Franklin Morales Rumors
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.
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).
News out of the American League East..
- The Red Sox would possibly give up Franklin Morales or Alfredo Aceves in a deal for Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. The Pirates, however, may be thinking more along the lines of Felix Doubront, which would be a deal-breaker, according to a major league source. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported Boston's interest in Hanrahan.
- The Red Sox had some inquiries on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but it appears that they may go to spring training with three catchers, plus Mike Napoli, if that deal gets done, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Boston also has free agent pickup David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway slotted in at the catcher position.
- The Rangers' signing of A.J. Pierzynski could shake the catching market loose and spark trade interest in Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox, tweets Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Pierzynski and Texas agreed to a one-year deal earlier this evening.
- The Yankees did not make an offer to Pierzynski, according to Heyman (via Twitter). The Bombers' plan at present is to go with a combination of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine behind the plate. The Yanks were known to have interest in Pierzynski but were said to be wary of his defense.
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.
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:
- The Braves and Eric O'Flaherty avoided arbitration, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. O'Flaherty will earn $2.49MM, just shy of his projected $2.6MM salary.
- The Orioles and Jim Johnson have avoided arbitration, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. The right-hander will earn $2.625MM in 2012, just north of his projected $2.5MM salary.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Franklin Morales, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. The left-hander had a projected salary of $1MM and agreed to an $850K deal.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with J.P. Howell, agreeing to a $1.35MM deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.4MM salary for the left-hander.
- The Royals avoided arbitration with Chris Getz, agreeing to a $967,500 deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.2MM salary for the infielder.
- The Nationals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Jesus Flores. Flores, who is represented by Praver/Shapiro, received $815K, MLBTR has learned.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The ACES client received $2.35MM, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- The Royals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Brayan Pena, a client of Wasserman Media Group. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star says the deal is worth $875K; Matt Swartz had him at $900K.
- Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day avoided arbitration for a deal worth $1.35MM, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Matt Swartz had projected the same for the Beverly Hills Sports Council client.
- Yankees righty Phil Hughes agreed to a deal worth $3.2MM plus performance bonuses, tweets his agency CAA. The 25-year-old gets a $500K raise after a lost 2011 season.
- The Tigers announced they've avoided arbitration with lefty Phil Coke. Coke, a client of Full Circle Sports Management, gets a $1.1MM base salary with $50K in incentives for appearances or starts, MLBTR has learned.
- The Angels avoided arbitration with infielder Alberto Callaspo, signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.15MM, tweets ESPN's Keith Law. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz nailed this one, projecting a $3.1MM salary. Callaspo, a client of Eric Goldschmidt, received a $1.15MM raise for his second time through arbitration.
Some interesting items to pass along from around the AL "Beast" ...
- The Red Sox were gauging trade interest in some of their out-of-options pitchers at the GM Meetings this week, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront, Michael Bowden and Scott Atchison are all out of options but aren't locks to make next year's bullpen, according to Speier, so Boston may decide to add or remove some of these players from the 40-man roster based on relative trade interest.
- The Rays are hopeful of extending the contract of manager Joe Maddon, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. Maddon is entering the final year of a three-year extension he signed in 2009.
- The Yankees may shy away from pursuing Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish if he's posted because of the club's history with busts Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, opines Heyman (Twitter link), although owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters, such as the New York Post's Joel Sherman and Newsday's Ken Davidoff, that the team will evaluate each player on a case-by-case basis.
- The Blue Jays are interested in free agent DH David Ortiz, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said that last month's rumors that he was angling for a contract extension was the result of a joke gone awry, according to Spanish-language Web site DiarioLibre.com. “I’m not thinking about the contract. My lawyer told a journalist as a joke that I was looking for a contract extension, and that’s what got published… I’m not thinking about that. The team has a $14MM option for next year." Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation.
The Red Sox made a pair of moves yesterday and won again, boosting their record to a season-best 23-20. Here’s the latest on Boston as they prepare to take on the Cubs...
- If recent signing Kevin Millwood reaches the Major Leagues, he’ll earn a pro-rated portion of $500K, plus incentives, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. In other words, he's guaranteed slightly more than the MLB minimum.
- If the Rockies had sent Franklin Morales to the Pirates instead of the Red Sox, Colorado would have asked for a prospect rather than former Rockie Joe Beimel, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox designated Hideki Okajima for assignment to create roster space for Morales, but the Japanese left-hander says re-signing in Boston this offseason was not a mistake, according to Speier.
The Red Sox have acquired Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). In order to make room for Morales, Hideki Okajima has been designated for assignment by the BoSox.
Boston has until November to either agree on a player in the Morales trade or pay a nominal amount of money to the Rockies, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.
Morales was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2008 season. The left-hander throws the ball extremely hard as evidenced by his 94.4 mph fastball last year. Across parts of five big league seasons, he owns a 4.83 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9.
The 25-year-old is out of options and the Rockies have reportedly been concerned about losing him to waivers. Yesterday we learned that the Rockies were measuring trade interest in Morales as well as fellow fireballer Felipe Paulino.
The Rockies are "expected to continue measuring trade interest" in hard-throwing pitchers Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. At least one NL Central team has expressed interest in Morales, he adds. Both pitchers are out of options, so the Rockies can't demote them without exposing them to waivers.
Paulino, 27, was acquired from the Astros in November for Clint Barmes. He throws hard and gets strikeouts, but allows tons of hits and plenty of walks and home runs. He's relieving now, but has 34 career starts to his name. Paulino missed a good chunk of 2010 with a shoulder injury.
Morales, 25, was considered the eighth best prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2008 season, according to Baseball America. He has a higher profile than Paulino, having made a couple of playoff starts in '07 and served as the Rockies' closer at times. There might be five or six lefties in the Majors who throw harder than Morales. However, he's prone to flyballs and walks and has also battled shoulder injuries. Paulino and Morales are projects, so they make the most sense for non-contenders.
Aroldis Chapman went on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation today, after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on the Reds’ options for proceeding with the struggling Cuban left-hander. Here’s the latest on Chapman plus notes from around the league:
- A veteran scout insists that the Reds need to demote Chapman and make him a starter, but pitching coach Bryan Price isn’t so sure that a demotion is the way to go. He points out that Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson took time to develop. “Both struggled with command until they got enough work to figure out how their body works, how to put their hand in the right position to throw quality strikes,” Price said.
- The Braves would ideally add a leadoff hitter and put Martin Prado second in the order, according to Rosenthal. He suggests the Braves could target leadoff options Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Denard Span or David DeJesus via trade or free agency after the season.
- The Rockies appear to be concerned about losing out of options relievers Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales to waivers.
- Astros GM Ed Wade says Bud Norris has become a much more mature pitcher. The 26-year-old right-hander has 60 strikeouts in 50 innings this year.