Aaron Crow Rumors

NL East Notes: Nationals Bullpen, Fister, Crow, Marlins

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.

Marlins Acquire Aaron Crow

The Marlins have acquired right-hander Aaron Crow from the Royals in exchange for left-hander Brian Flynn and minor league righty Reid Redman, the teams announced.

Aaron Crow

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.


AL Central Notes: Masterson, Ubaldo, Crow, Collins, Twins

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.


Royals Avoid Arbitration With Aaron Crow

The Royals have avoided arbitration with righty Aaron Crow, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Crow will earn $1.475MM and can tack on an additional $50K if he makes the All-Star team.

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. 


Aaron Crow, Tim Collins “Very Available” In Trades

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.


Quick Hits: Hurdle, Friedman, Braves, Gardenhire

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.

Rosenthal On Royals, Uehara, D’Backs, Span, Catching

Here are the latest hot stove items from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal….

  • Teams in search of bullpen help have been looking at Royals right-handers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow, though Kansas City isn't likely to trade any of its Major League players unless they can move Jeff Francoeur.
  • The Royals bolstered their pitching staff by re-signing Jeremy Guthrie and trading for Ervin Santana, but Rosenthal still feels the team needs a true ace.
  • The Phillies are interested in free agent reliever Koji Uehara.
  • The Diamondbacks could deal Jason Kubel instead of Justin Upton, which would be an easier move to make though Kubel would bring back a lesser return.  A source tells Rosenthal that the Rangers are still interested in Upton but are waiting for the D'Backs to back down on their demands for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in return.
  • Denard Span could be a good trade target for a club that doesn't want to pay for one of the expensive center fielders on the free market.  With the Twins desperate for pitching, Rosenthal speculates that a team like the Braves (who need a center fielder and have pitching depth) could be a trade partner.
  • The free agent catching market is stalled since the Red Sox and Blue Jays have catchers available for trade, plus the Yankees are waiting to address their pitching before making a decision on Russell Martin.
  • Speaking of the Blue Jays' catching depth, Rosenthal thinks that Toronto is in no hurry to deal J.P. Arencibia, as a dependable catcher is needed if top prospect Travis D'Arnaud hasn't recovered from his season-ending knee injury.
  • Reed Johnson is drawing interest from several teams, including the Braves, who acquired Johnson from the Cubs last July.

Odds & Ends: Abreu, Torrealba, DeRosa, Strasburg

Links for Thursday, as we await an Opening Day rematch between Josh Johnson and Johan Santana


Odds & Ends: Crow, Kearns, Minor Leagues

A few links to start off your Friday night…

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore said Aaron Crow will be a given a chance to win a spot with the big league team next spring, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
  • Bill Ladson of MLB.com writes that Austin Kearns' time with the Nationals is all but over. The outfielder is out with a thumb contusion, and GM Mike Rizzo said it's unlikely he'll return this year. There's zero chance the team will exercise his $10MM option for 2010, instead paying him a $1MM buyout.
  • According to Baseball America's minor league transactions, the Indians cut ties with reliever Ken Ray. You may remember that Ray made a little noise with the Braves back in 2006.

Odds & Ends: Mateo, Sano, Crow, Ethier

Some more links for the afternoon or, if you're on the East Coast, the early evening…

  • ESPN.com's Jorge Arangure Jr. hears that a vision issue could affect the status of the contract Wagner Mateo signed with the Cardinals earlier in the summer. If Mateo has a degenerative eye condition, the Cards may look to reclaim some of the $3.1MM they awarded the 16-year-old. Mateo's agent says it's a non-issue.
  • Miguel Angel Sano doesn't appear to be near a deal with any club, but Arangure Jr. hears that the shortstop seeks $3.2MM.
  • ESPN.com's Keith Law believes Aaron Crow's long holdout will hurt the pitcher more than it helped him. The Royals completed their deal with Crow just yesterday.
  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer knows it's painful for the A's to see Andre Ethier's 30-homer season in LA, but he reminds his readers that Milton Bradley helped the A's win a division title after Billy Beane traded Ethier to acquire Bradley before the 2006 season.