Chicago White Sox Rumors
Matt Harvey posted a game score of 97 while taking a perfect game into the seventh, striking out 12, and walking none over nine innings against the White Sox Tuesday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports notes (on Twitter). Only 40 outings of nine innings or fewer since 1916 have earned a higher game score. Here's a collection of notes from around the majors.
- The nine Asian-born pitchers who have pitched in the big leagues this year have combined to post numbers similar to a typical Justin Verlander season, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says. Those nine pitchers have 241 1/3 innings pitched so far in 2013, with a 2.91 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Yu Darvish has been a big part of that, of course, but Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hiroki Kuroda, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have also pitched well. The past struggles of pitchers like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu have allowed today's Asian-born pitchers to fly under the radar somewhat, Cameron argues, and he wonders whether pitchers from overseas leagues might be undervalued in the market. Specifically, he says, emphasis on fastball velocity and breaking balls may cause teams to undervalue pitchers with great splitters or changeups.
- Free agency has become "a used car lot cluttered with lemons," with only a few bargains to be found, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated argues, citing the examples of Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves) and Zack Greinke (Dodgers). Thus far, Hamilton and Upton have failed to produce with their new teams, and Greinke is hurt. In the past four seasons, Verducci notes, there have been 24 free-agent contracts worth $35MM or more. Most of those have turned out badly, and some (such as Jason Bay's deal with the Mets) have looked bad almost immediately. That means that "win[ning] the winter" by signing the biggest-name free agents isn't all it's cracked up to be, as the 2012 Marlins can attest. This year's Angels and Dodgers have struggled out of the gate, and so have the Blue Jays (who had a big offseason mostly driven by trades).
- The Astros' decisions to designate Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez for assignment made their outfield more athletic, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says. Robbie Grossman, Brandon Barnes and Jimmy Paredes started in the outfield for the Astros Tuesday night. "We went out to get more athletic, get more guys who have the ability to mishit the ball and still have a possibility of getting on base because of their athletic ability," says manager Bo Porter.
- Will Middlebrooks and David Ross left the Red Sox's game against the Twins Tuesday night after they collided. There is no indication yes that Middlebrooks will miss significant time. But after Middlebrooks, the Red Sox have little depth at third base, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco "isn't the answer," MacPherson says, and the choices at Triple-A Pawtucket aren't thrilling. Minor-league veteran Justin Henry, who was acquired in the offseason for Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus, may be the best option there. Brock Holt, who arrived from the Pirates with Joel Hanrahan in the offseason, is another possibility. Of course, Middlebrooks himself has struggled this year, hitting just .195/.232/.281.
- Jake Peavy does not have a no-trade clause in his new contract with the White Sox, and he doesn't need one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "I told (GM) Rick Hahn that if he didn’t trade me before spring training was over, that was good enough for me," says Peavy, pointing out that it's unlikely he will be traded if the White Sox are contending.
- Rosenthal also notes that Madison Bumgarner's contract with the Giants could be one of the most team-friendly in baseball. Bumgarner, 23, would have been eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, but his new deal contains cheap team options that can allow the Giants to carry him through 2019.
- The Brewers have assigned Francisco Rodriguez to Class A+ Brevard County, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Rodriguez will make three relief appearances there, then head to Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers must promote Rodriguez to the majors by May 17, or he can become a free agent. Rodriguez posted a 4.38 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 78 appearances with the Brewers in 2012.
- Diamond Mines' new database provides a fascinating look at old scouting reports, including many in the scouts' own handwriting.
Today's minor moves:
- Infielder Josh Bell has been released by the White Sox, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). Bell, 26, was with the club's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte where he hit .273/.310/.345 in 58 plate appearances this season. He was the key player in the July 2009 trade that sent George Sherrill to the Dodgers.
- The Blue Jays released righty Trystan Magnuson, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Magnuson, a 27-year-old Canadian, struggled in his ten Double-A appearances this year. The 56th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Magnuson was traded to the Athletics in 2010 in the deal that brought Rajai Davis to Toronto. A year later, the Blue Jays bought Magnuson back from the A's.
- Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano was placed on the 15-day DL last night, reported MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, prompting the club to purchase the contract of infielder Nick Green from Triple-A. Henderson Alvarez was transferred to the 60-day DL in a corresponding move. Green, signed to a minor league deal in January, lost his 40-man roster spot last Thursday in favor of Matt Diaz but has already regained it.
- Four players currently reside in DFA limbo: Jonathan Sanchez of the Pirates, Kameron Loe of the Cubs, and Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez of the Astros.
The White Sox claimed first baseman Mike McDade off waivers from the Indians, according to the Tribe's official Twitter feed. They also announced outfielder Ezequiel Carrera cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. The White Sox made room for McDade on the 40-man roster by putting Gavin Floyd on the 60-day DL, adds Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
McDade, 24, had been designated for assignment by the Indians last Thursday to open a 40-man roster spot for Carrera, who was designated himself three days later. McDade has struggled in 83 Triple-A plate appearances this year. The Las Vegas native came up through the Blue Jays' system, hitting .285/.360/.445 with 19 home runs in 508 plate appearances across Double and Triple-A last year. Drafted by the Jays in the sixth round in '07, McDade never ranked among the Baseball America's top 30 prospects for the team in any season.
The Cubs designated reliever Kameron Loe for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for outfielder Ryan Sweeney, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. In related moves, the team optioned outfielder Dave Sappelt and promoted reliever Rafael Dolis. The Cubs now have six outfielders on the active roster: Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Julio Borbon, and Sweeney.
Loe, 31, made only seven appearances this year for the Cubs before losing his 40-man roster spot. The Cubs had claimed him off waivers from Seattle in mid-April upon that team's acquisition of Aaron Harang. Last year, Loe posted a 4.61 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.19 HR/9, and 57.3% groundball rate in 68 1/3 innings for the Brewers.
Sweeney was signed to a minor league deal by the Cubs on April 2nd after being released by the Red Sox. The 28-year-old hit .337/.396/.627 in 91 Triple-A plate appearances to earn a trip back to the Show. Sweeney knows Chicago well. He was drafted by the White Sox in the second round ten years ago, and began his career with the South Siders before being traded to Oakland in the 2008 Nick Swisher/Gio Gonzalez trade.
White Sox righty Gavin Floyd will undergo season-ending surgery tomorrow in New York to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his pitching elbow, announced the team today. The procedure has a 14-19 month recovery period, according to the press release.
Floyd, 30, may have thrown his last pitch for the White Sox. He's eligible for free agency after the season; the team exercised his $9.5MM club option last October. Floyd's expected recovery period is longer than the typical one for Tommy John surgery, presumably because of the torn flexor muscle from which he also must recover. It appears he'll be ready to pitch in mid-July of 2014 in the best case, with a chance of missing all of next season. Floyd, who is represented by Moye Sports Associates, seems in line for a one-year deal with a low base salary and perhaps a club option for 2015.
Floyd was drafted fourth overall by the Phillies in 2001 and after appearing in parts of three seasons with them was traded with Gio Gonzalez to the White Sox for Freddy Garcia in '06. Garcia made only 11 starts for the Phillies and Gonzalez never pitched in the Majors for the Sox, but Floyd pitched over 1,000 big league innings for Chicago over parts of seven seasons. From 2008-12, Floyd averaged 190 innings a year with a 4.12 ERA. He won 17 games with a 3.84 ERA in '08, leading to a four-year, $15.5MM contract that ultimately became a five-year, $25MM deal once the option was exercised.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it would be a shame if David Ortiz can't stay healthy given his level of production so far this year. Even as he seems locked in at the plate, he's not in perfect health. “I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball good,” the 37-year-old said. “I just keep going out there, seeing and hitting the ball. I’m keeping it simple right now. I’m not trying to do too much and the hits are falling. And some hits get taken away. I’m still not 100 percent down there [pointing to his legs].” Here's more from today's column..
- Right-hander Jake Peavy is on the disabled list again, but he’s going to be very much in demand before the trading deadline if the White Sox start selling off. “He’s a great fit for a team like [the Orioles],” said one National League GM. “They’re looking to add that veteran, battle-tested pitcher to really finish off their staff and that Peavy type would be ideal.” The only problem is that the money might deter them. Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be an ideal guy, but he too is pricey.
- Teams are still monitoring Javier Vazquez's recovery from knee surgery because he could be talked into pitching again and could be a solid mid-rotation starter. Vazquez was in winter ball and wanted to come back to the majors, but the knee issue seemed to put that to rest. For the right contract, however, he can have a change of heart.
- Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire doesn’t have a contract for next year, but he is earning one with Minnesota’s better-than-expected start. With the pitching staff performing well and the lineup exceeding expectations, don’t be surprised if he gets a mid-season extension.
- Hanley Ramirez is signed through 2014, so the Dodgers may eventually move Dee Gordon to second base, unless they feel they can sign Robinson Cano as a free agent after the season. The Dodgers are unlikely to pick up their $5.75MM option on Mark Ellis.
Here's a look at the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Chase Headley is probably going to be traded by the July 31st deadline. The Padres plan to spend the next two months determining whether they can lock up the third baseman long term, but there are two problems with that. For starters, Headley says he doesn't want to talk about a new deal during the season. Secondly, it would be surprising to see San Diego crack $100MM to keep him. Headley probably wants a better hitting environment and to play for a better team. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of teams that would like to add him as Rosenthal says there could be at least a dozen clubs in the market for a third baseman, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox.
- If Mike Napoli stays healthy and continues producing, the Red Sox first baseman will build his case for a multi-year deal in free agency. Of course, Boston reduced their three-year offer to Napoli to one-year after learning he had a condition in both hips. However, he's taking MRIs every three months to keep tabs on it and if the tests show that his condition is improved or stable, a team might be willing to extend a longer offer, especially since he's playing first base rather than catcher.
- Josh Johnson is the Blue Jays' most obvious trade candidate but if the season becomes a train wreck, they'll have the ability to move virtually any player. Jose Reyes is the only player signed beyond 2015 while most players on multi-year deals are signed at affordable prices and no one has a no-trade clause. Brandon Morrow might be an interesting name as the club has lots of young pitching coming. Of course, the Blue Jays have to fall out of things before considering such a move.
- It's bad enough for the Angels that shortstop Jean Segura is blossoming into a star elsewhere, but they've also traded away an entire rotation's worth of talent in recent years. The Halos sent Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs to Arizona for Dan Haren, Donn Roach to San Diego for Ernesto Frieri, and Johnny Hellweg to Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal. On top of that, the Angels weakened their farm system by giving up their first and second round picks last year for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and their first round pick this year to ink Josh Hamilton. Their top pick last year was No. 114, this year it'll be No. 59.
The White Sox have acquired Casper Wells from the Athletics in exchange for cash considerations, both teams have announced via press release. In order to clear room on the 40-man roster, the White Sox placed left-hander Leyson Septimo back on the 60-day disabled list.
Wells, 28, has garnered quite a bit of media attention due to the constant fluctuation of his roster status this month. After being designated for assignment by the Mariners at the end of Spring Training, he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays ten days later. Following a short stint with Toronto during which he did not appear in a game, he was designated once again, this time being traded to the A's.
Wells' Oakland tenure wasn't much more noteworthy, as he received five plate appearances before being designated for assignment yet again. Casey Pratt of CSN Bay Area tweets that the A's promised Wells they'd try to work something out quickly following his most recent DFA, and they look to have honored that pledge.
Wells is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has posted a strong .264/.349/.489 batting line versus left-handed pitching in his career. Last season with the Mariners, he hit .228/.302/.396 in 316 plate appearances.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has posted his latest edition of Full Count (video link) and we've got the highlights..
- If the White Sox fall out of contention, they could be an interesting seller at the deadline. Paul Konerko, Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton, and Jesse Crain are among their attractive potential free agents. Meanwhile, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy are signed only through next season. However, their pitching means that they should be in the mix for at least the second wild card spot. According to one team's internal calculations, their staff is currently the most productive in baseball.
- The Rangers could face a problem if they try to put a deal together for Giancarlo Stanton or David Price. Texas is thin on high-end pitching in the upper levels farm system, which will hurt them, particularly if they go after Price.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins is in the final year of his deal and one team official says he'll likely be judged on how much the team's young talent improves. So far, so good as Daniel Murphy, Jordany Valdespin, Lucas Duda, and of course Matt Harvey are among the homegrown Mets off to decent starts. Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis, on the other hand, appear to be question marks. In any case, Collins' status likely won't be decided until the end of the season.
- There was a lot of talk about Dan Haren's hip after the Cubs backed out of trading for him last November, but the pitcher has heard the talk and thinks its overblown. He says that his hip is the same as it was when he was in Oakland and says that it hasn't gotten any better or worse since then. He also noted that he has missed only three starts in ten seasons and doesn't plan to miss any in 2013.
The White Sox are back at home after a 3-7 road trip, and they were 7-9 overall heading into an afternoon matchup against the Twins. But GM Rick Hahn says he isn't concerned about his team's slow start, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports. "With just about 10 percent of the season played, I don't think you can draw any grand conclusions about where things sit right now," Hahn said. And with so small a sample, Hahn isn't about to start making big moves. "It certainly is a temptation to explore other options, but it's way too soon to avert from the plan except when forced to due to injury," he says. Here are more notes from the American League.
- The Angels' lack of pitching talent could cost GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Mike Scioscia, and pitching coach Mike Butcher their jobs, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times argues. The Angels are currently 6-10, and their starting rotation has a 5.62 ERA. But DiGiovanna says owner Arte Moreno might ultimately be most responsible for the Angels' current roster construction, as Moreno's "infatuation with marquee names" led the team to sign hitters Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to enormous contracts. Instead of signing Hamilton, the Angels could have tried to retain Zack Greinke, who ended up heading north to the Dodgers. Among Dipoto, Scioscia and Butcher, Butcher's seat is the hottest, DiGiovanna says. Firing Scioscia seems much less likely, due to Scioscia's enormous $50MM contract.
- Scott Kazmir will make his Indians debut tonight, and it will be his first big-league appearance in over two years, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. After being released by the Angels in May 2011, Kazmir pitched for the independent-league Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012. He won a spot in the Indians' rotation out of camp, but his 2013 debut was delayed by a rib cage injury.