Charlie Furbush Rumors
4:37pm: Furbush's one-year deal is worth $750K, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
4:13pm: The Mariners have signed left-hander Charlie Furbush to a one-year deal, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns (on Twitter). Furbush isn't technically arbitration eligible at this point, but Ruben Tejada's pending grievance against the Mets could change that.
As was reported last month, an extra day of service time would give Tejada exactly three years of service time. Furbush would then have the next-most service time among players with two-plus years, pushing him into the top 22 percent and making him eligible for Super Two status.
The Mariners have therefore avoided any potential issues by agreeing to a deal with Furbush in advance of that move. The 27-year-old Furbush posted a 3.74 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 65 innings for the Mariners last season, holding opposing lefties to a meager .173/.266/.236 line along the way.
The issue stems from a late promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas in September. Las Vegas was eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs on September 7. The Mets waited to promote Tejada until September 10, and that left him with two years and 171 days of playing time. The Mets had promoted several players the previous day.
Another day of service time would have given Tejada three full years, thus potentially making him eligible for free agency after the 2016 season. As it stands, the earliest he can be eligible for free agency is after the 2017 season. He will, however, be arbitration-eligible this offseason as a Super Two player.
It is not uncommon for teams to time promotions based on service time considerations. Passan suggests, however, that they are not typically quite as obvious about it as the Mets were in Tejada's case.
If Tejada were to receive the extra day of service time, Passan writes, Charlie Furbush of the Mariners would become eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player. Super Two status is determined by a percentage of players with less than three years of service time, and Furbush would take Tejada's place among that group of players in such a scenario.
Tejada hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances for the Mets last season. He currently appears to be in line to start at shortstop in 2014, although the Mets could pursue other shortstops in the offseason.
OCTOBER 3rd: Galla tells MLBTR that a few roster moves since CAA's last projection have caused the cutoff to increase by one day to 2.122. That means Charlie Furbush will not be arbitration eligible, as he's one day short.
SEPTEMBER 5th: Back in April, we learned that based on the research of Ryan Galla of CAA Baseball, the projected Super Two cutoff after the 2013 season was two years and 119 days (written as 2.119). Now, Galla tells MLBTR that the projection as rosters sit is 2.121. Likely Super Two players such as Eric Hosmer, Brandon Belt, Steve Cishek, and Mike Minor remain unaffected by the change, but those two days matter quite a bit for players on the borderline. As we mentioned in April, Lance Lynn (2.119) and Felix Doubront (2.120) are very close to the projected cutoff. Should they fall short of Super Two status, their 2014 salaries will remain a bit above $500K, costing them millions.
Players with at least three but less than six years of Major League service are considered arbitration eligible. Additionally, a player with at least two years but less than three is eligible for arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and ranks in the top 22% in total service in the two-to-three class. The current collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect December 12th, 2011, raised that Super Two percentage from 17% to 22%. Bottom line: Super Two players are arbitration eligible four times instead of the usual three. MLBTR will have much more on each team's arbitration eligible players in the coming weeks, including Matt Swartz's salary projections.
Previous Super Two cutoffs:
- 2012: 2.139
- 2011: 2.146
- 2010: 2.122
- 2009: 2.139
ESPN's Jayson Stark quotes a number of executives who feel the trade deadline has lost its luster since many teams have locked up their top young players, teams are reluctant to acquire rental players who carry no draft pick compensation as free agents, and the second wild card has narrowed the market of outright sellers to just a few teams. That said, Stark still has lots of hot stove items for us in his latest Rumblings & Grumblings column...
- Ryan Braun's suspension could drastically change the Brewers' perspective on trading some veteran stars. While Francisco Rodriguez was indeed traded just a day after Braun's suspension was announced, Stark hears that the Brewers are asking for a lot in deals. "One of the problems with dealing with Milwaukee is that [their] trade for [Jean] Segura last year was so one-sided that they want another tilted deal. Not going to happen," an AL executive said.
- The price for Kyle Lohse, for instance, involves the price of a first-round pick. The Crew gave up as first-rounder as compensation for signing Lohse as a free agent in the spring.
- Three scouts who have recently seen Yovani Gallardo say he's been pitching like a fourth or fifth starter. Gallardo in his prime was "close to an ace. [But] lots of pitches on that arm from then to now. He can really pitch, but his stuff [has gone] way back," one scout said. Gallardo has a 4.58 ERA and a career-worst 7.2 K/9 in 21 starts this season, plus he's lost two miles of velocity off his fastball.
- We'd heard that the Yankees and Rangers had checked in on Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano, and Stark adds the Phillies and Giants to the list of a half-dozen interested teams. The Marlins weren't too keen on dealing Ruggiano but he could be expendable now that Christian Yellich and Jake Marisnick have been called up.
- The Phillies' next five games "will determine Michael Young's fate more than anyone else on their roster," said one executive who has talked to the club. Young is seen as "pretty much a lock" to be dealt if the Phils struggle during their road trip through St. Louis and Detroit this week. The Phillies dropped a 4-1 result to the Cardinals last night.
- Jonathan Papelbon hasn't been made available by the Phillies but even if he was, one AL executive thinks Papelbon's contract makes him "practically untradable."
- Stark thinks the Phillies and Marlins are good trade partners on paper since the Phils could use Ruggiano or any of Miami's good relievers. The Marlins aren't willing to move anyone unless they get a great offer, however, and the Phillies aren't willing to move any of their top prospects to facilitate a deal.
- The Nationals could listen on a good offer for Drew Storen, the former first-round pick who is struggling through a tough year. The Nats are in a tough spot trade-wise, however, since the team is largely set at every position yet are still in need of hitting.
- Alex Rios' long slump has lowered his trade value and the White Sox will be hard-pressed to find a team to meet their asking price for the right fielder. The Rangers still have some interest in Rios, as they're looking for an outfielder that can be controlled beyond this season.
- The Red Sox are seen as very likely to add pitching before the deadline. Boston has been linked to Jake Peavy and were interested in Francisco Rodriguez before the Orioles got him.
- The Braves have targeted Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush of the Mariners, Scott Downs of the Angels, Mike Dunn of the Marlins and James Russell of the Cubs in their search for left-handed relief pitching. While Atlanta has been looking at these names and others, however, Stark says the team isn't close to a deal.
- In regards to the Biogenesis scandal, Stark hears from an attorney who believes "virtually every case will be settled by a plea deal. You're going to see a lot of pleas. You're going to see a lot of deals."
Here's a look at the latest out of the AL West..
- Peter Gammons of MLB.com tweets that every General Manager he has spoken with says the Mariners are asking for "premier prospects" in exchange for lefty relievers Oliver Perez, Charlie Furbush and Brian Moran. We learned recently that Perez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Braves, and others.
- In his latest Scouts Corner column, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler cites an executive who suggests that the Astros' Bud Norris could be the next starting pitcher to be traded. "He's got good stuff. It's about the consistency of command. I think most contending teams will see him as a fourth starter. The problem is they're going to ask a lot for him," a scout tells Knobler. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote earlier tonight that the asking price is high for Norris as Houston is seeking two highly-rated prospects in return.
- An executive on the hunt for pitching tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Astros' Norris is basically one of three decent available starters right now. The others are the Cubs' Matt Garza and Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers. The asking price for all three is really high, according to the exec, which is consistent with what we've been hearing.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Here are a few trade notes from around the American League:
- As we approach the trade deadline with the Mariners looking more like sellers than buyers, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times took a look back at GM Jack Zduriencik's recent history at the deadline. Beginning with an ill-fated swap of a young Michael Morse for Ryan Langerhans and featuring the retrospectively painful Doug Fister deal, the net return to Seattle has not been terribly productive.
- This year, the Mariners could be in a position to deal some relievers. Last night, we took a look at FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's breakdown of potentially available NL relievers. Tonight, let's look at the AL crop. From the M's, Rosenthal says that veteran lefty Oliver Perez is the most likely to be dealt, with Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen also prime candidates. The latter two, however, will likely command a high price given that Furbush may just be reaching arbitration after this season as a Super Two, while Wilhelmsen will not reach arbitration until after the 2014 campaign.
- Rosenthal also pegs the White Sox and Astros as sellers with attractive bullpen pieces. Chicago could swing a trade for stud reliever Jesse Crain if he can return in time to prove his health; otherwise, both Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom could hold some appeal. (Both of the latter two pitchers come with club options for 2014.) For Houston, meanwhile, the prime trade chip among its relief corps is unquestionably closer Jose Veras, who is cheap, strikes out a lot of hitters, and has been solid in late-inning work this year.
- One other team that should look to the future, according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, is the Blue Jays. With the club again fading after its recent resurgence, Morosi says Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos faces a "virtually impossible" task to right the ship before the trade deadline. Rather than selling out for this season, says Morosi, the Jays should look to shore up the team's rotation to make a run in 2014 and 2015.
- Sticking with the Jays, Morosi says that Josh Johnson -- occasionally noted as a potential trade candidate earlier in the year -- has been "perhaps the team's greatest disappointment this year." Johnson currently carries a 4.89 ERA in 53 1/3 innings; his walk rate is below his career average at 3.4 BB/9, though he is striking batters out at a strong 9.1 K/9 clip. At this point, Morosi suggests, Toronto may be best served by shipping Johnson back to the National League rather than looking to try and bring him back next year.
The Tigers opened the 2011 season with a rotation that consisted of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and Brad Penny. With the non-Verlanders of that group (particularly Coke and Penny) underperforming, the team sought help for the back end of the rotation in July.
They got that help by acquiring Doug Fister (and reliever David Pauley) from the Mariners in exchange for four players: 20-year-old third baseman Francisco Martinez, 26-year-old outfielder Casper Wells, 25-year-old southpaw Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later that would be 22-year-old right-hander Chance Ruffin.
It's hard to believe that the Tigers, Mariners or even Fister himself were prepared for the results of this trade, so let's look at it on a player-by-player level...
The Major League Side
- Doug Fister: Fister was 27 at the time of the trade and had less than two years of Major League service time. He'd been solid but not spectacular in his brief career, as he was the owner of a 3.81 ERA, 5.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 378 innings for the Mariners. He was in the midst of his best season when he was dealt, having pitched to a 3.33 ERA in 146 1/3 innings. Fister channeled his inner Greg Maddux upon arriving in Detroit though, allowing just 14 earned runs with a 57-to-5 K/BB ratio in 70 1/3 innings for the AL Central champs. He's significantly upped his strikeout rate in Detroit, and all told he's given them 232 innings of 2.95 ERA ball with a 7.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. Fangraphs pegs Fister's tenure in Detroit at a whopping 5.8 wins above replacement. He's under control for another three seasons and is set to earn $4MM this year after being eligible for arbitration for the first time this past winter.
- David Pauley: Pauley is perhaps the forgotten man in this trade, although there's probably a reason for that. The right-hander threw just 19 2/3 innings for the Tigers after the trade, allowing 10 runs on 26 hits and six walks with just 10 strikeouts. Pauley was ulimately released by the Tigers the following spring and appeared in just 16 2/3 innings for the Angels and Blue Jays last year.
- Charlie Furbush: Furbush floundered in Seattle's rotation in 2011, posting a 6.62 ERA in 10 starts. He thrived when moved to a bullpen role in 2012, however, thanks in large part to trading his curveball-changeup mix for a devastating slider to complement his heater. A triceps strain cost him a month of action last season, but when he was healthy he dominated lefties (.404 OPS) and held right-handed hitters in check as well (.637 OPS). Furbush can be a key bullpen piece in Seattle for a long time; he's not eligible for arbitration until the 2014-15 offseason, and he's under team control through 2017.
- Casper Wells: Wells brought a good amount of power and some excellent defense to the Mariners. He clubbed 17 homers in addition to a .225/.304/.406 batting line (102 OPS+) and was eight runs above average in 893 innings for Seattle, per The Fielding Bible. Wells is capable of handling all three outfield positions, but the Mariners made the questionable decision to designate him for assignment last week to give Jason Bay a chance.
The Prospect Side
- Francisco Martinez: Martinez was ranked as the Tigers' No. 4 prospect heading into the 2011 season, per Baseball America. He had reached Double-A at just 20 years of age -- a rare feat that was a testament to the "live-bodied, athletic" label that BA slapped on him. He hit .310/.326/.481 for the Mariners' Double-A affiliate in 2011 following the trade, prompting BA to rank him as the team's No. 6 prospect entering 2012. BA praised his bat speed, stating that he "all the raw tools to fit the profile of an everyday third baseman, with the added bonus of plus speed." Martinez took a huge step backward in 2012, however, hitting just .227/.315/.295 in his second Double-A stint. He's dropped to No. 22 on BA's list of Top 30 Mariners prospects and No. 19 according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Mariners tried Martinez in center field for 15 games in 2012 because of his plus speed, and Mayo notes that he'll play there exclusively in 2013. Mayo also points out that despite Martinez's struggles in 2012, he did improve his plate discipline -- an area in which he'd previously struggled. He'll repeat Double-A in 2013, which isn't as grim as it sounds when considering he just turned 22 in September.
- Chance Ruffin: Ruffin had to be included as a PTBNL because he had been selected by the Tigers in the 2010 draft (48th overall). He had entered the 2011 season as the Tigers' No. 7 prospect, per BA, and he carried the same designation with the Mariners into the 2012 season. Ruffin actually pitched 14 innings for Seattle in 2011 (3.86 ERA, 15-to-9 K/BB ratio) but reported to Triple-A in 2012. The results were ugly. The Texas alum posted a gruesome 5.99 ERA in 70 2/3 innings and saw his K/9 plummet from 11.1 to 6.9, while his BB/9 increased to 4.5. The brutal season was enough to drop him off Mayo's Top 20 list and knock him back to 27th on BA's Top 30 entering the 2013 season. BA cites erosion of his solid command in college and inconsitent mechanics as the reason for his downfall: "He lands on a stiff front leg and throws across his body, hurting his ability to locate his pitches where he wants. His long arm swing in the back and lower release point make it easy for lefthanders to pick up his pitches, and they hit .294/.348/.516 against him last year." The good news is that BA still likes his stuff, praising a 90-93 mph fastball that can touch 95 mph when needed and a plus slider with late break, which BA calls a true out pitch.
It's easy to see why the Tigers look like big winners in this trade, as the two key pieces of the deal for the Mariners have both taken large steps backward in their development. However, Martinez won't be 23 until September -- the same month in which Ruffin will turn 25 -- and the team does seem to have a solid bullpen piece already at the Major League level in Furbush. Martinez won't be at such a large age disadvantage in the Southern League this year, which could benefit his numbers. Ruffin will also open the season at Double-A as the Mariners plan to convert him to a starting pitcher (hat tip: Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune).
At the time of the trade, ESPN's Keith Law wrote that the Mariners did well to acquire such a strong package for Fister and Pauley, but clearly the scales have tipped in Detroit's favor. A rebound from Martinez or successful to transition to starting for Ruffin would make this trade look fair, but even if that happens I doubt you'll ever hear the Tigers or their fans complaining about the Doug Fister trade.
Baseball America's 2013 Prospect Handbook was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
A few notes from around the Majors as we wrap up a very busy Thursday...
- The Rangers are "not looking at anything major" in terms of further offseason moves, general manager Jon Daniels tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. If the club does make any additions, it will be bench depth or another candidate to fight for the fifth starter's job.
- Left-hander Charlie Furbush wasn't part of the package the Mariners offered to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports. The two teams had agreed on a package that included Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin and Stephen Pryor before Upton blocked the deal with his no-trade protection. Stone isn't sure if just those three were offered to Arizona or if another pitcher besides Furbush was also part of the proposed trade.
- Mike Aviles hasn't heard updates from his agent about his contract status with the Indians but tells MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that "as far as I know, everything is progressing and I don't see why it wouldn't be settled" before the two sides reach an arbitration hearing. Aviles is the Tribe's only remaining arb-eligible player who hasn't yet agreed to a deal. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker indicates that Aviles is looking for a $3.4MM contract while Cleveland is offering $2.4MM.
- Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse are still unsigned, which many attribute to the draft pick compensation tied to them as players who turned down qualifying offers from their former teams. Andrew Miller, the Red Sox MLBPA representative, told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that the two players' situations "clearly means more fine-tuning" is needed for the new free agency rules. "It's not an open market for these guys....It's just unfortunate that those guys can help teams but teams are hesitant to go after them because of a draft pick," Miller said.
- Center field has been the busiest position of the offseason, as MLB.com's Andrew Simon notes the large number of teams who have made changes in center this winter.
- The Royals don't have an out clause in their TV contract with FOX Sports Kansas City, Royals senior VP of business Kevin Uhlich tells Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star. The club's current broadcast deal runs through the 2019 season.
10:50pm: Taijuan Walker would have been the fourth player in the trade package to the D'Backs, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Walker, a 20-year-old right-hander, was ranked as the 20th-best prospect in the sport by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season, though he struggled pitching at the Double-A level last year.
7:40pm: The Mariners offered a four-player package to the D'Backs, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Arizona would have received Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and one of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton.
6:06 pm: Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton invoked his limited no-trade clause to reject an agreed-upon deal between the D'Backs and Mariners that would have sent Upton to Seattle, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The M's were prepared to give up "a package of young talent" in the trade, a return that Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has heard was "substantial" (Twitter link).
Though several teams have been linked to Upton over the last two seasons, the Mariners seem to be the first to propose a deal that has gotten the D'Backs to agree to move the 25-year-old outfielder. As Rosenthal/Morosi note, the trade rejection could be gamesmanship by either Upton or the D'Backs --- Upton could be trying to control where he ends up, or the Snakes are sending the message that if Upton wants to leave Arizona, his only option is Seattle. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs are the four teams on Upton's current no-trade list, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
It's been awfully quiet on the Pirates rumor front lately, but maybe that's just because the team's front office is keeping a lid on it. The latest:
- Talks between the Pirates and A's about Josh Willingham are finished, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The talks never intensified.
- The Pirates and A's are talking, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, as Oakland can fill the Pirates' need for a bat and a reliever.
- The Pirates inquired on Carlos Pena but sensed the Cubs weren't motivated to trade him, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. The Bucs are not sure that Pena's predecessor, Derrek Lee of the Orioles, is an upgrade for them. I think he would be.
- The Pirates had interest in lefty Charlie Furbush before the Tigers sent him to Seattle today, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.