Jonathan Herrera Rumors

Cubs Sign Jonathan Herrera

The Cubs announced their list of non-roster invitees to big league Spring Training today, and among the list of previously reported minor league deals was the signing of infielder Jonathan Herrera.

The 30-year-old Herrera spent last season with the Red Sox — his only career season not spent in a Rockies uniform. In 104 plate appearances with Boston, Herrera batted .233/.307/.289, though he entered the 2014 campaign as a .265/.325/.332 hitter in 1109 plate appearances. While some may assume he posted stronger numbers at Coors Field than on the road, his production at and away from Coors was largely the same; he’s a career .266/.331/.340 hitter in Denver.

Herrera will provide the Cubs with some versatile infield depth, as he’s logged significant Major League innings at each of second base, third base and shortstop. Following the departure of Luis Valbuena in the Dexter Fowler trade, Herrera should provide the Cubs with an option at three infield positions and give competition to Arismendy Alcantara. He also gives Chicago an alternative to Mike Olt if they wish to open the season with top prospect Kris Bryant in the minors for a three weeks or so in order to delay his free agency by a year.

Red Sox Outright Herrera; Rivero Claimed By Mariners

The Red Sox announced today that infielder Jonathan Herrera has been outrighted off the 40-man roster and will elect free agency. Additionally, infielder Carlos Rivero has been claimed off waivers by the Mariners, according to the Red Sox.

Herrera, who turns 30 years old today, batted .233/.307/.289 in 104 plate appearances with Boston after being acquired last offseason in exchange for lefty Franklin Morales and right-hander Chris Martin. The versatile switch-hitter played all four infield positions for the Red Sox  and is a lifetime .263/.324/.329 hitter in 1213 plate appearances — all of which came with the Rockies with the exception of this year’s stint with Boston.

Rivero, 26, made his Major League debut for the Sox in 2014 and went 4-for-7 with a homer and a pair of doubles. That burst of production doesn’t really line up with the .280/.333/.394 batting line that Rivero has compiled in four seasons at the Triple-A level, but he’s shown quite a bit of versatility by appearing at shortstop, third base, left field and first base throughout his minor league career. Rivero has previously spent time with the Indians and Nationals in addition to the Sox.

AL East Notes: Venditte, Beeston, Blue Jays, Herrera

Yankees farmhand Pat Venditte is hoping to have a chance to be the first major leaguer to regularly employ a switch-pitching approach, as Newsday’s Jim Baumbach writes. Just like a switch-hitter, Venditte chooses which arm he’ll use to achieve the platoon advantage. (A rule crafted with him in mind requires the pitcher to choose which side he will throw from, with switch-hitting batters then permitted to pick a side of the box.) Venditte has been quite effective; he owns a 2.49 career ERA in the minors. This year, he dominated at Double-A before getting bumped to Triple-A, where he has a 3.75 ERA over 48 frames with 8.6 K/9 against just 2.8 BB/9. Across both levels, he has held righties to a .668 OPS, with lefties posting a meager .512 mark against his sidearm offerings (a mid-80s heater and a slider, one from each side).

Here’s more from the American League East:

  • While Blue Jays watchers tend to have focused on the standing of GM Alex Anthopoulos, who reportedly will stay on past the present season, an even more important situation to watch is that of CEO Paul Beeston, writes Shi Davidi of Beeston’s contract is said to be expiring this year, says Davidi, and other organizational changes signal that change could be afoot.
  • Blue Jays righty Chad Jenkins has been one of several Toronto players to shuttle constantly between the majors and Triple-A this year, writes Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. The Jays have been the most active team in the league this year in optioning and recalling players, but Anthopoulos says that has resulted from an effort to avoid straining players on the major league roster. “We definitely haven’t used the waiver wire much this year,” Anthopoulos explained, “but we have consciously optioned players back and forth to avoid DL placements. That has absolutely been by design. … All players, especially relievers, realize that when the pen has been used a lot, those with options get sent out to protect the entire group, including the player being optioned.”
  • Red Sox utilityman Jonathan Herrera will undergo season-ending surgery to deal with bone chips in his elbow, tweets Alex Speier of The 29-year-old, who came over from the Rockies in an offseason deal, struggled to a .233/.307/.289 slash over 104 plate appearances on the year. He played on a $1.3MM salary this year, his second season of arbitration eligibility. Though his price tag will remain manageable, Herrera would appear to be a non-tender candidate.

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 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 (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of (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.
  •'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 tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  •'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'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).


Rockies Acquire Franklin Morales

The Rockies have acquired left-hander Franklin Morales from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera, according to Ian Browne and Thomas Harding of (Twitter link). In a second tweet, Harding adds that minor league right-hander Chris Martin is also headed to the Rockies.

The Red Sox acquired Morales from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations in May 2011. With Boston, the now-27-year-old Morales pitched to a 3.90 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 134 innings. Though he did not pan out as a starter, Morales has held left-handed hitters to a .194/.286/.301 batting line in his career.

The Rockies added left-hander Boone Logan last week on a three-year deal, which led to them dealing Josh Outman to Cleveland for Drew Stubbs just less than an hour ago. However, Morales will now give manager Walt Weiss another lefty option to pair with Logan in the bullpen. Though Morales is a fly-ball pitcher, homers haven't been a problem for him in his career with the Rockies. He averaged 0.9 HR/9 as a member of the Rockies and has matched that rate at Coors Field, allowing seven homers in 70 1/3 career innings there.

Martin, 27, posted a 2.25 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 72 innings of relief between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Martin was actually drafted by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 draft but did not sign. He went on to pitch in independent ball, where Red Sox scouts noticed him and signed him as an amateur free agent prior to the 2011 season.

The 29-year-old Herrera has batted .276/.326/.357 for the Rockies over the past two seasons in 466 plate appearances. The bulk of his work in the Majors has come at second base, where he has outstanding marks of +5.2 UZR/150 and +15 Defensive Runs Saved. Herrera also has experience at third base and shortstop, making him a versatile addition to manager John Farrell's bench.

Rockies, Herrera Avoid Arbitration

We'll track the day's arbitration settlements under $2MM here. Be sure to use MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker for all the details related to this year's cases…