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Brett Anderson Rumors
The Giants are weighing whether or not to continue with beleaguered right-hander Tim Lincecum in their rotation, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lincecum himself offered a frank, expletive-laced assessment of his recent performance and sounded aware that he may not make his next start. Shea spoke with manager Bruce Bochy about rotation candidate Yusmeiro Petit‘s struggles as a starter and excellence in the bullpen this year, with Bochy calling Petit’s rotation work too small of sample to judge. Petit’s recent bullpen work, however, has been nothing short of incredible, if not historic. He’s retired 38 consecutive batters, striking out 16. As Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com points out (on Twitter), Petit is seven batters shy of matching the Major League record for most consecutive hitters retired. Lincecum, who is in the first season of a two-year, $35MM extension, has a 9.49 ERA over his past six starts and has totaled just 24 2/3 innings in that time. Baggarly tweets that for now, the team’s Thursday starter is listed as “TBA.”
Here’s more from the NL West…
- While the most commonly linked team to Bartolo Colon (who is currently on revocable waivers) has been the Angels, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his daily blog that the injury-plagued Dodgers are a candidate to place a claim as well (ESPN Insider required). Olney points out that Colon’s start against the Dodgers tonight could serve as an audition.
- Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa feels that his team can post a winning record in 2015, he tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. La Russa feels that the D’Backs can make improvements with their current roster solely by improving their approach at the plate and improving their baserunning, but he also cites the desire to make “two or three impactful moves” in the offseason, including the addition of at least one hitter and at least one pitcher.
- Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that the D’Backs are in evaluation mode with middle infielders Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius, and Nick Ahmed. Additionally, the club is trying to determine how to mix in veterans Aaron Hill and Cliff Pennington. For the time being, GM Kevin Towers tells Buchanan that Owings will see more time at second base with Gregorius getting a look at short, but that doesn’t mean Owings is being converted to a second baseman full-time. Hill, meanwhile, will see action at third, though a full-time transition there would block prospect Jake Lamb, Buchanan notes. In my view, Pennington is a non-tender candidate following the season and Ahmed could use more work at Triple-A, leaving three infielders for two spots. Hill is guaranteed $12MM in 2015 and again in 2016, making him difficult to trade, but any number of clubs would likely be interested in Owings, Gregorius or Ahmed in trades.
- The Rockies are further away from contending now than they were at the beginning of the season, opines Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Saunders looks at Colorado’s pitching predicament, noting that Tyler Chatwood will miss the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery and Jhoulys Chacin‘s shoulder cannot be relied upon. Brett Anderson‘s injuries make it difficult to exercise his $12MM option, and Jorge De La Rosa could end up pitching elsewhere, as several sources with whom Saunders has conversed feel that there’s only a 50-50 chance he returns. Add in the persistent trade rumors regarding Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez — Saunders feels the latter is more likely to go — and the offseason is rife with question marks and uncertainty.
Let’s take a look at a few injury situations from around the game that could have hot stove implications:
- Tigers starter Justin Verlander lasted only one rough inning today, leaving with right shoulder soreness. The veteran will undergo an MRI tomorrow, reports Chris Iott of MLive.com (Twitter links). “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous,” said Verlander. “I’ve never been through this before.” Indeed, the 31-year-old righty has never been on the disabled list in his excellent career. But there have been signs of trouble this season, as Verlander has worked to an uncharacteristic 4.57 ERA and seen his strikeout numbers plummet (6.6 K/9). Eno Sarris of Fangraphs wrote recently that some indicators suggested Verlander may have been playing hurt, and the hurler confirmed today that the issue “has been lingering for a while,” as John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press reports on Twitter. In the immediate term, Verlander’s situation — combined with a DL stint for Anibal Sanchez — creates significant rotation difficulties for the club, which just dropped out of first in the AL Central. Detroit will call up youngsters Robbie Ray and Buck Farmer (who has just two Double-A appearances to his name) to take upcoming starts, but another addition cannot be ruled out at this point. In the long run, of course, questions continue to pile up regarding the outlook for the Tigers’ remaining $140MM commitment to a player who was once considered by many to be the game’s best pitcher.
- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado also left early today after twisting his right knee awkwardly at the plate. A severe injury seemed possible based on replays, but the team has expressed hope that it dodged a bullet after initial X-rays did not reveal any ligament damage, as MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli tweets. But an MRI will be needed for a full assessment, and Machado will have a scan tomorrow morning, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports on Twitter. Machado missed the early portion of the season due to surgery on his left knee. With Baltimore still fending off competitors from atop the AL East, any significant absence for Machado would be a big blow. Though the team could scan the trade market (with all the usual August complications) for a replacement, if it became necessary, the O’s would perhaps be more likely to turn to in-house options such as Ryan Flaherty and Jimmy Paredes.
- Outfielder Alex Rios of the Rangers received positive news from an MRI on his left ankle, which revealed only a sprain, as Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports on Twitter. Rios, who has cleared waivers, may be ready to return to action as soon as tomorrow. He could still hold appeal for clubs looking to add a right-handed-hitting, corner outfield bat to the mix, though one possible suitor likely dissipated today when the Royals acquired Josh Willingham.
- Rockies starter Brett Anderson will undergo surgery to repair a disc in his lower back, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The procedure is expected to come with a five-month recovery period, which would set Anderson on track for Spring Training but will certainly make it difficult for Colorado to justify exercising its $12MM club option over the lefty. While Anderson was strong in limited action this year, and is still just 26 years old, he has not stayed healthy enough to throw over 100 innings since 2010.
We read many reports about who was being considered and moved forward in the Padres‘ search for a new general manager, but MLB.com’s Corey Brock provides some more details on what was happening behind the scenes. Give his piece a read to see what led San Diego to choose A.J. Preller to take the helms of the club’s baseball decisionmaking. In other executive chatter, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic profiles Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery, who was one of the candidates for the game’s latest GM opening.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd has apparently been pulled back from revocable waivers after being claimed by an as-yet-unidentified team, as he played tonight for Philadelphia. Reports suggested Byrd was claimed on or before Wednesday, and the 48.5 hour window to complete a transaction (or withdraw the claimed player) would have expired by now.
- The Cubs, meanwhile, were unable to work out a deal for Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who was also withdrawn from waivers by Philadelphia. But, as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes, the move to claim Hamels showed a new willingness to spend that could tell in the coming months. And missing on the veteran lefty did not stop the club from adding an arm, with Jacob Turner coming in from Miami in exchange for a pair of relievers who have yet to advance past High-A and are both his elder. President Theo Epstein’s comments indicated what many expected he was thinking: “We’ve had some success with talented pitchers who were going through tough periods. Getting them here, let them re-set a little. … We’re hopeful that will happen with Jacob. … Between now and next spring training there are things we can work on.”
- Dodgers starter Josh Beckett could be out for the year, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, though manager Don Mattingly expressed optimism that the righty would make his way back. Either way, his uncertain contribution going forward would appear to support GM Ned Colletti’s statement from earlier today that the team was still looking to add an arm.
- The Rockies are awaiting word on the severity of a back injury to oft-DL’ed starter Brett Anderson, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Colorado is worried that Anderson will be out the rest of the year. Though he’s been out with a variety of other issues in the past, the back problem is a new one. The 26-year-old lefty has been effective when healthy, but his 2.91 ERA this year has come over just 43 1/3 innings. The Rockies face a tough call on whether to exercise a $12MM option for Anderson for 2015.
Here’s the latest from around the NL West…
- The Dodgers were the runner-up for Andrew Miller, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. This seems to run counter to an item from earlier today when Ken Rosenthal reported that it was the Brewers and Tigers who were the other finalists to obtain Miller from the Red Sox. The Orioles, of course, were the ones who actually landed the left-hander.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean didn’t make any last moves before the deadline and felt good about keeping his team’s prospects, Sabean told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). The Giants felt it didn’t make sense to meet the high asking prices of some teams, though Sabean said he was pleased that a number of clubs were interested in his pitching prospects.
- Sabean said he was “homing in on two” second basemen in possible deals, though a source says that these weren’t necessarily Asdrubal Cabrera or Emilio Bonifacio, two middle infielders who changed teams yesterday.
- The Rockies also had a quiet deadline day, which assistant GM Bill Geivett told reporters (including Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post) was due to a lack of offers that would’ve helped Colorado reload for next year. “I think the big thing was — our posture — is probably one that we would entertain a deal as far as making us better in 2015. Although we were active and had some talks, we really weren’t moved to the point where we had anything that would significantly affect us next season,” Geivett said.
- Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson drew some trade interest, and though De La Rosa is a free agent and Anderson has a $12MM club option to be exercised, it seems as if the Rockies have an interest in retaining both. “If we didn’t feel like they would potentially be part of our future, we would have traded them,” Geivett said.
- In other NL West news from earlier today, Matt Cain seems likely to undergo elbow surgery and the Giants designated Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin for assignment.
3:53pm: The Rockies aren’t likely to trade Anderson or De La Rosa, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
9:23am: The Yankees are looking at the second tier of starting pitchers rather than focusing on front-line arms, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney, and one player they’ve discussed is Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson (Twitter link).
The 26-year-old has been injury plagued over the last several seasons and has totaled just 33 1/3 frames this year, though the results have been favorable: a 3.24 ERA with a ground-ball percentage just north of 60 percent. Anderson’s 18-to-13 K/BB ratio in that same time isn’t as encouraging, of course.
Acquired from the A’s in an offseason deal that sent fellow hurlers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen to the Rockies, Anderson is earning $8MM in 2014, $2MM of which is being paid by the A’s. His contract also contains a $12MM club option ($1.5MM buyout) for the 2015 season.
Anderson was once looked at as one of the game’s most promising young pitchers, but injuries have derailed some of that shine. He still sports a career ERA of 3.77 (with identical FIP and xFIP marks of 3.57) to go along with 7.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 55.3 percent ground-ball rate, but he’s totaled just 196 1/3 innings since Opening Day of 2011.
It remains to be seen, however, if the Rockies will be willing to move Anderson at all. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this morning (Twitter link) that the Rockies don’t consider Anderson a trade candidate. The team is planning to pick up his $12MM option or sign him to a longer-term deal. It would seem that Anderson’s ground-ball arsenal is appealing to the Rockies, who play in the hitter-friendly Coors Field. Colorado has shown an unwillingness to move any of its starting pitchers, as reports have indicated that they’re unlikely to move Jorge De La Rosa as well, despite his status as an impending free agent.
Which is the better strategy for building a good team — a “stars and scrubs” approach, or a balanced roster with few stars? Jonah Keri and Neil Paine recently tackled that question for FiveThirtyEight.com, and their answer is a complex one. One can build a good team with either approach, although the “stars and scrubs” strategy might not be financially feasible for many small-market teams. And based on fWAR, the most balanced rosters (such as that of the 1976 Pirates) tend to be much better teams than the most unbalanced rosters (such as that of the 2004 Diamondbacks, which featured Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and little else). Johnson finished second in Cy Young balloting that year and led the league with 290 strikeouts, and yet the Diamondbacks still finished 51-111, proving pretty clearly that it’s almost impossible for one player to carry an entire 25-man roster. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- The Phillies have suspended outfielder Tyson Gillies for three games for doing damage to a bat rack and wall after striking out four times in a Triple-A game, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer reports. Gillies was one of three players the Phillies acquired when they shipped Cliff Lee to the Mariners in 2009. At 25, he continues to struggle at the Triple-A level and still hasn’t made it to the big leagues.
- The Rockies have placed pitcher Brett Anderson on the 60-day disabled list, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Anderson had surgery on a fractured finger. The Rockies acquired Anderson from the Athletics in December for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen, and it looks like they’re going to get very little out of him in the first half of the season.
Needless to say, the season has gotten of to a rough start in terms of injury news. Offering some hope, perhaps, Baseball America's J.J. Cooper writes (answering a reader question) that two-time Tommy John patients have a better track record of recovery than is perhaps commonly thought. Here's the latest on a few situations around the league that have (or could have had) hot stove implications:
- Rockies starter Brett Anderson is expected to be out for a lengthy stretch with a broken index finger, as he will need four to six weeks to recover before rehabbing, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 26-year-old, who has had more than his share of injury troubles in recent campaigns, will undergo surgery to have pins inserted in the finger, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (via Twitter). Anderson was a major offseason acquisition for the Rockies, coming over in exchange for one-time top prospect Drew Pomeranz, who has been working out of the pen for the Athletics this year. Fortunately for Colorado, the team appears to have enough in-house options to cover in the meantime.
- Rays starter Matt Moore played catch today as he and the team assess whether the young lefty can avoid Tommy John surgery, according to a report from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "Actually [trainer Ron Porterfield] said he threw okay," said manager Joe Maddon, "but I'm waiting to hear back from him what the final analysis is. Nothing yet. [Porterfield] said he turned it loose a little bit too, so we'll see. That was probably a good test for him. The word pain was not used. [Porterfield] told me he actually threw the ball pretty good."
- For the Phillies, starter A.J. Burnett intends to pitch through a hernia, and the team will finally welcome back reliever Mike Adams from the DL in the coming days, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. Adams was a major free agent addition last year, but threw only 25 innings of 3.96 ERA ball last year before going down to a labrum and rotator cuff tear. Adams' contract contains a $6MM club option for 2015 that would vest if he throws 60 innings this year, but that provision will be voided if he is not available on Opening Day next year because of the shoulder issues (since they arose before the end of the 2014 season).
- With the Yankees dealing with multiple injuries and uncertainty in the infield, the obvious question is whether the team will revisit the possibility of signing Stephen Drew. John Harper of the New York Daily News argues that the team should do just that, noting that Drew can upgrade up the middle this year while providing value in any future years he signs on for. But Wallace Mathews of ESPNNewYork.com reports cites a source who says that there is "no way" the team will sign Drew or fellow free agent Kendrys Morales.
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia got good news today, as he learned that his left wrist issues do not appear to be serious, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reported on Twitter. As fellow Herald reporter Scott Lauber reported later this afternoon, an MRI showed no structural damage that would warrant concern. The team has confirmed the reports while adding that closer Koji Uehara has no structural damage in his shoulder, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets.
The Blue Jays almost finalized trades that would've seen them acquire Ian Kinsler from the Rangers and Brett Anderson from the Athletics earlier this winter, but both deals ended up as "near-misses," Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports.
Kinsler, of course, was part of the offseason's biggest blockbuster to date, when he was traded to the Tigers in exchange for Prince Fielder and $30MM. Before that deal occurred, however, the Jays' proposed swap for the second baseman fell through due to Kinsler's partial no-trade clause that allowed him to block deals to up to 10 teams. It's unknown what the Jays would have given up for Kinsler, though I would guess it would've been on a much lesser scale than Fielder; it wouldn't have made much sense for Toronto create another hole in the lineup by dealing the likes of Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion.
The Jays had long been rumored to be suitors for Anderson and they discussed a trade with the A's that would've sent Sergio Santos to Oakland in return for the southpaw. Anderson's extensive injury history, however, ended up dimming Toronto's interest and Anderson was instead traded to the Rockies in December. Interestingly, the Jays also had Santos tabbed to go to the Rangers as part of a potential three-team deal in November that was scuttled when another player in the deal failed his physical.
Second base and the starting rotation were the Blue Jays' two biggest areas of need going into the offseason, so had these two would-be deals gone through, GM Alex Anthopoulos' winter shopping could have essentially been complete. With January almost over, however, the Jays are still looking for rotation upgrades and a Ryan Goins/Maicer Izturis platoon is still penciled into the keystone position.
The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity. "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice. The Wilson selection isn't a gimmick, ESPN's Richard Durrett writes, and Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though Daniels stressed that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals. Here's more out of the AL West…
- Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market. Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
- There is a chance that Michael Young could rejoin the Rangers if both parties see a fit, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets. Texas dealt its longtime franchise staple to the Phillies last offseason and Young was subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in August.
- Despite recent rumors linking the Angels to Matt Garza and Raul Ibanez, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team doesn't have any outstanding offers to free agents.
- In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
- The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
- The Yankees, Indians, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brett Anderson | Corey Hart | Houston Astros | Jose Veras | Logan Morrison | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Michael Morse | Michael Young | Nelson Cruz | Oakland Athletics | Raul Ibanez | Seattle Mariners | Shin-Soo Choo | Texas Rangers
4:08pm: The A's are sending $2MM to the Rockies, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
3:44pm: The A's are sending some cash to the Rockies in the trade as well, tweets MLB.com's Jane Lee.
3:32pm: The Rockies have acquired left-hander Brett Anderson from the A's in exchange for left-hander Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Chris Jensen, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Anderson has been around for five years already, but he's still just 25 years old (he'll turn 26 in February) and is under control at $8MM in 2014 with a $12MM club option for 2015. Those final two seasons were both option years on a four-year, $12.5MM extension he signed with the A's in April 2010, coming off a season in which he posted a 4.06 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent ground-ball rate.
Anderson was even better in 2010, posting a 2.80 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 54.6 percent ground-ball rate, but injury problems set in that season. A pair of left elbow issues limited Anderson to 112 1/3 innings that season, and he went on to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2011. He missed most of 2012 recovering from that surgery but was brilliant in his return. In 2013, he missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his foot and pitched to a 6.04 ERA (3.85 FIP, 3.26 xFIP) in the 44 2/3 innings he was healthy.
The A's exercised his $8MM option anyway, believing him to be capable of exceeding that value in 2014, whether in Oakland or with aother team. Though he's totaled just 163 innings over the past three seasons combined, Anderson's talent and youth make him a solid buy-low for the Rockies to slot in behind Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood.
Pomeranz, 25, was the fifth overall selection in the 2010 draft by the Indians but found himself traded to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez blockbuster a couple seasons ago. Despite his upside, Pomeranz has yet to pan out, posting a 5.20 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent ground-ball rate. He does own a 2.97 career ERA in the minors, including a 3.60 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 132 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level.
Jensen, 23, registered a 4.55 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 152 1/3 innings at Class-A Advanced Modesto in 2013. The University of San Diego product did not crack MLB.com's list of Top 20 Rockies prospects or Baseball America's list of Top 30 Rockies prospects.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.