Chris Nelson Rumors
TUESDAY: Nelson's deal allows him to opt out on March 28 if he has not been awarded a roster spot by that time, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter).
MONDAY: The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder Chris Nelson, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported earlier today that Cincinnati was closing in on a deal with the Williams & Connolly client. Nelson told Sheldon's colleague, Thomas Harding, that he is excited about the opportunity:
"I think it’s a great opportunity, especially being in the National League. I have a chance to be a utility man, and with the double-switches there could be a chance for playing time. It could be a good fit for me."
As Sheldon writes, there will be a familiar face in camp for Nelson, as second baseman Brandon Phillips is at times one of his offseason workout partners. The 28-year-old Nelson slashed .301/.352/.458 in 377 plate appearances with the Rockies in 2012, but that line was propped up by a .374 batting average on balls in play that was predictably not sustainable. Regression in his BABIP and a 29 percent strikeout rate in 2013 saw the 2004 No. 9 overall draft pick's production fall to .227/.273/.327. Though he can handle both second and third base, he's not considered a plus defender at either position.
Nelson will look to catch on as a reserve for both Phillips and third baseman Todd Frazier, though the Reds have reserve options at each position in the form of Skip Schumaker and Jack Hannahan, each of whom is on a guaranteed contract for the 2014season.
The 28-year-old Nelson is a former No. 9 overall pick (by the Rockies in 2004) but hasn't displayed that pedigree at the Major League level to this point. Nelson is a career .268/.312/.399 hitter and has experience at both second base and third base, though defensive metrics such as UZR and DRS are down on his work at each position.
Nelson's best season came with the Rox in 2012 when he slashed .301/.352/.458 in 377 plate appearances, but that line was propped up by a .374 batting average on balls in play that was predictably not sustainable. Nelson saw his strikeout rate climb to 29 percent in 2013, and with the drop in BABIP (down to .313), the result was a combined .227/.273/.327 batting line in 227 PAs.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of American League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Orioles announced they've non-tendered outfielder Jason Pridie and minor league starter Eddie Gamboa.
- The Rays will non-tender reliever Wesley Wright, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
- The Red Sox announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mike Salk of WEEI.com tweets.
- The White Sox will not tender a contract to pitcher Dylan Axelrod, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Angels will non-tender pitcher Jerome Williams, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The club will also non-tender righty Tommy Hanson and third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets DiGiovanna. J.C. Gutierrez will also be non-tendered, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, though that seemed a given since that he had already been designated for assignment.
- The Indians have non-tendered outfielder Matt Carson, pitcher Tyler Cloyd, and catcher Lou Marson, the club announced.
- The Rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fuld, who will turn 32 in a few weeks, could be a lefty-swinging bench piece for another club, though he slashed only .199/.270/.267 last year in 200 plate appearances for Tampa.
- GM Brian Cashman says that the Yankees will non-tender infielder Jayson Nix, tweets Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 87 games for New York last season, putting up a .236/.308/.311 line in 303 plate appearances. The club will also non-tender reliever Matt Daley and infielder David Adams. New York confirmed the moves via press release.
- The Royals announced that they have non-tendered second baseman Chris Getz. The 30-year-old Getz has tried to hold down Kansas City's keystone spot for several years now but produced just a .246/.299/.314 batting line from 2012-13. Swartz had pegged Getz for a $1.3MM salary in 2014.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Athletics offered the same two-year, $22MM contract to Tim Hudson prior to his two-year, $23MM agreement with the Giants.
- That Kazmir signed for two years and $11MM annually speaks to the expectations of Bartolo Colon, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Colon feels he can get multiple years at a higher annual value, according to Passan.
- Kazmir's agreement firmly takes the Athletics out of the mix for Colon, a source confirmed to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
- The Angels remain interested in Bronson Arroyo but the Dodgers aren't really in the mix, a source tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (on Twitter). However, the source adds that the market for the veteran hasn't really "heated up" yet.
- DiGiovanna adds that the Angels are expected to clear more than $10MM in payroll by non-tendering Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelson, which should allow them to pursue a free agent starting pitcher (Twitter links). DiGiovanna also mentions that Kevin Jepsen's status is still up in the air at this time and there's no decision on whether or not to tender him a contract.
- Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that one of the reasons Joe Smith signed his three-year deal with the Angels is that his wife works as a sports radio host in Orange County.
- In a harsh review of today's Willie Bloomquist signing by the Mariners, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner writes that Bloomquist "is Nick Punto minus all the things that make Nick Punto valuable." As Cameron points out, they're comparable hitters but Punto provides more baserunning and defensive value. However, Seattle paid nearly double the price for Bloomquist that Oakland did for Punto.
Bello, 22, pitched 24 1/3 innings for the Yankees' Rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate this season and posted a 6.29 ERA with 29 strikeouts (10.7 K/9) and 16 walks (5.9 BB/9). Bello will turn 23 this winter and has yet to pitch at a higher level than the GCL. In parts of four seasons between the GCL and the Dominican Summer League, the Dominican native has posted a 3.98 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.
That the Rockies didn't receive much of a prospect isn't a surprise, considering the trade occured after Nelson had already been designated for assignment. Nelson spent just two weeks with the Yankees, batting .222/.243/.278 with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 37 plate appearances. They would soon DFA him as well, and Nelson would go on to be claimed by the Angels.
THURSDAY: Nelson has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake, according to Angels director of communications Eric Kay (on Twitter).
MONDAY: The Angels have designated infielder Chris Nelson for assignment in order to clear a 25-man roster spot for Peter Bourjos, who has been reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (on Twitter).
Nelson, 27, appeared in seven games for the Halos but received just nine plate appearances, collecting three singles. The Angels were the third team for which the former No. 9 overall draft pick has played this season, as he also saw time with the Rockies and Yankees before being designated for assignment by each of those clubs as well.
Nelson has significant experience at both second and third base throughout his career and is a lifetime .277/.318/.407 hitter at the Major League level. His best season came in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 for the Rockies in 377 plate appearances. Even though his offensive numbers that season were strong, however, Nelson's defense grades out very poorly according to both Ultimate Zone Rating and The Fielding Bible.
The Angels have claimed infielder Chris Nelson off waivers from the Yankees and designated outfielder Scott Cousins for assignment, the Angels report (on Twitter). The Yankees designated Nelson for assignment two days ago.
Nelson hit .222/.243/.278 in ten games with the Yankees, who acquired him for a PTBNL or cash two weeks ago after the Rockies designated him for assignment. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 Draft.
Cousins has hit .179/.230/.285 in 179 career at bats with the Marlins and Angels. He had appeared in seven games with the Angels so far this year, but received only five plate appearances.
Nelson, 27, was acquired from the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash following a DFA from Colorado. In 10 games for the Yankees, Nelson hit just .222/.243/.278 with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 37 plate appearances. The former first round pick had a strong showing at the dish in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 with nine homers.
The 26-year-old Adams has had an up and down journey throughout his minor league career. Once a key component in a potential trade for Cliff Lee, he found himself released earlier this season as a result of frequent injuries. He was re-signed to a minor league deal and is set to make his Major League debut after hitting .316/.407/.490 with three homers for Triple-A Scranton this season.
The Yankees announced that they have acquired infielder Chris Nelson for cash considerations or a player to be named later. The Bombers moved Francisco Cervelli to the 60-day disabled list in order to make room on the 40-man roster for their newest acquisition.
We learned yesterday that the Yankees have had trade talks with the Rockies about Nelson, who was recently designated for assignment to make room for the promotion of Nolan Arenado. The 27-year-old posted a .242/.282/.318 slash line in 68 PA as the Rockies' regular third baseman this season. Prior to that, he hit .284/.327/.427 in 593 PA from 2010-12.
Nelson has played mostly third and second in the majors, and also played shortstop in the minor leagues. With the Yankees, he'll presumably provide extra support at third while Kevin Youkilis is on the mend.
The Astros haven't yet decided who they're taking with the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. Possible candidates for the top pick include college pitchers Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Sean Manaea; college hitter Kris Bryant; and high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows. "I think it's important to keep scouting them until the very end," says Astros scouting director Mike Elias. "We're making sure we're keeping the field as open as we can. We are not going to make that decision when there's no reason to, six weeks before the Draft." The Astros' draft signing bonus pool, which stands at $11.7MM this year, could play into their decision about who to draft. In 2012, the Astros took Carlos Correa first overall and signed him for significantly less than his bonus pool allotment, allowing them to take high-upside talents like Lance McCullers Jr. later in the draft. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- The Red Sox might be looking for Frazier to fall to them with the No. 7 overall pick, Conor Glassey of Baseball America writes in a draft breakdown for American League teams. Red Sox scout Tim Hyers was Frazier's neighbor growing up. Meanwhile, the Indians could look to add a college pitcher like Manaea or Nevada's Braden Shipley at No. 5.
- Mariners infielder Robert Andino was "a little bit" surprised when the Orioles traded him to "Alaska" (that is, Seattle) for Trayvon Robinson last November, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. Andino is hitting .200/.250/.267 for the Mariners this season. He has taken the team's starting shortstop job, or at least a portion of it, from Brendan Ryan.
- The Yankees have had trade talks with the Rockies regarding infielder Chris Nelson, but New York's interest in Nelson seems to be limited, says Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter). The Rockies designated Nelson for assignment Saturday night.