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Endy Chavez Rumors
In case you missed it, the Cubs‘ efforts to renovate Wrigley Field have run into some snags that have stirred up controversy in Chicago. That project has frequently been cited by the team as a key factor in future payroll expansion. Club executive Crane Kenney discussed the latest in an interview with David Kaplan on The Game 87.7 FM (audio link). Kaplan also released a copy of the agreement with the neighboring rooftop owners that is at the center of the dispute (on CSNChicago.com). Today, first baseman Anthony Rizzo expressed frustration over the delays, saying that players had been told to expect significant clubhouse renovations, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Here’s the latest from around the league to finish up the night …
- With the Blue Jays seemingly more interested in adding a short-term rental arm than a player who comes with more control (and a higher price), Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says that James Shields of the Royals could be a possible target for Toronto. Heyman says that the Jays hope to avoid “gutting” the team’s prospect pool in adding a pitcher, and like that Shields has proven himself in the AL East. Of course, unless Kansas City is well out of the race by the time the trade deadline comes around, Shields may not even be available. And even if he is shopped, he would draw lots of interest from other contenders and should command a substantial prospect haul himself. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said earlier today that he is confident the club can take on salary to add an impact pitcher; in discussing that news, MLBTR’s Steve Adams listed several possible free agents-to-be that could become available and attractive to the Jays.
- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado will not require surgery on his broken left middle finger, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. That is good news for a suddenly-reeling Colorado club, though Arenado still figures to miss at least six more weeks. It will be interesting to see whether an anticipated mid-to-late July return for Arenado could help encourage the Rockies to buy at the trade deadline, if they can stay afloat in the meantime.
- The Reds were among the many clubs on hand to watch Cuban righty Raciel Iglesias throw today in Haiti, tweets C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Cinci pen has struggled to the league’s third-worst ERA through the first third of the season. Iglesias is said to have the potential to be a legitimate big league relief contributor right away.
- One aspect of the Mariners‘ decision to purchase the contract of outfielder Endy Chavez today was his June 1 opt-out date, tweets Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The 36-year-old was carrying a .272/.346/.289 triple-slash in 134 plate appearances at Triple-A.
- Other opt-out situations around the league are coming to a decision point. In addition to attempting to address the clause of rehabbing starter Johan Santana, the Orioles are waiting to find out whether reliever Luis Ayala will opt out of his deal tomorrow, with the expectation that he will, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links). The veteran righty has allowed three earned runs (with five strikeouts against two walks) in 5 1/3 innings at Double-A thus far in 2014.
- Meanwhile, Brewers lefty Brad Mills has been excellent at Triple-A and is nearing a June 15 opt-out date, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 29-year-old has a 1.74 ERA in 57 innings (including nine starts), with 9.0 K/9 against just 1.9 BB/9.
TODAY: Quintero has also re-signed with the Mariners on a minor league deal, tweets Dutton.
YESTERDAY, 3:38pm: Chavez has already reached agreement on a new minor league deal, tweets Dutton.
3:18pm: The Mariners will release outfielder Endy Chavez and catcher Humberto Quintero rather than paying the pair $100K retention bonuses, tweets Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (via Twitter). Both will hit the open market as a result.
The pair of veterans have a combined 23 years of MLB experience between them. It appears that Seattle would be interested in bringing them back on new minor league deals, but they'll have a chance to look for a better opportunity elsewhere in the meantime.
TODAY: Chavez will earn $750K if he makes the big league roster, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and the deal includes up to $450K in incentives tied to plate appearances. He can request his release on June 1st if he is not on the MLB roster.
YESTERDAY: The Mariners have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Endy Chavez, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link). Chavez, a Legacy Agency client, will receive an invitation to Seattle's big league Spring Training camp.
Chavez, who turns 36 in February, signed a minor league deal with the M's last March and ended up playing in 97 Major League games, seeing time at all three outfield positions and hitting .267/.290/.327 in 279 PA. Chavez joins a crowded outfield situation in Seattle, as he'll be battling Franklin Gutierrez, Willie Bloomquist, Abraham Almonte and Dustin Ackley for either bench jobs or even a regular share of starting time in left field.
While the Mariners recently looked to be clear sellers in this year's trade market, the team's recent eight-game winning streak and offensive explosion looks to have changed their position. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that teams who have checked in on the Mariners have been told they're not sellers at this time (Twitter link).
No team has scored more runs than the Mariners this month, which is an encouraging sign for a team whose rotation is fronted by Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. The Mariners have a number of veterans on one year deals, including Kendrys Morales, Mike Morse, Joe Saunders, Oliver Perez, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay, many of whom were frequently mentioned as trade candidates.
Heyman tweets that in particular, there's little belief that Seattle would move Morales, as they plan on extending a qualifying offer to him at season's end. He's been terrific for the M's since coming over from the division rival Angels this offseason, hitting .282/.341/.466 with 15 homers.
Recently, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times noted that general manager Jack Zduriencik wasn't planning on being aggressive at the trade deadline because the franchise needed to show some progress to fans and couldn't afford another 90-loss season. Obviously, that's doubly true for Zduriencik himself, as his job has been rumored to be in jeopardy. At the time that piece was written, Stone thought Perez would certainly be moved, and added that the Mariners could make small trades of Brendan Ryan and Endy Chavez. It appears now that the Mariners, who are 8.5 games back from a Wild Card spot, will hold steady.
The impending return of Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list could lead the Mariners to designate Endy Chavez for assignment, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. The M's have no plans to carry six outfielders, and Baker thinks they won't drop Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez, since they've been hitting well. That leaves Chavez without a chair. Chavez has hit .282/.288/.310 so far this season. Here are more notes from the two West divisions.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane are in Chapel Hill today to watch a draft prospect, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (on Twitter). That would likely be UNC third baseman Colin Moran, who the Astros could be considering selecting with the top overall pick.
- The Angels could form a good team of players they've traded, let go or left unsigned, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times argues. That includes Matt Harvey, who rejected their $1MM offer and went to UNC after the Angels drafted him in the third round in 2007. DiGiovanna writes that Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren would form a very strong non-Angels rotation. The Angels' 15-27 record naturally leads to second-guessing.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten says he assumes Don Mattingly will remain the team's manager for the rest of the season, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Nonetheless, Kasten doesn't exactly offer a ringing endorsement of Mattingly. "I assume so because I assume we're going to play the rest of the year even better than we've played so far and I like the way the ballclub is set up," Kasten says. The Dodgers are currently 17-23.
- Kasten sounds more enthusiastic about about the Dodgers' international scouting efforts. "With this recent group of hirings, we made sure to cover not just Japan and not just the Dominican Republic, but also more in Venezuela and even other countries in South America," Kasten says, noting that the Dodgers are also hunting for talent throughout Europe. Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are also planning to renovate their Dominican facility.
The struggles of Jackie Bradley Jr. serve as a reminder that Spring Training stats are a mere "snapshot in time," writes SB Nation's Rob Neyer. He adds that Spring Training stats "describe the random nature of raw performance statistics as much as they describe fundamental abilities." Here are some links from around the league…
- The excellent play of Endy Chavez is going to force the Mariners to make a roster decision, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. With Michael Saunders coming off the DL next week, the team will have to make a move or carry six outfielders. Jason Bay seems like the most logical candidate as the odd man out, in my personal opinion.
- There was a point this offseason where Brian Grieper, Mike Napoli's agent and friend, thought Napoli's career in baseball was over, writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier. Napoli was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips this offseason but has been healthy through the early portion of the season.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is comfortable with the relievers he has despite the bullpen's struggles thus far, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As Strauss notes, it's difficult to find help from outside the organization at this point in the season.
- The Marlins were never interested in Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. K-Rod signed a minor league deal with the Brewers yesterday.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes that Padres president Tom Garfinkel apologized for the behind-closed-doors comments he made about Zack Greinke which were linked to the public. Garfinkel said flatly that Greinke threw at Carlos Quentin on purpose and also made comments which hinted at Greinke's previous battles with social anxiety disorder.
2:00pm: Chavez says he will start the year at Triple-A, reports MLB.com's John Schlegel.
11:05am: Not surprisingly, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times confirms that it's a minor league contract. As Baker writes, the bigger story behind this signing is that it places Casper Wells' future with the Mariners in doubt.
10:40am: The Mariners have signed Endy Chavez, according to agent Chris Leible of the Legacy Agency on Twitter (hat tip: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News). Chavez will report to camp with the Mariners today.
Chavez signed a minor league deal with the Royals earlier this offseason, but Kansas City released the 35-year-old last week.
Chavez spent the 2009 season with the Mariners, appearing in 54 games and posting a .273/.328/.342 batting line before a torn ACL cost him the remainder of the season. Chavez is a veteran of 11 Major League seasons and seven teams. He is a career .269/.306/.367 hitter and a very highly regarded defensive outfielder at all three positions, as evidenced by his career 11.7 UZR/150.
The Royals added Chavez on a minor league deal in December after he spent the 2012 season with Baltimore. Chavez played all three outfield positions for the Orioles last year, posting a .203/.236/.278 batting line in 169 plate appearances. The 35-year-old has played for seven teams in his 11-year MLB career.
The Royals have announced the signing of outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor league contract. Chavez is represented by Peter E. Greenberg & Associates and is the third veteran outfielder the Royals have signed this month, following their minor league contracts with Xavier Nady and Willy Taveras.
Chavez (who turns 35 in February) signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Orioles last offseason and hit .203/.236/.278 in 169 plate appearances for Baltimore in 2012. Chavez spent most his 64 games as a defensive replacement in left and right field and it's likely he'll fill a similar backup role in Kansas City. On paper he fits as a left-handed hitting complement to Jeff Francoeur in right field, but Chavez's career .676 OPS against right-handed pitching is even less than Francoeur's much-maligned career numbers (.702 OPS) against righties.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report the signing, with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick adding that it was a minor league deal and that the Giants also had interest in Chavez's services (both links are to Twitter).
The Blue Jays announced that they’ve suspended Yunel Escobar for three games because the shortstop played with a homophobic slur written under his eyes in Spanish this past weekend. Here are today’s AL East notes, starting with the Blue Jays…
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggests the Blue Jays will make Escobar available in trades again this coming offseason. Knobler expects Escobar will draw interest, despite his poor offensive performance and the perception that he can be a difficult teammate. The Blue Jays had planned to move Escobar to second base, but were apprehensive about having to deliver the message to the 29-year-old, Knobler reports.
- When Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette got started in Baltimore, he said he wanted to improve his team's on-base percentage and acquire talented players who weren't getting opportunities elsewhere. As Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explains, Duquette has found unexpected contributors, but hasn't improved the team's on-base percentage. Expect Duquette to look for players with above-average on-base percentages this coming offseason.
- Endy Chavez's presence has made the Orioles’ search for outfield help less urgent, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).