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Joe Wieland Rumors
The NL West blockbuster between the Dodgers and Padres is finally a reality and outfielder Matt Kemp is on his way to the Padres. The two teams officially announced the five-player trade that will send Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego, with the Dodgers receiving catcher Yasmani Grandal, righty Joe Wieland, and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The Dodgers will also include $32MM to help cover the $107MM remaining on Kemp’s contract, which runs through 2019.
The two teams agreed to the trade over a week ago but, with so many moving parts involved, things naturally took a while to be finalized. The Commissioner’s Office has to approve the deal given the large amount of money involved, the Dodgers’ other pending trade of Jimmy Rollins also played a role (as Elfin is widely-rumored to be flipped to the Phillies in that deal) and all of the players had to take physicals.
This last point might’ve been the main holdup, as Kemp’s physical revealed arthritis in both hips, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The Padres asked the Dodgers to add more than $32MM in the deal but L.A. refused, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported, and the trade went through as originally planned.
The deal gives the Padres a big bat and star power for their offense, which produced just 535 runs last year, a poor total even in the tough hitting environment in San Diego. The team lost out on Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas earlier this offseason, but Kemp, who hit .287/.346/.506 with the Dodgers in 2014, gives the Padres the dynamic offensive player they were hoping for. He’ll need to stay healthy, however — he missed significant time in 2012 and 2013 with a series of injuries, and he turned 30 in September. Kemp, who has struggled defensively in center field in recent years, could take one corner outfield spot for the Padres, with Seth Smith in the other. For the Dodgers, the deal clears salary and space in the outfield, where they also have Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke.
Federowicz, 27, should help the Padres compensate for the loss of Grandal. He has five seasons of team control remaining and is coming off a strong year in a good hitting environment at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he batted .328/.383/.555 in 329 plate appearances. He struggled, however, in a small sample of 78 plate appearances at the big-league level. He’ll likely share the Padres’ catching duties with Rene Rivera, whose unexpectedly strong season in 2014 gave the Padres a bit of flexibility at catcher.
Grandal, 26, will join A.J. Ellis in manning the catching position with the Dodgers. He hit .225/.327/.401 for San Diego last season and got good marks for his pitch framing. The latter characteristic is surely attractive to Dodgers executive Andrew Friedman, who employed framing specialist Jose Molina in Tampa Bay and tried to sign another excellent framer, Russell Martin, for the Dodgers earlier this offseason. Grandal also hit 15 home runs in 2014, a solid total for a young catcher, especially in PETCO Park. He can become eligible for arbitration next offseason and eligible for free agency after 2018.
Wieland, 24, had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and took a long time to recover, but he finally made it back to the Majors in September 2014. He posted good numbers coming through the minors (mostly in the Rangers system), but doesn’t have outstanding stuff and probably profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
The Padres drafted the 20-year-old Eflin (whose inclusion in the deal is not yet entirely certain) in the first round in 2012 out of high school. He posted a 3.80 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 128 innings with Class A+ Lake Elsinore in 2014.
The trade was just one of several major transactions for the Dodgers during a frenzied Winter Meetings. Los Angeles also sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami in a seven-player deal, acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, signed righty Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal and agreed to acquire Rollins from the Phillies.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the deal was close. Dennis Lin and Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the deal was finalized. Heyman reported (Twitter links) the final terms of the deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Padres have avoided arbitration with Joe Wieland, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter), agreeing to a $590K contract with the right-hander for 2015. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected Wieland would earn $500K in his first year of arbitration eligibility. Wieland is represented by the Sosnick/Cobbe agency.
Wieland posted a 7.15 ERA over 11 1/3 innings (two starts, two relief outings) with San Diego last season, though just getting back onto the mound represented a victory for the righty. Due to Tommy John surgery and subsequent complications in recovery, Wieland didn’t throw a Major League pitch from May 6, 2012 to last September 6. He originally joined the Padres in 2011 when he was traded along with Robbie Erlin from the Rangers in exchange for Mike Adams.
The extended stint on the DL and the Padres’ Major League roster gave Wieland enough service time to qualify as a Super Two player. He’ll receive an extra year of arbitration eligibility and be under team control through the 2018 season.
So far, the best move of the July trading season has been the Angels‘ acquisition of Huston Street, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes in a piece published before Street’s bad outing Friday. The acquisitions of Street and Jason Grilli have helped stabilize what had been a weak Angels bullpen. Meanwhile, higher-profile acquisitions like the Tigers’ trade for David Price and the Athletics’ deals for Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija haven’t had as great an impact. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- Before the White Sox traded Adam Dunn to the Athletics, the Dodgers tried to acquire him to help with their bench, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Dunn’s lack of defensive value would have been a more serious issue in the National League, but his power and patience would surely have been appealing in a pinch-hitting role, especially with expanded September rosters that might have prevented him from having to play much in the field.
- Joe Wieland will pitch for the Padres Saturday afternoon, and it will be his first start in over two years, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Wieland had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has had setbacks since then that have delayed his return. “I won’t say it’s going to be quite like my debut, but it’s going to be pretty darn close. Two-and-a-half years is a long time,” he says. Wieland got hurt less than a year after the Padres acquired him (with Robbie Erlin) from the Rangers in a deal for Mike Adams, and he’s only started five big-league games since the trade and for his career.
With all the bad news on pitching injuries in recent days, it was refreshing to hear at least some positive reports. Earlier today, we learned that Jon Niese of the Mets is not in need of surgery. And later this evening, Padres GM Josh Byrnes said that an MRI on Joe Wieland's right elbow did not reveal UCL damage, as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Wieland will still be monitored and assessed closely over the coming days, particularly as he is still working back from Tommy John surgery, but will hopefully remain on track to re-start his career and give the club some depth over the coming season.
- One injury situation that seems headed in the wrong direction is that of Pirates backup catcher Chris Stewart, who suffered a knee injury. Surgery is "probable," the club said today, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Stewart is set to visit Dr. James Andrews before deciding on a course of action.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney weighed in on the possible opening in Pittsburgh (Twitter links), noting that the team probably prefers to give Tony Sanchez another year of seasoning in Triple-A before promoting him. That could, Olney suggests, leave the club interested in adding a player like Miguel Olivo or one of the Yankees' surplus backstops. (As Olney notes, the Pirates' own surplus of relief arms might make for a good match with New York.)
- The Nationals will start the year with lefty Ross Detwiler working from the pen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. While Tanner Roark, Taylor Jordan, and Chris Young battle it out for the fifth and final rotation slot, Detwiler will slide in alongside Jerry Blevins as a southpaw relief option. "He provides something special out of the bullpen," said manager Matt Williams. "… We just feel we are a better team with him coming out of our bullpen. He is a power lefty, mid-90s lefty. It doesn't mean he won't start in the future … ."
- For the Mets, several starting positions still appear to be in flux. At first base, the long-anticipated showdown between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis has not gone anywhere with both still not cleared to run or play defense, writes Anthony Rieber of Newsday. If neither is ready, Josh Satin could take the Opening Day gig by default. Elsewhere, Wilmer Flores is surely a longshot to start at shortstop, but nevertheless he'll get another look there tomorrow, reports ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. While the move comes as Ruben Tejada continues to struggle at the plate and in the field, manager Terry Collins said that the decision is unrelated.
- Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton says he is pleased with how things are going in Miami, but nevertheless "need[s] a season" to assess his long-term future with the club, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. "There's a good vibe here," said Stanton, "and I'd say so if it wasn't."
The Padres have already taken a hit to their starting pitching depth after losing Cory Luebke to a second Tommy John surgery, and now right-hander Joe Wieland could suffer the same fate. Wieland is scheduled to have an MRI on his sore right elbow today, and Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweeted late last night that there's "significant concern" throughout the organization, with a re-torn UCL being the worst-case scenario. Wieland, like Luebke, spent the 2013 season recovering from 2012 Tommy John surgery. A second Tommy John surgery has become a familiar refrain around MLB of late; Daniel Hudson underwent his second Tommy John last summer, and there's a strong likelihood that Braves hurlers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy will do so as well. D'Backs lefty Patrick Corbin could be headed for his first Tommy John surgery as well.
Here are a couple of other NL-West-related items…
- The Dodgers are currently on the lookout for bench help, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who questions how the club could spent $225MM on payroll but enter the season with such a weak group of reserve players. Rival evaluators in Spring Training consider the Dodgers' bench to be the weakest in the division, says Rosenthal.
- Within that piece, Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers indicated to Mark Ellis early in the offseason that another two-year deal was a possibility. However, Ellis eventually grew weary of the Dodgers' indecisiveness, as they offered a one-year deal after signing Alexander Guerrero. Rosenthal adds that one potential scenario last summer was for the Dodgers to flip Zach Lee to the Angels for Howie Kendrick, then move Ellis to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar, but ownership nixed the Kendrick-for-Lee swap.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that while the Rockies initially thought right-hander Jordan Lyles would need some time in the minors when they acquired him in the Dexter Fowler trade, Lyles is forcing his way into immediate rotation consideration. He's competing with Franklin Morales for the fifth starter's role, and Lyles could benefit from the fact that Morales has bullpen experience. Manager Walt Weiss told Renck that Lyles is viewed strictly as a starter, so Morales could end up in relief with Lyles in the starting five.
Trade deadlines come and go every year, and in looking back we tend to remember the blockbuster deals. Few will forget last year's Hanley Ramirez deal or 2011's Ubaldo Jimenez trade (even if both teams involved would probably like to). Sometimes though, the smaller deals wind up yielding plentiful returns as well.
Such is the case with the Mike Adams trade of 2011. The last-place Padres shipped their ace setup man to the Rangers for minor league right-hander Joe Wieland (21 years old at the time) and left-hander Robbie Erlin (20 at the time). Here's a look at each of the players involved in this one…
The Major League Side
- Mike Adams: The Padres initially landed Adams from the Indians in exchange for Brian Sikorski — a right-hander who threw 19 2/3 innings for Cleveland in a fourth-place season (whoops). Adams broke out in San Diego, posting a 1.66 ERA, 10.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 217 innings over parts of four seasons. It was more of the same in Texas following the swap, as Adams totaled 78 innings of 2.88 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 for the Rangers. Adams was controlled through 2012 at just $2.54MM, so GM Jon Daniels was able to secure a dominant relief arm for a year and a half. He proved to be a bullpen workhorse in the postseason, appearing in 11 of the Rangers' 17 games with a 3.24 ERA. Adams hit the open market this offseason, and not surprisingly he wasn't issued a qualifying offer. He signed a two-year, $12MM with the Phillies, ending his time in the Lone Star state.
The Minor League Side
- Joe Wieland: A fourth-round pick in the 2008 draft, Wieland ranked as the Rangers' No. 22 prospect prior to the 2011 season, per Baseball America. His stock has soared since that ranking. Wieland reached the big leagues last year and ranks as the No. 8 prospect in San Diego according to BA and No. 7 per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Wieland's minor league numbers are impressive: a 3.29 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 438 innings. His 2012 season was cut short by Tommy John surgery, but Wieland posted a 4.55 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in five starts. BA praises Wieland's plus command and four solid pitches. He sits 90-91 mph with his fastball and can run it up to 94 when needed. Mayo notes that all four of Wieland's pitches should be average or better, and both outlets agree that he's a mid-rotation starter if he realizes his potential. His surgery took place last July, so he should pitch again sometime in 2013.
- Robbie Erlin: Erlin was the bigger prospect at the time of the trade, but BA and Mayo both agree that Wieland has leapfrogged him. BA has him 10th among Padres prospects while Mayo ranks him ninth. Erlin missed about three months of the 2012 season with elbow tendinitis, but was dominant in the 52 1/3 innings he did pitch at Double-A; the 2009 third-rounder posted a 2.92 ERA, 12.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Erlin was impressive in the Arizona Fall League following his injury, finishing second the league with 31 strikeouts in 24 innings. He's undersized (5'11", 190 pounds) and lacks overpowering stuff, with BA noting that his fastball tops out at 92 mph. Mayo commends Erlin's approach of attacking hitters, adding that his pitchability and competitive nature allow his average offerings to play up. Erlin profiles as a No. 4 starter who will benefit from Petco Park, according to BA, and Mayo feels that he's on the brink of the big leagues.
Adams proved to be a durable, highly effective late-inning arm for the Rangers, while the Padres have attained a pair of mid-rotation arms if Erlin and Wieland can overcome their respective arm injuries. Wieland's improvements have helped to make this look like a very strong return for San Diego. Time will tell if Wieland and/or Erlin can stick as big league starters, but I'd have to imagine that San Diego would be thrilled with the trade if even one of the two could be a part of the rotation for the next few years.
Baseball America's 2013 Prospect Handbook was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.