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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), but for the time being, here are some news and notes from a few borderline cases around the league…
- The Cubs are expected to tender a contract to lefty Travis Wood despite the fact that is coming off a down season, reports ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers. Wood, projected to earn $5.5MM in 2015, posted a 5.03 ERA in 173 2/3 innings. His command regressed (3.9 BB/9) but he did also see an uptick in strikeouts (7.6 K/9). Rogers notes that Wood could still be traded, as the Cubs did bring back a lefty to slot into the rotation in the form of Tsuyoshi Wada. Chicago is expected to pursue multiple starters on the free agent and trade markets this winter, so if they add enough in the way of upgrades, a team may be interested in taking on Wood at a reasonable price.
- The Angels will tender David Freese and pay him something in the range of his $6.3MM projection but are expected to non-tender Gordon Beckham, Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times writes. However, the Halos will have interest in bringing Beckham back in a utility role on a smaller deal than the $5MM he is projected to earn. Of course, Beckham will be a free agent and can field offers from other clubs, and it’s perfectly possible that in a market that’s light on infielders, another club would offer either a larger guarantee or a starting role.
- Ruben Tejada ($1.7MM projection) is expected to be tendered a contract by the Mets, but Eric Young Jr. could be cut loose, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. The Mets feel they can replicate Young’s production at a lower rate than his projected $2.3MM salary, but replacing Tejada may cost more than his modest projection. Rubin notes that the Mets feel Kirk Nieuewnhuis can be a serviceable fifth outfielder at a fraction of Young’s price. As for a fourth outfielder, they’ll look for a righty bat like Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick. Presumably, either of them could handle left field versus lefty starters, with Michael Cuddyer shifting to first base to shield Lucas Duda from lefties.
The Angels acquired infielder Gordon Beckham from the White Sox last August. Now the club has to decide if he will be tendered a contract. According to MLBTR’s Matt Swartz, he’s projected to earn $5MM in his final spin through arbitration. Coming off arguably the worst season of his career, the expense might outweigh the benefits.
Any discussion of Beckham inevitably digresses to 2009, when the then 22-year-old posted 2.5 WAR in two-thirds of a season. In parts of five seasons since his breakout, he’s managed just 2.8 total WAR over 2,528 plate appearances. Last year, he struggled to a .226/.271/.348 line and -0.2 WAR, although he was much better with the Angels (.286/.328/.429) during a brief 61 plate appearance audition.
Beckham, now 28, is best viewed as a utility fielder. While the Angels did use him a few times at shortstop, he’s most successful at second and third base. He’s maintained strong contact rates throughout his career, but he’s never managed to produce much power after his rookie season. It’s worth noting that Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field – where Beckham spent most of his career – is among the best offensive environments in baseball. In other words, the move to Los Angeles shouldn’t help his power.
Beckham’s performance in 2014 makes a trade unlikely. His $5MM projected salary is only affordable to a large market club in desperate need of middle infield depth. Incidentally, the Angels are perhaps the only team to fit that description. Howie Kendrick and David Freese have an intimate familiarity with the disabled list, which makes a player like Beckham a useful handcuff.
His presence on the roster, along with that of Grant Green, may give the Angels more confidence shopping Kendrick and Freese, both of whom have appeared in trade rumors. They’re free agents after 2015. Confidence should not be confused with reliance. While it’s possible Los Angeles could enter the season with Beckham, it’s unlikely they would plan to use him as a starter. The club is poised to contend in 2015, and Beckham’s bat would present a considerable hole in the lineup. If Kendrick or Freese are dealt, I expect the club to target infielders like Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Drew, or Jed Lowrie.
Other infielders who offer similar versatility include Emilio Bonifacio, Kelly Johnson, Ed Lucas, and Alberto Callaspo. Since they should all cost less than Beckham’s $5MM projection, the most likely outcome appears to be a non-tender situation. The going rate for 0.0 to 1.0 WAR middle infielders appears to be between $500K and $3MM. The Angels do need a player like Beckham, so he could be re-signed at a lesser rate. His relative youth assures that some club will hand him a bench role.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Angels director of communications Eric Kay announced today that the team has outrighted catcher Jackson Williams and outfielder Alfredo Marte to Triple-A after the duo cleared waivers. Left-hander Michael Roth, meanwhile, also cleared waivers and elected to test the free agent waters rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A. Roth had success as a starter at Double-A last season and could look to latch on with an organization that is thin on rotation depth or has a clearer path to a role in the big league bullpen. All three players were designated for assignment last Thursday as the Halos set their roster before the Rule 5 Draft.
- The Padres announced today that outfielder Yeison Asencio has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A El Paso. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment last week despite having posted fairly strong numbers between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014.
Every NL West team has undergone significant front office changes in the last few months except the Giants, whose GM, Brian Sabean, has been on the job since 1996, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. New Rockies GM Jeff Bridich and Padres GM A.J. Preller were college freshmen when Sabean was hired. Bridich, Preller, Dave Stewart of the Diamondbacks, and Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi of the Dodgers will now attempt to build franchises that work as smoothly as the Giants’ has lately. “Our goal starting now is to have continuity as far as we can see out,” says Friedman. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Angels‘ pact with Cuban infield prospect Roberto Baldoquin was surprising, but MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes that it made sense in part because, since trading Jean Segura, the Angels didn’t have a young infielder to take over once Howie Kendrick, David Freese or Erick Aybar departed. Also, the Angels won’t be able to sign any player subject to international bonus pools for more than $300K in the next two signing periods, but that isn’t a huge factor for them, since they rarely do that anyway.
- The Mariners have been granted an extra option on pitcher Danny Hultzen, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Hultzen missed the 2014 season after having shoulder surgery. Hultzen exhausted his option seasons early because the Mariners signed him to a big-league contract after selecting him second overall in the 2011 draft. He has pitched sparingly since 2012, his first pro season. He should be healthy in 2015, although Dutton notes that the Mariners are likely to carefully monitor his workload.
The Yankees have inked Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America, which means both that all of BA’s top thirty international free agents have signed and that ten have gone to New York. Emery will take home a $500K bonus, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. That adds on to an already remarkable level of spending for the Bronx Bombers, who will of course have to match their commitment to Emery in penalties.
Here’s more from the international scene:
- There was some thought that the Angels‘ bonus pool-busting signing of Roberto Baldoquin may have been a prelude to a bigger outlay on Yoan Moncada. But there is “not a chance” that the team will pursue high-budget players such as Moncada or Yasmany Tomas, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of MLB.com (Twitter link).
- Like the Halos, the Red Sox have already reached the maximum level of international penalties. The club is performing “due diligence” on Moncada, amateur international scouting director Eddie Romero tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. “It was a good opportunity just to lay eyes on him, to see him physically for the first time. He’s in tremendous shape, tremendous shape,” said Romero. “We’ll do our due diligence there and see where it goes.”
- Jorge Hernandez and Yoanys Quiala, both pitchers out of Cuba, have each been declared free agents by MLB, according to a tweet from Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports. They are considered “good young talents,” per Arangure.
Midnight EST is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the notable prospects who are newly Rule 5 eligible. Of course, the decision whether or not to protect a player has as much to do with roster flexibility and his expected ability to stick on a big league roster for a full season as it does the player’s overall prospect value.
We’ll keep tabs on the day’s 40-man additions here, and you can also check Baseball America’s running updates, which includes breakdowns of the players added.
- The Rays have yet to announce their full list of roster moves, but Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets that second baseman Ryan Brett will be added to the 40-man.
- Following their trade with the Dodgers, the Rays announced that they have added Brett (as Cooper tweeted), right-hander Matt Andriese, left-hander Grayson Garvin, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and catcher Justin O’Conner to the 40-man roster.
- The Dodgers announced that lefty Adam Liberatore, acquired in the trade with the Rays, has been added to the 40-man roster.
- The Astros have made one final 40-man roster move, announcing the addition of right-hander Michael Feliz. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper was among those to express surprise that Feliz had not previously been added to the roster, with some executives telling him they’d be shocked if Feliz wasn’t the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Twitter link).
- The Rangers announced that they’ve added righties Luke Jackson and Jerad Eickhoff, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Jorge Alfaro to the 40-man roster.
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The 25-year-old Marte was selected off waivers from the Diamondbacks last month after posting a strong .319/.407/.519 batting line at the Triple-A level this past season. He’s picked up a combined 162 plate appearances between the 2013-14 seasons with the D’Backs but managed just a .174/.236/.282 batting line in that time.
The Rangers announced that they have traded outfielder Dan Robertson to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The 28-year-old Robertson appeared in 70 games for an injury-riddled Rangers team in 2014, slashing .271/.333/.333 and playing all three outfield spots. Robertson had spent his entire career with the Padres prior to being acquired by the Rangers in exchange for cash back in April. He’s a .294/.371/.396 hitter in 278 career games at the Triple-A level.
It’s already been a fairly active winter on the trade front, as we’ve seen the Brewers acquire Adam Lind, the D’Backs acquire Jeremy Hellickson, the Tigers acquire Anthony Gose and of course the Cardinals/Braves Jason Heyward blockbuster. All of this has come before the Winter Meetings, so action on the trade front only figures to increase over the next month. Here are some of the latest rumblings from around the league…
- ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that in addition to Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and the Reds’ quartet of starters that are rumored to be available (Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon), Rick Porcello is believed to be attainable in trades. Rival evaluators feel that many players that are set to be free agents a year from now could be had for the right offer. The Tigers, of course, are aiming to contend in 2015, but Porcello is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12.2MM in arbitration and could fetch a nice piece while freeing up some cash for GM Dave Dombrowski to address other areas of need.
- Olney also hears (Twitter link) that the White Sox‘ asking price on Alexei Ramirez is “steep to the degree that you’d want to be buying in for two to three years.” Ramirez is guaranteed $10MM next season and has a $10MM club option for the 2016 season with a $1MM buyout.
- The Mariners will surely make a run at either Justin Upton or Evan Gattis, if they haven’t already, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). O’Brien gets the sense that top prospect Taijuan Walker is not completely off the table in trade talks with Seattle, but it would probably take more than one year of Upton to acquire him.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times that he’s had trade discussions regarding Howie Kendrick, but he’s in no way eager to move his second baseman. The Halos entered the offseason thinking they might be able to move Kendrick for a controllable, young rotation option but somewhat surprisingly did so by acquiring Nick Tropeano in the Hank Conger trade. “The only way we would move him is if we become a better club,” Dipoto tells DiGiovanna. “And it would take a heck of a deal for us to feel like we’re a better club by moving Howie.”
- Though much has been made of the possibility that the Padres could trade Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner to bolster the club’s offense, the team is now strongly considering hanging onto both pitchers, sources tell MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Interestingly, Brock’s report mentions reported trade interest in Ian Kennedy but does not state that the Friars are similarly likely to hold onto the 29-year-old. Kennedy will be a free agent next winter.
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Roth, 24, has seen Major League time with the Halos in each of the past two seasons, although the former ninth round pick has yet to replicate his minor league success in the Majors. Roth pitched to an 8.76 ERA in 12 1/3 innings this season and has a 7.79 mark in a total of 32 1/3 big league innings. However, his numbers at Double-A this year were a significant improvement, as he posted a 2.62 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 140 2/3 innings as a starter. This marks the second time the Angels have designated Roth, although the pitcher himself seems to be in good spirits about the move based on this tweet.
Williams, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Rockies less than a month ago. Selected 43rd overall by the Giants in 2007, the former Sooner is a .235/.307/.361 hitter in five seasons at the Triple-A level and made his big league debut with the Rox in 2014. Williams twice ranked among the Giants’ top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America, placing 18th and 16th, respectively, following the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. BA listed him as the best defensive catcher in San Francisco’s system on three separate occasions, most recently before the 2011 season.