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Carlos Beltran Rumors
After last night’s Game Five loss, the Royals have now faced a 3-2 deficit in all three of the franchise’s World Series appearances. In 1980, K.C. was eliminated by the Phillies in Game Six and in 1985, the Royals (who were actually down 3-1) came back to defeat the Cardinals and win the Series. While we wait for Tuesday night’s game, here are some items from Kansas City…
- Top Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer has left the Arizona Fall League with a shoulder issue and will see Dr. David Altchek, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. MLB.com ranks Zimmer the No. 2 prospect in the Royals organization and the No. 47 prospect in the game. Baseball America, meanwhile, ranked Zimmer No. 26 overall in its midseason list. Zimmer had opened eyes in the AFL, with ESPN’s Keith Law writing (Insider-only) that Zimmer and the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow were the best pitching prospects he’d seen. Zimmer missed most of the 2014 season with shoulder troubles, so his current issues aren’t new.
- The Royals heavily pursued Carlos Beltran last offseason and offered the veteran slugger a three-year deal with a fourth-year option, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Kansas City’s offer would also have paid Beltran more than the $45MM he received from the Yankees on a straight three-year deal. (Last winter, ESPN’s Buster Olney noted that state tax differences between Missouri and New York would’ve meant Beltran would’ve taken home more money with the Royals’ contract, even if the total dollar value was less than $45MM.) In the end, however, Beltran ended up signing with the Yankees because, in part, he playing for a big-market team would help his chances for the Hall of Fame.
- Royals hitting coach (and former Cubs manager) Dale Sveum is still interested in managing, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “I’m not holding my breath. It’s just the nature of the beast,” he says. “If somebody calls, they call.” Sveum says he doesn’t worry about having lost the Cubs job now that he’s in the World Series with Kansas City. “It definitely doesn’t hurt,” he says. “We all do this for this, no matter what capacity you’re in.”
The Royals are having a better season than the Yankees, but that doesn’t mean the Royals’ situation is better, Andy Martino of New York Daily News reminds fans who would like to see the Yankees take a more player development-heavy approach. The Yankees, who depend heavily on expensive talent from outside their organization, have spent the past 20 years in playoff races, while the Royals have spent years losing while trying to develop a solid core. The Yankees consistently contend, which is why Carlos Beltran picked the Yankees over the Royals last offseason, Martino writes. “I liked (the Royals). I liked the team,” says Beltran. “But at the end of the day, I felt that this (the Yankees) organization — every year, man, they find a way to put things together.” Of course, the Yankees are able to pursue the strategy they do because of their financial advantages, and Beltran’s first year perhaps illustrates certain problems with their strategy. Here are more notes from the American League.
- Melky Cabrera suffered a season-ending injury last night and can become a free agent after the season, but he wants to remain with the Blue Jays next season, the Associated Press reports. “I stay in Toronto,” Cabrera said last night. Cabrera, 30, has had a strong season in the last year of his two-year, $16MM deal, hitting .301/.351/.458.
- 2014 hasn’t been a strong season for the Rays, but Jake Odorizzi‘s development has clearly been a bright spot, as Andrew Astleford of FOX Sports Florida notes. Odorizzi has struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings in a full season in the rotation, and he’s posted strong numbers overall, improving after a bumpy month of April. That’s not bad for a player who wasn’t even the headliner in the trade in which he was acquired. ”I think you’re just seeing a young man understanding what he has and how to utilize it,” says Rays manager Joe Maddon. ”That’s it.”
Andrew Miller‘s transition from the Red Sox to the Orioles has gone smoothly, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports. “There’s a ton of differences. Things in general match up,” says Miller, for whom the Orioles traded at last month’s deadline. “The winning teams I’ve been on have a nice, loose clubhouse that expects to win.” Miller has pitched brilliantly in his first 7 1/3 innings with the Orioles, striking out 11 and walking three while allowing just two hits and one run. Here’s more from around the AL East.
- Carlos Beltran will see a doctor after feeling something wrong with his elbow while swinging last night, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweets. The Yankees scratched Beltran from their lineup tonight. It’s been a rough season for Beltran, who’s hit .233/.291/.416 (weak numbers for a DH/OF with little defensive value) while battling injury in the first year of a $45MM deal.
- Jon Lester is not likely to return to the Red Sox this offseason, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Instead, the Yankees and Cubs could emerge as possible suitors. It is, perhaps, no surprise that the Red Sox aren’t considered the favorites to sign him — they just traded him, and reportedly weren’t close in extension negotiations before that. Lester should be able to get a six- or seven-year deal in free agency, Heyman writes, and the Red Sox are likely to consider that to be too risky. Heyman does note, however, that the Red Sox may have been prepared to offer Lester five years and $100MM last month.
- The Blue Jays have promoted top outfield prospect Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Pompey, 21, hit .295/.378/.473 in 127 plate appearances at Double-A New Hampshire. MLB.com ranks Pompey the No. 3 prospect in the Jays’ system (behind Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez), praising his plate discipline and speed.
Rehabbing Mets ace Matt Harvey hopes to return to big league action at the end of this season, the righty tells Tom Verducci of SI.com. While Harvey acknowledged that he would not push to return before being cleared, he said he wants to re-establish himself on the hill before the year is out. “I just want the peace of mind,” said Harvey. “I want to go back out there and know I still have the stuff to strike out major league hitters.” For his part, club GM Sandy Alderson sounded a cautious note, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. “Not being a medical doctor and not really faced with that decision previously, I’ll reserve judgment,” he said. “But the one thing we don’t want to do is be put in a situation where someone — Matt, or anyone else — has a setback because we’ve pushed the natural recovery processes further than we should have.”
Here’s the latest on some injury situations around the game that could potentially have transactional implications:
- Cliff Lee of the Phillies underwent an MRI today on his left elbow, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. The durable and excellent lefty has been throwing through elbow tenderness for the last several weeks, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the discomfort increased in his last start. The 35-year-old has been diagnosed with a flexor pronator strain, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though a full assessment will await the results of the MRI. Needless to say, a prolonged absence or ongoing injury questions could not only have ramifications for the Phils’ ability to stay in the post-season race, but could heavily impact the summer’s starting pitching trade market. Lee, who has 21-club no-trade rights, is owed $25MM this year and next before a 2016 vesting/club option that comes with a $12.5MM buyout.
- Mariners first baseman/outfielder/DH Corey Hart is expected to miss four to six weeks, reports MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). That news — and Stephen Drew‘s signing with the Red Sox today — has fueled calls for Seattle to take another look at re-signing first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales. Should Morales stay a free agent until the upcoming amateur draft, of course, he will be free to sign anywhere without costing his new team a pick, and without returning a compensatory choice to the M’s.
- Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran still hopes to play through the bone spur in his elbow, but if surgery is required he would be out for about two months, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Beltran saw Dr. James Andrews today, who confirmed the original diagnosis. It appears that the question at this point is whether or not Beltran can deal with the pain while playing at full speed.
The Yankees got 4 2/3 shutout innings in a spot start from rookie right-hander Chase Whitley tonight, and manager Joe Girardi praised his effort as “spectacular,” writes Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Girardi said he pulled Whitley in the fifth due to the fact that his arm isn’t used to such a large workload — Whitley just converted from reliever to starter in 2014 — but the 24-year-old did more than enough to earn himself a second start while CC Sabathia mends. More on the Yankees…
- Carlos Beltran has been placed on the disabled list, and the injury could be very serious. The 37-year-old received a cortisone shot in attempt to alleviate pain stemming from a bone spur in his elbow, but he told reporters (including ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand) that if the shot doesn’t do the trick, he could require surgery that would sideline him for up to eight weeks.
- Though owner Hal Steinbrenner eventually put a limit on the Yankees’ offseason spending, he’s willing to stretch the payroll this summer in order to make trade acquisitions, he told the Post’s Ken Davidoff. “[We’re] always willing to look at options come July. … [W]e’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.” Steinbrenner noted that injuries have raised numerous concerns and specifically called the onslaught of pitching injuries a “big concern.” As Davidoff points out, the amount of money they’re able to take on is a big factor, as the team doesn’t have the prospects to outbid many other clubs but could be better equipped to absorb salary when acquiring a player’s contract.
Injuries continue to dominate the headlines around the league, led of course by the most impactful UCL tear in a year already full of them. The news that star Marlins hurler Jose Fernandez is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery has capped off a difficult stretch of pitching injuries, leading to reactions from around the game. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that understanding and addressing the rash of elbow injuries is in its infancy, and could be decades away from any kind of satisfying resolution. Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider link) writes that the club did not mishandle Fernandez, and that the lesson teams have drawn from the rash of TJ procedures is to maximize the innings of young arms before they hit the open market. And Tom Verducci of SI.com argues that the issue is not use at the major league level so much as years of added stress before players become professionals, and explores various possible solutions.
Let’s run through the latest injury news that carries potential hot stove implications:
- A beleaguered Astros bullpen (collective 5.91 ERA) will be without young righty Jose Cisnero for the rest of the year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, tweets MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The 25-year-old threw just 4 2/3 ineffective innings in 2014, but tossed 43 2/3 frames of 4.12 ERA ball in his debut season last year. Entering 2013, Cisnero was rated Houston’s 15th-best prospect by Baseball America, which noted that he could become an innings-eating starter.
- Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has seemingly defied the odds and worked himself back to the point that he is now a candidate to receive a big league start this weekend, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Garcia’s most recent problems have been in the shoulder, though he has previously undergone TJ surgery. Garcia, still just 27, has logged just 177 innings under his four-year, $27MM contract, which runs through 2015 and includes club options for the two following seasons ($11.5MM and $12MM, respectively, each with a $500K buyout).
- The Giants will be without first baseman Brandon Belt for at least six weeks after successful thumb surgery, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter). It appears that the team will utilize a mix of Michael Morse and Hector Sanchez at first while Belt recovers.
- Twins minor leaguer Byron Buxton — the game’s consensus top overall prospect — learned today that he has re-aggravated the wrist injury that cost him most of the early portion of the season, reports MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter links). Though the team does not believe the wrist is any worse than when it was first injured, but another extended absence would obviously further delay the 20-year-old’s final development push.
- Outfielder Carlos Beltran, one of the major offseason signings by the Yankees, has been diagnosed with a bone spur in his right elbow. As MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports, the club will see if a cortisone show can allow Beltran to avoid surgery. “They believe it’s an old bone spur,” said manager Joe Girardi. “It’s aggravating his elbow now. If in a couple of days he doesn’t feel better, then my level of concern would be pretty high.”
The Boras Corporation — the powerful agency led by Scott Boras — has lost a grievance action that it brought against recent Yankees signee Carlos Beltran, report Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today. Boras had sought $1.3MM in damages from Beltran for leaving his agency in October of 2011, prior to inking a two-year, $26MM contract with the Cardinals.
The ruling by arbitrator Shyam Das held that Boras could not enforce the following provision in his contract with Beltran:
"You understand and agree that we invest substantial resources, time and effort in preparation for free-agent contract negotiations and salary arbitration hearings. Therefore, you agree that if you terminate our agency authorization during or after a championship season, and before the following championship season you sign a free-agent or arbitration-eligible contract (whether single- or multi-year), you agree to pay us 5% of the entire contract regardless of who negotiates it on your behalf."
This provision had been part of Boras's contracts for fifteen years, with many other player reps utilizing some form of it as well. The agreement of which this clause was a part must be re-executed annually, leading Boras to argue that Beltran had prematurely terminated the agreement. But Das effectively read it out of the contract, deciding that it was not "permissible under governing MLBPA regulations" and holding that Beltran's termination of the agreement foreclosed any obligations to pay Boras a cut of any future earnings.
Of course, the broader importance of the ruling is what it means for player-agent relationships going forward. Without the implicit threat of the provision's enforcement, there is somewhat less disincentive to look for a new agent in the middle of a representation term. Boras warned of dire consequences:
"It basically makes the agent an at-will employee. Is this what you want? You should be responsible for the work you do. We need accountability on both sides. … The understanding of this rule is that it now promotes the vast majority of agents to take any deal they can get. The agents' conduct will be affected. This rule gives owners a lot more power. This is not in the best interest of major-league baseball players."
Meanwhile, for Beltran, the case was also about principle. He said:
"I felt like I had to win because he was basically suing me because I left him and he was trying to collect money without having done anything for me. It's not the money. It's the intention. Scott Boras had to do something that wasn't right. If I haven't done anything for you, haven't negotiated your contract, how could I sue you and try to collect money because you left me and because you hired another agent? That didn't make any sense to me.''
In addition to the broader impact, the ruling seems to have implications for already-framed disputes. Boras has an action pending against Edwin Jackson, who left Boras Corp. before landing his $52MM deal with the Cubs. And Robinson Cano famously bolted for upstart agency Roc Nation in advance of signing a monster $240MM contract, though no action has been initiated in that situation. "I never worried about it,'' said Jackson. "Come on, you can't have it both ways. You can't take away guys from another agency, but when your guys leave, sue them."
Sticking with the Cubs didn't work out for Matt Garza, and now the Brewers starter wants to "kick their teeth in every time I get the chance," Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Garza isn't as angry as that makes it sound, though — he's just an energetic player looking for motivation. Wittenmyer notes that the Cubs had previously offered Garza a five-year extension that might have been worth around $65MM, but the two sides couldn't settle on a deal, and the Cubs ended up shipping him to the Rangers in the middle of last season. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- The Royals offered Carlos Beltran $42.5MM this offseason, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. That's only a bit below the $45MM Beltran received from the Yankees. (MLBTR's Steve Adams recently looked back the moves the Royals were able to make in an offseason that featured the departure of Ervin Santana but the additions of Omar Infante and Jason Vargas, both on four-year contracts.)
- The Indians plan to have Justin Sellers, who they recently acquired in a minor trade with the Dodgers, start at shortstop for Triple-A Columbus, writes Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer. The Indians are fans of Sellers' fielding. Top prospect Francisco Lindor will start the season at Double-A Akron, perhaps bumping Sellers into a utility role at Triple-A if Lindor plays well enough to earn a promotion there.
The St. Louis Browns were officially re-christened the Baltimore Orioles on this date in 1953. Jack Dunn III, whose family had operated the International League's Baltimore Orioles for decades, turned over rights to the Orioles name and became the first traveling secretary of the MLB franchise. Here's the news and notes from today's AL East:
- In the wake of what happened with Grant Balfour, one agent's solution to dealing with the Orioles is to never discuss money until the player's medicals have been examined, tweets Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com.
- Despite the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees have managed to become an older team this offseason, reports the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The eight projected position starters will be at least 30-years-old come Opening Day and Sherman notes the chances six or seven of them performing at a high level are not good and there's a lack of talent in the pipeline ready to step up and provide quality and energy, if needed.
- Carlos Beltran, one of the Yankees' 30-something acquisitions, is listed as the best free agent signing this winter by Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. The Yankees' signing of 30-year-old Jacoby Ellsbury, however, is ranked as the second worst by Dubroff because speed doesn't age well. The worst? Robinson Cano's 10-year, $240MM pact with the Mariners.
- Beltran told reporters, including Newsday's David Lennon, he insisted on a third year to improve his chances of making the Hall of Fame. "I felt that having the third year, it allowed me to play longer, and it allowed me to put up better numbers. In my consideration, it would be more realistic." Beltran also hinted this may not be his final contract.
It didn't take long for the Yankees to move on from losing Robinson Cano. The Yankees have officially announced the signing of Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal. The contract is reportedly worth $45MM and will pay Beltran an even $15MM per season as well as provide him with a no-trade clause. Beltran is represented by agent Dan Lozano of the MVP Sports Group.
Beltran had a three-year, $48MM offer in hand from the Diamondbacks, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Snakes made Beltran a three-year offer for more than $45MM. Though the Yankees were a bit reluctant to give Beltran that third year, he was known to be a top target for the Bombers this offseason. Beltran was himself keen on coming to the Bronx and is now finally wearing the pinstripes after showing similar interest in his two previous trips to free agency.
Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 homers in 600 PA with St. Louis last season, and though he turns 37 in April, Beltran has thus far kept swinging a big bat deep into the late stages of his career. He'll no doubt see some DH at-bats in New York but he'll spend most of his time in right field while the more defensively-challenged Alfonso Soriano will be the Yankees' primary DH, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports.
The D'Backs were just one of several teams were linked to Beltran this offseason, with the Royals also pushing hard to reunite with the veteran slugger. This strong market pushed Beltran's price tag to a third year, topping the two-year, $30MM deal that MLBTR's Steve Adams predicted in Beltran's Free Agent Profile. One team that wasn't in the mix was Beltran's most recent club, the Cardinals, who look to go forward with younger options like star prospect Oscar Taveras in the outfield next season.
Since Beltran rejected the Cards' one-year qualifying offer, St. Louis will receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the 2014 amateur draft. The Yankees already lost their first round pick for signing Brian McCann, and in signing Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, New York has also given up its own two compensation picks for Cano and Curtis Granderson.
The Yankees have thus far spent a whopping $311MM for the services of five players (Beltran, Ellsbury, McCann and the re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Jeter) this offseason. More spending could be on the way for the Bombers if they need a third baseman to replace a suspended Alex Rodriguez, if they want to upgrade beyond Kelly Johnson as Cano's replacement at second base, and once they make their long-rumored bid on Masahiro Tanaka once his posting situation is resolved.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News first reported the three-year agreement (Twitter link). Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported the total value and yearly breakdown (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the no-trade clause (also on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images