David Aardsma Rumors

Quick Hits: Aardsma, Murphy, Rodon, Boras

Dodgers reliever David Aardsma has allowed his opt-out date to pass without exercising his clause, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. The 33-year-old has not thrown in the bigs since 2013, but was lights out at Triple-A last year and has continued that success into the current season. He looks like useful relief depth for Los Angeles.

Let’s round up the day’s news with a few more links:

  • Giants executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean has been taking in the Mets‘ weekend series, ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin reports. Rubin cautions that it is not clear precisely why Sabean is on hand, though obviously San Francisco looks like a theoretical match for Daniel Murphy — who is slotting in at third base at present while New York awaits the return of David Wright. Of course, his young would-be replacement at second, Dilson Herrera, has looked somewhat overmatched in his first two games back in the bigs, with four strikeouts and an infield hit to show from eight plate appearances.
  • The White Sox are still feeling out how they will use rookie lefty Carlos Rodon, as Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. Chicago is burning through Rodon’s service time while giving him relatively little action as the team tries to balance the need to introduce him to the bigs, keep him stretched out, and conserve his innings.
  • Agent Scott Boras says he believes that the MLB rules should be loosened to allow the free trading of all draft picks, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “Trade picks, trade players — there should be a whole universe of options,” opined Boras. “I’m a believer that you want as many chips on the table so the intellect can operate and a master plan can be created from a variety of different avenues of trade, draft, scouting and development, free agency, all the structures.” Of course, as one executive notes to Piecoro, opening that avenue of trade activity could potentially transfer leverage to premium players who have a desire to influence their ultimate destination.
  • Boras also rejected the idea of allowing teams expanded access to medical information, stating forcefully: “That’s not going to work.” Citing concern with players’ rights not to have their medical information spread broadly to every team, Boras previewed some of the difficulties in addressing what promises to be a tricky issue on which to build a consensus between the players and the league.

Dodgers Notes: Aardsma Opt-Out, Hamilton, Ryu

Right-hander David Aardsma has a May 1 opt-out on his Minor League pact with the Dodgers, Jacob Unruh of NewsOK.com reported yesterday. Aardsma can opt out on Friday if another club wants him on its Major League roster, and he has a complete opt-out from the Dodgers on June 15, per Unruh. The 33-year-old veteran didn’t make the club’s bullpen out of Spring Training despite strong numbers, but he’s continued to pitch effectively, yielding one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks in seven Triple-A innings. Aardsma hasn’t logged significant big league action since 2013, but he pitched quite well for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate last year (1.48 ERA, 38-to-18 K/BB ratio in 37 innings) before a groin injury sidelined him for the season’s second half. The Dodgers’ bullpen has been surprisingly dominant despite incurring significant injuries, and with Kenley Jansen nearing a return, things will get even more crowded, further blocking Aardsma’s path to L.A. It wouldn’t be a shock for one of the many teams around the league in need of ‘pen help to look at the former Mariners closer as a potential upgrade.

Here’s more on the Dodgers…

  • The Dodgers were involved in trade talks regarding Josh Hamilton before he was moved to the Rangers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, the Dodgers were more interested in acting as a third party with the Angels and Rangers, contributing cash to the deal as a means of acquiring prospects to add to their farm system. The Dodgers also discussed a straight up deal to acquire Hamilton, according to Heyman, but even in that scenario they’d likely have just flipped Hamilton to the Rangers in the long run, as they weren’t interested in adding to their outfield glut. This marks another effort by the Dodgers’ new front office to use the team’s financial muscle to bolster the farm system in a unique way. The Dodgers already essentially bought a draft pick by agreeing to take on Ryan Webb‘s $2.75MM salary from the Orioles in order to convince Baltimore to part with a Competitive Balance draft selection.
  • Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu is at least a month away from rejoining the Dodgers’ roster, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted yesterday. The loss of Ryu for nearly two months and of Brandon McCarthy for the entire season has thinned out the Dodger rotation considerably, though president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman recently stated that he was likely to utilize internal options until at least June as he assessed what the team had in-house.

Dodgers To Sign David Aardsma

Right-hander David Aardsma has signed with the Dodgers, the pitcher himself tweeted today. As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes, Aardsma will be in Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee looking to secure a spot in the team’s bullpen. Aardsma is represented by TWC Sports.

Aardsma, formerly the closer for the Mariners (he saved 69 games in Seattle from 2009-10), spent the 2014 season with the Cardinals, working to an excellent 1.46 ERA with 38 strikeouts against 18 walks in 37 minor league innings. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently noted, Aardsma has re-worked his mechanics and seen improved velocity as a result. Last week, I tweeted that Aardsma’s velocity reached 92 mph in his final bullpen session, which was attended by 18 scouts.

A groin injury ultimately ended Aardsma’s 2014 campaign and halted his chances of making an impact with the Cardinals’ bullpen, but 33-year-old does bring some upside to L.A. if healthy. Over his past 161 2/3 innings in the Majors, Aardsma has a 3.28 ERA with 166 strikeouts against 79 walks. He’ll look to force his way into a mix of arms that includes closer Kenley Jansen as well as setup men J.P. Howell, Brandon League and Joel Peralta. Other candidates for the Dodger ‘pen include Paco Rodriguez, Carlos Frias, Pedro Baez, Juan Nicasio and Chris Hatcher.

Pitching Notes: Porcello, Aardsma, Albers, Zito

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello figures to present a fascinating free agent case, as Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes. The righty will enter free agency in advance of his age-27 campaign and remains a candidate to put up a big year in Boston. Even if he ends up with more typical results than a true breakout, and even accounting for robust market supply, his age could make him a $100MM player, in Petriello’s view.

Here are a few notes on some of the few remaining current free agents:

  • Reliever David Aardsma pushed his velocity up to 92 mph in a recent showcase in front of eighteen scouts, MLBTR’s Steve Adams reports (Twitter links). The 33-year-old has not seen MLB action since 2013, but worked to a 1.46 ERA with better than a strikeout per inning last year at Triple-A with the Cardinals organization. He is expected to choose a team in the near future.
  • Fellow righty Matt Albers also threw for teams recently, as already reported, and the Indians were among those in attendance, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland also had a look at lefty Barry Zito, who threw for observers yesterday.
  • Speaking of prior reports on Albers and Zito, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle — who broke the news last night — tweets today that Astros owner Jim Crane says the team could bring in Zito with a spring training invite. Drellich cautions that it still seems unlikely that Zito will land with Houston.

Pitching Notes: Zito, Belisario, Twins

Former AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito is throwing for  “select group” of teams on Tuesday, agent Scott Boras tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Zito, who sat out the 2014 season, is eyeing a return to the game and hopes to sign with a team before Spring Training. He last followed up a respectable 2012 season with a dismal 2013 campaign, pitching to a 5.74 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 133 1/3 innings for the Giants.

Here are a few more pitching notes from around the game:

  • Ronald Belisario‘s contract with the Rays can max out at $1.8MM if he reaches all of his incentives, tweets CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Belisario inked a minor league pact with the Rays over the weekend just days after a similar deal with the Blue Jays fell through. The right-hander will compete for a spot in Tampa’s bullpen this spring.
  • The Twins are open to adding some relief help, according to previous reports, but Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the team isn’t showing interest in righty David Aardsma at this time. The former Mariners closer, who enjoyed a strong season with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014, will audition for clubs next Monday.
  • Speaking of the Twins‘ bullpen, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger did his best to sort out the many candidates in his latest Twins Inbox column. In addition to his take on who is most likely to comprise Minnesota’s relief corps in 2015, Bollinger notes that offseason signee Tim Stauffer will get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation, despite the fact that most believed he was signed as a bullpen addition.

Quick Hits: Rockies, Aardsma, Moylan

Despite their recent additions of David Hale and Gus Schlosser, the Rockies are still hunting for established pitching, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. GM Jeff Bridich says will try to add another pitcher who will be part of the 40-man roster. Bridich says he likes Hale and Schlosser’s abilities to get ground balls, and notes that the Rockies will have both head into Spring Training preparing to be starters. “[W]e will sit down in the early part of spring and figure it out,” says Bridich. “The fact that both of these guys have started in the past was an appealing part of who they are, and of their history.” Here are more notes from throughout the game.

  • Agent Jamie Murphy says client David Aardsma will throw for teams next Monday (Feb. 9) in Arizona, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Aardsma hopes to demonstrate increased velocity after making mechanical changes, Murphy adds. The 33-year-old Aardsma had a strong 2014 season for Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals organization, posting a 1.29 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 35 innings. The former closer last appeared in the Majors with the Mets in 2013.
  • Free agent righty Peter Moylan is “feeling great” and is hoping to return to the Majors by midseason after having Tommy John surgery last March, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring,” says Moylan. “Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging.” The 36-year-old, a former Braves bullpen mainstay, has pitched fewer than 30 innings in the big leagues since 2010, last appearing in the bigs with the Dodgers in 2013.

David Aardsma Does Not Exercise Opt-Out

May 16: Aardsma decided not to opt out yesterday and will stay with Triple-A Memphis for the time being, tweets Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

May 7: Cardinals right-hander David Aardsma, currently with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Memphis, has a May 15 opt-out date in his current minor league contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link).

The 32-year-old Aardsma signed with the Cardinals late in Spring Training after asking for his release from the Indians and has been solid for the Redbirds so far. Aardsma has a 1.98 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and three saves through his first 13 2/3 innings in Memphis.

Last season marked Aardsma’s first extensive work in the Majors since Tommy John surgery and labrum repair surgery slowed his career in 2011. He posted a 4.31 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 32.8 percent ground-ball rate in 39 2/3 innings with the Mets in 2013. Though his average fastball velocity was down from his career mark of 93.7 mph, he still averaged 91.2 mph and notched an 11.7 percent swinging-strike rate that was actually better than his career mark of 10.7 percent.

Cardinals Sign David Aardsma

After being released by the Indians, reliever David Aardsma has signed with the Cardinals, according to a report from Derick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (links to Twitter). The contract is a minor league deal, meaning he will still need to earn a roster spot.

Aardsma, 32, threw 39 2/3 frames for the Mets last year, posting a 4.31 ERA, after a long layoff due to Tommy John surgery. He notched 8.2 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9, while generating just a 32.8% ground-ball rate. Advanced metrics were all over the map last year for Aardsma — 5.27 FIP; 4.63 xFIP; 4.01 SIERA. As Steve Adams wrote in discussing Aardsma's release from Cleveland, the righty has not regained his pre-surgery, mid-90s fastball velocity, so it remains to be seen whether he will be able to continue improving back towards his strong form over 2009-10, when he served as the Mariners closer.

Indians Release David Aardsma

The Indians have granted right-hander David Aardsma his release, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Aardsma asked for his release after being informed that he would not make the big league bullpen, according to Bastian.

The 32-year-old Aardsma returned from a lengthy Major League disappearance to fire 39 2/3 innings of 4.31 ERA ball for the Mets last season. Prior to that stint, Aardsma had thrown just one inning from 2011-12 as he battled back from Tommy John surgery. In New York, he averaged 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 but posted a low (even by his standards) 32.8 percent ground-ball rate.

Aardsma doesn't have the zip he had prior to Tommy John, when he averaged better than 94 mph on his fastball with regularity. He checked in at an average of 91.2 mph last season but still posted a strong 11.7 swinging-strike rate. Aardsma stranded 80.5 percent of his baserunners last season — a mark he is unlikely to repeat — but also was plagued by a 14.6 percent homer-to-flyball ratio, which figures to come down (his career mark is 9.5 percent). For what it's worth, Aardsma has had a strong Spring Training, yielding two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks in six innings of work.

Indians Sign David Aardsma

7:37pm: Aardsma would earn $1MM upon making the roster out of Spring Training, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link).

10:47am: The Indians have signed David Aardsma to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, the club announced via press release. The 32-year-old righty is represented by TWC Sports.

Last year, Aardsma saw fairly extensive action at the MLB level for the first time since 2010, when he was closing games for the Mariners. Throwing for the Mets, Aardsma pitched 39 2/3 innings of 4.31 ERA ball in 2013, including 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. 

He is joined by several other veterans signed to minor league deals. Cleveland has also inked non-guaranteed contracts with right-handed relievers Scott Atchison and Matt Capps, along with longtime minor leaguer J.C. Ramirez and southpaw Mike Zagurski.