St. Louis Cardinals Rumors

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

Pitching Rumors: Price, Angels, Miley, Ross, Samardzija

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals should not overpay to acquire David Price from the Rays by parting with Oscar Taveras. Rosenthal points to the decline of offense around the league and the rarity of controllable sluggers in opining that Taveras is too valuable a commodity to lose. He also notes that the Cardinals aren’t typically big spenders, but adds that the team could create room for Price’s remaining $7MM and roughly $18-20MM 2015 salary by electing not to re-sign free agents such as Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, as well as non-tendering arbitration eligible players such as Peter Bourjos. While St. Louis could put together a formidable package headlined by Carlos Martinez, he also notes that a team like the Dodgers could top such a package perhaps by including prized outfielder Joc Pederson.

Price’s name — and the names of several others — will be hot topics over the coming month. Here’s the latest on the pitching market…

  • The Angels are interested in Price but don’t have the prospects to acquire him, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). He adds that Cubs hurler Jason Hammel is on a long list of alternative options for the Halos. Rosenthal also reports that the team would like to acquire left-handed relief, though landing a starting pitcher would allow them to use Hector Santiago in relief.
  • In his daily blog post (subscription required/recommended), ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that several teams are looking at alternatives to the market’s two big-name starters — Price and Jeff Samardzija. Several clubs are interested in pulling off a deal similar to the Tigers’ acquisition of Doug Fister from the Mariners back in 2011. As such, the Diamondbacks are receiving interest in Wade Miley, and Padres righty Tyson Ross could become a target as well. Controllable arms like Miley and Ross will be highly appealing to rival clubs, as any team can afford them — regardless of payroll. He adds that the D’Backs and Padres might be years away from contention anyhow, and at that point, Miley and Ross will have become expensive via arbitration.
  • Later in his post, Olney writes that the Giants will have a tough time lining up for a Price trade, as their 2015 roster is full of holes that will need to be filled – namely at third base, left field and second base. Price’s 2015 salary would prevent them from addressing their many needs, as would a Samardzija acquisition, albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports looks at three factors that will impact the Cubs’ ability to maximize their return on a Samardzija trade: Many contenders are hurting more for offense than pitching in 2014; interested parties will have Price as an alternative and may prefer to surrender more talent for the longer, more impressive track record; and Samardzija is seen by some GMs as unlikely to sign an extension regardless of setting. One interested GM confidently told Heyman, “No one’s going to extend him. He’s hitting free agency,” noting that Samardzija’s agency, Frontline Athlete Management, has a history of taking clients to the open market (e.g. Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Mike Hampton).

Cardinals Designate Pete Kozma Off Active Roster

2:42pm: Goold explains (Twitter links) that the Cardinals needed to clear a spot for Gonzales to make the start while also keeping an extra arm in the bullpen. The club knew it could pull back Kozma if he was claimed on revocable option waivers.

1:07pm: Kozma has been removed from the club’s 40-man roster listing on MLB.com, which could suggest that a different transaction was completed. If, in fact, he was optioned, then he would remain on the 40-man roster.

1:01pm: It appears that Kozma was merely designated off the 25-man roster, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter that Kozma has cleared optional waivers and been optioned to Triple-A.

11:23am: The Cardinals have designated shortstop Pete Kozma for assignment, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Presumably, the move is related to the club’s call-up of young pitcher Marco Gonzalez, who will need a 40-man spot.

Kozma, 26, played a key role for the club in its 2012 NLCS run, taking over late in the year for the injured Rafael Furcal and posting a .952 OPS, and served as the team’s primary shortstop in 2013. He could not sustain the 2012 magic, however, as he slashed just .217/.275/.273 over 448 plate appearances last year. On the other hand, Kozma rated out as one of the most productive shortstops in the game on the defensive side of the ledger.

St. Louis ultimately went in a different direction, adding free agent Jhonny Peralta to take over up the middle. Apart from a brief call-up, Kozma has spent the year at Triple-A, where he owns a .234/.341/.372 triple-slash in 223 plate appearances.


Draft Signings: Bryan Dobzanski, Spencer Moran

Here are the day’s notable draft signings:

  • The Cardinals have signed 29th-round choice Bryan Dobzanski with a $700K bonus, reports Scott Chappelear of NJ.com (h/t to Jim Callis of MLB.com). The righty, who had been committed to Louisville, fell down the board because of signability issues. $600K of his bonus will count against the total allocation for the Cardinals.
  • Righty Spencer Moran, the 11th-round pick of the Rays, has agreed to a $390K bonus, according to John Manuel of Baseball America (via Twitter). As above, the amount over $100K will run against Tampa Bay’s tab. Moran was rated the draft’s 152nd-best prospect by Baseball America.


NL Central Notes: Hammel, Wada, Cards, Bucs

Here’s the latest out of the NL Central:

  • If the Cubs trade Jason Hammel as expected, the 31-year-old says that he would be open to returning to Chicago in the winter. “I would assume they are pretty happy with my body of work so far and if a trade happens it happens,” Hammel said, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. “But I guarantee, say I was to go to another team, I love it here. I guarantee you they wouldn’t be opposed to bringing me back next year.
  • The Cubs‘ roster moves on Sunday will have long and short-term implications for the club, writes Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.  The Cubs designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment and filled his spot on the roster with Tsuyoshi Wada.  Wada, who had an opt-out clause in his deal, could be a replacement in the rotation when and if they trade Jeff Samardzija and/or Hammel.
  • Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are about to promote another promising young arm in 2013 first-rounder Marco Gonzales. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently wrote, the lefty (whose best offering is said to be the change-up) had been following the track of the man whose rotation spot he will occupy. Of course, that also means concern for St. Louis fans, as Michael Wacha will hit the DL (along with fellow starter Jaime Garcia). As Goold reports, Wacha is dealing with a “stress reaction” to his scapula, which GM John Mozeliak says the club will handle carefully since the injury “is not a very common injury to pitchers and one that we don’t have a ton of experience on how to deal with it.”
  • The Pirates may soon be looking at some roster challenges as players filter back from injury, writes Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While the club can wait to settle on its rotation until after Francisco Liriano returns, which is still expected to be a few weeks off, the pending activation of Neil Walker could create a more immediate pinch. With Josh Harrison carrying a 131 wRC+ and offering immense versatility, Cook suggests that veteran Clint Barmes may be expendable for Pittsburgh.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Cardinals, Sizemore, Murphy, Dodgers

The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.

  • Grady Sizemore is likely to decide on a new team early this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Sizemore became a free agent Friday after the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In his first big-league action since 2011, Sizemore hit .216/.288/.324 in 205 plate appearances in Boston.
  • The Blue Jays and Giants have had interest in Daniel Murphy, but the most likely outcome is that the Mets keep him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. In a “mediocre” NL East division, Martino writes, the Mets do not seem to view themselves as sellers. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t deal Murphy, of course — GM Sandy Alderson sent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last year soon after indicating the Mets wouldn’t deal him, so his actions can be hard to predict.
  • The Yankees need a starting pitcher, but they probably won’t be able to get top trade possibilities like David Price or Jeff Samardzija, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Rays won’t want to trade Price to a divisional opponent. For Samardzija, the Cubs want a highly-rated young pitcher who’s close to being ready for the big leagues, and the Yankees don’t have that type of player. That means the Yankees could get someone like John Danks of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of the Cubs or Ian Kennedy of the Padres.
  • As the trade deadline approaches, the Dodgers‘ greatest need is in their bullpen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t count on improvements from relievers they already have, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon writes. Kenley Jansen, in particular, has been working on his mechanics, and he pitched very well on Saturday and Sunday. In any case, Saxon notes that the Dodgers likely won’t let guaranteed contracts for relievers they already have (presumbably, players like Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who have struggled) prevent them from adding talent on the trade market.
  • The Tigers‘ bullpen has an unexpected look recently, with the additions of minor league veterans Pat McCoy, Chad Smith and Blaine Hardy. Hardy, 27, has pitched well in four appearances so far even though he hadn’t pitched in the big leagues before last week. “You’ve got to stick with it, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. Just keep playing, hopefully get the opportunity, and here I am,” the lefty told MLive.com’s Chris Iott. The Royals drafted Hardy in the 22nd round out of college, then released him during spring training in 2013. He pitched three scoreless innings against them in his first two big-league appearances last week.

NL Central Notes: McCutchen, Brewers, Cards, Wada

Earlier today, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk posted divisional roundups for the NL East and AL Central. Now, let’s take a look at the news and notes from the NL Central:


Latest On David Price

There may not be a more heavily-discussed player in the leadup to the July 31 trade deadline than David Price.  Here’s the latest buzz about the Rays southpaw…

  • The Dodgers are considered the favorites to land Price by many around baseball, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  The Cardinals have recently been scouting Price, and the Giants are also in the mix.  The Marlins could have an interest in Price, and had scouts watching his start last Friday.
  • Topkin also opines that the Braves, Angels and Indians make sense as possible suitors for Price.  Cleveland scouts were present at Price’s most recent start.
  • The Rays would prefer to trade Price to the National League, or if not the NL, at least outside of their own division.  While an AL East trade isn’t impossible, Topkin believes a division rival would have to give up something beyond the already-large asking price the Rays are seeking for their ace.
  • It helps both Price and the Rays if a trade is worked out sooner rather than later, Topkins believes.  The Rays can get an early jump on the pitching market and Price seems to be getting frustrated by both Tampa Bay’s struggles and the constant questions about his future.
  • While Price is only under contract through the 2015 season, a rival scout tells ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) that teams gunning for a World Series won’t hesitate to give up a big trade package for the lefty.  “You worry about the cost of signing him later, and if he walks away, that’s the way it goes. But you’re adding a No. 1 starter who can be a difference-maker for two seasons,” the scout said.

Draft Signings: Andrew Morales, Trevor Megill

Here are the day’s draft signings, with slot info courtesy of Baseball America …

  • The Cardinals have agreed to terms with compensation round B pick Andrew Morales, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The senior righty out of UC-Irvine was taken 71st overall pick, which carried a $796.1K allocation. Morales will earn a $546.1K bonus, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com, meaning that the Cards will end up with exactly $250K in savings on the pick.
  • Meanwhile, the Cardinals learned that they will not land third-round pick Trevor Megill, who instead will finish his college career, reports MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. That takes his $504.4K bonus value out of play for St. Louis, though the club will gain another pick in next year’s draft (immediately following the third round).

Draft Notes: Rodon, Kolek, Conforto, Megill

After the Reds’ agreement with Alex Blandino yesterday, 25 of this year’s 34 first-round picks have signed or at least agreed to terms on their signing bonus. Here are some of the latest draft-related (non-signing) news items from around the league…

  • As noted by Baseball America earlier this week, the White Sox have $6.58MM that they can spend on top pick Carlos Rodon without losing future draft picks (Twitter link). Chicago’s situation with Rodon is somewhat similar to the one the Mariners faced with Alex Jackson, with whom they agreed to terms earlier this week. Both Rodon and Jackson are advised by Scott Boras, and both teams signed picks 2-10 prior to dealing with their first-rounder. Because picks beyond the 10th round don’t count against a team’s bonus pool (unless a team gives a bonus of more than $100K in rounds 11-40), that basically places a firm limit on what type of bonus they can offer. If anything, Jackson may have had more leverage as a high school player. MLB.com’s Jim Callis recently noted that he fully expects Chicago to sign Rodon, though he added that the Sox haven’t inked a notable Boras draftee since Alex Fernandez back in 1990 (Twitter links).
  • MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that the Marlins considered Tyler Kolek the top player in this year’s draft, even over No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken. Had Miami selected first overall, they’d still have taken Kolek, Frisaro reports. Had Houston taken Kolek, however, Aiken was No. 2 on their board.
  • While the Mets and top pick Michael Conforto are in agreement on a signing bonus in the range of $2.987MM, as reported earlier in the week, there does appear to be a bit of work left to do before the deal becomes official, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It isn’t clear exactly what the holdup is at this time, he adds, stating that it could be an issue of language within the contract. Whatever the issue, his signing bonus doesn’t appear to be a factor anymore.
  • Cardinals third-rounder Trevor Megill has decided to return to college for his senior season rather than sign with St. Louis, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Megill’s draft stock plummeted after he required Tommy John prior to his junior season at Loyola Marymount. MLB.com’s Jen Langosch noted recently that Megill would likely require an over-slot bonus or would return for his senior year.

Cardinals Reach Agreeements With Top Three Picks

JUNE 16: Weaver has officially signed and received the full slot value of $1.843MM, reports Jen Langosch of MLB.com (on Twitter). He will report to the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League affiliate on Wednesday of this week.

JUNE 10: In an update late last night, Goold reported that the Cardinals do indeed have agreements with Flaherty, Weaver and Williams. Flaherty is expected to receive around $2MM, reports Goold, which is well north of his pick’s value of $1.65MM. Weaver and Williams are both expected to command slot money, he adds, which would come out to respective bonuses of $1.843MM and $834K.

JUNE 9: The Cardinals are nearing deals with their top three picks, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). Specifically, he notes that the Cardinals are nearing an over-slot deal with No. 34 overall pick Jack Flaherty. No deals will be announced until the completion of physicals, Goold adds.

In addition to Flaherty, St. Louis drafted Florida State right-hander Luke Weaver with the No. 27 overall pick in the draft and prep right-hander Ronnie Williams with the No. 68 overall selection the draft.

Flaherty, another high school right-hander, was committed to North Carolina and was thought to be a difficult sign, so it’s not entirely surprising to see that he’s nearing an over-slot deal. Baseball America ranked him 39th among draft prospects and noted that he was a third base prospect just one year ago before impressing scouts on the mound in 2014 and generating some potential late first round buzz. He’s touched 93 mph with his heater and has a changeup that has a chance to be a plus-plus pitch, while his slider could also be a plus offering that generates swings and misses, according to BA.