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Just over two weeks remain in the current international signing period, which will come to a close on June 15. Following that will be a roughly two-week dead period before July 2 marks the kickoff of the the 2015-16 international prospect signing period. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez recently penned a piece looking at some changes at the top of the international signing class, and he also has a second piece centering around a particularly interesting player in the upcoming June draft. A few highlights…
- Cuban prospects Eddy Julio Martinez and Yadier Alvarez have vaulted to the top of the upcoming July 2 class of international prospects, joining Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox in Sanchez’s Top 3 prospects. Martinez is technically eligible to sign during the current period, Sanchez notes, though a deal would have to come together quickly in order for that to become a reality. Some scouts have made the lofty comparison of a young Andruw Jones when evaluating the 20-year-old Martinez, according to Sanchez. He lists the Cubs, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants, Reds and White Sox as teams that have shown interest in Martinez. It should be noted that the Angels and Yankees would only be able to sign Martinez in the current signing period, as they incurred maximum penalties in 2014-15 for soaring past their allotted bonus pool and will be unable to sign a player for more than $300K. The Cubs, on the other hand, are ineligible to sign him during this period but could do so in the 2015-16 period, as their penalty for exceeding their 2013-14 bonus pool will then have been served. The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Alvarez — Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel has previously reported that they’re believed to have an agreement worth as much as $16MM waiting to become official after July 2 — and have been aggressive on the Cuban market, adding Pablo Fernandez and Hector Olivera for a combined sum worth more than $70MM.
- The Dodgers, Rangers, Reds, and Giants are among the teams most frequently connected to the 18-year-old Fox, Sanchez hears. McDaniel reported a little over a month ago that Fox had been declared a free agent and could sign in the upcoming period, and he’s since noted that the Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers were serious players for Fox. Fox tells Sanchez that he’s added about 15 pounds of muscle in the past year, which he feels has dramatically improved his game since appearing in the Perfect Game and East Coast Pro showcases last year. (Fox attended American Heritage High School in Florida for two years before returning home to the Bahamas and petitioned to be declared an international free agent.)
- In the second piece linked above, Sanchez looks at the curious case of right-hander Octavio Arroyo, who was expected to be selected out of San Diego’s San Ysidro High School somewhere in rounds 15-20 in the June draft. However, Arroyo was recently deported to Tijuana, as his family incorrectly filled out his paperwork when moving him to the United States to live with his grandparents, both of whom are United States citizens. “The plan was for my grandparents to adopt me and get my paperwork, my residency,” Arroyo told Sanchez. “But I was denied. I don’t know why. I was told we filled out the paperwork wrong. We tried for three years, but I never got it.” Arroyo crossed the U.S./Mexico border multiple times while knowing that his paperwork had been rejected, and he was detained and deported in an attempt this spring. He’s still, however, eligible for the draft, but it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll be granted a work visa by the U.S. government. If no team selects him, Arroyo could sign as an undrafted free agent or sign with a Mexican League club, who could then sell his rights to a Major League team, Sanchez writes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2015-16 International Prospects | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Detroit Tigers | Eddy Julio Martinez | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Lucius Fox | New York Yankees | Pablo Fernandez | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Yadier Alvarez
Center fielder David Dahl, widely regarded as one of the two best prospects in the Rockies organization, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after undergoing surgery to repair a “massive laceration” on his spleen, reports Yahoo’s Jeff Passan (Twitter links). As Passan reported yesterday, Dahl suffered a serious spleen injury as well as a likely concussion in a truly frightening outfield collision. He will have to wear some form of protective padding for the rest of his career as a result of the injury, according to Passan.
Dahl’s father, Mike, told Mark Inabinett Mobile Press-Register that during a collision with second baseman Juan Ciriaco, his son was kneed in the spleen and was also hit in the face. “He probably has a minor concussion, I would imagine, because he doesn’t remember much about what happened,” said Mike Dahl.
The 21-year-old Dahl was the 10th overall selection in the 2012 draft out of Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala. Entering the season, he ranked as the game’s No. 22 overall prospect, according to Baseball America. Baseball Prospectus, meanwhile, ranked him 24th, while he was No. 27 per ESPN’s Keith Law, No. 31 on Fangraphs’ Top 200 and No. 59 on MLB.com’s Top 100. This will be the second season that Dahl has had significantly shortened by injury, as a torn hamstring limited him to 10 games in 2013.
A slow start in his first taste of Double-A leaves Dahl with a .269/.296/.379 batting line in 189 plate appearances this season, but he hit .299/.335/.492 with 14 homers and 21 steals in 119 games across two Class-A affiliates last year. All of that, of course, takes a back seat to the fact that Dahl appears to have avoided a number of potentially worse outcomes in a very precarious scenario. MLBTR wishes Dahl a speedy recovery and continued success once he is able to return to the playing field in 2016.
Rockies outfield prospect David Dahl suffered serious injuries in a collision today and is undergoing surgery on his spleen, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). Dahl, the club’s top prospect according to Baseball America, likely also has a concussion and broken rib. Needless to say, the immediate concern is with Dahl’s personal well-being, and MLBTR extends its best wishes to him and his family.
- Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is set to miss most or all of the rest of the regular season, a topic that MLBTR’s Steve Adams and I discussed on today’s podcast. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the topic in depth, as well, in an excellent piece. He notes that there is not as much urgency as one might think: the team is playing well regardless, Adams was not exactly a driving force in the first two months, and Mark Reynolds is worthy of an extended look. That being said, if and when the Cardinals do look for an upgrade, Miklasz says the club should not limit itself either to left-handed hitters or to traditional first basemen. There’s plenty more of interest in the article, and I recommend a full read (and a listen to the podcast, of course).
- The Dodgers‘ bullpen has been something of a revelation, but it is being taxed even with Kenley Jansen back for duty, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. Los Angeles starters are in the middle of the pack in terms of total innings, notes Saxon, who says that could be by design — at least in part. The team’s relief corps has shown some cracks, though its incredible start was unsustainable as a general matter. If the Dodgers’ front office is indeed dictating increased bullpen use for strategic purposes, that would also help explain the club’s rather notable hording of relief arms in recent weeks.
- Now-former Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe, who was recently traded to the Braves, says that he never personally requested a deal, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group reports. “When I had the conversation with [Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman] I didn’t demand anything,” said Uribe. “I didn’t ask to play every day. I just wanted to know what my role was.” Friedman had indicated that Uribe’s agent had indicated that a trade to open playing time would be preferred. Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that neither side has expressed bitterness and that there’s room for truth both ways. Friedman indicated that he had been conveyed something of a suggestion of a deal from Uribe’s representatives, rather than a demand of a deal from Uribe himself.
Here are the highlights from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe‘s latest column:
- The Athletics, Phillies, Brewers, Rockies and Reds could have the best big-league talent on offer at the trade deadline, two executives tell Cafardo. Scott Kazmir is perhaps the top player the Athletics could have available, but there could be others, like Josh Reddick and Billy Butler. The Red Sox, Pirates and Blue Jays also could become sellers unless they play well over the next couple months, Cafardo suggests.
- Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux would have interest in a managerial job, says Cafardo. In the past, Maddux frequently removed himself from consideration for such jobs because his children were younger and he did not want his family to have to move.
- Executives believe the Rockies do have interest in trading Troy Tulowitzki, and feel they should have little trouble doing so if they’re willing to pay some of the $113MM remaining on his contract. “I think they’ll be able to move him,” says one GM. “Too good of a player to be out there without someone taking him.” Tulowitzki is hitting just .275/.291/.423 in 148 plate appearances and, for whatever it’s worth, his defensive numbers in a small sample so far this season aren’t nearly as strong as they typically are.
There has been a great deal of trade talk surrounding A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir, but the Dodgers could have interest in another member of Oakland’s rotation, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. The Dodgers could circle back to Jesse Chavez this summer, a right-hander they discussed with Oakland in the offseason. The Dodgers could use pitching reinforcements and the A’s own the worst record in baseball, so there could be a match there between now and the end of July.
Here’s more from the NL West:
- Some might wonder if Walt Weiss is on the hot seat given the Rockies‘ woes, but GM Jeff Bridich says that’s not the case. “There’s no issue there,” Bridich said, according to Nick Groke of The Denver Post. “Throwing around blame is a very dangerous thing to do. The manager and the coaches don’t step on the field and take a bat and step into the batter’s box, and they don’t take the ball to stand on the mound.” Knowing he has the confidence of his GM, Weiss says he does not feel any heat, “This is my third season, and we haven’t won. And I’m sure people ask about my security here, I’m sure that becomes a topic. But I have to tell you, honestly, I have zero fear of losing my job.” The Rockies enter play today at 16-25, the fourth-worst mark in MLB.
- One bright spot for the Rockies this season has been the play of second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders is championing to make the NL All-Star team.
- Juan Uribe could be the odd man out when Hector Olivera is ready to join the Dodgers, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group.
- The Dodgers‘ best-pitched game of the season didn’t come from one of their high-priced top line starters or one of their multi-millionaire free agent pickups. Instead, it came from Mike Bolsinger, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks by the Dodgers’ new regime in exchange for cash considerations, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. Through four starts, Bolsinger now boasts a 0.71 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
- After a 10-5 start, the Padres have gone 10-18 and former U-T San Diego writer Bill Center (in a piece for MLB.com) wonders if it’s time for San Diego to act with urgency and shake up things.
A few notes on the international prospect front…
- The Giants were among the clubs to scout 20-year-old Cuban center fielder Eddy Julio Martinez in the Dominican Republic recently, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (All Twitter links). At this time, the Giants, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers and Dodgers are all in the mix for Martinez. One scout placed the lofty comp of a young Andruw Jones on Martinez, Sanchez adds, though clearly not every scout will be quite that bullish. Martinez is expected to work out for more clubs this week and is eligible to sign at any time.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted recently that the Twins are also among the teams to have scouted Martinez (and other Cuban prospects) as of late. Wolfson hears that as many as 17 teams watched Martinez work out late last week.
- Sanchez hears that interest in Martinez and in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox is picking up (Twitter links). Scouts love Fox’s tools, and the fact that he is already 18 years of age is actually a bonus in this instance, as he comes with more experience than most July 2-eligible prospects. Fox, unlike Martinez, isn’t eligible to sign prior to July 2.
- Jung Ho Kang‘s early success with the Pirates will help pave the way for hitters from the Korea Baseball Organization to make the jump to Major League Baseball, opines C.J. Nitkowski of FOX Sports (video link). Manager Clint Hurdle recently revealed to Nitkowski that in Spring Training, he had some concerns about whether or not Kang would be able to handle the increased fastball velocity he’d encounter in Major League Baseball. As Nitkowski points out, that hasn’t been an issue for the powerful infielder to this point; Kang has seen 101 fastballs registering at 93 mph or faster, and he’s whiffed on just five of them in addition to going 9-for-18 on those that he’s put into play. Recent reports have indicated that Kang’s former Nexen Heroes teammate, Byung-ho Park, is hoping to jump to MLB himself next season.
The Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation has been plentiful over the past week, but Jon Morosi of FOX Sports asked Rockies owner Dick Monfort about the rumors at this week’s owners meetings (Twitter link) and was told, “We’re not trying to trade him. There’s no story there.” Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, couldn’t even get that level of an answer out of Monfort last week, as Rosenthal recently wrote that Monfort quickly hung up the phone when asked about the Tulowitzki trade scenario. Many, including Rosenthal, have written that the belief is that Monfort himself, not GM Jeff Bridich or Tulowitzki, is in control of whether or not the shortstop is traded. Monfort has a history of reluctance in trading veterans; a report from hall of fame journalist Peter Gammons last summer indicated that Monfort vetoed a trade of Jorge De La Rosa for highly touted prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. De La Rosa was signed to a two-year extension shortly thereafter.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Travis Ishikawa is nearing a return from the disabled list, and his impending activation creates a potentially uncomfortable roster crunch for the Giants, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants will have to either trim a member of their bullpen or cut a bench player to activate Ishikawa, neither of which is a desirable outcome for the club, Haft continues. Ishikawa is aware that with Brandon Belt and Nori Aoki playing well, at-bats with the big league club could be few and far between, but he’s ok with a reduced role. “If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be,” Ishikawa said. To this point, the veteran first baseman/outfielder said he hasn’t received any indication from the club as to what their decision will be.
- Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Dodgers‘ glut of infielders could be leveraged in trades to address the starting rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are already out for the season, and as Saxon notes, Friedman told reporters (including MLBTR’s Zach Links) that an excess of good players can benefit a team by making trades easier to facilitate. Saxon quotes Friedman as saying, “…if we can add an arm, that would certainly be helpful.” I’d add that the Dodgers’ rotation is currently also banking on the injury-prone Brett Anderson to remain healthy, further increasing the possibility that the Dodgers may need to look outside the organization for rotation help. Of course, as Saxon notes, Brandon Beachy is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to return by June. Given that he’s returning from his second TJ operation, however, it would likely behoove the Dodgers to have depth beyond Beachy, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger.
- Losing Ryu will make the Dodgers‘ efforts to acquire a starter significantly more difficult, opines Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Rival clubs already knew that they had leverage over the Dodgers, given the team’s rotation holes, and with Ryu slated to go under the knife, the Dodgers’ need has only been magnified. The Dodgers need to add a reliable mid-rotation arm, but teams can afford to demand a more premium asking price, Dilbeck feels, knowing that the Dodgers aren’t likely to be able to get by for the rest of the season with Anderson, Beachy, Bolsinger and Frias supporting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
- For those who didn’t see earlier, the Rockies made the somewhat surprising decision to option Drew Stubbs, who has five-plus years of Major League service, to Triple-A. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd took a look at the situation in more detail.
Stubbs, 30, avoided arbitration with a $5.825MM contract this year — his final before hitting the open market. Notably, given his 5+ service time, Stubbs both had to pass through revocable optional waivers and consent to the assignment.
This season has been nothing but hardship for Stubbs, who is slashing just .118/.182/.255 in 56 plate appearances. That represents a notable disappointment for him after a stellar 2014 campaign in which he put up a strong .289/.339/.482 batting line. Though he only took 424 plate appearances, strong baserunning and solid defensive marks let him with 2.6 fWAR and 2.7 rWAR.
Barnes, meanwhile, joined Stubbs as a pre-2014 acquisition for Colorado, but the 29-year-old did not enjoy quite as much success. He has been working at Triple-A this year, where he has put up a .205/.266/.364 slash over 143 turns at bat.
Earlier this week, in the wake of the Marlins’ managerial change, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted that the two skippers who were most obviously on the hot seat had now been dismissed. With Mike Redmond and Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke having been replaced, Rosenthal looks at four more managers who could eventually find themselves in danger of losing their jobs, listing John Gibbons (Blue Jays), Bud Black (Padres), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves) and Terry Collins (Mets) as the likeliest options. Gibbons can’t be blamed for the lack of quality relief arms he has at his disposal, Rosenthal notes, but bench coach Demarlo Hale has long been thought of as a managerial prospect and makes sense as a replacement option. Black’s Padres are struggling with pitching, and Mark Kotsay‘s name is floated by Rosenthal as someone who could be the next recently retired player to turn manager. Braves president of baseball ops John Hart isn’t as high on Gonzalez as president John Schuerholz or Bobby Cox, and there’s been some recent “internal finger-pointing,” Rosenthal hears. Collins nearly lost his job at the end of the 2014 season, he notes, and while the team is still in first place, the Mets’ managerial situation has long been volatile in nature.
Here’s more from Rosenthal…
- In a new Notes column, Rosenthal looks at the Athletics‘ roster in the wake of a brutal start to the season. As many have pointed out, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist — each a pending free agent — would all be logical trade candidates if the team is still underperforming in July. However, Rosenthal writes that there’s no way GM Billy Beane will act quickly and sell, as he’ll first want to see how the team performs with Zobrist and closer Sean Doolittle healthy and activated from the DL. One change that won’t be coming, Rosenthal adds, is at manager. Beane and skipper Bob Melvin have a strong relationship, and it’s “exceptionally unlikely” that Melvin would be dismissed, in Rosenthal’s eyes.
- Another possible trade chip for the A’s could be Josh Reddick, who is earning $4.1MM after his second trip through arbitration this year. The Athletics, however, resisted trade offers for Reddick all offseason, Rosenthal hears.
- Rosenthal recently called Rockies owner Dick Monfort to discuss the recent Troy Tulowitzki trade chatter. However, when Rosenthal began asking about Tulowitzki, Monfort “quickly hung up.” The bizarre situation lends credence to wide-spread belief that Tulo, his agent and even GM Jeff Bridich have little say in whether or not the Rockies trade the face of their franchise. Rather, it’ll come down to the team owner’s wishes.
- The Astros are considering a long list of pitchers that either are or could become available, and they’ve recently been scouting Jeff Samardzija. It remains to be seen if the Astros would be willing to part with enough to get their hands on Samardzija, though. As Rosenthal notes, some rival execs feel that the tandem pitching system the Astros use in the minors devalues their pitching prospects, though one exec told him that it actually increases the value, as it suppresses the young pitchers’ inning counts.
- Rosenthal believes the Rays should consider trading left-hander Jake McGee to either help their rotation or another area of the team. McGee, he notes, is earning $3.55MM this season and will see that price tag sail beyond $5MM in arbitration this winter.
- Of course, as I noted yesterday when looking at this topic, using McGee in the ninth inning would help to keep down the future earnings of Brad Boxberger, who would benefit greatly from two full seasons of saves when he heads into arbitration following the 2016 season. And, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd mentioned to me earlier today when we were chatting, left-handed relief is an area of weakness for the Rays at this time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the scenario Rosenthal lays out came to fruition, and it’s hard to imagine that the Rays wouldn’t at least be open-minded to moving McGee.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Ben Zobrist | Bob Melvin | Brad Boxberger | Bud Black | Colorado Rockies | Fredi Gonzalez | Houston Astros | Jake McGee | Jeff Samardzija | John Gibbons | Josh Reddick | Mark Kotsay | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | San Diego Padres | Scott Kazmir | Tampa Bay Rays | Terry Collins | Toronto Blue Jays | Troy Tulowitzki | Tyler Clippard
Here’s a look at the Rockies..
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich seems to think that the trade speculation surrounding Troy Tulowitzki is a product of the team’s recent slide. “My hunch is that if we had a very different two weeks, and we had a record as we had in April, that we wouldn’t be talking about this at all, right now,” the GM said, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “Funny how none of this came up in April when we were playing very different baseball.” Bridich spoke with reporters on Friday and tried to make the case that the Tulo trade talk was a product of the media stirring things up. Of course, the ball got rolling when agent Paul Cohen spoke on the record with Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Rockies have gotten even worse under Bridich, Woody Paige of The Denver Post opines. The Rockies have now gone 5-18 in the last month and Paige rolls his eyes at the notion put forth by Bridich that the Rockies have not played up to “expectations.” The rotation, he notes, was widely projected as one of the worst in the majors at the outset of the season. Now, they’re at or near the bottom in league ERA, strikeouts, and walks, which is more or less what Paige expected.
- It’s time for Bridich to move his star shortstop, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) opines. Bowden runs down the five best trade destinations for Tulowitzki, in order of fit, starting with the Mets. He suggests a package of left-hander Steven Matz, catcher Kevin Plawecki, and right-handed reliever Rafael Montero. One drawback for the Rockies is that such a haul would call for Colorado to eat $25-30MM of Tulo’s deal, in Bowden’s estimation.