2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Friday

Kimbrel. (Presswire)
Kimbrel. (Presswire)

Today’s the day. Specifically, 4pm ET is the time. Teams have until 4pm ET today to make non-waiver trades, which means there figures to be a flurry of activity in the next few hours even though big names like Johnny Cueto, David Price, and Troy Tulowitzki have already been moved. The Yankees made a relatively minor trade yesterday, sending Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez to the Mariners for Dustin Ackley.

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week we learned the Yankees are in the market for pitching help, both starters and relievers, but they’re not willing to give up their top prospects. They’ve been connected to all sorts of pitchers the last few days but those pitchers keep getting traded elsewhere. Hopefully they reel one or two in today, preferably a starter. They really need rotation help. We’ll keep tabs on all of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, as usual.

  • 4:37pm ET: The Yankees were not only willing to include Jorge Mateo in a Craig Kimbrel trade, they also offered to take back Jedd Gyorko and his disaster contract. They never got an answer from the Padres, apparently. [Heyman]
  • 3:53pm ET: The Yankees are expected to stand pat at the deadline. Weak, if true. [Nightengale]
  • 3:28pm ET: The Yankees told the Padres they were willing to trade Jorge Mateo for Craig Kimbrel, but San Diego hasn’t responded. The assumption is Kimbrel is going elsewhere. [Rosenthal, Sherman]
  • 3:22pm ET: Once again, the Yankees and Padres have “no traction” for a Craig Kimbrel trade. They have had “no talks” recently. [Rosenthal, Sherman]
  • 3:02pm ET: Should the Craig Kimbrel deal not happen, the Yankees won’t work out a smaller trade involving Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy. [Sherman]
  • 2:05pm ET: In addition to Jorge Mateo, the Padres would also want a pitcher back from the Yankees for Craig Kimbrel. [Sweeny Murti]
  • 1:56pm ET: The Yankees believe the Padres are working on a bigger trade involving Craig Kimbrel. Apparently San Diego will not trade Kimbrel to New York unless Jorge Mateo is in the deal. [Sherman]
  • 12:33pm ET: Apparently talks with the Padres for Craig Kimbrel broke down yesterday and have not been revived. They haven’t talked today. That’s why the Yankees are looking at guys like Carter Capps. [Rosenthal, Olney]
  • 12:21pm ET: The Yankees are the team in the “hottest” pursuit of Craig Kimbrel. It sure seems like the plan is to add another elite reliever. [Rosenthal]
  • 11:00am ET: The Marlins have coveted Greg Bird and would probably ask for him in a potential Carter Capps trade. I can’t see that happening given the Yankees’ reluctance to trade their close to MLB top prospects. [Joe Frisaro]
  • 10:56am ET: Although the Yankees did indeed check in, a trade for Aroldis Chapman is “not likely” to happen. Womp womp. That would have been fun. [Heyman]
  • 10:36am ET: The Yankees don’t like the idea of trading Jorge Mateo for a reliever, even one as good as Craig Kimbrel. If they do trade Mateo, they’re more likely to do so for a starting pitcher or everyday position player. [Sherman]
  • 10:12am ET: The Yankees continue to look for rotation help but feel “doubtful.” They believe Severino, Adam Warren, and Bryan Mitchell could hold down the fort in the second half if necessary. [Sherman]
  • 9:53am ET: The Yankees would consider trading Jorge Mateo but not top prospects closer to MLB like Aaron Judge and Luis Severino. That makes sense, I guess. Also, if they are willing to trade Mateo, they could seek more in return from the Padres than just Craig Kimbrel. It would also open doors to other deals. [Sherman]
  • 9:51am ET: The Yankees are talking to the Marlins about setup man Carter Capps, the guy with the jumpy delivery. That would be fun to watch, if nothing else. [Stark, Heyman]
  • 9:44am ET: The Yankees are one of five teams “aggressively” pursuing Aroldis Chapman, who would take over as closer. This all sounds like posturing — the price is too high for Kimbrel so we’ll say we’re in on Chapman, the Yankees aren’t offering enough for Kimbrel so we’ll get the Astros involved, etc. [Bob Nightengale]
  • 9:31am ET: The Yankees and Padres worked overnight on a Craig Kimbrel trade that would send a “good” prospect to San Diego with New York taking on all of the $28M or so left on Kimbrel’s contract. The Padres are looking for a young shortstop and have sought Jorge Mateo, who is supposedly off limits. Other clubs, specifically the Astros, are talking to the Padres about Kimbrel as well. [Rosenthal, Stark, Heyman, Buster Olney]
  • 9:30am ET: The Yankees remain interested in both Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, but the prices are high. They want to add an impact pitcher however they can, and adding a reliever would allow them to more easily put Adam Warren in the rotation. [Joel Sherman, Ken Rosenthal, Jayson Stark]
  • The Yankees are one of several teams in pursuit of Yovani Gallardo, who they faced last night. Gallardo didn’t pitch too well last night but he’s had a strong season overall. The Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Giants are also in on Gallardo, though San Francisco may be out of the picture after acquiring Mike Leake late last night. [Jon Heyman]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Wednesday

Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

Just three days left now. The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this Friday at 4pm ET, and while the Yankees have not yet made any moves, I’m sure they will at some point in the next few days. Pitching is a bit of an issue — I’d rather not see Chris Capuano make another spot start — and second base could use an upgrade as well. Maybe another righty bat too.

On Monday and Tuesday we learned the Yankees are engaged in the pitching market, both starters and relievers. They had conversations with the Reds about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals, and they were also in the hunt for Ben Zobrist before he joined Cueto in Kansas City. Final offers for Cole Hamels are reportedly due today as well. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here.

  • 7:04pm ET: The Mat Latos trade from earlier is currently on hold because of someone’s medicals. Not necessarily Latos’. So he could, in fact, still be an option for the Yankees. [Wittenmyer]
  • 4:33pm ET: The Yankees will indeed talk to the Tigers about David Price. They remain unwilling to part with top prospects — the Phillies against asked about Aaron Judge and Luis Severino — but I’m sure at least part of that is just posturing. [Heyman]
  • 4:31pm ET: The Phillies had a scout watching Ivan Nova on Monday. The Yankees did discuss Cueto with the Reds during Johnny Cueto talks, so it stands to reason he would be available for Cole Hamels as well. [Mark Feinsand]
  • 3:32pm ET: The Tigers called teams today to tell them they are “rebooting” and willing to listen on David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and others. I certainly expect the Yankees to make a run at Price. [Stark]
  • 2:56pm ET: If the Phillies do indeed trade Cole Hamels, it is unlikely to happen today. Any trade would have to wait until Thursday or even Friday as the Phillies mull over offers. [Jayson Stark]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Padres requested shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo in trade talks about Craig Kimbrel, but the Yankees said no. New York is willing to eat the entire $28M left on Kimbrel’s contract, but they won’t surrender top prospects. [Jon Heyman]
  • 11:24pm ET: Mat Latos is apparently off the board. The Marlins are reportedly trading the right-hander (and others) to the Dodgers for prospects. Earlier this week we heard the Yankees had some interest in Latos. [Gordon Wittenmyer]
  • 9:30am ET: The White Sox still have not given any indication they will trade Jeff Samardzija. They Yankees have had their eye on him for a few weeks now. The ChiSox are now only 3.5 games back of a wildcard spot, so they might hold on to Samardzija and go for it, knowing they’ll get at least a draft pick for him after the season. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • The Reds are fielding offers for Aroldis Chapman but are not devoted to trading him because he’s under team control next season. They moved Cueto because they were going to lose him to free agency. The Yankees are said to be open to adding another high-end reliever. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Tuesday

Price. (Presswire)
Price. (Presswire)

We are now just four days away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees stretched their AL East lead to seven games with last night’s winFanGraphs has their postseason odds at 93.8% — but they’re in no position to coast. Ivan Nova left last night’s start with “arm fatigue,” reinforcing the team’s need for pitching help. They could also use a new second baseman and maybe a righty bench bat.

On Monday we learned … well … not much we didn’t already know. The Yankees are in on just about every pitcher, starters and relievers, and they remain interested in Ben Zobrist. Possible bullpen target Tyler Clippard was traded to the Mets as well. Oh, and Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays last night. How about that? We’re going to keep track of all the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, so make sure you check back often. It really feels like a deal could happen at any moment now.

  • 2:31pm ET: Ben Zobrist is heading to the Royals for two pitching prospects. That is really disappointing. He would have been a massive upgrade at second base.
  • 2:21pm ET: The Yankees and Rockies never seriously engaged in Troy Tulowitzki trade talks. The combination of cost (both prospects and dollars) and injury risk was not particularly appealing to the Yankees. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:10pm ET: The Athletics are “deep” in Ben Zobrist trade talks and he is expected to move soon. It’s unclear where he will end up, but the Yankees have been connected to him for weeks. Zobrist makes a ton of sense for the Bombers and pretty much every other team in MLB. [Jane Lee]
  • 12:29pm ET: The Phillies are asking teams for their “best” offers for Cole Hamels by Wednesday. That makes sense, Hamels is scheduled to pitch Thursday and they probably want to deal him before then. His stock can only go down following the no-hitter. [Jayson Stark]
  • 9:30pm ET: Craig Kimbrel‘s name has indeed popped up in trade talks with the Padres. There was nothing more than speculation connecting the Yankees to Kimbrel prior to this. The Yankees insist they will not trade their top prospects and apparently that stance will have to change to get Kimbrel. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees and several other clubs are “waiting to hear” whether the Tigers will make David Price available. Detroit lost for the seventh time in eleven games since the All-Star break yesterday, though reportedly they’re going to wait a few days before deciding on a course of action. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Scouting The Trade Market: San Diego Padres

Benoit. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)
Benoit. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

No team had a busier offseason than the Padres, who, under new GM A.J. Preller, made a handful of blockbuster trades and one big free agent signing. It didn’t work. The club comes into today with a 47-52 record and sub-5.0% postseason odds according to FanGraphs. I’m sure Preller was instructed by ownership to turn things around quick, and he tried valiantly, but it didn’t work.

So now the Padres are sellers and reportedly listening on everyone, including the guys they just picked up this winter. Looking at their roster, there is no untouchable. No Sonny Gray or Chris Sale type, the token “one great player we can build around going forward.” Preller & Co. are said to be listening on everyone and hoping to shed payroll and replenish a farm system that was gutted just a few months ago. Let’s see if any of San Diego’s players fit with the Yankees.

RHP Joaquin Benoit

The Yankees have had a bunch of interest in Benoit in recent years, including targeting him at last summer’s trade deadline as well as during the 2013 Winter Meetings, when he was a free agent. Benoit just turned 38 over the weekend and he has a 2.27 ERA (4.01 FIP) in 43.2 innings this year. His ground ball rate (47.2%) is way up but his strikeout (23.2%), walk (9.5%), and homer (1.03 HR/9) numbers have all taken turns for the worse.

Benoit’s stuff is fine, he still sits in the mid-90s with a swing-and-miss changeup, though his location has been off this year and the results have merely been very good, not great. He’s owed roughly $3.1M the rest of the season with an $8M option for next year ($1.5M buyout), so he’s affordable and can be considered a rental. Heck, if Benoit pitches well, his team could either pick up the option and keep him or pick it up and trade him. Minimal risk.

What Would It Take?: Steve Cishek was just traded for a Double-A reliever, though Cishek was having a really rough season. It could take an organizational top ten prospect to get Benoit like it did to get Francisco Rodriguez a few years ago, especially given his reputation as a late-inning guy who can close or set up. I don’t think it’ll be a pure salary dump trade even with the scary strikeout, walk, and homer trends.

Cashner. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
Cashner. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

RHPs Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy & Tyson Ross

The Padres have four starting pitchers with real trade value, including these three guys. Kennedy will be a free agent after the season, Cashner will be a free agent after next season, and Ross will be a free agent after 2017. They have different styles too — Kennedy’s a kitchen sink/command guy, Cashner is a hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi type, and Ross is a fastball/slider Michael Pineda type. There’s a little something for everyone in this group. Here are their stats so far this season:

Cashner 116.2 3.93 3.77 20.6% 7.1% 47.7% 1.00 .278 .380
Kennedy 96.1 4.58 5.25 21.7% 6.8% 38.4% 2.06 .384 .358
Ross 122.2 3.45 2.75 25.2% 10.9% 63.3% 0.22 .273 .328

Kennedy is clearly having the worst season of the three — to be fair, he missed the start of the season with a hamstring issue and has a 2.83 ERA (4.41 FIP) in his last ten starts — which means he would also come the cheapest. Cashner is having a strong year despite getting crushed by lefties, though he also has a scary injury history. He’s thrown more than 125 innings in a season just once (175 innings in 2013), and that’s between MLB and the minors.

Ross is clearly the most desirable of the three between his results and two remaining years of team control. He also turned 28 a few weeks ago and is the youngest of the three. The concerns with Ross are theoretical more than anything. (Well, aside from his MLB leading 57 walks.) He throws a frickin’ ton of sliders, 46.2% this year after 41.2% last year, and his delivery is not exactly pretty. Check it out:

Not textbook! Between the ugly delivery and all those sliders, many expect Ross to break down at some point. It doesn’t help that he had Tommy John surgery in college, shoulder strains in 2008 and 2009, and elbow strains in 2010 and 2014. Every pitcher is an injury risk, some moreso than others, and Ross seems like a guy who might carry more risk than most. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not worth acquiring, he is quite good, it’s just something to keep in mind.

What Would It Take?: We’re dealing with three different pitchers here. Kennedy is a low-end rental — a guy like Mike Leake has more trade value given his year-to-year consistency. Low-end rental starters usually go for two low-end prospects. The Dodgers traded two rookie ball guys for Roberto Hernandez last year, for example.

Cashner has the extra year of team control but also a) the scary injury history (lots of shoulder and elbow problems), and b) high-end stuff that screams ace should he ever puts it together. At this point it seems like Cashner won’t ever be an ace though, just an effective pitcher who leaves you wanting more. Think Edwin Jackson. Jackson was traded from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox in 2010 (one year before free agency, like Cashner) for two organizational top ten prospects (Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg). That seems like a decent reference point for Cashner.

Ross has two and a half years of team control remaining and he’s very good, a No. 2 type starter. Not many guys like that get traded these days. Ubaldo Jimenez went from the Rockies to the Indians two and a half years prior to free agency and that seems like a decent comp — Ross now and Jimenez then both have good stuff, walk a bunch of batters, and flirt with ace-hood. The Tribe gave up their No. 2 prospect (Alex White), No. 4 prospect (Drew Pomeranz), No. 9 prospect (Joe Gardner), and a non-top 30 prospect (Matt McBride) for Ubaldo. Not all No. 2 and 4 and whatever prospects are made equal, but you get the point. Ross won’t come cheap.

Gyorko. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
Gyorko. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

2B Jedd Gyorko

Two years ago Gyorko put up a solid .249/.301/.444 (111 wRC+) batting line with 23 homers, earning him a sixth place finish in a stacked NL Rookie of the Year class. The Padres believed in into the right-handed pop and signed Gyorko to a six-year, $35M extension after the season. He has hit .212/.276/.333 (76 wRC+) with 15 homers since then, and San Diego shipped him to Triple-A a few weeks ago. (He’s since been called back up.) Gyorko’s been one of the worst hitters in baseball the last two years.

It is no surprise then that Ken Rosenthal recently reported the Padres are shopping the 26-year-old Gyorko hard. There is still roughly $33M left on his contract through 2019 with a $1M buyout of his $13M option for 2020, and they want out of that contract. Gyorko does offer some versatility, having played a bunch of second and third base in his career, but his batted ball profile shows his line drive and grounder rates are moving the wrong direction:

Jedd Gyorko batted ball

The contract means this is not a simple change of scenery deal. You can’t bring in Gyorko, trying him out for a year or two, then non-tender him if it doesn’t work out. You’re locked for another four seasons after this one. There’s no such thing as “taking a flier” on a dude owed more than $33M over the next four years. That’s a long-term commitment and you have to be sure the player is salvageable. I’m not sure Gyorko is.

What Would It Take?: Gosh, I’m not sure. Cameron Maybin, another guy the Padres locked up after one good year, was traded this offseason with two years and $16M left on his deal (half-a-Gyorko!), but he was nothing more than a throw-in to even out salary in a larger trade. I have to think Gyorko is a salary dump at this point. Take on the money and give up a fringe prospect or two in return. And remember, the luxury tax means his $33M contract is effectively $49.5M (!) to the Yankees.

Kimbrel. (Christian Petersen/Getty)
Kimbrel. (Christian Petersen/Getty)

RHP Craig Kimbrel

The Padres acquired Kimbrel literally hours before the first game of the 2015 season and now they’re looking to move him to restock the farm system and shed salary. He’s owed roughly $27.5M through 2017 with a $13M club option ($1M buyout) for 2018, which is more than a reasonable for a reliever of his caliber when you consider what Andrew Miller and David Robertson fetched this past offseason.

Kimbrel, 27, has a 2.75 ERA (2.48 FIP) in 39.1 innings this year, which is both excellent and not as good as his work from 2011-14 (1.51 ERA and 1.52 FIP in 268.1 innings). His walk (9.5%) and grounder (47.1%) rates are right in line with the last few years while his strikeout (34.8%) and homer (0.69 HR/9) have taken a step back (42.0 K% and 0.40 HR/9 from 2011-14). But again, his strikeout and homer numbers are still awesome, he’s just not the guy he was the last few years.

“You don’t see the easy gas you used to see. He used to just overmatch hitters, and it’s not quite that easy for him,” said a scout to Buster Olney (subs. req’d) recently. Kimbrel’s fastball velocity is actually a career-high (97.3 mph), but hitters have been able to do more damage this year (.269 wOBA) than last year (.209 wOBA) or the year before (.222 wOBA). He’s starting from an extremely high baseline, remember. There’s no shame in going from the best reliever in the world to merely being a top five bullpener.

What Would It Take?: Not many elite relievers get traded these days, and Kimbrel’s trade in April doesn’t help us much because the Braves attached him to Melvin Upton Jr.’s disaster contract. Even with his relatively slight decline this year, Kimbrel is still a dominant closer signed to a below-market deal, so anything short of a top prospect or three won’t get it done. The Braves got a top 50 prospect — Matt Wisler, who was ranked right next to Luis Severino in Baseball America’s top 100 list before the season — for Kimbrel in April even with Upton attached. Taking on the salary and giving up a fringe prospect or two in return isn’t happening. Kimbrel’s good.

Shields. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
Shields. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

RHP James Shields

Shields is the fourth of the four starters I mentioned earlier, though unlike Cashner, Kennedy, and Ross, his value is hurt by his back-loaded contract. He’s making only $10M this season with $21M annual salaries from 2016-18, plus a $2M buyout of his $16M option for 2019. Not ideal for a 33-year-old who averaged 223 innings per year from 2007-14!

The move to a big ballpark in the NL has not helped Shields, who has a 3.77 ERA (4.12 FIP) in 126.2 innings this year. He’s actually striking batters out at a career high rate (26.9%) and getting the same ol’ number of ground balls (45.2%), but his walk rate (8.8%) is a career-high and his homer rate (1.42 HR/9) is through the roof. Shields has always been homer prone, but not this homer prone.

Going under the hood a bit, Shields has lost a mile-an-hour off his fastball this year, and it now averages 91.4 mph. That’s not horrible, he’s never been a big velocity guy anyway, but it is a red flag given his age and workload. Also, lefties have absolutely annihilated him, putting up a .285/.367/.537 (.389 wOBA) batting line. This is a guy who has historically had a reverse split because of his all-world changeup. Now batters of the opposite hand are crushing him.

It’s not all bad though. Shields is certainly familiar with the AL East — the ballparks, the hitters, all that — and he’s been through postseason races, so the transition should theoretically be a little easier. Shields seems like the type who could age gracefully since he’s always located well and never been a blow you away type. Other than that though, a subpar year at his age with that much money left on his contract is sorta scary.

What What Would It Take?: Jon Heyman says the Padres are “pushing hard” to trade Shields, again because they want to clear payroll and pile up prospects. Shields is a special case without similar trades we can reference — a former high-end starter (former as in just last year) with three years left on his contract at huge dollars. Who was the last guy like that get traded? We’re out of luck here. I’m sure San Diego wants to dump the contract, but I don’t think they’re going to just give Shields away either.

* * *

The Padres are also listening to offers for Justin Upton, and as much as a big bat like that would help the Yankees, they don’t have a spot for another outfielder, not unless someone gets hurt between now and the trade deadline. San Diego has other spare parts like Yangervis Solarte and Clint Barmes — don’t laugh, Barmes is hitting .311/.382/.492 (144 wRC+) against lefties and would be an upgrade over Brendan Ryan — who could make sense for New York, but they wouldn’t be difference-makers. Just depth. Guys like Ross and Cashner and Kimbrel could really impact a postseason race.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Monday

Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)
Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)

The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this coming Friday at 4pm ET. The Yankees are currently 55-42 with a +34 run differential on the season, giving them a 6.5-game lead in the AL East. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at a healthy 93.1%. Despite that, the roster could use some reinforcements, particularly at second base and on the mound.

“We’ve had conversations with every club willing to sell, finding out what they’re willing to sell and what their price tags are. You engage everyone about everything,” said Brian Cashman to Ken Rosenthal recently. The Yankees are said to prefer rental players — their trade deadline activity in recent years backs that up — but they’ve reportedly “sworn off” dealing top prospects for said rentals. We’ll see.

We’ll keep track of any Yankees-related rumors right here throughout the day. The team tends to do things very quietly, almost all of their major moves seem to come out of nowhere, so I can’t promise you many updates. Especially not this early in the week. Either way, keep tabs on everything  and talk about all things trade deadline right here throughout the day.

  • 6:17pm ET: The A’s have traded Tyler Clippard to the Mets for minor league righty Casey Meisner, the teams announced. So scratch Clippard off the list. Meisner was the Amazin’s third round pick last summer. He’s similar to a healthy Austin DeCarr, if you’re wondering.
  • 5:00pm ET: The Dodgers and Rangers are currently seen as the favorites to land Cole Hamels. The Phillies continue to demand either Judge or Severino from the Yankees. [Heyman]
  • 3:36pm ET: The Yankees continue to show interest in Ben Zobrist but they are one of many. The Pirates, Royals, Angels, and Cubs are also trying him to pry him away from Oakland. [Heyman]
  • 12:53pm ET: As expected, the Yankees continue to talk both starters and relievers with other teams, especially righty relievers. The plan could be to acquire a reliever then moving Adam Warren back into the rotation. [Heyman]
  • 11:30am ET: The Yankees have indeed contacted the Phillies about Cole Hamels, which is no surprise. They had a scout at his no-hitter over the weekend. The Phillies asked for either Aaron Judge or Luis Severino, but the Yankees are not planning to move Judge, Severino, Greg Bird, or other top prospects. Philadelphia is also said to be seeking a catcher in any trade. [Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Jim Salisbury, Buster Olney]
  • In addition to Hamels, the Yankees are keeping tabs on basically every available starting pitcher. That list includes Jeff Samardzija, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo, and Mat Latos, among others. It remains to see whether the Tigers will cave and make David Price available. [Joel Sherman]
  • The Yankees are a potential landing spot for Tyler Clippard, who could be dealt as soon as today. The club has also been scouting Padres relievers recently, presumably Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. Kimbrel is Kimbrel, and the Yanks have shown a bunch of interest in Benoit in recent years. [Susan Slusser, Jon Morosi]
  • The Yankees are looking for an upgrade at second base. There’s not much out there aside from Ben Zobrist, however. They have zero interest in Aaron Hill and could simply recall Rob Refsnyder if they’re unable to make a deal for help at second. [Jon Heyman]
  • Marlins righty Mat Latos has been linked to the Yankees. The Marlins are in sell mode — they’ve already traded ex-closer Steve Cishek to the Cardinals — and have plenty of rental players to offer. Here is our Scouting The Market post on Latos and other Miami players. [Joe Frisaro]
  • Athletics director of player personnel Billy Owens has scouting Double-A Trenton recently. That is definitely not the most prospect-laden team in the system. Scott Kazmir has already been traded, but the Yankees have interest in Zobrist. [Matt Kardos]
  • The Yankees and Reds did have discussions about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals. Apparently Ivan Nova‘s name came up. Talks didn’t advance very far. [George King]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

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

Padres have interest in Austin Romine, who hasn’t done enough to claim backup catcher spot


Through the first three weeks of Grapefruit League play, Austin Romine has not forced the Yankees to consider using him as the backup catcher when the regular season begins in two weeks. Romine was going to have to have a huge spring for the team to take him north instead of John Ryan Murphy and it simply hasn’t happened.

Romine, 26, comes into today having gone 4-for-21 (.190) with one double this spring, and the Yankees have given him the opportunity to show what he could do. Romine has basically the same number of plate appearances as Murphy this spring (23 to 24) and he’s caught more innings (48 to 44). Only Brian McCann has seen more playing time among catchers.

All that playing time was both an opportunity and a showcase. Romine had a chance to show the Yankees he was a better option to back up McCann than Murphy as well as show other teams he was worth a spot on their roster. We heard the Phillies have interest in Romine ten days ago and now George King reports the Padres have interest as well.

San Diego’s interest in Romine makes sense — the Padres just lost backup catcher Tim Federowicz for the season with a knee injury that turned out to be more severe than expected. Derek Norris is the only healthy catcher on their 40-man roster, and while they do have ex-Yankee Wil Nieves in camp as a non-roster player (yes, Nieves is still playing), they surely want to add another backstop.

As I said when we learned about Philadelphia’s interest two weeks ago, the Yankees are unlikely to get much in return for Romine at this point. Fringe big leaguers who are out of minor league options don’t have much trade value. None of San Diego’s out of options players figure to be realistically available, so any trade sending Romine to San Diego would probably bring a marginal prospect or cash to the Bronx. Such is life.

Opening Day is still two weeks away, so there’s no rush to trade Romine. There’s plenty of time for a catching injury to strike and change the trade market. That includes the Yankees — McCann or Murphy could go down unexpectedly and clear a roster spot for Romine. For now, Romine hasn’t forced the Yankees to seriously consider him for the backup catcher job, making a trade before the start of the season likely.