Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

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

Reactions To Braves’ Acquisition Of Touki Toussaint

The acquisition of Touki Toussaint was a coup for the Braves, Jim Callis of MLB.com writes.  Braves president of baseball operations John Hart managed to add last year’s No. 16 overall pick by giving up Phil Gosselin and assuming the balance of Bronson Arroyo‘s $9.5MM salary (plus buyout).  The move sacrificed a bit of the present for Atlanta, but it significantly brightened its future, Callis writes.  Here’s a look at some more reactions to yesterday’s surprising trade..

  • The Braves have discussed Toussaint with the D’Backs for more than a month, but he wasn’t trade eligible until recently (June 12th), Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets.
  • The move will cost the Braves some cash, but it was a deal they felt they had to make.  “We felt the payoff down the line would be too good to just let it go,” Braves assistant GM John Coppolella said (via Bowman on Twitter).
  • The D’Backs sold Toussaint for $10MM, five months after paying $16MM (with tax) for Yoan Lopez, who is not as good, Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets.  On top of that, signing Lopez prevents them from any signings above $300K for the next two years (link).  Meanwhile, the Braves paid $10MM to add a Top 100 prospect and might blitz the international market in 2016 (link).
  • With spending restricted everywhere but free agency, eating cash for a great talent like Atlanta did for Toussaint is a no-brainer, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • The Diamondbacks are getting criticized quite a bit for the deal, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports isn’t ready to condemn them just yet.  Toussaint could have a bright future ahead of him, but he is still in his first full season of professional baseball and is likely years away from the majors.  Even then, he’s hardly a sure thing.
  • Steve Adams of MLBTR (on Twitter) can’t recall a deal being this universally panned for one side.
  • Arroyo said that he is disappointed that he didn’t deliver on the contract he was given by Arizona, as Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic tweets.  “The most difficult part, really, honestly, is the fact that I pitched for 10, 12 years for other ball clubs and gave them their money’s worth,” Arroyo said. “And nobody could ever say that Bronson Arroyo kind of shorted the team. But coming here, I gave these guys, I don’t know, 14 starts and seven wins. For a two-year deal, that was pretty expensive. That was definitely disappointing on my part. But that’s just the way it is.”
  • Arroyo says he’s hoping he’s to return in mid-August, but he also acknowledged there’s a chance he won’t be able to pitch at all this season, Piecoro tweets.
  • When you total up the D’Backs’ dealings with the Braves this year, they have traded Trevor Cahill, Arroyo, Toussaint, and this year’s No. 75 overall pick to save about $15MM, Piecoro tweets.
  • Toussaint took to Twitter to thank his former club.  “Thank you @Dbacks everything you guys have done for my family and I. The memories made this past year are unforgettable. I appreciate it!

Braves Acquire Bronson Arroyo, Touki Toussaint

The Braves have acquired right-handed pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks in exchange for infielder Philip Gosselin, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Both teams have confirmed the move via press release.

The move appears to be monetarily motivated for the Diamondbacks. Arroyo is owed the balance of $9.5MM this season plus a $4.5MM buyout (or $13MM option), tweets Rosenthal. The total guarantee is about $10.1MM. He could return from Tommy John surgery as soon as August. Prior to landing on the disabled list last season, Arroyo was the perfect workhorse. He made at least 32 starts in nine straight seasons. He owns a 4.19 ERA in 2,364 innings.

The inclusion of Toussaint in the deal comes as a surprise. FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated him the 114th best prospect prior to the season. Toussaint, 19 today, was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. He had a 3.69 ERA with 6.69 K/9 and 3.46 BB/9 in 39 innings. He was the club’s 16th overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft.  Prior to the draft, he was rated No. 8 in his class by  MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis and No. 13 by both Baseball America and ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

Gosselin was a useful utility infielder for the Braves, but the presence of Jace Peterson and prospect Jose Peraza likely made him expendable. He hit .325/.357/.525 in 42 plate appearances this season. Atlanta will have to swallow the cost of Arroyo and the roughly $10.1MM guaranteed to him. However, in Toussaint, they acquire yet another young, high ceiling arm for their farm system. From the Diamondbacks perspective, the club will save money now at the cost of their fifth best prospect.


Quick Hits: International Spending, Giants, Cubans

Remember when the Padres, Red Sox, and White Sox were the most improved teams in the majors? They, along with the Marlins, are below .500 despite their busy offseasons, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Alternatively, the Blue Jays have pushed into playoff contention with a recent winning streak. Toronto added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin over the offseason, but the core of the team has remained largely intact. Kepner notes that these quick turnaround rebuilds are no guarantee for solid performance.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • A new international signing period will begin on July 2nd, but 2016 is the time for your favorite team to break the bank, per Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, and Diamondbacks are already unable to spend more than $300K on a player for the next two seasons. The Dodgers, Cubs, Royals, Phillies, and Blue Jays may blow past their bonus limit in the 2015 signing period. That will remove many of the most active teams from the market in 2016. Badler gives a complete description of the international market conditions. It’s well worth a read.
  • The Giants will soon face a roster crunch in their rotation, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. Jake Peavy is medically ready to return, and Matt Cain is nearing readiness. The easiest move would be to option Chris Heston, but he’s tied for the club lead with seven wins and recently no-hit the Mets. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Hudson have been merely serviceable. The same can be said of Tim Lincecum in recent weeks. With the exception of Heston, the other rotation arms could be lost if they’re designated for assignment. The club could opt to move Lincecum and Vogelsong into the bullpen, but that just pushes the roster crunch elsewhere.
  • An influx of Cuban players could soon flood the majors, writes Bill Shaiken of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban players, even those who fall under international spending restrictions, are currently able to negotiate with all 30 clubs. That increases their bargaining power. It’s a big reason why infielder Roberto Baldoquin cost about four times more than the Angels’ entire 2015 amateur draft class. Cubans are currently the third most represented foreign nation in the majors. Opening day rosters included 18 Cubans, 65 Venezuelans, and 83 Dominicans. Cuba has a comparable population to the Dominican Republic. As such, we could see a surge of Cuban players as diplomatic relations continue to thaw.


Diamondbacks Sign Jhoulys Chacin To Minors Deal

The Diamondbacks have signed righty Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league deal, Venezuelan journalist Augusto Cardenas reports on Twitter. Chacin can opt out on July 5, per the report.

The 27-year-old had been with the Indians since signing a minor league pact over the offseason, but he opted out of his deal and the team declined to add him to the major league roster. Chacin had worked to a 3.21 ERA over 42 frames at Triple-A on the year, striking out 5.4 and walking 3.2 batters per nine in that stretch.

Chacin has shown plenty of promise at times. In both 2011 and 2013 he put up over 190 innings of 3.62 and 3.47 ERA pitching, respectively, and was even better in his first full season in 2010 — all while pitching for the Rockies and spending half his time at Coors Field. But shoulder issues and struggles with command (along with a dwindling strikeout rate) have derailed his career.

The D’Backs certainly could use another arm in the rotation, which has lagged on the whole in both results and peripherals. If things work out, Arizona could conceivably elect to keep Chacin for next year by tendering him a contract through arbitration.


Minor Moves: Wang, Wilson, Ramirez, Crabbe

Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Brewers lefty Wei-Chung Wang cleared outright waivers and has been assigned to the club’s Class-A affiliate, the team announced. Milwaukee carried Wang all last year on its major league roster to keep him trough the Rule 5 process, but needed a 40-man spot when third baseman Matt Dominguez himself became a 40-man casualty of the Astros. Wang’s struggles at the High-A level (5.93 ERA in 60 2/3 innings) led the club to expose him to an outside claim.
  • Rays backstop Bobby Wilson has accepted an assignment with the club after being outrighted, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The veteran defensive stalwart played in 24 games for the big league club earlier this year, and figures to be a good bet to return at some point. He has never produced much at the plate, and this year was no different: Wilson has slashed just .145/.203/.145 in 59 plate appearances.
  • Right-hander J.C. Ramirez cleared outright waivers after being designated for assignment and has been outrighted to Triple-A Reno by the Diamondbacks, tweets Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. Removed from the roster to create a spot for Allen Webster, the 26-year-old Ramirez had worked to a 4.11 ERA with an 11-to-4 K/BB ratio out of the Arizona bullpen this season. This marked his second stint with the big league club and his first since 2013. In 39 1/3 career innings at the Major League level, Ramirez has a 6.18 ERA. He’s worked to a 3.82 ERA in 125 Triple-A innings.
  • The Diamondbacks also dealt righty Tim Crabbe to the White Sox for cash or a player to be named later, the club announced (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter). Crabbe, 27, has spent all of the past three years in the upper minors and has recently converted to relief pitching exclusively. He owns a 5.50 ERA over 34 1/3 innings this year at Triple-A, with 8.7 K/9 but a rough 6.0 BB/9.

Draft Signings: Staumont, Finley, Jones, Kramer, Perkins

Here are the day’s significant draft signings of less than $1MM, with slot values via Baseball America. All signing links to Twitter.

  • Royals second-rounder Josh Staumont will receive the 64th selection’s full $964,600 slot value, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. The MLB.com prospect team was highest among evaluators on Staumont, listing the collegiate righty as the 65th-best player available and crediting his top-of-class arm strength. Though he has issues with hitting the zone, Staumont has flashed enough easy velocity and promise with his secondary offerings to have a lofty ceiling.
  • The Yankees will pay third-round choice Drew Finley an above-slot $950K bonus, Mayo reports. That’s $323,400 above the 92nd pick’s alloted pool space. ESPN.com’s Keith Law likes Finley quite a bit, explaining that the prep righty combines the projection and control to profile as a future starter. New York also agreed to an at-slot $456,800 payday for fourth-round choice Jeff Hendrix, also via Mayo.
  • The Angels have agreed to an above-slot bonus for second-rounder Jahmai Jones, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The precise bonus value remains unreported, but Jones was taken with the 70th pick in the draft, which had a $880K allocation. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs listed the high schooler as the 50th player on his board, crediting his advanced bat and solid power. The question is whether Jones can play an up-the-middle position defensively, but McDaniel says there is enough of a track record to suggest he can. Los Angeles has also agreed to a slot-value, $548,600 bonus for third-rounder Grayson Long, according to Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com.
  • Pirates second-rounder Kevin Kramer will take home a $850K bonus, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com. The team will save $144,800 against the pool space afforded by the 62nd overall selection. Law had the highest rating on the UCLA shorstop among pundits, calling him the 71st-best prospect and praising his overall skillset (while noting long-term questions about Kramer’s ability to stick at short and general lack of impact tools).
  • The Nationals have reached agreement with high school outfielder Blake Perkins, who May says took home a $800K bonus, $93,100 under his slot value at 69th overall. Bryan Webb tweeted this morning that a deal was done. Only Law placed Perkins within his top-100 draft prospects, with Baseball America explaining that he has five-tool potential but has plenty of development ahead of him. Fourth-rounder Mariano Rivera Jr. has agreed to a slot-value ($410,700) bonus, also per Mayo. (You might remember his father, who had a lengthy MLB career for some good clubs.)
  • The Diamondbacks announced a host of signings, including third-rounder Taylor Clarke, fourth-round pick Breckin Williams, and fifth-rounder Ryan Burr. The 76th choice was valued at $801,900, while the 106th pick came with a $538,200 allotment, though bonuses remain unreported. Per BA, Clarke’s future may depend upon his ability to harness his change-up, as the collegiate senior has a useful fastball and well-commanded slider. bArizona will pay Burr the slot value of $403K, Mayo adds.
  • Likewise, the Mariners say they’ve formally signed a number of players to undisclosed bonuses, among them third-rounder Braden Bishop ($607,700 slot value) and fourth-round choice Dylan Thompson ($448K slot value). Bishop, a University of Washington outfielder, drew the 81st position on the MLB.com pre-draft list, which cited his big speed.
  • The Marlins went well above slot to nab eight-round choice Chris Paddack, with Callis reporting that he’ll get an even $400K. The 236th slot in the draft was worth just $173,100.
  • Athletics fourth-round pick Skye Bolt lands a $650K bonus, per Callis. That’s a nice bump up over the 128th choice’s $453,300 allotted value. MLB.com had the highest grade on the UNC outfielder, rating him 67th overall based upon Bolt’s four plus tools. The question is with the bat, which the switch-hitter has failed to show over the last two seasons.

Quick Hits: Harper, DBacks, Phillies, Gregorius

Here’s the latest from around the league as the evening winds down:

  • Bryce Harper may be likely to enter free agency after the 2018 season, but Yankees fans shouldn’t start counting their chickens just yet. Bill Shaiken of the LA Times believes the Dodgers have a better chance to sign Harper. The Yankees roster is aging and none of their prospects are among Baseball America’s top 30. Meanwhile, the Dodgers may have a brighter future when Harper is a free agent. They have a young, talented active roster with Corey Seager and Julio Urias waiting in the minors. Harper could prove to be a valuable supplement to young assets like Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal. Of course, this all assumes the Nationals can’t manage an extension or that they won’t trade him to another team that can.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart “does not seem inclined” to trade for pitching at the trade deadline, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The club has plenty of young depth both in the majors and the minors, but Stewart wants to continue developing internally. Arizona is currently fourth in the NL West and 7.5 games behind the first place Dodgers. They’re also five games back in the Wild Card hunt. In my opinion, there will be more pressure to improve the rotation and bullpen if the club is within a few games of the plays at the deadline.
  • Don’t expect the Phillies to sit on their veteran assets at the trade deadline, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Last July, the Phillies controversially opted to hold steady, but the club is now more thoroughly committed to rebuilding. Lawrence runs through possible destinations and hypothetical trade packages for the team’s remaining veterans. Interestingly, he believes the performance and complicated contracts of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz will make them harder to trade than Ryan Howard.
  • The Yankees trade to acquire Didi Gregorius doesn’t look so bad after the Tigers optioned starter Shane Greene to Triple-A, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Greene began the season with a 0.39 ERA in three starts, but he has since allowed just under a run per inning. Of course, Gregorius has hardly lit the world on fire with a .228/.287/.298 line and 0.4 UZR. While it’s much too early to declare a winner of this modest trade, perhaps we should be looking at the Diamondbacks. They acquired Robbie Ray in the swap. Through three starts, he has a 1.53 ERA with 6.62 K/9 and 2.55 BB/9. Just don’t forget how Greene looked through three starts!

Diamondbacks Designate J.C. Ramirez

The Diamondbacks have announced that they’ve designated righty J.C. Ramirez for assignment. The move clears space on the D-backs’ active roster for Saturday starter Allen Webster.

The 26-year-old Ramirez had pitched 15 1/3 innings out of Arizona’s bullpen this season, posting a 4.11 ERA and a terrific 62.5% ground-ball rate while striking out 11 batters and walking four. Given that he was reasonably effective while regularly throwing in the mid-90s, it’s not impossible other teams could consider claiming him, even though he was a minor league signee last winter.

Ramirez spent all of 2014 pitching in the Indians’ system, and his only other big-league experience before this year came with the 2013 Phillies. He is perhaps best known for being one of three players (along with Tyson Gillies and Phillippe Aumont) the Mariners sent the Phillies for Cliff Lee in 2009.


Minor Moves: Pacheco, Coke, Young, White

We’ll track the days minor moves here:

  • Catcher Jordan Pacheco has accepted his outright assignment with the Diamondbacks and will head to Triple-A Reno, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. The D-backs designated Pacheco for assignment last week after he hit .242/.333/.333 in 78 plate appearances.
  • As expected, the Blue Jays have selected the contract of lefty Phil Coke, per a club announcement. Coke worked out of the Cubs bullpen earlier in the year, showing a big fastball and strong peripherals (8.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 63.6% GB%) but struggling nonetheless to keep runs off the board. Toronto will hope that Coke can provide a useful southpaw component in the pen as the team assesses its  options heading into trade season.
  • The Braves have outrighted outfielder Eric Young Jr. to Triple-A, the club’s top affiliate announced on Twitter. Young, 30, has slashed just .169/.229/.273 in 85 big league plate appearances this year. After opening the season with a significant role, Young’s playing time dwindled to a trickle with his struggles and the resurgent play of late addition Cameron Maybin.
  • Also headed to Gwinnett is righty Alex White, who has signed a minor league deal with the Braves just days after being released by the Astros. The 26-year-old, former top-100 prospect has not lived up to his pedigree in recent seasons. His stock had already fallen by the time Houston acquired him from the Rockies before the 2013 season, and Tommy John surgery caused him to miss that whole year. Since then, White has allowed over six earned runs per nine innings at the Triple-A level. This season, he struck out only 18 batters in 43 2/3 frames.

Tigers Option Shane Greene To Minors

The Tigers have announced that they’ve optioned righty Shane Greene to Triple-A Toledo. The move was initially reported by Catherine Slonksnis of Bless You Boys. Greene’s demotion clears a spot on the Tigers’ active roster for lefty reliever Ian Krol. As Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press notes, the team will have to make another move on Saturday to open a spot for Justin Verlander, who’s set to return from the disabled list after missing the first two months of the season with a triceps strain. The Tigers don’t seem entirely sure of the reasons for Greene’s struggles, as comments from Greene and manager Brad Ausmus to MLive.com’s James Schmehl suggest, but perhaps a stint in Triple-A will help Greene get back on track.

The Tigers, of course, acquired Greene as part of a three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks in December. He allowed just two runs over 23 innings in his first three starts as a Tiger, but he’s struggled badly since then, and he now has a 5.82 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 for the season. Didi Gregorius has likewise struggled in New York, which leaves the Diamondbacks as the only team that’s likely currently happy with their end of the deal — Robbie Ray has been terrific in three big-league starts, although very young infield prospect Domingo Leyba has struggled with Class A+ Visalia.