Prospects losing trade value.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I was talking to a front-office executive last week who was lamenting about the disappointing season of a certain highly regarded prospect in the system. He's the kind of player who could have been the centerpiece of an attractive trade package, but not anymore.
It's important to keep in mind that prospects serve two purposes to the organization. The first, obviously, is to produce at the big league level for the parent team. The second -- and equally important purpose at this time of year -- is to be a means of acquiring big league talent for a playoff run.
With that in mind, here are some players whose clubs wish were currently worth more as valuable pieces in a trade deadline package.
New York Yankees: Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances
When dumping high-priced players, teams tend to want in return someone who is close to big league ready. Players fitting that profile provide less risk, and they also serve a public relations role by showing the fans what the team got back. The Yankees began the year with two highly regarded pitchers at Triple-A who pretty much represented the sum of their upper-level talent, but both have had disastrous 2012 campaigns.
After reeling off a trio of impressive starts, left-handed Banuelos struggled with his control in a May 18 outing, hit the disabled list with what was described as elbow soreness, and hasn't pitched since. Betances, a right-hander, has had an even more disturbing year. His messy delivery has always been a concern, but he's completely fallen apart mechanically, earning a demotion to Double-A after putting up a 6.39 ERA in the International League with 69 walks in 74 2/3 innings. He's had mixed results since returning to the Eastern League, but his trade value couldn't be lower.
Baltimore Orioles: Parker Bridwell, Jason Esposito, Nick Delmonico
Along with the big league ready players, teams often look for that high-ceiling kid at Low-A, and other than Dylan Bundy's remarkable start at the beginning of the year, it's been nothing but bad news for Baltimore's Sally League affiliate. Right-hander Bridwell entered the year as the big kid with upside who throws hard, and he has a 6.30 ERA.
Esposito is a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt who should dominate at this level, and he's hitting .225/.281/.297. Delmonico received a $1.525 million bonus as a sixth-round pick and is hitting .249/.344/.396 while looking like a first-base-only type. That's three potential trade pieces off the table, and without finding prospects around studs like Bundy and shortstop Manny Machado, it leaves the Orioles in a bind when it comes to making a major move.
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon, Sammy Solis, Matt Purke
When players get hurt, they can't develop, and scouts don't see them. That automatically causes a downgrade in a player's stock, and the Nationals have lost three of their top prospects this year to injuries, which eliminates them from any possible trade scenarios.
Rendon, the club's 2011 first-rounder, missed much of the year with an ankle injury, and is only now starting to get game action in the Gulf Coast League. And though he likely would not have moved anyway, teams need a stud to lead off a package for a top pitcher, and the Nationals lost two big arms in left-handers Solis (Tommy John surgery) and big-money 2011 pick Purke (shoulder). It's left Washington a bit handcuffed in terms of getting a deal done.
Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran
There are trade targets and then there is Zack Greinke. While he isn't absolutely available, it's certain that no trade for Greinke happens without the Milwaukee Brewers acquiring a top-flight prospect in return. That puts the Braves in a bit of a bind, as they have some depth in their system but right-hander Julio Teheran is their only stud -- the only guy who could bring back a player like Greinke.
Teheran has had an off-year while still struggling to find some consistency with his breaking ball. With an ERA approaching 5.00 at Triple-A Gwinnett, he still has the potential to be a frontline starter, but the Braves don't want to trade their only top-notch prospect, especially when his value has been lowered by the tough year. By all accounts, Atlanta is in on Greinke, but it's hard to see the Braves competing with the more attractive packages that a team such as the Texas Rangers can float out there.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Joc Pederson, Tim Federowicz, Alex Castellanos
The Dodgers made the first blockbuster deal of the trade season late Tuesday night by sending right-hander Nate Eovaldi and minor leaguer Scott McGough to the Miami Marlins for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate. Prior to that deal, right-handers Garrett Gould and Allen Webster, along with Eovaldi, were the names floating around in possible trades and there's a reason for that: If you want to make a deal with the Dodgers, you'd better not be looking for a hitter.
It's the most unbalanced system in the game, with the top non-pitching prospect in the system being outfielder Pederson at High-A. There's an open debate as to who is the second-best hitting prospect behind Pederson. There are Triple-A players with likely (but limited) big league futures such as catcher Tim Federowicz and utilityman Alex Castellanos, or moderate-ceiling, high-risk players at the lower levels who just don't have value until they produce. Teams that don't want pitching have nothing to talk about here.
Kevin Goldstein covers baseball for ESPN Insider. He has worked for Baseball Prospectus since 2006, where he is a national writer, and has covered the sport for a decade, with a focus on scouting, prospects and player development. He has previously worked for Baseball America and the self-started The Prospect Report. You can find his ESPN archives here, and follow him on Twitter here.
Harper no ROY sure thing.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
As we approach the dog days of summer, it's about the time of year when we can seriously start talking about MLB awards. Most of the big ones are still up for debate, but there seems to be an air of inevitability surrounding the rookie of the year awards, with people assuming Mike Trout will take home the trophy in the American League, and Bryce Harper in the NL.
There's no arguing with Trout, as he could probably stop playing today and still win the award, but Harper is another story, as his candidacy seems to be propped up by a whole lotta hype. So for a few minutes let's turn off the television, put down the newspaper, and let the statistics speak for themselves. Fact is, Harper has serious competition for NL Rookie of the Year, as a few under-the-radar standouts are making a strong case for the hardware.
Let's start in Milwaukee with Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki, who won three batting titles in the Japanese Central League before signing a two-year deal with Milwaukee last offseason. Aoki started the year on the bench, but when Mat Gamel's early-season knee injury pushed Corey Hart to first base, that opened the door for the international import in right.
Aoki's numbers match up quite well with Harper's, as he has an edge in batting average (.283 to .268) and OBP (.355 to .340) and trails slightly in slugging (.423 to .443). And if advanced metrics are more your thing, you might already know that Aoki has a tiny edge in wRC+ (117 to 116). Yes, Aoki is more than 10 years older than Harper, but there is plenty of precedent for Japanese imports, such as Ichiro Suzuki, coming over and winning ROY.
Also coming out of the National League Central is a sleeper candidate who has avoided big-time recognition, even within his own city. Third baseman Todd Frazier was supposed to take a back seat in Cincinnati this season to rookie shortstop Zack Cozart and first-year catcher Devin Mesoraco. Both highly touted prospects have performed well defensively, but batting averages of .245 and .216 have allowed the eyes of the future to rest on Frazier.
The Rutgers alum leads all NL rookies (min. 200 PAs) in SLG (.534), wOBA (.369), wRC+ (130) and FanGraphs version of WAR (1.9). (Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves has 1.8 WAR and is another ROY candidate, but he's out for a few more weeks with a broken pinkie and he's played in just 33 games.)
Veteran-favoring manager Dusty Baker has made it clear that a healthy Scott Rolen will start over Frazier at third. Luckily for the rookie's award hopes, Rolen already has made multiple trips to the DL this season, and Joey Votto's recent trip to the DL will mean even more playing time for Frazier, who can fill in at first as well as left field.
Finally, we cannot forget about Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks. After four seasons in the minors, Miley made seven starts for Arizona in 2011, building a record of 6-2. (To hold rookie status, a pitcher must not pitch more than 50 innings before Sept. 1 in any previous MLB season.) During 2012 spring training, he was not considered a serious candidate to make the D-backs' roster, let alone be a starter. Miley made three relief appearances before an injury to Daniel Hudson opened a spot in the rotation in April.
Miley, who has been a revelation for Arizona, joined Harper on the 2012 All-Star team. The southpaw currently tops all NL rookies with 11 wins, 85 strikeouts, and a 2.6 WAR, per FanGraphs. The anchor of Arizona's rotation in 2012, Miley has the team-best 3.02 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
With these kinds of numbers, it seems unbelievable that Miley, Frazier and Aoki have been largely lost among national media outlets, heroes only to the stat sheets. Why has Harper become America's "chosen one," an All-Star in his first season?
The answer is a number that neither Aoki nor Frazier can match: 19, as in Harper's age when he first took the field as a National in April. Aoki is 30, practically an old man in the world of professional athletics, and Miley and Frazier are a not-so-flashy 25 and 26, respectively.
This fact alone makes Harper special because he has produced stats equal to the top rookies at a much younger age. But this is "rookie of the year" we're talking about, not the award for the player with the brightest future.
Should Harper's age give him an edge in the rookie of the year voting?
Based on stats and the history of the award, that's a clown question, bro.
Five blockbusters that make sense.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
With less than a week before baseball's July 31 trade deadline, activity has picked up considerably. With so few sellers and contenders looking to solidify their rosters for a run on the postseason, some clubs might have to think much bigger on possible trades. In order to pry away some impact talent, they will have to give away some talent, too. Here are five major moves that I think could work for both "buyers" and "sellers."
Minnesota Twins send Francisco Liriano, Jared Burton, Justin Mourneau, Josh Willingham and cash to the San Francisco Giants for Brandon Belt, Kyle Crick, Mike Kickham and Heath Hembree
The Giants make a blockbuster move to get back to the World Series but at a serious long-term price. In Liriano, the Giants get another quality starting pitcher to put behind Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum. In Burton the Giants upgrade the back end of their bullpen to help the struggling Santiago Casilla. The Giants also add two middle-of-the-order bats with Willingham in right field and Mourneau at first base.
The Giants of course are banking on Morneau to have a strong second half after recovering from a wrist injury and concussion, but they don't seem to have faith in Belt and he should be playing somewhere. The Twins would have to also send enough cash to cover a good portion of the remainder of Morneau’s contract, which consists of what’s left on this year’s $14 million, as well as the $14 million due Morneau in 2013. But they're paying Morneau no matter what, they might as well get some talent for him while they can. All of these moves help the Giants win (and in 2013).
The Twins, on the other hand, get an inexpensive long-term solution at first base in Belt (who the Giants don't seem to have faith in), a top young starting pitching prospect in Crick, a future closer in Hembree and another middle-of-the-rotation starter in the southpaw Kickham. In this trade the Twins obviously build for the future and lower payroll significantly.
Milwaukee Brewers send Zack Greinke to Los Angeles Angels for Jean Segura and Garrett Richards
The Milwaukee Brewers get a long-term solution at shortstop in Segura, who adds speed to the top of the Brewers lineup. Segura has been long regarded the Angels’ top middle infield prospect and with both Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick inked to long-term contracts, it only makes sense to use Segura to get a difference-making top-of-the-rotation starter like Greinke. Richards has a power arm and projects to be a quality No. 2 or No. 3 starter when his command comes around. The deal allows the Halos to hold on to top power-hitting prospect C.J. Cron and right-handed starter John Hellweg who could be a surprise contributor to the Angels come September.
Greinke has hinted to close friends that he would be willing to sign a long-term commitment with either the Angels or Braves if he was traded to one of the those two teams. With Greinke joining Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren in the rotation, the Angels quickly become a post-season favorite.
Chicago Cubs send Matt Garza to the Atlanta Braves for Randall Delgado, J.R. Graham and Zeke Spruill
The Braves would control Garza beyond this year, and he would join Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson at the top of their rotation. The Chicago Cubs, who wanted to get Delgado in the Dempster transaction, would get Delgado in this deal instead, along with two other good arms in Graham and Spruill. Getting three young pitchers for their future staff is exactly what the Cubs want to do to carry out their long-term plan. The Garza acquisition puts the Braves in a much better position to contend with the Nationals or try to hold on to their thin wild card lead. Spruill has a 92-94 mph sinker with an above-average change and developing slider. Graham has a power arm and could start or close. He has a 95-mph fastball and a hard slider that has a wipe out break on occasion.
Chicago Cubs send Ryan Dempster to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ethan Martin and Garrett Gould
The deal would have the caveat that the Dodgers would get a 48-hour window to sign Dempster to a contract extension. Martin will sit in the 95 mph range with an above-average curve and a developing slider that he started throwing last year. When his command finally arrives, Martin will, too, and the 2008 first-rounder has finally started to show some promise this year at Double-A Chattanooga. Gould was the primary pitcher who would have gone to Miami in the Carlos Lee trade before Lee used his 10-and-5 rights to nix the deal. Gould will sit in the 92-93 mph range and couple that with a major-league average curve ball and changeup. The Cubs will have stockpiled five power arms to build for the future in just two trades.
Tampa Bay Rays send James Shields and B.J. Upton to the Texas Rangers for Cody Buckel, Craig Gentry, Leury Garcia and Luke Jackson
The Rangers get another solid starter in Shields, who is still still striking out almost a batter per inning and on pace for more than 200 innings in a "down" year. Upton solidifies center field, thus allowing Josh Hamilton to move to left field full-time -- his best position -- so he can concentrate on getting his bat back to the dominating form he had in April and May. Rangers brass is convinced that Gentry is a breakout player whose success has been stunted because he’s been mixed and matched in the lineup rather than slotted an everyday player. In Tampa, Gentry would get that opportunity as the Rays’ every day center fielder. The Rays also would control Gentry for the next five years as opposed to Upton, who will be a free agent in October.
Buckel gives the the Rays another future impact starter while Jackson simply adds to their stockpile of good young arms. Garcia would rival Hak-Ju Lee for the title of the Rays’ best shortstop prospect; the Rangers can deal Garcia only because they have Andrus and Jurickson Profar. The Rangers also would be able to hold on to all three of their top prospects in Martin Perez, Mike Olt and Profar while upgrading their starting rotation for another shot at a world championship while the Rays make a sacrifice today for another shot at tomorrow.
Analyzing the Ramirez, Rodriguez trades.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Los Angeles Dodgers have received virtually no production from the left side of their infield this year; their shortstops have hit .232/.285/.319, and their third basemen have hit .249/.308/.373, so wherever they play Hanley Ramirez, he's an upgrade, worth a win or more if he can return to shortstop for the rest of this season. It's a good use of the Dodgers' money to see if manager Don Mattingly can rejuvenate Ramirez's career the way he seems to have helped Matt Kemp's, but does carry risk that Ramirez's peak years are just gone.
While this is a solid buy-low move by the Dodgers, using their newfound cash to acquire a player who might otherwise be out of reach, there's also a pretty good chance that Ramirez's tenure as an above-average to star-caliber player is over. He has proven unequal to the task of defense at third base, a position he is more than athletic enough to handle but where he's been well below average, costing the Marlins between four and 10 runs this year depending on your defensive metric of choice. He's also shown less bat speed this year than he did in previous seasons, although he's really young to already see his hands slowing like that.
Ramirez is one of the only major leaguers I have ever seen where his effort level seemed to vary to the point where his performance was affected, and it is possible that a new environment will restore some of his lost production for that reason -- although that's a large gamble for any GM to take. A poor defensive shortstop or third baseman hitting .250/.320/.430 is not a $15 million player. The Dodgers also receive lefty specialist Randy Choate, highly effective against left-handed hitters but nearly useless against right-handed hitters.
For the Miami Marlins, as odious as it is to see the team move a large contract and increase the flow of public money into ownership's pockets, there's a lot of baseball sense in this trade. They clear $31.5 million over the next two years for a player who might only be worth 2-3 wins a year, and clearly wasn't going to be the bargain he appeared to be when he first signed that extension.
They also received a solid starting pitching prospect in the deal in right-hander Nate Eovaldi, even though they didn't have to cover any of Ramirez's salary. Eovaldi's main issue is his lack of an average third pitch, which has led to large platoon splits, with lefties hitting .349/.404/.519 against him in the majors this year; as a starter he's 93-97 and has an above-average slider in the mid- to upper 80s that is very effective against right-handers but not sharp enough to be his out pitch against left-handers. He should be part of the Marlins' 2013 rotation, especially since their farm system doesn't have a significant starting pitching prospect above A-ball, but he's still a work in progress.
Right-hander Scott McGough has a quick arm and an above-average fastball but has struggled throwing strikes this year in the Cal League, and profiles as a middle reliever.
Pirates add Rodriguez
The Pittsburgh Pirates' acquisition of Wandy Rodriguez is just the type of move their fans should fear -- the team is buying into their won-loss record too much and trading some of the products of the long rebuilding effort before they really arrive. It's not a disaster, as the team didn't trade Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon or Alen Hanson, but it was too much to give up for a veteran player who doesn't make the team substantially better.
Rodriguez has a fringy fastball that occasionally cracks 90 but mostly sits in the upper 80s, while his best pitch is a true curveball in the upper 70s with big, two-plane break. He commands the pitch well, throwing it for strikes and getting it below the zone for swings and misses, even against right-handed hitters, making up for a changeup that's barely an average pitch. He's using a two-seamer more this year, generating slightly more groundballs but also missing fewer bats, and is at an age (33) where his velocity could start to decline rather quickly, making the potential that he picks up his player option for 2014 a little scary for the Pirates. He might make the team a win better for the rest of this year, but at the cost of one of their top five prospects and a pretty significant expense for a team on a low payroll that is probably not going to end up in the postseason.
In exchange, the Houston Astros get one significant prospect in outfielder Robbie Grossman, who has recovered from a broken hamate bone and a rough April to resume his high-OBP ways, hitting .329/.443/.490 since June 1. His tools aren't great, but he's a polished hitter with a good approach, great hand-eye coordination, and a swing with a direct path to the ball for contact, although his power ceiling is probably limited to 15-18 homers a year right now. He's an average runner who should be above-average defensively in a corner but won't be a centerfielder in the majors.
Left-hander Rudy Owens has good control and feel for pitching but fringy stuff and profiles as a fifth starter, while left-hander Colton Cain also has good feel for pitching but below-average stuff and is probably just organizational depth. Clearing that much payroll while getting one significant prospect in return is an outstanding move, especially since six months ago it appeared that accomplishing both things in a Rodriguez deal would be impossible.
Rumors.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Reds ask about Span
AM ETDenard Span | Twins Recommend2Comments2EmailThe Cincinnati Reds have kicked the tires on a deal for outfielder Denard Span but have not had any formal talks with the Minnesota Twins, reports Ken Rosenthal.
Rosenthal cautions that a deal is unlikely since the Twins will ask for far more than minor league left-hander Tony Cingrani. The Phillies' Juan Pierre, who has been linked to the Reds in recent weeks, might be a more plausible alternative.
Meanwhile, Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote Wednesday the Reds could very well stand pat at the deadline since they don't have a glaring need.
Span has been linked to the Nationals for months, but Washington might be more interested in adding a pitcher given the upcoming shutdown of Stephen Strasburg.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, Denard Span
Deal for Josh Johnson unlikely
AM ETMiami Marlins Recommend1Comments4EmailThe Miami Marlins are in full sell-off mode following the blockbuster deal that sends Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Fish have dumped four veterans in two days with Ramirez and Randy Choate heading to Hollywood and Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante already in Detroit.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports other deals are possible, but says it would take an "overwhelming offer" for the Fish to part with ace Josh Johnson. The Texas Rangers are among the teams linked to Johson in recent days.
Any team looking for a hitter could land Carlos Lee at a deep discount. The Pirates were previously mentioned as a suitor for Lee and could inquire again.
ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney has more on what has become a lost summer on South Beach:
Deal for Johnson unlikely
"The Marlins have made good baseball trades this week, and at the same time, they are fighting the perception that they are conducting a lawn sale, with price tags on everything. So even if they get really good offers for Josh Johnson, that doesn't necessarily mean they?ll trade the right-hander. The Marlins had told other teams that if they traded Hanley Ramirez, they wouldn't trade Josh Johnson; it was going to be one or the other."
Tags:Miami Marlins, Carlos Lee, Josh Johnson
Contingency plans in Atlanta
AM ETAtlanta Braves Recommend2Comments0EmailBraves general manager Frank Wren said in a radio interview that a deal for Ryan Dempster was highly unlikely, and the Braves are considering other options.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta JC says Boston's Jon Lester and possibly Tampa Bay's James Shields could be options for the Braves, adding that the club, despite some reports, has not pursued the Cubs' Matt Garza and Minnesota's Francisco Liriano.
Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel reports the Braves have scouted Zack Greinke heavily and would like to sign him as a free agent this winter no matter where he is traded. Of the Braves young pitching talent, the Brewers are believed to be most interested in Julio Teheran.
- Doug Mittler
Atlanta needs to make a deal
"With Andrelton Simmons expected back in the next month and with Craig Kimbrel totally dominating hitters, Atlanta has a chance to be a really good team by season's end. But there has been cracks in Tommy Hanson's performance of late, and nobody knows if Ben Sheets can continue to throw so well, and help is needed in the rotation. This is why Atlanta tried to make a deal for Ryan Dempster, and why they'll continue to talk about other available starters - veteran pitchers who could provide stability."
Tags:Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves
Greinke as good as gone?
AM ETZack Greinke | Brewers Recommend7Comments19EmailAny concerns that Zack Greinke may be damaged goods were erased Tuesday night when the former Cy Young winner, making his first start in 10 days, allowed one run and three hits over seven innings in Philadelphia.
The decision to temporarily shut down Greinke raised some eyebrows, but he pitched so well Tuesday that it may very well be his last game in a Brewers uniform. With Cole Hamels deciding to remain in Philadelphia, the Brewers have the ultimate bargaining chip less than a week before the deadline.
A major source tells Tom Haudricourt in Thursday's Journal Sentinel that Greinke is "as good as gone."
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says the Rangers, Angels, Braves and White Sox have been the teams showing the most interest in Greinke. With a trade for Ryan Dempster off the board, the Braves could now focus their attention on Greinke, tweets Jon Heyman.
Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun-Times says the White Sox are as active as any team in the Greinke chase.
The White Sox may be the club that wants Greinke the most, but they lack young talent to trade in return. General manager Ken Williams may have to get creative to get something done, but he's done that kind of thing before, so stay tuned on that front.
ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden writes that the Texas Rangers appear to be the favorites to land Greinke, based on the bullets they have to spend in trade and their need for such a player.
- Doug Mittler and Jason A. Churchill
Greinke a nice fit in Texas
"The most likely landing place for Greinke remains the Texas Rangers, whose loaded farm system has more good trade chips than any other contending team in baseball. Although shortstop Jurickson Profar is off limits and third baseman Mike Olt isn't a great fit because the Brewers have Aramis Ramirez under contract for another couple of years, left-hander Martin Perez or righty Neftali Feliz could be involved in a swap for Greinke. There are some baseball executives involved in the process who told me that in an ideal world, the Brewers would trade Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for top pitching prospect Zach Lee, and then turn around and send Greinke to the Rangers for Olt. However, the Dodgers part of the transaction does not look like it's going to work, as the Dodgers seem more likely to use Lee to get Matt Garza or Josh Johnson, both of whom they can control beyond this year."
Tags:Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers
Scutaro likely to be dealt
AM ETMarco Scutaro | Rockies Recommend1Comments0EmailThe Colorado Rockies, one of the few teams we can undoubtedly classify as trade deadline sellers, have yet to make a move. That could change over the next few days, and the most likely player to be dealt is shortstop Marco Scutaro, says Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
Scutaro has $2.3 million remaining on the final year of his contract and has additional value since he can play both shortstop and second base.
Renck says the teams scouting Scutaro Wednesday include the Nationals, who will be without shortstop Ian Desmond for a month. The Oakland Athletics also are looking for a shortstop and could have heightened interest in Scutaro if their pursuit of Yunel Escobar stalls.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Marco Scutaro, Colorado Rockies
A's eyeing Escobar
AM ETYunel Escobar | Blue Jays Recommend2Comments0EmailThe Oakland Athletics had strong interest in Hanley Ramirez before the Miami Marlins decided late Tuesday night to ship the infielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal. The A's have moved on, and appear to have set their sights on Yunel Escobar.
Susan Slusser reports Escobar remains an option for the A's, adding the Jays are believed to have strong interest in pitcher Brett Anderson.
The Jays could be willing to deal Escobar given they have highly-touted Cuban prospect Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings. Escobar is under contract through 2013 with club options for both 2014 and 2015 at affordable rates.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Yunel Escobar
Wigginton a fit in the Bronx?
AM ETTy Wigginton | Phillies Recommend1Comments2EmailThe New York Yankees claim they have the in-house resources to survive without Alex Rodriguez, who will be out six to eight weeks, with a broken bone in his hand.
Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez are the primarys option at third base, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post cautions that the Yankees could be playing with fire given Chavez' history of injuries. Nix may have had a three-run double Wednesday in Seattle, but it Is hard to believe the Yankees view him as an everyday player.
Sherman suggests the Yankees would look for a player such Philadelphia's Ty Wigginton, who can play several positions. That could depend on whether the Phils, who have won four straight games, see themselves as contenders.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Ty Wigginton
Werth could return Tuesday
AM ETJayson Werth | Nationals Recommend1Comments0EmailThe first-place Washington Nationals could have right fielder Jayson Werth back in the lineup as soon as next Tuesday against the Phillies, manager Davey Johnson tells the Washington Post.
Werth, who broke his left wrist in a game against the Phillies in early May, is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse. Once Werth returns, Bryce Harper will slide back over to center field, which means less at-bats for Roger Bernadina, who has started the last three games.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals
Can the White Sox land Greinke?
AM ETChicago White Sox Recommend1Comments1EmailKen Williams already has pulled off deals for Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers, but they could end up being warm-up acts if the aggressive White Sox general manager has his way.
Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun-Times reports Thursday the White Sox are as active as any team in pursuit of Brewers ace Zack Greinke
The Sun-Times report cautions that any deal for Greinke probably take more than what the Chicago farm system has to offer. The Sox would likely have to part with a player off the 25-man roster, such as right-hander Gavin Floyd.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox
Pirates could deal a starter
AM ETPittsburgh Pirates Recommend1Comments3EmailThe Pittsburgh Pirates may not be done dealing after acquiring left-hander Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports the Pirates are sending signals they could now trade away a starter, with Jeff Karstens and Kevin Correia the most likely candidates to move.
The Pirates are in the market to add a bat and have been linked in the past to Carlos Quentin, who is off the board after signing an extension with the Padres. Chase Headley has been linked to the Pirates, but our Buster Olney reported earlier this week the Padres have asked for a "significant package of prospects."
- Doug Mittler
Tags:Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens, Pittsburgh Pirates
Padres talk extension with Street
AM ETHuston Street | Padres Recommend2Comments0EmailThe San Diego Padres effectively took Carlos Quentin off the trade market Sunday by announcing a three-year, $27 million deal with the veteran outfielder. Could GM Josh Byrnes look to do the same with closer Huston Street?
Jon Heyman tweeted Wednesday night the Padres are expected to offer Street a one-year deal plus an option, adding that the reliever may want to stay in San Diego.
The Padres always could make Street available if contract talks falter.
Street, who is 17-for-17 in save opportunities, is making $7.5 million this season and has a $9 million option for 2013. The St. Louis Cardinals are among the teams linked to Street in recent weeks.
- Doug Mittler
Tags:St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Huston Street
Lee on the block?
AM ETCliff Lee | Phillies Recommend0Comments6EmailThe Philadelphia Phillies, having now committed $144 million to Cole Hamels, may clear some payroll space by trading Cliff Lee. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reported Wednesday that while the club isn't shopping Lee just yet, there are rival executives that believe it could happen over the coming days.
The Phillies' motivation for trading Lee would be two-fold. For one, they could fill some holes with the trade return, perhaps including third base and the outfield. Second, the club is slated to pay the first-level luxury tax this year and could hit the second-level next year without cutting payroll somewhere.
Clubs that could look into Lee's availability include the usual suspects in the Bronx, Beantown, both L.A. clubs and the Texas Rangers.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets, however, that there are no present indications that Lee is or will be available, and that part of Cole Hamels' lure to re-sign was pitching with Lee and Halladay. We have to believe there were $144 million other reasons Hamels chose to stay in Philly, however.
Lee can block trades to 21 teams, though the Rangers and Yankees are among the eight not on that list.
- Jason A. Churchill