Jarrod Parker Rumors

West Notes: Dunn, A’s, D-Backs, Zobrist, Chavez, Alonso

Adam Dunn‘s agent, Brian Peters, tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that Dunn is indeed retiring, as was widely expected. Dunn himself said that he would retire following the season back in August, though he created a bit of doubt when he backed off slightly and said, “That’s it, probably,” following the Athletics’ loss to the Royals in the AL Wild Card game. Dunn’s career was unique, to say the least, as he epitomized the “three true outcomes” player, homering 462 times while striking out in 28.6 percent of his plate appearances and walking in  15.8 percent of them. Just under half (49.9 percent) of Dunn’s career plate appearances ended in a long ball, a walk or a whiff, and he will enter the record books with a .237/.364/.490 batting line. Dunn hit 40-plus homers in six separate seasons, including five consecutive years — four of which finished with 40 on the dot (2005-08). The “Big Donkey” will be fondly remembered by many for his light-tower power — a skill that earned him more than $112MM throughout his career, per Baseball-Reference.com. MLBTR wishes Dunn and his family happiness and the best of luck in his post-playing days.

Here are a few notes on some of the game’s Western division clubs, including the final team for which Dunn played…

  • Athletics right-handers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are doubtful for Opening Day, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. That’s not a huge shock, given that both underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, though Parker, whose surgery was on March 25, would have seemed to at least have a chance at being ready. Oakland still has plenty of pitching depth, however, with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Hahn, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman all in the fold. Once Griffin and Parker are healthy, Oakland will have a plethora of MLB-ready rotation options, and only Kazmir is set to depart following the 2015 campaign.
  • Morosi also tweets that the Diamondbacks have received calls from the Orioles regarding their outfield depth. Baltimore is known to be looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder, and both David Peralta and Ender Inciarte would fit that description, Morosi notes. Peralta’s name has surfaced in trade talks already this offseason, as the Reds were said to be interested in him prior to acquiring Marlon Byrd. Moving Peralta would allow Arizona to shift Yasmany Tomas to the outfield rather than trying him at third base, as is the current plan, although first-year GM Dave Stewart specifically mentioned Peralta when discussing the club’s strengths shortly after his hiring.
  • Also from Morosi, the D-Backs have called the Blue Jays about Dioner Navarro, but talks haven’t advanced much to this point. Morosi noted last night that Arizona is working hard to acquire a catcher, as Tuffy Gosewich is the lone player on their 40-man roster with big league experience. Navarro is known to be available after the Jays inked Russell Martin to a huge five-year deal earlier this offseason.
  • The Giants tried to work out a deal to acquire Ben Zobrist from the Rays before he was dealt to Oakland, but San Francisco deemed Tampa’s asking price to be too high, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Mariners are one option for veteran outfielder Endy Chavez, tweets Heyman. Soon to be 37, Chavez remains on the free agent market on the heels of a season in which he batted .276/.317/.371 (99 OPS+, 97 wRC+). While Chavez has never brought much to the table in terms of offense, he’s graded out well from a defensive standpoint throughout his career (though defensive metrics have soured on him over the past two seasons).
  • Yonder Alonso tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he is 100 percent healthy after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right wrist. Alonso says that he hasn’t been pain-free in his hands since he broke a metacarpal bone in his right hand when he was hit by a pitch on May 31, 2013. Padres GM A.J. Preller has indicated that first base is likely to be handled by some combination of Alonso, Tommy Medica and Will Middlebrooks, and Lin notes that perhaps a lower-pressure environment with more offensive threats throughout the lineup will help Alonso. Still, he notes, Alonso’s tenure with the Padres has been a disappointment to many. “I really thought he’d unleash some power,” a scout from another club tells Lin. “It’s been disappointing.”

Athletics Notes: Parker, Taylor, Beane, Wolff

Jarrod Parker is trying to be as hopeful as possible as he prepares to undergo his second Tommy John surgery.  "I've done it before, and I can do it again," Parker told reporters, including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  "You can't put statistics on individual guys….I don't want to be a statistic, really. I want to be different. Hopefully things can work out and I'm going to do anything and everything to make it work."  The right-hander is scheduled for surgery next week and will miss at least the entire 2014 season during the rehabiliation process.

Here's some more from news out of Oakland…

  • Also from Slusser, outfielder Michael Taylor still isn't a fit for the A's roster, despite his impressive Spring Training performance.  There's no chance the A's would be able to get the out-of-options Taylor through waivers without losing him, however, as the former top prospect is drawing interest from a number of teams.  One scout tells Slusser that his team either already has, or is preparing to offer Oakland a deal for Taylor, while another rival scout figures his team is too low in waiver priority and would need to trade for Taylor to bring him into the fold.
  • In a must-read interview with Grantland's Jonah Keri, Athletics GM Billy Beane discusses how his club has tried to stay current now that the "Moneyball" tactics are known and widely-used throughout baseball.  With so much data available to teams, Beane said that implementation of that information has become the more important factor, praising manager Bob Melvin's openness to new ideas and predicting that teams will eventually have "an IT coach" in the dugout.
  • I don’t want a lot of guys like me who played the game,” Beane told Keri about building a front office. “Quite frankly, I want blank canvases, I want people to come in with new ideas. I don’t want the biases of their own experiences to be a part of their decision-making process. Listen, our whole staff…didn’t really play. The bottom line is that any business should be a meritocracy. The best and brightest. Period. This game is now evolving into that.”
  • CSNBayArea.com's Joe Stiglich looks at the Athletics' roster configuration, shoots down a few trade suggestions and covers several other topics and as part of an online chat with fans.  Of note, Stiglich hasn't heard anything about the possibility of the A's making a play for Bay Area native Jimmy Rollins, who is rumored to be on thin ice with the Phillies.  Rollins, however, has said that he won't consider waiving his no-trade protection unless the Phils completely fall out of the race.

Jarrod Parker To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

2:49pm: Athletics assistant GM David Forst tells reporters, including MLB.com's Jane Lee, that Kazmir's injury is very minor, and he could have pitched today (Twitter link). Slusser tweets that Kazmir may even start tomorrow.

Forst also adds that the team has no plans to look outside the organization to acquire additional pitching depth (Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet reporting via Twitter).

2:38pm: The Athletics have announced, via Twitter, that right-hander Jarrod Parker will undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career next week.

It's a big blow for the defending AL West champions, and though the team has more pitching depth than most clubs, they also shut right-hander A.J. Griffin down for three weeks over the weekend and will likely be without him for at least the first month of the season, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser (on Twitter). Beyond that, offseason signee Scott Kazmir was scratched from today's Spring Training start due to triceps stiffness.

With Parker and Griffin on the shelf, the A's would figure to open the season with Kazmir (if his triceps injury is minor), Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, Tommy Milone and one of Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez or Josh Lindblom in the rotation (Slusser earlier tweeted that it would likely be Chavez). Obviously, that's a considerably weaker group than it would be with a healthy Parker and Griffin in the mix, and it's fair to wonder if the A's will pursue a trade to add further depth — perhaps an out-of-options starter from another club.

Parker, 25, has given the A's 378 1/3 innings of 3.73 ERA ball with 6.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over the past two seasons, helping the club to a pair of AL West division titles. Oakland originally acquired him from the Diamondbacks along with Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill in the trade that sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona. His first Tommy John surgery came back in October 2009 when he was still in the Diamondbacks organization.

The news is the latest in a slew of Tommy John surgeries, as Kris Medlen is all but certain to require Tommy John, while Brandon Beachy also faces that possibility and Patrick Corbin will seemingly suffer that same fate as well. Beyond that, Padres right-hander Joe Wieland is undergoing an MRI today that could reveal UCL damage and lead to his second Tommy John operation.



Extension Notes: Segura, Bailey, Quintana, Parker

Shortstop Jean Segura and the Brewers figure to discuss a contract extension this spring, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports. This isn't the first time the Brewers have discussed an extension with Segura, but Cotillo says that two parties haven't talked much since last fall. In September, MLBTR suggested that Segura might receive about five years and $20-23MM guaranteed in an extension, although that number might need to be upward somewhat given extensions that have been reached since then. He's set to become arbitration-eligible after the 2015 season, and free agency-eligible after 2018. Here are more notes on extensions.

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty still has hope that his team can sign Homer Bailey long-term and believes he has made progress toward that goal, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweetsRecent reports have indicated that Bailey and the Reds aren't close on an extension, which makes sense, given Bailey's situation — he's eligible for free agency after the season and should be in line for a hefty new contract.
  • The White Sox and pitcher Jose Quintana do not plan to discuss an extension during spring training, Cotillo tweets. Quintana, 25, posted a 3.51 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 200 innings in 2013. He will likely be eligible for arbitration next offseason as a Super Two player.
  • Pitcher Jarrod Parker and the Athletics have not talked about an extension this offseason, but they could do so this spring, Cotillo tweets. The righty threw 197 innings in 2013, posting a 3.97 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He's arbitration-eligible after the 2014 season.

Extension Candidates: Milone & Parker

The Oakland Athletics have made a habit of extending pre-arbitration eligible starting pitching in the last decade or so. General manager Billy Beane has negotiated multiyear deals with many players, from Tim Hudson and Barry Zito ten-plus years ago, to Rich Harden and Dan Haren midway through the last decade, to current A's starter Brett Anderson.

Tommy Milone - A's (PW)

Here’s the template Beane has used most often: offer a promising, young starter a four-year contract covering his remaining pre-arbitration years and some arbitration years. The deals, typically valued in the $9-13MM range, tend to include club options for future arbitration and/or free agent seasons. The A’s take on the risk that the starters won’t be able to replicate their early-career successes in exchange for potentially discounted arbitration seasons and extended control of the players. Meanwhile, the players get substantial security in exchange for capping their earning potential for a period of four-plus seasons.

Should the A’s look to replicate past deals again this winter, the agents for Tommy Milone (pictured) and Jarrod Parker could soon be getting calls from Beane. Both starters were acquired in trades last offseason and both spent a full season at the MLB level for the first time in 2012, succeeding in prominent roles for the eventual AL West winners

Milone, a Praver/Shapiro client, pitched to a 3.74 ERA in 190 innings with Oakland in 2012. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out 6.5 batters per nine innings while walking 1.7 per nine and posting a 38.1% ground ball rate.

Parker, a 24-year-old Reynolds Sports Management client, posted a 3.47 ERA in 181 1/3 innings. A much harder thrower than Milone, Parker generated a few more strikeouts (6.9 K/9) and many more ground balls (44.3% ground ball rate) while allowing more walks (3.1 BB/9). 

Opposing hitters would tell you that the right-handed Parker is a different type of pitcher than Milone, and the two took markedly different paths on their way to the Oakland’s rotation. Still, they’re on track to be comparables in arbitration given their service time and basic statistics. In the context of extension talks that matters a great deal. Both pitchers are on track for arbitration eligibility after the 2014 season and free agency after the 2017 season.

As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, there's considerable precedent for contract extensions of four years or more for starting pitchers with between one and two years of MLB service. Anderson, Cory Luebke and Wade Davis all obtained $12-12.6MM for four-year deals that included multiple club options. Both A’s starters have more innings pitched than Luebke did at the time of his deal and better ERAs than Davis did at the time of his deal. Furthermore, both Milone and Parker have more innings and a better ERA than Anderson did at the time of his deal. It appears that Milone and Parker could obtain four-year deals worth more than $12.6MM, especially when taking inflation into account. In my view $14MM would be a more reasonable target for four guaranteed years.

To this point in the offseason, there haven’t been any rumors about the pair of A’s starters. But January, February and March tend to be active months for contract extensions, and Beane has shown repeated interest in extending successful young starters on multiyear deals. It won’t be surprising if the club discusses similar contracts with Milone and/or Parker in the coming months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


D’Backs Acquire Cahill, Breslow From A’s

SATURDAY: Slusser reports that the cash considerations going to the Diamondbacks will be "a couple of hundred thousand dollars."

FRIDAY: As was rumored earlier today, the Diamondbacks have acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow from the Athletics for minor leaguers Jarrod ParkerCollin Cowgill and Ryan Cook, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) and Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter). The Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

The centerpiece of the trade for Arizona is Cahill, a right-handed starter who has logged more than 175 innings in each of his three seasons as a Major Leaguer. The groundballer (53.3% career rate) is under team control at least through 2015 and perhaps through 2017, depending on two club options. He'll join Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the D'Backs' rotation, with Josh Collmenter and perhaps (or not) Joe Saunders at the back end.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the timing was right to make a move of this nature:

“A lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod Parker was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Charles Brewer, we feel we’ve got depth in the starting rotation – also, Wade Miley. We see a window here, specifically in the NL West. We’re kind of in a go-for-it mode.”

Clearly, Cahill will be counted on as one of the mainstays of the D'Backs' rotation, but it wasn't long ago he seemed destined to remain in Oakland after inking a multiyear extension in April:

"I defintely thought I’d be with them a bit longer. But their history is, they usually keep guys when they don’t make too much, then trade them off for prospects. I thought I’d be there longer, but I'm glad to be part of a team that’s headed in the right direction."

Breslow, a lefty reliever, kicked around earlier in his career before latching on with the A's the past three seasons. He's posted a career 3.80 FIP, and with no significant lefty/righty splits, Towers said Breslow will likely be used as a swing lefty out of Kirk Gibson's bullpen in 2012. He is eligible for free agency after 2013.

In Parker, Cowgill and Cook, the A's get three prospects who all have far less than a full season of service time. Of them, Parker, a right-handed starter, is regarded by scouts as having the highest ceiling. Now 24, Parker pitched mostly in the minors in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 19 in Keith Law's top 50 minor league prospects in July.

Cowgill is a 25-year-old outfielder who made his Major League debut in 2011 after posting a .383 career on-base percentage in parts of four minor league seasons. Cook was a starter in the minors before being converted to relief work in 2011. He has a "strong arm, chance for a good slider," tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix first tweeted the rumored trade, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Piecoro, Slusser and Gilbert all filled in with details.