Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

Angels’ chances of landing SP ‘below average’

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is now only five days away, and the Angels continue to work diligently to find a reliable starter for their rotation or an additional weapon for their bullpen, or both.

Can first-year general manager Jerry Dipoto work his magic to shore up some glaring holes on the Angels’ staff?

The chips are stacked against him, it seems.

A source with knowledge of the team’s thinking described the Angels’ chances of acquiring a starter as “below average and diminishing” on Thursday. The asking prices are too high, the competition for pitching is too intense – largely due to the additional Wild Card that has more teams in the hunt than ever – and the Angels don’t have an abundance of intriguing prospects to offer up.

That, and a $155 million payroll with little wiggle room, has made the Angels’ search for a starter “an uphill task,” the source said – before adding, “But don’t underestimate Jerry.”

The Angels continue to search for additional bullpen pieces, particularly a cost-controlled lefty. But it’s starting pitching – the one area that seemed rock solid at the start of the year – that seems most necessary considering the struggles of Ervin Santana and the recent back troubles of Dan Haren.

But how many feasible upgrades are out there?

Cole Hamels has agreed to a lucrative extension to stay in Philadelphia, the Marlins seem unwilling to part ways with Josh Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez has moved on to the Pirates, Matt Garza has some elbow issues, Ryan Dempster seemingly only wants to pitch for the Dodgers and Francisco Liriano is fresh off giving up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, putting his ERA at 5.31.

That makes the competition for the likes of James Shields (signed pretty affordably through 2014) and Zack Greinke (free-agent-to-be) quite fierce.

It would be a shock, a source said, if the Angels were to move Garrett Richards, who’s 24, cost-controlled for five more seasons and boasts a ton of upside. Young center fielder Peter Bourjos, a reserve with Mike Trout now in the fold, is perhaps their biggest chip – though Dipoto has publicly said he’s unwilling to trade him because he’s still a big part of their future. Then there are prospects like middle infielder Jean Segura, catcher Hank Conger, first baseman C.J. Cron and pitcher John Hellweg, among others, who could be expendable in the right package.

More on Angels.com soon.

Alden Gonzalez

July 25 Late Night Roundup

  • Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez suffered a fractured left hand on Tuesday and could miss at least four weeks. That led to speculation the team would look to address the situation with a trade, but general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com that he isn’t targeting a deal for a third baseman. Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix will fill the hole instead.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Brewers have “officially become sellers.” That increases the likelihood of a trade involving ace pitcher Zack Greinke, who has drawn serious interest from several teams but hasn’t shown any in signing an extension with Milwaukee.  The Brewers also could deal third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reliever Francisco  Rodriguez, catcher George Kottaras and starter Randy Wolf.
  • Not satisfied with pulling off a trade for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate late Tuesday night, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti still will look for a starting pitcher and another bat, according to our own Ken Gurnick. The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster remains the team’s prime target.
  • Losing out on Ramirez didn’t end the A’s pursuit of an infielder, reported our own Jane Lee. The Blue Jays’ Yunel Escobar, the Padres’ Chase Headley and the D-backs’ Stephen Drew could be among the remaining possibilities.
  • The Reds have “kicked the tires” on Twins center fielder Denard Span but are more likely to end up with the Phillies’ Shane Victorino or Juan Pierre, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

— Andrew Simon

Angels in a bit of a holding pattern

The closer July 31 gets, the more vulnerable the Angels’ starting rotation looks, making the need and desire for outside help seem that much more prominent.

With 12 days left until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, though, everyone seems to be in a holding pattern.

The Angels themselves are waiting to see if Dan Haren can regain form after dealing with lingering back stiffness, which could have a major say in how willing they are to trade for a premium starter. And the trade market in general could be slowed by two wrinkles in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement – the extra wild card and the diminishing Draft-pick compensation.

But general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn’t anticipate pitching being any more difficult to come by this year.

“I think there are different dynamics at play that are creating a little bit of a drag on the market, but I don’t think it’s moving at any quicker or slower pace, or there’s any more or less players that are available at the right price,” he said. “I just don’t know that we’ve determined, as an industry, what the appropriate value for those players might be.”

Some of that has to do with Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke – two starters the Angels have been linked to all month.

The Phillies, CBSSports.com reported on Tuesday, are preparing to offer Hamels a six-year extension worth $130 million. If he doesn’t accept, they’ll have little chance but to shop him. But until that’s finalized, those talks won’t intensify.

And then there’s Greinke, who’s slumping through July and did not pitch as scheduled this week, with the Brewers trying to get him back on track while still deciding whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers – or neither – at the Deadline.

Until the situations surrounding the two most coveted starting pitchers are decided, little movement can take place.

One thing’s for sure: The Angles are keeping their ears open.

With a 5.28 rotation ERA in July, and several uncertainties up and down their staff, they need to.

“Our starters just before the [All-Star] break started struggling with some stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after his club’s 5-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday, which saw Jerome Williams give up five runs in six innings. “[Jered Weaver] is obviously pitching well, C.J. [Wilson] has given us a couple good looks here and there, Ervin [Santana] did a couple nights ago. But outside of that, we’re just not getting the ball to a certain point in the game. That also affects how your bullpen is going to do.”

Alden Gonzalez

July 18 Late Night Roundup

  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale provided the splashiest rumor of the day, reporting that the Marlins had informed the Red Sox of their willingness to deal third baseman Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell, in exchange for left fielder Carl Crawford and a prospect. But ESPN’s Buster Olney later shot down that idea, tweeting that the proposal “immediately died.”
  • According to our own Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are more likely to explore trading Ramirez during the offseason. Miami, scuffling below the .500 mark, still could look to move the likes of starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson or infielder Omar Infante below July 31.
  • Three different scenarios remain in play for Brewers ace Zack Greinke, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported at FOXSports.com. The 28-year-old could walk away as a free agent after the season. He could sign a long-term contract to remain in Milwaukee, although the report stated there is “no evidence,” that a formal offer has been made. Greinke also could be traded before the deadline, although he will start only twice more before then, following an extended break.
  • Greinke, along with the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, is a prime deadline target for the Rangers, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Texas also could consider bringing back Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee.
  • Several teams have looked into acquiring third baseman Chase Headley or outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Padres, but San Diego’s asking price for both has been “exorbitant,” reported CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller. The club also might attempt to re-sign Quentin this winter.

— Andrew Simon

Big week for Angels & their search for a starter

The Angels want to add a starter. It’s more likely that they don’t have the chips to acquire a premium one, but they’re doing their due diligence anyway.

This week could be a big one with regards to that pursuit.

This is the week when the erratic Ervin Santana will make two tough starts (against the Tigers on Monday and against the Rangers on Saturday), this is the week more will be known about the health of Dan Haren (he’ll make a rehab outing today, and if all goes well, he could start against Texas on Sunday), and this may be the week that dictates how aggressive Jerry Dipoto is in his pursuit of another rotation arm.

We’re now 15 days away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And the more time passes, the less likely it seems that the Angels can acquire a guy like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.

First, there’s the fact each of their teams would like to resign them. The Phillies, Paul Hagen writes, are entering a critical stage with Hamels. The Brewers, according to Adam McCalvy, pushed back the struggling Greinke to give him a blow (making him less appealing on the trade market and more likely to be retained, perhaps?).

Second, there’s the whole “assets” thing. The Angels don’t have a lot of that to give up. As one executive said, if they’re going up against the Rangers for a starter (T.R. Sullivan says Roy Oswalt’s effectiveness could determine how aggressive they get) it would be “like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.” The only heavy artillery the Angels carry is Peter Bourjos, the high-upside center fielder who’s without an everyday role but is a big part of their long-term plans. Dipoto has continued to stress that the Angels will not trade Bourjos, but things can certainly change. The only way I see them giving him up is if it’s for a starting pitcher they can resign — not one who’s going to walk away in two months and leave them with nothing.

And that brings me to the third reason — the new CBA. The extra Wild Card has put more teams in the race for the playoffs, making less of them sellers in July. But a bigger reason for a possibly slow market could be that the only players who bring back Draft pick compensation upon signing with another club are those who spent the previous full season with the same team. For example, if a team trades for Hamels and he signs elsewhere, that team gets no additional Draft picks in 2013. If he stays with the Phillies and he signs elsewhere, the Phils do get the compensation. One scout said the trade market so far is “extra quiet” and “not much is happening” yet. No surprise there.

Of course, there are other, more-attainable starters out there (Wandy Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster come to mind). Will the Angels go outside of themselves to add another front-line guy?

It may depend on how this week goes.

– Alden Gonzalez

Mets considering a K-Rod reunion?

One of the relievers on the Mets’ Trade Deadline wish list, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Post, is former closer Francisco Rodriguez.

From a purely baseball perspective, that makes plenty of sense. Because of Rodriguez’s 4.00 ERA and $8-million salary as Milwaukee’s setup man, the Brewers cannot rightfully ask for a significant haul of prospects in return. But Rodriguez does have a long track record of excellence in late-game situations and holds a 2.66 ERA in 25 outings since May 4, striking out nearly a batter per inning and walking one-third as many.

Rodriguez, for what it’s worth, also has experience pitching in New York. He was mellower last season after taking anger management classes following his 2010 arrest at Citi Field for assault, so that New York experience could make him more valuable than other late-inning options.

Other relievers available include Brett Myers of the Astros, Huston Street of the Padres and Grant Balfour of the A’s.

–Anthony DiComo

Angels close to signing LaTroy Hawkins

The Angels are closing in on a deal for veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, a source familiar with the negotiations told MLB.com on Wednesday night. The contract, which is still not finalized, is expected to be for one year, perhaps in the neighborhood of $3 million, and should be announced either Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Hawkins would provide the Angels with the veteran right-hander for the back end of the bullpen which they sought. General manager Jerry Dipoto has said he wanted someone with experience closing games, but not somebody who would necessarily replace young closer Jordan Walden.

Hawkins, 38, spent his last two seasons with Milwaukee. He was limited to just 18 appearances in 2010 because of shoulder surgery, then bounced back in 2011, posting a 2.42 ERA and a 1.241 WHIP in 52 games (48 1/3 innings).

For his 17-year career, Hawkins has a 4.48 ERA and 87 saves.

As of 10 p.m. CT on Wednesday, the Angels were still competing against the Marlins in hopes of signing C.J. Wilson, who arrived at the Dallas Anatole where the Winter Meetings are being held, but did not speak with the media.

– Alden Gonzalez, Adam McCalvy 

Angels’ chances to land Wilson improve

With the Marlins committing four years and $58 million to Mark Buehrle — the other top free-agent starter — the Angels’ chances of obtaining C.J. Wilson have only improved.

Word is the Marlins still aren’t done — they could still pursue Wilson, and they may still even have a chance to reel in Albert Pujols. But with Buehrle on board, the sense of urgency to land Wilson is nowhere near as strong as before, and the available funds may not be as high.

In the end, it could come down to a two-horse race between the two American League West rivals, the Angels and Rangers. The Angels have prioritized starting pitching and are going hard after Wilson, amping up their efforts to obtain the Newport Beach, Calif., southpaw and hoping to get an agreement by Wednesday. They may be more willing to go five years with C.J., and that may be what it takes to land him.

Also on Wednesday, Aramis Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said the Angels and Brewers met with his client at the end of the season and are finalists to land the free-agent third baseman — along with another unidentified team.

If the Angels can’t land Wilson, Ramirez could be a fallback option.

– Alden Gonzalez 

12/7 Aramis Ramirez declines arbitration

The agent for Aramis Ramirez told the Cubs Wednesday that the third baseman was declining the Cubs’ offer of arbitration. The deadline for players to decide whether to accept was 11 p.m. CT Wednesday. Both Ramirez and Carlos Pena were Type B free agents, and if they sign with other teams, as expected, the Cubs will receive a compensatory Draft pick between the first and second rounds. Pena already has told the Cubs he will decline the offer.

Ramirez may not go too far from Chicago. He is considering the Brewers as well as the Angels. There also is a third team, but Milwaukee’s advantage is that he could stay in the NL Central. Ramirez, who has met with both Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Angels manager Mike Scioscia, has made it clear he wants to play for a contender. Ramirez, 33, won his first Silver Slugger award this season, batting .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs, and is considered the top free agent third baseman available.

– Carrie Muskat

Grady Sizemore: Sizing up the Market

Free-agent outfielder Grady Sizemore expects to be completely healthy by the start of Spring Training and is keeping his options open for 2012.

On Monday, the Indians announced they were declining Sizemore’s $9 million option for 2012, instead choosing to pay the $500,000 buyout. On Thursday, Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, said the interest in his client’s services is best described as “steady” and he has heard from a number of clubs.

Urbon declined to name the clubs that have inquired or the parameters of a deal Sizemore is seeking. He added that there is not a timetable for a decision.

Sizemore has been mentioned in reports as a possible target for Washington, San Francisco and Milwaukee, among other teams.

“The minute they chose not to exercise the option we informed Grady that we will find the best opportunity to allow him to show his health and that he is the elite player that everyone was used to seeing from 2005 to 2008,” said Urbon, co-head of CAA Baseball. “It’s rare for a two-time Gold Glove winner to have the power and ability to produce like a corner outfielder. It’s rare and rarely exists.”

One option for Sizemore could be shifting from center field to left or right if it’s the right fit. He could also seek a one-year incentive-based deal that would make him a free agent at the end of the 2012 season. Sizemore might believe his value will increase for the ’13 season with improved health and full season under his belt.

One thing is certain: Sizemore will be ready and looking to rebound. He hit .224 with 10 homers, 21 doubles and 32 RBIs in 71 games for Cleveland this past season and has not played a full season since 2008.

He has had two knee surgeries — one on each knee — in the last year and a half, including microfracture surgery on his left knee last year. He also suffered a sports hernia and a right knee injury. He is recovering from an Oct. 3 arthroscopic procedure on his right knee, which had a bone bruise and was part of the reason he was off the field for most of the second half of the season.

“The microfracture is not an issue,” Urbon said. “He’s as structurally as sound as you can be, and nothing he has suffered is chronic. He missed parts of three years. I’m not going to dismiss health, nor should it be, but it will all be cleared up by due diligence.”

As of Monday, the Indians had not ruled out Sizemore’s return to Cleveland.

“We will still stay in touch with his representatives and Grady throughout the offseason and remain hopeful he will remain part of this organization,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti said. “I think both parties remain open-minded to continuing the relationship. It’s just not at the option value.”

– Jesse Sanchez

 

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