Chicago White Sox Rumors
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that his club has tabled its extension talks with shortstop Jean Segura. Said Melvin: "Nothing was going to happen so we decided it didn't make sense to keep talking. We told Jean to just go out and play. We never close anything off but there's nothing going on now." As Haudricourt points out, Andrelton Simmons' seven-year, $58MM deal likely didn't do the Brewers any favors. Segura will $534K in 2014, representing a healthy (when compared to the salaries of many pre-arbitration players) bump over the $500K Major League minimum.
More from baseball's Central divisions...
- Shelby Miller was the landmark pick that demonstrated how the Cardinals would evaluate, draft and develop pitching back in 2009, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold describes the Cards' prioritization of athleticism and velocity. Former Cardinals pitcher and current Padres scout Kevin Jarvis tells Goold: "For those of us in the game, what they have done should be analyzed, evaluated and then emulated."
- On the other side of the spectrum, the Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough examines the Royals' difficulty in developing starting pitchers over the years. McCullough spoke with left-hander John Lamb, whose rise and fall as one of the game's top pitching prospects has been well documented in the Kansas City media after he fell victim to Tommy John surgery. He also spoke with several Royals officials, who admitted their difficulty is a combination of bad luck and one particularly woeful decision. One Royals official said the decision to draft Christian Colon over Chris Sale is, to this day, the lone decision that causes him to lose sleep. However, consensus among the Royals' brass at the time was that Sale wouldn't last as a starter (they were far from the only ones to think so).
- White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters today, inlcuding Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, that Matt Lindstrom will open the season as his closer. That's big news for Lindstrom, whose free agent stock next offseason could rise substantially with a successful season in the ninth inning. GM Rick Hahn said he hopes Lindstrom takes the closer's role and runs with it, but the bullpen roles are "not etched in stone" (Twitter links). For those fantasy baseball players out there, remember that you can follow @closernews on Twitter during the season to get daily tips and news updates for chasing saves in your leagues.
Here are Sunday's minor moves from around MLB:
- The Nationals have acquired right-hander Omar Poveda from the White Sox in exchange for cash considerations, tweets Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. The 26-year-old Venezuelan spent 2013 with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate posting a 3.62 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 164 innings covering 27 games (including 25 starts).
MARCH 30: The White Sox have signed Boggs to a minor league contract, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
MARCH 23: The White Sox announced that they have requested waivers on Mitchell Boggs for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release. It was a short stay with Chicago for Boggs, who signed with the White Sox on February 7th.
Boggs, 30, served as the Cardinals' closer last season after Jason Motte underwent Tommy John surgery. However, despite performing well as a setup man, Boggs struggled in his small sample as the Cardinals' ninth-inning solution. The former fifth-round pick allowed 18 earned runs on 21 hits and 15 walks in just 14 2/3 innings for St. Louis before being designated for assignment and picked up by the Rockies. He also struggled in Colorado's minor league system, posting an 8.27 ERA in 16 1/3 Triple-A innings, but Boggs righted the ship (to an extent) upon a promotion to the Majors in September. In 8 2/3 big league innings to close the season, he allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks.
Prior to that rough 2013, Boggs posted a combined 3.08 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 201 innings from 2010-12. White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane (via Twitter), the team is open to bringing back Boggs on a minor league deal, if he doesn't latch on elsewhere.
The White Sox have outrighted right-hander Javy Guerra off their 40-man roster and assigned the reliever to Triple-A Charlotte, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports (Twitter link). The Sox claimed Guerra off waivers from the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Guerra posted a 2.45 ERA in 91 2/3 relief innings with Los Angeles in 2011-12, though his peripherals suggested that he may have been a little fortunate to post such a low number. He struggled in 2013, managing only a 6.75 ERA over 10 2/3 IP and spending much of his season in the minors.
The Tigers' record-setting extension with Miguel Cabrera has been heavily questioned by most pundits, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has a more positive take on the contract, opining that you can hardly put a price on keeping one of the all-time great hitters in baseball history. General manager Dave Dombrowski should also deserve some benefit of the doubt, since, as Heyman writes, "no team has done a better job than the Tigers of procuring star talent through trades, and practically no team has done a better job of picking the right players to give the best contracts to, either."
Here's some more news from Detroit and elsewhere around the AL Central...
- Dombrowski met with Max Scherzer earlier this week to clear the air after both the team and Scott Boras (the pitcher's agent) released public statements about the halt in their contract negotiations. Scherzer told reporters (including John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press) that the GM apologized for comments that unintentionally portrayed the right-hander "in a negative context." Dombrowski also apologized for the contract numbers becoming public, and he was upset with whomever it was who leaked the information.
- In a phone conversation with Lowe, Dombrowski said “These negotiations are tough and difficult, and when you don’t come up with a mutual agreement, it can leave a little bit of tension. To me, it is always better to reach out to somebody to discuss it. Max is a tremendous person and great pitcher."
- In regards to an earlier item of his, ESPN's Jim Bowden clarifies (via Twitter) that Scott Boras' last proposal to the Tigers about a Scherzer extension would've covered seven of the righty's free agent years. The Tigers' last offer would've covered only six free agent years, which would've kept Scherzer in Detroit through the 2020 season.
- Jose Quintana may now have a higher profile in the wake of his five-year, $21MM extension, yet he is still one of game's more underrated and lesser-known starters, as Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes in his exploration of how Quintana developed from a virtual non-prospect to a cornerstone of the White Sox rotation.
- The offense-needy Twins could've added some more pop in their final roster moves, ESPN 1500's Phil Mackey opines. Mackey also suggests that backup catcher Josmil Pinto's live bat should be utilized more often as a regular DH rather than just a couple of starts per week or the odd pinch-hitting appearance.
- The Twins' struggles of recent years can't be blamed on ownership, Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, as the club has been more than willing to spend on payroll. Minnesota's payroll topped the $100MM mark in both 2011 and 2012, yet the team finished last in both seasons due to poor drafts and trades from former GM Bill Smith, plus some bad injury luck with the likes of Justin Morneau.
We'll keep track of the day's minor moves here:
- Jack Armstrong, a 2011 third-round choice of the Astros, has hung up his spikes, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). Selected as a pitcher and given a $750K signing bonus, Armstrong never even got on the hill professionally due to a series of arm injuries. He had been hoping to switch to first base.
- 2010 Red Sox first-rounder Kolbrin Vitek has retired, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Injuries slowed the toolsy player, who never managed to translate his raw abilities into production. As Speier notes, however, several other players taken in that draft have panned out quite nicely.
- Reliever Jon Keck has signed on with the Rockies on a minor league pact, according to the MLB transactions page. The 25-year-old southpaw had spent his entire career in the Royals organization, and threw 52 relief innings of 3.81 ERA ball at the Double-A level last year. It would appear that he had some significant control issues, however, as he walked 6.8 batters (striking out 8.7) for every nine innings.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired lefty Spencer Arroyo from the White Sox for cash, according to the MLB transactions page. The 25-year-old spent most of his time as a starter in Double-A last year, putting up a 3.50 ERA in 149 1/3 innings while posting 5.8 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.
- The Pirates have acquired outfielder Keon Broxton from the Diamondbacks in exchange for a player to be named later, Pittsburgh announced via press release. Selected 95th overall in the 2009 draft, Broxton was outrighted off of the Arizona 40-man roster back in October. Broxton has struggled to translate his athleticism -- he was the D'backs most athletic prospect last year, per Baseball America -- into consistent production. Playing at Double-A last year, Broxton was unable to follow up on a strong 2012 campaign in his repeat of the HIgh-A level, and hit just .231/.296/.359 with eight home runs and five steals in 372 plate appearances.
- At the start of the day, two players -- Carlos Peguero of the Royals and Johnny Monell of the Orioles -- were in limbo in the MLBTR DFA Tracker. They have since been joined by Bobby LaFromboise of the Mariners and Raul Valdes of the Astros.
Rosin was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Mets from the Phillies, and then had his right shipped to Los Angeles. Now, the Rangers will become the third team to give him a look. The 25-year-old put up a 4.33 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 126 2/3 innings for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate in 2013.
Guerra, 28, spent time as the Dodgers closer in 2011, and has a lifetime 2.90 ERA in 102 1/3 MLB innings. But he fell out of favor in Los Angeles last year after posting a rough 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 frames, and saw his chances at a pen slot evaporate as the team made several additions over the offseason.
One hidden key to the Royals' emergence has been the club's dedication to Latin American scouting, signing, and player development under GM Dayton Moore (and special assistant Rene Francisco), writes Rany Jazayerli of RanyontheRoyals.com. Jazayerli breaks down the team's long history of virtually no significant spending on Latin American players, and how increased investments -- especially on lower-priced players like Salvador Perez, Yordano Ventura, Miguel Almonte, and Jorge Bonifacio (total commitment: $253K) -- have been critical to building the team's overall talent base. Here's more from the American League Central:
- Max Scherzer requested an eight-year deal in his negotiations with the Tigers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Tigers' reported offer was for six years and $144MM. If the sides were in agreement on the $24MM AAV, that would hypothetically put Scherzer's demands on total gaurantee at $192MM. Scherzer has injury protection through an insurance policy, Bowden adds, which perhaps has increased his willingness to wait for a larger deal on the open market.
- Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to secure seven years of control rights over their own prized starter, Jose Quintana, for a total guarantee that maybe as low as $21MM (if he does not qualify for Super Two status). Of course, unlike Scherzer, Quintana has just 1.133 years of service and did not win the AL Cy Young last year. Nevertheless, the deal looks like a smart investment for a Chicago club that has purchased prime years of several players at seemingly reasonable rates. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports, GM Rick Hahn sees the value in early extensions, which "frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs." Hahn explained: "You've seen the magnitude of what some of these deals have gotten to in free agency. It makes sense to try to get out in front of that sometimes, to try to get the price points locked in before the market continues to grow ... ."
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony had several updates today, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Infielder Jason Bartlett has agreed to push back his March 25 opt-out to the March 30 Opening Day roster deadline, which gives both sides more time to assess their options. Meanwhile, the club is still in discussions on a new deal with reliever Matt Guerrier, who was released because the club did not want to pay the Article XX(B) free agent signee a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors.
- Though the Twins have had some exploratory discussions about an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier, the 26-year-old tells Berardino that a deal is probably not happening at this point. That is not surprising, as Dozier has just 1.100 on his service clock and still has some questions to answer as a player. But he indicated that there is a positive vibe between the two sides and a hope that talks could pick up in the future. "We had some talks or whatever," he said. "Obviously nothing took place but it was a bunch of good postive feedback on both ends.It's very unlikely anything will be coming soon or during the season or anything. We'll let another year play out and see where it goes. That was just a thing to see where everybody was. I think [the Twins] would be in the near future open to it and we definitely are."
- The Indians were one of the clubs vying for Scott Baker's services before the offseason, and just released Aaron Harang. Nevertheless, Cleveland will not pursue the starter at this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Baker was released today by the Mariners after deciding he would rather test the market than accept an assignment to Triple-A.
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- Nyjer Morgan will make the Opening Day roster for the Indians and will therefore need to be added to the club's 40-man, according to a report on Twitter from MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. With Michael Bourn set to open the year on the DL, Morgan figures to play center until Bourn returns, though that may only be for a few games and it is not clear whether he'll have a roster spot beyond that point.
- The Marlins are expected to add outfielder Reed Johnson to their 40-man and Opening Day rosters, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. As an Article XX(B) free agent, Johnson would have been subject to tomorrow's roster decision deadline, though Cotillo notes that Johnson's deal actually gives him a March 24th opt out that strengthens his collectively bargained protections.
The White Sox have informed Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto, who was plucked from the Nationals organization, that he will make the Opening Day roster, his agent Joshua Kusnick tweeted. Nieto beat out Josh Phegley (who was optioned on Wednesday) and Hector Gimenez for the right to back up incumbent Tyler Flowers.
The 24-year-old Cuban native has never played above the High-A level. Last year, he put up a .282/.371/.446 line with 11 home runs in 448 plate appearances as a 23-year-old. Checking in as the Nats' 30th overall prospect entering the season (per Baseball America), Nieto is said to be a work-in-progress behind the dish who could become an average defensive backstop. His calling card is his bat, with BA saying that the switch-hitter could become an offense-first MLB catching option.
Of course, Chicago will need to keep Nieto on its 25-man roster for the duration of the season to keep his rights going forward.