Justin Maxwell Rumors

Royals Notes: Yost, Bonifacio, Choo, Beltran

Justin Maxwell's walkoff grand slam yesterday helped the Royals earn their 82nd win of the season, thus ensuring that the club will enjoy a winning record for just the second time in the last 19 seasons (and first time since 2003).  The Royals sit 3.5 games behind the Indians for the last AL wild card slot, so while it would take a big finish to reach the postseason, K.C. will go into the offseason on a high note for the first time in years.  Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star looks ahead to potential winter moves for the Royals as part of a reader Q&A piece…

  • "It's not a slam dunk" that Ned Yost returns as the Royals manager in 2014, as Dutton believes that the lack of rumors about contract talks could indicate that the club is considering a change in the dugout.  Dutton recently reported that owner David Glass was leaving Yost's fate up to GM Dayton Moore, and Moore said he is waiting until after the season to discuss contracts with Yost and the coaching staff.
  • Moore and his staff should be credited, Dutton opines, for getting major contributions from Maxwell and Emilio Bonifacio in what seemed like minor trades at the time.  Maxwell, acquired from the Astros on deadline day, has a .972 OPS in 89 PA as a Royal, while Bonifacio is hitting .287/.359/.353 over 155 PA and is 15-for-17 in steal attempts since being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in mid-August.
  • Bonifacio's emergence means that the Royals no longer have to make second base a major priority this offseason.  Bonifacio could start and the team is happy with Pedro Ciriaco as the utility infielder, though Bonifacio would return to his original utility role if the club does pick someone else up.  With Bonifacio and Ciriaco in the fold, Dutton doesn't see much room for Chris Getz or Johnny Giavotella on the roster.
  • The Royals will probably check in on Shin-Soo Choo this winter but Dutton suspects the free agent outfielder will be too expensive for the team.  Choo is the fifth-ranked player on Tim Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings and will draw a lot of interest from several teams, so Dutton is probably right in assuming that K.C. will be priced out.
  • An outfielder could be an offseason target for the team, as Dutton feels this would be the easiest spot to add a much-needed bat to the lineup.  Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain are locks to return, with Maxwell, David Lough and Jarrod Dyson all currently in the mix for the third OF spot or a bench role. 
  • In terms of big-name free agent outfielders, Dutton sees Carlos Beltran as a likelier bet to sign with the Royals than Curtis Granderson, but while Beltran would be more open of the two to sign with K.C. for market value, Dutton still deems a Beltran return as "not likely."  As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth noted yesterday in his Beltran vs. Nelson Cruz Free Agent Faceoff piece, Beltran is a defensive question mark at this point in his career, so he might not be a fit with the Royals given how Billy Butler is entrenched at DH.

Royals Acquire Justin Maxwell

The Royals have acquired Justin Maxwell from the Astros, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  The Astros receive minor league pitcher Kyle Smith, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.Maxwell

Maxwell, 29, can play all three outfield positions and is hitting .241/.311/.387 with a pair of homers and four steals in 151 plate appearances this season. He slugged 18 homers last season for Houston and has hit lefties at a .253/.370/.455 clip throughout his career. Maxwell is controllable through the 2016 season and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

Smith, 20, has a 2.85 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.78 HR/9 this year in 104 1/3 High-A innings.  Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked him 12th among Royals prospects, noting a No. 3 starter ceiling.

While many have speculated that the Royals should ultimately be sellers, the team certainly took a win-now approach this offseason in trading a prospect package highlighted by Wil Myers for James Shields and Wade Davis. They're riding a seven-game winning streak that has pushed them back above .500. Maxwell should be able to platoon with David Lough in right field and fill in around the outfield when needed.

Maxwell is the second significant piece to be moved by the Astros this week, as general manager Jeff Luhnow traded closer Jose Veras to the Tigers in exchange for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a PTBNL earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Astros Claim Justin Maxwell Off Waivers

The Astros have claimed outfielder Justin Maxwell off of waivers from the Yankees, the club announced. Maxwell will report to the Major League club on Monday and the Astros will make a corresponding roster move after he reports.  Houston's 40-man roster now stands at 39.

Maxwell, 28, was out-of-options and designated for assignment by the Bombers on Wednesday.  The outfielder saw his 2011 season cut short with an injured shoulder but hit .260/.358/.588 with 16 homers in Triple-A up until that point. 

The Yankees acquired Maxwell from the Nationals in February for minor league right-hander Adam Olbrychowski.  The Astros and the Orioles were said to have interest in Maxwell prior to Opening Day.



Yankees Designate Justin Maxwell For Assignment

The Yankees have designated Justin Maxwell for assignment, reports Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News (on Twitter). Maxwell is out of options.

Maxwell, 28, hit .260/.358/.588 with 16 homers and 11 steals in 204 Triple-A plate appearances last season before injuring his shoulder. The outfielder had a strong showing in Spring Training could get claimed off waivers.


AL East Notes: Maxwell, Moore, Red Sox

If the Dodgers are worth $2.15 billion, what are the Yankees worth? Here are some AL East-related notes, starting in the Bronx…

  • The Astros and Orioles have some interest in Yankees outfielder Justin Maxwell, but haven’t discussed a possible deal with GM Brian Cashman, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Maxwell is out of options and could be available in trades before Opening Day.
  • Andrew Simon explores the risks and rewards of long-terms deals for unproven players in a piece for MLB.com. Left-hander Matt Moore thought his options over carefully before signing long-term with the Rays this offseason. "Matt came at it from a very, very intellectual standpoint, and we gave him all the information," agent Matt Sosnick said.
  • Red Sox right-hander Vicente Padilla said through a translator that he would prefer to pitch in relief for Boston than go to another team, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
  • Chris Carpenter, the right-handed reliever who joined the Red Sox as compensation for Theo Epstein, will undergo surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com writes.

Yankees Acquire Justin Maxwell

The Yankees announced that they have acquired Justin Maxwell from the Nationals for minor league right-hander Adam Olbrychowski. When Washington had to clear roster space last week, they designated Maxwell for assignment.

Other than their four primary outfielders – Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones – the Yankees don't have a ton of outfield depth. Maxwell will provide manager Joe Girardi with an alternative to Colin Curtis, Greg Golson and Jordan Parraz.

Maxwell has a .201/.319/.379 line in 260 big league plate appearances and a .261/.357/.442 line in 1778 minor league plate appearances. The 27-year-old has shown speed on the basepaths and the ability to play all three outfield positions.

Olbrychowski reached Double-A last year in his fourth professional season. The 24-year-old posted a 3.90 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 67 innings at Class A and Double-A last year, working almost exclusively out of the bullpen.


Nationals Designate Justin Maxwell For Assignment

The Nationals announced that they designated Justin Maxwell for assignment (Twitter link). The 27-year-old outfielder has showed promise throughout his pro career, but has yet to enjoy sustained success in the major leagues. Back in September, Nats manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he still had high hopes for Maxwell.

"Hopefully, it all comes together and he has a good spring for us and he's part of the ballclub next year," Riggleman said. "There's no reason to give up on him. I think it's all going to click. There's no last-chance situation."

Maxwell has a .201/.319/.379 line in 260 big league plate appearances and a .261/.357/.442 line in 1778 minor league plate appearances. He has shown speed on the basepaths and the ability to play all three outfield positions.


Nationals Rumors: Outfield, Maxwell, Morgan, Darvish

Adam Kilgore from the Washington Post provides us with some info on the Nationals as their season draws to a close this weekend:

  • The quartet of Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, and Mike Morse have seen the majority of the outfield time this season, and Kilgore says it's likely that those four do the same in 2011. It would be tough for the Nationals to land a top outfielder like Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, and beyond that there's not many attractive free agent options. Personal speculation, but if they do choose to look for free agent offense in the outfield, they could try to buy low on Magglio Ordonez.
  • Manager Jim Riggleman says that despite Justin Maxwell's offensive struggles this season, the soon to be 27-year-old is too talented to give up on. Riggleman thinks everything will click for Maxwell next season and hopes he'll be a part of the club. He says there's no "last chance" situation with Maxwell.
  • GM Mike Rizzo also said they're committed to Nyjer Morgan in 2011. That may have been in question with some fans as a result of his behavior and multiple suspensions this season.
  • The Nationals are known to be looking for front-line starting pitching, and have Japanese phenom Yu Darvish on their radar. Darvish wouldn't be cheap, but he'll likely be more affordable than the market's only proven Major League ace — Cliff Lee. Kilgore says it would be "speculative" to gauge Washington's interest, but notes that their scouts have seen him pitch in person at least nine times and recommended him to the front office.

Nationals Notes: Storen, Dunn, Desmond

MLB.com's Bill Ladson answered a few questions from fans about the D.C. nine today and here are a few of the more relevant details….

  • Ladson "could see" Drew Storen making the Nationals as the team's set-up man, in just the right-hander's second year of pro ball.  Storen had a 1.95 ERA and an eye-popping 11.9 K/9 in 28 appearances for Washington's Single-A, Single-A advanced and Double-A teams last season after being taken 10th overall in the 2009 June Entry Draft.
  • Whatever Washington's rebuilding plans entail, they won't involve dealing Adam Dunn.
  • Ian Desmond and Justin Maxwell have yet to entirely prove themselves to Nationals management and "must have a great Spring Training" for either of them to even make the Opening Day roster, let alone get playing time.
  • Ladson thinks the Nats might at least inquire about Pedro Martinez if the future Hall-of-Famer becomes available in the off-season, but the price tag will likely be too high for Washington's taste.
  • Mark DeRosa's versatility is what would attract the Nationals most if they made a play for the veteran free agent.

Nationals Notes: Manager, Desmond, Maxwell

Byron Kerr of MASN.com spoke to Washington Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman, who is the favorite to manage the team in 2010, according to Jon Heyman. A few highlights of the conversation….

  • Riggleman indicates that the Nationals' managerial hunt is working around the playoff schedule, and that it will probably be after the World Series before a manager is named.
  • He suggests the Nationals could use another veteran starter.
  • He says that although they don't necessarily need to sign a big-name closer, Washington would benefit from some bullpen help.
  • Cristian Guzman's offseason progress is important. If he's not able to throw, the Nationals could look to add infielders, and it could mean more playing time for Ian Desmond.
  • Riggleman feels Justin Maxwell's spot on the 25-man roster is his to lose, and that Maxwell could start against lefties.