Kansas City Royals Rumors
Here's your rundown of minor moves for Friday...
- Astros right-hander Philip Humber has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Oklahoma City, reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter). Today was the deadline for Humber to decide to report to Triple-A or elect free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this week.
- The Nationals have acquired minor league catcher Brian Jeroloman from the Pirates, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). The 28-year-old was hitting .222/.481/.278 thanks to his nine walks in 29 plate appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis. Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington adds that the Nats gave up cash for Jeroloman because they needed catching depth with Jhonatan Solano back in the Majors and Wilson Ramos on the DL (Twitter links). Jeroloman is a career .235/.349/.305 hitter in 122 Triple-A games.
- Right-hander Blaine Boyer exercised the out clause in his minor league deal with the Royals and became a free agent, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Boyer hasn't pitched in the bigs since 2011. He has a 4.81 ERA in 234 career innings after being selected by the Braves in the third round in 2000. Boyer posted a 3.00 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 15 innings for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, though he allowed four unearned runs as well and served up three homers.
Ben Badler of Baseball America recently profiled such top Venezuelan prospects as Yeltsin Gudino, Jose Herrera and Gleyber Torres as some of the top names to watch when the international signing period opens on July 2. Here are a few more notes from Badler about other 16-year-old prospects out of Venezuela and their possible Major League suitors...
- The Mariners have shown "heavy interest" in outfielder Greifer Andrade. The 6'1", 185-pound Andrade is expected to receive a contract worth more than $1MM with whichever team eventually signs him. Andrade is a right-hander who profiles as a corner outfielder, and scouts vary in their opinions of his long-term potential --- some believe he is one of the top internationals prospects available, while others have doubts about his throwing arm and ability to hit for power in the Major Leagues.
- The Rockies have been looking at shortstop Carlos Herrera. One international scouting director projects Herrera will be "an offensive, top-of-the-lineup guy with a really good idea at the plate." Badler says some scouts think Herrera can handle playing shortstop over the long term and Herrera also has above-average speed and is a solid contact hitter, if lacking in power right now.
- The Mets have been connected to Ali Sanchez, a catcher who is regarded as a solid defender though he "doesn’t have a lot of power now and scouts were mixed on his bat." Badler predicts Sanchez will sign for a little under $800K.
- The Royals have been linked to left-handed hitting outfielder Cristhian Vasquez, regarded as one of Venezuela's best young bats. While Vasquez has gap power, Badler notes that some scouts aren't sure if Vasquez has enough pop to be an everyday left fielder (he's limited to left field due to a lack of arm strength). Badler thinks Vasquez will sign for around $800K.
We'll keep an eye on today's minor moves right here:
- Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez has been outrighted to Triple-A, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (Twitter link). Martinez was designated for assignment by the club earlier this week.
- Edgar Gonzalez has elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports (via Twitter). Gonzalez was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays two days ago and he chose free agency rather than report to Triple-A Buffalo. The right-hander posted a 7.88 ERA in eight innings pitched with Toronto this season.
- The Royals have released right-handed relief pitcher Dan Wheeler, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Wheeler, 35, had been pitching for the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, where he struggled to a 9.00 ERA over 15 innings with a substandard 2.200 WHIP. Last year, Wheeler made just twelve appearances for the Indians and was similarly ineffective, pitching to an 8.76 ERA. Between 2003-2011, Wheeler made no fewer than 35 big league appearances per season. His best seasons came with the Astros in 2005-06, when he logged over 70 innings a year and posted consecutive 2.21 and 2.52 ERA marks.
Today's minor moves...
- The Yankees have acquired minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Gonzalez, who first appeared in the big leagues with the Yankees back in 2007, has seen limited MLB action over the last two years for Texas and Chicago. Over 989 career plate appearances, he has a .241/.279/.319 line.
- The Orioles acquired third baseman Brandon Wood from the Royals for cash considerations, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Wood will report to Triple-A Norfolk. The 28-year-old is hitting .264/.304/.396 in 56 Triple-A plate appearances. Wood, then with the Angels, was ranked as the third-best prospect in baseball after the '06 season by Baseball America, which said he profiled as a perennial All-Star. He's received 751 big league plate appearances with the Angels and Pirates, posting a .186/.225/.289 line.
- The Red Sox will promote reliever Jose De La Torre, GM Ben Cherington said today on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. The Red Sox transferred reliever Joel Hanrahan, who has at least a flexor muscle strain, to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for De La Torre.
- Kyle Kaminska, a righty who was with Boston's High A affiliate, has retired according to Evan Lepler on his MLB.com blog. The 24-year-old had joined the organization in December as the player to be named later in the Zach Stewart deal with Pittsburgh.
Here are a few notes from around the American League:
- The Royals are a legitimate threat to snag a wild card, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider sub. req'd), because of the team's offseason focus on pitching. GM Dayton Moore had a seven-year plan to turn around the club through a gradual rebuilding process. While the club has developed what Bowden calls "World Series-winning position players at the major league level," however, the pitching never kept pace. Faced with a limited window to keep the young talent together, Bowden credits Moore for making bold moves to bring in Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana, James Shields, and Wade Davis to bolster the pitching corps.
- The Orioles may be nearing a decision point on Freddy Garcia, as the veteran pitcher will be able to opt out of his contract after his next minor league start, notes MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko. The 36-year-old has been solid thus far over four starts in Triple-A, where he sports a 2.81 ERA over 25 2/3 innings and has fanned sixteen against just two walks. Baltimore just sent down the struggling Jake Arrieta. His rotation spot went at least temporarily to Josh Stinson, who was bombed by the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
- The backup catching market could heat up as injuries mount. One day after the Yankees lost Francisco Cervelli for a significant period of time to a fractured hand, Orioles' backup Taylor Teagarden suffered a dislocated thumb. Both figure to be replaced with internal options for the immediate future. But their substitutes -- Austin Romine for New York and Luis Exposito for Baltimore -- have, respectively, just twenty and twenty-two largely unsuccessful major league plate appearances.
Anibal Sanchez recorded a club-record 17 strikeouts over eight shutout innings in the Tigers' 10-0 win over the Braves tonight, yet Sanchez might not have had the best pitching performance of the evening. That honor goes to Jordan Zimmermann, who held the Reds to just one hit in a complete game, 91-pitch shutout. It was the Nationals' second straight one-hitter against the Reds, who hadn't been held to one hit or less in consecutive games since the 1900 season.
Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend...
- The Yankees and Robinson Cano "would appear to very badly want to reach a deal," CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. Despite this mutual interest between the two sides, there is apparently a large gap in salary demands --- the Yankees were looking at David Wright's eight-year/$138MM extension with the Mets as a comparable while Heyman thinks Cano's agents at CAA may aim as high as Alex Rodriguez's 10-year/$275MM deal. There is no earthly way the Yankees would hand Cano (or probably anyone) another A-Rod contract but I agree with Heyman's citations of Joey Votto and Prince Fielder's recent contracts as good comparables for a Cano extension. $200MM is the bare minimum for Cano's next deal, whether it's with the Yankees or another team.
- The Phillies' attendance is down thus far in 2013, and less ticket revenue could mean less payroll space for the club this offseason, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
- The Royals' rotation problems had become too great to ignore last winter, thus prompting GM Dayton Moore to make significant moves that now have his team looking like early contenders, ESPN's Jim Bowden writes (Insider subscription required). "Moore’s original vision might have taken a little longer, but with starting pitching finally in hand, he also might have just bought himself a lot more time," Bowden said, noting that Moore's contract with the Royals is up after the 2014 season.
Earlier today, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked at five early season surprises and wondered if they'd be able to sustain it across the entire year. The list begins with Paul Maholm of the Braves and Bowden notes that he wound up there only after Ryan Dempster used his no-trade clause to block a deal to Atlanta. The Braves instead traded prospects for another Cubs starter in Maholm and it worked out for them in a big way. The Braves later used the prospects offered in the Dempster trade to acquire Justin Upton from the D'Backs and Maholm has been more successful since the deal. Here's more from around baseball..
- Royals General Manager Dayton Moore spoke with ESPN's Buster Olney (audio link) on his latest podcast about his moves this winter. Moore explained that he pulled the trigger on the December deal for James Shields because he felt that the club needed to win through pitching. Meanwhile, he expects big things out of Wade Davis once he gets back into the flow of being in the rotation.
- While Russell Martin's offense hasn't shown up yet in 2013, the club's biggest free agent acquisition of the winter has shown something very important in Pittsburgh, writes Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs.
- In his latest mailbag, a reader asked Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star if the Blue Jays should look to sign someone in the wake of injuries to Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie. In Griffin's eyes, there's no one on the open market right now that could step in and make a difference right away.
Jim Callis of Baseball America presented the assigned bonus pool values for each club's selections over the first ten rounds of the upcoming amateur draft. This breakdown provides additional detail on MLB's allocation of bonus pool money by pick. Here are some American League notes:
- One player off to a happier start to his season is Ervin Santana, who was acquired by the Royals from the Angels after a disappointing 2012. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star addressed the possibility of an extension for Santana, who will be a free agent after this season. Dutton downplayed that likelihood, reasoning that if Santana keeps throwing well, he will be set up for a large free-agent payday that the Royals probably cannot afford to buy out. If he falters, the Royals likely have more attractive in-house options for their 2014 rotation.
- Dutton also threw cold water on the idea of a deal sending Mike Moustakas and a prospect to the Padres for fellow third baseman Chase Headley. Headley's current and future salary levels are likely too high for the Royals, says Dutton, whereas Moustakas will likely not hit arbitration until 2015.
- The Mariners, like the Royals, hope to join the contending ranks in the immediate future. As Dave Cameron writes for U.S.S. Mariner, the team's efforts should be aided by an increased payroll supported by increased television revenues. The team had an opt out clause in its broadcast licensing deal with ROOT Sports. Instead of simply negotiating another licensing arrangement, the Mariners bought a majority stake in ROOT. The club's ownership of its own regional sports network will allow it effectively to shield TV dollars from MLB's revenue sharing arrangement.
- While next year's free agent market may not present as good a buying opportunity for the M's as in years past, Cameron explores how revenue imbalance will still make its mark. MLB may not permit large cash transfers in trades, but Cameron says that creative extend-and-trade scenarios could effectively allow large revenue clubs to flex their economic muscles.
- The Doug Fister trade may have brought controllable, younger players to Seattle at the time it was completed, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times agrees with MLBTR's Steve Adams that the deal went sour for the Mariners and GM Jack Zduriencik. Ultimately, while there is still some potential upside to be realized by the M's, it seems likely that the Tigers will remain the winners of that swap.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who brought the now-29-year-old Fister to Detroit, commented today on the contract that brought former closer Jose Valverde back in the organization's fold. According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, Dombrowski said that the opt out clause in Valverde's deal can be exercised on May 8. The original date was May 5, as originally reported, but it was moved back due to delays in getting Valverde to extended spring training. The team appears to be in no rush to decide whether to elevate Valverde to the big league club.
Here are some notes from around the American League:
- The Athletics have released minor league third baseman Tommy Mendonca, tweets Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com (hat tip to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser). Originally a 2009 second-round pick of the Rangers, Mendonca was selected by Oakland in this year's minor league Rule 5 draft. Mendonca, who turns 25 tomorrow, struggled in his first Triple-A action last season, when he hit .208/.249/.329 in 251 plate appearances at the upper level of the minors.
- Meanwhile, the A's seem more inclined to hang onto another Rule 5 pick, Nate Freiman, who the club picked up off of waivers from Houston, writes Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. Manager Bob Melvin likes Freiman's power and patience. The 6'8", 26-year-old first baseman hit safely in his first two big league at-bats, though he has failed to register a base knock in his eleven subsequent plate appearances.
- The Royals' trade for James Shields was not just about acquiring a rotation anchor, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The club was also hoping to import some of the Rays' clubhouse culture, which Shields has brought to Kansas City along with his solid start on the hill. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Dick Kaegel writes that the club is confident that it has plenty of talent in the pipeline in spite of the haul it gave up in the Shields trade.
The Royals announced that they have re-signed outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander George Sherrill. Kansas City cut both players in advance of yesterday's deadline for Article XX(B) free agents in order to avoid paying them a $100K retention bonus.
Nady, 34, hit .184/.253/.316 in 166 plate appearances for the Nationals and Giants last season. The veteran posted a strong .289/.342/.480 batting line in 2006-09 for the Mets, Pirates, and Yankees but hasn't looked quite the same since undergoing Tommy John surgery during the '09 campaign. Since then, he's hit .237/.288/.347 in 260 games between four organizations.
Sherrill, who turns 36 in April, appeared in just two games for the Mariners last season before a torn UCL in his left elbow led to Tommy John surgery. Sherrill has a 3.77 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across parts of nine big league seasons.