Alexi Casilla Rumors
Now that the Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, they're more likely to keep Ichiro Suzuki, NJ.com's Brendan Kuty writes. If Ichiro stays, it will be in a bench role, with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran holding the starting outfield roles and Alfonso Soriano mostly playing DH. There had been some whispers that the Yankees could trade Ichiro, although, as Kuty points out, it was unclear who the Yankees might trade him to. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The recent re-signing of Alexi Casilla to a minor-league deal gives the Orioles another backup plan if Manny Machado is unable to completely recover from his knee injury by the beginning of the season, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. If Machado isn't ready to go, the Orioles could move Ryan Flaherty to third and start either Casilla or Jemile Weeks at second. Jonathan Schoop might also be a possibility there, but Encina notes that the O's would like to give Schoop more time at Triple-A.
- The Marlins are unlikely to re-sign outfielder Chris Coghlan, says MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. They non-tendered him last month, and have since added Brian Bogusevic, who looks likely to occupy an outfield bench role. The Marlins could have a starting outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton.
- Adam Lind is glad the Blue Jays exercised his $7MM option this offseason, Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca reports. "I was really hoping I was going to be back, but for some reason you never find out until the last minute, and I’m really excited and pumped to be able to stay here for another season," Lind says. There have also been trade rumors about Lind this offseason, but Davidi writes that the Blue Jays never really wanted to trade him.
The Orioles have announced that they've re-signed infielder Alexi Casilla to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. The O's declined their option on Casilla in November after he hit .214/.268/.295 in 125 plate appearances last season.
Casilla, who can play shortstop, second base and third base, could be a candidate for a bench job in Baltimore in 2014. He has a lifetime .248/.302/.332 line in parts of eight seasons, seven of them with the Twins.
The 29-year-old switch-hitter batted just .214/.268/.295 in 62 games (125 plate appearances) in his only season with the Orioles. Baltimore claimed Casilla off waivers from the Twins last offseason and avoided arbitration with him by agreeing to a one-year, $1.7MM contract with a $3MM club option ($200K buyout) for the 2014 campaign.
Casilla has turned himself into a solid defender at second base over the past several seasons and can handle shortstop as well, but his complete lack of offense -- he batted just .234/.278/.314 in 451 plate appearances from 2012-13 -- likely limits him to a minor league deal this offseason.
Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette appears to have stepped back slightly from his declaration last offseason that the club wouldn't sign a free agent tied to draft pick compensation, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports, potentially putting targets such as Ervin Santana in play for the O's. Connolly writes that Duquette seems to feel better about the club's ability to sign international talent, which might explain the less conservative stance on draft picks. Here's more Saturday night Orioles links:
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com examines potential free agent starting pitching targets for the Orioles, whose starters combined for a 4.57 ERA in 2013. The article profiles Matt Garza, Hiroki Kuroda, Santana, Dan Haren and Ricky Nolasco, noting that the O's have been connected with Nolasco in the past.
- In a separate article, manager Buck Showalter tells Melewski that the front office will indeed consider adding a free agent arm this offseason. However, Showalter says the team is also excited about young pitchers such as Eduardo Rodriguez, who finished up the year at Double-A. The manager added that while he's never been turned down by owner Peter Angelos when proposing a deal, he's "not a guy that asks a lot."
- Showalter sounds as though he expects Brian Roberts to return next season, Melewski writes. The oft-injured second baseman has appeared in just 133 games over the last three seasons, but we'd heard previously that he's among the free agents whom the club is most interested in retaining.
- In an article reporting on the O's decision to decline their $5MM 2014 option on Tsuyoshi Wada, which was announced earlier this evening, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com discloses that the team will announce next week that it has also declined its $3MM option on Alexi Casilla. The infielder is in line for a $200K buyout if that does come to pass.
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.