A.J. Ellis Rumors

Dodgers Notes: Pitching, Hanley, Colletti

Here’s the latest from Vin Scully’s team…

  • The Dodgers aren’t likely to sign any starting pitcher that would cost them a draft pick, a source tells ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon.  This would rule out the likes of Max Scherzer, James Shields or any other free agent arm who will have qualifying offer draft compensation attached to their services.  As Saxon notes, the Dodgers’ primary offseason goal is to inject more youth into their roster, as “they’re terrified of becoming” a team loaded with declining veterans, a la the Phillies or Yankees.
  • Speaking of qualifying offers, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times looks at whether or not the Dodgers would extend a QO to Hanley Ramirez.  The qualifying offer (not to mention his injury history and subpar shortstop defense) could hurt Ramirez’s market, which creates the possibility that he could accept the one-year, $15.3MM offer and stay with a Dodger team that may prefer to move on from Ramirez.  “It seems like a no-brainer,” Dilbeck writes, that L.A. would give Ramirez a QO and I agree — despite Ramirez’s issues, he’ll surely find a multiyear deal on the free agent market and thus there is very little threat of him accepting the qualifying offer.  Even if he did accept, that would hardly be a major problem for the Dodgers since (as Dilbeck notes), Ramirez could then serve as a one-year bridge until prospect Corey Seager is ready at short.
  • Also from Dilbeck, he doesn’t think GM Ned Colletti deserves to be fired for the club’s failure to advance beyond the NLDS.  The Dodgers have been generally successful during Colletti’s tenure and blaming him for the many large and problematic contracts on the payroll isn’t fair since upper management signed off on those deals, Dilbeck writes.
  • While the Dodgers would like to keep A.J. Ellis , the team could non-tender the catcher and then re-sign him at a lower price tag, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick opines.  Ellis made $3.55MM in 2014 and he still has two years of arbitration eligibility left as a Super Two player.  Ellis’ arbitration raise will be a modest one, as he hit only .191/.323/.254 in 347 PA last season, though Ellis’ hitting isn’t as valuable to the club as his defense and relationship with the pitching staff.  According to Gurnick, it seems likely that the Dodgers will acquire another catcher this offseason to compete with Ellis for the starting job.

Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis To Undergo Surgery On Meniscus

Dodgers starting catcher A.J. Ellis will undergo surgery on his left knee to repair a meniscus tear, the club announced. The anticipated timeline for return is between 4 and 6 weeks, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

That outlook is much better than that reported for Rangers catcher Geovany Soto, who is expected to be gone for ten to twelve weeks while rehabbing his own meniscus procedure. Wilson Ramos of the Nationals is also on the shelf after undergoing wrist surgery, and is said to face a four-to-eight week absence.

While the loss hurts in the immediate term, a replacement may well come from within. Los Angeles has last year's backup, Tim Federowicz, parked at Triple-A after electing to go with the out-of-options Drew Butera in the number two role to start the year. The club also has Miguel Olivo and J.C. Boscan under contract in the minors, though both would need to be added to the 40-man roster.

If the Dodgers were to check into the market, they would find a few options available via free agency, though it is not clear that any would be an upgrade over Federowicz. Chris Gimenez, Ramon Hernandez, Kelly Shoppach, and Yorvit Torrealba are the unsigned backstops with substantial MLB experience. 


A.J. Ellis, Dodgers Avoid Arbitration

The Dodgers have avoided arbitration with catcher A.J. Ellis, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. Ellis will make $3.55MM, plus $50K each for 110 and 115 games started, and another $50K for reaching 450 plate appearances.

Ellis had filed for $4.6MM, while the Dodgers had countered at $3MM, so the final figure of $3.55MM is a bit below the midpoint of $3.8MM. Ellis, who will be 33 in April, hit .238/.318/.364 in 448 plate appearances last season.



Arbitration Filing Numbers

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.

As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.

For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players — the Nationals and Indians — also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.

Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining — those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements — those worth less than $4MM — right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.

Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB…

  • The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM).  Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
  • The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter).  Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
  • Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
  • The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
  • The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
  • The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
  • The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
  • The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
  • The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
  • The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter).  Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
  • The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter
  • The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
  • The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
  • The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. 
  • The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
  • Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).

Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Ellis | Alejandro De Aza | Alex Avila | Alfredo Aceves | Andrew Bailey | Andrew Miller | Antonio Bastardo | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Austin Jackson | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Parnell | Boone Logan | Boston Red Sox | Brad Ziegler | Brandon Moss | Brennan Boesch | Brian Duensing | Brian Matusz | Bud Norris | Burke Badenhop | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Davis | Chris Johnson | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Cristhian Martinez | Daniel Bard | Detroit Tigers | Doug Fister | Edinson Volquez | Edward Mujica | Emilio Bonifacio | Eric O'Flaherty | Franklin Morales | Gaby Sanchez | Gordon Beckham | Gregor Blanco | Houston Astros | Ian Desmond | J.A. Happ | Jason Heyward | Jed Lowrie | Jeff Niemann | Jeff Samardzija | Jerry Blevins | Joe Smith | Josh Thole | Justin Masterson | Kansas City Royals | Kendrys Morales | Kris Medlen | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Lou Marson | Luke Hochevar | Matt Albers | Matt Joyce | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Mitchell Boggs | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Phil Coke | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Roger Bernadina | Ronald Belisario | Ross Detwiler | Ryan Roberts | Sam Fuld | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Tommy Hanson | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Troy Patton | Tyler Clippard | Tyler Colvin | Washington Nationals

Olney On Orioles, Red Sox, Kazmir, Heisey

Agents and players have considerably more interest in Baltimore as a potential destination now that the Orioles are viewed as a contender, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. "It's winning," one agent told Olney. "Period.” Some free agents now list the Orioles as a team they’d like to join. Here are more notes from Olney, starting in Baltimore…

  • The Orioles are looking for starting pitching and hope to bring Joe Saunders back. Jeremy Guthrie’s three-year, $25MM contract could affect Saunders’ asking price, as Olney points out. 
  • While the Orioles have talked about adding a bat, they’re not expected to be particularly aggressive about free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
  • The Marlins, Indians and Pirates are among the teams that could have trouble luring free agents even if they’re offering competitive salaries.
  • One AL GM credits the Red Sox for building a team that plays well in Fenway Park.
  • Earlier in the offseason there had been talk that the SoftBank Hawks, the Japanese team that recently agreed to sign Bryan LaHair, could pursue veteran free agents such as Mike Napoli or Kevin Youkilis.
  • A number of teams, including the Indians, are scouting left-hander Scott Kazmir, Olney writes. The Astros had some interest in Kazmir during the regular season.
  • Olney suggests arbitration eligible players such as Chris Heisey and A.J. Ellis could be candidates for two or three-year extensions this winter.

NL West Notes: Kershaw, Rockies’ Opening, Dodgers

The San Francisco Giants have the opportunity this evening to give the National League its third consecutive World Series win, the Senior Circuit's longest such streak in three decades. If Game Four starter Matt Cain wins tonight, he will become only the third pitcher in MLB history to record three series clinching victories in one post-season. As the Giants try to bring the Commissioner's Trophy to the NL West for the second time in three years, here's the latest from that division:

  • Major League Baseball presented Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw with the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who most embodies the humanitarian vision of the late Pirates star, prior to the start of Game 4 of the World Series, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • The Rockies have expressed interested in interviewing Giants bench coach Ron Wotus for their managerial opening, reports the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders. Saunders also confirmed Matt Williams, the Diamondbacks' third base coach, is the sixth candidate to be interviewed joining Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells, Jason Giambi, former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss, ex-White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel, and former Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin.
  • Weiss would be an inspired choice to become the Rockies next manager, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Weiss was universally respected for his knowledge and work ethic by his teammates and he knows the Rockies' culture, having played for the team and worked as a special assistant for general manager Dan O'Dowd, opined Renck. 
  • Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, in his World Series column for the Los Angeles Times, understands the logic of those who believe it is difficult for teams in Southern California to win the World Series because of the cold weather conditions in October.
  • MLB is in discussions about the possibility of starting its 2014 season in Australia, reports Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. A MLB spokesman said the possibility of playing in Australia is not currently being explored. Dilbeck also referenced a report in the Sydney Morning Herald where the preference of the Australian promoters is a series between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in Sydney.
  • Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie Robinson, told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times she will be joining the Dodgers' board of directors representing her family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. A Dodgers official said the team is finalizing an agreement with the Robinson family but declined to comment publicly in advance of an announcement.

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.


Los Angeles Notes: Ellis, Lackey, Wells, Greinke

The Dodgers lead the NL West by the slimmest of margins (half a game) over the Giants, but their American League counterpart isn’t so well-positioned. The Angels are just two games above .500 after losing four games in a row and they’re now 4.5 games behind the Wild Card leaders. Here's the latest on Los Angeles' two teams…

  • Catcher A.J. Ellis explains how this year's trade deadline unfolded from the point of view of the Dodgers’ players in a guest column at Buster Olney's ESPN.com blog. Ellis acknowledges that players refresh MLBTR in search of news as the trade deadline approaches. "Few of us would admit to religiously checking websites like MLBTradeRumors and Twitter feeds looking for rumors, but we do," he writes.
  • Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times would not be surprised if the Angels try to engage the Red Sox in trade talks about a possible John Lackey for Vernon Wells deal this offseason (Twitter links). Wells, who has $42MM on his contract after 2012, could be a fit in Fenway Park,  DiGiovanna writes. Lackey, who pitched in Anaheim from 2002-09, has $30.5MM remaining on his contract after 2012.
  • The trade that sent Zack Greinke to Anaheim hasn't worked out as well as expected for the Angels, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel writes. Greinke has a 6.19 ERA in five starts since being traded.

The Astros’ Catching Options

Jason Castro's 2011 season came to a quick end when the news broke that Castro had suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.  The injury leaves the Astros with Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles as their top internal options behind the plate, and it's possible that Houston is content to stick with this duo.  Quintero is a solid defender, if nothing else, and Towles is just a couple of years removed from being considered a top prospect himself, so the Astros might be willing to give Towles one last chance to prove himself at the Major League level.

As with any notable injury, however, the hot stove is already heating up with speculation about who Houston could pursue if the team looked outside its organization.  Brian McTaggart of MLB.com and David Golebiewski of Fangraphs have both already chimed in on the situation, so let's take a look at their possible candidates…

  • Ryan Doumit.  Pittsburgh is known to be shopping the veteran, and willing to eat some of his $5.1MM salary for the right talent in return.  MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, however, wonders if the Astros would really give up anything of value for just one year of Doumit.
  • A.J. Ellis.  He isn't exactly a proven veteran, but Ellis could be available.  Ellis and Dioner Navarro are battling to be Rod Barajas' backup in Los Angeles.
  • Jesus Flores.  The Nationals could be the most fitting trade partner here, given the number of catchers on their roster.  Flores has looked healthy in Spring Training and could probably be obtained at a low cost.
  • Tyler Flowers.  His future with the White Sox suddenly became blurry following a mediocre 2010 season in Triple-A and A.J. Pierzynski's new two-year contract with the club.  Flowers is just 25, however, and was ranked by Baseball America as the 60th-best prospect in the game heading into last season.  It's very unlikely that Chicago has already given up on Flowers.
  • Bengie Molina.  Unlike these other players, Molina is a free agent, and would cost Houston nothing but money.  We heard last month that Molina was on the fence about returning next season since he couldn't find a team that would offer him regular playing time.
  • Brian Schneider.  McTaggart observes that Ed Wade and Ruben Amaro Jr. have collaborated before, most notably on the deal that sent Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia last summer.  Schneider and Carlos Ruiz make a nice lefty-righty platoon, however, and it's unlikely the Philles would want to break that combination up. 
  • Kelly ShoppachJohn Jaso is pencilled into the starting job in Tampa Bay, so the Rays could listen to offers for their veteran backup, who makes $3MM in 2011.

McTaggart also notes the Yankees' minor league depth at catcher, but says they're an unlikely trade partner since the Astros would be looking for a Major League-ready catcher.  Besides, New York is dealing with their own injury problems behind the plate, as Francisco Cervelli will be sidelined with a broken foot.


Odds & Ends: Coyle, V-Mart, Lackey, Ellis

Saturday night links, as Troy Tulowitzki's jaw-dropping September continues….

  • Fort Washington, Pennsylvania product Sean Coyle is now represented by Sosnick-Cobbe Sports, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  The shortstop received a $1.3MM bonus from the Red Sox as a third-round draft pick out of high school this year.  Sosnick-Cobbe already represents the draft's other big-name Pennsylvania native in the Phillies' Jesse Biddle, who was drafted in the first round.  There may be another million dollar draft pick from the state next year in Derek Fisher, a high school outfielder hailing from Rexmont.
  • Clay Buchholz would love to see Victor Martinez return to the Red Sox next year, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
  • Terry Francona tells MLB.com's Ian Browne that he was "thrilled" the Red Sox signed John Lackey last winter, and that he hasn't lost any confidence in the investment.
  • A.J. Ellis' recent play for the Dodgers could put him in line for a bigger role next year, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.