Wandy Rodriguez Rumors
Carlos Lee's name has been the one most frequently mentioned in Astros trade rumors recently, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports cautions not to forget about Wandy Rodriguez. Morosi adds that the Red Sox have been keeping tabs on the Houston lefty (Twitter links).
Boston would prefer to sign a free agent, according to Morosi, and have been linked to Roy Oswalt. The Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Rockies yesterday, which freed up $6MM in payroll. That type of money is almost enough to accommodate Oswalt's one-year asking price, but not to accommodate Rodriguez's $10MM salary. He's also guaranteed a $13MM salary in 2013.
Rodriguez, 33, has a 3.36 ERA over the last three seasons in 591 2/3 innings with an 8.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and a 46% groundball rate. His K/9 has declined for three straight seasons however, while his BB/9 has increased each of those years. There's also the issue of Rodriguez's 2014 option; the Astros currently hold a $13MM club option on Rodriguez, but that becomes a player option if he's traded.
The new collective bargaining agreement has created millions of dollars in incentives for teams to be below the luxury tax when it reaches $189MM in 2014, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. The upcoming changes have contributed to the relatively restrained spending on the part of the Yankees and Red Sox this offseason, Stark writes. Here are the rest of his rumors...
- The Yankees won’t be under the luxury tax threshold in 2012 or 2013, but they hope to spend less than $189MM in 2014, Stark writes. However, the CBA isn’t the only reason the Yankees are spending more cautiously. "I think this is what the Yankees were going to do, regardless," one of Stark’s sources said.
- Hiroki Kuroda is sending signals to the Yankees and Red Sox that he’d like to sign with one of those teams, Stark reports. The Red Sox are “nowhere near close” on Kuroda while the Yankees are mostly “kicking tires,” Stark hears. Stark's colleague Buster Olney reported today that Kuroda's asking price has dropped to the $10-11MM range.
- Though rival teams were surprised to see the Reds agree to terms with Ryan Madson, the move will help the team stockpile draft picks. They’ll obtain a compensatory pick when Francisco Cordero signs elsewhere and could obtain two more picks if they tender Madson a contract next offseason and he leaves as a free agent.
- The Reds are going to attempt to turn Aroldis Chapman into a starter this Spring Training, though there’s some skepticism he’ll thrive in the rotation.
- Chad Qualls’ name is on the Phillies’ shopping list, Stark reports.
- Rival teams predict the Cubs won’t trade Matt Garza until July, when there are fewer alternatives available in free agency.
- Stark hears that the Astros would pay half of the $18.5MM remaining on Carlos Lee’s contract and at least $7MM of the $11MM that Brett Myers will earn in 2012. Wandy Rodriguez is also available, though the Astros don’t appear to be nearing a deal involving the left-hander.
The Astros inked southpaw Trever Miller on this date in 2006, bringing him back for a second stint with the team. Here's the latest from Houston...
- The Astros have heard from a few teams with interest in Carlos Lee, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Nothing is close however, and Morosi speculates that the Indians could be a fit.
- Interest in Wandy Rodriguez "seems almost nonexistent," reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Last month we heard that the Astros seemed willing to absorb some of the $25.5MM left on the left-hander's contract to facilitate a trade.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros have signed 16-year-old right-hander Carlos Vasquez and 17-year-old outfielder Edward Santana. An agreement with 17-year-old righty Tomas Lopez is not yet official. All three players are from the Dominican Republic and will report to the team's academy there.
- Keith Law announced (on Twitter) that he will remain with ESPN after interviewing for some front office positions with the Astros last month.
- The Astros have received permission to interview Cardinals regional cross-checker Mike Elias for a special assistant role in scouting, reports Law (on Twitter).
We wouldn’t want the biggest news of the day -- that the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish -- to completely overshadow some secondary notes from around MLB. Here are some quick hits from around the league, starting in Texas:
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told fans at MLB.com that Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee are “very good players” who could help the Astros going forward. “We will look for any opportunity to improve our team in the medium and long term,” Luhnow explained, “so if there were a trade that made sense, we would consider it.”
- Brian Bixler cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Oklahoma City, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. The Astros designated the infielder for assignment last week to create roster space for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.
- The Cubs and Red Sox have agreed that former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein won't be able to hire anyone from the Red Sox for three years, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto likes the depth in his team's starting rotation, but doesn't yet know whether his bullpen is a strength or a weakness, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. Ideally, the Angels would like to add a late-inning reliever and make the lineup a little more left-handed, Dipoto says.
- There's a consensus among international MLB people that the Yankees are "BIG" on Yoenis Cespedes, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter).
- Cespedes is close to establishing residency in the Dominican Republic, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. The Cuban outfielder still needs to secure a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control since his residency is not permanent. The process could take two weeks, but he should be cleared to sign sometime in January.
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have to be wary of an American League where the competition continues to get stiffer. With the Albert Pujols-led Angels and the improving Blue Jays aiming to contend for the postseason, the Red Sox may need to continue making moves to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight year, says Cafardo. Here are some highlights from his piece:
- Other GMs say Ben Cherington has been active in discussing potential moves. The Red Sox have looked into a number of pitchers on the trade market, including Gio Gonzalez, Jair Jurrjens, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks. According to Cafardo, the Sox probably don't have the caliber of prospects the Athletics want for Gonzalez.
- An AL executive on how the Rays might fill their roster holes: "They could just continue to bottom-feed and keep all of their pitching. There's that January market that they've done very well with, and as long as they keep making the right decisions, their pitching is so good it will keep them in that playoff hunt every year."
- Cafardo is skeptical that the Cubs are legit contenders for Prince Fielder, saying right now the team's mindset is "let’s not spend until we’re ready to spend and right now we're not ready to spend." It makes sense then that Cafardo also hears Chicago's bid for Yu Darvish was low, as detailed in MLBTR's Darvish rumors.
- The Astros seem willing to take on some salary in a Wandy Rodriguez trade. We heard during the Winter Meetings that Houston didn't want to eat any of Wandy's contract to move him, so perhaps the club modified that stance after Jeff Luhnow took over as GM.
- One NL scout who watched Joel Zumaya pitch this week said the righty "didn't have much of a breaking ball but threw 93-96 on his fastball. Somebody will bite on him."
Today Jeff Luhnow made his first significant player move since becoming the Astros’ GM last week. Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland are now Astros and Mark Melancon is now on the Red Sox. Here are some more notes from Houston, starting with today’s trade...
- The Red Sox and Astros also discussed some of Houston's high-salaried players, but "there wasn't a lot of appetite for that," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The sides presumably discussed Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee before agreeing on today's deal.
- The market for Rodriguez has been surprisingly cool, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. If he's traded, Rodriguez will be set to earn $36MM over the course of the next three seasons (a 2014 option becomes guaranteed if he's dealt).
- Astros infielder Angel Sanchez has switched representation and is now with Burton Rocks LTD, tweets MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
The latest on the Red Sox, courtesy of Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald...
- GM Ben Cherington's comments on the team's pursuit of pitching: "We need to add some pitching depth, we’re working on that, we don’t know what the scope of that’s going to be. Last year at this time, nobody knew who Alfredo Aceves was, and by the end of the year he was one of our best pitchers." Tim Britton of the Providence Journal notes that Aceves was a non-tender last year by the Yankees, and takes a look at seven players who could interest the Sox if they're cut loose at tonight's deadline. Click here for my list of non-tender candidates.
- Red Sox president Larry Lucchino explained the team's stance on the luxury tax: "We wouldn’t rule it out (going over the threshold), but our plan historically has been to try to be at or around it. We have gone over it when we felt there was a need to. When the baseball operations department suggested a certain transaction made imminent good sense, we were willing to go over it, and I think that will be our policy going forward."
- Wandy Rodriguez is among the starting pitchers of interest to the Red Sox, writes Silverman. Word was a week ago that the Astros didn't want to eat any of Wandy's potential $36MM over the next three years, though that was before Jeff Luhnow was hired as GM.
- Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd also remain on the radar, says Silverman. The White Sox and Red Sox got together during the Winter Meetings to discuss Danks and Floyd.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains why he feels the Red Sox are a fit to acquire the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez.
- The Tigers were approached earlier in the offseason about trading for Wandy Rodriguez, but their limited interest quickly faded.
- Detroit won't be one of the teams watching Joel Zumaya throw next week, but they have a standing minor league contract offer (with a Spring Training invitation) for the right-hander if he wants to come back.
- While the Tigers have ruled out pursuing Yu Darvish, they're keeping an eye on other Asian pitchers. GM Dave Dombrowski on the subject: "I don't think we're on the verge of [signing] anybody from the Asian market, but we're aware of some players that are there."
- The Tigers announced that they've signed six players to minor league deals: Quentin Berry, Matt Young, Jerad Head, Audy Ciriaco, Argenis Diaz, and Ramon Garcia.
The Marlins aren't just pursuing big-name free agents -- they're also looking into some of the more interesting pitchers on the trade market. Having already inquired on Gio Gonzalez, the Fish also have some interest in Wandy Rodriguez, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (via Twitter).
Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link) hears that if the Marlins can sign Albert Pujols, they'll turn their attention to trades rather than pursuing a high-end free agent pitcher. Meanwhile, the Astros are reportedly telling teams that they don't want to take on any salary if they trade Rodriguez.
The Astros are telling teams that they'd be willing to pay half of the salaries for Carlos Lee or Brett Myers if they were to trade them, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. However, the team doesn't want to eat any salary in a potential Wandy Rodriguez deal.
Lee is owed $18.5MM in 2012, and the Astros may have to pay more than half of that figure if they hope to move him. While Myers' $11MM salary is more managable, it includes a $3MM buyout on his $10MM 2013 club option. Rodriguez is set to earn $23MM over the next two seasons, but his 2014 club option would turn into a player option if he's dealt, meaning the team acquiring him could be on the hook for another $13MM in '14.
Here are a few more Monday evening Astros notes:
- Besides moving players like Lee and Myers, the Astros' top priority is finding a shortstop, tweets MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
- The Astros have interviewed a half dozen GM candidates, with a focus on player development and scouting experience, tweets Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
- The team doesn't have a timetable for hiring their new GM, tweets Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner.