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Opposing teams continue to scout Ben Revere for a possible trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Revere may be somewhat of an odd man out when both Cody Asche and Domonic Brown return to the club, Rosenthal notes, now that Asche is transitioning to the outfield. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com hears that the Angels like Revere but are in “exploratory mode” and aren’t rushing in any direction for outfield help (Twitter link).
Revere, 27, was said to be available in a trade shortly before Opening Day, and it would appear that a position change for Asche has made that even more evident. Gonzalez’s mention of the Angels isn’t the first time they’ve been connected to the fleet-footed Revere in recent weeks; the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher also has mentioned Revere as a possibility for the Halos of late.
Through 159 plate appearances this season, Revere’s batting average is down a bit from the .301 mark he’s posted over the past three seasons. However, he’s seen his walk rate jump from a dismal 2.1 percent in 2014 to 5.7 percent in 2015. That, of course, is still below the league average, but the net result of Revere’s efforts at the plate this season is a .268/.314/.356 batting line that could very well improve if his .299 BABIP moves closer to his .319 career mark. Revere isn’t stealing with quite as much frequency as he did in 2014 — he had 12 steals in 14 attempts through 39 games last year — but he’s still chipped in eight steals in 11 tries.
Philadelphia’s usage of Odubel Herrera in center field has shifted Revere to left field, where his limited arm but strong range play a bit better than in center. (The early returns on Revere’s first action in left field since 2012 are positive, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.) Left field has been arguably the Angels’ greatest deficiency this season, as they’ve received a collective .150/.187/.218 batting line from their left fielders this season.
Revere wouldn’t provide virtually any power for an acquiring club, but he’s a career .290 hitter with a .323 on-base percentage despite his lack of pop and averaged 50 steals per 162 games from 2011-14. That skill-set of speed and contact is undervalued in arbitration, which has kept Revere’s price tag relatively modest. He’s earning $4.1MM this season, meaning that he is owed about $3.1MM through season’s end. As a Super Two player, Revere has two more trips through the arbitration process in his future before becoming eligible for free agency following the 2017 campaign.
Ollie Brown, known to the San Diego faithful as the “Original Padre” has died of complications from mesothelioma, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com. The outfielder was the first player selected by the Padres in the 1968 Expansion Draft. Brown hit 52 home runs in parts of four seasons with the Padres including 23 blasts in 1970. Brown was 71 and is survived by two brothers, a wife, a daughter, and five grandchildren. We at MLBTR wish to extend our condolences to Brown’s family and friends.
- Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez could sign for $10MM, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The 20-year-old is subject to the international spending pool which could affect the bidding. Among the interested teams include the Braves, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. New York and Arizona may have an advantage since they’ve already exceeded their bonus pool. Chicago won’t be able to jump into the bidding until July 2nd. It was reported two days ago that Martinez could sign as early as next week.
- While still with the Angels, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton repeatedly tried to reach out to owner Arte Moreno, writes Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Instead, Hamilton says his efforts were blocked by GM Jerry Dipoto and team President John Carpino. Hamilton attempted to contact Moreno regarding his poor performance last season and again after his offseason relapse. The embattled slugger is currently rehabbing in Double-A and could return to major league action soon. Los Angeles is responsible for most of the remaining $80MM on his contract.
The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.
Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…
- The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
- Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
- Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
- Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
- Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
- It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
- The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
- In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alexi Amarista | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Correa | Chicago Cubs | Clay Buchholz | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Didi Gregorius | Hector Rondon | Houston Astros | Jean Segura | Juan Uribe | Kyle Lohse | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Noah Syndergaard | Oakland Athletics | Rafael Soriano | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Scott Kazmir | St. Louis Cardinals | Steven Matz | Troy Tulowitzki | Wilmer Flores | Yunel Escobar
Mike Trout isn’t the only baseball talent in his family, as Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh details in a piece about the Angels superstar’s father. Jeff Trout was a Twins fifth-round draft pick in 1983 and he put up an impressive .303/.382/.425 slash line in 1575 career minor league at-bats, with three of his four seasons coming at the Double-A level. The elder Trout chose to retire early, however, partially due to injuries and partially out of some frustration that his career was stalling in the minors. Here’s some more from around baseball…
- Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez could sign with a team as early as next week, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter links). The 20-year-old was seen by scouts and executives from 17 teams during a workout in the Dominican Republic today. He boasts a 6.4 second time in the 60-yard dash and has two years of experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, including hitting .229/.333/.324 over 133 PA as an 18-year-old in 2013. Martinez is subject to international pool guidelines, and if he does sign during what’s left of the 2014-15 signing period, it will mean the Cubs and Rangers (due to penalties) won’t be able to land him unless he accepts a bonus of $300K or less. If Martinez doesn’t sign until after the 2015-16 period opens on July 2, the Angels, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Diamondbacks will be under those penalties.
- Huston Street “might have gotten the best deal he could get,” Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times opines about the closer’s two-year, $18MM extension with the Angels. Shaikin thinks that Street might not have found such a generous deal in free agency given how several teams are becoming more likely to rely on cheap power arms in the ninth inning rather than spend big on veteran closers. An injury also could’ve hurt Street’s value, which is a significant concern given that he’s spent a notable amount of time on the DL in his career.
- Ben Revere is no stranger to trade rumors, though the Phillies outfielder is trying to focus on playing rather than speculation that he could be dealt, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. “I know it’s a business. I know we need some guys to help this program out, this organization out,” Revere said. “If I do [get traded], it’s a part of the game. But the only thing I’m trying to do is help the team win. I’m not worrying about it. If it does happen, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m going to try to bring some W’s to this team.”
Explaining his presence in Oakland during a tough stretch for his club, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington offered some words of general wisdom for the sometimes overly-eager interpretation of his movement outside of Boston. As Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports, Cherington says that he flew out to join the team as part of a previously-planned, monthly effort. “If something is going I need to be there for I’ll go,” said Cherington, “but 99 percent of the time it’s just what is scheduled. As GM, I don’t remember ever being with the team on the road where it just hasn’t been part of the schedule.” The same, often, holds true of top execs being present to see amateur talent. “Somebody will make a deal of me being somewhere to see an amateur player. It’s almost never about seeing that player, but rather that’s the opportunity to go spend some time with your scouts and connect with them,” Cherington explaned. “I’m not sitting in the draft room and saying, ‘I saw this guy on May 13 and this is what he did.’ I’m just not doing that.” Of course, the Kremlinologists among us will note that Cherington’s words provide perfect cover for more surreptitious missions.
- Royals righty Joe Blanton has an opt-out opportunity tomorrow, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. Kansas City hopes to keep Blanton, with Flanagan writing that the expectation is the veteran will be “patient” in assessing his options. Certainly, given the state of the K.C. rotation, Blanton can reasonably expect to earn a shot at some big league innings at some point this year. The Royals staff is just one of many subjects touched upon by Steve Adams and myself in today’s AL Central-centric podcast (check back at about noon central for that).
- The “timing isn’t now” for Francisco Lindor to reach the Indians roster, GM Chris Antonetti told reporters including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter links). That assessment is “not at all” due to an effort to avoid Super Two status, says Antonetti. Instead, the club believes that Lindor — who has not forced his way up with his play at Triple-A — simply needs more time. Cleveland is hurting for production at shortstop at present, though it is not clear that Lindor would be an immediate upgrade over the scuffling Jose Ramirez.
- Last night, Huston Street inked a two-year, $18MM extension with the Angels. As MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter, Street was motivated in part by a desire to play for a competitor. “It’s multiple years where I have a chance to really matter,” he explained. On the financial side of the ledger, my own opinion is that Street could and would have earned more on the open market — which is generally the case, of course, but is especially true given the somewhat less top-loaded relief market expected next winter. Then again, the decision to pass on some future earning opportunity to lock down a guarantee in a situation he favors is eminently understandable; such is the tradeoff that must be made to avoid the risk of a full season’s workload, especially for a low-velocity reliever.
The Angels have agreed to a two-year extension with closer Huston Street that includes a club option for 2018, the club announced. The deal guarantees Street $18MM, including a $1MM buyout on the option year, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).
Street had been representing himself in negotiations, but brought on agent Alan Hendricks to handle talks when the season started. He was set to reach the open market after the season, but will instead be controlled through his age-34 campaign. The option is valued at $10MM, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link). Street will earn approximately $8MM next year and $9MM in 2017, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
Street, 31, has long been a quality back-end arm, though his flawless early start to the year has given way to a few less-than-perfect outing of late. On the year, he owns a 3.29 ERA with an excellent 9.9 K/9 against a somewhat uncharacteristic 3.3 BB/9.
All said, Street has produced as expected since coming to the Halos via trade last year. In 2014, between the Padres and Angels, Street worked to a 1.37 ERA over 59 1/3 frames, striking out 8.6 and walking 2.1 batters per nine in the process.
Never highly reliant on velocity, Street has maintained his average fastball in the upper eighties in recent seasons. Though he has missed a few games here and there with minor issues in the last few seasons, Street has not been troubled of late with the arm issues that cropped up at times earlier in his career.
The contract looks to be a solid investment for a Los Angeles club that has benefited greatly from Street’s presence in the 9th inning. It lines up rather closely with the two-year, $18MM contract agreed to by the Red Sox and Koji Uehara just before he would have reached free agency last fall. Street is much younger, albeit somewhat less dominant in terms of his strikeout history, and also gives a potentially useful option to Los Angeles.
Street and the Angels have long been said to be discussing an extension, and it seemed as if the groundwork was laid for a deal to get done. While it is probably too much to say that the recent Josh Hamilton deal spurred this investment, it certainly did not hurt that the Halos were able to clear some space under the luxury tax going forward.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Mattheus, 31, made a single appearance at the big league level for the Halos after joining the organization on a minor league deal. While it is hard to learn much from one appearance, Mattheus worked at or above his usual two-seam fastball velocity (between 93 and 94 mph). He had a nice run to start the year at Triple-A, tossing 12 2/3 frames over which he permitted just four earned runs and registered 12 outs on strikes while not issuing a single unintentional walk.
The Reds have, of course, had rather pronounced bullpen struggles, and will hope that Mattheus can add some quality innings of middle relief. He proved a useful arm for several seasons with the Nationals, working to a 2.84 ERA over 98 1/3 innings from 2011-12. Though his results have declined since, and he missed some time with injuries, metrics suggest that he was much the same pitcher.
Mattheus, known most for his sinker and strong groundball induction rates, will of course require a 40-man roster spot, though the Reds appear to have an opening already. Cincinnati recently designated veteran righty Kevin Gregg after his difficult start to the year
Athletics righty Jarrod Parker will visit Dr. James Andrews next Monday to determine the severity of his latest elbow injury, writes John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. Parker fractured the medial epicondyle in his right elbow over the weekend in what was supposed to be one of his final rehab appearances before being activated off the disabled list. The medial epicondyle is one of the two bones to which a replacement ligament is grafted in Tommy John surgery, and the A’s do not yet know if Parker’s new UCL remains intact. We at MLBTR wish Parker the best in the wake of what must be a heart-sinking setback.
Here’s more from the AL West…
- Marc Krauss, whose contract was selected by the Angels earlier tonight, has the opportunity to stick with the club for awhile, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. The Halos are in dire need of some left-handed pop to help balance out a lineup that has struggled at times against right-handed pitching. “We need offense,” manager Mike Scioscia said to Gonzalez. “The balance of left-handed and right-handed isn’t quite there with us, and it’s showing up statistically.” Krauss is something of a journeyman, but he was hitting quite well at Triple-A this season, having slashed .281/.405/.458.
- Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor wasn’t entirely surprised by his demotion to Triple-A, he tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches. I know that,” Odor said to Grant. “I was not like me. I didn’t feel like me. I wasn’t hitting good.” GM Jon Daniels said he expects Odor to return to the big league club shortly once he corrects some of the issues he developed en route to a cringe-worthy .144/.252/.233 batting line.
- The Rangers will have a crowded situation at first base upon activating Mitch Moreland from the disabled list this week, and it might cost outfielder Jake Smolinski his roster spot, according to Grant’s colleague, Gerry Fraley. Smolinski, 26, has just five at-bats over the team’s past eight games and did not get the start tonight, either. Moreland will join Prince Fielder, Adam Rosales and Kyle Blanks as first base options, and Blanks has begun working out in the outfield, Fraley notes. Smolinski has options remaining, so the team wouldn’t need to expose him to waivers in order to send him to the minors.
The Angels announced (on Twitter) that they have designated right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A Salt Lake.
The 31-year-old Mattheus tossed just one inning for the Angels this season, striking out a pair and also walking one in that lone frame. He inked a minor league deal with the Angels this offseason and missed out on making the club in Spring Training. However, Mattheus pitched quite well in 12 2/3 innings with Salt Lake, yielding four earned runs (2.84 ERA) with 12 strikeouts against just one unintentional walk.
Mattheus is no stranger to the Major Leagues, as the former 19th-rounder spent the better part of three season as a member of the Nationals’ bullpen, working to a 3.60 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 142 1/3 innings with Washington. He likely didn’t do his future with the Nats any favors by spending a significant chunk of time on the disabled list in 2013 with a fractured hand that was injured when punched a locker following a poor performance.
That regrettable incident notwithstanding, Mattheus sports a fastball that sits around 93 mph and has racked up a solid 52.2 percent ground-ball rate in his career. The Angels will likely hope that he clears outright waivers and can remain in the organization to serve as a depth piece down the line.
Promotions are always interesting to keep an eye on this time of year, as teams look to balance future control and cost with developmental prerogatives and the needs of the MLB roster. One of the most-watched players, shortstop Carlos Correa of the Astros, will make his debut today at Triple-A after destroying the Double-A level at just twenty years of age. The next stop could be Houston, where the big league club playing well but dealing with a significant injury to Jed Lowrie. Meanwhile, the Twins have decided the time is ripe to give another shot at former top prospect Aaron Hicks, still just 25, who has struggled in his time in the majors but forced his way back with a .336/.415/.561 run through the highest level of the minors this year.
Here’s more from the American League:
- The Angels, who have fielded a somewhat surprisingly unproductive lineup thus far, look in need of a bat, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. While GM Jerry Dipoto says that he expects at least some of the team’s group of established hitters to return to their usual contributions on offense, Fletcher says that the front office is ready and willing to pursue an acquisition over the summer. Given the team’s struggles against right-handed pitching, Fletcher opines that Brewers first baseman Adam Lind would make for a particularly sensible trade target. He ticks through a few other plausible options as the market begins to take shape.
- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is set to throw his first bullpen today since suffering a forearm strain, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted yesterday. At this point, it would seem to rate as a pleasant surprise if Tanaka is able to contribute more quality innings this year, though the club seems determined to give him every opportunity to return before pursuing more drastic options.
- Indeed, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, the Yankees rotation has plenty of issues but still rates as the most complete outfit in the division. GM Brian Cashman continues to say that he believes Tanaka can stave off a Tommy John procedure. And as Sherman rightly notes, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova both appear on track to deliver useful arms in the relatively near future. If the club stays in position and has a need, of course, it should have no difficulty finding ways to add quality innings via trade over the summer.
- The Red Sox staff, meanwhile, has been a source of near-constant hand-wringing and speculation for months. There are reasons to believe in improvement from the peripherals, as MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince explains, though as he notes the biggest reason for hope may lie in the club’s evident ability (and demonstrated willingness) to swing deals to add additional arms.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington continues to emphasize the organization’s commitment to delivering better results from its internal pitching options, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. “We knew we needed good pitching coming into the year to win games, and we still know that,” says Cherington. “I believe we’ll pitch better, and I believe we have a lot of the solutions here already.” Cherington emphasized that he wants to see how things proceed with a new pitching coach (and new backstop duo) now in place. Regardless, as he notes, it would be hard to make a move now. “Not a lot of teams are in that (trade) mode,” said the Red Sox GM, “but there wouldn’t normally be this time of year anyway. We’re not really there yet. There’s not a lot of team-altering moves being discussed this early. Probably need a little bit of time on that.” In Lauber’s estimation, Cherington’s protestations notwithstanding, Boston must and will strike one or more trades and/or promote well-regarded lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for an infusion of talent.
- One possible trade target for the Red Sox (and, of course, other teams) is Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. Indeed, Kazmir’s strong recent track record and meager remaining commitment, to say nothing of the free-wheeling nature of Oakland GM Billy Beane, frame him as a popular source of trade speculation over the next few months. If the team decides to market him, which seems more and more plausible with each passing day for the 12-22 A’s, it will be fascinating to see what the 31-year-old returns in a trade.