Results tagged ‘ Matt Garza ’

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

7/18 Dempster, Garza rumors

The New York Post reports the Dodgers as the favorite to land Ryan Dempster before the Trade Deadline with the Tigers seen as “strong pursuers” and the Red Sox as long shots. FOX Sports reports the Cubs are exchanging names with teams interested in Dempster. The Red Sox are also interested in Matt Garza.

The Chicago Tribune noted on Wednesday that Stephen Fife, who made his ML debut, is a former Red Sox prospect who could be included in a Dempster-to-Dodgers deal. Fife, 25, filled in for injured Chad Billingsley, and gave up one run over six innings Tuesday night. The Dodgers acquired him from the Red Sox last summer in the Trayvon Robinson deal. A sinkerball pitcher, he’d be a good fit at Wrigley. Dempster has a 1.86 ERA, tops in the Majors.

CBSSports.com reported the Royals have inquired about Garza. They have had a scout at this week’s Cubs games. Dempster is in the last year of his $14 million contract, and, essentially a rental player for the final months of this year. Garza is under team control for 2013.

– Carrie Muskat

Nats appear to be in the market for a starter

WASHINGTON — If what the Nationals and GM Mike Rizzo are saying remains true, and they will actually shut down ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg when he hits 160 innings this season, the club will likely be in the market to replace him in the team’s already sterling starting rotation.

(To give you an idea of how important Strasburg has been — and would be missed — his Wins Above Replacement this season is 2.6. Though that’s not in the top 10 among MLB pitchers, it’s well above average. Justin Verlander leads MLB pitchers with 4.9, while Strasburg’s teammate Jordan Zimmermann clocks in at sixth with 3.3.)

The club has three pitchers with Triple-A Syracuse — Zach Duke, John Lannan and Yunesky Maya — who have more than 100 innings of experience starting this season, and Duke is the only one of the three to win more than six games (he’s 10-4 with a 3.78 ERA).

Lannan has plenty of big league experience, starting a total of 122 games for the Nats over the last four seasons, so he’s the most likely candidate from that threesome.

But if the team is going to look outside the organization, keep an eye on Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels and Francisco Liriano. Dempster seems to be the first pitcher on the block to be gaining steam, but FOXSports.com is reporting that the Nationals are not either of his top two choices.

If the Nationals are to go out and pick up a starter, they could be giving up a middle infielder, with Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond (who it’s almost certain they will not part with) and Steve Lombardozzi all producing this season.

The club also has great catching depth — with Wilson Ramos injured, Jhonaton Solano and Jesus Flores have both stepped up, and Davey Johnson has remarked that he’s never been around a team with such organizational depth at that position — but instead of dealing one of those players, Ken Rosenthal seems to think they’re more likely to acquire an everyday catcher.

This team is well ahead of schedule, sitting in first place, and is expected to get Jayson Werth and Drew Storen back soon. These factors may have Rizzo thinking a little more conservatively. Or, with the opportunity for the first playoff berth since the team returned to DC, he may pull out all the stops to cash in on what has already been a banner year.

7/16 Cubs trade rumors

The Trade Deadline is July 31 and there are plenty of rumors regarding the Cubs. FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports the Dodgers and Tigers are among the teams most interested in Ryan Dempster. Dempster, 35, currently leads the Major Leagues with a 1.86 ERA, and has thrown 11 scoreless innings since coming off the disabled list. Morosi also is reporting the Blue Jays had two scouts at Sunday’s Cubs game to watch Matt Garza, 28, who threw seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers and Angels also are believed to be interested. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said he’s been getting more phone calls, but the team isn’t going to move the pitchers unless they receive young talent in return that can have an impact.

– Carrie Muskat

Nothing going on with Tigers on Garza

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News “nothing has changed” in regards to his remarks from last week on the Tigers’ approach to starting pitching and their prospects, despite recent rumors. Another source told MLB.com Tuesday that there’s nothing going on with the Tigers in regards to Cubs right-hander Matt Garza.

MLB Network and MLB.com’s Peter Gammons had similar sentiments Tuesday night on Hot Stove.

“I’m told it’s not going to happen,” Gammons said of a potential Garza deal to Detroit. “I mean, the Cubs are interested in talking with the Tigers. I’m told the Tigers have said, ‘We’re not going to do it.'”

Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, now a host on MLB Network Radio, suggested on ESPN.com that the Tigers could get a deal done for Garza if they included top positional prospect Nick Castellanos with Turner, their top pitching prospect. The Tigers were not willing to include them both in a package to the A’s for Gio Gonzalez, on whom they had serious discussions and seemingly valued more.

“Now, they won’t even do Turner for Garza,” Gammons continued. “In fact, the Tigers staff is saying to the front office, you know what, we can open the season with Turner as the fifth starter and see what happens.”

Gonzalez, whom Oakland traded to Washington last month, is four years away from free agency, as well as left-handed. Garza, a right-hander, has just two years left before he can hit the open market. Detroit’s rotation currently has four right-handers: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Jason Beck

1/10 Cubs GM on Maholm, Wood, Garza

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says free agent Paul Maholm wanted to pitch for the Cubs, partly because he wanted to stay in the NL Central. The lefty is a guy who “takes the ball, eats a lot of innings and really has kept his team in games his whole career,” Hoyer said. Maholm was shutdown in August because of shoulder soreness but passed the physical on Monday and says he’ll begin throwing off the mound soon.

Are the Cubs done now as far as their rotation?

“We’re very comfortable with the names that we have,” Hoyer said. “You never know what will happen over the course of the winter, what’s going to be available to us. A huge priority was building depth and we feel we’ve done that. You can never have enough pitching; the minute you think you have enough pitching, you don’t. We’re happy with the depth we’ve built up over the course of the winter. It’s a dangerous thing to say you’re ever done.”

That said, what about reports that the Cubs are talking to the Tigers about dealing Matt Garza? Hoyer would not comment specifically on the rumors. But he did say just because they’ve added Maholm does not mean they are automatically dealing Garza.

“This Maholm contract, and the fact you can look and say we have six starters now, this deal is not a precursor to anything,” Hoyer said.

* As for negotiations with free agent Kerry Wood, Hoyer said the two sides are still talking.

“We continue to want Kerry back in Chicago and we’ve offered him a substantial raise and we certainly hope it gets done,” Hoyer said.

With the addition of Maholm, the Cubs starting candidates now include Garza, Ryan Dempster, Maholm, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Casey Coleman and Travis Wood.

– Carrie Muskat

1/10 Cubs sign Paul Maholm

The Cubs have signed free agent Paul Maholm to the rotation, a move first announced by the left-handed pitcher on Twitter.

“I hope to get to continue some things when I visit [Pittsburgh] during the year and start some great things as I start my Cubs career,” wrote Maholm on Monday.

Maholm, 29, will receive $4.25 million this year with a club option of $6.5 million in 2013, or a $500,000 buyout. The lefty, who has spent his entire career with the Pirates, gives the Cubs more depth, something GM Jed Hoyer has said they’re trying to do. The team does not want to be short-handed as it was last season when both Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells were hurt after their first starts of ths season. The candidates for the rotation now include Maholm, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Casey Coleman. Wood is the only lefty in that group. However, there has been interest in Garza this offseason by teams such as the Tigers, Yankees and Blue Jays.

– Carrie Muskat

Dombrowski: Tigers aren’t in trade talks on starters

Though the Tigers have been linked in rumors with talks on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Detroit has no trade talks ongoing on any starting pitchers.

And while Dombrowski won’t call any of his top prospects untouchable, a term he rarely uses on anybody, he made it clear they aren’t looking to deal Jacob Turner. That doesn’t mean Turner isn’t available for the right deal, but it indicates they aren’t going out and shopping him for a veteran starter.

At this point, Dombrowski said, the Tigers haven’t reversed course on their plans to go after a fifth starter to compete with prospects such as Turner, Drew Smyly and Andy Oliver.

“Our plan hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski said. “We’re in a situation where we really have been consistent all along. We like our young guys. We feel that one of them will step up and be our fifth starter. Somehow [our approach] has been mistaken.”

Dombrowski said the Tigers have not called about any starting pitchers on the trade market. Any conversations on veterans starters, he said, have been initiated by other club.

“We are not looking,” he said. “There are some guys that are out there and are very good and clubs haved called us about them. But we have four veteran starters, and sometimes you have to break in young pitching.”

They’ll still listen, he said, but they’re not looking. And the inquiries that have been made, he said, haven’t gone far.

“Probably the only guy we had serious conversations on was Gio Gonzalez,” he said, “and we just weren’t prepared to pay the price. Other than that, we really haven’t talked about a starting pitcher.”

Dombrowski also said Al Alburquerque’s recent elbow surgery won’t put them in the market for another reliever. They signed Octavio Dotel knowing that Alburquerque was dealing with off and on injuries. Dombrowski didn’t rule out re-signing Joel Zumaya if he accepts a minor-league contract, but that nothing has changed on that front either.

– Jason Beck

1/3 Matt Garza & the Yankees

The Cubs are not going to deal Matt Garza unless they get significant players in return, and the asking price apparently is too high for the Yankees. ESPNNew York’s Wallace Matthews reported Tuesday the Cubs’ asking price is “out of the question” for the Yankees. The Cubs reportedly want at least two and possibly three of the Yankees’ top prospects Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. The Red Sox, Tigers, Marlins and Blue Jays also have been linked to Garza, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Blue Jays also have reportedly balked at the Cubs’ requests.

– Carrie Muskat

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