Tag: Rafael Betancourt

Relief Options Still Exist for New York Yankees

With David Robertson heading to the disabled list and an already young and inexperienced bullpen, the New York Yankees must explore the several relief options that still remain on the free agent market in an attempt to upgrade their roster.

While the likes of David Phelps, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno have held their own through the start of this young season, the Yankees lack relievers with both veteran leadership and closing experience. Even when Robertson returns, manager Joe Girardi may sleep easier with a more established setup man in his pen than Kelley. He could probably use an experienced arm in the middle innings of games. 

The players mentioned here are by no means All-Stars, at least not anymore, otherwise they would have found a team by now. Instead, they could provide veteran leadership and a safety net should Robertson and his fellow young relievers hit a skid along the way.


All stats were obtained via Baseball Reference. 

Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk New York Yankees and Major League Baseball. 


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MLB Trade Rumors: Updating All of the Hottest Waiver-Trade Buzz

As of Aug. 23, 15 major league teams either hold a playoff spot or are within seven games of one and could be looking to improve their playoff chances by making a waiver-wire deal in the near future.

Seven August trades have happened thus far:

  • The Texas Rangers acquired outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox for prospect Leury Garcia.
  • The Kansas City Royals picked up utility infielder Jamey Carroll from the Minnesota Twins and utility man Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays, both for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays acquired lefty Wesley Wright from the Houston Astros for cash considerations.
  • The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
  • The Oakland A’s acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki and cash from the Nationals for minor league pitcher Dakota Bacus.
  • The Rays acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Nationals for a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

With plenty of trade possibilities still lingering, here’s all of the latest waiver-trade buzz from around the league.


Will the St. Louis Cardinals Seek a Starting Pitcher?

With Jake Westbrook landing on the disabled list with a strained lower back, the Cardinals are set to go with rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons in his place on Monday. Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, two of the better pitching prospects in baseball, are in the bullpen and could also be options down the stretch. 

Ideally, they wouldn’t have to rely on young and inexperienced pitchers, especially during a time of the season when they’re normally done throwing a baseball for awhile—the minor league season ends in early September.

General manager John Mozeliak has said that a waiver-wire acquisition would be difficult, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but that doesn’t mean he’s not looking. Former Cardinal and current Nationals starter Dan Haren has cleared waivers, along with Houston Astros lefty Erik Bedard.

I recently wrote about which of those two would be a better fit for the Texas Rangers with Alexi Ogando landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Westbrook’s disabled-list stint could put St. Louis in the same dilemma. The Cardinals have enough at the top of the rotation but could find it hard to hold onto a playoff spot or at least the more coveted position of going straight to the division series as opposed to a one-game Wild Card. 

Two other veterans who could hit the waiver wire later this month are Los Angeles Angels lefty Jason Vargas and Seatle Mariners lefty Joe Saunders. Both have a high enough salary that it’s likely each would clear waivers or at least drop to a contending team on the waiver wire in need of a starting pitcher.


Late-Inning Relief Options Dwindle with Betancourt Injury 

Colorado Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt (pictured) was activated from the disabled list last Saturday, recorded his first save in over a month on Tuesday, blew a save on Wednesday, was placed on revocable waivers on Thursday, blew another save later that day and then landed back on the disabled list Friday with an elbow injury that could require Tommy John surgery. 

Just like that, a top late-inning option for contending teams is off the board. White Sox right-hander Matt Lindstrom remains the lone reliever who has been reported to have cleared waivers, while there’s a chance several others could join him later this month. 

Of the soon-to-be free-agent relievers on non-contending teams, Milwaukee Brewers lefty Mike Gonzalez, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, New York Mets closer LaTroy Hawkins and Mariners lefty Oliver Perez are the most likely to draw interest if made available.


Cleveland Indians Exploring Deals on the Waiver Wire

The surprising Indians, who are still hanging around in the playoff race, are considering all options to upgrade their roster down the stretch. According to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is open to pursuing an upgrade on the waiver wire if the right opportunity presented itself. 

The Tribe could look to upgrade an offense that has a .649 OPS in August with just about every hitter struggling aside from Ryan Raburn (7-for-26, 4 HR), Yan Gomes (.844 OPS in 13 games) and Nick Swisher (.720 OPS in 20 games). 

Adam Dunn of the White Sox and Justin Morneau of the Twins are the biggest-name hitters among those who have cleared waivers, although Dunn’s $15 million salary for 2014 could present an obstacle. If the Mets were to place Marlon Byrd on waivers, he’d be a potential upgrade over light-hitting Drew Stubbs in right field.

The rotation could also use a reinforcement with Scott Kazmir struggling over his past two starts and rookie Danny Salazar already at a career high in innings pitched after several injury-plagued seasons.  

Morneau’s Value Rising, but Are Trade Chances Decreasing?

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (pictured) has already cleared waivers, and he has not cooled off one bit during an August hot streak in which he’s posted a .928 OPS with seven homers and eight multi-hit games. Still, general manager Terry Ryan told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that he didn’t see anything happening at this point. 

He didn’t rule out the possibility, of course, but Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is hearing that money is the biggest obstacle. If that’s the case, the Twins might not be willing to eat enough of Morneau’s remaining salary, which is approximately $3 million. 

The Baltimore Orioles, who have gone with Ryan Flaherty, Steve Pearce, Brian Roberts and Danny Valencia at the designated hitter spot over the past week, still appear to be a fit, as do the Indians. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

7 New MLB Names Who Could Become Trade Bait If Their Teams Struggle in July

There are several teams on the cusp of falling out of playoff contention, which is always fun as it opens up the potential for even more trade rumors.

Seven teams—the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox—are currently more than 10 games back of a playoff spot, a very tough spot from which to bounce back. More could join them soon in the land of non-contenders. 

Teams like the Blue Jays (43-45, lost nine of last 14), Giants (40-48, lost 12 of their last 14), Padres (40-50, 10 consecutive losses), Rockies (43-47, lost 14 of their last 20) and Royals (42-44, lost 34 of their last 59) will need to make a decision of whether they are buyers or sellers in the next few weeks. If they play any worse than they have lately, veteran players from those teams could be shopped to contenders before the trade deadline.

Here are seven of the more interesting names that could be part of your daily Hot Stove news in the near future.

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MLB Trade Rumors: The Colorado Rockies Red Tag Sale Addition

The Rockies are reeling.

Eight straight losses in July will do that to a team. While the Rockies aren’t officially out of anything right now, they will have to have another miracle turn around and play-off run like they had in 2007 to make the playoffs.

But this team isn’t 2007. The 2007 Rockies had better starting pitching and one of the best defenses in the history of major league baseball. Where this team features base-running errors, fielding errors and a high strike out rate for its hitters.

So the Rockies find themselves in a very different spot now before the trade deadline than they were a week ago. Now, the Rockies look to be sellers, hoping to unload some pieces and maybe bring back a few younger players that could help the Rockies in 2011.

The list of reports saying the Rockies suddenly became sellers is pretty lengthy. Steve Foster of Inside the Rockies follows up on Ken Rosenthal report of the Fox Sports on the Rockies as sellers. Armstrong and Renck of the Denver Post , take a more middle ground .

I think the Rockies are done for the season. I also think the Rockies SHOULD be sellers now at the trade deadline as well as this off season. I’m not saying this team needs to be blown up, but like a backyard pool in the spring time, a layer of debris needs to be removed to get to a more promising team mix.

A look at those now holding up “For Sale” signs on the Colorado Rockies:


Aaron Cook

Cook as been terrible this season, and just Wednesday night failing to get out of the third inning giving up five runs on six hits. The Rockies would love to move Cook. However, Cook has another year on his contract at $9 million and if traded would get an additional $1 million. Cook’s performance and contract is so bad, that the Rockies would have to include a prospect along with Cook, just for another team to consider taking Cook off the Rox hands. Cook would clear waivers and would be available post deadline trade.


Jeff Francis

Jeff is coming off a terrible shoulder injury. He has one more year on his contract that would pay him $7 million dollars next year unless the Rockies buy out his contract. $7 million isn’t bad for a starting pitcher, but a starting pitcher that has performed like Francis has over the last three years is a bit much. Francis would be a type B free agent. He might actually have some value on the trade market.


Jorge De La Rosa

Jorge has been hurt much of the year. Last year JDLR had his break out season, and was more than a small reason the Rockies made the playoffs. The Rockies would like to re-sign him and actually think that his injury might keep his salary down to levels the Rockies could afford. However, of all three of the Rockies starting pitchers available, JDLR has the best stuff, and is last two outings have both been improvements, so it looks like he’s coming back to form after his long injury layoff which means he would have the most value and get the biggest return on a trade.

The Rockies can’t trade all three of these starting pitchers as they will have to have someone start games the next two months, but they could move two of the three. Moving either Francis or Cook, and replacing either one with Jhoulys Chacin actually improves this team right now.


Joe  Beimel

A veteran lefty out of the ‘pen and a solid consistent pitcher all around that is on a one year contract. A lot of teams could use him. The Rockies could replace him for the rest of the season with Franklin Morales. Expect Beimel to be traded. He also comes with cool bath robes and the best walk-in music of all time.


Rafael Betancourt

Has another year left on his contract. His ERA is now at 4.50, he has improved over the last couple of months. He was hurt and very sick battling the flu earlier in the season. The fact that he’s a veteran arm in the pen and with another year on his contract makes him very desirable to teams that are contending.


Manuel Corpas

He has one more year to go on his contract which has two additional option years. Corpas has been erratic his last two years. He spent a brief moment as the Rockies “closer” this year with Street hurt. I’m not sure he has value, but he’s got a Red Tag Sticker.


Todd Helton

Yeah, there is no way with his physical situation and his contract anyone touches him with a 10-foot pole, but if some one was crazy enough, the Rockies would move the Todd-Father.


Clint Barmes

Barmes is due to make about $5 million in his final year of arbitration. That’s pretty high for a guy that is looking to be a utility player for the Rockies next season. There are replacements at second in the organization right now, ready to play at a major league level, including Jonathon Herrera who has batted over .300 this past two months, Chris Nelson who tearing up Triple-A and is former first round draft pick and Eric Young Jr. who is finishing up his rehab assignment.

It’s doubtful the Rockies would go another year with Barmes to arbitration which makes him very trade-able right now. However, back up utility infielders that fade in the second half of the season aren’t in high demand, but he would help several contenders out there.


Brad Hawpe

One of the main reasons this team has failed to live up to pre-season expectations is the disappearance of Brad Hawpe. He’s only had six homers on the season this year with a slash line of .259/.337/.439/.776. He has an option on his contract next year that the Rockies won’t pick up. If Hawpe is traded that option becomes mutual. However, it looks like he will be a Type-A free agent which would bring back to draft picks, which might be reason enough for the Rockies to hang to him till the end of the year as that might be more value than another team would give.

Hawpe’s name has come up with the Chicago White Sox, and the Detroit Tigers, as well as the San Diego Padres. The level of interest to me is a little surprising, but the more I hear, the more I expect Hawpe to be gone.


Ryan Spilborghs: Spilly’s name is out there. I’m not sure why. Spilly is a nice fourth outfielder type and a great locker room guy. He loves Denver, and whenever he’s on FSN’s Rockies All-Access he talks about Denver, like it’s his home. He has one more year on his contract that will pay him about $1 million dollars which is a bargain.

With Matt Miller in Triple-A leading all of the Rockies organization in hitting, Spilly might be forced out for Miller. Spilly could be of interest for teams needing outfield depth and a right handed bat.


Eric Young Jr

I’ve not seen or heard his name listed as a trade candidate, but it’s looking more and more like EY2 doesn’t have a future with the Rockies. Squeezed and passed in the organization at second by Herrera and Nelson, EY2 is very expendable. He’s got a good bat, and amazing speed which gives him value, but he’s average to below average glove at second, and terrible defensively in the outfield which means the Rox have no idea where to play him.


Melvin Mora

The Rockies signed Mora this year to a one year deal. He’s not really a utility guy, and he’s struggled moving around to the various positions. He’s one the Rockies would give away. He’s not helping the Rockies right now, and won’t be here next year, even if Tracy is playing him nearly every day.


Not So Bold Prediction

The Rockies want to clear out the chaff and some payroll off next years team. But really, do contending teams want chaff for their playoff runs? Look for the Rockies to move one of their starting pitchers I’m predicting Jeff Francis, and one or two of their bullpen guys, particularly Joe Beimel. The Rockies would like to move more, but that might have to wait until the off-season for the tree pruning to happen.

This article also featured on The Rockies Reporter

And My Team Rivals: Rockies: Blake Street Baseball

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