Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’
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
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
- As the mystery surrounding Cole Hamels’ future continues, ESPN’s Jayston Stark reports the Phillies are making a strong push to sign the left-hander before the trade deadline. With contract length having been the major obstacle in negotiations to this point, the Phillies are reportedly now willing to offer Hamels a six-year deal. According to Stark’s report, the Phillies have basically put trade talks on hold regarding Hamels, as they push to lock him up.
- While the Dodgers are now working with a healthy Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the club is looking to add another bat to the roster. Though they’ve already talked to the Cubs about pitchers Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, Heyman reports they’ve also inquired about a plethora of hitters, including Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Josh Willingham, Michael Cuddyer, Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez and Chase Headley. The Phillies and Brewers aren’t sellers as of yet and, according to Heyman, the Twins and Rockies don’t appear ready to part with Willingham and Cuddyer, respectively. That leaves Headley as the most logical option on that list, but a number of teams remain insterested in the Padres third baseman, including the Indians, Orioles and Diamondbacks.
- Accordng to a tweet from ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Cubs are still working to trade Dempster as soon as possible, though it apparently won’t be to the Red Sox. Stark’s tweet indicated that a source has said the Red Sox are out of the running for Dempster, but remain interested in Garza.
- Paul Casella
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
It’s Opening Day, and here’s your Phillies lineup:
- Shane Victorino, CF
- Placido Polanco, 3B
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Hunter Pence, RF
- Ty Wigginton, 1B
- John Mayberry Jr., LF
- Carlos Ruiz, C
- Freddy Galvis, 2B
- Roy Halladay, P
Free-agent closer Francisco Cordero expects to pick a team by the end of this week, and the Angels are one of four finalists for his services, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told MLB.com.
The identity of the other three clubs is not known at this point, but one of the four, the source said, is a championship-contending team looking to slot him in the eighth inning. That may be the Phillies, which could use a setup man for the recently signed Jonathan Papelbon. The Orioles have also reportedly been in touch. The Rays, which have a need in the ninth inning, are not one of those other three clubs, however.
At this point in the offseason, with the closer’s market dried up and a return to the Reds seemingly not possible, Cordero is open to signing a one-year deal, which would be huge for an Angels club that has already inked Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to long-term deals this offseason and doesn’t have much money to spend.
In Anaheim, Cordero would supplant 24-year-old Jordan Walden, who finished last year with a 2.98 ERA and 32 saves but fell off in September. Cordero, 36, is a three-time All-Star with a career 3.17 ERA and 327 saves. Last year with the Reds, he posted a 2.45 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP, and converted 37 of his 43 save chances.
The market for Cordero has taken a while to develop, mostly because teams figured a return to Cincinnati was a foregone conclusion. Once Ryan Madson signed a bargain-rate one-year, $8.5 million deal to be the Reds’ closer, though, interest around the league intensified.
The Angels were one of the first teams to reach out to Cordero’s representative, Bean Stringfellow, and have been in touch throughout the offseason, according to a source. They’ve also been in touch with right-handed reliever Luis Ayala.
– Alden Gonzalez
Kerry Wood sounds as if he is moving on. Wood appeared on WGN Radio’s Sports Night on Monday night, and said he wants to keep pitching. But he has yet to reach an agreement with the Cubs for 2012.
“Regardless of what happens, we’re still in Chicago, we’re dedicated to the city,” Wood said Monday. “Things will work out for me in the city of Chicago because we’re dedicated to the city, we’re dedicated to the community, we’re dedicated to helping children and again, we’re staying here, we’re raising our family here.
“I’m a Texas boy, but I feel like I’ve become a Chicagoan, so we’re happy to be here whether I finish here or whether I don’t, we plan on being here a long time.”
Last year, Wood unveiled the Wood Family Foundation, dedicated to helping children in the Chicago area. On Friday, he will host “Woody’s Winter Warmup” at Harry Caray’s on Navy Pier, a fund raiser for his foundation. Theo Epstein was scheduled to attend. Wood has been part of the Cubs since he signed at 18, returning last season when he agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. He understands the fans want him to stay.
“There’s always time for change and there’s always room for it so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Wood said.
Last week, Epstein said the team was negotiating with Wood’s agents about a new deal.
“Kerry Wood is exactly the type of guy we want to build a winning culture here in Chicago,” Epstein said. “I would be greatly, greatly disappointed if we’re not able to bring him back.”
The Phillies are one of the teams that has shown interest in Wood.
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood expects to announce Friday if he’s returning to the Cubs. Wood told NBC-5 Chicago on Sunday night he’ll make a decision by then, which is when the Cubs Convention opens and also when he hosts a fundraiser for his foundation in Chicago. The Phillies are reportedly interested in the right-hander, according to ESPN.com. Before the 2011 season ended, Wood said he will retire rather than pitch for another team. However, the Cubs and Wood apparently have been unable to agree on length of contract or money. Wood gave the Cubs a hometown discount when he signed a $1.5 million contract last December. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly reports Wood is seeking around $4 million. The 34-year-old right-hander was 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games last season, which ended in mid September after he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee. He had surgery in October.
– Carrie Muskat
That still remains to be seen. But on Wednesday afternoon — after the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey from the Athletics in exchange for three young players — it became more possible than ever.
With the Red Sox, a team with money to spend, filling a huge need in the back end of its bullpen by acquiring the young Bailey, the market for Madson has reached a new low. It’s now pretty clear that the 31-year-old right-hander won’t get anything close to what the Phillies reportedly offered him before turning their attention to Jonathan Papelbon (a four-year, $44 million contract).
But just how much of a pay cut he takes is the big question.
It’d have to be a pretty sizeable one for the Angels to be a fit, now that the team has committed more than $330 million to Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. But it’s interesting to note that Wilson turned down a larger contract from the Marlins in order to sign with the Angels and return to Orange County, Calif. — where Madson was also born.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said during the Winter Meetings that his mission was to “complement [closer] Jordan Walden, not replace Jordan Walden.” In tune with that, he signed veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to potentially help lefty Scott Downs in a setup role. But getting Madson would be a far bigger step towards improving a bullpen that was tied for first in the American League in blown saves last season.
So far, it appears the Rays and Reds are the two main teams that still need a closer. But the Reds and Francisco Cordero reportedly want a reunion, and the Rays don’t have the financial wherewithal to allocate a lot of money to the ninth inning.
Time for Scott Boras to get creative with Madson.
– Alden Gonzalez
The Rockies are putting the final touches on a three-year signing of outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million contract, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday morning.
The right-handed hitting Cuddyer, 32, hit .284 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs for the Twins last season. He has hit at least 20 homers three times in his career, including a career-high 32 in 2009. In 1,139 career games, all with the Twins, Cuddyer is a .272 hitter with 141 homers and 580 RBIs.
Cuddyer figures to fit in the lineup in left field, but also could move to first base on days Todd Helton is not in the lineup. The Rockies could use him in the No. 5 spot behind shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, or at No. 6 if the Rockies want the left-handed hitting Todd Helton to continue to bat behind Tulowitzki.
The Rockies also were looking to re-make the flavor of the clubhouse, after finishing 73-89 last season and not showing the toughness that had become a trademark of the club in recent seasons. The team has added a pair of veterans via free agency – catcher Ramon Hernandez for two years and $6.4 million, and Cuddyer.
The Rockies still aren’t likely to be done with building the 2012 roster. Left-handed hitting left fielder Seth Smith is the team’s main trading chip, who figures to be supplanted by Cuddyer, is the team’s main chip in attempts to deal to fill other holes. A key one is the need for a starting pitcher capable of 200 innings, with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa having to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery and out until sometime around June .
The Rockies rid themselves of $7 million in salary by dealing relief pitcher Huston Street to the Padres and further trimming the payroll of a projected $2.6 million when they sent arbitration-eligible third baseman Ian Stewart to the Cubs as part of a four-player trade, the Rockies achieved enough payroll relief to make an offer to an outfielder.
But signing Cuddyer means the Rockies will not be able to continue to pursue Hiroki Kuroda, a right-hander reportedly looking for a one-year deal in the $13 million range.
The Rockies began pursuing Cuddyer early in the free-agency period, but needed the market to fall into place. That occurred on Tuesday, when news surfaced that outfielder Josh Willingham moved toward accepting an offer from the Twins. The original thought Twins were not going to sign both players, but the Twins remained in the running.
According to reports, the Phillies and Mariners were still trying to sign Cuddyer as of Thursday.
– Thomas Harding