Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors
As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained yesterday in looking at NL West out-of-options players, the Diamondbacks already have a seeming logjam in the bullpen. Nevertheless, the team agreed to a two-year deal today with southpaw Oliver Perez. That may be a reflection of the team's view of fellow lefty Joe Thatcher, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Indeed, manager Kirk Gibson had said earlier today that the club would not carry a left-handed reliever if none warranted a roster spot, Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com reports. "You've got to have people that can command the zone," Gibson said, possibly an oblique reference to the control issues last year of Thatcher and Tony Sipp. Thatcher was the only MLB piece that came to Arizona in the Ian Kennedy trade, and recently agreed to a $2.375MM deal to avoid arbitration. The 32-year-old has a solid track record, but struggled in his 22 appearances upon joining the D'backs. Now, with Perez in line for a pen slot and Randall Delgado likely headed the same way, Thatcher or another established arm may be without a role.
- Yankees starter Michael Pineda took an important step tonight on the road back from shoulder surgery, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Throwing a slider that catcher Brian McCann called "pretty much unhittable," Pineda tossed two scoreless innings and struck out four Tigers -- including Austin Jackson, Rajai Davis, and reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. Needless to say, an effective Pineda would be a major boon to a New York club with questions at the back of the rotation (to say nothing of the future implications). The 25-year-old Pineda enters the year with 2.099 years of service, much of it accrued on the DL over the last two years.
- Meanwhile, the Mariners -- the club that dealt Pineda to New York -- are looking closely at several non-roster invitees for Opening Day slots, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Starter Randy Wolf has had poor results, but says he is progressing. And southpaw reliever Joe Beimel is making a surprising run at a pen role, despite not having appeared in the bigs since 2011. Manager Lloyd McClendon preached patience with Wolf but lavished praise on Beimel, saying that the 36-year-old has "looked great" and "has the ability to get guys out from both sides of the plate."
- Irrepressible former superstar Manny Ramirez says he still wants to play, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com. The 41-year-old has not been able to earn a call-up over the last two seasons, but says he is waiting for an MLB opportunity and has so far declined requests for a repeat of his successful stint in Taiwan. MLBTR's Zach Links recently reported that Ramirez had changed agents, seemingly an indication that Ramirez was serious about continuing his career.
- As the Athletics continue to work through their difficult stadium situation, co-owner Lew Wolff says the team is considering all methods for dealing with a stalemate in lease negotiations, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. "I am hopeful of expanding our lease at the Oakland Coliseum for an extended term," Wolff recently wrote. "If we cannot accomplish a lease extension, I hope to have an interim place to play in the Bay Area or in the area that reaches our television and radio fans -- either an existing venue or in the erection of a temporary venue that we have asked our soccer stadium architect (360 Architecture) to explore." Needless to say, the notion of a temporary ballpark is intriguing, if somewhat frightening. Wolff took care to note that "looking outside the Bay Area and our media market is an undesirable option to ownership at this time."
The Diamondbacks have reached an agreement with left-hander Oliver Perez on a two-year, $4.25MM deal, pending physical. Perez, a client of Scott Boras, will earn $1.75MM for the coming year and $2.5MM in 2015.
Perez, 32, has revitalized his career over the past two seasons as a reliever with the Mariners. He has tallied a 3.16 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 31.8 percent ground-ball rate in 82 2/3 innings in that time. Opposing left-handers have batted .254/.346/.316 against him in that time, while righties have had a tougher time getting on base but slugged at a higher clip with a .237/.309/.411 batting line.
Prior to the 2009 season, Perez famously signed an ill-fated three-year, $36MM contract to remain with the Mets coming off a pair of solid seasons in New York. He would go on to pitch just 112 1/3 innings over the life of that contract, yielding a 6.81 ERA with more walks (100) than strikeouts (99). He didn't pitch in the Major Leagues at all in 2011 before his resurgence with Seattle the following year.
Left-handed relief was an area of need for the D'Backs throughout much of the 2013 campaign and was one of the factors that led Arizona GM Kevin Towers to make an intra-division trade that sent Ian Kennedy to the Padres in exchange for lefty Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a compensation round B draft choice. However, Thatcher struggled mightily in Arizona, pitching to a 6.75 ERA in 9 1/3 innings for the Snakes.
Towers has done quite a bit of wheeling and dealing in regards to his bullpen this season, as he dealt Heath Bell (and most of his salary) to the Rays in a three-team deal that also included the Reds and also flipped blocked third base prospect Matt Davidson to the White Sox for closer Addison Reed. Additionally, Arizona claimed lefty Santos Rodriguez off waivers from the White Sox and locked up right-handers Brad Ziegler and Josh Collmenter with a two-year contract extensions.
Perez was the final unsigned left-handed reliever to have seen significant big league action in 2013. Peers such as Boone Logan, Javier Lopez, Matt Thornton, Scott Downs, Manny Parra and J.P. Howell also signed multi-year deals on the open market.
The signing was first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter), while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier reported that the two sides were closing in on a multi-year deal (Twitter links). Heyman was first to report that the deal was for two years. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 had the final financial terms (via Twitter), while MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo (via Twitter) and Heyman (via Twitter) reported developments in the price tag.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The following 40-man roster players have less than five years service time and are out of minor league options. That means they must clear waivers before being sent to the minors, so the team would be at risk of losing them in attempting to do so. I've included players on multiyear deals. This list was compiled through MLBTR's sources. Next, we'll take a look at the NL West.
With the Diamondbacks beginning their season on March 22nd in Australia against the Dodgers, both teams will deal with a unique set of roster rules, as outlined by MLB.com's Steve Gilbert last month.
Delgado seems slated for Arizona's bullpen, unless perhaps Bronson Arroyo's bulging disk lands him on the DL. Regarding Tuiasosopo, D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson told Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic yesterday, "He definitely could be a guy that comes into play for us because of his versatility."
The D'Backs took Mateo from the Cubs in December's Rule 5 draft, but with Brad Ziegler, J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, Addison Reed, Josh Collmenter, and Joe Thatcher seemingly locked in, there won't be room for Mateo if Delgado joins the pen. A trade or injury could create a spot. A trade with the Cubs to retain Mateo's rights wouldn't make much sense, as the D'Backs would still have to pass him through waivers to get him to Triple-A.
Elbert is on the 60-day DL currently, so he won't be occupying a roster spot. Guerra is "up against it" in trying to make a Dodgers bullpen stacked with veterans, as explained by MLB.com's Ken Gurnick last month. Tim Federowicz is set to back up A.J. Ellis behind the plate, so the Dodgers will probably have to try to pass Butera through waivers.
Yesterday, Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee suggested there are two openings in the Giants' bullpen, assuming Petit makes the group as a long man. Machi will probably take one, but it could be tough for Huff to make the team in a similar role to Petit. Heath Hembree, Derek Law, and Jose De Paula are just a few of the other names in the mix.
There won't be room for both Adrianza and Abreu, as explained by Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles. It seems likely one of them will be traded.
Unless the Padres decide to carry three catchers, Rivera's shot at making the team depends on Yasmani Grandal's recovery from July knee surgery.
One would be hard-pressed to offer a better description of this year's Diamondbacks offseason than that written at the same time last year by MLBTR's Steve Adams: "The Diamondbacks made a number of moves that raised eyebrows and invited skepticism this offseason, and they'll have to improve on last year's .500 record to silence those naysayers."
Major League Signings
- Acquired RHP Justin Choate and OF Todd Glaesmann from the Rays in exchange for RHP Heath Bell (to Rays) and LHP David Holmberg (to Reds).
- Acquired OF Mark Trumbo and RHP A.J. Schugel from the Angels and OF Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox in exchange for LHP Tyler Skaggs (to Angels) and OF Adam Eaton (to White Sox).
- Acquired RHP Addison Reed from the White Sox in exchange for 3B Matt Davidson.
- Claimed Alex Sanabia, Matt Tuiasosopo, Santos Rodriguez, Marcos Mateo (Rule 5)
Cubs senior vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod was once an assistant GM for the Padres, and he tells FanGraphs' David Laurila that the Friars would not have taken Javier Baez if he had fallen one pick to them in the 2011 draft. "The Cubs beat a lot of teams on Javy. They certainly beat the Padres," McLeod says. "I have to admit we weren’t set up to take him with our pick. Thankfully, the Cubs were smart and I don’t have to wear that one too bad." Baez, of course, is now among the best prospects in baseball, while the player the Padres took instead, second baseman Cory Spangenberg, struggled somewhat last year in Double-A -- he hit .289, but struck out three times as often as he walked and hit for very little power. Here are more notes from the National League.
- The market for Cuban free agent infielder Aledmys Diaz will likely be set by the Dodgers' signings of Alexander Guerrero (four years, $28MM) and Erisbel Arruebarrena (five years, $25MM), Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel writes. The market for Cuban players is different from the markets for other player types, McDaniel argues, so it makes sense to compare Diaz to other Cuban players to determine his value. Diaz should hit well for average, and should be a decent defender at second base. Teams believe Diaz will likely receive a contract worth about $5MM-$7MM per season for five or six seasons, although the contracts of Cuban free agents can be difficult to predict.
- The Mets appear set to head into the season with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They don't appear likely to add Stephen Drew, and they haven't had serious trade talks recently with the Mariners (who have Nick Franklin and Brad Miller) or Diamondbacks (who have Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings). The Mariners and Diamondbacks are asking for a lot in return, Sherman says, since it's tough to find a good shortstop, and all four players have options.
Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies is highly motivated as he prepares for free agency, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer writes. Gelb points to Jason Vargas, Scott Feldman and Ricky Nolasco -- all of whom signed contracts worth at least $30MM -- as potential comparables for Kendrick. "When similar guys close to your numbers sign those deals, that's a good thing," says Kendrick. Kendrick has never pitched more than 182 innings in a season, so 200 innings in 2014 would likely go a long way toward helping him strike gold on the free-agent market. Here's more from the National League.
- The Diamondbacks' fate will be determined primarily by returning players like Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin, but their additions of Mark Trumbo, Bronson Arroyo and Addison Reed could be what finally gets them past .500, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com writes. The Diamondbacks are also likely to receive a contribution from top prospect Archie Bradley, although the addition of Arroyo should allow the team to give Bradley some extra minor-league time. Bradley, 21, pitched most of last season at Double-A Mobile.
- Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez tells the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer (via Twitter) that he will make $635K in 2014, a very significant raise for a pre-arbitration player. Earlier in the day, the Marlins announced that they had signed all of their 28 pre-arbitration-eligible players. Fernandez, of course, is following up a stellar first season in which he won the Rookie of the Year award and finished third in NL Cy Young voting.
Here are today's minor moves:
- The Dodgers have inked 28-year-old righty Steve Edlefsen to a minor league deal after holding a recent tryout, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Edlefsen had spent his entire career with the Giants, and saw 26 2/3 innings of MLB work between 2011-12, posting a 6.75 ERA in that span. He struggled last year at Triple-A, throwing 53 innings and allowing a 6.28 ERA as his walk-rate skyrocketed to 7.6 BB/9.
- Minor league outfielder Todd Glaesmann of the Diamondbacks has been placed on the voluntary retired list, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. A third round pick back in 2009, the 23-year-old Glaesmann was the player to be named later in the three-team deal that sent Heath Bell and Ryan Hanigan to the Rays, David Holmberg to the Reds, and Justin Choate to the Diamondbacks. Curiously, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said at the time of the deal that the PTBNL (who turned out to be Glaesmann) was the key personnel piece from his team's perspective, although money saved by moving Bell no doubt was a significant motivator.
- Three players are suspended in DFA limbo, per MLBTR's DFA Tracker: Andy Parrino (Athletics), Chase D'Arnaud (Pirates), and Justin Sellers (Dodgers).
The Diamondbacks have a good deal of depth at shortstop, as they feel that both Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings are capable Major League shortstops. In addition, three more names on Baseball America's list of Top 30 Diamonsbacks prospects -- Nick Ahmed, Sergio Alcantara and Jose Munoz -- are shortstops. This has led to some speculation that the Diamondbacks could trade a shortstop in order to address other needs in the organization, and Marc Carig of Newsday now reports (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks have targeted young catchers in discussing shortstop trades with the Mets.
However, Carig adds that the Mets aren't a good fit for a trade with the D-Backs. Arizona is said to be seeking a Travis d'Arnaud type of talent in exchange for one of their shortstops and doesn't deem fellow catcher Kevin Plawecki a good enough return. As such, the Mets and D-Backs haven't had recent trade discussions about Arizona's shorstops (Twitter links).
For some context, Plawecki ranked fifth on BA's Top 30 Mets prospects heading into the 2014 season. BA calls him a safe bet to bat around .280 and hit somewhere in the range of a dozen homers at his peak level, and his bat is good enough to profile as a starting catcher, according to their scouting report. He has an average arm and is solid when it comes to blocking pitches, per BA.
The Diamondbacks currently have Miguel Montero installed as their everyday catcher, but the 30-year-old's offense slipped in 2013. After batting .283/.361/.457 from 2009-12, Montero slashed just .230/.318/.344 in 475 plate appearances last season. The decline was rapid and clearly unexpected, as it came in the first season of a five-year, $60MM extension that Montero inked in May 2012. He's set to earn $10MM this coming season, $12MM in 2015 and $14MM in 2016-17.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he hasn't had many trade talks about a shortstop given that Stephen Drew is still on the market, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. If Towers did feel compelled to move either Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius, Cliff Pennington or Nick Ahmed in "the right deal," Towers said that the team would likely target either a minor league pitcher who's close to the big leagues or a catcher. "Our biggest needs in our system are catching," Towers said. "If it’s the right, top-notch catching prospect. Someone we could have right behind Miggy [Miguel Montero]. More of an upper-level guy.” Of the teams known to be looking for shortstop help, the Yankees stand out as a possible trade partner, especially since New York is known to be shopping its catching depth.
Here's some more from around the majors...
- Also from Piecoro, the Red Sox are "at least monitoring the shortstop market." The Sox currently aren't in negotiations with Stephen Drew, but it stands to reason they could still be looking for a cheaper infield option to back up Xander Bogaerts.
- With more and more teams locking up their young stars to long-term extensions, SI.com's Tom Verducci writes that "what we are going to see is a further eroding of the free-agent market as a place of any kind of efficiency. Teams will continue to make bad deals on free agents because it mostly involves paying too long and too much for the decline years of star players."
- Mike Trout is the most high-profile example yet of a team locking up its young superstar, and Verducci thinks that a seven-year extension (covering four of Trout's free agent years) could cost the Angels $204MM.
- Juan Rincon is planning to work out for interested teams soon, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman tweets. The 35-year-old righty posted a 4.03 ERA over 444 games (three of them starts) with the Twins, Indians, Tigers and Rockies from 2001-10, but hasn't appeared in the Majors since, spending the last three years with the Angels' Triple-A affiliate and for independent teams. In December, we heard Rincon was looking for a minor league deal that would allow him to mentor young pitchers and then eventually turn into a scouting job.
- Tomo Ohka talks to the Toronto Star's Brad Lefton about adopting the knuckleball in order to save his career, and how he's hoping for one last crack at the Major Leagues with the Blue Jays.
- Fangraphs' Wendy Thurm breaks down which teams spend the highest percentage of their payroll on their starting rotation, starting lineup, bullpen and bench, respectively.
- The Astros (+18 WAR) and Red Sox (-16 WAR) project as the most- and least-improved teams in 2014, according to Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan, who lists a top ten in each category. Of course, as Sullivan notes, these totals are respectively skewed by how poorly and how well the two clubs fared last season, as Sullivan still expects Boston to contend and Houston to be one of the league's lesser clubs.