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Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark…
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Lee | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Denard Span | Dylan Bundy | Francisco Liriano | Gaby Sanchez | Giancarlo Stanton | Heath Bell | Hunter Pence | Jake Arrieta | Jason Vargas | Jeff Karstens | Joe Blanton | Josh Johnson | Josh Willingham | Justin Morneau | Kansas City Royals | Kevin Correia | Kevin Millwood | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Machado | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Randy Wolf | Ricky Nolasco | Ryan Dempster | Seattle Mariners | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Wade Davis
Several teams, including the Tigers and Angels, had scouts in attendance for Rays right-hander James Shields' start against Seattle today, write Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates, Giants, and Blue Jays also had scouts on hand, indicating that Shields could be a hot commodity as the deadline approaches. As for Detroit, sources say that the Tigers have had interest in Shields for years and could ply him away with catching prospects Rob Brantly and James McCann. The Rays aren't necessarily shopping Shields but GM Andrew Friedman will listen to offers on him as well as Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and Wade Davis, sources say. Here's more out of the AL East..
- As you might imagine, the ten-player deal between the Blue Jays and Astros wasn't exactly easy to put together. Houston GM Jeff Luhnow told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter) that he had 20 conversations with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos last night alone.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette told reporters, including Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun that he's on the lookout for high on-base percentage hitters. “Hopefully, [Omar Quintanilla] is a good on-base man. Take a look at his OBP capabilities with the Mets. He was good. We hope he brings the same [thing] with us. … "[But] we are looking at our on-base capabilities. No question. We need to do a better job with that," Duquette said.
- Anthopoulos told reporters that the two teams will work out the player to be named later in the trade by the end of August, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
The chances of Cole Hamels getting traded are diminishing, but they haven't disappeared, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports. The Phillies are trying to sign the left-hander to a long-term deal, but will weigh trade offers if they can’t agree on an extension. Here are Stark’s latest rumors…
- The Rays would be looking for a combination of high-end young pitchers, a young catcher and a controllable hitter if they discuss trades involving James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson. Wade Davis is drawing as much interest as Shields, now that he’s pitching well out of the Tampa Bay bullpen, Stark reports.
- The Astros have told rival teams that they’d absorb a substantial percentage of Wandy Rodriguez’s salary in a trade if it allows them to get “the best value back.”
- The Padres aren’t shopping Edinson Volquez, but they haven’t made him untouchable.
- Teams don’t expect the Marlins will trade Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Brandon McCarthy’s history of shoulder problems diminishes his trade value. “He's not going anywhere," one executive predicted to Stark.
- The Nationals haven’t been focused on finding a center fielder.
- Hunter Pence is attracting as much interest as anyone on the Phillies, including Hamels. However, the Phillies have downplayed their interest in trading the right fielder. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco and Kyle Kendrick would be available if the Phillies decide to sell this month, Stark reports. Rollins can veto any trade and would only accept deals to West Coast contenders.
- The Pirates have asked about tons of hitters, including Billy Butler, but they’re still in a “buy-low frame of mind.” The Royals have told clubs they’d have to be overwhelmed to part with Butler, Stark reports.
- The Rockies are trying to move Marco Scutaro and Jason Giambi, but they’d have to be “bowled over” to deal relievers such as Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Matt Reynolds.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Billy Butler | Brandon McCarthy | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Edinson Volquez | Houston Astros | James Shields | Jason Giambi | Jeremy Hellickson | Jimmy Rollins | Joe Blanton | Josh Johnson | Kansas City Royals | Kyle Kendrick | Marco Scutaro | Matt Belisle | Matt Reynolds | Miami Marlins | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Placido Polanco | Rafael Betancourt | San Diego Padres | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Wade Davis | Wandy Rodriguez | Washington Nationals
James Shields isn’t the only member of the Tampa Bay pitching staff who could be traded this summer. The Rays are open to moving any of their right-handed starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Right-handers Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer would all appeal to teams in need of pitching. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- The Rays probably won’t sell if it appears Evan Longoria will be able to return before long, but the third baseman’s timeline remains unclear.
- It’s highly unlikely that the Athletics will trade Bartolo Colon, Rosenthal reports. The A’s value Colon more than the mid-level prospects they’d be able to acquire for him in a trade.
- Executives say the Angels have enough young talent to trade for a pitcher of Zack Greinke’s caliber. Though GM Jerry Dipoto is reluctant to trade Peter Bourjos and Garrett Richards, both would appeal to other teams. One executive noted that prospects Jean Segura and Kaleb Cowart are also appealing trade chips.
- The Angels are looking for a left-handed reliever, Rosenthal reports.
- The Cubs are exchanging names with teams interested in Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers, Tigers, Braves and Red Sox are in the mix. A friend of Dempster’s said the right-hander would probably approve a trade to Boston but considers the Dodgers a better fit. The Dodgers have enough prospects to build a package for Dempster, rival executives tell Rosenthal.
- The Red Sox are still interested in Matt Garza, another potential trade chip.
- The prospect-rich Blue Jays are interested in Justin Upton. GM Alex Anthopoulos is pursuing numerous players and willing to listen on all of his own players, Rosenthal writes. The Pirates have shown considerable interest in Upton, but the Diamondbacks don’t view Pittsburgh as a fit.
- The Rangers are almost certain to bolster their bench. One option: upgrade over catcher Yorvit Torrealba.
- It’s not surprising to see the Giants pursuing relief help, Rosenthal writes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Cobb | Atlanta Braves | Bartolo Colon | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Detroit Tigers | James Shields | Jeremy Hellickson | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Peter Bourjos | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Dempster | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Wade Davis | Zack Greinke
The latest from Florida, where all five AL East teams are preparing for Opening Day…
- Rays starter Wade Davis told Bill Chastain of MLB.com that he doesn't want to get traded, despite the uncertainty surrounding his role on the 2012 team.
- Red Sox right-hander Chris Carpenter tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that it was "kind of cool" to be traded for Theo Epstein earlier this week. Epstein called Carpenter to explain the situation.
- All of Boston's top talent evaluators including GM Ben Cherington have seen Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports. The 19-year-old appeals to the Red Sox more than Yoenis Cespedes did, according to Edes.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, who is entering the final year of his contract, told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he'd like to continue in his current role. “I guess I would say that, but I’m not even thinking about that right now," he said. The Blue Jays promoted Alex Anthopoulos and invested in scouting and player development since Beeston assumed his current role following the 2008 season.
- The Orioles aren't likely to add a catcher from outside of the organization any time soon, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli tweets.
With so many teams now in Florida for Spring Training, let's check on one of the teams that calls the Sunshine State home year-round…
- Wade Davis wasn't pleased about the possibility of pitching out of the bullpen this season, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't see any reason for me to be in the bullpen," Davis said. "I understand they've got to do certain things, but we'll see. … I definitely want to be a starter and stay a starter forever. And that'll be my mentality." Davis and Jeff Niemann will be battling to be Tampa Bay's fifth starter, with the other becoming a reliever. As Topkin points out, there's little Davis could do if he is assigned a relief gig, as "he wouldn't have much leverage to force a trade."
- ESPN's Buster Olney hears from some scouts that Davis is "much better suited" as a relief pitcher and "could actually be pretty good at that job."
- Between Davis, Niemann and prospects Alex Torres and Alex Cobb, the Rays like their pitching depth and want to hang onto it, executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told media (including Topkin) on Monday. Friedman did say that the Rays would "be aggressive in trying to improve [the] roster."
- Niemann didn't seem too upset over losing his arbitration case to the Rays earlier this month. “I considered it a win-win situation going in,” Niemann told Roger Mooney of TBO.com. “Certain circumstances got us to that point. We did it, went through it, got the experience. Now I’m ready to go out there and play."
A few items on the Rays courtesy of Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times..
- A few months ago it would have seemed unlikely that the Rays would have been able to fill their primary holes without dealing Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann, but the club has done just that. They say they are willing to go into the season with an extra starter, but team president Matt Silverman says that the club continues to look for a deal.
- Topkin suggests that the club could deal Niemann in order to land an experienced catcher. Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki, and Nick Hundley are possibilities on the trade market while Ivan Rodriguez and Bengie Molina remain free agents.
- The Rays and manager Joe Maddon are expected to announce a three-year contract extension before the February 20th opening of Spring Training.
- There's an interesting theory floating about that suggests that the Rays raising their offer to $7.25MM to sign Carlos Peña helped lead the Tigers to spend $214MM on Prince Fielder.
Rockies outfielder Seth Smith remains a coveted trade chip, though the Braves’ interest in him has cooled, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported yesterday. The Rockies would like to trade Smith for a back-of-the-rotation starter or a second baseman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes.
The Rays are not in the hunt for Smith, though the Rockies covet Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann, Renck reported. The Athletics and Mariners have interest in Smith, according to Rosenthal, who reported along with Jon Paul Morosi last month that the Mets have expressed interest as well. Rosenthal now adds the Indians and Red Sox to the list of teams that have shown at least some interest in Smith.
Smith, a left-handed hitter, posted a .284/.347/.483 line with 15 homers in 533 plate appearances this past season, playing left and right field. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz estimates a 2012 salary of $2.6MM for the 29-year-old via the arbitration process. He’ll remain under team control through 2014.
Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos and Jair Jurrjens are among the pitchers on the Reds’ wish list, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Latos may be available in the right deal, Gonzalez could be had, but Oakland's asking price is high and Jurrjens also appears to be available. GM Walt Jocketty recently told Rosenthal that he’s looking aggressively at ways of improving his team’s pitching staff, despite the high asking prices sellers are setting for available arms.
Matt Garza, who could earn a salary approaching $9MM through arbitration, is too expensive for Jocketty’s liking and John Danks is less appealing than some alternatives, as he’s under team control for just one season, Rosenthal writes. James Shields appears to be out of the reach for every team, including the Reds, and Jocketty is aiming to obtain a better pitcher than Wade Davis.
The Rangers are more focused on trading for a starter than signing Prince Fielder or bidding on Yu Darvish, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Here are the details on the Rangers…
- The Rangers appear to have less payroll flexibility than expected and are interested in trading for arms such as Matt Garza, Wade Davis and Gio Gonzalez. Texas did not make official offers to C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle before the southpaws signed elsewhere, Rosenthal and Morosi report.
- It's worth noting that Texas has a full projected rotation: Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Scott Feldman, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis.
- The Rangers remain "in" on Mike Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The Yankees and Cardinals also have some interest in the free agent left-hander.