- Mets Acquire Alex Torres
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- Mets, Lucas Duda Discussing Extension
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- Rangers Acquire Sam Freeman From Cardinals
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Brandon Morrow Rumors
A strong young pitching arm has long been the most valuable commodity in baseball, but as ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only column, some executives are beginning to put a greater premium on young hitters. Position players may rate higher due to defensive value, not to mention that big bats are becoming a rarer commodity as scoring declines around the game.
Here are some news and notes from around the baseball world…
- The Cubs are widely expected to be sellers at the trade deadline but GM Jed Hoyer told reporters (including CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney) that trade talks are currently “non-existent” and things won’t get serious for at least a few more weeks. “I certainly talk to a lot of GMs on a daily or weekly basis,” Hoyer said. “But having a GM call about a specific player? I’m not even sure I fielded one of those yet. Really, that trade talk always dies right at the end of spring training.”
- The Blue Jays have shifted Brandon Morrow to the 60-day disabled list, the team announced to reporters, including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). The right index finger injury that put Morrow on the 15-day DL earlier today was revealed to be a torn tendon sheath, and if the injury isn’t healed by July, Morrow will have to undergo season-ending surgery. This looks to be the third time in as many years that Morrow has suffered an injury that cost him at least two months of the season.
- LaTroy Hawkins‘ presence could’ve greatly helped solve the Mets‘ bullpen issues, which is why Andy Martino of the New York Daily News opines that the team isn’t serious about contending. Hawkins signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Rockies, a modest contact that Martino feels the Mets should’ve and could’ve easily topped in order to shore up their bullpen’s questionable depth.
- The Angels‘ struggling bullpen could get a boost from the farm system very soon, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes. GM Jerry Dipoto said that Double-A right-handers R.J. Alvarez and Cam Bedrosian could both be “a phone call away. They’re doing it against high-level professional hitters. I feel like both can help sooner rather than later.”
- Indians catcher George Kottaras is likely to be designated for assignment once Yan Gomes returns from the paternity list, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Kottaras was just called up today by the Tribe to take Gomes’ place, but he is out of options. The 30-year-old catcher signed a minor league deal with the Tribe in late March.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Mike Petriello identifies three early weaknesses plaguing the Cardinals, Dodgers and Tigers in 2014.
- Ten well-known names ranging from Major League veterans to retired NBA star Tracy McGrady are active in the independent leagues, Zachary Levine writes for FOXSports.com in a brief review of these ten players’ career situations.
- Giving minor league starting prospects Major League experience as relievers and eventually working them into the rotation is a strategy popularized by Earl Weaver’s Orioles in the 1970’s, and this idea has been one of the cornerstones of the Cardinals‘ success over the last decade, Peter Gammons writes in his latest column for GammonsDaily.com.
Who would have guessed that two AL teams would hand out $200MM+ contracts this winter, and neither of them would reside in the AL East? Here's the latest from the only division with three 90-win teams in 2011…
- The Red Sox have checked in with Edwin Jackson and maintain interest in Roy Oswalt, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). They're also looking at some infielders.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm that he doesn't anticipate a move to upgrade the starting rotation before Spring Training (Twitter links). "I wouldn't expect us to do anything else. Maybe adding a reliever is probably the only thing I think we have a chance at doing," said the GM a few hours before signing Francisco Cordero.
- In an interview with Jim Duquette and Jeff Joyce of MLB Network Radio, Anthopoulos said that Brandon Morrow's work ethic was one reason why the Blue Jays signed him to an extension. "I haven't been doing this very long … but the mistakes we have made, we haven't necessarily put as much stock into someone's character and the work ethic," he said.
- Anthopoulos also acknowledged that the Blue Jays would be able to support a high payroll down the road, but they're "not there yet right now."
- Rays president Matt Silverman told Marc Topkin of The Tampa Times that they haven't found a deal to trade one of their excess starters yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't still looking (Twitter link).
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera hinted at retirement during Jorge Posada's retirement press conference today, reports MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "[It's] the same thing; just knowing that it's time to go," Rivera said. "You just have to accept that. I mean, I love the game and I have the passion for the game, but when the time comes and you have to go, you have to go."
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier wrote about the Red Sox in the wake of the Prince Fielder signing, saying they preferred trading for Adrian Gonzalez last offseason to waiting for this year's crop of free agent first baseman.
- Prior to avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal, the Yankees and Russell Martin discussed a two-year contract according to WFAN's Sweeny Murti (on Twitter).
11:20am: Morrow will earn $4MM in 2012 and $8MM in 2013 and 2014, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 in Toronto tweets. There's a $10MM option with a $1MM buyout in 2015 for a total guarantee of $21MM.
7:30am: The Blue Jays have signed right-hander Brandon Morrow to a three-year, $20MM extension, the team announced. The deal includes a 2015 option for $10MM. The Blue Jays and the Wasserman Media Group client were known to be nearing an agreement last night.
Morrow, who is arbitration eligible for the second time, had filed for a 2012 salary of $4.2MM, while the Blue Jays had countered at $3.9MM. The contract buys out both of his remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility and at least one free agent season.
The Blue Jays moved Morrow (pictured) to the rotation full time in 2010, soon after acquiring him from the Mariners for for Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez. In two seasons as a starter, the 27-year-old owns a 4.62 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over the course of 325 2/3 innings.
Despite Morrow's ability to overwhelm opposing hitters — he led the American League in K/9 last year — he has posted below-average ERAs since joining the rotation. SIERA (3.31) and xFIP (3.53) suggest his ERA of 4.72 could have been considerably lower in 2011. There's reason for the Blue Jays to expect some improvement in terms of ERA, even if Morrow continues under-performing his peripheral stats. Though he's a fly ball pitcher (36.0% ground ball rate in 2011), he hasn't been particularly homer-prone (21 home runs in 2011).
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined Morrow as an extension candidate last August and his prediction (a three-year, $19MM deal with an $11MM option) came extremely close to the actual numbers. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet first reported that the sides were nearing a three-year, $20MM extension.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
The Blue Jays are close to a three-year, $20MM contract extension with Brandon Morrow, reports Shi Davidi of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link). The deal also contains a $10MM option for 2015 (with a $1MM buyout) and the contract could be announced as soon as tomorrow.
The extension would cover Morrow's remaining two arbitration years and at least his first year of free agency. Morrow has a 4.62 ERA, a 10.5 K/9 rate and a 2.82 K/BB ratio in two seasons and 56 starts with Toronto, pitching a career-high 179 1/3 innings in 2011. I examined Morrow as an extension candidate last August and my prediction (a three-year, $19MM deal with an $11MM option) came quite close to the actual numbers.
Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past.
MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:
- Tim Lincecum filed at $21.5MM, while the Giants filed at $17MM, as noted earlier.
- David Ortiz filed for $16.5MM, while the Red Sox offered $12.65MM, Heyman tweets.
- Hunter Pence filed for $11.8MM, while the Phillies countered at $9MM, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets.
- Mike Napoli filed for $11.5MM while the Rangers countered at $8.3MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jeremy Guthrie filed for $10.25MM, while the Orioles filed at $7.25MM Heyman tweets.
- Matt Garza filed for $12.5MM, while the Cubs countered at $7.95MM, Heyman tweets.
- Clayton Kershaw filed for $10MM, while the Dodgers countered at $6.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- Shaun Marcum filed for $8.7MM and the Brewers countered with $6.75MM, according to the Associated Press via MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Russell Martin filed for $8.2MM, while the Yankees offered $7MM, MLBTR has learned.
- Nelson Cruz filed at $7.5MM, while the Rangers countered at $5.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- Adam Jones filed for $7.4MM, while the Orioles offered $5MM, Heyman tweets.
- Miguel Montero filed at $6.8MM, while the Diamondbacks filed $5.4MM according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- John Lannan filed for $5.7MM, while the Nationals countered at $5MM, Heyman tweets.
- Alex Gordon filed at $5.45MM, while the Royals countered at $4.15MM, Heyman tweets.
- Asdrubal Cabrera filed for $5.2MM, while the Indians countered at $3.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Michael Morse filed at $5MM, while the Nationals countered with $3.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- Andrew Bailey filed for $4.7MM, while the Red Sox filed for $3.35MM, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com tweets.
- Brandon Morrow filed for $4.2MM, while the Blue Jays countered at $3.9MM, MLBTR has learned.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Jones | Alex Gordon | Andrew Bailey | Arizona Diamondbacks | Asdrubal Cabrera | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brandon Morrow | Chicago Cubs | Clayton Kershaw | Cleveland Indians | David Ortiz | Hunter Pence | Jeremy Guthrie | John Lannan | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Michael Morse | Miguel Montero | Mike Napoli | Milwaukee Brewers | Nelson Cruz | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Russell Martin | Shaun Marcum | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
Brandon Morrow hasn't quite taken the big step towards ace-hood that the Blue Jays were hoping he would take this season, but the right-hander has still has a very solid 2011 campaign. Morrow has a league-leading 10.5 K/9 ratio, a 3.16 K/BB rate and a somewhat misleading 4.51 ERA (his xFIP is just 3.24) in 20 starts for the Jays.
With Jose Bautista, Ricky Romero, Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar all locked up in multiyear deals, it stands to reason that Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos may turn to Morrow as the next key part of the Jays' future to receive a contract extension. Morrow, who turned 27 last month, earned $2.3MM this year and has two more arbitration years before being eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.
Morrow's unusual career path could be a factor in helping the Jays get a relative bargain in an extension. He was primarily used as a reliever in Seattle for the first three years of his career, which depresses his career numbers in the eyes of an arbiter. Also hurting Morrow is the fact that as of today, his career record (26-25) is barely over the .500 mark and his career high in innings pitched is the 146 1/3 frames he posted last year.
Combine this with his injury history (a few minor arm-related stints on the DL) and the Blue Jays hold all the cards in extension negotiations. In fact, all of these factors might even convince the Jays to wait another year to see what they really have in the right-hander. The club could be content to sign Morrow to a one-year deal for 2012 worth between $4-4.5MM and then look into an extension if he blossoms in 2013.
If an extension did happen this winter, however, a fair number would be a three-year deal worth $19MM, broken down as $4MM in 2012, $6MM in 2013 and $9MM to cover Morrow's first free agent year in 2014. Knowing Anthopoulos' history, such an extension would certainly include at least one option year, perhaps an $11MM team option for 2015. Provided that option year was picked up, Morrow would be a free agent at age 31 — still young enough to score a big contract on the open market.
It was one year ago today that Morrow delivered his 17-strikeout, near no-hitter against the Rays. Given the hype and promise that surrounded Morrow after that masterpiece, a three-year/$19MM extension seems a bit low for a pitcher with his potential. Morrow himself might prefer to take the risk and only look for a long-term deal once he's established himself as a reliable, upper-tier pitcher. Then again, given Anthopoulos' already-impressive history of making team-friendly deals, it wouldn't be a surprise if Toronto struck while it had the advantage and ended up with a future ace at a discount price.
Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Garza, Chad Billingsley and John Danks all went to arbitration for the first time before last season and all settled for contracts in the $3-4MM range. The four pitchers went to arbitration again this offseason and settled for contracts within the $5.75-$6.3MM range. A year from now, they will become points of reference for the class of pitchers just behind them (those currently entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible players). Here's a list of pitchers who could be compared to the quartet above after the 2011 season:
- Mike Pelfrey, $3.925MM in 2011 - Pelfrey already has a tremendous amount of big league experience and a fourth consecutive season of 30-plus starts could push his 2012 asking price past the $6.28MM Billingsley will earn in 2011, especially considering Pelfrey's high 2011 salary. Pelfrey doesn't have particularly impressive strikeout numbers or ERAs, however, which will help the Mets keep the right-hander's salary in check.
- Dallas Braden, $3.35MM in 2011 - Garza was working from the same base salary in 2010 and he earned a $2.6MM raise after logging 204 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA ball in the AL East with a 2.4 K/BB ratio. If Braden wants to match Garza's raise, he'll have to earn it with another big year.
- Jair Jurrjens, $3.25MM in 2011 - Jurrjens is well-positioned to ask for a salary in the $6MM range next year if he returns to his 2008-09 level of productivity.
Guthrie, Garza, Billingsley and Danks all had relatively healthy, productive seasons in 2010, which kept their 2011 salaries within a $600K range. A poor performance would have disrupted the pattern and the same applies to this year's class. They have to pitch well and stay healthy to earn raises to the $6MM range. Meanwhile, others will have the chance to prove they belong in the same discussion as Pelfrey, Jurrjens and Braden if they have big years.
- Phil Hughes, $2.7MM in 2011 - Hughes, who has just one full season as a Major League starter, is starting from a lower base salary than the others, so he'd likely need a standout season to approach $6MM in 2012.
- Brandon Morrow, $2.3MM in 2011 - Morrow doesn't have the bulk numbers his peers do, so he's at a disadvantage. But he has flashed dominant stuff and if he continues pitching the way he did from June on last year, he could justify asking for a larger-than-usual raise.
Other starters, including Edinson Volquez and Kevin Slowey, are also entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible pitchers, but raises to the $6MM range seem extremely improbable given their current salaries and career numbers. The same goes for super two players Armando Galarraga, Kyle Kendrick, Ross Ohlendorf and Luke Hochevar.
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:
- The Angels have agreed to terms with Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register tweets that Kendrick will earn $3.3MM, Willits $775K (on Twitter).
- The Giants agreed to terms with Santiago Casilla on a one-year deal worth $1.3MM with incentives, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas (on Twitter). The team also announced that they avoided arb with Jonathan Sanchez and Ramon Ramirez (on Twitter). Sanchez will earn $4.8MM with incentives tweets Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle while Ramirez will earn $1.65MM according to Janie McCauley of The Canadian Press.
- The Braves agreed to terms with Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Moylan gets $2MM, O'Flaherty gets $895K according to Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
- The Mariners agreed to terms with Brandon League, David Aardsma and Jason Vargas, the team announced. Aardsma will earn $4.5MM with plenty of incentives, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (plus Twitter link).
- The Rangers agreed to terms with C.J. Wilson and Nelson Cruz, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links). Cruz gets $3.65MM, and Wilson gets $7.05MM with a chance to earn another $100K according to his agent Bob Garber, via email.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andy Sonnanstine | Anibal Sanchez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bill Bray | Boone Logan | Boston Red Sox | Brandon League | Brandon Morrow | C.J. Wilson | Carlos Quentin | Chad Billingsley | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Perez | Cincinnati Reds | Clay Hensley | Cleveland Indians | Clint Barmes | Cody Ross | Colorado Rockies | Conor Jackson | Dallas Braden | David Aardsma | Doug Slaten | Erick Aybar | Felipe Paulino | Felix Pie | Glen Perkins | Heath Bell | Houston Astros | Howie Kendrick | J.J. Hardy | Jacoby Ellsbury | Jair Jurrjens | Jason Vargas | Jeff Keppinger | Joba Chamberlain | Joe Saunders | Joel Hanrahan | John Danks | Jonathan Papelbon | Jonathan Sanchez | Josh Willingham | Kansas City Royals | Kendrys Morales | Kevin Kouzmanoff | Kyle Davies | Kyle Kendrick | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Parra | Martin Prado | Matt Capps | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Michael Bourn | Michael Morse | Mike Adams | Mike Pelfrey | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Nelson Cruz | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Peter Moylan | Phil Hughes | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Prince Fielder | Rafael Perez | Rajai Davis | Ramon Ramirez | Reggie Willits | Ryan Ludwick | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Santiago Casilla | Seattle Mariners | Shin-Soo Choo | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tim Stauffer | Tom Gorzelanny | Tony Pena | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Yunel Escobar
On this date 41 years ago, Major League owners unanimously elected Bowie Kuhn to a seven-year term as commissioner. It was under Kuhn that the reserve clause was eliminated, paving the way for free agency as we know it.
We've got a lot of links to get to, so let's dive right in…
- Joe Posnanski tries to determine who the worst everyday player in baseball is.
- Royals Review breaks down all the changes the Royals have gone through since the start of last season.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness congratulates Garret Anderson on the worst offensive season in Dodgers history.
- Bright House Sports Network looks at the Rays' history of waiver trades, plus some names they might target this month.
- The Process Report wonders if this season will be Dan Wheeler's last stand in Tampa.
- DRays Bay tries to figure out if Gabe Kapler should be designated for assignment.
- Disciples of Uecker thinks the Jim Edmonds-Chris Dickerson trade was the best for everyone.
- Around The Majors posted a two part series looking at the events that have brought Andres Torres' career back from the dead (parts one & two).
- Meanwhile, Joe Pawlikowski at FanGraphs examines Pat Burrell's resurgence since joining the Giants.
- The Nats Blog breaks down Stephen Strasburg's first bump in the road.
- Red Sox Beacon re-introduces us to Carlos Delgado.
- U.S.S. Mariner looks at the job security of Major League managers, or the lack thereof.
- Camden Crazies explains the Buck Showalter magic going on in Baltimore.
- Randall On Baseball revisits the trade that sent Brandon Morrow to the Blue Jays for Brandon League.
- Baseball 101 looks at a different way of valuing relievers based on the work of Bill James.
- Baseball Analysts analyzed the Rule 5 Draft.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Baseball Blogs Weigh In | Boston Red Sox | Brandon League | Brandon Morrow | Carlos Delgado | Chris Dickerson | Cincinnati Reds | Dan Wheeler | Gabe Kapler | Garret Anderson | Jim Edmonds | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Milwaukee Brewers | Pat Burrell | Rule 5 Draft | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Stephen Strasburg | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
Some links to check out as Brandon Morrow just misses no-hitting the Rays…
- Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) doesn't like the chances of the Cards signing their 12th-round pick, outfielder Austin Wilson.
- Toronto's negotiations with first-round pick Deck McGuire will likely go down to the wire, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- Morrow told FOX Sports' Jim Bowden (Twitter link) that he was happy to be traded to the Blue Jays this offseason because he knew he would be a starter and not a reliever.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the Indians signed 13th-rounder Michael Goodnight for $315K. Goodnight has a fastball that reaches 94 mph and a plus slider.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Tigers aren't pursuing the recently DFA'ed Jose Guillen.
- Carlos Delgado told Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal that he and his agent spoke to the White Sox, Rockies, and Mariners before deciding to sign with the Red Sox. In a separate article, WEEI's DJ Bean writes that Delgado is more focused on winning a championship than anything else.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post explains how the Yankees have to develop their own bench players because no free agents want to sign with them only to sit on the bench most of the time.
- Jason Churchill and Keith Law of ESPN take a look at some teams that need to land a few of their tough-to-sign draft picks before the August 16th deadline (Insider req'd).
- Karen Price of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes about the newest Pirates and the difficult transition they've had to make following the trade deadline.
- Meanwhile, the Chris Snyder pick up does not make a Ryan Doumit trade inevitable, says Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times says that Ozzie Guillen and Paul Konerko are happy with the moves the White Sox did not make.
- The Cardinals are trying to find a long-term fix at the hot corner, writes Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. David Freese will be out indefinitely after suffering a setback as he rehabbed from an ankle injury.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2010 Amateur Draft | Boston Red Sox | Brandon Morrow | Carlos Delgado | Chicago White Sox | Chris Snyder | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Detroit Tigers | Jose Guillen | Michael Goodnight | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Doumit | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Toronto Blue Jays