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- Cubs Expected To Pursue Ben Zobrist
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We'll keep track of tonight's minor moves here..
- Blue Jays outfielder Ryan Langerhans elected free agency earlier this month, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Langerhans, 33, posted a .748 OPS in 248 PA with Triple-A Buffalo this season between two minor league stints in Toronto's sytem. The outfielder also spent some time playing for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, hitting .287/.420/.500.
- The Marlins outrighted outfielder Alfredo Silverio to Triple-A New Orleans, according to the MLB.com page. Silverio was plucked from the Dodgers in the 2012 Rule 5 draft but hasn't played since 2011 after being badly injured in a car accident and undergoing two Tommy John surgeries. The 26-year-old hit .306/.340/.542 in 572 Double-A plate appearances in '11.
Here's the latest from both of the Sunshine State's Major League teams…
- The Marlins will "at least show temperate interest" in Jose Dariel Abreu, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. While the Marlins like Abreu, however, Rodriguez says the club "are not smitten" with Abreu as they were with another Cuban outfielder (Yoenis Cespedes) two years ago. Miami offered Cespesdes a six-year, $36MM deal and it has been reported that it could take at least $60MM to get Abreu under contract.
- It seems likely that the Marlins will send Rule 5 draft pick Alfredo Silverio back to the Dodgers, Rodriguez reports. Silverio was taken by Miami in the 2012 Rule 5 draft but the outfielder hasn't played since 2011 after being badly injured in a car accident and undergoing two Tommy John surgeries.
- Delmon Young had offers from a few different teams but returning to the Rays was his first choice, agent Joel Wolfe told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Young signed a minor league deal with the Rays today. Topkin's piece also includes quotes from Young and Rays executive vice-president Andrew Friedman about the signing.
- Also from Topkin, it seems as if the Rays will end up with David DeJesus, who they claimed off waivers from the Nationals earlier today, though it remains to be seen if the Rays will get him via the claim or if a trade will be worked out with Washington.
With nearly half the season in the books, the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga took a look at the offseason's biggest bargains. He starts his list with Marlon Byrd of the Mets, who signed a minor league deal but has contributed 12 home runs and a .258/.309/.493 line in 237 plate appearances.
- The next player to get a nod in the article is the Pirates' Francisco Liriano, who inked an incentive-driven deal with Pittsburgh. He has been nothing short of stellar thus far, carrying a 2.30 ERA over 54 2/3 innings and 10.0 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. Liriano's excellence has combined with a stunning earlygoing for Jeff Locke, continued renaissance for A.J. Burnett, and now the emergence of top prospect Gerrit Cole to give the Buccos a surprisingly excellent rotation.
- Of course, the Bucs just became the first MLB team to fifty wins after decades of poor performances. While the team may not necessarily have any obvious areas that require immediate attention, then, one must wonder whether it will contemplate any bold moves to seize the opportunity this year. As MLB.com's Tom Singer writes, Pittsburgh will be very interesting to watch as the trade deadline approaches. Manager Clint Hurdle explained: "You always need to look and see if you can add to the team strength. … You pay attention to chemistry, and try to do the right thing."
- In spite of the rotation's excellence thus far, then, one wonders whether it could be an area that the club looks to improve. While the staff currently sports the league's second-lowest ERA, it ranks 11th in FIP, 18th in xFIP, and 20th in WAR. (All links to Fangraphs leaderboards.) Locke, in particular, looks destined for some pretty heavy regression, with his 2.06 ERA belied by a 3.85 FIP and 4.11 xFIP. In addition to possible regression, Pittsburgh's starting depth has been tested already. As Singer reports, the Pirates could be looking at long absences for starters Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald. Rodriguez, in particular, would be a major loss if he misses substantial time. He reportedly has been shut down after experiencing forearm tightness following a toss on flat ground.
- Another team that has experienced pitching injuries, the Dodgers, has made an internal move to try and shore up its late-inning woes. The team announced on Twitter that it has brought up right-handed reliever Jose Dominguez. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times explains, the 22-year-old has a legitimate 100+ MPH heater. After two drug suspensions earlier in his career, the Dominican native will look to make a bullpen acquisition unnecessary for the Dodgers.
- Sticking with the relief side of the rubber, the Cubs' Kevin Gregg has emerged as an unlikely trade candidate. As MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes, Chicago already seems to be sizing up replacements for their newly minted closer. Of course, Gregg blew his first save this evening, which could take some of the luster off of his outstanding start. (Gregg's potential replacement, Blake Parker, went on to pick up his first big league save.) But as MLBTR's Steve Adams recently explained, Gregg's results have largely been supported by his peripherals.
- Another obvious trade candidate, the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, also struggled in his latest showcase. Nevertheless, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes, Miami has already lined up Nolasco's rotation spot to be occupied by Henderson Alvarez as soon as Wednesday. Manager Mike Redmond says that Alvarez is "going to be on his way" to Miami and that the team will "figure out what we're going to do as far as where we're going to fit him in."
- The Marlins may be forced to return top Rule 5 pick Alfredo Silverio to the Dodgers after the 26-year-old outfielder had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery, writes Spencer. The former prospect had his career derailed by a car accident, but was hoping to re-establish himself in Miami.
A few notable NL East players and teams are mentioned in Paul Swydan's ESPN Insider piece (subscription required) about "certain players who get overlooked by their own teams." Swydan suggests that the Phillies may have lost faith in Domonic Brown and could trade him to a team like the Twins, while the Mets could explore acquiring Casper Wells, who is struggling for playing time in Seattle.
Here are some links from around the NL East…
- Chris Marrero could become trade bait for the Nationals during Spring Training, opines MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The Nats took Marrero with the 15th overall pick of the 2006 draft but the first baseman has struggled to stay healthy and looks to be blocked at first base behind Adam LaRoche and Tyler Moore. Marrero, 24, has hit .284/.353/.452 with 86 homers in 2791 minor league plate appearances and received 117 PAs at the Major League level with Washington in 2011.
- The Braves "had gained a strong sense this would have been [Martin Prado's] final season in Atlanta" after difficult arbitration negotiations and Prado's demands for a $12MM average annual salary in a multiyear deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman writes. This made him expendable enough to be traded to the Diamondbacks in last week's deal for Justin Upton.
- It was just over a year ago that outfielder Alfredo Silverio was severely injured in a car accident that sidelined him for the entire 2012 season. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald chronicles how Silverio has recovered and is now trying to catch on with the Marlins after being selected off the Dodgers' roster in the Rule 5 Draft. Silverio, 25, hit .292/.326/.479 in 2385 minor league plate appearances in the Dodgers' system, topping out at an .883 OPS at Double-A in 2011.
- Over at Roto Authority, MLBTR's fantasy baseball affiliate, I recently looked which of two NL East pitchers (Roy Halladay and Kris Medlen) was a better fantasy bet for the 2013 season.
Each year, Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, MLBTR offers an in-depth description, but here's a quick overview.
Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren't on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. Teams draft in the reverse order of the previous season's standings but aren't required to make a selection. If they do choose a player, they pay his former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K.
The results from the Major League phase:
- Astros take righty Josh Fields from Red Sox
- Cubs take righty Hector Rondon from Indians
- Rockies take lefty Danny Rosenbaum from Nationals
- Twins take righty Ryan Pressly from Red Sox
- Indians take first baseman Chris McGuiness from Rangers
- Marlins take outfielder Alfredo Silverio from Dodgers
- Red Sox take second baseman Jeff Kobernus from Nationals; traded to Tigers for infielder/outfielder Justin Henry
- Blue Jays
- Mets take lefty Kyle Lobstein from Rays; traded to Tigers for cash considerations
- Diamondbacks take righty Starling Peralta from Cubs
- Phillies take outfielder Ender Inciarte from Diamondbacks
- White Sox take infielder Angel Sanchez from Angels
- Orioles take lefty T.J. McFarland from Indians
- Rangers take righty Coty Woods from Rockies
Second round of Major League phase:
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