David DeJesus Rumors

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.


  • 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.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cox, Crawford, DeJesus

Two years ago today the Athletics acquired Matt Holliday from the Rockies in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. Holliday hit .286/.378/.454 in exactly 400 plate appearances with Oakland before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package led by Brett Wallace at the 2009 trade deadline.

Street has battled injuries but has been solid when on the mound for Colorado, pitching to a 3.30 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 109 innings. Smith has appeared in just eight games for the Rox (all starts), putting up a 6.23 ERA. The real get was CarGo, who will certainly be in the MVP mix after a .336/.376/.598 season with 34 doubles, 34 homers, 26 stolen bases, and a batting title.

The hot stove league will certainly bring us more blockbuster trades, but for now you'll have to settle for this long collection of links, the best the blogosphere had to offer this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Red Sox Rumors: DeJesus, Matsuzaka, Crawford

There's been lots of chatter about the Red Sox and Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, but Boston isn't necessarily committed to acquiring an outfielder through free agency. Here's the latest:

A’s Acquire DeJesus For Mazzaro, Marks

The A’s acquired David DeJesus from the Royals for right-hander Vin Mazzaro and left-hander Justin Marks, the teams announced today. Royals GM Dayton Moore says Mazzaro will join the team’s rotation and Marks will start the season at high Class A Wilmington. 

Mazzaro, 24, posted a 4.27 ERA in 122 1/3 innings for the A's this year with 5.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. He became expendable when Oakland won the bidding for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma earlier in the week. If the A's reach a deal with Iwakuma, he'll join Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden in the team's rotation.

DeJesus batted .318/.384/.443 in 394 plate appearances this year, but he missed the final two months of the season because he required surgery on his right thumb. The 30-year-old, who has spent all of his eight-year career with the Royals, has experience in left, center and right. He joins Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, Ryan Sweeney, Conor Jackson and Jack Cust in a crowded Oakland outfield that could clear up if Jackson and Cust are traded or non-tendered.

Marks, 22, posted a 4.87 ERA as a starter in the lower minors in 2010. The 2009 third rounder posted 9.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 as he picked up his first significant experience as a pro.

DeJesus will earn $6MM in 2011 and qualify for free agency after the season. Mazzaro may qualify for arbitration as a Super Two next winter, but he cheap for now and won't hit free agency until after the 2015 campaign.