Travis D'Arnaud Rumors
Given Mike Napoli's status as an impending free agent, the Rangers will be looking for catching help this offseason, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Rangers have been ambivalent when asked if Napoli will receive a qualifying offer, according to Sullivan. As we learned last week, that offer would be $13.3MM on a one-year deal.
Sullivan also writes that it's likely the Rangers and Blue Jays will enter into trade discussions this offseason, given Toronto's catching surplus. The Blue Jays have J.P. Arencibia at the Major League level, with Travis d'Arnaud knocking on the door in Triple-A. Both profile as starting catchers, and the Jays also have Jeff Mathis and the recently claimed Bobby Wilson on their 40-man roster. Toronto would likely seek pitching depth in any deal involving a catcher.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels acquired Geovany Soto over the summer as a means to bolster the position for the stretch run. Soto currently profiles as the starter in Texas, but would become a non-tender candidate if the Rangers were to add a significant piece in the offseason. The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year earned $4.3MM in 2012 and would be due for a raise through arbitration despite hitting just .198/.270/.343. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Soto as a non-tender candidate back in August.
All of this, of course, is assuming that the Rangers are unable to retain Napoli's services. Napoli hopes to return to the Rangers, according to Sullivan, but that will be dependent on what kind of offers he receives. Another factor could be how he's used in the lineup. Napoli went on record in July stating that he prefers catching to playing first base, so he could have interest in a team that will use him beind the plate more (though that's just my own speculation).
Check out MLBTR's 2013 free agent list for a full look at the upcoming class of catchers that the Rangers could pursue.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that we should expect the unexpected once trade talk picks up this summer. For example, who expected Ubaldo Jimenez to be traded this time last year? Here are Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams says he’d prefer to focus on short-term goals for now and figure out whether to buy or sell closer to the July 31st trade deadline. “We’ll see where we are in July and then we’ll figure it out,” he said.
- Chase Headley is a popular trade target, Rosenthal reports. The Padres could replace Headley at third with Jedd Gyorko or move Gyorko to second if they hold onto Headley.
- The Diamondbacks explored the trade market for young catchers before signing Miguel Montero to an extension, only to find that acquiring a backstop such as Travis d’Arnaud or Austin Romine would have cost them top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs and then some.
- Some executives wonder if the Blue Jays should make their move this summer, asking “If not now, when?” One person says the Blue Jays are monitoring Matt Garza of the Cubs.
- Carlos Lee can block trades to 14 teams, including the Dodgers, Rosenthal reports. Almost all of the teams on Lee’s no-trade list are high-revenue clubs. This provides Lee with some leverage, but doesn’t necessarily mean he’d block a deal.
- Brett Myers’ $10MM option for 2013 likely vests with between 40 and 50 games finished, Rosenthal estimates. If a team acquired the right-hander and used him as a setup man, the option wouldn’t become an issue. But teams interested in using Myers as a closer might have interest in re-working the option like the Brewers did with Francisco Rodriguez a year ago.
- The contracts for Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay of the Phillies include the same no-trade protection, Rosenthal reports. Each player can block deals to 21 teams per year.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten expects his team to be “aggressive, but not reckless” in considering possible upgrades.
One scout told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the work of the Braves’ hitting instructors and the performance of Kris Medlen has made the difference for the team so far in 2012. Atlanta GM Frank Wren agrees with that assessment, according to Rosenthal, who offers notes and rumors from around the league in his latest column:
- The Cubs are more likely to trade Ryan Dempster if they sign Matt Garza to an extension. However, Dempster’s ten and five rights allow him to veto any trade, so he’ll have leverage if the Cubs look to make a move. It doesn’t seem likely that Dempster will sign a below-market extension to stay in Chicago, Rosenthal writes.
- The Cubs don’t have immediate plans to call up Anthony Rizzo, who figures to stay in the minor leagues until an opening emerges.
- Releasing Alfonso Soriano doesn’t appear to be an option; the outfielder has approximately $50MM remaining on his contract with the Cubs.
- General managers criticize the collective bargaining agreement, Rosenthal reports. Some low-revenue teams dislike spending restrictions on the draft, since they feel the limitations will drive up the price of MLB talent.
- Chien-Ming Wang, who is now rehabbing at Triple-A, could be valuable insurance for the Nationals, since they’ve decided to cap Stephen Strasburg’s innings.
- Brett Myers’ 2013 option likely vests with approximately 55 games finished, Rosenthal suggests. The right-hander will obtain a $500K bonus if the Astros trade him.
- One scout says Blue Jays catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud looks like Russell Martin did with the Dodgers.
Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Impending free agent Andre Ethier is "the first opportunity for the Dodgers’ new ownership to make a statement in the post-McCourt era," and while Ethier has let it be known that he's willing to negotiate a new deal during the season, Rosenthal thinks Stan Kasten would prefer to see Ethier perform well and stay healthy for the entire 2012 season before offering him a contract extension. Rosenthal predicts Ethier will look for a deal similar to Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126MM contract with the Nationals, and given the lack of proven power bats on the market, Ethier "probably can name his price" this winter if he keeps producing.
- Johan Santana's hefty contract and no-trade clause will make it hard for the Mets to move him without eating a lot of money in a deal. Rosenthal thinks it makes more sense for the Mets to just hang on to Santana, who can be a valuable mentor to the team's young pitchers.
- The Blue Jays are unlikely to trade either J.P. Arencibia or Travis d'Arnaud before the end of the season, as the Jays like Arencibia's game-calling and d'Arnaud's overall potential. Rosenthal cites the Diamondbacks as one of several teams interested in Toronto's catchers, which follows up on his report in March that the Snakes were looking at Arencibia. Arizona's interest would seem to indicate that the D'Backs are preparing a backup plan should they not be able to re-sign Miguel Montero.
- It "does not appear out of the question" that the Rockies will make changes to the coaching staff given the team's pitching woes, defensive struggles and overall poor start.
- A scout tells Rosenthal that Andy Pettitte "does not look close to ready" and will need several more minor league starts before he's ready to return to the Yankees.
The Blue Jays have J.P. Arencibia catching at the Major League level and top prospect Travis d'Arnaud could be MLB-ready within the year. It seems like a good problem to have for Toronto, but other teams view the Blue Jays’ depth as a possible opportunity, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports...
- Teams have asked about Arencibia and d’Arnaud in trade talks, Olney writes. However, it’s very possible that the Blue Jays will keep both unless they’re completely overwhelmed by an offer. D’Arnaud is slated for more minor league seasoning while Jeff Mathis backs Arencibia up, so the Blue Jays don’t have to make a decision any time soon.
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has a bonus in his contract that resembles the conclusion bonus he had with the Red Sox, Olney writes. Epstein also has standard bonuses for team success.
- Steve Cohen made an impressive presentation in his bid for the Dodgers, Olney hears.
- The Padres love what they see in outfield prospect Rymer Liriano.
The Blue Jays are looking for a closer this offseason and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the team has checked in on free agents Francisco Cordero and Matt Capps. Heath Bell is another option for the Blue Jays, who had interest in Jonathan Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies. Here are more notes on the Blue Jays, who have yet to make a major move so far this offseason...
- The Blue Jays would listen to offers on 24-year-old first baseman David Cooper, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Cooper, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in 2008, debuted with the team in 2011 and posted a .678 OPS in 81 plate appearances. He won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .364/.439/.535 line this past season, adding nine home runs and 51 doubles.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston isn't a fan of the posting system and Elliott suggests Toronto's interest in Yu Darvish is "lukewarm."
- The Yankees are interested in Kyle Drabek, according to Elliott. Drabek started the season in the Blue Jays' rotation before being demoted to the minor leagues. He had a standout season in 2010, but struggled with command in the Majors (6.3 BB/9) and in the minors (4.9 BB/9) in 2011.
- The Royals have some interest in Colby Rasmus because of concerns that Lorenzo Cain may not be ready for an everyday role, Elliott reports.
- The Phillies have discussed ways of re-obtaining Travis d'Arnaud, the Double-A catcher who arrived with Drabek in the 2009 Roy Halladay trade. As Elliott points out, the Blue Jays would need a ton to part with this year's Eastern League MVP.
Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun has a host of Blue Jays news including numerous quotes from GM Alex Anthopoulos:
- Elliot hears that the Blue Jays have been "shocked" by the asking prices they've received when contacting the representatives for free agent closers. Anthopoulos sounds wary of signing closers to four- and five-year deals. Noting some research he did on injuries long-term deals for relievers when he was still an assistant GM, Anthopolous said: "...basically if you were giving out a five-year deal you were only going to get a player for four seasons."
- When asked what the club's greatest surplus was, Anthopoulos replied "prospects," which Elliot speculates could hint that the Jays may try to acquire a closer via trade.
- The Blue Jays aren't prepared to trade J.P. Arencibia because of Travis d'Arnaud's minor league success. The 22-year-old d'Arnaud ranked 36th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list prior to a 2011 campaign that saw him hit .311/.371/542 and crush 21 homers at the Double-A level.
- The organization is at least one year away from considering d'Arnaud for the Major Leagues, and the same goes for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
- The Blue Jays are content with Colby Rasmus as their center fielder for 2012, and Anthopolous calls him an upgrade defensively.
- The Jays need an everyday second baseman, which leads Elliot to speculate on Brandon Phillips.
3:27pm: Over at BlueJays.com, Blue Jays Alex Anthopoulos talked about the players the Jays received in the Halladay deal, as well as recent signing John Buck. A few notes: Anthopoulos sees Wallace as a first baseman, and he has still has ongoing trade talks about other players.
1:48pm: The Mariners announced the trade in a press release, with GM Jack Zdruriencik congratulating the Phillies and Blue Jays on the way the deal was handled. ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that the deal will be complete all-around once Bud Selig signs off on the $6MM going to the Phillies. Elliott says an MRI on Wallace's shoulder cleared the Taylor part of the swap.
1:31pm: Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail heard that the report of a failed physical is a "totally false rumour." ESPN's Shannon Drayer tweets that the deal is official and Lee is a Mariner. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki agrees, saying a Halladay press conference is set for 4pm CST.
12:38pm: Davidi passes along an AP report that has Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. saying he's hopeful the trade can be completed today but talks may go into Thursday. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times doesn't expect the deal to unravel, and is hearing it's not a Mariners prospect who failed a physical.
11:47am: The three/four-way trade involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee is not yet official; here's our post yesterday for a refresher. The latest bit of news kicking off today's post: Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun tweets that he heard someone involved in the trade flunked their physical (one of the minor leaguers). Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press says Phillippe Aumont passed. There appears to be six other prospects involved in the deal, if you include the Michael Taylor-Brett Wallace component. Drabek had Tommy John surgery in July of '07, while Aumont had elbow issues toward the end of the '08 season.
A recap of the expected deal:
- The Phillies get Roy Halladay, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Juan Ramirez, and $6MM. The Phillies will give Halladay a three-year extension plus vesting options.
- The Mariners get Cliff Lee.
- The Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis d'Arnaud.
- The A's get Michael Taylor.
8:28pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report (scroll down to 7:50pm) that Billy Beane and the A's first became interested in Taylor last summer when the Phillies tried to acquire Matt Holliday.
6:39pm: Jayson Stark reports on the historic maginitude of this deal as this will be the closest two Cy Young winners have ever come to being traded for each other.
6:35pm: It appears as though one of the last hurdles has been overcome as Todd Zolecki reports that Halladay has passed his physical.
2:54pm: Olney says the option vests if Halladay is close to as durable as he's been for the last two years. Halladay's made 65 starts and thrown 485 innings the last two years; he's as durable as they come.
2:43pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown hears that the Halladay extension runs through 2013 at $20MM per season. A vesting option for another $20MM could prolong the pact by another year. The deal is now pending physicals.
11:56am: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies have agreed to an extension with Halladay.
10:00am: Rosenthal hears there's a chance for a fourth year. It's still under discussion, but it could be guaranteed and it could be a vesting option.
9:42am: A source tells Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the deal is "very unlikely" to be completed today. We could see resolution tomorrow.
9:36am: The Phillies are still working out extension details with Halladay, according to Heyman. The teams may not complete the deal until tomorrow.
9:02am: Halladay will agree to a three-year extension worth $60MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. The deal will include two vesting options, so it could keep Halladay in Philly through 2015.
8:58am: The negotiations are complete, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The deal is in place and Halladay is taking his physical now.
8:15am: By now, you've heard that the Jays, Phillies and Mariners are working towards a blockbuster deal that would send prospects north of the border, one Cy Young Award winner to Seattle and another one to Philadelphia. The trade is "close," but "not done" in the words of Jayson Stark's source. Here's what we know so far:
- The Phillies get Roy Halladay, who will take a physical today, according to Ed Price, and $6MM from the Jays. They also get Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez from the M's. (Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune confirmed that Ramirez is headed to Philly.)
- Halladay will also agree to a three-year extension that will pay him about $20MM annually through 2013, according to Stark. The extension won't affect his 2010 salary ($15.75MM) and will include a vesting option.
- The Mariners get Cliff Lee from the Phils and they could be getting more.
- The Blue Jays get pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis D'Arnaud from the Phils.
Stay tuned throughout the day - we'll have all the updates for you.
One of the biggest trades in recent memory is nearing completion. Here are some reactions to the Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-prospects swap from around the game.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law expects Brett Wallace- the player the Jays will obtain for Taylor - to end up at first base. Law likes the prospects Seattle gave up, but doesn't love them. Given that Seattle has other prospects, he says "making a legitimate run at a division title is a pretty good reason to empty out your farm."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies couldn't afford to have Halladay and Lee in the same rotation because it would have cost too much in terms of money and prospects.
- Scott Lauber of the News Journal says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has staked his legacy on Halladay.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan says two teams have reason to celebrate this deal: the Jays and the Mariners. The Phillies, on the other hand, are "not demonstrably better" than before.
- One veteran talent evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the only clear winner is Seattle. Olney hears from some Yankees people who believe the Jays got less than what they were demanding from Brian Cashman & Co.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Yankees were willing to offer Jesus Montero in a package for Halladay, but not Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
- Rob Neyer of ESPN.com agrees with Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner: the deal is a "heist" for the Mariners. Cameron likes the deal so much he tells Mariners fans to "dance in the streets."
- Over at FanGraphs, Cameron says all three franchises had understandable motivations for making the trade. Still, he wonders if Philly could have obtained more for Lee.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs wonders why the Phils didn't wait and deal Lee for more.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says the Jays "should be embarrassed" by the return they got for Halladay.
- One member of the Phillies organization tells MLB.com's Noah Coslov that he doesn't understand the trade because Michael Taylor is MLB ready now.
- Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says it was never realistic to expect Halladay and Cliff Lee to pitch in the same rotation.