Austin Jackson Rumors
Let's start the weekend up with a poll. As MLBTR's Steve Adams noted recently, two young stars (Adam Jones and Miguel Montero) signed significant extensions during May of 2012. While there have not been significant rumblings about any similar deals recently, the Jones and Montero deals both sprung up with relatively little advance buzz: Jones said he was not aware of any talks with the Orioles just a month before his six-year, $85.5MM deal was inked. And the build up to Montero's five-year, $60MM extension consisted largely of the Diamondbacks' acknowledgement that the team was open to in-season negotiations.
Jones had one year of arbitration eligibility remaining when he signed, while Montero would have become a free agent at the end of the year. Both were relatively young (26 and 28, respectively) and fairly well established as above-average players at premium defensive positions. And each had been with their teams for all or virtually all of their big league careers.
With those deals in mind, let's take a look at some generally comparable position players who could be positioned for similar deals. We will not include Robinson Cano, as he is at a different level of performance and contract extension, along with being somewhat older. Anyhow, we already asked MLBTR readers what they think about the likelihood of a Cano extension. Likewise, we'll leave out Chase Headley, given his recent comments. (Also, MLBTR readers just weighed in on a possible Headley extension, with the majority believing a trade was more likely than an extension.)
The Nationals' Ian Desmond, 27, has continued to build off of his emergence last year. He sports a .296/.311/.530 line, although he has also registered seven early errors. The shortstop has spent his entire career in the former-Expos organization, and is poised to hit the open market in 2016. We know the Nats are open to negotiating an extension with Desmond, and the Elvis Andrus signing provides a relevant (albeit imperfect) point of reference.
Orioles' catcher Matt Wieters is another obvious candidate. He will turn 27 later this month, and is looking at free agency in 2016. Ongoing negotiations between Wieters and the O's are seemingly at a simmer, but could pick up at any time. While Wieters is off to a bit of a slow start, slashing just .224/.297/.388 to date, he also probably had less to prove this season than Desmond.
Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox, 29, is similarly situated to Montero. He has played his entire career in Boston, but is set to become a free agent after the season. While the center fielder has not returned to his MVP-level 2011 season, when he exploded for 32 home runs, he has bounced back from his injury-shortened 2012. Thus far, his batting line (.286/.338/.405) and league-leading steal totals (11) are right in line with his strong 2008-2009 seasons. While both player and team appear interested in discussing an extension, Ellsbury's representation by Scott Boras -- and the possibility that he could significantly raise his value with an injury-free 2013 -- could make a deal unlikely.
Jason Heyward of the Braves is two years from free agency at just 23 years old, but as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes notes, the cost-conscious Braves could look to extend him. Heyward is currently on the DL after undergoing an appendectomy, and has had a poor start to the year. Nevertheless, he has established himself as few big leaguers have at his age.
Austin Jackson, the Tigers' center fielder, is a young 26 and still two years from free agency. He is also a client of Scott Boras. But his strong early track record could make him a target for Detroit to try and lock up early. With so many big-money free agent deals on the books, it could make sense for the Tigers to try and save on Jackson by guaranteeing him money in advance. Jackson is off to another good start, putting up a .293/.356/.407 line to go with five steals.
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
Jackson, 25, is set to be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter and can hit the open market after the 2015 season. The centerfielder joined the club in the winter of 2009 in a three-way deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. Jackson has had a strong season in his third year with Detroit, hitting .300/.377/.479 with 16 homers in 617 plate appearances. For other Boras clients and clients of other agents, check out MLBTR's Agency Database.
The Orioles no-hit the Tigers on this date in 1967, but Detroit walked ten times and still managed a 2-1 win. Here are some Tigers-related notes to begin the week before tonight's game against the Royals...
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland hinted that the Tigers could option Max Scherzer to the minor leagues for a time if his struggles continue. "There are always choices," the skipper said, according to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News. Scherzer has a 7.77 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 five starts into the season.
- Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press says the three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to New York for Scherzer, Austin Jackson and Daniel Schlereth “remains in the best long-range interests of the Tigers” because they cashed in their best trade chip for players with star potential.
- Leyland says the Tigers need to get Scherzer going, according to Sharp. "There's no question about that,” Leyland said. “I'm not mad at him. I love the guy. But it's just the facts. We need to get him going.”
- Longtime Tiger Brandon Inge is expected to join the Athletics in Boston today, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Inge agreed to terms with the A's yesterday.
- The Tigers have talked to some baseball people who are "convinced" Detroit will trade for another starting pitcher by Opening Day, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (Twitter link). We heard last week that the Tigers were keeping an eye out for potential fifth starter candidates, though the club was also comfortable in using one of their current pitchers at the end of the rotation.
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland reiterated his support of his in-house pitching possibilities, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck. "If we go outside [the organization], it's going to have to be [for] somebody better than what we have here," Leyland said. "We truly believe that we've got the guy," Leyland said. "Who it is, I don't know." Jacob Turner, Duane Below, Adam Wilk and Andy Oliver are among Detroit's internal candidates.
- From that same item, the Tigers announced they have renewed the contracts of Alex Avila, Doug Fister and Austin Jackson for the 2012 season. All three players will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next winter, and you'd think at least Avila and Fister will be extension candidates if they repeat their 2011 performances. Detroit now has its entire 40-man roster under contract for 2012.
From the South Bay to the Valley, from the West Side to the East Side, everybody is very happy because Vin Scully will return in 2011. Let's check out some links from around the web..
- A member of the Mets watching Rod Barajas say goodbye to his teammates quipped "Can I go with him?", tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Ken Rosenthal pays tribute to Lou Piniella, and opines that Joe Girardi would be a perfect managerial replacement, though he has doubts that the Cubs could pry him away from New York.
- The Nationals have extended their affiliation with the Syracuse Chiefs for an additional two seasons, according to the team's official Twitter page.
- Josh Thole is excited about having the opportunity to start every day now that Rod Barajas has been claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Rays might be willing to take a chance on Manny Ramirez, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- With the way Austin Jackson is playing, it looks like the Tigers got the better end of the Curtis Granderson deal, writes Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger.
- Pittsburgh's signing of Mexican hurler Luis Heredia was years in the making, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes that the Indians weren't afraid to spend on the draft this year. Cleveland's top ten picks all signed for more than their recommended slot.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter) jokes that Buck Showalter has done too well with the Orioles as the club might now lose out on the first overall pick in the draft. Baltimore is now 44-80 while the Pirates are 40-83.
Some links as we wonder what to make of the red-hot Padres...
- Ace Walker was the pitcher of the year in the independent Northern League last year, but he didn't get any calls from MLB teams over the winter, reports Adam Wazny of the Winnipeg Free Press.
- High schooler Tony Wolters, who was one of the top shortstops available in this year's draft, has been ruled ineligible, according to John Manuel of Baseball America.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told Scott Miller of CBS Sports that the Rays have to operate with "one eye on the present and one on the future" to win with their budget.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft suggests the Giants could put Aubrey Huff in left field to make room for Buster Posey's bat at first base.
- RotoAuthority explains why it's a little early to talk about a Barry Zito renaissance.
- The Rangers would only consider trading Justin Smoak for a player who would put them "over the top," in the opinion of Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Joe Posnanski notes that Dayton Moore fired Trey Hillman days after praising him and suggests that the decision wasn't Moore's.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Marc Carig of the Star Ledger that the Tigers were always confident in Austin Jackson's defense.
- The Nationals have the resources to make midseason moves if necessary, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- James Paxton, a sandwich pick the Blue Jays failed to sign last year, makes his independent league debut tonight. One scout told John Manuel of Baseball America that Paxton threw 88-90 mph and looked rusty in exhibition games.
Roy Halladay hopes and expects to pitch in the postseason with the Philadelphia Phillies, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo also notes that the Red Sox made a fair trade proposal for the ex-Jay, but that Toronto needed to be blown away to deal their ace within the division. Here are some of Cafardo's other hot stove notes:
- One National League scout had this to say about the possibility of the Rangers trading Josh Hamilton: "Everybody in Texas denies it, and I don’t know what to base it on, but there’s a feeling the Rangers may do something, and teams want to be ready." A handful of scouts are keeping an eye on the slugger, just in case.
- The Red Sox' extension talks with Josh Beckett have at least been "amicable, if not productive." Like they did with the J.D. Drew and John Lackey contracts, the Sox could attempt to include medical language in their offer to Beckett.
- After being traded out of New York this winter, Austin Jackson feels more comfortable with Detroit, no longer weighed down by comparisons to legendary Yankee outfielders of the past.
- The Red Sox offered Nick Green a minor league contract before he signed with the Dodgers, and now he represents the type of player they need: a backup shortstop. The team is hoping that Bill Hall proves capable of handling the role so that Jed Lowrie can play every day in Triple-A.
Some links for Wednesday night...
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo released his list of the top 50 prospects in the game. Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg rank one-two.
- Livan Hernandez sent a contract proposal to Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo back in December, but he never received a response according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach reports that Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak confirmed that any pickups from here on out would be on the offensive side of the roster.
- Scott Boras said that "The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon during the entire process," according to a tweet from Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. In a second tweet, Kepner says Boras indicated that the two-year, $14MM offer the team reportedly made was conditional on whether or not Nick Johnson would sign.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure reports that 17-year-old righty Rafael DePaula is back on the market after being suspended for a year by MLB after lying about his age. His agent hopes to have him signed within the next 15-20 days, and Arangure mentions that both the Yankees and Red Sox are interested.
- Pirate relievers Anthony Claggett and Steven Jackson both cleared waivers according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch, and have been outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Claggett was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Octavio Dotel, Jackson for Ryan Church.
- Astros' GM Ed Wade said that signing Wandy Rodriguez to a long-term deal would become a "front-burner discussion for us" if he repeats his 2009 success in 2010, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Wandy had a 3.02 ERA with an 8.4 K/9 in 205.2 innings last season.
- Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com says that the Braves have discussed Johnny Damon recently, but came up with three reasons why he wasn't a fit.
- David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News lays out the Phillies' payroll commitments for the next four years. As of right now, the team stands to shed almost $70MM off the books following the 2011 season.
Some Tuesday links...
- After talking to someone familiar with the process, FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi guesses (via Twitter) that Tim Lincecum will file for somewhere between $12-13MM in arbitration.
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer has the Reds' 2010 payroll at just about $70MM at the moment.
- In a mailbag, Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe says that the Red Sox aren't likely to go out and spend on a high-risk, high-reward pitcher like Ben Sheets after signing John Lackey.
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com doesn't think the Marlins will look to trade Dan Uggla, even after he agreed to a deal yesterday that makes him the team's highest paid player in 2010.
- Meanwhile, Frisaro says that Cody Ross is likely headed to an arbitration hearing after negotiations hit an impasse.
- Tony Massarotti of The Boston Globe wonders if the Red Sox are doing the right thing by going year-to-year with Jonathan Papelbon through his arbitration years.
- After turning down the Mets' latest offer, ESPN's Buster Olney thinks (via Twitter) that the Mariners might be a good fit for Bengie Molina.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers will continue negotiating with their six remaining arbitration eligible players today, though GM Doug Melvin said that no multi-year deals are in the mix.
- John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press says it wouldn't be a shock if Justin Verlander sought at least $6MM through arbitration this year after seeking $4.15MM last year. Joe Blanton received just under $5.5MM in his second year of arbitration, so I wouldn't be surprised if Verlander submitted a figure closer to $8-9MM.
- Meanwhile, Lynn Henning of The Detroit News spoke to some scouts who think Austin Jackson might not be ready for the big leagues, at least at the plate. Jackson is slated to start the year as the Tigers' everyday center fielder.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets that the Jose Valverde deal is official.
- The Rays aren't close to deals with any of their four arbitration eligible players, reports Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times. Tampa has a self-imposed deadline of noon ET today to get deals done, which is when the two sides must submit their salary figures.
- In a chat with readers, Tom Boswell of The Washington Post said he heard the Nationals were close to a "trade for a major-league ready pitcher of Jordan Zimmermann quality but it fell through when the other team backed out." He thinks Josh Willingham may have been involved.
- The Giants haven't confirmed if they're still interested in Miguel Tejada according to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, however he spoke to someone who says Tejada remains on the Twins' radar.