Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Almonte, De Leon, McGuire

We’ll keep tabs on the day’s minor moves right here:

  • Zoilo Almonte has elected to become a free agent, as per the MLB.com transactions page.  Almonte was outrighted off the Braves‘ 40-man roster last week and had the option of free agency or accepting an assignment to Triple-A.  Almonte signed a Major League contract with Atlanta this offseason after spending his entire nine-year pro career in the Yankees organization, posting a .523 OPS over 149 plate appearances in 2013-14 at the MLB level.
  • The Dodgers signed righty Jorge De Leon to a minor league deal, as per their official transactions page.  De Leon switches uniforms for the fourth time since October after the A’s claimed him from the Astros, released, and signed by the Cubs during the offseason.  De Leon has a 5.19 ERA, 10 walks and 10 strikeouts over 17 1/3 innings for Houston over the 2013-14 seasons.
  • Earlier this week, the Dodgers signed right-hander Deck McGuire to a minor league deal, as announced by McGuire himself via Twitter.  McGuire was taken by the Blue Jays with the 11th overall pick of the 2010 draft but he hasn’t fared well in 572 2/3 minor league innings, posting a 4.78 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.  The righty was dealt to the A’s for cash considerations in July and then outrighted off Oakland’s 40-man roster in August.
  • The Diamondbacks have loaned infielder Walter Ibarra to Monterrey of the Mexican League, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert tweets. Ibarra, 27, has yet to see big league action. In 489 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level, he has slashed ..265/.301/.346. He has spent some time in past seasons playing in his native Mexico.

Dodgers Acquire Ryan Webb

The Orioles and Dodgers announced that Baltimore has traded right-hander Ryan Webb, Minor League catcher Brian Ward and a Competitive Balance (Round B) draft pick to Los Angeles in exchange for right-hander Ben Rowen and Minor League catcher Chris O’Brien.

Ryan Webb

Webb, 29, was removed from the Orioles’ 40-man roster this week and is slated to earn $2.75MM in the second season of a two-year, $4.5MM contract this year. The former Marlin was solid, if unspectacular in his lone year with Baltimore, working to a 3.83 ERA (101 ERA+) with 6.8 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 48.7 percent ground-ball rate. The ground-ball rate is above the league average but checks in well below Webb’s career mark of 56.1 percent.

The Dodgers will hope for a return to form not only in terms of ground-ball rate, but also in ERA. The durable Webb notched a 2.91 mark in 2013 but struggled to repeat that mark in 2014. Webb gives the Dodgers another relief arm to step into an injury-plagued bullpen that has seen both Kenley Jansen and Brandon League sidelined by early-season injuries. Webb’s ground-ball skill set would seem highly similar to that of League, who rebounded from a dreadful 2013 season to serve as a very useful reliever in L.A. last year during the regular season.

The Dodgers will also take on Webb’s entire salary, which was likely a condition required in order to coerce the Orioles to part with the Competitive Balance pick. Baltimore will send the No. 74 pick in the 2015 draft to the Dodgers to help facilitate the deal. That pick comes with a slot value of $827K, which the Orioles will lose from their pool and the Dodgers will add to their pool. The Orioles’ draft pool will drop from $7,677,400 to $6,850,400, while the Dodgers’ pool will rise from $6,954,700 to $7,781,700.

Ward, also 29, has never cracked the Major Leagues. Signed as a 23-year-old undrafted free agent in 2009, he’s worked his way to Triple-A and batted .227/.330/.286 at that level in parts of the past two seasons. While he clearly doesn’t offer much in the way of upside with the bat, Baseball America did rank Ward as the best defensive catcher in Baltimore’s Minor League system heading into the 2013 season.

The 26-year-old Rowen is an extreme side-arm pitcher that generates a huge amount of ground-balls and has been tough to hit for opposing batters throughout his Minor League career. Rowen has held opponents to just 6.9 hits per nine innings in the Minors and worked to a 3.45 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 47 Triple-A innings last year. In 2013, Rowen posted a ridiculous 0.69 ERA in 65 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, averaging 7.9 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings.

O’Brien, 25, ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 26 prospect and profiles as a backup catcher, per Baseball America’s Ben Badler (on Twitter). The former 18th-round draft pick (2011) spent the 2014 season with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, slashing .266/.341/.438 in 407 plate appearances.

Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reported that Webb and Ward were headed to the Dodgers (Twitter links). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Rowen and O’Brien were on their way to the Orioles, and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweeted that the Comp Pick was going to the Dodgers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NL West Notes: Capellan, D’Backs, Tomas, Dodgers

Former big league reliever Jose Capellan, who last pitched for the Rockies in 2008, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack earlier this week, ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas reports (Spanish language link). Capellan, just 34 years of age, tossed 123 1/3 big league frames over five years, working to a 4.89 ERA. MLBTR extends its condolences to his family and friends around the game.

Here are some notes out of the NL West:

  • The Diamondbacks deserve credit for putting their best team on the field to start the year, regardless of contract status, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic argues. Arizona parted with Trevor Cahill and Cody Ross while moving Aaron Hill to a reserve role (in which it will be harder for him to build trade value). And the team has moved up the timeline of youngsters Jake Lamb and Archie Bradley, while also giving starting roles to Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed, rather than playing the service time game with those players.
  • Yasmany Tomas just wrapped up his first spring with the Diamondbacks, but the club has already planned to institute a “weight goal” for the sizable slugger, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports“I think fitness-wise, he needs to get in better shape,” said manager Chip Hale. “He knows that. He worked really hard all spring. It’s not just working hard, it’s how you eat and learning a new country and all these things. I mean, it hasn’t been easy for him. For me he performed really well for where he was at coming to a new country.”
  • The Dodgers are running a significant risk with their rotation, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. With Hyun-jin Ryu still very much a subject of concern for skipper Don Mattingly, the team is highly reliant on the health of Zack Greinke‘s right elbow.

NL West Notes: Cain, Baker, Kimbrel, Ross

The Giants officially placed Matt Cain on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, and the righty told reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (Twitter links) that he’s hoping to return in two weeks, though there’s no certainty that such a quick return is possible. “Might as well try for it,” Cain said. “That’s what you’re hoping for. Only time will tell.” Cain said he doesn’t feel any “killing” pain, but rather he feels pain when going through certain movements. There’s currently no timetable for him to throw, and the team has recalled Chris Heston to make a spot start and fill Cain’s roster spot. San Francisco also added Kevin Correia on a Minor League pact earlier tonight to provide some depth.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Scott Baker looks like the likeliest option to step into the Dodgers‘ rotation in place of the injured Hyun-jin Ryu on April 14, writes Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Of the team’s projected Triple-A starters, Baker is the only one eligible to be called up on the 14th when the team will need a starter. Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are all on the 40-man roster and therefore need to spend at least 10 days in the Minors (barring an injury on the Major League roster) before they can return to the Majors.
  • Craig Kimbrel tells MLB.com’s Corey Brock that he watched with interest from afar as the Padres drastically revamped their roster, and he’s shocked but excited to be a last-minute addition to the reconstructed team. “You can tell this organization is going after it, it’s not a few-years deal, it’s right now,” said Kimbrel. “As a player, that’s exciting. You don’t know how long you’re going to play this game. [Being here] you could tell everyone is excited … from the front office to the players. That gets me excited. I’m ready to get the ball and get started.” Brock also notes that Kimbrel’s former Braves teammate, Justin Upton, gave GM A.J. Preller a “glowing endorsement” of the closer before the trade was agreed to by both sides.
  • Diamondbacks players were relatively stunned by the team’s sudden release of Cody Ross on Sunday, writes Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. Jordan Pacheco tells Buchanan he’s always looked up to Ross, a fellow New Mexico native. Mark Trumbo spoke highly of Ross as a teammate: “The positive energy he brought each and every day was almost unmatched. He’s a very special guy in his ability to lighten the mood in any situation. When it’s go time, he had that ability as good as anybody in the game.” Ross will sign with the A’s tomorrow upon officially clearing release waivers, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight.

Reactions To And Fallout From The Kimbrel Trade

Here’s the latest on today’s trade of Craig Kimbrel to the Padres:

  • Padres GM A.J. Preller says he tried negotiating a variety of possible trades to bring Kimbrel to San Diego, but the only way he could do it was to also take on Melvin Upton Jr.‘s contract, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
  • Upton (foot) likely won’t be available until May, and he will not challenge Wil Myers for the starting center field job, Preller says (via Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller on Twitter).
  • This was a difficult trade to make from a personal standpoint,” says Braves GM John Hart, via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter links). “From a professional standpoint, we continue to be consistent in our plan, where we’re gong and what we needed to do to get there.”
  • Braves icon Chipper Jones took to Twitter (1 2 3 4) to defend the trade from Atlanta’s perspective. “I know it sucks, Braves Country, but once you decide to rebuild, you better go all the way,” he wrote. “You now have a ton of minor league talent that is on the verge of being Major League talent. You now have four picks in the top 54 picks in this year’s draft. And you now have flexibility in your payroll to be able to compete on the free agent market if you so desire.”
  • The deal is a risky one for the Padres, who now have over $68MM on the books for Kimbrel, Upton, Matt Kemp and James Shields in 2017, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. If the Padres don’t win with their current team, Preller could quickly have to pivot into rebuild mode. Meanwhile, the Braves’ signing of Nick Markakis to a $44MM deal this offseason now looks “preposterous” now that they’re shedding salary.
  • The Padres improved what was already a team strength with the trade, and now they have the best bullpen in baseball, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs writes. Nonetheless, the deal was a risky one from the Padres’ perspective, given the amount of money involved and how unpredictable relievers can be.
  • Both the Padres and Braves doubled down on their current strategies with the trade, Sherman writes. The Padres continued buying talented but expensive veterans, while the Braves continued a rebuild that they had already begun.
  • The Dodgers were, at one point, in discussions with the Braves for Kimbrel, but they were unable to strike a deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.

Minor Moves: Tomas, Oliver, Brignac, Zito

Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Diamondbacks have optioned Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, the team reports via Twitter. The club signed Tomas for $68.5MM over the offseason. He struggled both defensively and offensively this spring. A stint in Triple-A should give him time to adjust to the outfield and improve his plate approach.
  • Phillies Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver has elected free agency after he was outrighted, the club announced via Twitter. The hard throwing lefty has struggled with walks throughout his career. That continued this spring with 11 walks and 22 strikeouts in 12 and two-thirds innings. The club also announced on Twitter that they reassigned catcher Rene Garcia, first baseman Russ Canzler, and infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A.
  • Marlins utility infielder Reid Brignac has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. In 905 major league plate appearances, Brignac has a .222/.266/.314 line.
  • Athletics pitcher Barry Zito has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com. The former star is working his way back from a one-year hiatus. He posted a 4.79 ERA in 20 and two-thirds spring innings. The 37-year-old struck out 14 and walked five. A former ninth overall pick of the A’s, the southpaw struggled after moving across the Bay to San Francisco on a seven-year, $126MM contract. That deal concluded after the 2013 season.
  • The Red Sox have released Casey Crosby, Bryan LaHair, and Matt Hoffman per the MLB transactions page. Crosby was once a top prospect with the Tigers, but the 26-year-old lefty has yet to develop command. Lahair, 32, had a nice run with the Cubs in 2012 when he hit .259/.334/.450 with 16 home runs in 380 plate appearances. He spent the 2013 season in Japan and split 2014 between Cleveland’s Double and Triple-A clubs.
  • The Phillies have released shortstop Tyler Greene according to the MLB transactions page. Greene, an 11th round pick, was once rated among the Phillies’ best prospects. He missed the entire 2014 season and has never posted a strikeout rate below 33 percent at any level.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Edgmer Escalona per the MLB transactions page. Escalona pitched in parts of four seasons for the Rockies, accruing 100 innings. He has a career 4.50 ERA with 6.39 K/9 and 2.88 BB/9.
  • The Cubs have released lefty pitcher Francisley Bueno according to the transactions page. The 34-year-old has pitched in parts of four season for the Braves and Royals. The soft tossing lefty has a career 2.98 ERA with 4.92 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 60 innings. He’s a pure platoon pitcher.
  • The Braves released former closer Matt Capps per MLB.com. The righty last appeared in the majors in 2012. He has a career 3.52 ERA with 6.53 K/9 and 1.72 BB/9. He’s thrown just 12 minor league innings over the last two seasons – both with the Indians.


Dodgers To Sign Scott Baker

The Dodgers have agreed to sign righty Scott Baker, pending a physical, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter links). Presumably it is a minor league pact, unless the club intends to place Baker on its Opening Day roster.

Baker, 33, had been in camp with the Yankees before being released. He tossed 10 1/3 innings this spring, allowing nine earned runs but racking up ten strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Baker spent last year with the Rangers in a swingman role, posting a 5.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 80 2/3 frames.  He has not been a full-time starter since his 2005-2011 run with the Twins was ended by Tommy John surgery (while in the midst of his best season as a pro). Over 958 innings with Minnesota, Baker owned a 4.15 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.

Wolfson reported yesterday that the sides were talking. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Los Angeles was the “favorite” to add Baker, citing a source who believed a deal was in place pending a physical.

Dodgers Notes: Olivera, Baker, Puig, Bullpen

The Dodgers may have to wait for quite some time before they’re able to benefit from the addition of Hector Olivera, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. Olivera is still in the Dominican Repbulic waiting to acquire a visa that would allow him to travel to the U.S. Even upon arriving, Olivera will need to complete a rigorous physical, due to the questionable state of his right elbow. After that, the Dodgers will option him to the Minor Leagues in order to evaluate his prowess at both second base and third base, and possibly first base as well, per Shaikin. Suffice it to say, despite the significant expenditure, it doesn’t seem that the Dodgers are banking on Olivera playing a major role on the 2015 club.

A few more Dodgers items as we await Opening Day…

  • The Dodgers are “kicking the tires” on free agent righty Scott Baker, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Baker, who was released by the Yankees earlier this week, was a mainstay in Minnesota’s rotation in the late 2000s and earlier this decade, but he’s struggled to reestablish himself following 2012 Tommy John surgery. He’s been ineffective in each of the past two seasons with the Cubs and Rangers, but the 33-year-old could provide some cheap rotation depth for an L.A. rotation with plenty of injury question marks.
  • Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick were involved in a frightening collision when pursuing a fly-ball last night, and while Puig got the worse end of the impact, he’s passed a concussion test and is not seriously injured, writes the Times’ Steve Dilbeck. Puig told reporters he felt he’d be ready to play today, but the Dodgers have simply said they plan to monitor his situation.
  • Anthony Witrado of ESPN Los Angeles looks at the team’s questionable bullpen picture, noting that Sergio Santos has pitched significantly worse as the spring wears on. Meanwhile, Adam Liberatore has pitched quite well but could end up on the outside looking in due to the fact that he’d be a third left-hander and has a Minor League option remaining. Manager Don Mattingly has said that righty Pedro Baez is still a consideration, but he, too, has a Minor League option remaining, which could land him at Triple-A.

Quick Hits: Kluber, Price, Dodgers, Singleton

Indians GM Chris Antonetti declined to comment on the Corey Kluber negotiations with reporters (including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian) today, though he reiterated that the team has “a clear preference” to conclude any contract talks before Opening Day in order to “minimize distractions” for the players.  The chances of an extension before Opening Day “are said to be less than great” according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, though FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that “some progress” had been made between the two sides.

Here are some more items from around the baseball world…

  • The Tigers are thought to be more eager to keep David Price on a long-term extension than they were Max Scherzer last year since Price has a better track record of durability, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  Still, three sources tell Heyman that the two sides aren’t close to an agreement that would keep Price in Detroit beyond this season.
  • Reliever Mike Adams will not report to Triple-A as planned and has left the Dodgers, Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register reports (Twitter link).  Moura suggests that Adams may be on the verge of retirement.  After struggling through two injury-plagued seasons, Adams signed a minor league deal with Los Angeles last month.
  • Hector Olivera and Jose Millan Fernandez, the Dodgers‘ two recent high-profile Cuban signings, are still awaiting visas and have yet to come to the United States, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes.
  • Jon Singleton faced some criticism from fellow players for signing a five-year, $10MM extension (with three club option years) with the Astros before ever appearing in a Major League game.  Given the slow start to Singleton’s career, however, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards believes Singleton’s decision is looking better and better.  Singleton struggled through his rookie season and will begin 2015 in the minors, yet had he not signed that extension, he would only have earned roughly $540K instead of the $3.5MM he’s guaranteed in 2014-15.  There’s also still plenty of time for Singleton to develop into a quality big leaguer and for this deal to become a bargain for Houston.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels and new manager Jeff Banister talk to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News about what went into Banister’s hiring and how the Rangers view the modern relationship between the front office and the clubhouse.

West Notes: Nix, Walker, Olson, Garcia, Bradley

Late last night, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle followed up on his report that the Astros‘ exact draft pool is unknown because two players after the 10th round received bonuses north of $100K. Per Drellich, 14th-round pick Nick Tanielu and 15th-round pick Connor Goedert each received bonuses of $200K — $100K above slot for each of them. As such, Drellich writes in a separate piece that the team’s final $616,165 offer to fifth-rounder Jacob Nix was virtually every dollar they had available to offer without losing future draft picks.

Here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…

  • Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that both right-hander Taijuan Walker and left-hander Tyler Olson have made the team’s Opening Day roster (Twitter link). Walker’s inclusion on the 25-man roster is significant, as with 142 days of service time under his belt, he’ll almost certainly be a Super Two player two offseasons from now. The 25-year-old Olson, on the other hand, was in camp as a non-roster invite and will need to be added to the 40-man roster.
  • Freddy Garcia‘s Minor League contract with the Dodgers does contain an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, although the exact date of that opt-out remains unknown. Also pertaining to Garcia, Han Lee of Global Sports Integration has passed along Garcia’s Taiwanese stats to MLBTR. The veteran righty pitched to an 11-9 record with a 3.19 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 1.19 WHIP in 161 innings of work while pitching overseas in 2014.
  • Though the D-Backs have named their starting rotation, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that Archie Bradley has been so impressive that the Snakes may have to re-think at the last minute. Bradley fired six shutout innings Wednesday, including 5 2/3 no-hit innings, and after the game, manager Chip Hale told reporters: “We’ve named our five, but he’s pushed the envelope all the way down to the last possible chance he had. He’s looked great. We’ll have to sit down and evaluate everything.” Bradley could also begin his first full season in the Majors in a bullpen role, serving as a long man to get acclimated with the big leagues, Hale indicated.