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- Braves Working On Alberto Callaspo Trade
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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."
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."
The Diamondbacks will non-tender starter Daniel Hudson, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Though the sides had attempted to work out a deal to keep Hudson in Arizona, he will hit the open market.
Hudson likely would not have been a non-tender candidate were it not for his injury struggles. The righty is working back from his second Tommy John surgery at 26 years of age, but was projected to earn a $1.1MM salary through arbitration due to his strong early-career performance. Though he had an ugly 7.35 ERA in 2012, that came over just nine starts; in the prior year, his only full season of MLB work, he posted a 3.49 ERA in 222 innings.
As Nicholson-Smith notes, however, there is still reason to believe that the sides can come together. Indeed, both Hudson and the Diamondbacks have indicated a strong interest in a reunion, though he figures to garner some interest from clubs who would like to take a chance on his upside.
NL West teams have been busy of late tinkering with their last few 40-man roster spots. A look at MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows a disproportionate number of NL West names over the last two months. The Giants and, in particular, the Padres have been quite active in sending players to DFA limbo. As you digest this fascinating observation as a warmup for your turkey, we'll take a look at a few other relatively minor notes from out west:
- Two-time All-Star hurler Brad Penny — who was, most recently, a reliever with the Giants in 2012 — will look to make a MLB comeback, according to a report from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. "I just needed a year off to get my body back," said the 35-year-old. "It wasn't anything serious, just my shoulder was tired." Penny only lasted 28 innings in San Francisco, mustering only 3.2 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 and putting up a 6.11 ERA. But, he says, he has been building strength with an aggressive weightlifting regimine. "I think if I get an opportunity to pitch in spring training, healthier, I'm pretty confident that I can make a team," said Penny.
- The Diamondbacks are talking with two-time Tommy John patient Daniel Hudson about working out a deal to avoid arbitration, reports Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "Hopefully we'll get something done in the next few days or over the weekend," said Hudson. "I'd like to have a long career with the Diamondbacks." Hudson has shown plenty of promise when healthy. The question, really, is how much cash Arizona wants to dole out to take a chance on the 26-year-old making the difficult comeback from a second UCL reconstruction. GM Kevin Towers has said that his front office has "tried to come up with creative ways that we can do it." MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $1.1MM arbitration award for Hudson, and the team will have until Monday to work something out or reach a decision on tendering the righty a contract.
- Meanwhile, Arizona has decided on the coaches that will guide its pitching staff next season, writes Gilbert. Mike Harkey, recently the Yankees' bullpen coach, will become the pitching coach. And one-time Diamondbacks pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. will take over the bullpen for manager Kirk Gibson. Recent D-Backs front office addition Dave Duncan, a renowned molder of arms during his decades as a member of Tony LaRussa's staff, reportedly was involved in the hirings.
It's not often that you see a well-regarded starting pitcher (or any well-regarded player, for that matter) appear on eight different teams prior to his 30th birthday, but that's the situation in which Edwin Jackson currently finds himself. Of course, Jackson inked a four-year deal with the Cubs that should give him some stability, but that's not his first stop in Chicago.
Jackson spent parts of two seasons across town as a member of the White Sox rotation from 2010-11. General manager Kenny Williams swung a midseason deal in 2010 that brought a struggling Jackson from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox in exchange for right-hander Daniel Hudson (23 years old at the time) and minor league lefty David Holmberg (18). It's been nearly three years since that trade occurred, so let's take a look at the players involved…
- Edwin Jackson: While he had thrown a no-hitter for the D-backs that season, Jackson was struggling at the time of the trade. He'd posted a 5.16 ERA in in 21 starts but was coming off a solid 2009 campaign and had one and a half years of team control remaining. Jackson turned things around with the South Siders in a big way. His K/9 rate soared from 7.0 to 9.2 while his BB/9 dropped from 4.0 to 2.2. Jackson contributed 1.9 WAR (per Fangraphs) to an 88-win season for the White Sox, but they came up short and finished second in the AL Central. He was terrific in the first half of 2011 as well, posting an even 3.0 WAR before being traded to the Blue Jays (who immediately flipped him to St. Louis) in a deal that netted Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart while also freeing the Sox of the remaining $7.2MM on Mark Teahen's contract.
- Daniel Hudson: Hudson ranked as Chicago's No. 3 prospect, per Baseball America, prior to the 2010 season. He'd struggled in three big league starts that year, but he was a revelation for the Diamondbacks down the stretch. In 11 starts following the trade, Hudson posted a 1.69 ERA, 7.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, cementing his place in Arizona's rotation. He followed up that 2.2 WAR effort with an incredible 4.9-win sophomore campaign for the D-backs, but he was a Tommy John victim after just nine ugly starts in 2012. All told, Hudson has a 3.58 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 347 innings as a Diamondback. He's not yet eligible for arbitration and can be controlled through 2016.
The Minor League Side:
- David Holmberg: At the time of the trade, Holmberg was BA's eighth-ranked White Sox prospect, but he'd struggled to a 4.46 ERA in eight starts in the rookie-level Pioneer League that season. Holmberg has ascended quickly, however, and now ranks as the D-backs' No. 6 prospect according to BA and the No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. BA notes that Holmberg is likely to reach his ceiling of a No. 3 or 4 starter in the Major Leagues thanks to his plus command and a very strong changeup. His fastball sits 88-91 mph and can touch 93 at times. Mayo notes that while Tyler Skaggs is the lefty who gets all of the buzz in the Diamondbacks' system, Holmberg "isn't that far behind him." Holmberg reached Double-A as a 20-year-old in 2012 and made 15 solid starts. Now 21 years of age, he's opened the 2013 season at the same level and sports a 3.10 ERA 6.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 151 career Double-A innings.
Three years later, it looks like the Diamondbacks got a very good return for a talented but struggling starter. It's conceivable that within the next two seasons, 40 percent of Arizona's rotation will consist of the two players they received in this deal. Jerry Dipoto, the D-backs' GM at the time of the trade (he's now GM of the Angels), did well to secure a pair of prospects who ranked in Chicago's Top 10.
The price Chicago paid doesn't seem crazy either, given Jackson's terrific results with the White Sox. Jackson gave them 4.9 wins above replacement, but most fans will look back on this trade in a negative light due to the lack of return for Jackson when they traded him a year later. That's a fair criticism (and also a trade for another post), but Jackson was every bit the pitcher the White Sox were hoping he'd be when they acquired him. This would probably go down as a win-win had the Sox contended in 2011 or made the playoffs in 2010.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson amassed 25 victories and a 3.19 ERA across 336 innings well before he reached even two years in big league service time. Last year he underwent Tommy John surgery, from which he's aiming to return around the All-Star break. Last month, I spoke to Hudson about his choice of agent, Andrew Lowenthal of Proformance.
On how he chose Lowenthal:
In '08 I think he had gotten my number from a previous player I had played with. He contacted me and we met a couple times, and before I went to the Cape Cod League in '07 I pretty much told him, "Hey I just wanted to let you know, I'm probably going to use you." Andrew and I kind of clicked, so it was a pretty easy decision for me to make at the time. I felt like he really wanted me, and I feel like he made a really concerted effort to come down and see me pitch. He would make an effort to call or text me after every single start, and basically just see how I was doing.
On how it went leading up to the draft in '08:
I don't really know much about his aspect of what he does. He does his best to explain everything to me, and I trust him enough to tell him, "I trust your expertise and what you know about this game, and I trust you to make a good decision on my behalf." He obviously kept me informed about all the negotiations and all the conversations he had with the White Sox, and I just let do his thing because I obviously didn't know what the heck was going on. It was fairly painless. A week and a half later I was on a plane to Great Falls, Montana to sign my contract.
On talking to Andrew about going year-to-year versus doing a long-term extension:
He laid it all out on the table. He's very good at giving me comparables as far as where I am in my career to where certain guys were at the same point in their careers and what contracts they signed and when they signed them. Before every season he gives me these thick notebooks and explains to me where I'm at in my market level with all the other guys. Obviously going year-to-year is a little bit more risky, but you can make a little bit more money in the long run. Or you can go for the security, if the team is willing to offer you an extension before you hit arbitration. He's very good and very open at giving me his opinion, but at the same time he wasn't for or against either one too strongly. So if the Diamondbacks offered me a contract last year and he didn't think it was a good deal but I wanted the security, he would not pressure me to not sign it.
Did the Diamondbacks throw anything out there before last season?
We talked. We had short conversations, but I don't really want to get into the number aspect of it.
On Andrew's involvement in Daniel's recovery from Tommy John surgery:
I feel like I couldn't have picked a better agent to feel like I still mattered even though I'm on the DL. I never felt like I wasn't getting attention because I was on the DL and going to miss 12 months.
On recommending Andrew to other players:
We have conversations about that from time to time, with different teammates and stuff. Sometimes you get to the point where some guys are like, "I'm really not liking my situation, I'm thinking about throwing my name back out there and seeing if any other agents bite." I know I've gotten Andrew meetings with a couple different guys I've played with, and once those guys saw what Andrew does for me and how helpful he is with me and my family, they want more of a personal relationship, which is what I have with Andrew at this point. I consider him more of a friend that handles my baseball stuff more than my agent. If guys like that, I flip them Andrew's number and let him take care of it from there.
Does a small agency offer an advantage over a big one?
I think so. It's human nature – the more clients a guy has, the less time he has to take care of you or talk to you. Especially with a smaller agency they don't have that many guys, I feel like at any point in time I can call any single one of them and I'll never get their voicemail. I feel like I'm just as important as the guys that are making $15MM for them.
Check out our other interviews in the Why I Chose My Agency series with Shaun Marcum, Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Wainwright, Jeremy Affeldt, David Wright, Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday, Jamey Carroll and Jake Odorizzi.
The Rockies have never lost 100 games and despite a disappointing season that has them last in the NL West, they'll likely avoid the 100-loss threshold again in 2012. Here's the latest from their division…
- The Diamondbacks offered Daniel Hudson a contract extension this spring, but didn’t make Ian Kennedy an offer, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. GM Kevin Towers approached both pitchers and expressed interest in discussing long-term contracts. They were instructed to have their agents call Towers if they were interested. Hudson’s agent, Andrew Lowenthal of Proformance, called, but Kennedy’s agent, Scott Boras, did not. “I never heard anything from that, and I took that to mean [Kennedy and Boras] didn’t have interest,” Towers said.
- The Dodgers’ starting pitchers have an assortment of health issues, so the team could find itself spending on free agent pitching this offseason, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Dodgers won’t rely on prospects in 2013, so their “only choice is to spend and spend some more.” Zack Greinke wasn’t one of the team’s midseason targets, but he could appeal to GM Ned Colletti as a free agent.
The Diamondbacks enjoy a night off before beginning a weekend interleague series with their rather frequent trade partners, the Athletics. Here's the latest from the desert…
- In the wake of D'Backs managing partner Ken Kendrick's critical comments on Tuesday, Stephen Drew told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that while he "understands Ken's frustration," the shortstop was "disappointed that he questioned my integrity." Drew said he has been diligently pursuing his rehab and wants to be back on the field as soon as possible. "I want to be able to play the game that I've loved my whole life again. No one wants me to be out there more than me. I'm doing everything in my power," Drew said.
- Arizona CEO Derrick Hall addressed a number of topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com, including Kendrick's comments, a possible Trevor Bauer callup and the possibility of signing Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson to contract extensions. "We have discussions regularly about long-term deals with some of our pitchers. It is to our advantage to lock some of these guys down longer term to keep this group intact," Hall said. The club explored such deals last winter but couldn't get anything finalized before Opening Day.
- GM Kevin Towers says it's too early for the Snakes to give up and explore trading veteran players, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "I'm always looking at trades, regardless of we're winning or losing or where we're at," Towers said. "I'm looking not only in the near future, but long term as well. I've already kicked some tires on some things. I'm not saying anything is close, but you're always looking, always keeping an eye on down below where your depth is."
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith collected another batch of Diamondbacks notes earlier today.
The Diamondbacks have an eviable amount of young pitching both at the Major League and minor league level, but don't expect two those young arms to sign long-term contract extensions anytime soon. GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic) that he doesn't expect to get deals done with Ian Kennedy or Daniel Hudson (Twitter links).
"I don't anticipate anything happening with them before the start of the season," said the GM according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).
Kennedy, 27, currently has a better case for a large payday than the 25-year-old Hudson thanks to his 21-win season and fourth place finish in the NL Cy Young voting last year. Advanced metrics see very little difference between the two, however. Kennedy had a 2.88 ERA in 2011 but a 3.22 FIP and 5.0 WAR in 222 innings. Hudson's 3.49 ERA was backed by a 3.28 FIP and 4.9 WAR in the exact same number of innings, 222.
Towers said he might look into extensions for his two young hurlers earlier this month. Kennedy is under team control through 2015, Hudson through 2016. We've looked at both players as extension candidates in the past.
Here's a look at some items from around the league on this Friday evening..
- Catcher Jason Varitek hopes to remain with the Red Sox in some capacity, but it may take him some time to determine an appropriate role, writes Jerry Spar of WEEI.com.
- When Kevin Towers was asked specifically about extensions for Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, the Diamondbacks GM didn’t nix the idea, writes Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. Towers hasn’t talked to the agents for either player yet but suggested that he might feel them out to see if there is interest in a long-term deal.
- The Angels' Mark Trumbo has been the subject of trade rumors for the bulk of the offseason, but the slugger appears to be settling in at third base nicely, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. A January poll showed that MLBTR readers think that the Halos should look to deal Kendrys Morales before Trumbo.
- Jeff Suppan wants to pitch for as long as he can, but isn't yet sure if that will extend beyond 2012, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The veteran inked a minor league deal with the Padres this winter.
- Craig Kimbrel’s salary is the highest ever for a Braves player with less than two years of service time but the pitcher is well worth it, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Winning the National League Rookie of the Year and receiving votes for Cy Young and Rolaids Relief Man awards took Kimbrel’s salary from $419K in 2011 to $590K in 2012.