Miami Marlins Rumors
THURSDAY: The Marlins have released Rauch, according to the MLB.com transactions page yesterday. The person running that page jumped the gun, however, a source tells MLBTR, as the pitcher has not yet been officially released.
FRIDAY: The Marlins have announced that right-hander Jon Rauch has been designated for assignment. The move creates a spot on the 40-man roster for Duane Below, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Tigers.
Rauch signed a one-year, $1MM deal with the Marlins in February, but pitched to a 6.89 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old owns a career 3.88 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over 594 big league innings. Before he signed with Miami, the Brewers were among the clubs with interest in Rauch.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
Braves rookie Julio Teheran came within an inning of his first big league shutout tonight before a Josh Willingham homer halted that effort. The Braves hung on to win, preserving a three-game lead on the NL East. As it stands right now, only Atlanta has a positive run differential in that division. Here's more on the Braves and their NL East rivals...
- The Braves are already without Jonny Venters following Tommy John surgery. But with today's news that Eric O'Flaherty needs the same operation, the team will need to mix and match with some unproven options late in games, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I imagine that the Braves could find themselves shopping for relief help as the trade deadline nears.
- The Marlins selected the contract of outfielder Jordan Brown from Triple-A New Orleans after placing Matt Diaz on the DL, tweets Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. The Marlins already had an open 40-man roster spot, so there was no corresponding move necessary.
- In a similar situation, the Phillies announced that they've selected Humberto Quintero's contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and placed Mike Adams on the disabled list. Like the Marlins, the Phillies already had an open spot on their 40-man roster.
With one-fourth of the season in the books, let's have a look around some injury situations and how they might impact the developing trade market.
- The Cardinals and Yankees provide an interesting case study as we enter the second quarter of the season. Both have excellent records and lead their division. Both have sizeable payrolls as well as large portions of those payrolls sitting idle on the DL. Both have had to insert players onto their active roster that they did not anticipate. But, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch well explains, the source of those substitute bodies has been drastically different. While the Yankees spent well over $20MM to bring in players like Lyle Overbay, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Wells -- all of whom are 34 or older -- the Cards reached into their minor league system. Remarkably, St. Louis has plugged all of its holes with players making league minimum, including young pitchers John Gast, Shelby Miller, and Seth Maness.
- The Goold piece also includes some valuable insight from GM John Mozeliak. According to Mozeliak, amongst the team's Double-A and Triple-A rosters, "there is almost at any one position, if we needed help at the big leagues, someone we could call on from there." He acknowledges that such cheap, youthful depth cannot always be achieved, and says the team is prepared to pursue other markets as necessary. "I don't want us to go down the path where we feel like we've created this functional model and don't utilize a really robust pro scouting model that makes sure we understand the trade market and understand the free agent market. We can't be scared of those." Yet, by looking internally first, the team has managed to retain salary flexibility to add outside impact down the line. "This organization's way now of staying healthy is not being tied to those outside markets to fill needs," says Mozeliak. "Having some young players step up like they are now gives us additional flexibility when we're going to need it."
- The Cards' internal depth will once again be put to use with starter Jaime Garcia now staring at a strong possibility of season-ending shoulder surgery, writes Goold. Even with fellow starter Jake Westbrook also stuck on the DL, the team has multiple options among its current relief corps and Triple-A rotation that make a look outside the organization unlikely. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Garcia's replacement(s) can match his strong start to the year. He had thrown 55 1/3 innings of 3.58 ERA baseball to open the season. Veteran starter Chris Carpenter is increasingly shaping up as a viable mid-season option for the club. But any setback in his surprising recovery, or hiccups among the team's young hurlers, could lead St. Louis to consider eventually utilizing some of its salary reserves and young minor league depth in a trade.
- The Braves are another National League contender dealing with injured arms. As Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder writes, Eric O'Flaherty appears likely to join fellow setup man Jonny Venters as a season-ending Tommy John patient. While the team seems likely to utilize internal options to fill in for the present, the loss of its two late-inning lefties leaves the team with just one southpaw in the pen, Luis Avilan. Ultimately, then, Atlanta could be forced to explore the trade market to re-establish its depth as the season wears on.
- Teams shopping for starters at the trade deadline appear likely to find a limited supply of attractive arms, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). Two Cubs pitchers headline the developing market, with Scott Feldman shaping up as the surprise top option at the moment. (Matt Garza, of course, will begin his potential audition on Tuesday.) In addition to several other well-documented trade candidates in Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins and the Astros' Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell, Olney pegs the Padres' Jason Marquis and Edinson Volquez as likely available. Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon of the Athletics and Cliff Lee of the Phillies could also be dealt, writes Olney, with the A's having other internal options and the Phils still weighing how to proceed with their excellent (but expensive) 35-year-old co-ace.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Padres signed outfielder Mike Wilson to a minor-league deal, according to MLB.com's transactions page. The former Mariners prospect hit .239/.343/.452 for Triple-A Tacoma last year. He has 27 career big-league at bats.
- The Braves have signed lefty reliever Joe Beimel to a minor-league deal, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). Beimel missed 2012 due to injury. He pitched 25 1/3 innings for the Pirates in 2011, posting a 5.33 ERA with 6.04 K/9 and 3.20 BB/9.
- The Twins will sign outfielder Jordan Parraz and assign him to Double-A, MLBTR has learned. Parraz, 28, hit .141/.230/.321 in 78 at bats for the Braves' Triple-A affiliate this season.
- The Marlins have signed infielder Gil Velazquez, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports (on Twitter). Velazquez, 33, has a career .245/.307/.327 line in the minors. He played in the Yankees' farm system earlier in 2013 before being released.
- The Yankees have signed third baseman Josh Bell to a minor-league deal, Chris Cotillo of CLNSRadio.com reports. Bell has hit .195/.223/.265 in 272 career big-league at bats. He received 55 at bats for the White Sox's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte in 2013 before being released.
Ken Rosenthal's new video for FOX Sports offers a variety of trade tidbits on the Cubs, Brewers and Marlins.
- Matt Garza of the Cubs makes an intriguing trade candidate, but Rosenthal says that one can't rule out the possibility that the Cubs will keep Garza and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, hoping to collect draft-pick compensation. Scott Feldman might also be traded, but Rosenthal notes that his peripherals indicate he has been lucky so far.
- Alfonso Soriano has only one year left on his eight-year, $136MM contract, which could make him a more attractive trade target than in years past, Rosenthal notes, but Soriano also has a no-trade clause, allowing him to control his destination.
- The Brewers, meanwhile, have fewer trade options, Rosenthal argues. Corey Hart is hurt, Rickie Weeks is in the midst of a poor season, and Aramis Ramirez is owed $16MM in 2014 and has a $4MM buyout on his mutual option the following season. The Brewers will be "reluctant" to trade Yovani Gallardo, whose contract carries him through next season and gives the Brewers an option on his services in 2015.
- The Marlins have received calls on relievers Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn, Rosenthal reports.
2:39pm: Ken Rosenthal reports that Aardsma's contract contained a May 15 opt-out clause that allowed him to request his release if he wasn't with the Major Leagues by this date. He exercised that clause and will seek a Major League deal with a new team (Twitter links).
2:06pm: The Marlins have released right-hander David Aardsma, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The former Mariners closer had signed with the Fish on a minor league pact on April 13 and sounded excited when discussing the opportunity a few days later.
The 31-year-old pitched well in 14 innings for Triple-A New Orleans, posting a 2.57 ERA and 12 strikeouts, although he did have eight walks in that time as well.
Aardsma pitched in one inning for the Yankees last season -- his long Major League appearance since 2010. Injuries have derailed the flamethrower's career, but he was a solid ninth inning option for Seattle from 2009-10. Aardsma picked up 69 saves in that time, posting a 2.90 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 121 innings in that role. Crasnick adds that he isn't sure whether the release was the Marlins' decision or if Aardsma requested the move.
The new draft slotting system essentially allows teams to "trade down" with themselves, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. Cameron uses the Astros' selection of Carlos Correa last year as an example, stating that by saving money on the No. 1 overall pick and re-investing their draft pool later on Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz, the team employed the same philosophy that NFL and NBA teams do when they trade down: increase the quantity of good talent rather than focus on one elite player. Cameron adds that such a tactic is highly risky, as the No. 1 overall slot has produced significantly more value (in terms of WAR) than even the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the draft, historically speaking. He does concede that in years without a consensus No. 1 talent, the strategy can make a lot of sense. Here are Wednesday's draft-related tidbits...
- The Marlins are likely to focus on college players early on, specifically position players, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Spencer writes that the Fish will likely select San Diego third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant or UNC third baseman Colin Moran if either is available at No. 6. If both are gone, they could shift to Nevada right-hander Braden Shipley and target a bat later on.
- The Rockies are also eyeing Kris Bryant at the No. 3 spot, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Bryant, regarded as the most powerful bat in the draft, has been popping up in rumors more and more as the draft nears. Some feel he has No. 1 overall potential.
- After focusing heavily on high school pitching in last year's draft, the Padres are likely to focus on bats, assistant GM of player personnel Chad MacDonald tells Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Particularly, the Friars will be looking for middle infield help.
- MacDonald has scouted prep right-hander Kohl Stewart, and the Padres are enamored with his "electric" talent, but he's very unlikely to be on the board by the No. 13 selection. "He's the best high school arm in the country," said MacDonald.
Roy Halladay's season (and Phillies tenure) could be ended by his upcoming shoulder surgery, and the veteran right-hander took it upon himself to apologize to Phillie fans before Friday's game. "You feel an obligation to the organization, to your teammates, to the fans to try to go out and pitch. Especially on a competitive team that sells out. For me, that was a big factor," Halladay told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer). Halladay hopes to return to the mound in three months though it remains to been how the 36-year-old will respond to the surgery.
Here's the latest from around the division...
- The Marlins' policy against no-trade clauses isn't an insurmountable obstacle to the team's business, opines agent Scott Boras. "I think the no trade policy does affect franchise players. But the number of franchise players in free agency are pretty rare," Boras told reporters (including Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald). "The Marlins in my mind you've got a number of players who like the geographical dynamic of what Miami offers. You've got a footprint now. It's not a wish and a hope."
- The Marlins' injury problems have forced the team to promote prospects like Jose Fernandez, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna to the Major Leagues earlier than expected, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. "I don't know if it messes up the plan," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "You've got to do what you've got to do....Right now, we're so buckled by the amount of injuries to key players. I don't know if we've taken a step back to say, 'OK, is this going to mess up the master plan?' We're trying to make sure Red [manager Mike Redmond] has 25 guys every day, which has been tough."
- Edwin Jackson picked up his first win of the season in the Cubs' 8-2 victory over the Nationals today. Jackson told James Wagner of the Washington Post that he was interested in returning to the Nats last year but the team passed on negotiations after he turned down their one-year qualifying offer. Jackson ended up finding long-term security in the form of a four-year, $52MM deal with the Cubs.
- With Brian McCann back from the DL and Evan Gattis hitting well, the Braves could look to trade catcher Gerald Laird, speculates MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Since this could be McCann's last season in Atlanta, however, Bowman thinks the Braves will keep Laird as a veteran mentor to Gattis in 2014.
- Some other items about the Phillies, Nationals and Mets were covered earlier today by MLBTR's Jeff Todd in an edition of National League Notes.
The Red Sox have dropped three straight heading into tonight's game against the Blue Jays, but they find themselves very much in the AL East mix early in the season. Boston's front office took some criticism this offseason for their moves, but so far, things are going well for them as their acquisitions are paying off. Here's more on that and other notes out of the AL and NL East..
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) ran down his top ten free agent signings of the winter and the Red Sox make the list twice thanks to Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster. Napoli's deal was in flux for some time thanks to hip troubles, but his current performance could push Boston to consider giving him back his original three-year, $39MM pact. Dempster, meanwhile, turned down a more lucrative offer from the Brewers and seems to have found a home in Boston where he turned in a 2.93 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 through seven starts.
- After switching from Octagon to agent Scott Boras, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen says that the club has yet to approach him about an extension, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. “I believe [Boras] is a really professional agent and he’s not only helped me on the field, but off the field, too,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I trust him, and I think I will have a better career with him.”
- Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has been the subject of trade speculation for months, but manager Mike Redmond still isn't sure when he'll be back in action after his recent hamstring injury, tweets Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. “We still don’t have time frame for him He’s still a ways off," said the skipper.
Pay a visit to The Baseball Continuum to read the favorite baseball memories of some of your favorite baseball writers, analysts, and bloggers, including MLBTR's own Tim Dierkes. Then, have a look at a few brief notes from around the game:
- Sixteen-year-old international prospect Obispo Aybar is actually a nineteen-year-old who took on the identity of his younger brother, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. Previously viewed as a top shortstop prospect, Aybar -- real name, Cecilio Aybar -- will now be ineligible to sign until April of next year after receiving a one-year ban from MLB. The Dominican had been expected to draw a million-dollar signing bonus, even amidst questions on his age.
- The Marlins are looking at quite a difficult roster crunch over the next four to six weeks, explains Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. As Rodriguez writes, eleven players currently on the DL will begin to be cleared over that time, creating difficult 40-man roster decisions. In particular, at least four players figure to return from the 60-day DL in relatively short order: starters Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, along with first basemen Logan Morrison and Casey Kotchman. While the team can create one slot by putting Chris Valaika on the 60-day DL, Rodriguez says Miami will need to expose at least three other players to waivers (barring a trade).
- Larry Beinfest, Marlins president of baseball operations, had an interesting reaction on the team's roster issues. Beinfest told reporters, including Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald: "I don't even know who is here anymore. It's been a bad run." He says the team is "just trying to [survive]" the rash of injuries. As to whether calling up youngsters like outfielder Marcell Ozuna and infielder Derek Dietrich could be a negative in the long run, Beinfest said: "I don't know if it messes up the plan. You've got to do what you've got to do."