- MLBPA Issues Statement On Bryant, Prospect Promotions
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- Kris Bryant To Begin Season In Minors
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- Mike Pelfrey Walks Back Trade Comments
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Kevin Frandsen Rumors
Here’s the latest from around the league as the evening winds down.
- With Ben Zobrist headed west to the Athletics, the Nationals are still trying to solve second base, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Currently, there are five internal options. The most obvious are Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon. Espinosa has disappointed over the last two seasons while Rendon is expected to start at third base. Prospect Wilmer Difo has yet to play above A-ball, but he’s on the 40-man roster and possesses exciting tools. Other options include veterans Kevin Frandsen and Dan Uggla.
- Free agent John Axford would like to compete for a closer gig, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. As it happens, the Blue Jays have yet to acquire a closer. Left-hander Brett Cecil is penciled into the role. At this point, no offers have been made to Axford, but several teams have shown interest including the Jays. After three consecutive rough seasons, Axford would likely have to earn any high leverage role.
- The market for mid-tier, high leverage relievers has been slow to materialize, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford interviews righty reliever Burke Badenhop who is coming off a career season with a 2.29 ERA in over 70 innings. As Badenhop points out, teams don’t feel any pressure to make the first offer to free agents of his caliber. While five teams may be showing interest, they each know that any firm offer will get passed around to the others for bidding. Relievers like Badenhop, Francisco Rodriguez, and Rafael Soriano have to exercise patience as prospective buyers first gauge the trade market.
The Nationals have kept a low profile this winter, per MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker. GM Mike Rizzo has yet to sign a free agent to a MLB contract preferring minor league deals for veterans like Dan Uggla, Heath Bell, and Ian Stewart while netting Joe Ross and Trea Turner for being the third team in the Wil Myers trade. Here’s the latest on the Nationals’ offseason, courtesy of MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:
- By trading Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals would be able to replenish their farm system and add a couple of veterans.
- Ladson opines the Nationals will trade for a second baseman before the start of Spring Training (listing Ben Zobrist as a possibility) because Danny Espinosa is too inconsistent offensively, Kevin Frandsen is not seen as a starter by manager Matt Williams, and the team does not want to rush prospect Wilmer Difo.
- Tyler Moore must have a great Spring Training to make the club coming off the bench. If not, the 28-year-old (next month) first baseman becomes a trade candidate because he is out of options.
- With Denard Span scheduled to hit free agency after the 2015 season, Michael A. Taylor could be the everyday center fielder in 2016, but the Nationals will need to find a leadoff hitter and may have to settle for Jayson Werth.
- Top prospect Lucas Giolito is not a rotation candidate, if Zimmermann or Doug Fister is traded. The 16th overall selection in the 2012 draft should begin the season in Double-A and could be a September callup.
FRIDAY: Frandsen and the Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year, $1MM contract that contains up to $300K worth of incentives, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
THURSDAY: The Nationals and utility player Kevin Frandsen are nearing an agreement to avoid arbitration for the 2015 season, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post. Frandsen is a client All Bases Covered Sports Management’s Damon Lapa.
The versatile 32-year-old batted .259/.299/.309 with one homer in 236 plate appearances for the Nationals this past season, seeing time at third base, second base, first base and left field in his first year with Washington. A lifetime .259/.313/.350 hitter, Frandsen has also spent time with the Giants, Angels and Phillies in parts of eight big league seasons. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Frandsen to earn $1.2MM in what will be his final season of arbitration eligibility before hitting the open market.
11:58am: The Nationals have announced the signing. Interestingly, the club refers to Frandsen as an infielder/outfielder, even though Frandsen has seen little MLB time outside of the infield dirt. Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 60-day DL to create roster space, with his previous option being voided.
9:18am: Frandsen's deal is a fully-guaranteed MLB contract worth $900K, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). It also includes $300K in perofrmance bonuses and a $400K awards package, Crasnick adds. In essence, then, Frandsen will receive the same contract he had with the Phillies, but with some additional upside.
8:24am: The Nationals have agreed to sign infielder Kevin Frandsen, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Frandsen, 31, elected free agency yesterday after being outrighted by the Phillies, giving up his guaranteed $900K salary in the process.
Playing with Philadelphia over the last two years, Frandsen has a combined .280/.333/.389 triple-slash in 488 plate appearances, though each element of that line was significantly better in 2012 than in 2013. (Frandsen's .366 BABIP in 2012 dropped to .245 last year, which surely explains some of the variance.)
Frandsen has excelled in two areas — hitting lefties and pinch-hitting — that seem to match the Nats' needs, notes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Indeed, Frandsen's career platoon splits (.778 OPS vs. lefties, .626 against righties) make the former clear. As for the latter, Frandsen has not necessarily put up astounding numbers as a pinch-hitter, but he saw extensive use in that role for the first time last year, hitting .250/.311/.393 in 61 plate appearances.
With Tyler Moore being optioned to Triple-A yesterday and Jamey Carroll being released, it appeared that the Nationals were set to go with Jeff Kobernus as a reserve infield/outfield option. With Frandsen added to the mix, the club's glut of seemingly MLB-ready bench options playing in Triple-A could be attractive to clubs looking for cost-controlled options; ineed, both Moore and Kobernus have had their names mentioned as possible trade chips in recent weeks.
The Mets have decided to place both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on their Opening Day roster, Kristie Ackert of New York Daily News writes. GM Sandy Alderson did not confirm which of the two would start at first base. Davis, in particular, has frequently been the subject of trade rumors, and the Pirates have been connected to Davis and have a notably unsettled first-base situation. But it appears Davis may remain a Met for now. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Nationals are one of several teams to touch base with infielder Kevin Frandsen, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets. Frandsen recently opted for free agency after the Phillies outrighted him. Frandsen hit .234/.296/.341 in 278 plate appearances while playing every infield position but shortstop for Philadelphia last year.
- The trade of Alex Gonzalez to the Tigers was a "gem" from the Orioles' perspective, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. The move demonstrates one reason it makes sense for organizations to sign lots of players to minor-league deals, Connolly suggests — the Orioles signed Gonzalez with little risk, then were able to flip him for a potentially useful, versatile, cost-controlled player in Lombardozzi.
TUESDAY: Frandsen has elected to forego his salary and become a free agent, the team announced.
SUNDAY: The Phillies have outrighted infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Frandsen has 72 hours to either accept the assignment or reject the move and become a free agent. If the 31-year-old elects free agency, he will forfeit the guaranteed $900K salary agreed to last December when he signed a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).
"We're in a situation now with many of the injuries that have happened and the things that have occurred this spring to try and create some roster space for us," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That's what we've done. We still think he can be a valuable part of our club. But he's competing. Just like he was before, he continues to compete for a job on the bench."
The Phillies now have 37 players on their 40-man roster, so they "can add him back" if necessary, according to assistant GM Scott Proefrock. Zolecki notes such a scenario is unusual.
Frandsen has spent the past two seasons with the Phillies slashing .280/.333/.389 during his time in Philadelphia, including a .234/.296/.341 mark in 278 plate appearances (119 games) in 2013. Frandsen spent time at every infield position, except shortstop, last year.
Frandsen is a lifetime .259/.316/.359 hitter during his seven-year MLB career with the Giants, Angels, and Phillies.
With tonight’s non-tender deadline looming, several players figure to not only be tendered contracts but agree to their 2014 salaries prior to 11pm CT. We’ll run down the players to avoid arbitration with their respective clubs in this post, and remember that you can track the progress on all arbitration eligible players by using MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker. For a reminder on the projected salaries for each of these players, check out Matt Swartz’s projections in MLBTR’s Arbitration Eligibles series.
- The Nationals announced they’ve avoided arbitration with righty Ross Ohlendorf, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Ohlendorf’s deal will guarantee him $1.25MM and can reach $3MM via incentives that can be achieved as a starter or reliever, per the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with utility infielder Donnie Murphy, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com (via Twitter), agreeing to a one-year, $825K pact that includes incentives.
- The Orioles have avoided arbitration with outfielder Steve Pearce for $850K, tweets Rosenthal.
- The Padres have reached terms with pitcher Eric Stults on a $2.75MM deal to avoid arbitration, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He had been projected by Swartz to earn $3MM through arbitration. Unlike most arbitration deals, tweets Rosenthal, this one will be guaranteed. Also getting a guaranteed deal from the Padres, per Rosenthal, is righty Tim Stauffer at $1.6MM.
- The White Sox have avoided arbitration with catcher Tyler Flowers with a $950k contract, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Athletics have avoided arbitration with righty Fernando Rodriguez, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Rodriguez, who is represented by Metis Sports Management, LLC, will earn $600K plus award bonuses, MLBTR has learned. The A’s will tender contracts to its remaining arb-eligible players, Slusser notes via Twitter.
- The Indians have avoided arbitration with relievers Frank Herrmann and Blake Wood, the club announced. Each player will earn $560k, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, which falls below their respective projections from MLBTR’s Matt Swartz.
- Newly-acquired catcher George Kottaras has reached agreement on a one-year, $1.075MM deal to avoid arbitration with the Cubs, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The contract includes incentives, according to Heyman. A left-handed batter, Kottaras managed only a .180 batting average last year, but got on base at a .349 clip in addition to posting a .370 slugging mark in his 126 plate appearances.
- The Orioles have avoided arbitration with outfielder Nolan Reimold, sources tell Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (link to Twitter). The 30-year-old will get a one-year, $1.025MM deal that includes incentives. Reimold lost most of the last two seasons to injury, but has a career .252/.327/.439 slash in 1,056 plate appearances dating back to 2009. His salary will be guaranteed, tweets Connolly.
- The Phillies have avoided arbitration with infielder Kevin Frandsen, the club announced. Frandsen will receive a one-year, $900k deal that includes performance incentives. Last year, Frandsen had a .234/.296/.341 slash line in 278 plate appearances. The deal is guaranteed, Rosenthal tweets.
- The Braves announced that they have avoided arbitration with infielder Ramiro Pena and left-hander Jonny Venters (Twitter link). Pena, 28, batted a solid .278/.330/.443 in 107 PAs this season before shoulder surgery ended his season. Venters’ contract was first reported two weeks ago and is said to be worth $1.625MM.
- MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with Don Kelly by agreeing to a one-year, $1MM contract for 2014. Kelly will turn 34 in February and batted .222/.309/.343 in 2013 — all numbers that are nearly mirrored by his career .229/.290/.344 batting line. He is represented by LSW Baseball.
- The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Chris Stewart, according to Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal (on Twitter). Barbarisi reports that the trade sending Stewart to Pittsburgh was actually in place on Friday but was also contingent on Stewart agreeing to a new contract with the Pirates. Stewart, a client of James A. Kuzmich, PLLC, agreed to his new contract today, thereby finalizing the trade. He projected to earn $1MM, per Swartz.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Stewart | Cleveland Indians | Detroit Tigers | Don Kelly | Donnie Murphy | Eric Stults | Fernando Rodriguez | Frank Herrmann | George Kottaras | Jonny Venters | Kevin Frandsen | Nolan Reimold | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ramiro Pena | Ross Ohlendorf | San Diego Padres | Steve Pearce | Tim Stauffer | Transactions | Tyler Flowers | Washington Nationals
3:50pm: The Royals are one of 12 teams to which Kendrick can block a trade, notes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
3:07pm: The Royals have had discussions about second basemen Howie Kendrick of the Angels, Gordon Beckham of the White Sox, and Rickie Weeks of the Brewers, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. They also looked at the Phillies' Kevin Frandsen. However, Knobler says there is no indication the Royals are close to any deal.
The Royals have used Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson, Miguel Tejada, and Johnny Giavotella at second base this year, resulting in a .230/.279/.311 offensive line. They seek a second baseman they would control beyond 2013, says Knobler, and all of the players mentioned above are controlled through '15.
The Angels would need a front-line, Major League or MLB-ready starting pitcher for Kendrick or Erick Aybar, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. As Knobler notes, Beckham presents the problem of playing within the Royals' division, while Weeks' salary is prohibitive compared to his production.
The Phillies have signed Kevin Frandsen, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, avoiding arbitration with the infielder, who was arb-eligible for the first time this winter. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (who said earlier today that the two sides were close to a deal) reports that the one-year contract will pay Frandsen $850K, with incentives possibly pushing the total to $1.2MM. (All links are to Twitter.)
Frandsen signed minor league contracts with the Phillies before each of the last two seasons and received his first Major League playing time since 2010 this season when he was called on to play third base when Placido Polanco went on the DL. The 30-year-old Frandsen more than capitalized on the opportunity, hitting .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances as Philadelphia's everyday third baseman over the last two months. The Phils are known to be looking a more proven third baseman this winter but if the team can't find an everyday option, Frandsen and Freddy Galvis will platoon at the hot corner next year, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The $850K deal is slightly higher than the $800K that MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Frandsen to receive in arbitration. With Frandsen signed, the Phillies only have two other arb-eligible players: Antonio Bastardo and Nate Schierholtz.
We've already had one batch of NL East notes today but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest…
- The Braves are looking at center field options to replace Michael Bourn and the Twins' Denard Span "is likely high on the list of potential trade target," writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves and Twins match up well as trade partners, as Minnesota is desperate for pitching and Atlanta is one of the few teams with available young arms. The Braves "haven’t entirely given up" on re-signing Bourn, but the club is unlikely to match the demands from Bourn and agent Scott Boras.
- Despite a report last week that claimed the Braves were "intrigued" by Josh Hamilton, O'Brien doesn't think Atlanta has much interest, as Hamilton is too expensive and the club would prefer to add a right-handed hitting bat.
- While the Mets have begun to explore trade possibilities for R.A. Dickey, the Mets aren't yet looking to deal David Wright, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While the two sides aren't close to a contract extension, "there's always been a feeling something will get done with Wright, and while talks are taking much longer than expected or predicted, that hasn't changed," Heyman writes.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to Larry Reynolds (B.J. Upton's agent) at the general managers' meetings and the two sides plan to stay in contact, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. One executive told Salisbury that Upton "was the Phils' priority" this offseason.
- The Phillies are close to a new contract with Kevin Frandsen, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Frandsen hit an impressive .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, taking over as their regular third baseman in the second half of the year. Frandsen is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Frandsen would earn $800K.