Inside Baseball AL Notes | White Sox farm system gets even better

Chicago Cubs right fielder Eloy Jimenez takes a swing against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 10, 2017, in Peoria, Ariz. The Mariners defeated the Cubs 11-10. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Inside Baseball news and notes from around the American League


Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

  • Pablo Sandoval is working his way back at Pawtucket, but if this tryout doesn’t go well, you’d have to wonder whether a release could happen for the $95-million signee. The Red Sox need a third baseman, but it’s possible Sandoval is one of those players where Boston doesn’t agree with him. As someone close to him recently put it, “He’s always hit wherever he’s been.” The implication was clear. For him, Boston’s been different.
  • Futures Game 3B Rafel Devers has “big-time power,” says a scout, who marvels at his ability to have a .300 batting average with that big swing.

Chicago White Sox

  • The White Sox were interested in Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker in an Astros deal and wanted to start a Yankees deal with either Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. In the end, they got Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, plus two others.
  • The White Sox may have the top farm system now. It’s probably between them and the Braves, though the Yankees and Dodgers aren’t too shabby.
  • Rick Hahn set up these good trades by making great long-term deals with his better players — Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Quintana.
  • Yoan Moncada is going to hit, but one scout said he “likes him much better from the left side.”
  • Michael Kopech is the real deal.

Cleveland Indians

  • One scout said, “The Indians haven’t been the same team.” But it would still be a surprise if someone other than them ended up taking the AL Central.
  • Edwin Encarnacion has made a nice comeback after a rough start to his Indians tenure. He now has 18 homers and an .855 OPS, which isn’t bad. Look for him to have a big second half.
  • Terry Francona is back Friday. Brad Mills did a nice job with the All-Star Game.

September 26, 2016: Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) throw to first base to complete a double-play during a regular season game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers played at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI.
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

Detroit Tigers

  • Justin Verlander isn’t getting much interest on the trade market, but these players certainly are.
  • Ian Kinsler’s name isn’t coming up much. One Tigers person pointed to his 15-team no-trade list and that’s a factor, but so is the fact that there aren’t many teams clamoring for a second baseman (the Angels, Jays and Royals have talked about that position). Kinsler also isn’t having close to his usual year. As one rival bluntly put it, “He just hasn’t been very good this year.”
  • Beau Burrows, throwing 98 mph, was quite impressive in the Futures Game.

Houston Astros

  • The Astros balked at the White Sox’s asking price for Jose Quintana, and now with a limited supply of starting pitchers on the market, some Astros people are weighing whether to go after a big-time closer to augment their already strong bullpen. Word is, they’d look at Zach Britton should he ever become available. There’s been no word of a call to the Orioles yet, however.
  • First base prospect Yordan Alvarez “is like Big Papi,” one scout said. High praise indeed.

Kansas City Royals

  • It shouldn’t have been a shock to see the Royals linked to Dee Gordon. They have needed a better lead-off hitter for years, and according to one person in the know “have long been enamored” of Gordon, the son of retired Royals star Tom Gordon. Of course, the Royals (or any other team) would want the Marlins to significantly pay down the $40 million or so remaining on Gordon’s rather high contract, and the Marlins have never been anxious to do that.
  • The Royals have interest in Jaime Garcia and other rental pitchers.
  • The key for Salvador Perez is moving closer to the plate, which helps him with those low-and-away sliders that used to kill him.

Los Angeles Angels

  • They have looked at Dee Gordon to solve their longstanding second base issue. But like other interested teams, they’d want that deal of his paid way down.
  • All-Star third baseman Mike Moustakas continues to be linked to the Angels for next year. Arte Moreno hasn’t made a deal with agent Scott Boras since he got upset about Mark Teixeira going elsewhere, but things seem to have calmed down a bit and they will need a third baseman. Moustakas is from the Los Angeles Valley, where he set all-time high school home run records. The Angels are expected to be big free-agent players with Josh Hamilton finally off the books.

Minnesota Twins

  • The Twins are looking at controllable starters, according to Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and FOX Sports (though there’s no more writing at Fox). Rosenthal mentioned Jose Quintana (now traded) Sonny Gray and Dan Straily (though Marlins GM Michael Hill told me they had no interest in trading Straily).
  • It’s nice to see the Twins considering this year as well as the future, but from here, they don’t look like a realistic contender, despite the record. Their run differential is still a minus-50.
  • Based on that report, and others heard, Ervin Santana, who’s under contract through next year, doesn’t seem likely to be going anywhere.

New York Yankees

  • The Yankees are reluctant to trade their best prospects. But if they do, it would be for a starting pitcher.
  • They are also in the hunt for the top relievers, including Brad Hand. They have always like David Robertson.
  • First base has been an unmitigated disaster, as GM Brian Cashman said. They will not trade a big prospect for a first baseman.
  • Didi Gregorius has been spectacular. He gets better every year.
  • Michael Pineda continues to be confounding.
  • Chris Carter had a rough go with the Yankees, so he will have to settle for a minor-league deal somewhere. He did hit 41 home runs last year, so someone should take a chance.

Oakland Athletics

  • Sean Doolittle should draw big interest, in addition to Sonny Gray. The Yankees are one of many with interest. He’d fit the Dodgers, Nats and several others, as well.
  • Yonder Alonso, another A’s player who could hit the block, became the first A’s player to have a multi-hit game in an All-Star Game since Rickey Henderson had three in 1982. Nice homecoming for Alonso, a Miamian and former star at the U (the local reference to the University of Miami).

 Seattle Mariners

  • The Mariners could go either way – buyers or sellers – but they are reluctant to sell as a “now” team.
  • One player they’ve liked in the past is Lucas Duda. So if they decide to look for another hitter, that could be one to keep an eye on.
  • Robinson Cano remains great on the big stage. They miss him in New York. Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson was on hand to collect some memorabilia from Cano’s winning night. Eventually, Cano himself may make it to Cooperstown.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer delivers in the fifth inning of a baseball game Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer delivers in the fifth inning of a baseball game Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Tampa Bay Rays

  • The pen is Tampa’s focus as it tries to steal a playoff spot.
  • You hear Chris Archer’s name out there, but only regarding the desires of other clubs. Not going anywhere.
  • Rookie Jacob Faria quietly is 4-0.
  • Hard to believe it was Corey Dickerson who was the AL DH in the All-Star Game in the year after David Ortiz, but good for him. Imagine if the Rockies still had him.
  • Wilson Ramos is just warming up.

Texas Rangers

  • Several teams are scouting Jurickson Profar, who probably needs a change of scenery.
  • Jonathan Lucroy is said to be available, but there aren’t a lot of contenders looking for a starting catcher. The Rockies or Diamondbacks could make some sense.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • The Jays’ real worries about second baseman Devon Travis’ injury is certainly what led them to mention Dee Gordon in talks with the Marlins, as FanRag Sports first reported. However, the likelihood of a deal remains low since the Jays would want the Marlins to pay much of the $40 million or so remaining on Gordon’s deal, something the Marlins ordinarily don’t do to facilitate trades.
  • Reliever Joe Smith would interest teams if his shoulder issue lessens.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who at 18 is quite a talent (he was the youngest player at the Futures Game) and he looks like a future star assuming he can control his weight. He has hired Magnus, headlined by Marc Anthony, to represent him.

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