Vance Worley Rumors
For the fourth straight year, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony sat down with Jesse Lund of SB Nation's Twinkie Town to discuss the state of affairs with his team. Antony and Lund discussed the Twins' offseason at length, ranging from the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Twins' pursuit of starting pitching. Here's a look at some of the highlights, but bear in mind that entire piece is well worth your time...
- The Twins never intended to trade both Revere and Span, but the Phillies' offer of Trevor May and Vance Worley was too strong not to pull the trigger. Antony identifies May as someone who could get a September call-up in 2013 if he enjoys a strong season.
- The Twins had conversations with both Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, but were unable to agree to terms with either one. In particular, the Twins sought a club option for Baker, who wanted strictly a one-year deal. Antony said they didn't want 2013 to "be a donation" to Baker in the event that he wasn't healthy and effective for most of the season. That decision looks wise, with Baker on the 60-day disabled list for the Cubs.
- Mike Pelfrey identified the Twins as a team he wanted to pitch for and was aggressive in working out a deal, according to Antony. The Twins did quite a bit of homework on Pelfrey's recovery from Tommy John surgery in order to ascertain that the right-hander would indeed be ready for Opening Day, as he promised.
- The Twins made several "competitive offers" to free agent starting pitchers, in some cases making better offers than the ones those pitchers ultimately took. The Twins had conversations with nearly every free agent starting pitcher and spoke with around 15 agents for pitchers at the Winter Meetings in December.
- Following the Span trade, most teams didn't believe that the team would also trade Revere. Antony says four teams were in the mix for Revere, but the Phillies were the most aggressive and ultimately landed him with the aforementioned offer.
- The Twins were willing to do a one-for-one swap of Span and Alex Meyer because they believe Meyer is a legitimate front-of-the-rotation candidate who can be a "dominant" strikeout pitcher.
- The decision to bring Aaron Hicks north as the team's Opening Day center fielder was a result of Hicks' strong play in Spring Training and his poise off the field. The Twins' front office was never overly concerned with delaying Hicks' free agency by a season: "If he's that good of a player we're going to do what we can to sign him long term and none of that's going to matter."
- Antony, GM Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office prefer to gradually expose their top prospects to the Major Leagues so as not to field a team of all rookies. Additionally, that line of thinking prevents mass arbitration and free agency issues: "If you can bring a couple guys, a couple rookies in each year, it helps infuse that and it helps to spread it out so that not everybody becomes arbitration eligible at the same time or free agents at the same time, all that stuff."
- The Twins "admire" the Royals' bullpen of power arms and would like to build a similar bullpen. The team prioritized power arms in the 2012 Draft, selecting a number of hard-throwing college relievers.
- Antony offered a definitive "No," when asked if the team had interest in Aaron Harang prior to his trade to the Mariners. The Twins feel they have a number of similar arms in the organization already.
- There's been no contact between the Twins and Jim Thome for "a couple of months," and the two were never on the same page. Minnesota had interest in Thome, but they were far apart in discussions.
- "It would be great if he could be a Twin for life," Antony said of Justin Morneau. "He's a guy who's meant a lot for this organization and we'd love it if he were to play his entire career here, but you just don't know how things are going to work out in the end."
- Antony feels that too much has been made of the decision not to extend Ron Gardenhire prior to this season. Many have speculated that Gardenhire is on the hot seat following a pair of 90-loss seasons, but Antony said it was intended to be an organization-wide message that they're looking to get better from top to bottom. He adds that he hopes Gardenhire is the Twins' manager for years to come, and that in three years people are surprised there was even a debate.
Asdrubal Cabrera, arguably the top shortstop available, has drawn trade interest as a third baseman. Before the Winter Meetings began, the Indians and Phillies discussed a trade that would have sent the shortstop to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and prospects, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The Phillies, who have since sent Worley to the Twins and acquired Michael Young from the Rangers, would have used Cabrera at third base, according to Hoynes. While the Phillies offered Worley and two prospects, the Indians wanted more.
Cabrera, 27, will earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before his contract expires. The switch hitter can block trades to the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Nationals, Giants and Mets. In 616 plate appearances this past season, he posted a .270/.338/.423 batting line.
The Indians appear to have closed the books on Kevin Youkilis, though they still have needs in left field and at DH. Nick Swisher remains a target for Cleveland, according to Hoynes. GM Chris Antonetti hopes to add to his rotation and the Indians have been in touch with most free agent starters.
The Phillies acquired outfielder Ben Revere from the Twins, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Starting pitcher Vance Worley is going to the Twins in the deal, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, as well as pitching prospect Trevor May, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Both teams have since confirmed the trade.
Revere, 24, hit .294/.333/.342 in 553 plate appearances for the Twins this year, stealing 40 bags in 49 tries. With just one year and 149 days of Major League service, Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017. He was a first-round pick of the Twins in 2007. He'd been penciled in to take over center field from Denard Span, who the Twins dealt to the Nationals less than a week ago.
"Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. He's also affordable, allowing for payroll flexibility for the team. Meanwhile, there's one less suitor for free agent Michael Bourn.
Worley, 25, posted a 4.20 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, and 46% groundball rate in 133 innings this year for the Phillies. He battled a bone chip in his elbow for much of the season, which was removed in September surgery. Worley has one year and 152 days of Major League service, matching up nicely with Revere in terms of club control.
May, 23, was ranked as the Phillies' second-best prospect by MLB.com. He posted a 4.87 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, and 1.32 HR/9 in 149 2/3 Double-A innings this year. Prior to the season, Baseball America wrote, "If his command continues to improve, he could become a No. 2 starter, and he should be at least a solid mid-rotation workhorse." The Twins added Alex Meyer in the Span trade, ranked the 50th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Twins outfielder Ben Revere appears to be in play, despite the team trading Denard Span to the Nationals six days ago. Revere, 24, hit .294/.333/.342 in 553 plate appearances for the Twins this year, stealing 40 bags in 49 tries. With just one year and 149 days of Major League service, Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017. The latest:
- Revere may be the Phillies' top choice for center field, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. The Twins are interested in Vance Worley plus a pitching prospect, tweets Knobler. Phillies executives Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick met separately with Twins GM Terry Ryan this morning, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
- The Braves are interested and have spoken to the Twins about Revere, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Tuesday was a busy day for Western Division teams, with the Rockies landing Wilton Lopez, the Giants signing Marco Scutaro, and the Dodgers and Rangers both fervently pursuing Zack Greinke. Here's the latest from the two divisions...
- Now that they've retained Scutaro, Jeremy Affeldt and Angel Pagan the Giants would like to add one more arm to their bullpen, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, however, notes that even after shedding the contracts of Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, Brian Wilson and Aaron Rowand, the Giants' payroll is too high to look at any more costly free agents (Twitter links). Perhaps they can find a bargain reliever later in the offseason.
- Knobler adds that the Athletics thought long and hard about Yunel Escobar but elected to pass on him for the second time this year. As a result they're still unsure of who their 2013 shortstop will be (Twitter links).
- Troy Renck of the Denver post tweets that the Rockies are still trying to land a starting pitcher, but they'd need to be overwhelmed to move Dexter Fowler. They do like Phillies hurler Vance Worley, he notes in a separate tweet, though I imagine it'd take more than Worley to "overwhelm" them. Worley is reportedly available in trades.
Let's round up a few rumblings from Nashville on players who might be on the trade block...
- The Phillies are dangling pitcher Vance Worley as a trade chip and may be willing to include pitching prospect Trevor May in a deal, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- The Dodgers are becoming aggressive in shopping starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, in a potential sign of confidence regarding a Zack Greinke signing.
- There have been "no conversations" about trading Andre Ethier, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
- One rival executive thinks the Royals will eventually make a deal for Rays starter James Shields, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Within his piece, Knobler explains why the Royals are more inclined to trade Wil Myers than Billy Butler.
- The return the Twins received for Denard Span has somewhat hampered the Indians' efforts to trade Shin-Soo Choo, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains in a pair of Twitterlinks.
- Ramon Santiago's name has surfaced at the Winter Meetings as a potential trade candidate, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter). While Beck isn't sure if the Tigers would move him, he says the utility infielder could draw interest.
- The Dodgers are "aggressively shopping" Juan Uribe in Nashville, but predictably aren't receiving much interest, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets that when he asked an MLB official if the Yankees could have interest in Uribe with Alex Rodriguez out, he was met with a chuckle.
Astros GM Ed Wade has been determining the market for his players, including Hunter Pence, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. Incoming owner Jim Crane urged Wade to do so in case appealing offers emerge. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors:
- Given Wade’s uncertain future in Houston, at least one executive suggests the GM needs to make a "job-saving deal" if he trades Pence.
- The Rays are more likely to trade B.J. Upton than James Shields, though they realize Shields’ value has never been higher (the right-hander won't be going to the Bronx).
- The Phillies remain in contact with the Royals about Melky Cabrera, but the Royals have told teams they’re more likely to deal Jeff Francoeur. Kansas City is asking for a number three starter who’s nearly Major League ready in return for Cabrera.
- Clubs that have inquired on Vance Worley have heard that he’s off of the market.
- The Braves have shown some interest in Heath Bell, whose most aggressive suitors have been the Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies and Angels. The Padres are telling teams that they’ll need to “clearly surpass” the value of two compensatory draft picks in any deal for Bell, though they’re flexible in terms of the type of player they’d accept in return.
- The Padres continue to field calls on Mike Adams, who will be tougher to obtain than Bell.
- The Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks appear to have checked in on Joakim Soria.
- The Red Sox are looking at everything, but aren’t approaching the deadline with much urgency, one AL executive told Stark.
- Rival teams expect that the Dodgers will trade Jamey Carroll and there are indications that Rafael Furcal is drawing interest as well.
- The Marlins, who hope to build momentum before opening their new stadium in 2012, are in a “holding pattern,” Stark reports. They’ve shown interest in third basemen.
- Rival teams report that the Phillies say they won’t move Domonic Brown or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart. Jonathan Singleton is available in the right deal, but the Phillies don’t expect to trade him for a rental player.
- Stark reminds us that commissioner Bud Selig ruled out contraction at the All-Star Game.
In addition to all the talk about a potential Hunter Pence trade, ESPN's Buster Olney notes the Astros are "making it clear" that they're willing to trade Wandy Rodriguez in today's Insider-only blog post. The left-hander has caught the eye of the Reds, but Houston will reportedly want as much for Rodriguez as the Rockies would want for Ubaldo Jimenez.
Here are the rest of Buster's rumors...
- Olney hears that the Phillies would prefer to frame any offers for Pence around right-hander Vance Worley (Twitter link). Worley owns a 2.02 ERA in ten starts and two relief appearances for Philadelphia this season.
- The Pirates have talked internally about pursuing David DeJesus, but it's unclear how aggressive they plan to get in trade talks (Twitter link).
- The Cardinals have cast a wide net in their search for bullpen help, and other clubs expect St. Louis to land a right-handed reliever before the deadline (Twitter link).
- There is growing confidence in the Mets' organization that the Bernie Madoff case "is veering in favor of the Wilpons," which could allow them to re-establish full control of the team. There is also some unhappiness with how David Einhorn has taken the spotlight without having a deal to become minority owner finalized.
1:53pm: The deal is done, tweets Rosenthal. Piecing this together, it appears the Astros send Oswalt and $11MM to the Phillies for Happ, Gose, and Villar, with the Phils potentially adding $1MM to Oswalt's buyout but not exercising his option.
1:44pm: Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's option is actually a mutual one. With the trade, his buyout will increase from $1MM to $2MM if the Phillies pick up the option and he declines, and remain at $2MM "if he simply opts out on his own." Rosenthal adds that the third player in the deal will be shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar. Some sources spell it "Villan," including the Baseball America Handbook.
1:34pm: Oswalt has accepted the deal, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
12:51pm: Gose and Happ are definitely in the deal, tweets CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury.
12:12pm: Oswalt plans to OK the deal, but it's not official yet, reports Stark. He adds that the Astros will be sending $11MM. Rosenthal tweets that Oswalt's 2012 option will not be exercised; he'll be compensated some other way. ESPN's Amy K. Nelson tweets that Oswalt will get $1MM added by the Phillies to the buyout of his '12 option. She adds that the details are being worked out now regarding Oswalt retaining his no-trade clause.
10:43am: Rosenthal tweets that he hears Singleton is not in the deal.
9:04am: The Astros will receive three players for Oswalt, tweets Rosenthal, while also paying a "very significant" part of his salary. Happ will be one of the three. Astros owner Drayton McLane has been negotiating directly with Phillies president David Montgomery, reports CBS' Danny Knobler.
7:37am: SI's Jon Heyman hears the Astros and Phillies were discussing Happ, righty Vance Worley, and two younger pitchers (Twitter link). Worley, a 22-year-old righty, spent most of 2010 at Double A, posting a 3.20 ERA, 6.6 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9. Baseball America ranked him 18th among Phillies prospects heading into the season, predicting a future as a back-end starter or middle reliever.
1:08am: The Astros and Phillies have reached an agreement on a Roy Oswalt trade, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston. Berman says the Astros are now waiting for Oswalt's approval, having hammered out the players and money with the Phils. Wednesday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had reported that the players were "pretty much agreed on." Lefty J.A. Happ has been a rumored part of the deal for a while now.
Oswalt's contract has $5.46MM left from his $15MM salary this year, $16MM in 2011, and a 2012 option for $16MM with a $2MM buyout. It remains to be seen how the Astros and Phillies settled the financials and whether the Phils will pick up Oswalt's option, though SI's Jon Heyman hears that the Astros are sending a lot of money to the Phillies (Twitter link).