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Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
The Rangers are one of several teams to have expressed interest in talented but injured former Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes. “Several teams are still reviewing his medicals,” agent Robert Martin says of Beachy, who is nine months removed from his second Tommy John surgery. “I do not think a decision is imminent, but he does have multiple offers.” Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Padres are “no longer boring” after all the work A.J. Preller has done to remake them, Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown writes. After Preller’s trades to acquire Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks and Derek Norris, it’s possible that Jedd Gyorko could be the only position player who started for the club on Opening Day last season who will start again next year.
- All the Padres’ moves have come at a price, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranks the prospects San Diego has dealt to other clubs. Injured lefty Max Fried (who headed to Atlanta in the Upton deal) tops the list, followed by shortstop Trea Turner (who’s set to go to the Nationals as the player to be named in the Myers trade).
- The Dodgers have officially passed the Yankees for baseball’s highest payroll, writes MLB.com’s Paul Hagen. The Dodgers’ 2014 payroll was a record at over $257MM, and the team’s luxury tax figure of $26.6MM was also a record.
Discussing his wide-ranging moves since taking over as the Dodgers president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman said today that he sees the club as a “highly functional baseball team, instead of a collection of talent.” As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, Friedman says the club will remain “open-minded” about dealing away from its stock of outfielders.
- Looking ahead after the Jimmy Rollins trade, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the team will continue to try to “get younger and more athletic,” as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. In addition to discussing various trade scenarios, the Phils have “had some dialogue with some free agents to try to increase some of our depth pitching-wise,” said Amaro. As for Chase Utley, though, Amaro said he has not had any discussions with Rollins’s long-time double-play partner about a change of scenery. “I haven’t had enough of a discussion with Chase,” said Amaro. “The only discussions I’ve had with Chase and his agent about any of that is that Chase wants to be in Philadelphia.” While Amaro did not close the door on a deal, neither did he indicate it was particularly likely. He concluded: “[Utley] has no desire to go anywhere. … [H]e wants to honor his contract and that’s how we have to perceive it.”
- The agent for reportedly soon-to-be Nationals shortstop prospect Trea Turner, Jeff Berry of CAA, expressed his frustration with the fact that Turner will be required to stay in the Padres system for six months until he is technically eligible to be named as the PTBNL in the recent three-team swap, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. Expressing concern with Turner playing in an organization that lacks a direct interest in his future well-being, Berry said that he “will vigorously pursue all available courses of action to remedy this situation,” up to and potentially including the filing of a grievance action.
- The Braves are still listening on Evan Gattis, but expect to deploy him in left field unless a big offer comes through the door, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter.
- The Mets did not place a bid on Jung-ho Kang, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted earlier today. That would, of course, appear to eliminate the Mets as the possible mystery team that has won the posting.
- The Phillies are taking a look at veteran middle infielder Rafael Furcal as he plays in the Venezuelan winter league, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. Furcal signed last year with the Marlins, but was never really able to get healthy. He could potentially fill a hole for the Phils at short.
FRIDAY: Wilson has been given his release, as SB Nation’s Eric Stephen was first to report.
While the end of Wilson’s tenure comes as something of a shock given his stout $9.5MM salary for next season, the fact is that he was not good at all last year. The 32-year-old pitched to a 4.22 ERA over 48 1/3 innings, with 10.1 K/9 against 5.4 BB/9.
He had shown excellent form over a short sample late in 2013, leading the Dodgers (under then-GM Ned Colletti) to award him a $10MM deal with a player option that floated in value and ultimately came in at $9.5MM. While it is likely that another team would be interested in bringing in Wilson to compete for a job in camp, his value obviously falls well shy of what he is owed.
The new brass in Los Angeles has been aggressive in turning over its roster, eating significant cash in the process. Wilson’s $9.5MM salary joins the $10MM owed to Dan Haren and $32MM piece of Matt Kemp‘s contract as cash on the books for players who are no longer on the team’s roster.
12:52pm: The Phillies are sending $1MM to the Dodgers as a part of the deal, an industry source tells Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (on Twitter).
10:27am: After more than a week of anticipation, the Phillies announced that they have traded shortstop Jimmy Rollins and cash considerations to the Dodgers in exchange for right-hander Zach Eflin and left-hander Tom Windle.
There was a significant hold-up in the trade, as the Phillies had to wait for the Dodgers to finalize their Matt Kemp trade with San Diego due to the fact that Eflin was part of the Dodgers’ return in that deal. Kemp’s physical dragged out the process for both trades, but each has now been announced.
After losing Hanley Ramirez to the Red Sox in free agency, Los Angeles filled its vacancy at shortstop with another high-profile veteran. Rollins actually generated more fWAR (3.6 to 3.4) than Ramirez in 2014, as while Ramirez delivered more at the plate, Rollins far outpaced Ramirez defensively. Rollins is no longer the offensive force that he was in his prime, but he still posted an above-average 102 wRC+ in 2014, hitting .243/.323/.394 with 17 homers and 28 steals over 609 plate appearances.
Rollins reached a vesting option in his previous contract that earned him an extra year and an $11MM salary for the 2015 season. Since the Dodgers’ commitments to both Rollins and third baseman Juan Uribe will be up after 2015, that allows the club some flexibility in deciding the future of Corey Seager. The top prospect is a shortstop now but many project him to eventually require a move to third base.
Rollins, 36, spent his entire 15-year career in Philadelphia, with the highlights including the NL MVP Award in 2007 and a World Series title in 2008. Rollins is the Phillies’ all-time franchise leader in hits and doubles, and only Mike Schmidt played more games in a Phillie uniform.
Though parting with Rollins is bittersweet for Philadelphia, they’ll receive a pair of solid pitching prospects in return. Eflin, 20, was selected 33rd overall in the 2012 draft, and the 22-year-old Windle went 56th overall just a year later. At the time of the Kemp deal, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote (subscription required) that he felt Eflin was “at worst” a fourth starter in the Majors with the potential to become more. Baseball America ranked him 14th among Padres prospects last offseason, and MLB.com already ranks him fifth among Phillies prospects, calling him a potential mid-rotation workhorse with the build of a prototypical right-hander. BA noted in their scouting report that he sits comfortably at 90 to 92 mph with a sinking fastball but as touched the mid-90s in the past when needed. Eflin pitched to a 3.80 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 128 innings at Class-A Advanced last season.
Windle, drafted out of the University of Minnesota, also spent last season in High-A, compiling a 4.26 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 139 1/3 innings. BA ranked him 12th among Dodgers prospects a season ago, and MLB.com has him sixth among current Phillies farmhands. His changeup made serious progress in 2014, per MLB.com, giving him a chance at a solid third pitch to pair with a low-90s fastball and a “nasty” slider. BA feels that his slider a plus pitch that can befuddle both right- and left-handed batters, noting that even if he doesn’t pan out as a starter, Windle’s fastball/slider combo could play well in a high-leverage relief role. At the time the trade was reported, Law noted that Windle pitched in a brutal environment for pitchers last season, adding that he liked Windle’s chances to break out as a prospect in the Double-A Eastern League in 2015.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury first reported the Rollins to the Dodgers was a done deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports indicated, on Twitter, that Eflin would head to the Dodgers, and Salisbury reported (also on Twitter) that Windle was the other player in the deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The 26-year-old Jensen was acquired in a minor swap with the Marlins following the 2014 season. He’s yet to appear at the Major League level but does come with a respectable track record of minor league production; the former 12th-round pick has a .252/.320/.482 batting line in 193 games at Triple-A.
The NL West blockbuster between the Dodgers and Padres is finally a reality and outfielder Matt Kemp is on his way to the Padres. The two teams officially announced the five-player trade that will send Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego, with the Dodgers receiving catcher Yasmani Grandal, righty Joe Wieland, and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The Dodgers will also include $32MM to help cover the $107MM remaining on Kemp’s contract, which runs through 2019.
The two teams agreed to the trade over a week ago but, with so many moving parts involved, things naturally took a while to be finalized. The Commissioner’s Office has to approve the deal given the large amount of money involved, the Dodgers’ other pending trade of Jimmy Rollins also played a role (as Elfin is widely-rumored to be flipped to the Phillies in that deal) and all of the players had to take physicals.
This last point might’ve been the main holdup, as Kemp’s physical revealed arthritis in both hips, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The Padres asked the Dodgers to add more than $32MM in the deal but L.A. refused, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported, and the trade went through as originally planned.
The deal gives the Padres a big bat and star power for their offense, which produced just 535 runs last year, a poor total even in the tough hitting environment in San Diego. The team lost out on Pablo Sandoval and Yasmany Tomas earlier this offseason, but Kemp, who hit .287/.346/.506 with the Dodgers in 2014, gives the Padres the dynamic offensive player they were hoping for. He’ll need to stay healthy, however — he missed significant time in 2012 and 2013 with a series of injuries, and he turned 30 in September. Kemp, who has struggled defensively in center field in recent years, could take one corner outfield spot for the Padres, with Seth Smith in the other. For the Dodgers, the deal clears salary and space in the outfield, where they also have Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke.
Federowicz, 27, should help the Padres compensate for the loss of Grandal. He has five seasons of team control remaining and is coming off a strong year in a good hitting environment at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he batted .328/.383/.555 in 329 plate appearances. He struggled, however, in a small sample of 78 plate appearances at the big-league level. He’ll likely share the Padres’ catching duties with Rene Rivera, whose unexpectedly strong season in 2014 gave the Padres a bit of flexibility at catcher.
Grandal, 26, will join A.J. Ellis in manning the catching position with the Dodgers. He hit .225/.327/.401 for San Diego last season and got good marks for his pitch framing. The latter characteristic is surely attractive to Dodgers executive Andrew Friedman, who employed framing specialist Jose Molina in Tampa Bay and tried to sign another excellent framer, Russell Martin, for the Dodgers earlier this offseason. Grandal also hit 15 home runs in 2014, a solid total for a young catcher, especially in PETCO Park. He can become eligible for arbitration next offseason and eligible for free agency after 2018.
Wieland, 24, had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and took a long time to recover, but he finally made it back to the Majors in September 2014. He posted good numbers coming through the minors (mostly in the Rangers system), but doesn’t have outstanding stuff and probably profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
The Padres drafted the 20-year-old Eflin (whose inclusion in the deal is not yet entirely certain) in the first round in 2012 out of high school. He posted a 3.80 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 128 innings with Class A+ Lake Elsinore in 2014.
The trade was just one of several major transactions for the Dodgers during a frenzied Winter Meetings. Los Angeles also sent Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami in a seven-player deal, acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, signed righty Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal and agreed to acquire Rollins from the Phillies.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the deal was close. Dennis Lin and Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the deal was finalized. Heyman reported (Twitter links) the final terms of the deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Dodgers announced today that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Matt Long from the Angels to complete last week’s Drew Butera trade. However, the team also announced that it has has immediately flipped Long and left-hander Jarret Martin to the Brewers in exchange for catcher Shawn Zarraga, essentially making the entire sequence into a minor three-team trade.
A 2009 30th-round draft pick, Long has never appeared on an Angels Top 30 prospect list (per Baseball America), but he does have a solid minor league track record. The 27-year-old has yet to reach the Majors but owns a nice career slash line of .279/.358/.442 in 1102 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
The 25-year-old Martin was previously designated for assignment and outrighted this past offseason. He spent the 2014 campaign with Double-A Chattanooga where he posted a strong 3.29 ERA in 54 2/3 innings of relief. While Martin’s 64 strikeouts in that time were impressive, he also walked a very troublesome 48 hitters. Control problems have long been an issue for Martin, who has averaged 6.1 walks per nine innings since being selected in the 18th round of the 2009 draft.
Zarraga is a 25-year-old catcher that was born in Aruba but attended high school in Florida and was selected in the 44th round by the Brewers in 2007. Zarraga was excellent at Double-A this past season, hitting .330/.440/.419 in 267 plate appearances, but he batted just .213/.304/.255 in 57 PA at Triple-A — his first crack at that level.
Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck yesterday, but the Braves expect their new right fielder to be 100 percent by Opening Day, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. President of baseball operations John Hart spoke with surgeon Steve Wray, who performed the procedure, and came away with the impression that aside from some possible disruption of his pre-Spring Training routine, Markakis would be fine. He’s expected to be cleared for physical activity within a month’s time and to be fully agile in six weeks.
Some more notes from the Senior Circuit to kick off your Thursday morning…
- The Rockies are interested in right-hander Kyle Kendrick as a potential back-of-the-rotation option, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 30-year-old Kendrick pitched a career-high 199 innings last season, and Crasnick notes that his career 46.1 percent ground-ball rate is of interest to Colorado. That mark isn’t too far above the league average, but it’s an improvement over Franklin Morales and Christian Bergman, each of whom logged significant innings in Colorado’s rotation last year. Kendrick’s upside is limited, but he’d be a relatively low-cost option to soak up some innings in a shaky rotation.
- Wilmer Flores is still likely to open next season as the Mets‘ shortstop, writes Marc Carig of Newsday, but a source tells Carig that the team does have interest in Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera on low-risk, one-year deals. Previous reports have indicated that the Mets weren’t interested in Cabrera. The team hasn’t ruled out bidding on Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang, but they’re likely to pass due to concerns over his defense. Those same concerns have halted their interest in Asdrubal Cabrera from progressing beyond internal discussions.
- In a video blog, ESPN’s Buster Olney opines that the Padres are in perfect position to try to squeeze some extra money out of the Dodgers in their deal for Matt Kemp. While the deal is expected to be completed, Olney notes that Kemp’s medicals are “ugly,” and the Dodgers need the trade more than the Padres do. The Dodgers are reportedly set to send $32MM to the Padres as it is.
- The Padres aren’t done making moves even after striking deals to acquire Kemp and Wil Myers, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. One possible minor addition, he reports, is veteran catcher David Ross, who is still “considering” the Padres.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com ran through some final details on several transactions this morning. Rather than bumping all of those posts to the top of the page at once, I have added the new information and will round up the changes here. (All links to Twitter.)
- Brandon McCarthy‘s four-year contract with the Dodgers includes a conditional club option that reflects, but is not entirely synonymous with, the one that led to John Lackey playing the upcoming season at league minimum. As Heyman tweets, the Dodgers would hold a 2019 option for $5MM if McCarthy has spent more than 179 days on the DL due to a specific injury, or an $8MM option if he has missed between 119-179 days.
- In his new deal with the Royals, Kendrys Morales will earn $6.5MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016, says Heyman. He also has a $1.5MM buyout on a $11MM option for 2017.
- Kyuji Fujikawa will actually receive a $1.1MM total guarantee from the Rangers, Heyman tweets. His deal comes with a $2MM club option and $100K buyout, and that option could rise to as much as $3.5MM if Fujikawa meets certain games-finished thresholds.
- Outfielder Nyjer Morgan received a $700K deal with the KBO’s Hanwha Eagles, Heyman tweets. That includes a $150K signing bonus and $550K salary.
After designating fellow high-priced reliever Brian Wilson earlier today, and cleaning house more generally, the Dodgers are apparently looking to move on from another expensive remnant of the prior administration. Acordding to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), the club is talking with competitors about righty Brandon League and offering to pick up “almost half” of the $7.5MM he is owed this year in a trade.
League, now 31, was signed to a three-year, $22.5MM deal just after the end of the 2012 season. Pursuant to that contract, he is owed the above-noted $7.5MM sum for 2015. The deal also includes a vesting option, though it is only triggered if he finishes 55 games in the coming season.
The contract was widely disparaged immediately upon signing, and League fell far short of expectations in its first year. But he was actually productive last season, working to a 2.57 ERA over 63 frames. Though his 5.4 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 do not inspire much confidence, he did generate an obscene 67.5% groundball rate. ERA estimators like FIP (3.40), xFIP (4.09), and SIERA (3.58) viewed him, collectively, as an essentially average relief pitcher.
Of course, there is value in being average, and some teams will perhaps be enticed by League’s groundball abilities, generally strong history before his 2013 meltdown, and his bottom-line results last year. As the Dodgers continue to clean out some of the team’s more notable players, the ability to move on from League and save some cash in the process apparently holds some appeal as well.