Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to be out for four-to-six weeks with a strained tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand (Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune has the details on the injury). While the injury doesn't appear to be too serious, one wonders if it could spur the M's to bolster their rotation with a free agent starter, as the club was already rumored to be asking about Ervin Santana earlier this week.
- The Astros' increase in spending this offseason had nothing to do with a statement from MLBPA head Tony Clark that the team was being monitored for its low payroll, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. The additions of Scott Feldman, Dexter Fowler, Jesse Crain, Chad Qualls and others will boost Houston's payroll to over $40MM in 2014 (according to Cot's Baseball Contracts), not counting several players making the league minimum. Owner Jim Crane noted that the Astros were willing to spend even more this winter but did not succeed in signing Masahiro Tanaka or Jose Dariel Abreu.
- Speaking with reporters (including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan) today, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that he has kept in touch with Nelson Cruz's representatives but he doesn't think a reunion will happen. "We check in periodically, but nothing has changed," Daniels said. "My expectation is he will sign elsewhere." Cruz has been heavily linked to the Mariners within the last week, and Texas only seems interested in re-signing Cruz if his market completely dries up.
- The Rangers' arbitration case with Mitch Moreland is a week away and Daniels said the two sides are "so close, I would like to think we would avoid it. But until you have a deal, you have to be prepared for anything." Moreland asked for a $3.25MM contract for 2014 while the Rangers countered with a $2.025MM offer.
- While the Rangers have been looking for a right-handed bat, Daniels said "We're not talking to anybody" on the free agent market. The GM hinted that Texas would turn to internal options like Michael Choice as candidates to provide a right-handed hitting balance to Moreland.
- Darren Oliver will work with the Rangers as a special assistant and will spend a week with the club during Spring Training, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Oliver retired following his 20th Major League season and is now enjoying his first (mostly) free spring in over two and a half decades. Oliver also shared a few opinions about what his former team, the Blue Jays, needs to do to improve in 2014.
- The Angels made a number of low-cost moves this offseason, a tactic MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince believes is a nod towards saving money to lock Mike Trout up to a long-term extension. Trout's future price tag is the biggest question facing the Angels franchise and "the most captivating contractual conundrum in the game today." We heard earlier today that Trout and the Angels would discuss a multiyear deal this spring.
The Angels and Mike Trout will enter negotiations about a multiyear contract this spring with the hopes that a deal will be reached shortly after Opening Day, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Since Trout is still a year away from arbitration eligibility, the Halos could renew his contract for slightly more than the league minimum (as they did last year, with some controversy), though Trout would get a lot more money in his pocket immediately due to a signing bonus from a new extension.
Though the Angels control Trout through the 2017 season, an extension would give them some cost certainty through his three arbitration years, which seem likely to reach record levels. The Halos would surely look to cover at least a couple of Trout's free agent years in an extension, and agent Craig Landis of LSW Baseball could easily ask for at least $25MM for each of his client's free agent years.
The financial terms are mind-boggling for a 22-year-old player who has only 336 Major League games to his name, yet Trout's performance has justified such an inflated price tag. Trout hit .324/.416/.560 with 57 homers in 2012-13, and factoring in his speed (82 steals in 94 attempts) and outfield defense, Trout has accounted for a league-best 20.8 WAR in that span, according to Baseball Reference. If Trout and the Angels are looking for an extension in the range of nine or 10 seasons, such a deal could quite possibly eclipse Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $275MM contract with the Yankees as the most expensive contract in baseball history.
The White Sox have received positive reviews for their accumulation of young talent over the last year. But with that youth movement comes a lot of roster questions, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin, who provides an excellent early look at a spring that should be worthy of close attention. Here are some more scattered notes from the day:
- For the Angels, another new starting pitching acquisition is highly unlikely at this point, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. "None of the deals made sense for us, whether trying to access veteran starters through trade or free agency," said Dipoto. "And we didn't want to do anything that didn't make sense for us." Dipoto says that he is comfortable with his team's starting depth and likes its upside.
- The Twins will be among the team's attending a showcase on Thursday featuring Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz and righty Odrisamer Despaigne, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The pair is expected to sign in short order, says Wolfson. Diaz, in particular, could be an interesting participant in the marketplace.
- Dominican July 2 prospect Yirver Gilbert Lara is reportedly said by some scouts to have agreed to a $3.2MM signing bonus with the Brewers. Lara's trainer, Jaime Ramos, told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that "there is nothing concrete and there are still a lot of teams interested in him," including the Brewers, Royals, Yankees, and Twins. Whether or not Lara lands in Milwaukee, explain Sanchez and his MLB.com colleague Adam McCalvy, the Brewers appear set to embark on greatly increased levels of international spending and player development efforts. (The team's largest international bonus awards to date are just $800K.)
- Pitcher Carl Pavano is progressing in rehab and plans to throw off of a mound in a week or so, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 38-year-old, who did not pitch professionally last year, hopes to put on a showcase in the near future.
FEBRUARY 10: Torrealba will earn $950K if he makes the MLB club, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The deal also includes incentives and a March 23 opt-out.
JANUARY 31: The Angels and veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba have agreed to terms on a minor league contract, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 35-year-old Torrealba is a client of MDR Sports Management.
Torrealba spent 2013 as the Rockies' primary backup to Wilin Rosario and posted a .240/.295/.285 batting line in 196 plate appearances along the way. He gunned down 29 percent of attempted base stealers, which is right in line with his career mark of 30 percent. A career .256/.315/.379 batter, Torrealba will provide the Halos with some veteran depth behind primary catchers Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger.
The Angels have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran reliever Brandon Lyon, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports (on Twitter). The 34-year-old right-hander receives an invitation to Major League Spring Training and will compete for a slot in manager Mike Scioscia's bullpen. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Lyon, a client of Meister Sports Management, will earn a $1MM base salary if he makes the club.
Lyon spent most of the 2013 campaign in the Mets organization, posting a 4.98 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 38.7 percent ground-ball rate. He was released in July and briefly caught on with the Red Sox, yielding one earned run in 5 1/3 innings for their Triple-A affiliate before requesting his release.
Though Lyon had a tough 2013, he's one year removed from an excellent 2012 campaign in which he posted a 3.10 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 61 innings for the Astros and Blue Jays. ERA estimators such as FIP (3.23), xFIP (3.94) and SIERA (3.20) all back up his dominance from that season. While he's young enough to hope for a rebound, it's certainly troubling that his average fastball velocity dropped from 90.7 mph in 2012 all the way to 87.8 mph in 2013.
Let's take a quick look at a few brief-but-relevant notes on some high-profile free agents, the first two of whom remain unsigned:
- The Mets do not have an offer on the table for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Indeed, New York has made no offers to Drew, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- It has long been clear that Ervin Santana's asking price has dropped from its one-time nine-figure level. But his market value has now dropped so far that Santana may only be asking for three years at present, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- The Angels offered Matt Garza a four-year deal for about the same money he ultimately received from the Brewers, tweets Olney. Los Angeles pulled the deal when Garza did not act upon it, however.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that back at the Winter Meetings, the Angels offered Matt Garza a four-year contract similar to the deal he eventually he inked with the Brewers last week. However, owner Arte Moreno typically wants a quick response to free agent offers, so the Angels didn't leave the offer on the table for long (Twitter links). The Halos have added Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason and inked a returning Mark Mulder to a minor league deal. Here's more from the West divisions.
- Rangers southpaw Joe Ortiz will miss three months of the season after he was hit by a motorcycle in Venezuela, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Ortiz, who was a pedestrian at the time of the frightening accident, has a broken bone in his left foot.
- The Astros announced that top prospect and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel has had an emergency appendectomy. General manager Jeff Luhnow said in a press release that Appel isn't expected to miss much time: "He will report to camp on time. Once he arrives in Spring Training, we’ll see where he is at health-wise and take it from there. We anticipate that he will either be ready to work out at the start of camp or very close to ready." The Astros also announced that waiver claim Raul Valdes will be out four to six weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
- Former Dodgers starter Chris Capuano figures to be a bargain this offseason, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes. ESPN's Buster Olney recently noted (on Twitter) that Capuano is now only asking for a one-year contract. Sullivan suggests that could make him a better buy than someone like Bronson Arroyo, even though Arroyo is perceived as being more durable. In October, the Dodgers paid Capuano a $1MM buyout rather than picking up an $8MM option, suggesting that they did not believe he was worth $7MM to them. The Steamer projection system, however, projects that Capuano will be approximately as valuable as Arroyo, Tim Hudson or Phil Hughes.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Angels have avoided arbitration with third baseman David Freese on a one-year, $5.05MM deal, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). The two sides bridged one of the largest relative gaps among big-value arbitration cases: Freese filed at $6MM, while the team countered at $4.1MM.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged Freese's arbitration value at $4.4MM, which he beat by a fairly substantial margin. The Halos picked up Freese in an offseason swap for Peter Bourjos, who avoided arbitration with the Cardinals for $1.2MM. The third bagger will reach free agency after the 2015 season.
With Freese and Kevin Jepsen settling today, the Angels have no more remaining arbitration cases.
The Angels have reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with righty Kevin Jepsen, the reliever's representatives at Beverly Hills Sports Council tweeted. Jepsen will earn $1.4625MM, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
Jepsen's deal pays him the exact midpoint between the two sides' filing numbers. He had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to land at $1.4MM. Jepsen managed only a 4.50 ERA in 36 innings last year for the Halos, though he did put up a 9.0 K/9. In 2012, Jepsen threw 44 2/3 innings of 3.02 ERA ball.
WEDNESDAY: Boesch would earn $800K if he makes the MLB roster, while Pena would make $1MM.
TUESDAY: The Angels have reached agreement on minor league deals with outfielder Brennan Boesch and first baseman Carlos Pena, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Boesch, 28, is represented by CAA Sports, while the 35-year-old Pena is a client of the Boras Corporation. Both deals include Spring Training invites, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Boesch saw only 53 MLB plate appearances last year, posting a .275/.302/.529 line, before he was released by the Yankees in July. The Yanks had signed Boesch to a $1.5MM deal after he was let go by the Tigers, for whom he had been a regular between 2010-12. Over that stretch, Boesch posted a .259/.315/.414 triple-slash with 42 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 1,487 plate appearances. With just over three years of MLB service to his name, Boesch comes with team control beyond the 2014 season.
Pena, a 13-year MLB veteran, was an everyday player until last season. Spending most of 2013 with the Astros, Pena slashed .207/.321/.346 in 328 plate appearances. As that line would indicate, Pena has hung his hat on his ability to get on base via the walk, which he has done at about twice the league-average rate throughout his career. Once a major power threat -- he hit 172 home runs between 2007 and 2011 -- Pena's HR/FB rate has dropped from a peak of 29.1% down to around the 15% level in recent seasons.