Dariel Alvarez Rumors

East Notes: Buchholz, Kelly, Sandberg, Yankees

Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz will see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his strained flexor tendon, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Buchholz doesn’t believe the injury is more serious than originally thought. However, he trusts Andrews’ opinion as an impartial observer, and they have consulted over previous injuries. Interestingly, Buchholz mentioned his contract status as a reason to seek an opinion outside of the organization. The Red Sox own team options for 2016 and 2017.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Marlins utility man Don Kelly had season-ending Tommy John surgery, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Kelly got into just two games for the Marlins in early April. He also spent a short stint at High-A. In 1,190 plate appearances, mostly with the Tigers, he’s a .232/.296/.335 hitter.
  • A roster move is in the Orioles immediate future and Chris Parmelee may wind up with the short straw, writes Roch Kubatko of MASN. The club plans to recall Kevin Gausman for a start on Wednesday. The O’s are currently carrying just 11 pitchers, so a position player will have to go. In addition to Parmelee, I could see Ryan Flaherty, David Lough, and Nolan Reimold as players who could be designated. Jonathan Schoop could be temporarily optioned if Baltimore didn’t want to risk losing anybody. Also per Kubatko, the Orioles are monitoring prospect Dariel Alvarez. They could promote him soon despite concerns about his defense and plate discipline.
  • When Ryne Sandberg resigned as Phillies manager, it caught colleague and friend Larry Bowa by surprise, writes Jim Salisbury of Philly.com. In an interesting interview, Bowa offered some opinions as to why Sandberg walked away. In addition to expected changes related to the hiring of Andy MacPhail, Bowa posits that Sandberg was fed up with a lack of work ethic in modern players. Bowa offers quite a bit more nuance so I recommend Phillies fans read the article.
  • According to assistant GM Billy Eppler, the Yankees are engaged in several trade discussions, reports Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Eppler played coy to the specifics, but he did note that it would be hard for the club to outdo the reinforcements they received off the disabled list – namely Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller.

Trade Notes: Angels, Mets, Orioles, Diamondbacks

The Angels are actively attempting to acquire another bat to bolster their offense, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, but the feeling among the front office team is that the asking prices of selling teams is currently too high. The Halos’ present plan is to wait until the market comes back down to Earth a bit, as the belief at this time is that there’s quite a bit of posturing among selling teams. The first-place Angels have received poor production at a number of spots in the lineup, most notably in left field, at DH and at catcher. Chris Iannetta, at least, is showing signs of life in July. After a dreadful April, he slashed .264/.328/.491 in May, but his production again tanked in June, when he hit .190 without an extra-base hit. He’s on the upswing in July, batting .250/.419/.542 through a tiny sample of 31 plate appearances. Matt Joyce, on the other hand, has struggled nearly all season long — a strange turn of events for a usually very strong platoon option in the outfield. It should be noted, of course, that following GM Jerry Dipoto’s abrupt resignation, interim GM Bill Stoneman (a former Angels GM himself) will be overseeing the team’s baseball operations this summer.

The trade market will heat up substantially in the coming two weeks, and here are a few more trade rumors from around the league…

  • Though a report from Wednesday cast some doubt on the possibility, Marc Carig of Newsday hears from a source that the Mets haven’t ruled out adding an outfielder via trade (Twitter link). Michael Cuddyer‘s knee isn’t healthy, notes Carig, nor is the throwing arm of Juan Lagares. Both have struggled this season at the plate and in the field, and a versatile outfielder would give the club some insurance should either player miss time.
  • The Orioles, too, could end up trading for an outfielder, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. GM Dan Duquette admitted to Connolly that acquiring an outfielder is a consideration, though Connolly notes that there’s a very limited number of pieces the O’s would consider dealing. The lack of production from the team’s corner outfield, particularly left field (.223/.286/.352, collectively) underscores the fact that the contingency plans for the departure of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis haven’t worked, Connolly writes. When both players signed elsewhere, Duquette and skipper Buck Showalter noted that the Orioles had a good deal of outfield depth, including Alejandro De Aza, Delmon Young, Travis Snider, David Lough, Steve Pearce, Nolan Reimold and Dariel Alvarez. De Aza and Young have departed by way of DFA, while others have struggled. Alvarez, Duquette said, is a consideration for the second half. He’s leading the Triple-A International League in total bases at the age of 26 and has a strong arm, but as Connolly notes, he’s also walked just seven times this year.
  • Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa spoke with the Arizona Republic’s Zach Buchanan about the upcoming trade deadline, and while many of his comments were vague (deliberately so, one would think, so as not to tip his hand), La Russa made it clear that his club had no interest in acquiring any type of pure rental player despite being just five games back in the Wild Card race. “It’s got to be somebody that fits in and is going to be a part of what we do going forward,” said La Russa of any possible trade addition. “The rent-a-player doesn’t work for us.” La Russa went on to say that adding a player with a significant financial commitment attached to his name probably isn’t a realistic option for the team either.

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.