I had this whole long opening on this post all afternoon, but I've decided that it's better to just fit more of the analysis on the front page. Because, you know, talking about the rumors is really what this is about. It's been a pretty interesting day so far even though we haven't seen any deals, and I'm optimistic that we'll see some go down this week considering that we've already seen Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Yunel Escobar, Conor Jackson, Alex Gonzalez, Justin Smoak, Joe Saunders, Bengie Molina, Russell Branyan, Fred Lewis and a whole bevy of interesting young players on the move this summer.
I'll be updating this most of the day. Anything ground-breaking won't be included here as presumably it'll deserve a post of its own, but I'd like to make this a place to put out some of my thoughts on rumors that crop out throughout the day. So... yeah, I like this week.
- Here's a quote from ESPN's Jayson Stark, provided by MLBTR: "Rumblings continue to surface about a possible three-team deal involving the Nationals, White Sox and Diamondbacks that would send Edwin Jackson to Washington, Adam Dunn to Chicago and a bunch of pitchers to Arizona." UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that Arizona hasn't held three-way talks yet, but the team is entirely willing to move Jackson in the right deal. ESPN's Buster Olney is also reporting that the Nats have made progress in their attempt to deal prospects straight up for Jackson. (MLBTR link)
Damn, now here's a rumor, right? It's tough to speculate on what the deal would eventually look like in terms of the players going to Arizona, but this move could have big-time implications for all three teams. Previous reports have already discussed Chicago's interest in Dunn and Washington's interest in Jackson, so this deal doesn't seem totally far-fetched.
The White Sox obviously could use Dunn given how often Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones are playing at DH, particularly now that they're in first-place. Jackson would give the Nationals a workhorse to put behind Strasburg in the rotation and would provide the Nats with an asset for 2011, something they don't currently have in their free-agent-to-be first baseman.
I'm guessing that Arizona would want Dan Hudson from Chicago in the deal, and reports have said that the Sox are willing to give up Hudson if it means landing Dunn. I certainly don't know if it's going to happen, but the deal does seem plausible. Although I'm guessing that most Arizona fans are hoping that the Jackson return won't be nearly as disappointing as the Haren one. Hopefully that perfect game is still fresh on everybody's mind.
Apparently Washington is also trying to get Jackson without including Chicago in the deal, which makes sense. Chicago doesn't exactly have pitching to offer Arizona outside of Hudson, although Washington isn't exactly loaded with prospects either. I suppose guys like Bradley Meyers and A.J. Morris could be appealing, but most of the quality prospects in that system are position players.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Cubs have told other clubs that they're willing to eat a portion of outfielder Kosuke Fukudome's 2010 salary along with a significant amount of the money owed to him for next season. The 33-year-old is owed $18.45M through the end of next season. (MLBTR link)
Presumably the Cubs are interesting in giving the vast majority of the right field playing time to breakout rookie Tyler Colvin, although the 24-year-old isn't likely to keep up his 2010 power surge. But the former first-round pick does have some upside that the Cubs presumably would like to get a longer look at, and Fukudome's large contract is getting in the way of that.
Fukudome's been somewhat useful as a Cub, putting up 5 WAR and a slightly above-average .257/.365/.410 batting line in 381 games so far. He's been a remarkably streaky hitter, but he's got good on-base skills and plays an above-average right field, so presumably some teams will have interest at a discounted price. Plus, he has a solid .261/.370/.416 line against right-handed pitching in his career.
- FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox offered reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Mets for catcher Rod Barajas before the backstop went on the disabled list. Ramirez is under team control through 2012 while Barajas is signed on a one-year deal. (MLBTR link)
It's not clear if the Mets were interested in this swap or not, but clearly the Red Sox aren't satisfied with their catching situation. Victor Martinez comes off the DL today, but the team is still without Jason Varitek and could greatly use another quality option to complement the former Indian.
Boston's been looking for bullpen help, too, partially because of Ramirez's struggles. He simply hasn't been the same pitcher since coming over from Kansas City. He's seen his contact rate increase two straight seasons from 69% to 78%, and his whiff rate has plummeted from 15% to 9.6% in that same time frame. He's already almost 29 and he's due to get raises upon his 2010 salary of $1.55M through arbitration. Clearly the Red Sox aren't particularly high on Ramirez anymore, and probably for good reason.
- According to reports by Jon Heyman of SI and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Yankees have been showing serious interest in Royals closer Joakim Soria. They've even gone as far as to "dangle" top prospect Jesus Montero in talks for Soria, but Kansas City wasn't interested. (MLBTR link)
We've seen some reports flying around that the Royals are fielding calls on Soria and ace pitcher Zack Greinke, but these appear to be the most concrete reports about a potential Soria trade.
It's not totally surprising that the Royals reported turned down a package led by Montero, though. First off, Soria is an exceptional reliever and he's signed cheaply through 2011 with club options for 2012, 2013 and 2014. So he's very good, and he's pretty cheap. It's a good combination, one that even the Yankees can appreciate.
But behind Soria's high value, Montero just isn't a great fit for the Royals right now. Although he's currently playing catcher in Triple-A, Montero is likely to be limited to first base or the DH spot in the majors. And those spots are pretty much covered long-term in Kansas City. They already have Billy Butler established as one of the better young 1B in the game, along with top hitting prospects like Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and Kila Ka'aihue in the minor leagues.
If the Royals are going to deal Soria or Greinke, it's going to be for a package that they absolutely love. And I'm not totally surprised that they didn't love a package headed by Montero.
- It doesn't really seem like Roy Oswalt wants to get traded that bad. According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Oswalt won't approve any trade without getting his 2012 option picked up. This is after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this morning that Oswalt doesn't want to play in Philadelphia and Jayson Stark of ESPN reported that the Astros were looking for what amounts to a huge return in terms of talent. (MLBTR link)
I'm getting the vibe that Oswalt won't actually end up getting dealt. There seem to be a multitude of factors working against the Astros and Oswalt finding a deal to their liking.
You have Oswalt's huge demands in terms of money, which amount to about $5.7M in 2010 plus $32M total for 2011 and 2012. You have Oswalt's apparently limited interest in playing for most of the teams in the majors. You have the Astros' apparently exorbitant asking price, which seems ludicrous if they expect another team to pick up nearly $38M in salary through 2012.
When you consider that Dan Haren, who was owed about $32.1M through 2012 with a 2013 club option that comes out to $12M net, only landed the D-Backs the Saunders/Corbin/Rodriguez/PTBNL (reportedly Tyler Skaggs), I have a tough time imaging that some team will meet Houston's asking price.
- The Marlins have apparently been receiving calls about right-hander Chris Volstad, although Florida is hesitant to make the starter available, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. The Rangers are among the teams that contacted the Marlins in regards to Volstad, but they were turned away. (MLBTR link)
It's not really surprising that Florida doesn't want to deal the 6-foot-8 righty. He doesn't have huge upside, but he looks like a potential mid-rotation starter, particularly given his ability to take advantage of his height and induce lots of ground balls. He'll probably always be limited due to his lack of bat-missing ability, but he could be pretty solid with some improved command.
- Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mets and Royals were discussing possible deals involving Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Jeff Francoeur, Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Guillen. Jon Heyman of SI later reported that Perez and Francoeur were on the trading block, and a deal with the Royals could happen. Finally, Andy Martino of the NY Daily News reported that talks between the clubs were ongoing, but that Guillen wouldn't end up in Queens. Rather, Kansas City's interest in Francoeur would increase with a different deal sending Guillen elsewhere. UPDATE: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com is reporting that Royals aren't interested in Perez or Francoeur. Makes sense. (MLBTR link)
Honestly, I'm not sure what either team is trying to do here. I can understand why the Mets would want to find a way to swap Perez and Meche, as both are owed $24M through 2012 and Meche seems far more likely to offer some return on that investment.
But why would the Royals want Jeff Francoeur or Luis Castillo? It seems that Castillo would only facilitate a deal financially, as the Royals already have Chris Getz and Mike Aviles, while Francoeur could potentially block Alex Gordon. And I shouldn't have to go into why that would be dumb.
I suppose some sort of deal sending Farnsworth and Meche to New York for Perez and Francoeur could work, I'm just not sure what Dayton Moore is really trying to do here. I just don't see how adding Perez, Francoeur or Castillo is really going to help Kansas City's cause.
- According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Rangers are deep in talks to acquire Jorge Cantu from Florida, and are monitoring the situation with Derrek Lee and the Cubs. The Rangers have been on an ongoing search for a right-handed infield bat to complement first baseman Chris Davis, reportedly looking at Ty Wigginton, Mike Lowell and Wes Helms in addition to the two mentioned above. UPDATE: The Marlins and Rangers aren't close on a Cantu deal, as the Rockies and Giants are still involved. (MLBTR link)
Clearly, Texas doesn't buy into Davis' ability to hit left-handed pitching. That shouldn't be too surprising though. The first baseman has a career line of .222/.268/.409 in 252 PA against left-handers in Texas, and hit much better against right-handers in multiple stints in Double-A and Triple-A.
Cantu would seem to make some sense, given that he can play first and third. He also killed lefties in 2008 and 2009, although his numbers are down across-the-board in 2010. Given his salary and performance thus far (.260/.309/.412 and 0.4 WAR in 94 games), Texas probably wouldn't have to give much in a trade. Presumably, the Marlins would be willing to eat some of the money in order to get better prospects like the Giants did in the Bengie Molina trade.
I can understand other cheap options like Wigginton, Lowell and Helms, but the interest in Lee is curious. His numbers are down and his salary dwarfs the rest of these guys. Maybe the Rangers are hoping that the Cubs would eat his salary, but I'm guessing that Chicago would want a pretty nice piece in return for that happen.