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Brandon League Rumors
After designating fellow high-priced reliever Brian Wilson earlier today, and cleaning house more generally, the Dodgers are apparently looking to move on from another expensive remnant of the prior administration. Acordding to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), the club is talking with competitors about righty Brandon League and offering to pick up “almost half” of the $7.5MM he is owed this year in a trade.
League, now 31, was signed to a three-year, $22.5MM deal just after the end of the 2012 season. Pursuant to that contract, he is owed the above-noted $7.5MM sum for 2015. The deal also includes a vesting option, though it is only triggered if he finishes 55 games in the coming season.
The contract was widely disparaged immediately upon signing, and League fell far short of expectations in its first year. But he was actually productive last season, working to a 2.57 ERA over 63 frames. Though his 5.4 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 do not inspire much confidence, he did generate an obscene 67.5% groundball rate. ERA estimators like FIP (3.40), xFIP (4.09), and SIERA (3.58) viewed him, collectively, as an essentially average relief pitcher.
Of course, there is value in being average, and some teams will perhaps be enticed by League’s groundball abilities, generally strong history before his 2013 meltdown, and his bottom-line results last year. As the Dodgers continue to clean out some of the team’s more notable players, the ability to move on from League and save some cash in the process apparently holds some appeal as well.
Earlier tonight, Jeff Todd recapped and analyzed the Padres' winter moves in the latest entry of the MLBTR Offseason In Review series. Jeff has also covered the Giants and Diamondbacks thus far in the OIR series. Here's some more from around the NL West…
- "There has been buzz" that the Phillies and Tigers are interested in the Rockies' extra outfielders, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. Even if Colorado uses a center field platoon of one of Corey Dickerson or Charlie Blackmon (both left-handed hitters) and one of Drew Stubbs or Brandon Barnes (both righty batters), that still leaves a surplus. Detroit could use a left-handed hitting outfielder to replace the injured Andy Dirks, though the Tigers aren't yet sure if they'll look outside the organization to make such a move.
- Could the Dodgers cut Brandon League? Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times doesn't quite think the club is ready to take that step given the $17MM remaining on League's contract through 2015. That deal looks worse and worse for L.A. given how League struggled in 2013 and during this year's Spring Training, while the Dodgers have a number of impressive young bullpen arms who might be relegated to Triple-A.
- Tim Lincecum dicusses his pitching evolution with Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, noting that though he has lost a few miles off his fastball, he is working to become a better overall pitcher as he ages.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com discusses the Giants' roster and other topics during a Giants-centric chat with readers.
The July 31st trade deadline is behind us, but teams can still make waiver trades happen in the month of August. We'll keep track of players placed on waivers today in this post..
- The Dodgers have placed reliever Brandon League on waivers, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). League is obviously a notable name that could draw interest from clubs seeking relief help, but his contract could be a deterrent. League is owed $1.5MM for the rest of this season, $7.5MM in 2014, and $7.5MM in 2015 with a vesting player option for 2016.
The GM Meetings could be busier than usual this year, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports. Morosi suggests the Red Sox and Indians line up as potential trade partners given each team’s needs. The meetings take place in Indian Wells, California beginning tomorrow. In the meantime here are today’s links…
- Jim Bowden estimates the cost of the offseason’s top free agents in an ESPN piece that’s worth checking out.
- ESPN.com’s Keith Law provides a guide to available and potentially available outfielders. Law believes Melky Cabrera will be a good value signing, but he doubts Cody Ross has value outside of Boston on a multiyear deal.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com ranks this year free agent outfielders starting with Josh Hamilton. Verducci suggests we shouldn't expect Hamilton to end up signing a bargain deal given his skills.
- Brandon League's $22.5MM contract with the Dodgers could be worth as much as $33.5MM, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Incentives based on games finished could push the value of the 2016 option as high as $9MM, according to Hernandez.
- The Astros announced the hiring of David Stearns as their new assistant GM. Stearns, 27, spent the 2011 season with the Indians and has also worked in the front offices of the Mets and Pirates.
10:24pm: The 2016 vesting option can escalate from $7.5MM to $9MM based on games finished, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter). League can also earn an additional $500K per year based on games finished.
8:27pm: League's option for 2016 is worth $7.5MM and will vest if he finishes 55 games in 2015, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
8:01pm: The deal, negoatiated by League's representatives at ACES, is worth $22.5MM across three years with a vesting option, according to Tim Dierkes (via Twitter).
7:01pm: The Dodgers have re-signed reliever Brandon League, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). There's no word on the dollar amount yet but Hernandez reports that the deal is for three years (Twitter link).
League's representatives told Hernandez on Saturday afternoon that the two sides were discussing a three-year contract. The 29-year-old earned $5MM last season in his final year as an arbitration eligible player.
The Dodgers acquired League on July 30th for a pair of minor leaguers, outfielder Leon Landry and right-hander Logan Bawcom. In 28 appearances for the Dodgers last season, the California native posted a 2.30 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9. League was less-than-stellar in Seattle but rebounded nicely in Los Angeles and finished out the year as closer.
The Dodgers are hoping to keep most of their bullpen in place and General Manager Ned Colletti has said that he hopes to hang on to League, Jamey Wright, and Randy Choate. As a whole, the Dodgers' pen had a 3.23 ERA on the year, good for fourth-best in the National League and eighth-best in the majors.
Yesterday, Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti ran down a number of topics during the club's formal introductory press conference for Carl Crawford. During the presser, Colletti said that the Dodgers would target both starting and relief pitching this winter, plus outfield depth. Here's more out of Los Angeles from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times..
- Colletti reiterated that Brandon League has interest in returning to the Dodgers and the club would like to keep him. League's representatives told Hernandez that the two sides are currently discussing a three-year pact. The 29-year-old is able to hit the open market for the first time after earning $5MM in his final season as an arbitration eligible player.
- People familiar with the Dodgers' thinking say they are interested in Japanese free-agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. The right-hander boasts a mid-90s fastball and has been considered the Japanese league's top closer in recent years. Fujikawa is expected to pitch in the major leagues next season after recently completing his contract with the Hanshin Tigers.
- The Dodgers are also known to be in on 18-year-old Shohei Otani along with the Red Sox and Rangers. Hernandez notes that the Dodgers may have to approach the situation carefully as they have a longstanding relationship with Japanese baseball. The Nippon Ham Fighters, who selected Otani first overall in the NPB draft, have until the end of March to negotiate with him. Any team that signs him before then could hurt MLB's relationship with the top league in Japan.
- The Dodgers are still looking for a hitting coach and Mickey Hatcher, who assisted Dave Hansen late this year, is not in the mix.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti discussed a number of offseason topics with the media (including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick) during today's official introductory press conference for Carl Crawford. Here are some of the highlights…
- Colletti said the Dodgers would look to add starting and relief pitching this winter, plus outfield depth. "Our outfield is somewhat complete, but not complete," Colletti said. "We've got to keep our versatility and have somebody that can play center field. Tony Gwynn is still part of the organization and a candidate." Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are set as the Dodgers' starting outfield trio for 2013, though good bench options are necessary given Crawford and Kemp's recent injury problems.
- Mickey Hatcher is not a candidate to replace the recently-fired Dave Hansen as the Dodgers' hitting coach, though Colletti said Hatcher could find a job in another capacity with the team. Hatcher, fired last spring as the Angels' hitting coach, served as "a de facto assistant" to Hansen last season.
- The Dodgers are interested in bringing back Jamey Wright, Randy Choate and Brandon League next season. All three relievers are free agents, though Colletti is "encouraged" by negotiations thus far with League (as tweeted by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times).
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details of Crawford's meeting with the media, including his surprise at being traded last summer, his willingness to waive his no-trade clause and how he wished he'd immediately undergone Tommy John surgery rather than trying to play through the pain. "I wish I’d done it [earlier], because I’d be better now. With the Boston fans you have a big deal that was made about my money and trying to play for the team," Crawford said. "Maybe I shouldn’t have done that and taken care of myself. I pretty much put pressure on myself to play. You get looked at as being soft and as somebody just trying to take money. I wanted to prove that wasn’t the case. That probably cost me a little time for next year."
Good news for Dodgers fans as General Manager Ned Colletti confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will not require surgery on his right hip, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Here's more on what Colletti had to say to reporters with all links going to Hernandez's Twitter..
- The Dodgers will make a strong effort to re-sign their relievers, including free agent Brandon League (Twitter link). The former Mariner told reporters yesterday that he has informed the Dodgers that he hopes to return.
- At this point in time, Colletti is leaning towards Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013, Hernandez tweets.
- Meanwhile, the club is heading into the offseason with the idea that Luis Cruz can be the Dodgers' third baseman in 2013 (Twitter link). Cruz, 28, hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers in 78 games for the Dodgers in 2012. It would make sense for the Dodgers to look in-house for an answer at third with limited options at the position on the open market this winter.
- Colletti was asked if Juan Uribe has a place on the team in 2013 and the GM responded "We'll have to see," (Twitter link). To part ways with Uribe, the Dodgers will have to eat the $10.3MM remaining on his deal.
Brandon League told reporters that he has informed the Dodgers that he would like to re-sign this winter, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. After a rough handful of games to kick off his Dodger career, League settled down to finish with a 2.30 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in Los Angeles. Here’s more from around baseball as Miguel Cabrera celebrates his Triple Crown season..
- With his status uncertain for 2013, Rockies skipper Jim Tracy is set to meet with front office management on Friday, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Tracy was said to have a handshake agreement for next season but there has been heavy speculation that the club could let him go this offseason.
- From talking to people around the Rays, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) can’t find anyone who thinks that Tampa Bay will come up with the money to retain B.J. Upton. Recently, more than 61% of MLBTR readers polled said that the Rays should extend Upton a qualifying offer this winter.
- Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos says that he is comfortable with John Farrell returning to manage the club with just one year left on his contract, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. The GM went on to say that the club’s payroll will go up for next season, though there will not be a “bottomless pit” to work from (Twitter link).
- Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino will be parting ways with his representation at ACES and is interviewing other agents, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The veteran is set to hit the open market this winter. Earlier tonight, we learned that Nyjer Morgan has also dropped ACES.
- If the Rangers are bounced early from the postseason, Josh Hamilton‘s dropped pop-up against the A’s earlier today will have an impact on Texas’ willingness to bid on him, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).
After an arduous start with the Dodgers, Brandon League has settled in nicely as the team's closer, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. The right-hander turned his season around thanks to 18 scoreless appearances out of his last 19, giving him a 0.44 ERA during that stretch. Here's a look at the news and stories making headlines on the final Sunday of the regular season…
- Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has exceeded all expectations for Washington after the team acquired him from the A's at the non-waiver trade deadline, writes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. The 28-year-old's strong performance has come on both sides of the ball, especially with his bat. "He's gotten clutch hits," Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think we all knew he was a better hitter and his track record shows he was a better hitter than what he was doing this year.
- Thanks to a strong campaign replete with increased playing time, Mets outfielder Scott Hairston heads into the offseason looking for a deal that will allow him to continue to expand his role in 2013, says Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Hairston will be able to use his 1.9 Wins Above Replacement as a negotiating chip as he looks to become an everyday player for the entirety of the season. "I pretty much played in every role possible, and the last few weeks or so I've been playing every day," Hairston said. "It's just one of those things where I really don't know what's going to happen. I'm just going to prepare myself this offseason as if I'll be playing every day."
- The resurgence of Nate McLouth hasn't been an easy endeavor for the former All-Star, but the hard work has the scrappy outfielder playing a major role in the Orioles' success, writes Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. "It's part of the path that God has laid out for my life. And I don't question it. Were the last couple years tough? Heck yeah they were. But I know I am stronger and better because of it," McLouth said.