Cliff Pennington Rumors

NL West Notes: Lincecum, Petit, Colon, D’Backs, Rockies

The Giants are weighing whether or not to continue with beleaguered right-hander Tim Lincecum in their rotation, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lincecum himself offered a frank, expletive-laced assessment of his recent performance and sounded aware that he may not make his next start. Shea spoke with manager Bruce Bochy about rotation candidate Yusmeiro Petit‘s struggles as a starter and excellence in the bullpen this year, with Bochy calling Petit’s rotation work too small of sample to judge. Petit’s recent bullpen work, however, has been nothing short of incredible, if not historic. He’s retired 38 consecutive batters, striking out 16. As Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com points out (on Twitter), Petit is seven batters shy of matching the Major League record for most consecutive hitters retired. Lincecum, who is in the first season of a two-year, $35MM extension, has a 9.49 ERA over his past six starts and has totaled just 24 2/3 innings in that time. Baggarly tweets that for now, the team’s Thursday starter is listed as “TBA.”

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • While the most commonly linked team to Bartolo Colon (who is currently on revocable waivers) has been the Angels, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his daily blog that the injury-plagued Dodgers are a candidate to place a claim as well (ESPN Insider required). Olney points out that Colon’s start against the Dodgers tonight could serve as an audition.
  • Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa feels that his team can post a winning record in 2015, he tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. La Russa feels that the D’Backs can make improvements with their current roster solely by improving their approach at the plate and improving their baserunning, but he also cites the desire to make “two or three impactful moves” in the offseason, including the addition of at least one hitter and at least one pitcher.
  • Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that the D’Backs are in evaluation mode with middle infielders Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius, and Nick Ahmed. Additionally, the club is trying to determine how to mix in veterans Aaron Hill and Cliff Pennington. For the time being, GM Kevin Towers tells Buchanan that Owings will see more time at second base with Gregorius getting a look at short, but that doesn’t mean Owings is being converted to a second baseman full-time. Hill, meanwhile, will see action at third, though a full-time transition there would block prospect Jake Lamb, Buchanan notes. In my view, Pennington is a non-tender candidate following the season and Ahmed could use more work at Triple-A, leaving three infielders for two spots. Hill is guaranteed $12MM in 2015 and again in 2016, making him difficult to trade, but any number of clubs would likely be interested in Owings, Gregorius or Ahmed in trades.
  • The Rockies are further away from contending now than they were at the beginning of the season, opines Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Saunders looks at Colorado’s pitching predicament, noting that Tyler Chatwood will miss the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery and Jhoulys Chacin‘s shoulder cannot be relied upon. Brett Anderson‘s injuries make it difficult to exercise his $12MM option, and Jorge De La Rosa could end up pitching elsewhere, as several sources with whom Saunders has conversed feel that there’s only a 50-50 chance he returns. Add in the persistent trade rumors regarding Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez — Saunders feels the latter is more likely to go — and the offseason is rife with question marks and uncertainty.

Placed On Revocable Waivers: Sunday

Bartolo Colon is reportedly on revocable waivers at the moment (his waiver period expires tomorrow), but he is of course just one of many names to be in that situation. We’ll keep track of the players that are reported to be on revocable waivers today in this post…

  • Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons reports that the Astros placed Scott Feldman and Chad Qualls on revocable waivers yesterday, meaning their waiver periods will expire tomorrow (Twitter link). The Angels and Tigers will both monitor the situation, he notes, referring to Anaheim’s need for rotation help and Detroit’s bullpen needs. Feldman is owed roughly $22.4MM through 2016 as part of a front-loaded three-year, $30MM pact. He’s posted a 4.37 ERA with 5.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 44.9 percent ground-ball rate this season. His salary commitment, like Cahill, gives him a realistic chance of falling to the Angels, in my view.
  • Qualls has been excellent out of the Houston bullpen, notching a 3.07 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 1.0 BB/9 and a 56.7 percent ground-ball rate in 44 innings this year. He’s owed about $3.78MM through 2015 on his current contract. That sum includes the remainder of this season’s $2.7MM salary, next year’s $3MM guarantee and the $250K buyout on a $3.5MM option for the 2016 season.

Earlier Updates

  • The Diamondbacks appear to be putting a large chunk of their roster through waivers this weekend, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Trevor Cahill, Oliver Perez, Cliff Pennington, Addison Reed and Brad Ziegler are all on revocable waivers. At first glance, Cahill would appear to be a sure thing to clear, given his $12MM salary in 2015 and the fact that he already cleared outright waivers earlier this year after struggling. However, Cahill has a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings since returning from Triple-A, and it’s fair to speculate about an injury-ravaged team like the Angels placing a claim with the hopes that he can sustain the turnaround. Cahill is guaranteed about $13.7MM through the end of the 2015 season, but his contract also contains a pair of reasonable club options (reasonable, of course, assuming he is effective). His team can exercise a $13MM option ($300K buyout) for 2016 and a $13.5MM option ($500K buyout) for 2017.
  • As Rosenthal notes, virtually every reliever being placed on waivers is being claimed. Even non-contending clubs could look to claim any of Arizona’s three relief arms known to be on waivers, as each is controlled beyond 2014. Perez will probably generate the most interest given his strong results and the modest $2.8MM remaining on his deal. Reed’s save totals will inflate his price tag in arbitration, while the D’Backs have reportedly shown no interest in parting with Ziegler all summer.
  • Teams may be wary of claiming Pennington, who is owed $639K through season’s end, due to his injury troubles in 2014 and his history of modest offensive contributions. He’s arb-eligible following the season, but he’s a non-tender candidate after earning $3.25MM this season.

For a more complete explanation of how revocable trade waivers and August trades work, check out MLBTR’s August Trades primer. You can also check out MLBTR’s list of players that have cleared revocable waivers to see who is eligible to be traded to any team.


NL West Notes: Hudson, Lyles, Pennington, Webb

Giants veteran Tim Hudson clarified recently that he bears no ill will toward his prior team, the Braves, as Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Though he was initially offended when Atlanta offered him only $2MM on a one-year deal, Hudson said that the club ultimately made multiple, “fair offers at the end.” Hudson, who ultimately signed a two-year, $23MM deal, continued: “I totally understand [the Braves'] side of things. I’m not and wasn’t bitter at all.”

Here’s more out of the NL West, with an unfortunate focus on injuries:

  • The struggling Rockies received bad news last night with starter Jordan Lyles going down with a broken left hand, reports Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Though the injury was to Lyles’s non-pitching hand, he will hit the DL, though the precise prognosis remains unknown. Colorado has already dipped into its prospect ranks to call up Eddie Butler, and could again look to the minors (or displaced starter Franklin Morales) to cover for the absences of Lyles, Brett Anderson, and Tyler Chatwood. In concert with the team’s slide in the standings, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the Rockies will look to add to the club over the summer; now fully eight games back in the NL West, the team may soon be pegged a seller.
  • Diamondbacks middle infielder Cliff Pennington has undergone surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb, the club announced. He is not expected to begin baseball activities for eight to ten weeks. As I noted yesteday, the injury — especially given its newly-reported severity — could potentially have some impact on how the club proceeds over the summer. It is also bad news for Pennington’s upcoming free agency; the 29-year-old, who is in the back end of a two-year, $5MM deal, has slashed just .242/.313/.312 through 382 plate appearances with Arizona.
  • Former Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb looked back at the disappointing run of shoulder injuries that derailed his career, in a piece from MLB.com’s Barry Bloom. His initial shoulder troubles seemingly emerged out of nowhere one afternoon, but Webb never returned to a big league mound despite years of trying. “That was the most frustrating part, never being able to come back, especially when everything seemed to look fine in the pictures and all that,” says Webb. “That was the toughest part, to go from the top of the game, probably one of the best pitchers in the game, to be done.” Then-pitching coach Bryan Price says that it remains difficult to draw any lessons from Webb’s situation. “If you look back at his delivery, there wasn’t a reason,” he said. “He pitched a lot, but he was a low pitch-count guy. It’s one of those things that we’ll be left to guess about.”


D’Backs, Pennington Agree To Deal

January 30th: The deal is official now that Pennington has passed his physical, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). Pennington will earn $1.25MM in 2013 and $2.75MM in 2014. The deal also includes a $1MM signing bonus for a total of $5MM.

January 22nd: The Diamondbacks and Cliff Pennington have reached agreement on a two-year, $5MM deal, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  The middle infielder is represented by Sosnick/Cobbe.

Arizona acquired Pennington from the A's last October in a three-team deal that also brought Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks.  For his career, Pennington owns a .249/.313/.356 batting line across parts of five seasons in Oakland.

This was Pennington's first time as an arbitration eligible player.  The two sides were $1MM apart upon exchanging figures – the 28-year-old filed for $2.8MM while Arizona countered with $1.8MM.


D’Backs Discussing Two-Year Deal With Pennington

The Diamondbacks are discussing a two-year deal with shortstop/second baseman Cliff Pennington, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  The Sosnick/Cobbe client is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.

Arizona acquired Pennington from the A's last October in a three-team deal that also brought Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks.  For his career, Pennington owns a .249/.313/.356 batting line across parts of five seasons in Oakland.

As MLBTR's Transactions Tracker shows, Pennington filed for $2.8MM last week while the Diamondbacks countered with $1.8MM.  The midpoint between the two figures is $2.3MM.