Junichi Tazawa Rumors
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).
- Cesar Ramos got $750K from the Rays in his deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
- Sherman tweets that the Athletics' Craig Gentry will get $1.145MM on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
- Jerry Blevins and the Nationals avoided arbitration, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. He will earn $1.675MM for the year, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.
- Alejandro De Aza agreed to a $4.25MM deal with the White Sox, Sherman tweets. Within the same tweet, Sherman says the Rays shook hands with Jose Lobaton on a $900K deal and James Russell agreed to a $1.775MM pact.
- The White Sox and Gordon Beckham agreed to a one-year, $4.175MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with Marco Estrada and Juan Francisco, Sherman tweets. Estrada gets $3.325MM with $100K in innings pitched bonuses while Francisco gets $1.35MM.
- Mike Dunn agreed to a $1.4MM deal with the Marlins, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Pedro Alvarez will earn $4.25MM on his brand new deal with the Pirates, Sherman tweets.
- The Nationals announced that they've struck an arb-avoiding deal with Wilson Ramos. Ramos gets $2.095MM with the opportunity to get $105K more through plate appearance bonuses, per Sherman.
- Alexi Ogando gets $2.625MM in 2014 from the Rangers, according to Sherman.
- Mark Melancon will get $2.595MM after striking a deal with the Pirates, tweets Sherman.
- Brandon Moss and the Athletics avoided arbitration with a $4.1MM pact, Sherman tweets.
- The Red Sox and Jonathan Herrera avoided arbitration with a $1.3MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets.
- Brian Duensing has agreed to a $2MM deal with the Twins, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Berardino adds in a second tweet that Anthony Swarzak also avoided arb with a $935K deal. The swingman will earn a $25K bonus if he starts 10 games.
- The Rangers and Neftali Feliz agreed to a $3MM deal with bonuses of $25K for 50/55 games finished, Sherman tweets.
- Jake McGee will earn $1.45MM in his new deal with the Rays, Sherman tweets.
- The Royals and Eric Hosmer have agreed to a one-year, $3.6MM deal, Sherman tweets.
- Mike Carp gets $1.4MM in his deal with the Red Sox, according to Sherman (via Twitter).
- Bobby Parnell agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM with the Mets that can increase by $50K if he appears in 60 games, Sherman tweets.
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Jordan Schafer with a $1.09MM deal, tweets Sherman. Sherman adds that Andy Dirks and the Tigers have also avoided arbitration with a $1.625MM deal.
- Shawn Kelley and the Yankees dodged arbitration by agreeing to a $1.765MM deal for 2014, Sherman tweets. Kelley, 29, has a career 3.77 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.
- The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.275MM deal with Junichi Tazawa, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Tazawa posted a 3.16 ERA in 2013 with 9.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
- The Rockies avoided arbitration with Drew Stubbs by agreeing to a $4.1MM deal for 2014, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). With the signing of Stubbs, the Rockies have now taken care of all of their arbitration-eligible players.
- Kyle Blanks has avoided arbitration with the Padres by agreeing to a one-year, $988K deal, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Sherman also reports (on Twitter) that the Giants have avoided arbitration with Gregor Blanco and Tony Abreu by agreeing to one-year deals that are worth $2.525MM and $745K, respectively.
- The Cardinals and Peter Bourjos have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract, tweets Sherman. Bourjos can earn another $150K based on plate appearances.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have avoided arbitration with a one-year deal, according to Sanchez's agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Sanchez will earn $2.3MM.
- Sherman reports (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays also avoided arbitration with Esmil Rogers by agreeing to a one-year, $1.85MM contract.
- The Nationals announced that in addition to their two-year deal with Jordan Zimmermann, they've also signed Drew Storen to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. Sherman tweets that he'll earn $3.45MM in 2014 with an additional $1MM of incentives in his contract for games finished.
- The Rockies and righty Juan Nicasio avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.025MM contract, Sherman tweets.
- The Blue Jays and lefty Brett Cecil have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.3MM pact, per Sherman (on Twitter).
- Sherman tweets that the Rays and Matt Joyce agreed to a one-year, $3.7MM contract, thereby avoiding arbitration.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Reds have avoided arbitration with Alfredo Simon by agreeing to a one-year, $1.5MM contract (Twitter link).
- Connolly also reports that the Orioles have avoided arbitration with Tommy Hunter (Twitter link). Currently the front-runner to serve as Baltimore's closer in 2014, Hunter will earn $3MM after posting a 2.81 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 86 1/3 innings for the O's in 2013.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and Troy Patton have avoided arbitration (Twitter link). Patton topped Swartz's $1.2MM salary projection by earning a raise to $1.275MM, Connolly adds in a second tweet.. Patton will be suspended for the first 25 games of 2014 for amphetamine use.
- The Twins and Trevor Plouffe have agreed to a one-year, $2.35MM contract, Sherman tweets. Plouffe saw his power numbers drop as he batted .254/.309/.392 with 14 homers in a career-high 522 plate appearances in 2013 (he'd belted 24 homers in 465 PAs in 2012). He figures to open the season as Minnesota's everyday third baseman but could eventually have competition from top prospect Miguel Sano.
- Jon Jay and the Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.25MM contract, according to Sherman (on Twitter). Jay batted .276/.351/.370 with the Cards in 2013 but struggled defensively (particularly in the playoffs) and will have center field competition in the form of offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos in 2014.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Phillies and John Mayberry Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.5875MM. Mayberry slashed .227/.286/.391 in 2013 and has a career .274/.321/.526 batting line against lefties. He came in just under Swartz's $1.7MM projection.
- The Cubs and Luis Valbuena have also avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year pact, tweets Sherman. Valbuena will earn $1.71MM after slashing .218/.331/.378 and setting a new career-best with 12 homers in 2013. He exceeded Swartz's projection by $210K.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
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.
A few links for Wednesday night...
- Ian Browne of MLB.com writes that Junichi Tazawa could probably pitch in the majors now, it just wouldn't be ideal for the pitcher's development.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff breaks down the offseason's winners and losers.
- Lars Anderson wasn't disappointed when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees, according to Howard Ulman of the AP (via the Boston Globe), but the Red Sox prospect says he wouldn't be doing anything differently if Tex were with Boston.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that third base prospect Dayan Viciedo could very well end up in the outfield if the White Sox decide to let Jermaine Dye walk after 2009.
- Eric Seidman of FanGraphs tries to come up with the best way of evaluating winners and losers in trades.
Red Sox rumors and links abound this morning.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says the Red Sox will meet with C.C. Sabathia within the next few days. It's unknown whether they have serious interest.
- Olney adds that the Sox hope to sign Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lester long-term, in the wake of the Dustin Pedroia deal. Peter Gammons suggested a deal for Youkilis could get done quickly.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe says GM Theo Epstein has prioritized catching. Epstein suggested more catchers may be available in trade than people think.
- Benjamin says the Red Sox also want to add a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play center (such as Rocco Baldelli) and a corner infielder. Trade talks with the Tigers for Julio Lugo have broken down.
- Epstein indicated to Benjamin that certain free agent pitchers will "dominate for years to come," and that's the type he's interested in. He also said an eight-to-ten year deal for a free agent is unlikely, but Benjamin says not to rule out Mark Teixeira.
- Epstein said at a press conference yesterday that the team's Junichi Tazawa signing was made possible in part by the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing a few years back. Dice-K and Hideki Okajima could be reasons Tazawa turned down more money from the Rangers. Tazawa may begin his career in Double A.
- The Boston Herald's Sean McAdam looks at the controversy caused by the Tazawa deal.
Interesting linkage this Thursday evening:
- ESPN's Keith Law gives a thumbs up on the Giants' signing of Edgar Renteria.
- Jesse Spector examines comparables for A.J. Burnett.
- Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News suggests the Rockies could be a fit for Delmon Young. Young doesn't seem to be in Ron Gardenhire's preferred starting outfield.
- Tony Massarotti at the Boston Globe points out that Junichi Tazawa's signing may help mitigate the loss of a draft pick in the event that the Red Sox were to sign a Type A free agent that had been offered arbitration (examples would be Derek Lowe or Mark Teixeira).
- The Dodgers will likely acquire their 2009 starting shortstop via trade, writes Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Renteria has been signed by the Giants, Rafael Furcal is too expensive, Orlando Cabrera has been offered arbitration, and the rest of the free agents just aren't that good.