Joc Pederson Rumors

Quick Hits: Marlins, Parra, Pederson

Ichiro Suzuki earned $400K in bonus money for reaching the 300-plate appearance threshold last week. As per the terms of Suzuki’s one-year, $2MM deal with the Marlins, Suzuki will earn an additional $400K for every 50 PA past 300, up to 600 plate appearances. Between Marcell Ozuna‘s demotion and injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, Suzuki has seen quite a bit more playing time than expected this season. With 332 PA after today’s action, Ichiro looks well on his way to adding at least another $800K to his 2015 salary, though he could lose some at-bats to younger outfielders once the rosters expand. Here’s more from around the league as we wrap up the weekend…

  • The Marlins are considering lowering the walls and bringing in the fences at Marlins Park, team president David Samson tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.  The stadium has finished at or near the bottom of the Park Factor home run rankings since opening in 2012.
  • The Reds placed Manny Parra on the DL today with bicep tendinitis in his left shoulder, the third time the southpaw has hit the DL this season.  John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter) thought that Parra would be a good trade candidate for the Reds, but that’s now an impossibility with him on the DL until at least September 4th.  Parra has been solid when healthy, posting a 3.24 ERA and 3-to-1 K/BB rate over 25 innings and pitching well against both left-handed and right-handed batters.  He drew some trade interest prior to the July 31 deadline though that buzz was scuttled by an earlier DL stint.
  • Joc Pederson has lost his job as the Dodgers‘ everyday center fielder, manager Don Mattingly told reporters (including ESPN’s Mark Saxon).  Enrique Hernandez will take over in center for the time being.  Pederson enjoyed a huge start to his rookie season but has been in a protracted slump since early June, hitting just .168/.328/.298 with six homers over his last 259 PA.
  • In July of this year, Mike Morse went from the Marlins to the Dodgers to the Pirates.  Morse admits that he was hoping for a return to the Giants, but he’s happy with how everything turned out, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.  “If there was one place at the time I would have wanted to go, it was the Giants, not knowing that I’d get an opportunity here in Pittsburgh,” said Morse, who entered today with an .821 OPS over 25 PA as a Pirate. “Now that I see everything here, it’s awesome.”
  • Ian Kinsler wasn’t thrilled at the time of the deal that sent him from the Rangers to the Tigers, but he now tells Katie Strang of ESPN.com that the change of scenery worked out for the best.  “It’s a good place to be. There’s no hidden agenda,” Kinsler said. “The owner is all in, the [former] general manager, Dave Dombrowski, was all in. [Current] general manager Al [Avila] is the same way. There’s no difference between behind the scenes and in your face.”

NL West Notes: Seager, Pederson, Upton, Preller, CarGo

Dodgers shortstop/third base prospect Corey Seager sits atop the midseason top fifty prospect list of ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link). After a flurry of top prospect graduations early in the season, it seems fairly clear that observers have settled on Seager as the new number one overall pre-big league player in baseball.

Here’s more from the NL West:

  • Another key young Dodgers player, center fielder Joc Pederson, landed in a virtual tie alongside Mookie Betts of the Red Sox as the most valuable trade piece not to make the top ten list of Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron. The pair of outstanding and controllable assets are the last two members of Cameron’s top dozen. As he explains, preferring one to the other is largely a matter of slight preferences in valuation.
  • We don’t yet know what direction A.J. Preller will take the Padres at the deadline. But major offseason acquisition (and pending free agent/possible trade chip) Justin Upton said at the All-Star Game that he hopes to stay with San Diego, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports“At this point, I haven’t given up on the team,” said Upton. “I really like the guys, and I like the clubhouse. We still have some time to change the minds of the front office. In a perfect world, we play well over the next two or three weeks and A.J. pumps the brakes on dismantling the team.” That certainly seems like a tall order, but the rookie GM has managed to surprise the baseball world plenty in his short tenure.
  • Over at Grantland, Rany Jazayerli has some rather harsh words for the performance of Preller. Not only is the dramatically-compiled big league roster a bust, says Jazayerli, but the players moved to make that possible have almost universally looked great in their new organizations. It’s certainly an interesting read, which makes some compelling points. But risk is inherent to any action, in baseball and in life, and part of the equation in assessing risk (and whether it’s worth taking it on) involves dealing with the downside. With the deadline approaching, we may have an opportunity to see what kind of bailout plan Preller has in mind for the shorter-term assets he acquired.
  • Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has swung a hot bat at an opportune time, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes“Finally, I’m getting my timing back, which is the biggest key for me,” said Gonzalez. “I’m able to sit back on my back leg. It was something I wasn’t able to do that last two years. But I knew at some point I’d get there. I’m still confident.” The question, of course, is whether this recent uptick will be enough to drive significant trade interest. As GM Jeff Bridich recently said of Gonzalez: “His stats aren’t as good as Tulo’s or some of the other guys on our team, so if a team is just going off that, I don’t know. But we’ll certainly know more in 10 days to two weeks.”

Phillies Willing To Pay Some Of Hamels’ Contract In Trade

An incalculable amount of ink has been dedicated to the Cole Hamels saga and whether or not Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is asking too much in trade talks, but the GM himself added another layer to the story Tuesday in telling USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that the Phillies would pay down some of Hamels’ contract in a trade.

“We are very open-minded,” Amaro told Nightengale. “We’re not afraid to subsidize contracts. We never told a club that we would not absolutely subsidize his contract. That is not a realistic way to do business. If there’s a deal to be made, and we have to subsidize part of it, we’ll do it.”

As recently as Spring Training, reports indicated that the Phillies were looking to add multiple top prospects and get an acquiring club to take on the entirety of Hamels’ four years and $96MM. (His contract also has a $20MM club option that can vest at $24MM based on innings pitched.)

Amaro again took a patient approach when discussing the Hamels situation, noting that it’s understandable if teams want to assess their internal options before making a more drastic move to acquire someone from another organization. “It’s no secret that one team lost an ace and two or three teams have lost very important starters,” said Amaro. “Some teams want to move quickly. Other teams want to ride things out. I think all of us would rather do deals only after exhausting their own internal possibilities and go from there.”

The Cardinals’ recent loss of Adam Wainwright has fueled quite a bit of Hamels-to-St. Louis speculation, and Nightengale also touched base with Cards GM John Mozeliak to discuss Hamels. Mozeliak noted that the team will certainly do its due diligence on trade candidates. Asked if the team could make a deal without including Carlos Martinez, a key member of the 2015 rotation, Mozeliak replied, “There’s probably always a deal worth making.”

Nightengale lists the Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers and Blue Jays as teams that could desperately use Hamels in their rotation. The Blue Jays wouldn’t seem to have the payroll capacity to add Hamels’ contract, but perhaps with enough money being paid down, something could be worked out. And for what it’s worth, Amaro did mention Toronto GM when making a tongue-in-cheek comment about his stress levels regarding the Hamels negotiations, stating: “I guarantee I’ll get more grey hairs from my daughter [taking her driving test] than any trade talks with Mozeliak, Anthopoulos and Cherington.” Nightengale adds that Amaro had talks regarding Hamels with a team as recently as Tuesday morning, and “some desperation” began to creep into those talks.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports took a lengthy look at the market for Hamels earlier today, noting that the Phillies do indeed covet Martinez, though it’s unclear if they’ve formally asked for Martinez in trade negotiations with the Redbirds. Per Heyman, the Phillies are also taken with Jorge Alfaro and Nomar Mazara of the Rangers as well as Luis Severino and Aaron Judge of the Yankees. Despite a brutal month for the Red Sox’ rotation, there’s been no change to their refusal to part with Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart, and the Dodgers similarly won’t part with any of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias, even with injuries ravaging their own rotation.

One rival exec noted to Heyman that, “A few things have lined up in the Phillies’ favor. There’s a little bit of a crescendo. And now is the time to act.” However, a GM explained to Heyman that he’d be more inclined to part with significant pieces to add someone controllable like Seattle’s Taijuan Walker than an aging star like Hamels. (That comment, for what it’s worth, was made prior to Amaro’s comments to Nightengale about absorbing some of the money on Hamels’ contract.)

It strikes me as unlikely that a deal would come together in the near future, but the early rash of pitching injuries, which grew with tonight’s news that Masahiro Tanaka is lost for at least a month, has likely increased the demand for Hamels. Though Amaro’s refusal to budge has drawn a great deal of criticism, it’s certainly easy to make the claim that he’s in a better spot to trade Hamels than he was late in the offseason.



NL West Notes: Gutierrez, Ethier, Dodgers, Padres

Giants right-hander Juan Gutierrez has elected not to exercise the April 1 opt-out clause in his contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter links). Gutierrez has been slowed this spring by shoulder inflammation but is healthy now and touched 93 mph the last time he threw. Gutierrez has another opt-out in his contract for June 1 and will, in the meantime, hope to find an opportunity with the big league club. The 31-year-old Gutierrez logged 63 2/3 innings in the Giants’ bullpen last year, posting a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9, a career-best 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate, averaging a strong 93.5 mph on his fastball.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Andre Ethier was hit on the elbow by a pitch from Carlos Rodon today, but x-rays came back negative, writes ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon. Additionally, he notes that contractual issues surrounding Ethier won’t keep the Dodgers from going with Joc Pederson in center field. Saxon also says that the Dodgers won’t keep Pederson in the Minors to delay his free agency, although his situation is different than that of Kris Bryant, whose demotion to the Minors has caused quite a stir; Pederson already has 28 days of Major League service and would need to spend nearly six weeks in the Minors at this point to give L.A. an extra year of control. Manager Don Mattingly has hinted that Pederson will get the nod, though nothing has been officially announced yet, Saxon adds. “Joc’s kind of checked off all the boxes,” said Mattingly.
  • The Padres gave veteran catcher Wil Nieves a $100K retention bonus rather than adding him to the big league roster or releasing him, but he’s not a lock to be their backup catcher, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While it may be difficult to find a definitive upgrade outside the organization this close to the regular season, a source tells Lin that the search could go right down to the wire before Sunday’s deadline to set the 25-man roster. An out of options player such as Austin Romine of the Yankees would make some degree of sense, and the Orioles have quite a few experienced catchers, including Steve Clevenger and Ryan Lavarnway. Those names, however, are merely my own speculation.

Quick Hits: Workman, Ogando, Rockies, Loria

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is the top prospect in baseball, per MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. The Cubs have two prospects in the top five – Kris Bryant (second) and Addison Russell (fifth). The Dodgers have three in the top 13 – Corey Seager (seventh), Julio Urias (eighth), and Joc Pederson (13th). The Cubs and Twins are the two teams with five prospects in the top 50. Here’s more news from around the league.


Phillies Notes: Lester, Hamels, Gillick

While the Phillies aren’t a part of the Jon Lester sweepstakes, they’re paying attention to the outcome, writes Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. The best matches for Hamels appear to be the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs, who just happen to be three of the four finalists for Lester. If he signs with the fourth team – the Giants – then the Phillies can maximize their leverage. Hamels has some advantages over the other options on the market. He’s under contract for four years, presumably at a lesser rate than Max Scherzer (he already turned down a contract nearly identical to Hamels’). Hamels is better than James Shields, and both Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Zimmermann are free agents after the season.

  • The Dodgers line up best to acquire Hamels, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phillies covet outfield depth like Joc Pederson and the Dodgers are swimming in outfielders. The big budget club could also feature a dominant rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hamels.
  • For his part, Hamels is conflicted about the trade rumors, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. On the one hand, he’s comfortable in Philadelphia. He also understands that the club is rebuilding, so he has a better chance to win elsewhere. Hamels does possess a no trade clause which includes the Red Sox. It’s speculated that he would waive the clause if the acquiring team picked up his 2019 option.
  • Pat Gillick discussed the club’s rebuilding process with reporters including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Gillick stressed the need to be patient and methodical. The club wants to get younger, but it can’t be done all at once. Each older piece needs to be converted into a meaningful, younger piece. There’s no point in gutting the roster simply to clean house. If the Phillies can’t acquire the right pieces for Hamels, Marlon Byrd or others, they’re liable to keep them. That said, Gillick admitted it would be disappointing if the club failed to make any changes before the season.
  • Amaro has three or four trades he could make today, but they don’t benefit the club, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Amaro says he’s had many good conversations that could lead somewhere. The rumors that he’s asking too much in trade discussions are “malarkey.” Everybody is available, but certain guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins will be hard to move do to 10-and-5 rights.

West Rumors: Trumbo, Montero, Cabrera

Even though Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said last week that he will not trade Mark Trumbo, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) hears that he is still in play for Arizona.  There was once talk of a three-way deal involving Trumbo that fell through but he remains available. A look at the AL and NL West..

  • Tony La Russa said the the Diamondbacks had talks with the Dodgers about Miguel Montero but they never had a deal in place, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • The Mariners are pondering a wide range of possibilities for an outfield bat, including trades, and they’re not locked in on Melky Cabrera at this point, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the M’s are the favorites for the outfielder.
  • Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson has switched agents and joined Excel Sports Management, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Despite being connected to him, the Astros did not seriously pursue Jason Hammel, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). They did make an inquiry, however.  Hammel ultimately returned to the Cubs on a two-year pact.

Dodgers Promote Joc Pederson

The Dodgers have promoted top prospect Joc Pederson, Ryan Walton of Valley Bay News tweets. Pederson still needs to be added to their 40-man roster.

USATSI_7782593_154513410_lowresPederson is in the midst of an offensive season that’s brilliant even in the desert air of Triple-A Albuquerque, hitting .303/.435/.582 in 553 plate appearances. MLB.com currently ranks Pederson the No. 18 prospect in baseball, praising his power (he has 33 home runs so far this season) and plate discipline, but noting that he needs to work on hitting left-handers. Before the season, Baseball America ranked Pederson at No. 34, and ESPN’s Keith Law had him at No. 41.

BA’s Prospect Handbook 2014 ranked Pederson the No. 1 prospect in the Dodgers system, noting that he receives comparisons to players like Curtis Granderson and Jim Edmonds. The Granderson comparison might be apt — Pederson is a lefty hitter who draws plenty of walks and also strikes out a lot, with 149 whiffs so far this year at Triple-A. Whether Pederson will be able to overcome those minor league strikeouts as smoothly as Granderson did remains to be seen, but he’s still an exciting talent with strong tools across the board. He can play all three outfield positions, and he mostly played center with Albuquerque.

Where Pederson will fit with the Dodgers right now is unclear, however. The Dodgers have a number of outfielders who are either performing well (Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke) or very expensive (Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier), and they’ll need to sort through them in order to find playing time for Pederson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Red Sox Considering Lester For Kemp Trade

6:51pm: A source from the Dodgers indicates there are no significant discussions between the Dodgers and Red Sox involving Kemp or Lester, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.

4:00pm: The Red Sox are considering a trade with the Dodgers involving Matt Kemp and Jon Lester as the principals, a club source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. The Dodgers’ interest in Lester was reported yesterday by Edes.

Kemp’s name is being floated since the Dodgers are unwilling to part with top outfield prospect Joc Pederson, according to Edes. Centering a deal around Kemp, however, is problematic from the Red Sox’s perspective because of the $107MM remaining on his contract. For the deal to make any sense for Boston, Edes reports the Dodgers would have to be willing to eat a considerable amount of money, but they might be willing to do so for a pitcher of Lester’s caliber despite him being no more than a two-month rental. The Red Sox preference, however, is a package centered around Pederson.

Earlier today, it was reported Kemp is a backup plan for the Mariners while the Yankees are not currently in on the Dodgers outfielder. Kemp has been linked to the Indians and Rangers, as well.

Edes also notes Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is not available and the Red Sox have not inquired about Cliff Lee. For more on the 2014 trade market, check out MLBTR’s position-by-position breakdown.


Latest On Jon Lester

Here’s the latest on Jon Lester and the Red Sox:

  • Lester says he would not be inclined to consider a contract extension if a team traded for him, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes. “[M]y ultimate goal would be to come back here. That would be, like I said the other day, I know that’s hard to do,” Lester says. “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.” Speier notes that if Lester would be willing to agree to a deal with his new team as a condition of a trade, that might be a way for the Red Sox to get additional value from the deal.
  • Speier also writes that there has been “no meaningful dialogue” on a possible trade of Lester to the Dodgers.
  • The Red Sox want a “huge” return if they’re going to trade Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
  • The Dodgers have a good group of outfielders with which to do a Lester trade, including Joc Pederson and Matt Kemp, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. (A recent report from Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston indicated the Dodgers and Red Sox were considering a Lester/Kemp deal.)
  • Any Lester/Kemp trade would need to include other pieces and/or money, Rosenthal tweets. He quotes another team’s GM who says, “He doesn’t add much value to any deal for us even at half his salary.” Kemp is owed $107MM from 2015 through 2019. Rosenthal also adds that trading Pederson for Lester would not make sense for the Dodgers unless they received other young talent in return.