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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is expected to receive a bonus that will absolutely shatter the previous record for an amateur player — international or domestic — and intrigue surrounding him only figures to grow in the coming months. Here’s the latest on the 19-year-old phenom…
- Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel has an outstanding breakdown of not only Moncada’s showcase in Guatemala yesterday, but of the puzzling, seemingly inexplicable way in which he came to leave Cuba. McDaniel writes that Moncada was seemingly granted permission by the Cuban government to leave the country for Guatemala and is free to return and leave again as he wishes (a bizarre phenomenon also noted earlier this month by MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez). Beyond that, Moncada is being represented by a CPA from St. Petersburg who has never negotiated a baseball contract before and will not enlist the help of any veteran MLB agents. In fact, two agents from the Boras Corporation attempted to attend Moncada’s showcase and were not only denied access, but escorted off the premises by armed guards, McDaniel reports. Moncada’s agent has no desire to make this a story about himself and therefore was not named, McDaniel adds.
- McDaniel, too, has spoken to several executives who expect Moncada’s bonus to land in the $30-40MM range, which would result in a 100 percent luxury tax on all overages, which could lead to a total commitment upwards of $80MM. McDaniel writes that were Moncada not subject to international spending limitations, he’d probably clear $100MM with relative ease. Some scouts, he notes, feel Moncada is more talented than Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas. He adds that there are already rumors that the Cubs are looking to again blow way past their bonus pool in 2015, so if Moncada isn’t declared a free agent until after June 15, 2015, Chicago figures to be heavily involved. As it stands, the Cubs and Rangers aren’t eligible to sign a player for more than $250K after blowing past their bonus pools in the 2013-14 spending period.
- The Orioles scouted Moncada at yesterday’s showcase but consider the infielder too expensive, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. As Encina notes, Baltimore’s international bonus pool was roughly $2.253MM, meaning that in order to sign Moncada for $30MM, they’d have to invest more than $57MM once luxury tax is accounted for. Encina’s source for his article said he expects Moncada to sign for “at least” a $25MM bonus.
- MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets that the Angels definitely like Moncada but consider him to be out of their price range. The Halos currently hold the record for a Cuban amateur, having recently given Roberto Baldoquin an $8MM bonus. (Others, such as Abreu and Castillo, were not considered amateurs by the collective bargaining agreement.)
The 23-year-old Trout won in unanimous fashion — the first to do so since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997. Trout’s unanimous selection came on the heels of yet another dominant season, as he batted .287/.377/.561 with career-highs in homers (36), runs scored (115) and RBIs (111). Many feel that Trout should have been named the MVP in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but the consensus top player in the game now has an MVP to place on his mantle and should probably leave room for a few more to eventually stand by its side.
Trout’s 420 points were the most possible, and rounding out the top 10 in the AL were Victor Martinez (229), Michael Brantley (185), Jose Abreu (145), Jose Bautista (128), Robinson Cano (124), Nelson Cruz (102), Josh Donaldson (96), Miguel Cabrera (82) and Felix Hernandez (48). The full ballot is available in this Google doc from the BBWAA.
Kershaw edged out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, finishing with 355 points to 298. Kershaw missed a month with back inflammation but still put together one of the best seasons in recent history. In 198 1/3 innings, Kershaw posted a career-best 1.77 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. Kershaw’s effort won him his third Cy Young Award in the past four years and resulted in a total of 7.5 rWAR and 7.2 fWAR despite the missed time on the DL.
Behind Kershaw and Stanton in the top 10 were Andrew McCutchen (271), Jonathan Lucroy (167), Anthony Rendon (155), Buster Posey (152), Adrian Gonzalez (57), Adam Wainwright (53), Josh Harrison (52) and Anthony Rizzo (37). The full ballot is available in this Google Doc from the BBWAA.
The Angels remain open, but not committed, to dealing second baseman Howie Kendrick or third baseman David Freese if they can bring back an arm, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The former is unsurprisingly drawing more interest at the moment, with the Yankees and Blue Jays among the teams that have inquired into his availability.
According to Heyman, the Halos are more likely than not to keep Kendrick. The 31-year-old is coming off of perhaps his best season as a professional. He will earn $9.5MM this year before hitting the open market.
Nevertheless, the team is still listening to proposals that would help bolster its rotation depth, which remains an area of focus. The club is comfortable considering that possibility due to the presence of Gordon Beckham, says Heyman, though he also seems to be a plausible non-tender candidate. Presumably, Grant Green could be a factor as well if the Angels create an opening up the middle.
Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is quickly becoming one of the most hyped amateurs in history, and it’s expected that he will absolutely shatter the record for an amateur player — international or domestic — according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan spoke to a pair of GMs and two other executives, and all four agreed that they expect the 19-year-old Moncada to land an incredible $30-40MM bonus.
While that bonus doesn’t necessarily seem steep right off the bat, at least when juxtaposed with the commitments made to countrymen Yoenis Cespedes ($36MM), Yasiel Puig ($42MM), Jose Abreu ($68MM) and Rusney Castillo ($72.5MM), bear in mind that each of those players was viewed as a professional under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and therefore was not subject to international spending limitations.
Moncada, on the other hand, will be subject to spending limits, but executives that spoke with Passan still seemed to believe the price tag could approach $40MM. That would obliterate any team’s bonus pool, and a signing team would have to pay a 100 percent luxury tax on all overages (in addition to subsequently being prohibited from spending more than $300K on a player in the next two signing periods). In that regard, then, a team would essentially be dropping $60-80MM to add Moncada to its farm system, based on the range Passan received in his poll of execs.
As Passan notes, Moncada has yet to be unblocked by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control or Major League Baseball, so the timeline for his arrival on the free agent market is uncertain, but the timing of his arrival is critical. If Moncada isn’t declared a free agent until next year’s signing period (the current signing period runs through June 15, 2015), the Angels, Yankees and Red Sox would not be able to sign him, as the penalties they’ve incurred prevent them from signing a player for more than $300K in the next two signing periods. If he’s declared a free agent in the current signing period, the Rangers and Cubs, who exceeded their bonus pool in the 2013-14 signing period, would not be able to sign him.
Nearly every team was on-hand today in Guatemala to see a Moncada showcase, although Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that the Angels weren’t there to see him (they’ve seen him in the past, Fletcher notes).
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo spoke to multiple scouts who were on-hand, with one scout giving Moncada a 60 hit-tool, 60 power, 70 speed, a 60 arm and a 50 in terms of fielding (on the 20-80 scouting scale). A scouting director told Mayo that Moncada is “worth going way over your international spending pool,” adding that the game is ultimately about talent, and Moncada “is the kind of talent worth the investment.” Another touted his five-tool potential and said he was in great shape. Mayo hears that Moncada looked better at third and second than shortstop, though he has the arm to play any infield position. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves and Cubs all had four or more scouts in attendance, per Mayo.
Those wishing to learn more about the potential phenom can check out this report on him from Baseball America’s Ben Badler penned back in August.
Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Cubs claimed right-hander Donn Roach off waivers from the Padres, according to a Cubs press release. Roach was designated for assignment by San Diego last week. Roach, an Angels third-round pick in the 2010 draft, joined the Padres as part of the Ernesto Frieri trade in May 2012. He made his Major League debut in 2014, posting a 4.75 ERA in 30 1/3 IP for San Diego.
- Outfielder Roger Kieschnick has cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Angels‘ Triple-A affiliate, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Kieschnick was claimed off waivers from the D’Backs last month and was DFA’ed by the Angels earlier this week.
- The Royals have signed veteran infielder Ryan Roberts and left-hander Joe Paterson to minor league contracts, the team announced (via Twitter). Both deals contain Spring Training invites. Roberts signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in April and appeared in eight games for the club, though he spent most of his season at Triple-A Pawtucket. Paterson pitched 34 innings out of the Diamondbacks bullpen in 2011 but only 6 1/3 Major League innings since. The southpaw has posted strong numbers in the minors over his career, notching a 2.75 ERA, 2.75 K/BB rate and 358 strikeouts over 356 1/3 innings, all in Arizona’s farm system.
Huston Street no longer has an agent and will represent himself for any extension negotiations that take place with the Angels, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. Street was previously a client of Hendricks Sports Management. GM Jerry Dipoto tells Gonzalez that he does have interest in a new contract with Street but told the closer at the time his option was exercised that no talks would come until Spring Training.
Elsewhere in the AL West…
- MLB.com’s Jane Lee writes that A’s sources downplayed the team’s connection to Stephen Drew and Asdrubal Cabrera. However, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that he again heard Oakland mentioned as possibility for both clubs. Heyman wonders it the A’s would try to sign both, with Drew slated for shortstop duty and Cabrera handling second base.
- Jason Castro‘s name has drawn some attention as a trade target since the Astros acquired Hank Conger, but while Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle feels the ‘Stros would listen on Castros, he’s told that Carlos Corporan is the catcher they’d prefer to move (Twitter link).
- In a second piece from Drellich, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow explained that he wants to give Jon Singleton and Matt Dominguez a chance to make next year’s team, but both players will have to earn their spots, as both have minor league options remaining. Adding an insurance policy that is capable of handling both infield corners would be “advantageous,” Luhnow said. Drellich notes that at shortstop, the team will also look for an upgrade, but perhaps only a stopgap with Carlos Correa rising through the system. In general, said the Astros will target infielders on one- or two-year deals, as Correa, Colin Moran and Rio Ruiz can’t be counted on to impact the big league club in 2015. In last month’s Offseason Outlook for the Astros, I speculated that they’d be a fit for Drew for that very reason.
- The Astros’ 2015 payroll still projects to be in the $70MM range, explains Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The team has about $17.7MM committed for 2015 for four players, plus around $21MM for their seven essential arbitration eligible players, a few of whom could be traded. It’s easy to see that this team has some money to spend.
- Drellich says “there’s little expectation the Astros would add a player who received a qualifying offer,” but admits that the team will be more open to giving up a draft pick this winter. “We have two protected picks. So a qualifying offer is not necessarily an impediment to how we would behave compared to a team that had a pick that was their only pick, and that was No. 13 or 15 or something like that. So we have that advantage,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. The Astros would give up the competitive balance round pick they acquired from the Marlins in the summer if they sign one of the 11 qualified free agents. The Astros were linked to Hanley Ramirez earlier today.
- Outfielder Engel Beltre has elected free agency after refusing an outright assignment to Triple-A from the Rangers, writes Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com. GM Jon Daniels said, “He’s exploring other options. We are as well. We haven’t closed the door. We haven’t made him an offer at this point.” Beltre, who missed the entire 2014 season with a fractured tibia, was a key piece of the Rangers’ return from the Red Sox for Eric Gagne at the 2007 trade deadline.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn expects his team to mentioned in a flood of trade rumors this offseason, though he doesn’t mind since this winter, some of them will be true. “We aren’t going to be precluded from any single player because of running up against the limits of our payroll. And in terms of the rumors, we’ve always operated under the standpoint that we’re going to be involved in any premium player that’s available, whether it’s via free agency or via trade,” Hahn told reporters, including CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes. “In years past some of those free-agent fits may have been a little less realistic because of what their market was going to bear out to be versus what we were able to pay. This year I understand why we’re associated with some of the more higher-profile free agent types.”
Here’s some more news from around the game as the GM Meetings roll on…
- The Angels haven’t “yet” had any extension talks with closer Huston Street, Halos GM Jerry Dipoto tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Street’s current contract is up at the end of the 2015 season.
- An unidentified MLB team has posted the highest bid for Korean left-hander Kwang-hyun Kim, Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency reports. A follow-up report from Naver Sports (Korean language link, hat tip to Sung-Min Kim for the partial translation), suggests that SK Wyverns, the southpaw’s club, is delaying the official announcement since they aren’t happy that the winning bid was so low. As MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo speculates, this could mean that SK Wyverns will reject the bid and Kim won’t be made available.
- Reliever Craig Breslow is “getting plenty of interest,” ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes tweets. The lefty struggled to a 5.96 ERA over 54 1/3 IP in 2014, though Edes notes that teams are seeing last season “as an outlier” given how well Breslow has otherwise pitched in his career.
- The Mets “feel a sense of urgency” to compete, a team official tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, which is partially why the Mets moved quickly to sign Cuddyer. Martino feels the team will need to add more than just Cuddyer, though a smaller addition is much likelier than a blockbuster for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki.
- Also from Martino, he wonders if Yasmany Tomas would accept a three-year contract that would allow him to hit free agency prior to his age-27 season.
- An anonymous GM, an anonymous agent and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman predict the contracts for 50 of the offseason’s top free agents. They’re only picking contract values, not the actual teams, so Heyman’s game is like an inverted version of the annual MLBTR Free Agent Prediction Contest.
The Astros are one of roughly 12 teams who have checked in with free agent righty Jason Hammel, the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reports. While Hammel makes sense for a lot of teams as a less-expensive option behind some of the pricier names on the pitching market, he seems like a particularly solid fit for an Astros team that is looking to upgrade its rotation without expending a lot of payroll. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd, in his Free Agent Profile of Hammel, predicted the right-hander would receive a three-year, $30MM deal this winter — exactly what Houston spent to sign Scott Feldman last offseason.
Here’s some more from around the AL West…
- Also from Drellich, Jose Veras‘ Barry Praver says his client is interested in returning to the Astros next season.
- The Athletics have called about free agent shortstops Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. Shortstop is an area of need for Oakland this winter with incumbent Jed Lowrie also a free agent.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reports (including Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that the team could consider trading from its shortstop depth. “Its an area of strength for us. We’ve talked about the possibility for a while. We just have to decide if now is the time to make a move there,” Daniels said. Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are the two biggest names yet a deal involving either player wouldn’t be likely until Spring Training, when Profar can show that he’s healthy after shoulder injuries sidelined him for all of the 2014 season. Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees were “intrigued” by Andrus. Prospects Luis Sardinas and Hanser Alberto could also be trade chips, either in small deals or as parts of larger trade packages.
- Two sources tell Evan Grant that Colby Lewis will likely re-sign with the Rangers. Daniels said that if he “had to guess, I think it gets done,” though noted that Lewis has “never been healthy and a true free agent before. This is the first real chance he’s had to find out his true value.”
- Kevin Jepsen could be a trade candidate if the Angels wanted to deal from their right-handed relief surplus, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez opines. Jepsen has two more years of control left as a Super Two player, and his rising price tag could make him expendable for the Halos, Gonzalez speculates.
11:24am: The Angels announced that they have avoided arbitration with right-hander Vinnie Pestano by agreeing to a one-year contract for the 2015 season.
Pestano, a client of the Legacy Agency’s Greg Genske, was acquired by the Halos in August after the team claimed him from the Indians on revocable trade waivers. The 29-year-old had to be excited by the move, as it allowed him a chance to pitch in his hometown. Pestano, an Anaheim-area native, impressed in a short sample with the Angels, allowing just one run on five hits and four walks in 9 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts. Formerly a wipeout setup man for the Indians, his stock dropped in Cleveland prior to the trade. However, he still owns an excellent 2.83 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 191 big league innings.