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The Tigers released Carlos Pena on this date in 2006. The first baseman spent most of the year in the minors with the Yankees and Red Sox then broke out with a 46-homer season for the Rays the following season. Here are today's AL East-related links…
- Gustavo Cabrera worked out for the Rays recently, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. The 16-year-old Dominican outfielder is one of this summer's top eligible amateurs and could command a bonus in the $1.5-2.5MM range, Mayo writes.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Daniel Bard can successfully transition to Boston's rotation this year and explains that in a perfect world he wouldn't have to become a starter. A number of baseball people are skeptical that the Red Sox right-hander will succeed in the rotation, Rosenthal writes.
- Executives monitoring the outfield market say the Blue Jays are inclined to keep Travis Snider, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. The Blue Jays optioned the left-handed hitting 24-year-old to Triple-A over the weekend.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he's optimistic Joba Chamberlain will pitch in the Major Leagues this year, Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger reports. The right-hander dislocated his right ankle last week and will likely wear a cast for six weeks.
- It doesn't appear that the Yankees have any intention of releasing Chamberlain in an attempt to save money, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes.
On this date 25 years ago Andre Dawson signed a one-year, $650K contract with the Cubs. Owners were colluding against players at the time, and Dawson had even offered the Cubs a blank check earlier that winter. Dawson would go on to win the 1987 NL MVP, though the Cubs finished last in the NL East that year. Here are today's links…
- The Royals have been grinding through negotiations with Alex Gordon and it won’t be surprising if they complete an extension with the outfielder, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes.
- Jason Heyward and Travis Snider are among the former top prospects who struggled in 2011, but still have potential, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic identifies the Blue Jays, Angels, Padres or Red Sox as teams with catching depth that could match up with the Diamondbacks on possible trades. However, there doesn't seem to be any real chance of the Diamondbacks acquiring Nick Hundley or Yasmani Grandal from the Padres any time soon.
Adrian Gonzalez won the AL Player of the Week Award for last week after homering five times in seven days. Here's the latest from a division that includes a number of prominent MVP candidates, including Gonzalez…
- Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com argues that Red Sox manager Terry Francona deserves more credit. The skipper has never won AL Manager of the Year, but Edes says he deserves it this year for the work he has done leading the Red Sox to an AL-best 82-51 record.
- B.J. Upton told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he's happy the Rays chose to hold onto him instead of trading him. The outfielder, who will be arbitration eligible for the final time this offseason, says he'd "love" to be back in Tampa Bay in 2012.
- Travis Snider acknowledged to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that his position in the Blue Jays organization has changed in recent years. The Jays demoted the former first rounder twice this season and he has lost ground on the depth chart to Eric Thames and others. Snider's resting his right wrist now and looking forward to the 2012 campaign.
Alex Anthopoulos says Brett Lawrie has done everything the Blue Jays have asked of him, but the GM doesn't assume the top prospect will succeed instantly given that some of baseball's best young players take months or even years to thrive in the Major Leagues. Anthopoulos discussed Lawrie and other Blue Jays this morning with Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto. Here are the details:
- Though Lawrie is "not a finished product by any stretch," the Blue Jays want to get a look at him for seven weeks so they have a sense of how he matches up against MLB pitching.
- The Blue Jays haven't talked about moving Lawrie to second base and they view him as their long-term third baseman.
- Travis Snider, who was optioned to the minor leagues to create roster space for Lawrie, is "100%" a part of the Blue Jays' future. "He doesn't need a change of scenery," Anthopoulos told Blair.
- Edwin Encarnacion, who has a .293/.359/.530 line since the beginning of June, still "has the chance to be an impact bat," Anthopoulos says. The Blue Jays have a $3.5MM option for Encarnacion in 2012 and aren't ready to give up on him.
Rivera, 32, came to the Jays in the trade that sent Vernon Wells to the Angels back in January. In 271 plate appearances in Toronto, Rivera hit just .246/.310/.365 with six homers. He split his time fairly evenly between left field, first base, and designated hitter, though he did make a handful of appearances in right field as well.
Many were surprised to see the Jays demote Snider, a long-time top prospect who played well when he was healthy in 2010, after just 99 plate appearances this season. Snider hit just .184/.276/.264 but showed significant improvement in the minors, hitting .333/.403/.488 in 226 plate appearances. Snider was rated as the game's sixth-best prospect prior to the 2009 season, and is still just 23 years old despite having 208 Major League games under his belt.
Shaun Marcum has been Milwaukee's best starter this year, but Brett Lawrie is doing his best to make Blue Jays fans forget about the pitcher he was traded for. The 21-year-old infield prospect has a .343/.403/.632 line at Triple-A with 12 home runs. GM Alex Anthopoulos and Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 discussed Lawrie's hot start and a number of other issues pertaining to the Blue Jays this morning. Here are the details:
- Lawrie has improved his strikeout to walk ratio in Triple-A this month, a development that’s encouraging for the Jays’ front office.
- Super two status is a moving target at the best of times and Anthopoulos points out that over 80% of players who become eligible for arbitration are optioned to the minor leagues at some point. Players like Travis Snider and Brett Cecil don’t have continuous Major League service, which means projecting whether minor leaguers are on track for super two status is mostly futile.
- The Blue Jays have a record of not manipulating service according to Anthopoulos. He points to J.P. Arencibia and Kyle Drabek, both of whom got the call late last year.
- Anthopoulos has been on the phone with a few GMs, but he doesn’t expect trades to kick into high gear until after the draft, which starts June 6th.
- Anthopoulos saw the rumor linking Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays and though the GM declined to comment on another team’s player, he praised the Jays’ current shortstop, Yunel Escobar. “He’s young, he’s everything we want,” Anthopoulos said of Escobar, who is under team control through 2013. “Shortstop is not an area we need to improve. We think it’s a strength.”
Emilio "Millito" Navarro, believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player at 105, passed away in Puerto Rico today. The former Negro Leaguer also played in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico during his career. Our condolences go out to his family.
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that former Mets GM Omar Minaya has spent the past two days on a "friendly visit" with Indians GM Chris Antonetti, president Mark Shapiro, and manager Manny Acta. Cleveland interviewed former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes during the offseason, and Hoynes says Antonetti has "made [it] no secret that he'd like to add the right person to the front office."
- While researching the impending free agency of young stars, SI's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) learned that we can count on Jered Weaver and John Danks filing after 2012.
- It's been a bad day for star third basemen, writes Justin Sablich of the New York Times. The Giants lost Pablo Sandoval for 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist and the Nationals announced that Ryan Zimmerman, who has been on the disabled list since April 12, will miss at least an another six weeks. If both players return within those timeframes, it's unlikely that either squad will look for an out-of-house fill-in.
- Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs questions the Blue Jays' wisdom in demoting Travis Snider to work on his hitting after just 99 plate appearances in 2011.
Let's take a look at some tidbits from around the majors on this Thursday evening..
- Be wary when considering radar gun readings. Former Padres GM (now Diamondbacks GM) Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the club would tinker with the pitch speeds from time to time. Every time Brad Penny pitched for the Dodgers in San Diego, the club would dial down the radar gun to frustrate him.
- The Blue Jays caught some off guard by demoting promising outfielder Travis Snider earlier today. MLB.com's Todd Wills writes that the club sent him to Triple-A to make adjustments to his swing.
- Red Sox newcomer Dan Wheeler is still working to carve out a niche for himself in the bullpen, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Last year with the Rays, Wheeler posted a 3.35 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
The Blue Jays have been connected to Zack Greinke basically all offseason, but they have no intention of trading Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek for him according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter). Obviously, Toronto is not close to completing a deal for the Royals' ace.
Kansas City understandably want a bounty for Greinke, who has two years and $27MM left on his contract. Snider, 23 in February, is a .255/.318/.446 hitter in 675 big league plate appearances, though Baseball America ranked him the sixth best prospect (and third best outfield prospect) in the game prior to the 2009 season. The 23-year-old Drabek was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade, making three very respectable starts for the Jays late in the season. Baseball America said the development of his cutter and changeup "would put him over the top as a frontline starter" when they named him the team's top prospect last month.
Zack Greinke appears willing to waive his no-trade clause in any deal, but his list of potential suitors appeared to shrink when the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum. Milwaukee tried to pry Greinke away from the Royals, but found that GM Dayton Moore was asking a lot for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner. We'll keep track of all the day's Greinke rumors right here:
- The Royals appear to be tiring of the Rangers' offers, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Discussions with Toronto appear to hinge on the Blue Jays' willingness to include Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider in a potential deal. Royals officials say a deal could come together in a hurry if the Blue Jays decide they're willing to part with those two players.
- The Reds have not talked to the Royals about a potential Greinke deal, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- The Braves are not pursuing Greinke and have not been pursuing him, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).