Texas Rangers Rumors

Texas Rangers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL Notes: Blue Jays, Carrasco, Rangers

The Blue Jays, who are on the lookout for pitching help, are still in talks with the Padres about both starters and relievers, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The Padres, of course, have starters Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. The Jays’ payroll could be an issue, however. Morosi writes that, for example, it would be tough for the Jays to take on the remainder of Kimbrel’s contract. Kimbrel is due about $4MM the rest of the season, plus $11MM in 2016, $13MM in 2017 and a $1MM buyout on a $13MM option in 2018. Here’s more from the American League.

  • The Blue Jays and Indians nearly completed a deal involving starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. It’s not clear why the deal wasn’t completed, but Carrasco would have provided a long-term fix for the Jays’ rotation — Carrasco is signed through 2018, with team options for 2019 and 2020, and his outstanding peripherals (10.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 2015) suggest he has a strong foundation for future success. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday that the Jays had made a “big push” to trade for Carrasco.
  • The Rangers‘ solid recent play suggests that they should make moves to improve their pitching, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. They’re still in the playoff race, but Rangers starters have struggled to work deep into games, and they have a weak bullpen. The team has already decided to steer clear of big names on the rental market, though they’ve been connected to Cole Hamels along with Cashner and Ross.

Latest On Cole Hamels

4:42pm: The Rangers and Dodgers have emerged as the likely favorites to land Hamels, multiple sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.  The Phillies continue to discuss Hamels with at least four other teams – the Cubs, Yankees, Giants and Red Sox – but those teams don’t match up as well as Los Angeles or Texas, according to a source who spoke with Stark.  Sources also told Stark they would be surprised if a trade was completed before Tuesday.

3:13pm: The Yankees are exploring deals for all of the major available starting pitchers, but they’re not inclined to move top prospects or take on lots of salary to acquire Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

12:10pm: The Phillies and Rangers remain in dialogue about a Hamels trade, but nothing is “close” at this time, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) hears from sources.

9:52am: “Industry sentiment” has the Rangers as the favorites for Hamels, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.  Texas has long-term motivation for acquiring Hamels, the prospects necessary to swing a deal, and the hurler can’t block a trade to the Rangers.

9:48am: Momentum is building towards a Cole Hamels trade, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Offers for the Phillies ace have improved since Hamels’ no-hitter and teams are now asking for less money and offering better players, sources tell Rosenthal.

At this time, Rosenthal hears (link) that the five teams with the most recent interest in Hamels (in no particular order) are the Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees, and Giants.  The Red Sox, who are eager to win in 2016, have been connected to Hamels, but they are absent from Rosenthal’s top five.

On Saturday, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Yankees have asked about Hamels, but their interest does not appear to be much more than due diligence at this time.  The Astros also scouted Hamels’ Saturday start and while they were undoubtedly impressed with his performance, they are not amongst the top five teams according to Rosenthal.


Dodgers Interested In Rangers’ Yovani Gallardo

The Dodgers view Rangers pitcher Yovani Gallardo as a backup plan if they do not land Cole Hamels or David Price, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  It was reported last week that the Rangers are listening on Gallardo.

Gallardo, 29, has provided the Rangers with 121 1/3 quality innings since coming over in a winter deal from the Brewers. He owns a 3.19 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 on the year.

But, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Gallardo has given no indication of interest in an extension, making him an expiring asset for a club that has faded of late. Despite his solid work, Gallardo’s value may not quite match his results. His track record is more that of a mid-rotation innings eater than a top-of-the-rotation arm, and ERA estimators take a somewhat dim view of his work this year (particularly a 4.39 SIERA mark).

For his career, Gallardo owns a 3.65 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.



West Notes: Price, Astros, Padres, Shields, Clevenger, Rangers

The Giants could pursue Tigers ace David Price if he’s made available, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Per Morosi, substantive talks will await the Tigers decision to compete or sell. Detroit won earlier this afternoon to improve to 48-49. They’re currently 4.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race. The Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Cubs are also interested in Price (tweet).

Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • Astros owner Jim Crane is pleased with the acquisition of Scott Kazmir, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston in a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4). Crane says the club will absolutely make a run at the postseason, and he seems confident that “there’s some deals to be done.” Houston is open to taking on a pricey contract for the right guy, “if it makes good sense.” Crane also confirmed that a hitter is among the many things GM Jeff Luhnow is seeking to acquire. Luhnow himself said he expects to be involved in at least one more trade, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
  • The Padres are “ready to sell,” tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. However, the club will first see how they perform in a four game set against the struggling Marlins. San Diego is currently seven games below .500 and 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Four teams stand between the Padres and a Wild Card berth, but the Braves have already started to disassemble. A sweep could put the Friars back in the thick of the race.
  • While San Diego waits to see how the upcoming series transpires, they continue to shop starter James Shields, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN. Stark spoke with one executive who said the Padres would have to eat a big portion of the $65MM remaining on Shields’ contract. Shields is owed $21MM over each of the next three seasons with a $16MM option for 2019 ($2MM buyout). While he’s struggled with home runs this season, he’s also posted career bests in strikeout rate (10.13 K/9) and swinging strike rate.
  • The Mariners have asked the Orioles about Triple-A catcher Steve Clevenger, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Talks did not advance. The 29-year-old is hitting well in the minors with a .327/.402/.408 line in 246 plate appearances. He also performed well in a brief major league audition earlier this season, going 5-for-11.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters that a big weekend could lead the club to simply buy, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Texas is expected to market short term assets like Yovani Gallardo as they walk the line between contending and building for next season.

 


Latest On Cole Hamels

Phillies starter Cole Hamels has completed a no-hitter against the Cubs in what could be his final start with Philadelphia. Hamels walked two (Dexter Fowler twice) and struck out 13 in the gem. Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera deserves a hat tip – he made two adventurous catches in the final two innings. If you missed the game, it’s well worth catching the highlights on SportsCenter.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds (via Twitter) that only two pitchers have been traded in a season in which they tossed a no-hitter – Edwin Jackson in 2010 and Cliff Chambers in 1951. The Cubs got a good first-hand look at Hamels – they are one of several clubs connected to him. There have also been a few new bits of information from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, all via Twitter (1 2 3 4 5).

  • The Yankees have asked about Hamels, but their interest does not appear to be much more than due diligence at this time. The Phillies like Yankees power-hitting prospect Aaron Judge, but the Yankees don’t want to trade top prospects like Judge, first baseman Greg Bird or righty Luis Severino. “We’ve had conversations with every club willing to sell, finding out what they’re willing to sell and what their price tags are,” says Yankees exec Brian Cashman.
  • In addition to the Yankees, other recent teams to express interest in Hamels include the Dodgers, CubsRangers and Giants.
  • The Astros are scouting Hamels’ start today. Rosenthal says that they’re keeping tabs on his market, since they might be better positioned to offer the Phillies what they’re looking for than some other teams are.

Rangers Focusing On Players Who Could Help Beyond 2015

The Rangers are exploring a variety of possible routes at the upcoming July trade deadline, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.  They will approach the deadline neither as traditional buyers nor as traditional sellers, and will instead focus on players capable of helping both now and next season, GM Jon Daniels tells Wilson.

Most of the players we’ve talked about acquiring are multi-year fits, most but not all,” says Daniels. “From an acquisition standpoint, it’s almost more of guys that could fit now but also could fit into a likely off-season plan.”

Nonetheless, the Rangers aren’t yet ready to give up on their season. “We’re realistic about where we are, but we still believe in the team. We’ve got a run in us,” Daniels says.

One player who could fit into the Rangers’ current plans is Cole Hamels, who would help the rotation in 2016, when Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis might be gone due to free agency. Wilson suggests, though, that in order for there to be a trade, the Phillies would have to cover a significant chunk of the remainder of Hamels’ contract and would have to accept a return that does not include top young players Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara. The Rangers could also target Padres starters James Shields and Andrew Cashner as pitchers who could help the team beyond 2015.

Perhaps such moves are unlikely, however. “There’s also a chance we’re boring and don’t do much,” Daniels says. Daniels also notes that the Rangers aren’t close to trading Gallardo despite his impending free agency.

Much remains up in the air, though, and the Rangers’ performance in the coming days could help shape their strategy. The Rangers are 46-49 and well back of both the Angels and Astros in the AL West. They’re 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. If the Rangers were to lose additional ground in the coming days, that might point them in the direction of trading Gallardo in particular.

Trading Gallardo could be tricky, however, for reasons that go beyond the standings. As FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron wrote yesterday, there’s a high number of starting pitchers potentially available this week. The qualifying also offer creates a potential disincentive to selling. It’s unclear whether the Rangers would extend Gallardo a qualifying offer if they kept him — as Cameron suggests, it’s probably a close call. If they did, though, it could potentially help them patch their rotation for next season.


Deadline Rumors: Cespedes, Cishek, Price, Gallardo, Jays, Royals, Reds, Alvarez, Padres

In another twist regarding the free agent deal he signed out of Cuba, Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes would be effectively precluded from signing with the team as a free agent after this year unless he is traded away in the interim, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. It was already a matter of common knowledge that the club could not make him a qualifying offer after the year, since his deal requires that he be released five days after its conclusion. But Rosenthal now cites a CBA provision providing that a released player also cannot be re-signed by his club until May 15 of the ensuing year. While Detroit could hold Cespedes and attempt to work out an extension at any point up to five days after the World Series, it would otherwise be unable to bring him back unless he sat out a good portion of the 2016 campaign — a highly unlikely scenario. Of course, moving him now would prevent the team from working out a deal until the power-hitting outfielder becomes a free agent. As Rosenthal notes, Cespedes has told friends that he hopes to remain with the Tigers, and Detroit has given every indication that it intends to compete next year even if it moves some pieces this summer.

There are a ton of important deadline developments to cover in the wake of the Scott Kazmir trade, so let’s get to them:

  • There is increasing action on Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report (Twitter links) that there are multiple clubs involved — some with more apparent interest than the previously-reported Cardinals. The Twins are among the teams continuing to monitor the righty, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
  • The Dodgers currently have David Price of the Tigers as their number one target, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But the expectation is that Detroit will hold their decision until next week.
  • Indeed, the Giants recently spoke with the Tigers regarding outfielder Rajai Davis, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports on Twitter, but were left with the impression that Detroit is still unsure of its course of action.
  • Another player on the Dodgers radar is Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Though nothing is close, the two clubs have had discussions.
  • The Blue Jays sought to land Kazmir before he went to Houston, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. With the market beginning to move, the team appears to be ramping up is efforts to add a starter, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • Both the Blue Jays and the Royals are “all-in” on Reds starter Johnny Cueto, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter links). Kansas City is also considering Mike Leake from Cincinnati as well as Jeff Samardzija, Dan Haren, and Mat Latos. But the club is not interested in Cole Hamels, James Shields, or Yovani Gallardo, per the report.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he has a green light to sell pieces, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. They’ll make moves “if it makes sense, but we’re not going to give away players,” says Jocketty. “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people, but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
  • One rival general manager tells Passan that the Pirates are working hard to move first baseman Pedro Alvarez (Twitter link). We’ve heard previously that Pittsburgh has interest in an upgrade, and presumably it would make an addition if it can find a taker for Alvarez.
  • Meanwhile, the Padres are officially open for business, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). In addition to Justin Upton, the team could move relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, outfielder Will Venable, and any number of starters. Rosenthal says that Tyson Ross is perhaps the least likely rotation piece to change hands.

Rotation Rumors: Royals, Teheran, Price, Padres

The starting pitching market appears to be in flux, with numerous buyers reportedly considering an array of options and a variety of potential sellers weighing whether to deal away impact arms. Here are the latest rumors on the rotation front:

  • The Royals are interested in both Johnny Cueto of the Reds and Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers, as well as other arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Both, obviously, would be pure rental pieces, and we’ve mostly heard of Kansas City connected to half-year contracts. The club’s level of need certainly went up with the loss of Jason Vargas, though it’s unclear whether that will prompt any effort to add more than one pitcher.
  • Some rival executives believe that the Braves are willing to deal Julio Teheran, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But an Atlanta source indicates that the team sees too much upside in the young righty (and his reasonably-priced extension) to consider such a move. Teheran, 24, has not matched his excellent results over the prior two seasons, but it does seem hard to imagine the club selling low on him unless president of baseball operations John Hart is just not a believer in his future.
  • Rosenthal also addresses the possibility of the Tigers dealing David Price, noting that the team is unlikely to retain him beyond this year if it doesn’t. If and when Detroit puts him on the market, some of the most obviously starting pitching buyers — the Dodgers, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Astros — would have interest, per the report.
  • The Padres are not only all ears on outfielder Justin Upton, but are “listening … intently” on soon-to-be free agent starter Ian Kennedy, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, rival executives say that San Diego would “love” to find a taker for righty James Shields. Given that we’ve also heard suggestions that the Padres are holding conversations regarding Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, it would appear that the club is considering a variety of possible scenarios involving its staff.

Heyman On Pitching Market, Astros, Angels, Hamels, Jays

Though many consider this to be a sellers’ market, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his latest Trade Buzz column by writing that the starting pitching market could swing in favor of buyers. Only four teams are in desperate need of a rotation upgrade, he notes — the Blue Jays, Royals, Astros and Dodgers — and new names are being added to the pitching market as the deadline nears. Many executives, however, still wonder if the Tigers will really sell. Several throughout the game expect David Price to stay put with the Tigers, Heyman writes. Here are some highlights from his notes on the pitching market as well as the rest of the trade market…

  • It’s likely that the Rangers will end up trading Yovani Gallardo, and Heyman points out that an NL team would consider Gallardo a bonus, as he’s hit 13 homers in his career as at the plate. The Rangers could also end up trading Colby Lewis, who could step into the back of a rotation for a club in need of some stable innings.
  • The Astros are determined not to trade outfield prospect Brett Phillips, who one Astros-connected person referred to as “an absolute stud” when talking to Heyman. Houston is also interested in virtually every pitcher on the market, though one notable exception is Mike Leake, as the club’s evaluators aren’t particularly high on the Reds right-hander.
  • The Angels‘ recent offensive surge has calmed their search for a left fielder, but they still have some interest in both Jay Bruce and Ben Revere. There are concerns among decision-makers, however, that Bruce fits the same streaky profile that the departed Josh Hamilton embodied. Carlos Gonzalez isn’t on the Halos’ radar at this time.
  • Scouts that spoke to Heyman don’t seem overly concerned with a pair of poor outings for Cole Hamels. Instead, some believe that he may be feeling the rigors of being on the trade block for more than a year. One AL scout said of Hamels’ last start: “He looks fine. It was 100 degrees. He’s playing for a miserable team. And it may be hard to get motivated.” A pair of AL execs opined that the Phillies will be able to get back at least one “huge prospect.”
  • The Giants need to bolster their bench, but a reunion with Juan Uribe isn’t likely. Uribe wasn’t amenable to a bench spot the last time he was with San Francisco, and part of the reason he was dealt from Los Angeles to Atlanta was to get more playing time.
  • The Blue Jays‘ interest in Jonathan Papelbon is “fairly limited” at this point, as the club’s focus at this point is primarily on adding to the rotation.

Trade Notes: A’s, Gallardo, Reds, Jays, Padres, Victorino

The sense among the industry is that the Athletics are now “open for business,” tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The A’s, Olney notes, have pieces that figure to draw widespread interest, including free-agents-to-be Scott Kazmir and Ben Zobrist. I’d add that Tyler Clippard is another impending free agent, and right-hander Jesse Chavez is a relatively short-term asset that’s broken out over the past 18 months as well. (Chavez is controlled through 2016.) Josh Reddick has drawn inquiry from the division-rival Angels, although reports at the time indicated that Oakland had no interest in moving its right fielder.

We’re nine days from the trade deadline, so trade action should escalate rapidly in the coming week. Here’s more from around the league…

  • FOX’s Ken Rosenthal wrote last night that the Rangers aren’t motivated to trade Mitch Moreland, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark hears the same thing (Twitter link). According to Stark, the only player that the Rangers are strongly marketing is right-hander Yovani Gallardo — another player who is eligible for free agency at season’s end. Gallardo is having a nice rebound season in his first year with Texas, and Moreland’s strong season has gone somewhat unheralded; the 29-year-old is batting .287/.333/.529 with 16 homers. He’s still struggling against lefties, though a bit less so than in previous years.
  • Via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (Twitter link), Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has spoken with a number of clubs about trades but has yet to receive what the Cincinnati front office considers to be a compelling offer. Said the veteran GM: “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Blue Jays and Padres have had recent discussions about pitchers — both relievers and starters. San Diego starters Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, James Shields and Ian Kennedy have all seen their names surface on the rumor mill of late, though it would seem that Shields, at least, is too expensive for Toronto from a financial standpoint. Joaquin Benoit stands out, to me, as the most obvious trade candidate for the Padres in the bullpen.
  • Though the Mets are in need of outfield help, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link) that the Red SoxShane Victorino is of no interest to them. That’s not exactly shocking to hear, given Victorino’s $13MM salary and meager .247/.333/.306 batting line in 2015.