NL Rumor Mill

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Pittsburgh Wannabes

In Pittsburgh, Brett Stewart and Jolbert Veras are on the trade block. Stewart, who had suitors even after the non-waiver trade deadline, hit .332/51/152. He plays a position where it is easy to find talent, but he does play it very well. He’s got two years left on his contract at a rate of 5.4 million per season. Veras has 120 career homeruns, with 40 coming just from season 12. He also wound up hitting .318 and driving in 94 runs. His contract runs until Season 15 and escalates each season (he’s due 4.9, 5, and 5.5 million over the next 3 seasons), but is still club friendly for an offensive catcher.

Pat Hernandez and Rob Pote will likely both be available on the free agent market. Hernandez, Pittsburgh’s lefty ace this past season, sports a lifetime 129-112 record with a 4.04 ERA. Hernandez has thrown 200+ innings 9 times while going on the disabled list only once early in his career largely as a preventative measure. He may draw interest from many teams simply as an innings eater. Pote, another lefty, sports a lifetime 119-92 record. However, he has had a little worse luck with the injury bug. He’s spending the offseason recovering from elbow surgery but expects to be back at some point early in the regular season. Question is will a team sign him? There are strong indications out of the Wannabes’ front office that his option will be declined, and many teams are not eager to grab an injury prone older pitcher. He will have to take a bargain rate to catch on somewhere.

Philadelphia Regulators

Philly is looking for pitching, specifically another starter (1 or 2 type) and bullpen help. Also on the wish, is an upgrade in LF. J.P. Hernandez, Vicente Lee, Bronson Bell, Cesar Polanco, Dwight Johnson, and Eduardo Renteria are names coming up in conversations across the league. There is a good chance all are available for the right price, but Lee, Bell, and Hernandez have some of the most easily moveable contracts right now. Rumor has it that top prospect Santiago Perez, Felipe Moreno, and Benji Vasquez and many other position players at the AAA level are also available.

Jacksonville Alcoholics

Rolando Guerrero, Jamie Rodgers, Zeus Thurman, Antonio Whang, and Jamie Rodgers are all position players available at the Major League level. Tomas Martinez and Adrian Nixon are available pitchers from the ML roster as is John Li at (HiA). It is no secret that Jacksonville is targeting starting pitching or a leadoff CF. Late in the season, Jacksonville scouts could be seen regularly at Montreal games scouting their Major League pitchers. Jacksonville also took looks at Chicago’s Oswaldo Escobar and Tacoma’s Sid Nelson.

Montgomery Burns

Norman Boyd, the 21 year old LoA Cy Young Award winner is on the block. Boyd, a tall lefty out of Highland Community College in Kansas has 3 pitches (a 4 seam, change, and forkball) that scouts salivate over. It also appears that hitters have had a hard time with Boyd as evidenced by the 198 Ks as compared with a paltry 41 walks this past season alone.

Kevin Chang will be allowed to walk on into free agency, as will Barney McMillan. As for the rest of the roster? Monty Burns is sticking to their “no one is expendable policy…except Todd Ford” policy. Rival GMs hope Todd Ford will realize one day soon just how sweet the open market can be. “Should he decide to test the market, Burns will undoubtedly have to move him. Normally, with a good player, the [compensation] picks are enough. Not Ford though.”

Burns has signaled an interest in dealing Andruw Henderson, Ariel Sosa, and Orval Throneberry. Rival GMs say that they’ve heard Sandy Mieskie’s name out there, but doubt he’ll move unless Burns’ demands are met exactly.

Tampa Bay Pirates

The Tampa Bay front office might be awfully quiet this offseason. Most of their resources will go towards tracking their younger guys in the winter leagues. If Tampa Bay does any buying, it will be for a Left handed bat to go in the middle of the order or a leadoff hitter.

Sources indicate that management would listen to offers on any of these players: Jed Hennessey, Carlos Rios, Steven Hiljus, Desi Nunez, Kiki Campos, Ivan Rivas, and Ellie Anderson.

Tampa Bay loves the defense Kimera Pressley provides, but don’t be surprised if he gets traded for a younger shortstop.

Catcher Mike Ball (S) is blocked in AAA and Tampa Bay is willing to move him. The switch hitting catcher has not hit lower than .310 at any stop in the minor league system. In addition to Ball, any AAA position player not named Crash Cloud is available.

Tacoma Chicken Dance

Hearing that Sid Nelson isn’t likely to give Tacoma a home town discount and will test the market. His current contract is 5.8 million and he will be 31 in season 13 (just like Oswaldo Escobar). Nelson, like Escobar, sports a lifetime .340+ on base percentage (Escobar .341, Nelson .348), is left handed, and has great defense (nod goes to Escobar). Nelson has great speed, as he has amassed over 40 steals the last 5 seasons (3 seasons with over 60). The difference? Nelson is on the free agent market now and Escobar has to be traded for.

GM moustache, when we talked to him, said “Kyle Adkins is available for free. That isn’t off the record, write that down. No, don’t just write it down…underline it, bold it, and italicize it!” Adkins has 19.5 million due to him over the next four years. The lefty had a rough first year in Tacoma, but another year in that park (or another pitcher friendly park) may do him a lot of good. Potential landing spots: staying in Tacoma, Portland, Omaha. Longshots: Oakland, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New York (Godfathers).

Ronn Gagne, on the other hand, was a terrific story in Season 12. Asked to start consistently for the first time in his 5 year major league career, Gagne rose to the challenge. He started 23 games and held opponents to a .224 opponent average and a 3.88 ERA. He is signed through Season 14 at a very team friendly deal of 2.8 million per season.

Vince Sewell is available. The AAA second baseman is good defensively and has put up high averages at every stop in the minor league ranks. Also hearing that Alex Lockwood is another prospect that isn’t as untouchable as other GMs once thought. However, that doesn’t mean he will come at a bargain price either. Derrick Velandia and Bernie Cruz will hit the market. Both are good defenders at their positions, SS and 3B respectively, but lack solid offensive production.

Trenton Titans

Unnamed sources in Trenton confirm that the Titans managements would be listening to offers for Dennis Barkley and Lonny Griffin. Barkley, who is due 8.75 million next season, finished season 12 hitting .299/31/66. Barkley has clubbed 213 home runs in his career, but never really quite got adjusted to Trenton after the move from Baltimore. He is a good candidate to be moved to a contender wiling to put him middle to lower part of the order down if the price is right. Griffin, also due 8.75 million next season, hit .310/22/82. Most scouts say Griffin will likely stay in the AL, if dealt at all.

Andy Hoverman

Developer

Commissioner of the fakest fake baseball league on the planet: Plumpy Rules!!!!111

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