Tanner Scheppers Rumors

Daniels On Hamilton, Vlad, Lee, Scheppers

Rangers GM Jon Daniels chatted with ESPN readers yesterday afternoon.  A few nuggets:

  • Daniels explained that Josh Hamilton will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season, and "a lot can happen between now and then that could keep him in Texas beyond that point."  Hamilton reportedly turned down a four-year, $24MM offer in 2009.  Rangers president Nolan Ryan recently testified that Hamilton's salary could jump to $8-10MM in 2010 if he wins the MVP award. 
  • Daniels has let the agents for Vladimir Guerrero and Cliff Lee know he'd like to re-sign their clients, but he feels it's best to talk specifics in the offseason.
  • It's "certainly possible" Tanner Scheppers will make his MLB debut this year, and Daniels says the Rangers "don't really make decisions based on service time."  The 23-year-old righty sports a 3.76 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 in 52.6 Triple A innings this year.
  • The Rangers were discussing Cristian Guzman with the Nationals prior to Ian Kinsler's injury; Daniels viewed Guzman as a luxury at that point.
  • The expectation is that the Rangers will be able to announce the player to be named received from the Red Sox in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia deal shortly.
  • Daniels has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave if the Rangers are sold to a group other than the one fronted by Chuck Greenberg, but he said yesterday that "leaving the Rangers is not remotely on my mind" and "I love it here."

Cliff Lee Rumors: Wednesday

The Cliff Lee trade talk started intensifying yesterday, as the Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers now have a new suitor to out-bid: the Rays. Not only are the Rays on the periphery of the Lee sweepstakes, they are ready to add payroll and appear willing to part with B.J. Upton. The Yankees are confident that they can jump in and pry Lee away from their divisional foes, but let's not rule out the Yanks' crosstown rivals. Here is the latest on Cliff Lee, with more rumors to come throughout the day:

  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says that the Rangers are working hard to acquire Lee, but nothing is imminent. Texas has plenty of minor league talent to offer, but they don't appear to be willing to move Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez according to Sullivan. Derek Holland, Blake Beavan, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia could all be fair game.  Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Mariners "inquired about the availability" of Davis and Saltalamacchia.  Righty Alexi Ogando is said to be on the Mariners radar, though "there is some resistance to include him in a deal" on the Rangers' side. 
  • Morosi expands on his earlier tweet, saying that the Reds and Mariners have exchanged names "in preliminary fashion," though the two sides have yet to exchange firm proposals. One GM called Cincinnati a "sleeper" in the Lee sweepstakes.
  • CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam checked on the status of Boston's interest in Lee earlier today, and heard that the asking price was too high (Twitter links). Seattle wants a "stud catcher" close to the bigs, which the Red Sox simply don't have.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets the impression that the Mariners aren't close to moving Lee, at least not to the Twins. He was also told that the two sides haven't exchanged official proposals, and that the Ramos-Hicks talk is "pure speculation."
  • The Mariners are seeking a “mammoth return” for Lee, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One executive interested in the left-hander said the Mariners made a “crazy ask,” demanding an even better package than Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks.
  • FOX reports that the Twins offered Ramos and Kevin Slowey for Lee. At the moment, the Twins, Mets, Yankees and Rangers are most actively engaged with the Mariners in trade talks.
  • The Mariners are calling teams back and telling them that it will take two blue-chip prospects plus a third young player to acquire Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
  • Two scouts tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that third base prospect Juan Francisco would be the Reds' best trade chip, not Yonder Alonso (Twitter link).
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears that the Yankees are not engaged in trade talks for Lee now. They are confident they could acquire the left-hander, but do not intend to deal for him. Olney says the Twins are the favorites to acquire Lee, followed by the Reds, the Rays, the Mets, the Rangers and the field.
  • The Mets officials who have spoken to Joel Sherman of the New York Post don’t seem concerned that the Twins are the perceived frontrunners for Lee. The perception within the game is that the Mariners are leaning more toward scouting than number crunching, and the Mets believe that will work in their favor.

Odds & Ends: Orioles, Scheppers, Pirates, Blue Jays

As we prepare for a weekend of watching AL pitchers take ineffective swings, here are a few news items…

Rosenthal On Marlins, Oswalt, Rangers

Let's see what Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has for us in his latest Full Count video..

  • If the Marlins do not start playing more consistently, manager Fredi Gonzalez will be on the hot seat.  Florida is one win below .500, which probably does not strike most as a failure considering their modest $47.4MM.  However, as Rosenthal put it, owner Jeffrey Loria is not exactly "Mr. Patient".  At the start of Spring Training, Loria said that the team had all the ammunition needed to make the postseason.
  • Roy Oswalt could be the best starter available at the deadline, depending on three factors.  The team must be willing to move him, the 32-year-old must be willing to waive his no-trade clause, and a team must be willing to take on the rest of his contract.  Oswalt will only approve deals to certain clubs and two of them, the Braves and Cardinals, are already flush with starting pitching.  Money will be a major factor, as he is set to earn $15MM this season and $16MM in both 2011 and 2012.  The final year of the deal holds a $2MM buyout.
  • Rangers pitchers Matt Harrison and Rich Harden are effectively on notice.  Tommy Hunter is set to begin a rehabilitation assignment and Derek Holland has been stellar thus far in Triple-A.  There are even more arms waiting in the farm system, including Tanner Scheppers, the 44th overall selection in the 2009 draft.

Rangers Sign Tanner Scheppers

Add another name to the Rangers' huge stock of impressive young pitchers.  They signed 44th overall draft pick Tanner Scheppers today, according to SI's Jon Heyman (via Twitter).  Baseball America's John Manuel says Scheppers received a signing bonus of $1.25MM, a record for the supplemental first round.  Scheppers, like Aaron Crow, was not subject to the August 17th signing deadline since he was drafted from an independent club.  Scheppers was drafted 48th overall by the Pirates in 2008, but did not sign.  His shoulder injury was a likely factor.  Click here for MLB.com's scouting report on Scheppers.

The Rangers were unable to sign their first-round draft pick, high school lefty Matt Purke.  He reportedly rejected a $4MM offer at the signing deadline, though Jim Reeves wrote on Saturday that MLB forced the team to lowball him.

Odds & Ends: Scheppers, Mets

A pair of stray links on a slow night…

  • In today's mailbag, Jeff Wilson of The Dallas Morning News reports that there has been no progress in negotiations between the Rangers and 44th overall pick Tanner Scheppers. Because he played in an independent league last year, the signing deadline did not apply to Scheppers and he is free to sign at any point until next June.
  • Former Mets GM Joe McIlvaine reflected on the deal that sent Lee Mazzilli to Texas in exchange for youngsters Ron Darling and Walt Terrell back in 1982, courtesy of MLB.com's Marty Noble. I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for these old trade stories.
  • MLBTR on Twitter. The best thing to hit the internet since MLBTR on Facebook

Rangers GM On Byrd, Pudge, Scheppers

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said in a chat hosted by the Dallas Morning News that he's focusing on this year because the Rangers haven't set their budget for 2010 yet. Here are the details and the rest of the rumors:

  • Not surprisingly, the Rangers aren't looking to trade away any of their veterans before the end of the month.
  • Ideally, Daniels would like to have Marlon Byrd back next year.
  • The Rangers acquired Ivan Rodriguez to win now, but they're open to bringing him back for another year.
  • Daniels estimates that 75% of all players appear on trade waivers at some point in August.
  • Daniels gets the sense that there have been more waiver claims than usual this year, despite suggestions that more players would clear because of a general reluctance to spend.
  • The GM would prefer not to see a worldwide draft, in part because he believes the Rangers have established a competitive advantage in Latin America.
  • The Rangers are still talking with Tanner Scheppers and his agent. The Rangers have until next year's draft to sign Scheppers.

Odds & Ends: Berroa, Yankees, Scheppers, Pirates

More odds, more ends, more links…

  • Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog reports that the Mets have designated Angel Berroa for assignment. Berroa's tenure in Flushing lasted 31 plate appearances, in which he fashioned a .148-.233-.185 batting line.
  • George A. King III of The NY Post reports that the Yankees placed second baseman Robinson Cano, as well as relievers Brian Bruney, David Robertson, and Mark Melancon on waivers this past Wednesday. King says it's "highly unlikely the Yankees will deal Cano."
  • MLB.com's Daniel Paulling spoke to Greg Genske, agent for Rangers' supplemental first round pick Tanner Scheppers, and reports that Genske is "setting up an audition for Scheppers for about a half dozen Japanese teams within a couple of weeks." Genske hasn't decided whether or not to invite the Rangers to workout, and also mentions that Scheppers has been given a clean bill of health.
  • In addition to eighth rounder Colton Cain, the Pirates have also signed fourth round pick Zackry Dodson according to MLB.com's Jen Langosch. Team president Frank Coonelly denied a report that the team reached an agreement with Dodson last month.
  • Patrick at NPB Tracker passes along a report that Chris Resop has left the Hanshin Tigers and returned home to the States to recover from pain in his throwing elbow. Resop doesn't have any immediate plans to return to Japan, and Patrick says he's unlikely to get another shot with Hanshin.

Crow & Scheppers Face Different Deadline

Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers will have until a week before next year's draft to sign with the teams that selected them, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. Most draftees must sign by August 17th, but MLB has ruled that the August deadline won't apply to players drafted out of independent leagues. Both Crow and Scheppers played in independent leagues after failing to sign last summer.

The Royals will have more time to sign Crow, but the Rangers may benefit most. Their finances are unstable now, but if they're resolved in the coming months, the team could sign Scheppers instead of shying away from his bonus demands.

Rangers Borrowed Millions From MLB

4:54pm: Yahoo's Gordon Edes reports that the Rangers borrowed millions from MLB and will continue to receive financial assistance from the league until owner Tom Hicks finalizes the club's sale. Edes' source says the Rangers borrowed less than $15MM.

Hicks isn't expected to sell the club before the end of the season, so the Rangers will have trouble adding salary at the deadline and could struggle to sign their top draft picks.

3:06pm: Rangers owner Tom Hicks and president Nolan Ryan were among those who dodged questions about the possibility that the Rangers had to borrow $15MM from MLB, according to Evan Grant of D Magazine. One of Grant's sources said the Rangers have had no trouble paying employees and should be able to sign draft picks and international free agents, as expected.

However, another source said the Rangers had a system in place that would allow them to borrow from MLB. If the Rangers have to borrow from the league, it would be harder for them to sign picks Tanner Scheppers and Matt Purke to the over-slot deals they're likely to demand, as the commissioner doesn't want inflated bonuses.

It's unclear whether the Rangers can add payroll at the deadline, but GM Jon Daniels has been proceeding as if it's not an option.