- Rangers, Angels Reach Agreement On Hamilton Deal
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Dillon Gee Rumors
Bartolo Colon did it all to help lead the Mets past the Marlins for their sixth straight win, Howie Rumberg of The Associated Press writes. Colon not only pitched the Mets past Miami, he hit a tying sac fly for his second RBI in two starts. Here’s more from the NL East..
- Braves assistant GM John Coppolella made it clear that he has no interest in moving top prospect Jose Peraza, despite the Yankees’ apparent interest, Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes. “We have no interest whatsoever in trading Jose Peraza,” Coppolella said. “Teams scout top prospects all the time, as we do other team’s top prospects. It was just a case where one of their scouts was sent to watch one of our guys.” The soon-to-be 21-year-old has steadily climbed through Atlanta’s farm system and broke out with a .339/.364/.441 performance over 499 combined minor league plate appearances in 2014.
- The Mets are still eager to trade Dillon Gee, and they view Rafael Montero as likely to take Gee’s spot, according to major league sources that spoke with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Gee could be moved at anytime if a need arises elsewhere. If they can’t move him, Montero will take his spot in the rotation, barring injury or regression. According to sources, there is no debate that Montero will get the first opportunity, before prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.
- Luis Garcia, who was out of baseball three years ago, has become one of the steadiest arms in the Phillies bullpen, writes Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 28-year-old has allowed two hits and two walks in his five innings this season.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark is picking the Nationals to win the World Series, and his opinion that they’re baseball’s best team is shared by many scouts and executives around the game. The Nats have depth, playoff experience, an incredible pitching staff and an easy road (on paper) to the postseason since the NL East projects to be a weak division. Also, with so many major free agents after the year, the Nationals have a great sense of urgency to win in 2015 and will surely be aggressive in filling roster needs throughout the season. “They have what everyone wants — a ‘now’ team with ingredients they can move if they need to,” one scout told Stark.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- As an example of how aggressive the Nationals could get, Stark heard “a lot” of speculation that they could try to obtain Aroldis Chapman from the Reds at the trade deadline if Drew Storen underachieves as closer. This would, of course, likely depend on whether or not the Reds are themselves contenders.
- There’s no progress on extension talks between the Mets and Lucas Duda‘s representatives, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports. The two sides are still talking but have yet Opening Day as the negotiating deadline.
- No teams are showing any “significant interest” in Mets righty Dillon Gee, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).
- The Braves are still considering possible trades, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, but it seems as if Pedro Ciriaco will make the roster as a backup outfielder. Ciriaco signed a minor league deal with Atlanta last October and the Braves will have to create a 40-man roster spot for him if he indeed breaks camp with the team.
- At the moment, the Braves aren’t close to making any trades, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
Though right-hander Dillon Gee is expected to open the season in the Mets’ rotation and there are no active trade talks surrounding him at this time, the team may still trade him within a month’s time, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports.
Gee is slated to be the team’s fifth starter to open the season, but he has his dissenters within the organization who prefer Rafael Montero in the rotation, Rubin hears. The Mets, of course, also have a wealth of young pitching in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, including Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Even with right-hander Zack Wheeler out for the year, it does seem that the Mets would have enough pitching depth to move Gee and his $5.3MM salary.
Gee, who will turn 29 in late April, is under control through the 2016 season. He pitched to a 4.00 ERA in 137 1/3 innings last season with the Mets and has turned in a 3.91 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate in 639 2/3 innings over parts of five seasons in New York.
From a purely speculative standpoint, the Rangers, Phillies, Braves, Blue Jays, Astros, Yankees, Dodgers and Rays all make some degree of sense, as each has either dealt with pitching injuries or was open to adding depth late in the offseason. The Mets are known to be seeking left-handed relief options, but they’re apparently reluctant to move Gee for such a pitcher.
It’s somewhat rare to see a regular player or rotation option moved in the season’s first month, but it does happen from time to time, and Mets GM Sandy Alderson is no stranger to such moves; the Mets matched up with the Pirates on a trade for Ike Davis on April 18 last season.
The Rays have announced that starting pitcher Alex Cobb‘s MRI has revealed that he has tendinitis in his right forearm. He will not be able to start Opening Day. Cobb’s injury is just the latest in a long string for the Rays rotation, which is also currently without Drew Smyly (shoulder), Alex Colome (pneumonia) and, of course Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery). Even before Cobb’s injury, the Rays had planned to consider minor moves to upgrade their starting pitching depth. Here’s more from the East divisions.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington isn’t concerned about being fired if his expensive signing of Yoan Moncada doesn’t work out, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. “We understand that not everything we do is going to work out,” says Cherington. “But we feel good about the process and why we’re doing it.” As Abraham notes, the signing of the 19-year-old Moncada comes with plenty of upside, but it’s risky, too — the Red Sox have already made a series of high-profile investments (though not as high-profile or nearly as expensive as Moncada) in international players who haven’t worked out, like Jose Vinicio, Adalberto Ibarra, Juan Carlos Linares, Tzu-Wei Lin and Dalier Hinojosa.
- The Mets didn’t anticipate Zack Wheeler‘s elbow issues would be so severe, so that wasn’t why they held onto Dillon Gee, Andy Martino of New York Daily News writes. They did, however, keep Noah Syndergaard in part because of general worries about the health of their starting pitchers, including not only Wheeler (who also had elbow discomfort last year) but also Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey. Martino also explains why they didn’t trade Wheeler before the news that he would have to have Tommy John surgery, even though they were aware of his prior elbow trouble — they still like his upside and he’ll still be under team control when he returns.
Cubs righty Jacob Turner will likely not return to action for another spring game, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports, but medical review after he experienced elbow discomfort revealed no ligament damage. “I’m just going to see how it feels,” said Turner. “The plan is four to six weeks of not throwing, and then go off how I feel.” Given his lack of options, I would expect the club to bring him along quite slowly — possibly utilizing a 60-day DL stay to free a roster spot.
Meanwhile, here are some roster situations percolating elsewhere in the National League:
- We noted earlier today that Tony Cingrani is destined for the Reds pen. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer discusses the implications of that move for the team’s rotation battle. Another candidate — David Holmberg — was bumped down to minor league camp, leaving the relatively inexperienced Raisel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclafani to fight veteran non-roster invitees Jason Marquis and Paul Maholm for two permanent spots (and a temporary substitute for Homer Bailey to start the year). Skipper Bryan Price explained that considerations of control will come into play: “The thing is, we’ve got veteran guys like Marquis and Maholm and we don’t want to use them one start,” Price said. “If they’re going to be on our team, the hope is they’re on our team for the entire season if not longer. That’s how we have to look at it. You can back-and-forth a young guy. He can start a game or two, go down the minor leagues or go into the bullpen and help as a long guy. Marquis and Maholm are looking more like long-term, start-to-finish options for us.”
- The Diamondbacks will be fascinating to watch this year, albeit not necessarily in terms of the on-field product, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. As he notes, the team’s newly-installed front office leaders seem to have different ideas than many of their counterparts in the industry. While the organization is saddled with some less-than-ideal contracts, and seems higher on several players than others, it nevertheless has no shortage of young talent, trade chips, and roster options. That should make Arizona an active player in the transactional game over the course of the season.
- Meanwhile, it is time for the Mets to press forward with delivering a winning team, even with Zack Wheeler likely lost to Tommy John surgery, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. In the immediate term, there have been conflicting signals on how the club will fill in for Wheeler, with skipper Terry Collins saying Dillon Gee will move back to the rotation, GM Sandy Alderson declining to provide such a clear answer, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting that prospect Rafael Montero could have a chance at breaking camp. In the aggregate, there is enough depth and talent to make up for losing Wheeler, says Davidoff, removing his injury as an excuse if a legitimate contender does not emerge. For his part, Sherman wonders whether the club has staked too much of its future on the health and development of young arms, though it seems worth echoing Davidoff’s point here: the sheer number and upside of the alternatives in camp give New York ample options.
After losing left-handed reliever Josh Edgin to Tommy John surgery, the Mets are ostensibly in need of a southpaw in the bullpen. A source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) that it’s not probable that the Mets will trade right-hander Dillon Gee to land that lefty reliever they desire, though it’s also not 100% impossible.
Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter links) says the Mets don’t seem to be in much of a panic since they’re confident in the options that will be available at the end of camp. Carig heard that the Mets wouldn’t rule out someone like Dana Eveland, who is in camp with the Red Sox now and not projected to make the team. Eveland is just one of the several names that could be available to the Mets, he says, and the larger point is that the team expects that they’ll have plenty of choices.
While Gee stands as a solid trade chip, there’s no clear overlap between that teams that have interest in Gee and teams with quality available left-handed relievers. Moving Gee, in theory, would be a great way for the Mets to use their starting pitching surplus to help supplement their relief situation. Gee is slated to start the year in the Mets’ bullpen thanks to a projected starting five of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently admitted there have been few recent trade talks involving Gee. The Rangers appeared to be a logical suitor for Gee, but they apparently haven’t been in discussions with the Mets since learning that Yu Darvish will be lost for the season.
We learned on Sunday morning that Edgin, 28, opted to undergo Tommy John surgery for his elbow trouble. Edgin tossed 27 1/3 innings last season in 47 appearances, striking out 9.2 and walking only 2.0 batters per nine innings while posting a 1.32 ERA.
The Cubs are on the verge of being competitive for the first time in years, and their new additions, headed by Jon Lester and manager Joe Maddon, have their players imagining big things, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “This is the place to be in Major League Baseball right now,” says David Ross. “To be able to hold a World Series trophy in this city — it’s the Holy Grail, right?” Pitcher Jason Hammel says that one of Maddon’s assets as a manager is that he’s not intimidating to younger players. “[I]f he makes a handful of our best young players more relaxed to the point where they feel they can be themselves, that’s when players thrive,” says president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. Here’s more from the National League.
- Despite the Rangers‘ loss of Yu Darvish to injury, they don’t seem inclined to try to acquire Dillon Gee from the Mets, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. The Rangers had previously been connected to Gee, who is slated to start the year in the Mets’ bullpen thanks to a crowded rotation picture that also includes Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. Via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (on Twitter), Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently admitted there had been few recent trade talks involving Gee.
- The Padres are pleased with how Wil Myers is taking to center field, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “All our outfield guys — Dave Roberts, Jose Valentin, Mark Kotsay, Alonzo Powell — have been very positive on how Wil is moving in center,” says manager Bud Black. “He’s got long strides, he’s got good routes, good angles, his hands are good, he sees the ball off the bat.” Myers, meanwhile, is eager to prove himself after having been traded twice in a little over two years.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post runs down a list of the teams with obvious trade candidates this spring and notes that executives to whom he spoke most often mentioned the Red Sox as a team to watch. Sherman examines speculative landing spots for Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley. He feels that a healthy Victorino would be an idea fit in Seattle in front of Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano (though I don’t imagine Seattle having interest given their platoon acquisition of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano). For Craig, he theorizes that the Angels make some sense, should Josh Hamilton face a lengthy suspension. And the Braves have long fancied Bradley, even before Melvin Upton went down with a foot injury, Sherman adds. Sherman also runs down situations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto, Chicago and Philadelphia.
A bit more from his piece and a few other trade-related notes from around the league…
- As Sherman notes, many out-of-options players will become trade candidates at the end of Spring Training, and he feels that some such candidates could be outfielder David Lough, infielder Eduardo Nunez, lefties Felix Doubront and Brad Hand, and right-handers Jacob Turner, Randall Delgado, Stolmy Pimentel and Jesse Chavez. I’d be a bit surprised to see Chavez moved coming off such a strong season, though it’s certainly possible. Lough, in particular, strikes me as someone who could interest clubs, given his elite defense and his strong numbers against right-handed pitching.
- While each side will privately acknowledge that they’ve been in contact with the other, talks between the Red Sox and Phillies regarding Cole Hamels have been dormant for weeks, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale spoke to Boston GM Ben Cherington and Red Sox pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley about the confidence each has in their current staff.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo that it’s “fair to say” there’s been little to no recent trade talk regarding right-hander Dillon Gee and any of the Mets’ other starting pitching options (Twitter link). Gee seems destined to open the season in the bullpen, barring an injury or a spring injury to a rotation member.
- Travis Sawchick of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review takes a look at the spring battle between Vance Worley and Jeff Locke for the Pirates‘ fifth spot in the rotation, noting that neither is a candidate for a bullpen spot, so the loser of the battle could ultimately end up as a trade candidate. Sawchik notes that it’s possible that both could end up breaking camp with the team, should Charlie Morton open the season on the DL (or should the Bucs incur another spring injury), but he predicts that Worley will win the rotation spot if everyone else is healthy.
Right-hander Dillon Gee is likely the odd man out and headed to the Mets‘ bullpen this season, and ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin was among the reporters to speak with him today regarding the move (video link). Gee says he is ready to contribute in whatever role he is asked, even though he obviously prefers to stay in the rotation. Though he did not ever speak with anyone in the front office, he relayed that his agent did, and was seemingly left with the impression that a trade was never quite as likely as was believed in some quarters.
Let’s have a look at a few segments of the pitching market where action still seems open:
- It would still be unwise to bet against two other well-known closers — Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano — landing substantial contracts, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Notably, both free agents are represented by Scott Boras, who Rosenthal says not to bet against. As Rosenthal rightly points out, it will be interesting to see whether that pair of big-named arms manages to top the guarantees given to names like Pat Neshek ($12.5MM) and Zach Duke ($15MM).
- As previously reported, Rodriguez has drawn interest from the Marlins, who have also had discussions about fellow free agent righty Joba Chamberlain, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). And those aren’t the only arms still under consideration in Miami, per Heyman. The club is seemingly casting a wide net — waiting for a good value, perhaps — in adding a final piece before camp.
- Red Sox closer Koji Uehara said today that his mid-season swoon was due in part to injury issues, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. The trouble was related to Uehara’s lower back, GM Ben Cherington said. Obviously, the club believes that he will be able to return without issue, given the contract it gave the veteran relief ace.
- Breakout Angels starter Garrett Richards threw his first pen session since undergoing knee surgery last year, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Reports were solid on the 26-year-old righty, whose return — and ability to match his outstanding results from last year — will go a long way toward defining the club. Anything close to his 2014 showing would seemingly make Richards a prime extension target.
In his latest piece on the market for James Shields, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the most recent significant contracts for starting pitchers of age 33 or older and points out that history is not on Shields’ side. MLBTR took a similar look at Shields in Spring Training of last year, noting that recent history suggested it’d be difficult to find a team willing to guarantee his age-37 season. Rosenthal notes that executives to whom he has spoken cite Shields’ age, innings backlog, declining strikeout rate and shaky postseason track record as negatives. At this point, Rosenthal feels a four-year deal worth less than $20MM annually is likely.
A few more pitching notes from around the league…
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports that the Twins were informed yesterday of a Feb. 10 showcase for right-hander Matt Albers in Houston (Twitter link). All teams are invited to watch Albers throw, of course, and Wolfson does note that the Twins are open to adding a bullpen arm. A shoulder injury limited Albers to just eight appearances with the Astros in 2014, but he does have a pristine 2.63 ERA over his past 133 1/3 big league innings (three seasons’ worth of work).
- While it’s been previously written that the Rangers expect Neal Cotts to sign elsewhere, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram now reports (via Twitter) that the Rangers have been officially informed that the 34-year-old lefty will sign with a different team this offseason. Cotts wasn’t able to replicate his exceptional 1.11 ERA from his 2013 comeback, but he did post a 4.32 ERA with solid peripheral stats in 2014 (8.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 3.58 FIP, 3.41 SIERA).
- The Mets still aren’t close to trading Dillon Gee, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, nor are they close to dealing any of their other potentially available starters (presumably referring to Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon). However, as DiComo notes, that type of situation can change quickly in the three weeks leading up to Spring Training, and of course, a deal could always be negotiated in Spring Training as well.