Jordan Schafer Rumors
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).
- Cesar Ramos got $750K from the Rays in his deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
- Sherman tweets that the Athletics' Craig Gentry will get $1.145MM on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
- Jerry Blevins and the Nationals avoided arbitration, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. He will earn $1.675MM for the year, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.
- Alejandro De Aza agreed to a $4.25MM deal with the White Sox, Sherman tweets. Within the same tweet, Sherman says the Rays shook hands with Jose Lobaton on a $900K deal and James Russell agreed to a $1.775MM pact.
- The White Sox and Gordon Beckham agreed to a one-year, $4.175MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco, Sherman tweets. Estrada gets $3.325MM with $100K in innings pitched bonuses while Francisco gets $1.35MM.
- Mike Dunn agreed to a $1.4MM deal with the Marlins, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Pedro Alvarez will earn $4.25MM on his brand new deal with the Pirates, Sherman tweets.
- The Nationals announced that they've struck an arb-avoiding deal with Wilson Ramos. Ramos gets $2.095MM with the opportunity to get $105K more through plate appearance bonuses, per Sherman.
- Alexi Ogando gets $2.625MM in 2014 from the Rangers, according to Sherman.
- Mark Melancon will get $2.595MM after striking a deal with the Pirates, tweets Sherman.
- Brandon Moss and the Athletics avoided arbitration with a $4.1MM pact, Sherman tweets.
- The Red Sox and Jonathan Herrera avoided arbitration with a $1.3MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets.
- Brian Duensing has agreed to a $2MM deal with the Twins, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Berardino adds in a second tweet that Anthony Swarzak also avoided arb with a $935K deal. The swingman will earn a $25K bonus if he starts 10 games.
- The Rangers and Neftali Feliz agreed to a $3MM deal with bonuses of $25K for 50/55 games finished, Sherman tweets.
- Jake McGee will earn $1.45MM in his new deal with the Rays, Sherman tweets.
- The Royals and Eric Hosmer have agreed to a one-year, $3.6MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- Mike Carp gets $1.4MM in his deal with the Red Sox, according to Sherman (via Twitter).
- Bobby Parnell agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM with the Mets that can increase by $50K if he appears in 60 games, Sherman tweets.
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Jordan Schafer with a $1.09MM deal, tweets Sherman. Sherman adds that Andy Dirks and the Tigers have also avoided arbitration with a $1.625MM deal.
- Shawn Kelley and the Yankees dodged arbitration by agreeing to a $1.765MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets. Kelley, 29, has a career 3.77 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
- The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.275MM deal with Junichi Tazawa, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA in 2013 with 9.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
- The Rockies avoided arbitration with Drew Stubbs by agreeing to a $4.1MM deal for 2014, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). With the signing of Stubbs, the Rockies have now taken care of all of their arbitration-eligible players.
- Kyle Blanks has avoided arbitration with the Padres by agreeing to a one-year, $988K deal, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Sherman also reports (on Twitter) that the Giants have avoided arbitration with Gregor Blanco and Tony Abreu by agreeing to one-year deals that are worth $2.525MM and $745K, respectively.
- The Cardinals and Peter Bourjos have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract, tweets Sherman. Bourjos can earn another $150K based on plate appearances.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal, according to Sanchez's agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Sanchez will earn $2.3MM.
- Sherman reports (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays also avoided arbitration with Esmil Rogers by agreeing to a one-year, $1.85MM contract.
- The Nationals announced that in addition to their two-year deal with Jordan Zimmermann, they've also signed Drew Storen to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. Sherman tweets that he'll earn $3.45MM in 2014 with an additional $1MM of incentives in his contract for games finished.
- The Rockies and righty Juan Nicasio avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.025MM contract, Sherman tweets.
- The Blue Jays and lefty Brett Cecil have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.3MM pact, per Sherman (on Twitter).
- Sherman tweets that the Rays and Matt Joyce agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM contract, thereby avoiding arbitration.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Reds have avoided arbitration with Alfredo Simon by agreeing to a one-year, $1.5MM contract (Twitter link).
- Connolly also reports that the Orioles have avoided arbitration with Tommy Hunter (Twitter link). Currently the front-runner to serve as Baltimore's closer in 2014, Hunter will earn $3MM after posting a 2.81 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings for the O's in 2013.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and Troy Patton have avoided arbitration (Twitter link). Patton topped Swartz's $1.2MM salary projection by earning a raise to $1.275MM, Connolly adds in a second tweet.. Patton will be suspended for the first 25 games of 2014 for amphetamine use.
- The Twins and Trevor Plouffe have agreed to a one-year, $2.35MM contract, Sherman tweets. Plouffe saw his power numbers drop as he batted .254/.309/.392 with 14 homers in a career-high 522 plate appearances in 2013 (he'd belted 24 homers in 465 PAs in 2012). He figures to open the season as Minnesota's everyday third baseman but could eventually have competition from top prospect Miguel Sano.
- Jon Jay and the Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.25MM contract, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Jay batted .276/.351/.370 with the Cards in 2013 but struggled defensively (particularly in the playoffs) and will have center field competition in the form of offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos in 2014.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Phillies and John Mayberry Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.5875MM. Mayberry slashed .227/.286/.391 in 2013 and has a career .274/.321/.526 batting line against lefties. He came in just under Swartz's $1.7MM projection.
- The Cubs and Luis Valbuena have also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year pact, tweets Sherman. Valbuena will earn $1.71MM after slashing .218/.331/.378 and setting a new career-best with 12 homers in 2013. He exceeded Swartz's projection by $210K.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Braves announced that they claimed outfielder Jordan Schafer off of waivers from the Astros. Schafer played in the Braves' organization from 2005-11 before going to Houston in last summer's Michael Bourn trade.
Schafer appeared in 106 games for the Astros this past season, posting a .211/.297/.294 batting line with 27 stolen bases as the team's primary center fielder. The 26-year-old spent most of August on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Now that Bourn's a free agent Schafer provides the Braves with some insurance in center field. Atlanta originally selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft.
After seeing top outfield trade candidates Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence land with National League rivals, Braves GM made a splash today by acquiring center fielder Michael Bourn and cash from the Astros for center fielder Jordan Schafer, southpaw Double-A starter Brett Oberholtzer, righty Double-A starter Paul Clemens, and righty Triple-A reliever Juan Abreu. The Astros announced the deal via press release.
Bourn (pictured) is hitting .303/.363/.403 in 473 plate appearances, and he leads MLB with 39 steals. He fills the Braves' need for a center fielder and leadoff man through next year. The 28-year-old Scott Boras client has $1.45MM remaining on his contract this year and is arbitration eligible for 2012 before hitting free agency. The Astros' outfield purge continues, as they sent Pence to the Phillies on Friday. The Reds, Giants, Indians, and Nationals had also shown interest in Bourn.
Schafer, 24, figures to replace Bourn as the Astros' regular center fielder once he returns from the disabled list for a finger injury. He owns a .223/.310/.303 line in 414 big league plate appearances, coming in '09 and this year. Before the 2008 and '09 seasons, he was considered one of the best 50 prospects in the game, but an HGH suspension and wrist surgery dropped his stock.
None of the three pitchers are top 50 prospects, but they did rank ninth, 26th, and 27th respectively for the Braves on Baseball America's preseason rankings, and the team has a highly-regarded farm system. Oberholtzer, 22, ranked ninth and is seen as a potential third or fourth starter in the big leagues. Clemens and Abreu both have big upside and impressive fastballs.
A few more newsbits as we near the end of a busy Tuesday...
- Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times singles out the Cubs and Yankees as "among those interested" in Rocco Baldelli. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com thinks Baldelli would be a good fit in the Bronx, though he notes that New York GM Brian Cashman "refused an internet rumor" claiming that the Yanks had already signed Baldelli.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are looking over Chien-Ming Wang's medical history.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports (via Twitter) that pitcher Steven Jackson was designated for assignment by the Pirates to make room for Ryan Church on the 40-man roster. Jackson posted an impressive 3.14 ERA in his 2009 rookie season, making 40 appearances out of the bullpen for Pittsburgh.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman thought the Braves might try to trade Jordan Schafer earlier this winter, but no more.
- The Cubs have settled with five arbitration-eligible players, but still don't have deals worked out with Carlos Marmol and Ryan Theriot, reports Dave van Dyck of The Chicago Tribune.
- Grant of the McCovey Chronicles blog is, shall we say, less than enthused about the Bengie Molina signing.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com discussed some of Atlanta's options in the free agent market, and here are a few of the more notable pieces of news....
- Relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez "will likely leave Atlanta" for greener free agent pastures, and thus the Braves are looking for new options at the back of their bullpen. Bowman says the Braves have talked to free agent closer Billy Wagner's representatives and "won't necessarily be scared" by Wagner's Type A status since Soriano and Gonzalez are also both Type A's. If those two were to sign elsewhere, the compensation that Atlanta would receive would more than make up for the picks they would lose for signing Wagner. The Braves and Wagner's most recent club, the Red Sox, may end up virtually trading relievers since Soriano and Gonzalez are two names on Boston's lengthy list of possible free agent targets.
- Bowman lists former Brave Octavio Dotel as a potential set-up option, and Fernando Rodney as a signing who could serve as either a set-up man or a closer.
- There isn't anything to rumors that Atlanta will try to trade with Detroit for Miguel Cabrera, or sign free agent Jermaine Dye. Cabrera's big contract is too rich for the Braves' blood, and as for Dye, there is no DH spot in the National League to stash a right fielder who posted a -20 UZR and -24.5 UZR/150 last season.
- Signing Marlon Byrd would make Jordan Schaefer expendable, Bowman reports. Byrd wouldn't necessarily solve Atlanta's need for a right-handed outfield bat, however, given that Byrd's career splits against right-handed and left-handed pitching are pretty even --- a .769 lifetime OPS against southpaws and a .759 OPS against righties. Byrd actually hit significantly better against righties (.835 OPS) last season than he did against lefties (.744 OPS).
- The Braves are prepared to see what other offers Adam LaRoche receives before they decide if they want to bring him back next season.
Links for Monday...
- Former GM Kevin Towers will attend the Winter Meetings and meet with three or four teams about possible employment, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Towers prefers the American League.
- Randy Johnson is undecided about pitching in 2010, say Rosenthal and Morosi.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tells readers in his latest mailbag that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Braves trade Jordan Schafer.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues speculates on what the Yankees would have to give up for Josh Johnson.
- ESPN's Buster Olney compares a potential Joe Mauer extension to Todd Helton's contract, in that it'd make up such a large percentage of the Twins' payroll.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discovered that a handful of teams have avoided four-year commitments to pitchers in recent years.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos talked to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports about the team's strategy to beef up scouting.
- For someone who hasn't been paying attention to the hot stove, Bronson Arroyo has a reasonable take on the Reds' direction and recent Scott Rolen/Ramon Hernandez commitments (MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reporting).
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick discusses the role of advanced defensive metrics in player acquisitions.
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone notes that a very similar report surfaced in three different media outlets within a span of a few hours.
Talks have swirled this weekend about the Nationals' pursuit of Pirates CF Nyjer Morgan, but it looks like he's not the only outfielder on the team's radar. Bill Ladson at MLB.com has updated his previous post on the discussions, and this time he throws Braves CF prospect Jordan Schafer's name into the mix as a potential target for the Nats.
Ladson says the Nationals are seeking an improvement in their outfield defense, as they have apparently concluded that Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham profile more as designated hitters and Elijah Dukes still makes too many mental errors. Schafer was sent down earlier this season to make room for Nate McLouth, but it isn't clear if the Braves would be willing to move him.
It seems like the Nats are looking for a young, cost-controlled and speedy outfielder as well as a defensively adept one. Who else comes to mind that might be attainable for the Nationals?
More links for Tuesday...
- As David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News points out, the Phillies already have $94.5MM committed to next year's roster, so adding Jake Peavy would require good accounting or, perhaps more available money.
- Cardinals fans voted Mark DeRosa as the player they'd most like to acquire to play third in this poll on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's site.
- Jeff Gordon of the Post-Dispatch suggests John Mozeliak "will almost certainly deal from his pitching depth" to obtain some infield help.
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Jordan Schafer has been sent to the minors, as the Braves' outfield problems continue.
- The AP (via the Miami Herald) reports that Stephen Strasburg is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which is awarded to the top amateur player in America.
- Orioles president Andy MacPhail is proud of the progress his team has made in the minors, according to Steve Melewski of MASN.com.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says he expects this to be the year that Roy Oswalt is dealt (via Twitter).
WEDNESDAY, 6:22pm: Kovacevic says Doumit's agent will meet with the Pirates later tonight to discuss their offer. Rob Biertempfel says the Pirates did make offers to all three and want to finalize deals within six to eight weeks.
TUESDAY, 11:28pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers up the latest information on the Pirates.
- The Pirates have initiated extension talks with Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, and Paul Maholm. The Braves inquired on McLouth and Maholm, but the Pirates' demands were "way high" according to an Atlanta official. Kovacevic mentions Jordan Schafer as someone who could be offered.
- The Pirates had conversations with David Eckstein's agent, but not negotiations. The Bucs would probably have to trade a middle infielder for it to make sense. They never made a formal offer to Mark Loretta, who signed with the Dodgers today.
- The Jack Wilson market is tepid - the Twins have mild interest, the Dodgers have moved on to Rafael Furcal.
- While the Pirates have gotten inquiries on John Grabow, teams apparently want to look at free agent options first.
- John Perrotto says Jason Davis will refuse the Pirates' Triple A assignment and head to Japan.
Summing up this weekend's Jake Peavy information...
- David O'Brien noted that the friendship between Padres GM Kevin Towers and Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod has raised some eyebrows. O'Brien also learned that Peavy's concern over Yunel Escobar being in the deal was overblown - it's more a general concern that the pitcher joins a strong team.
- On Saturday, Ken Rosenthal had the Braves and Cubs as frontrunners with the Yankees and Dodgers on the backburner. He said the Padres discussed keeping Peavy if offers do not suffice. The Braves were said to be growing impatient.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane indicated the Padres' demands for Peavy were too high for his club - "multiple players and some of our best players."
- Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times had it as a race between the Cubs and Braves, with the Dodgers a long shot. De Luca said no other teams will be considered at this point. A Cubs deal would apparently include Sean Marshall, and possibly Kevin Hart and Mike Fontenot. Jeff Samardzija is not in the mix.
- Dave O'Brien says the Braves' offer looks something like this: Escobar, Gorkys Hernandez or Jordan Schafer, and one or two pitching prospects (possibly Charlie Morton or Jo-Jo Reyes among them). Tommy Hanson is not in the mix. O'Brien agrees that it's between the Braves and Cubs, and likes the Braves' package more. O'Brien expects a deal before Thanksgiving, which is November 27th.