- Chris Davis Suspended 25 Games
- Reds, Brewers Complete Broxton Trade
- Ron Washington Resigns As Rangers Manager
- Angels Exercise 2015 Option On Jerry Dipoto
- Diamondbacks Fire Kevin Towers
- Rockies Extend Jorge De La Rosa
- Dodgers Promote Joc Pederson
- Astros Fire Bo Porter
- Brewers Acquire Jonathan Broxton
- Athletics Acquire Adam Dunn
- Hoops Rumors
- Pro Football Rumors
- Reverse Standings
- 2015 MLB Free Agent List
- 2015 MLB Free Agent Power Rankings
- 2016 MLB Free Agent List
- Transaction Tracker
- DFA Tracker
- Agency Database
- MLBTR iPad/iPhone App
- MLBTR Android App
- Hot Stove Glossary
- MLBTR On Facebook
- MLBTR On Twitter
- MLBTR Mobile
- MLBTR On Kindle
- Team Twitter/RSS Feeds
- Team Facebook Pages
- Quick Hits: Wright, Pedroia, Duquette
- Rosenthal On Scherzer, Braves, Melvin
- Red Sox Notes: Shields, Rodriguez, Ortiz
- Braves Could Make Baseball Operations Changes
- NL Notes: Cubs, Arrieta, Pirates, Revere
- West Notes: Athletics, Nicasio, Rangers
- Week In Review: 9/13/14 – 9/19/14
- Quick Hits: Reaction Time, Schafer, Morse, Iglesias
- AL Notes: Hughes, Tomas, Lewis, Perkins, Leyva
- Minor Moves: Shane Watson
- Latest On Diamondacks’ GM Search
- 2014-15 Free Agent Leaderboards
- Red Sox Notes: Tomas, Castillo, Uehara, Alvarez
- Astros Notes: Managers, Appel, Martinez, Rasmus
- Mets Links: Tomas, Payroll, Backman
MLBTR Mailing List
Rumors by team
- Angels Rumors
- Astros Rumors
- Athletics Rumors
- Blue Jays Rumors
- Braves Rumors
- Brewers Rumors
- Cardinals Rumors
- Cubs Rumors
- Diamondbacks Rumors
- Dodgers Rumors
- Giants Rumors
- Indians Rumors
- Mariners Rumors
- Marlins Rumors
- Mets Rumors
- Nationals Rumors
- Orioles Rumors
- Padres Rumors
- Phillies Rumors
- Pirates Rumors
- Rangers Rumors
- Rays Rumors
- Red Sox Rumors
- Reds Rumors
- Rockies Rumors
- Royals Rumors
- Tigers Rumors
- Twins Rumors
- White Sox Rumors
- Yankees Rumors
Jose Quintana Rumors
Originally recalled for a two-day period with Darwin Barney on paternity leave, Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara has been informed that he will be with the team at least through the All-Star break, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Alcantara, who ranked 33rd on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s Top 50 prospects, says he was surprised by the news. Manager Rick Renteria offered praise for the 22-year-old, who collected his first four Major League hits in today’s contest.
Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…
- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey left today’s game after five innings due to a slight strain in his right knee, but he won’t see his name added to the list of significant injuries that have stricken contending teams today. The Reds have announced that he is expected to make his next start.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s glad to see Vance Worley performing well with the Pirates, though he did imply that it’s too early to say that the Twins gave up on Worley too soon: “Give him a little time to see what he does over the course of starts. We’ll talk about that in October. See how it goes. I know he’s done well.”
- The Indians are hopeful that Justin Masterson‘s two weeks on the disabled list will not only give him a chance to heal, but to help him get his mechanics back in line, reports MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway feels that Masterson’s knee has affected the way he’s been able to land during his delivery, which would explain the sharp decrease in velocity Masterson has seen this year.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn would need to receive an offer that knocks his cell phone out of his hands in order to trade Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia or Jose Abreu, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. However, Hahn notes that oftentimes, a trade will come together when a rival club’s initial inquiry is on a player that is unavailable, as it leads to the suggestion of alternative options.
The White Sox are willing to move second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but Jose Quintana isn’t available (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Beckham opened the season on the disabled list and had a strong month of May after being activated, but he’s cooled since that time and is hitting .248/.302/.395. He’s under team control through 2015 and is earning $4.18MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this season. It’s not entirely surprising that the team wouldn’t move Quintana, as he just inked a five-year, $21MM contract extension in Spring Training. He’s in the midst of his finest season in the Majors to this point, having posted a 3.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.
Here are a few more items pertaining to the Sox and their north-side counterparts…
- Left-handers James Russell and Wesley Wright are both drawing trade interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Each southpaw is under team control through the 2015 season, and each has a 2.22 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season. Wright, who is earning $1.43MM is slightly more affordable than Russell and his $1.78MM salary.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that injured outfielder Avisail Garcia has been cleared to resume baseball activities (via CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes). While he has a long way to go and it’s a long shot, Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Garcia could play in the Majors again this season.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Cubs talked with the Blue Jays regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before trading the pair to the A’s on Independence Day. The Cubs were asking for Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in addition to “at least” one of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey. That’s a steep price to pay, to be sure, though none of those prospects are as highly regarded as the centerpiece Chicago did acquire in the deal — shortstop Addison Russell.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard the same five names, though he hears that they were discussed in various combinations, and the Blue Jays didn’t discuss packages to acquire both pitchers (Twitter links). One scout tells Rosenthal that Norris and Stroman could both be No. 1 or No. 2 types of starters, and the Jays would be “crazy” to deal them.
- Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he had extensive negotiations with the Cubs to acquire both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he doesn’t think the Cubs could have landed a better package than they one they wound up taking from Oakland, regardless of who they were dealing with. CBS New York has highlights and audio from the conversation.
Former Orioles and Mets GM Frank Cashen has passed away at the age of 91. As Baseball America’s Vince Lara-Cinisomo writes, Cashen played an important role in composing Baltimore’s outstanding teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s before wheeling and dealing to put together the Mets’ 1986 World Series-winning roster. MLBTR sends its condolences to Cashen’s family and friends around the game.
Here are the latest rumblings as we turn the page to July …
- The Yankees are regularly scouting Padres third baseman Chase Headley, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Should they pursue the struggling veteran, New York could have competition from a division rival, as it was recently reported that the Blue Jays are also interested in Headley. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said today that he is preparing to act aggressively in upgrading the club’s roster, as Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger reports. Nevertheless, Cashman did not sound inclined to pay a heavy surcharge to make acquisitions well in advance of the deadline.
- Of course, whether or not he is dealt, all signs point to Headley hitting the open market following this season, where he will be joined by Giants third bagger Pablo Sandoval. At present, there are no ongoing extension talks between San Francisco and Sandoval, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish. Of course, GM Brian Sabean locked up two prominent free agents-to-be (Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum) at the last minute last year.
- The Diamondbacks are looking to set their club up for 2015 rather than launching a full rebuild, reports MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. GM Kevin Towers indicated that the club hopes to shed some salary, but will focus on achieving a useful return. “We’re not payroll dumping, we’re looking to get good players back,” he said. “It would be nice to be able to save some payroll and get good players back. I know how [managing partner Ken Kendrick] and [CEO Derrick Hall] are and they are always going to lean towards getting the better players instead of trying to save money.” Towers said that the market is still developing, with just “a couple of clubs that are trying to get in front of people.”
- The Marlins are surveying the market with an eye on landing an established starting pitcher, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Miami would also like to add an experienced veteran middle infielder in the wake of Rafael Furcal‘s injury.
- White Sox hurler Jose Quintana could become what Doug Fister was in 2011, opines Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Quintana has little trade hype, but like Fister, says Morosi, he could wind up getting traded and help his new team win its division. Of course, with Chicago now looking a threat to field a young and talented team in coming seasons, it is doubtful that the 25-year-old lefty (who is under club control through 2018) will come cheap.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Tigers' record-setting extension with Miguel Cabrera has been heavily questioned by most pundits, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has a more positive take on the contract, opining that you can hardly put a price on keeping one of the all-time great hitters in baseball history. General manager Dave Dombrowski should also deserve some benefit of the doubt, since, as Heyman writes, "no team has done a better job than the Tigers of procuring star talent through trades, and practically no team has done a better job of picking the right players to give the best contracts to, either."
Here's some more news from Detroit and elsewhere around the AL Central…
- Dombrowski met with Max Scherzer earlier this week to clear the air after both the team and Scott Boras (the pitcher's agent) released public statements about the halt in their contract negotiations. Scherzer told reporters (including John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press) that the GM apologized for comments that unintentionally portrayed the right-hander "in a negative context." Dombrowski also apologized for the contract numbers becoming public, and he was upset with whomever it was who leaked the information.
- In a phone conversation with Lowe, Dombrowski said “These negotiations are tough and difficult, and when you don’t come up with a mutual agreement, it can leave a little bit of tension. To me, it is always better to reach out to somebody to discuss it. Max is a tremendous person and great pitcher."
- In regards to an earlier item of his, ESPN's Jim Bowden clarifies (via Twitter) that Scott Boras' last proposal to the Tigers about a Scherzer extension would've covered seven of the righty's free agent years. The Tigers' last offer would've covered only six free agent years, which would've kept Scherzer in Detroit through the 2020 season.
- Jose Quintana may now have a higher profile in the wake of his five-year, $21MM extension, yet he is still one of game's more underrated and lesser-known starters, as Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes in his exploration of how Quintana developed from a virtual non-prospect to a cornerstone of the White Sox rotation.
- The offense-needy Twins could've added some more pop in their final roster moves, ESPN 1500's Phil Mackey opines. Mackey also suggests that backup catcher Josmil Pinto's live bat should be utilized more often as a regular DH rather than just a couple of starts per week or the odd pinch-hitting appearance.
- The Twins' struggles of recent years can't be blamed on ownership, Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, as the club has been more than willing to spend on payroll. Minnesota's payroll topped the $100MM mark in both 2011 and 2012, yet the team finished last in both seasons due to poor drafts and trades from former GM Bill Smith, plus some bad injury luck with the likes of Justin Morneau.
One hidden key to the Royals' emergence has been the club's dedication to Latin American scouting, signing, and player development under GM Dayton Moore (and special assistant Rene Francisco), writes Rany Jazayerli of RanyontheRoyals.com. Jazayerli breaks down the team's long history of virtually no significant spending on Latin American players, and how increased investments — especially on lower-priced players like Salvador Perez, Yordano Ventura, Miguel Almonte, and Jorge Bonifacio (total commitment: $253K) — have been critical to building the team's overall talent base. Here's more from the American League Central:
- Max Scherzer requested an eight-year deal in his negotiations with the Tigers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Tigers' reported offer was for six years and $144MM. If the sides were in agreement on the $24MM AAV, that would hypothetically put Scherzer's demands on total gaurantee at $192MM. Scherzer has injury protection through an insurance policy, Bowden adds, which perhaps has increased his willingness to wait for a larger deal on the open market.
- Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to secure seven years of control rights over their own prized starter, Jose Quintana, for a total guarantee that maybe as low as $21MM (if he does not qualify for Super Two status). Of course, unlike Scherzer, Quintana has just 1.133 years of service and did not win the AL Cy Young last year. Nevertheless, the deal looks like a smart investment for a Chicago club that has purchased prime years of several players at seemingly reasonable rates. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports, GM Rick Hahn sees the value in early extensions, which "frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs." Hahn explained: "You've seen the magnitude of what some of these deals have gotten to in free agency. It makes sense to try to get out in front of that sometimes, to try to get the price points locked in before the market continues to grow … ."
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony had several updates today, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Infielder Jason Bartlett has agreed to push back his March 25 opt-out to the March 30 Opening Day roster deadline, which gives both sides more time to assess their options. Meanwhile, the club is still in discussions on a new deal with reliever Matt Guerrier, who was released because the club did not want to pay the Article XX(B) free agent signee a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors.
- Though the Twins have had some exploratory discussions about an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier, the 26-year-old tells Berardino that a deal is probably not happening at this point. That is not surprising, as Dozier has just 1.100 on his service clock and still has some questions to answer as a player. But he indicated that there is a positive vibe between the two sides and a hope that talks could pick up in the future. "We had some talks or whatever," he said. "Obviously nothing took place but it was a bunch of good postive feedback on both ends.It's very unlikely anything will be coming soon or during the season or anything. We'll let another year play out and see where it goes. That was just a thing to see where everybody was. I think [the Twins] would be in the near future open to it and we definitely are."
- The Indians were one of the clubs vying for Scott Baker's services before the offseason, and just released Aaron Harang. Nevertheless, Cleveland will not pursue the starter at this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Baker was released today by the Mariners after deciding he would rather test the market than accept an assignment to Triple-A.
The White Sox have locked up lefty Jose Quintana to a five-year deal worth at least $21MM, announced the team. The guaranteed money in the deal is contingent on Quintana's arbitration status: $26.5MM if he qualifies as a Super Two after 2014, and $21MM if not. Quintana will have two years and 133 days of Major League service after 2014, which would have qualified him for Super Two in two of the last five years. The deal includes club options at $10.5MM for 2019 and $11.5MM for 2020. A White Sox press release has the full salary breakdown. Quintana is represented by MDR Sports Management.
Quintana, 25, broke out last year with a 3.51 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9, and 42.5% groundball rate in 200 innings. "Jose quickly has established himself as a quality major-league starting pitcher, and along with Chris Sale, we expect him to be an important piece of our rotation for the foreseeable future," said White Sox senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn in the statement. Sale, 25 this month, is potentially under team control through 2019.
Quintana has taken an interesting path to this $21MM+ deal. Signed by the Mets out of Colombia for $40K in 2006, he was eventually released for a violation of the Minor League Baseball drug policy. The southpaw signed with the Yankees, but never ranked among their top 30 prospects as ranked by Baseball America. The Yankees offered Quintana a minor league deal after 2011, but White Sox scouts Joe Siers and Daraka Shaheed "made him stand out on the six-year free-agent list," Hahn told Joel Sherman of the New York Post in June 2012. The Sox separated themselves by offering a Major League deal, and now they have a rotation mainstay.
Quintana's contract falls squarely between the last two deals done for one-plus service starting pitchers, as you can see in our Extension Tracker. In November, the Rangers' Martin Perez signed a four-year, $12MM deal with three club options, which was in line with previous deals for pitchers in this service class. In February, however, the Braves gave Julio Teheran a six-year, $32.4MM deal that included only one club option. Quintana and Teheran have similar career ERAs (3.61 and 3.44), but Quintana has pitched 336 1/3 innings to Teheran's 211 2/3. Perhaps the discrepancy is because Quintana never enjoyed Teheran's status as a top prospect, or perhaps Teheran's deal simply didn't reset the extension market for this service class as some speculated.
In a must-read piece for ESPN The Magazine, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus provides a riveting look into the Angels' efforts to turn around the organization's languishing farm system. Focusing on the philosophies of assistant GM (and former big leaguer) Scott Servais, Miller explores how the Halos hope to emulate the shockingly simple methods of the Cardinals while infusing deep, data-driven analysis into their player-development efforts.
Here are more links from around the game to finish the day:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson hopes to stay in his role for two or three more years, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 66-year-old, who took the helm in October of 2010, is currently under contract for the following season with a club option for 2015.
- New Dodgers TV network SportsNet LA has yet to reach agreement with many local pay-TV distributors, reports Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, which means that a majority of Los Angeles viewers would be without Dodgers games if the season started today. Though the network expressed confidence that deals will be in place by the onset of the 2014 campaign, Flint explains that negotiations promise to be tense.
- In an interesting profile of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that little notice was given to the fact that Ruiz has been cleared by MLB to use Adderall in the coming season. That is the very substance for which Ruiz was suspended at the start of last season. Brookover paints a picture of a genuinely passionate backstop who is ready to earn his new three-year, $26MM contract.
- A major factor in the White Sox' rebuilding plans is number-two starter Jose Quintana. As MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes, the work of scouts Daraka Shaheed and Joe Siers was responsible for bringing Quintana into the Chicago organization as a minor league free agent from the Yankees, and for setting him on the trajectory to serve as a starter. The 25-year-old, who notched a 3.51 ERA in an even 200 innings last year, is likely to become arbitration-eligible next season as a Super Two. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at the excellent work of Shaheed and Siers in examining the increasing number of Major League deals for minor league free agents.
- Busy as the Sox were this off-season, no single addition carries as much risk (and, perhaps, upside) as 27-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu. As Merkin reports, the big Cuban — who inked a six-year, $68MM deal in late October — has drawn rave early reviews for his professionalism both at the plate and in terms of effort.
Shortstop Jean Segura and the Brewers figure to discuss a contract extension this spring, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports. This isn't the first time the Brewers have discussed an extension with Segura, but Cotillo says that two parties haven't talked much since last fall. In September, MLBTR suggested that Segura might receive about five years and $20-23MM guaranteed in an extension, although that number might need to be upward somewhat given extensions that have been reached since then. He's set to become arbitration-eligible after the 2015 season, and free agency-eligible after 2018. Here are more notes on extensions.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty still has hope that his team can sign Homer Bailey long-term and believes he has made progress toward that goal, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets. Recent reports have indicated that Bailey and the Reds aren't close on an extension, which makes sense, given Bailey's situation — he's eligible for free agency after the season and should be in line for a hefty new contract.
- The White Sox and pitcher Jose Quintana do not plan to discuss an extension during spring training, Cotillo tweets. Quintana, 25, posted a 3.51 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 200 innings in 2013. He will likely be eligible for arbitration next offseason as a Super Two player.
- Pitcher Jarrod Parker and the Athletics have not talked about an extension this offseason, but they could do so this spring, Cotillo tweets. The righty threw 197 innings in 2013, posting a 3.97 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He's arbitration-eligible after the 2014 season.
40-man roster spots are a precious commodity in Major League Baseball. Many of the transactions on MLB Trade Rumors stem from this fact, as teams decide which players will occupy those last few spots. The roster squeeze prevents many recognizable free agents from securing a Major League contract each offseason, from useful veterans like Jason Kubel, Shaun Marcum, and Jamey Carroll to former top prospects like Trevor Crowe and Taylor Teagarden. Those players, despite a decent amount of name value, signed minor league deals. However, a new trend emerged this offseason, as eight players with scant Major League experience signed Major League deals: Francisco Pena (Royals), Kelvin De La Cruz (Orioles), Edgmer Escalona (Orioles), Erik Cordier (Giants), Francisco Peguero (Orioles), David Cooper (Indians), Angel Castro (Cardinals), and David Adams (Indians). Four of the players have no Major League experience at all, while none of the eight have more than 100 innings or 226 plate appearances in the bigs.
Upside As A Separator
The average age of these eight players is about 27 years old, significantly younger than a standard free agent who signs a Major League deal. Many of these seven come with top prospect pedigrees. Peguero, an outfielder signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, was ranked as the team's fourth-best prospect prior to the 2011 season by Baseball America. As recently as last year, Peguero was ranked eighth by BA, who said he "still has the most exciting combination of speed and power in the system, along with perhaps the best bat speed." He went on to hit .316/.354/.408 in 70 Triple-A games to earn his second big league call-up with the Giants, though he received only six starts in September.
The Giants were faced with a difficult situation. With Peguero having used his four minor league options, they risked losing him to a waiver claim if they weren't willing to put him on the 25-man roster out of spring training in 2014. The Giants decided to remove Peguero from the 40-man roster by designating him for assignment in late November, cutting ties by non-tendering him five days later. As agent Dan Rosquete tells it, "The minute the Giants said 'Hey, we're taking him off the roster,' they backed it up with, 'Well, we want him back, what's it going to take?'" After Peguero's frustration from the lack of opportunity at the end of the season with the Giants, Rosquete's primary goal was to secure playing time for his client in 2014. Interestingly, the Giants designated Peguero for assignment in part to make room for Cordier, a big arm who had become a six-year minor league free agent after pitching in relief for the Pirates' Triple-A team. Cordier is one of four six-year minor league free agents this offseason to sign a Major League deal with no Major League experience.
The Orioles swooped in with an appreciation for Peguero's tools, an opportunity for playing time, and a Major League offer. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette "could tell me more about my client than I knew about him," jokes Rosquete. "Dan Duquette called me and said 'Listen, I'm looking at everything and I can see this guy as an everyday outfielder.'" In an email, Duquette tells MLBTR Peguero "has good talent as he is a lifetime .300 plus hitter in the minors and [is a] very good defensive player." As a group, these eight Major League signings possess upside rarely found affordably in free agency. For example, the Indians landed a former first round draft pick in first baseman Cooper, the Orioles added a strikeout lefty who has touched 94 miles per hour in De La Cruz, and the Giants picked up a power reliever who can touch 97 in Cordier. Plus, all of them are considered to be near big league ready.
Contracts Dictated By Strong Markets
The majority of the eight players were six-year minor league free agents, with a handful of non-tenders mixed in. Ultimately, teams wouldn't give Major League deals and the accompanying 40-man roster spot to this level of player unless it was necessary to get the deal done. Duquette, who authored three of these eight big league deals with Peguero, De La Cruz, and Escalona, notes, "In each case other clubs were offering Major League contracts, so you could say that the Major League contract was required by the market."
The only way for an agent to really know what it will take is to let the market play out. Paul Kinzer represents the 24-year-old Pena, who became a six-year minor league free agent after 2013 when the Mets decided not to add him to their 40-man roster. "I don't know if anybody expected the kind of response we got on him," says Kinzer of Pena. Kinzer says the strong demand for catchers worked in Pena's favor. Three teams were close on the player, and the Royals had to offer a Major League deal to separate themselves. Cooper signed a minor league deal with the Indians in August after recovering from career-threatening herniated disk in his chest cavity. He opted for free agency at the end of the month, and demand was strong enough that the Indians re-signed him to a Major League deal. The Rays put pressure on the Tribe by also reportedly making a Major League offer.
A Possible Trend
Though we don't have complete data on the number of inexperienced players signing Major League deals each offseason, the eight such contracts from 2013-14 is definitely the highest number in recent years. Kinzer, who by his recollection has done three or four of these types of deals in his career, "absolutely" sees a trend toward more of them. He explains, "Teams can go out and spend a little more on these guys and sometimes get a better return on their money than going with an older, veteran guy." By "spend a little more," Kinzer is referring to the cost of a roster spot, since none of these contracts were for more than $75K above the $500K league minimum. The going rate for a veteran backup catcher this winter has been in the $1-3MM range.
Teams are continually trying to find outside-the-box means of acquiring younger talent. Showing a greater willingness to barter with a 40-man roster spot in November and early December, when most clubs are not near capacity, seems savvy. The trend could truly explode if more success stories emerge.
The biggest recent success story is the signing of lefty Jose Quintana by the White Sox after the 2011 season. Quintana was signed by the Mets out of Colombia for $40K in 2006, and signed with the Yankees about a year later after the Mets released him due to a violation of the Minor League Baseball drug policy. Baseball America never ranked Quintana among the Yankees' top 30 prospects, and he became a six-year minor league free agent after '11. GM Brian Cashman told Joel Sherman of the New York Post in June 2012, "We looked at him as a fringy prospect. We offered him a minor league contract to stay, but not a 40-man roster position. We didn’t feel he was ahead of other guys we gave spots to. It was a numbers game, but right now it does not look like a good decision." White Sox scouts Joe Siers and Daraka Shaheed "made him stand out on the six-year free-agent list," then-assistant GM Rick Hahn told Sherman, and the Sox and GM Kenny Williams separated themselves from the pack by offering Quintana a Major League deal. Fresh off 200 innings of 3.51 ball in 2013, Quintana is a scouting success for Chicago and the best recent example of a Major League deal paying off big for a player with no experience at the game's highest level.
Quintana, who would go a long way toward stabilizing the Yankees' current rotation, is one that got away. The team had a firsthand look at the southpaw for five years, but preferred to keep the roster spot open when he reached minor league free agency. Of the eight who signed this offseason, seven landed with new clubs. Time will tell whether the Mets, Dodgers, Pirates, Rockies, Giants, and Yankees will regret letting these players go, but if more credible big leaguers emerge from the group, it's likely we'll continue to see an increase in Major League deals for minor league free agents.
The White Sox are looking to move a starting pitcher, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. While the Sox would love to unload John Danks' contract, they recognize how difficult that would be. Passan adds that Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago are both available. In order to move Chris Sale, the White Sox would need a package even bigger than the one that expected to be needed to land David Price, according to Passan (Twitter links).
Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with an executive that has been in regular contact with the Sox regarding Sale (Twitter link) and was told: "We have asked million times about Sale and never felt they would trade him." Likewise, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune spoke with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf who said that while the only untradeable player he's seen in his time as chairman of the White Sox and Bulls was Michael Jordan, the team isn't looking to move Sale and sees him as a big part of its success going forward.
Quintana has been said to be off limits in trades, though reports last night indicated that the Padres have asked for Quintana in trades for Chase Headley. Quintana can be controlled through 2018 while Santiago is controllable through 2017. Santiago has been said to be easier to acquire than Quintana.
As for Danks, he is owed $42.75MM through the 2016 season — an average annual value of $14.25MM. Still just 28 years old, Danks underwent shoulder surgery in 2012 and has a 5.02 ERA over 192 innings over the past two seasons.