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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
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- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
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- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
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- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
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Daniel Murphy Rumors
The Yankees have officially placed right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list with what they’ve termed right elbow inflammation for the time being. The Rookie of the Year/Cy Young contender has been arguably the most valuable player on the Yankees this season, and an extended absence would seriously dampen the Yankees’ postseason hopes. Currently, the team sits four games out of first in the AL East and three and a half games out of the running for a Wild Card spot, despite having spent most of the season without CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda.
Here’s more on the Yankees and the Mets…
- The Yankees’ entire season is hanging in balance as the team waits to learn the severity of Tanaka’s injury, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. In the event of a serious injury to Tanaka, he opines, the Yankees will have to give serious consideration to selling off at the deadline. Sherman discusses the trickle-down effect that such an injury would have on the team, noting that Yankee starters have recorded just 33 outs after the seventh inning this season — and 25 of those have come from Tanaka. His absence would further strain an overworked bullpen, and the team lacks enough quality internal rotation options to survive such a blow.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News gets the sense that the Mets are likely to move Bartolo Colon this summer but may hold on to the rest of their regulars. The team wants to contend in 2015, he says, and they feel they have the pitching depth to make up for the loss of Colon. Others, such as Daniel Murphy, would not be so easily replaced. Additionally, trading Colon would free up $10MM in payroll for next season, which could be reallocated to fill other needs.
- New Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy told reporters, including Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal, that he doesn’t feel that he’s having a bad year, but rather, a confusing year. McCarthy, who has a 5.01 ERA, explains that he’s well-versed in sabermetrics and knows that based on career-bests in strikeout rate, ground-ball rate and average fastball velocity, he’s doing things right. “I know there’s been mistake pitches here and there that get hurt, but that’s to be expected,” said McCarthy. “It’s the other things happening, where I leave a game and feel like I’ve done everything I needed to and the results are terrible. That’s where I’ve been kind of confused.” Barbarisi’s piece also looks at how McCarthy re-invented himself after delving into sabermetrics while recovering from a shoulder injury in 2010.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson maintains that the club is still assessing what course it will take at the trade deadline, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. “Look, let’s see where we are at the end of this week,” said Alderson. “We’re always willing to listen. We may be thinking in terms of the second half of this season. We may be thinking more in terms of next season.” Alderson continued to note that, even if the team sells, it may not be willing to settle for lower-level talent: “We’ve made a lot of deals in recent years where we’ve gotten prospects who are a good ways away. I don’t think we’re thinking that way these days, although sometimes that’s the value in a return.”
Here’s the latest out of New York and the rest of the National League East:
- After talking with people familiar with Alderson’s thinking, David Lennon of Newsday gets the sense that the Mets‘ GM isn’t necessarily committed to the idea of trading Daniel Murphy. Lennon does note that the team is eager to get another look at Wilmer Flores, who is playing second base at Triple-A Las Vegas these days.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. took to the air to defend the capabilities of several of the team’s veterans in a radio interview (audio link) with Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic. “If you want to talk about declining, that happens,” said Amaro. “But that doesn’t mean they aren’t producing in some way shape or form and Chase [Utley] is one of those guys.” Nevertheless, Amaro acknowledged that several of the team’s long-term deals have not worked out as hoped: “Unfortunately these guys are human beings and they aren’t living up to what we expected and we’re trying to do something about that right now.” Going forward, the team is in a “fluid situation,” said the Philly GM. “I talk to [team owner] David [Montgomery] and our group all the time about what our direction is,” he said.
- The Braves are prioritizing the acquisition of a “lockdown-type left-hander” for the bullpen, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O’Brien argues that the club should make a push to add Andrew Miller of the Red Sox, noting his outstanding 14.7 K/9 mark and domination of opposing left-handed hitters. The 29-year-old has indeed been outstanding, with a 2.41 ERA through 33 2/3 frames thus far in his walk year.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Daniel Murphy‘s name has been featured frequently pages of MLBTradeRumors in recent weeks, but it sounds like he probably won’t be changing uniforms in the next few days. Mets assistant GM John Ricco told Tim Rohan of the New York Times that the club hasn’t had any recent talks on the second baseman.
“We haven’t specifically talked about Dan recently,” Ricco said. “He is one of the more valuable guys we have. He leads the league in hits. He’s settled in as one of the best second basemen in the game, certainly offensively, and is a leader on our team.”
When asked if the Mets were worried about the perception if they traded Murphy, Ricco said, “It depends what the return is,” which Rohan takes to mean that a deal would be better received if they got more immediate help rather than prospects who are a few years away. The 29-year-old is enjoying his best season to date, hitting .300/.351/.421 with seven homers through 83 games.
Ricco also indicated that the Mets have yet to decide if they’ll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. However, comments from GM Sandy Alderson yesterday seemed to indicate that a sell off could be close as he said the next 10-12 days will be vital to that assessment. If they do sell, however, Alderson says that they’re not likely to move left-hander Jon Niese.
Of course, the Mets could instead lock up their second baseman for the long haul. Our own Steve Adams recently looked at what a new deal for Murphy might look like.
The Mets have yet to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline, GM Sandy Alderson tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The next 10 to 12 days will be vital in making that assessment, Alderson said, but he made it clear that regardless of the way they go, the team isn’t likely to deal left-hander Jon Niese. Given the fact that the Mets can control Niese, who has a 2.88 ERA in 103 innings, through 2018, that stance isn’t entirely surprising. Niese is guaranteed $16.5MM through the 2016 season, and his contract contains a $10MM club option for 2017 and an $11MM club option for 2018. That would be tremendously difficult to part with, though it would also be highly appealing to other clubs and carry a great deal of trade value.
More from Heyman and other reporters on the Mets…
- From that same piece, Alderson notes that Daniel Murphy‘s name has come up “periodically” in trade talks. Heyman suggests that Alderson’s statement includes the mention of a Murphy in trade that would net Jonathan Villar and others, which appeared in the recent Astros’ data leak. Heyman adds that Alderson didn’t deny anything that was mentioned in those notes.
- In a second piece, Heyman reports that the Mets’ deal with top pick Michael Conforto still isn’t quite done. Alderson tells Heyman that the two sides are still working out three or four mostly non-financial clauses. The two sides remain in agreement on a $2.97MM signing bonus.
- While he was once thought to be on the Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler summer promotion track, top prospect Noah Syndergaard now might not even be called up in 2014 at all, manager Terry Collins told reporters yesterday (including Mike Puma of the New York Post). One club source told Puma that team officials have struggled to get a read on Syndergaard, and some feel he would benefit from a full year at Triple-A. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote earlier today that a club official recently told him Syndergaard is “not even on our radar” at this point.
- Martino also tweets that Alderson recently lamented the team’s run differential (a point he touched on with Heyman as well) but firmly stated that he doesn’t feel Collins is the cause for that issue.
- The Mets announced the signings of 11 international free agents today, and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo runs down the list, noting that Venezuelan shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin received respective bonuses of $300K and $250K. None of the 11 signed by the Mets ranked among the Top 30 lists compiled by MLB.com and Baseball America.
4:30pm: The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:
“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.
“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”
2:29pm: Extensive trade discussion notes, apparently logged by Astros executives about their talks with other teams, have been leaked onto the site AnonBin here and here, with Deadspin breaking the story and Yahoo’s Jeff Passan verifying the authenticity of the logs. The earliest notes are from June 2013, and the latest are from March of this year. The Astros have yet to comment on the leak, which provides unprecedented detail into how the team values players and approaches trade discussions. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros have been reaching out to people around baseball apologizing for the leaks, and plan to issue a statement soon.
A March feature by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle outlines Ground Control, the Astros’ confidential internal database from which the trade discussion notes were likely taken. At this time, it’s unclear whether the information reached the Internet via a rogue employee of the team, or by some kind of security vulnerability in Ground Control. The trade discussion information, mostly from last summer and offseason, is somewhat dated in the fast-moving baseball hot stove world. The larger ramification is the breach of trust experienced by the many non-Astros executives cited in the notes. It’s unlikely any team would rule out the Astros as a trading partner based on this breach, but some teams could approach talks with added caution. Additionally, I imagine the many other teams with such highly sensitive material online are doubling down on security right now.
The Astros’ trade notes from last summer and offseason range from the blockbuster to the mundane; here are some highlights.
- On November 15th, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow expressed interest with Marlins GM Dan Jennings in slugger Giancarlo Stanton. From the notes: “[Jennings] said he doesn’t think he’ll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be [George] Springer and [Carlos] Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Luhnow] posited a deal around [Jarred] Cosart and [Delino] DeShields.” It’s not a big surprise that Luhnow rejected Jennings’ proposal out of hand, as Correa and Springer were ranked #4 and #19 on Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list for ESPN, and are major building blocks for Houston. That Luhnow didn’t appear to offer either player suggests he was mostly gauging Stanton’s price after an off-year with three years of control remaining. UPDATE: Jennings has commented to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, saying it’s fabricated that they ever offered Stanton to the Astros or any other team, also using the word “laughable.”
- Interest in Astros catcher Jason Castro was strong last offseason, with a few surprising suitors. The Blue Jays and Rangers reached out in mid-October to gauge Castro’s price, the White Sox had “definite high interest,” and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Luhnow in November that he was getting calls from other teams asking if he could get Castro from the Astros for those teams. Zduriencik offered Dustin Ackley and was turned down.
- Notes for the Astros’ summer trade discussions begin at June 17th, 2013. The team ultimately went on to acquire Ronald Torreyes from the Cubs in June, and also dealt veterans Jose Veras, Bud Norris, and Justin Maxwell near the July deadline. The Astros did not end up acquiring any top 100-type prospects, but they sure did ask for the moon. For Norris, the Astros sought Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn from the Giants, Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman from the Orioles, Marcus Stroman and more from the Blue Jays, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Garin Cecchini from the Red Sox, and Tyler Glasnow plus Luis Heredia or Nick Kingham from the Pirates. The Red Sox offered Ryan Lavarnway or Deven Marrero for Norris and were turned down. In the end, the Astros traded Norris and an international draft slot to the Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a 2014 competitive balance pick.
- When Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called to express interest in middling Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who had a 5.17 ERA at the time and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, “[Luhnow] told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.”
Harrell was designated for assignment, outrighted, and traded for a pittance nine months later, so the Astros might have overplayed their hand.
- “Untouchable” players from other teams were revealed through conversations with their executives. White Sox GM Rick Hahn wouldn’t consider trading Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, or Avisail Garcia. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos considered Brett Lawrie off-limits. Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco came up as well, in that GM Neal Huntington wouldn’t include him in any Norris deal. In December talks regarding Harrell, the Giants said they would not discuss Brandon Belt.
- More random notes: Mets executive Paul DePodesta asked Luhnow if the Astros would consider trading shortstop Jonathan Villar in a Daniel Murphy deal in December…the Marlins expressed interest in Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, and others in December.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Bud Norris | Carlos Correa | Chicago White Sox | Daniel Murphy | Delino DeShields Jr. | Deven Marrero | Dustin Ackley | Dylan Bundy | Garin Cecchini | George Springer | Giancarlo Stanton | Houston Astros | Jackie Bradley Jr. | Jarred Cosart | Jason Castro | Jonathan Villar | Jose Altuve | Kevin Gausman | Lucas Giolito | Lucas Harrell | Luis Heredia | Marcus Stroman | Matt Dominguez | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Nick Kingham | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Lavarnway | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Xander Bogaerts
In his latest piece, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at some of the Yankees’ most tradeable assets and discussed their stock with scouts around the league. Martino notes that many scouts aren’t high on Gary Sanchez due to a lack of fire, questionable defense and the fact that he doesn’t do early work before games. Right-hander Luis Severino, on the other hand, is seeing his stock rise. The Class-A Advanced hurler threw six no-hit innings Wednesday and drew praise from a scout who spoke with Martino. He also notes that catcher Peter O’Brien and second baseman Rob Refsnyder have been knocked for their defense. A scout Martino spoke with shared the opinion of many in stating that O’Brien doesn’t really have a position.
Here’s more out of the AL East…
- Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show yesterday morning, and Conor Ryan of WEEI.com has the highlights from the discussion. Kennedy said it’s too early to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers, but it’s certainly possible that the ultimate plan of action is to trade veteran pieces and promote prospects like Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez and Garin Cecchini. He added that he feels Boston’s fans are knowledgeable enough to understand, should that approach necessitate itself.
- Kennedy also discussed the possibility of Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen drawing interest for the Padres‘ GM opening. While he joked that they weren’t interested in helping out former BoSox COO and current Padres CEO Mike Dee, he acknowledged how desirable Hazen is to other clubs: “I think [Hazen] will definitely be a candidate atop any club’s list who might need a general manager. … Hopefully, Mike Hazen will be with us for a long time, but we are realistic and recognize that when you have talented people, other organizations come knocking.”
- WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes that it’s time for the Red Sox to make changes. The team cannot keep relying on struggling veterans Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, he opines. Rather than “grasp[ing] at what might possibly pan out” with their veterans, they should be embracing young talent. He notes that while there are more apparent replacements for Peavy than Pierzynski, Vazquez could be given a trial and at least provide strong defense if he doesn’t hit.
- The Blue Jays continue to monitor the trade market for infielders, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While the team would like to add a starting pitcher, they’re open to upgrades at any position. Specifically, the Jays are looking at second basemen and third basemen, knowing that Brett Lawrie can man the position that isn’t addressed via trade once he is healthy.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds, also via Twitter, that while the Blue Jays are looking at second base options, they’re not considering Daniel Murphy of the Mets. Toronto is looking for more defense that Murphy offers at the position. It’s been reported that the Mets could extend Murphy rather than trade him. I examined what a Murphy extension might cost the Mets yesterday.
It’s been reported that the Mets, who have shown a reluctance to move veteran pieces under GM Sandy Alderson, could work out an extension with second baseman Daniel Murphy rather than trade him for prospects at this year’s deadline. The natural reaction to that news, particularly for Mets fans, is to wonder what an extension would cost the team.
Murphy entered the year with four years, 109 days of service time and a $5.7MM salary in his back pocket after avoiding arbitration with the team for the second time this past winter. He’s under control through next season and is due one more raise in arbitration before being scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his career.
Using MLBTR’s Extension Tracker to look at extensions for second basemen with between four and six years of service time, Martin Prado jumps out as a strong comparable for Murphy both in terms of service time and in terms of production. Here’s a look at Murphy’s career to date alongside Prado’s career through the time he signed his four-year, $40MM deal with the D’Backs:
From an offensive standpoint, the two are very similar. Even when adjusting for ball park, Murphy has a 110 OPS+, where Prado’s was at 109 heading into the 2013 season. The big difference between the two, of course, is defense. Murphy, drafted as a third baseman, learned to play second base on the job and was a liability there early in his career. Defensive metrics have come around on his glovework at the keystone, but Defensive Runs Saved still pegs him as below-average, and Ultimate Zone Rating feels he’s average at best.
Prado, meanwhile, was considered a standout defender at third base and in left field at the time of his extension, and he was also capable of sliding over to second base or shortstop if needed. That’s versatility that Murphy simply doesn’t have to offer, and it’s a large reason for the fact that Fangraphs valued Prado’s career at 14.2 WAR when he signed his deal, while Murphy’s career to date is pegged at 11.1 fWAR.
However, Prado’s contract was signed 18 months ago, and his $4.75MM salary in 2012 was lower than Murphy’s current $5.7MM mark. It stands to reason that Murphy would earn more next season in arbitration than Prado would have in his final arb year, and we’ve seen the price of extensions grow over the past few seasons. Additionally, if the Mets feel that Murphy has progressed to the point where he’s at least an adequate defender at second base, they’ll likely be willing to pay for his future defensive value rather than ding him for his past struggles.
Murphy himself mentioned the possibility of a four-year deal multiple times in the report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, and if that’s the target window for an extension, something in the neighborhood of $9MM in 2015 and $12-13MM annually for his first three free agent seasons could work for both sides. That’d put his deal in the $45-48MM range over four years, beginning in 2015.
Murphy could also follow the route of Brett Gardner — another above-average player who was never seen as a star prior to his offseason contract extension. Gardner agreed to his final arbitration salary and then signed a four-year deal that began in 2015 and covered only free agent years. Were Murphy to go that route, an additional year at $12-14MM could be added to Murphy’s deal (which would then begin in 2016), meaning he would earn roughly $9MM in 2015 and earn something in the $48-52MM range for his age-31 through age-34 seasons (2016-19).
While a great deal of focus has been placed on whether or not the Mets should trade second baseman Daniel Murphy, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that a long-term deal between the two sides isn’t out of the question either.
Martino spoke to a Mets insider who said an extension is a possibility, and Murphy himself noted that agents Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES “know how I tick and have discussed it.” Murphy went on to note that while the money would be an important factor, the bigger appeal of a long-term deal to him would be a team making that level of commitment to him:
“The money is nice … I couldn’t spend that in four lifetimes. I’ll let my son try to do it, but I couldn’t do it. So it’s just — if somebody comes up to you and says, hey we think you’re good enough to be in this league for the next four years — I have never approached it this way. And I don’t think that would change the way I work, it’s just, hey, that’s a nice feeling. And it’s four years worth of at-bats. They’re not just passing those things out in this league.”
Murphy is earning $5.7MM this season after avoiding arbitration with the Mets for a second time this past offseason. He’s off to the best start of his career, as he entered today’s game with a .300/.355/.418 batting line, six homers, 11 steals and improved defense, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. Murphy would be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.
Here’s the latest from the National League East …
- In his latest Mets inbox, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that he can’t envision the club trading Daniel Murphy this summer due to Sandy Alderson’s precedent for not wanting to deal proven commodities. He does provide a list of reasons to back up his belief that the Mets should be shopping Murphy, and he notes that Alderson has wavered at times, dealing Carlos Beltran and Marlon Byrd.
- Cliff Lee remains on track to return by the All-Star break, reports Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. That would presumably give him at least a few starts to establish his value before the trade deadline (though it is fair to note that Lee could be a plausible August trade candidate). Seidman looks at the market for Lee from the Phils’ perspective, breaking down four possible trade partners (Yankees, Blue Jays, Angels, and Orioles) and what they might be willing and able to offer if Lee is made available.
- The Marlins will base their buy/sell stance in part upon whether the team is within striking distance not only of the wild card, but also the division, reports the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer. “Just looking right now, I would tell you the best shot may be the division,” said GM Dan Jennings. Indeed, the NL East remains largely wide open. If the club does buy, Jennings confirmed prior reports that starting pitching appears a likely target. “Our starting pitching needs to step up a notch,” said Jennings, who explained that the club “loves” recent call-ups Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani but must assess how they perform at the MLB level at this early stage of their careers.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.
- Grady Sizemore is likely to decide on a new team early this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Sizemore became a free agent Friday after the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In his first big-league action since 2011, Sizemore hit .216/.288/.324 in 205 plate appearances in Boston.
- The Blue Jays and Giants have had interest in Daniel Murphy, but the most likely outcome is that the Mets keep him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. In a “mediocre” NL East division, Martino writes, the Mets do not seem to view themselves as sellers. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t deal Murphy, of course — GM Sandy Alderson sent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last year soon after indicating the Mets wouldn’t deal him, so his actions can be hard to predict.
- The Yankees need a starting pitcher, but they probably won’t be able to get top trade possibilities like David Price or Jeff Samardzija, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Rays won’t want to trade Price to a divisional opponent. For Samardzija, the Cubs want a highly-rated young pitcher who’s close to being ready for the big leagues, and the Yankees don’t have that type of player. That means the Yankees could get someone like John Danks of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of the Cubs or Ian Kennedy of the Padres.
- As the trade deadline approaches, the Dodgers‘ greatest need is in their bullpen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t count on improvements from relievers they already have, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon writes. Kenley Jansen, in particular, has been working on his mechanics, and he pitched very well on Saturday and Sunday. In any case, Saxon notes that the Dodgers likely won’t let guaranteed contracts for relievers they already have (presumbably, players like Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who have struggled) prevent them from adding talent on the trade market.
- The Tigers‘ bullpen has an unexpected look recently, with the additions of minor league veterans Pat McCoy, Chad Smith and Blaine Hardy. Hardy, 27, has pitched well in four appearances so far even though he hadn’t pitched in the big leagues before last week. “You’ve got to stick with it, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. Just keep playing, hopefully get the opportunity, and here I am,” the lefty told MLive.com’s Chris Iott. The Royals drafted Hardy in the 22nd round out of college, then released him during spring training in 2013. He pitched three scoreless innings against them in his first two big-league appearances last week.