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Delmon Young Rumors
Here’s the latest from Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta:
- Outfield is the top priority for the Orioles next week, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The team is trying to bring back Delmon Young on a one-year deal, but may be open to including an option. Young is looking for a multi-year deal after playing for five teams in the last four seasons. Justin Upton may not fit since the club already has several starters slated to hit free agency after the 2015 season. In fact, all of the most readily available outfielders come with baggage that could make them unattractive to Baltimore.
- Although the O’s have a full 40 man roster, Connolly thinks they will free up space for a Rule 5 draft pick. GM Dan Duquette has a solid track record, having selected Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland in recent seasons.
- The Rays aren’t worried about newly minted manager Kevin Cash‘s lack of experience, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The existing clubhouse infrastructure should help to ease him into the job. Luminaries such as Terry Francona, David Ortiz, and Chris Gimenez all praised his baseball intelligence.
- The Braves aren’t done make moves, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a series of tweets. The club is looking to add another starting pitcher, second baseman, and backup catcher. Atlanta is still in the mix for former Braves backstop David Ross, which could address one of those concerns. A left-handed reliever and additional bench help are also on the wish list. As for available funds, they can afford to pursue a moderately priced free agent or perhaps make a bigger splash if they move more money.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette talked shop with fans earlier tonight at a team function. After a week in which outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis signed with new teams, the focus is on the O’s next step. Although Baltimore will miss the pair of outfielders, they still have money to spend, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Here’s more from Duquette’s Q&A session.
- A deal with Markakis was “fairly close a couple times,” tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. However, concern over a herniated disc may have disrupted negotiations (tweet). Asked why a qualifying offer was made to Cruz and not Markakis, Duquette responded by saying Cruz’s production justified the offer, tweets Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com
- In a series of tweets from Encina (links to Twitter), Duquette is comfortable with internal outfield options like Alejandro De Aza, David Lough, and Steve Pearce. On the farm, Dariel Alvarez and Mike Yastrzemski could play a role next season, although both may benefit from additional seasoning. The club will focus on upgrading the outfield and bullpen.
- The Orioles and free agent Delmon Young have “dialogue going,” per Kubatko (tweet). The 29-year-old outfielder was effective for the O’s in a limited role last season. Among the highlights, he hit .302/.337/.442 in 255 regular season plate appearances and had a couple clutch hits during the postseason.
- On the subject of reliever Andrew Miller, 23 clubs showed interest, tweets Kubatko. Duquette stressed that the Baltimore market isn’t ideal for a highly paid reliever, which is why they are not among the finalists.
- Duquette mentioned that interviews for the club’s hitting coach job were ongoing, tweets Encina. Some have already been conducted while others will be held during the upcoming Winter Meetings. No word yet on specific candidates.
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com provides an interesting round-up on the latest out of Baltimore. Among the highlights:
- Baltimore remains interested in bringing back Delmon Young, but are not willing to meet his demand for two years at present. Given his strong work last year in a bench role, it is not surprising that he would test the interest in a multi-year guarantee. Though Young has never quite lived up to expectations, of course, he is just 29 and put up a .779 OPS last year and actually posted reverse platoon splits in so doing.
- The O’s have been approached by multiple clubs regarding struggling righty Ubaldo Jimenez. The Braves asked about the possibility of a swap involving B.J. Upton, but Kubatko says that is “not happening.”
- While there has been some indication that the Orioles would consider non-tendering outfielder Alejandro De Aza, Kubatko says that the team has “every intention” of keeping him in the fold. He could serve as a platoon option in left, notes Kubatko, though of course his projected $5.9MM arbitration earnings will make that a fairly expensive choice.
- After announcing a host of minor league signings yesterday, Baltimore has interest in adding infielders Paul Janish and Rey Navarro as well. Kubatko writes that the 24-year-old Navarro, a switch-hitting shortstop, is expected to draw significant interest around the game.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has been plenty busy over the past few days, digging up rumors from all around the league. Here are some highlights from his latest work…
- Two sources tell Rosenthal that Matt Wieters‘ throwing program is going poorly and surgery is looking more likely (Twitter links). A third source, however, cautions that it’s too soon to make that judgment, adding that Wieters has good days and also bad days at this time.
- In this weekend’s Full Count video, he notes that while many were shocked by Max Scherzer‘s decision to turn down $144MM in an attempt to secure more on next year’s free agent market, Scherzer has an insurance policy on his right arm that Scherzer says “takes the injury risk out of it.” While the policy likely doesn’t cover the full amount of that offer, it sounds to be a substantial amount. Rosenthal adds that Jon Lester has a similar policy, though not for nearly as much money as Scherzer’s policy.
- Some friends of Jimmy Rollins feel that he’ll be willing to waive his 10-and-5 rights to approve a trade once he passes Mike Schmidt for the franchise lead in hits. Others feel he and his wife, a Philadelphia native, prefer to stay no matter what. Of course, Rollins’ $11MM vesting option damages his trade value as well, as he will easily reach the required plate appearances if he stays healthy.
- The Giants are looking to upgrade at second base this summer. While they could use a starting pitcher, they aren’t likely to make an addition that would turn Tim Lincecum into a $17MM bullpen arm. The Athletics, on the other hand, could use a starting pitching upgrade and have the necessary catching depth to make a move.
- The Orioles are willing to move Delmon Young, who is batting .286/.318/.369 and has lost most of his plate appearances to Steve Pearce. While Young isn’t the hitter than Kendrys Morales is, Rosenthal lists him as a low-cost alternative to teams that missed out on Morales; Young is set to earn about $600K over the rest of the season.
The Orioles have announced via a press release they have designated left-hander Mike Belfiore for assignment. The move, along with placing right-hander Edgmer Escalona on the 60-day disabled list, clears roster space for the addition of outfielder Delmon Young and right-hander Evan Meek to the 40-man roster.
Belfiore made his MLB debut last September for the Orioles throwing 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox allowing three hits, including a pair of home runs. At Triple-A, the 25-year-old made 37 relief outings posting a 3.18 ERA, 9.7 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9. The Diamondbacks made Belfiore the 45th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, but shipped him to Baltimore in 2012 as the player to be named later when they acquired Josh Bell.
Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.
Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.
MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:
- Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
- Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
- Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.
Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).
- Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
- As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
- The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster.
- John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
- The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
- Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
- Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.
8:34pm: If he makes the big league roster, Young will receive a $1MM base salary and could earn up to $750K in incentives, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
5:49pm: The Orioles have signed outfielder Delmon Young to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invite, the club announced. We heard earlier today that Baltimore was interested in the 28-year-old, who is represented by Wasserman Media Group.
Once considered the game's top prospect, Young has failed to live up to his billing in that respect. He is generally viewed as a negative defender from the corner outfield, and has a career .739 OPS over eight seasons and 3,936 plate appearances. Young spent 2013 with the Phillies and Rays, putting up a cumulative .260/.307/.407 line with 11 homers in 361 plate appearances. His performance improved upon joining Tampa, as he registered a 117 OPS+ over his 70 plate appearances there.
Nevertheless, Young's right-handed bat has played up against lefties, against whom he has a career .303/.341/.471 triple-slash. As MLBTR's Steve Adams noted earlier today, Young could slot in as a DH and/or part-time left fielder for the O's, particularly if he is mostly limited to facing southpaws. Baltimore has added a number of possible outfield options over the last few months, including Quintin Berry, Xavier Paul, David Lough, and Francisco Peguero. Among those players, only Peguero swings from the right side.
The Orioles have some interest in adding both Delmon Young and Jack Cust on minor league deals, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Each player will be at the Orioles' minicamp tomorrow to see if there's a potential fit on a non-roster deal, according to Kubatko. Baltimore also has some interest in a reunion with Mark Reynolds, though nothing is hot on that front for now, according to Kubatko (All links to Twitter).
Young, 28, batted .260/.307/.407 with 11 homers in 361 plate appearances for the Phillies and Rays in 2013. He performed significantly better with the Rays overall, as he posted a .699 OPS (92 OPS+) with the Phillies and a .780 mark (117 OPS+) with the Rays. Young is regarded as a poor defensive player but has handled lefties well throughout his career and could fill a DH/part-time left field role for Baltimore.
Cust, who turns 35 on Thursday, hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2011 with the Mariners when he batted .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances. After a solid year with the Triple-A affiliates for the Yankees and Blue Jays in 2012 (he batted .243/.400/.442 in 114 games), Cust sat out the 2013 season. Cust didn't have a long peak, but he was very good for the A's from 2007-10 when he batted .247/.381/.457 and averaged 24 homers per season. In 2008, he paced the American League with 111 walks and also belted 33 homers.
Reynolds spent two seasons with the O's, batting .221/.328/.458 with 60 homers from 2011-12. However, Baltimore elected to non-tender him rather than go through arbitration a final time heading into the 2013 campaign. Reynolds latched on with the Indians on a one-year deal. After a blistering April, he cooled off and was ultimately released before signing with the Yankees. He hit .220/.306/.393 with 21 homers overall last season.
The Braves have signed right-hander Yunesky Maya to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deports. The 32-year-old Cuban hurler never lived up to expectations with the Nationals, posting just a 4.17 ERA in 464 minor league innings and a 5.80 ERA in 59 frames at the big league level. Elsewhere in the NL East…
- The Nationals have discussed Jerry Blevins with the Athletics, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. However, James Wagner of the Washington Post adds that it was the Nats who reached out to the A's, and Oakland is said to be happy with its bullpen (Twitter link).
- Former manager Davey Johnson rarely utilized infield shifts, but Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com writes that defensive shifts will be a point of emphasis under new manager Matt Williams. Kolko quotes Williams as saying his club will have defensive meetings every day.
- Despite tendering John Mayberry a contract, the Phillies are seeking an upgrade over the soon-to-be 30-year-old as they look to add a right-handed bat with better defense in cente field, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Marlins have checked in on Delmon Young, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, who notes that Rosenthal has previously reported that Young has worked out at first base (Twitter link).
The Rays' season came to an end last night in a Game 4 loss to the Red Sox in the ALDS, but owner Stu Sternberg, executive VP Andrew Freidman and manager Joe Maddon all considered the team's 92-win season a success, writes MLB.com's Adam Berry. Evan Longoria tells Berry that it's frustrating to have been to the postseason four times and not won the World Series, but he's happy to be a part of a team that's had that opportunity. Joel Peralta voiced his confidence that the Rays' front office will add pieces to better position the team for a deep run in 2014. Here's more on the Rays…
- Peralta told Bill Chastain of MLB.com that he and his teammates would all like the Rays to bring back closer Fernando Rodney. Peralta calls Rodney "one of the best teammates" he's had, noting that the two are like brothers. He feels that Rodney would sacrifice money on the free agent market to return to the Rays for a third season.
- Chastain also writes that Delmon Young, who re-joined the team in August after being released by the Phillies, would like to return to the Rays in 2014 as well. Young cited the Rays' depth of pitching and offensive stars like Longoria and Wil Myers as reasons he'd like to return. He said he's unsure of the team' offseason plans but is looking forward to his first healthy offseason since 2010-11.