Aledmys Diaz Rumors

International Notes: Diaz, Despaigne, Dodgers, Caribbean Series

Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz and Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne held a showcase at the Padres' Spring Training complex today, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweeted earlier. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported (via Twitter) that more than 20 teams had scouts on-hand to see the pair. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres and Giants were all there to scout Diaz (Twitter links). According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (on Twitter), Diaz could command as much as $20-30MM as a free agent. However, he is ineligible to sign until next week (Feb. 19) at the earliest. Here's more on the international market…

  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets that Diaz could look to choose a club as soon as Friday or Saturday of next week.

Earlier Updates

  • Sanchez adds that Diaz and Despaigne have also schedule four more showcases in Florida, beginning this weekend, in order to allow clubs whose Spring Training facilities are in that state easier scouting access. Despaigne's next showcase will come in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Saturday, according to Sanchez (Twitter links). The Rays' Spring Training complex is in Port Charlotte, for what it's worth.
  • The Dodgers continued their aggressive approach on the international front today, signing 18-year-old Panamanian outfielder Carlos Mosquera, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
  • Cuba sent a team to the Caribbean Series in Venezuela for the first time since 1960, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler (subscription required and recommended). As such, Major League scouts flocked to the series in order to get a first-hand look at some of the talent. Badler says that most scouts left underwhelmed, but four players — outfielder Alfredo Despaigne, second baseman Jose Fernandez, third baseman Yulieski Gourriel and right-hander Norge Ruiz — each jumped out. Badler provides scouting reports for each, with the write-ups on Ruiz and Despaigne being lengthier than those on Fernandez and Gourriel. Previously, Badler has written that Ruiz, 19, is establishing himself as a rising star.

Quick Hits: White Sox, Angels, Diaz, Brewers, Pavano

The White Sox have received positive reviews for their accumulation of young talent over the last year. But with that youth movement comes a lot of roster questions, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin, who provides an excellent early look at a spring that should be worthy of close attention. Here are some more scattered notes from the day:

  • For the Angels, another new starting pitching acquisition is highly unlikely at this point, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez"None of the deals made sense for us, whether trying to access veteran starters through trade or free agency," said Dipoto. "And we didn't want to do anything that didn't make sense for us." Dipoto says that he is comfortable with his team's starting depth and likes its upside.
  • The Twins will be among the team's attending a showcase on Thursday featuring Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz and righty Odrisamer Despaigne, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The pair is expected to sign in short order, says Wolfson. Diaz, in particular, could be an interesting participant in the marketplace.
  • Dominican July 2 prospect Yirver Gilbert Lara is reportedly said by some scouts to have agreed to a $3.2MM signing bonus with the Brewers. Lara's trainer, Jaime Ramos, told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that "there is nothing concrete and there are still a lot of teams interested in him," including the Brewers, Royals, Yankees, and Twins. Whether or not Lara lands in Milwaukee, explain Sanchez and his MLB.com colleague Adam McCalvy, the Brewers appear set to embark on greatly increased levels of international spending and player development efforts. (The team's largest international bonus awards to date are just $800K.)
  • Pitcher Carl Pavano is progressing in rehab and plans to throw off of a mound in a week or so, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 38-year-old, who did not pitch professionally last year, hopes to put on a showcase in the near future.

Morosi On Drew, Diaz, Hanson, Garland, Saunders

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has been a busy man today it seems, as his Twitter timeline is rife with updates on free agents in search of work. Here's the latest from Morosi, with all links pointing to his Twitter unless otherwise noted…

  • One potential hangup in the Stephen Drew market could be the fact that Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz will be cleared to sign in two weeks. The 23-year-old was declared ineligible to sign after falsifying his age last year (Diaz claimed to be 23 then, in order to be eligible for MLB one year early). Morosi reminds that MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez listed (MLBTR link) the Red Sox and Yankees as two of eight clubs to have shown interest in Diaz back in December, and both have been linked to Drew.
  • Morosi spoke with Tommy Hanson's agent, Greg Genske, and was told that Hanson has received multiple offers. Genske said Hanson is in a great place both mentally and physically, which could not be said last year as he dealt with the tragic death of his brother.
  • Agent Craig Landis tells Morosi that his client, Jon Garland, is unlikely to pitch in 2014. Garland is not retiring and is willing to sign and pitch in the right circumstances, Landis told Morosi.
  • Morosi also chatted with Landis regarding another of his clients — lefty Joe Saunders. Saunders is fully healthy and plans to pitch this season, according to Landis. Saunders is coming off the worst season of his career, though his 4.23 xFIP was more than a full run lower than his 5.26 ERA. Saunders maintained his career strikeout rate, posted a career-best ground-ball rate but was plagued by a career-worst 14.5 percent homer-to-flyball ratio.


Quick Hits: Free Agents, Drew, Roe, Zaidi, Twins

It's hard to believe that Roberto Alomar isn't even the best player with an "A" name born on February 5th, but those are the breaks when you share a birthday with the legendary Hammerin' Hank Aaron.  Happy birthday to both Hall of Famers, as Aaron celebrates his 80th birthday while Alomar turns 46 today.  Here's some news from around the baseball world…

  • In his latest article for his Gammons Daily site, Peter Gammons opines that several of the free agents whose markets are hurt by being tied to draft pick compensation (such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew) may have been better served by accepting qualifying offers from their former teams and using those one-year deals as pillow contracts to multiyear deals next winter.  The qualifying offer issue isn't nearly as big a problem facing the game, Gammons believes, as the issue of smaller-market teams having fewer avenues to signing amateur and international talent.  "The system rewards a top five market like Houston for losing, and punishes the Rays, Indians and Athletics for being highly competent small markets," Gammons writes.
  • Also from Gammons, he notes that Scott Boras, Drew's agent, "is invested" on getting the Red Sox to re-sign the shortstop to a three-year deal that includes an opt-out clause.  Such a clause would create a possible pillow contract situation for Drew, and also possibly clear room for prospect Deven Marrero to soon take over at short in Boston (Marrero also happens to be a Boras client).
  • Six teams were interested in right-hander Chaz Roe when he elected free agency earlier today, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Roe has narrowed his choice down to two of the six clubs.
  • Athletics director of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was recently promoted to the role of assistant general manager, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Zaidi's impressive (and unconventional) rise up the ranks.  The 37-year-old Zaidi is highly regarded around baseball, and he's credited within the A's organization as being a key figure in the club's use of platoons and the signing of Yoenis Cespedes.
  • The Twins "have expressed zero interest" in signing Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter links).  It's possible the Twins could still make a move, Wolfson notes, as the club did heavily scout Diaz last year.  The Twins were one of several teams linked to Diaz last offseason but their interest had cooled due to Diaz's asking price.
  • Ken Davidoff of the New York Post shares his predictions on where the seven top remaining free agents on the market will land.
  • The fates of Jimenez, Ervin Santana, A.J. Burnett and Bronson Arroyo could impact the Red Sox, as teams that come up short in signing any of the free agent hurlers could approach the Sox about a trade for their excess starters, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  This scenario wouldn't include the Blue Jays or Orioles, however, as the Red Sox aren't interested in sending pitching to division rivals.

Quick Hits: Ryan, Garcia, Diaz, Santiago

After public expressions of interest recently between the Astros and Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan, the stage is set for another step forward. Team owner Jim Crane has arranged to meet Ryan in person at some point next week. Presumably, the two will discuss a role for the former Rangers CEO with a Houston organization that already features his son as its president of business operations. Here are a few more stray notes to round out the week:

  • Freddy Garcia does not want to pitch in Triple-A for the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has an opt-out on March 25 that can be exercised if he has not been added to the MLB roster, but Garcia is confident that he won't need to do so.
  • Two of his countrymen were cleared to sign today, but Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz is still ineligible to sign until February 19th due to age misrepresentation issues. He is now training in Arizona, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, and plans to showcase himself for scouts on at least two occasions in February. The 23-year-old has reportedly drawn wide interest from MLB clubs.
  • 34-year-old infielder Ramon Santiago has chosen new representation, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. He will rely on the Beverly Hills Sports Council to find him a home after eight years with the Tigers.

Pitching Notes: Garza, Arroyo, Buyers, Hammel, Williams, Byrdak

There were no new developments today relating to Matt Garza, who looked to have a deal in place with the Brewers yesterday before an unidentified snag held things up. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provided some updates from the inside, however, reporting that a source said negotiations were "ongoing." When asked whether there were any new developments, GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt "nothing yet." 

Here are a few bits of information elsewhere on the current free agent pitching market:

  • Bronson Arroyo and the Dodgers have had discussions since Masahiro Tanaka chose not to sign with Los Angeles, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The level of interest remains uncertain, Heyman notes.
  • The Angels have "a bit" of interest in Arroyo but are also content to take their current group to Spring Training, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Angels acquired Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason to join Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards in the rotation.
  • It's been a different type of offseason for the Angels this year, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, noting the patience and restraint the team has shown on the free agent market. Gonzalez notes that the Angels aren't interested in Matt Garza at the $13MM AAV he would receive in his near-deal with the Brewers, as it would push them up against the luxury tax threshold. He lists Arroyo, Jason Hammel, Chris Capuano, Scott Baker and Paul Maholm as potential rotation options that would leave some cushion between Anaheim's payroll and the luxury tax.
  • With a lot of starters still available on the open market, there are plenty of teams that have yet to fill up their slate of rotation candidates. Joining the O's and Jays among the clubs that are looking for starters are both of Chicago's two franchises, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). Levine indicates that the Cubs are looking over the list of remaining free agents, but he does not say whether the White Sox have any interest in open-market players.
  • MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik thinks the team is done making "major" additions, but tweaks are still possible. However, semantics could come into play heavily, as manager Lloyd McClendon said the team would still like to add a No. 3 starter, per ESPN 710's Shannon Drayer (Twitter link). New team president and COO Kevin Mather indicated today that the club would have the financial resources necessary to make more additions before the start of the season.
  • There are five clubs vying for the services of Hammel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Hammel is expected to choose a landing spot within a week.
  • Swingman Jerome Williams has offers on the table from at least three clubs, Cotillo tweets. He, too, appears to be nearing a decision point.
  • Southpaw reliever Tim Byrdak will not be re-signing with the Mets, the reliever tweeted (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com). The 40-year-old indicated that the team decided against signing him.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

 


Quick Hits: Diaz, Benoit, Axford, Feldman, Ibanez

Since being ruled ineligible due to providing a false birthdate over the summer, Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz has interest from a list of teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, agent Jamie Torres tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. “There are some very good players out right now and more are coming,” Torres said. “Let’s put it this way: I can predict that a few of the Cuban players that sign between now and Spring Training are going to contribute in the big leagues in the 2014 season and their contribution is going to be significant.”  More from around baseball..

  • Omar Infante has been looking for a four-year deal and is drawing some interest from clubs who see him as a left fielder or third baseman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking a deal with an $8MM+ average annual value.
  • Some agents and teams are convinced that the three-year, $30MM deal the Astros gave free agent pitcher Scott Feldman has been a wrench in talks for others since agents feel obligated to also shoot for that type of “lottery ticket” contract, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
  • Free agent Raul Ibanez is considering offers from multiple contenders, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Stark reported that Ibanez could be headed to the Angels.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he’ll hold on to Ike Davis if no one comes to the table with a strong enough offer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “Let me emphasize one thing: We’re not in the business of giving players away,” Alderson said. “We don’t expect to get in that business.”
  • The Tigers are in on Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). The Twins, meanwhile, aren’t in the mix because of the draft pick compensation tied to him.
  • Agent Scott Boras says he would talk to Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, writes CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff.
  • The Twins continue to talk to free agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether a deal with Pelfrey would preclude a signing of fellow free agent hurler Bronson Arroyo, but MInnesota has flexibility.
  • One GM tells Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily (Twitter link) that he can’t see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft.
  • White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn says his team still has several potential options ahead less than 24 hours after acquiring center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. One rival exec believes the White Sox would like to trade outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who is now part of a crowded house with the addition of Eaton. Another baseball source said the White Sox have looked into the possibility of trading away second baseman Gordon Beckham.
  • The free agent market for second basemen seems to be impacted by the availability of Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, and others, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

Quick Hits: Diaz, Francoeur, Pie, Beltran, O’s

Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz continues to draw heavy interest from Major League teams, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Some teams like Diaz, who can't sign until Feb. 19 due to falsifying his age last offseason, as a second baseman. Passan reports that BravesYankeesDodgersGiantsBlue Jays and Cardinals as teams who have been heavily represented at Diaz's most recent showcases in Mexico (Twitter links). Some more links from around the league…

  • Jeff Francoeur, who recently underwent LASIK surgery, is seeking a job as a backup outfielder, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Frenchy will also abandon his use of a 35-ounce bat in 2013 — a weight only utilized by Orioles slugger Chris Davis.
  • Felix Pie is nearing an agreement with Korea's Hanwah Eagles, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Pie hasn't seen much big-league action in the last two years, recording just 31 plate appearances in 27 games with the Pirates in 2013.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals' offer to Carlos Beltran was slightly less than the Yankees' three-year, $45MM offer but would technically have paid Beltran more due to the tax differences between Missouri and New York.
  • The Dodgers have not been involved in negotiations with Omar Infante, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • As they search for starting pitching help, the Orioles will be open to multiyear contracts rather than just one-year deals, GM Dan Duquette confirmed today (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com).
  • The Twins pursued a catcher before the market dried up, but had no interest in going to three years for any of the free agents they targeted, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota "made that clear from the start," according to Berardino.
  • Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along word, in a translated tweet, that Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda has expressed interest in playing in MLB, perhaps as soon as 2015.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Diaz, Peavy, Colon, Francoeur

Major League Baseball has ruled that Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz is ineligible to sign until February 2014, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Diaz had claimed to be born in January 1990, which would make him 23 and would mean MLB teams wouldn't be restricted by their international bonus pools in their attempts to sign him. Earlier media reports indicate that he is actually 22. A 22-year-old Cuban player would still have to sign under the bonus pool system. Ten teams were reported to have interest in Diaz. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The White Sox's Jake Peavy says he wanted to ask the team if he could pitch for the big league club on Sunday, though he would have been denied, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. Peavy, who's been sidelined with a rib injury, will join the Sox's Double-A club on Wednesday if he's still feeling good at that time, Gonzales says. If he's healthy, Peavy could be a trade chip at the July 31 deadline.
  • Bartolo Colon is defying the odds yet again this season with the Athletics, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. Colon currently has a 2.69 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 in 120 1/3 innings despite his age (40) and the fact that he was suspended last season for testing positive for testosterone. Common sense suggested that, without the use of PEDs, Colon couldn't keep pitching well, but the A's took a chance on Colon, signing him for $3MM plus bonuses. "Our organization thought he would be very similar based on what they saw in winter ball," says A's manager Bob Melvin. "He was throwing with the same velocity he does right now, the same movement. It was an easy sign for us and we did it very quickly, based on what everybody thought he would be like, and certainly he’s been that and more."
  • The Giants' signing of Jeff Francoeur is a "lightning-in-a-bottle play," Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com writes. Baggarly compares the acquisition to the Giants' May 2010 signing of Pat Burrell, who had been cast off by the Rays. Baggarly also notes that Francoeur and Kensuke Tanaka, who is making his big-league debut while starting in left field Tuesday night, will mean less playing time for Andres Torres.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


Cuban Prospect Dariel Alvarez Eligible To Sign

It's been months since we've heard significant news on Cuban defectors Dariel Alvarez and Aledmys Diaz, but MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez writes that Alvarez has been cleared by the Commissioner's Office to sign with a Major League team. He has actually been cleared to sign for several months, but the process has been slowed by a change in agents. Diaz, according to a separate tweet from Sanchez, will not be eligible for free agency until next February.

The Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Padres and Yankees were among the teams in attendance for an Alvarez showcase in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. yesterday, according to Sanchez. The Marlins did not attend his workout despite its proximity to Miami, which gels with reports from the offseason that the Marlins weren't interested.

Alvarez, 24, is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has drawn praise for a strong throwing arm. The new collective bargaining agreement states that players who are at least 23 years of age and have a minimum of three years of professional experience are not subject to the international signing limitations. In other words, teams will be able to spend as freely as they wish to acquire Alvarez's services. In addition to the previously mentioned teams, the Twins and Cardinals were both connected to Alvarez this past winter as well.