St. Louis Cardinals Rumors

St. Louis Cardinals trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

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.

Cardinals, Brewers Have Recently Discussed Adam Lind

2:22pm: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that even if Davis were to be made available by the Orioles, the Cardinals wouldn’t have much interest in him. Crasnick adds that neither Brandon Moss nor Yonder Alonso is on the Cardinals’ radar at this time. Like Goold, however, he hears that St. Louis does have legitimate interest in Lind (Twitter link).

8:58am: The Cardinals and Brewers have had recent discussions regarding first baseman Adam Lind, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Brewers are believed to be willing to part with their first baseman, he adds.

St. Louis is in need of help at first base after losing Matt Adams to a torn quadriceps muscle that figures to sideline him into the offseason. The team’s preference, Goold writes, is to acquire a short-term contract to fill the void, and Lind would fit that mold. He’s earning $7.5MM in 2015, including the $500K buyout of an $8MM option for the 2016 season. That Cardinals could, in theory, rent Lind for the duration of the 2015 season and their postseason push, then flip him to a team in need of first base/DH help this winter.

Milwaukee acquired Lind from the Blue Jays last offseason in a one-for-one swap that sent Marco Estrada to Toronto, and both players have performed well in their new settings. Lind is batting an excellent .285/.365/.500 with 16 homers this season. He has, as usual, been heavily platooned due to his deficiencies against same-handed pitching, and that would likely be the case with the Cardinals as well. St. Louis could deploy Lind as a platoon partner for Mark Reynolds or for the right-handed hitting Stephen Piscotty, though because Piscotty is regarded as the Cardinals’ top prospect, the preference may be for him to receive everyday at-bats in the minors as opposed to spending much of his time on the bench.

One potential wrench that could be thrown into talks would be that Lind was bothered by what, for now, looks to be a minor back issue this weekend. Anything more severe, however, could lead theoretically lead the Cardinals (and other teams) to look elsewhere. As Goold notes, other options such as Baltimore’s Chris Davis could become available in the coming days.

A deal between the two sides would make for a rare (though not unheard of) matchup between the two division rivals, as MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker shows. GMs Doug Melvin and John Mozeliak did strike a deal in 2013 when they swapped right-handers John Axford and Michael Blazek.


Rosenthal On Gausman, Ross, Cashner, Haren

Early Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports released his latest edition of Full Count (video link).  Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the highlights..

  • A trade of highly-regarded young right-hander Kevin Gausman would be quite unpopular with many members of the Orioles organization, Rosenthal hears.  It was reported late last week that the O’s appeared to be willing to discuss the 24-year-old but skipper Buck Showalter said on Saturday called that notion “comical.”
  • Tyson Ross is drawing the most interest of any Padres starting pitcher, thanks in large part to his contractual status.  Ross is under control through 2017 while Ian Kennedy is a potential pending free agent and Andrew Cashner can be a free agent after next season.  Unsurprisingly, the Padres want a greater haul for Ross than any of their other arms.
  • Dan Haren is on pace for about 33 starts and 205 innings, totals that would trigger an additional $3MM in incentives.  The Marlins could have some extra incentive of their own to move the veteran starter since they’d only be on the hook for the prorated portion of that, saving them roughly $1MM.
  • With the pending returns of Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales, the Cardinals are one team that is not in the hunt for starting pitching.


Cardinals Acquire Steve Cishek

The Cardinals have officially struck a deal with the Marlins to add righty Steve Cishek, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was first to report (Twitter links). Heading back to Miami in the deal is Double-A righty Kyle Barraclough. St. Louis will take on the remainder of the $6.65MM left on Cishek’s contract this year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets.

Aug 27, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Miami Marlins reliever Steve Cishek (31) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Marlins 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before a rough stretch to open the 2015 campaign, the 29-year-old Cishek had established himself as one of the game’s most reliable late-inning arms. Over 2011-2014, he put up 253 1/3 innings of 2.70 ERA pitching, with 10.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Despite racking up 91 saves over that stretch, Cishek lost his closing role to A.J. Ramos and was eventually optioned earlier this year.

Things have gotten better of late for the side-armer, but it’s hard to ignore his poor early results. Cishek has lost a mile an hour off of his average fastball velocity, with his double-digit strikeout-per-nine tallies from last year falling to 7.9 K/9 this season. Cishek has managed to maintain a swinging strike rate of 9.3%, in line with previous seasons, but that has not translated into the results and he has also walked over a hitter per nine innings more than he did in 2014.

All said, Cishek has worked 32 innings and put up a 4.50 ERA. But there are signs of promise. He has been victimized by a high BABIP (.350) and low strand rate (66.4%), and is inducing soft contact at better-than-usual levels. And, of course, the results are much better of late. He has allowed just one earned run over 12 2/3 innings since he was recalled on June 14.

For St. Louis, the move resembles the 2012 trade to acquire Edward Mujica and the 2013 deal that brought in John Axford. As in those situations, the team will add an underperforming arm to bolster depth and take a bet on improved results going forward.

While the Cards have received excellent work from their bullpen, top set-up man Jordan Walden is still working back from injury and the club has leaned heavily on pitchers such as Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Seth Maness. And as Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com notes on Twitter, the Cardinals have moved righty Matt Belisle to the 60-day DL to create roster space, which indicates that they will be without one of their internal options for some time.

For Miami, meanwhile, the deal paints the team as a seller after a disappointing performance this year. The Fish held onto Cishek last summer, when his value was much higher, in hopes that he’d anchor the pen of a contender.

The Marlins did at least manage to turn an asset of little function to the team — Cishek was a likely non-tender candidate after the year — into a potentially useful future piece. But it seems that the organization’s developmental staff will have some work to do. Barraclough, 25, dominated the High-A level early in the year and earned a promotion to Double-A, where his control issues have become more pronounced. He’s worked to a 3.28 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 7.3 BB/9 over 24 2/3 frames at Springfield.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.


Central Notes: Hamels, Price, Samardzija, ChiSox, Royals, Gonzales

The Cubs have been in discussions with the Phillies regarding Cole Hamels and are interested in adding him to their long-term rotation outlook, sources have told CSNChicago.com’s David Kaplan. The Cubs may also add an additional starter as a depth piece, though that acquisition isn’t expected to be significant, he continues. Kaplan also writes that, contrary to previous reports, the Tigers haven’t yet decided to market David Price. A final decision on whether they’ll take a shot at the postseason or sell veteran pieces could come either this weekend or by next Wednesday, Kaplan hears, though I’d imagine that wasting a gem from Price on a 3-2, extra innings loss to the Mariners was a tough pill for the Tigers to swallow as they determine their deadline strategy.

Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…

  • CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes spoke with Jeff Samardzija following an excellent Thursday start in which he fired eight innings of one-run ball. “It’s been totally silent on my end,” said Samardzija when asked about the possibility that he could be traded. Hayes asked a handful of scouts about Samardzija, with one feeling that he’s overhyped and more of a No. 2/No. 3 starter than a No. 1/No.2 starter. A second said that the White Sox could get a B-level prospect back, to which another replied that if that were the max return, Chicago would be better off holding Samardzija and taking a draft pick for him. Hayes writes that the Sox could potentially keep Samardzija in an attempt to re-sign him in free agency. He’s also since tweeted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox tried to re-sign Samardzija this winter even if they do trade him.
  • The White Sox haven’t yet publicly waved a white flag, but they’re currently active in trade talks, hears ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The Sox reportedly discussed Samardzija with the Astros prior to Houston’s acquisition of Scott Kazmir earlier this afternoon (also via Crasnick).
  • Despite injuries to Alex Gordon and Jason Vargas, Royals GM Dayton Moore tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he’s not feeling pressure to make a trade. “I don’t know if [losing Vargas] changes our approach,” said Moore. “But it does hurt our depth. He was a big part of our team last year and we expected him to be a big part this year. We haven’t had him much of the year. When we’ve had him, he’s been great.” Moore says adding to the current roster is not a “must,” and any trades would depend on the cost of acquisition.
  • ESPN’s Keith Law reports that Cardinals southpaw Marco Gonzales is now being represented by CAA Sports (Twitter link). Gonzales, a former first-round pick, was previously represented by Rowley Sports Management. The 23-year-old made an appearance in the Majors last season, posting a 4.15 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, but he’s been limited to Triple-A action this season and also missed time due to injury. Gonzales’ change in representation will be reflected in the MLBTR Agency Database. Remember that if you see any errors or notable omissions, you can let us know via email: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.

NL East Notes: Alvarez, Cishek, Haren, Mets, Venable, Nats

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez experienced a setback in his rehab from right shoulder inflammation, and his season is now in jeopardy, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Manager Dan Jennings told Spencer and others prior to Thursday’s contest: “He had a recurrence of the shoulder. We’re trying to determine if it’s going to be best for a non-surgical, or surgical procedure regarding the shoulder.” Alvarez’s injury troubles in 2015 have contributed to the team’s disappointing season. If he’s to undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season, Alvarez will have made just four starts in 2015, with the end result being an ERA over 6.00.

Here’s the latest from the NL East…

  • The Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays are still in the mix for former Marlins closer Steve Cishek, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Cishek’s been throwing well since returning from a brief stint at Triple-A, allowing just one earned run with an 11-to-4 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings. Frisaro also adds the Orioles to the list of teams with interest in right-hander Dan Haren, adding to recent reports that have linked the Blue Jays and Dodgers to Haren.
  • Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made a pair of definitive statements to reporters today, writes MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. First and foremost, Alderson said that none of the four young arms in his rotation — Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz — is available in trades. Alderson also insisted that ownership has provided him with the resources to take on a major contract, though he added that the media and fans alike would both take that news with a heavy grain of salt: “Now, none of you will believe me, OK? So I’m not sure why you asked the question and insisted on the answer.”
  • The Mets have interest in Padres outfielder Will Venable, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who echoes previous reports that Gerardo Parra is under Mets consideration as well. According to Morosi, the Cubs are intrigued by both Parra and Venable as well, however, so the Mets have some competition in regards to those two trade targets.
  • Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, tweets that the Mets don’t feel they need to acquire a third baseman while David Wright is on the shelf, because the team is better defensively with Daniel Murphy at third base while Wright is out. Adding an outfielder — preferably one controllable beyond 2015 — is the Mets’ priority.
  • Speaking about the trade deadline in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter links), Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “There’s no trade I could make that could be as the guys we’re getting back [from the DL]. We will certainly be looking, but I don’t know how active we’ll be.”

Deadline Rumors: Cespedes, Cishek, Price, Gallardo, Jays, Royals, Reds, Alvarez, Padres

In another twist regarding the free agent deal he signed out of Cuba, Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would be effectively precluded from signing with the team as a free agent after this year unless he is traded away in the interim, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. It was already a matter of common knowledge that the club could not make him a qualifying offer after the year, since his deal requires that he be released five days after its conclusion. But Rosenthal now cites a CBA provision providing that a released player also cannot be re-signed by his club until May 15 of the ensuing year. While Detroit could hold Cespedes and attempt to work out an extension at any point up to five days after the World Series, it would otherwise be unable to bring him back unless he sat out a good portion of the 2016 campaign — a highly unlikely scenario. Of course, moving him now would prevent the team from working out a deal until the power-hitting outfielder becomes a free agent. As Rosenthal notes, Cespedes has told friends that he hopes to remain with the Tigers, and Detroit has given every indication that it intends to compete next year even if it moves some pieces this summer.

There are a ton of important deadline developments to cover in the wake of the Scott Kazmir trade, so let’s get to them:

  • There is increasing action on Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report (Twitter links) that there are multiple clubs involved — some with more apparent interest than the previously-reported Cardinals. The Twins are among the teams continuing to monitor the righty, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
  • The Dodgers currently have David Price of the Tigers as their number one target, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But the expectation is that Detroit will hold their decision until next week.
  • Indeed, the Giants recently spoke with the Tigers regarding outfielder Rajai Davis, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports on Twitter, but were left with the impression that Detroit is still unsure of its course of action.
  • Another player on the Dodgers radar is Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Though nothing is close, the two clubs have had discussions.
  • The Blue Jays sought to land Kazmir before he went to Houston, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. With the market beginning to move, the team appears to be ramping up is efforts to add a starter, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • Both the Blue Jays and the Royals are “all-in” on Reds starter Johnny Cueto, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter links). Kansas City is also considering Mike Leake from Cincinnati as well as Jeff Samardzija, Dan Haren, and Mat Latos. But the club is not interested in Cole Hamels, James Shields, or Yovani Gallardo, per the report.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he has a green light to sell pieces, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. They’ll make moves “if it makes sense, but we’re not going to give away players,” says Jocketty. “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people, but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
  • One rival general manager tells Passan that the Pirates are working hard to move first baseman Pedro Alvarez (Twitter link). We’ve heard previously that Pittsburgh has interest in an upgrade, and presumably it would make an addition if it can find a taker for Alvarez.
  • Meanwhile, the Padres are officially open for business, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). In addition to Justin Upton, the team could move relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, outfielder Will Venable, and any number of starters. Rosenthal says that Tyson Ross is perhaps the least likely rotation piece to change hands.

NL East Notes: Latos, Haren, Cishek

The Marlins continue to receive interest in both Mat Latos and Dan Haren, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Despite conflicting reports recently, Frisaro hears that the Blue Jays do indeed have some interest in Latos, as do the Cubs. The Blue Jays are also in Haren, per the report,  and so is his former team, the Dodgers (albeit to a lesser extent). Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) characterizes Toronto as having monitored Latos, noting that it remains to be seen whether the team actually pursues him.

A few more Marlins notes …

  • Frisaro feels that it’s more likely that the Marlins will trade Latos than Haren in the next week due to the fact that trading Latos sooner comes with financial savings, whereas Haren’s $10MM salary is entirely paid for by the Dodgers. Haren could still be an August trade candidate, though, in Frisaro’s eyes.
  • Though Haren and Latos are the most popular names among Marlins trade candidates at present, Steve Cishek is drawing interest as well — specifically from the Cardinals, per the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer (Twitter link). Cishek has allowed just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings since returning to the big league roster in mid-June, so it’s certainly plausible to think that Miami could save some money and get at least something back for him.
  • An even more interesting question, perhaps, is whether the Marlins or a hypothetical new team will consider tendering Cishek a contract through arbitration. While he may not earn a significant raise, the reliever has a steep $6.65MM starting point entering his second-to-last year of eligibility.
  • Former Marlins backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia discussed his tenure in Miami with Spencer, He expressed some disappointment with the way things ended and the fact that he did not get a chance to make good on his contract, but acknowledged that he fell short of expectations. On the whole, his comments seemed thoughtful and genuine, and are worth a full read.

2016 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Reds have drawn the first competitive balance selection in the 2016 draft, as Cash Kruth of MLB.com reports. While the precise draft slots remain to be determined, Cincinnati will pick after the conclusion of the first round (including compensation choices).

Here is the order of the selections, which were determined by lottery between the clubs that fell among the ten smallest markets and/or the ten smallest revenue pools league-wide. Other teams that participate in revenue sharing are also eligible, but only for the second round.

Round A (selections occur after first round)

1. Reds
2. Athletics
3. Rockies
4. Diamondbacks
5. Marlins
6. Pirates

Round B (selections occur after second round)

1. Padres
2. Indians
3. Twins
4. Brewers
5. Orioles
6. Rays

These results mean that the Cardinals, Royals, and Mariners failed to receive a pick despite being eligible. With some restrictions, the picks can be traded — and increasingly have been in recent seasons. You can take a look at this year’s draft results and slot values to get an idea of the range of selections (and drafted players) that the most recent competitive balance awards ultimately represented.


Blue Jays Claim Ty Kelly From Cardinals

The Blue Jays have claimed infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly off waivers from the Cardinals, Toronto announced (h/t to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, on Twitter). Kelly was designated for assignment yesterday.

The 27-year-old Kelly has not yet seen action at the big league level despite occupying a 40-man spot. Over parts of four seasons at Triple-A, he owns a .261/.381/.379 slash across 1,110 plate appearances.

But those numbers are down since St. Louis acquired the switch-hitter in an offseason deal with the Mariners. In his 269 plate appearances this season at Memphis, he’s slashed just .203/.317/.286. And after swatting 15 home runs last year, Kelly has managed only two long balls thus far in 2015.