Lonnie Chisenhall Rumors
Let's take a look at the latest news and notes on what could be the final day of the 2012 baseball season.
- Jim Leyland's future as manager of the Tigers is still unclear, tweets Tom Gage of the Detroit News. Before tonight's World Series game, Leyland said nobody puts a team together better than team President/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski adding "hopefully he feels I'm the guy to manage it."
- The Orioles' most pressing needs for 2013 are a frontline starter, a second baseman, and dealing with the unsettled positions of left field and first base, writes MASN.com's Roch Kubatko.
- Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are among the Orioles who could make a big step in 2013, according to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The Indians should only trade Chris Perez if they feel Vinnie Pestano can replace him as closer, opined Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as he delved into his readers' mailbag. Hoynes also believes Lonnie Chisenhall will be given every opportunity to be the everyday third baseman and Sandy Alomar, Jr. would have been the slam-dunk choice as manager, if Terry Francona hadn’t been so adamant about getting back in the dugout.
- In the wake of Shohei Otani's announced intention to pursue a MLB career rather than play in Japan, Japanese baseball officials are considering stricter rules for amateur players who want to do the same, reports the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald).
- Tom Kotchman denied he was forced out by the Angels insisting his decision to leave was due to a desire to find something closer to his Tampa-St. Petersburg area home, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Congratulations to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who was named the first female president in the 104-year history of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- Manny Ramirez's quest to resurrect his baseball career has the slugger heading to the Dominican Republic in hopes of catching the eye of a potential suitor during a tryout for three Japanese teams, writes George A. King III of the New York Post.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
In a piece inspired by early-season injuries to key relievers Tom Verducci of SI.com points out that closers tend to be inefficient investments. "No one wants to admit it," he writes, "but the modern bullpen is a failure." Here are the rest of today's links...
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he likes what he has seen from manager Ozzie Guillen despite last week's controversial remarks. “He’s very good for here," Loria said. "Excellent. Not only for here, for any team."
- When the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a three-year, $51MM contract two offseasons ago, they felt it was an overpay, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. But the shortstop played tremendously down the stretch in 2011 and has started the 2012 season well.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests the Giants will likely want to see Tim Lincecum rebound from his early-season struggles before offering him an extension at market value.
- Indians manager Manny Acta told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that top prospect Lonnie Chisenhall remains Cleveland's future third baseman and won’t become trade bait this summer (Twitter link, audio here).
Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti has an adaptable approach to this offseason’s free agent market. Players such as Michael Brantley offer defensive versatility, so the Indians aren’t about to limit their search for position players so early in the offseason.
“We can either go left field, center field or first base,” Antonetti said. “And we have some creative ideas for other positions as well.”
The Indians feel “very comfortable” with Brantley in center field, since he played for a month and a half with a serious wrist injury but still posted a .702 OPS in 2011. Brantley will play center field or left field in 2012, depending on the rest of Cleveland’s offseason.
The Indians’ winter will revolve around the search for position players, since they have a full five-man rotation heading into Spring Training 2012. However, the Indians aren’t content with their pitching depth.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied with our pitching,” he said. “We’ll always look for opportunities to improve.”
The Indians enter the 2011 season with Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Fausto Carmona, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin in the rotation. Since Masterson, Carmona and Lowe induce so many ground balls, the Indians intend on lining their infield with above-average defenders.
Jason Kipnis appears to be the leading candidate for the starting second base job and Antonetti says he has the chance to become an above-average defender. Jack Hannahan, a pleasant surprise in 2011, is an “elite” defender, according to Antonetti. He could start at third for Cleveland and Lonnie Chisenhall is also in the mix for regular work at the hot corner. However, the Indians aren’t going to finalize decisions before Spring Training.
Yesterday we learned that the Tigers have strong interest in Rockies' ace Ubaldo Jimenez, showing a willingness to include top prospect Jacob Turner, who is being called up to start today but not as a showcase. However, Detroit may be out for now and the chances of any Jimenez deal may have slipped below 50%. The latest:
- Pomeranz and White will be in the deal if it happens, Renck tweets.
- Jimenez was scratched from his start tonight, Heyman tweets.
- The Yankees infuriated the Rockies by taking their top prospects off of the table and offering Phil Hughes and others instead, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- The Rockies are moving toward a deal with Cleveland, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
- White has been scratched from his one-inning rehab outing, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter).
- There are indications that Pomeranz and White could be available in a possible deal, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Rockies asked for Pomeranz, Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Rockies and Indians are in serious talks, Renck reports (on Twitter). He hears that a deal would center around Pomeranz, Alex White and Jason Kipnis.
- Renck gets the "strong sense" that Cleveland hasn't given up (Twitter link) and Morosi says Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz was scratched from his Double-A start today (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox, Reds and Indians are in on Jimenez, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees aren't talking actively with Colorado and won't include Nova, Betances, Banuelos or Montero in a deal for Jimenez (Twitter links).
- The Rockies haven't dropped their demands and are still asking for three players, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (on Twitter). The Yankees still won't part with Montero, Betances and Nova for Jimenez.
- Two teams have enhanced their offers, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Rival teams believe the Rockies match up best with the Indians, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- The Rockies will have a scout watching Nova tonight at Yankee Stadium, tweets Sherman.
- The price on Jimenez has come down a tad, tweets Jon Heyman. He says the Rockies are no longer asking for Banuelos from the Yankees; Betances, Nova, and Montero would work. That's similar to what Joel Sherman wrote earlier today. The two teams have not talked today, tweets Troy Renck. Renck believes the Yankees currently will not put both Montero and Betances in the deal - just one.
- One executive who has been speaking with the Rockies and Reds believes the teams "have discussed an expanded version that could include someone like Seth Smith, because the Reds also have been targeting controllable bats," reports ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- The Red Sox haven't been in contact with the Rockies about Jimenez since Thursday, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. And the Reds aren't currently discussing Jimenez with the Rockies, tweets Jon Paul Morosi.
- The Yankees are all over Jimenez, a source tells ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.
- The Yankees are hearing that the Rockies may lower the price on Jimenez today, tweets Ken Rosenthal, but still not to a point that they consider realistic. Renck tweets that the Rockies' price hasn't changed during the process.
- The Indians, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Reds are still in on Jimenez, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, and he's not counting out the Yankees.
- In addition to Turner and maybe Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer, the Rockies asked the Tigers for outfielder Brennan Boesch, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler notes that Turner is starting for the Tigers today.
- The Indians were willing to discuss southpaw pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Pomeranz is ranked anywhere from #14 to #35 among all teams by prospect experts. Red Sox third base prospect Will Middlebrooks and righty Anthony Ranaudo are of interest to Colorado, adds Renck.
- The Rockies want Ivan Nova and two of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Jesus Montero from the Yankees, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman writes, "to say the Yankees and Rockies are not finding common ground on Jimenez’s value is an understatement." The Red Sox, Tigers, and Indians remain involved, while the Reds are "less heated to make a deal."
- "Rival executives believe that if the Rockies lower their asking price at all today, it will signal clear intent to move the pitcher," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
Neither Roberto Alomar nor Bert Blyleven will be wearing a Cleveland cap into the Hall Of Fame tomorrow, but both men spent significant parts of their careers with the Tribe. Blyleven won 48 games and posted a 3.23 ERA with the Indians between 1981-85, twice finishing third in AL Cy Young voting in that span. Alomar played in Cleveland from 1999 through 2001, earning Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances in each year and hit .323/.405/.515 as an Indian.
Onto some news about the modern-day Clevelanders, courtesy of Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer....
- Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Kipnis, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White are "all but untouchable" in trade talks. Without these top prospects on the table, however, it makes it unlikely that the Indians will be able to acquire top-tier trade candidates like Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence. Hoynes notes that the Tribe's dealings are tempered by the fact that while they have a chance to win the AL Central, they probably don't have a realistic shot at the World Series so the team doesn't want to mortgage the future for just a token playoff berth.
- The Indians have talked to the Dodgers about utilityman Jamey Carroll. Cleveland's interest may have cooled, though, now that Kipnis has been called up. The Rockies and Brewers have shown interest in Carroll. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored Carroll's trade candidacy and also had a Q&A with the veteran last month.
- The Indians "aren't close" to working out a deal with the Padres for Ryan Ludwick or Aaron Harang, reports Hoynes (Twitter link). We recently heard that Harang (along with Hiroki Kuroda) were Cleveland's top two targets on the trade market.
On this day in 2005, the Rangers released Andres Torres, a 27-year-old outfielder who had compiled a .534 OPS in parts of four big league seasons. While things looked bleak for Torres at the time, he eventually worked his way back to the bigs four years later with San Francisco. Since then, he has hit .266/.345/.477 and played a key role on the Giants' World Champion squad in 2010. Here are today's links:
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti isn't ready to make additions via trade, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The club is reluctant to part with prospects like Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, but the solution may ultimately be to turn to those two as they did with Cord Phelps last week. Chisenhall and Kipnis were ranked 25th and 54th, respectively, on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list entering 2011.
- ESPN's Keith Law tweets that he expects the Blue Jays to sign their first-round pick, Tyler Beede, for around $3MM. Beede, selected out of high school, has said his decision will come down to the money.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has targeted "about 20 guys" who could be on the trade market over the next few weeks, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. While most teams aren't ready to deal yet, Towers says "that doesn't mean I don't do my due diligence and still call."
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News argues that, while the Giants need to acquire a catcher at some point, there's no urgency to do so immediately.
- Bartolo Colon's trip to the DL is a reminder that the Yankees likely won't be a championship-caliber team in 2011 without at least one more starting pitching acquisition, says John Harper of the New York Daily News.
- All the 40-man roster moves the Cardinals have made recently could suggest there's need for a trade, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- With labor uncertainty surrounding many other professional sports, Bud Selig is proud that baseball is avoiding similar issues, as the commissioner tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Hummel's piece includes a rundown of a few key items on the table during CBA talks.
Teams like saving money and extending their control over top young players. Why wouldn't they? Having impact players on affordable contracts simplifies a GM's job. As a result, teams call top young players up strategically every season to control their service time and, in doing so, delay their free agency and/or limit their earnings.
Though service time is a consideration all season long, it's most evident at two times: in April and again midseason, around early June. If teams wait until a few weeks after the season has begun to call a prospect up for his MLB debut, the player doesn't collect a full year of service time, which delays his free agency by a year.
The precise date until which teams must wait before calling prospects up varies each year and according to whether players are on the 40-man roster. Now that we're nearly three weeks into the season, even prospects on the 40-man roster can be called up, since they have spent the requisite 20-day period in the minor leagues.
None of the following prospects have big league service time, which means that their teams can call them up at any point and keep them through the 2017 season, if not longer: Dustin Ackley, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Jesus Montero, Eric Hosmer, Julio Teheran, Manny Banuelos, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.
On the other hand, Michael Pineda, Zach Britton and Brandon Belt are now in the majors, picking up service time. Because those players are now on MLB rosters, they're currently on track to hit free agency after the 2016 season. However, if their respective teams option them to the minors for 20 days or more, their path to free agency could be slowed as well (that's an immediate possibility for Belt and a long-term one for the pair of impressive rookie hurlers).
That may sounds complicated, but it's the easy part. Later this spring, in late May and early June, the guessing game begins. Teams do not (and can not) know exactly when future cutoffs for super two status will be, so if they want to play it safe and ensure that prospects like Montero and Ackley only go to arbitration three times, they'll want to wait until at least the middle of June before calling them up.
Let's take a look at some items from both the AL and NL Central..
- Royals manager Ned Yost told the Associated Press that he would like to have two left-handers in the bullpen to start the year, though he won't have two southpaw relievers just for the sake of it. For the time being, it sounds like Kansas City will look for an answer in-house, starting with their newest acquisition Robert Fish.
- When asked if service time factored into the decision to demote Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians GM Chris Antonetti said, "That's certainly not the case," tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- After being dealt from the Dodgers to the Cardinals, Ryan Theriot says that he's looking to play the way he did in 2008, writes MLB.com's Matthew Leach. In '08, Theriot posted a slash line of .307/.387/.359 for the Cubs.
- Chris Cwik of Fangraphs wonders if the Brewers' acquisition of Zack Greinke has left them too thin in some areas.
Some links for your Sunday reading pleasure...
- Jason Donald's hand injury inspires Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to ask whether the Indians would consider starting Lonnie Chisenhall's service clock as soon as Opening Day.
- Lastings Milledge, who was the youngest free agent available this past winter, is off to a good start with the White Sox, says Brett Ballantini of CSNChicago.
- Mark Buehrle won't keep pitching for money or milestones, writes Dan McNeil of the Chicago Tribune. If he keeps pitching beyond 2011, it'll be with a contender and in a place that's comfortable for his family.
- Jhonny Peralta isn't fretting his transition back to the shortstop position, writes MLive.com's Dick Scanlon.
- Hoynes answers plenty of reader questions in this Q&A for the Plain Dealer, and address issues such as the prospect hauls for departed All-Stars and maximizing trade value. He also opines that Orlando Cabrera could become a mid-season target for the Phillies if Chase Utley's injury is serious enough.
Even on a day filled with football news, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a pair of Indians articles up filled with some information on what we can expect from the Tribe in 2011. Let's look at some highlights:
- The upcoming season will play a large role in gauging the return that the Indians got from the C.C. Sabathia trade. Both Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley are expected to play full seasons as part of Cleveland's rebuilding efforts. LaPorta, who recently turned 26, is fully healthy unlike 2010 when he underwent two mid-season surgeries.
- Both Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona could be traded if they perform well in the first half. Sizemore is more likely, given that he's only under Cleveland's control through 2012 (the $8.5MM club option on his deal becomes a player option if he's traded). Carmona is through 2014 through a series of club options.
- The club is still interested in both Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Bonderman, though Hoynes says the Indians haven't changed their stance on Millwood's asking price; they don't want to invest $4MM-$5MM.
- Lonnie Chisenhall will open the season at Triple-A Columbus no matter what, according to Hoynes. He has a chance to push some current big-leaguers eventually, as do Jason Kipnis, Jared Goedert, and Cord Phelps. Keith Law recently ranked Chisenhall as the game's 39th best prospect. Kipnis placed 56th.