Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

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

Blue Jays Designate Sergio Santos For Assignment

3:02pm: Anthopoulos tells reporters, including Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, that he made no effort to trade Santos and has already placed him on waivers (Twitter link). Santos did not ask to be traded, either. Toronto’s hope is that Santos will clear waivers and head to Triple-A to rediscover his form.

2:18pm: The Blue Jays announced that they have designated right-hander Sergio Santos for assignment and recalled southpaw Rob Rasmussen from Triple-A Buffalo.

Santos, 31, has rarely been healthy since the Blue Jays surprisingly acquired him from the White Sox prior to the 2012 season. He missed the majority of his first season north of the border following surgery to repair a frayed labrum in his shoulder, and last season he was sidelined by triceps injuries. This year, a forearm strain has shelved Santos and likely contributed to some significant struggles on the mound.

Santos looked excellent in 25 2/3 innings last season — he posted a 1.75 ERA with a 28-to-4 K/BB ratio — but he’s been lost in 2014. The former ChiSox stopper has a 7.78 ERA wit 26 strikeouts and 17 walks in 19 2/3 innings. His command issues haven’t just been limited to free passes, as he’s also uncorked four wild pitches in that relatively short amount of time.

Suffice it to say, if this is the end of his time with the Jays, Santos’ tenure in Toronto didn’t pan out as well as GM Alex Anthpoulos had hoped when he plucked him from the South Siders in exchange for prospect Nestor Molina. However, it appears that Anthopoulos still did a commendable job of selling high on Molina, who had a 2.21 ERA in 130 1/3 innings in 2011 but has posted a combined 4.56 ERA across three levels in Chicago’s minor league system since. Now 25 years old, he has thrown just four innings at the Triple-A level — all of which came in 2012.

The Jays still owe Santos roughly $1.43MM of this season’s $3.75MM salary, as well as a $750K buyout on the first of three club options in the three-year, $8.25MM extension he originally signed with the Sox.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Milone, Phillies, White Sox

The Cubs have the prospect depth necessary to acquire David Price from the Rays, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, and acquiring Price (and then extending him past 2015) is just the kind of big move Rosenthal feels the Cubs need to get them into contention sooner rather than later.  Price is intrigued by the idea of playing in Chicago, friends of the southpaw say, and Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson was Price’s pitching coach at Vanderbilt.

Here’s some hot stove buzz from Rosenthal’s latest piece…

  • The Athletics are getting calls about left-hander Tommy Milone, who lost his rotation job when Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs.  The 27-year-old Milone is controlled through 2017 and has a 3.84 ERA, 3.23 K/BB rate and 6.5 K/9 over 468 2/3 career innings, though his significant home/road splits could make some teams wary about his effectiveness outside of Oakland.  The A’s aren’t too keen to move Milone since they value having rotation depth.
  • The Phillies are willing to eat some money on their major veteran contracts in order “to effectively buy prospects” in trades, though with teams so hesitant to move their young talent, Philadelphia might be better served by just pursuing salary relief.
  • Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon “is generating little interest,” sources tell Rosenthal.
  • Many of the would-be best trade chips on the White Sox aren’t producing, which could make it tough for the Pale Hose to make deadline deals.  Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, for instance, look more like non-tender candidates than valuable acquisitions in the view of one rival executive.  John Danks might be the most attractive trade candidate on the Chicago roster, while the Sox might wait until the winter to explore dealing Alexei Ramirez when the trade market is more open.
  • The Blue Jays‘ search for offense could be mitigated by the impending returns of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie from the DL within the next week or two.  Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said yesterday that he was still looking to add a bat before the trade deadline.
  • Eugenio Suarez has played well enough at shortstop that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski doesn’t think his team will look for an upgrade at the position before the deadline.  Rosenthal notes that Suarez’s presence could create a bit of a logjam next season when Jose Iglesias returns from injury.
  • The Tigers do have a need for more lineup balance, as the team is short on left-handed hitters.
  • With so little prospect depth, Rosenthal thinks the Yankees‘ best trade strategy would be to offer salary relief for large contracts.  In hindsight, Rosenthal writes, the Yankees might’ve been better off trading Robinson Cano for prospects last summer, even though being a deadline seller is unheard of for the always-contending Yankees.

Phillies Notes: Burnett, Hamels, Lee

Here’s the latest on the Phillies and the numerous trade candidates on their roster…

  • The Pirates had a scout watching A.J. Burnett‘s start on Friday, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.  The Bucs are known to be looking for starting pitching and Burnett is certainly a familiar quantity for them.  The veteran righty has a partial no-trade clause, though it isn’t known if he can block a deal to Pittsburgh or if Burnett would welcome a deal to a contender that is still close to his Maryland home.
  • Cole Hamels has received some trade interest from the Red Sox, though CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman wonders if this could be a tactic to restart extension talks with Jon Lester.  Otherwise, Boston’s pursuit of Hamels doesn’t make a lot of sense to Heyman — the Sox could just re-sign Lester, rather than pay a similar price to Hamels through 2018 and have to give up prospects to the Phillies to get him.
  • The Blue Jays and Yankees both scouted Cliff Lee‘s final rehab start, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes.  Lee returns from the DL to start against the Giants tonight, and scouts from several teams are expected in attendance for Lee’s two scheduled starts prior to the July 31st deadline.


Quick Hits: Cishek, Lee, Kendrick

Steve Cishek‘s name has begun appearing in trade talks, suggesting that the Marlins could be sellers, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. Another Marlins reliever, Mike Dunn, might also be a trade possibility, although the Marlins still do not want to trade Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins had hoped to add talent at the deadline, but they’re now at 45-52 and would have a tough swim against the current to make it to the playoffs. Cishek, a proven closer who’s making just $3.8MM this year, would be a very desirable trade target. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Competitive Balance Lottery will take place in New York on Wednesday, MLB.com’s Jim Callis notes. Thanks to their market size and/or revenue pools, the Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies and Royals will each be in the running for one of six 2015 supplemental first-round picks. The Mariners, Twins and teams from the above list that miss on a first-rounder will each vie for one of six supplemental second-round picks. Callis notes that these picks are especially valuable under the current draft system, since each supplemental pick adds money to the pool from which a team is allowed to spend on picks from the first ten rounds of the draft. Teams are also allowed to trade competitive balance picks.
  • After missing two months with an elbow injury, Cliff Lee will rejoin the Phillies‘ rotation on Monday , giving interested teams a couple chances to watch him before the trade deadline, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Given his contract, Castrovince notes, Lee will need to pitch very well in order to be much of a trade asset. There’s also the chance Lee could be traded in August.
  • The Blue Jays could consider the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick if they aren’t able to make a higher-profile trade, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury writes. A Jays scout watched Kendrick as he struggled in his start against the Braves on Sunday. It’s unclear what sort of return Kendrick might fetch — he has struggled this season, posting a 4.87 ERA, 5.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over 125 2/3 innings. Kendrick is eligible for free agency after the season.

NL Notes: Hamels, Lee, Burnett, Colon, Padres

The Rockies, who have lost four in a row and 11 of their last 15, own the National League’s worst record and the third-worst mark in all of baseball. The franchise faces six key questions, according to the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, including whether to trade Troy Tulowitzki and to overhaul the front office to appease the disgruntled fan base. Saunders doesn’t see either happening because owner Dick Monfort is an extremely loyal and stubborn man. Saunders writes Tulowitzki could force a trade if he is willing to be portrayed as the disloyal, bad guy. Elsewhere in the NL:

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Anthopoulos On Payroll, Trade Deadline, Injuries

Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos met with the media (including Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca and Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post) for 30 minutes today before Toronto’s game with Texas. Here are the highlights:

  • Anthopoulos addressed recent reports he isn’t allowed to add payroll at the Trade Deadline. “I don’t think it’s about being ‘allowed’ or anything like that at all. We’re having dialogue with teams.” Anthopoulos added the club has always kept payroll projections in house. 
  • Anthopoulos says he has the freedom to make the necessary moves to keep the Blue Jays in the playoff hunt. “I don’t have any doubt that we have the ability to add players. How that gets done, we can always be creative, but I’ll say this: we have a very healthy payroll, we have a very strong payroll.
  • Anthopoulos denied ownership will stand in the way of a possible deal because of money. “Ownership’s been outstanding with us from that standpoint. If a baseball trade lines up for us, I don’t see any reason we’re not going to be able to add players at the trade deadline if we can line up in terms of talent.
  • No trades are pending with discussions still in the “conceptual stage,” but Anthopoulos is willing to deal prospects. “It’s really as much about what you get back, as much as what you give up. The more talent you give up, the more years of control, the more talent you get back. It’s a sliding scale.
  • Optimistic injured starters Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacionwill have a chance to come back sooner than we all think,” Anthopoulos will still look to bolster the Blue Jays‘ offense before the Trade Deadline. 

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.