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Jacob deGrom Rumors
We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings. Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night. Here’s some more news from around baseball…
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
- The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
- Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
- With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
- The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports. Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there. Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
- The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade. The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter]. Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom were named the AL and NL Rookies of the Year by the BBWAA. Abreu received all 30 first-place votes from BBWAA writers in a unanimous victory, while deGrom received 26 of 30 first-place votes (Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton received the other four).
Abreu was pursued by such teams as the Red Sox, Astros, Marlins, Giants and Rangers last winter, but it was the White Sox who landed the Cuban slugger on a six-year, $68MM contract. The contract was, at the time, the most expensive deal ever for an international free agent yet Abreu more than lived up to expectations. He hit .317/.383/.581 with 36 homers over 622 plate appearances and posted a league-best 169 OPS+ in his first Major League season. Abreu doesn’t even turn 28 years old until January, and it seems like Chicago has a cornerstone player for years to come. Ozzie Guillen was the last White Sox player to win the ROY Award, all the way back in 1985.
deGrom was the Mets’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 draft and was ranked as only the 10th-best prospect in the club’s system by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. Despite these modest expectations, the 26-year-old deGrom opened several eyes in 2014 by posting a 2.69 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 3.35 K/BB rate over 140 1/3 IP. This breakout campaign firmly adds deGrom’s name to a long list of young arms the Mets will be counting on as they look to return to contention. deGrom is the first Met to be named NL ROY since Dwight Gooden took the honor in 1984.
The Angels’ Matt Shoemaker (40 points), the Yankees’ Dellin Betances (27), the Astros’ Collin McHugh (21) the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (16) rounded out the top five in the AL voting. Hamilton finished second in the NL balloting with 92 points, well ahead of the Cardinals’ Kolten Wong (14), the Phillies’ Ken Giles (8) and the Diamondbacks’ Ender Inciarte (4).
Mets co-owner Saul Katz has indicated interest in selling his share of the club, which is held in partnership with team chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon, reports Michael Schmidt of the New York Times. According to the report, while Katz is concerned with jeopardizing Wilpon’s control over the team, he is nevertheless wary of continuing to pump cash into the organization. For his part, Katz denied that he had such an intention through a statement released to the press. Sources told Schmidt that the team is expected to continue losing money this year and suggested that payroll is not likely to “jump substantially” in the near future.
Here’s more from New York and the rest of the National League:
- As suspected, the Mets will call up prospect Jacob deGrom to take a bullpen slot, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The move is part of a series of maneuvers through which the team has begun shifting future assets onto its big league roster, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Baseball America ranked deGrom tenth among the team’s prospects coming into the year, noting that he could eventually develop into a mid-rotation starter.
- Perhaps the more important Mets promotion was that of fellow young hurler Rafael Montero, who will step into the team’s rotation. As Ben Badler of Baseball America notes on Twitter, Montero was inked for a mere $80K just three years ago after the club saw him impress in a Dominican Prospect League outing.
- The Phillies bench is in a state of flux amidst serious struggles, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Infielder Jayson Nix was just outrighted, while recently demoted utilityman Freddy Galvis fractured his clavicle upon his return to the minors. Meanwhile, John Mayberry Jr. and Tony Gwynn Jr. are struggling as reserve outfielders, and the team currently has just one utility infielder on its roster in Reid Brignac. While a recovering Darin Ruf could see another shot at the bigs, as could infielder/outfielder Cesar Hernandez, top prospect Maikel Franco is likely not going to be called up for a bench role. Philadelphia is still just four games back in a densely-packed NL East, and it will be fascinating (as always) to see how GM Ruben Amaro Jr. attacks the trade market this summer if the team stays within striking distance.
- While the Padres have seemingly been snakebitten in the early-career extensions they have entered, GM Josh Byrnes remains committed to his thought process, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “When they don’t work out, they are not killers, but they hurt,” said Byrnes. “We need our dollars to hit their targets, but I think the concept is still good. … The whole model for 20 years is the club is giving some security and taking some risk and sometimes it doesn’t work out.” Of course, the team most recently moved to lock up young infielder Jedd Gyorko to a $35MM pact.