Wilson Ramos Rumors

Wilson Ramos Found Safe By Authorities

Wilson Ramos has been rescued from his abductors, reports Rafael Rojas Cremonesi.  Venezuela's Information Minister tweeted that Ramos was found by authorities (passed on by Cremonesi), and the Ramos family has already been contacted with the good news.

Ramos was kidnapped near his home in Venezuela by four armed gunmen on Wednesday.  The kidnappers didn't contact the Ramos family but did contact police, and it was confirmed yesterday that Ramos was alive. 

Wilson Ramos Kidnapped In Venezuela

THURSDAY: Ramos is alive, according to multiple reports, including this one from Rafael Rojas Cremonesi (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY: Wilson Ramos' Venezuelan Winter League team, the Aragua Tigers, confirmed on Twitter that the Nationals catcher has been kidnapped. Four gunmen approached the 24-year-old near his home and took him away, according to El Nacional. The kidnappers have not yet contacted the family, but they were in touch with the police. Hopefully Ramos has a safe and speedy recovery.

Heyman On Twins, Drew, Oswalt, Reyes

The A’s fired Bob Geren today, but most of baseball’s new managers are doing well in 2011, as Jon Heyman explains at SI.com. Here are the rest of Heyman’s notes and rumors from around the league:

  • The Twins appear to be having second thoughts about the trade that sent Wilson Ramos to Washington for Matt Capps. Ramos is playing well and Joe Mauer has spent much of the season on the disabled list.
  • It wouldn’t surprise people if J.D. Drew and Roy Oswalt retire after the season, according to Heyman. Oswalt and the Phillies have a mutual option for 2012 and Drew is a free agent after the season.
  • Jose Reyes’ remarkable play has essentially forced the Mets to make him “a respectable offer.” The prospective free agent has been one of the best players in the game so far this season.
  • Mets right-hander Matt Harvey and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper are too good for Class A, according to Heyman. Harvey has a 2.49 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 and Harper has 14 home runs and a .342/.436/.619 line.

Twins Notes: Ramos, Capps, Mauer

Some news from the Twins, as they wrap up a four-game series in Baltimore tonight…

  • The Twins may eventually regret dealing Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for Matt Capps last summer, but Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes that Minnesota appreciates the depth that Capps has provided at closer with Joe Nathan struggling.
  • Should the Twins consider moving Joe Mauer to another position?  MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince argues no, since Mauer's full value comes from the fact that he can deliver MVP-caliber numbers from the premium position of catcher.  Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune argues yes, since the rigors of catching every day may already be taking a toll on Mauer's hitting.  "Would you rather have Mauer serving as a pretty-good-hitting catcher who needs plenty of days off and occasional trips to the disabled list, or a great-hitting corner position player who plays 160 games a year?  I'll take the latter," Souhan says.

Stark On Nationals, Red Sox, Jay, Phillies

Jayson Werth told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he doesn’t hate the Phillies at all and hopes for a warm reception when he returns to Philadelphia for the first time since signing with the division rival Nationals as a free agent. Here’s the latest on Werth's new team plus other rumors from around the league…

  • The Nationals would like to add a veteran to the back of their bullpen.
  • When teams ask about Nationals backstop Wilson Ramos, they’re hearing that the Nats don’t want to deal him because they believe he’s nearly ready to be a regular catcher.
  • The Red Sox have been “quietly poking around” to determine which catchers could become available.
  • The Phillies are looking for an affordable backup outfielder who can play center field and they have targeted Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.
  • There are no indications that the Phillies plan to deal for a second baseman to replace the injured Chase Utley, however.
  • Though the Mets don’t appear to want Luis Castillo to win the second base job, scouts say he’s their best option by far.
  • The Twins are open to adding relief depth.

Nationals Could Deal A Catcher

The Nationals are loaded with quality catchers and most likely will trade one of them for pitching, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.  With Ivan Rodriguez, Jesus Flores, Wilson Ramos, and Derek Norris in the fold, Ladson writes that one of the backstops could be moved prior to Opening Day.

Now fully recovered from right shoulder surgery, the leading candidate to be traded could be Flores, who has been seen throwing the ball hard to second and third base.  The injury cost the 26-year-old most of the 2010 season as he appeared in just 26 games.

The veteran Rodriguez will be the club's starting catcher to start the year while Ramos is being groomed as his heir apparent. Norris, 22, will probably start the season in the minors and is said to already possess a big league bat.

Nationals Rumors: Ramos, Capps, Dunn

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo explained to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com that he asked for specific players in potential deals and refused to make trades when clubs kept offering different combinations of players that didn't include the Nats' target. Here are other trade-related notes from Rizzo’s exchange with Goessling:

  • The Nationals believe Wilson Ramos will be an everyday catcher in the near future and have confidence that he could be a regular MLB catcher right now.
  • Matt Capps, the player the Nationals traded to obtain Ramos, will get a raise through arbitration next year, but the upcoming pay hike did not compel the Nats to move their former closer.
  • Rizzo says the club wasn’t looking to trade Adam Dunn, and “didn't find the value for him.”
  • The Nationals were not looking to make “a quantity deal” for multiple so-so prospects. Instead, Rizzo wanted impact players.
  • The deadline is fun for fans, but what about executives? Rizzo says he enjoys the trade deadline, since it’s “kind of fantasy baseball in the real world.”

Twins Interested In Matt Capps

The Twins have interest in Nationals closer Matt Capps, reports ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.  Kurkjian finds a deal unlikely -  he feels that the Nats would want catching prospect Wilson Ramos in return, and the Twins would be unwilling to make that deal.  I wouldn't blame them - they may be aiming to replace Jon Rauch, but Capps is not a shutdown stopper either.  In their search for another late-inning arm, the Twins have also been linked to Scott Downs of the Blue Jays.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson recently that he is not looking to trade Capps, Josh Willingham, or Adam Dunn, but he does receive a lot of calls on them.  Rizzo said he'd make a deal "if there was an opportunity to improve and impact the ballclub."  Two days ago ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the sentiment of rival executives: Capps stands a good chance of being traded, even though he is under team control for 2011.

The Nationals have a quality catching prospect at High A ball in Derek Norris.  25-year-old Jesus Flores is promising as well, but he has yet to make his 2010 debut as he tries to recover from shoulder and elbow surgeries.  Ramos would be a welcome addition, as a team can never have too much catching depth.

Cafardo On Gonzalez, Oswalt, Lilly, Ramos

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will eventually end up with another club, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The reality of a seven- or eight-year deal at more than $20MM per season in a market as small as San Diego remains a long shot.  If Gonzalez, who is under contract through 2011, reaches free agency, he'll be preferred over fellow slugger Prince Fielder, who is also in that free agent class.  Let's see what else Cafardo has for us..

  • Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton's right-handed bat and versatility make him attractive to the Yankees, Reds, Rays, and Angels.  Wigginton likes playing in Baltimore but wouldn't mind being in a playoff race.
  • A major league source wonders if Roy Oswalt will get too picky about to which teams he would approve a trade.  We've already heard that Oswalt won't approve a trade to the White Sox or Tigers.  One talent evaluator says that Oswalt can succeed in the American League.
  • That same talent evaluator told Cafardo that Ted Lilly will encounter problems with a move to the American League.  Therefore, he would make more sense for a team like the Mets, who are said to have interest.
  • Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been playing through a few undisclosed injuries, in part because he feels the need to live up to his enormous contact.  The club has been dangling catcher Wilson Ramos in a trade for a prime pitcher but they're now less inclined to deal him due to concerns about their franchise player.
  • The Red Sox watched Mark Prior throw in Arizona, but a team source says that they won't sign him.

Cliff Lee Rumors: Thursday

The Twins aren’t close to a deal for Cliff Lee, but the Rangers are working hard to acquire him and a number of other clubs are involved. The Mariners are seeking a monster return for Lee, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Click here to check out yesterday’s Lee rumblings and check back throughout the day for the latest on the lefty:

  • MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that talks between Seattle and the Reds have yet to "hit the serious stages." No formal proposals have been exchanged between the two teams.
  • Lee appeared on ESPN 710's Brock and Salk earlier today, and said that he and his agent approached the Mariners about an extension before the season only to be told that the team wasn't "going to go down that road."
  • The Mariners are interested in some of the game’s top prospects and young players, sources tell Jon Heyman of SI.com. Their wish list includes catching prospects Jesus Montero (Yankees) and Wilson Ramos (Twins) plus Justin Smoak and Wade Davis. A competing team says the Twins are a “real” threat to acquire Lee, though we’re not accustomed to seeing them give up lots of talent at the deadline.
  • A rival executive told Heyman that the Rangers discussed Chris Davis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a possible Lee trade. As we heard earlier today, the Mariners prefer Smoak and would want more than Davis and Saltalamacchia.
  • The Mariners asked the Yankees for at least three prospects, including Montero, according to Heyman.
  • B.J. Upton’s name has come up, but Heyman suggests the Rays haven't offered him to the Mariners.
  • Larry Stone of the Seattle Times hears rumblings that the White Sox, who just lost Jake Peavy to the DL, are at least 'kicking tires' on Lee. That would not be a surprise given Kenny Williams' track record.
  • One MLB GM told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Rangers are the favorites to acquire Lee. The Rangers don’t want to include Justin Smoak in a trade and at least one rival executive believes they would be ‘crazy’ to do so. The Rangers’ desire to hold onto Smoak is one of the biggest barriers remaining between the two teams. If the Rangers trade Smoak, they could call on Chris Davis, who has a .961 OPS in Triple A.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears the Mets mentioned with Lee less and less frequently (Twitter link). The Mariners are looking to obtain a major league-ready power bat, but the Mets don't want to part with Ike Davis
  • Jack Curry of the YES Network says the Yankees are being thorough and will inquire on Lee, just as they would on any available player of his caliber (Twitter link). That doesn't mean the Yanks are willing to out-bid everyone else, however.
  • The Rangers and Mariners continue to discuss a possible Lee trade, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. The Rangers have spoken to numerous teams to figure out what it will take to improve the club for the stretch run.
  • In case there was any doubt remaining about the Mariners' asking price, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer clears it up. An insider tells Fay that "it's going to take a ton," but Fay does not get the sense that a trade is about to happen.
  • The Rangers have financial restrictions, but MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that they have some money ‘tucked away’ for making moves. GM Jon Daniels is ‘fully engaged’ in the Lee trade talk.
  • We know a lot of teams are interested in Lee, but how many? “Pretty much every team within five games of the playoffs," a source tells Ken Davidoff of Newsday (That's 17 teams). We’ve heard that the Mets may have trouble adding payroll, but GM Omar Minaya and his front office are operating as though they can add salary. That means Lee and Ted Lilly could be targets for the Mets.