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Colorado Rockies Rumors
The Mets jumped the free agent market yesterday in a surprising way, signing right fielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21MM deal that requires the forfeiture of their #15 overall pick in the 2015 draft. As FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan wrote, it was a surprising series of events: Cuddyer wasn’t expected to receive a qualifying offer, then he was expected to accept it once the Rockies made it, and the Mets weren’t expected to be interested in him after the draft pick cost was attached. More on the signing:
- Cuddyer said on a conference call with Mets beat writers today that he would have accepted the Rockies’ qualifying offer had he not been signed by the Mets.
- Sullivan suggests a conservative estimate values the Mets’ lost pick around $10-15MM, and feels the team is “slightly overpaying” overall for Cuddyer. Personally, I think the Mets valued the pick lower than $10-15MM, as that estimate seems to assume the Mets’ pick would have become one of the game’s 100 best prospects. If we instead apply Dave Cameron’s 3x valuation of a draft’s slot value, we might get $7.5MM in value, which MLBTR’s Jeff Todd suggested to me yesterday. Jeff further noted the Mets might have reasons to devalue that estimate. I also think we were low in estimating Cuddyer’s QO-free market value at two years and $22MM back in mid-October, and his real market value could easily have been two years and $28MM or three years and $36MM. Clearly the Mets valued the lost pick into their offer one way or another.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News doesn’t even want to hear an argument that the Mets should not have sacrificed the pick for Cuddyer, saying, “Nothing in baseball is more romanticized, fetishized and overvalued than draft picks and prospects.” Martino feels the Cuddyer signing signaled the right mindset for the Mets.
- The Mets initially balked at giving up the pick to sign Cuddyer, writes Marc Carig of Newsday, but GM Sandy Alderson changed his mind. According to assistant GM John Ricco, “I think this is a message that we’re going to be aggressive. And right out of the box, we had a guy we liked and we went out and got him.” The Mets had no interest in offering multiple years to other free agent candidates, says Carig.
- New Rockies GM Jeff Bridich comes out smelling like roses, snagging a supplemental draft pick most didn’t expect he could get. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post has quotes from Bridich, who said, “The way that we looked at it was that if we had Cuddy come back on a one-year deal with us, and had he just purely accepted the offer, that was fine. We tried to engage on multiyear talks from the get-go. Even before the (qualifying) offer was made. When the qualifying offer was made, we said, ‘OK, if there is anything to talk about a multiyear offer, let us know. We are ready to engage.’ That doesn’t guarantee it would happen, but we were ready.” It seems Bridich did a better job of reading Cuddyer’s market than the media did.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post likes the signing for the Mets in a 55-45 way. He explains, “He was the outfielder with flaws the Mets knew they could get and there is an upside that makes this a huge gamble probably worth taking. The Mets did not have to touch their pitching surplus to land Cuddyer. They got this done on Nov. 10. They have their stockpile and all winter to address shortstop.”
- Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News has quotes from Ricco regarding Cuddyer’s recent spotty health record. Said Ricco, “He took a physical today. We’ve looked at all the injuries and there was nothing there that we’re too concerned about. And the age is the age. Certainly there’s risk associated with any signing. And we believe in the player and think he’s going to be a real good fit for us.”
A Mets trade for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is “not happening,” a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin says such a move is not on the Mets’ radar due to the $120MM owed to Tulo through 2020, as well as the prospect cost of “two or three blue-chippers.” More from Rubin:
- The Mets spoke with the Phillies about acquiring Jimmy Rollins, writes Rubin. Rubin adds, “The pursuit since has been dismissed because Rollins does not want to leave Philadelphia.”
- The Mets are unenthusiastic about the available free agent shortstops, and plan to go the trade route to fill the position. The Diamondbacks, Mariners, White Sox, and Cubs are viewed as viable trade partners. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says “it has been difficult, if not impossible” for the Mets and Cubs to agree on the value of Starlin Castro. Meanwhile, Martino says Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox only emerged as a possibility within the past week. Martino’s early read has the White Sox seeking the Mets’ top young starters and the Mets pitching their veterans.
- If the Mets are unable to acquire a shortstop, or go with a defense-first type like Didi Gregorius, they are likely to retain second baseman Daniel Murphy, writes Rubin. If they get a shortstop who can hit, Murphy is more likely to be dealt if the Mets get a sufficient offer. Rubin expects the Mets to wait on Murphy until after resolving their shortstop situation.
- The Mets seek a veteran lefty reliever to complement Josh Edgin in their bullpen. They are also seeking a backup infielder, unless Wilmer Flores is bumped to that role.
- The Mets will also consider trading Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, or Bartolo Colon.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alexei Ramirez | Arizona Diamondbacks | Bartolo Colon | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Colorado Rockies | Daniel Murphy | Dillon Gee | Jimmy Rollins | Jonathon Niese | New York Mets | Newsstand | Philadelphia Phillies | Seattle Mariners | Starlin Castro | Troy Tulowitzki | Wilmer Flores
7:50pm: Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says that he’s had congratulatory and “what-are-you-looking-for” types of chats with the Mets, but no talks about Tulowitzki, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. A source tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that the two sides haven’t discussed the star shortstop, though the Mets could be discussing Tulowitzki internally. (Both links are to Twitter.)
3:43pm: The Mets just announced a two-year deal for Michael Cuddyer, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that he isn’t the only significant right-handed bat that has the team’s eye. The Mets have had recent discussions with the Rockies about shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Passan tweets. While they fear that they cannot afford to add him, the two sides are talking. Newsday’s Marc Carig spoke to a source who characterized the talks as “due diligence” at this point (Twitter link).
A move for Tulowitzki would be expensive both financially and in terms of prospects, but the Mets do have a large stockpile of the type of young pitching which the Rockies covet. Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero all offer varying degrees of upside, and none have even reached arbitration to this point. (Syndergaard has yet to even reach the Majors.) Jon Niese is on an affordable contract, and Dillon Gee has yet to become overly expensive.
While it’s a lot to read into the situation at this time, a Tulowitzki acquisition would mean doubling down on a pair of injury-prone right-handed bats, as he and Cuddyer have both struggled to stay on the field in recent seasons. Tulowitzki is owed $20MM annually through 2019, plus a $14MM salary in 2020 and at least the $4MM buyout of his $15MM club option for the 2021 season. That adds up to a sum of $118MM over the next six years, so it’s not hard to see why the club isn’t certain it can afford to acquire him.
Still, the Mets are better positioned than most clubs to take on a long-term commitment, at least in terms of the other long-term pacts already on the books. David Wright‘s extension was front-loaded, and $20MM salary drops to $15MM in 2019 and $12MM in 2020. That contract is the only one on the books for the Mets beyond 2017, though Curtis Granderson will earn $16MM in each of the next two seasons and $15MM in 2017.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has published his latest round of Minor League Transactions, and within the piece he notes that the Rockies have re-signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league deal. Additionally, the Royals have re-signed Cuban lefty Noel Arguelles, Jordan Norberto re-signed with the Rays and Russ Canzler is back with the Phillies. Each of these is a minor league deal.
- The Braves have signed right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (on Twitter). The Braves are known to be seeking rotation depth, and Wang should provide just that. The former Yankee totaled 172 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level in 2014, posting a 4.12 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 57 walks.
- The Nationals have re-signed right-hander Manny Delcarmen and infielder Emmanuel Burriss to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson (Twitter links). Burriss, 30 in January, hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2012 but batted .300/.377/.412 in 510 Triple-A plate appearances for the Nats this past season. The 32-year-old Delcarmen hasn’t seen big league action since 2010, but he, too, had a strong season at Triple-A Syracuse for the Nats in 2014. Delcarmen posted a 3.13 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings of relief.
Here’s the latest front office moves around baseball.
- The Astros are preparing to hire former Rockies Sr. VP of Baseball Operations Bill Geivett as a cross-checker, reports Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com. Geivett was a finalist for the Astros GM job back when the club hired Jeff Luhnow in 2011. Geivett was recently fired from his post in Colorado after a 14 year tenure with the club.
- The Reds have hired long-time scout Jeff Schugel as a special assistant to GM Walt Jocketty, Ringolsby notes in a separate article. Schugel and Jocketty worked together in 1994 with the Rockies. Schugel most recently served as a scout for the Braves.
- The Padres are set to promote Mark Connor to be their director of amateur scouting, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The position opened when former director Billy Gasparino followed Josh Byrnes to the Dodgers. That news was reported two days ago by Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Orioles and Blue Jays discussed a potential Adam Lind trade before the Jays sent Lind to the Brewers, reports MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. The Jays asked for Steve Pearce in the deal, which would have amounted to something like a challenge trade — Lind and Pearce are the same age and play the same positions, although Lind is left-handed and Pearce right-handed, and Lind has one more year of team control. Pearce is coming off a significantly better season and will be much cheaper in 2015 (a projected $2.2MM for Pearce versus $7.5MM for Lind), however, so it’s not surprising that the Orioles said no. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Dan Duquette’s most significant trade for the Orioles was sending Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com writes. As that trade suggests, Duquette hasn’t been involved in many blockbusters in his three years on the job. The book is far from closed, however, on a couple of the deals Dubroff lists, like last season’s swap of Eduardo Rodriguez and Andrew Miller, and the 2013 trade of Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.
- The Rockies should need to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez to become relevant again, but they should wait until those stars prove they’re healthy, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post writes. If the team can trade one at the peak of his value, the deal might mark a significant step forward for the franchise, much like the Cubs’ trade of Jeff Samardzija.
- Pablo Sandoval is likely to represent the best value among free agent corner infielders this winter, ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Law argues that since Sandoval is only 28, he has plenty of upside, although his conditioning could cut in two directions — he might be able to get better with improved conditioning, although that conditioning could also be a drawback as he ages if it doesn’t improve. Law also writes that Hanley Ramirez has good value as a third baseman but much less as a shortstop.
The Rockies‘ decision to make a qualifying offer to outfielder Michael Cuddyer makes more sense in light of reports that the club could be open to making some larger moves, possibly involving stars Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. For his money, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding believes the likeliest scenario involves a trade of first baseman Justin Morneau, whose remaining contract is attractive given his production last year. I discussed this very issue last night with Denver Post writer Nick Groke for today’s podcast, which will be made available shortly.
Here’s more from out west:
- The Padres gave the Dodgers permission yesterday to interview scouting director Billy Gasparino, Corey Brock of MLB.com tweets. It may be more of a done deal, in fact, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Turning to the major league side of things, the Dodgers face yet another offseason with questions about an outfield logjam, as Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes. With Joc Pederson now clearly having proven himself at Triple-A, Petriello takes a look at the available options. The likeliest, in his opinion, is a trade involving Carl Crawford.
- The Rangers expect to be more active on the trade market than in free agency, as Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports. “I think just by nature free agents will cost more money,” said GM Jon Daniels. “I think we have some areas of depth and have a chance to get some players with a little bit more cost control.” Daniels went on to discuss some general possibilities. “I feel pretty good about our [minor] league system just based on the players we’ve been asked about, and other teams feel about it the same way,” he explained. “It’s a pretty unique market, there’s quite a few pitchers who might be on the market, and that’s probably the strength of the marketplace in free agent and trade standpoints. I don’t know how quick it will be, but I think we’ll be able to address our needs.”
The Rockies have told other teams that they are willing to consider trade scenarios involving their two best players, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
While the likelihood of a deal remains rather slight, and neither player is being shopped around, the report does indicate that Colorado is much more open to moving one of its stars than it had been previously. Notably, Rosenthal says that the Rockies are telling clubs that they will not accept a return that does not provide fair value for the healthy production levels of both players.
Needless to say, there is a large gap between a theoretical willingness to trade a player and a realistic chance of a deal getting done. In this case, that divide may be wider than usual. While Tulowitzki is arguably the very best shortstop in baseball, he has missed long stretches of time in recent years with hip, groin, and wrist surgeries, along with various other maladies. And he is due $20MM per year from 2015-2019, plus $14MM in 2020 and a $4MM buyout in 2021.
Much the same story holds for Gonzalez, who has had five-win seasons but had both knee and finger surgery last year. Then there is the fact that he put up just a .238/.292/.431 batting line when he was in the lineup last year, a fall-off that can in large part be pinned on his health issues but which nevertheless must be considered. Gonzalez is owed $53MM over the next three seasons, a steal if he’s healthy but a big problem if he is not.
The Dodgers made more headlines yesterday when it was reported that A’s assistant GM Farhan Zaidi would become their new GM to work under president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman, and that former Padres GM Josh Byrnes would join the front office as well. That may be the biggest front office news that’s come out recently, but it’s not the only news. Here’s are some more notes on front offices and coaching staffs, all of which happen to pertain to baseball’s Western divisions…
- The Rockies announced yesterday their entire 2014 coaching staff as well as some front office promotions (Twitter links). Former Rox reliever Darren Holmes will assume the role of bullpen coach, while Steve Foster was named pitching coach. Foster has worked as a minor league pitching coach and bullpen coach with the Marlins and also worked with the Royals bullpen from 2009-11.
- In the Rockies‘ front office, five executives were promoted. Rolando Fernandez is now the VP of international scouting and development, Zachary Rosenthal and Jonathan Weil were promoted to assistant GM, Zachary Wilson will assume the role of senior director of player development, and Danny Montgomery was named a special assistant to new GM Jeff Bridich.
- The Astros hired Alan Zinter as their new assistant hitting coach, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweeted yesterday. The 46-year-old Zinter had a 19-year minor league career and also saw time in Japan back in ’99. He was twice called up for a taste of big league action, first in 2002 with Houston and again in 2004 with the D’Backs.
- After missing out on the chance to become the Rangers‘ permanent manager, Tim Bogar has taken a role with the division-rival Angels as a special assistant, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Bogar took over as the interim manager in Texas following Ron Washington’s abrupt resignation, but the Rangers ultimately hired former Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their new skipper.
- The Rangers today officially announced the hiring of Michael Young as a special assistant to GM Jon Daniels. The move was first reported back in October though not made official until today. Young will assist GM Jon Daniels in player evaluation and development at the Major League and Minor League level in addition to going on scouting trips and special assignments.
- The Brewers officially announced on Monday that they had hired Ray Montgomery away from the D’Backs as their new vice president of amateur scouting and a special assistant to GM Doug Melvin, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic looks at what the loss means for the Diamondbacks. Montgomery interviewed for the team’s GM job before Dave Stewart was hired, and he was said to be in line for a promotion. Stewart tells Piecoro that the team was working to expand Montgomery’s responsibilities but hadn’t figured out exactly how his role would grow prior to his departure. Stewart and VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson will meet this week to discuss replacement candidates, and Piecoro lists a few internal candidates.
Free agent lefty Franklin Morales, most recently of the Rockies, has moved his representation to the Boras Corporation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old had a rough 2014. He put up a 5.37 ERA over 142 1/3 innings, including 22 starts, while striking out a below-average (against his career) 6.3 batters and walking 4.1 per nine.
Here’s more from Colorado and the rest of the National League:
- The Rockies‘ extension of a qualifying offer to free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer was the big surprise on the QO front. Colorado’s rationale for the move, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets, is to remain flexible to trade from its outfield depth. Cuddyer, meanwhile, had hoped to land a three-year deal, per Rosenthal, and the offer makes that a more difficult proposition. In my view, it makes little sense to create outfield depth to trade from by adding a contract with negative trade value; the move seems irrational unless the club has good reason to believe that Cuddyer will turn down the QO.
- While teams can always simply price in the loss of a draft choice in assessing how much to offer a compensation-bound player, the presence of the QO can in some cases be a significant enough deterrent that it keeps a team out of the market altogether. That appears to be the case for the Mets vis-a-vis Cuddyer, as Marc Carig of Newday reports that New York had been quite interested in pursuing the veteran but has little interest in giving up the 15th overall pick in doing so.
- The Mets may, however, be more willing to pursue non-QO-bound Michael Morse, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Morse would represent an option in the outfield and, perhaps, part-time platoon mate at first.
- Giants righty Sergio Romo hopes to re-sign with San Francisco, he told MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via host Jim Bowden). But the former closer is looking forward to testing the market, and should draw plenty of interest.
- Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas worked out at third base in a tryout yesterday with the Diamondbacks, according to a tweet from his agent Jay Alou Jr. The 24-year-old had been talked about primarily as a corner outfielder. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com first tweeted that Tomas had spent time with the D’backs.