Inside Baseball: Mets, Twins among early buyers and more MLB news

Editor's Note: Trade season is underway around the league with the conclusion of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Here are 40 big names who could be on the move this summer in Part 1 of this week's column.

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Arizona Diamondbacks News

Nobody can fault Arizona for going what some saw as the "safe" route and taking all-around excellent Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, who is expected to sign sometime after the College World Series. Word is, GM Dave Stewart, who traversed the country viewing prospects, also liked Tyler Jay, the Illinois lefthander who went No. 6 to the Twins, and the D-Backs' final "big five" included also Georgia prep catcher Tyler Stephenson, Vanderbilt pitcher Carson Fulmer and UC-Santa Barbara pitcher Dillon Tate ... Cuban hitter Yasmany Tomas has exceeded expectations since the season began, triggering the Mark Trumbo trade. Tomas is hitting for a high average, and a D-Backs person predicted he'd still hit 20 home runs ... Some scouts say Rule 5 catching pickup Oscar Hernandez is so good defensively he could become the next Yadier Molina or Pudge Rodriguez. The Rays are thought hopeful to get the No. 1 Rule 5 pickup back, but that won't be happening ... Peter O'Brien, obtained from the Yankees in the Brandon McCarthy deal, is hitting up a storm. He wants to go to the outfield after struggling with "the thing" (throwing yips) in spring training, but should be a player either way, D-Backs people figure. Team president Tony La Russa recently went to talk to O'Brien after the player suggested he wanted to convert fulltime to the outfield, as the team hopes he sticks with catching. In any case, "he should hit 25 homers in the majors," a scout says.

Atlanta Braves News

Fredi Gonzalez, whose contract is up after the year, looks like he's earning a new deal ... Cameron Maybin may finally be fulfilling his potential. The former No. 1 pick is batting .344 since May 1.

Baltimore Orioles News

Everth Cabrera is working out in Miami Lakes, Fla. at the Boras Sports Training Institute after being designated for assignment by the Orioles.

Chicago Cubs News

The Cubs had been after Rafael Soriano for a while, but it was fortuitous to land him just after Joe Maddon began a closer rotation, employing Pedro Strop and Jason Motte as well as Hector Rondon. Soriano has an opt-out to his $4.1-million (pro-rated) deal, and can leave if he isn't in the majors by the time of the July 14 All-Star Game ... Even with Soriano, the Cubs are probably a better bet for Papelbon than the Jays since Cubs execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know him.

Chicago White Sox News

The pick of Vanderbilt's Fulmer, the best pitcher in the NCAA, at No. 8 seems like a coup. Fulmer raised his stock by converting to a starter this year, and the White Sox plan to use him that way. The draft had been a weakness of the South Siders for a while but they've pulled off some beauties in recent years -- Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon and now Fulmer -- all college pitchers ... Ex-Chisox player Dayan Viciedo received many Triple-A offers but he's been holding out hope for a major-league deal.

Cleveland Indians News

The Indians took a chance with Brady Aiken at No. 17, and it's probably a worthwhile gamble, despite the ligament issue and Tommy John surgery. "Don't forget, he was the best amateur in the country a year ago," one rival said. He won't get the $5 million he turned down at the signing deadline last year, but he could be around the $3.14 million the Astros offered soon after finding the elbow irregularity ... Lonnie Chisenhall's fall is a surprise. He had one of the all-time great games last year, going 5 for 5 with three homers and nine RBI vs. Texas. Now he is in the minors ... Third baseman Giovanny Urshela, called up to replace Chisenhall, is said to be excellent defensively ... Kudos to Indians owner Paul Dolan for shaving his head in support of Mike Aviles' daughter Adriana, 4, who is battling leukemia.

Colorado Rockies News

Brendan Rodgers, the No. 3 pick overall and a shortstop from Lake Mary, Fla., will surely sign with Colorado, which is a great fit. When Rockies people worked him out on a high school field right before the draft, he hit about half the balls out. Rogers is "clearly the best talent in the draft," according to one scout, thanks to his "big pop," plus arm and hands and average speed. Another said he's reminiscent of Evan Longoria -- high praise indeed. Rodgers attended the draft at MLB Network, and was thrilled he did. He is expected to sign for under the $6,223,000 slot ... Mike Nikorak, the No. 27 pick who is a talented righthander out of Stroudsburg, Pa., was a smart pick there. Like Rodgers, he was impressive in interviews as a draft attendee at MLB Network.

Houston Astros News

It is expected the Astros have either worked something out with highly-regarded Daz Cameron, the son of Mike, or will very soon. Rumors on draft day was they had a $5-million deal, but that seems quite a bit steep. Rumor has it, though, that Cameron will get about $4 million, which is about slot money for the sixth/seventh pick and explains why he fell to No. 37. His dad, the accomplished ex-big leaguer Mike Cameron, told the Houston Chronicle that Daz began to worry when he started to drop in the draft but that this turned out to be his first real lesson that baseball is a business. "Everything looks like it's going to work out," Mike Cameron said via direct message. Astros GM Jeff Lunhow has a history of working well with Scott Boras, who advises Cameron, so this shouldn't be a surprise. Mark Appel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz are all recent draftees advised by Boras ... The Astros and Casey Close, who had a public dispute last year due to the Aiken-Jacob Nix snafu, also are said to be "moving forward." Good thing since they selected Tampa OF Kyle Tucker, a Close client, at No. 5 overall ... The Astros pulled off quite a trifecta, including taking LSU shortstop Alex Bregman at No. 2, giving them three top-15 talents, though once scout suggested Bregman may have been something of an overdraft. Houston benefited by failing to sign Aiken last year and also by being bad again last year ... Some believe the team would consider trading Appel. He's "a great kid with a great arm," but one person close to the scene believes he needs "a change of scenery." ... Even with McCullers looking superb early and Vincent Velasquez looking good, as well, the Astros are mining for a starter.

Kansas City Royals News

The Royals are to be commended for their excellent first-half play following their surprise World Series appearance. But it's a bit ridiculous that they have seven players in All-Star position due to fan voting. It appears that Royals fans have found a flaw in the system, and something may need to be changed next year (though commissioner Ron Manfred is not believed interested in pulling a Ford Frick, and naming more deserving players, as Frick did when Reds fans stuffed the ballot box in 1957). While Omar Infante is not leading at second base, it's absurd when he has 2 1/2 times the vote total of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis at a time when Kipnis led the league in WAR at 3.7 and Infante's WAR was a neat 0.0 (his home run and stolen base totals also were zero) ... If seven Royals do start, NL manager Bruce Bochy had better go with Madison Bumgarner, who seemed to have KC's number ... Art Stewart, the longtime Royals executive who attended his 51st draft (that's all of them), recalled that at the first draft, held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, the Dodgers accidentally picked the wrong player in the third round, and when they tried to correct it, then commissioner Frick told them it was too late ... Kind Royals people seem to have some sympathy for star catcher Salvador Perez after he signed the under-market $7-million, five-year deal that contains two team options, and they seem open to renegotiating/extending things late in the year, or perhaps after the year, as was first suggested here.

Los Angeles Angels News

Some draftniks thought catcher Taylor Ward from Fresno State was a reach for the Angels in the first round, but if anyone knows catching, it has to be Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Ward is defensively very strong ... Albert Pujols has passed the Mick, and now has 6 1/2 years to go from 537 to 700. Don't put it past him.

Los Angeles Dodgers News

Cuban star Hector Olivera's $62.5-million, six-year deal contains a seventh-year team option that is said to be for about his $10 million AAV should he have to miss time with the elbow concern. Olivera has started 5 for 18 in Double-A and the Dodgers are putting no timetable on his arrival. No need with their amazing bench. Alexander Guerrero will no doubt draw trade interest, but the Dodgers love their superb depth, and obviously have no need to save money ... The Dodgers did a great job piecing together a rotation even after the losses of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, identifying Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias as viable options. However, the Dodgers expect to have their eye out for another starter this trading season ... The pen is also much better than anyone figured it would be, and they still have Joel Peralta, Paco Rodriguez and Pedro Baez on the D.L. ... The Dodgers are thought to have one of the tougher signs out of the draft after picking Louisville righthander Kyle Funkhouser, the No. 35 pick overall. While he's a junior, some believe he could possibly be the one player to return for his senior season, a la Mark Appel and Pittsburgh a couple years back. Appel turned down about $3.3 million as the No. 8 pick, then got about $6.5 million when the Astros made him the No. 1 overall pick the next year (plus, by returning Appel also got his Stanford degree). The Dodgers also got the highly-regarded Vanderbilt righthander Walker Buehler with the No. 24 pick, and later took outfielder Mitch Hansen, another well-regarded prospect. Despite the lower-than-expected landing spots for the two college stars, Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said they are "optimistic on both fronts." ... Jimmy Rollins is great in the clubhouse and at shortstop, but it's fair to wonder whether his offensive struggles could lead to a call-up of Corey Seager, who may be baseball's best prospect now that Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is up (it's either Seager or the Twins' Byron Buxton). An NL scout said Seager is ready now, but Zaidi said they are happy with Rollins despite the low batting average and aren't currently discussing a callup for Seager ... The Dodgers made a big play for lefty reliever Zach Duke over the winter before he went to the White Sox for $15 million over three years ... Freddy Garcia, who left the Dodgers when he could see the handwriting on the wall, is pitching for the Olmecas de Tabasco in the Mexican League ... As far as Internet speculation, no way should the Dodgers trade Yasiel Puig for Hamels. Puig is signed to a great deal ($42 million, seven years).

Miami Marlins News

The Marlins are close to signing prep power hitter Josh Naylor, from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the No. 12 overall pick ... Marlins execs Jeff McAvoy and Brett West deserve kudos for finding big first baseman Justin Bour in the minor-league Rule 5 draft, where it's rare to find such a gem ... Steve Cishek looks like an early non-tender candidate after the season.

Milwaukee Brewers News

Donny Everett, the hardest throwing prep pitcher in the draft (98 mph) from Clarksville, Tenn. will be headed to Vanderbilt. The Brewers took a flyer on him with a late pick, but he's determined to go to college and turned down bonus offers of $2.5 million or more from others.

Minnesota Twins News

A contender to the surprise of many (including presumably themselves), the Twins will consider a middle-of-the-order bat, preferably one who plays the outfield, in a trade. They also seek to beef up the bullpen ... No surprise, the Twins would like Torii Hunter back for another year. He left it unclear whether he intended to play another year, but he's been so good this season that folks think there's a good chance he'll play one more year at age 40. Since the intent was to end things where he started them, it would be expected that he wouldn't play anywhere but Minnesota if he does play next year ... One scout said he believes Tyler Jay, the No. 6 overall pick by the Twins, has the best arm in the draft.

New York Mets News

The Mets have an undisclosed timetable for David Wright of his return sometime this year, so they are not focused on Aramis Ramirez at present. They'd prefer a player who can play third for now, then switch positions once Wright returns. Juan Uribe would make a bit more sense, though it isn't known whether they've discussed him, either ... The Mets, for whatever reason, don't appear as high on Ben Zobrist, though he'd fit ... The Mets aren't expecting a big prospect now for Dillon Gee or Jon Niese and seem intent on recovering the money, so they can spend it elsewhere. They are stacked in the rotation, and Steven Matz is believed by all concerned ready to come up ... Pedro Martinez is better than even imagined on TV. He was right that Matt Harvey should have been pulled after four runs vs. San Francisco.

New York Yankees News

Andrew Miller is said to have less than a Grade 1 strain of his forearm muscle and wanted to pitch through it (after maybe a day or two or three of rest), so he was said to be upset the Yankees cautiously put him on the disabled list. He is expected to be out about three weeks ... Masahiro Tanaka appears to be back on form while pitching through a small tear in his UCL, as was reported in this space. Let's not forget, four doctors diagnosed his tear as being very small, and some pitchers are able to pitch through a tear. Henderson Alvarez is one. Ervin Santana is another. (Though both those pitchers are out with unrelated issues at the moment, Alvarez with a shoulder and Santana a suspension.) ... Ivan Nova has looked really good throwing in Tampa, and his first rehab start was also a positive one. One scout had him at 91-93 mph ... Stephen ("He is what he is") Drew is having big June and is now has nine home runs, putting him among second base leaders ... The Yankees had some interest in Donny Everett, the prep pitcher who will be attending Vanderbilt, but wound up playing it safer with UCLA righthander James Kaprelian in the first round. Kaprelian, compared sometimes to Ian Kennedy, is expected to get close to $3 million ... I'm sorry, but A-Rod should be an All-Star.

Oakland Athletics News

The ambidextrous Pat Venditte may have been the victim of anti-oddity bias as he only now got called up to the majors despite annual success. He got the call at age 29 with a 2.37 career minor-league ERA. It only makes sense it would be the A's, home for fat catchers, sidearmers and other oddities. The fact that he is a bit of a novelty may actually work to his advantage as opposing teams are a bit wide-eyed seeing this.

Philadelphia Phillies News

Georgia high school shortstop Cornelius Randolph, pick No. 10 overall, is said by one scout to be the best hitter in the draft. He is expected to have a deal pretty soon with the Phillies, believed to be for about the $3.23 million slot. Some see him switching to third base ... The Phillies will have a deal with 17th-rounder Kenny Koplove, the Duke closer and Philly product. He has some good stuff and could be quick to the majors. Koplove's brother Mike pitched in the pen for the Diamondbacks and Indians and is an Angels scout.

Pittsburgh Pirates News

Gerrit Cole, the Pirates No. 1 overall pick a few years back, looks like a star for years to come. How close did he become to being a Yankee? After the Yankees picked him in the first round out of high school, Cole's father, said to be an extremely wealthy man, honestly told Yankees president Randy Levine, "I am leaving it up to (Gerrit). But as I told him, I'd be very disappointed if he didn't go to college." At that moment, the Yankees were pretty sure they were sunk. And indeed, Cole went to UCLA, before the Pirates took him first overall and paid him $8 million ... Cole's ERA since May 15 is 1.02, the best in the NL for pitchers with 30-plus innings, according to MLB Network.

St. Louis Cardinals News

The Cardinals received better-than-expected news on Matt Holliday, and he could possibly be back in four weeks or so. This is Holliday's first serious injury with St. Louis after signing a long-term deal ($120 million, seven years) in Jan. 2010 that paid off big ... As we saw with the Matt Adams injury, they don't rush into things. They shouldn't have to in this case with Peter Bourjos as their fourth outfielder. The Cardinals have maintained by far baseball's best record despite the losses of Adam Wainwright, Jordan Walden and Marco Gonzales before Holliday.

San Diego Padres News

It's a mystery what's going on with Matt Kemp. Kemp, who had a .971 OPS in the second half last year, and has a .629 mark so far this year.

San Francisco Giants News

Dave Righetti has to be considered one of the best pitching coaches in baseball, if not the best. Their organization is excellent top to bottom, and that includes the coaching staff. He, Ron Wotus, Hensley Meulens and Roberto Kelly should all be managerial candidates ... For the second time the Giants picked a pitcher the Jays failed to sign. After righthander Tyler Beede, this time they took Phil Bickford, from the College of Southern Nevada, the alma mater of Bryce Harper and a nice placeholder for great players. Bickford, the No. 18 pick, is expected to sign this time ... Random thought: Buster Posey may actually be under-rated.

Seattle Mariners News

Seattle is said to be low on money after making the Trumbo trade, as one rival familiar with their inner workings called that deal their "last bullet." That could possibly be why they were never a threat to sign Soriano despite Fernando Rodney's obvious struggles (6.75 ERA), though GM Jack Zduriencik denied they are out of money. Trumbo hasn't started great with his new team (4 for 28 with nine Ks), incidentally, but he should ultimately lengthen their lineup ... Robinson Cano is known as a slow starter, but this is ridiculous. He has a .607 OPS.

Tampa Bay Rays News

Chris Archer may be the most under-appreciated star pitcher in the game. His ERA since May 15 is 0.79, the best in the majors. He also became the first pitcher since 1900 to post 10-plus strikeouts with no walks in three straight games ... Garrett Whitley, multi-talented center fielder from Niskayuna, N.Y., was a prescient pick at No. 13, according to scouts.

Texas Rangers News

Derek Holland (shoulder) is said to be a bit behind schedule but Martin Perez (Tommy John) is "throwing the hell out of the ball" and could be a big shot in the arm. Matt Harrison isn't being counted out, either, even after his third back surgery. He recently hit 93 mph at Triple-A Round Rock. So Texas should remain a factor ... The Rangers did a great job at the draft, tabbing Duke righthander Mike Matuella, early in the third round. Matuella was looked at as a potential No. 1 overall pick before Tommy John surgery. All the Rangers' bad injury luck last year (a record number of pitchers and players used) resulted in some good, at least.

Toronto Blue Jays News

The Blue Jays would be interested in Papelbon but only if the Phillies pay the contract way down and seek little in the way of prospects. As of Thursday morning at least, the sides hadn't spoken in a while ... The Jays have a deal with first-round pick Jon Harris, righthander out of Missouri State, for about the $1,944,800-million slot for the 29th pick. "A stud," Jim Callis of MLB.com called Harris ... Toronto has won eight straight yet gained only one game on the first-place Yankees. Interesting division. As one scout put it, "Anyone could win it, and anyone could finish last." ... Jeff Hoffman, the No. 9 pick a year ago, hit 99 mph in his first start back from Tommy John surgery, pitching for Class A Dunedin. He could be due for a promotion soon. He was part of Peter Angelos' asking price when Toronto sought to hire Orioles GM Dan Duquette as team president in the winter. "Slightly unreasonable," is the understated way one rival GM summed up that request. No reason to think Toronto won't go after Duquette again in the winter as Paul Beeston is only doing one last year since Toronto wasn't able to hire its guy.

Washington Nationals News

GM Mike Rizzo provided a concise reason for the pick of Mariano Rivera III at No. 141 overall. "Great stuff and makeup," Rizzo said. Also, the bloodline isn't bad. The Nats have been an excellent drafting team, so this is no guess. Rivera the younger has come a long way since the Yankees once took him in the 29th round last year in what seemed like a courtesy pick ... Bryce Harper playing for the Yankees isn't just idle speculation. Harper isn't seen as having any chance to sign long-term before he hits free agency at 26, and the Yankees love him. A bonus: His dad was a Yankee fan in Las Vegas.

Major League Baseball News

MLB may consider moving the draft, perhaps to Omaha, to have a better chance to have more players attend the ceremony ... MLB is investigating how to improve fan safety after the unfortunate incident in Boston in which fan Tonya Carpenter was hit in the face by a broken bat (her condition was recently upgraded from fair to good but she remains hospitalized days later). MLB already had done an extensive study on bats, and fewer bats are breaking now. MLB higher-ups call the recent incident "concerning" however ... Cuban lefty Yasiel Sierra will be represented by Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro ... Longtime agent Arn Tellem left the business to help run Detroit's Palace and its Pistons. His top baseball clients such as Yu Darvish, Chase Utley and others at Wasserman Media have been handled also by Joel Wolfe, so that will remain status quo. Tellem had been representing basketball stars like Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, Al Horford and the Gasol brothers, so is departure could have a major effect in that regard.

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist could be on the move before July's trade deadline. (USATSI)
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