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ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required and recommended) offers a bounty of information on the trade market as we draw to within two weeks of the deadline. While you’ll want to give the piece a full read, here are some of the many highlights:
- The Rays are in no hurry to deal ace David Price, and some possible trade partners increasingly believe that he will not change hands before the deadline. The club still wants to see if a post-season run remains possible; though the club sits 9.5 games back at the break, the division does still look somewhat vulnerable. If Tampa does look to move Price, arguably the best potential trade chip in baseball, it will demand more in return than the Cubs received for Jeff Samardzija — who, you may recall, was the key piece in a package that brought back one of the game’s elite prospects in Addison Russell. Needless to say, Price is a rare commodity, especially given his additional season of control, and his potential absence from the market (combined with the A’s early strike for two other top starters) could have interesting repercussions.
- One player whose trade attention would potentially rise if Price stays put is Cole Hamels of the Phillies, who of course has plenty of value regardless. Bowden says that GMs around the league get the sense that Philadelphia will be very hesitant to move their star lefty, however. (Fellow top southpaw Cliff Lee, meanwhile, looks more and more a potential August trade piece.)
- Ultimately, while the Phillies will not conduct a true fire sale, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has indicated through conversations with his peers that the club is prepared to sell. Outfielder Marlon Byrd is the most likely to go, says Bowden, though his contract presents some complications. While the Mariners are interested in him, Bowden says that the recent free agent signee will ask that the club guarantee his $8MM option for 2016, which Seattle is not currently willing to do. The Royals could also make sense as a partner, but also appear on Byrd’s four-team no-trade list and do not want to take on that level of mid-term commitment. It would appear that Byrd’s representatives at ACES advised their client well in selecting the relatively paltry number of teams to which he could refuse a trade.
- Angels owner Arte Moreno has enabled GM Jerry Dipoto to be aggressive in trade talks, says Bowden. In addition to Huston Street and Ian Kennedy (read more on them here), the Halos have asked the Padres about righty Tyson Ross, though the Super Two hurler is unlikely to be moved. Indeed, now in the midst of his second consecutive season of high-end production, the 27-year-old starter (and his three remaining years of control) would require a significant return.
- The Athletics remain aggressive on the second base market, with GM Billy Beane also said to be exploring more creative means of improving his club. Oakland is not inclined to deal away shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson after moving their top prospect, says Bowden, with the club’s internal evaluators believing that he could have as much future value as the more-hyped Russell.
- The Reds are still looking to add a hitter, with Ben Zobrist of the Rays making a perfect match on paper given his positional flexibility and the club’s current injury situation. (Of course, the same could be said of several other clubs.) With Josh Willingham of the Twins set to hit free agency, he has also been looked at by Cincinnati.
- Bowden provides several other interesting notes. Among them: the Braves have canvassed the market for a southpaw reliever and could be interested in James Russell of the Cubs and Oliver Perez of the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers will likely add a starter. The Cardinals are planning to scout Twins‘ catcher Kurt Suzuki as they assess things behind the plate. And the Giants remain interested in a second base addition in the event that Marco Scutaro cannot stay healthy and productive.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Ben Zobrist | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | David Price | James Russell | Josh Willingham | Kansas City Royals | Kurt Suzuki | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Minnesota Twins | Newsstand | Oakland Athletics | Oliver Perez | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Tyson Ross
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Cardinals should not overpay to acquire David Price from the Rays by parting with Oscar Taveras. Rosenthal points to the decline of offense around the league and the rarity of controllable sluggers in opining that Taveras is too valuable a commodity to lose. He also notes that the Cardinals aren’t typically big spenders, but adds that the team could create room for Price’s remaining $7MM and roughly $18-20MM 2015 salary by electing not to re-sign free agents such as Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, as well as non-tendering arbitration eligible players such as Peter Bourjos. While St. Louis could put together a formidable package headlined by Carlos Martinez, he also notes that a team like the Dodgers could top such a package perhaps by including prized outfielder Joc Pederson.
Price’s name — and the names of several others — will be hot topics over the coming month. Here’s the latest on the pitching market…
- The Angels are interested in Price but don’t have the prospects to acquire him, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). He adds that Cubs hurler Jason Hammel is on a long list of alternative options for the Halos. Rosenthal also reports that the team would like to acquire left-handed relief, though landing a starting pitcher would allow them to use Hector Santiago in relief.
- In his daily blog post (subscription required/recommended), ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that several teams are looking at alternatives to the market’s two big-name starters — Price and Jeff Samardzija. Several clubs are interested in pulling off a deal similar to the Tigers’ acquisition of Doug Fister from the Mariners back in 2011. As such, the Diamondbacks are receiving interest in Wade Miley, and Padres righty Tyson Ross could become a target as well. Controllable arms like Miley and Ross will be highly appealing to rival clubs, as any team can afford them — regardless of payroll. He adds that the D’Backs and Padres might be years away from contention anyhow, and at that point, Miley and Ross will have become expensive via arbitration.
- Later in his post, Olney writes that the Giants will have a tough time lining up for a Price trade, as their 2015 roster is full of holes that will need to be filled – namely at third base, left field and second base. Price’s 2015 salary would prevent them from addressing their many needs, as would a Samardzija acquisition, albeit to a lesser extent.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports looks at three factors that will impact the Cubs’ ability to maximize their return on a Samardzija trade: Many contenders are hurting more for offense than pitching in 2014; interested parties will have Price as an alternative and may prefer to surrender more talent for the longer, more impressive track record; and Samardzija is seen by some GMs as unlikely to sign an extension regardless of setting. One interested GM confidently told Heyman, “No one’s going to extend him. He’s hitting free agency,” noting that Samardzija’s agency, Frontline Athlete Management, has a history of taking clients to the open market (e.g. Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Mike Hampton).
Cabrera, 27, came within nine steals of leading the National League despite playing just 95 games due to a PED-related suspension. The switch-hitter batted .283/.355/.381 in 435 plate appearances. Over the past two seasons, only Mike Trout and Rajai Davis have stolen more bases than the 81 tallied by Cabrera. He topped Swartz's projection by $250K.
In more Padres-related arb news, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Tyson Ross has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.98MM salary (Twitter link). Ross broke out with the Padres in 2013, posting a 3.17 ERA in a career-high 125 innings. The 26-year-old saw his fastball velocity jump nearly two miles per hour, as he averaged 94.2 mph on his heater. That helped him up his K/9 rate to a career-high 8.6, and he posted career-bests in BB/9 rate (3.2) and ground-ball rate (54.9 percent) as well. Ross' agents at the Wasserman Media Group did well to secure a $1.9MM payday. Swartz had projected a $1.3MM salary.
9:53pm: The Padres and right-hander Ian Kennedy have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.1MM contract for the 2014 season, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Kennedy is a client of the Boras Corporation. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged Kennedy to earn $5.8MM.
The 29-year-old Kennedy was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a rare intra-division trade this past July. San Diego sent lefty Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a 2014 competitve balance draft pick to Arizona in order to land the 2011 Cy Young candidate. Since finishing fourth in that Cy Young voting, however, Kennedy has seen his results tumble, leading to the D-Backs' decision that he was no longer vital to the organization's success.
Over the past two seasons, Kennedy has posted a 4.43 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He's also posted a fly-ball rate of just 37.7 percent, indicating that the move to the spacious Petco Park from the cozy Chase Field should be beneficial to him. That wasn't the case in 2013, as Kennedy's HR/9 rate actually increased with the Padres, but that trend doesn't seem likely to continue once the sample size is expanded beyond 57 1/3 innings.
Kennedy will join a crowded rotation mix that also figures to include Josh Johnson, Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults and Tyson Ross with rehabbing starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland also in the mix in addition to youngsters Robbie Erlin and Burch Smith.
The Padres announced that they acquired right-hander Tyson Ross and infielder A.J. Kirby-Jones from the A's for infielder Andy Parrino and left-hander Andrew Werner. None of the four players have enough service time to be arbitration eligible.
Ross started 13 games and made five relief appearances for the Athletics this past season. The 25-year-old posted a 6.50 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 73 1/3 innings. The 2012 campaign was Ross' third at the MLB level. Ross is the older brother of Joe Ross, the right-hander selected by the Padres in the first round of the 2011 draft.
Kirby-Jones, 24, played at Class A this past season. The first baseman has a .248/.384/.448 batting line over the course of his three-year minor league career.
Parrino appeared in 55 games for the Padres in 2012, playing shortstop, second base, third base and right field. The 27-year-old switch hitter posted a .207/.316/.276 batting line in 138 plate appearances.
Werner debuted with the Padres this past season, starting eight games at the MLB level. The 25-year-old posted a 5.58 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 40 1/3 innings with San Diego. He signed with the Padres as an amateur free agent two years ago.
The A's will explore ways of upgrading their roster this season, but the youngest members of their rotation are 'basically untouchable,' according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Tyson Ross are likely staying put this summer, Olney reports.
Dallas Braden, now on the 15-day DL and Brandon McCarthy round out Oakland's rotation, which could be a constant for years to come. The A's have Anderson and Cahill under team control through 2015 and 2017, respectively. Ross isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, Gonzalez isn't eligible until after 2015 and Braden is under team control for 2012-13.
A's starters are first in the majors in ERA (2.59), second in innings pitched (236) and third in BB/9 (2.48) and xFIP (3.29). The early results are good and it wouldn't be hard to argue that Gonzalez (25), Ross (24), Cahill (23) and Anderson (23) have yet to reach their prime.