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Seattle Mariners Rumors
The Yankees bullpen has emerged from Mariano Rivera‘s shadow to carve out their own place, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “Those two guys, they are amazing,” catcher Francisco Cervelli said of Dellin Betances and David Robertson. “If they’re facing, in the seventh or eighth, a guy throwing 100, and then Robertson comes in at 91 with cutters and curveballs, it’s difficult timing.” More on the Bombers..
- Before acquiring Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks on Thursday, the Yankees inquired about the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. However, those talks ended when the M’s asked for minor league right-hander Bryan Mitchell because the Yankees view the 23-year-old right-hander as a rotation candidate either this year or next.
- Robertson continues to lock up saves and Yankees GM Brian Cashman should lock up the closer, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The Yankees broke their long-standing rule of not extending players beyond their current contracts when they inked Brett Gardner to a four-year, $52MM deal during spring training and that’s looking like a smart move now. Now that Robertson has proven himself to be a strong closer, the Bombers should make sure he’s there for the long haul.
- The Yankees‘ acquisition of Prado means that they can be more patient in getting Carlos Beltran back from injury, writes Roger Rubin of the Daily News.
A former first-round pick of the Rangers, Beavan has never quite reached his potential at the big league level. He made just one start this year, and owns a career 4.61 ERA through 293 innings. Beavan will look to get himself back on track at Triple-A, and Seattle will have a few more months to decide whether to add him back to the 40-man at the end of the year.
We’ve got recaps in the books for the AL Central, NL Central, AL East and NL East, which means its time to turn our focus westward. We’ll start with the AL West, which had no shortage of interesting moves.
- Acquired righty Huston Street, righty Trevor Gott from Padres in exchange for infielder Taylor Lindsey, righty R.J. Alvarez, shortstop Jose Rondon, righty Elliot Morris
- Acquired lefty Joe Thatcher, outfielder Tony Campana from Diamondbacks in exchange for outfielder Zach Borenstein, righty Joey Krehbiel
- Acquired lefty Rich Hill from Red Sox for cash
- Acquired righty Jason Grilli from Pirates in exchange for righty Ernesto Frieri
- Acquired third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, righty Francis Martes, and comp pick from Marlins in exchange for righty Jarred Cosart, infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez, and outfielderAustin Wates
- Acquired lefty Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash from Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and comp pick
- Acquired outfielder Sam Fuld from Twins in exchange for lefty Tommy Milone
- Acquired righty Deck McGuire from Blue Jays for cash
- Acquired righty Jeff Samardzija, righty Jason Hammel from Cubs in exchange for shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney, righty Dan Straily
- Acquired righty Rodolfo Fernandez from Brewers for international bonus slot
- Acquired outfielder Austin Jackson from Tigers (in three-team deal that included Rays) in exchange for infielder Nick Franklin
- Acquired outfielder Chris Denorfia from Padres in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte, righty Stephen Kohlscheen
- Acquired first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales from Twins in exchange for righty Stephen Pryor
- Acquired righty Jake Thompson, righty Corey Knebel from Tigers in exchange for righty Joakim Soria
- Acquired righty Spencer Patton from Royals in exchange for righty Jason Frasor
The arms race was on in the AL West, with the three teams at the of the division shifting resources into present production and the two at the bottom looking to the future. Somewhat interestingly, the three buyers each had a key area that they addressed with multiple trades.
For a Halos club that is closing in on Oakland for the best record in baseball, the focus was clearly on the bullpen. GM Jerry Dipoto added four relievers (counting the since-released Hill), headlined by Street. It took a good portion of the club’s much-maligned young talent to make these deals. Street, in particular, required a fairly substantial return given his short, reasonably-priced contract. It bears noting that Grilli, added in a change-of-scenery swap for the former closer Frieri, has been lights out since coming to Anaheim (2 earned runs, 19 strikeouts, 3 walks in 14 1/3 innings). While the pen now looks to be in good shape, it will be interesting to see if (and if so, how) Dipoto adds depth to a rotation that now looks especially thin after an injury to Tyler Skaggs.
“Bold” seems too weak a descriptor to capture GM Billy Beane’s moves. He gave up the organization’s best-know player in Cespedes and its best prospect in Russell to get Lester (a tested, rented gun for the rest of the year), Samardzija (who has thrown like a top-line starter this year and comes with another season of control), and Hammel (an innings-eating, back-of-the-rotation arm who will soon be a free agent). The club sacrificed a lot of future value upside, though Cespedes’s is more limited than might be expected because he comes with just one more year of control and cannot be made a qualifying offer. But that is what it took to re-make the club’s rotation, which will obviously play a key role as Oakland looks to fend off the Angels in the division and ultimately make an extended postseason run.
Of course, Beane also had an eye on a crafty means of replacing the lost production of Cespedes. By adding Gomes in the Lester swap, the A’s will be able to utilize him in a promising platoon with Stephen Vogt. And Fuld will offer the team plenty of flexibility as well, with injuries clouding the outlook for regular center fielder Coco Crisp and reserve Craig Gentry, though the club surely would have preferred not to give up the useful Milone.
Seattle’s additions flew under the radar a bit, but nevertheless seemed very well-conceived. With a long-term second baseman at the MLB level and tons of bullpen arms, it did not hurt much at this point to move Franklin and Pryor. In return, the team added an above-average MLB center fielder (Jackson, controllable through arbitration next year) and a much-needed bat (Morales, whose path this season has been no less strange than that of Stephen Drew). Denorfia, too, looks to be a solid bench piece. Oft-doubted GM Jack Zduriencik deserves credit, especially for managing to insert Seattle into the David Price deal and coming away with Jackson as the prize for making the pieces fit for Tampa and Detroit.
Finally, we come to the sellers. Texas had more of the look of a traditional seller, with several veterans on expiring contracts that were of little use to a team that was obliterated by injuries. But the club elected not to make any of the really major moves that some imagined possible beforehand (Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, etc.), and even chose not to take a substandard return for outfielder Alex Rios (who remains an August trade candidate). The prospect haul for Soria looks solid, especially given the team’s need for arms in the mid-term, while Frasor brought back a player that looks like a younger, cheaper, longer-controlled version of himself. We don’t know what GM Jon Daniels could have achieved for the team’s more desirable players, but the lack of such moves seems to indicate that the club will seek to contend next year. It will certainly be fascinating to see how he goes about re-constructing a contender.
Houston, meanwhile, did not have many veteran pieces at all, let alone ones that figured to draw much interest. The team decided not to move closer Chad Qualls, a non-move which drew some jeers but might well have made sense if (as is likely) he was not going to bring much back anyway. The same holds true of resurgent southpaw Tony Sipp, who will be a cheap piece for the ‘Stros next year. Instead, GM Jeff Luhnow announced that he would consider moving some of the team’s young arms, and then sat back and waited to be overwhelmed. That apparently happened, as he pulled the trigger to move a talented-but-questioned arm in Cosart (along with the reasonably valuable Hernandez) in exchange for a few prospects who had no place (Marisnick) or had disappointed (Moran) in the Miami organization. Baseball Prospectus calls this a sell-low swap, and it looks that way from here as well. It’s certainly an interesting deal from the two teams that ended last year at the very bottom of baseball’s cellar. While the results will take years to tally, the deal could (but might not) have rather substantial effects on the trajectory of these two organizations.
Denorfia, 34, is hitting just .242/.293/.319 this season, but he’s a proven weapon against left-handed pitching — a clear point of weakness for Seattle. While he hasn’t hit lefties or righties in 2014, Denorfia is a lifetime .301/.367/.447 hitter against southpaws. He’s also a plus defender at either corner outfield spot and can handle center in a pinch, though defensive metrics don’t like his work there.
The Mariners have hit just .244/.298/.371 against left-handed pitching this season, and their outfielders have been even worse against southpaws, hitting a combined .246/.287/.346. Denorfia is a free agent at season’s end.
Almonte, 24, opened the season as Seattle’s leadoff hitter and everyday center fielder, but he struggled offensively, hitting just .198/.248/.292 in 113 plate appearances before being sent down. He’s been markedly better at Triple-A Tacoma, slashing .267/.333/.390 with six homers and seven stolen bases on the season. Baseball America ranked him as Seattle’s No. 17 prospect heading into the season.
As for the 25-year-old Kohlscheen, he was unranked by BA but is enjoying a strong season between Double-A and Triple-A. The Auburn University product, drafted in the 45th round in 2010, has a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings of relief work this season.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported that Denorfia was going to Seattle (on Twitter), while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted Abraham’s inclusion, and MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweeted Kohlscheen’s inclusion.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
2:43pm: Nothing is close for the Rangers with Rios or anyone else, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
12:24pm: The Rangers and Giants are in “ongoing” trade discussions for Rios, tweets FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.
11:29am: The Mariners want Rios, tweets Rosenthal, but the Rangers are “closer elsewhere” in trade talks.
THURSDAY, 11:08am: The Royals, Giants and Mariners are all in the mix for Rios, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. To a lesser degree, he adds, the Reds and Indians are in the mix. The Yankees aren’t heavily involved at this time, says Heyman.
WEDNESDAY, 2:03pm: Trade talks for Rios are “gaining traction” in several places, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
8:04am: The Rangers are willing to eat some of the remaining salary on Alex Rios‘ deal, but talks could still go down to the wire, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal hears that interest from several Rios suitors — including the Indians, Giants, Reds and Royals — has waned of late.
At least four teams were said to be in on Rios over the weekend, but there’s been little chatter regarding the right fielder since that time. The 33-year-old is batting a strong .305/.334/.430 this season, but his power has declined in 2014. Rios has just four homers on the season after belting 18 last year and 25 in 2012. He’s owed roughly $4.23MM of his $12.5MM salary for the remainder of the 2014 season, plus a $1MM buyout on a $13.5MM option for the 2015 campaign.
The Rangers have already dealt Jason Frasor to the Royals and Joakim Soria to the Tigers, and given Rios’ contractual situation, he’s a logical trade chip as well. However, the Rangers seem unwilling to listen to offers on Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish — both of whom they’re hoping will contribute to a contending club in 2015 once their roster is back to full health.
36-year-old Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd is hitting .270/.318/.477 with 20 home runs in 446 plate appearances, making him one of the better power hitters available in advance of this afternoon’s trade deadline. Byrd has no-trade protection for the Royals, Mariners, Rays, and Blue Jays, plus about $2.6MM in salary remaining this year. He’s owed $8MM for 2015, with another $8MM that could vest for 2016 based on plate appearances. Furthermore, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted Monday that Byrd will only waive his no-trade clause for those four teams if his option is exercised. The latest on Byrd:
- The Yankees are out on Byrd, hears ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
- The Phillies’ asking price for Byrd is extremely high, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He says the Phillies gave the Mariners a list of three good prospects and suggested the Ms pick two of them. That request, plus Byrd’s no-trade protection, “seemed to scuttle things” between the two clubs. ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted yesterday that the Mariners were out on Byrd. A source who spoke to Heyman says the Phillies believe what they’ve been offered so far for Byrd is “embarrassing.”
- The Yankees, Pirates, and Giants are among the teams that have been previously linked to Byrd and have not been ruled out.
12:18pm: The Mariners are a sleeper team in the Cabrera market, Olney tweets.
11:23am: There’s a growing confidence that Cabrera will be traded today, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
8:18am: Rosenthal tweets that the Jays, however, aren’t expected to add a hitter. Their talks with Cabrera were earlier this week.
7:43am: The Nationals, Blue Jays and two other clubs have been in contact with the Indians about switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Despite the apparent interest, Cabrera isn’t a lock to be traded, they add.
Cabrera was linked to the Nats last night, and Morosi noted yesterday that the Jays and Giants had checked in as well. The Indians were said to be ready to move Cabrera and Justin Masterson as of yesterday afternoon, and they’ve since dealt Masterson to the Cardinals.
The 28-year-old Cabrera is hitting .246/.305/.386 with nine homers and seven steals on the season. While defensive metrics have never liked his glovework at shortstop, his bat is above average for the position, and some clubs could look at him as an option for second base, where he played a good amount earlier in his career.
TODAY, 12:04am: Also in on Bonifacio as of this morning were the Pirates, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
11:13am: There is plenty of action on Bonifacio, who is being pursued currently by the Orioles, Giants, and Mariners, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
YESTERDAY, 8:12pm: It does not appear that the Giants are going to acquire Bonifacio, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
6:42pm: The Royals are not yet close to adding Bonifacio, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
5:48pm: The O’s are not in on Bonifacio, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who hears that the versatile fielder could be returning to Kansas City. Needless to say, that would be an interesting turn of events: Bonifacio finished well last year with Kansas City, was tendered a contract, agreed to a salary to avoid arbitration, and was then released before the start of the season.
5:14pm: At present, the Giants, Orioles, and Reds are all in play for Bonifacio, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
4:50pm: Bonifacio has been told to be prepared for a deal today, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
4:42pm: Bonifacio is indeed not in the lineup, with manager Rick Renteria saying it was “prudent” to hold him out, according to Rogers (Twitter link).
2:50pm: The Cubs are getting close to trading Bonifacio, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Levine tweets that Bonifacio is not in tonight’s lineup, which could obviously signal that a deal is nigh. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the Giants have been scouting Bonifacio all week, but the asking price for the impending free agent is said to be high.
2:32pm: The Orioles are Giants are considering Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio as a trade option, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score adds the Royals, Mariners, and Reds as three more potential suitors (All Twitter links).
Bonifacio, 29, is hitting .279/.318/.373 in 298 plate appearances for the Cubs. The switch-hitter is raking against lefties in this year’s limited sample. He’s mainly played center field and second base for the Cubs. Bonifacio is eligible for free agency after the season.
Jon Lester has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight — a clear indicator that the Red Sox are looking to deal their ace. It briefly looked like the Orioles were close to a deal, but while those talks are serious, the deal isn’t close yet. Here’s the latest…
- The Cardinals and Pirates are making the strongest bids for Lester at the moment, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports report (Twitter link). The Dodgers also remain involved.
- In a full article, Heyman writes that the A’s are the mystery team that has stepped into the Lester bidding. Nothing is close between the two sides at the moment, however.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that a mystery team is becoming more involved.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reports that the Athletics are in on Lester.
- Via WEEI’s Alex Speier (on Twitter), manager John Farrell expects Lester to be in uniform with the Red Sox today.
- The Cardinals‘ acquisition of Justin Masterson doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running for Lester, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Cards could still acquire Lester, though it may cost them Shelby Miller, Morosi adds in a second tweet.
- The Marlins aren’t entirely out of the Lester sweepstakes, an AL executive familiar with the negotiations tells Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. However, the Marlins won’t part with top prospect Andrew Heaney in a Lester deal (or a deal for any rental player).
- The Cardinals and Dodgers are the two teams that are most aggressively competing for Lester’s services, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They’re also the most aggressive clubs on David Price, though it’s far from a given that the Rays will move their own left-handed ace. Heyman hears similar things to yesterday’s reports regarding the Brewers and Orioles and says neither is in the mix at this point.
- An NL GM told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he thinks the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers and Mariners are the primary suitors for Lester heading into Wednesday (Twitter link).
The Mariners are no longer pursuing Marlon Byrd, sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN (Twitter link), but the Yankees do have some interest in the Phillies outfielder. However, the Yankees, like other teams, are wary of Byrd’s $8MM vesting option for the 2016 season.
Byrd has been connected to many clubs, but the easily attainable vesting option for what would be his age-37 season has been problematic, as has a four-team no-trade clause. The Mariners and Royals — two teams who have had interest in Byrd — are both on the list, and Byrd has reportedly requested that either team guarantee his option in order to facilitate a trade.
The Yankees have been aggressive in acquiring veteran players such as Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, so their interest in Byrd isn’t surprising. Yankees right fielders have batted just .238/.281/.368 this season, while Byrd has slashed .270/.318/.477. He’s earning $8MM this year and next, in addition to the aforementioned vesting option.