Tampa Bay Rays Rumors

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

Reactions To The Wil Myers Trade

Here’s a collection of early reactions to this afternoon’s massive Wil Myers trade between the Padres, Rays, and Nationals. The consensus so far seems to be that the Nationals have come out furthest ahead, thanks to the inclusion of shortstop Trea Turner as a player to be named from San Diego.

  • The trade is a risky one for A.J. Preller and the Padres, but the Padres need to take risks, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. The Padres don’t have a high payroll and have been stuck in a rut for the last four seasons, but Preller has decisively added talent to the team by engineering the Padres’ end of the Myers and Matt Kemp trades.
  • ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider-only) calls Myers a “tremendous buy-low opportunity” for San Diego but writes that the Nats “seemed to make out like bandits,” getting two strong prospects in Turner and Joe Ross in exchange for Steven Souza and Travis Ott. The deal is a puzzling one for the Rays, Law writes, wondering why they didn’t simply trade Myers for Turner and Ross.
  • Executives within the game also feel the Nationals came out ahead, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. “I think the Nats must have pics on TB and SD!!” says one executive. “They are the clear winner. Not even close.”
  • MLB.com’s Corey Brock quotes an NL scout on Turner, who says Turner clearly profiles as a big-league shortstop. “Turner for me was one of the easiest everyday SS grades I’ve ever written,” the scout says.
  • Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel profiles the prospects involved in the deal, though, and notes that the highest-profile ones — Souza, Turner and Ross — all generate varying reactions throughout the industry. McDaniel feels that Souza (a key to the deal for Tampa Bay) could turn out to be a bit like recently-traded outfielder Matt Joyce offensively.

Padres, Rays, Nationals Agree To Deal Centered Around Wil Myers

The Padres, Rays, and Nationals have agreed to a much-anticipated three-team swap — pending physicals — that will deliver important pieces to and from each club, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. A rough structure of the deal seemed to have taken form in recent hours, and Bowden has reported its final contours in a series of tweets (links: 1, 2, 3, 4.) The deal is unlikely to be announced before Thursday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

Outfielder Wil Myers will head to San Diego as the centerpiece of the trade, and indeed the entire pact will depend upon the health of his balky wrist, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports notes on Twitter. San Diego receives young hurlers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo from Tampa as well, joined by veteran big league catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Heading to Tampa from San Diego are backstop Rene Rivera, righty Burch Smith, and first base prospect Jake Bauers. Much of Tampa’s haul, however, will come from another source, as the Nationals will send outfielder Steven Souza and young lefty Travis Ott to Tampa.

For the Nationals, their involvement in this complicated transaction nets them a pair of young players. Righty Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner (as a PTBNL) will each head from the Padres to D.C. by way of Tampa.

Unpacking this deal is not easy, but it certainly begins with Myers — not only the marquee piece of this trade, but also the key player in the deal that sent James Shields to the Royals two years ago. Since that time, Myers has had one year of immense promise and one injury-marred, unproductive season. There is risk, not least of which because Myers missed significant time with a wrist injury, but then again San Diego is adding a potentially premier hitter who only just turned 24 years of age and still has five years of control.

Myers will be expected to pair with Matt Kemp — if and when that deal is complete — to deliver a middle-of-the-order threat to what had been a punchless lineup. Both carry a broad spectrum of possible outcomes, which will if nothing else make San Diego a fascinating team to watch for the next several years. One wonders what the trade means for Seth Smith, who played well last year before signing an extension, but who took a step back in the season’s second half and no longer seems to have a place in the corner outfield.

San Diego will also roll some younger arms into a system that is now without a few of its more advanced pitching prospects in Smith and Ross. The right-handed Reyes, 21, spent last year working at the low-A level from the pen. He struck out 10.6 and walked 2.5 batters per nine, en route to a 4.09 ERA in 33 frames. Castillo, an 18-year-old lefty, signed to a $1.55MM bonus out of Venezuela and has spent each of the last two years with the Rays’ Rookie league affiliate, mostly as a reliever. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently gave an update on Castillo in his Rays prospect breakdown, noting that the projectable hurler has a big fastball and has returned to health after sitting out much of 2014 with a tender arm.

Then there is the swap of backstops. New Padres GM A.J. Preller has now moved both of last season’s primary catching options, and replaced them with a mix of the veteran Hanigan and, presumably, top prospect Austin Hedges. Hanigan, 34, came to Tampa last year in an even more confusing three-team swap, and the Rays promptly signed him to an extension. The Rays added him for his OBP skills and defensive chops, and he’ll bring the same out west. He’ll also carry $8MM in obligations over the next two years, including a buyout of a $3.75MM club option for 2017.

In Rivera, the Friars will lose and the Rays will add a 31-year-old journeyman who broke out last year in one of the most surprising, under-reported stories in the league. Rivera posted a .252/.319/.432 line — good for a 117 OPS+ at pitcher-friendly Petco Park — and swatted 11 home runs in 329 plate appearances. He also drew rave reviews for his overall defensive contribution, with Baseball Prospectus rating him among the game’s best behind the plate. Rivera will also be a good bit cheaper than Hanigan, as MLBTR/Matt Swartz project him to earn $1.3MM in his first run through arbitration.

In addition to making that switch behind the plate, Tampa will add a mix of younger players, among them two wild cards. Bauers is a 19-year-old, left-handed-hitting first baseman who has not yet tapped into his power in the low minors. The 19-year-old Ott was taken in the 25th round of the 2013 draft but has seemingly improved his stock since. A 6’4 lefty, Ott struggled upon being promoted to the Class A level, but apparently showed enough to draw Tampa’s interest.

The bulk of the return, however, comes with the effective swap of five years of Myers for 12 (or more) seasons of Smith and, in particular, Souza. The 24-year-old Smith struggled in a brief MLB debut in 2013, missing bats as well as spots (11.4 K/9 vs. 5.2 BB/9 in 36 1/3 frames). But he was excellent in 92 1/3 Triple-A frames that year, working to a 2.63 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. Unfortunately, after being hit hard upon opening 2014 back in the PCL, Smith was shut down with a forearm strain and has not thrown since. That, combined with pre-existing questions about whether he had the secondary pitches to stick in the rotation, reduce his value significantly.

The real prize for new president of baseball operations Matthew Silverman appears to be Souza, who will present a cheaper and more controllable, but somewhat older, replacement for Myers. Last year’s International League MVP put himself firmly back on the map with a huge .345/.427/.577 triple-slash with 18 home runs and 28 steals in 419 plate appearances, completing a quick ascent back up the prospect ladder after initially languishing in the Nats’ system. As Dave Cameron of Fangraphs notes, the athletic Souza actually projects to be Myers’ equal next year and in some ways probably has just as much upside. Of course, he has not shown that ceiling in the big leagues, as has Myers, but Souza is more controllable with just 72 days of MLB service to his name.

That brings us to the Nationals, who parted with Souza in large part because the team is locked in at the corner outfield for the next several years. In return, GM Mike Rizzo added a 21-year-old righty who was taken in the first round of the 2011 draft and has shown signs of reaching his potential. Ross (Tyson’s younger brother) currently sits at eighth on MLB.com’s list of the Padres’ top prospects, with the publication citing his strong mid-90s heater, good power slider, and still-developing change in his ranking. He’ll be expected to join a talented new wave of arms that may have some big shoes to fill if Jordan Zimmermann and/or Doug Fister are not retained for the long run.

But the true motivation for the Nationals’ involvement probably lies with the player to be named, which will reportedly become Turner once he is eligible to be traded. Taken 13th overall from N.C. State in last year’s draft, the 21-year-old has done nothing but improve his stock since. Over 321 plate appearances at the low-A and Class A levels last year, Turner slashed .323/.406/.448 with five home runs and 23 stolen bases. Of course, his college-polished bat will face bigger challenges as he moves up in the system, but he is said to be a good defender with outstanding speed. MLB.com has him at fifth amongst San Diego prospects, but he is especially important to the Nationals as they look to fill in younger options behind incumbent Ian Desmond, who is of course entering his final year of team control.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Padres, Rays, Nationals Nearing Agreement On 3-Team Deal

Reports emerged yesterday that the Padres and Rays were discussing a deal that would send outfielder Wil Myers to San Diego. Subsequent reports greatly expanded the possibilities of that deal, including multi-team concepts, different packages from San Diego, and spin-off deals. If you would like to catch up on the earlier rumors, follow the page break link.

Various reports have indicated that a deal is close but that multiple different permutations are still in play. Here’s the latest, from this morning on:

  • Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports on Twitter that the deal is done, while Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that it is nearing the finish line. No draft choices will be moved in the deal, says Sherman.
  • The Rays are down to two possible scenarios, and are waiting to hear whether the Nationals are in or out, Topkin tweets. Regardless, Tampa is set to move Myers, Hanigan, and two lower-level minor league players. On its end, San Diego would send Rivera, Smith, and Bauers, as well as Ross and Turner. It appears that Tampa would either keep the latter two players or flip them to D.C. for Souza and an A-ball lefty. (Twitter links.) Turner, of course, was taken 13th overall in last year’s draft and would therefore need to be included as a player to be named later.
  • Lefty Jose Castillo is one of the other players that would move from Tampa, ESPN.com’s Keith Law hears (Twitter link). Since signing to a $1.55MM bonus, the 18-year-old Venezuelan has spent each of the last two years with the Rays’ Rookie league affiliate, mostly as a reliever. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs recently gave an update on Castillo in his Rays prospect breakdown, noting that the projectable hurler has a big fastball and has returned to health after sitting out much of 2014 with a tender arm.
  • Another young lefty, Travis Ott, appears to be the final name in this potential scenario, according to a report from Rosenthal (Twitter links). Rosenthal cautions that this is not a final agreement, but the scenario a source outlined for him, and adds that competitive balance picks could also be a component. (The Padres have the fifth competitive balance Round A choice, which is currently the 41st overall choice.)

Earlier Updates

  • The Rays are interested in San Diego’s first-round pick from last year, shortstop Trea Turner, according to Heyman (Twitter link). It is not clear that the young N.C. State product is in play, however, Heyman adds.
  • Another element of the deal being discussed is a swap of catchers Ryan Hanigan and Rene Rivera, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • The primary deal under contemplation includes 19-year-old first baseman Jake Bauers, right-handed pitching prospect Joe Ross, the fellow young righty Burch Smith, and two other players from San Diego’s side, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com tweets. A draft comp pick may also be involved in the swap, but prospects Matt Wisler and Austin Hedges are not believed to be, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post indicates in a tweet that the Nationals and Rays have an agreement in place involving outfielder Steven Souza in the event that the primary deal is consummated. He says that Tampa “will spin players” to D.C. if the Myers trade goes down. Earlier reports from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) connected the teams on that player, after Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the Nats had become involved.
  • Ben Zobrist is not expected to be part of the potential deal between the Nationals and Rays, Sherman tweets. Indeed, neither Zobrist nor Evan Longoria are involved in any of the scenarios under consideration, Topkin tweets.

(more…)



Angels, Rays Swap Kevin Jepsen, Matt Joyce

The Angels have sent reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Rays in exchange for outfielder Matt Joyce, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. The teams have already announced the move, making it official.

In adding Joyce, 30, the Halos have picked up a left-handed bat that has steadily delivered above-average offensive production. While Joyce’s offensive lines over the last three years (.243/.339/.410) have fallen well shy of the two that came before it (.265/.351/.478), he nevertheless is strong against righties.

It must be noted, however, that the Rays have done an excellent job of drastically limiting Joyce’s exposure to same-handed pitching, against whom he owns a lifetime .573 OPS. Joyce is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, with MLBTR and Matt Swartz projecting a $4.9MM salary. For Los Angeles, he will presumably slot in both in the outfield and at DH, perhaps sharing time with the right-handed-hitting C.J. Cron.

As for the 30-year-old Jepsen, he bolsters the back of a pen that just learned it will be without Jake McGee for at least some time to start the season, with elbow surgery shelving the player who ended last year as the team’s closer. Jepsen tossed 65 innings of 2.63 ERA ball last year with 10.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9, by far his most productive season as a pro. His projected arbitration salary is $2.6MM, offering Tampa some savings against the Joyce contract, and he will be controllable for an additional year.


Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

NL West Notes: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Padres

GM Dave Stewart says the Diamondbacks‘ acquisitions of Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster in the Wade Miley trade this week was about adding power arms, Nick Piecoro reports. “We, organizationally, haven’t had any real power arms in our organization since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling,” says Stewart. “So this gave us an opportunity to put two power arms in our rotation.” That’s not entirely accurate, of course — as Piecoro notes, the Diamondbacks’ rotation has recently included Max Scherzer and Daniel Hudson. There have also been any number of relievers, like Matt Stites, who pitched in the Snakes’ bullpen last year. Still, there’s no doubt the Diamondbacks added velocity in the deal. Stewart now says he sees his rotation as Josh Collmenter, De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Webster, with Vidal Nuno, Trevor Cahill, Chase Anderson, Hudson, Randall Delgado, Andrew Chafin and Robbie Ray battling for the fifth spot, with the possibility that they could use the savings from the Miley and Miguel Montero deals to acquire a higher-end starter.

  • One of the Diamondbacks’ top scouts, Todd Donovan, has departed to become a special assignment scout with the Rays, Piecoro writes. Donovan’s move comes on the heels of former scouting director Ray Montgomery leaving for a front office job with the Brewers.
  • Many of the Dodgers‘ moves this offseason were made with team defense in mind, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Matt Kemp, who’s headed to the Padres, rates as one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball, and Hanley Ramirez, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent, is a weak defensive player as well. Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick should be a defensive improvement over Ramirez and Dee Gordon in the middle infield, and the Dodgers’ outfield defense should be better as well.
  • Even after acquiring Kemp, the Padres are still looking for a hitter. They’ve already been connected to Justin Upton, but Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune lists four more hitters who might make sense: Reds outfielder Jay Bruce (who might not be available), Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez, C/OF Evan Gattis of the Braves, and free agent 1B/OF Michael Morse. Other than Bruce, though, all four are weak defensive players, and one wonders how they might fit in San Diego, particularly the outfielders. One would think the Padres would want to continue with Seth Smith in a starting role after his strong 2014 season, so adding another corner outfielder to the mix would force Kemp into center, where he’s well below average. Perhaps Smith would become a trade candidate if the Padres do add another outfielder.

Rays, Pirates Complete Sean Rodriguez Trade

DEC. 12: The Rays announced that they have acquired right-hander Buddy Borden from the Pirates to complete the trade (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).

The 22-year-old Borden was Pittsburgh’s seventh-round pick out of UNLV in 2013 and spent this past season in the Class-A South Atlantic League. There, he pitched to a 3.16 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 128 innings (26 starts, 27 appearances total). At the time of the draft, Baseball America (subscription required) praised his durable, athletic build and a 90-92 mph fastball that could touch 95. However, BA also noted that his secondary pitches were below average, which could point to relief work in the long-term.

DEC. 1: The Pirates announced that they have acquired infielder Sean Rodriguez from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations. First baseman Gaby Sanchez has been designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Rodriguez was designated for assignment by the Rays last week. The 29-year-old, projected to earn $2MM via arbitration by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, posted a career-high 12 home runs in 2014 with a career-best .232 isolated power mark, but the rest of his stats took a tumble. Rodriguez batted .211/.258/.443 on the whole, walking at a career-low 3.9 percent clip while striking out in nearly 26 percent of his plate appearances.

Rodriguez is able to play all four infield positions as well the outfield corners, and he generally has posted plus defensive marks as an infielder. The Pirates are set to enter the season with Josh Harrison at third base, Jordy Mercer at shortstop, Neil Walker at second and Pedro Alvarez at first, and Rodriguez can back up all four of those positions at a reasonable price.

Sanchez, who turned 31 in September, struggled through one of the worst seasons of his career at the plate this past year, batting just .229/.293/.385 with seven homers. The right-handed hitting Sanchez is best served as a platoon bat, as evidenced by the 170-point differential between his career OPS marks versus lefties and righties. He did hit a respectable .256/.318/.429 against southpaws in 2014, so he’d make a good platoon partner for someone like Adam Lind in Milwaukee. However, with a projected arb salary of $2.7MM, interested teams may first hope that he can be claimed off waivers or even clears waivers rather than giving up a minor prospect in a trade.


Rule 5 Draft Notes: Rays, Twins, Graham

The Rule 5 Draft takes place at 11am Central on Thursday, with live audio coverage at MLB.com. The Rule 5 involves players who have been with their teams several years (five seasons if they signed at 18 or younger, four years if they signed at 19 or older) and have not yet been protected on their teams’ 40-man rosters. Teams must then add the players they select to their 40-man rosters, and keep them on their active rosters throughout the 2015 season.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo lists the draft order (the Diamondbacks have the first pick) and the key prospects, which include speedy Astros outfielder Delino DeShields, Marlins lefty Jarlin Garcia and Braves righty J.R. Graham, but the Rule 5 is often surprising, as teams often choose players (or choose no one) based on their own distinctive evaluations of the marginal prospects who tend to be available. (A couple weeks ago, we noted J.J. Cooper of Baseball America’s extensive preview of this year’s top Rule 5-eligible prospects.) Here are a few notes on tomorrow’s draft.

  • One potential pick could be Rays catcher Oscar Hernandez, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Topkin notes that Hernandez is very toolsy. Still, it’s hard to see him sticking on a big-league roster at this point, even in a backup role — he hit .249/.301/.401 in the Class A Midwest League last year, hardly numbers that suggest he can handle big-league pitching. Topkin writes that Hernandez isn’t polished defensively at this point, either.
  • Many teams tomorrow are unlikely to select a player at all, Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets.
  • If the Twins do select a player with the fifth pick and hold onto him, it could be Graham, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Graham, 24, posted a poor 5.55 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 71 1/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi last season, but he was returning from a shoulder injury, and he has an outstanding fastball. A team could select him and move him to their bullpen.

Nationals Rumors: Desmond, M’s, Detwiler, Clippard

The Nationals and Mariners have discussed Ian Desmond on several occasions but talks between the two teams have yet to really gain traction, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  Washington likes Brad Miller, so conceivably the young shortstop could be part of a larger package the M’s would send back to D.C.  Here’s some more about the Nationals…

  • Jordan Zimmermann has been drawn more trade attention than Desmond this week, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.
  • The Nats are actively discussing Ross Detwiler and Tyler Clippard with multiple teams, Rosenthal tweets.
  • The Nationals still want a second base upgrade and they’re talking with lots of teams about Clippard and Jerry Blevins, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
  • The Nationals have inquired on Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist, but it appears like a long shot to pry him away, according James Wagner of the Washington Post.
  • Jed Lowrie would appear to be a fit for the Nationals but there doesn’t appear to be anything happening on that front, Wagner writes.
  • General Manager Mike Rizzo has said throughout the winter that Anthony Rendon could slide to second base should they acquire a third baseman.  While some rolled their eyes at the notion of moving Rendon away from his natural position, people around the Nationals tell Wagner that they are indeed looking at third baseman and if there is a good one to be had, Rendon would be shifted to second.
  • The sense from teams that asked the Nationals about Clippard is that Washington wants better than a low-tier prospect and trading him wouldn’t be simply to dump his $9MM salary, according to Wagner.

East Notes: Myers, Desmond, Young, Morse, Orioles

The Rays have received some trade inquiries about Wil Myers, but do not seem apt to deal him, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. “The guy we saw last year was injured and didn’t really have a chance to demonstrate what he has,” says Rays executive Matt Silverman. “We look at him as a rookie of the year who really missed most of the season and expect him to be back in that form as a formidable bat in the middle of the lineup who also plays a pretty good outfield.” The Rays are widely expected to deal an outfielder this offseason, but that will likely be David DeJesus or Matt Joyce; as Topkin notes, trading the 2013 ROY-winning Myers after a down season would be selling low. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond does not want to be traded, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson writes. “Do I want to be a National [beyond 2015]? Yes,” says Desmond. “Do I think, at this particular moment, I will be, I don’t know.” Desmond and the Nationals have been unable to settle on a long-term extension, and he’s now one of several key Nats who’s eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.
  • The Orioles still have interest in Delmon Young as a right-handed power source but could pursue Michael Morse (to whom they’ve previously been connected) as a backup plan, ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets. Another possible option for them could be to acquire Allen Craig in a trade with the Red Sox. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo adds (via Twitter), however, that the Orioles are not close to signing Young. Young and Morse are both poor defensive players, but they’re coming off strong offensive seasons — Young hit .302/.337/.442 in a part-time role with Baltimore in 2014, while Morse batted .279/.336/.475 in 482 at bats with the Giants. (Before that, the Orioles acquired Morse for their stretch run in 2013, and he collected 30 plate appearances for them.) With Nelson Cruz gone, the Orioles could have either player pick up at bats at DH, while occasionally playing an outfield corner. Morse would likely be the more expensive of the two, with MLBTR’s Jeff Todd predicting Morse will get a two-year, $22MM deal.