Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
Dr. Frank Jobe, the man who performed the first -- or, perhaps more accurately, the -- Tommy John surgery, has passed away at the age of 88. As MLB.com's Ken Gurnick writes, the longtime Dodgers medical director was instrumental in pioneering that now-commonplace, immensely impactful procedure: "it was Jobe who invented it, performed it, refined it and taught it to hundreds of training orthopedic surgeons." Needless to say, Jobe's contributions to the game will continue to have impact for generations to come, and MLBTR joins the rest of the baseball world in saluting him in passing. If you're interested in learning more about his remarkable life, see this excellent bio piece from MLB.com's Doug Miller.
More from the NL West:
- Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin suffered an arm issue of his own, rupturing his left biceps tendon, but will not need surgery at this point, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports. GM Josh Byrnes said he feared the worst -- a season-ending injury -- but that after consulting the medical staff "the strong consensus was no surgery." Though a timeline has not yet been set, Maybin could return within four to six weeks. San Diego should have plenty of depth to cover in Maybin's absence, though the club will certainly hope for a positive resolution of this latest setback for the 26-year-old, who signed a five-year, $25MM deal before the 2012 season.
- Meanwhile, the Padres have let third baseman Chase Headley know that they fully intend to make him a qualifying offer at the end of the year, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com via Twitter. While this does not come as a surprise, it indicates that San Diego -- like the Indians with Justin Masterson -- views the QO as a card to be played in extension talks.
- Former Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt will work out with the club for a ten-day stretch as he seeks another shot at a MLB job, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The club previously declined to exercise its half of a mutual option on the 38-year-old after he underwent -- you guessed it -- Tommy John surgery late last year. It is surely worth it for Colorado to take a look, as Betancourt has largely been an outstanding reliever since breaking into the bigs at the late age of 28 back in 2003.
The following 40-man roster players have less than five years service time and are out of minor league options. That means they must clear waivers before being sent to the minors, so the team would be at risk of losing them in attempting to do so. I've included players on multiyear deals. This list was compiled through MLBTR's sources. Next, we'll take a look at the NL West.
With the Diamondbacks beginning their season on March 22nd in Australia against the Dodgers, both teams will deal with a unique set of roster rules, as outlined by MLB.com's Steve Gilbert last month.
Delgado seems slated for Arizona's bullpen, unless perhaps Bronson Arroyo's bulging disk lands him on the DL. Regarding Tuiasosopo, D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson told Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic yesterday, "He definitely could be a guy that comes into play for us because of his versatility."
The D'Backs took Mateo from the Cubs in December's Rule 5 draft, but with Brad Ziegler, J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, Addison Reed, Josh Collmenter, and Joe Thatcher seemingly locked in, there won't be room for Mateo if Delgado joins the pen. A trade or injury could create a spot. A trade with the Cubs to retain Mateo's rights wouldn't make much sense, as the D'Backs would still have to pass him through waivers to get him to Triple-A.
Elbert is on the 60-day DL currently, so he won't be occupying a roster spot. Guerra is "up against it" in trying to make a Dodgers bullpen stacked with veterans, as explained by MLB.com's Ken Gurnick last month. Tim Federowicz is set to back up A.J. Ellis behind the plate, so the Dodgers will probably have to try to pass Butera through waivers.
Yesterday, Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee suggested there are two openings in the Giants' bullpen, assuming Petit makes the group as a long man. Machi will probably take one, but it could be tough for Huff to make the team in a similar role to Petit. Heath Hembree, Derek Law, and Jose De Paula are just a few of the other names in the mix.
There won't be room for both Adrianza and Abreu, as explained by Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles. It seems likely one of them will be traded.
Unless the Padres decide to carry three catchers, Rivera's shot at making the team depends on Yasmani Grandal's recovery from July knee surgery.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has changed agents, hiring Adam Katz and Andy Mota of Wasserman Media Group, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). As shown in MLBTR's Agency Database, Puig had been represented by Jaime Torres.
As Rosenthal notes, Wasserman represents a host of high-profile players, including fellow Dodgers Hanley Ramirez and Kenley Jansen. The deal that Puig signed out of Cuba carries him through 2018 (his age-27 season), so there is little pressure to begin considering a new deal. Puig does have the ability to trade out his guaranteed salary for arbitration earnings once he's racked up enough service time to qualify. As Puig has only 119 days of service at present, that will likely not occur until the 2017 season.
While Jeff Samardzija has been a chief subject of trade rumors this offseason, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio on SiriuxXM (via Bowden's Twitter feed) that his preference would be to sign the right-hander to a long-term extension. Samardzija said the same during an appearance on the broadcast (audio link here), as "I've always stated this is where I wanna be...this organization stuck by me and has given me the opportunity to be a starter." Despite the rumors, there has "obviously been a mutual interest between the two parties, for sure...[which] kinda makes everything else just talking, which is what you want it to be."
Here's some more news from around the game...
- Johan Santana never considered retirement in the wake of his latest shoulder surgery, as the veteran southpaw told reporters (including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli) that he didn't want to let his health dictate the end of his career. "I don't want to go out in the game like that. I want to go out of the game on my own terms, knowing this is going to be my last game, knowing this is going to be my last year," Santana said. The two-time Cy Young Award winner said he has "nothing to lose, [and] a lot to gain" from his incentive-heavy minor league deal with the Orioles.
- Jon Lester's cancer diagnosis in 2006 played a big part in his acceptance of his original multiyear deal with the Red Sox, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports. That contract will expire this offseason, and while Lester has no new news on the status of extension talks, he is hopeful a new deal will be settled soon.
- The Dodgers' surplus of pitching could force the team to make a tough cut in the form of right-hander Seth Rosin, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon writes. Rosin has pitched well thus far in Spring Training but L.A. might not have space for him on the roster, a situation that Saxon says could backfire like the team's cut of Kevin Gregg last spring. Rosin was selected off the Phillies' roster by the Mets in last December's Rule 5 draft and was then traded to the Dodgers, who now must keep Rosin on their Major League roster all season or else offer him back to Philadelphia for $25K.
- In a subscription-only piece for Baseball America, Matt Eddy and J.J. Cooper look at some of the offseason's key minor league free agent signings and some of the overall trends of this winter's minor league deals.
- Jim Leyland is happy in his position as special assistant to Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and has no interest in returning to the Pirates organization, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I really don't want to come back to the organization,” Leyland said. “Not because I don't love it, but (because) they've set their tempo now and they have their own people in place. They don't need somebody like me hanging around and, really, I don't need to do that....I'll retire a Tiger.”
A number of notable clubs entered Spring Training looking for clear answers at second base, and other teams could face looming questions at the position. Here's a roundup of items about the keystone...
- Multiple talent evaluators tell ESPN's Jim Bowden that Alexander Guerrero needs a lot of time at Triple-A in order to both learn second base and simply to regain his form after not playing last season. In the Insider-only piece, Bowden looks at internal and external second base answers the Dodgers could explore to solidify themselves at the position.
- Early word on Guerrero hasn't been too positive, as one evaluator tells ESPN's Buster Olney (another Insider-only piece) that the Dodgers "could get him through outright waivers right now if they need a roster spot." Olney speculates that the Nationals could generate some interest in Danny Espinosa given the number of teams (including the Dodgers and Yankees) looking for second base help, though Washington wouldn't want to accept a sell-low offer for Espinosa given his poor 2013 season.
- The Royals are lacking in middle infield depth behind Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar, as Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes may not have the 25-man roster space for a backup infielder. Since Ned Yost plans to carry 12 pitchers, that leaves only four bench spots for Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, Danny Valencia and the backup catcher. Christian Colon, Pedro Ciriaco and Johnny Giavotella are currently fighting for a roster spot in camp and the team will have Valencia and Mike Moustakas work out at second in case they need to be emergency options. “It’s not ideal not to have a backup middle infielder on the team,” GM Dayton Moore said. “However, I do anticipate Infante and Escobar in the lineup most days.”
- Marco Scutaro is only beginning to take grounders and has yet to swing a bat, CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports. The veteran infielder is purposely taking a slow start to Spring Training in order to keep himself healthy and free of hip problems, and Giants GM Brian Sabean admits that the team probably should've shut Scutaro down last year when he was battling multiple nagging injuries. Despite Scutaro's issues, Sabean is confident he'll be ready for Opening Day though he only said "we'll see" when asked if he was comfortable with the team's second base depth.
The Indians have acquired infielder Justin Sellers from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced. In a corresponding move to create a 40-man roster spot for Sellers, the Tribe has designated first baseman David Cooper for assignment.
Sellers was himself designated for assignment by L.A. last week and the move to Cleveland frees him from DFA Limbo. Sellers was originally a sixth-round draft pick for the Athletics in 2005 and he has 266 Major League PA under his belt as a Dodger from 2011-13. The 28-year-old has a career .199/.278/.301 slash line in the bigs, though he has much more impressive numbers over his last four minor league seasons.
Sellers has experience at second and third but has primarily been a shortstop for much of his professional career. He gives the Tribe more middle infield depth, as he'll be in the mix with Mike Aviles and Elliot Johnson as the primary infield backup to Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Cleveland signed Cooper to a Major League deal in December, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (via Twitter) that the Tribe will keep Cooper as a non-roster player in camp if he clears waivers. Cooper last played in the Majors in 2012 as a member of the Blue Jays as he struggled with a possible career-ending back injury before undergoing surgery and recovering enough to play 13 minor league games for the Indians last season. The left-handed hitting first baseman was Toronto's first round pick (17th overall) in 2008 and he has a .301/.376/.470 line over 2298 career PA in the minors, plus a .750 OPS in 226 Major League PA.
MLB.com's Corey Brock brought readers into the dugout for some game action in an interesting read today. Receiving permission to camp out with the Padres during their game Thursday, Brock observed a number of inside snippets. For instance, infielder Stephen Carmon, who came over from minor league camp as depth and did not play, enjoyed a peaceful afternoon chatting with some veterans and sampling the wide variety of sunflower seed flavors made available.
Here are a few notes from around baseball:
- In another great story out of the NL West, Alex Pavloic of the San Jose Mercury News tells how 31-year-old Mark Minicozzi took an improbable path -- around the world, through multiple injuries, and over multiple years -- to rejoining the Giants. He left the organization after 2007, only to come back in 2012. Last year, he homered in his first Spring Training at-bat with the big club after coming over from the minor-league side for a road trip. This year, he earned his first non-roster invitation, and had his first ever start today. In his first trip to the plate, he swatted another long ball. Though Minicozzi still has many obstacles to overcome to reach a regular-season MLB game, his tale is testament to the power of perseverance and positive thinking.
- The second base position for the Dodgers is now a "full-blown tryout camp," reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Major offseason acquisition Alex Guerrero continues to try to learn second while adapting to the pace of the big league game, and Gurnick says it seems as if he'll start off in Triple-A. Though Dee Gordon is the other player that the team would like to see emerge, he too has not separated himself from a pack that includes Brendan Harris, Chone Figgins, Justin Turner, and Miguel Rojas.
- Infielder Jack Hannahan has not yet appeared in full spring action for the Reds because he underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Hannahan struggled mightily last year, but was apparently playing through the injury the entire time. The 33-year-old is in the final guaranteed year of a two-year, $4MM deal that comes with a $4MM club option for next season.
Here are today's minor moves:
- The Dodgers have inked 28-year-old righty Steve Edlefsen to a minor league deal after holding a recent tryout, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Edlefsen had spent his entire career with the Giants, and saw 26 2/3 innings of MLB work between 2011-12, posting a 6.75 ERA in that span. He struggled last year at Triple-A, throwing 53 innings and allowing a 6.28 ERA as his walk-rate skyrocketed to 7.6 BB/9.
- Minor league outfielder Todd Glaesmann of the Diamondbacks has been placed on the voluntary retired list, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. A third round pick back in 2009, the 23-year-old Glaesmann was the player to be named later in the three-team deal that sent Heath Bell and Ryan Hanigan to the Rays, David Holmberg to the Reds, and Justin Choate to the Diamondbacks. Curiously, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said at the time of the deal that the PTBNL (who turned out to be Glaesmann) was the key personnel piece from his team's perspective, although money saved by moving Bell no doubt was a significant motivator.
- Three players are suspended in DFA limbo, per MLBTR's DFA Tracker: Andy Parrino (Athletics), Chase D'Arnaud (Pirates), and Justin Sellers (Dodgers).
Giants president and CEO Larry Baer spoke to reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) today at the team's Spring Training camp in Scottsdale and discussed a number of topics, including...
- The Dodgers have drastically outspent the Giants over the last couple of seasons but, while Baer says his team's payroll will remain competitive, he is comfortable with the Giants' strategy of building through the draft and making big signings only when necessary. "We’re fine with not matching them dollar for dollar because when it comes down to it, it’s an art, not a science, and it comes down to judgments," Baer said. "Drafting Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Bumgarner, etc...Those were judgment calls, not money calls."
- The Giants have yet to begin talks with Pablo Sandoval about a multiyear extension. A deal could still happen before Opening Day, Baer said, though the team feels it has the entire season to work out a deal if it decides Sandoval is worth keeping in the fold. This is Sandoval's last year under contract with San Francisco and today MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby looked at how the Giants' uncertainty over Sandoval's conditioning and consistency at the plate are the main hurdles to a new contract.
- Baer said that the Giants could be open to temporarily sharing AT&T Park with the Athletics if the A's are getting a new ballpark built in Oakland. Of course, Baer stressed that the Giants were more than happy about the A's getting a new stadium "in their territory," as the two franchises are in a dispute over territorial rights to the San Jose area, where the A's want to relocate.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker provides an interesting breakdown of the payrolls of Japanese clubs. The Yomiuri Giants lead the way with a USD-equivalent tab of about $45.45MM, which includes all players on the club's 70-man roster. Just 91 players league-wide make the equivalent of over $1MM, says Newman, with powerful catcher Shinnosuke Abe leading the way with a $6MM annual draw. Among foreign players, Andruw Jones of Rakuten has the highest salary at $3.8MM. Here are some more notes from the evening:
- Free agent outfielder Derrick Robinson underwent shoulder surgery today and is expected to miss most (if not all) of the coming season, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The 26-year-old saw his first taste of MLB action last year, putting up a .255/.322/.323 line in 216 plate appearances for the Reds.
- Chone Figgins had to go back to square one to earn an opportunity with the Dodgers, writes Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times. The 36-year-old said that his showcase was "like a high school workout," except that he wrapped it up by telling the attending scouts to "tell your bosses you have a player who played in the big leagues and can still play."
- Twins middle infielder Brian Dozier says he would be interested in talking extension, if approached, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Nothing yet, but I'd be dumb not to even listen," said Dozier. "It's up to those guys. We'd be open to anything." Dozier had a breakout year in 2013, putting up a .244/.312/.414 line in 623 plate appearances and performing well enough defensively and on the basepaths to register 3.8 rWAR and 3.9 fWAR. Dozier hit 18 long balls in his first full-time year, despite having never reached double-digits at any professional level. The 26-year-old is set to reach arbitration eligibility in 2016.
- Though a new deal for a player like Dozier would certainly be a surprise at this point in his career, his defensive flexibility makes him a reasonable risk since he will remain worthy of a roster spot even if he loses a starting role. (Dozier played 83 games at shortstop in 2012.) And (as MLBTR's Steve Adams noted to me), Dozier's early propensity for counting stats could provide some impetus for a deal, since he may draw a relatively sizeable arbitration salary when he qualifies. Indeed, as Braves senior advisor John Hart recently noted, less-prominent players could increasingly be targeted by teams looking for new ways to derive value.