UPDATE: Twins deal Ramos to Nats for Matt Capps


UPDATE, 10:28 PM:  The Nationals’ official Twitter feed is now reporting that left-hander Joe Testa is also headed to Washington in the trade. 

The 24-year-old posted a 1.96 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 82 innings at Single-A last season.  He struggled a bit in his move to Double-A this year, but the lefty is still a valuable part and it’s quite odd that the Twins needed a throw-in to complete the deal.

UPDATE, 10:12 PM:  Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says the deal is done, and that it’s a straight swap.

UPDATE, 10:04 PM:  Now Mark D. Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has confirmed from a “reliable scouting source” that Ramos is indeed headed to Washington.  Whether the Twins get more than Capps out of this deal remains to be seen.

UPDATE, 9:53 PM:  LaVelle E. Neal III at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune notes that catching prospect Wilson Ramos has been pulled from the lineup at Triple-A Rochester and may be involved in a pending trade.  The 22-year-old hit .296/.321/.407 in seven games for the Twins back in May.  He has a .625 OPS in 278 at-bats for Rochester this season, but is widely regarded as a top catching prospect.

9:21 PM:
  Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports — and now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com confirms — that the Twins are “in discussions” for Nationals right-handed reliever Matt Capps.

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian was the first to write of the Twins’ interest in Capps in this report Tuesday, and now it appears that Minnesota management has stepped up its efforts. 

The 26-year-old Capps has posted a 2.74 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP this season while converting 26 of 30 save opportunities as Washington’s closer.  Twins ninth-inning man Jon Rauch has struggled a bit in the month of July, watching his ERA jump from 2.40 on June 30 to the 3.05 mark where it sits today.  Capps could either take over Rauch’s role or simply provide the Twins another reliable setup man as they prepare for a run at the American League Central crown.

The Nats should be plenty motivated to move Capps before Saturday’s trade deadline because he is earning $3.5 million this season and will get a hefty raise via salary arbitration heading into 2011, especially if he continues the solid numbers.  Drew Storen is ready to take over the ninth inning in the nation’s capital.

Angels sign outfielder Rafael Ortega to one-year contract

Rafael Ortega
AP Photo/John Bazemore
Leave a comment

According to the official Twitter account of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the club has agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with outfielder Rafael Ortega.

It’s worth the MLB minimum, which should be a little north of $507,000 in 2016.

Ortega was once considered a top prospect in the Rockies’ minor league system, but he has made only six total plate appearances at the big league level since signing out of Venezuela in 2008. The 24-year-old batted .286/.367/.378 with two home runs and 17 stolen bases in 131 games this past season for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

He’ll be in the running for an Opening Day roster spot next spring in Angels camp.

Report: Ben Zobrist’s price tag is currently four years, $60 million

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist will turn 35 years old early next summer, but that doesn’t seem to be putting too much of a dent in his free agent value.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the “sense among interested teams” is that Zobrist’s price is currently hovering around four years, $60 million and it “may go higher.”

There was a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Sunday stating that the Mets have made Zobrist their “No. 1” offseason target, and over a dozen other clubs have linked to him since the World Series ended. That’s the kind of attention you command when you can both hit — Zobrist posted an .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 2015 — and also cover a range of positions defensively.

He makes sense for just about any club looking to contend in the coming seasons.

Wilin Rosario elects to become free agent

Wilin Rosario
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
Leave a comment

Wilin Rosario was designated for assignment by the Rockies late last month. Now, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com, the 26-year-old former National League Rookie of the Year vote-getter has elected to become a free agent.

Rosario is a bad defensive catcher and wasn’t much better when the Rockies tried him at first base, but he should draw some interest from American League teams looking for a bench bat and part-time DH.

Rosario slugged 28 home runs for the Rockies in 2012 and he’s averaged 26 home runs for every 162 games over the course of his five-year major league career.

He boasts a .319/.356/.604 career batting line against left-handed pitching.

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson

As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger. There is also a second player headed to Baltimore in the deal.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.