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Carlos Gomez Rumors
Here’s the latest on some significant members of playoff contenders who are battling injuries down the stretch…
- Stephen Piscotty has been diagnosed with a concussion following his scary outfield collision with Peter Bourjos on Monday. Still, he passed his initial set of neurological tests and there is now optimism that Piscotty will be able to play again before the season is over, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The rookie outfielder has already been cleared to fly with the Cardinals to Atlanta for their final series of the year.
- Troy Tulowitzki could return to the Blue Jays lineup as early as Thursday’s game against the Orioles, the shortstop told reporters (including Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star). Tulowitzki hasn’t played since September 12, when he suffered a small crack in his left scapula after colliding with center fielder Kevin Pillar while chasing a pop fly.
- Carlos Gomez may return to the Astros lineup tonight, manager A.J. Hinch told Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (audio link). Hinch is “not convinced [Gomez] is completely 100 percent” recovered from his left intercostal strain, but “it’s a risk worth taking” since the Astros are battling for their postseason lives. Gomez played on Sunday and Monday as a pinch-runner and defensive sub, respectively, getting one plate appearance but laying down a sacrifice bunt. A return to the lineup would obviously involve taking full swings, which worries Hinch a bit given the threat of re-injury.
- Stephen Drew may have played his last game of 2015 after being hit with a deflected grounder earlier this month. Drew has been sidelined since Sept. 22 and he tells Fred Kerber of the New York Post that he may have suffered a concussion and also a recurrence of a past inner-ear problem. If Drew is indeed done for the year, it may also mark the end of his Yankees tenure, as the veteran infielder will be a free agent this winter.
Bryce Harper was back in the Nationals lineup today, so the star outfielder seems recovered from yesterday’s collision with Derek Dietrich. Harper was removed in the first inning of the 3-0 win over the Marlins after colliding with Dietrich on the basepaths. Despite some dizziness and hip soreness, Harper passed concussion tests after the game and seemed no worse for the wear Monday, as he’s collected two hits (including a homer) and a walk in his first four plate appearances against the Phillies. Needless to say, losing Harper for any length of time would’ve erased the Nats’ fading hopes of getting back in the playoff race. Here’s the latest on some more serious injury news from around baseball…
- Carlos Gomez will miss the Astros‘ four-game series with the Rangers with a left intercostal strain, GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters (including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle) though the strain isn’t though to be too serious. Gomez suffered the injury during batting practice yesterday and underwent an MRI today to access the damage.
- Joe Panik is likely to miss the rest of the season due to ongoing back problems, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including CSNBayArea.com’s Alex Pavlovic). “The odds lean more toward the season being over for him,” Bochy said. “I talked to him yesterday. He didn’t really feel a lot of improvement. He’s going to need some rest. I would be surprised if he plays, unless things work out really, really well and we get to October.” Panik has only played in three games since August 1 due to his bad back, bringing a sour end to an otherwise tremendous season for the second baseman, as he hit .312/.378/.455 over 432 PA. Panik’s status was a reason the Giants exploded trading for Chase Utley in August, though rookie Kelby Tomlinson has played very well as Panik’s replacement.
- In other Giants injury news, Bochy also wasn’t sure if Hunter Pence would be able to return from an oblique strain. “It may get to the point where we may feel it’s not worth the risk. I don’t mean to be negative, but we have to be smart about this,” Bochy said. Pence began taking dry swings today but there’s no indication about when he’ll start live batting practice.
Houston beat Huston today, as the Astros staged an improbable ninth-inning comeback against Angels closer Huston Street. Brought on to protect a 3-0 lead, Street looked like he was en route to a routine save after he got the first two outs, but the Astros then roared back for five runs. Jed Lowrie delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer that ended up as the difference in the 5-3 victory. It was a much-needed win for the Astros, who retained their 1.5-game lead in the AL West over the Rangers just before the two teams meet for a huge four-game series in Arlington beginning Monday. Here’s some more from Minute Maid Park…
- Carlos Gomez missed today’s game due to what the team described as left intercostal discomfort and he’s heading to Houston to be examined by team doctors and undergo an MRI (as reported by several Astros beat writers, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart and the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich). Gomez will miss Monday’s game with the Rangers though he’s hopeful of not being out for much longer than that. Gomez’s health, of course, has already made headlines this season when the Mets backed out of an agreed-upon trade to acquire Gomez from the Brewers due to concerns about Gomez’s hip. More related to stomach muscles, he also underwent an MRI for a possible abductor issue earlier this summer. The Astros stepped in to acquire Gomez instead, though he hasn’t played up to his usual standards; the outfielder is hitting .234/.282/.379 over 158 PA for Houston.
- The Astros are succeeding in 2015 and if you told someone two years ago that No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel would not be a part of that upswing, they would have been pretty surprised. Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras, who says that his client is progressing just fine in the minors. “You hope each year in a player’s career, they progress and you can certainly say he did that,” Boras said. “He moved to a new level and performed well and I think he feels very confident about coming to camp (in 2016) and competing..Look, every player’s different. He’s a big guy. And … new to pro baseball. But getting control of those limbs, that body takes time — and it takes professional seasoning.” Appel posted a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 12 Triple-A starts and a 4.26 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 13 starts at Double-A.
- Another Boras client, Josh Fields, was the victim of a roster crunch when he was optioned to the minors on August 20 and Boras didn’t hide his frustration over the demotion in his chat with Drellich. “A lot of organizations are doing that now. It’s hard, it’s hard on [veteran] players, because they have options left because they were successful when they signed and got up to the big leagues right away,” Boras said. “When teams have roster limits, they choose those guys. So it’s kind of an unfortunate circumstance of an organization with a lot of talent.” Fields had a 2.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts (to just 15 walks) over 41 innings when he was demoted and was hit hard in his first two outings since being recalled, giving up seven ER in just 1 1/3 innings.
We’re changing things up a bit this week, as three key prospects in recent deadline deals took the time to join host Jeff Todd to discuss their trade deadline experiences and new organizations. So, rather than our usual Thursday afternoon episode, we’re releasing three episodes of the podcast.
First up is Brett Phillips, the rising center fielder who has shot up prospect lists and just headed from the Astros to the Brewers as a major piece in the blockbuster that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Houston.
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The Cardinals were rumored to be looking for starting pitching depth at the deadline, but instead beefed up the relief corps in the form of Steve Cishek and Jonathan Broxton. As GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding quality relievers essentially becomes starting depth as it takes less pressure off the starters to go deep into games. The new arms also will help cut down on the workload of Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate and Seth Maness, all of whom have pitched quite often this season. Some more from around the NL Central…
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (Twitter links) that he feels “the Mets have taken some unfair criticism about asking for money back in the [Carlos] Gomez deal.” Melvin explained that teams often for money in one form or another in deals, as “it’s all part of the GM landscape these days.“
- Brewers manager Craig Counsell isn’t sure how long his team’s rebuilding process will take, he told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), as “we’re always going to be trying to win a baseball game….But evaluating it from a bigger picture is part of our jobs as well.” Haudricourt wonders if the Brewers and their fans would be able to stomach a multi-year rebuilding effort as the Cubs did for the last few years.
- The Pirates stuck to their recent trend of making “modest upgrades while not giving away their top prospects,” writes Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. While getting an ace pitcher could’ve come at a big price for the Bucs and come with no guarantee of a playoff spot, Sawchik notes that the rotation is suddenly lacking depth with A.J. Burnett‘s season now in doubt.
- Also from Sawchik’s piece, he argues that Jung-ho Kang deserves a regular starting job even when Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer return from the DL. It’s hard to argue Sawchik’s point given how Kang entered today with a .299/.372/.460 slash line over his first 312 Major League plate appearances, giving the Pirates some badly-needed help given their injury-riddled left side of the infield.
An elite starting pitcher was a luxury good for the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That’s why Los Angeles passed on talents like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto despite possessing the prospect depth to acquire their pick of the litter. Instead, the club flexed its financial might to acquire Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, and Jose Peraza. The biggest piece dealt away by the Dodgers was 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. The utility man has not yet reached the majors after signing a six-year, $62.5MM deal with the Dodgers. A full $28MM of that was in the form of a signing bonus.
Here’s more from Rosenthal:
- Cynics may find a way to criticize the Mets deadline transactions. Perhaps they didn’t add enough to the payroll or were too small minded? However, the moves for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe provided essential upgrades to a roster that was showing signs of stress. GM Sandy Alderson deserves kudos for improving the club while working within tight constraints. To me, this was Rosenthal’s money quote, “Mets fans will not be satisfied – and should not be satisfied – until the team raises its payroll to a level more commensurate with the New York market.“
- Echoing the sentiments of many analysts, both the Phillies and Rangers did well in the Hamels trade. With the Phillies taking on Matt Harrison and chipping in cash, the Rangers will pay Hamels an average of $13MM to $14MM per season if his option vests. They also hung onto top prospects Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. On Philadelphia’s end, acquiring three quality prospects will do much to bolster their future.
- The Blue Jays, unlike the Dodgers, are often described as a cash strapped organization. Instead of taking on payroll like L.A., the Blue Jays dealt 11 prospects and Jose Reyes to acquire Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins. They’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot.
- The Astros also spent their prospect chips for major league upgrades. They made the first deadline strike by acquiring Scott Kazmir then paid a princely sum for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Interestingly, mid-market teams like the Astros, Blue Jays, Mets, and Royals used prospects in their search for October baseball. The Yankees and Dodgers opted to use money or stand pat.
Full Story | 21 Comments | Categories: Alex Wood | Ben Revere | Carlos Gomez | Cole Hamels | David Price | Hector Olivera | Houston Astros | Jim Johnson | Johnny Cueto | Jose Peraza | Jose Reyes | Juan Uribe | Kansas City Royals | Kelly Johnson | LaTroy Hawkins | Los Angeles Dodgers | Luis Avilan | Mark Lowe | Mat Latos | Matt Harrison | Mike Fiers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Scott Kazmir | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Troy Tulowitzki | Tyler Clippard | Yoenis Cespedes
The Astros and Brewers are announced a blockbuster trade on Thursday that will send center fielder Carlos Gomez, right-hander Mike Fiers and an international bonus slot (valued at $287,500) to Houston in exchange for outfield prospects Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, right-hander Adrian Houser and lefty Josh Hader. The Astros did not have to make a 40-man move to add either player, as they had an open spot, and Santana was already on the 40-man.
Gomez, of course, was believed to be headed back to the Mets last night in a swap that would’ve sent Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores to the Brewers, but the trade fell through after names were agreed upon due to a combination of medical concerns pertaining to his hip and perhaps financial elements as well.
Adding Gomez to the outfield mix should result in a significant improvement for the Astros over the remainder of the season. Despite hamstring issues that cost him three weeks earlier in the year, Gomez’s defense remains above average, and if he’s 100 percent healthy, he has a track record as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.
Plus defense has long been part of Gomez’s game due to his excellent range, but Gomez over the past three-plus seasons has turned himself into a genuine offensive weapon at the plate as well. Dating back to Opening Day 2012, Gomez is a .275/.335/.474 hitter that has averaged 24 homers and 38 stolen bases per 162 games played. Wins above replacement pegs Gomez at an average of five to five-and-a-half wins per year in that time, depending on your preferred version of the metric. Houston center fielders have been sound from a defensive standpoint this season, but they’ve combined to bat just .226/.285/.370, making Gomez an upgrade on both sides of the ball.
In addition to his strong all-around game, though, Gomez made for an appealing trade candidate due to his contractual situation. He’s the rare Scott Boras client that took an extension as opposed to waiting for free agency, and while he should still secure a $100MM+ contract with ease following the 2016 season, he’s currently in the midst of a three-year, $24MM pact that has worked out beautifully for the Brewers. Gomez is earning $8MM in 2015 — of which about $3.02MM remains — and he’ll earn $9MM in 2016. Provided he remains healthy, the Astros will pay about $12MM for as many as 221 games of Gomez’s career.
And of course, Gomez isn’t the only piece the Astros are receiving in this deal. By persuading the Brewers to include Fiers in the contract, they’ve landed a rotation piece that can potentially be controlled through the 2019 season. In fact, he won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season, meaning that Houston can control him for roughly the league minimum.
Fiers, 30, is a soft-tossing righty and a pronounced fly-ball pitcher, but he’s performed well overall despite an average of just 88.8 mph on his fastball. He’s somewhat of a late bloomer but has a 3.89 ERA in 118 innings this season and a lifetime 3.66 mark in 341 2/3 innings as a Major Leaguer. Fiers has averaged 9.2 K/9 despite his pedestrian heater, and he’s paired that ability to rack up K’s with solid control (2.8 BB/9). He should step directly into the Houston rotation behind ace Dallas Keuchel, rental acquisition Scott Kazmir and right-handers Collin McHugh and Scott Feldman. Fiers drew quite a bit of interest from the Blue Jays earlier this month, though Toronto has obviously gone a different route and made a splash of their own with the acquisition of David Price.
From the Brewers’ perspective, Phillips is the clear prize of the deal. A sixth-round pick by the Astros out of high school in 2012, the 21-year-old has risen to the Double-A level and shown no signs of being overmatched by the pitching he’s faced. Phillips is hitting .320/.377/.548 with 16 homers and 16 stolen bases this season while appearing primarily in center field. He entered the season as one of the Astros’ top prospects, but his excellent first half propelled him to rank 21st on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50, 35th on the midseason Top 50 of ESPN’s Keith Law and 39th on the midseason edition of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects. Law calls him a “true five-tool” player with the potential to remain in center field, and MLB.com gives him above-average tools across the board, with his speed and arm rating as the top tools in his profile. He should immediately become the club’s No. 2 prospect behind shortstop Orlando Arcia.
The 22-year-old Santana, originally acquired by the Astros in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade with the Phillies, went hitless in a 17-at-bat big league debut in 2014 but has fared better in another limited sample in 2015, hitting .256/.310/.462 with a couple of homers in 42 plate appearances. A corner outfielder by trade, he could potentially step right onto the Brewers’ big league roster. He’s slashed .305/.400/.515 in 195 Triple-A games — part of the reason for his No. 7 ranking on MLB.com’s midseason Top 30 for the Astros and No. 87 on their overall Top 100. Santana has everyday upside but there are plenty that worry about his penchant for strikeouts; he’s whiffed at a 29.9 percent rate throughout his minor league career.
Hader came to Houston alongside L.J. Hoes from the Orioles in the 2013 trade that sent Bud Norris to Baltimore. He ranked eighth among Astros farmhands at the time of the swap, per BA, and 14th on MLB.com’s list. BA notes that Hader’s delivery at times draws comparisons to Chris Sale, and MLB.com writes that his velocity gets up to 96 mph but is paired with inconsistent secondary pitches. Hader has a 3.17 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 24 walks in 65 1/3 innings at Double-A as a 21-year-old this season.
Houser has a 5.10 ERA split across two levels (Class-A Advanced and Double-A) this season, and he’s worked as both a starter and a reliever. He’s averaged 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 this year, and MLB.com rated him 21st among Houston prospects prior to the trade. Their scouting report praises his mid-90s fastball and ability to generate grounders but notes that the 22-year-old’s control has plenty of room for improvement.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported (via Twitter) that Gomez and Fiers were going to Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reported that there would be four to five prospects in the return (Twitter link). Lookout Landing’s Nathan Bishop nailed the return (on Twitter), and Heyman added that all of the medicals had been approved.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
As most are aware by now, the Mets and Brewers had agreed to a trade that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez to New York in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, but medical concerns derailed the agreement. Reports last night surfaced to say that Gomez’s hip was the issue, though agent Scott Boras issued an adamant denial to FOX Sports saying that Gomez is healthy and has never seen a hip specialist.
Some additional context to the situation as well as the latest on the trade rumors pertaining to both teams in the wake of the failed deal…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Gomez had an MRI three to four weeks ago for an abductor issue — not a hip issue — and the reports from that test said he had no issues with his abductor or his hip (Twitter link).
- Sherman also spoke to Brewers GM Doug Melvin (All Twitter links), who informed him that while the Mets have concerns over Gomez’s medical records, the Brewers do not. Said Melvin: “I don’t believe Carlos Gomez has a physical issue. Our training staff won best in baseball the last 2 years. We take a lot of pride in that. We don’t think anything is wrong with him besides any nick that happens to any ballplayer.”
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hears that the ultimate issue in the trade may have been financial. A source tells Haudricourt that the initial scenario being discussed would have sent Juan Lagares to Milwaukee, but the Brewers were hesitant because of a publicly known elbow issue through which he is playing and because of Lagares’ $23MM extension, which kicks in next season. The next iteration of the trade became Wheeler and Flores for Gomez, but the Mets then asked that the Brewers include their 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick, which Milwaukee declined to do. Following that, the Mets asked for cash considerations to be included, but the Brewers were also unwilling to pick up any of the tab. It was at that point that the Mets backed out, citing Gomez’s hip, sources tell Haudricourt. (Sherman heard much of the same — Twitter links — though Haudricourt’s report provides much more context on the matter.)
- The Mets will remain active on the trade market, it seems, and Marc Carig of Newsday hears that the team’s “clear preference” is to get someone who can play center field (Twitter link). Given Lagares’ injury, it makes sense to see the Mets targeting help in that area. I recently broke down the trade market for center fielders, for those wondering what options could be available to New York.
- The Mets aren’t in on the Padres’ Justin Upton, partially due to his status as a half-season rental, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). The Mets would prefer to avoid rental players, he adds, though he does also note that the team has at least checked in with the Tigers on Yoenis Cespedes following the collapse of the Gomez deal.
- It’s unclear where this scenario leaves the Mets in terms of trade direction, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The team likes Gerardo Parra but was also unable to agree on a price point in discussions with the Brewers. New York also likes Jay Bruce, but he doesn’t fit their desire for someone who can handle center field. Bruce has just 285 big league inning in center — all coming in 2008.
11:45pm: Agent Scott Boras adamantly denied that anything is wrong with Gomez from a health standpoint. Via Rosenthal (Twitter links): “Carlos Gomez has never seen a hip doctor and has never had a hip issue in his playing career. Anyone who suggests that is inaccurate and baldly misrepresenting the truth of the player’s condition.”
11:17pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that it was actually the Mets who backed out of the deal due to concerns over Gomez’s hip. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News also hears that Wheeler’s elbow was not the issue (Twitter links).
11:13pm: Tonight’s near-trade of Carlos Gomez to the Mets in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores has fallen through, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that Milwaukee’s concerns regarding Wheeler’s medicals caused the deal to collapse. The Brewers, though, are still planning to trade Gomez by Friday’s trade deadline, Nightengale adds.
Wheeler, of course, had Tommy John surgery this spring, so it stands to reason that the Brewers weren’t comfortable with his progress (or perhaps the lack thereof) since the operation in March. By multiple media accounts, the names in the trades were agreed upon, though there was no official announcement of the deal from either club.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said following tonight’s game that a trade “will not transpire,” so it seems that if Gomez is to be traded, it will be to a team other than the Mets — the organization that originally signed him back in 2002.
Gomez should still hold widespread appeal around the league, as he’s earning $8MM in 2015 and has a more-than-reasonable $9MM salary for the 2016 season. Among contending clubs, the Orioles, Astros, Pirates and Giants have all been linked to outfield upgrades over the past few weeks. The Angels, too, have been in the market for an outfield upgrade, though they’ve added three new players this week (Shane Victorino, David Murphy and David DeJesus), so they’re likely out of the mix for outfielders at this time.
And, while the trade ultimately won’t be pushed across the finish line, it does speak to the Mets’ willingness to deal from their current big league roster in order to upgrade the offense. Flores has been a regular contributor to the team in 2015, though they do have internal replacements including Ruben Tejada, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds. A report from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan earlier in the night also mentioned that Juan Lagares‘ name had come up as a potential piece for the Brewers t acquire, further demonstrating a willingness on Alderson’s behalf get creative in order to augment his offense. The Mets have also been prominently connected to names such as Justin Upton, Jay Bruce and Gomez’s Milwaukee teammate, Gerardo Parra.
9:58pm: The deal is off and won’t occur before the deadline, Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells reporters including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (via Twitter).
EARLIER: The Mets have acquired Carlos Gomez, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He says the deal is done pending physicals. In exchange for Gomez, the Mets will send right-hander Zack Wheeler and infielder Wilmer Flores to Milwaukee, according to Bob Klapisch (Twitter link).
Now 29 years old, Gomez cut his teeth in the Majors as a 21-year-old with the Mets. Traded to the Twins as part of the 2008 Johan Santana blockbuster, Gomez spent two seasons in Minnesota and delivered mixed results before being flipped to Milwaukee in a one-for-one swap that sent J.J. Hardy to Minneapolis. His first few seasons with the team resulted in more of the same underwhelming results, but Gomez broke out into superstar territory with an explosive 2012 campaign.
That 2012 season saw Gomez bat .260/.305/.463 with a career-high 17 homers and 39 stolen bases to go along with his elite center field defense. Since that time, Gomez has paired a .276/.336/.475 batting line with some of the game’s best center field defense to deliver more than 16 wins above replacement for the Brewers.