Alexi Ogando Rumors

Free Agent Rumors: Furcal, Grilli, Young, Mets

Free agent infielder Rafael Furcal could be a fit for the Royals on a minor league deal thanks to his connection with GM Dayton Moore, according to Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (via Twitter).  Here are some of the latest free agency rumors out of San Diego..

  • Jason Grilli has multiple offers from teams in major markets but the Tigers are not one of them, his agent tells Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).
  • The Rangers have interest in Eric Young Jr., but they may have already been outbid, according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is considering bidding in the posting of Jung-ho Kang, but he’s unresolved as to whether he will, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • The Orioles could be a landing spot for former Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • After signing Jon Lester, the Cubs are now pursuing outfielder Jonny Gomes in an apparent effort to get the band back together, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Catcher David Ross tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that he’s not close on a deal with any club even though he has interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, D’Backs, and Padres.

Dodgers Notes: Outfielders, Ogando, Non-Tenders

The Orioles, Padres and Mariners have shown interest in Matt Kemp, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, one source tells Heyman that Baltimore has gotten “nowhere” in trade talks with Los Angeles. The Padres have spoken to the Dodgers about Kemp, and while the Dodgers may have some interest in top catching prospect Austin Hedges, Heyman feels San Diego is more inclined to move Rene Rivera or Yasmani Grandal. The Mariners may not have the budget after signing Nelson Cruz and extending Kyle Seager. Generally speaking, Heyman hears from rival executives that the Dodgers still seem reluctant to pull the trigger on any Kemp deal.

More Dodgers notes…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at how much money the team would have to eat to move Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. Rosenthal estimates each player’s market value and notes that teams aren’t going to part with prospects for the right to pay an overpaid player at his true market rate. Rather, the Dodgers will need to pay down additional millions of dollars, meaning that a player like Ethier, in Rosenthal’s estimation, could need to be accompanied by as much as $30-36MM to facilitate the deal.
  • The Dodgers will take a look at recently non-tendered right-hander Alexi Ogando, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles (Twitter link). However, as Saxon notes, Ogando figures to draw interest from many clubs. The righty is rehabbing from an elbow injury but has previously proven himself to be a capable starter or reliever.
  • In a more general sense, Saxon spoke with GM Farhan Zaidi (Twitter link), who noted that there are a lot of pitchers with high ceilings that were non-tendered as they rehab from injuries, and the Dodgers will look into those arms to see if there’s a match. Among the top names from the non-tender class include now-former Braves righties Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy (as well as Ogando).

Rangers Non-Tender Alexi Ogando, Michael Kirkman, Adam Rosales

The Rangers have non-tendered three players, headlined by righty Alexi Ogando, the club announced. Also being set loose are lefty Michael Kirkman and utilityman Adam Rosales.

Ogando, 31, has tantalized with his ability but failed to failed to maintain his health. And 2014 was a rough year even before he was shut down with elbow issues, as he threw to a 6.84 ERA (albeit with a 3.81 FIP) on the back of 7.9 K/9 against 5.4 BB/9. Ogando’s decision not to play winter ball may also have had an impact on the team’s decision, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explains.

Ogando was projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2.6MM through arbitration. Paying that price tag would be easy if Texas felt it was getting the All-Star starter it had in 2011, or even the effective reliever it enjoyed in 2012. But that no longer seemed a safe bet.

Kirkman, 28, has been a sort of backup relief option for the Rangers for the last five years, seeing time in every campaign but never throwing more than 35 1/3 innings. He is not yet arbitration eligible. Rosales, meanwhile, has been one of the better-traveled names in the game over the past few seasons. His projected $1MM hit landed above his value as a utility piece.



Arbitration Notes: Ogando, Moreland, Russell, Parra, Descalso

Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), and already took a look at some notes earlier today.

Here’s the latest on the upcoming decisions:

  • Righty Alexi Ogando and first baseman Mitch Moreland are expected to be tendered contracts tomorrow, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Both players have some upside that Texas is surely loath to give up on, though each brings some uncertainty with their projected $2.6MM and $2.8MM arb costs (respectively).
  • As things stand, the Braves‘ only certain tenders are slated for Mike Minor and David Carpenter, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is still unsure exactly how it will proceed with respect to rehabbing starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy as well as pen lefty James Russell. The southpaw, who was added at the trade deadline, projects to earn a fairly meager $2.4MM and seems a decent value at that price tag.
  • Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash indicated that the team intends to tender Gerardo Parra a contract rather than cutting him loose, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Parra’s hefty $6.4MM projection is quite a sum for a fourth outfielder, though Ash noted that he has received plenty of playing time as a part-time starter and frequent reserve. And, of course, a trade could still be made.
  • It seems likely that the Cardinals will non-tender utilityman Daniel Descalso, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes. Descalso carries a $1.4MM projected salary but saw a reduced role last year and the organization has added several apparent pieces that would seem to be viable replacements.

AL West Notes: Ogando, Moss, Butler, Carbonell

It almost doesn’t seem fathomable, but the Rangers received even more bad news on the injury front today, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes that Alexi Ogando will be shut down for three weeks and could miss up to two months with inflammation and some minor ligament damage in his right elbow. An MRI showed “wear and tear” on the ligament, but not enough to require surgery, he adds. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets that the Rangers are officially terming the injury “acute inflammation.”

Here’s more from the American League West…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes an excellent in-depth look at Athletics slugger Brandon Moss, who admits that he almost quit the game on multiple occasions before latching on with the A’s. Moss tells Rosenthal that he initially chose to sign with Oakland because he knew he’d be hitting in the Pacific Coast League at Triple-A after his minor league deal, and he thought that league’s notoriously hitter-friendly environments would boost his power numbers and draw some interest from Japanese teams. Moss adds that he was preparing to become a firefighter in his native Georgia, should his last attempt with the A’s not pan out.
  • The Mariners could be a potential landing spot for Billy Butler if the Royals end up moving him, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The team has long coveted Butler but would need to be convinced that his season-long slump is just that — a slump — rather than the beginning of a decline. Some scouts have told Dutton they don’t see diminished bat speed for Butler, which is a good sign. He adds that Kansas City has shown interest in Nick Franklin, though clearly a Butler-for-Franklin 1-for-1 swap isn’t realistic.
  • Dutton adds that Mariners officials dismissed previous reports that have connected the team to Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell. It’s been reported previously that Seattle is one of two finalists for Carbonell’s services. Dutton does note that the Seattle front office’s denial could merely be gamesmanship.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).

(more…)


AL West Notes: Rangers, Ogando, Astros, A’s

The Rangers have a narrow half-game lead over the Athletics as they seek a third division championship in four seasons. Meanwhile, the news is positive on Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he will come back strong from the stroke he suffered about a month ago. Here's more out of the AL West …

  • Alexi Ogando has hit the disabled list for a third time this season thanks to inflammation in his right shoulder, but Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, that he's not considering signing a pitcher from outside the organization to replace him (Twitter link). In a follow-up tweet, Wilson adds that Daniels and the Rangers will continue to view Ogando as a starter in 2013, but his future role is a topic of conversation for next year.
  • Following today's DFA of lefty Wade LeBlanc, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart notes that 14 of the 25 players on the Astros' active roster are rookies (on Twitter).
  • The Athletics have extended their player development contract with their Class-A affiliate in Stockton through the 2016 season, according to Janie McCauly of the Associated Press (Twitter link).

Rangers Notes: Ogando, Profar, International Signings

The Rangers made a minor trade earlier today, sending Kelvin De La Cruz to the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.  De La Cruz was a Ranger for less than a month, as he was originally acquired by Texas in another deal with Cleveland on February 21.

Some more news from the two-time defending AL champions…

  • In an interview Ben & Skin of ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM radio, Jon Daniels said that the Rangers are better served by having Alexi Ogando in the bullpen, though the GM admitted that Ogando probably deserves a starting job after his solid performance in the rotation last year.  No firm decision has yet been made, however, about Ogando's status.  ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett collects some of the notable topics in Daniels' interview.
  • Shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar may see some time playing second base, Rangers director of minor league operations Jake Krug tells Bryan Dolgin of the Rangers Magazine radio show.  The 19-year-old Profar was ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the game by Baseball America's 2012 minor league rankings.  Giving him time at second base would give Texas a possible option if Ian Kinsler can't be signed to an extension, though it seem a waste of Profar's defensive skills to move him away from short.
  • The Rangers spent the most on any team on international bonuses last year, according to a report by Baseball America.  The Rangers spent an estimated $12.83MM (not counting Japanese professionals or Cuban defectors) on international signings, more than $5MM ahead of the second-place team on the list, the Blue Jays. 
  • Texas accounts for the top two spots (Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman) on another Baseball America list, chronicling the top 30 international bonuses from last year.
  • Brad Hawpe and Conor Jackson are both trying to keep their Major League careers going in the Rangers camp, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Hawpe and Jackson are both signed to minor league deals and are fighting for jobs on the Rangers' bench.  "It's hard to imagine either player going to Triple-A," Sullivan writes, so Hawpe and/or Jackson could find themselves waived by March 30.

AL West Notes: Rangers, Wilson, Feliz, Angels, A’s

With tonight's victory, the Rangers became the first AL West team to win consecutive pennants since the A's won three straight American League titles between 1988 and 1990.  Here are a few news items from around the division….

  • Despite recent rumors, the Rangers say there's "no way" they'll throw money at CC Sabathia this offseason, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). If Texas does decide to go after a starter from outside the organization, it would probably be Yu Darvish.
  • "[C.J. Wilson] wants $100MM, and he's not getting that from us," a Rangers source tells Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  The source says that if Wilson leaves Texas for free agency, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz would both be converted into starting pitchers next season.
  • The Angels may be close to a new television contract with FOX Sports, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  A filing from Major League Baseball (in the ongoing legal case with Frank McCourt) stated that the Halos are "expected to close a new transaction" in regards to a new TV deal.  Shaikin hears from sources that "no deal is imminent" but FOX and the Angels have been in negotiations.  Shaikin speculates that the contract could exceed the Rangers' recent 20-year, $1.6BB TV contract with FOX.
  • The Athletics were denied permission to interview Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).  Price's contract in Cincinnati expires after next season.
  • Athletics scouts were against the December 2005 trade of then-prospect Andre Ethier to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley, tweets Tom Krasovic of West Coast Bias.

Updates On Converted Relievers Now Starting

It seems like MLB teams, even good ones, are always on the hunt for starting pitching. The Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, Cardinals and Diamondbacks acquired starting pitching at the trade deadline and other contenders inquired on starters before moving on to other targets.

Quality starting pitching is scarce and expensive so teams sometimes convert relievers to the rotation in case they can add value as starters. Here's a look at the four converted relievers have who started extensively in 2011. None of the pitchers below had more than two MLB starts to his name before the 2011 season and all of them were big league relievers last year:

  • Alexi Ogando, Rangers - What a find for the Rangers. Ogando has a 2.88 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 125 innings as a starter. The converted outfielder has averaged 94.8 mph with his fastball, but it's hard not to wonder if he'll tire toward the end of the season. Ogando's previous professional high in innings is 70 2/3.
  • Phil Coke, Tigers – Coke lost his rotation spot midway through the season after posting a 4.91 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 77 innings. The left-hander was solid in April and May, but put together a string of ugly outings in June and is now pitching out of the 'pen again.
  • Kyle McClellan, Cardinals – McClellan, who replaced the injured Adam Wainwright, lost his rotation spot when St. Louis acquired Edwin Jackson. McClellan returns to the bullpen after posting a respectable 4.21 ERA in 104 2/3 innings from the rotation.
  • Phil Humber, White Sox – The 28-year-old former third overall pick has a 3.44 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 117 2/3 innings. Though his last three starts haven't been pretty, Humber's emergence allowed the White Sox to part with Jackson last week.