Ted Lilly Rumors

Quiet Deadline Day Expected?

Eleven hours remain until tonight's waiver trade deadline.  A year ago today, Jim Thome, Jose Contreras, Ronnie Belliard, and Jon Garland were dealt.  But two years ago it was pretty much just David Eckstein, and three years ago we only had deals for Steve Trachsel and Russell Branyan.  So SI's Jon Heyman may be right in passing along the prediction from baseball executives that only "a couple of bullpen and bench pieces" will be moved today.  More from Heyman:

Heyman On Ramirez, Yankees, Diamondbacks

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated has a new column up this evening.  Let's dive in and see what he has for us..

  • Heyman writes that a deal sending Manny Ramirez to the White Sox would be in the best interests of all parties involved.  Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has lamented the monster deal given to Ramirez ever since he signed off on it, so it wouldn't make sense to hang on to him, particularly when they're not playing him regularly.  Some close to the slugger believe that the Dodgers are simply trying to rankle him enough so that he'll happily leave.  If that is indeed the plan, then it seems to be working.  Earlier today it was reported that Ramirez is telling friends that he can't wait to join the White Sox.
  • Dodgers starter Ted Lilly would be a great get for the Yankees but he likely wouldn't make it down to them.  Even if it were to fall all the way to the Bombers, there's little chance the Dodgers would deal him anyway. With Andy Pettitte sidelined, the Yankees could certainly use a pitcher before the deadline strikes.
  • The Padres' success on the field makes former GM Kevin Towers look good and could boost his candidacy for future openings.  Heyman opines that Yankees' scouting director Damon Oppenheimer would be a fine choice for the job as well.
  • By putting in a claim on Ramirez, the Rays showed that they are serious about winning this season.  Their window may be closing as Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Rafael Soriano can all leave via free agency after this season.

Odds & Ends: Dodgers, Overbay, Hawpe, Lilly, Marlins

Links for Friday…

  • Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times says (via Twitter) that Dodgers GM Ned Colletti hasn't asked anyone to waive their no-trade clause, which would include Manny Ramirez.
  • Lyle Overbay was pulled from tonight's game in the 6th inning, and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com says there has been trade interest in the Jays' first baseman recently. However, Overbay left for precautionary reasons as he's been feeling under the weather according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter links).
  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Brad Hawpe chose the Rays over the Red Sox was because there was "a perceived better fit in terms of guaranteed playing time."
  • The Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on waivers today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported yesterday that the Dodgers aren't inclined to trade Lilly.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports that Marlins president David Samsom directed millions of dollars to owner Jeffrey Loria. Samson has said publicly that he did no such thing, but Passan contests that "what Samson said was so provably false that it was akin to a 3-year-old trying to hide his peas under a pile of mashed potatoes."
  • Stephen Strasburg will probably need Tommy John surgery, according to the Nationals.
  • Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says the idea of Joe Girardi leaving the Yankees for the Cubs this offseason is "pure insanity," since the Yankees will always provide Girardi with the chance to win.
  • However, Cubs sources confirmed to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that the Cubs will pursue Girardi to manage, possibly as the leading candidate, if he is available.
  • Padres GM Jed Hoyer told MLB.com's Corey Brock that he and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein joked about the inevitable Adrian Gonzalez rumors last winter. As Brock shows, those rumors are a thing of the past for the first place Padres.

Stark On Cubs, Manny, Lilly, Moyer

If you like the idea of trading draft picks, you may be in luck. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark hears from an American League official who says "just about everyone I talk to is in agreement with" the idea that "there's no reason not to [trade picks] anymore." The MLBPA doesn't oppose the idea either, so perhaps teams will be able to trade picks after the next collective bargaining agreement expires in 2011. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • Stark hears that the Cubs don't intend to pursue "celebrity managers" this offseason. They have signed Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella, but may go for an under-the-radar candidate this time.
  • Manny Ramirez has to play well between now and the end of the season if he wants a significant amount of guaranteed money for 2011, but one executive predicted that he could make $6-7MM as a DH if he finishes strong.
  • Teams that have been in contact with the Dodgers don't get the sense that the team has interest in trading Ted Lilly. They may want to re-sign him, though recent history suggests they'll be hesitant to offer arbitration.
  • Jamie Moyer says he hasn't given up on pitching this year and doesn't want his career to end because of his current elbow strain.

Rosenthal On Uggla, Cubs, D’Backs, Ramirez

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has some hot stove items to share in his latest Full Count video

  • Contract negotiations between Dan Uggla and the Marlins are "not off to a great start."  Rosenthal reports that the Marlins are offering a three-year contract but Uggla wants a five-year pact.  We heard last week that the Marlins were offering a three-year, $30MM deal, but Rosenthal guesses that Uggla is looking for something in the range of $55-60MM over the desired five years.
  • The Cubs' "number-one need" in the offseason is a left-handed power bat at either first base or right field, with Tyler Colvin available to play the other position. 
  • Starting pitching is also a need for the Cubs, as Rosenthal says the team wants to bring in at least one new starter "regardless of what they do with Carlos Zambrano."  One option could be to bring back a recently-traded ace — Rosenthal says Chicago "still has a lot of interest in Ted Lilly." 
  • Arizona president and CEO Derrick Hall says "it would be crazy" to not interview other manager and general manager candidates despite the fact that he's happy with the work done by interim manager Kirk Gibson and interim GM Jerry Dipoto.  Hall says he will start a GM search at the beginning of September, with Dipoto "at the top of [the] list."  Rosenthal expects Kevin Towers, Dodgers assistant GM Logan White and Yankees vice-president Damon Oppenheimer to all draw interest from the Diamondbacks, though New York would have to grant Arizona permission to talk to Oppenheimer.
  • Now that Manny Ramirez is off the disabled list, Rosenthal provided an update to his news from last week about the possibility of Ramirez on the waiver wire.  The Dodgers will wait to put Ramirez on waivers since teams will want to make sure that he is both healthy and hitting well.  Rosenthal repeats that the White Sox are the club "most likely" to put in a claim for Ramirez, since the Sox "don't like Brad Hawpe all that much" and they doubt that Detroit would trade them Johnny Damon.

Discussion: Ted Lilly

The Dodgers picked up Cubs lefty Ted Lilly at the trade deadline with the hopes of making a run at the postseason.  As they host the Reds at home tonight, they sit 12 games back of the Padres for the NL West crown and seven games back in the wild card chase.  Their playoff hopes aren't quite dashed at this point but with Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal still sidelined with injuries, things do not look good for Los Angeles.

Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney wondered if the Dodgers might try to flip the two-time All-Star to a playoff contender.  He notes that Lilly would not clear waivers as he would have several teams interested and points to Philadelphia and St. Louis as possible candidates.  With a 1.29 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in four starts thus far for the Dodgers, it's no surprise to hear that he is highly sought after.

Lilly becomes a free agent at season's end and based on the Dodgers' actions last season, many observers believe that they will not offer him arbitration.  If you were in GM Ned Colletti's position, would you hang on to the hurler to keep your playoff hopes alive or would you ship him to his seventh career major league destination?

Odds & Ends: Inge, Damon, Draft, Lilly, Manny

One year ago today, the Mets released Livan Hernandez. So far in 2010, Hernandez has a 3.06 ERA and ranks in the top ten in the NL in innings pitched and complete games. He doesn't strike anybody out, but his walk rate is low and he's headed for the 200 IP plateau once again. Here are some links for Friday as we contemplate Hernandez's surprising season… 

The Dodgers’ 2011 Rotation

Los Angeles fans might be focused on the closer's position today, but as we look ahead to next season, the Dodgers will go into the offseason with three-fifths of their starting rotation on the free agent market.  Here's a tentative look ahead at what the Dodger rotation might look like (barring injuries or any other unforseen incidents) on the next Opening Day.

Firstly, let's look at the starters who are under the club's control.  Clayton Kershaw can be safely pencilled in as the Dodgers' number one starter next season, so if you hear any news about him this winter, it will likely be the Dodgers exploring long-term contract talks.  (Kershaw is eligible for arbitration after 2011.)

Chad Billingsley's name has been mentioned in trade rumors for everyone from Roy Halladay to Roy Oswalt, but the right-hander has remained in Dodger blue.  Billingsley has paid off the team's faith in him by developing into a solid starter: a 3.59 career ERA and a 2.05 K/BB ratio over five seasons.  He has even shown signs of harnessing his control issues by posting a career-low 3.2 BB/9 ratio thus far in 2010.  Billingsley is making $3.85MM this season and has two more arbitration years left, so he might be another target for a long-term deal. 

Looming over any contract talks for either pitcher (or any offseason move for the Dodgers) is the ongoing dispute over the Dodgers' ownership stemming from the divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  One would think that L.A. would find enough money to lock up their two young starters, especially with the likes of Manny Ramirez's contract coming off the books.  The Dodgers have shown that they've been willing and able to spend a bit in the wake of the McCourt divorce, but if a sudden cash crunch pops up in the winter, it's possible that Billingsley could be swapped instead of given what could be substantial arbitration raises for the next two years.

That leaves the Dodgers' three pending free agent starters: Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla.  If last year was any indication, L.A. won't offer salary arbitration to any of them, though it seems quite unlikely that Lilly or Kuroda would accept.  Lilly seems destined to test the market for a big deal and will no doubt get attention from several teams.  Given the Dodgers' payroll uncertainty, it seems safe to presume that Lilly will be pitching elsewhere in 2011.

Kuroda is approaching the end of the three-year, $35.3MM contract he signed with Los Angeles in 2007, and has been the definition of a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher since coming to the majors from Japan.  Kuroda will turn 36 in February and has a couple of DL stints to his name, which will probably keep him from getting a long-term deal.  It's easy to picture a number of teams bidding on the right-hander, so again, the Dodgers could be priced out of the market. 

Padilla has put up very good numbers (3.29 ERA, 8.2 K/9 ratio in 22 appearances) since signing with the Dodgers in August 2009, though his L.A. stint has been marred by a two-month stint on the DL this year with a forearm injury.  Padilla agreed to return to the Dodgers on a one-year, $5.025MM contract for this season, and given his love of pitching at Dodger Stadium, it's possible to see Padilla return on something akin to a two-year, $14MM deal, possibly with an option year and some incentive clauses.

What will the Dodgers do to fill these holes in the rotation?  Help could come from within in the form of John Ely, who threw eight quality starts out of 14 in Padilla's place this season and looked like he belonged in the majors.  Charlie Haeger and Carlos Monasterios also started games for L.A. this year, but Haeger pitched terribly and Monasterios projects better out of the bullpen.

Down on the farm, L.A.'s best pitching prospects seem at least a year or two away.  Right-hander Josh Lindblom (the Dodgers' second-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft) looked to be on the fast track to the majors after he zoomed from A-ball to Triple-A within two years, but Lindblom struggled badly (7.06 ERA) as a starter at Triple-A Albuquerque this year and was converted back into a reliever.

Two Dodger pitching prospects made Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospects list (right-handers Ethan Martin and Chris Withrow) though both are struggling with control issues.  Martin has a 5.7 BB/9 ratio and a 5.57 ERA in high-A ball this season, while Withrow (the #48-ranked prospect in BA's preseason list) has a 4.8 BB/9 ratio and a 5.84 ERA in Chattanooga.  With this relative lack of major league-ready arms coming up, it makes the deal of James McDonald for short-term rental Octavio Dotel at the trade deadline seem pretty curious.

Between the ownership issues and Joe Torre's possible retirement, there are still enough changes to come in Los Angeles that it's hard to predict exactly what the Dodgers will do with their rotation next season.  Barring any payroll increase, however, it seems likely that L.A. will look to low-cost veterans who might take a Padilla-esque short-term deal to revive themselves pitching at Chavez Ravine. 

In his examination of Cincinnati's 2011 rotation, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith noted that Aaron Harang is likely to have his option declined by the Reds in the winter.  A pitcher like Harang, who has struggled but still put up decent peripheral numbers over the last three seasons, could regain his All-Star form in moving from the Great American Ballpark to Dodger Stadium.  Free agent NL West veterans like Kevin Correia or Jeff Francis (who will likely have his $7MM option declined by the Rockies) could be possible Dodger targets as well.

Dodgers Acquire Lilly, Theriot For DeWitt

The Dodgers acquired veteran lefty Ted Lilly, infielder Ryan Theriot, and $2.5MM from the Cubs for second baseman Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit today.  Lilly has $4.24MM remaining on his contract, while Theriot has $918K.  The Cubs are picking up about half of the tab on the players they're sending. 

Lilly set himself apart from the many brutal pitching signings made in the 2006-07 offseason by making 113 starts for the Cubs with a 3.70 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 over the four-year deal.  Though he began this season on the disabled list due to November shoulder surgery, Lilly sports similar numbers in 2010.  He serves as proof that velocity isn't everything, with the sixth-slowest average fastball velocity in baseball at 86.1 mph.  Lilly currently projects as a Type A free agent, though the Dodgers' recent history suggests they will not offer him arbitration and therefore will not receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Theriot, 30, has a .284/.320/.327 line on the season.  He'd been the Cubs' starting shortstop for a few years, but moved to second base when they promoted Starlin Castro in May.  Theriot's walk rate reached 11.0% in 2008, but is down to 4.6% this year.  He's under team control through 2012, if the Dodgers want to tender a contract two more times.

DeWitt, 25 next month, is having a better season than Theriot at .270/.352/.371.  He's under team control through 2014, so the Cubs acquired a long-term asset for second base.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein calls his the "prettiest swing you'll see never turned into results," calling DeWitt a "constant source of disappointment" for the Dodgers.

Wallach, son of former big leaguer Tim, was a third-round pick of the Dodgers last year.  Baseball America ranked him 20th among Dodgers prospects heading into the season, saying he could blossom into a No. 3 in time.  He's currently in Low A.  Smit, a reliever, spent most of this year in High A ball where he posted a 2.49 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 1.8 BB/9 in 50.6 innings.  He's now in Double A.

Jayson Stark, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman, and Tim Brown reported on the trade as it developed.

Dodgers Acquire Lilly, Theriot For DeWitt

1:15pm: Stark tweets that the pitching prospects going to the Cubs are Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit.

1:09pm: The Cubs will get DeWitt and two minor league pitchers for Lilly, Theriot, and $2.5MM tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.

1:03pm: Lilly and Theriot for DeWitt is done, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

12:53pm: Stark tweets that the Dodgers and Cubs are on the verge of a deal that would send Lilly and Theriot to L.A.  Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times agrees.

12:34pm: Blake DeWitt and at least one other player would go to the Cubs as part of a Lilly-Theriot deal if the sides can reach an agreement, tweets Rosenthal.  The inclusion of Theriot will seal the deal from the Cubs' point of view, tweets Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Lilly doesn't appear to have many suitors aside from the Dodgers.

11:39am: The latest on Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly