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Alexi Casilla Rumors
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.
- Surprisingly, Ken Davidoff of Newsday writes of an "increasing expectation around MLB" that the Yankees will eventually re-sign Hideki Matsui.
- Crasnick talked to one exec who says Scott Boras wants three years and big money for outfielder Rick Ankiel.
- The Royals talked to the Dodgers about Juan Pierre, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, but the Dodgers would have to eat too much money to make it work.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Phillies are now looking hard at John Smoltz as a possible "back-of-the-bullpen weapon." Smoltz's agent apparently told the Phils that the pitcher has no problem with Citizens Bank Park.
- ESPN's Buster Olney heard "the Yankees are in the process of negotiating with Johnny Damon's camp." He adds that the Yanks "intend to use market forces to pressure Damon to make a decision quickly." I'm sure Scott Boras will love that.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin plans to visit free agent lefty Mark Mulder in January to discuss a possible contract, says Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says there have been no Felix Hernandez negotiations this week after an initial four-year offer from the Mariners.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that they'll tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players. No big surprise, though it's a large group of players.
- Scott Lauber of the News Journal talked to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said Astros GM Ed Wade stole Brandon Lyon from the Phillies. The Astros committed three years and $15MM to Lyon despite holes at shortstop and third base.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says the Brewers upped their offer to Craig Counsell this morning and GM Doug Melvin is confident they'll get it done. The Reds are still in the mix for Counsell, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune heard last night that Twins infielder Alexi Casilla is available.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alexi Casilla | Brandon Lyon | Cincinnati Reds | Craig Counsell | Felix Hernandez | Hideki Matsui | Houston Astros | John Smoltz | Johnny Damon | Juan Pierre | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mark Mulder | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Rick Ankiel | Seattle Mariners