Tag: MLB Trade Rumors

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Brian Dozier, Jed Lowrie, More

Major League Baseball’s hot stove has cooled off in the aftermath of the winter meetings, but there’s still some buzz circulating the rumor mill as the calendar gets set to flip to 2017. 

Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has emerged as a legitimate trade candidate following a sensational 2016 season, and he’s not the only infielder who could be available. 

Then there’s the Tampa Bay Rays’ Drew Smyly, who has continued to generate interest from teams in need of quality starting pitchers to round out their rotations. 

So as the rumblings get louder, here’s a rundown of the latest rumors from across MLB


Multiple Teams Showing Interest in Dozier

With so many big names off the market, all eyes are on Dozier and the Twins for the time being. And as it turns out, Minnesota may be more motivated to deal him than initially believed. 

According to 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson, the Los Angeles Dodgers are “still very much in it” when it comes to the chase for Dozier. Wolfson added the St. Louis Cardinals are also “very much in it,” while the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants “remain in dialogue.” 

Interest in Dozier, of course, is not a surprise. 

The 29-year-old put together a stellar 2016 campaign that saw him bat a career-best .268, smash 42 home runs and notch 99 RBI. Those 42 dingers were the most all-time by an American League second baseman, per CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa, and they evidently made several National League contenders take notice.

Chief among that group is the Cardinals, who represent a logical landing spot for the 2015 All-Star.  

“The Cardinals spent big to sign Dexter Fowler, and they were linked to Justin Turner before he agreed to re-sign with Los Angeles, so it’s not [surprising] to hear they’re in on Dozier,” Axisa wrote. “St. Louis clearly wants another middle-of-the-order power bat and Dozier qualifies.”

Regardless of which team comes out on top in the chase for Dozier, one thing is clear: The Twins are intent on maximizing return value for the rising star before he becomes an unrestricted free agent following the 2018 season. 


A’s Making Lowrie Available? 

The Oakland A’s don’t appear thrilled with their situation at second base in the short term, and executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has disclosed as much.

“It’s a concern,” Beane said, per CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich. “Long term, I think we feel like we have some options that probably aren’t quite ready yet. I think we prefer not to rush those options.”

And while Jed Lowrie has proved his worth in the past, it seems the A’s could look to ship him out of the Bay Area if they’re able to show teams he has recovered fully from August’s left foot surgery. 

“It’s believed they’ve at least gauged trade interest for him this winter, though his physical status could make it tougher to pull off a deal,” Stiglich wrote. “He’s in the final season of a three-year deal that will pay him $6.5 million in 2017.”

Dealing Lowrie over the offseason may not be particularly easy since interested parties will want evidence he’s able to stay healthy once he returns to the diamond, but this is a situation worth monitoring as the spring approaches. 


Mariners Still Chasing Smyly

Seattle Mariners starting pitchers ranked fourth in the American League with a 4.25 ERA last season, but the team’s front office isn’t content just yet. 

According to the Seattle TimesRyan Divish, “A baseball source said the Mariners tried to work a deal for Rays lefty Drew Smyly during the winter meetings.”

Divish added the following regarding Tampa Bay’s motivations behind a potential deal involving Smyly: “Tampa seems more inclined to part with Smyly since he’s projected to make $6.8 million in his third year of arbitration and is a free agent after the 2018 season.”

It remains unclear what the Mariners would part with to try and pry Smyly from the Rays, but there’s no denying he’d be a quality pickup for a franchise looking to make its first postseason appearance since 2001. 

The 27-year-old southpaw owns a 3.74 lifetime ERA, and his mark of 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings would bolster the back end of a Mariners rotation that already boasts Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Reports Heading into World Series

Get ready for the trades, folks.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, “There is a growing sense among executives that the trade market is going to be active this offseason.”

But who might be on the move?

Well, let’s find out, as we break down some of the juiciest rumors heading into the World Series. 


A Tigers Fire Sale Forthcoming?

According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Detroit Tigers could be preparing to trade away some of their biggest stars.

Olney wrote: “The message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody. Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian KinslerAnybody.”

Tony Paul of the Detroit News added: “I’ve heard just about every Tigers name being talked about as a trade chip.”

Let the bidding begin.

Of course, Olney also noted the Tigers might not have anything resembling a fire sale in the least; instead, “what Detroit will attempt this winter might be similar to what the Yankees did during the 2016 season: transition into a younger (and cheaper) team by extracting value from some of the older and more expensive players.”

Finally, Olney wrote that Detroit already tried to trade Justin Upton during the season. Certainly, moving on from players such as Upton and Victor Martinez for younger and cheaper pieces would be ideal, if not unrealistic. Among the veterans, Cabrera and Verlander would certainly garner the biggest return, though will Detroit be able to get back enough in a trade package while still remaining competitive next season?

That is harder to gauge. Verlander and Cabrera are both 33 and still owed a ton of money, which hurts their trade value. On the other hand, both are still productive—namely Cabrera, who hit an impressive .316 with 38 home runs and 108 RBI this year, though Verlander certainly had a strong, bounce-back season.

Not only that, but Cabrera and Verlander are staples of the organization and wildly popular. Moving on from either player likely wouldn’t be a popular decision among the team’s fans.

Paul thinks that Kinsler and J.D. Martinez would be the smart assets to deal:

That’s more than $22 million in payroll right there for next season, and you’d get a significant return of young, controllable talent in return. Problem is, obviously, there aren’t immediate replacements for those guys. So expect any package of either Martinez or Kinsler to include a young chip who could project to be the immediate — and long-term — replacements.

Regardless of who ultimately goes, expect to hear plenty of buzz surrounding the Tigers this offseason.


Phillies to Consider Dealing Vince Velasquez?

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com noted that the Philadelphia Phillies will be “open-minded” in regards to trading talented starting pitcher Vince Velasquez.

Zolecki wrote:

That might not lead to a blockbuster, but there is no reason not to inquire and listen. After all, is there anybody in the organization that is truly untouchable? The fact the Phillies engaged in serious trade talks with the Rangers in July about Vince Velasquez indicates they are willing to consider anything. That is a good thing.

Velasquez, 24, pitched well for the Phillies in 2016, finishing 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 152 strikeouts in 131 innings pitched. But surely, the Phillies would require a major haul for a talented young pitcher, especially as the team is in the midst of starting to bring some of its talented prospects to the majors.

Velasquez would appear to be among the building blocks in Philadelphia, alongside outfielder Odubel Herrera, third baseman Maikel Franco, top prospect and shortstop J.P. Crawford—who seems likely to make his MLB debut in 2017—starting pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff and Jake Thompson and reliever Hector Neris.

And that doesn’t include the team’s other top prospects in the farm system, such as outfielder Nick Williams and catchers Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, among others.

In other words, the Phillies are still looking toward the future. Any package for Velasquez would have to include some highly considered prospects. If they can’t get any in return, dealing a talented young pitcher would make absolutely no sense for the Phillies.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Hottest Reports as 2016 Deadline’s End Approaches

Only a few days remain before the MLB trade deadline Monday. Yet there are probably still a couple front offices around the league surveying the market and the tight-knit playoff race to determine whether they should be buyers or sellers leading up to Aug. 1.

Those on the fringe may ultimately lean toward selling. Since there are so many teams with a legitimate chance at the postseason thanks to the presence of two wild-card spots, there are a select number of teams already looking toward the future and thus willing to part with major league talent.

With that in mind, let’s check out some of the latest rumors from around the league. That includes a breakdown of what the potential deals would mean for the players and teams involved.


Matt Moore Likely on the Move

Moore isn’t yet all the way back to the level he reached before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014. In his final full season before the major injury setback, he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150.1 innings to emerge as a legitimate ace.

He’s posted a 4.08 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 21 starts so far this season. While those numbers are nothing special, they represent plenty of improvement from his limited action last year. Yet despite the progress, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported there’s a good chance the Tampa Bay Rays will trade him by Monday:

He could represent a nice value buy for a contender. Not only are his stats trending in the right direction, but his velocity is right in line with where it was before the arm problems, with his fastball capable of reaching the mid-90s, according to FanGraphs.

At 27, Moore should also be entering his peak seasons at the same time he gets all the way back to full strength. If he can rediscover his command down the stretch, he’d be a perfect mid-rotation addition for a championship hopeful.


David Robertson Available as Teams Seek Bullpen Help

A lot of high-profile relief pitchers could find new homes before Monday. Help in the final three innings seems like the one thing just about every team could use. Robertson is one of the latest players who fits the bill to pop up in the rumor mill.

The Chicago White Sox closer hasn’t been quite as effective this season. His 4.25 ERA is the highest mark since his rookie campaign. So, while he’s still converted 24 of 28 save chances, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported he could be on the move:

The biggest key for him getting back in top form for the final months is control. His walk rate has jumped from 1.85 last season to 4.68 during the current campaign. That’s the main reason his ERA has increased, and it could give interested teams some pause.

That said, the demand for quality relievers far outweighs the supply right now. So the White Sox should still be able to acquire a couple promising assets from a desperate team like the Washington Nationals if they do decide to move Robertson.


Price Tag High on Ervin Santana

Santana seems like the prototypical trade candidate. He’s a veteran starting pitcher with a strong track record and is enjoying a solid season, posting a 3.78 ERA through 19 starts. Add in the fact the Minnesota Twins have one of the worst records in baseball, and it’d make sense to deal him.

Apparently, they aren’t eager to send him packing with an eye toward the future, though. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the Twins are planning to keep the 33-year-old right-hander unless another team blows their socks off with an offer before Monday:

Maybe putting that idea out there is merely Minnesota’s way of trying to drum up interest in Santana. Even though Spotrac notes he’s under contract through 2019, he’ll be far removed from his peak by the time the Twins are ready to make a serious charge up the standings.

So it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he does end up getting traded before the deadline. He’s not a top-tier starter a contending team would want to lean heavily on during the final months, but he’s more than capable of filling a No. 3 or No. 4 role to bolster a rotation.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Deadline 2016: Date and Latest Rumors Around the League

MLB‘s trade deadline is fast approaching, and teams are beginning to declare whether they will be buyers or sellers in the market.

This year’s non-waiver trade deadline is August 1, a day later than usual due to the fact that July 31 falls on a Sunday. 

Aside from the obvious contenders and pretenders, most teams in the middle are still biding their time to determine whether or not they should make a push for the postseason. As a result, there has been a shortage of concrete rumors to this point, but the rumblings should begin to pick up in the final week of July. 

Here’s an update on some of the most recent rumors and discussions floating around the league:


Indians, Brewers discussing multiplayer deal

ESPN’s Buster Olney provided one of the juiciest deadline rumors of the season to date when he linked the Cleveland Indians to Milwaukee Brewers All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy:

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal later added that while the Indians are interested in Lucroy, “above all” they want bullpen help. 

Fortunately for both teams, the Brewers have the ability to provide Cleveland with both an upgrade at catcher and another arm for the pen. 

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provided an update to the trade talks on Thursday, stating “you can bet relievers are part of talks.”

Brewers reliever Will Smith, who is under team control through the 2019 season, according to Spotrac, would presumably be the primary target for Cleveland. 

The Tribe is desperate for a lefty arm in the bullpen, which Smith would provide. Twenty-four-year-old Kyle Crockett, who has appeared in just five games this season, is currently the only lefty in the Indians bullpen. 


Rays put Chris Archer on the block

ESPN’s Jayson Stark added a surprising name to the trade rumors on Thursday:

The last-place Rays are clearly sellers this year, but Archer was not initially expected to be among the players moved. 

According to Spotrac, Archer is still under contract through 2019 with team options for 2020 and 2021. And at no point during the contract will Archer earn over $10 million per year. 

With Archer under one of the most team-friendly contracts in all of baseball, the Rays can rightfully expect a massive haul in return if they do move their ace. 

Despite the high asking price, the Rays will almost certainly receive intriguing offers from around the league. Rosenthal recently reported that the White Sox were offered a “king’s ransom” for Chris Sale but turned down the deal. It’s possible that the mystery team willing to go all-in on Sale might be willing to put together a similar offer for the 27-year-old Archer.


White Sox will be sellers

While the White Sox may not be willing to part with Sale just yet, the team will be looking to sell at the deadline rather than make a last-ditch effort to reach the postseason, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. 

Chicago hung around longer than expected this season, but the Sox are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and have fallen 10.5 games behind the Indians in the AL Central. 

The White Sox’s most valuable asset on a short-term contract would be Todd Frazier, who is only under team control through 2017. 

Frazier has been struggling at the plate, batting just .216, but he still brings value to the lineup due to his power stroke. Frazier already has 28 home runs on the year. 

Brett Lawrie, also under contract through 2017, wouldn’t net as much as Frazier on the trade market but could also be moved at the deadline. His versatility due to his experience at second and third base could increase his value slightly. 

Chicago also has the expiring contracts of catcher Dioner Navarro and first baseman Justin Morneau to offer in lesser deals. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Carlos Gonzalez, Nick Castellanos and More

Major League Baseball trade rumors are hot this time of year. The New York Yankees landed former Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in a deal for four minor leaguers Monday, and there should be plenty more moves on the horizon.

Rumors surrounding Colorado Rockies outfielders have been swirling this week, per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. He reported the St. Louis Cardinals have talked with Colorado about trading for an outfielder, and the Rockies have three available.


CarGo Among Those Available to Be Traded

Carlos Gonzalez enjoyed a career year with the Rockies in 2015, slashing .271/.325/.540 with 40 home runs and 97 RBI. The Rockies need pitching, and the Cardinals need an outfielder after losing Jason Heyward to the Chicago Cubs in free agency.

Scott Gelman of MLB Daily Dish said a trade makes sense in regard to the positions, but Gonzalez may not be the Colorado outfielder the Cardinals need:

Colorado is reportedly shopping all three of its outfielders, but Carlos Gonzalez might not be realistic option for the Cardinals.

[Charlie] Blackmon, 29, is coming off a strong 2015 campaign during which he batted .287/.347/.450 to complement 17 home runs and 58 RBIs. He also stole 43 bases and would add a left-handed bat to St. Louis’ outfield.

[Corey] Dickerson, 26, would also add a left handed bat, but he could prove to be costly in a trade since he had a better season than Blackmon. Over 65 contests last season, Dickerson batted .304/.333/.536 to complement 10 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Gonzalez has been linked to multiple clubs this winter, and the Rockies do not appear to be lowering the price.

Regardless of whether or not it is done via a trade, the Cardinals need to add at least one outfielder. The Rockies have three productive options to choose from, and St. Louis has its share of desirable prospects.

Gonzalez is owed $37 million over the next two years, which is why Gelman feels he may not be the answer for St. Louis: The Rockies are shopping their outfielders and the Cardinals have a need. But Colorado’s asking price will likely remain too high.”

The Cardinals don’t typically throw money at high-priced free agents, so adding a 30-year-old outfielder via trade for that much money is not likely. Blackmon is eligible for arbitration in 2016 after making just $517,000 in 2015, while Dickerson is in the same boat and made $512,500 last season.

Like Gelman said, the interest is there, but the two sides may be far apart. If Gonzalez isn’t shipped to St. Louis, look for him to land somewhere else in 2016, while the jury is still out on the fates of Blackmon and Dickerson.


Teams Interested in Detroit’s Castellanos 

Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos was a first-round draft pick in 2010 but has failed to live up to expectations. In what amounts to two full seasons, Castellanos has averaged a slash line of .257/.304/.405 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI.

However, Tony Paul of the Detroit News said there is interest among MLB teams in the 23-year-old infielder: “Another Tiger who could be traded, Nick Castellanos—yes, there have been inquiring phone calls—wouldn’t be nearly enough to balance the books to sign an outfielder. Castellanos still barely makes the league minimum.”

Paul was referring to the fact Detroit is trying to stay as close to the $189 million luxury-tax threshold as it can this season, making it tough to sign a big-time free-agent outfielder, and Castellanos doesn’t do much in the way of getting money off the books.

Patrick OKennedy of SB Nation’s Bless You Boys said it would not be worth trading Castellanos because of his cheap contract and the fact his best days are most likely ahead of him:

There is no money to be saved by dealing Castellanos, who earns near the major league minimum. At best, the Tigers might be able to move him for a similarly cost-controlled player who brings more offensive production. They would need to see a greater marginal difference in the player acquired over what they have in left field, than they would lose by subbing out Castellanos for Dixon Machado or Mike Aviles. …

It would take a unique situation for the Tigers to be willing to trade Castellanos. Perhaps a team looking for a third baseman with some extra depth in the corner outfield positions could be interested in such a trade. It would be a move for instant gratification, with the risk that the Tigers’ former first-round draft pick has a breakout season at age 24 or 25, playing in another uniform. I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

OKennedy‘s points are good ones. It would be tough for Detroit to watch Castellanos excel somewhere else, much like the World Series champion Kansas City Royals would have done if they had given up on their young, struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas, who ended up in the 2015 All-Star Game.

Of course, when multiple teams are interested, it never hurts to listen. If new executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila can find the perfect fit, it might make sense to pull the trigger. However, don’t count on that happening. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz After 2015 Winter Meetings

The 2015 MLB winter meetings are officially in the books, and they will likely be remembered for a flurry of activity and nonstop rumors.

A number of teams look vastly different leaving Nashville, Tennessee, than they did at the end of the 2015 campaign, including the Arizona Diamondbacks (hello, Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller), New York Mets (a brand new double-play tandem in Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker), Chicago Cubs (they added Ben Zobrist and John Lackey) and New York Yankees (plus Starlin Castro, minus Justin Wilson).

It may feel like baseball will take a backseat now and settle into the quiet portion of the offseason, but there are still a number of moves to be made. Eyes will be firmly glued on Jason Heyward, Mike Leake and a handful of potential trade targets in the coming days and weeks. 

There are still plenty of trade rumors circulating, as well, even with the MLB winter meetings in the rearview mirror. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest buzz from around the league.


Brandon Phillips Could Be Headed West

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has been the centerpiece of some trade discussion this offseason, and the incredibly active Diamondbacks apparently have their eyes on him.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Arizona spoke with the Reds regarding the second baseman, but it would have to convince him to waive his no-trade clause. Rosenthal said that may be easier now for the Diamondbacks, who are clearly in win-now mode after adding Greinke and Miller.

Arizona traded a number of promising prospects to get Miller, including the 2015 No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson, and adding the 34-year-old Phillips would be another step in the win-now direction.

Phillips hit .294 with 12 home runs, 70 RBI, 23 steals and a .723 OPS last season. He was a 20-20 player for three straight years from 2007-09 and is a three-time All-Star. What’s more, Phillips is one of the best fielding second basemen in the league and has four Gold Gloves on his resume.

He also accounted for 61 total defensive runs saved above average at second throughout his career, according to FanGraphs. Phillips would be an immediate upgrade compared to Chris Owings for the Diamondbacks, especially since the latter hit .227 in 2015 and has dealt with shoulder injuries in his career.

This isn’t the first time the Diamondbacks-and-Phillips connection has been made. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com said Arizona and Cincinnati talked about a potential deal during the general managers’ meetings in Florida.

However, Arizona general manager Dave Stewart wasn’t willing to reveal his hand just yet, per Piecoro: “That was earlier in the week. There hasn’t been much conversation since then. (Reds executive) Walt (Jocketty) and I are friends and so we’ve had small talk but we’re not close to anything.” 

Trading Phillips would also make sense for the Reds after they finished 64-98 in the competitive National League Central. They are entering a rebuilding period and will likely not be ready to compete until their second baseman is past his prime.


Rangers and Diamondbacks Talking Potential Pitching Swap

The Texas Rangers added right-handed relief pitcher Tony Barnette Thursday after a six-year stint in Japan. That gives them a piece in their bullpen who boasts a plus-fastball and the stuff to challenge major league hitters.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News noted Barnette’s “presence would give the Rangers another bullpen option in the event they eventually trade a reliever to obtain a starter.”

Grant went on to say Texas “had significant talks about a reliever-for-starter deal during the winter meetings” and mentioned Arizona’s Archie Bradley as a particular target because the Diamondbacks are attempting to add to their bullpen.

Texas finished an abysmal 21st in the league in starting pitcher ERA last season and needs to bolster its depth behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. The Diamondbacks have added two ace-level starters already this offseason in Greinke and Miller, so they have room to maneuver in the hopes of improving the bullpen.

On paper, the match makes sense, especially when Arizona’s middling bullpen from a season ago that finished 16th in batting average against and 13th in ERA is taken into account.

Bradley struggled at times during the 2015 season and tallied a 5.80 ERA, 1.63 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 35.2 innings for Arizona. That may not seem appealing to Rangers fans on the surface, but he is only 23 years old and was ranked as the fifth-best prospect in all of baseball before the 2014 campaign by MLB.com.

The promise is still there, and he could learn behind Hamels and Darvish as a member of the Rangers. That would be a formidable trio entering the 2016 campaign.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Jose Fernandez, James Shields and More

The Major League Baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, are in full swing as rumors and speculation swirl around countless players and teams looking to make a change. 

While some wheeling and dealing has already been done in a few notable deals, some of the biggest names in the game have become available on the trading block. Let’s take a look at the latest on some of baseball’s hottest trade rumors. 


Jose Fernandez

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez has surprisingly become a trade target this offseason after reports surfaced, via WINZ’s Andy Slater, that Fernandez asked Marlins management to be traded multiple times during the 2015 season. 

It’s that kind of attitude that saw him fall out of favor of some teammates, who anonymously told Slater that they hoped the 23-year-old would get “shelled” while pitching. 

According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks have spoken with the Marlins about a deal. On Tuesday, an unidentified fourth team, per Stark, entered the conversation as well. Representatives from other teams around the league told Stark that it’s the Houston Astros, though there has been no confirmation on those reports.

Stark deduced why the Astros would be an interested party: “The Astros would make sense as a trade partner because of Fernandez’s age and relatively low salary as a first-time arbitration-eligible player, along with Houston’s depth of prospects and young players already in the major leagues.”

Put him in the same rotation as American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, and the Astros would be a tough team to hit next season.

Per the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer, Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill has continually told teams that Fernandez is unavailable, but those interested continue to call. 

Even the possibility of an available arm like Fernandez is justifiable for teams to continue hounding the Marlins. Fernandez is 22-9 in a career that was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and could provide a fantastic one-two punch with any of the teams reportedly involved in talks. 

In New York, Fernandez would join Masahiro Tanaka, who experienced a sophomore slump of sorts with the Yankees, seeing his ERA balloon from 2.77 to 3.51. With the uncertainty surrounding CC Sabathia, who cut his 2015 season short to enter rehab, an All-Star-caliber arm is needed for a Yankees team that allowed over 650 runs last season.

With the Diamondbacks, Fernandez would team up with Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal on Dec. 4. However, the addition of Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday could cool off their interest if Fernandez were available. 

Having lost Greinke to Arizona, the Dodgers could use Fernandez as support for Clayton Kershaw, one of the most consistently dominant pitchers in the game over the past five seasons. An arm like his could ensure they’ll remain as one of the favorites in the National League West. 


James Shields

For a pitcher who just completed the first season of a four-year, $75 million deal (via Spotrac.com), the San Diego Padres’ James Shields hasn’t exactly been the “Big Game James” he was once billed as while a member of the Kansas City Royals. 

Going 13-7 last season with a 3.91 ERA, Shields was one of a few acquisitions during the 2014 offseason— including the Upton brothers, Melvin and Justin, and Matt Kemp—that didn’t translate into winning, as the Padres limped to a 74-88 record in 2015. 

His walks increased from 44 in 2014 to 81 in 2015, and rival executives told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that Shields’ “velocity and stuff” were on the decline.

Some other intangibles were nowhere to be found, either, according to the Pioneer Press‘ Mike Berardino:

In fact, Shields was put on waivers by the Padres in August, but he cleared, which makes it odd that Shields is now drawing trade interest, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney

While he’s struggled recently, the 33-year-old could be an attractive option for teams looking for help in the middle of their rotation. The problem is, the Padres’ asking price might be too much. 

According to Stark, San Diego is looking for a young shortstop, among other things. The Padres received little contribution from Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes at short last season, as the two combined for a .215 average with four home runs and 43 RBI. 

Taking Shields’ contract while giving up a prospect might be too steep of a demand for teams interested in him. If the Padres decide to eat some of Shields’ deal, it could help things move along in finding him a new home. 


Orioles In Search of 1st Baseman

The more the winter meetings progress, the less likely it seems that free-agent first baseman Chris Davis will be returning to the Baltimore Orioles. 

Baltimore met with Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, on Tuesday, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, and little progress was made. 

Elsewhere, the Orioles were looking at other options at first base, according to Rosenthal:

Since Rosenthal announced Baltimore’s interest, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt reported that the Orioles are not matching up with the Brewers on Adam Lind. 

That leaves the Texas Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, who will be going through arbitration this season. Moreland, a left-handed bat like Davis, is coming off of the best season of his career with a .278 average with 23 home runs and 85 RBI. 

It’s difficult to compare that to Davis, who hit .262 with 47 home runs and 117 RBI. 

But if he does decide to walk, the Orioles are going to need some kind of left-handed pop in their lineup. Davis was the only left-handed Oriole last season to hit more than nine home runs. 

However, they would need to have something that would make the Rangers pull the trigger on a deal involving Moreland, and it might have to come from behind the plate. 

The Star-Telegram‘s Jeff Wilson stated that the Rangers need help with their catching situation after they started five different players at the position and received little production in 2015. 

It’s unclear if the Orioles are willing to part with the likes of Matt Wieters or Caleb Joseph, as the Rangers would probably be looking for a major league-ready catcher instead of prospects. But if Baltimore retains Chris Davis, then it might not have to worry about any of this. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Reports at Start of 2015 Winter Meetings

The MLB winter meetings commenced Sunday in Nashville, and there is plenty of buzz that could shift the competitive landscape in the industry’s largest annual congregation of executives and media.

The top free agentsstarting pitchers Zack Greinke and David Pricewere snatched off the market last week for deals exceeding $200 million. But there are still plenty of high-profile chips that could be in play.

The trade market has been relatively quiet this offseason, but there are a few rumors floating that indicate it could heat up during the four-day event.

Here is a look at the latest buzz as the always-exciting winter meetings get underway.


Reds expected to trade Aroldis Chapman

Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams indicated he expects to strike a deal to ship triple-digits closer Aroldis Chapman before the winter meetings conclude Wednesday, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Among the possible suitors include the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and the increasingly aggressive Arizona Diamondbacks, per Heyman.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the Los Angeles Dodgers were in talks with the Reds for Chapman on Sunday.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported an interesting note on why Houston may be in play as well:

Chapman, a lights-out closer whose fastball consistently tops 100 mph, will become an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and will likely command top dollar that Cincinnati simply won’t be able to afford.

The Reds finished 64-98 last yearsecond-worst in the majorsand gave Chapman only 36 save opportunities, for which he successfully earned 33.

The Reds were in a similar scenario at this time last year with starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, and they played their cards swimmingly, dealing the right-hander at the trade deadline that yielded prospects from the Kansas City Royals rather than winding up empty-handed when he walked.

Cueto remains on the open market and turned down a six-year, $120 million offer from the Diamondbacks last month, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, which is well above the Reds’ budget.

The Astros make the most sense in a trade for Chapman. After four abysmal seasons, Houston built its farm system and made the playoffs in 2015, and it’s here to stay for the near future.

The Astros have the prospects the Reds would want and need a closer to take an extra step, as was shown in their American League Division Series defeat to the Royals.


Nationals to shop Drew Storen at meetings

The Nationals have two closers in their clubhouse, but they could rid themselves of at least one by the end of the week.

Three industry sources told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that Washington is seeking to trade reliever Drew Storen, who lost his job as closer when the team acquired Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline last season.

The addition prompted Storen and his agent to meet with GM Mike Rizzo to discuss his role and future.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported last month the Nationals wouldn’t mind getting rid of both Papelbon and Storen and adding someone else:

It was the third time Storen lost his job as closer, but each time has been under unique circumstances. Tyler Clippard replaced him in 2011 after Storen suffered an elbow injury, and Rafael Soriano replaced him prior to the 2014 season.

At the time of the Papelbon trade, Storen had a 1.73 ERA with 29 saves and an opposing slash line of .212/.271/.250—figures most teams would take any day.

Should the Astros or Dodgers lose out on the Chapman sweepstakes, Storen wouldn’t be a bad substitute.


Braves could deal Shelby Miller for right price

For all the fan flak the Atlanta Braves caught for trading longtime staples Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel and others, they looked quite smart for last year’s deal of Jason Heyward for starting pitcher Shelby Miller.

Heyward is now a free agent who’s expected to haul in a 10-year, $200 million contract, per Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, while Miller is under club control through 2019. But now the Braves are apparently engaged in talks to deal Miller after just one season.

Heyman reported last week that 20 teams were in the mix, and Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine wrote Saturday the Diamondbacks are pushing to add Miller as a No. 2 to their minted addition, Greinke:

Mark Bowman of MLB.com indicated that despite the vigorous interest, the Braves are not actively seeking trades for the 25-year-old righty.

“Still, while the Braves are certainly willing to gauge what they might get for Miller, they do not appear to be actively shopping him,” Bowman wrote. “In fact, one National League club said the talks did not go anywhere after it expressed interest in Miller.”

It’s an incredibly robust market for a pitcher who went 6-17 last year, but that figure is a prime example why the win-loss category isn’t the most indicative statistic to determine a starter’s success.

Miller eclipsed 200 innings for the first time and posted a career-low 3.02 ERA in 33 starts. Arguably no pitcher was worth more to his team, and the Braves offense could rarely return the favor.

Miller went 24 starts over a span of more than four months without a wina testament to the incredibly limited run support.

He’s one of the game’s great up-and-coming pitchers and, with the right team, could develop into an ace.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Rumors: Top Trade Rumors Ahead of 2015 Winter Meetings

The 2015 Major League Baseball winter meetings have yet to start, but it’s already obvious that this will be one of the craziest and least predictable offseasons in years. 

Zack Greinke provided the biggest jolt so far this winter, agreeing to a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. Greinke going to the desert has a ripple effect on the rest of MLB, particularly in the National League West where the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were considered favorites for the right-hander, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale

While free agency is often the focus at the winter meetings, the trade winds are also likely to bear fruit. Trading is also a more practical way for teams that can’t spend nine figures on a single player to bolster their rosters for 2016 and beyond. 

Before the MLB world descends on Nashville for the start of this year’s winter meetings, here are the top trade rumors floating around that could provide the next great ripple effect. 


The Shelby Miller Market

Young, cost-controlled starting pitching is the greatest luxury in MLB, with Atlanta Braves right-hander Shelby Miller falling into that category with three years left before he can become a free agent. 

With the Braves taking on a full-scale rebuild, it’s only prudent that Miller’s name would at least be discussed in trade rumblings. 

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post did report that the Colorado Rockies at one point called the Braves about Miller, but the two sides had not spoken “in a while.”

Miller has been one of the most sought-after items on the trade market, with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reporting at the end of November that “20 or so teams” have shown some level of interest in the 25-year-old. 

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick recently noted the Braves were likely to keep Miller, despite receiving “a ton of hits” about him. 

The Rockies are a mess with no clear sense of direction. They finally bit the bullet last year by trading Troy Tulowitzki, evidently accepting a rebuild was necessary, but their return lacked impact. Jeff Hoffman was a top-10 pick in 2014, but he’s only pitched 104 innings in the minors after having Tommy John surgery.

Pitching in Colorado is different than anywhere else because of the thin air and what it can do to flatten pitches out. Developing power arms in the starting rotation, guys who can miss bats even when their command is slightly off, is essential for the Rockies to succeed. 

Miller would be an interesting test case for the Rockies because he does have power stuff, with FanGraphs measuring his fastball last year at a career-high 94 mph. He’s not, however, a prolific strikeout pitcher with 298 punchouts over 388.1 innings since 2014. 

The Braves have all the power in any negotiation because Miller has proved to be very good with a 3.22 career ERA, 1.24 WHIP and at least 31 starts in each of the last three years. Trading him now, as the franchise is essentially parting with anyone who will get expensive in the next two years, would fit their plan. 

Unfortunately for interested parties, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the Braves’ part to deal Miller. 


James Shields Available Again

One year after signing with the San Diego Padres, James Shields is being put on the market once again by the National League West club. 

Rosenthal reported the Padres “think” they are in a position to move Shields because his remaining contract ($65 million over three years) will look better with current free-agent prices continuing to rise. 

However, Rosenthal added other teams are “skeptical” about San Diego’s thinking and the 33-year-old doesn’t look as impressive as he once did:

Yet another matter complicating the process for any interested team, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, is the way San Diego is looking to make a deal around Shields:

The one valuable asset Shields still has is his ability to eat innings. He’s made at least 33 starts covering at least 202.1 innings every year since 2008. 

On the bad side of things, Shields had a 3.91 ERA, below-average ERA+ (93) and 33 home runs allowed last year pitching half of his games in spacious Petco Park. Paying that pitcher nearly $22 million per season is foolish. 

Shields, who is about to turn 34 on Dec. 20, isn’t likely to rediscover his stuff and velocity, so the odds of him opting out after next season and leaving millions of dollars on the table that he won’t recoup in another deal are slim. 

The Padres will likely be stuck paying Shields for a subpar performance in their rotation, unless they decide to take a different approach and kick in a lot of money in a potential trade. 


The Hanley Ramirez Dilemma

The Boston Red Sox have already answered their two biggest questions this offseason, signing David Price to lead their starting rotation and acquiring Craig Kimbrel from San Diego to close games. 

One lingering question is what will happen with Hanley Ramirez, who is under contract for three more years. 

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported last week that Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski was seeking to move the 31-year-old. 

“The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense,” Cafardo wrote. “There are huge hurdles to cross, however. One is money. With a little more than $68 million remaining on Ramirez’s deal, the Red Sox would need to eat at least half.”

It’s important to note Cafardo‘s report came out before Baltimore acquired Mark Trumbo from Seattle, so it’s unclear how much interest, if any, would remain on the Orioles’ side. 

Seattle doesn’t seem likely after the M’s signed Nori Aoki to take Trumbo‘s spot in the outfield mix. Ramirez also doesn’t fit in Mariners general manager Jerry DiPoto’s early offseason philosophy of improving his team’s defense. 

Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald added Dombrowski will struggle to find a suitor for Ramirez because he’s “a soon-to-turn-32-year-old without a position who has missed an average of 41 games over the last four seasons because of assorted injuries.”

Unlike the Padres’ plan with Shields, the Red Sox don’t seem like a franchise that would insist on a team interested in Ramirez taking on his entire remaining salary. 

However, given Ramirez’s limitations because of injuries and his disappointing .717 OPS last year, the Red Sox will be better off hanging onto him and hoping he’s able to rebuild his value in 2016. It’s not a likely outcome, but it’s one they can afford to take. 


Stats per Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Why Aroldis Chapman Will Be the 2015 MLB Winter Meetings’ Must-Have Prize

In the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds discussed a blockbuster deal that would have sent both Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman to the Astros.

Imagine how different the 2015 postseason might have been had the trade gone down.

Remember, in Game 4 of the division series, the Astros had a 6-2 eighth-inning lead with a chance to eliminate the Kansas City Royals. The play everyone will remember is the two-run Carlos Correa error that tied the game, but three Astros relievers allowed five hits and two walks in the five-run inning.

And, of course, Cueto went on to beat the Astros in Game 5.

There’s no way to replay any of that now, not the trade deadline, and certainly not Game 4 or Game 5. But the Astros still could get Chapman—and Cueto, for that matter.

Cueto, a free agent, will be one of the prizes on offer when baseball officials convene for the MLB winter meetings next week in Nashville, Tennessee. Chapman, not a free agent but still very available on the trade market, will be the must-have prize at the meetings, as named today by Bleacher Report.

There were plenty of other possible choices. David Price would have topped the list if he hadn’t agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox this week. Zack Greinke could have topped the list, but reports (including this one from Ken Rosenthal) suggest he could choose a team before the meetings, too.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Shelby Miller got consideration because of the trade buzz generated this week (one source said Thursday that Miller to the Chicago Cubs “has legs”). Miller would be a nice prize, but with all the pitchers available, he’s hardly must-have material. Oakland A’s starter Sonny Gray and Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale would be must-have, but at least so far, their teams are saying other teams can’t have them.

We could have picked any of the free-agent outfielders, but the slow-moving market suggests no one yet considers them must-have.

So we went with Chapman, because while other closers (Craig Kimbrel, Francisco Rodriguez) have already been traded this winter, and while Darren O’Day is attracting big interest on the free-agent market, no reliever out there is as big a game-changer as Chapman.

The Red Sox and Detroit Tigers decided the Reds are asking too much for him, just as the Astros eventually decided in July (according to sources). Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that Cincinnati wanted more for Chapman than the high price the Red Sox paid the Padres for Kimbrel.

But the Reds are rebuilding, Chapman is a year from free agency, and it makes all the sense in the world for Cincinnati to trade him. As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted when someone asked where he saw Chapman going:

Assuming the Reds don’t complete a deal in the next two days, Chapman’s name will be heard through every hallway and lobby in the massive Opryland Resort. In fact, the only excuse for not getting a trade done would be that the two general managers couldn’t find each other to shake hands on the deal.

The Astros remain a possible trade partner, with a source saying owner Jim Crane “loves” Chapman. The Arizona Diamondbacks were also deep in Chapman talks in July, but a source said Thursday “that ship has sailed,” with talks never restarting.

The Washington Nationals are an interesting possibility, even as they try to trade Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, the two closers already on their roster. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported last week that the Los Angeles Dodgers have talked to the Reds about Chapman, and Bleacher Report colleague Anthony Witrado wrote how Chapman could make sense there even for a team that already employs Kenley Jansen.

That’s the thing about Chapman. He’s so good that he can be a useful addition even for a team that already has a good closer, especially in an era where the Royals have proved the value of multiple strong late-inning options.

The New York Yankees had that idea last July, when they spoke to the Reds about Chapman even though they already had Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Chapman could still make sense for the Yankees, especially if they use Miller to trade for a starting pitcher (according to a source, they spoke to the Astros about a Miller deal).

Chapman is still young (he’ll turn 28 in February), and he still throws as hard as ever. MLB.com had to include a “Chapman filter” for its statcast list of the fastest pitches thrown this season, because otherwise the 50-pitch list would include no one else.

His average fastball in 2015: a nice, round 100.0 mph.

Chapman also has a devastating slider, and by the end of the season he was mixing in a changeup (90 mph). According to BrooksBaseball.net, batters swung and missed at the fastball 20.23 percent of the time this season (and swung and missed at his other two pitches even more frequently).

Chapman misses bats as well as anyone who has ever pitched. His 15.4 strikeouts per nine innings is the best ever for a pitcher with at least 300 career innings, according to research through Baseball-Reference.com‘s Play Index (Kimbrel, at 14.55, and Jansen, at 13.98, rank second and third on the list).

He’s durable and dependable. The Reds were able to use him three days in a row, and they were able to use him for more than three outs if needed.

If they weren’t in rebuilding mode, they wouldn’t be trading him. But they are rebuilding, with Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce also available if someone meets the asking price. They’d both be nice players to have, but they’re not Chapman.

Chapman is baseball’s must-have prize.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress