Eric Young, Jr. Rumors

Free Agent Rumors: Furcal, Grilli, Young, Mets

Free agent infielder Rafael Furcal could be a fit for the Royals on a minor league deal thanks to his connection with GM Dayton Moore, according to Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (via Twitter).  Here are some of the latest free agency rumors out of San Diego..

  • Jason Grilli has multiple offers from teams in major markets but the Tigers are not one of them, his agent tells Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter).
  • The Rangers have interest in Eric Young Jr., but they may have already been outbid, according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is considering bidding in the posting of Jung-ho Kang, but he’s unresolved as to whether he will, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • The Orioles could be a landing spot for former Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • After signing Jon Lester, the Cubs are now pursuing outfielder Jonny Gomes in an apparent effort to get the band back together, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Catcher David Ross tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that he’s not close on a deal with any club even though he has interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, D’Backs, and Padres.

2014-15 National League Non-Tenders

Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2015 season. We’ll run down the list of National League non-tenders here, and update it as reports come in. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR’s Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates (in the estimation of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes). Also important for reference is the set of arbitration salary projections from MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz. Click here for an explanation of the process, and be sure to check out this piece featuring some interesting observations from Tim regarding non-tender considerations.

  • The Rockies have non-tendered lefty Kraig Sitton, the team announced.
  • The Pirates have non-tendered Gaby Sanchez and Chaz Roe, the club announced. Sanchez was in DFA limbo.
  • The Cardinals will non-tender Daniel Descalso, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. That move seemed rather likely, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reported last night.
  • Lefty Wesley Wright and catcher John Baker have been non-tendered by the Cubs, the team announced. Wright certainly qualifies as a surprise, as the 29-year-old was solid for the Cubs and was projected to earn just $2MM.
  • The Reds have non-tendered righties Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports.
  • Meanwhile, the Giants have tendered all arb-eligible players contracts, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News reports on Twitter.
  • The Mets have announced that Eric Young Jr. has been non-tendered, ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin tweets.
  • The Braves have dropped the biggest non-tender news of the day thus far, releasing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to the open market. Otherwise, the only teams announcing to this point have decided to tender all of their players.
  • There will are no non-tenders to report for the Diamondbacks, who have announced that they have tendered contracts to all eligible players (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter).
  • The same holds true for the Marlins, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter link).
  • The Nationals have announced that they have tendered contracts to all ten eligible players, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter). Washington had previously agreed to avoid arbitration with one other player from the packed class (Kevin Frandsen).

Non-Tender Notes: Wood, Beckham, Mets

Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), but for the time being, here are some news and notes from a few borderline cases around the league…

  • The Cubs are expected to tender a contract to lefty Travis Wood despite the fact that is coming off a down season, reports ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers. Wood, projected to earn $5.5MM in 2015, posted a 5.03 ERA in 173 2/3 innings. His command regressed (3.9 BB/9) but he did also see an uptick in strikeouts (7.6 K/9). Rogers notes that Wood could still be traded, as the Cubs did bring back a lefty to slot into the rotation in the form of Tsuyoshi Wada. Chicago is expected to pursue multiple starters on the free agent and trade markets this winter, so if they add enough in the way of upgrades, a team may be interested in taking on Wood at a reasonable price.
  • The Angels will tender David Freese and pay him something in the range of his $6.3MM projection but are expected to non-tender Gordon Beckham, Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times writes. However, the Halos will have interest in bringing Beckham back in a utility role on a smaller deal than the $5MM he is projected to earn. Of course, Beckham will be a free agent and can field offers from other clubs, and it’s perfectly possible that in a market that’s light on infielders, another club would offer either a larger guarantee or a starting role.
  • Ruben Tejada ($1.7MM projection) is expected to be tendered a contract by the Mets, but Eric Young Jr. could be cut loose, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. The Mets feel they can replicate Young’s production at a lower rate than his projected $2.3MM salary, but replacing Tejada may cost more than his modest projection. Rubin notes that the Mets feel Kirk Nieuewnhuis can be a serviceable fifth outfielder at a fraction of Young’s price. As for a fourth outfielder, they’ll look for a righty bat like Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick. Presumably, either of them could handle left field versus lefty starters, with Michael Cuddyer shifting to first base to shield Lucas Duda from lefties.


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.