Jimmy Rollins Rumors

2015 Vesting Options Update

The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. As we near the end of the season, here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options …

  • Nick Punto, Athletics: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. Though Forst did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, the health route is no longer available. Punto was only activated yesterday — ten days into the September active roster expansion — after going on the DL on August 3rd. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
  • Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would have needed to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He has just 255 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Weeks will also fall shy of reaching 400 PAs, which would have entitled him to a $1MM buyout of his option.
  • Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: Rollins’ option vested earlier this year when he reached 1,100 plate appearances over 2013-14. (He has also made 600 trips to bat in 2014, an independent basis for triggering the provision.) That clause, however, also required that he not finish the year on the disabled list, and Rollins left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury. Word is that Rollins should be able to return, but with just three weeks left even a minor setback could well end his season. Nevertheless, Philadelphia would need to go out of its way to place him on the DL at this point, with active rosters expanded. And, in any event, the option would still vest if a mutually agreed-upon doctor deemed Rollins ready to start the 2015 season.
  • Dan Haren, Dodgers: Haren needs 180 innings to trigger a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. Heading into his scheduled outing this evening, he has already notched 162 frames. Haren should be in line for at least three more starts (including tonight’s) before the end of the month, and maybe another depending upon how the club approaches the last few games of the year. Having averaged 5.79 innings per start on the year, it will be incumbent on Haren to pitch his way to the option — especially in the midst of a playoff race and backed by a well-stocked bullpen.
  • Mike Adams, Phillies: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 would have vested with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s obviously not going to get there with just 17 2/3 innings in the tank. Adams has thrown just 42 2/3 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that the team will pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles. He should, however, be an attractive buy-low candidate given his general success when on the field.
  • Rafael Soriano, Nationals: Soriano’s $14MM club option vests with 120 games finished over 2013-14. While that always seemed a longshot, any realistic hope was snuffed out when Soriano lost his closing gig to Drew Storen, the man he replaced when he signed on with Washington. Whether or not Soriano makes it back into the 9th inning role over the next few weeks, he now sits at 104 games finished over the last two seasons, making it all but impossible for him to trigger the vesting provision. With the Nationals all but certain to decline their club option on Soriano, he should make for an interesting free agent to watch.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old has made it back for only 10 1/3 innings in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that (unreported) threshold.
  • Sean Burnett, Angels: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
  • Scott Downs, White Sox: Downs had a $4MM vesting option that would have vested with 55 appearances, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported in June (via Twitter). Though he appeared to be headed in that direction earlier in the year, the White Sox cut bait with Downs and his then-6.08 ERA. He owns a 3.55 mark over 12 2/3 innings with the Royals — who signed him to a separate, minor-league deal — and has now thrown in 53 games, but the vesting clause is now a moot point.

Placed On Revocable Waivers: Monday

Now that we’re beyond the July 31st trade deadline, players must pass through revocable trade waivers in order to be dealt to another team.  MLBTR’s Jeff Todd broke down the August trade rules and what it means when you see several major names placed on waivers over the next few weeks.

Here are today’s notable players who have reportedly been placed on revocable waivers…

  • Also going on revocable waivers today were Jason Hammel of the Athletics and Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks, Rosenthal tweets. As Rosenthal notes, it seems likely that clubs will claim Miley, but that he will be pulled back by Arizona. As for Hammel, a deal still seems rather unlikely since Oakland dealt away some important rotation depth in Tommy Milone.
  • Hitting the wire today from the Phillies were Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz, Rosenthal tweets. They will be on waivers until Wednesday.
  • The Phillies placed Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Kyle Kendrick on revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  The moves all took place on Saturday, so since the waiver period lasts 47 hours, we could know by today if any of the players were claimed.  I’d expect Bastardo and Burnett to be claimed given that both drew significant interest before the July 31st deadline, and there is virtually no chance any team would claim Howard and risk being stuck with the roughly $68MM remaining on his contract.

Jimmy Rollins’ 2015 Option Vests

6:53pm: And it is now official: having taken his second plate appearance tonight, Rollins’ 2015 option has vested.

8:59am: Jimmy Rollins currently has 1,098 plate appearances between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, meaning that his next two plate appearances will trigger his $11MM vesting option for the 2015 season (as noted by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com on Twitter). The only thing that would prevent the option from kicking in would be if Rollins were to finish the season on the disabled list. Even in that case, the option could still be guaranteed if a mutually agreed upon doctor deems him ready for Opening Day 2015.

Rollins has enjoyed somewhat of a rebound season in 2014, slashing .243/.326/.398. He’s already more than doubled his 2013 home run total (from six to 13) and has swiped 19 bases in 24 attempts after stealing just 22 bags in 2014.

The former MVP, now 35 years of age, has 10-and-5 rights (10 years of Major League service time, five straight with his current team), meaning that he can block trades to any club. However, if he decides to waive those rights, teams might look be interested given his respectable production at the plate and still strong defense (UZR/150 pegs him at +5.5 runs this season). However, that seems unlikely, as Rollins has said that his preference is to remain in Philadelphia — the only organization he’s ever known.



Stark’s Latest: Howard, Peavy, Reds, Red Sox, Rollins, Murphy

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spent an hour chatting with readers about the trade deadline. Here are some highlights from his session…

  • The Phillies have offered Ryan Howard to any American League club they think could theoretically use him and received no takers. GM Ruben Amaro has even offered to pay the vast majority of Howard’s deal while asking for little in return, but to no avail.
  • The possibility of Jake Peavy heading to the Cardinals is still very much alive, Stark hears. The Red Sox just sent their top scouts to watch St. Louis’  short-season Class A club, which would fit with previous reports that Boston likes outfield prospect Rowan Wick (though he has since moved up to the Midwest League).
  • Despite a six-game losing streak, the Reds are still buying, and their preference is to add a bat that they can control beyond this season. As such, Marlon Byrd and Ben Zobrist both are targets, though it’s far from a guarantee that the Rays will sell.
  • Stark says he’s “barely heard [Stephen] Drew‘s name” on the trade market due to how poorly the shortstop has played since signing. If the Red Sox sell, he notes, the team will trade some combination of Peavy, Andrew Miller, Jonny Gomes and Junichi Tazawa. The addition of Tazawa’s name is a new wrinkle in the trade market. The 28-year-old has been dominant for the Sox and is controlled through 2016 via arbitration. One would think he could fetch a very nice return, given his 2.52 ERA (2.66 FIP), 9.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.
  • The Giants “really want a starter,” but Stark can’t see them seriously pursuing David Price. He does note that GM Brian Sabean usually ends up getting what he’s looking for at this time of the year. San Francisco has also shown some interest in Jimmy Rollins, but the chances are very low due to the former MVP’s 10-and-5 rights, his contract and the fact that Brandon Crawford would have to slide over to second base. (Alternatively, Rollins could simply play second, given Crawford’s defensive prowess.)
  • While most reports out of New York indicate that the Mets don’t want to trade Daniel Murphy, Stark hears that they’d “definitely” move him if they received enough quality in return. I’d imagine the asking price on Murphy to be very high, given Alderson’s reluctance to sell off assets that are under control beyond the current season.

Jimmy Rollins Wants To Stay With Phillies

Things haven’t gone has planned for the Phillies so far this season, so there has been a great deal of speculation that they could turn into sellers this July.  In a complete fire sale, a mainstay like Jimmy Rollins could be made available, but a trade is the furthest thing from the shortstop’s mind right now.  The former National League MVP says that he plans on sticking around for the long haul in Philadelphia

I’m not going to volunteer to go anywhere,” Rollins told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “Even if somewhere else was the perfect spot, this is what I know. You weigh that against the instant gratification of winning right now. You leave, and there’s no guarantee you’re going to win anyways. You pack up to leave for a different organization, a different city, and it feels temporary.  I can tell you that I have never honestly thought about waiving my no-trade clause.

That doesn’t mean that Rollins would use his no-trade clause to block a deal, however.  If the Phillies want him to go, the shortstop says that he doesn’t have to be told twice to do so.  The 35-year-old has full no-trade rights and will be under contract for 2015 once his option vests with the necessary number of plate appearances.  Rollins also told Nightengale that he hopes to play beyond this current contract.

In 311 plate appearances this season, Rollins owns a .244/.330/.387 slash line with eight homers.  While that line is below his career average, it’s a marked improvement from last season’s performance.  Rollins is also playing above average defense at shortstop, as evidenced by his 3.7  USR/150.


2015 Vesting Options Update

The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. Here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options…

  • Nick Punto: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. He did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, though for the time being, he’s on pace to see his option vest simply due to the fact that he’s avoided the DL entirely. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
  • Rickie Weeks: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would need to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He’s being platooned heavily with Scooter Gennett and has just 112 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Should he reach 400 PAs (which only seems likely in the event of Gennett injury), Weeks would be entitled to a $1MM buyout of his option.
  • Jimmy Rollins: Rollins’ option vests if he reaches 600 PA in 2014 or if he totals 1,100 options from 2013-14 and finishes the season on the active roster. He’s 141 PA shy of that combined 1,100 number, meaning he’s highly likely to end up with an $11MM guarantee for 2015.
  • Dan Haren: If Haren pitches 180 innings or more in 2014, he triggers a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. He’s averaging just over six innings per start, so he’s on pace to clear that mark given 30-31 starts. However, if he finishes the season anywhere near his current 3.54 ERA, he may prefer to test the open market in search of a multi-year deal.
  • Mike Adams: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 vests with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s once again on the disabled list for the Phillies and has thrown just 17 innings. Adams has thrown 42 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that they would pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles.
  • Rafael Soriano: Soriano’s $14MM club option will vest if he finishes 120 games combined in 2013-14. He’s currently at 81 games finished on the season, meaning he’d need to finish a rather unlikely 39 of his team’s final 92 games (42 percent) this season. Should the option vest, half of his salary will be deferred and paid in annual installments from 2018-25.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that threshold.
  • Sean Burnett: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
  • Scott Downs: Downs has a $4MM vesting option, and while the specifics haven’t been reported, Ken Rosenthal noted at the time of the deal that it would vest were Downs to pitch “a normal workload.” He’s headed in that direction, as he’s on pace for his highest innings total since 2011. Downs has pitched to a 5.48 ERA in his 23 innings, so the White Sox may not wish to see that option vest. Then again, he has a 3.95 ERA dating back to May 3, so he’s shown some signs of improvement.

Deadline Notes: Utley, Rollins, Mayberry, Royals, Yankees, Mets

There’s been quite a bit of chatter regarding Jeff Samardzija and the rest of the Cubs’ pitchers over the past few days, due largely to the fact that everyone is aware the Cubs will be sellers at this summer’s non-waiver trade deadline. For other clubs, the trade picture isn’t so clear. Here are some notes on players that are potential trade targets and on which clubs should buy and which should sell…

  • Phillies president David Montgomery tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the club can’t be stubborn and close itself off from trading certain players if it’s the best thing for the team — and that includes longtime cornerstones Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Referring to Utley, Montgomery noted that he’d like his second baseman to remain with the club beyond his playing days. Of course, both players have 10-and-5 rights and can veto any trade.
  • For his part, Rollins softened his stance on waiving his no-trade rights after surpassing Mike Schmidt for the franchise hits lead this weekend, Gelb notes. Said Rollins: “It really depends if everything is blown up. Then, you take that into consideration. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that right now. But if that time does come, and it’s time to go … people move on.”
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Red Sox and Yankees have some interest in John Mayberry Jr. as outfield depth. Boston has scouted several recent Phillies games, and one “plugged-in Major League source” tells Salisbury that the Yankees are a team to watch in regards to Mayberry as well.
  • In an ESPN Insider piece, Dan Szymborski opines that the Royals need to make a bold acquisition in an attempt to take the AL Central. Szymborski’s ZiPS projection system has the Royals as a 50-50 chance to make the playoffs and a 29 percent chance to win the division right now. With five regular position players ranking at or below replacement level (per Baseball-Reference), the team needs to make a splash, as the Tigers are far more vulnerable than most expected. He suggests that third base and right field are the two most viable spots, listing Aaron Hill, Ben Zobrist and Chase Headley as possible targets.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman expects to make a trade or multiple trades this July, writes Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com“I feel that we need to get better from within, and I think I can speed up the process if I run into something outside at the same time,” said Cashman. “We usually make moves every year, so I expect to make moves again.” Bloom runs down a list of trade targets and notes that the stock of Dellin Betances has skyrocketed this season, though he wonders if Cashman would be willing to include a potential future closer for a short-term fix. Cashman said he didn’t want to wait to make a move but added that prices are often highest early on in trade season.
  • Though Joel Sherman of the New York Post said not long ago that the Mets should act boldly as buyers, the team’s recent woes have him convinced that the opposite may now be true. After a 4-11 skid, he writes that the Mets should deal two of Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee this summer and also make Daniel Murphy available in trades. Doing so will bring back valuable offensive prospects and position the Mets well for a high draft pick in 2015. He notes that Sandy Alderson’s regime has done well in trades, bringing in Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Vic Black and Dilson Herrera by trading veteran pieces.

Quick Hits: Cubs, Rollins, Yankees, Suarez

The Cubs can look forward to a bright future, writes Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily. Top prospect Kris Bryant is busy hammering Double-A pitching (.358/.462/.713 in 286 plate appearances), fourth overall pick Kyle Schwarber homered in his professional debut, and high profile Cuban Jorge Soler is back on the field. Gammons points to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro as two useful building blocks, and he credits recent trades as another reason for optimism. The Cubs acquired much of their current bullpen, along with Mike Olt and Jake Arrieta, at the 2013 trade deadline. This season, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel headline the list of Cubbies potentially on the trade block.

  • Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit a single today for his 2,235th base knock with the club, moving him past Mike Schmidt for the franchise lead in hits. As Ken Rosenthal speculated last weekend, Rollins may be more willing to waive his ten and five rights now that he holds that club record. Rollins himself said today that he would consider accepting a trade if the Phillies end up pursuing a full rebuild, reports Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Of course, even if Rollins does waive his no-trade clause, the club may need to eat some salary in order to receive a valuable player in return. His $11MM vesting option for 2015 will vest with another 156 plate apperances.
  • Pending the results of tonight’s matchup against the Athletics, the Yankees have played to a healthy 35-31 record. Much of the club’s success can be attributed to rotation depth, says Jorge Castillo of The Star Ledger. With Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and C.C. Sabathia missing substantial time, it has fallen to David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley to keep the staff afloat. Whitley has been the most surprising story for the Yankees with a 2.41 ERA (backed up by a 2.58 FIP) in six starts. Of course, steady production from Hiroki Kuroda and a Cy Young quality performance from Masahiro Tanaka have also helped to stabilize the rotation.
  • Recent Tigers call-up Eugenio Suarez fell just a single short of the cycle today in Detroit’s 12-9 victory over the Twins. Despite a rough spring training, the Venezuelan shortstop hit well in the minors this season before earning his promotion. In a post earlier this week on MLB.com, Phil Rogers discussed Suarez’s work with former defensive wizard Omar Vizquel.  It appears Vizquel also believes in Suarez’s bat, citing a shorter swing and improved discipline against breaking balls for his success in the upper minors. The shortstop position has been a problem area all year for the AL Central leading Tigers. If the 22-year-old Suarez continues to perform, the club may be able to focus more attention at the trade deadline on its bullpen.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Wieters, Scherzer, Rollins, Delmon

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has been plenty busy over the past few days, digging up rumors from all around the league. Here are some highlights from his latest work…

  • Two sources tell Rosenthal that Matt Wieters‘ throwing program is going poorly and surgery is looking more likely (Twitter links). A third source, however, cautions that it’s too soon to make that judgment, adding that Wieters has good days and also bad days at this time.
  • In this weekend’s Full Count video, he notes that while many were shocked by Max Scherzer‘s decision to turn down $144MM in an attempt to secure more on next year’s free agent market, Scherzer has an insurance policy on his right arm that Scherzer says “takes the injury risk out of it.” While the policy likely doesn’t cover the full amount of that offer, it sounds to be a substantial amount. Rosenthal adds that Jon Lester has a similar policy, though not for nearly as much money as Scherzer’s policy.
  • Some friends of Jimmy Rollins feel that he’ll be willing to waive his 10-and-5 rights to approve a trade once he passes Mike Schmidt for the franchise lead in hits. Others feel he and his wife, a Philadelphia native, prefer to stay no matter what. Of course, Rollins’ $11MM vesting option damages his trade value as well, as he will easily reach the required plate appearances if he stays healthy.
  • The Giants are looking to upgrade at second base this summer. While they could use a starting pitcher, they aren’t likely to make an addition that would turn Tim Lincecum into a $17MM bullpen arm. The Athletics, on the other hand, could use a starting pitching upgrade and have the necessary catching depth to make a move.
  • The Orioles are willing to move Delmon Young, who is batting .286/.318/.369 and has lost most of his plate appearances to Steve Pearce. While Young isn’t the hitter than Kendrys Morales is, Rosenthal lists him as a low-cost alternative to teams that missed out on Morales; Young is set to earn about $600K over the rest of the season.

(more…)


Phillies Notes: Montgomery, Lee, Pettibone, Rollins

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Phillies president David Montgomery recently underwent surgery to remove cancer from his jaw. The procedure, which involved taking a bone from Montgomery’s leg and transplanting it to his mouth, will leave the 67-year-old hospitalized for another week. He is expected to make a full recovery. MLBTR wishes Montgomery a speedy return.

Here’s the latest on the Phillies…

  • Cliff Lee has been placed on the disabled list with what has been termed a mild flexor tendon sprain, the team announced yesterday. The Inquirer’s Matt Gelb writes that doctors stressed to Lee the fact that he has no ligament damage. Still the team could be without its ace for at least three weeks, as Lee will rest entirely for one week then spend two weeks rebuilding the strength that rest will cause him to lose.
  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke with GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said that he doesn’t yet know how Lee’s injury will impact his team’s strategy this summer. Amaro pointed out the parity throughout the game right now, citing it as another reason that he can’t assess whether his team will be a buyer or seller. He said David Buchanan is the most likely candidate to replace Lee, though he wouldn’t commit to that 100 percent. Darin Ruf has been called up for the time being, though Amaro termed that a “three-day fix.”
  • Amaro also provided an update on righty Jonathan Pettibone, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports (Twitter links). A visit to Dr. James Andrews revealed a small labral tear, but Pettibone will not undergo surgery at this time. Instead, he will be treated with an anti-inflammatory shot and continue resting before starting to throw again. It was Pettibone’s decision to try to avoid surgery, reports Salisbury, which seems to imply that a procedure could still be a possibility in the future. As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes, the so-called SLAP tear can present serious issues, and it is far from certain that Pettibone will ultimately avoid a more drastic solution.
  • Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins has put up quite an impressive performance through the first quarter of the season. His current pace — a .275/.369/.458 triple-slash with 6 home runs and 6 steals — is not only a bounce back from a rough 2013, but is reminiscent of his form in the glory days of the mid-to-late 2000’s. The 35-year-old has combined with Chase Utley to form one of the game’s most productive middle-infield duos. In theory, that makes Rollins an intriguing trade chip and, potentially, upcoming free agent. In fact, it is still far from clear that the Phils will look to deal him, let alone that he would agree to waive his ten-and-five rights. And Rollins is now exceedingly unlikely to hit the open market after the season. With 177 plate appearances already in the bag, the vesting of his $11MM option for next year seems a virtual shoo-in, barring significant injury. (It would vest at 600 plate appearances this year or 1,100 combined between 2013-14, though the latter scenario has injury protections built in for the team.)

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.