Kevin Jepsen Rumors
On today's conference call to introduce free agent signee Joe Smith, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, that right-hander Kevin Jepsen will be tendered a contract for the 2014 season (Twitter link). Dipoto said he "[n]ever thought it would be an assumption he wouldn't be (tendered)."
Jepsen, 29, pitched to a 4.50 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 36 innings for the Halos last season. Sabermetric stats like FIP (3.38) and xFIP (3.93) feel that he was unfairly victimized by a .345 batting average on balls in play and a low strand rate, suggesting that his ERA was not reflective of his true talent level. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Jepsen to earn $1.4MM via arbitration. He will join Smith, Ernesto Frieri, Sean Burnett, Dane De La Rosa and perhaps newcomer Fernando Salas, among others, in Anaheim's bullpen next season.
Reports from earlier today suggested that there was no clear indication one way or another as to whether or not the Angels would keep Jepsen in the fold for next season, and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes had listed him as a non-tender candidate.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Athletics offered the same two-year, $22MM contract to Tim Hudson prior to his two-year, $23MM agreement with the Giants.
- That Kazmir signed for two years and $11MM annually speaks to the expectations of Bartolo Colon, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Colon feels he can get multiple years at a higher annual value, according to Passan.
- Kazmir's agreement firmly takes the Athletics out of the mix for Colon, a source confirmed to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
- The Angels remain interested in Bronson Arroyo but the Dodgers aren't really in the mix, a source tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (on Twitter). However, the source adds that the market for the veteran hasn't really "heated up" yet.
- DiGiovanna adds that the Angels are expected to clear more than $10MM in payroll by non-tendering Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelson, which should allow them to pursue a free agent starting pitcher (Twitter links). DiGiovanna also mentions that Kevin Jepsen's status is still up in the air at this time and there's no decision on whether or not to tender him a contract.
- Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that one of the reasons Joe Smith signed his three-year deal with the Angels is that his wife works as a sports radio host in Orange County.
- In a harsh review of today's Willie Bloomquist signing by the Mariners, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner writes that Bloomquist "is Nick Punto minus all the things that make Nick Punto valuable." As Cameron points out, they're comparable hitters but Punto provides more baserunning and defensive value. However, Seattle paid nearly double the price for Bloomquist that Oakland did for Punto.
The Athletics have reached a new lease agreement with O.Co Coliseum that runs through December of 2015, according to an Associated Press report (via ESPN). The A's will pay $1.75MM in each year of the lease. Here are some more links pertaining to baseball's western divisions...
- The Mariners are pursuing both Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN. He wonders -- as many do -- whether or not Seattle will appeal to major free agents, as they've had difficulty luring top hitters there in previous years.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports definitively writes that the Mariners are interested in Mike Napoli (he'd received conflicting information earlier in the month). Rosenthal also notes the difficulty that the Mariners have had in luring top free agents such as Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder but notes that Seattle could simply overpay to land their free agent targets. Two separate sources called the Mariners "desperate," and as Rosenthal notes: "Desperate teams spend money. Desperate teams are capable of just about anything." Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury are also on the team's wish list, says Rosenthal.
- Also from Rosenthal, the Angels learned that Peter Bourjos didn't have enough value to land them the controllable young starting pitcher they coveted on the trade market, and so they elected to use him to fill another hole -- third base. While many in the media have pegged the deal as a win for the Cardinals, Rosenthal writes that the common perception of Bourjos' value may not line up with the actual perception among teams.
- Lastly from Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks know what it would take to land Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, but their fear is that if they pounce too soon on a deal, they could miss out on a bigger value later in the offseason. The Angels aren't a fit for Samardzija, Rosenthal adds, because the Cubs want young pitching in exchange for Samardzija.
- The Dodgers' biggest risk in weighing Matt Kemp trades isn't deciding to hang onto him and finding out he's no longer an MVP-caliber player, opines Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Rather, the biggest risk facing the Dodgers is learning that Kemp indeed still is that player, but finding out by seeing him prove it in a Mariners, Red Sox or Rangers uniform. Brown feels it's in the Dodgers' best interest to hang onto Kemp.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that the Angels' acquisition of Fernando Salas and Joe Smith could make Kevin Jepsen a non-tender candidate.
We'll keep track of today's arbitration agreements under $3MM right here..
- The Mets have avoided arbitration with Daniel Murphy by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.925MM, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports (Twitter links). The final total is a bit less than the midpoint between the figures exchanged by the two sides; Murphy asked for $3.4MM, the Mets offered $2.55MM. This was Murphy's first year of arbitration eligibility. Murphy, an ACES client, was the last of three arb-eligible Mets players to agree to a deal, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
- The Angels and reliever Kevin Jepsen have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1,181,250. The contract includes awards-based bonuses, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Jepsen. The deal now means that the Angels have wrapped up all of their arb eligible players this offseason, as the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker shows.