Arizona Diamondbacks Rumors
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- In two expected moves out of the NL West, Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks underwent Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets, while the Dodgers optioned Alex Guerrero to Triple-A, as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets.
- The Nationals have received trade interest from three or four clubs in starter Chris Young, who has an opt-out in his contract this coming Thursday, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The 33-year-old has had an impressive spring, but seems unlikely to crack the Nats' rotation.
- The Pirates have no interest in signing Juan Francisco if he clears waivers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. We learned earlier today that the team had chosen to go with Travis Ishikawa over Andrew Lambo as its left-handed bat at first.
- For the Mets, giving Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K bonus is in large part a strategic effort to protect the club in the event that Jon Niese is unable to make his first start, explains ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. This way, the team can rely on both Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia if the need arises, or can simply pick between them for the fifth starter slot.
- The Rockies are better off without center fielder Dexter Fowler because he "isn't tough enough," opines Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. (Fowler, of course was dealt to the Astros. As presented in my offseason review for the club, I have a different take on the subject of Fowler's departure from Colorado.) Though Kiszla initially credited Fowler with having "the determination to grind through pain" in mid-August of last year, he apparently adjusted his analysis after the 28-year-old missed twenty games late in the season with ongoing hand and wrist injuries. Manager Walt Weiss effectively pushed Fowler out of town, says Kiszla, because the latter "was not the kind of player Weiss needs on a team that must grind out victories in the National League West." Apparently referring obliquely to Fowler, Weiss emphasized the need for players "to compete and grind and play with grit," while assistant GM Bill Geivett explained that the manager "has got to feel comfortable in the weapons he has to attack the other team."
The Royals have claimed Rule 5 choice Patrick Schuster off of waivers from the Padres, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports (Twitter links). The 23-year-old southpaw was the first choice in this year's Rule 5 draft.
Kansas City will now have the same rights as did San Diego, meaning the club will need to keep him on its active roster all year in order to keep him going forward. Otherwise, he would once again hit the waiver wire and ultimately (if he clears waivers) be offered back to the Diamondbacks, his original team.
As Dierkes notes, the Royals had seemed ready to give its last pen slot to fellow lefty Francisley Bueno. Instead, perhaps, the club will see if Schuster is able to contribute enough to occupy a valuable roster slot. Of course, Kansas City would need to pass the out-of-options Bueno through waivers to stash him in the minors.
The Padres have informed Rule 5 selection Patrick Schuster that he will not make the Opening Day roster, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). This means that Schuster -- whose rights were acquired from the Astros via trade -- will be offered back to his former club, the Diamondbacks, if he clears waivers.
The 23-year-old lefty was the first overall choice in this year's Rule 5 draft. He has thrown eight spring innings for San Diego, putting up a 2.25 ERA and striking out three against one walk. Nevertheless, he has yet to see any regular-season action above the High-A level. Schuster posted strong numbers there last year with the Diamondbacks organization, throwing to a 1.83 ERA in 44 1/3 frames while striking out 9.1 per nine and walking 3.7 per nine.
With both Schuster and fellow southpaw Tony Sipp getting notice that they would not break camp, it appears that San Diego could start out with just one lefty in its bullpen.
The Pirates have had trade talks with the Diamondbacks about shortstop Didi Gregorius, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Last Wednesday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported the D'Backs were making Gregorius available in trade, after Chris Owings won the team's starting shortstop job. Rubin wrote that the Diamondbacks seek an MLB-ready starting pitcher to offset the loss of Patrick Corbin.
Rubin implied potential interest from the Mets, and now we have another possible suitor in the Pirates. The Pirates enter the season with Jordy Mercer atop their shortstop depth chart, with top prospect Alen Hanson likely ticketed to return to Double-A. Though he's not Major League ready, the Pirates have a pitching prospect who's fairly close in Nick Kingham. Easier to acquire would be Jeff Locke, who will begin the season back at Triple-A, with, as he tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "a bit of a chip on my shoulder."
Aside from the Mets and Pirates, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports lists the Reds, Tigers, and Yankees as teams the D'Backs "have thought of as possibilities" for Gregorius.
Reliever Kyle Farnsworth may not be long for the Mets organization, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes. He doesn't appear likely to make the team out of camp, and he has an opt-out clause he can activate tomorrow. Farnsworth is also an Article XX(B) player, which means that even if he were to decline his opt-out clause, the Mets would have to promise to add him to the roster, pay him a $100K retention bonus, or release him by Tuesday. Rubin mentions that the former flame-thrower's velocity has been off this spring, which means it may be tough for him to get a big-league job anywhere right now. Here are more notes from the National League.
- The Phillies would like to add a starting pitcher, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. There aren't many available, however, and the team doesn't have much money to spend. With Cole Hamels recovering from injury, the Phillies are a bit thin in starting pitching, although they don't need a fifth starter until April 14.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, meanwhile, says he is not pursuing starting pitching, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. The Diamondbacks are short-handed after the loss of Patrick Corbin to injury.
The Blue Jays have claimed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo off waivers from the Diamondbacks and released left-hander Luis Perez in order to clear room on the 40-man roster, according to Alex Seixeiro of Sportsnet (on Twitter).
The 27-year-old Tuiasosopo spent the 2013 campaign with the Tigers, batting .244/.351/.415 with seven homers in 191 plate appearances. That was by far his best season at the plate, having spent parts of three years with the Mariners but slashing just .176/.234/.306 in 210 PAs with Seattle.
As a right-handed swinger, the natural assumption would be that Tuiasosopo could platoon with Adam Lind, but that's not necessarily the case; Tuiasosopo has actually been less effective against opposite-handed pitching than same-handed pitching throughout his career, and that was the case in 2013 as well. He batted just .216/.336/.371 against lefties -- clearly demonstrating a keen eye at least -- and a robust .313/.389/.521 against right-handers. The latter of those splits came in a sample of just 54 plate appearances and was bolstered by a .481 batting average on balls in play, which is sure to regress going forward.
Perez, 29, tallied just five innings for the Jays last season and allowed a pair of runs in the process as he returned from Tommy John surgery. He was an important part of the club's bullpen in 2012 prior to that operation, posting a 3.43 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 47.8 percent ground-ball rate in 42 innings. He's held lefties to a .239/.311/.341 batting line in his career, but he underwent surgery this January to remove some scar tissue from his surgically repaired elbow.
It's already been a busy day for shortstop news as we've heard that the Diamondbacks are looking to trade Didi Gregorius for pitching, the Cardinals are shopping Pete Kozma, and the Tigers have been asking teams about available shortstops, even scouting such options as Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. Here are some more shortstop-related rumors...
- The Tigers aren't likely "to make a serious push" for Kozma, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports opines (Twitter link), because they have a similar player in Danny Worth.
- There haven't been any reports linking the Tigers to the Mariners' Nick Franklin, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. Franklin is perhaps better suited as a second baseman and may not have the glove to handle short, Heyman suggests.
- One scout suggested that Adeiny Hechavarria might be the sort of defensive specialist that Detroit would want at short. A Marlins source, however, tells Heyman that the Fish have yet to be contacted about Hechavarria.
- Several executives around baseball believe that signing Drew would be the best solution to the Mets' shortstop problem, Heyman reports. A multiyear deal for Drew would give the Mets an answer at short for 2015, when the team could look to contend once Matt Harvey is healthy.
- The Mets would be interested in Drew on a one-year, $9MM contract or possibly a two-year, $20MM deal, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. There haven't been any signs that Scott Boras, Drew's agent, would settle for either price.
- Also from Martino, the view on current Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada from opposing scouts is that he's "a solid player, who appears spooked by the pressures of playing in the New York market, and hearing criticism from his own front office." One scout believes that Tejada “could be OK, but he needs to get out of New York. [He's] a classic change-of-scenery guy.”
- A source not connected to either the Mets or Diamondbacks tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (Twitter link) that the rumor of Gregorius going to New York "has legs" and is a situation to watch.
Though they're in the market for a shortstop, the Mets have zero intention of parting with Noah Syndergaard in able to make a trade happen, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. New York has been connected to both Nick Franklin and the Diamondbacks' shortstop surplus (Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings). One scout that Heyman spoke with said Syndergaard is better than Zack Wheeler. Here are some more NL East items...
- The Braves announced today that Kris Medlen underwent successful Tommy John surgery yesterday, with Dr. James Andrews performing the operation. The Braves will be without Medlen for the season, but the signing of Ervin Santana will help to offset that loss to a degree. Atlanta is currently waiting to learn Brandon Beachy's fate, but Tommy John looks like the probable outcome there as well.
- Cole Hamels threw a 40- to 45-pitch bullpen session this morning and reported that he felt great afterward, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Hamels said he feels that his strength is up to 90 percent. He'll face hitters in live batting practice on Saturday and do so once more before getting into game action. At that point, writes Salisbury, he'll need roughly a month to be ready for the season, meaning the loose target for his return is still May 1.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes that Jimmy Rollins wasn't shaken by a report from ESPN's Buster Olney yesterday which stated that some in the Phillies organization feel he needs to be traded as soon as possible. Said Rollins: "It doesn’t matter. I don’t care which way it is tried to be twisted or said, or if it is exactly how it was said, or even if it was said, I can’t be traded." GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called the report "absolute silliness," repeatedly stating that no one in the organization has a problem with Rollins.
- Manny Delcarmen spoke with the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore about his comeback from an elbow injury that has kept him out of the Majors since 2010. Delcarmen said that following the 2010 season, three doctors told him he needed a second Tommy John surgery before Dr. James Andrews said otherwise. Andrews offered Delcarmen a platelet-rich plasma injection and recommended months of rest, cautioning that his velocity was unlikely to return for quite some time. Delcarmen's velocity has slowly returned from sitting at 88 mph when he began pitching again all the way up to 93-95 mph in Spring Training with the Nats. He's likely to open the season in the minors but could see time with the big league club in the event of an injury after an impressive spring, says Kilgore.
Following the loss of Patrick Corbin to a torn ulnar collateral ligament, the Diamondbacks are looking to acquire an MLB-ready starting pitcher as they dangle shortstop Didi Gregorius in trade talks, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. That Gregorius is on the trading block isn't entirely surprising, as recent reports have indicated that Arizona will name Chris Owings its everyday shortstop. Previously, Arizona had been seeking a catcher in exchange for Owings or Gregorius, but Corbin's injury seems to have changed that line of thinking.
The 24-year-old Gregorius posted fairly decent overall numbers in his first significant taste of big league action in 2013, batting .252/.332/.373 with seven homers and roughly average defense at shortstop (per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved). Gregorius projects to be a better defender than that going forward, but his bat is suspect, as evidenced by the rapid decline in his production last season after a hot start. Gregorius homered in two of his first three games with the Diamondbacks and batted .322/.386/.497 through his first 38 contests, but he mustered just a .202/.294/.284 line in his final 65 games.
Rubin writes that three D'Backs scouts were on-hand to watch an intrasquad game between the Mets' Double-A and Triple-A club yesterday. Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett and Jacob deGrom all pitched in that game, though as Rubin notes, Syndergaard is essentially untouchable in trade talks. Arizona currently projects for a rotation of Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo and one of Randall Delgado or Archie Bradley.
Munson prevented runs but struggled with control during five spring appearances in Phillies camp. While allowing just one earned run and striking out six batters in seven innings, Munson also gave up a troubling eight free passes.
In 2013 with the Diamondbacks, Munson managed a 4.12 ERA in 54 2/3 innings split between the upper levels of the minors. His ERA climbed upon reaching Triple-A, but Munson did maintain a double-digit strikeout-per-nine mark (as he has for most all of his minor league career) while dropping his walk rate to a solid 2.7 BB/9 level. Nevertheless, with a crowded bullpen shaping up in Arizona, the D'Backs did not see fit to add him to the team's 40-man roster to protect him from the draft.