Brandon Beachy Rumors

NL Notes: Jennings, Fernandez, Gee, Lynn, Moscot, Beachy

Dan Jennings is likely to remain in the dugout for the Marlins next year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. That is far from a sure thing, per the report, but the club is preliminarily sketching out a 2016 that includes Jennings as the manager. The club is showing signs of gelling under Jennings, says Frisaro, and Miami still is holding out hope of getting back into the mix.

  • One key component of a Marlins turnaround would be the successful return of young righty Jose Fernandez, who announced yesterday that he hopes to return to start on July 2. Fernandez has, of course, been out since early 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson said yesterday that he had just one “serious conversation” about an offseason Dillon Gee deal, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports on Twitter. Presumably, he is having more now, as Gee remains in DFA limbo. While Gee has struggled this year, he should have appeal to teams looking for some back-of-the-rotation options. A deal would allow New York to save some money on the $5.3MM owed Gee this year; he’ll also come with one more season of control via arbitration.
  • The Cardinals have received good news on righty Lance Lynn, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Lynn is back throwing after hitting the DL with forearm tightness, and St. Louis hopes that he can come back after missing just two starts.
  • A quick return may not be in the cards for Reds righty Jon Moscot, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder yesterday in a freak accident, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The 23-year-old rookie was making his third start for Cincinnati, which has been beset by injuries of late.
  • Brandon Beachy is set to begin a rehab assignment for the Dodgers, with the club’s Rancho Cucamonga affiliate announcing that he’ll make his first appearance tonight. The 28-year-old righty has not appeared in the big leagues since 2013, undergoing successive Tommy John procedures in the interim. His ability to return to provide innings for Los Angeles could play a role in the team’s summer trade plans.

NL West Notes: Alonso, Saltalamacchia, Pence, Beachy

The Padres could be facing an extended absence for first baseman Yonder Alonso following a shoulder injury sustained in last night’s contest, reports MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom. Alonso is slated to have an MRI today after jamming his shoulder while diving to field a grounder. The 28-year-old was already scheduled for an x-ray on the shoulder today as well, Bloom notes, having been hit by a pitch there over the weekend — an incident which led to soreness that cost him two games in this week’s series against the Giants. Losing Alonso would be a difficult setback for the Padres for a number of reasons. The former top prospect is hitting well this season, with a .333/.427/.437 batting line in 103 plate appearances. He’s also the only true first baseman on the 25-man roster, and he’s been the most productive left-handed bat on an exceptionally right-leaning Padres roster.

In other news from the NL West…

  • The D-Backs made no promises to Jarrod Saltalamacchia upon signing him to a Minor League deal, writes Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. In fact, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa tells Buchanan that the team wouldn’t have signed Saltalamacchia had he and agent Jim Munsey insisted on being added to the 25-man roster. The club has received virtually no offense from Tuffy Gosewisch thus far — though Gosewisch did respond to Salty’s signing by lacing three doubles on Thursday — but manager Chip Hale said they knew they’d likely be sacrificing some offense for Gosewisch’s glove. The D-Backs were hoping to have more offense from the rest of the order, making the need for production from catcher a bit less glaring. “It depends on how much our shortstop hits, how much our second baseman hits,” said Hale. “You can’t have it be really tough on you after the fifth hitter.”
  • Hunter Pence has yet to play in the second season of his five-year, $90MM contract with the Giants, but the right fielder is set to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Pence is in line for a relatively long rehab assignment, possibly as many as 10 games according to Schulman, in order to make up some of the lost ground from missing Spring Training. Justin Maxwell and Gregor Blanco have shouldered the load in Pence’s absence, but the Giants’ collective .229/.305/.400 line from right fielders clearly isn’t equal to what Pence can provide.
  • Dodgers righty Brandon Beachy is traveling with the Dodgers and working with VP of medical services Stan Conte and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on changing his mechanics, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The changes, made in an effort to prevent further elbow injury once he’s healed from his second Tommy John surgery, were Beachy’s idea. Conte immediately supported the pitcher’s interest in pitching mechanics and biomechanics. Beachy admitted that he’s having trouble commanding his pitches thus far in bullpen sessions, perhaps in part due to the new mechanics. While he has plenty of time to iron out the kinks, reduced control would be a trade-off Beachy would happily make if it meant avoiding another surgery. “I think I’d rather be less effective and be able to stay healthy for longer than one or two months.”

AL Cental Notes: Nolasco, Tomlin, Medlen

The opening series between the Tigers and Twins could hardly have been more lopsided, as Detroit finished off a three-game sweep with a 7-1 victory today.  The only bright spot for the Twins was that they finally scored a run, after losing the first two games by a combined 15-0 score.  Minnesota will have to turn things around to avoid getting into an early-season hole, as 23 of the Twins’ first 26 games are against division rivals.  Let’s look at some AL Central news…

  • Ricky Nolasco left the team on Thursday to return to Minneapolis and undergo an MRI on his right elbow.  Twins skipper Paul Molitor told reporters (including Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press) that Nolasco “felt a little bit of a spike” in his elbow during Wednesday’s start, though it’s too early to tell if this injury is related to the flexor strain that sent Nolasco to the DL last season.
  • In other injury news, Indians righty Josh Tomlin underwent shoulder surgery yesterday.  The procedure will sideline Tomlin for approximately 3-4 months.
  • The hiring of Terry Francona after the 2012 season has brought some much-needed stability to the Indians franchise, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes.  Not only has the Tribe improved on the field and locked up several young stars to long-term extensions, they’ve also looked to improve the fan experience (and improve attendance) at Progressive Field by upgrading the ballpark’s amenities.
  • While recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, right-hander Kris Medlen “was intent on finding a team with a strong rehab staff and the patience not to rush him,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes.  Medlen found a two-year deal with a mutual option from the Royals, and he’s received some advice regarding how hip weakness could be impacting his delivery.  Crasnick’s piece includes several insightful comments from Medlen and his former Braves teammate Brandon Beachy (now a Dodger and also trying to recover from his second TJ operation) about their rehab process and some of the public misconceptions about Tommy John surgery as the procedure becomes more commonplace.  For instance, Medlen and Beachy feel that 12 months is too short a realistic recovery time for Tommy John patients, and 16-20 months is a more reasonable estimate to return to full strength.


West Notes: Gallardo, Betancourt, Beachy

The Rangers acquired Yovani Gallardo in the offseason with the idea that he’d be a mid-rotation starter, but with Yu Darvish‘s injury and Derek Holland‘s shoulder trouble, it looks like the team could depend on Gallardo to start Opening Day, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes. It’s not as if Gallardo can’t handle the assignment, of course, only that Texas’ best laid plans have gone awry. “The guy started five straight Opening Days for Milwaukee,” says GM Jon Daniels. “But it’s not what we had in mind.” Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • Former closer Rafael Betancourt is competing for the last spot in the Rockies‘ bullpen, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Last year, the 39-year-old found himself rehabbing in rookie ball after having Tommy John surgery in 2013. That wasn’t an easy assignment for a longtime MLB veteran, either, given that the Rockies’ Grand Junction team is in the Pioneer League, a brutal league for travel. The Rockies re-signed Betancourt to a minor-league deal in the offseason. Groke notes that he’s competing against Brooks Brown, Tommy Kahnle and Jairo Diaz, all of whom have options.
  • Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy took another step toward returning from his own Tommy John surgery Tuesday, writes MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. He threw off a mound, then had a long session in which he worked on his mechanics. The Dodgers signed Beachy in February to a one-year deal with an option, and Gurnick notes that it looks like he could return to action sometime around the All-Star break. The cost of the Dodgers’ option ranges from $3MM-$6MM and will depend on how much Beachy can pitch before the end of the season.

Dodgers Sign Brandon Beachy

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve signed righty Brandon Beachy to a one-year deal. Beachy will receive $2.75MM, and the Dodgers will get a club option for 2016 that can be worth between $3MM and $6MM depending on how much Beachy pitches in 2015. To clear space for Beachy on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved pitcher Chris Withrow to the 60-day DL. Beachy is represented by Icon Sports Management.

USATSI_7358230_154513410_lowresBeachy missed the entire 2014 season after having his second Tommy John surgery and will likely spend the first part of the 2015 season on the disabled list. As Rosenthal notes, though, Beachy gives the Dodgers an extra starting pitching option for 2016 after a 2015-16 offseason in which Brett Anderson and perhaps Zack Greinke (who has an opt-out) could depart via free agency. Once Beachy is healthy, he’ll join Anderson and Brandon McCarthy as newcomers to the Dodgers’ group of rotation candidates.

Should Beachy return to form, he could end up being very helpful — the 28-year-old has a career 3.23 ERA with an excellent 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in parts of four seasons with the Braves, giving him upside that’s rare in a pitcher signed to a one-year deal. Finding a pitcher with Beachy’s talent is especially tricky at this point in the offseason — the free agent starting pitching market is now largely bare, with Kevin Correia, Randy Wolf and Chris Young as the only significant free agents remaining. It’s not yet clear, however, how well Beachy will pitch after having surgery for the second time in three years.

Atlanta non-tendered Beachy earlier this offseason. He still only has four years and 14 days of service time, so as MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted earlier this month, he would have had two years of team control remaining regardless of the terms of his new deal. The Dodgers’ club option for 2016 means they won’t have to take him through the arbitration process for his last year before he becomes eligible for free agency.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal (via Twitter). CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweeted that Beachy would receive $2.75MM guaranteed. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweeted the terms of the Dodgers’ 2016 option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Cafardo On Vazquez, Cabrera, Papelbon

Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels that the potential is there for a big year, but he’s not guaranteeing the AL East title or anything of that sort, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  “We have a lot of talent,” he said. “Like other teams, we have some ifs. If we get good comebacks and our rotation stays healthy, if our team stays healthy, we’re a good team.”   Additions like Andrew Miller will be counted on for production, but the Bombers will really hope for some vintage performances from guys like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and embattled third baseman Alex Rodriguez.  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • The Phillies continue to insist on Blake Swihart in any deal for Cole Hamels and there’s been no movement to ask instead for Christian Vazquez.  The Red Sox, meanwhile, refuse to part with their top young catcher.  Cafardo suggests the Phillies could have a better chance of working out a deal with the Padres as they are more open to moving catching prospect Austin Hedges.
  • There are no substantive talks between the Mets and Everth Cabrera‘s camp at the moment as they seem committed to Wilmer Flores.  It was reported earlier this winter that the Mets had interest in the former Padres shortstop.  A major league source with knowledge of Cabrera’s situation indicated to Cafardo that he has made great strides personally.
  • Cafardo writes that the Blue Jays remain interested in Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon.  A report from earlier this month characterized the Blue Jays as a “major long shot” to land the closer due to financial reasons.
  • General Managers around the league can’t stop raving about 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada.   “He could be the next Robinson Cano/Chase Utley, but more Cano. That’s the kind of potential bat we’re talking about,” one National League talent evaluator said.  An NL GM told Cafardo that Moncada “may be better than [Yasiel] Puig or [Jose] Abreu or [Yoenis] Cespedes or [Jorge] Soler.”   Meanwhile, one GM tells Cafardo that the middle infielder would still require some minor league seasoning before breaking into the majors.
  • There’s a good amount of interest in Brandon Beachy for when he’s finally ready to sign.  The 28-year-old owns a lifetime 3.23 ERA over 46 big league starts, with a 3.34 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and 3.39 SIERA.

Free Agents With Team Control Remaining

The free agent cupboard is mostly bare, with James Shields, Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano representing the only three available names that made MLBTR’s Top 50 list heading into the offseason. However, there are still some remaining names that provide a certain level of intrigue, and each of the names in question in this post was ineligible for the list at the time it was released.

Each year, teams non-tender players (or, in some cases, tender the player but ultimately release him) in order to avoid paying a significant raise in arbitration. These players hit the open market like any other name, but so long as they have less than five years of service time, they come with an added bonus: they’re controllable beyond the coming season, even upon signing a one-year deal. Examples of players to have already done this are Alexi Ogando (Red Sox), Josh Outman (Braves) and Justin Smoak (Blue Jays). Each player received a one-year big league deal but will be controllable through at least the 2016 season via arbitration. Here’s a quick look at four others who come with that same perk…

  • Brandon Beachy: The 28-year-old Beachy has four years, 104 days of Major League service time and would be controllable through the 2016 season upon signing a Major League deal. He missed the 2014 season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery but comes with plenty of upside, even if he’ll likely sit out the first few months of the season while he rehabs. Beachy possesses a 3.23 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 267 2/3 career innings at the Major League level. He’s not likely to provide a significant boost for a team in 2015 — he could contribute some usable second-half innings — but he could be a very strong rotation arm in 2016 when he is two years removed from surgery. Beachy’s agent has said his client will not sign until Spring Training is nearer.
  • Everth Cabrera: Cabrera, also 28, performed quite well as the Padres’ everyday shortstop from 2012-13, hitting .264/.339/.352 with 84 steals in 100 tries. The switch-hitter possesses some of the best speed in the game and is capable of handling either middle infield position. However, he also was suspended 50 games in 2013 after being tied to the Biogenesis scandal, and he’s currently in legal trouble as he faces potential jail time after being charged with resisting arrest. He also hit just .232/.272/.300 in 391 PAs last season. Still, given the dearth of talent at shortstop, Cabrera could be a boost to several clubs if he’s able to take the field for the bulk of the 2015 season. He, too, is controllable through 2016.
  • Dayan Viciedo: Released by the White Sox earlier this week, Viciedo has the most team control remaining of anyone on this list. With just three years, 123 days of service under his belt, the 25-year-old could be controlled through the 2017 season, in theory. He’d likely need to tap into some of the to-date dormant potential that made him such a high-profile signing in the first place, but the powerful Cuban isn’t without his value. He’s a lifetime .291/.331/.507 hitter against lefties and could, at the very least, be a serviceable source of power off a team’s bench.
  • Eric Young, Jr.: The 29-year-old Young hasn’t hit much in recent seasons, but he offers blistering speed on the basepaths and is a solid, if not somewhat above-average defender in left field. Young can handle center field in a pinch and also has some experience at second base, giving him some defensive versatility that could appeal to clubs. Over the past two seasons, he’s batted just .242/.306/.327, but he’s also swiped 76 bags in 93 tries — a success rate of nearly 82 percent. He’s controllable through the 2016 season.

Of course, not all of these players will sign Major League deals. Young, in particular, seems like a candidate for a minor league pact, in my estimation. However, upon making the club, the same service time caveats would apply. On a free agent market that is rapidly thinning out, these four players offer a bit of upside that could secure them a job beyond the 2015 campaign, as was the case with Justin Turner, Michael McKenry and Garrett Jones last offseason.


Quick Hits: Joba, Beachy, Eovaldi, Clippard

Rather than throwing touchdowns for the Patriots, could Tom Brady have instead had a career throwing out baserunners for the Expos?  MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro looks back at how Montreal selected Brady (then a catcher at Serra High School) in the 18th round of the 1995 draft, even though it was widely known that Brady was going to play football at Michigan.  “I think he would have been a pro,” said scout John Hughes, who evaluated Brady for the Expos.  “He had all the intangibles. He could throw, left-handed power. There is no reason to think this guy couldn’t have been a big league catcher.”  While every New England sports fan breathes a sigh of relief that Brady stuck to the gridiron, here are some more notes from around baseball…

  • Joba Chamberlain has rejected multiple offers because he simply didn’t want to pitch for the teams that offered him those deals, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports.  He’s considering a one-year deal with a modest base salary and incentives, as his hopes for a two-year contract have likely gone by the wayside.  There is still some question about Chamberlain’s makeup amongst league executives, and one exec told Rosenthal that the Tigers‘ lack of interest in re-signing Chamberlain “alarmed him” given Detroit’s need for bullpen help.
  • Though Brandon Beachy was reportedly considering multiple offers and was thought to be close to signing a new contract earlier this month, his agent Rob Martin tells Ken Rosenthal (all Twitter links) that the right-hander will wait a bit longer.  “Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time. With each day his arm is getting stronger and he’s feeling even more confident about his progress,” Martin said.  “Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to Spring Training.”
  • The Marlins were linked to Wade Miley earlier this winter, and now ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) reports that the Marlins thought they were in agreement with the Diamondbacks on a Miley-for-Nathan Eovaldi trade.  Arizona pulled out of the deal, however, and Miami instead dealt Eovaldi to the Yankees while the D’Backs sent Miley to the Red Sox.
  • Also from Olney, there is some speculation in rival front offices that the Nationals‘ trade of Tyler Clippard might’ve been motivated by more than just a desire to move salary, especially since Washington just signed Casey Janssen to a healthy contract.  It’s possible the Nats could see “red flags” about Clippard’s future production that aren’t obvious to most observers, especially given that Clippard had another strong season in 2014.

The Open Market’s Most Intriguing Remaining Names

As it always does, the free agent market contains some fairly noteworthy names entering the final month before Spring Training. A good portion of the value at the top of the leftover market lies in established names who have been reliable, healthy, and good in the recent past: James Shields, Francisco Rodriguez, and the like.

Some of those types of players may be a bit long in the tooth, perhaps, or might lack upside or be coming off of a somewhat down 2014 season. But there are teams with expectations of contending that are interested in signing them and plugging them into important roster slots. This segment of the market contains relative certainty.

But as much as the solid veteran group is useful, it is entirely less interesting than the array of wild cards that also remain to be signed. For another market niche, comparative youth, talent, and/or upside marry with various issues, inconsistency, and/or injury. Some such players will surely flame out, never to be heard from again, but it is likewise possible that one or more will re-establish themselves as quality regulars and deliver immense value to their new teams.

If you are a fan of a team that wants someone to dream on without breaking the bank (or even committing a big league roster spot, in some cases), consider one of these players from the scratch-and-dent market:

  • Mike Adams, right-handed pitcher, 36 – Remember when the 6’5 reliever was a really effective set-up man? Wait, he has always been a really effective set-up man — when healthy. He may not have been on the field enough to deliver value to the Phillies on his $12MM free agent contract, but even while battling through injury Adams worked to a 3.50 ERA over 43 2/3 innings. Last year, especially, he was quite good: a 2.89 ERA (supported entirely by sub-3.00 ERA estimator marks) and better than ten punchouts per nine with a 56.3% groundball rate. Sure, it was a small sample (18 2/3) and his shoulder problems were still present. But if you’re going to roll the dice, it may as well be for a nice potential return.
  • John Axford, right-handed pitcher, 31 – Axford still pumps gas and still logs double-digit strikeout rates. Sure, he walked nearly six batters per nine last year and ERA estimators have been increasingly dubious of his quality over the past three seasons. If he can figure out a way to reign back in the free passes and yield a few fewer long balls, Axford still looks like a late-inning arm. And now, teams can take a chance on a return to form without the high salaries that he carried more recently.
  • Brandon Beachy, right-handed pitcher, 28 – The former Brave owns a lifetime 3.23 ERA over 46 big league starts, with a 3.34 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and 3.39 SIERA. He has averaged better than nine strikeouts and less than three walks per nine innings. He also is on his second replacement UCL, this one installed last spring. In each of the above-referenced statistics, Beachy is entirely not-unlike fellow former Atlanta hurler Kris Medlen. Yet Beachy — who is one year younger — remains unsigned while Medlen has already secured an $8.5MM guarantee. He also can be controlled for an additional year through arbitration, with a low salary base to work from.
  • Chad Billingsley, right-handed pitcher, 30 – As with Beachy, Billingsley was once an effective starter who has struggled for some time now to return from Tommy John surgery. What the latter lacks in dominating upside, he makes up for in the lengthy run of reliable innings he provided before succumbing to elbow troubles. From the time he became a full-time starter in 2008 through the 2011 season (the one before his elbow troubles began), Billingsley averaged 194 frames of 3.73 ERA pitching.
  • Everth Cabrera, shortstop, 28 – Were it not for his off-field issues, it seems likely the Padres would have tendered the former starting shortstop and given him a chance to regain his 2013 form. The year before last, Cabrera registered a 114 wRC+ while swiping 37 bags (down from 44 in the season prior) and playing the best-rated defense of his career. That was a 3.1 fWAR player, even in a season cut short due to suspension. The 2014 version of Cabrera was not, even when on the field instead of nursing an injury. There are issues aplenty here, but his abilities stand out in a market that hurt for middle infield talent from the start. And it does not hurt that he comes with a year of arb control remaining.
  • Alexi Ogando, right-handed pitcher, 31 – Flipping back and forth between starting and relief, Ogando and his mid-90s heater have long been a storyline. And until last year’s dud, he had never been anything but effective. Even after putting up 25 innings at double the allowed runs rate that he had generally permitted, Ogando sits with a lifetime 3.35 earned run mark. The track record of arm trouble remains a concern, but Ogando’s velocity was just fine last year and he could easily be on the rise with a normal spring.
  • Rickie Weeks, second base, 32 – Once one of the game’s better keystone options, Weeks has stumbled backward in all areas of the game since 2012. But last year was a bit different; while his defensive metrics continued to lag behind his earlier work, Weeks did put up a .274/.357/.452 slash in 286 plate appearances that brought to mind better days. True, Weeks inflicted much of his damage against lefties, with his solid line against right-handers propped up by a .420 BABIP. But given his track record, a revived spurt of production at least raises the possibility of a late-career renaissance.

Quick Hits: Papelbon, Beachy, Olivera

Talks between the Phillies and Brewers concerning closer Jonathan Papelbon are “on life support,” reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Haudricourt reported earlier today that “there was no traction” between the two sides. GM Doug Melvin echoed that sentiment, saying there was no momentum. It is thought that Papelbon’s $13MM option for 2016 is holding up an agreement. Since Papelbon has a limited no trade clause that includes the Brewers, he may ask for the option to be guaranteed before accepting a trade. The ball may be in Philadelphia’s court to find a financial solution to the situation.

  • Brandon Beachy has “zeroed in on a new team,” tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN. Beachy and the unknown team are currently working on contractual details. Wolfson adds that the team is not the Twins. Beachy was non-tendered by the Braves earlier in the offseason after undergoing his second Tommy John procedure. If he avoids setbacks, he may return to action mid-season. It’s easy to compare Beachy’s situation with fellow former Brave Kris Medlen, who signed a two-year, $8.5MM deal with an option. Like Beachy, Medlen is also recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.
  • Cuban infielder Hector Olivera held a public workout in the Dominican Republic last week and over 200 scouts attended, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The Giants, Padres, Rangers, Braves, and Yankees are showing the strongest interest in Olivera.