Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors
1:03pm: The teams announced the trade, which sends McDonald to the Pirates for a player to be named or cash considerations.
11:19am: The Pirates acquired infielder John McDonald from the Diamondbacks, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks will obtain a player to be named later in the deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Rosenthal reported eight days ago that the Diamondbacks were looking to trade McDonald.
McDonald appeared in 70 games as a shortstop, second baseman and third baseman last year, posting a .249/.295/.386 batting line with six home runs. The 14-year veteran has a reputation as an excellent defender, and UZR suggests that McDonald's play has remained solid in recent years.
McDonald, 38, is now entering the second season of a two-year, $3MM contract. He'll earn $1.5MM in 2013 then become a free agent. He joins a Pirates infield that includes starters Neil Walker, Clint Barmes and Pedro Alvarez. Utility player Josh Harrison backed up up Barmes in 2012 and projects as a bench player again in 2013.
Here's the latest news from Chase Field...
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said "there may be" other players he will look into extending this spring, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter). Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kennedy look like the two top candidates for extensions in Magruder's opinion. The club is already talking to Goldschmidt about a long-term deal and Kennedy agreed to a one-year, $4.265MM deal for 2013 in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Kennedy and Goldschmidt are under the Diamondbacks' control through the 2015 and 2017 seasons, respectively.
- Towers said he didn't talk to Goldschmidt's agent from SFX today, Magruder tweets. Towers didn't have any new details since the two sides met last week.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link) senses more optimism about a possible Goldschmidt extension than he did last month. Goldschmidt originally wasn't interested in negotiating when Towers approached him about a multiyear deal earlier this winter.
- Randall Delgado talks to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic about being able to focus just on pitching with the D'Backs after being the subject of trade rumors for several months. Delgado was part of the trade package sent to Arizona from Atlanta in the Justin Upton deal, and last summer the Braves nearly sent Delgado to the Cubs in exchange for Ryan Dempster. “I heard my name in other rumors before, but this one was like big," Delgado said about the Dempster speculation. "It was on TV. It was on radio. It was everywhere. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I feel like I’m more on that team than here.’ ”
Goldschmidt, 25, has established himself as one of the game's most impressive young first basemen over the course of his first 193 games. He batted .286/.359/.490 in 2012 with 20 homers and 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts. Goldschmidt's case would be fairly unique, as he is currently under control through the 2017 season and two years away from arbitration eligibility.
As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, no first basemen have signed long-term deals with between one and two years of service time, though several hitters have done so. Interestingly enough, Goldschmidt's former teammate, Chris Young, inked a five-year, $28MM extension with the exact same amount of service time that Goldschmidt currently has -- one year, 59 days.
If the two sides are indeed in the midst of negotiations, it would signal a change in Goldschmidt's attitude. Just over a month ago, GM Kevin Towers told reporters that he approached Goldschmidt about a long-term deal, but was rebuffed as the first baseman wanted to hold off on that discussion.
An extension for Goldschmidt would be the fifth such contract issued by the Diamondbacks this offseason. To date, the team has extended Aaron Hill (three years, $35MM), Martin Prado (four years, $40MM), Cliff Pennington (two years, $5MM) and J.J. Putz (one year, $7MM).
The Padres received some bad news earlier today when they found out that Chase Headley will miss a month of action with a fractured thumb, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Here's some more out of baseball's Western divisions...
- Kyle McClellan will not exercise the out clause in his minor league deal with the Rangers despite the fact that he might not pitch in a game for eight weeks, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. McClellan is on the shelf with a strained muscle in his rib cage but will remain with the Rangers as he rehabs from his injury.
- The Giants expect Yusmeiro Petit to accept his outright assignment to Triple-A Fresno, reports Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Petit was outrighted off the 40-man roster last night but can elect to become a free agent rather than accept the assignment.
- D-backs top prospect Tyler Skaggs was among the players optioned to Triple-A today, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Skaggs was one of the players that Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic profiled in a piece that examines some of the roster decisions manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers will be facing as Spring Training draws to a close.
- Angels backstop Hank Conger called today's signing of Chris Snyder "more motivation to come out and try to do my job," tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Halos inked Snyder earlier today following his release from the Nationals.
SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.
FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta. As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin. Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.
Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish. While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday. Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake. For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.
If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade. A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop. Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
The Diamondbacks have returned Rule 5 pick Starlin Peralta to the Cubs, AZCentral.com's Bob McManaman reports. Peralta pitched three innings for the Diamondbacks in spring training, allowing seven runs while walking three batters and striking out none. Peralta, 22, pitched in Class A Peoria in 2012. Here are more notes from the National League.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum says he's satisfied with his team's position players heading into the season, Carrie Muskat and Owen Perkins of MLB.com report. Sveum hasn't given GM Jed Hoyer a "wish list" of acquisitions, Muskat and Perkins note. The Cubs acquired infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Shawn Camp near the end of spring training in 2012, and both played key roles for the team last year.
- The manager of Pirates outfielder Travis Snider's former team says Snider could thrive with his new organization, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Current Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who served an earlier stint as the Jays' manager when Snider was among the team's top prospects, compares Snider to Jose Bautista, who became one of baseball's best power hitters after being traded from Pittsburgh to Toronto. "[Bautista] was bouncing around, and it took him a while to get it going. Sometimes what happens is they give up on you too soon," Gibbons says. "But if you're in the perfect spot and they've got time to give you a legitimate shot, that's when guys usually get it going." The Pirates acquired Snider for reliever Brad Lincoln last July.
To get the weekend started with some fascinating insight into the use of analytics by agents, look for the audio link at the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference Player Agent Panel page. Let's take a look at a few updates on some Rule 5 draftees who are hoping to stick with their new clubs:
- Chris McGuiness has impressed the Indians at first and in the outfield, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer, and the team is loath to return him to the Rangers. According to manager Terry Francona, "in a perfect world, I wish he wasn't a Rule 5 pick and he was in our minor league system." If the Indians are unable to keep McGuiness on the big league roster, Francona "hope[s]" that a trade can be worked out to keep him in the system, adds Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Jeff Kobernus, primarily an infielder in the Nationals system, continues to battle with Quintin Berry for a spot in the Tigers outfield, writes Jim Hawkins of MLB.com. While it is "possible" that both players could make the roster, according to manager Jim Leyland, that scenario is a "longshot."
- Another player plucked from the Nationals, left-handed pitcher Danny Rosenbaum, "has put up a nice argument for himself in the competition for a middle-relief spot" with the Rockies, writes Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Rosenbaum, who never saw a big league camp while in the Washington organization, spoke with Nats' reliever Craig Stammen to learn how to transition from the rotation to the bullpen.
- Outfielder Ender Inciarte is in the midst of a solid spring and is making a play for the Phillies' fifth outfielder role, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Just 22 years old, Inciarte never played above High-A ball in the Diamondbacks organization.
- Josh Fields came to the Astros from the Red Sox with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, and acknowledges being "really, really excited when Houston picked me up." As Adam Berry of MLB.com writes, the rebuilding Houston franchise hopes that the 27-year-old, righthanded reliever is ready for the big leagues after he posted a solid 2012 season in Triple-A Pawtucket.
We'll track the latest minor moves here...
- Righty Dan Cortes has signed with the Diamondbacks, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports on Twitter. The one-time top-100 prospect last pitched in 2011 for the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate, tossing 39 innings and logging a 5.08 ERA, before he sat out the 2012 season.
- The Cardinals have released right-handed relief pitcher Adam Reifer after previously outrighting him off of the team's 40-man roster, Eddy further tweets. Reifer, 26, spent the last two seasons at Triple-A Memphis and last year posted a 4.90 ERA over 64 1/3 innings.
- The Red Sox acquired minor league first baseman Mike Flacco from the Orioles for cash considerations, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). The Orioles could get a player to be named instead of cash, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports (on Twitter). Flacco, the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, spent the 2012 season at Class A and Double-A. The 26-year-old posted a .214/.284/.330 batting line with eight home runs in 396 total plate appearances last year. The Orioles originally selected him in the 31st round of the 2009 draft.
Three years ago this time a memorable rumor made its way onto the pages of MLBTR, as ESPN reported the possibility of a Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols swap. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. quickly dismissed the report that the Phillies had talked internally about the idea, saying "I don't know who you're talking to, but that's a lie." It’s rare for such an exciting rumor to circulate during Spring Training, so it generated lots of discussion. Ultimately the rumors quieted down and the deal never materialized. Here are some National League notes for Friday morning...
- It's possible the Cardinals will release Ronny Cedeno and keep Matt Adams on the Opening Day roster, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes. Keeping Cedeno would give the Cardinals a backup shortstop, but they could instead choose to rely on Daniel Descalso.
- GM Kevin Towers is optimistic that the Diamondbacks' young starters will pitch better in 2013 after obtaining some MLB experience in 2012, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Towers also expects the addition of Brandon McCarthy and the strength of the team's bullpen will help the rotation.
- Some MLB evaluators aren’t fully convinced that Mets catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud warrants the attention he’s getting, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. “He’s 24 and hasn’t played in the big leagues yet,” one executive said. “Where was Yadi at 24? Where was Buster Posey at 24?” The Mets acquired d’Arnaud for R.A. Dickey in December.
No one can accuse Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers of taking it easy this winter. The D'Backs finished with a .500 record in 2012 and made some significant changes in an effort to improve going forward. Arizona first made headlines with a three-team deal in October, but there was plenty that followed. Here's a recap of their most significant moves..
- Arizona landed reliever Heath Bell, infielder Cliff Pennington, and cash considerations in a three-team deal with the Marlins and A's. The D'Backs sent outfielder Chris Young and $500K to the A's in the swap.
- As a part of the three-team Shin-Soo Choo deal, the Diamondbacks acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius, left-handed pitcher Tony Sipp, and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians for right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw.
- The Diamondbacks signed right-hander Brandon McCarthy to a two-year, $15.5MM deal. McCarthy missed significant time in 2012 but posted a 3.24 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 111 innings when he was healthy.
- Just before Christmas, the D'Backs signed Cody Ross to a three-year, $26MM deal. The pact includes a club option for $9.5MM that can be bought out for just $1MM.
- The addition of Ross meant that an outfielder had to go and it wound up being Justin Upton. Towers sent Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to the Braves for third baseman Martin Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed, right-handed pitching prospect Zeke Spruill, and minor league first baseman Brandon Drury.
Earlier today we learned that the D'Backs are looking to trade veteran John McDonald, but Arizona has pretty much gotten all of their heavy lifting out of the way this offseason. It's your turn to weigh in - what was their best acquisition of the winter?