Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

Arizona Diamondbacks trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Diamondbacks Designate Kevin Munson

The Diamondbacks have designated righty Kevin Munson for assignment, Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com tweets. Munson is a 26-year-old reliever who has yet to see MLB action.

After being by the Phillies in last year’s Rule 5 draft, Munson was sent back to Arizona in mid-March. Since that time, he’s posted some uneven results at the Triple-A level.

Munson looked like a future piece last year, running up 62 1/3 innings of 2.60 ERA ball with 11.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. But he’s reversed course in 2015 after experiencing arm soreness in the spring. Over his 31 1/3 frames at the highest level of the minors, Munson has issued 7.2 walks to go with only 8.6 strikeouts per nine while accumulating a 4.60 earned run mark.


Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks

SUNDAY, 11:40am: The Mets have confirmed the trade via press release.

SATURDAY, 8:57pm: The Diamondbacks will receive 24-year-old pitcher Matt Koch and 23-year-old pitcher Miller Diaz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Koch has a 3.46 ERA with 5.60 K/9 and 1.53 BB/9 at Double-A. He’s split his time between starting and relief. His fastball plays up to the mid-90’s out of the bullpen.

In High-A, Diaz has pitched to a 4.71 ERA with 7.09 K/9 and 4.34 BB/9 in 124 and 1/3 innings. He posted loftier strikeout rates in the previous two seasons. Both Koch and Diaz strikes me as the type of pitchers who could eventually reach the majors as a reliever.

6:18pm: The Mets have acquired reliever Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks pending a physical, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Arizona will acquire two prospects in the swap. We learned earlier this afternoon that the Mets were in the hunt for relievers including Marc Rzepczynski of the Padres. Reed is arbitration eligible for two more seasons. However, with a $4.875MM contract in 2015, he’s a possible non-tender candidate.

Reed, 26, entered the 2015 season as the Diamondbacks closer. He lost the job early in the year. His peripherals have taken a step backwards with just 7.52 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9. He’s averaged over a strikeout per inning over his five season career and has never walked more than 3.00 BB/9.

The right-handed reliever has spent a large chunk of the season in the minors. Since he was recalled on July 29, he has a 1.65 ERA with 7.71 K/9 and 1.65 BB/9. After home runs punished him in 2014, he’s held opponents to a tiny 3.8 percent HR/FB rate all while increasing his ground ball rate. This year, the damage has come via an elevated .344 BABIP.

There is still a chance the deal is detailed by the medical review. Reed rushed back this spring from shoulder soreness. It’s possible his peripheral decline is related to lingering shouldering issues (that’s just my speculation).

The Mets will hope his recent performance is more indicative of what’s to come. New York has Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia for the eighth and ninth inning roles. Reed may fit in as a seventh inning reliever.


Blue Jays Claim Danny Dorn

The Blue Jays have claimed first baseman/outfielder Danny Dorn off waivers from the Diamondbacks, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. He’ll be optioned to Triple-A, per the report.

Dorn is in a somewhat unusual situation for a claimed player. After spending parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level, the 31-year-old only saw his first chance at the big leagues this year. But his short stint with Arizona was short and unproductive.

That being said, Dorn has produced strong power and on-base numbers over his minor league career. And he is destroying the Triple-A level this year, with 305 plate appearances of .386/.444/.618 hitting.



Diamondbacks Designate Danny Dorn

The Diamondbacks have designated outfielder Danny Dorn for assignment, Zach Buchanan of the AZCentral.com reports on Twitter. His 40-man spot was needed for the activation of Jhoulys Chacin.

Dorn, 31, reached the majors for the first time this year, but managed just five hits (one for extra bases) in his 32 turns at bat. But he does have an extensive track record of solid production in the upper minors, and has raked to the tune of a .386/.444/.618 slash in his 305 Triple-A plate appearances this season.


Diamondbacks Release Gerald Laird

AUG: 24: The Diamondbacks have released Laird, per the club’s transactions page at MLB.com.

AUG. 20: The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve reinstated catcher Gerald Laird from the 60-day disabled list and designated him for assignment.

As Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic points out (Twitter link), the move allows Laird the opportunity to latch on with another club where he’ll have a better opportunity for playing time prior to the end of the season. Laird opened the season with the D-Backs, but since his injury earlier this year, Arizona has added catcher Welington Castillo and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, lessening the need for Laird’s presence on the roster.

The veteran Laird has a lifetime .243/.305/.353 batting line in 2734 plate appearances but came to the plate only twice in 2015 before landing on the disabled list due to a back injury.


NL West Links: Betancourt, Venable, Hall

The Dodgers‘ losing streak extended to five games after dropping a 3-2 result to the Astros today.  It was another rough outing for the struggling Los Angeles bullpen, as Kenley Jansen blew a save by allowing Houston to tie the game in the ninth, and Chris Hatcher picked up the loss after giving up a 10th-inning walkoff homer to Jason Castro.  Entering Sunday, Dodgers relievers had combined for a 6.00 ERA since the All-Star break, the second-worst bullpen ERA of any club in the second half.  Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • Rafael Betancourt was designated for assignment by the Rockies earlier today, and the veteran reliever told reporters (including MLB.com’s Thomas Harding) that he’s at peace with the fact that his 12-year career could be over.  He isn’t too optimistic about another team picking him up, saying “I don’t see any team that’s a contender right now that is looking to” acquire a struggling 40-year-old.  Betancourt may be a little hard on himself; several ERA indicators (3.32 FIP, 4.27 xFIP and 3.67 SIERA) show that he’s pitching much better than his 6.18 ERA would imply, and his velocity, strikeouts and walk rates are around his career averages.  Betancourt has been hurt by a .328 BABIP and a stunningly low 52.6% strand rate over his 39 1/3 innings of work.
  • The Dodgers declined to claim Will Venable on trade waivers, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.  Los Angeles is rather deep with outfield options but, as Morosi notes, the Dodgers could’ve used Venable in center with Joc Pederson struggling.  The Dodgers were hardly alone in passing on Venable, who went through waivers and then garnered interest from several teams.  The Padres dealt Venable to the Rangers last week.
  • The Diamondbacks are eager to make an impact in Japan both marketing-wise and in terms of player acquisitions, team president Derrick Hall told Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times.  “For us, we’ve always looked to be identified with someone in Japan.  We’re still hoping to find that talent one day,” Hall said.  “It’s a dream of mine personally to have a Japanese player in a D’Back uniform, as well as a Mexican-born player who can have an impact. Because I’ve seen what a difference that makes having grown up and cut my own teeth in the Dodgers organization all those years. Of course I was around during the time of Nomo-san and Nomomania and that was electric.”
  • Hall, Tony La Russa, Randy Johnson and Luis Gonzalez recently traveled to Japan on a goodwill tour on the Diamondbacks’ behalf, and while they weren’t specifically there to scout players, they did see Kenta Maeda and Shohei Otani pitch in NPB action.  Arizona was one of several teams linked to Maeda last offseason before the righty decided to re-sign with the Hiroshima Carp.  Maeda could be posted this winter, while Otani is just 21 and it’ll be at least a few seasons before the Nippon Ham Fighters consider making him available to North American teams.  Hall said the D’Backs are “going to be aggressive” on signing talent they believe in, though given the large fees involved in signing top-flight Japanese talent, “it makes it more difficult for teams like us in smaller markets.  When we write that big a check, we cannot miss. We’ve gotta be right.”

Reed, Rodney, Axford, Mujica, Aardsma Clear Waivers

Right-handers Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney, John Axford, Edward Mujica and David Aardsma have all cleared revocable trade waivers, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post, making them eligible to be dealt to any club.

Of the listed group, only the veteran Aardsma has even posted a sub-4.00 ERA this season, as the 33-year-old has a 3.95 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings with the Braves. He’s generating grounders at just a 29.9 percent clip though and has had some home run issues to go along with his questionable control. Aardsma inked a minor league deal with the Braves, so his salary for the remainder of the season is light in comparison to the peers with whom he’s listed.

Reed, 26, was an up-and-coming closer not long ago was viewed in a strong enough light for the D-Backs to surrender one of their top prospects (Matt Davidson) for him in the 2013-14 offseason. His first season with the Diamondbacks resulted in a 4.25 ERA, however, and he’s up to 4.46 this season. Reed lost his job to Brad Ziegler earlier in the year and has been demoted to Triple-A this season.

Since returning, Reed has yielded just one run on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in 10 innings, so things do look considerably brighter of late. However, Reed is also earning $4.875MM this season, and he’s still owed about $1.33MM of that sum through season’s end. He’s controllable through the 2017 season but is a definite non-tender candidate following the season, as he’ll top $5MM via arbitration despite his 2015 struggles.

The 38-year-old Rodney is perhaps the least surprising name on Sherman’s list. In 50 innings this season, he’s posted a 5.05 ERA with diminished strikeout (7.6 K/9) and walk (4.1 BB/9) rates to go along with a career-worst 1.44 HR/9 rate. Rodney’s fastball is averaging 94.9 mph, so he still has plenty of heat, but the results haven’t been there in 2015, and he’s owed $1.91MM of his $7MM salary through season’s end.

Axford, 32, has seen his share of struggles as well in his first year with the Rockies. Axford began the year in dominant fashion, yielding just one run in 19 innings and usurping LaTroy Hawkins as the Colorado closer. However, in the 19 2/3 innings that have followed that initial stretch, he’s been tagged for 19 runs on a dismal 29 hits and 15 walks. Teams in search of relief help may have some degree of hope that Coors Field has contributed to his poor results of late; Axford does have a 5.32 ERA in Denver versus a 3.78 ERA on the road. But, walks are walks in any park, and Axford has issued 10 free passes in 16 2/3 innings on the road.

Mujica has already been designated for assignment once this season (by the Red Sox), and his numbers have only worsened following a trade to the Athletics. The 31-year-old is still showing excellent control (1.3 BB/9 rate), but he’s averaging just six strikeouts per nine innings and has been entirely too hittable. Opponents are batting .309/.336/.525 against Mujica in 2015, and the result has been an unsightly 5.25 ERA. Even if he weren’t owed $1.3MM through the end of the season, he’d be a tough sell as a bullpen upgrade for a team seeking relief help.

Each of these relievers has been added to MLBTR’s list of players that have cleared revocable waivers, which can be always be found under the MLBTR Features on the right-hand sidebar for desktop users.


West Notes: Shoemaker, Holland, Padres, Cain

The Angels demoted righty Matt Shoemaker to Triple-A today, capping off what has been a disappointing season for the 28-year-old.  Coming off an impressive 2014 rookie campaign, Shoemaker has been inconsistent this year, and his rough last two outings (13 ER in just 7 1/3 combined innings) apparently convinced the Angels that he needed a breather in the minors.  Shoemaker has a 4.76 ERA over 117 1/3 innings this season, though advanced metrics — such as a 3.80 SIERA, 4.01 xFIP, 8.1 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB rate — suggest he’s pitched better than his ERA indicates.  Shoemaker’s demotion leaves the Halos with a four-man rotation for now; right-hander Nick Tropeano is probably a good bet to be promoted, as he’s already made a couple of spot starts for Los Angeles this season.

Here’s some more from both the AL and NL West divisions…

  • The Rangers will decide tomorrow whether Derek Holland will be activated from the DL and start on Wednesday, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes.  Holland told reporters that he felt good after a full bullpen session today, and he is ready to make just his second appearance of 2015.  Holland has played in just seven games in 2014-15 due to knee surgery, back spasms and a shoulder injury, the latter being responsible for his current DL stint.
  • The Padres didn’t move any of their big names prior to the July trade deadline and ESPN’s Christina Kahrl believes the team may similarly stand pat in August.  Dealing away controllable young players wouldn’t have helped the team contend in 2016, and veterans like Ian Kennedy or Joaquin Benoit wouldn’t have brought premium prospects back in return.  As for bigger-name veterans, Justin Upton may not have netted more than the first-round pick the Padres would obtain when Upton rejects a qualifying offer and possibly leaves in free agency this winter.  As for James Shields, Kahrl points out that the righty had a long wait on the open market last winter, so teams who passed on Shields then may not be eager to give up prospects to acquire him now.
  • It took a lot of work to get Colin Rea to the majors, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes in a profile of the rookie right-hander’s growth from being a lightly-regarded project of a prospect to a Padres starter.
  • The moving and organizational switches that come with being a pro ballplayer can be especially hard for a player’s family, the Arizona Republic’s Zach Buchanan illustrates in an interview with Taylor Ray (wife of Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray) and the wives of several other D’Backs players.
  • Mike Leake‘s return from the DL this week will force the Giants to make a pitching roster move, and CSNBayArea.com’s Alex Pavlovic writes that bumping Matt Cain from the rotation is an option the club is considering.  Cain has struggled through an injury-plagued season, posting a 6.05 ERA in only 41 2/3 innings.

Cafardo On Chapman, D’Backs, Utley

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looked at several managers who could be out of a job this winter.  Among the skippers listed is Nationals manager Matt Williams, who has come under fire at times for his in-game decisions.  Still, in his defense, Cafardo notes that Williams has had to deal with poor performances by players like Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, not to mention injuries.  Other situations to monitor include the Reds (Bryan Price), Phillies (Pete Mackanin), Tigers (Brad Ausmus), and Mariners (Lloyd McClendon).  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • When the D’Backs and other clubs called on Aroldis Chapman at the deadline, the Reds were asking for an “incredibly unrealistic” return, according to one GM who spoke with Cafardo.  “I couldn’t believe it,” the GM said of the asking price for the closer.  Still, it sounds like Reds GM Walt Jocketty will at least listen on him this winter and the price tag could be more palatable for interested teams.  “I think teams would give up three very good prospects for him,” said one AL GM, “but I think that’s as far as it would go.”  Recently, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that many in baseball are questioning Jocketty’s decision to hang on to Chapman past the July trade deadline.  Heyman also noted that Arizona could pursue him once again this offseason.
  • As of Friday, the Giants had no idea how their pursuit of Phillies second baseman Chase Utley would go.  GM Bobby Evans acknowledged over the weekend that he’s still in pursuit of Utley, but one has to wonder how far they’re willing to go with Joe Panik on the verge of returning.
  • If the Nationals wind up replacing Ian Desmond this winter, they have a very capable replacement on deck in Trea Turner.  “He’s a baseball player,” one veteran AL scout said of Turner. “He’s going to be an All-Star player in the big leagues. I don’t see how he misses. He has great instincts for the position and the game in general. He’s got those [Dustin] Pedroia qualities.”  Turner, rated as the No. 65 prospect in baseball heading into the 2015 season, is hitting .306/.349/.422 at Triple-A Syracuse.
  • Nationals director of player development Doug Harris could emerge as the frontrunner for the Brewers‘ GM job, Cafardo writes.  Doug Melvin, who has stepped down as president/GM to take on an adviser role, was the GM in Texas while Harris was an exec there.
  • As team president Theo Epstein enters his walk year in 2016, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is expected to start discussing a new deal with him soon.   If he can’t offer him enough money to stay in Chicago, Cafardo wonders aloud if he could go elsewhere or maybe even circle back to the Red Sox.

A.J. Pollock Interested In Extension With D-backs

Outfielder A.J. Pollock is interested in pursuing an extension with the Diamondbacks, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “I like my teammates. I like the coaches. The front office has been awesome,” says Pollock. “If they talk to me, I’ll obviously talk to them back.”

Yesterday, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote that the D-backs could consider extending Pollock. “He’s a big, big piece of what we’re trying to do,” GM Dave Stewart told Heyman.

The 27-year-old Pollock will have over three years of service time by the end of the season, making him eligible for arbitration for the first time, and putting him on pace to become a free agent after 2018. As Piecoro suggests, the only recent extension for an outfielder with between three and four years of service time is that of Michael Brantley, who signed a four-year, $25MM deal with one option prior to the 2014 season.

That deal is now almost two years old, though, and as nicely as it has turned out for the Indians, Pollock’s current track record is significantly better than Brantley’s was at the time. Pollock is currently hitting an excellent .312/.365/.474 with 28 stolen bases, and he’s a much better defensive outfielder than Brantley. Pollock’s 4.9 fWAR ranks 10th among big-league position players, ahead of top-performing stars like Anthony Rizzo, Yoenis Cespedes and Andrew McCutchen. Pollock doesn’t have a lengthy track record (due in part to a hand injury that cost him half his 2014 season), and his defense-heavy skill set isn’t ideally suited for getting paid in arbitration, but he’s an excellent extension candidate who should seek a significant payout in exchange for forgoing the arbitration process and delaying free agency.

Pollock’s camp would likely aim much higher than Brantley’s $25MM in extension discussions, then, perhaps pointing to recent deals for infielders Jason Kipnis ($52.5MM) and Matt Carpenter ($52MM) as starting points. Unlike Pollock, however, Kipnis and Carpenter had between two and three years of service at the times of their deals.