Esmil Rogers Rumors
Here are some news items looking ahead to what will surely be an eventful Blue Jays offseason...
- The Jays are under great pressure to improve in 2014 but have relatively little payroll space or minor league trade options to work with, and Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi warns that "operating under such need can often lead to poor choices." Davidi cites the Angels and Phillies as teams that have bloated payrolls and thin farm systems after making ill-advised moves to stay competitive, and he thinks there is potential for overspending on free agent pitchers who wouldn't necessarily represent the clear upgrade Toronto needs in their rotation.
- Speaking of pitching, GM Alex Anthopoulos told media (including The Toronto Star) that the rotation is "the most glaring hole on this team and that’s the most glaring area we need to address." What exact kinds of starters will be acquired, however, is still up in the air. “Can it be done with five mid-rotation starters? Would we be better off with two front-of-the-rotation guys and three guys that are five-hole or four-hole guys? ... I think it’s as much about guys who give you a chance to win games," Anthopoulos said.
- Anthopoulos also defended J.P. Arencibia, yet didn't give any hints either way if Arencibia would be brought back in 2014, simply saying "we need to upgrade the production" from the catcher's spot. Arencibia entered tonight's action hitting .194/.229/.365 with 21 homers in 490 PA and is on pace for one of the worst full-season OBP years in baseball history.
- Esmil Rogers was acquired as a reliever but was pressed back into service as a starter this season and hopes to continue in the rotation in 2014, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes. Rogers, 28, posted a 4.77 ERA, 2.18 K/BB and 6.3 K/9 over 44 games (20 of them starts) this season, and he is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.
- Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith examines the trade value for every member of the Blue Jays roster.
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.
The Blue Jays have acquired Esmil Rogers from the Indians for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, both teams announced. The move fills a hole for each club, as Toronto gets pitching depth while Cleveland gets infield depth.
Rogers, 27, pitched to a 3.06 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 53 innings for the Tribe this year. He was acquired from the Rockies for cash in mid-June after being designated for assignment. Rogers throws very hard -- averaged 95.7 mph with the fastball in 2012 -- and remains under team control through 2016. He fell just short of the Super Two cutoff this offseason.
Toronto had just acquired Aviles from the Red Sox as compensation for manager John Farrell late last month. The 31-year-old infielder hit .250/.282/.381 with 13 homers for Boston last year and is capable of playing the three non-first base infield spots. Aviles is projected to make $2.3MM through arbitration this winter and will remain under team control in 2014 as well. He played for new Indians manager Terry Francona briefly with the Red Sox in 2011.
Gomes, 25, hit .204/.264/.367 with four homers in 111 plate appearances for the Jays this season, his first taste of the big leagues. He hit .328/.380/.557 with 13 homers in 335 plate appearances at hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas this summer, and has experience at both infield corners and well as behind the plate. Gomes is the first Brazilian-born player in MLB history and remains under team control through 2018.
WEDNESDAY: Cleveland sent $150K to the Rockies in exchange for Rogers, reports Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter).
The Rockies designated the 26-year-old Rogers for assignment three days ago after he posted an 8.06 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9 in 25 2/3 innings of relief this year. He can't be optioned to the minors without being exposed to waivers.
Carlin, 31, has appeared in four games with the Indians this year. He has spent most of the season at Triple-A Columbus, where he posted a .230/.345/.311 line in 88 plate appearances. Carlin has a .706 OPS in 11 minor league seasons.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Rockies have designated Esmil Rogers for assignment, the club announced (on Twitter). The move clears a roster spot for Jeff Francis, who officially re-joined the team that originally drafted him. He'll start today.
Rogers, 26, pitched to an 8.06 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 6.3 BB/9 in 25 2/3 relief innings for Colorado this season. He is out of options and could not be sent to the minors without first clearing waivers. Rogers is still young and cheap, plus PitchFX has his fastball regularly in the mid-90s this season, so the Rockies should be able to find a trade partner within the next ten days.
FRIDAY: At least two AL teams are scouting Rogers, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports.
Rogers, 26, has allowed 24 hits, 13 walks and 17 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings so far this year. However, he has 21 strikeouts and his average fastball velocity is a career-best 95.9 mph, according to FanGraphs. Assuming the projected super two cutoff is accurate, Rogers will be arbitration eligible as a super two player this offseason. He can't be sent to the minor leagues without passing through waivers.
With the Rockies off to an underwhelming 13-21 start, there is no shortage of speculation about what the team could do to shake things up. Let's check the latest news out of Coors Field...
- GM Dan O'Dowd tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he doesn't plan to make any changes to the Rockies' coaching staff. "It's been frustrating for everyone involved, for our fans, for the players, for everyone. But I don't sense that we are that point (where there would be changes). That's not how we do business," O'Dowd said. Renck points out that the Rockies "are historically patient with personnel decisions and almost never act during the season." While Colorado signed manager Jim Tracy to an indefinite contract extension last winter, Renck notes that the club wanted to keep Tracy as part of the overall management team, not necessarily as the on-field manager.
- "If 2012 turns out to be a disaster, Rockies ownership must take a very hard look at the entire front office," writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post as part of a reader mailbag.
- Troy Renck writes that Colorado is keeping Esmil Rogers on the Major League roster since the right-hander is out of options and the Rockies don't want to risk exposing Rogers to waivers. Rogers has a 9.18 ERA in 16 2/3 innings with the Rockies this season, while the more effective Carlos Torres was just optioned to Triple-A to make room for Jeremy Guthrie's return from the disabled list.
On this day in 1991, the Royals released leftfielder Bo Jackson after he suffered a serious hip injury in the NFL playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals. That was Jackson's final NFL game but the iconic athlete eventually returned to baseball in 1993 with the White Sox and played 75 games for the Angels in '94 before the players strike brought the season to an end. Here's a look at what's happening today..
- Angels outfielder Torii Hunter would "love to stay" with the Halos but understands that at age 37, and with Los Angeles having plenty of money on the books, this season may be his last, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The five-year, $90MM deal that Hunter signed prior to the 2008 season expires after this year.
- Free agent starter Javy Vazquez is not considering coming out of retirement, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Free agent reliever Michael Wuertz will throw for teams on Thursday in Tempe, Arizona, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Twins are expected to be among the clubs in attendance.
- Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was willing to sign with the Cubs and had reason to believe that he might wind up in Chicago, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Ultimately, the Cubs offered six years for $36MM while the Athletics offered that same number for four years. The Cuban star also said that he was seeking either a four-year deal or one that was for eight years or more. Through a translator, Cespedes said that he probably would have wound up in Chicago had the Cubs offered him the same deal before the A's did.
- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton insists that he hasn't thought about retirement, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The 38-year-old has two years remaining on his contract.
- More from Renck as he writes that Esmil Rogers is a trade candidate for the club. Rogers, Edgmer Escalona, and Josh Outman are battling for the final spot in the bullpen. Rogers is out of options and could be moved.
- Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully addressed the club's ownership situation prior to yesterday's broadcast and said that he doesn't believe it is having any effect on the players at all, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News.
- Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Matt Moore are the top prospects in baseball, Keith Law writes. Law unveiled his annual top 100 list at ESPN.com this morning and Manny Machado of the Orioles and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals round out the early portion of Law's list, and the entire piece is worth reading.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney lists ten prospects who have a chance to make an impact from Opening Day on and names a handful of pitchers who could be traded during Spring Training.
- Mark Rodgers, the agent who negotiated Mike Hampton's $121MM contract 11 years ago, told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that “not every player is equipped to handle the burden" of a nine-figure deal. Morosi hears from Dan O'Dowd, Dave Dombrowski, Jon Daniels, Scott Boras and Pat Gillick and puts together a piece that's well worth your time. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and Yu Darvish required $100MM commitments this offseason.
- Esmil Rogers of the Rockies has attracted some mild trade interest, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets. The 26-year-old is out of options and has yet to put it together at the Major League level.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski acknowledges that defense is not his team's strength, but insists the Tigers can field a strong defensive lineup if necessary, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Esmil Rogers retired 18 consecutive batters at one point yesterday and allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings of work. Not a bad season debut for someone who was supposed to be a shortstop.
When Rolando Fernandez, the Rockies’ senior director of international scouting, signed Rogers out of the Dominican Republic eight years ago, he was intrigued by the teenage infielder’s smooth swing and, especially, his live arm.
Before long it became apparent that Rogers (pictured) wasn’t a fit at short, so the Rockies decided it was time for a change. Fernandez didn’t want to embarrass Rogers, so one night he waited until all the other players had left the field and told Rogers he wanted to see him throw a bullpen.
“He was very natural,” Fernandez said. “Very easy. He was 90-91 [mph] at that point without ever pitching. He looked like he had done it before, like he had been pitching for a few years.”
Now that Rogers actually has been pitching for a few years, he's a member of the Rockies' rotation, a group that features two other international free agent signings, and Jason Hammel, who was obtained for a fourth internationally signed pitcher, Aneury Rodriguez.
No other rotation in baseball features as many internationally signed, homegrown pitchers. There’s no prize for having lots of Latin American starters or a homegrown rotation, of course. The goal is to win games and, thanks to a decade of production from Fernandez and the Rockies’ other scouts, Rogers, Jhoulys Chacin, and Ubaldo Jimenez should help Colorado do just that.
Ten years ago this month, Fernandez was scouting tryouts in the Dominican Republic when he came across a skinny right-hander who stood about 6’1”. Intrigued, Fernandez brought the prospect to the Rockies’ complex to watch him pitch. Even as a teenager, Ubaldo Jimenez showed major league potential.
“The arm action, arm speed, delivery and projection was there,” Fernandez said. “At that time he was just a kid and he was a competitor. He kept all the pitches in the strike zone and you could see the live arm.”
Jimenez, now on the disabled list, has since developed into one of baseball's best pitchers. He threw a no-hitter last year and posted a 2.88 ERA in 221 2/3 innings, striking out 214 and finishing second in last year’s NL Cy Young voting
Like most prospects, Jimenez grew into his body; he now stands three inches taller and about 40 pounds heavier than he did in 2001. But his physical development doesn’t compare to what the Rockies have seen from Chacin since he signed out of Venezuela in 2004.
“Sometimes you see 16-year-olds who look like they’re 18 or 19,” Fernandez said. “Chacin was 16 and he looked like he was 14 years old.”
Despite his youthful appearance and 155 pound frame, Chacin was more polished than Rogers or Jimenez at the time of his signing and he showed good instincts on the mound. He had less pure stuff than the others back then, but he didn't have trouble retiring big league hitters last year. In his first extended stint in the Major Leagues, Chacin posted a 3.28 ERA in 137 1/3 innings, striking out a batter per frame.
Now in his 19th season with the Rockies, Fernandez is currently in Venezuela preparing for this year’s crop of July 2 prospects. He credits the Rockies’ scouting and player development staff for the heavy international presence in the rotation, but he doesn’t deny that it’s personally rewarding to see the teenagers he signed long ago contribute in the Major Leagues.
“It’s exciting because when we sign these kids at 16 or 17 years old, they are like my kids,” he said over the phone. “I treat them like they are my kids and see them mature and develop.”