John Buck Rumors

Pirates Acquire Marlon Byrd And John Buck

WEDNESDAY, 5:34pm: Black is in fact the PTBNL in the deal, Rosenthal tweets.

WEDNESDAY, 5:09pm: Triple-A reliever Vic Black is a strong possibility to be the PTBNL heading from the Pirates to the Mets, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Black is currently on waivers, but if he is the PTBNL, the Pirates can just pull him back and send him to the Mets at the end of the season rather than right away (Twitter links).  In 46 and 2/3 Triple-A innings this season, Black owns a 2.51 ERA with 63 Ks and 21 BBs. 

Baseball America rated Black as the Bucs' 16th best prospect heading into this season.  Black, who was drafted 49th overall by the Pirates in 2009, began his pro career as a starter but was plagued by control issues and converted to a reliever in 2011.  BA writes that if he can get his walks under control, he has the stuff close in the majors.

8:33am: The Mets also sent the Pirates $250K in the trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). That would mean the Pirates are paying just under $1MM — roughly $980K — for Byrd and Buck over the remainder of the season.

TUESDAY: The Pirates are likely headed for their first playoff berth since 1992, and they made sure to bolster their roster accordingly by acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets for minor league second baseman Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Both teams have announced the trade.

Byrd-Marlon

Earlier today, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that in the wake of Matt Harvey's injury, the Mets were exploring trade options and had placed five players on waivers, including Byrd, Buck and Pedro Feliciano. Byrd (pictured on the right) was claimed by an unnamed NL team shortly thereafter, which clearly was the Pirates. It's unclear whether Buck cleared waivers or was also claimed by the Pirates following a season-ending injury to backup catcher Michael McKenry.

Byrd, who turns 36 on Friday, is having a surprising career year despite his age. In 464 plate appearances, he's batting .285/.330/.518. His 21 homers and 136 OPS+ are both career-bests. Byrd is no longer a regular center fielder (just two games there in 2013), but his defense in right field grades out to a solid +6.6 UZR/150, and The Fielding Bible pegs him at nine runs saved. Pirates right fielders have batted just .245/.307/.368 this season, and their right field defense ranks 24th in baseball, according to UZR, so Byrd's bat and solid glove will be welcome additions in the Steel City.

Byrd is also owed just $130K for the remainder of the season before he hits free agency, so he's an affordable upgrade for the Pirates, financially speaking. Given that salary, it's a surprise to see that the Reds didn't place a claim to block the Pirates from acquiring him. Cincinnati is just 3.5 games out of first in the NL Central while the Pirates are a half-game back of the Cardinals. All three NL Central teams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, but the Reds and Pirates would face each other in the one-game Wild Card playoff.

Buck, 33, has cooled off considerably following a meteoric start that saw him club 10 homers in his first 25 games (23 starts). Since May 1, he's hitting just .206/.290/.302 with six homers, and he's owed $1.1MM. However, with McKenry out for the season following surgery to repair a torn meniscus, his pop and veteran leadership should be welcome additions for Pittsburgh. Buck has also caught a strong 30 percent of potential base-stealers.

Herrera, 19, is having a strong season at Class-A West Virgina. The Colombian infielder is hitting .265/.330/.421 with 11 homers and 11 stolen bases in 479 plate appearances. Herrera ranked as the No. 20 prospect in the Pirates system prior to the season, according to Baseball America, and his solid play in 2013 has him currently ranked 11th among Pirates prospects by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

In their scouting report, BA noted that Herrera has plus speed and surprising power for someone of his size (he's listed as 5'10" and 150 pounds) with the ability to hit the ball to all fields. BA feels that his lack of arm strength will limit him to second base, and Mayo agrees. Mayo adds that Herrera had no problem adjusting to the game after coming to the United States, and he projects an above-average hitter and well-above average runner. Mayo also ranked Herrera as the ninth-best second base prospect in all of minor league baseball.

ESPN's Adam Rubin was the first to report that Byrd and Buck were headed to Pittsburgh (on Twitter), and MLB.com's Anthony DiComo was the first to break that the Pirates were giving up Herrera and a PTBNL (also on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Reactions To The Marlon Byrd Trade

Here are a handful of odds and ends from this afternoon's trade between the Mets and Pirates, in which the Bucs received outfielder Marlon Byrd, catcher John Buck and cash in return for second base prospect Dilson Herrera and a PTBNL.

  • In addition to putting in a waiver claim on Byrd, the Pirates also claimed Buck before the trade, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes (on Twitter).
  • The player to be named the Mets are set to receive will be a "solid" one, and that could make an already-strong trade even better for New York, says ESPN's Keith Law (Insider-only). But Law also calls the trade a "truly all-in move" from the Pirates' perspective, noting that Byrd represents an enormous upgrade over the Bucs' right fielders, who have been dreadful this year.
  • Byrd is "a good get" for the Pirates, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes. Sullivan notes that, based on what we knew entering the season, it would have been strange to learn that the Pirates were still looking for upgrades in late August, and just as strange that the aging Marlon Byrd would constitute an upgrade.
  • In Herrera, the Mets may be getting an "offensive-oriented second baseman," Matt Eddy of Baseball America writes. Eddy also notes that Herrera could hit for decent power to go with a good on-base percentage, and that appears likely to stick at second base.
  • They may have just traded him, but the Mets may have interest in pursuing Byrd again when he becomes a free agent this winter, Andy Martino of New York Daily News writes (on Twitter).
  • Martino also tweets that the Mets are unlikely to make any more trades this month.

Mets Likely To Make Late August Trades

One day after learning that ace Matt Harvey has a torn UCL in his right elbow, ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets are poised to be active on the trade front in the final days of August. According to Rubin, five players have been placed on revocable trade waivers, and at least one trade is likely in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Pedro Feliciano are three of the players to hit waivers, and the Mets have already recalled lefty Robert Carson, catcher Anthony Recker and outfielder Matt den Dekker from Triple-A Las Vegas. Obviously, that trio of minor leaguers could serve as replacements for the three known players on waivers.

Byrd, who turns 36 on Friday, is having a surprising career year despite his age. He drew significant interest prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but the Mets opted to hang onto him. In 464 plate appearances, he's batting .285/.330/.518. His 21 homers and 136 OPS+ are both career-bests. Byrd is no longer a regular center fielder (just two games there in 2013), but his defense in right field grades out to a solid +6.6 UZR/150, and The Fielding Bible pegs him at nine runs saved. As Rubin notes, just $130K remains on Byrd's 2013 salary, making him a highly affordable trade chip.

Buck, 33, has cooled off considerably following a meteoric start that saw him club 10 homers in his first 25 games (23 starts). Since May 1, he's hitting just .206/.290/.302 with six homers, limiting his value. However, Travis d'Arnaud is now drawing the majority of the time behind the plate, so the Mets would likely welcome the opportunity to clear the remaining $1.1MM of Buck's salary.

Feliciano, 37, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2010 on Aug. 2 and has allowed a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings since. His health woes in recent years likely leave him without high trade value, but he'd be a nice alternative to Javier Lopez, whom the Giants reportedly aren't likely to trade even though he's been claimed on waivers. Opposing lefties are just 3-for-17 against Feliciano this season, and all four of his strikeouts have come against left-handed batters.

Rubin also writes that in addition to Byrd, Buck and Feliciano, the Mets are considering dealing Major League talent that is under control beyond the 2013 season.



Mets Notes: Byrdak, Collins, Trade Chips

It's been 731 days since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for Zack Wheeler, and while that trade looks brilliant now, it also represents the last July trade that involved the Amazin's. Here's more on New York's National League club…

  • Tim Byrdak's contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the Mets should another team offer him a Major League roster spot, MLBTR has learned. After being contacted by an interested team, the Mets would have 48 hours to add Byrdak to their own big league roster. If they chose not to do so, Byrdak would be free to join the new team, and the Mets would receive no compensation. The clause is similar to the one that allowed Jason Grilli to leave the Phillies and join the Pirates in 2011. Byrdak currently has a 2.45 ERA and 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 11 innings at High-A St. Lucie as he works his way back from shoulder and knee surgeries in late 2012.
  • A Mets executive told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he would be surprised if manager Terry Collins were replaced after the season. The Mets are happy with the job that Collins has done, and the executive says the team is doing a good job of "sprinting to the finish line" with Collins at the helm (Twitter links). Collins still only under contract through the 2013 season.
  • Puma's colleague, Joel Sherman, tweets that left-handed relief is in such high demand, the Mets actually received calls checking in on how Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano were progressing in their rehab.
  • Nothing has changed on the Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell front, according to Sherman (on Twitter). The Mets have received nibbles on both, but not nearly enough to make a deal likely.
  • The Mets are seeking a "Wheeler type" top prospect in exchange for Parnell, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Given that exborbitant price tag, it's no surprise that interest hasn't picked up much.
  • Sherman adds that the Mets had hoped to see interest in Daniel Murphy, John Buck and Eric Young Jr., but to this point they haven't received calls on that group. As such, they're likely to simply try to win as many games as they can with the current group in the season's second half.

Quick Hits: Mets, Harang

The Tidewater Mets may just be the best team you've never heard of, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. With B.J. Upton and David Wright manning the left side of the infield, Ryan Zimmerman was forced to split time at second (with Mark Reynolds), and Justin Upton was relegated to bench duty. Of course, those Mets were a high school travel club. Now, through a combination of the draft, extensions, free agency, and trade, all of those players (excluding Reynolds) are stars on their respective National League East clubs.

  • The New York Mets could be buyers at the trade deadline whether or not the club is in contention, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. With Davidoff expecting an active in-season trade market, he says that the Mets could target big bats such as Carlos Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Chase Headley, Giancarlo Stanton, Carl Crawford, Josh Willingham, and Alfonso Soriano. As this outfielder-heavy list suggests, and MLBTR noted earlier today, the Mets appear to be interested in acquiring a premier outfielder.
  • One way or another, Mets fans should prepare for life without a hot-hitting John Buck, writes Daniel Nelson of MetsmerizedOnline.com. If the backstop fails to cool off and return to his historical levels, Nelson believes that the club will likely try to flip him for young talent.
  • Aaron Harang threw 180 innings last year, logging a 3.61 ERA. In 2011, he tossed 170 innings with a 3.64 ERA. Yet the Rockies dumped him to the Mariners right after he was offloaded by the Dodgers. The reason is simple, according to Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner: Harang's worsening walk and strikeout rates make him "basically a worse version of Jon Garland." Of course, Garland joined the Rockies when Seattle let him walk rather than promising a rotation spot.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik addressed the Harang trade, saying that the deal was motivated in large part by Erasmo Ramirez's health issues, tweets Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle. The Seattle GM also noted that, if the 34-year-old Harang is not yet ready to start, he will work out of the bullpen until another starter moves there permanently, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com and Drayer. (Twitter links.)

Quick Hits: Buck, Borbon, Astros, Mets, A’s

After the R.A. Dickey trade, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said the inclusion of John Buck was needed because his club needed to shed the catcher's $6MM salary. However, Mets assistant GM John Ricco told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that Buck was part of the trade package from the beginning and not a late throw-in just even out money in the deal.  Buck is off to a hot start for the 2013 season and if he continues to perform, he'll be a solid contributor for the Mets this season.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • While it's still very preliminary, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter) says that the qualifying offer for the 2013-14 offseason should be right around $14MM.  This past offseason, the qualifying offer was worth a little less at $13.3MM.
  • Julio Borbon could be a worthwhile pickup for the Astros and Mets in the opinion of Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).  Borbon was designated for assignment by the Rangers earlier this evening.
  • In the wake of Josh Reddick's injury, A's skipper Bob Melvin says he is especially grateful for the depth that the club's front office has put in place, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com.

NL Notes: Lohse, Cardinals, Mets

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio predicts Kyle Lohse will sign with either the Brewers or Rangers as one of five moves which will happen this spring (Insider subscription required). Bowden also sees extensions for Adam Wainwright and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Here's the other Senior Circuit news and notes from the first Sunday of Spring Training:


Alderson, Anthopoulos Discuss Dickey Trade

The Mets' trade of R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays became official earlier tonight, and general managers Sandy Alderson and Alex Anthopoulos addressed the media in a conference call (all links go to Twitter)…

  • Anthopoulos "had no idea" he would have this kind of money to spend this offseason (Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reporting).
  • Noah Syndergaard was the last player the Mets insisted on acquiring, according to Anthopoulos (Knobler reporting). By that point, Travis d'Arnaud had been on the table for more than a week.
  • Anthopoulos said that the deal was essentially agreed to by last Thursday (Knobler reporting).
  • The Blue Jays wanted Mike Nickeas in the deal in case of an injury to Josh Thole, so that they can have a backup catcher who has caught Dickey's knuckleball before (via Joel Sherman of the New York Post).
  • The Mets aren't punting 2013 and expect to acquire additional players this offseason, according to Alderson (ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reporting).
  • The Blue Jays initially expressed interest in Dickey about one week prior to the Winter Meetings (via Rubin).
  • Rubin adds that Alderson told d'Arnaud they would "see what happened" following Spring Training, and the GM also noted that d'Arnaud is very close to Major League ready.
  • Alderson stressed that this was a baseball decision rather than a financial decision, and that the team's initial preference was to sign Dickey to an extension (Rubin reporting). Sherman relays that Dickey had several contract offers that would've kept him in New York long-term.
  • Regarding the remainder of the offseason, Alderson says that the team will add a pitcher to whom they can commit a starting role (not just someone to compete with Jenrry Mejia). The team will also look to add catching depth, and is actively pursuing outfielders via free agency and trade (all links to Rubin).
  • Sherman adds that Alderson would like someone with upside similar to their deal with Chris Capuano in 2011. Sherman speculates that Francisco Liriano could match that description.
  • Anthopoulos said he would've walked away from trade negotiations had they thought Dickey's asking price was unreasonable, but they were comfortable with the numbers (via Rubin).
  • John Buck's inclusion and the Mets absorption of his salary came about because the Blue Jays were at their financial limit, according to Anthopoulos (via Rubin).

Blue Jays Working On Trade For R.A. Dickey

After a long day of rumors on Friday, the Blue Jays and Mets are nearing a trade that would send R.A. Dickey to Toronto for top prospect Travis d'Arnaud according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Other players involved in the deal are unconfirmed. Here's the latest on the potential trade…

  • It's currently a 3-for-4 trade according to Sherman (all Twitter links). Dickey, Thole, and a prospect will go to Toronto for d'Arnaud, Syndergaard, John Buck, and a prospect. Sherman says the two unnamed prospects would not be elite guys. He adds that the framework could change since the Blue Jays will send the Mets money to help cover Buck's salary.
  • Martino reports (on Twitter) that Blue Jays pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez has also been discussed.
  • Rubin heard from a source that it's unclear if there will be resolution tonight (Twitter links). A Mets official indicated the same to Puma, saying "there is a lot to this."

Earlier Updates:

  • As of this morning, the deal had four players coming to the Mets and three to the Blue Jays, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter links). Toronto also wants a catcher back in the deal, and that could be Josh Thole. The Mets have discussed getting pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in the deal as well, Puma tweets.
  • The two teams are inching towards the finish line, a source tells Passan (via Twitter). At least some players' medicals have been reviewed and a deal is imminent.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says the two sides have agreed that d'Arnaud can be the centerpiece of the trade after the Mets rejected a Gose/J.P. Arencibia package (all Twitter links). Once they finalize the rest of the players involved, it's believed Dickey will talk about an extension with Toronto.
  • Sherman reports (on Twitter) that Gose is not part of the trade talks for Dickey. The Blue Jays are building a package around d'Arnaud.
  • Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays need to sign Dickey to an extension and receive a top prospect from the Mets if they're going to include d'Arnaud and Gose in the trade.
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post says (on Twitter) the two sides are still working through matters are there is confidence the deal will get done.
  • Dickey has not yet engaged the Blue Jays in contract extension talks, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. He also has yet to be asked to take a physical.
  • The Blue Jays are willing to include d'Arnaud and Anthony Gose in the trade according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Any other names remain unconfirmed.
  • Martino reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays have been reviewing Dickey's medicals since yesterday afternoon.

Blue Jays Notes: Gibbons, Coaches, Payroll, Buck

Earlier today the Blue Jays announced the hiring (or re-hiring) of former manager John Gibbons, though not everyone around the game is impressed by the move according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here's the latest out of Toronto…

  • "I've got more conviction in this hire … than in any other transaction," said GM Alex Anthopoulos of the Gibbons hire according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter) Gibbons received a two-year contract plus an option for a third year, tweets Davidi.
  • The Blue Jays have not yet made any announced about the rest of the coaching staff, but MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm says (on Twitter) they want to take care of that quickly.
  • The team has exceeded payroll expectations, but Anthopoulos reminded everyone that he promised the money would be there when the time was right according to Mike Wilner of The Blue Jays Radio Network (on Twitter).
  • Anthopoulos said he will now focus on improving the team further, specifically mentioning both rotation and bullpen depth, tweets Davidi.
  • John Buck will serve as the backup catcher to J.P. Arencibia according to Anthopoulos, tweets Davidi.