Buzz of Bronson Arroyo Returning to the Cincinnati Reds Hits Winter Meetings

Buzz of Bronson Arroyo Returning to the Cincinnati Reds Hits Winter Meetings

Yahoo Contributor Network

By                                  3 hours ago
                                        COMMENTARY | Leave it to veteran junkball artist Bronson Arroyo to deliver his brand of buzz at the Winter Meetings.

The musically inclined Arroyo probably hasn’t jammed or crooned for the annual gathering of frenzied front office types, but his reported reunion with the Cincinnati Reds has generated plenty of buzz in Reds Country, where he pitched for the past eight years and notched more than 200 innings in all but one of those seasons (199 in 2011).

The Reds did not offer Arroyo a $14.1 million qualifying offer at the end of the 2013 season, but now find themselves in the mix for his services once again.

Why Arroyo?

If Arroyo can command a two-year free-agent deal at $14 million per year, the question arises why didn’t the Reds just make the qualifying offer if they really wanted Arroyo back? Were they just being nice in allowing Arroyo to test the market without any first-round draft pick compensation attached, or were they just really not interested.

The Reds and other teams could do worse than adding Arroyo as a No. 4 or 5 to their rotation. His conditioning and perseverance are a testament to his resolve to remain a big-league pitcher despite a drop in velocity. His adaptation to his advancing age may even be turning Arroyo into a better pitcher than he was during his supposed prime. Soon to be 37 years old, Arroyo may really just now be hitting stride.

Why Now for the Reds?

Without Arroyo, the Reds’ rotation features Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani, now that the Reds have declared closer Aroldis Chapman will not convert to the rotation. This rotation is solid enough, except for the injury issues that face Cueto (three times to the disabled list in 2013), Latos (offseason arthroscopic elbow surgery), and Cingrani (twice knocked out of action in 2013 for recurring back spasms).

The injury issues might factor into the Reds’ reconsideration, but there may also be another reason. The Reds reportedly came very close to trading lefty reliever Sean Marshall to the Colorado Rockies. Such a move could have precipitated the return of Cingrani to the bullpen and installed the rubber-armed Arroyo in the rotation again.

Trading a Starter?

The other possibility is that the Reds are willing to trade one of the starters currently in their rotation. Bailey would be the most likely candidate given he is in his final year of salary-arbitration eligibility and thus control by the Reds. Trading Bailey for the right price might warrant such a move, but Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has said that the Reds are not trying to trade Bailey.

If not Bailey, then who?

Maybe the Reds can parlay the perhaps fluky 2013 season Mike Leake had (3.37 ERA in 192.1 innings) into a worthwhile package in trade return. Starting pitching is a coveted commodity, and Leake may prove to be of interest to a team like the New York Yankees in return for outfielder Brett Gardner.

Cueto and Latos are — like Leake — also under team control for two more years, but, unlike Leake, both Cueto and Latos are the aces of the staff.

The Arroyo buzz may be just that and dissipate just as quickly as it arrived, but, for now, the buzz has all of Reds Country humming along.

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Shin-Soo Choo reportedly wants $140 million over seven years

Shin-Soo Choo reportedly wants $140 million over seven years

Dec 11, 2013, 12:06 PM EST

Shin-Soo Choo GettyGetty Images

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Shin-Soo Choo wants $140 million over seven years. Buster Olney was hearing the same thing. Scott Boras doesn’t do bargains — or if he does, he does them quietly, much later and after his demands aren’t met — so this is no huge surprise.

At the moment Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that the Rangers and Mariners are the current “lead dogs” in the hunt for Choo. The Reds are said to be somewhat interested in bringing him back, but not at those prices. The most notable suitor for Choo had been the Diamondbacks, but with the trade for Mark Trumbo that avenue is closed.

Jacoby Ellsbury got $153 million over seven. Choo had almost 70 points of OBP on Ellsbury last season, but Ellsbury, you know, is an actual center fielder, so the just-below-Ells slot seems to make some kind of sense.

The market for Shin-Soo Choo

The market for Shin-Soo Choo

December 11, 2013
            JERRY CRASNICK via SPORTSCENTER
ESPNAPI_IMG_NO_ALTEXT_Value

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. —         Shin-Soo Choo is, by acclamation, a very good player with a lot to offer a major league team. But the speculative frenzy surrounding him at the winter meetings has more to do with falling dominoes than his stellar on-base percentage.

Now that free agents         Robinson Cano,         Jacoby Ellsbury,         Brian McCann,         Carlos Beltran,         Curtis Granderson and         Mike Napoli are off the board, the focus naturally turns to Choo, a hit-by-pitch and OBP machine who has a special niche as a true leadoff hitter. He’s sure to be a prime topic of conversation when agent Scott Boras emerges from his suite and gives his annual State of the Boras Corporation Clientele update in Orlando in the next day or two.

Elvis Presley’s Final Love Finally Ready to Tell All

Elvis Presley’s Final Love Finally Ready to Tell All

By                                  2 hours ago                             Yahoo Music
                                        The woman who found Elvis Presley dead on his bathroom floor is writing a tell-all book about her final days with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Ginger Alden, who was Presley’s fiancée when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, will chronicle her relationship with him in a memoir, “Elvis & Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancée and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story,” which is slated to be published on Aug. 5 by the Penguin Group’s Berkley Books.

 

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Elvis & Ginger cover

 

Alden promises to “set the record straight” about their relationship and offer insight into his interest in Eastern religions, how he dealt with fame, and his personal life with his family and lovers. In a promotional quote on Amazon.com, Alden writes, “Elvis, you and I know the truth and unfortunately you’re not here to set the record straight. With this book, I will try to…”

The book’s cover, revealed Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter, features a photo of the model-actress wearing a fur coat with Elvis by her side, sporting a black jacket with a purple scarf and holding his trademark TCB shades.

In a 2002 interview with the fan magazine Essential Elvis, Alden revealed that she first met Presley when she was just 5. She accompanied her sister Terry, then the reigning Miss Tennessee, to meet Presley. After that first meeting, Alden attempted to attend every Presley concert she could.

In the same interview, Alden recounts how Presley proposed to her on Jan. 26, 1977, at Graceland. “I was called into his bathroom where Elvis then said many beautiful things ending his proposal with, ‘I never thought that I would find it in my own backyard, I’m asking you, will you marry me?’ I was so happy as he presented a green velvet box, opened it and placed a very large and beautiful diamond ring on my finger,” Alden recalled.

Alden also talked about the proposal in the video interview below.

Best Potential Trade Packages and Landing Spots for Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels

Best Potential Trade Packages and Landing Spots for Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels

By

(MLB Lead Writer) on December 10, 2013

 

Hi-res-181579819-cliff-lee-of-the-philadelphia-phillies-throws-a-pitch_crop_650x440

The Phillies are adding Cliff Lee (pictured) and Cole Hamels to the mix of top starters available this winter. Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies rebuild, it would appear, is on.

Following a lengthy stretch of success during which they won five straight National League East division crowns and the 2008 World Series title, the Phillies have stumbled the past two seasons, falling to .500 in 2012 and 73-89 last year—their worst mark since 2000.

With many of their key core players from that period now well into their 30s, like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, or dealing with injury issues, like Ryan Howard, the Phillies are a franchise that, in the past year, has gone from teetering on the brink of needing a rebuild to becoming unquestionably desperate for one.

And so general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking to cash in his trade chips.

Just a few days after reminding everyone that highly paid closer Jonathan Papelbon remains available, the Phillies have made it known that they they are also ready and willing to talk about trading one—or both—of their ace left-handers, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

There’s reason to wonder whether this approach will stick, though, seeing as how Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, “Our goal is to add, not to subtract.” There’s also the fact that Philadelphia re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz and brought in outfielder Marlon Byrd already this offseason.

At the same time, though, there are reports that indicate even young outfielder Domonic Brown might be on the block, as Zolecki noted. While Papelbon doesn’t have much trade value at all—$26 million guaranteed through 2015 for a one-inning pitcher will do that—Lee and Hamels fall on the other end of the spectrum.

As two legitimate No. 1 starters who have continued to perform at or near that level for the past several seasons, either of the two southpaws should be able to net Philadelphia the kind of return the team needs. Should Amaro Jr. decide, once and for all, to go that route.

Speaking of needs, the Phillies could use a few things.

Like an impact infielder at either shortstop or third base, where Rollins is getting old and 2013 rookie Cody Asche remains unproven.

Or an upgrade in the outfield, particularly in center, where Ben Revere is more of a fringy starter who could fit better as a backup.

Or bullpen arms with upside to help address the late innings, whether Papelbon stays around as the closer or not.

Or rotation depth, as Lee, Hamels and righty Kyle Kendrick are the only locks for the 2014 five-man at the moment.

Most of all, though, Philadelphia needs youth, depth and cheaper contracts, especially since so much money is tied up in Howard, Papelbon, Lee and Hamels, among others.

That’s one of the factors to consider in valuing Lee and Hamels on the trade market. For Lee, we’re talking about a 35-year-old who is guaranteed $62.5 million through 2015, along with a $27.5 million club option for 2016. Hamels, meanwhile, is a soon-to-be 30-year-old with at least $118.5 million coming his way through 2018, plus a $20 million club option for 2019. In other words, any inquiring team likely will be a contender that can fit an extra $22-25 million into its budget for the next few years.

While those prices might seem a bit overwhelming, both Lee and Hamels still would be highly sought after given their sustained production and durability. For teams who have been honing in on other top starters who are rumored trade targets, like David Price, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija, as well as free agents like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Matt Garza, the chance to land a Lee or a Hamels adds a couple more names to a growing list of appealing arms.

Here, then, is a rundown of the teams that could match up well with the Phillies in a trade for one of their two front-liners.

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The Phillies are adding Cliff Lee (pictured) and Cole Hamels to the mix of top starters available this winter. Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies rebuild, it would appear, is on.

Following a lengthy stretch of success during which they won five straight National League East division crowns and the 2008 World Series title, the Phillies have stumbled the past two seasons, falling to .500 in 2012 and 73-89 last year—their worst mark since 2000.

With many of their key core players from that period now well into their 30s, like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, or dealing with injury issues, like Ryan Howard, the Phillies are a franchise that, in the past year, has gone from teetering on the brink of needing a rebuild to becoming unquestionably desperate for one.

And so general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking to cash in his trade chips.

Just a few days after reminding everyone that highly paid closer Jonathan Papelbon remains available, the Phillies have made it known that they they are also ready and willing to talk about trading one—or both—of their ace left-handers, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

There’s reason to wonder whether this approach will stick, though, seeing as how Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, “Our goal is to add, not to subtract.” There’s also the fact that Philadelphia re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz and brought in outfielder Marlon Byrd already this offseason.

At the same time, though, there are reports that indicate even young outfielder Domonic Brown might be on the block, as Zolecki noted. While Papelbon doesn’t have much trade value at all—$26 million guaranteed through 2015 for a one-inning pitcher will do that—Lee and Hamels fall on the other end of the spectrum.

As two legitimate No. 1 starters who have continued to perform at or near that level for the past several seasons, either of the two southpaws should be able to net Philadelphia the kind of return the team needs. Should Amaro Jr. decide, once and for all, to go that route.

Speaking of needs, the Phillies could use a few things.

Like an impact infielder at either shortstop or third base, where Rollins is getting old and 2013 rookie Cody Asche remains unproven.

Or an upgrade in the outfield, particularly in center, where Ben Revere is more of a fringy starter who could fit better as a backup.

Or bullpen arms with upside to help address the late innings, whether Papelbon stays around as the closer or not.

Or rotation depth, as Lee, Hamels and righty Kyle Kendrick are the only locks for the 2014 five-man at the moment.

Most of all, though, Philadelphia needs youth, depth and cheaper contracts, especially since so much money is tied up in Howard, Papelbon, Lee and Hamels, among others.

That’s one of the factors to consider in valuing Lee and Hamels on the trade market. For Lee, we’re talking about a 35-year-old who is guaranteed $62.5 million through 2015, along with a $27.5 million club option for 2016. Hamels, meanwhile, is a soon-to-be 30-year-old with at least $118.5 million coming his way through 2018, plus a $20 million club option for 2019. In other words, any inquiring team likely will be a contender that can fit an extra $22-25 million into its budget for the next few years.

While those prices might seem a bit overwhelming, both Lee and Hamels still would be highly sought after given their sustained production and durability. For teams who have been honing in on other top starters who are rumored trade targets, like David Price, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija, as well as free agents like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Matt Garza, the chance to land a Lee or a Hamels adds a couple more names to a growing list of appealing arms.

Here, then, is a rundown of the teams that could match up well with the Phillies in a trade for one of their two front-liners.

New York Yankees

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Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Proposal

OF Brett Gardner, C Gary Sanchez and LHP Manny Banuelos for Lee

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

Gardner, who’s on the block, would give them the leadoff hitter they lack, but since he’s only under team control through 2014, the Phillies would need to land a couple of big-name prospects with upside. Sanchez is the Yankees‘ No. 1 name on that front, and he could become his new club’s catcher of the future (if he can stick behind the dish).

Banuelos, meanwhile, spent all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the left-hander was thought to have front-of-the-rotation stuff prior to that injury. Both youngsters could be ready to help the big club by 2015, and if things go south next year, Philly could still swap Gardner for another chip in July.

 

Why It Could Work for the Yankees

Maybe you’ve heard that the Yanks need some pitching. Despite bringing in three big bats in Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, on the pitching side, New York has only re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to team with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova in the starting rotation.

Lee, whom the Yankees have long coveted and nearly traded for in 2009, would give them another ace-caliber lefty and prevent a retooled offensive club from starting next year with a thin rotation. This move, though, likely would put an end to the goal of staying under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold.

Toronto Blue Jays

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Jays righty Drew Hutchison Abelimages/Getty Images

The Proposal

OF Anthony Gose, RHPs Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez for Hamels

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

All three of Gose, Hutchison and Sanchez are 23 or younger with several years of team control left. That’s exactly the kind of package Amaro Jr. should be trying to pry away from a team that is on the prowl for pitching like Toronto, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports.

Gose, a former Phillies second-rounder who was traded for Roy Oswalt, is a flawed player, but he makes for an intriguing gamble. Like Gose, Hutchison could help Philly in 2014 given that he has big-league experience, although he missed most of last year after Tommy John surgery. Sanchez, a hard-throwing righty with a plus breaking ball, is arguably Toronto’s top prospect and ready for Double-A as a 21-year-old.

 

Why It Could Work for the Blue Jays

While they may be wary of pulling the trigger on another big prospects-for-ace-starter swap after last winter’s acquisition of former NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, the Jays are still a talented club. What they lack, though, is a No. 1-type starter—Dickey’s more of a No. 2 or 3—and Hamels would be that guy if they could squeeze him into their budget.

Provided the team can stay healthier than it did a year ago, such a move would put Toronto in the contenders class in the AL East again.

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Hi-res-181579819-cliff-lee-of-the-philadelphia-phillies-throws-a-pitch_crop_650x440

The Phillies are adding Cliff Lee (pictured) and Cole Hamels to the mix of top starters available this winter. Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies rebuild, it would appear, is on.

Following a lengthy stretch of success during which they won five straight National League East division crowns and the 2008 World Series title, the Phillies have stumbled the past two seasons, falling to .500 in 2012 and 73-89 last year—their worst mark since 2000.

With many of their key core players from that period now well into their 30s, like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, or dealing with injury issues, like Ryan Howard, the Phillies are a franchise that, in the past year, has gone from teetering on the brink of needing a rebuild to becoming unquestionably desperate for one.

And so general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking to cash in his trade chips.

Just a few days after reminding everyone that highly paid closer Jonathan Papelbon remains available, the Phillies have made it known that they they are also ready and willing to talk about trading one—or both—of their ace left-handers, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

There’s reason to wonder whether this approach will stick, though, seeing as how Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, “Our goal is to add, not to subtract.” There’s also the fact that Philadelphia re-signed catcher Carlos Ruiz and brought in outfielder Marlon Byrd already this offseason.

At the same time, though, there are reports that indicate even young outfielder Domonic Brown might be on the block, as Zolecki noted. While Papelbon doesn’t have much trade value at all—$26 million guaranteed through 2015 for a one-inning pitcher will do that—Lee and Hamels fall on the other end of the spectrum.

As two legitimate No. 1 starters who have continued to perform at or near that level for the past several seasons, either of the two southpaws should be able to net Philadelphia the kind of return the team needs. Should Amaro Jr. decide, once and for all, to go that route.

Speaking of needs, the Phillies could use a few things.

Like an impact infielder at either shortstop or third base, where Rollins is getting old and 2013 rookie Cody Asche remains unproven.

Or an upgrade in the outfield, particularly in center, where Ben Revere is more of a fringy starter who could fit better as a backup.

Or bullpen arms with upside to help address the late innings, whether Papelbon stays around as the closer or not.

Or rotation depth, as Lee, Hamels and righty Kyle Kendrick are the only locks for the 2014 five-man at the moment.

Most of all, though, Philadelphia needs youth, depth and cheaper contracts, especially since so much money is tied up in Howard, Papelbon, Lee and Hamels, among others.

That’s one of the factors to consider in valuing Lee and Hamels on the trade market. For Lee, we’re talking about a 35-year-old who is guaranteed $62.5 million through 2015, along with a $27.5 million club option for 2016. Hamels, meanwhile, is a soon-to-be 30-year-old with at least $118.5 million coming his way through 2018, plus a $20 million club option for 2019. In other words, any inquiring team likely will be a contender that can fit an extra $22-25 million into its budget for the next few years.

While those prices might seem a bit overwhelming, both Lee and Hamels still would be highly sought after given their sustained production and durability. For teams who have been honing in on other top starters who are rumored trade targets, like David Price, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija, as well as free agents like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Matt Garza, the chance to land a Lee or a Hamels adds a couple more names to a growing list of appealing arms.

Here, then, is a rundown of the teams that could match up well with the Phillies in a trade for one of their two front-liners.

New York Yankees

Hi-res-179754966-brett-gardner-of-the-new-york-yankees-hits-a-two-run_crop_650

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Proposal

OF Brett Gardner, C Gary Sanchez and LHP Manny Banuelos for Lee

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

Gardner, who’s on the block, would give them the leadoff hitter they lack, but since he’s only under team control through 2014, the Phillies would need to land a couple of big-name prospects with upside. Sanchez is the Yankees‘ No. 1 name on that front, and he could become his new club’s catcher of the future (if he can stick behind the dish).

Banuelos, meanwhile, spent all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the left-hander was thought to have front-of-the-rotation stuff prior to that injury. Both youngsters could be ready to help the big club by 2015, and if things go south next year, Philly could still swap Gardner for another chip in July.

 

Why It Could Work for the Yankees

Maybe you’ve heard that the Yanks need some pitching. Despite bringing in three big bats in Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, on the pitching side, New York has only re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to team with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova in the starting rotation.

Lee, whom the Yankees have long coveted and nearly traded for in 2009, would give them another ace-caliber lefty and prevent a retooled offensive club from starting next year with a thin rotation. This move, though, likely would put an end to the goal of staying under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold.

Toronto Blue Jays

Hi-res-145402495-drew-hutchison-of-the-toronto-blue-jays-throws-a-pitch_crop_650

Jays righty Drew Hutchison Abelimages/Getty Images

The Proposal

OF Anthony Gose, RHPs Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez for Hamels

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

All three of Gose, Hutchison and Sanchez are 23 or younger with several years of team control left. That’s exactly the kind of package Amaro Jr. should be trying to pry away from a team that is on the prowl for pitching like Toronto, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports.

Gose, a former Phillies second-rounder who was traded for Roy Oswalt, is a flawed player, but he makes for an intriguing gamble. Like Gose, Hutchison could help Philly in 2014 given that he has big-league experience, although he missed most of last year after Tommy John surgery. Sanchez, a hard-throwing righty with a plus breaking ball, is arguably Toronto’s top prospect and ready for Double-A as a 21-year-old.

 

Why It Could Work for the Blue Jays

While they may be wary of pulling the trigger on another big prospects-for-ace-starter swap after last winter’s acquisition of former NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, the Jays are still a talented club. What they lack, though, is a No. 1-type starter—Dickey’s more of a No. 2 or 3—and Hamels would be that guy if they could squeeze him into their budget.

Provided the team can stay healthier than it did a year ago, such a move would put Toronto in the contenders class in the AL East again.

Texas Rangers

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Rangers righty Neftali Feliz Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Proposal

SS Luis Sardinas and RHPs Neftali Feliz and Luke Jackson for Lee

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

Having recovered from Tommy John surgery in time to make it back late last season, Feliz is likely the only familiar name here, and he represents an opportunity to land a young, electric arm that Philly could use either in the bullpen or rotation.

As for the two prospects, Sardinas is a switch-hitting, contact-making, skilled defensive shortstop with speed who has made it to Double-A at the tender age of 20. He would automatically become Rollins’ successor. Jackson, 22, also reached Double-A in 2013, owns a power fastball and projects as a mid-rotation starter.

The other option the Phillies could try for with Texas? Lefty Martin Perez, who recently signed a team-friendly long-term extension, but that would likely be the main return.

 

Why It Could Work for the Rangers

The whole Lee-on-the-Rangers thing worked rather well once before, right? And while Texas may be on the lookout for a bat like Shin-Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz, as T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com notes, adding Lee to a five-man that already includes ace Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Perez would make for a scary bunch of pitching. Plus, Texas certainly has the middle-infield depth to part with Sardinas.

Because of his age and hefty salary, the Rangers likely wouldn’t have to give up as much for Lee, who they know can succeed in Arlington, as they would for Price, whom they’ve also been linked to.

Los Angeles Angels

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Angels slugger Mark Trumbo Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6:32 p.m. ET by Tyler Ruby

The Angels reportedly have traded Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The Halos are getting back two young left-handers in Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago, so their need for Lee would appear to be mitigated at this point.

—End of update—

 

The Proposal

1B/OF Mark Trumbo and RHP Garrett Richards for Lee

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

Trumbo has his problems, making contact and getting on base chief among them, but he’s the kind of power bat Amaro Jr. likes and could fit in the outfield—and perhaps handle first base for the lefty-swinging Howard when Philly faces a southpaw.

Richards, 25, is a former first-rounder who tasted his first real success in the bigs over the second half of 2013, when he posted a 3.59 ERA as a full-time member of the rotation. Both players would contribute to Philly right away.

 

Why It Could Work for the Angels

There’s been plenty of speculation around Trumbo’s availability, per Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, and the Angels are aware that he may be their best chip to upgrade a meager rotation. While the club might hesitate to give up Richards, too, it would make sense for a team with contender envy to get the big-time immediate upgrade to Lee.

Besides, Lee is expensive, but only for another two years, unlike his rotation mate. Owner Arte Moreno may balk at throwing another monster contract like Hamels’ onto an already oversized payroll after the ones for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton worked out so poorly.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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Dodgers outfield prospect Joc Pederson Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Proposal

OF Joc Pederson and RHP Zach Lee for Hamels

 

Why It Could Work for the Phillies

Pederson and Lee are two of the Dodgers‘ best prospects, and both are in line to make their major-league debuts at some point in 2014.

Pederson, 21, smacked 22 homers and stole 31 bases while playing center field in Double-A last year, but he may be available given the deep Dodgers outfield. The 22-year-old Lee, L.A.’s top pick in 2010, has a solid repertoire that should make him a quality No. 3 or 4 starter in short order after he sported a 3.22 ERA in 142.2 innings in Double-A.

 

Why It Could Work for the Dodgers

That’s a lot for the Dodgers to surrender, but they’re already in win-now mode, so why not? While Hamels’ contract could be a burden for some clubs to carry in a couple of years, the Dodgers wouldn’t blink at it. And although they are expected to lock up two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Hamels would be insurance in case that doesn’t happen.

And in the meantime, just imagine a rotation that consists of three lefties like Hamels, Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, as well as righties Zack Greinke and the recently signed Dan Haren. Yikes.

I HEARD A YANKEE RUMOR TODAY!

I heard a rumor: Masterson, Benoit and Santana, oh my!

One of the best, and frankly worst things about the Winter Meetings is the influx of rumors that swirl around. They can change from moment to moment and can be realistic or really out there and this year’s rumor mill is no exception. As of this morning some of the names mentioned with regards to the Bronx as a possible destination have been Justin Masterson, Joaquin Benoit and Johan Santana.

It is not surprising news that the Yankees need pitching, both in the bullpen and in the rotation, and GM Brian Cashman has stated that the Yankees will probably make a move or two with regards to the spots left by guys like Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and most importantly, Mariano Rivera. And as Brad wrote this morning, with Masahiro Tanaka stuck in posting limbo, the Yankees may have to make a move soon.

First up, Justin Masterson: I woke up to the Masterson rumor. It was just something people were throwing around that stated the Yankees may be interested in Masterson but that a third team and Brett Gardner would probably have to be involved for the deal to even be thought about. Masterson wouldn’t be a bad acquisition and he’s coming off a pretty strong 2013 season.

The only problem with him is that he matches up better against righties than lefties.

Split            G  PA  AB  R   H HR BB SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  TB BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
vs RHB as RHP   32 309 275 18  50  3 22 99  4.50 .182 .267 .240 .507  66  .272    62    50
vs LHB as RHP   32 494 428 52 106 10 54 96  1.78 .248 .340 .357 .698 153  .296   123    90

Report from <a href=”http://www.baseball-reference.com/”>Baseball-Reference.com</a>.Another name being tossed about is Joaquin Benoit. Now this is an interesting case because for the first

Another name being tossed about is Joaquin Benoit. Now this is an interesting case because for the first time since I was in my early 20′s and still carefree, the Yankees don’t have a set closer coming into Spring Training. Not that Benoit would fill that role, he may actually prefer not to. And when you think about it, filling Mariano Rivera‘s shoes is an extremely large task. Asking someone who would also be new to the team to do so may be too much. Benoit pitched pretty well for the Tigers last season but will unfarily be known as the guy who gave up the grand slam to David Ortiz in the 2013 ALCS.

And lastly, we have Johan Santana. The Yankees reportedly aren’t the only team interested in the 34-year-old but he is coming off his second shoulder surgery in three years and it would be extremely risky to make a move for him. And as amusing as it would be to finally have him on the pitching staff the same year the Yankee finally rid themselves of Phil Hughes, it’s about eight years too late.

It’s possible none of these rumors will pan out but it’s always fun to speculate.

NO LEGS TO MASTERSON RUMORS

UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that there are “no legs” to this. Sorry to hear about your legs, Justin Masterson. But you can live a full healthy life without them, I’m sure.

9:16 AMBob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees are interested in Justin Masterson. Which makes sense, as the Yankees can use starting pitching and Masterson is a good starting pitcher.

As Nightengale notes, though, the best trade chit New York has at the moment is Brett Gardner, and the Indians don’t need a center fielder with Michael Bourn hanging around, so a three-team trade might make sense. Certainly one to watch over the next day or two. We learned yesterday that it’s fun to watch three-team trades develop.

But to be honest, I’m not sure why New York would be considerably better off trading Gardner for Masterson when there are so many starting pitchers available on the open market right now that would cost them nothing but money. Especially considering that Masterson is in his walk year. A Bartolo Colon reunion would be a useful, short-term thing for the Yankees, no?

Continuing celebration of Joe Torre’s election to the Hall of Fame: From THE BOOK OF JOE… “St. Tino.”

 

Continuing celebration of Joe Torre’s election to the Hall of Fame: From THE BOOK OF JOE… “St. Tino.”

Posted by el duque at 6:10 PM

(From October 2007) During the 1996 Series of the World, the eternal covenant between Tino  Martinez and his powerful bat fell into sickness and disrepute. After many fevered swishings and unfruitful half-swings, the great and earnest keeper of First appeared unto Joe and spake:

.
“Hear me, o, Joe!
.
“My once-vengeful sword sags meekly in my hands, and my wallops bear no  scoreboard meat. With each visit to the plate of home, my average furrows  deeper berries of dingle into my bottomless bottom.”
. Joe placed his healing hand upon the citizen slugger and spake:
. “Verily, o Tino, hear this!
. “The gritted teeth of stress hath slowed thy swiftly swung sword. Until ye  learneth to relax, the good wood of thy firm serpent shalt torment only air.
. “Ye must swaddle thy nerves in silken robes, then pleasure them in the light of candle and music of Mancini mood.
. “Ye must take seedpipe in hand, floss clean thy fear and fling sacrifice wherever it needs to take root.
. “Whence ye hath achieved this, thy drives again shall pierce outfield  foreskins, and blood-red rivers of runs shall flow down the hosed thigh  of thy box score.”
. But, alas, on the morrow, Tino could not summon the birdsong of one self-snoggle.
. Nor on the next morrow, or the next morrow, or the next.
. Finally, without any more morrows, Joe appeareth unto Tino and did spake:
. “Hear me, o, Tino!
. “Until ye drinketh from the well of self-flog, the cob of thy batting corn shall remain mealy and without taste.
. “Until thy stroketh returns, the Yankee order shall be inscribed henceforth without thy good name.
. “Until the end of this Series of the World, my card of score shall bear in thy stead the mark of the Behemoth: Cecil Fielder. This I do decree.”
.
And so it came to transpire.
. On the morrow, Cecil Fielder occupied the base of First.
. And though Tino’s humiliation was shrieked a million times by the hounds of back page, he rejoiced when the House of George – with Cecil Fielder –  bested the tribe from Atlanta in the Series of the World.
. And in summers to follow, Tino learned to soothe his twitchery by drawing man-milk from the spiggot of self-shag.
. And Tino led the Yanks to great victories, which were celebrated with  parades, merriment and slaughter of joyful animals across the Canyon of Heroes.
. And because he laid grasp upon Joe’s vision, Tino became a saint in the House of George, until its trust of brains  gave ditch to him, so they could sign the mittless  brute, Jason Giambi, son of Oakland, brother of Jeremy, and ward of Balco.

YANKEES SNAPSHOOT FROM HELL

Snapshot from Hell

Posted by el duque at 9:58 PM

A friend sent this. I’m filing it under, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to relive it.”

Also, whenever we giggle about Robbie Cano’s lack of protection in the Seattle lineup, let’s temper our laughter in remembrance of this.
Also, what are the odds that on April 1, none of the above are Yankees?

George in the Hall? Never, as long as Marvin Miller is excluded

 

George in the Hall? Never, as long as Marvin Miller is excluded

Posted by el duque at 6:38 AM

Yesterday, the Pooh Bahs of Humptytown – baseball’s Hall of Fame executive committee – again screwed the late Marvin Miller, the union leader whose achievements still overshadow any owner or commissioner in the history of the game.
They did this, I guess, out of spite. (After money, that’s what they treasure most.) The owners hate Miller because he stole the toy they inherited from their daddies: the National Pastime. Hey, wanna hear a joke? In 2007, they elected Bowie Kuhn to the Hall – and excluded Miller. Bowie Kuhn! Hey, that’s worth a trip to Humptytown, eh? They’ve now kept out Miller for 10 years, even though they no longer have to fear what he would say from the podium.
Yesterday’s move prompted the great Murray Chass to vault in from the Scooter Store and write a story in today’s Gray Lady.  Chass puts Miller up there with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, the three most important men in baseball history. He says Miller became so fed up with Cooperstown crapola that he asked to never be inducted. (For the record, I hereby request that I too NEVER be inducted into that cesspool of nepotistic hypocrisy.)
Which brings us to The Boss. You could argue that, after Marvin Miller, no other man advanced the players’ financial interests more than Old George. Ask Bob Shirley, wherever he is! But I’m still not sure how to measure Steinbrenner. Nobody more celebrated a Yankee victory, but there were also the cruelties – those Yogi Berra and Bobby Meacham moments – I still dunno. But in my mind, George was the last true owner.
An owner has one job, dammit: OWN!  He must be his city’s affable, obese, tipsy, gray-haired, cigar-smoking, super-rich super fan. He should never poor mouth (as the current crop constantly does.) He should sit in his owner’s box and do nothing but OWN! Old George cheered as hard as any of us. Old George lived and died with the Yankees. When we were swept away by the Dodgers, and Old George punched out that elevator – that wasn’t a foible. That was his greatest moment as an owner. Hell, it may have the greatest moment of any owner, anywhere. Dammit, he was OWNING. 
And if any owner deserves to be in the Hall, it is Old George. Understand? Unlike the today’s grubs, who use their teams to extort money from fans and taxpayers, George knew how to own.
But here’s the rub: No owner belongs in the Hall. Certainly not while Marvin Miller remains on the outside. And if Miller’s last wishes are to be fulfilled, he’ll stay out. And so should Old George.