Tag:trade deadline
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: AL West

By Eye on Baseball Team

Baseball's trade deadline is just 13 days away. The rumor mill is certainly spinning, but we've only really seen one big move -- the Brewers acquiring Francisco Rodriguez. In the upcoming days we'll take a glance around baseball and sort out what we can expect to see from each major-league team. First up, the AL West, a division that saw several deadline deals last season, including an intradivisional Cliff Lee deal (though that happened in early July). It doesn't appear the landscape is ripe for another blockbuster like that, but let's dive in.

Texas Rangers
Status: Buyers
Upgrade needed: Pitching, both starting and relief.
Possible matches: Padres, Marlins, Nationals, A's, Mariners
Notes: If the Rangers continue to win at this pace and create big separation in the AL West -- they're currently up four games and have won 11 in a row -- they won't feel the need to make a big splash. They have reportedly talked to the Marlins about pitching, with Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez as possibilities (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports, however, that the Marlins aren't going to move Nolasco or Sanchez. Evan Grant of Rangers Blog reports the Rangers are interested in Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Brandon League -- though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's would have to be overwhelmed to move Bailey, since he's under team control until 2014. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also has the Rangers in on Bell, Adams, Bailey and throws in Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rangers are the "leaders" in the Bell/Adams sweepstakes. I'd expect the Rangers to do whatever it takes, within reason, to get to the World Series again.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Status: Frugal buyers
Upgrade needed: Could use more pitching and another bat.
Possible matches: They'd have to shed payroll first, so none at this point.
Notes: Thanks to several high-priced acquisitions in recent memory (Vernon Wells, c'mon down!) the word is the Angels don't want to increase the payroll -- even though general manager Tony Reagins denies that assertation, there's evidence to suggest it. So, while they'd probably like to upgrade several areas -- coincidentally, an upgrade over Wells would be nice -- there won't be much flexibility. Expect the Angels to make minor trades at the absolute maximum. UPDATE: Rosenthal reports Aramis Ramirez is on the Angels' wish list, but that Ramirez still has no intention of waving his no-trade clause for anyone -- at least until after July 31. This is interesting on several levels. Going after Ramirez would completely contradict the notion that the Angels aren't adding payroll. Not only is Ramirez making a pretty penny this season, but a trade would cause a $16 million option for next season to vest. Also, Ramirez's insistence on not leaving starts to make you wonder if he knows the Cubs will pick up his option after the season.

Seattle Mariners
Status: In limbo, but probably sellers.
Players available: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Erik Bedard, Brandon League.
Notes: We can't really be sure how things stand just yet. The Mariners were all set to be buyers and were reportedly interested in upgrading the offense, for example. But they've now lost nine in a row and -- teamed with the Rangers' winning streak -- that has buried them. I can't see a reason to move Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners won't, but some are sure to speculate about him. Just take those "rumors" with a grain of salt. All-Star reliever Brandon League could fetch a decent return and, when the Mariners decide to start selling, Bedard seems like a name that could be involved in any trade talks. Knobler also reports that Vargas and Fister are available -- and points out Hernandez and Michael Pineda are not.

Oakland Athletics
Status: Sellers
Players available: Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Michael Wuertz. Probably several more, too.
Possible matches: Pretty much any buyer.
Notes: You have to figure at least three of the above players are shipped somewhere. Things will probably go down to the wire, as none are huge difference makers and will probably be last resorts on July 31. Willingham could go sooner, as he's being dangled, it's just that not many teams are overly excited about him. The Pirates are said to be in on him, but could be setting their sights higher on Hunter Pence.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 2:39 pm
 

Pence to Pirates is hot new trade rumor

By Matt Snyder

As the Ubaldo Jimenez speculation fire continues to burn, we now have our next hot trade rumor: The Pirates have scouted Hunter Pence (PittsburghLive.com). Pence is hitting .321 with 11 homers, 61 RBI and an .852 OPS. He also has a great throwing arm, as we saw in the All-Star Game.

Now, just as with the Jimenez talk, let's not get carried away here. Scouting a player doesn't mean the teams have exchanged names or will ever talk about a trade. It's just the first of many steps. Still, this could make sense for both teams.

The best argument for the Astros to keep Pence is that they need to rebuild around someone and he's their obvious best player. You can say he's young, but he's 28. The Astros aren't anywhere near contention, so he could be 31 (or older) before they're ready to make a run at the NL Central again. Why not deal him and get a big prospect package back? I feel like that would make more sense, because the likes of Carlos Lee and Brett Myers aren't landing much in return at this point. Pence and Wandy Rodriguez are the ones who need to be moved in an effort to start the rebuilding process.

As for the Pirates, first of all, it's pretty cool to see them as buyers. Variety can be good and the Pirates fans have suffered for quite a while. But let's talk baseball.

There are more pressing needs than right field for the Pirates. Shortstop and third base are weak -- unless Pedro Alvarez all of a sudden is promoted and explodes -- and Lyle Overbay could be upgraded at first. A catcher upgrade would help, though there aren't really many, if any, good ones available. Some extra help in middle relief couldn't hurt either. But if the Pirates could get a star like Pence, it would enable them to move Garrett Jones to first and it does strengthen the lineup as a whole in a pretty big way. Plus, Pence still has a decent chunk of his prime left and the Pirates' cornerstones would be a duo of outfield stars with Pence and Andrew McCutchen.

So, yes, this feels like a move that could benefit both teams, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen or is in the works. Just a rumor, for now.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Twins won't move Cuddyer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Michael CuddyerIn the last two seasons, Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer has started at six different positions and hit .296/.372/.467 with 13 home runs while doing it. He's also free agent after this season and with the Twins in fourth place in the American League Central, it's no surprise his name is being bandied about in trade rumors.

That said, a Twins official told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the team wouldn't trade Cuddyer even if the Twins fall further out of contention. Minnesota entered Sunday's game against the Royals six games behind the Indians, five games back of the Tigers and two behind the White Sox.

Cuddyer, 32, is the longest-tenured Twin, coming up with the team at the end of the 2001 season when he was 22.

"I have no say or no control over [trades], so I feel like I've done a pretty good job of just being able to focus and go out and play," Cuddyer told Christensen. "Especially now that we're getting back into this thing, I'd like to think we're going to go after it."

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:50 am
 

Rockies need 'Herschel Walker' deal for Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems Ubaldo Jimenez is this season's hot name that could go nowhere.

Last week it was the Reds who popped up as a possible landing spot for Jimenez, but now it seems more are involved. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees about Jimenez. Heyman said later on MLB Network that 12 teams have contacted the Rockies about JImenez, adding the Red Sox and Rays as possible bidders. Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies as teams with interest in Jimenez.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Jimenez -- he's one of the top talents in the game, even if he's not putting up the dominant numbers he did a year ago when he was 15-1 with a  2.20 ERA in the first half. This season he's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but most of his struggles have been at Coors Field, where his ERA more than three-and-a-half runs higher than it is on the road -- .5.89 at home and 2.28 on the road. His strikeout rate (8.1 per nine innings) is down slightly (8.7 last season), but so are his walks (3.5 walks per nine innings in 2011 and 3.7 in 2010).

And it's not just Jimenez's presence on the mound that makes him attractive, he's a relative bargain, signed through next season and he makes just $4.2 million in 2012 and has team options for both 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), but the 2014 option is voided if he's traded. Evan at $8 million, Jimenez is a bargain -- for comparison, Colorado's Aaron Cook is making $9.25 million this season and enters today's start with an 0-4 record and 5.82 ERA. Another team won't benefit from the 2014 option, but any team trading for him would get Jimenez for the next two seasons for less than $10 million.

As a comparison, perhaps one of the other top names on the trade market is Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is in the first year of a three-year, $34 million contract.

Jesus MonteroThe Rockies have spent their entire existence searching for an ace pitcher that's not bothered pitching at Coors Field, in Jimenez, they've finally got him. So, why would the Rockies trade him? That's a pretty good question. The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to listen.

"We would have to be absolutely overwhelmed," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "It would have to be a Herschel Walker deal."

In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings along with four draft picks in return for five players and eight draft picks. The Cowboys turned those draft picks into Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, Dixon Edwards and more draft picks, including the one that led to the first overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). That trade laid the foundation for the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles in the mid-90s.

In a baseball equivalent, you could call it a Mark Teixeira trade. In baseball, you can't trade draft picks, but prospects are the equivalent of NFL draft picks. In 2007, the Rangers sent Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That's a pretty good haul -- and that's for a player that was scheduled to be a free agent. Jimenez could cost more because of the extra years of team control with a very team-friendly contract.

The market has changed in reaction to that trade, with fewer teams giving up that much for rentals, but Jimenez won't be a rental, so he could command a king's ransom.

What are the Rockies looking for? Mainly they want young pitching talent that can be under team control for a long time, but that's major league ready. They'd also want a top-notch position prospect, as well. The Yankees would likely need to give up catcher Jesus Montero (right) and a top pitching prospect such as Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances in addition to other prospects. Heyman said on MLB Network that the Rockies have asked for not just Montero, Banuelos and Betances, but also Ivan Nova. The Reds could spare first baseman Yonder Alonso, but would have to send some pitching such as Mike Leake and/or Travis Wood to the Rockies in addition to other players.

There have been reports that Jimenez is unhappy with being on the trading block, but he denies that's the case.

"I won't be bothered by trade rumors. I am mentally strong," Jimenez told Renck. "Don't forget that about me."

It would be foolish for someone like O'Dowd not to listen, but in the end, if the Rockies do trade him, it will have to be for a massive collection of talent.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Cards GM says Rasmus isn't on the market

Colby Rasmus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another year, another year of Colby Rasmus trade rumors.

Last year it was that the talented center fielder couldn't get along with Tony La Russa, this year it's that he's an underperforming malcontent that can't get along with his teammates.

The Cardinals jettisoned Brendan Ryan for that sin, but Rasmus is a better all-around player and it sounds as if St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak intends to keep him, he said as much to The Sports Edge show on Sports Radio 1380-AM in St. Louis:

"We're not trying to move Colby Rasmus, I can be very clear on that," Mozeliak said on Friday. "As you can imagine when you have the type of job I have, people call you all the time about what players you may move. There's no doubt that Colby seems to be a player that gets a lot of attention here in St. Louis and I can understand why, there's not a whole lot of incentive to move him at this time. Now, if there's a deal that made sense and we really felt it was a win, then we'd consider it. But overall, we're not actively shopping him unlike some people would want you to believe."

There's no reason to trade Rasmus now. At 24, Rasmus is still learning to be a big leaguer. He's in just his third year in the big leagues and is under team control through 2014.

Rasmus is certainly underachieving, hitting .246/.329/.413 -- all numbers well below the rates he put up a year ago (.276/.361/.498). He's hit nine home runs and stolen five bases, slightly behind last year's pace. However, he's improved his strikeout rate (20.3 percent) from a year ago (27.7 percent), while his walk rate has dropped a little, but not too much (from 11.8 percent to 11.1 percent). His batting average on balls in play is down (from .354 in 2010 to .291 this season), explaining some of the drops in his batting average and OBP.

Trading him now would be selling low. Rasmus has more than enough talent that moving him for a middle-of-the-rotation starter would be beyond idiotic.

Mozeliak did say the team is looking for a left-handed reliever and overall depth on the pitching staff, whether it's a reliever or starter.

"Unfortunately there are so many teams in this thing and everyone's looking for the same thing, it will be difficult to pull off," Mozeliak said.

So don't expect him to deal Rasmus for that relief, although he did note he could always be swayed if a team gave up enough.

"When I talk about prospects in general, I try never to use the phrase 'untouchable' there's always a deal that would make you want to move somebody, that's just natural," Mozeliak said. "There are players that unless you're blown away, you're not going to make a move."

And that player is Colby Rasmus.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Cardinals may trade Rasmus; Rays interested?

Rasmus

By Evan Brunell

This is the third season for Colby Rasmus, and yet he's well into his second year of trade rumors.

Last season, Rasmus reportedly requested a trade multiple times after clashing with manager Tony La Russa, but to no one's surprise the Cardinals retained the center fielder, whose burgeoning career sparked a .276/.361/.498 line last season. That painted Rasmus as a valuable commodity because of his league-minimum salary and talent at such a young age as he doesn't turn 25 until next month.

Despite that, however, trade rumors have continued to persist, and despite denials to the contrary, it's clear that the Cardinals both seriously considered moving Rasmus this season and are now closer than they've ever been to dealing the 2005 first-round selection given his slide back this year. He's currently struggling with a .246/.329/.413 line.

Part of his failings can be pointed to making contact with pitches outside the strike zone at a higher rate than before despite swinging at a similar percentage of these pitches. That means that Rasmus is making poorer contact, as it will always be difficult to get a good swing on a pitch that would be called a ball. That would explain why his groundball numbers are higher, coupled with a major jump in infield pop-ups.

On one hand, that does suggest that Rasmus can improve. All it would take is an adjustment to laying off these out-of-zone pitches more, but there could be other factors at work that aren't easily discerned by statistics that point to Rasmus not quite reaching superstardom that he appeared ticketed for. Plus, by all accounts, Rasmus is not popular in the clubhouse -- and wasn't right from the start. In a chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rasmus "received a cold clubhouse reception when he arrived in 2009."

Strauss adds that "the club insists it's not shopping Rasmus but would listen to offers, as it would for any player not under a no-trade [clause]. Others familiar with the situation say that Raz is more 'live' than the club portrays, and that if he's not traded by Aug. 1 should be elsewhere before next season."
Later, on Twitter, he revealed that the Rays and Cardinals had extensive discussions about Rasmus last season. These talks could pick back up as Tampa Bay could be without a center fielder next season; B.J. Upton is expected to either be traded or leave as a free agent. Acquiring Rasmus would allow for a low-cost option to man center moving forward with quite a bit of upside. But just because Rasmus seems certain to leave doesn't mean St. Louis will give the left-hander away.

That's why they're "coveting" starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who would be a fantastic young pitcher to pair with Jaime Garcia and could allow the club to let Chris Carpenter walk after the season. Of course, Tampa Bay subscribes to the same reasons St. Louis does in wanting Hellickson, so although a Rasmus-for-Hellickson swap makes sense, Tampa may not be keen on giving up on a budding pitcher who has already cut his teeth in the AL East; plus, the Rays would be down a starting pitcher.

Fortunately, a solution for Tampa could rest in Upton. The Rays could dangle Upton for a young pitcher in return, and there are several teams who would love a center fielder, including Washington and Atlanta, which have been pursuing one for some time. While the requirement of a good, young pitcher would likely knock out the Nationals as contenders, the Braves would be a fit if Atlanta deems the risk of not signing Upton acceptable toward giving up one of its young pitching commodities. The Giants could also be a fit if they offered Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is a bit wild but is a quality pitcher with a rising salary as he heads to his final year of arbitration next season.

Increasingly, it appears that Rasmus just isn't a ft in St. Louis, whether La Russa sticks beyond the season. Given Rasmus' talent and age, that could set up a significant trade that could impact St. Louis and another team for years.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:21 pm
 

K-Rod out of New York, Beltran may be next

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos BeltranPHOENIX -- Francisco Rodriguez was the first Met to be dealt and Carlos Beltran could be the second.

Before Tuesday night's All-Star Game, Giants closer Brian Wilson said on Fox that there had been talks about the Giants adding Beltran. After the game, he stood by those comments.

"You know, talking facts. I guess we're in talks and we're talking about Beltran," Wilson said.

Unlike Rodriguez, though, Beltran has a complete no-trade clause and could seek compensation to waive it, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes. Rosenthal also adds Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, may prefer Beltran to go to the American League where he could serve as a designated hitter. However, as CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler points out, Beltran isn't crazy about DHing. He served as DH just three times during the Mets interleague games this season. It would also stand to reason that Beltran would be better off showing potential teams he could still play a full season in the outfield, because having 30 teams bid on you is better than 14.

Rosenthal notes the Mets may not hurry to deal Beltran, but they are expected to move him. And they hope to get more in return for Beltran than they did for Rodriguez.

And, just because, here's video I shot of Wilson last night talking about his shoes with his own picture on them:


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