Wilson Betemit Rumors

Dombrowski On Verlander, Raburn, Worth, Betemit

Justin Verlander won the the 2011 American League Cy Young Award unanimously and he gets an extra — though unofficial — vote from Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. 

"He's a real special player who means a lot to our community," Dombrowski explained at the MLB General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee. "He's been a Tiger since the day he was drafted and he'll be with us for a long time."

Verlander would have been a free agent this offseason had he not signed his current five-year, $80MM contract before the 2010 season. There's no telling what Verlander would have been worth coming off a season like this, so it's no surprise Dombrowski's glad to have locked the right-hander up for three of his free agent seasons. 

Looking ahead to 2012, the Tigers want to get Ryan Raburn's bat in the lineup and may play him at second base at times next year. Danny Worth is another second base candidate for the Tigers, who are also weighing external options.

Wilson Betemit met Dombrowski's expectations after joining the Tigers in a midseason trade, but the GM anticipates adding an extra catcher this offseason, which will limit the Tigers' roster flexibility in 2012. The Tigers haven't pursued Betemit aggressively to this point and Dombrowski didn't suggest that will change. The Tigers want to keep Victor Martinez in the everyday lineup, so adding a backup for Alex Avila is on the agenda this winter.

Tigers Acquire Wilson Betemit

The Tigers have acquired Wilson Betemit from the Royals for prospects Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star first reported that a trade involving Betemit was imminent (on Twitter). The Royals have confirmed the move in a press release.

The 29-year old Betemit was a sought after man this summer; the Brewers, Angels, and Marlins all expressed interest in acquiring him at various times. He has hit .281/.341/.409 with three homers in 226 plate appearances this year, though he lost playing time to Mike Moustakas in recent weeks. The Tigers have been focused on pitching in recent weeks, but this move gives them an upgrade over Brandon Inge at the hot corner. Inge is hitting just .177/.242/.242 this season.

Neither Cruz or Rodriguez ranked among Detroit's top 30 prospects in Baseball America's 2011 Prospect Handbook. Cruz, a 19-year-old left-handed pitcher, has a 3.11 ERA in 75 1/3 innings with the Tigers' Low Class-A affiliate this season. He's struck out 58 and walked 28 in ten starts and a dozen relief appearances. Rodriguez, a 20-year-old catcher, has hit .283/.325/.354 with one homer in 246 plate appearances for Detroit's High Class-A affiliate this season.

NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Soriano, Betemit, Pence

Four teams are within striking distance of the NL Central lead: the Brewers, the Cardinals and the Reds and Pirates, who are currently playing at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The latest links from the division…

  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio that he can take on payroll and would prefer not to trade players currently on the Major League roster (Twitter link).
  • Alfonso Soriano told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com that he isn't worried about trade rumors, since he doesn't control what happens leading up to the trade deadline. The 35-year-old has 14 homers and a .255/.298/.456 line for the Cubs, who owe him $18MM annually through 2014. Soriano told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he would consider waiving his no-trade clause to join a contender.
  • Dave Gershman of Beyond the Boxscore suggests the Cubs should consider trading Sean Marshall if they can get a top prospect like Jonathan Singleton.
  • The Brewers and Royals are still in contact about Wilson Betemit, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Brewers have had interest in the infielder since earlier in the month, but haven’t made substantial progress so far. Morosi reports that the Brewers would like any acquisition to be capable of playing the outfield.
  • Rival teams get the impression that it will take a "major, major overpay" to obtain Hunter Pence from the Astros now, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).

Tigers Close To Acquiring Wilson Betemit

The Tigers are close to acquiring Wilson Betemit for two prospects, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Kansas City would receive two prospects in the deal. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star originally reported that a trade appeared imminent (on Twitter). The Brewers, Angels, and Marlins had expressed interest in Betemit recently.

This post was originally published on July 20th.

Tigers, Indians Interested In Aaron Harang

The top two teams in the American League Central are both looking for starting pitching depth and, in at least a couple of instances, they're interested in the exact same pitcher. The Indians and Tigers have interest in Aaron Harang, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Heyman reported that both clubs have interest in Hiroki Kuroda.

The Indians, who lead the Tigers by a half game after today's win, are looking to add a starting pitcher (here's a look at who's available). The Tigers hope to do the same and have some interest in Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeremy Guthrie, Derek Lowe and others.

Harang, 33, has a 3.19 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 through 93 innings this year. He may be profiting from pitcher-friendly Petco Park and the fact that opponents are hitting just .281 against him on balls in play (26 points below his career mark).

The ten-year veteran earns $4MM this season with a $5MM mutual option for 2012 ($500K buyout). He doesn't project as a ranked free agent under the Elias formula, so draft pick compensation does not appear to factor in to Harang's trade value.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports confirms that the Tigers are interested in Harang and adds that Detroit is not taking serious looks at Mark Reynolds or Wilson Betemit at the moment (Twitter links).

Angels Interested In Aramis Ramirez, Wilson Betemit

The Angels are interested in Aramis Ramirez and Wilson Betemit, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). However, Ramirez remains adamant that he will not accept a trade to any team, according to Rosenthal.

Ramirez's agent, Paul Kinzer, told Rosenthal that his client remains unwilling to accept any trade (Ramirez has ten and five rights). There's a chance that Ramirez would accept a deal in August, but the third baseman currently intends to finish his career in Chicago.

If traded, Ramirez would likely want his new club to drop his $16MM option for 2012 so that he can hit the open market after this season, Rosenthal reports. Ramirez's '12 option technically becomes guaranteed if he gets traded. 

Acquiring Betemit won't necessarily be much easier. The Brewers, who are looking for help on the left side of the infield, have discussed the 29-year-old with the Royals.

Angels third basemen – mainly Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis – have combined for a .285/.356/.364 line this year. Their .356 on-base average ranks fourth in baseball, but their .364 slugging percentage is 18th in MLB. Ramirez and Betemit would offer more power and less on-base percentage than Los Angeles' current options.

Brewers, Royals Have Discussed Wilson Betemit

Unsatisified with the production they're getting from third base, the Brewers have talked to the Royals about acquiring Wilson Betemit according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Kansas City GM Dayton Moore is willing to move Betemit in the right deal according to the FOX scribes.

Casey McGehee hit 23 homers with a .801 OPS last season, but he's hit just .221/.276/.311 with five homers in 362 plate appearances this year. Betemit, 29, has a .285/.345/.415 batting line in 223 plate appearances this season, but he's lost playing time to Mike Moustakas of late. He is making just $1MM this year and can be a free agent after the season. Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at Betemit as a trade candidate back in May.

Olney On Deadline Plans For AL Teams

ESPN's Buster Olney outlined plans for National League teams heading into the trade deadline yesterday, and today he follows up with the American League in an Insider-only column that comes highly recommended. Here's a brief recap…

  • The Mark Ellis trade could just be the first domino that falls for the Athletics. Other veterans like Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, and Grant Balfour could follow him out the door.
  • The Twins aren't as willing to trade now as they were a few weeks ago, and the big question they have to ask themselves is if eating a chunk of the $5.5MM left on Michael Cuddyer's contract is worth it to trade him.
  • We've heard this before, but B.J. Upton and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays figure to draw interest.
  • The Red Sox and Angels don't have a lot of financial flexiblity and are more likely to target smaller pieces.
  • Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, and Wilson Betemit are all affordable and reasonably productive, but Olney notes that the Royals might want to keep some veterans around so the youngsters don't get pounded.
  • The Indians and Mariners will not blow up their rebuild processes despite their surprising runs at contention. Erik Bedard's injury took away Seattle's best chip.
  • Poor seasons from Alex Rios and Adam Dunn make it difficult for the White Sox to do anything. They need those two to get back on track more than anything.
  • The Yankees are convinced their internal pitching options are better than what's available on the market right now. A Rafael Soriano setback would put them in the reliever market.
  • It's all about right-handed relief pitching for the Rangers, who will have plenty of options to choose from. The Blue Jays have lots of bullpen help to deal.
  • The Tigers are asking around about pitching, specifically left-handers.
  • The Orioles are having an internal debate about whether or not to trade Jeremy Guthrie, but they are expected to at least listen to offers.

Quick Hits: Magglio, Betemit, Manny, Indians

Wandy Rodriguez looked sharp in his return from the disabled list tonight.  The Astros left-hander allowed four walks and two hits over six shutout innings as Houston notched a 8-3 win over Atlanta.  You'll be reading a lot about Rodriguez at MLBTR this summer since, with so few difference-making pitchers on the market, Rodriguez could arguably be the top arm available at the trade deadline.

Some links….

  • Magglio Ordonez could be on the market very soon, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Ordonez is a defensive liability in the outfield the Tigers can't put him at DH since that could cost Victor Martinez or Alex Avila at-bats.  Ordonez is still owed $5.8MM this season and he has a no-trade clause, so Morosi figures Detroit "would probably need to swap one burdensome contract for another" to move the veteran slugger.  The Yankees, Mariners and Angels are listed as contenders who could use DH help.
  • Wilson Betemit is drawing attention from several scouts, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Betemit is hitting .289/.348/.411 for the Royals this season but lost his starting third base job to Mike MoustakasMLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith profiled Betemit's trade candidacy last month and noted that at a 2011 salary of just $1MM, Betemit is bargain for any club needing third base help.   
  • The Royals have signed five more of their draft picks, with seventh-rounder Kellen Moen the highest pick yet to sign with the club this year.
  • As if the Dodgers didn't have enough financial problems, the club owes Manny Ramirez a deferred payment of $8.33MM by June 30, reports Molly Knight of ESPN The Magazine.  Ramirez is owed a total of $25MM in deferred money from the Dodgers, which will be split up into three equal payments this year, next year and in 2013.
  • The Indians announced the signings of three picks from the 2011 draft.  Outfielder Bryson Myles (sixth round) was the highest-picked of these signings.

Rosenthal On Betemit, Reds, Indians

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports…

  • The Marlins are "among the teams tracking" Royals third baseman Wilson Betemit.  The 29-year-old is a free agent after the season and has hit .303/.378/.488 in 492 plate appearances in his Royals career.  Betemit is earning only $1MM, so any team could fit him in.  He has experience all around the infield and has dabbled at the outfield corners as well.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith discussed his trade candidacy earlier this month.
  • "There is not a lot of pitching to be had. It would be tough to get anyone if we do need someone," remarked Reds GM Walt Jocketty to Rosenthal.  The Reds' rotation has been surprisingly lousy this year, but Travis Wood, Bronson Arroyo, and Mike Leake are not as bad as their cumulative 5.33 ERA suggests.
  • Orlando Cabrera's impact is "very difficult to quantify," Indians GM Chris Antonetti tells Rosenthal.  You have to wonder if O-Cab could provide the same intangibles off the bench, allowing the Tribe to start Cord Phelps or Jason Kipnis at second base.