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Freddy Garcia Rumors
Late last night, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle followed up on his report that the Astros‘ exact draft pool is unknown because two players after the 10th round received bonuses north of $100K. Per Drellich, 14th-round pick Nick Tanielu and 15th-round pick Connor Goedert each received bonuses of $200K — $100K above slot for each of them. As such, Drellich writes in a separate piece that the team’s final $616,165 offer to fifth-rounder Jacob Nix was virtually every dollar they had available to offer without losing future draft picks.
Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…
- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that both right-hander Taijuan Walker and left-hander Tyler Olson have made the team’s Opening Day roster (Twitter link). Walker’s inclusion on the 25-man roster is significant, as with 142 days of service time under his belt, he’ll almost certainly be a Super Two player two offseasons from now. The 25-year-old Olson, on the other hand, was in camp as a non-roster invite and will need to be added to the 40-man roster.
- Freddy Garcia‘s Minor League contract with the Dodgers does contain an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, although the exact date of that opt-out remains unknown. Also pertaining to Garcia, Han Lee of Global Sports Integration has passed along Garcia’s Taiwanese stats to MLBTR. The veteran righty pitched to an 11-9 record with a 3.19 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 1.19 WHIP in 161 innings of work while pitching overseas in 2014.
- Though the D-Backs have named their starting rotation, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that Archie Bradley has been so impressive that the Snakes may have to re-think at the last minute. Bradley fired six shutout innings Wednesday, including 5 2/3 no-hit innings, and after the game, manager Chip Hale told reporters: “We’ve named our five, but he’s pushed the envelope all the way down to the last possible chance he had. He’s looked great. We’ll have to sit down and evaluate everything.” Bradley could also begin his first full season in the Majors in a bullpen role, serving as a long man to get acclimated with the big leagues, Hale indicated.
Newly-inked Dodgers righty Freddy Garcia is now a client of the Praver/Shapiro agency, MLBTR has learned. It was reported last night that the long-time big leaguer was coming back from Taiwan to join the Los Angeles organization. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times explains things (on Twitter), injuries to Erik Bedard and Chad Gaudin opened up a need for innings and depth in the upper minors.
Here’s more from out west:
- Righty Chris Hatcher played an important role in the Dodgers‘ complicated swap with the Marlins this winter, but as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register explains, he has had a tough spring. Hatcher blames that in part on trying too hard to impress his new employer, though as Plunkett notes, he is still all but assured an important bullpen role to start the year.
- Meanwhile, the team actually has something of a tough call to make on fellow righty Dustin McGowan, who is guaranteed the league minimum but stands to earn a $1MM roster bonus if he breaks camp with the club. McGowan has also struggled, perhaps leading to some question of whether he is worth that commitment. Of course, Los Angeles is not exactly overflowing with alternatives for these two veterans.
- One somewhat surprising roster battle is shaping up as Diamondbacks camp closes, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Prospects Archie Bradley and Robbie Ray are in the mix for a bullpen slot, manager Chip Hale says, explaining that many young rotation members have had their first taste of big league action from the pen.
While details of Garcia’s stint in Taiwan are hard to dig up, it appears that he at least threw a full season as the Taipei Times credits him with picking up a Gold Glove award. Garcia had seemed ticketed for the Braves rotation last spring before the club dropped him in favor of Aaron Harang — a decision that delivered Atlanta a surprisingly excellent season from Harang and sent Garcia out of the bigs for the first time since he broke into the league in 1999.
Garcia came up with the Mariners, promptly reeling off 200+ inning campaigns in seven of his first eight years. He carried a 4.01 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 to that point. Injuries intervened, however, and Garcia did not even crack the 60-inning barrier from 2007 through 2009 (even while working as a starter).
He has been a useful swingman since then, however, and figures to provide a depth option for a Los Angeles club that is approaching the season looking somewhat thin on pitching.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.
- Freddy Garcia has completed his deal with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Garcia pitched for the Orioles and Braves in 2013, but the Braves released him from a minor-league deal in late March.
- The Yankees have announced that they’ve released pitcher Nik Turley. Turley, 24, posted a 3.88 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 139 innings for Double-A Trenton in 2013. He experienced arm tightness in spring training and has not pitched this season, but if healthy, one would think that a left-hander with his strikeout rate and ability to start could get a look from another organization.
Righty Freddy Garcia is nearing a deal with a club in Asia, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reports, though some details still need to be worked out. Reports out of Taiwan indicate that the EDA Rhinos — the former home of Manny Ramirez — is likely the team involved, Cotillo tweets.
Garcia seemed set to begin the season in a depleted Braves rotation, but Atlanta cut him loose in favor of fellow veteran Aaron Harang. Since that time, Garcia has reportedly been throwing to Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales while holding out for a major league offer. Last year, Garcia put up a 4.37 ERA (with 5.2 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9) in 80 1/3 innings.
The 37-year-old apparently drew plenty of interest from teams looking to stash him in Triple-A, which is not surprising given the number of injuries that have cropped up in recent months. Garcia could well be the best available rotation arm on the open market.
There was more bad injury news out of Oakland, as top Athletics prospect Addison Russell has torn his right hamstring and will be down for at least a month, according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Though Russell was not necessarily expected to contribute much at the MLB level this year — he had started his age-20 season at Double-A — a prolonged absence will certainly be unwelcome news for an Athletics club that could hypothetically look to Russell for a late-season boost or audition for 2015. Here are a few more stray notes from the day:
- There is a sense that the free agent market for Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales could be thawing, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Multiple clubs have gone to scout the pair, says Heyman, and Morales in particular seems to be drawing increased activity. Heyman cites the Orioles, Mariners, and Brewers as teams thought to have interest, with the Pirates also a potential landing spot.
- Free agent starter Freddy Garcia has been throwing to Drew and Morales, Heyman adds. Though Garcia has received minor league offers since being cut loose by the Braves, he is holding out in hopes of signing straight into a MLB role.
- The Twins will be among the teams with the most cash to spend through international bonus pools and the amateur draft. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN provides some updates on the club's current direction (Twitter links). Minnesota still has several hundred thousand dollars of uncommitted international cash to work with, and has narrowed its options for the 5th overall pick to eight players (most of whom are pitchers).
- As expected, Braves reliever Cory Gearrin will have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2014 season, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported yesterday (via Twitter). The 27-year-old was a useful arm last year, throwing 31 innings of 3.77 ERA ball after notching 20 innings at a 1.80 ERA clip in 2012. Though the club has already filled in for Gearrin in the immediate term, his loss takes another depth piece away from an organization that has suffered more than its share of recent pitching injuries.
Following his release from the Braves, right-hander Freddy Garcia has received multiple minor league offers, including one from the Rangers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sport (on Twitter). However, Garcia is still holding out for a Major League opportunity at this time and is currently working out in Miami, per Heyman.
The Braves recently released Garcia, electing instead to go with fellow veteran Aaron Harang in their rotation early in the season (Harang had a stellar debut against the Brewers yesterday). Garcia was outstanding for the Braves down the stretch and into the playoffs in 2013, pitching to a 1.65 ERA with 20 punchouts against five walks in 27 1/3 regular-season innings before allowing two runs in six innings against the Dodgers in the NLDS.
However, prior to that resurgence in Atlanta, the veteran Garcia struggled in a 53-inning stint with the Orioles, posting an unsightly 5.77 ERA with just 26 strikeouts against 12 free passes. The 37-year-old Garcia said last month that he would prefer retirement to pitching in the minor leagues at this stage of his career. He has a 4.15 ERA in 2264 career innings with the Mariners, White Sox, Yankees, Braves, Phillies, Orioles and Tigers.
The Braves announced today they have given righty Freddy Garcia his unconditional release. Earlier this month, Garcia told MLB.com's Mark Bowman he'd retire rather than return to Triple-A. Garcia pitched in five games this spring, allowing nine earned runs in 17 innings. He would have earned $1.5MM had he made the Braves' Opening Day roster.
Garcia, 37, posted a 4.37 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 2.02 HR/9, and 41.9% groundball rate in 80 1/3 innings for the Orioles and Braves last year. The Braves lost Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy this year to Tommy John surgery, and have also placed Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd on the DL. Minor and Floyd hope to be activated in April and May, respectively. The Braves seem to be planning to open the season with a four-man rotation of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, David Hale, and Gus Schlosser, with Ervin Santana joining the mix around the season's second week.
Baseball prospect rankings are always fascinating, but often unsatisfying. Once all of the exciting projecting and future lineup construction has been completed, you are left to wait for the player to develop and reach the bigs. But youthful players more generally — as distinguished from prospects — can and often are a thing of the present. So, which teams have the best assemblage of young talent, prospects or otherwise? According to Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus staff, the Cardinals lead the way in a top five that belongs to the National League. The Pirates (#4) also land in that grouping, but the rest is occupied by National League East clubs: the Nationals (#2), Braves (#3), and Marlins (#5).
Here's more from the N.L. East:
- The Mets land at 12th on that list, led of course by a trio of young pitchers. One of those – 21-year-old Mets hurler Noah Syndergaard — has always wowed scouts with his stuff, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that he has increasingly revealed a competitive personality as he's come out of his shell in New York. Mets brass is reportedly excited not only about Syndergaard's MLB-ready fastball, but also his attitude toward the role of being a starter. Of course, he does not figure to be much of a factor on the big league level this year, though scouts tell Martino that he could retire MLB batters at his current stage of development.
- Speaking of prospects, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America compiled a list of the players who received some consideration for inclusion in the outlet's Top 100. The two most notable names, perhaps, were A.J. Cole and Brian Goodwin of the Nationals, who appeared somewhere on every writer's list of the top 150 prospects and peaked at 49th and 51st, respectively. It is worth checking through the names for "just-missed" prospects from other teams.
- Freddy Garcia of the Braves is at quite the opposite side of his career at age 37. As MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports, Garcia has started the spring with a strong case for a rotation or pen slot, having now kept opponents off the basepaths entirely in his first five innings. If he ends up not receiving a big league spot, however, Garcia says that he will retire rather than spending time in the minors waiting for another shot.
Keep former big league shortstop and manager Jim Fregosi in your thoughts and prayers tonight. The six-time All-Star suffered multiple strokes while on a cruise and has been taken off life support in a Miami-area hospital, writes MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby. As a player, Fregosi played in parts of 18 seasons with the Angels, Rangers, Mets and Pirates, batting a collective .265/.338/.398. He went on to manage the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays over parts of 15 seasons, taking Philadelphia to the World Series in 1993. He is currently the Senior Advisor of Player Personnel for the Braves — a role he has filled for 13 years. Fregosi's larger than life personality has endeared him to teammates, media members and colleagues for decades. We at MLBTR are keeping Fregosi, his family and his many friends in our thoughts tonight and wishing for the best. As you do the same, here are some notes from around the league…
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs examines what a potential Mike Trout extension could look like, ultimately concluding that while the end result would be a shocking sum, the Angels would be wise to sign him to a nine-year, $260MM or ten-year, $300MM extension if possible. The longer the team waits, says Cameron, the closer it comes to getting into a free agent bidding war over Trout, which could push his price tag up toward $400MM.
- Freddy Garcia did not decide to sign with the Braves until the team offered him a March 25 opt-out clause, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman, and that clause will create an interesting battle for the team's final two bullpen spots in Spring Training. That Garcia would rather return to his family than pitch at the Triple-A level makes him a favorite to earn a spot on the team if he pitches reasonably well, and he could even temporarily push Alex Wood to the bullpen, writes Bowman.
- "Impatient is an understatement," Mets third baseman David Wright told Tim Rohan of the New York Times in discussing his desire to be a part of a winning club. However, Wright went on to say that he believes in GM Sandy Alderson's plan. Wright says he'd like to win before he feels like he cannot compete at a high level anymore. Rohan also spoke with Alderson and was told that there are no constraints on the club's payroll, and any lack of spending right now is a philosophical choice.
- In addition to the two-year, $14MM offer from that Mariners that he accepted, Fernando Rodney had offers from the Indians, Mets and Orioles, according to MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom (on Twitter).