Guillermo Mota Rumors
The Marlins were questioned about their decision to overlook service time considerations when they added Jose Fernandez to their Opening Day roster. So far, the gamble is working for Miami. The 20-year-old, who is making the jump from High-A ball and is the youngest player on a 2013 Opening Day roster, was outstanding in his MLB debut striking out eight (a franchise record for a debut) while allowing only three hits and one walk in five innings of the Marlins' walkoff loss to the Mets. Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel notes Fernandez is just the seventh starter under the age of 21 to record at least eight strikeouts in his MLB debut since 1916 and only the fourth pitcher in the past 13 years to record six or more strikeouts in his debut joining Oliver Perez, Clayton Kershaw, and teammate Jacob Turner (Twitter link). In other news and notes from the National League:
- Dexter Fowler credits his early season success to the security of his recent two-year, $11.6MM contract extension, writes the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck. Fowler believes the investment shows the Rockies now see him as part of their core and not just a trade chip for pitching.
- A former minority owner of the Pirates believes owner Bob Nutting "is too rational a businessman to ever spend more money to build a winner," reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Conventional wisdom says the economic playing field is too uneven for the Pirates to be competitive without a larger payroll. Ex-Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg, a Pittsburgh native, disagrees telling Biertempfel, "The days when any franchise was revenue-challenged are long over. There is so much revenue in baseball, not just at the local level but also national revenues that sustain every franchise as well as enormous amounts of revenue sharing. Every franchise has the ability to compete without losing money."
- The Giants held their World Series ring ceremony today and and there were some notable no-shows. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Brian Wilson was invited, but never responded dampening the prospects of a reunion when the Giants' former closer fully recovers from Tommy John surgery. Guillermo Mota meanwhile had a prior family committment, but Baggarly writes he has thrown for the Orioles and could sign a Triple-A contract with them.
- Reliever Mike MacDougal has signed a minor league deal with the Reds, reports Baseball America's Matt Eddy. MLBTR reported exclusively in February the 35-year-old would throw a bullpen for interested teams. MacDougal appeared in just seven games for the Dodgers in 2012, but he posted a 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances with them in 2011.
Two weeks ago, the Marlins agreed to send basically every player making decent money on their roster to the Blue Jays for a package of prospects. The 12-player blockbuster became official a week ago, leaving Miami with just three players scheduled to make $2MM+ in 2013. Ricky Nolasco ($11.5MM) and Yunel Escobar ($5MM) could both still be moved before the end of the winter as well.
This isn't the first time the Marlins have torn things down and rebuilt from scratch, of course. They did it immediately following their 1997 World Series win, then again a few years after bringing home the 2003 World Championship. On this date in 2005, the team officially swung a pair of trades sending three of their highest paid players elsewhere.
Trade #1: Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett, then just 25, was coming off a 3.38 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 178 2/3 innings for Florida. He earned $2.4MM in 2005 and was due a significant raise in his second trip through arbitration, plus the team was unlikely to re-sign him long-term when he hit free agency after 2007.
Beckett had significant trade value, so the Marlins took advantage by attaching then-31-year-old Mike Lowell to him in talks. If a team wanted Beckett, they had to take Lowell as well. The third baseman slipped to .236/.298/.360 with eight homers in 558 plate appearances that year, but more importantly he was scheduled to earn $18MM total from 2006-2007.
Few teams could meet Florida's demand for a young shortstop, but the Red Sox were one of them. The two sides worked out a seven-player trade that sent Beckett, Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to Boston in exchange for prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado. The Marlins saved all $18MM owed to Lowell in addition to second- and third-year arbitration salaries for Beckett and a third-year arbitration salary for Mota. The trade worked out well for both teams as Beckett and Lowell helped the Red Sox to the 2007 World Championship while Ramirez developed into an MVP candidate and Sanchez became a rock solid innings-eater for the Marlins.
Trade #2: New York Mets
During the 2004-2005 offseason, Florida landed the top free agent slugger by signing Carlos Delgado to a four-year, $52MM contract with a fifth-year vesting option. The then-33-year-old hit .301/.399/.582 with 33 homers in the first year of the contract, good enough to earn him a sixth-place finish in the MVP voting. However, like the contracts of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, Delgado's deal with the Marlins was heavily backloaded. He earned just $4MM in 2005, then his salary was scheduled to jump to $13.5MM in 2006, $14.5MM in 2007, $16MM in 2008, and potentially $12MM in 2009 if the option vested ($4MM buyout).
Rather than pay him that huge salary over the next three years, the Marlins traded Delgado to the Mets for three minor leaguers: Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Jacobs, and Grant Psomas. The Mets also received $7MM from Florida in the trade, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to the $48MM left on the contract. Delgado hit .265/.349/.505 with 100 homers during his first three years with New York, which was enough for the team to exercise his option even though it didn't vest. Jacobs had three decent years with the Marlins while Petit and Psomas flamed out, but the real get for the club was the $41MM in payroll savings. Combined with the Red Sox swap, the Marlins shed more than $59MM in contract obligations with these two moves seven years ago today.
Giants reliever Guillermo Mota is appealing his 100-game suspension due to a positive drug test, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. In a statement issued through Adam Katz, Mota's agent, the right-hander claims that children's cough medicine was responsible for the banned substance (clenbuterol) that was found in his system. Since this is his second drug-related suspension, Mota will not be allowed to continue playing while waiting for an appeal.
Here's the latest from around the majors....
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Trenni Kusnierek of WTMJ 620 radio in Milwaukee that the team "had a discussion" with free agent first baseman Derrek Lee but a signing is "not going to happen." The team will look internally to fill its hole at first base with Mat Gamel out for the season.
- Melvin also said that the Brewers have the financial resources and farm system depth to make trades if necessary, though the club will wait until about a week before the July trade deadline before deciding if any moves need to be made. Melvin predicts less deadline activity in general around baseball this year due to both the Cardinals' late-season hot streak last year and the extra wild card that will have more teams unwilling to give up on their season.
- Jamie Moyer thought he had a deal worked out with the Orioles last fall but Dan Duquette's hiring scuttled the move, reports Caleb Hannan of the Denver News. "They said one thing one day and by the next it was completely different," Moyer said. "They pulled a complete 180." One of the reasons may have been due to an incident between Moyer and Duquette in 1996 when both men were with the Red Sox.
- Jeremy Bonderman tells Chris Iott of MLive.com that he was "burnt out" and didn't expect to return to baseball when he sat out the 2011 season but he's now eager to pitch again. Bonderman underwent Tommy John surgery last month and is hoping to catch on with a team in 2013.
- Teams that write off several seasons in the name of a long rebuilding process run the risk of permanently alienating their fans, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez has torn his right ACL and is expected to miss the rest of the season, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). It's another setback for the Brewers, who have also lost Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson to season-ending injuries. Gonzalez's vesting option for 2013 is no longer in play, as Haudricourt notes. Here are today's links...
- The Giants announced that reliever Guillermo Mota has officially been suspended for 100 games following a positive test for the performance enhancing substance Clenbuterol.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests Brett Myers, Brandon League, Grant Balfour, Jonathan Broxton and Matt Capps will be among the relievers available in trades later this summer.
- Blue Jays manager John Farrell says catcher turned advance scout Kevin Cash has done a very good job in his new role, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox aren't expecting to call up a reliever, but notes that offseason acquisition Mark Melancon could get the call in case the club opts to add pitching depth.
- The Rangers and Nelson Cruz avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $16MM deal earlier today, and the outfielder told Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthWest.com that a long-term deal is still possible (Twitter link).
- The AP (via ESPN) reports that the Giants and Guillermo Mota have finalized their one-year, $1MM agreement. The two sides agreed to the contract in December. San Francisco's 40-man roster is now full.
- The Padres are poised to sign a new television contract with FOX Sports that will guarantee them $75MM annually for the next 20 years, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The deal is pending MLB's approval.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark listed five players that could get traded in Spring Training, including Bobby Abreu of the Angels. One executive told Stark: "There's no team in baseball more likely to make a deal this spring than the Angels."
The Giants have agreed to re-sign Guillermo Mota, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). It's a $1MM deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the sides were nearing a deal last week.
Mota pitched 80 1/3 innings for the Giants in 2011, posting a 3.81 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 40.8% ground ball rate. In 13 big league seasons, the native of the Dominican Republic has a 3.91 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Wasserman Media Group represents the 38-year-old right-hander.
The Giants won't re-sign Carlos Beltran or Cody Ross this winter, GM Brian Sabean told reporters, including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Manager Bruce Bochy hinted as much, after yesterday's Angel Pagan acquisition, saying the Giants seemed "pretty set" in the outfield, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
"Simply put," Sabean said. "With Ross, we could never get on the same page. And Beltran, we knew it was going to be a stretch."
Here are some other Sabean highlights from Shea and Baggarly:
- The Giants' payroll is maxed out. They'll have to decide whether to tender a contract to Jeff Keppinger or Mike Fontenot, since they can only afford to retain one. With the help of Matt Swartz, MLBTR projected Fontenot to earn about half as much as Keppinger, so Fontenot may have the edge.
- Guillermo Mota is choosing between two different payout structures, but both Giants offers are for one year with a big league guarantee.
- No other roster moves are expected besides non-tenders and minor league signings.
- If the Giants hadn't traded Ramon Ramirez, they would have tendered him a contract.
The Giants are close to re-signing reliever Guillermo Mota, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Mota, 38, posted a 3.81 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.12 HR/9, and 40.8% groundball rate in 80 1/3 innings for the Giants this year, earning $925K.
The Giants have scored the fewest runs in baseball in part due to Buster Posey's season-ending injury, so it's not surprising that both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports are reporting that a catcher upgrade is the team's focus right now. They've specifically shown interest in Rangers' backstop Yorvit Torrealba, who started his career in San Francisco.
There are two significant roadblocks to a deal according to the FOX scribes. First, Texas can not seriously consider moving Torrealba until Mike Napoli comes off the disabled list, at the very least. Secondly, the Giants are reluctant to pay the $3.25MM he's owned next season. The Rangers would want a bullpen arm in return, but San Francisco is hesitant to part with any of their relievers other than Guillermo Mota.
Rosenthal and Morosi say that Ivan Rodriguez, Ronny Paulino, and Ramon Hernandez have also been discussed internally by the Giants. The Reds are unikely to part with Hernandez even though Ryan Hanigan gets the majority of the playing time behind the plate.
Let's check out the latest from the NL West...
- The Diamondbacks are putting some serious money into upgrading their player development system, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. "We spend more now on scouting and player development than we ever have," said Jerry Dipoto, Arizona's senior VP of scouting & player development. "We made that an internal focus, that these are areas where we can create an advantage in the industry. I don't think it's short-term. I think it's something we're going to do over and over for many years."
- In another piece, Piecoro looks at "the interconnectedness" of the Snakes' coaching and development process throughout the organization, using 2009 third-round draft pick Keon Broxton as an example.
- Guillermo Mota tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Giants' World Series victory last year was a major reason he chose to re-sign with San Francisco rather than accept one of the other four offers he received in the winter.
- In his latest mailbag for CSNBayArea.com, Mychael Urban looks at such Giants-related topics as how the team will shuffle its roster when Cody Ross is healthy. Urban shot down a reader suggestion that San Francisco could release Mark DeRosa to make room.
- Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly and Reymond Fuentes (the three prospects the Padres acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade) are off to good starts in the minors, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Rizzo is at Triple-A, Kelly at Double-A and Fuentes is at Class A Lake Elsinore.