Eric Young, Jr. Rumors

Mets Make Bartolo Colon Available

The Mets have made Bartolo Colon available in trades, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports.  The team isn’t thought to be seriously negotiating a Colon trade at this time, though a Major League source thinks the Mets will start hearing more offers on the veteran right-hander over the next week.

It was reported last week that the Mets were listening to offers for the 41-year-old Colon, who fits as a trade chip given his contract ($3.75MM remaining this season and $11MM in 2015) and the fact that New York has the young pitching depth to take Colon’s spot in the rotation both this season and next.  The Mets could wait until past the July 31st deadline to move Colon and “it is not a foregone conclusion that he will be dealt” at all, Rubin writes.

The Mets’ deadline needs include a power-hitting left fielder and a shortstop who can supplant Ruben Tejada, Rubin reports, though these pieces wouldn’t necessarily come from a Colon trade.  (While Colon is still pitching effectively, his age will likely prevent the Mets from landing a true impact young player in return.)  The Diamondbacks and Cubs stand out as teams with a possible surplus at shortstop, and the Mets have been connected to Didi Gregorius in the past, though Rubin hears that Tony La Russa is still evaluating Arizona’s roster and may wait until the offseason for major moves.

As for the Cubs, the addition of Addison Russell to an organization that already has Starlin Castro in the bigs and star prospect Javier Baez at Triple-A would seem to make them trade partners for the Mets as well.  Rubin says that Baez “is believed to be a more realistic target” for the Mets, though it would take a major deal to get Chicago to part with a player who is a consensus top-10 prospect in baseball, despite Baez’s underwhelming Triple-A numbers this season.

To create room in the outfield, the Mets are trying to find trades for Chris Young and Eric Young Jr.  Neither player is enjoying a particularly strong season, though Young Jr. will be more attractive to other teams due to his speed (25-for-28 in steals) and two remaining years of team control, whereas Chris Young is owed over $3MM for the rest of the year.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Detwiler, Young, Snider

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. We'll use this post to keep tabs on players avoiding arbitration today:

  • The Nationals announced on Twitter that they have avoided arbitration with lefty Ross Detwiler. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reports (also on Twitter) that Detwiler received a $3MM salary and can earn an additional $50K for reaching 180 innings.
  • Sherman reports that the Mets and Eric Young Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.85MM (Twitter link). Young batted .251/.318/.329 in 418 plate appearances for the Mets in 2013 after he was acquired from the Rockies. He also swiped 38 bases in 45 tries, showing off his blazing speed.
  • Sherman tweets that the Pirates have avoided arbitration with Travis Snider by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract. The former Top 10 overall prospect batted just .215/.281/.333 in 285 plate appearances in 2013, though he's a solid defender and is still entering just his age-26 season.
  • Sherman also reports that Tim Collins agreed to a one-year, $1.3625MM contract with the Royals, thereby avoiding arbitration (Twitter link). Collins has a strong 3.51 ERA in 190 career innings with 9.7 K/9 in his first three seasons, but he's struggled with command, as evidenced by his 5.2 BB/9 in that time. His control has improved a bit over the past two seasons.
  • The Yankees and Francisco Cervelli have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $700K, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Cervelli, who turns 28 in March, is a career .271/.343/.367 hitter in 623 plate appearances.

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Alderson On Shortstop, First Base, Rotation, Murphy

Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with reporters in Orlando on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Here are the highlights (all links go to Twitter):

  • Alderson acknowleded the Mets will not add another free agent of Stephen Drew's caliber and price tag unless a contract is moved, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets the Mets are telling clubs any other noteworthy deals will come via trades, not free agency.
  • The Mets are bracing themselves for the possibility Ruben Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
  • "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our shortstop, we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done," Puma quoted Alderson as saying.
  • Alderson wouldn't say how far along the Mets are in resolving their first base situation, Rubin tweets. Sources tell Martino the Mets' strong preference remains trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda and a deal could happen this week. In a separate tweet, Martino adds the Mets feel Davis could have more trade value in January, but are eager to settle the matter now. 
  • Alderson isn't totally comfortable with having two prospects in the starting rotation, tweets Rubin.
  • Alderson indicated Eric Young, Jr. is more than a reserve leading Rubin to believe Daniel Murphy could still be traded. Martino tweets one team has already been told the Mets are willing to move Murphy this week.


Mets Notes: Murphy, Young, Abreu, Tanaka

Earlier today, the Mets officially announced their two-year extension of manager Terry Collins' contract. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that pitching coach Dan Warthen also received a two-year contract, making him the only coach on the Mets' staff to secure a multiyear guarantee. Here's more on the Amazins…

  • The team will be open to trading Daniel Murphy this offseason, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. He cautions that the Mets don't necessarily expect to trade Murphy, but adds that they'll be open to moving him if the trade fills a larger hole like shortstop or the outfield. New York would move Eric Young Jr. to second base in that scenario to keep his much-needed speed in the lineup. Rubin feels that Young, who swiped a league-leading 46 bases this season, will be a starter on next year's team in some capacity.
  • Rubin also notes, once again, that Shin-Soo Choo is the only free agent the Mets would surrender a pick for (he would cost the Mets their second-rounder, as their first is protected). Choo will likely be too expensive for the Mets, however, especially in light of Hunter Pence's five-year, $90MM extension, so the Mets are likely to instead follow Boston's model from last offseason and sign multiple middle-tier free agents to shorter-term deals. Rubin points out that the Mets could make several external additions and still see a decrease in payroll due to the huge contracts they have coming off the books.
  • The Mets have upped their international scouting efforts, which could be a sign that they'll be more active on the global market this winter, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.
  • Along those same lines, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have three scouts in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to watch Jose Dariel Abreu. They also plan to do due diligence on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Sherman is careful to add that the Mets are still seen as a long-shot to land Abreu.
  • After talking with a club official, Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter) feels that the Mets will try to "get creative" in a trade for a big-ticket item before going the free agent route. Carig chimes in as well, adding that with so much money coming off the books, the Mets could take on a big contract should they go that route (Twitter link).
  • GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including DiComo, that he's hopeful the team will be able to make a splash in free agency this offseason (Twitter links).

Zach Links contributed to this post.


NL West Notes: Mattingly, Cabrera, Young Jr.

The red-hot Dodgers suffered just their third loss of the second half last night and have expanded their lead on the NL West to five games over the second-place Diamondbacks. Here's the latest out of the division…

  • It's easy to forget what a dreadful situation the Dodgers were in just two short months ago, but manager Don Mattingly offered a reminder when speaking to reporters, including Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Mattingly said that team president Stan Kasten approached him and told him that they would have to let him go if things didn't turn around. There was plenty of speculation back in May regarding Mattingly's job security, but this is the first that either side has acknowledged how close he may have come to getting fired.
  • Suspended Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera gave an emotional, bilingual speech to his teammates, apologizing to them behind closed doors prior to Monday's game, writes MLB.com's Jamal Collier. Collier adds that Cabrera took a banned substance in the spring of 2012 to help heal a shoulder injury at the advice of former ACES employee Juan Nunez  – the same employee who was reportedly behind Melky Cabrera's web site scandal.
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes that former Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr. has no ill feelings towards Colorado after being traded to the Mets earlier this season. "I’m more appreciative they made the move they did, because I wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t," Young told reporters on Tuesday. Young has been outstanding with the Mets, hitting .270/.350/.362 with a home run (of the walk-off variety) and 15 steals in 19 attempts.

Mets Notes: Byrdak, Collins, Trade Chips

It's been 731 days since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for Zack Wheeler, and while that trade looks brilliant now, it also represents the last July trade that involved the Amazin's. Here's more on New York's National League club…

  • Tim Byrdak's contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the Mets should another team offer him a Major League roster spot, MLBTR has learned. After being contacted by an interested team, the Mets would have 48 hours to add Byrdak to their own big league roster. If they chose not to do so, Byrdak would be free to join the new team, and the Mets would receive no compensation. The clause is similar to the one that allowed Jason Grilli to leave the Phillies and join the Pirates in 2011. Byrdak currently has a 2.45 ERA and 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 11 innings at High-A St. Lucie as he works his way back from shoulder and knee surgeries in late 2012.
  • A Mets executive told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he would be surprised if manager Terry Collins were replaced after the season. The Mets are happy with the job that Collins has done, and the executive says the team is doing a good job of "sprinting to the finish line" with Collins at the helm (Twitter links). Collins still only under contract through the 2013 season.
  • Puma's colleague, Joel Sherman, tweets that left-handed relief is in such high demand, the Mets actually received calls checking in on how Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano were progressing in their rehab.
  • Nothing has changed on the Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell front, according to Sherman (on Twitter). The Mets have received nibbles on both, but not nearly enough to make a deal likely.
  • The Mets are seeking a "Wheeler type" top prospect in exchange for Parnell, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Given that exborbitant price tag, it's no surprise that interest hasn't picked up much.
  • Sherman adds that the Mets had hoped to see interest in Daniel Murphy, John Buck and Eric Young Jr., but to this point they haven't received calls on that group. As such, they're likely to simply try to win as many games as they can with the current group in the season's second half.

Mets Acquire Eric Young Jr., Designate Collin Cowgill

The Mets announced that they have acquired Eric Young Jr. from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Collin McHugh.  In a related move, the Mets have also designated Collin Cowgill for assignment.

Young Jr. was designated for assignment last week in order to make room for the activation of right-hander Chris Volstad.  The outfielder posted a .316/.377/.448 slash line in 196 plate appearances last year but has hit just .242/.290/.352 with one homer in 180 PAs this year.  The 28-year-old has experience at all three outfield positions as well as 49 games at second base.

McHugh has 11 big league games under his belt but has spent the 2013 season with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate.  In nine starts for Las Vegas, McHugh has a 2.87 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.  Despite his success there, he'll report to the Rockies' Double-A affiliate, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).

Cowgill, 27, has a .173/.189/.327 slash line in 53 plate appearances this year.  In parts of three seasons at the Triple-A the outfielder has hit .307/.381/.476.


Rockies Designate Eric Young Jr. For Assignment

The Rockies have designated Eric Young Jr. for assignment, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).  The move will allow the Rockies to activate right-hander Chris Volstad.

The outfielder posted a .316/.377/.448 slash line in 196 plate appearances last year but hasn't found the same success in 2013.  In 180 PAs this year, the 28-year-old has hit .242/.290/.352 with one homer. Young has experience at all three outfield positions as well as 49 games at second base.


Agency Notes: Scutaro, Gonzalez, Young Jr.

On a busy night in baseball, we've also seen some changes in representation.  Of course, you can keep up on all agency news with MLBTR's Agency Database.  Here's the latest..

  • Marco Scutaro is now represented by agent Barry Praver, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  The Giants hope to re-sign the infielder this winter and by all accounts the interest appears to be mutual.  
  • Nationals left-hander Mike Gonzalez is now represented by Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).  Gonzalez was a client of Scott Boras last season when he joined the club on a minor league deal.  The Nats would like to re-tool their bullpen this winter but are said to have interest in retaining the 34-year-old.
  • Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr. has left CAA to hook on with Dan Lozano at MVP, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  Young is not yet arbitration eligible and won't hit the open market until after the 2016 season.

Jeremy Guthrie Trade Reactions

The Orioles agreed to send Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom in a deal that was announced earlier today. The trade provides the Rockies with an innings eater atop a rotation filled with uncertainty and gives the Orioles two players who are under team control through 2013. Here are some reactions to the deal:

  • Guthrie wrote on Twitter that Nick Swisher's batting average is one of the 'losers' of the trade. Swisher has a .448 average in 29 career plate appearances against Guthrie.
  • The Orioles should have traded Guthrie at or before last year's July 31st trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal says Guthrie had more trade value when he was further away from free agency. The Tigers, Rangers and Cardinals had interest in Guthrie last summer, Rosenthal tweets.
  • Guthrie told reporters, including Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, that he was surprised to be traded since he and the Orioles had been preparing for an arbitration hearing.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears arbitration talks between Guthrie and the Orioles were contentious leading up to today's scheduled hearing (Twitter links). Olney hears the Orioles and Rockies started discussing Guthrie at last year's trade deadline and continued talks at the November GM Meetings.
  • Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd joined Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on MLB Network Radio and said the Rockies have admired Guthrie for a while. O'Dowd had discussed the right-hander with Andy MacPhail before the Orioles' recent regime change.
  • Connolly hears that Eric Young Jr. came up in trade talks, before the Orioles decided he wasn't a fit. The infielder is out of options and the Orioles have a full 40-man roster.
  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com explains that Guthrie could be better off in Denver, since NL West teams play in a number of big ballparks and Guthrie lives in Utah.
  • The Rockies' offer was 'by far' the best one the Orioles received, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.
  • Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette weighed in on the trade earlier today.