Tampa Bay Rays Rumors

Tampa Bay Rays trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Duquette, Craig, Rays

Though the chances of the Orioles making a trade today may be remote, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun cautions not to rule out GM Dan Duquette making a final transaction. As Connolly notes, Duquette has made at least one trade in each of the past three Augusts, and the GM also told Connolly over the weekend that he’s not yet giving up on the 2015 season. Baltimore currently sits a seemingly insurmountable 11 games back of the AL East lead, but they’re a more manageable 5.5 games back from the second Wild Card position. Any players acquired after tonight’s midnight deadline would be ineligible for the postseason, though, so if a trade happens, it’s likely to come today.

Here are a few more notes pertaining to the O’s and the AL East…

  • In his latest notes column, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal writes that Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ stubborn refusal to let Duquette go in order to take the Blue Jays’ president/CEO position last offseason “created an unhealthy environment” around the club’s front office. There’s some lingering resentment, Rosenthal hears, including some among executives who felt they were in line for a promotion upon Duquette’s departure.
  • Within that column, Rosenthal also writes that Allen Craig is likely to be re-added to the 40-man roster for a September callup that will allow him to be evaluated not only by new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, but also by rival teams. Craig, though, is owed $21MM through the end of the 2017 season and has batted a meager .271/.367/.348 since being outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket this year. Boston may be able to flip him for a bad contract, but I’d imagine that with only a month’s worth of games and presumably intermittent playing time, it’ll be difficult for him to fully convince other clubs that he can again be an asset.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times profiled and spoke to three veteran players that will be helping the Rays’ Wild Card push: J.P. Arencibia, Daniel Nava and Grady Sizemore. Topkin looks at how each came to join the Rays, with manager Kevin Cash admitting that the team initially expected Sizemore’s Tampa Bay tenure to last three or four days. Sizemore has instead been around for 37 games and delivered roughly league-average offensive production (park-adjusted), though his OBP and defensive skills are admittedly somewhat lacking.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Red Sox, De Aza

If the Yankees had to win one playoff game and could send out whomever they wanted to the mound, that pitcher might be Nathan Eovaldi, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Eovaldi, who has posted a 2.93 ERA in his last 12 starts, has looked like a top starter for more than two months and a scout familiar with him from his NL days says he’s the best hurler the Yankees have right now.  The question is, is this all a fluke or is Eovaldi for real?  Sherman is betting on the latter.  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Now that Alejandro De Aza has started two games in a row for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) wonders aloud if the outfielder is being showcased for a trade.  Through 89 combined games for the Orioles and Red Sox this season, De Aza owns a .264/.320/.441 slash line.  The Dodgers and Giants both had interest in acquiring De Aza after he cleared waivers this month but both NL West teams felt that the asking price was too high.
  • New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a history of pulling off quality trades and he isn’t the type to beat around the bush when it comes to negotiating, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes.  “There wasn’t a lot of back and forth,” said former Phillies GM Ed Wade, reflecting on his 2005 acquisition of Ugueth Urbina. “I think it was two or three calls. Every conversation with trades, even prior to that, was pretty matter of fact and to the point. Dave always seemed to get to the crux of the matter pretty quickly.”  Among the great deals on DD’s resume are the acquisitions of Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer and also Mike Lowell when he was with the Marlins.
  • Rays prospect Blake Snell could be the franchise’s next great starter, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune writes.

NL Notes: Brewers GM, Francoeur, Braves, Urias

There’s been a good deal of speculation surrounding the Brewers‘ GM opening, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick hears (Twitter link) two more names making their round of speculation: Braves assistant GM John Coppolella and Rays director of player personnel Matt Arnold. Coppolella has long been speculated to be Atlanta’s GM of the future, but John Hart is currently serving as the team’s president of baseball operations. Arnold has moved up from Rays pro scouting director to his current position over the past few seasons.

A few more late-night notes pertaining to the National League…

  • Jeff Francoeur is open to a return to the Phillies even in another rebuilding season, he tells MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki“I like where we’re going right now,” Francoeur explained. “Hell, we have the [fourth]-best record in the National League in the second half. At the same time, I’m not saying I’ve got to play every day, but I would want an opportunity to play if I’m playing well. I’m not saying every day, though.” A potential return for Francoeur, of course, will depend largely on the team’s impending front office decisions, which the outfielder acknowledged. Zolecki adds that he, too, hears that the Phillies pulled Francoeur back off waivers when he was claimed, adding that the Pirates were possibly the team.
  • Five young Braves prospects were injured in a bus accident in the Dominican Republic over the weekend, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes. Fortunately, most of the injuries were minor, though 18-year-old Luis Martin Severino Galvan is said to have suffered a broken leg.
  • Dodgers top prospect Julio Urias is not under consideration for a call-up in early September, manager Don Mattingly told reporters, including Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles“He probably would not be one of the guys we see right away,” said Mattingly. However, the team hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of Urias — a consensus Top 5 prospect — debuting later in the month and pitching in relief, Saxon writes. Urias only turned 19 years old earlier this month, but he’s already pitching at the Double-A level, where he has a 3.03 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings (12 starts).

AL Notes: Rays, Kaminsky, Washington, Park

Marc Topkin runs through the Rays roster to identify six players who have made the most of opportunities to provide surprising value this year in Tampa Bay. Logan Forsythe, added via trade before the 2014 campaign, has arguably been the best of them, putting up a .279/.360/.434 slash with 14 home runs and nine steals while playing multiple infield positions. Forsythe has lined himself up for a nice raise on his $1.1MM arb salary from this season. And a player added just before this season, righty Erasmo Ramirez, has somewhat quietly compiled 123 innings of 3.66 ERA pitching on the year. Ramirez won’t even reach arb eligibility until 2017, making him a nice asset for the future.

Here are a few more notes from around the American League:

  • When the Indians managed to pry young lefty Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals in the Brandon Moss deal, reactions were overwhelmingly positive for Cleveland. Indians GM Chris Antonetti tells Jim Ingraham of Baseball America that he likes Kaminsky’s fastball life, groundball tendencies, command of the zone, and overall pitch mix. Cleveland is not concerned about Kaminsky’s light frame, and intends to give him every chance to reach the big leagues as a starter. The 20-year-old southpaw has pitched to a 2.24 ERA in 104 1/3 innings at the High-A level on the season.
  • The Athletics have named Ron Washington as the team’s third base coach to replace Mike Gallego, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It was somewhat curious to see the move made now, but the team has struggled with baserunning issues of late and Washington will now have a chance to coach in uniform during games. (He had been prohibited from doing so because of rules limiting the number of uniformed staff.) Nothing more should be read into the decision, writes Slusser, as manager Bob Melvin is still expected to be locked up to a new deal after the season.
  • The Twins have scouted Korean slugger Byung-ho Park “a lot” ever since he was a sixteen-year-old, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. But the increasingly interesting first baseman still seems likely to land elsewhere if he’s posted this winter, Wolfson adds.

This Date In Transactions History: 8/23/15

The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone but there are still plenty of moves that go down in the month of August.  Historically, we’ve seen some significant transactions go down on the date of August 23rd.  Could we see some moves of note today on MLB Trade Rumors?  While we wait to find out, let’s take a look back at the last few years..

  • One year ago today, the Red Sox signed Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo.  The seven-year deal could be worth up to $72.5MM in total, assuming that the outfielder does not opt out before 2020.  The buzz around Castillo was building momentum all through the summer, but the size of the deal took many around baseball by surprise.  Owner John Henry has acknowledged that missing out on Jose Abreu may have played a role in Boston’s aggressive pursuit of Castillo, but Red Sox exec Allard Baird recently defended the signing and stressed that Boston did its homework on Castillo.  The 28-year-old hasn’t lived up to the expectations of the contract so far but he has looked strong since his latest recall from Triple-A.
  • On this date in 2013, the Nationals sent David DeJesus to the Rays for a player to be named later.  Of course, DeJesus’ stint in Washington amounted to little more than a layover.  The Nats acquired DeJesus in a waiver deal with the Cubs on August 19th and sent him packing just days later.  In total, DeJesus went 0-for-3 with a walk in his brief tenure with the Nationals.  DeJesus would enjoy a lengthier stint with the Rays before a late July deal this season sent him to the Angels.
  • On the same date as the DeJesus deal, the Nationals also shipped Kurt Suzuki to the A’s for minor leaguer Dakota Bacus.  Suzuki’s time in Washington was fairly short, though not as quick as DeJesus’ stint.  The catcher, who was sent to the Nationals in August of 2012, found himself back in Oakland just one year and 20 days later.  After helping the A’s reach the postseason, Suzuki had his $8.5MM option declined in the offseason.  The catcher would go on to sign a one-year deal with the Twins that winter and he later inked a multi-year extension in the midst of his first All-Star campaign.
  • On this date in 2009, the Red Sox signed Xander Bogaerts as an amateur free agent.  While he’s regarded as a possible up-and-coming star today, Bogaerts did not have a great deal of hype around him when he was signed as a 16-year-old.  The Red Sox inked the Aruban shortstop for a paltry $410K signing bonus.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/22/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The Rays have outrighted righty Jose Dominguez to Triple-A Durham, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Rays designated Dominguez for assignment last week. He had a handful of successful appearances with the big club this year, but struggled at Durham, posting a 6.26 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9 in 23 innings. The Rays acquired him along with pitching prospect Greg Harris in November when they traded Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore to the Dodgers.

Jake McGee To Undergo Knee Surgery

Rays left-hander Jake McGee will undergo knee surgery that will sideline up for six to eight weeks, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. While Topkin doesn’t specifically state this, it would seem that the surgery will bring what was already an injury-shortened season to an end for Tampa Bay’s standout lefty.

McGee, 29, began the season on the disabled list as he recovered from offseason elbow surgery and wasn’t activated until May 14. The 35 innings totaled by McGee in 2015 were characteristically excellent, as he notched a 2.57 ERA with a 48-to-7 K/BB ratio. Both left-handed and right-handed hitters posted OPS marks well below .600 against McGee. Those stellar numbers come on the heels of a 2014 campaign that saw McGee deliver 71 1/3 innings of a 1.89 ERA with 90 strikeouts against 16 walks.

McGee will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, and though his season was shortened by injury, that dominant performance will still net him a raise on his $3.55MM salary. That raise won’t necessarily take him above and beyond the Rays’ price range, but for a team with a perennially modest payroll, it could potentially still be concerning. Tampa Bay already has $29.8MM committed to four players next season before considering arbitration raises to McGee, Alex Cobb (though his arb price should be identical to last season’s $4MM after not pitching in 2015), Desmond Jennings, Drew Smyly, Daniel Nava and Logan Forsythe, among others. The Rays entered the season with a $75MM payroll — their second straight season in that range.

Quick Hits: GM Turnover, Williams, Zduriencik, Prospects

Baseball has experienced intense turnover in its front offices of late, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes in a column today, and there could be more to come. Nightengale cites Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Phillies, Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners, and Walt Jocketty of the Reds as candidates for dismissal. The frequency of change represents a “new state of the game,” argues Nightengale.

  • The Mariners could end up bringing in White Sox president Kenny Williams to head its front office, Nighengale reports. But Williams may also be in the running to become the new president of the Blue Jays. Reds special assistant Kevin Towers also increasingly seems to be an option for Seattle, Nightengale adds on Twitter.
  • Zduriencik says that he pays no heed to the rumor mill, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Though he’s aware that there is chatter that he could be vulnerable, the Mariners general manager explains that he can’t let that affect his work. “I’ve got eyes,” said the seven-year veteran GM. I can see what’s going on here. I know what has not worked and what should be working and isn’t. For me to focus on any outside distractions (is non-productive).” Zduriencik stressed that he still believes in the talent base he’s compiled, explaining: “I think when you start to piece it together, there are things we need to do going forward, but I do think that there are some really solid pieces there.”
  • Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs provides an overhauled, mid-season look at the game’s best prospects. He breaks down a series of different prospect classes. One of those is his list of the game’s premium pre-MLB players, which is made up of the 26 names who separated themselves from the pack. The usual suspects sit atop that list, but there are some quick-rising players as well, including shortstops Orlando Arcia (Brewers, #8), Franklin Barreto (Athletics, #14), and Trea Turner (Nationals, #15), outfielders Bradley Zimmer (Indians, #21) and Gleyber Torres (Cubs, #23), and Rays lefty Blake Snell, who shot all the way up to the 16th slot. McDaniel also lists the year’s newly-emerging prospects, the newly-professional crop of players added over the summer, and the impressive list of young players who no longer qualify as prospects.
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America takes a closer look at one such swiftly-rising prospect, Nationals outfielder Victor Robles. The 18-year-old drew the attention of the organization because of his quick-twitch athleticism and high energy, and the club’s $225K bonus has paid out amply so far. It’s a lengthy piece, but well worth a read for any prospect hounds or Nats fans.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Cruz, Parra, Orioles

The Yankees fell to the Blue Jays 3-1 today, but the pitching of Luis Severino was definitely a bright spot for the Bombers.  In six innings of work, Severino struck out a career-high nine batters while walking three and surrendering five total hits.  As Brandon Kuty of the Star-Ledger writes, it’s an encouraging sign for the Yankees, who refused to deal the promising youngster at the deadline.  Here’s a look at the other teams in the AL East…

  • David Ortiz lobbied the Red Sox to go out and get slugger Nelson Cruz, but Boston didn’t make a play for him, WEEI’s John Tomase writes.  “He was all in,” Cruz said. “Anytime we played, he reminded me that he wanted me here. It meant a lot. I’m a fan of him, and also a good friend. When a player like him, a future Hall of Famer, requests for you to play with him, it’s definitely something that grabs you.”  The Red Sox might be in a different position today if they went out and got Cruz to play left field instead of Hanley Ramirez, Tomase writes.  Ramirez got a four-year, $88MM deal from the Red Sox while Cruz signed for $57MM over four.
  • The Orioles should try and lock up newly-acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra, Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun opines.  Parra, he writes, gives the O’s the on-base potential and the defensive ability that they lose when Nick Markakis left via free agency.  Parra, who is earning $6MM in 2015, will probably be in line for a pay raise.
  • The Rays shouldn’t wait to promote pitcher Blake Snell, Steve Kinsella of Sports Talk Florida writes.   The 22-year-old former first-round pick has looked great in five Triple-A starts, posting a 1.48 ERA with 12.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

Rays Designate Jose Dominguez For Assignment

The Rays have designated Jose Dominguez for assignment, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The move will make room on the 40-man roster for the return of pitcher Drew Smyly.

Dominguez, 25, came to the Rays in the November deal that sent Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore to the Dodgers. Tampa Bay also acquired minor league pitcher Greg Harris in that swap.

Dominguez received a brief taste of Major League action in each of the past three seasons – two with L.A. and one with Tampa Bay. Baseball America once ranked him 11th among Dodgers prospects, calling him a “pure power arm” whose fastball sits 97-100 mph and can touch 102. However, BA noted his erratic command and a 50-game suspension for PED use on his minor league track record in their scouting report. In 25 appearances with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate this season, Dominguez has posted a 6.26 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9.  Still, he’s shown a propensity for strikeouts in the minors, averaging 9.9 punchouts per nine innings for his career.

To keep track of Dominguez and everyone else in DFA limbo, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.