Daniel Hudson Rumors

D’Backs Notes: Maeda, Billingsley, Montero

The Diamondbacks will be in the hunt for Kenta Maeda if the Japanese righty is made available this winter, GM Dave Stewart told reporters (including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert).  “I love Maeda,” Stewart said. “I love him. We have a lot of video and film and we have people who have seen him. We think that he’s got a chance to be very successful in Major League Baseball. We’re going to try to be in on the market when he does post, if he does post.”  Here’s some more notes from Stewart and other Snakes-related items…

  • Stewart confirmed the team’s interest in Chad Billingsley, saying the right-hander is “definitely a possibility for us.”  Billingsley has been sidelined for almost two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a torn flexor tendon.  Stewart represented Billingsley back when the GM was a player agent.
  • I don’t know how big we’re going to play” for Yasmany Tomas, Stewart said, given the Cuban outfielder’s escalating price tag.  The D’Backs do like Tomas’ potential and they “definitely have to consider being a part of that.”
  • The Diamondbacks want to acquire a starting pitcher, though Stewart won’t pay too much of a prospect cost to do so.  “I’m not trying to put us in a backward position, especially in our Minor League system,” the GM said.
  • Stewart again stressed that he hasn’t “shopped any of our players,” including catcher Miguel Montero, though “all of our players have been asked about.  That’s the best way I can put it.”  Montero has been rumored to be available as Arizona looks to free up some payroll space.  Stewart said he hasn’t spoken to Montero about the trade rumors since “I don’t see any point in raising concerns when there are none.”
  • Montero’s market is examined by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, who feels that while Montero could be draw attention from teams who fail to sign Russell Martin, the Arizona catcher’s recent poor hitting and hefty contract could be deterrents.  “If [the D'Backs] won’t chew down any dollars, I’d say the return won’t be as good as most think.  It also depends on how motivated the acquiring club is,” a rival executive told Piecoro.
  • Stewart is keeping an open mind about whether to use Daniel Hudson as a starter or a reliever as the right-hander continues his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery, Piecoro reports.  “We had a discussion about that, and we’re not really sure.  We’d like to best utilize him in a way that we can get the most out of him,” Stewart said.  “We’re going to have to have more discussions with our training staff, and I’d like to ask some people externally about what they think of his condition and how we can best utilize him without hurting him.”

D’Backs Exercise Options On Hudson, Reynolds

The Diamondbacks announced that they have exercised their 2015 club options on right-hander Daniel Hudson and left-hander Matt Reynolds. Hudson’s option guarantees him $800K next season, while Reynolds will earn $600K.

Hudson, 27, hasn’t seen regular MLB action since 2012 season due to not one, but two Tommy John surgeries. He looked to have recovered from his first Tommy John operation before re-injuring the elbow early in a rehab stint and requiring a second procedure. Hudson remained determined and worked his way through the rehab process once again, this time reaching the Majors at the tail end of the 2014 season and making three relief appearances. The D’Backs appear likely to use him as a reliever in 2015, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets that he can earn an additional $300K in roster bonuses.

Originally acquired from the White Sox along with lefty David Holmberg in exchange for Edwin Jackson, Hudson looked to be a key cog for the Diamondbacks’ rotation after a brilliant debut for Arizona. He posted a 1.69 ERA in 11 starts for the D’Backs in 2010 and followed that up with a 3.49 mark in 222 innings the following year before injuring his UCL in 2012.

Reynolds, 30, was acquired from the Rockies in a rare intra-division trade that sent Ryan Wheeler to Colorado. Reynolds was enjoying an excellent first season with the D’Backs in 2013, having pitched to a 1.98 ERA with 23 strikeouts against five walks in 27 1/3 innings before his injury. He spent the 2014 season rehabbing and did not take the mound in either the Majors or Minors, though at just $100K over the league minimum, there’s little risk for the Diamondbacks in exercising their option.


NL West Notes: Hudson, Owings, Gregorius, Giants, Bell, Preller

Daniel Hudson pitched last night for the Diamondbacks for the first time since 2012, when he underwent his first of what ultimately became two Tommy John procedures. He tossed a scoreless frame and reportedly sat at 95 mph with his fastball. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes up the 27-year-old’s comeback, which surely provides some hope to other hurlers who have recently received their second new ulnar collateral ligament. Hudson signed a minor league deal to stay with Arizona, but earned MLB service time as he was added to the 40-man roster and DL’ed all year. He will have over four years of service heading into the offseason, but the club will have the chance to retain him through a $800K option. MLBTR congratulates Hudson on his return to action.

Here’s the latest out of the division …

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers indicated that he may be ready to hand the reins over to a young middle infield combination next year, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports“In a perfect world, long term, I think hopefully it’s [Didi Gregorius] and [Chris Owings] with [Aaron Hill] kind of moving around from second to third,” said Towers. “My gut is that I think it will work. I love both of those guys. Didi is probably our best shortstop defensively. C.O. is probably the best offensive middle infielder we have. He seems to be comfortable at second.” In that scenario, Hill will function as a rather expensive ($12MM in each of the next two years) utility option. Towers also indicated that he may well retain Cliff Pennington, who is arb eligible for a final time. With top third base prospect Jake Lamb seemingly ready for a chance at the bigs, in spite of his difficulties in a brief call-up thus far, it will be interesting to see how Arizona proceeds with filling out the non-Paul Goldschmidt portion of its infield (even after clearing Martin Prado out of the picture).
  • Though the Giants farm system generally does not draw rave reviews from outside, the club is higher internally on its slate of youngsters, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. “We always have what we need,” said club vice president Dick Tidrow. “We have turned down trades for all of these guys,” Tidrow added, referring to the current active roster players who came through the San Francisco system (including its recent call-ups).
  • Former Padres closer Heath Bell says that he hopes to join the club next year after taking the latter portion of 2014 off, Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). Bell said that he asked the Yankees to release him when they failed to bring him onto the MLB roster. The 36-year-old righty was highly productive in San Diego, where he pitched to a 2.53 ERA in 374 innings over five seasons.
  • New Padres GM A.J. Preller will, of course, make the call whether to give Bell another run in San Diego. As MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports, Preller’s lengthy to-do list would appear to have a few higher priorities at the moment. After getting his arms around the organization, including most of its minor league affiliates, Preller is now turning his focus to the big league club for the end of the season. “Some of the newcomers, [see if] can they break in, be part of the club in the last month and set themselves up for net spring and get in a spot where they can compete to make the team,” Preller said of what he was watching for. “And for guys like Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy, you want to see them finish strong.”


NL West Notes: Rockies, Hudson, Rowland-Smith, Dodgers

Rockies owner Dick Monfort says that the organization is working on revamping its overall approach to roster development, Owen Perkins writes for MLB.com. One initiative relates to the draft. "We're still trying to draft players of character," said Monfort, "but the talent has to be there also." On the player development side, Colorado is upgrading facilities, tightening its relationships with its top affiliates, and expanding technology options for players and staff. And the club hopes to reap benefits from a variety of health initiatives. As for the current team, which is off to a rough start after dropping three of four to the Marlins, Monfort cites starting pitching as cause for hope. "I've never seen pitching like this in 10 years," Monfort said. "We got a seasoned, veteran pitcher [Brett Anderson] for $8 or $9 million that's the same kind of gamble the Broncos took with Peyton Manning."

Here's more out of the NL West…

  • MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom reports that the Diamondbacks are planning to use Daniel Hudson as a reliever upon his return from his second Tommy John surgery. Manager Kirk Gibson tells Bloom that Hudson's days as a starter with the club could be over altogether. For the time being, he's throwing bullpen sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays, and long-tossing in the interim.
  • Bloom also spoke with left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith about his long road back to the Major Leagues. The Australian southpaw has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons, most recently undergoing an appendectomy while in the midst of a strong season with Boston's Triple-A affiliate (1.55 ERA in 52 1/3 innings). Rowland-Smith made the Diamondbacks' 25-man roster out of Spring Training, but the return of Cody Ross could push him out.
  • Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt didn't specifically blame the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson on the team's early games in Australia when speaking with ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, but he hinted that they could have contributed to the poor luck. "I don't think enough thought was put into the process," said Honeycutt. Kershaw said that he didn't think the long flights were a factor, but Wilson admitted that he would have liked to have gotten a longer Spring Training to ramp up for the season.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Hudson, Nunez, Rockies, Frandsen, Myers

The Diamondbacks added righty Daniel Hudson to the club's 40-man (and subsequently placed him on the DL) as part of the agreement reached when he was re-signed, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Arizona promised the rehabbing starter that "if everything was going right with rehab and everything was feeling good, they were going to add me to the roster and put me on the DL," Hudson said. Of course, this means that he will accrue MLB service time (and take a valuable roster slot) over the course of the season. The contract pays Hudson $700K this year and provides the club a $800K option for next year, Piecoro reports. With 3.117 years of service going into the season, Hudson is within reach of a new arbitration plateu, which could give him a final arb year in 2016 before he would hit free agency. Of course, the focus now is on getting back from a second Tommy John. Here are more stray notes from around the game:

  • The Yankees made a notable move today in designating Eduardo Nunez for assignment. As MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports, GM Brian Cashman indicated that the team was ready to move on after liking what it saw from Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte this spring. "In this most recent spring," said Cashman, "[Nunez] had a good spring but we had other guys that had better ones. He possesses a great deal of talent and you can dream on him – and we have – as a potential every day shortstop in the big leagues. All that talent is still there and I think his versatility does provide for a great deal of choices as a player on a Major League roster. We’ll see what develops in the next 10 days."
  • The Rockies' preliminary thinking is that the club will make qualifying offers after the season to outfielder Michael Cuddyer and starter Jorge De La Rosa, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Needless to say, there is plenty of season left to play before these decisions come into focus, but Heyman opines that the 35-year-old Cuddyer would seem a good candidate to accept if the offer is made.
  • For the Nationals, signing utilityman Kevin Frandsen was an extension of the team's earlier interest in Jeff Baker, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. GM Mike Rizzo had admired Frandsen's approach in his prior stints with the Giants and Phillies, and liked his fit with the club. “He really filled a role that I was looking for in that Jeff Baker type of role,” Rizzo said. “He can play third and first. This guy can play second and short and corner outfield. From afar, I really like the way he went about his business."
  • Veteran pitcher Brett Myers will not sign to pitch this year but hopes to return for 2015, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 33-year-old had been said to be healthy and looking for an opportunity.

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

The rosters for Opening Day were officialy submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • The Rangers announced they have purchased the contract of infielder Josh Wilson. After designating Adam Rosales for assignment and placing catcher Geovany Soto on the 60-day disabled list, there remains one opening on the Rangers' 40-man roster.
  • The Diamondbacks announced they have added right-hander Daniel Hudson to the 40-man roster and promptly placed him on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from his second Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks last December.
  • The Cubs announced they have purchased the contracts of right-hander Brian Schlitter and catcher John Baker and placed right-hander James McDonald on the 60-day disabled list. The Cubs' roster now stands at 40. 

Diamondbacks Re-Sign Daniel Hudson

6:59pm: The Diamondbacks have officially announced the signing.

9:18am: The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Daniel Hudson on a minor league contract, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Hudson is represented by Jet Sports Management.

Hudson, 26, saw his 2012 season cut short by a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow that required Tommy John surgery. After working his way back to health in 2013, Hudson took the mound in a rehab start in early June. That outing lasted just two innings, as Hudson was once again hit with the devastating news of a torn UCL. He underwent his second Tommy John surgery this summer and was non-tendered by Arizona last month.

Hudson had enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011, totaling 222 innings of 3.49 ERA ball with 6.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 for the Diamondbacks. Originally acquired along with the recently traded David Holmberg in a deal that sent Edwin Jackson to the White Sox, Hudson has a 3.68 ERA in 381 1/3 career innings at the big league level. Hudson stated a preference to remain with the D-Backs shortly before his non-tender. General manager Kevin Towers recently told reporters, including MLBTR's Zach Links, that he hoped to work out a new deal with Hudson.


Diamondbacks Close To Signing Hudson, Blanco

The Diamondbacks are close to a new contract with Daniel Hudson, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.  Hudson is believed to want a deal that would guaranteed him a spot on the 40-man roster, though he is expected to be sidelined for possibly the entire 2014 season as he recovers from two Tommy John surgeries.

Hudson was non-tendered by the D'Backs earlier this month though there was mutual interest on both sides in working out a new deal.  The right-hander posted a 3.19 ERA, 3.1 K/BB and 7.2 K/9 over his first 336 Major League innings from 2009-11 and looked to be one of the game's up-and-coming young pitchers before he fell victim to injuries.  Hudson's last Major League pitch came on June 26, 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery, and then had to undergo a second procedure after reinjuring his elbow last June.

The D'Backs are also expected to sign veteran catcher Henry Blanco to a minor league deal with an invitation to the Major League Spring Training camp, Piecoro reports.  Blanco, 42, will return to Arizona after playing with the team as a backup in 2011-12.  Blanco posted a .474 OPS in 150 PA with the Mariners and Blue Jays in 2013 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently reported that Blanco is looking to play for one final season.


West Notes: Cano, Angels, Rockies, Hudson

Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners would be "dumb" for both player and team, argues FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The Mariners need more than just one more player to become a contender, and "store-bought teams often prove to be disasters," as recent iterations of the Blue Jays and Marlins suggest. The Yankees, meanwhile, won't go past $170MM or so, even though they just agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury for $153MM. For Cano, signing with Seattle would be an "inexplicable money grab." It wouldn't make sense for Cano, the Mariners, or the Yankees if Cano went west. Speaking of which, here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Bronson Arroyo and Bartolo Colon currently aren't high priorities for the Angels, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza and Scott Feldman remain possibilities (Twitter links). Earlier this week, a report indicated that the Angels were interested in Arroyo.
  • After dealing Dexter Fowler to the Astros and working out a two-year deal with first baseman Justin Morneau, the Rockies aren't through making moves, assistant GM Bill Geivett tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "I think we are still in the marker for a starting pitcher, another bat, and as I’ve said before, our bullpen is not closed," says Geivett, who also says that history will not be remembered as a "salary dump." 
  • Pitcher Daniel Hudson is "optimistic" he'll re-sign with the Diamondbacks, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Arizona non-tendered him on Monday after he missed most of the last two seasons due to injury. "I don't really want to go anywhere else," Hudson says. "Obviously if something doesn't work out then we'll have to figure something else out, but as long as we're cordial and we're talking and everything, I really want to make sure I stay working out with those guys."

Kevin Towers On Heath Bell Trade

Earlier today, the Diamondbacks completed a three-team deal with the Rays and Reds which saw Tampa Bay acquire catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds and Heath Bell from Arizona.  The D'Backs didn't get big time talent back in the trade, but they unloaded $5.5MM of the $6MM they owed to Bell in 2014.  I asked Arizona GM Kevin Towers what he might do with his newfound financial flexibility.

"We still got some bench pieces that we need to put together, we still have interest in bringing back Eric Chavez as a guy who was a key bench player on the club last year.  We also want to add depth to our starting pitching, a No. 1 or a No. 2 [type], that would probably come via trade.  We have some free agents [that we like], but we'll probably be more aggressive on the trade front.  Also, with Cody Ross coming back from the hip injury, we'll also look into a corner outfield bat," Towers said on this afternoon's conference call.

Without giving exact figures, Towers said that the payroll in 2014 will be "well above where it was last season."  Arizona's opening day payroll was roughly $86.3MM, putting them right around the middle of the pack.

It's safe to say that Bell's tenure in Arizona didn't work out exactly as Towers & Co. had hoped.  Despite that, the GM says that he's still hopeful that the 36-year-old can be a contributor for the Rays.

"Bell's velocity is still very good, his average velocity was very comparable to what we saw in San Diego and what it was in Florida…For Heath its all about location," Towers explained. "He's able to hit his spots..but the thing I saw, he didn't land his curveball as effectively as he did in San Diego.  He had a 12-6 curveball to set up his fastball…I still think he has a lot left in the tank, one thing I've always liked about him is that he has a very resilient arm."

Towers admitted that he was sorry to see left-handed pitching prospect David Holmberg go, but he said that he wouldn't have been able to secure the same kind of return without his inclusion.  That return, of course, includes more than minor league righty Justin Choate – it means the millions in financial relief and a player to be named later.  That PTBNL from Tampa Bay, Towers said, will probably be the key player in the trade from his side.  Towers added that the player cannot be disclosed now because of "administrative reasons," indicating that the player has already been agreed upon.

Even after moving Bell, who finished 32 games for the club last season, Towers said that he "won't be real active" in finding bullpen help.  Whatever needs he has, he'll look to find solutions internally.  The GM acknowledged that Randall Delgado could go to bullpen if he lands a rotation upgrade.  KT will also seek out "another multi-inning guy" besides Josh Collmenter.  As for the closer role, Towers declined to name a favorite at this stage of the offseason.

In addition to the trade talk, Towers also fielded questions on the club's decision to non-tender Daniel Hudson.  Even though the D'Backs have now lost their exclusivity with the pitcher, Towers sounds hopeful that the two sides will still hammer out a deal. 

"I think we kind of ran out of time…I'd like to say we were at the five yard line or inside of that, so my hope is that we will come to a resolution and he will be a Diamondback in the very near future.  We just weren't able to finalize anything by 10 o'clock the other night," Towers said, adding that he could see an agreement happening in the next couple weeks.  "I think both sides still want this to happen."