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Jarred Cosart Rumors
The Phillies finally moved star lefty Cole Hamels at the trade deadline, ending a long saga in which the organization was often criticized for waiting to act. But as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports, Philadelphia’s front office feels that it accomplished what it set out to do in dealing Hamels, as well as Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere. “This was as well prepared as we’ve been,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “There were no shortage of suitors, and when you’re talking about five or six teams to cover all those players and all those prospects … we started to target some of those guys during the offseason. The scouting and the addition of the analytics portion of these evaluations put us in the best position to be ready to make the trades.” The club sought to balance the desire for quality with the need to add a number of young players with promising outlooks, and outgoing president Pat Gillick praised the job of Amaro and his staff. “He did an excellent job,” said Gillick. “He’s going to do things in a professional manner. He’s going to do things he thinks are in the Phils’ best interest. People might think he’s doing something to save his job, but I’ve always said I have confidence in him that he’s going to carry out his responsibilities in a professional manner.”
Here’s more from the National League:
- The Marlins seem to have finally diagnosed the underlying issue that has sidelined righty Jarred Cosart for long stretches this year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. Cosart, a significant trade acquisition last summer, has a disorder in his inner ear that has caused him difficulties with his balance. It’s not hard to imagine how significant an impact that may have had on the 25-year-old, who has struggled this year. The hope is that he’ll be able to receive treatment to ameliorate the issue and return to the bump later this year.
- After being shipped from Miami to the Dodgers, starter Mat Latos will be pitching both to help drive Los Angeles into the post-season and to set himself up for free agency. As Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times writes, Latos has confirmed that early-season knee issues were a huge factor in his struggles. Since having his knee inflammation rained and undergoing a strength regimen to improve it, Latos says he’s noticed a vast improvement. “I got with the right people,” he said. “They put me on the right program and I’ve stuck with it. I think the results have showed. … Imagine having a lot of fluid in your knee, a lot of pain. That’s my landing foot, so I’m putting all my weight shifted onto that knee. It’s allowed me to clear over my front side and drive the ball down. My velocity has gone up.” Set to hit the open market in advance of his age-28 season, Latos will certainly present an interesting free agent case, especially if he can continue to put up top-of-the-rotation numbers in his new home and put the injury and performance concerns further in the background.
- Another recent deadline mover, new Cardinals slugger Brandon Moss, says he’s very happy with where he ended up, as MLB.com’s David Cobb reports. “I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to be here,” he said. “There’s 28 places I could have gone if I was going to be traded and to be able to come here, I’ve said it a few times, it’s like winning the lottery.”
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.
The Marlins announced today that they have designated right-hander Vin Mazzaro for assignment. The move creates space on the roster for fellow righty Jarred Cosart to be activated from the disabled list.
Mazzaro, 28, was a key member of the Pirates’ bullpen in 2013, working to a 2.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 73 2/3 innings that season, but he still found himself as the odd man out the following Spring Training as an out-of-options reliever with a marginal strikeout rate. Many expected him to be traded or claimed off waivers after being designated for assignment, but Mazzaro cleared and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A.
Mazzaro never received a lengthy look with the Bucs in 2014, and he was outrighted again later on that season, accepting the assignment for a second time. He elected free agency at the end of the year, however, and inked a minors pact with Miami this winter. Mazzaro has again performed well between Triple-A and the Majors, so it’s conceivable that a team will have some interest in making a minor trade or picking him up on waivers.
The Reds are doomed by injuries and an 11.5 game deficit, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in his latest video. However, owner Bob Castellini is not yet ready to concede. The baseball operations staff understands that the club needs to convert veterans and soon-to-be free agents into future talent – they just have to convince their boss.
- The A’s have performed well by run differential as well as the BaseRuns metric used by FanGraphs. However, they are 13 games below .500 and 10 games back in the AL West. The bullpen is a serious issue. Other clubs are looking to snipe players like Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard. Expect GM Billy Beane to jump on a properly enticing offer.
- The Orioles have nine impending free agents. They should act as both buyers and sellers at the trade deadline. The club needs a power hitting corner outfield. They could trade a starter like Bud Norris.
- The Marlins may also look to deal a starter. Jarred Cosart will return from the disabled list soon. Jose Urena or Tom Koehler are candidates to be optioned. However, there will be a surplus once Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery. At that point, the club could look to trade Dan Haren or Mat Latos. The Marlins are currently nine games below .500 but just six back in a weak NL East.
- If Cincinnati shops Aroldis Chapman, count the Marlins among the potential suitors. The club is always a fit for Cuban talent. Personally, I’m not sure if Chapman is the best use of Miami’s resources. Reliever A.J. Ramos has ably replaced Steve Cishek as the closer, but he has bouts of wildness in his track record. However, Carter Capps is standing by should Ramos falter.
Major League Baseball has announced that its investigation into a gambling-related matter with Jarred Cosart revealed that the Marlins right-hander did not bet on baseball. Cosart has, however, been fined for violating an MLB rule by placing bets on other sports through a book maker. The league’s official statement is as follows:
“Major League Baseball has completed its investigation into Jarred Cosart’s possible connection to sports-related gambling. The investigation did not reveal any evidence to suggest that Cosart, who fully cooperated with the investigation, bet on baseball. Cosart has received an undisclosed fine for violations of Major League Rule 21(d)(3) that were revealed during the investigation. Major League Rule 21(d)(3) prohibits players from placing bets with illegal book makers, or agents for illegal book makers. This rule is strictly enforced and applies to gambling with illegal bookmakers on any sport or event.”
Cosart himself has also issued a statement, via press release from the Major League Baseball Players Association:
“I have never, nor would I ever, bet on the great game of baseball. Major League Baseball conducted a thorough investigation, and I cooperated fully with them and their investigators throughout that process. I’m sorry for any distractions this may have caused the Marlins, my teammates, coaches, and our incredible fans. I’m glad to bring closure to this situation before Opening Day and I look forward to a great season.”
Marlins starter Jarred Cosart briefly addressed the league’s inquiry into a still-obscure, gambling-related issue, telling Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald: “I never have, never will bet on baseball.”
That statement certainly indicates that Cosart does not believe he did anything that would trigger discipline, at least not pursuant to Rule 21(d), which prohibits gambling on baseball games. Cosart added that he hopes the league will wrap up its investigation by Opening Day, which of course is only days away.
Cosart declined comment otherwise. “That’s the only statement I can come out with right now,” he said. “I’m letting MLB security [handle the rest]. They’ve investigated my Twitter. I had to speak to some people from their offices last week, but I’m in a good position on it, I’m confident. Like I said, it’s kind of just in the commissioners hands now and we’ll see what he does with it.”
TODAY: Cosart briefly addressed the situation today, telling reporters that he was simply following MLB’s protocol, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter links). Cosart also said that he was not behind the creation of a new Twitter account, attributed to him, which had figured into some reports on the matter.
To be clear, all that is known at present is that the league is exploring the matter. The league is quick to pursue information regarding any gambling-related issues, and its involvement should not be read to imply any wrongdoing, or even suspicion thereof.
As Elfrink explains, a Twitter user has posted screenshots of purported Direct Messages sent from Cosart’s Twitter account regarding an unspecified betting matter. Cosart’s Twitter account has since been deleted. It is not even yet apparent whether there is any credible suggestion that Cosart has engaged in any gambling-related activities, let alone actions involving the game of baseball in any way.
Given the highly uncertain underlying issue here, and the fact that it is not even clear whether MLB intends to conduct a full investigation, it is far too soon even to speculate whether there are any possible grounds for future discipline. For sake of reference, MLB Rule 21(d) prohibits players from “bet[ting] any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game,” providing a one-year ban if such activities occur with regard to a game in which “the better has no duty to perform” and a lifetime ban in which the bettor does.
Pat Gillick is a curious choice to serve as the Phillies‘ president, writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Murphy feels that the decision to move David Montgomery from president to chairman, with Gillick remaining president, was little more than a cosmetic change to buy time before a larger restructuring. That, he writes, would seem to suggest that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is capable of doing something to save his job, as the reason for that evaluation would be to determine which of these three options are the best: replace Amaro, extend Amaro, or hire a new permanent president and let that newcomer determine the front office situation. As Murphy notes, no evaluation of the moves Amaro will make over the coming months will be able to be judged immediately (he’ll be acquiring prospects that will take years to properly evaluate), making the recent shuffle all the more puzzling. Gillick has expressed no interest in overseeing a lengthy rebuild, per Murphy, who adds that he may not be well-equipped to do so anyway based on his lack of success in the draft.
Other items pertaining to the National League East:
- The Nationals are nearing — and will likely exceed — $160MM in Opening Day commitments for the coming season, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. That would put the team amongst the five highest salary tabs in the league, a level of spending that seemed hard to imagine in the not-so-distant past. GM Mike Rizzo told MLBTR at the GM Meetings that the organization would make baseball decisions without payroll restrictions, and that has indeed seemed largely to be the case.
- Marlins righty Jarred Cosart is now represented by agent Erik Burkhardt, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. Burkhardt is best known, perhaps, for repping NFL quarterback (and recent MLB draftee) Johnny Manziel. Cosart had previously been a client of Excel Sports Management. The 24-year-old will not be arbitration eligible until after the 2016 campaign.
- There is no denying the excellence that Ichiro Suzuki has displayed over his outstanding career, but it is fair to ask what kind of production — and presence — he will deliver to the Marlins in 2015. Crasnick spoke with various talent evaluators and executives around the game, with the consensus seeming to be that Ichiro is certainly still capable of being a useful big league player.
The latest salvo in Bryce Harper‘s grievance against the Nationals over his arbitration eligibility was fired yesterday when Harper failed to appear at NatsFest, the team’s annual fan convention. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including James Wagner of the Washington Post, “We’re disappointed he’s not here, but he chose not to be here because of the grievance.” Harper responded with a statement provided by his representatives and quoted by Wagner, “I have attended NatsFest each year and always enjoy my experience with the fans, but was unable to attend this year’s event due to matters out of my control. I look forward to next year’s NatsFest.” The grievance hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in New York. If Harper wins his grievance, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $2.5MM arbitration award for the outfielder (as opposed to the $1.5MM base his contract stipulates for 2015), which will create a larger platform for future arbitration earnings.
In other news and notes involving the National League:
- Jordan Zimmermann reiterated his desire to sign an extension with the Nationals, but only at the right price, reports CSNWashington.com’s Chase Hughes. “If it’s a fair value, like I have said all along, I would gladly sign,” said Zimmermann. “But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be something that’s fair and if it’s not, then I’ll be moving on.“
- The Marlins are not willing to trade either Henderson Alvarez or Jarred Cosart for a first baseman, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson also reports the Marlins have had more talks with Michael Morse in recent days and he represents the best realistic option to upgrade the position.
- The Marlins are listening to offers for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi; but, while the Pirates view him as a “terrific young pitcher” and “someone we’ll keep looking at,” club president Frank Coonelly says they are not close to bringing him to Pittsburgh, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer.
- In a separate Singer tweet, Coonelly also downplays the return of Edinson Volquez. “Two years for $20MM not far off for Volquez,” Coonelly said. “He could get that. It probably won’t be here.“
- The Cubs have met recently with Colby Rasmus and are one of several teams to show interest in him, reports Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified the Cubs as a potential landing spot for Rasmus back in September while the Orioles and Royals have also been linked to the free agent center fielder.
- With the elevation of Jeff Bridich to general manager, Rockies manager Walt Weiss has more independence in running the team with the front office no longer maintaining an offfice in the clubhouse and is more involved in player personnel decisions, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.
The Twins should look to the Cardinals, Braves, and A’s as role models, writes Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Like the Twins, those three clubs are middle class franchises, yet they also consistently succeed against the top payrolls in baseball. Mackey highlights a few traits to emulate. Minnesota should seek to supplement their upcoming prospects with affordable trade and free agent acquisitions. They can’t be afraid to trade a player at the height of his value (Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau come to mind). It also wouldn’t hurt to avoid bad contracts and exploit platoon hitters like Trevor Plouffe.
- While Mackey highlights Plouffe as somebody the Twins could platoon, Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune thinks the club should trade him before the waiver deadline later tonight. Plouffe was considered a bridge to top prospect Miguel Sano, who missed this season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but now the club can get similar offense and better utility from Eduardo Escobar. Danny Santana, who Souhan considers the Twins shortstop of the future, could move from center field to shortstop with Escobar shifting from short to third base. Lastly, Aaron Hicks could get another shot at the big leagues before Byron Buxton blocks him.
- Bartolo Colon is still expected to remain with the Mets through the trade deadline, tweets Matt Ehalt of the North Jersey Recorder. As Ehalt notes, things could change between now and the end of the day.
- Jarred Cosart has an “extra chip on his shoulder” following his trade from the Astros to the Marlins, reports Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel. Cosart has helped to keep the Marlins long shot playoff hopes alive with a 1.64 ERA in five starts. Based on the pitcher’s comments, he was a little irked by the surprise deadline deal. Miami received quite a bit of criticism for the package they sent to Houston (Colin Moran, Jake Marisnick, and a 2015 competitive balance pick), but pundits will sing a different tune if Cosart continues to dominate opponents. Looking at his peripherals, Cosart’s short term success seems to depend on a 1.91 BB/9 that’s roughly half his typical walk rate.