Danny Hultzen Rumors
As expected, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker both won't be ready for Opening Day, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters (including MLB.com's Greg Johns) yesterday. Iwakuma is dealing with a strained tendon on his right middle finger and will be sidelined until mid-to-late April, while Walker has been shut down for a week with shoulder inflammation. With Seattle's rotation thinned, it will only increase speculation that the M's could increase their interest in Ervin Santana. Here's some more from the M's...
- While the Mariners could still use a pitcher and a right-handed bat, two sources tell CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that the team has "little or no loot left to spend," which GM Jack Zudriencik wouldn't confirm. A lack of payroll space could explain why the Mariners haven't extended offers to Santana or Kendrys Morales, and didn't make an offer to Nelson Cruz (before he signed with the Orioles) despite interest in all three players.
- Missing Iwakuma and Walker early in the season could particularly hurt the Mariners since they play the A's 10 times before May 7. "If Walker and Iwakuma miss the month of April, with our schedule that month it could get ugly," a Mariners source tells Heyman. Robinson Cano and at least one other M's player expressed the opinion that Santana would be a great fit, while Cano would also like to see the switch-hitting Morales brought back. "I'm not going to lie. We need an extra bat, especially a right-handed bat," Cano said. "We have many left-handed hitters. We need at least one more righty. You don't want to face a lefty pitcher with a lineup of seven left-handed hitters."
- The Mariners have sent scouts to watch young Rays pitchers, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The two clubs recently came close on a trade that would've sent Nick Franklin to Tampa, though Topkin believes that the M's can find a better fit elsewhere for the young infielder.
- Danny Hultzen will miss the entire 2014 season as he recovers from major left shoulder surgery, but the highly-regarded prospect tells Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times that he's optimistic about his recovery and resuming his pro career.
The Cardinals rolled to a 9-1 win over the Pirates in Game One of their NLDS series today, as A.J. Burnett allowed seven runs in just two innings while Adam Wainwright allowed a run on three hits over seven innings. Pittsburgh has had to deal with Wainwright as a division rival for years yet MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter) points out that Wainwright could've been a Pirate 13 years ago. The Bucs were preparing to take Wainwright as an outfielder in the second round (with the 59th overall pick) of the 2000 draft, but the Braves took Wainwright 29th overall and the rest is history.
Here are some more news items as we look ahead to Friday's ALDS series openers...
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said his team will look for a left-handed bat this offseason, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports, and that next hitter will likely come in a trade. "We're going to look at free agents, but I think this is one of the weaker free-agent markets I've seen in some time, so that might lead us toward looking at trade partners more," Towers said.
- Mariners southpaw Danny Hultzen underwent left shoulder labrum and rotator-cuff surgery on Tuesday and could miss the entire 2014 season while recovering, Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reports. MLB.com ranked Hultzen as the 18th-best prospect in the sport in the site's preseason rankings, while Baseball America (#29) and ESPN's Keith Law (#66) also thought highly of the 23-year-old lefty. Hultzen was the second overall pick of the 2011 draft and was quickly moving up the Seattle farm system, posting a 2.05 ERA, 4.86 K/BB and 10.0 K/9 in six Triple-A starts last season.
- Some of the flaws of the new collective bargaining agreement can be seen in the case of the Royals, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) argues, as small-market teams who finish just shy of the postseason are somewhat "punished" by the system.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at which players in the postseason could be targets for the Yankees or Mets in free agency or the trade market this winter. Some players could fit on either club, such as Ricky Nolasco. Martino says the Mets "tossed around" Nolasco's name when discussing a Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Marlins last spring.
10:50pm: Taijuan Walker would have been the fourth player in the trade package to the D'Backs, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Walker, a 20-year-old right-hander, was ranked as the 20th-best prospect in the sport by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season, though he struggled pitching at the Double-A level last year.
7:40pm: The Mariners offered a four-player package to the D'Backs, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Arizona would have received Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and one of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton.
6:06 pm: Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton invoked his limited no-trade clause to reject an agreed-upon deal between the D'Backs and Mariners that would have sent Upton to Seattle, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The M's were prepared to give up "a package of young talent" in the trade, a return that Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has heard was "substantial" (Twitter link).
Though several teams have been linked to Upton over the last two seasons, the Mariners seem to be the first to propose a deal that has gotten the D'Backs to agree to move the 25-year-old outfielder. As Rosenthal/Morosi note, the trade rejection could be gamesmanship by either Upton or the D'Backs --- Upton could be trying to control where he ends up, or the Snakes are sending the message that if Upton wants to leave Arizona, his only option is Seattle. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs are the four teams on Upton's current no-trade list, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
Rival teams say the Mariners have made many players untouchable in trades, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. However, a Seattle official tells Rosenthal the team is “wide open” on possible deals.
The list of untouchable players includes Felix Hernandez, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, and prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Nick Franklin, Rosenthal reports. Some executives question whether Ackley and Seager should be off-limits at this stage in their careers.
Mariners such as Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood, Brandon League, Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan could draw interest this summer. GM Jack Zduriencik will be expected to consider trade offers for some veterans given Seattle's 36-51 record.
The deadline for signing draft picks has passed, but there’s still lots of news about 2011 draftees. The latest:
- Padres draftee Brett Austin turned down $1.5MM from San Diego to play for North Carolina State, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres (Twitter link). San Diego selected the catcher with the 54th overall pick in the draft.
- As Jim Callis of Baseball America shows, the Pirates, Nationals and Royals lead all MLB teams in bonus expenditures from 2007-11. Four AL East teams - everyone but the Yankees - are next on the list.
- Callis also details this year's expenditures, with the Pirates, Nationals and Royals again leading the way.
- 2011 draftees Gerrit Cole, Bubba Starling and Danny Hultzen obtained three of the top five bonuses in draft history, according to Callis.
- Commissioner Bud Selig singled out the Pirates and Nationals for overspending in the draft and is more determined than ever to add slotting for draft bonuses, according to Heyman.
- Union people suggest to Heyman that current Major Leaguers oppose the idea of capping bonuses for amateur players, however.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail admitted that pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz have disappointed this year. "The starting pitching has really gone backward." he said. "We've got to get these guys back to where they were before."
- Suggestions that Mark Buehrle may retire after the season are off-base, Heyman reports. The left-hander’s contract expires after the season.
- The Mariners assured top pick Danny Hultzen that he’ll arrive in Spring Training 2012 with the chance to make the team, according to Heyman.
Earlier today we compiled draft reactions, now it's time to round up some miscellaneous links...
- Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune wrote about Shawon Dunston Jr., who signed with the Cubs for $1.275MM as an 11th round pick yesterday. Junior said he came to the decision to sign on Sunday night, without being pushed his father.
- Larry Stone of The Seattle Times spoke to Brodie Van Wagenen, advisor to second overall pick Danny Hultzen. Van Wagenen discussed the compromises made by both his side and the Mariners during the negotiations, which were impacted by both Trevor Bauer (the third overall pick) and Dustin Ackley (the second overall pick two years ago).
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier broke down the Red Sox's draft spending, which totalled over $10MM.
The Mariners have signed second overall pick Danny Hultzen, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times (on Twitter). It's a five-year deal worth at least $8.5MM and up to $10.6MM, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (on Twitter). The contract includes a $6.35MM bonus, according to Stone. CAA represents the left-hander.
Earlier in the year, I spoke to Hultzen about his batting and which left-handed pitchers he admires. Here's the transcript.
You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.
The market for Jose Reyes should still be strong after the season, Jon Heyman writes at SI.com. MLB executives tell Heyman that the Giants, Cardinals, Tigers, Angels, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees and Mets could be fits for the shortstop in terms of finances and positional need. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors...
- Yankees people suggest they’re unlikely to pursue Reyes and Red Sox people say they don’t expect to spend big on a position player this winter.
- The Red Sox haven’t discussed a new deal with David Ortiz, though they’re confident that they’ll be able to re-sign him after the season. Ortiz has expressed interest in a multiyear deal for a while, but the Red Sox don’t want to guarantee more than one year.
- First overall draft pick Gerrit Cole is looking to approach Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1MM bonus and top Mariners pick Danny Hultzen is looking for $13MM plus money for school, Heyman reports. Keep track of which top picks have signed here.
- The Twins appear to want to keep Joe Nathan when he hits free agency after the season, but they’ll probably let Matt Capps sign elsewhere.
The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two...
- A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear.
- Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.