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Bobby Parnell Rumors
The Nationals activated Denard Span from the disabled list and inserted him into the starting lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Phillies, reports MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. To make room for Span on the roster, Michael Taylor was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse despite slashing .271/.314/.500 in 51 plate appearances this season. “He is one of our future players and needs to play every day,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in explaining the reasoning behind Taylor’s demotion. “We got to see Michael Taylor become a player for us right in front of our eyes. I thought he handled himself brilliantly with some youthful mistakes. The ability level is there. The usefulness of putting it to a Major League setting was there and he took to it very well.”
Elsewhere in the NL East:
- The Phillies have told teams over the past year Chase Utley will not waive his no-trade clause, but ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in an Insider piece (subscription required) the second baseman, facing a long rebuild in Philadelphia, may have a change of heart like former teammate Jimmy Rollins. Olney also notes rival evaluators believe Cole Hamels wants out of Philadelphia, as well.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez isn’t too concerned with Jim Johnson being roughed up in his last two appearances (four runs, six hits, and two home runs allowed) and will keep the right-hander in the role of the 8th inning setup reliever, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’ll see how it plays out,” said Gonzalez. “But from what I saw in Spring Training, and other than these two outings here, I think he’s been fine. We always have a tendency to say what’s the matter with a guy as soon as he gives up something.“
- Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters, including MLB.com’s Joe Trezza, closer Jeurys Familia will remain in that role when Bobby Parnell and Vic Black join the club after completing their rehab assignments. “Certainly, right now Jeurys Familia has pitched well enough,” Collins said. “He is that guy until those other guys show us they’re ready.” Collins adds, in a perfect world, Parnell would be the closer with Black and Familia slotted for the 8th and 7th innings, respectively. Black’s return may be delayed as Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets the right-hander will undergo a MRI of his shoulder/neck area.
Yankees prospect Jose Pirela has been diagnosed with a concussion following a nasty collision with the center field wall, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports, and Pirela could be sidelined for the rest of Spring Training. The injury could be particularly costly for Pirela as he (and fellow rookie Rob Refsnyder) were competing for not just a roster spot, but perhaps regular time at second base given Stephen Drew‘s struggles. In better news for Pirela, he was discharged from hospital last night and MRIs revealed no damage to his neck or spine.
Here’s the latest from both Big Apple teams…
- Yankees catcher Austin Romine has drawn trade interest from the Phillies and Padres, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Romine is out of options and John Ryan Murphy looks like the favorite to win the Yankees’ backup catcher job, so a trade could be possible. Philadelphia and San Diego are both known to be looking for catching depth. The Yankees already dealt one catcher (Francisco Cervelli) this offseason and if Romine is moved, that would leave top prospect Gary Sanchez and minor league veteran Eddy Rodriguez as their depth options behind Brian McCann and Murphy.
- The Mets are “unlikely” to add a left-handed reliever before Opening Day, a team official tells Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter links). The Mets haven’t been particularly interested in many of the available options, and rival teams are asking for a lot in return for their southpaws.
- Bobby Parnell may be back from his Tommy John recovery process sooner than previously thought, a Mets official tells ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Parnell underwent his surgery in early April 2014 so if he is indeed back “sooner than people expect,” then he might have only a brief stint on the DL to begin the season.
- From that same link, Rubin also projects the 25 players who will make the Mets‘ Opening Day roster.
10:06am: Parnell did indeed settle for the same $3.7MM salary that he earned in 2014, reports ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.
Parnell, 30, missed nearly the entire 2014 season — he threw just one inning — with Tommy John surgery just one year after establishing himself as the Mets’ closer. In 2013, the ACES client posted a brilliant 2.16 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 55 innings for the Mets, racking up 22 saves along the way after inheriting the ninth-inning gig midseason. Parnell earned $3.7MM in 2014, and his 2015 salary figures to be something similar, although the Mets can technically cut his salary by as much as 20 percent, which would mean a $2.96MM payday.
Seven different Mets were credited with saves this season in Parnell’s stead, but while Jeurys Familia (five), Kyle Farnsworth (three), Carlos Torres (two), Jose Valverde (two) Daisuke Matsuzaka (one) and Dana Eveland (one) all had small tastes of closer duty, it was Jenrry Mejia who stepped up and shouldered the brunt of the load, registering 28 saves in 56 relief appearances (he also made seven starts, totaling 93 2/3 innings).
Parnell may very well open the season on the disabled list, which would give Mejia the inside track on closing to begin the season. However, Parnell will likely earn ninth-inning consideration as well once he is healthy. Any saves that he receives would not only boost his free agent stock but also limit the number of saves which Mejia can accumulate, thereby lowering his future arbitration price tag.
The latest on the Mets..
- GM Sandy Alderson estimates the Mets’ payroll is right around $100MM, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Alderson expects payroll to remain at that level or decline. As Rubin points out, whatever is left to add will probably cost less than one of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, or Dillon Gee. The Mets are expected to trade at least one of the trio.
- Colon is not the most likely to be dealt, according to Rubin. The Mets are willing to eat some of the $11MM owed to the veteran – perhaps as much as $1MM. However, trade partners are expected to prefer the younger options.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins says Ruben Tejada will be a candidate for the starting shortstop job, along with Wilmer Flores, if the team doesn’t get a new one, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- The Mets could turn to the international market for a shortstop. Korea’s Jung-Ho Kang is expected to be posted soon, and Japan’s Takashi Toritani is another option. However, Alderson admits that the club probably isn’t ready to make a big commitment to either shortstop.
- Alderson notes that several clubs are willing to spend big money on international free agents. The Mets have not been one of those teams, but that could change. “I expect we will be in that category soon,” Alderson said.
- Injured closer Bobby Parnell is expected to open the season on the disabled list, writes Rubin in a separate post. If that should happen, the club would fill the void internally. Parnell missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Mets reliever Bobby Parnell, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, says he is making good progress and expects to be ready for the spring, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports. Having suffered his injury early in 2014, it seems that Parnell has a good chance of returning early in the year, if not by Opening Day itself. That would create difficult but welcome decisions for New York, which has received encouraging production from some younger late-inning arms like Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, and Jeurys Familia.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- The Mets are using the rest of this year to take a long look at outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 27-year-old will be out of options next year. Though he has spent much of the year at Triple-A, Nieuwenhuis has posted a strong .259/.361/.506 slash with three home runs and four stolen bases over his 97 big league plate appearances to date.
- An underappreciated element of the Nationals‘ success is the team’s well-balanced lineup, writes Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs. The club’s current starting lineup is made up entirely of players who have produced better than league average offensively this year, and that is with Ryan Zimmerman still on the disabled list.
- Of course, that same well-balanced group of position players will also make for some tough decisions — both now and in the future — when Zimmerman returns to the mix. His torn hamstring is improving, making a mid to late-September return seem likely, according to a report from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. When he is activated, manager Matt Williams says, Zimmerman will play multiple defensive positions as he dials in his bat. “I would imagine he’ll play all three of those, on any given day,” said Williams. That creates some interesting possibilities for the Nats down the stretch, as they will be able to match up for the platoon advantage, give rest to regulars, and find a workable strategy for the postseason. It also could provide a look ahead at some of the possible arrangements for 2015 and beyond.
- Whereas the Nats have plenty of options, the Phillies have few, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. The club will shed only minimal veteran obligations after this year (Kyle Kendrick and Mike Adams), and arbitration raises will absorb much of that cash. Philadelphia’s problems remain largely the same as those I predicted and Petriello documented earlier this year: despite solid enough production from older players, the team’s overall roster (and, especially, its younger side) has not been good enough to rise out of the cellar. As Petriello goes on to argue, GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s stated intention to turn over the club’s roster will play out against the stark backdrop that there are limited apparent routes — shopping Cole Hamels, getting something for Marlon Byrd, perhaps convincing Chase Utley to accept a trade — to swapping present value for future talent.
The Pirates have announced that Jameson Taillon will undergo Tommy John surgery. Taillon's ulnar collateral ligament was "compromised," GM Neal Huntington told reporters, including the Tribune-Review's Karen Price. "As we walked through the process with Jameson, educated him, he's a smart young man and we walked through it with his family and representatives," said Huntington. "He felt this was the best course of action to get back to full health and stay healthy a long time." Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, typically ranked second on lists of the Pirates' top prospects, behind outfielder Gregory Polanco. Taillon had been expected to contribute down the stretch this season, and his absence will take a toll on the Pirates' pitching depth behind starters Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez. Here are more notes on injured pitchers.
- The Pirates aren't the only team to lose a pitcher to Tommy John. The Mets have announced that Bobby Parnell will undergo the surgery as well. Parnell's surgery will be performed Tuesday. Parnell was among the Mets' top relievers in 2013, posting a 2.16 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 and serving as their closer for part of the season.
- If the Mets look outside the organization for relief help, they could turn to Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson or Kevin Gregg, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. Hanrahan and Madson, of course, are coming off injuries of their own — Hanrahan had surgery last May to repair a torn flexor tendon, and Madson has missed the last two seasons with arm trouble.
THURSDAY: Parnell tells Rubin that team doctors have told him there's a 50-50 chance that he will require Tommy John surgery. Parnell adds that he might not wait the full six weeks described by Alderson yesterday and could have an answer within two weeks. He would like to have the surgery sooner rather than later, if necessary, in order to be ready as early as possible in 2015.
WEDNESDAY: Because the tear occurred in a thicker part of the ligament, Parnell may be able to avoid a Tommy John procedure, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin (links to Twitter). Parnell will go through a program to see if he can stay free of surgery, with a final determination in six weeks time.
In the meantime, Alderson said the club will "continue to monitor" free agent relievers but will wait to see how "things shake out" with his current options before making any moves.
TUESDAY: One day into the season, the Mets are already facing the prospect of an extended absence for their closer, as the team announced that Bobby Parnell has an incomplete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow (All links to Twitter). Parnell will be shut down completely for two weeks and has already received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the elbow, but surgery is a possible outcome. In the wake of the injury, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets "will consider all options," including veteran free agent relievers.
The free agent market contains three names that come with significant experience as a Major League closer; Ryan Madson, Joel Hanrahan and Kevin Gregg are all unsigned, though Madson and Hanrahan are each working their way back from arm injuries (Frank Francisco is also available, but for the time being, I'll assume that ill-fated matchup won't be revisited). As Martino notes in the aforementioned tweet, New York watched Hanrahan throw this winter but didn't elect to send scouts to Madson's showcase.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that D'Backs right-hander J.J. Putz is "very available" in trades, but he points out that the Mets have already tried that avenue as well in the past (the results were less than spectacular). Sherman hears from scouts that Putz isn't throwing well, and beyond that is the fact that he's set to earn $7MM this season. In a second tweet, he speculates that the Mets won't react by making a big move; the team didn't prioritize the position in the offseason and overvaluing the closer's role isn't GM Sandy Alderson's way, Sherman opines.
For the time being, Jose Valverde will step into the ninth inning for the Mets. After signing a minor league deal this offseason, Valverde had a solid Spring Training and worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his first game with the Mets yesterday, including the escape of an inherited bases-loaded jam. The Parnell injury has potentially lucrative ramifications for Valverde, who can reportedly earn up to $1.5MM on top of his $1MM salary based on appearances and games finished (full breakdown here).
Alderson tells Marc Carig of Newsday that a move to the bullpen for Jenrry Mejia isn't an option (Twitter link). Other internal options for the Mets could include Jeurys Familia, Vic Black (though he struggled mightily in Spring Training) and Kyle Farnsworth. For further updates on Parnell and other closer-related news throughout the season, you can follow @closernews on Twitter.
We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
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Jordan Schafer, Anthony Varvaro and David Carpenter exemplify the Braves' knack for getting the most out of the "free talent" market (players claimed off waivers or signed as minor league free agents), writes ESPN's Keith Law in his latest Insider piece. Law writes that the Braves have succeeded with tight payrolls in recent years by excelling in this area, and he also looks at the next wave of "free-talent" players on the horizon for the Braves. Here's more out of the NL East…
- Ruben Tejada is expected to join the Mets today as a September callup, which will leave him one day shy of accumulating his third full year of MLB service time, writes ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Rubin reported yesterday that the Mets would likely delay Tejada's promotion for that purpose, as it will keep Tejada from reaching free agency for an additional year.
- Mets closer Bobby Parnell will undergo surgery to repair the herniated disk in his neck, manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Collins said that Parnell "should" be ready for Spring Training but would make no promises on that front. I'd imagine that any uncertainty surrounding Parnell would only further what should be an interesting offseason for the Mets on the bullpen front, with so many free agents in their 2013 relief corps.
- The presence of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley through at least the 2014 season (and likely the 2015 campaign due to Rollins' easily attainable vesting option) makes a utility role the most realistic option for Freddy Galvis if he's to remain with the Phillies long-term, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Interim manager Ryne Sandberg feels that Galvis fits the mold of a strong bench player due to his defensive capabilities and "consistent progress and work with his batting."
It's been 731 days since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for Zack Wheeler, and while that trade looks brilliant now, it also represents the last July trade that involved the Amazin's. Here's more on New York's National League club…
- Tim Byrdak's contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the Mets should another team offer him a Major League roster spot, MLBTR has learned. After being contacted by an interested team, the Mets would have 48 hours to add Byrdak to their own big league roster. If they chose not to do so, Byrdak would be free to join the new team, and the Mets would receive no compensation. The clause is similar to the one that allowed Jason Grilli to leave the Phillies and join the Pirates in 2011. Byrdak currently has a 2.45 ERA and 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 11 innings at High-A St. Lucie as he works his way back from shoulder and knee surgeries in late 2012.
- A Mets executive told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he would be surprised if manager Terry Collins were replaced after the season. The Mets are happy with the job that Collins has done, and the executive says the team is doing a good job of "sprinting to the finish line" with Collins at the helm (Twitter links). Collins still only under contract through the 2013 season.
- Puma's colleague, Joel Sherman, tweets that left-handed relief is in such high demand, the Mets actually received calls checking in on how Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano were progressing in their rehab.
- Nothing has changed on the Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell front, according to Sherman (on Twitter). The Mets have received nibbles on both, but not nearly enough to make a deal likely.
- The Mets are seeking a "Wheeler type" top prospect in exchange for Parnell, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Given that exborbitant price tag, it's no surprise that interest hasn't picked up much.
- Sherman adds that the Mets had hoped to see interest in Daniel Murphy, John Buck and Eric Young Jr., but to this point they haven't received calls on that group. As such, they're likely to simply try to win as many games as they can with the current group in the season's second half.