Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Mijares, Bowden, Runzler

Here’s a roundup of some recent minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post.  All moves are from Matt Eddy of Baseball America, unless credited otherwise.

  • The Reds have signed southpaw Jose Mijares and right-hander Michael Bowden to minor league deals.  Mijares posted strong numbers (3.23 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 2.22 K/BB rate) over 259 relief innings with the Twins, Royals and Giants from 2008-13 but didn’t pitch in 2014 after he opted out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox last March.  Bowden was drafted 47th overall by the Red Sox in the 2005 draft and was considered a top prospect during his stint in Boston’s minor league system.  He couldn’t manage that same success in the majors, posting a 4.51 ERA over 133 2/3 innings with the Red Sox and Cubs from 2008-13.  Bowden pitched in Japan in 2014.
  • The Diamondbacks signed left-hander Dan Runzler to a minor league contract.  Runzler posted a 3.86 ERA, 9.7 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 over 72 1/3 IP with San Francisco from 2009-12 and was released by the Giants’ Triple-A team last July so he could pitch in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes.
  • The Marlins inked outfielder Vinny Rottino to a minor league deal.  Rottino, 34, is returning to North American baseball for the first time since 2012 after playing in Korea and Japan over the last two seasons.  This is Rottino’s second stint in Miami, as he played for the Marlins, Mets, Indians and Brewers while collecting 110 career Major League plate appearances.
  • The Rangers signed infielder Tommy Field to a minor league contract.  Field received 81 plate appearances with the Rockies and Angels from 2011-13 and he spent last season at the Triple-A level in the Angels and Pirates organizations.
  • The Royals outrighted outfielder Moises Sierra and right-hander Casey Coleman to Triple-A, the team announced via Twitter.  The two players were both designated for assignment last week to create roster spots for the recently-signed Kendrys Morales and Yohan Pino, respectively.
  • The Blue Jays announced the signing of left-hander Andrew Albers to a minor league deal that includes a Spring Training invite.  Albers posted a 5.89 ERA over 28 starts for Hanwha of the (very hitter-friendly) Korean Baseball Organization in 2014.  His Major League experience consists of a 4.05 ERA, 3.8 K/9 and 3.57 K/BB rate over 60 innings with the Twins in 2013.

NL Notes: Dodgers, Padres, Stewart, Braves

The Dodgers did it: they ended the Yankees’ 15-year streak as Major League Baseball’s biggest spenders and owe more than $26.6MM in luxury tax, as Ronald Blum of The Associated Press writes.  The Dodgers finished with a record payroll of $257,283,410, more than $20MM above the previous high set by the Yankees last year.  More from the National League..

  • Despite making offensive upgrades, there are plenty more moves for the Padres to make, writes Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. San Diego has some obvious weaknesses and Lin figures they’ll make at least two more moves. The Padres need left-handed hitting and a leadoff bat and a new face at first base would probably make sense.  The Padres could also look seek out another starter and search for something more stable than the shortstop duo of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barnes.
  • Dave Stewart’s journey to becoming the General Manager of the Diamondbacks has been years in the making, writes MLB.com’s Tom Singer.  “What I’ve always looked for is something to challenge me, something to keep the fire burning,” Stewart said.  Now the fourth ex-player currently in a GM seat, Stewart will look to turn the D’Backs around and get them into contention in the NL West.
  • In a Q&A session with Braves president of baseball operations John Hart, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked about new acquisition Dian Toscano, the team’s timeline for contending in relation to the new stadium, and the team’s priorities for the rest of the winter.

A’s Acquire Eury De La Rosa, Designate Fernando Rodriguez

The Athletics announced that they have acquired lefty Eury De La Rosa from the Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations and designated right-hander Fernando Rodriguez for assignment.

The 24-year-old De La Rosa was designated for assignment last week to clear room for Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, who were acquired in the Wade Miley trade with Boston. The A’s have acquired a lefty relief option that pitched to a strong 2.95 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 36 2/3 innings. However, the now-former Diamondback also turned in a reverse platoon split last year in Arizona, yielding a .309/.377/.418 batting line in a small sample of 61 plate appearances versus left-handed hitters.

Rodriguez, 30, appeared in seven games for Oakland in 2014 and allowed just one run in nine innings with four strikeouts and two walks. However, he’s yet to establish a track record of success in the Majors, having seen inconsistent playing time in the bigs dating back to 2009 and compiling a 4.62 ERA. He does throw relatively hard (career 93.3 mph average fastball) and did excellent work at Triple-A in 2014 (1.97 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings), so another club could view him as a depth piece.



David Hernandez, Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration

Righty David Hernandez and the Diamondbacks have struck a one-year, $2MM deal to avoid arbitration, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Hernandez has 5.095 years of service time, and MLBTR projected he would receive $2.1MM in his last season of arbitration eligibility.

Hernandez also received $2MM in 2014, but he won’t get the typical arbitration raise after missing the entire 2014 season with an elbow injury. Before that, he was a mainstay in the Arizona bullpen for three years after arriving from Baltimore in the Mark Reynolds trade in late 2010. In 2013, Hernandez posted a 4.48 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings.


Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

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

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

NL West Notes: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Padres

GM Dave Stewart says the Diamondbacks‘ acquisitions of Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster in the Wade Miley trade this week was about adding power arms, Nick Piecoro reports. “We, organizationally, haven’t had any real power arms in our organization since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling,” says Stewart. “So this gave us an opportunity to put two power arms in our rotation.” That’s not entirely accurate, of course — as Piecoro notes, the Diamondbacks’ rotation has recently included Max Scherzer and Daniel Hudson. There have also been any number of relievers, like Matt Stites, who pitched in the Snakes’ bullpen last year. Still, there’s no doubt the Diamondbacks added velocity in the deal. Stewart now says he sees his rotation as Josh Collmenter, De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson and Webster, with Vidal Nuno, Trevor Cahill, Chase Anderson, Hudson, Randall Delgado, Andrew Chafin and Robbie Ray battling for the fifth spot, with the possibility that they could use the savings from the Miley and Miguel Montero deals to acquire a higher-end starter.

  • One of the Diamondbacks’ top scouts, Todd Donovan, has departed to become a special assignment scout with the Rays, Piecoro writes. Donovan’s move comes on the heels of former scouting director Ray Montgomery leaving for a front office job with the Brewers.
  • Many of the Dodgers‘ moves this offseason were made with team defense in mind, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Matt Kemp, who’s headed to the Padres, rates as one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball, and Hanley Ramirez, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent, is a weak defensive player as well. Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick should be a defensive improvement over Ramirez and Dee Gordon in the middle infield, and the Dodgers’ outfield defense should be better as well.
  • Even after acquiring Kemp, the Padres are still looking for a hitter. They’ve already been connected to Justin Upton, but Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune lists four more hitters who might make sense: Reds outfielder Jay Bruce (who might not be available), Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez, C/OF Evan Gattis of the Braves, and free agent 1B/OF Michael Morse. Other than Bruce, though, all four are weak defensive players, and one wonders how they might fit in San Diego, particularly the outfielders. One would think the Padres would want to continue with Seth Smith in a starting role after his strong 2014 season, so adding another corner outfielder to the mix would force Kemp into center, where he’s well below average. Perhaps Smith would become a trade candidate if the Padres do add another outfielder.

NL Notes: Marlins, Diamondbacks, Braves

For many Winter Meetings participants, baseball transactions are the last thing on their mind; the event also includes a trade show and job fair. As MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes, some number of job hunters are looking not only to break into the broader business of the game, but to launch a career in baseball operations. Even getting an internship is significantly harder than ever, according to Brock (and the hopefuls with whom he spoke). Here are a couple notes from the National League.

  • The Marlins have “checked off a lot of boxes,” in the words of president of baseball operations Michael Hill, but there is plenty of opportunity left in the offseason, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in a breakdown of where things stand in Miami. A power bat is, of course, on the team’s wish list, and Garrett Jones would be shopped hard if that occurs. There could be a logjam in the rotation if Dan Haren elects to play next year, with Nathan Eovaldi a possible trade chip if he does.
  • In a conference call addressing the Wade Miley deal, Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart explained that the team pulled the trigger because Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster added power to the team’s rotation (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter). Stewart also said that the team has had internal discussions on the possibility of going after Max Scherzer or James Shields, but has yet to decide whether to do so, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Figuring out what to do with the Braves is tricky, but it sounds like team president John Hart won’t be sentimental about keeping the team together, judging from his comments to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Let’s be honest: This team finished 29th in offense,” Hart says. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.” Hart’s Braves might not have been in the same trouble the Pirates were when GM Neal Huntington said almost exactly the same thing in 2009, but the Braves have been busy so far this offseason, dealing Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, and signing Nick Markakis and Jim Johnson. Still, Hart adds, the Braves aren’t going to “throw a hand grenade on the club and blow it up” in preparation for the opening of their new stadium in 2017. Hart adds that he has had discussions with “six to eight” teams about Justin Upton, but none that have resulted in a trade.

Red Sox Acquire Wade Miley

The Red Sox have officially added lefty Wade Miley in a trade with the Diamondbacks, the teams announced today. Right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, along with infielder Raymel Flores, make up the return for the D’Backs.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants

Miley has been the source of several rumors during these Winter Meetings, with the Rangers, Marlins and Blue Jays all with varying levels of interest in the southpaw.  Miley is projected to earn $4.3MM (by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz) in his first time through the arbitration process this winter, and he’ll be under team control through 2017.

Over the last three seasons, Miley has posted a 3.74 ERA, 2.66 K/BB rate and 7.1 K/9 while averaging an even 200 innings per year.  He has a 48.6% ground ball rate over his career, which will serve him as well at Fenway Park as it did at Chase Field.  Miley posted a 3.98 FIP, 3.50 xFIP and 3.67 SIERA in 2014, so the advanced metrics suggest that he was somewhat unlucky to produce his 4.34 ERA.

While Miley isn’t the durable lefty the Red Sox were hoping to land during the Winter Meetings, Miley is at least younger and far cheaper than Jon Lester, and he’ll slot into the Boston rotation alongside Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly.  Boston is undoubtedly still looking to acquire at least one or possibly two more starters for 2015, including a Lester-level ace in free agency or the trade market.

This is the second high-profile deal that De La Rosa and Webster have both been a part of, as the two righties were part of the trade package that Boston received as part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett blockbuster with the Dodgers in 2012.  As Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona points out, Diamondbacks senior VP De Jon Watson was in the Los Angeles front office when De La Rosa and Webster originally joined the Dodgers.

De La Rosa appeared in 30 games for the Sox (18 of them starts) in 2013-14, posting a 4.54 ERA, 2.16 K/BB and 6.4 K/9 in 113 innings.  With Boston openly looking to add top-level starting pitching this offseason and a number of highly-regarded pitching prospects in the minors, it seems as if De La Rosa may have simply been squeezed out of a job with the Sox.

Webster also struggled at the Major League level (a 6.25 ERA over 89 1/3 innings over the last two seasons) but has a higher prospect pedigree than De La Rosa.  Webster entered the year ranked as a top-100 prospect in the game, albeit over rather a wide range — he was ranked 46th by MLB.com, and 88th by Baseball America.  The righty posted strong minor league numbers and was described by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook as having “outrageous” stuff “suggesting top-of-the-rotation potential” but there were big questions about his confidence and fastball command.

That brings us to Flores, a 20-year-old middle infielder who played at the low-A level last year in his age-19 season. Flores hit .282/.344/.354 over 233 plate appearances, adding 14 stolen bases and one long ball, but he is known primarily for his glove.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi first reported the deal (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of FOX Sports reported on Twitter that it was finalized. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter) and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (via Twitter) reported the inclusion of Flores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Diamondbacks Designate Eury De La Rosa

The Diamondbacks have designated lefty Eury De La Rosa, the team announced. The move clears roster space for Arizona’s addition of Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster via trade.

An undersized 24-year-old southpaw, De La Rosa (that is, the former) performed well in 36 2/3 innings of big league action last year. He carried a 2.95 ERA (backed by a 3.49 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, and 3.65 SIERA) while striking out 7.9 batters per nine and issuing 3.4 free passes per regulation game. He was similarly effective in 39 1/3 Triple-A frames,


Red Sox Acquire Zeke Spruill

The Red Sox have acquired righty Zeke Spruill from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-hander Myles Smith, Arizona announced. This move was separate from the other trade announced tonight between these two clubs.

Spruill, 25, has thrown 34 big league frames over the past two seasons, working to a 4.24 ERA over three starts and nine relief appearances. He had been a full-time starter in the minors until last year, when he transitioned to a swingman role. He also posted a 6.14 ERA at the Triple-A level — after previously landing in the mid-3.00 level in two seasons in the upper minors — but did see his strikeout rate skyrocket to 8.2 K/9 (with 2.3 BB/9).

Smith threw last year at the low-A level at age 22. He registered a 5.82 ERA over 103 2/3 frames, splitting time as a starter and reliever, and struck out 6.3 while walking 5.4 batters per nine. WEEI.com’s Alex Speier explains (Twitter links) that Smith is athletic and has a very live arm, but struggled with control and has not been pitching for very long.