Shin-Soo Choo Rumors
This was a bit before MLB Trade Rumors' time, but it was on this day in 1886 that the first trade in Major League history took place. The Cincinnati Red Stockings acquired base-stealing outfielder Hugh Nicol and Jamie Moyer from the St. Louis Browns in exchange for rookie catcher Jack Boyle and $400. Here's some modern-day hot stove action from around the majors...
- Free agent outfielder B.J. Upton visited Turner Field today, meeting with Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The Braves see Upton as their top free agent target this winter, as Upton will come at a lower price than Michael Bourn.
- While the Red Sox have checked in with Josh Hamilton's agent, reports of Boston's interest in Hamilton are "overblown," a source tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- Ian Kinsler is willing to change positions if the Rangers ask, the second baseman tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the field or where I’m hitting in the batting order," Kinsler said. A move from second could open room for both Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus in the infield, while Kinsler could replace Hamilton in left or play first base.
- Both the Angels and the Tigers benefited from Torii Hunter signing with Detroit, opines MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian breaks down Shin-Soo Choo's trade value both in terms of what the Indians could get in return and how Choo compares to free agents currently on the market.
- The Indians' thin farm system is due to nearly a decade of poor drafts, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler.
- It seems like the White Sox will look externally to fill their hole at third base, as GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that "we are exploring a lot of options that we rank ahead of moving [Dayan] Viciedo in from the outfield," though he didn't completely rule it out.
- With five notable Marlins on their way to Toronto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at how players face large tax increases when they're dealt away from Florida, including a past instance of a player (Carlos Delgado) having tax protection written into his contract in lieu of a no-trade clause from the Marlins.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examines how the Marlins/Blue Jays trade and Hunter's signing will impact other teams and players around baseball.
The Red Sox have interest in acquiring both Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson from the Indians, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. It's unclear how far along talks are, but Cleveland is getting calls about those two as well as Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez.
Boston is seeking both outfield and rotation help this winter, so the fit is obvious. They originally drafted and developed Masterson before sending him to the Tribe in the Victor Martinez trade, though Morosi notes that new Indians manager Terry Francona could push to keep the right-hander, who had in Boston. Masterson is under team control through 2014 while Choo will be eligible for free agency after next season.
The Red Sox have enough prospects to offer in trades and plenty of payroll space to absorb contracts. Matt Swartz projects Choo to earn $7.9MM and Masterson to earn $5.7MM through arbitration next year. Boston also has both Mike Napoli and Adam LaRoche on their radar this offseason as well.
The Indians are already drawing trade calls on Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, and Asdrubal Cabrera according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Chris Antonetti acknowledged that they will listen to offers for those four and others.
"I'm not looking to move those guys,'' said the GM. "But we have to be open-minded.''
The 30-year-old Choo will be a free agent after next season, but he needs to play for his new team all season for them to be eligible to receive draft pick compensation next winter. Heyman speculates that outfield-needy teams like the Yankees, Pirates, Red Sox, Tigers, and Phillies could be in the mix. The 26-year-old Cabrera should be a hot commodity given the dearth of quality free agent middle infielders.
Masterson, 27, figures to draw a ton of interest as a workhorse starter who is one year removed from a 3.21 ERA in over 210 innings. It's been speculated that his former team, the Red Sox, could have interest in bringing him back. The 27-year-old Perez might have talked his way out of Cleveland with some late-season comments. Mark Polishuk analyzed his trade stock in September.
Matt Swartz projects Choo to earn $7.9MM through arbitration next season before becoming a free agent. Masterson and Perez are under team control through 2014 and project to earn $5.7MM and $7.2MM through arbitration next season, respectively. Cabrera is under contract through 2014 and will earn $6.5MM next year and $10MM the year after.
Earlier today, the Indians interviewed Sandy Alomar Jr. about their full-time managerial vacancy. General Manager Chris Antonetti didn't put a timetable on making a hire, but he was quick to tip his cap to Alomar for the job he did guiding the club at the end of the 2012 season, according to the Associated Press. Antonetti addressed the media today and we have the highlights courtesy of MLB.com's Jordan Bastian..
- Antonetti confirmed to reporters, including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (via Twitter), that closer Chris Perez wants to remain in Cleveland. Perez said earlier this week that he wasn't looking for a way out this year by commenting on issues concerning the club.
- The GM wouldn't rule out bringing back Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner on reduced deals, but Bastian (Twitter link) believes that Antonetti was just saying the right thing in regards to two long-time Indians.
- As of right now, Antonetti anticipates Shin-Soo Choo being back with the Indians in 2013 (Twitter link). Choo will hit the open market after next season and it has been said that the club will consider trades for him as they are not optimistic about an extension.
- The GM said that the decision on Roberto Hernandez's option will be difficult given the limited amount of time they had to evaluate him, Bastian tweets. Hernandez has been sidelined both by his suspension and injury.
- Matt LaPorta is out of minor league options going into next year and the GM said (Twitter link) that this will be a very important offseason for the first baseman/outfielder.
The White Sox may be in first place in the AL Central but they're apparently going to be making some front office changes this winter. Here are some more items from around the division....
- Jim Leyland remains the right person to manage the Tigers, even though the team trails the White Sox in the AL Central, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press writes. Leyland has questionable job security with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
- The Twins have a number of offseason needs but manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters (including MLB.com's Zack Meisel) that starting pitching is his team's top priority.
- Josh Willingham recently said he'd be open to an extension with the Twins, a prospect that Seth Stohs of the Minneapolis Star Tribune thinks the club should wait to explore until after the 2013 season. Willingham is finishing the first season of a three-year, $21MM contract and I'd agree that Minnesota should be in no rush to extend an outfielder who will be 35 years old when his current deal expires.
- Shin-Soo Choo's trade value and his worth on the free agent market after 2013 will be limited by his inability to hit left-handed pitching, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Choo, a left-handed hitter, has just a .556 OPS against southpaws this season and a .246/.334/.353 line against lefties for his career.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian looks at the Indians' pitching struggles this season how the Tribe will try to fix the problem this winter. Pitching upgrades are likelier to come through trades than by spending on free agents, as Bastian asks, "What team should spend big after a 90-plus loss season? The time has come again to shift the focus back to building a better foundation. The current core is not breeding confidence, especially on the mound."
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post
The Blue Jays shouldn’t part with manager John Farrell unless they are confident they can hire a comparable replacement and make the Red Sox pay dearly for their former pitching coach, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Blue Jays could start by asking for Clay Buchholz again, Rosenthal suggests. Here’s more from around MLB, starting with Farrell...
- People who know Farrell find it difficult to believe he’d try to force his way out of Toronto, Rosenthal reports. The Blue Jays appear to value Farrell and don’t want to see him leave.
- Most MLB teams wanted to develop Jurickson Profar as a pitcher when he was an amateur player, Rosenthal reports. The Rangers built a relationship with Profar, who wanted to play shortstop.
- Scouts following the Indians like the team’s up-the-middle talent, but say the body language of manager Manny Acta suggests he’s resigned to losing. The Indians are expected to consider trade offers for Justin Masterson, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez this offseason and rival teams wonder if they’d listen to offers for Asdrubal Cabrera.
- Indians officials are “livid” with Perez for his comments about the team’s ownership and top baseball executives, Rosenthal writes. Perez questioned the Indians’ decision making and spending last week in an interview with Jon Paul Morosi. Some executives viewed those remarks as an attempt to get traded, Rosenthal reports.
- One Orioles person points out that Andy MacPhail traded for many of the Orioles’ key players in a series of successful deals. MacPhail dealt for players such as J.J. Hardy, Pedro Strop, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Robert Andino and Adam Jones before stepping down following the 2011 season.
- Though the Nationals would like to retain Adam LaRoche, they can rely on internal options if the first baseman’s asking price reaches the three-year, $33-36MM range. Similarly, the Nationals might decide not to pursue Michael Bourn despite the long-standing expectation that they will offer him a competitive free agent contract.
- The Brewers will need to sign a starting pitcher and fix their bullpen this coming offseason, Rosenthal writes.
The Indians don’t expect to be able to sign Shin-Soo Choo to an extension and will listen to trade offers for him this offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. GM Chris Antonetti told Heyman the Indians have attempted to sign Choo long-term “multiple times” in recent years. However, Choo and agent Scott Boras have been unreceptive to possible extension discussions, Antonetti said.
Choo, 30, is on track to hit free agency after the 2013 season. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz recently projected a 2013 salary of $7.6MM for Choo, who will go to arbitration for the final time this coming offseason.
Antonetti pointed out that the Indians can trade Choo at next year’s trade deadline or hold onto him for the entire 2013 season if they don’t find an offer to their liking this winter. The GM suggested the Indians would make Choo a one-year qualifying offer if he’s still in Cleveland at the end of the 2013 season. Doing so would enable the Indians to collect a compensation pick in 2014. If the Indians trade Choo midway through the 2013 campaign, the acquiring team wouldn’t be able to obtain draft pick compensation the following season.
The Phillies, Pirates, Dodgers, Rangers and Reds were linked to Choo leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline last month. If Choo were available in the offseason, it wouldn’t be hard to envision teams such as the Mets and Giants expressing interest.
Links from around MLB, on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline...
- The Indians continue to insist they don't expect to trade Justin Masterson or Shin-Soo Choo, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark writes. They'd have to be overwhelmed to trade Choo, but an NL exec says Masterson is "definitely" on the market.
- The Marlins are begging teams to take Carlos Lee off their hands, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com explains the challenges the Phillies face and how they arrived where they are today.
- The Pirates continue trying to add a right-handed outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
The Indians think it's unlikely they'll trade right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, tweeted ESPN's Buster Olney this morning. Olney says a Choo trade would require the perfect offer, which fits with yesterday's report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Tribe would need a good Major Leaguer with less than three years of service. Yesterday we heard that the Pirates, Rangers, and Reds have interest in Choo, but a deal with the Rangers isn't happening. The latest on Choo:
- The Phillies are interested in Choo, write Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Phillies appear open to subtracting certain veterans but also adding to their core with players like Choo or Padres third baseman Chase Headley, in whom their interest had been previously reported.
- The Pirates are very reluctant to include 23-year-old outfield prospect Starling Marte in a Choo deal, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Marte is the 36th-best prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America's midseason top 50.
- The Indians would be wiser to part with closer Chris Perez than Choo, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Count the Dodgers among the interested teams, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- Choo badly wants to win, but considers the Indians like his family and has not and will not request a trade, he told reporters including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian yesterday. Regarding his contract status, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer quotes Choo saying, "That's why I have an agent. My agent and the Indians talk about it. I don't want to worry about it. It's a big headache. Scott [Boras] has done this a long time. He knows more than me." Choo is under team control through 2013, a season for which MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $7.6MM salary.
You may remember Matt Swartz from such MLBTR projects as the 2012 arbitration projections. Matt's model was very accurate the first time through, and he's made it even better for the 2013 projections. I asked Matt for a sneak peek at 2013 projected salaries for some arbitration eligible trade candidates. He used Dan Szymborski's rest-of-season ZiPS projections to account for the remainder of the 2012 season.
- Hunter Pence: $14.3MM
- Jason Vargas: $8.1MM
- Shin-Soo Choo: $7.6MM
- Chase Headley: $6.1MM
- Geovany Soto: $4.6MM