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Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.
- The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
- A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
- Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andre Ethier | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Chase Headley | David Robertson | Detroit Tigers | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miguel Montero | New York Mets | New York Yankees | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Toronto Blue Jays
- The Diamondbacks signed pitcher J.C. Ramirez and re-signed catcher Blake Lalli. The 26-year-old Ramirez pitched 24 innings for Philadelphia in 2013, but performed poorly. He spent 2014 in the Indians system. Scouts like his 94 mph fastball, but he struggles with command and control as evidenced by a 5.63 BB/9 in his major league sample. Lalli, 32 next season, hit .275/.340/.373 in 2014 at the Triple-A level. He briefly appeared in the majors for the Cubs and Brewers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
- Utility infielder Ramiro Pena has elected free agency after the Braves outrighted him off the 40 man roster. Pena owns a career .244/.288/.330 line over 610 plate appearances in parts of six seasons. Capable of playing shortstop, second, and third base, the 29-year-old offers plenty of flexibility. He’s spent his entire career with the Yankees and Braves.
- The Reds signed pitchers Jose De La Torre, Marcus Walden, and utility infielder Irving Falu. De La Torre, 29, offers big strikeout stuff with control issues out of the bullpen. He appeared briefly for the Red Sox in 2013. Walden is less flashy than De La Torre, and he has spent most of his minor league career in the rotation. The 26-year-old has posted a 3.92 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 over 622 minor league innings. His results in the upper minors have been markedly worse. Falu, 32 next season, has appeared briefly for the Royals, Brewers, and Padres over the past two years.
- The Indians have signed outfielder Destin Hood. Possibly one of the gems of the minor league market, Hood hit .298/.348/.460 across three levels last season – mostly with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. The former second round pick struggled prior to the 2014 campaign, which is probably why the Nationals did not add him to their 40 man roster. As Eddy notes, Hood hit .315 and slugged .556 against left-handed pitching last season, making him a good fit for a lefty heavy Cleveland lineup. He’s 25 next season.
- The Angels signed 26-year-old pitcher Alex Sanabia. The former Marlin has 138 major league innings to his name with a 4.15 ERA, 5.58 K/9, and 2.86 BB/9. The righty should serve as rotation depth.
- The Marlins signed pitcher Chris Narveson and outfielder Cole Gillespie. Narveson, a former Brewer and Cardinal, has a 4.65 ERA over 396 innings. He pitched in Japan last season with similar results. He’ll turn 33 later this month. Gillespie, once a prospect with the Diamondbacks, has bounced around the league. He’s briefly appeared with five major league clubs and owns a .230/.295/.329 batting line in 270 plate appearances. He’s 31 next season.
- The Padres have re-signed left-handed pitcher Jason Lane. The former Astros outfielder reached the majors as a pitcher last season and performed well in 10 and one-third innings. He allowed just one run on a home run, struck out six, and walked none in his age 37 season.
- The Mariners signed 32-year-old pitcher Justin Germano. The soft-tossing righty is best used as minor league depth, although he’s appeared with eight major league clubs over nine seasons. He owns a 5.40 ERA, 5.70 K/9, and 2.92 BB/9 in 330 career innings. His fastball averaged 85.5 mph last season.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Sanabia | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Chris Narveson | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Cole Gillespie | Irving Falu | J.C. Ramirez | Jason Lane | Jose De La Torre | Justin Germano | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Marcus Walden | Miami Marlins | Ramiro Pena | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Transactions
The Diamondbacks officially announced today that Nationals special assistant Deric Ladnier has been hired as their new scouting director (Jon Heyman of CBS Sports previously reported that the move was likely). The 50-year-old Ladnier has worked in scouting and player development for 24 and was the Royals’ scouting director from 2000-08, during which time Kansas City drafted Zack Greinke, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Billy Butler, Danny Duffy and Jarrod Dyson.
Some more D-Backs notes on a day that saw them complete a significant three-team trade…
- The Diamondbacks will not trade Mark Trumbo, GM Dave Stewart plainly told reporters, including FOX Sports Arizona’s Jack Magruder today (Twitter link). Though some have speculated that the Yasmany Tomas signing opens the door for such a move (myself included), it appears the D-Backs are in no rush to sell low on Trumbo after a down season in 2014. Stewart added that the D-Backs are still looking for a left-handed power bat to sandwich between Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt in the team’s cleanup spot.
- One reason that the D-Backs feel they can keep Trumbo around without creating a logjam, manager Chip Hale told Magruder, is that their plan is to try Tomas out as a third baseman (Twitter link). While that may be alarming to many, Tomas has experience playing third base in Cuba and worked out for clubs at the position as well.
- The Reds, who are known to be seeking a left fielder, are interested in the Diamondbacks’ group of outfielders, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Former D-Backs GM Kevin Towers is now in Cincinnati’s front office Morosi notes, and David Peralta‘s name is one that has been mentioned internally. While it’s highly early for this type of speculation, a trade of Peralta to Cincinnati would allow the Snakes to play Tomas and Trumbo in the outfield corners, though that could have serious defensive downside, even with the excellent A.J. Pollock in center field. Peralta had a somewhat surprisingly strong rookie campaign despite the fact that he turned 27 years old in August. The D-Backs plucked him out of independent ball in 2013, and he batted .286/.320/.450 in 348 plate appearances in 2014.
The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers have officially announced a three-team trade sending shortstop Didi Gregorius from the D-Backs to the Yankees, right-hander Shane Greene from the Yankees to the Tigers, and left-hander Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to the Diamondbacks.
Gregorius, who turns 25 in February, has a good defensive reputation but comes with some question marks regarding his bat. In his age-24 season with the D-Backs, Gregorius batted .226/.290/.363 with six homers and three steals in 299 plate appearances. Overall, he’s compiled a .243/.313/.366 batting line over parts of three seasons in the Majors, showing stretches of offensive potential at times. For instance, Gregorius batted .275/.341/.403 in the first half of the 2013 season with a reasonable .313 BABIP, suggesting that his production wasn’t inflated heavily by luck. However, he followed that up with a .207/.314/.314 second half. He’ll obviously have large shoes to fill in New York as the Yankees hope that he can be a long-term replacement to Derek Jeter. Gregorius is controlled through the 2019 season, giving the Yankees at least five full seasons of his services if he proves that he can handle the job.
Greene is a candidate to immediately fill the fifth slot in the Tigers’ rotation behind David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello. The 26-year-old had an impressive debut with the Yankees in 2014, making 15 appearances (14 starts) and posting a 3.78 ERA (3.73 FIP, 3.40 xFIP, 3.41 SIERA) with 9.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 50.2 percent ground-ball rate in 78 2/3 innings. Greene averaged a solid 93.1 mph on his fastball last year and gives the Tigers a piece they can potentially control in the long-term, with Price and Porcello set to hit free agency next winter. Greene is controllable through the 2020 season.
The Diamondbacks are dealing from a position of depth, as they had a number of shortstop options in 2015, with Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed all representing controllable possibilities, and the veteran Cliff Pennington serving as a one-year option before hitting the open market next winter. With this move, Owings will presumably be penciled in as the everyday shortstop and will team with Aaron Hill to form the Diamondbacks’ double-play tandem.
Arizona is known to be seeking rotation options for the 2015 season this winter, and in landing Ray, they’d be acquiring an arm that has a bit of MLB experience and could soon step into the rotation. Ray, who turned 23 in October, made nine appearances in Detroit this season but allowed 26 runs in 28 2/3 innings. He also struggled, to an extent, in Triple-A last year, pitching to a 4.22 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. However, he’s one year removed from being regarded highly enough by the Tigers to serve as the centerpiece in their trade of Doug Fister to the Nationals.
Leyba was recently ranked fifth among Detroit farmhands by Baseball America. The 19-year-old switch-hitter played both shortstop and second base between short-season Class-A in the New York Penn League and Class-A in the Midwest League, batting .323/.360/.423 with a pair of homers and a pair of steals in 278 plate appearances. In BA’s scouting report, Ben Badler writes that while Leyba doesn’t have any “dynamic” tools, he’s a fundamentally sound infielder with good bat control and a line-drive stroke that can barrel up against good velocity. Badler noted that he’s probably better suited at second base, but the Tigers did give him a look at short in the season’s final two weeks. MLB.com ranked him eighth among Tigers prospects on its midseason Top 20 list, noting that he has double-digit homer potential once he matures and possesses good strike zone knowledge.
For the Yankees, this places an even larger need on acquiring starting pitching, either via free agency or trade, this offseason. Greene’s departure leaves New York with Masahiro Tanaka (whose elbow health is up in the air), CC Sabathia (coming off knee surgery), Ivan Nova (coming off Tommy John surgery), Michael Pineda (who has been plagued by shoulder problems) and David Phelps as potential rotation pieces. The decision to move Greene in order to address shortstop isn’t necessarily the result of a faulty thought process, however. The free agent and trade markets are both stacked with starting pitching options this winter, while there’s little in the way of shortstop talent available (particularly if one feels that Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie are better equipped to play second base). Gregorius will team with Martin Prado either up the middle or on the left side of the infield (depending on how New York’s pursuit of Chase Headley ultimately concludes), with Mark Teixeira hoping to return to health at first base. If they elect to use Prado at third and give Rob Refsnyder a shot at second base, as the Post’s George A. King III and others have speculated, then it stands to reason that the primary focus from this point forth will be pitching upgrades, both in the rotation and in the bullpen.
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti first reported a framework that was being discussed. The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro then tweeted that Ray was likely one of the names headed to the D-Backs, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports pushed the report across the finish line, noting that a deal with those parameters had indeed been agreed upon (Twitter links). Rosenthal’s colleague, Jon Morosi reported that Leyba was the second prospect in the deal (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
While Andre Ethier took his transition to a bench role in 2014 in stride and without complaint, he told Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times that he’s communicated to the Dodgers, through his agent, that he wants to start in 2015, even if it means moving to another club. “It didn’t work,” said Ethier. “Let’s do something different. That’s the way I look at it. And I think a lot of people probably look at it that way, too.” Ethier explained to Dilbeck that he felt the 2014 Dodgers were well-positioned to win the World Series, and he didn’t want to “add another wrench” and complicate matters for the team by griping about playing time. Ethier continued, “I’d rather play every day and help this team win — or whatever team it is — to the best of my ability. I feel I can, if given a role. As I stand here today, I’m preparing every day to be a starting outfielder for the Dodgers, until I’m told otherwise.” Ethier is still owed $56MM over the next three seasons, so the Dodgers would likely have to include a significant amount of cash to offset that commitment for an acquiring club.
Here’s more on the National League West…
- Yasmani Grandal may have more trade value than any Padres player at this point, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. As Lin notes, the market is flooded with pitching options but thin on quality catchers, and the Padres have a capable alternative in Rene Rivera, whom the coaching staff and pitchers love. In a second tweet, however, Lin quotes a Major League talent evaluator who feels it’s “quite a risk” to move the 26-year-0ld switch-hitter given his age, position and upside. Grandal is not yet arbitration eligible (he will be next winter) and has four years of team control remaining.
- Didi Gregorius is headed to the Yankees following this morning’s three-team trade with the Tigers, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Yankees first tried to engage the D-Backs directly by offering Shane Greene (who is headed to Detroit in the that three-team deal) for Gregorius. However, the D-Backs weren’t interested in that swap, prompting the Yankees to reach out to the Tigers to help facilitate the move.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Diamondbacks have narrowed the search for a new scouting director down to two names: Nationals special assistant Deric Ladnier and Reds national crosschecker Mark Snipp. Ladnier, who has previously served as a scouting director for the Royals, is expected to get the job, according to Heyman.
The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers are discussing a potential three-team trade that would send shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, reports WFAN’s Sweeny Murti (on Twitter). According to Murti, right-hander Shane Greene could head to the Tigers, with Detroit potentially sending a pair of arms to Arizona. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic chimes in, tweeting that left-hander Robbie Ray is potentially available for the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, so it seems that he could be one of the pitchers referenced by Murti.
Of course, there would be other pieces involved in this framework. The reported pieces, as it stands, don’t necessarily explain the Tigers’ primary motivation for being in this deal, unless they’ve soured on Ray and are willing to part with him and another prospect in order to obtain Greene. While the 26-year-old Greene unquestionably had a strong debut for the Yankees in 2014 — 3.78 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 in 78 2/3 innings — it would seem surprising to think that Detroit would part with Ray and another arm to land Greene alone. Ray, of course, was the centerpiece to last winter’s surprising trade of Doug Fister to the Nationals.
Gregorius, who turns 25 in February, has a good defensive reputation but comes with some question marks regarding his bat. In his age-24 season with the D-Backs, Gregorius batted .226/.290/.363 with six homers and three steals in 299 plate appearances. He’s compiled a .243/.313/.366 batting line over parts of three seasons in the Majors, showing stretches of offensive potential at times. For instance, Gregorius batted .275/.341/.403 in the first half of the 2013 season with a reasonable .313 BABIP, suggesting that his production wasn’t inflated heavily by luck. However, he followed that up with a .207/.314/.314 second half.
The Diamondbacks have a number of shortstop options in 2015, with Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed all representing controllable possibilities, and the veteran Cliff Pennington serving as a one-year option before hitting the open market next winter. Arizona is known to be seeking rotation options for the 2015 season this winter, and in landing Ray, they’d be acquiring an arm that has a bit of MLB experience and could soon step into the rotation.
Ray, who turned 23 in October, made nine appearances in Detroit this season but allowed 26 runs in 28 2/3 innings. He also struggled, to an extent, in Triple-A last year, pitching to a 4.22 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2015 season. We’ll run down the list of National League non-tenders here, and update it as reports come in. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR’s Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates (in the estimation of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes). Also important for reference is the set of arbitration salary projections from MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz. Click here for an explanation of the process, and be sure to check out this piece featuring some interesting observations from Tim regarding non-tender considerations.
- The Rockies have non-tendered lefty Kraig Sitton, the team announced.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Gaby Sanchez and Chaz Roe, the club announced. Sanchez was in DFA limbo.
- The Cardinals will non-tender Daniel Descalso, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. That move seemed rather likely, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reported last night.
- Lefty Wesley Wright and catcher John Baker have been non-tendered by the Cubs, the team announced. Wright certainly qualifies as a surprise, as the 29-year-old was solid for the Cubs and was projected to earn just $2MM.
- The Reds have non-tendered righties Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports.
- Meanwhile, the Giants have tendered all arb-eligible players contracts, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News reports on Twitter.
- The Mets have announced that Eric Young Jr. has been non-tendered, ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin tweets.
- The Braves have dropped the biggest non-tender news of the day thus far, releasing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to the open market. Otherwise, the only teams announcing to this point have decided to tender all of their players.
- There will are no non-tenders to report for the Diamondbacks, who have announced that they have tendered contracts to all eligible players (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter).
- The same holds true for the Marlins, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter link).
- The Nationals have announced that they have tendered contracts to all ten eligible players, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter). Washington had previously agreed to avoid arbitration with one other player from the packed class (Kevin Frandsen).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Brandon Beachy | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Daniel Descalso | Eric Young, Jr. | Gaby Sanchez | John Baker | Kris Medlen | Logan Ondrusek | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Newsstand | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Francisco Giants | St. Louis Cardinals | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Wesley Wright
The Mets have plenty of good pitching, but now isn’t the best time for them to try to trade it, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Not only are there still plenty of good, or even great, arms remaining on the free agent market, but there are also plenty of potential trade targets, including players like Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Kennedy. “[E]very organization now thinks it has pitching,” says an NL executive. “Maybe not as much as the Mets, but more than in the past. No one can find bats. I just think the teams with bats are king right now.” Here are more notes from the National League.
- On the flip side, Sherman writes, plenty of top hitters are already off the free agent market, so teams willing to trade batters could soon find good markets for them. That includes the Braves, who still have Justin Upton to deal, as well as the Cubs and Red Sox. The Cubs had today’s hitting-poor market in mind as they collected their terrific group of young hitters, an NL executive tells Sherman. “The Cubs used the fourth pick [in June’s draft] to pick a pure hitter [Kyle Schwarber] without a position at a time when they needed pitching badly, and they are in as deep on [19-year-old Cuban wunderkind] Yoan Moncada as any team,” says the executive. “That is not by accident.”
- What kind of player might new Diamondbacks signee Yasmany Tomas be next season? FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, writing for FOX Sports, looks at various scouting reports to compile a list of comparable players for Tomas. Sullivan suggests Tomas profiles as approximately a league-average player, with a bat similar to that of Yoenis Cespedes or Khris Davis. He might turn out to be Justin Upton if he’s a little better than anticipated, and Dayan Viciedo if he’s worse. At 24, though, Tomas could also continue to improve, and Sullivan suggests that as an average player, Tomas is more than worth the $68.5MM the Diamondbacks guaranteed him.
The Diamondbacks won the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, signing the Cuban outfielder to a six-year, $68.5MM contract and drawing praise from some around the baseball world, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. One AL scout called the contract “a great deal,” since another AL scout told Piecoro that “most people thought it would cost between $80MM-$100MM” to sign Tomas. It’s possible that the Snakes were able to get a relative bargain, however, due to concerns that other teams had about Tomas’ defense and plate discipline, not to mention career numbers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional that fell well behind the totals posted by such stars as Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig.
MLBTR wishes all our readers a Happy Thanksgiving, and here are some items from around baseball to go with your pumpkin pie for dessert…
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Dejan Kovacevic of DKOnPittsburghSports.com that the team’s payroll “certainly can and I suspect will” top the $90MM mark in 2015. This works out to roughly $20MM in available funds by Kovacevic’s calculations, and “everything I’m hearing is that most, if not all, of that money will be committed to starting pitching,” with the Pirates hoping to re-sign both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.
- The Reds are looking for multiple “inexpensive Major League-ready players” in exchange for Jay Bruce, a rival scout familiar with the team’s demands told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Cincinnati is known to be listening to offers for Bruce, though it could just be a case of due diligence rather than a legitimate desire to deal the outfielder.
- The Rule 5 Draft is coming up on December 11, and Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper lists some of the intriguing names that are likely or unlikely be picked in two weeks’ time. BA’s Matt Eddy, meanwhile, examines some of the key statistics and factors that led several prospects to be added to team’s 40-man rosters in advance of the draft.
- Chris Capuano said “there’s a lot of truth to” rumors he is interested in pitching in Japan next season, the veteran lefty told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). “It piqued my interest back in 2006….we’re considering it,” Capuano said. The 36-year-old posted a 4.35 ERA, 2.47 K/BB and 7.5 K/9 over 97 1/3 IP in 2014, making 12 starts for the Yankees and 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox.
- The Mariners would be hard-pressed to deal starting pitching given their lack of rotation depth, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes, and thus a rumored Hisashi Iwakuma-for-Yoenis Cespedes deal doesn’t make much sense for the team.
- If GM Brian Cashman truly believes David Robertson “checks every box” for what’s expected from a Yankees closer, then the team should’ve re-signed Robertson by now, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News opines. The Robertson/Dellin Betances combo was a major strength for the Yankees last season, though Betances might not be ready to take over the closer’s role. Plus, as Feinsand argues, “who takes over the setup role if Betances moves to the ninth? Andrew Miller? Luke Gregerson? If you’re going to pay a free-agent reliever, why not spend on the one you’ve drafted and developed yourself?”
Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez has drawn “strong interest” from several teams, including the Diamondbacks, Giants, Padres and Yankees, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports. The 21-year-old Lopez held one showcase for scouts earlier this month and will showcase himself again next week in the Dominican Republic.
Lopez is a 6’4″, 190-pound pitcher who has three seasons under his belt for Isla de la Juventud of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Major League Baseball has declared Lopez a free agent, but the righty still has to receive clearance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury before he can sign with a team.
According to Sanchez, Lopez “throws a cut-fastball, a change, a curve and a slider, but is best known for a fastball that hovers in the 93-to-95 MPH range. His fastball has been clocked at 100 MPH three times since he began working out for teams.”
The Yankees are one of four clubs (the others being the Rays, Red Sox and Angels) who have already exceeded their spending pools for the 2014-15 international signing period, as Sanchez notes. This could make these teams more apt to spend on Lopez since they’re already being penalized anyway, though if Lopez doesn’t receive his clearance by June 15, the quartet will be prohibited from spending more than $300K to sign Lopez or any pool-eligible player for each of the next two international signing periods. If one of the other 26 teams particularly fancies Lopez, of course, they can always exceed their pool limit and accept a penalty themselves.
The D’Backs made a big splash in the international market yesterday by signing Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, while the Padres and Giants were finalists for Tomas’ services. San Francisco and New York were recently listed by Baseball America’s Ben Badler as two of the top contenders for another star Cuban prospect, Yoan Moncada. The Yankees, of course, were by far the most active team of the 2014-15 signing period, making deals with ten of Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects.