Carlos Gomez Rumors
A pair of intra-division matchups are on tap for the weekend as the Cardinals host the Cubs for a three-game series and the Pirates travel to Miller Park for a three-game set against the Brewers. The Reds, meanwhile, will host the Rays in interleague play and face a tough matchup in Tampa ace David Price tonight. Here's some news from around the NL Central...
- Shelby Miller has struggled in his first two starts of 2014, and as Fangraphs' Dave Cameron explains, Miller's problems began at the end of last season, which explains his near-total absence from the Cardinals' playoff run. An injury could be responsible for Miller's issues, "but this version of Shelby Miller isn’t very good, and unless he flips a switch sometime soon, [the Cardinals are] going to have to start looking for alternatives."
- Carlos Gomez's strong 2013 season and his red-hot start to 2014 has made his three-year, $24MM extension from the Brewers "look like a steal," in the words of Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe. Gomez's extension, signed in March 2013, kicked in this season and keeps the center fielder in Milwaukee through the 2016 campaign. As Jaffe notes, it's rare for a player to improve as much as Gomez has after amassing over 1000 PA in the Major Leagues.
- Jason McLeod, the Cubs' VP of scouting and player development, tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that though the Cubs' system is somewhat lacking in blue chip pitching prospects, it doesn't mean the Cubs will specifically focus on adding a young arm with the fourth overall pick of the 2014 draft. “We’ve made no secret that we’ve tried to acquire as much pitching as we can....But if you look at our last two drafts, we’ve taken two position players with our first pick, because we felt Albert [Almora] and Kris [Bryant] were the best players at those picks," McLeod said. "That’s how we’re going to approach this draft as well. We’re not going to draft on need. We’re going to draft the guy that we feel will provide that long-term impact for us.”
The Cardinals will need another starter on Thursday to replace John Gast, and that could be Michael Wacha, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests. Wacha, who would be making his big-league debut, was scratched from his start Sunday, which the Cardinals now say is due to his innings count so far this year. Wacha ranked No. 76 in both MLB.com's and Baseball America's preseason top prospects lists, and he has pitched well so far in 2013 at Triple-A Memphis (albeit with a low strikeout rate), posting a 2.05 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Cards GM John Mozeliak says that the team will likely decide on Tuesday who will make Thursday's start. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- It's unclear what will happen to infielder Munenori Kawasaki of the Blue Jays once Jose Reyes returns, but Jays manager John Gibbons would like Kawasaki to stick around, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. "When the time comes, we'd definitely like to keep him, that's for sure. But we don't know when Reyes is coming back, either." Kawasaki has become a fan favorite, and he has played decently, hitting .247/.345/.320. But Chisholm notes that the Jays already have Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa.
- It's a bad day for the Mariners' rebuilding efforts, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. The Mariners promoted prospect Nick Franklin but demoted former No. 2 overall draft pick Dustin Ackley in the process. That move followed the demotion of Jesus Montero. Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders haven't hit particularly well, and Brandon Maurer has struggled. "Right now, the Mariners are being carried by a bunch of veterans on one-year deals who were supposed to be here to round out that young core and help stabilize the environment through which young guys were going to take their games to the next level," says Baker, noting that Kyle Seager is the only starting player who has accomplished that.
- Ron Gardenhire feels Carlos Gomez of the Brewers "learned a lot" from his time with the Twins, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports. Gomez played with the Twins for two years before heading to Milwaukee in exchange for J.J. Hardy after the 2009 season. The Twins tried to help Gomez calm down as a player, McCalvy writes. "I thought he learned a lot with us," Gardenhire says. "Gomez was a lot of fun. I think everybody knew it from the time he was with the Mets, how much talent he had, if he could ever harness it and calm himself down enough."
- It's questionable whether the Angels and Dodgers have spent their money well, but it's important that they're spending, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "You can't win on scouting and player development alone. That is a foundation, with free agency a necessary supplement. Spending does not guarantee winning, but spending absolutely correlates with winning," says Shaikin. Still, Shaikin notes that the Angels' core of homegrown players includes Mike Trout, Jered Weaver, and Howie Kendrick; the Dodgers' includes Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. Shaikin quotes Dodgers president Stan Kasten, who reiterates that his team's long-term plan is to build through its farm system, just as the Braves did when Kasten worked there.
- The Cubs aren't quite ready to declare themselves sellers, but it sounds like they're getting there, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports. GM Jed Hoyer says that teams begin to assess their trading options "50-60 games within the deadline." Hoyer adds, "You always hold out hope you can string things together and make a run. It’s really hard in this division, I’ll say that. You have three teams playing really well." In a recent poll, MLBTR readers thought the Cubs' Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano were among the players most likely to be traded.
Carlos Gomez has emerged as the top player from the Johan Santana trade between the Mets and the Twins, the New York Post's Joel Sherman writes. Santana himself had season-ending shoulder surgery in early April, and the other players the Twins received along with Gomez (Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra) haven't panned out. Meanwhile, Gomez, who the Twins shipped to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy, is off to a .368/.417/.642 start while playing great defense in center field. Sherman doesn't really blame the Mets for dealing Gomez, however. "Would this franchise and this city really have had the patience to wait six years for a blossoming — if it ever would have happened here?" he says. Here are more notes from the NL.
- In a blog entry, Sherman compares Gomez to former Yankees star Bernie Williams, in that both players needed more time than usual to turn their considerable tools into skills. Williams entered the Majors in his age-22 season in 1991, but didn't post an OBP higher than .354 until age 25 and didn't hit 20 homers in a season until age 27. Doug Melvin, now the Brewers' GM, was the Yankees' scouting director when New York signed Williams.
- Paul Maholm and the Braves have not had discussions regarding the possibility of a contract extension, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports (Insider-only). The Braves exercised their 2013 option on Maholm, guaranteeing him $6.5MM. But he is a free agent in the coming offseason, and with a good 2012 season and a strong start in 2013 (3.09 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9), Maholm could be rewarded with a much bigger payday.
- The timing of Brian McCann's free agency is inconvenient for him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. McCann returned from shoulder surgery to make his season debut Monday, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He'll be a free agent after the season just as he's entering his 30s, and his injuries and declining play will likely limit the market for him (depending on how he does this season, of course). Also, the emergence of Evan Gattis -- who has a meager .305 OBP this season, but a .563 slugging percentage -- gives the Braves a reasonable alternative to McCann at catcher. Still, Martino suggests that there will likely still be strong interest in McCann, perhaps from teams like the Yankees in need of catching help. McCann has a strong reputation within the game, and finding a catcher who can hit isn't easy.
If you are looking for some interesting reading this evening, have a look at the evolution of the defensive shift as told by Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Meanwhile, let's take a look at some American League clubs and ballplayers:
- We heard on Wednesday that the Yankees were looking for a right-handed bat, and all signs point to that need being real. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that Jayson Nix, who sports a career .365 slugging percentage, has been taking balls at first base in case the team wants a righty to spell Lyle Overbay. Nix has held down third base while Kevin Youkilis works his way back, but the Yanks' recent acquisition of Chris Nelson provides the club with another option at the hot corner.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman deserves a ton of credit for finding value in Overbay, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Wells, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. There may be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel for the scrambling Cashman, however. Hoch reports that Ivan Nova, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Youkilis are all expected to report to the Yankees' Tampa facility for rehab work. Meanwhile, Curtis Granderson has been playing in extended spring training since Wednesday.
- Count Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer as a fan of the Indians' decision to trade for young pitcher Trevor Bauer this offseason. Hoynes writes that Bauer is ready to be a successful big leaguer this year, and may be the most talented pitching prospect in Cleveland since a certain CC Sabathia.
- Of course, all three teams involved in the deal that brought Bauer to the Indians seem to have gotten what they wanted out of the deal (at least so far). In addition to Bauer, outfielder Drew Stubbs is off to a fairly promising start for Cleveland, and currently sports a .284/.340/.420 line. The Indians have also enjoyed quality bullpen work from Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Meanwhile, Shin-Soo Choo has clobbered the ball for the Reds, putting up a .330/.467/.541 line. He has done so while playing a passable, albeit below average, center field. And the Diamondbacks not only seem quite pleased with shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius, who is off to a .407/.448/.778 start in his first 30 plate appearances, but have received solid production from veteran reliever Tony Sipp.
- Of course, not all deals turn out the way you hope. As ESPN's Buster Olney notes on Twitter, Twins fans are (or should be) cringing at the hot start for the Brewers' Carlos Gomez. After emerging as a solid regular center fielder last season, Gomez is putting up excellent power, speed, and on-base numbers thus far in 2013. The Twins shipped Gomez to Milwaukee in return for J.J. Hardy after the 2009 season, and later sent Hardy to the Orioles to make way for the failed Tsuyoshi Nishioka experiment. In exchange for Hardy, in turn, the Twins got a pair of young righties -- Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson -- who have failed to deliver any value to the club.
- While the full ramifications of trades often take years to clarify, the Blue Jays could be wondering already how the recent trade for R.A. Dickey will turn out. As Mark Simon of ESPN.com explains, Dickey is failing to get hitters to chase pitches outside the zone, which could attributable in part to decreased knuckleball velocity. On the other side of the ledger, the Mets have surprisingly received incredible production from a seemingly minor piece of that deal -- catcher John Buck -- and were able to slot prospects Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard atop the team's prospect list.
It was on this day in 1932 that the Reds and Dodgers swung a very notable trade. Clyde Sukeforth, Tony Cuccinello and Joe Stripp went to Brooklyn while Cincinnati acquired Babe Herman, Wally Gilbert and a then-23-year-old catcher named Ernie Lombardi. Needless to say, this deal ended up being a big win for the Reds --- Lombardi spent the bulk (10 years) of his Hall of Fame career in Cincinnati and hit .311/.359/.469 and 120 homers with the club. Lombardi won two batting titles during his career, and was the last catcher to lead the NL in average until Buster Posey last season.
Here are some items from around both the NL and AL Central...
- Carlos Gomez's three-year, $24MM extension with the Brewers "isn't likely to be a stinker" for the club, Fangraphs' Eno Sarris writes, and it could be a bargain if Gomez's power and ability to hit right-handed pitching continue to develop.
- An opposing NL scout tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Reds "are crazy" if they use Aroldis Chapman as a starter. "It’s Joba Chamberlain all over again. His velocity dropped off in the second inning. He couldn’t get his off-speed stuff over the plate consistently. No question in my mind, he’s the closer," the scout said. Meanwhile, Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News talked to several other scouts about Chapman and they were "nearly unanimous" that he is a better fit as a closer. Keep following @CloserNews on Twitter for all the latest updates on the Reds and other ninth-inning situations from around baseball.
- Randy Choate talks about his career and his development into a left-handed relief specialist with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Choate signed a three-year, $7.5MM deal with the Cardinals in December.
- Ryan Raburn may have the edge on winning a bench job with the Indians at the expense of Ezequiel Carrera, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian opines. Bastian thinks the Tribe could try to deal Carrera in such a scenario since he is out of options and would probably be claimed off waivers by another team. Here is the full list of out of options players who could be facing a roster crunch by the end of Spring Training.
- Earlier today on MLBTR, we heard about the Tigers weighing their trade options, while Ben Nicholson-Smith covered the Tigers' winter moves as part of our Offseason In Review series.
4:55pm: Gomez will earn $7MM in 2014, $8MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). This would amount to a three-year, $24MM extension.
4:50pm: The Brewers announced that they extended Gomez for three years, through the 2016 season. The deal buys out Gomez's first three free agent seasons. “He has always had the physical skills, and his recent performance has given us the confidence that he will take the next step in becoming one of the top center fielders in the game," GM Doug Melvin said.
4:07pm: The Brewers are going to extend center fielder Carlos Gomez with a four-year contract, Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report (Twitter links). Gomez, a client of the Boras Corporation, will obtain about $27.5MM.
Gomez had been on track to hit free agency following the 2013 season, so this deal delays his arrival on the open market. The sides agreed to a one-year, $4.3MM contract for 2013 earlier this year.
It's not clear if the deal covers the 2013-16 seasons or the 2014-17 seasons, but Haudricourt suggests the deal buys out three free agent seasons (Twitter link). If that's the case the sides agreed to value Gomez's free agent years at approximately $7.7MM each.
Gomez, 27, posted a .260/.305/.463 batting line in 452 plate appearances as Milwaukee's everyday center fielder in 2012. He established career highs in home runs with 19 and stolen bases with 37. In six seasons at the MLB level, the Dominican Republic native has a .247/.294/.379 batting line. Gomez has had added value on defense in every one of those six seasons based on UZR/150.
Gomez has been traded twice since the Mets signed him as an amateur free agent in 2002. The Twins acquired him in the trade that sent Johan Santana to New York. Two offseasons later Gomez was traded to Milwaukee in the deal that sent J.J. Hardy to Minnesota.
As MLBTR's list of 2014 free agents shows, a number of prominent center fielders are still on track for free agency after the 2013 season. Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp are among the prospective free agents for next offseason.
Some observers will be surprised that Boras, an agent known for taking clients to free agency, completed this contract. However, Boras clients such as Jered Weaver, Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Madson have all signed extensions covering free agent seasons in recent years, so there's some precedent for Gomez's deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
5:46pm: Gomez will earn $4.3MM in 2013, a baseball source told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
5:39pm: The Brewers announced that they have reached agreement with Carlos Gomez on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. The centerfielder is represented by Scott Boras. Terms of the deal are not yet known but Matt Swartz projected that he would earn $3.4MM through the arbitration process.
Gomez, 27, will be eligible for free agency at the end of the year. The outfielder had his best season to date in 2012, posting a slash line of .260/.305/.463 with 19 homers in 452 plate appearances.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that Jason Hammel has outperformed Jeremy Guthrie so far this season. The right-handers were traded for one another this offseason (with Matt Lindstrom also going to the Orioles) and Hammel has pitched well for Baltimore, while Guthrie is on Colorado’s disabled list. Here are more notes from Rosenthal:
- Some considered Hammel a “passive competitor,” but Dan Duquette and the Orioles viewed him as a dependable innings eater. Hammel, 29, has a 1.73 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 through 26 innings for his new team.
- Though Yankees GM Brian Cashman says his team did more background work than ever before acquiring Michael Pineda from Seattle, one rival executive says his club grew concerned. The right-hander showed diminished velocity in his final start of the 2011 season after struggling in the second half. Pineda will miss the 2012 season with a shoulder injury.
- The Pirates aren’t scoring many runs, but rival executives like the trio of Alex Presley, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen at the top of Pittsburgh's order, Rosenthal writes.
- Tigers starters other than Justin Verlander and Drew Smyly have struggled so far this year, and rival executives expect Detroit to make a strong push for rotation help by the July trade deadline.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Rosenthal that Carlos Gomez would generate approximately as much interest as Yoenis Cespedes if you put him in a tryout camp. Gomez, who is two months younger than Cespedes, could be a late-bloomer, Melvin said.
The Brewers avoided arbitration with center fielder Carlos Gomez, agreeing to a one-year deal, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The deal is for $1.9625MM, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The Boras Corporation represents Gomez, who had a projected salary of $1.8MM, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
Gomez is arbitration eligible for the third time. The 26-year-old super two player earned $1.5MM in 2011, when he posted a .225/.276/.403 line with eight homers and 16 stolen bases in 258 plate appearances. Gomez projects to hit free agency after the 2013 season.
Two contenders lost key players in the same game tonight and the injuries could affect the trade market for the remainder of the season. The Diamondbacks announced that Stephen Drew fractured his right ankle and will likely require surgery. Soon afterwards, the Brewers learned that Carlos Gomez fractured his left clavicle. Those events could shape the trade market and so could the following developments from around the Major Leagues:
- Carlos Beltran appears to have recovered from the flu - he homered off of Kyle McClellan (by the way, McClellan pitched well enough, though he may lose his rotation spot if the Cardinals add a starter).
- Old-school GMs might like Ryan Ludwick's 61 RBIs (he added four today), but his on-base percentage is just .309.
- The Yankees are looking for pitching, but they can't complain about Freddy Garcia, who pitched into the seventh and struck out seven without allowing a run.
- Meanwhile, Casey Kotchman improved his trade value by collecting three hits and boosting his season line to .337/.396/.467.
- The Braves used Jonny Venters again in a losing effort to the Rockies. The lefty has now appeared in 54 games this year, so the Braves will want to ease up on the 26-year-old or acquire a reliever to bolster the 'pen.
- Duane Below pitched reasonably well for the Tigers in his MLB debut, but GM Dave Dombrowski continues eyeing starting help. The Tigers, who have used seven left-handed relievers this year, could look to acquire another southpaw after last night. David Purcey walked the bases loaded to kick-start Oakland's four-run seventh.
- Who says the Red Sox need reinforcements? Josh Reddick picked up two hits and a walk and Andrew Miller didn't allow a run in 5 2/3 innings. Still, the Orioles' lineup isn't a powerhouse and Miller walked twice as many hitters (6) as he struck out (3).
- Lyle Overbay was hitless in four at bats for the Pirates, who scored just one run for the second consecutive night. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Pirates explore ways of getting more production from first base now that Overbay's line has dropped to .236/.304/.357.
- Bruce Chen pitched eight innings, allowing just one run, one walk and four hits while striking out four.
- Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel allowed home runs to the light-hitting Mariners, which doesn't help the Blue Jays' chances of trading the relievers for valuable pieces.
- The Giants are still having trouble scoring (Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw didn't allow a single run against San Francisco).
- Hunter Pence reached base four times and Brett Myers and Livan Hernandez pitched well in a contest between the Astros and Nationals, two teams who aren't in the race.