Delmon Young Rumors

AL West Notes: Astros, Cueto, A’s, Perez, Young

Though they’ve fallen back to the pack somewhat in recent weeks, the Astros have serious interest in Reds starter Johnny Cueto, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Cueto sat atop Houston’s list of targets at the end of June, per Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, and Heyman says that still appears to be the case. Needless to say, the veteran righty would provide a huge boost to an Astros team that has received underwhelming results from the back of its rotation, effectively slotting another top-of-the-rotation arm (alongside Dallas Keuchel) into a slot that has been occupied by a revolving door of starters. Houston will obviously face plenty of competition in their pursuit, assuming that Cincinnati puts its ace on the market.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Athletics remain one of the most interesting teams to watch heading into the season’s second half, as they possess several obvious trade pieces but are still not fully buried in the AL West. John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group breaks down the factors weighing in club’s decisionmaking process, noting that GM Billy Beane remains optimistic of his current roster’s quality. A rival American League GM tells Hickey that he doesn’t believe Oakland to be too far back to make a run, and Hickey ultimately concludes that “it seems unlikely to see a mass selloff” as things stand.
  • After welcoming back starter Matt Harrison from a lengthy absence, the Rangers are set to activate fellow left-handed rotation piece Martin Perez on Friday, the club announced. Perez underwent Tommy John surgery last May, at the same point in time that Harrison went down. Now 24, Perez agreed to a four-year, $12.5MM deal with three club options (2018-2020) back in November of 2013. At the time, he was fresh off of a 124 1/3 inning, 3.62 ERA showing in his age-22 season. He has plenty of time to regain his former promise and provide value to the Rangers under that contract.
  • While Rangers GM Jon Daniels said recently that he hopes to add a “complementary right-handed bat,” it remains unclear precisely what players the team could target. MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted in the just-linked piece that now-free agent Delmon Young could make some sense, particularly given that he could likely be had for a relatively meager commitment. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets that Texas has not yet reached out to Young’s representatives, though of course the 29-year-old has only been on the market for a few days.

Orioles Release Delmon Young

The Orioles have released outfielder Delmon Young, the club announced. Young had been designated for assignment on July 1.

Baltimore had indicated that it was optimistic of finding a trade partner for Young, as it did previously with Alejandro De Aza. Despite the fact that the veteran is only owed a shade over $1MM the rest of the way, the O’s were apparently not able to find a taker for a piece of that contract.

Young will surely draw interest on the free agent market. Though the 29-year-old is in the midst of a mediocre .270/.289/.339 campaign at present, he slashed a highly useful .302/.337/.442 in part-time play last year.


Orioles Seek Pitching, Still Working To Trade Young

Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said today that the club is once again looking to add arms at the deadline, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (Twitter links). Our pitching we’re looking to upgrade for sure,” said Duquette. He indicated that the club could be looking to improve both its rotation and its pen.

Baltimore paid a big price last year to acquire ace reliever Andrew Miller. The southpaw helped charge the team’s late-season success, but left promising young starter Eduardo Rodriguez playing elsewhere in the division. Baltimore has also dealt for pitchers like Scott Feldman and Bud Norris in recent years, evidencing the front office’s willingness to add arms over the summer.

The Orioles have received good results from starters such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez, though the latter two especially have outperformed their peripherals by a wide margin. And while young hurler Kevin Gausman is now slotting in at the back end, the aforementioned Norris and Chris Tillman have both struggled to provide good innings. All said, there’s definitely room for improvement in the rotation.

It’s less apparent that the relief staff is an area of need, though the club obviously saw the value of installing another dominant arm last year. Baltimore’s pen has combined to rate sixth in both reliever ERA and fWAR to date. Late-inning arms Zach Britton and Darren O’Day continue to excel, while the O’s have received quality contributions (at least, in terms of results) from pitchers such as Brad Brach, Chaz Roe, and Brian Matusz.

Duquette added that he still hopes to work out a deal for recently-designated outfielder and bench bat Delmon Young“We’re still working with a couple of teams and hopefully it will come together,” he explained. Young, who’s playing on a $2.25MM deal this year, was designated on July 1, meaning that Baltimore still has a few days to get something done.



Orioles Designate Delmon Young For Assignment, Will Seek Trade Partner

5:44pm: Kubatko says that GM Dan Duquette sounded confident that he’ll be able to trade Young, though a deal won’t be completed today (Twitter link).

5:20pm: The Orioles announced (Twitter link) that they have designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment. A little more than an hour ago, manager Buck Showalter indicated to reporters that a move was coming soon in order to clear a spot on the roster for right-hander Tyler Wilson. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that the O’s will try to trade Young, and GM Dan Duquette has spoken to execs in both the AL and the NL about him.

The 29-year-old Young is in the midst of his second season with the Orioles after signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract this offseason to return to Baltimore. However, after enjoying a nice run as a part-time player with the Orioles in 2014 when he batted .302/.337/.442 in 255 plate appearances, Young has struggled to a .270/.289/.339 batting line in 2015. Though he has a strong throwing arm, Young’s range is limited in the corner outfield spots. He is still owed $1.19MM through season’s end and would earn $125K bonuses for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, with another $100K kicking in for every 50 PAs beyond that point — up to 600 PAs.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier today that the Orioles have been exploring trade possibilities for Young, and he again tweets that one NL club has shown some definite interest in Young. It’s not known at this time which team is showing the most interest, but from a speculative standpoint, I’d think that both the Giants and Pirates make some sense. San Francisco recently lost both Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to the disabled list, and over in Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco has looked overmatched by left-handed pitching all season. Young, for all of his flaws, is a weapon against lefties; he’s batted .302/.337/.461 in his career when holding the platoon advantage.


Orioles Likely To Part With Outfielder Soon

Right-hander Tyler Wilson is with the Orioles and will be activated today, according to multiple reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter links). The Orioles have not announced a corresponding move, but Ghiroli says that the team will likely part with an outfielder, possibly via trade. Manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore media that GM Dan Duquette “is working on some things” in regards to a corresponding move.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun feels that Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, David Lough and Nolan Reimold are the candidates (Twitter links), and an industry source has told him that the Orioles have recently been gauging interest in Young, in particular. Duquette has been in talks with at least one team in the NL regarding Young, he says adding that a DFA is also possible. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that Reimold will be remaining with the team, and he feels that Pearce’s versatility is valued by the Orioles, seemingly making him unlikely to be moved.

It seems that Young is possibly on the outside looking in. The 29-year-old had a nice first season with the Orioles in 2014, but he’s struggled in 2015, slashing just .270/.289/.339 in 180 plate appearances. The return of Reimold, who rejoined the team earlier this month, has perhaps made Young expendable. A right-handed bat that’s primarily limited to the corner outfield, Reimold possesses a similar skill set to Young but has been much more productive of late. Since June 9, Reimold is hitting .257/.366/.514 in an admittedly small sample of 41 plate appearances.

Young is earning $2.25MM this season, of which approximately $1.19MM remains. His current deal calls for him to earn an additional $125K for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, plus an additional $100K for reaching 400, 450, 500, 550 and 600. Obviously, some of those are out of reach at this point, given his limited playing time to date.

Many clubs are on the lookout for offensive upgrades. The Giants recently lost Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to injury, and the Pirates could certainly use a platoon partner for Gregory Polanco in right field. The Angels have received little production from left field, although it seems unlikely that they’d be swinging any trades at the moment given the tumultuous state of their front office. The Mariners didn’t get any production out of Rickie Weeks as a platoon option in left field and could look for upgrades. Michael Cuddyer is currently injured for the Mets and hasn’t been terribly productive even when healthy.


Rosenthal’s Latest: Redmond, Cubs, Harvey, O’s, White Sox

It would be foolhardy for the Marlins to fire manager Mike Redmond this early in the season, opines FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in his latest notes column. Redmond is well-respected among the industry, Rosenthal notes, and he cannot be blamed for the fact that Henderson Alvarez is injured and Mat Latos has struggled so greatly. (Latos’ diminished velocity is likely a significant culprit in that regard.) Rosenthal writes that owner Jeffrey Loria needs to realize that the unstable culture he creates by cycling through managers so willingly is part of the problem in Miami.

A few more notes from Rosenthal’s latest column…

  • In the video atop his column, Rosenthal notes that Cubs top prospect Addison Russell has begun playing some second base and may eventually get a look there in the Majors. However, because he is their best defensive shortstop, Russell may eventually push Starlin Castro to third base and Kris Bryant to the outfield, or his arrival may lead to a trade of Castro.
  • Rosenthal writes about former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s decision to draft Matt Harvey with the seventh pick in the 2010 draft. The team had been deciding between Harvey and Chris Sale, but the Mets, like many other clubs, had some reservations about whether or not Sale would last as a starter. Minaya became convinced of Harvey after watching him in an April start at the University of Miami, though as Rosenthal notes, others in the front office/scouting department, including Marlin McPhail, Rudy Terrasas and Bryan Lambe all played large roles as well. Interestingly, Rosenthal adds that the White Sox were thrilled to get Chris Sale at No. 13, as they feared the Royals would select him fifth overall. Kansas City instead selected Cal State Fulelrton infielder Christian Colon.
  • Delmon Young told the Orioles that he wanted to regain some of his lost athleticism, and so the team had him work extensively with outfielder-turned-executive Brady Anderson in Spring Training. Young was the first to the clubhouse every day during Spring Training and is now has the fastest 10-yard dash time on the Orioles, per manager Buck Showalter. Rosenthal also notes that Everth Cabrera told the O’s that he knew advanced metrics pegged him as a below-average defender, and he expressed an interest in improving in that area. Baltimore is working with Cabrera to correct a tendency to retreat with his hands and “baby” the ball, as Rosenthal put it.
  • The White Sox weren’t as successful in upgrading their catching position as they’d have liked, but for the time being, they’re content with Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto. Rosenthal notes that while Welington Castillo is widely believed to be available, the Sox and Cubs rarely make trades.

AL East Notes: Shields, Yankees, Delmon, Blue Jays

The price tag on James Shields may be dropping to the point where it makes too much sense for the Yankees to ignore, opines Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. Shields has never made sense for the Yankees at or in the vicinity of $100MM, Castrovince writes, but if his price tag is trending closer to that of Ervin Santana (four years, $55MM) than that $100MM plateau, the uncertainty and lack of stability in New York’s rotation makes them a logical destination. As Castrovince notes, the Yanks dished out four years and $52MM to Chase Headley shows that the team is still willing to spend on veterans at a price level with which they are comfortable, and Shields’ work ethic, leadership and durability make him a desirable rotation candidate in the Bronx.

Here’s more from the AL East…

  • The Yankees have a pair of very viable closer candidates in Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, but MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch envisions Betances eventually locking down the closer role, with Miller likely ticketed to be the team’s top setup man. Hoch spoke with manager Joe Girardi, who did say that he’d like to have a set closer by the end of Spring Training. “I think guys like to know their roles, so I think if we can iron it out, I think it would be a good thing to do,” said Girardi. Using Betances in the ninth inning would cause his arbitration price to soar, although arbitration awards holds, strikeouts and ERA as well, so Betances looks like he’ll eventually be an expensive reliever regardless of his role.
  • As Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun details, Delmon Young said at the Orioles‘ Fan Festival over the weekend that he entertained the idea of signing elsewhere and had the opportunity to do so, but his desire was always to return to Baltimore. “…my first goal was to come back here just because I like just being in a place where you’re guaranteed to have an opportunity to defend a division title,” said Young. “It could have been cool going to a different place and trying to win another one, but it’s always a lot better to defend what you earned the year before.” Young continued, explaining that he’s excited to have a larger role this year following the departure of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, also adding that he’s much more comfortable in right field than left field.
  • Blue Jays manager John Gibbons spoke with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio yesterday and acknowledged that the team has indeed talked about Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano (Twitter link). Gibbons said GM Alex Anthopoulos has been in touch with Scott Boras regarding the two free agents, as well as Philadelphia counterpart Ruben Amaro Jr. regarding Papelbon. However, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet notes (Twitter link), the Jays aim to be thorough in their search, so it makes sense that they’d explore all avenues.

Quick Hits: Orioles, Ogando, Santana, Reds

The Orioles could be preparing for Delmon Young to play more next season, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. “Delmon Young is an accomplished major league hitter who had a nice year with a lot of clutch hits in part-time duty in 2014,” texts Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. “We look forward to his return and contribution on our 2015 team. Depending on how the team is structured, he could have a more vital role this season.” Playing the right-handed Young more regularly could help make up for the loss of Nelson Cruz, although the Orioles continue to look at the left-handed Colby Rasmus as well, with an Orioles source telling Encina the odds that the team will sign him are “50-50.” Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • About two dozen teams were expected to be on hand for Alexi Ogando‘s showcase yesterday in Tampa, tweets Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons. Ogando, 31, was non-tendered by the Rangers this offseason after he missed much of the 2014 campaign with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Although he had a rough time in 2014 with an ERA near 7.00, Ogando entered the season with a career 3.12 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 381 innings split between the Rangers’ rotation and bullpen. Given his track record of success as both a starter and reliever, it’s not surprising that more than two-thirds of the team in the league would want to get a look at him to gauge his health for themselves.
  • Johan Santana is again plotting a comeback, and ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick updates his progress. The lefty is preparing to appear in a Venezuelan winter league game and hopes to sign before camp opens, agent Peter Greenberg says.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty didn’t want to handicap the odds of his club signing ace Johnny Cueto to an extension prior to his specified Opening Day deadline when asked by MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. Jocketty says the Cincinnati front office has a lot on its plate right now, with arbitration cases for Mike Leake, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman and Zack Cozart on the horizon. The Reds are also still pursuing upgrades for the bench and bullpen — a process Jocketty referred to as “slow.” Sheldon feels that given the Reds’ full 40-man roster, the most likely scenario would be a few additions on minor league deals with invites to big league camp.

Orioles Designate Ryan Lavarnway

The Orioles have designated catcher Ryan Lavarnway for assignment, the club announced. The move was made to create 40-man roster space for Delmon Young, whose signing was made official. Baltimore seemed destined to move a backstop after signing J.P. Arencibia to a minor league deal.

Needless to say, it has been quite a ride for Lavarnway this offseason. After seven years in the Red Sox organization, he has been claimed (in order) by the Dodgers, Cubs, and Orioles. Now, he’ll look to hook on with a fifth club — if, that is, one of the teams that has previously grabbed him is not able to create roster space.

The silver lining here for Lavarnway, 27, is that there are still plenty of clubs that have interest. He does not have a stellar defensive reputation, and has failed to maintain the big power numbers that put him on the map earlier in his minor league career. But Lavarnway has proven able to reach base consistently in the upper minors and comes with a prospect pedigree.


AL East Notes: Moncada, Orioles, Silverman

Here’s the latest from around the AL East…

  • The Yankees and Red Sox “are the heavy favorites” to sign Yoan Moncada, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel tweets.  Moncada will be eligible to sign once he receives U.S. government clearance, though when that clearance comes is a major factor in regards to New York and Boston.  Neither team can spend more than $300K on any player during the 2015-16 international signing period, a penalty incurred for exceeding their 2014-15 int’l bonus pools.  If Moncada isn’t cleared before June 15, the Yankees and Sox will be out of the running, as Moncada will command a bonus in the $30MM-$40MM range.
  • The Orioles‘ deal with Delmon Young may not be announced until Friday, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports, as the team is still waiting for final details from Young’s physical.  The O’s are also still figuring out how to clear a spot for Young on their 40-man roster.
  • Also from Kubatko, nothing has changed between the Orioles and Colby Rasmus, though the O’s “must be viewed as the favorites to sign him.”
  • Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman discussed the team’s offseason with MLB.com’s Bill Chastain.