Aroldis Chapman Rumors

NL Notes: Chapman, Turner, Cubs

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman got relatively good news a day after being struck in the face with a ball, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon notes. He's having surgery today, but he could be out of the hospital by this weekend. He'll likely be out six to eight weeks, and the Reds believe he will definitely pitch this season. Best of all, he had only a mild concussion, and not a serious brain injury. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • The Marlins could deal starting pitcher Jacob Turner due to their depth of starting pitching, FOX Sports Jon Morosi tweets. The Mariners and Diamondbacks could be possible trade partners. Turner, who will be 23 in May, posted a 3.74 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 2013. He will be eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season and free agency after the 2018 season.
  • The Cubs are currently considering at least 12 players as potential selections with the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com writes. The draft isn't for another two-plus months, so it's hardly surprising that the Cubs' list would be so long. It includes now-familiar names like NC State pitcher Carlos Rodon (who very likely will be gone by the time the Cubs pick), East Carolina pitcher Jeff Hoffman, Vanderbilt pitcher Tyler Beede, and Texas high school pitcher Tyler Kolek.

Quick Hits: Pirates, Carp, Blue Jays, Chapman

Aroldis Chapman suffered fractures above his left eye and nose after being hit by a Salvador Perez line drive in a terrifying moment during tonight's Reds/Royals game.  Chapman was on the ground for over 10 minutes while medical personnel attended to him, and the closer was eventually taken off the field on a cart and taken to hospital.  Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters (including C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that Chapman "never lost consciousness. He was able to communicate, he was able to move his hands, his feet, his legs."  The Reds' official Twitter feed said that Chapman was staying overnight in hospital for further observation.  All of us at MLB Trade Rumors send our best wishes to Chapman in his recovery from that horrific incident.

Here are some items from around baseball…

  • The Pirates are open to dealing right-handed relievers Jeanmar Gomez and Bryan Morris, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports, though they'd prefer to keep Gomez since he can also start.  Both pitchers are out of options, and with the Pirates facing a crowded bullpen situation, it's no surprise that they're listening to offers for Morris, Gomez and (as reported yesterday) Vin Mazzaro.
  • With the Pirates shopping relievers and looking for catching, Davidoff notes that the Yankees match up as trading partners due to their catcher surplus.  A rival talent evaluator feels that the bullpen may be the Yankees' "biggest concern" due to a lack of proven arms, though several of those young pitchers have performed well in Spring Training.
  • Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos denied that the Jays' lack of offseason spending had anything to do with a new CEO at Rogers Communications, the team's parent company, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports.  "There’s been no suggestion of any type of cutback, there’s no suggestion of anything other than support and of everything being positive," Beeston said.
  • The Red Sox aren't particularly interested in trading Mike Carp, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (ESPN Insider subscription required).  The Sox aren't sure if they "could get something particularly appealing" in a deal involving Carp.  The Pirates, Brewers and Tigers have all been linked to Carp in rumors this offseason, and with Grady Sizemore's strong Spring Training, Carp could be an expendable piece on the Boston roster.
  • Between Jarrod Parker's Tommy John surgery and injuries to A.J. Griffin and Scott Kazmir, MLB.com's Jane Lee feels the Athletics could be forced to look for external pitching help in the case of any more injuries or if any of their current starters struggle.  Lee also addresses several other A's topics as part of her reader mailbag piece, including Hiroyuki Nakajima's status in the club's minor league camp.
  • With the Barry Bonds and Melky Cabrera controversies still lingering in the franchise's recent past, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer told Henry Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle that his club is more inclined to avoid players with drug suspensions.  "We don't have a blanket policy saying we'll never touch a player that has a PED history. But I'd say that for us, it's a larger mountain to climb than others," Baer said.  The Giants will look at such players "on a case-by-case basis" (like recent signing Mike Morse, suspended for 10 games in 2005) but players like Nelson Cruz who were coming off PED suspensions and required draft pick compensation to sign seem out of the question.  "Qualifying offer and a PED association – that's a bad combination. Brian [Sabean] and I both feel very strongly about that," Baer said.

Reds Avoid Arbitration With Aroldis Chapman

The Reds have avoided arbitration with All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman by agreeing to a one-year, $5MM contract, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).

Chapman, a client of Hendricks Sports, agreed to a deal that is valued at the midpoint of the respective $5.4MM and $4.6MM figures that he and the Reds submitted. The flamethrowing left-hander agreed to a six-year, $30.25MM contract with the Reds back in January 2010, but that contract was unique in its structure. Chapman was paid a $16.25MM signing bonus with guaranteed salaries of $1MM (2010-11), $2MM (2012-13) and $3MM (2014) with a $5MM player option.

However, Chapman's contract contains a clause stating that were he to become arbitration eligible prior to the 2014 season, the $3MM guarantee would be converted to a signing bonus in order for him to head to arbitration. That proved to be the case, as the Cuban hurler has accumulated three years, 34 days of Major League service time.

Following the completion of the 2014 World Series, Chapman will have five days to decide whether or not to exercise his $5MM player option. Given his $5MM salary in 2014, he's a lock to decline that option and seek a significant raise in his second time through arbitration.

Chapman, who turns 26 a month from today, has cemented himself among the ranks of elite closers over the course of the past two seasons. Averaging 98 mph on his fastball and 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings in that time, Chapman has made a pair of All-Star teams and totaled 76 saves while holding opponents to a combined .152/.246/.249 batting line.

As shown in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, Chapman and Homer Bailey were the only two Reds players to exchange figures with the team, and Bailey is now the only unresolved case on GM Walt Jocketty's plate.



Arbitration Filing Numbers

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.

As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.

For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players — the Nationals and Indians — also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.

Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining — those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:


Reds Discussing Long-Term Deal With Homer Bailey

Discussing the team's inability to reach agreement with pitcher Homer Bailey before today's deadline to submit arbitration figures, Reds GM Walt Jocketty indicated that the sides were discussing a long-term extension, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. He further indicated that the club was not concerned with the situations of either of its two prominent remaining arbitration cases, Bailey and closer Aroldis Chapman.

The sides have reportedly had previous discussions on a significant extension. They came close to getting something done today, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer'We talked a one-year and a multiyear deal," said Jocketty. "We'll keep talking."

In his discussions with Sheldon, Jocketty raised expectations that something would get worked out, saying that he is "optimistic" about reaching a long-term deal. As the GM explained:

"In Bailey's case, we were working on a multi-year [deal]The agent [Casey Close] has [Clayton] Kersaw and he has [Masahiro] Tanaka also, so he's been tied up with that. We just didn't anticipate getting it done, but we exchanged numbers in the event and we will continue to negotiate and hopefully get something done before the hearing date."

Discussing the terms of the contract, he said:

"I just think it depends on where they feel the market settles in on free-agent pitchers. Hopefully, we're not too far with our estimate and with their estimate about the market going forward. What it will be based on is what market for a guy like Bailey will be in the future."

The recent Clayton Kershaw extension would not be a comparable deal, but would nevertheless play a role, Jocketty explained. "I don't think it affects this one directly with Bailey, but it affects the market as a whole," Jocketty said. "Any time you sign a free agent to a contract, it drags it up a little bit. Kershaw is a special case."

Bailey has been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $9.3MM through arbitration in his final run through the process before reaching free agency. He filed at $11.6MM, with the club countering at $8.7MM.

Regarding Chapman, Jocketty said that he had not had much discussion with his representatives at Hendricks Sports. "Actually, this week was the first one we've had," Jocketty said. "I'm not that concerned about it." Swartz projects a $4.6MM tab for the fireballing lefty. That is the exact figure that the team submitted, while Chapman filed at $5.4MM, leaving a modest gap to bridge.

Jocketty's comments indicate that the Reds do not intend to take a "file and trial" approach, at least with these two players. An agent had told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) that Cincinnati was adopting such a policy. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.


Reds Notes: Phillips, Choo, Chapman, Bailey

The latest on the Reds..

  • At a fan event today, Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that he felt the rumor about Brandon Phillips being availble via trade and of interest to the Yankees was a ploy to put pressure on Robinson Cano, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com (on Twitter). "It didn't work," the GM said.
  • Jocketty also admitted that it would be "very difficult" to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo with the dollar figures that are being floated around, Sheldon tweets.  Choo now stands as the top available free agent on Tim Dierkes' Top 50 list for the offseason.
  • Prospect Billy Hamilton is Choo's likely replacement, Sheldon writes in an MLB.com article.  While Choo's 116 walks will be difficult to replace, Hamilton should bring more speed to the top of the Reds' lineup, as he stole 88 bases between Triple-A and the majors in 2013.
  • The Reds have toyed with the idea of moving Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation and some felt that he might be persuaded to make the move this winter, but he now says that he's not interested in a move, writes C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  “I’m tired of every year the same thing about me either starting or closing,” Chapman said. “What I have in mind is closing games and that’s it.” 
  • An AL evaluator tells Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger (Twitter link) that the Reds should consider dealing Homer Bailey to the Yankees for Brett Gardner and a lower-level prospect. Both players will become free agents following the 2014 season.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.

 


Sherman On Tanaka, Reds, Chapman, Choo

Here's a look at the latest news courtesy of the New York Post's Joel Sherman..

  • Sherman senses genuine worry from several teams about the way the Rakuten Golden Eagles used Masahiro Tanaka over the last few years.  In five postseason starts, Tanaka threw four complete games, including 160 pitches in Game 6 of the championship series.  The next day, he threw 15 more pitches to get the save in the clinching game.  An executive from an interested club said that he still expects significant bidding on Tanaka, but says that the pitcher will have to get through "the most thorough physical ever" to get a deal completed.
  • The Reds haven't showed their hand one way or another, but one team official believes that the ship has sailed on convincing Aroldis Chapman to pitch as a starter and the time to do it would have been last year.  With Bronson Arroyo likely going elsewhere, the Reds may have to think about finding an out-of-house replacement if Chapman won't join the rotation.  It's also possible that they could choose to stand pat and roll with a starting five of Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, and Tony Cingrani.
  • Don't count the Reds out in the bidding for Shin-Soo Choo, even though the price tag could exceed $100MM.  Cincinnati believes Billy Hamilton is ready to handle center field defensively, but they'd prefer he get more time in the minors to further refine his offense.  If they re-sign Choo, they can have him handle center field for one more year and maybe transition him to a corner in 2015, opening up a spot for the speedy Hamilton.

Quick Hits: Chapman, Phillips, Butler, Tanaka

At today's news conference, new Reds skipper Bryan Price said that no decision has been made on whether Aroldis Chapman will be a starter or reliever going forward.  However, Price did say that pitchers "get better by throwing innings. I haven't changed that philosophy," according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that he's not shopping second baseman Brandon Phillips, but he stopped short of guaranteeing that he'll be with the club by the start of Spring Training, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  "[Phillips] texted wanting to know if we were trading him. I told him that I have not spoken to anybody about that," Jocketty said. "I'm not talking to any clubs about him."  Earlier today, Charlie Wilmoth previewed the offseason ahead for Cincinnati.
  • The Royals are reportedly willing to listen on Billy Butler this winter, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes that GM Dayton Moore is always open-minded to all opportunities. 
  • The Dodgers scouted Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka three days ago and could become major players for him, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  The hurler is among the very best starting pitchers available on the open market this winter.

Olney On Chapman, Dodgers, Cabrera, Tigers

"[Aroldis] Chapman stands to lose millions of dollars by committing himself to a relief role," writes ESPN's Buster Olney in his latest column (Insider subscription required).  The fact that Chapman likes closing enough to risk these future riches, however, makes Olney think the Reds are making the right move by keeping Chapman in the bullpen as the club pursues a World Series title.  "Chapman doesn't have a plow horse's show-me-the-direction approach; he's known to be a complicated guy, and if he were to fight [starting] internally all year, it would be a mess," Olney says.

Here are some more items from Olney…

  • Rival executives think Asdrubal Cabrera will be on the trade block if the Indians get off to a slow start.  Olney speculates that the Dodgers could be players for Cabrera in the wake of Hanley Ramirez's thumb injury, though for now the Dodgers are satisfied to use internal options on the left side of their infield.
  • The Tigers "have not made a single specific proposal to another team, asking for a particular player" in exchange for Rick Porcello.  Detroit has told teams that they will listen to offers for the right-hander but only in exchange for Major League players, not prospects.  Several teams have been linked to Porcello, with the Padres and Rangers showing the most recent interest.
  • "Nothing is close" between the Giants and Buster Posey on a long-term extension.  We heard earlier this week that the two sides were still deciding the length of the possible new contract.  Olney believes that Joey Votto's recent extension with the Reds could be a model for Posey's new deal since Posey is athletic enough to handle playing third base or first base later his career.

NL Notes: Chapman, Stewart, Rockies, Braves

St. Patrick's Day is as much of a baseball holiday as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day thanks to former Reds GM Dick Wagner. Tom Singer of MLB.com chronicles how the baseball tradition of wearing the green came about 35 years ago. Elsewhere from the Reds and the rest of the National League:

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects a decision in the next few days on whether Aroldis Chapman will pitch out of the bullpen or be moved into the starting rotatation, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Chapman stated publicly he wants to close, which didn't sit well with Jocketty. "We don’t let every player tell us how they want to be used," the GM told MLB.com.
  • Ian Stewart's lingering left quad injury could affect his chances at making the roster and how the Cubs build their bench, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Brent Lillibridge, Luis Valbuena, Edwin Maysonet, and Alberto Gonzalez are competing to fill that void while manager Dale Sveum mentioned Steve Clevenger could be an interesting option and added the team is watching all the waiver wires. 
  • The Rockies are giving serious consideration to making Nolan Arenado their starting third baseman with one club official telling Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com "it’s a tough call." If Arenado receives the nod, Rosenthal believes incumbent third baseman Chris Nelson could be used to acquire a veteran starting pitcher.
  • Within the same piece, sources tell Rosenthal the Rockies want to move Ramon Hernandez and are willing to assume some of his $3.2MM salary to facilitate a trade.
  • Don't expect the Braves to have any interest in the recently released Matt Diaz because there isn't a need right now, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Marlins have returned Rule 5 selection Braulio Lara to the Rays, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The left-hander appeared in four games for the Marlins this spring throwing four innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.