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John Mayberry Jr. Rumors
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.
First basemen who “are available” to be traded include the Yankees’ Kelly Johnson, the Phillies’ John Mayberry Jr., the Nationals’ Tyler Moore and the Pirates’ Gaby Sanchez, sources tell Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Johnson and Sanchez are new additions to the rumor mill, while Mayberry and Moore have both been recently cited as possible trade chips.
The quartet is cited in the context of Mitch Moreland‘s season-ending ankle surgery, leaving the Rangers dealing with yet another major injury. Despite losing a host of notable players to the DL, Texas is still just 2.5 games behind Seattle for the last AL wild card slot, and could still be looking to make additions down the stretch. Texas had previously had exploratory talks with the Nationals about Moore, though MLB.com’s Bill Ladson noted those talks weren’t serious.
Johnson has played 23 games at first for the Yankees this season, though he has spent the large majority of his career as a second baseman (plus some time at third and in left field). Despite Yangervis Solarte‘s emergence, the Yankees’ infield depth is still thin, so it would be somewhat surprising to see New York move a versatile player like Johnson elsewhere. Johnson is still owed roughly $1.845MM from the one-year, $3MM deal he signed with the Yankees last winter.
Sanchez was the subject of some trade rumors last year, though he remained with the Bucs as the right-handed hitting half of a first base platoon. While he has a solid .255/.303/.510 slash line with five homers in 109 PA this year, Sanchez has made almost twice as many plate appearances against righties as he has against lefties since the Pirates have faced an unusually large amount of right-handed starters; Pittsburgh hitters as a whole have made only 366 PA against lefties in 2014, by far the lowest in the majors. Sanchez has a career .903 OPS against southpaws against just a .700 OPS against righties, so he could certainly provide a contender with a useful part-time or bench bat.
Rangers first basemen have combined for -0.9 fWAR this season, and five other teams (the Twins, Astros, Indians, Royals and Mariners) have also received sub-replacement level production from their first basemen.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ran down the 20 best stories in baseball, starting with the worst-to-first (so far) Blue Jays. Toronto has gotten great hitting out of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Lind and great pitching from Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Drew Hutchison. Now, it remains to be seen whether the Blue Jays will be willing to part with Hutchison in a deal for Cubs‘ ace Jeff Samardzija. More from today’s column..
- The Red Sox and Rangers have the most to offer the Cubs for Samardzija, followed by the Giants. Of course, Cubs president Theo Epstein is quite familiar with the Red Sox’s farm system. The Cubs need pitching, but Boston will definitely not part with lefthander Henry Owens. If that’s not a deal breaker, the Sox have other pitchers like Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa that they can offer. Cafardo guesses that it would take two of them, plus perhaps a catcher, to pry Samardzija loose.
- With the Diamondbacks likely out of the race by the deadline, Cafardo says that we should look for veteran Bronson Arroyo to change uniforms again. Arroyo isn’t a shutdown guy, but he’s an experienced starter who could solidify the back of a rotation, particularly for an NL team.
- The Phillies have made John Mayberry Jr. available and Cafardo writes that the Red Sox could be interested. The Phillies have been scouting the Sox for a third straight series and are looking at Boston as a possible trade partner.
The Nationals announced earlier this week that lefty Ross Detwiler would begin this season in the bullpen, though many had pegged him to be the favorite for the final rotation spot. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Detwiler was initially angry with the move, but has now become accepting of his role. Rosenthal spoke with a scout who thinks that Detwiler can become a dominant left-handed reliever in the mold of Jeremy Affeldt. (Twitter links.) Here's more from the NL East …
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that the Phillies have made John Mayberry Jr. available in trades (Twitter link). Reports in January indicated that Mayberry could be shopping Spring Training, and more recent reports have suggested that the Astros are interested in Mayberry as a potential first base option.
- Two other important developments occurred today with respect to the Phillies' bench. The club announced that utility man Freddy Galvis has been diagnosed with a MRSA infection while first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf has a grade 1-2 oblique strain. As MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports (here and here), Galvis has been hospitalized and has no timeframe given the nature of the affliction, while Ruf is expected to be out for four to six weeks. With the club's projected Opening Day DL growing, there are clear roster implications, Zolecki writes. Needless to say, a Mayberry trade may be tough to cover.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson profiles Nationals right-hander Chris Young and his comeback from injury after thinking his career was finished in 2013. Ladson writes that right shoulder pain had plagued Young so much over the past four years that he was unable to sleep on the right side of his bed. However, Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih and the Syracuse medical staff believed that the problem was not in Young's shoulder, recommending that he see a specialist in St. Louis. Young learned that he actually had thoracic outlet syndrome, and after undergoing surgery to alleviate the ailment, he is throwing free and easy. Nats pitching coach said Young's fastball is back up to 87 mph — close to the 88.7 mph he averaged in 2007 when he posted a 3.12 ERA.
- Meanwhile, young righty Blake Treinen has made a late push for a rotation slot with the Nationals, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. One of the young arms received in the Michael Morse deal (along with A.J. Cole and the since-dealt Ian Krol), Treinen would require the team to clear a 40-man spot to break camp.
- One possible route to opening a slot on the roster would be to deal the versatile Jeff Kobernus, writes Kilgore. The speedy 25-year-old would draw trade interest, a scout says. Kobernus played in center today, which Kilgore says could have been intended to showcase him for other clubs.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
While the Pirates have been linked to nearly every first baseman on the market, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports (via Twitter) that the Astros are also calling clubs about potentially available first basemen. Stark says Houston has placed calls on Mike Carp, John Mayberry and Tyler Moore, though he classifies each of the three as an "unlikely fit."
That the Astros are seeking a first baseman is a bit curious, given top prospect Jonathan Singleton's presence at Triple-A. He figures to be their long-term solution at the position, though none of the three listed by Stark is exactly the type of player who would block Singleton once he's ready for the Majors. This isn't the first we've heard of the Astros looking for first basemen this winter, however, as James Loney said that Houston made him a similar offer to the one he accepted from the Rays.
Carp was a key part of Boston's roster with a strong 2013 in which he slashed .296/.362/.523 with nine homers in a platoon capacity (he has long struggled against left-handed pitching). The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo recently pegged him as a trade candidate, however, given a possible roster crunch. Mayberry and Moore seem like the types that would be more available in a trade, as neither has a clearly defined role on his respective team. In late January, it was reported that Mayberry could be moved in Spring Training. Going further back, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported in December that the Astros could be interested in Moore as a first base option.
For the time being, some combination of Jesus Guzman and Chris Carter figures to hold down the first base job in Houston while Singleton develops. The club also has Japhet Amador in camp as a non-roster invitee.
TheScore.com's Drew Fairservice examines the likely arbitration trial the Braves will undergo with closer Craig Kimbrel, noting that it's difficult to imagine the Braves coming out on top of that hearing. Fairservice points out a number of Kimbrel's feats, including the fact that he has the lowest ERA and highest strikeout in history for a pitcher with 200+ games as well as the lowest ERA ever for a reliever through his first four seasons. More from baseball's Eastern divisions…
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that it makes little sense for Fernando Rodney to go to the Mets. Team insiders tell Martino that Bobby Parnell has been assured the ninth inning is his, so Rodney would likely only pitch as the closer in the event of a setback in Parnell's recovery or further injury.
- Also from Martino, the Yankees haven't had any talk with Rodney since one "very preliminary" discussion back in November. While the team is aware of its bullpen holes, a Major League source tells Martino that they lack the payroll flexibility to address the 'pen after signing Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees are hoping that Dellin Betances can serve as a power reliever, Martino adds.
- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will have many decisions on his hands in Spring Training as he looks to sort out the team's bench, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sandberg said Freddy Galvis is a lock for the bench, and Gelb notes that Wil Nieves' $1.1MM salary makes him the likely backup catcher. Beyond that, there are no certainties. Gelb writes that John Mayberry could be traded in Spring Training, and the team would prefer a left-handed bat to back up Ben Revere in center.
- General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. also told Gelb that the Phillies do not have any standing Major League offers to free agents at this time.
- In response to David Ortiz's comments that he would play elsewhere if he couldn't work out a multi-year deal with the Red Sox, second baseman Dustin Pedroia told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that the team should give Ortiz "whatever he wants." Pedroia spoke not only about how productive Ortiz is, but how much he likes Ortiz's passion and attitude as well as what Big Papi means to the team.
- Pedroia also told Bradford that he "hates" the business side of baseball and is glad he doesn't have to worry about it for the rest of his career. On a related note, he said he doesn't fault Jacoby Ellsbury for signing with the Yankees: "He got an offer he couldn’t refuse. I don’t think anyone would fault him for going where he went and that’s that. I’m happy for him. That guy, he played his butt off for us. We won two championships together."
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).
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Though he's signed Major League contracts with the Reds and Angels in free agency over the past two offseasons, right-hander Ryan Madson has never thrown a pitch in the big leagues for a team other than the Phillies. That may not necessarily have to change this year, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that there's mutual interest from the two sides in a reunion.
Madson inked a one-year, $8.5MM deal with the Reds in the 2011-12 offseason but underwent Tommy John surgery that spring and missed the entire 2012 campaign. He turned around and signed a one-year, $3.5MM contract with the Angels last winter, but setbacks in his rehab continually pushed back his expected return date and ultimately led to his release.
Now 33 years old, Madson hasn't thrown a pitch for a Major League team since Oct. 7, 2011 — Game 5 of the NLDS. Madson punched out Daniel Descalso and Nick Punto in the ninth inning of a 1-0 loss (the Cardinals had taken the lead in the first inning). It seems impossible to think that Madson hasn't toed the rubber in a Major League game since that day, but that is indeed the case.
A return to Philadelphia would mean a return to the city in which Madson broke out as one of the game's best relievers. From 2007-11, Madson posted a 2.89 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 329 2/3 innings out of the Phils' bullpen, racking up 49 saves along the way, including 32 in 2011 — his lone season as the team's primary closer. Any negotiating will be handled by Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal of All Bases Covered Sports Management, as Madson left the Boras Corporation this past October.
Madson could be looking at a minor league deal after missing the past two seasons. If he secures a Major League contract from a club, it figures to be heavily incentive-laden with a minimal guarantee — perhaps $1MM or so. He'd be a nice upside addition to a Phillies bullpen that likely still needs some help even after the acquisition of Brad Lincoln.
Within that same piece, Salisbury notes that John Mayberry Jr. remains "very much available" after being in play at the Winter Meetings. The Giants showed some interest at that time, he reports, but they've since signed Mike Morse. Salisbury believes that Mayberry was tendered a contract with the intention of trading him and notes that teams will keep an eye on him in Spring Training if he hasn't ben moved by that point.
The Braves have signed right-hander Yunesky Maya to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deports. The 32-year-old Cuban hurler never lived up to expectations with the Nationals, posting just a 4.17 ERA in 464 minor league innings and a 5.80 ERA in 59 frames at the big league level. Elsewhere in the NL East…
- The Nationals have discussed Jerry Blevins with the Athletics, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. However, James Wagner of the Washington Post adds that it was the Nats who reached out to the A's, and Oakland is said to be happy with its bullpen (Twitter link).
- Former manager Davey Johnson rarely utilized infield shifts, but Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com writes that defensive shifts will be a point of emphasis under new manager Matt Williams. Kolko quotes Williams as saying his club will have defensive meetings every day.
- Despite tendering John Mayberry a contract, the Phillies are seeking an upgrade over the soon-to-be 30-year-old as they look to add a right-handed bat with better defense in cente field, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Marlins have checked in on Delmon Young, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, who notes that Rosenthal has previously reported that Young has worked out at first base (Twitter link).
Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has been considered a non-tender candidate in many circles, but even after signing Marlon Byrd, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to be leaning toward retaining him. "He's not a issue for me. We haven't made any final decisions. But I'd view him as a tender," Amaro said today of Mayberry, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mayberry is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career, having amassed three years and 95 days of big league service time.
Mayberry, 30 in December, hit .227/.286/.391 in 384 plate appearances this year. A right-handed hitter, he has continually shown power against southpaws. Matt Swartz projects him at a $1.7MM salary for 2014. The Phillies' arbitration class also includes Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Ben Revere, and Kevin Frandsen.
MLBTR published its list of non-tender candidates last Thursday.