- Bartolo Colon feels he can play “just one” more season. A return in 2018 would make it 21 seasons in the big leagues for Colon, who turns 45 in May. The veteran has become a fan favorite around baseball thanks to his unlikely late-career revival, though Colon finally started to look his age in 2017, posting a 6.48 ERA over 143 innings with the Twins and Braves. Despite his recent struggles, Colon seems to be a likely candidate to land a low-cost MLB contract with a team next year, given his lengthy track record.
- The Rangers are considering issuing a qualifying offer to Andrew Cashner. This would ensure that Texas received some draft pick compensation if Cashner rejected the QO, though given the Rangers’ need for pitching, they could welcome the chance to bring back Cashner on a one-year deal. Still, since the QO carries a hefty cost of $18.1MM, it is still a little surprising that Texas is considering issuing one to Cashner, who is a decent candidate to accept. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently covered Cashner’s interesting offseason case in a Free Agent Stock Watch piece, outlining the many pros and cons suitors face in weighing a Cashner this winter.
- In less-surprising qualifying offer news, the Royals are a virtual lock to extend the QO to Lorenzo Cain but aren’t planning to issue one to Jason Vargas. Tommy John surgery sidelined Vargas for much of his three-year stint in Kansas City, though he was mostly effective (4.16 ERA, 6.7 K/9, 2.31 K/BB rate) over 179 2/3 IP in 2017. Given that TJ surgery and the fact that Vargas turns 35 in February, he’d seem to be a good candidate to accept a qualifying offer, and the Royals probably don’t want an $18.1MM salary on the books as they embark on a possible rebuild.
- There apparently haven’t been any talks between the Angels and Justin Upton about his opt-out clause, which Heyman finds “interesting.” There isn’t any immediate rush, of course, as Upton doesn’t need to make his decision until three days after the World Series is over. “Most see it as a very close call” as to whether Upton will actually opt out of the four years and $88.5MM remaining on his deal given the mutual interest between he and the Angels. The possibility exists that the two sides could work out an extension to tack another year or two beyond the current end of Upton’s deal, though the lack of talks indicates that scenario has yet to be explored.
- The Angels initially tried to acquire Parker Bridwell from the Orioles last year before finally landing the right-hander in April for what Heyman describes as “just a small amount of cash.” This minor deal at the time ended up being a steal for the Halos, as Bridwell delivered a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings, starting 20 of his 21 appearances for Los Angeles.
- According to one Marlins player, the Cardinals reportedly expressed interest in Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and Brad Ziegler this summer, with Ziegler’s name surfacing after Trevor Rosenthal was lost to Tommy John surgery in late August. The Cards’ interest in Ozuna (and other Miami outfielders) is known, though this is the first time Gordon and Ziegler have been linked to St. Louis. It makes sense that the Cards would’ve checked in on Ziegler given their sudden need for relief help after Rosenthal went down, though it remains to be seen if Ziegler would be a trade target this winter as the team looks to bolster its pen. Ziegler has a hefty $9MM salary in 2018, though the Marlins could eat some of that money to make a deal happen. Gordon would be an even pricier addition at $38MM owed through the 2020 season, plus a $14MM vesting option for 2021.
Eric Hosmer and a few other big-name Royals are scheduled to hit free agency after the season, but the team is going to make a concerted effort to retain the first baseman, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports. The Royals may offer the Scott Boras client upward of $100MM, which, depending on the exact amount and length, could be a stunning commitment from a franchise that has never given a player more than $72MM (Alex Gordon in 2016). Gordon’s four-year contract has been disastrous thus far, and considering the up-and-down nature of Hosmer’s career, the Royals could be taking a substantial risk in handing him a big-money pact. Although, to the 27-year-old Hosmer’s credit, he has enjoyed an outstanding platform season, having slashed .319/.385/.496 with with 24 home runs in 660 plate appearances.
- While the Royals will attempt to keep Hosmer, it seems they’re resigned to losing center fielder Lorenzo Cain in free agency. The Royals aren’t optimistic they’ll be able to re-sign Cain, 32, as they’re bracing for him to land a lucrative contract of at least four years. The Mariners may be a fit for him, insiders have suggested to Heyman, who adds that Seattle will also take a look at first basemen Lucas Duda and Mitch Moreland if they hit the open market in the offseason.
- The Mets will likely try to extend right-hander Jacob deGrom in the coming months, per Heyman. DeGrom has been the only Mets starter to survive their injury onslaught this year, turning in yet another excellent campaign with 201 1/3 innings of 3.53 ERA ball, to go with 10.68 K/9 against 2.64 BB/9. He’s already set to turn 30 next year and still has three arbitration-eligible seasons left, meaning deGrom can’t become a free agent until the age of 32. It could therefore behoove him to get some long-term security over the winter, and Heyman notes that a deal would likely span at least four years. If no agreement comes during the off months, he’ll build on this year’s $4.05MM salary in arbitration.
- Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has bounced back from a suspension-shortened 2016 to increase his trade value this year, Heyman writes. Along with providing top-notch defense, Gordon has hit .305/.339/.369 with 57 stolen bases in 678 PAs, which could put him on second base-needy teams’ radars in the offseason. But with either $38MM or $51MM coming his way over the next four years (depending on a $14MM club option or $1MM buyout in 2021), the Marlins may have to eat some money in order to trade the 29-year-old (30 next April), Heyman opines.
- Giants third base coach Phil Nevin is a “strong candidate” to take over for Brad Ausmus as the Tigers’ manager, according to Heyman. Nevin played with the Tigers from 1996-97 and managed at their Double-A and Triple-A levels from 2010-13. Thanks to his work in the latter capacity, he’s already familiar with Tigers general manager Al Avila.
Jurickson Profar didn’t appear in the lineup for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate tonight, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Profar was frustrated that he wasn’t traded in a deadline deal. Profar has long been a staple of trade rumors dating back to his time as baseball’s top prospect, though injuries and a lack of production over 718 big league plate appearances have dimmed his star considerably. Profar is still just 24 years old and he’s been hitting well at Triple-A this year, though without a clear path to playing time or even a stable position ahead of him in Texas, it appears as though Profar is looking for a change of scenery. Of course, if other teams now know that Profar wants out, it will be harder for the Rangers to recoup value for him in a deal, so Profar may not have any immediate route to another team. He is under team control through the 2019 season.
Here’s more from around baseball as we wrap up a busy deadline day…
- The Marlins rejected offers for Dan Straily and Dee Gordon prior to the deadline, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. It initially appeared as though the Marlins weren’t going to be shopping Straily, though they apparently tested his market and drew interest from at least four teams, though none were willing to meet Miami’s high asking price. As for Gordon, several teams were under the impression that Gordon was available in a salary dump type of trade and thus offered little in the way of prospects for the second baseman. The Marlins, however, didn’t see Gordon’s remaining salary (just over $41MM) as onerous to give away for virtually nothing in return.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow tells reporters (including Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle) that the team was working on some potential trades that “at times I would’ve put them at 90 percent-plus that we were going to get them done.” Instead, the only deal Houston made was to acquire Francisco Liriano, a much lower-profile move than some of the trades made by other World Series contenders at the deadline. Outfield prospect Derek Fisher was asked about in almost every possible deal, Luhnow said.
- Several high-salaried Tigers players were mentioned in trade whispers, though only some relatively small contracts or pending free agents were moved by GM Al Avila in deadline trades. Avila told the Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech and other reporters that the roster reshuffling wasn’t about cutting costs. “I do not have a mandate to dump salary. Never have, and I won’t have it and I’ve been told it will never happen. So that’s a tremendous thing,” Avila said. The Tigers already have over $140MM on the books for 2018 — assuming they pick up Ian Kinsler’s option and that Justin Upton does not opt out of his contract — though some of that salary could end up being pared back via winter trades, even if payroll considerations don’t strictly demand it.
- The Indians figure to be active on the waiver front in August, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines, since the club didn’t address its primary deadline needs of a utility infielder or left-handed reliever. The Tribe didn’t want to meet the asking price for the likes of Justin Wilson and Brad Hand, though Hoynes notes that the team did “push hard” for Orioles closer Zach Britton. Cleveland is currently going with recent waiver claim Tyler Olson as the situational lefty in the pen, with star southpaw Andrew Miller reserved for a more prominent setup or multi-inning role.
The Marlins “are extremely open to discussing” a Dee Gordon trade, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN (Twitter link). Gordon has been on teams’ radars in recent weeks, but now there’s “not much traffic” regarding the second baseman, per Crasnick. With roughly $41MM coming his way through 2021, the 29-year-old isn’t cheap, nor has he regained the effectiveness he showed from 2014-15. Gordon missed half of 2016 thanks to a performance-enhancing drug suspension and has slashed a meek .282/.323/.347 in 783 plate appearances dating back to last season. He has stolen 67 bases over that time, though, including 30 this year, and drawn plus marks in the field from defensive runs saved (eight) and Ultimate Zone Rating (8.1).
While a Gordon trade before Monday’s deadline may not be in the offing, it seems Marlins reserve catcher A.J. Ellis will switch uniforms. Along with the previously reported Cubs, the Rockies are in on the 36-year-old, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. With a .233/.314/.411 batting line, Rockies catchers have posted the worst wRC+ (45) in the majors this season. They’re looking for help behind the plate as a result, but Ellis hasn’t been a whole lot better than their choices with the bat (.232/.300/.341 in 91 PAs). Defensively, Ellis has had a rough pitch-framing season, per StatCorner, though he has outdone Rockies starter Tony Wolters in that regard. It seems the right-handed-hitting Ellis and the lefty-swinging Wolters would form a platoon.
More as the deadline nears:
- While the Dodgers have come up as a potential landing spot for Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray or Justin Verlander, it appears for now that they’re likelier to acquire an impact reliever than a high-end starter, relays Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). On the subject of the Tigers’ Verlander, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports (on Twitter) that Los Angeles has focused less on him than reliever Justin Wilson in trade talks with Detroit. That isn’t surprising, as Verlander is on an onerous contract and unlikely to move before Monday.
- The Blue Jays were reportedly “highly unlikely” to trade left-hander J.A. Happ as of two weeks ago, but now they’re open to offers, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag. The Jays aren’t aggressively shopping the 34-year-old, however, as he’s in the midst of another fine season and under control next season for a reasonable $13MM salary.
- This season has been a struggle for Rangers first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli, but he’s garnering interest nonetheless, per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, who tweets that “teams love him in the clubhouse.” The powerful Napoli has slugged 22 home runs and put up an excellent .258 ISO, though his .208/.287/.466 line through 336 PAs isn’t pretty. But the 35-year-old has gotten hot at the right time, having slashed .260/.329/.658 in 82 PAs this month. Napoli’s on a $6MM salary this year and has an $11MM club option (or a $2.5MM buyout) for 2018.
- Calls have come in on the Angels’ resurgent relief trio of Bud Norris, David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit, and the Halos are willing to deal all of them, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd broke down their 2017 performances Friday in a piece focusing on available righty relievers.
Athletics righty Sonny Gray is an obvious target for contenders, and he’s among the players touched upon in a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today (which also delves into some analysis and predictions). The Brewers “may be the most aggressive” suitor for the Oakland starter, per Nightengale, with the Royals even entering the picture to some extent. He guesses, though, that the Astros are most likely to land Gray. That’s not to say that it’s Houston’s first choice; Nightengale says that the team spoke with the Tigers on Michael Fulmer but “came up empty.”
We’ll see if the ’Stros continue to push for Fulmer, who’d surely require a major haul of prospects. Here are some more notes from Nightengale and others:
- If Gray is the top starter who’s likely to be dealt, the best position player on the market is probably Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez. The Cardinals were said previously to have looked into the high-powered slugger, but Nightengale says they won’t spend big on a rental of his ilk. Rather, he says, the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are the three clubs that have “shown the most interest” in Martinez. We’ve also heard of a few other organizations poking around on the righty slugger, so there seems to be no shortage of interest.
- The Phillies aren’t in contention — far from it — but are still showing interest in Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, Nightengale adds. Other organizations are also said to be looking into the speedy veteran, who is under contract for $38MM over the next three seasons. It’s a bit surprising to see this particular link, as the Phils already control Cesar Hernandez and have variety of interesting middle infield prospects moving toward the majors. CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman argues as much, but notes that Gordon could conceivably be involved in some of the broader talks between the clubs.
- As many as 10 teams are still in the mix for Marlins righty David Phelps, tweets Nightengale. Phelps is indeed an attractive trade chip, though it’s unlikely that all 10 of those clubs are expressing serious interest and making competitive bids to acquire him. Nightengale names the Yankees, Red Sox, Brewers, Cubs, Rockies, and Rangers as the chief pursuers of Phelps.
- MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand provides a variety of market notes. Among them: the Marlins are shopping Brad Ziegler aggressively. The team is willing to hold onto a major portion of his salary to get a deal done, per the report. That’s no surprise, given that he struggled through 29 innings before hitting the DL with a back issue. With a discount on the free-agent deal, there ought to be some interest. After all, the crafty 37-year-old maintained a 2.05 ERA over 136 innings in the prior two campaigns.
- It’s not surprising to hear that the Tigers are asking for quite a haul in exchange for Fulmer, given that he doesn’t need to be dealt. And the organization is perhaps well served to maintain a lofty ask on Martinez, allowing suitors to bid up his return. But dealing some of the organization’s other veterans may require more give and take. A pair of rival executives tell ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) that Detroit may have trouble making deals at its current asking prices.
- Jed Lowrie has been one of the most oft-speculated trade candidates of the summer, but MLB Network’s Peter Gammons tweets that, to this point, the Athletics haven’t received so much as a single inquiry into his availability. Lowrie is obviously available in trade — as is the case with most of the Oakland roster — and it is indeed somewhat surprising to hear that interest in him is so scant. The versatile, switch-hitting 33-year-old is batting .272/.339/.455 with 10 homers, 27 doubles and two triples this year. Even if a contending club doesn’t view Lowrie as a starter, his $6.5MM salary and $6MM club option aren’t exactly outlandish for a productive utility option.
- The Red Sox are one team rumored to have some level of interest in Lowrie, though Boston has been most closely connected with Todd Frazier in its third base search. Odds are, a source tells ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber (Twitter link), the Sox won’t be parting with significant prospect assets to meet its needs at the hot corner and in the bullpen. That likely wouldn’t be necessary for Lowrie or Frazier; one wonders, though, whether the club will still at least look into more significant deadline additions.
- We haven’t heard much detail as yet on Mets righty Addison Reed, who looks to be one of the best available relievers. But he’s generating “plenty of trade interest,” in the words of Newsday’s Marc Carig (via Twitter). That’s to be expected given the dominant form of the pending free agent. Over 43 2/3 innings this year, Reed owns a 2.47 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and just 1.0 BB/9.
Here are a handful of notes on the Marlins, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
- Marlins bidders Jorge Mas and Derek Jeter won’t be joining forces, Jackson writes. Mas, the Miami billionaire, contacted Jeter weeks ago and asked him to join Mas’ ownership group (as Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman also recently noted). Jeter refused, however, because he wants to control both the baseball and business sides of the team despite only contributing a relatively modest $25MM of his own money (as Heyman also previously noted). Jeter’s desire to control all parts of the team’s operations were also an issue when Jeter was previously part of a bidding group that included Jeb Bush.
- An earlier report indicated union executive (and former big-league outfielder) Jose Cruz Jr. would be part of the Mas group. Jackson indicates that no specific role has been outlined for Cruz, but that Mas and his group do favor him.
- The Marlins aren’t actively looking to trade Dee Gordon, but might deal him for the right return, Jackson suggests. A recent report from Heyman named the Royals, Angels and Blue Jays as potential bidders for Gordon, but indicated that the $41MM left on Gordon’s current deal might be a sticking point. Gordon is batting .291/.338/.353 in 380 plate appearances this season.
- Neither righty Brad Ziegler nor outfielder Ichiro Suzuki plan to retire after the season, Jackson writes. Ziegler considered retiring before signing with Miami last winter, Jackson indicates. It’s not surprising that those retirement plans are no more, however, since he’s signed for $9MM next season. The 37-year-old is, however, in the midst of a terrible year, with a 6.52 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 over 29 innings. Ichiro would play in 2018 at the age of 44 and has a .220/.267/.294 line this year; Jackson suggests that Ichiro is unlikely to return to the Marlins next season, despite his plans to play.
- Infielder Miguel Rojas is set to return soon from a thumb injury, and manager Don Mattingly says he’s open to having Rojas compete with rookie JT Riddle for the starting shortstop job. Mattingly indicates, though, that he liked using Rojas in a utility role instead. Rojas has played all four infield positions with the Marlins this season.
There’s “increasing buzz” that the Rangers will listen to offers on top starters Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels if they don’t open the second half of the season with strong play, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. It’s been previously reported that the Rangers will hold onto Darvish even if they fall out of the race, so that’d represent something of a change of mindset for GM Jon Daniels & Co. Darvish is set to hit the open market at season’s end, so if the Rangers are out of the race and don’t trade him, they run the risk of losing him to free agency (though he’d obviously receive and reject a qualifying offer, affording Texas some draft compensation). Hamels, meanwhile, hasn’t been listed as a potential trade target to date. He’s earning $23.5MM this year and next, and he’s owed at least $6MM as the buyout on a $20MM club option for the 2019 campaign. That contract and a bizarrely low strikeout rate (4.9 K/9) could complicate Hamels’ market, though he’s shown recent improvement with 12 strikeouts in his past 14 1/3 innings of work.
More trade chatter from around the league…
- The Marlins have told other clubs that they’re ready to sell off assets, a rival executive tells Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller. According to Miller, the Marlins have spoken to more than 10 teams about right-hander David Phelps, and there are two or three clubs that are showing “serious” interest in closer AJ Ramos. “They’re working on it and talking to clubs,” the exec tells Miller. “But the conversations always end with one caveat, that they don’t know that the owner won’t bail at the last minute.” Miller adds that Giancarlo Stanton isn’t likely to move until the Marlins accept that they won’t get someone to take his salary and give prospects back. The industry feeling is that it’d have to be almost a straight salary dump. (Stanton can also veto any deal via his no-trade clause.) Miller’s column features a look at all 30 teams and their possible deadline course as well.
- Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are available in trades, writes Jon Morosi of MLB.com, but the Athletics, Tigers and Pirates have each set a lofty asking price. Perhaps more interestingly, Morosi adds that the Braves have said right-hander Julio Teheran isn’t available, though he’s reportedly been drawing interest and others (including David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports) have said that Atlanta would at least consider offers. In addition to that overview of the market for pitchers, Morosi runs down a position-by-position preview of the market for bats.
- Heyman reports that there’s little to no genuine interest in Justin Verlander at this time due to his huge contract and underwhelming numbers. Furthermore, he notes that due to Verlander’s status as a legend in Detroit, they can’t accept an underwhelming return and effectively signal to Tigers fans that his trade was a salary dump. There’s also very little interest in Ian Kinsler, according to Heyman, as the he’s struggled in 2017 and few teams are on the hunt for second base help. He adds that Alex Avila, J.D. Martinez and Justin Wilson are all drawing strong interest, however, so GM Al Avila should make some deals in the next 18 days.
- In his weekly AL Notes column, Heyman reports that with few top starters left on the market, the Astros may instead pursue high-end bullpen help in an effort to shorten the game and load up the relief corps for the postseason. Unsurprisingly, their list of targets would include Zach Britton, if he’s available. (Most clubs in the league would perk up at the notion of acquiring a healthy Britton.)
- Heyman also notes that Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia is one rental pitcher that interests the Royals. On the subject of Kansas City, he also notes that while the team does have interest in Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, K.C. would want Miami to pay down some of the roughly $41MM remaining on Gordon’s contract, which the Fish aren’t willing to do. The same is true of the Angels and Blue Jays, he adds, both of whom like the player but not his current salary.
- Meanwhile, in his NL Notes column, Heyman writes that the Reds are believed to be willing to listen to offers on closer Raisel Iglesias but would only move him for a package that would “blow them away.” The 27-year-old Iglesias has emerged as one of baseball’s best relievers and is controllable through the 2020 season. He’s affordable at the moment ($3.5MM in 2017), but his contract allows him to opt into arbitration once eligible, so his salary is going to balloon quite a bit between now and 2020. Heyman also notes that the Reds would be interested in a two- or possibly three-year deal with Zack Cozart but recognize that he can earn more than they’re willing to pay when he gets to free agency.
- The Yankees, Nationals, Dodgers, Cubs, Brewers, Royals, Angels and Mariners could all be in the mix for lefty Brad Hand, Heyman reports. Regarding the Dodgers, Heyman and Robert Murray report that San Diego asked Los Angeles for top prospect Alex Verdugo in return, though there’s “no likelihood” of L.A. meeting that price. The Padres are also getting calls on cheap starters Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard and Jhoulys Chacin, each of whom inked a one-year deal worth $1.75MM this past offseason.
At least three teams have expressed some interest in Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. The Angels, Blue Jays, and Royals have each “at least mentioned” the infielder as a possible deadline target, per Heyman.
Gordon, 29, hasn’t continued the form he showed in 2015, his first season with Miami. He slashed a career-best .333/.359/.418 — helped along by a .383 batting average on balls in play — and swiped 58 bags that year. With quality glovework mixed in, Gordon was valued at 4.7 fWAR and earned himself a five-year, $50MM extension.
He has had a somewhat redemptive 2017 season, at least, after his second season with the Marlins was marred by a PED suspension and significant performance decline. In his 375 plate appearances this year, Gordon owns a .295/.342/.358 batting line and has already stolen 32 bases.
While there isn’t immense need at second base around the game, Gordon would be a future asset for any acquiring team. And with his immense speed and highly rated glovework, he’d also be a particularly useful postseason roster piece.
All said, Gordon’s contract seems fairly reasonable, though it’s certainly not the bargain the Marlins once hoped it would be. The deal promises Gordon $7.5MM this year and $38MM over the three seasons to come — which includes a $1MM buyout on a $14MM option for 2021. (That option would be guaranteed if Gordon reaches 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1,200 over that and the prior season.)
It’s not yet clear just what kinds of trade scenarios might entice the Marlins. Presumably, though, the focus would be on shedding as much of the financial commitment as possible. It’s not difficult to see the reason for interest from the teams that Heyman lists, as the Halos, Jays, and Royals have each had their share of uncertainty at second base. But it’s an open question whether those or any other teams would really be willing to take on most or all of Gordon’s contract.
The Marlins have been perhaps the most oft-discussed teams in baseball with MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline just three weeks away, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill threw some cold water on rumors surrounding some of the team’s most appealing assets. Speaking to FanRag’s Jon Heyman, Hill stated that the Marlins “aren’t talking about” controllable stars Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna in trade discussions.
Asked specifically about first baseman Justin Bour and right-hander Dan Straily, Hill offered similar sentiments, stating that Bour “goes into the same basket” and that Straily’s status as a successful, pre-arbitration pitcher lands him in that same category. The recently extended Miami president stopped short of suggesting that Giancarlo Stanton was off limits, though Hill does say that the Marlins haven’t put his name out to other teams. And, of course, Stanton has a full no-trade clause and an enormous sum remaining on his 13-year contract, making it tough for another team to take on his contract anyway.
Hill’s comments mesh with yesterday’s report from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman suggesting that Miami’s primary focus is on dealing away its more expensive relievers (e.g. Brad Ziegler, AJ Ramos, David Phelps) and other veterans on the roster, with names like Martin Prado and Edinson Volquez both popping up as of late. Of course, any developments in the apparently ceaseless negotiations of a sale of the Marlins could impact deadline maneuverings. (Heyman has a separate update on the latest developments on that front.) But, it’s nonetheless notable to see Miami’s head of baseball ops firmly suggest that the team’s most appealing assets are likely to remain in house, as things stand.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recently reported that the Fish have had talks with three clubs about second baseman Dee Gordon as well, and a Marlins source confirmed to Heyman that his name has at least been mentioned in talks, though there’s nothing in either report to indicate that talks are serious. (I’ll note that I respectfully disagree with Heyman when it comes to Gordon’s contract being a “vast overpay”; the 29-year-old remains a quality defender and one of MLB’s top baserunners in addition to a solid .295/.342/.358 batting line, helping to mask his lack of pop.) Heyman adds that it’s a similar story with Prado, who has been connected to both the Yankees and Red Sox but isn’t high on either club’s list.
Even with the team’s top names unlikely to be marketed, Miami could still fetch varying levels of interest in Ramos, Phelps, Kyle Barraclough, Dustin McGowan, Volquez, Derek Dietrich and Tom Koehler, so there could still be plenty of action for the Marlins on the trade market.
Furthermore, it stands to reason that the Marlins will be more open to parting with larger names once this week’s All-Star festivities have passed. In addition to the fact that the league generally frowns on trades during this time, urging teams not to take focus off the Midsummer Classic and its surrounding festivities, Miami is hosting this year’s event. Embarking on a significant fire sale before the All-Star Game rolls through town isn’t a good look for any franchise’s fans.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon is drawing trade interest from three teams, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter). The Fish are known to be open to discussing any player under a long-term contract as they look to be deadline sellers, and Gordon is locked up through 2020 on an extension that will pay him $37MM in salary over the next three seasons, plus a $14MM club option for 2021 that carries a $1MM buyout. (Gordon also has roughly $3MM left to be paid in this season’s salary.) After a lost 2016 season that included an 80-game PED suspension, Gordon is hitting .298/.346/.363 in 368 PA this year, though the bulk of his value has come in the form of baserunning (31 steals in 37 attempts) and strong second base defense. Gordon projects as a long-term asset rather than a deadline rental for interested clubs, which leads to some intriguing speculation about his potential market. Several contenders and pseudo-contenders would use a boost in second base production, though some of those teams near the bottom of the list already have long-term second basemen who are simply underperforming.
Here’s more from around the NL East…
- The Phillies have made first baseman Tommy Joseph available in trade talks, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. With prospect Rhys Hoskins raking at Triple-A, it has widely been expected that Joseph would be available at the deadline given that the two primary first basemen can’t really co-exist in the same lineup. After a very rough start to the season, Joseph has recovered to post a .252/.313/.466 slash line and 15 homers through 323 plate appearances. Though Joseph is 26, controllable through the 2022 season and has shown some solid power in his brief big league career, it is thought that the Phillies may only be able to get good value for him in a trade if packaged with a rental player.
- While Hoskins seems very likely to get an audition in the big leagues this season, Phillies second base prospect Scott Kingery may remain at Triple-A in 2017, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Though Kingery only has 12 Triple-A games under his belt, roster logistics could be the main reason Kingery probably won’t see the Show in 2017. If the Phils leave Kingery at Triple-A all year, they wouldn’t have to add him to the 40-man roster and thus protect him during the Rule 5 Draft in December. Over 371 combined PA at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, Kingery is hitting .312/.371/.606 with 22 home runs.
- Nationals righty Joe Ross was removed during the fourth inning of his start today after experiencing a notable drop in velocity during the game. Ross hadn’t been pitching well (three ER in 3 1/3 IP), though his removal came with one out and nobody on in the fourth inning, and Washington’s team trainer accompanied Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux to the mound. Baker described the injury as “triceps tenderness” in his postgame talk with MASNsports.com’s Mark Zuckerman and other reporters. Ross had has an inconsistent season that saw him demoted to Triple-A for a brief spell, and the young right-hander has a 4.86 ERA for the Nats, thanks in large part to 15 homers allowed in just 70 1/3 IP. Ross missed roughly 10 weeks last season due to shoulder soreness.