Franklin Morales Rumors

Royals Sign Franklin Morales

FEB.20: Morales’ deal pays him $1.85MM with an additional $850K available via incentives, if he is on the Major League roster, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

FEB. 19: The Royals have signed left-hander Franklin Morales to a minor league contract, the team announced on its official Twitter site.  Morales is represented by the Boras Corporation.

Morales posted a 5.37 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 1.54 K/BB rate over 142 1/3 innings with the Rockies last season.  Ostensibly the team’s emergency starter, Morales ended up making 22 starts (out of 37 overall appearances) thanks to all of the injuries in Colorado’s rotation.  This unexpected amount of action was surely a big reason for Morales’ inflated numbers, especially the additional exposure to right-handed hitters — righty bats had a .923 OPS against Morales last season, while left-handed hitters managed only a .699 OPS.

Given his large career splits (.624 OPS vs LHB, .844 OPS vs. RHB), Morales could be a valuable bullpen weapon if he’s limited to facing mostly lefty bats.  If he makes the Royals’ roster, pitching at Kauffman Stadium could also be a boon for Morales after spending his entire career at hitter-friendly Coors Field and Fenway Park.  Morales has only a 40% ground ball rate over his career and his HR/FB rate ballooned to a career-high 15.9% last season.

While the Royals’ bullpen is arguably the best in the game overall, their relief corps is short on left-handed options other than Tim Collins.  Top prospect Brandon Finnegan worked out of the bullpen during Kansas City’s playoff run last year, though the club would obviously prefer to keep him as a starter for the sake of his long-term development.  Of the other southpaw relievers in camp (including Brian Flynn and Joe Paterson), Morales has the most experience and he could even take the odd start if the Royals were in a pinch.  K.C. had also recently shown interest in veteran relievers Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves.


NL West Notes: Padres, Hill, Morales, Rockies

In an excellent piece for Baseball Prospectus, Jeff Quinton examines how the Padres went from uninteresting to potential contenders without spending too heavily or parting with top prospects Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler or Rymer Liriano. As Quinton notes, the Padres took an indiscriminate approach to adding players this offseason, focusing on overall value delivered rather than team need. The Padres could have claimed their outfield was full after adding Matt Kemp, for example, but proceeded to add further value by acquiring both Justin Upton and Wil Myers. Similarly, one could have said the team was set at both catcher and starting pitcher and should have focused on the infield, but they added value in areas that weren’t seen as traditional areas of need. By doing so, the Padres didn’t put themselves in situations where they were forced to overpay because the other team knew San Diego desperately needed the player in question. Rather, the team sought general value and therefore found more buyer-friendly markets, Quinton speculates.

Here’s more on the National League West…

  • Aaron Hill tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he’s feeling good heading into Spring Training and thinks he has a few good years at second base left in him. Hill wouldn’t blame his 2014 struggles on injuries, even though he dealt with several, instead saying that he began to press after his initial struggles. As Piecoro notes, the D-Backs‘ ideal scenario would have Yasmany Tomas handling third base with Hill playing well at second base. While such an outcome would obviously improve Arizona’s on-field performance, it would perhaps more importantly make Hill, who is owed $12MM in each of the next two seasons, a considerably more tradeable asset.
  • The Rockies‘ addition of Kyle Kendrick allows them to work top prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler into the rotation more slowly rather than rushing them to the Majors, writes the Denver Post’s Nick Groke. Gray, Butler and trade acquisition David Hale join several in-house candidates to give the Rox better depth than they had in 2014 when they used a club-record 15 pitchers, Groke notes. He points to the fact that Franklin Morales — the team’s “emergency starter” — ranked second on the team in innings as an example of how problematic depth was in 2014. Additionally, Groke notes that Morales, who is still a free agent, probably won’t return to the Rockies.
  • In a notebook piece, Groke’s colleague Patrick Saunders touches briefly on a point of frustration for some Rockies fans — the fact that the team did not make a run at James Shields or any other top starters despite a clear rotation need. Saunders notes that the only way the Rockies will ever add a top flight starter under owner Dick Monfort is via trade, as they’d have to grossly overpay a free agent to come to Coors Field, and Monfort “is never going to hand out big money to a free agent pitcher.”

NL Notes: Morales, Cuddyer, Morse, Romo, Tomas

Free agent lefty Franklin Morales, most recently of the Rockies, has moved his representation to the Boras Corporation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old had a rough 2014. He put up a 5.37 ERA over 142 1/3 innings, including 22 starts, while striking out a below-average (against his career) 6.3 batters and walking 4.1 per nine.

Here’s more from Colorado and the rest of the National League:

  • The Rockies‘ extension of a qualifying offer to free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer was the big surprise on the QO front. Colorado’s rationale for the move, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets, is to remain flexible to trade from its outfield depth. Cuddyer, meanwhile, had hoped to land a three-year deal, per Rosenthal, and the offer makes that a more difficult proposition. In my view, it makes little sense to create outfield depth to trade from by adding a contract with negative trade value; the move seems irrational unless the club has good reason to believe that Cuddyer will turn down the QO.
  • While teams can always simply price in the loss of a draft choice in assessing how much to offer a compensation-bound player, the presence of the QO can in some cases be a significant enough deterrent that it keeps a team out of the market altogether. That appears to be the case for the Mets vis-a-vis Cuddyer, as Marc Carig of Newday reports that New York had been quite interested in pursuing the veteran but has little interest in giving up the 15th overall pick in doing so.
  • The Mets may, however, be more willing to pursue non-QO-bound Michael Morse, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Morse would represent an option in the outfield and, perhaps, part-time platoon mate at first.
  • Giants righty Sergio Romo hopes to re-sign with San Francisco, he told MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via host Jim Bowden). But the former closer is looking forward to testing the market, and should draw plenty of interest.
  • Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas worked out at third base in a tryout yesterday with the Diamondbacks, according to a tweet from his agent Jay Alou Jr.  The 24-year-old had been talked about primarily as a corner outfielder. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com first tweeted that Tomas had spent time with the D’backs.


Players Avoiding Arbitration: Wednesday

Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR will be covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections. We'll use this post to keep tabs on players avoiding arbitration today:

  • Josh Outman, who avoided arbitration with the Indians last night, will earn a $1.25MM salary in 2014, the Associated Press reports (via ESPN).
  • The Rockies have avoided arbitration with lefty Franklin Morales, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com (via Twitter). Morales was recently picked up from the Red Sox in exchange for Jonathan Herrera, and was projected to earn $1.8MM by Swartz. His salary comes in just below that mark at $1.7125MM, according to a tweet from the Denver Post's Troy Renck. 
  • Burke Badenhop has settled on a one-year deal with the Red Sox, the club announced in a press release. The right-handed reliever, who was acquired from the Brewers back in November, came with a projected $2.2MM price tag and will in fact earn $2.15MM, according to a tweet from WEEI.com's Alex Speier. Badenhop's last two seasons have been uncannily similar. In both 2012 and 2013, Bandenhop threw 62 1/3 innings, registered 42 strikeouts (6.1 K/9) against 12 walks (1.7 BB/9), and surrendered six home runs. He allowed just one less hit (62) last year than in 2012, though his ERA rose from 3.03 to 3.47 due to a drop in his strand rate.
  • The Mets have reached agreement with infielder Ruben Tejada on a 2014 contract, the club announced on Twitter. He will earn a $1.1MM salary in his first year of arbitration eligibility, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, which is in line with his $1MM projection. Tejada struggled to a .202/.259/.260 mark in 227 plate appearances last year, but is still only 24 years old. He will have three more years of arb eligibility since he qualified as a Super Two player.
  • The Rangers have reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with southpaw Neal Cotts, the club announced via press release. The deal will pay Cotts $2.2MM, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cotts will earn $700K over Swartz's projection.
  • Outfielder Michael Saunders has reached agreement with the Mariners on a deal to avoid arbitration, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). The 27-year-old will earn $2.3MM (plus incentives) in his first arb-eligible season, Divish tweets, which comes in just above the $2MM projection from Swartz.

Rockies Acquire Franklin Morales

The Rockies have acquired left-hander Franklin Morales from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera, according to Ian Browne and Thomas Harding of MLB.com (Twitter link). In a second tweet, Harding adds that minor league right-hander Chris Martin is also headed to the Rockies.

The Red Sox acquired Morales from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations in May 2011. With Boston, the now-27-year-old Morales pitched to a 3.90 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 134 innings. Though he did not pan out as a starter, Morales has held left-handed hitters to a .194/.286/.301 batting line in his career.

The Rockies added left-hander Boone Logan last week on a three-year deal, which led to them dealing Josh Outman to Cleveland for Drew Stubbs just less than an hour ago. However, Morales will now give manager Walt Weiss another lefty option to pair with Logan in the bullpen. Though Morales is a fly-ball pitcher, homers haven't been a problem for him in his career with the Rockies. He averaged 0.9 HR/9 as a member of the Rockies and has matched that rate at Coors Field, allowing seven homers in 70 1/3 career innings there.

Martin, 27, posted a 2.25 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 72 innings of relief between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Martin was actually drafted by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 draft but did not sign. He went on to pitch in independent ball, where Red Sox scouts noticed him and signed him as an amateur free agent prior to the 2011 season.

The 29-year-old Herrera has batted .276/.326/.357 for the Rockies over the past two seasons in 466 plate appearances. The bulk of his work in the Majors has come at second base, where he has outstanding marks of +5.2 UZR/150 and +15 Defensive Runs Saved. Herrera also has experience at third base and shortstop, making him a versatile addition to manager John Farrell's bench.


Cafardo On Bourn, Red Sox, Morales, Bailey, Okajima

The Yankees will face an uphill battle if they attempt to void Alex Rodriguez's contract due to his alleged ties to a Miami PED clinic.  The use of banned substances alone may not be enough to 86 a contract, but a former agent tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that they could try to prove there was fraud prior to the contract being signed.  In that situation, the Bombers would try to show that A-Rod lied about taking PEDs and therefore the contract was agreed to under false pretenses.  Here's more from today's column, with a heavy dose of news on current and former members of the Red Sox..

  • There has been speculation that the Mets are trying to get MLB to allow them to keep their first-round pick if they sign Michael Bourn.  According to a Mets source, they are still trying to determine whether they can get him to sign and they'll only go all out on the compensation issue if they determine that they can. 
  • A few teams contacted the Red Sox about left-hander Franklin Morales this winter and a few others are watching him closely in spring training.  Teams are intrigued by Morales’s starting capability and are especially interested to see if he can consistently maintain his 96 mph fastball over a full outing.  If Gio Gonzalez winds up being penalized for his alleged link to the PED clinic in Miami, Cafardo believes that the Nationals may be interested in Morales.
  • Andrew Bailey is another Red Sox pitcher who will be watched by scouts.  There are still teams out there who could use a closer like the Tigers and Mets and Boston might listen for the right return.
  • A few teams are interested in signing Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal, but he hasn’t made up his mind yet.  The left-hander was recently released by his Japanese team so that he could pursue a return to the majors.
  • Teams like the Astros and Mets are kicking around the possibility of bringing Daisuke Matsuzaka to camp to see if he can recapture the form he had in his first two seasons in Boston.  He could also head back to Japan if he doesn't feel that he has a good chance of making a big league roster.  Last month, a Mets insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he didn't believe the club reached out to Matsuzaka.
  • Derek Lowe wants to be a starting pitcher, but it appears that he will have to go settle for being a swingman.  The Mets and the Astros are possibilities.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements — those worth less than $4MM — right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.

Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB…

  • The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM).  Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
  • The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter).  Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
  • Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
  • The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
  • The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
  • The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
  • The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
  • The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
  • The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
  • The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter).  Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
  • The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter
  • The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
  • The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
  • The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
  • The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. 
  • The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
  • Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).

Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Ellis | Alejandro De Aza | Alex Avila | Alfredo Aceves | Andrew Bailey | Andrew Miller | Antonio Bastardo | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Austin Jackson | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Parnell | Boone Logan | Boston Red Sox | Brad Ziegler | Brandon Moss | Brennan Boesch | Brian Duensing | Brian Matusz | Bud Norris | Burke Badenhop | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Davis | Chris Johnson | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Cristhian Martinez | Daniel Bard | Detroit Tigers | Doug Fister | Edinson Volquez | Edward Mujica | Emilio Bonifacio | Eric O'Flaherty | Franklin Morales | Gaby Sanchez | Gordon Beckham | Gregor Blanco | Houston Astros | Ian Desmond | J.A. Happ | Jason Heyward | Jed Lowrie | Jeff Niemann | Jeff Samardzija | Jerry Blevins | Joe Smith | Josh Thole | Justin Masterson | Kansas City Royals | Kendrys Morales | Kris Medlen | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Lou Marson | Luke Hochevar | Matt Albers | Matt Joyce | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Mitchell Boggs | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Phil Coke | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Roger Bernadina | Ronald Belisario | Ross Detwiler | Ryan Roberts | Sam Fuld | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Tommy Hanson | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Troy Patton | Tyler Clippard | Tyler Colvin | Washington Nationals

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Saltalamacchia, Yankees

News out of the American League East..


Red Sox Notes: Pitching, Morales

There's deep, multi-layered unhappiness among Red Sox players and staff, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Complaints are starting to spread across baseball and some within the Boston organization are already talking about looking for work elsewhere in the future, according to Olney. However, Olney points out that the Red Sox could win in spite of the bad energy, as the Yankees did in 1977-78. Here’s more detail on the 33-33 Red Sox…

  • The Red Sox are looking for a starting pitcher, according to Olney.
  • Franklin Morales has become a key contributor for the Red Sox after falling out of favor in Denver, as Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains. "We wanted to commit to turning him into a guy for us,” Boston GM Ben Cherington has said. Morales, who pitched effectively in a start against the Cubs last night, has a 3.14 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings this year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Red Sox can still win the AL East if they put Daniel Bard back in the bullpen, dump Kevin Youkilis sooner rather than later, acquire a starting pitcher and remain patient.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Monday

In advance of tomorrow's 11am central time deadline to exchange arbitration figures, settlements will be rolling in today.  Follow all of the action with MLBTR's arbitration tracker.  The latest for players under $4MM: