Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors

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

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.


Dodgers Notes: Alvarez, Startups

Last week, Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs noted that he’s heard from multiple internaitonal scouts who believe the Dodgers have an agreement with Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez for a signing bonus of around $16MM. While he cautioned that no deal is completed and other teams still have interest, it’s a significant development in the market for Alvarez, who is waiting to hear whether or not he will be cleared to sign in the current signing period or in the 2015-16 period, which begins on July 2. The Dodgers likely wouldn’t sign Alvarez until the upcoming signing period, McDaniel noted. Here’s more out of Los Angeles.

  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ latest piece on Alvarez seems to line up with McDaniel’s findings, as Heyman lists the Dodgers as the favorite to sign and adds that he’s heard L.A. has already made an offer to Alvarez. Heyman lists the division-rival Diamondbacks as competition, along with the Rangers, Blue Jays and Nationals. Texas, of course, can’t sign Alvarez until July 2, as they’re restricted for signing a player for more than $250K in the current signing period. The Blue Jays seem unlikely to sign him in the current period even if he’s cleared, as they’re rumored to have a $4MM+ deal with Vlad Guerrero Jr., and going over their pool to sign Alvarez in the current period would prohibit them from finalizing that deal.
  • In an outside-the-box move, the Dodgers are planning to invest up to $1.2MM in ten startup companies, Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register writes. Specifically, the Dodgers will focus on startups with ideas that might help make them more money or improve their team. That might mean they’ll invest in companies working in fan engagement or customer relationship management, but they could also invest in sports analytics. “We’re in this to find products and companies and technologies that solve our problems but are ultimately scalable,” says Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain. “We’re not really going to cross over into the proprietary, competitive-advantage area. But, hey, listen, if somebody comes to us with something that is incredibly proprietary … we might pull it out of the program.”

NL West Notes: Kendrick, Tomas, Rockies

Howie Kendrick has been so impressive with the Dodgers in the early stages of the 2015 season that the team is very likely interested in discussing a long-term deal with Kendrick’s agents at Reynolds Sports Management, writes ESPN’s Buster Olney in his daily blog (ESPN Insider subscription required). As Olney explains, the team likely envisions Corey Seager manning shortstop in the long-term, and Hector Olivera could hold down the fort at third base, with Kendrick returning to the keystone on a multi-year pact. I’d note, however, that there are many who believe that Seager will eventually need to play third base, and in that scenario, Olivera would slide over to second base, so the fit isn’t exactly perfect.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • The D-Backs‘ handling of Yasmany Tomas has many pundits scratching their heads, but manager Chip Hale tells MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert that he thinks being eased into the lineup will be beneficial to Tomas in the long run. “People are having a hard time believing it because he’s not getting at-bats every day, which is hard,” said Hale. “But he’s doing [work] offensively with our hitting coaches and then the strength coach; they’re really working hard to get him to where we think he needs to be to be an everyday player.” Tomas has the same translator, Ariel Preto, that worked with Yoenis Cespedes in 2012, when Hale was the Athletics’ bench coach, giving the two experience in helping a Cuban player acclimate to the Majors. Hale explained how difficult the transition became for Cespedes that year when he was thrown directly into the starting lineup, adding that he hopes the handling of Tomas will avoid that.
  • Interestingly, Hale’s comments don’t line up very well with those made by Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart on a recent MLB Network Radio appearance (Twitter link). Stewart said that the most important thing for Tomas is to get at-bats and play regularly at third base, adding that his contract will not determine whether or not he’s in the Majors.
  • Rockies players spoke favorably to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post about the tougher attitude and culture around the team as well as the front office’s emphasis on making tough decisions to improve the immediate on-field product. The Rox cut Jhoulys Chacin in Spring Training, for example, despite his long tenure with the team and status as a clubhouse favorite. Left-hander Rex Brothers was sent to Triple-A despite his big league experience, Adam Ottavino seized the closer’s role almost immediately, and manager Walt Weiss has requested and been provided with significant input from the analytics department to drastically increase the amount of infield shifting in Colorado. The change starts with new GM Jeff Bridich, according to Corey Dickerson, who spoke highly of Bridich’s knowledge of players. “There is no messing around, not with this group,” Carlos Gonzalez told Saunders. “We are here to win now. We are not here to be patient.”

Minor Moves: Gonzalez Germen, Ryan Dennick

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:

  • The Cubs have announced they have purchased the contract of right-hander Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Iowa and transferred right-hander Jacob Turner to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 25-man and 40-man rosters, respectively. German, who was claimed by the Cubs on waivers from the Rangers in January, did not allow a run in his four appearances (4 2/3 innings) for Iowa while striking out five. The 27-year-old posted a 4.31 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 54 relief outings for the Mets over the past two seasons.
  • The Dodgers have outrighted left-hander Ryan Dennick to Double-A Tulsa, per the club’s transactions page. It has been a whirlwind week for the 28-year-old who was claimed by the Dodgers off waivers from the Reds and then designated for assignment two days later.
  • Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, Grant Balfour (Rays), Todd Redmond (Blue Jays), and Xavier Cedeno (Nationals) remain in DFA limbo.

Quick Hits: Scully, Hendriks, Nationals

Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is celebrating his 65th anniversary in the booth tonight. His first game was at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park featuring Robin Roberts against Don Newcombe. Incidentally, Roberts is also in the Hall of Fame while Newcombe is often discussed as a snub. Here’s more from around the league.

  • The Blue Jays did little to address an obvious bullpen problem over the offseason, writes Mike Wilner of Sportsnet.ca. However, the club might have lucked into a valuable solution in the form of Liam Hendriks. The 26-year-old is averaging 93 mph with his fastball – up about two mph from his career norm. Through six innings, he’s allowed two hits and one walk while recording nine strikeouts. Before anybody anoints Hendriks the closer, it’s worth noting that he has a low 5.3% swinging strike rate. At some point, that rate will either increase, or his strikeout rate will decrease.
  • The Nationals must learn to thrive under walk year pressure, writes Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. When Jayson Werth entered his walk year with the Phillies, then-manager Charlie Manuel advised him to test free agency (in more colorful language). Now the Nationals have four key players on the road to free agency. Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and Denard Span could all leave after the season, which gives 2015 a make-or-break feel for Washington. Werth and Max Scherzer have advice for their new teammates – acknowledge all the sources of pressure.