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It was not easy for Braves president John Schuerholz to dismiss GM Frank Wren, writes MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby. Due to a combination of loyalty and good initial hiring decisions, Schuerholz has rarely decided to part ways with top members of his front office. But in this case, the longtime Atlanta executive said that change was necessary, albeit difficult. “It took time for me to get to the point of doing what I did,” said Schuerholz, who also indicated that failures in free agency may not have been the primary source of Wren’s undoing. “It’s not just about success of the club at the Major League level,” he explained, referring to the “life blood” of the club’s scouting and player development. “You have to be cognizant that the strengths of your organization are as strong as they need to be. it is why I used the words ‘cumulative effect’ [during the announcement Monday].”
- Meanwhile, newly-extended Mets GM Sandy Alderson had a variety of interesting comments today, and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com provides a transcript. Emphasizing that he does not believe the club needs “a giant leap” to contend, Alderson said he expects the team to be active in free agency while remaining cognizant that the open market is, as he described it, a “crapshoot.” After COO Jeff Wilpon indicated that his GM will have payroll flexibility (as Rubin reports on Twitter), Alderson said that he does not know whether the team will see a spike in payroll. He did note that he does not “feel that we will necessarily be constrained by the payroll next year.” With the team needing to improve by approximately ten to twelve wins, according to Alderson, it is looking to add production in any way possible rather than “get[ting] too bogged down in too much specificity now.” That opportunistic approach may take some time to play out, he suggested: “We’re going to explore all of the options and see where it takes us. It may take us a while during the course of the offseason to fully explore what those options are.”
- The Blue Jays will retain manager John Gibbons for next year barring some unforeseen change in circumstances, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Though recent comments from GM Alex Anthopoulos led some to believe that Gibbons could be in some trouble heading into the offseason, Heyman says that the team is planning for 2015 without any intention of finding a new skipper.
- While the Yankees have not played up to expectations after a winter of big spending, the club’s mid-season acquisitions could not have gone much better, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. With the exception of Stephen Drew, all of the veterans added with the hope of a turnaround did just that. contributing far more value in their short stints in New York than they had with their former clubs.
- As the Red Sox continue to tinker with one of the game’s most fascinating talent mixes, those calling for a trade of cornerstone second baseman Dustin Pedroia may need something of a reality check, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. For starters, Pedroia’s deal contains a full no-trade clause, Bradford notes. And when Pedroia’s glove and veteran role are weighed in the balance, says Bradford, the idea of trading him makes little practical sense.
In his latest Insider-only piece for ESPN, Buster Olney expressed doubt that the Orioles would re-sign Nelson Cruz this winter. The O’s are more likely to let Cruz go and pick up an extra draft pick (via the qualifying offer) since Cruz’s big season may have made him too expensive for Baltimore. If the team looks for a right-handed bat to replace Cruz, Olney opines that the Braves’ Evan Gattis, rumored to be a trade candidate, would be a perfect fit as the Orioles’ new designated hitter.
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- Also from Olney, Yankees GM Brian Cashman originally passed on the idea of signing Chris Young when the team’s statistical analysts recommended that the Yankees pick up the recently-released Met. Cashman’s change of heart paid off, as Young has a whopping 1.266 OPS in his short stint (29 PA) as a Yankee and three homers, including a walkoff to beat the Rays last Thursday.
- Rookie right-hander Shane Greene‘s emergence has been a boon for the Yankees‘ injury-riddled rotation, and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post details the unlikely story of how Greene originally caught the eyes of team scouts. Greene, a 15th-round draft pick in 2009, has a 3.56 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 2.92 K/BB rate over 68 1/3 IP this season.
- Dustin Pedroia‘s contract extension was considered to be very team-friendly when it was signed last year, but ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes wonders if the Red Sox were too quick to extend Pedroia given how recurring injuries caused his performance to drop off in 2014. The Sox already had Pedroia locked up through 2014 (with a team option for 2015) on a prior contract before tearing that deal up for his new extension that runs through the 2021 season.
- The Rays‘ planned payroll cut might not be all that drastic, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, as the team still plans to contend next season. Any payroll saved “will be the product of trades and tough choices.” For instance, Topkin thinks Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Joyce could be trade candidates, as both players will get raises in arbitration this winter.
- Earlier today, MLBTR’s Steve Adams compiled more news from around the AL East.
The Pirates announced, via press release, that Pedro Alvarez has been diagnosed with a stress reaction of the fourth metatarsal in his left foot — an injury that comes with a four to six week recovery timeline. The powerful Alvarez had lost playing time to Josh Harrison at third base but has still seen the occasional start at the hot corner plus some starts at first base and DH (during interleague play, of course). That injury seems likely to sideline him for the remainder of the 2014 season, meaning that his campaign will come to a close with a rather disappointing .231/.312/.405 slash line and 18 homers.
Here are some more notes pertaining to notable injuries from around the league…
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will undergo surgery on his left hand tomorrow, thereby ending his 2014 season. It’s been a rough few weeks for Pedroia, who also missed time due to concussion-like symptoms at the end of August after an on-field collision. The ’08 MVP batted .278/.337/.376 this season, which despite translating to league-average production (101 OPS+), is the least-productive full season he’s had in terms of rate stats.
- While the Bucs and BoSox received bad news today, the Tigers got some good news regarding Jose Iglesias‘ injuries, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com. Iglesias was cleared for lower body workouts after receiving a CT scan and MRI that showed the stress fractures in each of his shins have healed. The defensive wizard has not been able to do any lower body work while dealing with the injuries but will now accelerate his rehab with a physical therapist in Miami before beginning an offseason training program in November. He appears to be on track for a 2015 return, says Iott, who spoke with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and was told this was “the best possible outcome we could hope for.”
In a piece for Sports on Earth, MLB.com’s Jim Callis ranks the top dozen players from this year’s crop of rookies by their anticipated future production. In spite of his questionable elbow situation, Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees leads the way, with shortstop Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox occupying the second slot.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is “probably likely” to sit out the remainder of the year and could be headed for another hand procedure, manager John Farrell said today in an appearance on WEEI (Twitter link). News of the increasing difficulty with Pedroia’s left hand and wrist emerged last night, with MLB.com’s Quinn Roberts among those reporting that a surgical option was on the table. “Surgery is one of [the options],” said Pedroia. “I could rest or continue to play or surgery. There’s three things we could do. We’ll come up with a plan the best we can that’s best for the team.” It is incumbent upon the team to act decisively to resolve Pedroia’s impairments, writes WEEI.com’s Alex Speier, especially since he is already entering the tail end of typical peak years of production. The star 31-year-old is mired in his worst season at the plate since becoming a regular (.278/.337/.376). On the other hand, he is still an elite defensive player and has racked up over 4 wins above replacement. Pedroia is owed $97.5MM (some of it deferred) over the next seven seasons under the extension he signed just over a year ago.
- Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera once again presents quite an interesting free agent case, as Mike Petriello of Fangraphs explores. Heading into his age-30 season, Cabrera is very well-placed in the upcoming free agent market, and Petriello thinks that a three or four-year deal makes sense in spite of Cabrera’s baggage. Some clubs will be willing to forgive his previous PED issues, and Petriello notes that a qualifying offer may not be a major impediment if teams with a protected first-round pick — he suggests the Phillies, White Sox, Astros, and Padres, and potentially the Reds and Mets — make a run at Cabrera. Ultimately, his value could settle somewhere in the range of three years and ~$40MM up to Curtis Granderson‘s four-year, $60MM deal.
- The Yankees are not far off from facing yet another round of questions with regard to embattled third baseman Alex Rodriguez, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Though simply cutting him loose surely has some appeal, given the uncertainty of his ability to perform (to say nothing of off-field considerations), Sherman notes that doing so would prevent any chance of recovering some portion of the remaining $61MM owed Rodriguez if his hip issues ultimately trigger an insurance payout. Sherman argues that the club should have Rodriguez report for training in October, ready to learn first base. The Yankees could then begin to see what he has left to offer, opening the possibility of using him on either side of the diamond and recouping what value there is left to be had from his ill-fated contract.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow is likely out for the season due to an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm, a source told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca last night. The issue is likely to be treated with extended rest rather than surgery, Davidi adds. The Blue Jays have since announced that Morrow will be out for approximately six weeks. Morrow, who turns 29 tomorrow, is under contract for $8MM next year and has a $10MM club option for 2015. The Blue Jays are finished this year, as a seven-game losing streak has dropped them to 11 games out in the wild card. Elsewhere in the AL East…
- The Red Sox appear "just as likely to stand pat as they are to add another reliever," writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. He says the team has not stepped up its search despite losing Andrew Bailey for the season, though they continue to monitor the market.
- "We explained to him that this is financial lunacy," agent Seth Levinson said in reference to Dustin Pedroia wanting to approach the Red Sox as early as 2011 about spending the rest of his career in Boston (WEEI's Alex Speier reporting). "Money was never really a factor," explained Levinson, who also said Pedroia chose years over salary partly to avoid becoming a contract albatross.
- Contract offers of more than five years are hard to come by, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, and he understands why Pedroia left "a few extra dollars lying on the table." Longoria did so himself in a pair of contract extensions.
- "There's no glaring place to be doing anything," Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times in regard to his club's needs. Still, the team is always looking to upgrade for the present and future.
- Along with the Yankees, the Red Sox are also still intrigued by Phillies third baseman Michael Young, a Major League source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Having dropped four in a row, the Phillies are eight games out in the NL East and worse off in the wild card.
- Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano "asked for a couple days to think about" a potential trade to the Yankees, president Theo Epstein told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune yesterday. Adding Soriano would be a "good first step" for the Yankees, writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues, but the team still has to address needs at third base and behind the plate.
- Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez, who recently signed with the Orioles for $800K, "struggles against live pitching," according to scouts who spoke to Baseball America's Ben Badler.
The Red Sox have secured the face of their franchise through the 2021 season. The team today officially announced the signing of second baseman Dustin Pedroia to an eight-year extension that will take effect in 2014. Pedroia, who is represented by ACES, will reportedly receive $110MM over the life of the contract.
Prior to this agreement, Pedroia was on a contract that paid him $10MM in 2013 and 2014 with a team-friendly club option for $11MM in 2015. The fresh contract will start in 2014 and slightly increase his salary next season but provide the Red Sox with an average annual value of less than $14MM for the four-time All-Star and 2008 American League MVP. In essence, he is receiving seven additional years and $100MM in new money.
Pedroia will reportedly receive a $1MM signing bonus before earning $12.5MM in 2014-15, $13MM in 2016, $15MM in 2017, $16MM in 2018, $15MM in 2019, $13MM in 2020 and $12MM in 2021. The contract also contains some deferred money and a full no-trade clause.
We learned late last week that the Red Sox had begun talks with the soon-to-be 30-year-old on an extension. It’s possible that the Red Sox were motivated by Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency to lock up their own standout second baseman. A colossal deal for the Yankees star would ostensibly raise the bar for players at that position.
In 449 plate appearances this season, Pedroia is slashing .308/.385/.422 with six home runs. For his career, the four-time All-Star owns a career slash line of .303/.371/.457. In addition to his bat, Pedroia delivers plenty of value with his glove, as he’s consistently among the best fielding second basemen in the game. Ultimate Zone Rating suggests that Pedroia saves 9.5 runs per 150 games played, while The Fielding Bible feels that he’s been 74 runs above average over the course of 8192 1/3 innings at second base. To date, Fangraphs pegs Pedroia’s value at 32.3 wins above replacement, while Baseball-Reference values his on-field contributions at 36.2 WAR.
Pedroia’s contract tops the previous deals signed by superstar second baseman such as Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler and Brandon Phillips (also an ACES client). By signing this deal, Pedroia will become the first second baseman to receive a contract of $100MM or more. The new pact represents the first significant contract extension by Ben Cherington since becoming Boston’s general manager, though Cherington did work out a two-year deal to avoid arbitration with left-hander Craig Breslow.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com was the first to report the extension and the full no-trade protection (Twitter links). WEEI.com’s Alex Speier provided the year-to-year breakdown of Pedroia’s contract (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Dustin Pedroia is very likely to finish his career in Boston now that he and the Red Sox have agreed to a seven-year, $100MM extension that will run through the 2021 season. Here is a roundup of news about the deal will impact Pedroia, the Red Sox and another certain AL East second baseman…
- Pedroia told reporters (including Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe) that he put a priority on being a Red Sox player for life out of loyalty to the club. "The Red Sox drafted me and a lot of teams passed on me because of my size and stuff like that," Pedroia said. "It's pretty important. That's why I want to work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career."
- This feeling manifested itself in the timing of Pedroia's extension, as WEEI.com's Rob Bradford points out that Pedroia put the team ahead of waiting until free agency or until Robinson Cano had signed his new contract.
- Speaking of Cano, Pedroia's acceptance of a "hometown discount" type of contract could affect Cano's forthcoming free agent contract, opines David Brown of Yahoo Sports. It has been speculated that Cano's next deal will pay him $200MM and Cano is "a better player than Pedroia, though not by that much. He's not twice as good as Pedroia." I suspect that with big spenders like the Yankees and Dodgers involved in the Cano sweepstakes, Cano won't have any trouble finding a deal in the $200MM range, Pedroia's deal notwithstanding.
- Pedroia's value to the Red Sox goes beyond the field and, given Boston's clubhouse problems in 2012, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler writes that the team wanted to ensure that one of its key leaders would remain in the fold.
- Second basemen have a history of declining in their early 30's, but Fangraphs' Dave Cameron still likes the Pedroia extension for the Red Sox since they were able to get him at a relative bargain price. "With the going rate of inflation in baseball, $15 million per year could easily be the market price for an average player by the middle of this contract," Cameron writes. He also uses Ian Kinsler's five-year, $75MM extension with the Rangers as a comparison and notes that Kinsler and Pedroia have similar value as hitters and Pedroia has a large defensive edge.
Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews Monday that will help determine Boston's level of interest in trading for a starting pitcher at the deadline, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Buchholz, who has bursitis in his right shoulder, has not pitched since June 8. If Andrews says Buchholz can start throwing again, the Red Sox will be less likely to trade for a starting pitcher like Bud Norris or Jake Peavy this month. Here's more out of Boston.
- Another factor in the Red Sox's decision about whether to add pitching is the "readiness" of younger pitchers Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Red Sox must weigh their goal of being competitive in the future against their goal of competing in the present, and are unlikely to blow up their farm system, particularly not for a rental. Rosenthal also mentions Peavy, who is under contract through next season, as a possible choice for the Sox.
- The Sox are targeting bullpen help at the trade deadline, although they also could pursue a starter or third baseman, Evan Drellich of MassLive.com reports. The Sox have scouted Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, but Drellich suggests that the price may be too high.
- Fear of Robinson Cano's next contract could motivate the Red Sox to sign Dustin Pedroia to an extension, Rosenthal reports. Pedroia is under contract for $10MM in 2014, and the Sox have an $11MM option on him for 2015. Cano is, of course, a free agent after this season, and should command a huge contract that could raise the bar for Pedroia. If Pedroia agrees a new deal with the Sox before Cano signs his next contract, Rosenthal says, that will prove that Pedroia "is not all about the money." The Red Sox recently offered Pedroia an extension.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal makes a similar argument (that Cano's potentially enormous extension could increase the price on a potential Pedroia contract), and also notes that Pedroia's leadership could further motivate the Red Sox to strike a deal. "Last year, we had a real lesson on what chemistry can do to a club," says Sox principal owner John Henry. "What’s happened this year is further indication. I just don’t think we appreciated how much chemistry can mean to a baseball team." Also, Britton argues that, in addition to a Pedroia deal making sense for the Red Sox, it's also in Pedroia's best interest to do a deal now at age 29, rather than waiting to hit the free agent market when he's 32.
10:07pm: The Red Sox made a formal extension offer to Pedroia over the All-Star break, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. He quotes the source as saying that the "ball is in their court," apparently referring to Pedroia and his advisers. Edes notes that the offer could exceed $100MM, though he bases that figure on the ballpark figures reported earlier by Passan.
5:15pm: The Red Sox are in long-term extension talks with star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. According to Passan, the prospective deal would make Pedroia — a client of ACES — the game's highest-paid second baseman (at least until Robinson Cano gets a new contract).
While Passan says that the parties picked up their talks over the All-Star break, after having previously explored an extension during the spring, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports that discussions have taken place over the course of the first half of the season. Progress has recently been made, according to Bradford's sources.
Pedroia's current contract runs at least through next season, and includes a team-friendly $11MM option for 2015. Nevertheless, Passan says, the sides are motivated to make a new deal. He writes that the parties still are working through the length and value of the deal, but are talking in terms of a five to six year deal with an annual salary of around $20MM.
Such a deal would likely be the largest ever given to a player manning the keystone position. The second basemen currently setting the salary bar in terms of average annual value are Ian Kinsler ($15MM for 2013), Dan Uggla ($12.4MM), and Chase Utley ($12.1MM). Those three are also among the all-time list of second basemen in terms of total guaranteed money, although in a different order. Utley has received the largest total contract at $85MM, followed by Kinsler ($75MM), Brandon Phillips ($72.5MM), and Uggla ($62MM).
On this date seven years ago, the Angels signed an undrafted amateur free agent named Darren O'Day. Such transactions typically don't amount to much, but like his delivery, O'Day's story is anything but typical. He began his career as a 23-year-old at the Rookie-level Pioneer League but quickly ascended to Triple-A. By age 25, O'Day was in the Angels' bullpen but didn't replicate his minor league success. One Rule 5 selection and two waiver claims later, O'Day finds himself as a mainstay in the Orioles' bullpen. The 30-year-old signed a two-year, $5.8MM extension with a club option for 2015 in the offseason, which is probably exactly how he envisioned his life after he graduated from Florida with a degree in agricultural and life sciences and took the MCAT with hopes of becoming a plastic surgeon.
Here's more from around the league…
- Dustin Pedroia has been playing the entire season with a torn UCL in his left thumb, reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Pedroia learned of the injury after jamming his hand in a head-first slide on Opening Day, but has elected to play "nicked up" (as he termed it). There's a possibility that the injury will require surgery following the season, but Pedroia chose not to elaborate on that scenario or on how the injury has affected his swing. “It’s a player’s decision to shut it down or play,’’ Pedroia said. “Players play."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that the Royals need to stop living in denial. Manager Ned Yost recently said the team wasn't going to panic, but Rosenthal feels it's time to make some drastic changes and wonders if firing Yost could be one of them. He also speculates about the possibility of releasing Jeff Francoeur, demoting Mike Moustakas and firing a hitting coach.
- Justin Upton spoke with Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith about the honor of being selected No. 1 overall in a draft class that included Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Garza, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon and Jay Bruce.