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Brandon McCarthy Rumors
Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, the pitcher told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). McCarthy doesn’t appear to have lost his well-known sense of humor, as he joked that he’s “taking suggestions for hobbies,” via the Register’s Pedro Moura (on Twitter).
The loss of McCarthy will further thin out a Dodgers rotation that has also been without Hyun-jin Ryu for much of the season and is also relying heavily on the equally, if not more injury-prone Brett Anderson to hold down a slot as well. Injuries within the Dodger rotation have led some to speculatively connect Los Angeles to Phillies ace Cole Hamels. (L.A.’s deep pockets and well-regarded farm system certainly add to that speculation as well.)
Though Hamels is the top name in early-season trade rumors, there’s also been speculation that both Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza could become available in the near future if the Brewers do not quickly correct their dismal start to the 2015 campaign. Significant trades at this stage of the season are rare, and the Dodgers are attempting to patch things together with Scott Baker and Carlos Frias in the near-term. Other internal options on the 40-man roster include right-handers Zach Lee and Joe Wieland, the latter of whom was acquired in this winter’s Matt Kemp blockbuster with the Padres. Ultimately, however, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Dodgers look outside the organization for rotation reinforcements.
McCarthy is just one month into a four-year, $48MM contract that was known to be a risk for the Dodgers, considering his injury history. However, McCarthy’s track record is one of shoulder problems — not elbow ailments — making this particular injury more unexpected. He’ll likely be sidelined through mid-2016, assuming that he has a normal recovery from the procedure. The Dodgers’ rotation could look markedly different by the time McCarthy returns, as Anderson is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and co-ace Zack Greinke can opt out of the remaining three years and $71MM on his contract as well.
While most have assumed that Anthony Rendon will return to third base upon his activation from the disabled list, with Yunel Escobar shifting to second base, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that may not be the case. Some close to the situation have told Heyman that Escobar may continue to play third base, with Rendon handling second base, though GM Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams would only comment by saying nothing definitive has been decided. “They can both play both very well,” said Rizzo. Escobar’s time at either position may only be temporary, as he figures to slide into the shortstop position next year if Ian Desmond departs as a free agent. As for timing, Rendon sat out a scheduled rehab start today for precautionary reasons with what the team described as fatigue. Washington will surely continue to exercise care, but needs him to return as soon as possible, as the club has struggled to produce runs while dropping six straight.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says that he intends to fill in for injured starter Brandon McCarthy with internal options for the foreseeable future, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. “We’ll wake up in June having scouted other organizations over the next four to six weeks, and we’ll see where we are,” said Friedman, who noted that deals are “pretty uncommon” in the season’s first two months.
- Meanwhile, Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins acknowledges that this is the toughest start to a season that he has experienced, but says he is not worried, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. Saying that he believes his “process is good” at the plate, Rollins expressed confidence that some minor tweaks will get him back on track. Los Angeles is paying Rollins $10MM this year, with the Phillies picking up an additional $1MM as part of the deal that brought the veteran out west.
- The Braves continue to line up major corporate partners for their new ballpark, with Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting that Omni Hotels will participate in the mixed-use development that is set to accompany the stadium. The club is counting on a revenue boost from the controversial project to improve its financial standing going forward.
6:57pm: McCarthy says he likely will undergo Tommy John surgery, Shaikin tweets.
6:19pm: Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy has suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter links). Manager Don Mattingly declined to say whether the righty would undergo Tommy John surgery, but it would obviously end his season if he does.
The 31-year-old signed a four-year, $48MM deal to join the Dodgers after posting his first 200 inning tally last year. While the results were not quite there, he worked to a career-best strikeout rate of 7.9 per nine and seemed primed for a strong 2015 campaign. Though McCarthy came with a history of arm ailments, Los Angeles decided that the risk was worth taking.
McCarthy was off to a slow start this year, due mostly to struggles with the long ball. Over just 23 frames, he had already permitted a league-high nine dingers, though he has also retired an impressive 29 batters by way of strikeout.
Now, assuming he undergoes a TJ procedure, McCarthy will have to wait until some time in 2016 to prove that the long balls were just a short sample quirk. Recovery time is generally over a year, meaning that McCarthy will probably require at least an early-season fill-in next season — assuming that he makes steady progress.
Current Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart is a good friend of Kevin Towers, the man he replaced in that role. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes, Stewart really did want Towers to stay on as a special assistant, and Towers truly felt he owed it to his replacement to go against his wishes so as to avoid any difficulties down the line. It’s a fascinating story, all the more so since Stewart is currently rooming with Towers at the latter’s Arizona home during Spring Training.
- The Padres, like the Braves, are not expected to spend up to the $70MM level that Hector Olivera is said to be seeking, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. San Diego is a great fit, as Rosenthal notes, but that is quite a price tag to tack on after an offseason of additions.
- Brandon Morrow is hoping to break the Padres rotation and reestablish his career trajectory, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick writes. Morrow, who has battled numerous and varied injuries in his career, is battling with Odrisamer Despaigne for the fifth starter’s spot.
- Padres backstop Tim Federowicz has suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his knee, MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets. Surgery appears to be all but a foregone conclusion, which could sideline Federowicz for some time. Veteran Wil Nieves probably has the inside track to step into the backup role behind Derek Norris, though one wonders whether top prospect Austin Hedges could eventually get a look.
- Newly-minted Dodgers righty Brandon McCarthy says that he believes in his ability to provide value over the life of his four-year, $48MM deal, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. “I would kind of hope my 30s are where my career really begins,” says McCarthy. “As dumb as that sounds. I’ve spent a long time figuring [things] out — health being the biggest thing — and transforming as a pitcher.” President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman cited McCarthy’s inning load last year and “changes in his workout regiment” — along with his quality offerings from the mound — as reasons for optimism. A training program in his Dallas neighborhood improved McCarthy’s overall strength, aiding his return to form.
- Pablo Sandoval says that he “knew early in Spring Training last year I was going to leave” the Giants, as Scott Miller of Bleacher Report writes. The one-time San Francisco favorite did not mince words, accusing GM Brian Sabean of not respecting his representatives in discussions at that time. “The Giants made a good offer [in free agency],” said Sandoval, “but I didn’t want to take it. I got five years from Boston. I left money on the table in San Francisco. It’s not about money. It’s about how you treat the player.”
Tonight is the 87th Academy Awards ceremony and a pre-eminent Oscar prognosticator is Rockies reliever John Axford, who was a perfect 18-for-18 last year and 32-for-33 the past two years. Now, Axford, who graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Film and Television, is offering predictions in all 24 categories, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding and Gemma Kaneko. “I didn’t do all the categories last year, and some people were a little upset by it,” Axford admitted. “This year I’m going all the way, to see what happens. This year, since I got so much stuff last year about it, I did them all.”
And the winner is…
- Axford and the rest of the bullpen will be key to the Rockies‘ 2015 season, opines The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders.
- Brandon McCarthy, who inked a four-year contract with the Dodgers worth $48MM, expected to re-sign with the Yankees during the five-day signing window after the conclusion of the World Series, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. “It’s so stupid, but you feel like an actor,” said McCarthy. “You sound so pretentious and stupid saying it, but you’re like, ‘someone showed me attention.’ You play your whole life for people to say nice things. And one team is being aggressive, and one team is just kind of hemming and hawing about it.” McCarthy added he “certainly would have had a long discussion about” accepting a three-year deal from the Yankees, if one had ever been offered.
- The signing of Yoan Lopez signals the Diamondbacks‘ new emphasis on the Latin American market, according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. “I do think it’s an area we can impact and continue to get better and grow,” said Arizona’s Senior Vice President De Jon Watson. “It subsidizes your amateur draft. If you’re able to churn out players from the Latin American market, it definitely gives you strength in volume.“
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com ran through some final details on several transactions this morning. Rather than bumping all of those posts to the top of the page at once, I have added the new information and will round up the changes here. (All links to Twitter.)
- Brandon McCarthy‘s four-year contract with the Dodgers includes a conditional club option that reflects, but is not entirely synonymous with, the one that led to John Lackey playing the upcoming season at league minimum. As Heyman tweets, the Dodgers would hold a 2019 option for $5MM if McCarthy has spent more than 179 days on the DL due to a specific injury, or an $8MM option if he has missed between 119-179 days.
- In his new deal with the Royals, Kendrys Morales will earn $6.5MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016, says Heyman. He also has a $1.5MM buyout on a $11MM option for 2017.
- Kyuji Fujikawa will actually receive a $1.1MM total guarantee from the Rangers, Heyman tweets. His deal comes with a $2MM club option and $100K buyout, and that option could rise to as much as $3.5MM if Fujikawa meets certain games-finished thresholds.
- Outfielder Nyjer Morgan received a $700K deal with the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles, Heyman tweets. That includes a $150K signing bonus and $550K salary.
The Dodgers’ major overhaul continued today when they officially signed right-hander Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal worth a reported $48MM. Few doubt McCarthy’s ability and those who put a great deal of faith in his sabermetric numbers are excited about what he can do in 2015 and beyond. However, the length of the 31-year-old’s pact gave pause to some people due to his injury history. Not only did the Dodgers take a risk with McCarthy – they doubled down by agreeing to sign Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10MM contract. Earlier today I asked Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi about the club’s willingness to roll the dice on those pitchers.
“There’s a risk-reward calculation that all teams make. Teams always have to consider these things with pitchers and [Dodgers head trainer] Stan Conte has been very involved in our process as far as histories and health risks go,” said Zaidi, who did not mention Anderson by name as his deal is not yet official. “Going forward with any pitcher now, it’s part of the cost-benefit analysis. You could have a guy who pitched 200-plus innings in the last four years that has a really bad elbow and that could go at any moment. Conversely, you could have a guy who has an injury history that you feel may be over the hump,”
“With Brandon and the other pitcher we’re evaluating, we’re trying to figure out how they’ll perform in 2015 and beyond.”
Zaidi, of course, is familiar with McCarthy and Anderson thanks to their time together with the A’s. He had nothing but praise for McCarthy, saying that there was no other pitcher in Oakland that he felt more comfortable with on the mound. Zaidi had a tremendous amount of confidence in the right-hander, he said, due to his “intelligence and attention to detail and game planning” as well as his command.
The Dodgers GM sounds equally confident in the status of McCarthy’s shoulder. Zaidi believes that those issues will be in the past thanks to a new offseason routine that calls for additional upper body work. The “proof is in the pudding” when it comes to McCarthy, who managed to add an extra 2 miles per hour to his fastball late in his career.
Midway through the conference call, reporters were informed that Brian Wilson was designated for assignment to make room for McCarthy on the roster. I asked Zaidi if Wilson was struggling this winter in his effort to get back to his old form.
“We’ve been keeping tabs on him in the offseason and this was not a move we made out of any medical concern. It was more related to performance and it’s a position where we had to make a move because we had a surplus,” Zaidi explained.
It appears that recent bullpen additions like Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio, and Chris Hatcher have leapfrogged Wilson, leaving him without much of a role to play in Los Angeles in 2015. Their newest addition, meanwhile, will be counted on to serve as the fourth starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu.
The Dodgers have officially signed a four-year contract with Brandon McCarthy, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported (Twitter link). The four-year deal will pay McCarthy $48MM, Rosenthal tweets. McCarthy receives a $6MM signing bonus, $11MM per year in 2015-16, and $10MM annually in the final two years of the deal, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
The contract also gives the Dodgers a conditional club option for 2019, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. If he has spent more than 179 days on the DL due to a specific injury, McCarthy would be subject to a $5MM club option. If he has missed between 119-179 days, it would be a $8MM club option.
A four-year guarantee would’ve seemed like a fantasy for McCarthy as recently as last summer when he had a 5.01 ERA through 18 starts with Arizona. Advanced metrics revealed that McCarthy pitched much better than his ERA indicated, however, and he ended the year on a dominant run after being traded to the Yankees. In 90 1/3 IP in New York, McCarthy posted a 2.89 ERA, 6.31 K/BB rate and 8.2 K/9.
MLBTR’s Steve Adams projected McCarthy would receive a three-year deal this winter, though a four-year deal wasn’t out of the question given the amount of interest the veteran righty was likely to generate. The wait for Jon Lester to sign likely held up McCarthy’s market, as only the Royals and Yankees had been linked to him, and New York was hesitant to give McCarthy even a three-year contract given his injury history. Needless to say, the fourth year was a nice get for McCarthy and agent Ryan Ware.
If the deal is finalized, McCarthy joins Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu in what should be a very strong top four in the Dodgers rotation, with lefty Brett Anderson now reportedly also on board to fill the fifth slot. Los Angeles had been linked to high-profile aces like Cole Hamels or James Shields, and though you can never say never with the Dodgers, McCarthy’s signing could mean the team is done with its rotation shopping this winter.
There is no denying the risk that the Dodgers are taking on with this deal. While any long-term pitching contract comes with it, McCarthy has a particularly spotty injury history. And while the conditional club option included in the deal offers some measure of protection, it is not as clear cut a benefit as was the John Lackey option. Then, of course, there is the fact that McCarthy greatly improved his stock with a strong second half and will need to maintain it for a full season. All of that is not to say, of course, that McCarthy is not capable of meeting and exceeding the value of the deal; the price tag obviously reflects his ceiling.
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Twitter that the deal was completed.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
- Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
- Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
- The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
- The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
- First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
- Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
- The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
- The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
- After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.
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The Yankees came away from the Winter Meetings without completing any deals, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day,” said Cashman as he left the meetings. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.” Hoch writes that the Yankees never made proposals to David Robertson or Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom “went to a level we couldn’t play on,” in Cashman’s words.
More from the AL East…
- The Orioles had definite interest in Ross Detwiler before the Nats traded him to the Rangers, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. That he ended up in Texas may be best for the player himself, however, as Kubatko notes that Baltimore would’ve kept Detwiler in the ‘pen. The Rangers plan to use him as a starter, which is his preference.
- Also from Kubatko, the Orioles have interest in bringing back old friend Nate McLouth, though not at his current $5MM (plus a $750K buyout of a 2016 option) price tag. The Nationals are willing to eat part of that salary to move McLouth, Kubatko adds, but the Orioles will wait to see if he is released for the time being.
- The Orioles have some interest in Melky Cabrera, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but only on a two- or three-year deal (Twitter link). Cabrera is said to be eyeing a five-year deal, however, and the Mariners’ previously reported interest appears to be stronger than that of the Orioles, based on Encina’s tweet.
- Though the Red Sox have five starters (or will have five, once the Wade Miley trade is completed), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they’re still a match for Cole Hamels. He speculates that an arm like Joe Kelly could be a part of a trade with the Phillies, thereby opening a spot in the Boston rotation.
- Peter Gammons looks at the reconstructed Red Sox rotation, noting a heavy emphasis on ground-ball pitchers that places some pressure on Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. Gammons notes that the Red Sox brass is aware of its lack of a front-line starter. They’d like to add James Shields, but “exit polls” at the Winter Meetings had him going to the Giants, according to Gammons. Johnny Cueto is of interest, but the “timing and price isn’t there right now,” and Hamels negotiations with the Phillies have been difficult for all teams involved.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brandon McCarthy | Cincinnati Reds | Cole Hamels | James Shields | Joe Kelly | Johnny Cueto | Melky Cabrera | Nate McLouth | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Ross Detwiler | San Francisco Giants | Washington Nationals