Ryan Braun Rumors
In case there was any doubt, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Brewers aren't going to trade Ryan Braun. However, the Brewers are open to trading any of their other top hitters for rotation help. That means Rickie Weeks, Casey McGehee and, of course, Prince Fielder would be available in the right deal. Here are the details and the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:
- The Brewers don't want to trade top players for back-of-the-rotation starters, but teams are reluctant to include top young pitchers in potential deals.
- The Padres have spoken repeatedly to the Brewers about minor league infielder Brett Lawrie, who could be obtained for young pitching.
- Adrian Gonzalez is still drawing trade interest, even though he won't be ready to swing a bat until the end of Spring Training.
- Two GMs tell Rosenthal that the Red Sox are open to trading Felix Doubront. One says Boston would part with the left-hander "in a heartbeat" and the other guaranteed the Red Sox will trade him by mid-summer. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Rosenthal that the Red Sox "value Felix tremendously" and that the report "couldn't be further from the truth."
- Every young Orioles pitcher "could be in play for the right bat," Rosenthal reports.
- If the Marlins trade Dan Uggla, they would use the savings to sign at least one free agent. John Buck is a target for the Marlins regardless of whether they trade or extend Uggla.
- The A's don't have interest in Mark Reynolds.
- The Rockies are drawing lots of interest in Clint Barmes. They could trade or non-tender the infielder if they aren't able to sign him to a multi-year contract.
- Cody Ross and Javier Lopez are strong candidates to receive extensions from the Giants.
- Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News doesn't expect to see the Giants and Brewers strike a deal in the coming days.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean and one of his top evaluators, Lee Elder, may have been scouting Brewers players at today's Giants-Brewers game, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman lists Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, and Ryan Braun as potential targets.
- There are scouts from 14 different clubs at tonight's Red Sox-Rays game, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- A scout told Dan Hayes of the North County Times (via Twitter) that the inconsistent delivery of recently DFA'd Sean Gallagher is "disappointing". The righty has been with three clubs in four big league seasons.
- Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs argues that Jayson Werth would have a whole lot of trade value if the Phillies made him available.
- The Pirates agreed to terms with six international 16-year-olds, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Brewers' approach to the trade deadline could depend on the outcome of the meetings the team's scouts are having this week, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Four GMs predicted to Peter Gammons that Carlos Gonzalez will be one of the NL's ten best players next year (Twitter link).
- Rival scouts tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that they rank Matt Thornton as one of the game's top ten relievers.
- Jack Moore of FanGraphs takes our latest Elias rankings and examines what they mean for Carl Pavano and Adrian Beltre.
- Omar Infante thought he had been traded when Braves GM Frank Wren phoned to tell him he had made the All-Star team, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While dreams are coming true for hundreds of high school and college players this week, let's compare the paths of some 2005 first round draft picks. Nothing is more interesting than seeing how teams did choosing players at the same position. In a draft, it is the closest teams come to the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Meanwhile, those lists haunt fans' memories for years to come.
- Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) vs. Ryan Braun (Brewers): This battle between Zimmerman, picked fourth, and Braun, picked fifth, was to be a test of hot corner prowess. But while Zimmerman has excelled at the position, winning a Gold Glove in 2009 and grading well under more advanced defensive metrics, Braun settled in left field after proving to be a disastrous fielder at third base. So far, Braun has a .931 to .836 edge in OPS, but with Zimmerman putting up an .888 in 2009 and at .986 so far in 2010, that gap may well have disappeared. Moving forward, the edge goes to Zimmerman, a terrific hitter, though a notch below Braun, but a far more valuable defensive player. Both teams won here, though.
- Cameron Maybin (Tigers) vs. Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): These high school center fielders went back-to-back, with Maybin going tenth and McCutchen going 11th. The early returns suggest that the Tigers made a poor choice here, though they ultimately packaged Maybin in a deal for Miguel Cabrera, so they're not exactly complaining. McCutchen has hit since he arrived in Pittsburgh last season, and a 23-year-old with an .847 OPS in his first 733 major league plate appearances stands an awfully good chance of being an elite player for years to come. Maybin is still immensely talented, and could turn into a star- but McCutchen already is one. Pirates win- how often do you get to read that?
- Craig Hansen (Red Sox) vs. Joey Devine (Braves): This throwdown is a lesson in the perils of college pitchers. They seem like sure things, compared to high schoolers, and from the start, the Red Sox and Braves thought they had their ninth-innings mapped out for years to come. Hansen, drafted 26th out of St. John's, has yet to find command at the major league level, with 63 walks against 70 strikeouts in 93.2 innings. The right-hander was one of the moving parts in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Hansen's troubles were baffling, until the discovery of a degenerative nerve condition that has his career in doubt. Devine, chosen 27th, got traded to Oakland for Mark Kotsay, so Atlanta didn't benefit much from choosing him, either. The Athletics got a fantastic 2008 out of Devine- a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings with 49 strikeouts. Tommy John surgery kept him out for 2009, but he is currently on track to return to Oakland by the end of June. Winner here? Clearly, the Athletics.
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.
- Angels: Torii Hunter, five years, $90MM
- Astros: Carlos Lee, six years, $100MM
- Athletics: Eric Chavez, six years, $66MM
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, seven years, $126MM
- Braves: Chipper Jones, six years, $90MM
- Brewers: Ryan Braun, eight years, $45MM
- Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120MM
- Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136MM
- Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson, four years, $53.4MM
- Dodgers: Kevin Brown, seven years, $105MM
- Giants: Barry Zito, seven years, $126MM
- Indians: Travis Hafner, four years, $57MM
- Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, five years, $90MM
- Marlins: Hanley Ramirez, six years, $70MM
- Mets: Johan Santana, six years, $137.5MM
- Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, five years, $45MM
- Orioles: Miguel Tejada, six years, $72MM
- Padres: Jake Peavy, three years, $52MM
- Phillies: Chase Utley, seven years, $85MM
- Pirates: Jason Kendall, six years, $60MM
- Rangers: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $252MM
- Rays: Wilson Alvarez, five years, $35MM
- Reds: Ken Griffey Jr., nine years, $116.5MM
- Red Sox: Manny Ramirez, eight years, $160MM
- Rockies: Todd Helton, nine years, $141.5MM
- Royals: Gil Meche & Mike Sweeney, both five years, $55MM
- Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, eight years, $152.3MM
- Twins: Joe Mauer, eight years, $184MM
- White Sox: Frank Thomas, seven years, $64.4MM
- Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $275MM
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
Let's look at the richest contracts by service time, in terms of guaranteed money...
- The most regrettable deals were signed very early in the player's career, Young and Carmona. Might be a lesson in using up those pre-arbitration years before taking the plunge.
- The largest contract signed by a position player with less than one year of service time after Braun's deal is Evan Longoria's, which will pay him just $17.5MM over six years. Is Braun overpaid, or is Longoria underpaid? I think the answer is clear.
- Sabathia's four year, $9.5MM deal nearly tripled Roy Halladay's three year, $3.7MM deal with Toronto, which was the previous record for a pitcher with less an a year of service time.
- One only of the above contracts has expired.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
A few more Friday links for your browsing pleasure...
- Speaking to Tim Allen of 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), Ryan Braun said he has no regrets about signing an eight-year $45MM deal with the Brewers in 2008.
- The Reds haven't been very involved in trade discussions during the spring, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (Twitter link) thinks the Marlins will fill out their bullpen via a waiver claim or trade.
- Larry Stone of The Seattle Times would like to see the Mariners get something done with Jarrod Washburn.
- Cristian Guzman is making a case to be the Nationals' starting shortstop, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson. If the Nats named Guzman the starter, Ian Desmond would start the season at Triple-A so he could play every day.
- In his latest mailbag, Scott Merkin of MLB.com answers questions about the futures of A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye. He also gives his opinion on which player would be the ideal big-name trade target for the White Sox.
Let's check out some Pirates-related tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch..
- With Ramon Vazquez on the trading block, Langosch stresses that any talk of him being Texas-bound is merely conjecture at this point. Furthermore, if they do move him, they are unlikely to get much back and may have to eat some of his $2MM salary. However, Pittsburgh might be willing to move the 33-year-old for next to nothing.
- One reader asks if the Pirates are considering locking up their young prospects, like Milwaukee did with Ryan Braun or like Tampa Bay did with Evan Longoria. Langosch says that the Pirates will wait until players like Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, and Pedro Alvarez establish themselves in the majors to open up discussions.
- Speaking of Alvarez, Langosch expects the Pirates to hold off on bringing him up to the big leagues. Pittsburgh delayed Andrew McCutchen's promotion last season in order to give him more seasoning in the minors and, in all likelihood, to extend his time under team control.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin spoke to reporters today, and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has quotes. A few highlights:
- Melvin feels that re-signing closer Trevor Hoffman early will aid the Brewers in attracting free agent starting pitchers. Melvin hopes to add two starters.
- When asked about trading Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun, Melvin responded, "I don't see that happening." Might as well close the book on those rumors.
- The Brewers view Rickie Weeks as their starting second baseman, which implies they'll let free agent Felipe Lopez leave.
- Melvin told Haudricourt it would "be very difficult" for the Brewers to keep both J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar. Hardy could be a great pickup given the scarcity of shortstops. Also, Haudricourt thinks Mat Gamel could be available in trade.
Curious about how untouchable Grady Sizemore is? I had to create a category for him just for this post. In the entire history of MLBTR, no one ever bothered to write any rumors about him...
- ESPN's Keith Law writes that the Brewers "are closer to noncontention than contention, and trying to prop the playoff window open for another year or two could lead to a miserable bottoming-out not far down the road." He suggests they trade megastar Prince Fielder to help fill other holes, and build the team around Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo.
- Jim Ingraham of The News Herald believes that the recent trades of Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez have effectively shortened the Indians' window to win with Grady Sizemore. Sizemore's contract runs through 2011 with a dirt cheap option for 2012, but Ingraham says there's "no reason to believe when Sizemore becomes a free agent after the 2012 season he won't leave whatever team he is with and sign a monstrous contract with one of the big-market teams."
- Jonny Gomes is open to returning to the Reds next season, but says he'll "go where I can get the most at-bats," according to Hal McCoy of The Dayton Daily News. Gomes is making $600K this season and is arbitration eligible next year, so he can expect a hefty raise thanks to his .281/.355/.555 batting line.
More links for the afternoon...
- Today's chat will take place in a little over an hour, at 2pm CST.
- It's worth checking out this Jerry Crasnick article at ESPN.com just for the photo of Nick Markakis balancing a folding chair on his chin. As Crasnick says, Markakis, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott will be an impressive group of outfielders on improved O's teams in the near future.
- In the midst of his mid-season awards, SI.com's Tom Verducci says the Tigers and Dodgers deserve credit for well-thought-out offseason moves.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News lays out five possible packages the Phillies could offer the Jays for Roy Halladay. Every deal is headed by Dominic Brown or Kyle Drabek and includes other quality prospects.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Doug Melvin and Ryan Braun will meet today to discuss Braun's recent suggestion that the Brewers need pitching.
- One of this year's big acquisitions, Mark DeRosa, will hit the 15-day DL, according to Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.