Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors

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

NL West Notes: Giants, Maybin, Quentin, Padres, Hill

After winning the World Series in three out of the last five years, the Giants have become a model front office, writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. They’ve done a little bit of everything ranging from developing their own home grown pitching staff to acquiring and extending Hunter Pence. GM Brian Sabean has balanced sabermetric ideas with traditional scouts, and brought in one of the top managers in Bruce Bochy.

Here’s more from the NL West:

  • The Padres are willing to eat a “chunk of money” to move Cameron Maybin or Carlos Quentin, a talent evaluator tells Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Per the evaluator, experiments with Quentin at first base did not meet with success. Both players are being shopped aggressively, although rivals may think one or both will be released before long.
  • The Padres don’t consider themselves to be a small market club, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While it may look like the club “opened the coffers” over the offseason, it was all a part of a steady build up. The franchise now supports a $100MM payroll thanks to a lucrative TV contract, central revenue, local sponsorships, and non-baseball events at Petco Park.
  • The Diamondbacks have made Aaron Hill available, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, the club has not talked with the Angels about the second baseman. That Arizona would like to deal Hill is no surprise. He has two-years and $24MM remaining on his contract, but he’s been ousted by a combination of Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings. The club also has utility infielder Cliff Pennington available. The Angels do appear to be an obvious fit after naming Johnny Giavotella as their starting second baseman.
  • Arizona is searching for a new formula to develop ace pitching, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The club has a plethora of high upside pitching, but they still need to find that breakout talent. Piecoro examines a few of 2014’s newest studs. Corey Kluber is said to have an elite work ethic, which is obviously an important but difficult-to-measure skill. Others like Garrett Richards and Jake Arrieta always had excellent stuff but lacked consistency. Some of the pitchers that could take a step forward for the D’Backs include Archie Bradley, Robbie Ray, Rubby De La Rosa, and Allen Webster.

Diamondbacks Release Cody Ross

The Diamondbacks have released outfielder Cody Ross the team announced via Twitter. The club owes him $8.5MM for this season and a $1MM buyout for his 2016 option, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Any team that acquires him will not be responsible for any amount above the major league minimum.

Ross has fallen into a reserve role over the last few years, mostly due to various injuries. Last year was one of his worst with a .252/.306/.322 line in 219 plate appearances. The right-handed hitter has always possessed notable platoon splits. He’s below average at the dish against fellow righties, but he’s hit .294/.360/.557 in 1,109 plate appearances against southpaws. He’s a reasonable target for any team looking for an inexpensive, Jonny Gomes-type talent.


Minor Moves: Tomas, Oliver, Brignac, Zito

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Diamondbacks have optioned Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, the team reports via Twitter. The club signed Tomas for $68.5MM over the offseason. He struggled both defensively and offensively this spring. A stint in Triple-A should give him time to adjust to the outfield and improve his plate approach.
  • Phillies Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver has elected free agency after he was outrighted, the club announced via Twitter. The hard throwing lefty has struggled with walks throughout his career. That continued this spring with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts in 12 and two-thirds innings. The club also announced on Twitter that they reassigned catcher Rene Garcia, first baseman Russ Canzler, and infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A.
  • Marlins utility infielder Reid Brignac has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. In 905 major league plate appearances, Brignac has a .222/.266/.314 line.
  • Athletics pitcher Barry Zito has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com. The former star is working his way back from a one-year hiatus. He posted a 4.79 ERA in 20 and two-thirds spring innings. The 37-year-old struck out 14 and walked five. A former ninth overall pick of the A’s, the southpaw struggled after moving across the Bay to San Francisco on a seven-year, $126MM contract. That deal concluded after the 2013 season.
  • The Red Sox have released Casey Crosby, Bryan LaHair, and Matt Hoffman per the MLB transactions page. Crosby was once a top prospect with the Tigers, but the 26-year-old lefty has yet to develop command. Lahair, 32, had a nice run with the Cubs in 2012 when he hit .259/.334/.450 with 16 home runs in 380 plate appearances. He spent the 2013 season in Japan and split 2014 between Cleveland’s Double and Triple-A clubs.
  • The Phillies have released shortstop Tyler Greene according to the MLB transactions page. Greene, an 11th round pick, was once rated among the Phillies’ best prospects. He missed the entire 2014 season and has never posted a strikeout rate below 33 percent at any level.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Edgmer Escalona per the MLB transactions page. Escalona pitched in parts of four seasons for the Rockies, accruing 100 innings. He has a career 4.50 ERA with 6.39 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9.
  • The Cubs have released lefty pitcher Francisley Bueno according to the transactions page. The 34-year-old has pitched in parts of four season for the Braves and Royals. The soft tossing lefty has a career 2.98 ERA with 4.92 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 60 innings. He’s a pure platoon pitcher.
  • The Braves released former closer Matt Capps per MLB.com. The righty last appeared in the majors in 2012. He has a career 3.52 ERA with 6.53 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. He’s thrown just 12 minor league innings over the last two seasons – both with the Indians.

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DBacks, Rangers Discussed Nuno Trade, No Deal Likely

The Diamondbacks scratched pitcher Vidal Nuno earlier today due to active trade talks, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today (via Twitter) that talks occurred with the Rangers but that no deal appeared likely. Finally, Zach Buchanan of AZ Central Sports confirmed on Twitter that “discussions went nowhere.”

Nuno, acquired last season for Brandon McCarthy, pitched well in 14 starts for the DBacks. He posted a 3.76 ERA with 7.42 K/9 and 2.15 BB/9. The lefty wasn’t as sharp with the Yankees prior to the trade. He has a career 4.31 ERA in 181 innings. He has since been optioned to Triple-A with news that prospect Andrew Chafin has made the major league bullpen.


NL West Notes: Padres, Bradley, Rockies, Sabean

The Padres have “sort of banned the word ‘small-market’ ” in regards to how they both perceive themselves and how they wish to be seen around the league, team co-owner Peter Seidler tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The Padres’ busy offseason and second straight year with a payroll in the $100MM range were made possible by increased revenues from Petco Park and national and local TV contracts.  Team president/CEO Mike Dee notes that the Padres’ recent spending “should not be looked upon as an aberration.  This should not be looked upon as ownership is going for broke. This should be looked upon as ownership is doing what they said they were going to when they bought the team, which is trying to make this a franchise that operates at a very high level.”

Here’s the latest from around the NL West…

  • Archie Bradley‘s promotion to the Major Leagues and to the Diamondbacks‘ starting rotation is all but official, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes.  Bradley’s strong performance during Spring Training gave the Snakes reason to explore trading Trevor Cahill, eventually sending the veteran righty to the Braves.  “If [Bradley] had needed more work, Cahill would still be here,” Tony La Russa said.  “Trevor got the attention of a number of clubs, so we started getting calls from different clubs.  It wasn’t a question of let’s trade him at some point. It came to a decision of Archie versus Trevor.”
  • Speaking of highly-touted young arms in the NL West, Eddie Butler still has a chance to earn a place in the Rockies‘ rotation after his start today, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes.  Jon Gray, the Rockies’ top prospect and one of the top-ranked prospects in all of baseball, will not be starting his MLB career quite yet, as Groke notes in another piece that Gray will begin the season at Triple-A.
  • Brian Sabean’s promotion from Giants general manager to VP of baseball operations will allow Sabean to personally scout new talent, he tells reporters (including The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea).  This includes players currently in MLB and also international prospects who could become more available thanks to the expanding Cuban market and the possibility of an international draft being instituted.  “The international schedule is moving fast. I don’t see enough of our minor-league teams to draw my own conclusions,” Sabean said.  “I hardly see any games before the June draft, which I used to do. Selfishly, I’d like to see some guys who could be in play trade-wise and free agents to be. This allows me to be more places.”

Diamondbacks Still Trying To Trade Aaron Hill

The Diamondbacks are still attempting to find a taker for second baseman Aaron Hill, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Arizona has indicated that it will not finalize its Opening Day roster until tomorrow, which could be due in part to efforts to move Hill.

It appears that Hill will start the season on the bench if he is not moved, as manager Chip Hale tells reporters that Chris Owings will start at second with Nick Ahmed taking over at short (via Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic, on Twitter). Needless to say, it appears that the club would be pleased to find a taker for some of Hill’s $12MM salary.

Of course, the 33-year-old Hill has long been the subject of trade speculation, but it has bee hard to find a believer in his bat after a rough .244/.287/.367 campaign last year. Hill had put up two straight highly productive seasons at the plate before that time, at least when healthy, but did not help his cause with a .189/.232/.208 slash over 53 spring at-bats.


Braves Acquire Trevor Cahill

The Braves have acquired right-hander Trevor Cahill and cash considerations from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league outfielder Josh Elander.  Both teams have officially announced the trade.  The D’Backs will send roughly $6.5MM to Atlanta to help cover Cahill’s $12MM salary for 2015, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports (Twitter link).

Cahill brings the Braves some veteran stability to the pitching staff, as the righty looks to slot into the fourth rotation spot behind Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Shelby MillerEric Stults, Wandy Rodriguez and Mike Foltynewicz are in competition for the fifth spot, as the club was reportedly concerned about the possibility of using southpaws Stults and Rodriguez in consecutive order at the back of the rotation.  Mike Minor is expected to eventually be the fifth starter, though he’ll begin the season on the DL with shoulder problems.MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals

Atlanta potentially has two more years of control over Cahill, as the Braves hold a $13MM club option on his services for 2016 (with a $300K buyout) and a $13.5MM club option for 2017 ($500K buyout).  Cahill is looking to rebound from a rough 2014 season that saw him lose his rotation job for a large chunk of the year en route to posting a 5.61 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 1.91 K/BB rate over 110 2/3 innings.  It’s fair to place part of the blame on poor luck, as opposing batters had a .350 BABIP against Cahill and his advanced metrics (3.89 FIP, 3.83 xFIP, 3.96 SIERA) were much more solid.

Prior to last year and an injury-plagued 2013, Cahill emerged on the scene as a promising young arm, averaging a 3.87 ERA and 196 innings per season from 2009-12 with the A’s and D’Backs.  He also has a career 54.6% ground ball rate, so Cahill will undoubtedly be thrilled to have Andrelton Simmons behind him in the infield.

Between trading Cahill and Miguel Montero this offseason, the Diamondbacks have cleared $45.5MM of future commitments off their books, including $17.5MM for 2015 alone.  That’s not a bad figure for a semi-rebuilding club, as it also opens up a spot in the rotation for top prospect Archie Bradley (as per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic), who has been impressive this spring.

Elander, 24, was Atlanta’s sixth-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft.  The TCU product has a .275/.356/.435 slash line and 21 homers over 870 minor league plate appearances, none above the high-A level.  The 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked Elander as the 13th-best prospect in the Braves’ system prior to last season, praising his solid adjustment from catcher to the outfield and noting his “quick hands, and a compact right-handed with good bat speed.”  An injury-plagued 2014 season, however, dropped Elander’s prospect stock.

Nick Piecoro was first reported that the trade was official, also reporting earlier today that the D’Backs were shopping Cahill, the Braves’ interest and that Elander was involved.  USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported earlier tonight that a trade was “on the verge” of happening, while MLB.com’s Mark Bowman noted that the Braves still needed to review Cahill’s medicals before making anything official.

Photo courtesy of Brad Mills/USA Today Sports Images


Braves, D’Backs “On The Verge” Of Cahill Trade

8:55pm: A deal appears close, though the Braves still need to review Cahill’s medical records, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter links).  The Braves would be paying a little under $6MM of Cahill’s salary in 2015, and they would also obtain a compensation round draft pick in return.  Via last summer’s competitive balance lottery, the D’Backs earned an extra pick between the second and third rounds of the 2015 draft.  Braves minor league outfielder Josh Elander is involved in the deal, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

6:04pm: The Diamondbacks and Braves are “on the verge” of sending Cahill to Atlanta, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).

3:45pm: The Braves are discussing starting pitchers with multiple teams, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). Bowman, who also hears that Cahill has been discussed, says the Braves aren’t comfortable slotting two similar lefties — Stults and Rodriguez — back-to-back in the rotation.

3:39pm: The Diamondbacks and Braves have had discussions regarding Cahill, Piecoro adds in a followup tweet. The Braves have some uncertainty in the rotation with Mike Minor unlikely to be ready for the opener. Wandy Rodriguez, Mike Foltynewicz and Eric Stults have been competing for the final two rotation spot in Atlanta.

Rodriguez has pitched well but has been unable to stay healthy in recent seasons. Stults has a strong ERA (1.89) but has struck out just seven hitters in 19 spring innings. And Foltynewicz, though very well-regarded, has limited experience at the Triple-A level and even more limited experience in the Majors.

3:20pm: The Diamondbacks have discussed right-hander Trevor Cahill in trade talks, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Repbulic (on Twitter). There are clear obstacles to trading Cahill, however, and Piecoro adds that the team may need to eat at least $6MM of the $12MM that Cahill is owed in 2015.

Cahill, still just 27, came to the Diamondbacks in a 2011 trade that sent Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill to the Athletics. He enjoyed a strong, 200-inning season to open his D-Backs career in 2012, and although his ERA barely increased in the 2013 season, there were significant red flags that led to concern. Cahill’s strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates each trended in the wrong direction, and he also missed significant time after being struck on the hip by a line drive.

The 2014 season was a bit of a mixed bag for Cahill, as his walk and ground-ball rates continued to trend in the wrong direction, but he also posted the best strikeout rate (8.5 K/9) of his career. That was partly due to spending some time in the bullpen, but even as a starter, he whiffed better than eight hitters per nine. However, despite the increase in strikeouts, his bottom-line results were the worst of his career overall. Cahill recorded a 5.61 ERA in 110 2/3 innings last year and saw his once-elite ground-ball rate drop to a solid but unspectacular 48.5 percent. A fluky strand rate didn’t help his cause, but there are certainly reasons to be concerned for a soft-tossing right-hander that doesn’t miss bats and is seeing his control and ground-ball capabilities deteriorate.

If — and it’s a large if — an acquiring team were able to correct Cahill’s control and restore some of his grounders, they could have a bargain on their hands, especially if the D-Backs were to eat $6MM+ on this year’s salary. Cahill’s contract calls for a $13MM club option for the 2016 season ($300K buyout) and a $13.5MM club option ($500K buyout) for the 2017 season. Clearly, he’s a project, but given his age, some teams may be willing to dream on his 2010-12 success, knowing that in a worst-case scenario, he could be bought out for a nominal amount next offseason.

There’s reason beyond financial relief for the D-Backs to explore a trade as well. While the team has already named its starting rotation, recent indications have been that top prospect Archie Bradley was impressive enough to warrant consideration in the starting five. Moving Cahill before Opening Day would allow Arizona to slot the highly touted Bradley into that mix.


West Notes: Nix, Walker, Olson, Garcia, Bradley

Late last night, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle followed up on his report that the Astros‘ exact draft pool is unknown because two players after the 10th round received bonuses north of $100K. Per Drellich, 14th-round pick Nick Tanielu and 15th-round pick Connor Goedert each received bonuses of $200K — $100K above slot for each of them. As such, Drellich writes in a separate piece that the team’s final $616,165 offer to fifth-rounder Jacob Nix was virtually every dollar they had available to offer without losing future draft picks.

Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…

  • Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that both right-hander Taijuan Walker and left-hander Tyler Olson have made the team’s Opening Day roster (Twitter link). Walker’s inclusion on the 25-man roster is significant, as with 142 days of service time under his belt, he’ll almost certainly be a Super Two player two offseasons from now. The 25-year-old Olson, on the other hand, was in camp as a non-roster invite and will need to be added to the 40-man roster.
  • Freddy Garcia‘s Minor League contract with the Dodgers does contain an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, although the exact date of that opt-out remains unknown. Also pertaining to Garcia, Han Lee of Global Sports Integration has passed along Garcia’s Taiwanese stats to MLBTR. The veteran righty pitched to an 11-9 record with a 3.19 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 1.19 WHIP in 161 innings of work while pitching overseas in 2014.
  • Though the D-Backs have named their starting rotation, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that Archie Bradley has been so impressive that the Snakes may have to re-think at the last minute. Bradley fired six shutout innings Wednesday, including 5 2/3 no-hit innings, and after the game, manager Chip Hale told reporters: “We’ve named our five, but he’s pushed the envelope all the way down to the last possible chance he had. He’s looked great. We’ll have to sit down and evaluate everything.” Bradley could also begin his first full season in the Majors in a bullpen role, serving as a long man to get acclimated with the big leagues, Hale indicated.

Article XX(B) Free Agent Updates: Tuesday

Per the latest iteration of Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players with six years of service time who finished the 2014 season on a 40-man roster or on the 60-day DL but signed Minor League deals over the offseason are entitled to a $100K retention bonus if their new team wishes to assign them to the Minor Leagues. Otherwise, they must be added to the MLB roster or Major League disabled list. Players who do receive the retention bonus are also given June 1 opt-out dates in their Minor League pacts.

MLBTR’s Jeff Todd ran down a list of this year’s Article XX(B) free agents earlier in the month, and we’re now arriving at the juncture of Spring Training where decisions must be made on these players — the deadline will come at 11am CT tomorrow. Many such players have already been released or granted their release today (some will re-sign with the teams that released them, as Chris Perez did in Milwaukee), but here are updates on players who were paid this bonus or learned that they’ve made their respective teams…

  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets that utility man Kelly Johnson has made the Braves‘ 25-man roster. Johnson inked a Minor League pact that included a yet-unreported base salary. His versatility, the organization’s familiarity with him and the fact that the 32-year-old slashed a hefty .273/.396/.523 with a pair of homers in 54 plate appearances this spring likely all factored into the decision.
  • The Nationals will pay left-hander Rich Hill the $100K retention bonus, tweets James Wagner of the Washington Post. The 35-year-old yielded a pair of runs in 7 1/3 innings this spring and will give the Nats some left-handed relief depth. Of course, the Nats also just traded away some lefty relief by dealing out-of-options southpaw Jerry Blevins and his $2.4MM salary to the Mets.

Earlier Updates

  • Padres catcher Wil Nieves has received a $100K retention bonus, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Nieves is still in the running for the team’s backup catching slot, Lin adds. Tim Federowicz was slated to be the team’s backup, but knee surgery has sidelined him for the next several months. The team must make a final call by this Sunday.
  • The D-Backs and catcher Gerald Laird and agreed to a five-day extension that will allow him to remain in big league camp, reports Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (on Twitter). Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic adds some clarity, noting that Laird still received the $100K retention bonus but will have the opportunity to fight for a roster spot (Twitter link). The five days will give the Snakes a bit more time to determine whether or not they want to take the veteran Laird north with them to open the season.
  • The Blue Jays have paid the $100K retention bonus to both Johan Santana and Munenori Kawasaki, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Both players were on Minor League deals, but Santana didn’t get into a game with the big league club as he continued to rehab from injury. Kawasaki hit .333/.481/.571 in 27 plate appearances but didn’t make the big league roster. He’ll head to Triple-A and wait for a call to the Majors in an organization with which he is quite familiar and where he is quite popular among the coaches and his teammates.
  • Right-handers Brad Penny and Jesse Crain both received retention bonuses from the White Sox, Passan also reports (on Twitter). The duo will remain in the Minors in the hopes of a spot opening with the big league club. Penny struggled to a 6.89 ERA in 15 2/3 innings this spring, though little can be gleaned from such a small sample, and he did issue only four walks along the way. Crain, like his former Twins teammate Santana in Toronto, didn’t pitch in a big league game as he continued to rehab from injuries that cost him the entire 2014 season in Houston.
  • Both Geovany Soto and Matt Albers, on the other hand, have made the White Sox‘ roster and will be added to the 40-man, Passan reports in the aforementioned tweet. Presumably, Soto will be in the mix for everyday at-bats behind the plate following a strong spring performance. Albers will slot into the bullpen and bring an experienced arm to serve as a right-handed setup option. Soto’s base salary is an unknown, wheres Albers stands to reportedly receive a $1.5MM base for making the club.