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- Brewers Name Craig Counsell Manager
- Padres To Promote Austin Hedges
- Brewers Fire Ron Roenicke
- Cashman Confirms Yankees Will Not Pay A-Rod Home Run Bonus
- Athletics Claim Alex Hassan, Designate Cody Ross
- Brewers Open To Trade Proposals
- Red Sox Promote Blake Swihart
- Ryan Hanigan Requires Surgery On Broken Finger
- Carlos Quentin To Retire
- Homer Bailey To Undergo Tommy John Surgery
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- AL West Notes: Rangers, Beimel, Taylor, Weaver, A’s
- Brewers Name Craig Counsell Manager
- Minor Moves: Dan Johnson, Daniel Schlereth
- Another Look At Flaws In The Waiver System
- AL Notes: Soria, Pirela, Jimenez
- Padres To Promote Austin Hedges
- Brewers Fire Ron Roenicke
- Dodgers Acquire Andy Wilkins
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Kyle Blanks Rumors
The Angels signing of Josh Hamilton has set the franchise back in ways other than financial, opines Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. During the 2012 offseason, the Angels decided to invest their payroll in Hamilton rather than make a serious bid to retain Zack Greinke. The five-year, $125MM contract forced GM Jerry DiPoto to cut corners when building his pitching staff for the 2013 sesaon and eventually he had to deal bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick to acquire young arms (Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney) over the next two offseasons. Shaikin posits the Angels’ lineup is a Mike Trout injury away from being devasted.
Elsewhere in the American League:
- With public criticism mounting against White Sox manager Robin Ventura, first baseman Jose Abreu came to the defense of his skipper, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. “If the people want someone to blame, it’s the players, not Robin,” Abreu said.
- Twins Rule 5 pick J.R. Graham is here to stay, manager Paul Molitor tells reporters, including Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). “He’s going to be here all year,” the manager said. Graham threw two scoreless innings to close out the Twins’ 13-3 beating of the White Sox this afternoon.
- The Rangers will have a logjam at first base once Mitch Moreland recovers from his elbow surgery, but they won’t be able to move some of the surplus to the outfield because of the injury history of Moreland and Kyle Blanks, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. Moreland says there was only one bone chip (a little bigger than the size of a watermelon seed) that needed to be removed from his elbow, tweets FOXSportsSouthwest.com’s Anthony Andro.
- Indications are the continuing waiver wire saga of outfielder Alex Hassan (who has been claimed five times over the past seven months after being picked up by the A’s yesterday) will prompt the MLBPA to make this an issue during the next round of collective bargaining, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. The concern is the procedural movement hampers a prospect’s development, a sentiment echoed by Hassan. “You’re just behind,” Hassan said. “Do I prefer to be claimed by another team and have to break my lease and have to move my family and have to go find another apartment and take another short-term lease and get settled — and have to perform right away, knowing you’re the last guy on the 40-man roster? Or would it be better to stay where you are and get some stability and hopefully play well enough to where you might earn your way back up there? I don’t know the answer to that.“
12:25pm: Blanks will earn $1MM if he makes the big league roster, with an additional $600K of incentives based on plate appearances, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
11:46am: The Rangers are set to sign first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks, reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter links). Blanks, a client of Sosnick/Cobbe Sports, will receive a split contract, meaning his deal calls for separate Major League and Minor League salaries, dependent on whether or not he makes the team.
Blanks, 28, was acquired by the Athletics from the Padres early in the 2014 season. He performed quite well in a limited sample of 56 plate appearances before a torn calf muscle cost him the remainder of the season. With the A’s, Blanks hit .333/.446/.489 with a pair of home runs.
Blanks looked to be a breakout candidate in 2009 as a 22-year-old. The towering slugger ranked 50th among prospects prior to that season, per Baseball America, and proceeded to hit .250/.355/.514 with 10 homers in 172 plate appearances that season. Blanks looked like a potential building block for San Diego at that point, but in four subsequent seasons, he batted just .223/.300/.375 in 624 PA.
A career .244/.342/.409 hitter against left-handed pitching, Blanks will present the Rangers with at worst a candidate to platoon at DH, first base and an outfield corner. The Rangers currently project to have Mitch Moreland handle most of the time at DH next season, and Moreland’s struggles against left-handed pitching have been well-documented.
The Mets have completed their coaching staff, naming Pat Roessler as the assistant hitting coach, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. For the last 11 years, Roessler served as the Yankees director of player development. Readers may recall the Mets hired another former Yankees staffer – Kevin Long – as their hitting coach earlier in the offseason.
- John Mayberry and Kyle Blanks are on the Mets radar, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday. Everth Cabrera is another non-tender who could make sense, although Carig notes that’s his speculation. No deals are close. Carig further clarified that all right-handed outfield options likely remain on the table.
- One right-handed bat who isn’t on the radar is Jonny Gomes, reports Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Cerrone bets that GM Sandy Alderson would have to move payroll to make room for Gomes. Given his limited utility as a lefty-masher, the Mets are probably better suited targeting a recent non-tender like Mayberry or Blanks.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2015 season. We’ll run down the list of American League non-tenders here, and update it as reports come in. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR’s Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates (in the estimation of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes). Also important for reference is the set of arbitration salary projections from MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz. Click here for an explanation of the process, and be sure to check out this piece featuring some interesting observations from Tim regarding non-tender considerations.
- Slade Heathcott, Jose Campos, and David Huff have all been non-tendered by the Yankees, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter.
- The Twins have tendered contracts to all arb-eligible players, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link).
- Third baseman Carlos Rivero is the only non-tender for the Mariners, the club announced. Rivero was not yet arbitration eligible.
- The Astros have tendered contracts to all arb-eligible players, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports on Twitter.
- The Royals have non-tendered lefty Francisley Bueno, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports on Twitter. He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
- As expected, the Tigers have offered arbitration to all eligible players, Anthony Fench of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
- The Athletics have declined to offer arbitration to Kyle Blanks and Andrew Brown, the team announced. Both had previously been designated for assignment. Oakland will retain control over the remainder of its eligible players, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- As with several other clubs, the Rays will proceed without any non-tenders, the club announced (per a tweet from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).
- Likewise, the Orioles have tendered contracts to each of their eleven arb-eligible players, the team announced.
- The Indians have tendered contracts to all five eligible players, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (via Twitter). Cleveland had a fairly straightforward group. Indeed, Dierkes did not list any players as reasonable NT candidates.
- Scott Snodgress and Scott Carroll have been non-tendered by the White Sox, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets. Both players were pre-arbitration eligible, meaning that Chicago could have renewed them at the MLB minimum.
- The Red Sox have non-tendered third baseman Juan Francisco but will otherwise tender contracts to all eligible players, the club announced (h/t to Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com, via Twitter). Francisco had already been designated for assignment, making this one of the day’s least surprising moves.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andrew Brown | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Rivero | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | David Huff | Detroit Tigers | Francisley Bueno | Houston Astros | Juan Francisco | Kansas City Royals | Kyle Blanks | Minnesota Twins | Newsstand | Oakland Athletics | Scott Carroll | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Transactions
Braves outfielder Justin Upton is a hot commodity on the trade market, although the Braves are in no rush to move him, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. A deal involving Upton and top young Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker would appear to make sense, Heyman suggests. Walker was the key to a deal involving Upton between the Mariners and Diamondbacks two years ago, but Upton rejected the trade. Now, though, Upton doesn’t have the Mariners on his no-trade list. Last week, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted that Walker might be attainable in an Upton deal. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Cardinals can afford to wait to find pitching help, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “We have the opportunity to go with [Carlos] Martinez or [Marco] Gonzales and we like a lot the future they both have,” says GM John Mozeliak. “You don’t stop looking for ways to improve, but as far as options go we think we have five quality starters, at least, to go with.” Mozeliak also characterizes the team’s reported interest in Jon Lester as merely due diligence. He suggests, however, that it’s possible the Cardinals could add a starter later in the offseason.
- One potential addition for the Cards could be 1B/OF Kyle Blanks, who the Athletics designated for assignment in the wake of the Josh Donaldson trade, Goold tweets. The Cardinals could pair the righty-hitting Blanks with the lefty Matt Adams at first base.
- The Padres were aggressive in their pursuit of free agent Pablo Sandoval (who ultimately ended up with the Red Sox), but did not pursue Yasmany Tomas nearly as strongly, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. Padres GM A.J. Preller traveled to the Dominican Republic twice in pursuit of Tomas, but the team ultimately didn’t make an offer that was competitive enough. “As we went through the process, we felt comfortable with our evaluation and our offer,” Preller said. “There were no surprises at the end. We just weren’t able to connect.” With Sandoval and Tomas off the board, the Padres are likely to try to upgrade through trades.
Lindblom is a 27-year-old righty who has bounced around quite a bit over the last several seasons but has generally produced fairly solid results as a reliever at the MLB level. But he has not seen much time in the majors over the last two years after struggling to end the 2012 campaign with the Phillies, and spent most all of 2014 with the A’s Triple-A affiliate. Over 16 starts and 84 frames, he threw to a 5.79 ERA at Sacramento.
Blanks, meanwhile, was added to the mix in Oakland last May. Now 28, Blanks was expected to provide right-handed power from left, first, and the DH spot. He did just that, with a .333/.446/.489 slash, but made only 56 plate appearances for the A’s after suffering a partial calf tear. Injuries have been a major damper on Blanks’s career to date, though his ability remains tantalizing. He seemed to have a tenuous hold on a roster spot after the club added Billy Butler through free agency.
The Athletics announced (on Twitter) that they have traded right-hander Ronald Herrera to the Padres as the player to be named later in the Kyle Blanks trade. That deal, which was reached on May 15 this month, also sent outfielder Jake Goebbert to San Diego.
Herrera, 19, has spent the season in the rotation for Oakland’s Class-A affiliate in Beloit, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 50 2/3 innings of work. The Venezuelan hurler ranked 16th in the A’s farm system, according to MLB.com. Baseball America ranked Herrera 17th among A’s prospects prior to the 2014 campaign.
The A’s signed Herrera for just $20K out of Venezuela back in 2011 (as MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo notes in his free scouting report on Herrera). Mayo writes that Herrera is exceptionally polished for his age and features three pitches, including a fastball that touches 94 mph despite his small frame (he is listed at 5’10” and 168 pounds). Mayo also writes that Herrera’s changeup shows more promise than his curveball, and his fastball features some nice sink. Baseball America agreed in their 2014 Prospect Handbook, noting that Herrera has outstanding command and “has the makings of a solid big league starter” down the line.
The surprising outbreak of injuries to Rangers pitchers has forced GM Jon Daniels to turn his attention from an underperforming offense to the gaping holes in the rotation, writes MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Texas will rely on Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch, Robbie Ross and Nick Martinez to fill in behind ace Yu Darvish for the time being, with Scott Baker representing an alternative as Joe Saunders and Derek Holland mend. Daniels’ preference is to remain in-house, writes Sullivan, who also briefly notes that the Rangers have scouted Kendrys Morales to help the offense, but don’t want to meet his asking price.
Here are some more links pertaining to the Rangers’ pitching woes and the rest of the AL West…
- Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron compares injured Rangers lefty Martin Perez to his likely replacement — Nick Tepesch. Cameron points out that despite Perez’s prospect status and the perception that Tepesch doesn’t have as much ceiling, the two have had remarkably similar results in their short careers. Tepesch’s ERA looks worse due to a high BABIP with runner in scoring position, but aside from that, they compare favorably. While Tepesch’s numbers have come in a smaller sample, his recent work at Triple-A and his MLB track record cause the ZiPS and Steamer projection systems to project that he’ll be as good or better than Perez over the rest of the season.
- Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area was among the reporters to speak with Athletics GM Billy Beane about his acquisition of Kyle Blanks. The A’s were looking for a right-handed bat that could capably play both first base and the outfield, and Beane feels that Blanks fits that bill “exactly,” adding that “there aren’t many out there.” As Stiglich notes, Tommy John surgery and shoulder surgery have slowed what once looked to be a promising career for Blanks. Said Beane: “He was a pretty highly thought of prospect coming through the minors. It looked like he was going to be that guy in the majors until injuries derailed him.”
- The Astros have gotten big contributions from lefty Tony Sipp and right-hander Collin McHugh in the season’s early stages, but Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the team’s first attempts to acquire each player failed. The Astros pursued Sipp this offseason and made an offer before he elected to sign with the Padres, and GM Jeff Luhnow told Drellich he tried to acquire McHugh from the Mets and Rockies in trades last season.
- Within that same piece, Luhnow discussed the early success of left-hander Dallas Keuchel, which has come as no surprise to him. Each member of the Astros front office made a “pick to click” during Spring Training this year, writes Drellich, and Luhnow’s was Keuchel, and the GM certainly makes it sound like Keuchel is viewed as a long-term rotation piece. “He’s never been handed a job … I think after this year he will put himself in a position where that’s no longer a question.”
The Athletics have officially agreed to acquire outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks from the Padres. Minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert will head to San Diego in the deal, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Blanks, 27, has spent most of his big league time in the outfield, but has primarily played at first in the minors. Blanks will be added to the Athletics’ MLB roster, and is expected to serve as the right-handed side of a first base platoon with Brandon Moss. He takes the place of the just-designated Daric Barton, a left-handed hitter who had been used against southpaws to little success this year.
A’s GM Billy Beane said that he targeted Blanks because he was a right-handed bat who could play at first and the corner outfield, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter links). “He is exactly what we were looking for,” said Beane, “and there’s not many out there.” Beane also emphasized Blanks’s prospect pedigree, noting that “it looked like he was going to be that guy in the majors until injuries derailed him.”
Though Blanks has seen only minimal big league action this year, he has taken 806 MLB plate appearances over parts of six seasons, posting a composite .228/.310/.401 slash with 28 career home runs. Batting from the right side, Blanks has been somewhat more successful against southpaws (.733 OPS) than versus righties (.701). While that variance may be less pronounced than one might have expected, Blanks has posted wider splits in the upper minors. Blanks had been impressive at Triple-A this year, hitting .265/.364/.651 with 9 home runs through just 99 plate appearances.
Blanks, who avoided arbitration for just under $1MM this year, had already accrued over four years of MLB service coming into the season. If he can stay on the active roster long enough to add 140 days to his tally, he would move past five years of service by season’s end. This is the final option year for Blanks, meaning that the Padres were going to have to use him or lose him in the near future — and that the Athletics, likewise, will probably not be able to stash him in the minors beyond this year.
Meanwhile, Goebbert — a 26-year-old outfielder — has yet to see any MLB action and has not yet been added to a 40-man roster, meaning that he comes with six years of control and all of his options intact. Of course, the Padres could potentially deem it necessary to give him a 40-man slot to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
While the former 13th-round draft pick does not have a major presence among independent talent evaluators — he did not place on either Baseball America’s ranking of Oakland’s top thirty prospects or on MLB.com’s list of the club’s twenty best prospects — he has been on a tear at Triple-A this year. Goebbert’s batting line stands at .257/.371/.505 through his first 132 plate appearances, continuing a trend of posting solid on-base and slugging numbers throughout his time in the upper minors.
ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the deal (via Twitter). Interest between the clubs was reported earlier in the week by Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter links), who also noted that Goebbert could be involved. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) reported that Goebbert was headed to the Padres in the deal, with Slusser also reporting that Blanks would be added to the MLB roster. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that Blanks was expected to see time at first.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
THURSDAY: Talks between the clubs appear to be “heating up” today, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
TUESDAY: Blanks has been optioned to Triple-A to create roster space for Carlos Quentin, manager Bud Black told Marty Caswell of 1090 Sports Radio (Twitter link; h/t to MLB.com’s Corey Brock). That, rather than a completed trade, explains his absence from the lineup card today. Of course, Blanks can still be dealt just the same whether or not he is on the active roster.
MONDAY: First baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks could be on the move soon, and the A’s are one possibility for the team that could acquire him, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (Twitter links). Oakland has in fact shown interest in acquiring Blanks, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com.
One name that Cotillo hears could be in play is Jake Goebbert — a 26-year-old outfielder who is batting .257/.371/.505 in 132 plate appearances with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. Goebbert did not place on Baseball America’s list of Top 30 A’s prospects nor on MLB.com’s Top 20 list for Oakland.
The Friars only recently promoted Blanks, 27, from Triple-A El Paso this season, where he had been hitting the ball with authority, pounding nine homers in 99 plate appearances. Blanks was once regarded as the game’s No. 50 prospect by Baseball America and No. 54 by ESPN’s Keith Law, but that was back in 2009. Since a highly impressive debut that same season in which he batted a healthy .250/.355/.514 with 10 homers in 172 PA, Blanks has slashed just .222/.298/.372 in the Majors.
As Stiglich notes, the A’s could be interested in platooning Blanks at first and/or deploying him as an outfield bench bat. Alternatively, the club may have designs on stashing him at Triple-A for depth.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.