Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
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.
The Angels have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran corner infielder Chad Tracy, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Tracy, a client of Octagon, receives an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
There was some confusion earlier today, as the Orioles agreed to a minor league deal with the veteran minor leaguer of the same name (that Tracy happens to be the son of former Rockies and Dodgers manager Jim Tracy).
In Tracy, the Angels have added a potential bench bat with nine seasons of Major League experience under his belt. Though he batted just .202/.243/.326 in 136 plate appearances with the Nationals in a pinch-hitting role last season, he batted .269/.343/.441 in a similar role in 2012. Tracy broke through with an outstanding sophomore campaign with the Diamondbacks in 2005 when he belted 27 homers and slashed .308/.359/.553. However, he's been unable to replicate that form in his subsequent big league seasons.
A.J. Burnett plans to play this year, reports Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the hurler may be open to pitching for a team other than the Pirates. This news throws a considerable wrinkle into the free agent pitching market.
Prior to today's news, the righty had been expected to pitch for the Pirates or retire, with the latter option looking increasingly likely. Now, he becomes one of the best arms available on the open market.
Burnett, 37, is coming off of two outstanding seasons in Pittsburgh. After a 202 1/3-inning, 3.51 ERA effort in 2012, Burnett threw 191 innings of 3.30 ball last year. He led all National League starters in 2013 with 9.8 K/9 and a 56.5% ground ball rate. Among free agents, Burnett had the lowest FIP (2.80), xFIP (2.92), and SIERA (3.10).
Burnett landed in the ninth position among baseball's top fifty free agents, according to MLBTR's Tim Dierkes. For teams looking to add impact without taking on long-term obligations, Burnett makes for a tantalizing option. That is especially so since, unlike other top rotation arms that remain, he is not tied to draft-pick compensation since the Bucs felt they could not afford to make a qualifying offer. As MLBTR's Steve Adams wrote before the offseason, Burnett would fit nicely in even the game's top rotations.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington has previously indicated that the club was not in a position to pay Burnett at the top of the market, though the club has made clear recently that it remains interested in a reunion. Commenting on today's report, Huntingon told MLB.com's Tom Singer that he was not aware of any new direction from Burnett but could not rule the possibility. "I can't say he has not [decided to test the market]. I'm not aware of every discussion there might have been," said Huntington. "All I can say is, he has been very public with his intent to pitch in Pittsburgh or not pitch at all." Huntington further said that the club's "process continues with A.J." and that there was "nothing new to report," Sawchik reports on Twitter.
The Orioles have been mentioned as a possible alternative landing spot for Burnett given his reported preference to play in close proximity to his Maryland home. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets that Burnett "would be at the top of the club's list." Other Mid-Atlantic clubs could presumably also be particularly appealing to Burnett, and the Phillies have reportedly also expressed interest, Sawchik tweets.
If Burnett sets his sights further afield geographically, many other teams could conceivably be interested. The Rangers have some interest in the hurler, tweets Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. Burnett reportedly nixed a deal that would have sent him to the Angels back in 2012 -- the Yankees instead dealt him to the Pirates -- leading MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez to peg the Halos (via Twitter) as a longshot to land him via free agency.
The entry of Burnett onto the market could be bad news for the remaining free agent starting crop and could also lead to movement in other segments of the player market. Pittsburgh reportedly will not sign a replacement pitcher if Burnett does indeed leave town, but could repurpose funds towards a first baseman. If he decides to head for another team that is in the market for starters, Burnett would have a significant impact on the balance of supply and demand. And if the Pirates look to add a bat through free agency or, perhaps more likely, via trade, an inverse effect could take result in that arena.
Draft pick compensation is hanging over the market for several prominent, unsigned free agents -- namely, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, and Kendrys Morales. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the draft pick situations of some of the clubs that might consider adding one of those names. As we finish a quiet Monday, let's round up some notes on free agent rumors from around the league:
- The Angels do not seem to be operating with much urgency to add a free agent pitcher, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. If the club does add to its rotation with an open-market contract, says DiGiovanna, it is more likely to go after Jason Hammel or Chris Capuano than Bronson Arroyo or Paul Maholm.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that the club does not have any outstanding offers for guaranteed MLB deals, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Tracker shows, Philadelphia has not entered such a pact since inking Roberto Hernandez on December 18.
- After committing a cool half-billion dollars through free agency (if you count Masahiro Tanaka and his release fee), the Yankees appear to be done adding significant salaries for the offseason, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. New York seems to be following through on GM Brian Cashman's statements that the club would not pursue Drew, says Martino, and the team is not currently trying to work out a deal to bring Chase Headley over from the Padres.
Here are today's minor moves from around baseball:
- Left-hander Erick Hurtado has signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. The 19-year-old has limited professional experience, logging just 12 1/3 innings in two seasons for Astros and Yankees affiliates, but stands an imposing 6' 4".
- The Pirates have brought in catcher Erick Fernandez on a minor-league deal, according to Eddy. The 25-year-old was released by the Nationals on July 22. He has a career .224/.294/.264 line in three seasons for Nationals affiliates.
- The A's inked catcher Dusty Brown to a minor-league contract, Eddy reports. Brown saw sporadic Major League playing time from 2009-2011, but hasn't reached the big leagues since and did not play at all in 2013.
- The Angels have signed catcher Anderson de la Rosa to a minor-league deal, per Eddy. The 29-year-old catcher has never reached the majors, spending his entire career in the Brewers system.
- The Brewers have signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida and infielder Joe Thurston to minor-league contracts, according to a team release. Hermida, formerly an everyday player with the Marlins, played the entire 2013 for Triple-A Columbus in the Indians organization, batting .247/.365/.416. Thurston collected 307 plate appearances for the Cardinals in 2009 and last appeared in the big leagues in 2010. He played in Mexico in 2013.
- Pitcher Barry Enright tweets that he has signed with the Phillies. Enright, who will be 28 in March, struggled in 2013, posting a 7.12 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 116 1/3 innings with Triple-A Salt Lake. He also appeared in four games with the Angels. The righty pitched in the Diamondbacks rotation for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
There were no new developments today relating to Matt Garza, who looked to have a deal in place with the Brewers yesterday before an unidentified snag held things up. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provided some updates from the inside, however, reporting that a source said negotiations were "ongoing." When asked whether there were any new developments, GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt "nothing yet."
Here are a few bits of information elsewhere on the current free agent pitching market:
- Bronson Arroyo and the Dodgers have had discussions since Masahiro Tanaka chose not to sign with Los Angeles, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The level of interest remains uncertain, Heyman notes.
- The Angels have "a bit" of interest in Arroyo but are also content to take their current group to Spring Training, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Angels acquired Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason to join Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards in the rotation.
- It's been a different type of offseason for the Angels this year, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, noting the patience and restraint the team has shown on the free agent market. Gonzalez notes that the Angels aren't interested in Matt Garza at the $13MM AAV he would receive in his near-deal with the Brewers, as it would push them up against the luxury tax threshold. He lists Arroyo, Jason Hammel, Chris Capuano, Scott Baker and Paul Maholm as potential rotation options that would leave some cushion between Anaheim's payroll and the luxury tax.
- With a lot of starters still available on the open market, there are plenty of teams that have yet to fill up their slate of rotation candidates. Joining the O's and Jays among the clubs that are looking for starters are both of Chicago's two franchises, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). Levine indicates that the Cubs are looking over the list of remaining free agents, but he does not say whether the White Sox have any interest in open-market players.
- MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik thinks the team is done making "major" additions, but tweaks are still possible. However, semantics could come into play heavily, as manager Lloyd McClendon said the team would still like to add a No. 3 starter, per ESPN 710's Shannon Drayer (Twitter link). New team president and COO Kevin Mather indicated today that the club would have the financial resources necessary to make more additions before the start of the season.
- There are five clubs vying for the services of Hammel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Hammel is expected to choose a landing spot within a week.
- Swingman Jerome Williams has offers on the table from at least three clubs, Cotillo tweets. He, too, appears to be nearing a decision point.
- Southpaw reliever Tim Byrdak will not be re-signing with the Mets, the reliever tweeted (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com). The 40-year-old indicated that the team decided against signing him.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
In less than two years, Yu Darvish's contract went from a big risk for the Rangers to a major bargain, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. Between Darvish's posting fee and six-year contract (plus bonuses), Durrett calculates that Darvish will cost Texas roughly $111MM over the six years, a deal that looks very reasonable compared to the massive contracts signed by other ace pitchers around baseball since the 2010-11 offseason. Masahiro Tanaka, for instance, is set to earn twice as much as Darvish over the next four seasons though most scouts concur that Darvish is the better pitcher.
Here's some more from around the AL West...
- Athletics manager Bob Melvin and assistant GM David Forst discussed the club's signing of Eric O'Flaherty in a conference call with reporters, including Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com. Forst said the A's were satisfied that O'Flaherty was making good progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in May 2013. The reliever expressed similar confidence to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) that he is "100 percent certain" he'll be able to pitch in the first half of the season, possibly as early as May.
- The Angels aren't looking for relievers "with closer experience," GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). The Halos seem set with Ernesto Frieri returning as closer and Joe Smith serving as a setup man.
- In a mailbag piece, MLB.com's Greg Johns addresses such topics as why the Mariners went after Corey Hart and Logan Morrison instead of re-signing a known quantity in Kendrys Morales, as well as Seattle's chances of pursuing some of the big names remaining on free agent market.
- From earlier today, the Angels agreed to sign Ian Stewart to a minor league deal, while the Mariners agreed to bring Endy Chavez back on a minor league contract.
The Angels have signed third baseman Ian Stewart to a minor league deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports (via Twitter). The deal contains an invitation to the club's Major League Spring Training camp. Stewart is represented by Reynolds Sports Management.
Stewart was taken by the Rockies as the 10th overall pick of the 2003 draft and was listed as no less than the 57th-best prospect in the sport by Baseball America every season from 2004-08, topping out as #4 before the 2005 season. While Stewart didn't quite live up to his lofty pedigree, he still put up a decent .246/.334/.454 slash line and 53 homers over 1236 PA with Colorado from 2008 to 2010.
A wrist injury hurt his production, however, and the injury followed him to Chicago after Stewart was dealt to the Cubs following the 2011 season. That stint ended badly after Stewart criticized the organization and was subsequently released, leading him to finish out 2013 on a minor league deal with the Dodgers.
Stewart is stll only 28 and could give the Angels some extra pop off the bench if he regains his form. Grant Green projects as the Halos' top backup infielder with Andrew Romine, Luis Jimenez and the newly-signed John McDonald also in the mix.
The Masahiro Tanaka saga has come to an end in record-setting fashion. Earlier today, Tanaka agreed to an enormous seven-year, $155MM contract with the Yankees that contains an opt-out clause after the fourth season. Tanaka's $155MM guarantee is the second-largest in history for a free agent pitcher (the largest for a right-hander) and is also the second-largest pitcher contract in history in terms of new money guaranteed. The Tanaka buzz is unlikely to die down in the next couple of days, as pundits dissect the contract and what it means for the Yankees and the free agent market. Here's a look at some of the early reactions to and fallout from the Yankees' staggering investment...
- New York GM Brian Cashman discussed the deal from the team's perspective in a conference call today, and MLBTR's Zach Links reported on the highlights.
- ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Yankees' internal sense is that this concludes their pursuit of major free agents this offseason (Twitter link).
- It's little surprise that the team with the biggest need and one of the two biggest revenue bases from which to draw wound up landing Tanaka, writes ESPN's Keith Law (Insider required). Law feels that Tanaka will be one of the 20 to 25 best starters in Major League Baseball in 2014 and notes that the opt-out clause works to the Yankees' advantage, in a way.
- SB Nation's Rob Neyer writes that while Tanaka is a significant upgrade for the Yankees, it's hyperbolic to suggest that this signing will change the balance of power in the American League.
- The Cubs were the runner-up in the Tanaka sweepstakes, according to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). Ultimately, the fact that they're not ready to win in 2014 ended their chances, he elaborates.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Yankees separated themselves, but not by a wide margin. The Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, Astros and Diamondbacks were all involved in the end. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, all teams that participated in the second round of bidding had to come in above the six-year, $120MM level.
- Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports that the seventh guaranteed year is what separated the Yankees from the rest of the pack (on Twitter). According to Kaplan (via Twitter), other factors "trumped the possibility of more money," including the influence of Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda and the attractiveness of playing for the game's highest-profile franchise.
- The Dodgers wanted Tanaka, but drew a financial line, reports Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. As Dilbeck explains, the team does have financial limitations that it intends to abide by. "We went as far as we thought we could go," said GM Ned Colletti.
- For the White Sox, GM Rick Hahn says that reports of the team's efforts to land Tanaka largely seemed "accurate," reports Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Ultimately, however, Hahn says that the money reached a level that the club was not comfortable reaching. The resources that the club would have used to sign Tanaka remain available for a similarly attractive opportunity in the future, Hahn said, but he does not see any in the current market. (Links to Twitter.)
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros' offer to Tanaka exceeded $100MM. McTaggart adds that GM Jeff Luhnow, owner Jim Crane and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens were among the Astros contingent that went to meet with Tanaka in Los Angeles.
- Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona was told that the Diamondbacks would not pursue other free-agent starters if they missed out on Tanaka, as the front office believes the asking prices to be too high (Twitter link).
- The Blue Jays were involved initially on Tanaka, but had "no way to compete" once it became clear that he would command seven years, reports John Lott of the National Post. Toronto had been willing to pay the $20MM fee, but was only interested in going to five years on the contract, Lott says. The team was also troubled by the opt-out clause, Lott tweets. Toronto figures to be among the most active teams on remaining free agent starters.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, that his team was never very involved with Tanaka and did not make a formal offer (Twitter link). As Gonzalez further explains, the Halos will instead either try to fit Matt Garza within the team's approximately $15MM of 2014 budget space or hunt for a good deal from amongst the cheaper open-market options.
- The Tanaka signing caps a nice run for Casey Close and the Excel Sports Management agency, notes Darren Heitner of Forbes. With an estimated 4% take, those two contracts would deliver a total of $14.8MM to the agency. Heitner notes also that Excel has worked out several notable deals with the Yankees in the past, given its representation of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. With its latest run of big contracts, says Heitner, Excel will surely climb the Forbes agency valuation chart.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Clubs angling to sign Masahiro Tanaka made formal offers by Jan. 16, Nikkan Sports reports (Japanese link). The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs, with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100MM over six years.
The Diamondbacks have made no secret of their pursuit of Tanaka this winter, and according to Nikkan, they've offered him a deal for six years and $120MM. Such a contract would be the largest in Diamondbacks history by a wide margin. "Like other teams, we're very interested," CEO Derrick Hall was quoted as saying at a recent meeting of MLB owners. "We want to win this competition." Owner Ken Kendrick also reportedly met with Tanaka directly during his recent tour of clubs in the U.S.
The Dodgers and Yankees are believed to have made equivalent offers, according to Nikkan, while comments by Angels owner Arte Moreno suggest that the team would have trouble fitting Tanaka into its budget. Overall, we appear to be nearing the stage in negotiations where the only step remaining is Tanaka's actual decision.