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Chad Gaudin Rumors
Here’s the latest out of the NL West, with a focus on several injury situations and how they impact two expected division contenders:
- It’s no surprise to hear that the Dodgers rotation is thin at the back end, but as MLB.com’s Steve Bourbon writes, the recent bombing of Carlos Frias brings the matter into focus. (Of course, Mike Bolsinger remains a surprising success story thus far.) While bigger moves are probably still months away, the immediate need for depth is evident. Joe Wieland is one internal option, says Bourbon, while the club will also hope for continued progress from the rehabbing Erik Bedard and Brandon Beachy.
- While he has been more a swingman than a regular starter over most of his career, righty Chad Gaudin could also be a possibility for the Dodgers as a spot starter or pen piece. As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, Gaudin is about a month away from beginning to throw after undergoing carpal tunnel release surgery on his pitching wrist.
- Another rehabbing starter, Josh Johnson of the Padres, is experiencing nerve issues in his neck and will put his throwing program on hold, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. The issue “doesn’t sound serious,” per Brock. Johnson has gone nearly two years since his last MLB appearance, and a scuffling San Diego outfit would surely welcome a chance to put a vintage JJ on the rubber.
- The Padres are also hoping for a return from Brandon Morrow, who was pitching well before shoulder issues put him down. Brock says that Morrow is set to throw a sim game later this week. It seems that Morrow is on track with his recovery, though he surely still has a number of boxes to check before returning to action.
- Of even greater concern for the Padres, in the long run at least, is the status of Wil Myers and his injured left wrist. As Brock reports, Myers has yet to be cleared to take swings and will obviously not be ready to come off the DL when first eligible tomorrow. Instead, he is headed back for another look at the wrist to see how it is healing.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- The MLB.com transactions page lists a few new minor league deals. Infielder Cody Ransom has joined the Diamondbacks after spending some time in Japan last year. Ransom, 39, has seen action in eleven big league seasons, though he has broken the 100 plate appearance barrier only twice — in 2012-13, oddly enough. Ransom played well in that late-career run, putting up 505 plate appearances with a .207/.301/.414 slash and twenty home runs over those two seasons.
- The Padres signed utilityman Mike McCoy. Now 33, McCoy has yet to pass the 400 plate appearance barrier at the big league level and has struggled at Triple-A in the last two seasons, but does have a better prior track record.
- Catcher Robinzon Diaz, 31, is joining the Brewers on a minor league deal. Diaz last saw MLB action back in 2008-09 and has bounced around the upper minors since. In parts of eight seasons at Triple-A, Diaz has slashed .278/.305.387.
- The Dodgers will sign right-hander Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal, and he will be a non-roster invitee to Major League Spring Training, tweets MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. The 31-year-old Gaudin sat out the 2014 season as he recovered from neck surgery but was quite good with the 2013 Giants, working to a 3.06 ERA (with a 3.34 FIP and 4.00 xFIP) in 97 innings. Gaudin has experience as both a starter and a reliever in parts of 11 Major League seasons — the bulk of which have come with the Athletics. He has a lifetime 4.44 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 42.4 percent ground-ball rate in 836 1/3 Major League innings. Gaudin also worked out for the division-rival Diamondbacks recently.
Three more Cuban players — first baseman Lazaro Alonso, infielder/outfielder Osniel Madera, and catcher Yoel Rojas — have left the country, reports Baseball America’s Ben Badler. The 19-year-old Alonso and the 29-year-old Madera should draw interest from MLB teams, according to Badler. Alonso was hitting .299/.436/.494 in 110 plate appearances with more walks (20) than strikeouts (19) at the time he defected. Madera has played both corner outfield positions as well as third base and second base in his career, and he was hitting .319/.390/.469 in 187 PA this season.
Some more notes from around the league…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at the Padres‘ offseason and wonders if the team has added star power while sacrificing the cohesion that is typically necessary to for a roster to succeed. Though the team has right-handed power in spades, the Padres lean far too much to the right, with only two left-handed bats projected in their lineup, neither of whom brings much with the bat (Alexi Amarista and Yonder Alonso). The team also lacks a logical lead-off hitter and will field not just a questionable outfield defense but also take a significant step back in pitch-framing, going from a combo of Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera to Derek Norris and a yet-undetermined backup. So much focus has been placed on San Diego’s remade offense, Sherman writes, that few have pointed out the fact that the Padres also allowed their fewest runs ever in 2014 — a feat that won’t likely repeat given the factors laid out here.
- Designated hitter/outfielder Luke Scott worked out for clubs in southern California last week, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted. The former Orioles/Astros/Rays slugger spent some time in the Korea Baseball Organization last year and enjoyed success in 130 plate appearances, hitting .267/.392/.505. Scott, 36, is a career .258/.340/.481 hitter and is eyeing a return to the Majors. While a minor league deal is almost certainly all that would be in the cards at this stage, he’s always shown respectable power and could be a reasonable add for a team looking for some left-handed pop off the bench.
- Outfielder Andy Dirks, who signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays this offseason, will report to the team’s minor league Spring Training camp instead of Major League camp, writes Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi (the Dirks note gets a brief mention at the bottom of the story). Dirks, who missed all of 2014 recovering from back surgery, is still rehabbing and has again been delayed in his recovery. A healthy Dirks could be a nice addition to the Toronto bench, as he’s an able defender in left field and a lifetime .276/.332/.413 hitter.
- In similar fashion, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes at the end of an article on Addison Reed that the D-Backs watched right-hander Chad Gaudin throw a bullpen session last week. The 31-year-old Gaudin didn’t pitch in 2014 as he recovered from neck surgery, though the swingman has a career 4.44 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 42.4 percent ground-ball rate. Gaudin’s last big league action came with the 2013 Giants, and he pitched quite well, notching a 3.06 ERA (3.34 FIP, 4.00 xFIP) in 97 innings. He made a dozen starts and 18 relief appearances that season. GM Dave Stewart tells Piecoro that Gaudin is a consideration in the team’s search for pitching depth.
In case you missed it from Friday, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark provided an interesting look at the views of 23 MLB executives on the still-concluding off-season. Intervening events already have impacted some of the conclusions (and will continue to do so), but the piece is chock full of interesting observations nonetheless. Among them: whether or not the money was all wisely spent, the voters say that the Yankees are the most improved team in the American League. A comparatively quiet off-season from the National League left the Nationals as the most improved club on that side (largely on the back of the Doug Fister trade), with the Padres a somewhat surprising choice for the second slot. As for least improved, the Orioles and Blue Jays top the list on the AL side, though Baltimore has already made an off-season altering move and Toronto still could. (The Tigers came in third.) The Reds and Pirates pulled up the rear among National League teams. After the Fister deal (an "all-time heist," as Stark summed up the collective viewpoint), voters liked the Rays' trade for Ryan Hanigan and the Athletics' acquisition of Jim Johnson.
Here are notes on some other free agent situations around the game …
- Last we checked in with lefty Barry Zito, it was to learn that his option was being declined by the Giants. The reason, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, is that Zito has apparently not done anything to pursue a contract. Though he is not necessarily hanging up his spikes for good, says Heyman, the 36-year-old will seemingly not pitch in 2014.
- Southpaw Oliver Perez is considering offers from four clubs, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. A decision is expected in short order.
- Swingman Chad Gaudin tweeted today that he is in line for surgery and expects to be at 100% in three months. Gaudin, was recently released by the Phillies when he failed his physical, did not disclose details of his malady.
- Outfielder Tyler Colvin could still end up with the Orioles, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Baltimore somewhat infamously blew up its contract with the 28-year-old after he failed his physical.
- A.J. Burnett was mistaken when he said that the Orioles did not express much interest in him, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). In fact, says Rosenthal, Baltimore made multiple offers but Burnett wanted to pitch in the National League.
The Phillies released righty Chad Gaudin this morning when he failed his physical, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The 30-year-old swingman signed a minor league deal with a MLB Spring Training invitation back in January, and had been expected to provide a solid pen and rotation depth option. Instead, the Reynolds Sports Management client will return to the open market.
Depending upon the issues that led to the failed physical, Gaudin should still find takers for his services. He put up appealing numbers last year with the Giants. Throwing in his age-30 season, Gaudin put up a 3.06 ERA in 97 innings (including 12 starts). He reached those marks with 8.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 38.4 percent ground-ball rate.
Gaudin has extensive experience working from the rotation and the pen: he made 34 starts with the A's in 2007 and has thrown the first pitch in 87 of his 344 career outings. His career 4.44 ERA does not reflect a significant difference in performance between the two roles: he has allowed a 4.56 ERA and .762 OPS as a starter, and a 4.30 ERA and .776 OPS as a reliever.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to comment on the details, but told reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that the club was disappointed to have to let Gaudin go. "It hurts," said Amaro. "Obviously the roles he can fill as a long guy, a guy who can sit for 10 days and not pitch and then pitch as a starter, all of those things you like to have a veteran guy to be able to do. We have to find out of that guy is in our camp."
12:44pm: Gaudin will earn $750K if he makes the roster with the Phillies, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
9:24am: The Phillies have signed right-hander Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal with an invite to big league Spring Training, the team announced via press release.
Gaudin, a Reynolds Sports Management client, was excellent for the Giants in his age-30 campaign last season. The former 34th-round draft pick totaled 97 innings of 3.06 ERA ball with 8.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 38.4 percent ground-ball rate with San Francisco. Gaudin appeared in 30 games and made 12 starts last year — his first action as a starter since 2009.
Throughout his career, Gaudin has served as both a starter and reliever. He made a league-leading 34 starts with the A's in 2007, and 87 of his 344 career outings have been starts. Gaudin can serve as rotation depth for Philadelphia should Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez end up needing some minor league seasoning or in the event that their signing of Roberto Hernandez doesn't pan out. If the Phils' rotation holds as projected, Gaudin should be able to provide a boost to a relief corps that posted baseball's fourth-worst collective ERA in 2013 (4.19).
With the signings of Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds to minor league deals, the Brewers seem likely to spend roster spots on both of the veterans. "[First base] is a position where we may have to mix and match with Overbay, Reynolds, Juan Francisco," GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. "We've got numbers now to work with and guys can come into camp and be competitive. … I didn't think we'd be able to sign both Reynolds and Overbay, but sometimes the situation with two guys doing it, you might get some production."
Let's have a look at some notes on a few other free agents who are likely to end up with one-year or minor league deals:
- The Phillies are not pursuing Jerome Williams at present in spite of prior interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Philadelphia does, however, have an offer out to a swingman whose identity is not presently known, according to Cotillo. (Twitter links.)
- About a half-dozen teams are "in on" pitcher Chad Gaudin, who is expected to reach agreement soon, reports Cotillo (via Twitter). Last we checked in on Gaudin, the Phils were being floated as a possible landing spot.
- Red Sox scouts actually were in attendance to watch infielder Chone Figgins work out last week, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo had recently reported to the contrary. The 35-year-old signed with the Marlins last spring, but did not make it out of camp with the organization.
- Righty Brett Tomko, who is reportedly on the comeback trail at age 40, will throw for the Orioles on Friday, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. As MLBTR's Zach Links noted on Twitter, Tomko has received interest from multiple clubs and is said to be throwing in the low-90s.
After signing Ronny Cedeno to a minor league deal earlier today, the Phillies are weighing several other depth signings, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. An outfielder, left-handed bat, and starting and relief pitching are all being eyed by GM Ruben Amaro Jr., according to the report.
The club has considered bringing in veteran Lyle Overbay to add left-handed power, says Salisbury. In 486 plate appearances last season for the Yankees, appearing mostly at first, Overbay registered a .240/.295/.393 line and knocked 14 home runs, though he also struck out 111 times.
The Phils are also keen to add arms. "We're looking to add pitching depth in the bullpen and rotation, still trolling," said Amaro. "They'd likely be non-roster guys." Salisbury reports that Philadelphia has "kept tabs" on former closer Ryan Madson, and may decide to give him a look this spring. Madson has yet to throw a big league inning for another franchise due to elbow issues, though he has earned over $9MM from other clubs during the last two seasons.
Another name that could be under consideration, according to Salisbury, is Chad Gaudin. The well-traveled 30-year-old, who has appeared for nine MLB teams over eleven seasons, put up a 3.06 ERA in 97 innings last year for the Giants. His primary attractieness to Philly would be his ability to work as a starter or out of the pen.
Here are a few quick notes from around the East divisions:
- The Orioles have not had discussions with Scott Boras about contract extensions for either Matt Wieters or Chris Davis, CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff tweets.
- The Orioles are interested in finding another starting pitcher, and they've shown interest in free agent Chad Gaudin, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman understands Robinson Cano's decision to leave the Bombers for the Mariners, writes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. "It just comes down to, if the numbers are right, he had 240 million reasons why he should go to Seattle," Cashman says. "And if I was him, I would have done the same thing."
- The Mets talked to Paul Maholm's agent, but they are not expected to sign the veteran lefty, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
4:22pm: There's mutual interest between Morse and the Astros, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
4:10pm: MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros are interested in outfielder/first baseman/DH Mike Morse as well as right-handers Jesse Crain and Chad Gaudin. Additionally, according to McTaggart, right-hander Jose Veras would like to return to the Astros after being traded to Detroit in July and having his club option declined following the season.
Morse battled significant injuries in 2013 en route to a career-worst .215/.270/.381 batting line with 13 homers between the Mariners and Orioles. He's quite familiar with Astros manager Bo Porter, who was the Nationals' third base coach from 2010-12 when Morse posted a strong .296/.345/.516 batting line with 64 homers in 1298 plate appearances.
Crain, who attended college in Houston, missed the final three months of the 2013 season after posting a historic scoreless streak. The 32-year-old allowed just three earned runs in 36 2/3 innings for the White Sox, averaging 11.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 en route to a pristine 0.74 ERA. Gaudin posted a strong 3.06 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 97 innings for the Giants, serving as both a reliever and a starter. Based on McTaggart's report, Houston seems to like him as a reliever.
Veras, who spent the first four months of the 2013 season as Houston's closer, he offered high praise for the Astros organization:
"It feels like family there. It’s a young team and they’re hungry to win. I feel part of the team. I doesn’t mater to me if we won or lose. When you play as a team and everybody cares, that’s the best part for me."
Veras posted a 3.02 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings between the Astros and Tigers, collecting a career-high 21 saves along the way.