- When the Athletics put Rich Hill on the market, they can be expected to charge a high price for him, Rosenthal says. Hill’s stats — if only for this season — compare favorably to David Price’s last year, and he might be amenable to an extension with his new team.
- Prior to this season, there was no trade interest in Melvin Upton unless the Padres took on the rest of his contract. After a .268/.315/.464 performance this year, though, that’s changing, at least to a degree. San Diego still owes Upton a little under $40MM through 2017, but teams are now willing to give up talent, with the Padres’ return increasing depending upon how much salary they’re willing to take on. The Padres might be motivated to deal Upton and/or Matt Kemp to clear space for former first-round pick Hunter Renfroe, who’s batting .335/.362/.611 for Triple-A El Paso. Austin Hedges has also hit well for the Chihuahuas, which means the Padres could also look to move fellow catcher Derek Norris to clear space in the big leagues.
- Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays would make sense, Rosenthal opines. Acquiring Bruce from the Reds would allow the Jays to move Jose Bautista (who’s currently on the DL with a toe injury) to DH and reduce playing time for the underwhelming Justin Smoak. The Jays have a greater need for pitching, but might play to the strengths of the market by acquiring hitting instead.
- The Phillies could consider keeping Jeremy Hellickson, who’s in the midst of a solid season — he could eat innings for them down the stretch, with the Phillies perhaps gambling on him by extending a qualifying offer this coming winter and hoping to grab a draft pick as a result. But they would still “jump” at a good trade offer. Of their relievers, the Phils are more likely to deal David Hernandez or Andrew Bailey than Jeanmar Gomez, who they can control for 2017. Other Phillies candidates to be dealt include Andres Blanco and Peter Bourjos.
- Rosenthal begins the second video with a brief discussion of an article of his from earlier today about former Cardinals minor leaguer Cody Stanley, who has already received a 162-game suspension and expects to receive a lifetime ban for repeatedly testing positive for the steroid Turinabol. Stanley claims to not know why he keeps testing positive. “I will never apologize for something I didn’t do,” Stanley said in a statement. “We will not stop searching for why all of this has happened.” Chris Colabello of the Blue Jays, Alec Asher and Daniel Stumpf of the Phillies and Boog Powell of the Mariners have all tested positive for Turinabol and received suspensions, and all claim not to know what happened. “Who would be stupid enough to take the same steroid again?” Stanley asks Rosenthal.
- The Mets are likely to trade for pitching after a series of injuries to their hurlers, Rosenthal says. Recent injuries to Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard could have the team looking in different directions this month than previously anticipated, perhaps to starters, perhaps to relievers.
- The Dodgers will consider dealing Yasiel Puig before the August 1 deadline, Rosenthal suggests. Whether they actually do deal him could depend, however, on the timing of Andre Ethier’s return and whether they acquire another outfielder.
The Giants announced after last night’s game that third baseman Matt Duffy is headed to the disabled list with a strained Achilles tendon in his left foot. As MLB.com’s Chris Haft writes, Duffy is headed for a second opinion on the injury right now, though the initial expectations don’t appear to forecast a lengthy absence for the 25-year-old. Duffy cautioned that he wants to avoid returning from the injury too soon and aggravating his Achilles, as it could lead to a more prolonged absence. Ramiro Pena and Conor Gillaspie figure to platoon at third base in his absence, writes Haft, with outfielder Mac Williamson a likely candidate to come up and tack Duffy’s roster spot in the interim. Asked whether top prospect Christian Arroyo, who can play either shortstop or third base, would be an option to replace Duffy, general manager Bobby Evans indicated that the organization feels that Arroyo requires more development time in the minor leagues.
More from the NL West…
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune spoke to scouts from both leagues to get their thoughts on a number of the Padres’ trade candidates, including Fernando Rodney, Jon Jay, Derek Norris, Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., Drew Pomeranz, Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte (injured right-handers Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner are notably absent). One scout noted how difficult it will be to convince a team to take on Kemp’s contract in his “arthritic condition,” and a second scout called both Kemp and Upton “dead weight” despite the latter’s reasonably solid offensive numbers the past two seasons. Regarding Myers and Pomeranz, Lin received a pair of replies saying it’d be prudent to hang onto the pair of controllable pieces, while another pair called out each player’s limited track record in questioning their overall value. As one scout put it, a “lot of people are lukewarm about [Myers] across the game” at this time.
- Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood is among the most successful two-time Tommy John patients in history, writes Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Chatwood is currently the only two-time TJ patient that is currently making regular starts at the Major League level, and he’s pitched to a 3.15 ERA in 85 2/3 innings for the Rockies thus far in 2016. Chatwood credits his success to a dedication to studying other elite pitchers and adopting a mix of pitches that he feels could be less stressful on his arm upon returning from his second surgery. Groke calls Chatwood the ace of the Rox’ staff, though I’d respectfully disagree and give that label to up-and-coming Jon Gray; while Gray’s ERA pales in comparison, his strikeout, walk and swinging-strike rates all point to improvement on the horizon. Regardless of one’s preference between the two, though, Gray and Chatwood represent a nice pair of arms for the Rockies to deploy in their rotation moving forward.
- D-backs outfielder David Peralta, who landed on the disabled list with a back strain yesterday, is getting an MRI today according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). Neither Peralta nor the team believes the injury to be too serious in nature, so the test would appear to be fairly precautionary in nature.
- Pirates righty Ryan Vogelsong, who spent the 2011-15 seasons with the Giants, told reporters yesterday (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he would have loved to return to San Francisco but understood why the team elected not to pursue him this winter. “I kind of knew they were probably going after some front-line guys for the rotation to make it better and give them more innings and take a load of the bullpen,” Vogelsong explained. “It was never my intention to make it seem like I didn’t want to go back there. I would have loved to go back. It was a matter of a team progressing.” Vogelsong is currently recovering from a truly frightening eye injury suffered when he was hit in the face by a fastball. As he explained to Schulman, he feels fortunate that he’s able to see out of his left eye and is currently seeing with 20-20 vision and making throws of up to 90 feet.
Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is elite at maximizing players’ values, opines the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who writes that Beane is in prime position to shine as this year’s trade deadline approaches. The last-place A’s, who are likely to sell, have appealing trade chips like outfielder Josh Reddick, starter Rich Hill and relievers Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and John Axford. None will be as intriguing as 26-year-old right-hander Sonny Gray if the A’s put him on the block, though. The A’s are unsure about whether to make Gray available, per Cafardo, who reports that double-digit scouts from contenders take in each of his starts.
More rumblings from Cafardo:
- The Giants are aggressively shopping for relief help and a middle-of-the-order hitter to fill the void left by the injured Hunter Pence. Bullpen possibilities include Twins righty Kevin Jepsen and southpaw Fernando Abad, both of whom the Giants have recently scouted. As far as the outfield goes, any of Ryan Braun – whom the Giants have discussed with Milwaukee – struggling Padre Matt Kemp or free agent Carl Crawford could end up in San Francisco. Kemp has recovered at the plate from a nightmarish May this month, but he remains a defensive liability who’s owed $21.5MM annually through 2019.
- Jepsen and Abad aren’t the only Twins who might change uniforms this summer. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe and infielder Eduardo Nunez could also pique contenders’ interest. Nunez is surprisingly excelling this year, hitting .318/.348/.485 with nine home runs and 16 steals – the fifth-highest total in the majors – through 249 plate appearances. He’s on a mere $1.48MM salary this season and is scheduled to make one more trip through arbitration.
- The Red Sox, Royals and Blue Jays are potential landing spots for Padres center fielder Jon Jay, who’s batting a solid .299/.345/.410 through his first 287 PAs of a contract year. Jay, 31, is earning $6.23MM this season.
- With Colorado having designated him for assignment Wednesday, 33-year-old shortstop Jose Reyes will soon be looking for a new home, and the scuffling White Sox are a team to watch. Chicago already released one veteran shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, earlier this week. His replacement, 22-year-old prospect Tim Anderson, has gone 9 of 34 with four extra-base hits, nine strikeouts and no walks.
In regards to Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun’s potential availability this summer, one American League executive told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, “That’s the name I’m waiting for.” Braun is in the first season of a five-year, $105MM extension, and both the money he’s owed and his PED history are roadblocks standing in the way of a possible deal, reports Cafardo. The writer adds that the quality of return in a hypothetical Braun trade will come down to how much of his contract Milwaukee eats. The 32-year-old has dealt with injuries this season, but he has still slashed an outstanding .316/.378/.541 with 11 home runs through 217 plate appearances.
More from the Boston-area insider:
- The fact that one of Braun’s teammates, Jonathan Lucroy, is still on the Brewers surprises some baseball executives. One National League exec thinks rebuilding Milwaukee has an unrealistic asking price for Lucroy. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old has made his case for a major return by serving as perhaps the majors’ best catcher this season; plus, he has a cheap club option for 2017 ($5.25MM).
- Opinions are split within the Braves organization as to whether they should trade 25-year-old right-hander Julio Teheran or build around him. The Braves have fielded inquiries on Teheran, but it would cost a significant haul to acquire him, notes Cafardo. In 82 innings this year, Teheran has recorded an excellent ERA (2.85) and put up strong strikeout and walk rates of 8.45 and 2.52, respectively. He’s also controllable through 2020 on an eminently reasonable contract.
- In not-so-shocking news, the Padres are hoping to move struggling outfielder Matt Kemp, a major league source told Cafardo. However, given Kemp’s contract (he’ll make $21.5MM per year through 2019) and lack of production, it’s going to be difficult to find a taker. With his combination of subpar defense and disappointing offense, the former MVP candidate has been among the majors’ least valuable players this year.
- Reliever Daniel Hudson, a pending free agent, could be a hot commodity around the trade deadline if the Diamondbacks decide to sell. The right-handed flame-thrower has tossed 24 2/3 innings this year and logged a 1.82 ERA, 8.03 K/9 and 2.19 BB/9, also inducing ground balls 49.2 percent of the time.
- Free agent outfielder Shane Victorino is still looking for a new team, his agent, John Boggs, told Cafardo. Victorino has been available since the Cubs released him May 23. The 35-year-old was a replacement-level player in 71 games last season, batting a weak .230/.308/.292 in 204 combined PAs with the Red Sox and Angels, so he might continue to have difficulty finding work.
Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez, Padres right fielder Matt Kemp and Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun have all helped their respective trade values early this season, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Ramirez is the only one of the three whose offensive production was subpar in April, but Cafardo points to his hustle, enthusiasm and dedication to the team this year as reasons for his improved stock. The 31-year-old Kemp – signed through 2019 at $21.5MM annually – is the most available of the trio, per Cafardo, who adds that he could be a target of the Red Sox if Chris Young doesn’t start playing better. On the notion of acquiring any of them, a National League general manager told Cafardo, “Are they all $20 million-plus players? I’d say not. You’d have to be able to get them for $10 million-$15 million. There are different ways to reach that number through negotiation and the caliber of players you’d have to give up.”
Here’s more from Cafardo:
- Athletics left-hander Rich Hill followed last season’s torrid September with a great April, during which he threw 26 innings of 2.42 ERA ball while striking out 12.81 batters per nine. Assuming he continues to serve as a quality rotation option, the 36-year-old will be a sought-after arm around the trade deadline, Cafardo reports. Hill is scheduled for free agency at year’s end, but the AL West doesn’t look like a division anyone will run away with and the A’s could be inclined to keep him if they remain in the hunt.
- Dr. James Andrews’ Monday examination of Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s injured shoulder will be “huge” for both the player and the team, Cafardo writes. He doesn’t rule out a club, perhaps the Padres, having interest in Sandoval if the injury is minor. That certainly seems like a long shot, though, given that Sandoval will collect $75MM through 2020 – including a $5MM buyout – has been worth minus-2.2 fWAR in 129 games dating back to last season, and has a major weight problem.
- Outfielder Grady Sizemore remains a free agent and has not retired, agent Joe Urban told Cafardo. The 33-year-old posted an .800-plus OPS during the second half of 2015, but he has been a minus player according to fWAR in each of the previous two seasons.
Padres outfielder Matt Kemp has hired Reynolds Sports Management to represent him, according to announcements from both player and agency.
Kemp’s new representatives likely won’t have to negotiate a baseball deal for the slugger for some time. He is still playing under the eight-year, $160MM contract he signed with the Dodgers before the 2012 campaign. Kemp will earn $21.5MM anually over the next four years. (San Diego will receive $3.5MM annually from Los Angeles as part of the trade that brought him over last winter.)
That contract was negotiated by former agent and now-Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart, who obviously was forced to wrap up his services to players when he moved to the Arizona front office. He reportedly transferred the agency to teammate and friend Dave Henderson, but Henderson passed away unexpectedly late last year.
Kemp, 31, will be looking to improve his overall output in his second season with the Pads. He scuffled in the first half of the 2015 campaign but did finish strong, compiling a .286/.339/.528 slash with 15 home runs over his final 274 plate appearances.
- Andrew Cashner wasn’t the only Padre to draw interest from the Orioles, as the O’s also discussed James Shields and Matt Kemp in talks with San Diego. Shields has been the subject of some trade speculation this winter but there hasn’t been much solid buzz around the veteran following his somewhat disappointing 2015 campaign. Shields allowed a career-high 17.6% homer rate last year despite pitching home games at Petco Park, which certainly would be a concern for a team playing in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Shields can opt out of his contract after 2016, and if he chooses to remain in his current deal, he’s owed $44MM in 2017-18 (counting the buyout of his 2019 club option). That opt-out and Shields’ age make him a trickier trade candidate than Cashner, despite Shields’ stronger career track record and history of success in the AL East.
- Kemp, meanwhile, was also an Orioles target last winter before the outfielder was dealt from the Dodgers to the Padres. Kemp would provide the O’s with a bat beyond their rumored targets of Dexter Fowler, Pedro Alvarez and Jay Bruce, and he might come at a discounted price since San Diego would obviously have to eat a healthy chunk of the $86MM owed to Kemp through the 2019 season (the Dodgers are also paying $14MM of that total). Kemp’s hitting has been inconsistent over the last three seasons, however, and Baltimore’s outfield defense would take a big hit with either Kemp or Mark Trumbo getting regular playing time. As Kubatko puts it, Kemp is “still not coming to Baltimore,” so it may be that the O’s have moved on.
- Several teams have asked Baltimore about Jonathan Schoop but the O’s aren’t listening to offers involving the young second baseman.
- Minor league southpaw Chris Lee is also getting attention in trade talks, and while Lee doesn’t seem as untouchable as Schoop, Kubatko says the Orioles “would like to hold onto” the left-hander. Lee was recently ranked as the seventh-best prospect in Baltimore’s system by Baseball America after a 2015 that saw him make his Double-A debut. The Orioles acquired Lee from Houston last May for two international bonus slots.
- The Orioles are planning to watch Tim Lincecum’s upcoming throwing session once the date is finalized. The O’s were linked to Lincecum earlier this month and they’ll likely be one of several teams interested in seeing if the former two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is looking healthy.
- Beyond Lincecum, “the Orioles are pretty much open to any bounceback candidate coming off an injury,” Kubatko writes. This search would include Cliff Lee, though the O’s don’t seem to feel that the veteran southpaw wants to pitch in 2016.
There’s plenty of trade chatter as camp approaches, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes in a column today. That’s already been made evident by the notable deal struck earlier this evening. As always, a full read is recommended, but here are some of the highlights of the post:
- The Orioles would prefer to add Dexter Fowler after signing Yovani Gallardo — assuming they can get that deal done — says Rosenthal. But if that doesn’t work out for some reason, Baltimore’s backup plan would be to pursue a deal for Jay Bruce. The Reds appear to have realistic expectations with the veteran, who hasn’t been consistently productive in recent years and is owed $12.5MM this year (with a $13MM option for another season). Indeed, getting something done would likely require rather modest expectations. Though Bruce has shown quite a bit of talent over the years, and is still shy of thirty years of age, his track record over the past two seasons (.222/.288/.406) isn’t inspiring.
- The White Sox could be a threat on Fowler or other free agent outfielders, per the report. Chicago seems to have more interest in adding there than in pursuing Ian Desmond, as the team likes its internal options at shortstop. The South Siders are pushing on multiple fronts and might well also line up a deal for Avisail Garcia if they make a significant addition. The willingness to be flexible and seek creative avenues to value could certainly serve the Sox well as the winter wraps up; the team already seems to have done well in securing Mat Latos at just $3MM.
- Chicago’s interest in Andre Ethier has been overstated, says Rosenthal, but the Dodgers have indeed explored trade scenarios. It’s a complicated decision, as he notes, since Ethier has been plenty useful. Then there’s the fact that his contract status comes with some intricacies. Ethier is set to reach ten-and-five rights early in the year, and his vesting clause poses a bit of a barrier for possible suitors. From my perspective, it remains somewhat difficult to see another organization being willing to take on enough salary (and/or give back enough value) to make a deal work out. There’s $38MM still to go over two years, plus the threat of a reasonably attainable vesting clause, and that’s quite a bit for a player who will soon turn 34 and would come with expectations of being a solid regular rather than a difference maker.
- While the Padres are still looking around for deals, discussing players like Matt Kemp and Derek Norris, near-term deals for those prominent names appear unlikely. Likewise, the Athletics have had talks involving Billy Butler, and may even have had one opportunity to deal the struggling DH. Butler is more expendable than ever with Khris Davis now in the fold, though that addition hardly makes a trade inevitable given how much Butler is owed. Oakland will presumably hope he can rebuild value by carrying momentum from a solid finish to an otherwise rough 2015.
The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp and asking about shortstops, sources from rival teams tell Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). The Padres “may be reluctant to eat a lot of money” in such a deal, which could make things tricky given Kemp’s poor 2015 season and the $72MM owed to him through 2019. It isn’t clear if San Diego would be willing to attach highly sought-after righty Tyson Ross to Kemp, which FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal speculated about last month as a way to entice a club into taking Kemp off the Padres’ hands. Here’s some more from around the NL West…
- The Diamondbacks’ surprising signing of Zack Greinke was conceived and concluded in under 12 hours, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. GM Dave Stewart tells Nightengale that the club had only discussing Greinke “in passing” before owner Ken Kendrick and president Derrick Hall gave Stewart the go-ahead on Friday morning.
- With so much committed to Greinke, however, the Diamondbacks are already pushing the limits of their payroll, a source tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The team is thus looking at trades to further bolster its pitching, rather than free agent signings. As such, Piecoro reports in a tweet that D’Backs people aren’t too optimistic about their chances of signing Mike Leake.
- One rival executive thinks the Diamondbacks will be busy at the Winter Meetings, telling Piecoro that “If they’re going to sign Greinke, I would expect them to try to go get more.”
- The Dodgers are expected to meet with Yovani Gallardo’s agents during the Winter Meetings, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets, and the free agent righty could be a plan-B option for L.A. after missing out on other pitching targets. The Dodgers are on the verge of landing one new arm, as they’re close to an agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma.
- The Rockies are “open-minded” about trading outfielders like Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon, sources tell FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link).
With the Diamondbacks striving to address the weakness in their rotation, the Padres competition has grown even more challenging, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The team wants to walk the fine line between contending and rebuilding by collecting a high volume of prospects for their current trade chips. Rosenthal calls it the “Kimbrel Model.” With the high cost of free agent pitching, the club’s rotation depth should become more attractive to other organizations.
- The Diamondbacks’ signing of Zack Greinke doesn’t change the Padres’ plans, tweets Rosenthal. The club will still aim to contend while reducing payroll and adding prospects. From my perspective, I see that some fans may prefer for the club to enter a full rebuilding mode while others prefer instant gratification. In the case of the Padres, the tightrope approach could make sense. The club has just enough talent to maybe get lucky, yet they’ll probably still collect early draft picks. I find their situation reminiscent of the 2015 Braves. They contended for the first half of the season before selling.
- Tyson Ross is the team’s best trade asset, but the club could also opt to extend him, suggests Rosenthal (tweet). Ross is under club control through the 2017 season. The righty is widely regarded as possessing perhaps the best slider in baseball, but his fastballs grade out as below average per PITCHf/x. He has a career 3.57 ERA with 8.49 K/9, and 3.65 BB/9. His slider-heavy repertoire means he probably won’t improve upon his walk rate, but he has posted more strikeouts and a better ERA in recent seasons.
- Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, it would be hard for the Padres to trade Ross and pretend to contend. That could lead San Diego to prefer a trade involving Andrew Cashner, says CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The Padres will look to deal Cashner once the free agent market dries up. The hard throwing righty is coming off a disappointing season that included a 4.34 ERA with 8.04 K/9 and 3.22 BB/9. He’s posted better walk rates in past seasons, so a rebound in his control could help the 29-year-old recover his past form.
- Ten teams have shown interest in free agent third baseman Will Middlebrooks, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The Padres non-tendered Middlebrooks earlier this week. San Diego originally acquired the former Red Sox starter last winter in exchange for Ryan Hanigan. After a promising rookie season in 2012, Middlebrooks has failed to live up to expectations. He posted a meager .212/.241/.361 line in 270 plate appearances last season.
- The Padres future flexibility depends upon which contracts they shed, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The club owes about $64.5MM to eight players with four arbitration eligible players set to earn about $21MM more. Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton, James Shields, and Ross are their priciest talents.
- Lin also has the details of the split-contracts signed by Josmil Pinto and Cesar Vargas (tweet). Both will earn just north of the league minimum in the majors ($500K) with at least a six figure guarantee if optioned to the minors.