Author Archives: Zach Links

Cafardo On Wieters, Bradley, Giants

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the Red Sox spent a lot of time with Jon Lester trying to get him over his fear of throwing to bases.  It’s an issue that the Cubs will have to address if it arises again and Cafardo is surprised that more opposing teams haven’t tried to pounce on that perceived weakness.  That could change, however, as he hears that one team already is looking forward to testing him this season.  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette twice has tried to engage in extension talks with Matt Wieters’s agent, Scott Boras, but now it doesn’t appear that the sides will get together before Wieters becomes a free agent.  After missing most of 2014, Wieters will earn $8.3MM in his final year of arbitration.  The 28-year-old was hitting .308/.339/.500 in 112 plate appearances before right elbow issues forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery.
  • Scouts are beginning to at least discuss what the Red Sox may need to receive in order to part with Jackie Bradley in a trade.  The Sox don’t appear to be in that mode right now, but there are teams who feel Bradley will turn things around at the plate because he’s hit at every level except the majors. “I think Chili Davis is going to be good for him,” said one scout of Boston’s new hitting coach. “I think he needs someone with a tough approach and Chili isn’t afraid to give someone some tough love.”  There has been a great deal of trade talk around Bradley this offseason and Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently suggested that the Braves could make sense as a landing spot.
  • Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans told Cafardo that the team offered James Shields a five-year, $80MM contract not long after Jon Lester agreed to join the Cubs.Evans said that Shields wanted time to explore other offers, however, and the timing wasn’t right.  A previous report indicated that the Giants made Shields a four-year, $80MM pitch, which is the same length as his deal with the Padres, but worth $5MM more.  Shields’ agent Page Odle said in February that his client received more than one offer with a higher AAV than the one he ultimately accepted from the Padres.
  • Before Daniel Bard signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this winter, the Red Sox considered bringing him back.  Now that early reports are indicating that Bard is throwing hard and possibly cured of the yips that have troubled him the last couple of years, the Cubs must be glad that they decided to give him another chance.
  • While many scouts believe that the Dodgers’ offense won’t be as productive without Matt Kemp, many also believe that he will hurt the Padres‘ defense.  “Everyone raves about the Padres with Kemp, but they’re going to find some things they’re not going to like, and I’ll leave it at that,” said one scout.  For his career, Kemp has a -13.9 UZR/150 rating in the outfield.

Mets Unlikely To Trade Gee For Lefty Reliever

After losing left-handed reliever Josh Edgin to Tommy John surgery, the Mets are ostensibly in need of a southpaw in the bullpen.  A source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) that it’s not probable that the Mets will trade right-hander Dillon Gee to land that lefty reliever they desire, though it’s also not 100% impossible.

Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter links) says the Mets don’t seem to be in much of a panic since they’re confident in the options that will be available at the end of camp.  Carig heard that the Mets wouldn’t rule out someone like Dana Eveland, who is in camp with the Red Sox now and not projected to make the team.  Eveland is just one of the several names that could be available to the Mets, he says, and the larger point is that the team expects that they’ll have plenty of choices.

While Gee stands as a solid trade chip, there’s no clear overlap between that teams that have interest in Gee and teams with quality available left-handed relievers.  Moving Gee, in theory, would be a great way for the Mets to use their starting pitching surplus to help supplement their relief situation.  Gee is slated to start the year in the Mets’ bullpen thanks to a projected starting five of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently admitted there have been few recent trade talks involving Gee.  The Rangers appeared to be a logical suitor for Gee, but they apparently haven’t been in discussions with the Mets since learning that Yu Darvish will be lost for the season.

We learned on Sunday morning that Edgin, 28, opted to undergo Tommy John surgery for his elbow trouble.  Edgin tossed 27 1/3 innings last season in 47 appearances, striking out 9.2 and walking only 2.0 batters per nine innings while posting a 1.32 ERA.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Tanaka, Orioles, Castro

On this date in 1975, the Dodgers signed their once arch-nemesis Juan Marichal as a free agent, as Leo Panetta of NationalPastime.com writes.After two regular season outings, the former San Francisco superstar and future Hall of Famer walked away from baseball.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

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



AL East Notes: Rays, Orioles, Sabathia, Ramirez

Drew Smyly has been slowed by shoulder tendinitis this spring and may not be ready for the start of the regular season, but Rays manager Kevin Cash isn’t about to panic, Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune writes. Meanwhile, Nathan Karns, Burch Smith and Matt Andriese, who began camp competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, could be pitching for a second spot, if Smyly isn’t ready.

Here’s more from the AL East:

  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette sent his best starting pitching prospect, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, to the Red Sox in order to land Andrew Miller last season. If he had his druthers, that’s not neccessarily the deal he would have made, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  “I offered about 50 other pitchers before him,” said Duquette. “It was required that we give up Rodriguez for Andrew Miller. We had to take a shot.” O’s manager Buck Showalter thought the deal was worth it for both teams, but Silverman wonders if Rodriguez could prove to be the next great ace in Boston.
  • CC Sabathia threw live batting practice this morning and remains on track in his recovery from right knee surgery, reports MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “I haven’t had a setback and I’ve been feeling so good,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been able to participate in every drill and haven’t had where I’ve needed a day [off]. I feel good about how we’re going and the pace that we’re moving at.” The Yankees left-hander could make his Grapefruit League debut next week, if an upcoming two-inning simulated game goes well.
  • The Red Sox‘s decision to play Hanley Ramirez in left field is the biggest gamble a team is taking on a position switch, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The AL East is wide open for the taking by any of the five teams, not because of its strength but because of its mediocrity, opines CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam. “I never thought I’d say this,” one talent evaluator told McAdam, “but you could make the case that the AL East is the thinnest division in the game.

NL East Notes: Papelbon, Gee, Mets

Of all the Phillies vets on the block, Jonathan Papelbon probably has come the closest to getting shipped out. The Phillies and Brewers were in talks for some time, but the closer says he wasn’t in the loop with regards to how close a deal actually was.

I don’t know if I was ever going to be a Brewer,” Papelbon said, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Nobody ever said a word to me about it. I read about it, but I guess it never got far along enough for my agents or the team to let me know something. As far as I know I’m a Phillie and everyone else is, too. Nobody’s getting traded, as far as I know. This is actually a good group of guys. Best I’ve been around since I’ve been here.”

More from the NL East..

  • A Mets source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter) that the team has not received any calls from the Rangers in the last 24 hours.  Rangers ace Yu Darvish might need Tommy John surgery, but it appears that they have yet to call on Dillon Gee.  On Saturday night night, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Rangers did not seem inclined to try to acquire Gee.  The right-hander, who is currently slated to be in the bullpen thanks to the Mets’ crowded rotation, will turn 29 in April.
  • In a chat with reporters, including Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, union chief Tony Clark offered no objection to the Mets‘ “voluntary” offseason workouts and declined to criticize the team’s payroll.  The Mets’ payroll has actually risen to $100MM for this season and Clark wouldn’t say whether he has spoken to the Mets specifically about their spending.
  • Clark also spoke about the hiring of former Mets GM Omar Minaya for a union role earlier this winter, as Rubin writes.  “We were looking for additional support in the area of international as well as baseball ops and player development. And for those of you who know Omar, that’s right up his alley,” Clark said. “So he’s providing us support in a few different areas that will invariably help the players as we sit down and discuss any number of issues tied to all three moving forward.”
  • The Phillies are trying not to act desperate when it comes to the trade talk surrounding them, but it’s hard to pull that off since everyone knows they have to make a deal, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  Silverman touched on the speculation regarding both Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, but as we learned earlier today, Lee could be sidelined for a while thanks to his sore elbow.

Cliff Lee Experiencing Elbow Soreness

Cliff Lee has been heavily talked about in trade rumors, but now it might be a while before the Phillies can find a deal for him.  Earlier today, the Phillies announced to the press that the veteran is once again dealing with a sore elbow.

The Phillies, as Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets, were probably more motivated to deal Lee than any other player this spring.  Now, they’ll have to wait until Lee has a clean bill of health to find a taker.

It will take a couple of days to get the fluid out of the area from the MRI and Cliff will likely begin to throw again on Monday.  He will progress his throwing program as tolerated. He will not make his scheduled start on Tuesday and his next start is TBD,” GM Ruben Amaro said in the release. “In the meantime we will have the MRI read as a second opinion by Dr. James Andrews. He will likely see the images on Monday or Tuesday.  We will determine Cliff’s continued progressions accordingly.”

Lee battled elbow soreness last year and made just 13 starts in 2014 as a result.  Amaro told reporters, including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (on Twitter), that Lee’s MRI showed an issue with his flexor pronator – previously the culprit of his elbow soreness – and not his UCL.  Amaro says that if Lee undergoes surgery for the issue, it will take him out of action for 6-8 months, according to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Late last month, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Rangers and Padres were among the teams to at least “kick the tires” on Lee earlier this winter.  Since their inquiries, however, the Padres added James Shields and the Rangers also added to their pitching depth.  Heyman speculated that Boston could be a logical landing spot for Lee, but there are no indications that the two sides discussed him.

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 elbow acting up in 2014, 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.


Yankees Have Come Closest On Cole Hamels

Many teams have called on ace Cole Hamels, but so far one club has enticed the Phillies more than the others.  Of the teams that have expressed interest in Hamels, the Yankees have come closer than anyone, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The Bombers have offered a package of prospects for the 31-year-old that at least has given the Phillies a baseline for future talks.

Trading Hamels, who pitched two strong innings in his spring training debut Friday against the Yankees, would help the Phillies kickstart their rebuilding efforts in earnest.  However, they continue to insist that another team should take on the entirety of Hamels’ salary as well as part with top level prospects.  Last month, Cafardo wrote that the Phillies seemed willing to wait it out for the right deal, perhaps even taking things up until the trade deadline.

The Red Sox have been heavily connected to Hamels this winter but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported recently that talks have actually been dormant for weeks.  Meanwhile, Cafardo hears that Cliff Lee could actually wind up changing uniforms before Hamels does.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Davis, Anderson, Medeiros

In 2006, a Canadian team made up mostly of minor leaguers shocked the baseball world by beating Team USA in the first round of the World Baseball Classic, as Leo Panetta of NationalPastime.com writes.  Center fielder Adam Stern hit an inside-the-park homer to help the Canadians post their biggest victory in its national history of baseball.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

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


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.