- A.J. Burnett May Miss Rest Of Season
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Archie Bradley Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- With the possibility Niese may open the season on the disabled list, Jenrry Mejia could join Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Mets' rotation with John Lannan earning a relief role, according to Rubin.
- The Diamondbacks are another team scrambling to fill a void in their starting rotation in the wake of the news from earlier today Patrick Corbin could be facing Tommy John surgery. GM Kevin Towers, however, plans to use in-house options like Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, and Josh Collmenter rather than seek a trade immediately, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
- Noah Syndergaard, who remains in the Mets' Major League Spring Training camp, was the key component in last offseason's R.A. Dickey trade, writes Matt Ehalt of the Record. "I think eventually it got to the point where we needed Syndergaard," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Mets' special assistant to the GM. "I think in order to finish it off, we needed a younger, higher prospect to make us say, 'OK, it's worth trading a Cy Young Award winner.'"
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team's bullpen depth is "a chance to move a guy that can go help someone else to add a piece," tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Travis Sawchik. Huntington also gave a near-guarantee Edinson Volquez will be in the Pirates' starting rotation, Sawchik tweets.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post contradicts a story from this morning the Rockies are in the market for right-handed bullpen help. A source tells Renck the club prefers to give Chad Bettis or Chris Martin a chance before pursuing a trade.
- Being forced to rush their young pitching prospects to the Majors has come back to haunt the Marlins, as Jacob Turner and Brad Hand (22 and 23, respectively) are now out of options, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Dodgers have selected the contract of Justin Turner and will bring Chone Figgins to Australia, reports Dylan Herndandez of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes broke the news in February of Turner agreeing to a minor league contract with the Dodgers and now the 29-year-old will make $1MM as a reserve infielder. Figgins, who signed a minor league deal in January and is trying to make the squad as an utilityman, will be one of 30 players the Dodgers are taking on the trip (only 25 will be active on game day).
Full Story | 15 Comments | Categories: Archie Bradley | Arizona Diamondbacks | Chone Figgins | Colorado Rockies | Daisuke Matsuzaka | Edinson Volquez | Jacob Turner | Jenrry Mejia | John Lannan | Jon Niese | Jonathon Niese | Josh Collmenter | Justin Turner | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Neal Huntington | New York Mets | Noah Syndergaard | Pittsburgh Pirates | Randall Delgado
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.
It remains to be seen whether or not Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but if he is and the Diamondbacks have yet to address their starting pitching needs, expect Arizona to place a bid on the Japanese right-hander, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Here's more on the D-Backs and a pair of their NL West rivals:
- Kevin Towers and the D-Backs don't mind waiting on Eric Chavez, who is deciding where he wants to play and monitoring Arizona's moves, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
- Asked about the possibility of trading Archie Bradley, Towers suggested today that it would be "very, very tough" for the D-Backs to do so, tweets Gilbert.
- The Padres have interest in Scott Downs, among other southpaw relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. San Diego's Josh Byrnes confirmed that the team is casting a wide net for bullpen help, indicating that he has touched base with "most" available left-handed relievers (Twitter link via Adam Berry of MLB.com).
- According to Berry (Twitter links), Byrnes said the Padres have weighed "six or eight ideas" and have meetings set up to discuss free agents and trades. Byrnes also shot down the latest round of Chase Headley rumors, stating that the team views the third baseman as part of its 2014 plans.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area has some details on the Giants' search for an outfielder, tweeting that the Giants called three times on Norichika Aoki before the Brewers decided to send Aoki to the Royals. In a second tweet, Baggarly says the Giants are interested in Michael Morse and Corey Hart, but probably not at the years and dollars those players will command.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle provides a couple more Giants updates, reporting that no teams have inquired on San Francisco's five starters, but that the club's young pitching has drawn some interest. Shea adds that the team appears unlikely to bring back Chad Gaudin (Twitter links).
3:30pm: The Diamondbacks may also be looking to the trade market for power bats, according to a recent series of tweets from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal reports that the D-Backs and A's recently discussed a trade that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Arizona in exchange for Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pollock and others. Both sides have cooled on the idea and backed off the trade at this time, however, and the A's would only trade Cespedes for a "monster" return, according to Rosenthal. Still, as he points out, it serves as an example that the Diamondbacks will be aggressive and creative in their search for a power bat in the outfield.
1:54pm: The Diamondbacks are motivated to swing a trade for an ace-caliber pitcher, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick spoke with Arizona GM Kevin Towers, president/CEO Derrick Hall and owner Ken Kendrick in an excellent, in-depth breakdown of the situation. While Towers was quick to say that no player is untouchable, he sounded loath to part with prized pitching prospect Archie Bradley, a consensus Top 10 MLB prospect. Asked about the possiblity of trading Bradley, he replied:
"I don't see that happening. Not that anybody is untouchable, but we're hoping he's our David Price, and we can control him [for several years]. He's gonna get every opportunity to crack our rotation this spring … He's not looking to make our rotation as the fifth guy — he's looking to make it as the ace."
Hall pointed to the Diamondbacks' success in 2011 when Ian Kennedy finished fourth in the Cy Young race, noting how impactful having a "No. 1 type starter" was to that year's team. Hall expects activity to pick up: "We're getting a lot of calls and making a lot of calls, and we can see the interest is there. We're probably a good fit for a lot of clubs."
In addition to enviable pitching depth, the Diamondbacks also have several intriguing shortstops in the form of Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed. Martin Prado's presence means that Arizona could also be inclined to include Matt Davidson in potential trades, and the presence of both A.J. Pollock could mean that Adam Eaton is attainable as well, notes Crasnick.
Crasnick lists familiar trade targets Price and Jeff Samardzija for the Diamondbacks, though Price has had multiple ace-caliber seasons while Samardzija has more so flashed ace potential. Crasnick adds that Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado, each of whom is still younger than 24, may be more likely to be included in potential trades.
The Diamondbacks are also looking to add an impact bat to the outfield, though that addition may be more likely to come via free agency, reports Crasnick. Big-name items like Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson may not fit into Arizona's payroll, which could lead to pursuits of names like Corey Hart and Michael Morse, though there are many who don't consider either one to be capable of handling the outfield at this point.