Alex Gordon Rumors
The five most untradeable contracts in baseball? ESPN's Jayson Stark's poll of baseball executives say it's Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Carlos Lee, and Barry Zito. Hard to argue; check out our Bad Contract Swap Meet from last year for a look at other ugly deals. It was interesting to see Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome nab honorable mentions in Stark's poll. On to his other rumblings...
- Stark's conversations led to repeated mentions of the new collective bargaining agreement, which will go into effect in December of 2011. The uncertainty will have an impact - will 2011 draftees lack leverage, knowing that a slotting system could be installed the following year? Does it make sense to worry about Super Two status for Mike Stanton now, when that provision might not exist in 2012?
- Teams have kicked the tires on Alex Gordon, but the Royals have no interest in trading him. MLBTR's Luke Adams led a discussion post on Gordon yesterday.
- The Dodgers are scouring the trade market for starting pitching, while the Royals and Phillies seek bullpen help. The Mariners and Braves are trying to add offense. The Diamondbacks are actually more interested in starting pitching than relief, and are expected to have Chris Snyder available once Miguel Montero returns.
- A "baseball man familiar with the Nationals' thinking" expects Adam Dunn to return in 2011, though not necessarily via an in-season extension.
- A friend of Mike Lowell tells Stark the third baseman would love to play for the Twins or Angels if the Red Sox plan to trade him.
- The Phillies have recently adopted a stance against full no-trade clauses, which is reflected in the Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard extensions.
Earlier this week, the Royals optioned former first-round pick Alex Gordon to the minors. The second overall pick in 2005, Gordon was named Baseball America's #2 prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2007 season. However, since hitting .260/.351/.432 in 2008, the 26-year-old has struggled to stay healthy and has posted a slash line of just .226/.327/.369 in 227 plate appearances for the Royals, leading to his demotion.
For Joe Posnanski, the move is a signal that the club has given up on Gordon, writing that "when you send him to the minor leagues after only 12 games, it doesn’t matter what you say. You are giving up." ESPN.com's Rob Neyer agrees, pointing out that many people in Kansas City's front office weren't around when Gordon was drafted, reducing their investment in him. Neyer says that if he were running the Royals, he'd play Gordon at third base, barring injury, until season's end, but the organization has other plans -- they intend to give Gordon playing time at left field and first base in Triple-A Omaha. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star notes, Gordon likely would've been displaced at third base eventually by prospect Mike Moustakas, who is hitting .417/.491/.917 in Double-A so far this season.
So where does this leave Gordon? Posnanski is pessimistic about the left-handed hitter's future in Kansas City, predicting that Gordon could end up blossoming with another team who appreciates his strengths. It's unclear if the Royals would consider moving him at this point though, or if there'd even be much of a market for him. Mellinger spoke to one rival scout who opines: "Nobody I know is excited about [Gordon] or thinks he’s above getting sent down."
Gordon is under team control until after the 2013 season, so for now the Royals figure to give him a chance to play every day and gain some confidence in the minors. Eventually, his performance or an injury on the 25-man roster will earn him another shot in the bigs. Posnanski, however, belives that "without expectation and without a position," it won't work.
Links for Monday, as Joe Blanton makes his 2010 debut...
- Washington GM Mike Rizzo scouted Bryce Harper in person for the first time, and he and scouting director Kris Kline came away confident in Harper's makeup, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com takes an in-depth look at the Pirates' arms throughout the organization.
- The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales writes that GM Ken Williams is exercising patience when it comes to trading, despite the White Sox' slow start.
- Kelvim Escobar will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in the front of his right shoulder, tweets MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Escobar signed a one-year deal with the Mets this winter for $1.25MM.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at the pitchers the Yankees were considering over Javier Vazquez, noting that they've all had concerns as well. The Yankees will delay Vazquez's sixth start until a week from today against the Tigers. John Harper of the New York Daily News wonders if the Yanks should ship Vazquez to the Mets.
- Joe Posnanski questions the Royals' decision to demote Alex Gordon. Gordon will play left field and first base in the minors, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out the Tigers' collection of young talent.
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times wonders what's happened to George Sherrill. The 33-year-old lefty has allowed 12 hits and 11 walks in nine innings so far. Given his $4.5MM salary this year, Sherrill is a prime candidate to be non-tendered after the season.
- RotoAuthority notes that while Vazquez and Ben Sheets have been brutal so far, they could still have fantasy value this year.
A few links to browse, as we prepare for the Mets' third consecutive appearance on Sunday Night Baseball....
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs weighed in on the Royals' demotion of Alex Gordon.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner (via Twitter) has a gut feeling that the M's will release Eric Byrnes tomorrow. Heading into today's game, Byrnes had a slash line of .107/.265/.179 in 34 plate appearances.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that reports of the Royals selling Ramon Colon to Korea's Kia Tigers appear to be premature. However, the deal for the righty should happen sometime mid-week.
- In a guest piece at Minorleagueball.com, Twins' prospect guru Seth Stohs tells readers about five Twins prospects that you might not know, but probably should.
- ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor spoke with Omar Minaya about several Mets-related issues, including his early impression of Ike Davis and Jerry Manuel's contract status. Minaya offers praise for Manuel, but says he won't be approached about an extension until season's end.
- The New York Post's Joel Sherman writes that the Rays' front office will continue to keep their club competitive, regardless of how many fans are in the stands. He also opines that the presence of Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson in Triple-A Durham gives the team the flexibility to make a trade that would help them both immediately and in the long-term.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times examines how the Dodgers' cost cutting has affected their scouting and player development.
- J.D. Durbin has signed a one-year deal with NPB's Softbank Hawks, according to Kyodo News. The 28-year-old right-hander last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the Phillies.
As the West Coast games get started, here are some tidbits to snack on...
- The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore reports that there is "nothing going on" with contract extension talks involving Adam Dunn. Dunn is off to a slow start, but says it has nothing to do with his possible extension.
- With Jeff Mathis on the disabled list with a fractured wrist, all those teams hoping to take advantage of the Angels' inexplicable disenchantment with Mike Napoli can move on for now.
- MinorLeagueBall.com's John Sickels speculates about what it would take for the Twins to acquire Alex Gordon from the Royals.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin talks with the rehabbing, Daniel Murphy, who says he's willing to learn other positions, even second base, with Ike Davis looking to be up to stay.
Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.
We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements. Yesterday's list can be found here.
- Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals. Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts. Willits' contract is worth $625K.
- Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter). Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
- Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter). The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
- The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press. MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
- Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
- The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
- Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
- Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.
- Pat Neshek agreed to a one year deal with $625K with another $75K in incentives, avoiding arbitration with the Twins according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier (via Twitter).
- The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Josh Willingham according to a team press release. All four players avoided arbitration. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Willingham will make $4.6MM next season, while Bergmann will make $750K according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves and Peter Moylan have agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets $1.15MM.
- Matt Garza avoided arbitration with the Rays, tweets Topkin. The two sides agreed to a one year deal worth $3.35MM,
- MLB.com's Jim Street tweets that the Mariners and David Aardsma have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.75MM.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero according to a tweet from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Bourn gets $2.4MM, Lindstrom $1.625MM, and Quintero $750K (via McTaggart's Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies and Jason Hammel have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.9MM.
- The A's agreed to a one year deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports The Oakland Tribune. Oakland acquired Kouzmanoff from the Padres over the weekend.
- Jered Weaver agreed to a one year deal worth $4.265MM with the Angels to avoid arbitration, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
- Topkin tweets that J.P. Howell agreed to a one year deal worth $1.8MM, avoiding arbitration with the Rays.
- According to the team's official Twitter feed, the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor ($2.65MM) and Brian Tallet ($2MM) by agreeing to one year deals.
- Delmon Young avoided arbitration with the Twins by agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.6MM, according to a tweet by Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com tweets that Young will get $25K each for 575 and 600 plate appearances.
- According to a team press release, the Royals have avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda. Terms of either deal was not disclosed.
- Heyman tweets that Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one year deal worth $3.4MM, avoiding arbitration.
- The White Sox and John Danks avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.45M, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Mets and Pedro Feliciano have agreed to a one year deal worth $2.9MM, avoiding arbitration. There's another $100K in performance bonuses.
- The Star Telegram's Anthony Andro reports that the Rangers and Chris Ray have avoided arbitration. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says it's a one year deal worth $975K.
- Russell Martin has agreed to a one year contract worth $5.05MM, avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that the Blue Jays and reliever Jeremy Accardo have agreed to a one year deal worth $1.08MM, avoiding arbitration.
- Rafael Perez agreed to a one year deal with the Indians to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweets that Perez will make $795K in 2010.
- The Orioles and Luke Scott avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $4.05MM according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He earned $2.4MM last season, hitting .258/.340/.488 with a career high 25 homers.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($975K). Mike Fontenot ($1MM,) Koyie Hill ($700K), Angel Guzman ($825K), and Tom Gorzelanny ($800K). Terms of the deals came from Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
- Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and Zach Duke have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Radio reports that Mark Lowe and the Mariners have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.15MM salary for next season.
- LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune tweets that the Twins and J.J. Hardy have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $5MM. He gets a small raise over last year's $4.65MM salary after hitting .229/.302/.357.
- According to the Cardinals' official Twitter feed, the team has avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick by agreeing to a one year deal. Heyman tweets that he'll receive $5.45MM next year after earning $3.7MM in 2009.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton, giving him $3.25MM plus awards-based bonuses according to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible. Hamilton hit .268/.315/.426 in 2009, missing time with back trouble and a sports hernia.
- Mark Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays and Jason Bartlett have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $4MM salary for 2010. He earned just under $2MM in 2009, hitting .320/.389/.490 with a career high 14 homers.
- Casey Janssen agreed to a $700K deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration, according to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed. It was his first time up for arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Marlins and Jorge Cantu have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $6MM. Cantu hit .289/.345/.443 while making $3.5MM in 2009, his first year of arb eligibility.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that both Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks have agreed to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Weeks will earn $2.75MM next year, while Gomez will earn $1.1MM as a Super Two.
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers have avoided arbitration with both George Sherrill and James Loney. Sherrill gets $4.5MM plus incentives in his third year eligible, Loney $3.1MM in his first go around.
- According to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed, reliever Shawn Camp has agreed to a $1.15MM deal for 2010, avoiding arb. He was eligible for the second time after posting a 3.50 ERA in 79.2 innings last season.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Leo Nunez and the Marlins have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2MM salary for 2010. Sticking with the theme of the day, it was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers and Hong Chih-Kuo have agreed to a one-year deal worth $950K, avoiding arb. It was Kuo's first time eligible.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets and Jeff Francoeur have avoided arb by agreeing to a $5MM deal. Francoeur earned $3.375MM in 2009 and hit .280/.309/.423 for the Mets and Braves.
- Heyman tweets that Howie Kendrick and the Angels have agreed to a $1.75MM deal with incentives. This was Kendrick's first crack at arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that the A's and Rajai Davis agreed to a $1.35MM salary for 2010, plus incentives. This was Davis' first year eligible for arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that Jonathan Sanchez avoided arb with the Giants by agreeing to a $2.1MM deal, plus incentives. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 163.1 innings last year, and was up for arbitration for the first time in his career.
Links for a busy Wednesday, as writers, agents, and GMs catch their flights out of O'Hare...
- Welcome to Twitter: ESPN's Buster Olney.
- ESPN's Keith Law assesses the Mark Teahen, J.J. Hardy, Jeremy Hermida, and Akinori Iwamura trades.
- The Royals are committed to Alex Gordon as their third baseman despite acquiring Josh Fields, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Fields instead could play left field in the event David DeJesus is traded. DeJesus' name popped up in our left field trade market post.
- Rosenthal and Morosi also note that the Giants are talking with Juan Uribe about a new contract. Uribe was one of the year's best minor league deals. He's represented by Barry Praver.
- Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Nationals hired Bryan Minnitti from the Pirates to be their new assistant GM. Jake from New Bucs interviewed the young exec last year.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic names four relievers who might be of interest to the Diamondbacks: Rafael Betancourt, Mike Gonzalez, LaTroy Hawkins, and Bob Howry.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues has a reality check for fans as we head toward the offseason insanity.
- Victor Martinez's agent Alan Nero told WEEI's Rob Bradford there's been "little or no dialogue" in terms of the Red Sox extending his client.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees' championship might enable them to take things more slowly this winter.
- Sherman tweets that there is interest in Japan from Kei Igawa, but he doesn't want to go. Igawa posted a 4.15 ERA in 145.3 Triple A innings this year, and still has $8MM remaining on his contract.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has your minor league transactions. Wilson Valdez and Mike Gosling are among those joining the free agent ranks.
- New Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos seems passionate, talking to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Anthopoulos even gives props to the fine Jays blogs out there.
- Padres pitcher Chris Young told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he understands the business aspect of baseball. With a healthy first half, Young could be a trade candidate.
- Grant at McCovey Chronicles says AT&T Park isn't a pitcher's park anymore, and agents know that.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explores many of the disappointing elements of the Royals' 2009 season and turns up some rumors along the way. Here they are:
- GM Dayton Moore says he tried to build a winner and holds himself accountable for the team's failure.
- Now he wants to build through scouting and player development. The Royals' system has improved as the team has spent more, but there's not an abundance of talent in the upper minors.
- Crasnick says the Royals need a "major overhaul" but suggests no one on the team's roster other than Zack Greinke or Joakim Soria would fetch much in a trade.
- Some believe the Royals would be better off shopping Soria for two or three young players. Moore says he'll be open-minded to that sort of deal if it helps the Royals long-term.
- One AL scout says the Royals rushed Alex Gordon and prevented him from developing fully.
- The Royals may not offer contracts to John Buck and Mike Jacobs after the season.
Links from around the league on Tuesday evening...
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle writes that the Astros got good value in return for Pudge Rodriguez.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer talks to Reds GM Walt Jocketty about the plan for his team's future.
- Kevin Kaduk at Yahoo.com argues that Scott Boras neither won nor lost the Strasburg contract negotiations.
- Matthew Pouliot at NBCSports.com writes that the Royals "hit a new low" by demoting Alex Gordon.
- And Baseball America breaks down each team's total spending on the first ten rounds of the draft.
Updates on a pair of former first round picks...
- The Royals sent Alex Gordon to the minors, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. If the demotion lasts for more than 20 days, the Royals will have delayed his free agency by a season. Gordon, who was expected to become a free agent after 2012, may not become a free agent until after the 2013 season.
- It's no surprise to see the Jays call Travis Snider up. As we showed earlier in the month, the Jays had the chance to prevent Snider from reaching Super Two status by keeping him in the minors for a couple extra weeks. They took advantage of the opportunity and Snider will likely be a few days short of Super Two status after 2011.