Alexi Casilla Rumors
It's been another major day of hot stove news, headlined by Josh Hamilton's deal with the Angels and Anibal Sanchez's forthcoming choice between the Cubs and Tigers. Here are some final items as we hit Friday...
- Michael Bourn's market has become hard to determine, though MLB.com's Richard Justice notes that the Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols signings have taught us that top free agents tend to get their paydays, sometimes with surprising teams.
- Nick Swisher has never seen the Red Sox "as a likely landing spot," reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston is one of several teams -- including the Phillies, Orioles, Indians, Rangers and Mariners -- linked to the free agent slugger this winter.
- Cuban players Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmys Diaz are both officially free agents, tweets Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, and 22-year-old shortstop Diaz were profiled by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez last month.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli breaks down the contract details of the arbitration-avoiding deals signed by Taylor Teagarden, Alexi Casilla and Steve Pearce with the Orioles, plus the details of Mark Reynolds' one-year contract with the Indians.
- The Diamondbacks are more likely to trade Jason Kubel than Justin Upton at this point, opines MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
- The Rangers may have lost Hamilton today but a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that the Rangers could potentially sign Swisher, A.J. Pierzynski and Adam LaRoche to upgrade their lineup.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the Phillies and Red Sox are planning to rebound in 2013.
Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the 11pm CT deadline and we'll keep track of them here. Be sure to check out MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker for complete details:
- The Mariners have avoided arbitration with Josh Kinney, the team announced. It's a one-year deal.
- The Pirates have agreed to terms with Charlie Morton, the team announced. The right-hander missed most of the season following Tommy John surgery. Morton will earn $2MM, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned.
- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Adam Rosales, the team announced. They also agreed to sign Daric Barton to a one-year, $1.1MM contract, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The non-guaranteed deal includes $250K in incentives. Barton had been a non-tender candidate.
- The Orioles announced that they have avoided arbitration with Taylor Teagarden, Steve Pearce, and Alexi Casilla. Casilla's deal is worth $1.7MM with a $3MM option for 2014 ($200K buyout) according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
- The Astros announced that they have avoided arbitration with Phil Humber. It's a one-year deal worth $800K with a $3MM club option for 2014 ($500K buyout), reports the AP via MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter). Houston claimed the right-hander off waivers earlier today.
- The Yankees announced that they avoided arbitration with Jayson Nix, signing the infielder to a Major League deal for 2013.
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with second baseman Chris Getz, agreeing to a one-year, Major League contract. Getz will earn $1.05MM in 2013 on a deal that includes up to $150K in performance bonuses, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter). Luke Hochevar is Kansas City's lone unsigned arbitration eligible player as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Casilla had been a non-tender candidate in Minnesota since he projects to earn $1.8MM following a disappointing season. The 28-year-old hit .241/.282/.321 in 326 plate appearances in 2012. Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette said the acquisition of Casilla means the Orioles won't pursue other second basemen, Connolly reports.
The Twins made a push to trade for Ervin Santana before the Royals acquired him this week, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com reports. The Twins were “in heavily” on Santana, but they wanted the Angels to absorb more than $1MM in salary. Here are some more Twins-related notes from Wolfson...
- Rays starter James Shields could become a target for the Twins in Wolfson’s view.
- Assistant GM Rob Antony was expected to speak with the agent for second baseman Alexi Casilla yesterday. It seems likely that the Twins will non-tender Casilla, who’s arbitration eligible this winter. You can view MLBTR’s full list of non-tender candidates here.
- The Twins have inquired about right-hander Randy Messenger. The 31-year-old last pitched at the MLB level in 2009, but he is coming off of a strong season with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Messenger posted a 2.52 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 196 2/3 innings this past season.
The average MLB second baseman has a .254/.317/.380 batting line this year, so it's safe to say teams don't demand as much offense from the position as they once did. In 2000, for example, the average second baseman hit .278/.349/.404 and 18 teams got a .750 OPS or better from their second basemen. Now just six teams have a .750 OPS from second base, but you can’t expect to play regularly unless you provide at least some offense.
Alexi Casilla, the Twins’ starting second baseman, isn’t hitting at all this year and his poor offensive production could cost him his job this coming offseason. The switch-hitter has a .223/.259/.293 batting line in 234 plate appearances so far in 2012. Though 13 of his 14 stolen base attempts have been successful, he’s not providing value on offense.
Casilla is a decent defensive middle infielder best-suited for second base, according to a pre-season scouting report in The Fielding Bible: Volume III. The 28-year-old Proformance client has spent most of this season at second base, making a few appearances at third base and none at shortstop.
Unless the Twins believe Casilla’s defense makes up for his below-average bat, they’ll have to consider non-tendering him this offseason. He’s earning 1.38MM this year as a second-time arbitration eligible player and would be in line for a salary approaching $2MM if Minnesota tenders him a contract this offseason -- MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a salary of $1.8MM.
That may be more than the Twins are willing to commit to a player who isn’t hitting, especially since they have internal alternatives up the middle. Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll will be back in 2013. And pre-arbitration eligible utility player Eduardo Escobar, who joined the Twins in the Francisco Liriano trade, provides Minnesota with another affordable infield option. Many more utility infield options will be available on minor league deals in a matter of months.
Casilla has added some value according to the versions of the wins above replacement metric at Baseball-Reference (0.9 WAR) and FanGraphs (0.4 WAR). But it’s hard to see Twins general manager Terry Ryan committing a roster spot and a couple million dollars to a player who contributes so little on offense. Instead, it looks as though Casilla will hit free agency a year early barring a late-season surge.
The Twins avoided arbitration with infielder Alexi Casilla, agreeing to a one-year, $1.3825MM contract, tweets director of baseball communications Mike Herman. The Proformance client settled $25K below the midpoint, avoiding an arbitration hearing. Casilla received a $517,500 raise his second time through arbitration. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at some possible comparables last week.
Only two of the 13 remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players filed for less than $2MM: Alexi Casilla and Jed Lowrie. Though they’re reasonably similar in terms of career stats, Casilla is arbitration eligible for the second time, so the players relevant to his case are different than the players relevant to Lowrie’s.
Casilla, who earned $865K in 2011, posted a .260/.322/.368 line with two home runs in 365 plate appearances while playing second base and shortstop last year. He filed for $1.75MM, while the Twins countered with a $1.065MM submission for a midpoint of $1.407MM.
Current infielders who put together similar Arb 1 seasons to Casilla’s 2011 campaign include Aaron Miles, whose salary jumped from $1MM to $1.4MM after the 2007 season, Alfredo Amezaga, whose salary jumped from $945K to $1.3MM after the 2008 season, and Jeff Baker, whose salary jumped from $975K to $1.175MM after the 2010 season. All three are among the possible comparables for Casilla's case, in my view, though his representatives may focus on similar players who settled above the midpoint.
Lowrie filed for $1.5MM after a season in which he posted a .252/.303/.382 line with six home runs as a shortstop/third baseman in Boston. The Astros offered their new infielder $900K for a midpoint of $1.2MM.
Mike Aviles, who essentially replaces Lowrie on Boston’s roster, may be his top comp in arbitration. Aviles settled at $1.2MM -- Lowrie's midpoint -- after a highly similar platform season. Aviles has better career numbers across the board, and that should help the Astros build their case. On either side of Aviles, we have two first-time eligible infielders from the current service class: Robert Andino at $1.3MM and Blake DeWitt at $1.1MM. Andino had a strong platform year, while DeWitt has the career bulk and both will figure in to Lowrie's case.
On this date in 1997, the Tigers drafted Matt Anderson first overall (under management that has since been replaced). The flame-throwing right-hander briefly became the Tigers' closer, but didn't match the success of others in his draft class like J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells and Lance Berkman. Anderson attempted a comeback with the Phillies this year, but has since been released. Here's the latest from around the AL Central...
- David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press defends Tigers manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski, saying the Tigers are annual contenders and “give the Michigan summer a sporting purpose.”
- Yes, the Twins are just 18-37, but GM Bill Smith tells John Shipley of the Pioneer Press that it's not too late for a comeback. Smith says better health and more home games and intra-divisional series could get the Twins back into contention. Smith also noted that his re-worked bullpen "hasn't worked" and expressed confidence in Alexi Casilla's skills.
- The Royals have been linked to international prospect Elier Hernandez, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The outfielder is likely to command a $2-3MM bonus once he's eligible to sign after July 2nd.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests that Adam Dunn's struggles and $56MM contract with the White Sox could affect the way American League teams build their rosters going forward. Red Sox DH David Ortiz tells Morosi that DHing is harder than it seems (for more on Ortiz's market value, click here).
Casilla, 26, missed almost two months of the 2010 season after having surgery to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow. When he was on the field, he hit .276/.331/.395 in 170 plate appearances, a nice rebound from a .202/.280/.259 effort in 2009. The departures of J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, and Brendan Harris have created an opening for Casilla to get regular playing at one of the middle infield spots. New pick-up Tsuyoshi Nishioka will handle the other spot.
For starters, the Twins are expected to bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka this week. However, Christensen finds the team unlikely to win the bidding. Nishioka was posted Monday, and the high bidder should be revealed next week.
Only one of Hudson and Hardy is expected to be retained, and Christensen writes of "growing indications" the Twins will tender Hardy a contract at the December 2nd deadline. In an August 17th poll, almost 84% of you expected Hardy to be tendered. If they keep Hardy and lose out on Nishioka, it looks like Alexi Casilla will get a shot as the regular second baseman.