Mets Trying To Acquire Reliever

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.


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.”


Front Office Notes: Zduriencik, Dipoto, Anthopoulos

Jack Zduriencik’s tenure with the Mariners was characterized by long streams of firings, resignations and strife, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Those began early in Zduriencik’s time in Seattle, with Zduriencik apparently frequently blaming others for the team’s problems under his leadership. Baker prints excerpts of a rather amazing email from Zduriencik to then-manager Don Wakamatsu about the struggling 2010 team in which Zduriencik seemed to blame his staff for the failures of the players he had acquired the previous offseason. “When putting this club together throughout the winter, everyone was involved,” Zduriencik wrote. “I asked many questions about the acquired players this offseason and in all cases moved forward to acquire or refrain from acquiring a player based on received recommendations.” He also suggested that the struggles of that 101-loss 2010 team might be due to a “lack of urgency and preparation,” implying that the coaching staff was to blame. The Mariners finally fired Zduriencik this week. Here’s more on front offices.

  • Former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto looks likely to be a talked-about name as the many teams with vacant GM positions search for candidates, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi writes. Dipoto appears likely to be a candidate for both the Brewers and Mariners jobs. The Mariners have said they will prioritize experience (which, obviously, Dipoto has), and Morosi notes that Dipoto was a finalist for the Mariners GM job years ago, when the team ultimately hired Zduriencik.
  • The Blue Jays are still seeking a team president, but when they hire one, that person will endure criticism if he or she fires GM Alex Anthopoulos, Morosi says. Anthopoulos’ acquisitions of veterans like Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price have helped propel the Blue Jays to first place in the AL East. The team’s decision to keep Anthopoulos shouldn’t be a difficult one, Morosi says.

Week In Review: 8/22/15 – 8/28/15

Here’s a look back at this week at MLBTR.

Key Move

  • The Mariners fired GM Jack Zduriencik.

Trades

Claims

Designated For Assignment

Outrights

Released

Retired

Key Minor League Signings


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AL East Notes: Buchholz, Red Sox Front Office, Hanley, Shapiro, Tolleson

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski says that righty Clay Buchholz is done for the year, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweets. The new top Boston baseball decisionmaker added that he sees it as an easy call to exercise a $12MM option to keep Buchholz — if he is healthy. That’s an important proviso, of course, though the Sox should have time to assess his recovery before making a final decision.

  • Dombrowski spoke with the press today as he accompanied the Red Sox on the road for the first time, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. While the offseason is still a ways away, he’s still short on time. “There’s going to be some shortcomings that are just going to fall through the cracks,” he explained. “I can’t see the minor-league clubs; I just don’t have enough time to be able to do that.” Before deciding on any additions or subtractions to his front office group, Dombrowski says, he’s working to get to know his current staff. “You just have to really do your homework to get to know people and to get to know whose opinions you can feel you really trust,” said the incoming executive. “… The people here will know the players better than I will.”
  • While the Red Sox front office composition remains to be seen, one prominent member is already on his way out. Pro scouting director Jared Porter is heading to the Cubs, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. It’s important to note that, as Britton explains, Dombrowski indicated that at least one front office member was departing (quite possibly Porter) in a move that had already been in the works before his arrival.
  • Dombrowski also touched upon the Red Sox‘ pending move of Hanley Ramirez to first base, as Britton further reports“It just seemed to make sense” to try the veteran out at the position, he explained. “Not that you have to rush it, but it gives us some time to get him out there. I wouldn’t want to say, ‘Let’s wait until spring training and let’s see if he can do it.’ What happens if he can’t do it? You really need to know that more so now.”
  • If the Blue Jays are going to land Indians president Mark Shapiro to fill that role in Toronto, they may well do so in the coming days, according to Joe Vardon of the Plain Dealer. A source says that “closure” on Shapiro’s status is expected in short order. We learned earlier today that Cleveland has authorized him to meet with the Jays.
  • There’s something of an unusual situation brewing between the Blue Jays and infielder Steve Tolleson, who is on the temporarily inactive list at Triple-A, as John Lott of the National Post writes. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said that Tolleson “just decided he didn’t want to play anymore,” while Tolleson says he’s injured. The question is whether Tolleson was injured when he was designated for assignment by the club, the argument being that he should (if that was the case) be earning a major league salary from the MLB disabled list.

Front Office Notes: Brewers, Reds, Levine, Mariners

Here are the latest notes involving front office (and managerial) matters around the league:

  • The Brewers are “finalizing” a list of candidates to interview for their open GM position, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. It seems that Milwaukee is preparing to take a close look at a variety of possibilities in finding a successor for Doug Melvin, though, so it’s likely that the process is still a long ways from completion.
  • Reds owner Bob Castellini said yesterday that the club will not make any moves regarding manager Bryan Price during the season, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. But Castellini did say that the organization will “look at everything after the season,” and declined to give any assurances as to how the team will handle Price and GM Walt Jocketty, each of whom remains under contract for one more year. Despite a tough year and questionable outlook, Castellini indicated that he still has hopes of contending in 2016. “We’re down but not out,” he said. “I don’t think next year will be a waste. We don’t have the mindset that we’re not going to contend. We’re not giving up on the year.”
  • Thad Levine has been an integral part of the Rangers front office, explains Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who suggests the time may be right for the club to make him its general manager while moving Jon Daniels into the role of team president. Otherwise, warns Grant, Levine could be a prime candidate for the GM jobs opening elsewhere in the league.
  • Mariners president Kevin Mather clarified his comments from earlier today regarding manager Lloyd McClendon, as Larry Stone of the Seattle Times tweets. Mather said that the organization’s new GM will have final say as to the field staff, though he plans to recommend that McClendon be retained. Meanwhile, it would appear that Seattle is preparing to keep attempting to put a contending club on the field in the near future. Mather said that he’s not concerned that ownership will look to trim payroll for 2016, as the Times’ Ryan Divish notes on Twitter.
  • Mather also indicated that the Mariners will consider their internal options in the general manager hunt, including acting GM Jeff Kingston, as the AP’s Tim Booth tweets. But the organization’s preference is to find a candidate with more experience, Mather added.

Blue Jays Claim Danny Dorn

The Blue Jays have claimed first baseman/outfielder Danny Dorn off waivers from the Diamondbacks, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. He’ll be optioned to Triple-A, per the report.

Dorn is in a somewhat unusual situation for a claimed player. After spending parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level, the 31-year-old only saw his first chance at the big leagues this year. But his short stint with Arizona was short and unproductive.

That being said, Dorn has produced strong power and on-base numbers over his minor league career. And he is destroying the Triple-A level this year, with 305 plate appearances of .386/.444/.618 hitting.


Heyman’s Latest: Castro, Shapiro, Davis, Anderson, Brewers, Phils

Within his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that displaced Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has joined Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez as struggling former stars that have cleared waivers. (The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo first reported that Ramirez and Sandoval cleared waivers.) The Cubs had a few trade discussions pertaining to Castro prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, per Heyman, and they’ll likely revisit trade talks this winter. As for Sandoval, Heyman hears that there are not active discussions at the moment, although one can easily imagine new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski exploring ways to shed that sizable commitment this offseason.

Some more highlights from Heyman’s latest column…

  • Indians president Mark Shapiro has been given permission to meet with the Blue Jays about their opening, per the report. The veteran Cleveland executive is “believed” to sit atop Toronto’s wish list, and Heyman says there’s an increasing expectation that he’ll end up moving over to the Jays.
  • Chris Davis is in line for a significant payday this offseason, but the Orioles aren’t likely to be the ones writing the check. Heyman hears that two years ago, following Davis’ brilliant 53-homer campaign, agent Scott Boras was eyeing Joey Votto’s 10-year, $225MM contract as a comp. Granted, Davis’ reduced production since that time has almost certainly lowered the asking price, but I personally agree with the assessment of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes in his latest Free Agent Power Rankings: Davis is in line for a nine-figure contract, which seems beyond Baltimore’s traditional comfort levels.
  • Though some were surprised to see Brett Anderson land a $10MM guarantee from the Dodgers due to his injury history, Heyman hears that the Dodgers may be considering an even more surprising move: extending a qualifying offer to the injury-prone hurler. Anderson, in my eyes, would be a risky candidate for such an offer, but there’s reason enough that the Dodgers could make that call. For one, the team can afford a $16MM investment in an injury-prone pitcher, and Anderson’s worth close to that kind of cash when healthy. Secondly, Anderson’s coming off one of the lone healthy seasons of his career and may see this as his best chance to cash in on a multi-year deal. He could see the only downside as another one-year deal worth $10MM+, meaning he’d be risking around $6MM for a chance at quite a bit more.
  • The Brewers are expected to take “well into next month” in their search for a new general manager and are interested in pursuing non-traditional candidates. We’ve heard several possibilities batted around, and Heyman says he’s heard at least some chatter about Athletics assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz and Red Sox special assistant Jerry Dipoto.
  • While the Phillies could have their own front office changes to make, Heyman says it’s still possible that Ruben Amaro Jr. could not only stay in the organization in some capacity, but keep the GM chair.
  • In a separate piece, Heyman also takes an interesting look at the thirty best deals made over the last year. There’s certainly a good case to be made for his top choice: the Blue Jays’ acquisition of Josh Donaldson.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/28/15

Here are today’s minor moves:

  • The Yankees announced that lefty Chris Capuano has been outrighted. Thus far, Capuano’s most recent trip through DFA limbo is taking the same course as the previous three that have occurred in the last month. Odds are that Capuano will again take up residence in Triple-A and then move back to the big league roster after rosters expand at the end of the month. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch spoke with Capuano and GM Brian Cashman for an interesting story on the somewhat unusual situation.

Rangers Designate Chris Rearick For Assignment

The Rangers have designated lefty Chris Rearick for assignment, according to club executive VP of communications John Blake. Texas will promote a fellow southpaw relief option in 22-year-old Andrew Faulkner.

The move comes just one day after Rearick was claimed off waivers from the Padres and optioned to Triple-A. It is certainly possible that the Rangers added the 27-year-old with hopes of slipping him through waivers themselves. That would allow the team to hold him in its minor league system while not occupying a 40-man spot.


Rockies Designate Ken Roberts For Assignment

The Rockies have designated left-handed pitcher Ken Roberts for assignment in order to clear space on the 40-man roster for fellow lefty Jason Gurka, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

Roberts, 27, 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.

Gurka, also 27, is a former 15th-round pick of the Orioles (2008). He’s worked to a more palatable 2.86 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 63 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Opposing lefties have hit .208/.310/.264 in 2015 versus Gurka, who will also be making his big league debut when he first takes the mound for the Rockies.


Cardinals Hire Randy Flores As Director Of Amateur Scouting

The Cardinals have hired former Major League left-hander Randy Flores as their new director of amateur scouting, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards looked at candidates from other teams before turning to Flores, who retired from the game as a player following the 2010 season, per Goold.

Since retiring, the now-40-year-old Flores returned to USC to complete a master’s degree in education and serve as the baseball team’s assistant coach. He also founded his own company, OnDeck Digital, which uses video capture technology to allow baseball and softball players to critique their own game. Scouts also use the technology to gain access to of video on prospects/players, and 11 Major League teams currently use the service, Goold adds.

Flores spent parts of five seasons in the Cardinals’ bullpen, totaling a 4.35 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 178 innings. He totaled 250 innings in the Majors, working primarily as a left-handed specialist and accumulating a career ERA of 4.61. Flores won a World Series ring with St. Louis in 2006.

The need for a scouting director, of course, is due to the firing of former director Chris Correa, who was dismissed earlier this summer after admitting to having a role in the Cardinals’ breach of the Astros’ computer network.


Denard Span To Undergo Season-Ending Hip Surgery

AUG. 28: Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports (on Twitter) that Span is set to undergo season-ending hip surgery next Tuesday. The issue is in his hip labrum, manager Matt Williams tells reporters including Mark Zuckerman of Comcast SportsNet (Twitter link).

AUG. 27: Nationals center fielder Denard Span is headed back to the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip, and as Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington writes, this most recent injury may very well bring his season to a close.

This will be Span’s third and seemingly final trip to the disabled list in 2015 — an unfortunate series of events for any player, but particularly for Span, who is eligible for free agency for the first time at season’s end. If his season is indeed done, injuries will have limited the 31-year-old to just 61 games. Of course, his production in those 61 games has been excellent; Span has totaled a .301/.365/.431 batting line with five homers and 11 stolen bases.

Defensive metrics were down on Span in 2015, though injuries may have played a part in his deteriorated rankings, as Span does come with a reputation as a plus defender in center field. After beginning the season on the disabled list due to offseason core muscle surgery, Span again landed on the disabled list in early July due to back spasms. He returned from the DL just three days ago, but his stay on the active roster will be a brief one. As Zuckerman writes, the string of injuries were very likely related to one another.

Manager Matt Williams told Zuckerman and other reporters that while it’s not clear if Span will return in 2015, he would “imagine it’s going to be very tough for him to get back.” The loss of Span, of course, further dampens the playoff hopes of what has been a disappointing Nationals club in 2015. Though Washington emerged victorious tonight, so too did the division-leading Mets. Picked by most (myself included) to win the division, the Nationals instead trail the Mets by 6.5 games and are an even more distant nine games back in the NL Wild Card race.

Compounding matters for the Nationals is the fact that rookie outfielder Michael Taylor — Span’s likely replacement — left tonight’s game with a knee injury suffered when crashing into the outfield wall. It’s not known how long Taylor will be sidelined, but Zuckerman notes that center fielder Matt den Dekker, who would’ve been a September call-up anyhow, will presumably be called up as a corresponding move to replace Span.


Unknown Team Claims Kimbrel On Revocable Waivers; Trade Unlikely

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.