Jesus Guzman Rumors

Jesus Guzman Signs With Hiroshima Carp

First baseman Jesus Guzman has signed a one-year, $1MM contract with the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s NPB, per the Japan Times. Guzman, who earned $1.3MM in 2014, can increase his base salary with performance-based incentives.

Guzman was outrighted by the Astros earlier this month; but, instead, elected free agency. In a Twitter conversation with the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich, Rod Blunck of Octagon, Guzman’s agency, respected how Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and AGM David Stearns handled the situation by acting now rather than wait until the December 2 deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract. Guzman was to enter his second year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player.

The 30-year-old showed promise in a breakthrough 2011 season hitting .312/.369/.478 in 271 trips to the plate for the Padres, but he has seen his numbers decline steadily since culminating in a .188/.272/.248 line (184 plate appearances) for Houston this past year. Guzman has been much more productive during his nine-year minor league career slashing .306/.375/.481.

 


Minor Moves: Guzman, Abreu, Phelps

Here are the latest minor league transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post.  All moves reported by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy unless cited otherwise.

  • Jesus Guzman elected free agency rather than accept a Triple-A assignment from the Astros, Union Radio’s Pascual Artiles reports (Twitter link).  Houston outrighted Guzman off its 40-man roster earlier this month.  Guzman was acquired from the Padres last December and hit .188/.272/.248 in 184 plate appearances in 2014.
  • Second baseman Tony Abreu has elected to become a free agent, leaving the Giants organization.  Abreu has been with the Giants for the last two seasons, appearing in three games with the team in 2014 and 53 in 2013.  Abreu has 615 PA to his name since debuting in the majors in 2007, posting a career .254/.283/.373 line for the Giants, Royals, Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
  • Second baseman Cord Phelps has elected free agency.  Phelps played for the Orioles in 2014, appearing in three Major League games and hitting .259/.361/.388 over 403 PA at Triple-A Norfolk.
  • The Dodgers re-signed left-hander Robert Carson.  The southpaw posted a 5.74 ERA over 62 2/3 IP in the minors with the Angels and Dodgers in 2014, getting released by L.A.’s red team in May and signing with L.A.’s blue team a week later.  Carson threw 33 innings for the Mets in 2012-13, posting a 6.82 ERA in his brief time in the Show.
  • Left-hander Pedro Hernandez has elected to become a free agent, leaving the Rockies.  Hernandez posted a 6.42 ERA in 88 1/3 IP for Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2014, and made one start for the Rockies in July.  The southpaw has a career 7.33 ERA over 66 1/3 IP with the Rockies, Twins and White Sox since 2012.
  • The Rockies released and then re-signed right-hander Simon Castro, according to the club’s official transactions page.  He first signed with Colorado in April but didn’t pitch at all in 2014 due to injury.  Castro was ranked as the game’s 58th-best prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season while in the Padres farm system, and was dealt to the White Sox as part of the Carlos Quentin trade package in the 2011-12 offseason.  His Major League experience consists of 6 2/3 IP with Chicago in 2013.
  • Left-hander Cesar Cabral, most recently of the Yankees organization, has elected to become a free agent, Examiner.com’s Dan Pfeiffer reports (Twitter link).  Cabral appeared in four games for the Yankees in 2014, totaling one inning pitched and allowing three earned runs.  His Major League resume also includes 3 2/3 IP for New York in 2013.  The southpaw has a 4.01 ERA, 2.58 K/BB rate and 420 strikeouts over 422 1/3 career minor league innings.

Astros Decline Matt Albers’ Option, Outright Jesus Guzman And Rudy Owens

After letting Jorge De Leon go on a waiver claim, the Astros have cleared three additional roster spots with a series of moves today. As the club announced in a press release, it has declined its option over reliever Matt Albers and outrighted first baseman Jesus Guzman and lefty Rudy Owens. According to the team, Houston’s 40-man roster now has four vacancies, though it would appear from this list that it stands at 37 (with Albers still technically on the 60-day DL).

Albers, 31, will head back to the open market after an injury-shortened 2014 campaign. He allowed only one run in his ten frames on the year, striking out eight and walking three batters, but shoulder troubles ended his season. Houston had signed him to a one-year, $2.45MM deal that included the option. The Astros elected to pay a $200K buyout rather than taking on the $3MM option price.

Guzman, 30, continued to see his star fade after showing some promise earlier in his career with the Padres. He hit just .188/.272/.248 at the major league level. The 26-year-old Owens, meanwhile, had his first big league start but posted a 4.33 ERA in 135 innings at Triple-A, striking out 6.9 and walking 2.2 batters per nine.



Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

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).

(more…)


Astros Acquire Jesus Guzman

The Padres have traded outfielder/first baseman Jesus Guzman to the Astros for infielder Ryan Jackson, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (on Twitter).  

San Diego got interest in Guzman in late July, but he wound up staying put for the rest of the season.  The 29-year-old took a step back from his previous two seasons with the Padres in 2013, hitting just .226/.297/.378 in 318 plate appearances.  Prior to that, Guzman had a .277/.342/.446 slash line through 592 PAs in 2011 and 2012.

Jackson, 25, saw time in 20 big league games for the Cardinals from 2012-13 before being waived in the fall and picked up by Houston.  Jackson spent the bulk of 2013 with the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.  Over the last two years in Memphis, Jackson has a .275/.343/.371 slash line with the better results coming in 2012.  The Padres put a claim in on Jackson when he was up for grabs, but the Astros were able to get him instead, Brock tweets.


NL West Notes: Ramirez, Pence, Giants, Padres

Just over a year ago, the Dodgers announced their presence as big-money acquirers by trading for infielder Hanley Ramirez.  While Ramirez has battled injury at times, he has certainly re-established himself as a top-line big leaguer with a .315/.367/.544 line to go with 21 home runs and 14 stolen bases in the last year.  As ESPN's Mark Saxon explains, Ramirez has seemed energized since donning Dodger blue and has been on fire since returning from a DL stint in early June. He remains under team control for 2014 at a cost of $16MM.  On the other hand, the primary piece that Los Angeles shipped out to acquire Ramirez – pitcher Nathan Eovaldi — has been solid so far in Miami. The 23-year-old currently owns a 3.54 ERA in 40 2/3 MLB innings.  Here's more out of the NL West..

  • The Giants will listen to offers on Hunter Pence, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  At this stage of the season, the club believes that they have to be open to everything.  San Francisco certainly likes Pence and wants to keep him long term, but with a lack of offense out there, they could get a very strong return for him.  It was recently reported that the Rangers have interest in acquiring Pence.
  • Padres stars Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Huston Street are likely to stay in San Diego but it appears that Luke Gregerson will be changing uniforms, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • After Gregerson and Chris Denorfia, the Padres getting the most interest are Street, left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, and outfielder/first baseman Jesus Guzman, writes Bill Center of U-T San Diego.
  • The Giants are searching for their identity as the deadline approaches, writes MLB.com's Andrew Owens.  Manager Bruce Bochy has instructed his players to tune out the trade rumors between now and July 31st.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Padres Notes: Garcia, Guzman, Porcello, Byrnes

Freddy Garcia hasn't pitched well for the Padres during Spring Training and is open to being moved to the bullpen rather than the starting rotation, the veteran righty tells Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  What Garcia won't accept, however, is a minor league assignment.  “The bullpen, why not?” Garcia said. “But I’ll go home at the end of spring training rather than go to Triple-A. I want to pitch. But I’m not going to Triple-A.”  Garcia signed a minor league deal with the Padres in January.  He is scheduled to start on Saturday, an outing that Center thinks "might be an audition for another team seeking pitching."

Here are some more items about the Friars from Center's recent chat with fans…

  • The Padres explored trading for Rick Porcello last winter and asked the Tigers if they had any interest in Jesus Guzman as part of the deal.  San Diego reportedly turned down a recent offer of Porcello for Huston Street or Luke Gregerson, though Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has denied offering Porcello to anyone.
  • General manager Josh Byrnes said yesterday that he isn't currently involved in any talks for Porcello.
  • Center doesn't see the value in acquiring Porcello since Detroit's asking price is too high for a pitcher who Center feels isn't necessarily better than the Padres' young arms.
  • Padres ownership has given Byrnes the go-ahead to make moves and signed off on "a major offseason deal" that Byrnes was interested in but didn't end up coming together.
  • Center believes the club's management team wouldn't be in danger of losing their jobs in the case of a 90-loss season "but this is baseball.  Things change with the wind."

Padres Notes: Myers, Porcello, Headley, Cabrera

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back with his regular chat with fans about the Padres, and here are some of the relevant hot stove items…

  • The Padres have been talking to right-hander Brett Myers, according to Myers' agent.  San Diego would use Myers as a starting pitcher, which is Myers' preferred role after spending 2012 coming out of the bullpen for the Astros and White Sox.
  • The Tigers are reconsidering trading Rick Porcello, who has drawn attention from the Padres and several other clubs since Detroit re-signed Anibal Sanchez.  If Porcello is available, Center feels it would take more than a rumored trade package of Luke Gregerson and Jesus Guzman for the Padres to acquire the right-hander.
  • It's a "gamble on both sides" for Chase Headley and the Padres that there are apparently no extension talks taking place between the club and the third baseman.  Headley is under team control for two more years, but a repeat of his 2012 numbers could make him too expensive for the Padres to lock up.
  • Everth Cabrera has drawn trade interest but most clubs (including the Padres) aren't sure if he is capable of being an everyday shortstop.  Center notes that San Diego has been shopping "several" of its middle infielders this winter.
  • The Padres are "actively seeking" starting pitching but aren't going to be forced into making a bad signing just for the sake of adding an arm to the rotation. 
  • Between Porcello, Shaun Marcum and Joe Saunders, Center lists Marcum as the most likely of the trio to be a Padre in 2013, followed by Saunders and Porcello in that order. 
  • The Padres won't be adding another outfielder as they already have several options on the roster.
  • Center doesn't expect the Padres to have a $100MM payroll within the next few years, even adding an "if ever" to the idea.
  • The Padres want to bring back Dustin Moseley and Tim Stauffer on minor league contracts.  The two pitchers elected to become free agents in October following injury-plagued 2012 seasons.
  • Center hasn't heard of the Padres having any interest in Carlos Zambrano.

NL West Notes: Rockies, Ryu, Pagan, Scutaro

The Diamondbacks' agreement with Brandon McCarthy was the biggest news out of the NL West today, but here are a few more items from around the division…..


West Notes: Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Padres

Here's a look at some news out of the AL and NL West..

Edward Creech contributed to this post.