St. Louis Cardinals Rumors

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

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.


Cardinals Designate Ty Kelly For Assignment

The Cardinals announced that they have designated infielder Ty Kelly for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for top prospect Stephen Piscotty, whose previously reported promotion is now official. Additionally, outfielder Tommy Pham has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis in Piscotty’s place.

Originally a 13th-round pick of the Orioles back in 2009, Kelly was traded the Mariners in 2013 in exchange for Eric Thames and then traded to St. Louis in 2014 in exchange for Sam Gaviglio. The 27-year-old utility man is a career .261/.381/.379 hitter in parts of four seasons at Triple-A, but he’s slashing just .203/.317/.286 in 269 plate appearances there this season.


NL Central Notes: Reds, Parra, Bruce, Cardinals, Pirates

It’s more accurate to characterize the Reds as “listening” than in gathering up kindling for a fire sale, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets. Other teams indicate that Cincinnati does not seem to be in a hurry to deal potential rental pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. It still seems reasonable to expect that both of those soon-to-be free agents will be moved, though the team does have a number of other assets that pose more difficult strategic questions.

Here’s more on the Reds and the rest of the NL Central:

  • Reds reliever Manny Parra has a strained left elbow, leading MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon to suggest on Twitter that the southpaw is unlikely to be dealt this month. The 32-year-old free-agent-to-be has not performed as hoped for since signing a two-year pact with Cincinnati, though he does carry peripherals that suggest he’s been better in 2015 than his current 4.00 ERA. With a $3.5MM salary this season, Parra certainly could be an August trade piece if he’s able to return to health.
  • Some rival executives have speculated that there could be a potential match between the Reds and Royals on outfielder Jay Bruce, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. He adds that Cincinnati scouts have been taking a look at K.C.’s Triple-A and Double-A affiliates. With Alex Gordon out and Alex Rios having struggled (though he has picked things up of late), it’s easy to see why there might be some interest from the Royals in the fairly affordable and talented 28-year-old.
  • While the Cardinals‘ need for a left-handed bat is fairly straightforward to assess, the club’s preferred route on the pitching side is somewhat harder to peg, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team certainly has rotation options, Strauss explains, and GM John Mozeliak said recently that the quality work of the staff makes it unfair to say the club is “out on the market looking for starting pitching.” But with some cause for trepidation over the number of innings being shouldered by key starters and relievers, says Strauss, it appears likely that St. Louis will look to make some kind of pitching addition (as it has in each of the last four seasons). “I still think we have internal resources to handle the pitching, but I’m not going to ignore the market or not remain opportunistic if something comes up that makes sense for us,” said Mozeliak.
  • The Pirates have at least some interest in Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but will likely look first at infield additions if the team feels it necessary to fill in for the injured Jordy Mercer, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. We just learned that Mercer is expected to miss at least six weeks of action, which certainly suggests the possibility of an acquisition — particularly given that Josh Harrison is also out. Of course, it is entirely unclear whether Pittsburgh will be looking more for a major contributor or a competent fill-in. The latter may be more likely given that both Mercer and Harrison figure to return this year, at least so far as has been reported publicly.

Cardinals To Promote Stephen Piscotty

The Cardinals will promote top outfield prospect Stephen Piscotty to join the team in Chicago on Tuesday, reports Rob Rains of StlSportsPage.com (Twitter link).

Stephen Piscotty

The 24-year-old Piscotty entered the season ranked as the No. 32 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus. ESPN’s Keith Law (62), Baseball America (79), Fangraphs (81) and MLB.com (90) all included the former No. 36 overall pick in their Top 100 prospects as well. He’s performed well with Triple-A Memphis on the heels of those strong rankings, batting .272/.366/.475 with 11 homers in 372 plate appearances.

Piscotty was drafted as a third baseman in 2012 but moved to the corner outfield in his first full season of pro ball in 2013. This season, he’s appeared primarily right field (61 games) but also has 10 games in left field and eight games at first base. BP praised Piscotty’s hit tool and ability to barrel the ball, as well as good balance at the plate and a general comfort/good approach in the batter’s box. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel noted that he had the potential for 20-homer power, though it had yet to manifest entering the season. BA notes that while there’s some question about his power, it’s very likely that he’ll hit for average and display strong on-base skills to go with a plus arm in right field.

The Cardinals don’t currently have a spot for Piscotty in the outfield — at least not a regular spot — as the three positions are occupied by Matt Holliday (left), Randal Grichuk (center) and Jason Heyward (right). Peter Bourjos‘ elite glove makes him a logical fit as a fourth outfielder, if not more. Tommy Pham is in the role of fifth outfielder at this time. Piscotty could perhaps fit as an option at first base, where the Cardinals have received little in the way of offensive production from Mark Reynolds over the past six weeks (.213/.280/.383 dating back to June 1).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Outrighted To Triple-A: Laffey, Correia, Reds

The latest outright assignments according to the MLB.com transactions page..

  • The Rockies sent left-hander Aaron Laffey outright to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes.   Laffey, 30, was on the roster for just one day before being designated for assignment on July 11th.  Earlier this season, Laffey pitched 47 2/3 innings in a tough pitching environment in Albuquerque, posting a 4.91 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 while splitting time between starting and relieving.
  • The Reds claimed Donn Roach off waivers from the Cubs.  Roach, 25, gave up four earned runs in a 3 1/3 inning appearance at the major league level for the Cubs. He threw 89 innings with a healthy 2.33 ERA for the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate, striking out 3.3 and walking 1.6 batters per nine in the process.
  • The Cardinals sent shortstop Aledmys Diaz outright to Double-A Springfield.  After entering the year as the organization’s 11th-rated prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, the 24-year-old Diaz has taken a step back in 2015.  Prior to being designated for assignment, Diaz posted a .235/.292/.344 slash at Triple-A over 268 plate appearances on the year. Those numbers are down from a partial showing in the minors last season, when he put up a .765 OPS in 125 turns at bat at the High-A and Double-A levels.
  • The Phillies outrighted Kevin Correia on July 8th, just one day after designating him for assignment.  Correia, 34, spent time this spring with the Mariners and started the year in the Giants organization, ultimately opting out and signing with Philadelphia. He had solid results in his first several Triple-A starts, but scuffled to a 6.56 ERA over 23 1/3 innings with the Phillies.
  • The Braves released Nick Masset shortly after designating him for assignment earlier this month.  The veteran Masset, who signed with the Braves after the Marlins outrighted him in late May, posted a 4.70 ERA with 12 strikeouts, seven walks and three home runs allowed in 15 1/3 innings with Atlanta.