Quick Hits: Stewart, Hill, Braves, Rangers

MLBTR has been keeping track of all the rumors and candidates tied to the Diamondbacks‘ GM search, and it appears as if Dave Stewart is now “the favorite” to be the team’s next general manager, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.  Stewart will formally interview for the job this week.  Here’s some more news from around baseball…

  • Aaron Hill tells FOX Sports’ Jack Magruder that he wants to remain with the Diamondbacks next season.  Hill has lost September playing time to some of the D’Backs’ young infielders and was shopped before the July trade deadline.  It’s no surprise that Arizona might be looking to the future given that Hill has struggled this season, he’ll be 33 next Opening Day and the second baseman is still owed $24MM through the 2016 season.
  • While the Braves are still on the fringes of the NL wild card race, it looks like this could be a lost season for Atlanta.  MLB.com’s Mark Bowman looks at how the team was hurt by some front office and player (namely, Tim Hudson) losses and Bowman wonders if the Braves could shake up the coaching staff or even consider replacing GM Frank Wren.
  • The Rangers have used 27 different position players this season, and MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan looks at how each of them could fit into the 2015 team as Texas looks to rebound from this injury-riddled campaign.  Sullivan’s comments include his opinion that the Rangers will pick up Alex Rios‘ contract option for 2015 and that the catching situation “may be the most intriguing decision” of the offseason as the team will have to decide if Robinson Chirinos will be the regular catcher.

Cuban Hurler Jorge Despaigne Declared Free Agent

MONDAY: Despaigne’s showcase will now take place on September 23rd, Badler reports.

THURSDAY: Cuban right-hander Jorge Despaigne has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. He is yet to be cleared by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sign, it appears.

Despaigne, 23, presents a plus fastball that can hit the mid-90s, says Badler, though he can struggle to spot it. As Badler recently explained, Despaigne is said to have difficulty repeating his mechanics. Lacking international exposure, Despaigne is a “relative unknown” with “a higher uncertainty level,” according to Badler.

Importantly, with just three seasons of play in the Cuban league Serie Nacional under his belt, Despaigne will be subject to international bonus limits. With many clubs having already allocated their international spending, he may present an opportunity for a team that has already decided to accept penalties or that has some available space.

Despaigne, residing in Haiti, will put on a showcase in the Dominican Republic on September 25. He will be joined there by countrymen Dian Toscano (a 25-year-old outfielder) and Javier Gonzalez (a 20-year-old righty).


D’Backs Select Bobby Wilson’s Contract

Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Diamondbacks selected the contract of catcher Bobby Wilson, according to a team press release.  The veteran backstop signed a minor league deal with Arizona last November and he will look to appear in his first Major League game since 2012.  Wilson hit .208/.272/.321 in 447 career PA, all with the Angels from 2008-12, and he spent 2013 playing for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.  In a corresponding move to open a 40-man roster spot for Wilson, the D’Backs transferred Bronson Arroyo on the 60-day DL.


AL East Links: Cruz, Young, Greene, Pedroia

In his latest Insider-only piece for ESPN, Buster Olney expressed doubt that the Orioles would re-sign Nelson Cruz this winter.  The O’s are more likely to let Cruz go and pick up an extra draft pick (via the qualifying offer) since Cruz’s big season may have made him too expensive for Baltimore.  If the team looks for a right-handed bat to replace Cruz, Olney opines that the Braves’ Evan Gattis, rumored to be a trade candidate, would be a perfect fit as the Orioles’ new designated hitter.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • Also from Olney, Yankees GM Brian Cashman originally passed on the idea of signing Chris Young when the team’s statistical analysts recommended that the Yankees pick up the recently-released Met.  Cashman’s change of heart paid off, as Young has a whopping 1.266 OPS in his short stint (29 PA) as a Yankee and three homers, including a walkoff to beat the Rays last Thursday.
  • Rookie right-hander Shane Greene‘s emergence has been a boon for the Yankees‘ injury-riddled rotation, and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post details the unlikely story of how Greene originally caught the eyes of team scouts.  Greene, a 15th-round draft pick in 2009, has a 3.56 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 2.92 K/BB rate over 68 1/3 IP this season.
  • Dustin Pedroia‘s contract extension was considered to be very team-friendly when it was signed last year, but ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes wonders if the Red Sox were too quick to extend Pedroia given how recurring injuries caused his performance to drop off in 2014.  The Sox already had Pedroia locked up through 2014 (with a team option for 2015) on a prior contract before tearing that deal up for his new extension that runs through the 2021 season.
  • The Rays‘ planned payroll cut might not be all that drastic, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, as the team still plans to contend next season.  Any payroll saved “will be the product of trades and tough choices.”  For instance, Topkin thinks Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Joyce could be trade candidates, as both players will get raises in arbitration this winter.
  • Earlier today, MLBTR’s Steve Adams compiled more news from around the AL East.

Mets “Almost Certain” To Retain Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins For 2015

The Mets are expected to bring back both general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins for the 2015 season, sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  Contract details haven’t been finalized with either man, though since Collins is already signed through 2015, Alderson’s status is the only one that needs to be immediately addressed.  The GM’s previous deal will expire at the end of the season, and though the Mets hold a team option on his services for 2015, Martino reports that it’s more likely the Mets will work out an extension with Alderson rather than just exercise the one-year option.

Alderson and Collins both joined the team prior to the 2011 season, and the rebuilding Mets have a 297-339 record under both men.  It had been assumed that Alderson would return in 2015, and though Collins’ status was perhaps in question earlier in the season, recent signs pointed towards his return as well.  The skipper signed a two-year extension with the Mets last September that covers him through 2015, plus a team option for 2016.

While wins and losses haven’t been a major concern for the Mets in recent years, this could be a different story in 2015 when Matt Harvey is back from Tommy John surgery and joins the several other promising young players on New York’s roster.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets only announce that Collins is returning and don’t work out any further extension; the team will want to see if Collins is the right man to manage a contender before making a longer-term commitment.  At most, the Mets could exercise Collins’ 2016 option so he could avoid lame-duck status next year.

The Mets will make an official announcement on Alderson and Collins at the end of the season, and sources tell Martino that the club could confirm both are staying during a single press conference, though nothing has yet been decided.


2016 MLB Free Agents

We’re nearing the end of the 2014 season, which has undoubtedly led many readers to check out our list of 2015 free agents and our 2015 free agent power rankings. However, for those who enjoy thinking further in advance, the list of players that will be eligible for free agency following the 2015 campaign is available below (The number in parenthesis represents the player’s age for the 2016 season).

Obviously, given the advance nature of this post, the class will see some changes. Players who sign one-year deals this winter will join this class, as will arb-eligible players who are non-tendered following the 2015 season. Additionally, some of these names could come off the list by inking long-term contract extensions or by failing to accrue the remaining Major League service time needed to total six years of service.

If you see any errors or omissions, please contact us. To see who represents these players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.

Catchers

Alex Avila (29)
Chris Iannetta (33)
John Jaso (32)
George Kottaras (32)
Jose Molina (41)
Dioner Navarro (32)
Brayan Pena (34)
Matt Wieters (30)

First Basemen

Jeff Baker (35)
Kyle Blanks (29)
Chris Davis (30)
Edwin Encarnacion (33) – $10MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Garrett Jones (35)
Justin Morneau (35) – $9MM mutual option with a $750K buyout
Mike Napoli (34)
Sean Rodriguez (31)
Gaby Sanchez (32)

Second Basemen

Joaquin Arias (31)
Jeff Baker (35)
Gordon Beckham (29)
Kevin Frandsen (34)
Maicer Izturis (35) – $3MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Howie Kendrick (32)
Daniel Murphy (31)
Donnie Murphy (33)
Cliff Pennington (32)
Sean Rodriguez (31)
Adam Rosales (33)
Skip Schumaker (36) – $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout
Marco Scutaro (40)
Chase Utley (37) – $15MM vesting option with a $2MM buyout

Third Basemen

Joaquin Arias (31)
Adrian Beltre (37) – $16MM vesting option
Willie Bloomquist (38)
Kevin Frandsen (34)
David Freese (33)
Jonathan Herrera (31)
Maicer Izturis (35) – $3MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Don Kelly (36)
Jeff Keppinger (36)
Kevin Kouzmanoff (34)
Casey McGehee (32)
Donnie Murphy (33)
Sean Rodriguez (31)
Adam Rosales (33)
Juan Uribe (37)

Shortstops

Joaquin Arias (31)
Willie Bloomquist (38)
Ian Desmond (30)
Alcides Escobar (29) – $5.25MM club option with a $500K buyout
Maicer Izturis (35) – $3MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Donnie Murphy (33)
Cliff Pennington (32)
Alexei Ramirez (34) – $10MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Sean Rodriguez (31)
Jimmy Rollins (37)
Adam Rosales (33)
Brendan Ryan (34) – $1MM player option

Left Fielders

Jeff Baker (35)
Roger Bernadina (32)
Willie Bloomquist (38)
Yoenis Cespedes (30)
Rajai Davis (35)
Alejandro De Aza (32)
David DeJesus (36) – $5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Alex Gordon (32) – $12.5MM player option
Matt Joyce (31)
Don Kelly (36)
Nate McLouth (34) – $6.5MM club option with a $750K buyout
David Murphy (34) – $7MM club option with a $500K buyout
Gerardo Parra (29)
Steve Pearce (33)
Sean Rodriguez (31)
Ryan Sweeney (31) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Justin Upton (28)

Center Fielders

Roger Bernadina (32)
Rajai Davis (35)
Alejandro De Aza (32)
David DeJesus (36) – $5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Dexter Fowler (30)
Tony Gwynn Jr. (33)
Austin Jackson (29)
Don Kelly (36)
Nate McLouth (34) – $6.5MM club option with a $750K buyout
Gerardo Parra (29)
Cody Ross (35) – $9.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Skip Schumaker (36) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Drew Stubbs (31)
Ryan Sweeney (31) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Shane Victorino (35)

Right Fielders

Jeff Baker (35)
Jose Bautista (35) – $14MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Marlon Byrd (38) – $8MM vesting option
David DeJesus (36) – $5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jason Heyward (26)
Matt Joyce (31)
Nate McLouth (34) – $6.5MM club option with a $750K buyout
David Murphy (34) – $7MM club option with a $500K buyout
Gerardo Parra (29)
Carlos Quentin (33) – $10MM mutual option with a $3MM buyout
Ryan Raburn (35) – $3MM club option with a $100K buyout
Cody Ross (35) – $9.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Ryan Sweeney (31) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Justin Upton (28)
Will Venable (33)
Shane Victorino (35)

Designated Hitters

Edwin Encarnacion (33) – $10MM club option with a $2MM buyout
John Jaso (32)
David Ortiz (40) – $10MM club option
Carlos Quentin (33) – $10MM mutual option with a $3MM buyout

Starting Pitchers

Clay Buchholz (31) – $13MM club option with a $245K buyout
Mark Buehrle (37)
Trevor Cahill (28) – $13MM club option with a $300K buyout
Jhoulys Chacin (28)
Bartolo Colon (43)
Ross Detwiler (30)
R.A. Dickey (41) – $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Marco Estrada (32)
Doug Fister (32)
Jaime Garcia (29) – $11.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jeremy Guthrie (37) – $10MM mutual option with a $3.2MM buyout
Tim Hudson (40)
Scott Kazmir (32)
Ian Kennedy (31)
Mat Latos (28)
Mike Leake (28)
Tim Lincecum (32)
Kyle Lohse (37)
Corey Luebke (31) – $7.5MM club option with a $1.75MM buyout
Kris Medlen (30)
Bud Norris (31)
Ross Ohlendorf (33)
Mike Pelfrey (32)
Rick Porcello (27)
David Price (30)
Ricky Romero (31) – $13.1MM club option with a $600K buyout
Jeff Samardzija (31)
Alfredo Simon (35)
Jordan Zimmermann (30)

Closers

Joaquin Benoit (38) – $8MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
Joe Nathan (41) – $10MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jonathan Papelbon (35) – $13MM vesting option
Bobby Parnell (31)
Fernando Rodney (39)

Right-Handed Relievers

Scott Atchison (40) – $1MM club option with a $100K buyout
Grant Balfour (38)
Jonathan Broxton (32) – $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Santiago Casilla (35) – club/vesting option with a $1MM buyout
Tyler Clippard (31)
Neftali Feliz (28)
J.C. Gutierrez (32)
David Hernandez (31)
Tommy Hunter (29)
Shawn Kelley (32)
Brandon League (33) – $7.5MM vesting option
Edward Mujica (32)
Ross Ohlendorf (33)
Chad Qualls (37) – $3.25MM club option with a $250K buyout
Ryan Webb (30)
Brad Ziegler (36) – $5.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout

Left-Handed Relievers

Jeremy Affeldt (37)
Antonio Bastardo (30)
Jerry Blevins (32)
Randy Choate (40)
Ross Detwiler (30)
Brian Duensing (33)
J.P. Howell (33) – $6.25MM club option with a $250K buyout
Sean Marshall (33)
Eric O’Flaherty (31)
Manny Parra (33)
Oliver Perez (34)
James Russell (30)
Tony Sipp (32)
Matt Thornton (39)
Jonny Venters (31)
Wesley Wright (31)

Cot’s Baseball Contracts was used extensively in the creation of this post.


International Links: Tomas, Maeda, Dominican Showcase

For those who missed it over the weekend, reports from MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez pegged this coming Sunday (Sept. 21) as the date for Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas‘ showcase, which will be held at the Giants’ complex in the Dominican Republic. Here are a few notes on the international prospect front…

  • Tomas’ agent, Jay Alou, told Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald in Miami last week (Spanish link) that he expects to set a record this offseason when negotiating Tomas’ contract. Rusney Castillo‘s seven-year, $72.5MM contract currently stands as the most lucrative contract ever for a Cuban player, but Tomas’ combination of age and power will certainly give him a chance to top that figure. It would also seem possible that Tomas tops Jose Abreu‘s $11.33MM average annual salary as well.
  • The Red Sox have scouted Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda extensively, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo says it would be a surprise if Boston didn’t make a bid for the 26-year-old, assuming he is posted this offseason (Cafardo makes the assumption that he will be). Maeda has posted a 2.71 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 156 innings for the Hiroshima Carp this season — his sixth straight season with an ERA south of 3.00. Set to turn 27 next April, Maeda has a career 2.45 ERA over seven seasons in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Of course, Maeda is a rather high-profile arm, so it’s likely that a large amount of other clubs have been scouting him as well.
  • Sanchez traveled to the Dominican Republic this weekend for a week-long Dominican Prospect League showcase — an event at which roughly 200 teenagers will be seen by scouts. According to Sanchez (Twitter links), 29 of baseball’s 30 clubs will be in attendance. The Indians, he says, are the lone club that is not expected to attend. Sanchez’s timeline currently has plenty of Vine clips of prospects performing drills for those who are interested in the event.

AL East Notes: Franklin, Red Sox, Tanaka

Infielder Nick Franklin, part of the haul that the Rays acquired in the David Price trade, will be recalled to join the club today, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Once ranked as one of the game’s top 50 prospects by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus, Franklin struggled for much of his time at Triple-A with the Rays, hitting just .210/.288/.290. As Topkin points out, Franklin did hit .424 with a pair of homers in nine playoff games that aren’t included in that stat line, and he of course had an excellent first half as a rookie with the Mariners in 2013, hitting .268/.337/.451 in 169 plate appearances.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • The Red Sox could follow the same method they did with Andrew Miller and the one the Royals/Rays employed with Wade Davis by moving some of their current young starting options to the bullpen, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. MacPherson notes that Brandon Workman already looks like a future reliever and speculates that some or all of Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and Rubby De La Rosa could end up in the bullpen eventually as well. MacPherson also spoke with Miller about the transition from the rotation to the bullpen.
  • Masahiro Tanaka will throw 60 pitches — including some splitters — in a simulated game today, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. If Tanaka pitches well, he could re-join the Yankees‘ rotation and make a couple of starts before season’s end. While that may be too little, too late for the Yankees’ playoff hopes, a few healthy starts from Tanaka would give the Yankees some peace of mind heading into 2015.

Quick Hits: Hernandez, Castillo, Martin, M’s, Pirates

Left-hander Yasmany Hernandez has left Cuba for an undisclosed third country with the goal of signing a MLB contract, per Diario De Cuba (h/t Baseball America’s Ben Badler). Badler provides a scouting report on the 23-year-old, who led Serie Nacional with a 1.66 ERA this past season. Hernandez will be exempt from international bonus restrictions after pitching five seasons in Serie Nacional, but Badler doesn’t expect teams to show as much interest in Hernandez as fellow Cubans have drawn. Here are more notes from around the game.

  • Badler also recently appeared on the Providence Journal’s Super Two podcast with Tim Britton and Brian MacPherson, where he discussed new Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo. Badler says teams are becoming increasingly receptive to spending big money on Cuban players thanks to the successes of players like Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig, adding that the added power Castillo demonstrated since leaving Cuba increased his value on the market.
  • Free-agent-to-be Russell Martin would be a great fit for the Cubs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Signing Martin would involve making a significant financial commitment and giving up on Welington Castillo as a starting catcher, but Martin could help mold the Cubs’ young pitching and provide a strong example for the rest of its young roster.
  • The Mariners will not retain national cross-checker Butch Baccala, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Baccala is the scout who sent Jesus Montero ice cream during a minor league game while Montero was rehabbing, seemingly as an insult regarding Montero’s weight. Montero threw the ice cream at Baccala and was suspended.
  • The Pirates had a quiet trade deadline, but they’ve had a strong second half anyway, MLB.com’s Tom Singer writes. In particular, they didn’t complete a trade for a starting pitcher and didn’t improve what appeared to be a weak bullpen. Since then, though, their bullpen has quietly become a strength, thanks in part to the emergence of John Holdzkom, and their offense has papered over any rotation issues. “You’ll get second-guessed no matter what you do,” says Bucs manager Clint Hurdle. “That’s just the nature of the world. So you gotta do what you feel in your gut is right.”
  • The Rays are ready to see what they’ve got in Nick Franklin, who they’re promoting Monday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays, of course, acquired Franklin from the Mariners in the three-team deal in which they sent David Price to Detroit. Since the trade, Franklin has hit .210/.288/.290 in 113 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham, although his track record indicates he’s capable of hitting better.
  • Padres assistant director of scouting operations Don Welke, who arrived recently from the Rangers organization along with new GM A.J. Preller, is enjoying his first month with San Diego, Corey Brock of MLB.com writes. Welke and other members of the Padres’ front office are currently in Arizona, where they’re watching Padres prospects play in the instructional league.

Latest On Diamondacks’ GM Search

Here’s the latest on the Diamondbacks’ search for a new GM following the removal of Kevin Towers from that role last week.

SUNDAY, September 14:

  • Dave Stewart will have an interview for the job this week, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Rosenthal had previously reported that Stewart might be a key candidate for the position, but that Stewart could not demonstrate overt interest in it unless he thought he could get it, since he might risk losing his clients as a player agent.
  • Tony La Russa is nearing a decision on the finalists to replace Towers with the first round of talks possibly ending by the middle of this week, baseball sources tell MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Discussions have involved ten candidates, who Gilbert lists as: Allard Baird, Larry Beinfest, Billy Eppler, Gary LaRocque, Thad Levine, Ray Montgomery, Hal Morris, Tim Purpura, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson. 
  • The Diamondbacks requested and received permission from the Yankees to speak with Eppler, but Gilbert reports Eppler declined the opportunity for a formal interview because of his commitment to the Yankees telling La Russa he only interviewed for the Padres’ opening because he is a native of the San Diego area. 

SATURDAY, September 13:

  • Eppler will not interview for the Arizona GM job, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Rosenthal also notes that Stewart will decide next week whether he’s interested in the position.

WEDNESDAY:

  • Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine is also now in the running, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Levine drew some early mention as a possible candidate for the Padres’ recent GM opening, though the club ultimately decided only to interview one member of the Texas organization: A.J. Preller, the man who ultimately took that job.

SUNDAY:

  • CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes that Beinfest met with the team on Saturday. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert also notes (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks’ candidates include former Astros GM and current Rangers executive Tim Purpura, and Heyman writes that the Diamondbacks will speak to Purpura this week. Another candidate is Red Sox player personnel director (and former Royals GM) Allard Baird, Gilbert writes.

SATURDAY:

  • Two more candidates have turned up in the Diamondbacks search, tweets Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Larry Beinfest and De Jon Watson are the newcomers. That brings us to seven candidates, with Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa expected to interview about ten people. Beinfest, the former GM of the Marlins, was also on the Padres list, while Watson is an assistant GM with the Dodgers.

FRIDAY: 

  • Candidates for the position include player agent Dave Stewart, Cardinals exec Gary LaRocque, Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery, Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris, and Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona writes. Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall says the team would like to hire its new GM by the end of the season.
  • Stewart is trying to sell his agent business and intends to take a front office job, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets, noting that it’s not clear whether that’s the Diamondbacks job.
  • Of course, Stewart does say that he wouldn’t leave his agent business for a job with anyone but Tony La Russa and Kevin Towers, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. (The Diamondbacks have offered Towers a scouting job instead of the GM position, but it’s currently unclear whether he’ll stick with the organization.)
  • La Russa says that the Diamondbacks will decide by the end of the season whether they’ll retain manager Kirk Gibson, Bob Young of AZCentral.com reports. “I think everybody involved doesn’t want to go into offseason without understanding what future holds,” says La Russa. “Definitely, by time we get to end, something will be decided.”

Brad Johnson and Edward Creech contributed to this post.


MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR this past week:


Full Story | Comments | Categories: MLBTR Originals

Minor Moves: P.J. Walters, Cutter Dykstra

Here are some recent minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Blue Jays have released right-hander P.J. Walters, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 29-year-old, acquired by the Blue Jays in May from the Royals, pitched to a 4.82 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 142 innings this year covering 27 appearances, 25 of which were starts. Walters last saw MLB action in 2013 with the Twins.
  • Infielder Cutter Dykstra has avoided minor league free agency by re-signing with the Nationals, Eddy reports. Dykstra, perhaps better known for being the son of ex-MLB outfielder Lenny Dykstra or the fiance of The Sopranos actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, slashed .279/.356/.399 in 433 plate appearances for Washington’s Double-A and Class A-Short Season affiliates.
  • The DodgersRed Patterson is the only player currently in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.

NL East Notes: Soriano, Utley, Kendrick, Eveland

Today is the bicentennial of The Star-Spangled BannerMLB.com’s Doug Miller chronicles the link between our country’s national anthem and its national pastime from the first time it was sung before a baseball game (May 15, 1862) to the great and not-so-great renditions. From the national anthem to the National League East, here are today’s notes from the division:

  • Rafael Soriano is making progress after working on his mechanics, but there is no timetable to reinstall him as the Nationals‘ closer, according to James Wagner of the Washington PostMLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted recently Soriano’s $14MM club option for 2015 will not vest and the Nationals are all but certain to decline the option making him an interesting free agent to watch.
  • Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg won’t speak ill of Ryan Howard or suggest a trade would make sense, but he admits a move to first base could be beneficial for Chase Utley, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb. “I think playing first base would eliminate a little wear and tear at that position,” Sandberg said. “Whether that’s a consideration or not has yet to be seen.” Gelb suggests a plan for 2015 where Utley is slated to play about 130 games with 100 of them at first base.
  • Kyle Kendrick isn’t sure if he made his final home start in a Phillies‘ uniform last night, but it sounds like he’d like to stay put in Philadelphia, if possible. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s out of my control. But if I’m somewhere else, I’ll miss it,” Kendrick told reporters, including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
  • The Mets have shut down left-hander Dana Eveland for the remainder of the season because of elbow inflammation, reports MLB.com’s Tim Healey. The 30-year-old, who will become a free agent at the end of the season, has had a career year with the Mets posting a 2.63 ERA, 8.9 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 30 relief outings (27 1/3 innings).

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Notes: Indians, Astros, Kipnis, Aiken

Some might argue that Mike Trout has taken his focus away from speed and put more into being a middle-of-the-order hitter, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia says that’s not really the case, writes Pedro Moura of the Orange Country Register.  “If your point is, has he lost speed, the answer is no,” Scioscia said. “Is his game shifting more toward the middle-of-the-order hitter where he won’t run again? No. There’s been no strategic change in how we view his assets or how he should play the game, philosophically, this year.”  Here’s more out of the AL..

  • In theory, the Indians could move Jason Kipnis to the outfield in 2015 with the emergence of Jose Ramirez at shortstop and Francisco Lindor breaking in at Triple-A, but now is not the time, argues Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  It’s not clear where Kipnis would fit considering Michael Brantley‘s season in left field and the less-than-stellar trade values of Michael Bourn and David Murphy.  Nick Swisher could also be slotted in the outfield next year.
  • The Indians will certainly look out-of-house for offseason improvements, but there’s a lot to like about what they have for 2015, writes Hoynes. The Indians have a number of young pitchers emerging at the same time and and bullpen has been sharp all year.  Even though the bats haven’t been there this year, Hoynes says 2015 is looking like one of the best situations the Tribe has been in in a while.
  • A reader asked Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) if Brady Aiken will have to disclose his medicals to all interested clubs next year and Callis responded in the affirmative.  Aiken’s name came up in the news again when commissioner Bud Selig inadvertently implied that the Astros could still sign him.  It seems rather unlikely that Houston would be allowed to do that.

Cafardo On Hamels, Cruz, Hardy, Tomas

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at Jake Peavy‘s effect on the Giants this season. “He brings a lot of intensity, he brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of veteran leadership, he brings a lot of guts,” Hunter Pence said last week. “He’s been a big charge to this run we’ve made. That energy is exciting to be around. It’s a different dugout when he’s in it.”  More from today’s column..

  • John Boggs, the agent for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, told Cafardo he will sit down with his client and put together a new 20-team no-trade list by November 1.  Boggs says the Red Sox were on Hamels’s 2014 no-trade list and the Phillies would have to have asked permission to deal him to Boston. “It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have accepted it,” Boggs said. “We are still deliberating on what teams will be on that list for 2015.”
  • After a one-year pillow offer, Nelson Cruz appears to have riches awaiting for him this winter.  The Orioles will make him the $15MM+ qualifying offer, but he’ll be in demand as one of the few right-handed power hitters out there.  The Yankees can be expected to have interest and the Rangers could look to bring him back.
  • Manager Buck Showalter has talked with J.J. Hardy about how much the Orioles want him to re-sign, but they may not offer the most money. Showalter said the team would make him a fair offer, but he tried to appeal to how much Hardy has enjoyed playing in Baltimore.
  • Showalter is a realist when it comes to the Orioles‘ financial limitations, but he feels he can still come up with good players going the minor league free agent route. The Orioles did it with journeyman first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce, who has had an excellent season.  Showalter feels that he can do it again with 28-32 year old hitters that are just starting to figure it out.
  • One team’s international scout tells Cafardo that Yasmani Tomas could command as much as $100MM.  The scout said Tomas has gotten himself in shape and if he performs well at his showcase later in the month, the money will get “really high.”
  • One American League evaluator thinks it’s possible for the Phillies to move Ryan Howard to the American League, where he could be a full-time DH. “He’s not a lost cause,” said the evaluator. “He’s knocked in 92 runs for a bad team, so there’s obviously something still there. He could help an American League team as a DH.” However, that would require the Phillies to eat a good portion of the $60MM left on his contract.