Craig Gentry Rumors

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).

(more…)


Gammons On Gardner, Denorfia, Drew

Here are some hot stove items from Peter Gammons in his latest piece for his namesake website, GammonsDaily.com…

  • Gammons adds the Phillies to the list of teams who "have taken a run" at acquiring Brett Gardner from the Yankees.  Philadelphia is one of "at least a half-dozen teams" who have checked in on Gardner — we've seen the Tigers, Reds, Indians, and Giants also linked to Gardner earlier in the offseason.  Both Yankees president Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman have said they admire Gardner's play and aren't willing to move him, though Gammons feels that Cashman "won’t move [Gardner] until and unless [Cashman] has to for starting pitching."  This is just my speculation, but Gammons' phrasing could be a hint that the Yankees could shop Gardner if they fail to land Masahiro Tanaka.
  • The Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies are three of "at least a half-dozen teams" who have asked the Padres about Chris Denorfia.  Colorado's interest has presumably dried up due to their acquisition of Drew Stubbs.  San Diego GM Josh Byrnes isn't willing to discuss trading Denorfia as long as he feels the Padres can be contenders, and Byrnes thinks his club's offseason moves could put them in the playoff mix.  The Rangers also showed interest in Denorfia last July before the trade deadline.
  • Mets assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi recently claimed that his team was happy with Ruben Tejada as a starting shortstop and that the free agent shortstop market wasn't to the Mets' liking, but Gammons hears otherwise from an NL general manager.  The GM believes the Mets are concerned about their inexperience up the middle (Tejada at short, Juan Lagares in center and Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate) and are only seeming disinterested in Stephen Drew as part of negotiations with agent Scott Boras.
  • If Drew re-signs with the Red Sox, Gammons doesn't expect Boston to deal Will Middlebrooks, as the team still values his power.
  • The offseason's most interesting overlooked deal is the Athletics/Rangers swap that sent Craig Gentry to Oakland and Michael Choice to Texas, Gammons opines.  Gentry is a right-handed bat who can spell Coco Crisp in center or replace him in case of injury, and "the A’s think Gentry’s comp is at least Peter Bourjos," Gammons writes.  Choice, meanwhile, gives the Rangers a corner outfield bat who can spell Shin-Soo Choo against left-handed pitching.

Athletics Acquire Craig Gentry, Josh Lindblom

12:48pm: The A's will also receive right-hander Josh Lindblom from the Rangers, tweets Passan. Minor league second baseman Chris Bostick will head to Texas in the trade as well.

12:47pm: The Rangers are receiving multiple minor leaguers in the deal, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

12:38pm: The A's have acquired outfielder Craig Gentry from the Rangers in exchange for Michael Choice, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Other players are involved in the deal as well, adds Passan.

Gentry, who turned 30 last week, is regarded as one of the game's best defensive outfielders and is coming off a season in which he batted .280/.373/.386 with a pair of homers and 24 stolen bases in 27 attempts. He boasts an outstanding 29.5 UZR/150 in more than 1400 career innings in center field, and The Fielding Bible likes him for +34 runs saved in his career.

Gentry has thrived against left-handed pitching throughout his career, compiling a solid .288/.376/.399 slash line. He's serviceable against right-handed pitchers as well, though his OBP (.334) and slugging (.335) are significantly lower against same-handed pitching.

Lindblom, 26, has primarily served as a reliever in his big league career, but Passan notes that the A's are planning to use him as a starter (Twitter link). Lindblom has a career 3.82 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 34.3 percent ground-ball rate. His flyball tendencies should be much better suited for Oakland's O.Co Coliseum than Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Choice is a 24-year-old outfielder who played all three positions for the Athletics' Triple-A club this year.  The 10th overall pick by the A's in 2010, Choice made his big league debut in September this year.  Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him second among A's prospects, praising his power and bat speed while noting a propensity for strikeouts and fringy arm strength.  Choice went on to hit .302/.390/.445 with 14 home runs in 600 Triple-A plate appearances.  He's a native of Arlington, Texas.

Bostick, 21 in March, was a 44th round pick out of high school by the A's in 2011.  A second baseman, he hit .282/.354/.452 with 14 home runs in 555 A-ball plate appearances this year.  Prior to the season, BA ranked him 20th among A's prospects, citing sneaky power and the potential to become more than a utilityman.



Craig Gentry Drawing Trade Interest

The Rangers have been getting calls about center fielder Craig Gentry, though the team isn't interested in moving him, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  The Yankees are not one of the teams who have contacted Texas.  

Gentry, 29, is currently penciled in for at least a share of the Rangers' center field job, platooning with the left-handed hitting Leonys Martin.  Gentry hit .304/.367/.392 in 269 PA for the Rangers in 2012 (including an .859 OPS against left-handed pitching) but most of his value has come from his glove — the 29-year-old has posted 29.9 UZR/150 ratings in each of the last two seasons, making him one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

Gentry and Nelson Cruz are the Rangers' only two right-handed hitting outfielders, and as Rosenthal notes, Gentry could be an important future piece for Texas given that Cruz and David Murphy are both scheduled to become free agents after the 2013 season.  Gentry will be arbitration eligible for the first time next offseason and is under team control through 2016.