Results tagged ‘ Rays ’
With the deadline for exercising or declining options looming at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, teams continued to make those decisions on Saturday. Below is a recap of those moves, plus news on the Mariners’ managerial search and more.
- The Rays will bring back their same middle infield in 2014 after picking up options on second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar. However, they still must decide whether to do the same for outfielder David DeJesus and reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.
- The Red Sox declined a team option on reliever Matt Thornton, while two of the team’s free agents — first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia — would like to return. In other news, second baseman Dustin Pedroia soon will undergo surgery on his left thumb after playing the whole season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
- Joey Cora is among a handful of finalists to become the Mariners’ new manager.
- Roger McDowell will return as pitching coach of the Braves after signing a new two-year deal.
- As expected, the Giants declined their option on pitcher Barry Zito, according to the MLB Players Association. Zito becomes a free agent after completing his seven-year contract with San Francisco, which also declined an option on outfielder Andres Torres.
- Also per the MLBPA, the Orioles declined their option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who underwent Tommy John surgery after signing a two-year deal before the 2012 season and never appeared in a game for Baltimore.
– Andrew Simon
The Rays have exercised their 2014 club options on shortstop Yunel Escobar and utility man Ben Zobrist.
Escobar played in a career-high 153 games this year, leading all Major League shortstops with a club-record and career-best .989 fielding percentage, and was a Gold Glove finalist. He hit .256 with nine homers, 56 RBIs and a career-high 27 doubles. He also hit .467 (7-for-15) in his first career postseason this year.
Zobrist, named to his second All-Star Team this year, is the longest-tenured member of the Rays. He started at four different positions this season and is one of six players in the Majors to appear in 150-plus games in each of the past five seasons, and the first Ray.
The team also holds club options on outfielder David DeJesus and right-handed reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo. They must decide on DeJesus’ option by midnight Sunday and Oviedo’s by midnight Monday.
– Joey Nowak
The acquisition of Josh Hamilton was, in many ways, a two-for-one signing because it also allows general manager Jerry Dipoto to trade a suddenly-expendable player for another starting pitcher.
Question is: Can the Angels take on more payroll in the process?
Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million contract will pay him $17 million in 2013 ($15 million in salary, plus a $10 million signing bonus that’s dispersed evenly over the course of his five-year contract). That, in addition to arbitration projections and minimum contracts, puts the Angels’ 2013 payroll at roughly $159 million, which is about where they finished at last year.
Asked about expanding it further in case of adding a pricey arm, Angels president John Carpino basically said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Instead of putting [the payroll] at a place where it’s, ‘This is where we’re at,’ it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity cost of doing it?'” Carpino said at Hamilton’s Saturday news conference. “So, if something became available that’s an opportunity cost, it just comes down to wanting to win. But it also has to make sense fiscally.”
Teams are a lot more willing to give up a would-be free agent than a cost-controlled arm, of course.
That’s why, with R.A. Dickey off the board, names like Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins ($11.5 million in his walk year), Gavin Floyd of the White Sox ($9.5 million in his walk year) and Matt Garza of the Cubs (projected $10 million in his final arbitration year) seem to be the most feasible. Rick Porcello of the Tigers (projected $4.7 million in his second arbitration year) has also been mentioned.
Peter Bourjos, who’s still a year away from arbitration and will make about $500,000 in 2013, appeals to many teams. Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells and — seemingly to a lesser extent — Mark Trumbo can also be made available.
The Angels’ preference would be to acquire a young, pre-arbitration starter who won’t add to the budget (Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore of the Rays comes to mind). But whether or not that situation presents itself remains to be seen.
– Alden Gonzalez
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
- 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
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.
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
Rumors that James Shields is going to the Angels for Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, and Ervin Santana have been constant, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark tempered those rumors by noting that Evan Longoria’s return would likely cut the Rays incentive to trade Shields since, with Longoria back in the lineup, the Rays would have much-improved chances to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Stark also reported that there is a “big market” for Rays reliever Wade Davis.
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
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Opening Day brought out a festive atmosphere to Tropicana Field, where the Rays opened their 2012 season Friday afternoon against the Yankees.
The pregame activities began with Jim Dundee, son of the late boxing legend Angelo Dundee, delivering the ceremonial first pitch Evan Longoria. The ball used was the one struck by Evan Longoria for his walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game 162, on Sept. 28, 2011, sending the Rays to the postseason.
Angelo, an avid Rays fan and Clearwater, Fla., resident, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 90.
After the Yankees’ introduction along the third-base line, the Rays were introduced to raucous applause from the sellout crowd. Maddon, Carlos Pena, James Shields, Longoria, and Don Zimmer received particularly loud ovations.
Popular Tampa Bay area saxophonist B.K. Jackson performed the National Athem, which led up to a showing of a film that captured the drama from Game 161, much to the delight of the crowd.
The pre-game ceremony concluded when the Rays hoisted an American League 2011 Wild Card banner, which joined a 2010 AL East Champions banner, and 2008 banners for winning the AL East and with the American League pennant. All of the banners reside above the left-field stands.