- The Cardinals’ search for an impact bat is expansive, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak and his staff have had discussions with virtually every impact bat on the market, including Eric Hosmer, and their trade talks with the Marlins have gone beyond Giancarlo Stanton and also touched on Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (presumably not in the same deal). Two execs with other teams told Goold that the Cardinals have been aggressive in trade talks thus far. “We’ve got capacity to increase our payroll depending on the right situation,” owner Bill DeWitt Jr. tells Goold.
- Jose Martinez is utilizing the Venezuelan Winter League to further familiarize himself with playing first base, writes MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. The Cardinals gave Martinez, who has spent most of his career in the outfield, 29 starts at first last season and plan to use him there again in 2018 (though more in a backup role). Martinez has started nine of his 13 VWL games at first base and figures to continue to gain more exposure there over the course of the offseason. The 29-year-old hit .309/.379/.518 with 14 homers in 307 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2017.
As detailed earlier this morning at MLBTR, the deadline for Major League clubs to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight. Because of that, there will be literally dozens of moves between now and 8pm ET as teams make final determinations on who to protect and who to risk losing in next month’s Rule 5 draft. This process will lead to smaller-scale trades, waiver claims and DFAs, but for some clubs the only necessary moves will simply be to select the contracts of the prospects they wish to place on the 40-man roster. We’ll track those such moves in this post…
- Heading onto the Blue Jays’ roster, per a club announcement, are righty Connor Greene, lefty Tom Pannone, first baseman Rowdy Tellez, and catchers Dan Jansen and Reese McGuire.
- The Rays have selected the contracts of righties Brent Honeywell, Diego Castillo, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose Mujica, lefty Ryan Yarbrough, first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers, and outfielder Justin Williams, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- The Diamondbacks placed lefty Jared Miller on the MLB roster, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports on Twitter.
- A list of six players is heading onto the Reds’ 40-man, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter): infielders Alex Blandino and Shed Long, outfielder Jose Siri, and righties Jose Lopez, Jesus Reyes, and Zack Weiss.
- The Padres and Brewers have joined the teams announcing their additions. For San Diego, lefties Jose Castillo and Brad Wieck are heading to the 40-man. Milwaukee has selected shortstop Mauricio Dubon, catcher Jacob Nottingham, and righties Marcos Diplan and Freddy Peralta.
- The Marlins and Yankees just struck a trade relating to their 40-man maneuvering, and each announced their selections shortly thereafter. Miami is placing outfielder Braxton Lee on the MLB roster along with righties Merandy Gonzalez, Pablo Lopez, and James Needy. New York, meanwhile, will select righties Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, and Jonathan Loaisiga to the 40-man along with outfielder Billy McKinney and infielders Thairo Estrada and (last but not least) Gleyber Torres.
Click to check in on other teams that have selected players to their 40-man rosters …
Another day, another slew of rumors pertaining to the game’s top slugger. Reports over the weekend indicated that the Cardinals have submitted a formal offer to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, but that doesn’t mean that there’s any indication a trade involving Stanton is any closer. Here’s the latest on the 2017 home run king…
- Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweets that the Marlins and Giants have discussed second baseman Joe Panik, right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Beede and outfield prospect Chris Shaw. The Giants have also discussed the possibility of taking Dee Gordon back in the deal, which would make some sense with Panik possibly being of interest to Miami. It’s worth noting that Mish doesn’t specifically state that the two sides have talked about a Panik/Beede/Shaw for Stanton and Gordon package. To the contrary, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that he hears that is not the framework of a deal being discussed (nor is it close, according to Schulman). It seems, then, that the two sides are likely discussing multiple scenarios and those names have been involved (likely with others) in various permutations. The Giants reportedly made some type of trade proposal on Friday.
- Mish also tweets that the Cardinals are willing to part with hard-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, who was included in the aforementioned formal offer to Miami. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com rank Alcantara ninth among Cardinals farmhands, noting he sits at 96 mph with a fastball that scrapes triple digits and also has the potential for a pair of average or better secondary offerings. Baseball America rated Alcantara fourth among Cardinals farmhands just two weeks ago (subscription required & recommended for their full scouting report).
- Meanwhile, Schulman tweets that the Marlins haven’t reached the point where they’re asking interested teams for their best and final offers for Stanton, thus indicating that an actual trade involving Stanton is not especially close at this time.
Rumors continue to swirl around Marlins right fielder and trade candidate Giancarlo Stanton early this offseason. Here’s the latest on the NL MVP:
- The Cardinals “have made a formal offer” to acquire Stanton, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter link). They’re at least the second team to make a pitch to the Marlins for Stanton, joining the previously reported Giants.
- There are some evaluators around MLB who believe the Marlins need a “reality check” with regards to their asking price for the slugger, Buster Olney of ESPN writes. With $295MM left on his contract and an opt-out clause after 2020 on his deal, Stanton lacks surplus value, per Olney, which jibes with a Morosi report from earlier this week. One executive told Olney that the Marlins are “not going to find teams willing to give up both the money and the prospects, and that’s why [they’ll] probably have to choose: They can either take the talent and eat some of the money, or they’ll have to prioritize the [money] savings.”
- The Cardinals and Rockies are among teams with interest in reliever Brandon Kintzler, whose experience as a closer has executives wondering if a club will sign him to handle that role, according to Morosi. Both the Cardinals and Rockies need more than ninth-inning help, as each team has seen multiple key relievers hit free agency this month. The 33-year-old Kintzler has overcome a paucity of strikeouts to ride a low-walk, high-grounder combination to success throughout his career, including in a 2017 campaign that saw the righty amass a career-high 29 saves between Minnesota and Washington (28 with the Twins).
You didn’t think we were going to make it to the weekend without another look at the market for Giancarlo Stanton, surely? The Marlins slugger, fresh off of receiving the National League MVP Award yesterday, is still the biggest name to watch. Here’s the latest:
- Offers are flowing in on Stanton now that the GM Meetings have wrapped up, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes. The Giants have submitted some kind of proposal, according to Rosenthal, with the Cardinals and Red Sox among the other teams believed to be lining up their own concepts for Miami to consider. Rosenthal adds that the San Francisco organization would be willing to take on much of Stanton’s contract, but may in turn need to shed salary elsewhere. It’s interesting to note the Sox’ active interest, since president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski had thrown some cold water on the idea of a major acquisition of late.
- Stanton himself discussed the odd situation he faces — with his name splashed about headlines due both to his evident availability in trade and his MVP nod — as Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. The Marlins star says he’d rather remain with the Fish, but thinks the team needs to “thoroughly address” its pitching with “a huge push” that, frankly, does not seem likely. (Stanton says he’s “not entirely sure” it’s realistic, but adds: “But I know all teams have plenty of money.”) Generally, Stanton called the situation “interesting,” but seems to be at peace with the process. “This is the only place I’ve known,” he said, “but I also understand the business part of it and the direction the new ownership wants to go.”
- Super-agent Scott Boras sided with Stanton on the spending point in his recent comments to the media, chiding teams like the Marlins for drawing up plans to reduce payroll. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the rights of organizations — particularly, those with new owners — to modify payroll as part of their long-term strategies, as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports on Twitter. “I think it’s unfair, really, to criticize a decision — if it turns out to be the decision — to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated,” Manfred said in an oblique reference to Stanton’s situation. “… I hope that the fans of Miami — whatever decisions are made — give [new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter] an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is.”
THURSDAY: Officially, all nine players have rejected their qualifying offers and become free agents, the MLBPA has announced (h/t Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter).
MONDAY: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes. Each of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Carlos Santana will turn down that one-year opportunity in search of a multi-year pact in free agency.
In doing so, that group of nine will also subject themselves to draft-pick compensation and position their former clubs to recoup some value in next year’s amateur draft should they sign elsewhere. Last offseason’s new collective bargaining agreement altered the specifics of that compensation, tying the draft picks received and surrendered largely to the luxury tax threshold, revenue sharing and the size of the contract signed by the free agent in question.
MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained which draft picks each of the six teams that issued a qualifying offer would receive, should their free agents sign elsewhere, as well as which picks all 30 teams would be required to surrender if they are to sign a qualified free agent. Prior to that, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk provided a more comprehensive and in-depth overview of the new QO system, for those that are unfamiliar or would like a refresher on the finer details.
It’s been reported for quite some time that Kansas City will make a strong effort to retain Hosmer. Heyman added over the weekend that the Royals will also push to keep Moustakas but feel that Cain is almost certain to land elsewhere on the open market. The Rockies are known to have interest in re-upping with Holland on a multi-year deal, and Heyman notes within today’s column that the Rays “understand [Cobb] is out of their reach financially” and will sign elsewhere. He also adds that Davis seems to be likelier than Arrieta to return to Chicago.
It’s unlikely that there will be any formal announcements just yet. Among the changes to the QO system under the 2017-21 CBA was that QO recipients would have 10 days, rather than seven, to determine whether to accept or reject the offer. The deadline to issue QOs was last Monday, so the recipients still technically have until this coming Thursday to formally declare their intention. But, barring a last-minute freak injury it seems that each of the nine will go the widely expected route and enter free agency in search of the most substantial contracts in their respective careers.
The Giancarlo Stanton rumor mill was churning yesterday as teams jockey for position with the Marlins — and, perhaps, with Stanton himself, who can veto any trade. At the end of the day, though, it seemed there was no greater clarity as to where he might be dealt and when a trade might go down.
We’ll use this post to track any new developments today …
- MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that teams that have spoken to the Marlins have informed them that they feel the 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s deal is a rough approximation of his market value (all Twitter links). In other words, other clubs don’t perceive there to be much, if any, surplus value on Stanton’s deal. As such, the Marlins will have to pay down a notable portion of the deal to also extract premium prospects from a potential trade partner. One exec suggested that Miami would need to pay as much as $5MM annually in order to receive good prospect value. Morosi notes that the Cardinals and Marlins once again discussed trade concepts today.
- The Marlins initiated a brief conversation with the Yankees regarding Stanton, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Yankees aren’t considered a serious suitor, though, and the Yankees simply said they’d be open to hearing what the Marlins had in mind, perhaps as a matter of sheer due diligence. Both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have publicly stated a desire to dip under the $197MM luxury tax barrier, and Stanton’s $25MM annual salary would obviously get in the way of that goal.
- Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says he has not yet spoken with Stanton, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was among those to report on Twitter. “If there’s a reason to call him, I’ll call him,” said Jeter. The new Marlins boss did not commit to dealing Stanton and noted that such a move would be complicated, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But Jeter also suggested that the team cannot continue operating in the same manner financially as it did under prior ownership.
- Of course, president of baseball operations Michael Hill sat down with Stanton and says he has a sense of what the slugger is interested in. He’s also running point on Stanton talks with other teams. Hill tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he is putting the onus on suitors to come forward with some information on what they are willing to do to land Stanton. “Until I know where you’re at on the contract, the money, all that stuff, I can’t engage,” Hill said of his rival executives.
- Rosenthal said that eight teams had engaged on Stanton to this point. Six of those are fairly serious pursuers, according to a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- There’s “little momentum” regarding Stanton between the Dodgers and Marlins, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Of course, the most notable point at this stage seems to be that the Dodgers are involved at all. Los Angeles seems like a solid fit for Stanton, though it’s also not difficult to imagine the organization preferring not to tie up such a significant portion of its payroll in one contract.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle ran down the latest on Stanton from the Giants’ perspective. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did the same with regard to the Cardinals. And WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford explained why he still thinks the Red Sox could be in Stanton (or another superstar hitter) despite some indications to the contrary.
The Cardinals have discussed closer Alex Colome in trade talks with the Rays, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network (via Twitter). St. Louis has an opening at the back of its bullpen, among other needs, after releasing Trevor Rosenthal following Tommy John surgery.
Colome is one of many names I raised recently as theoretical possibilities in addressing the Cards’ closer opening. He’s only projected to earn $5.5MM and can be retained for two additional seasons through the arbitration process. And there’s no question he can handle the pressures of the ninth inning, having secured 84 saves over the past two seasons.
Of course, as the above link shows, there are quite a few other options as well. And Colome’s record is not spotless. While he led the American League in saves last year, he also failed to match his output from the prior campaign. After carrying a 1.91 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 2016, Colome sported a 3.24 ERA in 2017 with only 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 2017.
It’s also not yet clear just how the Rays will proceed. There have been calls for some kind of rebuild, which the organization is evidently at least willing to consider. Should the team decide it is willing to part with Colome or other veteran assets, though, it seems likely that it’ll demand quality young talent at or near the majors in return.
Generally, the Cardinals have quite a few routes they could still go. The team is looking, especially, to improve the back of the pen and bolster its offense. With numerous controllable position players to dangle in trades, as well as some payroll capacity to work with, the Cards will be looking to craft a path to addressing all of their desires as efficiently as possible.
In seeking a major bat, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the team “has no interest” in pursuing free agent J.D. Martinez. Beyond their well-known interest in some Marlins targets, the Cards are also chatting internally about the possibility of going after free agent Carlos Gonzalez, who will surely be available for less (in terms of contract amount assumed and prospect capital) than would the others.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis organization is considering some tinkering with existing players. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak says he has informed Dexter Fowler that he could be shifted to left field in favor of Tommy Pham. And Matt Carpenter may be asked to move around in a utility role, though the expectation would be that he’d get near-everyday time.
Similarly, the Cardinals are also weighing how best to handle their pitching staff, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Righty Alex Reyes, who will be returning from Tommy John surgery, could be slowed down to open the season and work from the bullpen, Mozeliak suggested. The club might also boost its relief corps by utilizing Sandy Alcantara there, though he’ll likely stretch out in camp. These hurlers will surely factor into the construction of the bullpen, though their presence obviously does not obviate the need for new arms — especially in the ninth inning.
- The Cardinals are looking to trade multiple outfielders given their logjam of upper-level talent, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Phillies, Orioles and Giants have had interest in some of the Cards’ outfielders in the past, Goold notes, adding that Randal Grichuk is the outfielder that “comes up the most often.” Goold also reports that the Dodgers tried to pry Tommy Pham away from the Cardinals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline but were unsuccessful in doing so. In addition to Grichuk and Pham, the Cards have Stephen Piscotty, Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez at the big league level. Beyond that, younger options include Harrison Bader, Magneuris Sierra, Randy Arozarena (who Goold profiles at the beginning of his column) and Tyler O’Neill.