-Amid rampant speculation that the Nationals are looking to acquire a starting pitcher to slot into their rotation when Stephen Strasburg hits his innings limit, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Washington isn’t willing to part with a top prospect for a starter because John Lannan can fill in just fine.
-ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports a number of interesting tidbits about the starting pitching market, including two about Tampa Bay. Stark writes that the Rays might be willing to move James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson if they decide Evan Longoria has to be shut down for the season and they fall out of the Wild Card race, but only if they can get a good haul in exchange for one of the right-handers — “ideally, some combination of high-end young arms, a young catcher and/or a controllable hitter,” Stark writes.
-Stark has also heard that it’s Wade Davis — not Shields or Hellickson — who might be drawing the most interest among Rays pitchers. MLB.com’s Bill Chastain wrote about Davis’ successful transition to the bullpen on Thursday.
-According to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler, the Tigers are looking for a “difference-making starting pitcher” but aren’t sure they’ll be able to get one.
-FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal also wrote about the seemingly thinning trade market for elite starting pitching, noting that it could increase the demand for second-tier starters who become available.
-With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching and Cole Hamels the focus of seemingly endless speculation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Phillies are expected to offer the left-hander a six-year, $130 million extension. Nothing official has come from either side, but Heyman reports that Philadelphia would like to strike a deal with Hamels similar to the five-year, $112.5 million extension given to Giants right-hander Matt Cain. According to the report, the Phillies have recently spoken with Hamels about a deal, and they are rumored to be “very committed” to keeping the lefty starter.
-USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported that D-backs outfielder Justin Upton will be traded, whether it’s before the July 31 deadline or during the offseason. In other Arizona news, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi posted on Twitter that the D-backs could look to ship out reliever J.J. Putz.
-While Upton’s youth and high ceiling would warrant a big return for the D-backs, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that Padres third baseman Chase Headley is actually demanding the highest asking price, according to one club.
The Cubs have agreed to a one-year Major League deal with reliever Manuel Corpas, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Corpas was in Chicago on Thursday for a physical.
The 29-year-old right-hander last pitched in the Majors in 2010 with the Rockies. He underwent Tommy John surgery later that year, and the Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract in April. He pitched in the instructional league and played winter ball in Panama.
Corpas has a 12-16 record with a 3.93 ERA for his career, striking out 206 batters and walking 80 in 286 innings. He was never a strikeout artist, averaging 6.5 Ks per nine innings in five Major League seasons. But he limited his walks (2.5 per nine innings for his career) and induced ground balls at a respectable rate.
He is best known for his work during the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 2007, when he saved 19 games with a 2.08 ERA in 78 innings of work. He finished the 2007 postseason with five saves and a 0.87 ERA.
The free-agent pool got a little deeper late Monday night, as 29 players were non-tendered.
While there weren’t many premium bats among the group of non-tenders, several intriguing players are now available to clubs on the open market.
Left-hander Joe Saunders, coming off a 12-13 season with a 3.69 ERA in 212 innings pitched for the D-backs, figures to be the most sought-after non-tender. Jo-Jo Reyes, who started 25 games with a 5.57 ERA and disappointing peripheral numbers, should also draw some interest from clubs looking for an affordable starter.
Lefty reliever Hong-Chin Kuo struggled in 2011, but teams seeking a left-hander out of the bullpen might take a chance on Kuo’s potential and previous track record.
Luke Scott would be a quality free-agent pick-up if he can regain his 2010 form, making him perhaps the most interesting non-tender among position players. He was joined by several middle infielders who could catch on in a platoon, backup or utility role, including Ryan Theriot, Jeff Keppinger and Will Rhymes.
MLBTradeRumors.com has a full list of the 29 non-tendered players, sorted by position, here.