Dustin Ackley Rumors
Teams like saving money and extending their control over top young players. Why wouldn't they? Having impact players on affordable contracts simplifies a GM's job. As a result, teams call top young players up strategically every season to control their service time and, in doing so, delay their free agency and/or limit their earnings.
Though service time is a consideration all season long, it's most evident at two times: in April and again midseason, around early June. If teams wait until a few weeks after the season has begun to call a prospect up for his MLB debut, the player doesn't collect a full year of service time, which delays his free agency by a year.
The precise date until which teams must wait before calling prospects up varies each year and according to whether players are on the 40-man roster. Now that we're nearly three weeks into the season, even prospects on the 40-man roster can be called up, since they have spent the requisite 20-day period in the minor leagues.
None of the following prospects have big league service time, which means that their teams can call them up at any point and keep them through the 2017 season, if not longer: Dustin Ackley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Jesus Montero, Eric Hosmer, Julio Teheran, Manny Banuelos, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.
On the other hand, Michael Pineda, Zach Britton and Brandon Belt are now in the majors, picking up service time. Because those players are now on MLB rosters, they're currently on track to hit free agency after the 2016 season. However, if their respective teams option them to the minors for 20 days or more, their path to free agency could be slowed as well (that's an immediate possibility for Belt and a long-term one for the pair of impressive rookie hurlers).
That may sounds complicated, but it's the easy part. Later this spring, in late May and early June, the guessing game begins. Teams do not (and can not) know exactly when future cutoffs for super two status will be, so if they want to play it safe and ensure that prospects like Montero and Ackley only go to arbitration three times, they'll want to wait until at least the middle of June before calling them up.
Carlos Silva looks like he has earned a release based on his spring performance, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Like Oliver Perez, Silva is set to earn $12MM in 2011. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, including the latest on another candidate to be released...
- Heyman hears that Luis Castillo has looked better than the others in competition for the Mets second base job. Castillo's performance and the lack of a standout alternative may reduce the chances that the Mets release him.
- When Rangers GM Jon Daniels asked Adrian Beltre why two of his best seasons came in contract years, Beltre’s response was succinct: “I wish I [expletive] knew.”
- Ronald Belisario is having trouble getting a visa, so the Dodgers aren’t counting on him this year.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in 2009, has “a shot” to make the team out of Spring Training.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports shared some Sunday morning notes from Spring Training. Let's check out the highlights....
- With Adam Rosales recovering from December foot surgery, the Athletics would like to add an affordable utility infielder. Even someone like the Tigers' Ramon Santiago would be too expensive for the A's though, so they'll probably opt for an in-house option instead.
- The Yankees figure to start the year with Jesus Montero as Russell Martin's backup in New York. One scout cautions that the team needs to ease the top prospect into an expanded role, as he adjusts to catching at the big league level.
- The Phillies' utility infielder candidates have been playing well this spring, so they may not have to explore a contingency plan even if they expect Chase Utley to miss significant time. According to Rosenthal's sources, the Phils can't take on much salary. If the club were to pursue a player like Michael Young, the Rangers would have to take Joe Blanton and include cash in any deal, which Texas isn't inclined to do.
- With Kyle Drabek and Jesse Litsch the favorites to earn the Blue Jays' two open rotations spots, skipper John Farrell told reporters that Jo-Jo Reyes could crack the 25-man roster as a reliever. Earlier this week, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined the possibility of Reyes being a trade candidate.
- Teammate Chone Figgins likens Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley to "a more athletic Todd Walker," a comparison Rosenthal says is more flattering than you'd initially think.
Some links pertaining to the Mariners and their newest acquisition..
- The newly acquired Aaron Laffey will have a shot to compete for both a rotation and bullpen job, GM Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. Jack Z also told Baker that Laffey has a minor league option left, meaning that he can be bumped down to Triple-A in favor of a non-roster player.
- The M's won't have to cut or release anyone to make room for Laffey on the 40-man roster, as they have placed right-hander Shawn Kelley on the 60-day disabled list, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com (via Twitter). Kelley is on the mend from from partial Tommy John surgery and isn't expected back until June.
- A fun fact from MLB.com's Jordan Bastian: Following the Laffey deal, the Indians now have five players who were traded for Cliff Lee. Infielder Matt Lawson was involved in trade that sent Lee from Seattle to Texas last July.
- Larry Stone of The Seattle Times writes that the potential Super Two status of second baseman Dustin Ackley and pitcher Michael Pineda will likely impact when they are called-up to the bigs.
On this day in 1957, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley announced that his team could play as many as 10 exhibition games in California in 1958. It ended up being a bit of a lengthier stay, as the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles following the 1957 season. Just like O'Malley, we're looking to the west coast (or at least the western divisions) for these news items...
- If the Dodgers aren't satisifed with their Jay Gibbons/Tony Gwynn Jr./Marcus Thames platoon in left field, ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill lists some of the left fielders that could be available in a trade. Of the five players on Churchill's list, only Carlos Quentin would seem to be an everyday option, but if he's playing well enough to attract the Dodgers' attention, it's unlikely the White Sox would want to move him anyway.
- Ryan Ludwick tells Dan Hayes of the North County Times that the two months that followed his trade to the Padres last season were the "worst two months of my big league career." Ludwick hit just .211/.301/.330 in 239 plate appearances in San Diego last year and admitted he struggled with the pressure of trying to take the Padres to the postseason.
- The Mariners are likely to keep Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda in the minors until at least June, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Both players "have areas of their games that could use further AAA development," but Baker also figures the Mariners want to avoid having either of their prospects qualify for Super Two status.
- Angels right-hander Rich Thompson seemed to turn a corner last season, but since the Australian is out of options, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon says the Halos could lose Thompson unless he makes the team.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has acquired six players (Henry Blanco, Geoff Blum, Russell Branyan, Sean Burroughs, Xavier Nady and Brian Sweeney) this offseason that played for the Padres when Towers was that club's general manager, writes Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com. "These are character guys, veterans that I knew would have a strong presence in our clubhouse," Towers said. "I knew what their intangibles are, which I thought was important....When you have history with individuals, you know what they're about as well."
- The Rangers have invited Yhency Brazoban to their Major League Spring Training camp, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Brazoban signed a minor league deal with Texas in December that didn't include an invite to the team's big league camp.
4:08pm: The A's, Indians, Tigers and Royals are the teams on Upton's no-trade list, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter).
TUESDAY, 3:40pm: The Mariners are not on Upton's no-trade list, according to his representatives at Reynolds Sports (on Twitter).
MONDAY: Justin Upton has four teams on his no-trade list, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: the Athletics, Mariners, Tigers, and Royals. A previous Rosenthal report had included the Indians instead of the Mariners. Rosenthal tweets that the Mariners indeed have interest, but they'd be very reluctant to meet Arizona's starting point of Dustin Ackley.
The Royals, Blue Jays, Marlins, Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees are reportedly among the other interested teams. On Friday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the D'Backs were approached by 15-16 teams about Upton at the GM Meetings, five of which "showed a strong inclination to push talks further along." The Yankees are not among the five.
Some links for the morning...
- Dustin Ackley will arrive in Seattle Monday to work out with the team, meet the media and officially sign his $7.5MM deal, according to MLB.com's Jim Street.
- Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News says the Reds are desperate for starting pitching just a few months after it looked like their rotation was set.
- This is not what the Cubs envisioned when they signed Milton Bradley to a multi-year deal last offseason. Bradley told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he "never" feels comfortable at Wrigley Field because he gets booed. However, he insists that he'll be all right in spite of the hatred he faces "on a daily basis."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Mets GM Omar Minaya looks clueless at times, but the mess hardly stops with him.
Some more links in the aftermath of yesterday's deadline to sign draft picks...
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star explains in detail that the MLB draft is broken. It certainly seems like things will change after next year, when the CBA expires.
- Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Dustin Ackley says he'd like to play outfield.
- Click here to read what Divish did as he awaited word on the Ackley signing last night.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that the Tigers designated minor leaguer Chris Lambert for assignment, presumably to make room for top pick Jacob Turner on the 40-man roster.
- The Astros had a much more relaxing evening than most teams last night, as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports.
The Mariners signed second overall pick and Scott Boras client Dustin Ackley, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. It's a big league deal worth $9.5MM, says SI's Jon Heyman. The five-year contract ties Mark Teixeira's mark for position players, says ESPN's Jason Churchill. Baseball America's Jim Callis says the deal is actually for $7.5MM guaranteed. Click here to see MLB.com's scouting report on the UNC outfielder.
Here's a few looks at some clubs who are still working to sign their top picks...
- Ryan Divish reports that the Mariners have requested that first-round pick Dustin Ackley take a physical. Divish speculates that this could signal the two sides becoming closer to a deal.
- The Cardinals are still optimistic that they'll reach a deal with first-rounder Shelby Miller, according to Matthew Leach from MLB.com. The commissioner's recommended slot is $1.386MM for the 19th overall pick, but it's clear that Miller will receive more than that, Leach says. Miller himself was quoted, saying: "Right now, I'm definitely looking to sign a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. It feels good." Sounds like good reason to be optimistic to me. UPDATE: B.J. Rains tweets that Miller is on his way to St. Louis for a physical as well.
- Jason Beck writes that the Tigers have 21 picks that remain unsigned, including first-rounder Jacob Turner and second-rounder Andrew Oliver. Both Turner and Oliver are being advised by Scott Boras, which could complicate the signings. Turner was rumored to be seeking a deal similar to Rick Porcello's $7.285MM deal before even being drafted by the Tigers. Oliver is coming off a rough season which dropped him to the second round. Beck writes that he could raise his stock by returning to Oklahoma State for another season.
- The Rangers are "doing everything they can" to sign first-rounder Matthew Purke, says T.R. Sullivan. Purke passed his physical, and has met with club president Nolan Ryan. According to Sullivan though: "all indications from both sides are there is still a substantial gap to bridge before a deal gets done."