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- Rangers To Sign Cuban Free Agent Andy Ibanez
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- Royals Designate Jason Frasor For Assignment
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Dustin McGowan Rumors
Newly-inked Dodgers righty Freddy Garcia is now a client of the Praver/Shapiro agency, MLBTR has learned. It was reported last night that the long-time big leaguer was coming back from Taiwan to join the Los Angeles organization. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times explains things (on Twitter), injuries to Erik Bedard and Chad Gaudin opened up a need for innings and depth in the upper minors.
Here’s more from out west:
- Righty Chris Hatcher played an important role in the Dodgers‘ complicated swap with the Marlins this winter, but as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register explains, he has had a tough spring. Hatcher blames that in part on trying too hard to impress his new employer, though as Plunkett notes, he is still all but assured an important bullpen role to start the year.
- Meanwhile, the team actually has something of a tough call to make on fellow righty Dustin McGowan, who is guaranteed the league minimum but stands to earn a $1MM roster bonus if he breaks camp with the club. McGowan has also struggled, perhaps leading to some question of whether he is worth that commitment. Of course, Los Angeles is not exactly overflowing with alternatives for these two veterans.
- One somewhat surprising roster battle is shaping up as Diamondbacks camp closes, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Prospects Archie Bradley and Robbie Ray are in the mix for a bullpen slot, manager Chip Hale says, explaining that many young rotation members have had their first taste of big league action from the pen.
- As has been reported, Chris Young‘s contract with the Royals has a $675K base and can reach $6MM via incentives. Per Heyman, Young has $1MM available in roster bonuses, $2.25MM available for games started (capping at 29 starts) and $2.075MM available for total innings pitched (which run up to 140 innings).
- Everth Cabrera‘s deal with the Orioles, which pays him $2.4MM and can reach $3MM in total, awards him $75K for reaching each of 250, 300, 350, 400, 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances, according to Heyman.
- Dustin McGowan signed a Major League deal with the Dodgers that guarantees him just the MLB minimum ($507.5K), but per Heyman, he’ll receive a $1MM roster bonus for spending as little as one day on the active roster. As was previously reported, he can earn $1.5MM worth of incentives via appearances and innings pitched, maxing out at 60 appearances and 60 innings.
In today’s Insider-only blog on ESPN.com, Buster Olney discusses some of the remaining relief options on the market, noting that right-hander Joba Chamberlain is expected to make a decision on his 2015 club sometime this week. The Dodgers are among the teams with interest, Olney writes, but there are others involved. Olney also notes that part of the reason Rafael Soriano remains unemployed is that scouts feel that his stuff evaporated late in the 2014 season with the Nationals.
A bit more on what’s left of the relief market…
- The Rangers are still looking for left-handed relievers and are considering both Phil Coke and Joe Beimel, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As Wilson notes, the team needn’t worry about a 40-man roster spot, as they can move an injured player to the 60-day disabled list if they accommodate either southpaw with a big league contact.
- The Brewers and Marlins remain in the mix for Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two teams have been the most commonly linked clubs to Rodriguez’s market, with reports over the weekend indicating that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has discussed K-Rod with agent Scott Boras. Last week, the Marlins were rumored to be interested in the two-year, $10MM range, but Rodriguez is said to be eyeing a $10MM figure for 2015 alone.
- Right-hander Dustin McGowan, who signed a Major League deal with the Dodgers earlier today, is viewing himself as a reliever at this point in his career, he told reporters (including FOX’s Ken Rosenthal). The Dodgers view McGowan as a relief candidate based on his 95 mph fastball and his splits; McGowan had a 5.08 ERA in the rotation last year compared to a 3.35 mark in the bullpen. His career 3.79 ERA as a reliever is nearly a run lower than his 4.78 mark as a starter.
11:05am: McGowan’s base salary with the Dodgers will be just the league minimum, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). However, he’ll have the opportunity to earn $1MM via roster bonuses and $1.5MM via performance bonuses, which peak at 60 appearances and 60 innings pitched. In total, he can earn $3MM.
8:59am: The Dodgers announced today that they have signed right-hander Dustin McGowan to a one-year, Major League contract. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Brandon Beachy, whom the team signed last week, was placed on the 60-day disabled list. (Beachy is recovering from Tommy John surgery.) The move was expected following news yesterday that McGowan showed up at the Dodgers’ Spring Training camp.
McGowan, who turns 33 in March, has spent his entire career to this point in the Blue Jays organization. The ACES client was selected 33rd overall by Toronto back in 2000 but has seen much of a promising career slowed by injuries. McGowan had Tommy John surgery back in 2004, but it’s been his right shoulder that has truly plagued him, as he’s undergone three separate surgeries on his throwing shoulder.
The end result of all the injuries is that McGowan has totaled just 482 1/3 innings of Major League action, but he’s shown flashes of potential throughout his career. He has a lifetime 4.57 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s been used both as a starter and reliever, though more of his work has come out of the bullpen in recent years.
It’s not clear whether or not this signing is tied to the injury of Kenley Jansen, although reports indicated that the Dodgers may look to add another relief arm — but likely a middle reliever as opposed to a closer — in the wake of Jansen’s foot surgery. (He’ll be sidelined eight to 12 weeks.) McGowan, along with Beachy and Brett Anderson, is the third talented but injury-prone pitcher that the Dodgers have signed to a big league deal this winter.
McGowan, 33 next month, has had a quiet offseason since the Blue Jays declined their $4MM option, but he has been linked to the Orioles recently. McGowan opened 2014 in Toronto’s rotation, but was hit hard and demoted after eight starts. He fared better in the bullpen posting a 3.35 ERA, increasing his strikeout rate to 7.5 K/9, and holding opponents to a sub-.700 OPS in 43 innings.
If the Dodgers do sign McGowan, he will be the third pitcher added this week alone and the fifth this month, per MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker, as the team continues to stockpile depth.
The agent for Cuban teenager Yoan Moncada, David Hastings, says that “offers are coming in,” Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. Hastings says he is “still hopeful” that he and his client “can make a decision soon.” Last we heard from Hastings, on Valentine’s Day, he indicated that no formal offers had been made and softened somewhat the idea that Moncada would be in position to sign by February 23rd. While there appears to be some movement, the precise timeline remains uncertain.
- The market for more advanced Cuban infielder (and, presumably, soon-to-be free agent) Hector Olivera seems quite robust. Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons has heard from additional team executives, and he counts at least five that predict a deal of $70MM or more for Olivera. (Twitter link.)
- The Orioles may not be done adding, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. That holds true even if the club’s deal with Everth Cabrera is finalized, presumably, as the report indicates that Baltimore is expected to sign at least one more pitcher to a minor league deal.
- One arm that the O’s have been connected to is Dustin McGowan. Another team that has expressed interest in the 32-year-old, the Twins, is not expected to land the free agent righty, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
The Orioles have reached out to representatives of free agent righty Dustin McGowan to express interest, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Several other clubs are also believed to be in on the 32-year-old swingman.
McGowan has had a quiet offseason since Toronto declined its $4MM option and set him loose on the market. He opened the season in the Jays rotation, but was hit hard and demoted after eight starts. McGowan showed much more promise in the 43 relief innings that came, working to a 3.35 ERA, upping his strikeout rate to 7.5 K/9, and holding opponents to a sub-.700 OPS.
Amongst a quickly-depleting supply of viable free agent arms, McGowan is notable for his mid-90s fastball. Though he has been much more effective against opposing right-handers in his career, McGowan’s long history as a starter at least supplies him with some tools for attacking lefties in a relief role. And it never hurts to have an additional spot starter if need be.
The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve exercised their option on catcher Josh Thole and declined their options on first baseman Justin Smoak and righties Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan. Smoak is still eligible for arbitration and will remain in the organization. Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca was the first to report on Smoak’s status (via Twitter), while Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish was first on McGowan.
Thole will make $1.75MM next season after hitting .248/.320/.278 in 150 plate appearances last season. He’ll continue to serve as the Jays’ catcher when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is pitching.
The Jays will pay the newly acquired Smoak a $150K buyout rather than picking up his $3.65MM option. They’ll gamble that he’ll make less in arbitration. With Adam Lind headed to Milwaukee, the lefty now has a clearer path to a role with the Jays in 2015.
Morrow will receive a $1MM buyout on his $10MM option after missing much of the season due to a finger injury. He still throws hard, however, and his intriguing track record (including an excellent 9.4 K/9 in a career mostly spent as a starter) will make him a free agent to watch. McGowan, who posted a 4.17 ERA in 82 innings split between the rotation and the bullpen last year, will receive a $500K buyout rather than a $4MM option.
MLBTR's Offseason In Review series continued earlier today with my look at the Orioles' winter moves, covering everything from the Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz signings to the lack of progress on extensions for Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters. Here's some more from around the AL East…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews) that he's "hearing from a lot of people about" catchers John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine. The Yankees have been shopping their catching depth for weeks, and now that Francisco Cervelli has won the backup job, Murphy and Romine could be more expendable. Cashman, however, doesn't feel pressure to move either players. "They’re assets. We’re not in any position where we have to do anything, but if something made sense, we’d consider it. But right now, we’re happy with what we’ve got," Cashman said.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that he has informed Wilson Betemit and Jayson Nix that they won't be making Tampa's Opening Day roster, in order to give the two players extra time to find another Major League opportunity. The two veterans signed minor league deals with the Rays earlier this winter and have the ability to opt out, though Betemit told Topkin that he would play for Tampa's Triple-A affiliate if he couldn't find a roster spot elsewhere (Topkin believes Nix feels the same way).
- Mark Lowe is also open to returning to the Rays, the veteran right-hander tells Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times. Lowe's family lives in the Tampa area and he praised the Rays organization, saying that he would be willing to pitch at Triple-A unless, like Betemit and Nix, he finds a job with another team. The Rays granted Lowe his release earlier today after he was also told he wouldn't make the 25-man roster.
- The Blue Jays' decision to make Dustin McGowan their fifth starter raises concerns about whether McGowan is up to the task both performance-wise and health-wise, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. Since McGowan made the rotation almost by default given how the Jays' other options struggled, Davidi wonders "if he and the Blue Jays are playing a game of Russian Roulette with his career" by returning McGowan to a starting role before he's even fully stretched out. The injury-plagued McGowan missed three of the previous four seasons with shoulder and knee surgeries but pitched effectively over 25 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2013.
- Corey Brown didn't invoke the opt-out clause in his minor league contract with the Red Sox and will report to the club's Triple-A club, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.
Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East…
- Dan Martin of The New York Post reports that the Yankees have had "preliminary discussions" about bringing Raul Ibanez back as a platoon player next season. The 40-year-old played more than the club would have liked this year due to Brett Gardner's injury.
- The Orioles are telling teams that their priorities in the trade market are first base, left field, and DH according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter). GM Dan Duquette said several clubs match up well with their needs.
- Rival executives tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is "itching" to make a trade (Twitter link). Toronto is targeting starting pitching.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm listed the Blue Jays' 12 out of options players (Twitter links): Brett Cecil, Rajai Davis, Jeremy Jeffress, Adam Lind, Jeff Mathis, Mike McCoy, Dustin McGowan, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos, Cory Wade, and Bobby Wilson.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe wonders (on Twitter) how far the Red Sox will extend themselves to sign Mike Napoli now that there is competition from the Yankees. He notes that Boston went the extra mile to sign David Ross.
- Jerry Sands, who was acquired in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, could be a platoon answer for the Red Sox at first base or in either corner outfield spot, according to CSNNE.com.