Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

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

AL East Notes: Yankees, Sox, Hazen, Jays, Murphy

In his latest piece, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at some of the Yankees’ most tradeable assets and discussed their stock with scouts around the league. Martino notes that many scouts aren’t high on Gary Sanchez due to a lack of fire, questionable defense and the fact that he doesn’t do early work before games. Right-hander Luis Severino, on the other hand, is seeing his stock rise. The Class-A Advanced hurler threw six no-hit innings Wednesday and drew praise from a scout who spoke with Martino. He also notes that catcher Peter O’Brien and second baseman Rob Refsnyder have been knocked for their defense. A scout Martino spoke with shared the opinion of many in stating that O’Brien doesn’t really have a position.

Here’s more out of the AL East…

  • Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show yesterday morning, and Conor Ryan of WEEI.com has the highlights from the discussion. Kennedy said it’s too early to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers, but it’s certainly possible that the ultimate plan of action is to trade veteran pieces and promote prospects like Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez and Garin Cecchini. He added that he feels Boston’s fans are knowledgeable enough to understand, should that approach necessitate itself.
  • Kennedy also discussed the possibility of Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen drawing interest for the Padres‘ GM opening. While he joked that they weren’t interested in helping out former BoSox COO and current Padres CEO Mike Dee, he acknowledged how desirable Hazen is to other clubs: “I think [Hazen] will definitely be a candidate atop any club’€™s list who might need a general manager. … Hopefully, Mike Hazen will be with us for a long time, but we are realistic and recognize that when you have talented people, other organizations come knocking.”
  • WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes that it’s time for the Red Sox to make changes. The team cannot keep relying on struggling veterans Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, he opines. Rather than “grasp[ing] at what might possibly pan out” with their veterans, they should be embracing young talent. He notes that while there are more apparent replacements for Peavy than Pierzynski, Vazquez could be given a trial and at least provide strong defense if he doesn’t hit.
  • The Blue Jays continue to monitor the trade market for infielders, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While the team would like to add a starting pitcher, they’re open to upgrades at any position. Specifically, the Jays are looking at second basemen and third basemen, knowing that Brett Lawrie can man the position that isn’t addressed via trade once he is healthy.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds, also via Twitter, that while the Blue Jays are looking at second base options, they’re not considering Daniel Murphy of the Mets. Toronto is looking for more defense that Murphy offers at the position. It’s been reported that the Mets could extend Murphy rather than trade him. I examined what a Murphy extension might cost the Mets yesterday.

Stark’s Latest: Lee, Phillies, Rays

The latest from ESPN’s Jayson Stark…

  • Phillies ace Cliff Lee threw a bullpen session yesterday and is slated to return around the All-Star break, Stark writes for ESPN.com. Lee’s next step is to throw a simulated game this weekend before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment and returning either just before or just after the All-Star break. Rival teams tell Stark that they expect the Phillies to aggressively shop Lee, and they believe that Philadelphia would eat a significant amount of the remaining $50MM guarantee on Lee’s deal in order to net the right pieces.
  • The Tigers, Pirates, Blue Jays and Angels are scouting the Phillies this week, Stark tweets. The Phillies are telling other teams around the league that this week could determine their status as buyer or sellers next month.
  • Stark also tweets that he asked an unnamed club official if any teams other than the Cubs are aggressively selling at this point and was told him that in addition to Chicago, the Rays are “definitely open for business.” Stark’s colleague, Buster Olney, reported yesterday that the Rays would deal David Price “right now” if the right offer came along.

Blue Jays Designate Jonathan Diaz For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated infielder Jonathan Diaz for assignment, the club announced via press release. Outfielder Brad Glenn will take his spot on the active roster, and the team also announced that outfielder Kevin Pillar has been optioned back to Triple-A.

Diaz, 29, saw his second MLB stint this year with Toronto after getting a cup of coffee last year with the Red Sox. He logged 45 plate appearances and posted a .158/.256/.184 line. At Triple-A this year, Diaz has slashed .165/.340/.278. Those numbers largely track his past performance, as he has consistently put up solid on-base and low batting average and power marks.



Heyman’s Latest: Blue Jays, Mariners

In two separate reports, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com takes a look at two teams (the Blue Jays and Mariners) that figure to play key roles in the developing trade market. Here are the highlights:

  • The Blue Jays are highly unlikely to deal for Cubs hurler Jeff Samardzija, and the clubs have not swapped trade proposals in some time. While a deal centered around pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris has been floated in the media, a source tells Heyman that there is “zero chance” that Toronto would part with that package.
  • Instead, Toronto will probably focus more on the the “rental” market, says Heyman. But with many teams still waiting to see how they perform over the next month, the supply remains uncertain. Heyman cites Justin Masterson (Indians), Jorge De La Rosa (Rockies), Francisco Liriano (Pirates), and Jake Peavy (Red Sox) as arms that could join Jason Hammel of the Cubs in that segment of the market.
  • The Jays are also likely to “take another look” at adding a second baseman after losing Brett Lawrie for a month or more to a broken finger. While minor league signee Juan Francisco will play third in the meantime, and now looks like an even more important piece of the puzzle, the club is running out a less-than-ideal assortment of options at second. Heyman suggests that the Jays would have interest in Chase Utley, but it remains far from clear that he will be an achievable target.
  • The Mariners made a run at Kendrys Morales before he signed with the Twins, and Heyman has details. Seattle discussed a two-year concept and also offered a one-year deal for about $5MM.
  • That would seem to reflect a desire to add bats, but GM Jack Zduriencik says that he is “wide open” in approaching acquisitions. According to Heyman, the team is interested in adding controllable, younger bats or starting pitching. Seattle has spoken with the Cubs about both Hammel and Samardzija, though the club remains loath to give up either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. While the club seemingly would deal away some of its young position players — such as Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Nick Franklin — it seems disinclined to part with them for less than a compelling return.
  • While the M’s have plenty of strategic approaches available, one big issue cited recently has been the team’s apparent inability and/or unwillingness to add payroll. Heyman says that the club may have some free cash “for the right player,” however, possibly relating to incentives in Corey Hart‘s contract that will not be met.

Latest On Blue Jays’ Interest In Jeff Samardzija

The Blue Jays continue to scout Jeff Samardzija, as pro scouting director Perry Minasian was in attendance for yesterday’s outing against the Reds, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Much of the chatter regarding Samardzija to this point has included speculation when it comes to Chicago’s asking price, but Morosi hears “strong indications” that the Cubs would deal Samardzija for a package highlighted by right-hander Aaron Sanchez, left-hander Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey.

Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has maintained that he won’t include all three of those prospects in a deal for Samardzija or any other available pitcher — even David Price — according to Morosi’s report. He also notes that as much as the Blue Jays like Samardzija, they may prefer Price and Philadelphia southpaw Cole Hamels (though the latter isn’t guaranteed to be available).

The Blue Jays reluctance to deal three of their top prospects lines up with previous indicators that they may be more interested in rental players than controllable players due to a strong desire to preserve some of their farm system. Toronto has dealt away some notable prospect value — including Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez and Anthony DeSclafani — to acquire the likes of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes. One thing we do know is that Anthopoulos feels he will have ownership’s blessing to expand the team’s payroll if necessary.

As for the three prospects listed by Morosi, Sanchez entered the season with the highest stock of the bunch but has seen his star lose some of its luster after struggling to a 4.08 ERA and issuing 48 walks in 75 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Norris, on the other hand, has been electric, turning in a combined 1.62 ERA and 4.47 K/BB ratio in 72 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. Pompey ranked just 17th among Toronto prospects (per Baseball America) prior to the season but has boosted his value with a strong .312/.392/.460 batting line, six homers and 27 steals (in 29 attempts).


Quick Hits: Cardinals, Sizemore, Murphy, Dodgers

The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.

  • Grady Sizemore is likely to decide on a new team early this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Sizemore became a free agent Friday after the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In his first big-league action since 2011, Sizemore hit .216/.288/.324 in 205 plate appearances in Boston.
  • The Blue Jays and Giants have had interest in Daniel Murphy, but the most likely outcome is that the Mets keep him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. In a “mediocre” NL East division, Martino writes, the Mets do not seem to view themselves as sellers. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t deal Murphy, of course — GM Sandy Alderson sent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last year soon after indicating the Mets wouldn’t deal him, so his actions can be hard to predict.
  • The Yankees need a starting pitcher, but they probably won’t be able to get top trade possibilities like David Price or Jeff Samardzija, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Rays won’t want to trade Price to a divisional opponent. For Samardzija, the Cubs want a highly-rated young pitcher who’s close to being ready for the big leagues, and the Yankees don’t have that type of player. That means the Yankees could get someone like John Danks of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of the Cubs or Ian Kennedy of the Padres.
  • As the trade deadline approaches, the Dodgers‘ greatest need is in their bullpen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t count on improvements from relievers they already have, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon writes. Kenley Jansen, in particular, has been working on his mechanics, and he pitched very well on Saturday and Sunday. In any case, Saxon notes that the Dodgers likely won’t let guaranteed contracts for relievers they already have (presumbably, players like Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who have struggled) prevent them from adding talent on the trade market.
  • The Tigers‘ bullpen has an unexpected look recently, with the additions of minor league veterans Pat McCoy, Chad Smith and Blaine Hardy. Hardy, 27, has pitched well in four appearances so far even though he hadn’t pitched in the big leagues before last week. “You’ve got to stick with it, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. Just keep playing, hopefully get the opportunity, and here I am,” the lefty told MLive.com’s Chris Iott. The Royals drafted Hardy in the 22nd round out of college, then released him during spring training in 2013. He pitched three scoreless innings against them in his first two big-league appearances last week.

Cafardo’s Latest: Morales, D’Backs, Kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has lots of hot stove information to share in his latest Sunday Notes column

  • Kendrys Morales has already become a positive clubhouse figure in his short time with the Twins and Cafardo wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota try to extend the slugger.  It’s also possible the Twins could deal Morales before the deadline and then re-sign him as a free agent this winter.
  • The Diamondbacks seem willing to listen about trade offers for any player except Paul Goldschmidt, Cafardo notes.  Martin Prado could be an attractive trade chip, though possible trade candidates like Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo might not have enough time before the deadline to show that they’re healthy.  “We’re meeting on it.  Figures we are sellers, not buyers,” D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said.
  • The Red Sox “spent significant time watching Matt Kemp last week,” though Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Cafardo that Kemp isn’t being traded.  Kemp’s recent hot streak has “reinforced” his value to Colletti given the dearth of right-handed power options around the game.
  • The Nationals could make Danny Espinosa available to second base-needy teams like the Giants or Blue Jays once Bryce Harper returns from the DL.  With Harper back in the outfield, Washington would use Ryan Zimmerman at third and Anthony Rendon at second, leaving Espinosa without a regular job.  Given Zimmerman’s shoulder problems and questionable future as a third baseman, however, I’d tend to think that the Nats would keep Espinosa as a valuable depth piece.
  • Phillies outfielders Marlon Byrd and Ben Revere appear to be available, as Cafardo adds them to the long list of notable Philadelphia players who could be trade targets before the deadline.
  • Red Sox catching prospect Christian Vazquez would be the top ask for any team looking to make a major trade with Boston.  “That would be across the board, even for a major hitter. He’s major league-ready right now offensively and defensively,” a scout tells Cafardo.  “We also think he’ll hit for some power in the majors. Because they have Blake Swihart, who a lot of teams will ask for as well, they probably would reluctantly give up Vazquez.”  This same scout, however, says that between the two young catchers, he would keep Swihart.
  • While Nate Schierholtz has only hit .207/.261/.313 in 249 PA this season, the Cubs will likely still trade the outfielder.  Schierholtz is only signed through the end of the season and he is owed approximately $2.78MM in remaining salary.
  • The Padres “would like to conduct a fire sale” and Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith could all be available.  Cafardo notes that Smith would be a good fit in the Red Sox outfield.
  • Several teams are interested in Grady Sizemore, who one scout feels will perform better now that he has had time to get re-accustomed to playing.  “Whoever gets him next will probably get a better player than what Boston had. He needed more time, and with that problem offensively up there they [the Red Sox] couldn’t wait,” the scout said.
  • The Blue Jays, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers have been the teams who have been most aggressively scouting the major and minor league rosters of other clubs, Cafardo reports.

AL Notes: Downs, Angels, Blue Jays, Rays

Here’s the latest out of the American League:

  • White Sox reliever Scott Downs would see his 2015 option vest if he appears in 55 games this year and does not end the season on the DL, reports MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (via Twitter). The 39-year-old southpaw has seen action in 35 contests (after tonight’s outing), meaning that he has just 20 left to go to trigger the $4.25MM option. MLBTR’s Steve Adams looked yesterday at vesting option situations around the league.
  • The Angels bullpen has not only been unreliable, but currently lacks a lefty, writes ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). The club may well look to a trade market that Olney says “should be comparatively flush” with attractive bullpen arms.
  • You won’t see the Blue Jays in October if GM Alex Anthopoulos stands pat this summer, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star.  With Juan Francisco‘s offensive struggles (.586 OPS in the month of June), Griffin wants to see Toronto go out and get a second baseman that can play every day.  Among the second baseman that might be available in July, he says, are Nick Franklin of the Mariners, Ramon Santiago of the Reds, Darwin Barney of the Cubs, and Ramiro Pena of the Braves.
  • Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays need to start selling.  With the club mired in last place, Shelton says it needs to move David Price, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce, and anything not nailed down. Meanwhile, a host of teams with a heavier-than-usual scouting presence for Price’s start tonight included the Blue JaysCardinalsGiantsIndians, and Yankees, tweets the Times’ Marc Topkin.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Rosenthal On A’s, Angels, Rasmus, Indians

Somehow, someway, Athletics GM Billy Beane is going to pull something off between now and the deadline, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Between the inexperience of Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez, Scott Kazmir‘s past health troubles, and other question marks, the A’s could use some rotation reinforcements.  Oakland isn’t deep enough in minor league talent to land the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija or Rays’ David Price, but Rosenthal is certain that Beane will find something out there.  Here’s more from his always informative column..

  • The Angels don’t necessarily need rotation help, but they’d like to add a starter nonetheless.  They are currently without a lefty reliever, and another rotation piece would allow them to move left-hander Hector Santiago to the bullpen.  Rosenthal speculates that Padres righty Ian Kennedy and Mets righty Dillon Gee could be fits.
  • The qualifying offer reduces the desire of some teams to trade QO candidates before they hit the open market.  Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus and Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa are examples of potential free agents who are unlikely to be moved since their clubs would like the option of making an offer and an acquiring team would not be able to extend one.  If not for the QO possibility, Toronto might opt to move Rasmus for a pitcher and re-install a platoon of Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar in center.
  • The Indians are in difficult spots with potential free agents shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and right-hander Justin Masterson.  Cabrera isn’t a strong QO candidate thanks to his so-so defense, so one option would be to trade him for another infielder to alternate with Mike Aviles.  The same goes for Masterson, though he probably doesn’t have much trade value with an ERA of 5.05 with 8.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9.

AL East Notes: Murphy, Blue Jays, Price, Rays

Recently demoted Yankees catcher J.R. Murphy is garnering a lot of trade interest, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The 23-year-old Murphy batted .286/.308/.365 in 65 plate appearances for the Yanks this season and enjoyed a solid minor league season in 2013, hitting .269/.347/.426 between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wikes-Barre. However, the Yankees’ offseason signing of Brian McCann to a five-year deal makes it unlikely that he’ll have an everyday spot with the club in the long-term.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • Though there’s been a great deal of focus on the the Blue Jays‘ search for pitching upgrades, GM Alex Anthopoulos tells Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker of 590 The Fan in Toronto that he has had active discussions to bring in an everyday infielder as well (via Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith). Anthopoulos spoke candidly about the fact that eliminating the current infield platoon would free up some bench flexibility. He added that carrying three catchers, as the club is currently doing, is far from an ideal scenario.
  • In his latest Fangraphs On FOX article, Dave Cameron examines the trade market for David Price and wonders if the Rays‘ ace might end up being traded twice in the next year. Cameron notes that a number of big-spending clubs aren’t ideal fits due to sharing a division with Tampa, a poor farm system or a poor rank within the standings. As such, he speculates that a lower budget team (listing the A’s as an example) could acquire Price to fuel their 2014 World Series chances, then look to flip him in the offseason to recoup some of the prospect value lost in acquiring Price and his likely $18-20MM salary in 2015.
  • ESPN’s Jim Bowden speculates on the five most likely teams to trade for Price, listing the Angels, Blue Jays, White Sox, Yankees and Braves. Bowden runs down trade scenarios for each team within his Insider-only piece. From my point of view, the Halos don’t have the prospects to land Price, while the White Sox are a long-shot because the required prospect package goes against GM Rick Hahn’s long-term plan for the team.
  • In attempting to paint an accurate picture of what next year’s Rays roster could look like, Cork Gaines of RaysIndex lists Price, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce and Jeremy Hellickson as potential trade chips either at this summer’s deadline or in the offseason. Jennings will see his price tag go up in arbitration, Gaines explains, and the potential emergence of Kevin Kiermaier could make him expendable. Of course, that would likely only be the case were Kiermaier to prove himself over a larger sample than 74 big league PAs.