Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors


NL Notes: Johnson, Cubs, Bradley

ESPN.com's Jim Bowden took a look back (Insider link) at his free agent predictions to see where he hit and missed. Most of his accurate guesses came on players who signed early, while the opposite holds true of those that he was off on. By far the biggest difference among actual and estimated deals came with Ervin Santana, who Bowden had tabbed for a five-year, $75MM deal but ultimately signed for a lower AAV and just one season.

As we join the rest of the game in celebrating the legacy of Dodgers great Jackie Robinson, here's more from the National League:

  • Padres starter Josh Johnson, who is struggling to overcome a right forearm strain, will visit Dr. James Andrews for an assessment, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock. According to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the team is increasingly concerned that Johnson may require his second Tommy John surgery. GM Josh Byrnes said that, at this point, he is "not sure" if Johnson will be able to throw for the club this year, but that the team hopes to "know more next week." Johnson's one-year, $8MM deal with San Diego includes a conditional $4MM club option for next year that is triggered if the righty makes less than seven starts.
  • With a farm system full of top-end talent in the field, the Cubs are focused on adding to a group of arms that may be too lightly regarded, writes Gordon Wittenmyer for Baseball America"Our arms are probably a little bit underrated," said president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. "That said, we need at least twice as many of them as we have now. But I think we’ve done a nice job through the last couple drafts and, especially, through some trades adding to that reserve." But that does not mean that Epstein is content with the talent he has brought together. "We need to keep pounding it," he said. "Every trade we make, we try to get an arm. Every time we have a draft pick, we look closely at the best available arm who we can add to the organization."
  • Meanwhile, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said today that the team is focused on upgrading Wrigley Field rather than taking a shot at a suburban ballpark, even if that might be more financially advantageous, the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com). He also said that the club was focusing on the overall development of its international prospects, not just teaching basic English but working to address broader educational needs.
  • Addressing the recent comments by the agent of top pitching prospect Archie BradleyDiamondbacks GM Kevin Towers made clear that he had no intentions of being influenced, as MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports (Twitter links). "We're going to run our business and not let anybody else dictate how we do our business," said Towers. "I'm a straight shooter, too," he added. "If we felt at the start of the season that this guy was ready he would have been here."



Agent Says D'Backs Should Promote Archie Bradley

Top prospect Archie Bradley should be promoted to the big league club, his agent Jay Franklin tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Arizona GM Kevin Towers denied that the 21-year-old was being held down over service-time considerations.

"I think it's very apparent what is going on in Arizona," said Franklin. "Every ballplayer that is playing minor league baseball works his tail off to get an opportunity to play in the big leagues. Archie Bradley has proven to the Diamondbacks organization that he has deserved that opportunity by keeping his mouth shut and letting his numbers speak for his chance to pitch in the major leagues."

Of course, it is well accepted by observers that teams do (and should) consider MLB service time in determining when to promote top prospects. Here at MLBTR, we just broke down the timing issues for some of the best prospects around the league who could be brought to the bigs this year.

For Bradley, who is for some the top-rated pitching prospect who has yet to see MLB action, an appearance on the big league roster before the end of the month would cost Arizona the opportunity to control him for an additional season. Likewise, avoiding Super Two status (and with it an additional year of arbitration eligiblity) would require the club to hold Bradley out until some time between mid-May and early June, depending upon how this year's league-wide promotions shake out. The benefits to the team of adding control and lowering cost, of course, can come with a countervailing effect on the player (assuming, at least, that there would be no harm to the player's development -- a highly subjective consideration).

For multiple reasons, clubs are loath to say that their determinations are based upon such considerations. For a Diamondbacks team that has had injury and performance issues in its rotation in the season's early going, there has been widespread speculation as to whether the team would call up Bradley. 

But Towers said that he has legitimate baseball reasons not to go to the hyped young righty at this point. He cited two primary considerations in an interview with Rosenthal: the desire to avoid undue pressure in the middle of a tough start for the team, and the fact that Bradley struggled toward the end of the spring. "If it gets to the point where we straighten this thing out and it's a more positive environment here and he's throwing the ball well," said Towers, "we'll do it regardless of the clock."

On the whole, it seems quite unlikely that Franklin has an actionable complaint (or that he has any such intention). It is, after all, quite common for outstanding young players to experience just this situation. But for a player who many expect to turn into a top-line starter, this early relationship issue -- Rosenthal describes it as a "spar" between agent and GM -- will certainly be worth watching as time goes on.



Rosenthal's Latest: D'Backs, Drew, Kuroda, Fuld, Jays

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has a new, lengthy notes column in which he begins by examining the early scrutiny of MLB's new instant replay system. He points to a pair of blatantly missed calls on Saturday in which conclusive evidence was seen on TV broadcasts of the games but apparently not by the umpires at MLB's Replay Operations Center in New York. An MLB spokesperson confirmed to Rosenthal that one of those calls was blown and added that the system would continue to work on improvement. Rosenthal reminds that John Schuerholz, one of the architects of the system, said it would be a three-year roll out. However, he adds that MLB can't expect any patience from fans, players or managers when home viewers are able to make better judgments than the umpires at the Relay Operations Center.

Here are some more highlights from his article, which also contains notes on Jose Abreu, struggling offenses around the league and the Dodgers' interleague schedule...

  • Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is the early front-runner for "first manager to get fired" due to the team's 4-11 start, but Rosenthal wonders what more Gibson can do with the pitching talent (or lack thereof) he has been given. GM Kevin Towers thinned out the rotation depth by trading Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg this offseason, and the loss of Patrick Corbin compounded those moves. Rosenthal wonders how long the Snakes can wait before recalling Archie Bradley.
  • One executive said to Rosenthal that any American League team with a need in the infield will have added incentive to work out a deal with Stephen Drew in order to prevent the Tigers from signing him. The AL Central powerhouse is currently going with Alex Gonzalez at short, and the results have been less than stellar.
  • Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda told Rosenthal (through his interpreter) that he's never considered retirement as heavily as he did this offseason. The most difficult factor for Kuroda wasn't the separation from his L.A.-based family -- they come live with him in the summer when his daughters are out of school -- but rather that he simply loves and misses Japan. Kuroda again left open the possibility of finishing his career back in Japan.
  • Both the Angels and Twins have a need in the outfield with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham on the disabled list, and both teams were interested in the recently DFA'ed Sam Fuld this offseason before he signed with the Athletics. Rosenthal reports that the A's will gauge trade possibilities for Fuld and wonders if the Halos and Twins could have interest.
  • After signing a minor league deal in the 2012-13 offseason, Blue Jays right-hander Neil Wagner earned the pro-rated portion that deal's $525K salary while in the Majors last season. However, Toronto's pre-arbitration pay scale called for just a $506,250 salary in 2014, as it is based on service time rather than performance. Agent Jim Munsey and Wagner refused the deal, giving Toronto the freedom to renew Wagner's contract at $500K if they wished, which the team did. Said Munsey of the ordeal: "It's, obviously, disappointing that they cut Neil's pay after such a good season last year. And when we didn't agree to the pay cut, they cut it further in renewing him. Hard to cheer for that. ... The rules allow the Jays to reduce his pay. They also allow us to talk about that at arbitration." MLBTR's Zach Links recently looked at teams' calculation of pre-arbitration salaries.
  • Though the Rays' rotation has been ravaged by injuries to Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, the team is planning on using internal options rather than pursuing outside help.



NL West Notes: Francoeur, D'Backs, Sandoval, Hedges

Rookies are usually the easiest targets for clubhouse pranks, yet veteran Jeff Francoeur was the victim of a month-long running gag from his teammates on the Padres' Triple-A affiliate.  Padres farmhand Cody Decker created a short YouTube video chronicling the prank, and it's definitely good for a few chuckles.  Here's some news from around the majors...

  • The Diamondbacks' slow start has made them "candidates for early change" in the view of executives from around the league, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets.  Manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers both signed extensions in February that kept both men from being lame ducks in 2014, though there was speculation that this was a make-or-break year for the two men following consecutive .500 seasons for the Snakes.
  • Pablo Sandoval is off to a slow start in his contract year, and given how much speculation has already swirled about Sandoval's contract talks with the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy hopes that his third baseman is keeping his focus.  "He's the only one who can answer that I guess, if it's on his mind," Bochy tells MLB.com's Alex Espinoza.  "The one thing you don't want Pablo to do is to get away from playing the game the way he normally plays it -- with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. Thinking about the contract, it can be a distraction. He assured me it's not."
  • Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges continued to impress scouts during Spring Training, Tom Krasovic writes for Baseball America.  While the catcher still has a bit of work to do with the bat, a scout tells Krasovic that “Hedges probably could have caught in the big leagues two years ago. He is so advanced from a receiving and throwing standpoint. He was a treat to watch. Barring injury, he is going to be a big leaguer for a long time."  Hedges is one of the game's consensus top prospects (ranked 24th by MLB.com, 27th by Baseball America and 33rd by ESPN's Keith Law in their preseason lists) and he'll start the season at Double-A.



Minor Moves: Oeltjen, Mathis

Here are today's minor moves from around baseball.

  • The Diamondbacks have reinstated outfielder Trent Oeltjen from the disabled list and loaned him to Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Oeltjen, 31, has a .220/.299/.384 career batting line, with his last appearance in the big leagues coming in 2011 with the Dodgers. He hit .255/.345/.483 for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2014.
  • The Rangers released pitcher Doug Mathis, according to the same PCL transactions page. Mathis posted a 3.85 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 114 2/3 innings for the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans in 2013.



Minor Moves: Everett Williams, Daniel Tillman

Here are today's minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post...

  • The Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Everett Williams to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter).  Williams, 23, was a second-round draft pick of the Padres in 2009 but has only hit .249/.314/.356 in 1313 minor league plate appearances.  As Eddy notes, there are several former Padres executives currently in the D'Backs front office, including general manager Kevin Towers, who was San Diego's GM when the club drafted Williams in 2009. 
  • The Dodgers signed right-hander Daniel Tillman to a minor league deal, Eddy tweets.  Tillman was originally drafted in the second round by the Angels in 2010, and all but five of his 131 minor league appearances have come out of the bullpen.  The 25-year-old has a career 3.85 ERA but Tillman has battled both injuries and control problems over the last two seasons.
  • Now that the Rangers have returned Rule 5 Draft pick Seth Rosin to the Phillies, only Jeremy Jeffress (Blue Jays) and Hector Noesi (Mariners) remain in DFA Limbo according to MLBTR's DFA Tracker.



Diamondbacks Sign Randy Wolf

1:20pm: The Diamondbacks have officially announced the signing on Twitter. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (also on Twitter) that Wolf's base salary upon being promoted to the Majors would be $1MM.

11:44am: The Diamondbacks have reached an agreement with veteran left-hander Randy Wolf on a minor league deal, tweets MLBTR's Zach Links. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro first reported that the two sides were close to a deal, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that Wolf will start for the club's Triple-A affiliate as soon as Monday. Wolf is represented by the Wasserman Media Group.

The veteran Wolf hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners this offseason and had been informed that he made the club as the team's fifth starter. However Wolf requested his release when the Mariners asked him to sign a 45-day advance-consent release clause that would allow the team to release him and pay him just a pro-rated portion of his guaranteed salary for any reason other than an injury.

General manager Kevin Towers recently told reporters that he expected to add a veteran starter on a minor league deal in the coming days, and Wolf certainly fits that bill. The 14-year veteran owns a career 4.20 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 39 percent ground-ball rate with the Phillies, Brewers, Padres, Dodgers, Orioles and Astros. The final season of the three-year, $28.5MM contract he signed with the Brewers didn't turn out well, as he wound up posting a 5.65 ERA in 157 2/3 innings between Milwaukee and Baltimore that year before being diagnosed with a torn UCL. However, in the year prior, Wolf posted a strong 3.69 ERA in 212 1/3 innings for the Brew Crew -- his fourth straight season of 190 or more innings.

Wolf will provide rotation depth for a team that has seen its starting pitchers post a combined 6.57 ERA to this point in the young season -- the second-worst mark in all of Major League Baseball.



D'Backs Eyeing Veteran Starters For Triple-A Depth

The Diamondbacks will open a series against the Dodgers tonight with a rotation that has produced a combined 6.57 ERA that trails only the Twins for the worst mark in Major League Baseball, but general manager Kevin Towers tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that he's not actively pursuing trades of pitchers at this time (Twitter link). However, he does expect to sign a veteran starter to serve as depth at Triple-A in the coming days.

As the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro wrote this week, Josh Collmenter seems likely to be headed into the rotation in place of either Randall Delgado or Trevor Cahill (and that was written prior to another poor outing from Delgado last night). That might provide an upgrade, but it's not the most impactful move that the club could make. Top prospect Archie Bradley is looming at Triple-A Reno, where he tossed five shutout innings in his first start of 2014. Bradley would need to remain in Triple-A through late April to delay his free agency another season or stay in the minors through June to avoid Super Two status. CEO Derrick Hall recently told fans that service time isn't a consideration, and Bradley is "exactly where he should be right now to fine tune some skills and work on his command." (Of course, those comments are the expected refrain from an executive.) Gilbert tweeted to one of his followers that there has been no mention of Bradley being promoted as of yet.

A look at the remaining free agents shows that Towers and his baseball operations staff don't have a lot to choose from in terms of starting pitchers. Freddy Garcia would make sense, but he's said that he would prefer retirement to pitching in Triple-A, making him an unlikely fit as minor league depth. Jair Jurrjens could have the most upside of the group. He underwent knee surgery last September but should be recovered based on the timeline tweeted by Yahoo's Tim Brown this winter. Those two names are pure speculation on my part.



NL West Notes: Lyles, Rockies, D'Backs, Headley

Offseason acquisition Jordan Lyles has forced the Rockies' hand with two strong starts early this season, writes the Denver Post's Nick Groke. Lyles was supposed to be ticketed for Triple-A to open the year, but an injury to Tyler Chatwood pushed him into the rotation. Colorado must now decide whether to stick to the plan or keep Lyles in the rotation. Indeed, the former Astro has a 3.86 ERA through his first two outings and is sporting a strong 55.9 percent ground-ball rate -- a trait that I imagine is highly attractive to the Rockies, whose home field is known for home runs. Here's more on the Rockies' pitching staff and the NL West...

  • Groke's colleague, Patrick Saunders, writes that in the wake of last night's meltdown against the White Sox, the Rockies simply cannot afford to keep Wilton Lopez at the Major League level. Lopez, who struggled after coming over from the Astros before the 2013 season, was tagged for six runs on the strength of three homers while recording just two outs. Saunders writes that "it makes no sense to keep [Franklin Morales] in the rotation," suggesting that he should be jettisoned to the pen in favor of Lyles. Saunders also wonders how long the Rockies will wait to promote top prospect Eddie Butler, noting that the right-hander's hot start may tempt the Rox, but it likely won't happen until June.
  • Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said on the Doug and Wolf radio show in Arizona that while his team is not panicking over his its slow start yet, he is not afraid to make changes should the club fail to improve (Twitter link via MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez)
  • Brandon Hicks has gone from non-roster invitee to manager Bruce Bochy's preferred option at second base while Marco Scutaro is on the shelf, writes MLB.com's Chris Haft. Bochy says Joaquin Arias will still see some time at the position, but he's sticking with Hicks' bat, feeling him to be a comparable defender to Arias.
  • Chase Headley expressed to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince some skepticism about the "contract year" narrative in which players are able to elevate their game aprior to free agency. Headley adds that he considers every season a "contract year" in today's game, noting that unless a player has already signed an extension, he is "playing for [his] life every year." Castrovince examines the likelihood of a Headley trade this season with the Padres already reeling from another set of injuries to Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin and Josh Johnson.



Diamondbacks Nearing Deal With Randy Wolf

The Diamondbacks are closing in on a minor league deal with veteran lefty Randy Wolf, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). Wolf is a client of the Wasserman Media Group.

The veteran Wolf hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners this offseason and had been informed that he made the club as the team's fifth starter. However Wolf requested his release when the Mariners asked him to sign a 45-day advance-consent release clause that would allow the team to release him and pay him just a pro-rated portion of his guaranteed salary for any reason other than an injury.

General manager Kevin Towers recently told reporters that he expected to add a veteran starter on a minor league deal in the coming days, and Wolf certainly fits that bill. The 14-year veteran owns a career 4.20 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 39 percent ground-ball rate with the Phillies, Brewers, Padres, Dodgers, Orioles and Astros. The final season of the three-year, $28.5MM contract he signed with the Brewers didn't turn out well, as he wound up posting a 5.65 ERA in 157 2/3 innings between Milwaukee and Baltimore that year before being diagnosed with a torn UCL. However, in the year prior, Wolf posted a strong 3.69 ERA in 212 1/3 innings for the Brew Crew -- his fourth straight season of 190 or more innings.

Wolf will provide rotation depth for a team that has seen its starting pitchers post a combined 6.57 ERA to this point in the young season -- the second-worst mark in all of Major League Baseball.

This post was originally published on April 11.









Lijit Search




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner







NAVIGATION

Site Map
Archives
Feeds by Team

MLBTR INFO

Advertise
About
Commenting Policy
Privacy Policy

CONNECT

Contact Us
Widget
Twitter
Facebook
Rss Feed


MLB Trade Rumors is a partner of FanVsFan. MLB Trade Rumors is not affiliated with Major League Baseball, MLB or MLB.com.