Ike Davis Rumors
Scott Boras says he has "had dialogue" with the Mets regarding Stephen Drew, Newsday's Anthony Rieber reports. Boras also seemed to criticize the Mets, however, for their lack of interest in signing Drew. "The bigger issue is the credibility of the teams that are deficient," said Boras. "They have known weaknesses. ... When these players are available and clubs that have weaknesses are not pursuing them, a question of the integrity of what the goals of the organization are come to mind." The Mets still plan to go into the 2014 season with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop. Here are more notes from New York.
- One source close to Drew indicates he is unlikely to sign with the Mets, Dan Martin of the New York Post writes. Drew still wants a multiyear deal, and the Mets reportedly don't want to give him one.
- The Mets also haven't had significant talks with the Mariners about middle infielder Nick Franklin, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. The Mets had previously been connected to Franklin, who became expendable when the Mariners acquired Robinson Cano.
- The last day to release a player with a non-guaranteed Major League contract and pay just one-sixth of his salary was Wednesday, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin notes (on Twitter). In that context, it may be at least somewhat notable that Ike Davis is still with the Mets. Davis suffered through a disappointing season in 2013 and now has a calf injury. Davis has frequently been connected to other teams in trade rumors and is set to make just $3.5MM in 2014, however, so it seems unlikely the Mets would release him. They could, however, still do so and only pay one-fourth of his salary if they make the decision by March 26.
The seven-year, $140MM offer that the Yankees offered Shin-Soo Choo was only on the table for less than a day. As MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince notes, New York offered Choo the contract and then pulled it back almost as quickly in order to instead sign Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45MM deal. "In my opinion, it takes some time to make a decision, maybe at least a couple days," Choo said. "You want to learn a city and a team. They gave me 21 hours." The Yankees' withdrawal could've been due to Beltran simply accepting his offer first, or perhaps because Scott Boras (Choo's agent), reportedly asked the Yankees to match the $153MM the Bombers gave to Jacoby Ellsbury. Choo didn't end up doing too badly for himself at any rate, signing a seven-year, $130MM deal with the Rangers.
Here's some news from around the baseball world...
- CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman lists 14 players who could traded during Spring Training. Most of these names have popped up on the pages of MLBTR over the last few weeks, though one new name is Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner. Heyman says there's "not a great chance" Miami would deal Turner but since the Marlins have a lot of good young pitchers, "folks on other teams speculate this could be the one arm the Marlins might move in that right deal" for offensive help.
- Ike Davis' calf injury has not only set back the Mets' first base competition, but it has also ruined any possible chance of a trade showcase for Davis during Spring Training, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. The Brewers, Pirates and Orioles have all been connected to Davis in trade rumors during the offseason but obviously no move will be made any time soon, as Davis is currently in a walking boot and recently had an MRI on his right calf.
- Speaking of the Pirates' first base search, the team could end up finding its left-handed platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez already on the roster in the form of Andrew Lambo, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. While maturity issues and a 50-game suspension reportedly relating to marijuana use have set back Lambo's career, he is still only 25 and has posted some strong power numbers in the minors.
- "I just don't see what we have to lose," Indians manager Terry Francona says about Carlos Santana's attempted conversion to third base. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal recaps the reasons behind Santana's surprising decision to try the hot corner and how it could be a boon for the Tribe if Santana could handle the position.
- Nate Schierholtz wants to remain with the Cubs but is cognizant of the fact that could be traded, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. The veteran outfielder said he hasn't spoken to Cubs management about staying beyond his current one-year contract. Recent rumors put Schierholtz on the trading block thanks to Ryan Kalish's progress, not to mention the fact that Kalish is playing on a minor league deal while Schierholtz is owed $5MM this season.
Let's take a look at updates on some situations shaping up around the league:
- Mike Trout's one-year, $1MM contract with the Angels is surely just the start of some historic earnings, and ESPN.com's Jim Bowden breaks down what it would cost the Halos to lock up their young star for different possible terms. Bowden values Trout's arbitration years at a total of $66MM, and says that he should earn between $32MM and $35MM for his free agent years. A six-year deal, then, would be worth $162MM, while a ten-year extension would land at $302MM. Bowden says the Angels want to get as many years as possible, and adds that, were he in charge, he would demand at least four free agent seasons.
- The Mets have no active trade dialogue concerning first baseman Ike Davis, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. Nevertheless, Rubin says he expects the chatter to pick up over the coming month.
- Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has had his MRI reviewed by the team physician and Dr. James Andrews, and neither found evidence of structural damage, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. While that has the team feeling better about things, GM John Mozeliak still advocated caution. "I think the days of feeling perfect are over," he said.
- Though he downplayed an earlier report that the White Sox had scouted Yankees catchers recently, Chicago GM Rick Hahn said that the team was still exploring trade possibilities with other clubs, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Hahn also noted that the club has ample middle-infield depth, which led to Jake Elmore being designated for assignment today. The GM added that the team hopes to be able to trade Elmore, Hayes adds on Twitter.
- Rehabbing reliever Joel Hanrahan told Bowden on XM MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that he hopes to sign with a new club before the spring wraps up. Hanrahan said that he is still considering any and all interested suitors.
- Union chief Tony Clark said today that the MLBPA is still in the early stages of learning information about the Phillies' role in the recent suspension of former draftee Ben Wetzler, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. "The interest is the same we would have in the draft in general," Clark said. "These guys are connected to our institution. ... To that extent, we are gathering information as we speak. Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion, but we are concerned enough to be inquiring." Salisbury reports that the Phillies felt a handshake agreement was in place with Wetzler, and that someone in the organization later reported him to the NCAA for having an agent present during talks with the team.
Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote last night that Ike Davis concealed an oblique injury for much of the season prior to Aug. 31, when it worsened and sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Davis took exception to the story and addressed Puma and other reporters today, writes ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. He quotes the first baseman: "You made it look like an excuse. It’s an excuse. It shouldn’t have been a story anyway. ... I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad."
More from the NL East...
- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon has indicated that the team is likely to pick up GM Sandy Alderson's option for the 2015 season, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Alderson's contract expires after the season, and while some have mentioned his name as a possible replacement for retiring commissioner Bud Selig, David Wright thinks Alderson wants to stay with the Mets and complete the rebuild he's begun since taking over as GM. Said Wright: "Everybody is kind of concerned with how they are remembered. ... he wants to be remembered for taking an organization that was struggling and slowly building it up with the system with some good trades and free-agent signings."
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the psychology behind long-term deals for young players, noting that some believe extensions can relieve pressure, while others feel the extensions provide extra pressure, as players feel they must live up to that contract. O'Brien spoke with each of the five players the Braves have signed to multi-year deals in the past three weeks and got their takes on their new contracts.
- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond spoke with Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com and reflected on the decade he's spent with the organization. Desmond is appreciative of GM Mike Rizzo for declining trade offers when he was struggling and also appreciative of managers Davey Johnson and Jim Riggleman for playing him through those struggles.
- Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will make his debut for the Phillies on Thursday this week, giving the club a chance to evaluate the pitcher they signed for $12MM last August, writes CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Salisbury writes that Gonzalez has merely looked "so-so" to this point and could end up in the minors to open the season if he doesn't win the fifth starter's job.
Although Mets Spring Training is underway and Ike Davis trade rumors have largely died down as of late, a pair of clubs is still interested in the 26-year-old. ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote yesterday that the Pirates continue to monitor Davis' status in camp, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Orioles are still interested in acquiring Davis to serve primarily in a DH capacity.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington told Stark yesterday that the team is confident in its internal candidates to serve as a platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez -- namely Andrew Lambo, Chris McGuiness and Travis Ishikawa. However, Huntington added:
"That doesn't stop us from looking elsewhere. It’s just that now, our bar has been set a little bit higher, as to 'How do we make the club better?' And 'How do we make the club better at the right situation for us?'"
As for the Orioles, acquiring Davis would allow them to add some more power while preserving the No. 55 pick in the draft -- a selection that would be forfeited should the team go the free-agent route by signing either Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz. Davis would also be significantly cheaper in terms of salary, as he's slated to earn just $3.5MM this season. However, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has made it clear that he will not simply give Davis away. Previous reports indicated that Alderson has asked the Orioles to part with top pitching rospect Eduardo Rodriguez in a Davis trade.
Sherman also reports that at one point this offseason, the Mets and Rays were discussing players that could be added to a Davis-for-Matt Joyce swap before Tampa finally proposed a straight one-for-one trade. The Mets rejected that deal, and Tampa closed the door on talks by signing James Loney to a three-year, $21MM contract.
Davis batted .205/.326/.334 overall last season but fared very well upon his recall from the minor leagues after being sent down in early June. The former first-round pick posted an .872 OPS over his final two months, including a .290/.468/.522 triple-slash in August. An oblique strain cut his strong finish to the season short, sidelining him for the entire month of September.
Mets pitchers and catchers officially report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. tomorrow. In advance of the official onset of their Spring Training, here is the latest on the Amazins...
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News cites a Major League source in reporting that there's been some recent talk between the Mets and Nelson Cruz's camp, but the two sides are "highly unlikely" to strike a deal. Still, Cruz and agent Adam Katz seem likely to explore their options as talks between Cruz and the Mariners were said to be on hold as of yesterday (Seattle is currently pursuing starting pitchers).
- Martino also checked in on the Mets' interest in Kendrys Morales, and unsurprisingly was told that there hasn't been much interest since early in the offseason.
- Ike Davis says there was "a little bit of shock that I didn't get traded," writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Within Rubin's piece, Davis repeatedly states that offseason trade rumors were "not a big deal," and says he's happy to return to the Mets. Davis has been working on his swing since November and hopes that correcting an unnoticed bad habit involving his back leg can help to improve his production. He also joked, "Who knows? Not changing my swings 65 times might help."
- Rubin tweets that manager Terry Collins has stated Bobby Parnell will be his closer in 2014 despite the additions of former closers Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth. That's good news for Parnell, as the additional saves will help his final arbitration next offseason as he heads into his contract year.
Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is 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:
- The Nationals announced on Twitter that they have avoided arbitration with lefty Ross Detwiler. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reports (also on Twitter) that Detwiler received a $3MM salary and can earn an additional $50K for reaching 180 innings.
- Sherman reports that the Mets and Eric Young Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.85MM (Twitter link). Young batted .251/.318/.329 in 418 plate appearances for the Mets in 2013 after he was acquired from the Rockies. He also swiped 38 bases in 45 tries, showing off his blazing speed.
- Sherman tweets that the Pirates have avoided arbitration with Travis Snider by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract. The former Top 10 overall prospect batted just .215/.281/.333 in 285 plate appearances in 2013, though he's a solid defender and is still entering just his age-26 season.
- Sherman also reports that Tim Collins agreed to a one-year, $1.3625MM contract with the Royals, thereby avoiding arbitration (Twitter link). Collins has a strong 3.51 ERA in 190 career innings with 9.7 K/9 in his first three seasons, but he's struggled with command, as evidenced by his 5.2 BB/9 in that time. His control has improved a bit over the past two seasons.
- The Yankees and Francisco Cervelli have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $700K, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Cervelli, who turns 28 in March, is a career .271/.343/.367 hitter in 623 plate appearances.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Reds have avoided arbitration with outfielder Chris Heisey by agreeing to a one-year, $1.76MM contract. Heisey, who batted .237/.279/.415 with nine homers in 244 plate appearances last season, earned slightly more than Swartz's projection of $1.7MM. Though decreases in his walk rate and BABIP caused his numbers to suffer in 2013, Heisey is a solid defender that has feasted on left-handed pitching over the past two seasons.
- Sherman reports (on Twitter) that the Rockies and Wilton Lopez have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.2MM. That number matches Swartz's projection on the dot. Lopez's 4.06 ERA was a disappointment for the Rockies last season, but his 75 1/3 innings were tied for 15th-most among relievers, and his 75 appearances tied for fifth-most in the Majors. ERA estimators like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all think his should've been roughly a half-run lower than it was, pegging him in the 3.57 to 3.69 range.
- Sherman also reports that the Mets and Ike Davis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.5MM contract (on Twitter). Davis' name has been run through the rumor mill all offseason, but the latest reports seem to indicate that New York is no longer heavily shopping him and is instead prepared to take both him and Lucas Duda to Spring Training. Davis hit just .205/.326/.334 in 2013, though that includes a brutal first half. Following the All-Star break, Davis slashed an impressive .286/.449/.505. Swartz's projection for Davis was dead on, as he had him at exactly $3.5MM.
- The Athletics have reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with catcher John Jaso, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle on Twitter. Jaso, 30, had an injury-shortened campaign last year with Oakland, but slashed .271/.387/.372 in his 249 plate appearances. In his best season as a pro, 2012, Jaso put up a .276/.394/.456 triple-slash in 361 trips to the dish. With his concussion issues at the end of last season, Jaso is expected to see time at DH in 2014. Swartz projected Jaso to earn $2.2MM, and he will in fact make $2.3MM, according to a report from the New York Post's Joel Sherman (via Twitter). The deal also includes $25K incentives for starting 90 games behind the plate and reaching 450 plate appearances, Sherman notes.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Though there's been a lot made of Ike Davis' availability on the trade market this offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson tells Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that the Mets are "not that actively engaged in trade discussions involving Ike at this point." Alderson says that he's comfortable heading to camp with both Davis and Lucas Duda in the mix.
Alderson repeated that he has no plans to simply give Davis away: "We're not going to move Ike just to move Ike -- or any other player for that matter. This is a trade market, not a yard sale ... You can only ask someone to dance so many times before you get the message."
DiComo writes that there is now a probability that Davis and Duda are both still with the Mets when Spring Training opens next month, as Alderson has not been able to land the young, controllable pitcher he's been seeking in exchange for Davis (he's reportedly asked for Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers and Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles).
That all has to come as good news to Davis himself, who told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News on Thursday that he wants to stay with the Mets and wants another chance. Davis and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are currently looking for a house to rent near the Mets' Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., adds Martino. Davis told Martino that while he feels that his availability has been discussed too much in the media, he doesn't feel disrepsected by it. He also said that he respects Duda, and the two competing for playing time is nothing new: "Look, we have basically been competing for the same job since Double-A. I think Duda is a great ballplayer. I have a lot of respect for him."
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy about the team's relatively quiet offseason thus far and some other hot stove items...
- The Brewers are the only team who has yet to sign a free agent to a Major League contract, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently examined. Melvin said the Brewers haven't delved into the free agent market is due to both the team's plan to "go with our young guys" and an overall lack of suitable fits for Milwaukee's payroll. “If you look at a lot of the teams that got involved in free agency in the past few years, it hasn’t been that successful for them — and then there are the players whose price range isn’t even close to what we could consider. We’re putting a lot of faith into our system," Melvin said. “We weren’t going to get [Shin-Soo] Choo. We weren’t going to get Robinson Cano,” Melvin said. “We can look at $5-$6MM, but if we think our guys are better or as good at $500K, why would we make a move just to make a move?”
- Melvin is open to adding a veteran reliever to the young arms in the Milwaukee bullpen, implying that such an addition would come in a trade. "Our bullpen is an area that we’ve talked about maybe whether we would add an experienced piece or not," the GM said.
- The Mets have discussed Ike Davis in trade talks with the Brewers (as well as the Pirates and Orioles) and Melvin confirmed that some talks had taken place. "First base, I’ve had ongoing discussions with Sandy Alderson, but we haven’t gotten to anything where we’re comfortable with the deal from our side, and he’s not been comfortable with the deal from his side.”
- While Melvin declined to say whether he found the Mets' asking price too high, Melvin did say that “I think we’ve pretty well stood by — the one thing we’ve done is we do not want to give up pitching.” The Mets reportedly asked for promising young right-hander Tyler Thornburg in exchange for Davis last month.
With Winter Storm Ion pummeling the eastern half of the United States, let's warm ourselves on the Hot Stove with the latest National League news and notes:
- The Mets expect to begin Spring Training next month with Ike Davis still in the fold, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Brewers and Pirates have been the clubs most linked to Davis and the Mets are willing to re-engage in trade talks with them or any other team. The Orioles have also shown interest in the 26-year-old first baseman, but they turned down the Mets' request of pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez and are notably not mentioned in Rubin's article.
- The Mets are open to adding more depth at catcher, but have no interest in a reunion with John Buck, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- International free agency has been key to the Cardinals' having the game's best farm system, according to Derrick Goold of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. The club's top position and pitching prospects (Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez, respectively) were both signed as international free agents, Goold notes.