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Jeremy Hellickson Rumors
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes looks at six teams that badly need some fixing this offseason. The list starts with the Braves, who have been held back in part by B.J. Upton‘s five-year, $75MM deal. The Rangers also need some serious help in the form of two starting pitchers, a right-handed power bat, and possibly a catcher. The Phillies are in the toughest spot of all, Cafardo writes, as they are overloaded with older players on bad contracts. Here are some of the highlights from today’s column..
- As teams start putting together lists of pitchers who could be had in trade this offseason, Jeremy Hellickson’s name has been surfacing. One AL team believes that the Rays could make another Wil Myers-Jake Odorizzi for James Shields-Wade Davis type of deal centering around Hellickson, who is still just 27 and inexpensive.
- It looks more and more like Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will return next season. A Twins executive said he would be “surprised” if Gardenhire didn’t come back based on his young team playing hard and having fun playing the spoiler role down the stretch.
- Even with Alex Rodriguez coming back, Cafardo sees the Yankees as a possibility for Hanley Ramirez if the Dodgers don’t retain him.
- The Red Sox haven’t committed to bringing David Ross back next season but it doesn’t appear he’ll have to worry about finding a job. A few teams have privately discussed Ross as a backup/mentor. If Boston moves on from Ross, there aren’t many clear-cut alternatives on the open market.
- Red Sox vice president of player personnel Allard Baird had a very good interview for the Diamondbacks‘ vacant GM job, but Tony La Russa is still leaning towards Dave Stewart or Gary LaRocque, according to a source. Baird, of course, was the GM of the Royals from 2000-06.
- Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield is beginning to receive more interest as a managerial candidate. Don’t be surprised to see his name mentioned more often for openings, Cafardo writes.
In his latest Insider-only piece for ESPN, Buster Olney expressed doubt that the Orioles would re-sign Nelson Cruz this winter. The O’s are more likely to let Cruz go and pick up an extra draft pick (via the qualifying offer) since Cruz’s big season may have made him too expensive for Baltimore. If the team looks for a right-handed bat to replace Cruz, Olney opines that the Braves’ Evan Gattis, rumored to be a trade candidate, would be a perfect fit as the Orioles’ new designated hitter.
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- Also from Olney, Yankees GM Brian Cashman originally passed on the idea of signing Chris Young when the team’s statistical analysts recommended that the Yankees pick up the recently-released Met. Cashman’s change of heart paid off, as Young has a whopping 1.266 OPS in his short stint (29 PA) as a Yankee and three homers, including a walkoff to beat the Rays last Thursday.
- Rookie right-hander Shane Greene‘s emergence has been a boon for the Yankees‘ injury-riddled rotation, and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post details the unlikely story of how Greene originally caught the eyes of team scouts. Greene, a 15th-round draft pick in 2009, has a 3.56 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 2.92 K/BB rate over 68 1/3 IP this season.
- Dustin Pedroia‘s contract extension was considered to be very team-friendly when it was signed last year, but ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes wonders if the Red Sox were too quick to extend Pedroia given how recurring injuries caused his performance to drop off in 2014. The Sox already had Pedroia locked up through 2014 (with a team option for 2015) on a prior contract before tearing that deal up for his new extension that runs through the 2021 season.
- The Rays‘ planned payroll cut might not be all that drastic, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, as the team still plans to contend next season. Any payroll saved “will be the product of trades and tough choices.” For instance, Topkin thinks Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Joyce could be trade candidates, as both players will get raises in arbitration this winter.
- Earlier today, MLBTR’s Steve Adams compiled more news from around the AL East.
Rays right-hander and 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow last week and is expected to be sidelined until mid-to-late May, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The 26-year-old Hellickson struggled through his worst season in 2013, posting a career-high 5.17 ERA and yielding a .274/.325/.450 batting line to opposing hitters. Hellickson, the Rays and agent Scott Boras all said that there were no physical ailments following the season, according to Topkin, but something flared up in his elbow when Hellickson began throwing in late January.
The Rays have the rotation depth to overcome an injury to Hellickson, as Jake Odorizzi now seems likely to step into the rotation alongside David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer. It already appeared likely that the Rays would hang onto Price for at least one more season (contrary to what many pundits believed earlier this winter), but the loss of Hellickson may further strengthen that standpoint. The Rays have added payroll this offseason by re-signing James Loney to a three-year deal, signing Grant Balfour and acquiring Heath Bell and Ryan Hanigan (and extending the latter), so it seems unlikely that they'd shift from those win-now moves by dealing Price — especially with depleted rotation depth. As Topkin notes, Enny Romero and Alex Colome represent additional rotation options, but Colome himself is recovering from an injury.
Of course, the team could also look to the free agent or trade market to add another starting option. However, they already project for a record payroll (roughly $76MM, including league minimum players), so adding significant dollars seems unlikely. Adding a veteran with starting experience on a minor league deal could make some sense.
Hellickson has seen his own name raised in speculative trade talks coming off a down season, but this surgery eliminates the already unlikely scenario that he would find himself dealt to a new team. He and the Rays sidestepped arbitration this offseason by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $3.625MM. He'll be arb-eligible twice more before becoming a free agent following the 2016 season, but this injury will prevent him from accumulating some valuable innings and counting stats in 2014. That will suppress his 2015 arbitration payday, which would subsequently keep his 2016 salary down as well.
We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
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The Rays' attempts to trade David Price are greatly complicated by the fact that the team is still trying to contend in 2014, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes. Most teams unloading a star player are doing so in order to rebuild and add young talent across the board, but Tampa Bay is trying to add Major League-ready players for another playoff run next season. Here are some more items from Rosenthal's latest column…
- The Rays "probably wouldn't be excited" by the prospect of trading Jeremy Hellickson if they couldn't move Price. Hellickson's name came up in trade rumors last offseason before the Rays moved James Shields, and I agree that if Tampa Bay doesn't trade Price, the team is much more likely to just stand pat with its rotation rather than move another starter.
- Brett Gardner's career numbers compare to those of Michael Bourn and (somewhat surprisingly) even Jacoby Ellsbury, so Rosenthal wonders if the Yankees could sign Gardner to an extension now and perhaps save themselves some future money if they want to keep the outfielder in the fold.
- MLBPA officials believe Gardner will earn a "considerably higher" salary in arbitration than the $4MM number projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
- If the Yankees do abandon their plan to stay under the $189MM luxury tax threshold, then Rosenthal wonders why the team bothered setting that goal for themselves in the first place when it may have cost them several players over the past year. Rosenthal also suggests Bronson Arroyo as a durable short-term option for New York, noting Arroyo's friendship with Yankees strength and conditioning coach Matthew Krause.
- Rosenthal wonders if the Mariners would be willing to re-sign Kendrys Morales (provided that they're still willing to spend, that is). I'd argue that bringing Morales back as the regular DH would create some problems for the M's — they'd have to trade Justin Smoak, plus play Corey Hart and Logan Morrison in the field every day, which could be a risky move given their injury histories.
- An AL general manager praised the Orioles' trade for David Lough, noting that "he can do everything that [Nate] McLouth does. He might end up being an even better hitter than McLouth.”
A look at the latest on the Twins..
- The Twins have made a two-year offer to Mike Pelfrey, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, there's still a gap in salary that needs to be bridged. Pelfrey returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 to post a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a career-low 43.2 percent ground-ball rate in 152 2/3 innings. Pelfrey's FIP (3.99) and xFIP (4.54) both suggest that his ERA could have been lower were it not for a .337 BABIP and 67.2 percent strand rate.
- More from Heyman, who writes that the Twins have inquired on top starters like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez as well as several others lower on the free agent list, including Phil Hughes and Scott Feldman. The club has been most heavily linked to guys like Bronson Arroyo, Ricky Nolasco, and Matt Garza to date. Minnesota starting pitchers combined for a league worst 5.26 ERA in 2013.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN previews the Winter Meetings agenda for the Twins. Minnesota has Nolasco atop their free agent wish list, but they'll move on if it's not at the right price. They also like Arroyo and a source says he's seeking a three-year deal in the $27-$30MM range.
- The Twins have told agents that they don't plan on sacrificing their second-round pick in June's amateur draft to sign a free agent, despite a public declaration stating otherwise, Wolfson writes. That would mean that Santana and Jimenez aren't in their plans. Santana's reps already have meetings set up with teams in Orlando and the Twins, as of this morning, are not on that list.
- On the trade front, the Twins are fond of Homer Bailey, according to Wolfson. Wayne Krivsky, special assistant to GM, knows Bailey well from his days with the Reds. Krivsky took over as Cincinnati's GM two years after Bailey was drafted and was in that role when Bailey made his big league debut.
- A Twins official "scoffed at" the idea of trading for Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello but was more receptive to the idea of a Jeremy Hellickson acquisition when asked by Wolfson about both each right-hander.
Multiple teams remain involved in talks for R.A. Dickey, but it's still possible the Mets will extend the knuckleballer instead of trading him. The reigning National League Cy Young winner appears to seek two years and $26MM in addition to his $5MM salary for 2013. Here are the latest rumors about contract talks for Dickey and potential trades…
- GM Sandy Alderson repeated that the Mets might end up holding onto Dickey instead of trading or extending him, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Though that's not “necessarily the optimal result,” the Mets are prepared for that possibility. One competing NL official said it'd be a mistake not to trade or extend Dickey, however.
- The Royals seem "very interested" in Dickey, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (allTwitterlinks). However, they wouldn't be interested in sending top prospect Wil Myers to New York for the knuckleballer. Dickey, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson remain in play for the Royals, Dutton reports. However, it now seems unlikely that the Red Sox will move Jon Lester.
- The Mets view the Blue Jays, Royals and Rangers as the most likely trade suitors for Dickey, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). In Olney's view Dickey's contract demands may seem more reasonable based on some recent free agent contracts.
As the third day of the 2012 Winter Meetings gets underway, let's round up a few items out of the AL East…
- Keppinger was the Yankees' first choice as the right-handed part of a third base platoon, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. With Keppinger signing with Chicago, the Yankees are forced to move on to Plan B.
- Teams that have spoken to the Rays have come away thinking Tampa Bay is more likely to move James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson than David Price, says Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- With Darren Oliver still uncommitted to returning for the 2013 season, the Blue Jays continue to seek bullpen help, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- The Yankees are one of six teams vying for Jeff Keppinger's services, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Although we heard overnight that Keppinger could receive a three-year deal worth around $4MM annually, Sherman suggests that something in the two-year, $10MM range could work too
- Within the same column, Sherman writes that he's receiving "strong indications" the Yankees don't intend to pursue A.J. Pierzynski
- The Red Sox and Phillies haven't engaged in talks for Jacoby Ellsbury, a source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link)
- Despite agreeing to three-year deals for Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino already this week, the Red Sox still have plenty of room to spend, says Alex Speier of WEEI.com
- WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane believes the Victorino signing was a mistake by the Red Sox
- The Orioles met with Nick Swisher's agent in Nashville, and Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders if there's a fit there.
- The Red Sox announced that they've signed 26-year-old right-hander Anthony Carter to a minor league deal, writes Speier at WEEI.com.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the buzz at the Winter Meetings suggests that Zack Greinke could be in line for a bigger payday than initially expected — one competing agent thinks the right-hander could land a seven-year, $185MM deal. Given the high price tags on free agent starting pitchers, it's becoming increasingly likely that the Rays take advantage by dealing one of their starters, says Heyman.
James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson have been the names mentioned most in trade discussions and speculation, but the Rays will listen on anyone, including Cy Young winner David Price, says Heyman. Rays people view their chances of locking up Price beyond his current deal as "nil," according to Heyman, so if he isn't moved this winter, Price figures to be at the center of plenty more trade rumors down the road.
The Rays' arms are viewed as possible options for teams that miss out on the Greinke sweepstakes. The Dodgers, Nationals, and Rangers are among the clubs that been in contact with the Rays so far.
The Winter Meetings begin shortly at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. ESPN's Buster Olney, in an Insider-only post, writes past Winter Meetings have been dominated by free agent signings, but some GMs say there is more groundwork laid for possible trades this year than they can remember in the recent past. Here are some of the storylines that could play out this week, according to Olney:
- If Olney was Rangers' GM Jon Daniels, he would go all out to sign Zack Greinke and then trade some surplus pitching for offense.
- Some rival officials remain convinced the Diamondbacks will eventually trade Justin Upton, whose contract ($38.5MM due over the next three years) has become more attractive in the wake of his brother's deal with the Braves.
- The Indians have set the bar high in their demands for Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo. "Time will tell on whether they've lowered (the asking prices)," said a rival GM.
- The most likely of the Rays' established starting pitchers to be dealt is Jeremy Hellickson. On paper, the best matchup appears to be the Padres.
- The Reds are looking to acquire a leadoff hitter and could target Dexter Fowler.
- The Phillies continue to push on Angel Pagan. If Pagan signs with Philadelphia, the Giants could look to Shane Victorino, who is looking for $9-10MM annually.
- The Pirates have let other teams know that closer Joel Hanrahan is available and they are looking for starting pitching.
- In a separate tweet, Olney says the perception among rival executives is the signing of David Wright makes it much easier for the Mets to trade R.A. Dickey without fear of a PR backlash.
- Nate Schierholtz received calls from nine teams within the first 12 hours of being non-tendered with the Yankees in the mix and the Rays also a good fit (Twitter links).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Angel Pagan | Arizona Diamondbacks | Asdrubal Cabrera | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Dexter Fowler | Jeremy Hellickson | Joel Hanrahan | Justin Upton | Nate Schierholtz | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | R.A. Dickey | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Shane Victorino | Shin-Soo Choo | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Zack Greinke