Drew Stubbs Rumors

Rockies Option Drew Stubbs, Recall Brandon Barnes

The Rockies have optioned struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs to Triple-A, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). Taking his place on the active roster is Brandon Barnes.

Stubbs, 30, avoided arbitration with a $5.825MM contract this year — his final before hitting the open market. Notably, given his 5+ service time, Stubbs both had to pass through revocable optional waivers and consent to the assignment.

This season has been nothing but hardship for Stubbs, who is slashing just .118/.182/.255 in 56 plate appearances. That represents a notable disappointment for him after a stellar 2014 campaign in which he put up a strong .289/.339/.482 batting line. Though he only took 424 plate appearances, strong baserunning and solid defensive marks let him with 2.6 fWAR and 2.7 rWAR.

Barnes, meanwhile, joined Stubbs as a pre-2014 acquisition for Colorado, but the 29-year-old did not enjoy quite as much success. He has been working at Triple-A this year, where he has put up a .205/.266/.364 slash over 143 turns at bat.


NL Notes: Russell, Hudson, D’Backs, Rockies

Cubs prospect Addison Russell tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Jane Lee, that he “was a little shocked” and “confused” when he learned he had been traded by the Athletics last summer. “I was kind of flying through the farm system and playing well at each level and looked forward to playing with the A’s for several more years,” Russell said. “The trade just really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it. It definitely would’ve been cool to play at the big league level with the team that drafted me.”

Here are a few more notes from the National League:

  • Diamondbacks righty Daniel Hudson still does not know what his role will be going forward, as Zach Buchanan and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic report. Hudson is coming off of two consecutive Tommy John surgeries and rehab stints, and the team is still evaluating whether he will be able to continue ramping up his workload to open the year as a starter.
  • The Diamondbacks “have no urgency to go out and get anybody” at catcher, GM Dave Stewart says (quote via the above-cited piece). Arizona is still confident in its depth options and “encouraged by the improvement” shown by prospect Peter O’Brien.
  • It appears that the Rockies will have some tough decisions to make in rounding out their bench. GM Jeff Bridich said today that the club intends to carry thirteen arms, “maybe more often than not,” as Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets. Rolling with a baker’s dozen on the hill likely means that the club will need to part with an outfield option, as Charlie Culberson, Brandon Barnes, and Drew Stubbs will presumably be allocated only two bench spots (with the other two going to Daniel Descalso and whichever catcher is off that day). As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported earlier today, none of that trio is out of options, though Stubbs is a 5+ service time player so is not a candidate to be sent down. One player who does lack options, however, is backstop Michael McKenry, who would seemingly be on the outside looking in with just four position-player reserves — despite the fact that the team gave him just over $1MM to avoid arbitration.

Rockies, Drew Stubbs Avoid Arbitration

The Rockies and outfielder Drew Stubbs have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.825MM contract, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (on Twitter). That salary is just $125K north of the $5.7MM figure projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Stubbs a client, of Lagardere Unlimited, enjoyed a strong overall year in his first season with the Rockies. The 30-year-old hit .289/.339/.482 with 15 homers, 20 steals and average defense in center field, making him a well-rounded player and resulting in roughly 2.5 wins above replacement.

Like nearly any player, Stubbs isn’t without his flaws. He posted a vastly higher OPS against left-handed pitching (.944) than right-handed pitching (.757), and the majority of his damage was done in the hitter-friendly confines of Denver’s Coors Field. At Coors, Stubbs slashed a hefty .356/.388/.611 with 12 of his 15 homers, but on the road he hit a sub-par .211/.288/.333.

This agreement brings to an end Stubbs’ final trip through the arbitration process, as he’ll be a free agent next offseason as he heads into his age-31 campaign. In spite of the significant platoon and home/road splits, another sound season would position him well on next year’s free agent market. Clubs in hitter-friendly parks of their own, in particular, could be drawn to his combination of defense, power and speed.



Quick Hits: Dipoto, Mariners, Stubbs, Mets

The latest edition of the MLBTR Podcast focuses on the Padres‘ busy offseason, as Jeff Todd speaks with MLB.com’s Padres beat writer Corey Brock about all of San Diego’s transactions.  Jeff also spends a few minutes on how the five NL West teams’ winter moves have created a varied set of expectations around the division.  Here’s the latest from around the baseball world…

  • The Angels weren’t eager to part with Ricardo Sanchez, but GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez) that the club’s young pitching depth made it easier to deal Sanchez to the Braves for third baseman Kyle Kubitza and reliever Nate Hyatt.  “What we’ve done, in our draft or in the trades the way we’ve gathered players, is really focus these last three years on adding pitching,” Dipoto said. “Part of what I have talked to our guys about is, ‘If you tap into the pitching, you have the key to get the other things we need.’ “
  • Dipoto also reiterated that Kubitza’s acquisition doesn’t necessarily spell the end of David Freese (a free agent next winter) in Anaheim.  “David Freese is our third baseman; we’re not in a rush to move David Freese out.  But we do feel like now we have someone we can build with,” Dipoto said.
  • The Angels aren’t seriously exploring adding a notable starting pitcher since they expect Garrett Richards to be ready by “some point” in April, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets.
  • Also from Morosi, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said that his team is “always open” to the possibility of more moves, including another trade for a hitter.
  • Endy Chavez or Franklin Gutierrez could potentially fit as candidates to return to the Mariners as minor league outfield depth, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes as part of a reader mailbag.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich recently confirmed that he’d taken some calls about Drew Stubbs, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes.  “In general, there has been interest in Drew from teams looking for very specific fits in their outfield,” Bridich said.  “Teams see him as a fit, but he’s a fit for us as well.”  While Bridich didn’t give the impression that any trade was close or even being discussed, it was reported last month that the Rockies had spoken to the Orioles about a possible Stubbs deal.
  • The Mets expect interest in their starting pitching to perk up, a team source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post, with Dillon Gee the likeliest candidate to be dealt.  Without a trade, the Mets are prepared to use one of their starters out of the bullpen, as the source says a six-man rotation is “unlikely.”
  • Also from Puma, Mets GM Sandy Alderson didn’t sound optimistic about his team’s chances of a shortstop upgrade.  “We’ve continued to have conversations, but nothing is likely to occur,” Alderson said. “There is currently nothing imminent. I still believe at this point that we will go into spring training with what we have at shortstop.”  The Mets never came close to a deal for Troy Tulowitzki, Puma writes, though they talked with Colorado during the Winter Meetings.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Stubbs, O’s, Marrero

The Yankees aren’t looking into the Padres‘ trio of starters (Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and former Yankee Ian Kennedy) right now, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets.  San Diego is known to be listening to offers on the three right-handers but the Yankees aren’t sure any of them are actually available.  Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • The Rockies contacted the Orioles about a trade that would’ve sent Drew Stubbs to Baltimore in exchange for pitching, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports (Twitter link).  The departures of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis has left the O’s thin in the corner outfield spots, with Alejandro De Aza, David Lough and Steve Pearce (who will also see a lot of DH time) as the current candidates.  The right-handed hitting Stubbs seems like a good complement for De Aza and Lough, who both hit left-handed.
  • In an interview with MLB Network Radio yesterday (hat tip to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun), Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette said he is looking to add catching depth.  Matt Wieters may not be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery in time for Opening Day, so the O’s may pursue a veteran backup to at least share the job with Caleb Joseph.
  • Prospect Deven Marrero makes sense as a trade chip for the Red Sox to offer to teams in need of a young shortstop, though WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that the Mets and Athletics have doubts that Marrero can hit enough for an everyday role.

Mariners Have Made Offer For Drew Stubbs

FRIDAY: The Mariners made a formal offer to the Rockies for Stubbs earlier this week, according to Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Groke, like Morosi and Harding, hears that the Rockies aren’t actively looking to deal Stubbs.

THURSDAY, 9:41pm: There are no talks ongoing regarding Stubbs, Harding reports, but sources tell him that increased activity on the outfielder could occur over the coming week.

7:02pm: The Mariners have inquired with the Rockies about the possibility of acquiring outfielder Drew Stubbs, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Colorado is willing to listen on Stubbs, tweets Thomas Harding of MLB.com, and would be interested in bringing back a controllable young arm in return.

Stubbs, 29, has played exclusively in center field with the Rockies, though he also has experience in right. He has posted a career-best .297/.335/.498 slash with ten home runs an 11 stolen bases in 258 plate appearances. That comes on the heels of three straight seasons of below-average production with the Reds and Indians, however, which led to his being dealt to the Rockies from the latter club in exchange for southpaw reliever Josh Outman.

The right-handed hitting Stubbs is earning $4.1MM through arbitration this year and should be in line for a nice raise in 2015, his final season of arb eligibility. That contract situation limits his trade value, of course. Colorado is not yet sure if they would like to part with Stubbs, Morosi adds. Of course, he is part of a fairly crowded outfield situation at present, particularly given reports that the club would like to bring back veteran Michael Cuddyer.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).

(more…)


West Notes: A’s, Stubbs, Peacock, Tanaka

Though the Athletics averaged just 22,337 fans per game in 2013 (which ranked 23rd in baseball), things could be worse in Oakland, writes Lev Facher of Athletics Nation. Oakland experienced a 10 percent increase in attendance from 2012 to 2013 despite the fact that the cross-town Giants were defending a World Series title. Another 10 percent increase would have Oakland north of 24,000 per game and shouldn't be too difficult to imagine with San Francisco's losing season in 2013 and Oakland's AL West championship. Facher notes that the A's will never top the Giants as long as they play in O.co Coliseum, but it's not hard to imagine them averaging well over 30,000 fans per night should they ever get a new park. More out of baseball's Western divisions…

  • New Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that he knew there was a chance he'd get traded this offseason, and he thought Colorado would be a potential landing spot once Dexter Fowler was traded. Indeed, Stubbs is now a member of the Rockies — a concept that has teammate Troy Tulowitzki excited. Tulo told Saunders: "I have high hopes for Drew. … I know they have talked about [Carlos Gonzalez] being our center fielder, but for me, I think we are a better team if Drew can grab that position and run with it. That way, we can leave Carlos in left." Tulowitzki said he will invite Stubbs to his home to work out with him prior to Spring Training.
  • Jason Collette of Fangraphs examined the transformation that Astros righty Brad Peacock made after being sent down to the minors midway through the 2013 campaign. Peacock adopted a slider that made a world of difference for his repertoire, and as Collette notes, the changes were obvious to GM Jeff Luhnow, manager Bo Porter and catcher Jason Castro.
  • Lookout Landing's Scott Weber looks at the case for the Mariners to push for Masahiro Tanaka and wonders if the lack of serious connection between the two sides to this point is due to Seattle's unwillingness to double down on the greatest risk in franchise history (Robinson Cano). As Weber notes, should those deals crumble, Seattle would be looking at well over $40MM of dead payroll per year. He suggests that an alternative would be to take advantage of the Tanaka buzz by jumping into a surprisingly cool market for Ubaldo Jimenez.

Rockies Acquire Drew Stubbs For Josh Outman

12:41pm: Cleveland will receive left-hander Josh Outman from the Rockies in the trade, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

Outman, 29, pitched to a 4.33 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 51.3 percent ground-ball rate in 54 innings for the Rockies this past season. Formerly a starting pitcher, Outman converted to the bullpen on a full-time basis for the first time in 2013. Outman averaged 92.4 mph on his heater and held lefties to a minuscule .198/.278/.261 batting line.

MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Outman to earn $1.4MM in 2013. He will give new manager Terry Francona a second left-handed option in the bullpen along with Marc Rzepczynski.

12:14pm: The Rockies are acquiring Drew Stubbs from the Indians, sources tell Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The Tribe can afford to part with Stubbs thanks to their outfield surplus, which includes Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, David Murphy, and Ryan Raburn.

We heard back in November that multiple teams approached Cleveland with interest in Stubbs.  The 29-year-old hit just .233/.305/.360 in 2013 but is projected to earn $3.8MM in arbitration this offseason by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.  Still, Stubbs offers quality defense, power and speed, and  he's capable of handling all three outfield positions.

Stubbs, like the newly-acquired Brandon Barnes, is better versus lefties than righties, Rosenthal notes (link).  The plan is still for Carlos Gonzalez to go to center field but the Rockies are collecting athletic outfielders that should give them a solid supporting cast in 2014.


Indians Rumors: Jimenez, Outfielders

The Indians are reportedly open to trading Justin Masterson and have been in contact with the Yankees, but there are reportedly no legs to those talks and Cleveland isn't near a trade of any player. A couple of other Tribe notes…