Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

Toronto Blue Jays trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Padres Notes: Benoit, Kennedy, Headley, Cashner

Following the Padres’ trade of Huston Street to the Angels last night, here’s the latest out of San Diego.

  • The Padres’ trade of Street shows about what they’ll expect in return for Joaquin Benoit, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Since most teams would not want Benoit to be their closer, though, the price would have to be somewhat lower than it was for Street.
  • The Pirates and Royals both scouted starting pitcher Ian Kennedy last night, Rosenthal tweets. The Pirates are looking for starters and relievers, Rosenthal notes.
  • The Blue Jays are part of an “ongoing dialogue” regarding Chase Headley, Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Morosi tweets. The Jays have shown interest in Headley in the past.
  • The Padres are likely to trade outfielder Chris Denorfia, Morosi tweets. Denorfia, like Headley, is a free agent this coming offseason, so it makes sense that the Padres could have interest in trading them both.
  • In case you missed it from the Yankees notes post, Andy Martino of New York Daily News reports that the Padres are not likely to trade Andrew Cashner, who was terrific this season before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Cashner is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.

AL East Notes: Soriano, Castillo, Cherington, Blue Jays, Yankees

Former Orioles and Rays outfielder/DH Luke Scott has been “fired” from his KBO club after some harsh words for his coach, as Jerry Spar of WEEI.com writes.  The 36-year-old must have been causing problems for SK Wyverns, because he was carrying a productive .267/.392/.505 line in 130 plate appearances for the club. Scott split time at the DH position last year with Tampa, slashing a slightly above-average .241/.326/.415 (108 OPS+).

Here’s the latest from the AL East:

  • The Blue Jays have “checked on” recently-released outfielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Soriano, who might provide a power bat while several regulars work their way back off the DL, is “mulling his option,” according to Rosenthal.

Earlier Updates

  • The Orioles will scout Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo at his upcoming workout, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Castillo, 27, is an intriguing player to watch; as Ben Badler of Baseball America writes, he could even have an impact on a big league roster later this year.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said today that a lot of trade chatter has already happened between clubs, in an interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan (audio link). He acknowledged that his struggling club is not conceding the season, but is “engaged in the conversations … to be in position to make the right decisions” at the trade deadline. But he said that the organization is not yet at the point of swapping actual trade proposals, though it is aware of what contending teams’ needs are.
  • Looking back, Cherington says that he “didn’t do a good enough job building a complete offense.” Though the team felt good about things heading into the season, says Cherington, the offensive production has been missing even though the pitching has been good enough to win.
  • The Blue Jays may prioritize upgrades in the lineup (a second or third baseman, most likely) and in the bullpen over acquiring starting pitching help, reports Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. Of course, in spite of GM Alex Anthopoulos’s insistence that the team can add salary in the right scenario, some believe that the club lacks financial flexibility on the big league roster.
  • One reason that observers doubt the Blue Jays‘ ability to boost payroll this year is the club’s pre-season pursuit of Ervin Santana, which involved a reported plan involving salary deferment from several veterans. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports, MLBPA head Tony Clark criticized that situation, saying “it is not the players’ responsibility to sign a player or bring a player on board.” Clark said that any deferral should redound to the individual player’s ultimate benefit, but was somewhat ambiguous about what in particular concerned him in this case. “As it was brought to our attention, there were a number of conversations that were had, unfortunately with some of those players in the middle,” he said. “How that entire process was handled we don’t believe was in a fashion that was as beneficial to everyone involved as it could have been. The place we ended up suggested the players were able to make, should they decide, those deferrals in an effort to bring in those players.”
  • Yankees prospect Luis Severino has received a promotion to Double-A, as Josh Norris of Baseball America recently tweeted. The 20-year-old righty had only recently been bumped to the High-A level, where he dominated in four starts. Severino landed among the top fifty prospects in the game according to Baseball America’s mid-season update, but another New York youngster — outfielder Aaron Judge — caught the eye of ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) for his own updated top fifty.

Blue Jays Designate Deck McGuire For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated righty Deck McGuire for assignment, the club announced via press release. The move creates roster space for the claim of Brad Mills.

McGuire, a 2010 first-round draft pick, had struggled in his first exposure to Triple-A at age 25, posting a 5.56 ERA in 55 innings with 6.2 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. The promotion to the highest level of the minors came after McGuire posted a 2.98 ERA over 60 1/3 innings in his fourth go at Double-A.

Meanwhile, the Mills claim appears to be part of a larger shakeup for the Jays’ staff. Top prospect Aaron Sanchez has been shifted to the bullpen at Triple-A in apparent preparation for filling a pen slot at the major league level, tweets Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News (h/t to John Lott of the National Post).



Blue Jays Claim Brad Mills From Athletics

The Blue Jays have claimed lefty Brad Mills off waivers from the Athletics, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Mills was designated for assignment on July 7 to make room for trade acquisition Jason Hammel.

In his first MLB action since 2012, Mills allowed eight earned runs in 16 1/3 frames while striking out 14 batters and issuing seven free passes. Before his acquisition by Oakland, Mills had impressed at Triple-A for the Brewers, compiling 75 innings of 1.56 ERA ball with 9.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.

Toronto does not have rotation space for the out-of-options Mills unless it  sends one of its younger arms (Drew Hutchison or Marcus Stroman) to the pen or the minors or pushes out J.A. Happ (another lefty). The Jays could presumably utilize Mills in a relief role, though the club has enjoyed reasonably effective performances from fellow southpaws Aaron Loup (3.20 ERA) and Brett Cecil (3.68 ERA), the latter of whom is also out of options.


Blue Jays Acquire Brett Wallace

The Blue Jays have acquired first baseman Brett Wallace from the Orioles, reports David Hall of the Virginian Pilot (Twitter link). Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (via Twitter) that the O’s will be receiving cash considerations in return.

This will be Wallace’s second stint with the Blue Jays organization, as Toronto originally acquired him from the A’s in exchange for Michael Taylor, only to flip him to the Astros seven months later, in exchange for Anthony Gose.

Wallace, a former first-round pick and top prospect, has yet to figure it out at the Major League level, though he does have some Triple-A success under his belt. He was having a solid season with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, hitting .265/.329/.389 with 10 homers in 374 plate appearances, and overall he owns a career .300/.366/.479 batting line at that level. However, the 27-year-old has batted just .242/.313/.391 in 311 games over parts of four seasons with the Astros.

The Blue Jays likely felt they needed some first base depth after promoting Triple-A first baseman Dan Johnson to fill in for the injured Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion.


Minor Moves: Francisco, Gimenez

Here are some recent minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Blue Jays released right-hander Frank Francisco, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports.  The veteran reliever elected free agency from the White Sox in May and then signed a minor league deal with the Jays in late June, though he never saw any game action.  This was Francisco’s second stint in the Toronto organization, as he posted a 3.55 ERA over 50 2/3 IP for the club in 2011 after being acquired from the Rangers for Mike Napoli.
  • The Blue Jays released catcher Hector Gimenez last week, as announced by their Triple-A affiliate’s Twitter feed.  Gimenez was acquired by the White Sox in May and the veteran backstop appeared in 16 games for Toronto’s Double-A and Triple-A squads.  Gimenez has an even 100 career PA in the majors over four seasons with the White Sox, Dodgers and Astros, hitting .216/.280/.330 with two home runs.

AL East Notes: Duquette, Robertson, Jays

It was on this day in 1934 that Lou Gehrig made his only career appearance at shortstop, though the Yankees legend never actually took the field at the position.  Gehrig was battling lumbago when the Yankees traveled to Detroit to face the Tigers, yet the “Iron Horse” was in the doubly-unusual lineup spot of both playing short and hitting leadoff.  After Gehrig singled to begin the game, he was removed for pinch-runner Red Rolfe, who played short the rest of the way.  This game was one of a few unofficial rest days Gehrig occasionally received while continuing his consecutive game streak into the 1939 season.

Here’s some news from around the AL East…

  • The Orioles are having “active discussions with a number of teams” about possible trades, O’s executive VP Dan Duquette told MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski, though the talks have “not really” gotten very serious.  Duquette implied that teams are asking for Baltimore’s top prospects in return and he didn’t outright deny the possibility of dealing one of those minor leaguers.  “Young talent is going to be the lifeblood of our organization, but at the same time we want to advance the organization in the postseason, so that is kind of what you’re looking at,” Duquette said.  “We hope our top prospects are going to help us for a long time.”
  • David Robertson says there have “been zero talks” between his representatives and the Yankees about a contract extension, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports.  “When the offseason comes, it comes and we’ll hear what other teams and everybody else wants to say,” Robertson noted, though he said he would like to remain with the Yankees.  The closer will become a free agent this winter and he’s set himself up for a nice contract after an impressive first half as Mariano Rivera‘s replacement.  The Yankees generally don’t discuss extensions before a player’s contract is up, so the lack of talks shouldn’t necessarily indicate any disinterest in retaining Robertson, though Dellin Betances could be waiting in the wings as a future closer.
  • For the second straight year, Joe Girardi is leading an injury-depleted Yankees team to a record that outperforms a negative run differential, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.  While questions are being raised about several other aspects of the Yankees organization in the face of another postseason absence, Davidoff notes that “Girardi keeps enhancing his status, both within the organization and among other teams.”
  • The names of Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey have already been frequently mentioned in Blue Jays trade rumors, and Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi profiles the two prospects who are both big parts of the Jays’ future, whether it be in a Toronto uniform or as bait to obtain upgrades before the deadline.

AL East Notes: Peavy, Dempster, Blue Jays

The Red Sox have set their rotation following the All-Star break, and it suggests they could be preparing for a Jake Peavy trade, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Peavy is not scheduled to pitch again until July 22. If a Peavy trade were to take place before then, the Sox would have enough time to recall Brandon Workman, who was optioned to Triple-A last Wednesday. Here are more notes from the AL East.

  • Sox chairman Tom Werner regrets that the team didn’t do more to address its outfield last offseason, Abraham writes. “[W]e didn’t expect Shane Victorino to be on the disabled list for as long as he has been. We knew that Jackie Bradley had the potential to be a superstar but his season hasn’t been as robust as we all imagined. We’re still very confident about his potential,” says Werner. “But should we have gone after Nelson Cruz? I guess so.” Werner adds that the Red Sox are still deciding whether to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, thinking that there may still be time for them to climb back into the race.
  • Ryan Dempster, a part of the Sox’ rotation last season, says he doesn’t regret taking the 2014 season off, Luis Gomez of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Fortunately, I haven’t missed it,” he says. “Not yet. With the way things ended with the World Series, I don’t feel like I’m missing it. Hopefully I don’t ever get that feeling.” Gomez notes that Dempster isn’t ruling out the possibility of a return in the future. The 37-year-old Dempster passed on the $13.25MM remaining on his contract for 2014 in order to spend time with his family.
  • Jose Bautista hopes the Blue Jays will add talent at the trade deadline, writes John Lott of the National Post. “If he does make a move, it’ll be welcome,” says Bautista. “It’s not necessarily on the players’ side that you feel like you need that to get to the top, but at times it’s nice when you do get that …  A lot of times it has a psychological effects too that help out.” Nonetheless, Bautista won’t be issuing any demands. “[W]e don’t feel like it’s a must,” he says. The Jays have struggled with injuries to players like Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East.

Minor Moves: Alderson, O’Neill, Wang, Miller, Wolf

Here are today’s minor league transactions, with the latest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Orioles have released pitcher Tim Alderson, David Hall of the Virginian Pilot tweets. The Giants traded Alderson, a 2007 first-round pick and former top prospect, to the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez in 2009, and the Bucs traded him to the Orioles for Russ Canzler last year. In 50 innings for Triple-A Norfolk this season, Alderson had a 6.12 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
  • The Cardinals have outrighted outfielder Mike O’Neill after designating him for assignment Friday, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. O’Neill, 26, has hit .258/.343/.341 in 320 plate appearances this season for Double-A Springfield.
  • Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has opted out of his deal with the Reds, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay tweets. Wang pitched 119 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville, posting a 3.70 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. He last appeared in the big leagues last season with the Blue Jays.
  • The Yankees have announced they have outrighted right-hander Jim Miller to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Miller was designated for assignment Friday. 
  • Randy Wolf has cleared out his locker and has left the Orioles‘ Triple-A team, tweets David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweeted Wolf opted out of his contract. The 37-year-old appeared in six games for Norfolk, including one start, and posted a 4.20 ERA with a 12-to-5 K-BB ratio in 15 innings.
  • Blue Jays right-hander Bobby Korecky has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, the club announced (hat tip to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith).  Korecky was designated for assignment on Friday.  The righty posted an 8.10 ERA over 3 1/3 relief innings for Toronto this season in his first taste of Major League action since a one-game cup of coffee in 2012.
  • The White Sox have released right-hander Henry Rodriguez, the team announced.  Rodriguez just recently signed a minor league deal with the Sox but posted a 21.60 ERA, three strikeouts and a whopping eight walks over 1 2/3 innings with Triple-A Charlotte.  That lack of control has been the story of Rodriguez’s career, as the righty has recorded a 6.4 BB/9 over 150 1/3 Major League innings with the Marlins, Cubs, Nationals and A’s over six seasons in the Show, though his high-90′s fastball has helped him record 151 strikeouts.  This is the second time Rodriguez has been released this season, as the Marlins already cut ties with him in June.

Edward Creech and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Rangers’ Relievers Drawing Interest

9:13pm: Texas wants a “substantial package” to move Soria, report T.R. Sullivan and Grace Raynor of MLB.com. The asking price is believed to be two or three prospects.

1:51pm: The Rangers are receiving trade interest in a number of their bullpen arms, according to multiple reports. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the team is listening on right-hander Jason Frasor and lefty Neal Cotts, and both have generated some interest. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Angels, Blue Jays and Tigers have been in contact with the Rangers about closer Joakim Soria (Twitter link).

As Sullivan points out, both Frasor and Cotts are free agents at season’s end. While Frasor has scuffled of late, yielding five runs over his past 3 1/3 innings, he still boasts a solid 3.38 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate. The 36-year-old is earning a highly affordable $1.75MM this season, meaning that he’s owed about $765K through season’s end.

Cotts, 34, reemerged in the Majors last season after an absence of four years and put his injury woes behind him with an electric 1.11 ERA in 57 innings for Texas. He’s taken a step back in 2014 but has a solid 3.55 ERA with 45 strikeouts against 15 walks in 38 innings. However, after dominating opposing lefties in 2013, he’s surrendered a .281/.328/.456 batting line against same-handed hitters in 2014. It shouldn’t come as a total shock, as Cotts does have a reverse-platoon split for his career, but certainly not one this pronounced. Cotts is earning $2.2MM this season, meaning he has roughly $962K remaining on his deal.

As for Soria, the Tigers and Angels come as no surprise, as both have dealt with significant bullpen issues in 2014. However, the Blue Jays are a bit of a surprise club to see listed here. In another series of tweets, Rosenthal adds that while the club does like Soria, the team is also toying with the idea of promoting top prospect Aaron Sanchez to work out of the bullpen this season. Fellow top prospect Daniel Norris could even join him eventually, Rosenthal adds, making for a situation that would resemble the dynamic pairing of Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez with the Cardinals last year.

Soria is in the midst of one of perhaps his finest season. In his second year back from Tommy John, the 30-year-old has a 2.76 ERA with a whopping 12.3 K/9 and a minuscule 1.2 BB/9 in 29 1/3 innings. Sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (0.80), xFIP (1.93) and SIERA (1.58) all feel that he’s doing the best work of his career. Though he has a higher salary at $5.5MM, Soria unquestionably will come with the highest asking price in a trade. He has an affordable $7MM club option on his contract for 2015, and the Rangers do have eyes on contending next season, when they hope to have better luck on the injury front.