Troy Tulowitzki Rumors

Cafardo On Trade Deadline, Maddux, Tulo

Here are the highlights from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe‘s latest column:

  • The Athletics, Phillies, Brewers, Rockies and Reds could have the best big-league talent on offer at the trade deadline, two executives tell Cafardo. Scott Kazmir is perhaps the top player the Athletics could have available, but there could be others, like Josh Reddick and Billy Butler. The Red Sox, Pirates and Blue Jays also could become sellers unless they play well over the next couple months, Cafardo suggests.
  • Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux would have interest in a managerial job, says Cafardo. In the past, Maddux frequently removed himself from consideration for such jobs because his children were younger and he did not want his family to have to move.
  • Executives believe the Rockies do have interest in trading Troy Tulowitzki, and feel they should have little trouble doing so if they’re willing to pay some of the $113MM remaining on his contract. “I think they’ll be able to move him,” says one GM. “Too good of a player to be out there without someone taking him.” Tulowitzki is hitting just .275/.291/.423 in 148 plate appearances and, for whatever it’s worth, his defensive numbers in a small sample so far this season aren’t nearly as strong as they typically are.

NL West Notes: Tulo, Ishikawa, Dodgers, Ryu

The Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation has been plentiful over the past week, but Jon Morosi of FOX Sports asked Rockies owner Dick Monfort about the rumors at this week’s owners meetings (Twitter link) and was told, “We’re not trying to trade him. There’s no story there.” Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, couldn’t even get that level of an answer out of Monfort last week, as Rosenthal recently wrote that Monfort quickly hung up the phone when asked about the Tulowitzki trade scenario. Many, including Rosenthal, have written that the belief is that Monfort himself, not GM Jeff Bridich or Tulowitzki, is in control of whether or not the shortstop is traded. Monfort has a history of reluctance in trading veterans; a report from hall of fame journalist Peter Gammons last summer indicated that Monfort vetoed a trade of Jorge De La Rosa for highly touted prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. De La Rosa was signed to a two-year extension shortly thereafter.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Travis Ishikawa is nearing a return from the disabled list, and his impending activation creates a potentially uncomfortable roster crunch for the Giants, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants will have to either trim a member of their bullpen or cut a bench player to activate Ishikawa, neither of which is a desirable outcome for the club, Haft continues. Ishikawa is aware that with Brandon Belt and Nori Aoki playing well, at-bats with the big league club could be few and far between, but he’s ok with a reduced role. “If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be,” Ishikawa said. To this point, the veteran first baseman/outfielder said he hasn’t received any indication from the club as to what their decision will be.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Dodgers‘ glut of infielders could be leveraged in trades to address the starting rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are already out for the season, and as Saxon notes, Friedman told reporters (including MLBTR’s Zach Links) that an excess of good players can benefit a team by making trades easier to facilitate. Saxon quotes Friedman as saying, “…if we can add an arm, that would certainly be helpful.” I’d add that the Dodgers’ rotation is currently also banking on the injury-prone Brett Anderson to remain healthy, further increasing the possibility that the Dodgers may need to look outside the organization for rotation help. Of course, as Saxon notes, Brandon Beachy is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to return by June. Given that he’s returning from his second TJ operation, however, it would likely behoove the Dodgers to have depth beyond Beachy, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger.
  • Losing Ryu will make the Dodgers‘ efforts to acquire a starter significantly more difficult, opines Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Rival clubs already knew that they had leverage over the Dodgers, given the team’s rotation holes, and with Ryu slated to go under the knife, the Dodgers’ need has only been magnified. The Dodgers need to add a reliable mid-rotation arm, but teams can afford to demand a more premium asking price, Dilbeck feels, knowing that the Dodgers aren’t likely to be able to get by for the rest of the season with Anderson, Beachy, Bolsinger and Frias supporting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
  • For those who didn’t see earlier, the Rockies made the somewhat surprising decision to option Drew Stubbs, who has five-plus years of Major League service, to Triple-A. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd took a look at the situation in more detail.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Managers, A’s, Reddick, Tulo, Astros

Earlier this week, in the wake of the Marlins’ managerial change, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the two skippers who were most obviously on the hot seat had now been dismissed. With Mike Redmond and Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke having been replaced, Rosenthal looks at four more managers who could eventually find themselves in danger of losing their jobs, listing John Gibbons (Blue Jays), Bud Black (Padres), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves) and Terry Collins (Mets) as the likeliest options. Gibbons can’t be blamed for the lack of quality relief arms he has at his disposal, Rosenthal notes, but bench coach Demarlo Hale has long been thought of as a managerial prospect and makes sense as a replacement option. Black’s Padres are struggling with pitching, and Mark Kotsay‘s name is floated by Rosenthal as someone who could be the next recently retired player to turn manager. Braves president of baseball ops John Hart isn’t as high on Gonzalez as president John Schuerholz or Bobby Cox, and there’s been some recent “internal finger-pointing,” Rosenthal hears. Collins nearly lost his job at the end of the 2014 season, he notes, and while the team is still in first place, the Mets’ managerial situation has long been volatile in nature.

Here’s more from Rosenthal…

  • In a new Notes column, Rosenthal looks at the Athletics‘ roster in the wake of a brutal start to the season. As many have pointed out, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist — each a pending free agent — would all be logical trade candidates if the team is still underperforming in July. However, Rosenthal writes that there’s no way GM Billy Beane will act quickly and sell, as he’ll first want to see how the team performs with Zobrist and closer Sean Doolittle healthy and activated from the DL. One change that won’t be coming, Rosenthal adds, is at manager. Beane and skipper Bob Melvin have a strong relationship, and it’s “exceptionally unlikely” that Melvin would be dismissed, in Rosenthal’s eyes.
  • Another possible trade chip for the A’s could be Josh Reddick, who is earning $4.1MM after his second trip through arbitration this year. The Athletics, however, resisted trade offers for Reddick all offseason, Rosenthal hears.
  • Rosenthal recently called Rockies owner Dick Monfort to discuss the recent Troy Tulowitzki trade chatter. However, when Rosenthal began asking about Tulowitzki, Monfort “quickly hung up.” The bizarre situation lends credence to wide-spread belief that Tulo, his agent and even GM Jeff Bridich have little say in whether or not the Rockies trade the face of their franchise. Rather, it’ll come down to the team owner’s wishes.
  • The Astros are considering a long list of pitchers that either are or could become available, and they’ve recently been scouting Jeff Samardzija. It remains to be seen if the Astros would be willing to part with enough to get their hands on Samardzija, though. As Rosenthal notes, some rival execs feel that the tandem pitching system the Astros use in the minors devalues their pitching prospects, though one exec told him that it actually increases the value, as it suppresses the young pitchers’ inning counts.
  • Rosenthal believes the Rays should consider trading left-hander Jake McGee to either help their rotation or another area of the team. McGee, he notes, is earning $3.55MM this season and will see that price tag sail beyond $5MM in arbitration this winter.
  • Of course, as I noted yesterday when looking at this topic, using McGee in the ninth inning would help to keep down the future earnings of Brad Boxberger, who would benefit greatly from two full seasons of saves when he heads into arbitration following the 2016 season. And, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned to me earlier today when we were chatting, left-handed relief is an area of weakness for the Rays at this time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario Rosenthal lays out came to fruition, and it’s hard to imagine that the Rays wouldn’t at least be open-minded to moving McGee.


Rockies Notes: Tulowitzki, Bridich, Pitching

Here’s a look at the Rockies..

  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich seems to think that the trade speculation surrounding Troy Tulowitzki is a product of the team’s recent slide.  “My hunch is that if we had a very different two weeks, and we had a record as we had in April, that we wouldn’t be talking about this at all, right now,” the GM said, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “Funny how none of this came up in April when we were playing very different baseball.”    Bridich spoke with reporters on Friday and tried to make the case that the Tulo trade talk was a product of the media stirring things up.  Of course, the ball got rolling when agent Paul Cohen spoke on the record with Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Rockies have gotten even worse under Bridich, Woody Paige of The Denver Post opines. The Rockies have now gone 5-18 in the last month and Paige rolls his eyes at the notion put forth by Bridich that the Rockies have not played up to “expectations.” The rotation, he notes, was widely projected as one of the worst in the majors at the outset of the season.  Now, they’re at or near the bottom in league ERA, strikeouts, and walks, which is more or less what Paige expected.
  • It’s time for Bridich to move his star shortstop, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) opines.  Bowden runs down the five best trade destinations for Tulowitzki, in order of fit, starting with the Mets.  He suggests a package of left-hander Steven Matz, catcher Kevin Plawecki, and right-handed reliever Rafael Montero.  One drawback for the Rockies is that such a haul would call for Colorado to eat $25-30MM of Tulo’s deal, in Bowden’s estimation.

Latest On Troy Tulowitzki

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is in a tight spot regarding Troy Tulowitzki, opines Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. While Tulowitzki did not specifically ask to be traded, he did not categorically state that he wants to remain in Colorado. For his part, Bridich did not deny the possibility of a trade.

There is no doubt that Tulowitzki is highly coveted around the league despite a minimum of six years and $113MM remaining on his contract. The star shortstop is off to a strange start to the season for Colorado. One has to wonder if the rumors are getting to him. He’s hitting .284/.292/.448 through 120 plate appearances. His plate discipline has disappeared. He’s swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone, whiffing more frequently, and he’s drawn just two walks against 29 strikeouts. His power output is also well below his career norms.

Last week, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs identified nine possible destinations for Tulowitzki. He referred to the Mets, Red Sox, and Yankees as the most likely bidders. The long standing connection with the Mets is challenged by their complex financial situation. Cameron suggests the Red Sox could include Xander Bogaerts as part of a trade. If that was the case, I suspect they might be in the best position to secure a deal. The Yankees certainly have the necessary money, but they’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of payroll committed to aging players.

Shaikin adds that the Dodgers would love to slot Tulo at shortstop with top prospect Corey Seager sliding over to third base. While they have the financial wherewithal and enough talented prospects to participate in a trade, it’s unlikely the Rockies would deal directly with their rich rivals. Instead, Los Angeles could attempt to play financial facilitator as part of a three-team trade. The Dodgers attempted to mediate the Josh Hamilton trade by including money for a prospect.

Cameron also explored a hypothetical trade package for the nine teams he identified. Tulowitzki’s contract probably has $50MM to $60MM of surplus value per Cameron, so he should elicit a sizable return. However, the $63MM signing of Yoan Moncada – not a top 10 prospect per all major outlets – indicates that the upper crust of prospects are probably off the table. In other words, no Mookie Betts, no Carlos Correa, and no Seager (among others).

Tulowitzki could return multiple second tier prospects. Cameron names Luis Severino and Aaron Judge as a possible package from the Yankees. The Mets could bundle Noah Syndergaard, Amed Rosario, and Steven Matz. Of course, these are just some hypothetical ideas. The Rockies could try to eat some money in exchange for a true elite prospect, or they might prefer a deep five or six player package.

 


NL Notes: D’Backs, Marlins, Herrera, Tulowitzki

None of the top candidates for the first overall pick in the upcoming amateur draft seem likely to command the $8.6MM+ bonus slotted for the #1 pick, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes as part of a draft mailbag.  Callis notes that the Diamondbacks would likely save a couple of million on whomever they pick first overall, making the team’s explorations of taking a lesser-ranked prospect first to save even more bonus pool money seem rather needless.  “There’s no need to do a discount of $4 million or more, and it’s unlikely there will be enough quality players to spend that much extra money on in later rounds,” Callis writes.

Here’s more from the National League:

  • The Marlins‘ decision not to pursue Rafael Soriano does not indicate that the team is not going to look to spur change in its pen, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Nevertheless, the focus is now internal. A.J. Ramos is just beginning his audition in the closer’s role, and should get a fairly long look. Otherwise, righties David Phelps and Tom Koehler could be shifted to full-time bullpen roles. It makes sense for Miami to see how things look with in-house changes now, of course, to gather information before the summer trade market heats up.
  • Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera is headed to the DL with a broken middle finger on this throwing hand, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (Twitter links). Third baseman and utilityman Eric Campbell will slide into the mix for the time being. It remains to be seen how long Herrera will be out, but his absence could impact the club in a multitude of ways. For one thing, it reduces (or even eliminates) the possibility that Herrera will seize the everyday job and render Daniel Murphy a trade piece — an admittedly somewhat unlikely scenario to begin with, especially given David Wright‘s prolonged absence. Also of note: the decision to tab Campbell means that the team is not yet ready to bump Wilmer Flores off of shortstop, which was at least a theoretical alternative if Matt Reynolds had received the call. Unless and until Flores can curb his difficulties in the field, the position will remain an area of focus. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes, the overall disposition in New York (particularly given the context of a five-game losing streak) is not terribly sunny at present.
  • The Rockies‘ shortstop situation is also going to continue to get press, albeit for somewhat different reasons. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs takes a shot at valuing Troy Tulowitzki, opining that the excellent but oft-injured star would probably command something north of the Jacoby Ellsbury contract. That implies something like $50MM to $60MM in excess value in his contract, says Cameron, indicating that Tulo might bring back a package of very good prospects rather than one headlined by a super-premium young player. (Though, as Cameron notes, we should expect some mark-up for an in-season deal. Last year’s Jeff SamardzijaAddison Russell trade certainly illustrates that point.) The article suggests some possible groups of players that could theoretically be offered to Colorado.

Jeff Bridich Addresses Troy Tulowitzki Trade Chatter

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich addressed recent comments from star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and his agent about the possibility of a trade, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Bridich wrote off the recent talk about a deal as “a media production, more than anything else.”

Colorado’s top baseball executive also rejected the notion that Tulowitzki’s camp was responsible for the sudden rash of attention to the idea of the club’s top attraction demanding a trade. (Tulowitzki, of course, has denied that he will do so.) Bridich made clear, further, that Colorado sees itself in the driver’s seat regarding Tulowitzki’s employment.

“The reality is that at any point, in any players’ day, they can come to the organization and ask for a trade, I suppose,” said Bridich. “But the reality is that Troy doesn’t have control of this and neither does his agent, for the contract. All Troy wants to do is come to work each day and make us better.”

Bridich also noted that he believes reports are tied to the club’s overall struggles. “That fuels speculation,” said Bridich, “and then people go on the record and try to create types of news stories and controversies by writing opinions that are just that, opinions. They aren’t based in fact. So really, nothing has changed. … Funny how none of this came up in April when we were playing very different baseball.”

There is little doubt that Colorado’s recent free-fall in the NL West standings has brought the matter back to the front burner. In that regard, Bridich is undoubtedly correct. But there is also a good reason for the current revival of an oft-discussed question: the team does not seem headed for contention — now or, frankly, in the near future — and Tulowitzki would represent a huge upgrade for many other clubs.

Though the 30-year-old has not played to his usual level thus far, slashing a modest .289/.297/.456, that represents a relatively tiny data point. There are legitimate reasons for some concern, of course, starting with the fact that Tulo is coming off of hip surgery. Then, there’s his troubling 1.7% walk rate, coupled with an uncharacteristic 23.7% strikeout rate.

If Tulowitzki can put up anything near his usual level of production going forward, the slow start (and, to a lesser extent, the injury concerns) will be all but forgotten. He is obviously not cheap — he’s owed the balance of $20MM this year and $98MM from 2016-2020 (including an option buyout for 2021) — but that’s a manageable sum for most teams for a superstar, up-the-middle player. All said, it’s quite likely that we will see plenty of ongoing rumors and analysis of the situation over the next few months.


Heyman’s Latest: Tulo, Soriano, Correa, Garza, Segura, Mets

The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the YankeesGiants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.

Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…

  • The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
  • Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
  • Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
  • Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
  • Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
  • It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
  • The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
  • In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.

Troy Tulowitzki Will Not Ask For Trade From Rockies

After meeting with his agent today, Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has decided that he will not ask to be traded away from his struggling club.  Tulowitzki told reporters, including MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, that “whatever happens on the Rockies’ end happens, but for me to sit here and try to force my way out of here, that’s not the caseI don’t think it’s fair to my teammates and the relationships I’ve built here to take that route.”

Tulowitzki has long been a key figure in trade rumors given how the Rockies are coming off four losing seasons and are currently in last place in the NL West with an 11-19 record.  His meeting with agent Paul Cohen was therefore seen a significant step towards a possible departure from Colorado, though Tulowitzki noted that he didn’t tell Cohen to inform the New York Post about his dissatisfaction with the team’s lack of success.  “If I have an issue I would take care of it myself. The last [thing] I would try to do is leak something and get it out there,” Tulowitzki said.  “The Rockies’ ownership and myself have always been close, so there’s no reason to try to leak something. I’d go straight to them.”

Rather than ask for a deal, Tulowitzki put an onus on himself to perform better to help the team win.  Tulowitzki is hitting .303/.310/.477 over 113 plate appearances this season and while his injury problems have certainly been a factor in the Rockies’ poor records, it’s hard to point the finger at the shortstop given that when he has been healthy, he’s been one of the better performers in the game.

It could be argued that even if Tulowitzki doesn’t officially ask to be dealt, the fact that he even considered doing so essentially acts as the same thing; in my opinion, it certainly doesn’t sound like Tulowitzki would disregard any trade that would send him to a contender.  In not demanding a deal, Tulowitzki could actually pave a clearer road to a trade since it allows the Rockies to keep a bit of negotiating leverage with other teams.

Tulowitzki has approximately $109MM in guaranteed salary remaining on his contract through the 2020 season, plus a $4MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2021 and an extra $2MM assignment bonus if he’s traded during the course of the deal.  It’s a hefty price tag for a 30-year-old player with a significant injury history, though Tulowitzki has thus far been healthy in 2015, playing in all 30 of Colorado’s games.


NL West Notes: Lyles, Olivera, Shields, Myers

Rockies starter Jordan Lyles has apparently escaped last night’s injury scare with nothing more than a significant bruise on his right hand, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Lyles says he hopes to make his next start, though it is probably too soon to tell whether he’ll miss some action. The 24-year-old was struck on his throwing hand by an Albert Pujols comebacker last night, with the subsequent swelling leading many to fear that he may have suffered a fracture. Lyles and Eddie Butler have arguably been the Rockies’ most consistent starters this season.

More from the NL West…

  • Hector Olivera is expected to arrive in Los Angeles tonight, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  The Cuban infielder will take his physical and, presuming all is well, his agreement with the Dodgers will finally be official.
  • James Shields is delivering on the mound and in the clubhouse for the Padres, leading USA Today’s Bob Nightengale to wonder if the several teams who passed on Shields this winter are now second-guessing their decision.
  • Wil Myers has tendinitis in his left wrist as the Padres hope that a few days of rest will help the outfielder avoid a DL stint, MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets.  Myers underwent surgery on his right wrist last year, though he was dealing with an existing left wrist injury at that time as well.
  • Don Mattingly deserves credit for keeping the Dodgers in first place despite several key injuries and some underperforming stars, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines.  There have been rumors that the team’s new front office could bring in their own manager after the season is over or if the Dodgers struggled, yet Sherman feels Mattingly is staking his claim as a long-term answer in the dugout.
  • Despite the growing buzz surrounding Troy Tulowitzki‘s name, a source tells the Record’s Matt Ehalt that the Mets haven’t changed their thoughts on acquiring the longtime star shortstop. Ehalt cites Tulowitzki’s injury history, the money remaining on his contract and a repeated unwillingness from the Mets to part with top-tier pitching prospects. Wilmer Flores, who homered today, has shown good pop but questionable on-base skills and defense in his first extended look at shortstop in the Majors.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discussed the Rockies in his latest piece, writing that it’s “obvious to everyone” but Rockies owner Dick Monfort that the time to trade Tulowitzki has come. However, rather than look to begin moving pieces in the wake of a 10-game losing streak, the Rockies are still actively searching for starting pitching in hopes of improving the club. Rosenthal notes that the second wild card spot in each league can often act as “fool’s gold,” leading teams without legitimate hopes of contending to delay, or in some cases, refuse to sell off pieces with an eye toward the future.