Tyson Ross Rumors

Quick Hits: Belt, Mondesi, Padres

Brandon Belt will be out of the Giants‘ lineup for the time being after his second concussion in two seasons, Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com writes. His current issues stem from a slide against the Reds on Tuesday. He had difficulty concentrating during Friday’s game. “He showed symptoms last night and that’s what we’re treating him for,” says manager Bruce Bochy. Belt also missed about a quarter of last season due to a concussion. Buster Posey will take over for Belt at first base until Belt returns. Here are more quick notes from around the league.

  • Manager Ned Yost says the Royals could promote another middle infielder, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com (Twitter links). Both Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante left Friday’s game with injuries. Escobar’s injury was merely a bruise, as Flanagan notes, but Escobar’s injury (an oblique strain) could be more serious. That could mean the promotion of top prospect Raul Mondesi Jr., Flanagan speculates. Mondesi has only hit .240/.279/.372 in 338 plate appearances for Double-A Northwest Arkansas this season, but he’s a strong defensive player and baserunner, so he could potentially be useful to the Royals in those capacities. He also only recently turned 20 and is about four years younger than the average player in the Texas League. In July, Baseball America ranked Mondesi the No. 25 prospect in the game. MLB.com currently ranks him 35th.
  • The Padres have a tough task ahead of them this offseason, Jon Heyman says in a video for CBS Sports. They appear likely to lose Justin Upton, who will likely get a large contract elsewhere. Heyman says he hears the Padres will probably extend Ian Kennedy a qualifying offer after a strong second half, and Kennedy will likely refuse it. After a disappointing season, the Padres will have to decide this winter whether to attempt to contend again next year or whether to rebuild, trading players like Craig Kimbrel and Tyson Ross.

Quick Hits: Heaney, Blanco, Padres, Ross

Young Angels lefty Andrew Heaney has become the first professional baseball player to sell a piece of his future earnings through Fantex, a company which markets shares of that interest to individual investors, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Heaney, 24, will sacrifice ten percent of all his future “brand” earnings — including dollars earned through his MLB contracts as well as endorsements and appearance fees — in exchange for $3.34MM. (The agreement has been approved by the league and the union, but is still dependent upon financing.) We’ve seen an increasing willingness of players (and teams) to consider creative ways to lock in earnings over recent years. This could be a new frontier in that regard, though the model is obviously still in its infancy and other methods of locking in salary (such as insurance and early-career extensions) have greater traction at present. Heaney has shown plenty of promise in his first year with the Halos, throwing 84 1/3 innings of 3.52 ERA ball with 6.6 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9, but he won’t achieve real earning capacity until he qualifies for arbitration in 2018. Free agency will have to wait until 2021, but he certainly has the potential to take down quite a bit of cash over his career — if he can maintain his performance trajectory and avoid injury, of course.

Here are some more notes to round out the evening:

  • The Giants have shut down outfielder Gregor Blanco after he was diagnosed with a concussion, as Chris Haft of MLB.com tweets. Manager Bruce Bochy said today that the team may not receive any more contributions this year from Blanco, Nori Aoki, and Hunter Pence, as John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group adds on Twitter. It’s been that kind of year for the San Francisco outfield, with center fielder Angel Pagan also having dealt with a fairly significant injury lay-off. While the club won’t reach the postseason regardless, barring a miracle, that group of maladies represents one of several areas where the team will hope for better fortune in 2016.
  • As the Padres look ahead to what could be another offseason of change, the club intends to take its time in addressing its managerial situation, GM A.J. Preller tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Interim manager Pat Murphy could get the permanent post, or the organization could look elsewhere, but the latter course would involve competition with a number of other teams that will be looking for new dugout leaders. “It’s an important decision for us,” said Preller. “We just want to make sure we make a good call and we don’t feel pressure from what’s going on in the industry or anything like that. We’ll get to a spot where we’re comfortable making a good decision and we will make a good hire.”
  • Among the many other questions facing the Padres, deciding on a course with righty Tyson Ross could be among the most impactful. The 28-year-old has once again been excellent — in part, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, due to the addition of a cutter to his arsenal. He had used the pitch previously, but relied almost entirely on a fastball-slider combination in the majors before this season. “I just think it’s a different look,” Ross said. “It’s movement (away from) the barrel, trying to get poor contact and just avoiding the hitters being able to sit on anything.” The successful re-introduction of that offering represents another feather in the cap of the sturdy hurler, who was in high demand at the trade deadline and would be again if marketed this winter. Since the start of the 2013 season, he’s thrown nearly 500 frames and carries a strong 3.05 ERA with 9.0 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 to go with a well-above-average groundball rate (61.5% this year). Ross can be controlled for two more seasons via arbitration after earning $5.25MM in his first trip through the process this year. It remains to be seen, of course, whether San Diego will have any real interest in moving him. If not, Ross could profile as an extension candidate.

Quick Hits: Smyly, Utley, Ross

We’ve seen several recent cellar dwellers climb to contention this season, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Cubs, Mets, and Astros are playing meaningful August baseball for the first time in years. Davidoff looks ahead at five more struggling franchises that could surprise us all in 2016. Purely for enjoyment, my favorite picks are the Twins and Phillies. Minnesota hopes to surge on the young bats of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and recent breakout Aaron Hicks. They also have sneaky upside in their rotation although the bullpen could use work. Philadelphia is the obvious long shot. Their rebuilding phase is incomplete, but they’ve identified a few key building blocks. A couple surprise breakout performances and a handful of lucky wins could at least allow the club to perform similarly to the Braves.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Drew Smyly will start for the Rays on Sunday, tweets Bill Chastain of MLB.com. The 26-year-old southpaw has spent most of the 2015 season on the disabled list with a torn labrum. Since joining the Rays in the David Price trade last season, Smyly has a 1.96 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 64 and 1/3 innings. Although the Rays remain in the thick of the playoff race, expect them to proceed carefully with Smyly.
  • We learned earlier tonight that the Angels still hope to acquire Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. The Giants remain involved with the bidding, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Giants GM Bobby Evans cleverly commented that “the Chase for Utley continues.” As Baggarly notes, every day is one closer to the return of Joe Panik. At that point, Utley may be redundant for San Francisco. It’s already been announced that Utley will rest tomorrow, so trade speculation should remain rampant.
  • Padres starter Tyson Ross is happy to have remained with the club through the trade deadline, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Ross, 28, was a heavily rumored trade candidate. He’s in the midst of a solid season including a 3.40 ERA, 9.58 K/9, and 4.14 BB/9. Ross is glad the club made no moves at the deadline. He believes the current roster is “a good group” with “a lot of promise.” He’s controlled through the 2017 season.

Zwelling, Keri Examine Blue Jays’ Active Deadline

In a pair of excellent columns, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet and Jonah Keri of Grantland offer behind-the-scenes looks at the chaotic week of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the trade deadline. Each spoke directly to Anthopoulos, and while Keri’s piece focuses on blockbuster deals for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Zwelling’s looks at each day of Anthopoulos’ week leading up to the deadline (including those trades and other discussions) — painting a vivid picture of the life of a general manager during one of the most chaotic times of the year.

Some highlights from each piece, although I’d highly recommend reading each in its entirety…

  • Both Zwelling and Keri note that talks between the Blue Jays and Rockies date back to the offseason, but the initial concept of Jose Reyes and pitching prospects for Tulowitzki surfaced in late May. Anthopoulos, Zwelling writes, had been unwilling to part with Jeff Hoffman until the day that Tulowitzki was traded. When Hoffman’s name was put on the table, talks with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich accelerated quickly. Zwelling’s piece also provides a glimpse into the difficult task of Anthopoulos informing Reyes that he’d been traded.
  • Meanwhile, Anthopoulos told Keri that the decision to add Tulowitzki did have its detractors within the Toronto front office. “They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up,” said Anthopoulos. However, his take on the situation varied. “Players like that don’t become available,” said the Toronto GM. “They sign 10-year contracts and become the face of a franchise. It wasn’t an easy decision. It was weird, the process was long and stressful … but it was also a lot of fun.”
  • Zwelling writes that Anthopoulos was in negotiation for players such as Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra and Mike Leake as well, but an eventual phone call from Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski caused him to shift his focus to Price. Dombrowski had told Anthopoulos a week before the trade deadline that he’d call him if he decided to move Price, and despite the fact that Anthopoulos saw constant rumors about Price’s availability, his respect for Dombrowski prevented him from calling to check in. “His guarantee that he’d call me was all I needed,” said Anthopoulos. “Dave’s a complete pro. No matter what was being said in the media, I was going to take his word for it. When and if the time presented itself, he was going to call.”
  • Anthopoulos tells Zwelling that while there was pressure to get a deal for Price and/or another starter done, he did have a fallback plan. Anthopoulos had a standing agreement in place for a yet-unnamed lesser pitcher than Price that he could’ve swung on July 31, but the move for Price halted that need.
  • Keri notes that Anthopoulos was on the phone with Mariners counterpart Jack Zduriencik discussing Mark Lowe when Dombrowski came calling with the info that he was ready to move Price. “I’m dying to jump off the phone, but I don’t want to do that to Jack,” said Anthopoulos. “I did really want Price, though. So I did hurry it along.”
  • Keri cites a Blue Jays source in reporting that the Blue Jays nearly had a trade completed for the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco, but talks fell apart just as the Jays thought they had something worked out. The Jays also checked in with the Phillies on Cole Hamels over the winter, in Spring Training, before the All-Star break and with 10 days to go before the trade deadline, Keri reports, but were repeatedly told that Hamels wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Toronto. Anthopoulos also aggressively pursued the Padres’ Tyson Ross, according to Keri’s source, though he gives no indication that anything was as close with Ross as it seemingly was with Carrasco.

Cubs Attempted To Acquire Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross

The Cubs aimed high at the trade deadline but ultimately settled for pitchers Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to club president Theo Epstein, “the two main players we focused on late ended up not getting moved.” Epstein went on to say that he was aggressive in offering both quality and quantity for top major league talent.

Sources tell Wittenmyer that the two players the Cubs focused upon were pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross. Neither was traded. It was rumored that the Indians were merely gather information about Carrasco’s value while the Padres have been criticized for not knowing “what they really wanted.”

Since signing a four-year, $22MM extension over the offseason, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.90 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. ERA estimators believe he should be at least a full run better than his ERA, as evidenced by a 2.84 FIP. The 28-year-old also has two affordable option years. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians don’t view Carrasco as a building block. However, it is pragmatic to entertain offers at his physical peak.

Ross agreed to a $5.25MM contract in his second year of arbitration. As a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Ross has followed up a breakout 2014 with a solid 3.38 ERA, 9.66 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, and a 63 percent ground ball rate.

The Cubs also aggressively shopped shortstop Starlin Castro, but they found few takers. Javier Baez was one of the players discussed as part of a Carrasco package. Meanwhile, the Braves expressed interest in Jorge Soler while discussing Julio Teheran and other young pitchers. Overall, it’s clear that high quality, club controlled pitching is a top priority for Chicago.

Marlins Seeking Controllable Pitching

The latest on the Marlins, who have already shipped Dan Haren to the Cubs…

Earlier Updates

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Marlins are looking for controllable young pitching, with names such as Tyson Ross of the Padres, Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, and Nate Karns of the Rays in play.
  • A number of teams are calling on recently-demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna, tweets Frisaro.  The Marlins have no urgency to move the 24-year-old, who hit 23 home runs last year.
  • The Marlins are shopping for starting pitching today, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, in what he expects to be a busy day for the club.  Frisaro notes that Dan Haren is drawing interest from several teams.  Also, reliever Carter Capps was linked to the Yankees earlier.
  • Earlier this week, the Marlins sent impending free agent Mat Latos to the Dodgers in a 13-player deal, but the move seemed mostly about salary relief for Miami.  The assumption is the Fish are seeking young, controllable starting pitching, since both Latos and Haren will be eligible for free agency after the season.

Red Sox Interested In Tyson Ross

The Red Sox like Tyson Ross quite a bit and have been operating “very quietly” in the trade market for starting pitching, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Red Sox have talked to the Padres, with Ross as one possible target, though he notes that they also have the prospect depth to expand a deal to include Craig Kimbrel.

Ross’ name is one of the most popular on the trade market, with many expecting the Padres to aggressively market a number of players today (Ross and Kimbrel included). Boston’s priority has long been said to be to acquire controllable pitching, and Ross, who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season, would fit that mold to an extent.

The 28-year-old Ross is not yet arbitration eligible and has worked to a 3.07 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 60 percent over the past three seasons with the Padres. He’s also drawn interest from the Astros, Cubs and many other teams.

Pitching Market Notes: Ross, Gallardo, Iwakuma, Indians, Chapman, Pirates

The Padres are “progressing” on multiple deals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Tyson Ross is a key piece among their trade chips. Rosenthal adds that trading him would be considered a concession on the 2015 season, and while that’s likely, it’s certainly possible that the Padres could acquire some MLB-ready talent to make it more even for 2015 purposes than if they went with an all-prospects package. The Padres could add some pieces as well, he notes.

Meanwhile Bob Nightengale of USA Today chimes in on Ross as well, tweeting that executives from other teams are “convinced” that Ross will be dealt. Nightengale says the Cubs continue to push for Ross. (Earlier today, ESPN’s Jayson Stark heard that Ross is Chicago’s top pitching target.)

Here’s more on the trade market for pitching help — starters and relievers alike:

  • The Cubs, Blue Jays and Dodgers are the most aggressive teams pursuing Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees and Giants also have some level of interest, he adds. Gallardo started tonight, and things went poorly; the Yankees knocked him around for five runs in six innings, and he struck out just one hitter.
  • Despite a record that is well below the .500 mark, the Mariners aren’t planning to make right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma available, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. While other teams have apparently inquired, they’ve been informed that Mariners ownership prefers to keep him. Iwakuma’s value is down after a shaky, injury-filled season, though given his reasonable $7MM salary and track record, I’d imagine he’d draw no shortage of interest if put on the block.
  • Teams are still in touch with the Indians regarding their crop of young pitching talent, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. There’s nothing close at this time, but the Indians remain willing to engage in conversations. To this point, they’ve reportedly discussed Carlos Carrasco with other clubs, and one can imagine that Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer are of interest to other teams as well. Cleveland did bolster its impressive stockpile of young pitching today — albeit with a future-oriented move — acquiring Class-A lefty and former first-round pick Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss.
  • The D-Backs reportedly have an offer on the table to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke to a pair of executives (Twitter link) about the asking price on Chapman, with one calling it “high” and the other using the term “ridiculous.”
  • Following today’s acquisition of Joakim Soria to strengthen his bullpen, Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that he doesn’t plan to acquire an additional starting pitcher prior to tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline (Twitter link).

Stark, Crasnick On Mariners, Cubs, Ross, Padres, Chapman

The Mariners and Cubs have had recent trade talks, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter), though he’s yet to ascertain which specific players were involved. The conversations didn’t center around Starlin Castro, Crasnick continues. Clearly, there could be a wide range of targets at play here, though the Cubs have been connected to pitching upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Some more trade notes from a couple of ESPN’s top reporters…

  • In today’s Rumor Roundup over at ESPN, Jayson Stark writes that other teams view Tyson Ross as the Cubs‘ top trade target. Chicago likes Andrew Cashner but considers him a fallback option, should the price for Ross become too steep. Both Castro and Javier Baez have previously been of interest to the Padres, although Castro’s stock is way down. Stark also reported today that the Cubs are now “aggressively” shopping Castro.
  • From that same piece, Stark adds that other clubs believe Justin Upton, Cashner and Joaquin Benoit are the most likely players to be traded by the Padres, and one particular executive to whom Stark spoke feels it’s “likely” that Craig Kimbrel will be traded as well. In a followup tweet, Stark adds that the number of people who feel Kimbrel will end up with the Yankees is “amazing.” New York already possesses a dominant late-inning duo in the form of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Adding Kimbrel to the mix would give them a trio to rival the three-headed bullpen monster (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) that the Royals rode to the World Series in 2014. The Astros, too, like Kimbrel, according to Stark. However, Houston wouldn’t want to take on all of the money he’s owed.
  • Stark also tweets that the Reds are still discussing Aroldis Chapman with teams, but the price remains very high. At this time, the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants and Astros are all in the mix for Chapman, who is earning $8.05MM in 2015 and is controlled via the arbitration process for the 2016 season.

Pitching Notes: Teheran, Karns, Ross, Giants

We just checked in on Yovani Gallardo, who may or may not be dealt before the deadline. Here’s the latest on the starting pitching market, which was one of many topics covered in today’s podcast with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

  • Despite reportedly being prepared to deal Alex Wood to the Dodgers, the Braves are still listening on Julio Teheran, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). He suggests, however, that the club may just be hoping for an overpay rather than actively shopping the young righty.
  • Given their starting depth, the Rays have indicated a willingness to listen to offers on right-hander Nate Karns, Passan reports on Twitter. Karns is already 27, but has ample team control and has emerged with 115 innings of 3.37 ERA pitching this year.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross is “drawing intense interest,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The AstrosBlue JaysCubs, and Dodgers are all in the mix, says Heyman, and Houston could be the “at the forefront” of efforts to pry him away from San Diego. Notably, many of those clubs are also viewed as prime contenders for David Price. Heyman further breaks down Price’s market in an article today.
  • The Giants are also said to be looking into a run at Price after falling short in a “late push” for Cole Hamels (per Rosenthal, on Twitter). GM Bobby Evans says he doesn’t foresee the club parting with players from the team’s current everyday lineup in any deals, as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweets. But the Tigers do like several of San Francisco’s minor league arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, which could make them plausible pursuers of the ace lefty.