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Aaron Crow Rumors
At this point, the Marlins are leaning towards tendering an offer to pitcher Henderson Alvarez, Barry Jackson of Miami Herald reports. However, Jackson writes that it is “less likely” that Miami extends an offer to reliever Aaron Crow.
Alvarez, Jackson writes, could be due to earn about $4MM in arbitration. The club’s decision, unsurprisingly, will come down to his medicals before the December tender deadline. For his part, Alvarez believes he’ll be ready to pitch by February 2016. The 25-year-old underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder in late July, ending his season prematurely. He was Miami’s Opening Day starter, but wound up finishing the 2015 season with just 22 1/3 innings, four starts, and a dismal 6.45 ERA under his belt.
Originally acquired from the Blue Jays in the Jose Reyes/Mark Buehrle/Josh Johnson blockbuster in the 2012-13 offseason, Alvarez looked to be an increasingly important member of the Marlins’ rotation in 2013-14, as he tossed 102 2/3 innings of 3.59 ERA ball in 2013 and showed improved results (2.65 ERA) with an increased workload (187 2/3 innings) in 2014. The young righty’s season-ending no-hitter served as one of the bright spots to the 2013 campaign for the Marlins.
On April 7th of this year, Crow learned that he would have to undergo Tommy John surgery. The Marlins sent left-hander Brian Flynn and minor league righty Reid Redman to the Royals to acquire Crow over the winter, but the former first-round pick didn’t get to throw a pitch in his new environment in 2015. Crow delivered generally strong ERA and strikeout marks for the Royals from 2011-13, working exclusively out of the bullpen, but he struggled in 2014; Crow’s ERA spiked to a career-worst 4.12, and he posted the worst K/9 (5.2) and ground-ball (43.2%) marks of his career. Miami acquired Crow in the hope that it was buying low on a previously successful reliever with two years of team control remaining. However, it sounds like his time in Miami might be coming to a close.
The unfortunate reality has been the expected outcome for Crow for about a week’s time now. Losing Crow for the year and losing Preston Claiborne for at least one month has thinned out Miami’s bullpen bullpen depth, and those injuries are likely a driving factor behind the team’s reported interest in adding a bullpen upgrade.
The Marlins sent left-hander Brian Flynn and Minor League righty Reid Redman to the Royals to acquire Crow this winter, but the former first-round pick won’t throw a pitch in his new environment this season. Crow delivered generally strong ERA and strikeout marks for the Royals from 2011-13, working exclusively out of the bullpen, but he struggled in 2014; Crow’s ERA spiked to a career-worst 4.12, and he posted the worst K/9 (5.2) and ground-ball (43.2%) marks of his career.
Miami acquired Crow in the hope that it was buying low on a previously successful reliever with two years of team control remaining at a not-unreasonable price. Crow is earning $1.975MM this year after avoiding arbitration for the second time. Speculatively speaking, the injury presents the possibility that Crow will be non-tendered next winter. Miami’s payroll is among the league’s lowest, so the preference may be to cut Crow loose and try to re-sign him to a cheaper deal. However, that also poses the team with the risk of losing Crow and receiving nothing from the trade that brought him to Miami in the first place.
The Royals selected Crow with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and while he didn’t develop as they’d hoped in the rotation, he’s spent four full seasons in a Major League bullpen. In 233 2/3 Major League innings, Crow has a 3.43 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, a 49.2 percent ground-ball rate and an average fastball of 94 mph.
Marlins right-handed reliever Aaron Crow will likely need Tommy John surgery after an MRI revealed a ligament tear, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Miami added Crow in late November in a trade that cost the team lefty Brian Flynn.
Losing Crow would be a significant blow to the club’s bullpen, which had hoped to enjoy a return to form from the 28-year-old. After a three-year run in which he carried a 3.19 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9, with heavy groundball tendencies, Crow fell back last year to a 4.12 earned run mark while striking out just 5.2 and walking 3.7 batters per nine. He had put up more typical numbers this spring, however.
While Miami does have several options to step in for Crow, it is possible to imagine the team looking for an outside replacement. Whether that would mean picking up a veteran roster castaway or striking a deal, of course, remains to be seen.
With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz…
- Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
- The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
- Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
- Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
- The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
- ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
- Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
- Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
- Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
- Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
- Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
- Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.
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Here’s the latest out of the National League East:
- The Nationals are interested in adding a veteran right-handed arm to the pen, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post, who adds that the team is presently focused on other matters and has not fully engaged the free agent market. Wagner lists many of the better free agent arms as at least theoretical possibilities, and says that Washington has at least “shown some interest” already in both Casey Janssen and Jason Motte.
- Doug Fister and the Nationals have not re-engaged on extension talks since they first took place last spring, reports Wagner. Fister has been mentioned as a hypothetical trade candidate as well, though presumably the club would only seriously consider dealing one of he and Jordan Zimmermann.
- Just-added Marlins hurler Aaron Crow has worked from the bullpen for the last four seasons but could get a chance to return to a starting role in Miami, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s still early in the offseason and we’re not sure how the rest of the offseason will unfold in terms of what else we add to our pitching staff, but we love the flexibility,” said president of baseball operations Michael Hill. “We love the thought he could possibly be a starting option for us, but at a minimum we know he’ll be a valuable bullpen piece and just add to the overall depth of our staff.”
- The Marlins‘ front office is focused on achieving “sustainable success,” writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Miami hopes to step its payroll up over the next few years, more or less in line with the raises in Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract, by adding targeted pieces to supplement its young core.
Crow, 28, has considerably more big league experience than the 24-year-old Flynn. Crow has spent the past four seasons as a setup man for manager Ned Yost, pitching with great effectiveness from 2011-13. In his first three years with the Royals, Crow posted a 3.19 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate north of 50 percent.
However, the typically hard-throwing former No. 12 overall pick struggled this year as his velocity dropped. Crow posted a career-worst 4.12 ERA with a career-low 5.2 K/9 rate against 3.7 BB/9 in 59 innings this past season. His ground-ball rate dipped to a career-low 43.2 percent as well. On the plus side, he didn’t miss any time due to injuries, so if the Marlins saw something in Crow’s delivery that they feel can be fixed, they could have a nice bullpen piece on their hands at a relatively modest price. Crow is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2MM in 2015, though his struggles did make him a non-tender candidate. It’s possible that with today’s signing of Jason Frasor, the Royals felt they had found a cheaper solution to their middle relief needs. With exactly four years of service time under his belt, Crow can be controlled by the Marlins for an additional two seasons.
The Marlins originally acquired Flynn from the Tigers along with Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly in the trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. Since being acquired by Miami, Flynn has seen a couple of brief Major League stints, allowing 24 runs in 25 innings with a 21-to-16 K/BB ratio. Those numbers aren’t the most impressive, obviously, but he has a considerably better minor league track record and has been a mainstay on Marlins top prospect lists. Heading into the season, Baseball America ranked him sixth among Fish farmhands, while MLB.com ranked him 10th on their midseason Top 20 list.
Flynn has a lifetime 3.44 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 277 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. In their scouting report, BA praised a fastball that sat 89 to 93 mph and touched 95 out of the 6’7″ lefty’s hand. Flynn features a four-pitch mix with his best offspeed offering being a slider, per BA, and he also features an average changeup and a show-me curveball that he mixes in less often. Flynn will provide the Royals with another Major League ready rotation option, but he could also fill a need in the bullpen, as the Royals are without a solid lefty relief option.
Redman, who recently turned 26, reached Double-A for the first time this season. Drafted by Tampa in 2012 as a third baseman, Redman has successfully converted to the mound since that time. In 90 professional innings, he has a 2.00 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the swap of Crow and Flynn, and the Marlins then announced that Redman was in the deal (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Indians are kicking the tires on a familiar name, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports they’ve reached out to Justin Masterson about a potential return. The Indians are likely interested in Masterson only on a one-year deal, which, as Hoynes notes, may be the preferred option for Masterson anyway. Masterson pitched through a number of injuries last season, and if he’s healthy in 2015, he could be a prime rebound candidate and position himself for a much nicer deal on the open market in 2015-16.
More from Hoynes and more from the AL Central…
- Hoynes also refutes previous reports that the Indians would have some interest in buying low on Ubaldo Jimenez. Though Jimenez had one of his best seasons in Cleveland under pitching coach Mickey Callaway, the organization isn’t interested in trying to fix the inconsistent righty.
- Both Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are non-tender candidates for the Royals, but Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports (via Twitter) that the team is still considering tendering each a contract due to a lack of MLB-ready replacement options.
- In his latest Twins Inbox, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that the Twins began their search for a pitching coach with at least 30 names and seem likely to go outside the organization to fill the role. He also discusses potential free agent targets for the Twins, noting that the team is expected to pursue second-tier starting pitcher options such as Brandon McCarthy and Jason Hammel or bounceback candidates such as Masterson and Brett Anderson. Bollinger also expects the Twins to sign a corner outfielder, though he notes Torii Hunter‘s desire to play for a contender basically rules out a return to Minnesota.
Crow has had three sturdy years for the Royals before reaching arbitration eligibility, combining for a 3.19 ERA over 174 2/3 innings with 9.0 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9. Crow's 2014 salary lands just under the $1.49MM midpoint between the two sides' filing figures. It falls a good bit shy of the $1.9MM projection from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
The Royals boasted one of Major League Baseball's best bullpens in 2013, and they have no shortage of in-house replacements in the event of a trade. That surplus is one of the reasons that rival executives have told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that right-hander Aaron Crow and lefty Tim Collins "are very available" in trades. Said one official:
"Those are the guys they’d like to trade because they’re going to start to make a little bit of money. But the key thing for them is they have a lot of other guys ready to step in…guys who might be even better."
The Royals are also willing to at least entertain the thought of parting with prized closer Greg Holland, though according to Dutton they would need a "major" return for their ninth-inning man and aren't too keen on parting with him. One club official said to Dutton: "Are we actively looking to move Holland? No. But we’ve got to be open-minded to everything."
Both Crow and Collins are headed into the first year of arbitration eligibility. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected them to earn $1.9MM and $1MM, respectively. While neither salary is prohibitive (to say the least), the Royals currently project for an $87MM payroll, GM Dayton Moore has said he expects the 2014 payroll to mirror 2013's mark of $85MM. As Dutton points out, three years of either Crow or Collins would figure to fetch a nice haul on the trade market when pitchers like Joe Smith are signing for three years and $15.75MM.
Dutton writes that right-hander Wade Davis is expected to get a chance to work his way back into the rotation in Spring Training but may end up in the bullpen again. The bullpen seems to suit Davis much better, as he has a career 2.24 ERA as a reliever and 4.57 mark as a starter (5.67 in 2013). Given his $4.8MM guaranteed salary in 2014, I'd expect that Davis is a trade candidate as well, though the Royals may value his three cheap club options too highly to part with him.
Josh Booty has won a non-roster invitation to the Diamondbacks' Spring Training camp by emerging as the victor on The Next Knuckler, an MLB Network reality show. Booty, 37, was drafted fifth overall by the Marlins in the 1994 and accumulated just 30 Major League plate appearances with the Fish from 1996-98. Booty played third base originally but is now trying to make it back as a knuckleball pitcher.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- Clint Hurdle is a favorite of Pirates owner Robert Nutting and has a better chance of staying with the team than GM Neal Huntington and president Frank Coonelly do if the Bucs struggle again, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Hurdle's contract was recently extended through the 2014 season.
- "It has always been hard to sustain success as a small-market team and the new CBA does not impact that very much," Andrew Friedman tells Erik Hahmann of the DRaysBay blog. "There are some interesting ideas within the new system but the overarching structure still tips the scales heavily in favor of the large markets (especially with growing revenue disparity). The key to changing that will be moving to a system that doesn't penalize small-market clubs-in the draft order, in the competitive balance lottery, in the international arena–for being successful." The Rays executive VP of baseball operations also addresses other league, management and roster topics during the interview.
- The Braves spent much more to sign B.J. Upton than the Indians did to sign Michael Bourn, but Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution feels the Braves' offseason was better served overall by moving on from their former center fielder.
- The Twins are known for their loyalty towards managers but MLB.com's Marty Noble writes that Ron Gardenhire's future with the team could be in question if Minnesota struggles again. The Twins are coming off back-to-back last place finishes in the AL Central, though these were only the second and third losing seasons of Gardenhire's 11-year tenure as skipper.
- The Royals' pitching acquisitions have left Aaron Crow with no immediate future as a starting pitcher, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes. Crow was drafted (12th overall in 2009) as a starter but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in the majors and performed well. Crow made the 2011 All-Star team and has posted a 3.13 ERA, a 9.2 K/9 rate and a 2.45 K/BB ratio over 126 2/3 relief innings in 2011-12.
- Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco may have limited on-field value at this stage of their careers but Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos tells Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi that good chemistry is a crucial part of a winning team and that the Jays will benefit from the two veterans' clubhouse leadership.
- Baseball America's Ben Badler recaps each team's significant international signings from 2012.