Yoenis Cespedes Rumors

Heyman’s Latest: Padres/Reds, Gausman, Cubs, Rox, Cespedes, Marlins

In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides a laundry list of free agent and trade-related info. He kicks off the piece with a lengthy look at the curiously passive approaches of two teams that were seen as likely to be active sellers: the Reds and Padres. San Diego GM A.J. Preller told Heyman that his team discussed a number of deals and felt that, ultimately, the long-term nature of most of the Padres’ trade chips outweighed the value they were offered. The one notable exception is Justin Upton, who, as first reported by Buster Olney, could’ve fetched Michael Fulmer from the Mets. Regarding Upton talks, Preller told Heyman: “…the evaluation was what we’re being offered versus the value of the pick and having Justin for the rest of the year. There were offers right on the line, but none that made us move.” As for the Reds, Heyman notes that many are questioning the team’s decision to hang onto Aroldis Chapman, who is controlled through 2016, when the Reds may not be competitive until 2017. The Reds backed out of a Jay Bruce-for-Zack Wheeler swap, a source tells Heyman, with a second source telling him that Cincinnati simply “got cold feet” when it came to dealing Bruce. He also spoke to a number of executives who expressed disbelief that neither team was more active at the deadline.

Some more highlights from his column, though there’s far more in the full article than can be summarized here, so it’s worth reading in its entirety…

  • The Diamondbacks are still seeking an elite closer after coming up empty in their pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, and they might pursue him again this winter. Heyman lists their priorities as: a closer, a starting pitcher (someone below the tier of Johnny Cueto/David Price) and a bat to slot behind Paul Goldschmidt in the order. The Snakes talked about deals for Jeremy Hellickson, Oliver Perez and Cliff Pennington. They came the closest to trading Hellickson, who drew interest from the Pirates and Blue Jays, he adds.
  • Kevin Gausman‘s name was very popular in trade talks with the Orioles, as he was asked for by the Rockies (in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez), the Tigers (Yoenis Cespedes) and Padres (Justin Upton). The Orioles also talked to the Dodgers about Carl Crawford (for a lesser package) but found his injury history and contract too risky.
  • Others are “convinced” that the Cubs will land one of the top starting pitchers on the market this winter, with Price as a leading candidate but Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Cueto all landing on Chicago’s radar as well. The Cubs are expected to shop both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez this winter. The Padres‘ interest in Baez has been reported many places, though they do have some reservations about Baez’s approach at the plate (as, I would imagine, most teams do).
  • The Blue Jays, Astros and Giants all expressed interest in White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija, but the White Sox‘ winning streak plus so-so offers led the team to hold onto the right-hander. Heyman hears that the return would’ve been similar to the one the Reds ultimately got in exchange for Mike Leake, so the Sox simply held onto Samardzija. (Speaking of Leake, he adds that industry consensus pegs Leake as the most likely rental to stay with his new club — perhaps not surprising given Leake’s ties to California and the Giants’ history of retaining such pieces.)
  • The Indians received interest not only in Carlos Carrasco, but also in Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. The Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox all tried for Carrasco.
  • The Rockies were always more motivated to trade Troy Tulowitzki than Carlos Gonzalez, as the drama surrounding Tulo had become soap-opera-esque. The team didn’t shop Jose Reyes after the Tulo deal but did have his name come up in talks; Heyman writes that the Yankees are one club that “may have fit,” as they could’ve used him at second base.
  • The Angels made a brief run at Yoenis Cespedes but didn’t come close to landing him. Cespedes won the hearts of Mets fans in part by expressing an interest in signing long-term to remain in Queens, but as Heyman notes, Cespedes did the same in Boston and Detroit without any results. A long-term pact between the Mets and Cespedes is more likely than a reunion with the Tigers though, Heyman writes, as Detroit isn’t likely to enter a bidding war for the outfielder, let alone win one.
  • The Dodgers showed more interest in Cole Hamels than they did in either Price or Cueto. They were completely closed off to the idea of trading either Corey Seager or Julio Urias, though. He adds that right-hander Jose DeLeon wasn’t available in talks for rental pieces, which could imply that he was at least attainable in Hamels talks.
  • Dan Jennings is expected to be welcomed back to the Marlins‘ front office this winter, when the team will search for a long-term manager to replace him. The Marlins are also planning on trying to extend Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria this offseason, he hears. Talks for Hechavarria went nowhere last winter, and the shortstop’s batting line is nearly identical to its 2014 mark. Defensive metrics are far more impressed with Hechavarria’s work this season, though, for what it’s worth.
  • While Rays relief aces Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger were oft-mentioned in rumors leading up to the deadline, other teams came away with the impression that Tampa Bay wasn’t that interested in moving either.
  • There’s an “unhappy scene” surrounding the Nationals and manager Matt Williams, Heyman hears. Williams isn’t beloved by many of the team’s players, who feel that he’s “not loose” and “never relaxed.” There are those who have also questioned his bullpen usage, from the decision not to use Drew Storen/Tyler Clippard in the final game of last year’s NLDS to leaving both Jonathan Papelbon and Storen in the bullpen in close road games versus the Mets shortly after acquiring Papelbon (only to have both pitch with a five-run deficit in the next series). Heyman spoke to one Nats player who said the team is loose and has fun regardless of Williams’ demeanor. “I don’t think it affects us,” said the player. “That’s just how he is.”

Mets Notes: Cespedes, O’Flaherty, Wright

Recent Mets trade acquisition Yoenis Cespedes says that he likes the idea of staying in Queens for more than just the rest of this year, as Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. Of course, the free agent-to-be also notes that matter “is something I can’t control.” Indeed, he is effectively precluded from re-signing with New York as a free agent because of the contractual requirement that the team release him at the end of the year. (An MLB rule provides that teams may not re-sign released players until after the start of the following regular season.)

More on the Mets:

  • In that same piece, GM Sandy Alderson indicated that his team’s deadline acquisitions were not made with any particular hope that the new players would sign long-term. “We’ll deal with next season later,” Alderson said. “That’s not to be cavalier about our longer-term view, but … I don’t think there’s any grave concern about the fact that these players may not be here next year. That’s not to say that we wouldn’t want them to be here next year, but that’s something we’ll deal with over the course of the offseason.”
  • While a late-year extension for Cespedes is theoretically possible, it doesn’t seem terribly likely, as Marc Carig of Newsday also explains. New York has been quite cautious in handing out massive, multi-year deals, and Cespedes has positioned himself nicely for the upcoming free agent market. Sources tell Carig that they expect his representatives to seek a deal in the $120MM to $150MM range. There is precedent for that kind of cash, of course, though Cespedes will have to contend with the presence of Justin Upton and Jason Heyward alongside him on the market. Shin-soo Choo landed a $130MM deal back in 2013, while Josh Hamilton got $125MM the year prior.
  • Before acquiring Eric O’Flaherty from the A’s, the Mets staff chatted about him with recent teammate Tyler Clippard, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. Clippard, of course, was also just traded from Oakland to New York, and told the media that he saw O’Flaherty (a recent Tommy John patient) rounding into form over the last few weeks. With the move, Clippard, a long-time Nationals reliever, and O’Flaherty, once a staple of the Braves pen, have now congregated with the division-rival Mets.
  • Mets assistant GM John Ricco explained that the club added O’Flaherty because it wanted a weapon against opposing left-handed hitters, also via Rubin. “We feel like a lefty reliever was something that we could use — a guy that was more of a strict left-on-left guy,” Ricco explained. “And that’s what Eric really is. So we had our eye on a number of different options and this one came together pretty quickly today. It gave us an opportunity to get a veteran left-on-left guy.”
  • Third baseman David Wright is ramping up baseball activities and may be nearing a rehab assignment, as Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes. Wright earned rave reviews for his workout at Citi Field yesterday, and indicated that he’s currently able to focus more on getting ready to play than worrying about his back. “It’s been a long process and I like the fact we’re finally talking about baseball and not rehab and doctors,’’ Wright said. “You put in all this work to finally get to the point where you are now. For two months you are having trouble standing for a while or walking. To be able now to go through a normal pregame routine, that makes you feel good about the process. You can see the finish line. It feels good.’’

Rosenthal’s Latest: Dodgers, Mets, Hamels, Jays, Astros

An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.

Here’s more from Rosenthal:

  • Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied –€“ and should not be satisfied –€“ until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.
  • Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
  • The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
  • The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.

East Notes: Valencia, Red Sox, Fulmer

The Blue Jays‘ somewhat surprising decision this morning to designate Danny Valencia for assignment confused many fans. Valencia has, after all, had a very strong season at the plate, batting .296/.331/.506, and he’s capable of playing several positions and raking against lefties. As Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith explains, manager John Gibbons told GM Alex Anthopoulos that he wanted new acquisition Ben Revere to play every day rather than platooning, leaving one of Valencia or Chris Colabello without much of a role. The Blue Jays ultimately decided to keep Colabello, and Anthopoulos thinks Valencia will be claimed on Monday. The GM suggests the Jays aren’t done tweaking their roster, so they could make a minor move or two to improve it, perhaps adding an outfielder.

  • The Red Sox were relatively quiet at the deadline, but they expect to look quite different by April, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes. “I think it’s incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” says GM Ben Cherington. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week. And so we went into it with the mindset, we’re going to pursue things we think fall in line with ways we need to improve between now and Opening Day.” Cherington notes that it’s still possible the Red Sox could make deals in August. Potential trade candidates include Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza.
  • The Mets repeatedly refused to trade pitching prospect Michael Fulmer, and were able to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers only when they finally relented, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. To Tigers exec Dave Dombrowski, Fulmer was the key to the deal (which also included another solid pitching prospect, Luis Cessa). “We consider Fulmer a premium-type guy,” Dombrowski says.

AL Central Notes: Cespedes, Tigers, White Sox

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and Mets GM Sandy Alderson got to know each other a little bit better on Friday.

We must have had at least 20 conversations with Sandy Alderson today,” the Tigers GM said, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (on Twitter).

All of that talking wasn’t for nothing as the two sides agreed to a deal sending Cespedes to New York this afternoon. The Mets didn’t want to part with Michael Fulmer until today, but they had a change of heart that paved the way for the deal. Here’s more out of the AL Central..

  • The Tigers made the Yoenis Cespedes deal with the Mets with the belief that they’ll be reunited again this winter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Dombrowski said the Tigers didn’t come close to making any other trades, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn is a little bit frustrated that he couldn’t make a splash today as he was optimistic something would get done, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets.  In the end, he says that the cost did not justify the return.
  • Hahn said the only big change in the White Sox‘s strategy was considering short-term rentals, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Ultimately, however, he didn’t want to hurt the club’s long-term future.

Mets Acquire Yoenis Cespedes

The Mets have officially acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, as Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com first reported on Twitter. In return, Detroit will get righties Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa from New York, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Twitter. GM Sandy Alderson says the Mets will pay all of the approximately $3.75MM remaining on Cespedes’ 2015 salary, David Lennon of Newsday tweets.

Jul 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) rounds the bases on right fielder J.D. Martinez ( not pictured) two run double during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles  at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the move, New York finally lands the power bat it was rumored to be pursuing for some time in the lead-up to the deadline. New York had already added reliever Tyler Clippard, third baseman Juan Uribe, and utilityman Kelly Johnson. After a widely-reported deal for Carlos Gomez fell through, the Mets turned their sights to alternatives and ultimately landed the 29-year-old slugger.

The Mets were said to be going after a controllable piece that was capable of playing center field, such as Gomez, but changed course in adding the free-agent-to-be Cespedes, who has spent most of his time in left. With Michael Cuddyer potentially out longer than had been hoped, Cespedes figures to take over there. But the club is also reportedly considering utilizing Curtis Granderson in center in some situations, as incumbent Juan Lagares has struggled since signing a significant extension before the season.

Cespedes is highly talented, if sometimes inconsistent, but he’s been outstanding in 2015. He’s hitting close to the levels he did in his breakout rookie campaign back in 2012, after two high-power/low-OBP seasons in between, with a .293/.323/.506 slash and 18 home runs through 427 plate appearances. Cespedes is delivering more hard contact, a better line-drive percentage, and more home runs per flyball than he has over any single full season. And Cespedes has increased his output on the defensive side of the ledger as well, drawing strong reviews from defensive metrics.

MLB.com now ranks Fulmer and Cessa the fifth- and ninth-best prospects, respectively, in an improved Tigers farm system. The 22-year-old Fulmer, the 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft, was in the midst of an impressive season at Double-A Binghamton, posting a 1.88 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 86 innings. MLB.com notes that his fastball is regularly in the mid-90s, and that he has a strong slider and a changeup good enough that he could one day be a Major League starter.

Cessa, meanwhile, is a 23-year-old converted infielder who performed well for Binghamton, with a 2.56 ERA, 7.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 77 1/3 frames. He struggled after a promotion to hitter-happy Triple-A Las Vegas, but maintained his solid peripherals, striking out 24 batters and walking four despite allowing an unsightly 23 earned runs in 24 1/3 innings there. MLB.com notes that his fastball is generally around 93 MPH, and that he could wind up in the back end of a big-league rotation.

Cespedes now finds himself on his fourth team since last summer. He was dealt from the Athletics to the Red Sox, then to the Tigers over the winter, before landing in New York. It’s an unlikely series of transactions, all said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mets Making Push For Yoenis Cespedes

1:32pm: Talks between the Mets and Tigers “reignited” on Wednesday night after there had been little contact between the two clubs, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who calls a Cespedes acquisition a possibility for the Mets.

1:27pm: The Mets are making a push to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Earlier today the Mets were linked to Cespedes in connection with some doubt regarding Michael Cuddyer‘s health.

The Mets have been working fervently to acquire an outfield bat over the past couple of days. After a near-deal for Carlos Gomez disintegrated, they’ve been tied heavily to the Reds’ Jay Bruce, though those talks are now also said to have cooled. Cespedes wouldn’t fit the Mets’ desire to add a bat that is controlled beyond the 2015 season, but he would certainly provide a boost to a Mets offense that has failed to score enough runs to support an outstanding young pitching staff.

The Tigers figure to be extra-motivated to deal Cespedes, as he’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer this winter and thus can’t even bring back a draft pick as compensation if he isn’t moved today.

Yoenis Cespedes Rumors: Friday

Yoenis Cespedes is the Tigers’ top rental piece now that David Price is in Toronto. He’s widely expected to be dealt today following the trades of Price and Joakim Soria, especially because he cannot receive a qualifying offer at the end of the year, even if the Tigers keep him. (Cespedes’ contract calls for him to be released at its end so he can reach free agency despite not having six years of service.)

Here are today’s Cespedes rumors…

  • The Angels have had discussions with the Tigers regarding Cespedes, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Earlier Updates

  • Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post tweets that the Nationals do not have interest in Cespedes.
  • The Nationals are a surprise possibility for Cespedes, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. GM Mike Rizzo is said to love him, Heyman notes. It’s somewhat unclear where Cespedes would slot into the Nationals’ outfield if everyone is healthy, though. Heyman also lists the Mets as suitors for Cespedes, and rumors do suggest that the two sides are at least having preliminary talks.
  • The Tigers‘ asking price on Cespedes is currently high, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, with the belief being that Detroit would ask the Orioles for Kevin Gausman in return. The Orioles, reportedly, are loath to part with the former No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Orioles could still make a Cespedes trade work even after acquiring Gerardo Parra, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Corner outfield help has been the Orioles’ top target over the past week.
  • Olney’s colleague, Jayson Stark, tweets that other clubs feel that the White Sox are struggling with how the impact of Cespedes or fellow corner outfielder Justin Upton would impact the current roster. The ChiSox already have a logjam at first base, DH and the corner outfield. I’d suggest that Avisail Garcia could be demoted to Triple-A. The Sox remain high on him, but he’s not showing much power and has struggled in the field. As of yesterday, the Sox had flipped the switch from “seller” to “buyer” and were said to be aggressively pursuing offensive upgrades, including Cespedes and Upton.

Mets May Have Concerns With Cuddyer; Have Interest In Tigers’ Yoenis Cespedes, Rajai Davis

12:08pm: New York is talking with Detroit about Cespedes, Rosenthal tweets. At this point, he’s one of many options, per the report.

12:05pm: As previously reported, the Mets are open to numerous outfield possibilities as the trade deadline approaches. The club has some concern that outfielder Michael Cuddyer “may not be back,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links), which certainly would appear to add a new component to the decisionmaking process.

The veteran had been expected to experience only a relatively short DL stint. It’s not entirely clear, though, what the new issues are that are referenced by the report, or what kind of absence might be expected.

Per Rosenthal, the names currently being considered by New York include not only the oft-discussed Jay Bruce (Reds), Yoenis Cespedes (Tigers), Justin Upton (Padres), and Will Venable (Padres), but also Rajai Davis of the Tigers. Davis is a speedy right-handed hitter who is capable of playing center field, where Rosenthal says the team has real concerns about incumbent Juan Lagares (who fits a similar general profile).

White Sox Aggressively Pursuing Bat; Interested In Upton, Cespedes

4:00pm: The White Sox are interested not only in Cespedes but also in the Padres’ Justin Upton, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

2:41pm: The White Sox are flipping the script and aggressively pursuing a bat, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. Among the many players they’ve inquired about, per the report, is Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers.

It remains unclear at present precisely where the club would like to add. Cespedes, of course, is a rental outfielder, but Chicago has received fairly marginal production at almost every spot on the diamond. First base (Jose Abreu) and center field (Adam Eaton) seem to be the only two positions where an upgrade would not make any real sense, though obviously the team is unlikely to replace veterans like Alexei Ramirez (at short) and Melky Cabrera (in the outfield). That Cespedes holds interest seems to suggest that Chicago is willing to take time away from Avisail Garcia and/or Adam LaRoche (the team’s right fielder and primary DH, respectively).

More importantly, perhaps, is the question of what kind of price the club might be willing to pay to get something done and whether the team is considering a move for controllable assets. Chicago is not exactly in an enviable position, though the team has played better of late. The division-rival Tigers are selling despite the fact that they are only one game behind Chicago in the standings. The White Sox are 11.5 games back of the leading Royals, and remain two-and-a-half out of Wild Card position.

With the team pursuing a bat, it would seem highly unlikely that righty Jeff Samardzija will be moved. That had already seemed to be the case, so perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that the club prefers to enhance its chances with an addition, rather than simply standing pat.