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Remember when the Padres, Red Sox, and White Sox were the most improved teams in the majors? They, along with the Marlins, are below .500 despite their busy offseasons, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Alternatively, the Blue Jays have pushed into playoff contention with a recent winning streak. Toronto added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin over the offseason, but the core of the team has remained largely intact. Kepner notes that these quick turnaround rebuilds are no guarantee for solid performance.
Here’s more from around the league:
- A new international signing period will begin on July 2nd, but 2016 is the time for your favorite team to break the bank, per Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, and Diamondbacks are already unable to spend more than $300K on a player for the next two seasons. The Dodgers, Cubs, Royals, Phillies, and Blue Jays may blow past their bonus limit in the 2015 signing period. That will remove many of the most active teams from the market in 2016. Badler gives a complete description of the international market conditions. It’s well worth a read.
- The Giants will soon face a roster crunch in their rotation, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. Jake Peavy is medically ready to return, and Matt Cain is nearing readiness. The easiest move would be to option Chris Heston, but he’s tied for the club lead with seven wins and recently no-hit the Mets. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Hudson have been merely serviceable. The same can be said of Tim Lincecum in recent weeks. With the exception of Heston, the other rotation arms could be lost if they’re designated for assignment. The club could opt to move Lincecum and Vogelsong into the bullpen, but that just pushes the roster crunch elsewhere.
- An influx of Cuban players could soon flood the majors, writes Bill Shaiken of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban players, even those who fall under international spending restrictions, are currently able to negotiate with all 30 clubs. That increases their bargaining power. It’s a big reason why infielder Roberto Baldoquin cost about four times more than the Angels’ entire 2015 amateur draft class. Cubans are currently the third most represented foreign nation in the majors. Opening day rosters included 18 Cubans, 65 Venezuelans, and 83 Dominicans. Cuba has a comparable population to the Dominican Republic. As such, we could see a surge of Cuban players as diplomatic relations continue to thaw.
Full Story | 2 Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Jake Peavy | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Cain | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Ryan Vogelsong | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Tim Hudson | Tim Lincecum | Toronto Blue Jays
We’ll track some of the day’s notable draft bonus agreements here. (Slot values via Baseball America; signing links to Twitter.)
- Another player whose signing was reported yesterday, Dylan Thompson of the Mariners, agreed to an above-slot deal, per Callis. A high school righty, Thompson will receive a $585K bonus after being taken 125th overall ($448K slot value).
- 70th overall pick Jahmai Jones receives a $1.1MM bonus from the Angels, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports. We covered his agreement to an above-slot bonus last night, and it turns out that Los Angeles had to add $220K to the pick’s allocated value to keep Jones from attending UNC.
- The Twins have likewise agreed to an above-slot bonus with fourth-round (110th overall) selection Trey Cabbage, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. It remains unreported just how far over the $517,900 pick allocation Minnesota went to lure Cabbage away from his commitment to the University of Tennessee. The third baseman rated as high as the 72nd-best player in the draft, per MLB.com, which noted his plus hit tool and promise at the hot corner.
Here are the day’s significant draft signings of less than $1MM, with slot values via Baseball America. All signing links to Twitter.
- Royals second-rounder Josh Staumont will receive the 64th selection’s full $964,600 slot value, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. The MLB.com prospect team was highest among evaluators on Staumont, listing the collegiate righty as the 65th-best player available and crediting his top-of-class arm strength. Though he has issues with hitting the zone, Staumont has flashed enough easy velocity and promise with his secondary offerings to have a lofty ceiling.
- The Yankees will pay third-round choice Drew Finley an above-slot $950K bonus, Mayo reports. That’s $323,400 above the 92nd pick’s alloted pool space. ESPN.com’s Keith Law likes Finley quite a bit, explaining that the prep righty combines the projection and control to profile as a future starter. New York also agreed to an at-slot $456,800 payday for fourth-round choice Jeff Hendrix, also via Mayo.
- The Angels have agreed to an above-slot bonus for second-rounder Jahmai Jones, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The precise bonus value remains unreported, but Jones was taken with the 70th pick in the draft, which had a $880K allocation. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs listed the high schooler as the 50th player on his board, crediting his advanced bat and solid power. The question is whether Jones can play an up-the-middle position defensively, but McDaniel says there is enough of a track record to suggest he can. Los Angeles has also agreed to a slot-value, $548,600 bonus for third-rounder Grayson Long, according to Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com.
- Pirates second-rounder Kevin Kramer will take home a $850K bonus, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com. The team will save $144,800 against the pool space afforded by the 62nd overall selection. Law had the highest rating on the UCLA shorstop among pundits, calling him the 71st-best prospect and praising his overall skillset (while noting long-term questions about Kramer’s ability to stick at short and general lack of impact tools).
- The Nationals have reached agreement with high school outfielder Blake Perkins, who May says took home a $800K bonus, $93,100 under his slot value at 69th overall. Bryan Webb tweeted this morning that a deal was done. Only Law placed Perkins within his top-100 draft prospects, with Baseball America explaining that he has five-tool potential but has plenty of development ahead of him. Fourth-rounder Mariano Rivera Jr. has agreed to a slot-value ($410,700) bonus, also per Mayo. (You might remember his father, who had a lengthy MLB career for some good clubs.)
- The Diamondbacks announced a host of signings, including third-rounder Taylor Clarke, fourth-round pick Breckin Williams, and fifth-rounder Ryan Burr. The 76th choice was valued at $801,900, while the 106th pick came with a $538,200 allotment, though bonuses remain unreported. Per BA, Clarke’s future may depend upon his ability to harness his change-up, as the collegiate senior has a useful fastball and well-commanded slider. bArizona will pay Burr the slot value of $403K, Mayo adds.
- Likewise, the Mariners say they’ve formally signed a number of players to undisclosed bonuses, among them third-rounder Braden Bishop ($607,700 slot value) and fourth-round choice Dylan Thompson ($448K slot value). Bishop, a University of Washington outfielder, drew the 81st position on the MLB.com pre-draft list, which cited his big speed.
- The Marlins went well above slot to nab eight-round choice Chris Paddack, with Callis reporting that he’ll get an even $400K. The 236th slot in the draft was worth just $173,100.
- Athletics fourth-round pick Skye Bolt lands a $650K bonus, per Callis. That’s a nice bump up over the 128th choice’s $453,300 allotted value. MLB.com had the highest grade on the UNC outfielder, rating him 67th overall based upon Bolt’s four plus tools. The question is with the bat, which the switch-hitter has failed to show over the last two seasons.
Full Story | 16 Comments | Categories: 2015 Amateur Draft | 2015 Amateur Draft Signings | Arizona Diamondbacks | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Miami Marlins | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ryan Webb | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Transactions | Washington Nationals
The 2015 MLB Draft is in the books, and over the coming weeks we’ll see plenty of picks agree to terms with their new clubs. With so many players selected in the draft, there’s no way to cover all of them, but we’ll run down some of the more notable picks — either due to the size of their signing bonus, the round they were selected or a significantly over-slot/under-slot deal — as they’re reported. Here are today’s notable mid-round signings (with all slot values coming courtesy of Baseball America)…
- The Braves have signed second-rounder A.J. Minter, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (via Twitter). Minter will receive a $814.3K bonus, matching the slot value of the 75th overall pick. The left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in March and injuries limited him to just 58 innings in his career at Texas A&M. It’s yet to be determined whether he’ll stick as a starter or reliever when healthy, though Callis notes that Minter can throw a cutter in the low 90’s and has touched 97mph with his fastball.
- The Padres have signed fourth-rounder Austin Allen ($484K), Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Allen, the 117th overall pick in the draft, will receive the $484K bonus that matches his slot value. The club also made two notable under-slot signings in sixth-rounder Jordan Guerrero ($200K) and ninth-rounder Jerry Keel ($10K), who respectively signed for $71.3K and $151.4K less than their assigned values. As Lin notes, the Padres are already a combined $310K below slot value after just four signings.
- The Angels signed sixth-rounder David Fletcher to a $406.9K bonus, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (Twitter link). This is a sizable bump up from the $228.1K slot value for the 195th overall pick.
The Angels have signed Jo-Jo Reyes, a source tells MLBTR. The veteran left-hander will report to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Reyes, 30, was previously with Campeche of the Mexican League and was named an All-Star there roughly two weeks ago. Reyes last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 and will work towards reaching the majors once again in 2015. In that 2011 season, Reyes pitched to a 5.57 ERA in 25 starts and four relief appearances for the Blue Jays and Orioles. He posted a 5.6 K/9 rate versus a 3.1 BB/9.
He’s also quite familiar with the Triple-A level, having spent parts of seven seasons there. Reyes owns a 3.68 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in Triple-A for multiple teams.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Angels have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Trevor Gott. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to note the move (via Twitter). Gott was a sixth round pick of the Padres who traded him as part of the Huston Street deal. FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel ranked Gott the Angels’ 10th best prospect, noting a 93-97 mph fastball and an above average curve. He has a 2.25 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 28 innings across two levels. The club’s 40-man roster was at 39 players after Kirk Nieuwenhuis was designated last week.
- Braves outfielder Eric Young Jr. has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of SBNation. Atlanta announced the move yesterday, but Young Jr. had the right to elect free agency. He hit a meager .169/.229/.273 in 85 plate appearances.
- The Yankees have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Sergio Santos, tweets Rosenthal. He’ll take the place of Esmil Rogers in a decidedly left-handed New York bullpen. Santos was initially signed to a minor league deal on June 9th. The Dodgers had previously designated him for assignment, and he elected free agency on June 6th. The righty threw 13 and one-third innings this season with 10.13 K/9, 4.73 BB/9, and a 4.73 ERA.
- The Yankees also optioned left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren and recalled righty Jose Ramirez, writes Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Lindgren had a 5.14 ERA in seven innings. Most damagingly, he allowed three home runs in his brief work. He did show a health 10.29 K/9, but it was offset by 5.14 BB/9. His minor league work has produced similar strikeout and walk rates. Ramirez has one lousy inning at the major league level (four earned runs allowed). He pitched well in Triple-A with 9.32K/9, 3.86 BB/9, and a 2.25 ERA.
The Mets have re-claimed outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets. The team has announced that it has moved reliever Jerry Blevins (forearm) to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on its 40-man roster.
The Mets designated Nieuwenhuis for assignment last month, then traded him to the Angels for cash. The Angels then designated him for assignment last week after 24 plate appearances for the club. Overall, Nieuwenhuis has posted a dismal .100/.156/.167 line in 64 plate appearances between the two teams this season. In the past, though, the left-handed hitter has been modestly productive, with a good eye and moderate power, and he posted a .259/.342/.482 line in 130 plate appearances last year. Nieuwenhuis can also play all three outfield positions, so he can be a useful player if he regains his stroke.
He is, however, out of options. Rubin thinks (again via Twitter) that the Mets might try to pass Nieuwenhuis through waivers again, as they’ll soon have to open spots for Dillon Gee (bereavement list), Ruben Tejada (paternity list) and Daniel Murphy (disabled list).
Months ago, the Angels exercised their 2016 option on GM Jerry Dipoto’s contract, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. That news had not been reported until now. The option is the last one on Dipoto’s original contract, a three-year deal that included two options. That the organization has not extended Dipoto to this point might or might not be notable. The Angels have not always quite lived up to lofty expectations in the last few seasons, and Dipoto’s tenure has been shaped in part by an unfortunate contract and ugly dispute with Josh Hamilton (which, to be fair, were both at least partially the fault of owner Arte Moreno), but the team is coming off a 98-win 2014 campaign. Here are more notes from the West Coast.
- Outfielder Andre Ethier has reestablished himself this year after a winter in which the Dodgers couldn’t trade him, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. “I don’t think anybody wanted me either,” says Ethier. “It takes two to tango like in a lot of things. … At the same time, maybe they knew what they were doing. Maybe the reason it didn’t happen was because they were asking more than other teams were willing to give.” Now, Ethier is in the midst of a resurgent .287/.369/.506 season, and Plunkett points out that, as the dollars remaining on Ethier’s contract continue to shrink (he’s currently owed about $49MM more through 2017, including a buyout for 2018), it might become a lot easier for the Dodgers to trade him than it was last winter.
- Giants executives Brian Sabean and Lee Elder were on hand to watch today’s Reds/Cubs game in Chicago, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes (all Twitter links). As Rosenthal points out, the natural conclusion is that Sabean and Elder were in town to watch Reds starter Johnny Cueto — Cueto will be a sought-after trade target this summer, and the Giants need rotation help. It could be, though, that the pair were at Wrigley for other reasons.
- Giants outfielder Hunter Pence is headed to the disabled list with wrist tendinitis, as Rosenthal tweets. Pence has not played since June 2, so he should be able to return within a week if he’s ready. To take Pence’s place on the active roster, the Giants selected the contract of righty Mike Broadway today after promoting an outfielder, Jarrett Parker, earlier this week.
7:22pm: The Angels have officially announced the signing.
6:54pm: Ward’s bonus is $1.67MM, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. That will give the Angels a savings of $364K against their pool that they can use to sign other picks.
3:56pm: The Angels have agreed to terms with first-round pick Taylor Ward, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. Ward, a 21-year-old junior catcher from Fresno State, was the 26th overall pick of the draft. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the pool value of the pick is $2,034,500.
MLB.com calls Ward “primarily a catch-and-throw guy,” noting that his arm and overall defensive potential should make him at least an MLB backup but that his hitting isn’t as strong. Baseball America (subscription-only) offers similar praise for Ward’s excellent arm but notes that his offense is a concern despite a bit of power, pointing out that he “lacks a natural feel for hitting.”
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com ranks the top forty trade candidates around the league, adding observations and notes on each. Though he notes that clubs like the Red Sox and Orioles could potentially end up moving assets, Heyman restricts things to clubs that seem more likely than not to sell at this point. Cole Hamels of the Phillies lands in the pole position; though some top suitors remain unwilling to part with the top players targeted by Philadelphia, one GM tells Heyman that the club will probably be able to land a premium prospect for the lefty. He also argues that a deal involving Dodgers outfielder and Angels starter C.J. Wilson looks good on paper, though the teams have not discussed such an arrangement. You’ll need to read the whole post to take it all in, of course.
- The Blue Jays and Phillies have not discussed Jonathan Papelbon in the last week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links), adding that Toronto is looking at other arms at the moment. One name to watch, says Sherman, is Tyler Clippard of the Athletics, who Toronto had in-depth discussions about over the winter.
- It’s academic at this point, but Clippard also drew significant interest from the Astros over the offseason, Sherman further tweets. Indeed, Houston was “very close” to acquiring the veteran reliever, says Sherman, which raises the interesting question of what the Nationals would have received in return. Ultimately, the club took infielder Yunel Escobar in return, though that deal did not occur until a month after the Astros had already spent big on free agent bullpen arms, which could indicate that the prospective Clippard acquisition might have been contemplated earlier in the winter.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson indicated that the club will not rely on a return from David Wright in making its summer moves, David Lennon of Newsday writes. Alderson said the club would not continue providing regular updates on Wright’s status, and said he would not be restricted in making moves. “Would we consider a third baseman who can’t do anything else?” Alderson queried. “Under the circumstances, yeah, we probably would. But we’re not just looking for any third baseman. It has to be something we think is an improvement that doesn’t cost us significantly.” The veteran GM continued to throw cold water on the idea of a move in the near-term, noting that the market was “narrow” and generally features underperforming players at this stage.
- C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer discusses the Reds‘ current predicament, with Zack Cozart out for the season, Devin Mesoraco likely to join him in that regard, and Marlon Byrd sidelined for a significant stretch. Cincinnati should not allow its hosting of the All-Star game to slow its efforts to deal Johnny Cueto, opines Rosecrans, who suggests that the team could reap a larger reward by moving him now (both by selling more starts and, perhaps, by getting ahead of the market). Dealing Cueto, of course, would also increase the appeal of shipping out Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman. Rosecrans concludes: “At this point, the organization doesn’t need to think about the All-Star Game, or even 2016. This is a long-term move and needs long-term thinking.”
- Though he’s a rental, Cueto is a true ace and should bring back a healthy return — even if it won’t be near what the Reds might have achieved last year (as Rosecrans explains). There should be no shortage of suitors, but MLB.com’s Phil Rogers lists the five most plausible landing spots: the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, and Padres.
Full Story | 90 Comments | Categories: Cincinnati Reds | Cole Hamels | Houston Astros | Johnny Cueto | Jonathan Papelbon | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Tyler Clippard | Washington Nationals