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.

Yankees wouldn’t have to sacrifice the future for David Price, just part of it

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

David Price is available. After days and weeks of sitting on the fence, the Tigers finally decided it was time to take a step back and “reboot,” which means Price and the rest of their rental players are available. “We’re looking at it more as rebooting going into next season. I think our foundation is solid going forward,” said GM Dave Dombrowski to Joel Sherman.

Earlier today we heard the Yankees are one of four serious contenders for Price, which makes total sense. He’s right smack in the prime of his career, he’s a rental, he throws hard, he misses bats, he limits walks, he soaks up innings, he’s left-handed, he’s had success in the AL East, he’s 6-foot-6 … if Brian Cashman could go into a lab to create a starting pitcher, he’d create David Price. He’s everything the Yankees look for in a pitcher.

Of course, acquiring Price won’t be easy, especially since the Yankees continue to insist they will not trade their top prospects. That means Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird, and who knows who else. Cashman & Co. could very well be posturing — or maybe they are sincere about not trading prospects (until ownership gets involved) — because every team says they will hold on to their top prospects this time of year. You won’t give up your top prospects until you do.

So what will it take to get Price? The Reds were nice enough to set the market for a rental ace recently. The Johnny Cueto trade a few days ago netted them the Royals’ first round pick from a year ago (Brandon Finnegan) plus two players MLB.com recently ranked as Cincinnati’s No. 8 (Cody Reed) and No. 20 (John Adam) prospects. One high-end MLB ready player plus two prospects. There’s the cost. Price might require more because he hasn’t had elbow scare this year like Cueto, but that’s in the ballpark.

Whatever the package ends up being, it’ll hurt to get someone like Price. You don’t make a trade for a star caliber player without it hurting. The Yankees want to hold onto their top prospects, I get that, but it’s possible to make a trade for Price sacrificing the future. Why? Because the Yankees wouldn’t have to trade all of their top prospects to get him. They’d have to sacrifice some of their future, not all of it. I feel like that gets overlooked much of the time.

As the Cueto trade showed, it doesn’t take two or three top prospects to get a rental ace. It takes one. One plus some other guys who are pretty good but not deal-breakers. The cool thing about New York’s farm system now is that so many of their top prospects are already in Triple-A, so even if the Yankees do deal one of those players, they have others on the cusp of helping. The only real exception is Mateo, who is still down in Low-A.

The Tigers have no use for Bird with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez signed for all eternity — unless they plan to flip him, but that seems like a lot of work — but, if Detroit wants him, the Yankees should absolutely deal him. Bird is the worst — worst being a relative term, of course — of the club’s top prospects, and the guy who has like a 50/50 chance of being a platoon DH is not someone you make untouchable. With Yoenis Cespedes set to become a free agent, I’m sure Judge would be very appealing. Severino? Everyone needs pitching. Judge and Severino seem like the key pieces here.

One thing to keep in mind is Price is much more valuable to some other teams than the Yankees. New York has a nice six-game lead in the AL East. They have some margin for error. Other clubs — specifically Price suitors like the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays — do not. They’re all locked in tight postseason races, so adding those two or three extra wins from Price will greatly increase their playoff chances. Price will help the Yankees. He’ll help other teams more, which could inflate his price. There’s that little bit of extra motivation to get him.

The Yankees showed they are able to make meaningful upgrades without trading top prospects at the deadline last year, though Price is a special case because he’s an elite player. I think the Yankees did the right thing the last two years by not trading away their top prospects, mostly because they weren’t serious contenders from 2013-14, but the 2015 Yankees are different. This team is ready to win, and Price would be a significant upgrade. This is precisely why you want to have multiple high-end prospects, so you can move one for a guy like Price to boost a postseason push without completely selling out the future.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Thursday

Price. (Harry How/Getty)
Price. (Harry How/Getty)

We are now just one day away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have not yet made a move but I expect them to do something by 4pm ET tomorrow. They need pitching — I’m not sure how much more obvious it could be at this point — and a new second baseman sure would be cool too. Don’t be fooled by the six-game lead in the AL East, there are holes on the roster.

Late last night, Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers in an eight-player deal, taking arguably the best available pitcher off the board. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we learned the Tigers are making David Price and their other rental players available, which is significant because Price would look wonderful in pinstripes. We’ll again keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here. Talk about all of ’em in this open thread.

  • 2:50pm ET: Not only do the Yankees not want to trade top prospects, they are hesitant to trade guys like Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell as well. The sense is they will add a reliever to deepen the bullpen. Warren could then be a candidate to return to the rotation. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:47pm ET: The Mariners plan to keep impending free agent Hisashi Iwakuma. He’s a favorite of ownership and they could always re-sign him in the offseason. The Yankees had not been connected to Iwakuma but he seemed like a logical fit. (Masahiro Tanaka‘s teammate in Japan!) [Jeff Passan]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Yankees are “poised to strike” and are in on all the available arms. That … really doesn’t tell us anything new. The Yankees are typically a club that waits until the last minute to make trades, however. The Martin Prado and Stephen Drew deals were announced after the deadline last year.[Ken Rosenthal]
  • 2:01pm ET: The Yankees are on the “periphery” of the Yovani Gallardo race. He is very available and a bunch of teams are in the mix. Gallardo is still scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight. [Heyman]
  • 12:50pm ET: David Price is heading to the Blue Jays for a package of top prospects, including Daniel Norris and Anthony Alford. So scratch him off the list.
  • 12:06pm ET: The Blue Jays appear to be “closing in” on a trade for David Price according to multiple reports. Toronto hasn’t been to the postseason since 1993 and they acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago. The chips are firmly in the middle of the table.
  • 10:07am ET: The Yankees are considering among Mike Leake‘s most likely landing spots at this point. They’re also a candidate to acquire Jeff Samardzija should the surging White Sox decide to move him. Special assistant Jim Hendry drafted the righty when he was Cubs GM and Larry Rothschild was Samardzija’s pitching coach in Chicago for a few years. [Heyman]
  • 9:30am ET: The Yankees are one of four serious contenders for David Price, along with the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays. All four clubs are in talks with the Tigers. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees discussed Dustin Ackley with the Mariners. Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel came up but Seattle wanted more — I believe it was Flores or Gamel, not both — so talks stalled out. For whatever reason the Yankees have been after Ackley for years. [Mark Feinsand]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Yankees bats not as explosive against Colby Lewis in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers

(Source: Getty)

The Yankees have been winning a lot lately but tonight, they fell quite short. It seemed like they had some offensive momentum going in the second inning by scoring two, but after that, New York got completely shut out by Colby Lewis and the Rangers pen. Masahiro Tanaka didn’t allow any dingers this start but he looked unimpressive overall. But hey – a lot of us had to like what we saw out of the new RHP Caleb Cotham.

  • Two in second: Yankees drew first blood when Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer to lead off the second inning. He battled Lewis in a nine-pitch at-bat and eventually drilled a fastball down the middle over the right field fence. Always good to see the old guy show some sign of life in bat. Yankees did not stop there – with two outs, the red hot Didi Gregorius singled to left. Stephen Drew followed it up with another single and Gregorius advanced to third as soon as he saw that CF Delino DeShields Jr. bobbled the ball. Jacoby Ellsbury then drove Didi in with a grounder up to center for an RBI single. 2-0 Yankees.
  • Get’em next time: Tanaka seemed quite off tonight and it showed in his pitching line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. His stuff didn’t seem all that crisp and he missed more spots that he could afford to. But hey, at least he avoided dingers in Globe Life Park! I’m not too worried about Masahiro but it’d be nice to see more consistent brilliance from him. 6 IP 4 ER start is not awful, but New York is paying him like an ace.
  • Cotham for Gotham: In the seventh, RHP Caleb Cotham made his ML debut, relieving Chasen Shreve with one out and runner on first. Cotham was a 5th rounder from Vanderbilt back in 2009 and finally made it to the bigs at age 27. He’s gone through series of injuries that set him back and recently saw sustained success as a reliever so I assume that’s what his long-term niche will be. With the first ML batter he faced, he induced a grounder from Adrian Beltre … that Didi couldn’t come up with, go figure. He struck out Mitch Moreland on three pitches but allowed the runner on second to score when Josh Hamilton lined a slider down the middle to right. Cotham looked brilliant overall though – striking out four in 1.2 IP. His fastball was around 91~94 and the hard slider had that nice bite to it. I’d be in favor of keeping him around to see if he can be another late-inning guy because, frankly, I think he’s got promise based on his stuff, command, and performance down in minors.
  • Leftover: In the sixth, Carlos Beltran recorded one of the weirdest OF assists I’ve seen. Shin-Soo Choo lined a base hit to right and aggressively extended it to double when Beltran was late to get to the ball. However, it turned out that Drew had put a tag on him when Choo put his foot off the bag briefly and the umpires called him out after the instant replay – Beltran earned the assist from a play that he seemingly didn’t put too much effort on! How about that.

Tomorrow, Michael Pineda will try to get a series win for the Yanks against Yovani Gallardo and the Rangers. Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs

Hamels off the board: Cole heading to Rangers

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

The race for Cole Hamels appears to be complete. Multiple reports say the Rangers have either acquired Hamels from the Phillies or are on the verge of doing so. Four prospects are heading to Philadelphia in the deal, it appears. There is also some cash involved and possibly other players going to Texas.

According to Baseball America’s 2015 Prospect Handbook, the Rangers are sending their preseason No. 3 (C Jorge Alfaro), No. 5 (OF Nick Williams), and No. 13 (RHP Alec Asher) prospects to the Phillies as well as non-top 30 prospect RHP Jerad Eickhoff. A comparable Yankees package is something like Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Bryan Mitchell, and an extra arm. Ballpark. Not a perfect comparison.

The Yankees have been connected to Hamels for weeks and months now, but, according to Mark Feinsand, they never pursued him aggressively. Given their reluctance to trade top prospects, I guess that’s not surprising. The Phillies have reportedly been asking for Aaron Judge and/or Luis Severino in return.

Hamels is lined up to start tomorrow but I doubt he does given the travel and all that. The Yankees probably won’t see him. Either way, Hamels is now off the board along with Scott Kazmir and Johnny Cueto. Maybe Mat Latos too. David Price, Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and Hisashi Iwakuma are the top available starters now.

Update: Apparently it’s a six-for-two trade. The Rangers are getting Hamels and lefty Jake Diekman (and cash) for Alfaro, Williams, Asher, Eickhoff, right-hander Jake Thompson, and left-hander Matt Harrison. Thompson was ranked as the team’s No. 2 prospect before the season. He was their Luis Severino.

DotF: Severino strikes out ten in Scranton’s win

Triple-A Scranton (9-4 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB — he’s been on fire of late
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder:  2-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 E (fielding, throwing) — the Rob Refsnyder experience
  • 1B Greg Bird: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-5, 3 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K — final days with the Yankees? or nah?
  • LF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SB
  • 3B Jose Pirela: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 E (throwing)
  • DH Austin Romine: 2-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Luis Severino: 6 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 5/3 GB/FB — 61 of 92 pitches were strikes (66%) … boy he’s going to look great in a Tigers jersey
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 20 of 35 pitches were strikes (57%)
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — nine of 14 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Game 100: Tanaka time in Texas

(Tom Pennington/Getty)
(Tom Pennington/Getty)

Today is the 100th game of the season. The Yankees will have at least 57 wins at the century mark this year, hopefully 58, after having 52 wins after 100 games last year and 53 wins the year before. In 2012, the last time the Yankees went to the postseason, they were 60-40 after 100 games. Of course, the AL East is weaker now than it was back in 2012.

Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound tonight with yet another extra day of rest. He hasn’t started on normal rest since April. April! That was his last start before landing on the DL. Tanaka’s had at least one extra day of rest for 12 of his 13 starts this year. I didn’t realize that. The Yankees are going to great lengths to keep him healthy. Hopefully it pays off with a win tonight. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Garrett Jones
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Another scorcher in Arlington today. It was over 100 degrees most of the day and it’ll still be over 90 when the sun goes down tonight. Yuck. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 8:05pm ET and you can watch on good ol’ YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Updates: Mark Teixeira is fine, just a routine day off … in case you missed it earlier, Chris Capuano has been designated for assignment and Caleb Cotham has been called up to give the bullpen a fresh arm.