Zack Wheeler Rumors

Quick Hits: Wuertz, Webb, Wheeler

Rafael Soriano’s two-year, $28MM agreement with the Nationals dominated headlines this afternoon, but let’s not let the news overshadow some other notes from around MLB. Here are Tuesday’s links…

  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis suggests reliever Michael Wuertz will soon sign a minor league deal with a National League team (Twitter link).
  • NL East teams such as the Phillies, Marlins, Nationals and Mets are keeping tabs on free agent right-hander Brandon Webb, Jerry Crasnick of reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mets won’t trade Zack Wheeler to acquire Justin Upton from Arizona, Jon Heyman of reports (Twitter link). The Mets and Diamondbacks don’t see a fit for a deal involving Upton at this point, Heyman adds. New York does have interest in high-profile outfielders such as Upton.
  • The Red Sox have seen all of Javier Vazquez's starts in Puerto Rico, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). Many clubs will be watching the free agent right-hander pitch today, Gammons notes. Vazquez, 36, has said he's not in a hurry to sign.

Reaction To Rays-Royals Trade

The Royals continued adding to their rotation last night, acquiring James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays. It cost them the game’s top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers, and three others: right-hander Jake Odorizzi, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard. Here’s some reaction to the deal from around MLB…

  • In a piece for Grantland, Rany Jazayerli writes that the Royals almost got fair value for Myers, but the addition of three more prospects turns the trade into highway robbery for the Rays. He goes on to say that in shoving all his chips into the pot, Moore has done the same with his job security, possibly sacrificing the future for an illusory present.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore is "furious" over critiques insinuating that his motivation to make the deal was simply to preserve his job, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. In particular, Nightengale writes that Moore was livid over the reaction of ESPN's Keith Law (link included in earlier updates below). Moore calls any such allegations "very, very insulting."
  • Baseball America's Jim Callis writes that Myers instantly becomes the Rays' top prospect, and that Odorizzi slots in at No. 5 between Hak-Ju Lee and Alex Colome. Montgomery fits into the mid-teens, and Leonard would rank in the 20-30 range. The trade essentially boils down to Myers-for-Shields, in Callis' mind, as Odorizzi is similar to Davis but at an earlier stage while Montgomery and Leonard are lottery tickets. Because of that, he doesn't think it's a terrible deal for the Royals.

Earlier reactions:

  • One NL general manager called the trade "bold on both sides,"'s Jerry Crasnick reports. Some evaluators prefer the deal for the Royals, while others believe the Rays did better. An AL GM told Crasnick both teams did well. "I don't get all the online angst towards Kansas City," the GM added.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has comments from many of the players involved in the deal. Odorizzi said he "definitely" feels ready for the MLB level, Topkin reports.
  •'s Jayson Stark points out that Myers is the first person to be named Baseball America's minor league player of the year and be traded before playing an MLB game for the organization with which he won the award.
  • Shields told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he'd be open to an extension of the Royals wanted to discuss one. "No doubt about it," Shields said (Twitter link).
  • Approximately 32,000 MLBTR readers voted on the deal and nearly half believe the Rays won. Another 32% say both teams won the deal and 17% say the Royals won.
  • It would have taken Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler for the Mets to obtain a similar package to the one the Rays obtained, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Matt Cerrone of first reported this news four days ago.
  • Though the trade reflects a sense of urgency from the Royals, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star doesn't get the sense that GM Dayton Moore is on the hot seat (Twitter link).
  •'s Buster Olney suggests the Rays will delay Myers' arrival at the MLB level to ensure he doesn't obtain a full year of service time in 2013. It's also possible that the Rays could look to extend the promising outfielder, Olney suggests. I agree with both of Olney's point here. There's no way the Rays can allow Myers to get a full year of service in 2013.
  • Six pro scouts don't consider the trade one-sided, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports. The Royals don't deserve the criticism being directed their way, the scouts told Baseball America.
  • Shields will obtain a $750K trade bonus as part of the deal, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • One GM told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that "Myers is no slam dunk" and added that this is "far from a lopsided deal." Rosenthal suggests teams like the Royals can too often get fixated on their prospects and pass on opportunities to compete.
  • The Royals tried to trade Myers for Shields straight up, but the Rays said no, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes (Twitter links). The Royals also tried trading Myers to Oakland for Brett Anderson only to be turned down, Passan writes.
  • In Passan's view Royals general manager Dayton Moore made a desperate trade that will define his tenure as GM in Kansas City. Still, Passan writes, it's hard to blame the Royals for attempting to win now.
  • The Tigers weren't happy to see the Royals acquire Shields, Danny Knobler of reports. Shields is a difference maker who will make the Royals better, Knobler writes.
  • The Rangers had hoped to add Zack Greinke or Shields this winter, but lost out on both this past weekend, Knobler reports (on Twitter).
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star won't be surprised if the Royals seek a low-cost outfielder in free agency (Twitter link). After trading Myers, the club might have interest in spending $1MM or less on a rebound candidate.
  • It's an outstanding day for Rays fans,'s Keith Law writes (Insider only). Conversely, this could be the deal that brings Moore's time in Kansas City to an end in Law's view.
  • My thoughts: the Rays were justified in trading Shields and Davis for Myers and the other prospects because they obtained more long-term value. While the Royals surrendered a lot, they addressed their most pressing weakness — starting pitching — in a meaningful way and increased their chances of competing in 2013. The Royals have much more rotation depth than they did two months ago. Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Shields and Davis make the Kansas City staff better. Yet you can make the case that they overpaid every time they acquired a new arm.

Mets Links: Trades, Flowers, Duda, Davis, Dickey

The latest on the Mets…

  • Mike Puma of The New York Post reports that Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are the team's only untouchables in trade talks. GM Sandy Alderson is expected to explore trades more than free agents this winter, and they have "some interest" in White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers.
  • Lucas Duda had surgery yesterday after fracturing his wrist moving furniture, and Jon Heyman of says that could take Ike Davis completely off the trade market. Duda was the club's backup plan at first base, though he is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
  • David Lennon of Newsday says (on Twitter) that it would be very tough for the Mets to trade R.A. Dickey from a public relations perspective even if the two sides can't work out a long-term deal.
  • John Harper of The New York Daily News writes that Alderson has plenty to prove following his first two years on the job. Outside of the Wheeler trade, Harper says his moves haven't worked out too well.

East Links: Phillies, Beltran, Mets, Bourn

Some links pertaining to MLB's two eastern divisions as Prince Fielder is crowned Home Run Derby champion for the second time…

  • Jim Salisbury of writes that Jonathan Papelbon says he and his teammates understand the business side of the game, but that trading Cole Hamels would still not go over well in their clubhouse.
  • Carlos Beltran told Shi Davidi of and other reporters that the Blue Jays showed interest in him this offseason, but never made a formal contract offer. Beltran said the Indians and Rays were also interested, but most AL clubs wanted him to spend significant time at DH, and he wanted to play in the field regularly. According to Beltran, he would have considered the Giants, but they never called.
  • The Mets are open to adding veteran pieces at the trade deadline this year to strengthen the club, but they won't be trading top prospects like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman offers speculative lists of relievers and catchers who could interest GM Sandy Alderson.
  • Heyman also writes that the Braves are not currently in extension talks with Michael Bourn, and that Bourn will likely be pursued by the Giants this winter when he hits free agency.

Quick Hits: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs Draft, Mets

The Nationals rewrote Major League history on Sunday in yet another sign that the beleaguered franchise has turned the proverbial corner. Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi became the first rookies to hit back-to-back home runs to lead off a game in the modern era. Here's the latest odds and ends from around the league as we look forward to Monday's amateur draft…

  • Alfonso Soriano is open to being traded to a contender as he concedes his career is winding down at 36, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Soriano has made himself an attractive trade candidate with a 2012 slash line of .267/.311/.460, but remains unlikely to be moved thanks to his hefty contract. The Cubs owe Soriano the remainder of his $18MM salary for this year and $36MM over the next two seasons.
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum hasn't seen team president Theo Epstein or scouting chief Jason McLeod in days and that's because they are in lockdown mode for Monday's amateur draft, says Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Theo and Jason and Jed (Hoyer), they've had a whole different system in the draft, and obviously it's worked pretty well," Sveum said. "The high picks they had in Boston panned out pretty good." Equipped with the sixth pick in the draft, the Cubs are expected to take high school center fielder Albert Almora or Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa based upon projections from Baseball America. 
  • Look for the Mets to consider making minor moves at the trade deadline rather than taking on salary to acquire an expensive veteran, writes Matthew Cerrone of Cerrone points to Buster Olney's comments on Sunday night in which he stated that the team is focused on the big picture when Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler arrive in Queens in as soon as 14 months. 

NL East Notes: Harvey, Wheeler, Nationals

The Marlins will break in their new ballpark tonight when they host the Cardinals and the regular season gets started in earnest. Here are some links from the NL East…

  • The Mets "have taken a step backward in the short term" Mike Puma of the New York Post writes in his season preview. Puma points out that David Wright will look to prove himself worthy of an extension and suggests pitching prospect Matt Harvey could be called up by July.
  • Mets VP of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta took questions in a Baseball Prospectus chat yesterday and explained that he'll be thrilled if Harvey and Zack Wheeler become dependable starters in the Major Leagues. "If they do, we'll be happy with the results in the long run," DePodesta added.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the Nationals are generating lots of buzz this spring. "In terms of people talking about a club that is clearly coming on, it’s the Nationals,” Selig said. The commissioner credits Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg for providing fans with "hope and faith.”

Mets Rumors: Available Players

The Mets are currently 6.5 games out of the wild card, with Dillon Gee opposing Chien-Ming Wang tonight in Washington, D.C.  The latest:

Giants Acquire Carlos Beltran

The Giants have the worst offense of any National League contender, so GM Brian Sabean pounced on the best hitter available.  The Mets officially announced today they've traded right fielder Carlos Beltran and cash considerations to San Francisco for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.  Reportedly, the Mets are sending $4MM to the Giants in the trade.


Beltran (pictured) is hitting .289/.391/.513 with 15 home runs in 419 plate appearances, in what has already become his healthiest season since 2008.  Signed by the Mets to a seven-year, $119MM free agent contract before the 2005 season, Beltran's agent Scott Boras negotiated a clause preventing his team from offering arbitration at the deal's conclusion.  Such an offer was no sure thing anyway, with Beltran earning $18.5MM this year.  About $6.5MM of that remains, of which the Mets are assuming $4MM.  Since Beltran has 10-and-5 rights, the trade took 24 hours to become official.  The Braves, Red Sox, Pirates, Rangers, Indians, and Phillies had also been involved in trade talks for Beltran.

Wheeler was a big price to pay for two months of Beltran's services.  The Giants' sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, the hard-throwing righty has a 10.0 K/9 in High-A ball this year.  The consensus among Keith Law, Baseball America, and Kevin Goldstein is that Wheeler is among the top 36 prospects in the game.

Tim Brown first reported the deal, with Buster Olney and Joel Sherman adding details.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

Giants To Acquire Carlos Beltran

3:11pm: The Giants and Mets have reached a tentative agreement on a Beltran trade, report Rosenthal and Morosi.

2:27pm: The Mets will pay $4MM of the $6MM remaining on Beltran's contract, an executive not directly involved with the trade tells Sherman.  The number is confirmed by ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).

1:30pm: If nothing happens in the next 24 hours to scuttle the deal, it's just Wheeler for Beltran and cash, tweets Sherman.  The Mets are sending a significant amount of money, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.

12:45pm: Olney tweets that Giants pitching prospect Zack Wheeler is expected to be the centerpiece in the trade, and Jon Paul Morosi agrees.  

12:17pm: Carlos Beltran is going to the Giants, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown, with logistics being worked out. Just minor details remain, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the two teams are at the one-yard line, while Brown reminds us that a 24-hour waiting period applies since Beltran has 10-and-5 rights.  The Phillies are just barely hanging on for Beltran, according to multiple reports.

Stark On Bell, Beltran, Rays, Giants

The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark

  • The Rangers and Phillies are the favorites for Padres closer Heath Bell, with the Cardinals, Angels, Braves, and Reds also in the mix.
  • One executive Stark spoke to wouldn't be surprised to see a dark horse like the Reds or Brewers make a late run at Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran.
  • An official who spoke with the Rays over the weekend said that while they're not trading James Shields, they'll decide later this week on players like Johnny Damon and Kyle Farnsworth.  B.J. Upton could be dealt even if the team closes its 6.5 game wild card deficit.
  • The Rays and Blue Jays have been scouting each other's farm systems recently.  One scout speculated that the Jays could join a three-team Upton trade somehow.
  • One team says Brian Sabean's off-limits prospects are Zack Wheeler, Heath Hembree, and Gary Brown, along with Brandon Belt.  That'd leave the team without any top 50 prospects to move, with Francisco Peguero and Ehire Adrianza in the next tier based on Baseball America's preseason rankings.  There's also Double-A lefty Eric Surkamp, who brought his ERA down to 2.00 yesterday.
  • The Phillies are steering teams to their High-A Clearwater club, as they don't want to trade big leaguers and not to add much more than a million bucks in payroll.  Jonathan Singleton, Brody Colvin, Trevor May, Sebastian Valle, and Jiwan James are names to watch there assuming Jarred Cosart is untouchable.  Stark says the Phillies have cooled on Beltran and Hunter Pence is a long shot, so the focus is now the back end of the bullpen.  Heath Bell is the top target, with Brandon League also on the radar.