NL West Links: Miller, Sabean, Rockies

Here’s the latest from around the NL West…

  • The Dodgers were the runner-up for Andrew Miller, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.  This seems to run counter to an item from earlier today when Ken Rosenthal reported that it was the Brewers and Tigers who were the other finalists to obtain Miller from the Red Sox.  The Orioles, of course, were the ones who actually landed the left-hander.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean didn’t make any last moves before the deadline and felt good about keeping his team’s prospects, Sabean told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle).  The Giants felt it didn’t make sense to meet the high asking prices of some teams, though Sabean said he was pleased that a number of clubs were interested in his pitching prospects.
  • Sabean said he was “homing in on two” second basemen in possible deals, though a source says that these weren’t necessarily Asdrubal Cabrera or Emilio Bonifacio, two middle infielders who changed teams yesterday.
  • The Rockies also had a quiet deadline day, which assistant GM Bill Geivett told reporters (including Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post) was due to a lack of offers that would’ve helped Colorado reload for next year.  I think the big thing was — our posture — is probably one that we would entertain a deal as far as making us better in 2015.  Although we were active and had some talks, we really weren’t moved to the point where we had anything that would significantly affect us next season,” Geivett said.
  • Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson drew some trade interest, and though De La Rosa is a free agent and Anderson has a $12MM club option to be exercised, it seems as if the Rockies have an interest in retaining both.  If we didn’t feel like they would potentially be part of our future, we would have traded them,” Geivett said.
  • In other NL West news from earlier today, Matt Cain seems likely to undergo elbow surgery and the Giants designated Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin for assignment.

Matt Cain Likely To Undergo Elbow Surgery

FRIDAY: Several medical officials have recommend that Cain undergo surgery, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters (including MLB.com’s Chris Haft) that “if you’re putting odds on it, odds are going to be that he will not pitch” again in 2014.  Cain did some flat-ground throwing from 60 feet today and he’ll see how his arm responds to that workout before deciding whether to go under the knife immediately and begin the minimum three-month recovery period.

THURSDAY: Cain and the Giants are weighing whether the righty will undergo a procedure on his right elbow to clean up bone chips and other debris, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Tommy John surgery is not on the table, says Baggarly.

If Cain has the procedure now, he would likely be out for the rest of the year, but would be expected to be ready for a standard ramp-up to the 2015 season.

TUESDAY: Giants starter Matt Cain is set for a visit with Dr. James Andrews regarding his ongoing difficulties with inflammation in his right elbow, CSN Bay Area analyst (and former big leaguer) Shawn Estes tells 95.7 The Game (Twitter link). Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com confirmed the report via Twitter.

Certainly, the club will hope that good news comes out of the consultation, but the necessity of the visit presumably only adds to the team’s reported desire to add a starter at the trade deadline. Cain is owed $67.5MM after this season, including a buyout of a $21MM club option for 2017. He owns a cumulative 4.06 ERA over 274 2/3 innings dating to the start of 2013.


Rosenthal On Cardinals, Miller, Price, Beane

Here are some notes from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal as he looks back on an incredibly busy Deadline Day…

  • Several Cardinals players were unhappy that Allen Craig and Joe Kelly were traded away, which didn’t necessarily surprise St. Louis GM John Mozeliak.  “We’ve had a tight clubhouse for many years, a lot of homegrown players who have been together a long time….When you have a young team, sometimes you don’t see these types of trades happening while you’re competing,” Mozeliak told Rosenthal.  “It caught some people off-guard. But time will heal all wounds.”  Rosenthal wonders if this trade and the recent signing of “notorious irritant” A.J. Pierzynski could’ve been made in order to shake up a clubhouse that had “perhaps grown too comfortable.”
  • The Brewers and Tigers were the other finalists for Andrew Miller‘s services before the Red Sox decided to trade the southpaw to the Orioles.  Boston received inquiries from between 10-12 teams about Miller’s services. Jon Morosi, Rosenthal’s FOX Sports colleague, reported yesterday that Detroit was close to a deal for Miller about 2.5 hours before the trade with Baltimore was finalized.
  • Some pundits have argued that the Rays should’ve gotten more from the Tigers and Mariners in the David Price trade, but Rosenthal is withholding judgement given how difficult the circumstances were for Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman.  The return could’ve been even less had Friedman waited until the offseason to move his ace.
  • In a tweet, Rosenthal notes that the Athletics decided against pursuing a Price trade in part because GM Billy Beane was worried that it would be tough to deal the southpaw this winter.  Price could earn up to $20MM on his 2015 contract in his last year of arbitration eligibility, so as good as the left-hander is, the salary and only the one year of control would limit Price’s trade value.


Slusser’s Latest: Cespedes, Milone, Fuld

Here’s some background news and notes on the Athletics’ big trade deadline moves from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle

  • It surprised many to see Yoenis Cespedes traded yesterday, but Slusser reports that the A’s were planning on dealing the outfielder this offseason anyway since the club didn’t think they would be able to extend him.  Cespedes has a contract option that allows him to become a free agent following the 2015 season.  In another piece, Slusser notes that “there never were very extensive talks” between Cespedes and the A’s about an extension.
  • Sam Fuld was the only Major League player being offered by any of the teams interested in Tommy Milone, which is why the A’s swung the deal with the Twins to provide immediate outfield help given Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry‘s injury problems.
  • Slusser notes that Oakland plans to keep Fuld for 2015, and he isn’t just a temporary solution while Gentry is on the DL with a broken hand.
  • The Athletics are still looking to add a second baseman before the August 31st trade deadline.

A’s Designate Evan Scribner For Assignment

5:30pm: Scribner has only been removed from Oakland’s 25-man roster and he remains on the 40-man, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link).  Because it has been more than three years since Scribner’s Major League debut, he must be put on optional assignment waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A.  These waivers are revocable, so the A’s can pull Scribner back if another team claimed him.

3:38pm: The Athletics have designated righty Evan Scribner for assignment, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link).

Scribner has a 1.69 ERA over 5 1/3 relief innings for Oakland this season, and a 3.87 ERA, 2.7 K/BB rate and 6.9 K/9 over 81 1/3 career innings with the Padres and A’s from 2011-14.  The 29-year-old was a 28th-round pick for the Diamondbacks in the 2008 draft.


Rays Release Jayson Nix

The Rays have released Jayson Nix, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter).  Eddy notes that Nix was granted his release from the minor league deal that the veteran infielder originally signed with Tampa in May.  The newly-acquired Nick Franklin was assigned to the Triple-A roster in a corresponding move.

This was the second of two minor league contracts Nix signed with the Rays in 2014, and in between he was acquired by the Phillies and appeared in 18 games, posting a .445 OPS in 43 PA.  Nix, who turns 32 later this month, was originally drafted 44th overall by the Rockies in 2001 and he’s suited up for six different franchises over his seven years in the majors.


Minor Moves: Thornburg, Johnson, Wilson

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Brewers moved right-hander Tyler Thornburg to the 60-day disabled list in order to create a 40-man roster spot for the newly-acquired Gerardo Parra, the club announced.  Thornburg has been on the DL since early June with an elbow injury and still seems weeks away from a return, if he pitches again in 2014 at all.
  • The Athletics released embattled former closer Jim Johnson, per a club announcement. Brought in via trade, Johnson failed to deliver on his $10MM salary. The A’s will be responsible for the rest of it, less the prorated league minimum rate if Johnson catches on with a new team.
  • The Athletics outrighted outfielder Kenny Wilson to Double-A yesterday, according to the MLB transactions page. The speedy 24-year-old outfielder has been no stranger to transactions this year, as he obviously holds appeal to clubs but is hard to keep on a 40-man roster.
  • Catching up on the always-shifting DFA rolls, the following players are currently in limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA tracker: Jake Elmore (Athletics), Nick Noonan and Jose De Paula (Giants), Juan Carlos Oviedo and Erik Bedard (Rays), Jeff Francis and Brian Roberts (Yankees), Josh Wall (Pirates), and Ryan Wheeler (Rockies).

Orioles Sign Joe Saunders To Minors Deal

The Orioles have signed veteran left-hander Joe Saunders to a minor league contract, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter link).

Saunders joins his third organization of the season after being released by the Royals and Rangers within the last month.  The southpaw posted a 6.13 ERA in 39 2/3 innings with Texas earlier this year and also struggled in four starts with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate.

This is Saunders’ second stint in Baltimore, as he was first acquired by the O’s in late August 2012.  He was a key part of the Orioles’ playoff push that year, posting a 3.63 ERA over seven regular season starts and then a 1.59 ERA over two postseason starts, earning the win in the Orioles’ wild card game victory over the Rangers.  Baltimore had some interest in Saunders during the offseason and, according to Connolly, are looking at Saunders as a possible long relief option out of the bullpen.


Orioles Designate Ryan Webb For Assignment

The Orioles have designated right-hander Ryan Webb for assignment, the team announced.  The newly-acquired Andrew Miller has taken Webb’s spot on the 25-man roster.

While technically a DFA, Webb has only been designated off Baltimore’s 25-man roster.  The Orioles needed to make this procedural move in order to assign Webb to Triple-A since over three years had passed since his first Major League appearance — the O’s performed a similar transaction earlier this season with Evan Meek.  Webb is still on the Orioles’ 40-man roster but is currently on optional assignment waivers.

Webb signed a two-year, $4.5MM deal with the Orioles last winter after the Marlins (surprisingly) didn’t tender him a contract for 2014.  The righty has been shaky in recent weeks but has been a solid contributor overall to Baltimore’s pen, posting a 3.80 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 3.4 K/BB rate over 42 2/3 innings.  Webb has held opposing batters to a .255/.301/.315 slash line and has actually performed better against left-handed batters (.555 OPS) than righty bats (.649 OPS) this year.


Indians Designate Zach McAllister

The Indians have designated right-hander Zach McAllister for assignment, as per a team press release.  Outfielder Tyler Holt has been recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move.

McAllister has only been designated off the Tribe’s 25-man roster (he’s still on the 40-man) as, since McAllister debuted in the majors more than three years ago, he must be put on optional assignment waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A.

It’s been a tough year for McAllister, who missed over a month with a back injury and has posted a 5.91 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 2.08 K/BB rate in 14 starts for Cleveland.  Looking at his advanced metrics, McAllister’s 4.04 FIP, 4.27 xFIP and 4.30 SIERA indicate that his real-world ERA has been unluckily inflated thanks to a .322 BABIP and only a 58.6% strand rate.


Red Sox Designate Mike Carp For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated outfielder/first baseman Mike Carp for assignment, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports on Twitter. The move was made as the team juggles its roster after yesterday’s trades.

Carp, 28, has only a .198/.320/.279 slash in 103 scattered plate appearances on the year. Last year, though, he was a revelation, slashing .296/.362/.523 with nine home runs in 243 turns at bat.

A fairly versatile option with at least two seasons of above-average production and pop already in the books, the left-handed hitter figures to draw a look from contenders. Clubs like the Royals and Reds have been said to have interest in such a player, and failed to make any moves at yesterday’s trade deadline. He will need to pass through waivers in order to be moved. Carp is playing on a $1.4MM annual salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility.


July Trade Recap: AL Central

As we continue to work through the July deals, division by division (AL East; NL East), let’s turn our attention to the AL Central. First, the deals that went down:

Indians

Royals

Tigers

Twins

White Sox

  • No trades

Synopsis

Trade action in the AL Central was, perhaps, not ultimately surprising yet nonetheless interesting. Detroit pulled off two big swaps, Kansas City largely held firm despite facing only a four-game deficit, Cleveland moved two expiring contracts, and Minnesota sold off a few veterans.

Chicago might have moved some pieces, but in honesty it was far from shocking to see the South Siders stand pat. While shortstop Alexei Ramirez seemed an obvious trade chip at one point, he has cooled off at the plate and the team has a use for him next year. , Alejandro De Aza, or Gordon Beckham might have changed hands, but down years spiked their value. Matt Lindstrom is still rehabbing and John Danks has a very sizable contract (though he drew reported interest), and either could become August trade pieces.

The biggest action, of course, came from a Tigers team with a one-track mind: World Series or bust. GM Dave Dombrowski one-upped the AL West-leading Athletics by adding the game’s best available arm in Price, though he was unable to (jokingly) goad A’s GM Billy Beane into snatching Chris Sale out of the division down the stretch. After taking a look at adding Jon Lester, but being unwilling to part with Smyly to do so, the club instead shipped its young lefty out in perhaps the biggest gambit on a market full of them. Price gives Detroit a fantasy rotation, and could fill the void if Max Scherzer departs via free agency. But the club also gave up a productive center fielder in Jackson without a replacement that would be expected to deliver equivalent production, and also sacrificed future value in Smyly and the young Adames. That came on the heels of moving two good young arms in the Soria deal, making clear that Motown has every hope of landing that elusive title.

That kind of mentality did not hold sway in Kansas City, where GM Dayton Moore saw the deadline pass with mostly minor additions. Frasor is a solid bullpen piece, to be sure, while Hendriks and Kratz add useful depth, but it seems safe to say that the Royals did not opt for an impact acquisition. Though the club has plenty of talent on the farm, trade partners were looking for MLB pieces that Moore was unwilling to give up. Money was also an issue, as ever. One can’t help but feel somewhat underwhelmed, but the fact is that the team likely already pushed itself to the limit when it added James Shields and then paid open-market prices for Jason Vargas and Omar Infante.

Sitting only 2 and a half back of the Royals are the Indians, who also entered the season hoping to contend. But that slippage was enough to draw a sale of two veterans who were destined to hit the open market at season’s end. Masterson had struggled this year anyway, and was still working through a rehab stint, which would have made it difficult for Cleveland to turn down the opportunity to add a quality, fairly advanced prospect in Ramsey. Cabrera, likewise, was converted into future value with Walters, who has seen time at the MLB level this year and offers intriguing pop from the middle infield (or, perhaps, corner outfield). The club was actually looking to make additions to the big league roster, said GM Chris Antonetti, but couldn’t push it across the line.

Finally, the Twins managed to add some young arms to the stable. After picking up Pryor for the just-signed Morales, who did not quite perform to expectations in Minnesota, the club made an opportunistic grab of Milone, who was displaced by a trio of high-profile acquisitions. While Fuld might have been a solid piece during Minnesota’s transition, it is hard to complain with acquiring a cheap and serviceable rotation piece for a guy who was claimed off waivers and spent significant time on the DL. Of course, the Twins could conceivably have been more active, with outfielder Josh Willingham, pitcher Kevin Correia, and the surprising Kurt Suzuki staying in place (and the latter signing a fairly modest extension). But the club did not wish to just give away its veterans, and will instead use Suzuki to break in a young staff in the future while perhaps dangling the other two names in August trade discussions.


Rangers Designate Ryan Feierabend

The Rangers have designated lefty Ryan Feierabend for assignment, the club announced. Righty Phil Klein will take his spot on the active and 40-man rosters.

Feierabend, 28, threw to a 6.14 ERA in 7 1/3 frames for Texas this year, his first MLB action since 2008. Mostly a starter in his previous experience and in the minors, Feierabend threw from the bullpen for the Rangers. He owns a 4.54 ERA through 113 Triple-A innings on the year.


Braves Designate Jordan Schafer For Assignment

The Braves have designated outfielder Jordan Schafer for assignment, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). He was expected to be a roster casualty after the team picked up Emilio Bonifacio yesterday via trade.

Schafer, 27, has struggled to a .163/.256/.213 line in 93 plate appearances this year for Atlanta, though he has racked up 15 stolen bases in that time. He was a valuable contributor last year, slashing .247/.331/.346 with 22 swipes. The Braves claimed him from the Astros in the fall of 2012 after originally shipping him to Houston in the Michael Bourn deal.


Giants Designate Dan Uggla, Tyler Colvin

AUGUST 1: The Giants have designated Uggla and Colvin for assignment, tweets Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News.

JULY 30, 9:21pm: The Giants have actually optioned Colvin to Triple-A, and have yet to formally make a move regarding Uggla, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The club has not confirmed that Uggla has or will be released, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.

8:46pm: The Giants have released second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Tyler Colvin, reports MLB.com’s Chris Haft. San Francisco is expected to undertake several roster moves, possibly including new additions as well as the activation of several regulars from the DL.

While the club has been rumored to be pursuing several possible options at second base, nothing has reportedly come to fruition at this point. The Giants need roster space regardless, as Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, and Hector Sanchez are all expected to be activated in relatively short order.

Uggla struggled mightily in his short time in San Francisco, failing to register a hit in 12 plate appearances while striking out six times (to go with three errors in the field). Of course, that is a continuation of his difficult time this year and last in Atlanta. Since the start of 2013, the 34-year-old has slashed .171/.291/.326 over 694 plate appearances, racking up 217 strikeouts along the way.

Colvin, meanwhile, owns a meager .225/.270/.384 line in 148 plate appearances on the season. He joined the Giants on a minor league deal after spending the prior two seasons with the Rockies. Once a well-regarded prospect, the 28-year-old had a strong 2012 campaign but has not produced at the MLB level since.