Author Archives: Zach Links

Quick Hits: Clark, Olivera, Guerrier, Moncada

Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said that he could envision an MLB franchise based in Mexico one day.  For his part, MLBPA president Clark sounds open-minded to the concept, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. “Anytime the industry considers growing, it lends itself to how well the industry is doing,” Clark said. “As such, players are interested in having those conversations, interested as to what it might look like. I would say players would be engaged and interested on any of those considerations.” Here’s more from around the majors..

  • Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has taken physicals for a number of teams in recent weeks, including the Dodgers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). MLB has yet to declare Olivera a free agent, but teams want to be prepared for when that moment occurs (link).
  • Former Twins reliever Matt Guerrier, who elected free agency in July, is still hoping to pitch in 2015, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Twins have not shown interest in a reunion with the 36-year-old.  The veteran righty produced a solid 3.86 ERA in 28 innings last season but struck out just 3.9 batters per nine.  For his career, Guerrier owns a 3.52 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
  • Yoan Moncada‘s contract with the Red Sox reveals flaws in baseball’s system, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes.  The deal reveals the true market value for high-end young players and at this point, it would be difficult for MLB to spin an international draft as anything but an attempt to suppress costs for foreign amateurs.
  • Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com wonders if the Moncada signing will push MLB even closer to an international draft.

Dodgers Sign Mike Adams

The Dodgers announced that they have signed Mike Adams to a minor league deal, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  The veteran has struggled to stay healthy in recent years and has made just 50 appearances combined over the last two seasons.

Adams’ $6MM club option with the Phillies would have vested with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he fell way short of that number thanks to an injury-plagued 2014.  Back in August, he told reporters, including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, that he felt guilty about his inability to perform after signing a two-year, $12MM deal with the Phillies prior to the 2013 season.

When I signed here two years ago, I expected a lot more than what I’ve done,” Adams said. “There probably isn’t anyone more disappointed by the situation than myself. I proclaimed it would be a good three-year deal, and obviously it hasn’t worked out that way. I said I didn’t want to steal money, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Of course, the signing represents a low-risk move by the Dodgers and if Adams can put his shoulder troubles behind him, the deal could pay major dividends.  When Adams was healthy, he was one of the league’s most effective set-up men.

Even in a very limited sample size of 18 and 2/3rds innings last season, Adams turned in a 2.89 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.  Across parts of ten big league seasons with the Padres, Brewers, Rangers, and Phillies, Adams has pitched to a 2.41 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.

As J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group notes, Adams’ list of surgeries in recent years is extensive.  Adams had labrum and rotator cuff surgery in October 2008, inguinal hernia surgery in January 2012, thoracic outlet surgery in October 2012, labrum and rotator cuff surgery in July 2013, and sports hernia surgery in December 2013.


AL East Notes: Miller, Craig, Victorino

David Ortiz told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s extremely excited to have Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in the Red Sox’s lineup alongside healthy versions of Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli. “It’s going to make a huge difference.” Ortiz said. “Last year we had the big struggle with injuries. Pedroia struggled with injuries. Nap struggled with injuries. Even myself toward the end, I had a wrist problem. When you have pretty much the center of the lineup going through all those injuries, it’s hard to recover from the struggles we had offensively last year. Hopefully that’s not the case now. Everyone is healthy now. And you’ve got more thunder coming into the lineup.”  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Andrew Miller turned down a four-year, $40MM deal from the Astros to join the Yankees on a four-year, $36MM this offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  While he believed that the Astros are headed in the right direction, he thought it would take them time to realize their goals.  Miller also told Cafardo that the rival Red Sox made an excellent offer, but the Yankees’ situation was just too good for him to pass up.  It’s believed that the Red Sox topped out at $32MM over four years.  Miller recently spoke with MLBTR’s Jeff Todd about his free agent journey.
  • The Angels will turn to Matt Joyce in the wake of Josh Hamilton‘s issues, but Cafardo wonders if they could call the Red Sox about Allen Craig or Shane Victorino.  He also posits that the Blue Jays could have interest in talking with Boston after Michael Saunders‘ injury.
  • The Rays made the right move in releasing thrice-suspended 2010 No. 1 draft pick OF Josh Sale before he anything else went wrong, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  Sale has run into a litany of problems over the last few years, including two suspensions imposed by MLB and one from the Rays.  Of course, it also didn’t help that he had yet to play above Class A in five pro years.
  • No one is expecting Johan Santana to revert back to his prime form, but scouts see the Blue Jays signing him as a smart, low-risk move, Cafardo writes.  “He obviously isn’t the Santana of old, but I’m not sure there is a more competitive pitcher in the game, and he’s learned to pitch with less,” said one National League scout.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: D’Backs, Blue Jays, Nats

On this date in 1993, two and half years after accepting a life-long ban from being involved in the day-to-day operation with the team, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was reinstated, as Leo Panetta of NationalPastime.com writes.  Steinbrenner had been exiled from baseball by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring Howie Spira, a known gambler, to snoop into the life of star outfielder Dave Winfield.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Orioles Notes: Cabrera, Davis, Duquette, Drake

Everth Cabrera‘s one-year deal with the Orioles is now official, but manager Buck Showalter tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun that even though the former Padre signed a big league deal, he’ll have to earn a roster spot this spring. Cabrera has a minor league option remaining and could head to Triple-A Norfolk if he doesn’t perform well. Showalter acknowledges that there’s some risk in the signing, given Cabrera’s checkered past, but he’s been told good things from people in the NL West. “There’s some upside there for sure,” said Showalter. “…There’s some unknown for me about him. The one division that I’ve constantly got to lean on people that I really trust is the National League West. … There’s just a lot of unknown for East Coast teams.”

A few more Orioles notes…

  • Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has been granted a therapeutic-use exemption for 2015 for Vyvanse, an ADHD medication that works differently than Adderall, which he was suspended for last season, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Vyvanse is an amphetamine like Adderall, but it lasts longer and is less likely to be abused for non-therapeutic reasons.  The 28-year-old says he has responded well to it so far and even prefers it to Adderall.
  • General manager and executive VP Dan Duquette spoke with Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com about using his farm system to acquire Major League talent — a tactic he’s employed multiple times since joining the Orioles. Among the higher profile examples are his acquisitions of Bud Norris, Francisco Rodriguez, Andrew Miller and now Travis Snider. Duquette says he feels fortunate to have enough depth that they can use their farm system to produce big league players like Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman but still trade players such as Eduardo Rodriguez for midseason upgrades. Regarding that trade specifically, Duquette admits that he did not want to part with Rodriguez to acquire Miller but realized it was a requirement on Boston’s end of the deal. “And Andrew Miller helped the Orioles get to the playoffs,” said Duquette. “I could argue he was the difference in the first playoff series with the Tigers. What if he was on the other side of the field in the Detroit dugout? What if we didn’t have him to get key outs in that series?” Melewski’s piece is full of quotes from Duquette on the O’s trading tactics and philosophies and is well worth a read in its entirety.
  • Showalter chatted with Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com and discussed the team’s somewhat curious decision to give reliever Oliver Drake a Major League deal this offseason. The team wasn’t concerned about him signing elsewhere or being taken in the Rule 5 Draft. Rather, said Showalter, “We get to the point where you don’t care what everybody else might think. If you like him and you want to keep him and you think he can impact you, you put him on the roster… Our people in Double-A and everybody who had him said he’s back, physically good, and was as good a relief pitcher as there was in that league.”

West Notes: Giants, Coke, Rangers, Marte

Despite all of their success, it’s not easy for the Giants to land free agents thanks to the tax rate in California, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes.  The top income tax rate in California is 13.3%, which is more than double the top tax rate in all but a handful of states with major league teams.  “It’s exponential when you get into the size of some of these numbers,” Sabean said. “It makes a difference.”  The Giants have had to build differently and a little more creatively than others, sometimes with some key moves in the summer, but it has worked out pretty well for them.  Here’s more from the West divisions..

  • The Rangers‘ interest in lefty reliever Phil Coke has waned and the club doesn’t expect to sign the free agent reliever, a source tells Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram (via Twitter). The Rangers claimed a left-handed reliever earlier today when they plucked Edgar Olmos from the Mariners.  The Tigers apparently haven’t expressed much interest in a reunion and another spot in their ‘pen was filled when they signed Joba Chamberlain.
  • If shortstop prospect Ketel Marte plays well enough to reach the big leagues this year, the Mariners’ willingness to move Brad Miller or Chris Taylor will increase in the coming months, if not sooner, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  One Mariners official compared Marte, a switch hitter, to a younger version of Jose Reyes.  He also has some second base experience, but he’s blocked there by Robinson Cano.
  • All of the Angels‘ core relievers throw fastballs at an average speed of less than 92 mph, which means they’re basically ignoring baseball’s dogma about power arms in the bullpen, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes.  Recently, the Angels have placed more of a premium on strike-throwing ability than velocity.
  • Trea Turner, who will be joining the Nationals as the player to be named later in the Wil Myers trade, is in camp with the Padres, Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego writes.  Lin checks in on Turner’s unusual camp experience as he is still more than three months away from joining the Nats.

AL East Notes: Blue Jays, Red Sox, Ortiz

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says it’s easy to do business with A’s GM Billy Beane thanks to the rapport he has with him, MLB.com’s Mike Bauman writes.  “I have a pretty good relationship with Billy Beane,” Anthopoulos said. “We’ve done a bunch of small deals. The one thing about Billy, he’s always open-minded and you can never offend him; you can ask about anybody at any time to make a deal.”  The two execs got together in November for the deal that brought Josh Donaldson to Toronto.  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • When asked about David Ortiz‘s future beyond 2015, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that “David knows he’s going to be a Red Sox [player] as long as he wants to be a Red Sox [player],” according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.  Cherington went on to explain that the two sides haven’t discussed his future recently.  This upcoming season will be the last guaranteed year of his deal and he’ll earn $16MM, the most money he has ever been paid in a single season.  With 425 plate appearances, his deal will vest for 2016 and he can increase his salary even further if he surpasses higher PA thresholds.
  • Everth Cabrera is likely to ink his deal with the Orioles on Wednesday, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com writes. Cabrera agreed to a one-year, $2.4MM deal that could balloon to $3MM total if he hits certain incentives.
  • Rays star Evan Longoria says that he didn’t want manager Joe Maddon to leave the Rays but he believes that they will be better for it, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. “I just think there comes a time when it’s just the right time for somebody new,” Longoria said.
  • Earlier tonight, we rounded up today’s news on the Red Sox.

Red Sox Notes: Cherington, Lucchino, Moncada

Despite the glut of outfielders the Red Sox have, GM Ben Cherington thinks it’s possible that all of them could still be with the organization when the season starts, Ian Browne of MLB.com writes. “Good chance,” said Cherington. “I think, as I said before, look, one of the things that we knew needed to be better was the sort of total output from the outfield in 2015. In order to win more games, we needed to get more out of the outfield — the whole team, but the outfield certainly was one area.”  There has been a great deal of speculation about Shane Victorino as a trade possibility, but publicly the Red Sox have repeatedly said that they’re willing to roll with the group they have, even if there aren’t enough spots to accommodate everyone.  More from Boston..

  • Though the news of Cherington’s extension didn’t come out until manager John Farrell got his new deal on Saturday, it actually happened eight or nine months ago, Browne writes.  Owner John Henry declined to discuss the length of the pact, however, only referring to it as a “long-term deal.”
  • Henry told reporters, including Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, that Larry Lucchino is “in charge and continues to be in charge” of the organization.  Henry shot down reports of inner turmoil earlier this week as well when he spoke with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Yankees probably had the biggest need for Yoan Moncada, the Dodgers probably had more money to offer, and the Padres offered a clearer path to playing time, but he is still a strong fit for the Red Sox’s plan, Ben Carsley of Just A Bit Outside writes.
  • With the Moncada signing, the Red Sox basically paid to get a No. 1 pick, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes.

AL Central Notes: Chamberlain, Coke, Gordon

Joba Chamberlain‘s new deal with the Tigers includes a pretty hard-to-reach incentive, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter): the reliever will get an additional $100K if he wins the Cy Young award.  Chamberlain, 29, will receive a $1MM base salary plus an additional $100K for reaching 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 appearances.  The right-hander posted a 3.57 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9, and 53.2% groundball rate in 63 innings for the Tigers last year.  More from the AL Central..

  • Many expected that Phil Coke had a better chance of returning to the Tigers than Chamberlain, but that was apparently not the case, Jason Beck of MLB.com writes.  The Tigers have shown no signs of interest for Coke and although he has thrown for teams in San Diego recently, neither manager Brad Ausmus nor Tigers scouts had watched him as of a week ago.
  • Chris Iott of MLive.com looked at the multiple implications of Chamberlain signing with the Tigers.  The pact, among other things, gives the bullpen depth and also insurance for Bruce Rondon as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery.  Detroit expects Rondon to be their main seventh-inning guy, but if he’s not good to go for some reason, the Tigers could turn to the newly-acquired Chamberlain or Al Alburquerque.
  • A lot of fuss has been made over Royals outfielder Alex Gordon and his player option for 2016, but it doesn’t sound like he’s all that distracted by it.  “[I] don’t think about it,” Gordon said, according to Jeffrey Flanagan (on Twitter) “The only time I think about it is when you guys ask me.”  Last August, Gordon told reporters he intended to exercise his $13.25MM player option for the 2016 season but now he’s not so sure.

Latest On Cliff Lee

The Rangers and Padres were among teams to at least “kick the tires” on Phillies starter Cliff Lee earlier this winter, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Of course, the Padres have since signed James Shields to a four-year, $75MM deal, which probably means that they won’t be making a play for Lee or teammate Cole Hamels.  The Rangers have also added to their pitching depth this offseason.

Meanwhile, Heyman believes that Lee would be a solid fit for the Red Sox as their own talks on Hamels seem to have stalled.  Boston won’t part with either catching prospect Blake Swihart or second baseman/outfielder Mookie Betts to pry Hamels away, but a Lee deal could get done with lesser assets.

A deal for Lee could even include former fan favorite Shane Victorino as Heyman hears the Phillies wouldn’t mind a reunion.  The Red Sox can certainly part with the Flyin’ Hawaiian given their crowded outfield, even though they’re pushing the idea that he’ll start Opening Day if he’s healthy.

While there haven’t been any known talks between the two teams regarding Lee, the BoSox do have an affinity for him and they’ve seemingly had interest since he joined Philly as a free agent.

He’s hard not to like,” one Red Sox person told Heyman.

However, another Boston official characterized the Lee possibility to Heyman as a “long shot” since he still has to prove his health.  On the other hand, it’s well known that Lee wants to play for a winner and his track record of pitching in the American League could appeal to the Red Sox.

Outside of the Red Sox, Heyman posits that the Cardinals are a team that would seem to fit since they weren’t all that aggressive in adding pitching and they’d be almost local for the Little Rock, Ark. resident.

Lee is owed $25MM for the coming season and can be controlled for another year through a $27.5MM option that comes with a hefty $12.5MM buyout.  Prior to his 2014 elbow trouble, Lee boasted a streak of six straight seasons with 200+ innings.  Over that stretch, he carried a 2.89 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against just 1.3 BB/9.  The 36-year-old (37 in August) has a no-trade clause that allows him to block deals to twenty teams per year.