Andrew Heaney Rumors

NL West Notes: Preller, Giants, Kemp, Kendrick

The Padres‘ new lineup might not make them the best in the NL West, but GM A.J. Preller’s flurry of activity has made the team relevant again, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes. “I think he went in there very open-minded,” says Preller’s former boss Jon Daniels, who notes that Preller’s background in finding amateur talent with the Rangers might have made rebuilding the more obvious course than the one he ended up following. “To his credit, when he saw they had a strong pitching foundation and such a good environment with the staff, he knew they had an opportunity to build off that and not take it backwards.” Here’s more from the NL West.

  • Giants GM Brian Sabean says the team has not had discussions with Max Scherzer and does not plan to, the San Jose Mercury News’ Alex Pavlovic tweets. Pavlovic adds that Sabean does not think much of the current free agent market for left fielders, and instead could attempt to acquire one in a trade. Sabean says (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter) that the team has “limited financial flexibility,” given their recent signings of Jake Peavy and Sergio Romo and trade for Casey McGehee, and must decide whether to spend aggressively on James Shields or a left fielder.
  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is aware of the risks involved in trading Matt Kemp to San Diego, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. “We get it. I have a lot of respect for what he can do in the batter’s box,” says Friedman. Nonetheless, the Kemp trade and the Dodgers’ many other offseason moves have been aimed at “mold[ing] our roster into the most highly-functioning baseball team, as opposed to a collection of talent,” he says.
  • The Dodgers’ acquisition of Howie Kendrick from the Angels for top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney might not work out unless the Dodgers can sign Kendrick to an extension, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes. If Heaney becomes a reliable starter for the Angels, the Dodgers will need to sign Kendrick to get good value from the deal. Both Kendrick and the Dodgers say the two sides have not yet discussed an extension, although Friedman suggests they could at some point.

Dodgers Acquire Howie Kendrick

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, for southpaw Andrew Heaney, who was just acquired by the Dodgers from the Marlins earlier today. No money is changing hands in the deal, so the Dodgers will pay all of the $9.5MM Kendrick is owed in 2015.

Kendrick replaces Dee Gordon at second base, as Gordon was part of the package that went to Miami for Heaney as part of this incredible day of transactions for the Dodgers.  Kendrick represents both an offensive and defensive upgrade over Gordon, and the 31-year-old hit .293/.347/.397 over 674 PA last season.MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Kendrick has been a subject of trade rumors for much of the offseason, with teams such as the Orioles, Yankees and Blue Jays all connected to the veteran second baseman at various times.  In the end, however, Kendrick will move down the highway to Los Angeles’ other team.  This isn’t the first time that Kendrick has been pursued by the Dodgers, as the two L.A. clubs discussed a trade in the summer of 2013.

Payroll was primarily the reason why the Halos were willing to move Kendrick or David Freese this offseason.  Kendrick will earn $9.5MM in the last year of his contract, and getting that salary off the books will give the Angels some flexibility for further moves.  The Angels have been aggressively looking for utility infielders, and presumably whomever they acquire will now be in line for some regular playing time alongside Grant Green at second base.

The Angels were said to be targeting young pitching for much of the offseason, and they’ve now landed one of the game’s top prospects in Heaney.  The lefty was named both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings.  He has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.

Heaney is 23 years and controllable through the 2020 season, and presumably he’ll get every opportunity to win a job in the Angels’ rotation.  Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker are the only starters guaranteed for jobs on Opening Day, as Garrett Richards may start the season on the DL.  Heaney joins Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano, Hector Santiago and Cory Rasmus in battling it out for rotation jobs in Spring Training.

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick initially reported that the Dodgers would acquire Kendrick (on Twitter). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Angels would receive Heaney in return. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin tweeted that the Dodgers would take on Kendrick’s entire salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Dodgers, Marlins Make Seven-Player Trade

The Dodgers and Marlins have announced a blockbuster deal that sends middle infielder Dee Gordon, veteran right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and a player to be named later or cash to Miami in exchange for left-hander Andrew Heaney, second baseman Enrique Hernandez, righty reliever Chris Hatcher and catching prospect Austin Barnes.  (Heaney has since been traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.)

USATSI_8130033_154513410_lowresWith the Dodgers reportedly open to dealing Gordon and the Marlins open to trading from their surplus of young arms, the two made sense as trade partners, especially with Miami rather thin in the middle infield.  Gordon is an upgrade over the Marlins’ current second base options (Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich), though Gordon could also return to his original shortstop position and supplant Adeiny Hechavarria, who has been a negative fWAR player over the last two seasons.

Gordon broke out with an All-Star campaign in 2014, hitting .289/.326/.378 over 650 plate appearances while leading the league in both steals (64) and triples (12).  He is controlled through the 2018 season, though he’ll start getting expensive this winter as he is arbitration-eligible for the first of four times (as a Super Two player).  MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Gordon to earn $2.5MM in 2015.

Haren said last month that he could retire if he was pitching anywhere other than with the Dodgers or Angels.  The righty exercised his $10MM player option for the 2015 season, so now the question seems to be whether Haren will have a change of heart about playing outside of southern California, or if he’ll indeed hang up his glove and walk away from that $10MM.  Haren posted a 4.02 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and a 4.03 K/BB rate over 186 innings last season, so he’d fit the Marlins’ desire for a veteran arm if he did continue to pitch.  ESPN’s Buster Olney did hear that a third team could be involved in the trade talks, which could be a precursor to another Marlins trade that could send Haren to a more preferred destination. The Marlins’ Michael Hill says (via the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin on Twitter) that the Marlins will not receive additional compensation depending on what happens with Haren.

Whether or not Haren retires, the Dodgers will still send $10MM to Miami as part of the trade, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter links).  L.A. will also cover the projected $2.5MM that Gordon will earn in arbitration.  The Marlins plan to use the money from the Dodgers on a first baseman or a starting pitcher.

Rojas, 25, made his Major League debut in 2014, posting a .464 OPS over 162 PA and mostly playing shortstop.  Rojas also received some significant playing time at second and third during his nine-year minor league career, which saw him post a .238/.305/.297 line over 2639 plate appearances in the Dodgers, Reds and Rays farm systems.

From the Dodgers’ perspective, they’ve overhauled their middle infield in a matter of hours between this deal, the Kendrick swap and the seemingly impending Jimmy Rollins trade. Heaney is already gone, but USA Bob Nightengale points out that L.A. could also use some of these youngsters as trade bait to acquire a top starter such as Cole Hamels.  It’s also possible that some of these players could be going to the Phils to complete the Rollins deal, as per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Heaney is the biggest name of the four, the ninth overall pick of the 2012 draft and tabbed as both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings.  Heaney has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.

This is Hernandez’s second trade in less than five months, as he came to the Marlins from the Astros in July as part of the Jarred Cosart deal.  Hernandez also made his MLB debut in 2014, posting a .248/.321/.421 slash line and a 110 wRC+ over 134 PA with Houston and Miami.  He played mostly as a second baseman in the minors and will join Alex Guerrero, Darwin Barney and Justin Turner in battling for a backup role in Los Angeles.  Hernandez also has experience at third, short and all three outfield positions, so he could be a valuable bench piece.

Hatcher enjoyed a breakout season in 2014, posting a 3.38 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and a 5:1 strikeout-to-walk rate over 56 innings last season.  He’s a solid addition to a Dodgers bullpen that was looking to upgrade at a low cost, given the large salaries already committed to the likes of Brandon League, Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, not to mention Kenley Jansen‘s projected $8.2MM arbitration salary.

Baseball America ranked Barnes as the Marlins’ 20th-best prospect prior to the season.  The 24-year-old catcher has shown some impressive skill at the plate, with .298/.390/.431 slash line over 1855 minor league PA.  Barnes posted a .913 OPS in 348 PA at the Double-A level last season.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported the deal had been agreed upon, pending some paperwork.  ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter links) was the first to report that the two sides were having “serious talks” about a Gordon/Heaney trade and Haren’s possible involvement, and Olney described the deal as being “close to done.”  Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) added that Hernandez, Barnes and Hatcher were included in the deal. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweeted that Rojas was involved.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Dodgers, Marlins Talking Dee Gordon Deal

The Dodgers and Marlins are having serious talks about a trade involving Dee Gordon and Andrew Heaney, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links).  Other teams could be involved in the deal and Dan Haren‘s name has been mentioned.  Olney describes the trade as being “close to done” (Twitter link).


AL West Rumors: Rangers, Kemp, A’s, Kang

The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..

  • There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
  • Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).

East Notes: Melky, Heaney, Eovaldi, Murphy, Victorino

Though there’s been mutual interest between Melky Cabrera and the Blue Jays for months, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that, all things being equal, Cabrera’s preference would be to sign somewhere other than Toronto so that half of his games aren’t played on artificial turf (Twitter links). However, the turf won’t prevent Cabrera from remaining in Toronto if the club’s offer is clearly the best that he receives.

Some more links pertaining to baseball’s Eastern divisions…

  • The Marlins are willing to listen to offers on top prospect Andrew Heaney, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. While parting with the player that entered last season as a Top 30 prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com (and 34th per ESPN’s Keith Law) would of course be difficult, the club very much wants a left-handed bat to pair with Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of the order. One key reason for their willingness to part with Heaney, Frisaro notes, is the emergence of fellow lefty Justin Nicolino. Miami acquired Nicolino — who has ranked as a Top 100 prospect himself — from Toronto in the Jose Reyes blockbuster. He posted a 2.85 ERA in 170 1/3 innings at Double-A this season, walking just 1.1 hitters per nine. However, he also saw his strikeout rate dip to a somewhat troubling rate of just 4.3 per nine.
  • Frisaro also notes that right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and southpaw Brad Hand are also available for the right offer. Eovaldi, in particular, is intriguing given the blistering 96 mph he’s averaged as a starter over the past two seasons. Though he struggled a bit with a 4.34 ERA in 2014, FIP (3.37), xFIP (3.76) and SIERA (3.91) all feel he was better than that ERA would suggest. The 24-year-old Hand, meanwhile, has a 4.42 ERA in 195 1/3 big league innings and started 16 games for last year’s club.
  • Daniel Murphy‘s name can frequently be found on the pages of MLBTR, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said earlier this week on SNY TV in New York (via Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone) that the second baseman  “should be an important part of our team next year,” further suggesting that it’s a long shot that Murphy will be moved.
  • Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will swing a bat for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Monday and tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that he’s on pace to be 100 percent by Spring Training. While Boston has quite the outfield logjam, Victorino plainly explains to Bradford that he feels he should be the starting right fielder next season. “…[I]f I’m healthy if there’s a better outfielder in right field then show me and go out there and do it,” says Victorino. “I’m not saying that in a cocky or arrogant way. It’s just how confident I am to know I should be the starting right fielder.” The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is set to earn $13MM in the final season of a three-year, $39MM pact. While injuries limited him to 30 games last year, the former Phillie was one of the best players on Boston’s 2013 World Series winner, hitting .294/.351/.451 with elite outfield defense leading to more than 5.5 WAR.

NL East Links: Venters, Mets, Marlins, Gonzalez

As David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Braves left-hander Jonny Venters, who has spent the entire season rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, has received the devastating news that he has re-torn his left ulnar collateral ligament and will require a third Tommy John surgery if he is to continue his career. Venters says that he will address reporters Friday to further comment on the unfortunate news. O’Brien lists Jose Rijo and Jason Isringhausen as a rare pair of examples of success following a third Tommy John operation.

More from the National League East…

  • The Mets worked out Cuban third baseman Pavel Quesada and shortstop Roberto Carlos, reports Mike Puma of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Quesada, said to be a third baseman with some pop, was the more impressive of the two, according to Puma’s sources. The 28-year-old Carlos, on the other hand, was described as a “work in progress” that needs to improve the strength of his throwing arm.
  • Although the Marlins are hanging on in the playoff race — they’re five and a half games out of a Wild Card spot — president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro that a last-minute trade is unlikely. However, that doesn’t mean that the team will be going young in the month of September. With a postseason berth still a possibility, Hill notes that the team is less inclined to go with young players in order to give them experience when a veteran could give them a better chance at winning in a given situation. For this reason, top prospect Andrew Heaney may not get a September callup, Frisaro notes.
  • “He looked like a totally different guy than in Spring Training,” an American League scout told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer when discussing Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. A National League scout told Gelb, “He’s a solid setup guy for me.” The Phillies are very pleased with the progress they’ve seen since Gonzalez’s injuries in Spring Training made the team’s $12MM investment look questionable. Gonzalez, who is likely to receive a September callup, has a 2.36 ERA in 34 innings since shifting to a relief role and has risen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s flashed a 95 to 98 mph fastball and could factor into the bullpen as a setup man coming out of Spring Training next year.

Cardinals, Pirates Making Strongest Bids For Lester

Jon Lester has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight — a clear indicator that the Red Sox are looking to deal their ace. It briefly looked like the Orioles were close to a deal, but while those talks are serious, the deal isn’t close yet. Here’s the latest…

  • The Cardinals and Pirates are making the strongest bids for Lester at the moment, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports report (Twitter link). The Dodgers also remain involved.

Earlier Updates

  • In a full article, Heyman writes that the A’s are the mystery team that has stepped into the Lester bidding. Nothing is close between the two sides at the moment, however.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that a mystery team is becoming more involved.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reports that the Athletics are in on Lester.
  • Via WEEI’s Alex Speier (on Twitter), manager John Farrell expects Lester to be in uniform with the Red Sox today.
  • The Cardinals‘ acquisition of Justin Masterson doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running for Lester, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Cards could still acquire Lester, though it may cost them Shelby Miller, Morosi adds in a second tweet.
  • The Marlins aren’t entirely out of the Lester sweepstakes, an AL executive familiar with the negotiations tells Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. However, the Marlins won’t part with top prospect Andrew Heaney in a Lester deal (or a deal for any rental player).
  • The Cardinals and Dodgers are the two teams that are most aggressively competing for Lester’s services, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They’re also the most aggressive clubs on David Price, though it’s far from a given that the Rays will move their own left-handed ace. Heyman hears similar things to yesterday’s reports regarding the Brewers and Orioles and says neither is in the mix at this point.
  • An NL GM told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he thinks the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers and Mariners are the primary suitors for Lester heading into Wednesday (Twitter link).

Marlins Promote Heaney; Slowey, Wolf Designated For Assignment

The Marlins announced that they have designated right-hander Kevin Slowey and left-hander Randy Wolf for assignment as part of a series of roster moves. Additionally, Christian Yelich and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been placed on the 15-day DL, and Donovan Solano has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Miami will recall right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, outfielder Jake Marisnick and first baseman Justin Bour. Most notably, top prospect Andrew Heaney will also be promoted to the Majors for the first time.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins

Heaney (pictured) was the ninth overall selection in the 2012 draft and entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 30 prospect according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. MLB.com ranked the 23-year-old as the game’s No. 29 prospect, and ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him 34th entering the season.

Heaney has shredded minor league hitters this season, pitching to a 2.47 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 76 2/3 innings between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. Should he remain with the team through season’s end, he would accrue 106 days of Major League service time, meaning that he should fall well shy of Super Two status.

The former Oklahoma State ace has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and touches 95 mph regularly, per Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com. That plus heater is accompanied by a “wipeout” slider that Mayo and Callis grade as Heaney’s best pitch, as well as a changeup that the duo describes as a “good third pitch.” BA’s scouting reports notes that his fastball can reach 97 mph when he needs the heat, but Heaney has learned that he pitches with better command when throwing in the 91 to 93 mph range. BA also noted that holding runners has been a weakness for Heaney dating back to college (19 of 20 attempted base-stealers were successful against him in 2013), but he’s allowed just six steals in nine attempts in 2014.

The 37-year-old Wolf signed a Major League deal with the Marlins in May after opting out of his minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. He posted a 5.26 ERA with a strong 19-to-6 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings with the Fish, and his 87.7 mph fastball velocity wasn’t too far off his career mark of 88.2 mph. Wolf’s stint with the Marlins was his first Major League work since late 2012, as he missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Sabermetric ERA estimators such as FIP (4.33), xFIP (3.87) and SIERA (3.99) all feel that he was the victim of some poor luck.

Slowey, 30, posted similar numbers to Wolf, compiling a 5.30 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 37 1/3 innings. He, too, was the victim of a very lofty batting average on balls in play (.382), which no doubt contributed to his lofty ERA. Slowey has always been a soft-tossing fly-ball pitcher, but he has excellent command and a respectable 4.62 ERA in 662 career innings with the Twins and Marlins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL East Notes: Heaney, K-Rod, Mets, Taylor

The Marlins have scratched top prospect Andrew Heaney from tonight’s start, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes that fans shouldn’t read too much into the move. Marlins VP of player development Marty Scott tells Spencer that the move is just a precaution against having to shut Heaney down in September and isn’t related to a current call-up. Heaney himself told Darrell Williams of the New Orleans Advocate that he feels he’s ready to pitch in the Majors but doesn’t want to be called up as a fill-in, but rather to help the team win: They’re in first place,” said Heaney. “I don’t want them to bring me up as an experiment.”

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • Francisco Rodriguez told Newsday’s Marc Carig that he and the Mets exchanged numbers shortly before New York signed Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde, and following those two moves, he made his decision to return to the Brewers (Twitter link). K-Rod, signed to be a setup man in Milwaukee, has instead turned back the clock with his best season in years, pitching to a 2.01 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 20 saves to this point as the team’s closer.
  • The Mets are “caught between the reality of needing patience and the desire to finally start winning again,” writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Kepner spoke with Jon Niese, who said he’s not sure how Mets prospects such as Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud deal with the pressure and expectations placed upon them by fans and media alike. Niese, who didn’t break out until his fifth season with the Mets, added that he’s thankful that the team gave him, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell time to develop, but he’s not sure the newest wave will be afforded the same opportunity.
  • James Wagner of the Washington Post examines Nationals prospect Michael Taylor‘s breakout at Double-A Harrisburg. Taylor, not to be confused by the former Top 100 prospect of the same name, has worked with hitting coach Mark Harris to tweak his approach at the plate and is recognizing breaking pitches better and thriving at the plate. His strikeout rate is still a problem, but it dropped from April to May, and if he can continue that trend he could be on a fast track to Washington’s outfield.