- As the best player on a rebuilding team, Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has been mentioned in trade speculation for a while, but it sounds as if first-year co-owner Derek Jeter wants to keep the star in the fold. “I don’t ever like to talk about specific players, in terms of their futures, but he’s a guy we’d love to have long term,” Jeter told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com and other reporters on Wednesday. Realmuto wanted out of Miami as recently as last February, but he sounded more open to staying there when discussing his future last month. For now, the Marlins are in position to control the 27-year-old via arbitration through the 2020 season.
Along with the previously reported Nationals, the Astros had interest in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Both teams’ interest in Realmuto dates back to at least last offseason, but neither they nor anyone else have been able to pry the star backstop out of Miami. Instead of Realmuto, the Astros ended up acquiring the much less exciting Martin Maldonado from the Angels before the deadline. He’s backing up Max Stassi, who has emerged as the Astros’ starter since Brian McCann underwent knee surgery a month ago. Stassi got off to a great offensive start this year before cooling off significantly over the past couple months, though he is having an elite season behind the plate.
- The Red Sox inquired about Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough before the deadline, but Boston ultimately “backed off,” Cafardo writes. Barraclough wound up staying with the Marlins, who placed a high asking price on the flamethrowing right-hander. The 28-year-old hasn’t been good of late, as his ERA has skyrocketed from .99 to 3.28 since the beginning of July, but he still comes with a quality track record and affordable team control. As a result, the Marlins elected to keep Barraclough, who will make his first of three possible trips through arbitration during the winter.
The Yankees have been one of the most aggressive teams on the international free agent market for the past several seasons, and they’ve already put the considerable amount of international funds they acquired in trades with the Cardinals ($1MM) and the White Sox ($1.5MM); New York announced today that it has signed Cuban righty Osiel Rodriguez and Cuban shortstop Alexander Vargas. Rodriguez’s $600K signing had previously been reported, but MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (via Twitter) that the newly signed Vargas received a whopping $2.5MM bonus. Vargas, 16, ranked eighth on MLB.com’s rankings of this year’s international prospects, drawing praise for his range, arm and instincts both at shortstop and in center field.
A few more notes on the international market…
- Sanchez also recently took a lengthy look at the latest on the market for top outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa. While the Cuban-born star has yet to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, there’s a fair bit of intrigue as to where he’ll sign once eligible. Victor Victor and his younger brother, Victor Jr., are both training in the Dominican Republic at present, according to Sanchez, but there’s no indication that either has established residency in another a country — a requisite step before being declared a free agent by MLB. Sanchez runs through the teams that are plausible landing spots for the brothers and takes a look at their potential timelines to signing.
- Interestingly, Sanchez further notes that the Orioles and Marlins could be in line to make a significant play for Mesa (Twitter links). Both teams acquired international money prior to the non-waiver deadline and are interested in increasing their spending on the international front. The Orioles have a hefty $8.25MM they can offer, though it’s worth noting that GM Dan Duquette has suggested they could sign some international prospects as soon as this week (link via MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski). With the Mesas yet to reach free agency, that’d suggest that they’re not earmarking their entire pool one or both brothers. The Marlins, meanwhile, have $4.35MM to work with at present — the second-most of any team that is not limited to $300K signings. The Athletic’s Emily Waldon reported recently that the Orioles were working hard on a deal with the elder Mesa brother (Twitter link). MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr tweeted that the Marlins are indeed planning a run at him as well, though he added that the Orioles could be closer. Of course, no deal can be announced until the league declares the Mesa brothers to be free agents, and there’s no real way of knowing when that process will be complete.
This has been a trade-packed day across Major League Basbeall, meaning there are plenty of corresponding smaller moves that have been announced over the past couple of hours as teams make today’s agreed-upon deals official. Here’s a look at the DFAs, contract selections and other 40-man transactions that came along with today’s action…
- The Diamondbacks designated left-handed reliever Jorge De La Rosa to make room for newly added southpaw Jake Diekman, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. De La Rosa, a longtime Colorado starter who’s in his second season in Arizona, switched to a full-time relief role upon changing teams and hasn’t produced inspiring results. The 37-year-old has logged a 4.38 ERA/4.98 FIP with 7.51 K/9, 4.17 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings since joining the D-backs. On the bright side, De La Rosa has posted a 48 percent groundball rate and been tough on left-handed hitters. Considering he’s only owed the balance of a $2.25MM salary, perhaps a team will be interested in taking a flyer on De La Rosa.
- The Dodgers designated righty Ariel Hernandez for assignment to open a spot for John Axford, per the MLB.com transactions page. Hernandez, 26, scuffled through his first MLB action last year with the Reds and hasn’t made it back since. Over fifty frames this year in the upper minors, he’s carrying an appealing 2.52 ERA, but has also handed out 29 walks to go with his 49 strikeouts.
- The Indians announced that they’ve designated outfielder Johnny Field for assignment. His spot on the 40-man will go to newly acquired outfield prospect Oscar Mercado, whom Cleveland acquired in a rare all-prospects trade with the Cardinals (full details here). Field, 26, only recently landed with the Indians himself after spending most of the year (and his entire professional career to that point) with the Rays. Field posted a meager .213/.253/.373 batting line in his first 179 MLB plate appearances, all accumulated earlier this season.
- The Mets announced today that they’ve claimed infielder Jack Reinheimer, who was designated for assignment last week, off waivers from the Diamondbacks. A former fifth-round pick, Reinheimer received a cup of coffee with the D-Backs last year but hadn’t done much to force his way back to this point in 2018. In his fifty games at Triple-A, Reinheimer owns a .237/.312/.353 batting line. Additionally, outfielder Matt den Dekker cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Las Vegas. He’ll have the right to elect free agency now or at season’s end.
- Outfielder Isaac Galloway is on his way to the Majors to make his MLB debut with the Marlins, the club announced. It’s a long time coming for an eleven-year pro who has never before tasted the majors. Through 356 plate appearances this year at Triple-A, Galloway carries a .262/.315/.429 triple-slash.
- Galloway’s contract was selected following the trade of Cameron Maybin to the Mariners, who opened a spot for Maybin by moving right-hander Dan Altavilla from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in yet another 40-man move. Similarly, Cubs righty Justin Hancock was transferred to the 60-day disabled list in order to open a spot for Brandon Kintzler, who was acquired from the Nationals today.
- The Orioles are selecting the contract of right-handed reliever Cody Carroll, who will step into the roster spot of Kevin Gausman following today’s trade to Atlanta. Carroll landed with the Baltimore organization in the recent swap that sent reliever Zach Britton to the Yankees.
- First baseman Ryan O’Hearn had his contract selected by the Royals, per a team announcement. Infielder Cheslor Cuthbert moved to the 60-day DL to open a spot. It’s the first crack at the majors for O’Hearn, who’ll get the call despite tepid results (.232/.322/.391) this year at Triple-A.
- Righty Warwick Saupold cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A by the Tigers. The Aussie hurler threw 34 1/3 innings of 4.46 ERA ball this year in Detroit, but managed only 16 strikeouts and a 6.1% swinging-strike rate in that span.
1:31pm: The Marlins and Diamondbacks have announced the trade. Arizona moved Shelby Miller to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot — a move that could end Miller’s season.
Ziegler, 38, is a rental piece who is earning $9MM in 2018 and will hit free agency at season’s end. He’s still owed about $2.95MM of that sum through the end of the year, which the D-Backs will pick up in full.
While Ziegler’s 3.98 ERA on the season isn’t especially eye-catching, he’s been on absolute fire over the past two months, working to a sterling 0.93 ERA with a 22-to-11 K/BB ratio and an otherworldly 80.3 percent ground-ball rate through 29 innings dating back to June 1. Right-handed opponents are batting just .219/.305/.365 against Ziegler this season and have mustered only a .229/.285/.300 slash against him over the course of his Major League career.
The D-Backs are certainly plenty familiar with Ziegler, as he pitched for the organization from 2011 through 2016. He came to the organization at the deadline seven years ago today, then was spun off in a July 2016 deal that paid dividends for the Red Sox down the stretch. Ziegler joined the Marlins on a two-year pact in the ensuing winter. Over his time in Arizona, Ziegler worked to a sparkling 2.49 ERA and recorded 62 saves in 335 2/3 innings.
As for Evald, the 24-year-old is a recent ninth-round pick who only recently re-started his baseball career. He had recently moved up to the Double-A level after a dominant showing at High-A, where he spun 36 1/3 innings of 1.24 ERA ball with 10.4 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9.
Given how things looked after Ziegler’s ugly opening work this year, this counts as a clear win for the Marlins. Not only did they acquire a reasonably interesting pitching prospect, but they saved some real money on the tail end of Ziegler’s contract.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweeted the connection between the teams, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter) saying a deal was close and Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter) reporting one was in place. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (in a tweet) had the return, with Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (on Twitter) providing the financial details.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Marlins and Mariners have announce a deal that sends veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin to Seattle, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Prospect Bryson Brigman and $250K of international pool money are heading to Miami in the deal, per reports from Divish, Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter), and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
Maybin, 31, is earning just $3.25MM on the season under the one-year deal he inked over the winter. That makes him an affordable addition to the Seattle organization.
Though he struggled for much of the early portion of the season at the plate, Maybin has turned things on recently. Over the month of July, Maybin owns a .309/.427/.456 batting line with three home runs and five steals through 68 plate appearances. On the year, he’s producing at about 10% below the league-average rate, much as he did last year.
Of course, much of Maybin’s value is tied up in his legs and glove. He’s grading poorly on the basepaths this year, but that’s likely a blip for a player who was once an elite baserunner and has been quite good in the recent past. Maybin has performed well at all three outfield spots this year in Miami.
For the Mariners, this move adds another versatile piece to the outfield mix. The club added Denard Span a few months back, and he has performed quite well. Mitch Haniger has proven worthy of regular time and Ben Gamel has knocked around opposing righties. Maybin could ultimately displace Guillermo Heredia, who has stalled out at the plate, or join him to form a pair of right-handed options to go with the lefty-hitting Span and Gamel.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Marlins have struck a deal (still unofficial) to ship out one reliever, and could still have more bullpen moves left to make. But the organization is also engaged on some position players. Here’s the latest …
- While they haven’t seen loads of chatter in recent weeks, left-handed hitters Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich are both the subject of negotiations today, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro has also cited (on Twitter) those two names, along with Starlin Castro and Cameron Maybin, as still-possible trade candidates as the deadline draws nigh. It’s worth noting that the latter two players (especially Castro) could perhaps still be moved in August if they aren’t dealt today.
- The Athletics could be a team to watch on Dietrich, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro notes on Twitter. The Oakland organization has scouted Dietrich, per the report, and learned recently that Matt Joyce is going to be out a while longer with back issues, perhaps boosting the need for a lefty corner outfield bat. Dietrich, of course, can be controlled for two more seasons beyond the present.
- There doesn’t appear to be any momentum toward a deal involving the Marlins’ most interesting potential trade candidate. In fact, there has been no chatter at all today on backstop J.T. Realmuto, Heyman tweets. Of course, we’ve heard plenty of indication in recent months that several clubs have engaged with the Fish on the star catcher, who can be offered arbitration through 2020. Perhaps, then, it’s still possible something could come together — if a contender decides at the last minute to meet Miami’s understandably lofty asking price.
Though an MLB.com report of a near agreement on a Brad Ziegler trade between the Cubs and Marlins was ultimately retracted, there’s still plenty of chatter on the veteran submariner, who looks quite likely to change hands today. Ziegler is owed about $2.95MM of his $9MM salary through the end of the season and has pitched to a brilliant 0.93 ERA with 22 strikeouts, 11 walks and a superlative 80.3 percent ground-ball rate in 29 innings over the past two months. Here’s the latest chatter…
- The Marlins are moving closer to a trade involving Ziegler, but the Cubs are not in the mix anymore, tweets Frisaro. The field, it seems, is down to only a couple of teams.
- Meanwhile, both Mish and Nightengale have tweeted that Ziegler has been traded, though multiple reports have stated otherwise. Neither Mish nor Nightengale has been able to glean exactly where Ziegler is headed. It seems fairly obvious that Ziegler will be moved, but things appear to be fluid as the Marlins try to hammer out a final deal.
- Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal, meanwhile, tweets that the Red Sox aren’t likely as they’re prioritizing power arms.
- The Yankees have been in touch with the Marlins about both Cameron Maybin and Ziegler, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter links). New York has reportedly been eyeing an extra outfielder with Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier on the DL, and Maybin would fit that bill, while Ziegler would further deepen an already solid ’pen by giving them a strong weapon against right-handed opponents.
- The Cubs do not have an agreement in place with the Marlins, but they remain the front-runner to land his services, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. However, other teams remain in the mix to acquire him, per Frisaro, who notes that the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers and Astros have all scouted Ziegler in recent weeks.
- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Cubs are indeed expected to land a reliever today and are engaged with the Marlins in trade talks surrounding Ziegler (Twitter link).
- SiriusXM’s Craig Mish tweets that the Indians are still in the picture for Ziegler as well. Mish also suggested last night that the Marlins are aiming to move Ziegler to a team that can absorb the remaining money on his contract (roughly $2.95MM, as previously noted above) and also has international bonus pool money to spare. Miami was connected last week to top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa (per MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr, on Twitter), so it’d be reasonable to see the Fish try to boost their pool as teams await Mesa to be cleared for free agency by MLB.
11:48pm: The Cubs are close to reaching agreement on a deal to bring veteran Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler to Wrigley, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com (via Twitter). Details of the prospective arrangement remain unknown.
While the Chicago organization has already acted to bolster its relief unit, adding swingman Jesse Chavez, it obviously feels it could still stand to improve. The Cubs have been tied to a variety of names in recent weeks, including Ziegler.
Here are the latest rumors from around the game on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline:
- The Red Sox and Braves have each at least held talks with the Rangers on third baseman Adrian Beltre, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and Morosi. It’s not at all clear, though, that either club is going to push hard enough to get Texas to move the veteran. Indeed, talks with Atlanta may already have sputtered, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan tweets. He adds that there is some indication the Red Sox aren’t actually all that inclined to go after Beltre, so much as the future Hall of Famer likes the idea of going back to Boston, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears there’s not much of a connection between the clubs (Twitter link). In addition to other hurdles, Beltre’s no-trade rights present an obstacle. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that Beltre may not wish to go somewhere if he isn’t going to receive regular playing time. In any event, to this point, Beltre has not been presented with any possible trades to consider, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
- When it comes to rental outfielders, there aren’t a huge number of appealing options. But there are certainly some veterans drawing interest. The Yankees and Phillies have put out feelers on Curtis Granderson of the Blue Jays, per Morosi (Twitter link). Granderson isn’t the only notable name on the Phils’ radar, as Heyman connects the organization to the Mets and Jose Bautista, via Twitter. Meanwhile, the Marlins are still dangling outfielder Cameron Maybin, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). Among the clubs that are at least considering him are the Indians, Yankees, and Mariners.
- Some of the most interesting potential trade candidates, of course, won’t end up going anywhere. Indications are that some top hurlers will stay at home. It does not appear that any rivals have made a real push to force the Mets to part with righty Jacob deGrom, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (on Twitter). Despite “some late action” on Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino of SNY.tv tweets, it still seems there’s nothing brewing there. Meanwhile, the Orioles don’t appear to have been enthused with trade offers for top pitchers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (or their other controllable players), Heyman indicates in a tweet.
- The Pirates and Padres appear to have quite a lot to talk about, as Ken Rosenthal and Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic report (in a tweet) that the Pittsburgh organization has “aggressively pursued” pitching from San Diego. It’s not evident which hurler the Bucs are eyeing, though Rosenthal suggests that veteran Craig Stammen could be a sensible target. Stammen and Kirby Yates appear to be the likeliest remaining trade chips in the Padres’ pen, owing to their quality output and relatively short remaining control rights (one year and two years, respectively).
- While the present focus is on another member of the Rays pitching staff, reliever Sergio Romo is drawing quite a lot of looks, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Romo is affordable ($2.5MM salary), battle-tested in October, and still capable of getting outs in the majors at 35 years of age. Romo’s swinging-strike rate is down to 12.6%, his lowest since 2009, but he’s carrying a 3.69 ERA through 46 1/3 innings on the season.
- If you’re looking for more reading, check out the latest column from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. He runs through a variety of situations, including the Giants’ in-between position, the Twins’ struggles to market Brian Dozier, and more. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports also has quite a bit of chatter in his latest column, some of which we’ve already highlighted on the site. Among other items of interest, Passan checks in on the Brewers’ efforts to find a starter, suggesting they are a prime suitor for Zach Wheeler of the Mets.