- Meanwhile, righty Trevor Cahill will slot back into the Padres’ starting staff Tuesday, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. With the trade deadline approaching, Cahill’s return will come at a good time for the rebuilding Padres. Cahill, out since mid-May with a shoulder strain, pitched like a front-line starter over 41 1/3 innings in the early going, logging a 3.27 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and a 60.2 percent ground-ball rate.
The Red Sox do not need to stay under the luxury tax line in making their deadline moves, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in an appearance today on WEEI (h/t to Rob Bradford, on Twitter). Recent estimates put Boston about $9MM shy of the threshold, which has added implications under the new CBA since the tax escalates when it is owed in consecutive seasons. While the Sox will no doubt weigh that factor in assessing possible trades, it’s notable that the organization doesn’t feel compelled to stay within those limits. Boston is likely to be involved in the market for third basemen — I looked at possible targets recently — and could also add pitching.
Here’s more …
- The Giants are clearly in position to deal a few veterans, but it’s not yet known just how significant the moves will be. Signs are, though, that San Francisco is willing to listen to offers on just about any player, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writes. The Giants are not interested in moving Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford, per the report. That could leave some other interesting names available, with Morosi even suggesting that first baseman Brandon Belt could be available. He calls the Angels a potentially “intriguing fit” — though it’s not clear whether there’s any firm interest from Los Angeles — while noting that several other buyers will be looking at a variety of left-handed-hitting first basemen on what seems still to be a wide-open market.
- Unsurprisingly, interest in relief pitching will be robust at this year’s deadline, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com writes. Executives suggest that there’ll be a premium on pen arms, as usual, though the expectation remains that none will fetch the kind of immense returns that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller commanded last year.
- The Padres have inquired with the Yankees about elite shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. That said, there’s no indication the Yanks have any interest in parting with the talented youngster — even though he is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That injury doesn’t really change his long-term value, of course, and it’s not altogether clear what Padres players the Yankees might target that could command that kind of trade value. Lefty Brad Hand and former New York infielder Yangervis Solarte may well be of interest, as Heyman notes, but it’s tough to imagine the Yankees parting with such an elite prospect for either or both of them.
- Heyman also weighs in on veteran Tigers hurler Justin Verlander, who has seen his name begin to come up in trade rumors. At this point, a deal seems less than likely, a source tells Heyman, but there is a real possibility that the righty (and his contract — which promises $56MM over 2018 and 2019) could end up on the move. Three or four teams are said to have participated in exploratory talks on Verlander, per the report, though any deal would require Verlander to waive his no-trade protection.
- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, a clear trade candidate with his strong play and expiring contract, tells Heyman that his preference would be to remain in Cincinnati. While he says he understands and accepts that a deal “is more than likely to happen,” Cozart noted that he has informed the front office that he’d be amenable to exploring a long-term contract instead. It’s not terribly surprising, particularly given their internal options, that the Reds haven’t yet made an offer to the 31-year-old.
- Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera is walking back his recent call to be traded after being moved from short to second, as Dan Martin of the New York Post writes. Cabrera explains: “In that moment when I said that, I wasn’t saying I want to get traded. I was just saying it didn’t seem like they had a plan for me. … If they’ve got a plan, they should tell me.” He went on to say that he is “fine with playing second base,” saying that his complaint related more to a lack of communication. In any event, it remains unclear just how much demand there’ll be for the veteran, and also how inclined the Mets are to bring him back next year at a $8.5MM price tag (versus a $2MM buyout).
Here’s the latest trade chatter from around the league:
- The Athletics do not feel a need to wait until the deadline to begin moving veterans, sources tell MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. That may be true even (or especially) in the case of Sonny Gray. While he’s controllable, and doesn’t have to be traded, a rival exec says he thinks Oakland will be interested in dealing him early to avoid a month of injury risk. Possible rentals Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie are both said to be on the block as well, unsurprisingly.
- Other teams beginning to explore sell-side moves, per Feinsand, are the Braves, Marlins, Mets, and Reds. Those clubs are all obvious suspects given their placement in the standings. Atlanta could be an interesting team, though, since the organization seems to be prioritizing improvement in the on-field results and doesn’t have a lot of clearly valuable trade pieces.
- The Yankees and Red Sox are both looking over the Marlins roster and have asked about a few players, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Both New York and Boston have inquired on veteran third baseman Martin Prado, who is not terribly cheap and has spent a good chunk of the year on the DL. The Yanks are also expressing some interest in Miami first baseman Justin Bour, per the report; he’d offer a quality left-handed bat, though his affordable control will likely come with a fairly high asking price. The Fish are also said to have indicated an openness to dealing “anyone with a multi-year contract,” Nightengale adds. That would obviously free up quite a few intriguing potential trade candidates, including the club’s three quality young outfielders.
- Rival executives feel that the Tigers will market veteran righty Justin Verlander, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes, though Detroit’s intentions (and asking price) remain unclear. He’d be an easy product to pitch were this 2016, when Verlander was in vintage form. But he hasn’t followed that up with any degree of consistency thus far in 2017. Still, the $56MM he’s owed in 2018 and 2019 seems fairly reasonable, and it’s hard to ignore the top-line upside that still seems to reside in Verlander’s powerful right arm.
- The Padres, meanwhile, are apparently setting their sights high in talks involving southpaw Brad Hand, with one source telling Passan that GM AJ Preller hopes to achieve a return commensurate with that achieved last year by the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman. As Passan notes, that does seem steep — despite the fact that Hand does come with two more years of cheap arb control — but it likely won’t hurt to aim big at this stage of the proceedings.
- There, are, of course, some other talented relievers available. Two Marlins hurlers are also drawing interest from “multiple teams,” per Passan. AJ Ramos and David Phelps appear to be solid (albeit hardly perfect) late-inning pen options for contenders; indeed, MLBTR ranked them in a tie for 11th in the most recent list of the top fifty trade targets leaguewide. Both hurlers are reasonably expensive ($6.55MM and $4.6MM, respectively), so the salary-conscious Fish may see an opportunity to avoid some obligations. They each also can be controlled for an additional season via arbitration.
2:19pm: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the two sides are reviewing medicals of the players that will be involved. Topkin hears that outfielder Braxton Lee and right-hander Ethan Clark are among the names being discussed.
11:45am: Crasnick reports that if the Rays are to take on all of Hechavarria’s salary, they’d like the Marlins to include a cheaper, controllable power arm to help facilitate the deal (Twitter links). Crasnick notes that Barraclough would fit that bill, though he adds that it’s not clear if the Rays have actually singled Barraclough out as a target.
Meanwhile, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Rays and Marlins are optimistic that they can reach an agreement to send Hechavarria to Tampa Bay in exchange for “fringe prospects” at some point today.
JUNE 26, 8:40am: The Marlins are close to a trade of Hechavarria, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Like Frisaro, Morosi hears that the Rays are the likeliest landing spot for Hechavarria.
10:42pm: The Rays seem to be the “frontrunners” in talks, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets. Miami is looking for young pitching in return for Hechavarria.
JUNE 25, 10:20pm: The Padres have joined the Rays in the Hechavarria sweepstakes, Clark Spencer reports (via Twitter). The Cardinals are no longer involved in talks.
JUNE 24, 12:07pm: The Orioles are no longer involved, per Spencer (Twitter link). But he hears that the Cards (as well as the Rays) are still in talks for Hechavarria.
8:26am: There’s at least one mystery team involved, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter).
JUNE 23: The Marlins have informed other clubs that they expect to trade Hechavarria within the next 24 to 48 hours, Spencer reports (on Twitter). It seems the push from the Marlins’ side is driven by an ownership effort to save salary rather than a baseball ops assessment, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter.
It appears that the Rays appear to have “created some traction” in structuring a deal, sources suggest to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). Meanwhile, the Cardinals don’t seem to be pursuing Hechavarria at this point, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. St. Louis had at least spoken to the Marlins about Hechavarria, tweets Spencer.
Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson is slated to undergo back surgery on Wednesday, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. The procedure, in which “bulging disc material” will be removed from Dickerson’s back, will keep him out for at least three or four months.
Unfortunately, that means that the 27-year-old won’t have a chance to suit up at the major league level this season. He went down in camp with a disc protrusion; while the hope at the time was that surgery wouldn’t be required, that changed after a setback. As Lin writes, Dickerson does have a history of back issues dating to his teenage years, though the hope is that this procedure will at least resolve things fore the foreseeable future.
If all goes as hoped, Dickerson will have a long winter to work back to health and prepare once again to battle for a job in Spring Training. He turned in a .257/.333/.455 slash with ten home runs and five stolen bases over 285 MLB plate appearances in 2016, and has always hit in the minors, so he figures to have a solid shot at earning a return trip to the majors at some point.
The Padres are set to announce the signing of third-overall pick MacKenzie Gore tomorrow, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). Once the signing is official, Gore will receive a $6.7MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (Twitter link).
That payday lands just over the $6,668,100 slot value that came with the Friars’ top selection. Gore’s signing represents the last unfinished business from the first ten rounds of the draft for San Diego.
In Gore, the Padres landed a much-hyped left-handed prep pitcher. He drew consensus top-five pre-draft billing, with Fangraphs’Eric Longenhagen ranking him highest at third on the board.
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that Padres right-hander Zach Lee cleared waivers and has been sent outright to Triple-A El Paso. The 25-year-old Lee allowed five runs in eight innings for the Padres this year, and he’s tallied more walks than strikeouts in both the Majors and minors in 2017. While Lee was once regarded as one of the game’s best pitching prospects, he’s never excelled in the upper minors or in the Majors. The former Dodgers prospect owns a 4.94 ERA across 435 1/3 career innings in Triple-A.
- Mayo also reports a pair of Padres signings — both of which are high school catchers (Twitter links). San Diego saved a little more than $400K on No. 39 overall pick Luis Campusano-Bracero, inking him for $1.3MM. Those savings (and then some) will go to No. 69 overall pick Blake Hunt, who receives a $1.6MM bonus that’s nearly double the $859K slot value of his selection. Campusano actually ranked higher on many draft boards despite his lower bonus thanks to his power potential. Hunt gets praise for his glove, but his bat isn’t as advanced.
The Padres announced to reporters prior to tonight’s game that infielder Yangervis Solarte was scratched from the lineup due to a strained left oblique muscle (Twitter links via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). He’ll be placed on the 10-day disabled list due to the injury, which he suffered taking a swing prior to tonight’s game, according to Lin.
There’s been no announcement of a timeline just yet, but oblique strains can often sideline a player for a month or more, which would be an obvious blow to Solarte’s trade stock. Signed through the 2018 season with a pair of club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Solarte stands out as an obvious trade candidate for the rebuilding Padres. After a slow start to the season, he’s been on a tear over the past month, hitting .337/.427/.589 with seven homers across his past 25 games. That incredible run has boosted Solarte’s season line to a very solid .268/.349/.425.
The versatile Solarte is capable of playing both second and third base, though he’s served as San Diego’s everyday second baseman thus far in 2017. The Padres have a number of players to whom they could turn in his absence; both Jose Pirela and Chase d’Arnaud are on the 25-man roster at the moment and have plenty of experience at second base. In Triple-A, the recently-optioned Ryan Schimpf has mashed at a .273/.314/.636 clip in eight games since being sent down. And fellow infielder Carlos Asuaje, who got off to a slow start, has raked at a .307/.430/.480 pace over his past 21 Triple-A contests.
The Padres announced on Monday that they’ve claimed left-hander Dillon Overton off waivers from the Mariners and designated right-hander Zach Lee for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Overton has been optioned to Triple-A El Paso, per the Padres.
The 25-year-old Overton was a second-round pick by the Athletics back in 2013 and was traded to Seattle in the offseason. The Mariners, however, designated Overton for assignment this past weekend after a rough start to his 2017 season; through 18 1/3 innings at the big league level, Overton logged a 6.31 ERA with just eight strikeouts, albeit against a mere two walks. His minor league output has been worse, as he’s been rocked for a 9.33 ERA through 27 innings with Triple-A Tacoma.
However, Overton is just a few months removed from wrapping up a strong 2016 season in which he posted a 3.29 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 36.1 percent ground-ball rate through 125 2/3 innings (20 starts) for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate. And with a pair of minor league options remaining, he’s a reasonable add for a Padres team that is thin on pitching depth and brought in most of its current rotation via free agency this past winter.
Lee, also 25, has allowed five runs in eight innings for the Padres this year while tallying more walks (eight) than strikeouts (six). Once regarded as one of baseball’s very best prospects while in the Dodgers’ minor league ranks, Lee’s career has never taken off as many scouts and prospect analysts had envisioned. He’s posted a 5.32 ERA with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season and has compiled a 4.94 ERA across 435 1/3 career innings in Triple-A.