Joe Thatcher Rumors


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).
  • Cesar Ramos got $750K from the Rays in his deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets
  • Sherman tweets that the Athletics' Craig Gentry will get $1.145MM on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • Jerry Blevins and the Nationals avoided arbitration, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. He will earn $1.675MM for the year, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.
  • Alejandro De Aza agreed to a $4.25MM deal with the White Sox, Sherman tweets.  Within the same tweet, Sherman says the Rays shook hands with Jose Lobaton on a $900K deal and James Russell agreed to a $1.775MM pact.
  • The White Sox and Gordon Beckham agreed to a one-year, $4.175MM deal, Sherman tweets.
  • The Brewers avoided arbitration with Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco, Sherman tweets.  Estrada gets $3.325MM with $100K in innings pitched bonuses while Francisco gets $1.35MM.
  • Mike Dunn agreed to a $1.4MM deal with the Marlins, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter). 
  • Pedro Alvarez will earn $4.25MM on his brand new deal with the Pirates, Sherman tweets.
  • The Nationals announced that they've struck an arb-avoiding deal with Wilson Ramos.  Ramos gets $2.095MM with the opportunity to get $105K more through plate appearance bonuses, per Sherman.
  • Alexi Ogando gets $2.625MM in 2014 from the Rangers, according to Sherman.
  • Mark Melancon will get $2.595MM after striking a deal with the Pirates, tweets Sherman.
  • Brandon Moss and the Athletics avoided arbitration with a $4.1MM pact, Sherman tweets.
  • The Red Sox and Jonathan Herrera avoided arbitration with a $1.3MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets.
  • Brian Duensing has agreed to a $2MM deal with the Twins, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Berardino adds in a second tweet that Anthony Swarzak also avoided arb with a $935K deal. The swingman will earn a $25K bonus if he starts 10 games.
  • The Rangers and Neftali Feliz agreed to a $3MM deal with bonuses of $25K for 50/55 games finished, Sherman tweets.
  • Jake McGee will earn $1.45MM in his new deal with the Rays, Sherman tweets.
  • The Royals and Eric Hosmer have agreed to a one-year, $3.6MM deal, Sherman tweets.
  • Mike Carp gets $1.4MM in his deal with the Red Sox, according to Sherman (via Twitter).
  • Bobby Parnell agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM with the Mets that can increase by $50K if he appears in 60 games, Sherman tweets.
  • The Braves avoided arbitration with Jordan Schafer with a $1.09MM deal, tweets Sherman.  Sherman adds that Andy Dirks and the Tigers have also avoided arbitration with a $1.625MM deal.  
  • Shawn Kelley and the Yankees dodged arbitration by agreeing to a $1.765MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets.  Kelley, 29, has a career 3.77 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
  • The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.275MM deal with Junichi Tazawa, according to Sherman (on Twitter).  Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA in 2013 with 9.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
  • The Rockies avoided arbitration with Drew Stubbs by agreeing to a $4.1MM deal for 2014, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).  With the signing of Stubbs, the Rockies have now taken care of all of their arbitration-eligible players.
  • Kyle Blanks has avoided arbitration with the Padres by agreeing to a one-year, $988K deal, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter). 
  • Sherman also reports (on Twitter) that the Giants have avoided arbitration with Gregor Blanco and Tony Abreu by agreeing to one-year deals that are worth $2.525MM and $745K, respectively.
  • The Cardinals and Peter Bourjos have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract, tweets Sherman. Bourjos can earn another $150K based on plate appearances.
  • Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal, according to Sanchez's agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Sanchez will earn $2.3MM.
  • Sherman reports (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays also avoided arbitration with Esmil Rogers by agreeing to a one-year, $1.85MM contract.
  • The Nationals announced that in addition to their two-year deal with Jordan Zimmermann, they've also signed Drew Storen to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. Sherman tweets that he'll earn $3.45MM in 2014 with an additional $1MM of incentives in his contract for games finished.
  • The Rockies and righty Juan Nicasio avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.025MM contract, Sherman tweets.
  • The Blue Jays and lefty Brett Cecil have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.3MM pact, per Sherman (on Twitter).
  • Sherman tweets that the Rays and Matt Joyce agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM contract, thereby avoiding arbitration.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Reds have avoided arbitration with Alfredo Simon by agreeing to a one-year, $1.5MM contract (Twitter link).
  • Connolly also reports that the Orioles have avoided arbitration with Tommy Hunter (Twitter link). Currently the front-runner to serve as Baltimore's closer in 2014, Hunter will earn $3MM after posting a 2.81 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings for the O's in 2013.
  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and Troy Patton have avoided arbitration (Twitter link). Patton topped Swartz's $1.2MM salary projection by earning a raise to $1.275MM, Connolly adds in a second tweet.. Patton will be suspended for the first 25 games of 2014 for amphetamine use.
  • The Twins and Trevor Plouffe have agreed to a one-year, $2.35MM contract, Sherman tweets. Plouffe saw his power numbers drop as he batted .254/.309/.392 with 14 homers in a career-high 522 plate appearances in 2013 (he'd belted 24 homers in 465 PAs in 2012). He figures to open the season as Minnesota's everyday third baseman but could eventually have competition from top prospect Miguel Sano.
  • Jon Jay and the Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.25MM contract, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Jay batted .276/.351/.370 with the Cards in 2013 but struggled defensively (particularly in the playoffs) and will have center field competition in the form of offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos in 2014.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Phillies and John Mayberry Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.5875MM. Mayberry slashed .227/.286/.391 in 2013 and has a career .274/.321/.526 batting line against lefties. He came in just under Swartz's $1.7MM projection.
  • The Cubs and Luis Valbuena have also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year pact, tweets Sherman. Valbuena will earn $1.71MM after slashing .218/.331/.378 and setting a new career-best with 12 homers in 2013. He exceeded Swartz's projection by $210K.

Zach Links contributed to this post.



NL Notes: Rockies, Flowers, Thatcher, Barney

The Dodgers have a thrown a wrench into the free agent outfield market by listening to trade offers for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio in an Insider post (subscription required). Scott Boras is also a complicating factor, according to Bowden, because he represents the two top free agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo (#2 and #3, respectively, on MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents list). Bowden theorizes the other top-tier free agent outfielders may wait to sign in order to see how Boras sets the market for Ellsbury and Choo. In today's news and notes from the National League:

  • Rockies owner Dick Monfort provided Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post with a detailed line-by-line budget for his franchise. Monfort explains how revenue from the new national TV contract is absorbed by payments on the club's MLB credit line, player raises, and projected revenue losses for not having home dates with the Yankees and Red Sox. Monfort estimates being able to reinvest only $4-5MM of the new TV money into the on-the-field product.    
  • Renck, via Sulia, agrees with the assessment of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes that the Ricky Nolasco contract resembles Edwin Jackson's. Renck believes the Rockies would have been paralyzed under their self-imposed budget constraints had they signed Nolasco, so their best option for a rotation upgrade is through a trade.
  • The Mets will have interest in catcher Tyler Flowers, if he is non-tendered by the White Sox, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma. Mets executives have liked Flowers in the past and see him as a potential backup to Travis d'Arnaud. Flowers, however, told Scott Merkin of MLB.com "(t)here have been a couple of conversations" with the White Sox about reaching an agreement to avoid arbitration. "I put it at 51-49 in favor of staying because of the contractual conversation we've had before," Flowers said. "They've reached out to me to try to see where each other is at. If they didn't care at all, they would have done nothing and non-tendered me."
  • It would be a surprise if the Diamondbacks non-tender left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher because free agent bullpen arms aren't cheap, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Thatcher struggled after Arizona acquired him from San Diego in the Ian Kennedy trade to the tune of a 6.75 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 5.8 BB/9, and 11.6 H/9 in 9 1/3 innings (22 appearances).  
  • The Cubs will likely tender second baseman Darwin Barney, despite a career-worst season at the plate (.208/.266/.303 in 501 plate appearances), because the only realistic in-house replacement is Luis Valbuena, reasons MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM arbitration salary for Barney and $1.5MM for Valbuena, who is playing second base in the Venezuelan Winter League.
  • The Cardinals made the right move in signing Jhonny Peralta because they were able to upgrade a position of need while retaining their prized young arms, opines MLB.com's Richard Justice



Padres Acquire Ian Kennedy

The Padres have bolstered their rotation for the present and future, acquiring righty Ian Kennedy from the division rival Diamondbacks for lefty reliever Joe Thatcher, Double-A reliever Matt Stites, and a compensation round B draft pick, according to a tweet from MLB.com's Corey Brock.  It's a surprisingly light haul for Kennedy, a 28-year-old who is under team control through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player.

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Drafted 21st overall by the Yankees in '06, Kennedy joined Arizona in the December 2009 three-team trade with the Yanks and Tigers, at a time when Josh Byrnes was the Diamondbacks' GM.  Byrnes was fired the following year and later landed the GM job in San Diego, while Kevin Towers took over for Arizona.  Clearly, Byrnes has an affinity for Kennedy, who tossed 624 1/3 regular season innings from 2010-12 with a 3.55 ERA and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting back in 2011.  Kennedy's walk rate worsened this year, en route to a 5.23 ERA in 124 frames.  His skills suggest something closer to 4.00 moving forward.  As a fly-ball pitcher, Kennedy will likely benefit tremendously from leaving the hitter-friendly Chase Field to a more pitcher-friendly stadium in Petco Park.

Thatcher is a useful left-handed specialist who joined the Padres in a July 2007 trade brokered by Towers.  The 31-year-old has a 2.10 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9, and 42.4% groundball rate in 30 innings this year.  He's faced 70 lefty batters and held them to a .212/.257/.231 line.  Earning $1.35MM this year, Thatcher is under team control through 2014 as an arbitration eligible player.

Stites, a 23-year-old reliever, has a 2.08 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, and 1.04 HR/9 in 52 Double-A innings this year.  Prior to the season Baseball America ranked the 5'11" Stites 27th among Padres prospects.

To clear space on the 40-man roster following the trade, the D'Backs have outrighted Nate Adcock to Triple-A Reno, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).

The draft pick headed to the D'Backs is San Diego's competitive balance lottery pick, which is the first pick of Comp Round B (between the second and third rounds). As such, it will likely fall in the 70 to 75 range; Comp Round B consisted of picks 69 to 73 in this year's draft. Those picks carried assigned values of between $808K and $759K, according to Baseball America.

Towers and the Diamondbacks clearly thought Kennedy to be expendable with Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy on the mend and Archie Bradley in the minor leagues. Kennedy scored a near-record $4.265MM salary for 2013, his first arbitration year.  MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a mild raise to the $5.9MM range for 2014, so there's a financial element to the trade as well. Still, it seems to be an underwhelming return for a pitcher with Kennedy's upside, even in a down season.

As shown in MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, Towers and Byrnes have connected on a pair of past deals for Tony Clark and Scott Hairston back in 2008 and 2007, respectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Padres To Keep Gregerson

The latest on the Padres, who host the Reds today 20 minutes prior to the trade deadline...

Earlier Updates



Relief Rumors: Lopez, Gregerson, Thatcher, Red Sox

Less than one day remains until the trade deadline, and relievers have been the most moved commodity in recent days, with Scott Downs, Jose Veras, Jesse Crain and Marc Rzepczynski all changing teams. Here's more on the relief market...

  • The Tigers remain open to adding relief help and have expressed interest in Javier Lopez, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). It seems that Detroit isn't necessarily set in the bullpen department after adding Veras yesterday.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that the Indians called the Giants about Lopez but the talks ended quickly when San Francisco asked for top prospect Danny Salazar in return.
  • The Padres are listening on both Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher, but they'd need to be "inspired" to move either pitcher, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported earlier today the Red Sox still consider bullpen help as a high priority (Twitter link). However, the team acquired Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal earlier tonight, so that may no longer be a need. Villarreal could slot into Boston's bullpen, and the Sox could also push Brandon Workman to the bullpen, as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe noted (on Twitter).



Bullpen Notes: Papelbon, Nathan, Tigers, Padres

Closer Jonathan Papelbon is dissatisfied with the Phillies' current direction, MLB.com's Todd Zalecki reports. In the midst of an eight-game losing streak, Philadelphia has fallen to seven games below .500, and that's not what Papelbon anticipated when he signed with the Phils. "I definitely didn't come here for this," he says. He also doesn't sound optimistic when asked about the Phillies' future. "Oh man," he says. "We could be here all day."

Papelbon is of the opinion that the Phillies need to undergo an overhaul, similar to that of his former team, the Red Sox (whose overhaul, ironically, included losing Papelbon to free agency). He says he does not want to be traded, but adds that he does not want to stay in Philadelphia if his team continues on the same path.



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.



Braves Interested In Joe Thatcher

The Braves' search for left-handed relief help has led them to San Diego, as FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports (via Twitter) that Atlanta is interested in Padres southpaw Joe Thatcher.

Thatcher, 31, has one remaining year of arbitration eligibility and is a free agent following the 2014 season.  The left-hander has a 2.25 ERA and 28 strikeouts (against just four walks) over 28 innings for the Padres this season.  Thatcher has held left-handed hitters to only a .456 OPS this season and for his career, Thatcher has held lefty batters to a .581 OPS.

Mike Gonzalez, James Russell and Wesley Wright have been the lefty relievers rumored to be atop the Braves' wish list, and the club has also been linked to Phil Coke and Brian DuensingMLBTR's Steve Adams recently outlined some of the left-handed bullpen names who could fit as trade candidates.



Padres Avoid Arbitration With Thatcher, Cabrera

The Padres avoided arbitration with Joe Thatcher and Everth Cabrera, agreeing to one-year deals in advance of Friday’s filing deadline, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Thatcher obtains a $1.35MM salary, while Cabrera will earn $1.275MM.

Thatcher, a Platinum Sports client, had been projected by Matt Swartz to earn $1.1MM. Cabrera, a client of the Boras Corporation, had been projected to earn $1.2MM.

MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows that the Padres now have five remaining arbitration-eligible players: John Baker, Luke Gregerson, Chase Headley, Clayton Richard, and Edinson Volquez. They avoided arbitration with Will Venable two days ago.



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.









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