Jason Motte Rumors
Cardinals closer Jason Motte will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Monday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louid Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Edward Mujica has filled in admirably as the team's closer in his absence, but the Cardinals will likely be the subject of many relief rumors as the trade deadline draws near. Here's more out of baseball's Central divisions...
- Earlier today, Goold tweeted a link to a story that he wrote nearly two years ago, chronicling the long, difficult process of signing top prospect Carlos Martinez. Martinez, who was promoted to the Majors this morning, had originally been signed by the Red Sox, but that deal fell through due to questions surrounding his documentation. Martinez, whose mother died before his first birthday, was going by the name given to him by his uncle who raised him -- Carlos Matias. The Cardinals tirelessly searched for school records and his mother's death certificate to prove his identity, at which point he adopted her last name once again.
- Cubs prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua is in a similar predicament to the one Martinez initially faced, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler. The U.S. Consulate is currently requesting school records and identification documents of Paniagua's siblings before issuing him a work visa.
- The Twins still have two weeks to make a decision on right-hander Tim Wood, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. Wood is on a rehab assignment but appears healthy at this point. However, he only looks "so-so" according to Miller, and Minnesota's bullpen has been a strength early in the season. Because Wood is on the 40-man roster and out of options, he'd have to be exposed to waivers to be sent to Triple-A at the end of his rehab stint.
- We also learned earlier today that the minor trade which would have sent Mark Teahen from the D-backs to the Reds fell through due to an issue with Teahen's phsyical.
Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of the infamous Lee Elia tirade against the Wrigley Field faithful where he unleased 37 "bleeps" in 187 seconds. Elia would remain as manager of the Cubs for just four more months. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle chronicles how times have changed for Major League managers. Four reporters were present for Elia's rant and only one had a microphone which captured the event for all posterity. Shea reminds us today there are interview rooms, social media, and live post-game press conferences shown on regional and national sports networks. As a result, Shea says managers have to be more articulate, polite, and thoughtful. Giants manager Bruce Bochy echoes that sentiment, "It's different when you just see pen and paper. When there's a camera there, you have to remind yourself." Elsewhere from the NL Central Division:
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum refuses to name a closer telling reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, "I'm not going to really mess with anything right now in our bullpen. It's about as good as it can be right now." The Cubs are 7-for-13 in save opportunites with three different relievers notching a save including Kevin Gregg, who leads the team with three despite being recalled only two weeks ago.
- Matt Garza, number seven on MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Rankings, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and is on track to make three or four minor league rehab starts, reports David Furones of MLB.com.
- Speaking of Garza, Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald revisited the trade which brought the right-hander to Chicago and notes just one of the eight players invovled in the deal is currently playing in the Majors. Miles sees the trade as a wash, a viewpoint shared by MLBTR's Steve Adams who examined the Garza trade in a Transaction Retrospection last month.
- The Cardinals' imploding bullpen saw its ERA rise to 5.93 after surrendering six runs to the Pirates today. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweets the status quo cannot continue, but the team does not have many in-house options. Langosch also tweeted injured closer Jason Motte played catch for the second consecutive day indicating his arm responded well to yesterday's session.
- For the second straight season, Rickie Weeks is off to a slow start offensively with only seven hits in his last 69 at-bats. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com speculates Weeks will have a long leash because no one in the front office wants to start the service clock of Scooter Gennett, the Brewers' sixth-best prospect according to MLB.com, just yet.
4:32pm: The deal is worth $12MM and includes performance bonuses, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
The agreement buys out Motte's two final years of arbitration, but won't delay his path to free agency. He still projects to hit the open market following the 2014 season. Motte had filed for a $5.5MM salary for 2013 and the Cardinals had countered with $4.5MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. The 30-year-old set himself up for a raise from his 2012 salary of $1.95MM by posting a 2.75 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and an NL-best 42 saves this past season.
Teams and players submitted corresponding arbitration figures today, and leading up to the noon CDT deadline many players avoided arbitration. This post offers a look at some of the players who avoided arbitration, this post has filing numbers for teams and players and MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker provides the complete breakdown. Now for some additional notes about arbitration eligible players...
- There’s much more momentum toward a contract between Jason Motte and the Cardinals than there is between the team and David Freese, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter). Marc Rzepczynski, Freese and Motte are St. Louis' three remaining arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
- Though the Reds discussed a multiyear deal with outfielder Chris Heisey, the sides are more likely to agree on a one-year deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Heisey has a projected $1.3MM salary as he goes to arbitration for the first time.
Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.
MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights -- players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details...
- Clayton Richard filed for $5.55MM while the Padres offered $4.905MM, according to CBSSports.com.
- Martin Prado filed for $7.05MM while the Braves countered with $6.65MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Sergio Romo filed for $4.5MM and the Giants countered at $2.675MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Max Scherzer filed at $7.4MM and the Tigers offered $6.05MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Jason Hammel filed at $8.25MM and the Orioles offered $5.7MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). Jim Johnson filed at $7.1MM and the Orioles countered at $5.7MM.
- Homer Bailey filed at $5.8MM and the Reds filed at $4.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jordan Zimmermann filed at $5.8MM and the Nationals offered $4.6MM, Heyman tweets.
- Dexter Fowler filed at $5.15MM with the Rockies offering $4.25MM, Heyman tweets
- Shin-Soo Choo filed at $8MM and the Reds offered $6.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Chase Headley filed for $10.3MM with the Padres countering at $7.075MM, Heyman tweets.
- Mat Latos asked for $4.7MM and the Reds offered $4.15MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jason Motte filed at $5.5MM and the Cardinals offered $4.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- David Murphy filed at $6.5MM and the Rangers offered $5.05MM, Heyman tweets.
The Cardinals avoided arbitration with Jason Motte, agreeing to a one-year deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Motte, an ACES client, will earn a base salary of $1.95MM in 2012 and could earn $75K more in incentives.
As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, that's the midpoint between the Cardinals' $1.5MM submission and Motte's request of $2.4MM. The Cardinals have now signed all of their arbitration eligible players.
On this date last year, the White Sox selected Philip Humber off of waivers from the Athletics. The right-hander posted a 3.75 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 163 innings in 2011 and projects to start for Chicago in 2012. We didn't see anyone claimed on waivers today, but we do have these links...
- A multiyear deal between the Cardinals and Jason Motte is ‘in play,’ though nothing is close, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets. Motte filed for $2.4MM in arbitration, with the Cardinals countering at $1.5MM, as our Arbitration Tracker shows.
- Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run since joining the Dominican Winter League and you can view a clip of it here (hat tip: Keith Law).
- Another Cuban, left-hander Onelkis Garcia, will be eligible for the 2012 amateur draft, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. MLB made Garcia eligible to MLB teams as last year's draft approached, before making him ineligible at the last minute. Scouts tell Badler the 22-year-old projects as a reliever and could be selected in the third round this June.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto explained to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times that at one point during the Winter Meetings, the Angels had people negotiating with representatives for C.J. Wilson, LaTroy Hawkins and Albert Pujols in three different places.
- Indians president Mark Shapiro, who is depicted in the Moneyball movie, told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that he enjoyed the film for what it was. "I appreciate why most people would like it,” Shapiro said. “But I felt like it was an oversimplified kind of view, which is kind of what you have to do when you take a lot of history and condense it into an hour and a half."
SATURDAY, 7:05pm: Peter Gammons tweets (account protected) that any discussions would have to start with Brett Wallace, as the A's don't need to trade Holliday.
FRIDAY, 11:13pm: The Cardinals are "redoubling efforts to acquire" Matt Holliday, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss says the Cards have warmed to the idea of offering a multiplayer package. They were previously reluctant to send a Ryan Ludwick-fronted package to Colorado in November. Strauss believes that the Cardinals would now probably be willing to offer Ludwick, one of Jason Motte, Chris Perez, and Kyle McClellan, and a prospect to Holliday's current team, the Athletics. Strauss adds:
Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., who opposed the November deal for Holliday, is apparently on board with assuming the remainder of Holliday's $13.5 million salary.
Only about $7.6MM remains on Holliday's contract, and he is of course a free agent after the season. Holliday, a Scott Boras client, currently profiles as a Type A free agent despite a decrease in production with Oakland.
Ludwick has about $2MM remaining on his contract this year. He's under team control through 2011 as an arbitration-eligible player. Ludwick was actually drafted by the A's in 1999, 60th overall. In 2002, they sent him to the Rangers with Gerald Laird and others for Carlos Pena and Mike Venafro. Ludwick, like Holliday, has dropped off significantly from his huge 2008 season.
In his latest blog post at ESPN.com, Peter Gammons writes that "unless someone comes up with a Justin Smoak, Matt LaPorta or Brett Wallace," the Red Sox will hold on to Brad Penny and enjoy the depth. He says no one will offer up a prospect like that for a few months of Penny.
Here's the rest of Gammons' rumors:
- Takashi Saito is the pitcher on Boston's staff most likely to be traded.
- Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard "probably won't be tradeable before Aug. 1" because of their injuries.
- Jarrod Washburn could be had.
- The Red Sox have talked to the Angels about infielder Maicer Izturis, but the talks haven't gone anywhere
- Mark Mulder "made considerable progress refinding his delivery after one session with pitching coach Rick Peterson."
- The Mets are looking for an outfield bat. They made a run at Mark DeRosa, but wouldn't discuss Bobby Parnell.
- The Cardinals wouldn't discuss Jason Motte or Chris Perez in exchange for DeRosa.
- The uncertain situation surrounding the Cubs' ownership will likely prohibit any major additions.