Felix Doubront Rumors

Blue Jays Designate Felix Doubront

The Blue Jays have designated lefty Felix Doubront for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. The move creates roster space for the activation of Troy Tulowitzki.

Still just 27 years of age, Doubront was not long ago looked at as a potential rotation piece for the Red Sox. He topped 160 innings in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons with Boston, working to an overall ERA of 4.59. While that mark isn’t terribly impressive, he showed a good ability to miss bats (8.5 K/9) in addition to a ground-ball rate of roughly 44 percent, both of which helped to partially offset his questionable control (4.0 BB/9). Sabermetric marks like FIP and xFIP pegged his talent level closer to 4.00 than his 4.59 ERA.

Doubront’s velocity has declined, though. After averaging 92.7 mph in 2012, he averaged 90.5 mph in 2013 and has seen his fastball hover around 90 mph since that time. This season with the Blue Jays, he pitched to a 4.76 ERA with a 13-to-5 K/BB raito in 22 2/3 innings. While the sample was brief, Doubront did see a massive spike in his ground-ball rate, which soared to 64.6 percent. He’s utilized a cut fastball far more in 2015 than he did in 2012-13, perhaps signaling a change in his approach on the mound.


Blue Jays Sign Felix Doubront

The Blue Jays have signed lefty Felix Doubront to a minor league deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Doubront spent all of camp with the Cubs before he was released on Saturday.

Doubront agreed to a $1.925MM salary to avoid arbitration, but Chicago will pay him around $473K by cutting him loose before the season. He had a rough spring and lacked options, making it hard for Chicago to keep him.

For a Jays club that has been in need of pitching depth, Doubront represents a welcome and risk-free investment. The 27-year-old has certainly had his struggles at times, but has shown the ability to miss bats at the big league level even in a starting capacity. Presumably, he could ultimately see time in the rotation or pen for Toronto if he can prove his worth at Triple-A.


Cubs Release Felix Doubront

The Cubs have released pitcher Felix Doubront, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat notes (Twitter links). Doubront was set to make $1.925MM in his first season of arbitration after settling with the Cubs in January. By releasing him, though, the Cubs will only be responsible for about $473K termination pay.

Doubront was one of a large number of Cubs who were out of options, and he was one of several pitchers competing for what was effectively a single bullpen spot. He also struggled this spring, allowing nine runs in seven innings (although he struck out four and walked none).

Doubront is only two years removed from two decent seasons as a starter with the Red Sox. He struggled in Boston last season, however, and earned criticism for his attitude and effort before heading to Chicago in a minor move. He also struggled with his velocity last season. Nonetheless, Doubront is still only 27, and one would think he would have little trouble finding a new team in need of pitching, particularly starting pitching.



Players Avoiding Arbitration: Thursday

As we approach tomorrow’s deadline for exchanging filing numbers, the volume of arb deals will increase. All arb agreements can be monitored using MLBTR’s 2015 Arbitration Tracker, but here are today’s smaller agreements, with all projections referring to those of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz:

  • The Indians have avoided arbitration with third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and agreed to a one-year, $2.25MM deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  It’s a slight bump over Chisenhall’s projected $2.2MM salary.  Chisenhall hit .280/.343/.427 with 13 homers in 533 PA with the Tribe last season.
  • The Indians and left-hander Marc Rzepczynski have agreed to a one-year, $2.4MM contract to avoid arbitration, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).  Rzepczynski surpassed his projected salary with the contract, as he was pegged to earn $1.9MM next season.  The southpaw posted a 2.74 ERA, 2.42 K/BB rate and an even 46 strikeouts over 46 innings out of Cleveland’s bullpen last season.
  • The Nationals and catcher Jose Lobaton will avoid arbitration after agreeing to a deal, CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman reports.  Lobaton will earn $1.2MM, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweets, which exactly matches his projected 2015 salary.  Lobaton hit .234/.287/.304 over 230 PA in backup duty for the Nats last season.
  • The Athletics and outfielder Craig Gentry agreed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal to avoid arbitration, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweets.  Gentry was projected to earn $1.5MM.  After posting a .759 OPS over 556 PA in 2012-13, Gentry took a step back at the plate last season, slashing just .254/.319/.289 over 258 plate appearances but still providing tremendous defense (a +16 UZR/150).
  • The Nationals have avoided arbitration with second baseman Danny Espinosa, agreeing to a one-year, $1.8MM contract, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.  This deal falls below Espinosa’s projected $2.3MM contract, though Espinosa hit .219/.283/.351 in 364 plate appearances for the Nats last season and managed only a .465 OPS in 167 PA in 2013.
  • The Indians agreed to a one-year, $2.337MM deal with right-hander Carlos Carrasco, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).  This figure is a significant increase over the $1.4MM contract that was projected for Carrasco in his first arb-eligible year.  The righty enjoyed a breakout 2014 season, posting a 2.55 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 4.83 K/BB rate over 134 innings with the Tribe.  Carrasco pitched mostly out of the bullpen but also delivered several quality starts down the stretch.
  • The Dodgers and outfielder Chris Heisey agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.16MM to avoid arbitration, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  This is slightly less than the $2.2MM Heisey was projected to earn.  Heisey is coming off a .222/.265/.378 slash line over 299 PA with the Reds last season and was dealt to L.A. last month.
  • The Angels inked catcher Drew Butera to a one-year, $987.5K deal to avoid arbitration, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.  Butera was projected to earn $900K next season.  The catcher posted a .555 OPS in 192 PA with the Dodgers last season and was dealt to the Halos last month.
  • The Nationals agreed to a one-year, $2.25MM contract with Craig Stammen, avoiding arbitration with the right-hander, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  This figure slightly tops Stammen’s projected $2.1MM contract.  Stammen posted a 3.84 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and a 4.00 K/BB rate over 72 2/3 innings out of Washington’s bullpen last season.
  • The Cardinals agreed to a one-year, $1.65MM deal with outfielder Peter Bourjos to avoid arbitration, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Bourjos was projected to earn $1.6MM.  Bourjos displayed his usual top-shelf defense with the Cards last season but only hit .231/.294/.348 over 294 PA.

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Cubs Acquire Felix Doubront

4:41pm: The Red Sox have announced the deal.

2:17pm: The Cubs have acquired Felix Doubront from the Red Sox, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports first reported (on Twitter) that a deal was close.

The Red Sox will receive a player to be named later in return for the 26-year-old lefty, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That player will be determined after the Rule 5 draft, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox-Game Two

Doubront’s tenure in Boston seemed destined to come to an end after he publicly announced his desire to return to the rotation — with another team, if necessary. After beginning the year as one of the team’s five starters, Doubront was dropped to the pen after posting a 5.19 ERA over ten starts. Things have only gone downhill since, as he has surrendered a .375/.409/.625 line and 11 earned runs to the 45 opposing hitters he has faced in seven relief appearances.

Chicago will hope that a change of scenery prompts a turnaround for a player who is said to have high-quality stuff. (Over 2012-13, Doubront compiled 323 1/3 innings of 4.59 ERA ball as a starter.) He will be arb-eligible for the first time next year, and his price tag should be manageable given his rough numbers this year. In many respects, Doubront is not unlike several of the Cubs’ other recent buy-low pitching additions (both through free agency and trade) — Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, and Scott Feldman come to mind — though he comes with the added benefit of a lower cost and extended, uncommitted control.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Cubs Nearing Deal For Felix Doubront

The Cubs are nearing a trade for Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.


AL East Notes: Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays

The trade of Jake Peavy might just be the tip of the iceberg for the Red Sox. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal lists ten more players the Sox could potentially deal at this week’s deadline. Among them are four relievers (Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara), plus starter/reliever Felix Doubront. MacPherson notes that Doubront, like 1B/OF Mike Carp (who recently asked for a trade), is eager to get out of Boston.

Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com explains that Doubront sees himself as a starter and wants the Red Sox to put him in the rotation if they’re going to keep him. “I just want to be a starter and stay there,” Doubront says. “If I stay (with the Red Sox), they have to know I have to be a starter. If I go, the other team is going to give me this chance to be a starter.” The addition of player discontent to a disappointing roster full of highly tradeable players could make the deadline a very eventful one in Boston. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • The Blue Jays have a number of needs to balance at the deadline, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes. “I think we have enough resources to do what we want to do,” GM Alex Anthopoulos has said, although Chisholm notes that the Jays probably don’t have a lot of money to spend and doesn’t have a ton of nearly-ready young talent to trade, particularly given that the team is unlikely to deal Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez.
  • The Orioles probably won’t acquire a top starting pitcher, but they might acquire depth in that area, writes MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. They could look for a lefty relief pitcher, as well as a catcher (they’ve recently been linked to Kurt Suzuki) or second baseman. Orioles executive Dan Duquette seems disinclined to trade top young pitchers, including Kevin Gausman.

East Notes: Nats, Colon, Rios, Doubront, Headley, Yanks

We just took a look at the Marlins; now here are some notes on the rest of the NL East and their geographical counterparts from the American League:

  • The Nationals rank as perhaps the league’s quietest contender approaching the trade deadline, in large part because it is difficult to see where the club might reasonably look to upgrade. We’ve heard previously that the team might target a young shortstop to plug into its pipeline, but one possibility for the MLB roster is a bullpen addition, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. While the Washington relief corps has been outstanding, and the club lacks apparent roster flexibility, Kilgore says that the Nats are interested in adding depth for the stretch run.
  • This is my speculation, but if a new arm is added to the big league club, Washington could potentially stash rookie Aaron Barrett in the minors until rosters expand in September, though he has been quite solid (2.61 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 31 innings). More intriguingly, a pen slot could theoretically be opened if the team was to deal away former starter Ross Detwiler, though that would obviously result in a corresponding loss of depth.
  • There have been several reports on Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who is earning $9MM this year and is promised $11MM for 2015. The club is “trying hard” to deal him, according to Danny Knobler (via Twitter), while Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets that interest is picking up but the Mets are disinclined to hold onto any of Colon’s salary in a deal.
  • Moving the 41-year-old won’t be easy, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, because his future salary is both what New York wants to offload and what other clubs will want to avoid. Meanwhile, Sherman refutes reports suggesting that the Giants have engaged the Mets on Colon (Twitter link), writing that San Francisco would only have interest if it can avoid paying for a significant portion of Colon’s 2015 salary. Like Carig, Sherman hears that is not the Mets’ preference.
  • The Blue Jays have shown interest in bringing back outfielder Alex Rios, currently with the Rangers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Toronto shed Rios and his big contract by declining to revoke an August waiver claim back in 2009, but the veteran has turned things around and now comes with only a $14MM team option left for 2015. Of course, there remains some doubt as to whether the Jays would be able to take on the remainder of Rios’s $12.5MM salary for the current season.
  • Red Sox starter-turned-reliever Felix Doubront is not enjoying his current role with the club and hopes to see more action — in Boston or elsewhere — reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. The 26-year-old lefty has been mentioned before as a trade candidate, though it is not clear whether Boston will be inclined to move him as the club tries to get back in the mix, especially with talk that Jake Peavy could be dealt. Doubront will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year.
  • The Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley with the expectation that he will be a two-month rental, GM Brian Cashman told reporters including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). The deal came together today after about three weeks of discussions, Cashman added.
  • Headley will likely not be the last addition for New York, Cashman indicated in further comments, via Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger“I have more work to do,” he said. The GM explained that larger moves could be in the offing: “We’ve got high-end stuff, without a doubt, players that other teams like. And those players would be available, or will be available, in the right circumstances. These are the deals that I can present to you that we were able to conclude, but we’re talking much larger type deals, [and] clearly much smaller, incremental upgrades.”

Red Sox Notes: Rotation, Doubront, Betts

The Red Sox should be willing to trade staff ace Jon Lester and any number of other non-core veteran players, opines Dan Szymborski of ESPN.com (Insider piece). Just as the club acted rationally in dealing away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett two years ago, Szymborski says that Boston should face reality and take the opportunity to swap out some current pieces for future talent with an eye toward competing next year.

Here’s the latest out of Boston:

  • One area of apparent excess — as it was before the season started — is the rotation, which just welcomed back Clay Buchholz. But while the club is currently carrying seven starters on its roster, that does not mean that it is simply biding time for a deal, reports Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet New England (via Twitter). Maintaining the full staff was not related to an effort to move Jake Peavy, in particular, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports.
  • Nevertheless, southpaw Felix Doubront, who is being moved to the pen, took questions today about the possibility of being dealt. As Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com reports, Doubront acknowledged that a trade could have some positive repercussions, as it might deliver a more steady starting role — which is his clear preference. He did emphasize that he would his move to a relief role and a hypothetical departure in stride. As Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports, Doubront’s approaching arbitration eligibility is also in limbo, as he would stand to increase his value as a starter. “Arbitration is just about numbers,” said Doubront. “I’m going to try to get better numbers and still win money. For the moment, that’s the only thing I can do, the only thing I can focus on and be positive: Get better numbers in this position.”
  • When the pitching logjam is finally removed, Boston will likely dip into its minor league ranks for a right-handed bat, writes Speier. The club is in no apparent rush, but when it makes a move, the two obvious options are mid-season free agent signee Ryan Roberts, who has put up good numbers since being outrighted, and skyrocketing prospect Mookie Betts. As Speier notes, it is remarkable that a promotion of the 21-year-old is even under consideration.

Red Sox Notes: Doubront, Lester, Bogaerts

The Red Sox are no strangers to White House visits over the last decade, though David Ortiz marked yesterday's team trip to Pennsylvania Avenue by taking a memorable selfie alongside another famous face.  Here's some more news from Boston…

  • With Felix Doubront set to become eligible for arbitration after the season, MassLive.com's Jason Mastrodonato thinks the young southpaw could be an extension candidate if he pitches well in 2014.  Mastrodonato notes that Doubront's status becomes particularly important given that Jon Lester and Jake Peavy are both free agents after the season, though Doubront isn't focusing on contract negotiations.  "When that moment comes, we’ll talk. You want to stay away from that, for my own good," Doubront said. "If you think about that, mentally it makes things bigger. You just want to stay on the same page. We’ll see what happens after this season."
  • Lester's impending free agency was discussed by ESPN's Buster Olney in a radio interview on WEEI's Mut & Merloni Show (partial transcript from WEEI.com's Arjuna Ramgopal).  Olney feels the middle ground between Lester and the Red Sox falls in the range of a five-year, $110-$120MM contract and while both sides will "have to go out of their comfort zones," Olney feels Lester will have to budge a bit more.  “It’€™s going to be because Jon Lester makes it happen, the way that Dustin Pedroia made it happen last year. The Red Sox, philosophically, are not going to box themselves in."  The Sox and Lester recently tabled their extension talks, though they could be re-open negotiations during the season.
  • Xander Bogaerts' rise from an anonymous 16-year-old from the baseball non-hotbed of Aruba to one of the game's top prospects and the Red Sox Opening Day shortstop is chronicled by Sports On Earth's Jorge Arangure Jr.  Boston was able to find Bogaerts due to the organization's wide-ranging scouting process, and Bogaerts took it from there, quickly advancing through the Red Sox academy and minor league system.