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- Padres To Hire New Manager To Replace Pat Murphy
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Carter Capps Rumors
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the Wilpon family (the team’s owners), who have drawn plenty of fan and media ire for payroll constraints and a lack of spending in recent years, deserve credit for acting like a big-market team at the trade deadline this year, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Wilpons didn’t merely pocket the extra money they could’ve saved from the insurance on David Wright‘s contract and the unexpected salary they recouped from Jenrry Mejia‘s suspension but authorized Alderson to spend $8.5MM to bring in Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and Tyler Clippard. Alderson, too, deserves credit for his willingness to part with a very good prospect (Michael Fulmer) in an effort to win immediately, as well as his persistence in trade talks after the Carlos Gomez deal fell through, he continues. Sherman adds that Mets fans reminded ownership and the front office just how important those decisions were with a raucous crowd as the team swept the Nationals this weekend and created a dead heat in the NL East.
More on the Mets and their division…
- Speaking to Newsday’s Marc Carig, Zack Wheeler elaborated on his reported phone call to Alderson in which he expressed a strong desire to remain with the Mets as opposed to going elsewhere via trade. “I told him I know it’s a business and he has a job to do, but I’d really like to be here because of what’s about to happen,” said Wheeler. “I’ve been here a couple of years and want to see it through.” Wheeler told Carig that while he knew such a tactic was uncommon, he felt it was the best way to communicate a desire to “stay and be part of this team’s winning future.” Alderson told Carig that in all of his years as an executive, he’d never seen a player make a call of this nature, and the move had “quite an impact.”
- With Mike Morse now traded, the Marlins will give Justin Bour every opportunity to stick at first base, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Hitting .254/.333/.445 with 10 homers in 234 plate appearances, the 27-year-old Bour is a rare example of a player selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft that will have a chance to make a significant impact on his new team’s organization. Miami picked up Bour in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft.
- Jackson adds that despite a number of rumors pertaining to fireballing setup man Carter Capps on Friday, the Marlins never came particularly close to trading him. President of baseball operations Michael Hill called Capps a “a championship-caliber piece under team control” when speaking to Jackson.
- Braves veterans Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski find themselves in an unusual position, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Each is a veteran on a cheap one-year deal that remained with his rebuilding team as opposed to being moved at the trade deadline. Gomes recognizes that he could still change teams in August but praised the work that president of baseball operations John Hart has done in restocking the farm and rebuilding the big league roster. Bowman writes that for now, the Braves’ hope is that both Pierzynski and Gomes spend another few weeks mentoring some of the team’s young talent. He also notes that at some point in the next couple of months, the Braves may simply have to cut bait on Chris Johnson and release him, but they’ll take the month of August to continue their longstanding effort to shed a portion of the remaining $20MM or so on his contract.
- About eight teams are interested in Capps, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
- At least a dozen teams have checked in on Capps, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, and the reliever could very well move. The Marlins are also getting calls on reliever Sam Dyson, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Marlins are looking for controllable young pitching, with names such as Tyson Ross of the Padres, Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, and Nate Karns of the Rays in play.
- A number of teams are calling on recently-demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna, tweets Frisaro. The Marlins have no urgency to move the 24-year-old, who hit 23 home runs last year.
- The Marlins are shopping for starting pitching today, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, in what he expects to be a busy day for the club. Frisaro notes that Dan Haren is drawing interest from several teams. Also, reliever Carter Capps was linked to the Yankees earlier.
- Earlier this week, the Marlins sent impending free agent Mat Latos to the Dodgers in a 13-player deal, but the move seemed mostly about salary relief for Miami. The assumption is the Fish are seeking young, controllable starting pitching, since both Latos and Haren will be eligible for free agency after the season.
The Yankees have already been connected to Craig Kimbrel this morning, and it’s becoming apparent that they’re in the mix for most of the top relief arms on the market at this point. We’ll keep track of that pursuit in this post…
- The Yankees are waiting on the Padres in regards to Kimbrel but could turn to the Marlins‘ Carter Capps, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jayson Stark of ESPN takes it a step further, saying that the Yankees are tiring of waiting on San Diego and are already talking to Miami (Twitter link).
- The Yankees are one of five teams that are “aggressively pursuing” a trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Adding Chapman to the back of a bullpen that already includes Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances would give the Yankees perhaps the best late-inning relief trio in all of baseball. Adding a premium bullpen arm appears to be the focus for the Yankees now that a number of starting pitchers have already landed with other teams. New York, though, has been said to be unwilling to part with top prospects Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo in talks for Kimbrel, so it would stand to reason that they’re reluctant to do with Chapman as well, who comes with far less control. He can be a free agent after the 2016 season.
Mets third baseman David Wright injured his hamstring on a stolen base attempt in the ninth inning of tonight’s contest against the Phillies and appears DL-bound. The team has announced that Eric Campbell is on his way to New York in case a roster move needs to be made, and both ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin (link) and Newsday’s Marc Carig (link) have indicated that a trip to the DL seems inevitable. Wright will have an MRI tomorrow morning before a decision is made, but he sounds likely to join a growing list of injured Mets. Michael Cuddyer, who left tonight’s game after being hit on the hand by a pitch, sounds like he may return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow, via Rubin (on Twitter).
More NL East news as today’s games come to a close…
- Denard Span is on the comeback trail to the Nationals, as the team announced today that he began a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg tonight. Span was expected to be sidelined until mid-May following core muscle surgery, but he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab. Teammate Nate McLouth also received some positive news, as an MRI showed no structural damage in his surgically repaired shoulder, tweets CSN’s Mark Zuckerman. McLouth has been cleared to resume a throwing program.
- The reworked delivery of Marlins right-hander Carter Capps has caused some controversy, as the home plate umpire in his first appearance at Triple-A this year deemed it illegal and negated his first two pitches, stating that Carter broke contact with the pitching rubber too soon. As the Miami Sun Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez writes, the issue has been resolved, as the Marlins have contacted Major League Baseball to receive clarification, and Capps will be allowed to continue on with his delivery. The 24-year-old was recalled by the Marlins yesterday and made his 2015 debut with the team last night. (Those interested in seeing Capps’ delivery can check out this video from last night’s game coverage, in which the Braves commentators liken the delivery to that of former Atlanta righty Jordan Walden.)
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron also examined Capps’ delivery and likened it to that of Walden, though he rightly notes that Capps’ hop-step brings him even closer to the mound than Walden does. Cameron points out that it doesn’t seem that there’s anything in the rulebook’s definition of “legal pitches” that would prevent Capps from doing this. Capps has long struggled against lefties, Cameron notes, and he wonders if the change in delivery will help with that problem, as his 97 mph average velocity, released closer to the plate, will certainly make it more difficult to pick up. Cameron speculates that if Capps can have success against lefties with this type of delivery, it may not be long before some fringy relief prospects begin emulating Capps and Walden, making the delivery more common.
Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro has been placed on outright waivers but has not yet cleared, reports MLBTR’s Zach Links (Twitter links). A source tells Links that a full resolution of Mazzaro’s situation will occur today. Mazzaro was designated for assignment on May 26th, which, as MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows, would have suggested resolution yesterday; Links posits that the extra day could be a result of a delay in processing owing to the Memorial Day holiday.
- The Pirates have a glaring need for a starter, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Kovacevic says that the team should be able to afford a player like Jeff Samardzija or even David Price, both in terms of prospects and payroll.
- While it is easy to say that the Phillies should become sellers, the reality is that the club lacks attractive pieces or a young core that can be built around, writes ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required and recommended). Even the players who are performing well — such as Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Marlon Byrd — have middling value because they are owed significant amounts of money beyond the season (or, in the case of Rollins, soon will be; his $11MM option will vest barring injury). While that might be less of a deterrent in the cases of Cliff Lee and Chase Utley, the former has still not yet resumed throwing while the latter may be too intertwined with the franchise’s identity to be dealt. Of course, any hypothetical trade scenarios could be complicated yet further by the fact that many of the team’s veterans have limited or full no-trade protection.
- In a seemingly rare bit of good news after a pitcher travels to see Dr. James Andrews, Marlins reliever Carter Capps will forego surgery in favor of rest and rehabilitation, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. An extended delay is still in the cards, as Capps will be shut down for at least a month. He was originally placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 26, but has since been transferred to the 60-day DL.
Dismissed Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens set off some controversy today when he told Michael Kay of ESPNNewYork.com (audio link) that, if Mets GM Sandy Alderson “could do everything he wants to do, they would have a winner here,” and suggested that the club’s ownership needs to “let the purse strings loose.” Of course, it is worth noting that Hudgens added that he has no personal information as to how the front office is run. For his part, Alderson said that payroll was not the problem in New York, as Marc Carig of Newsday tweets.
Here’s more from the Mets and the rest of the NL East:
- The Mets received good news on top prospect arm Noah Syndergaard, whose MRI results were negative. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets, Alderson said that Syndergaard is “essentially fine.” Certainly, a prolonged absence for Syndergaard would have dealt another tough blow to the club’s timeline for putting a competitive MLB club on the field.
- Darin Ruf started in place of Ryan Howard against a lefty today for the Phillies, which could potentially be the beginning of a platoon, reports Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard has struggled mightily against same-handed pitchers over the course of the season, with a 41.7% strikeout rate and 73 wRC+. When asked if Ruf might keep seeing time against lefties, manager Ryne Sandberg responded: “Yeah, if it happens to work. It’s an opportunity to have a lineup like that, and if it produces that becomes an opportunity … to possible get some consistency with the offense against right-handed and left-handed pitching.” Howard, of course, is earning $25MM this year and is still promised an additional $60MM over 2015-17.
- Meanwhile, Phillies‘ international signee Miguel Gonzalez has experienced a case of dead arm and will be checked out by the team’s top physician, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gonzalez, 27, had been working on a rehab assignment at High-A, where he had allowed seven earned runs (on three strikeouts and nine walks) over 9 1/3 innings. “Hopefully, it’s nothing serious,” commented GM Ruben Amaro Jr. As Gelb implies, it looks increasingly unlikely that the club will get any major league production out of Gonzalez this year.
- The Marlins are hoping to avoid losing another pitcher to season-ending elbow surgery, as reliever Carter Capps will shut down and rehab an undisclosed elbow injury, reports Craig Davis of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. “He’ll be down for an extended period of time and start building back up, and see where we’re at,” said manager Mike Redmond. Capps, a hard-throwing 23-year-old righty, came to Miami in the Logan Morrison trade, and had tossed 12 innings of 3.00 ERA ball with an impressive 11.25 K/9 against just 2.25 BB/9. The injury situation is all the more difficult in light of the fact that the Fish surprisingly remain right in the thick of things in the NL East.
Morrison, 26, was a known trade candidate that was a near-lock to be traded at the Winter Meetings following the Marlins' signing of Garrett Jones to a two-year deal. The former top prospect has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion.
Morrison is under team control through the 2016 season and is projected to earn $1.7MM via arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Capps, 23, posted a 5.49 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 59 innings for the Mariners last season. Though his ERA is unsightly, Capps has averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in his brief big league career. xFIP pegs a fluky homer-to-flyball ratio (18.8 percent) and a .365 batting average on balls in play as the reason for Capps' woes, suggesting that an ERA of 3.53 would've been more representative of his work in 2013.
Capps will join a Marlins bullpen that is anchored by closer Steve Cishek, lefty setup man Mike Dunn and right-hander A.J. Ramos. He provides a cheaper alternative to the recently departed right-handers Chad Qualls (free agency) and Ryan Webb (non-tendered).
Morrison is the second bat reeled in by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik in the past hour, as the M's have also agreed to a one-year deal with Corey Hart. Should Morrison be able to rebound, he, Hart and recently inked Robinson Cano give the Mariners some added punch to their lineup. However, Hart and Morrison profile better as first basemen than outfielders, but one will now need to roam either right or left field at Safeco Field now that they're both in the fold.
The addition of these two bats calls into question the role of either Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak with the Mariners and could ensure that Kendrys Morales will need to find a new home this winter, which would net Seattle a draft pick.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.