Danny Valencia Rumors

Arbitration Roundup: 54 Players Exchange Figures

With today’s flurry of activities in the books, 144 players have agreed to deals to avoid arbitration for a total spend of $433MM. But that leaves 54 players who have exchanged figures and have ground left to cover before their 2015 salaries are settled. That number is up from last year’s tally of 39, and may point to the possibility that we will see more hearings than the three in 2014 (which was itself up from zero the year before).

MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker is a great resource for seeing where things stand. It is fully sortable and even allows you to link to the results of a search. (The MLBTR/Matt Swartz arbitration projections are also quite handy, of course.) Using the tracker, I compiled some broad notes on where things stand in the arbitration process this year.

Remember, deals avoiding arbitration can still be reached even after the exchange of numbers. Hearings will be scheduled between February 1st and 21st, so there is plenty of time for the sides to come together before making their cases.

That being said, some teams are known for their “file and trial” approach to arb-eligible players, meaning that they refuse to negotiate after the exchange deadline and go to a hearing if agreement has not been reached. Among those clubs (the Brewers, Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays, Braves, Reds, and White Sox, per the most recent reporting), there are several open cases remaining: Mat Latos and Michael Dunn (Marlins), Josh Donaldson and Danny Valencia (Blue Jays), Mike Minor (Braves), and Aroldis Chapman, Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier (Reds).

Meanwhile, some other clubs have historically employed the “file and trial” approach on a modified or case-by-case basis: the Pirates, Nationals, and Indians. Among those clubs, the Pirates (Neil Walker, Vance Worley) and Nationals (Jerry Blevins) have open cases, though all of them feature relatively tight spreads.

And there are some other interesting cases to keep an eye on as well. Consider:

  • The Orioles and Royals not only faced off in last year’s American League Championship Series, but find themselves staring at by far the most unresolved cases (six and eight, respectively). They are also the only teams with eight-figure gaps between their submissions and those of their players ($10.85MM and $10MM, respectively).
  • Among the Orioles players, two stand out for the significant relative gulf separating team and player. Zach Britton, who excelled after taking over as the closer last year, filed at $4.2MM while the team countered at $2.2MM, leaving a $2MM gap that is worth nearly 91% of the club’s offer. Even more remarkably, the O’s will need to bridge a $3.4MM gap ($5.4MM versus $2MM) with surprise star Steve Pearce. That spread is 1.7 times the value of the team’s offer and easily beats the largest difference last year (Logan Morrison and the Mariners, 127.3%).
  • Of course, it is worth remembering that first-year arb salaries have added impact because they set a baseline for future earnings. (Each successive year’s salary is essentially calculated as an earned raise from that starting point.) For the Reds, the outcome of their cases with Frazier ($5.7MM vs. $3.9MM) and Mesoraco ($3.6MM vs. $2.45MM) could have huge ramifications for whether the team will be able to afford to keep (and possibly extend) that pair of strong performers.
  • Likewise, the Angels face an important showdown with Garrett Richards, a Super Two whose starting point will factor into three more seasons of payouts. As a high-upside starter, he has sky high earning potential, so any savings will be most welcome to the team. The current spread is $3.8MM versus $2.4MM, a $1.4MM difference that equates to 58.3% of the team’s filing price.
  • Interestingly, the biggest gap in absolute terms belong to Pearce and the Orioles at $3.4MM. After that come Bud Norris and the Orioles ($2.75MM), David Freese and the Angels ($2.35MM), Greg Holland and the Royals ($2.35MM), Dexter Fowler and the Astros ($2.3MM), Eric Hosmer and the Royals ($2.1MM), and Aroldis Chapman and the Reds ($2.05MM).

Of course, plenty of deals already got done today. Here are some of the more notable among them:

  • David Price agreed to a $19.75MM salary with the Tigers that stands as the single highest arbitration payday ever, by a fair margin.
  • Interestingly, the Rays agreed to rather similar, sub-projection deals with all seven of their arb-eligible players. Discounts on Swartz’s expectations ranged from 3.23% to 13.21%. In total, the club shaved $1.525MM off of its tab.
  • The opposite was true of the Tigers, who spent a total of $1.4MM over the projections on just three players. Of course, since one of those players was Price, the commitment landed just 5.2% over the projected total.
  • Detroit’s overages pale in comparison to those of the Cubs, who handed out several of the deals that beat the projections by the widest relative margin and ended up over $2.5MM (14.5%) over their projected spend.
  • The MLBTR/Swartz model badly whiffed (over 50% off) on just three players, all of whom earned well over the projections: Chris Coghlan of the Cubs (78.9%), Carlos Carrasco of the Indians (66.9%) Tony Sipp of the Astros (60%).
  • On the low side, the worst miss (or the biggest discount, depending on one’s perspective) was Mark Melancon of the Pirates, who fell $2.2MM and 28.9% shy of his projected earnings. Danny Espinosa (Nationals) and Chris Tillman (Orioles) were the only two other players to fall 20% or more below their projections. Of course, in the cases of both Melancon and Tillman, Swartz accurately predicted that they would fall short of the model.

Royals Acquire Hendriks, Kratz For Valencia

6:10pm: The Blue Jays announced that they have acquired Danny Valencia from the Royals in exchange for Hendriks and Kratz.  Valencia, 29, posted a .282/.328/.382 slash line in 119 plate appearances for KC this season.  The veteran split 117 games between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk in 2013.  In 170 plate appearances last year for the O’s, he had a .304/.330/.553 slash line to go with eight homers.  The 29-year-old has seen scattered MLB action since a mediocre stint as the Twins’ everyday third bagger in 2011. 

5:51pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirms that Kratz is headed to Kansas City (Twitter link).

5:46pm: The Royals and Blue Jays have agreed to a trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Right-hander Liam Hendriks is heading to Kansas City in the deal, and Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets that catcher Erik Kratz is expected to be joining the Royals as well.

The 25-year-old Hendriks was once considered one of the Top 10 prospects in the Twins organization, but he made his rounds on waivers over the past season after failing to translate his excellent Triple-A numbers to the Major Leagues. Hendriks allowed nine runs in 13 1/3 innings for the Jays this season and has a 6.06 ERA in 169 1/3 innings throughout his big league career. The Aussie right-hander has a strong 3.23 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 362 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level. Baseball America tweets that he was impressive at the Triple-A All Star Game this season — a team that he was named to after posting a brilliant 2.33 ERA in 18 minor league appearances this year.

Kratz, who turned 34 last month, is expected to help the Royals at the big league level. The former Phillies backstop has seen limited time with the Blue Jays in 2014, slashing .198/.226/.346 with three homers. Low batting averages and plus pop have been the story of Kratz’s big league career, as he’s hit just .216 with a .271 OBP in 501 plate appearances but boasts a solid .181 isolated power mark (slugging minus batting average). Kratz is a career .268/.342/.474 hitter in 1618 Triple-A plate appearances. He has consistently rated as a strong pitch-framer and pitch-blocker, and he’s gunned down 32 percent of attempted base stealers in his big league career.


Royals Acquire Danny Valencia

The Orioles announced that they have acquired outfielder David Lough from the Royals in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia.

Valencia, 29, split 117 games between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk last season, being recalled to the Major Leagues on May 19.  In 170 plate appearances last year for the O's, he had a .304/.330/.553 slash line to go with eight homers.  The 29-year-old has seen scattered MLB action since a mediocre stint as the Twins' everyday third bagger in 2011, however.  Valencia has spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with Minnesota (2010-12), Boston (2012) and Baltimore (2013). 

Lough, 27, hit .286/.311/.413 in 96 games for Kansas City in 2013, playing all three outfield positions. He finished eighth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting and led all rookies in WAR, as noted by the O's press release.  The outfielder also finished the season with a stellar 27.3 UZR/150 rating, good for sixth amongst all outfielders in baseball.



Quick Hits: Valencia, Giants, Braves, Crain, Jays

Brenda Branswell of the Montreal Gazette reports that a feasability study conducted by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Montreal Baseball Project suggests that a return to Montreal for MLB could be financially viable, given a set of realistic assumptions. Those assumptions include league average ticket prices and local broadcasting deal along with a "modest, but competitive payroll." The study estimated that the project would cost $1.025 billion — $525MM to acquire an existing team and $500MM to build a new stadium. Major League Baseball has deemed moving a team to the old Olympic Stadium to be an unacceptable scenario. Here's more from around the league …

  • The Orioles are looking at trade possibilities involving third baseman Danny Valencia, reports Jen Royle of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Dealing Valencia could free a 40-man slot for a new addition, though he had figured to provide some insurance as Manny Machado recovers from knee surgery. The 29-year-old has seen scattered MLB action since a mediocre stint as the Twins' everyday third bagger in 2011. In 170 plate appearances last year for the Orioles, he had a nice .304/.330/.553 slash line to go with eight long balls.
  • As the Giants attempt to clear 40-man roster space for Michael Morse, they're pursuing minor trade ideas, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly tweets. Henry Schulman, meanwhile, tweets that one such minor trade could involve 1B/OF Brett Pill. The Brewers had previously shown interest in Pill, Schulman notes. The Morse signing is likely to become official tomorrow.
  • The Braves turned their attention to Gavin Floyd only after ruling out the possibility of trading for Jeff Samardzija, MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets. In addition to Floyd, the Braves also looked at Edinson Volquez (who eventually went to the Pirates), Chris Capuano, and Bruce Chen.
  • Multiple teams have made offers to Jesse Crain, who is deciding if he wants to aim for a one- or two-year deal on the free agent market, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Presumably, Crain is weighing whether or not to take the security of a two-year deal or gamble on re-establishing his value on a one-year pact.
  • With many second base options flying off the board, it's looking more and more like Ryan Goins will get a real chance as the Blue Jays' everyday second baseman in 2014, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Nicholson-Smith runs down some of the remaining keystone options for Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos to pursue.
  • Jordany Valdespin has changed agencies, leaving ACES for Metis Sports Management, reports MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter).

Steve Adams and Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Marlins Notes: Morse, Bullpen, Webb, Third Base

The Marlins officially announced their signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal earlier today at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and they reportedly finalized a two-year deal with recent non-tender Garrett Jones as well. The Fish are far from finished, however, as they're reportedly nearing a trade of first baseman Logan Morrison as well. More Fish-centric links for your Monday evenings…

  • The Marlins are looking for right-handed bats, but they're not pursuing Mike Morse, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
  • Frisaro also tweets that the Marlins would like to sign or trade for a veteran reliever to add to their relief corps.
  • The decision to non-tender right-hander Ryan Webb was strictly about allocation of the team's resources, GM Michael Hill told MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who is on-site in Orlando (Twitter link).
  • Hill also told Tim that third base is currently the team's top priority (Twitter link).
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel elaborates on that third base search, noting that the Marlins are interested in former Brewers top prospect and Jacksonville, Fla. native Mat Gamel. Gamel was recently non-tendered by the Cubs recently.
  • Within that same piece, Rodriguez notes that the Marlins have told teams they're open to taking a right-handed or left-handed hitting third baseman in trades. Two names of interest are Miami alum Danny Valencia (currently with the Orioles) and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.

Orioles Notes: Wieters, Machado, Hammel, Valencia

Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com feels that while there is a growing sentiment among some Orioles fans that Matt Wieters should be traded due to his declining offensive numbers, the backstop is part of the team's core and should instead be offered an extension. Melewski points out that Adam Jones was extended with two years of team control remaining — the same amount of team control the Orioles currently hold over Wieters. He adds that Wieters is a durable clubhouse leader that is entering his prime years, all of which should factor into the team's desire to retain him. The x-factor that isn't discussed by Melewski is Wieters' agent, Scott Boras. Few Boras clients sign extensions prior to free agency, though notable recent exceptions include Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. More on the O's…

  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Manny Machado's surgery to repair the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee will take place today. The projected four-to-six-week timeframe for his recovery will have him ready sometime between the beginning of Spring Training and the early portion of April.
  • From within that same piece, Connolly writes that Jason Hammel is behind Scott Feldman, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts on the Orioles' "priority to re-sign" list. Connolly's assumption is that Hammel will hook on with another team. I could envision him signing a similar contract to that of Feldman last offseason — one year at $5-6MM with additional incentives based on innings pitched and/or games started.
  • Lastly from Connolly, the out-of-options Danny Valencia figures to make the team in 2014 and could see more time in the field early on, depending on Machado's recovery. Connolly adds that despite Valencia's large numbers against left-handed pitching, a consistent DH who can get on base regularly will be an offseason priority for the Orioles.

AL Notes: Lohse, Cano, Granderson, Orioles

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:

  • The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
  • The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
  • If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com
  • A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
  • Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard.Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.

 


Orioles Acquire Danny Valencia

The Orioles have acquired infielder Danny Valencia from the Red Sox for cash considerations, the teams announced. Baltimore designated infielder Joe Mahoney for assignment in a related move.

Acquired from Minnesota this past August, Valencia appeared in 44 total games in 2012. He struggled, posting a .188/.199/.299 batting line in 161 plate appearances for the Red Sox and Twins. However, in 2011, he hit 15 home runs and posted a .246/.294/.383 as Minnesota's starting third baseman.

Mahoney debuted with the Orioles this past season, appearing in two games. In 536 plate appearances at Triple-A, the 25-year-old posted a .265/.319/.389 batting line.


Red Sox Designate Five Players For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated third baseman Danny Valencia, infielder Ivan De Jesus and right-handed pitchers Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter and Zach Stewart for assginment, according to a team press release.

All five players were acquired by the Red Sox within the last year and De Jesus, Carpenter and Stewart were small pieces of some of Boston's biggest trades of the season.  De Jesus was picked up as part of the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers in August, Carpenter came from the Blue Jays as part of the John Farrell trade package, and Stewart as part of the deal that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in June.  Valencia, meanwhile, was picked up in a trade with the Twins in August while Rosario was picked up off waivers from the Marlins last month.


Red Sox Acquire Danny Valencia From The Twins

The Red Sox have acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Twins for minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda, both teams have announced. Valencia will report to Triple-A Pawtucket while Pineda will report to the Gulf Coast League Twins.

Valencia has struggled this season hitting .198/.212/.310 in two tours with the Twins. He has also played 69 games for Triple-A Rochester batting .250/.289/.399. Valencia, originally selected by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, had an impressive Major League rookie season in 2010 with a slash line of .311/.351/.448, but has seen his numbers drop steadily since. 

Pineda is a 21-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who has never played above Rookie ball. Pineda, a switch-hitter, is leading the Gulf Coast League in batting (.421). Over his two professional seasons in the Red Sox organization, Pineda has a slash line of .321/.380/.423 in 70 games between the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and the GCL.