Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors

Los Angeles Dodgers trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Minor Moves: Juan Jaime, Daniel Corcino

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game:

  • The Braves have outrighted righty Juan Jaime to Triple-A Gwinnett, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The 27-year-old Jaime, who throws very hard and gets plenty of strikeouts, surely would have been an interesting project for any number of teams, but other clubs were likely deterred from claiming him because he was out of options. In 41 innings at Gwinnett last season, he posted a 3.51 ERA with 13.8 K/9 but an unsightly 7.9 BB/9. He walked four batters in 1 1/3 innings with the Braves this season.
  • The Dodgers have outrighted righty Daniel Corcino, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets. They claimed Corcino from the Reds earlier this month. The 24-year-old posted a 4.14 ERA with 7.1 K/9 in 143 1/3 innings at Double-A Pensacola last season. He walked too many batters, with 4.4 BB/9, but given his relative youth and prospect status (Baseball America ranked him the No. 94 prospect in the game heading into 2013), he should provide the Dodgers with valuable minor-league depth. Corcino is the second former Reds pitcher the Dodgers have claimed and then outrighted this month, the other being reliever Ryan Dennick, who they removed from their roster when they claimed Corcino.

West Notes: Baker, Dodgers, Johnson, Iwakuma

Prior to being hired as the Diamondbacks‘ general manager, Dave Stewart reached out to Dusty Baker to let him know that he may have interest in Baker as a manager if he were to get the GM role, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, Baker never heard back from Stewart before the D-Backs hired Chip Hale. Baker said he has no hard feelings about not getting an interview. Stewart told Heyman that he does indeed have a good deal of respect for both Baker and former Rangers manager Ron Washington, both of whom he initially considered for the managerial vacancy. Baker tells Heyman that he hopes to manage again, and Heyman notes that he has applied to three positions, including the Mariners, Tigers and Nationals since being let go from the Reds. “I didn’t fire myself,” said Baker. “I didn’t retire.”

Here’s more from out west …

  • The Dodgers have now acquired and designated no fewer than four relievers, and have made a host of other minor roster moves in the season’s early going. That has all taken place as part of the club’s plan entering the season, manager Don Mattingly explains (video via the Tout feed of J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Media Group).
  • Padres righty Josh Johnson tossed a 40-pitch pen session today and is nearing a rehab stint, manager Bud Black tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock (Twitter link). The 31-year-old has not made a major league appearance since 2013, but represents some nice low-risk upside for an a San Diego club that is off to a nice start.
  • The Mariners have struggled somewhat with keeping runs off the board, a subject that I discussed with Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune on today’s podcast. In addition to starting poorly, veteran Hisashi Iwakuma has hit the DL with shoulder fatigue (officially called a strained lat), as Dutton reports. He will undergo an MRI tonight, though the hope is that some rest will do the trick. Of course, Iwakuma is also a free agent after the season, and he’ll have some catching up to do to re-establish his value at age 34.

Dodgers Designate Xavier Cedeno, Purchase Contract Of Sergio Santos

In yet another round of reliever roulette, the Dodgers have designated the just-acquired Xavier Cedeno for assignment. The club selected the contract of veteran righty Sergio Santos, necessitating the move.

Cedeno, a southpaw, was just added in a deal with the Nationals, who had designated him. Like Ryan Dennick and Daniel Corcino before him, Cedeno was added to the roster only long enough to be designated off of it, presumably with intentions of seeking outright waivers to facilitate a stashing in Triple-A.

Santos had an opt-out clause that was due May 1, so it was a use him or lose him situation for L.A. The 31-year-old has had a roller coaster of a career to this point, flashing plenty of talent while struggling with a variety of arm ailments. In 4 2/3 innings at Triple-A this year, he has allowed two earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight opposing batters.



Heyman’s Latest: Bryant, Upton, Rays, Leake, Soriano, Polanco

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark is said to be “ready to reach out to [Kris] Bryant soon to determine his mindset” on whether or not a grievance should be filed against the Cubs for holding him in Triple-A to start the season, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in his latest Inside Baseball column. Heyman notes that the union could file a grievance on Bryant’s behalf even without his consent, though that’s unlikely. The issue at hand, of course, would be whether or not Bryant was clearly one of Chicago’s 25 best players and the demotion was made purely for service time implications. (Chicago bought an extra year of control over Bryant by stashing him in the Minors for all of eight games/11 days). Heyman points out that it would be difficult to an arbitrator to rule in Bryant’s favor, as there’s no precedent for this type of grievance. Players in similar situations have historically been hesitant to file a grievance, he adds, because it would be a contentious way to begin a relationship with a team to which a player will be tied for the next six-plus years. A “Cubs connected person” called the notion of a grievance “laughable” when asked by Heyman. However, the points that Bryant was recalled on the first day the team could add him while still delaying free agency and slotted directly into the cleanup spot could make a case that the club had an understanding of his value, Heyman writes. From the union’s perspective, it’s understandable that they’d have interest in preventing this type of situation in the future, even if it’s a long shot.

More highlights from a lengthy Heyman column…

  • The Padres don’t yet view Melvin Upton Jr. as a throwaway piece and will use him as an occasional outfielder and pinch-runner, Heyman writes. He also looks back on Upton’s original five-year, $75.2MM pact and notes that it’s one of the worst contracts in recent history, particularly given the fact that the next-highest offer was believed to come from the Phillies at somewhere in the $40MMs.
  • The league’s investigation into the Rays‘ allegations of the Cubs‘ tampering in the Joe Maddon saga could come to a close as soon as next week, per Heyman. MLB was still interviewing people as recently as last week, but to this point there “is believed to have been no smoking guns found.”
  • The Reds never approached right-hander Mike Leake about a contract extension this offseason, and the free-agent-to-be is said to be a bit hurt not to have been contacted. Leake’s not a front-line starter, but he’ll hit the open market heading into his age-28 season and currently sports a 3.56 ERA in 427 1/3 innings dating back to Opening Day 2013. A third straight season of 190+ innings and an ERA in the mid-3.00s should position him for a nice contract, especially considering the fact that half of his starts have come in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
  • Multiple teams have worked out Rafael Soriano, and while he’s on the Tigers‘ radar, there’s also been some contact with the Mariners. Heyman adds the Pirates, Indians and Dodgers as “logical suitors,” though I’d imagine the Pirates and Indians in particular would have some payroll constraints, depending on the asking price of agent Scott Boras.
  • Heyman echoes ESPN’s Buster Olney in speculating that the Dodgers could make a run at extending Howie Kendrick, noting that the Dodgers love Kendrick both on the field and in the clubhouse. He also notes that the Dodgers are impressed with Alex Guerrero‘s bat and may coming around on him as a passable option at third base or in left field, though the team is already well-stocked at each position.
  • The Pirates and Gregory Polanco may have come as close as about $1MM on agreeing to a seven-year contract, Heyman hears. The biggest holdup was over the three club options on the deal, which ranged from $11-13MM, and when the team would have been required to exercise them.
  • Though recent reports have indicated that John Lackey hopes the Cardinals will approach him about an extension, Heyman writes that it’s not a likely scenario. St. Louis likes its pitching depth and the young starters in line beyond those in the 2015 rotation.
  • The Orioles asked the Blue Jays for both of the team’s first round picks from the 2014 draft — right-hander Jeff Hoffman and catcher Max Pentecost — in exchange for the ability to hire EVP/general manager Dan Duquette as their new president, according to Heyman.

NL Notes: Dodgers’ TV Deal, Guerrero, Brewers

With the would-be merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable seemingly on the ropes, the Dodgers‘ TV blackout troubles may be prolonged, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times explains. Analysts see plenty of uncertainty in the situation at present, meaning that many of the club’s fans remain unable to watch games in their homes. It remains unclear precisely when and how the problem will impact the Dodgers, but it obviously does not help to have the club’s cable provider piling up losses while fans are left unable to consume the organization’s product in one of its key forms.

Here’s more from the National League:

  • Dodgers utilityman Alex Guerrero has been on quite the streak at the plate, complicating the team’s playing time situation in a good way. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports, skipper Don Mattingly says that the club is taking the long view in constructing its roster and distributing plate appearances. “We’re just a better club the way we are,” Mattingly said. “And we’ll see. We’re not going to be hard-headed to the point where we’re going to say, ‘This is what we said we’re going to do and we’re going to stay with it.’ You make decisions based on where you’re at, where you’re going.” Noting that Justin Turner also warrants more action based on his outstanding 2014, Mattingly explained: “J.T. hits .340 last year, leads the league in hitting, basically. Now, because he’s not the flavor of the day, we start talking about somebody else. That’s where we can’t get involved with what happened over a 10-day period. We have to make decisions based on long term and what we see and project, but also with the fact that things change. Not discounting Alex, but you still have a full roster we know we’ll use over the course of the season.” Of course, it bears noting that the team is still overflowing with quality infield options — even before Hector Olivera comes stateside — and Guerrero is an increasingly interesting trade target.
  • The Brewers have put a quality product on the field fairly consistently for some time now, even if the post-season appearances have been less frequent than might be hoped for. But the club’s brutal start to 2015 could be cause to pursue more dramatic roster turnover, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. GM Doug Melvin seemingly acknowledged that possibility: “It’s good we have 140 some games left. But we’ve got to see change here. We’ve got to see the arrow pointing in the other direction pretty soon,” he said. “Maybe there’s a point you have to say, you have to reset, retool.”

International Notes: Fox, Diaz, Sierra

Here’s the latest on a trio of intriguing international prospects…

  • The Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers are all interested in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox and scouts consider the three teams to be the “biggest threats” to sign the 17-year-old prospect, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel reports.  Since many teams have already planned out their budgets and made unofficial agreements to prospects for the 2015-16 international signing period, a player like Fox (who is projected to receive a bonus of at least $1.5MM) is perhaps more likely to land with a team like the aforementioned trio who have money to spend and are aggressive enough to surpass the spending pool limit.  The Giants, Padres and Reds have also been linked to Fox but are seen as less likely to spend as freely as Chicago, Los Angeles and Texas.
  • Yusnier Diaz, an 18-year-old outfielder, has left Cuba and is looking to play in the majors, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.  The 6’1, 185-pound prospect has plus speed and a plus arm and Badler praised his hitting tools, though he feels Diaz’s right-handed swing is a bit long.  Diaz is subject to international spending pools, and since he is unlikely to secure permanent residence in another country by the May 15 deadline, he may not be able to sign until the 2016-17 international signing period opens on July 2, 2016.  Any team that exceeds its pool limit in the 2015-16 signing period is therefore probably out of the running for Diaz, as such teams are prohibited from signing any of the next year’s class for more than $300K.  The Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees are already under this penalty until the 2017-18 signing period.
  • Also from Badler, he provides some background on Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra, who isn’t subject to the bonus pools but is still several months away from gaining the necessary clearance to sign with a team.  Sierra can throw all his pitches (including a 96mph fastball and a slider) from various arm angles, though the 23-year-old is still a bit unpolished.  “Between his stuff, pitching style and history of control problems in Cuba, Sierra has a lot of similarities to Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias, with Sierra having more size but Iglesias better performance in his final year in Cuba,” Badler writes.

NL Notes: Olivera, Dodgers, Brewers, Marlins

The Dodgers made a big splash last month with two successive signings of Cuban free agents: infielder Hector Olivera ($62.5MM) and righty Pablo Fernandez ($8MM). But as J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group reports, both players still have yet to receive their visas — and, as a result, have not undergone physicals. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman explained that the club could have elected to perform physicals in the Dominican Republic, where Olivera and Fernandez are both residing. But the Dodgers prefer to wait to allow team doctors a personal inspection. All said, it does not appear that there is any reason to doubt that the agreed-upon terms will ultimately be formalized. In the case of Olivera, however, questions about elbow health were an issue that was reportedly addressed in the contract itself, and his past medical difficulties (along with the significant guarantee) raise the stakes of the physical.

  • Meanwhile, the Dodgers have managed to pull together quite a productive bullpen this year at rather a low cost, as Dave Cameron explains in a piece for FOX Sports. The club has continued to tinker with that unit, claiming and designating a pair of arms and then dealing for Xavier Cedeno earlier today. Friedman explains that the club is building depth and expects to add Cedeno to the active roster (via Hoornstra’s Tout feed).
  • Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says that he is “not looking at the manager or the general manager right now” as the club looks to turn around an awful start, as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports. Attanasio placed the blame on the fact that many of the club’s players are not matching their career standards. He also defended the organization’s decision to keep its core together and try to compete in 2015, saying that it performed “a huge amount of analysis” in making that call.
  • If the Marlins do make a change at manager, Mets Triple-A skipper Wally Backman is not a candidate, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Miami owner Jeffrey Loria is “actively reviewing” the situation of Mike Redmond as the team tries to shake off a rusty start. Over at Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan argues that, though the club’s awful opening is obviously disappointing, the expectations never should have been very high at the start of 2015.

Dodgers Designate Daniel Corcino

The Dodgers have designated southpaw Daniel Corcino, the club announced. His roster spot will go to the just-acquired Xavier Cedeno.

This move caps an eyebrow-raising series of moves out of Los Angeles. The club has claimed and designated both Corcino and his former Reds teammate Ryan Dennick in short order. It could be that the club is looking for an opportunity to add some depth to the upper minors by trying to outright the arms it has claimed.

Corcino, 24, will of course first have a chance to be acquired by another organization. He saw his first MLB action last year, working to a 4.34 ERA in just 18 2/3 innings. In 134 career frames at the minor league level, Corcino owns a 5.91 ERA with 6.4 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9.


Dodgers Acquire Xavier Cedeno From Nationals

The Dodgers have acquired left-hander Xavier Cedeno from the Nationals in exchange for cash, Washington announced. Cedeno, 28, broke camp with the Nationals but did not last long after giving up two earned runs in three innings of work.

His most extensive work came in 2012 with the Astros, when he tossed 31 innings of 3.77 ERA ball while striking out 10.5 and walking 4.1 batters per nine. Since then, Cedeno has logged 22 1/3 frames with a 5.64 ERA, and has seen his strikeout rate drop to 7.3 K/9.

Cedeno is the latest in a series of DFA’ed arms that the Dodgers have added. The others were in turn designated before seeing action. If Cedeno makes it into the bullpen mix, he will join fellow southpaws J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez.


Dodgers Release Freddy Garcia

The Dodgers have released righty Freddy Garcia, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Garcia joined Los Angeles at the end of spring to bolster the organization’s depth.

The 38-year-old had thrown just 7 1/3 frames at Triple-A prior to his release. Garcia allowed six earned runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out seven, in that brief stint with Albuquerque.

Garcia threw to a 3.19 ERA in 161 innings last year for Taiwan’s EDA Rhinos (h/t to Han Lee of GSI). Of course, he is better known for his work at the major league level, where he has thrown over 2,000 innings across 15 seasons.