Kevin Frandsen Rumors

NL Notes: Paco, Pirates, Frandsen, Mets

The Dodgers have been aggressively pursuing bullpen depth and their search could well continue now that southpaw Paco Rodriguez has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left elbow.  Rodriguez will return to Los Angeles to visit with the team doctor and undergo an MRI this week to determine the extent of the injury.  Rodriguez has a 2.61 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 2.67 K/BB rate over 10 1/3 relief innings this season, and he’ll join other Dodger pitching notables as Hyun-jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon League and Joel Peralta on the injured list.  Here’s some more from around the National League…

  • The Pirates are getting on track after a slow start, in large part because of several fairly inexpensive but productive offseason additions have helped, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan writes in a piece for FOX Sports.  A.J. Burnett is throwing like a Cy Young candidate, Jung Ho Kang has been a power bat at short, Arquimedes Caminero and Rob Scahill are pitching well out of the bullpen and Francisco Cervelli has essentially replaced Russell Martin‘s elite pitch-calling at a fraction of Martin’s price tag.
  • Kevin Frandsen is excited to be joining the Giants, telling Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) that he was eager to join a team that valued utility players.  The veteran will join the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league contract earlier today.
  • As many as eight of the 15 NL teams could be trade deadline sellers, according to what the New York Post’s Joel Sherman has been hearing from league executives, though the Reds, Padres and Marlins may hold out from trades as long as possible out of a refusal to give up on the season.  The Mets seems to be one of the buyers, and Sherman lists four big-name players (Aroldis Chapman, Martin Prado, Justin Upton and Ben Zobrist) who could help New York’s playoff chances.  The versatile Prado and Zobrist could help all over the diamond given some of the Mets’ unsettled injury situations, Upton would add another big bat and Chapman’s addition would solidify the Mets’ bullpen and thus take pressure off the rotation.  While any of this quartet would certainly be upgrades for the Mets, it remains to be seen, however, how much (if any) money the club is willing to spend for in-season additions.

Giants To Sign Kevin Frandsen To Minor League Deal

The Giants are set to sign Kevin Frandsen to a minor league deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a return to the start for the well-traveled veteran who was drafted by the Giants in 2004.

Frandsen, who recently just turned 33, spent 2014 with the Nationals and hit .259/.299/.309 across 105 games.  After the season, the Nats avoided arbitration with him by agreeing to a one-year, $1MM deal that includes up to $300K worth of incentives. However, Washington wound up letting him go on April 1st, leading him to a minor league pact with the D’Backs.  Frandsen’s stint in Arizona only lasted one month after posting a a .309/.352/.333 slash line over 89 plate appearances for Triple-A Reno. and he’ll now try to stick with another NL West club.

The veteran will look to replicate his play with the Phillies in 2012 when he slashed .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances.  He also offers versatility in the field with experience at first base, second base, third base, and left field.


Minor Moves: Barfield, Bianchi, Frandsen

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League have signed former A’s prospect Jeremy Barfield, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Barfield, the son of former major leaguer Jesse Barfield and brother of Josh Barfield, spent parts of four seasons with the Athletics’ Double-A affiliate and reached as high as Triple-A. The 26-year-old is a career .261/.334/.402 hitter in the minors.
  • Infielder Jeff Bianchi has rejected an outright assignment from the Red Sox after clearing waivers, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets. He is now a free agent. Bianchi enjoyed a proverbial cup of coffee with Boston this year, but spent most of his time in the organization compiling a useful .302/.373/.340 slash at Triple-A. He has seen more extensive time with the Brewers in the past.
  • The Diamondbacks have released veteran utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports on Twitter. Frandsen, 33, owns a .309/.352/.333 slash over 89 plate appearances for Triple-A Reno. He spent last year with the Nationals, contributing only a .259/.299/.309 batting line in his 236 plate appearances. Since a strong year for the Phillies in 2012, Frandsen — who mostly plays at second and third — has been at or below replacement level.


D-Backs Sign Kevin Frandsen To Minor League Deal

The Diamondbacks have signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Reno, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Frandsen is a client of All Bases Covered Sports Management.

Frandsen, 32, spent the 2014 season serving as a utility infield option for the Nationals. In 236 plate appearances with Washington, he batted .259/.299/.309 and appeared at second base, third base, first base and in left field. The Nats tendered a contract to Frandsen this offseason and agreed to a $1MM salary, but the team released him late in Spring Training.

Frandsen can serve as a depth option for the D-Backs, as he has experience at all four infield positions as well as both corner outfield spots. With Jake Lamb set to miss a few weeks due to a stress reaction in his foot, it’s possible that Frandsen could find his way onto the big league roster in the near future.


Nationals Release Kevin Frandsen

The Nationals have released infielder Kevin Frandsen, the club announced. Frandsen, 32, had been signed to a $1MM deal to avoid arbitration early in the offseason.

It was about this time last year that the Nats originally added Frandsen, signing him quickly when the division-rival Phillies let him go. Frandsen earned plaudits for his presence in the clubhouse and willingness to contribute in any way possible, but he hit only .259/.299/.309 last year with just one home run in 236 turns at bat. With slightly negative marks from defensive metrics added in, he was a below-replacement level producer.

With Anthony Rendon still an injury question mark, it appears that the Nationals will open the year with some combination of Yunel Escobar, Danny Espinosa, Ian Stewart, and Dan Uggla playing at second and third, the slots that Frandsen was most likely to fit.


Quick Hits: Nationals, Axford, Badenhop

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.

Nats Notes: Zimmermann, Second Base, Moore

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.

 


Nationals Avoid Arbitration With Kevin Frandsen

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.


Nationals Sign Kevin Frandsen

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.


East Notes: Davis, Frandsen, Lombardozzi

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.