Yovani Gallardo Rumors

Stark’s Latest: Brewers, Ruggiano, Young, Storen

ESPN's Jayson Stark quotes a number of executives who feel the trade deadline has lost its luster since many teams have locked up their top young players, teams are reluctant to acquire rental players who carry no draft pick compensation as free agents, and the second wild card has narrowed the market of outright sellers to just a few teams.  That said, Stark still has lots of hot stove items for us in his latest Rumblings & Grumblings column

  • Ryan Braun's suspension could drastically change the Brewers' perspective on trading some veteran stars.  While Francisco Rodriguez was indeed traded just a day after Braun's suspension was announced, Stark hears that the Brewers are asking for a lot in deals.  "One of the problems with dealing with Milwaukee is that [their] trade for [Jean] Segura last year was so one-sided that they want another tilted deal. Not going to happen," an AL executive said.
  • The price for Kyle Lohse, for instance, involves the price of a first-round pick.  The Crew gave up as first-rounder as compensation for signing Lohse as a free agent in the spring.
  • Three scouts who have recently seen Yovani Gallardo say he's been pitching like a fourth or fifth starter.  Gallardo in his prime was "close to an ace. [But] lots of pitches on that arm from then to now. He can really pitch, but his stuff [has gone] way back," one scout said.  Gallardo has a 4.58 ERA and a career-worst 7.2 K/9 in 21 starts this season, plus he's lost two miles of velocity off his fastball.
  • We'd heard that the Yankees and Rangers had checked in on Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano, and Stark adds the Phillies and Giants to the list of a half-dozen interested teams.  The Marlins weren't too keen on dealing Ruggiano but he could be expendable now that Christian Yellich and Jake Marisnick have been called up.
  • The Phillies' next five games "will determine Michael Young's fate more than anyone else on their roster," said one executive who has talked to the club.  Young is seen as "pretty much a lock" to be dealt if the Phils struggle during their road trip through St. Louis and Detroit this week.  The Phillies dropped a 4-1 result to the Cardinals last night.
  • Jonathan Papelbon hasn't been made available by the Phillies but even if he was, one AL executive thinks Papelbon's contract makes him "practically untradable."
  • Stark thinks the Phillies and Marlins are good trade partners on paper since the Phils could use Ruggiano or any of Miami's good relievers.  The Marlins aren't willing to move anyone unless they get a great offer, however, and the Phillies aren't willing to move any of their top prospects to facilitate a deal.
  • The Nationals could listen on a good offer for Drew Storen, the former first-round pick who is struggling through a tough year.  The Nats are in a tough spot trade-wise, however, since the team is largely set at every position yet are still in need of hitting.
  • Alex Rios' long slump has lowered his trade value and the White Sox will be hard-pressed to find a team to meet their asking price for the right fielder.  The Rangers still have some interest in Rios, as they're looking for an outfielder that can be controlled beyond this season.
  • The Red Sox are seen as very likely to add pitching before the deadline.  Boston has been linked to Jake Peavy and were interested in Francisco Rodriguez before the Orioles got him. 
  • The Braves have targeted Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush of the Mariners, Scott Downs of the Angels, Mike Dunn of the Marlins and James Russell of the Cubs in their search for left-handed relief pitching.  While Atlanta has been looking at these names and others, however, Stark says the team isn't close to a deal.
  • In regards to the Biogenesis scandal, Stark hears from an attorney who believes "virtually every case will be settled by a plea deal.  You're going to see a lot of pleas. You're going to see a lot of deals."

Melvin On K-Rod Trade, Bullpen, Gallardo, Lohse

Francisco Rodriguez's trade to the Orioles may be the first of several moves for the Brewers before the trade deadline, though Brewers GM Doug Melvin hinted that further moves (if any) would require a very high return.  Here are the highlights of Melvin's conference call with reporters, including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

  • As many as six teams had interest in Rodriguez but the field narrowed to three bidders, Melvin said.  The other two finalists, besides the O's, were also from the American League.  The Tigers and Red Sox were known to have interest in Rodriguez, though it's just speculation on my part that they could have been the two mystery AL teams.
  • Melvin spoke highly of Nick Delmonico, the infield prospect acquired from Baltimore.  Melvin said he asked the Orioles about Delmonico three weeks ago and were turned down, so the deep trade market for Rodriguez helped the Brewers eventually get the prospect they wanted.
  • The Brewers are "not shopping" other bullpen pieces like John Axford or Jim Henderson "but if teams have interest, I have to listen," Melvin said.  "We've still got a lot of good young players here. People talk about our pitching but if you trade pitching, you're going to need pitching back for this year, next year and the following years."
  • Teams have called about Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse but Melvin said he's "not motivated" to move either starter.  Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) reported earlier today that the Brewers "need to be blown away" to consider moving Lohse, and the Giants weren't a fit as a trade partner.
  • Melvin made it clear that he isn't under any pressure to move veterans just for the sake of rebuilding the roster.  "This isn't where we're selling. I'm not a believer in buyers and sellers; I'm a believer in making a good deal," Melvin said.  "Deals that help both ball clubs are the best deals to work. When you're selling, you're just moving players because of salary and we don't have to do that."
  • Some teams have called about the Brewers' position players though Melvin declined to provide details.

Central Notes: Peavy, Gallardo, K-Rod, Tigers, Pirates

The three most prominent starting pitcher trade candidates reside in baseball's Central divisions: Matt Garza (Cubs), Jake Peavy (White Sox), and Yovani Gallardo (Brewers). The latest on the Garza rumors can be found here while Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports at least a half dozen scouts, including ex-Cub GMs Jim Hendry (Yankees) and Ed Lynch (Blue Jays) were on hand to see Peavy's outing against the Braves last night. "There are a lot of eyes on me, period," Peavy said after allowing two earned runs on seven hits during his six-inning stint (96 pitches). "I was trying to win for (27,294 fans) who came to support us. Whatever the scouts see, they see. I love to play and I love to compete. I want to win, that's the bottom line." The bottom line with Gallardo, according to a tweet from ESPN's Jayson Stark, is not a lot of enthusiasm for what two executives called a "4-5 starter" despite tossing six and 1/3 shutout innings against the Marlins last night. Here's more from the Central:

  • The Tigers have made initial inquiries with the Padres about their relievers, sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link). Morosi lists Huston Street and Luke Gregerson as possibilities. 
  • Both the Tigers and Red Sox are scouting Brewers' closer Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
  • The Pirates' biggest need is another bat but they are also exploring the pitching market and seeking a bench upgrade, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel (Twitter link), "We know players we want and we know what we're willing to give up. We're willing to stretch lot on some guys, not so much others."
  • Huntington acknowledges he has the flexibility to add payroll "within reason," but would not elaborate, per a Biertempfel tweet.
  • The Pirates had lost three in a row and Huntington blamed their struggles on BABIP, tweets Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates have also scuffled with runners in scoring position breaking an 0-for-29 drought with a pair of RBI singles this afternoon.
  • Brandon Phillips addressed the reaction to his recent comments in a Cincinnati Magazine article, which quoted him as saying the six-year, $72.5MM contract extension he signed with the Reds in 2012 was a "slap in the face" and that GM Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini lied to him during the process. "Do I feel like they lied to me? If someone tells me they don’t have no money and you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like?" Phillips told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, referencing the ten-year, $225MM deal first baseman Joey Votto completed with the Reds about a week before his own deal was announced. "I’m very happy for Joey, don’t get me wrong," the second baseman added. "It was basically, if you think about it, I was saying I thought I wasn’t going to be a Cincinnati Red … if y’all want to take that to the negative way, be my guest, that doesn’t bother me."
  • While there has been a great deal of speculation about Justin Morneau and other Twins, rival executives haven’t sensed a big push from Minnesota to make deals, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

Edward Creech contributed to this post.



Rangers Expressed Interest In Aoki

The Rangers have expressed interest in Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki during talks with the Brewers about starter Yovani Gallardo, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Aoki has a cheap $1.5MM club option for 2014, so it's unclear whether the Brewers will move him.

Aoki, 31, joined the Brewers in January 2012 after they won the rights to negotiate with him from Japan's Yakult Swallows for $2.5MM.  This year he's hitting .298/.366/.378 in 379 plate appearances, trading power for a slightly higher OBP as opposed to last year.  He's an underpaid high-contact player who can handle all three outfield positions.

Gallardo, meanwhile, takes on another team that covets him in the Diamondbacks tonight.  Some scouts see Gallardo as a No. 4 starter in the American League, maybe a 3 in the NL, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The Rangers recently lost ace Yu Darvish to the DL for a strained trapezius muscle, which is currently considered a minor issue.


Indians Focused On Garza, Gallardo

The Indians seek a top-of-the-rotation type of starting pitcher, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and the pursuit has led them to focus exclusively on the Cubs' Matt Garza and the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo.  Heyman notes that no deal is close on either front.  The Indians have decent rotation depth, so they're not interested in lesser starters.

The Indians are on Gallardo's no-trade list, as first reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish in June.  He could approve a trade to Cleveland, but it would represent an additional hurdle for the Indians and Brewers.  As Brewers GM Doug Melvin explained to Anthony Witrado of Sporting News in June, "That Yovani is not a free agent like guys like [Zack] Greinke or Anibal Sanchez last year, he has more value than just two months of a rental, so the package from another team has to be something that will wow me."  Gallardo is under contract through 2014 with a club option for '15.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier today that the Indians and Rangers "are known to have strong interest" in Garza.  A Garza trade appears to be a question of "when," rather than "if." I imagine the Cubs' focus in Garza talks will be on pitching, and I would guess they'd bring up members of the Indians' Triple-A rotation such as Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrascoand Trevor Bauer.  The Indians also seek bullpen help, notes Heyman, a need the Cubs could accommodate with Kevin Gregg or James Russell.


NL Notes: Davis, Dodgers, Gallardo, Relievers

Former Colorado Rockie Ryan Spilborghs has been blogging for The Denver Post about his experiences playing for the Seibu Lions in Japan this season, and he weighs in on the issue of PEDs in his latest post. While Spilborghs doesn't approve of PED use, he suggests that baseball's long season can push players too far without giving them enough time to recover. A better model may be the schedule adopted by Japan's NPB league, which has teams playing 144 games in about 180 days, Spilborghs says.

Some more notes from around the senior circuit…

  • Ike Davis will rejoin the Mets on Friday for their matchup with the Brewers, a source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Davis was demoted on June 10 after hitting just .161/.242/.258 in 207 plate appearances, but work with Triple-A coaches to address a hitch in Davis' swing was apparently successful, as the first baseman has compiled a .293/.424/.667 line with the Las Vegas 51s. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes speculated in a May post that Davis could be a non-tender candidate this offseason.
  • The Dodgers are expected to activate outfielder Carl Crawford from the DL as soon as Friday, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Los Angeles will soon be faced with a long-anticipated glut of regular outfielders, with Crawford joining Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and sensation Yasiel Puig on the active roster. Manager Don Mattingly acknowledges that it will be a "sticky" situation to manage. It remains to be seen whether the Dodgers will consider moving Andre Ethier, who was given a five-year, $85MM extension just over a year ago.
  • While Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers has been the subject of trade dialogueAdam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the righty is determined not to let the rumors affect him. "We all hear things. I'm not going to lie. … But basically I just leave it at that. I hear them, and then don't think about it too much." Gallardo did acknowledge, however, that he had become aware of some of the teams on his no-trade list.
  • Though the loss of Jesse Crain to the DL dampens the reliever market, a number of potentially available NL hurlers could help bolster a contender's bullpen, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes. The Cubs' Kevin Gregg has earned 14 saves in 15 opportunities, while the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez is a perfect seven for seven in save chances and could help the Tigers, Rosenthal says. John Axford, Milwaukee's former closer, could also be a useful piece. 
  • The Marlins could offer Steve CishekMike Dunn, or Ryan Webb, as they have power arms in the pipeline and "never mind trading relievers," according to Rosenthal. Both Cishek and Dunn have been effective for the Fish and become eligible for arbitration after this season. Miami could have a tougher time finding a taker for Webb, however, as he's shown discouraging strikeout and walk trends.
  • Rosenthal is also less high on the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon, noting his high salary and declining strikeout rate, and the Brewers' Michael Gonzalez, a lefty who opponents have managed a .746 OPS against despite his high K/9 rate.

MLBTR's Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


D’Backs, Brewers Talking Gallardo, Relievers, Skaggs

11:14am: The Diamondbacks have "no interest" in moving Skaggs, writes MLB.com Steve's Gilbert. Gilbert also notes that Skaggs has been impressive at Triple-A as of late and is likely to replace the injured Trevor Cahill in the rotation tomorrow.

THURSDAY, 11:08am: The Diamondbacks are also interested in relievers John Axford, Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi adds that given the recent injury to White Sox setup ace Jesse Crain — who some considered to be the best reliever on the market — interest in the Brewers' relievers could pick up quickly.

WEDNESDAY: While nothing is imminent, the Diamondbacks and Brewers have been talking about possible trades involving right-hander Yovani Gallardo and one of the Arizona names that's surfaced in discussions is top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

The two teams appear to be good partners as the Brewers have another veteran starter in Kyle Lohse and Arizona has plenty of solid young pitching, including Skaggs and Randall Delgado.  However, it doesn't appear anything is close at this point and one person familiar with the talks said, "There's no traction at this point.''

Even though a deal isn't going down today or tomorrow, Heyman says that it's a situation worth keeping an eye on.  Gallardo fits the bill for the Diamondbacks as they are targeting younger, high-upside, controlled starters.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Padres Notes: Arrieta, Garza, Peavy, Bullpen

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses (or shoots down) some Padres trade possibilities in his weekly online chat with fans

  • The Padres "are enamored" with Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta.  Center reported last week that the Padres have been linked to Arrieta, and Center spoke to a pair of scouts this week who "really love Arrieta's stuff" and believe he could be a second or third starter "in the right situation."
  • Center hears that Arrieta and Matt Garza are the pitchers most associated with a potential Padres trade.  Several teams are interested in Garza, though I'd argue the Padres could have a possible edge due to Cubs GM Jed Hoyer's familiarity with the San Diego organization and farm system.
  • Andrew Cashner, Jedd Gyorko and Everth Cabrera are three players that Center considers "untouchable" for the Padres.  Cabrera could be an exception if San Diego received a Major League shortstop in return.
  • Center hasn't heard of any Padres interest in Yovani Gallardo or Phil Hughes.
  • It's a "long shot" that the Padres would re-acquire White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy.  The veteran hurler will be out until after the All-Star break with a rib injury and you would think the Padres would want a safer option if they were going to acquire a starter.
  • The San Diego bullpen has been shakier than usual, and Center believes the team may have to make a move to address the problem unless the club can get longer outings from its starting pitchers.  Entering Sunday, Padres relievers had thrown 278 innings this season, tied for the third-highest total in the Major Leagues.
  • There is a greater possibility that Luke Gregerson is dealt rather than Huston Street because Gregerson would draw more interest on the trade market.  Gregerson has been shaky of late (one of the victims of the overworked San Diego bullpen) but still has a 2.67 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings this season.  Gregerson is also much cheaper than Street, who is owed $10.5MM through the end of the 2014 season.

Brewers Notes: Axford, K-Rod, Gallardo, Lohse

The Brewers have lost four in a row, used 57 different lineups in 80 games this season, and own the third-worst record in all of baseball. The Brewers are expected to be sellers at the Trade Deadline, a fate further cemented with the news of Corey Hart missing the rest of the year with his third knee surgery in 16 months and Ryan Braun out, at least, until after the All-Star break (per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy) with an irritated nerve in his right hand. Milwaukee's best trade chips are a quartet of relievers (John Axford, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Henderson, and Francisco Rodriguez), who have closer experience. Here's the latest Trade Deadline news involving the Brewers:

  • GM Doug Melvin admits to receiving calls about his bullpen, but he isn't quite sure what to expect in return, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Teams have to determine what is important to them and how they value relief pitchers," Melvin said. "Sometimes they don't want to give up a lot to acquire them. They think teams will give up guys just to get rid of their contracts. We're not really looking to do that."
  • Axford, the Brewers' highest-paid reliever at $5MM in his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two, is aware his name is being floated in trade rumors. "I'm sure there will be talk about it as we get closer to the trade deadline," Axford told Haudricourt. "Teams probably will test the waters and see what the Brewers' response is. I'll be fine with it. You have to block that out and focus on your job here."
  • Manager Ron Roenicke has re-inserted Rodriguez into the closer's role, reports Haudricourt's colleague Michael Hunt. Did the idea of showcasing Rodriguez for a Trade Deadline deal have any role in this decision? "None, not to me," said Roenicke. "Not until I meet with (GM) Doug (Melvin) and Doug tells me something different."
  • Teams also are reported to have shown interest in Brewers' starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse, but Melvin told Haudricourt trading either one "is not something we have to do. We're not necessarily looking to sell. But if somebody steps up (with a big offer), I'd have to listen."

Olney On Diamondbacks, Cubs, Giants, Rays, Twins

In a Twitter blitz this morning, ESPN.com's Buster Olney dropped several pieces of information about the developing non-waiver trade deadline market. (All Olney links via Twitter.)

  • We learned on Thursday that the Diamondbacks are more interested in younger, high-upside, controlled starters like the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo and Cubs' Jeff Samardzija than short-term veteran rentals. Olney, who noted the Gallardo interest a week ago (on Insider), now adds that the Dbacks like the marketability of Gallardo's Mexican heritage.
  • Olney also reports that Arizona had brief discussions with the Cubs regarding Samardzija. When the Cubs inquired into the availability of top Dbacks prospects Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs, however, the clubs ceased their talks. Nevertheless, Olney says that others in baseball do not believe that Skaggs is untouchable.
  • Meanwhile, the trade value of Cubs starter Matt Garza is undeniably trending up as the pitcher demonstrates that he is healthy and capable. Olney says a Garza trade is "expected soon" and, according to MLB executives, will likely return "more than the value of a first-round draft pick" to Chicago. 
  • It is worth bearing in mind the Cubs' alternative strategic options. The team could decide to hold off on trading Garza, instead exploring a long-term extension with him. Should that not work out, Chicago could make him a qualifying offer. If he signed elsewhere in free agency, then, the Cubs would receive a compensatory first-round choice. Hence, the Cubs will likely be inclined to demand what they view as better value than such a pick in a mid-season trade.
  • The Giants may be focused on adding a starter, but that is far from the team's only need. According to an Olney tweet, San Fran is surveying the league for a right-handed outfield bat.
  • For the Rays, the club is still waiting and watching to decie on a trade deadline approach, says Olney. Sitting at seven games back in the competitive AL East, the team will wait to see how things play out when it returns David Price and Alex Cobb from the DL.
  • Finally, Olney expands upon yesterday's notes on Twins closer Glen Perkins. He reports that teams that have inquired have been told that the club's premier reliever is not presently available. With Perkins signed to what Olney describes as an "incredible team-friendly contract," it will be interesting to see whether Minnesota is interested in trying to entice a contender to send a significant prospect haul to supplement its promising minor league system.