Carlos Marmol appeared pretty excited last month upon learning he was being traded to the Angels for Dan Haren, only to see the deal fall through because of medical concerns about Haren’s hip. Still a Cub, Marmol has been told he is a trade candidate, but that the team won’t “give him away,” reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Marmol is owed $9.8 million next season in the final year of his deal. It’d be a high price to pay for an inconsistent closer, but the Cubs would likely be willing to absorb some of that cash if it meant getting a legitimate prospect in return.
If the Cubs do trade Marmol, then newly signed Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa will likely take over closing duties. He could steal the job away from Marmol regardless. While Marmol did put together a nice second half in 2012, he hasn’t been lights out since 2010.
The Astros don’t have many building blocks, but it seems they view shortstop Jed Lowrie as one of them. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that they’re planning to hold on to him, even though several teams have asked about him.
Lowrie played like an All-Star in the first half of last season, only to get injured and fade later. He ended up batting .244/.331/.438with 16 homers in 340 at-bats.
Unfortunately, injuries have been the story of Lowrie’s career thus far, which is a big reason why the Red Sox were willing to trade him to Houston for Mark Melancon last winter. Lowrie turns 29 in April, but he’s yet to play in 100 games in a big-league season. Overall, he’s hit .250/.326/.417 in 1,148 at-bats.
Free agent Grady Sizemore underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September, his agent told MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince on Monday, and he’s expected to be sidelined for at least the first half of next season.
Sizemore already underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010. The latest procedure would seem to bode particularly ill for his chances of re-emerging as a starting outfielder in the majors.
Sizemore dealt with right knee pain throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and he considered microfracture surgery a year ago before deciding on a less intense procedure that did him little good. He never played a game for the Indians after they re-signed him to a one-year, $5 million contract last winter.
The 30-year-old Sizemore was one of the American League’s best players from 2005-08 before dealing with injuries. He played in 106 games in 2009, 33 in 2010 and 71 in 2011 before missing last season.
The Phillies, having already missed out on B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan and Denard Span as possibilities for center field, have talked to the Rockies about Dexter Fowler, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports.
The Rockies don’t need to move Fowler, who is due about $5 million in arbitration next year, but they’re open to the possibility if it gets them back some quality pitching. Vance Worley’s name would certainly come up in any talks between the two teams. More available is Tyler Cloyd, who was nearly shipped off to Houston for reliever Wilton Lopez last week.
The 26-year-old Fowler hit .300/.389/.474 with 13 homers and 12 steals in 454 at-bats last season. He’s a career .271/.364/.427 hitter, but much of his production has come at Coors Field. He’s a lifetime .295/.395/.487 hitter at home, compared to .248/.331/.367 on the road.
It’s about time that somebody did.
Cody Ross is getting all kinds of hits — the latest coming from the Yankees — after batting .267/.326/.481 with 22 homers and 81 RBI in 476 at-bats for the Red Sox last season. The market for Ryan Ludwick, on the other hand, has been very quiet, even though he came in at .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers and 80 RBI in 422 at-bats for the Reds last season.
Of course, Ludwick isn’t known for his consistency. Still, he matches up just fine with Ross over the last three years. He has a 107 OPS+ during that span, while Ross is at 105.
The other thing working in Ludwick’s favor is that he has a big edge over Ross against right-handed pitchers. Ludwick hit .280/.340/.513 against righties in 2012, compared to .256/.308/.422 for Ross. Lifetime, Ludwick has an .811 OPS against righties and a .774 OPS against lefties. Ross has a .727 OPS against righties and a .928 OPS against lefties.
There are reasons to prefer Ross. One is that he’s almost 2 1/2 years younger. He’s also probably the better defender of the two, though Baseball-reference WAR rates them similarly poorly the last couple of years.
On the other hand, there’s one more big reason to prefer Ludwick, and that’s that Ross wants a three-year, $24 million deal. Ludwick seems likely to settle for a one- or two-year contract.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman says the Mets are interested in Ludwick, though money is tight and it’s iffy whether they’ll be able to afford him. The Reds have an offer on the table to re-sign him, and more suitors could step up once Ross is off the market.