Julio Teheran Rumors

Heyman’s Latest: Jays, Goldschmidt, Teheran, Chen, Epstein, Gordon, Gray

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by chronicling the efforts of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Perhaps most interesting are some of the items about trades the Jays elected not to make. As Heyman notes, the Reds asked for right-hander Marcus Stroman in exchange for Johnny Cueto, but Stroman was a deal-breaker in all trade talks with Toronto. Dating back to the offseason, the Blue Jays considered signing Craig Breslow, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford and Rafael Soriano, as well as some larger names, including David Robertson, whom they considered “closely.” (Toronto never made a firm offer to Robertson, though, Heyman writes.) The Blue Jays’ willingness to include Daniel Norris in a trade for David Price effectively shut every other team out of the market, per Heyman, as others weren’t willing to discuss their absolute top prospects. The Yankees, for instance, wouldn’t part with Luis Severino, while the Dodgers steadfastly refused to part with Corey Seager or Julio Urias.

More highlights from the article (which is worth checking out in its entirety, as there’s far more than can be recapped here with any form of brevity)…

  • Paul Goldschmidt is under team control through 2019, but the D-Backs will attempt to extend him further this offseason, per GM Dave Stewart. “We want to make him a lifetime Diamondback,” Stewart told Heyman. I imagine the price tag there will be extraordinary, as Goldschmidt has gone from rising talent to unequivocal superstardom since signing his initial extension with Arizona. Heyman also reports that the D-Backs will take a shot at extending the arbitration-eligible A.J. Pollock. While not a household name, Pollock probably earns my personal vote as the most underrated player in baseball.
  • The Braves have been making an effort to shed contracts that reach beyond the 2016 season, and Heyman writes to “look for them to take offers on Julio Teheran” this offseason. Clearly, Atlanta would be selling low on a talented arm that comes with a very reasonable contract. Teheran signed a six-year, $32.4MM extension prior to the 2014 season, but he’s logged a 4.57 ERA due in part to diminished control in 2015.
  • The Orioles will make left-hander Wei-Yin Chen a qualifying offer this winter, Heyman reports. Chen might not seem like a prototypical QO candidate, but he’s a lock to turn it down, in my mind, coming off a very nice season at age 30. He should draw pretty significant interest this winter, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted in examining Chen’s free agent stock.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is up for an extension at an excellent time, as the Cubs’ rebuild looks to be paying tremendous dividends. Epstein has been earning about $4MM per year with the Cubs, but Heyman hears from some in the industry that the expectation is for Epstein to top Andrew Friedman’s reported $7MM annual salary with the Dodgers if and when he signs a new deal.
  • Despite a poor season for the Reds, there’s a sense among some that they may keep manager Bryan Price. The second-year Reds skipper has had to deal with the losses of Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey, among many injuries to others in 2015.
  • There’s been some buzz about the Tigers trimming payroll, but Heyman spoke to multiple sources close to the situation who say that talk might be overstated. One spoke specifically about the Ilitch family’s continued commitment to winning. Heyman speculatively mentions Justin Upton as a player that has previously piqued Detroit’s interest. He also lists the White Sox as a team that may show interest in Upton.
  • The Royals are serious about trying to make Alex Gordon a lifetime member of the organization. It’ll be tough for Kansas City to do so if he’s seeking something in the vicinity of Shin-Soo Choo money ($130MM), but the increased revenue they’re receiving from the Kansas City baseball renaissance could allow them to spend more than they would’ve in previous seasons.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Johnny Cueto as a free agent, and adding a right-handed arm does intrigue them. Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu and Julio Urias (expected to eventually join the L.A. rotation) are all left-handed, as is fellow offseason target David Price, whom Heyman terms a “more obvious target” for Friedman & Co.
  • The Brewers are serious about trying to emphasize analytics with a new GM hire, as the Attanasio family (the team’s owners) are big believers in the growing statistical trend. Mark Attanasio’s son, a former basketball player, is an MIT grad with a strong foundation in basketball analytics. John Coppolella, Thad Levine, David Forst, Mike Hazen, Billy Eppler, Michael Girsch and Jerry Dipoto are among the names that Heyman feels could be fits in Milwaukee’s GM seat.
  • “Not happening. Not even slightly,” was the response from Athletics general manager Billy Beane when asked by Heyman about the possibility of trading Sonny Gray this winter. That’s a pretty emphatic denial, and while some will recall similar comments made about Josh Donaldson last October, those came from an anonymous executive as opposed to an on-record denial from Oakland’s top decision-maker.

Cubs Attempted To Acquire Carlos Carrasco, Tyson Ross

The Cubs aimed high at the trade deadline but ultimately settled for pitchers Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. According to club president Theo Epstein, “the two main players we focused on late ended up not getting moved.” Epstein went on to say that he was aggressive in offering both quality and quantity for top major league talent.

Sources tell Wittenmyer that the two players the Cubs focused upon were pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross. Neither was traded. It was rumored that the Indians were merely gather information about Carrasco’s value while the Padres have been criticized for not knowing “what they really wanted.”

Since signing a four-year, $22MM extension over the offseason, Carrasco has pitched to a 4.03 ERA with 9.90 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9. ERA estimators believe he should be at least a full run better than his ERA, as evidenced by a 2.84 FIP. The 28-year-old also has two affordable option years. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians don’t view Carrasco as a building block. However, it is pragmatic to entertain offers at his physical peak.

Ross agreed to a $5.25MM contract in his second year of arbitration. As a Super Two player, he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Ross has followed up a breakout 2014 with a solid 3.38 ERA, 9.66 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, and a 63 percent ground ball rate.

The Cubs also aggressively shopped shortstop Starlin Castro, but they found few takers. Javier Baez was one of the players discussed as part of a Carrasco package. Meanwhile, the Braves expressed interest in Jorge Soler while discussing Julio Teheran and other young pitchers. Overall, it’s clear that high quality, club controlled pitching is a top priority for Chicago.

Pitching Notes: Yankees, Nolasco, Twins, Teheran, Leake

The Yankees are still looking at the market for starters, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but “feel doubtful” of getting anything done on that front. New York feels comfortable with its internal options to fill in for the just-DL’ed Michael Pineda, he adds. That may be true, of course, but we had heard of interest in a rotation addition prior to Pineda’s injury, so it seems unwise to count New York out of the market until the final bell has sounded.

More pitching notes:

  • The Twins and Padres have had some trade discussions, and the concept of offloading the remaining two years of Ricky Nolasco‘s contract has been floated in those discussions, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. As Wolfson notes, Jeremy Nygaard of TwinsDaily.com first suggested the notion. Nolasco does have a three-team no-trade clause but it does not include San Diego, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press notes on Twitter.
  • The Twins are looking at set-up options that include Joaquin Benoit of the Padres and several Rays pitchers, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Minnesota has long been said to be pursuing pen arms, and it would be surprising if the team doesn’t make an addition today. We’ve already heard of recent interest in Tampa Bay’s relief arms from the Astros.
  • Julio Teheran may have been available at one point, at a high price, but the Braves now seem more or less unwilling to move him, Heyman tweets. Atlanta just sent young starter Alex Wood to the Dodgers, of course, which could have impacted their willingness to part with another controllable arm (particularly since he’s scuffled this year).
  • The Giants believe they can hold onto the just-acquired Mike Leake beyond this year, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. San Francisco has had no trouble reaching late-season extensions in recent years, or with re-signing its own free agents off the open market, so it certainly bears watching.

Pitching Notes: Teheran, Karns, Ross, Giants

We just checked in on Yovani Gallardo, who may or may not be dealt before the deadline. Here’s the latest on the starting pitching market, which was one of many topics covered in today’s podcast with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

  • Despite reportedly being prepared to deal Alex Wood to the Dodgers, the Braves are still listening on Julio Teheran, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). He suggests, however, that the club may just be hoping for an overpay rather than actively shopping the young righty.
  • Given their starting depth, the Rays have indicated a willingness to listen to offers on right-hander Nate Karns, Passan reports on Twitter. Karns is already 27, but has ample team control and has emerged with 115 innings of 3.37 ERA pitching this year.
  • Padres righty Tyson Ross is “drawing intense interest,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The AstrosBlue JaysCubs, and Dodgers are all in the mix, says Heyman, and Houston could be the “at the forefront” of efforts to pry him away from San Diego. Notably, many of those clubs are also viewed as prime contenders for David Price. Heyman further breaks down Price’s market in an article today.
  • The Giants are also said to be looking into a run at Price after falling short in a “late push” for Cole Hamels (per Rosenthal, on Twitter). GM Bobby Evans says he doesn’t foresee the club parting with players from the team’s current everyday lineup in any deals, as Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com tweets. But the Tigers do like several of San Francisco’s minor league arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, which could make them plausible pursuers of the ace lefty.

NL Notes: Tulo, Teheran, Braves, Reds, Niese

In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich said that he is “at least open to considering” a deal involving star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Twitter link). Last we checked in, Tulowitzki said he was not interested in being dealt, and he is believed to have significant sway with club ownership over his status. All said, there remains little reason to believe at present that Tulo is a serious trade candidate.

We already touched upon a series of interesting rumors involving National League clubs earlier today, but here’s the latest out of the NL:

  • Despite recent chatter that the Braves could consider dealing starter Julio Teheran, the young righty is “not being shopped,” David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. Given his cheap control, O’Brien says the team would need to be overwhelmed by an offer to consider such a move.
  • Indeed, the Braves are more likely to hold off on deciding whether to part with Teheran or outfielder Cameron Maybin, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The more likely trade pieces for Atlanta, he suggests, are veterans on one-year deals such as reliever Jim Johnson, utilityman Kelly Johnson, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The Braves have been asked about outfielder Nick Markakis, who still has three years left on his free agent deal, but the team is not making him available. And while Juan Uribe could well be dealt, the club reportedly prefers to attempt to move Chris Johnson first.
  • An executive of a club with interest in adding a hitter says the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That seemingly speaks to the availability of outfielder Jay Bruce, who recent reports indicate is very much in play.
  • The Mets are still willing to deal Jon Niese, but are asking for a player with multiple years of control in return, Stark tweets. The southpaw has turned up his performance of late, racking up eight straight quality starts (at least 6 innings pitched, no more than 3 earned runs) since a run of rough outings to end the month of May. He is playing on a $7MM salary this year and represents a $9MM tab for 2016, but can be controlled thereafter through a pair of options ($10MM and $11MM, respectively, each with $500K buyouts). Given New York’s evident budgetary restrictions, it has seemed that moving Niese’s salary could be a way for the club to free resources to allocate to the struggling offense, but it’s not clear whether they’ll have much hope of pulling that off in a single transaction.

Rotation Rumors: Royals, Teheran, Price, Padres

The starting pitching market appears to be in flux, with numerous buyers reportedly considering an array of options and a variety of potential sellers weighing whether to deal away impact arms. Here are the latest rumors on the rotation front:

  • The Royals are interested in both Johnny Cueto of the Reds and Yovani Gallardo of the Rangers, as well as other arms, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Both, obviously, would be pure rental pieces, and we’ve mostly heard of Kansas City connected to half-year contracts. The club’s level of need certainly went up with the loss of Jason Vargas, though it’s unclear whether that will prompt any effort to add more than one pitcher.
  • Some rival executives believe that the Braves are willing to deal Julio Teheran, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But an Atlanta source indicates that the team sees too much upside in the young righty (and his reasonably-priced extension) to consider such a move. Teheran, 24, has not matched his excellent results over the prior two seasons, but it does seem hard to imagine the club selling low on him unless president of baseball operations John Hart is just not a believer in his future.
  • Rosenthal also addresses the possibility of the Tigers dealing David Price, noting that the team is unlikely to retain him beyond this year if it doesn’t. If and when Detroit puts him on the market, some of the most obviously starting pitching buyers — the Dodgers, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Astros — would have interest, per the report.
  • The Padres are not only all ears on outfielder Justin Upton, but are “listening … intently” on soon-to-be free agent starter Ian Kennedy, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, rival executives say that San Diego would “love” to find a taker for righty James Shields. Given that we’ve also heard suggestions that the Padres are holding conversations regarding Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, it would appear that the club is considering a variety of possible scenarios involving its staff.

Braves Extend Julio Teheran

MONDAY: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the contract's year-to-year breakdown (via Twitter): Teheran will receive a $1MM signing bonus and earn $800K in 2014. His salary jumps to $1MM in 2015, $3.3MM in 2016, $6.3MM in 2017, $8MM in 2018 and $11MM in 2019.

FRIDAY, 10:08am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the option is valued at $12MM and contains a $1MM buyout.

9:55am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that Teheran's extension is worth a guaranteed $32.4MM, meaning he falls slightly short of Madison Bumgarner's $35MM record for a pitcher with one to two years of Major League service time.

9:25am: The Braves announced that they have signed standout right-hander Julio Teheran to a six-year extension that runs through the 2019 season and contains an option for the 2020 campaign. Teheran is a client of Relativity Baseball.


Teheran, who had one year, 62 days of Major League service time, was already under control through the 2018 season. This new contract locks in all of his arbitration salaries and guarantees that the Braves can control one free agent year, with the potential for a second free agent season via the 2020 option. GM Frank Wren is quoted in the press release:

"We are excited to sign Julio to a long-term contract. He is one of the best young pitchers in the National League and one of our core of players we expect to be together for a number of years."

Indeed, the former top prospect took a massive step forward in his first full season at the big league level in 2013. After a slow start to the year (5.08 ERA in April), Teheran righted the ship and turned in an outstanding 2.86 ERA from May 1 through season's end. The net result was a 3.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 37.8 percent ground-ball rate. That performance was good enough for a fifth-place showing in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, though it should be noted that 2013 featured a particularly impressive crop of rookies. In another year, Teheran's performance — valued at 2.4 WAR by Fangraphs and 3.2 WAR by Baseball-Reference — may have been worthy of taking the award home.

While terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, a look at MLBTR's Extension Tracker gives a list of comparables for pitchers with one to two years of big league service. Currently, Madison Bumgarner's five-year, $35MM contract (which contained two options) is the largest deal for a pitcher in this service class. As I speculated last week, when reports of the Braves' interest in an extension for Teheran surfaced, that type of guarantee is certainly within reach over a six-year span for the Colombian right-hander.

It's a surprise to see the Braves, a team not previously known for doling out extensions, sign two of their core players to significant long-term deals this offseason. The team announced a franchise-record eight-year, $135MM extension for Freddie Freeman last week and is also said to have interest in locking up Andrelton Simmons on a long-term deal. Prior to Freeman's extension, that last Braves player to sign an extension with fewer than five years of service time was Brian McCann back in 2007. The Braves did welcome former Rangers and Indians GM John Hart to their front office as a senior advisor this offseason, so perhaps the esteemed executive has had some influece on these decisions.

The Braves feature a wealth of home-grown starting pitchers, as Teheran now looks set to join Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen in the rotation for the foreseeable future. The fifth spot in 2014 figures to be filled by some combination of Alex Wood, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia, although Wood (also a home-grown product) or top prospect and 2012 first-rounder Lucas Sims could eventually fill that slot on a more permanent basis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Amaro, Teheran, Miller

Ryan Howard was "the single most productive player in the game" before he signed his extension in 2010, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in an extended interview. "Did we expect some dropoff later on? Sure. But can we gauge that the man was going to blow out his Achilles? No. That was a big blow to us. And it was a big blow to us because of the nature of the injury. It was a fluke injury," Amaro says. Amaro also argues that, although his roster might be on the older side, plenty of older players are effective. He hopes the 2014 team to be healthier than last year's team, but also notes that this year's edition is better equipped to deal with injuries. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Julio Teheran's new extension with the Braves is similar to the one Madison Bumgarner signed two years ago, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs writes. While Teheran's deal isn't as surprising as the Freddie Freeman deal was, Cameron argues that it still demonstrates that pre-free-agency extensions are getting more expensive. Bumgarner, for example, had accomplished more at the time of his extension than Teheran has. Teheran also received much more than Martin Perez did in his extension, which he received in November.
  • Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller has an arbitration hearing on Tuesday, and in preparation, Miller and the Sox are working on a one-year deal, not a multiyear contract, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets. Miller has asked for $2.15MM, while the Red Sox have countered with $1.55MM.

Braves Interested In Extensions For Simmons, Teheran

The Braves haven't been known as a team that's big on working out long-term extensions for arbitration eligible and pre-arb players, but that reputation may be changing. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that after this week's colossal eight-year, $135MM Freddie Freeman extension and a two-year, $13.3MM deal for Jason Heyward, the Braves are interested in working out extensions for shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right-hander Julio Teheran.

Simmons currently has one year, 125 days of Major League service time under his belt. Extensions for shortstops with between one and two years of service time are a rarity, though Troy Tulowitzki inked a six-year, $31MM contract with one year, 33 days of service. Simmons is cut from a different cloth than Tulowitzki, but that contract is also six years old. Recent extensions for defensive-minded shortstops who signed with two to three years of service time include Alcides Escobar (four years, $10.5MM) and Elvis Andrus (three years, $14.4MM). Simmons is regarded as a superior defender to both and has more power than either of his slick fielding peers, and neither was a Super Two player. As such, his remaining years of team control figure to come at a higher price than either Andrus or Escobar, especially considering that each of those contracts is two years old.

While the potential for Super Two status throws a wrinkle into talks, both Evan Longoria and Ryan Braun had clauses built into their contracts boosting future guarantees should the reach arbitration eligibility early. Simmons could end up in the $20-25MM range for his remaining five years of team control, depending on Super Two status. For the purposes of this projection, I'll split the middle and project $22.5MM for his five years of team control. Tacking on a free agent year at a discounted rate of $10MM would put him into the six-year, $32.5MM range. In reality, nothing in the mid-$30MM range would surprise me, as the final number would be dependent on his Super Two status and the contract language negotiated by the Braves and his agents at Relativity Baseball. Free agent seasons beyond that would figure to escalate, perhaps bringing his price range into the upper-$40MMs on a seven-year deal.

Shifting to Teheran, the right-hander currently has one year, 62 days of service time. There's a much larger sample of historical context when looking at his case, as starters Martin Perez, Wade Davis, Brett Anderson, James Shields and Cory Luebke have all signed four-year deals in the $12MM range with multiple club options at similar junctures of their careers. Madison Bumgarner and Ricky Romero each netted more than $30MM over a five-year span, but they projected as potential Super Two players and each had experienced more success by that point in their careers.

It's also important to remember that most of those four-year, $12MM deals are several years old (with the exception of Perez). Each contained relatively tame arbitration salaries, but the days for those types of deals could be coming to an end due to inflation and increasing TV revenues (Freeman's deal, in particular, demonstrates the rising price of extending young talent). Teheran could sign away his two remaining pre-arb years and his first two arbitration eligible seasons for something in the $14MM range, plus a pair of options that would cover his third arb season and first free agent year. The option values on previous contracts of this ilk ranges from $15-20MM. Placing Teheran slightly north of that scale, a potential extension could reach $35MM or so over a six-year span, assuming both options on the deal are exercised.

One thing working in the Braves' favor when it comes to this potential rash of extensions is the new Cobb County stadium on the horizon, which figures to boost revenue (as pointed out by David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Twitter). The increased revenue from the stadium should help to offset, to an extent, the fact that the Braves' television contract as believed to provide them with less than $20MM annually (O'Brien reporting).

That's clearly not the case for all teams, as new television deals have infused the game with more money than ever. That influx of cash could render historical context on contract extensions — even from two years ago — largely irrelevant. Players such as Simmons, Teheran, Jason Kipnis and Wil Myers (just to name a few examples) could redefine the market for pre-arb extensions in the next 12 to 14 months.

NL Notes: Soriano, Teheran, Phillies, Helton

On this date in 1896, the National League forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs (and thus enabling the legend of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry)‚ declares "a ball cutting the corners of the home plate‚ and being the requisite height‚ must be called a strike" and empowers umpires to eject players. Here's the latest news and notes from this century's National League: