Yuneski Maya Rumors
- Nyjer Morgan, who is reportedly being eyed by a few teams, doesn't expect to open the season with the Nationals. "I just think this place isn't for me," the outfielder told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."
- In the same MLB.com piece, Ladson adds that Brian Broderick, a Rule 5 selection from the Cardinals, is expected to earn a spot on the Nats' Opening Day roster. Broderick figures to be used in short and long relief, though he can also start if needed.
- Yunesky Maya was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse today, the team announced. Washington signed the Cuban pitcher to a four-year deal last summer.
Links for Sunday evening as the Dodgers and Giants battle it out in Los Angeles..
- Shin-Soo Choo is reminding his former team, the Mariners, of how talented he is, writes Doug Miller of MLB.com. Seattle sent Choo to Cleveland in a deal for Ben Broussard in 2006.
- Jeff Larish is enjoying his second stint with the A's, writes MLB.com's Alex Espinoza.
- Twins manager Rod Gardenhire told Kelly Thesier of MLB.com that designating Matt Fox for assignment was not an easy decision.
- Yuneski Maya is excited to make his major league debut, writes George Von Benko in piece for MLB.com.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun spoke to Cal Ripken Jr. who has high hopes for Manny Machado.
A few links to check out while we wait to see if Jon Garland can halt the Padres' eight-game losing streak and get his team's season back on track...
- The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wonders out loud (via Twitter) if Paul Konerko could be a fit for the Red Sox in 2011. That speculation, of course, likely depends on Adrian Beltre's future in Boston.
- In a piece for MLB.com, Sarah D. Morris opines that the Dodgers should re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, even though the team's financial situation makes it unlikely.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) draws the parallels between this year's Astros and last year's Padres, pointing out that both clubs traded long-time stars at the deadline for young players and payroll savings, then went on to have strong second halves.
- Olney also notes that given his disappointing season (.255/.314/.315) and recent suspension troubles, Nyjer Morgan is hurting his chances for future employment. FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi also chimed in on the subject.
- The Nationals plan to call up Cuban defector Yunesky Maya following Monday's game according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Washington signed the 28-year-old righthander early last month.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale recently sat down for a chat with Dan Hudson. Among other things, the righty said it's nice to be with a team that wants him. Hudson was traded from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson before this year's deadline.
Sunday night linkage..
- The Nats still expect to see Yunesky Maya pitch for them before the end of the year, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Pirates opened up their books to the media and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the goods.
- Florida held on to Cody Ross until August because they had hoped to reassert themselves in the playoff chase, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- It doesn't sound as though Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (via Twitter) likes the Mets chances of landing Cliff Lee this offseason.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that Ken Williams isn't on the road with the White Sox but he doesn't know if the GM is going after someone on the waiver wire.
- Dodgers skipper Joe Torre thinks that late season callups can create an unfair advantage, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich.
Sunday night linkage..
- The three newest members of the Dodgers are happy to be in Los Angeles, writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
- The Rangers were the biggest winners at the deadline, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- Yunesky Maya tells Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Spanish link) that he has been training hard and "in about three weeks" the Nationals can save him a spot on the roster (translation courtesy of Nick Collias). Earlier today the Nats confirmed that they have inked the 28-year-old hurler to a four-year deal.
- Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that a three-way trade was discussed in which Mike Lowell could have landed with the Yankees. In the discussed deal, the Red Sox would have sent Lowell to the Rangers, who would then send the veteran to the Yankees.
- Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal writes that despite his strong first half, Clay Buchholz still couldn't bring himself to relax at the deadline.
- The Giants haven't talked to Carlos Delgado's people since this winter, tweets Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com.
- MLB.com's James Hall writes that Indians manager Manny Acta is happy to have July 31st in the rear view mirror. Jake Westbrook, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns, and Jhonny Peralta were all shipped out in advance of the deadline.
- The future of Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu is clearly in doubt, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos had his eye on center fielder Anthony Gose for quite some time, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Anthopoulos finally got his man in exchange for first baseman Brett Wallace.
AUGUST 1st: The Nationals have confirmed the signing, via a team press release. Maya's major league contract is for four years, though the salary is still unconfirmed. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears the deal is worth $6MM, while El Nuevo Herald's Jorge Ebro tweets a figure of $8MM, so it's safe to say that Maya will earn somewhere in that range.
JULY 20th: The Nationals reached a preliminary agreement with Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya for an undisclosed amount, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (Spanish link). Rojas' source says Maya will undergo a physical next week in Washington. The 28-year-old also drew interest from the Red Sox, Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets, Yankees and others.
Maya had been eligible to sign with big league teams for the last month and he was unblocked two months ago. He has considerable experience as a starter in Cuba. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo did not confirm or deny the signing, but he did rave about the pitcher to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
Some leftovers in the wake of another trade deadline...
- I'll be appearing on Sporting News Radio at 8:25pm PT tonight to talk about the deadline. You can listen in here.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark named his trade deadline winners and losers, with the Rangers, Padres, and Yankees among the teams earning praise.
- The Phillies released Triple-A outfielder Chris Duffy, reports Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Steve Kornacki of MLive.com that he "had a chance to do something surprising and big," and that it was like "getting the wind knocked out of you" when it fell through. He didn't elaborate any further, so we'll have to keep playing the guessing game.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post says the Yankees took on $4.8MM at the deadline, more than any other team (Twitter links). The bankrupt Rangers came in second at $4.1MM.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he was working on some deals in recent days, but they "fell apart at the end."
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets the Red Sox finished second in the Kerry Wood race, ditto the Rays and Lance Berkman, both of whom ended up with their biggest rival.
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider tweets that Yunesky Maya's deal with Washington will be made official within the hour.
- The Padres inquired about Jacoby Ellsbury before picking up Ryan Ludwick, but were told he's not available according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes (Twitter links).
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Dodgers took on about $3MM with all their deadline moves. Their financial situation has been in question basically all season.
- Chad Tracy has exercised an opt-out clause in his minor league contract with the Yankees and is now a free agent, tweet Conor Foley with the Triple-A Scranton Yankees.
- Barret Loux has joined the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League according to the team's official Twitter feed. Loux was the sixth overall pick in last month's draft, but recently failed his physical with the Diamondbacks and could be looking to rebuild his stock.
- The Royals traded minor league catcher Jeff Howell to the Twins for future considerations according to milb.com's official Twitter feed.
- A's assistant GM David Forst tells MLB.com's Jane Lee that the club would like to add depth to its lineup, even after the Conor Jackson trade (Twitter link).
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the club would consider trading for or signing a reliever.
- The Hanshin Tigers will pick up Matt Murton's option for 2011, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter). Jack Moore of FanGraphs recently updated us on Murton's success in Japan.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America hears that the Mariners will likely sign right-hander Jose Torres for $800K (Twitter link).
- MLBTR has an internship opportunity for a limited number of regular readers. Any skilled and experienced writers with an eye for detail should describe their experience as writers and editors in a couple sentences and e-mail email@example.com by the end of the day.
- Yunesky Maya was already unblocked, but he can sign with anyone now that he has been cleared by the FAC office, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com (link in Spanish).
- Chipper Jones could announce that he will retire after the season, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says Nationals GM Mike Rizzo misread Stephen Strasburg and should have called him up early on in the season.
- From what Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog gathers, the Mets and Mariners have talked a lot about Cliff Lee.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on whether the team would trade Lee now, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Jay Greenberg of the New York Post says the Mets seem likely to keep relying on R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi, as tempting as Roy Oswalt may be.
- Buck Showalter and Phil Garner both told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that the O's have yet to contact them about managing the club.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests the Cubs could benefit from becoming sellers. - it just wouldn't be an easy sell to the fan base.
- David Ortiz tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he misses Manny Ramirez, though the two didn't socialize much beyond the ballpark.
Some links for Friday before Roy Halladay tries to restore order for the slumping Phillies...
- Grady Sizemore will miss the rest of the season as he recovers from today's operation on his left knee, according to the team. He is expected to be ready for spring training next year.
- Rogers Sportsnet reported last weekend that the Blue Jays finalized their Fred Lewis acquisition for cash, according to John Lott of the National Post.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Yankees will likely seek a bat with a high on base percentage and wonders if David DeJesus could fit (Twitter link).
- Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates that Mike Lowell and Boof Bonser could be trade bait.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says it's a "long shot" that the D'Backs deal Dan Haren.
- Cuban player Yadil Mujica could sign soon, according to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Twitter link).
- Ebro reports (via Twitter) that the Phillies are eyeing Dominican pitcher Yunesky Maya.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun presents 12 possible replacements for Dave Trembley, including Eric Wedge, Bobby Valentine and Bob Melvin.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says firing Dave Trembley won't be enough for the Orioles. He says the club needs to hire a "high-profile, kick-ass manager."
- David Ortiz told John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he "definitely" hopes to see Lowell traded, since it would be "a wonderful thing" for Lowell's sake.
- As Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports, the Red Sox have more high picks than usual this year, partly because Type A free agents Jason Bay and Billy Wagner signed elsewhere last winter.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wouldn't give up more than one 'B' prospect to acquire Derrek Lee if he were running the Angels.
- Freddy Sanchez, who will play in Pittsburgh for the first time since the Pirates traded him last summer, tells Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he loved playing in Pittsburgh and can't wait to return.
May 20: The Phillies will also have a scout in attendance when Maya throws tomorrow, writes the Philadelphia Daily News' David Murphy, though he adds the team doesn't currently consider Maya a serious option for either the bullpen or rotation.
May 19:The latest model from Cuba is now officially on the showroom floor. Nine months after defecting, pitcher Yunesky Maya* has been cleared to sign as a free agent, reports Jorge Ebro at El Nuevo Herald (link in Spanish). Maya's agent, Bart Hernandez, tells Ebro that interest has been "tremendous" thus far in the 28-year-old longtime anchor of the Cuban National Team rotation. Count the Yankees at minimum among the interested, as the New York Post's Brian Costello and George A. King III reported this morning that senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman will be on hand to watch Maya at a workout this Friday in the Dominican Republic.
The obvious starting point for scouting Maya is through comparison with another former Cuban National Series standout who stepped from the 2009 World Baseball Classic to defection and the Major League auction block: Aroldis Chapman. Maya is at least six years older and right-handed, but on the other hand, boasts far more competitive experience and, by all accounts, a fuller arsenal of secondary pitches. Maya told Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez last September he alternates between a 94-mile-an-hour heater, slider, change-up, curve, and sinker, a repertoire which scouts backed up after seeing Maya in action at a workout late last year.
In the 48th National Series that ended last year, Maya ended second to Chapman in strikeouts, 119 to 130, but outdistanced the younger pitcher in the league's equivalent of the Cy Young, thanks to Maya's superior overall stats: 13-4, seven complete games, and a 2.22 ERA in 145 IP. In six Cuban campaigns, Maya managed a 48-29 record with a 2.51 ERA and was also lights-out in both of his brief appearances at the WBC.
Among potential suitors Ebro mentions the Mets and White Sox, two teams that showed early interest in Chapman but didn't stick around to the final stages of the sweepstakes. The Red Sox have been known to be interested as well, though Rob Bradford at WEEI quoted a source in February indicating that Maya was more likely to choose a team where he had a better shot of immediately cracking the rotation. While it's true that Maya worked largely as a starter in Cuba, he told Gomez in September that he is open to relief work and willing to do "whatever the team that signs me needs." What is seemingly more important to the player and his agent, judging by their respective quotes to the Spanish-language press, is that teams approach Maya as a polished talent who is big-league ready right now.
* Maya has been dubbed Yuniesky, Yunieski, Yuneski, and Yunesky with almost equal frequency in published reports both stateside and in Cuba. Terreno de Pelota's Uziel Gomez gave some clarity to MLB Trade Rumors in an e-mail this morning, saying that Yunesky Maya Mendiluza is the name on the player's official documents.