CBS Rumors and News: Rowand, Headley, Hunter, Wood

We mentioned the Peavy rumor, but CBS Sportstline also had some other good rumblings today:

  • Sportsline expects the Phillies to be “aggressive” in trying to keep Aaron Rowand.  If true, this would be another lie by the Philly brass, who claimed to only be in on free agent pitchers this offseason, but was then exposed as offering Mike Lowell a 4 year, $50M deal. 
  • The Pirates are making a serious run at Padres third base prospect Chase Headley (.330, 20, 78 for Double-A San Antonio), by offering outfielders Xavier Nady and Nate McClouth.  In my eyes, this would be a fleece for Pittsburgh.  I like McClouth, but San Diego should definitely be able to get a better package for Headley.
  • Texas (6 years, $70M) and Kansas City (5 years, $75M) made serious runs at Torii Hunter before the centerfielder fleeced the Angels.   Hunter, however, wanted to play for a contender.  Allllllllriiiiiiiiight, Torii.  Just admit it….you took the highest bid.
  • Kerry Wood had a two year offer from Milwaukee before he showed his loyalty and returned to the Cubs for a one year deal.

Garza to Seattle?; Bedard to the Mets?; and Jason Bay

We touched on the main news from Ken Rosenthal today – that being the Joe Nathan rumors.  But Rosenthal also had some other good tidbits.  Let’s take a look.

  • According to Rosenthal, “Matt Garza remains the young pitcher the Twins are most likely to move.”  Rosenthal mentions the Mariners as a potential partner with centerfield stud prospect Adam Jones as a return package.  I think that would be an absolute fleece for Minnesota, given their pitching depth (even after a Santana deal) and need for a center fielder.  Adam Jones is a future star.  And that’s no disrespect towards Matt Garza, who looks poised to be at least a future #2 starter.
  • The New York Mets made a “strong run” at Erik Bedard in last months GM meetings, but Baltimore president Andy McPhail wasn’t quite ready to deal the young ace then.  One would think the Mets would have to include Carlos Gomez and Lastings Milledge in a deal, among others.   Bedard is exactly what the Mets need in my opinion, and Baltimore is a team that Minaya has fleeced before (John Maine and Jorge Julio for Kris Benson).
  • Rosenthal speculates that the Pirates will try to hold on to Jason Bay until next winter to see if he can increase his trade value this season.  But if they get the right offer at next weeks winter meetings, they’ll pull the trigger.  Pittsburgh is looking at building around top prospects Andrew McCutcheon (CF) and Neil Walker (C), both 21 years old.  So look for Pitt to get younger for a potential run around 2010.
  • The Yankees will not be fleeced when signing middle relievers this year.  They apparently have a budget (yea, right) and will not overpay for the likes of Ron Mahay.  I say, FALSE.  

Anyone Want Chris Duffy?

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, if Chris Duffy is not traded this winter, look for him to open the season at AAA. 

This begs the obvious question:  Who would want Chris Duffy?   Well, the speedy centerfielder would probably fall towards the end of the list of available center fielders behind the likes of Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron, Coco Crisp and Corey Patterson, etc.  My guess is that if Duffy is traded, it will be after a few of these guys find their 2008 homes, and that Duffy suitors would probably be the smaller market teams in need of center fielders who lost out on the bigger names.  The Marlins, Nationals and Padres come to mind.  

I’m not sure that the Pirates can expect a decent return, though.  A once promising prospect, Duffy has hit only .269/.328/.361 in three seasons with Pittsburgh.  Sounds like a fourth outfielder to me.

Jason Bay Being Shopped?

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GM Neal Huntington of the Pittsburgh Pirates insists that management is not shopping RF Jason Bay, but according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, his name is being heard all around baseball circles (The Indians could be a possibility: Rotoworld.com). This could simply be a case of people calling to ask Huntington about the availability of his players, but this is the second time this week a major player is being mentioned in possible trade talks (Ian Snell Rumors).

The Pittsburgh fans would not take kindly to such moves, as it would set back the franchise a few “more” years. They are not close to winning now, and they would move further away should they trade their talent for prospects. If Huntington was to move any of his “prime talent”, a major fleece would have to occur to justify it to their fanbase.

Ian Snell Available?

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As per Jayson Stark, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ian Snell could be made available in the trade market. Snell, 26, went 9-12 in 2007, posting a 3.76 ERA while compiling 177 strikeouts. As Stark states, Snell totaled an impressive 22 “quality starts” last season, ranking ahead of pitchers such as Roy Oswalt.

The Pirates are having significant internal debates as whether or not they should make Snell available. This seems to be an ongoing trend this off-season. The smaller market ball clubs are considering trading their younger starting pitchers who are approaching free agency in coming years in an effort to stockpile young talent and prospects, as the free agent pitching market is extra thin this year. They may never be able to turn over such a large profit, as prices for such pitching will be extraordinarily high.

Japanese Royalty?

king-spades.pngAccording to Marc Lancaster, the Devil Rays are in the mix for 34-year old Japanese relief pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta.  Five teams seem to have expressed interest – Rays, Royals, Pirates, Indians and White Sox.  It’s also noted in the article that U.S. media reports have Yabuta close to signing with Kansas City. 

Yashuhiko Yabuta had a 2.73 ERA last season in Japan in 58 relief appearances with a 1.18 WHIP.  He can also makes some bats miss, notching 45 K’s in 62 2/3 innings.  Yabuta played for Japan on their champion World Baseball Classic team, as noted by Rotowire.com, and had strikeouts of A-Rod, Damon, and Derek Lee during his four appearances. 

Update: Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that Yabuta is set to sign a 2-year deal with the Royals, with a player option for a 3rd season.  $$ was not disclosed. 

Not Named Capps? You’re available…

AN PIT IMPRESSION FLEECE SILVER 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported, among other things, the Damaso Marte, Salomon Torres and John Grabow can all be had in a trade. In this story, GM Neal Huntington has the following quote:

“We’re looking to make good baseball trades,” general manager Neal Huntington says. “We recognize that we have players who are very interesting to clubs.

“We’re not looking to move anyone, not forced to move anyone. The time frame will be dictated by the interest level. We’re willing to move if and when we get the right trade.”

In other words, Huntington is saying, if we fleece someone, anyone can be traded.