Wilson Ramos Rumors
Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on WEEI's Big Show today, and as always, dished about some possible Red Sox moves. Ethan Landy has the full transcript available, but here are some of the more interesting tidbits...
- In regards to the Chris Snyder trade rumors, Gammons said the Sox would be hesitant about paying the catcher the rest of the $4.75MM he's owed for this season and the $5.75MM owed for 2011. Gammons said the Red Sox would prefer to spend that money on "a big piece" at the trade deadline.
- Gammons tabs Minnesota prospect Wilson Ramos as "probably the best [catcher] in the minor leagues that might be traded," though he thinks a deal is a longshot since the Twins would ask for Daniel Bard or Clay Buchholz in return. A few weeks ago, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at what the Twins might do with Ramos.
- Should Boston pick up another catcher, of course, that would leave Victor Martinez out of a position what with Kevin Youkilis at first and Adrian Beltre at third. Gammons points out that the Sox would face a tough decision about what to do with "three DH's on the roster," counting Martinez along with David Ortiz and Mike Lowell.
- Gammons reiterated a past point about how catching prospect Mark Wagner may have more value to Boston than Ortiz at this stage, given Wagner's defensive skills and Ortiz's struggles at the plate. Though, as Gammons notes, "they set this team up to get offense out of catcher and DH, so that is a tough change in direction without a real answer."
Let's continue our look at each club's top trade chips today with the AL Central...
- Indians: The Tribe have dealt their Opening Day starter in each of the last two seasons, and there's a good chance they'll do it again with Jake Westbrook in 2010. The 32-year-old righty will earn $11MM this season, the last one on his contract. After dumping Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez in cost-cutting moves last year, expect them to shop Westbrook around for prospects this summer.
- Royals: All four of Kansas City's outfielders come off the books after this season (assuming some options are bought out for six figures), so Rick Ankiel, David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, and even Jose Guillen could be moved in a deal for a young player. The team would obviously have to eat a lot of money to move Guillen. The contracts of relievers Juan Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth also expire after the season, so there might be some interest in them.
- Tigers: Detroit isn't going to move any of their young power arms, but if they eat a large chunk of salary like they did with Nate Robertson, there might be interest in Jeremy Bonderman and/or Dontrelle Willis. Young backstop Alex Avila could make Gerald Laird expendable as well. The Tigers have four lefty relievers on their 40-man roster (Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, Daniel Schlereth, and Brad Thomas), and that demographic is always in demand.
- Twins: Minnesota has one of the best trade chips in the league, blocked catching prospect Wilson Ramos. Lefty Glen Perkins is pitching in Triple-A and seems to have fallen out of favor with the club after filing a grievance, so he could be made available as well. He has four years of team control left.
- White Sox: GM Kenny Williams isn't shy about emptying out the farm system in a trade for an established big leaguer, which has left him with little minor league ammo. Their best young prospects are catcher Tyler Flowers and starter Daniel Hudson, who would seem to have a future with the club, but I'm not going to put anything past Williams. Flowers could make A.J. Pierzynski or Ramon Castro expendable, ditto Hudson and Freddy Garcia. Gordon Beckham should be untouchable, obviously.
Let's check in on the Rumblings and Grumblings of ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One exec Stark spoke to implied the Padres may not be motivated to trade closer Heath Bell because he's under team control through 2011 and signed at $4MM for 2010. Bell's salary could double in '11, though, and I'm not convinced the Padres will want to pay it.
- Stark talked to a GM who thinks Bell makes sense for the Twins as a backup plan in case Joe Nathan needs a 16-month Tommy John recovery period to get back to normal. Stark learned that a significant part of Nathan's salary this year is insured, so that frees up some money this year. But again, will the Twins want to pay nearly $20MM to two relievers in 2011?
- Should Houston's troubles continue, Stark wonders if Roy Oswalt would consider waiving his no-trade clause. He says a friend of Oswalt believes the pitcher's preferred destinations are Atlanta, St. Louis, and Texas. It's hard to see those clubs making a play for Oswalt, especially with his large salaries for '10 and '11.
- Stark guesses the Nationals are more likely to trade Adam Dunn before the deadline than sign him to an extension. Last we heard, ESPN's Buster Olney said there were no ongoing extension talks.
- Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos has been labeled as one of the game's best trade chips, but assistant GM Rob Antony says that "right now, we'd lean toward keeping him."
- If he can't find a big league job, Kevin Millar could sign with the St. Paul Saints, where his pro career began. Millar was released by the Cubs on March 30th.
Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, became "one of the better trade chips in baseball" when Joe Mauer signed his eight-year extension. Goldstein ranked Ramos #65 overall among prospects. Baseball America put him at #58, while ESPN's Keith Law has him at #42.
In their 2010 Handbook, Baseball America wrote that Ramos is "almost big league-ready and has significant upside." All three outlets consider him an aggressive but above-average hitter with a cannon for an arm. Though Ramos missed almost three months with injuries in '09, he hit .317/.341/.454 at Double A and played well in winter ball.
Asked what the Twins should do with Ramos, Law recently said, "Trade him. And I don't mean for Heath Bell." Austin Jackson, Tim Alderson, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Donald, Chris Perez, and Aaron Poreda are examples of prospects ranked in the #40-60 range on 2009 prospect lists who were recently traded for veterans. Each deal had its own nuances and additional parts, but the prospects named were typically headliners. They were used to acquire Curtis Granderson, Freddy Sanchez, Cliff Lee, Mark DeRosa, and Jake Peavy, veterans with varying contract situations.
Clearly Ramos can help bring in a major piece for the Twins. As Law indicates, it's not worth spending that chip on a reliever. A third baseman or an ace starting pitcher would make more sense, but at this point I can't find an appropriate name for the Twins to pursue. They may choose to let Ramos spend all of 2010 at Triple A and evaluate their needs in the offseason.