- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that he spoke to a scout whose team has interest in Mets closer Addison Reed that expressed some concern that Reed has been overworked by manager Terry Collins. Only 10 relievers in baseball have more appearances than Reed’s 47, and five of them are situational relievers whose innings count is considerably lower than Reed’s total of 48. By my count, Reed has worked more than an inning on six occasions this year, and he’s also worked on three consecutive days four different times.
Jeff Samardzija’s name has come up frequently in recent trade rumors, but the 32-year-old right-hander’s five-year, $90MM contract allows him to block trades to all but eight teams. Moreover, Samardzija tells Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that if approached by the Giants about a trade to one of the teams over which he has veto power, he wouldn’t be interested in waiving the clause.
“I love being here,” said Samardzija shortly after praising the Giants’ core players and suggesting that the team fully believes it can turn the tide next season. Samardzija smiled yesterday when telling Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that he “[doesn’t] remember” the eight teams to which he can be traded without his approval (Twitter link), but Baggarly now reports the full list in a separate column.
According to Baggarly, Samardzija can be traded to the Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Athletics and Nationals without his consent. All other teams — including the Astros, who have been the team most frequently connected to Samardzija on the rumor circuit — require Samardzija’s consent, and it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in green-lighting any proposals.
Samardzija is owed $18MM annually and has struggled in the estimation of traditional metrics this season. He’s sporting a 5-11 record with a 4.85 ERA, but most other statistical means of evaluation are rather bullish on the righty. He’s averaging 9.7 K/9 against 1.1 BB/9, both of which would be the best marks of his career, and leading the Majors in K/BB ratio. His 43.3 percent ground-ball rate is only a tick below average, and he’s inducing more swings at pitches out of the strike zone than he ever has before. Samardzija’s fastball velocity has also held strong at an average of just over 94 mph, and he’s averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per start. Metrics like FIP (3.49), xFIP (3.13) and SIERA (3.28 prior to today’s strong outing) all view him much more favorably than earned run average.
Samardzija has struggled with men on base, in part due to the fact that he’s one of many pitchers throughout the league that has seen his HR/9 rate and HR/FB ratio spike as balls are leaving the yard at a higher rate than ever before in MLB history. And while his durability and K/BB numbers are impressive, some teams will no doubt express some skepticism that Samardzija would be able to better keep the ball in the yard by vacating the spacious AT&T Park as his home stadium. The remaining money on his contract also figures to be a concern to come clubs, as he represents a fairly sizable commitment to those that are near the luxury tax threshold.
All of that sounds to be mostly a moot point anyhow. Among the teams to which Samardzija can be moved, the Red Sox don’t seem likely to pursue a starter, while the Mets and A’s aren’t contending. The Angels are a fringe contender at best and have luxury tax concerns, while the Nationals are said to be more focused on relievers and may shy away from the money remaining on his deal. It’s at least possible that one of the other teams listed shows some interest, but the Yankees are presently focused on Sonny Gray, while the Cubs have already added Jose Quintana and the Dodgers have been most heavily linked to Yu Darvish (to say nothing of the longstanding Dodgers/Giants division rivalry).
The Nationals are “scouring [the] market” for a starter, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). We have heard varying suggestions on this front, as the Nats deal with the loss of Joe Ross and newfound uncertainty regarding Stephen Strasburg. While the latest signs on Stras are positive, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post argues that the club ought to going after a front-line starter regardless. Beyond the possibility of augmenting the club’s staff for an anticipated postseason appearance this year, the possibility of adding an arm for 2018 and perhaps beyond would seem to hold appeal, perhaps adding to the justification for making a move.
Here’s more deadline chatter from the National League:
- Padres chairman Ron Fowler suggested today in a radio appearance on The Mighty 1090 that he doesn’t really expect the team to end up dealing lefty Brad Hand (h/t Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). “Other things being equal right now, I don’t see us moving him, because we value him more than what’s being offered and we think he could be part of the team for the foreseeable future,” Fowler stated. That said, he acknowledged the team remains open to working out a deal, calling it “a very fluid situation.”
- Though it’s still unclear just what course the Cardinals will take at the deadline, the club is now “expected to listen to offers” on outfielders Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. While the Cards do now have quite a few options in the corner outfield, both of these players seem to fall in a curious spot in the potential market. There just isn’t much deadline demand in the corner outfield to drive up prices, and the Cards would surely be valuing their lengthy control rights in exploring potential deals. While there’d surely be interest, neither really looks to be a likely deadline mover from the outside. Of course, St. Louis also has some shorter-term assets that might be of interest — Lance Lynn, Seung-hwan Oh, and Trevor Rosenthal chief among them — and Morosi does note that the Dodgers and Nationals had scouts at the club’s latest game last night. Whether the Cardinals will really punt on the present season when the division is still in reach, though, is hardly clear at this point.
- The Reds held shortstop Zack Cozart out of the lineup today as he continues to deal with quad issues, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. It seems the hope is that this is more a rest day than the precursor to a DL stint, but it’s not the best news regardless. Cozart has been great this year, but the quad problem further dents his value in a market that doesn’t seem to have much appetite for shortstops.
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says there’s nothing close to completion at this point for his team, as Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio of Sirius XM tweets. The team is unsurprisingly still looking at pitching, with the rotation and relief corps both being susceptible of improvement.
- The Cubs are among the teams to have asked the Mets about righty Seth Lugo, per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). But there’s simply no indication at present that New York will seriously entertain offers on Lugo, as Crasnick and Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link) note. That makes sense given the multitude of pitching injuries the organization has experienced as well as its intentions of competing again in 2018.
- Some interest has begun to develop in Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). The veteran obviously is very much available, and would conceivably fit quite a few teams as a lefty-hitting outfielder who can still handle some time in center field. On the other hand, he has been hurt and cold at the plate of late, and is playing on a hefty $15MM salary this year.
With less than a week until the non-waiver deadline, Mets right fielder Jay Bruce has yet to attract any serious attention on the trade market, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. The $4.83MM remaining on Bruce’s contract this season might be enough to allow Bruce to clear waivers in August, Carig notes (that sum would be down to about $4.4MM on Aug. 1), but at present all reports seemingly indicate that interest in Bruce is tepid. Most of the Mets’ trade conversations to date have focused on closer Addison Reed, Carig adds.
A few more notes on the Mets…
- There’s somewhat of a market for backup catcher Rene Rivera, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post, and the Cubs are among the clubs with interest. Chicago has been linked to multiple catchers, most prominently Alex Avila, as the team looks to find a more experienced backup to Willson Contreras. Rivera fits the bill, and while he’s not a great hitter, the 33-year-old’s .245/.291/.395 batting line and six homers in 158 plate appearances are passable for a backup option. Plus, Rivera is regarded as an excellent defender and has halted 38 percent of stolen base attempts this season while maintaining his characteristically strong framing numbers. A free agent at season’s end, Rivera is earning a reasonable $1.75MM salary, with about $650K remaining on that deal.
- Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes that most within the Mets organization expect top prospect Amed Rosario to be recalled shortly after the non-waiver trade deadline. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets the same. The 21-year-old entered play today hitting .329/.367/.473 with seven homers, 18 doubles, seven triples and 17 steals through 398 plate appearances in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
- Meanwhile, closer Jeurys Familia is readying to begin throwing from a mound as he continues to work back from surgery to address a blood clot in his shoulder, Carig was among those to report. While a timeline remains uncertain, manager Terry Collins did indicate that the hope is Familia will return at some point in the current season. That won’t likely change the fate of the club for the current season, but perhaps will allow them to get a read on his status entering the offseason.
Let’s catch up on a few recent minor transactions:
- Blue Jays lefty Jeff Beliveau has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, per a club announcement. He had been designated for assignment recently after posting rough results over 19 MLB innings. The 30-year-old did manage 9.8 K/9 during his time in the majors, and was striking out over a dozen per nine at Triple-A this year. But he allowed four long balls in just 15 2/3 innings and had not generated much soft contact. The announcement seemingly suggests that Beliveau will take the assignment at Buffalo, though he’s not yet listed on the roster and would have the right to choose free agency.
- Righty Lucas Harrell has accepted an assignment with the Blue Jays’ top affiliate, per a club announcement. Depending upon the team’s deadline moves, perhaps it won’t be a lengthy detour. Harrell, 32, was knocked around in 6 1/3 big league innings this year after making nine useful starts last year at the game’s highest level.
- The Mets added righty Jonathan Albaladejo on a minors deal, the team announced (h/t Marc Carig of Newsday, on Twitter). The former big leaguer had been pitching for the indy ball Bridgeport Bluefish. Now 34, Albaladejo hasn’t tasted the majors since a brief showing in 2012. Over 66 total appearances in the big leagues, he owns a 4.34 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.
- The Rockies have acquired lefty Will Lamb from the White Sox, with an announcement confirming a tweet from Robert Murray of Fan Rag (via Twitter). It’s not known what Chicago will receive in return, but it’s surely reflective of Lamb’s struggles. While the former second-rounder has produced good results in brief stops at Double-A in recent years, he has been knocked around at the highest level of the minors. Over 120 1/3 total Triple-A frames, Lamb carries a 6.06 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.
- The Mets believe internally that they will end up trading infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes in an update on the team’s deadline situation. That seemingly reflects not only the fairly robust demand, but also the team’s assessment of its interest (or lack thereof) in bringing Cabrera back for 2018 through a club option. Aside from Cabrera and top trade piece Addison Reed, the Mets are said to be receiving middling interest in their pending free agents — despite the fact that all are playing rather well. Puma notes that lofty salaries would make all of the team’s other major trade candidates (Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, and Neil Walker) plausible August trade pieces.
The Mets announced that Zack Wheeler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his right arm. Fellow right-hander Tyler Pill has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his spot on the roster.
[Related: Updated New York Mets depth chart]
Wheeler had a quick stint on the 10-day DL in late June due to tendinitis in his right arm, and he’s struggled since being activated from that most recent DL stay. The 27-year-old has been tagged for 11 earned runs (13 total) through 20 innings in his past four starts. When including his two starts prior to the last DL trip, Wheeler has a 9.89 ERA with 38 hits and 14 walks allowed in his past 23 2/3 innings.
The Mets didn’t include a potential timetable for Wheeler’s return, but they’ll presumably go with a rotation consisting of Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Rafael Montero and Pill for the time being.
TODAY: Ramirez cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets.
The 28-year-old Ramirez has bounced between the Giants, Blue Jays and Mets organizations this year, though the majority of his season has been spent in Queens. In 21 innings with the Mets, he’s struggled to a 6.43 ERA with an impressive 26 strikeouts but also a troubling 17 walks. Overall, Ramirez has a 7.18 ERA with 12.6 K/9 against 6.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings between the Giants and Mets this year.
Fun fact: Neil was drafted by the Rangers in 2007 four picks before the Cubs took Josh Donaldson.
- With the deadline just over a week away, Joel Sherman of the New York Post proposes several Mets trades, including one that would see them send first baseman Lucas Duda to the Yankees for a four-player package of major league-ready talent. A New York-New York swap would be a win-win in this case, Sherman argues, as the Mets would get something for an impending free agent and the Yankees would solve their first base woes for the stretch run. Further, dealing a few players would help the Yankees with the 40-man roster crunch they could face during the offseason.
- The Dodgers are considering trade scenarios involving Mets reliever Addison Reed, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. Reed has already been linked to any number of teams, including the Brewers, Red Sox and Yankees. He’s collected 16 saves with the Mets this season but obviously would be highly unlikely to displace Kenley Jansen in Los Angeles, likely complementing him in a late-inning role. Reed has a 2.35 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and a terrific 1.2 BB/9 in 46 innings this season, after which he’ll be eligible for free agency.