Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
Spring training is time for players to get ready for the season, but it's also a busy time for agents, as agent Joshua Kusnick chronicles in a piece for Baseball Prospectus (subscription-only). This spring, Kusnick saw a number of significant career milestones or disappointments for lesser-known clients -- Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto stuck with the White Sox and fellow catcher Steve Clevenger made the Orioles out of camp, while pitcher Bobby Cassevah got released by the Rockies. Meanwhile, other clients headed to the independent Atlantic League. Kusnick's piece is a good remidner that the fortunes of players on the fringes of the big leagues can be fickle, especially in the spring. Kusnick also reveals that Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada both recently asked him about the possibility of representing them. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Mike Trout's extension with the Angels angered some players throughout baseball, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post writes. The idea is that Trout, by potentially leaving money on the table, violated a "code" throughout baseball that you don't take an under-market deal, for fear that it will negatively affect other players. Svrluga notes that, for example, Trout's deal could affect potential extensions for Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper of the Nationals.
- Jason Kipnis was smart to sign a long-term contract with the Indians, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes. Kipnis recently turned 27, which means that he's already in his prime. His new contract takes him through age 33, and he previously would have been eligible for free agency heading into 2018, his age-31 season. Pluto suggests, then, that Kipnis was smart to take $52.5MM in guaranteed money now.
1:13pm: The Marlins have outrighted Bogusevic, the club announced.
12:55pm: The Angels have claimed right-hander Michael Brady off waivers from the Marlins, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). The 27-year-old Brady was designated for assignment by the Fish along with outfielder Brian Bogusevic in order to clear 40-man roster spots for Reed Johnson and Kevin Slowey.
Brady, a former 24th-round pick, enjoyed a solid season at Double-A last year, though it should be noted that pitching the entire season at age 26, he was older than most of his competition. Still, Brady posted a stellar 1.53 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 53 innings. He finished 44 games and collected 23 saves along the way.
This time of year is full of minor moves, as teams have finalized not only their Opening Day rosters at the MLB levels but also their minor league assignments. As always, Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a full rundown of all the comings and goings. While we have covered the more notable among those transactions over recent days, be sure to check Eddy's list for all of your team's maneuverings. Here are some more moves from the day:
- Outfielder Brennan Boesch will stay with the Angels organization after not making the club's Opening Day roster, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). Boesch had a "soft out" date in his contract that came due yesterday. After a nice run in the spring, the 28-year-old will apparently wait for a major league opportunity while working in Triple-A for the Halos. In four years at the MLB level, Boesch has a cumulative .260/.315/.418 triple-slash.
- As reported earlier today, Henry Rodriguez of the Marlins will likewise stay with that organization rather than looking for a new opportunity on the open market.
- The Braves have inked southpaw Luis Perez, who was recently cut loose by the Blue Jays, reports Cotillo (Twitter links). The 29-year-old had some success at the big league level with the Jays in 2012, putting up a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings. Perez missed much of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery and recently underwent another procedure to remove scar tissue, but will go to Atlanta with hopes of finishing his rehab and returning to the MLB mix. As David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, the team is hopeful that he can be a significant contributor later in the season.
- Outfielder Brandon Boggs has been released by the Braves, according to the International League transactions page. The 31-year-old has seen 382 plate appearances in parts of four big league seasons, posting a cumulative .209/.315/.380 line. Last year, at Triple-A, he slashed .236/.331/.353 in 476 trips to the dish.
- Former major league righty Mike MacDougal has signed on with the Atlantic League's Camden Riversharks, Cotillo tweets. The 37-year-old last saw MLB time in 2012, and was a regular as recently as 2011, when he threw 57 innings of 2.05 ERA ball with the Dodgers. MacDougal worked to a 5.40 ERA in 45 Triple-A frames last year.
- The MLBTR DFA Tracker is, perhaps, as full as it has ever been, with eighteen players in DFA limbo. Among those whose resolution dates are fast approaching are Carlos Peguero (Royals), Raul Valdes (Astros), and a trio of Mariners (Bobby LaFromboise, Xavier Avery, and Carlos Triunfel).
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:
- The Angels have purchased the contract of infielder Ian Stewart, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The former top prospect, now 28, was brought in on a minor league contract in January.
- Ryan Rowland-Smith will make the Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster, GM Kevin Towers disclosed (via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). Rowland-Smith was in camp on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but was excellent last year for Boston's Triple-A club.
- The Giants announced that right-hander J.C. Gutierrez and infielder Brandon Hicks have been chosen for the Opening Day roster. Hicks had been competing with rookie Ehire Adrianza for a backup infield job, but both have made the team.
- The Braves announced via press release that pitchers Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas have been added to the Opening Day roster.
- Reds manager Bryan Price announced that reliever Trevor Bell and outfielder Roger Bernadina have made the club's Opening Day roster, according to a tweet from the team's Triple-A affiliate. Bell hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011, but threw very well this spring in 8 2/3 innings.
- The Mets are set to add Omar Quintanilla to their Opening Day roster, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Quintanilla figures to serve as the back-up at short. He rejoined the club on a minor league deal after being non-tendered.
- Xavier Nady will break camp with the Padres, tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, and thus will be added to the 40-man roster. The 35-year-old had a solid spring, and will fill in while Kyle Blanks and Cameron Maybin work back from injury.
- The Tigers have purchased the contract of Tyler Collins, the club announced. The 23-year-old, left-handed-hitting outfielder has not played above the Double-A level, but now grabs an Opening Day roster spot for a Detroit club that is without Andy Dirks to start the year. In 530 plate appearances at Double-A last year, Collins put up a .240/.323/.438 line with 21 home runs (and 122 strikeouts against 51 walks).
- The Rangers will add minor league free agent Daniel McCutchen to the roster, according to a tweet from his representatives at Sosnick Cobbe Sports. Texas will need to add the reliever to the 40-man roster in order to activate him.
- Yangervis Solarte will make the Yankees Opening Day roster, tweets Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Fellow utility infielder Eduardo Nunez, meanwhile, will be optioned to Triple-A to start the year. Solarte earned the position after a torrid spring.
- The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster, which includes three players -- Tony Gwynn Jr., Mario Hollands, and Jeff Manship -- who must be added to the 40-man. Meanwhile, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been put on the 60-day DL to create roster space while infielder Reid Brignac and reliever Shawn Camp have been reassigned to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (Twitter links).
- The Athletics have selected the contract of infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and optioned him to Triple-A, according to the MLB transactions page. After failing to see MLB action in the first year of his two-year, $6.5MM deal with Oakland, Nakajima was outrighted and ultimately re-signed to a minor league deal.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Craig Landis, Mike Trout's representative at LSW Baseball, responded to critics of his client's new six-year, $144.5MM extension today. Some have said Trout could have argued for a contract in the $300MM range, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes, while rival agents contend the outfielder would have benefited from a year-to-year approach to arbitration. Landis emphasized Trout's youth and the security the contract provides in defending it this weekend. "We’re not like the other people," he commented. "We feel that Mike is going to do well ... [w]hat Mike was trying to accomplish was some financial security, but also keeping the door open for whatever may happen down the road."
- Landis also broached the idea of a lifetime contract in negotiations, but it didn't get any traction, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
- For his part, Trout believes the deal's six-year length is "perfect," the LA Times' Mike DiGiovanna tweets. "The owner put [a] big number out there like $33MM [and] it's hard to turn down," Trout said.
- Angels owner Arte Moreno says six years was the minimum the Angels were comfortable with, and that the club would have preferred a seven- or eight-year contract, according to the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher (Twitter link). Many have focused on the overall guarantee in analyzing Trout's deal, but these comments suggest the length of the deal -- and thus the age at which Trout will be able to reach free agency -- was a major factor in negotiations.
Two of the game's highest-profile players -- two-time reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and 22-year-old Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the man who arguably should have taken those titles -- just signed on for significant new extensions. Cabrera inked an eight-year, $244.5MM deal that kicks in after the 2015 season, while Trout sold all three arb-eligible seasons and three of his free agent campaigns for a total of $144.5MM. Here are some reactions:
- We already took a look at a few opinions on the Cabrera contract, which drew some strong negative sentiment. But Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski defends the move, telling ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he "didn't want to lose" Cabrera. The deal was necessary, said Dombrowski, for Detroit to retain a player that he considers an all-time great hitter who will be able to maintain production for another decade. "Would I love to be able to sign Miguel Cabrera for $22MM a year for the next five years? Of course," said Dombrowski. "But was five years going to get this done? The answer to that is no. And I know that for a fact." Cabrera's interest in staying with the club mattered, but seemingly only went so far. "He did want to be a Tiger," Dombrowski said, "but you've still got to pay him in today's world."
- Turning to Trout, it appears that the sides were negotiating (at least at this stage of talks) with a clear idea that the deal would cover only six years. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets, Trout countered the Halos' original offer of $140MM with a $153MM figure. The final number landed closer to the Angels' preferred figure, of course. By holding to a six year commitment, the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin writes, Trout figures to have a chance at an even bigger payday down the line.
- The Trout contract makes sense for both sides, reasons ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider link). That sentiment is not exactly shared by Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who argues that Los Angeles got a huge discount on Trout's free agent seasons.
- Trout has always been linked to fellow phenom Bryce Harper. But that does not necessarily mean that Trout's contract will serve as a template for future negotiations between Harper and the Nationals, as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Agent Scott Boras used some interesting terms in discussing the Trout deal, but left no doubt as to his meaning: "I think [Trout is] a very special cup of tea, for which he is deserving of a completely different brew. While few, I definitely consider Bryce Harper as part of the next generation of elite brand of teas. Certainly as a studied connoisseur, I may hold a differing opinion as to the availabiity, demand and value of tea futures."
The Angels have officially announced agreement on a long-term extension with star outfielder Mike Trout. The deal covers six years and is worth $144.5MM. Trout receives a full no-trade clause.
The six-year pact will kick in for 2015 and will take Trout through his age-28 season in 2020, covering three arb-eligible seasons and three free agent seasons. It does not include any option years at the back end, meaning Trout now stands to hit the open market at age 29. Trout will get a $5MM signing bonus, and then receive the following annual salaries: $5.25MM (2015), $15.25MM (2016), $19.25MM (2017), $33.25MM (2018-20).
Surprisingly, this extension is not the largest total guarantee ever given to a player with between two and three years of service. (Trout has 2.070 years of service.) That distinction still belongs to Buster Posey, who secured an eight-year, $159MM contract while also sacrificing an option year. Of course, Trout's deal is more favorable to the player on the whole, especially since he will have a chance to test the market at such a young age, and carries a greater average annual value.
But after establishing himself as the best player in the game today -- at just 22 years of age -- the natural inclination is to ask why he did not secure a larger guarantee. Set to break records in arbitration, Trout was already locked in for huge salaries given his unprecedented success. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs spitballed his three-year arb earnings at $60MM. If that is the case, then Trout sold his first three free agent years (in the peak prime of his career) at just around $85MM. That represents an incredible savings for an Angels team that can reasonably expect Trout to remain the game's most productive player over most (if not all) of the deal.
That analysis is not changed by the deal's actual salary breakdown, under which Trout will receive $33.25MM annually for the three free agent years. Most of all, there are many reasons the deal could have been back-loaded. But even if those numbers represent the sides' actual valuations, that AAV (which beats the $31MM in Miguel Cabrera's deal and $30.7MM in Clayton Kershaw's) still falls below the market rate for Trout, who right now possesses both the game's highest ceiling and floor.
Indeed, Trout has handily led all of baseball in wins above replacement over each of the last two seasons. He has not only been the game's second-bet hitter, by measure of wRC+, but has been outstanding in the field and on the basepaths. Indeed, as Jim Bowden of ESPN (Insider link) recently noted, the ZiPS projection system sees Trout (unsurprisingly) as outpacing the rest of the game not only in 2014 but for the foreseeable future beyond.
In that sense, perhaps, the key to this deal is not its price but the mere fact that Angels GM Jerry Dipoto was able to get it done. Adding three years of control over a generational player like Trout, covering his mid-to-late twenties, is about as safe a bet as possible in the game. While there has been some suggestion that the club may have preferred an even longer deal, which makes some sense, this contract obviously reduces risk. Even better for the Angels, they commit only to buying prime years without paying any apparent premium to do so.
MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reported the agreement and tweeted its final terms as well as the deal's inclusion of a no-trade clause. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the deal's annual breakdown (via Twitter).
The Angels are "close to finalizing" agreement on an extension with star outfielder Mike Trout, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. The deal would be for six seasons at just over $140MM, according to Gonzalez, covering three free agent seasons.
Longtime Athletics starter Rich Harden is still pursuing his throwing program and is planning to hold a mid-season showcase, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Over 624 1/3 innings in seven seasons with the A's, the 32-year-old threw to a 3.65 ERA. Here are a few quick notes out of the AL West:
- Angels outfielder Brennan Boesch has a March 30 "soft out" in his deal, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. In essence, the clause requires the club to add him to its 25-man roster or allow him to go to any other team that is willing to do so. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a strong spring, putting up a .278/.350/.472 line in 40 plate appearances.
- Mariners infielder Nick Franklin has been spending some time working in the outfield, and says that he is simply "trying to be versatile," reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. The 23-year-old has been a hot subject of trade speculation, as he lacks a regular spot in the Seattle infield and could appeal to a variety of clubs. But his focus is on getting to the bigs with his current organization. "Some way, somehow I want to get on the field, whatever it takes," said Franklin. "What am I going to do, wait around for someone to get hurt?"
- Athletics outfielder Michael Taylor has learned that he will not make the Opening Day roster, reports Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. As the 28-year-old is out of options, he figures to be dealt or plucked off of the waiver wire, though a move has yet to be made. Once a top prospect, Taylor has certainly put his best foot forward this spring with a .274/.348/.532 line and three long balls in 69 plate appearances, though he has struck out 17 times while drawing six walks. Last year, in 481 trips to the plate at Triple-A, Taylor had a .281/.360/.474 triple-slash with 18 home runs.
- The division has two new additions from this morning, as the Mariners added starter Chris Young and the Astros claimed outfielder Alex Presley.
Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has not only made his team's rotation, but he'll be Texas' Opening Day starter after Yu Darvish injured his neck. Scheppers has never started a game in the big leagues, having appeared in 115 games in the past two seasons as a reliever. As Elias notes (via FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro on Twitter), that's unusual -- the last pitcher to make his MLB starting debut on Opening Day was former Dodgers phenom Fernando Valenzuela, all the way back in 1981. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- GM Jon Daniels says he expects recently-claimed infielder Donnie Murphy to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says signing Joe Blanton was his fault, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. "It’s a mistake on my part, there's no one else to blame, I made the call on signing Joe," Dipoto says. The Angels released Blanton this week after he posted a 6.08 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 132 2/3 innings last season, then continued to struggle in spring training.
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony says a lack of consistency was one reason his team traded pitcher Vance Worley to the Pirates, reports Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. "He didn't throw as hard as he did in the past and couldn't get the ball down. He couldn't change some of the things he knew he had to," says Antony. Worley, who struggled badly in 2013, was out of options, and the Twins outrighted him before trading him for cash considerations.