Zach Lee Rumors

Prospect Notes: Lee, Hultzen, Giolito

The Dodgers have announced that Zach Lee has been promoted and will make his big-league debut tonight in a start against the Mets. The Dodgers will announce a corresponding move later today. The 23-year-old Lee, a first-round pick in 2010, was a top prospect list staple before a rough season with Triple-A Albuquerque in 2014. He’s bounced back nicely with the Dodgers’ new Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season, though, posting a 2.36 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 68 2/3 innings. He’ll become the 14th pitcher to start for the Dodgers in a season that’s featured tons of rotation injuries. Here are a couple more notes on pitching prospects, both of them former first-rounders.

  • Mariners pitcher Danny Hultzen, the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, has been shut down with shoulder fatigue and is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter links). The Mariners hope he’ll be able to pitch in the Arizona Fall League or in instructs. It’s been a very rough ride for the 25-year-old Hultzen, who has missed most of the last three seasons due to shoulder troubles, including a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
  • The Nationals have promoted top prospect Lucas Giolito to Double-A Harrisburg, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. Giolito, who turned 21 earlier this month, dominated at Class A+ Potomac, posting a 2.71 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 69 2/3 innings there, displaying excellent velocity and a great curveball. MLB.com, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN’s Keith Law all ranked Giolito among baseball’s top ten prospects heading into the season, and he’s done nothing to diminish that status since then. Law (Insider-only) ranked Giolito the third-best prospect in baseball, behind only the Dodgers’ Corey Seager and the Phillies’ J.P. Crawford, in a recent update to his list.

NL West Notes: Jansen, Kendrick, Lee, McGehee, Lyles

The sudden nature of Kenley Jansen‘s unavailability on Wednesday evening led to a good deal of speculation following the contest, especially when the Dodgers saw a two-run ninth-inning lead turn into a loss after Jansen’s bullpen mates couldn’t hold off the Rockies. After the game, manager Don Mattingly told reporters that Jansen wasn’t available and that he learned as much during the game, but he provided no further details. Bill Plunkett of the O.C. Register was among those to report yesterday, however, that Mattingly was merely respecting his closer’s wishes. Jansen woke up Wednesday morning feeling sick and dehydrated, and he told the team in the fifth inning of the game. Given his symptoms and history of heart problems, the Dodgers game him an IV and performed an electrocardiogram, after which the doctor recommended that he not play. Jansen said frustration and feeling as though he let the team down were the reasons that he did not wish to address the media Wednesday evening. The 27-year-old righty has been perfect since returning from the DL this season, firing six scoreless innings with an 11-to-0 K/BB ratio.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • In other Dodgers injury news, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports (Twitter links) that Howie Kendrick, who was injured while sliding into third base on Wednesday, underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage. Kendrick, however said he “[doesn’t] know what will happen” if the knee is not feeling any better today, suggesting that he could miss a bit of time with the injury. Gurnick also says that right-handed pitching prospect Zach Lee has been experiencing a tingling sensation in his fingers and is being examined by doctors in Los Angeles. That’s a troublesome ailment for a team that is working with a thin rotation. Lee, long regarded as one of L.A.’s more promising arms, has a 2.38 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 56 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season.
  • Giants GM Bobby Evans addressed the team’s third base situation in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM yesterday and indicated that recently optioned Casey McGehee could return in the near future (Twitter links). Said Evans: “We’ve given Matt Duffy a long look there and we’ll continue to, there’s a chance McGehee could be back up here soon as well. We’ll continue to monitor that, but we have fallback options in that area.” The Giants will certainly hope that McGehee can solidify the position, and he does indeed seem to have corrected his swing at Triple-A. In 46 plate appearances with Sacramento, McGehee is hitting a hefty .357/.391/.571 with a pair of homers and three doubles. Giants third basemen are hitting .255/.294/.380, though McGehee’s own struggles at the plate have contributed to that rather unimpressive collective effort.
  • Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles, who is out for the season due to a foot injury that he describes as “Tommy John for my toe” (Lyles has a torn ligament in his big toe), knew that he needed surgery when he took the hill for his last outing, writes the Denver Post’s Nick Groke“I was trying to hold off the inevitable,” said Lyles. “They didn’t think I’d be able to handle the pain. But being a hard-head, I said, ‘Well, let’s see about that.'” Lyles said that making the final start, which he left in the second inning, didn’t worsen his injury anymore, as the damage had already been done. Rather, he took the mound simply because he “was trying to be a good teammate.” Lyles adds that during his last injury absence, he developed a split-fingered changeup to add to his pitch arsenal. “Now I’ve got a few more months to find something else,” he told Groke.

West Notes: Street, Crisp, Athletics, Dodgers

Angels closer Huston Street spoke with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca about his decision to ink a mid-season extension. Though he ultimately handed off the job of negotiating that deal to agent Alan Hendricks, much of the groundwork was laid by Street himself. He says the process was enjoyable, but noted that he learned from mistakes in how things were relayed to the media this spring. Street spoke at length about the compromises struck to reach the deal, explaining the “interesting crossroad to be fascinated by the money but also to not be driven by it at all.”

  • Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp is still struggling with the same neck issues that bothered him last year, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (links to Twitter) that surgery is off the table. Normally, that’s a good thing, but in this case the issue is that a surgical solution would very likely end Crisp’s playing career. Ultimately, Crisp may need another DL stint but is expected to be able to play with the injury.
  • The Athletics are not interested in dealing catcher Stephen Vogt and are not moving now on pitcher Scott Kazmir, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com reports“I’m not trading Vogt,” said GM Billy Beane. “Period.” As for the veteran lefty Kazmir, Gammons writes that Beane and co. had intended to make him a qualifying offer but could ultimately consider a deal — though they’ve not yet had any action in that area.
  • From the same report, Gammons says that the Dodgers are generating plenty of interest in their younger players from clubs that have pitching to deal. The PhilliesReds, and Athletics, among other teams, are “scouring” the Los Angeles farm, per Gammons. The veteran journalist also adds that some other executives think that L.A. could potentially make a run at Cole Hamels by dangling interesting utilityman Enrique Hernandez, pitchers Zach Lee and Chris Anderson, and catcher Julian Leon to Philadelphia. While Gammons does not make clear whether his sources suggest that package would be enough, it certainly seems at face value that Philly would demand a headliner to top things off.


Angels, Dodgers Discussed Trade For Kendrick In July

The Angels and Dodgers "held extensive trade discussions" about a possible deal that would've sent Howie Kendrick from Angel Stadium to Chavez Ravine, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  Negotiations went on right up until the July 31 deadline, a source tells Rosenthal, and Zach Lee would've been part of the package that went back to the Angels in return.  It isn't clear which team backed away from the deal.

Kendrick also drew attention from the Blue Jays and Royals before the deadline as the Angels openly shopped a number of pieces on their roster in an attempt to gauge their trade value and obtain young, MLB-ready pitching.  (Alberto Callaspo and Scott Downs ended up being the only notable Angels moved in July.)  ESPN's Jayson Stark reported on July 30 that the Angels and Dodgers had discussed Kendrick, but there was no indication that a deal was close.

Kendrick has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to 12 teams, but Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers aren't one of them.  Rosenthal says the Halos are likelier to deal Kendrick than they are Erick Aybar since they think it's easier to find a replacement at second base than at shortstop.  Indeed, Anaheim may already have an in-house second base option in Grant Green.

The Dodgers' pursuit of Kendrick could be a sign, Rosenthal notes, that the team is looking for second base options besides Robinson Cano.  It has been widely speculated that the Dodgers would be one of the very few teams that could meet Cano's salary demands in free agency but we heard earlier today that L.A. might not pursue Cano (or any major free agents) this offseason.

Kendrick, 30, has hit .301/.341/.437 with 11 homers in 451 PA, though hasn't played since August 5 due to a sprained left knee.  He is owed $18.85MM over the 2014-15 seasons, the last two years of his current four-year contract.  According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Kendrick's limited no-trade protection drops to just six blocked teams in 2014, so the Halos could have a wider array of trade partners in the new year.

Lee, the 28th overall pick of the 2010 draft, was ranked by MLB.com as the sport's 78th-best prospect prior to the 2013 season.  The right-hander has a 3.19 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 3.9 K/BB ratio in 26 games (23 of them starts) at Double-A this season.  Lee's name has popped up in a few trade rumors in recent years, perhaps most notably in a rumored deal for Matt Garza in July 2012.


Rosenthal On Rios, Rangers, Dodgers, A’s

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has his latest edition of Full Count up. Let's run through some of the highlights…

  • Some teams considering a trade for the White Sox's Alex Rios might consider the remainder of his contract – $13MM in 2014 and a $13.5MM club option for 2015 – to be a benefit. According to Rosenthal, Rios ranks fifth in wins above replacement among all right fielders since the start of the 2012 season. That's ahead of both Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino, who were able to sign large free agent deals last offseason. Rosenthal says Rios could still be traded this month or after the season.
  • Rangers officials told Rosenthal that they had more conversations about major leaguer-for-major-leaguer trades leading up to the deadline than ever before in their push to acquire a bat for their struggling lineup, but nothing came to fruition. Texas made almost every player on their roster available in trade talks, including the newly acquired Matt Garza.
  • The Dodgers opted not to bid on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez because they were unsure of whether he profiled as anything more than a back-end starter or reliever. They also want to create opportunities for prospects such as Zach Lee and Chris Reed.
  • The A's decision this weekend to send Tommy Milone – the owner of a 4.39 ERA in 133.1 innings this year – to Triple A was aimed at adding another arm to the bullpen, as they don't need a fifth starter until Aug. 13. However, that Aug. 13 starter could end up being prospect Sonny Gray. The A's were originally considering putting Gray in the bullpen, but they could get left-hander Brett Anderson back within two weeks as a reliever, Rosenthal says.

NL West Links: Upton, Hall, Helton, Lee, Padres

The big news out of the NL West today is Justin Upton's rejection of a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners in exchange for four of Seattle's top young players.  The deal would've been a big risk for both sides, though since the Diamondbacks have other outfield options to potentially replace Upton, the bulk of the risk would've fallen on Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik.  As a source opines to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), Upton may have "saved Jack Z's job" by rejecting the trade and keeping so much top-flight young talent in Seattle.

Here are some more items from around the NL West…

  • The "strained relationship" between Upton and the Diamondbacks makes it seem that Upton will be playing elsewhere by Spring Training, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
  • In a chat with fans at MLB.com that took place before the latest Upton news broke, Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall discussed all of the speculation about the outfielder.  "All of the media speculation is unfortunate, but not unusual," Hall noted, saying that other teams had been telling the media about their interest in Upton.
  • Todd Helton told reporters (including Troy Renck of the Denver Post) that he is recovering well from hip surgery and confirmed he will return for his 17th Major League season.  Helton is entering the final year of his contract with the Rockies and said in September that he wanted to play in 2013 if his health permitted.
  • Dodgers prospect Zach Lee has no regrets about choosing baseball over college football stardom, he tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  Lee was the 28th overall pick of the 2010 draft and received a $5.25MM bonus to sign with the Dodgers instead of playing football at LSU.
  • The millions earned by Major League stars obscures the fact that most minor leaguers earn very modest paychecks, as MLB.com's Corey Brock explores how several Padres prospects make ends meet during the offseason.

Red Sox, Dodgers Nearing Blockbuster

SATURDAY, 7:52am: The deal is "pretty much done," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that both Beckett and Crawford have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses while Rosenthal adds that both clubs have signed off on the medicals.

FRIDAY, 10:00pm: Crawford has the Dodgers on his partial no-trade list and the outfielder has yet to be asked to accept a trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  It has been previously reported that Crawford can block trades to two clubs but Heyman writes that Crawford has the ability to block trades to three teams.

9:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says that he still expects Beckett to make his start on Saturday, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

9:01pm: The Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in combined salary that the Red Sox are sending to them, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

6:45pm: The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Meanwhile, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) not to expect a deal to be completed tonight.

6:42pm: The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  However, neither player is expected to block the deal.

6:38pm: Pitcher Allen Webster will go to the Red Sox in the trade, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

6:15pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are currently reviewing medical records, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).  The deal would include Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and a top prospect, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).

6:04pm: Adrian Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup and summoned from the dugout into the clubhouse along with Nick Punto, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).

5:52pm: There are two deals on the table, one mega deal involving Carl Crawford and another with just Beckett and Gonzalez, tweets Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.

5:48pm: Though the deal may not happen in its current nine-player form, something is expected to happen, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

5:10pm: Dodgers minor leaguers in the trade talks have included Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jerry Sands, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

5:06pm: The Red Sox would receive prospects and not just salary relief if the deal happens, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

4:52pm: Boston would send some cash to Los Angeles if the sides complete a deal Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Morosi confirms that the sides are close to a trade (Twitter links).

4:34pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are closing in on a trade that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports (on Twitter). Hurdles remain, but the sides continue working toward a deal.

The Dodgers recently won the claiming rights to Gonzalez and Beckett. Gonzalez can't block a trade to Los Angeles, but Beckett must approve any assignment as a player with ten and five rights. Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier this month and can be traded without waiver-related restrictions. 

The Dodgers have been willing to take on considerable salaries since their new ownership group gained control of the club at the beginning of the 2012 season. Adding the four Red Sox players would represent a substantial financial commitment:

  • Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary. 
  • Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. As noted above, he must approve any trade.
  • Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams.
  • Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. The Dodgers would have to place MLB players on waivers before trading them to Boston, which could complicate trade talks. 

Zach Links contributed to this post, which was originally published on August 24th.


Latest On Ryan Dempster

11:05pm: The Cubs are asking the Dodgers for minor league pitcher Allen Webster as the centerpiece of a Dempster trade, reports Morosi (Twitter link).

6:55pm: It's possible that the Dodgers could acquire Dempster from the Cubs without having to surrender Lee, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com (Twitter link).

5:34pm: The Dodgers are holding out on including pitching prospect Zach Lee in a potential Dempster trade, sources tell Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).

4:20pm: The Cubs are talking to the Dodgers about Dempster again, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.

3:26pm: Dempster told reporters, including Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, that he's taking his time to weigh his options (Twitter link). He plans to pitch for the Cubs tomorrow. "I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go," Dempster said, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). 

1:37pm: The status of the possible Braves-Cubs deal should be resolved "shortly," ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). The Cubs continue talking to the Braves and the Dodgers.

(more…)


Zack Greinke Rumors: Tuesday

Scouts will be watching Brewers ace Zack Greinke very closely tonight as he makes his first start since July 13. The right-hander was given 10 days' rest in an effort to see him "recharge his batteries," as Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin phrased it. We'll keep tabs on Greinke rumors in this post, with the latest going up top.

  • The Brewers' ideal scenario is to trade third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Dodgers in exchange for pitching prospect Zach Lee and then deal Greinke to the Rangers for third base prospect Mike Olt, reports Jim Bowden of SiriusXM ESPN radio (via Twitter). Bowden adds that such a sequence of moves is unlikely, however.
  • The teams that are known to have interest in Greinke, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, are: the Rangers, Orioles, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Dodgers.

Cubs, Dodgers Discussing Garza For Zach Lee Swap

The Cubs agreed to trade Ryan Dempster to Atlanta earlier today, and they aren't done dealing yet. The Cubs and Dodgers are discussing a trade that would send right-hander Matt Garza to Los Angeles for a package of players including highly-regarded pitching prospect Zach Lee, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network reports (on Twitter).

Garza, 28, has a 3.91 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 103 2/3 innings this year. He earns $9.5MM and will go to arbitration one last time this offseason, when his salary can be expected to climb past $12MM. If the Dodgers acquire Garza this summer, they'd be eligible to obtain draft pick compensation for him should he depart as a free agent following the 2013 season.

Lee, 20, entered the season as the Dodgers' best prospect and the 62nd-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America. He has a 5.85 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 17 starts at Class A and Double-A so far this year. The Dodgers signed the 2010 first round selection to a $5.25MM bonus after selecting him 28th overall two years ago.