The Twins signed free agent shortstop Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $6.75 million contract in a deal that was formally announced on Wednesday. The contract carries a mutual option for 2014. Carroll was in Minneapolis on Tuesday to take his physical, which he passed.
This past season for the Dodgers Carroll batted .290 with a .359 on-base percentage and .347 slugging percentage in 146 games. He also stole 10 bases without getting caught.
Carroll, who can also play second base, third base and both corner outfield positions, is known for providing steady defense. It appears likely that he will be installed as Minnesota’s everyday shortstop.
– Mark Sheldon
Since the Reds declined the $12 million option on Francisco Cordero, the closer has been able to scan the free agent market. It’s a market that features a lot of closers … one less now that the Phillies formally announced a four-year, $50 million deal with ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The closer market glut apparently hasn’t curbed the suitors for Cordero.
“We’ve had probably seven or eight teams inquire with interest, a couple of more since Papelbon’s deal,” Cordero’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, said on Monday. “It’s all ongoing and it’s still early.
“There’s been strong interest, including from the Reds.”
Other closers out there include Ryan Madson, Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, Matt Capps, Jonathan Broxton and Brad Lidge.
Cordero is still interested in returning to the Reds, Stringfellow said. But if he doesn’t, I can’t see the free agent averse Reds in spending a truckload to get one of the big names on the market.
– Mark Sheldon
It appears less than likely that the Reds will make a trade with the Astros to get outfielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.
According to a baseball source, Houston’s asking price was too high. However it is not known which players or prospects from the Reds the club was seeking.
The Reds and general manager Walt Jocketty remain buyers on the market ahead of Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waivers Trade Deadline. They are also looking for players under club control beyond this season and Bourn was signed with the Astros through 2012.
– Mark Sheldon
There will be a more detailed story coming … but Reds GM Walt Jocketty is not changing his Trade Deadline strategy in light of the rough week his club has had (swept four straight by the Mets to go 50-55).
“We are not selling,” Jocketty said Friday afternoon.
One of the players prominent in rumors of a sell has been catcher Ramon Hernandez, especially with top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco on the cusp at Triple-A Louisville. However, Jocketty said he has not listened to offers for Hernandez.
“I haven’t no, and I don’t know if I would,” Jocketty said. “I still think he’s a guy that can help us with this year. I think his value is greater to us now than if we were to move him. You’re not going to get the value in return for him that he gives our club. That’s why we would hold on to him.”
– Mark Sheldon
Indians manager Manny Acta said recently that fans of the Tribe would be “shocked and surprised” at the effort the front office is putting forth in an effort to pull off a trade or two before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trad Deadline.
On Tuesday, Cleveland was named as an interested party for two of the top players presumed to be available.
In a piece for MLB.com, columnist Peter Gammons wrote that the Indians were willing to give up a good player and take on salary in order to acquire Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Unfortunately, Cleveland “did not fit” for Beltran, who has a right to veto any trade. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted that the Indians have shown interest in Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Prior to Tuesday’s game in Cleveland, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti held court with reporters to discuss the upcoming Deadline. Antonetti indicated that acquiring offense is the Tribe’s top priority, but he noted that the Indians have also had plenty of conversations about pitching help.
While Antonetti would not deem any of the club’s top prospects as “untouchable,” he did say that it would take a “compelling” deal to pry them away. Antonetti added that the Tribe was not likely to part with any of its top core prospects in a trade for a player who would only be around for this season’s final two months.
All of that said, the Indians are definitely in buying mode.
“We want to take advantage of every opportunity that we have to get to the postseason and advance in the postseason,” Antonetti said. “That said, you have to be mindful of the cost of doing that. I think we are prepared, and have talked about it, to do what we can, what’s reasonable, to improve the team.”
The Reds traded OF Jonny Gomes to the Nationals for two minor leaguers late Tuesday afternoon. In fact, Gomes was a lineup scratch for Cincinnati just 10 minutes before their games vs. the Mets.
“We were just waiting to get medical clearance,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We thought we would have it a while ago. It just happened today. Jonny was in the lineup and I didn’t want Dusty to pull him before we had it finalized. We went almost to the 11th hour to get it completed. I didn’t even think this was close this afternoon. It happened quick.”
The Reds moved Gomes so they could promote OF/1B Yonder Alonso from Triple-A Louisville. Alonso has been deserving of a promotion and the club wants to see what he can do. They also need his left-handed bat.
“We actually had a couple of clubs that inquired about Jonny’s services but Washington was probably the most persistent,” Jocketty said. “For us, it’s a tough move to make in some ways. Jonny was a big part of our club last year and he’s obviously a guy we all think highly of as a person and as a player. It gives us an opportunity now to bring up a player like Alonso and start looking at some of our younger guys that we feel we need to give an opportunity to.”
Coming to the Reds are LHP Chris Manno, a situational reliever, and OF/1B Bill Rhinehart.
— Mark Sheldon
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and his club have not gotten into the serious stages of talks about any potential deals as of yet.
“I wouldn’t say nothing is going on. We’re talking a lot but nothing is even close,” Jocketty said on Tuesday afternoon.
What remains a sticking point are the extraordinary asking prices for available players. For example, the Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Rockies wanted Aroldis Chapman and top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco in any deal for ace starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
In having a high asking price, Colorado is hoping that a team will blink and give in. That team won’t likely be the Reds.
According to a baseball source, Cincinnati has no plans to blow other teams away with its proposals. If there is a fair deal that can help the club, they would discuss it. The Reds aren’t going to overpay in a trade, however.
– Mark Sheldon
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via Twitter), the “three hottest teams” going after Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda are the Indians, Tigers and Rangers.
Cleveland is known to be searching high and low for outfield help, especially with both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo out with injuries, but the club is also in the market for rotation assistance. After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox, Tribe manager Manny Acta made it clear that his club is working hard in trade talks.
“The truth will come out,” Acta said. “A lot of people will be shocked, surprised and be quiet for a long time after they find out every effort that the team put into it.”
Does that mean the Indians are on the verge of pulling off something big?
Given the number of rumors that are including Cleveland as a suitor right now, it certainly seems like the Tribe is trying to pull the trigger on one or two deals. The Indians have also been linked to outfielders B.J. Upton, Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick in various reports.
Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran are unlikely to land in Cleveland.
As for Kuroda, he is 36 years old and is owed roughly $4 million over the final two months. Over his past nine starts, the right-hander has posted a 2.78 ERA with a .221 opponents’ batting average. His 3.19 ERA on the year indicates that Kuroda is having a better season than his 6-12 record would indicate.
Cleveland has reportedly shown interest in Aaron Harang.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Indians are one of a growing number of teams talking to Tampa Bay about outfielder B.J. Upton. Cleveland is hunting for outfield help and Upton fits the mold.
Upton would not likely cost as much in prospects as Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence, and the Rays outfielder is under contractual control through 2012. Upton isn’t having a stellar year — he’s hitting .232/.312/.400 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs — but he still provides speed and power potential.
Upton is under contract for $4.825 million this season and is eligible for arbitration for the 2012 campaign.
As things currently stand, the Indians are without center fielder Grady Sizemore (right knee injury and sports hernia surgery) and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (broken left thumb) Both could be back in late August or early September.
The Tribe has also been linked to Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick, among others, in various reports and rumors.
Cleveland — also possibly in the market for rotation help – has also reportedly shown interest in pitcher Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.
At 48-50, the Reds are only four games out of first place entering Thursday’s off day but they are looking up to three other clubs in the National League Central. So they are very much in the race, which has Reds general manager Walt Jocketty taking a buyer’s mentality heading closer to July 31.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Jocketty said. “We would like to improve our club since it’s easier to do before the 31st. There is some urgency but not tremendous urgency. I still have a lot of confidence that we’re good enough to win but if there is a chance to upgrade the club, we would try to pursue it.”
Jocketty would not specify the player or players he is seeking to get as upgrades, but there is a type he wants.
“I’d prefer guys who are under contract for a while,” Jocketty said. “I’m not sure anything will develop. We’re trying to win this year but we want to stay full of talent so we know we can compete for years to come.”
– Mark Sheldon