Author Archives: Max Fogle

Diamondbacks To Sign Aaron Blair

The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with No. 36 overall pick Aaron Blair for a signing bonus of $1.435MM, tweets Kendall Rogers of perfectgame.org.  According to Baseball America's list of pick values, the deal will be well below the assigned slot of $1,547,700.  The Diamondbacks received that selection in the draft as the result of a competitive balance pick.

The right-handed pitcher was highly regarded by Baseball America (Subscription Required), Keith Law of ESPN (Subscription Required), and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, ranking 41st, 32nd, and 35th respectively in the pre-draft listings. 

According to BA, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder throws a heavy fastball and plus changeup that have been inconsistent thus far in his career, but might best move forward with the slider.  The PSI Sports Management advisee spent his college days as a member of the Marshall Thundering Herd. 

 

 


International Notes: Gonzalez, Despaigne, Jimenez

Japanese baseball is facing a growing scandal over livelier baseballs being used this year, explains Ken Belson of the New York Times. NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato is under fire after first denying any change to what had been a pitcher-friendly baseball in 2011 and 2012.  Here's the rest of tonight's notes from around the world..

  • The Twins are another team that have interest in Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Gonzalez was recently declared a free agent, and the Twins have seen the 26-year-old pitch three times in the last month according to Wolfson. 
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America has the story on Cuban slugger Alfredo Despaigne, who is currently plaing in Mexico (Subscription Required).  The Cuban government allowed a special arrangement in which Despaigne can play for the Campeche Pirates of the Mexican League for the summer.  Scouts will likely take advantage of this rare opportunity to see the former home run champion in action, notes Badler. 
  • Eloy Jimenez is adjusting to life as a top prospect in baseball's altered international signing period, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.  The Dominican native took the No.1 spot on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects for this July 2 signing class. 

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Texas Notes: Davis, Luhnow, Cardinals

While still in last place in the AL West, the Astros have played much better of late, going 7-3 in their last ten games.  Meanwhile, the Rangers have won three in a row and currently sit one game back of the first place Athletics.  Needless to say, there could be plenty of deadline news coming out of the Lone Star State.  Here's tonight's notes from the Texas teams..

  • Buster Olney of ESPN breaks down the Chris Davis deal that sent the current home run leader from the Rangers to the Orioles (Subscription Required and Recommended).  Rangers GM Jon Daniels reflected on the trade, saying "I feel comfortable with the decision-making process that led us there. The result is obviously not in our favor, but the process wasn't bad.”
  • The Rangers and Cardinals both were able to do well in free agency in recent years, opines Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to Miklasz, the two clubs have built impressive farm systems and maintained impressive payroll flexibility by letting their most expensive free agents move on to other teams.
  • The Astros have built a farm system that GM Jeff Luhnow is pleased with, reports Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.  The only club that Lunhow would trade farm systems with is, unsurprisingly, the Cardinals.  Lunhow played a pivotal role in drafting and developing both organizations. 

 



Mariners Designate Eric Thames For Assignment

The Mariners have announced that outfielder Eric Thames has been designated for assignment. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for fellow outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who will come off the 60-day disabled list.  Gutierrez will replace Michael Morse on the active roster, with Morse landing on the 15-day DL. 

Thames had yet to appear in the big leagues this season, and owns a career line of .250/.296/.431/ in 684 plate appearances with the Blue Jays and Mariners.  The 26-year-old is currently slashing .295/.382/.479 with Triple-A Tacoma. 


Dodgers Release Ramon Hernandez

The Dodgers have released catcher Ramon Hernandez according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Hernandez had been designated for assignment on June 14 to clear a roster spot for A.J. Ellis.

The Dodgers acquired the veteran backstop from the Rockies on April 6 in exchange for Aaron  Harang. The 37-year-old saw only 55 plate appearances for Los Angeles, batting .208/.291/.438.

In 5701 Major League plate appearances with the A's, Padres, Orioles, Reds, Rockies and Dodgers, Hernandez is a .263/.327/.417 hitter. The Eric Goldschmidt client was in the final season of a 2-year, $6.5MM contract he signed with the Rockies prior to 2012.


Dodgers, Kershaw Discussing Extension

SUNDAY: Kershaw is seeking $225MM, but talks have gone on too long for people familiar with the discussions to suggest the sides are close to a deal yet, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.

SATURDAY: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw are making progress on an extension. Rosenthal notes that the potential deal will be for at least $180MM. 

The left-handed Cy Young winner has long been thought as a candidate for an extension, with fellow aces Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander recently landing massive deals. According to Rosenthal, deals of up to twelve years and $300MM had been discussed, in addition to the seven-year contract currently being negotiated.  

At just 25 years of age, Kershaw has the combination of age and pitching performance that could justify the record-breaking contract he is likely to receive.  CC Sabathia (seven-year, $161MM) currently holds the record for largest contract for a pitcher in terms of new, guaranteed money. 

Kershaw has pitched to a .271 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 1044 1/3 career innings. The Excel Sports Management client is currently in the second season of a two-year, $19MM contract, although he is still under team control for one more year. 

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Hiroshima Toyo Carp Sign Kila Ka’aihue

First baseman Kila Ka'aihue has signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, according to reports from JapanBall.com and Japanese outlet Chugoku Shimbun last week.  Ka'aihue is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council, according to the MLBTR Agency Database

Ka'aihue is set to arrive in Japan on on the 17th, according to Chugoku.  Carp Owner Hajime Matsuda is excited about the addition of Ka'aihue, saying, "His swing is sharper than [Carp first baseman Brad] Eldred's. We're expecting him to provide power and hopefully encourage [outfielder Fred] Lewis."  The Chugoku Shimbun reports that Ka'aihue received a glowing report from Erik Schullstrom, a former MLB and NPB pitcher who now works as a U.S.-based scout for Hiroshima.

The 29-year-old hit .313/.426/.620 in 235 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks' triple-A affiliate before being released earlier this month.  Ka'aihue has a .221/.305/.382 line across parts of four big-league seasons with the Royals and the A's, although he has seen more success in the minors, with a .858 OPS over 5076 PA. 

MLBTR Contributor Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


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Dodgers Claim John Baker

The Dodgers have claimed John Baker off waivers from the Padres, as first tweeted by Peter Gammons of MLB Network.  The catcher was designated for assignment earlier this week to make room for the return of Logan Forsythe from the 60-day disabled list.

Baker, 32, played in just 16 games for the Padres this season, hitting .150/.261/.150 in 46 plate appearances. Over parts of six Major League seasons with the Marlins and Padres, Baker has hit .258/.342/.364.  Baker, who was on the field for the wild brawl between the Dodgers and Padres, has been optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.


West Notes: Kershaw, Dodgers, Angels

It looks like the Astros and Mark Appel will avoid a lengthy signing negotiation, with the sides reportedly agreeing to a deal today. The right-hander was not only the draft's first overall selection, but the Astros first selection as an American League team.   Here's the rest of tonight's notes from baseball's west divisions..

  • CC Sabathia represents a best-case scenario for a possible Clayton Kershaw extension, argues Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  In Shaikin's opinion, Kershaw will command at least $200MM, and the Dodgers would do well to get the kind of production the Yankees have received from Sabathia. 
  • Shaikin also writes about how the Dodgers' sale affected the Angels' television revenue.  Angels owner Arte Moreno based the team's last deal off of the Dodgers agreement negotiated under Frank McCourt that ended up being voided by the commissioner's office.  The Angels are stuck with the terms of that deal, while the Dodgers have landed a record revenue stream.
  • The Athletics have their key offseason additions to thank for their offensive success, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal cites John Jaso and Jed Lowrie as quality hitters who have transformed the A's offense. 

NL East Notes: Mets, Lopez, Eovaldi

Earlier today, the Mets made some roster moves, designating Collin McHugh for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot for newly promoted Carlos Torres.  Here's tonight's notes from the Mets and the rest of the NL East..

  • MetsBlog has a recap of Mets GM Sandy Alderson's Q&A session with fans and media today, including comments that the club may soon be ready to invest at the big league level.  With a young crop of players beginning to emerge, Alderson indicated that the time may be near when the team will add veteran talent to the roster.
  • The Phillies nearly acquired right-hander Wilton Lopez from the Astros during the offseason, reminisced Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The Phillies staged a comeback against Lopez and the Rockies yesterday, with Gelb noting that it was a rare favorable turn of events for the Phillies bullpen situation.  Lopez has pitched to a 4.25 ERA, 5.3 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 over 36 innings in Colorado.
  • Nathan Eovaldi will make his 2013 debut for the Marlins Tuesday, reports George Richards of the Miami Herald.  Eovaldi was a major piece of the deal that saw Hanley Ramirez go to the Dodgers, but has seen his first full season in Miami derailed by injuries. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 4.15 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9 in 154 career innings.