Chris Young Rumors

NL Notes: Iglesias, Mills, Martin, Young, Billingsley

Here’s the latest out of the National League …

  • The Reds are interested in Cuban free agent pitcher Raisel Iglesias, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America (via Twitter). A team official told Badler that a deal was not in place at this time, however. Badler recently reported that the righty was granted an extended signing window by MLB, and will be free to sign through July 1 without being subject to international spending limitations.
  • Brewers righty Brad Mills has an opt-out provision in his minor league deal that was triggered on Sunday, but can only be exercised if he has an offer from a team that would put him on its 25-man roster, reports Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mills, 29, has impressed at Triple-A, with a 1.56 ERA and 9.2 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9 through 75 innings (including 12 starts). As Rosiak notes, however, Milwaukee seems relatively uninterested in using him at the big league level at present.
  • If the Pirates decide to open extension talks with catcher Russell Martin, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review estimates that it could take a three-year, $39MM offer to make a deal. Martin, who signed a two-year, $17MM pact to come to Pittsburgh, has posted a strong .275/.409/.400 line this year, which is the best pace he’s carried since his excellent 2006-08 seasons with the Dodgers. In the intervening five years, Martin has averaged a .234/.332/.370 triple-slash, though he has consistently earned stellar defensive ratings. After Martin, pickings are fairly slim on next year’s free agent market for backstops, with players like Kurt Suzuki, A.J. Pierzynski, Geovany Soto, and Nick Hundley leading the way.
  • The Mets have no intention of releasing struggling outfielder Chris Young, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Young has posted a meager .196/.283/.313 line in 185 plate appearances since joining the club on a one-year, $7.25MM pact. While the team would like to be able to deal him, presumably eating some salary to make that happen, a team official tells Rubin that New York does not expect to find much of a market for his services.
  • As expected, Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley will undergo season-ending surgery on his right elbow, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. It seems all but certain that the club will opt to pay Billingsley a $3MM buyout rather than picking up his $14MM option for 2015. The veteran hurler tells Saxon that the rehab is expected to be “about six months,” and that surgery offered him the “best chance to pitch next year.”

NL Notes: Diamondbacks, Mets, Zimmerman, Purke

As previously reported, before hiring Tony LaRussa, the Diamondbacks considered other candidates to slot in atop the club’s baseball operations structure or to take over directly for Kevin Towers as general manager. One candidate was former Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who notes that it is likely (but not certain) that Beinfest would have slotted into the GM role. Arizona also spoke with Braves advisor John Hart, says Rosenthal, though that was purely for purposes of dispensing advice.

Here’s more from Arizona and the rest of the National League:

  •  The April 2012 shoulder injury to then-Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young had widespread ramifications both for player and club, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Young, who had been off to a hot start that season, has never really been the same since. And the injury also led to then-teammate Justin Upton playing through a thumb injury. Upton’s step back that year, which could well have been injury-related, ultimately played a role in his departure, Piecoro observes.
  • If Young’s current team — the Mets – want to improve its offensive performance, the club needs to boost its spending, opines ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). With David Wright and Curtis Granderson eating up much of the team’s payroll space at its current spending levels, which reduces the team’s flexibility to add talent creatively without increasing its budget.
  • Confirming recent suggestions, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Nationals are planning to rotate Ryan Zimmerman between third, first, and left field when he returns from the DL. In addition to increasing the club’s ability to optimize the deployment of its position players, Washington hopes that Zimmerman’s future value to the team will see a boost from increased flexibility. The one-time stalwart at the hot corner, who has seen his defensive performance wane with shoulder issues, is in the first year of a six-year, $100MM extension that was agreed to before the 2012 season.
  • Nationals prospect Matt Purke will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The 23-year-old lefty has largely disappointed since the Nats gave him a $4.15MM bonus in 2011 to sign out of TCU. As Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes on Twitter, Purke — who signed a big league deal — will be out of options by the time he recovers from the procedure.

AL West Notes: Perez, Young, Nady

Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez could be headed to the disabled list with elbow inflammation, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets. That’s another potential blow to a Rangers team that has struggled to keep its starters healthy. The Rangers’ rotation currently includes Yu Darvish, Robbie Ross, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis along with Perez. Three other potential starters, Derek Holland, Joe Saunders and Tanner Scheppers, are on the DL. Here are more notes from the AL West.

  • Randy Wolf and the Mariners had a falling-out this spring over Wolf’s refusal to sign a 45-day advanced-consent relief form that would have allowed the Mariners to cut Wolf within the first six weeks of the season without paying his full year’s salary. Chris Young signed one, though, and he appears to have none of the issues Wolf did, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby reports. “A club can release you at any point,” Young says. “That just protects them financially if you don’t perform. … I was confident I’d be successful. You can’t [go in preparing] for the worst.” Young has posted a 2.63 ERA in 37 2/3 innings so far with the Mariners, although with only 4.3 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9.
  • The Padres recently designated outfielder Xavier Nady for assignment, and he just elected to become a free agent. The Mariners could be interested in him, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News-Tribune tweets. The 35-year-old appeared in 22 games for San Diego, his first big-league stint since 2012. He played at the Triple-A level in 2013, hitting .296/.360/.456 in 495 plate appearances divided between Omaha and Colorado Springs.


Mariners Sign Chris Young, Designate Bobby LaFromboise

TODAY: Young agreed to an advance consent clause, tweets Dutton, which is somewhat notable because it was Seattle's demand for such a provision that led Randy Wolf to request his release.

YESTERDAY 5:31pm: Young gets a $1.25MM guarantee, reports Dutton. Performance bonuses could tack on an additional $3.475MM if maxed out, which would occur at 28 starts and 180 innings.

11:14am: The Mariners have officially signed starter Chris Young and designated Bobby LaFromboise for assignment to create space, reports Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). After recently parting with veterans Randy Wolf and Scott Baker, Seattle had a clear need for starting pitching.

Young, 34, appeared to be rejuvenated this spring, spending camp with the Nationals after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery on his shoulder. The towering righty has not appeared in the bigs since 2012, but threw to a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 spring innings. In his last MLB turn, Young threw to a 4.15 ERA in 115 innings with the Mets.

Meanwhile, LaFromboise is a 27-year-old lefty who has seen only ten chances to make a big league appearance, all in a brief stint in the Mariners pen last year. He has put up some solid numbers in the upper minors in recent seasons, working to a 3.39 ERA in 61 innings at Triple-A last year and putting up a 1.36 mark in 66 1/3 innings at Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. LaFromboise has averaged better than nine strikeous and less than three free passes per nine innings in both of the last two years.


Nationals Release Jamey Carroll, Chris Young

The Nationals have released veteran infielder Jamey Carroll, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com tweets. They have also released pitcher Chris Young, tweets MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko.

Carroll, 40, collected 249 plate apppearances with the Twins and Royals last season, hitting a meager .211/.267/.251. He signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals in January. Young, 34, last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Mets. He pitched sparingly in the Nats' system in an injury-plagued 2013 season.


NL Notes: Corbin, Guerrero, Young, Francisco, Matsuzaka, Fowler

MLBTR's own Charlie Wilmoth has just released a new book. Titled "Dry Land," the volume traces the Pirates and their fans through the club's historic losing streak and recent renaissance. Be sure to check out this post for more details and how you can order a copy. On to the links:

  • In two expected moves out of the NL West, Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks underwent Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets, while the Dodgers optioned Alex Guerrero to Triple-A, as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets.
  • The Nationals have received trade interest from three or four clubs in starter Chris Young, who has an opt-out in his contract this coming Thursday, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The 33-year-old has had an impressive spring, but seems unlikely to crack the Nats' rotation. 
  • The Pirates have no interest in signing Juan Francisco if he clears waivers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. We learned earlier today that the team had chosen to go with Travis Ishikawa over Andrew Lambo as its left-handed bat at first.
  • For the Mets, giving Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K bonus is in large part a strategic effort to protect the club in the event that Jon Niese is unable to make his first start, explains ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. This way, the team can rely on both Matsuzaka and Jenrry Mejia if the need arises, or can simply pick between them for the fifth starter slot.
  • The Rockies are better off without center fielder Dexter Fowler because he "isn't tough enough," opines Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. (Fowler, of course was dealt to the Astros. As presented in my offseason review for the club, I have a different take on the subject of Fowler's departure from Colorado.) Though Kiszla initially credited Fowler with having "the determination to grind through pain" in mid-August of last year, he apparently adjusted his analysis after the 28-year-old missed twenty games late in the season with ongoing hand and wrist injuries. Manager Walt Weiss effectively pushed Fowler out of town, says Kiszla, because the latter "was not the kind of player Weiss needs on a team that must grind out victories in the National League West." Apparently referring obliquely to Fowler, Weiss emphasized the need for players "to compete and grind and play with grit," while assistant GM Bill Geivett explained that the manager "has got to feel comfortable in the weapons he has to attack the other team." 

Quick Hits: Tigers, Pirates, Hill, Young

Fans shouldn't be angry over players' multimillion-dollar salaries, CBS Sports' Dayn Perry writes. That Albert Pujols is paid hundreds of millions of dollars to hit a baseball might seem frivolous, but exorbitant salaries for ballplayers and entertainers have been part of our culture for some time. "You might as well lament the tides of the ocean," Perry writes. Also, ticket prices aren't caused by high player salaries, but by demand. Fans are willing to pay high ticket prices (as they do even to college sporting events, where players are unpaid), so teams charge high ticket prices.  Here's more from around the big leagues.

  • Given the tone of the Tigers' press release on the Max Scherzer negotiations, it might not be a good time for Scott Boras to bring up Stephen Drew with the Tigers, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The Tigers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for the free agent shortstop but the club's unusual step of issuing a press release on the end of talks with their star pitcher might indicate some soured relations between them and the top agent.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says his offer for Scherzer was the most he has ever offered a player that has been turned down, tweets Tom Gage of the Detroit News.  For his part, Scherzer says he wants to stay in Detroit long term (link).
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) notes that one of the big talking points on the Prince Fielder trade was that it freed up money for the Tigers to sign Scherzer.  With a new deal for Scherzer currently off the table, Passan wonders if Detroit might shift their attention to Miguel Cabrera.
  • After winning 94 games and advancing to the NL Division Series last season, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wonders if the Pirates are candidates for regression this season.  Despite losing free agents A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau, the Pirates didn't make any splasy moves to replace them this winter. 
  • Left-hander Rich Hill can opt out of his deal with the Red Sox on May 15th, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.  
  • Agent Jon Fetterolf has left Williams & Connolly and is now running sports practice for the Zuckerman Spaeder firm, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  
  • Right-hander Chris Young, ostensibly in the competition for the Nationals’ fifth starter spot, can opt out of his minor league contract if the Nationals do not add him to the 25-man roster by Thursday, a person familiar with the contract told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Mets Notes: Young, Shortstops

Earlier today, the Mets inked outfielder Chris Young to a one-year, $7.25MM contract, marking their first Major League signing of the offseason. Here's more on Young and some other Mets-related issues…

  • GM Sandy Alderson flew to Houston to meet with Young personally last week and promised him regular playing time, though maybe not in center field, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).
  • ESPN's Keith Law breaks down the signing, calling Young an "imperfect fit" for the Mets (Insider subscription required and recommended). Young hasn't been the same since injuring his shoulder last April, writes Law, pointing out his .203/.282/.375 slash line since that time. In order to mitigate the risk of a replacement-level offensive performance from Young, Law argues that a team should be playing him in center field says. But for the Mets, he notes, Juan Lagares is too defensively gifted to move.
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, meanwhile, sees things somewhat differently. He argues that Young "will likely go down as one of the best free agent signings of the off-season," even though his contract landed at the same dollars, but only half the years, of that predicted through Fangraphs reader crowdsourcing. Noting that Young suffered from a low BABIP last year, and arguing that his past platoon split may not be as much of an issue as some believe, Cameron says that this contract compares favorably to those given last year to Cody Ross (three years, $26MM), Ryan Ludwick ($15MM over two years) and Jonny Gomes ($10MM for two seasons).
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post reminds that the Mets' offseason shopping list has consisted of two bats, a starting pitcher and a reliever. Young likely qualifies as one of those bats, and Puma wonders if the Mets have backed off their pursuit of Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta due to their asking prices (Twitter links). Peralta is said to be seeking a surprising $56-75MM guarantee.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Nationals Sign Chris Young

WEDNESDAY: Adam Kilgore of the Washington post tweets that Young would earn $1.5MM if he made the roster, and his deal could be worth as much as $6MM via incentives. He can opt out of his contract at the end of Spring Training.

TUESDAY: The Nationals have re-signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league deal, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com (via Twitter).  Young is represented by Williams & Connolly, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.

Young, 34, last appeared in the majors with the Mets, posting a 4.15 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 across 20 starts.  He spent last season in the Nats' minor league system but was sidelined for the majority of the year, making just nine starts in total.  Financial terms of the pact are not yet known.


Chris Young (OF) Switches Agencies

Outfielder Chris Young has changed agents, switching from CAA Sports to Reynolds Sports Management, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Young played this year for the Athletics after spending all his previous big league time with the Diamondbacks. 

As Heyman notes, the A's hold an $11MM club option over Young for next season, but are highly likely to pay him a $1.5MM buyout instead. Young hit just .200/.280/379 in 375 plate appearances in his first go-round in Oakland, while knocking twelve long balls and swiping ten bases. He also saw a downturn in his once-stellar defensive metrics, though short-sample variation could be to blame there.

Assuming Young is indeed set free by A's GM Billy Beane, his new agent will be tasked with dangling the 30-year-old's multi-tool upside on the free agent market. Though Young suffered from a low BABIP in 2013, he also has failed to maintain the strikeout and walk rates that supported his strong campaigns in 2010-11.