Ryan Spilborghs Rumors

Matt Murton Sold To Hanshin Tigers

5:28pm: Murton's rights were sold to the Hanshin Tigers, explains MLB.com's Thomas Harding.

2:32pm: The Rockies released outfielder Matt Murton so he can pursue a career in Japan, according to FOX Sports.  Murton, 28, hit .324/.389/.499 in Triple A this year and would've been arbitration-eligible.  Murton is a known MLBTR reader; we wish him the best of luck!

The FOX report goes on to suggest that the Rockies might now have to retain arb-eligible outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, but (oddly) they've inquired on Corey Hart in case they do move him.

Rockies Rumors: Hawpe, Tracy, Carroll

Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post has some Rockies rumors for us…

  • GM Dan O'Dowd called Brad Hawpe a "legitimate alternative" that can spell Todd Helton at first base. The team had been looking for a bench player capable of playing both first and third.
  • The Rockies have expressed preliminary interest in free agents Chad Tracy and Jamey Carroll.
  • O'Dowd confirmed that he's not looking to move Ryan Spilborghs.
  • Contrary to reports, the Rockies are not interested in Gregg Zaun, though they still hope to bring Yorvit Torrealba back.
  • Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that reports about hard feelings between Jason Marquis and the Rockies about not getting a playoff start are untrue.

Rockies Leaning Toward Keeping Spilborghs

The Rockies "plan to keep [outfielder Ryan] Spilborghs unless they receive a substantial offer," according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Despite Spilborghs' first-time arbitration-eligibility and Scott Boras representation, and admirers in the Braves and White Sox, the Rockies do not expect to trade him.

Spilborghs, 30, makes for a solid fourth outfielder.  He slipped to .241/.310/.395 this year, dragged down by slumps in July and September.  He played all three outfield positions, with the most time spent in left field.

With Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Seth Smith highly likely to stay put, the Rockies will probably have to trade one of Matt Murton, Brad Hawpe, or Spilborghs.  Non-tendering Murton is another possibility.

Rockies Rumors: ‘Pen, Spilborghs

The Rockies would to add a left-handed reliever, but won't necessarily be able to, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Here are the details:

  • There are few left-handers available. John Grabow and George Sherrill could be had, but they could cost too much in terms of money and prospects.
  • After adding Rafael Betancourt the Rockies have limited payroll flexibility.
  • They aren't willing to move Ryan Spilborghs now, but may consider trading him after the season. The Phillies have had interest in Spilborghs.

Stark On Deadline Deals

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says this year's deadline will be different than others, since more players will clear waivers, allowing teams to deal until the end of August. Matt Holliday, Jarrod Washburn and Jack Wilson are all "likely to zip through waivers" next month. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • The Phillies are as motivated as ever to acquire Roy Halladay. Their goal is to win the World Series, not make the playoffs.
  • The Phils don't want to trade Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ, but one GM believes they should include Drabek if one of the two has to go.
  • The Phillies may have to decide which outfielder to include in a deal: Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown. One scout says there's "nothing not to like" about Taylor.  
  • Acquiring Cliff Lee would take a "four-for-one, Halladay-esque Package."
  • The Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Rays and Brewers are scouting Lee. 
  • Both the Blue Jays and Indians want top young arms for their aces, but the Indians aren't demanding big-league ready prospects, as long as they get a high-upside group.
  • Expect Lee to be traded close to the deadline, if he's moved at all, because the Halladay saga will need resolution first.
  • The Orioles have two prices for George Sherrill. Teams willing to take on his salary have to give up a premium prospect and another prospect, but if the O's have to pay Sherrill, they want a premium prospect and two other players.
  • Danys Baez's value has plummeted recently.
  • The Braves, unsure of how much Tim Hudson can contribute, are leaning heavily towards keeping Javier Vazquez.
  • Adding a reliever is now the Dodgers' top priority.    
  • The Phillies have some interest in Ryan Spilborghs, Scott Hairston and Ryan Raburn.
  • The Reds would like to deal some of their expensive pitchers.
  • July 31st is also the deadline for Japanese teams to acquire foreign players for the rest of their season, so if Scott Boras is going to send Stephen Strasburg overseas, this will have to be the week.
  • The Cubs are looking at left-handed relievers, including Sherrill, John Grabow and Joe Beimel. 

Rosenthal On Lee, Reds, D’Backs, Buchholz

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests the Phillies may find Cliff Lee nearly as appealing as Roy Halladay because the Indians lefty makes just $11.5MM through 2010 and Halladay makes over $20MM before the end of next year. Rosenthal says the Phils could package rookie standout J.A. Happ with Carlos Carrasco and Dominic Brown to get the Indians' attention. Here are the rest of his rumors:

  • Though some say the Jays need to acquire Brown or Kyle Drabek in any deal for Halladay, Rosenthal points out that some scouts like Jason Knapp and Michael Taylor just as much.
  • The Reds would like to move some of their expensive starters and relievers to make room for younger pitchers, Rosenthal says. 
  • Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Francisco Cordero make enough to scare some suitors away, and while a salary swap is possible, Rosenthal says the Reds are more likely to make offseason deals. 
  • Jon Garland, Doug Davis and Carl Pavano are drawing little attention. Teams' unwillingness to take on salary limits interest in the two D'Backs starters.
  • Michael Wuertz and Rafael Betancourt are drawing "heavy attention," but the A's seem likely to keep Wuertz.  
  • It would be tough for the Angels to give Brandon Wood up for George Sherrill, especially since Wood could start at third next year if the team doesn't re-sign Chone Figgins
  • It seems unlikely that the Red Sox would trade Clay Buchholz for Victor Martinez. If he's moved at all, Buchholz would likely be dealt for a premium young hitter.  
  • Orlando Cabrera's hitting better and he could interest the Mariners, Cardinals, Twins, Reds and Mets.  
  • The Mariners are one of many teams interested in Josh Willingham. 
  • The Rockies are reluctant to deal Ryan Spilborghs, and refused a Phillies offer that included two quality prospects. 

Odds & Ends: Halladay, Rays, Indians, Rockies, Draft

With another round of deals today, we're reminded that the trade deadline is just three weeks away. Here's some evening linkage…

  • Joe Haggerty rounds up Peter Gammons' weekly appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike this morning. Among many other topics, Gammons touched on Roy Halladay, saying that he believes "there’s about a 20 percent chance that Halladay gets traded."
  • MLB.com's Zach Schonbrun writes that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg says the team is unlikely to cut payroll during the season, assuming they stay in the hunt of course.
  • The Indians aren't so lucky. Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that when "it comes to setting next year's payroll, the Indians are going to be looking to cut corners because of the economy." He mentions Rafael Betancourt and Kelly Shoppach as candidates to be moved because of their salaries.
  • The Denver Post's Troy Renck says the Rockies are unlikely to move Ryan Spilborghs and "aren't in a hurry" to trade Garrett Atkins.
  • Team president Frank Coonelly refuted a report saying that the Pirates had "essentially completed a deal" with fourth round pick Zack Dodson, according to Dejan Kovacevic.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports that the Orioles have signed four more draft picks.

Trade Candidates: Outfielders

This year’s outfielders have a lot to live up to on July 31st. It was just a year ago that the Red Sox  parted with Manny Ramirez and acquired Jason Bay. This time, Matt Holliday’s the big name, but there are also a few cheap, powerful players out there for teams looking to add an outfielder. Here’s your list of trade candidates, ranked from highest 2009 salary to lowest:

  • Matt Holliday – At $13.5MM, Holliday's pricey, but he's a good defender with a history of batting excellence. With just seven extra base hits in the last month, Holliday's no longer perceived as a sure thing.
  • Jermaine Dye - He makes $11.5MM this year and there's a mutual option with a $1MM buyout for 2010 on his deal. The White Sox want to win now though, so Dye doesn't appear to be on the block.
  • Gary Matthews Jr. – The Angels would presumably pick up salary in any deal involving Matthews, as he makes $10MM this year and $23MM over the course of the next two years.  
  • Juan Pierre – Another overpaid outfielder in LA, Pierre makes $10MM this year and $18.5MM over the course of the next two. At least he's hitting well, with an OBP approaching .400 and a career-high slugging percentage.
  • Alex Rios – He makes $5.9MM this year and has $60MM more coming his way between now and 2014. His teammate, Vernon Wells likely could not be traded.
  • David Dejesus – Under contract for $3.6MM this year, he can play all three outfield positions, but his .714 OPS is ordinary. 
  • Mark Teahen – Makes $3.6MM as well and can play the outfield, though he's been manning third for the Royals. He has a .344 OBP and 27 extra base hits.  
  • Jeff Francoeur –  He's struggled since last year and makes $3.4MM this season, so the suitors are not lining up for Francoeur. 
  • Josh Willingham – He has 10 homers for a .534 slugging percentage and he'll earn $3MM in 2009. Mike Rizzo says Adam Dunn's staying in Washington.
  • Luke Scott - He makes just $2.4MM this year and won't be a free agent until after 2012, so the Orioles have a cheap, powerful asset on their hands. They have three talented outfielders already in Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, so they could conceivably part with Scott.
  • Jeremy Hermida – With good patience, some power and a $2.25MM contract, Hermida could appeal to teams in need of a bat.
  • Cody Ross – Like Scott, Ross is cheap and powerful. He's slugging .505 and makes just $2.2MM this year. He's scheduled to hit free agency after 2011.  
  • Scott Hairston – He was just traded, but he plays solid defense and has extra base power, so Hairston, who makes $1.25MM this year, could appeal to other teams.  
  • Ryan SpilborghsApparently the Rockies would prefer to hold onto Spilborghs, who's under team control for three more years and makes just $415k this season.  

The Tigers, Braves, Mets, Giants and Reds could all look for outfield bats.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Atkins, Rolen, Rios, Davis

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has a fresh column up.  Let's dive in and explore some of the juicier details…

  • The Red Sox and Rockies have discussed a Garrett Atkins swap, but "both teams continue to explore other options."  It sounds like Boston may have sent the Rox a feeler, trying to gauge the third baseman's price tag.
  • Along with ace Roy Halladay, the Blue Jays are also taking offers for outfielder Alex Rios and third baseman Scott Rolen.  They both carry hefty contracts, however, so deals could be tricky.
  • The Diamondbacks are seeking first-to-second round talent for Doug Davis, "which is what they will receive if they offer him arbitration and he departs as a free agent," notes Rosenthal.  The Brewers have shown mild interest.
  • The Rockies currently consider Ryan Spilborghs, who's hitting .351 in the month of July, too valuable to trade.

Renck’s Latest: Hawkins, Saito, Spilborghs, Atkins

In his latest article, the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck has a few Rockies footnotes worth discussing:

  • Renck suggests the Rockies should aggressively pursue LaTroy Hawkins if the Astros drop in the standings.
  • Takashi Saito is another option. He has dominated in the NL West and the Red Sox like Ryan Spilborghs. He also notes the Tigers and Phillies have expressed interest in Spilborghs, as Ken Rosenthal said earlier this month.
  • Renck lists the Braves, Cardinals, and Mets as potential fits for Garrett Atkins, but Renck adds that his "$4 million in remaining salary is prohibitive."