Francisco Peguero Rumors
The Orioles officially announced today, via press release, that they have reached a Major League deal with outfielder Francisco Peguero. Peguero, who is represented by Dan Rosquete and Elliott Vallin of Boston Sports Counsel, will earn $550K next season with Baltimore, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
Peguero, 25, was non-tendered by the Giants earlier in the week. He's batted .200/.217/.289 in a pair of brief Major League stints (46 plate appearances) but has fared better in the minor leagues. Peguero is a career .288/.318/.399 hitter in 764 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, though those numbers are likely dampened a bit by a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery.
Rosquete and Vallin did a nice job securing a Major League deal for their client given his scant MLB experience. The Orioles have been aggressive in securing players of this nature, having also given MLB deals to Kelvin De La Cruz and Edgmer Escalona. Indeed, Baltimore could be a nice landing spot for Peguero. As Kubatko reports, executive vice president Dan Duquette said that Peguero has big league talent. "He just needs an opportunity," said Duquette. "I'm glad we could add him to the organization."
Prior to the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked Peguero eighth among Giants prospects, noting that he had perhaps the best combination of power and speed in the Giants' system. BA called Peguero a "hyper-aggressive" hitter, likening his approach to that of his now-former teammate, Pablo Sandoval. BA also noted that he has the tools to profile as a regular in the Majors if he can improve his recognition of the strike zone.
For a fascinating look at some of the background motivations for the Yankees' recent signings of catcher Brian McCann and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, be sure to read this excellent article from Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. As Costa explains, New York's singular spending capacity is closely connected to its unique financial circumstances. The club's ticket sales and stadium seat licenses took a greater-than-$50MM hit last year due to missing the post-season, Costa reports. When one factors in the impact to merchandise, concessions, and future ticket sales, says Costa, the club's massive free agent investments begin to look more like a necessity. As Vince Gennaro notes in the piece, "If the Yankees were an 85-win team or an 83-win team for three or four years in a row, they would suffer financially orders of magnitude more than any other franchise."
Here are some more notes out of the Bronx and the rest of the AL East:
- If the Yankees have any chance of staying under the $189MM luxury tax level, a source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the club needs for Alex Rodriguez to remain suspended for all of 2014. If the suspension is upheld, the Yankees will avoid both his $27.5MM salary as well as the $6MM bonus they stand to pay if Rodriguez passes Willie Mays on the all-time home run list.
- The Yankees initially pursued Carlos Beltran more aggressively than Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but shifted their attention to Ellsbury as a third year became more and more likely for Beltran. The Mariners were seemingly willing to give Ellsbury a stunning nine-year deal, but the center fielder was apparently less than enthused about going to Seattle. Talks accelerated over the weekend when the Yanks agreed to exceed the Carl Crawford contract, Sherman reports.
- Meanwhile, Red Sox manager John Farrell told WEEI's Salk & Holley (via WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that the field staff and players were "jolted" by the news of Ellsbury's departure. With about a half-dozen current players reaching out for more information, Farrell told them that GM Ben Cherington was "doing the best he can with the two remaining guys, with [Mike Napoli] and [Stephen Drew]." "We're going to do anything we can to bring both guys back," Farrell told his players. Be sure to check out the link for a lot more quotes from Farrell on the team's recent moves and path forward.
- While Ellsbury's parting may have surprised Sox players, it seemed to be rather expected by the front office, as Speier notes. Indeed, as John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports (via Twitter), the club never made its star outfielder a nine-figure offer. Looking ahead, Boston still has plenty of work to do after resolving its catching opening by signing A.J. Pierzynski. But given the club's slate of young players already in the fold, says Speier, there are plenty of ways that Cherington can maneuver in addressing Boston's remaining questions.
- We just learned that the Orioles could be chasing some big-money free agents, but the club's most immediate move is expected to be the addition of outfielder Francisco Peguero, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com had previously reported (via Twitter) that a deal was in place, but executive vice president Dan Duquette said that "it's not a done deal." Duquette did, however, confirm that an agreement was close. The top Orioles baseball man noted that the club likes Peguero's defensive flexibility and hit tool. Adding Peguero would leave Baltimore with two vacant 40-man spots, Kubatko notes.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of National League non-tenders here. 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 as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP. Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
- The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
- The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.
- The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
- The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
- The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
- The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
- The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.
The Giants have designated catcher Johnny Monell and outfielder Francisco Peguero for assignment to clear two 40-man roster spots, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. As Schulman explains, the slots were needed to make room for the club's claim of lefty Jose De Paula and the previously unreported signing of righty Erik Cordier, who has been added to the 40-man. (Twitter links.)
Monell, 27, has spent his entire career in the San Francisco organization but has seen just nine MLB plate appearances. In his first full season at Triple-A last year, Monell supplied a pleasing .275/.364/.494 line in 481 plate appearances. He did not appear among Baseball America's ranking of the organization's top thirty prospects.
Peguero, on the other hand, opened the 2013 campaign at eighth on that list, with BA saying he had "the most exciting combination of speed and power in the system" while explaining that he still needed to translate his raw power to game action and improve his strike zone awareness. Now 25 years of age, the Dominican native has seen very sparse big league action but played both of the last two years at the highest minor league level. After a meager .691 OPS campaign in 2012, he managed to bump his slash up to a .315/.350/.416 level in 314 plate appearances in 2013. He only contributed four long balls and three steals, however, and took 53 strikeouts against just 13 walks (though that was an improvement over the 82 K to 15 BB ratio he put up in his first season of Triple-A ball).
Meanwhile, Cordier, who will turn 28 before the start of the 2014 season, has been a fixture in the upper minors for the last several seasons but has yet to break into the bigs. A starter for most of his career after being drafted in the 2nd round back in 2004, Cordier worked out of the pen last year for the Pirates' top affiliate. He notched 11.0 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 but allowed nearly a hit per inning, resulting in a 4.58 ERA in 53 innings. He had never previously flashed that kind of strikeout potential while working in the Royals and Braves systems, which could be the reason that San Francisco saw fit to trust him with a valuable roster position.
Trade rumors have surrounded plenty of Mets players throughout the season, but with just a week until the July 31st deadline, Carlos Beltran is the only major piece the Mets are focused on moving. As we learned yesterday, there is "increasing chatter" that the Giants are emerging as the favorite, but there are still a few other teams in on the outfielder. Here are today's Beltran rumors, with any new updates added to the top of the page throughout the day:
- Beltran has privately told the Mets that he will not accept a trade to an American League team because he doesn't want to alternate between DH'ing and playing center field, and because he's not familiar with the league, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Beltran has a list of seven NL team to whom he would accept a trade.
- One of Sandy Alderson's top Major League scouts, Roy Smith, has been following Giants minor leaguers, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! (via Twitter).
- Beltran says that he would be okay with a trade to any of the five teams that have been rumored as destinations, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- The Mets are talking to the Rangers and Red Sox about Beltran but Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) still sees the Giants, Braves, and Phillies as the more probable destinations.
- The Rangers are interested in Beltran because of the potential impact that he can have but they aren’t desperate to add a bat otherwise, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Team officials for two of the clubs in talks with the Mets expect discussions to continue until next weekend, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (on Twitter).
- The Giants, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, and Rangers have each had a scout on hand to watch Beltran this weekend, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan says (via Twitter) the Rangers are "coming hard" for Beltran, though San Francisco is still the frontrunner. Passan singles out Giants prospect Francisco Peguero as one name that may have been discussed.
- The Red Sox see Beltran as a "total longshot," and are more concerned with adding pitching, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
- In his Insider-only blog, Olney says the Mets are looking for a top pitching prospect from the Braves - perhaps Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, or Randall Delgado. One talent evalutor says he can't see GM Frank Wren parting with any of those four arms for Beltran.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at Minor and a few other prospects the Mets may be targeting in Beltran discussions.