Padres Acquire Justin Upton

3:52pm: Both teams announced the deal via press release.  The final deal has Justin Upton and right-handed pitcher Aaron Northcraft going to the Braves for left-hander Max Fried, second baseman/shortstop Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson, outfielder Mallex Smith, and international bonus compensation.

9:20am: The Padres’ roster overhaul is not yet finished, as the team has now reportedly struck an agreement to acquire Justin Upton from the Braves. San Diego will send a sizable haul of left-hander Max Fried, second baseman/shortstop Jace Peterson, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith to the Braves in exchange for Upton and a low-level minor leaguer.

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Upton will be the third right-handed corner outfield bat acquired by the Padres in the past couple of days when the trade is finalized, as the team has announced the Matt Kemp deal and is on the verge of announcing the three-team Wil Myers trade as well. Obviously, the Padres have more corner outfielders than spots available, so the defensive alignment they’ll deploy is up for debate. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted earlier that the Padres had decided weeks ago they were OK with playing Kemp in center field, if need be. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears (Twitter links) that Myers will likely be the one to handle center at Petco Park in 2015.

New Padres GM A.J. Preller has completely reshaped his club’s offense in about one week’s time with the agreements to acquire Kemp, Myers, Derek Norris and now Upton. The group will give the Friars a rare wealth of right-handed power — a much-needed change after the team finished last season with a collective .226/.292/.342 batting line and scored a Major League worst 535 runs.

Upton has just one year of team control remaining and is owed $14.5MM before hitting the open market next winter. He’s coming off a season in which he batted .270/.342/.491 with 29 homers — his highest total since an MVP-caliber season back in 2011. Upton hasn’t been able to consistently turn in the superstar-level results he showed in that 2011 season, but he’s at least a well above-average player and still carries that elite upside as he heads into his age-27 campaign.

While the Padres will now have a year to potentially explore a long-term deal with Upton, MLB.com’s Corey Brock gets the sense that the Padres are content with knowing that he could simply be a one-year rental (Twitter link). Even if Upton departs after just one year with the Friars, San Diego will undoubtedly make a qualifying offer (barring a catastrophic injury or collapse) and net a compensatory draft pick that will recover some of the lost value in this deal.

While the Padres may now have their starting outfield in place, they’re far from done with outfield-related trades. The Friars still possess a deep pool of outfielders that could be potentially moved. Carlos Quentin, owed $8MM, was previously said to be willing to waive his no-trade clause and may be even more keen on doing so now that it’s clear at-bats for him in 2015 would be few and far between in San Diego.

The Padres also have Will Venable under contract through 2015 and Cameron Maybin and Seth Smith controlled through 2016. Venable is owed $4.25MM, while Maybin will earn $16MM over the next two seasons and Smith will take home $13MM.

Smith has significant trade value after hitting .266/.367/.440 last season. While he was assured that he wouldn’t be traded when he signed the extension, that sentiment came from previous Padres management and clearly may not hold weight under the Preller regime. Venable is coming off a down season but has a history of productivity, particularly away from Petco Park, and his price tag would likely be appealing to rival clubs. Maybin’s deal comes with negative trade value, though he could serve as an expensive fourth outfielder in San Diego, as he’s still capable of playing a solid center field.

The 20-year-old Fried, selected seventh overall in the 2012 draft, ranked as a consensus Top 100 prospect heading into the season, but he required Tommy John surgery early in the year that limited him to just 10 2/3 frames. He will be sidelined for most of the 2015 campaign as he recovers. Prior to the season, however, Baseball America ranked Fried 53rd (full scouting report requires subscription) among all prospects and noted that he had the ceiling of a No. 2 starter with potential for three plus pitches and an extremely projectable 6’4″, 185-pound frame that added to his ceiling. MLB.com’s most recent rankings had him third among San Diego farmhands and 68th in all of baseball.

Jace Peterson, 24, made his Major League debut this season, though he collected just 58 plate appearances and struggled to a .113/.161/.113 batting line. BA ranked him seventh among Padres prospects last offseason, noting that while he lacks a single plus tool, he has average tools across the board with great athleticism and instincts. BA praised his line-drive stroke and ability to handle left-on-left matchups, noting that he could be a table-setting shortstop if his ceiling is reached. Obviously, with Atlanta having Andrelton Simmons locked up for the foreseeable future, Peterson is more of a second-base candidate with the Braves, however.

The other Peterson in the deal, Dustin, could eventually see time as a third base option for Atlanta. The 2013 second-rounder is now 20 years old and struggled a bit as a 19-year-old against older competition in the Class-A Midwest League in 2014, hitting .233/.274/.361 with 10 homers. BA ranked him 22nd among Padres prospects last winter. The younger brother of Mariners top prospect D.J. Peterson, Dustin is regarded as a bat-first prospect who may have to shift from third to the right side of the infield or left field, per BA. His excellent bat speed and ability to use the whole field are among the traits that BA and MLB.com praise in their scouting reports. MLB.com ranked him 10th among Padres prospects recently.

Smith, 21, dropped off BA’s Top 30 list last offseason but ranked 20th on MLB.com’s current list of Padres prospects primarily due to his blazing speed. The outfielder possesses little power and has work to do on his routes, per their scouting report. He’s a career .290/.383/.388 hitter in the minors and has stolen 169 bases in 265 career games — including 88 steals this past season.

For those that are particularly interested in the Braves’ end of the return, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel wrote up scouting reports and posted video of each of the players acquired by Atlanta in this deal.

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan first reported (via Twitter) that the Braves were wrapping up an Upton deal. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman first listed the Padres as a possibility and then as a likely candidate (Twitter links). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that Upton was going to the Padres. Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reported that Fried and Jace Peterson were in the deal (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that Smith and Dustin Peterson were in the trade with a low-level prospect going to San Diego.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Latest On Giants’ Search For Third Baseman

The Giants continue to look for a replacement for longtime starting third baseman Pablo Sandoval. With Chase Headley now also off of the market, here’s the latest on some possible trade candidates:

  • San Francisco is in contact with the Marlins about Casey McGehee, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Among the Giants players being discussed are reliever Hunter Strickland and infielder Matt Duffy, per Rosenthal.
  • The Giants are also still interested in Braves third bagger Chris Johnson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Johnson is owed $23.5MM over the next three years, and Atlanta may need to hold onto a portion of that commitment to move him.

Cubs To Sign David Ross

The Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $5MM deal with catcher David Ross, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Reports emerged earlier today suggesting that the veteran was headed to the Padres, but indications are that he is in fact set to join former teammate Jon Lester in Chicago.

Ross, a client of Sports One Athlete Management client, will add yet more veteran leadership behind the plate for the Cubs. He will slot in alongside the recently-acquired Miguel Montero, providing a right-handed-hitting complement. Chicago also added another former Red Sox backstop today in Ryan Lavarnway, who was added via waiver claim.

Before joining the Red Sox in 2013, Ross spent four years as the reserve option for the Braves. He slashed a robust .269/.353/.463, but never made more than 200 plate appearances in a given season. Ross has fallen back to a .650 OPS over the last two seasons in Boston, over 287 plate appearances. Defensively, Baseball Prospectus did not value Ross’s work very highly last year.

In the aggregate, then, there are plenty of questions about Ross’s abilities moving forward. But he does have a rather high established ceiling for a backup catcher, and obviously is one of the game’s most respected elder statesmen at this stage of his career.



Angels Release Shawn O’Malley

Today’s minor moves..

  • The Angels announced that they have requested release waivers for infielder Shawn O’Malley, to make room on the 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Johnny Giavotella.  O’Malley saw time in eleven games for the Halos last season, notching three hits in 16 plate appearances.  In parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level, the soon-to-be 27-year-old hit .296/.369/.408.

Marlins Acquire Martin Prado From Yankees

3:15pm: GM Brian Cashman told reporters that the Yankees are including $6MM in the deal – $3MM this year and $3MM next year – to help cover Prado’s salary, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter).

1:33pm: The Yankees have issued a press release announcing the completion of the deal.

12:51pm: It’s a done deal, according a source that spoke with Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).  The Marlins will receive Prado, Phelps, and cash in exchange for Eovaldi, Jones, and German.

12:31pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees will also receive right-hander Domingo German in the trade.

12:15pm: The Yankees and Marlins are on the verge of a deal that would sent Martin Prado to Miami, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (on Twitter).  Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter) hears that the deal would have Garrett Jones and Eovaldi going to New York for Prado and pitcher David Phelps.

Prado, 31, is owed $11MM in both 2015 and 2016.  If the deal is finalized, the veteran would replace Casey McGehee at third base, according to Jackson (Twitter link).  Prado hit a combined .282/.321/.412 for the Diamondbacks and Yankees in 2014 with an exceptionally strong .316/.336/.541 during his 37 games in pinstripes.  The deal would mark the second time Prado has been traded in the calendar year as the Bombers acquired Prado back in July.

Eovaldi, who turns 25 in February, has been a rumored trade candidate for some time thanks to the additions of Mat Latos and Dan Haren.  He has averaged a blistering 96 mph as a starter over the past two seasons, garnering the attention of many throughout baseball.  Though he struggled a bit with a 4.34 ERA in 2014, FIP (3.37), xFIP (3.76) and SIERA (3.91) all feel he was better than that ERA would suggest.  Eovaldi going through arbitration for the first time in his career and is projected to earn $3.1MM, according to the model developed by Matt Swartz.

Jones, 33, was displaced from first base when the Marlins signed Michael Morse.  Jones signed a two-year, $7.75MM deal with Miami in December of last year and the pact was heavily backloaded.  The Marlins paid Jones $2.75MM in 2014 but the Bombers will be paying him $5MM in ’15.  Jones slashed .246/.309/.411 in 2014, numbers that are below his career line and well below his strong 2012 showing.  Jones could be called upon to provide depth at first base, in right field, and as a DH.

Phelps will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and is slated to earn $1.3MM, according to Matt Swartz.  The 28-year-old pitched to a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 17 starts and 15 relief appearances for the Yankees last season.

German, 22, pitched to a 2.48 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 25 starts for the Marlins’ Single-A affiliate last season.  Scouts have different opinions on German, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).  Some believe that he has the stuff to be a legitimate starting pitcher while others think of him more as a late-inning guy.  All of the scouts he spoke with, however, like German’s arm.

As of right now, the Yankees’ plan is to have their internal second base options – Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Cole Figueroa, and Nick Noonan – fight it out to see who will be the starter in 2015, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  If the Bombers go out of house, a free agent such as Asdrubal Cabrera could make some sense for them.


Outrighted To Triple-A: Mercedes, Price

We’ll keep track of today’s outright assignments here..

  • The Tigers announced that they have outrighted righty Melvin Mercedes to Triple-A Toledo.  Mercedes, 24, pitched in one game for the Tigers in 2014, throwing 2.0 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Signed as an amateur free agent by Detroit in 2008, he posted a 3.15 ERA, 1.51 K/BB rate and 6.0 K/9 over 297 1/3 minor league innings, all of them out of the bullpen.
  • The Indians announced that Bryan Price has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers.  The 28-year-old made his major league debut last season, allowing six runs in two and two-third innings. He was considerably better in the minors, where he posted a 2.48 ERA and 10.9 K/9.

A’s To Release Nick Punto

The A’s will release Nick Punto to clear a roster spot, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).  Oakland will be on the hook for his $2.75MM salary in 2015.

The A’s had 41 players on the 40-man roster, meaning that someone had to go and, ultimately, Punto was the odd man out.  The infielder’s $2.75MM option vested late in the 2014 thanks to satisfying the terms of a complicated formula that was placed within his contract.

The 37-year-old Jeff Caulfield client had one of his worst offensive seasons to date in 2014, batting .207/.296/.293 in 224 plate appearances. However, he did help the A’s by logging 363 quality innings at second base, and he also filled in at shortstop (118 2/3 innings) in addition to brief cameos in right field and at third base.

Originally drafted by the Phillies, Punto was sent to the Twins along with Carlos Silva and Bobby Korecky in a trade for Eric Milton back in 2003. After a seven-year stretch with Minnesota, he’s bounced around to four other teams: the Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers and A’s. In 3734 career plate appearances between the six teams mentioned, Punto is a .245/.323/.323 hitter that has logged more than 2400 innings at shortstop, second base and third base with positive defensive marks at each.


Royals Sign Alex Rios

FRIDAY, 2:05pm: The Royals officially announced their deal with Rios, which includes a mutual option for 2016.  That is worth $12.5MM, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

MONDAY, 7:10pm: The Royals have agreed to a one-year, $11MM deal with outfielder Alex Rios, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Rios, a Boras Corporation client, joins Kendrys Morales as veteran additions to the defending American League champs.

Alex RiosThe 33-year-old Rios spent 2014 with the Rangers, slashing .280/.311/.398 with four home runs 17 stolen bases (being caught nine times in the process). That production landed just below league average, one year after Rios put up a .278/.324/.432 line that rated slightly above the league baseline. Of course, he also swatted 18 long balls and stole 42 bags that season (split between the White Sox and Rangers).

Now another year removed from his excellent 2012 campaign, Rios also slid in the baserunning and defensive departments, leaving him valued at just .2 fWAR and .6 rWAR in his 521 plate appearances. A thumb issue ended Rios’s season early and cast at least some slight doubt on his health going forward, though Rios has been a remarkably sturdy ballplayer over his long career.

Kansas City now has its replacement for Nori Aoki in right field, where Rios has spent most of his career. Both players are similarly aged, but the former is probably a safer option going forward with his consistent on-base ability. Of course, Aoki cannot match the ceiling of Rios, who was worth better than four wins above replacement in recent memory. The club spent a fairly significant sum to take a chance on Rios, going well above the $8.5MM that MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted he would land.

Rios joins a recent group of corner outfielders departing the market, leaving players like Michael Morse, Colby Rasmus, and Aoki as the best players available. Of course, that could add impetus to the trade market, which features a number of big names.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Images.


Cubs Claim Shane Peterson, Ryan Lavarnway

2:05pm: The Cubs announced that they have also claimed Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Dodgers.  To make room on the 40-man roster for the pair of moves, right-handed pitcher Donn Roach and infielder Logan Watkins were designated for assignment.

The 27-year-old Lavarnway .283/.389/.370 in 257 plate appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2014. He has a strong minor league track record as a hitter, with a .375 career minor league on-base percentage, and could potentially help a team in need of a right-handed bat for its bench.  His stint with the Dodgers was brief and he has traveled quite a bit in the last month.  Lavarnway was DFA’d by the Red Sox just prior to his cup of coffee with Los Angeles.

12:38pm: The Cubs have claimed outfielder Shane Peterson from the A’s, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).


Yankees Designate Preston Claiborne For Assignment

The Yankees have designated Preston Claiborne for assignment, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand (on Twitter).

Claiborne, 26, has made 62 relief appearances for the Yankees over the last two seasons, pitching to a 3.79 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.  In parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level, Claiborne owns a 3.80 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.

You can keep track of Claiborne’s status using MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Angels Acquire Johnny Giavotella From Royals

1:57pm: The Angels formally announced the deal.  Right-hander Brian Broderick will be sent to the Royals to complete the transaction.

Broderick, 28, has just 11 big league appearances to his credit with all of them coming in 2011.  He was recently signed out of the Mexican League by KC.

1:55pm: The Angels are close to acquiring second baseman Johnny Giavotella, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Giavotella was recently designated for assignment by the Royals.  It’s not clear who is going to Kansas City in the deal, but it figures to be a minor trade (link).  Gonzalez adds that the deal could be announced today.

Giavotella, 27, received a fairly lengthy look at second base for the Royals in both 2011 and 2012 but combined to bat just .242/.271/.340 in 376 plate appearances. He’s received shorter call-ups in each of the subsequent seasons but hasn’t fared much better at the plate; overall, Giavotella is a lifetime .238/.277/.344 hitter in the Majors.

A second-round pick out of the University of New Orleans in 2008, Giavotella does carry with him quite an impressive track record at the Triple-A level. In 1840 plate appearances there, he’s slashed .315/.384/.451. It should be noted, however, that those numbers have come in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.


Mets Trade Gonzalez Germen To Yankees

The Mets and Yankees have completed a rare trade with one another.  The Mets traded pitcher Gonzalez Germen to the Yankees for cash considerations, as Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets.

Germen, who turned 27 in September, was designated for assignment earlier this week by the Mets.  The right-hander has made a combined 54 appearances out of the Mets’ bullpen over the past two seasons, pitching to a 4.31 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate. He’s averaged 92.9 mph on his fastball in that time while notching a swinging-strike rate of 14.2 percent, but Germen was also exceptionally homer prone and had enough command problems that the Mets deemed him expendable.

This marks the first trade between the two New York teams since they swapped Mike Stanton and Felix Heredia in 2004.

Germen is now out of DFA limbo, but there are plenty of other MLB players awaiting their fate.  Keep up on all of the latest with MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Blue Jays Claim Juan Oramas

The Blue Jays announced that they have claimed left-hander Juan Oramas off waivers from the Padres.  Oramas, 24, has spent all eight of his professional seasons in the Padres’ system.

Oramas, 24, owns a 4.32 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 across parts of three seasons at Triple-A.  He spent last season with the Friars’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, posting a combined 4.75 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 134 1/3 innings pitched.

Oramas has appeared among San Diego’s Top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America, in each of the past four offseasons. In last offseason’s scouting report, BA noted that Oramas has the potential for three Major League pitches “with a feel to deploy them for maximum impact,” while also praising the southpaw for hiding the ball well.

The Blue Jays’ 40-man roster now stands at 38.


Pirates Sign Corey Hart

12:59pm: Hart will earn $2.5MM in base salary and can double it with another $2.5MM in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

12:55pm: The Pirates announced that they have signed free agent Corey Hart.

Hart could serve as a platoon partner with Pedro Alvarez to help make up for his shortcomings against lefties.  After missing the entire 2013 season due to knee surgery, Hart was signed by the Mariners around this time last year.  The veteran made 55 starts as a designated hitter while also making seven appearances in right field, two at first base and one in left field.  All in all, he posted a .203/.271/.319 slash line in 255 plate appearances.  Prior to his lost 2013 season, Hart owned a career .276/.334/.491 slash line.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Hart, the Pirates have designated right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet for assignment.  To keep up with his status and everyone else in DFA limbo, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Dodgers Acquire Jimmy Rollins

12:52pm: The Phillies are sending $1MM to the Dodgers as a part of the deal, an industry source tells Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (on Twitter).

10:27am: After more than a week of anticipation, the Phillies announced that they have traded shortstop Jimmy Rollins and cash considerations to the Dodgers in exchange for right-hander Zach Eflin and left-hander Tom Windle.

Jimmy Rollins

There was a significant hold-up in the trade, as the Phillies had to wait for the Dodgers to finalize their Matt Kemp trade with San Diego due to the fact that Eflin was part of the Dodgers’ return in that deal. Kemp’s physical dragged out the process for both trades, but each has now been announced.

After losing Hanley Ramirez to the Red Sox in free agency, Los Angeles filled its vacancy at shortstop with another high-profile veteran.  Rollins actually generated more fWAR (3.6 to 3.4) than Ramirez in 2014, as while Ramirez delivered more at the plate, Rollins far outpaced Ramirez defensively.  Rollins is no longer the offensive force that he was in his prime, but he still posted an above-average 102 wRC+ in 2014, hitting .243/.323/.394 with 17 homers and 28 steals over 609 plate appearances.

Rollins reached a vesting option in his previous contract that earned him an extra year and an $11MM salary for the 2015 season.  Since the Dodgers’ commitments to both Rollins and third baseman Juan Uribe will be up after 2015, that allows the club some flexibility in deciding the future of Corey Seager.  The top prospect is a shortstop now but many project him to eventually require a move to third base.

Rollins, 36, spent his entire 15-year career in Philadelphia, with the highlights including the NL MVP Award in 2007 and a World Series title in 2008.  Rollins is the Phillies’ all-time franchise leader in hits and doubles, and only Mike Schmidt played more games in a Phillie uniform.

Though parting with Rollins is bittersweet for Philadelphia, they’ll receive a pair of solid pitching prospects in return. Eflin, 20, was selected 33rd overall in the 2012 draft, and the 22-year-old Windle went 56th overall just a year later. At the time of the Kemp deal, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote (subscription required) that he felt Eflin was “at worst” a fourth starter in the Majors with the potential to become more. Baseball America ranked him 14th among Padres prospects last offseason, and MLB.com already ranks him fifth among Phillies prospects, calling him a potential mid-rotation workhorse with the build of a prototypical right-hander. BA noted in their scouting report that he sits comfortably at 90 to 92 mph with a sinking fastball but as touched the mid-90s in the past when needed. Eflin pitched to a 3.80 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 128 innings at Class-A Advanced last season.

Windle, drafted out of the University of Minnesota, also spent last season in High-A, compiling a 4.26 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 139 1/3 innings. BA ranked him 12th among Dodgers prospects a season ago, and MLB.com has him sixth among current Phillies farmhands. His changeup made serious progress in 2014, per MLB.com, giving him a chance at a solid third pitch to pair with a low-90s fastball and a “nasty” slider. BA feels that his slider a plus pitch that can befuddle both right- and left-handed batters, noting that even if he doesn’t pan out as a starter, Windle’s fastball/slider combo could play well in a high-leverage relief role. At the time the trade was reported, Law noted that Windle pitched in a brutal environment for pitchers last season, adding that he liked Windle’s chances to break out as a prospect in the Double-A Eastern League in 2015.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury first reported the Rollins to the Dodgers was a done deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports indicated, on Twitter, that Eflin would head to the Dodgers, and Salisbury reported (also on Twitter) that Windle was the other player in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.