Atlanta Braves Rumors

Atlanta Braves trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

Braves Designate Anthony Varvaro

The Braves have designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweeted earlier that the move was expected.

Varvaro’s roster spot will go to infielder Alberto Callaspo, whose deal was finalized today. The righty could be dealt out of DFA limbo, Bowman tweets.

Last season was the second solid campaign in a row for the 30-year-old, as he pitched to a 2.63 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 and a 49.7% groundball rate over 54 2/3 frames. Varvaro also earned good marks from ERA estimators, with FIP (3.21), xFIP (3.15), and SIERA (2.86) all liking his work.


Braves To Sign Cuban Outfielder Dian Toscano

DEC. 15: Toscano’s contract is for $7.5MM over four years and contains a fifth-year club option, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter). His contract is still pending a physical, per Sanchez.

DEC. 10: The Braves have completed the financial specifics on Toscano’s deal and the pact is now pending a physical, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter).

DEC. 8: The Braves are pursuing Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com. It was reported earlier that an agreement had been reached, but Bowman asserts the two sides have yet to reach the finish line. The 25-year-old played five seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, so he’s exempt from international bonus pool rules.

Not much is known about Toscano since he did not play for the Cuban National team. He played left field for the Villa Clara club and hit .356/.400/.452 in 86 plate appearances during the 2012 campaign – his last with the team. Badler adds that Toscano possess the necessary speed for center field, but he typically plays left field due to suspect arm strength. A left-handed hitter, he features good bat control and strike zone awareness.

Ben Badler of Baseball America was the first to report the Braves interest.



NL Notes: Marlins, Diamondbacks, Braves

For many Winter Meetings participants, baseball transactions are the last thing on their mind; the event also includes a trade show and job fair. As MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes, some number of job hunters are looking not only to break into the broader business of the game, but to launch a career in baseball operations. Even getting an internship is significantly harder than ever, according to Brock (and the hopefuls with whom he spoke). Here are a couple notes from the National League.

  • The Marlins have “checked off a lot of boxes,” in the words of president of baseball operations Michael Hill, but there is plenty of opportunity left in the offseason, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in a breakdown of where things stand in Miami. A power bat is, of course, on the team’s wish list, and Garrett Jones would be shopped hard if that occurs. There could be a logjam in the rotation if Dan Haren elects to play next year, with Nathan Eovaldi a possible trade chip if he does.
  • In a conference call addressing the Wade Miley deal, Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart explained that the team pulled the trigger because Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster added power to the team’s rotation (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter). Stewart also said that the team has had internal discussions on the possibility of going after Max Scherzer or James Shields, but has yet to decide whether to do so, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
  • Figuring out what to do with the Braves is tricky, but it sounds like team president John Hart won’t be sentimental about keeping the team together, judging from his comments to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Let’s be honest: This team finished 29th in offense,” Hart says. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.” Hart’s Braves might not have been in the same trouble the Pirates were when GM Neal Huntington said almost exactly the same thing in 2009, but the Braves have been busy so far this offseason, dealing Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, and signing Nick Markakis and Jim Johnson. Still, Hart adds, the Braves aren’t going to “throw a hand grenade on the club and blow it up” in preparation for the opening of their new stadium in 2017. Hart adds that he has had discussions with “six to eight” teams about Justin Upton, but none that have resulted in a trade.

Padres Still Pursuing Justin Upton

Despite the fact that they’ve struck a deal to acquire Matt Kemp from the division-rival Dodgers, the Padres remain interested in adding Justin Upton to fill their other corner outfield slot, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter link). Bowman hears that the Friars are still among the teams with interest and adds that he wouldn’t be shocked to see both Kemp and Upton in San Diego next year.

New San Diego GM A.J. Preller has made upgrading his offense a very clear goal, as evidenced by the acquisition of Kemp and pursuits of name like Upton, Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas. Of course, an acquisition of Upton would be much different than acquiring any of those players, as Upton has just one year of team control remaining at a reasonable $14.5MM.

Adding Upton to the fold would underscore the need for the Padres to move some of the current outfielders on their roster. Carlos Quentin would perhaps hold some appeal to an American League team looking for a DH, were the Padres to eat some of his remaining $8MM salary. And Seth Smith, who is coming off a career-year at the plate but has historically had notable platoon issues, could be of interest to other teams in the event that the Padres land a pair of new power-hitting outfielders. Smith did just sign a two-year, $13MM extension in July, but that decision was curiously made before Preller had even been tabbed as the new GM.

The Padres could also move one of their center field options in Will Venable (one year, $4.25MM remaining) or Cameron Maybin (two years, $16MM). Venable’s cheaper salary and cleaner injury history make him the more movable of the two, though neither of the two is coming off a good season; Maybin was again limited by injuries and also suspended 25 games for amphetamine usage, while Venable slumped to an uncharacteristic .224/.288/.325 batting line.


Mariners Notes: Melky, Viciedo, Rios, Upton, Desmond, Smith

Here’s the latest on the Mariners heading out of the Winter Meetings, courtesy of Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:

  • The Mariners and Melky Cabrera seem to have staked out their positions, with Cabrera after five years and upwards of $60MM and the M’s not willing to go past three and around $42MM.
  • Seattle is increasingly looking at other possibilities, though the idea of a Dayan Viciedo trade was downplayed by Dutton’s sources. The team does have interest in Alex Rios, though he seems to be waiting out other market moves.
  • The M’s still have interest in Justin Upton, but do not want to meet the Braves’ asking price. Meanwhile, the team is “cool” at present to the idea of dealing for Ian Desmond.
  • One alternative trade candidate is Seth Smith of the Padres, though Dutton notes that he would not be optimal since he swings from the left side.

Quick Hits: Scherzer, Santana, Zimmermann, Segura

Agent Scott Boras says he will not give the Tigers the opportunity to match offers for his client Max Scherzer, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes. “This is not church bingo,” Boras told the media Wednesday. “You pretty much are in the market on a player. You tell all the teams and everyone involved that he can sign at any time. He’s open to signing at any time.” A Tigers official recently said that a new deal with Scherzer was “not happening,” however, so right now, it sounds like the Tigers aren’t that inclined to play bingo either. Here’s more from around the big leagues.

  • The Yankees are considering signing Ervin Santana, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Santana has lately been connected to the Twins, Giants and Royals, with the Twins reportedly prepared to offer a deal in the range of four years and $50MM. The Yankees, meanwhile, are looking for starting pitching, but GM Brian Cashman has said he’s being “patient” at the Winter Meetings.
  • The Nationals met with Jordan Zimmermann‘s agent, Mark Pieper, on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. “It was a re-acquaintance, if you will, to talk about philosophies and parameters and that type of thing,” says Nats GM Mike Rizzo. The two sides had not attempted to negotiate an extension for Zimmermann since before the 2014 season. Zimmermann is eligible for free agency next winter. Last week, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Nationals would again attempt to extend Zimmermann. Wagner adds that the Nationals do not plan to trade Zimmermann, Doug Fister or Ian Desmond (all of whom are eligible for free agency at the end of the year) before the start of spring training.
  • Jean Segura‘s struggles last season have the Brewers thinking they shouldn’t offer players extensions in the spring, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. The Brewers offered Segura a six-year, $38MM extension last spring, but Segura’s camp turned it down. Segura had a poor first half, and the Brewers feel he was pressing. Near midseason, Segura tragically lost his infant son. He then returned to the team and struggled through July and August before hitting better in September. “I do think [the extension offer] was a distraction for Segura,” says GM Doug Melvin. “You’re around all the players (in camp) and they talk about it. I just think the focus on spring training is important to get ready.”
  • The Braves have not contacted Kris Medlen since they non-tendered him, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Medlen missed the entire 2014 season after having his second Tommy John surgery.
  • Reliever Matt Albers, who missed much of the 2014 season due to shoulder trouble, will begin throwing in February, SportsNet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. More than one team has shown interest, Nicholson-Smith notes. Albers, 31, has appeared in parts of nine big-league seasons with the Astros, Orioles, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Indians, posting a 4.42 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.

Rule 5 Draft Notes: Rays, Twins, Graham

The Rule 5 Draft takes place at 11am Central on Thursday, with live audio coverage at MLB.com. The Rule 5 involves players who have been with their teams several years (five seasons if they signed at 18 or younger, four years if they signed at 19 or older) and have not yet been protected on their teams’ 40-man rosters. Teams must then add the players they select to their 40-man rosters, and keep them on their active rosters throughout the 2015 season.

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo lists the draft order (the Diamondbacks have the first pick) and the key prospects, which include speedy Astros outfielder Delino DeShields, Marlins lefty Jarlin Garcia and Braves righty J.R. Graham, but the Rule 5 is often surprising, as teams often choose players (or choose no one) based on their own distinctive evaluations of the marginal prospects who tend to be available. (A couple weeks ago, we noted J.J. Cooper of Baseball America’s extensive preview of this year’s top Rule 5-eligible prospects.) Here are a few notes on tomorrow’s draft.

  • One potential pick could be Rays catcher Oscar Hernandez, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Topkin notes that Hernandez is very toolsy. Still, it’s hard to see him sticking on a big-league roster at this point, even in a backup role — he hit .249/.301/.401 in the Class A Midwest League last year, hardly numbers that suggest he can handle big-league pitching. Topkin writes that Hernandez isn’t polished defensively at this point, either.
  • Many teams tomorrow are unlikely to select a player at all, Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets.
  • If the Twins do select a player with the fifth pick and hold onto him, it could be Graham, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Graham, 24, posted a poor 5.55 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 71 1/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi last season, but he was returning from a shoulder injury, and he has an outstanding fastball. A team could select him and move him to their bullpen.

Rule 5 Rumors: Mets, Verrett, D’Backs, Pena

The Rule 5 draft goes down tomorrow and we’ll keep track of the latest rumblings here..

  • The Blue Jays are unlikely to pick anyone in the Rule 5 draft and are worried about losing two or three of their guys, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).
  • Some names being talked about in advance of the Rule 5 draft are Jarlin Garcia of the Marlins, Carlos Melo of the Indians, and J.R. Graham of the Braves, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • The industry expectation is that the Mets will lose right-hander Logan Verrett in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).  Clubs see Verrett working as a back end starter or a seventh-inning reliever.
  • There’s talk that the Diamondbacks might select Astros catcher Roberto Pena with the top pick, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, Callis (Twitter link) says it’s very possible that someone will take a chance on Delino DeShields Jr. and pluck him from the Astros.  Yesterday, Houston GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, that he did not anticipate a team taking the former No. 8 overall pick.

Free Agent Rumors: Furcal, Grilli, Young, Mets

Free agent infielder Rafael Furcal could be a fit for the Royals on a minor league deal thanks to his connection with GM Dayton Moore, according to Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (via Twitter).  Here are some of the latest free agency rumors out of San Diego..

  • Jason Grilli has multiple offers from teams in major markets but the Tigers are not one of them, his agent tells Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).
  • The Rangers have interest in Eric Young Jr., but they may have already been outbid, according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is considering bidding in the posting of Jung-ho Kang, but he’s unresolved as to whether he will, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • The Orioles could be a landing spot for former Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • After signing Jon Lester, the Cubs are now pursuing outfielder Jonny Gomes in an apparent effort to get the band back together, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Catcher David Ross tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that he’s not close on a deal with any club even though he has interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, D’Backs, and Padres.