Adeiny Hechavarria Rumors
Links for Easter Sunday...
- Baseball America's John Manuel provides updates on five Rule 5 picks: Carlos Monasterios with the Dodgers, John Raynor with the Pirates, Zachary Kroenke, who was optioned to the minors by the D'Backs, Kanekoa Texeira with the Mariners, and David Herndon with the Phillies.
- Peter Gammons previews storylines for the 2010 season, such as emerging stars, prospects of the future, a slew of contenders, and the ever-present unpredictability of baseball.
- Dave Campbell of the AP looks at Jacque Jones and how Minnesota's late-season surge in 2009 inspired a comeback attempt for 2010 when he was on the verge of retirement. Jones is reporting to Triple-A Rochester after hitting .366/.409/.585 with the Twins this spring.
- In an interview with Mike Wilner of the FAN 590 in Toronto, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said while the team hasn't officially said anything about Adeiny Hechevarria, international cases like his are often slowed by visa issues and other approval processes.
- Tom Haudricourt tweets that there will be no last-minute changes to the Brewers 25-man roster.
- The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser spoke with recently-DFA'ed Jack Cust, who is shocked and offended by the move. Cust says he will accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers, but won't let Oakland "walk all over" him. The 31-year-old slugger has led the A's in home runs the past three seasons. Slusser takes a deeper look at the Cust move in a separate piece.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at what the Cubs' performance in 2010 means to Jim Hendry's job, and talks to several players about their positive relationships with the Chicago GM.
- Elliot Johnson cleared waivers and will report to Triple-A Durham, according to Marc Topkin. He adds that the Rays have set their roster and are waiting to hear from Hank Blalock on whether or not he'll accept a minor league assignment.
Links for Saturday...
- The Phillies considered Chad Gaudin according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, but they decided he wasn't enough of an upgrade over what they already have in-house.
- The Twins have informed Jacque Jones that he will not make the team, reports MLB.com's Kelly Thesier. Minnesota brought the long time Twin back on a minor league deal in February.
- On the heels of another strong outing from Tim Stauffer, MLB.com's Corey Brock speculates (via Twitter) that the Padres could receive a mid-level prospect from a team in need of pitching if they opted to trade him. Stauffer's four shutout innings today lowered his spring ERA to a tidy 2.57 with an 11:3 K:BB ratio through 14 innings.
- Jon Paul Morosi tells the great story of Darren Oliver's resurgence after nearly retiring in 2005 and wonders who the next veteran will be to make a similar run.
- Doug Mientkiewicz was told he will not make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster, according to a report from the Associated Press. Mientkiewicz was excused from camp today so he can weigh his options in regards to his future in baseball.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe says Mike Lowell's injury "almost kills his trade value, which was already low to begin with." Lowell suffered a knee contusion when he fouled a ball off his left knee Friday.
- Blue Jays' team president and CEO Paul Beeston chatted with fans on the team's official site yesterday. He discussed the latest on Adeiny Hechevarria and the club's policy on long-term contracts, among other topics.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that some general managers believe the reason there's so little movement on the trade front is because there are still viable alternatives on the free agent market.
- As Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune notes, Joe Mauer's new deal may have turned one of the team's top prospects in a prime piece of trade bait.
- New Padres' GM Jed Hoyer isn't as brash as Kevin Towers used to be, writes Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
On this date in 2002, the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network launched. Although the regional network barely broke even that year, YES has gone on to generate millions in revenue, much of which goes right into the Yankees' pockets. As recently as 2008, there was talk that the network was worth more than the team itself.
After you wrap your head around that, here are some links to check out from around the baseball blogosphere...
- The Baseball Opinion says that the Adeiny Hechevarria signing caps off an impressive offseason for new GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- The Friarhood examines the trade market for Padres' closer Heath Bell.
- Phillies Nation has some fun with internal discussions after the Albert Pujols-Ryan Howard rumors.
- DRays Bay wonders if Andy Sonnanstine will start the season in Tampa's rotation so they can send Wade Davis to the minors and push his service time clock back.
- Around The Majors wonders if the Nationals should really be trying to sign Adam Dunn to a contract extension.
- The Dodgerhater says that Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler are the key to San Francisco's bullpen this year.
- Bronx Bombers Beat wonders if Robinson Cano can take that next step towards being a middle of the order hitter for a team with some aging core hitters.
- SPANdemonium looks at some players drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft who have already had an impact in the big leagues.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
When you think about Cuban players that signed with a Major League team this past offseason, the first name that will come to mind is Aroldis Chapman and his six-year, $30.25MM contract. However, as ESPN's Jorge Arangure writes, the contracts signed by Jose Iglesias, Adeiny Hechevarria, and Noel Arguelles may dictate the future of the Cuban market.
Arangure notes that at this time last year, Iglesias and Arguelles were expected to command only $1-2MM on the open market. They, of course, signed for $8.25MM and $6.9MM, respectively. If those players meet expectations, not only will teams start to specifically target Cuban prospects, but players in Cuba will surely take notice and attempt to defect at a younger age.
Even though players like Hechevarria and Iglesias are college-aged, they're perceived to be more advanced than their American counterparts because they've faced tougher competition growing up. However, for every Kendry Morales making an impact in the big leagues, there's a Juan Miranda stuck in Triple-A. The risk associated with young players is the same no matter where they come from, but the Cuban market is getting more and more expensive.
Jorge Ebro at the Nuevo Herald interviewed newly signed Blue Jays prospect Adeiny Hechevarria in Spanish, digging out a few fresh insights concerning both the signing and the 19-year-old Cuban shortstop's potential.
Hechevarria avoids saying directly that the Blue Jays aren't the team of his teenage dreams, but he lets slip that he "played shortstop for Santiago imagining that it was Yankee Stadium." Nevertheless, Ebro notes that Hechevarria turned down an offer from the Yankees in the hopes of rising more quickly to prominence in Toronto's system. The New York Post's George King II wrote three days ago that the Yankees were likely willing to offer similar money to Toronto, and more recently, the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott quoted an unnamed executive as saying that "the word in the scouting community" was that the Yankees' offer was larger Toronto's winning bid of $10MM for four years.
Shortstop for the Blue Jays has been a sorespot in terms of both reliable production and reliable attendance since back when the team was a perpetual contender, as last year's .789 OPS by Marco Scutaro was the highest by a Blue Jays shortstop logging at least 500 PAs since Tony Fernandez in 1987. Over those ensuing years, other AL East teams have built their lineups around the likes of Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Miguel Tejada. Even the Rays have been able to bank on shortstop with more reliability than the Jays, as Tampa Bay's recent history has witnessed the best years of Julio Lugo's career and the arrival of Jason Bartlett.
But what to expect from Hechevarria himself? In the absence of minor league stats and scouting reports, Ebro's sources reach for comparisons. One scout labels him "an Alfonso Soriano who can defend," while another describes him as more polished than last year's highly regarded Cuban shortstop prospect, Jose Iglesias, who will start the season in Double A Portland for the Red Sox. Comparisons between the two prospects are seemingly inevitable, for reasons of age (Iglesias is 20), nationality, contract size, and because Hechevarria got the nod over Iglesias at short for the Cuban team at the World Baseball Junior Championships in 2007.
Elliott at the Toronto Sun quotes an AL executive who calls Hechevarria "a much better player" than Iglesias, while another official from a team who made an offer to Hechevarria labeled him "probably more of a fielder than a hitter" for the time being, albeit one who will be "pretty offensive when it all plays out." Like Iglesias, Hechevarria will likely start out at Double A, notes Dave Perkins at the Toronto Star.
All comparisons with other prospects aside, though, Ebro's article starts out by comparing Hechevarria's potential to the next few years of his idol, Jeter, and writers in New York have noted the comparison as well. Mike Vaccaro at the New York Post most recently wrote that Hechevarria was widely believed to be "earmarked for the Yankees," and that that missing out on Hechevarria shows the team's commitment to an iconic shortstop who "will have to morph from shortstop into either a left fielder or a full time designated hitter" by the end of his next contract—especially if that contract stretches to six years, as Jon Heyman recently posited.
According to some, though, Hechevarria's future isn't even at short. One scout tells Elliott that the prospect's skills will eventually put him in the outfield, while Vaccaro notes that Hechevarria's bat could translate well to second base or center field, just one more reason why the newest Blue Jay "made all the sense in the world" for the Yankees.
Links to kick off the work week...
- Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo is scheduled to work out for the Diamondbacks today, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Mateo's reps don't share the Cardinals' concerns about Mateo's vision.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Rays came second in the Kelvim Escobar bidding, offering $600K. Unlike the Mets, the Rays saw Escobar as a second half contributor.
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post thinks stat lovers themselves "may be the new inefficiency in the market," making Adam Dunn a bargain at three years and $40MM even if his defense doesn't improve.
- FanGraphs' Dave Cameron explains why the Astros and Royals sit at the bottom of his organizational rankings.
- SI's Jon Heyman names his "bests" for 2010, with the Angels getting the nod for the best rotation top to bottom. Heyman also talks about Jarrod Washburn, considered a person of interest for Seattle.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Ms are "still pondering backup catching options from outside." There aren't too many available backstops who can be considered clear improvements.
- In his latest GM's Corner video for FOX Sports, Jim Bowden gathers all the GMs involved in the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee deals. Alex Anthopoulos mentioned that Ruben Amaro Jr. would not include Kyle Drabek or Domonic Brown when Halladay was discussed at the GM Meetings, but relented on Drabek a few weeks later.
- Dustin Parkes of Drunk Jays Fans says "the team has put its money where its mouth is" by signing Adeiny Hechevarria.
10:54pm: A source confirmed that Hechevarria has agreed to a $10MM contract with Toronto, tweets Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated. The deal is for four years, a source tells Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (via Twitter).
3:22pm: Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos would neither confirm or deny the report, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
2:34pm: Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria is close to signing a $10MM deal with the Blue Jays, writes George King III of the New York Post. The 19-year-old is close to choosing Toronto over the Yankees because he was leery of Derek Jeter's impending extension which would keep him at short for the foreseeable future. King infers that the Yankees were willing to spend similar money to land him.
Just over a week ago, Hechevarria was "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, giving him the freedom to sign with any team. If the Toronto deal comes to fruition, Hechevarria's contract will top the $8.2MM given to Jose Iglesias by the Red Sox last July.
- Just a reminder that MLBTR has a mobile site: http://www.mlbtraderumors.mobi.
- Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune wonders if the Twins will be forced to trade Joe Mauer if they're unable to sign him to an extension. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Kelly Thesier says any talk about a trade involving the reigning AL MVP is premature..
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson interviewed Stephen Strasburg, and they discussed everything from how he's getting used to pitching every five days to how he deals with all attention.
- Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse says Kevin Towers will be announced as a member of the Yankees' front office on Tuesday.
- Free agent Jarrod Washburn told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports "the odds are probably not great" of him returning to Seattle this year. Morosi's article explores the Mariners' question marks this year. Click here for MLBTR's Offseason In Review of the club.
- The Yankees have spent the most time scouting Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, says George King of the New York Post. The recently-unblocked 19-year-old is drawing interest from the Angels, Blue Jays, and Cubs.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the Indians should keep closer Kerry Wood, and explore their long shot at contending in the AL Central.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark talked to impending free agents Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth about working alongside their possible future replacements, Desmond Jennings and Domonic Brown.
- Marlins pitcher Hayden Penn has a relaxed attitude this time toward being out of options and on the roster bubble, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Check out MLBTR's full list of out of options players here.
Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria is now free to sign with any team, tweets ESPN's Jorge Arangure. His agent, Bart Hernandez, says that he's been "unblocked" by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, giving him the freedom to sign.
Bidding for the 19-year-old could go as high as eight figures, more than the $8.2MM the Red Sox gave Jose Iglesias earlier this winter. The Angels and Blue Jays reportedly have some interest in Hechevarria, but Arangure adds in a second tweet that the Cubs and Yankees have shown heavy interest. However, Hernandez says that his client will not hold any more showcases, and is ready to begin the signing process (link goes to Arangure's Twitter).
Hernandez also says that righthander Reinier Roibal has also been unblocked, according to Arangure (link goes to Twitter).
A roundup of some news on this Thursday night...
- In an interview on CSNNE's Sports Tonight show, Josh Beckett said he would "probably not" negotiate with the Red Sox about a new contract once the season begins. WEEI's Rob Bradford reports on Beckett's appearance here.
- Bobby Cox thinks Chipper Jones will play out the final three years on his contract, reports David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jones was hinting at retirement last fall in the wake of his disappointing (for him) 2009 campaign, but thus far in spring training, O'Brien reports that Jones has been nothing but enthusiastic about Atlanta's chances this season.
- In an interview with Jane Lee of MLB.com, Jack Cust confirms what we all thought about this winter's crop of free agents at outfield and DH: "it just wasn't a very good market unless you're Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Even for those guys, I don't think the interest level was as high as they may have thought it to be. Unless you're one of those big dudes, you take what you can get."
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com says that the Cubs have some interest in Luke Gregerson and/or Jason Frasor.
- Jon Paul Morosi tweets that there is "not much new" going on with the negotiations between Joe Mauer and the Twins.
- MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reports that Alex Rodriguez offered Johnny Damon some free agency advice this winter. Oh, so THAT's why it took so long for Damon to sign...
- We had heard about Toronto's possible interest in Jose Julio Ruiz, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian now reports that the Jays may be looking at another Cuban prospect: Adeiny Hechevarria.
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports that the Royals agreed to terms with Josh Fields and Kila Ka'aihue on one-year contracts. Terms were not disclosed, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweeted that neither deal is expected to exceed $500K.