Detroit Tigers Rumors
MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.
As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.
For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players -- the Nationals and Indians -- also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.
Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining -- those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:
- A.J. Ellis filed at $4.6MM while the Dodgers countered at $3MM, tweets Passan.
- Gerardo Parra filed at $5.2MM while the Diamondbacks countered at $4.3MM, tweets Passan.
- Tyler Clippard filed at $6.35MM while the Nationals countered at $4.45MM, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
- Alex Avila filed at $5.35MM while the Tigers countered at $3.75MM, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com.
- David Freese filed at $6MM while the Angels countered at $4.1MM, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Mark Trumbo filed at $5.85MM while the Diamondbacks countered at $3.4MM, tweets Heyman.
- Kenley Jansen filed at $5.05MM while the Dodgers countered at $3.5MM, tweets Heyman.
- Craig Kimbrel filed at $9MM while the Braves countered at $6.55MM, tweets Bowman.
- Jason Heyward filed at $5.5MM while the Braves countered at $5.2MM, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- Doug Fister filed at $8.5MM while the Nationals countered at $5.75MM, tweets Heyman.
- Aroldis Chapman filed at $5.4MM while the Reds countered at $4.6MM, tweets Heyman.
- Greg Holland filed at $5.2MM while the Royals countered at $4.1MM, tweets Heyman.
- Justin Masterson filed at $11.8MM while the Indians countered at $8.05MM, tweets Heyman.
- Freddie Freeman filed for $5.75MM while the Braves countered at $4.5MM, tweets Heyman.
- Matt Wieters filed for $8.75MM while the Orioles countered at $6.5MM, tweets Heyman.
- Homer Bailey filed for $11.6MM while the Reds countered at $8.7MM, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Jeff Samardzija filed for $6.2MM while the Cubs countered at $4.4MM, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
The Tigers and 2013 American League Cy Young Winner Max Scherzer have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $15.525MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Scherzer is represented by agent Scott Boras.
Scherzer and Boras were able to parlay his 2013 success into a massive $8.8MM raise -- a whopping 130 percent raise on last year's salary and nearly $2MM more than the $13.6MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. As Swartz noted in his Arbitration Breakdown piece on Scherzer, the previous record raise for a pitcher with five-plus years of service time was Carlos Zambrano's $5.9MM raise back in 2007. Scherzer's $8.8MM pay increase shatters that mark and isn't likely to be touched at any point in the near future. With David Price having settled at $14MM and Clayton Kershaw having inked a historic extension, Scherzer seems to be a lock to take home the biggest one-year payday among arb-eligible players this offseason.
This is Scherzer's final season before heading into free agency, and one would think that another elite campaign would put him and Boras in position to try to top CC Sabathia's record-setting $161MM free agent contract that still stands as the largest open-market contract ever signed by a pitcher.
Scherzer is fresh off a dominant season in which he pitched to a 2.90 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 36.3 percent ground-ball rate in a career-high 214 1/3 innings. Some will argue that his Cy Young award was due to his gaudy 21-3 record, but Scherzer's 6.4 fWAR trailed only Clayton Kershaw, and his 6.7 rWAR was right in line with Hisashi Iwakuma (7.0) and Chris Sale (6.9) among American League starting pitchers.
The Tigers and Rick Porcello have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $8.5MM deal, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). They've also agreed to a $6MM deal for 2014 with Austin Jackson, Sherman tweets.
Porcello, 25, was arb-eligible for the third time this offseason as a Super Two player. The Excel Sports client is controllable through the 2015 campaign and was projected to earn $7.7MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Porcello relies heavily on his high ground-ball rate and could see an uptick in performance with a new-look -- and presumably, defensively superior -- infield behind him in 2014.
Jackson, 26, is also controllable through the 2015 campaign, though he is not a Super Two player. A Scott Boras client, Jackson had been projected by Swartz to earn $5.3MM.
Florida State quarterback and pitcher/outfielder Jameis Winston may not ultimately be long for the game of baseball, but he has potential first-round talent, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America writes in an interesting piece. If Winston were to end up pursuing baseball, he has legitimate ability both as a switch-hitting position player and as a pitcher. But his developmental process may mean he now has more value through his arm, Cooper writes. One scout says that, if he sees enough time on the mound, Winston is a top-20 draft candidate given his low-to-mid-90's fastball and solid slider.
Here are some pitching notes from around the league:
- The Tigers announced today that former American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander underwent successful core muscle surgery in Philadelphia this morning. Verlander injured himself in late December during his regular offseason conditioning and will undergo rehab for the next six weeks. "We fully anticipate Justin to participate in spring training and be in a position to compete at the beginning of the 2014 season," said GM Dave Dombrowski in the press release. Here's more from around the league...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that Johan Santana expects to throw off a mound this month and could either sign with a team to complete his rehab or wait until he is healthy to showcase for teams. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is still deciding the best course of action, it seems.
- The Yankees are among several teams keeping an eye on Santana's rehab progress, reports Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. He may audition for scouts before Spring Training, McCullough adds.
- The Brewers have been running quietly in free agency thus far, but GM Doug Melvin says that the team is talking with several relievers, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, who breaks down the remaining options. On the other hand, Melvin seems content taking his current array of relievers into Spring Training without a significant addition. "Right now, we're just going to [fill the bullpen] internally," said Melvin, "unless that changes."
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Crowe, 30, was selected 14th overall by the Indians in the 2005 draft. The switch-hitter spent the 2013 season with the Astros organization. A .304/.364/.368 batting line in 60 minor league games earned him a shot with the big league club, but Crowe batted just .218/.287/.291 in 181 Major League plate appearances. Though he has 888 Major League innings in center field, he has a -19.3 UZR/150 mark there for his career to go along with a -3 Defensive Runs Saved total. He does have positive defensive marks at each corner outfield position.
Carrera, 26, is also a product of the Indians organization, though he spent a month with the Phillies last season after being claimed on waivers. Cleveland claimed him back from Philadelphia exactly one month after losing the fleet-footed outfielder. Carrera had three hits in 21 big league plate appearances last season and owns a career .251/.306/.339 batting line in 405 Major League plate appearances. He's also stolen 18 bases in 24 tries. Most of his 2013 campaign was spent in Triple-A Columbus, where he has a career line of .275/.340/.365 with 124 stolen bases in 389 games.
Sanchez, 24, made an impressive Major League debut with the Cardinals in 2011, posting a 1.80 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 30 innings of relief. His high walk rate got the best of him, however, as he's walked 18 batters in just 21 1/3 big league innings since (coming between the Cardinals and Cubs). Sanchez spent most of 2013 in the Cubs organization, and although he posted a solid 3.38 ERA in 40 innings at Triple-A, he also averaged 5.2 walks per nine innings.
Baseball America's Matt Eddy has a new Minor League transactions piece posted that is rife with signings and releases. Here are just some of the highlights, but the full, free piece is highly recommended (all info credited to Eddy unless otherwise specified)...
- The Yankees have re-signed right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama to a minor league deal and inked Bruce Billings to a minor league pact as well. Tateyama, who turned 38 on Dec. 26, had an outstanding 1.70 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9 in 42 1/3 innings for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in 2013. Billings, a 28-year-old right-hander, has spent the past three seasons in Oakland's system and posted a 4.31 ERA in 148 1/3 innings at Triple-A in 2013.
- Left-hander Atahualpa Severino has inked a minor league deal with the Braves. As Eddy notes, the 29-year-old held opposing left-handers to a .171/.234/.271 batting line while striking out 27.3 percent and walking 6.5 percent of the 77 he faced last year. He split the season between the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Royals, posting a combined 3.60 ERA.
- The Twins have signed outfielder/second baseman Corey Wimberly to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. The 30-year-old is a career .274/.351/.347 career hitter in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level and split 2013 between the Reds and Braves organizations.
- Cotillo also reports that the Tigers have signed backstop Luis Exposito to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training (Twitter link). Soon to be 27, Exposito slashed .224/.279/.346 in 64 games with Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk last year.
- The Indians announced on Twitter that they have released six minor leaguers: right-handers Kyle Blair, Owen Dew, Rafael Homblert and Michael Goodnight; infielder Manuel Boscan; and outfielder Victor De Jesus.
The Tigers and shortstop Jose Iglesias have agreed to a one-year, $1.65MM contract, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Though Iglesias is not yet arbitration eligible, his salary needed to be determined following completion of his original four-year, $8.25MM Major League contract signed with the Red Sox. Iglesias is represented by Scott Boras.
The 23-year-old Iglesias finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after batting a combined .303/.349/.386 between the Red Sox and Tigers in 2013, but his offense predictably slipped with the Tigers. Most of damage at the plate with the Sox was the result of a .376 average on balls in play, and that number fell to .320 in Detroit while his strikeout rate jumped by eight percent. Iglesias wasn't acquired for his bat, however, and the Tigers are valuing him based on an elite glove at shortstop that he should have no trouble maintaining for years to come.
Barring a long-term deal, Iglesias will be in for a similar salary next offseason, as he won't be arbitration eligible until the 2015-16 offseason. He is under team control through the 2018 campaign.
The Tigers, Indians, and Orioles are among the teams that have shown interest in right-handed reliever Luis Ayala this offseason, MLBTR has learned. Ayala has received strong interest overall, and seeks a Major League deal.
Ayala, 36 this month, posted a 3.27 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.55 HR/9, and 58.9% groundball rate in 33 innings for the Orioles and Braves in 2013. Ayala began 2013 with Baltimore, but was traded to the Braves in April and later spent time on the DL for an anxiety disorder. Among relievers with at least 30 innings in 2013, Ayala's groundball rate ranked 15th in MLB. In addition to the aforementioned teams, I think clubs such as the Yankees, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, and Brewers may be fits for Ayala. It seems likely that the free agent market will pick back up starting Monday as executives return to the office.
With Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana all in seeming free agent limbo after rejecting qualifying offers, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan argues that the current free agent compensation system has proven to be too limiting. While teams will give up draft picks to sign bigger stars like Robinson Cano, the so-called second tier of free agents are finding it much harder to get work. "Last offseason, there were a number of guys affected in ways different than we expected compared to a freer market to pursue jobs. It appears that's happening again, " MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. One club executive suggested to Passan that teams could make qualifying offers to more free agents next winter given the evidence about how it pushes prices down for some players.
Here's some more from around baseball...
- The Tigers have recently made several important moves in the post-Christmas offseason period, and 2014's big early-year move could be laying the groundwork for a Max Scherzer extension, MLB.com's Jason Beck opines. Beck thinks GM Dave Dombrowski will look to a one-year deal for 2014 to avoid going to arbitration with Scherzer, and those talks could lead to negotiations with agent Scott Boras over a longer-term extension.
- Also from Beck, he wonders if the Tigers could discuss a new contract with Miguel Cabrera (signed through 2015) or possibly add another reliever to the bullpen. Detroit has already addressed its main bullpen need by signing closer Joe Nathan, and also acquired Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain for the relief corps.
- Jonathan Papelbon discussed his name surfacing in recent trade rumors, the differences between the Phillies' and Red Sox clubhouse atmospheres and his joy at seeing his ex-Boston teammates win the World Series last October in a frank radio interview with Rob Bradford and John McDonald on WEEI's Hot Stove Show. A partial transcript of the interview is available at WEEI.com.
- The Phillies were interested in Mark Mulder before the veteran signed with the Angels, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).
- Forbes Magazine's Maury Brown discusses Major League Baseball's growing revenues and the effect on player salaries and acquisitions in a podcast with BostInno's Alex Reimer, who has a partial transcript of the interview here.
- MLB.com's Anthony DiComo covers a number of Mets-related topics as part of a reader mailbag, including how he doesn't see Dee Gordon or Didi Gregorius as logical trade targets for the team.
In today's Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo makes the case for Braves pitcher Tom Glavine to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. For his part, Glavine said he would be thrilled to go in with Greg Maddux and Bobby Cox. “Bobby Cox had the biggest influence in my career and probably the second- or third-biggest influence in my life,” Glavine said. “Greg was a dear friend, and just being around him made me better. I learned so much. We talked so much about pitching and situations, and hitters. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate and influence on my career. To have three of us together like that would be incredible, and Smoltzy next year.” More from today's column..
- One of the reasons the Phillies haven’t been able to find a buyer for Jonathan Papelbon is his drop in velocity. Papelbon, who was regularly 95-96 in his Red Sox days, fell to 91-92 and sometimes less last season. “That was a red flag for me,” said an AL scout. “He didn’t look like the same guy. Whether that was physical or he just didn’t have the adrenaline flowing with a bad team, I don’t know.”
- Kevin Youkilis' one-year deal could be worth up to $5MM and is apparently more than he could have received anywhere in MLB. The Yankees had some interest, but at a lower price. The Indians, Giants, and Rays also had interest at one time. Back problems limited Youkilis to 28 games last season with the Yankees, and he simply couldn’t convince the masses he was healthy.
- Lyle Overbay's market is lukewarm right now and he'll likely be a January tack-on for someone. Cafardo predicts he'll wind up as a backup or a low-cost option for a team such as the Orioles or Indians.
- The Mets and agent Scott Boras have discussed parameters but no firm numbers for Stephen Drew and right now, it looks like GM Sandy Alderson is sticking with Ruben Tejada. There’s always the Yankees, but Drew has never played anywhere but shortstop and Derek Jeter doesn’t appear to be moving to another position. The road, for now, is still leading back to the Red Sox.
- Agent Scott Boras scoffs at the notion that the market for Kendrys Morales has dried up due to the draft pick compensation issue. Cafardo says that at some point a team such as the Orioles may give it up to have a superb hitter in the middle of their order and cautions to never underestimate Boras.
- Mark Mulder is looking for a minor league deal with incentives if he makes the major league club. He's worked out for the Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks, Angels, and Phillies over two sessions and the second session he improved his velocity from 88 to 92 mph. The Red Sox have inquired on Mulder, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, but probably won’t pursue him. Back in late November, Giants GM Brian Sabean indicated that he wouldn't be in on Mulder since he's seeking a big league deal.
- Even with the Yankees' declaration that Brett Gardner won’t be traded, they would listen to the right deal.
- It's a big surprise that agent Scott Boras couldn’t get Tigers owner Mike Ilitch to outbid the Rangers for Shin-Soo Choo since they have a need for a leadoff hitter. The Tigers are apparently continuing to commit to Austin Jackson at the top of the order and hope his game smooths out.
- The Rays and Cubs want at least three very good players for David Price and Jeff Samardzija, respectively, whether they're major league-ready or top prospects.