Jeremy Affeldt Rumors

Quick Hits: Kepler, Hanley, Giants Pen

Twins prospect Max Kepler has progressed greatly since signing out of Germany as a teenager, as Parker Hageman of TwinsDaily.com writes in an interesting look at the 22-year-old. “His [development] was limited out of Germany,” said VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff. “Played a lot more soccer games than he did baseball games before he was signed. It takes patience and we have a lot of that in our organization, thankfully.” Kepler, who joined the Minnesota organization for a $800K bonus, is one of an increasingly promising group of European prospects who have come to North American baseball in recent years. He has been outstanding in his first run at the Double-A level, slashing .334/.420/.558 with nine home runs and 16 stolen bases over 431 plate appearances.

If you’re interested in the topic of European baseball, be sure to keep an eye out for today’s MLBTR podcast, which discusses it extensively. In the meantime, here are a few more stray notes from around the league:

  • Whatever the Red Sox do with Hanley Ramirez the rest of the way in 2015, opines John Tomase of WEEI.com, finding him a new home this winter should be at the top of the to-do list of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Ramirez has had a deleterious effect throughout the organization, Tomase argues, suggesting that relying on the veteran at first carries too much risk. Yesterday, we polled MLBTR readers on the matter. The current results: a virtual dead heat between “move him to first” and “deal him away.”
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at the Giants‘ upcoming offseason bullpen questions. It could be time for the club to say goodbye to southpaw Jeremy Affeldt, he writes. The 36-year-old has struggled this year, the last of a three-year, $18MM contract he inked to return to San Francisco. Closer Santiago Casilla, meanwhile, can be brought back with a $5.5MM option or cut loose through a $1MM buyout. While it’s an open question whether he should be given the ninth inning, says Schulman, Casilla still seems likely to be retained at that price.

Injury Notes: Martin, Sabathia, Affeldt, Stanton

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin will have surgery tomorrow to remove the hamate bone from his right hand, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Martin was optioned to Triple-A in early August due to severe struggles in the Majors but had batted .297/.372/.541 with a pair of homers in nine Triple-A contests. Per Wilson, he’ll be able to play defense again in two weeks’ time and could hit in four to six weeks. Martin most likely would’ve rejoined the Rangers’ active roster on Sept. 1, but it seems that his return to the active roster will be delayed.

A few more injury notes from around the game…

  • Upon meeting with doctors, CC Sabathia learned that he won’t need surgery to repair his arthritic knee, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Sabathia hopes he can return in early September, and the lefty tells King he’ll pitch with the Yankees in any capacity upon his return, as his main priority is helping the team win. “If that means pitching out of the bullpen, it is what it is,” said Sabathia. “I am not here to make that decision, that’s not for me to make.” Sabathia did add that he feels like he could start, if healthy. Manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that there was a chance Sabathia would be out for the season, but that now seems unlikely.
  • The Giants‘ injury troubles continued today, as lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a subluxed left knee sustained when playing with his children, per an Associated Press report. The 36-year-old Affeldt hasn’t been himself this season, struggling to a 5.46 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings. His injury nonetheless thins out the bullpen for the Giants, who have turned to Triple-A right-hander Mike Broadway.
  • Giancarlo Stanton believes he’s about 10 days away from returning to the lineup, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, meaning he’d tentatively come off the disabled list on Sept. 4. Stanton has been absent from the Marlins since breaking his hamate bone on June 26 and undergoing surgery two days later.

West Notes: A’s, Kazmir, Machi, Ibanez

The Athletics are in a “holding pattern” on trade talks as they continue to see how things progress in the coming weeks, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Nevertheless, likely buyers appear to be taking a close look at Oakland’s roster, as Rosenthal counts the Blue Jays, Astros, Royals, Tigers, Nationals, and Pirates among the clubs that sent scouts to last night’s game.

  • Scott Kazmir threw for the A’s last night, of course, and left after just three innings of work with forearm tightness. Kazmir insisted after the game that it was not a major source of concern, and indeed Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes on Twitter that he was able to play catch today without apparent issue.
  • Giants reliever Jean Machi appears at risk of becoming a roster casualty when the club welcomes back Jeremy Affeldt and/or Tim Lincecum, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes on Twitter. The 33-year-old has produced outstanding results in each of the last two seasons, putting up 119 1/3 innings of 2.49 ERA pitching. But it’s been a different story in 2015, as Machi has suffered a notable decline in his strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.8 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9, presently) and owns a 5.29 ERA in 32 1/3 frames.
  • The Rangers got a bargain on recent international signee Andy Ibanez, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. Texas landed the 22-year-old infielder for just $1.6MM, but Badler pegs him as roughly equivalent in value to a supplemental first-round or second-round draft pick.


West Notes: Affeldt, Wilson, Dodgers, Gonzalez, M’s

The Giants have lost left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt for four-to-six weeks after a MRI revealed a moderate strain of muscle and tendon in his left groin, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Jose Mijares will absorb most of Affeldt's innings, but CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly writes the Giants could, if history is any guide, look to acquire another lefty reliever. Baggarly notes it was nearly three years ago to the day Affeldt injured his oblique and GM Brian Sabean acquired Javier Lopez, an under-the-radar move which paid dividends as the Giants won the World Series. In other news and notes from MLB's West divisions:

  • While Affeldt's injury may change the calculus slightly, Baggarly, within that same article, sees the Giants continuing their quest for starting pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy loves Jake Peavy, but the two teams have not discussed a deal and the Giants don’t have the quantity or quality of trade chips to get a seat at the table, according to Baggarly.
  • Ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson is expected to begin showcasing his arm for teams within the next few weeks and the Giants have asked Wilson's representative to include them in the process, reports Schulman. Wilson underwent his second Tommy John surgery 15 month ago.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti doesn't expect to make any franchise-altering deals prior to the Trade Deadline, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know that that player is out there," Colletti said. "When I call around teams, there's not a lot of names of position players being discussed. I'm not sure if there's a market out there on the sell side."
  • Earlier today, we learned the Dodgers are prepared to offer Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez something in the neighborhood of $50MM over five years. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, however, tweets sources have told him the Dodgers' interest in the Cuban right-hander is not as fervent as has been portrayed. 
  • Manager Eric Wedge doesn't think the fourth-place Mariners, winners of six straight, will be active at the Trade Deadline, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. "Unless it's something that raises the bar, I don't think we're going to do anything," said Wedge. "We're not going to move somebody just to move somebody." The Mariners have several veterans on one-year deals, who could be appealing to contenders, including left-handed reliever Oliver Perez, left-handed starter Joe Saunders, outfielder Raul Ibanez, first baseman Kendrys Morales, and shortstop Brendan Ryan.
  • Two years ago, the Dodgers had agreed to deals with both the Tigers and Red Sox for Hiroki Kuroda, but the right-hander invoked his no-trade clause to veto each trade. Through his interpreter, Kuroda provided FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal his rationale for refusing to join a team in the playoff hunt: if you only play for a team in August and September, it is not as meaningful as being with a club from Spring Training until the end of the season.

NL Notes: Samardzija, Brian Wilson, Phillies, Braves

The St. Louis Cardinals are the class of the National League right now, having won exactly two-thirds of their first 39 games.  They're fourth in the league in OBP and ninth in slugging, and third in runs scored per game partially due fantastic work with runners in scoring position.  Their rotation has easily been the league's best with a 2.33 ERA, even without Chris Carpenter.  While the Jason Motte-less bullpen has an NL-worst 5.00 ERA, it's at 3.27 in May, with most of the damage coming in one Carlos Martinez outing.  By measure of FanGraphs WAR, Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Shelby Miller, and Yadier Molina have been the team MVPs so far.  Now let's look at some links from elsewhere around the NL…

  • First baseman Anthony Rizzo has a new seven-year, $41MM deal with the Cubs, but pitcher Jeff Samardzija says he isn't ready to talk contract with the club, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  "Absolutely not," said the pitcher when asked if he's looking to hammer out an extension. "Nope. This is a great team, really coming around right now, playing great baseball. I'm just really looking to keep this going. It's fun to play with these guys."  Samardzija, 28, will have four years of Major League service after the season.  This is just a theory of mine, but having been lured away from football in '06 with a $10MM contract, Samardzija has more financial security at this point in his career than most players, and continuing to bet on his talent will enable him to maximize his next contract.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he hasn't been in touch with former closer Brian Wilson lately.  Sabean says that he doesn't know how Wilson is throwing but has heard The Beard is "working out like a fiend" and is "going to try to showcase himself over the All-Star break or thereabouts."
  • The Phillies issued a statement regarding Roy Halladay today: "Roy had successful shoulder surgery yesterday. He had an arthroscopic evaluation and underwent debridement of his labrum and rotator cuff as well as removal of an inflamed bursa.  He'll begin a progressive rehabilitation program and if all goes well, he may possibly begin a throwing program in 6-8 weeks."  The 36-year-old will be eligible for free agency after the season.  Scrambling for depth in the wake of the injuries to Halladay and John Lannan, the Phillies signed Carlos Zambrano to a minor league deal yesterday with a July 1st opt-out date.
  • In other NL East injury news, the Braves announced reliever Jonny Venters had the second Tommy John procedure of his career today.  The 28-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the second time after the season, with an expected salary similar to this year's $1.625MM.
  • A clerical error could have enabled Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt to pocket an extra $500K a few years back, but he wasn't willing to pocket the money, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle via Affeldt's book, "To Stir a Movement."  Affeldt believes his subsequent contract with the Giants went smoothly partly because of that decision.  

Why I Chose My Agency: Jeremy Affeldt

By freelance writer Dave Pond for MLB Trade Rumors.

Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt has been a Moye Sports Associates, Inc., client since 1999, and signed a three-year $18MM contract with the Giants shortly after their 2012 World Series Championship. It was Affeldt's third contract with the Giants, following stints with Kansas City, Colorado and Cincinnati. The veteran left-hander spoke with freelance writer Dave Pond about his agency for MLB Trade Rumors:

How did you get hooked up with Mike Moye (Moye Sports Associates, Inc.)

In 1997, I signed with the Royals out of high school and, although I didn't have an agent, I did have a guy who advised me as I negotiated my first contract. When I went off to rookie ball, everyone told me I needed an agent. My mom had seen an article on Mike in Sports Spectrum [a Christian sports publication], told me that he was an agent and a Christian, and that she thought I should give him a call. 

I called Mike and we talked. He told me that I didn't really need an agent during rookie ball. He wasn't just trying to sign me to sign me. Mike said that we should just get to know one another, and see if he was the kind of guy who I wanted to work with. He said he could help me get shoes and things like that — that I didn't need an agent to do those deals — but down the road, if I wanted to work with him, that we could talk about it then.  Mike's not one of these gung-ho, Jerry MaGuire-type guys who comes in with his hair slicked back and a lot of talk. He's a warm, low-key guy, and very professional at what he does. He really takes the time to listen to you, and learn what's important to you. 

A couple of seasons later, I was really doing well in Charleston, and made the single-A All-Star team. I was at the hotel, and I got a bunch of calls from different agents, and I really didn't want to meet with any of them. I was still trying to figure our professional baseball at the time, and I didn't want to have to deal with any of that. So, I called Mike and told him I wanted to sign.

That's what impressed me about Mike so much — he wasn't all about how fast he could sign someone, or see how many guys he could sign. He wanted to make sure I was a quality player, not just on talent, but when it came to character, too — that I was I the kind of guy he wanted to represent, and that I wanted a guy like him to represent me. It was a two-way street, and I was really impressed with that.

What sets Moye apart from other agents?

Several GMs have told me that Mike has a real bulldog mentality when it comes to representing his players in the negotiating room, but that he's one of the best guys to work with as well. He knows his stuff, but he doesn't lie to make you look better or make a team look worse. He doesn't manipulate situations — he's honest with teams he's talking to, and he expects teams to believe him. I want an agent who teams enjoy working with, as well as one with high integrity, good character and good values.

When you meet him, he's not "Hollywood" —  he doesn't seem like your stereotypical agent. You definitely don't look at him at first glance and think "sports agent." I didn't want a Hollywood-type guy — I want to work with a guy who I enjoy spending time with. He's a family-first guy who cares about his wife and kids and where they are at spiritually, so all of that really played into it, too. 

Why have you stayed with Moye Sports?

I'm a very strong Christian man, so I want that type of influence in my life, whether I'm negotiating a contract or if when I'm frustrated with the front office. Mike can talk to me from a Christian perspective as well as from an agent's perspective and that's big for me, because it helps me make the right decisions. Most importantly, Mike reminds me about who I represent — I don't represent me, I represent Jesus.

As professional athletes, we're basically entrepreneurs. We run our own business, and we need people to help us make decisions that will be the best for our families. When we're dealing with the kind of money we're dealing with, and have to make the kind of decisions we're make, I have to have wise counsel, and know that everything is on the table. 

Mike's not just a "yes" man, and he fights for what he knows is right. For Mike, it's never been about how much money he can get Jeremy, so that he'll get a bigger cut — it's how can he help me in life, so that I not only receive great contracts to support my family, but also that I represent  Jesus well in everything I do. Over the years, Mike has helped me become a Major League Christian athlete — not just a Major Leaguer, but a solid Christian man who can represent the Gospel in a tough arena to represent Jesus in. 


NL West Notes: Ryu, Affeldt, Giambi, Rockies

Buster Posey was named the NL MVP today, becoming the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 2004 to capture the leagues highest honor.  It was a solid year overall for the NL West when it came to postseason awards, as Clayton Kershaw and Wade Miley each had runner-up finishes in the NL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year races, respectively.

Here's the latest from around the division…

  • Scott Boras introduced client Hyun-Jin Ryu to the media (including Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times) today and compared Ryu to Mark Buehrle in terms of body size and ability.  The Dodgers won the rights to the Korean southpaw with a $25.737MM posting bid and have until December 10 to work out a contract, or else Ryu will return to the Korean Baseball Organization.  As Hernandez notes, Boras and Ryu were both vague about the likelihood of Ryu signing with L.A., though the Buehrle comparison could be a hint about Boras' contract expectations.
  • Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (Twitter link) has the salary breakdown of Jeremy Affeldt's new three-year contract with the Giants.  Affeldt receives a $3MM signing bonus and will earn $5MM per season in 2013-15.
  • Jason Giambi withdrew his name from consideration to be the Rockies' next hitting coach, and Giambi told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that "it could be a PR nightmare" if the team struggles under new manager Walt Weiss and Giambi (a finalist for the manager's job) is already on the staff.  Giambi had said he wanted to keep playing if the Rockies didn't hire him to manage but now admits to Renck that "I have no idea what I am going to do next."
  • The Rockies have finalized their 2013 coaching staff, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.  Jim Wright, the club's pitching coach in 2002, returns to the job after most recently serving as Colorado's bullpen coach.  

Giants, Affeldt Agree To Three-Year Deal

The Giants and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt have reached an agreement on a three-year deal that will be worth around $18MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The 33-year-old Affeldt was a critical component to the Giants 2012 World Series title, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 with a sky-high 59.9 percent ground-ball rate in 63 1/3 innings. Unlike many southpaws, Affeldt was effective against both right-handed (.656 OPS) and left-handed batters (.621 OPS).

The price for free agent relievers appears to be high early this offseason, as the Giants' NL West rivals recently signed Brandon League to a three-year deal worth $22.5MM. Affeldt has been with the Giants since signing a two-year contract as a free agent in November of 2008. He is represented by Moye Sports Associates, as shown in MLBTR's Agency Database.

It was first reported late last week that the Giants were discussing a new contract with Affeldt. He ranked 50th on Tim Dierkes' list of Top 50 free agents. Tim correctly predicted a reunion with the Giants, as did Ben Nicholson-Smith. A look at the contest leaderboard shows that the rest of the writing team, myself included, swung and missed on Affeldt's destination.

With Affeldt secured, the Giants' biggest decision pertaining to their bullpen will now likely be whether or not to tender former closer Brian Wilson a contract following his Tommy John surgery.


Giants Discussing Three-Year Deal With Affeldt

MONDAY: If the sides complete the deal it’s expected to be for about $18MM and three years, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).

FRIDAY: The Giants and Jeremy Affeldt are in talks about a three-year contract worth $15-20MM, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports (on Twitter). Earlier tonight, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that the team was confident in re-signing the veteran left-hander.

Affeldt, 33, pitched to a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 63 1/3 relief innings for San Francisco this year. He added another 10 1/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs as the Giants clinched the World Series title. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Affeldt 50th in his Top 50 Free Agents ranking, predicting that he would re-sign with the team.


Quick Hits: Giants, Affeldt, Hart, Tigers, Soriano

The 4pm CST deadline for players to accept qualifying offers has come and gone and none of the eight players in play opted to return to their respective clubs for a $13.3MM salary in 2013.  That means that Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Kyle Lohse will net their teams a compensatory pick if they sign elsewhere.  Here's the latest from around baseball..

  • The Giants are confident that they will be re-signing Jeremy Affeldt and the club believes that they will work out a three-year deal, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  GM Brian Sabean indicated yesterday that he is optimistic about being about to keep Affeldt, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro.
  • Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he has not approached Corey Hart's agent about an extension and doesn't have immediate plans to do so.  A report earlier today suggested that the Brewers and Hart were discussing a deal to keep him beyond 2013.  The first baseman/right fielder is set to earn $10MM next season.
  • The Tigers aren't interested in Soriano and plan to stay in-house to find their closer, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Right-hander Bruce Rondon, 21, will get a chance at the job.