Jose Iglesias Rumors
The White Sox made one of the first big strikes of the offseason when they agreed to sign Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM deal. We've already collected some reaction to the Abreu signing and heard what it could mean for Paul Konerko's future with the Sox, so let's expand our look at the Windy City's baseball news to include the latest on the Cubs...
- "Depending on what is considered major," Abreu's signing will probably be the only major White Sox free agent move of the offseason, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes. The Sox could still make further moves via trades, as Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham have drawn some interest from other teams.
- Also from Merkin, GM Rick Hahn goes into detail about how the three-team trade from last July between the White Sox, Red Sox and Tigers developed. Chicago got an important piece for the future in Avisail Garcia while the deal is currently having a big impact on the ALCS, with Jake Peavy starting for Boston and Jose Iglesias starting at shortstop for Detroit.
- Jim Thome won't be the next White Sox hitting coach, Hahn told reporters (including CSN Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis) during a conference call today. Still, Hahn praised Thome's work as a special assistant to the GM and predicted he would become a coach in the future.
- An NL executive tells Peter Gammons that while the White Sox may have overpaid for Abreu, they have "one of the half-dozen thinnest farm systems in the game and Abreu doesn’t cost them a draft choice." Gammons also hears mixed reviews of Abreu from a scout and a general manager, though the GM's team still offered Abreu $40MM.
- Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed with the Cubs today about their managerial opening and now the club will move onto the next step of its hiring process, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Martinez joins Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria as contenders for the job, and while Renteria just underwent hip surgery, he is still "considered a very strong candidate."
- The Cubs would prefer to hire a bilingual manager since they have so many important Latin American prospects, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links). Speaking Spanish isn't "a must" but it could be a tiebreaker if the Cubs are weighing equal candidates. Hinch is the only one of the four who doesn't speak Spanish, though the Cubs could still hire him to manage and hire Spanish-speaking coaches instead.
- CSN Chicago's Dave Kaplan spoke to several sources around the game about the four candidates. Martinez is seen as the clear best choice, Renteria was praised though there were some doubts about him as a first-time manager, Acta's unsuccessful stints managing the Indians and Nationals are strikes against him and Hinch drew scathing reviews. Kaplan, for his part, thinks the Cubs should hire Brad Ausmus.
Join me for a quick trip around the American League's Central Division, where the Tigers seem to have finally opened an insurmountable lead over the pesky Indians.
- With the Tigers visiting Fenway for the first time since acquiring Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox, GM Dave Dombrowski left no doubt that the club views the 23-year-old Cuban as its shortstop of the future, reports Jerry Spar of WEEI.com. “He’s an outstanding defensive shortstop," said Dombrowski. "He really changes the middle of the diamond. We have a lot of good pitchers, and some of them live with the ground ball, and so his range helps us appreciably — so quick out there." While defense was never the question with Iglesias, Dombrowski says that he does enough well in the rest of the game to stick as a starter. “He’s also hit well enough. ... He does a lot of little things for us as far as bunting, he can move the ball around, he can steal a base. ... He’s going to be our shortstop for years to come.”
- Of course, as MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth recently explained, the fate of suspended Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta is tied inextricably to that of Iglesias, who was acquired to replace him. Dombrowski's comments certainly seem to indicate that he views Iglesias as a better fit for the short and long term, leaving no apparent role for the free agent-to-be Peralta.
- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers will undergo exploratory shoulder surgery and be out of commission for about three to six months, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter). The South Siders' catching situation will be interesting to watch over the off-season. Flowers struggled this year with persistent shoulder issues, and 25-year-old Josh Phegley has failed to impress in his first big league showcase (.211/.221/.331 in 147 plate appearances). The club did just call up 22-year-old Miguel Gonzalez, a defense-first backstop who .254/.326/.349 in 190 plate appearances at Double-A and Triple-A this year. Once a top-10 prospect, Gonzalez's star has faded with his bat over the last several seasons. Fortunately for Chicago, all of these players will be making league mnimum next year.
- The Indians will soon face a decision on Ubaldo Jimenez's $8MM mutual 2014 option, notes Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Jimenez entered the season with a 5.32 ERA for the Indians since being acquired from the Rockies at the 2011 trade deadline, but appears to have righted the ship somewhat in 2013, posting a 3.95 ERA and career-best 9.1 K/9 in 141 1/3 innings. Pluto speculates that the Indians will pick up their end of the option, but that Jimenez will decline and become a free agent. Back in March, MLBTR's Steve Adams took a look back at the deal that brought Jimenez to Cleveland, when it seemed the 2014 option would be a complete no-brainer for the Indians to exercise.
- The Royals, too, are looking ahead at starting pitching questions over the coming off-season. As Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports, the club figures to stay the course with its young field position players, with GM Dayton Moore explaining that the team's core of "talented young players on the field" place the club "in the beginning stages of a window where this team can win consistently for a period of time." The rotation, on the other hand, will see the surprisingly excellent Ervin Santana and veteran Bruce Chen enter free agency. Dutton says that the club's decisionmaking process on those two starting slots will depend on a variety of factors, such as the organization's view of Danny Duffy and Wade Davis and the timetable for top prospects Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer. It is unlikely, according to Dutton, that the team will outbid the market on Santana. "We want him here, but it’s difficult to predict," said Moore.
The 23-year-old Iglesias is hitting .318/.361/.403 overall on the season, though he was slumping badly prior to his inclusion in the July 30 blockbuster that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox, Avisail Garcia to the White Sox and Iglesias to the Tigers. His slump has continued with Detroit, as he's hitting just .190/.190/.333 in an admittedly small six-game sample size for his new team.
Boras clients rarely sign long-term extensions before reaching free agency, though notable recent exceptions include Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. That's unlikely to be an issue for the Tigers anytime in the near future anyhow, as Iglesias isn't even arbitration-eligible until the 2015-16 offseason and can't become a free agent until after the 2018 season.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is quite familiar with Boras, who is also the agent for Prince Fielder, Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson and Jose Valverde. For more agent-related information on nearly 1,900 Major League and Minor League players, check out MLBTR's Agency Database. If you see any notable errors or omissions, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jhonny Peralta has been a member of the Tigers since the Indians dealt him to Detroit near the trade deadline in 2010. But after receiving a 50-game suspension Monday for his ties to the Biogenesis scandal, Peralta's future with the Tigers organization is in question.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was vague when asked Monday about Peralta's role going forward, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. When asked whether Peralta would return to the club to play in the last few games of the regular season and in the playoffs, Dombrowski said, "That’s down the road. That’s two months. I think I’ve spoken enough about that."
The Tigers' recent acquisition of Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox would surely seem to have at least some impact on the team's plans for Peralta. Iglesias will start at shortstop in Peralta's absence, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports hears (via Twitter) that if Iglesias performs well, Peralta's tenure with the Tigers could be over. "Early sense I get is that if Iglesias does well at shortstop, Tigers might not want Peralta back. We'll see," Knobler writes.
For 2014 and beyond, if not for the end of the 2013 season, it makes sense that Peralta's fate would be tied to Iglesias'. Peralta (who had been set to make $6MM in 2013) becomes a free agent this winter, whereas Iglesias is not eligible for free agency until after 2018. Iglesias won't even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season, and while he isn't the typical zero-to-three player (he can't receive more than a 20% pay cut in 2014 on his $2.06MM 2013 salary), he'll be awfully cheap for at least two more years.
So if Iglesias performs capably down the stretch, there's no room for Peralta in Detroit, as least not as a starting shortstop. There's the possibility that the Tigers could re-sign Peralta and use him at third base, but that seems like a stretch -- Miguel Cabrera is a poor fielder there, but with Prince Fielder at first base and Victor Martinez (who's signed through 2014) at designated hitter, it will be tough for the Tigers to move him. With Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago set to become free agents, it might also be possible for the the Tigers to re-sign Peralta and use Iglesias at second base.
With Peralta about to hit free agency and with a 50-game suspension ahead of him, however, it might be jumping the gun to even consider such scenarios. Knobler's take seems fairly likely to be true -- if Iglesias doesn't perform, the Tigers might have a need for Peralta, but if Iglesias does, Peralta's future with the Tigers will become very murky. It's far from certain that Iglesias will hit, however, and Peralta, with his .305/.361/.461 performance in 2013, will likely be a sought-after free agent, even with a PED suspension on his record.
The Twins demoted one top prospect today in favor of another, sending Aaron Hicks to Rochester and recalling Oswaldo Arcia to take his place. The moves came on the heels of another loss to the streaking Royals, who have snapped off nine consecutive wins and are 4.5 games back from a Wild Card spot. Here's more out of the AL Central...
- It's no coincidence that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has a history of making significant moves at the trade deadline and a history of gettting his team to the postseason, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler writes that the Tigers have long coveted the recently acquired Jose Iglesias, and Dombrowski's persistent inquiries made Detroit a natural fit for a third team when the Red Sox and White Sox initially struggled to make a Jake Peavy deal.
- Knobler also notes that Dombrowski tried many times to acquire Jurickson Profar from the Rangers with packages fronted by Avisail Garcia but came up empty.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti was happy to acquire a left-handed reliever who has thrived against opposing lefties and also has postseason experience in Marc Rzepczynski, he told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The Tribe looked at many other ways to upgrade, but found the asking prices too high. Manager Terry Francona told Bastian that he merely rolled his eyes and said "Oh my goodness," at the alarming asking prices for players in which the Indians had interest.
- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn conceded to MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he nearly pulled off a last-minute deadline deal before the other team suddenly changed its asking price. Hahn said he received a text message 45 minutes prior to the deadline and spent the next 35 minutes or so working on the specifics, and it got to the point where he informed chairman Jerry Reinsdorf that it was close to happening. Hahn did not specify which player(s) were on the table.
- The Royals will be active players on the August trade/waiver market, writes Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. Kaegel spoke with GM Dayton Moore, who told him: "There are two months left to the baseball season and there's potentially the opportunity to improve our team. So we're going to continue to evaluate and look for ways to upgrade."
The Red Sox got creative last night, orchestrating a three-year deal with the White Sox and Tigers that sent Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Avisail Garcia to Chicago and three low-level minor leaguers (J.B. Wendelken, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon) from Boston to Chicago as well. Now that the baseball world has had some time to digest the move, here are some reactions...
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs offers up his take on the trade, noting that the White Sox exchanged a questionable outfielder for a questionable infielder, while the Red Sox did well to acquire Peavy at a low cost.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a scouting report on all players involved, noting Garcia is the centerpiece for the White Sox and calling him "a five-tool talent who runs, throws and defends enough to handle center field in his youth and right field down the line."
- Two years ago, the Red Sox wouldn't have made this trade, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. However, a strong desire to avoid the new Wildcard play-in game has changed the dynamic of the trade deadline. Passan goes on to write that no GM has had a better year than Ben Cherington, who has taken the Red Sox from one baseball's worst teams in 2012 to an AL East title race in 2013.
- So long as he remains healthy, Peavy should be viewed as a top-of-the-rotation arm, according to ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required). Law says that the Red Sox paid a "modest" price in the deal, and also opines that the Tigers did well to add a Jhonny Peralta replacement that has solid future value as a defense-first middle infielder. He is less rosy on the White Sox end of the trade, however, given his view that Garcia will not develop into an above-average MLB regular.
- Boston was able to "parlay two lucky months from Iglesias into Jake Peavy," according to a rival executive that Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with. Another source told Rosenthal that the White Sox side of the deal was largely a salary dump, with a less-than-stellar prospect return (albeit one with some upside).
- The Red Sox accomplished exactly what they needed to and did so at an extremely reasonable price, opines WEEI.com's Alex Speier. He notes that the trade not only upgrades the rotation this year and next with Peavy, but allows the Sox to improve their bullpen by shifting Brandon Workman to relief duty.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington discussed the trade in a conference call, with WEEI.com's Rob Bradford passing on the highlights. Noting that the deal came together late, Cherington said the team was comfortable moving Iglesias given the organization's depth at shortstop. He noted that the team also sees Villarreal as a promising power bullpen piece moving forward.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the role that the Biogenesis scandal had in nabbing Iglesias, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck. "There's a lot of uncertainty facing the situation which concerned me," said Dombrowski, "especially with our scenario trying to win a championship. ... My problem ends up being that after 4 o'clock tomorrow, I cannot aggressively try to do anything that's assured. Because after 4 o'clock, if anything happens, and people know we're looking for a shortstop, there are shortstops that aren't going to make it through waivers." Dombrowski did make clear that the team would not have pulled the trigger if it hadn't been confident in Iglesias as a long-term solution at short.
- In his own conference call, posted on CSNChicago.com, White Sox GM Rick Hahn explained that the deal evolved out of talks with many teams from prior to the All-Star break. According to Hahn, the three-team deal did not really come together until this afternoon.
The Red Sox have announced a three-team trade with the Tigers and White Sox that will send right-handers Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston and shortstop Jose Iglesias to Detroit. The White Sox will receive outfield prospect Avisail Garcia as well as minor league right handers J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas and shortstop Cleuluis Rondon.
Peavy, 32, has a 4.28 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 35.2 percent ground-ball rate in 80 innings for the White Sox this season, though he's spent some time on the disabled list with a broken rib. Peavy hasn't had any pitch limitations since returning from the disabled list, however, as he fired 118 pitches in his final start with the White Sox. Advanced metrics like FIP (4.09) and xFIP (3.68) indicate that Peavy has been the recipient of some poor luck. He's more than a rental, as the Red Sox will control him for $14.5MM in 2014.
Villarreal allowed 10 runs in just 4 1/3 innings for the Tigers this season prior to the trade, but he was significantly better in 2012, posting a 2.63 ERA In 54 2/3 innings for the big league club. He averaged 97.1 mph on his heater last season, according to Fangraphs. In 34 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo this year, the 26-year-old Villarreal owns a 3.15 ERA with 10.7 K/9 but a troubling 6.8 BB/9 rate.
Iglesias, 23, is hitting .330/.377/.410 in 231 plate appearances for the Red Sox this season. While those numbers look terrific, Iglesias' bat has drawn been questioned, and he's been mired in a dreadful slump of late, hitting .212/.248/.222 with just one extra-base hit in his past 105 plate appearances. However, Baseball America ranked him ninth among Red Sox prospects prior to the season based largely on his glove, calling him perhaps "the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game." In a small sample of 452 1/3 Major League innings at shortstop, Iglesias has 22.2 UZR/150 and grades out as seven runs above average according to The Fielding Bible. He will provide the Tigers with an insurance policy in the event of a Biogenesis suspension for Jhonny Peralta and can take the reins as Detroit's full-time shortstop in 2014 should the club let Peralta depart via free agency.
Baseball America ranked the 22-year-old Garcia as the No. 74 prospect in baseball prior to the season, and he's delivered on that hype at Triple-A Toledo, hitting .382/.414/.549 with five home runs in 152 plate appearances. Garcia has the tools to be an everyday right fielder with average defense and All-Star upside, BA wrote in its preseason scouting report.
Montas, 20, has a 5.70 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 85 1/3 innings for Class-A Greensville this season. He ranked 22nd among Red Sox prospects prior to the season according to Baseball America. BA wrote that Montas "can light up a radar gun" better than anyone in Boston's system, as he regularly touches triple digits with his fastball. Montas flashes plus sliders at times but without consistency, BA adds. Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets that Montas has "freakish arm strength" and misses bats.
Wendelken, also 20, has worked out of the bullpen at Greenville this season. In 64 innings for Greenville, he has a 2.81 ERA with 7.6 K/0 and 2.8 BB/9. The Red Sox selected him in the 13th round of the 2012 draft, and BA noted that he was one of the country's most effective relievers, allowing just one run in 44 innings at Middle Georgia College and reaching 94 mph with his heater.
Baseball America's Ben Badler tweets that Rondon is a very smooth defender at short but offers little with the bat. The 19-year-old Rondon is hitting .277/.328/.353 for short-season Class-A Lowell this season.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report that the Red Sox and White Sox had a deal for Peavy (Twitter link). WEEI.com's Alex Speier first broke the news that it was a three-team trade involving the Tigers, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted that Iglesias was going to the Tigers. Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to tweet that Garcia was headed to the White Sox. Speier also reported that Rondon would be included in the trade (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
It was on this date in 1871 the Boston Red Stockings incorporated giving birth to today's Atlanta Braves. Let's take a look at the news from the 21st century Braves and the rest of the National League:
- The Braves have enough payroll space to add one significant salary and have yet to rule out Michael Bourn or Justin Upton, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien adds GM Frank Wren has spoken with Bourn's agent Scott Boras, but they didn't start any negotiations. O'Brien also has been told manager Fredi Gonzalez contacted Bourn within the past few weeks. In regards to Upton, O'Brien sees the Braves and Rangers as the last two teams standing, but neither seems willing to match what the Mariners offered in their failed bid to acquire the outfielder.
- O'Brien, via Twitter, discounts the suggestion the Braves have yet to acquire Bourn or Upton to save payroll in order to sign Martin Prado to a long-term deal.
- It's been nearly a decade since the Reds had to go to an arbitration hearing, but this year could be different, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "We're hopeful we can get something done," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the six players with whom salary figures were exchanged. "Some of the spreads were significant. We'll see how it proceeds the next week or two." The Reds' arbitration class is headlined by Mat Latos, whose case was analyzed by MLBTR's Matt Swartz last week. You can keep track of all of the Reds' arbitration cases with MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- With the Red Sox still seeking a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder, Tom Singer of MLB.com wonders if the Pirates will make another run at Jose Iglesias, as the starting point of a bigger deal involving Garrett Jones (Twitter links).
- There is still no clear-cut answer as to whether Francisco Liriano will be with the Pirates in 2013, tweets Singer. The Pirates and Liriano agreed to a two-year, $12.75MM contract in December, but the deal was put on hold earlier this month when it was discovered the left-hander injured his right arm.
- Lucas Duda told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com his surgically repaired right wrist feels great and he has started hitting off a tee. Duda is projected to man left field for the Mets.
- Chipper Jones was honored at the New York BBWAA dinner last night and confessed to the audience he was starting to get the itch to go back to Spring Training, Rubin reports. "I was on the Braves' web site, just kind of messing around on my computer," said Jones. "I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I'm going to go down and get me a workout in, see how everything feels.' I was down there for about five minutes and I figured I'd go to Hawaii instead."
3:00pm: The deal is not complete, but it is in the final stages, a Pirates source tells Bowden (on Twitter).
12:24pm: The Red Sox are moving closer to a trade for Joel Hanrahan, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. One source cautioned there is "still work to be done," however. It's unclear what the Pirates would receive for their closer, though Edes hears they want a "significant return."
Hanrahan, 31, pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. He earned $4.1MM and projects to earn $6.9MM through arbitration next year. Hanrahan is scheduled to become a free agent after 2013.
Andrew Bailey, Boston's incumbent closer, pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings in 2012 while missing most of the year with injuries. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports they have not discussed free agent Rafael Soriano despite having a protected first round pick. The Dodgers were among the teams with interest in Hanrahan in recent weeks.
We've already had one batch of AL East Notes on MLBTR today, but here are some more items on a busy day around the division...
- The Orioles have had a quiet offseason while their division rivals have been spending, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. While the O's didn't make any major signings en route to a playoff appearance last year and face a payroll increase due to several arbitration-eligible players, Schmuck thinks spending on a big free agent like Adam LaRoche would help the team contend again.
- A Dodgers official flatly denied that the Dodgers and Red Sox could make an Andre Ethier/Jacoby Ellsbury swap, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Ethier's name has come up in recent rumors but L.A. isn't shopping the outfielder and doesn't appear eager to move him.
- Also from Cafardo, he hears from an AL general manager that the Red Sox may be trying to deal Ellsbury so they can shift Shane Victorino to center field and then sign Cody Ross. Several teams are interested in Ross but none have yet met his desired price of a three-year, $21-$31MM contract.
- Jose Iglesias has "always been available, but nobody has knocked down [Boston's] door," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe about the Red Sox prospect's trade value. Given that Stephen Drew was signed to just a one-year contract, it's too early to say that the Sox have given up on Iglesias as a long-term solution at shortstop.
- Also from Cafardo's piece, he thinks that Rafael Soriano and Matt Garza could both still be targets for the Red Sox.
- Right-hander Daniel McCutchen has received multiple offers to play in Japan, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has learned. McCutchen’s minor league deal with the Orioles permits him to accept an offer from a Japanese team. The 30-year-old appeared in one game for the Pirates this past season, but he spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he posted a 2.98 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings.
- The Blue Jays were picked as the 2013 AL East champions by 13 of 20 scouts and executives polled by FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. In that same poll, the Orioles were picked to finish last by 10 voters, while the Red Sox received six last-place votes and were the only team that didn't get at least one pick as division winners. Morosi himself picks Toronto for first place and Boston for last.
- From earlier today, the Rays signed Roberto Hernandez, the Red Sox finalized the signing of Koji Uehara and I compiled some Yankees-related notes.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post