Zach Duke Rumors
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke with commissioner Bud Selig, who was adamant that the Pirates are not pocketing their profits.
- Pirates starter Zach Duke was pulled last night from an 11-1 game, one out away from a complete game, with 103 pitches thrown. Talking to Kovacevic, team president Frank Coonelly "strongly rejected" the idea that manager John Russell made the move to weaken Duke's bargaining position at the arbitration table. Joe Posnanski questions Russell's explanation of his decision.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News feels that Giants managing partner Bill Neukom will retain GM Brian Sabean when that decision comes due in a week.
- Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks is strongly opposed to moving to center field, according to Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Weeks has explained his stance to GM Doug Melvin.
- Nomar Garciaparra told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle he hasn't thought about whether he'll play next year. Slusser says Nomar won't be back in Oakland, regardless.
- Reliever Doug Brocail is also undecided about 2010, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. An upcoming MRI on Brocail's shoulder will influence his decision.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pirates plan on tendering contracts to their three key arbitration eligible players: closer Matt Capps, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and starter Zach Duke. Jeff Karstens may also qualify as a Super Two.
Capps earned $2.3MM this season, the second year of the two year, $3.05MM contract he signed last April. With three more years of arbitration ahead of him, Capps may have been a non-tender candidate after posting a 5.68 ERA and sky-high homerun rate (1.7 HR/9 IP) in 2009."I don't see a situation in which we non-tender Capps unless we get completely unrealistic financial demands," [GM Neal] Huntington said. "From the standpoint of our belief in his ability, that's absolutely there."
Duke and Cedeno, on the other hand, earned $2.2MM and $822K this season, respectively. Duke was an All Star for the first time in 2009, although Cedeno hasn't hit much after coming over in the Jack Wilson deal. The team could approach Duke about a long-term extension, similar to the three year, $14.5MM deal they gave Paul Maholm earlier this year.
Links for Monday...
- The Pirates have not approached any players about extensions, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kovacevic guesses Zach Duke is the likeliest extension candidate. Also in that article, Kovacevic notes "no new exchanges" between the Bucs and Miguel Angel Sano.
- ESPN's Buster Olney speculates that Prince Fielder will be traded to the Red Sox this winter. Thoughts?
- Mark Zuckerman of the Washington Times runs through possible free agent targets for the Nationals. He figures they can spend nearly $20MM without increasing payroll.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis weighs in on the returns in the two Mark DeRosa trades this year.
- Hideki Irabu was granted his release from his independent league team in Japan, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
- MLB.com's Jim Street addresses the future of Felix Hernandez and Adrian Beltre in his latest Mariners mailbag.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Rosenthal says Florida's Chris Coghlan deserves the NL Rookie of the Year award. Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, J.A. Happ, Randy Wells, and Tommy Hanson are also in the mix...who do you like?
- For the AL ROY, Rosenthal sticks with his preseason choice of Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus. Jeff Niemann, Andrew Bailey, Nolan Reimold, and Gordon Beckham are other top contenders.
- Rosenthal has a few possible Nationals managerial candidates: Diamondbacks third base coach Chip Hale, Bobby Valentine, and Bob Melvin. It's also possible Jim Riggleman is retained.
- I was not aware of this - Freddy Garcia's deal with the White Sox has a 2010 option with a $1MM base and $2MM in incentives. Garcia has an 89mph fastball these days, but he's posted quality starts in three of four tries (against the Yankees and Red Sox).
- The Pirates would only trade starters Paul Maholm or Zach Duke if they receive "a young major league starter of similar quality, plus another piece." I mentioned that the Bucs look pretty good for 2011, but Rosenthal says team officials are not conceding 2010.
- Rosenthal's source describes a Jonathan Papelbon trade as "pretty unrealistic." Jayson Stark's sources had a similar opinion.
- Rosenthal rattles off the teams that have had past interest in Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who is getting pricey: the Orioles, Twins, Giants, D'Backs, Dodgers, and Cardinals.
According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Pirates are "probably, but not necessarily," done dealing. The writers suggest the Bucs will listen on pitchers Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, and Matt Capps, but are not shopping them.
9:53pm: Henry Schulman at the San Francisco Chronicle and Gordon Edes at Yahoo have both heard that a deal sending Sanchez to the Giants was close to completion last night, but were halted due to aforementioned concerns about Sanchez's knee. Schulman hears conflicting reports on what the Pirates are demanding in return, but says any prospects involved will be on a higher level than the previously-dealt Scott Barnes.
9:35pm: Though scratches of Sanchez and Wilson from the Pirates' lineup made people curious tonight, Kovacevic says that there's "nothing likely" to happen tonight with them.
5:35pm: Kovacevic has updated his previous report, saying that "primary" talks about Sanchez have been with the Giants, and they "were believed to have intensifed last night." But Kovacevic says the Twins are still in the mix as well.
3:28pm: A Pirates official tells Kovacevic that the club doesn't need to move either Sanchez or Wilson and won't trade them unless they see a good offer.
Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that the Giants are pretty seriously involved in talks for Sanchez.
2:16pm: Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse hears that the Angels are "likely looking" at Sanchez. The way Howie Kendrick and Maicer Izturis are hitting lately, that'd be a curious acquisition.
1:33pm: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark hears that the Pirates plan on dealing Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson this week. The Giants could be suitors for Sanchez and the Red Sox have considered Wilson in the past.
9:58am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates have put off extension talks with Sanchez and Wilson until after the deadline and will instead entertain trade offers for them. The trade talks may not stop this Friday; if either player clears wiavers, the Pirates will be able to deal him until the end of August.
Kovacevic hears the Pirates may be open to paying some of Sanchez's 2010 contract to acquire better prospects in a possible trade.
8:27am: The Pirates still have a number of players attracting interest from other teams. Here's the latest on their trade candidates, from John Perrotto of PiratesReport.com:
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is trying to persuade his GM to go after Zach Duke, who won't become a free agent until after the 2011 season.
- The Cubs have stepped up their pursuit of reliever John Grabow, but they may not have the prospects to interest the Pirates.
- The Twins and Braves have checked in on Freddy Sanchez, but some executives believe the Pirates will have trouble moving him without contributing to the $8.1MM option for next year that's likely to vest.
- The Red Sox are once again "kicking the tires" on Jack Wilson.
ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog post up, writing about how teams are reluctant to part with their top young players, even if they are overvaluing them. He also mixes in a little rumory goodness, so let's take a peek...
- The Pirates have indicated that it'll take "a gaggle of prospects" to move Zach Duke.
- When inquiring about Roy Halladay, the Yankees were told the price was Phil Hughes plus prospects Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero.
- One GM says "Cincinnati wants to move a few contracts, like either Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang, but we're not interested in giving players or taking on their money. Harang hasn't been the same guy since last May." Harang has a 4.99 ERA since a 63-pitch relief appearance on May 25th of last season.
- Another GM said "We've looked at Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Kevin Correia, Ian Snell and the long list of available starting pitchers and do not see anyone we would give A- or B-list prospects to get."
- Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers are at an advantage because they can afford to restock their farm systems quickly by spending big in the draft or on the international market.
- The Rays are likely "to see what they can get" for Carl Crawford after the season, and will hold onto prospects they consider keepers.
With starter Ted Lilly on the shelf for approximately three weeks, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine says Cubs GM Jim Hendry may have been pushed in the direction of adding a starter before Friday's trade deadline. The team could opt to move Sean Marshall back into the rotation, but that would leave manager Lou Piniella without a reliable lefthanded option in the pen.
The Cubbies have spoken to the Pirates about reliever John Grabow, but Levine says a move for Zach Duke or Tom Gorzelanny "may be the right avenue to follow with the loss of Lilly." He lists Carl Pavano, Jon Garland and Doug Davis as other starters available right now.
Yahoo's Gordon Edes says the Phillies and Dodgers are interested in Cliff Lee, but the Indians aren't anxious to move him. Not only would it mean trading Cy Young Award winners in back-to-back years, it would diminish the team's chances at contending next season. Here are the rest of Edes' rumors:
- The Dodgers would have interest in Pedro Feliciano if the Mets become sellers.
- The Brewers scouted Brad Penny over the weekend, but a trade seems unlikely now that Tim Wakefield's on the DL.
- At least one NL executive believes the Pirates are ready to move almost anyone. Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson could all be targets.
- It looks like the Reds would listen to offers for Francisco Cordero. However, he has no-trade protection and an big contract.
- The Red Sox had a scout watch Nick Johnson this weekend.
The Pirates are not close to dealing Freddy Sanchez, and no deal has ever been imminent, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Teams have approached the Pirates about Sanchez, but the Pirates aren't "pushing hard" to trade him, as it appeared last week.