San Francisco Giants Rumors

San Francisco Giants trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

International Notes: Fox, Diaz, Sierra

Here’s the latest on a trio of intriguing international prospects…

  • The Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers are all interested in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox and scouts consider the three teams to be the “biggest threats” to sign the 17-year-old prospect, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel reports.  Since many teams have already planned out their budgets and made unofficial agreements to prospects for the 2015-16 international signing period, a player like Fox (who is projected to receive a bonus of at least $1.5MM) is perhaps more likely to land with a team like the aforementioned trio who have money to spend and are aggressive enough to surpass the spending pool limit.  The Giants, Padres and Reds have also been linked to Fox but are seen as less likely to spend as freely as Chicago, Los Angeles and Texas.
  • Yusnier Diaz, an 18-year-old outfielder, has left Cuba and is looking to play in the majors, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.  The 6’1, 185-pound prospect has plus speed and a plus arm and Badler praised his hitting tools, though he feels Diaz’s right-handed swing is a bit long.  Diaz is subject to international spending pools, and since he is unlikely to secure permanent residence in another country by the May 15 deadline, he may not be able to sign until the 2016-17 international signing period opens on July 2, 2016.  Any team that exceeds its pool limit in the 2015-16 signing period is therefore probably out of the running for Diaz, as such teams are prohibited from signing any of the next year’s class for more than $300K.  The Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees are already under this penalty until the 2017-18 signing period.
  • Also from Badler, he provides some background on Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra, who isn’t subject to the bonus pools but is still several months away from gaining the necessary clearance to sign with a team.  Sierra can throw all his pitches (including a 96mph fastball and a slider) from various arm angles, though the 23-year-old is still a bit unpolished.  “Between his stuff, pitching style and history of control problems in Cuba, Sierra has a lot of similarities to Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias, with Sierra having more size but Iglesias better performance in his final year in Cuba,” Badler writes.

Cafardo’s Latest: Giants, Craig, Lackey, Hamels, Kazmir, Viola

Though the Giants have had a rough start to the season — their 4-9 record has them at the bottom of the NL West — new GM Bobby Evans isn’t overly concerned yet, and an early-season trade for reinforcements is unlikely, he tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo“At this point you’re just going back to players that were offered you before that you didn’t deal for,” Evans explains. “Players who some teams are still trying to move that you took a pass on.” Injuries have already been a problem for San Francisco, who saw Hunter Pence go down with a broken forearm in Spring Training and have already placed both Matt Cain and Jake Peavy on the 15-day disabled list. Cafardo notes, however, that in all three of the Giants’ recent World Series runs, midseason acquisitions such as Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro and Peavy have played integral roles (I’d add Pat Burrell‘s name to that list as well), and this year will likely be no different if the Giants are to ultimately turn things around.

Here’s more from Cafardo’s weekly Sunday Baseball Notes column…

  • The Red Sox are in a catch-22 with Allen Craig, writes Cafardo. His poor 2014 performance has reduced him to a bench player, and no team is currently making much of an effort to acquire the first baseman/outfielder. However, if he doesn’t play much, he’s unlikely to look any better and boost his trade value.
  • Right-hander John Lackey is hopeful that the Cardinals will approach him about a contract extension, Cafardo reports, but the team is currently thrilled to have him at just the league minimum. Lackey’s preference may be to remain with the Cardinals, but he’ll likely pitch in 2016 whether it’s in St. Louis or elsewhere, as he recently told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he wouldn’t be pitching this year if he didn’t plan to play beyond 2015.
  • One general manager who has inquired recently tells Cafardo that the Phillies‘ asking price on Cole Hamels has not dropped one bit since the beginning of the season, despite the fact that Hamels has had two rough starts in his first three appearances of the year. Hamels has, somewhat incredibly, yielded seven homers in just 18 innings after surrendering only 14 in 204 2/3 frames last year. Of course, homer-to-flyball ratio tends to stabilize around 10-11 percent (Hamels’ career mark is 11.2 percent), and he’s currently sporting a remarkably high 36.8 percent HR/FB, so better days are almost certainly ahead for Hamels.
  • An AL scout who has attended both of Scott Kazmir‘s starts this season says he’s never seen the left-hander more confident or more impressive on the mound. “Don’t know if it’s because it’s his walk year and he can become a free agent, but if he keeps this up most of the season, he’s going to make himself a lot of money,” said the scout. Of course, that’s just one scout’s take, but Kazmir has been electric to date. The 31-year-old has whiffed 18 hitters against five walks in 13 innings, and the 91.7 mph he’s averaged on his two-seamer in those two starts is up from last year’s average of 90.9, though it remains to be seen whether not that increase can be maintained.
  • David Price‘s hot start to the season makes it likely that his offseason price will land somewhere in the vicinity of Max Scherzer‘s seven-year, $210MM and Clayton Kershaw‘s seven-year, $215MM pact, one Major League source opined to Cafardo.
  • Former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is helping Frank Viola III, the son of former AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola, develop a knuckleball, Cafardo writes. Viola III was a 29th-round pick by the White Sox back in 2004, but Tommy John surgery and knee surgery derailed his career, and he retired from the game in 2010. He returned in 2014 and pitched with the Blue Jays’ Class-A affiliates, and he’s now aiming to get a look in the independent leagues as he attempts to work his way back into the game. Viola III has also worked with R.A. Dickey and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro on honing is skill with the pitch.

Giants’ Peavy Injured, Susac Recalled

Giants pitcher Jake Peavy has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured back, the Giants tweeted. In a related move, the club has recalled catching prospect Andrew Susac. Peavy has struggled with the injury throughout spring and the early season. He allowed eight runs in 7.2 innings through two starts and was scratched prior to an outing last week.

Peavy himself noted that his back needed “a little treatment,” per Chris Haft of MLB.com. Based on that comment alone, it sounds as though he may avoid an extended stay on the disabled list. Short term, the club can call upon Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit for spot starts. Both players are on the active roster. Matt Cain, who is on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, is still a few days away from playing catch.

Of course, the promotion of Susac is of interest for a Giants squad that has scored just 32 runs through 12 games. Susac is the 88th ranked prospect by Baseball America. The 25-year-old accrued 95 plate appearances last season and hit .273/.326/.466. With the presence of Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez, there isn’t an obvious role for Susac. However, I could see the club giving Brandon Belt some rest (.077/.143/.077) or even using him in the outfield for a few games. It’s possible, perhaps likely, that Susac will be optioned once the club needs a fifth starter. By my count, that will happen on April 25.



NL West Notes: Cruz, Giants, Tomas

James Shields didn’t have his best performance today, but the Padres were still able to top the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, as Corey Brock of MLB.com writes.  “I didn’t have the greatest stuff today. I wasn’t locating as well as I wanted to; I was behind in the count all day,” Shields said.  In the end, San Diego managed to win 5-4 anyway, thanks to Wil Myers‘ three-run homer in the seventh inning.  More from the National League West..

  • The Giants offered Nelson Cruz a deal worth upwards of $40MM this offseason, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).  The Mariners, meanwhile, landed Cruz on a four-year, $57MM contract.  Cruz, 35 in July, led the Majors in home runs in 2014 (40) while putting together an excellent .271/.333/.525 batting line.
  • Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looked at the Diamondbacks‘ decision to promote Yasmany Tomas to the varsity squad this week.  Arizona generated a good amount of excitement by promoting Tomas, but their $68MM investment was apparently brought aboard to sit on the bench.  As Edwards shows, a difficult numbers crunch led Arizona to promote Tomas rather than Double-A prospects like Brandon Drury and Socrates Brito who are not quite ready for primetime.
  • The Dodgers have been kept afloat by young relievers Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez, as Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes.  The previous regime put emphasis on experience in building the bullpen, but the new front office gave jobs to Baez and Garcia rather than the veterans they had in camp.  The Dodgers bounced Dustin McGowan, told Mike Adams (who later retired) that he wouldn’t make the team, and sent Sergio Santos and David Aardsma to Triple-A.

Cafardo’s Latest: Lester, Giants, Ross, Tulo, Soriano

The Cubs aren’t concerned with Jon Lester‘s issues throwing to first base, writes the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo in his weekly Sunday Notes column. “I think it’s being a little overplayed right now, quite frankly,” said manager Joe Maddon to Cafardo. “…I’d much prefer he worries more about getting his fastball where he wants and his cutter where he wants and all the normal pitching things. … I don’t want to make this an issue, because it’s not for me at all.” Still, Cafardo notes, it is an issue that the Red Sox worked to correct for years with little success. The Cardinals exploited the issue in Lester’s first outing by swiping four bases against him, but as Cafardo notes, not every team will go that route. One AL scout told Cafardo: “I always included in my reports about the throwing, but our team chose not to do anything about it.”

Here’s more from Cafardo’s column…

  • Newly minted Giants GM Bobby Evans tells Cafardo that he doesn’t envision his team pursuing another starting pitcher despite early injuries to Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. The Giants feel that Peavy, who avoided the DL and is slated to pitch today, is healthy. The team is also not anticipating that Cain’s elbow injury, which did require a trip to the 15-day DL, will be a major issue.
  • Cody Ross was recently released by the D-Backs and signed with the A’s, and Cafardo looks back on Ross’ best season — his 2012 campaign with the Red Sox — and notes that Boston offered Ross a two-year deal to remain with the team. Ross, however, found a three-year, $26MM contract in Arizona. Injuries turned that deal into a bust for the Snakes, but Ross will hope to reestablish himself in green and gold.
  • The Rockies will likely have plenty of suitors for Troy Tulowitzki this summer if they slide to the cellar of the NL West, but one AL GM tells Cafardo that it’s difficult to envision a trade: “There would be a lot of work to get that done. The money remaining on his salary [$110 million] and the player acquisition cost. Not as easy as it seems. The Rockies need to get a ton for him and I doubt they’ll pick up the money.”
  • Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Tigers have been monitoring Rafael Soriano‘s workouts, and Cafardo hears the same, adding that it “wouldn’t be shocking” if Detroit pulled the trigger on a deal.
  • Much like the Giants, the Twins have taken a hit to their rotation early in the year following Ervin Santana‘s suspension and Ricky Nolasco‘s injury, but after talking with their front office personnel, Cafardo gets the impression that they’ll give opportunities to young starters rather than pursue an established upgrade. Trevor May gets the first crack, but Cafardo lists Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios as other candidates.
  • The Dodgers are still “all ears” about potential Andre Ethier trades and are willing to eat some of the $56MM on the three years remaining on his contract, but there have been no bites to this point.

Minor Moves: Florimon, Peguero, Adrianza, Tracy

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias will make his major league debut tomorrow, writes Jason Haddix for MLB.com. He’ll be opposed by Cardinals hurler Carlos Martinez. The Reds committed to a seven-year, $27MM contract with Iglesias during the 2014 season.
  • The Orioles selected the contract of knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Wesley Wright was added to the disabled list in a corresponding move. Gamboa, 30, had yet to reach the majors although he figures to bounce back and forth this year. He’ll serve as depth in case Kevin Gausman is needed in long relief in the next couple games.
  • Pirates utility man Pedro Florimon has cleared waivers, tweets Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has been outrighted to Triple-A. Per Brink (also Twitter), since Florimon has been outrighted before, he can decline and become a free agent. Brink is told no decision has been made.
  • The Rangers have announced that they’ve selected the contract of corner outfielder Carlos Peguero and recalled pitcher Jon Edwards. They’ve also moved Derek Holland (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list and Ryan Rua (ankle) to the 15-day disabled list. Peguero is in the Rangers’ lineup tonight. The 28-year-old Peguero has played briefly, and not particularly impressively, for the Mariners and Royals in parts of four big-league seasons, but he’s demonstrated serious power in the minors (with 30 homers for Triple-A Omaha last year) and in Spring Training.
  • The Giants have outrighted infielder Ehire Adrianza to Triple-A Sacramento, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets. The team designated Adrianza for assignment last week. Adrianza, 25, hit .237/.279/.299 in 106 plate appearances while playing mostly shortstop and second base for the Giants last season.
  • The Yankees have announced that they’ve promoted lefty Matt Tracy. To clear space for Tracy on the 25- and 40-man rosters, the Yankees optioned lefty Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and moved Ivan Nova to the 60-day disabled list. Tracy will need to be added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Tracy’s stay on the roster could turn out to be short, however — the Yankees can use some quick bullpen reinforcements after their 19-inning game against the Red Sox last night, and Tracy would presumably join the team for that purpose. The 26-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 150 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
  • Two players remain in DFA limbo, via MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: lefty Sam Freeman (Rangers) and outfielder Carlos Quentin (Braves).

Giants, Kevin Correia Agree To Minor League Deal

APRIL 10: Heyman reports that Correia’s deal has an $850K base salary in the Majors as well as up to $800K worth of incentives (Twitter link). Correia also secured two opt-out dates on the contract — the first coming on June 1 and the second coming on July 1.

APRIL 7: The Giants have agreed to a Minor League contract with veteran right-hander (and former Giant) Kevin Correia, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Longtime Giants scribe Andrew Baggarly first reported that the two sides were nearing a Minors pact (Twitter links). Correia, who had been in camp with the Mariners but was released late in the spring, would head to extended Spring Training to ramp up his pitch count before heading to Triple-A, Baggarly adds.

Correia split the 2014 season between the Twins and Dodgers, struggling to one of the least effective seasons of his big league career. The All Bases Covered Sports Management client served as a durable source of innings for Minnesota in the first season of a two-year, $10MM contract in 2013, but last year he slumped to a 5.44 ERA, averaging just 4.6 strikeouts per nine innings against a solid average of 2.3 walks per nine. His previously above-average ground-ball rate dipped below the league average as well, checking in at 43.2 percent.

The Giants are in need of rotation depth, however, and Correia can provide that. He’ll give San Francisco an option to use as a spot starter or long man in the bullpen down the line. The Giants’ rotation depth has already been compromised by a strained flexor tendon that has landed Matt Cain on the 15-day DL and a minor back issue that has delayed Jake Peavy‘s season debut. Chris Heston has already been recalled to make a spot start, while Ryan Vogelsong, who had been re-signed as a reliever, has been asked to step into the rotation in Peavy’s stead. Swingman Yusmeiro Petit, who set a Major League record for consecutive batters retired in 2014, could eventually factor into the rotation mix if injuries persist.

The 34-year-old Correia was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2002 and spent parts of the 2003-08 seasons with the Giants, working to a combined 4.59 ERA in 398 innings between the rotation and bullpen.


California Notes: Ross, A’s, Padres, Shortstops

The Giants and Padres engaged in an extreme pitchers’ duel on Thursday night, needing a full 12 innings to decide a 1-0 Giants victory.  Pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell‘s RBI single in the top of the 12th proved to be the difference in a game that saw both clubs combine for only 13 total hits.  Here’s some more news from teams from the Golden State…

  • Newly-acquired Athletics outfielder Cody Ross told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jane Lee) that A’s were one of multiple teams who got in touch with him almost immediately after the Diamondbacks released the veteran over the weekend.  Ross saw Oakland as an ideal fit since he wants to play for a contender, and he now sees his release as a positive after he initially felt “blindsided,” “upset” and “bitter” about being let go so suddenly by the D’Backs.
  • Ross also noted that the Giants were one of the teams who had a “little bit” of interest in signing him, and The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea confirms that this was the case, but the team didn’t have an available roster spot.  Ross, of course, played for the Giants from August 2010 through the 2011 season and played a big role in the club’s 2010 World Series title with an MVP performance in the NLCS.
  • With the Padres looking for shortstop help, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron sees the Brewers’ Jean Segura as a realistic trade target.  Cameron speculates that a deal of Segura for Odrisamer Despaigne, Brandon Maurer and one of Alexi Amarista/Clint Barmes could give both teams an overall roster upgrade.  Beyond Segura, Cameron doesn’t see the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Elvis Andrus, Starlin Castro or Jose Ramirez as plausible San Diego trade targets for a variety of reasons.
  • For the 20th straight season, the Padres have signed Matt LaChappa to a minor league contract, a move that gives the southpaw a regular income and access to health insurance, USA Today’s Ted Berg reports.  Steve Bischeff of the Orange County Register first wrote about LaChappa in 2005, detailing the second-round pick in the 1993 draft suffered a heart attack while warming up before a minor league game in 1996.  A virus around his heart led to a second attack and LaChappa is now confined to a wheelchair, but the Padres have continually renewed his minor league deal every year since the incident.
  • In news from earlier today, the Dodgers acquired Ryan Webb in a trade with the Orioles, while the A’s lost Alex Hassan to the Rangers on a waiver claim.

NL West Notes: Cain, Baker, Kimbrel, Ross

The Giants officially placed Matt Cain on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, and the righty told reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (Twitter links) that he’s hoping to return in two weeks, though there’s no certainty that such a quick return is possible. “Might as well try for it,” Cain said. “That’s what you’re hoping for. Only time will tell.” Cain said he doesn’t feel any “killing” pain, but rather he feels pain when going through certain movements. There’s currently no timetable for him to throw, and the team has recalled Chris Heston to make a spot start and fill Cain’s roster spot. San Francisco also added Kevin Correia on a Minor League pact earlier tonight to provide some depth.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Scott Baker looks like the likeliest option to step into the Dodgers‘ rotation in place of the injured Hyun-jin Ryu on April 14, writes Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Of the team’s projected Triple-A starters, Baker is the only one eligible to be called up on the 14th when the team will need a starter. Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are all on the 40-man roster and therefore need to spend at least 10 days in the Minors (barring an injury on the Major League roster) before they can return to the Majors.
  • Craig Kimbrel tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock that he watched with interest from afar as the Padres drastically revamped their roster, and he’s shocked but excited to be a last-minute addition to the reconstructed team. “You can tell this organization is going after it, it’s not a few-years deal, it’s right now,” said Kimbrel. “As a player, that’s exciting. You don’t know how long you’re going to play this game. [Being here] you could tell everyone is excited … from the front office to the players. That gets me excited. I’m ready to get the ball and get started.” Brock also notes that Kimbrel’s former Braves teammate, Justin Upton, gave GM A.J. Preller a “glowing endorsement” of the closer before the trade was agreed to by both sides.
  • Diamondbacks players were relatively stunned by the team’s sudden release of Cody Ross on Sunday, writes Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. Jordan Pacheco tells Buchanan he’s always looked up to Ross, a fellow New Mexico native. Mark Trumbo spoke highly of Ross as a teammate: “The positive energy he brought each and every day was almost unmatched. He’s a very special guy in his ability to lighten the mood in any situation. When it’s go time, he had that ability as good as anybody in the game.” Ross will sign with the A’s tomorrow upon officially clearing release waivers, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight.

Matt Cain Undergoes MRI Due To Forearm Tightness

12:45am: After tonight’s win over the D-Backs, Bochy told reporters that there’s no torn ligament in Cain’s elbow and the injury is more of a “two week thing,” via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). Cain himself termed the injury a flexor strain but also noted that the team’s trainers are fairly optimistic about his prognosis. Based on the timeline suggested from Bochy, however, it sounds like a DL stint is in the cards.

8:23pm: Giants right-hander Matt Cain underwent an MRI today after experiencing pain in his right forearm, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area.

While the result is presently unknown, Cain’s 2014 season came to an end after he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, and Pavlovic writes that Giants officials privately expressed concern that the issue could eventually lead to Tommy John surgery. Forearm pain is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, so it seems reasonable to have some legitimate concerns about Cain’s immediate future. Of course, there are a number of other, more minor issues, that could result in forearm pain for Cain. It sounds like Cain will miss his first scheduled start, at the very least, as Bochy said “There’s got to be some concern” and indicated that the team would withhold him on Wednesday if necessary.

To further complicate the team’s pitching outlook, Jake Peavy will miss his first start due to a back injury, although the hope is that he can make a start in the second series of the season in San Diego. Still, it’s troublesome for Giants fans that two of the team’s five projected starters are already facing injury issues of any magnitude.

The Giants’ pitching depth was called into question this offseason by many pundits. Beyond ace Madison Bumgarner, there was little certainty in San Francisco’s rotation picture. Cain’s recovery from surgery was a question mark, and 39-year-old Tim Hudson had ankle surgery this winter. Tim Lincecum has been ineffective for three years now, and Peavy’s own injury history is lengthy.

Such concerns may have played a role in the Giants’ decision to re-sign Ryan Vogelsong late in the offseason, and Bochy has already informed reporters that Vogelsong will start in place of Peavy. Beyond him, the next line of defense in the rotation is excellent swingman Yusmeiro Petit, who stepped into the rotation with aplomb late last year when Lincecum’s struggles became too great to ignore.