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Julio Teheran Rumors
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.
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.
Full Story | 119 Comments | Categories: Andrew Cashner | Atlanta Braves | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | David Price | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Ian Kennedy | James Shields | Johnny Cueto | Julio Teheran | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | San Diego Padres | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Tyson Ross | Yovani Gallardo
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The Cubs don't anticipate the Yankees inquiring about Alfonso Soriano in the wake of Curtis Granderson's broken right forearm, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote such a deal could make sense for the Yankees.
- Nate Schierholtz explained to reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, why he signed with the Cubs when he reportedly had offers from contending teams like the Yankees. "There were a lot of factors that played into it," the outfielder said. "I think this team is young and we have a very good chance to win quick. I really believe in this team."
- Right-hander Julio Teheran would have to struggle mightily to lose the fifth spot in the Braves' starting rotation, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith charted recently, the Braves could maintain team control over Teheran through 2019 by waiting until late-June to recall him. The Braves could also prevent Teheran from earning Super Two status by keeping him in the minors until mid-August.
- The Phillies have ten outfielders in camp and manager Charlie Manuel says a roster decision on at least four of them will need to be made about two-thirds of the way through Spring Training, reports David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Todd Helton told Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown he understands his career is coming to an end. "I realize I'm never going to be sitting here in this moment again," the 39-year-old Rockie said. "There are many factors in this. My family. What it's like to be away from home. I love everything about this, but the travel."
After years of trade talk, the Justin Upton rumors finally amounted to a deal. The Braves and Diamondbacks have officially agreed to a seven-player trade that will send Upton to Atlanta. The Braves obtain Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson for third baseman Martin Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed, right-handed pitching prospect Zeke Spruill and minor league first baseman Brandon Drury.
The Braves now have a new-look outfield that will also feature B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward. Justin's older brother signed with Atlanta as a free agent earlier in the offseason, agreeing to a five-year, $75.2MM contract. GM Frank Wren added balance to what had previously been a lefty-heavy lineup by acquiring the right-handed hitting Upton brothers.
Upton, the first overall selection of the 2005 draft, followed up a breakout 2011 season with a solid but unspectacular 2012 campaign. The 25-year-old hit 17 home runs and posted a .280/.355/.430 batting line in 628 plate appearances last year, his sixth season at the MLB level.
There are now three years and $38.5MM remaining on Upton's contract, including a $9.75MM salary in 2013. The contract includes a no-trade list which allows him to block trades to the Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays and Mariners. He exercised his no-trade rights earlier in the winter, blocking a proposed trade that would have sent him to Seattle.
Prado has provided the Braves with versatility on defense and steady offensive production in recent years. He posted a .301/.359/.438 batting line in 690 plate appearances in 2012 while playing five positions. Though Prado was Atlanta's primary left fielder, he played at least ten games at second base, shortstop and third base.
The 29-year-old is arbitration eligible for the third time this winter. He asked for $7.05MM with the Braves, a file and trial team, offering $6.65MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. The Braves were willing to trade Prado once they learned that his asking price on a multiyear deal was $11-12MM, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). Prado, a client of The Legacy Agency, remains on track to hit free agency following the 2013 season.
Johnson hit a career-best 15 home runs last year while playing for the Astros and Diamondbacks. The 28-year-old posted a .281/.326/.451 batting line in 528 plate appearances in 2012. He'll earn $2.875MM in 2013 and will remain under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2016.
As a consequence of the trade, Johnson and Juan Francisco project as Atlanta's primary third basemen. The Braves plan to use the pair in a platoon at third, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). The trade will also take Atlanta out of the running for center fielder Michael Bourn and other free agent outfielders.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks still have considerable outfield depth. Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton provide Arizona manager Kirk Gibson with various options, even without Upton, who had been the team's primary right fielder since 2008. Prado figures to play at third base in Arizona given the team's crowded outfield and the departure of Johnson.
Teams such as the Orioles that had interest in trading for Kubel will now have to look elsewhere for offense. Though Arizona GM Kevin Towers was willing to listen to offers on Upton and Kubel, there's no indication he'd actually trade both players.
Upton drew interest from multiple MLB teams this offseason, as the Diamondbacks were evidently listening to trade offers. The Rangers, one of Upton's many suitors, offered Mike Olt in a trade, but did not include right-hander Cody Buckel in their proposal, Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter).
Delgado started 17 games for the Braves in 2012 after entering the season as the 46th ranked prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America. The 22-year-old posted a 4.37 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings.
Ahmed, 22, played at Class A this past season in his second year as a professional. The 2011 second rounder posted a .269/.337/.391 batting line in 571 plate appearances. Baseball America named him the best defensive infielder in Atlanta's minor league system.
Spruill ranked ninth on BA's list of top Braves prospects this winter. The 23-year-old spent the 2012 season at Double-A Mississippi, posting a 3.67 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 161 2/3 innings.
Drury played at Class A in 2012. The 20-year-old posted a .229/.270/.333 batting line in 480 plate appearances in his third professional season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the teams were nearing an agreement, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the teams had agreed to a trade (on Twitter) and Mark Bowman of MLB.com first reported the specifics of the deal.
- A trade is still the more likely means for Colorado to acquire starting pitching help, according to Renck. Teams are calling about Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer. Renck notes that the two years and $21MM remaining on Cuddyer's contract may be appealing to teams, given the inflated prices we've seen in this year's free agent market.
- The one-year deal signed by Jeff Francis last night will pay the southpaw somewhere north of $750K salary that he earned in 2012.
- Renck also writes that the team included Alex White in this week's Wilton Lopez trade because they no longer viewed White as a starter.
- Within that same piece, Renck reports that in trade talks prior to the Winter Meetings, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor and one of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in exchange for Fowler. Needless to say, the price on Colorado's center fielder remains high.
The Mets are talking R.A. Dickey trades, the Marlins' highest-paid player wants out and the team is shopping its second-highest, and the Phillies have moved on to other outfielders with Angel Pagan off the board. More from around the NL East…
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo does not "see a fit financially or term-wise" with free agent lefty Sean Burnett, he told reporters including Mark Zuckerman today, but he won't rule anything out as the team seeks a second lefty in the bullpen to pair with the newly re-signed Zach Duke.
- Braves GM Frank Wren spent part of the day talking to the agents of free agent bench candidates, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien says the team is believed to have an offer out to bring back outfielder Reed Johnson.
- Wren told reporters including MLB.com's Mark Bowman that while no player is untouchable, shortstop Andrelton Simmons is "unreachable." Pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado aren't off-limits, but "if we’re going to trade one of those guys it’s going to be a significant deal," explained Wren.
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post has more from Nolasco's agent Matt Sosnick, who explained that his client would "be a completely happier player playing somewhere else."
The Braves' season ended in a game that will be remembered for a controversial call last week, as did the likely Hall of Fame career of Chipper Jones. With a feeling that he could only describe as "emptiness," general manager Frank Wren talked with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the playoffs, his team's upcoming offseason and several of the decisions they'll have to make…
- Wren suggested that he's not a fan of the Wild Card format and that he'd like to see the system amended to give the Wild Card teams a three-game series, beginning with a day-night double-header.
- He also said that it's worth revisiting the trade deadline, which Wren feels is "pretty early for the current system." August 15 would be a more logical date for teams to determine whether or not they want to push for the Wild Card, in Wren's estimation.
- Wren says he's looking forward to a "focused" offseason. The front office recognizes that they have to replace Jones at third base, and they hope to retain Michael Bourn, whose contract expired at season's end. The team would like to address center field and the leadoff position in the same move — a role which Bourn can obviously fill. The Braves contacted Bourn's representatives about an extension in Spring Training but were told to wait until after the season to engage in negotiations.
- Atlanta would love to have David Ross back in the fold in 2013. Wren spoke very highly of his backup catcher to O'Brien.
- The Braves chose not to have Brian McCann undergo an MRI with a dye injection during the season because the recovery is too long. McCann will undergo that test in the near future, which could reveal a need for surgery, but for the time being the Braves believe their catcher needs only rest to recover.
- Jason Heyward could handle center field "for a few days," but Wren and his associates don't view him as a long-term answer in center. Wren said he considers Heyward among the best defensive right fielders in the game and wouldn't want to diminish his defensive value by moving him.
- The Braves have options on McCann ($12MM), Tim Hudson ($8MM) and Paul Maholm ($6.5MM), and they'll address those decisions in the coming weeks.
- It would take a "very, very big piece" to trade Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran this winter. The trade market does figure to be in play for the Braves though, as Wren said he won't be "going outrageous salary-wise" on free agents. The team will be "looking for premium players," but Wren cautions they're not looking to add a player to the team as much as they are looking to add value. If they feel that adding two players can give them more than one premium name, they'll pursue that route instead.
- Jair Jurrjens' situation is different from Tommy Hanson's, in Wren's mind. Wren spoke more definitely of Hanson's future with the team than that of Jurrjens. The Braves "will have a determination" on Jurrjens' future this winter. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM in 2012 and is a non-tender candidate for 2013 in the mind of MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
- Wren confirmed that the entire coaching staff will be offered the opportunity to return to the team.