Yunel Escobar Rumors
The baseball world is still reeling from the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, which still has yet to be made official. A total of 12 players will change hands once things are finalized. Here's the latest on the trade...
- It has taken some time to collect all 12 players for their physicals, which is why Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) reports the trade won't be completed until Friday or Saturday. Rosenthal notes that Jose Reyes was on vacation in Dubai at the time of the deal and is just returning to Miami tonight.
- Commissioner Bud Selig told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that the trade is currently being reviewed (Twitter link). Selig said he is "not happy," but so far doesn't he see a reason to disallow the deal according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Selig has heard a lot of grumbling from other owners about the trade, writes Ken Davidoff of The New York Post. Clubs from the AL East, NL West, and NL Central are not happy with the on-field ramifications of the swap.
- "A couple of years from now we might look back on this as a warning sign," said an official to ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider required). There is concern within the game that the latest collective bargaining agreement hurt small market clubs and that similar blockbuster sell-offs may become more frequent.
- The Marlins plan to start Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop with Yunel Escobar playing third base, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. However, the Marlins haven't ruled out flipping Escobar to a third team.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (on Twitter) that the Marlins will receive a combined 32 years of team control over the players in the trade. The Blue Jays, however, will receive just 12 years of control.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
The Blue Jays have reached agreement on a deal with the Marlins that will send right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, outfielder Jake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. The deal, which will also call for the Marlins to send $4MM to the Blue Jays, is awaiting MLB approval.
The shocking trade effectively means that the Marlins are hitting the reset button on a team which had a payroll in the range of $100MM on Opening Day last season. The Marlins brought out the checkbook last winter to draw fans to their brand new stadium, signing Reyes to a six-year, $106MM deal and Buehrle to a four-year, $58MM deal. Neither player had a no-trade clause as per club policy. Miami now has roughly $16MM in non-arbitration commitments heading into 2013.
Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal could make the Blue Jays a serious threat in the AL East. Johnson, the first player first known to be involved in the deal, turned in a solid 2012 season after missing the bulk of 2011 with inflammation in his right shoulder. The 28-year-old wasn't as quite as sharp as he was in 2009 and '10 but still posted a 3.81 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season. The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons. Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.
Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012. The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest. While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he obviously didn't receive from the Marlins. The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.
Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign. The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base. Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays. His offensive production came back to earth in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.
While the Marlins gave up a boatload of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed. Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto brass ready to part with Escobar in the right trade. Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.
Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances. The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15. For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays. Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut. The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.
The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade. Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone. The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.
Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America. The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system. DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.
The trade was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports with additional details coming from ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
Many teams now find themselves flush with cash thanks to lucrative national and local TV contracts, making this a promising offseason for free agents, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). "There's so much money out there, it's scary," said a highly ranked executive. Top free agents such as Zack Greinke are obviously in line for major paydays, but other free agents such as Angel Pagan, Ryan Ludwick, and Mike Adams could be in for more money than they ever imagined. More from around baseball..
- Even after moving Chris Young, the Diamondbacks could part with Justin Upton and go with an outfield of Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, and Jason Kubel with A.J. Pollock in reserve, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Arizona could also move Kubel and keep Upton instead, but financially it would make more sense to move Upton as he is owed $38.5MM over the next three years.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times imagines that the Rays would have interest in Alex Rodriguez as a DH if the Yankees were willing to eat enough of his contract. The embattled third baseman is owed $114MM over the next five years and holds a complete no-trade clause.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News lists some possible destinations for Rodriguez in 2013.
- Yankees' GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio he will listen to offers for Rodriguez (h/t MLB.com's Evan Drellich). "It's not like I'm going to hang phones up on anybody who wants to make any overtures about anything. You're talking about realistic stuff and unrealistic stuff. I don't think it's realistic at all for us to be moving forward with anything but Alex Rodriguez at third base."
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) suggests that the Yankees blow up the team in an effort to get younger and more athletic. Bowden's proposed plan calls for the club to start by convincing Rodriguez to waive his no-trade clause and filling his spot with the likes of a Chase Headley.
- The Orioles should have interest in Scott Feldman, if the Rangers decline his $9.25MM option, reasons CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff. The Orioles need additional rotation depth and a long reliever, roles Feldman has performed before. The right-hander is also liked by manager Buck Showalter, who was the Rangers' skipper when Feldman made his debut in 2005.
- The Blue Jays will look to trade Yunel Escobar but it won't be easy because of his reputation, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The revival of Mark McGwire's baseball career stems from the opportunity former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa gave the slugger as the team's hitting coach, writes Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. For McGwire, he's brought staggering results to the St. Louis lineup as the team has led the National League in batting average over the past three seasons under his tutelage.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
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.