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- Masahiro Tanaka Has Slightly Torn UCL
- Brandon Phillips Tears Ligament In Thumb
- Yadier Molina Out 8-12 Weeks For Thumb Surgery
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Brett Anderson Rumors
3:54pm: The Yankees are also interested in Anderson, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan (on Twitter). According to Passan, the A's are likely to deal Anderson at next week's Winter Meetings.
3:08pm: The Athletics aren't going to trade Anderson today, tweets John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter). However, the A's are seeking bullpen depth.
1:15pm: The Blue Jays are "infatuated" with Anderson, and the Twins are interested in the lefty as well, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). One Major League executive told Slusser that it's likely the A's will make another trade this week, perhaps even today.
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 candidate for teams that don't wish to pay the rising prices for free agent pitchers.
The Indians make sense as a fit after losing Scott Kazmir as a free agent (to the A's themselves, no less) and with the likelihood that they will also lose Ubaldo Jimenez. A starting pitcher is a known desire for Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, and adding Anderson would accomplish that goal while still leaving plenty of money to pursue big bats like Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz.
As we continue to work our way through what has been a slow holiday weekend, here are a few interesting notes from ESPN.com's Buster Olney:
- Starting pitching demand may not be sufficient to drive up the salaries of Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Matt Garza, argues Olney. Each member of that trio is rumored to be seeking a major, long-term deal. But as Olney observes, several factors — including the wait for Masahiro Tanaka, possible trade availability of some major arms, and imperfect track record of all three hurlers — could conspire to limit their market.
- One team that "seems bound" to land one of that threesome, according to Olney (via Twitter), is the Mariners.
- Ticking through each team in baseball to gauge possible interest in one of these upper-middle-class starters, Olney includes a few interesting notes on some clubs. For instance, Olney twice notes that the Athletics' Brett Anderson is available via trade and could well be dealt if Oakland brings back Bartolo Colon or another short-term starter. He has previously reported that the Royals might be interested in buying low on Anderson.
- The Mets, meanwhile, "have been looking more at second-tier and third-tier free agents." That fits the most recent rumors out of New York, though it is sure to disappoint those who expect the club to ink at least one major free agent. As I discussed in my offseason outlook for the Mets, the club has professed to have $40MM in payroll space for next year, and so far has committed less than a fifth of that by signing Chris Young.
- Likewise, according to Olney, the Rockies are putting out word that they do not have a lot to spend in free agency. Of course, the club reportedly made legitimate runs at both Jose Dariel Abreu and Brian McCann, though it could be that it was only willing to spend big on certain players.
Baseball America's Matt Eddy provided a breakdown of the minor trade that went down earlier in the week that saw the Twins ship Duke Welker back to the Pirates in exchange for Kris Johnson. Johnson has an above-average two- and four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s, but his breaking pitches are average at best, says Eddy. One bonus for the Twins is that Johnson has three minor league options remaining, while Welker has just one. Here's more on the Twins and the rest of the AL Central…
- The Twins were interested in free agent/reclamation project Grady Sizemore at one point, but they've moved on from Sizemore, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link).
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals have had internal discussions about acquiring Brett Anderson from the Athletics. An Anderson acquisition would be a somewhat similar move to GM Dayton Moore's decision to buy low on Ervin Santana in a trade last October. Unlike Santana, however, the Royals could control Anderson for two years, as his contract contains a $12MM option for 2015.
- White Sox southpaw Hector Santiago told the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane that the summer trades of Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton taught him that any player can get traded. Santiago said he tries not to worry about hearing his name in rumors. He added that he hopes Chicago's decision to shut him down after 130 innings is an indication that they're protecting his arm so he can throw 200 innings in 2014.
- The Indians will listen to offers on Asdrubal Cabrera this winter, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in his latest mailbag. Hoynes adds that any trading the team does will likely prioritize getting pitching in return, and the team would like to add a free agent starting pitcher. Hoynes lists Bartolo Colon and Jake Westbrook as speculative possibilities.
The Athletics announced that they have exercised their $7.5MM club option on Coco Crisp as well as their $8MM club option on Brett Anderson and declined their $11MM option and Chris Young and $8.5MM option on Kurt Suzuki. Young and Suzuki will receive respective buyouts of $1.5MM and $650K.
The news comes as a $7.5MM birthday gift for Crisp, who turns 34 years old today. The switch-hitting center fielder enjoyed the best offensive season of his 12-year career in 2013, slashing .261/.335/.444 with a career-best 22 homers. He chipped in 21 steals in 26 tries and was six runs above average in center field, per The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric (he was roughly average, per UZR), making the decision a no-brainer.
Anderson, who turns 26 in February, pitched just 44 2/3 innings for the A's this season. He compiled an unsightly 6.04 ERA in that time, though metrics such as FIP (3.85) and xFIP (3.26) suggest he was the recipient of some misfortune. Indeed, his 9.3 K/9 and 69.2 percent ground-ball rate seem to indicate that he should've had better superficial numbers, though his 4.2 BB/9 rate was a drastic departure from his typically excellent control.
Anderson would have been arbitration eligible had the A's declined his option. They could've had him for less than the $8MM he will receive in 2014, but declining his option would have also negated the $12MM club option the team holds on his free agent season. Essentially GM Billy Beane decided to pay Anderson an extra $1-1.5MM with the belief that he will remain healthy and look like a bargain at $12MM in 2015, as his career numbers through 2012 indicate he would.
Young hit just .200/.280/.379 with 12 homers and 10 steals in 2013 after coming over from the D-Backs in the three-team deal that sent Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington to Arizona and prospects to the Marlins.
Suzuki was acquired in an August waiver trade that was necessitated by injuries to John Jaso and Derek Norris. He batted a strong .303/.343/.545 with a pair of homers in 35 plate appearances for the A's but hit just .232/.290/.337 overall between the Nationals and A's. With Jaso and Norris both present in the long-term, Suzuki will look for a new team this offseason, as Oakland likely doesn't have a roster spot for him even on a cheaper one-year deal.
The Red Sox can return to the World Series for the third time in the last 10 seasons if they beat the Tigers tomorrow or in a potential Game Seven on Sunday. The other four AL East teams will be working hard this offseason to match (or better) Boston's 2013 success, so here's the latest from around the division…
- The Athletics could exercise Brett Anderson's $8MM option for 2014 and then trade him to one of a few teams who are interested, with the Blue Jays being specifically cited, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Toronto scouted Anderson late last season and have been interested in the southpaw for the last two years. Anderson has appeared in just 54 games over the last four seasons due to several injuries, most notably Tommy John surgery, so it would be a risky move for the injury-plagued Jays to acquire another pitcher with a poor health history.
- Rajai Davis is looking forward to his first free agent experience, the outfielder tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Davis is looking for an everyday job and has historically struggled against right-handed pitching, which Chisholm notes makes it unlikely that the Blue Jays will re-sign him.
- Both Major League Baseball and Alex Rodriguez's camp have admitted to paying to obtain documents from the Biogenesis clinic, sources familiar to the Rodriguez appeal hearing tell Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Rays right-hander Taylor Guerrieri has been suspended for 50 games for a PED violation, the league announced Friday. Guerrieri twice tested positive for a "drug of abuse" that is believed to be marijuana, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Guerrieri was the 24th overall pick of the 2011 draft and was considered one of the top prospects in baseball by MLB.com (44th-best), ESPN's Keith Law (#47) and Baseball America (#64) in preseason rankings. The 20-year-old won't miss any game action due to the suspension since he was already slated to miss most of the 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- In AL East news from earlier today, the Yankees are reportedly planning to spend $300MM on new contracts this offseason while the Red Sox have agreed to sign Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa to a minor league deal.
Earlier today, Bartolo Colon told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he'd like to return to the A's next season and feels that he could pitch another three years in the Majors. At the time, it wasn't known if the A's were interested in a reunion, but in their postseason address to the media, both manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane said they are interested in bringing Colon back for a third season (via Slusser and John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group on Twitter). Beane went so far as to say it'd be "foolish" for the team not to be interested. Here's more from on the A's…
- Closer Grant Balfour isn't satisfied with only making the playoffs, he told reporters, including MLB.com's Jane Lee. Balfour said he intends to keep playing until he can win a World Series (Twitter link).
- Balfour also acknowledged to CSNBayArea.com's Casey Pratt that he wanted to make sure the inning he pitched in Game 5 last night was a good one, because he knew it may have been his last frame with the team (also on Twitter).
- Melvin said today that the A's are well-equipped to handle the potential loss of Balfour, as internal options Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle could take over as closer (via CSN California's Joe Stiglich on Twitter). As Stiglich goes on to caution, that comment doesn't mean Doolittle or Cook will close in 2014. The A's would likely explore the free agent relief market in that scenario for an additional arm to plug into the mix.
- Beane said that the A's will exercise Coco Crisp's $7.5MM option following the season and implied that they will do the same with Brett Anderson's $8MM option (via Slusser).
- Crisp said that he'd like to think the A's would want to discuss retaining him beyond the 2014 season (via Hickey).
- Top prospect Addison Russell will open 2014 at Double-A "at the lowest," according to Beane, who then added that "anything can happen" once a player reaches Double-A (Stiglich reporting).
- Beane feels that if Chris Young, whose contract contains an $11MM club option, doesn't return to the team, Michael Choice can serve as a right-handed outfielder for the team (Lee reporting). It seems logical that the A's would decline the option after Young batted just .200/.280/.379 this season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has his latest edition of Full Count up. Let's run through some of the highlights…
- Some teams considering a trade for the White Sox's Alex Rios might consider the remainder of his contract – $13MM in 2014 and a $13.5MM club option for 2015 – to be a benefit. According to Rosenthal, Rios ranks fifth in wins above replacement among all right fielders since the start of the 2012 season. That's ahead of both Nick Swisher and Shane Victorino, who were able to sign large free agent deals last offseason. Rosenthal says Rios could still be traded this month or after the season.
- Rangers officials told Rosenthal that they had more conversations about major leaguer-for-major-leaguer trades leading up to the deadline than ever before in their push to acquire a bat for their struggling lineup, but nothing came to fruition. Texas made almost every player on their roster available in trade talks, including the newly acquired Matt Garza.
- The Dodgers opted not to bid on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez because they were unsure of whether he profiled as anything more than a back-end starter or reliever. They also want to create opportunities for prospects such as Zach Lee and Chris Reed.
- The A's decision this weekend to send Tommy Milone – the owner of a 4.39 ERA in 133.1 innings this year – to Triple A was aimed at adding another arm to the bullpen, as they don't need a fifth starter until Aug. 13. However, that Aug. 13 starter could end up being prospect Sonny Gray. The A's were originally considering putting Gray in the bullpen, but they could get left-hander Brett Anderson back within two weeks as a reliever, Rosenthal says.
As always, the rehabilitation status of injured players can have a major impact on teams' plans as the trade deadline nears. Here are a few updates on some players whose recovery could play a role in the trade market's development:
- Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter threw over 100 pitches in a bullpen session Friday and could face live hitters shortly, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Though Cards' GM John Mozeliak said recently that Carpenter's status is unlikely to factor into the team's plans, a continued positive trajectory could potentially change that stance.
- The Athletics received good news on starter Brett Anderson today, with MLB.com's Jane Lee reporting (via Twitter) that he will be shedding his walking boot and beginning to work back from an ankle fracture. She also tweets that manager Bob Melvin is bullish on Anderson returning strong, with Lee suggesting that we could see a repeat of Anderson's mid-August return from last season. While the A's rotation has not exactly been a problem area, some have suggested that Oakland could shop for another arm.
- It appears that the Giants are prepared to go the rest of the way without center fielder Angel Pagan, with the club putting him on the 60-day DL. The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea also relayed comments (on Twitter) by GM Brian Sabean indicating that the club does not expect him back in 2013. As previously noted, this could make the Giants potential buyers for a Pagan replacement.
- On the other hand, in spite of that need (and this evening's earlier report that the club is actively pursuing Ricky Nolasco), San Francisco could instead stand pat. Shea tweets that, according to Sabean, the Giants will not make any acquisitions unless the team turns around its play before the deadline.
- Though the Orioles recently added a starter in the first significant trade of the pre-deadline market, they could still be considering the addition of more starting pitching. One major factor in Baltimore's internal analysis will surely be the return of Wei-Yin Chen, who has missed much of the year with a strained oblique. Chen looked strong in his rehab outing last night and, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, could take a spot in the rotation as soon as Tuesday. If Chen can pick up where he left off — his ERA stands at 3.04 through his first 47 1/3 innings of the year — it may obviate the need for the O's to revisit the market.
- Another day, another bit of bad injury news for the Yankees. As Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports, the catching-strapped club learned yesterday that its primary backstop to start the year, Francisco Cervelli, will have his rehab halted and be shut down for two weeks. With an early August return now the best case scenario for Cervelli and rookie Austin Romine struggling, the Yankees could find it necessary to look for another capable backstop before the trade deadline.
The Royals continued adding to their rotation last night, acquiring James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays. It cost them the game’s top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers, and three others: right-hander Jake Odorizzi, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard. Here’s some reaction to the deal from around MLB…
- In a piece for Grantland, Rany Jazayerli writes that the Royals almost got fair value for Myers, but the addition of three more prospects turns the trade into highway robbery for the Rays. He goes on to say that in shoving all his chips into the pot, Moore has done the same with his job security, possibly sacrificing the future for an illusory present.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore is "furious" over critiques insinuating that his motivation to make the deal was simply to preserve his job, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. In particular, Nightengale writes that Moore was livid over the reaction of ESPN's Keith Law (link included in earlier updates below). Moore calls any such allegations "very, very insulting."
- Baseball America's Jim Callis writes that Myers instantly becomes the Rays' top prospect, and that Odorizzi slots in at No. 5 between Hak-Ju Lee and Alex Colome. Montgomery fits into the mid-teens, and Leonard would rank in the 20-30 range. The trade essentially boils down to Myers-for-Shields, in Callis' mind, as Odorizzi is similar to Davis but at an earlier stage while Montgomery and Leonard are lottery tickets. Because of that, he doesn't think it's a terrible deal for the Royals.
- One NL general manager called the trade "bold on both sides," ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports. Some evaluators prefer the deal for the Royals, while others believe the Rays did better. An AL GM told Crasnick both teams did well. "I don't get all the online angst towards Kansas City," the GM added.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has comments from many of the players involved in the deal. Odorizzi said he "definitely" feels ready for the MLB level, Topkin reports.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out that Myers is the first person to be named Baseball America's minor league player of the year and be traded before playing an MLB game for the organization with which he won the award.
- Shields told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he'd be open to an extension of the Royals wanted to discuss one. "No doubt about it," Shields said (Twitter link).
- Approximately 32,000 MLBTR readers voted on the deal and nearly half believe the Rays won. Another 32% say both teams won the deal and 17% say the Royals won.
- It would have taken Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler for the Mets to obtain a similar package to the one the Rays obtained, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com first reported this news four days ago.
- Though the trade reflects a sense of urgency from the Royals, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star doesn't get the sense that GM Dayton Moore is on the hot seat (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggests the Rays will delay Myers' arrival at the MLB level to ensure he doesn't obtain a full year of service time in 2013. It's also possible that the Rays could look to extend the promising outfielder, Olney suggests. I agree with both of Olney's point here. There's no way the Rays can allow Myers to get a full year of service in 2013.
- Six pro scouts don't consider the trade one-sided, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports. The Royals don't deserve the criticism being directed their way, the scouts told Baseball America.
- Shields will obtain a $750K trade bonus as part of the deal, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- One GM told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that "Myers is no slam dunk" and added that this is "far from a lopsided deal." Rosenthal suggests teams like the Royals can too often get fixated on their prospects and pass on opportunities to compete.
- The Royals tried to trade Myers for Shields straight up, but the Rays said no, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes (Twitter links). The Royals also tried trading Myers to Oakland for Brett Anderson only to be turned down, Passan writes.
- In Passan's view Royals general manager Dayton Moore made a desperate trade that will define his tenure as GM in Kansas City. Still, Passan writes, it's hard to blame the Royals for attempting to win now.
- The Tigers weren't happy to see the Royals acquire Shields, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Shields is a difference maker who will make the Royals better, Knobler writes.
- The Rangers had hoped to add Zack Greinke or Shields this winter, but lost out on both this past weekend, Knobler reports (on Twitter).
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star won't be surprised if the Royals seek a low-cost outfielder in free agency (Twitter link). After trading Myers, the club might have interest in spending $1MM or less on a rebound candidate.
- It's an outstanding day for Rays fans, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes (Insider only). Conversely, this could be the deal that brings Moore's time in Kansas City to an end in Law's view.
- My thoughts: the Rays were justified in trading Shields and Davis for Myers and the other prospects because they obtained more long-term value. While the Royals surrendered a lot, they addressed their most pressing weakness — starting pitching — in a meaningful way and increased their chances of competing in 2013. The Royals have much more rotation depth than they did two months ago. Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Shields and Davis make the Kansas City staff better. Yet you can make the case that they overpaid every time they acquired a new arm.
The A's announced that Brett Anderson underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation on Anderson, who will miss the remainder of the season. Here are this afternoon's links…
- The Cubs signed third round outfielder Zeke DeVoss for a $500K bonus, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. The bonus is roughly $160K more than MLB recommended.
- The Padres have one prospect on Keith Law's recently-published list, Casey Kelly. They'll ask for another elite prospect in exchange for Mike Adams, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Rookie Michael Pineda and third-year pitcher Trevor Cahill are among the MLB players with the most trade value, according to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, who lists his #31-35 top trade chips in baseball. Kevin Youkilis and the recently-extended Jaime Garcia check in in the #26-30 range.
- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com's Scott Merkin that his team may not need trades to re-enter the playoff picture. "If we play to our potential, I guarantee we're going to kick some people's butt," Guillen said. "But we're not playing to our potential now."