Some highlights from the latest notes piece from Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and FOX Sports (mostly via his Facebook page, due to FOX’s bizarre decision to go video-only in its web coverage of baseball)…
- The $192MM that the Dodgers spent to retain Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill this offseason was largely a measure against having to make an aggressive splash at the trade deadline for a second consecutive season, Rosenthal writes. The Dodgers don’t want to part with either top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo or top pitching prospect Walker Buehler, as both could help the team this season (Verdugo in the case of an outfield injury, Buehler as a September callup in the bullpen). If they’re to make a trade involving high-ceiling prospects, the Dodgers prefer to deal from the lower levels of their system, where those high-upside names aren’t quite so close to the Majors. The Dodgers would like to add an impact left-handed reliever, but “[are] wary of overpaying for 15-20 innings of a pitcher who will have zero impact on them winning the division.”
- One tweet from Rosenthal a couple of days ago that flew under our radar: the Dodgers are open to dealing either Brandon Morrow or Sergio Romo to create an opening for the potential addition of a lefty reliever. While Romo’s numbers look decidedly unappealing despite a promising strikeout rate — 6.12 ERA, 11.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 2.5 HR/9 — Morrow has been quietly excellent in an admittedly small sample. Through 15 2/3 innings, Morrow has allowed just four runs on a dozen hits with a gaudy 20-to-2 K/BB ratio. Seemingly healthy once again, Morrow’s average fastball velocity has soared to 97 mph, and he’s earning just the pro-rated portion of a $1.25MM base salary this season. The injury history and limited 2017 sample limit his overall value, but the 32-year-old could be viewed by some as an intriguing pickup.
- The Astros, too, would like to add a left-handed reliever and may find more of a difference-maker in that pursuit than in seeking rotation upgrades, Rosenthal writes in his column. If the Astros don’t land Sonny Gray, they’ll likely at least look at rotation rentals, but they’d have to be convinced that whoever they acquire is an upgrade over Charlie Morton and/or the returning Collin McHugh. A more definitive upgrade would be easily apparent in the ’pen.
- The Mets are willing to include cash in trades of veterans in order to net better prospects in trades, Rosenthal reports. Specifically, he mentions Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera. New York, for instance, knows it’d be on the hook for the $2MM buyout on Cabrera’s $8.5MM club option either way and would likely be willing to include that sum in a potential trade. They’d also be willing to pay down some of the remaining $5.26MM on Bruce’s salary, recognizing that said sum is a significant amount for many clubs to add at the midway point of a season. Other rentals the Mets have include Curtis Granderson ($6.07MM remaining), Addison Reed ($3.13MM) and Lucas Duda ($2.93MM). It’s worth noting that Rosenthal didn’t specifically mention Granderson, Reed or Duda by name.
- Rosenthal also tweets that one reason the Yankees shifted course and acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox is due to the high asking prices they encountered when seeking rotation upgrades. The Yanks are still on the lookout for starting pitching upgrades — both rental pieces and controllable assets, he adds.