Jorge De La Rosa Claimed, Blocked On Waivers

Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was claimed off waivers by an unknown team who made the move in order to block the southpaw from being dealt elsewhere, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  Colorado pulled De La Rosa back from revocable trade waivers and he’ll finish the rest of the season in the purple pinstripes.


Mets Notes: Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Alderson

Happy birthday to Noah Syndergaard, who turns 22 years old today.  Syndergaard likely won’t be celebrating with a Major League debut, however, as the right-hander is already close to his innings limit for the year.  Here’s the latest from the Mets…

  • Zack Wheeler doesn’t want to be traded, telling Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that “I was part of the rebuilding process and I want to see it through.’’  While the Mets would undoubtedly need a huge return to trade the 24-year-old righty, it has been speculated that the Mets could deal from their pitching depth to acquire a top-tier shortstop or outfielder in the offseason.
  • Travis d’Arnaud‘s concussion history has Mets upper management at least exploring a shift from catcher to left field, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes.  Terry Collins said the issue had been discussed, though not at length or in any serious depth, so if a position switch did happen, it wouldn’t be anytime soon.
  • A d’Arnaud position switch is also discussed by Metsblog.com’s Matthew Cerrone. Beyond just d’Arnaud’s health, a move from behind the plate could be inevitable since the Mets are “in LOVE” (capitalization added by Cerrone) with catching prospect Kevin Plawecki.  Cerrone isn’t sure if d’Arnaud’s bat would play quite as well in left as it does at catcher, so he suggests that d’Arnaud could also possibly become a trade candidate this winter.
  • That said, Newsday’s Marc Carig (via Twitter) hears from a team source that the Mets “have little to no interest in trading d’Arnaud.”
  • While many of the Mets’ younger players have performed quite well this season, the team has underachieved due to David Wright‘s off-year and GM Sandy Alderson’s misses in the free agent hitters’ market, John Harper of the New York Daily News opines.  Curtis Granderson has only a .688 OPS and is still owed $47MM from 2015-17, while Chris Young has already been released.

Rangers Notes: Lewis, Bridwell, Rosales

It’s definitely not the race the Rangers hoped to be leading in late August, but Texas is currently in position to land the first overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft.  As you can follow on MLBTR’s Reverse Standings, the Rangers currently have the game’s worst record at 52-81, narrowly putting them “ahead” of the Rockies (53-80), Diamondbacks (55-78) and Astros (57-78).  Houston, of course, is in line for two top-five draft choices since the team is already guaranteed the #2 pick in 2015 as compensation for failing to sign first overall selection Brady Aiken this past summer.

Here’s the latest from Arlington…

  • Colby Lewis wants to return next season and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News figures the team wouldn’t hesitate to re-sign him aside from the troubling issue of Lewis’ struggles at Globe Life Park.  Lewis has a 7.17 ERA in 13 home starts this season, as opposed to a 3.69 ERA in 11 road starts.  Overall in 2014, Lewis has a 5.44 ERA in 137 1/3 innings, though ERA predictors such as FIP (4.35), xFIP (4.30) and SIERA (4.15) indicate that he has been unlucky this year, possibly due to a .365 BABIP.  The veteran right-hander returned to action this season after being sidelined since July 2012 due to injuries, and his minor league deal with Texas is up after the season.
  • The Rangers have long been interested in Orioles right-handed pitching prospect Parker Bridwell and have attempted to acquire him several times over the last three years, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports.  Bridwell, 23, was a ninth-round draft pick in 2010 and currently has a 4.51 ERA, 2.03 K/BB rate and 136 strikeouts over 135 1/3 IP at the high-A ball level this season.  Though Bridwell’s career numbers are nothing to write home about, Kubatko thinks the O’s should put him on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft since “he’s also got some of the best stuff in the organization.”
  • Also from Evan Grant, manager Ron Washington says that Adam Rosales is performing well enough to be considered for a utility role in 2015.  Rosales has started at all four infield spots for Texas this season and is enjoying by far his best season with the bat, posting a .907 OPS in 80 plate appearances.  Rosales is eligible for arbitration for the third and final time this offseason.


Quick Hits: Herrera, O’s, Mariners, Cubs, V-Mart

The Mets have placed Daniel Murphy on the disabled list and will recall Double-A second baseman Dilson Herrera to fill his roster spot. The 20-year-old Herrera was the second player acquired from the Pirates (along with Vic Black) in last year’s Marlon Byrd/John Buck trade. In 274 plate appearances with Binghamton this season, he slashed a healthy .333/.401/.544 with nine homers and nine steals. Herrera’s overall numbers this season are quite strong, and his continued development has led some, including ESPN’s Keith Law, to consider him among the game’s Top 100 prospects.

Here are some more links from around the league…

  • The Orioles have continued to be active on the waiver wire despite the fact that they’ve yet to make an August acquisition, executive vice president Dan Duquette tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The O’s have been on the hunt for a left-handed hitting infielder but have come up empty in their search, Connolly writes.
  • While the Mariners very much want to make the playoffs, team president Kevin Mather tells Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that the M’s weren’t “going to sell [their] souls for a one-game Wild Card opportunity” by mortgaging the future at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Mather characterizes the acquisitions of Kendrys Morales, Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia as “strategic” but “not crazy.” The team held onto top prospects Taijuan Walker and D.J. Peterson as well as young lefty James Paxton.
  • Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters, including ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, that the team will have the financial wherewithal to add to the payroll in the coming years due to its young core. Epstein said he never looks at one offseason and decides that he has to get something done that year, but he expects to add impact starting pitching from outside the organization in the next 18 to 24 months.
  • Victor Martinez would like to play for “a few more years” but thinks he’ll be out of the league by the age of 40, he tells Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi spoke to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who offered lofty praise for his DH, calling him the most prepared and focused hitter he has ever encountered. Morosi looks at the weak DH situations that many teams around the league have and wonders if the 35-year-old Martinez can fetch something in the neighborhood of Carlos Beltran‘s three-year, $45MM contract from last offseason.

Yankees Acquire Josh Outman

The Indians announced that they have traded left-hander Josh Outman to the Yankees in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations (Twitter link).

Josh Outman

Outman, who had been pitching at Triple-A Columbus for the Indians, will report to the Yankees’ Major League roster. It’s unclear whether the Yankees claimed Outman off waivers or if they struck a deal with Cleveland after Outman had already cleared revocable waivers.

The 29-year-old Outman was acquired by the Indians this past offseason in a straight up swap for outfielder Drew Stubbs. While Stubbs has gone on to enjoy a strong season in Colorado, Outman saw his control decline with Cleveland, resulting in a demotion to the minor leagues. (The move did save the Indians $2.85MM, as Outman’s $1.25MM arbitration salary was significantly lower than the $4.1MM paid to Stubbs.) Though he posted a strong 3.28 ERA with 24 punchouts in 24 2/3 innings, Outman also walked 16 batters in that time, making for a career-worst 5.8 BB/9 rate.

What Outman has provided throughout his career is a strong option against left-handed batters. He held opposing lefties to a .180/.293/.380 batting line in 2014 and has limited them to a .188/.257/.287 triple-slash in 403 career plate appearances. Since his demotion, Outman had posted an inferior 4.41 ERA in 22 1/3 innings but had seen his command improve, walking just eight batters against 20 strikeouts in that time.

The Yankees are currently relying on David Huff and Rich Hill as the left-handed options in their bullpen, and Outman will provide manager Joe Girardi with another lefty to use if neither of those arms is removed from the roster in order to clear space. Outman is slated to finish the year with less than five years of Major League service time, meaning that the Yankees could control him through the 2016 campaign via arbitration if they wish.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL East Links: Venters, Mets, Marlins, Gonzalez

As David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Braves left-hander Jonny Venters, who has spent the entire season rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, has received the devastating news that he has re-torn his left ulnar collateral ligament and will require a third Tommy John surgery if he is to continue his career. Venters says that he will address reporters Friday to further comment on the unfortunate news. O’Brien lists Jose Rijo and Jason Isringhausen as a rare pair of examples of success following a third Tommy John operation.

More from the National League East…

  • The Mets worked out Cuban third baseman Pavel Quesada and shortstop Roberto Carlos, reports Mike Puma of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Quesada, said to be a third baseman with some pop, was the more impressive of the two, according to Puma’s sources. The 28-year-old Carlos, on the other hand, was described as a “work in progress” that needs to improve the strength of his throwing arm.
  • Although the Marlins are hanging on in the playoff race — they’re five and a half games out of a Wild Card spot — president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro that a last-minute trade is unlikely. However, that doesn’t mean that the team will be going young in the month of September. With a postseason berth still a possibility, Hill notes that the team is less inclined to go with young players in order to give them experience when a veteran could give them a better chance at winning in a given situation. For this reason, top prospect Andrew Heaney may not get a September callup, Frisaro notes.
  • “He looked like a totally different guy than in Spring Training,” an American League scout told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer when discussing Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. A National League scout told Gelb, “He’s a solid setup guy for me.” The Phillies are very pleased with the progress they’ve seen since Gonzalez’s injuries in Spring Training made the team’s $12MM investment look questionable. Gonzalez, who is likely to receive a September callup, has a 2.36 ERA in 34 innings since shifting to a relief role and has risen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s flashed a 95 to 98 mph fastball and could factor into the bullpen as a setup man coming out of Spring Training next year.

Trade Talks For Bartolo Colon Quieting

THURSDAY: Mets GM Sandy Alderson implied that Colon isn’t likely to be dealt as it stands right now, given the current state of trade talks, tweets Rubin“I would say right now there’s a lot less going on than some people speculate,” said Alderson.

That quote meshes with a tweet from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, who heard from a Dodgers source that it was “doubtful” the team would make a move for Colon with Hyun-jin Ryu nearing a return from the DL.

WEDNESDAY, 10:21pm: The Dodgers seem not to have serious interest in adding Colon, according to a tweet from Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. The lack of pressing demand may make it difficult for the Mets to achieve their asking price on the veteran hurler; the team is “looking for quality prospects in return,” one executive tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).

1:42pm: The Royals haven’t been in touch with the Mets regarding Colon since prior to the trade deadline, a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

TUESDAY: Right-hander Bartolo Colon cleared waivers yesterday due to his 2015 salary, and the Mets are receiving “definite interest” in the 41-year-old, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweeted last night. By clearing waivers, Colon became eligible to be traded to any team, but interested parties do have some “trepidation” regarding his $11MM salary for 2015. This morning, Martino has a full column published with further details on the interest in Colon.

Martino spoke with one AL executive who expects the Angels, Dodgers and Royals to be the most active teams in the Colon market, though as Martino notes, Kansas City might not be able to afford the aging righty. The Mets were said to be willing to eat about $2MM of the remaining salary on Colon’s contract in late July, and nothing has changed on that front at this time, Martino reports. Were the Mets to absorb that much money and then wait until Aug. 31 to move Colon (thereby minimizing the financial commitment for a rival club), Colon would be owed $10.52MM for September 2014 (plus the playoffs) and the entirety of the 2015 campaign.

The Mets are interested in not only clearing the bulk of Colon’s salary but also in receiving a decent return in terms of prospects, which further complicates the situation. A second executive from a team that is interested in Colon tells Martino, “Everyone is scared of next year,” suggesting that it might be difficult for GM Sandy Alderson to receive a solid prospect or two while simultaneously clearing significant payroll.


NL West Notes: Petit, Lincecum, D’Backs, Bradley, Hoffman

There have been plenty of historic moments this season, but one under-the-radar chase of an MLB record came to a close today, as Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit set a new Major League record by retiring his 46th consecutive batter (video link). Petit’s 46 batters came over a span of eight appearances and included an impressive 26 strikeouts. The 29-year-old will make for an interesting arbitration case this offseason if he remains in the San Francisco rotation going forward, as he’s quietly strung together a pair of excellent seasons after pitching just 4 2/3 innings in the Majors from 2010-12.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • The man that Petit replaced in the Giants rotation, Tim Lincecum, is perhaps best suited to become a closer at this point in his career, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Cameron notes that the move to the bullpen would likely restore some of Lincecum’s lost velocity, but more importantly, he points out the stark contrast between Lincecum’s numbers with the bases empty and with men on base. Because of his struggles pitching from the stretch, Lincecum wouldn’t be a great fit to be a middle reliever that would inherit runners. Rather, pitching the ninth inning would give him as many opportunities to begin an inning with a clean slate as possible, Cameron writes.
  • Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall was a guest of Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today (audio link), and the Arizona executive discussed the hiring of Tony La Russa: “Tony’s been terrific.  I’ve really enjoyed being with him every day and he’s put a lot of work into this and he’s motivated and he’s so competitive it is fun to watch each and every day.  But I think his assessment, his evaluation is very close to being complete.”
  • Hall also discussed the future of GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, telling Duquette and Ferrin that the organization was getting close to deciding on the future of each. “…when we make those decisions, the sooner the better.  … It doesn’t make sense to go into the offseason, when we already have so many decisions to make with our player personnel, to still be wondering what we’re going to do in the front office. … So I think we’re getting close to the point of knowing what we’re going to want to do and act swiftly so that when the season does end we’re ready to go and get ready for 2015.”
  • Speaking of Towers, the longtime GM participated in a Q&A with Steve Gilbert of MLB.com earlier this week and discussed his recent scouting trip of the team’s minor league system as well as his relationship with La Russa: “It’s nice to have a guy that’s been as successful in uniform around. … It’s nice to be able to pick his brain. I always wanted to pick his brain when he was in the other dugout with the Cardinals. Now when you have him on the same team, it’s very valuable.” Also of note is the fact that Towers said to Gilbert that it was unlikely that top prospect Archie Bradley would be receiving a September callup.
  • Trevor Hoffman will be inducted into the Padres‘ Hall of Fame on Saturday, and to commemorate his historic career, MLB.com’s Corey Brock spoke to a number of catchers that had the privilege of catching the likely Hall of Famer. Brock’s story is full of excellent stories from a number of catchers, including current Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy, who recalls catching Hoffman’s 600th career save as a rookie in 2010. In describing the legendary closer, Lucroy states: “I always reference Trevor Hoffman when I talk about the kind of guy I want to be.”

Dodgers, Phillies Complete Roberto Hernandez Trade

AUG. 28: The Phillies have announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Victor Arano as the second player in the Hernandez trade. The 19-year-old Arano ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 14 prospect on MLB.com’s midseason Top 20 list.

Arano totaled a 4.08 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 86 innings of work at Class-A Great Lakes this season, making 15 starts and eight relief appearances. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com praise Arano’s 90-91 mph fastball (which tops out at 94 mph) and slider, though they note that his changeup needs more work. Still, Arano is physically mature for a teenager and shows an advanced feel for pitching, per the MLB.com duo, who project him as a starter in the long term despite the fact that he’s presently had more success in the bullpen.

AUG. 16: The Phillies have announced that one of the two players they’re acquiring from the Dodgers is second baseman Jesmuel Valentin, a 2012 first-round pick from Puerto Rico who was hitting .282/.352/.433 for Class A Great Lakes as a 20-year-old. Heading into the season, Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 listed him as the Dodgers’ 22nd-best prospect, projecting him as a utility player. MLB.com ranked him at No. 13 in the Dodgers’ system and was somewhat more optimistic, suggesting he lacks power but could be the sort of hitter who typically bats second in a team’s batting order. He is the son of former big-league infielder Jose Valentin.

AUG. 7: The Phillies announce that they have traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations.  The Phillies placed Hernandez, along with a number of other players, on revocable waivers on Saturday.
USATSI_7861895_154513410_lowres

The Phillies signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM deal last winter, and he posted a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 121 innings for them, with a strong 52.0% ground ball rate. He has gotten good results recently, with a 2.18 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break. Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has played parts of nine seasons, also spending time with the Indians and Rays.

Hernandez’s role with the Dodgers is unclear. Obviously, they have a strong rotation featuring Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Josh Beckett has, however, struggled in three outings since returning from the disabled list with a hip injury, and Matt Gelb of the Inquirer tweets that Hernandez will start in Beckett’s place Friday.

For the Phillies, the move marks their first trade of a veteran since their very quiet trade deadline. It may have helped them that Hernandez’s contract was a relatively easy one to trade. The Phillies are currently 51-63 and in last place in the NL East.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark first tweeted that the Phillies would get two “lower-level minor leaguers,” and MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweeted that the Phillies would select them from a group of players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Diamondbacks Claim Nolan Reimold From Blue Jays

The Diamondbacks announced, via press release, that they have claimed outfielder Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Blue Jays. CompletePhillyCoverage.com writer Seamus Doyle, who is Reimold’s cousin, first tweeted the claim.

The 30-year-old Reimold, a long-time member of the Orioles, was designated for assignment by Baltimore in early July after spending the entire season prior to that point on the disabled list. The Blue Jays claimed him in hopes of receiving an offensive boost with Edwin Encarnacion on the shelf, but Reimold struggled in his time with Toronto, slashing just .212/.283/.404.

Reimold has undergone two neck surgeries in addition to ankle operation in an injury-plagued career, and he’s also spent time on the DL with calf and hamstring injuries in the past two seasons. He owns a career .250/.324/.437 batting line, however, which translates to an OPS+ of 103, indicating that he’s been about three percent better than a league-average hitter when healthy.

Reimold can be controlled through the 2015 season via arbitration and earned just $1.03MM in 2014, so the D’Backs likely view him as a contributor next season as well.


Wade LeBlanc Accepts Outright Assignment

Here are today’s minor moves…

  • Angels left-hander Wade LeBlanc has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Fletcher assumes that LeBlanc will be back with the club in September when rosters expand, though as he notes, LeBlanc is of course no longer on the 40-man roster. Anaheim designated LeBlanc for assignment earlier this week after he struggled in a spot start following Garrett Richards‘ season-ending injury.

Royals Claim Jayson Nix From Pirates

The Royals have claimed infielder Jayson Nix off waivers from the Pirates, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. Nix was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on Monday.

Nix, 31, has bounced around a good deal this year, and will now join his fourth organization on the season. He brings plenty of positional versatility to the table, though his lifetime .214/.284/.347 triple-slash does not give much reason for significant expectations. On the year, Nix has slashed .133/.188/.173 in 82 big league plate appearances.

Kansas City will look to make use of Nix as a part of its September roster expansion plan, as McCullough tweets that the team may not even activate him until after the end of the month.


Montgomery Takes Leave From Phillies; Gillick To Assume Duties

The Phillies have announced major organizational news, as general owner, president, and CEO David Montgomery will take a leave of absence while continuing his cancer treatment. Montgomery has been in charge of the club since 1997, overseeing the franchise’s rise in the first decade of the new millennium.

Taking over his duties in the meantime will be Hall of Fame former general manager Pat Gillick. The longtime executive has served as a senior advisor to the club since leaving active duty. In a statement, the team said that it “looks forward to [Montgomery] returning to his roles … when he is fully recovered.”

The move comes at a difficult time for a Phillies organization that faces many important questions regarding its on-field product. Philadelphia enters the final month of the regular season in last place in the division, leading to questions about the long-term viability of GM Ruben Amaro Jr. — the former Gillick understudy and successor who was hired by Montgomery.

MLBTR joins those around the game who have offered their best wishes to Montgomery as he works his way back.


Mariners To Sign Christopher Torres

The Mariners have agreed to sign Dominican shortstop prospect Christopher Torres with a $375K bonus, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter links). Torres was rated the 18th-best overall international prospect available on this year’s July 2 market by MLB.com.

While Torres’s bonus is nothing to sneeze at, it falls well shy of the $2.1MM that he was reportedly promised by the Yankees before the club backed out of its commitment. New York is said to have been hit with a $20K fine over the situation.

As Ben Badler of Baseball America explained in reporting the dispute, Torres was left in a particularly difficult spot since other clubs had already promised their international pool space to other players. Torres’s trainer also told Badler that the player had previously been offered $1.6MM by Seattle before reaching terms with the Yankees. You’ll want to give Badler’s entire piece a read to understand the ordeal.

According to MLB.com, Torres brings a switch-hitting bat whose hit tool is better from the left side but delivers more power from the right. Defense and speed are his calling cards at present, though he has a large enough frame that he has some projection at the plate.


East Notes: Colon, Castillo, Tanaka, Yanks, Stanton, Phils

It remains to be seen whether the Mets will pull off a deal for veteran starter Bartolo Colon, whose fate will be one of the most-watched storylines over the next few days. Over at Fangraphs, Mike Petriello questions why there has seemed to be such little demand for the righty, concluding that he is likely worth his $11MM salary for next season and could well be an important last-minute upgrade for a contender.

Here’s more from the east …

  • Recent Red Sox signee Rusney Castillo has obtained a work visa in surprisingly short order and is now clear to play, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen whether Boston will expose him to MLB action this year, but that is now a possibility with about a month left to go in the regular season.
  • The Yankees continue to move forward in a fairly high-stakes attempt to rehab Masahiro Tanaka for a return this year, with success meaning a top-end arm down the stretch and failure potentially meaning a delayed resort to surgery. As George A. King III reports for the New York Post, Tanaka continues to pass hurdles, with colleague Ken Davidson writing that today’s simulated game was a significant step towards a return.
  • Recent acquisitions of the Yankees – including Martin Prado, Stephen Drew, and Chase Headley — could hint at a broader strategic shift, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. All of those players have seen action at multiple positions, and Sherman argues that New York could well commit more resources to depth and versatility going forward, essentially putting additional cash behind the strategies of the Athletics and Rays.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton said that some have misconstrued his recent comments regarding his contractual situation, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports“There is no answer to what my future is,” he said, explaining that some have over-interpreted his words in either direction. Nevertheless, planned offseason extension discussions are sure to lead to immense scrutiny and speculation.
  • Cole Hamels was just the latest Phillies player to publicly show up manager Ryne Sandberg in some manner, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com explains. Though the skipper downplayed the incident and said he has control of his clubhouse, Salisbury paints a picture of a tense situation in Philadelphia. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes, this on-field drama is playing out in the midst of broader leadership questions with the club. Martino says that the “fiercely loyal organization” is facing a difficult choice between that loyalty and the evident need for accountability.