Everth Cabrera Rumors

NL Notes: Markakis, Kendrick, Mets, Kemp, Padres

Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck yesterday, but the Braves expect their new right fielder to be 100 percent by Opening Day, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. President of baseball operations John Hart spoke with surgeon Steve Wray, who performed the procedure, and came away with the impression that aside from some possible disruption of his pre-Spring Training routine, Markakis would be fine. He’s expected to be cleared for physical activity within a month’s time and to be fully agile in six weeks.

Some more notes from the Senior Circuit to kick off your Thursday morning…

  • The Rockies are interested in right-hander Kyle Kendrick as a potential back-of-the-rotation option, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 30-year-old Kendrick pitched a career-high 199 innings last season, and Crasnick notes that his career 46.1 percent ground-ball rate is of interest to Colorado. That mark isn’t too far above the league average, but it’s an improvement over Franklin Morales and Christian Bergman, each of whom logged significant innings in Colorado’s rotation last year. Kendrick’s upside is limited, but he’d be a relatively low-cost option to soak up some innings in a shaky rotation.
  • Wilmer Flores is still likely to open next season as the Mets‘ shortstop, writes Marc Carig of Newsday, but a source tells Carig that the team does have interest in Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera on low-risk, one-year deals. Previous reports have indicated that the Mets weren’t interested in Cabrera. The team hasn’t ruled out bidding on Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang, but they’re likely to pass due to concerns over his defense. Those same concerns have halted their interest in Asdrubal Cabrera from progressing beyond internal discussions.
  • In a video blog, ESPN’s Buster Olney opines that the Padres are in perfect position to try to squeeze some extra money out of the Dodgers in their deal for Matt Kemp. While the deal is expected to be completed, Olney notes that Kemp’s medicals are “ugly,” and the Dodgers need the trade more than the Padres do. The Dodgers are reportedly set to send $32MM to the Padres as it is.
  • The Padres aren’t done making moves even after striking deals to acquire Kemp and Wil Myers, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. One possible minor addition, he reports, is veteran catcher David Ross, who is still “considering” the Padres.

Marketing Everth Cabrera

28-year-old shortstop Everth Cabrera became a free agent earlier this month, as the Padres elected not to tender him a contract for 2015.  Cabrera had been arrested in September for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana.  In November, the San Diego County district attorney’s office charged him with resisting arrest during that traffic stop.  He plead not guilty on that charge last week, and a readiness hearing will happen in mid-January.

How does agent Scott Boras market Cabrera to MLB teams, given the looming situation?  “With every negotiation you have complete disclosure, you walk through the factual situations,” Boras told me today at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.  Boras explained, “I think we all know that players get involved in situations where they might have made a mistake and done things.  You talk to teams about the player’s history, his character, where he’s going in the future.  So it’s really a due diligence dynamic with Everth.”  Boras feels that the public’s perception of the incident differs from reality.

Certainly, there’s great risk in signing a free agent who could potentially face jail time if found guilty.  A team will have to buy into Cabrera’s upside despite that concern.  Boras made his pitch: “Everth Cabrera is a very talented player, so there’s that tweak in there [that makes you say] ‘Hey, if this guy could give you All-Star talent and I’m able to get him at a shorter term and a very young age, this guy could really have a big season.'”
Cabrera made the All-Star team with a strong first half in 2013.

Since Cabrera has four years and 144 days of Major League service time, a team that signs him this winter could potentially control him for 2016 through the arbitration process.  The teams currently showing interest may have some kind of familiarity with Cabrera, as Boras said, “The people that are coming after him know him well, so they have to have the comfort level.  They know this is an isolated issue, and they know his talent too.”

Cabrera was initially signed out of Nicaragua by Rockies scouts Rolando Fernandez and Francisco Cartaya.  Fernandez is still employed by the Rockies, while Cartaya is with the Dodgers.  The Dodgers also employ Josh Byrnes, who was in charge when Cabrera earned his All-Star nod.  Kevin Towers, now with the Reds, was Padres GM when the team signed Cabrera, while current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer succeeded Towers.

Cabrera may not be in a position to demand more than $2-4MM, nor a starting shortstop job.  He’s spent little time outside of shortstop in the Majors, but did log some games at second early in his pro career.  Of the teams linked above, the Rockies could consider Cabrera to back up Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu if they trade Josh Rutledge.  The Dodgers turned over their middle infield today, acquiring shortstop Jimmy Rollins and sending starting second baseman Dee Gordon to the Marlins.  The Cubs aren’t hurting for middle infield options, while the Reds have Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips, and Kristopher Negron and could do some middle infield shuffling.

Cabrera has not actually been linked to any teams so far, except for Adam Rubin’s note for ESPNNewYork.com ruling out the Mets.  It should be noted, too, that Cabrera missed significant time with hamstring injuries in the last few years and missed significant time prior to 2012 with other injuries.  On top of that, he served a 50-game PED suspension in 2013.  Clearly the teams that mine this well for talent have many issues to consider, but that’s also what will keep Cabrera’s price down.

Free Agent Notes: Top Pitchers, Rios, Royals, Everth, Astros

With the Winter Meetings nearly upon us, ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke to nine baseball executives regarding the “Big Three” starting pitchers on this year’s free agent market — Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields — and asked when and where they will sign. While answers as to when Scherzer will sign varied, there was a much tighter window on Lester, with all nine believing he will sign between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13. The execs polled by Stark feel that Shields’ market is tied so closely to Lester that he will sign within two weeks of Lester and perhaps even as soon as next week’s Winter Meetings. Many identified Shields as a fallback for teams that miss on Lester. Execs picked Lester to sign with the usual suspects at this point: the Red Sox, Cubs, Giants or Dodgers. Interestingly, Scherzer’s landing spot was predicted to be the Yankees, Nationals, Cubs or Tigers, by the five who were willing to wager a guess on that outcome.

A few more notes pertaining to free agency…

  • The MarinersRoyals, and Indians have all checked in on Alex Rios, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Rios, who joined the Boras Corporation earlier this offseason, has had a fairly quiet market to this point, though one would expect interest to pick up now that Nelson Cruz, Torii Hunter and Yasmany Tomas are off the market.
  • The Royals are looking for a right fielder and a starting pitcher but likely only have the available funds to make a “significant” investment in one of the two areas, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Royals may have to bargain shop for the other, he notes. Kansas City has invested a modest amount of its available funds to the bullpen in the past week, re-signing righties Jason Frasor and Luke Hochevar. However, it’s at least worth noting that Hochevar’s contract reportedly contains performance incentives tied to starting (though it also contains relief incentives).
  • Though the Mets are in need of a shortstop, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin writes that recently non-tendered Padres speedster Everth Cabrera is not a consideration. Though he’s talented and has twice led the NL in stolen bases, Cabrera has a good deal of off-field issues on his record, including a 50-game PED suspension and more recent legal issues, as he’s been charged with resisting arrest after being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. (Cabrera plead not guilty to those charges today, per the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff Sanders.)
  • Lefty reliever Craig Breslow is drawing significant interest, but his timetable to sign is currently dependent on the rest of the relief market, tweets WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Breslow is coming off a down season but has a strong track record. Interest in Breslow and other relievers could intensify now that Andrew Miller is off the board, I would think.
  • Though the Astros missed out on Miller even after offering him more money than the Yankees did, they’re still on the hunt for relievers, tweets Heyman. Houston remains interested in David Robertson, Sergio Romo and others.

Padres Non-Tender Everth Cabrera

The Padres have non-tendered shortstop Everth Cabrera, the team announced. He was the only roster casualty of the evening, per the team’s release.

Cabrera was projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn $2.9MM through arbitration. The 28-year-old took home $2.45MM last year, when he was named to the All-Star team before seeing his season unravel with a Biogenesis suspension and, later, DUI arrest.

Cabrera remains an intriguing talent in spite of his issues off and on the field (.572 OPS through 391 plate appearances last year). In 2013, by far his best season as a pro, Cabrera slashed .283/.355/.381 while swiping 37 bases and delivering solid defensive play.

While San Diego’s position is certainly understandable, it is certainly a disappointing result for a player who looked like a potential franchise building block not long ago. Certainly, there should be several teams interested in taking a shot on his upside.

Padres Notes: Kotsay, Bats, Headley, Everth, Johnson

The Padres have announced that Mark Kotsay will join the team’s uniformed staff as the hitting coach. Kotsay, 39 tomorrow, saw action in 17 MLB campaigns — including two stints with the Friars. He hung up his spikes before the 2014 season, which he spent with the organization as a special assistant.

Here’s more out of San Diego:

  • GM A.J. Preller is “aggressively” seeking to acquire bats that would position the team as a near-term division contender, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The team has already been a significant factor in several early signings, though it has yet to land a major target this offseason.
  • We already took a look at a recent piece from MLB.com’s Corey Brock addressing the Padres’ offseason efforts, but another of his notes bears mention. Recently-dealt third baseman Chase Headley, now a free agent, is not believed to be a fit for his old club, a source tells Brock. A reunion had at least seemed hypothetically plausible, especially after the team dangled big money at Pablo Sandoval.
  • Like other clubs around the game, the Pads are preparing to make some difficult non-tender decisions tomorrow evening. As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, the decision on shortstop Everth Cabrera is complicated by his recent PED suspension, arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana, and related charge for resisting arrest. Sources tell Lin that Cabrera was “not entirely forthcoming” with the club in the aftermath of the DUI, which may play a role in the team’s decision. Of course, the 28-year-old’s .232/.272/.300 slash last year does not help his cause either.
  • Free agent starter Josh Johnson is still weighing offers from multiple teams, agent Matt Sosnick told MLBTR in last week’s podcast (around the 18:00 mark). “He’s a pretty loyal guy,” said Sosnick, such that the chances are he probably goes back to San Diego.” Johnson’s representative explained that the righty was drawing “a ton of interest” from other clubs, but valued many things about his relationship with the Padres. As he rehabs back from Tommy John surgery, the 30-year-old hopes to start throwing from a mound in the middle of February.

Quick Hits: Halsey, Kuroda, Wandy, Everth, Asche

MLBTR would like to send its deepest condolences to the friends and family of former Major League left-hander Brad Halsey, who died tragically in a climbing accident near his Texas home, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. Halsey, just 33, spent three seasons in the Majors with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and A’s from 2004-06. He was one of three players traded from the Yankees to Arizona to acquire the legendary Randy Johnson.

As we keep the family and loved ones of Brad in our thoughts, here are a few notes from around the game…

  • Hiroki Kuroda has yet to decide whether he wants to return for the 2015 season, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. At this point, Kuroda is weighing one more season in the Majors, one more season in Nippon Professional Baseball or retirement.
  • Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has recovered from knee surgery and will pitch in a winter league this year as he gears up for a comeback, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Rodriguez, who turns 36 in January, pitched just 26 2/3 innings for the Pirates this season before being released. He underwent knee surgery roughly a month later and said at the time that he had received some interest from other clubs. However, he preferred to correct a lingering issue in his knee that had been hindering him, in an effort to be as best-prepared as possible for the 2015 season.
  • The Associated Press reports that Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was charged with resisting arrest after police stopped him for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. While DUI charges are not planned, according to the report, Cabrera was cited for possession of marijuana in the car and could face up to a year in jail if convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • The Phillies have no plans to move Cody Asche off of third base at this time, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. While the idea of trying Asche in the outfield has been kicked around within the organization, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team decided at last week’s organizational meetings that Asche will remain at the hot corner. The plan next season is to platoon Asche and Maikel Franco if the team cannot move Ryan Howard this offseason. It seems that at some point, Asche or Franco will have to move off the position, but Amaro told Zolecki the team views both as third basemen right now. “Maikel Franco is a third baseman who plays some first base,” said Amaro.

Padres Avoid Arbitration With Kennedy, Cabrera, Ross

10:11pm: The Padres have also avoided arbitration with Everth Cabrera, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Cabrera, also a Boras client, will receive a $2.45MM salary in 2014.

Cabrera, 27, came within nine steals of leading the National League despite playing just 95 games due to a PED-related suspension. The switch-hitter batted .283/.355/.381 in 435 plate appearances. Over the past two seasons, only Mike Trout and Rajai Davis have stolen more bases than the 81 tallied by Cabrera. He topped Swartz's projection by $250K.

In more Padres-related arb news, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Tyson Ross has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.98MM salary (Twitter link). Ross broke out with the Padres in 2013, posting a 3.17 ERA in a career-high 125 innings. The 26-year-old saw his fastball velocity jump nearly two miles per hour, as he averaged 94.2 mph on his heater. That helped him up his K/9 rate to a career-high 8.6, and he posted career-bests in BB/9 rate (3.2) and ground-ball rate (54.9 percent) as well. Ross' agents at the Wasserman Media Group did well to secure a $1.9MM payday. Swartz had projected a $1.3MM salary.

9:53pm: The Padres and right-hander Ian Kennedy have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.1MM contract for the 2014 season, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Kennedy is a client of the Boras Corporation. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged Kennedy to earn $5.8MM.

The 29-year-old Kennedy was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a rare intra-division trade this past July. San Diego sent lefty Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a 2014 competitve balance draft pick to Arizona in order to land the 2011 Cy Young candidate. Since finishing fourth in that Cy Young voting, however, Kennedy has seen his results tumble, leading to the D-Backs' decision that he was no longer vital to the organization's success.

Over the past two seasons, Kennedy has posted a 4.43 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He's also posted a fly-ball rate of just 37.7 percent, indicating that the move to the spacious Petco Park from the cozy Chase Field should be beneficial to him. That wasn't the case in 2013, as Kennedy's HR/9 rate actually increased with the Padres, but that trend doesn't seem likely to continue once the sample size is expanded beyond 57 1/3 innings.

Kennedy will join a crowded rotation mix that also figures to include Josh Johnson, Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults and Tyson Ross with rehabbing starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland also in the mix in addition to youngsters Robbie Erlin and Burch Smith.

With the cases of Cabrera, Ross and Kennedy now resolved, Padres GM Josh Byrnes will turn his attention to Cashner, Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks, as can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.

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.

Looking At Everth Cabrera’s Suspension

Earlier today, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was one of 12 players to accept a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED investigation. The Padres have exactly 50 games remaining this season, so they will lose their 26-year-old shortstop for the remainder of the 2013 campaign. The Padres issued the following statement on the Biogenesis suspensions:

“The Padres fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. The club will continue to stand behind the Commissioner’s Office to ensure the integrity of baseball.”

Cabrera is in the midst of the finest season of his career, hitting .283/.355/.381 with four homers and an NL-best 37 stolen bases. That stolen base lead comes in spite of a trip to the 15-day DL earlier this season and comes on the heels of his league-leading 44 swipes in 2012 (despite playing just 115 games). 

How does the suspension impact Cabrera's future, though? The Nicaragua native is earning $1.275MM this season after his first venture into arbitration in the 2012-13 offseason. As such, the financial penalty for Cabrera isn't nearly as steep as it is for other players. He'll lose roughly $383K in salary this year as a result of his suspension.

Because he's still going year-to-year through arbitration, however, Cabrera's suspension carries major financial implications for his future. The arbitration process heavily rewards counting statistics, and Cabrera will lose nearly one-third of his opportunities to accumulate those precious stats because of this discipline. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz now projects Cabrera to earn $2.2MM in 2014. Swartz had originally projected Cabrera to earn $2.9MM next season, assuming he would have lived up to his ZiPS rest-of-season projection and finished with a .276 average, five homers, 42 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. All in all, this suspension figures to cost Cabrera roughly $1.083MM in salary from 2013-14 — no small sum for a player who has earned less than $2MM to date throughout his big league career.

The financial implications may not stop there, either. Cabrera entered the season with two years, 144 days of service time. Numerous shortstops — some of whom are solid comparables for Cabrera — have inked long-term deals at this point in their careers. As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Elvis Andrus (three years, $14.4MM) and Alcides Escobar (four years, $10.5MM) signed long-term deals with between two and three years of service time. When I asked Padres GM Josh Byrnes how this disciplinary measure would impact the club's thoughts regarding a long-term deal for Cabrera on a conference call this afternoon, he offered the following response:

"Well, a lot of players over time have been disciplined. I think we'll know a few more facts as we go. You know, we control him for a few more years through the arbitration process. I think we'll sort of evaluate as we go, but I wouldn't foresee a long-term deal until we know more."

It will be interesting to see how the Padres handle Cabrera going forward. It's also worth noting that Cabrera isn't the only young Padres player to serve a suspension in the past year. Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games following the 2012 season and later connected to the Biogenesis clinic. He missed the first 50 games of 2013 but was not disciplined further, as MLB ruled that he had already served his punishment with that previous suspension. Fautino De Los Santos, however, was also one of the 12 players earlier today who accepted a 50-game suspension.

MLB Officially Announces Biogenesis Suspensions

After months of speculation, we have some finality for a dozen of the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal.  Major League Baseball has officially announced 50-game suspensions for Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Antonio Bastardo, Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli, Jordany Valdespin, Fautino De Los Santos, Jordan Norberto, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez and Sergio Escalona.

All of those players will accept their suspensions, while Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended for 211 games (effective Aug. 8), will appeal his suspension and be eligible to play until that process is complete.

The suspensions carry particular weight for the Rangers and Tigers. The Rangers, who are 2.5 games back of the A's in the AL West and just a half-game behind the Indians for a Wild Card berth, will lose their starting right-fielder and club home run leader in Cruz for the remainder of the regular season.

The Tigers will lose Peralta, their starting shortstop, for the remainder of the season as they look to fend off surging Cleveland and Kansas City clubs and win the American League Central division. Detroit safeguarded itself somewhat against the loss of Perata by acquiring Jose Iglesias in a three-team deal with the White Sox and Red Sox prior to the trade deadline.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to tweet that Cruz would accept his suspension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first tweeted that Peralta, Cabrera, Bastardo and Valdespin would also accept 50-game bans. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports added Escalona to the list (Twitter link), and Rosenthal reported that Cervelli, Montero, Puello, De Los Santos, Martinez and Norberto would do the same (on Twitter).