Results tagged ‘ braves ’

Angels fielding lots of phone calls …

The Angels — 14 games out of first place and eight games below .500 — have been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last couple of days, with a multitude of teams gauging their interest in parting ways with some of their position players. One person familiar with the team’s thinking said Tuesday afternoon that the chances they strike a deal before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline are “better than 50/50.”

“Vultures appear to be circling,” the source said.

Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar appear to be the most likely to be traded, given how solid they’ve been on both sides of the field and the team-friendly extensions they signed last year. The Royals — with Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada — are looking for a second baseman with offense and would be willing to include veteran starter Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar, who’s been effective out of the bullpen but hasn’t started all year, in a deal. They also have two top guys in the Minors in Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but Royals reporter Dick Kaegel doesn’t believe they’ll be included in a deal.

And according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are one of the 12 teams Kendrick could block a trade to this season.

Aybar, however, has no such no-trade protection in his contract. And if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, perhaps they get interested. So far, though, they’ve shown no signs of being on the lookout for a shortstop, per Tigers reporter Jason Beck.

So, we’ll see. There can be a lot of surprises this time of year, especially in the final hours. But there’s definitely incentive for the Angels to wait until the offseason to swap a position player for cost-controlled starting pitching. More teams can get involved, and plenty more time permits.

Early on Monday, the Angels traded veteran lefty reliever Scott Downs to the Braves in exchange for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus.

– Alden Gonzalez

Downs would prefer to stay with Angels

Things tend to change very quickly this time of year, but indications around the Angels point to a relatively quiet next nine days leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. They’re too far back in the race and too close to the threshold at which teams are taxed 17.5 percent to be buyers; too burdened by big contracts to be all-out sellers.

One player who can very well be moved, though, is Scott Downs, the lefty reliever who will be a free agent at season’s end.

“I’ve been through this before,” the 12-year veteran said. “I can’t control what’s going on on the other side. The only thing I can control is what I do out on the field to help this team win. That’s the only thing I want to do, that’s the only thing I’m going to worry about.”

Downs figures to be an attractive name leading up to July 31, especially given the amount of teams that need relief help down the stretch. He’s having a very solid season (1.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). He’s affordable (owed the pro-rated share of a $5 million salary for 2013). He’s got a great track record (a 2.30 ERA while averaging 63 appearances from 2007-12). And the Angels entered Monday’s game 8 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the American League.

The Braves and Indians are among the teams that would have interest.

Downs is 37, has yet to pitch in the playoffs and would welcome appearing in meaningful October games. But he’d like to make that happen here, and would love to find a way to stay with the Angels past 2013.

“I signed out here because I wanted to win and because of the makeup of this team,” said Downs, in the final months of a three-year, $15 million contract. “I still believe, and I think everyone in this clubhouse believes, we have a chance to win; we have a chance to do something special here. So for me to say I want to leave here to go somewhere else, that’s not the case. I want to win with this team and that’s my mindset. Unless that changes, my mindset is on this team and this team only.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Giants poised to re-sign CF Pagan

The Giants appeared poised Monday to re-sign Angel Pagan, their leadoff hitter and center fielder who commanded ample attention as a free agent.<p/>

A Giants official said that a deal was done, pending the required physical examination. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report that the Giants and Pagan were approaching an agreement.<p/>

Terms of the potential deal were not immediately announced, though Yahoo! Sports reported that Pagan received a four-year, $40 million package. B.J. Upton established the high end of the market for center fielders by signing a five-year, $75.25 million with the Atlanta Braves. Pagan, who at 31 is three years older than Upton and lacks his power, reportedly received a four-year offer from the Philadelphia Phillies.<p/>

A representative for another free-agent outfielder told MLB.com that the Giants were prepared to “bend over backwards” to retain Pagan, who they obtained during last year’s Winter Meetings from the New York Mets for outfielder Andres Torres and right-hander Ramon Ramirez.<p/>

Pagan hit .288 and recorded career bests in runs (95), doubles (38) and triples (15) during the regular season. The switch-hitter batted .188 and scored 10 runs in 16 postseason games as the Giants surged to their second World Series title in three years.

– Chris Haft

11/30 Cubs reportedly ask about Bourn

ESPN.com Chicago reported Friday that the Cubs have inquired about free agent center fielder Michael Bourn. He rejected the Braves’ qualifying offer earlier this month, and by doing so, the Braves would receive Draft pick compensation if he signs with another club. That signing club would lose a first-round pick unless it was one of the Draft’s first 10 selections. In that event, the team would lose its second-round selection. The Cubs do have the second pick overall in the Draft, so they would hang onto that, but lose their second-round selection in this case.

Bourn batted .274 with nine home runs, 42 stolen bases and a .739 OPS last season. However, he also batted .225 with a .335 on-base percentage after the All-Star break and struck out 155 times as a leadoff hitter. Bourn did lead the National League in stolen bases in 2009, ’10 and ’11 but he will turn 30 on Dec. 27.

The Cubs are in the market for another outfielder. But if Bourn, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, is looking for a monster long-term deal, the Cubs would not appear to be a good match. They are high on prospects Albert Almora  and Brett Jackson, and Bourn’s numbers are not as consistent as they were earlier in his career.

– Carrie Muskat

Angels reportedly front-runners for Fujikawa

Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa is nearing a decision and the Angels are believed to be the front-runners, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported via Twitter on Friday afternoon. Fujikawa’s agent, Don Nomura, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Fujikawa, 32, is one of the top relievers in the Far East, racking up 202 saves to go along with a 1.36 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a rate of 12.4 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings in 369 2/3 frames while pitching for the Hanshin Tigers.

Fujikawa met with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto in Anaheim last week, a source confirmed to MLB.com, as part of a five-team tour that also saw him make stops in the Dodgers’, Orioles’, Cubs’ and D-backs’ facilities. At least 10 teams are believed to have made him an offer, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, who said Fujikawa is seeking a multi-year deal.

The Angels signed Ryan Madson to potentially be their closer on Wednesday, adding him to a back end of the bullpen that also includes Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs. On Friday, they freed up a spot in the ‘pen by trading Jordan Walden to the Braves for starter Tommy Hanson.

If the Angels sign Fujikawa, they’d probably be out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, instead going with a cheaper alternative to fill their final rotation spot.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels swap Walden for Hanson

The Angels are on the verge of acquiring starting pitcher Tommy Hanson from the Braves, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday.

Hanson, 26, has gone 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts while pitching the last four seasons with the Braves. Last year, the right-hander went 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 174 2/3 innings.

In exchange, the Braves will be acquiring hard-throwing reliever Jordan Walden, who notched 32 saves in 2011 and posted a 3.46 ERA in 45 appearances this past season.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Interest piling up for Torii Hunter

As the offseason ensues, and the chances of Torii Hunter returning to the Angels continues to look awfully bleak, the list of potential suitors for the veteran right fielder continues to grow.

On Monday, CBSSports.com reported that as many as 13-14 teams have checked in on Hunter, with the Tigers, Rangers and Braves being the most aggressive. The Dodgers are out on Hunter, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com, which said Hunter will make a decision on his 2013 destination within the next couple weeks.

As for the Angels? They haven’t offered Hunter anything more than a one-year, $5 million contract since mid-September, a source said, because they have plenty of depth in their outfield and need to allocate funds to shore up their pitching — specifically a rotation that has only two 2012 members guaranteed to return and a bullpen that blew 22 saves.

General manager Jerry Dipoto previously admitted that it’s “not likely” Hunter returns, and Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, echoed those same thoughts. They could free up more money for Hunter if they get something back on the $42 million owed to Vernon Wells over the next two seasons, but that doesn’t seem favorable right now, either.

Hunter, 37, batted a career-high .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBIs in 2012. His production, health and athleticism at this stage in his career, coupled with his leadership and character, make him an appealing, affordable free agent. So does not having to give up a Draft pick to sign him, since the Angels didn’t tender a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Hunter.

“My plan is to win no matter what, and of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win,” Hunter recently told MLB.com. “That’s the plan.”

 – Alden Gonzalez

7/30 Cubs rumors

Ryan Dempster’s next scheduled start is Tuesday night, with the first pitch at Wrigley Field scheduled for four hours after the 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. Will he still be in a Cubs uniform by then? Yahoo’s Tim Brown tweets Monday that the Dodgers are still talking to the Cubs about Dempster, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says Alfonso Soriano could be part of the trade. On Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer wrote the Cubs’ failed attempt to get pitching prospect Allen Webster from the Dodgers created a stalemate. The Dodgers have had an offer on the table for Dempster since mid July.

The Braves appeared to have completed a deal one week ago for Dempster, who said Sunday: “Who’s to say I was going to say no or yes to whatever team.  All I said was that I just, at that time, I needed to think about everything.”

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman says there’s no guarantee 22-year-old Randall Delgado is still available to deal to the Cubs for Dempster.

Rosenthal points out that under the new CBA, there is no longer a required 24-hour waiting period for 10-and-5 players to approve a trade. So, any deals can go right to the deadline as long as the player gives consent. That applies to Dempster.

– Carrie Muskat

 

More Teams Interested in Shields

Earlier reports had the Rangers, Angels and Dodgers interested in James Shields.  Now, according to a report by Fox Sports, the Braves and Cardinals can be added to that mix.

While the idea of the Rays trading Shields when the team is just 2 1/2 games out of the Wild Card spot still seems remote, there are some interesting aspects to this year’s trade market.  The Rays have never felt any pressure to make moves due to deadlines such as the trade deadline and actually have taken the stance that players usually have better value in the off-season when more teams are interested.  But, if in fact there are as many teams interested in Shields as reported, the Rays might be able to get the deal that blows them away that could pry away Shields.

Shields’ recent numbers have not been good, but he is healthy and could help any team by the fact he eats up innings alone.  In addition, he is under control for another two years for reasonable sums.  So his attractiveness is understandable.

–Bill Chastain

Josh Johnson another arm to monitor for Angels

As Monday’s trade with the Tigers showed, the underachieving Marlins are sellers this July.

And that shifts the focus partly to Josh Johnson, the ace pitcher whose deal expires after the 2013 season.

Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris was in Miami on Monday night, watching as Johnson gave up just one hit and struck out nine in six innings against the Braves. The Angels would no doubt love to get their hands on Johnson, who was having a disappointing year coming off surgery shoulder surgery before that outing (5-7, 4.35 ERA) but no doubt provides an instant upgrade to the rotation.

Johnson is one of many arms the Angels would consider, though — along with guys like James Shields, Matt Garza, Francisco Liriano and, as mentioned frequently, Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke.

If the Angels are to add a starter, though, the preference would be to add someone who’s under contract for more than just the next two months (like Shields, Garza and Johnson).

Any deal for Johnson would probably have to include center fielder Peter Bourjos, who the Marlins have targeted for quite a while.

– Alden Gonzalez

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