Reports: David Price heading to Blue Jays

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays are set to acquire David Price from the Tigers. Top pitching prospect Daniel Norris and top outfield prospect Anthony Alford are part of the package heading back to Detroit. It’s unclear what other players are involved at this point.

The Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago and they haven’t been to the postseason since 1993, so they have every reason to go all-in. GM Alex Anthopoulos is surely feeling the heat. Toronto is seven games back of the Yankees in the AL East — they still have 13 head-to-head games remaining — but only two games back of the second wildcard spot. Their +100 run differential is the best in the AL and second best in MLB.

The Yankees reportedly pursued Price while remaining unwilling to part with their top prospects, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino specifically, meaning they had little chance to acquire the ace left-hander. I think they should have made their top prospects available, particularly Severino, but the Yankees disagreed. I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know. Price sure would have looked nice in pinstripes though.

With Price, Scott Kazmir, and Johnny Cueto off the board, the best available pitchers are Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo, and Ian Kennedy. Jeff Samardzija and Hisashi Iwakuma may or may not be available as well. The Yankees need pitching, it’s becoming more obvious with each passing game, so hopefully they reel someone in before the deadline tomorrow. Whoever it is, they won’t be as good as Price.

Update: Alford is not in the trade. The Tigers are getting three lefties: Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt. An equivalent Yankees package would be something like Severino, Bryan Mitchell, and healthy Ian Clarkin. Ballpark estimate, not exact.

Second base option off the board: Zobrist goes to Royals

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

The best second base option is officially off the board. The Athletics have traded Ben Zobrist to the Royals for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks, the club announced. Oakland is in full blown sell mode, having now traded Zobrist, Tyler Clippard, and Scott Kazmir. The Royals, meanwhile, are all-in with Zobrist and Johnny Cueto.

The Yankees were said to have interest in Zobrist for the last several weeks and it made perfect sense. Stephen Drew hasn’t hit all year and Zobrist, a switch-hitter with contact skills and defensive versatility, has put up a .268/.354/.447 (125 wRC+) batting line with more walks (12.2%) than strikeouts (9.6%) this year. His batting average is higher than Drew’s on-base percentage (.263).

The Royals paid a fair price for two months plus one October of Zobrist. Brooks is an up-an-down depth arm, a David Phelps type but not quite that good, while Manaea is a high-end pitching prospect with a history of injury issues (hip and abdomen, mostly). Baseball America ranked him as the 81st best prospect in the game before season.

Going from Drew to Zobrist was the biggest possible position player upgrade the Yankees could have realistically made at the trade deadline this year. (#RealTalk: Going from Drew to Zobrist is a bigger upgrade than going from Jose Reyes to Troy Tulowitzki.) The best available second base option now is, uh, Martin Prado? Egads.

Holy Moly! Blue Jays reportedly acquire Troy Tulowitzki

(Harry How/Getty)
(Harry How/Getty)

Well this is a blockbuster. According to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays have acquired Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies. No word on what Toronto is sending to Colorado, but I’m sure the package involves many top prospects. Wowza.

The Blue Jays already have a pretty good middle infield with Jose Reyes and Devon Travis, but Tulo is way better than both, so yeah. I wonder if Travis is in the package going to the Rockies with Reyes sliding over to second. He played second earlier in his career in deference to Kaz Matsui, remember.

Either way, the Blue Jays have emerged as the Yankees’ biggest threat in the AL East since the All-Star break, and they just got a whole lot better. The best offense in baseball got better, I should say. Toronto still needs pitching, but Tulowitzki is a major addition and will help a ton this year and in the future.

Update: Rosenthal says Reyes, not Travis, is in the package going to the Rockies. Unexpected! It’s Reyes and a bunch of minor league guys for Tulo. I wonder if the Rockies will flip Reyes somewhere else now, sorta like when the Marlins had Mike Piazza.

Rosenthal: Royals acquiring Johnny Cueto from Reds

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are set to acquire ace right-hander Johnny Cueto from the Reds. The two sides were close to a deal yesterday before things fell apart when Cincinnati got scared by something they found in the medicals of another player involved in the deal. Apparently the two sides were able to work out a trade anyway.

The Yankees had reportedly been scouting Cueto for weeks, which makes total sense. He’s both a great pitcher and also a rental, making him a perfect fit for a team in need of rotation help and wary of taking on long-term deals. It’s unclear if the Yankees ever had serious talks with the Reds about Cueto. We also don’t know who the Royals are sending to Cincy, so I can’t offer up a comparable Yankees package.

Even with Cueto and Scott Kazmir (traded to the Astros) off the board, there are still plenty of pitchers on the trade market. Cole Hamels is the big name, but he comes with a hefty contract. Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and Mat Latos are other rental options. The Tigers remain undecided about whether to trade David Price. The package for Cueto will give us an idea of what it would take to acquire Price, who would look might fine in pinstripes.

Update: Cueto was traded for left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed, both clubs announced. I’m not sure there’s a good Yankees equivalent. Jacob Lindgren, Manny Banuelos if they still had him, and Brady Lail? That doesn’t really work. Eh, whatever.

First Domino Falls: Scott Kazmir traded to Astros

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The first trade deadline domino has fallen. The Athletics have traded Scott Kazmir to the Astros for prospects right-hander Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham, both teams announced. The Yankees reportedly scouted Kazmir’s last start over the weekend. He’s from Houston, so I imagine he’s happy with the trade. Also, what a world, the Astros are buying.

Neither Mengden nor Nottingham were including in the Astros’ top 30 prospects in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook before the season, though they’ve both played well this summer, so I’m sure their stock was on the rise. I couldn’t tell you what an equivalent Yankees package would have been. Sorry. The prospects are too obscure even for a nerd like me.

The apparently light return could mean prices for a rental starter aren’t as high as expected — the market is flooded with available arms, after all, lots of options for buyers — or it could mean teams were scared off by Kazmir’s medicals. Remember he left his start against the Yankees with an injury just before the break. Either way, expect trades to pick up now.

Angels’ front office dysfunction and possible implications for the Yankees

Dipoto vs. Scioscia. Dipoto wins. (Presswire)
Dipoto vs. Scioscia. Dipoto wins. (Presswire)

The Angels have won four straight games, including the last two against the Yankees, yet the team is mired in dysfunction at the moment. According to multiple reports, GM Jerry Dipoto either resigned or was fired yesterday following an ongoing power struggle with manager Mike Scioscia. Ken Rosenthal detailed their problems earlier this week. It’s unclear what exactly happened. Dipoto is apparently out of the picture, however.

The friction between Dipoto and Scioscia has been going on for several years now. It appeared things were coming to a head back in 2013, but they were able to smooth things over, and those 98 wins last year helped keep everyone happy. This year, the Halos are falling short of expectations (41-37 with a +0 run differential) and their offense has struggled (3.87 runs per game), so the Dipoto-Scioscia feud rekindled.

I’m not surprised Dipoto lost the latest battle and the war — Scioscia is an iconic manager and it just doesn’t seem like he will lose any sort of power struggle at this point. Someone else in the front office will presumably take over as interim GM and the Halos will begin a search for a permanent GM. It’s an ugly situation with implications leading up to the trade deadline, implications that could affect the Yankees in more ways than one.

The Angels are going to replace Dipoto with a newbie GM, at least initially, and the new GM will inevitably look to impress his bosses. It’s human nature. Got a new job? Work hard to show your new bosses they hired the right person. I think the likelihood of the Halos being ultra-aggressive at the trade deadline just went up, which means more competition for the Yankees. The Angels were going to look for upgrades anyway. Not they might be looking for those upgrades with a crazy new GM willing to pay big.

Reportedly, Dipoto was seeking a veteran middle of the order bat in recent weeks, specifically in left field or at DH. (Turns out they could have used Josh Hamilton, huh?) The Yankees don’t need a player like that but they do have one to offer! At least in theory. Carlos Beltran would be a fit for that role with the Halos and it would allow the Yankees to clear an outfield spot for a younger player like Mason Williams or Ramon Flores or Aaron Judge. Win-win!

Except it won’t happen. Probably not. Beltran has a full no-trade clause and has wanted to wear pinstripes for years and years. I doubt he’d accept a trade to a team far away from home and in a worse position to contend than the Yankees. (The Yankees and Angels are both a half-game back of a wildcard spot, but the AL East is way more winnable than the AL West right now.) Still, it’s a thought that crossed my mind, and I guess there’s a chance the front office situation in Anaheim could impact things.

The Angels are also looking for pitching depth (who isn’t?) and, like Beltran, the Yankees are at the point where they’re probably better off paying CC Sabathia to pitch elsewhere, a la A.J. Burnett. Sabathia has ten-and-five no-trade protection but maybe the Yankees could sell him on the idea of moving to a bigger ballpark in a division with several other big ballparks at this point of his career. Plus Sabathia would be going home to California. (Not really though, he’s from Northern California. It’s like saying playing for the Braves is a homecoming for someone from North Carolina.)

Angels owner Arte Moreno has a history of doing wacky things (the Hamilton and Albert Pujols contracts!), so it’s easy to dream about the Yankees getting a “get out of jail free” card with Beltran and Sabathia. Even if the Yankees were willing to eat money¬† — how about eating, say, $30M of the guaranteed $64M or so still owed to Beltran or Sabathia? — and take less than interesting prospects in return, the no-trade clauses are an obstacle. Moreno might be crazy and the new GM might want to impress — what better way is there to impress than by reeling in big names? — but file this under things that have maybe a 1% chance of happening. Maybe.

Dream about unloading Beltran and Sabathia if you want. In reality, the front office turmoil in Anaheim hurts the Yankees most at the trade deadline by adding a likely-to-be-aggressive bidder to the market. Both teams need pitching, so they’ll be in competition there, and the Angels could also go after Ben Zobrist to bolster their lineup. The Yankees could use Zobrist at second base, the Angels could use him in the outfield. There figures to be a little more competition at the trade deadline now, so the Dipoto-Scioscia feud may have made life more difficult for New York this summer.

A Haiku for the Rest of MLB [2015 Season Preview]

Does Donnie like Haikus? Of course. (Presswire)
Does Donnie like haikus? Of course. (Presswire)

Opening Day is now only three days away. We’ve spent the last four weeks previewing the Yankees and the upcoming season, and yesterday we broke down the rest of the AL East. Today we’re going to wrap up our¬†2015 Season Preview series with a quick preview of the other 25 teams in baseball. After all, the Yankees are going to have to try to beat those teams this season too.

If you’ve come here looking for a serious preview post, you’re not going to get it. It’s Friday afternoon, Opening Day is right around the corner, and this year’s preview series is over. Instead, we’re going to have some fun and preview those other 25 teams in Haiku form. I encourage you to tell me how much my haikus suck and to make some of your own — pro tip: use the Haiku Counter to make sure you have the right number of syllables — and leave ’em in the comments. Enjoy.

Atlanta Braves
Traded their best bats
For a whole bunch of pitchers
They know scoring’s down?

Arizona Diamondbacks
Is Nuno their ace?
The answer just might be yes
Payback for ’01!

Chicago Cubs
Bleachers aren’t ready?
No prob, Bryant won’t notice
He’s in Iowa

Chicago White Sox
D-Rob and Melky
Back together in ChiTown
Growing ugly beards

Cincinnati Reds
Good enough to win?
Nah, not in that division
Can we have Cueto?

Cleveland Indians
Brantley is awesome
Kluber is really great
World Series pick? Eh

Colorado Rockies
Troy’s still a Rockie
Kyle Kendrick, OD SP?
Wait for ski season

Detroit Tigers
Miggy, Price, V-Mart
Lots of stars and real big names
Bullpen still a mess

Houston Astros
I don’t understand
You won “process World Series?”
That doesn’t exist

Kansas City Royals
Pennant last season
Volquez is replacing Shields?
For real? Yeah, for real

Los Angeles Angels
They have that Trout guy
I wish the Yankees had him
It’s Teixeira’s fault!

Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw is the best
Donnie Baseball gets his ring?
If not, just blame Puig

Miami Marlins
Paid Giancarlo
They’re going for it again
When’s next fire sale?

Milwaukee Brewers
They all hate Ryan Braun
But not as much as A-Rod
This team is boring

Minnesota Twins
Phil’s still homer prone
Nunez’s helmet still falls off
Just like the old days

New York Mets
Take back New York, huh?
Orange and blue like the Knicks
But with fewer fans

Oakland Athletics
Ballpark is ugly
Beane traded everyone again
What’s a Stephen Vogt?

Philadelphia Phillies
Rebuild? Finally!
Cole will be traded real soon
Then skip to next year

Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli pumps fist
McCutchen cut his dreads
A World Series team?

St. Louis Cardinals
Contender again
Such a boringly good team
Gets boring haiku

San Diego Padres
Kemp, Upton, Myers, Shields
But what about Yangervis?
Solarte Partay!

San Francisco Giants
The World Series champs
But it’s an odd number year
So no repeat then

Seattle Mariners
You can have Robbie
You are still stuck with Jack Z.
Yankees win the trade

Texas Rangers
Could this be the year
That Elvis Andrus will hit?
Hah, made myself laugh

Washington Nationals
Awesome rotation!
Future Yankee Bryce Harper
Has nice ring to it