the two at the same level in terms of WAR, notes Bradley, Baseball Reference pegs Simmons as worth over a win more than Freeman. Regardless, the team will control both players at reasonable rates for the foreseeable future, with Freeman set to reach arbitration for the first time next year and Simmons not arb-eligible until 2016. Here are a few notes from around the rest of the National League East:

  • The Esmailyn Gonzalez saga is not yet over for the Nationals, reports the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. In a lawsuit against the team's insurance company, the Nats have leveled the charge that former big-leaguer Jose Rijo received a $300k kick-back from the ill-fated $1.4MM signing bonus given to the supposedly 16-year-old Gonzalez (who, it was later learned, was actually four years older and named Carlos David Alvarez Lugo).
  • More importantly for the team going forward is the long-term defensive position of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Once a plus fielder, Zimmerman's throwing has deteriorated to the point that UZR rates him at a troubling 15 runs below average thus far in 2013. With even manager Davey Johnson implying that Zimmerman's "mental" issues could force a move across the diamond, MLB.com's Bill Ladson says he thinks the club could make the shift during the coming off-season. 
  • In addition to dampening the value of Zimmerman's long-term extension, of course, such a move would have wide-ranging considerations and repercussions for the Nats. In addition to raising the question of what would happen with first baseman Adam LaRoche, who is under contract for next season, the team would have to move rookie Anthony Rendon back to his natural position at third. The resulting void at second would presumably be filled by a free agent or one of the team's less-than-certain internal options (including Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi, and Jeff Kobernus).
  • Roy Halladay could be starting for the Phillies sooner than expected, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that, if all goes well, Halladay could only take two rehab starts in the minors before rejoining the big club. With Halladay set to become a free agent, it will be fascinating to see how he bounces back from shoulder surgery (and generally poor results over 2012-13) before hitting the open market.
  • If and when apparent Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu is made a free agent, he is expected to command a substantial contract from a MLB club. Based on scouting reports and other contracts given to international free agents, ESPN's Jim Bowden suggests that the big slugger could land a deal in the six-year, $54MM range. (For a detailed discussion of Abreu's prospect value, check out this recent podcast from Baseball America's Ben Badler and John Manuel.)
  • As an "early guess," Bowden places the Marlins atop the list of Abreu pursuers. Reasoning that the club would be willing to overpay for a Cuban star after missing out on Yoenis Cespedes, Bowden writes that Miami is "expected to go all out on Abreu." 
  • In addition to a host of other possible landing spots, Bowden says that the Nationals could also be in on Abreu. He opines that the club would not find it difficult to deal first baseman Adam LaRoche to clear a spot.

2014 Vesting Options Update

As we turn to August, here's a look at the players who have vesting options for the 2014 season..

  • Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.  The Nats were relying on Suzuki during the first half of the season when Wilson Ramos was sidelined, but Ramos returned to action on July 4th, sliding Suzuki back down the depth chart.  The 29-year-old is 45 starts shy of the needed mark with 52 games remaining, so Suzuki's chances aren't too strong.  if/when the option doesn't vest, it'll become a club option worth $8.5MM with a modest $650K buyout.
  • Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances. Carroll has 185 PAs in 53 games this season.  The veteran has had more than his needed total in each of the last three seasons with 500+ plate appearances in each of the last two years, but he'll have his work cut out for him in 2013.
  • Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013). Betemit underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on March 26th and he'll begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday.  Needless to say, his option won't vest.
  • Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances.  Berkman has 282 plate appearances to his credit and the good news is that despite whispers that he might call it quits after his latest hip troubles, he pledges to return this season.  Unfortunately for him, his rehab assignment isn't scheduled to get underway until the end of this week and 550 sounds like a longshot.
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).  This was a longshot to begin with, but shoulder surgery earlier this season makes this one impossible.
  • Brett Myers, Indians: $8MM option vests with 200 innings pitched in 2013 and a passed physical after the season.  After logging 21 and 1/3 innings in 2013, Myers was sidelined with tendinitis and a mild ligament sprain in his right elbow and has yet to return.  When he does come back, it's possible that the Tribe will move him to the bullpen.
  • Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched. Zito has racked up 111 and 1/3 innings through 21 starts this season.  Zito probably won't get to lock in his sizable 2014 salary.
  • Johan Santana, Mets: His $25MM option could have vested with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award, but he won't have a chance at that thanks to a season-ending tear in his pitching shoulder.

It's also worth noting that Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014, but it can vest at any of three levels – $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM – based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.  It's not known how many days the hurler must steer clear of right arm trouble in order to trigger each level of his option, however.  The left-hander made his season debut on May 11th and has a 2.02 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 through 16 starts this season.



2014 Vesting Options Update

As we enter July, let's check on the players who are hoping to lock in their options for the 2014 season..

  • Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.  The Nats planned to have Suzuki split time at catcher with Wilson Ramos, but Suzuki has started 59 games (counting tonight's game against the Brewers) behind the plate thanks to Ramos' hamstring troubles.  Ramos is currently rehabbing in the minors, however, and he could be back in action for the club on Thursday, according to the latest update from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Suzuki is slashing just .226/.286/.332, so it stands to reason that Ramos will see the lion's share of starts if he stays healthy.  If Suzuki doesn't reach 113 starts, the Nats will have an $8.5MM club option with a $650K buyout. 
  • Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances.  The veteran has had more than his needed total in each of the last three seasons with 500+ plate appearances in each of the last two years but has just 146 PAs so far.  
  • Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013). Betemit underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on March 26th and just resumed baseball activities late last week.  Couple that with Manny Machado holding down third base and it's hard to see Betemit's option vesting.
  • Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances. So far, Berkman is has 268 plate appearances through 64 games this season.  Berkman scared the baseball world when he took a tumble down the stairs of the team plane and tweaked his troublesome right knee, but the injury is said to be minor and shouldn't cost him serious time.  In 2011, his last full season, the slugger racked up 587 PAs.
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).  This was a longshot anyway, but shoulder surgery in May makes this an impossibility.
  • Brett Myers, Indians: $8MM option vests with 200 innings pitched in 2013 and a passed physical after the season.  After logging 21 and 1/3 innings in 2013, Myers was sidelined with tendinitis and a mild ligament sprain in his right elbow and is still working towards his return.  When he does come back, the Tribe will move him to the bullpen.   
  • Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched. Zito has 91 and 1/3 innings to his credit through 16 starts this season.  He'll still need some things to go in his favor, but so far his chances of locking up 2014 are still alive.
  • Johan Santana, Mets: His $25MM option could have vested with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award, but he won't have a chance at that thanks to a season-ending tear in his pitching shoulder.

Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014, but it can vest at any of three levels – $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM – based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of an injury to his non-throwing arm.  However, it's not known how many days he has to avoid missing time due to his right arm trouble in order to trigger each level of his option.  Liriano returned to action on May 11th and has looked strong in ten starts.  The left-hander has a 2.23 ERA on the year with 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.


Injury Updates On Impending Free Agent Starters

The upcoming crop of free agent starters has been rife with injuries this season. While Matt Garza and Josh Johnson look to have returned from the DL healthy and very effective since our last look-in on injured hurlers, others haven't been so fortunate yet. Here's an update on some hurlers whose stock is suffering due to injuries…

  • Roy Halladay told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that he's feeling good and has been tossing from 60 feet for the past few days. The Phils are hopeful that Halladay, who underwent shoulder surgery in May, will pitch again this season, but that might not happen until late August, if it happens at all. The 36-year-old could end posting his lowest innings total since 2000 as a 23-year-old — the year prior to his breakout as one of baseball's most dominant forces.
  • MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports that Jason Vargas will undergo surgery to alleviate a blood clot in his left armpit. The procedure will shut down Vargas entirely for two weeks, and he might not be back on a Major League mound until the end of July. Vargas averages nearly 6 2/3 innings per start, so those five weeks could cost him between 40 and 50 innings of work. The injury couldn't come at a worse time, as Vargas is in the midst of his best season, and his durability is one of his greatest assets. Beyond that, the loss of one of their best starters this season could place the Halos in a deeper hole and push them toward selling at this year's deadline.
  • Dan Haren hit the disabled list this weekend with a vague shoulder injury. Manager Davey Johnson told MLB.com's Bill Ladson the soreness has kept Haren from getting loose prior to his past couple of outings. Haren sounded irritated by his placement on the DL, according to Ladson, and noted any soreness he's feeling is nothing he hasn't pitched through before. Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington tweets that Haren's MRI came back clean and he received a cortisone shot yesterday. Haren's ERA is a bloated 6.15, and he is tied for the Major League lead in homers allowed.
  • As of this Sunday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review noted that A.J. Burnett has yet to throw off a mound since being placed on the disabled list by the Pirates. Burnett is in the midst of one of the finest seasons of his career, but has no timetable for his return. His bout with free agency this offseason figured to be an intriguing one anyhow, as he's stated publicly that he would likely only return to the Pirates or retire. A serious DL stint could make him question a return even more.

If Vargas can recover on time and finish the season healthy, he could still net a multi-year free agent deal. Any significant setback, however, would likely line him up for a one-year deal, which is likely the fate of both Haren and Halladay at this point as well. Burnett ranked eight on the most recent edition of Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings, but an extended DL stint would likely knock him from the Top 10.


2014 Vesting Options Update

With two months of baseball in the books, here's a look at the players who have vesting options for the 2014 season..

  • Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.  Suzuki was slated to split time behind the plate with Wilson Ramos this season, but Ramos' hamstring has forced the club to give the veteran catcher 39 starts thus far (counting tonight's game).  The most recent update on Ramos, courtesy of the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, says that he'll be sidelined until around July 1st.  If Ramos heals up and takes starts away from Suzuki, it will be a club option worth $8.5MM with a modest $650K buyout.
  • Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances. Carroll has 105 PAs in 27 games this season.  The veteran has had more than his needed total in each of the last three seasons with 500+ plate appearances in each of the last two years.
  • Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013). Betemit underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on March 26th and a late May update (from Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com) indicates that he still hasn't been cleared for baseball activities.  
  • Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances. So far, Berkman has 199 plate appearances to his credit and is on pace to lock in his 2014 option with ease.  In 2011, his last full season, the slugger racked up 587 PAs.
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).  This was a longshot to begin with, but shoulder surgery earlier this month makes this one impossible.
  • Brett Myers, Indians: $8MM option vests with 200 innings pitched in 2013 and a passed physical after the season.  After logging 21 and 1/3 innings in 2013, Myers was sidelined with tendinitis and a mild ligament sprain in his right elbow and has yet to return.  When he does come back, it's possible that the Tribe will move him to the bullpen.
  • Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched. Zito has racked up 62 and 2/3 innings through eleven starts this season.  It's far from a lock, but as it stands the veteran still has a chance at securing his 2014 salary.  His numbers are strong as he has a 3.88 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
  • Johan Santana, Mets: His $25MM option could have vested with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award, but he won't have a chance at that thanks to a season-ending tear in his pitching shoulder.

It's also worth noting that Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014, but it can vest at any of three levels – $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM – based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.  It's not known how many days the hurler must steer clear of right arm trouble in order to trigger each level of his option, however.  The left-hander made his season debut on May 11th.


NL Notes: Samardzija, Brian Wilson, Phillies, Braves

The St. Louis Cardinals are the class of the National League right now, having won exactly two-thirds of their first 39 games.  They're fourth in the league in OBP and ninth in slugging, and third in runs scored per game partially due fantastic work with runners in scoring position.  Their rotation has easily been the league's best with a 2.33 ERA, even without Chris Carpenter.  While the Jason Motte-less bullpen has an NL-worst 5.00 ERA, it's at 3.27 in May, with most of the damage coming in one Carlos Martinez outing.  By measure of FanGraphs WAR, Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, and Yadier Molina have been the team MVPs so far.  Now let's look at some links from elsewhere around the NL…

  • First baseman Anthony Rizzo has a new seven-year, $41MM deal with the Cubs, but pitcher Jeff Samardzija says he isn't ready to talk contract with the club, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  "Absolutely not," said the pitcher when asked if he's looking to hammer out an extension. "Nope. This is a great team, really coming around right now, playing great baseball. I'm just really looking to keep this going. It's fun to play with these guys."  Samardzija, 28, will have four years of Major League service after the season.  This is just a theory of mine, but having been lured away from football in '06 with a $10MM contract, Samardzija has more financial security at this point in his career than most players, and continuing to bet on his talent will enable him to maximize his next contract.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he hasn't been in touch with former closer Brian Wilson lately.  Sabean says that he doesn't know how Wilson is throwing but has heard The Beard is "working out like a fiend" and is "going to try to showcase himself over the All-Star break or thereabouts."
  • The Phillies issued a statement regarding Roy Halladay today: "Roy had successful shoulder surgery yesterday. He had an arthroscopic evaluation and underwent debridement of his labrum and rotator cuff as well as removal of an inflamed bursa.  He'll begin a progressive rehabilitation program and if all goes well, he may possibly begin a throwing program in 6-8 weeks."  The 36-year-old will be eligible for free agency after the season.  Scrambling for depth in the wake of the injuries to Halladay and John Lannan, the Phillies signed Carlos Zambrano to a minor league deal yesterday with a July 1st opt-out date.
  • In other NL East injury news, the Braves announced reliever Jonny Venters had the second Tommy John procedure of his career today.  The 28-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the second time after the season, with an expected salary similar to this year's $1.625MM.
  • A clerical error could have enabled Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt to pocket an extra $500K a few years back, but he wasn't willing to pocket the money, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle via Affeldt's book, "To Stir a Movement."  Affeldt believes his subsequent contract with the Giants went smoothly partly because of that decision.  

NL East Links: Halladay, Marlins, Jackson, Braves

Roy Halladay's season (and Phillies tenure) could be ended by his upcoming shoulder surgery, and the veteran right-hander took it upon himself to apologize to Phillie fans before Friday's game.  "You feel an obligation to the organization, to your teammates, to the fans to try to go out and pitch. Especially on a competitive team that sells out. For me, that was a big factor," Halladay told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer).  Halladay hopes to return to the mound in three months though it remains to been how the 36-year-old will respond to the surgery.

Here's the latest from around the division…

  • The Marlins' policy against no-trade clauses isn't an insurmountable obstacle to the team's business, opines agent Scott Boras.  "I think the no trade policy does affect franchise players. But the number of franchise players in free agency are pretty rare," Boras told reporters (including Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald).  "The Marlins in my mind you've got a number of players who like the geographical dynamic of what Miami offers. You've got a footprint now. It's not a wish and a hope."
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  • The Marlins' injury problems have forced the team to promote prospects like Jose Fernandez, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna to the Major Leagues earlier than expected, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes.  "I don't know if it messes up the plan," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "You've got to do what you've got to do….Right now, we're so buckled by the amount of injuries to key players.  I don't know if we've taken a step back to say, 'OK, is this going to mess up the master plan?' We're trying to make sure Red [manager Mike Redmond] has 25 guys every day, which has been tough."
  • Edwin Jackson picked up his first win of the season in the Cubs' 8-2 victory over the Nationals today.  Jackson told James Wagner of the Washington Post that he was interested in returning to the Nats last year but the team passed on negotiations after he turned down their one-year qualifying offer.  Jackson ended up finding long-term security in the form of a four-year, $52MM deal with the Cubs.
  • With Brian McCann back from the DL and Evan Gattis hitting well, the Braves could look to trade catcher Gerald Laird, speculates MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Since this could be McCann's last season in Atlanta, however, Bowman thinks the Braves will keep Laird as a veteran mentor to Gattis in 2014.
  • Some other items about the Phillies, Nationals and Mets were covered earlier today by MLBTR's Jeff Todd in an edition of National League Notes.

Phillies Notes: Halladay, Amaro, Lee

The Phillies received some bad news earlier today when they learned that Roy Halladay will have to undergo shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur and repair a partially torn rotator cuff.  Will they look outside for help?  Here's the latest on that and other news from the Phillies..

  • General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated the Phillies will actively seek help for their rotation with Roy Halladay undergoing surgery reports Matt Gelb of Philly.com.  Recently recalled Tyler Cloyd will take Halladay’s turn in the rotation, while veteran John Lannan is still sidelined with a knee injury.  Amaro is reportedly “not even thinking that far ahead” concerning Halladay’s free agency after the season.
  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that since Cloyd was already on their 40-man roster, the Phillies will have an opening if they decide to add a veteran starter from outside the organization. Stark also notes (link) that several pitchers may soon be available via opt-outs in their contracts, including Chris Young, Chien-Ming Wang, and Tim Stauffer.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has a breakdown on starting pitchers who could be moved this season, including the Phillies’ Cliff Lee.  Lee may be a “game changer,” but as Heyman notes, the left-hander is still owed $82MM through 2015, which could prove to be too pricey, especially with the Dodgers possibly not being a buyer this time.

Max Fogle contributed to this post.


Roy Halladay To Undergo Shoulder Surgery

Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay will undergo surgery on his right shoulder to remove a bone spur and repair a partially torn rotator cuff and fraying labrum, he announced today. Halladay, who spoke to reporters today (including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki) remains optimistic that he will pitch again in 2013, as doctors will look to make the procedure as non-invasive as possible.

This is clearly a large blow to Hallday's free agent stock, as his contract expires at the end of the 2013 season. Halladay has a vesting option that triggers with 225 innings this season or a combined 415 innings between 2012-13. Obviously, neither of those is attainable with him likely on the shelf for what could be a few months.

Halladay will be 36 this offseason and will turn 37 in May 2014, so buyers will be understandably hesitant to commit to him following shoulder surgery. However, we've seen injury-plagued aces such as Ben Sheets (with the A's in 2010) and Dan Haren (with the Nationals this offseason) land one-year deals worth $10MM+, and that outcome seems possible for Halladay, particularly if he pitches again this season and looks sharp.

The veteran was dogged by questions about his velocity heading into the 2013 season and won't get the chance to silence his critics for at least a little while.  Through seven starts, Halladay posted a 8.65 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 17 walks for the Phillies.  Halladay was asked by reporters if he could be willing to return to the Phillies on a cut-rate deal but didn't seem willing to get into that at this juncture.  The veteran also said he wouldn't rule out transitioning into a bullpen role if he can't get enough rehab innings on his way back.

Zach Links contributed to this post.