Indians Looking To Sell Significant Ownership Stake

The Indians are looking to sell a significant minority stake in the team, according to Josh Kosman and Claire Atkinson of the New York Post.  Owner Paul Dolan enlisted boutique investment bank Allen & Co. several months ago to sell roughly 30% of his team.  Sources say that Allen wants to involve a new investor so that he can increase the club’s payroll.  Over the weekend, Dolan confirmed to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer that he is seeking a minority owner and he explained that the process has been going on “for nearly a year.”

So far, Dolan has yet to find a taker due largely to his asking price.  Dolan believes that the team is worth roughly $800MM, but many disagree with that assessment.  The Indians, at present, are only breaking even.  Making matters worse, the team does not own a regional sports network like some other clubs do and they’re in the early stages of a long-term media rights deal.

One source familiar with the process says that he doesn’t see much financial upside with the Indians at this time.  Without a big TV deal, sports industry sources tell The Post duo that the Indians are worth about $600MM in total.  The Padres went for $800MM in 2012, but they had the benefit of a fat $1.2 billion TV deal.

The Indians have been near the bottom of the league in payroll in recent years and with the exception of 2001, they have never had an Opening Day tally higher than $90MM.  This year, the Indians had an Opening Day payroll of just under $88MM, which put them in the bottom five in MLB.  The Indians are 62-66 heading into today’s game against the Angels.


Phillies Claim Ken Roberts Off Waivers

The Phillies announced that they have claimed Ken Roberts off waivers from the Rockies.  Immediately after the claim, the left-hander was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Roberts, 27, was designated for assignment by Colorado late last week.  The hurler made his Major League debut for the Rox in 2015, appearing in nine games and totaling 9 1/3 innings with a 5.79 ERA and a five-to-two K/BB ratio. A longtime farmhand of the Rockies, Roberts was selected in the 25th round of the 2010 draft and posted strong minor league numbers until reaching Triple-A for the first time this season.

However, while Roberts has an unsightly 5.12 ERA in Triple-A this year, he’s posted an outstanding 28-to-4 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings there. He’s surrendered a surprising and uncharacteristic 14.2 hits per nine innings in a very hitter-friendly Albuquerque environment due to a freakishly high .443 BABIP. While poor luck and a hitter-friendly environment probably aren’t solely to blame for his Triple-A struggles, there seems to be good reason to expect that Roberts would not continue to allow hits at such an alarming rate.

Now that Roberts has been claimed, there are six remaining players in DFA limbo, according to MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks

SUNDAY, 11:40am: The Mets have confirmed the trade via press release.

SATURDAY, 8:57pm: The Diamondbacks will receive 24-year-old pitcher Matt Koch and 23-year-old pitcher Miller Diaz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Koch has a 3.46 ERA with 5.60 K/9 and 1.53 BB/9 at Double-A. He’s split his time between starting and relief. His fastball plays up to the mid-90’s out of the bullpen.

In High-A, Diaz has pitched to a 4.71 ERA with 7.09 K/9 and 4.34 BB/9 in 124 and 1/3 innings. He posted loftier strikeout rates in the previous two seasons. Both Koch and Diaz strikes me as the type of pitchers who could eventually reach the majors as a reliever.

6:18pm: The Mets have acquired reliever Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks pending a physical, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Arizona will acquire two prospects in the swap. We learned earlier this afternoon that the Mets were in the hunt for relievers including Marc Rzepczynski of the Padres. Reed is arbitration eligible for two more seasons. However, with a $4.875MM contract in 2015, he’s a possible non-tender candidate.

Reed, 26, entered the 2015 season as the Diamondbacks closer. He lost the job early in the year. His peripherals have taken a step backwards with just 7.52 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9. He’s averaged over a strikeout per inning over his five season career and has never walked more than 3.00 BB/9.

The right-handed reliever has spent a large chunk of the season in the minors. Since he was recalled on July 29, he has a 1.65 ERA with 7.71 K/9 and 1.65 BB/9. After home runs punished him in 2014, he’s held opponents to a tiny 3.8 percent HR/FB rate all while increasing his ground ball rate. This year, the damage has come via an elevated .344 BABIP.

There is still a chance the deal is detailed by the medical review. Reed rushed back this spring from shoulder soreness. It’s possible his peripheral decline is related to lingering shouldering issues (that’s just my speculation).

The Mets will hope his recent performance is more indicative of what’s to come. New York has Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia for the eighth and ninth inning roles. Reed may fit in as a seventh inning reliever.



Cafardo On Rangers, Jackson, Brewers, Yankees

The Red Sox didn’t go by MLB’s minority hiring rules when they interviewed only Dave Dombrowski for the president of baseball ops role but they have been instructed to do so for the GM job, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  If the Red Sox take the step of hiring a minority GM candidate, Cafardo suggests that Ken Williams would be a strong choice if he chooses to leave Chicago.  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • The Rangers were very interested in acquiring Austin Jackson “a few days ago,” but nothing came of those talks, Cafardo writes.  Jackson, 28, cleared waivers last week and was said to be generating interest, though it appears that no one wanted to take the remaining ~$1.7MM salary off the Mariners‘ hands.
  • Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is in play for the Brewers job, a major league source tells Cafardo.  “Despite his last-place finishes he’s seen as a team builder, especially when it comes to farm systems,” said the source.   The Angels, Mariners, and Phillies are also thought to be possibilities for Cherington.
  • The Yankees have been blocked in every attempt to add to their pitching, both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation. Baseball sources tell Cafardo that GM Brian Cashman doesn’t seem optimistic about his odds of pulling anything off.  The Mets have been blocked from adding a reliever as well.
  • The Royals want a backup catcher for the playoffs just in case something happens to Salvador Perez.  KC turned down the opportunity to land A.J. Pierzynski from the Braves, Cafardo writes, but they’re still looking for an affordable left-handed hitting backstop. Some KC scouts like the Red Sox’s Ryan Hanigan, but he hits right-handed and has a $3.7MM salary next year with an option for 2017.
  • Unsurprisingly, Cafardo hears that the Rangers are looking for offense, the Twins are looking for relief help, and the Blue Jays want to add to their bullpen.  However, a deal for Toronto doesn’t seem likely at this time.
  • Cafardo writes that the Nationals, Padres, Red Sox, Mariners, Reds, Orioles, Indians, and Tigers are expected to be quite active this winter.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Red Sox, De Aza

If the Yankees had to win one playoff game and could send out whomever they wanted to the mound, that pitcher might be Nathan Eovaldi, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Eovaldi, who has posted a 2.93 ERA in his last 12 starts, has looked like a top starter for more than two months and a scout familiar with him from his NL days says he’s the best hurler the Yankees have right now.  The question is, is this all a fluke or is Eovaldi for real?  Sherman is betting on the latter.  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Now that Alejandro De Aza has started two games in a row for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) wonders aloud if the outfielder is being showcased for a trade.  Through 89 combined games for the Orioles and Red Sox this season, De Aza owns a .264/.320/.441 slash line.  The Dodgers and Giants both had interest in acquiring De Aza after he cleared waivers this month but both NL West teams felt that the asking price was too high.
  • New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a history of pulling off quality trades and he isn’t the type to beat around the bush when it comes to negotiating, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes.  “There wasn’t a lot of back and forth,” said former Phillies GM Ed Wade, reflecting on his 2005 acquisition of Ugueth Urbina. “I think it was two or three calls. Every conversation with trades, even prior to that, was pretty matter of fact and to the point. Dave always seemed to get to the crux of the matter pretty quickly.”  Among the great deals on DD’s resume are the acquisitions of Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer and also Mike Lowell when he was with the Marlins.
  • Rays prospect Blake Snell could be the franchise’s next great starter, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune writes.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Osuna, Orioles, Blue Jays

On this date in 2007, Tony La Russa became the winningest manager in franchise history when the Cardinals beat Cincinnati at Busch Stadium, as Leo Panetta of NationalPastime.com writes. Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

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


Quick Hits: Scully, Harang, Profar, Kirby

Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has announced his intention to return for the 2016 season. He expects it to be his final season as a broadcaster, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. It will be his 67th season in the booth. As Sportsnet Stats tweeted earlier today, Scully has announced games involving A’s manager Connie Mack (born 1862) and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell (born 1994). He’s likely to see a couple even younger players including Julio Urias (born 1996).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Phillies starter Aaron Harang was not claimed on waivers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As Heyman notes, Harang has a 7.09 ERA since the All-Star break. He has about $1MM remaining on his $5MM contract and is a free agent following the season. The Cubs and Pirates are among the contenders in need of rotation depth, but it’s unclear if either team would view him as an upgrade over internal options. It doesn’t seem as though the Phillies could acquire much more than some financial relief or a non-prospect in a deal. As such, a trade may be unlikely.
  • Former number one prospect Jurickson Profar could work his way back onto the Rangers roster, writes Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The 22-year-old is rehabbing from multiple shoulder injuries. He won’t play the field this fall. However, he could help the club after rosters expand as a pinch-hitter or runner while working directly with the major league training staff.
  • Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The 40th overal pick of the 2015 draft led the University of Virginia Cavaliers to the 2015 World Series. An undisclosed medical issue -presumably the elbow issue – led the club to reduce the lefty’s signing bonus from $1.545MM to $1.25MM. Kirby will miss the entire 2016 season.

Orioles Still Searching For August Additions

The Orioles are still looking to add talent to the current roster, GM Dan Duquette tells reporters including Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The club is currently 9.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East and 3.5 games back from the Rangers in the Wild Card race. Clearly, they have their eyes on a Wild Card bid. The team is going in the wrong direction, having lost eight of their last nine games.

Per Duquette, “if we make any deals, it would be because we are focused on helping improve the team.” He also confirmed that the club is focused on the 2015 season. Earlier in the week, we learned that the Orioles have been active on the waiver wire with one unnamed GM saying, “the Orioles seemingly claim everyone.”

Baltimore could deal an impending free agent like Darren O’Day, Wei-Yin Chen, or Chris Davis, but Duquette insisted the idea behind any trade is to improve the current product. In my opinion, the club is weakest in the outfield, rotation, and bullpen. If they were to execute a swap, it would probably be for a fourth outfielder, rotation depth, or middle inning reliever.


Mets Claim Marc Rzepczynski On Revocable Waivers, In Talks With Padres

8:42pm: The Mets are unlikely to work out a trade with the Padres for Rzepczynski, a source tells Newsdays’ Marc Carig. At this time, it’s unclear if that’s because the club landed an alternative. The acquisition of Addison Reed doesn’t necessarily affect the Mets interest in Rzepczynski since the latter reliever is a lefty specialist. 

4:15pm: The Mets have claimed Padres lefty Marc Rzepczynski, Rosenthal tweets. It’s not yet clear exactly when they would need to complete a deal for him. Rzepczynski, who turns 30 today, has a 4.88 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 27 2/3 innings this year with Cleveland and San Diego. The Padres acquired him for Abraham Almonte at last month’s deadline. He’s making $2.4MM this season and will be eligible for arbitration again this winter. He might not be the only player they’re working on acquiring — Rubin tweets that the Mets have claimed a reliever from another NL team.

3:09pm: The Mets claimed the reliever from an NL team and are currently in discussions with that team, Rubin tweets.

2:07pm: The Mets have made a claim involving a reliever on revocable waivers and are waiting to see how it turns out, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). It’s unclear whether the pitcher’s current team will pull him back from waivers or let him go, either by simply by allowing the waiver claim or by negotiating a trade.

1:34pm: The Mets are progressing on a move to add a reliever, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets. He emphasizes that a deal might not ultimately be consummated, but writes that the team is involved in real discussions.

Earlier this week, it looked like the Mets might not be able to strike a deal, and GM Sandy Alderson had previously expressed pessimism about the possibility of making a trade. Now that a trade looks more likely, though, it seems likely the Mets are on the hunt for a lefty (although a righty certainly could also be a possibility). They’ve struggled to find a second consistent left-handed arm this season, and their current group of righties (Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard, Hansel Robles, Carlos Torres and Logan Verrett) has mostly performed well, despite the losses of Jenrry Mejia (to a suspension) and Bobby Parnell (to the disabled list).

The Mets lost one lefty, Jerry Blevins, to injury earlier this year, and they designated another, Alex Torres, after he walked 26 batters in 34 1/3 innings. They’ve gotten good results this year from Sean Gilmartin, but Eric O’Flaherty hasn’t worked out since they acquired him from the Athletics earlier this month. (As another potential lefty relief option, they also have Dario Alvarez, who’s performed well in the high minors this season, on their 40-man roster.)

MLBTR’s list of players who have cleared revocable waivers doesn’t contain any lefty relievers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any available, since it isn’t always known to the public which players have cleared. It’s also possible the Mets could claim a player and work out a deal with his team.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Farrell, GM Changes, Wright, Dodgers

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a trio of videos on FOX Sports:

  • Red Sox manager John Farrell, who is battling lymphoma, has completed the first of three rounds of chemotherapy. He’s visiting the Sox each day they’re at Fenway and holding video chats with interim manager Torey Lovullo and his coaching staff when the team is away. New Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has not said whether Farrell will return next season, however, regardless of his health.
  • Following what’s been a tumultuous month in many team front offices, the Phillies and Reds could be among the next teams to make GM changes, Rosenthal says. There could be up to ten manager changes as well.
  • Rosenthal also interviews Mets third baseman David Wright, who recently returned to the lineup after missing almost four months due to a hamstring injury and an ongoing back issue. Wright discusses what it’s like to deal with a lingering condition. Some days are better than others, he says, and a player needs to be honest, because if he tries to play on a bad day, he’ll be hurting his team.
  • The Dodgers‘ massive $300MM payroll may be a one shot deal. They’re paying a large chunk of change for players who aren’t even on the roster like Matt Kemp, but they were able to acquire additional talent by doing so. This year, they’re paying a 40 percent tax on overages beyond the roughly $189MM soft cap. Next season, the penalty will increase to 50 percent. However, prospects like Corey Seager and Julio Urias are expected to be on hand to reduce the luxury burden.
  • Marlins manager Dan Jennings is a potential candidate for the Mariners open GM job. He has past experience working for Seattle as a scout and crosschecker. Most teams allow their employees to interview for promotions with other clubs, but the situation is tricky with Jennings. He’s the Miami manager, but he’s also currently under contract as a GM. As such, it’s not clear if Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would allow Jennings to interview.
  • Sources have told Rosenthal that Padres ownership is “frustrated” with GM A.J. Preller. However, chairman Ron Fowler insists the only frustration is related to the club’s 2015 performance. He believes Preller will be the GM for a long time to come. Preller was originally hired to improve the farm system via the draft and international scouting. Obviously, the club used most of their minor league ammunition in a bold bid for contention this year, but the original plan remains intact.
  • Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Reds may wish to replace GM Walt Jocketty. His contract expires after the 2016 season. It’s Rosenthal’s opinion that owner Bob Castellini is unlikely to fire Jocketty outright. Instead, they may move him into a consultative role like the Brewers did with Doug Melvin. That would allow the club to then hire a new GM in time for 2016.

Brewers Pull Back K-Rod After Waiver Claim

An unknown team claimed reliever Francisco Rodriguez on revocable waivers, but the Brewers have pulled him back, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. That means Rodriguez will stay with Milwaukee at least until the offseason.

This summer, the Blue Jays and Astros were connected to Rodriguez. At the time, though, it appeared there wasn’t particularly intense interest in him due to his backloaded contract. Rodriguez is making $3.5MM this season, but that jumps to $7.5MM next season, plus either a $2MM buyout or a $6MM option in 2017.

Nonetheless, Rodriguez has been terrific this season, posting a 2.01 ERA, 10.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings. He’s also still relatively young at 33, so he could certainly still be productive in 2016.

The Brewers have been busy on the trade market this summer — they recently dealt Neal Cotts to the Twins, and they had previously sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros, Gerardo Parra to the Orioles, Jonathan Broxton to the Cardinals and Aramis Ramirez to the Pirates. It appears Rodriguez will be one veteran they won’t be dealing, however.


AL Notes: Blue Jays, Mariners, Gordon

The Blue Jays‘ offseason trade for Josh Donaldson could turn out to be an historic one if Donaldson wins the AL MVP award, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The last time a team traded a player in the offseason who turned out to be the following season’s MVP was 1984, when the Phillies traded reliever Willie Hernandez to the Tigers during Spring Training. Here’s more on the American League.

  • Mariners president Kevin Mather says he waited too long to fire GM Jack Zduriencik, Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest writes. “I’m not a baseball guy,” says Mather. “I kept waiting for them to rattle off eight out of 10, 12 out of 15, to get on a roll. I maybe dragged my feet . . . I waited too long to start asking myself tough questions about why we’re not having more success.” A year ago, Mather rewarded Zduriencik’s for the Mariners’ 71-59 record by signing him to a two-year extension. Now, Mather seems to have changed his mind entirely.
  • Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is saddened by Zduriencik’s departure, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. “Jack was very dedicated to this organization, and it’s always tough when you lose a family member. I consider Jack a family member,” McClendon says. “It’s just been one of those years where a lot of things just have not turned out the way we thought it would.” Mather has said that he plans to recommend to Zduriencik’s successor that McClendon and his staff remain in their current jobs, although those decisions will ultimately be up to the new GM.
  • Manager Ned Yost says Royals outfielder Alex Gordon appears likely to return to the team this week, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. McCullough suggests Gordon could return on Tuesday. The star left fielder has been out since early July with a groin strain. The Royals have been just fine without him, and they’re currently 30 games above .500 and 13 games up on the second-place Twins in the AL Central, but Gordon’s return should provide them with a further boost.

Padres Pull Kimbrel Back From Waivers

SATURDAY: The Padres have pulled Kimbrel back from revocable waivers, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). That means that, as expected, Kimbrel will not be traded. The Mets are known to be trying to acquire a reliever they claimed on revocable waivers, but it’s not Kimbrel. Rosenthal writes that six teams claimed Kimbrel, but the Mets were not one of the six.

FRIDAY: Padres closer Craig Kimbrel has been claimed on revocable waivers by an unknown club, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, a club official tells Rosenthal that the Padres have no intention of trading Kimbrel.

Kimbrel is earning $9MM in 2015 as part of a four-year, $42MM contract extension signed with the Braves, and he’s owed about $1.87MM of that sum through season’s end. He’s owed $25MM on top of that sum through the 2017 season, including a $1MM buyout on a $13MM club option for the 2018 season.

After a rocky start to the season in which Kimbrel posted a 5.93 ERA through his first 15 appearances, Kimbrel has been characteristically outstanding. Since May 16, Kimbrel has a 1.73 ERA with a 49-to-13 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings and collecting 26 saves in 27 opportunities.

Acquired in a stunning blockbuster trade on the eve of Opening Day, Kimbrel came to the Padres alongside Melvin Upton Jr. in exchange for outfield prospect Jordan Paroubeck, right-hander Matt Wisler, a Competitive Balance (Round A) Draft Pick and the contracts of Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin (the latter of whom was immediately designated for assignment and released). Kimbrel drew significant interest prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but GM A.J. Preller elected to hold onto the four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.


Blue Jays Designate Ty Kelly For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly for assignment, as Megan Robinson of Global News Toronto tweets. The move clears space on the Jays’ roster for the newly claimed Danny Dorn.

Kelly’s stay on the Jays’ 40-man was brief — they claimed him just last month after the Cardinals designated him. He’s spent the season at the two teams’ Triple-A affiliates, batting .222/.318/.294. The 27-year-old hit significantly better in two seasons with the Mariners’ Triple-A Tacoma affiliate before that, however, and he’s versatile in the field, with the ability to play second and third, plus any of the three outfield positions.


Quick Hits: Francona, Price, Flores

If team president Mark Shapiro departs to become president of the Blue Jays, Indians manager Terry Francona would not be likely to exercise an opt-out in his deal, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Francona’s opt-out allows him to leave the organization if Shapiro or GM Chris Antonetti were to leave first. He says he will not use that clause to try to land a job elsewhere. “When I came here, I think I was pretty honest about the fact that I came here because of Mark and Chris,” he says. “Since I’ve been here, my relationship with them has certainly grown, but also with the other people here, to the point where, I guess my point is I would never use that as leverage. That was not the spirit of the way it was written, nor would I use it like that.” Francona is currently in the midst of a deal that will carry him through 2016, at which point a new, two-year deal will kick in. That deal includes team options for 2019 and 2020. Here are more quick notes from around the league.

  • David Price was not surprised that the Tigers traded him, MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. “Just kind of understanding everything in the organization, not really,” said Price when asked if the deal caught him off-guard. “The Tigers are never sellers. They’re always buyers and they’re always making playoff runs and stuff like that. But at that time, I thought that was probably the best move.” Price describes his last few weeks with the Tigers as “just a weird time” in which it was unclear what direction the team would go at the trade deadline.
  • Wilmer Flores has become a “cult hero” to Mets fans, as ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin notes. Flores openly cried upon hearing that he would be traded from the Mets to the Brewers. After the deal that was supposed to send Flores to Milwaukee and Carlos Gomez to New York fell through, the Mets have played brilliantly, and he’s become a symbol to Mets fans who love him for wanting so badly to stay with the team. “If you’re saying it has something to do with it, I don’t know. I can’t tell you,” says Flores about his crying on the field. “But since that day, it’s been really fun. On the road and playing at home, it’s been really fun. I can’t tell you it was because of that.”