Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors
The Diamondbacks have avoided arbitration with Mark Trumbo, settling on a one-year, $4.8MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports via Twitter. Trumbo's salary lands just north of the $4.7MM he was projected to earn by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
Trumbo ($5.85MM) and the Diamondbacks ($3.4MM) had by far the largest relative split in filing numbers among cases involving a $4.5MM or greater player demand. Yet Arizona was able to bridge that gap with its prize off-season acquisition, giving the slugger a bit more than the $4.625MM midpoint between the sides' numbers. The 28-year-old will make a hefty salary for his first trip through arbitration, yet another reminder that home runs pay in that setting. (Trumbo has averaged over 30 long balls per year over his three full-time MLB seasons.)
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that trade talks for Rays catcher Jose Lobaton have begun to heat up. Topkin notes that teams with interest or need at the position include the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Mets and Nationals.
The 29-year-old Lobaton slashed a solid .249/.320/.394 with seven homers for the Rays in 2013 and also belted one of the most dramatic and improbable home runs of the postseason. A switch-hitter, Lobaton has historically been better from the right side of the dish than the left, but he bucked that trend and swung the bat better as a lefty (.736 OPS) than as a righty (.653) in 2013.
While Lobaton is a solid, controllable bat -- he is a Super Two player that is not eligible for free agency until the 2017-18 offseason -- at a thin position, he also comes with some defensive question marks. Lobaton has caught just 16 percent of attempted base stealers in his career and was below average at blocking pitches in the dirt in 2013 (per Fangraphs). While he's not a poor pitch-framer, he also doesn't add significant value in that department, either (per Matthew Carruth's work at StatCorner).
Lobaton has been connected to the White Sox and Nationals in trade talks so far this offseason, with the Nats being the most recently linked club. A trade would seem to be beneficial for both Lobaton and the Rays; the Rays acquired and extended Ryan Hanigan this offseason in addition to re-signing Jose Molina, leaving Lobaton without a clear path to playing time. Additionally, a trade would save the Rays a bit of cash, as Lobaton avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $900K salary for 2014.
The Diamondbacks and outfielder Gerardo Parra have sidestepped an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.85MM, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro (on Twitter). Parra is a client of Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX).
Parra and the D-Backs exchanged arb figures back in January, with Parra asking for a $5.2MM salary and the club countering with a $4.3MM figure. Parra's $4.85MM guarantee is $100K north of the $4.75MM midpoint between the two figures. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected the defensive wizard to earn $4.2MM this offseason.
The 26-year-old Parra batted .268/.323/.403 with 10 homers and 10 stolen bases (in an unsightly 20 attempts) for the Diamondbacks in 2013. Though his stolen base efficiency left something to be desired, Parra cut his strikeout rate to a career-low 15.2 percent and played some of the best outfield defense in all of Major League Baseball. Parra appeared at all three outfield positions, and UZR/150 valued his defense at a sky-high +29.5 runs. The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric pegged Parra for a ridiculous +41 runs, essentially making him the outfield equivalent of Andrelton Simmons. The oustanding defense is reflected in his Wins Above Replacement totals, as despite a roughly league-average season with the bat, Baseball-Reference pegged him at 6.1 WAR while Fangraphs valued him at 4.6 WAR.
The Diamondbacks announced (on Twitter) that they have agreed to terms on extensions with general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson that will keep them under contract beyond the 2014 season. Arizona declined its 2015 options on Towers and Gibson following the 2013 season, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert notes, but ownership never had much doubt in the pair.
"We’re very happy with both of them," president and CEO Derrick Hall told Gilbert at the time of the option decision. "They’re under contract and they can still be extended. It’s not a big deal. We’re all on the same page." Managing partner Ken Kendrick offered similar sentiments: "I’m comfortable with those guys. I think it’s important for them to go out and prove themselves once again. I hope and believe they’re going to be long-term Diamondback people."
Gibson took over as the D-Backs' manager midway through the 2010 season and has posted a 290-279 record since that time. He's led the Snakes to an NL West division championship (2011) in that time and also finished runner-up to the Dodgers in 2013. Gibson was named National League Manager of the Year in his first full season at the helm in 2011.
Towers was hired as the D-Backs' full-time general manager in September 2010, replacing interim GM Jerry Dipoto (who is now GM of the Angels). Towers has more experience than nearly any general manager in baseball, as he served as GM of the Padres from 1995 to 2009. His moves since taking the reins in Arizona can be viewed in MLBTR's Transaction Tracker.
Some of the more notable deals include his trade of Justin Upton (along with Chris Johnson for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill and Brandon Drury), his trade for Aaron Hill (in exchange for Kelly Johnson) and subsequent extension and his trade for Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow (in exchange for Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill). In addition to Hill, Towers has also extended Paul Goldschmidt (five years, $32MM), Prado (four years, $40MM) and Miguel Montero (five years, $60MM). This offseason's most notable move came at the Winter Meetings when he landed Mark Trumbo in a three-team trade that sent Adam Eaton to the White Sox and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels.
Diamondbacks pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training in just three days, but the team will make one last run at the free agent market, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Among the free agents they're interested is right-hander Bronson Arroyo, team president Derrick Hall confirmed to Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. However, the team is interested in a two-year deal for the veteran righty, Hall told Buchanan (Twitter links), which may not be enough to entice Arroyo.
"We owe it to ourselves to at least see what the remaining free agents are looking for," Hall told Gilbert. Presumably, the Diamondbacks are set in terms of starting position players with Miguel Montero at catcher, Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Aaron Hill at second base, Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Martin Prado at third base and some combination of Mark Trumbo, Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock and Cody Ross in the outfield. They could theoretically use more stability at shortstop, but a run at Stephen Drew doesn't seem likely after his previous tenure in Arizona ended poorly.
Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, A.J. Burnett and Arroyo are the consensus top arms on the market, and Gilbert reminds that GM Kevin Towers said at the Winter Meetings he wasn't planning on offering more than three years to any starting pitcher other than Masahiro Tanaka. Some have speculated that the smaller-than-anticipated payday for Matt Garza could knock down the price tags on Garza and Jimenez, though I personally don't expect their demands to drop below four years. Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon seems likely to fall into the Diamondbacks' price range, but they aren't one of the five teams said to be currently pursuing him as of this morning. The D-Backs are reportedly interested in Burnett but don't feel he will pitch on the West coast.
Here are Sunday's minor moves from around MLB:
- The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Cesar Carrillo to a minor league contract, per the team's transactions page. Carrillo was the first player suspended in connection with the Biogenesis affair receiving a 100-game penalty last March while a member of the Tigers' minor league system. The 18th overall selection in the 2005 draft was released by Detroit upon completion of his suspension in August. The 29-year-old then signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League making nine starts (47 innings) and pitching to a 4.02 ERA, 4.2 K/9, and 5.9 BB/9.
- Per MLBTR's DFA Tracker, there are four players currently in DFA limbo: Emilio Bonifacio (Royals), Everett Teaford (Royals), Chaz Roe (Rangers), and Brayan Villarreal (Red Sox).
Now that A.J. Burnett has decided to pitch in 2014, the Diamondbacks would be interested in adding him to their rotation, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. However, the D-Backs don't feel that Burnett is interested in pitching for a team on the West coast, according to Piecoro, so there may not be mutual interest. More on the D-Backs and the rest of the NL West below...
- The Diamondbacks are beginning to kick the tires on Bronson Arroyo, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo (on Twitter). Arroyo told ESPN's Jayson Stark earlier this week that he's yet to receive a formal offer from a club.
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that his team is done pursuing free agent starting pitchers (Twitter link). The Giants seem likely to head into the season with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson and one of Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit in the rotation.
- Schulman also spoke with Brandon Belt, who said he has no ill feelings toward the Giants for submitting a $1.55MM arbitration figure ($2.05MM lower than his own figure) and won't have any hard feelings if they go to a hearing and he listens to the team make a case against him (Sulia link). "I don't think they think little of me," said Belt. "I think that's what teams do. That's the business side of baseball. I think what both sides are trying to do is create a midpoint, maybe. ... I know what I wasn't good at, so if I go in there it's not going to hurt my feelings any. If they have to tear me down a little bit, I'll be OK."
- New Dodgers second baseman Alexander Guerrero tells Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that shortstop and second base are "completely different" and admits to struggling to adapt to a new culture. However, he called Los Angeles "beautiful" and voiced confidence that he'll be ready to handle second base come Opening Day. Saxon reports that the Dodgers are still looking to add one more infielder to their bench, likely to serve as insurance.
- Earlier in the week, Troy Renck of the Denver Post wrote that the Rockies have "mild" interest in Ervin Santana but aren't pursuing him at his current price and are also reluctant to surrender the 35th pick in this year's draft.
In his latest column over at FOXSports.com, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks' pursuit of top free agents Masahiro Tanaka, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran stemmed from the fact they'll soon be completing a new television deal with FOX Sports that will be worth at least $90MM per season for a span of 15 to 20 years (beginning in 2016). He notes that while comparing TV deals is difficult because of differing equity stakes negotiated by each team, but the contract should still top the Rangers' recent TV deal, which pays them $80MM per season. More highlights from Rosenthal...
- The Cubs' offer to Masahiro Tanaka did not include an opt-out clause, according to Rosenthal. Knowing that they might not compete until 2016, the Cubs were wary of including a clause that would allow him to opt out shortly after their next competitive club hit the field.
- Their recent signing of Matt Garza will allow the Brewers to move trade acquisition Will Smith (received in exchange for Norichika Aoki) to the bullpen. Milwaukee could still add another reliever this offseason, but they also want to take a look at Rule 5 lefty Wei-Chung Wang.
- After missing out on a Major League deal with the Orioles due to concerns over his back, Tyler Colvin is weighing a number of minor league offers.
- The Marlins and Rockies are both interested in former Reds right-hander Nick Masset, who has missed each of the past two seasons due to shoulder injuries.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe checks in with GMs, players, writers, and scouts to help run down the best coaches in baseball. On his list of bench coaches who are managers in waiting: Brad Mills of the Indians, Torey Luvullo of the Red Sox, Larry Bowa of the Phillies, Tim Flannery of the Giants, and the Brewers' Jerry Narron. More from today's column..
- The Pirates probably won’t go after a pitcher if A.J. Burnett retires. Right now, Pittsburgh is looking for a full-time first baseman and would use the money that would have gone to the veteran toward that end. Cafardo also notes that the Orioles could be a "wild card" in the situation since Burnett lives in Baltimore.
- While the bids of the other teams are still unknown, one GM threw out the following figures in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes: Yankees $155MM, Cubs $120MM, Diamondbacks $120MM, Dodgers $119MM, White Sox $100MM, Astros $100MM.
- The Diamondbacks were head over heels for Tanaka, but the fact they weren’t on one of the coasts and they were in a smaller media market worked against them.
- Scott Boras doesn't represent David Ortiz, but he tells Cafardo that he feels for them. Boras sees some similarities between the Red Sox star and his own client Kendrys Morales. Morales is seen by most clubs as a DH rather than a first baseman which is hurting his value. Boras argues that Ortiz is the featured power hitter in Boston's lineup as a DH and believes that Morales can also provide value in that role.
- There had been some talk that Daisuke Matsuzaka might go back to Japan to pitch, but the possibility of breaking into the Mets’ rotation with Matt Harvey out intrigued Matsuzaka enough to fight for a spot.
- The Giants have been through a lot with Pablo Sandoval and even if he has a good season, this could be Pablo Sandoval's last in San Francisco. Sandoval will be a free agent following the 2014 season.
The Rays and Athletics have done the most this offseason to solidify themselves as top teams, New York Daily News' Bill Madden writes. The Rays addressed all their major needs by re-signing James Loney and adding Grant Balfour and Ryan Hanigan. The Athletics replaced Balfour with Jim Johnson and Bartolo Colon with Scott Kazmir, and they further improved their bullpen with the additions of Luke Gregerson and Eric O'Flaherty. The Yankees also added plenty of talent, Madden notes, but they still have serious issues in their infield. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- The Padres, Braves and Mets are among the teams interested in Cuban catcher Yenier Bello, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets. As MLBTR's Steve Adams recently noted, it's unclear what it might take to sign Bello, but he is not as highly-regarded a prospect as players like Jose Dariel Abreu and Yasiel Puig. Sanchez had previously connected Bello to the Dodgers, Cubs and Blue Jays.
- The Diamondbacks have interest in Cuban pitchers Odrisamer Despaigne and Raciel Iglesias, Sanchez tweets. Despaigne was recently cleared to sign with an MLB team.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says he does not expect to give extensions to arbitration-eligible pitchers Doug Fister and Tyler Clippard, MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets.
- The Nats were briefly connected to free-agent closer Grant Balfour before Balfour signed by the Rays, and they probably would have traded Drew Storen if they'd managed to sign Balfour. But Storen isn't bothered by that idea, Ladson writes. "You don’t take it personally, it part of it. It’s flattering that other teams want you, too," says Storen. "You look at it from all angles. [The Nationals] are a great team. Obviously, I don’t want to go anywhere. It’s just part of the business. Nothing new."