The Rangers are letting teams know they will consider trading infielders Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and highly regarded shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, according to major league sources. They have also made it clear to other teams they are not trying to dump salary and are adamantly opposed to picking up any part of a contract in order to facilitate a trade.
They have been in touch with other clubs, and general manager Jon Daniels is looking for offensive help at left field, catcher, and first base.
Profar, who turns 21 in February, is hitting .328 in 16 games in the Dominican Winter League.
Nats Want Another Ace
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Washington Nationals want to add an elite starting pitcher via a trade, according to major league sources. While Rays lefthander David Price is one obvious possibility, he says that Tigers righthander Max Scherzer would be an even better fit.
Rosenthal lists several reasons why Scherzer matches up well with the Nats:
• Scherzer and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo have a history — Scherzer was Rizzo’s last first-round pick as Diamondbacks scouting director, going No. 11 in 2006.
• The Nationals are deep in young power arms and veteran late-inning relievers, both of which surely are on Tigers GM David Dombrowski’s wish list.
• The price in prospects for Scherzer, a free agent at the end of next season, would be lower than it is for Price, who is under club control for two more years.
• And, finally, the Nats maintain a strong relationship with Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, and might stand a better chance of signing the pitcher long term than most clubs.
I’m shocked to hear that the Tigers would trade Scherzer in the right deal, but apparently they are desperate for payroll relief and he’s due to make close to $14 million in arbitration before becoming a free agent after the season.
Scherzer, 29, led all of baseball with a 21-3 record with a 2.90 ERA and 0.910 WHIP, and finished second in the majors with 240 strikeouts. He’s expected to with the AL Cy Young Award.
The Nationals’ rotation, meanwhile, is fronted by right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann and left-hander Gio Gonzalez — and Strasburg is coming off surgery to remove bone chips from his surgically repaired right elbow.
Phillies Under Pressure
Rosenthal also reports that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is feeling the heat and is encouraging his staff to seek creative, innovative solutions to turn the franchise around, and that they’ve gone so far as to kick around a trade for David Price, according to major league sources.
Not only do they seem willing to part with top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle but even outfielder Domonic Brown could be part of a package. However, Rosenthal believes that the Phillies would likely get outbid by teams who have better younger players they would move for Price.
That said, Amaro has already made offers on “several” free agent players, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Zolecki believes the Phils have reached out to Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Morse.
One thing about the other teams in the NL East… They don’t wait for the market to develop like the Mets always do. In most instances the Nats, Phils and Braves attack the market early and aggressively.
Other Hot Stove News…
The Yankees are making provisions in case second baseman Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. According to sources, they have already checked in with the Reds on Brandon Phillips who is said to be available in the right trade. The Reds won’t give away their gold glove, run-producer – who has a very affordable $50 million and four years left on his deal. The Yanks may also check in on Howie Kendrick of the Angels and Dan Uggla of the Braves.
The Rays and outfielder David DeJesus have agreed to a two-year, $10.5 million contract that includes a club option for 2016. The contract replaces the $6.5 million 2014 club option the Rays picked up on Sunday. DeJesus, who turns 34 in December, was acquired from the Nationals on Aug. 23 after beginning the season with the Cubs. He batted .341 at Tropicana Field after joining Tampa Bay and holds a .279 career average with a .353 on-base percentage.
The Colorado Rockies have interest in reliever Joe Smith who is now a free agent. The Rockies look to improve a bullpen that owned the National League’s worst ERA last season. Smith, a sidearm right-hander, fits the Rockies’ profile, inducing groundballs with efficiency while posting a 2.42 ERA over the last three seasons. The former Met reliever held hitters to a .235 average last year.