Yovani Gallardo Rumors
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.
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 Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer. The Indians also seek bullpen help, notes Heyman, a need the Cubs could accommodate with Kevin Gregg or James Russell.
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 dialogue, Adam 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 Cishek, Mike 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
The Rockies are on the lookout for pitching help, and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes that the team is "aggressively scouting" right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Matt Garza. The Rox are also "taking a look" at Kevin Gregg, writes Saunders.
Vice president of baseball operations Bill Geivett declined to discuss the team's specific approach, nor would he discuss specific trade targets, but he did tell Saunders: "I won't comment on anybody specifically. But we are going to watch them all." Colorado is also interested to see how Drew Pomeranz will fare following his most recent promotion. Pomeranz is scheduled to start for the Rockies on Sunday.
The Rockies are not one of the 10 teams on Gallardo's no-trade list, so Geivett won't have to work to circumvent that obstacle if he pushes for a deal with the Brewers. The Diamondbacks have been linked to Gallardo in the past day, and the Braves have been linked to Gregg as well. Saunders echoes an earlier report that the Rockies won't pursue Ricky Nolasco if the Marlins insist that teams pick up the remainder of his salary, which appears to be the case.
When Yovani Gallardo signed his five-year, $30.1MM extension early in the 2010 season, details surrounding his no-trade clause were a bit vague. It was known that he received full no-trade protection through the 2012 season, but after that he would be able to list just 10 teams to which he could block trades.
Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com has learned the 10 teams on the list, and those teams have been confirmed by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. Gallardo can block trades to the Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates and Blue Jays.
Last night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Diamondbacks, who don't appear on that list, are interested in Gallardo. Gallardo could, of course, waive his no-trade clause and approve a deal to one of the aforementioned teams (the Orioles, for example, are rumored to be seeking rotation upgrades), but doing so creates another hurdle in the already complicated process of hammering out a deadline deal.
Gallardo, 27, is owed $11.25MM in 2014 and has a $13MM club option for the 2015 season on his contract. He's in the midst of a down season, having pitched to a 4.20 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. While his strikeouts and velocity are down (he's averaging 90.6 mph on his heater), that walk rate is the second best of his career, and his 48.7 percent ground-ball rate is a career best.
While every other team in the division is interested in Ricky Nolasco, the Diamondbacks aren't interested because they prefer pitchers who are controlled beyond this season. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the D-Backs are interested in two pitchers in particular -- Yovani Gallardo and Jeff Samardzija.
Gallardo figures to be available for the right price, but that's unlikely to be the case with Samardzija. Earlier this year it was reported that the Cubs view Samardzija as "one of their upper-tier starters of the future," and Rosenthal echoes that, noting that it would require an "overwhelming" return. The Diamondbacks and Cubs have yet to engage in discussions.
The Diamondbacks' pitching depth has taken a bit of a hit with Daniel Hudson's re-injury and the struggles of Ian Kennedy. Both Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley have experienced rough patches, and Brandon McCarthy is on the disabled list. As Rosenthal notes, it's unlikely that the Cubs would make Samardzija available, but the D-Backs have a farm system that is rich in outfielders, pitchers and left-side infielders.
Gallardo is owed $11.25MM in 2014 and has a $13MM club option on his contract. Samardzija is under control through the 2015 season as an arbitration-eligible player.