MLB Rumors: Analyzing All the Latest Whispers, News and Speculation
Thanks to the endless stream of MLB whispers, news and speculation, it is a fine time to be a fan of the game.
From watching the waiver wire to see who's cleared and is eligible to be traded to keeping up with the latest rookie call-ups and analyzing the postseason picture, there is always something to grab your attention.
So what new bits of gossip that made their way around MLB over the last seven days are there for us to dissect?
As a standard note, this won't be an all-inclusive list. That would take a novel's worth of reading to digest. Rather, we'll examine some of the juicier bits.
With that noted, let's take a look at what's going on around MLB.
Are the Los Angeles Angels Set in the Starting Rotation?
When New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was placed on (and eventually cleared) revocable waivers, many in the baseball world thought that the Los Angeles Angels would be the logical destination.
After all, they’ve lost Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards to injury and have a rotation that seems to need a veteran arm for a postseason run.
Alas, no such deal was consummated.
At the time, Mike DiGiovanna from the Los Angeles Times cited concerns about the luxury tax next season as the chief reason. He wrote that general manager Jerry Dipoto “would probably want the Mets to assume a chunk of the pitcher’s 2015 salary” as part of any deal. And that isn't going to happen.
There are other guys, of course. Houston Astros starter Scott Feldman cleared waivers at the same time Colon did, but he also comes with significant financial burden.
Another option who was mentioned by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Trevor Cahill. Cahill fits the financial model, but Rosenthal cited sources when he wrote that “no deal is anticipated.”
So barring an unforeseen change, the Angels will finish the rest of the season with Jered Weaver, Matt Shoemaker, C.J. Wilson and Hector Santiago as the front four. Not exactly awe-inspiring, but it could work.
Shoemaker, for example, is pitching quite well and should garner AL Rookie of the Year consideration. Meanwhile, Weaver and Wilson are capable of turning it on at any time, and Santiago has been dominant in the past.
And let's not forget that as long as Mike Scioscia is at the helm, anything is possible. Him and Mike Trout, anyway.
Regardless, what you see is what you get. This is the group that Dipoto is going to put his faith in.
It's the Status Quo in Kansas City, and That's Just Fine
The Kansas City Royals are “pretty content with their core,” per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. As a result, it doesn’t look like general manager Dayton Moore will be adding anyone else to the roster via an August waiver trade.
Some could say that is a mistake. After all, Yordano Ventura has a balky back that caused him to miss his last start on Wednesday, and closer Greg Holland admitted a couple of weeks ago that he is dealing with fatigue, via The Kansas City Star’s Andy McCullough.
It makes perfect sense, then, to go out and add another piece in the next few days, right?
First off, there is a “growing organizational belief that Ventura is the most likely starting pitcher to move to the bullpen if the Royals make the playoffs,” according to the Star's Sam Mellinger, making the addition of another starter unnecessary. And Holland seems to have rebounded nicely after a rough outing versus the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 16.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the offense has scored at least six runs in eight out of the 15 games since Josh Willingham was acquired on Aug. 11. And let’s not forget that Eric Hosmer has begun swinging a bat, per the Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, and could be returning in a short amount of time.
All told, the Royals are ready to see this thing through, giving Moore every reason to maintain the status quo. And in this case, that’s just fine.
The Chicago Cubs Have Put the NL Central on Notice
In case you weren’t aware, the Chicago Cubs have a bright future.
Simply put, the work that general manager Jed Hoyer has done the past few seasons is beginning to bear fruit.
Second baseman Javier Baez and right fielder Jorge Soler made explosive MLB debuts. So impressive, in fact, that they became the first teammates to hit home runs in their first game since Brandon Belt and Brett Pill did it for the 2011 San Francisco Giants, per a tweet from CSN Chicago’s statistical maverick, Christopher Kamka.
Baez and Soler join center fielder Arismendy Alcantara, right-hander Kyle Hendricks and lefty Tsuyoshi Wada as rookies who have just begun what should be lengthy careers on the North Side. And let’s not forget that Kris Bryant is tearing up the minor leagues and could be on the 25-man roster as early as next season.
Also keep in mind that shortstop Starlin Castro, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and starting pitcher Jake Arrieta are already in place, giving the Cubs a formidable core. True, the pitching staff needs some work, but when all things are considered, the window for fielding a competitive club is beginning to open.
"It's going to be fun,” Hoyer said, via CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Not for the other clubs in the NL Central, of course, but for most everybody else.
Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos Has Some Questions to Answer
This season could’ve been remembered as the year the Toronto Blue Jays returned to the postseason.
Unfortunately, injuries and uneven pitching doomed the club. And to think—it started out so promising.
Never more than three-and-a-half games out of first place in May, the Blue Jays rode Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and Mark Buehrle all of the way to a six-game lead in the AL East on June 6. They looked completely in control.
Then the wheels fell off, and when it was clear that something must be done, general manager Alex Anthopoulos didn't make any major moves at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Many reasons were given, of course, but the fact remains that the addition of Danny Valencia from the Kansas City Royals simply wasn’t enough.
It is a decision that will haunt Blue Jays fans for some time, as the window to win the AL East following the blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins two years ago is almost closed. Is there really any other way of looking at it?
As Fox Sports' Jon Morosi wrote, they "have a franchise record payroll, yet are on pace to finish with a tie for their ninth-best record in the 21 seasons since winning the ’93 World Series." That wasn't part of the plan.
Now Anthopoulos is coming back for another season, per Steve Simmons from the Toronto Sun, but what he does this offseason will determine the future of the franchise.
Will he trade one of his young pitchers to shore up the holes at third base and in center field, or will he hope that an aging core can finish what they started this year? And what about pending free agents Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus?
Those are questions that will be on everyone's mind as this painful season comes to an end.
Things Don't Come Easy in Motown
No matter what general manager Dave Dombrowski seems to do, the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff is stuck in neutral.
Consider that shortly after he acquired Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, the reliever landed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. And that was after he gave up five earned runs in six appearances.
Soria’s placement on the DL coincided with Anibal Sanchez being shelved with an injury to his pectoral muscle. Just under three weeks later, word comes that Sanchez is "concerned that he may not be able to return this season after suffering a setback Monday," per MLive's James Schmehl.
New acquisition Jim Johnson is pitching to a 7.20 ERA and a 2.000 WHIP over the course of his five appearances entering play Wednesday. It seems as though he has absolutely no confidence, which is the last thing the Tigers need.
Any way it’s looked at, the situation is worrisome.
True, the Tigers are still very much in the playoff picture and have two of the best starting pitchers in the game in the form of David Price and Max Scherzer. Is that enough, though?
Perhaps Dombrowski has another roster move up his sleeve. Perhaps Kyle Ryan, who is scheduled to start for the Tigers on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, is the answer.
More will be revealed, of course, but with the pitching staff in disarray, the next month is going to be a grind for the Tigers.