David Phelps Rumors

Players Win Six Of 14 Arbitration Hearings

The Mariners’ defeat of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen today ended this offseason’s arbitration season. This year, 14 players went to arbitration hearings, with the players winning six times and teams winning eight. Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, here are the results.

Player Team Player Amt. Team Amt. Player won?
Pedro Alvarez Pirates $5.750MM $5.250MM Yes
Jerry Blevins Nationals $2.400MM $2.200MM Yes
Alejandro De Aza Orioles $5.650MM $5.000MM No
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays $5.750MM $4.300MM No
Mat Latos Marlins $10.400MM $9.400MM No
Mike Minor Braves $5.600MM $5.100MM Yes
Jarrod Parker Athletics $1.700MM $0.850MM No
David Phelps Marlins $1.875MM $1.400MM No
Wilin Rosario Rockies $3.300MM $2.800MM No
Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks $6.900MM $5.300MM Yes
Danny Valencia Blue Jays $1.675MM $1.250MM Yes
Neil Walker Pirates $9.000MM $8.000MM No
Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners $2.200MM $1.400MM No
Vance Worley Pirates $2.450MM $2.000MM Yes

A few notes:

  • Via MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker, only three players (Andrew Cashner, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin) had hearings last year, so 14 hearings this year marks a dramatic spike. No players had hearings in the 2012-2013 offseason, and seven players did in 2011-2012. The number of hearings this offseason was the most since 2001, although not everyone is convinced this is the start of a trend, according to the Associated Press. ”Just as I didn’t think [2012-2013] was the start of a trend when we had no hearings, I do not think any conclusions can be drawn at this point from the increased number of hearings this year,” says MLB chief legal officer Don Halem.
  • The Pirates alone took three players to arbitration, as many as all teams combined in the previous two offseasons.
  • Teams will pay the 14 players who went to arbitration $57.925MM next season, saving a total of about $1.5MM versus the midpoints between those 14 players’ proposed figures and those of their teams.
  • There appears to be no obvious pattern in which players won and which lost (which isn’t necessarily surprising, since the terms of each arbitration hearing are set ahead of time by the teams and agents who determine the figures, and not by the arbitrators). As CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes (via Twitter), better established players (like Josh Donaldson, Neil Walker and Mat Latos) mostly lost their hearings, while players coming off mediocre or poor seasons, like Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Mike Minor, won theirs.
  • In terms of overall dollar value, Donaldson might be the player most affected by the result of his hearing, which he lost. There was a fairly large gap (over $1.4MM) between his proposed figure and that of the Blue Jays. Donaldson is also a Super Two player in the midst of his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his salary for 2015 could impact his salary in the next three seasons after that.

Marlins Win Arbitration Hearing Against David Phelps

The Marlins have won an arbitration hearing against right-hander David Phelps, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). As MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows, Phelps had filed at $1.875MM, while the team countered with $1.4MM. Phelps will earn $1.4MM in 2014, which is still slightly higher than the $1.3MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Acquired alongside Martin Prado in the trade that sent Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones to the Yankees, Phelps soaked up 113 innings for an injury-riddled Yankees pitching staff in 2014. The 28-year-old totaled a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate. Phelps appeared in 32 games — 17 of them starts — resulting in a career-high in terms of innings pitched. This was his first trip through the arbitration process and, as a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible three more times before hitting the open market upon completion of the 2018 season.

Phelps was the final of Miami’s seven arbitration cases to be resolved and the second to reach a hearing. The Marlins won their other hearing this winter — the case of fellow newcomer Mat Latos, who will now earn $9.4MM as opposed to $10.4MM.


Marlins Acquire Martin Prado From Yankees

3:15pm: GM Brian Cashman told reporters that the Yankees are including $6MM in the deal – $3MM this year and $3MM next year – to help cover Prado’s salary, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter).

1:33pm: The Yankees have issued a press release announcing the completion of the deal.

12:51pm: It’s a done deal, according a source that spoke with Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).  The Marlins will receive Prado, Phelps, and cash in exchange for Eovaldi, Jones, and German.

12:31pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Yankees will also receive right-hander Domingo German in the trade.

12:15pm: The Yankees and Marlins are on the verge of a deal that would sent Martin Prado to Miami, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (on Twitter).  Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter) hears that the deal would have Garrett Jones and Eovaldi going to New York for Prado and pitcher David Phelps.

Prado, 31, is owed $11MM in both 2015 and 2016.  If the deal is finalized, the veteran would replace Casey McGehee at third base, according to Jackson (Twitter link).  Prado hit a combined .282/.321/.412 for the Diamondbacks and Yankees in 2014 with an exceptionally strong .316/.336/.541 during his 37 games in pinstripes.  The deal would mark the second time Prado has been traded in the calendar year as the Bombers acquired Prado back in July.

Eovaldi, who turns 25 in February, has been a rumored trade candidate for some time thanks to the additions of Mat Latos and Dan Haren.  He has averaged a blistering 96 mph as a starter over the past two seasons, garnering the attention of many throughout baseball.  Though he struggled a bit with a 4.34 ERA in 2014, FIP (3.37), xFIP (3.76) and SIERA (3.91) all feel he was better than that ERA would suggest.  Eovaldi going through arbitration for the first time in his career and is projected to earn $3.1MM, according to the model developed by Matt Swartz.

Jones, 33, was displaced from first base when the Marlins signed Michael Morse.  Jones signed a two-year, $7.75MM deal with Miami in December of last year and the pact was heavily backloaded.  The Marlins paid Jones $2.75MM in 2014 but the Bombers will be paying him $5MM in ’15.  Jones slashed .246/.309/.411 in 2014, numbers that are below his career line and well below his strong 2012 showing.  Jones could be called upon to provide depth at first base, in right field, and as a DH.

Phelps will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and is slated to earn $1.3MM, according to Matt Swartz.  The 28-year-old pitched to a 4.38 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 17 starts and 15 relief appearances for the Yankees last season.

German, 22, pitched to a 2.48 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 25 starts for the Marlins’ Single-A affiliate last season.  Scouts have different opinions on German, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).  Some believe that he has the stuff to be a legitimate starting pitcher while others think of him more as a late-inning guy.  All of the scouts he spoke with, however, like German’s arm.

As of right now, the Yankees’ plan is to have their internal second base options – Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Cole Figueroa, and Nick Noonan – fight it out to see who will be the starter in 2015, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  If the Bombers go out of house, a free agent such as Asdrubal Cabrera could make some sense for them.



Rosenthal’s Latest: Cards, Yanks, Phelps, Asche, Turner

In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports quotes one rival executive that said Cardinals GM John Mozeliak realizes he has more talent than anyone else — and he’s reluctant to get rid of it.” (That reluctance is illustrated by Mozeliak’s comments to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as the GM told him that external changes aren’t much of a consideration at this time.) Rosenthal looks at some of the recent improvements in the Cardinals’ offense and echoes Goold’s initial report that patience seems the likely route for St. Louis at this point.

More trade-, draft- and prospect-related highlights from a lengthy piece that also looks at slow starts in the AL East and a surprising start from the Twins…

  • The Yankees have better pitching depth than many realize, Rosenthal opines, noting that Adam Warren could be moved into the rotation when Shawn Kelley is healthy again. He also points to a quartet of hard-throwing relievers at Triple-A — Diego Moreno, Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa and Branden Pinder. A trade is still something the Yanks will likely explore, but despite the aforementioned depth, the team likely doesn’t have the firepower to land someone like Cliff Lee, in Rosenthal’s eyes. They have little more to offer than relief help and high-end catching talent and could be competing with at least two other AL East teams in the Orioles and Blue Jays.
  • David Phelps wasn’t the Yankees‘ priority when scouting director Damon Oppenheimer went to see Notre Dame play prior to the 2008 draft. Oppenheimer was scouting Phelps’ teammate Kyle Weiland, but Phelps impressed him with his competitiveness, prompting Oppenheimer to push for him in the 14th round, which looks to be a nice bargain pickup six years later.
  • The Phillies are having internal discussions about moving Cody Asche to the outfield in 2015 in order to clear room on the 25-man roster for top prospect Maikel Franco at third base.  Though Rosenthal doesn’t mention this, that does raise the question of what will become of Domonic Brown, the team’s left fielder who is once again struggling after what looked to be a breakout 2013 season.
  • Rosenthal hears that NC State shortstop Trea Turner is drawing interest from teams in the No. 6-10 range of the upcoming draft. The fleet-footed shortstop also has pop in his bat (he’s second in the ACC in homers), but some scouts wonder if he can stick at shortstop. Rosenthal points out that both the Mariners (No. 6) and the Mets (No. 10) have needs at shortstop heading into a draft that is light on college shortstops.
  • Analysts from the Pirates and Marlins made the same comment to Rosenthal in the past week: the most useful data regarding defensive shifts comes from where hitters put the ball in play against a team’s own pitchers. The Marlins aren’t particularly focused where batters hit the ball against soft-tossers, due to the flamethrowing nature of their rotation. Likewise, the Pirates’ shifts are based largely on batted ball data against Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton.

Teams Scouting David Phelps, Yankee Catchers

The Mariners sent a scout to watch David Phelps' recent Spring Training outing, George A. King III of the New York Post reports, while the White Sox and Brewers also had scouts on hand to watch the Yankees' catchers.  King previously reported last week that the White Sox had their eyes on the Yankees' catching surplus and that the Yankees were scouting Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks.

With the Yankees known to be looking for infielders, King speculates that Nick Franklin could be a target for the club, especially since Seattle is known to be exploring trades for the young second baseman.  The M's are looknig to upgrade their pitching depth thanks to injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker, though as King notes, it would take more than just Phelps to acquire Franklin. 

It would be somewhat surprising to see the Yankees move Phelps given the club's lack of starting pitching depth.  Phelps is competing with Michael Pineda and Adam Warren to be New York's fifth starter, and since Pineda hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2011 and Warren has only three career starts over his two MLB seasons, the Yankees would have to be confident in both pitchers' development to send Phelps elsewhere.  Phelps' advanced metrics (3.81 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 3.91 SIERA) indicate that he pitched much better last season than his 4.98 ERA over 86 2/3 IP would indicate.

The Yankees have Francisco Cervelli, J.R. Murphy and Austin Romine competing to be Brian McCann's backup, and all could fit into reserve roles in Chicago or Milwaukee.  The Sox could offer more regular time, as their catching mix of Josh Phegley, Tyler Flowers, Hector Gimenez and Rule 5 Draft pick Adrian Nieto isn't at all settled.  

With Jonathan Lucroy firmly locked into the starting job in Milwaukee, the Brewers are only looking for a backup.  If Weeks is a target, it's only a matter of how much of his $11MM salary the Crew will agree to absorb (King also suggests Aramis Ramirez as a trade possibility, but I doubt the Brewers would think to trade him unless they struggle during the season and fall out of the race).