Zack Greinke Rumors

Heyman’s Latest: Dodgers/Hamels, Braves, Frazier, Price, Brewers, Upton

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by reporting that the Dodgers have “quietly continued having dialogue with the Phillies” regarding Cole Hamels. The Dodgers are also giving serious consideration to the rental market and prioritizing Johnny Cueto over others among such targets. The Dodgers “appear determined” to land a top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, writes Heyman, but most executives think they’ll hold onto top prospects Corey Seager and Julio Urias. The Dodgers have a deep farm system beyond that pairing (righty Jose De Leon has recently been ranked a Top 25 prospect by Baseball America and ESPN), and one exec tells Heyman that the Phillies’ asking price on Hamels has become “more reasonable” recently. The Dodgers feel that Greinke is a lock to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and while they could possibly re-sign him by adding a year or two to the deal and upping his $24.5MM AAV, Hamels would provide insurance should Greinke sign elsewhere. Jeff Samardzija is also a consideration for the Dodgers, but while they like him, they consider him more of a No. 2/3 starter and don’t love him.

Some more highlights from Heyman’s article, though the synopsis won’t cover everything within the piece, so I’d highly recommend reading it in its entirety…

  • The Braves will be deadline sellers, Heyman hears, with Jim Johnson, Juan Uribe and Cameron Maybin among the players that will be available to interested teams. Chris Johnson, too, continues to be available, but there are no takers for his contract, which Atlanta has aggressively tried to move in the past.
  • With the Reds expected to trade so many veterans to other clubs, many in the industry expect the team to make a run at extending Todd Frazier beyond his current two-year deal, Heyman writes. (Frazier has one more year of arbitration following his current pact.) Jeff Todd and I have discussed Frazier’s situation on the MLBTR Podcast in the past (and will do so again this afternoon), and I’ve personally taken the stance that given the significant commitments to Joey Votto and Homer Bailey, the Reds could have a difficult time affording Frazier, whose 2014-15 breakout has hugely inflated his price tag. Given the lack of impact bats on the trade market, Frazier would net a king’s ransom and could rapidly expedite the rebuilding process, though the PR hit of trading him with so much control and on the heels of a Home Run Derby victory would of course be significant.
  • In other Reds news, Heyman hears Mike Leake‘s ground-ball tendencies are appealing to AL East clubs, and he’s drawn interest from the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox in addition to the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs and Giants. Manny Parra and Marlon Byrd are both “likely to go” as well.
  • Asked about the possibility of signing with the Cubs this offseason due to his relationship with skipper Joe Maddon, Tigers ace David Price replied, “Wherever I play baseball next year it’s not going to be because of a manager.”
  • The Astros are interested in both Cueto and Leake, and Houston seems willing to deal from its glut of MLB-ready outfield prospects, including Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker. (Previous reports have indicated they’re reluctant to part with Brett Phillips, however, who may be the best among the outfield bunch.)
  • The Brewers are now showing a willingness to trade both Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura, Heyman hears. Though it was previously believed they were reluctant to move Segura, the emergence of Orlando Arcia (the younger brother of the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia) may have changed Milwaukee’s thinking. However, Arcia himself is also drawing a huge amount of trade interest, and the Padres have called to express interest. One NL exec called him the best player he’s seen in the minors this year, while another comped him to Francisco Lindor, but said Arcia is better. Regarding Segura, Heyman hears that the Mets dislike his free-swinging approach.
  • The Twins aren’t closed off to the idea of re-acquiring Gomez from the Brewers, but their primary focus at this point is bullpen help.
  • The Mets are aiming high in their pursuit of an outfield bat and have both Gomez and Justin Upton on their radar. They’re not likely to add Aramis Ramirez from the Brewers unless they receive bad news on the prognosis of David Wright. They also have little interest in swinging a deal for Uribe.
  • Padres officials insist that they haven’t determined their course of action heading into the deadline, but Heyman writes that free-agents-to-be such as Upton, Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit and Will Venable could be traded regardless. James Shields‘ backloaded contract limits his value, but one GM felt Benoit has “big value” and Heyman notes that Craig Kimbrel would be in huge demand as well, should the Padres try to recoup some value from that deal.
  • Cueto, Samardzija and Leake are atop the Blue Jays‘ wish list, and the team was also in talks with the Braves regarding Jason Grilli prior to his season-ending injury. A top starting pitcher is Toronto’s top priority at this point, says Heyman. He also adds that there’s no evidence to suggest that manager John Gibbons is on the hot seat.

NL West Notes: Frias, Giants, Maybin, Parra, Greinke, Gray

The Dodgerssearch for pitching may only intensify with the news that Carlos Frias has been placed on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness.  Los Angeles already dipped into its starter depth by installing Frias and Mike Bolsinger into the rotation in place of Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, so all eyes will be on the Dodgers this month to see if they can land another big arm before the trade deadline.  Here’s the latest from the NL West…

  • The Giants are looking for outfielders and Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin are two of the names who have been discussed, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter).  In another tweet, Olney notes that the Braves aren’t open to dealing Maybin right now.  Outfield had been cited as a possible target spot for San Francisco, though GM Bobby Evans didn’t seem set on obtaining an everyday outfielder since Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki will be expected to resume their regular spots in the lineup when they’re both healthy.  In my opinion, I’d think that a left-handed hitting outfielder like Parra could be of particular use in a center field platoon with Angel Pagan, who has struggled badly against right-handed pitching this season (though Pagan has generally fared better against righty arms over his career).
  • The Giants have liked Parra “forever,” according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter).  Parra had spent his entire career prior to August 2014 with the Diamondbacks, however, and Arizona didn’t want to deal the outfielder to a division rival.
  • In Olney’s latest Insider-only post, he observes that Zack Greinke‘s big season is putting him in position for a massive free agent payday this winter.  “It seems like a foregone conclusion” Greinke will opt out of his Dodgers contract in search of a more lucrative deal, and while he turns 32 in October, Olney believes he’s the type of pitcher with the athleticism, mechanics and pitching know-how to still be very effective as he ages.  Andrew Friedman has generally eschewed giving big contracts to older players in his career as an executive, though this could well change now that he runs a high-payroll team.
  • The Rockies are again in need of pitching reinforcements, and Nick Groke of the Denver Post wonders if the team could promote top prospect Jon GrayTroy Tulowitzki and Walt Weiss seem in favor of Gray coming to the bigs soon, though GM Jeff Bridich was more cautious.  “Jon Gray is doing a great job right now of learning lessons and evolving at the Triple-A level.  So there are things that he needs to do and will continue to do. And we’ll continue to exercise patience with him,” Bridich said.  Gray has a 4.88 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and a 2.45 K/BB rate in 90 1/3 Triple-A innings this season — respectable numbers in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

Dodgers Notes: Seager, Rollins, Greinke

While some Yankees fans are licking their chops over the prospect of Bryce Harper coming to the Bronx after the 2018 season,  Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times believes that the Dodgers have a better chance to sign the outfielder.  Of course, other teams, including the incumbent Nationals, will have something to say about all of that.  Here’s today’s look at the Dodgers..

  • Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins is struggling at the plate but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be seeing top prospect Corey Seager right away, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles writes.  Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team will promote Seager when he is ready, not because Rollins is underperforming.  “We feel like he’s in a really good place to be a really good major league player for a long time, but when that is will be determined by when he’s ready to do it, when we feel like it will put him in the best position to be as good as he can be as quickly as he can be,” Friedman said.   Seager was rated as the No. 5 prospect in the country heading into the 2015 season by Baseball America.  All of the other prospects ranked ahead of Seager have been promoted already.
  • The Dodgers aren’t doing much to entice Zack Greinke to stay, Mark Saxon of ESPN.com writes.  Greinke has been vocal about his lack of run support this season as he continues to lose despite strong pitching.  Greinke, of course, has the right to opt out of his contract following this season.  If he doesn’t opt out, Greinke will be in line to earn $78MM over the remaining three years. Through 13 starts this season, the 31-year-old owns a 1.95 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
  • The Dodgers are eschewing traditional batting statistics to try and ascertain the true value of hitters, as Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register writes.   For example, outfielder Scott Schebler appeared to be struggling early on in the year with Triple-A Oklahoma.  However, new Dodgers director of player development Gabe  Kapler presented Schebler a pack of data showing him that he wasn’t so much struggling as he was getting unlucky.  Several other players who spoke with Moura confirmed that the Dodgers aren’t getting hung up on batting average as they’re focusing more on the “real indicators” of performance.


Heyman’s Latest: Hamels, Astros, Hinch, Greinke

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman touched on many topics in his latest “Inside Baseball” column, and since we’ve already focused on Heyman’s notes about the Brewers, let’s look at some of his other hot stove info from around the league…

  • The Astros will be looking to add one or even two starting pitchers, though Cole Hamels is “too pricey” for them, according to one team source.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently explored the case for Houston going after the Phillies southpaw, and 42.44% of MLBTR readers polled thought that the Astros should indeed pursue Hamels.
  • Rival executives aren’t bothered by Hamels’ sub-par performance this season since all of this trade speculation is assumed to be impacting his work.  Executives “seem to be split on” whether the Phillies are making the right move in holding out for a blue chip prospect or two in exchange for Hamels, or if they should just be looking to get his big salary off the books for a lower return of young talent.
  • A.J. Hinch’s deal with the Astros is a three-year contract with a club option for 2018.  The exact dollar figure isn’t known but Heyman reports that the average annual value is less than $1MM, which could end up being a bargain given how Houston has thus far played under Hinch’s management.
  • While Zack Greinke is expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, Heyman doubts he’ll leave the Dodgers since they certainly have the money to sign him to a new deal.
  • One scout suggests that Javier Baez might need “a change of scenery” to get back on track.  Baez struck out a whopping 95 times in 229 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, and only has a .755 OPS at the Triple-A level this year.  Baez is only a year removed from being considered an elite-level prospect, so while it seems early to consider trading him, Chicago is already deep in young middle infield talent.
  • The Rangers are willing to deal Shin-Soo Choo, rival executives believe.  This is no surprise given Choo’s huge contract and underwhelming performance in Texas, though obviously those same issues will make dealing him a tall order.  Heyman notes that the Yankees were interested in Choo when he was a free agent two winters ago, though even if Choo turns it around, I’m not sure I see New York taking on a big contract when they already have a pretty full outfield.
  • The Cardinalswill rue the day they made that trade” of Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jorden Walden, in the words of one scout.  Heyman feels this is a bit of a stretch, even though Miller has been outstanding for the Braves and Heyward has struggled for the Cards (and Walden is on the DL).
  • Veteran Andruw Jones isn’t yet planning to retire, though he won’t play in 2015.  Jones has played in Japan for the last two seasons and expressed interest in a return to Major League Baseball this winter, drawing interest from at least two teams, including the Indians.  According to Heyman, Jones turned down minor league contract offers from multiple teams.

West Notes: Dodgers, Solis, Padres, Montero

The Dodgers acquisition of Brandon Beachy could lead to a trade, writes Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Beachy will open the season on the disabled list, so his presence could be purely for depth purposes. However, if everybody is healthy when he’s ready to contribute, the team could consider dealing Zack Greinke or Hyun-jin Ryu. Greinke may opt out after the season which could make him expendable. A trade of Ryu seems unlikely since he can void his contract if dealt (via Twitter). Here’s more from out west.

  • The Dodgers and catcher Ali Solis have split ways over a contractual issue, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Details are unknown at this time. Solis was a non-roster invite to the big league camp. He’s appeared briefly with the Padres and Rays, accruing 11 plate appearances in the process. He’s a career .243/.291/.363 hitter over his nine season minor league career.
  • Padres pitchers Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow are familiar with rapid rebuilds, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Both players were with the Blue Jays in 2013 when they were picked to win the division. The team fizzled and finished last in the AL East. Johnson also experienced the 2012 rebuild of the Marlins. Both players point to chemistry and cohesiveness as an important missing element. Only time will tell if the Padres can bond together.
  • Every team has a player in the best shape of his life. One such to watch may be Mariners slugger Jesus Montero, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo. The once-prospect dropped 45 pounds from the hefty 275 he weighed last spring. Per manager Lloyd McClendon, “I think he’s in a much better place as a human being…The baseball skills, we’ll see.”

NL West Notes: Giants, Friedman, Greinke, Padres

Despite coming off their third World Series title in five years, many pundits aren’t expecting much of a title defense for the Giants, which Tim Hudson tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is just fine by the clubhouse.  “I think the guys in here embrace the underdog role. It’s like they say, ‘OK, everybody is picking us to finish mid-pack again. We’re gonna show ’em.’ I think it’s great,” Hudson said.  “I would rather be the underdog than the favorite. The pressure is on the favorite all the time.”  Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters (including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) that he likes the team’s internal options as replacements for the injured Kenley Jansen.  This said, the Dodgers are “open-minded” about free agent additions, Friedman said.  L.A. is known to be looking at acquiring bullpen help, and are reportedly interested in Joba Chamberlain.
  • Zack Greinke will, unsurprisingly, wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to exercise the opt-out clause in his Dodgers contract, the righty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick).  Greinke reiterated that he enjoys pitching for the Dodgers and said he’s open to discussing a new contract with the team.
  • The opt-out clause, Greinke said, is “all to your benefit. If things are going good, you can use it for more power. There’s no negative to it.”  He also made some telling remarks about why he wanted the clause in the first place, seemingly based on regrets over his first multi-year contract when he pitched for the Royals.  “I know you can’t really trust the front office and what they tell you. Guys have signed long deals and get traded the next year. It happens all the time,” Greinke said.  “Teams do what’s best for them and you can’t fault them, but you can’t trust them to do what’s best for you. Their job is to do what’s best for the team.”
  • Signing Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez to bolster the bullpen will be costly, though Steve Dilbeck of the L.A Times opines that the Dodgers shouldn’t shy away from using their financial resources now when a proven closer could help the team win a championship.
  • According to recent reports, the Padres offered Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe to the Phillies in exchange for Cole Hamels.  With the assumption that it was a legit offer that the Phillies rejected, and that no other players or money were involved, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan examines the proposal and feels that the Phils were probably right to turn it down.  While “the offer seems in the vicinity of fair” and wouldn’t have been a bad return for Hamels, there are significant questions about Hedges and Renfroe’s long-term future as major leaguers.  Sullivan thinks Philadelphia could find a better deal elsewhere, even if he doesn’t think they’ll be able to land a true blue-chip prospect for Hamels.
  • In other NL West news from earlier today on MLBTR, Mark Trumbo won his arbitration hearing against the Diamondbacks.

NL West Notes: Greinke, Rockies, Padres

You could say that Clint Barmes is something of a hipster.  He signed his one-year, $1.6MM deal with the Padres on December 3rd – just before they became cool.  “Being one of the earlier guys to sign over there, you hear from the GM that they’re going to try to make these trades and sign these guys,” Barmes said, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. “It happens every year. You hear a lot of that. But to have a guy do what he’s done has been pretty impressive. My agent said they were focusing on making some changes and bringing guys in. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”  More from the NL West..

  • Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke says that he hasn’t decided whether to opt out of his contract after the season, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes.  The 31-year-old would forfeit three years and $71MM if he opts out, but the recent deals landed by Max Scherzer and Jon Lester indicate that he can likely make even more.  Still, the hurler was very complimentary of the organization.  “I do know I have really enjoyed L.A. I don’t think you could get a better organization. The owners are amazing. Our front office is, by reputation, the best – or at least in the top three in the game. Our coaching staff is great too. There’s not really any better options anywhere besides here,” Greinke said.
  • Change is coming for the Rockies, but it’s not necessarily coming right now.  Colorado could look quite different in 2016, as Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post writes.  GM Jeff Bridich didn’t make major moves despite saying that he was “keeping his eyes and ears open” for potential deals involving everybody this winter, but those trades could go down this summer.  Saunders writes that come August, it’s conceivable that the Rockies could be without Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Justin Morneau.
  • It’s been a crazy offseason for the Padres and Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego ranked the biggest moves made by GM A.J. Preller.  The acquisition of Matt Kemp takes the top spot, followed by the trades made for fellow outfielders Wil Myers and Justin Upton, respectively.

NL West Notes: Padres, Greinke, Withrow

The Padres are baseball’s most improved team, opines Jim Duquette of MLB.com. The additions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris should revive an offense that has slumbered for years. GM A.J. Preller managed to overhaul the offense without dipping into his starting pitching depth nor by trading the team’s best prospects. For what it’s worth, I’m more impressed by the efforts of the Cubs, who Duquette lists as the fifth most improved club.

  • Dodgers starter Zack Greinke has not decided if he will opt out of his contract following the 2015 season, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The 31-year-old signed a six-year, $147MM contract prior to the 2013 season, but he can opt out following next season. He’s averaged a 2.67 ERA over the last two seasons, which could set him up for another big, multi-year contract in free agency. In the past, we’ve seen CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez leverage opt outs with the Yankees to gain more guaranteed dollars and years. Greinke may take the same approach with the Dodgers. Per his comments, he seems comfortable in Los Angeles.
  • Greinke doesn’t believe the Dodgers improved via “addition by subtraction” this offseason. Outgoing players like Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, and Brian Wilson weren’t distractions in the clubhouse per Greinke. President Andrew Friedman has admitted the club might lose a little on offense, but the goal is to replace the runs scored with better defense and depth.
  • Reliever Chris Withrow may be a long shot to help the Dodgers this season, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles (via Twitter). The righty has pitched well in parts of two seasons with Los Angeles, with a 2.73 ERA, 11.41 K/9, and 4.98 BB/9 in 56 innings. He’s currently recovering from Tommy John and back surgeries. The back issue has slowed the timetable for his Tommy John rehab.

Winter Meetings Rumors: Giants, Santana, Marlins, Morneau, Dodgers, Angels

Needless to say, it was a frenetic end to the Winter Meetings. Over the course of the morning, several forward-looking reports emerged. We’ll round those up here:

  • The Giants are focused on free agent starter James Shields, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). San Francisco is alive on both Shields and Ervin Santana, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle adds on Twitter. The club met with Shields in San Diego, as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported yesterday (Twitter link).
  • The Twins are still trying to land Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who adds that the GiantsRoyals, and Yankees have also expressed interest in the free agent righty.
  • The Marlins are still looking hard at the free agent and trade market for a first baseman, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. A deal could come at any time, Spencer adds.
  • Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies have fallen apart, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer. He hears that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
  • Communications between the Marlins and Rockies regarding Morneau will continue, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports on Twitter, though Harding’s source says he is not sure if the potential match “has legs.”
  • The Dodgers did not make their moves as a prelude to dealing away Zack Greinke or dealing for Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Los Angeles has already done its heavy lifting with yesterday’s series of moves, says Sherman.
  • After trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Angels are “open to opportunities” for additions at the position, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Halos are not interested in free agents Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew, per Dipoto. Of course, the team just added Josh Rutledge to join in-house option Grant Green in the current mix.

NL West Rumors: Montero, Greinke, Ross

The Giants have fallen short on a few free agent targets this offseason, but they’re not worried, reports Henry Schulman in a series of tweets. Per Schulman, the Giants don’t feel a need to “win” bidding wars. They’ll stick to their dollar figure, which could affect their pursuit of Jon Lester. The club clearly wasn’t comfortable topping the $68MM offer to Yasmany Tomas or $44MM offer to Nick Markakis. In the case of another free agent they missed out on – Pablo Sandoval – the Giants reportedly made a comparable offer to the Red Sox.

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the D’Backs would need to be “overwhelmed” to move Mark Trumbo.  Still, the Mariners are among the teams that are monitoring the situation.
  • Earlier today, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said that contrary to reports, there was no agreed upon deal with the Dodgers that would have sent Miguel Montero to L.A.  When asked if a Montero-to-the-Dodgers deal could still happen, La Russa said, “The conversations are not what they were before. I think it’s less likely,” according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).  However, La Russa added that ownership has not deemed Montero untouchable (link).
  • Dodgers president Andrew Friedman says that he’ll let the year play out before addressing Zack Greinke‘s opt out clause, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  From the sound of it, the Dodgers don’t have extension talks with the pitcher on their agenda for this winter.
  • Friedman said he would have zero hesitation in trading players within the division, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Friedman went on to say (link) that he has not visited any free agents this winter.
  • Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) doesn’t think that there’s much to the speculation that the Rangers will make a run at Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner.  Texas reportedly has more interest in Tyson Ross.