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The Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA have been working on “clarification” of the rule preventing collisions at home plate, sources tell ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The two sides hope any uncertainty concerning how catchers can block the plate can be cleared up before any pennant races or postseason games are impacted, though rulings in several games earlier this year have already left many managers and players confused.
Here’s some more from around baseball as we kick off the week…
- The Royals will place right-hander Blake Wood on waivers tomorrow, MLBTR’s Zach Links reports (Twitter link). Wood was designated for assignment last week.
- Evan Gattis has been a big part of the Braves‘ lineup, but the catcher’s defensive limitations could see the club trade him to an AL team, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes (AJC subscription required). Gattis could be better served by a regular DH role, while the Braves could trade him for a long-term outfield solution given that Justin Upton and Jason Heyward are both only signed through 2015. Gattis played some left field himself in 2013, though he was a defensive liability there as well.
- It doesn’t seem likely that the 2015 Cubs rotation will feature both Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers writes. The Cubs may be stuck with Jackson due to his contract, though Wood is only on a one-year, $3.9MM deal (with two years of arbitration eligibility left). Wood has a 5.15 ERA in 162 2/3 IP this season and could be a non-tender candidate, though he still has some value as an innings-eater.
- The White Sox have some holes to fill in the rotation, bullpen and lineup, yet Grantland’s Jonah Keri sees them as a possible sleeper team for 2015. The Sox have lots of payroll space to address those issues and build around their core of Jose Abreu, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Adam Eaton.
- A veteran player suggests to ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) that players who fail two PED tests should be limited to one-year contracts for the remainder of their career. This would be a deterrent against players with one suspension on their record potentially using PEDs again in the hopes of scoring a big multiyear deal. As the veteran put it, “If I was someone who had been suspended before, why wouldn’t I use again? If you’ve robbed a bank before and you see that you could again and still walk away with millions, why wouldn’t you?“
- Also from Olney, he feels the Rockies have “an easy decision” to decline Brett Anderson‘s $12MM option for 2015, as the team can’t afford to commit that much payroll space to a pitcher with Anderson’s injury history. This would likely end Anderson’s tenure in Colorado, as Olney notes he wouldn’t accept a cheaper one-year deal from the Rockies when he could rebuild his value elsewhere in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark.
- Several key members of the Giants and Tigers hail from Venezuela, and FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi looks at how both teams approach scouting and development in the country.
The fate of Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson will likely be decided by the next GM, writes Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Five candidates have already been confirmed and Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa expects to personally interview about ten before narrowing the list. La Russa “tried to put together a list that has a nice cross-section of talents.” It will be interesting to see which skill set Arizona chooses to complement La Russa.
- Also from Piecoro’s piece, the Diamondbacks hope to retain former GM Kevin Towers to oversee their scouting department. La Russa wishes to bolster both facets of the organization. He mentioned the possibility of hiring either an entry level or established analyst.
- Much has been made of the Phillies aging roster, although Chase Utley has done his part to contribute. Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders how long Utley can withstand the daily grind of the season. The 35-year-old has contributed a fine season including a .277/.346/.419 line. With Utley possibly under contract through 2018 (he has three vesting options), his presence could be an important stabilizing component of the club’s rebuilding effort.
- Many speculated that the White Sox would call up first round draft pick Carlos Rodon this September, but the club decided to forego promoting the youngster. Chicago pitching coordinator Curt Hasler says Rodon has all the stuff necessary to succeed, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Hasler cites a plus fastball, slider, and change. Rodon does need to work on his command, as evidenced by his 4.7 BB/9 in 24 and 2/3 minor league innings.
There could finally be some movement on the new ballpark front for the Rays, according to a report from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times. A deal is in the works between the team and the city of St. Petersburg that would enable exploration of possible stadium sites. Any resolution would appear to be a long way off, but Romano explains that this is an important first step towards the sides working together on the matter.
Here are a few more notes from around the American League:
- Newly-acquired Athletics DH Adam Dunn continued to walk back from the notion that he was set on retirement, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter. “Obviously, things have changed now,” he said. “I owe it to myself to put that on the back burner for at least a couple months.”
- Though the White Sox considered a call-up for recent first-rounder Carlos Rodon, the club ultimately decided against the promotion. But GM Rich Hahn tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter) that, given “how far along [Rodon] is,” he “fully expect[s] him to come to big league camp next year and compete for a spot on the 2015 White Sox.”
- The moves to acquire soon-to-be free agents Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew were obviously designed to bolster the Yankees‘ chances this year, but had a side benefit looking forward, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. In the cases of the former two players, says Feinsand, the brief audition has shown both sides that a longer commitment could be beneficial. As for Drew, his poor showing since heading to New York now makes him an unlikely candidate to take over for Derek Jeter at short in 2015, according to Feinsand.
The balance of power in the AL West has swung heavily in the Angels’ direction after the Halos completed a four-game sweep of the Athletics on Sunday. Los Angeles now own both baseball’s best record (83-53) and a five-game lead over the struggling A’s, who are looking for answers after an 12-17 August. Oakland is still on track to reach the postseason, as they hold a four-game lead in the AL wild card race.
Here’s the latest from around the AL West…
- The A’s will cover $1MM of the roughly $2.3MM remaining on Adam Dunn‘s 2014 salary, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Oakland’s willingness to take on this much of Dunn’s salary was part of the reason why the A’s were able to acquire the slugger. The Giants, Dodgers and at least one other team were also reportedly talking to the White Sox about a Dunn trade.
- Astros manager Bo Porter tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila that his relationship with Houston’s front office “is what he expected coming in,” which seems to counter recent rumors of tension between Porter and GM Jeff Luhnow. “My staff and I take all the information from our baseball ops and use it to the best of our ability. Every last component of that is needed to be successful,” Porter said.
- Also from Laurila’s piece, 37-year-old lefty Joe Beimel not only has no plans to retire, his 12-year career might only be half-over. “I plan on pitching until I’m at least 50….I don’t see any reason I can’t do what Jamie Moyer did,” Beimel said. “He was starting games at 49 years old and getting guys out with 80 mph. I’m not down that low yet and I figure if he could go six, seven innings, I could at least come in and get one or two guys out.” After missing 2012 and 2013 due to Tommy John surgery, Beimel is enjoying a nice comeback year out of the Mariners‘ bullpen. The veteran southpaw has a 2.03 ERA, 5.2 K/9 and 1.92 K/BB ratio in 40 innings, and he’s held left-handed batters to only a .480 OPS.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.
- The White Sox purchased the contracts of first baseman Andy Wilkins and left-handed pitcher Scott Snodgress prior to today’s game, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Wilkins, 25, takes the place of Adam Dunn, who was traded earlier today. Wilkins hit 30 home runs at Triple-A with a .293/.338/.558 line. Snodgress, 24, made 21 starts at the Double-A level before appearing eight times as a reliever in Triple-A. He has a 4.01 ERA on the season with 6.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
- The Giants have purchased the contracts of Chris Dominguez and Guillermo Quiroz, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Dominguez is a 27-year-old third baseman. He hit .274/.307/.460 for the Giants Triple-A affiliate with 21 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Quiroz, 32, is a long time back up catcher. He’s appeared with six different clubs and 2014 will mark his tenth season with major league action – assuming he gets into a game. Quiroz also 95 plate appearances for the Giants last season.
- The Royals selected the contract of outfielder Terrance Gore and optioned him from Triple-A to Double-A, the team announced via press release. Gore isn’t on any prospect lists, but he has been useful as a base running threat. In the minors, he has 47 steals on the season despite only 313 plate appearances. Ostensibly, he’ll be summoned to Kansas City to serve as a pinch runner.
- In the same press release, the Royals indicated they will select the contract of left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan. He will be the first 2014 draft pick to reach the majors. Since signing, Finnegan has thrown 27 innings with strong peripherals. The club had him tabbed for about 45 to 50 innings, tweets Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star.
- The Tigers have selected the contract of catcher James McCann, MLive.com’s Chris Iott tweets. The 24-year-old McCann will be among the Tigers’ September call-ups after hitting .295/.343/.427 in 460 plate appearances for Triple-A Toledo this season.
- The Twins have outrighted pitcher Edgar Ibarra and assigned him to Double-A New Britain, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger tweets. Ibarra, 25, has pitched 61 innings of relief in a season split between New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, posting a 4.13 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
- The Mets have announced that they’ve selected the contract of lefty Dario Alvarez. They’ll also promote catcher Juan Centeno, who will join Alvarez as a September call-up. Alvarez, 25, hasn’t played above the Double-A level, but he’s had a dominating season with three Mets affiliates, with a 1.10 ERA, 14.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 73 innings, mostly in relief.
- The Tigers have announced that they’ve outrighted pitcher Justin Miller, who they designated for assignment earlier this week. Miller has pitched 12 1/3 innings in relief for the Tigers this season and has had a good season in the bullpen at Triple-A Toledo, posting a 1.81 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 there.
- The Tigers have also outrighted reliever Jose Ortega, according to the International League transactions page. They designated him for assignment on Friday. The righty has spent most of the season with Triple-A Toledo, posting a 3.70 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 5.8 BB/9.
Molina, 25, was a top prospect in the Blue Jays system before they traded him to the White Sox for Sergio Santos (who, coincidentally, was designated for assignment earlier this week) following the 2011 season. Since then, Molina has struggled — his numbers took a big step backward in 2012 at Double-A, and he’s had injury troubles with his elbow and shoulder. This season, he’s posted a 4.65 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 60 innings of relief at Birmingham.
3:08pm: The Athletics will pay just $1MM of the $2.3MM remaining on Dunn’s contract, Slusser tweets.
10:45am: Dunn will join the A’s tomorrow, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
10:38am: The A’s have acquired Adam Dunn from the White Sox in exchange for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn, the team announced. Though the A’s were on his limited no-trade clause, word broke this morning that Dunn, who has never played in the postseason, was willing to waive that clause in order for a chance to win.
Dunn, 34, is hitting .220/.340/.433 with 20 homers on the season, and his numbers against right-handed pitchers are even better: .232/.357/.457 with 18 homers. The hope for the A’s is that adding some left-handed pop can help to spark an offense that has gone dormant in the month of August. Though the A’s still lead the Majors in total runs scored, they’re hitting just .248/.324/.394 this month and they’re tied with the Phillies for 20th in runs scored this month at 102. Many fans attribute those struggles to the decision to trade Yoenis Cespedes, and in Dunn, Oakland will receive a hitter whose wRC+ of 114 is similar to the 113 mark posted by Cespedes.
Those offensive struggles for the A’s have been a significant factor in the team’s fall from atop the American League West. They’ve had a particularly difficult time scoring runs against the now-division-leading Angels, as Anaheim has outscored the A’s by a score of 10 to three thus far in their four-game series. Oakland has been shut out in each of the past two contests against the Halos and has fallen to four games back in the division. They are still, however, in position to finish as one of the Wild Card winners.
John Jaso has served as Oakland’s left-handed DH quite a bit this season, but the A’s recently placed Jaso on the seven-day disabled list due to concussion-like symptoms, and they’ve been mixing and matching with Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp, Derek Norris and Gomes of late. Crisp, however, has recently re-strained his neck, which could lead to more outfield time for Moss, especially if Crisp is out for a significant amount of time.
Dunn is earning $15MM in the final season of a four-year, $56MM pact with the White Sox, meaning he is owed about $2.54MM for the month of September. Presumably, that salary commitment and Dunn’s well-documented defensive limitations allowed him to clear waivers. This marks the fourth significant trade of the summer for the A’s, who have acquired Sam Fuld, Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in other deals.
In Sanburn, the Sox will acquire a right-hander that ranked 12th on MLB.com’s midseason list of top 20 Athletics prospects. The 23-year-old was Oakland’s second-round pick back in 2012 and has pitched to a 3.28 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 71 1/3 relief innings at Class-A Advanced this season. He’s finished 23 games and picked up six saves in his time at Stockton.
Sanburn has been plagued by some shoulder issues, but he also has less mileage on his arm than many pitching prospects due to the fact that he was an outfielder in college and for part of his time in college at Arkansas. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com note in their free scouting report that Sanburn touched 99 mph in college and offers a curveball with good depth as well. The MLB.com duo notes that Sanburn has a promising slider and changeup as well, but concerns over his durability have led to a bullpen role this season in Oakland.
Tom Verducci of SI.com first reported that the A’s were pursuing Dunn. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the A’s were the front-runners to land him and that Dunn would waive his no-trade clause. ESPN’s Buster Olney first tweeted that the A’s were closing in on a deal for Dunn.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
9:30am: The A’s are closing in on a trade for Dunn, Olney tweets.
9:00am: The Giants are no longer a potential landing spot for Dunn, according to Olney (Twitter link).
8:45am: Rosenthal tweets that the A’s are the front-runners to acquire Dunn, who is willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade to Oakland.
8:34am: The Giants, A’s and one other club are pursuing Dunn, Rosenthal further reports (Twitter links). Oakland is indeed on Dunn’s no-trade list, but Dunn will consider allowing a trade for a chance to win in the postseason, he adds. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the Dodgers are still in discussion with the White Sox on Dunn (Twitter link).
8:31am: The Giants and A’s are both looking to make a late trade for White Sox slugger Adam Dunn, reports Tom Verducci of SI.com. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that there was a lot of chatter yesterday that Dunn could be moved in advance of the Sept. 1 deadline for postseason eligibility. Rosenthal also notes that Dunn has a limited no-trade clause, and while the teams on that list aren’t known, Oakland frequently finds itself listed on players’ no-trade clauses.
However, as Verducci notes, Dunn leads all active players in games played without a postseason appearance, and he’s also discussed the possibility of retiring after the season. With those factors in mind, it’s hard to imagine Dunn blocking a trade to a team with a good chance of providing him with the first playoff experience of his 14-year career.
Players acquired via trade after Aug. 31 are not eligible for their new team’s postseason roster, making today somewhat of a soft trade deadline (we of course have seen trades take place after Sept. 1). As such, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Dunn (and/or others) on the move, and the White Sox certainly aren’t averse to trading veterans, having just dealt Alejandro De Aza to the Orioles last night.
While there haven’t been reports on Dunn clearing revocable trade waivers, his $15MM salary and defensive limitations both make him a candidate to clear waivers. If that has happened, he’s free to be dealt to any team, and that would certainly seem to be the implication in Verducci’s article, as he notes that the Dodgers also inquired on Dunn but aren’t considered a fit. The “Big Donkey” is owed about $2.54MM in September, so Chicago GM Rick Hahn could sweeten a potential trade by offering to pay some or all of Dunn’s remaining salary.
Dunn hit his 20th homer of the season yesterday and has posted a .220/.340/.433 batting line on the season as a whole. His platoon issues have been building for years, and they’re very apparent in 2014, as he’s hitting just .154/.274/.288 with two homers against southpaws and .232/.351/.457 against righties. Dunn could be used as a bench bat for the Giants and perhaps a platoon option at DH for the A’s. Clearly, he could play a bigger role in Oakland than in San Francisco, and for what it’s worth, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that A’s GM Billy Beane has told him that he “loves” Dunn in the past.
The Orioles have announced that they’ve acquired left-handed outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox for minor league pitchers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar. Orioles executive Dan Duquette says (via MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko on Twitter) that De Aza had been available for a few weeks, which suggests he cleared waivers.
De Aza, 30, has hit .246/.312/.358 this season, with his power, in particular, taking a step backward — he hit a career-high 17 homers last year, but only has five this season, and his slugging percentage is off by about 50 points as compared to the last two years. He remains, however, a solid defender who can play all three outfield spots. He’s making $4.25MM this season in his second year of arbitration, and he can become eligible for free agency after 2015, although at least one executive has opined that De Aza could be a non-tender candidate after the season.
The Orioles already have a strong starting outfield of Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, but they can surely use De Aza as a backup. With Manny Machado‘s recent injury, sometime-outfielder Steve Pearce is needed more frequently in the infield, meaning the Orioles have playing time available for a fourth outfielder type. De Aza’s addition will probably also mean even less playing time for fellow lefty outfielder David Lough, who has struggled at the plate this season.
Even with the Orioles’ need to play Pearce more in the infield, they were fairly well stocked with outfielders, so De Aza represents more of a luxury than a need. It’s no surprise, then, that they do not appear to have paid a high price to get him. Chalas, 22, has pitched most of the season with Class A+ Frederick, where he posted a 4.80 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 69 1/3 innings of relief. He has also appeared in two games for Triple-A Norfolk. Blackmar, also 22, has pitched 130 1/3 innings for Frederick, with a 3.18 ERA, 5.7 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, pitching mostly has a starter. MLB.com does not rank either of them in its list of the top 20 Orioles prospects.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.
- The Twins have selected the contract of lefty Aaron Thompson, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets. Thompson will take the roster spot vacated when the Twins lost Sam Deduno to the Astros’ waiver claim. Thompson, 27, posted a 3.98 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 52 innings this season at Triple-A Rochester. The former Marlins first-round draft pick appeared briefly in the big leagues with the Pirates in 2011.
- The White Sox have selected the contract of pitcher Chris Bassitt from Double-A Birmingham, Fred B. Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The White Sox also optioned Scott Carroll to Triple-A Charlotte and recalled pitcher Eric Surkamp. Bassitt will start the second game of Chicago’s doubleheader against the Tigers tonight (against another pitcher making his big-league debut, Kyle Ryan). The 25-year-old Bassitt has pitched well in 34 2/3 innings at Birmingham this year, posting a 1.56 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.