CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Baseball ProGUESTus: B... (11/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Veteran... (11/18)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Beltran... (11/26)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (11/22)

November 22, 2013

Rumor Roundup

Third Baseman for Sale

by Daniel Rathman

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Angels in Talks to Acquire David Freese
The Rangers and Tigers may have already consummated the offseason’s biggest trade, but those fearing a drought between now and next month’s Winter Meetings might not need to worry too much. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers’ division rivals in Anaheim are working on a swap of their own.

General manager Jerry Dipoto sent Alberto Callaspo, his full-time third baseman from 2011 through the first half of 2013, to the Athletics last July, opening up a spot at which manager Mike Scioscia mixed and matched utility men down the stretch. Andrew Romine, Luis Jimenez, and company got the Halos through game 162, but if the club is to return to contention, it will need to find a useful regular at the hot corner.

Grant Green, whom the Angels obtained in the Callaspo deal, is one option, but he has made only 15 professional appearances at third base, 11 of which came for Triple-A Sacramento in 2012. The team’s no. 2 prospect, Kaleb Cowart, is a third baseman, but he was overmatched at Double-A Arkansas last year and is at least a year away from being ready to contribute in the majors.

With no desirable options within his organization, Dipoto is looking elsewhere, and there aren’t many choices in the free agent class. Jhonny Peralta and Juan Uribe might be viable stopgaps, but both are aging and likely to demand multi-year contracts. There have been conflicting reports as to whether the 34-year-old Uribe is seeking a three-year hitch—CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says yea, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon says nay—but the Dodgers, per ESPN’s Jim Bowden, have made it clear that they want him back, and a bidding war is unlikely to end well for the Angels.

All of which explains why Dipoto has been dialing Cardinals GM John Mozeliak’s number in recent days. The 30-year-old Freese is coming off of a disappointing year, during which he batted just .262/.340/.381, good for a .250 TAv that represents the worst mark of his career. If you believe the metrics, he was also a dismal defender, 14.9 fielding runs worse than average—which, in tandem with the poor showing at the plate, left him below replacement level.

With Kolten Wong ready to take over at the keystone and Matt Carpenter a better fit defensively at the hot corner, the Cardinals are willing to move Freese, even though he is just a year removed from putting in three-win work. Freese, who raked in $3.15 million in 2013, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and has two years of team control remaining.

For the Angels, Freese could be a buy-low stopgap who holds down the fort until Cowart finishes his climb through the upper minors. Details about the negotiations, including whether the sides are nearing a deal or merely kicking the tires, are few and far between, but Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweeted yesterday morning that the Cardinals might ask for Peter Bourjos as part of the return.

We also know that the Angels are not alone in their pursuit. The Yankees, whose hot corner plans are up in the air because of Alex Rodriguez’s looming suspension, expressed interest more than a week ago. The Marlins have had internal discussions about Freese, though it is unclear whether they decided to move forward.

Nationals’ Rotation Plans Remain a Mystery
Among the myriad issues that befell Davey Johnson’s club this past season was a revolving door at the rear of the rotation. The Nationals needed 10 starters to get through the season, and though they ranked seventh in the majors with a 3.60 rotation ERA, first-year skipper Matt Williams would surely appreciate more stability than his predecessor enjoyed.

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann are locked into the top three slots on the 2014 staff, but the rear two are open for competition. The current depth chart has Tanner Roark, a late-season revelation, listed fourth, and Taylor Jordan, who raced through the upper minors after finishing the 2012 campaign with Low-A Hagerstown, in the caboose. Ross Detwiler, who made only 13 starts last season and missed the last 78 games with a herniated disk in his lower back, could rejoin the group, too.

With three internal candidates for two openings, general manager Mike Rizzo is hardly desperate for pitching help this offseason, despite the departure of Dan Haren, whose 4.67 ERA for the year belied a strong second half. Still, the Nationals are likely to bring in a veteran with a longer track record than Detwiler, Jordan, and Roark can boast.

As Washington Post beat writer Adam Kilgore wrote yesterday, though, the question is how they will do it.

Kilgore virtually ruled out Ubaldo Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ervin Santana, because the Nationals would like to keep the 20th-overall selection in the 2014 draft. He also doubts that Rizzo will be able to swing a deal for David Price, Max Scherzer, or even Jeff Samardzija without including right-hander Lucas Giolito, whose ceiling makes him virtually untouchable in the eyes of our own Jason Parks.

According to Kilgore, the Nats have reached out to Ricky Nolasco, but the ex-Dodger has been a popular target in the early going and is likely to demand a long-term commitment now that Jason Vargas has secured a four-year pact from the Royals. Kilgore believes Rizzo will be averse to tendering any offer that could cripple the team’s pursuit of a marquee pitcher next winter, when the menu—pending extensions—will be more attractive.

That means another short-term gamble, such as those the Nationals have previously made with Haren and Edwin Jackson, is the most likely outcome. With Vargas out, Scott Feldman and Scott Kazmir could be in play.

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Baseball ProGUESTus: B... (11/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Veteran... (11/18)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Beltran... (11/26)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (11/22)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Live That Fantasy
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Brandon McCarthy and the ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bringing the Band Back...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Best and Worst Mechanics: NL W...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Martin in Miami, Nate ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Padres Wish Upton a St...

MORE FROM NOVEMBER 22, 2013
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Kansas City...
Baseball Prospectus News: A Commencement of ...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Bush League: Robert Stephenson
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Viva Las Vargas
Premium Article Minor League Update: International Winter Le...
Baseball ProGUESTus: Being Smart about Sits ...

MORE BY DANIEL RATHMAN
2013-12-03 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Re-Upping Ramirez
2013-11-27 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Replacing the Departed
2013-11-26 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Beltran to the Bronx?
2013-11-22 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Third Baseman for Sale
2013-11-18 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Veteran Help Wanted
2013-11-15 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: AL Rotation Rumblings
2013-11-12 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: The High Price of Free Agent ...
More...

MORE RUMOR ROUNDUP
2013-12-03 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Re-Upping Ramirez
2013-11-27 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Replacing the Departed
2013-11-26 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Beltran to the Bronx?
2013-11-22 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Third Baseman for Sale
2013-11-18 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Veteran Help Wanted
2013-11-15 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: AL Rotation Rumblings
2013-11-12 - Premium Article Rumor Roundup: The High Price of Free Agent ...
More...