Bill Bray Rumors

Quick Hits: Arroyo, Athletics, Bray, Cardinals, Brewers

The Diamondbacks' signing of Bronson Arroyo was a mistake, ESPN's Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Law argues that Arroyo's declining velocity, tendency to give up homers, and struggles with lefties all make him a bad bet for two years and $23.5MM. Arroyo allowed 32 homers last season (although 19 of them were in the Reds' homer-friendly ballpark), and lefties hit .295/.327/.529 against him. He's also had an average fastball velocity of about 87 MPH the past several seasons, which Law suggests has been one cause of his home-run problems. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • GM Billy Beane says the Athletics are done making significant moves this offseason, Jane Lee of MLB.com tweets. The A's have been busy this winter, adding Scott Kazmir, Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson and Eric O'Flaherty to their pitching staff and Nick Punto to their infield. They also lost Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour, and Chris Young via free agency, traded Brett Anderson and Jerry Blevins and signed Coco Crisp to an extension.
  • Lefty reliever Bill Bray wants to continue his career, but might wait until May to sign, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter). Bray pitched just four games in the Nationals system in 2013, missing most of the season due to injuries. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Reds. 
  • The Cardinals have the flexibility to make a significant move this spring, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. After the departures of Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook and Rafael Furcal, among others, the Cardinals' payroll is down significantly from last season, even after the addition of Jhonny Peralta. Their free payroll and strong collection of young pitching mean they'll be able to make a big trade if the right opportunity presents itself.
  • Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel looks ahead to the July 2nd market for international prospects. He notes rumors that Dominican third baseman Gilbert Lara already has a $3.2MM deal in place with the Brewers, not generally a team known for splashy international signings. Dominican shortstop Dermis Garcia, meanwhile, reportedly has a $3MM deal in place with the Yankees, who figure to be big spenders in the international market this summer.

NL Notes: Amarista, Nationals, Morse, Krol

 Here are a few National League notes as we head into the weekend:

  • Padres utilityman Alexi Amarista has switched his representation to Martin Arburua, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Per MLBTR's Agency Database, Amarista was formerly represented by Proformance. The 24-year-old, who has slashed .280/.309/.452 in 98 plate appearances thus far in 2013, is set to be arbitration eligible beginning in 2015.
  • The Nationals are approaching opt-out deadlines for two left-handed relievers that are currently stashed in the minors, explains James Wagner of the Washington Post. Both J.C. Romero and Bill Bray are eligible to elect free agency in June if they are not added to the big league roster. While Washington still has uncertainty in its lefty bullpen options, with Zach Duke scuffling and Fernando Abad only recently added to the squad, its decisions on Romero and Bray will be complicated by injuries to the two southpaws. Romero last saw action on May 8; Bray's last appearance was May 14. Of course, the Nats could always seek to extend those opt-out dates, which could be beneficial to both the team and the players.
  • The major decision facing the Nationals this past offseason was whether to bring back free agent Adam LaRoche and, if so, what to do with slugging outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse. With over a quarter of the season in the bag, the Washington Post's Adam Kilogre looks back at the team's ultimate decision to re-sign LaRoche and send Morse to the Mariners. Given the way the season has developed, Kilgore posits, Morse would likely have already been able to achieve over 100 at-bats even with LaRoche in the fold. It is easy to second-guess the decision with Morse's solid start (.244/.310/.462 but with ten long balls) and the struggles of young power-hitter Tyler Moore (.121/.157/.227 and just one home run in 70 plate appearances). Nevertheless, Kilgore explains, the club was not only concerned with carrying Morse's salary and relegating a still-in-his-prime veteran to a secondary role, but needed to recoup some future value after dealing high-end prospect Alex Meyer for center fielder Denard Span
  • As Kilgore notes, the Nats not only landed high-upside pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen in the Morse trade, but also were entitled to a player-to-be-named later. The PTBNL turned into another arm, left-handed reliever Ian Krol, who has flashed promise in his time with the organization. Kilgore points out that Krol has given up only two runs over 22 2/3 innings while working out of the pen for the Nats' Double-A affiliate. The 22-year-old Krol adds another internal option to supplement the team's less-than-inspiring southpaw relief corps.

Nationals Sign Bill Bray

In addition to re-signing Zach Duke, the Nationals have continued to add arms today by signing Bill Bray to a minor league deal, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter).

Bray, 29, was a first-round pick by the Nationals back when they were the Montreal Expos, but was sent to the Reds in an eight-player trade in July 2006. Bray has been in the Reds organization since that deal, up until he elected free agency last month.

Injuries limited Bray to just 14 appearances for the Reds in 2012, but in his last full season (2011), he was effective as a lefty specialist, posting a 2.98 ERA and 8.2 K/9 in 79 appearances.



Twins Rumors: McCarthy, Blanton, Dempster, Myers

Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN

  • So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
  • The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
  • The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
  • Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
  • The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
  • The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.

Minor Moves: Stetter, Bray, Valdez, Hernandez

Here are a few of the day's minor transactions…

  • The Angels signed Mitch Stetter to a minor league contract, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.  The 31-year-old southpaw last pitched in the majors in 2011 with the Brewers, and he has a 4.08 ERA, a 9.3 K/9 rate and a 5.4 BB/9 rate over 86 career Major League innings since 2007.  Stetter spent last season pitching in Milwaukee's minor league system.
  • Left-hander Bill Bray and infielder Wilson Valdez have elected to become free agents, according to MLB.com's transactions page.  With Valdez entering his second year of arbitration-eligibility and Bray his third, both players were seen as non-tender candidates by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes following their disappointing seasons for the Reds.  Valdez, 34, posted a .463 OPS in 208 plate appearances as a backup infielder.  Bray was limited to just 14 games due to groin and back injuries, but he'll surely draw interest from teams looking for lefty relief help; Bray posted a 2.98 ERA and recorded 44 strikeouts over 48 1/3 innings for Cincinnati in 2011.
  • The Indians re-signed right-hander Hector Rondon and signed infielder Luis Hernandez to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training camp, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Rondon originally signed with the Tribe as an 18-year-old in 2006 and has a 4.16 ERA, an 8.1 K/9 rate and a 4.17 K/BB ratio in seven minor league seasons, though he has only pitched in 13 games since 2010 due to a fractured elbow and Tommy John surgery.  Hernandez appeared in two games for the Rangers last year and has a .580 OPS in 292 career PAs with the Rangers, Mets, Royals and Orioles.

Contract Details: Bray, Nationals, Cust

All of last night’s filing numbers, including player submissions, team submissions and midpoints, can now be found in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. Here are some contract details from around MLB:


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:

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Players Who Cleared Waivers

This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.

Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm

Starting pitchers

  • Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Reds – Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
  • Carlos Zambrano, Cubs – Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list.  He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
  • Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs – Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
  • Chris Capuano, Mets – Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
  • Bronson Arroyo, Reds – His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th.  $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest.  The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however.  At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
  • Bruce Chen, Royals – Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
  • Jason Vargas, Mariners – Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window.  But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013.  He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.    
  • Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals – His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals – Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
  • Ted Lilly, Dodgers – He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball.  With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.

Relievers

  • Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  • Chad Qualls, Padres – Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
  • Bill Bray, Reds – Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers – A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
  • Huston Street, Rockies – Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
  • Brian Fuentes, Athletics – He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays – Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
  • Mike Gonzalez, Orioles – Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties.  The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles – Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
  • John Grabow, Cubs – He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
  • D.J. Carrasco, Mets – The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December – their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April.  He stayed there until mid-June.

Position players

  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs – In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart.  The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – This one was also obvious.  SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
  • Lance Berkman, Cardinals – Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency.  Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
  • Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
  • David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
  • Conor Jackson, Athletics – Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
  • David DeJesus, Athletics – DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
  • Hideki Matsui, Athletics – The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
  • Jason Bay, Mets – With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected.  It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
  • Willie Harris, Mets – The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
  • Angel Pagan, Mets – It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
  • Carlos Lee, Astros – No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year.  El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
  • Johnny Damon, Rays – Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Quick Hits: Athletics, Nunez, Rangers, Pavano, Pujols

On this day 15 years ago, Blue Jays skipper John Farrell signed with Mariners as a free agent.  Let's take a look at today's links..