Henderson Alvarez Rumors

Henderson Alvarez Undergoes Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder, manager Dan Jennings told reporters today. As MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes, Dr. James Andrews performed the operation, and there’s no timetable for his recovery at this juncture. It’s possible, though, that Alvarez’s readiness for the 2016 season could be impacted, according to Frisaro.

As was reported last week, Alvarez experienced a setback in his most recent attempt to rehab the shoulder, which brought his season into question. The 25-year-old was Miami’s Opening Day starter, but he’ll finish the 2015 season with just 22 1/3 innings, four starts and a dismal 6.45 ERA under his belt.

Originally acquired from the Blue Jays in the Jose Reyes/Mark Buehrle/Josh Johnson blockbuster in the 2012-13 offseason, Alvarez looked to be an increasingly important member of the Marlins’ rotation in 2013-14 (and he may very well still be), as he tossed 102 2/3 innings of 3.59 ERA ball in 2013 and showed improved results (2.65 ERA) with an increased workload (187 2/3 innings) in 2014. The young righty’s season-ending no-hitter served as one of the bright spots to the 2013 campaign for the Marlins.

Alvarez and his now-former agents at Praver-Shapiro agreed to a $4MM contract this offseason, avoiding arbitration with Miami. He and his new agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council won’t have much of a case for a big raise this winter, so Alvarez will likely earn a very similar amount in 2016.

Given Alvarez’s injury and the likely departures of Dan Haren and Mat Latos (presumably via trade), pitching depth figures to be an area of focus for Miami this offseason. The Marlins do have Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler, David Phelps, Brad Hand, Jarred Cosart, Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino as rotation options, but that group is lacking in both experience and certainty.


NL East Notes: Alvarez, Cishek, Haren, Mets, Venable, Nats

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez experienced a setback in his rehab from right shoulder inflammation, and his season is now in jeopardy, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Manager Dan Jennings told Spencer and others prior to Thursday’s contest: “He had a recurrence of the shoulder. We’re trying to determine if it’s going to be best for a non-surgical, or surgical procedure regarding the shoulder.” Alvarez’s injury troubles in 2015 have contributed to the team’s disappointing season. If he’s to undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the season, Alvarez will have made just four starts in 2015, with the end result being an ERA over 6.00.

Here’s the latest from the NL East…

  • The Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins and Blue Jays are still in the mix for former Marlins closer Steve Cishek, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Cishek’s been throwing well since returning from a brief stint at Triple-A, allowing just one earned run with an 11-to-4 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings. Frisaro also adds the Orioles to the list of teams with interest in right-hander Dan Haren, adding to recent reports that have linked the Blue Jays and Dodgers to Haren.
  • Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made a pair of definitive statements to reporters today, writes MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. First and foremost, Alderson said that none of the four young arms in his rotation — Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz — is available in trades. Alderson also insisted that ownership has provided him with the resources to take on a major contract, though he added that the media and fans alike would both take that news with a heavy grain of salt: “Now, none of you will believe me, OK? So I’m not sure why you asked the question and insisted on the answer.”
  • The Mets have interest in Padres outfielder Will Venable, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who echoes previous reports that Gerardo Parra is under Mets consideration as well. According to Morosi, the Cubs are intrigued by both Parra and Venable as well, however, so the Mets have some competition in regards to those two trade targets.
  • Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, tweets that the Mets don’t feel they need to acquire a third baseman while David Wright is on the shelf, because the team is better defensively with Daniel Murphy at third base while Wright is out. Adding an outfielder — preferably one controllable beyond 2015 — is the Mets’ priority.
  • Speaking about the trade deadline in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter links), Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “There’s no trade I could make that could be as the guys we’re getting back [from the DL]. We will certainly be looking, but I don’t know how active we’ll be.”

Henderson Alvarez Joins Beverly Hills Sports Council

Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez has switched representation and is now a client of agents Rick Thurman and Rafael Nieves of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Alvarez is the second notable pitcher to switch agents today, as Fernando Rodney joined the Octagon agency earlier this afternoon.

The 25-year-old Alvarez, Miami’s Opening Day starter, has been limited to just 22 1/3 innings in the Majors this season due to shoulder injuries, but he’s currently in the midst of a rehab assignment. Formerly a client of Praver/Shapiro, Alvarez was one of six players traded from Toronto to Miami in the Jose Reyes/Mark Buehrle/Josh Johnson blockbuster back in 2012. He’s made steady progress since debuting in the Majors with the Blue Jays in 2012, as his ERA has dropped from 4.85 in 187 innings in 2012 to 3.59 in 107 innings in 2013 and finally 2.65 in 187 innings last year.

The jury is still out on how much Alvarez will contribute to the Marlins in 2015, though obviously his absence has contributed to the current state of affairs in Miami. The loss of innings in 2015 has undoubtedly harmed Alvarez’s second trip through arbitration, however — the first that will be handled by his new agents at BHSC. Alvarez agreed to a one-year, $4MM contract last winter and will be eligible for arbitration twice more when he hits the open market following the 2017 season. He’ll be entering just his age-28 season at that point, so if he can remain healthy in 2016-17, he’ll be an uncommonly young free agent (barring an extension, of course).

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Injury Notes: Upton, Aoki, Lincecum, Stanton, Crawford, Morneau, Morrow

Padres outfielder Justin Upton sat out today’s game with left oblique tightness, but remains hopeful that he’ll avoid a DL stint, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. Needless to say, it’s not a great time for the injury to crop up: the team is perhaps taking a final shot at re-entering the postseason hunt before the deadline. And if it can’t, the pending free agent may be one of the most important players marketed this summer. Assistant GM Josh Stein said that Upton will likely miss “a couple of days,” but any absence beyond that may be rather concerning.

Here are some more injury notes from around the league:

  • The Giants expect to welcome back outfielder Nori Aoki in relatively short order, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports. That’s certainly good news for San Francisco, as a successful return of Aoki (joining Hunter Pence in that regard) would reduce or even eliminate the team’s need to add an outfielder at the deadline.
  • Meanwhile, Giants starter Tim Lincecum has been out with an arm injury, but manager Bruce Bochy revealed today that he’s also received treatment for “degenerative” hip issues, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports. The problem, which is not considered to be a threat to his career, has existed since late last year. Lincecum received cortisone shots and is set to resume throwing in a few days, but as Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News wrote earlier today, it’s far from clear whether he’ll ever again impact the Giants staff.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton is preparing to resume swinging, though his timeframe remains unclear, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. While that’s great news for anyone who enjoys the game of baseball, Stanton obviously will not return in time to impact the team’s deadline plans.
  • Spencer provides several other updates on injured Marlins: Righty Jarred Cosart, who was acquired on deadline day last summer has again been diagnosed with vertigo. And fellow starter Henderson Alvarez has struggled quite a bit as he tries to work back from shoulder inflammation on a rehab stint.
  • The Dodgers will welcome back outfielder Carl Crawford from the 60-day DL, as Carlos Collazo writes for MLB.com. A right oblique injury has shelved him for quite some time, and it looks like he’ll be headed for a bench role upon his return. Fellow highly-paid corner outfielder Andre Ethier has played well this year, leaving Crawford without an obvious spot in the regular lineup. It remains to be seen whether the always-active Dodgers will look to move either player (or one of the team’s numerous other options) over the coming weeks.
  • Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau says that he still hopes to make it back to the team this year, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The veteran has managed to resume baseball activities as he seeks to work back from a concussion and neck sprain, and says the latter is a larger concern than the former. Certainly, it’s good to hear that Morneau’s long battle with concussion issues is not the primary cause for his long absence, and he adds that he has no plans to retire at this point. Morneau once looked like a possible trade candidate, though that ship has probably sailed. It remains to be seen how things will progress on his contract, which includes a $9MM mutual option ($750K club buyout) for next season.
  • The Padres appear set to send righty Brandon Morrow out on a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, Beth Maiman of MLB.com reports. It will obviously be hard for San Diego to rely on much of a contribution from the 30-year-old in spite of that promising development, as he has dealt with various arm issues for much of his career. Morrow, who was added on a cheap, one-year deal, threw 33 innings of 2.73 ERA ball earlier in the season.

Minor Moves: Mickey Storey, Vin Mazzaro

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Dodgers have signed righty Mickey Storey to a minor-league deal, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Storey will head to Double-A Tulsa. Storey pitched in the Blue Jays system in 2014 and began his 2015 season with five dominant starts for Somerset in the Atlantic League. The 29-year-old has a career 4.19 ERA, 10.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 34 1/3 career big-league innings with the Astros and Blue Jays.
  • The Marlins have announced that they’ve selected the contract of Vin Mazzaro from Triple-A New Orleans and recalled fellow righty Andre Rienzo. The two pitchers will take the places of Henderson Alvarez (shoulder inflammation) and Mat Latos (knee inflammation) on the Marlins’ active roster as Alvarez and Latos both head to the 15-day DL. The 28-year-old Mazzaro pitched in only 10 1/3 big-league innings for the Pirates in 2014 despite an effective 2013 season in the Bucs’ bullpen. He had a 3.15 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 20 innings of relief at New Orleans this season. The Marlins won’t need another starter until Tuesday, with Dan Haren, Tom Koehler and David Phelps scheduled to pitch the next three days, so Mazzaro and Rienzo will likely provide bullpen help at least until then.

Heyman’s Latest: Hamels/Jays, Lucroy, Baez, Correa, Alvarez

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has published the latest installment of his weekly Inside Baseball column, and he kicks it off by reporting that the Blue Jays have inquired on Cole Hamels. However, Heyman hears that Hamels was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to allow a trade to Toronto, which is a blow for both clubs. The Jays desperately need help in both the rotation and the bullpen, and the Phillies, Heyman notes, would love to get their hands on young pitchers with the upside of Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. The Blue Jays have a bit of financial leeway after going with inexpensive options at second base, center field and left field, and Heyman writes that the Blue Jays are expected to look at other potential front-line starters this summer as they become available. (He speculatively mentions Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir, though neither’s available just yet.) Additionally, Heyman notes that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons’ job is safe, as GM Alex Anthopoulos has a strong relationship with the skipper and recognizes that the team’s problems are roster-related and shouldn’t be pinned on Gibbons.

Some more highlights from the column, though it’s worth a read in its entirety…

  • The Braves are said to be disappointed in the play of Christian Bethancourt, even from a defensive standpoint, and recently inquired with the Brewers on Jonathan Lucroy. However, Atlanta executives were told by the Brewers that Lucroy isn’t available at this time. That the Brewers wouldn’t trade Lucroy isn’t a shock; he’s owed a very affordable $4MM in 2016 with a $5.25MM option for the 2017 season, so even if the team can’t quickly right the ship, he’d still have enormous trade value at the 2016 trade deadline. More interesting, to me, is that the Braves would so quickly look for an upgrade over Bethancourt and that they’re acting somewhat as buyers. Lucroy, of course, could be called a long-term piece that would be around to help the team when its rebuild is closer to completion. However, acquiring him would surely require the sting of parting with some of the key components of that rebuild.
  • Some rival execs feel that the Cubs are willing to part with Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach in trades, in part because each was drafted under the previous administration and is not held in as high a regard by the new front office. Each player comes with issues, however, as Baez is trying to cut down on his swing and improve his contact skills, while a scout described first baseman Vogelbach as a “30 fielder” to Heyman (in reference to the 20-80 scouting scale).
  • There are members of the Astros‘ field staff that want to see Carlos Correa with the team right now, but Houston will likely keep him in the minors for another month or so in order to lessen the risk of Correa achieving Super Two status. I’ll add that the Astros will have a more legitimate claim that Correa still needs minor league time than other teams in similar situations have had in the past. Correa is still just 20 years old and has only nine games of experience at the Triple-A level, though he’s continued his brilliant work at the plate there, hitting .326/.362/.558 with a pair of homers. Also of interest to Astros fans — or to fans of teams needing outfield help — the Astros are on the lookout for starting pitching upgrades, and outfield prospect Preston Tucker “seems to be available.” Tucker recently made his MLB debut and has a .963 OPS through 34 plate appearances to go along with a strong minor league track record.
  • Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez has been pitching for years with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, according to Heyman. Some have described it as a “90 percent tear,” but he’s been able to pitch effectively in spite of the issue. Alvarez wouldn’t be the first to pitch through a UCL tear; Ervin Santana and Adam Wainwright are both recent examples of pitchers who pitched for many seasons with partially torn UCLs. Wainwright ultimately underwent Tommy John, though Santana’s is said to have healed and is no longer an issue. In another Marlins-related note, Heyman hears that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez is “under the microscope” with both Jarred Cosart and Steve Cishek struggling greatly in 2015.
  • Brewers starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza have little trade value due to their 2015 struggles, but Lohse’s lesser financial commitment and superior clubhouse reputation give him more value. The team is reluctant to trade not only Lucroy, but shortstop Jean Segura as well. The Brewers are a bit more open to dealing Carlos Gomez than that pair, as Gomez is closer to free agency (he’s controlled through 2016).
  • The Mets remain reluctant to trade any of their top arms, as they’ve seen on multiple occasions how quickly Tommy John surgery or other injuries can thin out a club’s depth. (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz have all had TJ in their careers.) The Mets are also not rushing to find a shortstop, but they have indeed been “all over the map” in terms of trade possibilities with the Cubs.
  • Coco Crisp‘s neck injury is apparently quite serious, and there’s a fear that the oft-injured Athletics outfielder will ultimately require surgery that could bring his season to an end.
  • The Blue Jays would still like to extend both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but there have yet to be serious discussions with either slugger’s camp. Both players are controlled through the end of the 2016 season.

Injury Notes: Durability, Alvarez, Bundy

MLB’s players have become less and less durable over time, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince writes. Castrovince notes that last year, only 56 players appeared in at least 150 games, and only 37 got 650 or more plate appearances, the lowest numbers in each category since MLB expanded from 26 teams to 28 in the early 1990s. The reason seems to be that teams (including minor-league teams) are reluctant to have players play through injury. “If you have a superstar player and you’re a young coach or manager in the minor leagues and you ask him to push through and he gets hurt, guess what? That’s not going to be very good for you,” says Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Castrovince points out that the number of days players spend on the disabled list has increased over the past five years (although players stayed somewhat healthier in 2014 than they did in 2013). More aggressive policing of steroids and amphetamine use is likely a significant factor in increased DL time throughout the big leagues. Here are more quick notes on injuries.

  • The Marlins have announced that Henderson Alvarez will start tomorrow against the Braves. It will be Alvarez’s first start since April 12, having since missed a month with shoulder trouble. Alvarez’s return will be a big boost to the 16-20 Marlins, who will get a pitcher who finished 12th in Cy Young balloting last year after posting a 2.65 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 187 innings.
  • Orioles prospect Bobby Bundy (not to be confused with former top draft pick and fellow Orioles minor-leaguer Dylan Bundy) will have surgery for a knee injury Monday, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com tweets. It’s a tough break for Bundy, who emerged as a good starting pitching prospect in 2010 and 2011 but missed the entire 2013 season and chunks of 2012 and 2014 as well with a series of injuries. Bundy had pitched 15 innings of relief for Double-A Bowie this season.

Marlins Notes: Alvarez, Realmuto, Phelps

The Marlins announced that right-hander Henderson Alvarez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation. Earlier today, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted that the team was more concerned with Alvarez’s shoulder than his elbow heading into an MRI. While the length of time that Alvarez will miss is yet to be determined, the news is certainly troubling, as shoulder issues are often more problematic than elbow issues for pitchers, in the long-term. Miami is already without ace Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery last May, and offseason acquisition Mat Latos was shelled in his first outing. He’ll look to rebound tonight, but he’s shown diminished velocity that has led to concern in some scouts as well.

A couple more Marlins notes…

  • The Marlins also announced that top catching prospect J.T. Realmuto has been recalled from Triple-A and will join the team in Atlanta. (Andy Slater of 940-AM first tweeted that Realmuto would definitively be recalled, and the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer called the move expected last night.) Realmuto and Reid Brignac will replace Jeff Mathis and Don Kelly, who bizarrely suffered the same injury — a broken right ring finger — six innings apart from each other. Realmuto’s presence is significant, given the struggles of Jarrod Saltalamacchia since signing in Miami. Entering the season, the 24-year-old Realmuto ranked 70th among prospects, per MLB.com, 72nd per ESPN’s Keith Law and 76th per Baseball America. Realmuto repeated Double-A in 2013 and saw his OPS soar from .663 to .830, and most scouting reports feel that his glove has taken a significant step forward as well. Saltalamacchia has batted just .217/.317/.364 as a Marlin, exhibiting his usual struggles to control the running game and well-below-average framing skills. He’s owed $7MM this year and $8MM in 2016, but if Realmuto thrives, it’s conceivable that Saltalamacchia could find himself on the back burner in Miami.
  • David Phelps is a leading candidate to step into Miami’s rotation, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro noted yesterday when speculating about the possibility of Alvarez landing on the disabled list. Phelps was a somewhat unheralded component of the offseason’s Martin Prado trade, but he did soak up 113 innings for an injury-plagued Yankees roster in 2014. Phelps worked to a 4.38 ERA in that time, averaging 7.3 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine innings pitched. As a pitcher who generates a fair amount of fly-balls, Phelps seems likely to benefit from the Marlins’ spacious park and excellent outfield defense.
  • It’s also worth noting that Aaron Crow will land on the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Brignac, and that right-hander Carter Capps will take Alvarez’s roster spot. Capps, 24, is the pitcher that the Marlins received in exchange for Logan Morrison in a December 2013 trade with Seattle. He pitched quite well for Miami in 2014 before an elbow sprain cost him most of the season.

East Notes: Porcello, Alvarez, DeJesus

Rick Porcello removed himself from next offseason’s free-agent market by signing a four-year, $82.5MM extension with the Red Sox, but the strong class of starting pitching next offseason (David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, and so on) did not play a significant role in his decision, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. “I don’t think it factors in that much in regards to my situation because I’m a lot younger than those guys,” Porcello says. “I felt like whatever career numbers they have, I feel confident that I’m going to have a good year this year and if I did that I would have no problem putting myself up against those guys.” Porcello is surely right that his age would have been a significant point in his favor had he become a free agent — he doesn’t turn 27 until December and would have been an exceptionally young player on the open market. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez will have an MRI on his pitching elbow, Clark Spencer of MLB.com tweets. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro adds (also via Twitter) that the Marlins are worried about Alvarez’s shoulder as well. The 24-year-old is coming off an excellent season in which he posted a 2.65 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and just 1.6 BB/9 in 187 innings. As Spencer suggests, a significant injury to Alvarez would be a big setback for the Marlins, who last year lost another top starter, Jose Fernandez, to an elbow injury.
  • The Rays had David DeJesus on the trade market this spring, but now he’s helping them, hitting a three-run homer Sunday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Fellow lefty John Jaso‘s Opening-Day wrist injury carved out a bit of playing time for DeJesus. “I was taking spring training as my opportunity to go out there and show pretty much all of baseball that I can still play,” says DeJesus. “Now I’m playing for these guys, and it’s great. I’d rather it be this way because you build relationships throughout spring training and throughout the last two-three years.”

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
  • The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
  • Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
  • Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
  • The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
  • Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
  • Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
  • Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
  • Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
  • Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
  • Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.

(more…)