Brett Anderson Rumors

Quick Hits: Anderson, Vargas, Moreland

There were two potentially significant injuries tonight for teams already expected to be active in the market for starting pitching at the trade deadline. Here’s the latest at the end of a busy day of news and rumors:

  • Dodgers lefty Brett Anderson left his start with what the team described as irritation in his left Achilles tendon area, as Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports in a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4). Anderson said he hopes it’s not a significant injury, while manager Don Mattingly indicated it was too soon to tell whether a DL stint would be required. MRI testing tomorrow should offer additional clarity. Needless to say, any absence from Anderson would exacerbate an already difficult situation in the back of the Los Angeles rotation. GM Farhan Zaidi acknowledged as much, as Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles tweets“I don’t know that we could ratchet up our search for starting pitching any more,” said Zaidi, “but this emphasizes the need to add.”
  • Meanwhile, fresh off a rehab stint, Royals starter Jason Vargas was forced out after experiencing left medial elbow pain, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports on Twitter. He, too, will need an MRI to assess his condition. Kansas City had just demoted Opening Day starter Yordano Ventura, who could be recalled if Vargas hits the DL. But the team was already said to be looking to add to its stockpile of starters, so any uncertainty regarding Vargas could increase the team’s needs over the next ten days.
  • In what may be a thin market for bats, the Rangers have received plenty of calls on first baseman Mitch Moreland, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Moreland has enjoyed a breakout campaign, but Texas is fading and is over-loaded with left-handed bats going forward. With another year of control remaining (after playing this year at only $2.95MM), Moreland could be a solid first base/DH addition for a team that could reap more value from him than can the Rangers. But Texas “would likely want at least a young starting pitcher” in return, says Rosenthal, and it appears more likely at this point that he’ll be retained.

NL Notes: Liz, Urena, Anderson

The Pirates hope they’ll be able to keep the just-designated Radhames Liz in the organization, manager Clint Hurdle tells Adam Berry of (Twitter link). Nevertheless, Hurdle says that he expects another club to claim the live-armed righty. As MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth explained earlier today, Liz has continued to be unable to limit the free passes in his latest run in the majors. His $1MM salary, too, may cause other teams to hesitate to place a waiver claim.

  • The Marlins will bring up Jose Urena tomorrow to make his first big league start, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. Urena entered the year rated as Miami’s fourth-best overall prospect in the eyes of Baseball America, which praised his mid-90s fastball and quality change. The issue, per BA, is whether Urena’s breaking ball can play well enough to keep him in the rotation. The 23-year-old righty made two relief appearances in the big leagues last year, but only reached the Triple-A level to start the 2015 season. Thus far, he owns a 1.21 ERA over 37 1/3 innings (5.3 K/9 vs. 2.9 BB/9) at the highest level of the minors. Miami was in need of new blood, both as a general matter and because both Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos were recently placed on the disabled list (joining Jarred Cosart and Jose Fernandez on the DL).
  • While it’s of historical interest only at this point, manager Fredi Gonzalez says that the Braves attempted to sign lefty Brett Anderson over the winter, as’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter link). Anderson ultimately signed with the Dodgers, of course, and had another successful outing tonight against Atlanta. Of course, the major question with Anderson has been health, and he experienced some back stiffness tonight. It doesn’t appear to be cause for much concern at this point, but Los Angeles can ill afford any missed time from its top three starters.

NL Notes: Dodgers, Nationals, Padres

The Dodgers have the money available to sign Max Scherzer or James Shields, but after adding Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson this offseason, they don’t plan to add another top starter to complement Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. “I don’t think our intention ever was to sign one guy and punt on the fifth spot,” says GM Farhan Zaidi, who adds that any further starters the Dodgers add will be for depth. Zaidi also characterizes Anderson’s injuries last year as unlucky, and suggests they expect him to have a normal workload in 2015. “From a health standpoint, we feel very good about it,” Zaidi says. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Nationals Class A+ Potomac manager Tripp Keister is pleased that his team got Chris Bostick and Abel De Los Santos in the Ross Detwiler deal with Texas, Lacy Lusk of Baseball America writes. Both players faced Potomac last year while playing for the Rangers’ affiliate in Myrtle Beach. “He has a really good arm, and he showed some flashes of a really good breaking ball,” says Keister of De Los Santos, who posted a 1.97 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings of relief last year. “I don’t know if it’s quite as consistent as you’d like it, but he has a really big arm.”
  • The Padres have, of course, spent the past month dealing away prospects in a surprising series of trades for big-league players that have had the team and its new GM, A.J. Preller, spinning wildly in the rumor mill. Credit Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, then, for writing several thousand words about the Padres’ minor-league system, which looks dramatically different compared to the beginning of the offseason. Notably, the Padres have recently dealt with plenty of pitcher injuries (to Max Fried, Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland and Cory Luebke), and McDaniel notes that the Padres themselves have commissioned a study to figure out why, finding no systematic problems, only a string of unfortunate outcomes.


Dodgers Sign Brett Anderson

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve signed lefty Brett Anderson to a one-year deal. Anderson, a client of the Legacy Agency, will make $10MM, plus up to $4MM in incentives for innings pitched. The incentives would kick in beginning at 150 innings, and Anderson would receive the full $4MM for pitching 200 innings.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Chicago CubsThe signing represents yet another fascinating move out of the new L.A. front office. Anderson is still only 26 years old and has generally been quite effective when healthy. But he has not thrown over 100 innings since 2010, falling prey to a variety of maladies, including a UCL tear (and resulting Tommy John surgery) and a stress fracture in his foot. Last year, Anderson fell victim to a freak finger fracture on a hit-by-pitch and ended the year on the operating table for a bulging disc in his back.

With risk looming large in his profile, the Rockies paid Anderson a $1.5MM buyout rather than picking up his $12MM club option. Anderson was also pursued by the Yankees and Athletics before picking his new home, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.

For their money, the Dodgers will be adding a true high-ceiling, high-risk arm for the following season. That is the kind of chance a deep-pocketed club can take, of course, as Los Angeles will have options to fill the void if Anderson fails to stay healthy.

If it all works out, it would not be surprising to find that Anderson becomes the steal of the offseason. He threw to a 2.91 ERA last year in just 43 1/3 frames, posting 6.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 along with a typically outstanding 61% groundball rate.

Over 494 career innings, Anderson’s earned run average stands at 3.73, but his career FIP (3.51), xFIP (3.52), and SIERA (3.55) all paint him in even a better light. If one accepts the premise that Anderson would have posted better numbers had he not been constantly succumbing to and returning from injury, his true talent ceiling is probably quite high.

Anderson and Brandon McCarthy will, when their signings are official, step into a rotation fronted by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-jin Ryu. If all five of those arms manage to stay on the rubber for the most part, that has the look of quite an imposing group. Behind them are pitchers such as Joe Wieland, Zach Lee, and Mike Bolsinger. It would not be surprising, perhaps, to see the Dodgers pursue a veteran to hold down the swingman role played last year by Paul Maholm.

ESPN’s Buster Olney originally tweeted that the two sides had agreed to a deal, and reported the basic financial outline. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan and the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez reported details relating to the incentives in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dodgers GM Talks Brandon McCarthy, Brian Wilson

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.

AL Central Notes: Indians, Detwiler, Royals, Twins

The Indians are pursuing free agent starter Brett Anderson, ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweets. If he’s healthy, the talented but oft-injured Anderson would provide a wild card and a left arm for a talented Indians rotation that currently includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and T.J. House. Anderson has recently been connected to the Twins, Rockies, Royals and Astros. Here’s more from the AL Central.

  • The Royals discussed a potential Ross Detwiler trade with the Nationals, but talks didn’t advance, James Wagner of the Washington Post tweets. The Royals saw the lefty reliever and Missouri native as “more of a backup option,” Wagner notes. Detwiler, 28, posted a 4.00 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 63 innings with the Nats last season.
  • There has been plenty of interest in Twins middle infielders Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, but the Twins do not want to trade either one, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Dozier and Escobar were among Minnesota’s most productive position players last season, so it’s understandable that the Twins would be reluctant to part with them, although they also got very good seasons from fellow middle infielder Danny Santana and from third baseman Trevor Plouffe.

Twins Notes: Masterson, Liriano, Neshek

The Twins are focused on pitching upgrades this offseason, and here’s the latest on the arms that Minnesota is (or isn’t) currently exploring…

  • Justin Masterson was linked to the Twins earlier this winter but 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter) that “about every sign” indicates the Masterson will sign with another team.  The Twins aren’t scheduled to meet with Masterson during the Winter Meetings and the right-hander has already met with several teams over the last few days.
  • The Twins have been in touch with Francisco Liriano‘s agent throughout the offseason and they’re expected to meet Monday with Brett Anderson‘s agent, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.  Anderson is looking for a short-term deal to rebuild his value after an injury-plagued 2014, while Liriano looks to command a significant multiyear guarantee.  Neal (via Twitter) doubts the Twins would surrender the draft pick it would take to sign Liriano, who rejected the Pirates’ qualifying offer.
  • Also from Neal, the Twins are one of over a dozen teams who have checked in on Pat Neshek this offseason.  Neshek was originally drafted by Minnesota in 2002 and pitched for the team from 2006-10.
  • The Twins have called about right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.  Vogelsong has a 3.74 ERA, 2.35 K/BB, 7.05 K/9 and 42.4% grounder rate over the last four seasons with the Giants, throwing at least 179 2/3 IP in three out of those four years.
  • Before Jason Frasor re-signed with the Royals, the Twins made a push to land the righty reliever, agent Dave Meier told Berardino.  “The Twins had a lot of interest in him,” Meier said. “They stepped up and made an early offer. We were definitely considering that along with Kansas City and a couple other teams. The Twins were one of a select few clubs as we kind of narrowed things down.”

Twins Notes: Coaches, Yang, Pitching Targets, Hunter, Duensing

The Twins announced the hiring of longtime Orioles minor league coach Butch Davis as their first base coach yesterday, adding to their recent list of coaching additions. While they’ve drawn a bit of flak for keeping most of their hires in-house, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter link) that Minnesota reached out to recently dismissed Cubs skipper Rick Renteria about the bench coach vacancy (since filled by internal candidate Joe Vavra), but Renteria declined to interview. Similarly, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Twins wanted Delino DeShields to serve as their first base coach, but he took a position managing the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, as his ultimate goal is to manage in the Majors someday.

Here’s more on the Twins…

  • GM Terry Ryan told reporters yesterday, including La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that Minnesota did not win the bidding for Korean lefty Hyeon-jong Yang (Twitter link). There was some confusion as to whether the Twins or Rangers won the bidding, with some speculating that they made very similar bids. The point is moot, regardless, as the KIA Tigers did not accept the winning bid for their top pitcher’s services, as it was deemed too low.
  • The Twins have interest in right-hander Edinson Volquez, reports Wolfson. Additionally, they’ve had conversations with agent Greg Genske, who represents both Francisco Liriano and Brett Anderson. Minnesota is expected to meet with Justin Masterson‘s agent next week at the Winter Meetings, and they met with CAA (the agency that represents Jake Peavy and Nori Aoki) at last month’s GM Meetings, Wolfson adds. However, there’s no real traction on either CAA client at this time.
  • Wolfson also tweets that the Twins have made an official offer to Torii Hunter, who is expected to reach a decision soon. The Rangers are said to be pushing hard for Hunter, who reportedly prefers to sign with a contender. That makes a return to Minnesota seem doubtful.
  • The Twins have given no indication that they plan to non-tender southpaw reliever Brian Duensing today, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Duensing, 31, is projected to earn $2.5MM in arbitration and was listed by MLBTR as a non-tender candidate.

NL West Notes: Preller, Montero, D’Backs, Anderson, Giants

A pair of rival executives described Padres GM A.J. Preller as “all over the map” when asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Preller, Rosenthal writes, is furiously exploring both trade and free agent possibilities to boost his new club’s offense. According to Rosenthal, Preller was in contact with the Braves about Jason Heyward prior to their trade with the Cardinals, and he’s also called on Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp in addition to showing legitimate interest in Pablo Sandoval. One of Preller’s colleagues estimated to Rosenthal that the San Diego GM has had “baseline discussions” on at least 200 players this offseason. Suffice it to say, Padres fans should likely expect some form of significant move in Preller’s first offseason at the helm.

Elsewhere in the division…

  • Trade talks regarding Miguel Montero have not escalated significantly since Russell Martin came off the board and signed with the Blue Jays, reports the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro (the Montero portion comes at the bottom of the article). However, the D’Backs have spoken to the White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers about Montero, who is owed $40MM over the next three seasons.
  •’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart was recently in the Dominican Republic, and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson is in Mexico scouting some of the top international teens on the market. The D’Backs are hoping to make waves on the international front soon, he adds.
  • The Rockies are still interested in re-signing Brett Anderson to a more team-friendly deal than the $12MM option they declined, tweets the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders. However, the Royals and Astros are interested in adding Anderson under similar circumstances, he adds.
  • Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said on KNBR radio yesterday that his team is very interested in both Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada (via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). However, Evans wouldn’t commit one way or another when asked if his club had the money to sign both Tomas and Sandoval.

Royals Notes: Butler, Rotation, Hunter, Peguero

The Royals have now officially waved goodbye to long-time DH Billy Butler, who signed a three-year pact with the A’s that was announced this morning. Kansas City had its chance to keep him, of course, but declined a $12.5MM club option on the right-handed hitter, preferring instead to pay him a $1MM buyout.

Here’s the latest out of Kansas City:

  • In a piece discussing the anticipated loss of Butler, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star indicates that the team remains intent on making impact additions to its roster, particularly to the rotation. The club has had at least opening discussions with agents for Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Jason Hammel, and Jon Lester, writes McCullough.
  • Francisco Liriano is also a consideration for the Royals, as are many other arms in the mid-tier of free agents, Jon Heyman of reports. And trade possibilities are also being explored. The team is still dabbling in the markets for Lester and Shields, Heyman notes, but seemingly has eyes for Liriano and Santana
  • Torii Hunter is a definite target, says Heyman. The team believes that he is still a reliable bat and sees him as a quality fit.
  • Kansas City is considering utilizing Carlos Peguero in a time-share in right field and at DH, tweets Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports Kansas City. That plan would be particularly interesting if the team could pair the left-handed-hitting Peguero with a veteran right-handed bat of Hunter’s ilk.