Chris Volstad Rumors


Rockies Sign Chris Volstad

The Rockies have signed Chris Volstad to a minor league deal worth $1.5MM, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter). The Moye Sports Association client will compete for a spot in Colorado's rotation.

Volstad, 26, spent the 2012 season with the Cubs where he posted a 6.31 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 over 111.1 innings. The towering right-hander will look to regain the success he enjoyed with the Marlins earlier in his career.



Minor Moves: Volstad, Pena, Balester, Solarte, Buck

Here are Wednesday's minor moves...

  • Right-hander Chris Volstad and catcher Brayan Pena have rejected their outright assignments and elected free agency, the Royals announced (on Twitter). Both players were designated for assignment last week.
  • The Rangers have signed Collin Balester to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 26-year-old right-hander allowed 14 runs in 18 innings for the Tigers this year while pitching to a 3.64 ERA in 47 Triple-A innings.
  • The Rangers have also signed Yangervis Solarte to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training according to Morosi. The 25-year-old infielder hit .288/.340/.405 with 11 homers in 568 plate appearances for Texas' Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • The Padres have signed Travis Buck to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, report Baseball America's Matt Eddy (on Twitter). Buck, 29, hit .216/.284/.311 in 81 plate appearances for the Astros this year.
  • The Padres also re-signed catcher Eddy Rodriguez and right-hander Daniel Stange to minor league deals with invites to camp, according to Eddy. The 26-year-old Rodriguez went 1-for-5 with a homer for San Diego this year, his big league debut.



Royals Designate Seven For Assignment

The Royals announced that they designated seven players for assignment to create 40-man roster space for players who would otherwise have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft. The Royals designated right-handers Vin Mazzaro and Chris Volstad, left-hander Ryan Verdugo, catcher Brayan Pena, infielder Clint Robinson and outfielder Derrick Robinson for assignment.

The Royals, who are also designating catcher Adam Moore for assignment, now have a full 40-man roster. They selected the contracts of left-handers Chris DwyerDonnie JosephJohn LambJustin Marks and Mike Montgomery, and right-hander J.C. Gutierrez in related moves.

The move could amount to an early non-tender for two players. Pena was on track for a salary in the $1.1MM range as a third time arbitration eligible player. Meanwhile, Volstad projected to earn $3MM as a second time eligible player.



Royals Claim Chris Volstad

The Royals claimed Chris Volstad off of waivers from the Cubs, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter).

Volstad, 26, had been a non-tender candidate in Chicago following a season in which he posted a 6.31 ERA in 111 1/3 innings. The 6'8" right-hander provides Kansas City with some rotation depth. In the four seasons leading up to 2012, he posted a 4.59 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 as a member of the Marlins' rotation.

Volstad earned $2.7MM in 2012 as a first time eligible player and his salary can't be reduced by more than 20% if he's tendered a contract through the arbitration process. In fact MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a slight raise to $3MM for Volstad.



Non-Tender Candidate: Chris Volstad

Chris Volstad’s most recent start provided a reminder of two things: that Volstad can pitch effectively against MLB offenses, and that it’s been a long time since he did so with much regularity. The 6’8” right-hander faced a Dodgers lineup including Shane Victorino, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez over the weekend and limited Los Angeles to two runs on six hits in seven innings. Yet Saturday's start was Volstad's first seven-inning outing of the season, and the first game in which he allowed fewer than three earned runs.

It’s been a disappointing season for Volstad to this point, and he will be a non-tender candidate this coming offseason. When the Cubs acquired Volstad from Miami for Carlos Zambrano, he seemed capable of providing value at the back of Chicago's rotation by making his starts, limiting walks and inducing ground balls. He had averaged 29 starts per season in the three years preceding the trade while posting a 4.88 ERA, accumulating twice as many strikeouts as walks, and generating more than his share of ground balls.

However, the results have been disappointing so far in 2012. Volstad opened the season in Dale Sveum's rotation, then got demoted after posting a 7.46 ERA through eight starts. He joined the rotation at Triple-A Iowa, posting an unremarkable 5.17 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 12 starts in the Pacific Coast League. The Cubs recalled him from Iowa last week, so he has the chance to prove he belongs at the MLB level -- now and in 2013.

Volstad earns $2.66MM this year and he’ll get a raise through the arbitration process if the Cubs tender him a contract next winter. He has pitched enough innings at the MLB level this year that he projects to obtain a $3.1MM salary in 2013, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Yes, he’s on track for a $450K raise despite a career-high 7.22 ERA, a diminished strikeout rate and an unsightly 0-8 record. The Cubs must decide between now and the middle of December whether another season of Volstad is worth $3MM-plus.

Though his stat line isn’t pretty, bad luck may be a contributing factor to Volstad’s season -- to an extent. Opponents are hitting .319 on balls in play against Volstad, a career high. It's an indication that he isn't getting much help from luck or Chicago’s defenders. No MLB pitcher has a lower strand rate than Volstad, who allows nearly half of baserunners to score (min. 50 IP). Though he's probably due for some regression, it's not uncommon for pitchers who have trouble generating swings and misses to allow a relatively high percentage of baserunners to score. And if any MLB pitcher has trouble inducing swings and misses, it’s Volstad. He generates the lowest percentage of swinging strikes among the 192 MLB pitchers with at least 50 innings in 2012 (4.6%, tied with Bartolo Colon and Henderson Alvarez). In other words, it’d be overly optimistic to say Volstad's numbers are simply a product of bad luck. 

Volstad’s in the rotation for now, which means he has the chance to string together some more strong starts before the season ends. But if he fails to impress, the Cubs may choose to non-tender Volstad this winter and look elsewhere to strengthen the back of their rotation.



Players Avoiding Arbitration: Tuesday

Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here.  Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing.  Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints.  Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:

  • The Reds announced that they also avoided arbitration with Homer Bailey and Paul Janish (Twitter link). Reds reliever Bill Bray announced that his agents at Octagon finished his deal.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Nate Schierholtz on a $1.3MM deal that includes $150K in incentives, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweets. The Giants avoided arbitration with reliever Santiago Casilla, agreeing to a $2.2MM deal with $200K in incentives, tweets Enrique Rojas.  MLBTR had projected the ACES client for a $1.9MM salary.
  • The Pirates avoided arbitration with Evan Meek , agreeing to a one-year $875K deal that includes $25K in performance bonuses, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweets.  The Pirates avoided arbitration with starter Jeff Karstens, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on a deal worth $3.1MM.  MLBTR projected the Moye Sports Associates client for $2.8MM. 
  • The Brewers avoided arbitration with reliever Kameron Loe, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.  Loe obtained $2.175MM, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.
  • The Nationals have avoided arbitration with reliever Tyler Clippard, according to their Twitter feed.  The Nationals also announced they've avoided arbitration with pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Tom Gorzelanny.  Both are represented by SFX.  Zimmermann received $2.3MM, tweets Heyman, and Gorzelanny gets $2.7MM.
  • The Yankees announced pitchers Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson have avoided arbitration.  Jon Heyman has Chamberlain around $1.675MM and Robertson at $1.6MM with $25K in incentives.
  • The Red Sox announced an agreement with infielder Mike Aviles.  It's worth $1.2MM, tweets John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
  • The Athletics announced agreements with their final two arbitration eligible players: pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Joey Devine.  McCarthy will make $4.275MM, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  She says Devine gets $737,500 plus incentives.
  • The Royals announced arbitration deals with pitchers Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino, and Jonathan Sanchez.  Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star pegs Hochevar at $3.51MM, Paulino at $1.9MM, and Sanchez at $5.6MM with $200K in performance bonuses.
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with reliever Edward Mujica, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • The Mariners avoided arbitration with reliever Shawn Kelley, reports MLB.com's Greg Johns.  The deal is worth $600K.
  • The Rays announced they've avoided arbitration with reliever Burke Badenhop on a deal worth $1.075MM.  He gets $25K for 50 games pitched, MLBTR has learned.  Badenhop is represented by ACES.
  • The Rockies avoided arbitration with outfielder Dexter Fowler for $2.35MM, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Tigers announced they've avoided arbitration with pitcher Max Scherzer and outfielder Delmon Young.  Jon Heyman pegs the Scherzer deal at $3.75MM and Young at $6.75MM.  The Tigers also avoided arbitration with utility man Don Kelly, agreeing to a $900K deal, tweets Heyman.  Matt Swartz projected $800K for the LSW Baseball client.
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with starter J.A. Happ on a deal worth $2.35MM, tweets MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
  • The Phillies avoided arbitration with infielder Wilson Valdez, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  The team announced the value at $930K.  Given their deal with Cole Hamels, only Hunter Pence remains.
  • The Indians avoided arbitration with reliever Joe Smith and third baseman Jack Hannahan, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.  Smith gets $1.75MM and Hannahan gets $1.135MM.
  • The Mets avoided arbitration with outfielder Andres Torres on a deal worth $2.7MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.  Matt Swartz had projected $2.5MM for the ACES client.  The Mets also avoided arbitration with reliever Ramon Ramirez, agreeing to a $2.65MM deal, tweets ESPN's Enrique Rojas.  The ACES client was projected by MLBTR for a $2.3MM salary.  The Mets finished up by announcing an agreement with Manny Acosta.  Andy McCullough pegs that one at $875K.
  • The Blue Jays announced they've avoided arbitration with pitcher Carlos Villanueva on a $2.2775MM deal.  Villanueva is represented by SFX.
  • The Royals avoided arbitration with outfielder Mitch Maier, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  The deal is worth $865K with a potential $10K bonus for 100 plate appearances, tweets Dutton's colleague Rustin Dodd.  Maier is represented by Eric Sobocinski.
  • The Twins avoided arbitration with reliever Glen Perkins, agreeing to a $1.55MM deal, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Matt Swartz had projected $1.5MM for the SFX client.
  • The Rangers avoided arbitration with reliever Mark Lowe, agreeing to a $1.7MM deal, tweets Evan Grant of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  MLBTR's Matt Swartz had projected the Jeff Frye client at $1.6MM.  The team also avoided arbitration with outfielder David Murphy, tweets Anthony Andro, on a deal worth $3.625MM.


  • Epstein On Zambrano, Volstad, Soriano

    The Cubs officially traded Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for Chris Volstad today, paying all but $2.5MM of the $18MM owed to him next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke to reporters after the trade was announced, so let's recap...

    • "Best case scenario is that if it did work, [Zambrano would] be leaving as a free agent at the end of the year," said Epstein to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "Or, if we had to spend that money anyways as a sunk cost, would we rather spend it on a 25-year-old who we can put in our rotation and control for three seasons? That made a lot more sense."
    • "At some point in the future, if there's a transaction that makes sense with any of our players that puts the Cubs in a better position moving forward, we are going to pursue it," said Epstein to ESPN's Chicago's Bruce Levine. "But in respect to [Alfonso Soriano], he has power and is an offensive contributor. We can work with him to get the best out of him and see where that takes us."
    • A couple of teams have inquired about Soriano according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter), but so far the Cubs have been unable to find a match. The outfielder still has three years at $18MM per season left on his contract.



    Marlins Agree To Acquire Carlos Zambrano

    The 2012 Marlins just got a little more interesting. In case Ozzie Guillen, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell didn’t add enough intrigue to the upcoming season, the team has officially acquired Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs for Chris Volstad. The Marlins will pay $2.5MM of Zambrano's $18MM salary in 2012.

    Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had a productive meeting with Zambrano after the season, but the right-hander hadn't seemed wanted in Chicago for a while. The Cubs placed Zambrano on the disqualified list last summer following an August outburst and declined to play him in September, after his 30-day suspension ended.

    Icon_9153103Zambrano waived his no-trade clause to play for Guillen, his friend and fellow Venezuelan. Zambrano also waived his $19.25MM option for 2013, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (all Twitter links). His deal now includes a $100K bonus for winning Comeback Player of the Year in 2012. Zambrano settled his summer grievance with the Cubs, obtaining 24 days of salary (nearly $2.4MM), according to Rosenthal.

    The deal gives the Marlins a projected rotation of Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Zambrano. It presumably takes the Marlins out of the running for another Cubs starter: right-hander Matt Garza.

    Zambrano, 30, posted a 4.82 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 145 2/3 innings for the Cubs in 2011. He has spent his entire 11-year career with the Cubs and earned nearly $100MM in the process. Zambrano, a three-time Silver Slugger, owns a .241/.251/.395 career line as a hitter and has hit 23 home runs. The Cubs signed him out of Venezuela in 1997 under former GM Ed Lynch.

    Volstad, a 6'8" right-hander, posted a 4.89 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate in 165 2/3 innings for the Marlins in 2011. His career numbers (4.59 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 50.4% ground ball rate) show he's a steady if unspectacular back-of-the-rotation option. However, he's homer prone and struggles against left-handers, as MLBTR's Mike Axisa pointed out earlier in the offseason.

    The 25-year-old former first rounder projects to earn $2.6MM through arbitration in 2012 and will remain under team control through 2014, which makes him a relatively affordable medium-term option.

    Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the teams were nearing a deal (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago also contributed to the story as it broke. Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI. 



    Cubs Notes: Garza, Wood, LaHair, Marshall

    The Cubs agreed to send Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for Chris Volstad today. The Cubs take on nearly all of Zambrano’s salary, but in doing so they obtain Volstad, a valuable ground ball pitcher who has consistently made his starts since joining the Marlins’ rotation in 2008. He’s arbitration eligible this offseason and under team control through 2014. Before the trade, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined 720 WGN in Chicago for an extended interview. Here are some highlights:

    • Epstein said Matt Garza is a “top of the rotation type” starter. In general, players like Garza can become long-term assets by signing extensions or becoming trade chips, Epstein said. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com hears that the Cubs continue asking "for [the] moon" in trade talks about Garza (Twitter link).
    • Rules limiting amateur spending in the new collective bargaining agreement won’t necessarily slow the Cubs down. "It just means we have to be better and more accurate with our drafting than the competition," Epstein said.
    • Epstein said he'd be greatly disappointed if the Cubs don't re-sign Kerry Wood. Wood signed a below-market $1.5MM deal last offseason but is said to want a market value deal this winter.
    • The Cubs expect to start Bryan LaHair at first base. The 29-year-old posted a .331/.405/.664 line with 38 home runs at Triple-A in 2011. He also posted an .885 OPS in 69 plate appearances with the big league club.
    • Epstein addressed Zambrano, saying "change needs to happen and change will happen." Not long after the interview, the Cubs agreed to send the right-hander to Miami.
    • Epstein explained that some disappointing players can recover from poor seasons to produce again. "It's a game played by human beings and the ability to bounce back is very real," Epstein said.
    • The Cubs value Sean Marshall, but felt it made sense to trade him for players who can contribute beyond 2012 (Travis Wood and two prospects), especially since Marshall isn't likely to be tied to draft pick compensation next offseason.
    • The Cubs are "very committed" to Carlos Marmol as their closer.



    Marlins Close To Acquiring Carlos Zambrano

    6:25pm: The Cubs will absorb all of Zambrano's $18MM salary less the MLB minimum, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

    6:15pm: Chris Volstad is joining the Cubs in the deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The 6'8" right-hander posted a 4.89 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate in 165 2/3 innings for the Marlins in 2011. His career numbers (4.59 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 50.4% ground ball rate) show he's a steady if unspectacular back-of-the-rotation option. However, he's homer prone and struggles against left-handers, as MLBTR's Mike Axisa pointed out earlier in the offseason.

    The 25-year-old former first rounder projects to earn $2.6MM through arbitration in 2012 and will remain under team control through 2014, which makes him a relatively affordable medium-term option. 

    4:42pm: The 2012 Marlins are about to get a little more interesting. In case Ozzie Guillen, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell don’t add enough intrigue to the upcoming season, the team is close to acquiring Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The move would round out Miami’s rotation and provide the Cubs with the chance to part ways with a volatile but talented player who was no longer welcome in Chicago.

    Zambrano would need to waive his no-trade clause for the teams to complete the deal, but he would presumably be open to playing for friend and fellow Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen. Zambrano and Guillen reportedly discussed the possibility after the 2011 season.

    Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had a productive meeting with Zambrano after the season, but the right-hander hasn't seemed wanted in Chicago for a while. The Cubs placed Zambrano on the disqualified list last summer following an August outburst and declined to play him in September, after his 30-day suspension ended.

    The deal would give the Marlins a projected rotation of Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Zambrano. The deal would presumably take the Marlins out of the running for another Cubs starter: right-hander Matt Garza.

    It's not yet clear how the Cubs and Marlins would split Zambrano's salary. He will earn $18MM in 2012 and his contract includes an option for 2013 that could vest depending on his health and performance in 2012. He needs to finish in the top four in next year's Cy Young vote and finish the season healthy for the option to vest. The Cubs will take on much of Zambrano's salary and are "not expecting to receive much back in the way of prospects," David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com writes.

    Zambrano, 30, posted a 4.82 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 145 2/3 innings for the Cubs in 2011. He has spent his entire 11-year career with the Cubs and earned nearly $100MM in the process. Zambrano, a three-time Silver Slugger, owns a .241/.251/.395 career line as a hitter and has hit 23 home runs. The Cubs signed him out of Venezuela in 1997 under former GM Ed Lynch.

    The Marlins have a full 40-man roster and would have to clear space for Zambrano unless they're sending a player from their 40-man to Chicago.

    This post was originally published on January 4th.









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