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- Jeff Bridich Named Rockies GM; O'Dowd, Geivett Step Down
- Josh Beckett To Retire
- Yasmany Tomas Declared Free Agent
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Here’s the latest from Vin Scully’s team…
- The Dodgers aren’t likely to sign any starting pitcher that would cost them a draft pick, a source tells ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon. This would rule out the likes of Max Scherzer, James Shields or any other free agent arm who will have qualifying offer draft compensation attached to their services. As Saxon notes, the Dodgers’ primary offseason goal is to inject more youth into their roster, as “they’re terrified of becoming” a team loaded with declining veterans, a la the Phillies or Yankees.
- Speaking of qualifying offers, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times looks at whether or not the Dodgers would extend a QO to Hanley Ramirez. The qualifying offer (not to mention his injury history and subpar shortstop defense) could hurt Ramirez’s market, which creates the possibility that he could accept the one-year, $15.3MM offer and stay with a Dodger team that may prefer to move on from Ramirez. “It seems like a no-brainer,” Dilbeck writes, that L.A. would give Ramirez a QO and I agree — despite Ramirez’s issues, he’ll surely find a multiyear deal on the free agent market and thus there is very little threat of him accepting the qualifying offer. Even if he did accept, that would hardly be a major problem for the Dodgers since (as Dilbeck notes), Ramirez could then serve as a one-year bridge until prospect Corey Seager is ready at short.
- Also from Dilbeck, he doesn’t think GM Ned Colletti deserves to be fired for the club’s failure to advance beyond the NLDS. The Dodgers have been generally successful during Colletti’s tenure and blaming him for the many large and problematic contracts on the payroll isn’t fair since upper management signed off on those deals, Dilbeck writes.
- While the Dodgers would like to keep A.J. Ellis , the team could non-tender the catcher and then re-sign him at a lower price tag, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick opines. Ellis made $3.55MM in 2014 and he still has two years of arbitration eligibility left as a Super Two player. Ellis’ arbitration raise will be a modest one, as he hit only .191/.323/.254 in 347 PA last season, though Ellis’ hitting isn’t as valuable to the club as his defense and relationship with the pitching staff. According to Gurnick, it seems likely that the Dodgers will acquire another catcher this offseason to compete with Ellis for the starting job.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- Diamondbacks outfielder Nolan Reimold has elected free agency, per the club’s transactions page. After spending the first half of 2014 on the disabled list, Reimold, who turns 31 today, was released by the Orioles in July and promptly claimed by the Blue Jays where he batted .212/.283/.404. in 60 plate appearances. Reimold was then designated for assignment by Toronto in August and claimed by the Diamondbacks. The former top-100 prospect, who has been injury-plagued undergoing a pair of neck surgeries and an ankle operation, fared much better in Arizona, albeit in a smaller sample size, slashing .294/.278/.529 in 17 plate appearances.
- Catcher Bobby Wilson and infielder Ronny Cedeno have opted for free agency rather accept their outright assignment by the Diamondbacks to Triple-A Reno, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.
- Infielder Jeff Bianchi and catcher Matt Pagnozzi have declared their free agency by refusing their outright assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs by the Brewers, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Other players declaring free agency who saw MLB action in 2014, per the PCL and International League transactions page, are: Ian Stewart (Angels), Justin Germano (Dodgers), Clint Robinson (Dodgers), Mark Lowe (Indians), Greg Dobbs (Nationals), Jason Pridie (Rockies), and Danny Worth (Tigers).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Bobby Wilson | Cleveland Indians | Clint Robinson | Colorado Rockies | Danny Worth | Detroit Tigers | Greg Dobbs | Ian Stewart | Jason Pridie | Jeff Bianchi | Justin Germano | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mark Lowe | Milwaukee Brewers | Nolan Reimold | Ronny Cedeno | Transactions | Washington Nationals
One of Jeff Bridich’s proudest accomplishments likely didn’t come up when he was bumped from senior directior of player development to GM of the Rockies. As a junior at Harvard, Bridich hit a two-run homer over Fenway’s Green Monster against UMass. Even though the Crimson ultimately lost 13-12, it remains a cherished family memory for Bridich, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. “Hitting a homer at Fenway was cool, but it’s more special because my dad did the same thing when he played for Harvard,” Bridich said. “He hit his to almost the same spot. Of course, my father did it with a wood bat, so that’s a little bit more impressive.” Here’s more out of the NL West..
- If the Dodgers move on from General Manager Ned Colletti, their top target appears to be Rays GM Andrew Friedman, according to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. A lot of great things happened under Colletti’s watch, including Clayton Kershaw becoming a Cy Young Award winner and Dee Gordon becoming an All-Star, but the new Dodgers owners view him as someone who gave away too much money to older players and built a shoddy bullpen.
- While toiling away in Triple-A last season, Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa spent just two weeks with his family between February 1 and September 1. With little hope of getting back to the bigs, he nearly gave up on baseball to spend more time with his family back home, writes Alex Pavlovic of The Mercury News. “I thought about retiring. I was trying to figure out something else where I could be home and make money…Thank God I stuck with it,” the Giants’ unlikely hero said.
- Bridich understands the value of catching and Saunders wonders if that could affect his offseason plans. Russell Martin would be a tremendous get for the Rockies, but he’ll be a very hot commodity after the season he had in Pittsburgh. While the Rockies have Wilin Rosario and Michael McKenry behind the plate, there are limitations to what they can do.
Though it’s early in the process, the market for Yasmany Tomas is beginning to develop, tweets MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. To this point, the Rangers, Phillies, Padres, Giants, Mariners and Dodgers have all shown strong interest in the young slugger. Most of those clubs are logical fits, though the Dodgers are a bit surprising given the logjam of outfielders the team already has under contract. The Dodgers are already unable to find regular at-bats for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Scott Van Slyke, so adding another outfielder to the mix would make a semi-surprising addition.
Some more news items from around the league…
- Braves right-hander Garrett Fulenchek and his agent, Craig Rose, have joined MSM Sports, MLBTR has learned. The 18-year-old Fulenchek was selected with the 66th overall pick in this year’s draft and will join the same agency that is home to No. 8 overall pick Kyle Freeland and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.
- The Royals and Orioles have built somewhat unconventional rosters, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, pointing out that their meeting in the ALCS marks the first time in the divisional era (beginning in 1969) that two teams that ranked in the bottom five of the league in walks will meet in an LCS or World Series. Crasnick looks at each team’s emphasis on defense as well as the Orioles’ emphasis on power and aggression and the Royals’ emphasis on speed. Somewhat incredibly, Baltimore ranked first in the Majors in homers and last in steals, while Kansas City ranked last in homers and first in steals. Crasnick spoke with Adam Jones, Buck Showalter and the Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt for the piece, the latter of whom opined that clubs have gone from undervaluing walks to overvaluing them.
- Crasnick’s colleague, Jayson Stark, writes that players feel underrepresented as MLB experiments with new rules to increase the pace of play. No active players were included on the seven-man committee to look into the matter, though MLBPA executive director Tony Clark (a former Major Leaguer himself) is on the committee to serve as a voice for the players, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred explained to Stark via email. Nonetheless, players such as Curtis Granderson, Kevin Slowey and Brad Ziegler all went on the record with Stark, and a number of players who wished to remain anonymous brought up several issues they’ve taken with the endeavor. Some players feel that too much of the blame has been placed on them, when there’s been little talk of shortening commercial breaks or the consequences that an increasingly matchup-based game has brought about (i.e. more pitching changes). More than anything, players hope to have a voice in the matter before changes are implemented, Slowey and Granderson explained.
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy compiled an “All-Rookie Team” for the 2014 season, highlighting the excellent work of Travis d’Arnaud, Jose Abreu, Mookie Betts, Nick Castellanos, Danny Santana, Billy Hamilton, Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Kennys Vargas, Jacob deGrom, Collin McHugh, Marcus Stroman, Masahiro Tanaka, Yordano Ventura and Dellin Betances. Names such as Matt Shoemaker and David Peralta also earned mentions, and you can read Eddy’s rationale behind his selections in the full article.
7:44pm: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News spoke to multiple Dodgers insiders, with one source telling him, “I’m already hearing all kinds of rumblings” regarding Colletti and, to a much lesser extent, Mattingly. Other sources to which Martino spoke praised Mattingly’s people skills and ability to manage the superstar egos involved in the Dodgers’ four-headed outfield monster. In particular, a source tells Martino, Mattingly was instrumental in getting Ethier to buy into a reduced role.
7:14pm: Following the Dodgers’ postseason loss at the hands of the Cardinals, sources within the organization tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that GM Ned Colletti could be on the hot seat (Twitter links). Ownership is said to have more of a soft spot for manager Don Mattingly, says Rosenthal. He continues, however, by noting that if the Dodgers do replace Colletti, the new GM may very well want to name his own manager. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears similar things, noting that Mattingly’s job appears to be safe, but the outlook for others in the organization is less certain (Twitter link).
This season marked the second straight disappointing exit from the playoffs for the Dodgers, who were considered a favorite by many going into postseason play due to their elite group of starting pitchers. Colletti famously swung perhaps the most talked-about blockbuster in recent history when he acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto from the Red Sox in exchange for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, James Loney, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus back in August 2012. However, despite solid performances from Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett this season, the Dodgers will again watch the World Series from home.
Additionally, the Crawford acquisition combined with extensions of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to create an expensive logjam of outfielders for the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig‘s emergence as the team’s best hitter has made it impossible for all four to get regular at-bats, and top prospect Joc Pederson has no clear path to everyday at-bats with the Dodgers in the near future, either. Bullpen expenditures Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Brandon League and Paul Maholm haven’t panned out (though League did recover from a disastrous 2013 with a strong 2014), and trade acquisitions Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez yielded sub-par results. Moreover, the team spent a combined $53MM on Cuban infielders Erisbel Arruebarrena and Alex Guerrero, yet neither contributed in 2014 and it’s unclear if both will fit into the long-term picture following the emergence of Dee Gordon.
Of course, there’s plenty to like about some of Colletti’s moves. The decision to re-sign Juan Uribe looks outstanding, and the team’s mere $1MM investment in Justin Turner was perhaps one of the biggest steals of the offseason. That move will continue to pay dividends, as Turner is controllable through the 2016 season. J.P. Howell has produced tremendous results at a reasonable rate over the past two seasons. Also, Arruebarrena and Guerrero had strong performances in the minors, so either could generate trade interest.
If Colletti is replaced, that would incredibly mean that four of the five teams in the National League West would have changed GMs in roughly a five-month span. Padres GM Josh Byrnes was fired in June, while the D’Backs dismissed Kevin Towers in September and the Rockies just announced today that senior director of player development Jeff Bridich would take over as GM, with Bill Geivett and Dan O’Dowd resigning from their posts.
The bearded closer-turned-setup-man appeared in 61 games with the Dodgers this season, totaling 48 1/3 innings of 4.66 ERA ball. In what was his first full season back from his second Tommy John operation, Wilson’s fastball velocity dipped to an average of 92.1 mph, and is command faltered a bit, as he issued 5.4 walks per nine innings pitched. He did, however, maintain his stellar strikeout rate, averaging 10.1 punchouts per nine innings.
Wilson’s tenure with the Dodgers began late in the 2013 season when he inked a $1MM big league deal in August and enjoyed a successful late-season and postseason run with L.A. He allowed one run in 19 2/3 innings between the regular season and postseason, striking out 21 against just six walks. That performance earned him a one-year contract that guaranteed him $10MM in 2014 with a $9MM player option that contained incentives based on appearances.
Were Wilson to again test the open market, he’d have gone up against a strong class of setup men that featured the likes of Luke Gregerson, Andrew Miller and Pat Neshek in addition to a few closers who lost their grip on the ninth inning but pitched well in an eighth-inning role (e.g. Sergio Romo and Jason Grilli). Instead, he’ll return to a contending team’s bullpen with a strong salary relative to his peers. Presumably, Wilson will look to reestablish his command and restore his once-excellent ground-ball rate (his 38.1 percent mark in 2014 was 10 percent lower than his career mark) in hopes of cashing in on a larger multi-year deal next offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Dodgers righty Josh Beckett said today that he will retire from the game, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. The 34-year-old was slated for surgery on his torn left hip labrum, but will not attempt to work back from the injury.
Beckett was having an excellent season before he was stricken with another significant injury. He owned a 2.88 ERA through 115 2/3 frames, striking out 8.3 and walking 3.0 batters per nine. Though his numbers were propped up somewhat by a .257 BABIP and 85.2% strand rate, Beckett’s stuff was good enough that he managed to record the first and only no-hitter of his career.
It has been a memorable career for Beckett, who won the 2003 World Series MVP with the Marlins at just 23 years of age. By that time, he had already established himself as one of the best young starters in baseball. But by the winter of 2005, he was headed to the Red Sox (along with Mike Lowell) in exchange for a package including future stars Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
Beckett had an up-and-down tenure in Boston. Over 2006-11, he averaged 185 innings a year with a 4.04 ERA and 8.2 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. But he mixed in three All-Star campaigns, including a 2007 effort (3.27 ERA over 204 2/3) in which he was the Cy Young runner-up.
Beckett ultimately signed two extensions with Boston: a three-year, $30MM deal that included a $12MM vesting option and a four-year, $68MM pact that ran through 2014. Of course, the latter contract did not end as might have been hoped at the time. After playing a central role in the public’s dissection of Boston’s 2011 meltdown, Beckett was off to a rough start in 2012 when his contract became part of the massive Red Sox-Dodgers mid-season trade.
Though he may have delivered more value back to Los Angeles than seemed likely at the time of that swap, Beckett continued to be inconsistent. He threw well down the stretch in 2012 before scuffling through an injury-plagued 2013.
Things ended on a high note, of course, and Beckett will leave the game having contributed 35.3 rWAR and 39.0 fWAR to his clubs. For that production, he earned over $116MM. MLBTR wishes Beckett the best of luck in whatever endeavors he chooses to pursue now that his playing days are over.
The AL East champion Orioles are looking for their first playoff sweep since they eliminated the A’s in the 1971 ALCS as they face the Tigers in Game Three of their ALDS. The NL East champion Nationals, meanwhile, will look to avoid being swept by the Giants tomorrow in their NLDS.
Here’s the latest from baseball’s East divisions:
- Pablo Sandoval, with his personality and left-handed bat, would be a good fit for the Red Sox, opines the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Despite Sandoval’s weight issues and a declining OPS over the past four seasons, Cafardo hears the third baseman will command a five-year, $100MM pact with the Yankees and Dodgers joining Boston in the bidding.
- A.J. Burnett‘s decision whether to exercise his $12.75MM player option will dictate how the Phillies‘ offseason unfolds, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. If Burnett declines the option, the Phillies will have the financial flexibility required to make impactful free agent signings and begin the necessary roster overhaul, Seidman writes.
- The James Shields-Wil Myers trade between the Rays and Royals is still under evaluation, notes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. At this point, who “won” the trade depends on whom you ask.
- The Mets don’t need a spending spree to improve for 2015, posits Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Of course, it would be nice if they could spend the necessary money to sign free agent catcher Russell Martin, but there are cheaper ways they can upgrade their offense. One idea Sherman has is calling the Red Sox to inquire on a Bartolo Colon for Shane Victorino deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Bartolo Colon | Boston Red Sox | James Shields | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marc Topkin | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pablo Sandoval | Philadelphia Phillies | Russell Martin | San Francisco Giants | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Wil Myers
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is everybody’s bridesmaid right now. He has a strong resume that has prepared him for managing, but he hasn’t gotten his big break yet. There are others in the same boat, including Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach and Athletics bench coach Chip Hale. Lovullo hopes that like Bo Porter, he can break through it eventually. Here’s more from today’s column..
- Manager Joe Girardi says otherwise, but Cafardo writes that the Yankees are viewing Alex Rodriguez are more of a DH than a third baseman possibility in 2015. A-Rod’s ability to play third could have an impact on the Yankees’ offseason plans, including whether to re-sign Chase Headley.
- Orioles lefty Andrew Miller is a strong union man who will seek the best contract for himself when he reaches free agency. Miller wants to return to the Red Sox, if they’re not close on money, but he’ll ultimately go to the highest bidder. Major league sources tell Cafardo that they believe the bidding will start at three years, $21MM.
- There was some trade buzz around shortstop Jose Iglesias but it now looks like he may be back in the driver’s seat as the Tigers‘ future shortstop. Eugenio Suarez and Andrew Romine both showed promise at times, but they’ve each had their runs and fizzled out. Iglesias has recovered fully from stress fractures in both shins and is expected to pick up where he left off as one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball.
- The A’s are open to trading anyone, the Red Sox are looking for a backup left-handed hitter, and John Jaso seems to fit the profile for what Boston wants. Jaso started 47 games this season for the A’s, who also used him at DH.
With the regular season in the books, it’s worth assessing how things ultimately shook out from last winter’s Rule 5 draft. Only nine players were taken in this year’s draft. Here’s where things stand:
Remember, players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. If a team makes a selection, it pays the former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K. (Note that Rule 5 selections can change hands like any other player, with an acquiring team stepping into the shoes of the original selecting club. Click here for more details.)
- Patrick Schuster, LHP (taken first overall by the Astros from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. But not before a somewhat eventful tour. He was first dealt to the Padres, then placed on waivers and claimed by the Royals before finally being sent back. He never ended up throwing a big league inning, and ultimately struggled to 4.50 ERA in 18 frames at Triple-A once back with the D’backs.
- Adrian Nieto, C (taken third overall by the White Sox from the Nationals): Retained by Chicago. The switch-hitting, 24-year-old backstop hung on all year, posting a .236/.296/.340 line in his first 118 MLB plate appearances. He is now White Sox property.
- Kevin Munson, RHP (taken fourth overall by the Phillies from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. Munson never made it onto the active roster, and was sent back in mid-March. Though he never saw MLB action this year, he did post a rather dominant campaign at Triple-A: 2.60 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9.
- Tommy Kahnle, RHP (taken eighth overall by the Rockies from the Yankees): Retained by Colorado. The 25-year-old was an oft-used bullpen piece for the Rockies, posting a 4.19 ERA in 68 2/3 frames with 8.3 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. Colorado owns his rights moving forward.
- Brian Moran, LHP (taken ninth overall by the Blue Jays from the Mariners): Still in limbo after season-ending surgery. Moran was dealt by Toronto to the Angels on the day of the draft, and opened the season DL’ed on the active roster. But his left elbow ultimately required Tommy John surgery, meaning that he ended up on the 60-day DL. The Halos do not yet own Moran’s rights permanently: to keep him, the club will need to carry him on the active roster without a DL stay for at least 90 days.
- Seth Rosin, RHP (taken tenth overall by the Mets from the Phillies): Returned to Philadelphia. Dealt immediately after the draft to the Dodgers, Rosin was claimed by the Rangers late in the spring and made three appearances before his roster spot was needed and he was returned. Back at Triple-A with the Phillies, he worked to a 3.86 ERA over 58 1/3 rames.
- Wei-Chung Wang, LHP (taken eleventh overall by the Brewers from the Pirates): Retained by Milwaukee. It took some doing, but a contending Brewers club was able to hold onto Wang for the entirety of the season. Though he did miss 45 games with a DL stint, Wang ultimately made only 14 appearances for the club. The 22-year-old will presumably be stretched out as a starter again as he returns to his development track in the lower minors.
- Marcos Mateo, RHP (taken fifteenth overall by the Diamondbacks from the Cubs): Returned to Chicago. Mateo was the first player to be returned, heading back in mid-March. The 30-year-old threw to a 3.86 ERA in 37 1/3 innings upon his return to Triple-A with his original team.
- Michael Almanzar, 3B (taken sixteenth overall by the Orioles from the Red Sox): Returned to Boston … but ultimately traded back to Baltimore. Shelved with injury for much of the year, Almanzar was returned to the Red Sox in the middle of the summer after a rehab stint. But the O’s obviously wanted him back, and added him as part of the Kelly Johnson deal. Over 233 minor league plate appearances on the year, Almanzar posted a .245/.322/.389 slash.
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