YANKEES INTERESTED IN MASTERSON

Indians Told Masterson He Won’t Be Traded

By Luke Adams [December 11, 2013 at  3:00pm CST]

3:00pm: MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets that Terry Francona called Masterson to tell him that he isn’t going to be traded this offseason.

10:21am: The Indians have yet to engage Masterson in extension talks, but those could come as part of the upcoming arbitration negotiations, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes. Cleveland is prepared to go with a one-year deal if necessary, he says (Twitter links).

8:56am: There are no legs to the Yankees-Masterson trade talks, a source tells ESPN’s Buster Olney. He adds that Cleveland isn’t close to trading Masterson or any other player at this time (Twitter links).

7:47am: The Indians are said to be open to listening to offers on Justin Masterson, and the Yankees have emerged as a possible suitor, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that the Yankees would be interested in acquiring Masterson in a deal involving Brett Gardner. A third team would likely be required, since the Indians don’t have a need Gardner (Twitter links).

Indians GM Chris Antonetti indicated yesterday that he’d like to keep Masterson in Cleveland long-term, but acknowledged that he’d be willing to consider offers on just about any player. The Yankees appear to have a similar stance on Gardner — a Tuesday report suggested the team would prefer to trade Ichiro Suzuki, but presumably the Yankees would have to consider moving Gardner if the price is right.

The Yankees aren’t the only team reported to have a keen interest in landing Masterson. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said this morning that the Diamondbacks would “love” to find a way to acquire him from Cleveland.

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Report: New York Yankees Have Shown Interest in Johan Santana

Report: New York Yankees Have Shown Interest in Johan Santana

By

(Featured Columnist) on December 11, 2013

 

 

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Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has focused his efforts on improving his lineup this offseason, but the pitching staff has yet to be addressed other than the re-signing of Hiroki Kuroda.

Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Yankees have shown preliminary interest in left-handed starter Johan Santana, though no agreement is imminent between the two parties. In fact, it’s unknown as to whether or not an offer has even been extended.

 

 

Santana would represent the first significant addition in the way of a pitcher this offseason for the Yankees, as it was widely assumed that Kuroda was going to re-sign. With him back in the fold, the rotation figures to include CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and himself.

David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren appear as if they’ll be competing for a starting spot if Cashman doesn’t make any more moves, and Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Michael Pineda will also be competing for a spot in spring training.

 

 

The final two spots are huge question marks, and there’s no doubting the fact that there are significant upgrades available on the market.

Should the Yankees pursue Johan Santana?

               Yes                            No             Submit Vote         vote to see results

               

Should the Yankees pursue Johan Santana?

  • Yes

    63.0%
  • No

    37.0%

Total votes: 725

 

Santana hasn’t been completely healthy since 2010, but a one-year, incentive-laden deal wouldn’t be a bad idea for Cashman. If nothing else, Santana can provide the club with 20 quality starts (close to 120 innings) before giving way to a guy like Phelps or Pineda.

While Santana hasn’t been a hot topic of conversation at the winter meetings, Marchand reports (in the same link) that the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates have also shown varying levels of interest.

Winner of the American League Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006, Santana owns a career record of 139-78 over parts of 12 big league seasons. He’s the owner of the Mets’ lone no-hitter in franchise history and is also a four-time All-Star.

New York Yankees Rumors & News

New York Yankees Rumors & News

Would Joe Girardi move Derek Jeter in lineup like he did Robinson Cano?

Would Joe Girardi move Derek Jeter in lineup like he did Robinson Cano?

Girardi said he moved Robinson Cano’s spot in the lineup to help the team win. But what would happen if Derek Jeter scuffles early?
New York Post 4 hours ago

Jeter impresses at Morgan Stanley event

The captain made an appearance at Morgan Stanley Tuesday. No, not CEO James Gorman. Yankee’s shortstop and captain Derek Jeter chatted up the more than 400 guests at an event…
Newark Star-Ledger 9 hours ago

VIDEO: What did A-Rod say to Alabama QB (and Yankees fan) AJ McCarron in phone call?

The Crimson Tide quarterback has also met manager Joe Girardi and SS Derek Jeter this season.
MLB 4 hours ago

Video: 2000 WS Gm5: Jeter's solo homer ties game at two

Watch: 2000 WS Gm5: Jeter’s solo homer ties game at two

10/26/00: Derek Jeter hits a solo home run off Al Leiter in the top of the sixth to tie the game at two
New York Post 52 mins ago

Reluctant Cashman will deal Gardner — if it helps Yankees

Reluctant Cashman will deal Gardner — if it helps Yankees

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Brian Cashman has been a fan of Brett Gardner for a long time. Yet, the Yankees general manager signed Jacoby Ellsbury, like Gardner a center…
YESNetwork 9 hours ago

Video: The Impact of Big Free Agent Signings on Top Yankee Prospects

Watch: The Impact of Big Free Agent Signings on Top Yankee Prospects

See what the big free agent signings mean for the top Yankee prospects here!

More Yankees Rumors & News

Newark Star-Ledger 5 mins ago

Scott Boras: I would have handled Robinson Cano talks differently than Jay Z

Scott Boras: I would have handled Robinson Cano talks differently than Jay Z

Cano left Boras for Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports
Newark Star-Ledger 9 mins ago

Carlos Beltran says he'll wear No. 36 with the Yankees

Carlos Beltran says he’ll wear No. 36 with the Yankees

David Cone, Freddy Garcia, Kevin Youkilis also wore the number in pinstripes

Baseball moves to eliminate home plate collisions

The Mets are stealing headlines tonight with their surprise signing of Bartolo Colon. Also, the league has made news today by announcing its plan to eliminate — or at least cut down on — home plate collisions. Here’s the AP with the details. LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball plans to eliminate […]The post Baseball moves to eliminate home plate collisions appeared first on The LoHud Yankees Blog.

Source: Gardner worth a No. 4 starter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Brian Cashman did his final press briefing of the Winter Meetings on Wednesday afternoon — at poolside. Cashman did not say that much, so let’s have fun with some notes: Brett Gardner #11 CFNew York Yankees 2013 STATS GM145 HR8 RBI52 R81 OBP.344 AVG.273 WHAT DO THE YANKEES WANT FOR GARDNER? For the Yankees to make a deal for Brett Gardner, they need to fetch a quality No. 4 starter or an everyday infielder, according to sources.
Newark Star-Ledger 9 hours ago

Mariners manager: Robinson Cano can make up the lineup

Mariners manager: Robinson Cano can make up the lineup

Lloyd McClendon said Cano “can bat wherever he wants to bat” in Seattle.

Gardner and the Yankees ‘listening’ tour

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — In an ideal world, the Yankees would like to solve the rest of their offseason issues with trades rather than money. That would likely be more cost efficient because agents know they need a second baseman, protection at third, a starting pitcher and a reliever or two. Sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking stressed to ESPN New York that they are just “listening” on Brett Gardner. It would take the right deal to unload him.
Newark Star-Ledger 9 hours ago

Yankees interested in former Mets ace Johan Santana

Yankees interested in former Mets ace Johan Santana

Team needs starters, Santana seeking to bounce back

Cashman unplugged: Winter Meetings edition

Brian Cashman met the Yankees beat at a spot near the pool at the Dolphin hotel – an unconventional location, but a welcome change as we all got to see the sun for 20 minutes – to discuss the latest about his team.   There was nothing on Carlos Beltran, who has yet to take his physical, but …

Sources: Yanks have interest in Santana

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Yankees have joined the Mets among the total of eight teams that have expressed interest in Johan Santana for 2014, sources have told ESPN New York. The talks with all the teams are in the preliminary stages. Santana, 34, has not pitched in two of the past three seasons because of shoulder surgery. In 2012, he threw the first no-hitter in Mets history before injuring the shoulder again. According to a baseball official, another of his former teams, the Minnesota Twins, have expressed interest in Santana.

Video: The evolving leadership of the Yankees clubhouse

Taboola Home/Section Front Player As the Yankees roster has transformed this offseason, it’s more than the lineup that’s been changed. The dynamic of the clubhouse is sure to be different without Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. I can’t say those four were all on equal footing in terms of leadership, but […]The post Video: The evolving leadership of the Yankees clubhouse appeared first on The LoHud Yankees Blog.
New York Daily News 21 hours ago

Bomber brass says no long deal worth it

Bomber brass says no long deal worth it

Brian Cashman has poached his share of players from opposing teams, using the almighty dollar to lure big names to the Bronx. Now he knows how the other half lives.

Seattle signs Hart, acquires Morrison

Seattle signs Hart, acquires Morrison

By TIM BOOTH (AP Sports Writer)                                 34 minutes ago                             AP – Sports
Seattle signs Hart, acquires Morrison

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This is a 2013 photo of Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. This image reflects the Brewers …

                                        SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners added a pair of slugging first baseman-outfielders to go along with Robinson Cano on Wednesday, reaching agreement on a one-year deal with Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison in a trade with the Miami Marlins.

Hart confirmed he had agreed to the deal in a text to The Associated Press. The deal is still pending what should be a closely monitored physical after Hart missed all of last season following surgery on his right knee.

Morrison was acquired for relief pitcher Carter Capps, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade was pending both teams reviewing medical records.

CBSSports.com first reported Hart’s agreement.

”Knees good as well as the rest of me. Been working hard and glad to be able to get out there with this exciting club,” Hart said in a text message.

If Hart can stay healthy, getting the two-time All-Star for one season on a relatively inexpensive deal could be a significant coup for the Mariners, who have made adding offense a top priority this offseason. It started with the stunning $240 million, 10-year agreement reached with Cano late last week and continued by adding a needed right-handed bat in Hart that can provide protection in the lineup.

Hart did not play in 2013 because of a right knee surgery in January 2013 after a meniscus tear and joint damage was discovered. It was his second knee surgery in a year after having his right knee operated on before the start of the 2012 season to repair damaged cartilage.

His last season in 2012 was one of the best in his career. Hart hit .270 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs with Milwaukee. Hart also had 35 doubles in 2012 and posted an on-base plus slugging percentage of above .800 from 2010 through 2012.

For his career, Hart has hit 154 homers and is hitting .276 in 945 games. Hart has spent his entire career with the Brewers. If he’s healthy, Hart has the ability to play both outfield and first base, and outfield depth is one of Seattle’s biggest concerns going into next season. Hart also could be a solution at designated hitter with Seattle unsure if it will be able to re-sign free agent Kendrys Morales, who was the Mariners’ top power hitter last season.

Morrison also fits Seattle’s need of having the versatility to play a few different positions and be an option at first base. He has not been able to match the power he showed during the 2011 season when he slugged 23 homers and had 72 RBIs for the Marlins.

Morrison also has been slowed by injuries. He had right knee surgery in September 2012 and missed the first two months of the 2013 season before making his debut. He played 85 games last season for Miami.

The Miami Herald first reported Morrison’s trade.

Capps appeared in 53 games out of the bullpen for Seattle last season. He was 3-3 with a 5.49 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. Capps’ struggle was giving up the long ball, allowing 12 home runs. According to STATS, the 12 homers allowed were tied for fourth most given up by any relief pitcher in baseball last season.

Boras: Drew has ‘numerous options’

 

December 11, 2013, 4:15 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Throughout the game, there’s a sense that free agent shortstop Stephen Drew doesn’t have much of a market.       But that’s not the opinion of his agent, Scott Boras.       Boras, as he does each year at the winter meetings, drew a huge crowd of reporters Wednesday afternoon and answered questions on all manner of topics, including Drew.       Boras was asked if the market for Drew was rough because of the qualifying offer made by the Red Sox, attaching draft pick compensation to his client.       “No, that’s not in question,” said Boras with a chuckle.       The agent revealed Drew has “numerous options” including some multi-year offers.       “Some of the offers and positions teams are taking are somewhat contingent on another move,” said Boras, “and so, to have a full slate of what’s available to him is not yet something that is ripe.”       The Red Sox continue to have an interest in bringing Drew back, though with Xander Bogaerts, Deven Marrero and Garin Cechchini, the Red Sox have a number of prospects on the left side of the infield and don’t want to block their development with a long-term deal for Drew.       Last year, Drew hit .253/.333/443 with 13 homers and 67 RBI with the Red Sox. He had a massive slump in the post-season, but continued to play above-average defense at short throughout October.       ”Certainly, I think everyone agrees it worked out well for everybody,” Boras said of Drew’s experience in Boston. “They’re certainly a candidate for him. Obviously there are a variety of teams that want a shortstop with his defensive acumen and capabilities. (Returning to Boston is) not a decision Stephen’s made yet, because we have to look at the totality of what’s available to him.”

Report: Masahiro Tanaka is the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 target

Report: Masahiro Tanaka is the Diamondbacks’ No. 1 target

Dec 11, 2013, 6:30 PM EST

After pulling off a three-way trade yesterday to land slugger Mark Trumbo, the Diamondbacks are currently looking for an impact starting pitcher via free agency and trade. And FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that they have one name at the top of their list.

Of course, we still don’t know if the Rakuten Golden Eagles will actually post Tanaka. And even if the Diamondbacks make the max bid of $20 million in the new posting process, they’ll face plenty of competition from other teams in order to sign him. The amount of teams in the mix could net him a contract around $100 million when it’s all said and done. That’s a big price for someone who is unproven in the United States, but Tanaka is only 25 years old, and as opposed to signing a free agent like Ervin Santana, he’s not attached to draft pick compensation.

In the interim, the Diamondbacks will continue to monitor alternatives. Rosenthal reported a little while ago that they have met with the agents for both Santana and Matt Garza.

 

MLB rules committee decides to eliminate collisions at home plate

MLB rules committee decides to eliminate collisions at home plate

Dec 11, 2013, 5:10 PM EST

Utley collision 3

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Joe Torre and Sandy Alderson just announced that the MLB Rules Committee has voted to outlaw collisions at home plate. The decision is now subject to approval by the players.  If the players do not approve the rule change it will not go into effect in 2014, but MLB would be able to unilaterally implement it in 2015. It is expected, however, that the players will approve the change.

The rule has yet to be formally defined or drafted, but the upshot of all of this will be that base runners will be required to slide into home plate, not initiate contact with the catcher. Likewise, catchers will not be able to block home plate. Rather, they must tag runners — and allow runners a path to the plate — just as any other fielder does at any other base. Players who violate the collision rules will be subject to discipline in all likelihood, though exact sanctions will be determined once the rule is finalized.

This rule change has been a long time coming. Recent public understanding of the seriousness of concussions has helped spur it on, as has high-profile injuries to players in collisions such as Buster Posey. Indeed, it was Posey’s manager Bruce Bochy and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose own catching career was cut short due to concussions, who spearheaded this rule change.

New York Yankees Should Swap Brett Gardner and More to Cincinnati Reds for Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey

New York Yankees Should Swap Brett Gardner and More to Cincinnati Reds for Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey

Yahoo Contributor Network

By                                  7 hours ago
Cincinnati Reds: Does Dealing Brandon Phillips Make Sense?

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Brandon Phillips.

                                        COMMENTARY | The New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds seem like perfect trading partners as Major League Baseball’s winter meetings wind down.

There’s been talk that the two teams are ready to deal, so I thought I’d float this potential trade: New York trades Brett Gardner, Vernon Wells, and J.R. Murphy to Cincinnati for Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey.

Why It Works for the Yankees

After Brian Cashman signed Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, the three Yankees (Murphy, Gardner, and Wells) all became expendable.

In addition to McCann, the Yankees have four other catchers on their 40-man roster — Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, and Murphy. (Sanchez is a few years away from reaching the major leagues.)

As far as the outfield is concerned, New York already has Alfonso Soriano to complement Ellsbury and Beltran. Gardner is the team’s most valuable trading chip and Wells could be traded as a cheap right-handed bat. (The Los Angeles Angels will be paying $18.6 million of his $21 million contract next season.) That leaves the Yankees with the seemingly untradeable Ichiro Suzuki, as ESPN reported, as the team’s extra outfielder.

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New York Yankees Should Swap Brett Gardner and More …

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner.

As for Phillips, who will turn 33 next season, the four-time Gold Glove winner would be able to take over second base from Robinson Cano, who recently signed a 10-year deal with the Seattle Mariners.

If they are unable to win the rights to negotiate with Japanese pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees will need to search hard to find relatively inexpensive starting pitching. The arbitration-eligible Bailey is expected to earn about $9 million next season. (He can become a free agent in 2015.) Bailey, who had 199 strikeouts last season, could easily serve as the Yankees’ third or fourth starting pitching, behind C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.

Why It Works for the Reds

Cincinnati seems ready to lose center fielder Shin-Soo Choo to free agency this offseason, leaving Jay Bruce as the team’s only outfielder with power. The Reds’ 2009 second-round draft pick — the speedster Billy Hamilton — may be able to take over center field. (He batted .368 in 13 games while stealing 13 out of 14 bases.) However, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s C. Trent Rosecrans, Reds GM Walt Jocketty may be looking to trade for a player that could be a bridge to Hamilton earning the position full-time.

Rosecrans suggests that Gardner would fit the bill. However, I think Gardner could fill the Reds’ hole in left field. Seven different Reds played left field last season. Chris Heisey, who played a majority of the Reds’ games in left field, batted .237 in his fourth big-league season while driving in only 23 runs in 87 games. Xavier Paul played 59 games in left field and, for the season, batting .244 with 2 home runs and 32 RBIs. If they want to slowly develop Hamilton as the starting center fielder, I think the Reds could supplement him with Paul or Derrick Robinson and use Wells as an outfielder/pinch-hitter off the bench.

The Reds’ starting catcher, Devin Mesoraco batted .238 (.287 OBP) last season. After trading the team’s backup catcher earlier this month, Jocketty told the Enquirer that Mesoraco will have the opportunity to become the team’s front-line catcher. However, the team’s 2007 first-round draft pick has yet to live up to his big league expectations. Insurance in the form of Murphy — a 2009 second-round pick — would serve the team well.

Finally, although a team can never have too much starting pitching, if Reds traded Bailey, their starting staff next season would still include Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Mat Latos.

Why It May Not Happen – Money

According to MLB.com, Jocketty said that although the Yankees have inquired about Bailey, the Reds are not interested in trading him. “I told them we’re not trading him,” Jocketty said. “We’re trying to sign him.” However, if the Reds are unable to sign Bailey to a long-term deal, Jocketty may have to rethink his position.

Meanwhile, for the Yankees to remain on track for keeping next season’s payroll under $189 million, they cannot take on large chunks of new salary. Although he’d fill the Yankees’ tremendous hole at second base, Phillips has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract.

MLB Winter Meetings 2013: Live Coverage of Day 3’s Top Rumors and Deals

MLB Winter Meetings 2013: Live Coverage of Day 3’s Top Rumors and Deals

By

(Featured Columnist) on December 11, 2013

 

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Getty Images

The deafening silence you hear coming from the southeast corner of the country is the limited action we have seen thus far at the 2013 Major League Baseball winter meetings.

Despite two notable trades on Tuesday, the action has been moving slowly. We are still seeing a flurry of rumors, but nothing much has come of them. We haven’t heard any discussion or speculation about the top starting pitchers (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana), and have heard very little about the top remaining position player (Shin-Soo Choo).

Hopefully Day 3 of the winter meetings live from Orlando provides something more noteworthy, otherwise the biggest thing we may end up talking about this week is the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.

We will be here to provide updates on all the news, rumors and speculation coming from the winter meetings throughout the day. You can join the discussion in the comments section.

Updates will load automatically – no need to refresh.

4:41 PM
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Choo Out, Cruz Still On Seattle’s Radar?

The Mariners have had a busy Wednesday, grabbing Corey Hart and Logan Morrison in separate deals, but they may not be done making big moves to bolster their offense.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports those previous moves likely push Shin-Soo Choo out of Seattle’s mix and opens the door for Nelson Cruz.

Money has to be the only factor in that decision, because all things being equal, Choo is a vastly superior player to Cruz.

The Mariners are puzzling, to say the least. They are better today than when the season ended, but are they really going to play Corey Hart or Logan Morrison in the outfield? Both players have leg issues, making them injury risks and defensive liabilities.

Cruz does have more power than Choo, which might be something the Mariners are looking at right now.

4:35 PM
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Cubs Looking at Roberto Hernandez

If you hated watching the Cubs in 2013, things might not be a lot better in 2014. It’s still a transition period for the franchise, meaning this winter is going to be about finding one-year stopgaps before the wave of prospects hits.

With that, I present Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s report about the Cubs showing interest in free agent pitcher Roberto Hernandez.

Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, pitched for Tampa Bay last year and posted a 4.89 ERA with 164 hits allowed, 24 homers, 113 strikeouts, 38 walks in 151 innings.

He could be a near-average starter in the National League Central, but the appeal for the Cubs would likely be a low-risk contract for a player who can provide 150-160 innings.

4:10 PM
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Ike Davis Market “Premature”

If the Mets do want to make a move involving Ike Davis, it probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that nothing is percolating for the first baseman.

Davis has been so up and down throughout his career that at some point you have to accept that he is what he is.

There is power in Davis’ swing, but a lefty who can’t hit left-handed pitching is going to suffer through seasons like he did in 2013 (.205/.326/.334).

3:25 PM
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New Suitor in David Price Talks?

While nothing appears to be happening on the David Price front, Buster Olney of ESPN did report that a new team could get in the mix.

The Giants appear to be doing due diligence on Price, just to see what the price is going to be. Their farm system, while not barren, is near the bottom of baseball in terms of overall talent and high-end talent.

If Giants general manager Brian Sabean really wanted Price, he would likely have to find a third team to help make the package enticing enough for the Rays to seriously consider it.

3:21 PM
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Masterson Trade Talk Not Just Smoke Blowing

In case you were thinking the Indians making Justin Masterson available in a trade just made for a good story, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that the big right-hander is very much on the market.

A team like Cleveland is going to put a premium on its trade chips, especially Masterson because the Indians need to add pitching depth. Other clubs aren’t going to part with their arms for one year of a player, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

3:11 PM
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Mariners-Marlins Strike a Deal

Moments after reports surfaced the Mariners were going to sign Corey Hart for one year, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald broke news that Logan Morrison was going from Miami to Seattle in exchange for Carter Capps.

Morrison is a player whose potential has gone untapped, for the most part, because injuries have taken their toll on him. He’s shown plus power and will benefit from playing in the AL, where he can DH if/when the Mariners want to give him a rest.

Carter Capps is a solid buy-low option for the Marlins. He’s got a great arm with the potential for a plus breaking ball. He has to find some semblance of control, but there is a future closer somewhere in there.

It’s a risky move on both sides, but Morrison and Capps had clearly worn out their welcome with their now-former teams.

 

3:06 PM
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Reds Likely Moving On From Choo

Even though it will not come as a surprise given what he is likely to get in free agency, Shin-Soo Choo can cross the Reds off his list of suitors, at least according to general manager Walt Jocketty.

It was always going to take a series of unpredictable events for the Reds to re-sign Choo. They aren’t a team flush with cash and have other things to worry about (Homer Bailey’s impending free agency, possibly trading Brandon Phillips, etc.)

Scott Boras has a tall task ahead of him to find Choo $130-140 million, but if anyone can do it, the uber-agent can.

2:49 PM
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Mariners Reportedly Add Corey Hart

Corey Hart has finally decided on a team for 2013, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

An All-Star in 2010, Hart missed the entire 2013 season after suffering two separate knee injuries (one in each knee) that required surgery.

Prior to the injury, Hart had turned into one of the more consistent right-handed power hitters in the National League. He hit 87 homers from 2010-12 and slugged over .500 in each of those three seasons.

The Mariners needed to add at least one more bat after signing Robinson Cano. Hart is a risky gamble because we don’t know what he will be, but a one-year gamble on a 31-year-old isn’t a bad move.

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Reds Finding Suitors For Pitchers

One team with plenty of MLB assets on the market, if they wanted to deal them, is the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Phillips has been talked about since the season ended, while Homer Bailey is a candidate to move because he’s entering the final year of his contract.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Reds have taken a number of calls on Bailey and left-handed reliever Sean Marshall.

Apparently the Reds don’t view Brett Gardner as a piece to explore in trade talks, or they want to keep Bailey so much they won’t even discuss him in a deal.

Marshall is signed through 2015 and has been a great lefty specialist throughout his career, but he is also coming off a season in which injuries limited him to just 10.1 innings.

2:31 PM
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Blue Jays Tried to Bolster Rotation

The Toronto Blue Jays still need to find starting pitching, though it’s not for lack of trying. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the team has looked at two of the bigger names on the market.

After all the trades from last year, the Blue Jays aren’t in a position where they can afford to move prospects. Their farm system has thinned out over the last 12 months, though Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez have high-end ceilings.

Price would be the one pitcher where you might think about building a deal around Sanchez and Stroman, but with just two years of control, that’s a hefty price.

Samardzija would be worth one of those two players and a package involving other names, but certainly not both.

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Nationals and A’s Reportedly Agree to Trade

The first deal of Wednesday at the winter meetings has taken place, though it’s not one that will blow the lid off everything else.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports the Nationals will receive relief pitcher Jerry Blevins from the Oakland A’s in exchange for Billy Burns.

The Nationals have been scoping out left-handed relievers all week, finally finding an option that made sense. Blevins had a 3.15 ERA with 47 hits allowed and 52 strikeouts in 60 innings last season. He’s a second-year arbitration player who made just over $1 million in 2013.

The A’s have been stockpiling relief pitchers this offseason, making Blevins expendable. Billy Burns has some offensive skills as a player with a decent approach, but he’s hit just one home run in 266 career minor league games.

 

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Latest on Matt Kemp

In some not-so-surprising news, Jayson Stark of ESPN posted a quote from Matt Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, saying that the former All-Star outfielder will remain in Los Angeles.

Given Kemp’s injuries and poor performance since the second half of 2012, trading him at this juncture didn’t make any sense. The Dodgers would be selling low on a player with MVP potential at his peak.

If the Dodgers are intent on trading Kemp, their best course of action could be to wait until next winter to see if he can re-establish some of his value. They could also opt to trade another outfielder and keep Kemp for the duration of his contract.

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Angels Reportedly In On Garza

Earlier reports indicated the Matt Garza sweepstakes could be ending in the next day or two, but the destination still isn’t known.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that one team still in the discussion for Garza are the Los Angeles Angels.

If the Angels could pull this deal off, after acquiring Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in Tuesday’s three-team deal, they would suddenly have a respectable rotation that might play even better because Los Angeles is a big park.

Would that put the Halos in the discussion with Texas and Oakland in the AL West? Not quite, but they would look a lot better than they did when the 2013 season ended.

1:02 PM
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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Raul Ibanez Market Taking Shape

Raul Ibanez put together a surprising first half to the 2013 season with Seattle, hitting .267/.314/.578 line with 24 homers, before coming back down to earth in the second half (.203/.295/.345).

At 41 years old, Ibanez’s market is likely to be limited to teams needing a platoon bat off the bench/pinch hitter with power. Jayson Stark of ESPN reports he will have to find a new home in 2014.

Ibanez would be limited to part-time duty in Atlanta, which may not appeal to him. Baltimore or New York might be able to offer him more playing time, though the Yankees already have enough bodies to play in the outfield and at DH.

The Orioles boast a lot of power, having led the league in homers last season, but Ibanez could make for a nice piece off their bench.

 

12:30 PM
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Max Scherzer Rumors Take A 180

Earlier reports had said the Tigers weren’t considering trading 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, but Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan refutes that with this nugget from Twitter.

There are certain code words you look for this time of the year. Saying someone is “in play” could mean any number of things. It could mean the Tigers want to trade him, which certainly doesn’t appear to be the case.

It could also mean the Tigers will dangle Scherzer out there to see if a team will make them a monster offer. This seems like the most logical scenario, especially considering the Tigers will have to win a World Series in the next few years because this current nucleus is starting to get old.

12:24 PM
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Indians Exploring All Options

It’s been all quiet on the Cleveland front at the winter meetings, but Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Indians are exploring any and all options with their ridiculously crowded outfield.

There is one flaw with that plan, however. David Murphy and Ryan Raburn have to platoon in right field. Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs have little trade value after having disappointing seasons in 2013. Michael Brantley has turned into a decent player, but a corner outfielder with no power isn’t going to get anyone excited.

Stubbs seems like the odd-man out because of his low salary and limited offensive ceiling. He can still be a good defensive outfielder, but you have to hit to play every day.

12:05 PM
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More Fun With Brandon Phillips

Following his earlier report that Brandon Phillips trade talks aren’t lighting the world on fire, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports notes that the second baseman is available under the right circumstances.

Of course the Reds would want to trade Phillips. He’s a declining offensive player under contract through 2017 and owed $50 million. They are locked into more than $200 million for Joey Votto and need to find payroll flexibility wherever they can.

That said, given his exorbitant salary, Phillips seems like a long shot to be traded. Just because a player is “in play” doesn’t mean anything will happen. Virtually every player in baseball is in play for the right deal.

 

11:56 AM
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DBacks Still Exploring Trades?

Despite being involved in the most notable trade of the winter meetings thus far, the Arizona Diamondbacks may not be done dealing.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the team could be in the mix for a starting pitcher and has assets to deal.

Considering the asking prices for all these pitchers rumored to be on the market, it might be more logical for teams to test the free-agent waters.

Some teams might want to make a splash so badly they don’t have an issue parting with young talent, but we haven’t seen any evidence of that thus far. Even the Diamondbacks made a trade that brought them a player (Mark Trumbo) who is under control through 2016.

11:35 AM
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Movement on Garza Front

It’s been a quiet week for free-agent starting pitchers thus far, but that could change before the winter meetings end.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Matt Garza could end up signing with a team in the “next 24-48 hours.”

The Diamondbacks strike me as an odd fit for Garza. Chase Field is an offensive park. Garza is coming off a poor half-season with Texas, allowing 89 hits and 12 home runs in 84.1 innings pitched.

Arizona also has depth in the rotation, with Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado already in the big leagues and Archie Bradley coming soon.

Of course, if I am speculating, the Diamondbacks may use some of that depth to trade for another bat before the season starts. That would make a potential Garza signing logical for Arizona.

11:22 AM
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Yankees May Try Low-Risk, High-Reward SP

Since there doesn’t seem to be much happening with the top-tier free-agent pitching market, the New York Yankees may turn their attention to the second- and third-tier groups to bolster their rotation.

ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand reports the Yankees are one of several teams interested in former AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana.

The Yankees have joined the Mets among the total of eight teams that have expressed interest in Johan Santana for 2014, sources have told ESPN New York.
The talks with all the teams are in the preliminary stages.

Santana pitched just 117 innings in 2012 and had a career-worst 4.85 ERA, but put together a solid 2010 season with a 2.98 ERA in 199 innings. He’s not going to be a frontline starter anymore, but the Yankees need to find guys who can eat innings.

CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and, if he can stay healthy, Michael Pineda are the key pieces of the Yankees rotation in 2014. Those last two spots need to be filled by pitchers who can provide 160 to 170 innings of decent work, nothing more, for the team to be competitive.

 

11:09 AM
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David Price Rumors Take Interesting Twist

It’s been relatively quiet on the David Price front since Monday, but Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports talked to Price’s agent about potential trade partners and whether his client would consider signing an extension.

After seeing the first tweet, I assumed Price didn’t want to sign an extension until seeing what Clayton Kershaw gets. That will help set his market and let the 2012 AL Cy Young winner can ask for.

The second tweet made me think that Price is skeptical about Seattle’s ability to contend long term and not wanting to be tied down in a situation where winning consistently isn’t going to happen.

It’s going to be interesting following Price throughout the winter, assuming some blockbuster deal doesn’t materialize in Orlando.

11:04 AM
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Shin-Soo Choo Is Going To Be Expensive, Duh

If you want Shin-Soo Choo, be prepared to pay a truck load of money. Bob Nightengale of USA Today cites one general manager who says he was told it would take $140 million to land the outfielder.

My first thought is that’s ridiculous for a player who is, at best, a decent corner outfielder with solid power, great on-base skills and a horrible platoon split.

Yet the more I dwell on it, not to mention knowing that Scott Boras represents him, the more I think Choo can find that deal somewhere. He’s not going to take a deal before getting what he wants.

I would have told you two years ago there’s no way Prince Fielder gets more than $150 million, yet Boras found $214 million in Detroit. Weird things happen when you get teams competing against each other.

10:51 AM
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Brandon Phillips’ Trade Talks Slow

Brandon Phillips had a lot of RBI in 2013, but also had his lowest batting average (.261) since 2008 and on-base percentage (.310) since 2003. He’s also signed for $50 million through 2017, which could make moving him rather difficult.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Reds are still considering a deal but nothing is in the works.

The money owed and declining offensive performance are going to be huge obstacles in any potential trade, if the Reds can find a partner. I don’t see the Yankees as a logical partner, though I understand the speculation because they need a second baseman.

 

10:41 AM
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Bronson Arroyo May Be Finding A Home

The winter meetings started on Monday with word that Bronson Arroyo may be nearing a deal somewhere. Here we are two days later, nothing has come of that, and the right-handed starter is still available.

However, Dave Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports Arroyo is in Orlando right now, which may signal something is coming together.

Arroyo would be a great fit for teams needing to fill out a rotation. He isn’t a difference-making player, by any means, but very few pitchers are as reliable as the 36-year-old. He’s thrown at least 199 innings every year since 2005.

 

10:30 AM
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Choo Market Coming Together

Even though nothing seems likely to happen this week, Shin-Soo Choo’s market appears to be setting up with two teams clearly in front, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Those have been the two teams mentioned with Choo most often this week. The Rangers need a corner outfielder, with Choo and Nelson Cruz being the two best options still available, but price is going to be a factor.

The Mariners are clearly trying to build a playoff team now, so they may not have the financial restrictions to make a deal with Choo that the Rangers could.

Since we are talking about a Scott Boras client, beware of the all-powerful mystery team lurking somewhere out there to offer nine figures if they get desperate enough.

10:09 AM
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Twins Targeting Second-Tier FA Pitching

After signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to bolster a rotation that finished with the fewest innings pitched last year, the Minnesota Twins are still exploring options via free agency and have a list of four candidates, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

I can’t imagine the Twins wanting to invest multiple years in another starter after giving Nolasco four years and Hughes three years, so that would seem to make Matt Garza a long shot.

Bronson Arroyo is a good innings eater whose ability could play up in spacious Target Field, but is that worth a two- or three-year investment? Bartolo Colon has to pitch in a big park to succeed, but will he want more than one or two years?

Mike Pelfrey was a disaster for the Twins in 2013, posting a 5.19 ERA and 237 base runners allowed in 152.2 innings. He doesn’t turn 30 until January and could be a decent buy-low candidate for a team that’s still rebuilding, which the Twins clearly are.

Regardless, it certainly sounds like Minnesota wants to come out of this winter with at least one more starting pitcher.

MLB Trade Rumors: Top Prospects on the Trade Block, Winter Meetings Edition

MLB Trade Rumors: Top Prospects on the Trade Block, Winter Meetings Edition

By

(MLB Prospects Lead Writer) on December 11, 2013

 

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Will the Diamondbacks deal SS Chris Owings for a starting pitcher? Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond offering hope to fans of struggling teams, prospects serve a more important purpose at this time of the year.

With Major League Baseball’s winter meetings underway and every team evaluating their rosters for the 2014 season, prospects can be the deciding factor when it comes to an offseason blockbuster trade.

Last year, top-ranked prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick and Will Myers were each featured (as part of larger packages) in trades for All-Star players and went on to reach the major leagues during the 2013 season.

While outfielder Michael Choice and left-hander Robbie Ray were traded in smaller deals last week, there’s yet to be a trade involving a top-ranked prospect.

Similarly, there haven’t been many substantiated trade rumors so far involving prospects. However, that’s not to say the rumors aren’t out there.

So let’s break down the hottest trade rumors involving top prospects.

1. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After raking in the Pioneer League last summer during his professional debut, Corey Seager was moved up to Low-A Great Lakes for the 2013 season and batted .309/.389/.529 with 33 extra-base hits (12 home runs) and a 58-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 74 games.

Given his overwhelming success in the Midwest League, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted the 19-year-old shortstop to High-A Rancho Cucamonga for the final month of the season. Somewhat surprisingly given the hitter-friendly environments of the California League, Seager struggled at the more advanced level, batting .160/.246/.320 with 31 strikeouts in 27 games.

Seager’s struggles stem from a combination of overstriding at the plate and drifting with his hips. As a result, he fights against his body to keep weight on the backside and in turn becomes vulnerable to quality secondary pitches. He’ll actively try to stay back and pepper the opposite field; however, that makes him susceptible to velocity up in the zone.

Overall, Seager’s bat-to-ball skills and ability to keep the barrel in the zone for an extended period of time give him a highly projectable hit tool, but there’s definitely some timing issues that will need to be worked out as the pitching improves.

The Dodgers are still in play for David Price and one of the few teams that lines up in terms of high-end prospects. Although it’s a weak rumor, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times notes specifically that teenagers Corey Seager and/or Julio Urias would likely be included in a deal of that magnitude.

And if the organization believes it can work out a long-term deal with current shortstop Hanley Ramirez, then the 19-year-old is suddenly expendable.

2. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Signed out of the Mexican leagues in August of 2012, Julio Urias doesn’t only have the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Dodgers system; he also has one of the higher ceilings among all pitchers in the minor leagues.

The Dodgers sent the then-16-year-old directly to Low-A Great Lakes for his stateside debut this past season, making him the youngest player to see time at a full-season level—not bad for a kid who otherwise would have been completing his sophomore year of high school.

Making 18 starts on the year, the left-hander posted a 2.48 ERA, .227 opponents’ batting average and stellar 67-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54.1 innings.

Due to the combination of his age and the Dodgers’ desire to limit his workload, a majority of Urias’ outings this season were of the one- to two-inning variety. However, he did record a few three- and four-inning starts toward the end of the regular season after building up the necessary arm strength.

At 5’11”, 160 pounds, Urias has a projectable frame and is still growing. He possesses a rare combination of pure stuff and pitchability at such a young age. The southpaw employs a smooth, repeatable delivery with easy arm action, and he consistently uses his lower half.

Urias’ fastball sits in the low 90s, and remarkably, he’s been known to bump 94-95 miles per hour. In terms of secondary offerings, he features a curveball with plus potential, and he already demonstrates the confidence to throw it in any count. He also has an impressive present feel for a changeup, showing the ability to turn it over to create late fading action to the arm side.

Overall, Urias has a ridiculously bright future with true front-of-the-rotation upside. The Dodgers are likely to exercise caution with his workload moving forward, but there’s a realistic chance that the left-hander reaches the major leagues before his 20th birthday.

As mentioned in the previous slide, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times believes that Seager and/or Urias would have to be included in a trade for David Price. While the 17-year-old left-hander has ace potential, including him in a deal for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner would be a no-brainer.

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Will the Diamondbacks deal SS Chris Owings for a starting pitcher? Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Beyond offering hope to fans of struggling teams, prospects serve a more important purpose at this time of the year.

With Major League Baseball’s winter meetings underway and every team evaluating their rosters for the 2014 season, prospects can be the deciding factor when it comes to an offseason blockbuster trade.

Last year, top-ranked prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick and Will Myers were each featured (as part of larger packages) in trades for All-Star players and went on to reach the major leagues during the 2013 season.

While outfielder Michael Choice and left-hander Robbie Ray were traded in smaller deals last week, there’s yet to be a trade involving a top-ranked prospect.

Similarly, there haven’t been many substantiated trade rumors so far involving prospects. However, that’s not to say the rumors aren’t out there.

So let’s break down the hottest trade rumors involving top prospects.

1. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Hi-res-7903778_crop_650

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After raking in the Pioneer League last summer during his professional debut, Corey Seager was moved up to Low-A Great Lakes for the 2013 season and batted .309/.389/.529 with 33 extra-base hits (12 home runs) and a 58-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 74 games.

Given his overwhelming success in the Midwest League, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted the 19-year-old shortstop to High-A Rancho Cucamonga for the final month of the season. Somewhat surprisingly given the hitter-friendly environments of the California League, Seager struggled at the more advanced level, batting .160/.246/.320 with 31 strikeouts in 27 games.

Seager’s struggles stem from a combination of overstriding at the plate and drifting with his hips. As a result, he fights against his body to keep weight on the backside and in turn becomes vulnerable to quality secondary pitches. He’ll actively try to stay back and pepper the opposite field; however, that makes him susceptible to velocity up in the zone.

Overall, Seager’s bat-to-ball skills and ability to keep the barrel in the zone for an extended period of time give him a highly projectable hit tool, but there’s definitely some timing issues that will need to be worked out as the pitching improves.

The Dodgers are still in play for David Price and one of the few teams that lines up in terms of high-end prospects. Although it’s a weak rumor, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times notes specifically that teenagers Corey Seager and/or Julio Urias would likely be included in a deal of that magnitude.

And if the organization believes it can work out a long-term deal with current shortstop Hanley Ramirez, then the 19-year-old is suddenly expendable.

 

ETA: Late 2015

Potential Impact: First-division third baseman

2. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Courtesy of BullpenBanter.com

Signed out of the Mexican leagues in August of 2012, Julio Urias doesn’t only have the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Dodgers system; he also has one of the higher ceilings among all pitchers in the minor leagues.

The Dodgers sent the then-16-year-old directly to Low-A Great Lakes for his stateside debut this past season, making him the youngest player to see time at a full-season level—not bad for a kid who otherwise would have been completing his sophomore year of high school.

Making 18 starts on the year, the left-hander posted a 2.48 ERA, .227 opponents’ batting average and stellar 67-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54.1 innings.

Due to the combination of his age and the Dodgers’ desire to limit his workload, a majority of Urias’ outings this season were of the one- to two-inning variety. However, he did record a few three- and four-inning starts toward the end of the regular season after building up the necessary arm strength.

At 5’11”, 160 pounds, Urias has a projectable frame and is still growing. He possesses a rare combination of pure stuff and pitchability at such a young age. The southpaw employs a smooth, repeatable delivery with easy arm action, and he consistently uses his lower half.

Urias’ fastball sits in the low 90s, and remarkably, he’s been known to bump 94-95 miles per hour. In terms of secondary offerings, he features a curveball with plus potential, and he already demonstrates the confidence to throw it in any count. He also has an impressive present feel for a changeup, showing the ability to turn it over to create late fading action to the arm side.

Overall, Urias has a ridiculously bright future with true front-of-the-rotation upside. The Dodgers are likely to exercise caution with his workload moving forward, but there’s a realistic chance that the left-hander reaches the major leagues before his 20th birthday.

As mentioned in the previous slide, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times believes that Seager and/or Urias would have to be included in a trade for David Price. While the 17-year-old left-hander has ace potential, including him in a deal for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner would be a no-brainer.

 

ETA: 2016

Potential Impact: No. 2 starter

3. Chris Owings, SS-2B, Arizona Diamondbacks

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Promoted to Triple-A Reno for the 2013 season, 22-year-old Chris Owings thrived as one of the younger everyday players at the level and quietly emerged as one of the better up-the-middle prospects in the minors.

Owings posted video game-like numbers at Reno, batting .330/.359/.482 with 180 hits, 51 extra-base hits (12 home runs), 81 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 125 games. As a result of his success, he was named both the Rookie of the Year and MVP of the Pacific Coast League and was subsequently called up to the major leagues by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Appearing in 20 games over the final month of the regular season—most of his playing time came once the team was eliminated from the playoff race—Owings held his own with a .742 OPS, five doubles and 10-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 plate appearances.

Although he lacks a plus attribute, Owings has the potential for five average or better tools at maturity. At 5’10”, 180 pounds, Owings, a right-handed hitter, has a direct bat path and knack for barreling the ball.

The power potential may be the most surprising aspect of his game, with impressive extension after contact that enables him to generate considerable backspin carry. However, his approach is still too aggressive and has the potential to be exploited against advanced pitching.

The Diamondbacks are now in trading mode after acquiring Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday as part of a three-team deal. Next on their agenda, according to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com, is landing a starting pitcher, likely through a trade involving one of their young shortstops.

With two major league shortstops in Didi Gregorius and Owings, the Diamondbacks could theoretically afford to trade either player this offseason.

Owings has more trade value given his age and offensive upside, so expect him to be part of a potential deal.

 

ETA: 2014 (debuted in 2013)

4. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees

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The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Sanchez entered the 2013 season as the New York Yankees’ top prospect and future catcher.

In 2012, he enjoyed a breakout campaign, batting .290/.344/.485 with 48 extra-base hits (18 home runs), 85 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 117 games between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. Understandably, expectations were high for the young slugger heading into his age-20 season.

Opening the year back at Tampa, the 20-year-old struggled to progress offensively, batting .254/.313/.420 with 21 doubles and 13 home runs in 94 games. The Yankees moved him up to Double-A for the final month of the season, and he held his own with a .744 OPS in 23 games.

Sanchez showcases above-average power potential from a well-balanced swing, with plus bat speed and a feel for striking the ball. However, he has an overaggressive approach and tends to give away too many at-bats. His ability to control the strike zone has improved over the last year, but he still has plenty of room to improve.

In general, he’s an impressive young hitter, and the bat should play regardless of future position. Defensively, Sanchez has improved significantly over the last two years, but he still has a long way to go.

The 6’2”, 220-pound backstop possesses solid athleticism and agility, though it may not last for long as he continues to develop physically. It could also impact his ability to stick behind the plate moving forward. His blocking and receiving skills are still pretty raw and leave room for improvement. Sanchez’s arm strength is his biggest asset and helps negate some of the weaker aspects of his current defensive profile.

However, Sanchez’s chances of becoming the Yankees’ catcher were crushed when the team signed free agent Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract with a sixth-year vesting option, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

According to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger (via Twitter), general manager Brian Cashman has received interest in Sanchez, among others.

Compared to J.R. Murphy, who could serve as a solid backup to McCann next season, Sanchez would bring back greater value in a trade, perhaps for an outfielder or starting pitcher.

 

ETA: Late 2015

Potential Impact: Above-average starting catcher