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- Nexen Accepts Jung-ho Kang Posting Fee From Unknown MLB Team
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Author Archives: Jeff Todd
11:59pm: In an English-language article, Yonhap reports (h/t to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net, on Twitter) that the club has in fact announced the acceptance of the bid. The article indicates that even Nexen is not sure which MLB club subitted the winning offer.
Per the article, Kang is seeking between $5MM and $6MM per season on a multi-year deal of up to four years in duration.
10:31pm: With the posting fee bids submitted for infielder Jung-ho Kang, the KBO’s Nexen Heroes are expected to accept an approximately $5MM bid for the right to negotiate a contract with the Korean star, as the Yonhap News Agency reports (Twitter link via Jeeho Yoo; Korean-language article, via Sun-Min Kim, on Twitter).
The MLB team with the winning bid has yet to be reported. If that club is unable to work out a deal with Kang, it would be refunded the amount of the posting fee. Otherwise, the team would owe that $5MM on top of whatever contractual terms it reaches with Kang.
Kang, 27, raised eyebrows with a 40 home run/1.198 OPS campaign last year. The star shortstop has been a productive hitter for some time now, but that impressive power display certainly raised his profile. The KBO has turned into a fairly drastic hitter’s league, though Kang’s numbers still look outstanding against league average.
Just how his tools translate to the big leagues remains to be seen, of course, and questions remain whether he can play up the middle at the game’s highest level. Be sure to give a listen to this week’s podcast for great insight on Kang from former MLB and KBO pitcher Ryan Sadowski of Global Sporting Integration.
Discussing his wide-ranging moves since taking over as the Dodgers president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman said today that he sees the club as a “highly functional baseball team, instead of a collection of talent.” As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, Friedman says the club will remain “open-minded” about dealing away from its stock of outfielders.
- Looking ahead after the Jimmy Rollins trade, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the team will continue to try to “get younger and more athletic,” as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. In addition to discussing various trade scenarios, the Phils have “had some dialogue with some free agents to try to increase some of our depth pitching-wise,” said Amaro. As for Chase Utley, though, Amaro said he has not had any discussions with Rollins’s long-time double-play partner about a change of scenery. “I haven’t had enough of a discussion with Chase,” said Amaro. “The only discussions I’ve had with Chase and his agent about any of that is that Chase wants to be in Philadelphia.” While Amaro did not close the door on a deal, neither did he indicate it was particularly likely. He concluded: “[Utley] has no desire to go anywhere. … [H]e wants to honor his contract and that’s how we have to perceive it.”
- The agent for reportedly soon-to-be Nationals shortstop prospect Trea Turner, Jeff Berry of CAA, expressed his frustration with the fact that Turner will be required to stay in the Padres system for six months until he is technically eligible to be named as the PTBNL in the recent three-team swap, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. Expressing concern with Turner playing in an organization that lacks a direct interest in his future well-being, Berry said that he “will vigorously pursue all available courses of action to remedy this situation,” up to and potentially including the filing of a grievance action.
- The Braves are still listening on Evan Gattis, but expect to deploy him in left field unless a big offer comes through the door, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter.
- The Mets did not place a bid on Jung-ho Kang, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted earlier today. That would, of course, appear to eliminate the Mets as the possible mystery team that has won the posting.
- The Phillies are taking a look at veteran middle infielder Rafael Furcal as he plays in the Venezuelan winter league, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Furcal signed last year with the Marlins, but was never really able to get healthy. He could potentially fill a hole for the Phils at short.
The Giants have found their replacement for Pablo Sandoval, at least for the time being. San Francisco has added third baseman Casey McGehee from the Marlins in a trade that sends young righties Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo to the Fish.
Miami was said to be quite high on McGehee after he turned in a nice rebound campaign with the team last year. But the organization jumped on the chance to add Martin Prado in a deal with the Yankees, and wasted no time in moving McGehee to another team with a need at third.
McGehee had a solid return season last year for Miami, after playing one year in Japan. He slashed .287/.355/.357 over 691 plate appearances, though a .335 BABIP certainly helped with his batting average and on-base numbers. Indeed, a drastic fall in his batting average on balls in play in last season’s second half contributed to a much less productive tail end of the season for the National League Comeback Player of the Year. He ultimately checked in at about one or two wins above replacement, depending upon one’s formula of choice.
Of course, San Francisco will not expect McGehee to fully replace the production of Sandoval, who will take the field for the Red Sox next year (and for several years thereafter). McGehee will presumably be expected to hold down the position for 2015 while the team looks for longer-term solutions. And he will do so at a fairly palatable price, as he is projected by MLBTR and Matt Swartz to earn $3.5MM through arbitration this year, his final season of eligibility before reaching free agency.
Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel first reported on Twitter that the deal was close. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted that the deal was done. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter) and Rodriguez (likewise) reported the return. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the deal is “official.”
The Royals have released outfielder Carlos Peguero, the team announced (via MLB.com’s Joey Novak). The 27-year-old had been said to be a candidate to see time as a left-handed bat for the club this year, but the recent signings of Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales largely eliminated that possibility.
Peguero saw little action last year with Kansas City, instead working for the club’s Triple-A affiliate. At that level, he posted a .912 OPS with 30 home runs in 418 plate appearances. Peguero has generally done quite well against the best arms in the minors, but has yet to receive a prolonged chance at the MLB level. He struggled to reach base in a 155-plate appearance stint back in 2011 with the Mariners, and has not gone to bat over 57 times in a big league season since.
FRIDAY: Wilson has been given his release, as SB Nation’s Eric Stephen was first to report.
While the end of Wilson’s tenure comes as something of a shock given his stout $9.5MM salary for next season, the fact is that he was not good at all last year. The 32-year-old pitched to a 4.22 ERA over 48 1/3 innings, with 10.1 K/9 against 5.4 BB/9.
He had shown excellent form over a short sample late in 2013, leading the Dodgers (under then-GM Ned Colletti) to award him a $10MM deal with a player option that floated in value and ultimately came in at $9.5MM. While it is likely that another team would be interested in bringing in Wilson to compete for a job in camp, his value obviously falls well shy of what he is owed.
The new brass in Los Angeles has been aggressive in turning over its roster, eating significant cash in the process. Wilson’s $9.5MM salary joins the $10MM owed to Dan Haren and $32MM piece of Matt Kemp‘s contract as cash on the books for players who are no longer on the team’s roster.
Breslow, 34, will look to bounce back from a rough 2014 in which he worked to a 5.96 ERA over 54 1/3 innings, with 6.1 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9. Though ERA estimators all felt that Breslow was the victim of some bad luck, even the rosiest among them (SIERA, 4.72) saw him as a well-below-average producer. Oddly, he struggled most against same-handed hitters, whom he walked more often than he struck out. Lefties hit Breslow to the tune of .291/.381/.456 last year.
That said, Breslow is not exactly an unknown commodity. He had never before gone over the four-earned-per-nine level in a season, and was fresh off of a 1.81 ERA campaign in 2013. Over his lifetime work, he has been much better against left-handed bats, though in general he posts minimal platoon numbers.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains one of the most tantalizing potential trade targets in the game, but it remains to be seen whether a serious effort — both by his club and potential suitors — will be made at a transaction.
Here’s the latest:
- The Rockies are still discussing Tulowitzki with other clubs, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets are among the teams participating in the chatter, says Heyman, who writes that top prospect Noah Syndergaard is being talked about as the centerpiece of the hypothetical deal, with New York likely wanting a partial refund on Tulowitzki’s contract. Of course, as Heyman adds, agreement is still a long ways off, and several sources have downplayed its likelihood.
- But those discussions are not active, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. Indeed, the teams are not talking about a player package or how to handle Tulowitzki’s contract, per Harding’s source.
- The discussions between those teams have gone on all offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links), but have yet to gain much traction. Rosenthal’s source puts the likelihood of a deal at 5-10%.
- Likewise, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the odds of Tulo joining the Metropolitans are very slim, noting that Colorado wants a package in return that would make Mets fans cringe. And a source tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that even the limited reporting on the possibility of a deal involving Tulowitzki is “overblown.”
- San Francisco is in contact with the Marlins about Casey McGehee, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Among the Giants players being discussed are reliever Hunter Strickland and infielder Matt Duffy, per Rosenthal.
- The Giants are also still interested in Braves third bagger Chris Johnson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Johnson is owed $23.5MM over the next three years, and Atlanta may need to hold onto a portion of that commitment to move him.
- Free agent Asdrubal Cabrera is among the finalists, with McGehee, to be brought on at third for the Giants, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Club assistant GM Bobby Evans indicated previously that Cabrera was interested in finding a job up the middle, but said the door would remain open to further conversations.
The Cubs have agreed to a two-year, $5MM deal with catcher David Ross, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Reports emerged earlier today suggesting that the veteran was headed to the Padres, but indications are that he is in fact set to join former teammate Jon Lester in Chicago.
Ross, a client of Sports One Athlete Management client, will add yet more veteran leadership behind the plate for the Cubs. He will slot in alongside the recently-acquired Miguel Montero, providing a right-handed-hitting complement. Chicago also added another former Red Sox backstop today in Ryan Lavarnway, who was added via waiver claim.
Before joining the Red Sox in 2013, Ross spent four years as the reserve option for the Braves. He slashed a robust .269/.353/.463, but never made more than 200 plate appearances in a given season. Ross has fallen back to a .650 OPS over the last two seasons in Boston, over 287 plate appearances. Defensively, Baseball Prospectus did not value Ross’s work very highly last year.
In the aggregate, then, there are plenty of questions about Ross’s abilities moving forward. But he does have a rather high established ceiling for a backup catcher, and obviously is one of the game’s most respected elder statesmen at this stage of his career.
FRIDAY, 2:05pm: The Royals officially announced their deal with Rios, which includes a mutual option for 2016. That is worth $12.5MM, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
MONDAY, 7:10pm: The Royals have agreed to a one-year, $11MM deal with outfielder Alex Rios, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Rios, a Boras Corporation client, joins Kendrys Morales as veteran additions to the defending American League champs.
The 33-year-old Rios spent 2014 with the Rangers, slashing .280/.311/.398 with four home runs 17 stolen bases (being caught nine times in the process). That production landed just below league average, one year after Rios put up a .278/.324/.432 line that rated slightly above the league baseline. Of course, he also swatted 18 long balls and stole 42 bags that season (split between the White Sox and Rangers).
Now another year removed from his excellent 2012 campaign, Rios also slid in the baserunning and defensive departments, leaving him valued at just .2 fWAR and .6 rWAR in his 521 plate appearances. A thumb issue ended Rios’s season early and cast at least some slight doubt on his health going forward, though Rios has been a remarkably sturdy ballplayer over his long career.
Kansas City now has its replacement for Nori Aoki in right field, where Rios has spent most of his career. Both players are similarly aged, but the former is probably a safer option going forward with his consistent on-base ability. Of course, Aoki cannot match the ceiling of Rios, who was worth better than four wins above replacement in recent memory. The club spent a fairly significant sum to take a chance on Rios, going well above the $8.5MM that MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted he would land.
Rios joins a recent group of corner outfielders departing the market, leaving players like Michael Morse, Colby Rasmus, and Aoki as the best players available. Of course, that could add impetus to the trade market, which features a number of big names.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Images.