Dariel Alvarez Rumors

Outfield Notes: Ichiro, Schierholtz, Chavez, Bautista

The Marlins have made a one-year, $2MM offer to Ichiro Suzuki, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Miami is “optimistic, but not certain” that it will reach agreement with the veteran. If not, it could look to Nate Schierholtz or the trade market. Ichiro could be the next domino to fall now that Colby Rasmus has signed with the Astros.

  • The Orioles offered Rasmus a one-year, $7MM deal that might have included an option, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. After missing on Rasmus, Baltimore is looking down its list for other left-handed outfield options. Schierholtz is a possibility, as is Ichiro.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com also discusses the club’s efforts to add another outfielder, explaining that the uncertainty surrounding executive VP Dan Duquette has not been the reason that the team has missed on its outfield targets thus far. Instead, Baltimore is focused on only striking the right deal, and could take its current roster into camp with at least some hope that youngster Dariel Alvarez would be ready to contribute by the summer. As Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs wrote yesterday in his breakdown of the O’s minor league system, the club is much higher on Alvarez than outside evaluators.
  • In spite of making several outfield additions, the Mariners are interested in a reunion with Endy Chavez, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). The 36-year-old, who spent each of the last two seasons in Seattle, might need to fight for a roster spot out of camp, says Crasnick.
  • Blue Jays star right fielder Jose Bautista says that his next contract is not the first thing on his mind right now, as Mackenzie Liddell of Sportsnet.ca writes (comments via an appearance on Brady and Walker of Sportsnet 590). Bautista did acknowledge that he is intrigued by the possibility of becoming a free agent after the 2016 season, but says his focus is on playing winning baseball this year.

Quick Hits: Beachy, Betancourt, Alvarez, Werth

Is there a more feared name in the sports world than Dr. James Andrews?  This time it's the Braves and their fans' turn to be worried — the club tweeted that Brandon Beachy will miss his next start due to a sore right elbow and visit the famed sports surgeon on Monday.  Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery on that same right arm in June 2012 and has made just five starts since returning from the injury.

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • Rafael Betancourt left Thursday's game with an elbow injury and the Rockies are concerned the veteran reliever has a torn UCL, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports.  That injury would require Tommy John surgery and could threaten the 38-year-old's career.  Betancourt will make his third trip to the DL this season, effectively ending any chance that the righty will switch teams.  The Rockies placed Betancourt on revocable waivers earlier today.
  • Dariel Alvarez has already advanced to the Orioles' high A-ball affiliate, though Baseball America's Ben Badler tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that scouts have questions about Alvarez's potential.  "I don't think he was a very high-profile player for a lot of teams," Badler said. "I don't think there was a high level of interest in him. There are a lot of concerns about his hitting translating to game situations….He does have some occasional power, but there is a lot of question among scouts as to whether the hitting will translate against more advanced pitching."  Badler felt that Alvarez's $800K bonus was surprisingly high and that Henry Urrutia (another up-and-coming Cuban outfielder in the O's system) is the much better prospect of the two.
  • Signing relievers to multiyear deals continues to be a risky proposition, as Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down how only four (arguably five) of the 13 relievers who signed such deals last winter have delivered good value to their teams.
  • Jayson Werth's surprising age-34 season has been one of the few bright spots for the Nationals this year, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes.  Werth hit .256/.349/.407 and battled injuries in the first two years of his seven-year, $126MM deal with the Nats, but the veteran has lived up this salary this season by posting a .938 OPS with 18 homers through 385 PA.

Orioles Sign Cuban Outfielder Dariel Alvarez

JULY 24th, 6:08pm: The O's confirmed the signing via press release.

JULY 18th, 3:41pm: The Orioles have agreed to terms on a deal with 24-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Dariel Alvarez for $800K, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Because Alvarez is older than 23 and has more than three years of professional experience, he is not subject to the new international signing guidelines laid out in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. Alvarez is in Miami and waiting on the results of his physical, which will make the deal official.

Alvarez defected from the Cuban National Team in January and was cleared to sign with MLB teams a month later, though a change in agents held up his journey to MLB. Alvarez tells Sanchez that he is "very happy to get [his] career going" and will report to whatever level the Orioles see fit. The Cardinals were said to be keeping tabs on Alvarez over the winter, and there were also some conflicting reports as to whether or not the Twins were in the mix.

Over the winter, Sanchez reported that 6'2", 190-pound Alvarez is capable of playing all three outfield positions and possesses a strong throwing arm. The bonus he received is a fraction of the sum that the A's and Dodgers gave Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig on their multi-year contracts.

AL Central Notes: Indians, Twins, Alvarez

On this day in 2002, the Tigers acquired Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman in a three-team trade that sent Jeff Weaver to the Yankees and Ted Lilly to the Athletics. None of the other players in the deal (John-Ford Griffin, Jason Arnold and Franklyn German) amounted to much, but 11 years later, Lilly, Pena and Bonderman are all still on Major League rosters. Here's the latest out of the AL Central…

  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes that acquiring a starting pitcher has become "a talking point" in the Indians' front office, and it's likely that the team will also pursue bullpen help prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.
  • While the Indians' rotation has exceeded expectations in 2013, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes that the front office would still like an upgrade to help compete with the Tigers down the stretch. Castrovince adds that the Tribe sees no point in looking at No. 4 and No. 5 starters, because they have plenty of similar depth. However, as they don't view 2013 as an "all or nothing" season, it's likely they'll try to pursue pitchers that are controlled beyond this season. He speculates that Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Samardzija and Bud Norris would interest GM Chris Antonetti.
  • The Twins are among the teams interested in Taiwanese right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Tseng, 18, ranked as the No. 29 international prospect in this year's class, according to MLB.com. He was the youngest player named to this year's Chinese Taipei roster in the World Baseball Classic.
  • Sanchez also tweets that one of his sources says previous reports linking the Twins to Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez are inaccurate. The most recent connection between Minnesota and Alvarez said that the Twins expected the 24-year-old to be too pricey. Sanchez adds that he's still trying to gauge the market for Sanchez to determine his likely price tag.

Twins Sign Lewin Diaz, Roni Tapia

7:33pm: The Twins have also signed Dominican third baseman Roni Tapia for a $550K bonus, Wolfson tweets. Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that Tapia generates "easy power" but added that a position change is all but inevitable.

5:01pm: The Twins have signed Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). Diaz ranked as MLB.com's No. 10 international prospect in this year's class and was 15th on Baseball America's Top 30. According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter), Diaz signed for $1.4MM — a significant chunk of the Twins' $3.9MM bonus pool.

The 16-year-old Diaz's frame reminds some scouts of Ryan Howard, and MLB.com praises his power and approach: "Overall, Diaz has notable raw power and one of the best rhythm and timing approaches among all hitters in the international market this year."

Wolfson also adds that the Twins like Cuban defector Dariel Alvarez, but he will likely be too expensive. Signing Alvarez wouldn't count against Minnesota's bonus pool, because he's over 23 years of age and has more than three years of experience. There is no restriction on how much teams could spent to sign him. It was reported last week that Alvarez is eligible to sign with any team as a free agent.

Cuban Prospect Dariel Alvarez Eligible To Sign

It's been months since we've heard significant news on Cuban defectors Dariel Alvarez and Aledmys Diaz, but MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez writes that Alvarez has been cleared by the Commissioner's Office to sign with a Major League team. He has actually been cleared to sign for several months, but the process has been slowed by a change in agents. Diaz, according to a separate tweet from Sanchez, will not be eligible for free agency until next February.

The Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Padres and Yankees were among the teams in attendance for an Alvarez showcase in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. yesterday, according to Sanchez. The Marlins did not attend his workout despite its proximity to Miami, which gels with reports from the offseason that the Marlins weren't interested.

Alvarez, 24, is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has drawn praise for a strong throwing arm. The new collective bargaining agreement states that players who are at least 23 years of age and have a minimum of three years of professional experience are not subject to the international signing limitations. In other words, teams will be able to spend as freely as they wish to acquire Alvarez's services. In addition to the previously mentioned teams, the Twins and Cardinals were both connected to Alvarez this past winter as well.

Ten Teams Interested In Aledmys Diaz

At least ten teams have expressed strong interest in Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (all Twitter links). Diaz, who turns 23 tomorrow, is a free agent. More teams appear to have expressed interest once they realized that signing him wouldn’t count against their caps for international bonuses.

The showcase for Diaz and fellow Cuban prospect Dariel Alvarez has been pushed back to the end of January, Sanchez reports. Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, is also a free agent. The Cardinals are among the teams monitoring the two players, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week. The Twins also appear to have interest. Sanchez introduced us to Diaz and Alvarez in detail back in November.

Twins Notes: Myers, Harden, Alvarez, Diaz, Gomez

Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson

  • The Twins had numerous discussions with Brett Myers before the right-hander signed with the Indians, but they never made him an offer.
  • Rich Harden's minor league contract with Minnesota includes a July 31st opt-out date according to Wolfson. The right-hander can elect free agency if he's not added to the big league roster by then.
  • The Twins will have a scout on hand to watch outfielder Dariel Alvarez and infielder Aledmys Diaz tomorrow. The two Cuban defectors are hosting a workout for teams.
  • The club has had "brief talks" with free agent outfielders Ryan Sweeney and Scott Podsednik after trading both Ben Revere and Denard Span this offseason.
  • The Twins have talked about Brent Lillibridge and Yuniesky Betancourt, but they're likely to sign elsewhere. Minnesota also has interest in Brandon Inge.
  • The Indians have reached out to several teams about Jeanmar Gomez, including the Twins. Gomez was designated for assignment earlier this week and Cleveland has ten days to trade, release, or waive him.

Cardinals Notes: Lohse, Diaz, Alvarez

The Cardinals have reached the postseason in three of the five seasons since John Mozeliak became the team's general manager. Mozeliak, who was named St. Louis’ GM following the 2007 season, is now in the midst of a comparatively quiet offseason. Here are some details on the Cardinals from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • The Cardinals have not revisited signing free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse since extending him a qualifying offer. Lohse declined the offer, preferring the free agent market. However, the 34-year-old hasn’t received an official offer to this point in the winter. It appears that teams are hesitant to surrender the draft pick required to complete a deal.
  • The Cardinals are keeping tabs on the market for Cuban free agents Aledmys Diaz and Dariel Alvarez, Goold reports. Diaz, a shortstop, turns 23 next week, while Alvarez is a 24-year-old outfielder. The Cardinals plan to have a front office member in attendance at an upcoming workout for the players. Jesse Sanchez introduced us to Diaz and Alvarez in a piece at MLB.com back in November.

Marlins Not Interested In Dariel Alvarez, Aledmys Diaz

The Marlins have "zero interest" in Cuban prospects Dariel Alvarez and Aledmys Diaz, a source tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  We heard earlier in the week that Miami's interest in Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, was "lukewarm" at best and that the club wasn't planning to attend Alvarez's workout for scouts this Saturday.

The Marlins are often linked to players from Cuba and other Latin American countries with the reasoning that such players would be help attract fans from south Florida's large Hispanic population.  Last offseason, for instance, the Fish pursued Albert Pujols and Yoenis Cespedes before both players signed with the Angels and Athletics, respectively.  As Frisaro points out, however, the Marlins' current rebuilding process doesn't leave room for spending on international free agents.  It's unknown if Alvarez or Diaz will command the type of money that Cespedes got from the A's last winter, but they will both apparently be out of Miami's price range.

The two prospects were profiled last month by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.  Diaz, a 22-year-old shortstop, is the more Major League-ready of the two and already has several teams interested in his services, Sanchez reported.  Diaz turns 23 on January 8 and at that age, he won't be subject to the CBA's guidelines for international signings.