David DeJesus Rumors

Quick Hits: Orioles, Angels, Reyes, Cubs

The latest news from MLB as the countdown to next week’s Winter Meetings continues…  

  • Brian Cashman admitted to John Harper of the New York Daily News that he's often tempted by potential deals, but the Yankees' GM maintains that he's far from desperate this offseason. “We’ve got a really good team, so I don’t feel like I have to do something stupid,” Cashman said. “If I’m going to do something this winter, I have to feel good about it. I don’t care how big the name is.” 
  • The Orioles have been impressed by Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, Jon Heyman of SI.com reports (on Twitter). 
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says he's still looking for starters and relievers, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times (on Twitter).
  • Phillies officials tell ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that they have no knowledge of Jose Reyes’ recent presence in Philadelphia. The team isn’t considering a $100MM contract or anything close to it for any free agent, including Reyes, Stark reports. 
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says he doesn’t view the newly-acquired David DeJesus as a platoon player, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. DeJesus, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM deal today, may get days off against select left-handed starters, however. 
  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes discussed the Cubs’ offseason, including a potential Matt Garza trade, at Bleacher Nation. As Tim points out, Hoyer encountered a similar situation last offseason when he was weighing offers for Adrian Gonzalez.

Cubs Reach Agreement With David DeJesus

The Cubs reached an agreement with outfielder David DeJesus, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  It's a two-year deal, tweets MLB.com's Jane Lee.  The Cubs confirmed the deal on Twitter, noting the inclusion of a club option for 2014.  The contract guarantees $10MM, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets salary details.  DeJesus will be the Cubs' regular right fielder.  He makes his offseason home in Wheaton, Illinois, according to the Cubs' press release.

DeJesus

DeJesus, 31, had a disappointing offensive season for the Athletics after being traded from the Royals a year ago, hitting .240/.323/.376 in 506 plate appearances.  In his Royals career, DeJesus hit .289/.360/.427 in 3,799 plate appearances.  Despite his offensive struggles in 2011, DeJesus was worth over two wins last year according to FanGraphs, partially on account of strong right field defense.  He's logged over 1,700 innings at each outfield position in the course of his nine-year career.  DeJesus was offered arbitration by the A's last week, so they'll receive a supplemental draft pick in 2012 for their loss.

DeJesus marks the first signing under new Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer.  Epstein had interest in acquiring the outfielder for the Red Sox at the 2010 trade deadline until he tore a ligament in his thumb.  DeJesus, an ACES client, ranked 29th on our top 50 free agents list, and I'm proud to say I actually predicted this one correctly in MLBTR's contest.  With four of ten correct I rank 150th overall; six people are tied with six correct picks.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:



A’s Notes: Willingham, Crisp, Matsui, DeJesus

All three of the Athletics’ starting outfielders hit free agency this offseason and with so much uncertainty surrounding the team's future, retaining the trio won't be easy. Here's the latest on the Athletics from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

  • Agent Matt Sosnick told Slusser that the A’s “aren’t going to make an offer” to Josh Willingham unless they get a decision on their stadium situation first. It doesn’t appear that the A’s are currently able to offer a multiyear deal, according to Sosnick.
  • Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, has a similar take on Oakland’s willingness to spend and says GM Billy Beane is limited by the the team’s uncertain stadium situation. “It is difficult,” Comte told Slusser. “I feel bad for any organization that is in the quagmire the A's are in because they do have to overpay to get good players to go there.”
  • Crisp is looking to play for a competitive West Coast team and the Giants are a “viable” option for him, according to Comte.
  • Slusser reports that Oakland's interest in bringing Hideki Matsui back has cooled off.
  • The A’s are expected to offer Willingham (Type A) and David DeJesus (Type B) arbitration, as Slusser notes.

Athletics Rumors: Crisp, DeJesus, Harden

The Athletics currently project for the ninth pick in next year's draft, though that could change by the end of Wednesday.  The latest A's info, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

  • Coco Crisp's agent Steve Comte agreed with Matt Sosnick's comments about the Athletics' offseason spending hinging on MLB's decision on the team's new stadium.  Comte hasn't spoken to A's GM Billy Beane recently, but noted the long-term impact of the stadium issue was apparent back in Spring Training.  Nonetheless, Crisp and his agent will keep an open mind and "see what the market brings."  Crisp, 31, has a .267/.317/.384 line in 575 plate appearances, with 48 steals in 57 tries.  It's been Crisp's healthiest year since '07, but he's posted his worst walk rate since '06.  UZR suggests his defense was slightly below-average this year, but Crisp's ability to simply play a passable center field regularly makes him valuable.  Given the state of the free agent market at the position, I think a two-year deal is probable.  Slusser's sources expect the Giants to be interested.
  • Signing Brandon McCarthy for a $1MM base salary was one of the best moves of the offseason, and the 28-year-old righty considers his season a successful comeback.  For less than $2MM in total, he's provided a 3.32 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, and 46.7% groundball rate in 170 2/3 innings.  His ERA ranks 13th in the American League and his five complete games tie him for second.  The cherry on top: McCarthy is arbitration eligible for 2012 and should be affordable again.
  • Slusser talked to A's outfielder David DeJesus, who said, "This year wasn't me.  I want to break things down and understand what went wrong."  DeJesus, 31, slipped to .237/.321/.374 in 502 plate appearances and may have been affected by losing his status as an everyday player.  Slusser expects the Padres to be in the mix for the bounceback candidate, who will become a free agent shortly.
  • Righty Rich Harden said he'd "definitely be open" to returning to the A's in 2012.  The 29-year-old made all his starts since his July 1st season debut, posting a 5.12 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.85 HR/9, and 31.5% groundball rate in 82 2/3 innings.
  • Hideki Matsui is not really proud of his numbers this year, the designated hitter told Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News through a translator.  Matsui, 37, hit .251/.321/.376 in 576 plate appearances.
  • In our latest Elias Rankings projections, Crisp, Harden, and Matsui projected for neither Type A nor B status, while DeJesus projected for Type B.

Free Agent Stock Watch: David DeJesus

When the Athletics acquired David DeJesus last winter, the outfielder's stock was at a high. Although he appeared in only 91 games in 2010, DeJesus posted career highs in average (.318), OBP (.384), and OPS (.827), and played his usual solid corner outfield defense. Unfortunately for the A's, DeJesus has followed up that performance with perhaps the worst season of his career. In 125 games with Oakland, the 31-year-old has hit .236/.322/.369, his OPS dropping nearly 140 points from a year ago.

AAH110506105_Athletics_v_Royals It's likely little consolation to the A's that the main piece they traded for DeJesus, young right-hander Vin Mazzaro, took a step back this year in Kansas City. Mazzaro still has time to turn things around for the Royals, while DeJesus figures to become a free agent in a matter of weeks.

As our latest Elias projections show, DeJesus comfortably ranks as a Type B, so he won't cost a draft pick even if he turns down arbitration. Of course, with a salary of $6MM this year, DeJesus might be a good bet to accept an arbitration offer, given this season's performance. The payroll-conscious A's could probably only offer arb to the outfielder if he agreed to decline it in order to net them a draft pick. Either way, DeJesus figures to hit the open market.

This year's class of outfielders isn't particularly stacked, so despite his down year, DeJesus should draw interest. His batting average on balls in play (.271) is 45 points below his career mark, and his walk rate (9.1%) matches a career high, suggesting that he's a candidate to bounce back. It wouldn't be the first time he came back strong after a disappointing year – he followed up a subpar 2007 season (.722 OPS) by hitting .307/.366/.452 in 2008.

So what sort of contract could make sense for both DeJesus and an interested team? Carlos Pena's deal with the Cubs could be an interesting comparison. The two are very different players, and DeJesus won't earn the $10MM the Cubs are paying Pena for a year of his services, but their career trajectories are similar. Pena entered free agency for the first time last year coming off his worst season, and elected to sign a one-year deal, presumably in hopes of rebuilding his value and landing a multiyear contract this coming winter. The approach seems to have worked – Pena's OPS has jumped 100 points in Chicago this season, setting him up nicely for the offseason.

For DeJesus, a one-year deal playing in a better hitter's park than Oakland's could be the most effective way to rebuild his value and earn a bigger payday down the road. Given the outfielder's promising peripheral numbers, the team that signs him could very well be getting solid value for 2012.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Quick Hits: Clippard, Storen, Ellsbury, Braves

B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman all homered for the Rays tonight as Tampa Bay defeated Boston, 9-2, in the opener of a big four-game series.  The Red Sox now have just a three-game lead over the Rays (and a four-game lead over the idle Angels) for the AL Wild Card.

Some notes from around the league….


Players Who Cleared Waivers

This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.

Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm

Starting pitchers

  • Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Reds – Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
  • Carlos Zambrano, Cubs – Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list.  He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
  • Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs – Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
  • Chris Capuano, Mets – Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
  • Bronson Arroyo, Reds – His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th.  $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest.  The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however.  At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
  • Bruce Chen, Royals – Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
  • Jason Vargas, Mariners – Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window.  But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013.  He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.    
  • Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals – His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals – Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
  • Ted Lilly, Dodgers – He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball.  With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.

Relievers

  • Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  • Chad Qualls, Padres – Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
  • Bill Bray, Reds – Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers – A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
  • Huston Street, Rockies – Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
  • Brian Fuentes, Athletics – He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays – Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
  • Mike Gonzalez, Orioles – Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties.  The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
  • Kevin Gregg, Orioles – Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
  • John Grabow, Cubs – He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
  • D.J. Carrasco, Mets – The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December – their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April.  He stayed there until mid-June.

Position players

  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs – In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart.  The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
  • Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – This one was also obvious.  SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
  • Lance Berkman, Cardinals – Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency.  Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
  • Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
  • David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
  • Conor Jackson, Athletics – Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
  • David DeJesus, Athletics – DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
  • Hideki Matsui, Athletics – The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
  • Jason Bay, Mets – With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected.  It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
  • Willie Harris, Mets – The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
  • Angel Pagan, Mets – It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
  • Carlos Lee, Astros – No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year.  El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
  • Johnny Damon, Rays – Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.


West Rumors: Angels, Iannetta, Rangers

The latest on a few AL and NL West clubs…


Olney On Wandy, Phillies, DeJesus, Cardinals, Mets

In addition to all the talk about a potential Hunter Pence trade, ESPN's Buster Olney notes the Astros are "making it clear" that they're willing to trade Wandy Rodriguez in today's Insider-only blog post. The left-hander has caught the eye of the Reds, but Houston will reportedly want as much for Rodriguez as the Rockies would want for Ubaldo Jimenez.

Here are the rest of Buster's rumors…

  • Olney hears that the Phillies would prefer to frame any offers for Pence around right-hander Vance Worley (Twitter link). Worley owns a 2.02 ERA in ten starts and two relief appearances for Philadelphia this season.
  • The Pirates have talked internally about pursuing David DeJesus, but it's unclear how aggressive they plan to get in trade talks (Twitter link).
  • The Cardinals have cast a wide net in their search for bullpen help, and other clubs expect St. Louis to land a right-handed reliever before the deadline (Twitter link).
  • There is growing confidence in the Mets' organization that the Bernie Madoff case "is veering in favor of the Wilpons," which could allow them to re-establish full control of the team. There is also some unhappiness with how David Einhorn has taken the spotlight without having a deal to become minority owner finalized.