NL East Notes: Marlins, Ozuna, Phillies, Mets

Agent Scott Boras says the Marlins are leaving outfielder Marcell Ozuna at Triple-A New Orleans to potentially delay his arbitration eligibility, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.  The agent claims that Marlins players are upset about the situation and this “is not what Marlins fans deserve.” The Marlins, meanwhile, deny that Ozuna is being kept in the minors for financial reasons. Here’s more out of the NL East..

  • Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin is doubtful that new acquisition Matt Harrison will be on the mound in 2015, Matt Breen the Philadelphia inquirer writes.  “I said, ‘I know you feel bad, but we’re looking at you for what we’re about to become rather than this year,’ ” Mackanin said. “Because, we’re really not playing for a whole lot this year.”   Harrison came to the Phillies from Texas as part of the Cole Hamels deal last week.
  • The development of Jorge Alfaro could dictate the final verdict on the Phillies‘ return in the Cole Hamels trade, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Alfaro, who could miss the rest of this season because of a left-ankle injury suffered June, was labeled “one of the minors’ best catching prospects” recently by ESPN’s Keith Law.
  • Several Marlins players were not happy about the club’s trades last week, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. “Can we go home now? Can we go home now? They got rid of everybody,” one prominent player said loudly in Miami’s clubhouse on Friday, according to Jackson. Other players expressed disappointment privately about the roster moves, he writes.
  • In order to open up a roster spot for Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets demoted top prospect Michael Conforto, as Anthony Rieber of Newsday writes.  Conforto previously impressed at Double-A, now he’ll experience Triple-A for the first time.

Red Sox Notes: Lucchino, Chapman, Swihart

Minutes ago, Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino issued a statement confirming that he will be stepping down at the end of the season.  He explained that he has been planning to cut back ever since 2004, the year of Boston’s first championship.  Lucchino thanked Boston ownership and he offered up a strong endorsement for Sam Kennedy, his likely successor.

I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change. We would have preferred to announce all of our transition plans at once, including my new role, but I can tell you we all feel strongly that Sam Kennedy, who has been with me for 20 years, should be the next President of the Boston Red Sox. Sam will do a terrific job. He is able, well-prepared, and fiercely dedicated to the Red Sox and to Boston,” Lucchino said.

Here’s more on the Red Sox..

  • Scott Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) hears that Lucchino will take some time away and then maybe look for one more run with one more club.
  • The Red Sox didn’t make a splash at the trade deadline, but they did at least explore making some big moves, John Tomase of WEEI.com writes.  A source familiar with Boston’s thinking wouldn’t name names of potential targets, but he told Tomase said they, “threw a couple of things out there.”   The Red Sox were in the market for a young frontline starter but, as GM Ben Cherington acknowledged, those don’t come cheap.
  • One splashy move to explore would have been trading for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and converting him to a starter.  However, a source told Tomase that the Red Sox did not go down that path.
  • When the Red Sox fielded calls, they got more calls on center fielder Mookie Betts, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and catcher Blake Swihart than anyone else, a source told Tomase.

Cubs Designate Yoervis Medina For Assignment

The Cubs have designated pitcher Yoervis Medina for assignment, according to the MLB.com transactions page.  Medina, who turned 27 last week, came to the Cubs in the May deal sending Welington Castillo to the Mariners.

The right-hander has tossed a combined 21 innings for the Cubs and Mariners this season, adding up to a 4.71 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in a small sample size.  In 20 Triple-A appearances, the hurler has posted a skyhigh 7.03 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.  Medina struggled in Triple-A Iowa and, at this time, doesn’t seem like a candidate to receive tremendous outside interest.

Earlier today, the Cubs also designated Taylor Teagarden for assignment.  To keep up with all of the players in DFA limbo, check out the MLBTR DFA Tracker.



Cubs Designate Taylor Teagarden For Assignment

The Cubs announced that they have designated Taylor Teagarden for assignment.  In a related move, left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

The 31-year-old Teagarden hit .303/.403/.579 in 211 plate appearances with the Mets’ hitter-friendly Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas last season.  This season, he has slashed .294/.375/.437 with four homers in 144 plate appearances for Triple-A Iowa.  Teagarden also made 15 plate appearances for the Cubs’ varsity squad this season.

Teagarden now joins a whole host of players in DFA limbo.  To keep track of everyone’s status following a DFA, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Tulowitzki, Leake, Yankees

Here’s our post-deadline look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Cubs May Pursue Chase Utley

The Cubs may pursue Phillies second baseman Chase Utley prior to the August trade deadline, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Utley will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow. He would need 251 plate appearances to activate a 2016 option, an exceedingly unlikely event. The former star has struggled this season with a .179/.257/.275 slash. However, a .186 BABIP suggests a rebound is possible. He’s owed about $5MM over the rest of the season. The Cubs would look to have the Phillies cover part of his salary.

An Utley acquisition would provide depth to existing middle infielders like Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. If the club lost patience with Castro, they could opt to use Russell at shortstop with Utley filling in at second base. The interest could also be purely for his veteran leadership. The Angels and at least one other team are also considering Utley per Wittenmyer.


Dodgers Notes: Money, Olivera, Samardzija

This week’s complicated three-way trade looks like a great move for the Dodgers, a mixed bag for the Braves, and another deal for the Marlins which appears to be financially motivated, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes.  The Dodgers badly needed another starter given the injuries in their rotation and lack of organizational depth and Law believes that Mat Latos is probably worth two extra wins to L.A. the rest of the way. Here’s more out of L.A.

  • The Dodgers are paying $85.75MM for eight players no longer with the organization, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Hector Olivera‘s $28MM signing bonus is the biggest expenditure on the list. Matt Kemp ($18MM) and Dan Haren ($10MM) round out of the eight figure commitments.
  • In a second piece, Shaikin wonders whether the Dodgers even have a financial limit. GM Farhan Zaidi says yes, then goes on to elaborate that “nobody has ever mentioned a number to us.” The Dodgers are projected to pay a record $43MM in luxury taxes this season. It’s possible that number could increase in August. Zaidi did allude to a time when the Dodgers will field a more typical payroll with the help of cost controlled talent.
  • Also from Shaikin, the Dodgers are currently paying for 25 percent of the Marlins payroll. The players’ union has taken fresh notice of Miami’s penchant to deal talent for financial relief.
  • The Dodgers looked into White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija “some time ago,” tweets Shaikin. Talks did not progress. After a brutal start to the season, the Pale Hose are just two games below .500 and 3.5 games behind the second Wild Card. Undoubtedly, the surging roster affected their willingness to sell Samardzija.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Dodgers, Mets, Hamels, Jays, Astros

An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.

Here’s more from Rosenthal:

  • Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied –€“ and should not be satisfied –€“ until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.
  • Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
  • The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
  • The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/1/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Mets have signed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a minor league contract, according to the MLB transactions page. Stauffer was released by the Twins earlier this summer and signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in mid-July. He posted a 6.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Twins. Over a 590 inning major league career, he has a 3.94 ERA with 6.73 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9. In his heyday, he worked between 90 and 92 mph. He averaged just 88 mph with his fastball during his stint with Minnesota.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Erik Cordier, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. MLBTR has learned that Cordier’s deal included opt out clauses on July 1, August 1, and September 7. The 29-year-old righty performed well in the minors. In 34 Triple-A innings, he posted a 1.04 ERA and 11.16 K/9. However, his command and control left something to be desired with 6.49 BB/9.
  • The White Sox have signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the Knights have announced. Viciedo was, of course, a longtime staple of the White Sox outfield, but they released him in February, avoiding paying most of what would have been a $4.4MM arbitration salary. He played briefly this year for Triple-A Nashville in the Athletics system, hitting .221/.282/.336.
  • The Red Sox have outrighted infielder Jemile Weeks and assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets. The Red Sox designated Weeks for assignment on Wednesday when they added Josh Rutledge to their roster. Weeks has hit .207/.307/.310 in 199 plate appearances for Pawtucket this year.
  • Former Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers is headed to Korea, where he’ll get $1MM to play for the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. In the midst of yesterday’s trade deadline madness, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted that the Yankees had released Rogers. The 29-year-old Rogers posted a 6.27 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 33 innings with New York this season.

Red Sox President Larry Lucchino To Be Replaced

The Red Sox will replace president and CEO Larry Lucchino by the end of the season, reports Michael Silverman and Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald. Lucchino’s contract expires at the end of the season. The Red Sox have reportedly been working on a succession plan for some time with rumors of a shake up first reported during spring training.

While executive turnover in baseball can be fraught with drama, it appears that Lucchino and the Red Sox are still on good terms. Chairman Tom Werner spoke about reaching a new agreement with Lucchino, saying “we are hopeful…we will conclude an agreement with Larry going forward where he will continue to be an integral part of upper management.” Werner went on to describe an advisory role.

Lucchino, 70, helped to guide the franchise to three World Series victories since owner John Henry first purchased the club in 2002. He is also known for overseeing the renovation of historic Fenway Park and the acquisition of the Pawtucket Red Sox. He has had a less prominent influence on the team this season in part due to a serious motorcycle accident sustained over the winter.

Executive vice president and COO Sam Kennedy will be promoted to club president. However, unlike Lucchino, Kennedy is not expected to have a role in baseball operations. Kennedy, 42, has worked with Lucchino for 20 years. Per Luchhino, “he’s certainly my choice, as well as that of John and Tom, to be promoted to the position of president.” Kennedy has been slowly taking over Lucchino’s responsibilities throughout the season.


Cubs Attempted To Acquire Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross

The Cubs aimed high at the trade deadline but ultimately settled for pitchers Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to club president Theo Epstein, “the two main players we focused on late ended up not getting moved.” Epstein went on to say that he was aggressive in offering both quality and quantity for top major league talent.

Sources tell Wittenmyer that the two players the Cubs focused upon were pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross. Neither was traded. It was rumored that the Indians were merely gather information about Carrasco’s value while the Padres have been criticized for not knowing “what they really wanted.”

Since signing a four-year, $22MM extension over the offseason, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.90 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. ERA estimators believe he should be at least a full run better than his ERA, as evidenced by a 2.84 FIP. The 28-year-old also has two affordable option years. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians don’t view Carrasco as a building block. However, it is pragmatic to entertain offers at his physical peak.

Ross agreed to a $5.25MM contract in his second year of arbitration. As a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Ross has followed up a breakout 2014 with a solid 3.38 ERA, 9.66 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, and a 63 percent ground ball rate.

The Cubs also aggressively shopped shortstop Starlin Castro, but they found few takers. Javier Baez was one of the players discussed as part of a Carrasco package. Meanwhile, the Braves expressed interest in Jorge Soler while discussing Julio Teheran and other young pitchers. Overall, it’s clear that high quality, club controlled pitching is a top priority for Chicago.


Rockies Designate Aaron Laffey

The Rockies have designated reliever Aaron Laffey for assignment, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The transaction was part of a series of moves that allowed the club to recall Christian Bergman, Scott Oberg, and Kyle Parker. Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Corey Dickerson were placed on the disabled list. The Rockies also designated Laffey on July 11, but he ultimately remained with the team.

The 30-year-old lefty has spent most of the season at the Triple-A level where he’s compiled a 4.78 ERA, 5.86 K/9, and 4.01 BB/9 in 58 innings. He’s tossed just seven and one-third innings in three relief appearances in the majors this year. Laffey checks in around 87 mph. He’s thrown 494 innings over his career with a 4.44 ERA, 4.46 K/9, and 3.62 BB/9.


Athletics Designate Eric O’Flaherty

The Athletics have announced that they’ve designated lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty for assignment. The move clears space on the Athletics’ active roster for righty and recent trade acquisition Aaron Brooks, who has been promoted from Nashville to start tonight.

The 30-year-old O’Flaherty has struggled this season, posting a 5.91 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 in 21 1/3 innings while dealing with shoulder trouble. He’s also dealt with elbow and back issues in recent years. The A’s signed O’Flaherty to a two-year, $7MM contract before the 2014 season, and his rather expensive $5.5MM 2015 salary and uneven performance likely ensure he won’t be claimed.


East Notes: Valencia, Red Sox, Fulmer

The Blue Jays‘ somewhat surprising decision this morning to designate Danny Valencia for assignment confused many fans. Valencia has, after all, had a very strong season at the plate, batting .296/.331/.506, and he’s capable of playing several positions and raking against lefties. As Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith explains, manager John Gibbons told GM Alex Anthopoulos that he wanted new acquisition Ben Revere to play every day rather than platooning, leaving one of Valencia or Chris Colabello without much of a role. The Blue Jays ultimately decided to keep Colabello, and Anthopoulos thinks Valencia will be claimed on Monday. The GM suggests the Jays aren’t done tweaking their roster, so they could make a minor move or two to improve it, perhaps adding an outfielder.

  • The Red Sox were relatively quiet at the deadline, but they expect to look quite different by April, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes. “I think it’s incumbent upon us to make real improvement between now and Opening Day,” says GM Ben Cherington. “We didn’t feel like it had to be this week. And so we went into it with the mindset, we’re going to pursue things we think fall in line with ways we need to improve between now and Opening Day.” Cherington notes that it’s still possible the Red Sox could make deals in August. Potential trade candidates include Mike Napoli and Alejandro De Aza.
  • The Mets repeatedly refused to trade pitching prospect Michael Fulmer, and were able to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers only when they finally relented, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. To Tigers exec Dave Dombrowski, Fulmer was the key to the deal (which also included another solid pitching prospect, Luis Cessa). “We consider Fulmer a premium-type guy,” Dombrowski says.

Padres Designate Tim Federowicz

The Padres have designated catcher Tim Federowicz for assignment, Corey Brock of MLB.com tweets. Federowicz was completing a rehab assignment for a meniscus tear that has cost him the entire season so far. He was out of options, and the Padres evidently decided they were happy with Derek Norris and Austin Hedges at catcher, so as Federowicz approached full health, the Padres were forced to a decision.

Federowicz, 27, has a career .194/.247/.300 line in parts of four big-league seasons, all with the Dodgers. He does, however, have a good defensive reputation. The Dodgers sent him south last December in the Matt Kemp / Yasmani Grandal trade.