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Here today’s notable draft signings, with slot value information via Baseball America:
- The Dodgers went well over slot to sign fifth-round pick Brendan Davis, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Davis gets $918,600, which is $605K north of the 162nd pick’s assigned slot value. Baseball America placed him just inside its top 500 list, noting that Davis was expected to attend Cal State Fullerton after missing much of his senior high school season with a broken wrist. A “smooth athlete” with good instincts and solid power and hit tools, the shortstop had been a fairly highly-valued prospect before the injury intervened. Los Angeles has yet to sign its top two picks, Walker Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser, and presumably expects to find some savings from those prospective deals to make up for the Davis overage.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees will realize some savings on second-rounder Jeff Degano, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). The southpaw will earn a $650K bonus after being taken 57th overall ($1,074,400 slot value), freeing $424,400 for New York to apply toward other picks. ESPN.com’s Keith Law was high on Degano, ranking him the 54th-best player available. Law credits Degano with a low-90s fastball, sweeping slider that could grow into an above-average offering, and reasonably promising change. Degano does have some injury questions and already has undergone Tommy John surgery.
- Phillies third-round pick Lucas Williams has agreed to an at-slot, $719,800 bonus, Mayo tweets. The high school shortstop was not considered an early-round option by many prospect hounds coming into the draft, but still commanded a full-slot bonus to forego his commitment to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
- The Red Sox have agreed with outfielder Tate Matheny, son of Cards skipper Mike Matheny, to a $512,700 bonus, per Callis (via Twitter). That is the full slot value for the 111th overall pick. Matheny, an outfielder from Missouri State, rated 107th on Baseball America’s list. BA noted that he lacks any notable tools, but has average abilities in several areas and makes the most out of them with plus makeup.
Melissa Mayeux, a 16-year-old French shortstop, has become the first known female to be added to Major League Baseball’s international prospect registration list, writes MLB.com’s Lindsay Berra. That would make Mayeux, who plays for the U-18 French junior national team, eligible to sign with a Major League club on July 2. As Berra goes on to explain, only players that at least have a chance to be signed by a Major League team are typically registered. It still seems unlikely that Mayeux will be signed, Berra continues. European prospects typically sign at the age of 18, as opposed to 16, as is often the case with Latin American prospects. Mayeux tells Berra that she’s not focusing on being the first female added to the registration list and simply hopes to be able to play baseball for as long as possible. MLB director of international game development Mike McClellan calls Mayeux a “legitimate shortstop,” praising her fielding ability and adding that she “swings the bat really well and is fearless.”
A few more notes from the international prospect scene…
- MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Cuban outfielder Yusnier Diaz has also registered with MLB and will be eligible to sign in the upcoming signing period (Twitter link). The 18-year-old Diaz will first need to be declared a free agent by the league before he can sign, however. Ben Badler of Baseball America reported in April that Diaz had left Cuba, though at the time there seemed to be a chance that Diaz would be ineligible for the upcoming signing period. That no longer appears to be the case. Badler praised Diaz’s plus speed and plus arm, though he also noted that his right-handed swing is a bit long at times.
- Speaking of Badler, his latest piece examines top international prospect Starling Heredia‘s unusual baseball career (subscription required and recommended). The Dominican outfielder never even played in an organized baseball game until he was 13 years old, Badler writes. Heredia tells Badler that his coaches originally wanted him to be a third baseman, but he was unimpressive there and garnered little attention until he homered on the first swing he took. Heredia was converted to an outfielder and he’s grown at a surprising rate, as he’s already said to be 6’1″ and 215 pounds. Badler spoke to multiple scouts who praised Heredia’s bat speed, running speed and strong arm, but there’s some question about he’ll handle more advanced pitching. Badler notes that the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Heredia, who could receive a bonus in excess of $2MM.
Remember when the Padres, Red Sox, and White Sox were the most improved teams in the majors? They, along with the Marlins, are below .500 despite their busy offseasons, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Alternatively, the Blue Jays have pushed into playoff contention with a recent winning streak. Toronto added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin over the offseason, but the core of the team has remained largely intact. Kepner notes that these quick turnaround rebuilds are no guarantee for solid performance.
Here’s more from around the league:
- A new international signing period will begin on July 2nd, but 2016 is the time for your favorite team to break the bank, per Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Angels, and Diamondbacks are already unable to spend more than $300K on a player for the next two seasons. The Dodgers, Cubs, Royals, Phillies, and Blue Jays may blow past their bonus limit in the 2015 signing period. That will remove many of the most active teams from the market in 2016. Badler gives a complete description of the international market conditions. It’s well worth a read.
- The Giants will soon face a roster crunch in their rotation, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. Jake Peavy is medically ready to return, and Matt Cain is nearing readiness. The easiest move would be to option Chris Heston, but he’s tied for the club lead with seven wins and recently no-hit the Mets. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Hudson have been merely serviceable. The same can be said of Tim Lincecum in recent weeks. With the exception of Heston, the other rotation arms could be lost if they’re designated for assignment. The club could opt to move Lincecum and Vogelsong into the bullpen, but that just pushes the roster crunch elsewhere.
- An influx of Cuban players could soon flood the majors, writes Bill Shaiken of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban players, even those who fall under international spending restrictions, are currently able to negotiate with all 30 clubs. That increases their bargaining power. It’s a big reason why infielder Roberto Baldoquin cost about four times more than the Angels’ entire 2015 amateur draft class. Cubans are currently the third most represented foreign nation in the majors. Opening day rosters included 18 Cubans, 65 Venezuelans, and 83 Dominicans. Cuba has a comparable population to the Dominican Republic. As such, we could see a surge of Cuban players as diplomatic relations continue to thaw.
Full Story | 2 Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Jake Peavy | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Cain | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Ryan Vogelsong | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Tim Hudson | Tim Lincecum | Toronto Blue Jays
The team-issued, season-long suspension of Dodgers minor league shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena has been reduced to 30 days, reports Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk. Citing Arruebarrena’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, Calcaterra adds that an appeal to the commissioner’s office was filed on behalf of Arruebarrena, and the two sides ultimately reached a settlement.
The 25-year-old Arruebarrena had originally been suspended for the season due to “repeated failures to comply with his contract,” although his exact transgressions were never reported. Because it was a team-issued suspension, however, performance-enhancing drugs can be ruled out, and drugs of abuse can likely be crossed off the list as well.
Arruebarrena signed a five-year, $25MM contract with the Dodgers upon defecting from Cuba. Said at the time to be a brilliant defensive infielder with a questionable bat, Arruebarrena batted .259/.304/.417 across four minor league levels with the Dodgers in 2014 before surfacing at the Major League level. True to the scouting reports, he struggled at the plate in 45 appearances, batting just .195/.244/.220.
Arruebarrena has already reported to the Dodgers’ Spring Training facility in Arizona to resume baseball activities and begin baseball activities. The decision doesn’t seem to dramatically increase the likelihood that Arruebarrena will appear in a Dodgers’ uniform in the near future, as there’s still likely some bad blood between the player and the organization. From a financial standpoint, the reduced suspension carries some ramifications for the Dodgers. Had Arruebarrena spent the entire season serving a suspension, he wouldn’t have earned his $3MM salary. With that reduced to 30 days, Arruebarrena is now “only” out $491K, meaning the Dodgers will still have to pay him a little more than $2.5MM of his salary.
In his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by taking a look at a messy situation in Philadelphia. Heyman hears the same rumblings that were first reported by CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury — that Andy MacPhail could very well be in line for an executive role with the Phillies. The hiring of MacPhail would bring into question the status of both GM Ruben Amaro and manager Ryne Sandberg. While one exec notes that no one could have had much success with the hand Sandberg has been dealt, his calm demeanor hasn’t motivated the team much, and he may have lost the clubhouse at this point. Heyman notes that partial owner John Middleton, who is believed by some to be calling the shots in Philly, may have extra impetus to get a new decision-maker in the door so that a lame-duck GM (Amaro’s contract expires at season’s end) isn’t the primary decision-maker on what could be a franchise-altering Cole Hamels trade. Speaking of Hamels, Heyman notes that interested teams will want to see him pitch at least twice now that he had a start pushed back due to a hamstring strain, thinning the window of opportunity to trade him. As far as Jonathan Papelbon goes, the belief is that he’d approve any trade that sent him to a contending team, though the Cubs might be his preferred fit at this point if he had a say in the matter.
Some more highlights from Heyman’s latest (though there’s more in the column than we can cover here)…
- The Braves have tried to trade Chris Johnson and even offered to substantially pay down the remaining money on his contract, but there’s been little interest. The Johnson deal was widely questioned from the start, and there’s still about $21MM owed to Johnson through the end of the 2017 season. Johnson’s a viable weapon against lefties, but he’s a sub-par hitter against right-handed pitchers and is not well-regarded from a defensive standpoint.
- Rival teams are beginning to wonder if the Red Sox might sell some pieces this summer, with Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz and Koji Uehara among the possible names listed by Heyman. Napoli isn’t hitting for average but has shown good power and a nice walk rate. Buchholz has improved after a rocky start and Uehara again has strong numbers in the ‘pen.
- The White Sox are beginning to think about selling, Heyman hears, but they’re not quite ready to move their bigger pieces. Emilio Bonifacio might be the first name they make available, but eventually, Jeff Samardzija‘s name could be out there. Heyman writes that while Samardzija isn’t pitching well in 2015, his big arm is so tantalizing to scouts that there will still be interest in him.
- The Reds aren’t expected to sell until after the All-Star Game and would be very open to shedding Brandon Phillips‘ contract, per Heyman, though I have a difficult time envisioning too many teams lining up to take on the remainder of that deal. Phillips is owed about $34.1MM through the end of the 2017 season and has seen his power more or less vanish. Heyman speculates that Everth Cabrera could be a fit in Cincinnati with Zack Cozart out for the year, and there’s some logic to that scenario, though they may first prefer to see what they have in Eugenio Suarez. The Mets aren’t interested in Cabrera, he adds later.
- The Marlins aren’t selling yet, according to GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings. “We’re in it, we’re not jumping off the ship. No doubt about that,” Jennings told Heyman. If their attitude changes, Heyman thinks they’ll find interest in Martin Prado and Mike Dunn.
- The Astros like Aaron Harang but are said to be aiming higher when looking at potential trade targets to bolster their rotation.
- The Dodgers are on the hunt for a top-tier starting pitcher and a late-inning arm to help bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen. In other Dodgers-related news, Heyman hears that No. 35 pick Kyle Funkhouser is strongly considering returning to Louisville. Funkhouser was once looked at as a potential Top 10 pick, but he fell to a slot with a $1.756MM value. He’d have less leverage in 2016 as a senior sign, of course, but he could certainly improve his draft stock and his bonus with a big senior year.
- Yankees chief international officer/executive vice president Felix Lopez is no longer listed on the team’s web site and some indicate that he’s been gone from the organization for three months, Heyman writes. Lopez was said to have angered Yoan Moncada‘s camp after calling to express displeasure with their decision to sign in Boston over New York. The team hasn’t made a statement on his departure.
- The Rays are looking for first base help with James Loney on the disabled list, but Loney’s said to be returning around the All-Star break. Heyman speculates on the possibility of Ryan Howard ending up in Tampa Bay if the Phillies eat some or all of the contract, but I’d think there’d be something of a logjam there once Loney is activated in that scenario.
Full Story | 27 Comments | Categories: Aaron Harang | Andy MacPhail | Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Brandon Phillips | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Clay Buchholz | Cole Hamels | Emilio Bonifacio | Everth Cabrera | Houston Astros | Jeff Samardzija | Jonathan Papelbon | Koji Uehara | Los Angeles Dodgers | Martin Prado | Miami Marlins | Mike Dunn | Mike Napoli | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Ryan Howard | Ryne Sandberg | Tampa Bay Rays
Dan Jennings is likely to remain in the dugout for the Marlins next year, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports. That is far from a sure thing, per the report, but the club is preliminarily sketching out a 2016 that includes Jennings as the manager. The club is showing signs of gelling under Jennings, says Frisaro, and Miami still is holding out hope of getting back into the mix.
- One key component of a Marlins turnaround would be the successful return of young righty Jose Fernandez, who announced yesterday that he hopes to return to start on July 2. Fernandez has, of course, been out since early 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said yesterday that he had just one “serious conversation” about an offseason Dillon Gee deal, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports on Twitter. Presumably, he is having more now, as Gee remains in DFA limbo. While Gee has struggled this year, he should have appeal to teams looking for some back-of-the-rotation options. A deal would allow New York to save some money on the $5.3MM owed Gee this year; he’ll also come with one more season of control via arbitration.
- The Cardinals have received good news on righty Lance Lynn, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Lynn is back throwing after hitting the DL with forearm tightness, and St. Louis hopes that he can come back after missing just two starts.
- A quick return may not be in the cards for Reds righty Jon Moscot, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder yesterday in a freak accident, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The 23-year-old rookie was making his third start for Cincinnati, which has been beset by injuries of late.
- Brandon Beachy is set to begin a rehab assignment for the Dodgers, with the club’s Rancho Cucamonga affiliate announcing that he’ll make his first appearance tonight. The 28-year-old righty has not appeared in the big leagues since 2013, undergoing successive Tommy John procedures in the interim. His ability to return to provide innings for Los Angeles could play a role in the team’s summer trade plans.
Hansen, who had been committed to Stanford, is a high school outfielder out of Texas. He rated as high as 37th on draft boards coming in, with ESPN.com’s Keith Law giving him that tag based on “above-average tools across the board,” including good athleticism, solid raw power, and a strong defensive profile.
The MLB.com team also saw Hansen as a top-forty draft prospect, while Baseball America had him just a peg lower. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs took the dimmest view of Hansen’s future, putting him in the 61st slot.
The reported signing bonus will require the Dodgers to cover $78,900 in overages as against the slot value of the 67th selection. Hansen becomes the highest Dodgers pick to sign thus far, with righties Walker Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser chosen ahead of him and still unsigned.
Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…
- The Mets are calling up right-hander Akeel Morris from Single-A St. Lucie, the club announced, and the 22-year-old will be activated before tomorrow’s game against the Blue Jays. Morris was a 10th-round draft pick in 2010 and has never pitched above the high-A level — his only high-A experience comes in 31 relief innings for St. Lucie this season. That said, Morris has been a dominant bullpen arm, posting a 1.74 ERA, 12.8 K/9 and 3.14 K/BB rate this year and recording 12 saves. The 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked Morris as the 19th-best prospect in the Mets’ system before the season, noting his plus changeup and a 92-94mph fastball.
- The Dodgers have outrighted infielder Darwin Barney to Triple-A, according to MLB.com’s official transactions page. Barney was designated for assignment on Friday to create 40-man roster space for the newly-acquired Ronald Torreyes. Barney has only appeared in two big league games in 2015, and he has struggled to a .214/.273/.259 slash line over 121 Triple-A plate appearances.
- Also from the MLB.com transactions listing, the Rays outrighted catcher Bobby Wilson to Triple-A Durham. Wilson has a .349 OPS over 59 PA with the Rays this season and was designated for assignment on Thursday.
- Now that Barney and Wilson have been outrighted, that leaves six players in “limbo,” as per the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker. Trevor Cahill (Braves), Matt Dominguez (Astros), Erik Kratz (Royals), J.C. Ramirez (Diamondbacks), Tim Stauffer (Twins), and Rickie Weeks (Mariners) are all awaiting their next assignment.
While some Yankees fans are licking their chops over the prospect of Bryce Harper coming to the Bronx after the 2018 season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times believes that the Dodgers have a better chance to sign the outfielder. Of course, other teams, including the incumbent Nationals, will have something to say about all of that. Here’s today’s look at the Dodgers..
- Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins is struggling at the plate but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be seeing top prospect Corey Seager right away, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles writes. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the team will promote Seager when he is ready, not because Rollins is underperforming. “We feel like he’s in a really good place to be a really good major league player for a long time, but when that is will be determined by when he’s ready to do it, when we feel like it will put him in the best position to be as good as he can be as quickly as he can be,” Friedman said. Seager was rated as the No. 5 prospect in the country heading into the 2015 season by Baseball America. All of the other prospects ranked ahead of Seager have been promoted already.
- The Dodgers aren’t doing much to entice Zack Greinke to stay, Mark Saxon of ESPN.com writes. Greinke has been vocal about his lack of run support this season as he continues to lose despite strong pitching. Greinke, of course, has the right to opt out of his contract following this season. If he doesn’t opt out, Greinke will be in line to earn $78MM over the remaining three years. Through 13 starts this season, the 31-year-old owns a 1.95 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
- The Dodgers are eschewing traditional batting statistics to try and ascertain the true value of hitters, as Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register writes. For example, outfielder Scott Schebler appeared to be struggling early on in the year with Triple-A Oklahoma. However, new Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler presented Schebler a pack of data showing him that he wasn’t so much struggling as he was getting unlucky. Several other players who spoke with Moura confirmed that the Dodgers aren’t getting hung up on batting average as they’re focusing more on the “real indicators” of performance.
Here’s the latest from around the league as the evening winds down:
- Bryce Harper may be likely to enter free agency after the 2018 season, but Yankees fans shouldn’t start counting their chickens just yet. Bill Shaiken of the LA Times believes the Dodgers have a better chance to sign Harper. The Yankees roster is aging and none of their prospects are among Baseball America’s top 30. Meanwhile, the Dodgers may have a brighter future when Harper is a free agent. They have a young, talented active roster with Corey Seager and Julio Urias waiting in the minors. Harper could prove to be a valuable supplement to young assets like Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal. Of course, this all assumes the Nationals can’t manage an extension or that they won’t trade him to another team that can.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart “does not seem inclined” to trade for pitching at the trade deadline, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The club has plenty of young depth both in the majors and the minors, but Stewart wants to continue developing internally. Arizona is currently fourth in the NL West and 7.5 games behind the first place Dodgers. They’re also five games back in the Wild Card hunt. In my opinion, there will be more pressure to improve the rotation and bullpen if the club is within a few games of the plays at the deadline.
- Don’t expect the Phillies to sit on their veteran assets at the trade deadline, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Last July, the Phillies controversially opted to hold steady, but the club is now more thoroughly committed to rebuilding. Lawrence runs through possible destinations and hypothetical trade packages for the team’s remaining veterans. Interestingly, he believes the performance and complicated contracts of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz will make them harder to trade than Ryan Howard.
- The Yankees trade to acquire Didi Gregorius doesn’t look so bad after the Tigers optioned starter Shane Greene to Triple-A, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. Greene began the season with a 0.39 ERA in three starts, but he has since allowed just under a run per inning. Of course, Gregorius has hardly lit the world on fire with a .228/.287/.298 line and 0.4 UZR. While it’s much too early to declare a winner of this modest trade, perhaps we should be looking at the Diamondbacks. They acquired Robbie Ray in the swap. Through three starts, he has a 1.53 ERA with 6.62 K/9 and 2.55 BB/9. Just don’t forget how Greene looked through three starts!