Adam Eaton Rumors
Seven years ago today, the Diamondbacks came to terms with Justin Upton, the first overall selection in the 2005 amateur draft, on a five-year, $6.1MM contract. The deal marked the largest signing bonus given in a minor league contract for a drafted player, who was not a free agent. Today, Upton is the prime trade target of the offseason. Just within the last 24 hours, we learned there is no match with the Padres, the Braves haven't engaged in Upton talks since before Christmas, and speculation that a deal will happen as soon as Arizona is offered the right mix of players. In non-Upton news involving the Diamondbacks and the rest of the Senior Circuit:
- If the Diamondbacks don't move one of their outfielders, look for Adam Eaton to open the season at Triple-A, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "That's not in a perfect world what we want to have happen," GM Kevin Towers told Gilbert. "But we're not going to move an outfielder in a lousy deal just to move an outfielder."
- Within the same piece, Towers says discussions have been held with the Diamondbacks' six arbitration eligible players and he expects those negotiations to go down to the wire. You can follow the Diamondbacks' arbitration cases and those of MLB's other 29 teams with MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- Acknowledging it sounds crazy and doesn't really think it's going to happen, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post urges the Nationals to sign free agent closer Rafael Soriano. Kilgore sees agent Scott Boras convincing owner Ted Lerner the franchise has a finite window of competing for titles and Soriano is the final, missing piece.
- Earlier today, ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggested the Giants should look into signing Buster Posey to a Joey Votto-type extension. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, however, would be surprised by such a deal because the Giants have been burned by long-term contracts given to Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand. Schulman tweeted a good starting point in Posey talks would be the $53.5MM given to Tim Lincecum during his four-years of arbitration eligibility.
- The Marlins are sifting through the batch of unsigned free agent relievers and are able to sign an inexpensive arm or two with the salary relief leftover from trading Yunel Escobar, according to the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer.
- Rick VandenHurk, released yesterday by the Pirates, will sign with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization, according to Naver, a Korean news service, confirming a report first tweeted by Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net.
It was on this day 40 years ago that the baseball world lost one of its greatest stars. Following a massive earthquake that devastated the country of Nicaragua, Roberto Clemente helped organize a relief effort for victims of the disaster and accompanied one of the aid packages on its flight on New Year's Eve 1972 to ensure that the goods reached the proper hands. Tragically, Clemente's flight crashed off the shore of Puerto Rico, costing the Pirates superstar his life at the age of 38. Clemente was posthumously honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal and a Congressional Gold Medal by then-president Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress, and given immediate entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the BBWAA waived its usual five-year waiting period.
Here are some news items as we pay tribute to Clemente and look ahead to 2013...
- Counting arbitration raises and the $13MM they have tentatively agreed to pay Mike Napoli, the Red Sox 2013 payroll will almost exactly match the club's 2012 payroll, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Speaking of arb raises, you can follow all of the arbitration cases and settlements on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, which has now been updated with the salaries of players who have already come to agreements.
- The Indians have "liked" Jason Kubel dating back to his days with the Twins, so Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer figures the Tribe probably discussed Kubel in their previous negotiations with the Diamondbacks this winter. Hoynes doesn't think the Indians should deal Asdrubal Cabrera for Kubel (a reader's suggestion) but he agrees that Cleveland could use Kubel's power.
- Also from Hoynes' reader mail piece, he thinks the Indians will take care of other business before considering re-signing Travis Hafner, and that Chris Perez will return in 2013 unless the Tribe gets "a big return" in a trade for the closer.
- Kubel isn't a fit for the Mets and the team doesn't have the prospect depth to get Justin Upton, but Michael Baron of Metsblog.com wonders if the Mets could make a play for another Diamondbacks outfielder in Adam Eaton. While I agree that Eaton would be a good fit for the Amazins, it would take a lot to convince Arizona to part such a talented, controllable player.
- Peter Moylan appears to have little chance of returning to the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as GM Frank Wren said the team's bullpen was set after trading for Jordan Walden. Moylan has a career 2.59 ERA over seven seasons with Atlanta but has appeared in just 21 games over the last two seasons due to a lower back injury and rotator cuff surgery. The right-hander was non-tendered by the Braves in October.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi lists the Padres, Orioles, Yankees and seven other teams who still have significant roster holes to fill in January. In a seperate list, Morosi names his top 10 baseball newsmakers of the past year.
The chances of Justin Upton, Chris Young, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton returning to the Diamondbacks’ outfield in 2013 seem slim, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. One or more of those players will likely be moved in trades. Here are the details on Arizona’s offseason plans...
- Rival executives believe the Diamondbacks will trade Young this offseason. Some say they expected Arizona to let Young go on waivers if he had been claimed last month. The center fielder will earn $8.5MM in 2013 and his contract includes a 2014 option with a $1.5MM buyout.
- Some rival executives sense that GM Kevin Towers is less likely to trade Upton this winter than he has been in the past. There’s no guarantee teams will meet Arizona’s asking price for Upton and there’s concern that the right fielder would blossom as a hitter if he’s traded elsewhere.
- Despite the Diamondbacks’ impressive core of young pitching, Towers would like to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason, Olney reports.
Let's hope into the wayback machine and look at a few notable moves that took place on past 11/27s...
- The Phillies agreed to terms with Adam Eaton to a three-year, $24.5MM contract on this date in 2006. Since the Phils went on to win the World Series in 2008, this signing was totally worth it, right? Believers in the butterfly effect might agree, but to most, Eaton was a huge bust for Philadelphia. The right-hander posted a 6.10 ERA in 51 appearances (49 of them starts) and the Phillies outright released Eaton before the 2009 season and ate the remaining $8.75MM on his contract.
- The Yankees made a much more valuable signing on November 27, 2006, inking Mike Mussina to a two-year, $22MM deal. The Moose struggled in 2007 but bounced back in a major way in 2008 --- a 3.37 ERA, 4.84 K/BB ratio and tied for the league lead with 34 starts. Mussina turned 40 in December 2008 and decided to retire, thus missing out on New York's World Series title the next season.
- The Dodgers took a chance on the oft-injured Eric Davis when they acquired the Reds star (and pitcher Kip Gross) from Cincinnati on this date in 1991 in exchange for Tim Belcher and John Wetteland. Davis posted just a .677 OPS in 730 plate appearances with L.A. before being traded to Detroit on August 31, 1993. Davis didn't regain his old form until 1996-98, when he delivered three solid seasons with the Reds and Orioles. The key figure in this trade ended up being Wetteland, but the Reds flipped him to Montreal just two weeks after acquiring him from Los Angeles. Wetteland developed into a star closer for the Expos, Yankees and Rangers, and was named MVP of the 1996 World Series.
- Speaking of Yankee postseason stars, the Bronx Bombers picked up third baseman Graig Nettles on this day in 1972. Nettles and catcher Jerry Moses were acquired from the Indians for an unremarkable four-player package. The defensively-stellar Nettles made five All-Star appearances in his 11 seasons as a Yankee, racking up 1396 hits and almost as many witty quotes to sportswriters.
- Finally, one more New York team made an important addition on this date in 1967. The Mets acquired manager Gil Hodges from the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) in exchange for pitcher Bill Denehy and $100K. Denehy only pitched in 34 more games in the majors, while Hodges went on to lead the Mets to their Amazin' upset win in the 1969 World Series. The former Dodger great managed the Mets for two more seasons before his untimely death of a heart attack at age 47.
There aren't many options for teams looking to sign a dependable starter, but the free agent market isn't completely barren yet. Of all the free agents remaining, only three pitchers logged more than 100 innings last year. Here's the latest on all eight starters to pitch as many as 40 innings last year (or what Roy Halladay logs in an average month):
- Braden Looper, 194.2 IP - The Dodgers are interested on a minor league deal and the D'Backs aren't likely to pursue him, despite Brandon Webb's questionable status for Opening Day.
- Jarrod Washburn, 176 IP - The Twins and Mariners seemed to lead the way for Washburn early on, but the Scott Boras client said yesterday that he doesn't expect to return to Seattle. The D'Backs don't appear likely to pursue Washburn and we haven't seen the Orioles connected to him for a month.
- Mike Hampton, 112 IP - He will miss the 2010 season after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
- John Smoltz, 78 IP - Smoltz hasn't ruled out the Braves, but the Cardinals don't appear to have the money to sign him and the Nationals haven't spoken to him recently. Jon Heyman of SI.com says Smoltz is content to wait for the right deal, which may mean a mid-season signing.
- Bartolo Colon, 62.1 IP - The former Cy Young Award winner wants to pitch, but wasn't publicly linked to any teams this winter.
- Sidney Ponson, 58.2 IP - There has been no reported interest in Ponson this winter.
- Adam Eaton, 49 IP - There has not been interest in Eaton, either.
- Pedro Martinez 44.2 IP - The Phillies have been linked to Pedro throughout the offseason. Pedro may wait to sign in-season, as he did last year.
Here's some links to check out while you hope the weather doesn't interfere with Game Two of the ALCS tonight...
- Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com has the details on Stephen Strasburg's Arizona Fall League debut last night. ESPN's Keith Law also filled us in on some of the more impressive prospects playing out in the desert this year.
- According to Kyodo News, Yusei Kikuchi "said on Saturday all 12 Japanese baseball clubs would be appealing, if he decides to play in Japan." Never a bad thing to keep your options open.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale says the Rangers will ask for one final bid next month, and "are expected to be sold for about $525 to $550 million."
- Courtesy of Baseball America's latest minor league transactions, you can add about two-dozen players to the free agent pool. Among the notables: Billy Traber, Tony Graffanino, Adam Eaton, and Wilfredo Ledezma.
According to MLB.com, the Rockies designated right-hander Adam Eaton for assignment in order to clear 40-man roster space for infielder Mike McCoy.
Eaton, 31, posted a 5.63 ERA in eight innings of relief for the Rockies back in August shortly after inking a minor league deal. He was also released by the Orioles earlier this season and will finish the 2009 campaign with an 8.08 ERA in 49 innings (eight starts).
Eaton, 32, posted an ugly 8.56 ERA and 28/19 K/BB ratio for the O's in 41.1 innings before being cut. He'll slide in to provide depth at Triple-A Colorado Springs after the Rockies' recent promotion of Josh Fogg.
4:22pm: According to the Baltimore Sun it's official- Eaton's been released. As the Sun points out, Eaton only completed five innings in two of his eight starts this year. Albers will get the call to join the O's.
3:34pm: As Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports, the Orioles will relase Adam Eaton. This has yet to be confirmed by the Orioles.
Kubatko believes the O's will call up Matt Albers to serve as a long reliever, but he doesn't know who will take Eaton's rotation spot.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column...
- The Angels attempted to sell the Reds on Gary Matthews Jr., but it was a one-sided discussion. The Reds have no desire to trade Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang for Matthews. Angels GM Tony Reagins told Rosenthal, "We haven't had much discussions with respect to trades and trade possibilities." UPDATE: Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay he hasn't talked to the Angels since the Winter Meetings.
- Free agent DH Frank Thomas is still waiting for an offer. He intends to delay a decision about retirement until at least the All-Star break. My thought - his situation just got a bit tougher with Gary Sheffield becoming available.
- Rosenthal says the Rays could keep both Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann and cut Lance Cormier, if trade offers for the first two aren't acceptable. Rosenthal adds the Rangers, Nationals, and Indians to the already known suitors (Padres, Pirates, and Rockies). He names the Brewers as "yet another possibility." Rosenthal says the Angels attempted to acquire Niemann a year ago but learned from Reagins that they're not actively looking for pitching.
- The Phillies ate Adam Eaton's contract, but team president David Montgomery is unwilling to do the same to make Geoff Jenkins go away.
- Rosenthal says the offers received for Rockies infielder Jeff Baker "have not been enticing." They may elect to keep him.