Ryan Raburn Rumors

Central Notes: Stearns, Counsell, Indians, Machado

Freshly appointed Brewers general manager David Stearns held court with the media at Petco Park today, and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel runs down a number of the topics addressed by Stearns. Perhaps most notably, Stearns characterized his first impressions of manager Craig Counsell as positive. Building a relationship with Counsell is one of the first things on Stearns’ to-do list as GM. “It’s an enormous relationship, and it needs to be a relationship that has mutual respect and mutual trust,” said Stearns of the manager-GM dynamic. “So far, we’ve gotten along very well. … Throughout the entire industry, Craig has a very positive reputation. It was also clear that he was held in high regard within the organization and up through ownership.”

A bit more from Stearns and the game’s Central divisions…

  • Also high on Stearns’ agenda is deciding on an assistant GM and an organizational structure, as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. Via Haudricourt, Stearns spoke about the characteristics he’d seek in an AGM. “Ultimately, you’re going to want one who complements your skill set and helps you run the front office from a variety of different aspects,” he explained. Stearns said he’s spoken to a number of baseball ops executives that pre-date him, presumably including Ash, but has yet to come to any firm personnel decisions. “I’ve had conversations with a number of them and I think a number of them will stay,” he added.
  • The Indians will have a number of roster decisions to make following the season, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Gavin Floyd, Ryan Raburn, Mike Aviles and Ryan Webb can all become free agents, and each has expressed an interest in remaining with Cleveland. Raburn could be retained via his $3.5MM club option, as the team will decide between that sum and a $1MM buyout. Hoynes also notes that Cleveland has as many as six, if not seven arbitration eligible players (depending on Jeff Manship‘s Super Two eligibility). Closer Cody Allen, in particular, could be in line for a multi-year deal, per Hoynes, though that comment seemed to be speculative.
  • Though adding some additional positions to his repertoire would help Dixon Machado‘s chances of making the Tigers‘ roster in 2015, the team has no plans to play him anywhere but shortstop, manager Brad Ausmus told MLive.com’s James Schmehl. The Tigers view Machado as a pure shortstop, though that complicates his path to playing time in the Majors due to the presence of Jose Iglesias. Nonetheless, Ausmus was firm in his belief: “Just a shortstop, at this point. I don’t know that I’d put Machado in the (Andrew) Romine category. Although he played third base a couple of games in Toledo, I wouldn’t throw him into a utility role.” Machado, the Tigers’ No. 14 prospect, per MLB.com, hit .286/.375/.404 across two levels in 2014 but has struggled in both Triple-A and the Majors this year. Scouting reports on the 23-year-old rave about his glove but wonder if he’ll hit enough to be a regular in the Majors.

Rosenthal On Gomez, Rangers, Choo, Gyorko

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez is attracting interest from contenders and non-contenders alike.  The Rangers and Indians have reached out, while the Giants and Astros find Gomez appealing.  Rosenthal notes that the Giants may not have the prospects required, while the Astros “appear more focused on bullpen help.”  Gomez is under contract next year for just $9MM, after which he’ll reach free agency as a 30-year-old.  In a June 1st poll, 80% of MLBTR readers said the Brewers should trade Gomez this summer.  He would appeal to many teams beyond the four listed by Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers are “acting aggressively as both buyers and sellers,” according to Rosenthal.  That explains the interest in Gomez and Cole Hamels and their willingness to listen on pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Wandy Rodriguez, who will be free agents after the season.  I should note that Colby Lewis will also be a free agent after the season, but he’s chosen to stay with Texas multiple times when given the opportunity to shop around.  On Friday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had quotes from Rangers GM Jon Daniels about the team’s deadline stance.
  • Rosenthal says the Indians are similarly looking at both additions and subtractions this week, “exploring deals for players who could fit for next season and beyond while listening to proposals for their starting pitchers and corner players such as David Murphy and Ryan Raburn.”  Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca wrote yesterday that the Indians came close to trading pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the Blue Jays, but the deal fell apart for unknown reasons and is no longer on the table.
  • The Rangers are expected to trade Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, Rosenthal writes.  I imagine that may require some kind of bad contract swap, as Choo recently turned 33, can block deals to ten teams, and is owed $102MM from 2016-20.
  • The Padres are shopping second baseman Jedd Gyorko hard, tweets Rosenthal.  The 26-year-old signed an extension under the previous Padres regime, and at the deadline he’ll be owed more than $33MM through 2019.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote about Gyorko and all the other second base trade candidates last week.  Rosenthal suggests the Padres could rid themselves of Gyorko’s contract by attaching him to a more desirable player, pitcher Tyson Ross for example.  The Braves employed this tactic in April, pairing Melvin Upton with Craig Kimbrel.

Mets Notes: Cuddyer, Conforto, Trade Targets

The Mets are currently squared off with the Nationals in a key mid-season match-up. Despite entering the series just two games back in the division, New York faces a lot of scrutiny due to its scuffling offense.

Here’s the latest:

  • Michael Cuddyer‘s knee problems are an increasing concern for the Mets, as Marc Carig of Newsday reports. If one final effort at managing the pain proves unsuccessful, Cuddyer will likely hit the DL. An extended absence from the club’s major offseason acquisition would only increase the team’s already pressing need for offense.
  • Of course, any missed time from Cuddyer will also increase calls for the team to promote well-regarded outfield prospect Michael Conforto. But as Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports, that move remains unlikely. There is at least some consideration being given to a call-up, but the club does not believe that the second-year professional is the answer it is looking for right now. As Mike Puma of the New York Post explains on Twitter, the lack of viable alternatives at the Triple-A level means it is necessary to entertain the thought if Cuddyer has to go on the DL.
  • All said, it seems as if GM Sandy Alderson is looking more for complimentary pieces than “one transformational bat,” according to Carig (Twitter links). That is reflected, to some extent, in the identity of the young players that internal and external executives see as being viable trade pieces. Per Carig, New York has little stomach for moving its most prized pre-MLB position talent (Conforto and shortstop Amed Rosario), but might be willing to deal well-regarded youngsters (and top-ten MLB.com organizational prospects) Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, Jhoan Urena, and Matt Reynolds (among others).
  • There are any number of outfielders that could be available to the Mets, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that one name to consider is Ryan Raburn of the Indians. Per Sherman, Cleveland is interested in picking up younger bats if it moves Raburn and/or fellow part-time Indians outfielder David Murphy. While the Mets prefer the idea of adding a Ben Zobrist-type super-utility player or a left-handed-hitting player capable of manning center — Sherman mentions Gerardo Parra — Raburn may be a more practicable target given his manageable salary and likely reasonable prospect cost.

Trade Market Notes: Papelbon, Indians, Cotts, Maybin

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said today that he would be surprised and disappointed if he is not traded this summer, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. The veteran righty indicated that he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for any contender — provided, that is, that he’d work in a closing capacity. “I think [the front office] knows where I’m at,” he said. “I’ve always been straightforward that I want to go play for a contender and I’m not going to shy away from it. I feel like that’s my right and my prerogative to have that opportunity and, you know, it’s in their hands. The ball’s in their court. I guess that’s kind of it.” While Papelbon’s preferences will play a significant role in his market, he’s done nothing but increase his trade value through his on-field performance this year. Entering today’s action, the 34-year-old owns a 1.65 ERA with 9.4 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 — and a career-best 50.6% groundball rate — on the season.

  • The Indians are still alive for a post-season berth even though the club has underperformed expectations, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the club will probably stand pat for the most part at the trade deadline. Cleveland is not terribly interested in dealing away Carlos Santana, but could consider moving David Murphy or Ryan Raburn, both of whom have been quite productive this year and can be controlled through fairly reasonable 2016 options. In the event that the Indians decide to add pieces, says Rosenthal, the club could target a pen arm or a bat (at an unidentified position — the left side of the infield seeming most likely).
  • The Twins and Brewers have had some preliminary trade chats, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press reports (Twitter links). It is not clear precisely what players were under discussion, though Berardino indicates that Milwaukee lefty Neal Cotts could hold some appeal to Minnesota.
  • Some opposing clubs believe the Braves could be interested in selling high on outfielder Cameron Maybin this summer, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. Olney had previously indicated on Twitter that Atlanta was not interested in parting with Maybin, who’s been quite a pleasant surprise since coming over as part of the salary swaps in the Craig Kimbrel deal. But he could have significant appeal to teams in need of an outfielder, particularly if the market ends up being largely devoid of bats.

Indians Notes: Trades, Floyd, Bere, Cloyd

The Indians have a logjam of players who can handle right field, first base and DH, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that the surplus doesn’t mean a trade is likely. David Murphy‘s name has come up in rumors, but team has to first determine the health status of Nick Swisher, Brandon Moss and Ryan Raburn. Swisher had surgery on both knees in August, Moss had hip surgery in October and Raburn had left knee surgery in September in addition to dealing with a sore wrist for much of the season. Hoynes provides a health update on each player, and he also spoke with Francona, who sounded happy to have a number of options on his hands: “You walk that fine line. You have guys who expect playing time … but at the same time we can’t let our season be derailed by the unknown. I think [GM] Chris [Antonetti] did a really god job protecting us … I think it’s going to make us a better team and protect us from the unknown.”

A couple more Indians notes…

  • The Indians’ signing of Gavin Floyd was all about adding depth and innings to a promising but young rotation, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. While the team does have other arms that had figured to compete for time in the rotation, they can continue to develop in the upper minors and remain ready to step in if a need arises.
  • Also from Bastian, the club announced today that Jason Bere, a special assistant to the baseball operations department, has been named the club’s new bullpen coach in the wake of Kevin Cash’s departure to manage the Rays. “He’s been with the organization a long time, so everybody knows him,” Francona told Bastian. “By design, we had him around a lot, not just in Spring Training, but in September and at a few key points during the year, because of what he can add to a staff.”
  • After receiving his release today from Cleveland, righty Tyler Cloyd is expected to reach agreement with the KBO’s Samsung Lions, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The club had announced that it was releasing Cloyd so that he could pursue an opportunity in Korea.

AL Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Raburn

The Rays are trying to maintain their focus despite the possibility of pitcher David Price being traded, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports. “It’s something I try not to think about, and I try not talk about it with my teammates,” says Price. “That’s the last thing I want them to be doing, is thinking about if we don’t win I could be gone.” More losing could encourage the Rays’ management to deal Price, Mooney suggests. The Rays had won nine of 11 games before losing their last two, but they’re in last place in the AL East, 10.5 games out of first. Here’s more from the American League.

Indians Rumors: Jimenez, Outfielders

The Indians are reportedly open to trading Justin Masterson and have been in contact with the Yankees, but there are reportedly no legs to those talks and Cleveland isn't near a trade of any player. A couple of other Tribe notes…

AL Central Notes: White Sox, Raburn, Indians, Kazmir

As the Tigers do everything they can to run away with the division, let's check in with some of their competitors in the AL Central:

  • GM Rick Hahn's plans for the White Sox are better characterized as a "reshape" than a "rebuild," according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "It's not in our nature to write off any season," said Hahn. "You see too many teams make fairly quick and significant turnarounds in the course of one offseason. With that said, we have some work to do." 
  • The Indians extended utilityman Ryan Raburn yesterday; today, Max Lom posted interview excerpts on MLB.com. Raburn noted that the team aproached him before the All-Star break about a possible extension. GM Chris Antonetti explained that the team liked Raburn as a bounce-back candidate after his woeful 2012 campaign. For his part, manager Terry Francona noted that the club's relatively low payroll means that it must rely on players like Raburn and fellow benchmate Mike Aviles to compete. (Notably, the club also signed Aviles to a multi-year contract with a club option.)
  • Even if Cleveland falls out of the AL Central race, it is worth keeping an eye on the organization in the coming months. Antonetti is believed to have approached other players about extensions, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer
  • Hoynes went on to note that another player who has revived his career with the Indians — lefty Scott Kazmir – has indicated that he might be amenable to a hometown discount. However, Antonetti implied that the sides have not talked about a new deal. 

Indians Extend Ryan Raburn

The Indians have signed utility man Ryan Raburn to a two-year extension with a club option for a third season, the team announced via press release. It's reportedly a $4.85MM extension, and the option year is valued at $3MM with a $100K buyout. RaburnRaburn, a client of CSE, would have been a free agent following the season had he not signed an extension. He will earn $2.25MM in 2014 and $2.5MM in 2015.

Raburn, 32, signed a minor league deal with the Indians back in January that has proved to be one of the best minor league pick-ups of the offseason. He was released by the Tigers back in November, as Detroit clearly wasn't comfortable giving him a raise via arbitration (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $2.1MM salary for Raburn in 2013).

Raburn has been used primarily as a right fielder by the Tribe this season, though he's also seen time in left field and at second base. He's hitting a strong .277/.370/.565 with 13 homers in just 211 plate appearances. Raburn has been particularly strong versus left-handed pitching, hitting southpaws at a .307/.402/.627 clip with five homers.

As shown in MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, this marks the third extension hammered out by Indians GM Chris Antonetti since assuming the role after the 2010 campaign (when longtime GM Mark Shapiro was promoted to club president). Antonetti has also worked out a two-year, $16.5MM deal for Asdrubal Cabrera and a five-year, $21MM deal for Carlos Santana.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported the terms of the contract's guarateed portion as well as the yearly breakdown (Twitter links). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian was the first to report that the option was for $3MM (also via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Indians Designate David Huff For Assignment

The Indians have announced they have designated left-hander David Huff for assignment. Huff was informed on Monday he would not make the team and the Indians were trying to work out a trade because he is out of options. The Indians now have ten days to complete such a deal or they can either release or outright him to the minors.

The 28-year-old was selected in the supplemental round (39th overall) by the Indians in the 2006 draft. He has appeared in 55 games (52 starts) for the Tribe over parts of four seasons, accumulating 285 1/3 innings but posting unsightly ratios including a 5.30 ERA, 5.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He has averaged 90.5 mph on his fastball with a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate throughout his career. Huff posted a 5.82 ERA this spring in 17 innings (nine games including one start) with 7.9/9K, 2.6 BB/9, and 2.1 HR/9.

The Indians' 40-man roster remains at 39 players because the team selected the contract of Ryan Raburn from Triple-A Columbus.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.