Aaron Crow Rumors
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.
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.
- Tony Abreu could be an attractive trade chip if the D'Backs shop him for relief help, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic.
- Ken Griffey Jr. should retire gracefully, writes MLB.com's Hal Bodley.
- We shouldn't be surprised to see Drew Storen arrive in the majors before Strasburg. As Ben Goessling of MASN.com explains, the Nationals may choose to reward Storen for signing so soon after they drafted him.
- Yorvit Torrealba has been one of baseball's best free agent bargains, if you ask MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- In a pre-draft notebook, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo explains why pitcher Peter Tago is gaining on some fellow amateurs and the answer is pretty simple.
- Wondering which pitchers have seen their strikeout rate climb or tumble this year? RotoAuthority has the results for the season so far.
- If Mark DeRosa hits the disabled list, the Giants will rely on their own players, mostly John Bowker, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes the Nationals would like to debut Stephen Strasburg at home, while his colleague Rob Neyer can see the Nats breaking him in on the road. Last night I suggested we could see Strasburg's first MLB start against the Astros in early June.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs says it's too early to worry, but pitching prospect Aaron Crow reminds him a little of another former first rounder in the Royals' system: Luke Hochevar.
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.
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.
A few tidbits to start the day...
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the key prospect in the Cliff Lee deal, Jason Knapp, had surgery yesterday to remove loose bodies from his throwing shoulder. The Indians do not believe the Phillies "pulled a fast one," but do feel that the Phillies misdiagnosed Knapp's original injury (Knapp was on the DL at the time of the trade).
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star is reporting that Aaron Crow's contract ($3MM guaranteed) could be worth as much as $4.5MM depending on how much time he spends in the big leagues the next three seasons.
- Sam Mellinger also writes in his blog, that the Royals came out the victors in the negotiations based on MLB slot recommendations and what Crow turned down last year.
- MetsBlog take a look at the Mets off-season and how the team may approach free agency.
8:54pm: Now Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star is reporting (via Twitter) that the deal is only for $3MM guaranteed including a $1.5MM signing bonus.
8:30pm: Jim Callis of Baseball America is reporting that Crow will make just under $4.5MM and that the deal will be finalized in time for Crow to attend the Royals' instructional league program beginning Saturday. Callis adds that Crow could debut in the Arizona Fall League.
7:47pm: Via a press release, the Royals have signed their first-round pick Aaron Crow to a three-year Major League contract that will begin in 2010. Crow was the 12th overall pick in this year's draft and was not subject to the August 17th signing deadline.
No further details are available at this time. However, earlier today, Buster Olney reported that the deal would be worth $3-4.5MM. Crow reportedly turned down a $3.5MM offer from the Nationals as the ninth overall selection in 2008.
2:01pm: MLB.com's Dick Kaegel talked to Royals exec J.J. Picollo, who said:
"Apparently Buster Olney knows something we don't know. There's nothing to report on, there's no confirmed deal or anything. We've picked up the talks with them the last couple of days and that's about it. We're working at it."
Picollo told Kaegel he's pushing to get Crow signed by the end of the week so he can pitch in the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America's John Manuel says Crow is close to signing.
9:43am: The Royals are on the verge of an agreement with first-round pick Aaron Crow, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney says Crow's deal will pay between $3MM and $4.5MM.
The Nationals drafted Crow ninth overall in 2008, but GM Jim Bowden couldn't get a deal done with Crow's agents. The gap was reportedly $900K, with Bowden stopping at $3.5MM and the Hendricks brothers coming down to $4.4MM. Crow then pitched independent ball for the Fort Worth Cats and re-entered the 2009 draft. The Royals picked him 12th overall, and the August 17th signing deadline did not apply. The extra year will probably cost Crow in the long-term; other '08 draft picks such as Brian Matusz, Buster Posey, Gordon Beckham, Ryan Perry, and Daniel Schlereth have already accrued Major League service time.
Royals GM Dayton Moore was not terribly revealing in his MLB.com chat with fans today, but let's take a look anyway. He deserves props for answering a few tough questions, though it would've been nice to have one about Alex Gordon's service time manipulation (Gordon and his agent didn't consider the demotion devious, though).
- There are "no immediate plans" to try Joakim Soria as a starter, though Moore did not dismiss the idea outright.
- Yuniesky Betancourt and Mike Aviles will compete for the shortstop job in 2010.
- Moore wouldn't reveal much regarding his team's catching situation, though he expressed a desire to improve blocking and receiving skills behind the plate.
- He was also vague about the idea of signing a power hitter in the offseason.
- Moore expects to sign Aaron Crow, but has nothing new to report.
- When Moore was asked, "Mr. Moore, why is this team so bad? Plz answer. Thx," he went with injuries as the explanation.
- Another funny exchange - Moore was asked why he gave up Dan Cortes for Betancourt, when Betancourt probably would've been designated for assignment. Moore believes it was "highly doubtful" the shortstop would've been DFA'd.
- Moore spoke in generalities when asked if he'd try to lock up Billy Butler.
- Moore says he's focused on pitching, speed, and defense, much like the Angels.