Logan Morrison

Logan Morrison would have to be part of the return for Gio Gonzalez


A quick take on the story Craig relayed earlier. I thought the last paragragh of David Villavicencio’s piece on a possible Gio Gonzalez-to-Florida deal was the most interesting one:

The source says three different players have been discussed as potential pieces for the deal. All three players played significant time with the Marlins last season. It is unlikely that all three would be involved in the deal.

So, we’re talking major leaguers. And that makes it pretty much a given that Logan Morrison is someone being talked about. Mike Stanton has to off-limits, and it’s doubtful that Hanley Ramirez is on the block just yet (even if he is, it’s doubtful the A’s would be a strong suitor there). It’s Morrison.

Morrison would add to Oakland’s crowd of first basemen, but he’s enough better than all of the rest to secure the position immediately. The A’s could also leave him in left field for another year, but first is where he belongs for the long haul and they might as well get started on the transition now, even if it leaves Daric Barton and Brandon Allen without much of a role in Oakland’s plans.

Morrison is the kind of potent bat that the A’s will need to deal Gonzalez. It doesn’t come with premium defense, but he should threaten to make an All-Star team or two before he qualifies for free agency in five years.

Some other names likely being discussed:

Chris Coghlan – The current guess is that Coghlan, the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, will open next year in the minors after hitting .230/.296/.368 in 269 at-bats last season. He seems primed for a rebound, though, and it would make sense for the Marlins to hang on to him if they trade Morrison.

Ricky Nolasco – The rumor lately is that the Marlins have decided to keep Nolasco, whose trade value is down after seasons of 5.06 and 4.51 ERAs. He’s also on the hook for $22 millon over the next two years. The A’s might be willing to take a shot on him anyway, but only as a secondary piece of the deal.

Chris Volstad – Volstad seems more likely than Nolasco to be part of a deal with the A’s. He probably won’t have a rotation spot anyway if the Marlins bring in another starter. The former first-round pick has been an annual disappointment, but his strikeout rate was up and his walk rate was down last year.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.