John Lannan Rumors
In case you missed it over the weekend, the Braves inked Cuban backstop Yenier Bello to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. Bello is likely ticketed to begin his career here in the minors, but he adds some critical catcher depth to the Braves, who of course lost Brian McCann to the Yankees this offseason. More from the NL East to kick off your Monday morning...
- Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig (Twitter link) that Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are the favorites to win the fifth spot in his rotation. MLB.com's Marty Noble writes that Collins is still considering Jenrry Mejia, though the youngster is more likely to be used in a long relief role out of Spring Training. Noble writes that the Mets feel that role would allow Mejia to continue to build arm strength and can also serve as a developmental tool.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin writes that Mike Piazza is in Mets camp to serve as a special instructor but says he's not looking to get into coaching on a full-time basis anytime soon. Piazza says he has a seven-month old son, so his focus appears to be on his family. Travis d'Arnaud calls Piazza's tutelage "a dream," as the Long Beach, Calif. native grew up idolizing Piazza as a Dodgers fan.
- New Phillies hurler A.J. Burnett made his Spring Training debut over the weekend, and it came against his former club, the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Burnett himself both told Biertempfel that there was nothing weird about Burnett pitching against the Bucs instead of for them, and neither hinted at any ill will. Hurdle simply called the change "part of the game," and Burnett offered nothing but respect for his former club.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark writes that although the Braves lost Tim Hudson to the Giants via free agency, talk that the club lacks an ace is overblown, as Kris Medlen has developed into that type of pitcher for the team. Assistant GM John Coppolella said of Medlen: "Look, the fact that he’s not 6 feet tall and that fact that he doesn't throw 95 [mph] makes it seem like he’s not a power guy, but he’s very good with what he does. ... He’s a huge part of our staff. And we hope he will be for a long time."
Here are some notes from around the game's eastern divisions:
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos hopes his club can benefit from the qualifying offer system given its array of draft picks, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. With two protected first rounders, the Jays would stand to lose only a second-round choice by signing a free agent who comes burdened with draft pick compensation. "It's significant," said Anthopoulos. "I think if we had to give up a first round pick, it would changes thngs in a significant manner. I think that's where the draft pick compensation component is impacting some of these clubs." Though he said that "there's still value with the second round pick ... and you still build that into an offer," Anthopoulos explained that "it's not close to the value of round one."
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is "still looking for more players," reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, but emphasized that he likes the club as currently constituted. "I think we've spent the fifth-most of any team in Major League Baseball on free agents this offseason," said Alderson. "And we might do something else before Spring Training starts."
- Meanwhile, two New York starting pitching options -- the recently signed John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka -- have opt-out provisions in their contracts, Rubin reports. Lannan has a June 14 date in his deal, while Matsuzaka has the standard Type XX(B) contract (for minor league free agents with six-plus years of service), which includes a June 1 opt-out.
- The Phillies should act on their reported interest in free agent starter A.J. Burnett, opines Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. With Roberto Hernandez a puzzling addition and international signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez still a "huge wild card," in Zolecki's view, the Phils should go hard for Burnett unless the club really does not believe it is a likely contender.
- We heard earlier today that the Orioles and Rays are also possible contender's for Burnett's services.
- The Orioles are interested in bringing back Jason Hammel, but probably are not his likely landing spot since they would not guarantee him a starting role, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore executive VP Dan Duquette also acknowledged that "it would be nice" if the club could announce a significant addition at the team's fan event on Saturday, but of course emphasized that the event would not sway the decisionmaking.
- Baltimore announced a pair of international signings: 17-year-old Mexican Carlos Diaz and 16-year-old Dominican Jomar Reyes. As MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reports (Twitter links), both teenagers are expected to start out in the Gulf Coast League. Duquette said that multiple other clubs were involved, and labeled Diaz and Reyes as "potential everyday major league players that can hit in the middle of the lineup." The indicated said that the two received "substantial" bonuses, Connolly reports on Twitter.
TUESDAY: Lannan will make $1.5MM if he reaches the bigs, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter), and could earn an additional $2MM in incentives tied to innings pitched and games started. He can opt out on June 14 if he is not put on the MLB roster within 24 hours, Sherman adds.
SATURDAY: The Mets have signed lefty starting pitcher John Lannan to a minor-league deal with a spring training invitation, according to a team release. Lannan, who is represented by CAA Sports. He'll provide depth for the Mets' rotation.
Lannan posted a 5.33 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 74 1/3 innings for the Phillies in 2013. He would have been eligible for arbitration, but the Phillies outrighted him in October. The longtime Nationals pitcher has a 4.12 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 858 lifetime innings.
FRIDAY, 9:26am: The Phillies announced that Lannan has elected free agency after being outrighted.
THURSDAY, 6:59pm: The Phillies have outrighted pitcher John Lannan, according to the team. Lannan pitched 74 1/3 innings for the Phils in 2013, posting a 5.33 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. A knee injury ended his season in August.
Lannan agreed to a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Phillies after being non-tendered by the Nationals last offseason. He would have been eligible for arbitration again this offseason as a fourth-year Super Two. For his career, Lannan has a 4.12 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9, but he still ended up pitching much of the 2012 season in the minors while still in the Nationals organization.
Catching figures to be a major priority for the Phillies this season with Carlos Ruiz eligible for free agency and top catching prospect Tommy Joseph having endured a lost season as a result of concussion issues. However, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com provides an in-depth look at the Phils' catching depth beyond Joseph, noting that Cameron Rupp has already reached the Majors. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan tells Salisbury that he's also very excited about 2013 second-rounder Andrew Knapp, and a rival scout familiar with the Phillies' system was particularly enthusiastic about Dominican prospect Deivi Grullon. Here's more on Ruiz and the Phillies...
- Ruiz would like to return to Philadelphia, writes Salisbury in a separate piece, and the organization has taken note of his recent surge at the plate, with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stating that Ruiz looks far more relaxed. Pitching coach Rich Dubee, who knows Ruiz quite well, feels that Ruiz is best limited to 100 games behind the plate at this point in his career, however.
- Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus writes that Darin Ruf is exceeding expectations of scouts and talent evaluators with his production at the big league level so far. Lindbergh's piece includes an excellent interview with Ruf, conducted last week, in which Ruf discusses what scouts thought of him, his limitations on the field and his journey from senior sign/20th-round pick to a potential long-term asset for the Phillies. "I’m probably a bad person to ask prospect-type questions because, I don’t know, I never was one," Ruf candidly replied at one point in the interview.
- Roy Halladay and Kyle Kendrick will force the Phils to make tough decisions this offseason, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The Phillies have four more starts to evaluate Halladay's progress from shoulder surgery, but as Amaro noted to Zolecki, it's possible that Doc won't be at full strength until next spring. Amaro and his staff will have to decide whether or not to bring Halladay back on an incentive-laden deal or seek a more certain commodity.
- Likewise, the decision on whether or not to tender Kendrick a contract that could approach $8MM via arbitration is no easy decision. Kendrick has never been on the disabled list, Zolecki noted in a different piece, a trait that would make him desirable to other teams should the Phillies non-tender him and try to sign him for less money. Dubee agreed: "If something doesn't happen here, I'm sure there's going to be plenty of seekers. He's durable. He hasn't missed a start all year. Those guys are highly sought."
- Zolecki also adds that left-hander John Lannan is likely to be non-tendered by the Phils this offseason following surgery on his left knee.
In an interview with CSNPhilly.com's Leslie Gudel, outgoing Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke frankly about the talent he was given to work with over the last two seasons. Asked whether he had the pieces to win over 2012-13, Manuel left no question of his feelings: "No. I can straight-face tell you that." He says he "always figured we'd add the pieces and things like that," as the team had in years past. "They always went out and they always got pieces and they always put them on our team and gave us a good opportunity to win. They put us in a good position to win and it was up to us to do that." More out of Philly ...
- Starter Roy Halladay says that, while he respects Manuel, a change was needed. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Halladay thinks that interim manager Ryne Sandberg will "bring back a little more of the Philly baseball style than we've had the last couple of years." According to the veteran righty, "We haven't had that whole team effort, that whole team hustle. ... Guys being at places on time; being on the field on time; taking ground balls; taking extra BP. All of those little things that nobody thinks makes a difference."
- Indeed, Sandberg has already announced his presence by calling out veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Gelb reports. "Is he stubborn or [has he] created habits that are hard to change?" queried Sandberg. "I've seen him practice. And what he practices, he takes into the game. I believe there is some tweaking there as far as practice habits and what he practices."
- Meanwhile, Halladay himself took the hill for an important rehab start tonight. Reviews were not promising, with CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reporting (via Twitter) that Halladay managed only 52 strikes in 90 pitches, allowing seven hits and three walks while striking out four. According to Salisbury, also via Twitter, Halladay "does not look ready." Gelb concurred with that assessment, though he noted that Halladay seems determined to start for the Phils on Sunday. (Twitter links.) For more details on Halladay's evening, see this piece from David Murphy, Gelb's colleague with the Inquirer.
- Another Philadelphia starter is headed in the opposite direction, with Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reporting that John Lannan will be shut down for the season and is likely headed for surgery. Assistant GM Scott Proefrock said that he believes Lannan "ruptured [a] tendon" in his left knee. Already a non-tender candidate, the 28-year-old struggled to a 5.33 ERA over 74 1/3 innings in his first year in Philadelphia and could be left looking for a minor league deal for 2014.
MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Rangers, the Indians and offseason qualifying offers on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings Podcast. Click here to listen in. Here are some news items from around the baseball world...
- The Mets are one of three teams interested in right-hander Kip Wells, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich. Wells, 35, posted a 4.58 ERA, a 4.6 K/9 rate and a 4.8 BB/9 rate in seven starts for the Padres last season, the first time Wells had pitched in the Majors since 2009. Wells has pitched for nine different clubs over his 12-year career.
- Ian Kinsler has reversed course and told Rangers management that he would prefer to remain at second base, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Kinsler said he was open to a position change back in November but has since decided that he isn't comfortable moving off second at this point in his career. Had Kinsler been willing to move to first base, Texas could have explored using Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus as the team's double-play combo.
- The incentive details of Mike Adams' and John Lannan's contracts with the Phillies are outlined by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Nate Robertson is looking for a spot in a Major League training camp as a left-handed relief specialist, Robertson's agent Steve Canter tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The 35-year-old Robertson's last Major League appearance came in 2010 and he has spent the last two seasons pitching in the minors for the Mariners, Cubs and Blue Jays. Robertson could find success as a specialist given that he has held left-handed hitters to a .695 OPS over his nine-year career.
- Shaun Marcum is still without a team and Fangraphs' Mike Axisa examines why the market for the free agent right-hander has yet to develop. Marcum was ranked as the 19th-best free agent of the offseason by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes earlier this winter, though three players higher on the list than Marcum (Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse and Rafael Soriano) are also still available.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has the list of minor league transactions from the first week of January.
- Mike Trout unsurprisingly headlines the list of the 25 best players under the age of 25 as compiled by ESPN's Keith Law. Trout and the other three players atop Law's list delivered a historically great performance that compares to the all-time best quartets of young hitters, as noted by ESPN's Dave Cameron. (An ESPN Insider subscription is required for both pieces.)
The Phillies have agreed to sign left-hander John Lannan to a one-year, $2.5MM contract, the team announced today. The deal includes another $2.5M in bonuses according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (all Twitter links). Lannan is represented by Brodie Van Wagenen at CAA Sports.
“Clearly we have a familiarity with John and his past performance and success in this division helps us add depth to our rotation,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The pitching-rich Nationals non-tendered the 28-year-old Lannan last month rather than pay a projected $5MM in his third trip through arbitration. He spent most of last season in Triple-A (4.30 ERA in 148 2/3 innings) despite a $5MM salary, though he did make six big league starts for Washington (4.13 ERA in 32 2/3 innings).
Lannan, a four-pitch finesse left-hander, brings reliability to the Phillies rotation. He's thrown at least 180 total innings in each of the last five seasons and has a career 53.0% ground ball rate, which is well-above-average. He won't miss many bats though (career 4.7 K/9). Philadelphia was reportedly seeking a low-risk starter after trading Vance Worley for Ben Revere, and Lannan qualifies.
Because he was non-tendered in November, Lannan did not qualify for Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agents List.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com first reported the agreement (on Twitter). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed suitors for Zack Greinke and the developing infield market on the latest Rosters and Rumblings podcast. Click here to listen in. Read on for some free agent notes...
- Agent Scott Boras seemingly took shots at Boston's Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli signings in his explanation of closer Rafael Soriano's demands, telling reporters including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, "We're seeing mid-level players make $13 million a year. The value of a closer, you would have to argue, has historically been more valuable than what you see in mid-level players." Apparently in reference to Tigers' plan to use Bruce Rondon, Boras said, "You can count on one hand the number of closers under the age of 23 that have ever gone to the big leagues and put together 30 saves, let alone pitch in the postseason and be effective." It has actually only happened twice, with Neftali Feliz in 2010 and Huston Street in 2006. If we include age-23 seasons, seven more stoppers join the list and Feliz appears again.
- Jim Thome remains undecided on whether to play in 2013, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- 11 teams have expressed interest in free agent lefty John Lannan for potential Major League jobs, hears Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The 28-year-old has drawn interest from the Mets, Twins, and Pirates, based on previous reports.
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.