Angels To Name Bill Stoneman Interim GM

The Angels will name senior advisor of baseball operations Bill Stoneman as their interim GM, following Jerry Dipoto’s sudden resignation, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). Assistant GM Matt Klentak will act as Stoneman’s No. 2 in the new arrangement, per Gonzalez, who adds that a full search for a permanent replacement will begin in the offseason. Promoting Klentak is also an option, according to Gonzalez.

Stoneman, 71, has a lengthy track record in front offices, including within the Angels front office. He served as the team’s general manager from the 1999 through 2007 seasons prior to stepping down and ceding the role to Tony Reagins. Stoneman oversaw the construction of the Angels’ 2002 World Series roster and has been working in front offices dating back to 1984, when he was a member of the Expos’ front office. He, of course, is also the GM that initially hired manager Mike Scioscia, whose reported refusal to utilize data provided by the team’s analytics staff served as a catalyst for Dipoto’s decision to resign.

Stoneman and the young Klentak (34) will run point on the team’s baseball operations decisions as the trade deadline looms. While Klentak himself seems likely to be a consideration for the permanent GM’s chair, he’s also been speculatively mentioned as a candidate to join the Phillies’ front office in some capacity. Klentak has a strong relationship with new Phillies president Andy MacPhail, who gave him a prominent role in the Orioles’ front office back in 2008. Those looking to learn more about Klentak can check out an early episode of the MLBTR Podcast, where Klentak joined to discuss the Angels’ offseason goals with host Jeff Todd.


Orioles Designate Delmon Young For Assignment, Will Seek Trade Partner

5:44pm: Kubatko says that GM Dan Duquette sounded confident that he’ll be able to trade Young, though a deal won’t be completed today (Twitter link).

5:20pm: The Orioles announced (Twitter link) that they have designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment. A little more than an hour ago, manager Buck Showalter indicated to reporters that a move was coming soon in order to clear a spot on the roster for right-hander Tyler Wilson. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that the O’s will try to trade Young, and GM Dan Duquette has spoken to execs in both the AL and the NL about him.

The 29-year-old Young is in the midst of his second season with the Orioles after signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract this offseason to return to Baltimore. However, after enjoying a nice run as a part-time player with the Orioles in 2014 when he batted .302/.337/.442 in 255 plate appearances, Young has struggled to a .270/.289/.339 batting line in 2015. Though he has a strong throwing arm, Young’s range is limited in the corner outfield spots. He is still owed $1.19MM through season’s end and would earn $125K bonuses for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, with another $100K kicking in for every 50 PAs beyond that point — up to 600 PAs.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier today that the Orioles have been exploring trade possibilities for Young, and he again tweets that one NL club has shown some definite interest in Young. It’s not known at this time which team is showing the most interest, but from a speculative standpoint, I’d think that both the Giants and Pirates make some sense. San Francisco recently lost both Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to the disabled list, and over in Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco has looked overmatched by left-handed pitching all season. Young, for all of his flaws, is a weapon against lefties; he’s batted .302/.337/.461 in his career when holding the platoon advantage.


Twins To Promote Miguel Sano

The Twins will promote top prospect Miguel Sano prior to tomorrow’s contest, an industry source tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). It would seem, then, that Sano will be recalled to replace DH Kennys Vargas, who was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga earlier today.

Miguel Sano

Sano, 22, is considered the best right-handed power prospect in the game and draw scouting grades for his raw power that are parallel to those of Joey Gallo. He entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 11 prospect by MLB.com and placed 12th and 13th on the respective lists of Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. Fangraphs ranked the Dominican third baseman 15th among all prospects, as did ESPN’s Keith Law. Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets that in eight seasons covering the July 2 international prospect market, Sano is, to this day, the best position-player prospect that he’s covered.

As mentioned, Sano’s calling card is what most scouts rank as 80-grade power (on the 20-80 scale). MLB.com’s scouting report notes that Sano has “as much power as anyone in the minor leagues,” adding that his 2013 output of 35 homers between Class-A and Double-A could become an annual occurrence. Defensively speaking, Sano was signed as a shortstop but quickly outgrew the position and moved to third base, where the 6’4″, 260-pounder is said by most to be below average.

Third base is presently occupied by Trevor Plouffe for the Twins, and while Plouffe isn’t necessarily a star-level player, he’s quietly developed into a solid regular at the position. It seems possible, especially since he’s taking Vargas’ spot on the roster, that Sano will cut his teeth in the Majors primarily as a designated hitter, though he could certainly spell Plouffe at the hot corner on occasion.

Sano missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and opened the 2015 campaign at Double-A for a second stint as he reacclimated himself to the rigors of playing every day. He started the season slow, but since the beginning of May, Sano has been an absolute juggernaut for the Lookouts. In that time, he’s batted .315/.400/.601 with 11 homers in 210 plate appearances.

If Sano is to stick in the Majors from this point forth, he’ll accrue 97 days of big league service, leaving him well shy of Super Two designation. As such, he’d be arbitration-eligible the standard three times before qualifying for free agency following the 2021 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Orioles Likely To Part With Outfielder Soon

Right-hander Tyler Wilson is with the Orioles and will be activated today, according to multiple reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter links). The Orioles have not announced a corresponding move, but Ghiroli says that the team will likely part with an outfielder, possibly via trade. Manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore media that GM Dan Duquette “is working on some things” in regards to a corresponding move.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun feels that Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, David Lough and Nolan Reimold are the candidates (Twitter links), and an industry source has told him that the Orioles have recently been gauging interest in Young, in particular. Duquette has been in talks with at least one team in the NL regarding Young, he says adding that a DFA is also possible. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that Reimold will be remaining with the team, and he feels that Pearce’s versatility is valued by the Orioles, seemingly making him unlikely to be moved.

It seems that Young is possibly on the outside looking in. The 29-year-old had a nice first season with the Orioles in 2014, but he’s struggled in 2015, slashing just .270/.289/.339 in 180 plate appearances. The return of Reimold, who rejoined the team earlier this month, has perhaps made Young expendable. A right-handed bat that’s primarily limited to the corner outfield, Reimold possesses a similar skill set to Young but has been much more productive of late. Since June 9, Reimold is hitting .257/.366/.514 in an admittedly small sample of 41 plate appearances.

Young is earning $2.25MM this season, of which approximately $1.19MM remains. His current deal calls for him to earn an additional $125K for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, plus an additional $100K for reaching 400, 450, 500, 550 and 600. Obviously, some of those are out of reach at this point, given his limited playing time to date.

Many clubs are on the lookout for offensive upgrades. The Giants recently lost Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to injury, and the Pirates could certainly use a platoon partner for Gregory Polanco in right field. The Angels have received little production from left field, although it seems unlikely that they’d be swinging any trades at the moment given the tumultuous state of their front office. The Mariners didn’t get any production out of Rickie Weeks as a platoon option in left field and could look for upgrades. Michael Cuddyer is currently injured for the Mets and hasn’t been terribly productive even when healthy.


Yankees Outright Esmil Rogers

The Yankees announced today that right-hander Esmil Rogers has been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in order to clear a spot on the 40-man and 25-man roster for outfielder Taylor Dugas.

The 29-year-old Rogers has already been designated for assignment and outrighted this season, but the Yankees selected his contract over the weekend to add some depth to the bullpen. Rogers didn’t make an appearance with the team in his most recent stint with the team and currently sports an unsightly 6.27 ERA on the season. He’s averaged 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 with a 42.5 percent ground-ball rate this season in addition to being quite unlucky on balls in play, leading to significantly better marks in FIP (4.63), xFIP (4.10) and SIERA (3.72). Having been previously outrighted, Rogers does have the option of rejecting the Triple-A assignment in favor of free agency.

As for Dugas, the 2012 eighth-rounder has struggled quite a bit in the minors this season. In 199 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, he’s batted .198/.316/.235 with no homers and six steals (in eight tries). Taylor didn’t rank among the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, per MLB.com and Baseball America, but Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel noted that he could have a future as a fourth or fifth outfielder due to above-average speed and an ability to play all three outfield spots. Dugas does have a keen eye at the plate, as BA wrote prior to the 2013 season that he had the best plate discipline in the Yankees’ farm system.


MLBTR Chat Transcript

Click here to read a transcript of this week’s live chat, hosted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams.


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Angels GM Jerry Dipoto To Resign

Jerry Dipoto has made “a final decision” to resign as the Angels GM, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That appeared to be where things were headed last night, though a report indicated that the club’s owner and president were attempting to convince Dipoto to stay on.

February 21, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (left) talks to general manager Jerry Dipoto (right) during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While not unexpected at this point, the overall situation is rather stunning. The Angels are facing some tough decisions over the next month as the team tries to keep up with the Astros in the AL West after opening play today four games back. All said, it’s rather an inopportune time to be making such significant changes in the front office. It remains to be seen how the team will fill the void left in Dipoto’s wake.

The base cause for the signing appears, by all accounts, to be an authority struggle between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia. Prior differences seemed to have been resolved with ownership intervention, and the organization had already exercised Dipoto’s option for the 2016 campaign. But tensions re-emerged over the last several days, according to reports. Without rehashing all the information that has come out, suffice to say that Angels owner Arte Moreno was ultimately unable to maintain a workable allocation of power between the pair of key baseball men.

Dipoto took the GM seat for Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 after the firing of predecessor Tony Reagins. He oversaw major free agent acquisitions, including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and C.J. Wilson, although those major outlays have often been connected to Moreno’s involvement.

More recently, Dipoto has looked to build the team’s pitching staff through the trade market. He shipped away starting second baseman Howie Kendrick to acquire young lefty Andrew Heaney this offseason after moving slugger Mark Trumbo to acquire Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.

Dipoto also bolstered last year’s club with relievers Joe Smith (signed to a three-year pact) and Huston Street (added in a summer trade). Street ultimately agreed to an extension recently, with the team getting two more years of his services, plus an option year, for a seemingly reasonable $18MM commitment.

But the crowning achievement of Dipoto’s transactional history with the Halos is probably the Mike Trout extension. Having already established himself as the game’s very best player at just 22 years of age, Trout signed on to a six-year, $144.5MM deal. It’s a significant commitment, to be sure, but that money pales in comparison to the overall cash later promised by the Marlins to Giancarlo Stanton. Notably, Stanton was in a much different situation given his service time. But the Trout contract looks to be rather an incredible bargain, given that the club is committed only through his peak prime years with relatively little overall risk.

The Dipoto-constructed Angels had some disappointments along the way, missing the post-season in his first two seasons at the helm despite the major free agent signings. But the club put up 98 wins and an AL West title last year before running into the Royals buzzsaw in the playoffs.

Los Angeles has had its issues this year, with the team’s overall offensive production sagging despite big seasons from Trout and Pujols. Offseason acquisition Matt Joyce has simply not hit, and the club was backed into an awkward situation with Hamilton that ultimately saw him shipped to the Rangers for some salary savings.

Despite the turmoil, however, the club is as noted still very much in the thick of things heading into trade deadline season. As good as Houston has been, putting up an AL-leading 46 wins at the start of the day, the Angels have every opportunity to take another division crown. That’s especially true, perhaps, given that the club reportedly reserved payroll capacity to be deployed over the summer. Now, the question is not only how it will put those funds to use, but who’ll make that decision.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images


Minor Moves: Tabata, Romak, Wheeler

We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

  • The Pirates have outrighted outfielder Jose Tabata to Triple-A, per the International League transactions page. Recently designated for assignment, Tabata still has another year left on the extension he signed early in his career. It’s no surprise, then, that Tabata appears on the Triple-A Indianapolis roster (Twitter link), meaning that he’s accepted his assignment rather than sacrificing his remaining guaranteed money to become a free agent.
  • Pursuant to an upward mobility clause like the one we explained yesterday, the Diamondbacks have notified the rest of the league that infielder/outfielder Jamie Romak is available to any club that is willing to add him to its active roster, MLBTR has learned. The 29-year-old is obviously hoping for a chance at big league playing time, but has also asked the team to sell his contract to a Japanese or Korean club if an MLB job is not available. Despite a very strong recent track record at Triple-A, Romak has only received 23 big league plate appearances in his career (all coming last year with the Dodgers). Thus far in 2015, he’s slashed .299/.375/.541 with 13 home runs over 323 trips to the plate. Notably, Romak has also spent time at second base this season for the first time in his career, adding to his versatility after logging plenty of minor league innings in the corner outfield and at both first and third.
  • The Twins have released third baseman Ryan Wheeler, Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports on Twitter. Wheeler, who’ll soon turn 27, signed with Minnesota in May after being released by the Angels. He’s struggled ever since, putting up a .233/.243/.315 slash in 74 plate appearances at Triple-A. Wheeler received limited MLB playing time in each of the last three years with the Diamondbacks and Rockies. All said, he has put up a .233/.280/.335 slash in 225 turns at the plate.

East Notes: Encarnacion, Jays, Yankees, Niese

Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion achieved ten-and-five rights yesterday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. It once seemed quite unlikely that the now-32-year-old would ever establish himself enough to earn a no-trade clause, as Davidi explains. Toronto can control Encarnacion next season with a $10MM club option, but his future beyond that remains unclear. “I like this city, I’d love to stay here but it’s not my choice,” said Encarnacion. “They have to decide what they’re going to do, if they’re going to sign me or not. I’m open to be here and to stay here in Toronto.”

Here’s more from Toronto and the rest of the east:

  • All indications are that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos “has been busy trying to make something happen for a while now,” writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto may be willing to give significant value for a truly high-quality player that makes a perfect fit for the club’s overall situation, says Davidi, much as it did in signing Russell Martin and trading for Josh Donaldson. That being said, it seems unlikely that Anthopoulos and Co. will part with its best young talent for a pure rental, the report suggests.
  • Anthopoulos tells reporters that the Blue Jays nearly pulled off two trades in May, but has not come as close since, as Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports (Twitter links). The GM added that he’ll consider moving prospects for rentals if the price is right, noting that he discussed a deal last summer involving young players Kevin Pillar and Sean Nolin.
  • he Yankees are in a solid position right now, but need to address three pressing questions, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues. First, the club need to decide whether and when it will pull the struggling CC Sabathia from the rotation, and whether it will replace him with an outside addition (Sherman suggests Jeff Samardzija as a viable option). Another veteran, outfielder Carlos Beltran, has produced at the plate but not in the field, and Sherman wonders whether he could be a trade option for the Angels to plug in at DH. And New York must also decide how much it is willing to cough up to add the versatile Ben Zobrist, per the piece, if and when he’s made available by the A’s.
  • Meanwhile, across town, the Mets are in no rush to deal Jon Niese, writes Newsday’s David Lennon, who explains that the club still needs innings from him given limitations on its younger starters. Of course, Niese (and his salary) could ultimately be part of a deal — whether to add a bat or future assets. But as things stand, it does not appear that there is much momentum towards any kind of trade. Indeed, per Lennon, the Mets have not even had “serious conversations with two teams (Cubs, Dodgers) that reportedly have interest in the lefty.

MLBTR Seeking Photoshop Experts

As you may have noticed, MLB Trade Rumors has launched a brand new Instagram account: @TradeRumorsMLB.  As the trade market heats up, MLBTR is looking for talented photoshop artists who can expertly (and quickly) make a jersey swap photo.

Are you the kind of photoshop expert we’re looking for?  If so, we want you to create a sample photo of Cole Hamels in a Yankees jersey and email it to MLBTRonInstagram@gmail.com.  The position is part-time and compensated.  Good luck!


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Angels Attempting To Keep Jerry Dipoto As GM

11:54am: If Dipoto ultimately leaves, there are some indications that assistant GM Matt Klentak would be handed the reigns, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).

If you’re interested in getting some more insight on Klentak, give a listen to his appearance on the MLBTR Podcast back in October.

10:36am: The Angels are attempting to keep GM Jerry Dipoto in his position, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Club owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino are “trying to broker a peace” between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia, per the report.

Numerous reports suggested that Dipoto cleaned out his office and informed at least some personnel that he planned to resign last night. It seemed that we were but an announcement away from learning that the Halos would need a new general manager, and while that still may be the case, it seems that the club’s top leadership is not interested in replacing Dipoto.

Whatever the long-term prospects are for Dipoto and Scioscia to deliver harmonious and successful leadership for the Angels, it is obvious that this is not an opportune time to make a change in the GM seat. Los Angeles is just four games back in the AL West despite a somewhat tepid start, and has some obvious roster holes to fill over the coming month.


Blue Jays Designate Steve Tolleson

The Blue Jays have activated infielder Steve Tolleson from the DL and designated him for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca tweets. With Tolleson’s rehab assignment done, the club was forced to make a decision on his roster status.

With Devon Travis and Jose Reyes both healthy and set to play regularly, and Ryan Goins and Danny Valencia set to take the club’s reserve infield slots, Tolleson simply didn’t fit on the 25-man. But he has been useful this year in limited action, hitting a solid .268/.333/.439 over 45 plate appearances.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the 31-year-old will remain in the Toronto organization. If he clears waivers, he’ll have a choice whether to elect free agency, as is his right given that he’s previously been outrighted.


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Jerry Dipoto Likely Out As Angels GM

9:54pm: Rosenthal provides an overview of the situation, writing that “he and his staff viewed Scioscia and the coaches as practically insubordinate” in declining to utilize statistical information.

9:15am: The current situation is “chaotic,” tweets Passan, with “high-ranking members of the organization” unsure whether or not Dipoto is still the general manager.

9:07am: Dipoto cleared out his office and told members of his staff he was resigning, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.

9:01am: A second source tells Crasnick that Dipoto is leaving the organization. (Twitter link.)

2:21am: Jerry Dipoto is “definitely out” as Angels GM after apparently resigning his post last night, sources tell ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Multiple Angels players entered last night’s game under the impression that Dipoto was no longer at the helm, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweets.

While the club has yet to make anything official, multiple reports emerged over night suggesting that change was afoot. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reported that Dipoto was considering resigning in the wake of the Angels’ organizational tensions. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, tweeted that two sources told him Dipoto had packed up his office (though he noted the possibility that Dipoto might simply have been acting “out of emotion”). Crasnick tweeted that strife between Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia had only increased since Rosenthal reported earlier this week that the two again weren’t getting along (after having also had significant disagreements in 2012). Crasnick also indicated that Dipoto approached Angels owner Arte Moreno with an ultimatum that “backfired.”

With the Halos experiencing a somewhat underwhelming start to the year, tensions apparently boiled over recently. According to a Rosenthal report, a pair of meetings called by Dipoto — one with Scioscia and his staff, and the other will both uniformed staff and players — turned “contentious” last weekend. The club’s top baseball decision maker reportedly drew strong reactions from an unnamed coach as well as Hall of Fame-bound first baseman Albert Pujols.

The immediate issue seemed to involve the manner in which information on in-game decisions (e.g., shifting, strategies against certain hitters) was distributed to players. But Rosenthal raised the possibility that there were deeper philosophical and relational differences between the club’s two key leaders.

The working relationship between Dipoto and Scioscia was once said to be nearly irreconcilable, but they had seemingly worked together in at least a reasonably workable truce. When asked about the report earlier this week, Scioscia said that the pair continued to “work together the same way that we’ve worked the last couple years” (via Gonzalez, on Twitter).

In recent days, however, those former hostilities had seemingly been rekindled. Two club officials spoke anonymously with Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, with one telling him that there were “a lot of closed doors” around the club’s facility Tuesday, given the persistent tension.

The second source indicated that he or she felt the end result could be rather drastic change. “Something’s going to give this time,” said the source. “Looks irreparable.” Owner Arte Moreno had managed to patch things up previously, at least for a good stretch, but it remains to be seen what can be salvaged this time around.

Then, there’s the reported involvement of Pujols, the team’s highest-paid player, who has finally played up to his massive contract this year. The highly respected veteran said today that he was not going to comment on what had gone on in the clubhouse, as Gonzalez reported.

But Pujols did address the idea, as reported by Rosenthal, that he had said that the club simply does not have as good a roster as it did last year. As Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted, Pujols said he would never disrespect his teammates in the manner implied in that supposed comment. According to Gonzalez’s sources, however, Rosenthal’s report was quite accurate (Twitter link).

Regardless of what actually happened, there’s yet another layer to the controversy. Gonzalez writes that there was “anger” among the players that the story was leaked in the first place. And Pujols also called it “really embarrassing” (to whoever revealed the information) that the story had reached the public sphere. “We’re supposed to be a family here,” he said.


Athletics Sign First-Rounder Richie Martin

10:43pm: Martin will earn $1.95MM, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets. It would appear, then, that Oakland has just under $300K to play with for selections made after the tenth round. Bonuses for players selected outside of the slotted rounds count against a team’s total allocation only to the extent that they exceed $100K.

5:33pm: The Athletics have announced the signing of first-round draft pick Richie Martin. The University of Florida shortstop was taken with the 20th overall selection.

Bonus terms have not yet been reported, and unsurprisingly were not announced by the club. Oakland’s first pick came with a $2,214,000 pool allocation (via Baseball America).

Most prospect writers placed Martin in the 30 to 40 range among draft-eligible prospects. Baseball America ranked him highest (31st), citing Martin’s strong overall athleticism and defensive ability. At the plate, BA says that the infielder is a line-drive hitter who could have some future power potential.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law was somewhat less impressed, rating Martin 75th on his board. While he praised Martin’s improvement as a hitter, Law says that the former Gator “projects as an average hitter with below-average power” and could add value on the bases.

Martin becomes the last of the A’s picks from the first ten rounds to reach agreement (via MLB.com’s bonus tracker). As things stand, the club has undertaken $827,800 in above-slot obligations to sign high school righty Dakota Chalmers and UNC outfielder Skye Bolt, and has saved $632,900 on its remaining picks. The team can go up to 5% over its total pool allocation without losing draft picks (instead only paying a tax on the overage), freeing an additional $272,205.

Put it all together, and the A’s were capable of spending up to $77,305 over slot on Martin (in total, $2,291,305). If the bonus comes in below that number, the difference could be applied toward later-round selections.