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A pair of rival executives described Padres GM A.J. Preller as “all over the map” when asked by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Preller, Rosenthal writes, is furiously exploring both trade and free agent possibilities to boost his new club’s offense. According to Rosenthal, Preller was in contact with the Braves about Jason Heyward prior to their trade with the Cardinals, and he’s also called on Jay Bruce and Matt Kemp in addition to showing legitimate interest in Pablo Sandoval. One of Preller’s colleagues estimated to Rosenthal that the San Diego GM has had “baseline discussions” on at least 200 players this offseason. Suffice it to say, Padres fans should likely expect some form of significant move in Preller’s first offseason at the helm.
Elsewhere in the division…
- Trade talks regarding Miguel Montero have not escalated significantly since Russell Martin came off the board and signed with the Blue Jays, reports the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro (the Montero portion comes at the bottom of the article). However, the D’Backs have spoken to the White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers about Montero, who is owed $40MM over the next three seasons.
- MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart was recently in the Dominican Republic, and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson is in Mexico scouting some of the top international teens on the market. The D’Backs are hoping to make waves on the international front soon, he adds.
- The Rockies are still interested in re-signing Brett Anderson to a more team-friendly deal than the $12MM option they declined, tweets the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders. However, the Royals and Astros are interested in adding Anderson under similar circumstances, he adds.
- Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said on KNBR radio yesterday that his team is very interested in both Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada (via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). However, Evans wouldn’t commit one way or another when asked if his club had the money to sign both Tomas and Sandoval.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Brett Anderson | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Colorado Rockies | Houston Astros | Jason Heyward | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Kemp | Miguel Montero | Pablo Sandoval | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Yoan Moncada
Peralta, 39 in March, has been a workhorse out of the Rays’ bullpen for the past four seasons, averaging 74 appearances and 67 innings per season while posting a 3.58 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 269 1/3 innings. Peralta is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, with a ground-ball rate just north of 31 percent in his career, but the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium should mitigate some of that concern.
The veteran Peralta gives the Dodgers a much-needed bullpen upgrade at a very reasonable financial cost. He’s due just $2.5MM in 2015 and has club options for 2016 and 2017 at the same rate — neither of which has a buyout attached. There’s an obvious connection between the Dodgers and Peralta, as former Rays GM Andrew Friedman recently jumped ship to become the president of baseball operations with Los Angeles. Friedman no doubt thinks highly of both Peralta and Liberatore.
Peralta struggled, to some extent, in 2014, posting a 4.41 ERA — his worst mark since an ugly 2009 season with the Rockies. However, he still managed to strike out 10.5 hitters per nine innings and showed the best control he has displayed in recent years, walking just 2.1 batters per nine. Peralta’s typically low BABIP spiked to .307 this past season and he allowed homers at a slightly higher clip than usual; those factors are the likely reasoning behind his increased ERA. However, metrics such as FIP (3.40) and SIERA (2.54) feel that Peralta was much better than his earned run average would indicate.
The 27-year-old Liberatore was lights out in Triple-A this past season, notching a 1.66 ERA with 11.9 K/9 against just 2.1 BB/9 in 65 innings of relief work. He was highly effective against both right- and left-handed hitters, holding each to an OPS south of .500.
Dominguez, 24, has received a brief taste of Major League action in each of the past two seasons with L.A., allowing 10 runs in 14 2/3 innings with a 12-to-6 K/BB ratio. He’s shown a propensity for strikeouts in the minors, however, averaging 10 punchouts per nine innings for his career. Dominguez struggled in the lower levels but has posted a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 Double-A innings and a 2.61 ERA in 41 1/1 Triple-A innings. Baseball America ranked him 11th among Dodgers prospects last offseason, calling him a “pure power arm” whose fastball sits 97-100 mph and can touch 102. However, BA noted his erratic command and a 50-game suspension for PED use on his minor league track record in their scouting report. MLB.com ranked him 13th among Dodgers prospects midseason, also praising his fastball but noting that his slider is better known for its velocity than its bite at this time.
The Dodgers selected Harris, 20, in the 17th round of the 2013 draft, and he posted nice strikeout numbers in Class A this season. Harris pitched to a 4.45 ERA as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League, whiffing 92 hitters against 28 walks in 87 innings of work. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel tweets that he’s heard good things about the velocity of both pitchers acquired by the Rays in this deal, with Dominguez having been clocked as high as 103 mph and Harris sitting in the mid 90s as a starter.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
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 White Sox have designated reliever Ronald Belisario for assignment, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports on Twitter. The club also claimed lefty Onelki Garcia from the Dodgers and outrighted outfielder Jared Mitchell, per the Tribune’s Colleen Kane (Twitter links).
Garcia is an intriguing pick-up for Chicago. The 25-year-old has only limited big league experience, but has already racked up over a year of service time due to injury. But he has one solid season under his belt in the upper minors, back in 2012, and his live arm was intriguing enough that Baseball America rated him the Dodgers’ ninth-best prospect heading into 2014 in spite of his having undergone an elbow procedure. As BA wrote, the Cuban has a big fastball and good curve with plenty of upside if he can improve his control and add polish.
Belisario, 31, spent some time as Chicago’s closer in his first season with the Pale Hose, but he struggled overall. The former Dodger pitched to a 5.56 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 66 1/3 innings. However, Belisario’s FIP and SIERA feel that he was markedly better than his ERA. Indeed, much of those struggles seem to have come from a fluke 57.7 percent strand rate — significantly lower than his career mark of 70 percent. Belisario was also plagued by a .339 BABIP despite having posted a .288 mark for his career in that department. There were some positives to his game this past season, including an average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph and a strong 59.3 percent ground-ball rate. Nonetheless, Chicago apparently wasn’t comfortable with his projected arbitration salary of $3.9MM.
Mitchell, 26, was the Sox’ No. 1 pick back in 2009 (23rd overall) and ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus that offseason. However, the LSU product has yet to show the offense one would hope for from a first-round outfielder, as he’s batted just .219/.341/.348 in parts of three seasons at the Triple-A level.
Free agent lefty Francisco Liriano, most recently of the Pirates, is looking to land a three or four-year deal with a $12MM+ average annual value, according to a report from Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter). That seems like a plenty reasonable starting point given Liriano’s excellent numbers over the past two seasons. While draft compensation will no doubt play a role in his free agency, MLBTR’s Steve Adams still predicts that he will land $40MM over three years.
Here are some notes out of the National League:
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is “increasingly aggressive and unpredictable,” says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That lends some credence to the notion that St. Louis could pursue a top free agent starter, says Miklasz, who documents the reasons that adding Jon Lester or even Max Scherzer could make sense. In the final analysis, though, the veteran sportswriter says he would still be shocked if the team beats the market for an ace.
- Not only senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson but also GM Dave Stewart have been making the rounds internationally, tweets Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, who notes that the Diamondbacks are hoping to “make waves” in the international market. On the domestic front, Didi Gregorius is drawing the most interest on the trade market among the team’s middle infielders, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- The Padres appear to be leaning toward keeping starters Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, reports MLB.com’s Corey Brock. San Diego can and should avoid marking down the price on that pair, in my view, as it ought to provide a cheap source of solid rotation production over the next several years.
- Even if the Dodgers are not internally discussing a deal to bring back Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, as was recently reported, that does not mean that the club is closing the door completely to a reunion, per a tweet from Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
The heavily backloaded nature of the Blue Jays‘ deal with Russell Martin leaves the club with additional potential payroll capacity for 2015, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. It is worth noting that Toronto likely feels comfortable pushing cash into the 2016-19 segments of the contract because, as is apparent from my recent post regarding future obligations, the team had very little on the books after this year.
Here’s the latest from the American League:
- The Astros have checked in with Brett Anderson‘s representatives, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The oft-injured, but generally excellent lefty makes his home in Houston and could represent an interesting upside play for the rising Astros.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn has an extensive history with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, notes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. As Hayes explains, the two even managed to pull of a trade for the injured Jesse Crain at the 2013 trade deadline. While it remains to be seen whether a deal will be worked out involving shortstop Alexei Ramirez, it seems fair to believe that all reasonable possibilities will be explored between those two clubs.
- Of course, the White Sox already made an interesting move earlier today by locking up southpaw Zach Duke to a three-year, $15MM pact. Hahn says he is pleased but already “on to the next [deal] now,” as Hayes reports. “It’s an important get, one we’re all very happy about,” said Hahn. “But we’re not deluding ourselves that we’re by any means finished addressing our needs both in the bullpen or elsewhere.”
- A move by the Indians to push for an extension with Cy Young winner Corey Kluber would not be surprising; indeed, I profiled Kluber as an extension candidate back in August. But the club has yet to initiate talks, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
- With the Twins still lacking a clear solution in center field for 2015, Peter Bourjos of the Cardinals is a name to keep an eye on, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. MLBTR’s Steve Adams has been one notable advocate of such a move for Minnesota.
The Dodgers are “aggressively pursuing” Alexei Ramirez in trade talks, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The veteran Ramirez, owed $10MM in 2015 with a 2016 option for the same amount, is known to be available in trades, though the White Sox haven’t been said to be shopping him.
The Dodgers could potentially lose shortstop Hanley Ramirez to free agency, and their pursuit of Ramirez in trades could signal that they aren’t confident in their ability to retain him or simply don’t want to commit to him at shortstop any longer due to his defensive deficiencies. Letting him walk and sign elsewhere would, of course, net the Dodgers a compensatory draft pick in 2015.
Cuban infielders Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena were both signed to large contracts within the past year (four years, $28MM and five years, $25MM, respectively) and would seem to present in-house options at short. However, each of those players was signed by the previous front office. New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, GM Farhan Zaidi and VP Josh Byrnes may not be as bullish on that duo as the previous regime. This is purely speculation on my behalf, but it’s possible, even, that one of those two names could be up for discussion in trade talks.
The White Sox could also use starting pitching, some bullpen help and a left-handed bat, although it seems like quite the stretch to connect either of the left-handed hitting outfielders L.A. would like to move — Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford — to this particular rumor. Ethier is owed a staggering $56MM over the next three seasons, while Crawford is owed $62.25MM over the same term.
Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has this week’s edition of his Minor League Transactions feature up, which, as usual, features several recent minor league signings. Here are a few highlights from his piece, as well as other minor moves from around the league…
- After releasing him on Friday, the Nationals have re-signed lefty Matt Purke to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. Purke has never thrown to the potential that the team saw when they gave him a massive bonus to sign out of the 2011 draft, but now he will have a chance to rehab from Tommy John surgery without occupying a 40-man roster spot.
- The Dodgers have acquired right-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman Kyle Jensen from the Marlins, the clubs announced. Jensen, 26, has yet to see playing time at the MLB level, but slashed .260/.331/.481 with 27 home runs last year in the PCL. Miami will receive cash or a player to be named later in return.
- The Phillies have signed right-hander P.J. Walters, according to Eddy. The 29-year-old comes with 152 innings of big league experience, though he’s struggled to a 6.28 ERA in that time. Much of that work came with the 2012-13 Twins, where he posted a 5.79 ERA in 101 innings. Walters has a 4.70 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 735 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level.
- The D’Backs and left-hander Justin Marks have agreed to a minor league deal, also per Eddy. The 26-year-old Marks picked up his first two big league innings in 2014 and has a lifetime 5.02 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in Triple-A. Marks struggled overall in 2014 but was previously excellent against lefties, holding them to a .191/.301/.268 batting line in 2013. He, along with Vin Mazzaro, was one of two players acquired by the Royals from the A’s in exchange for David DeJesus back in 2010.
- The Brewers announced last week that they have re-signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida and infielder Pete Orr to minor league deals. The 30-year-old Hermida once carried a significant amount of promise — he was the 11th overall pick in 2002 and hit .296/.369/.501 as a 24-year-old in 2007 — but hasn’t seen Major League action since 2012 with the Padres. Orr, 35, has seen MLB action parts of eight seasons, most recently with the Phillies in 2013. He is a career .257/.289/.328 hitter that is capable of playing all over the diamond. He hit .301/.329/.423 with the Brewers in Triple-A last year.
- The Marlins have inked indy league second baseman Omar Artsen, Eddy reports. The 24-year-old Artsen spent last season playing in the Pecos League where he boasted a gaudy stat line of .397/.480/.576 with nine homers and 52 steals in 353 PA.
The gap between the haves and have-nots in baseball have lessened because of revenue sharing and financial incentives not to overspend in the draft and free agency, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The Dodgers, however, are utilizing a different model to maximize their financial advantage: buying front office talent. Drellich notes the $7MM average annual value Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman earns would make him the Astros’ third-highest paid player. “Big-market, small-market potential difference,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. “There does seem to be increased competition for talented people that have had success in our industry. That’s not the first time we’ve seen it. It’s not the last time we’re going to see it. As far as front offices with different layers that don’t exist in our organization, it’s a way to get more people in the organization.” Luhnow also pointed out the distinction between a city’s population and its market size and how that affects a franchise’s financial resources. Houston is “the fourth-largest city in the country, but we’re not the fourth-largest market in the country, not even close,” Luhnow remarked. “We’re not ever going to be a small market necessarily, but our revenues are not proportionate with our city size relative to other big metropolitan areas.”
In other news involving MLB’s West divisions:
- Some rival evaluators believe Andre Ethier is by far the most likely Dodgers outfielder to be traded, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, Los Angeles will weigh their options. Carl Crawford and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Matt Kemp, also appear to be trade candidates.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM (on Twitter) he will “listen” on Elvis Andrus because of the club’s infield depth. Texas also has middle infielders like Luis Sardinas, Jurickson Profar, and Rougned Odor in the fold.
- Daniels went on to say the Rangers‘ needs are at starting pitcher, catcher, left field, or DH and these vacancies are more likely to be solved via trade than free agency (link). Last month, our own Brad Johnson previewed the Rangers’ offseason.
- The Padres must consider trading one of their catchers (Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, or propsect Austin Hedges) in order to improve their offense, opines Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if the Dodgers‘ outfield surplus could net them a solution to their shortstop situation. Los Angeles isn’t expected to re-sign Hanley Ramirez and with underwhelming options on the open market, it stands to reason that the Dodgers could explore trading from their strongest area to find a replacement. Earlier this week, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged that “the best course of action” would probably be to trade one of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford. More from today’s column..
- While Jon Lester is reportedly receiving “legitimate interest” from six interested clubs, some are skeptical about his market. “Really? Six teams are going to be six years at $150 million for Jon Lester?” said one NL executive. “Sounds like agent enhancement of his client to me.”
- The Red Sox have already shot down a couple of proposals from the Phillies involving Cole Hamels. Cafardo expects the Phillies to reopen talks with Boston.
- The Mariners have fielded inquiries from a few teams on Hisashi Iwakuma and the Red Sox have had at least internal conversations about the 33-year-old right-hander. The Mariners, meanwhile, would want an impact hitter like Yoenis Cespedes in return.
- It’s expected that the Red Sox would want to offer Pablo Sandoval a contract with bonuses that would reward him for staying within a certain range. A Giants official told Cafardo that Sanoval lost almost 30 pounds in the offseason only to gain 20 of them back during the season. The CBA forbids teams from taking money away from players for gaining weight, but they can incentivize staying trim.
- Mark Mulder continues to work toward a comeback but he indicated to Cafardo that he’s not 100% sure it will happen. Mulder was making a run at it last offseason when during one of his workouts he tore his Achilles. Afterwards, the hurler returned to ESPN as an analyst.
- Rival scouts have worked hard to cut through the hype in their evaluations of the Red Sox‘s pitching prospects. The biggest debate concerns Henry Owens and how his 92-mile-per-hour fastball and slow curve would play in the big leagues. Meanwhile, some believe that left-hander Brian Johnson might be the best pitcher in Boston’s system.
- Cafardo reported last week that the Tigers are listening to trade proposals on Alex Avila and mentioned the Braves and Red Sox as possible suitors for his left-handed bat. Today, Cafardo added the Cardinals as a team that could see him as a solid backup option.