Tag:Hot Stove League
Posted on: November 26, 2011 6:42 pm

Blue Jays acquire Luis Valbuena from Indians

Luis ValbuenaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally a slow time in the hot stove action, and this year is no different, but Saturday did see one minor (and I do mean minor) deal, as the Blue Jays acquired infielder Luis Valbuena from the Indians in return for cash considerations, according to one of Cleveland's official Twitter accounts.

The Indians had designated Valbuena for assignment on Nov. 18. The 25-year-old infielder hit .209/.227/.279 in just 17 games for the Indians in 2011. He played in 194 games in 2009 and 2010 combined, but hit just .226/.287/.348 in those two seasons combined. He did hit 10 homers in 2009.

This is hardly the Blue Jays' answer at second base where the team lost Kelly Johnson, but he is at least a backup plan in case the team can't find anyone better or just need some depth at Triple-A.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:00 pm

Monday trade sets stage for busy Hot Stove season

By Matt Snyder

Sure, Derek Lowe was dealt to the Indians in a salary dump and we've seen a few signings, but things have been pretty slow of late in Major League Baseball news. When the biggest name to sign a contract with a new team thus far is a backup first baseman/pinch-hitter (Jim Thome), it says everything you need to know about this past week in actual transactions. So forgive us for loving Melky Cabrera and Jonathan Sanchez swapping addresses. It's something, and it serves as a nice little unofficial start to the Hot Stove season.

With just one week to the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, it's time to focus on other potential trade candidates. Obviously rumors don't always come to fruition and we're shocked with non-rumored trades going down on occasion, but here are some names that either make sense or have been rumored to be on the move in the recent past.

• The White Sox's farm system is in absolute shambles and the major-league club doesn't appear ready to compete with the Tigers any time soon, so it's possible general manager Kenny Williams decides to rebuild. Since Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have no trade value, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin would be the parts most likely to move.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season and he could be a helpful four or five starter for a contender. He's thrown at least 190 innings in each of the past four seasons.

Hot Stove Season
• Do new Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to cut the sunk costs of Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano? They'd have to eat a significant portion of the remaining salaries (and for Soriano it's $54 million left on the deal), but the duo isn't helping the Cubs win in 2012. Also, Marlon Byrd only has one year left on his contract and prospect Brett Jackson will likely be ready to take over in center soon. The guess is Byrd has more value by the trade deadline in '12, though.

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be a trade candidate, and this winter it might finally happen with Desmond Jennings clearly ready to take over in center. Also, if the Rays are ready to deal a starting pitcher, Jeff Niemann is most likely.

Denard Span was rumored to be a trade candidate back in July, and the Twins could part with their center fielder to shore up the pitching staff.

We've already heard the rumors about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado from Atlanta, but it's possible since talks fizzled with the Royals that the Braves just hold both.

• Do the Angels try to shed Alberto Callaspo and/or Maicer Izturis and then land free agent Aramis Ramirez at third? They probably would need to shed more payroll in order to do so.

• Starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could easily be on the move from Houston, but the guess is the ownership situation would need to be resolved first.

• After a disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have plenty of trade candidates. Chris Iannetta probably stays put, but Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Ty Wigginton all make sense in potential deals.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished 2011 with a bang, which might mean it's the Dodgers last chance to get something of value in return for him. There are a few small-market matches, too, including the Indians.

• Finally, as we've already noted, the A's have put basically the entire team on the block.

So fasten your seatbelts, the action has only just begun.

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 6:44 pm

Wrong time for Mets to deal Wright

David Wright

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The hot stove sometimes takes a little while to warm up and the first couple of weeks of November are often more of a lukewarm stove -- and the kindling that is a David Wright rumor shouldn't stoke the flames too much.

On the surface, it's the type of rumor that should draw newspaper headlines -- the Mets "listening" to offers on Wright, the fallen star in New York. Sure, the Mets will obviously listen on offers for Wright, they'd be fools not to listen -- especially with a number of teams needing a third baseman.

The Angels, Cubs, Phillies and Rockies could all be searching for a new third baseman. So could the Brewers, Marlins and Tigers. Wright won't be 30 for another year and he already has four All-Star Games, two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers on his mantle. There will always be a demand for a player like Wright -- especially in a free-agent market that has just one top-flight third baseman available.

The problem is, now is certainly not the time for the Mets to deal him -- listen, sure, but not pull the trigger. You don't sell low, and right now Wright is low, lower than he's ever been. He's coming off his worst offensive season of his career, hitting just .254/.345/.427 with 14 home runs and missed 58 games due to a stress fracture in his lower back. His 102 games played were the fewest since his rookie year of 2004 when he was called up after the All-Star break. Anyone taking Wright now is doing it for a steal -- and salary relief for the Mets.

A National League executive told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would have to be "bowled over" to deal Wright this winter. That's unlikely to happen.

Wright will make $15 million in 2012 and the Mets have a $16 million option with a $1 million buyout for 2013. Wright can void that option if he's traded, making him little more than a rental if he's traded during the season. That would hurt his value at the deadline, but nothing like the questions surrounding his health and recent production coming off his pedestrian 2011.

Despite the talks of Wright being on the market, the Mets first move for 2012 was a giant flashing sign saying they'll keep Wright. Last week the team announced that not only will they move the walls in at Citi Field, they'll also lower them. The changes, whether the Mets will say so or not, are meant to help Wright.

In the three seasons since Citi Field opened, Wright has hit just .279/.377/.449 with an average of just more than seven home runs a season at home. At Shea Stadium. Wright hit .318/.403/.555 and averaged 29 homers per season from 2005-08, with at least half of those coming at home. The most he's hit in a season at Citi Field is 12, when he hit 29 total homers in 2010.

"You'd be lying if you said you enjoyed hitting at Citi Field," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com last week. "I don't think anybody would say they enjoyed hitting in such a pitchers' ballpark. I don't think we ever looked at the field and it intimidated us. But obviously it's frustrating at times when you hit a ball good and you don't see the results that you want to see." 

Of course it's not just Wright, Citi Field allowed just 1.43 home runs per game, the lowest in the majors over its first three years. Other Mets can benefit (notably Jason Bay), but the Mets could benefit the most from an increased offensive output from Wright. If Wright flourishes in the new park, then his stock could would be much higher than it is now. If he doesn't put up significantly better numbers, that trade value is unlikely to change from where it is now.

Wright can still be one of the premier third basemen in baseball, but right now he's a .254 hitter with 14 homers -- that with a $15 million price tag doesn't bring back elite prospects. If Wright finds the new Citi Field to his liking, he can be an impact player for the Mets -- and their future. Wright won't be a Met forever, but he should be one on opening day.

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 7:13 pm

Indians get Orlando Cabrera

Orlando Cabrera
You know when the Indians signing Orlando Cabrera would have been a real impact move? In 2007. The Indians were a playoff team, and Cabrera batted a career-high .301 at age 33 for the Angels.

Fast-forward four years, and the fortunes of team and player are much different. Suffice it to say nobody sees Cabrera, signed Thursday (according to Jon Heyman of SI.com) to his sixth team since that 2007 season, as the piece that puts the 2011 Indians over the top. Instead he's a 36-year-old journeyman added to a team from which little is expected this season.

That's not to be too hard on Cabrera. He can still play some, though his numbers last year for the Reds -- a .263/.303/.354 and an OPS+ of 78 as the starting shortstop -- are not a great sign for the future. The on-base and slugging numbers were the worst of his career, and he's lost a step defensively as well.

So what's his role with the Indians? That's not clear at the moment. Cabrera was said to be looking for a starting gig, but why would the Indians, who are trying to develop young players, let him block 25-year-old shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera? The younger Cabrera batted .308 in 2009 and looked good again last year despite losing two months to a broken arm. Perhaps the plan is to move Asdrubal Cabrera back to second, the position he played primarily early in his career, and let Luis Valbuena ride the bench.

Fun fact about Orlando Cabrera: He's made the playoffs each of the past four years with four different teams (in reverse order: Reds, Twins, White Sox, Angels). In the unlikely event that streak continues, the Indians would be very happy with this signing.

UPDATE: Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Indians are committed to Asdrubal Cabrera at short and Orlando will compete for the second base job.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 9:10 pm

Report: Jays would like to move Rivera

RiveraWhen the Blue Jays pulled off the trade of the year in dumping Vernon Wells' contract, they received two players in return in Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.

Napoli was dealt days later to the Rangers for Frank Francisco, who will likely be Toronto's closer. The other, Rivera, has been considered the likely starter in left field.

Except the Jays may be dumping Rivera as well, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. There aren't any concrete trade rumors, but the Jays are hoping to deal Rivera and his $5.25 million contract, sources say.

Moving Rivera would allow the Jays to slot Travis Snider in left instead of right, where he belongs. That would open up right field for Jose Bautista to remain if the Jays were able to acquire a third baseman. There aren't any feasible choices left in on the market for third base, but there are some decent outfielders left, led by Scott Podsednik. Scotty Po could man center, pushing Rajai Davis to right and give the Jays a more viable leadoff man than Davis represents.

Rosenthal adds that it's unlikely Rivera would be dealt before spring training, as teams need to see how their rosters develop.

Anyone else think it would be high comedy if the Jays dealt Rivera and another player to Texas for Michael Young?

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 4:45 pm

Yankees would sign Washburn

WashburnThe Yankees sure are hoping the good old glory days come back to New York this season.

After importing such '90s and early '00 stars such as Andruw Jones, Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon and Eric Chavez comes word the Yankees spoke to Jarrod Washburn about coming in on a minor-league deal.

As the New York Post adds, talks did not bear fruit, as Washburn is likely looking for something a bit more guaranteed after taking 2010 off. Nothing's surfaced yet, but the Yankees would still be open to adding Washburn if the veteran lefty, who finished fourth in Cy Young Award balloting back in 2002, agrees to come in on a minor-league pact.

Washburn has previously been linked to the Yankees as early as the trade deadline of 2009, when the Mariners instead shipped the lefty to Detroit. The Yankees refused to give up Austin Jackson and another player for Washburn, and later dealt Jackson to Detroit in a package to get center fielder Curtis Granderson.

Kevin Millwood has also been connected to the Yankees, which would be yet another "good old days" star who has tailed off as of late. However, it appears the Indians are the furthest along in signing Millwood.

Maybe GM Brian Cashman can convince Andy Ashby to come to camp.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 12:16 am

Demanding trade, Young 'misled and manipulated'

YoungThe Rangers have confirmed reports that Michael Young has demanded a trade and did so a week ago.

Young has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, and things have ramped up again recently with a report Young could be joining the Rockies shortly. The Angels are also thought to be involved, but Texas would prefer not to deal their franchise icon to a division rival.

Despite being a franchise icon, Young is quite overpaid, due $48 million over the next three years. Colorado is requesting the Rangers eat at least $20 million, which would make Young's contract into commensurate value for the Rox. The Rangers have moved Young around, first from second to shortstop and then short to third, the latter move which was met with major displeasure by Young although he eventually acquiesced.

Despite the moves, Young still remains a terrible fielder (although he would play second in Colorado). When the Rangers addressed their fielding issues by signing Adrian Beltre, that pushed Young into a DH role that he originally accepted. However, Young has since balked, due in part to Texas' acquisition of Mike Napoli, which would steal at-bats from Young at DH.

"He's had time to think about it," GM Jon Daniels told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. "Time's gone on and he's changed his mind."

President Nolan Ryan added more context, saying Young realized a trade would be in the best interest of his career as he could continue playing the field and not being shoehorned into the DH spot.

This is a rather masterful stroke for Texas. Fans were upset the Rangers were trying to deal Young as he is well-regarded in the community and is a fan favorite. However, by announcing Young's trade demand, the club can deal Young and then tell its fans they were only accommodating his request. Pretty smart.

UPDATE: Michael Young lashed out at ownership Monday night after the Rangers leaked the trade demand. Young is likely upset he is being painted the bad guy when he clearly feels different.

Telling the Dallas Morning News, Young said:

I've kept a low profile out of respect for the team, the coaching staff, my family and the fans because I didn't want to put anybody on an unnecessary roller-coaster. Now, I think it's important to address the inaccurate portrayal that is being painted. The suggestion that I've simply had a change of heart and asked for a trade is a manipulation of the truth. I want to be traded because I've been misled and manipulated and I'm sick of it.

How was he misled? And manipulated?

"That would be unproductive for everybody, particularly my teammates and coaches," he said. "I know the truth and Jon Daniels knows the truth and I will sleep well."

UPDATE 2: More quotes from Young, this time from MLB.com:


I would have prefered this to stay behind closed doors. The shame of this is I have a great group of teammates that I've grown to love. But at this point I don't think [it can be worked out]. I think a trade is going to happen.


And now FOXSports.

"I’m not going to sit here and say I’m above anything in that sense," Young said about trade talks, saying he was surprised but not upset. "It’s the business of baseball. People explore their options. In no way do I feel I’m above that."

UPDATE 3: And more information is pumping in. MLB.com has learned the eight teams Young can be dealt to as part of his partial no-trade clause. Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies, Dodgers, Angels and Padres.

GM Daniels said earlier that he felt it simplest to work within those eight teams to facilitate a trade. The Cardinals could absolutely use Young as they have a shaky David Freese there, but they just can't take on the salary commitment -- even if Texas eats $20 million -- when they have Albert Pujols to worry about. If they do swing a trade, that could mean Pujols' time is done.

The Yankees are likewise all set and would have no place to play him. The Twins appear maxed out on payroll and have settled their situation, and despite having a spare outfielder, the Rangers have no need there. The Astros are rebuilding and slashing payroll, so that deal makes zero sense. The Rockies we have all heard about. The Dodgers could salivate at bumping Casey Blake off third for a better hitter, but who knows what the finances are like in Dodgertown. The Angels are a divisional rival with an acute need, but how can the Rangers possibly justify moving Young to a division rival after all this drama? The Padres, lastly, have zero interest in an aging, overpaid hitter slowly on the decline. Yes, he may be able to help, but the Padres can't take that luxury ... if one can call it a luxury.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 5, 2011 3:40 pm

Escobar eyeing comeback

EscobarIt's been years since Kelvim Escobar was an important part of a team's roster.

Escobar has exactly one appearance in the major leagues since 2007 when he concluded a run as a solid No. 3 starter for the Angels. Aside from one start in Los Angeles in 2009 and 20 2/3 total innings in the farm since '07, Escobar hasn't been heard from thanks to two shoulder surgeries that have derailed his career. Slated to turn 35 just after Opening Day, he has been a non-factor but is attempting to make yet another comeback as FOX Sports reports.

We say "another" because he's been trying to come back ever since 2007 and just underwent the knife for his third shoulder surgery, second since 2007. Escobar signed a pact with the Mets last season only to fall to injury once again during Spring Training.

Now, Escobar hopes to throw for teams in March. He may be far from a sure thing, but Escobar was once a top starter and reliever and as long as he can stay on the field and the repeated surgeries haven't robbed him of his 93-mph heater, Escobar could end up being a nice feel-good story.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com