Seattle Mariners Rumors

Seattle Mariners trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Blue Jays To Acquire Mark Lowe

12:24pm: The Mariners are netting three minor leaguers in the deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

12:16pm: The Jays have acquired Lowe, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

12:12pm: The Blue Jays are moving towards a trade that will acquire veteran right-hander Mark Lowe from the Mariners, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

Lowe’s name doesn’t leap off the page as an exciting target based on his track record, but he’s in the midst of an astounding breakout season. Lowe has a pristine 1.00 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in 36 innings for Seattle this season, and his 95 mph average fastball is the best heat he’s shown since 2011.

By adding Lowe, who signed a minor league deal this winter, the Blue Jays have secured a relief upgrade that comes with the most minimal of financial commitments. One would think that played a factor in the decision to target him (in addition to his excellent numbers), as the Blue Jays have been said to be on a limited budget and took on quite a bit of cash to acquire David Price yesterday. Lowe will be a rental for the Mariners, as he’s logged well over the necessary six years of big league service required to qualify for free agency at season’s end.


Relief Market Notes: Astros Working Hard, Twins, Lowe

The Astros are “pushing hard” to find an upgrade in the bullpen and have several irons in the fire, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Given the players under consideration, it looks like Houston is aiming high. We just heard of talks with the Padres that may include Craig Kimbrel, and Bowden says they’ve also discussed Joaquin Benoit. As Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweeted earlier, the Rays have spoken with the Astros about pen arms, though he adds nothing seems likely there, and Bowden lists Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee as names that have come up. And Houston has even made inquiries on outstanding Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, he adds.

Here’s more on the relief market, which should be among the most active areas of discussion leading up to tomorrow’s deadline.

  • Though the Twins are in the market for relief help, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter) that they’re not interested in either Junichi Tazawa or Craig Breslow of the Red Sox. Berardino hears that the Twins are turned off by Tazawa’s five-plus years of service (he’ll be a free agent after 2016) and Breslow’s impending free agency.
  • Mariners right-hander Mark Lowe is drawing quite a bit of interest, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The journeyman reliever is in the midst of a breakout season, having pitched to an incredible 1.00 ERA with 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate in 36 innings this season. Lowe’s average fastball velocity of 95 mph is his best since 2011, and because he took a minor league deal in an attempt to revitalize his career (so far, so good), any team could afford him from a financial standpoint.

Pitching Market Notes: Ross, Gallardo, Iwakuma, Indians, Chapman, Pirates

The Padres are “progressing” on multiple deals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Tyson Ross is a key piece among their trade chips. Rosenthal adds that trading him would be considered a concession on the 2015 season, and while that’s likely, it’s certainly possible that the Padres could acquire some MLB-ready talent to make it more even for 2015 purposes than if they went with an all-prospects package. The Padres could add some pieces as well, he notes.

Meanwhile Bob Nightengale of USA Today chimes in on Ross as well, tweeting that executives from other teams are “convinced” that Ross will be dealt. Nightengale says the Cubs continue to push for Ross. (Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark heard that Ross is Chicago’s top pitching target.)

Here’s more on the trade market for pitching help — starters and relievers alike:

  • The Cubs, Blue Jays and Dodgers are the most aggressive teams pursuing Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees and Giants also have some level of interest, he adds. Gallardo started tonight, and things went poorly; the Yankees knocked him around for five runs in six innings, and he struck out just one hitter.
  • Despite a record that is well below the .500 mark, the Mariners aren’t planning to make right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma available, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. While other teams have apparently inquired, they’ve been informed that Mariners ownership prefers to keep him. Iwakuma’s value is down after a shaky, injury-filled season, though given his reasonable $7MM salary and track record, I’d imagine he’d draw no shortage of interest if put on the block.
  • Teams are still in touch with the Indians regarding their crop of young pitching talent, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. There’s nothing close at this time, but the Indians remain willing to engage in conversations. To this point, they’ve reportedly discussed Carlos Carrasco with other clubs, and one can imagine that Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer are of interest to other teams as well. Cleveland did bolster its impressive stockpile of young pitching today — albeit with a future-oriented move — acquiring Class-A lefty and former first-round pick Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss.
  • The D-Backs reportedly have an offer on the table to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke to a pair of executives (Twitter link) about the asking price on Chapman, with one calling it “high” and the other using the term “ridiculous.”
  • Following today’s acquisition of Joakim Soria to strengthen his bullpen, Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he doesn’t plan to acquire an additional starting pitcher prior to tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline (Twitter link).


Stark, Crasnick On Mariners, Cubs, Ross, Padres, Chapman

The Mariners and Cubs have had recent trade talks, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he’s yet to ascertain which specific players were involved. The conversations didn’t center around Starlin Castro, Crasnick continues. Clearly, there could be a wide range of targets at play here, though the Cubs have been connected to pitching upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Some more trade notes from a couple of ESPN’s top reporters…

  • In today’s Rumor Roundup over at ESPN, Jayson Stark writes that other teams view Tyson Ross as the Cubs‘ top trade target. Chicago likes Andrew Cashner but considers him a fallback option, should the price for Ross become too steep. Both Castro and Javier Baez have previously been of interest to the Padres, although Castro’s stock is way down. Stark also reported today that the Cubs are now “aggressively” shopping Castro.
  • From that same piece, Stark adds that other clubs believe Justin Upton, Cashner and Joaquin Benoit are the most likely players to be traded by the Padres, and one particular executive to whom Stark spoke feels it’s “likely” that Craig Kimbrel will be traded as well. In a followup tweet, Stark adds that the number of people who feel Kimbrel will end up with the Yankees is “amazing.” New York already possesses a dominant late-inning duo in the form of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Adding Kimbrel to the mix would give them a trio to rival the three-headed bullpen monster (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) that the Royals rode to the World Series in 2014. The Astros, too, like Kimbrel, according to Stark. However, Houston wouldn’t want to take on all of the money he’s owed.
  • Stark also tweets that the Reds are still discussing Aroldis Chapman with teams, but the price remains very high. At this time, the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Astros are all in the mix for Chapman, who is earning $8.05MM in 2015 and is controlled via the arbitration process for the 2016 season.

Yankees Acquire Dustin Ackley

The Mariners announced today that they have traded outfielder Dustin Ackley to the Yankees in exchange for outfield prospect Ramon Flores and right-hander Jose Ramirez.

Dustin Ackley

Former No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley didn’t pan out in Seattle. He’ll hope for better days with the Yankees.

Ackley, now 27 years old, came to the Mariners with a great deal of fanfare after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2009 draft. Selected one spot after Stephen Strasburg, Ackley was hailed as the best college bat in the draft on the strength of his play at UNC. Baseball America rated him as the No. 11 prospect prior to the 2010 season and No. 12 prior to the 2011 season, but Ackley’s excellent minor league play — .303/.401/.472 in 143 Triple-A games — never carried over to the Majors with any sort of consistency.

Ackley showed promise in his rookie season, hitting .273/.348/.417 in 90 games as a 23-year-old rookie in 2011, but since that time, he’s posted just a .236/.297/.356 line in 1844 big league plate appearances. He’s bounced around defensively but has settled in as mostly an outfielder in recent years. He does have quite a big of Major League experience at second base, with 2450 innings under his belt, but he has just 449 innings there since Opening Day 2013.

In exchange for Ackley, the Mariners will receive an outfielder that ranks 27th among New York prospects (Flores) and a right-handed reliever that has already cracked the Major Leagues (Ramirez). An earlier report indicated that the Yankees had initially offered Flores and minor league outfielder Ben Gamel, but the Mariners wanted more, so it stands to reason that Seattle considers Ramirez an upgrade over Gamel.

The 23-year-old Flores got a cup of coffee earlier this season but picked up just 33 plate appearances — far too small a sample from which to glean anything useful. He’s a career .268/.360/.429 hitter a the Triple-A level in parts of two seasons. MLB.com’s scouting report praises his hit tool and ability to spray line drives but also notes that he lacks the power to profile as a regular in the outfield. He has an average arm and can man all three outfield spots, giving him the ceiling of a fourth outfielder, per MLB.com.

Ramirez, 25, has thrown 13 innings with the Yankees over the past two seasons, striking out 10 but also issuing six walks. His average fastball hovers around 95 mph. Ramirez has shown the ability to miss bats in the minors — 100 strikeouts in 93 1/3 Triple-A innings — but he’s also issued 52 unintentional walks and hit seven batters in that time, so control is clearly an issue for him.

The YES Network’s Jack Curry reported that Ackley had been acquired by New York in exchange for Flores and Ramirez (All Twitter links). Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News had previously connected the Yankees to Ackley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL East Notes: Pineda, Ackley, Orioles, Rays

Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is dealing with a right arm injury, as WFAN’s Mike Francesca first reported, although the injury’s severity remains unclear. Joel Sherman of the New York Post cites Yankees executives in saying that the issue is a strained muscle in Pineda’s forearm as opposed to anything in his elbow, and it’s not believed to be serious at this time (Twitter links). Nonetheless, Marly Rivera of ESPN tweets that Pineda won’t start tonight’s game for New York, as had previously been scheduled. While many will speculate that there’s an increased need to add pitching, there’s been no definitive report on Pineda requiring a lengthy absence from the rotation. (And while some have said otherwise, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that there’s no issue with Ivan Nova‘s arm at present.)

More on the Yankees and their division, which is still reeling from Toronto’s now-official addition of David Price

  • The Yankees recently reached out to the Mariners to express interest in Dustin Ackley, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The two sides discussed a scenario in which outfielders Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel would’ve gone to the Mariners, but Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik wanted more for Ackley, and talks have since cooled, per Feinsand. Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is again struggling this season and has batted a mere .215/.270/.366. Many have speculated that Zduriencik is loath to undertake in any type of sale, as his job security could be tied to the Mariners’ finish this season. Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising to hear him holding out for any sort of return on Ackley, though Flores and Gamel admittedly aren’t all that well-regarded. Flores ranked 27th on MLB.com’s midseason edition of the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, while Gamel didn’t place.
  • The Orioles are continually being asked for the likes of Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens and even Manny Machado in trades, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Each of those players is considered a deal-breaker for Baltimore, he writes. The Orioles have been seeking upgrades to their corner outfield situation recently.
  • The Rays are indeed listening to offers on Nate Karns (as was reported earlier today), tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, Topkin feels that the likeliest trade candidate, if the Rays move someone at all, remains right-hander Kevin Jepsen. Topkin reported last week that the Rays may very well trade a relief pitcher prior to the trade deadline.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/29/15

We’ve got some catching up to do on the minor moves front after a busy couple of days:

  • Reds outfielder/first baseman Chris Dominguez has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Dominguez has seen short big league stints in each of the past two seasons, but the 28-year-old has played mostly in the upper minors. He owns a .216/.264/.368 slash over 221 plate appearances on the year at Louisville.
  • The Pirates outrighted infielder Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A after recently designating him for assignment, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). Following two seasons as a significant utility piece for the Nationals, Lombardozzi has received only 85 big league plate appearances over the 2014-15 campaigns. He owns a .303/.362/.352 slash in his 291 turns at bat for Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • After he, too, cleared waivers, Pirates third baseman Brent Morel elected free agency, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). The 28-year-old has spent at least some time in the big leagues in every season since 2010, putting up a .601 OPS in 712 plate appearances. In 326 times coming to bat at Triple-A this year, he owns a .266/.322/.441 batting line.
  • As expected, Astros outfielder Alex Presley has accepted an outright assignment with the organization, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. He previously agreed to an outright assignment in order to preserve his $1MM arbitration salary, and chose to do the same once again.
  • The Mariners acquired righty J.C. Ramirez from the Diamondbacks, Seattle announced. Ramirez, 26, made it up to the big leagues for the second time this year, throwing 15 1/3 innings of 4.11 ERA ball from the Arizona pen. He’ll return to his first professional team, which shipped him to the Phillies in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade.

Market Notes: Guerrero, Iwakuma, Latos, Prado, Cardinals, Ross

The Dodgers are having active discussions on utilityman Alex Guerrero, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Though Guerrero’s contract allows him to opt into free agency after the year if he’s dealt, Rosenthal notes that he’s expressed a willingness to work out a deal with a new team if he’s traded. Guerrero’s production has fallen back after a blistering early showing, and he’s lost playing time along the way, but he does offer relative youth and has shown good power. The 28-year-old has also dealt with a seemingly minor back issue of late. Los Angeles has several other similar utility options, as well as an overflowing stock of outfield pieces, so it’s certainly plausible to imagine that he’d have more value to another team.

Let’s take a look in at some other notable market developments as we continue to see significant activity in advance of Friday’s trade deadline:

  • It’s not yet clear whether the Mariners will move pending free agent righty Hisashi Iwakuma, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Seattle has, however, received interest from several clubs. Since a mediocre and injury-plagued start to the year, Iwakuma has turned in three consecutive solid outings and could be a nice mid-rotation piece for a contender.
  • The Marlins are increasingly “confident” they’ll find a taker for starter Mat Latos, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Latos has pitched well of late and has appeal as a reasonably high-upside rental piece. According to the report, the market for his services is “coming into focus.”
  • Marlins infielder/outfielder Martin Prado increasingly seems available, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). An executive from another club says that the Fish appear to be “open to at least contemplate” a deal, which seemingly indicates slightly more availability than we heard yesterday (when Miami was said to be interested only for a sizable offer). Sherman notes that the Yankees and Mets could join the Royals with interest in Prado as a secondary option to Ben Zobrist (who is expected to be dealt in short order).
  • The Cardinals are looking at possible bullpen additions to slot alongside the just-acquired Steve Cishek, Heyman tweets. St. Louis will hope to bring back righty Jordan Walden in the relatively near future, as he’s progressing through a rehab assignment, but the club has been active in recent years in adding pitching depth.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross remains a hotly-pursued name on the market, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. He’s drawn interest from teams like the Blue JaysAstros, Dodgers, and Rangers, per the report. Expectations are that Ross would require a significant return, and Heyman notes that the team would likely prefer to move other pitching assets.

West Notes: Price, Astros, Padres, Shields, Clevenger, Rangers

The Giants could pursue Tigers ace David Price if he’s made available, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Per Morosi, substantive talks will await the Tigers decision to compete or sell. Detroit won earlier this afternoon to improve to 48-49. They’re currently 4.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race. The Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Cubs are also interested in Price (tweet).

Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • Astros owner Jim Crane is pleased with the acquisition of Scott Kazmir, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston in a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4). Crane says the club will absolutely make a run at the postseason, and he seems confident that “there’s some deals to be done.” Houston is open to taking on a pricey contract for the right guy, “if it makes good sense.” Crane also confirmed that a hitter is among the many things GM Jeff Luhnow is seeking to acquire. Luhnow himself said he expects to be involved in at least one more trade, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Padres are “ready to sell,” tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. However, the club will first see how they perform in a four game set against the struggling Marlins. San Diego is currently seven games below .500 and 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Four teams stand between the Padres and a Wild Card berth, but the Braves have already started to disassemble. A sweep could put the Friars back in the thick of the race.
  • While San Diego waits to see how the upcoming series transpires, they continue to shop starter James Shields, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN. Stark spoke with one executive who said the Padres would have to eat a big portion of the $65MM remaining on Shields’ contract. Shields is owed $21MM over each of the next three seasons with a $16MM option for 2019 ($2MM buyout). While he’s struggled with home runs this season, he’s also posted career bests in strikeout rate (10.13 K/9) and swinging strike rate.
  • The Mariners have asked the Orioles about Triple-A catcher Steve Clevenger, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Talks did not advance. The 29-year-old is hitting well in the minors with a .327/.402/.408 line in 246 plate appearances. He also performed well in a brief major league audition earlier this season, going 5-for-11.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters that a big weekend could lead the club to simply buy, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Texas is expected to market short term assets like Yovani Gallardo as they walk the line between contending and building for next season.

 


Prospect Notes: Lee, Hultzen, Giolito

The Dodgers have announced that Zach Lee has been promoted and will make his big-league debut tonight in a start against the Mets. The Dodgers will announce a corresponding move later today. The 23-year-old Lee, a first-round pick in 2010, was a top prospect list staple before a rough season with Triple-A Albuquerque in 2014. He’s bounced back nicely with the Dodgers’ new Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season, though, posting a 2.36 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 68 2/3 innings. He’ll become the 14th pitcher to start for the Dodgers in a season that’s featured tons of rotation injuries. Here are a couple more notes on pitching prospects, both of them former first-rounders.

  • Mariners pitcher Danny Hultzen, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, has been shut down with shoulder fatigue and is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links). The Mariners hope he’ll be able to pitch in the Arizona Fall League or in instructs. It’s been a very rough ride for the 25-year-old Hultzen, who has missed most of the last three seasons due to shoulder troubles, including a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
  • The Nationals have promoted top prospect Lucas Giolito to Double-A Harrisburg, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. Giolito, who turned 21 earlier this month, dominated at Class A+ Potomac, posting a 2.71 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 69 2/3 innings there, displaying excellent velocity and a great curveball. MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN’s Keith Law all ranked Giolito among baseball’s top ten prospects heading into the season, and he’s done nothing to diminish that status since then. Law (Insider-only) ranked Giolito the third-best prospect in baseball, behind only the Dodgers’ Corey Seager and the Phillies’ J.P. Crawford, in a recent update to his list.