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Junichi Tazawa Rumors
The Yankees have promoted pro scout and former hitting coach/player development executive Gary Denbo to senior vice president of baseball operations, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweeted yesterday. In a full article, Feinsand and colleague Bill Madden write that Denbo will take over for the retired Mark Newman as head of the team’s farm system. Pat Roessler, who has served as the team’s director of player development since 1995, will not return to the club, Feinsand adds. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has recently expressed displeasure with the lack of position players developed by the Yankees’ farm system.
Some other Yankees and AL East notes from around the league…
- In his latest Yankees Inbox piece for MLB.com, Bryan Hoch discusses a number of offseason topics, including the club’s search for starting pitching and a shortstop, as well as its likely inactivity on the market for Cuban players. Hoch won’t be surprised to see the Yankees pursue one of the big three starters (Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields), and all indications are that the team will look externally for a shortstop. MLBTR’s Zach Links recently profiled Asdrubal Cabrera, noting that he could be a fit for the Bombers at short.
- Yoenis Cespedes‘ recent agency change does little to change the possibility of the Red Sox signing him to an extension, writes WEEI.com’s Alex Speier. Cespedes is still expected to hit the open market on the heels of past comments with the A’s about looking forward to testing the open market. While he did take a bit more ambiguous stance when asked by Boston reporters late in the year — “I’m still not sure if I want to sign an extension or if I want to be a free agent. It’s too soon.” – Speier feels that a new contract for the Roc Nation Sports client is unlikely.
- David Laurila of Fangraphs spoke with Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa at the end of the season about his role with the team and his level of satisfaction with his 2014 results. Tazawa explained, through an interpreter, that he feels he proved his endurance out of the bullpen and is happy to fill whatever role Boston asks of him, especially after they stuck with him through his previous Tommy John surgery. However, Laurila cites a Japanese source in reporting that Tazawa’s preference would be to pitch as a starter. Tazawa wouldn’t comment on any preference when asked directly about the role change, though he did note that he feels he could build up that level of endurance again. The 28-year-old made four starts for the Sox in 2009 and made 28 more in the minor leagues before settling into the big league bullpen.
- Steve Pearce‘s role on the 2015 Orioles is a bit nebulous at this point, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, as it’s somewhat contingent on how the rest of the roster shapes up. The O’s will potentially lose Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis to free agency, and it’s not a given that they’ll tender Alejandro De Aza a contract. Pearce himself is due a large raise in arbitration after his outstanding 2014 season, but Baltimore will happily pay him whatever he is ultimately owed, writes Kubatko. He looks back at the series of events which saw Pearce released and claimed by the Blue Jays. Pearce, of course, was able to refuse the claim due to the nature of release waivers, and he did so knowing that the O’s would soon try to bring him back. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has one year of team control remaining before free agency and earned just $700K in each of the past two seasons.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington chatted with reporters just minutes ago and it’s no surprise to hear his admission that the club was not expecting Xander Bogaerts to struggle to this extent in 2014 (via Tim Britton of The Providence Journal on Twitter). Still just 21, Bogaerts has slashed .226/.293/.339 in 472 plate appearances this season. Earlier this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the struggles of Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have left many around the game wondering how good each player truly is. Here’s more out of Boston..
- Peter Gammons (Twitter links) cautions not to read much into waiver trade bites on Bogaerts, Clay Buchholz, Brock Holt, Joe Kelly, Yoenis Cespedes, Christian Vazquez, Burke Badenhop, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara.
- Cherington said that he won’t be resistant to trade prospects this off-season, “for the right guy,” tweets Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican. He added that the club has never been opposed to dealing prospects, but such decisions are “contextual,” tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The GM wouldn’t give much on the team’s interest in Rusney Castillo. “We are one of many teams interested. That’s all I’ll say,” the GM said, according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spent an hour chatting with readers about the trade deadline. Here are some highlights from his session…
- The Phillies have offered Ryan Howard to any American League club they think could theoretically use him and received no takers. GM Ruben Amaro has even offered to pay the vast majority of Howard’s deal while asking for little in return, but to no avail.
- The possibility of Jake Peavy heading to the Cardinals is still very much alive, Stark hears. The Red Sox just sent their top scouts to watch St. Louis’ short-season Class A club, which would fit with previous reports that Boston likes outfield prospect Rowan Wick (though he has since moved up to the Midwest League).
- Despite a six-game losing streak, the Reds are still buying, and their preference is to add a bat that they can control beyond this season. As such, Marlon Byrd and Ben Zobrist both are targets, though it’s far from a guarantee that the Rays will sell.
- Stark says he’s “barely heard [Stephen] Drew‘s name” on the trade market due to how poorly the shortstop has played since signing. If the Red Sox sell, he notes, the team will trade some combination of Peavy, Andrew Miller, Jonny Gomes and Junichi Tazawa. The addition of Tazawa’s name is a new wrinkle in the trade market. The 28-year-old has been dominant for the Sox and is controlled through 2016 via arbitration. One would think he could fetch a very nice return, given his 2.52 ERA (2.66 FIP), 9.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.
- The Giants “really want a starter,” but Stark can’t see them seriously pursuing David Price. He does note that GM Brian Sabean usually ends up getting what he’s looking for at this time of the year. San Francisco has also shown some interest in Jimmy Rollins, but the chances are very low due to the former MVP’s 10-and-5 rights, his contract and the fact that Brandon Crawford would have to slide over to second base. (Alternatively, Rollins could simply play second, given Crawford’s defensive prowess.)
- While most reports out of New York indicate that the Mets don’t want to trade Daniel Murphy, Stark hears that they’d “definitely” move him if they received enough quality in return. I’d imagine the asking price on Murphy to be very high, given Alderson’s reluctance to sell off assets that are under control beyond the current season.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andrew Miller | Ben Zobrist | Boston Red Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Daniel Murphy | Jimmy Rollins | Jonny Gomes | Junichi Tazawa | Marlon Byrd | New York Mets | Newsstand | Philadelphia Phillies | Ryan Howard | San Francisco Giants | St. Louis Cardinals | Stephen Drew | Tampa Bay Rays
We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Al Alburquerque | Alejandro De Aza | Alexi Ogando | Alfredo Simon | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Parnell | Boston Red Sox | Brandon Moss | Brett Cecil | Brian Duensing | Brian Matusz | Chicago Cubs | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Craig Gentry | Detroit Tigers | Dillon Gee | Drew Storen | Drew Stubbs | Emilio Bonifacio | Eric Hosmer | Ernesto Frieri | Esmil Rogers | Gaby Sanchez | Gordon Beckham | Gregor Blanco | Houston Astros | Ivan Nova | Jake McGee | James Russell | Jason Castro | Jeremy Hellickson | Jerry Blevins | Jesus Guzman | Joe Thatcher | John Mayberry Jr. | Jon Jay | Jonathan Herrera | Jordan Schafer | Jose Lobaton | Juan Francisco | Juan Nicasio | Junichi Tazawa | Kansas City Royals | Kyle Blanks | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Luis Valbuena | Marc Rzepczynski | Mark Melancon | Matt Joyce | Miami Marlins | Mike Dunn | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Neftali Feliz | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Pedro Alvarez | Pedro Strop | Peter Bourjos | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Sean Rodriguez | Shawn Kelley | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tommy Hunter | Tony Abreu | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Trevor Plouffe | Troy Patton | Vin Mazzaro | Washington Nationals | Wilson Ramos | Yusmeiro Petit
The latest on the Red Sox, via Alex Speier of WEEI.com…
- The Red Sox are currently evaluating five starters for the final two spots in their rotation, Speier writes. Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Vicente Padilla, Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront are all in the mix for a starting job. Aaron Cook and Ross Ohlendorf could join the competition, but they have yet to pitch in games.
- The Red Sox are open to the idea of trading for a starter during Spring Training or once the season begins, but they’re comfortable with what they have, Speier reports.
- Speier also has the details on the contracts of Boston's pre-arbitration eligible players. Junichi Tazawa($920K) and Mark Melancon ($521K) will earn well over the $480K minimum in 2012. The Red Sox announced today that they have agreed to terms with the 16 players on their 40-man roster who aren't yet arb eligible.
Two years ago today, the Indians traded third baseman Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals for Chris Perez, with Jess Todd also going to Cleveland as the player to be named later. DeRosa injured his wrist shortly after the trade and struggled in his time with the Cards, but they received a consolation prize in righty Seth Blair, chosen in the 2010 draft as compensation when DeRosa signed with the Giants. Perez has racked up 42 saves as the Indians' closer. Todd was designated for assignment in April of this year, claimed by the Yankees, designated again in May, claimed by the Cardinals, and recently outrighted to Triple-A. On to today's links…
- Rangers reliever Darren O'Day may return this week from the 60-day DL, meaning the team will need to open up a 40-man roster spot.
- The Red Sox announced they activated righty Junichi Tazawa from the 60-day DL and optioned him to Double-A; lefty Rich Hill was placed on the 60-day DL to keep the 40-man roster at 40.
- Pirates lefty Paul Maholm reiterated to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he'd like to stay in Pittsburgh, but he's not going to beg or initiate extension talks. In general terms, GM Neal Huntington expressed a strong preference for avoiding in-season negotiations. He has a $9.75MM option on Maholm for 2012. For more on the Maholm situation, click here.
- Athletics reliever Vinnie Chulk can opt out of his contract Friday, notes SI's Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The 32-year-old righty has a 2.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 in 39 1/3 Triple-A innings this year.
- Heyman talked to agents and executives, asking them to predict contracts for Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jose Reyes. Everyone sees Pujols getting at least $27.5MM and at least six years. I have to wonder if he'd prefer a one-year deal if his return is less than stellar. Meanwhile, most of the participants saw Fielder getting $24-25MM a year and at least five years.
- The Cardinals could try to acquire two relievers rather than go after a big fish like Heath Bell, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
A few links for the morning…
- Today's chat starts at 2pm CST.
- Brandon Webb says he'll pitch next year and he hopes it's with the D'Backs, according to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic. The team has the option of paying Webb $8.5MM or buying him out for $2MM.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck says the Tigers, who had interest in Junichi Tazawa last Winter, now have to face the righty as he makes his first MLB start.
- How about this stat, from Tracee Hamilton of the Washington Post: The Nats were 21st in the majors in runs before Nyjer Morgan's arrival. Since trading for him, they're third.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft wonders if the Giants may be about to release Rich Aurilia.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the Red Sox agreed to sign 10th rounder Brandon Jacobs for $750k, which exceeds the recommended bonus by about $600k.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the A's have budgeted first round money for fourth rounder Max Stassi. However, there appears to be a 50% chance he accepts a scholarship at UCLA instead of going pro.
The Red Sox called up Junichi Tazawa, acquired Chris Woodward from the Mariners and designated Billy Traber for assignment this afternoon, according to DJ Bean of WEEI.com. Tazawa pitched well in the minors, striking out 88 in 98 AA innings before pitching twice in Triple A.
They acquired Woodward off of waivers, according to a team press release.
A few links to check out on the 30th anniversary of Thurman Munson's death…
- Mike Ashmore of AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com wrote a feature on Keith Foulke, who is pitching with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Foulke turned down several Triple-A offers before the season, including one from the Nationals, and admits it "probably turned out to be a little bit of a mistake." Foulke is looking to get back to majors as you'd expect, and says "“I’m going to make one last push over the last couple weeks, and we’ll see what happens."
- The Rangers are ready to call up prospect Neftali Feliz, perhaps in time for tonight's game according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Baseball America rated Feliz the 13th best prospect in the game in early July.
- Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal wonders if Japanese import Junichi Tazawa could be a candidate to fill the bullpen spot left vacated by Justin Masterson's inclusion in the Victor Martinez trade on Friday. Tazawa was recently bumped to Triple-A and is already on the 40-man roster.
- Make you sure follow MLBTR on Twitter for the quickest updates possible. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and follow me too. Almost all of my tweets are about baseball, I swears it.
ESPN’s Peter Gammons posted a new blog entry last night. Let’s take a look.
- Gammons sees Gary Sheffield as a "serious comeback player of the year candidate."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Gammons his team bid $7MM for Junichi Tazawa, but the Red Sox signed him for $3MM due to their presence in Japan. According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the Rangers also offered more money to reliever Chad Cordero but he preferred the West Coast.
- Kicking Jim Bowden while he’s down: Gammons says Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns was claimed on waivers last summer but the Nationals pulled him back.