Chris Davis Rumors

Orioles Notes: Young, Morse, Matusz, Suzuki

The Orioles are still hunting for outfield help, and Delmon Young is “absolutely” still in play, agent Joel Wolfe tells MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. Wolfe says that all discussions with the O’s have been “very positive,” though Kubatko writes that Young’s preference is a multiyear deal, whereas the Orioles are more comfortable signing Young to a one-year deal, perhaps with an option.

Here’s some more from Baltimore…

  • The Orioles were also wary about committing multiple years to Michael Morse, Kubatko notes.  The O’s had “strong interest” in Morse earlier in the offseason but the veteran found a multiyear deal elsewhere, signing a two-year/$16MM contract with the Marlins.
  • In another Kubatko piece, he writes that the acquisition of left-hander Wesley Wright doesn’t necessarily mean the O’s will look to move Brian Matusz since Matusz is more of a lefty specialist.  This said, Baltimore does seemingly have a surplus of bullpen arms that could be used as trade bait, and Kubatko speculates that the Padres (with their surplus of outfielders) could be a fit as a trade partner.
  • The Orioles have given some consideration to signing Ichiro Suzuki, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes.
  • Chris Davis has received permission from Major League Baseball to take Adderall next season, Buck Showalter told reporters (including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun).  Davis was issued a 25-game suspension last year for his unauthorized use of Adderall, and he still has one game remaining on his punishment.
  • The Orioles will interview Scott Coolbaugh about their vacant hitting coach position, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.  Coolbaugh was the Rangers’ hitting coach from 2011-12 and is currently their minor league hitting coordinator.

Orioles Notes: Chen, Davis, Wieters, Bastardo

Orioles executive Dan Duquette says his team attempted to trade for pitching Wednesday, but that attempt fell through, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. That means the Orioles might not end up accomplishing much more at the Winter Meetings than making a selection in the Rule 5 Draft. “Keep in mind who the Orioles are,” says Duquette. “We’ve got an established pitching staff. We’ve got a strong everyday lineup. We’ve got to fill a few holes. We’re going to look at some options in the major league free-agent market and sign a couple players.” The Orioles have received plenty of trade interest in starter Wei-Yin Chen, Encina writes. Here are more notes on the Orioles.

  • Agent Scott Boras expresses optimism that the Orioles can work out ways to keep Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, Encina reports. Both players are eligible for free agency after the season. “I do think there’s a chance with all players,” Boras says. “Dan and I talk a great deal and, obviously, we have to do our arbitration for annual contracts here soon. I think both players enjoy playing in Baltimore.” Boras says he and Duquette have not talked about a potential extension for Chen.
  • The Orioles discussed a trade with the Phillies for lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo before Philadelphia shipped Bastardo to the Pirates, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. (That’s not the unconsummated pitching trade that Duquette alluded to, Kubatko clarifies in a reply.) Even with the departure of Andrew Miller, the Orioles already have several good lefties in Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland and Brian Matusz, although Britton is slated to close and MacFarland could pitch in the Triple-A rotation.

Marlins Seek First Base Upgrade Via Trade

The Marlins are “determined to upgrade” their first base position and have started looking into the trade market as a means of doing so, according to a report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Miami is looking to replace or, presumably, platoon with incumbent Garrett Jones.

Among the players as to whom the Marlins have inquired are Evan Gattis of the Braves and Chris Davis of the Orioles, per the report. The pair of 28-year-olds are in quite different situations, needless to say, but obviously each hold their own appeal. Davis is a left-handed hitter who is coming off a down year and looking to bolster his 50-home run resume in his final season before reaching free agency. Gattis, a catcher who could presumably shift over to first, will not even be eligible for arbitration until next season. He hits from the right side and thus would pair nicely with the left-handed bat of Jones, who remains under contract for one more season.

Miami would be required to part with a valued young arm to land either player, the report suggests. One possibility would be a deal involving well-regarded lefty Andrew Heaney, though of course the Fish are generally well-stocked in rotation prospects.

Miami reportedly made an offer to Adam LaRoche — the market’s best pure first baseman — before he signed with the White Sox. Missing on LaRoche left the market without much in the way of established, recently productive first baseman. Michael Morse remains a candidate to play that position, but the Marlins’ interest is “lukewarm,” per the report.



AL East Notes: Robertson, Headley, Happ, Tomas

In a text message to George A. King III of the New York Post, David Robertson says things are “quiet on the front” in terms of a multiyear contract with the Yankees or receiving a qualifying offer from the team.  The Yankees are expected to extend the QO to Robertson and the closer is very likely to reject it given the interest in his services.  At least six clubs are interested in Robertson this winter, a league source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Here’s more from around the AL East…

  • The Yankees have begun talks with Chase Headley, CBSSports.com’ Jon Heyman reports.  New York has exclusive negotiating rights with Headley until 11pm CT tonight, though it would be quite surprising to see a deal reached before Headley has had a chance to test the thin free agent market.
  • Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ is “generating lots of interest” in trades, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reports.  Happ enjoyed a solid 2014 season and had his $6.7MM option for 2015 exercised by the Jays on Friday.  With the newly-acquired Marco Estrada now in the rotation mix, Happ could be expendable.
  • Earlier today, Sportsnet.ca’s Jeff Blair reported that the Blue Jays have had internal discussions about Russell Martin.  In that same item, Blair notes that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos might look to act quickly this offseason rather than wait for deals to develop.  The latter strategy left the Jays largely empty-handed last winter.  Toronto has already dealt Adam Lind to Milwaukee, a trade that Blair feels doesn’t make much sense for the Jays unless a follow-up move is forthcoming.
  • The Orioles don’t seem to have interest in trading or non-tendering Chris Davis, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski reports, though the first baseman will have much to atone for in Baltimore following his disappointing 2014 season.
  • Though the Orioles currently have six legitimate rotation candidates on the roster, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko expects the club to add pitching depth by signing at least one veteran to a minor league deal.
  • Jay Alou, Yasmany Tomas‘ agent, tweeted that his client worked out at the Red Sox academy in the Dominican Republic over the weekend.  While the Sox have had some interest in Tomas in the past, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford hears that the workout was arranged “partly out of convenience, with Tomas needing a place in the area to continue his preparation.”  It would be a surprise to see Boston sign Tomas given that the Sox already have an outfield surplus.
  • The Red Sox are in need of a top left-hander for the bullpen, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  Bringing back Andrew Miller would be the best option, though he’ll be heavily courted by several teams and the Sox may not be able to win a bidding war.
  • Silverman thinks the Red Sox and Burke Badenhop could quickly come to terms on a new contract.  The righty reliever posted a 2.29 ERA in 70 2/3 IP with Boston in 2014.

AL Notes: Indians, Hunter, Davis

In his latest mailbag piece, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com looks at various facets of the Indians roster. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t predict any sweeping changes for the Cleveland roster. Here’s more from Bastian and around the AL.

  • The Indians bullpen seems set behind closer Cody Allen. The club may wish to bring in a few depth pieces to supplement the middle and long relief components. Nick Hagadone, who is out of options, is a likely candidate as the second lefty. Similarly, the rotation will probably to be filled internally. Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin can provide above average depth for a rotation fronted by Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, and T.J. House.
  • Had the Indians possessed a better defense, they might have reached the postseason instead of the Royals. However, the club may have solved its woes in-season by promoting Jose Ramirez and moving Carlos Santana to first base. If third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall continues to struggle defensively, Bastian mentions prospect Giovanny Urshela as an alternative.
  • Torii Hunter is leaning towards playing in 2015 and would like to return to the Tigers, reports Chris Iott of MLive.com. Hunter labels himself as one of the most consistent hitters in the game. That’s not a bad characterization. Over the past nine seasons, he’s ranged from 13 to 31 percent above average per an advanced stat called wRC+. If you prefer traditional stats, he has always contributed in batting average, power, and run production. The 39-year-old’s defense has declined in recent years. Hunter is prioritizing a World Series championship, however he is unsure if he can accept a reduced role.
  • The Orioles have a tough decision regarding Chris Davis, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore. Davis may cost upwards of $12MM in his final year of arbitration according to Dubroff, but the Orioles may not want to pay so much for his no-average, all power profile. They do have an internal alternative in Steve Pearce, but he could be needed in the outfield with Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz potentially departing via free agency. There is seemingly no pathway to return value for Davis short of tendering him and hoping for the best.

Chris Davis Suspended 25 Games For Adderall Use

12:30pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Davis did not have a TUE for Adderall in 2013 (Twitter links). His previous TUE came earlier in his career than last year’s breakout. As Passan notes, this opens the possibility that Davis’ first positive test (which would only result in a warning) came prior to the 2014 season. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Davis has been diagnosed with ADD in the past but did not apply for a TUE in 2013.

11:32am: Davis did not apply for a therapeutic use exemption from the league this season, tweets Connolly. In a followup tweet, Connolly reminds that a 2012-13 study showed that 122 Major Leaguers had TUEs — 119 of which were for ADD.

10:31am: Davis was indeed suspended for Adderall usage, he announced in a statement (All Twitter links to MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli):

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”

That Davis has been suspended means that would have had to test positive twice for a banned stimulant such as Adderall.

10:10am: Orioles first baseman Chris Davis‘ season is over as he has been suspended 25 games after testing positive for amphetamines, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. MLB has since confirmed the suspension, which will run through the postseason.

It’s unclear exactly what substance Davis used, but those making the leap to steroids should note that even the usage of fairly common stimulants like Adderall can result in a 25-game suspension (as Troy Patton proved earlier this season). That’s not to excuse Davis, of course, as this is a grave mistake at the worst possible time, and the substances are banned without receiving exemptions from the league.

Baltimore currently leads the AL East by 10 games and will now be without Davis’ game-changing power for the final two-plus weeks and all of the ALDS and the ALCS. The ALCS roster would, of course, have to be set before the series begins, meaning that the Orioles would have to play a man down for the first few games of that series in order for him to be reinstated midway through. It’s highly unlikely that a team would agree to play with 24 men in such an important series, meaning the earliest Davis would likely be eligible to return would be in the World Series, should Baltimore advance to that stage.

Davis is hitting just .196/.300/.404 after his breakout 53-homer campaign last season, thanks in part due to an increased strikeout rate (33 percent) and an abnormally low batting average on balls in play (.242). Baltimore added some depth to its roster late in August by adding Kelly Johnson and Alejandro De Aza via trade, and the emergence of Steve Pearce gives the team another corner bat on which to rely. Nevertheless, the loss of Davis is a big blow to a team that has already lost Manny Machado and Matt Wieters for the season.

From a financial standpoint, Davis’ suspension will cost him about $1.07MM, as he won’t be paid while on the restricted list. He is earning $10.35MM this season as he approaches his final offseason of arbitration eligiblity.


Injury Notes: Tommy John Surgeries, Chapman, Davis

This year more than ever, it seems an enormous number of pitchers have suffered injuries that required Tommy John surgery. That includes big-leaguers like Matt Moore, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, along with potential first-round picks in Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde. But as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal notes, the prognosis for pitchers who have Tommy John surgeries is now very good, and teams are much more cautious about diagnosing significant problems than they used to be. MacPherson quotes a number of former big-league pitchers whose experiences would seem wildly out of place today. “Everybody kept thinking, ‘If I had surgery, it might be the end of my career, so I’m going to pitch until it blows, and then that’s the end of my career,’” says former Orioles, Red Sox, Royals and Brewers hurler Mike Boddicker, who pitched in the big leagues until 1993. “It used to be that you had some inflammation — tendinitis. That was the big thing. You had tendinitis. You look some anti-inflammatories, and you’d rest a little bit, and then you’d keep going.” Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Aroldis Chapman‘s return after a stay on the disabled list with a head injury allows the Reds plenty of flexibility in their bullpen, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Chapman’s addition bumps Jonathan Broxton back to a setup role. The Reds have been fortunate in that their starters have worked deep into games, meaning that their bullpen likely won’t be overworked going forward. “There’s just not a lot of opportunities for these guys to come in the fifth or sixth and, sometimes, the seventh inning,” says manager Bryan Price. “We’ve spent a lot of time closing a game with one to two innings of bullpen work.”
  • Chris Davis made an appearance for Double-A Bowie on Saturday to rehab his injured oblique, and he feels he’s ready to return to the Orioles, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski tweets. Davis last appeared in a game for the Orioles on April 25, and Steve Pearce has largely handled first-base duties since then.

AL East Notes: Morales, O’s, Francisco, Yankees

Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette appeared on Buster Olney’s podcast today and discussed a variety of topics, including Kendrys Morales (Duquette appears around the 27:00 mark). Asked by Olney about the speculation that Morales could help his team, Duquette replied, “We don’t have any plans to add anybody to our ball club right now … Matt Wieters, with the issue he has in with his elbow, is going to take some at-bats in our DH position, so we’re all set. When we signed Nelson Cruz, that pretty much closed the door on that speculation.” Duquette also talked about his team’s strong start to the year in spite of several injuries as well as Manny Machado‘s elite defense. More from that interview and the rest of the AL East below…

  • Duquette also fielded questions on the contract status of Wieters and Chris Davis (around the 36:20 mark), noting that the club has twice tried to extend Wieters and once tried to extend Davis as well. “I like Chris and Matt on the ball club, but having said that, we’ve already made that effort, and I’m not really going to be discussing that this year during the season with those players.” Both Wieters and Davis are Scott Boras clients, which makes the task of hammering out a long-term deal a more difficult one, as Boras typically encourages his players to go year-to-year and test the open market.
  • Shifting gears from the O’s to the Blue Jays, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets that the main reason behind Juan Francisco choosing to sign in Toronto was a recruiting pitch from Edwin Encarnacion. After Francisco was cut by the Brewers in Spring Training, Encarnacion called his countryman and pitched Toronto, and the result has been a .311/.403/.623 batting line with five homers in 72 PAs for Francisco.
  • In a special piece for ESPN New York, Danny Knobler writes that the perception of the Yankees as an “old-school” team is misleading. Knobler spoke with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who called the Yankees “way more [progressive] than people think.” Knobler also points out that the Yankees trail only the Astros in terms of infield shifting this season, a fact that isn’t lost on division rival Joe Maddon. The Rays skipper told Knobler: They’re exceeding us. It doesn’t surprise me. It disappoints me. I much preferred when they thought we were nuts, that we were bastardizing the game.”

Injury Notes: Davis, Segura, Braun

Orioles slugger Chris Davis is headed to the disabled list with a strained oblique, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Davis had an MRI on Saturday. Davis was off to a relatively slow .250/.372/.382 start in 94 plate appearances this season. Third baseman Manny Machado (knee) has begun a rehab assignment at Class A+ Frederick and should soon make his 2014 season debut, which ought to dull Orioles’ fans pain somewhat. Here are a couple more quick notes on injuries.

  • Brewers shortstop Jean Segura required plastic surgery after Ryan Braun inadvertently struck Segura with his bat. But Segura was not concussed and did not have a fracture, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel tweets.
  • Braun himself later left the Brewers’ game against the Cubs with an intercostal strain, Andrew Gruman of FOX Sports Wisconsin tweets. Braun is day-to-day, and as ugly a day as it was for him, it sounds like both he and Segura will be fine.

Chris Davis Extension Talks Dormant

Chris Davis and the Orioles have not made progress recently on a contract extension, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com reports. "Not that I know of and you guys are pretty good about finding things out," said Davis, when asked if there had been any new developments. "I'm sure if anything is said, we'll be talking about it, but those are for Scott (Boras) and Dan (Duquette). I have way too much to focus on here."

Davis is making $10.35MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He can become a free agent after 2015, when he should be able to land a big contract, given that he'll only be heading into his age-30 season. The first baseman hit .286/.370/.634 with 53 homers in 673 plate appearances with the Orioles in 2013. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who is also a Boras client, will also be eligible for free agency after 2015.