Archie Bradley Rumors

NL West Notes: Kemp, Kim, Giants, Arruebarrena

Before dealing Matt Kemp to one division rival, they were in deep talks with another about a deal, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The Diamondbacks rejected L.A.’s request for center fielder A.J. Pollock but was willing to ship top pitching prospect Archie Bradley to add Kemp. Of course, we do not know the details of those discussions, including especially the amount of Kemp’s salary that would have been covered.

Here’s the latest from the National League West:

  • The Padres are unlikely as things stand to reach agreement with Kwang-hyun Kim before today’s deadline, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. With a 2pm PST expiration, we could learn more on that situation soon.
  • The Giants intend to add a starter sooner rather than later and do not intend to participate in a drawn-out bidding process, AGM Bobby Evans told reporters including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • In addition to checking in with Asdrubal Cabrera, the Giants have inquired with Jed Lowrie about his interest in spending time at second or third, also per Evans. (Via Shea, on Twitter.) Lowrie apparently indicated that would be a possibility. The team could theoretically add a player at second and move Joe Panik to third, Evans also told the scribes, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft (via Twitter).
  • The Dodgers will be open to moving shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena after the Jimmy Rollins deal is finalized, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The 24-year-old is owed $16MM over the next four years.

NL West Notes: Petit, Lincecum, D’Backs, Bradley, Hoffman

There have been plenty of historic moments this season, but one under-the-radar chase of an MLB record came to a close today, as Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit set a new Major League record by retiring his 46th consecutive batter (video link). Petit’s 46 batters came over a span of eight appearances and included an impressive 26 strikeouts. The 29-year-old will make for an interesting arbitration case this offseason if he remains in the San Francisco rotation going forward, as he’s quietly strung together a pair of excellent seasons after pitching just 4 2/3 innings in the Majors from 2010-12.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • The man that Petit replaced in the Giants rotation, Tim Lincecum, is perhaps best suited to become a closer at this point in his career, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Cameron notes that the move to the bullpen would likely restore some of Lincecum’s lost velocity, but more importantly, he points out the stark contrast between Lincecum’s numbers with the bases empty and with men on base. Because of his struggles pitching from the stretch, Lincecum wouldn’t be a great fit to be a middle reliever that would inherit runners. Rather, pitching the ninth inning would give him as many opportunities to begin an inning with a clean slate as possible, Cameron writes.
  • Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall was a guest of Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM today (audio link), and the Arizona executive discussed the hiring of Tony La Russa: “Tony’s been terrific.  I’ve really enjoyed being with him every day and he’s put a lot of work into this and he’s motivated and he’s so competitive it is fun to watch each and every day.  But I think his assessment, his evaluation is very close to being complete.”
  • Hall also discussed the future of GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, telling Duquette and Ferrin that the organization was getting close to deciding on the future of each. “…when we make those decisions, the sooner the better.  … It doesn’t make sense to go into the offseason, when we already have so many decisions to make with our player personnel, to still be wondering what we’re going to do in the front office. … So I think we’re getting close to the point of knowing what we’re going to want to do and act swiftly so that when the season does end we’re ready to go and get ready for 2015.”
  • Speaking of Towers, the longtime GM participated in a Q&A with Steve Gilbert of MLB.com earlier this week and discussed his recent scouting trip of the team’s minor league system as well as his relationship with La Russa: “It’s nice to have a guy that’s been as successful in uniform around. … It’s nice to be able to pick his brain. I always wanted to pick his brain when he was in the other dugout with the Cardinals. Now when you have him on the same team, it’s very valuable.” Also of note is the fact that Towers said to Gilbert that it was unlikely that top prospect Archie Bradley would be receiving a September callup.
  • Trevor Hoffman will be inducted into the Padres‘ Hall of Fame on Saturday, and to commemorate his historic career, MLB.com’s Corey Brock spoke to a number of catchers that had the privilege of catching the likely Hall of Famer. Brock’s story is full of excellent stories from a number of catchers, including current Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy, who recalls catching Hoffman’s 600th career save as a rookie in 2010. In describing the legendary closer, Lucroy states: “I always reference Trevor Hoffman when I talk about the kind of guy I want to be.”

D’Backs Notes: Parra, Prado, Bauer, Bradley

Here’s the latest from the desert…

  • The Diamondbacks’ deadline trades are analyzed by several rival talent evaluators, who share their thoughts with Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  Some scouts feel Gerardo Parra is on the decline and could’ve been a non-tender candidate since he’s on pace to earn between $6-7MM in arbitration this winter, so “getting even a decent piece for Parra is a great move,” said one American League source.  Parra was dealt to the Brewers on Thursday.
  • Catching prospect Peter O’Brien has power but his defense and ability to play in the NL drew mixed reviews from scouts, though the biggest benefit of his acquisition was that the Yankees took the roughly $25MM remaining on Martin Prado‘s contract off Arizona’s books.  Losing Prado, of course, removes the biggest piece from the Justin Upton trade, and Piecoro notes that the D’Backs have now traded several stars (including Upton, Prado and Parra, among others) when their value has been low, rather than selling high.
  • One of those low-return deals could be the three-team trade between the D’Backs, Reds and Indians from December 2012, as Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer feels the Tribe look like the winners of that trade 20 months later.  Arizona gave up a highly-regarded pitching prospect in Trevor Bauer (due to reported attitude issues with team management) and relievers Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers in the trade, and now Bauer seems to be turning the corner as a rotation staple while Shaw has been a valuable setup man for Cleveland.  The Snakes, meanwhile, got back Tony Sipp, Lars Anderson and Didi Gregorius in the deal; they’ll regret this one if Bauer becomes an ace, though Gregorius seems like a promising enough young shortstop that I wouldn’t say Arizona made off poorly in the trade.
  • Archie Bradley is pitching well at Double-A Mobile and, perhaps more importantly, is healthy after an injury scare in April, Jack Magruder writes for Baseball America.  Bradley was shut down for a while to ensure that his right elbow was fit, and he has a 3.97 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and a 1.47 K/BB rate in 34 innings for Mobile (his numbers somewhat inflated by one particularly poor start).  Magruder speculates that Bradley might get a late-season promotion if the D’Backs move to a six-man rotation.


D’backs Unwilling To Trade Miley, Owings, Pollock, Others

The Diamondbacks have been receiving interest in left-hander Wade Miley, but are telling interested parties that he is unavailable, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Some had speculated that Miley could fetch a nice return as an under-the-radar trade candidate, but given his long-term control (through 2017), it appears that Arizona will likely resist the temptation.

Other players the D’Backs aren’t willing to move, according to Rosenthal (Twitter links), include Chris Owings, A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley. Even veteran setup man Brad Ziegler is likely unavailable, per Rosenthal’s sources. Rosenthal offers a somewhat softer take on Mark Trumbo‘s availability, stating that a trade is “unlikely.” Trumbo is controlled through the 2016 season, Rosenthal notes, and Arizona would be hard-pressed to get near the same value they surrendered to acquire the slugger in the offseason.

All said, it is not surprising that Arizona would be unwilling to part with most of the players listed above, especially the younger players who are now (or are expected soon to be) playing at the MLB level. While Trumbo comes with just two years of control remaining, his long injury layoff will at least suppress his salary somewhat. And Arizona will surely be hesitant to move him for a cut rate after parting with both Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs for his rights over the offseason.

Ziegler’s inclusion, though, is a bit surprising at first glance. The righty has been consistently excellent, of course — and has even managed to increase his strikeout numbers this year to a far-and-away career best of 8.0 K/9 — but at 34 years of age he is probably not a long-term asset. (He is, however, under contract for next season at $5MM and is under control through a $5.5MM team option, which comes with a $1MM buyout, for 2016.)

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Archie Bradley Placed On DL With Elbow Injury

4:59pm: There does not appear to be any structural trouble with Bradley’s elbow, Berthiaume tweets.

2:16pm: Top Diamondbacks prospect Archie Bradley has been sent to the minor-league disabled list with a mild flexor strain in his elbow, MLB.com’s Steve Berthiaume tweets. Heading into the season, Bradley was universally considered one of the best prospects in baseball, and a likely candidate for a summer promotion to the big leagues. After two solid starts at Triple-A Reno to begin the season, however, he struggled in his last three outings, allowing 12 runs while striking out 15 and walking eight in 12 1/3 innings.

MLB.com currently ranks Bradley the No. 7 prospect in baseball. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 ranks Bradley the Diamondbacks’ best prospect, praising his outstanding, mid-90s fastball and plus curveball. Last season, he posted a 1.84 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 152 innings split between Class A+ and Double-A.


NL Notes: Polanco, Bradley, Abreu

Toolsy Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco ought to be the next top prospect to win a promotion, MLB.com's Jim Callis writes. MLB.com ranked Polanco the No. 13 prospect in baseball heading into the season, and he's done nothing to diminish his reputation since then, hitting .439/.475/.667 in 61 plate appearances so far for Triple-A Indianapolis. "He's done a little bit of everything," says Pirates assistant GM Kyle Stark. "It's been fun to watch. The exciting thing about him is he's extremely driven and has very good feel for making adjustments, so it allows him to keep getting better." Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, meanwhile, argues for Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks to be the next top prospect to reach the big leagues. Bradley, who raced through the Class A+ and Double-A levels last season, has a 3.31 ERA with 12 strikeouts and six walks in 16 1/3 innings for Triple-A Reno. Mayo suggests that it's not impossible that Bradley's impact on the Diamondbacks could be similar to Jose Fernandez's impact on the Marlins last year.
  • With Ike Davis heading to the Pirates veteran Bobby Abreu could be making his way back to the big leagues with the Mets, Tim Rohan of the New York Times writes. In March, the Mets signed Abreu to a minor-league deal, suggesting to him that they might promote him to serve as a lefty pinch-hitter once they figured out what they would do with Davis and Lucas Duda. For now, Abreu is hitting .412/.487/.529 in his first 39 plate appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas.

Agent Says D’Backs Should Promote Archie Bradley

Top prospect Archie Bradley should be promoted to the big league club, his agent Jay Franklin tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Arizona GM Kevin Towers denied that the 21-year-old was being held down over service-time considerations.

"I think it's very apparent what is going on in Arizona," said Franklin. "Every ballplayer that is playing minor league baseball works his tail off to get an opportunity to play in the big leagues. Archie Bradley has proven to the Diamondbacks organization that he has deserved that opportunity by keeping his mouth shut and letting his numbers speak for his chance to pitch in the major leagues."

Of course, it is well accepted by observers that teams do (and should) consider MLB service time in determining when to promote top prospects. Here at MLBTR, we just broke down the timing issues for some of the best prospects around the league who could be brought to the bigs this year.

For Bradley, who is for some the top-rated pitching prospect who has yet to see MLB action, an appearance on the big league roster before the end of the month would cost Arizona the opportunity to control him for an additional season. Likewise, avoiding Super Two status (and with it an additional year of arbitration eligiblity) would require the club to hold Bradley out until some time between mid-May and early June, depending upon how this year's league-wide promotions shake out. The benefits to the team of adding control and lowering cost, of course, can come with a countervailing effect on the player (assuming, at least, that there would be no harm to the player's development — a highly subjective consideration).

For multiple reasons, clubs are loath to say that their determinations are based upon such considerations. For a Diamondbacks team that has had injury and performance issues in its rotation in the season's early going, there has been widespread speculation as to whether the team would call up Bradley. 

But Towers said that he has legitimate baseball reasons not to go to the hyped young righty at this point. He cited two primary considerations in an interview with Rosenthal: the desire to avoid undue pressure in the middle of a tough start for the team, and the fact that Bradley struggled toward the end of the spring. "If it gets to the point where we straighten this thing out and it's a more positive environment here and he's throwing the ball well," said Towers, "we'll do it regardless of the clock."

On the whole, it seems quite unlikely that Franklin has an actionable complaint (or that he has any such intention). It is, after all, quite common for outstanding young players to experience just this situation. But for a player who many expect to turn into a top-line starter, this early relationship issue — Rosenthal describes it as a "spar" between agent and GM — will certainly be worth watching as time goes on.


D’Backs Eyeing Veteran Starters For Triple-A Depth

The Diamondbacks will open a series against the Dodgers tonight with a rotation that has produced a combined 6.57 ERA that trails only the Twins for the worst mark in Major League Baseball, but general manager Kevin Towers tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that he's not actively pursuing trades of pitchers at this time (Twitter link). However, he does expect to sign a veteran starter to serve as depth at Triple-A in the coming days.

As the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro wrote this week, Josh Collmenter seems likely to be headed into the rotation in place of either Randall Delgado or Trevor Cahill (and that was written prior to another poor outing from Delgado last night). That might provide an upgrade, but it's not the most impactful move that the club could make. Top prospect Archie Bradley is looming at Triple-A Reno, where he tossed five shutout innings in his first start of 2014. Bradley would need to remain in Triple-A through late April to delay his free agency another season or stay in the minors through June to avoid Super Two status. CEO Derrick Hall recently told fans that service time isn't a consideration, and Bradley is "exactly where he should be right now to fine tune some skills and work on his command." (Of course, those comments are the expected refrain from an executive.) Gilbert tweeted to one of his followers that there has been no mention of Bradley being promoted as of yet.

A look at the remaining free agents shows that Towers and his baseball operations staff don't have a lot to choose from in terms of starting pitchers. Freddy Garcia would make sense, but he's said that he would prefer retirement to pitching in Triple-A, making him an unlikely fit as minor league depth. Jair Jurrjens could have the most upside of the group. He underwent knee surgery last September but should be recovered based on the timeline tweeted by Yahoo's Tim Brown this winter. Those two names are pure speculation on my part.


NL Notes: Niese, D’backs, Pirates, Marlins, Dodgers

Mets left-hander Jon Niese was removed from his start today after only two innings and 35 pitches with what the club calls left elbow discomfort. Niese had been wearing a neoprene sleve on his left arm the past few days, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "It's the Spring Training from hell," Niese told reporters (as quoted by ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin). Niese also said he hyperextended the elbow, which first flared up during an intrasquad game 10 days ago, and has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing rehab since. Niese added the discomfort is in the back of the elbow, not in the ligament area (the focus of Tommy John surgery). The Mets are flying the 27-year-old to New York tonight with a MRI, his second in less than three weeks, scheduled for tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday

Elsewhere in the National League:


NL West Notes: Padres, Benoit, Belt, Arroyo, Bradley

Padres fans got some welcome news this evening, as it was announced that Time Warner Cable will begin airing Padres games for the coming season, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. As Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs has explained, the failure of Time Warner (and, at the time, AT&T U-verse and DISH Network) to agree to the Fox Sports San Diego subscriber fee not only left many fans without access to games, but put a significant dent in the Friars' expected annual payout. Here's more from San Diego and the rest of the NL West:

  • When the Padres inked reliever Joaquin Benoit to a two-year, $14MM deal earlier in the off-season, it raised an immediate question whether he or incumbent Huston Street would close. As Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, both back-end arms are content with the situation and their roles. "[Street] is going to shut the door," said Benoit, "and I'm going to try to give him as many games with leads as I can." For his part, Street — whose deal includes a $7MM club option for 2015 — says that he understands the business side of things and hopes only for success for his new teammate. "It's a smart move on the Padres' part," he said. "It gives them options for 2015. It gives them options if I go down. It gives them options if I struggle."
  • After a breakout campaign last year put him in position for a nice payday as a Super Two, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has yet to reach agreement with his club on a price for his 2014 season. The sides' filing figures ($3.6MM against $2.05MM) are the furthest apart in relative terms among remaining arbitration cases. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, however, it remains likely that a hearing will be avoided, as team and player both recently expressed an expectation that a settlement will be forthcoming.
  • Despite adding another rotation arm in Bronson Arroyo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that top prospect Archie Bradley can still earn a starting spot out of camp, reports FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder"We want to get out of the gate quick," said Towers. "I've said from the beginning, with Archie, it's not about trying to save a year, save money. We need to win games. If he's ready coming out of the spring and we're a better ballclub with Archie being in it, he's going to be there." Putting the 21-year-old on the MLB roster for Opening Day would mean giving up the ability to extend team control for an extra season, but Towers' statement indicates that is still a real possibility. (On the other hand, given that factor and Bradley's limited seasoning, it will probably be a tall order for him to unseat one of the expected five as a practical matter.) Fellow righty Randall Delgado would likely join the bullpen if he does not earn a turn in the rotation, said Towers, since he is out of options.
  • The Arroyo signing has earned mixed reviews; as MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth opined, for example, the $23.5MM guarantee that he received is a debatable investment in a market that promised Paul Maholm just $1.5MM. One under-the-radar issue with Arroyo, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, is that his pronounced struggles against lefties have been masked somewhat by pitching in a division (the National League Central) that has not featured the volume of left-handed bats to take full advantage of the platoon split. In particular, Cameron says, should the Diamondbacks reach the post-season, Arroyo's achilles heel could significantly impair his usefulness to his new club.