The Royals are in the market for a right-handed hitting bat to play right field, but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the team isn’t in on Boston’s Jonny Gomes or Minnesota’s Josh Willingham (Twitter links). Additionally, Crasnick tweets that he isn’t sure the Royals view Chris Denorfia and Justin Ruggiano as upgrades over Justin Maxwell, who is hitting well in Triple-A. The Royals don’t feel that Gomes is capable of handling right field, and the same applies to Willingham as well. (As Crasnick notes, Willingham’s July swoon hasn’t helped his value.) Crasnick hears from one AL executive that the Twins would very much like to move Willingham, but they’re simply not getting much interest at this time. Gomes, Willingham, and Denorfia are all free agents at season’s end, while Ruggiano would remain under team control via arbitration. The Royals were said at one point to have interest in Marlon Byrd, but a report yesterday indicated that they were backing off both Byrd and Alex Rios
Top Cubs prospect Javier Baez has left KPS Sports and signed with agent Nick Chanock of the Wasserman Media Group, according to Bruce Levine of WSAR-AM radio/670 The Score (Twitter link). This is the third agency that Baez has been with in the past year, as he previously had jumped from Jet Sports Management to KPS before this most recent switch. Baez is a consensus top 10 prospect in the Majors based on the recent midseason lists compiled by Baseball Prospectus (#5), MLB.com (#6), Baseball America (#7) and Keith Law of ESPN (#8). The 21-year-old is currently hitting .254/.314/.486 with 19 homers at Triple-A Iowa and has recently been seeing some time at second base in addition to his usual position of shortstop — perhaps preparing him for a potential position change at the big league level. By joining WMG, Baez will be represented by the same agency that represents a vast number of Major Leaguers, including Yoenis Cespedes, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Yasiel Puig, Kris Medlen and Addison Reed. For additional agency info on more than 2,000 Major League and Minor League players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database. If you see any errors or omissions, please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden spoke with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein for the latest installment of his video blog, The GM’s Office. Here are some highlights from the interview (although as usual, the entire interview is well worth your time) and some other Cubs-related notes as the trade deadline approaches… The Cubs had initially hoped to acquire a “can’t miss” prospect that they could “hang [their] hat on” by trading Jeff Samardzija on his own, but the team couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to acquire Addison Russell once Athletics GM Billy Beane said he would include him if Jason Hammel were in the trade as well. If Javier Baez has to move off shortstop due to the presence of Russell or Starlin Castro, the Cubs see him as more of a second baseman than a third baseman. Chicago has played Baez at second base quite a bit following the All-Star break, and Epstein called the transition “seamless.” “Having too many shortstops is never a problem,” Epstein said. “They’re the best athletes, the best defenders, and we’ll find spots for all these guys. … We don’t see it as a problem. We have lots of different ways they can all fit on the field together
Every lineup, every day, as they are made public by the clubs.
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The Yankees are looking at the second tier of starting pitchers rather than focusing on front-line arms, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney, and one player they’ve discussed is Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson (Twitter link). The 26-year-old has been injury plagued over the last several seasons and has totaled just 33 1/3 frames this year, though the results have been favorable: a 3.24 ERA with a ground-ball percentage just north of 60 percent. Anderson’s 18-to-13 K/BB ratio in that same time isn’t as encouraging, of course. Acquired from the A’s in an offseason deal that sent fellow hurlers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen to the Rockies, Anderson is earning $8MM in 2014, $2MM of which is being paid by the A’s. His contract also contains a $12MM club option ($1.5MM buyout) for the 2015 season. Anderson was once looked at as one of the game’s most promising young pitchers, but injuries have derailed some of that shine. He still sports a career ERA of 3.77 (with identical FIP and xFIP marks of 3.57) to go along with 7.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 55.3 percent ground-ball rate, but he’s totaled just 196 1/3 innings since Opening Day of 2011. It remains to be seen, however, if the Rockies will be willing to move Anderson at all
The Rangers are willing to eat some of the remaining salary on Alex Rios‘ deal, but talks could still go down to the wire, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal hears that interest from several Rios suitors — including the Indians, Giants, Reds and Royals — has waned of late. At least four teams were said to be in on Rios over the weekend, but there’s been little chatter regarding the right fielder since that time. The 33-year-old is batting a strong .305/.334/.430 this season, but his power has declined in 2014. Rios has just four homers on the season after belting 18 last year and 25 in 2012. He’s owed roughly $4.23MM of his $12.5MM salary for the remainder of the 2014 season, plus a $1MM buyout on a $13.5MM option for the 2015 campaign. The Rangers have already dealt Jason Frasor to the Royals and Joakim Soria to the Tigers, and given Rios’ contractual situation, he’s a logical trade chip as well. However, the Rangers seem unwilling to listen to offers on Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish — both of whom they’re hoping will contribute to a contending club in 2015 once their roster is back to full health.
Last night, Jon Lester was scratched from his scheduled start tonight — a clear indicator that the Red Sox are looking to deal their ace. Reports from late in the evening indicated that the Brewers, Orioles and Blue Jays were all fading from the Lester sweepstakes. We’ll run down Wednesday’s Lester rumors in this post…. An NL GM told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he thinks the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers and Mariners are the primary suitors for Lester heading into Wednesday (Twitter link).
The Cardinals have been strongly linked to starting pitching, and the club is making its final assessments in advance of the trade deadline, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It appears that St. Louis is aiming for a fairly impactful arm to slot into its rotation.
The Rockies do not intend to deal closer LaTroy Hawkins, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Having surveyed the market, discussing Hawkins with the Pirates and other clubs, the team determined it would rather keep the veteran than move him for a limited return. Colorado intends to pick up its club option over Hawkins next year, which registers at a fairly reasonable $2.25MM. The team is also interested in keeping him around for his veteran presence in a youthful clubhouse.