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- Rockies To Promote Jon Gray
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- Dan Haren “Probably” Retiring After 2015 Season
- Cafardo’s Latest: Gray, Iwakuma, Red Sox, Padres
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Jonathan Gray Rumors
The Rockies will promote top pitching prospect Jon Gray to the majors on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link). Gray, a 23-year-old right-hander, will make his Major League debut that evening at Coors Field in a start against the Mariners.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich expressed some caution over Gray’s timeline to the Show earlier this month, saying that he wanted Gray to be fully prepared before coming to Denver, possibly influenced by how Eddie Butler, another Rockies prospect, has struggled since coming to the majors. Given how the Rockies have long been lacking in reliable starting pitching, it’s hard to fault Bridich for being careful with such a vaunted homegrown prospect, though it remains to be seen how Gray will adjust to the unique challenge of Coors Field.
Gray’s impressive performance in July may have swayed Bridich’s mind, as the righty has posted a 2.70 ERA and 43 strikeouts (against just 13 walks) over his last 30 innings for Triple-A Albuquerque. For the season as a whole, Gray has a 4.33 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.68 K/BB rate over 114 1/3 innings; respectable numbers considering it’s his first taste of Triple-A action and the Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly.
Colorado selected Gray with the third overall pick of the 2013 amateur draft and he’s the sixth player from that draft to make the Majors (after Kris Bryant, Marco Gonzales, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Michael Lorenzen and Corey Knebel). A University of Oklahoma product, Gray is a 6’4″, 235-pound righty who the 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook projected as a possible No. 2 starter at the big league level. According to the BA Handbook, Gray owns an above-average changeup, a slider that could also become an above-average out pitch and a booming fastball that touched the 102mph plateau as recently as 2013, though he was working in the 94mph range last season.
Gray entered 2015 ranked highly top-100 prospects lists from MLB.com (#16th), ESPN’s Keith Law (#22) and Baseball America (#24). The midseason BA top-50 prospects list bumped Gray down to 35th, noting that “scouts who have seen Gray wish they saw dominant outings on a more consistent basis.” It’s worth mentioning that this list was released on July 7, prior to much of Gray’s recent strong work.
GM Jeff Bridich won’t say what his plan is at this month’s trade deadline, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the last-place Rockies will be buyers in the conventional sense, based on a lengthy interview with Nick Groke of the Denver Post. “I don’t think we’ll acquire a bunch of guys like LaTroy Hawkins or Rafael Betancourt who are close to or at the end of their careers and on one-year, short-term deals,” Bridich says, also noting that he’s unlikely to trade controllable players like Charlie Blackmon or DJ LeMahieu. Bridich adds that, with the addition of the second Wild Card, many teams are still trying to assess what direction they want to go this month.
Finally, Bridich says that his advocacy of Eddie Butler‘s promotion from the minors last season has made him cautious about promoting 2013 No. 3 overall pick Jon Gray this year. Butler has a 5.25 ERA, 4.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 70 1/. big-league innings so far, poor numbers even in the thin air in Denver. “Honestly, I was the guy who pushed for Eddie Butler to come up last year,” says Bridich. “I felt like he was ready. In hindsight, maybe not the best recommendation in the world.” Here’s more on the Rockies.
- The Rockies’ moves earlier today, in which they promoted Rex Brothers (who was already on their 40-man roster) and designated Aaron Laffey for assignment, could clear roster space for Gray, Groke writes. Groke suggests that Gray could make his big-league debut against the Padres next Friday. The 23-year-old has a 4.58 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 at Albuquerque — not inspiring numbers, but not bad, given how tough it is to pitch there. Gray could replace Gonzalez Germen (a reliever who made a start earlier this week) in the Rockies rotation, and the Rockies will presumably hope for him to provide some innings — they’ve gotten only 12 1/3 innings total from their starters in the past four games.
- Hall of Famer and Colorado native Goose Gossage thinks the Rockies need to completely change their front office, Benjamin Hochman of the Post writes. “I don’t know why they fired Dan O’Dowd and then hired the guy that was under Dan,” says Gossage, referring to Bridich. “When (famed Yankees owner) George Steinbrenner cleaned house, George cleaned house. I think they need a new fresh start, I think it’s stagnant, I think they need an infusion of new blood.”
The Dodgers‘ search for pitching may only intensify with the news that Carlos Frias has been placed on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness. Los Angeles already dipped into its starter depth by installing Frias and Mike Bolsinger into the rotation in place of Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, so all eyes will be on the Dodgers this month to see if they can land another big arm before the trade deadline. Here’s the latest from the NL West…
- The Giants are looking for outfielders and Gerardo Parra and Cameron Maybin are two of the names who have been discussed, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter). In another tweet, Olney notes that the Braves aren’t open to dealing Maybin right now. Outfield had been cited as a possible target spot for San Francisco, though GM Bobby Evans didn’t seem set on obtaining an everyday outfielder since Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki will be expected to resume their regular spots in the lineup when they’re both healthy. In my opinion, I’d think that a left-handed hitting outfielder like Parra could be of particular use in a center field platoon with Angel Pagan, who has struggled badly against right-handed pitching this season (though Pagan has generally fared better against righty arms over his career).
- The Giants have liked Parra “forever,” according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). Parra had spent his entire career prior to August 2014 with the Diamondbacks, however, and Arizona didn’t want to deal the outfielder to a division rival.
- In Olney’s latest Insider-only post, he observes that Zack Greinke‘s big season is putting him in position for a massive free agent payday this winter. “It seems like a foregone conclusion” Greinke will opt out of his Dodgers contract in search of a more lucrative deal, and while he turns 32 in October, Olney believes he’s the type of pitcher with the athleticism, mechanics and pitching know-how to still be very effective as he ages. Andrew Friedman has generally eschewed giving big contracts to older players in his career as an executive, though this could well change now that he runs a high-payroll team.
- The Rockies are again in need of pitching reinforcements, and Nick Groke of the Denver Post wonders if the team could promote top prospect Jon Gray. Troy Tulowitzki and Walt Weiss seem in favor of Gray coming to the bigs soon, though GM Jeff Bridich was more cautious. “Jon Gray is doing a great job right now of learning lessons and evolving at the Triple-A level. So there are things that he needs to do and will continue to do. And we’ll continue to exercise patience with him,” Bridich said. Gray has a 4.88 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and a 2.45 K/BB rate in 90 1/3 Triple-A innings this season — respectable numbers in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
The Padres have “sort of banned the word ‘small-market’ ” in regards to how they both perceive themselves and how they wish to be seen around the league, team co-owner Peter Seidler tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Padres’ busy offseason and second straight year with a payroll in the $100MM range were made possible by increased revenues from Petco Park and national and local TV contracts. Team president/CEO Mike Dee notes that the Padres’ recent spending “should not be looked upon as an aberration. This should not be looked upon as ownership is going for broke. This should be looked upon as ownership is doing what they said they were going to when they bought the team, which is trying to make this a franchise that operates at a very high level.”
Here’s the latest from around the NL West…
- Archie Bradley‘s promotion to the Major Leagues and to the Diamondbacks‘ starting rotation is all but official, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes. Bradley’s strong performance during Spring Training gave the Snakes reason to explore trading Trevor Cahill, eventually sending the veteran righty to the Braves. “If [Bradley] had needed more work, Cahill would still be here,” Tony La Russa said. “Trevor got the attention of a number of clubs, so we started getting calls from different clubs. It wasn’t a question of let’s trade him at some point. It came to a decision of Archie versus Trevor.”
- Speaking of highly-touted young arms in the NL West, Eddie Butler still has a chance to earn a place in the Rockies‘ rotation after his start today, Nick Groke of the Denver Post writes. Jon Gray, the Rockies’ top prospect and one of the top-ranked prospects in all of baseball, will not be starting his MLB career quite yet, as Groke notes in another piece that Gray will begin the season at Triple-A.
- Brian Sabean’s promotion from Giants general manager to VP of baseball operations will allow Sabean to personally scout new talent, he tells reporters (including The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea). This includes players currently in MLB and also international prospects who could become more available thanks to the expanding Cuban market and the possibility of an international draft being instituted. “The international schedule is moving fast. I don’t see enough of our minor-league teams to draw my own conclusions,” Sabean said. “I hardly see any games before the June draft, which I used to do. Selfishly, I’d like to see some guys who could be in play trade-wise and free agents to be. This allows me to be more places.”
Here’s the latest out of the National League …
- The Reds are discussing the possibility of a surgical option for injured hurler Homer Bailey, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. Bailey, playing out the first year of a six-year, $105MM extension, is dealing with a flexor mass tendon strain in his right forearm. It appears that a surgery would have a shorter recovery time than would, say, a UCL replacement, but manager Bryan Price emphasized that the decision would likely be made in relatively short order to avoid undue delay.
- Top Rockies prospect Jon Gray has been shut down after experiencing shoulder fatigue, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. An MRI came back clean, and Gray says that he has felt good in bullpen sessions, which certainly reduces concern. It seems, however, that Colorado is likely to hold their prized righty out of game action until next spring. Presumably, Gray — and fellow top young arm Eddie Butler — will have a chance to join the Rockies rotation early next year.
- Results on recent trades have not favored the Diamondbacks, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Though most of the deals have not been disastrous, in Piecoro’s estimation, the failed Justin Upton swap has had lingering negative effects — and now looks worse than it did after the one-year mark. At present, the Braves have achieved an additional 5.3 rWAR and 7.3 fWAR from their end of the deal (Upton and Chris Johnson), as against the production of the since-traded Martin Prado and Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, and Nick Ahmed. As Piecoro notes, there is still some time for the tally to creep back in Arizona’s favor, particularly since prospects Brandon Drury and Peter O’Brien (the latter of whom was obtained for Prado) still could provide value.
MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark doesn't expect the Collective Bargaining Agreement to be reopened before its 2016 expiration to address issues with the qualifying offer system, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. "It’s very difficult to open up a CBA," said Clark. "Suffice it to say, if there are issues during the course of any agreement, we continue to have discussions that may not require the CBA be to opened up, making sure that whatever the concerns are, whatever the issues are, and if they can be discussed in some more formal fashion, so be it, but more often than not, come 2016 when we have an opportunity to sit down is when we’ll do so." Last night, Aaron Steen asked MLBTR readers about the qualifying offer and nearly 47% want to tweak the QO while 25% want to eliminate it entirely.
In National League news and notes on Oscar Sunday:
- With the ink barely dry on Homer Bailey's six-year, $105MM contract extension, the Reds will be in the same situation with starters Mat Latos, Mike Leake, and Johnny Cueto next year. Owner Bob Castellini told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay the team wants to retain all three. "We’re going to try to sign all these guys," Castellini said. "Whether we can or not, I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball."
- Castellini also told Fay he is not pleased with the media's coverage of the Reds' offseason because it has had an adverse affect on the team's revenues. "That season-ticket number is the most important number we can generate," said Castellini. "We knew we wanted to sign Homer. We knew we were going to make some other commitments. It’s not that we didn’t look. It gets written in such a way – 'Well, the Reds aren’t doing anything' – that really does affect people buying season tickets." Castellini provided Fay with details of the club's revenue generated through ticket sales, sponsorships, and the national TV contract adding neither he nor any of the other principal owners or investors have ever taken money out of the franchise.
- Last month, the Braves gave Jason Heyward a two-year, $13.3MM contract. In two years, the perfect storm of baseball's economics, Heyward's age, and actions taken by the Braves will set the 24-year-old up for a huge payday on a likely barren free agent market, according to Mike Petriello of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece (subscription required).
- With mixed reviews to date, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez made his Spring Training debut yesterday. Phillies GM Ruban Amaro Jr. was upbeat about what he saw, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "He probably threw better with his stuff as far as his velocity and breaking ball since he's been in camp," Amaro said. "I was encouraged that his stuff was better than it had been in his sides. And hopefully it will continue to progress in a positive way." Pitching coach Bob McClure added (as quoted by Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Inquirer), "I saw a very competitive (guy), and that is what I was really hoping for. And he might be one of those guys that’s not the best practice player, but you put him in a game and he competes." Reports surfaced last week Gonzalez could open the season in the minors.
- Solid pitching will be key to any improvement the Rockies hope to make this season. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick focuses on young starters Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler while the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck examines the Rockies' adherence to pitch counts to protect their starting rotation and the corresponding reliance on their bullpen, which could be called upon to record 10 or 11 outs every game.
Earlier today it was reported that the Rockies are one of the teams that has checked in on Ike Davis, but according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, that's just one of many avenues the team is looking into in an attempt to fill the void left by Todd Helton's retirement. Colorado has also checked in on free agents James Loney, Justin Morneau and Mike Napoli and also has some degree of interest in Mike Morse (Twitter links). More news on the boys from Denver…
- In regards to the Rockies' previously reported interest in Brian Wilson, Renck tweets that the team will need to pay closer money to secure the Beard's services in 2014.
- MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby spoke with senior VP of Major League operations Bill Geivett, who reiterated that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez will not be traded this winter. The Rockies feel that they are close to contention and are focused on adding good players as opposed to subtracting them, writes Ringolsby. He quotes Geivett: "We spent 33 days in first place and (42) more in second place last year. Things have to happen, but it's not that far."
- Finding a bat to replace Helton is the team's "No. 1 priority" writes Ringolsby, and their preference is to fill it with a left-handed bat, which would bode well for Loney and Morneau.
- Ringolsby also notes that the team can't ignore the black hole in the fifth slot in the rotation. The Rockies went 62-50 in games started by one of Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood or Juan Nicasio. In their 50 games started by a combination of seven others, Colorado was 12-38, Ringolsby points out. They could look to add two starting options in an effort to upgrade over Nicasio as well.
- Finally from Ringolsby, neither 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Gray or 2012 supplemental-rounder Eddie Butler will open 2014 in the Majors, though each could be up as early as May 1 if need be. That seems to be a particularly aggressive timeline for Gray, who threw just 24 innings at High-A last season.
The Rockies signed first-round pick Jonathan Gray to a $4.8MM deal, tweets Jim Callis of Baseball America. The right-hander's deal is about $826K less than the suggested slot value for the No. 3 overall pick, according to BA's list of the assigned pick values for the first ten rounds. He is advised by BBI Sports Group.
Gray, who comes out of Oklahoma University's program was the top-ranked talent in the draft according to Baseball America, second according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and third according to ESPN's Keith Law. Gray was widely projected as either the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the draft but fell to third when the Cubs threw everyone a minor curveball and drafted Kris Bryant.
The 6'4", 245-pounder spent the season as the Sooners' Friday starter, flashing a fastball that hit triple digits and showing the ability to maintain that velocity deep into his outings. His slider is considered by BA, Mayo and Law to be a plus pitch as well.
Gray was the source of some minor controversy just days before the draft when it was reported that he tested positive for Adderall. There was some speculation at the time that the failed test could cause his bonus demands to drop, though it's not clear if that test is the reason he signed an under-slot deal. Cubs scouting director Jason McLeod said after the draft that the test didn't play a role in their decision to select Bryant over Gray. With this agreement, Gray becomes the 10th first-round selection from this year's draft class to sign.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Jonathan Gray, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, is in Denver and expected to complete a deal with the Rockies today, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). The assigned pick value of the No. 3 overall slot is $5,626,400, according to Baseball America.
Gray, a right-hander out of Oklahoma University, is advised by BBI Sports Group. The 6'4", 245-pounder was the top-ranked talent in the draft according to Baseball America, second according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo and third according to ESPN's Keith Law. Nearly every mock draft from experts around the Internet had Gray coming off the board with one of the first two picks.
Gray spent the season as the Sooners' Friday starter, flashing a fastball that hit triple digits and showing the ability to maintain that velocity deep into his outings. His slider is considered by BA, Mayo and Law to be a plus pitch as well.
With the first round of the 2013 draft in the books, here's a look at the latest news on this year's top picks..
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters, including Alyson Footer of MLB.com (via Twitter) Houston viewed Mark Appel as the pick to beat throughout the scouting year and never saw a player who became more appealing than the right-hander.
- Luhnow went on to say that the Astros won't rush Appel to the big leagues and there's no timetable for when he could eventually make his way up to the varsity squad (Twitter links).
- Cubs scouting director Jason McLeod wasn't bothered by Jonathan Gray's positive test for Adderall, according to Meghan Montemurro of The Northwest Herald (Twitter link). The Cubs, of course, selected Kris Bryant with the No. 2 pick.
- Red Sox's first round pick Trey Ball sounds like he's ready to join the Red Sox rather than attend the University of Texas based on this quote from Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal (viaTwitter). "Anything can happen, but I feel that Boston is right for me," said the left-hander, who was taken with the No. 7 pick.
- A's pick Billy McKinney says that the Yankees, Rangers, and Giants also expressed interest in him, tweets Paul Gutierrez of CSNCalifornia.com.