Results tagged ‘ James Shields ’

Can the Angels be a fit for David Price? …

In August 2009, the Angels acquired Scott Kazmir from the Rays in a four-player trade.

In July 2012, Peter Bourjos was so close to being dealt to the Rays — presumably for James Shields, but that part is unconfirmed — that they basically had his uniform ready in St. Petersburg.

This offseason, perhaps the two can come together again — this time for ace pitcher David Price.

The two haven’t been linked heavily in trade talks — yet — but it’s a pairing that would seem to make sense for both sides. The Rays are believed throughout the industry to be shopping Price this winter. It’s the kind of thing they’d do. The starting-pitching market is thin, which would maximize Price’s value; the 28-year-old left-hander is projected to make about $13 million in his second year of arbitration; and Tampa Bay has a gluttony of young, cost-controlled starting pitching, which could free the front office up to trade Price for the offense that may finally balance out their roster.

Meet the Angels. They’ll spend all offseason looking for pitching via the trade market and are more than willing to dangle offensive pieces to get it. Price only comes with two years of control, which doesn’t exactly meet the profile of cost-controlled arms that Jerry Dipoto specifically targets. But here’s the thing: The Angels don’t just have to improve the rotation. They have to get a lot better. Their staff ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last year, Jered Weaver basically loses a tick or two off his fastball every season, C.J. Wilson can drive you nuts every five days, Garrett Richards is still developing and Jason Vargas (if resigned) is 64th in ERA over the last four years.

This rotation looks a whole lot better if you slide Price at the top and move everyone down a spot.

Heck, it may rival some of the best in the league.

Will it happen? Maybe; most likely not, given how difficult it is to pull off trades this big. But it’s an interesting one to think about at this point. (Even a little fun, no?) Who would the Angels have to give up to get Price, you ask? One guy the Rays may really want — perhaps even demand — is Richards, and I can see that being the difference between real dialogue taking place or this being nothing more than a pipe dream. Besides Richards, Mark Trumbo — who you’d hate to lose, but would probably be willing to give up if it means getting someone this good — is probably a guy who would go to Tampa Bay, since he’d be a perfect fit in the middle of their lineup and first baseman James Loney is now a free agent. Maybe Bourjos gets thrown in there again, perhaps second baseman Howie Kendrick — born and raised in nearby Jacksonville — gets added to the mix, maybe some prospects, maybe all of them.

Two things are certain …

  1. The Angels would face a whole lot of competition, especially if Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka isn’t posted. And the Rays will seek a significant return since they don’t really have to trade Price this offseason.
  2. The Angels may have to take on money, since a big reason the Rays would do it in the first place is to free up some payroll flexibility. (I estimate that the Angels have something in the neighborhood of $15 million of wiggle room for 2014. Parting ways with Trumbo saves about $6 million for next season, while Kendrick saves about $9 million and Bourjos saves about $1.5 million.)

More on the Angels’ offseason search for pitching here.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Nov. 8 Hot Stove Roundup

As Hot Stove season cranks up, one of the hottest names in the rumor mill is D-backs outfielder Justin Upton. But according to our own Steve Gilbert, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said on Thursday he is “in no rush” to deal the talented 25-year-old, who is coming off a down year.

While Towers is having discussions about Upton at the General Manager Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., they are still preliminary and figure to take time, if they go through at all. The D-backs are looking for Major League-ready players, rather than prospects, in exchange for Upton, a two-time All-Star who is signed through 2015.

In other news:

  • The Dodgers, looking to go the free agency route for help in their starting rotation, have Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez at the top of their list, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
  • Sources have told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Sanchez’s agent is asking teams for a contract in the $90 million range over six years. Besides the Dodgers, the teams interested include the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rangers.
  • The Mets continue to talk to third baseman David Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey about contract extensions, our own Anthony DiComo reports. But New York also is looking into trading Dickey, a leading Cy Young Award contender, according to Heyman.
  • There is a possibility the Rays could trade two starting pitchers this offseason, but it’s more likely the club will deal only one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. David Price and James Shields are among the candidates to go.

– Andrew Simon

July 28 Late Night Roundup

  • The A’s will send right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos to the Brewers in exchange for catcher George Kottaras, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Kottaras was designated for assignment on Thursday, but no trade has officially be announced.
  • Zack Greinke is off the board, and the Braves might not be able to close a deal for Ryan Dempster either. That has led Atlanta to search elsewhere for starting pitching help while also taking a look at the market for relievers, reported our own Mark Bowman.
  • The Cardinals are looking to upgrade their starting pitching, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Francisco Liriano was one option, but the White Sox nabbed him on Saturday night. That could lead St. Louis to focus more heavily on the Rays’ James Shields, who is attracting interest from several clubs.
  • The race for Padres third baseman Chase Headley is hotly contested but apparently no longer includes the A’s, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Should the struggling Phillies decide to sell, Shane Victorino could be at the front of the line heading out of Philadelphia. Talks regarding the veteran center fielder are “getting warm,” according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Outfielders Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence and starting pitcher Joe Blanton also could be trade bait.

– Andrew Simon

July 27 Late Night Roundup

  • The Giants added some infield depth on Friday night, acquiring Marco Scutaro and cash from the Rockies for Triple-A infielder Charlie Culberson.
  • Despite losing out to the division rival Angels for Zack Greinke, the Rangers are “not necessarily” turning their attention to the Rays’ James Shields or the Marlins’ Josh Johnson, a source told our own T.R. Sullivan.
  • Shields and Johnson are the two premiere names left in the starting pitching market. Several teams, including the Rangers, Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals are rumored to hold interest in Shields. But the veteran right-hander insisted the situation hasn’t been a distraction and that he’d like to remain with Tampa Bay. The Marlins, meanwhile, are asking for a ton in exchange for Johnson.
  • The Phillies probably aren’t ready to part with center fielder Shane Victorino just yet, but they are listening to offers, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

– Andrew Simon

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

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

Shields, Vargas reportedly get a look from Tigers

The Tigers were interested in James Shields when the Rays debated whether to put him on the trade market last July, enough that Doug Fister was a Plan B of sorts when it became clear they weren’t getting Shields, at least not without selling the farm. Now that Shields could be on the market again, don’t expect the resurgence of Detroit’s rotation behind its top four starters to stop them from taking a look.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Tigers special assistant Dick Egan was spotted at Tropicana Field for the Rays’ series against the Mariners, which Shields opened with 7 2/3 quality innings on Friday. Conveniently, Seattle left-hander Jason Vargas, another rumored Tigers trade target in their starting pitching search, started there on Saturday.

The Tigers usually send out Egan on special assignments, not simply to update reports on teams. If he shows up at a ballpark, it’s for a pretty good reason. You can find at least two reasons above why the Tigers would have him in St. Petersburg this weekend. Of the two, Shields would be the obviously bigger draw.

Though Shields’ ERA is up from last year, while other stats are down, he appeals to the Tigers for a lot of reasons. First, he’s a consistent innings eater, averaging better than six innings a start. Even during his recent struggles, he has lasted at least seven innings in four of his last five starts. He also has postseason experience, though he struggled in his last two Division Series starts.

The Tigers, moreover, have the pieces that would potentially appeal to the Rays, who covet a young catcher according to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler. While the Tigers aren’t deep in a lot of areas in the upper levels of their farm system, they have 3-4 quality catchers in their system, led by Futures Game participant Rob Brantly at Triple-A Toledo and James McCann, last year’s top draft pick, at Double-A Erie. With 25-year-old Alex Avila holding down the job in Detroit, the Tigers can afford to part with a catcher and still have depth for down the road.

By contrast, the Tigers were never heavily involved in Vargas rumors last year, zeroing in on Doug Fister instead. If they’re going to acquire a starter to replace lefty Drew Smyly, doing so with another left-hander would have a major appeal to avoid an all-righty rotation. Vargas fits that, and he does it while averaging nearly seven innings a start. His ERA, hit totals and WHIP ratio are all significantly higher away from Seattle’s Safeco Field, including six innings with four runs at Comerica Park earlier this season. However, he has quality starts in his last three outings, all on the road, all of them victories.

– Jason Beck

Shields another SP option for Angels

There are indications that the Angels have interest in trading for Rays starting pitcher James Shields. Whether they can actually get a deal done in the 10 days leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline remains to be seen — but Shields is an intriguing name for several reasons.

He was born and raised in Southern California (Newhall), is under contract through 2014 (the Angels are very hesitant to trade for any rental players, especially under this new CBA) and would provide an instant upgrade to their staff, which has been among the best in the American League all year but has a 4.98 ERA in July.

The Rays had a high-level scout at Comerica Park earlier this week — while Garrett Richards threw seven scoreless innings against the Tigers on Tuesday — and the Angels reportedly had a scout in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, when Shields gave up three runs in 7 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mariners. But that could also be due to the fact that these two clubs play each other next weekend.

Shields, 30, has struggled a bit this year, going 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA and leading the Majors in hits allowed. But he’s a known commodity who’s been very durable, averaging 220 innings while posting a 3.86 ERA from 2007-11, and has long been the subject of trade talks. Shields also has two affordable club options coming up, for $9 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. The Angels could free up money to pick up those options by declining those of either Dan Haren ($15.5 million) or Ervin Santana ($13 million).

One potential hiccup in any deal with the Rays: They’re strapped financially and are hesitant to take on any money in a deal.

Prior to Saturday’s game, manager Mike Scioscia announced Richards will get the start on Tuesday, a move that would send Jerome Williams to the bullpen.

Will the Angels have a new starter by then?

– Alden Gonzalez

Roundup: Trade winds blow Garza to Windy City

Now the starting-pitching market is really dry.

Teams still looking for quality, front-line starters (i.e., the Yankees) now have to get much more creative, because Matt Garza — seemingly the last big-name arm for the taking, if you buy into recent reports — appears headed to Chicago. The Rays dealt Garza, who was in his second year of arbitration and would receive a raise from his $3.35 million salary, to the Cubs in exchange for five Minor Leaguers on Friday.

Club officials haven’t confirmed the deal, but sources told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat that the framework is in place for the Cubs to send 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Chris Archer, 2010 Player of the Year Brandon Guyer (an outfielder), shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld.

The Cubs would also get two Minor Leaguers from the Rays, and according to the Daily Herald, one of those is outfielder Fernando Perez, who played in 107 Minor League games this past season.

The Rays had a surplus of starting pitchers — with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and James Shields also in the fold — and could afford to deal one, though trading a guy like Garza always hurts. With Garza, the Cubs appear to be premier contenders in a stacked National League Central. He’ll be added to a rotation that includes Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.

Here’s more from around the league …

* When Adrian Beltre signed with the Rangers, closer Rafael Soriano instantly became the best free agent left in the open market. The question is: Where does he fit? FOXSports.com speculated that the Angels are the ideal fit, but added that the Rangers and White Sox — unless the price goes way down — are not going after the American League leader in saves. Other than that, not much seems to have materialized yet. 

* The Yankees, meanwhile, have been rumored to be interested in Soriano as a setup man, but ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported via his Twitter account that as of Thursday night, the Yanks weren’t interested. The fact general manager Brian Cashman told the Journal News he isn’t willing to surrender any first-round Draft picks makes the signing of Soriano (a Type A free agent) seem even more unlikely. 

* Speaking of the Yankees, Andy Pettitte told The New York Post from his home that he’s still not sure whether he’ll retire or come back. “I’m just chilling out, hanging,” he told the newspaper. “I’m relaxing. If I had something, y’all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y’all would know.” Pettitte continues to stress that the Yankees should move on and not worry about him, and the organization has said just that. But it sure does seem like they need him.

* All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is “leaning towards retiring,” Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network reported via Twitter. The 43-year-old right-hander had a 5.89 ERA and 10 saves with the Brewers in 2010, giving him 601 saves for his probable Hall of Fame career.

* In other news, former Royals starter Brian Bannister will pitch in Japan this season; the Rangers designated right-hander Guillermo Moscoso for assignment; and longtime Twins executive Jerry Bell retired

– Alden Gonzalez

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