Jarrod Parker Rumors

AL West Notes: Castillo, Jackson, Parker, Gonzalez, Pujols

Though his role with the Cubs had diminished, Welington Castillo was still “shocked” to learn he’d been traded to the Mariners, he tells Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times“I wasn’t expecting it. Now I’m here. It was a long day yesterday. Now I’m here and ready to go. I’m really excited to be here.” Castillo discusses the sometimes overlooked difficulty of being traded for a catcher, as he’s already been informed that he’ll be behind the dish for Thursday’s matinee, leaving him scarce time to get to know starter J.A. Happ, whom he’ll catch for the first time in his career. “I’m going to go and sit and watch video with him and go over the lineup, ask him, ‘what do you want to do, what do you like to do? What’s your first pitch? What’s your last pitch? What’s the pitch you throw behind in the count for a strike?’” Castillo is excited for the opportunity to play more, as even though he won’t be Seattle’s everyday option at catcher — that honor will still go to Mike Zunino — he should now pick up a couple of starts per week. With the Cubs, Castillo had just 47 plate appearances on the season.

More from the AL West…

  • After speaking with Mariners director of minor league player development Chris Gwynn, Divish also reports that top prospect and 2014 first-rounder Alex Jackson has been shut down with a shoulder issue. According to Gwynn, Jackson hurt his left shoulder in Spring Training while diving for a ball, and the injury has likely hampered his swing this season. That would explain how Jackson, who slashed .280/.344/.476 in his pro debut with the club’s Rookie-level affiliate in 2014, saw his production plummet to .157/.240/.213 with Class-A Clinton in 2015. Jackson will head to extended Spring Training for the time being as he works to rehab the injury.
  • Athletics righty Jarrod Parker underwent successful surgery to repair the fractured medial epicondyle in his right elbow, reports MLB.com’s Jane Lee. The club briefly thought that Parker might need a third Tommy John surgery after he initially sustained the injury, making this operation something of a relief, despite the its generally unfortunate nature. There’s still no timetable on his recovery, however.
  • The Rangers‘ decision to designate Carlos Peguero earlier today opened a spot on the 25-man roster and was likely influenced by the impending return of Josh Hamilton (who will pick up most of Peguero’s at-bats in the corner outfield), but Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets another wrinkle to the move. The open spot on the 40-man roster won’t be filled immediately — Klein was already on the 40-man, as is Hamilton — which could allow the Rangers to give former first-round pick and consensus Top 100 prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez a look in the rotation if they wish. Gonzalez hasn’t dazzled in his first taste of Triple-A pitching, but the 23-year-old does have a lifetime 3.14 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in the minors.
  • Albert Pujols left the game tonight after being hit by a pitch on the hand, but Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (Twitter link) that there are no fractures. Pujols will be day-to-day with a bruise but shouldn’t miss any significant amount of time.

Jarrod Parker To Undergo Elbow Surgery

Athletics righty Jarrod Parker will undergo an unspecified surgical procedure on his right elbow tomorrow, the club announced. Parker, who was in the midst of rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, was diagnosed recently with a fractured medial epicondyle.

On the positive side, it appears that Parker will not require another UCL replacement, per a tweet from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Rather, he’ll be going under the knife to “stabilize” the fracture.

Needless to say, the overall situation is terribly disappointing for both Parker and the A’s. The former ninth overall pick owns a 3.68 ERA over 384 total big league innings, all logged before he even reached his age-25 season. But that’s approximately where the good news ended, as Parker — now 26, has not thrown in the big leagues in either of the last two seasons.

At this point, there is at least some possibility that Parker will be a non-tender candidate. He is arb-eligible for two more seasons after this one, giving additional cause for Oakland to try to bring him back to health. Then, there’s the fact that the A’s defeated Parker in an arbitration hearing over the winter, leaving him with a $850K salary that would very likely be repeated next year — hardly a significant investment. Of course, the prognosis and timetable, which will presumably drive the decisionmaking, remain unreported.

AL West Notes: Parker, Krauss, Odor, Rangers

Athletics righty Jarrod Parker will visit Dr. James Andrews next Monday to determine the severity of his latest elbow injury, writes John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. Parker fractured the medial epicondyle in his right elbow over the weekend in what was supposed to be one of his final rehab appearances before being activated off the disabled list. The medial epicondyle is one of the two bones to which a replacement ligament is grafted in Tommy John surgery, and the A’s do not yet know if Parker’s new UCL remains intact. We at MLBTR wish Parker the best in the wake of what must be a heart-sinking setback.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • Marc Krauss, whose contract was selected by the Angels earlier tonight, has the opportunity to stick with the club for awhile, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. The Halos are in dire need of some left-handed pop to help balance out a lineup that has struggled at times against right-handed pitching. “We need offense,” manager Mike Scioscia said to Gonzalez. “The balance of left-handed and right-handed isn’t quite there with us, and it’s showing up statistically.” Krauss is something of a journeyman, but he was hitting quite well at Triple-A this season, having slashed .281/.405/.458.
  • Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor wasn’t entirely surprised by his demotion to Triple-A, he tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News“I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches. I know that,” Odor said to Grant. “I was not like me. I didn’t feel like me. I wasn’t hitting good.” GM Jon Daniels said he expects Odor to return to the big league club shortly once he corrects some of the issues he developed en route to a cringe-worthy .144/.252/.233 batting line.
  • The Rangers will have a crowded situation at first base upon activating Mitch Moreland from the disabled list this week, and it might cost outfielder Jake Smolinski his roster spot, according to Grant’s colleague, Gerry Fraley. Smolinski, 26, has just five at-bats over the team’s past eight games and did not get the start tonight, either. Moreland will join Prince Fielder, Adam Rosales and Kyle Blanks as first base options, and Blanks has begun working out in the outfield, Fraley notes. Smolinski has options remaining, so the team wouldn’t need to expose him to waivers in order to send him to the minors.

Jarrod Parker Suffers Arm Injury

A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker has suffered a fracture of the right medial epicondyle, as John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group writes. Parker is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery and given how critical the right medial epicondyle is to holding together a surgically-repair arm, it is feared that Parker could be in store for a third Tommy John procedure.

We don’t know how much this is going to set back his recovery at this point in time,’’ A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said Saturday night. “He’s going to go home, where we’re going to set him up to see some specialists and see what our options are. It seems like surgery is kind of imminent, what kind of surgery we kind of have to wait and see.’’

Until Parker gets further evaluated, he won’t know the exact nature of his injury or the level of surgery that will be required.  Therefore, at this time, there is no timetable for his recovery, but it sounds like there is fear that he could be lost for the season.  Parker received a x-rays and a CT-scan on Saturday night, so a diagnosis might not be too far away.

Parker, 26, broke out in his first full major league season, pitching to a 3.47 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He followed that up in 2013 by posting a 3.97 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 across 32 starts. Unfortunately, however, he has not seen a big league mound since then.  This season, Parker in the minors working to get back on track before this latest setback.

Athletics Acquire Edward Mujica

The Athletics have acquired right-hander Edward Mujica and cash considerations from the Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the teams announced. Right-hander Jarrod Parker has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for Mujica in Oakland, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (Twitter link).

This complicated-looking trade likely essentially means that the Red Sox are giving up Mujica, plus a bit of extra money to pay some of the remainder of his $4.75MM 2015 salary, in exchange for a bit of salary relief. The Red Sox designated Mujica for assignment this week after he posted a 4.61 ERA with eight strikeouts and three walks in 13 2/3 innings this year. The former Cardinals closer didn’t make much of an impression after signing with the Red Sox before last season, posting a 3.90 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 2014.

Mujica doesn’t throw particularly hard and has modest strikeout totals, not topping that 2014 6.5 K/9 in any of the last four seasons. As a result, his upside appears limited. He’s always had good control and has gotten his fair share of ground balls, however, so perhaps he can provide the Athletics with a decent middle reliever at a reasonable price until he becomes a free agent after the season. The Athletics’ bullpen has produced a 5.29 ERA this season while struggling through injuries, so Mujica looks likely to help.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Athletics, Indians, Frazier

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video at FOX Sports:

  • The Athletics aren’t currently considering trading Scott Kazmir and aren’t yet letting go of their hopes of contending, Rosenthal says. The team was dealt another blow yesterday, however, in the form of setbacks to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, at least one of whom the A’s might have counted on later in the season to fill a spot in the rotation and bump Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen.
  • An executive says the Indians could be sellers this summer if their 10-18 season doesn’t dramatically improve. Carlos Santana and Brandon Moss could be on the block if they do. Santana is signed through 2016 with a reasonable option for 2017, while Moss has one more year of arbitration eligibility beyond this one before he can become a free agent.
  • Rosenthal wonders how it will be possible for the Reds to sign Todd Frazier long-term, given their already-heavy load of commitments to veterans. Rosenthal says Frazier is eligible for free agency after next season, although he actually isn’t eligible until after 2017 — his current contract carries through 2016, but the Reds can take him through arbitration once more after that. That one year makes a considerable difference, since it means the Reds already control Frazier through his age-31 season. As terrific a year as Frazier is having, trying to control him beyond 31 might be risky, and representative of the kinds of commitments that have caused the Reds’ current payroll headaches. Still, Rosenthal is probably right that Frazier could become a trade candidate at some point, given the Reds’ need to acquire young talent.

Players Win Six Of 14 Arbitration Hearings

The Mariners’ defeat of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen today ended this offseason’s arbitration season. This year, 14 players went to arbitration hearings, with the players winning six times and teams winning eight. Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, here are the results.

Player Team Player Amt. Team Amt. Player won?
Pedro Alvarez Pirates $5.750MM $5.250MM Yes
Jerry Blevins Nationals $2.400MM $2.200MM Yes
Alejandro De Aza Orioles $5.650MM $5.000MM No
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays $5.750MM $4.300MM No
Mat Latos Marlins $10.400MM $9.400MM No
Mike Minor Braves $5.600MM $5.100MM Yes
Jarrod Parker Athletics $1.700MM $0.850MM No
David Phelps Marlins $1.875MM $1.400MM No
Wilin Rosario Rockies $3.300MM $2.800MM No
Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks $6.900MM $5.300MM Yes
Danny Valencia Blue Jays $1.675MM $1.250MM Yes
Neil Walker Pirates $9.000MM $8.000MM No
Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners $2.200MM $1.400MM No
Vance Worley Pirates $2.450MM $2.000MM Yes

A few notes:

  • Via MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker, only three players (Andrew Cashner, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin) had hearings last year, so 14 hearings this year marks a dramatic spike. No players had hearings in the 2012-2013 offseason, and seven players did in 2011-2012. The number of hearings this offseason was the most since 2001, although not everyone is convinced this is the start of a trend, according to the Associated Press. ”Just as I didn’t think [2012-2013] was the start of a trend when we had no hearings, I do not think any conclusions can be drawn at this point from the increased number of hearings this year,” says MLB chief legal officer Don Halem.
  • The Pirates alone took three players to arbitration, as many as all teams combined in the previous two offseasons.
  • Teams will pay the 14 players who went to arbitration $57.925MM next season, saving a total of about $1.5MM versus the midpoints between those 14 players’ proposed figures and those of their teams.
  • There appears to be no obvious pattern in which players won and which lost (which isn’t necessarily surprising, since the terms of each arbitration hearing are set ahead of time by the teams and agents who determine the figures, and not by the arbitrators). As CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes (via Twitter), better established players (like Josh Donaldson, Neil Walker and Mat Latos) mostly lost their hearings, while players coming off mediocre or poor seasons, like Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Mike Minor, won theirs.
  • In terms of overall dollar value, Donaldson might be the player most affected by the result of his hearing, which he lost. There was a fairly large gap (over $1.4MM) between his proposed figure and that of the Blue Jays. Donaldson is also a Super Two player in the midst of his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his salary for 2015 could impact his salary in the next three seasons after that.

Quick Hits: K-Rod, Rockies, Baker

The White Sox and Brewers have had the best and worst offseasons, respectively, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The White Sox were aggressive but conservative in spending their financial flexibility and did well by not surrendering any top prospects to acquire Jeff Samardzija. The Brewers, meanwhile, are not good enough to compete in the NL Central now or in the near future and should have either made a big play for a free agent like James Shields or turned over the roster on a grander scale than just trading Yovani Gallardo.

Elsewhere in baseball:

  • If the Marlins are unable to further upgrade their rotation, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro advocates the club signing Francisco Rodriguez, not to supplant closer Steve Cishek but to solidify the back end of their bullpen. Frisaro tweeted the Marlins could apply their arbitration savings of $1.265MM (achieved with the Mike Dunn extension and in winning the Mat Latos arbitration hearing) towards signing Rodriguez. Earlier today, Frisaro reported the Marlins have contacted K-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras.
  • GM Jeff Bridich sees the free agent signing of Kyle Kendrick and the acquisition of David Hale as updgrading the Rockies‘ rotation, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. “I certainly feel like the depth has been addressed to a certain degree,” Bridich said. “We were involved in both free agency and trades. Again, we have a good sense of what Kyle Kendrick is and what he can do. I think he has proven himself. With the acquisition of somebody like Hale … I think there is upside there.
  • MLB.com’s Terence Moore profiles Dusty Baker, who would “like to have another chance to manage, because the only thing lacking in my career is” a World Series ring, but is content if he never receives that opportunity.
  • Cuban infielder Alejandro Ortiz has petitioned for free agency and is expected to hit the market soon, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The 24-year-old, who possesses speed and a good glove, played five seasons in Serie Nacional, so he is exempt from counting against a team’s international signing bonus pool.

A’s Notes: Shields, Doolittle, Olivera, Moncada

The A’s hosted their annual FanFest today with a sellout crowd of over 15,000. Here are the highlights:

  • The A’s experienced plenty of turnover this offseason (nine trades involving 27 players) and the holdovers are starting to see the method in GM Billy Beane’s madness. “Initially when the trades are going on, you’re going, ‘Come on, seriously? Another All-Star caliber player is leaving us?’” said Coco Crisp (as quoted by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). “But as things progressed, I started to see things come together, and I understand it from a business standpoint and for the future. Some of the players we got have the potential to be great players and we have another team out to prove ourselves. I think it’s going to work out good.
  • Also from Slusser, Beane has a plan if his offseason maneuvers don’t work. “If one of these (trades) doesn’t work, we’ll make another one because that’s what we do. We’re not going to wait around.
  • Beane apparently isn’t waiting around for James Shields. Slusser has heard rumblings the A’s might be one of the teams still in play for Shields, but she has been assured they are not.
  • MLB.com’s Jane Lee updated the status of a trio of injured pitchers in a pair of reports. Sean Doolittle received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to alleviate inflammation and irritation in his left shoulder. “Everything so far has gone really smoothly,” Doolittle said. “We’re optimistic, but we haven’t set a timetable because, based on what the doctors and trainers have said, every issue is kind of different. With PRP, it’s all about how your body reacts to it.” Doolittle has entered the beginning stages of a strengthening program, but manager Bob Melvin admits there is a good chance his closer will miss the early part of the season.
  • A’s Assistant GM David Forst and Melvin both reiterated the probable timetable for starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin to return is June, barring any setbacks from their Tommy John surgeries.
  • Slusser reports the A’s continue to monitor Cuban infielders Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera, but doubts the team has the payroll for Moncada having never spent more than $66MM on a player and does not see Olivera receiving an offer greater than the four-year, $36MM deal signed by Yoenis Cespedes.

Athletics Win Arbitration Hearing Against Jarrod Parker

The Athletics have won an arbitration hearing against right-hander Jarrod Parker, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The 26-year-old Parker, who missed all of the 2014 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring, filed for a $1.7MM salary on the strength of his strong work from 2012-13, while the A’s countered at $850K (as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker). Parker will earn $850K this season, which is $50K short of his $900K projection from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

Formerly the ninth overall pick in the draft, Parker was acquired alongside Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill from the Diamondbacks prior to the 2012 season in a trade that sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona. Parker didn’t throw a pitch in 2014, but because a player’s first trip through arbitration is based on his career to date (unlike subsequent arb cases, which focus more on the platform season), he and his agents at Reynolds Sports Management still clearly felt they had a strong case. It’s easy to see why they felt as such, given Parker’s 25-16 record and 3.73 ERA in 378 1/3 innings of work from 2012-13. While wins and losses rightfully are becoming less common as a means of gauging a pitcher’s talent level, they still carry weight in arbitration. Parker has also averaged 6.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 42.5 percent ground-ball rate in his career thus far.

Though he’s unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, Parker should eventually move back into the Oakland rotation at some point this season. Both he and fellow Tommy John victim A.J. Griffin will give manager Bob Melvin options in what is already a deep staff of starting candidates. Budding ace Sonny Gray will lead the rotation along with revitalized veteran Scott Kazmir, and that duo will likely be joined by Jesse Chavez and Jesse Hahn. Candidates for the fifth slot include Drew Pomeranz, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman, though Pomeranz would appear to have the inside track, as he is the most experienced of that bunch.

With Parker’s case resolved, Oakland has settled 11 of its 12 arbitration cases — a fairly staggering number — leaving only Tyler Clippard‘s situation unresolved.