Troy Tulowitzki Rumors

Cafardo’s Latest: Lester, Giants, Ross, Tulo, Soriano

The Cubs aren’t concerned with Jon Lester‘s issues throwing to first base, writes the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo in his weekly Sunday Notes column. “I think it’s being a little overplayed right now, quite frankly,” said manager Joe Maddon to Cafardo. “…I’d much prefer he worries more about getting his fastball where he wants and his cutter where he wants and all the normal pitching things. … I don’t want to make this an issue, because it’s not for me at all.” Still, Cafardo notes, it is an issue that the Red Sox worked to correct for years with little success. The Cardinals exploited the issue in Lester’s first outing by swiping four bases against him, but as Cafardo notes, not every team will go that route. One AL scout told Cafardo: “I always included in my reports about the throwing, but our team chose not to do anything about it.”

Here’s more from Cafardo’s column…

  • Newly minted Giants GM Bobby Evans tells Cafardo that he doesn’t envision his team pursuing another starting pitcher despite early injuries to Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. The Giants feel that Peavy, who avoided the DL and is slated to pitch today, is healthy. The team is also not anticipating that Cain’s elbow injury, which did require a trip to the 15-day DL, will be a major issue.
  • Cody Ross was recently released by the D-Backs and signed with the A’s, and Cafardo looks back on Ross’ best season — his 2012 campaign with the Red Sox — and notes that Boston offered Ross a two-year deal to remain with the team. Ross, however, found a three-year, $26MM contract in Arizona. Injuries turned that deal into a bust for the Snakes, but Ross will hope to reestablish himself in green and gold.
  • The Rockies will likely have plenty of suitors for Troy Tulowitzki this summer if they slide to the cellar of the NL West, but one AL GM tells Cafardo that it’s difficult to envision a trade: “There would be a lot of work to get that done. The money remaining on his salary [$110 million] and the player acquisition cost. Not as easy as it seems. The Rockies need to get a ton for him and I doubt they’ll pick up the money.”
  • Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Tigers have been monitoring Rafael Soriano‘s workouts, and Cafardo hears the same, adding that it “wouldn’t be shocking” if Detroit pulled the trigger on a deal.
  • Much like the Giants, the Twins have taken a hit to their rotation early in the year following Ervin Santana‘s suspension and Ricky Nolasco‘s injury, but after talking with their front office personnel, Cafardo gets the impression that they’ll give opportunities to young starters rather than pursue an established upgrade. Trevor May gets the first crack, but Cafardo lists Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios as other candidates.
  • The Dodgers are still “all ears” about potential Andre Ethier trades and are willing to eat some of the $56MM on the three years remaining on his contract, but there have been no bites to this point.

NL West Notes: Tulowitzki, Maxwell, Padres

Here’s the latest from around the NL West…

  • While Carlos Gonzalez specifically stated that he wanted to stay with the Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki somewhat tellingly only said “I want to win here” when asked by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale if he wanted to stay with the club.  The Rockies discussed Tulowitzki with a few teams this winter (including the Mets), a process that GM Jeff Bridich said the star shortstop was kept fully informed about, even though there wasn’t much to discuss. “We had conversations this winter, and Tulo has an understanding what we’re thinking….We talked to teams, but there really is nothing that came close to being done,” Bridich said.
  • Justin Maxwell can opt out of his minor league deal with the Giants if he isn’t on the club’s Major League roster by Tuesday, March 31, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  The 31-year-old Maxwell is battling for a reserve outfield job and said he hasn’t decided what his next step will be if he’s told he isn’t making the roster.
  • While the Padres have come up short in high-profile pursuits of Yasmany Tomas, Hector Olivera and Yoan Moncada, that doesn’t mean the club hasn’t been busy on the international signing front.  In a profile of Padres international scouting director Chris Kemp, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports that the team has signed 12 international players between the ages of 16-19 are close to deals with several others.  Of particular note is right-hander Starlin Cordero, who is already throwing at 94 mph at age 16 and only two months after being converted to pitching from the outfield.
  • Diamondbacks catching prospect Peter O’Brien has played back-to-back games in the outfield, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.  O’Brien was having problems throwing the ball back to the mound in games earlier this month and he since hasn’t been back behind the plate.  Dubbed as the D’Backs’ catcher of the future by GM Dave Stewart and others within the organization, many scouts have questions about O’Brien’s long-term future behind the plate (even aside from his throwing issue).
  • In NL West news from earlier today, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times discussed the Dodgers with Jeff Todd on the MLBTR Podcast…Jeff also asked MLBTR’s readers to rank the Dodgers‘ many notable offseason moves…I profiled Juan Uribe as a possible trade candidate…the Padres claimed righty Jandel Gustave off waivers from the Royals…the Mets are checking in on both the Rockies and Dodgers as part of their search for relief pitching help.

NL Notes: Nats, D’Backs, Rockies

Former Nationals minor leaguer Justin Bloxom transitioned quickly from a stalled playing career to re-joining the organization as a scout, Chelsea James of the Washington Post writes. The eleventh-rounder was part of a productive 2009 draft for the team, which will now hope to extract value from him in a somewhat different manner.

  • The Diamondbacks are comfortable with their budget sitting in the low-$90MM range, GM Dave Stewart tells MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Arizona is open to moving more salary but will not sacrifice on-field performance to do so, per Stewart. The most likely avenue to savings, says Gilbert, would be shedding some portion of the large tabs owed righty Trevor Cahill and outfielder Cody Ross.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says that it is “highly, highly unlikely” that the team will make a deal involving either of the club’s two biggest stars (Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. That is no surprise, of course: there have always been multiple, significant barriers to a deal this offseason, and any earlier momentum seems to have died in recent weeks.


NL East Notes: Moncada, Scherzer, Hamels

You can add the Marlins to the long list of teams interested in Yoan Moncada, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports that the Fish are monitoring the Cuban phenom’s market.  Frisaro raises the possibility that the Marlins could see the versatile Moncada as a long-term answer in center field if Marcell Ozuna gets expensive through his arbitration years.  Given the bigger-spending teams also in the hunt for Moncada, however, Frisaro describes Miami as “probably a long shot” to sign him.  Here’s some more from around the NL East…

  • Frisaro also wonders if investing in Moncada makes more sense for the Marlins than signing James Shields.  While the Fish are still interested in Shields, Frisaro flatly denies that the Marlins are in on Max Scherzer, saying “there is zero chance” of that happening.
  • The Rangers have kept in contract with the Phillies about a trade for Cole Hamels, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports, but the biggest obstacle seems to be money.  Texas wants the Phillies to cover some of the $96MM still owed on Hamels’ contract.
  • The Phillies are “unrealistic in their expectations” in what they hope to receive in a Hamels trade, a source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.  As was reported earlier today, the Phillies have a firm price tag in mind for Hamels and are in no rush to deal the ace left-hander.
  • The Braves are no longer candidates to sign Brandon Beachy, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Atlanta non-tendered Beachy last month but were hopeful of reaching a new deal with the right-hander, who missed all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Beachy was reportedly considering between six offers from interested teams.
  • When the Astros had some late concerns about Evan Gattis‘ back and knee, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link) that during those last few hours, the Braves re-opened talks with the Rangers.  The details with Houston were worked out, of course, and Gattis is now an Astro.
  • The Mets‘ refusal to include Noah Syndergaard as part of a rumored three-team deal was a good call, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post opines, even though the trade would’ve brought Ian Desmond to Citi Field.  Dealing six years of control over Syndergaard for one year of Desmond wouldn’t have made sense, and if the Mets were willing to overpay on the type of extension it would take for Desmond to forego free agency, Davidoff argues that the team should just offer him that big contract next winter when he’s available.
  • Also from Davidoff, he hears from Rockies owner Charlie Monfort that a deal that would bring Troy Tulowitzki to the Mets is “not happening.”
  • In other NL East news from earlier today, the Braves have no intention of trading Craig Kimbrel, we shared some Nationals notes, MLBTR’s Zach Links spoke to Gattis about his trade to the Astros as part of a media conference call.

NL East Notes: Avilan, Cole, Mets

It was on this day in 1959 that the Braves signed a very notable 20-year-old outfielder out of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic.  Rico Carty ended up playing in 829 games for the Braves from 1963 to 1972, and one wonders just how good Carty might’ve been had it not been for several injury setbacks.  Despite all the injuries, Carty still produced a .299/369/.464 line and 204 homers over 15 Major League seasons, also playing for the Rangers, Cubs, A’s, Indians and Blue Jays during his career.  Here’s the latest from the NL East…

  • The Braves have discussed left-hander Luis Avilan with other teams recently, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (via Twitter).  Avilan has a 2.56 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.81 K/BB rate and a 55.5% ground ball rate over 144 1/3 relief innings for Atlanta over the last three seasons.  Advanced metrics indicate he was somewhat fortunate to post low ERA totals in 2012-13, and with more even peripherals in 2014, Avilan’s ERA ballooned to 4.57 last season.  The 25-year-old Avilan is under team control through the 2018 campaign.
  • It comes as no surprise that the Nationals are excited by right-handed pitching prospect A.J. Cole, as an opposing scout tells MASNsports.com’s Pete Kerzel that Washington has been declining his team’s trade inquiries about Cole for almost two full years.  “They ain’t letting him go. They’re that high on him,” the scout said.  Kerzel examines how the Nats might handle Cole’s development in 2015, as he could be kept in Triple-A or perhaps used in the Show as an electric bullpen option.
  • Is the Mets‘ relatively quiet offseason a tactical decision, or does it represent a “lack of ingenuity by the front office or lack of financial resources by ownership,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders.  The aggressive moves made by such teams as the Padres, Cubs and Marlins have overshadowed the Mets’ more modest transactions, though one AL West executive thinks the Amazins are “laying in the weeds waiting for hopeful January free-agent bargains.”  A big-ticket addition like Troy Tulowitzki seems unlikely since, as the exec opines, “I don’t think they [the Mets] have the financial flexibility to pay for him even if they could get him.”

NL East Notes: Taylor, Marlins, Haren, Tulo, Gattis

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tells Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he was comfortable trading Steven Souza to the Rays because top outfield prospect Michael A. Taylor is only about a half a year behind Souza in terms of development. Taylor’s development has taken on greater importance now that Souza is gone, Janes notes, as he’s now the most big-league ready of their outfield prospects. Director of player development Mark Scialabba tells Janes that the team was happy with Taylor’s progress in 2014 and believes he can help in the Majors in 2015, but he also acknowledged that Taylor’s plate discipline is a work in progress. Taylor’s development is of particular importance, in my mind, due to his ability to handle center field; Denard Span is a free agent in one year’s time, and the Nats may not be able to retain him, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Tyler Clippard — each of whom is in their final year of team control.

More from the NL East…

  • Though the Marlins have an exceptional young outfield in Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton, the club is still on the lookout for a fourth outfielder, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ideally, Morosi notes, they’d acquire someone who can handle center field to back up Ozuna. The free agent market has little to offer in terms of center fielders who saw significant time in the Majors last year, though the trade market has some options. The Padres have a number of outfielders that can play center field (Will Venable, Abraham Almonte and Cameron Maybin), Oakland’s Craig Gentry is an excellent defender, and the Cardinals’ Peter Bourjos is elite with the glove as well. One buy-low option on the free agent market could be Franklin Gutierrez, though his health issues are significant and he didn’t take the field in 2014. All of those names are my own speculation.
  • Dan Haren is said to be holding out hope that the Marlins will trade him to either the Angels or the Padres, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran Haren, acquired in the trade that also sent Dee Gordon to Miami, has a very strong, well-known desire to be on the West coast near his wife and children in Los Angeles.
  • Meeting the Rockies’ asking price for Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t make sense for the Mets given Tulo’s health concerns, writes Newsday’s David Lennon. The Rox are set on multiple pitching prospects in return and haven’t shown any indication that they’re willing to eat a significant amount of cash. Lennon assumes the Rockies would need to eat a similar a percentage of the contract as the Dodgers did when moving Matt Kemp, which would come out to roughly $36MM.
  • MLB.com’s Mark Bowman feels that if the Braves do still move Evan Gattis in a trade, they’ll attempt to land a starting pitcher or outfielder that can step into the Majors in short order and has a good deal of team control remaining. Of course, Gattis himself fits the description of an outfield option with team control remaining, though it’s certainly possible the Braves would prefer a better defender with a different skill set. As Bowman notes, the Braves have made a conscious effort to infuse their system with more speed- and contact-oriented players. Bowman also touches on the Braves’ bullpen and the money they’ve saved this offseason in his latest Braves Inbox.

West Notes: Tulo, Scutaro, Vogelsong, A’s, Astros

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tells The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders he hears the trade rumors, but that isn’t his focus this winter. “I have been talking to the Rockies throughout the process,” Tulowitzki said. “We have respect for each other. But my concentration right now is just on getting healthy.” Tulowitzki, recovering from August hip surgery, has yet to start baseball activites but has begun light running and is continuing a program to increase flexibility in his hips. Here’s the latest from MLB’s West divisions:

  • It cannot be a good sign the Giants‘ training staff is preparing an update this week on Marco Scutaro, opines John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Because of a back injury, Scutaro, who is due $6MM in the final year of his contract, appeared in only five games in 2014 with 13 trips to the plate.
  • In the same article, Shea reports there are no current talks between the Giants and free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong.
  • GM Billy Beane made the A’s better now and in the future with the returns he achieved in the Jeff Samardzija and Derek Norris trades, according to SB Nation’s Alex Hall.
  • Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle compares the Astros‘ methodical rebuilding plan with that of the Padres, who reshaped their franchise by making five trades with six teams in a span of two days.

Cafardo On Shields, Scherzer, Wieters, Tulowitzki

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe touches on Nathan Eovaldi, one of the newest members of the Yankees.  Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia feels that the young pitcher has only scratched the surface of what he can do.  “At the end of the year he figured out how to throw a new pitch that is really going to help him. He throws hard and all of his pitches are hard, so this new pitch will help that out because he’s got a fastball rotation with split action,” Salty said.  More from today’s column..

  • James Shields is asking for a contract close to the five years and $110MM remaining (if the option is picked up) on the Cole Hamels deal, one major league source who was privy to Shields’s demands told Cafardo.  The Giants and Red Sox are in the picture, and the Yankees may be another suitor.
  • Many baseball execs feel that Max Scherzer will end up back with the Tigers.  The executives Cafardo spoke with think that Scherzer will top Jon Lester‘s six-year, $155MM pact but fall well short of $200MM, unless option years are counted.
  • When it comes to Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, there seems no urgency on either side to visit a possible extension.  Wieters’s return should be huge for the Orioles, but agent Scott Boras will likely not consider anything until the end of the season.
  • Cafardo checked in with Mets officials regarding the recent Troy Tulowitzki rumors and none of them felt that there was anything to them.
  • Agent Alan Nero tells Cafardo that he is having a lot of dialogue with teams about Asdrubal Cabrera but nothing has come together just yet.  Cafardo suggests that Cabrera could take a one-year deal somewhere to re-establish his value.
  • Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin is the odd man out in San Diego with Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton in the fold.  The Orioles, Mariners, and Rays could be trade candidates for Quentin, who hasn’t played 100 games since 2011.  He’d be a solid DH candidate and Seattle could also use him in right field from time to time.  Of course, with an $8MM salary in 2015 and a $10MM option in 2016 that comes with a $3MM buyout, the Padres will have to eat some money to move him.

NL East Notes: Howard, Turner, Tulowitzki

GM Ruben Amaro says he’s told first baseman Ryan Howard the Phillies feel the team would be better off if he were elsewhere, Matt Lombardo of NJ.com writes (via Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic). “I told [Howard] that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him,” says Amaro. “With that said, if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.” Amaro notes that the Phillies are not willing to release Howard. A trade, obviously, will be tricky, given the $60MM remaining on Howard’s contract. Here’s more from the NL East.

  • FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote Friday night that Trea Turner‘s agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, is incensed that his client must remain with the Padres until June even though San Diego has agreed to trade him to the Nationals. Turner is stuck with the Padres for now because of a rule that a drafted player can’t be traded until a year after he signs his first contract. Rosenthal’s colleague Rob Neyer notes that Turner’s situation actually isn’t that unique, and players to be named later subject to the one-year rule have stayed in their original organizations until their trades can officially be completed, typically with few ill effects. (One example is 2013 draftee Blake Taylor, who stayed in the Pirates organization for two months after the Ike Davis deal earlier this year before eventually heading to the Mets.) One aspect of Turner’s situation that is unique, though, is that it’s widely known that he’s the player to be named. The one-year rule is in place because, for better or for worse, teams aren’t supposed to trade draft picks. If MLB were to allow Turner to head to the Nationals early just because his name had been leaked, the league would be getting close to simply allowing picks to be traded.
  • It would be a mistake for the Mets to trade for Troy Tulowitzki, Newsday’s David Lennon writes. Tulowitzki is a superstar when healthy, but his injury issues are a major concern for a player with six years left on his contract. The Mets have reportedly talked with the Rockies about Tulowitzki, but a deal appears unlikely right now.

Latest On Troy Tulowitzki

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains one of the most tantalizing potential trade targets in the game, but it remains to be seen whether a serious effort — both by his club and potential suitors — will be made at a transaction.

Here’s the latest:

  • The Rockies are still discussing Tulowitzki with other clubs, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets are among the teams participating in the chatter, says Heyman, who writes that top prospect Noah Syndergaard is being talked about as the centerpiece of the hypothetical deal, with New York likely wanting a partial refund on Tulowitzki’s contract. Of course, as Heyman adds, agreement is still a long ways off, and several sources have downplayed its likelihood.
  • But those discussions are not active, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. Indeed, the teams are not talking about a player package or how to handle Tulowitzki’s contract, per Harding’s source.
  • The discussions between those teams have gone on all offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links), but have yet to gain much traction. Rosenthal’s source puts the likelihood of a deal at 5-10%.
  • Likewise, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the odds of Tulo joining the Metropolitans are very slim, noting that Colorado wants a package in return that would make Mets fans cringe. And a source tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that even the limited reporting on the possibility of a deal involving Tulowitzki is “overblown.”