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Yunel Escobar Rumors
As the Orioles host the Blue Jays and the Rays play at Fenway Park, here's the latest from the AL East…
- It seems as if B.J. Upton is entering his final days with the Rays, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- It shouldn't be seen as a foregone conclusion that the Blue Jays will part ways with Yunel Escobar, opines MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm in a series of tweets. The Jays aren't in the habit of selling low on players, plus Chisholm argues that Escobar is still an asset given his team-friendly contract and the Jays' need for a second baseman.
- Also from Chisholm, the Jays were never "actively" looking to deal Escobar before the trade deadline and trade rumors about the shortstop were "drastically overblown."
- The Escobar controversy and the Blue Jays' poor record may hurt John Farrell's standing as the perceived favorite to become the next Red Sox manager, an unnamed baseball executive tells ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. The executive also suggests that Boston should hire a new manager quickly and make it clear that he is the consensus choice, as opposed to the feeling last winter that team ownership hired Bobby Valentine over GM Ben Cherington's objections.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe makes a few predictions and thoughts about what the Red Sox need to do this offseason. Abraham guesses Farrell, Tim Bogar or Torey Lovullo will manage the Sox next year, David Ortiz and Cody Ross will re-sign and the Sox will hire a "director of pitching" to oversee pitchers throughout the organization.
- Ichiro Suzuki's recent performance has spurred the Yankees and changed the conversation about his playing future, says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Two weeks ago, the big talk about Ichiro was that his most likely destination next season was Japan. Now, you hear talk that the San Francisco Giants could represent a likely landing spot," writes Baker. Though the Giants have a history of signing veteran free agents and their outfield will be in flux this winter, I'm not sure they're a good fit for Ichiro given his age and demands for playing time.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith compiled another set of AL East notes earlier today.
The Blue Jays plan to shop aggressively for upgrades this offseason, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The team will seek solutions in the starting rotation, at second base and in left field.
The Blue Jays are unlikely to re-sign Kelly Johnson after a disappointing season from the 30-year-old second baseman, Rosenthal reports. And Yunel Escobar, who recently served a three-game suspension for writing a homophobic slur under his eyes, “is a goner,” according to Rosenthal.
The Blue Jays are short on veterans to guide the team’s younger players in Rosenthal’s opinion. A free agent such as Torii Hunter would be a fit in Toronto, Rosenthal writes. GM Alex Anthopoulos will consider the possibility of adding experienced contributors.
“I don’t think it ever hurts to have as many veteran complements as you can,” Anthopoulos said. “That’s something we’ll definitely look to do if we can.”
Stephen Strasburg may not be there, but the Nationals are going to the playoffs. The Nats clinched a postseason berth with tonight's 4-1 win over the Dodgers and now have a magic number of eight to clinch the NL East. This is the franchise's first postseason appearance since reaching the NLCS (as the Expos) in 1981, and the first time a Washington baseball team has made the postseason since the Senators played in the 1933 World Series.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic talks to several executives and scouts about Justin Upton's trade value, with the general consensus being that the Diamondbacks can still command a high price for the outfielder, though Upton's disappointing 2012 campaign has hurt his value. Opinion was split on whether the D'Backs or Rangers would have to add players in such a possible Upton-for-Elvis Andrus deal.
- Upton discusses his season, his career development and his feelings about the trade rumors in an extensive profile by Robert Sanchez of ESPN The Magazine.
- John Axford believes the Zack Greinke trade was the inspiration for the Brewers' surprising turn-around, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Since Greinke was dealt to the Angels on July 27, the Brewers have surged back into the NL wild card race with a 32-18 record, including today's win over the Pirates. "Personally, I thought it was going to be more motivation for certain guys," Axford said. "There wasn't ever a thought on this team that this was a lost season. It was disappointing for a while….But there's no guy on this team that's going to lie down and give up. It's shown recently."
- "The sense now is that some teams would still be willing to take [Yunel Escobar] on provided he delivers a proper penance first," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. Escobar is scheduled to return on Friday from his three-game suspension for wearing eye black that contained a homophobic slur. This incident could spur Escobar's departure from Toronto, especially since the Blue Jays have promising shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists ten of the top managerial candidates, a compilation that includes nine men who have never managed at the Major League level and two-time World Series winner Terry Francona. Two names on Bowden's list (Tim Bogar and Dave Martinez) are reportedly the top candidates to become the Astros' new manager.
- Jim Thome's quest for a World Series ring has surprisingly taken him to the Orioles instead of the Phillies, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, but the slugger has dropped hints that 2012 may not be his last season.
- Derek Jeter told ESPN's Rick Reilly (passed on by Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News) that he would potentially be open to playing for a team besides the Yankees once his current contract expires. "Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes," Jeter said. "It's a business. People forget that." Jeter is under contract through the 2013 season with an $8MM player option for 2014; the shortstop turns 40 years old in June 2014.
If you're among MLBTR's 202,000 Twitter followers then thanks for following. If you aren’t yet following, we’d recommend it. But you don't have to take our word for it. Sports Illustrated named @mlbtraderumors one of the 100 essential Twitter accounts for those seeking “news, information and entertainment from the sports world.” Here are today’s links…
- MLB is nearing agreements with FOX and Turner Sports on new eight-year broadcasting contracts according to the AP (via ESPN). Revenue from the two networks is likely to double to $800MM annually.
- Commissioner Bud Selig isn’t worried about the Mets, Newsday's Marc Carig reports (Twitterlinks). "I don't consider the Mets a problem in any way, shape or manner,” Selig said. “They're on the right track." Selig went on to express confidence in the Wilpon family and general manager Sandy Alderson.
- The Mets should be open to trading Ike Davis this winter, especially if they can fill multiple holes by sending the first baseman to another team, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. The Mets have too many needs to rule out possible deals involving Davis.
- The first year of Jose Reyes’ deal with Miami would have to be called a success, Davidoff writes. The Marlins shortstop leads the team with 147 games played despite previous concerns about his durability.
- One well-connected person estimates the Cardinals are worth $1.5 billion, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers recently sold for a record $2 billion in a positive development for other MLB owners.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Greg Brady and Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 the FAN that Yunel Escobar’s decision to write a homophobic slur on his eye black was “stupid, selfish, shameful, insensitive.” Anthopoulos acknowledged that he thought about suspending Escobar for a year or releasing him (hat tip to John Lott of the National Post).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Blue Jays announced that they’ve suspended Yunel Escobar for three games because the shortstop played with a homophobic slur written under his eyes in Spanish this past weekend. Here are today’s AL East notes, starting with the Blue Jays…
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggests the Blue Jays will make Escobar available in trades again this coming offseason. Knobler expects Escobar will draw interest, despite his poor offensive performance and the perception that he can be a difficult teammate. The Blue Jays had planned to move Escobar to second base, but were apprehensive about having to deliver the message to the 29-year-old, Knobler reports.
- When Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette got started in Baltimore, he said he wanted to improve his team's on-base percentage and acquire talented players who weren't getting opportunities elsewhere. As Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explains, Duquette has found unexpected contributors, but hasn't improved the team's on-base percentage. Expect Duquette to look for players with above-average on-base percentages this coming offseason.
- Endy Chavez's presence has made the Orioles’ search for outfield help less urgent, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
11:18am: It doesn't look like the Athletics will acquire a shortstop today, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).
TUESDAY, 10:55am: MLB Network's Peter Gammons is a hearing a flat "no" on the idea of Drew going to the A's.
MONDAY, 6:03pm: Trade talk about a potential deal that would send Stephen Drew from Arizona to Oakland still has life, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter link). However, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported today that the Athletics have backed off their pursuit of Drew and Yunel Escobar for now, (Twitter link).
Ken Rosenthal recently reported that the Athletics aren't favored to acquire Drew if the Diamondbacks trade him. Oakland is reluctant to match Toronto's asking price on Escobar, according to Rosenthal. Drew and Escobar are Oakland's top two choices for a shortstop upgrade, Jon Heyman reported today.
The A's looked into the possibility of acquiring Jimmy Rollins, but would have had to take on his entire contract ($11MM per season through 2014 with a vesting option for 2015) to complete a deal, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The price in terms of prospects wasn't high, but there's no guarantee Rollins, a Bay Area native, would approve a trade to Oakland. The Dodgers are no longer a fit for Rollins, Knobler writes.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
- The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Giants "appear to have some interest" in Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. Heyman notes that the Dodgers are looking at many offensive options, possibly as many as 10. Morneau, 31, has somewhat bounced back to a .260/.322/.457 line after a 2011 season lost to concussion symptoms and other injuries. He has $5MM in salary remaining this year and is owed $14MM in 2013.
- The Athletics' top two choices for a shortstop upgrade are still Stephen Drew of the Diamondbacks and Yunel Escobar of the Blue Jays. The A's remain interested in Padres third baseman Chase Headley as well, but Heyman finds a match unlikely.
- The Mets have talked about Geovany Soto of the Cubs, Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox, and Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies, but the prices are too high on these catchers. Heyman says the Mets may be willing to delay their catcher search until the winter.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Colorado Rockies | Geovany Soto | Justin Morneau | Kelly Shoppach | Los Angeles Dodgers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Ramon Hernandez | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Stephen Drew | Toronto Blue Jays | Yunel Escobar
It's been a busy weekend in baseball's Western divisions; the Angels have landed Zack Greinke, the Padres have extended Huston Street, the Giants have landed Marco Scutaro and the Diamondbacks have acquired Chris Johnson. There's still plenty of news and potential action out west, however… here are tonight's links:
- The Diamondbacks may not be finished dealing yet, writes Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Arizona GM Kevin Towers told reporters on Sunday that he could pursue additional pitching prior to Tuesday's deadline. Towers also hinted that one of the club's infielders could be on the move: "As it stands now it will be tough to get them all at-bats, but we'll see what happens the next two to three days."
- There's no guarantee that the Diamondbacks trade Stephen Drew, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The D-backs are currently deciding whether they want to give the bulk of the playing time at shortstop to Drew or Willie Bloomquist.
- If they go with Bloomquist, the Athletics are not the favorites to land Drew; an unspecified mystery team would be most likely, according to Rosenthal's source.
- Within the same piece, Rosenthal notes that the Athletics are reluctant to match the Blue Jays' asking price for Yunel Escobar.
- The Padres are weighing several offers for Chase Headley, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but San Diego isn't sure if they want to move him.
- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow felt that the high asking price on Headley had a beneficial effect on the market for Johnson, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
The Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros for prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid and a player to be named later on this date last year. Here are the latest links as we look forward to yet another busy trade deadline…
- The Twins are listening to offers for Denard Span, but won’t move him unless they get a Major League starter in return, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams says the White Sox are still looking to add, Nightengale reports (on Twitter). The White Sox, who traded forFrancisco Liriano last night, would look to acquire a position player this time, Nightengale writes.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cliff Lee and Ervin Santana are among the players who could clear waivers and be traded in August, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan and Ty Wigginton are thought to be on the Yankees' long list of potential infield options, Heyman reports. Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez and Cody Ransom are also thought to be on New York's list.
- One team that’s spoken with the Mariners reports that "they want everybody," Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets.
A player’s contract status can affect his trade value substantially this time of year, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Players under team-friendly contracts, like Denard Span, are much harder to acquire in trades. "It's really hard to place a value on a contract like that," one GM told Olney. Here are Olney’s latest notes from around MLB:
- The Blue Jays say Yunel Escobar has been a good team guy for them, despite his reputation as a difficult player. Escobar is under contract for $5MM per season through 2013 and his contract includes two club options valued at $5MM each for 2014-15. That’s good value for a 29-year-old who handles an up-the-middle position and has a history of providing league-average offense, Olney writes.
- There’s interest in James Shields, but the Rays could decide to hold their pitching staff together to make a run at the playoffs if Evan Longoria’s rehab assignment goes well. Some executives believe the Rays will trade Shields this month, according to Olney.
- The Marlins aren’t especially motivated to trade Josh Johnson, Olney writes. They’re content to keep him if they don’t get the trade offers they’re looking for.
- Anything the Indians do now will be done to help them win in 2013, not just in 2012.
- The Padres aren’t far down the road in trade talks regarding Chase Headley, Olney tweets. San Diego might table trade talks until the winter, he suggests.