Friday, June 19, 2009

We're Moving!

Eli's MLB Rumors will be moving in the next day or two to a new platform. We will be joining SB Nation under a new name, MLB Daily Dish. The site will be exactly the same, and I hope you will continue to follow me, among others, over at MLB Daily Dish!

Eli

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Report: Sosa Tested Positive

The New York Times is reporting that free agent outfielder Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Sosa was among the 104 players who tested positive for PED's in 2003, but the substance he used is unknown.

Names from the list of 104 continue to come out, and it will be interesting to see if more names or the complete list comes out.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cubs Fire Hitting Coach Gerald Perry

After 2 1/2 seasons, the Cubs have fired hitting coach Gerald Perry. The move comes after the teams .246 batting average, which ranks last among the National League. He will be replaced by Iowa Cubs hitting coach Von Joshua.

The move to bring in Joshua should certainly spark conversation about the possibility of bringing back Jake Fox. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pedro Martinez Update

Free agent pitcher Pedro Martinez is still working out in the Dominican Republic in preparation for a team making him an offer. The economic recession has tightened the belts of nearly every major league franchise, which has led to very few signings off the free agent market. Yet, Martinez is still asking for 5 million dollars for the season. 

The Rays and Cubs reportedly have some interest in Martinez, but he would have to back off his five million dollar asking price for either team to make a move. Unfortunately for Martinez, the struggles he had last season with the Mets, despite his strong play in the WBC, have limited his options for the 2009 season. The only way he could get signed somewhere now is if a major injury hit a rotation, or if a team is willing to take a chance on him for, say, one million dollars.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals to Fire Acta

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Nationals will fire manager Manny Acta and replace him with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Acta has been with the team since the 2007 season, and has done a fairly good job despite poor records. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is having a breakout year for the Nationals, hitting .315 with 11 home runs and a .391 on-base percentage. Acta also has had an influence on young catcher Jesus Flores, who was hitting .311 with 4 home runs and 5 extra-base hits before landing on the disabled list.

The Nationals pitching has been quite a disappointment up to this point in the season, and a change is in order. Riggleman brings years of managerial experience, having managed the Padres, Cubs, and Mariners. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peavy Out For A Month

Padres pitcher Jake Peavy is expected to miss at least a month with an ankle injury, meaning he may be out until after the All-Star Break. He was scratched from his Saturday start versus the Angels, a start you can expect the Angels would be watching closely. However, an MRI revealed a tear behind his right ankle. 

"I was getting treatment and we were getting by," said Peavy, who had the ankle heavily taped for his previous two starts and did limited work between outings. "Up until yesterday, I thought it was manageable. It could have gotten ugly if we didn't take the action that we did."

Peavy is 6-6 with a 3.97 ERA in 13 starts this season. He vetoed a trade to the White Sox earlier this season, and this injury does not help the Padres chances of dealing him before next offseason. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hangin' With Hunter with Big Papi

One of my favorite shows from last season, Hangin' with Hunter is back. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter kicks off this season with Big Papi.



This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cardinals Interested In Tejada

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting that the Cardinals have interest in Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada. Tejada is hitting .355 with 6 home runs and 21 doubles in 57 games, and is hitting .378 in the month of June. Tejada is owed 13 million dollars, and the Astros probably would like to clear payroll considering their current financial situation. Watching Miguel Tejada, you know he would be perfect for the Cardinals. The intensity he brings to each game would give the Cardinals another boost, and make them a much harder team to face in the NL Central. 

The Astros could take Khalil Greene with a prospect in return, but with the Astros in last place, they may be better off getting prospects. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Check out Down on the Farm!

I am writing a new blog for the Chicago Tribune's online network, Chicago Now, which covers the Cubs and White Sox top minor league prospects. The site, Down on the Farm, is already drawing attention. If you are a Cubs or Sox fan, or have an interest in the minor leagues, check out the site. I've done interviews with several of the teams top prospects, and have talked with executives and coaches from each side of town. Check it out! 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals Sign Storen, Strasburg Next

The Nationals have come to terms with their 10th overall pick, Drew Storen. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a sophomore at Standford, Storen went 7-1 with a 3.80 ERA and 7 saves. The Nationals hope that his attitude on the mound, as well as his mid-90s fastball, will move him quickly through the minor league system and into the Nationals bullpen as their closer or set up man. 

Now, there's Strasburg. Early indications are that negotiations are positive and that a deal should be reached well before the August 15th deadline. Keith Law of ESPN.com suggested that the Nationals have a clause in the contract that says he will be in the majors by a certain date. The Nats should offer a deal in the 22-24 million dollar range, with a 'in the MLB' clause kicking in, say, before the trade deadline. He has already thrown 109 innings this season, and the Nationals would be smart to limit him to 150-165 innings so that he doesn't overwork his arm. The Nationals are already 18 games out of first, there is no need to overwork your best and newest pitcher when you are well out of contention. 
 
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Should the Dodgers Trade Pierre?

Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre has stepped up big time since Manny Ramirez was suspended, hitting .352 with 28 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, and a .412 on-base percentage. Pierre has three years and 28.5 million dollars left on his contract, and has a limited no-trade clause. 

While I think the Dodgers should trade Pierre, mostly because of the prospects they could net, it may not be worth it to eat a large portion of his salary. Pierre is a great fourth outfielder and gives you a speed off the bench. He can bunt almost on command and gives pitchers headaches when he reaches base. 

If you were Ned Colletti, would you trade Juan Pierre?

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jays' Litsch Out For Season

ESPN.com is reporting that Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch will undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. Litsch, a 13 game winner last season, is just 24 years old. The Jays envisioned him as the number two guy behind Roy Halladay, but they will have to wait until mid 2010. 

The Jays are currently 2.5 games out of first, and may need to add a veteran starter to keep them in contention. Carl Pavano could be that guy. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals Select Strasburg

The Washington Nationals selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick in the MLB Draft today. Strasburg was 13-1 with 195 strike outs in 109 innings for the San Diego State Aztecs, leading them to the postseason for the first time since 1991. 

The tough part will be to sign Strasburg, who is reportedly seeking a 50 million dollar contract. I believe the Nationals will be able to sign Strasburg, but probably not until the August 15th deadline if they choose to play hardball with Scott Boras. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Bell to Cubs?

Padres closer Heath Bell is 2-1 in 25 games with 1.42 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP, but is making just 1.5 million dollars in 2009. Bell won't be a free agent until after the 2011 season, but his salary will continue to climb if he continues to throw the ball well. If the Padres were to make the closer available, we should expect to see a lot of teams calling.

One of those teams could be the Cubs, one source believes. Current Cubs closer Kevin Gregg has been very inconsistent, and Carlos Marmol hasn't been as dominant as he was in 2008. Angel Guzman is emerging as a solid late inning reliever, taking a lot of time away from the struggling Aaron Heilman. The Cubs' bullpen used to be rock solid, and now it is a huge question mark. Cubs starter Randy Wells should have three wins, but the bullpen has blown the lead three times, denying him of his first career win. A Guzman-Marmol-Bell tandem would make for one of the best in baseball. 

The Yankees are a possible destination for Bell also.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, June 8, 2009

White Sox Sign Garcia

The White Sox have signed pitcher Freddy Garcia. Garcia was with the team in 2005 when they won the World Series, winning the series clinching game four. Garcia, who was released by the Mets on April 28th, is 118-77 with a 4.07 ERA in ten major league seasons.

He will likely go on a minor league assignment before joining the White Sox. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Pavano to Phillies?

With the Phillies pitching rotation still in ruins, the Phillies front office may start asking around for available pitchers. One of those guys could very well be Indians pitcher Carl Pavano. Pavano has won six of his last eight starts, throwing at least seven innings in the past three, including a complete game.

Pavano is 6-4 on the year with a 4.63 ERA in 12 starts with a 1.26 WHIP. If he can stay healthy, he would make for a nice addition to the Phillies rotation. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Phillies Eye Penny

A scout has confirmed an ESPN.com report that the Phillies called the Red Sox about pitcher Brad Penny. Despite a 5-2 record, Penny owns a 5.85 ERA in 11 games with a 1.60 WHIP. The Red Sox have John Smoltz, Clay Buchholz, and Michael Bowden all performing well in Triple-A, meaning they will likely join the team soon. 

Penny will be a free agent at seasons end and is making 5 million dollars in 2009. The Phillies are in serious need of pitching, but shouldn't part with a young pitching prospect for him. The Red Sox reportedly ask for shortstop Jason Donald, who is hitting .226 with 1 home run in Triple-A.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Angels Could Move Aybar

Angels shortstop Erik Aybar is hit .303 in the month of May, bringing his season total to a .277 average with 1 home run. Aybar, 25, is blocking top prospect Brandon Wood, who is hitting .308 with 11 home runs in 39 games for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. If the Angels were to trade Aybar, it would open up a spot for the long awaited. 

Ken Rosenthal mentions in his Full Count that the Mets, Cardinals, or Royals could be possible destinations, but I wouldn't rule out the Padres either. The Padres are looking to trade Jake Peavy, but do want to trade him to the Dodgers. They nearly worked out a trade with the Cubs, but it is becoming more clear that the Cubs can't make a move until the ownership is settle, which at the current pace, probably won't be complete until Opening Day 2010. 

If the Angels were to package Aybar in a deal with three other prospects, they could probably land starting pitcher Jake Peavy. Trevor Reckling and Trevor Bell are two solid young pitchers that the Padres could target. 

John Lackey is going to be a free agent at the end of the season, and will likely command a good deal despite the down economy. However, if the Angels add Peavy, it gives them a lot of leverage in negotiations with Lackey. If Lackey decides to sign elsewhere, the Angels would likely receive a compensation draft pick. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gibson Has Stress Fracture

Missouri pitcher Kyle Gibson has a stress fracture in his right forearm and will be out for six weeks. This will definitely hurt his draft stock for Tuesday's amateur draft, where he was projected to be an early first rounder.

A team can take a chance on Gibson and wait to see him throw prior to signing him before the August 15th deadline. I see him falling to the compensation picks or early second round. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Putz Likely Done With Mets

Mets relief pitcher J.J. Putz is scheduled to have elbow surgery, and will be out for 10-12 weeks. Putz, who is 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA in 29 games, has not made a successful transition to the set up role. 

"If you look at the way I was pitching, I wasn't really getting out in front and letting loose," he said. "I knew it was going to hurt. Mechanically, I was trying to make an adjustment to protect it from hurting. At the same time, I had zero stuff when I went out on the mound."

The Mets hold a one million dollar buyout on Putz's 8.6 million dollar club option, which could be exercised with the emergence of Bobby Parnell. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Braves Acquire McLouth

The Atlanta Braves have acquired outfielder Nate McLouth from the Pirates in exchange for pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke, and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. This is a solid move for both clubs, but especially the Pirates. McLouth had a breakout year last season, hitting .276 with 26 home runs in 152 games. McLouth is 27, and should provide the Braves with some much needed support in the middle of their lineup.

The Pirates acquire Charlie Morton, who is 7-2 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts this season. He is a 1.05 WHIP. Locke, 21, is 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA in ten starts in the Carolina League.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Rangers Request Waivers On Padilla

The Rangers have requested outright waivers on pitcher Vicente Padilla, who is 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA. Teams can submit claims on Padilla, but that means they would have to absorb the remainder of his salary. Padilla could get picked up somewhere, but it would have to be at a reduced price.

With several free agent pitchers still available, I would be surprised to see a team take a chance on Padilla, who has a history of attitude problems.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Braves Release Glavine

The Atlanta Braves cut ties with future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, releasing him just a day after throwing six scoreless innings in a rehab start. Glavine, who is recovering from minor elbow surgery, was clocked between 83-86 mph on his fastball. 

"I don't know what else I can do," Glavine said after Tuesday night's game, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Physically I felt good and I feel like I'm ready."

Glavine is still a couple week away from returning, and it is possible he could get picked up if he wanted to continue pitching. The Nationals would benefit from his presence.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rosenthal: Nats Will Draft Strasburg

Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Nationals will draft Stephen Strasburg with the first overall pick in June's draft. Strasburg's advisor, Scott Boras, is looking for a record 50 million dollar signing bonus. The Nationals do expect to sign Strasburg, but do not feel pressure to sign him after failing to sign their first round pick last year.

Rosenthal points out that if the Nationals fail to sign Strasburg, they will receive the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. If they continue to play like they are now, they could receive the first and second overall pick in 2010. Boras is known to hold out until the last possible moment, getting the most money for his client. Expect these negotiations to go until the August 15th deadline.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hart Drawing Interest

Brewers outfielder Corey Hart is drawing interest from several teams, including the Tigers, Giants, and Red Sox. Hart, who is hitting .256 with 5 home runs and a .330 on-base percentage, is making 3.5 million dollars this year. The Brewers are asking for pitching in return, something all three of those teams have.

Hart isn't a game changer or team leader, so he likely would not have the impact of a, let's say, Matt Holliday. However, a team like the Giants, who are in need of a corner outfielder who could hit 20 home runs, would benefit from him.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Astros Could Trade Oswalt

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Astros starting pitcher Roy Oswalt is at odds with manager Cecil Cooper and may be open to a trade. Oswalt has a full no-trade clause and would have to waive it for any trade. In 11 games this season, Oswalt is 1-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 47 strike outs. The White Sox, after missing out on Jake Peavy, could offer a similar package for Oswalt.

Oswalt has three years and 45 million dollars left on his contract, with a 16 million dollar club option with a 2 million dollar buyout. If anyone teams wants to trade for him, they would probably have to guarantee his 2012 club option.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rockies Could Trade Cook

Rockies ace Aaron Cook is off to a disappointing start since winning 16 games in 2008. He is 3-2 with a 4.82 ERA in 10 starts, including a complete game shutout. Cook is a solid pitcher, but is playing for a struggling ball club in a hitters heaven. Cook has two years and 18.25 million dollars on his contract, with a mutual option for 2012. The Rockies have several strong young pitchers in the minor league system, and it should only get better after June's amateur draft.

While there is talk that Erik Bedard will be traded, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has not said they are going to move him. Peavy is expected to be made available, but his price could take a hit if his ankle injury does not heal. Cook will cost a couple prospects, but nothing like Peavy or Bedard. The Phillies would be smart to ask about Cook has only pitched once at Citizens Bank Ballpark, but is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in seven innings.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets Trade Castro To Sox

The Mets have traded backup catcher Ramon Castro to the White Sox for Triple-A pitcher Lance Broadway. Castro was hitting .253 with 3 home runs in 26 games for the Mets this season, but became expendable after Omir Santos established himself as a up and coming major leaguer. Broadway is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in Triple-A Charlotte and will be assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Myers Done For Season

Phillies pitcher Brett Myers will have surgery to repair his right hip and will likely miss the remainder of the season. This is a big blow for the Phillies, whose rotation is already in shambles. The Phillies have been linked to some starters on the market, and that will likely increase as we move forward. The Phillies could make a move for Jake Peavy, but could also settle for someone less expensive like Doug Davis or Jarrod Washburn.

The Phillies could also look to add Mark Mulder or Pedro Martinez, whose prices have both reportedly dropped. If the Phillies view this season as a must-win, they could make a move. However, it may be smarter to ride this season out, develop your younger pitchers, and then make a move next offseason where prices are expected to be low again. Rich Harden, Joel Piniero, and Todd Wellemeyer are viable options for the Phillies in 2010.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Rockies Fire Hurdle

MLB.com has confirmed that the Rockies have fired manager Clint Hurdle and replaced him with bench coach Jim Tracy. Hurdle led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, but owns a .465 winning percentage since 2002. The Rockies decided it was best to let him go after the Rockies started 18-28 this year.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cubs' Zambrano Suspended For Six Games

The MLB disciplinary committee announced that Carlos Zambrano would be suspended for six games, meaning he will miss a start. Zambrano will not appeal the suspension, which he started serving today.

Zambrano was ejected in the seventh inning after arguing a play at the plate. After he was tossed, he ejected the umpire, threw the baseball into left field, threw his glove against the dugout fast, and then beat up the gatorade dispenser with a bat.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Trade Winds

Red Sox scouting Braves' Francoeur: Braves GM Frank Wren chose not to comment on a report that the Red Sox were scouting outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Francoeur is hitting .253 with 3 home runs this season, and a lot of local media outlets have been speculating that he could be traded.

Dodgers eyeing Peavy?: The Dodgers are in the market for pitching, despite a pretty strong showing from their pitchers right now. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said that he has been in contact with the Padres, but hasn't spoken to them since Peavy vetoed the trade to the White Sox. One source I spoke to said he fully expects the Dodgers to get in on the Peavy chase in July.

Davis or Washburn to Minnesota: The Diamondbacks will likely shop lefty pitcher Doug Davis as we approach the trade deadline. Davis is 2-6, but has a 3.77 ERA and had four consecutive double-digit seasons before his season was cut short in 2008. Washburn is another option, probably the more likely option because he is already in the AL and is open to a trade to the Twins.  

Nick Johnson to Mets?: Johnson told reporters he would welcome a trade to the Mets, but who wouldn't if you were playing for the crowded Nationals. The Nats have been shopping Johnson for a couple seasons, and now that he is hitting .337 with 4 home runs, it is a good time to trade him. The Red Sox have been linked to them, but nothing appears serious. 

Pirates' Sanchez to Rays?: The Pirates will likely shop Freddy Sanchez at the trade deadline, and the Rays could be a possible fit. Sanchez is a solid fielder and hitter, and could be a long term option for the Rays. With Aki Iwamura out for the season and a club option for 2010, it would make sense that they would pursue him. 

Sanchez to Marlins or Phillies?: Lefty pitcher Jonathan Sanchez could be moved at the right deal, and if they start shopping him now, they could get a good value for him. They need a second baseman. They need a corner outfielder. The Marlins and Phillies have both. Dan Uggla is available.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gagne Signs With Canadian Team

Free agent pitcher Eric Gagne has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Independent Can-Am League, SI.com is reporting. Gagne, who has worked almost exclusively as a reliever, will start for the Capitales, the team confirmed Wednesday. Gagne, 33, is a former NL Cy Young award winner with the Dodgers, but struggled once he left. He pitched for the Rangers, Red Sox, and Brewers, but was released on March 8th.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals DFA Cabrera

After starting the year 0-5 with a 5.85 ERA, the Nationals have designated Daniel Cabrera for assignment. Cabrera has a pretty good fastball, but cannot command his secondary pitches, which has lead to 35 walks to just 16 strike outs. Cabrera will be 28 tomorrow, and will likely find a job somewhere soon.

I would think the Cardinals would be a good landing spot. Pitching coach Dave Duncan is the best pitching coach in baseball, having success with several pitchers that were considered busts. Other spots for Cabrera include the Padres and Indians.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Interview with Tanner Scheppers

For those of you who don't know Tanner Scheppers, it will only be a matter of time before you do. Scheppers was taken in last years draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but chose not to sign. His draft stock took a huge hit when he suffered a stress fracture just weeks before the draft. He has been rehabbing since and is now playing again for the St. Paul Saints of the Independent leagues. In two games this season, Scheppers has a 1.00 ERA with 9 strike outs and 6 walks. He projects well as front of the line starter, but is a few years away from contributing at the big league level. Scheppers was nice enough to give Eli's MLB Rumors 10 minutes of his time last week, and I appreciate every minute of it. Enjoy!


ELI: It had been awhile since your last start. What was it like getting back on the mound for the first time?

TANNER: It was great. It was nice to get back on the mound again.

ELI: What was working for you in that start?

TANNER: My fastball was there. I had controlled stuff, it was good.

ELI: You had a long road back to the mound, what sort of preparation did you have for this season?

TANNER: You know, I worked hard. I thought I prepared myself well. I just had to get myself into the right mindset.

ELI: Can you tell me a little bit about your recovery from the stress fracture in your throwing shoulder?

TANNER: Yeah, I did a lot of stretching at the Sports Medicine Institute. For four months, an hour and half each day of running, stretching, and light weights.

ELI: You are going through the draft for the second time now. Do you feel the first experience has prepared you better for this time around?

TANNER: Yeah, definitely. The biggest thing is that this time around I know what not to think about.

ELI: The Pirates have the fourth overall pick in this years draft. Would you have a problem with them drafting you again?

TANNER: Uh. [Pause] I'm not going to comment on that. No comment.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Francouer On The Block?

Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution thinks it may be time to unload Braves outfielder Jeff Francouer. Francouer is hitting .259 with 3 home runs, but has struck out 24 times and owns a .282 on-base percentage. Francouer has no plate discipline, and some talent evaluators believe he is the easiest guy to pitch to because he swings at everything. Francouer was once considered the Braves top prospect, so it is hard to believe that at age 25 he is a complete bust.

Francouer hit .293 with a .338 on-base percentage in 2007, but has hit .249 since then. The Braves probably won't get much in return for Francouer, but the Braves need a big bat in their lineup, and Francouer is not it. The Rangers are a possible landing spot, but a team like the Pirates could take a low risk chance on Francoeur and put him in right field.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rockies Sign Rincon

The Rockies and free agent Juan Rincon have agreed  to a deal, rotoworld.com is reporting. Rincon elected for free agency after he was asked to report to the minor leagues. That was after seven games when he posted a 5.23 ERA. Rincon has a career 3.84 ERA, and might benefit from a switch to the National League.

Rincon will give manager Clint Hurdle another option to use in the bullpen.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Padres Shopping Kouzmanoff

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says in a recent article that the Padres have expressed a willingness to move third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff would fill the void left by Aramis Ramirez, who will be out for six to eight weeks after separating his shoulder. Kouzmanoff is hitting .236 with 4 home runs in 42 games this season, and is a .260 career hitter.

Kouzmanoff shouldn't cost more than a pitching prospect or two, but I doubt the Cubs make a move for him. Even though the Cubs appear to be falling apart, it looks like they will ride this out and hope for a second half resurgence of Aramis Ramirez. Both Milton Bradley and Geovanny Soto have shown no signs of a turnaround, and Derek Lee is hitting just .248 with 5 home runs. It might be time to get Jake Peavy. It might be time to call up Jake Fox. If the Cubs do not turn things around this homestand, there should be some changes to the roster.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

2009 MLB Draft: Washington Nationals

The Nationals have the first and tenth pick in the draft this year, presenting them with an opportunity to add two very good young players to their farm system. The Nationals have a tendency to draft college pitchers and high school hitters, no matter the success rate. With Stephen Strasburg the presumptive number one pick, the Nats will have to wait nine more picks to make their next selection.

If Tanner Scheppers is around when they make their second selection of the first round, I recommend selecting him. To add two top arms like that in a span of ten picks would do wonders for their rotation. Other guys that could be around then include Alex White, Zach Wheeler, and Tyler Matzek.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Umps Out To Get Bradley?

Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley told reporters Sunday that umpires are forcing him to swing at bad pitches by widening his strike zone. Bradley, suspended for one game for allegedly bumping an umpire last month, said other umps were getting back at him for the incident.

"Unfortunately, I just think it's a lot of 'Oh, you did this to my colleague,' or 'We're going to get him any time we can," Bradley said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "As soon as he gets two strikes, we're going to call whatever and see what he does. Let's try to ruin Milton Bradley.'

I wonder if the Cubs will come out and support Bradley on this. Bradley has done a lot of talking this season, despite hitting just .188 with 4 home runs in 96 at-bats. The Cubs signed Bradley to a three year deal worth 30 million dollars, so he might be hard to move this season. But if Bradley continues to talk and not hit, expect him to be out of Chicago pretty quickly.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mariners Shopping Betancourt

The Mariners have started shopping struggling shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who is hitting just .266 with 2 home runs in 40 games. Betancourt is career .281 hitter, but has an unimpressive .304 on-base percentage in his career. Trading him won't bring back much in return, but he is under contract through 2011, with a 6 million dollar club option for 2012.

The Padres and Pirates have expressed interest, but maybe they could find a match with the Cardinals. It is obvious that Khalil Greene and the Cardinals is not going to work, and bringing him to Seattle might be good for his career. Seattle is not a hitters park, but with Ken Griffey, Adrian Beltre, and Russell Branyan in the clubhouse, he will have a lot of people to turn to. Not only that, but manager Don Wakamatsu looks like a great choice by the Mariners and he could prove to be beneficial to a struggling player like Greene.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Reds Option Bailey


It took less than 24-hours for Reds pitcher Homer Bailey to make his season debut and be sent back down again. Bailey, who was 3-5 with with a 4.57 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Louisville, shows signs of a good pitcher, but needs to command the ball much better than he has been. He is only 23 years old, so I wouldn't be surprised if his breakout came in 2010. Sorry, Reds fans. 

Infielder-outfielder Wilkin Castillo will take his spot on the roster.


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Phillies Eye Starters?

The Phillies are in dire need of pitching and need to act fast if they want to stay in contention in the NL East. After Hamels and Myers, the 3-4-5 pitchers all have ERA's over 6.80. J.A. Happ has made a couple good starts, but he has been pitching well out of the bullpen. Top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco is 0-5 with a 6.31 ERA in 8 starts at Triple-A, and there aren't any other viable minor league options.

On the free agent market, you could probably get Pedro Martinez or Mark Mulder at a bargain rate, but they are no guarantee to be successful. The Phillies do have a lot of options though. They could look to the Mariners and ask about Erik Bedard, who is 2-2 with a 2.64 ERA. They could also inquire about Doug Davis of the Diamondbacks, who is in the last year of his contract and likely won't cost very much.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cubs Place Harden On DL

Don't worry, it's not shoulder related. The Cubs have placed pitcher Rich Harden on the disabled list with a lower back injury, the Chicago Tribune reported. Carlos Zambrano will take Harden's spot in the rotation, so no one will be sent down as a result of Zambrano coming off the DL. Harden is 4-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 8 starts this season, and will be set to return June 2nd.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

DeRosa to A's or Cardinals?

Indians third baseman Mark DeRosa is drawing interest from several clubs. The St. Louis Dispatch suggests the Cardinals could look to add DeRosa as a utility player, or at least at third base until Troy Glaus can return. DeRosa is hitting .253 with 6 home runs in 39 games this season, and the Indians would benefit from him getting on hot streak right now.

The Indians are looking for major league ready pitching to help in the bullpen. The Athletics are pretty deep when it comes to their bullpen, so a trade is possible. Mike Wuertz has a 2.08 ERA in 20 games this season, but he plays a pivotal role in the A's bullpen and may not be available.

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Soriano to Second Base?

With current Cubs second baseman Mike Fontenot struggling at the plate, manager Lou Piniella has considered moving Alfonso Soriano to second and putting Micah Hoffpauir in the left field. Hoffpauir has been platooning between right field and first base, offering days off to both Milton Bradley and Derrek Lee. He is hitting .314 with 4 home runs in 70 at-bats for the Cubs this season, and the role he is in now may be best for the Cubs.

I still think Mike Fontenot can make adjustments and be an everyday player. It wouldn't look good for Jim Hendry if the Cubs released Ryan Freel, but they probably should. It does not make sense to have Aaron Miles, Mike Fontenot, and Ryan Freel on the same team. They are the same type of player and Freel's spot could go to someone who could be more productive. In fact, the Cubs could move Alfonso Soriano to second base and call up prospect Jake Fox, who is hitting .425 with 17 home runs with a .506 on-base percentage in just 117 at-bats at Triple-A Iowa.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jake Peavy Exclusive Part III


In the final installment of my exclusive interview with Jake Peavy, we talked about Kevin Towers and his time with the Padres. Little did we know that just a week after we talked, he would have to make a major career decision. I want to try out this new interview format for upcoming interviews, and I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment to let me know what you think of it.

Jake Peavy on Kevin Towers and the Padres front office

“I certainly have the utmost respect for Kevin [Towers]. He’s done a tremendous job through the years that I have been here. When the guys been given some money to spend – a competive payroll, so to speak – he’s put a very competitive team on the field. We’ve won a couple division titles since I have been here, competed down to the last days in ’04, ’05, and ’06. We played in a play-in game in ’07. With him mixing and matching talent and personality. It has been a great relationship.”

Jake Peavy on his time with the Padres and what the future will look like

“I certainly understand that I need to bring an attitude and a certain type of leadership to this team. I’m the longest tenured guy with the Padres here. It is very weird for me to say because it feels like yesterday that I was one of the youngest players in the clubhouse. We are starting over here, we are rebuilding. We have a lot of young guys searching and we need to be showing hopefully how to go about your business the right way. I certainly try to do that along with David Eckstein and some other guys."

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets Serious About DeRosa

FanHouse has confirmed that the Mets have engaged the Indians in talks concerning Mark DeRosa. DeRosa would be a huge upgrade over current utility man Ramon Martinez. DeRosa is hitting .253 with 6 home runs and a .319 on-base percentage in 39 games this season.

The value he brings a team is both on and off the field. DeRosa can play first, second, third, and shortstop adequately, and is a solid corner outfielder. Off the field, DeRosa is a great clubhouse guy and leader, who can handle the media at ease. The Mets do not have much depth in their minor league system, so it will interesting to see what type of package they put together. 

The Indians should ask about Brad Holt, 21, who is 2-1 with 3.99 ERA in six starts this season. Holt projects well long term and is showing some tendencies of a front of the rotation starter. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 34/8, and he hasn't walked more than 2 since his first start, when he gave up 4.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Jake Peavy Rejects White Sox Trade

Padres pitcher Jake Peavy invoked his no-trade clause, rejecting the proposed trade to the White Sox. 

"As of right now, this is the best place for us to be. We made that decision for the time being," Peavy said before Thursday night's game against San Francisco.

Peavy, who is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA with 69 strike outs, will make his scheduled Friday start versus the Cubs. I wonder if teams now know that the Padres are ready to deal if they will step up and make a big move. The Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Brewers, Astros, Rockies, and Dodgers are the most logical teams based on current situations. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Padres Acquire Gwynn Jr.

I'm sure he'll be a fan favorite. The Padres have acquired outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Jody Gerut. I like this move for both sides. The Brewers acquire an outfielder coming off a very good 2008 who can serve as a reserve outfielder. Padres great and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn delivered the news to his son.

Gwynn will be able to suit up tonight when the Padres face Tim Lincecum and the Giants.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

White Sox Trade Up To Peavy

The White Sox have agreed in principle to a trade that would send former Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy to the White Sox for pitching prospect Aaron Poreda and pitcher Clayton Richard, among others. Peavy, who has a full no trade clause, must decide if he wants to play in Chicago.

Peavy could choose to accept the trade just to get out of San Diego. While he is the longest tenured player there, reporters constantly question his desire to play for the Padres. He would be joining the White Sox, where his close friend Scott Linebrink currently sets up for closer Bobby Jenks. However, he would be jumping leagues and be joining a team where he might not have as a huge of an impact. Not only that, but some people wonder if he would want to play for manager Ozzie Guillen.

UPDATE

Here is what his agent, Barry Axelrod, said: "If I had to make a bet on it, I would guess that Jake would say he's not ready to take that step today. But he wouldn't necessarily preclude it at any time in the future.''

Peavy is obviously more comfortable in the NL. The White Sox are going to really have to sell the White Sox and American League to Jake Peavy. Guaranteeing his 22-million dollar option for 2013 would be a start. I think the White Sox should consider adding incenitve based bonuses each year into his contract. Throwing more money at this might not be the best move, but giving Peavy some motivation while making him the face of this rotation might work in the White Sox favor.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Strasburg Update

San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the presumtive number-one pick in this years draft, pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, improving to 13-0 with a 1.24 ERA in 102 innings. He has struck out 180 this season. He exited the game with back cramps, but Strasburg said it is nothing serious.

The Nationals have a big decision to make in the next couple weeks. Strasburg is going to be tough signing, probably holding out all the way until the deadline, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering he has set a new career high in innings pitched. The Nationals should seriously consider Tanner Scheppers at the number one pick. He has incredible stuff and is expected to rise quickly, assuming he can stay healthy.

Dustin Ackley Update: I wrote about Dustin Ackley last week, basically disagreeing with Peter Gammons' evalutation. I watched some more game footage of him at the plate and I have to admit, I was pretty impressed. However, his inability to play the outfield this season raises some issues for me as a top ten pick. Outfield can be very tough on a player, requiring a lot of conditioning. Be away from that for a year, and then being asked to adjust in the minor leagues while adjusting to wooden bats and professional pitching, seems like a tough adjustment.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Rays, Maddon Close To Extension

The Rays and manager Joe Maddon are closing in on a three year extension through 2012. This extension is long overdue. Maddon built this team up to win its first AL pennant, and has earned the love and respect of his players in the process.

"He built this," Pena said. "Obviously he deserves it. Any positive news is welcome. We feed off positive energy. When this gets done, everyone is going to be very happy for Joe, believe me."

Maddon, who won the AL manager of the year last season, is of to a 20-21 start this season.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mariners Should Shop Branyan

Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan's trade value has never been higher. Branyan, who is a career .234 hitter, is hitting .305 with 10 home runs and a .379 on-base percentage. Branyan's 1.4 million dollar contract makes him much more desirable to a team like the Mets, who will be with out Carlos Delgado for two months.

The Mariners should look to unload Branyan if they fall out of contention. They could probably land a prospect with some potential by the way he is playing.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Peavy to White Sox?

FOXSports.com is reporting that the White Sox are making a push for Padres ace Jake Peavy. Peavy, who would have to waive his no-trade clause, reportedly met with manager Bud Black to discuss the possible trade. Peavy seemed open to the idea when I interviewed him, but he never directly said that to me. This trade is no guarantee, especially because Peavy has to decide if he wants to move to the AL and play for manager Ozzie Guillen.

Peavy, who is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA and 69 strike outs, has also drawn interest from the Cubs and Braves. Expect the Padres to ask for Aaron Poreda, Tyler Flowers, or Gordon Beckham in a package for Peavy.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Foulke Pitching Well For Newark

Newark Bears closer Keith Foulke is off to a good start this season with a 0.75 ERA in 12.1 innings. Foulke is hoping to receive a major league offer soon so he can get back in the big leagues.

"I hope the phone rings today and it's the Diamondbacks and I can pack my stuff and get out of here."

Foulke is competitive, but he doesn't love some of the behind scenes work that goes with being a ballplayer. 

"Everybody laughs when I tell them I don't like baseball," Foulke said. "I don't like the fact that there's so much downtime and I don't like the downtime. It's not like I show up at 7 p.m. and watch a three-hour ballgame. I'm here at 2:30 p.m."

Foulke says that he is as healthy as he was in 2003, and if his strong play continues, someone could give him a look. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Red Sox Need To Find DH Replacement

We're now a month and a half into the season and David Ortiz is still struggling at the plate. He is hitting .203 with 0 home runs and a .317 on-base percentage. He can't hit anything but a fastball, and he struggles catching up to that depending on the pitcher. Ortiz is the only DH without a homerun, and is slugging just .293.

The Red Sox are 2.5 games out of first and will need to pick it up if they want to stay in contention. Ken Rosenthal suggests the Red Sox trade Clay Buchholz for Rangers prospect Justin Smoak or Cardinals prospect Brett Wallace. The Red Sox could approach the Indians about Victor Martinez. They are looking for major-league ready pitching in return and could ask for Buchholz or Bowden. Martinez is hitting .400 with 7 home runs in 155 at-bats.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Quick Hits: DeRosa, Martinez, Cubs, Peavy

Quick Hits:

  • Indians third baseman Mark DeRosa has been linked to a couple teams in the past couple days. There is some speculation that DeRosa could go to the Mets. However, the Mets are playing awful defense and DeRosa isn't the best fielder. He is versatile, but he isn't spectacular at any position.
  • Indians first baseman/catcher could be made available also, and he would probably draw a lot of interest. He has a 7.2 millon dollar contract, and is hitting .401 so far this season. The Mets could also take a look at him.
  • It was April of 2007 when the Cubs were put on the market and it looks like the sale will be finalized sometime in July. Just in time for a big blockbuster deal, perhaps. 
  • Stay tuned for Part III of my exclusive interview with Jake Peavy. 


This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rickie Weeks Out For Season

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist tear. Weeks, who was hitting .272 with 9 home runs, was just starting to live up to his high expectations. 

"I was enjoying myself watching him play," Macha said. "This is one tough guy, a grinder, very intense. It's a shame."

The Brewers must scramble to fill the spot, which will go to Craig Counsell for now. They could talk to the Indians about utility man Mark DeRosa. They worked together a big trade last season and DeRosa would give manager Ken Macha a lot more options on the field. 

To read more on DeRosa, click here.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Jake Peavy Exclusive Part II

To see Part I of the interview, click here.

The MLB Draft is always an interesting event to follow because you cannot fully judge a team by the moves they make until you see how the player perform at the next level. A team will take a player based on his talent and potential growth, but has no control over how he performs at the next level. They can influence him, but if the player can't handle it than it throws off his entire development. In the 1999 draft, the Padres were excited about their three first-round picks: Vince Faison, Gerik Baxter, and Omar Ortiz. Little did they know that their fifteenth round pick would turn out to be a future Cy Young award winner named Jake Peavy. Faison and Ortiz never made it to the major leagues, and the Padres never had a chance to see what Baxter was truly capable of, as he was killed in an automobile accident in 2001.

It was June 1999 and high school senior Jake Peavy was sitting on an offer to play baseball at the University of Auburn in his home state of Alabama. The Padres liked Peavy's competitive nature and love for the game, so they drafted him in the fifteenth round From there, it was up to Peavy, who could decide to go pro or to Auburn and reenter the draft as a junior in 2002.


"We just weighed our options," Peavy said. "At the end of the day we came to the realization that I wanted to be a major league baseball player. Why not get in the system as an 18-year old kid and start developing towards becoming a major leaguer."

While current big leaguers Gabe Gross and Chris Bootcheck were playing at Auburn in 2000, Peavy was off pitching for the Padres in the minor leagues. Looking back on the situation and where he is now, Peavy stands by his decision to bypass college.

"I certainly was excited to go to Auburn, but at the end of the day and for the betterment of my career, I thought getting some professional training from coaches was best for me."

Part III coming out tomorrow!
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Phillies Sign Bako

A nice story here. The Phillies and Paul Bako have agreed to a minor league deal, the Phillies official website reported. 

"Paul has a tremendous amount of Major League experience and he gives us the opportunity to add greater catching depth to our system," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said in a statement.

Bako was signed by the Cubs this offseason, but was released on March 30th when Koyie Hill won the backup catching spot. He will report to extended spring training before he joins one of the teams minor league affiliates. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Interview with Jorge Arangure

A couple weeks ago, ESPN.com article caught my eye about some of the top international prospects in this years pool. The article was written by Jorge Arangure, and I was curious to find out more about the process. It is a lot different than the MLB Draft. In the draft, teams can select anyone from the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico. Following the draft, the team has until August 15th to sign the player and then assign him to one of the minor league teams. In the international pool, the process varies depending on the player and the team. So I emailed Arangure and asked him if he would be up for answering some of my questions. He was more than happy to and I appreciate his informative responses.

ELI: Is there an age a player has to be before he can be scouted by MLB teams?

JORGE: There is no particular age when a team can simply scout a player. Often, diligent scouts will know about a particular player years before they are eligible to sign. It's not uncommon for a scout to have seen a player when they were as young as 12 or 13. For example, this January, powerful trainer Edgar Mercedes had a showcase for several of his top prospects which was attended by scouts from almost every team. Among those prospects was Wagner Mateo, who is considered one of the top outfielder's in this year's free agent class. But also working out were several players who weren't eligible until 2010 and there were even a couple players working out who won't be eligible to sign until 2011. The distinction of course is that teams aren't supposed to even negotiate for those players at this point.

ELI: In some scouting videos, you'll see the same prospect wearing different uniforms. How much contact can teams have with players leading up to the international signing date when they are available?

JORGE: Really, there are no limits on how much contact a team can have with a player. The only limit lies in how much time a prospect can spend at a particular team's academy. MLB dictates that a prospect can spend a maximum 30 days housed at the academy. But that doesn't rule out that a player can basically work out for the team as much as he wants while not housed there.

ELI: Today, news travels pretty quickly. How connected are the different cities and towns when it comes to baseball. When there is touted prospect somewhere in the D.R. (for example), how do people usually hear about him and how long does it take before he is being talked about here?

JORGE: This is a bit complicated. Usually Dominican trainers will know about a particular prospect much earlier than teams do. Because trainers can sign a contract to represent a player at any age, they have an advantage over teams, who can't sign a player until they are 16. It's very rare these days for a top prospect to not be a linked with a well-known trainer (aka buscon). Trainers have their own scouts looking for players. And also, you'll get a low level trainer with a top prospect who simply sells or agrees to split the bonus commission with a more well-known trainer so the prospect gets more exposure. The more well known trainers can get teams to attend workouts simply because they have produced top players in the past.

Of course there are always exceptions. Many players who get small bonuses often blossom later because no one really can predict how 16 year old kids will develop.

ELI: After the international signing begins, how long does the team have to sign players?

JORGE: There is no time limit on when a team can sign a player. Once a player become a free agent he can sign with whichever team he wants whenever he wants. A player becomes eligible to sign in a certain year if he turns 16 in that year prior to Sept. 1. If he turns 16 after Sept. 1, then he won't be eligible to sign until July 2 of the following year. For example, if Player X turns 16 on May 12, then he can sign this year on July 2. But if he turns 16 on Sept. 12, then he must wait until July 2, 2010.

ELI: After a player is signed, what are the next steps for the player? Where is he assigned?

JORGE: Usually, 16-year-old kids signees will spend at least one season in the Dominican Summer League. Kids that young usually aren't deemed physically or mentally ready to travel to the United States to play against high school and college graduates. That isn't always the case if a player is signed when he's 18 or older. Then a team may deem the player ready to start his pro career in the US.

ELI: Who would you say is the top hitting prospect and pitching prospect in this years pool?

JORGE: The market is shaping up to be that SS Miguel Angel Sano and P Daniel Sanchez are the top hitters and pitchers this year. Sano is a Dominican power hitting shortstop with a strong body that makes likely that he'll end up playing another position at one point. Teams love his raw power and he has a strong arm, which means he could end up playing third base. Sanchez is a right-handed hard-thrower from Venezuela. He has an above average fastball and some teams think he will eventually develop a good slider.

ELI: What teams are most active in scouting players? What team, if there is one, the least active?

JORGE: It's hard to say which teams are more or less active than others simply because some teams choose to bypass paying the big bucks for the big name players and instead focus on cheaper players who they project can be successful major leaguers. I'd say the most active players on the big names this year are Texas, the Yankees, the Pirates, San Diego, the Dodgers, the Mets, among others. Every team is active in some way. Some just choose to be a bit more clandestine about which players they scout.

ELI: Is there was a way to improve the process? More media access to players, something in the regulations, etc. If there was something you could change, what would it be?

JORGE: If I could change something I'd say i would make it so that players aren't eligible to sign until they are 18. For me this would eliminate some of the age manipulation.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.