Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
Writing for ESPN The Magazine, Dan Le Batard observes that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig's controversial off-the-field behavior isn't so different from other young Hispanic players who have had to grow up in the limelight. Some were quick to criticize the 23-year-old after he showed up late to batting practice on Friday. "We love rags-to-riches stories," Le Batard writes. "But rarely, in any walk of life, does it happen as fast and as extremely as it does to the Hispanic ballplayer -- to go from soap stealing to multimillionaire in a flash." Here are more NL links:
- Nerve damage at the base of Ryan Braun's thumb continues to hobble the Brewers outfielder, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "The analogy is if you touch a hot stove, no matter how badly you want to keep your hand there, the natural reaction will be to take your hand off it," Braun said. "That's kind of what happens every time I make contact."
- The Cubs made headlines today after acknowledging that they were seeking minority partners to support renovations for Wrigley Field, but selling such shares isn't so uncommon in professional sports, David Haugh writes for the Chicago Tribune. The Diamondbacks and Mets are among clubs who have recently sought minority ownership.
Today's minor moves:
- 24-year-old righty Nick Struck has signed on with the Dodgers, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. The Cubs released their 2012 minor league pitcher of the year last week. Strcuk briefly reached Triple-A in his age-21 season, then put up a solid campaign in 2012 (3.18 ERA in 155 2/3 innings) at Double-A. He earned a quick promotion back to the Iowa Cubs last year, but allowed 6.17 earned runs per nine in his 109 1/3 frames.
- Catcher Chris Gimenez has elected free agency rather than taking an outright assignment from the Rangers, the club announced. The 31-year-old was designated for assignment on Tuesday after just a few days with the team. The Rays are interested in signing him to serve as minor league depth, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News recently reported.
- Righty Justin Fitzgerald has agreed to a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). Fitzgerald made it to the Triple-A level for the first time last year, but had a tough go of things. His 5.61 ERA in 77 innings was the worst of his career.
- 27-year-old outfielder Evan Bigley, formerly a Twins prospect, has signed with the independent league St. Paul Saints, tweets Mike Beradino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A tenth-round pick out of Dallas Baptist back in 2008, Bigley never made the leap from Double-A to Triple-A and became a minor league free agent this year.
- The DFA limbo line has thinned considerably in recent days, as MLBTR's DFA Tracker shows. Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro is a fairly intriguing name, and will see resolution of his situation by Monday. Frank Herrmann, Colt Hynes, and Preston Guilmet of the Indians are all due to learn their fates on Tuesday. Then come a series of players with interesting histories and a decent amount of big league experience: Eduardo Nunez (Yankees), Hector Noesi (Mariners), and Jeremy Jeffress (Blue Jays). Another player was just added to the rolls when the Royals designated Pedro Ciriaco this morning.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort says that the organization is working on revamping its overall approach to roster development, Owen Perkins writes for MLB.com. One initiative relates to the draft. "We're still trying to draft players of character," said Monfort, "but the talent has to be there also." On the player development side, Colorado is upgrading facilities, tightening its relationships with its top affiliates, and expanding technology options for players and staff. And the club hopes to reap benefits from a variety of health initiatives. As for the current team, which is off to a rough start after dropping three of four to the Marlins, Monfort cites starting pitching as cause for hope. "I've never seen pitching like this in 10 years," Monfort said. "We got a seasoned, veteran pitcher [Brett Anderson] for $8 or $9 million that's the same kind of gamble the Broncos took with Peyton Manning."
Here's more out of the NL West...
- MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom reports that the Diamondbacks are planning to use Daniel Hudson as a reliever upon his return from his second Tommy John surgery. Manager Kirk Gibson tells Bloom that Hudson's days as a starter with the club could be over altogether. For the time being, he's throwing bullpen sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays, and long-tossing in the interim.
- Bloom also spoke with left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith about his long road back to the Major Leagues. The Australian southpaw has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons, most recently undergoing an appendectomy while in the midst of a strong season with Boston's Triple-A affiliate (1.55 ERA in 52 1/3 innings). Rowland-Smith made the Diamondbacks' 25-man roster out of Spring Training, but the return of Cody Ross could push him out.
- Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt didn't specifically blame the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson on the team's early games in Australia when speaking with ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, but he hinted that they could have contributed to the poor luck. "I don't think enough thought was put into the process," said Honeycutt. Kershaw said that he didn't think the long flights were a factor, but Wilson admitted that he would have liked to have gotten a longer Spring Training to ramp up for the season.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The Dodgers have claimed shortstop Carlos Triunfel off waivers from the Mariners, the club announced via press release. Triunfel has been optioned to Triple-A.
That brings an end to a disappointing tenure for Triunfel in Seattle, which designated him for assignment on Friday. Once a consensus top-100 prospect, Triunfel saw only limited big league action with his former club. Last year, at Triple-A, he posted a .282/.328/.394 line in 383 trips to the plate.
The Dodgers are still discussing an extension with shortstop Hanley Ramirez, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported yesterday (Spanish language link). The sides have decided to keep things quiet, says Rojas, and it is not known where talks stand.
For his part, Ramirez did not deny that negotiations were ongoing, but neither did he affirm Rojas's source. Instead, he said that he had instructed his representatives at Wasserman Media Group that they should act as they see fit, including holding dialogue into the season. But Ramirez also made clear that he did not want to be kept apprised of things while playing. Ramirez told Rojas that he only wanted to be informed if the time comes to ink his name and take a physical, preferring to keep his focus on the season. "I don't have a telephone, I don't know what they are talking about," said Ramirez (my translation). "My role is to stay healthy and help the team."
Last we checked in on HanRam and the Dodgers, the star infielder was making clear that he hopes to stay in Los Angeles for the long term. Ramirez is set to reach free agency next year, and could well be one of (if not the) most sought-after names on the market if he has a productive, healthy year.
MLB.com's Terence Moore profiled Stan Kasten, the legendary sports executive who has built his reputation by turning around struggling franchises. As Braves president from 1986 through 2003, Kasten hired Hall of Famer Bobby Cox and helped build the organization that won a record 14 consecutive division titles. He now helms the Dodgers. Here are more late-night NL links:
- Josh Beckett has won the Dodgers' fifth starter job, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports. He had been competing with lefty Paul Maholm. The announcement makes Maholm's one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Dodgers all the more puzzling. Though not one of this winter's top available starters, few would have projected that the lefty would end up with a deal that didn't even guarantee him a rotation job.
- Ben Haber of MLB.com examined how adjusting a pitcher's mechanics can turn around their career. Giants' reliever Javier Lopez struggled with an over-the-top delivery early on, but has carved out a long career in the bullpen after switching to a sidearm motion, Haber notes.
- Braves reliever Cory Gearrin may require Tommy John surgery, The Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien tweets. GM Frank Wren says there is "ligament involvement" in the injury to the right-hander's elbow, leading the club to place him on the disabled list. In what appear to be related moves, the Braves added pitchers Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas to their Opening Day roster earlier this evening.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the disabled list, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Hyun-jin Ryu is now slated to start the club's home opener on Friday, Shaikin adds (via Twitter).
Kershaw has struggled with inflammation of a back muscle this spring, though he was able to start the team's first game of the season, which was held in Australia against the Diamondbacks. The move likely stems from an abundance of caution after the Dodgers inked the lefty to a seven-year, $215MM extension this winter. Commenting on the move, manager Don Mattingly offered that the club merely aims to protect Kershaw from himself, according to another Shaikin tweet.
However, the decision has to be cause for at least some concern. Kershaw indicated as recently as Wednesday that he planned to start the April 4 matchup with the Giants, but that duty now falls to Ryu.
Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from the Dodgers' North American opener against the Padres on Sunday, the club announced. The left-hander is suffering from inflammation of the teres major muscle in his upper back and the Dodgers are understandably being very cautious with their ace, though Kershaw still intends to start the Dodgers' home opener against the Giants on April 4. Kershaw also told reporters (including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick) that he didn't believe his injury was caused either by his 102-pitch outing in the Dodgers' opener against the Diamondbacks or the long flights back and forth from Australia.
Here's some more from around the NL West...
- Chone Figgins is thankful to be back on a Major League roster after his struggles of the last few seasons, which included missing the entire 2013 campaign, the utilityman tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Figgins signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January and while he hasn't hit much in Spring Training, his on-base ability and positional versatility were enough for him to win a bench job.
- Tony Sipp won't opt out of his contract with the Padres, MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo reports (via Twitter). Sipp was told earlier in the week that he wouldn't make San Diego's Opening Day roster and he could've opted out of his minor league deal today, but will instead report to Triple-A. The southpaw faces another opt-out date on June 1.
- At least two years and $50MM separate Pablo Sandoval and the Giants in extension talks, and the large gap is indicative of how wary the Giants are about committing a long-term deal to Sandoval, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Notable players like Curt Schilling, Carlos Lee and Delmon Young have signed contracts with weight clauses in the past, but the MLBPA "frowns on them, especially for marquee free agents." Shea lists the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox as teams who could be looking for a third base upgrade next winter when Sandoval is a free agent, and Shea thinks Sandoval could find his price on the open market.
Rosin was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Mets from the Phillies, and then had his right shipped to Los Angeles. Now, the Rangers will become the third team to give him a look. The 25-year-old put up a 4.33 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 126 2/3 innings for the Phillies' Double-A affiliate in 2013.
Guerra, 28, spent time as the Dodgers closer in 2011, and has a lifetime 2.90 ERA in 102 1/3 MLB innings. But he fell out of favor in Los Angeles last year after posting a rough 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 frames, and saw his chances at a pen slot evaporate as the team made several additions over the offseason.
The Dodgers have the highest projected payroll in baseball at $235MM, which means that, for the first time in 15 years, the Yankees do not have baseball's highest payroll, the Associated Press reports. Also, the Dodgers' Zack Greinke will top the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez for baseball's highest-paid player. Greinke will make $24MM in the second year of his contract, and MLB's accounting also includes a prorated portion of his signing bonus. Greinke would have counted as the highest-paid player in the game even if Rodriguez hadn't been suspended for the season. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- Pitcher Scott Baker is "making progress" on a deal with the injury-ravaged Rangers, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com tweets. The Mariners released Baker yesterday. Baker, 32, has played sparingly in the Majors since 2011, due to elbow troubles.
- The Mariners want to find a right-handed hitter, and they might not trade Nick Franklin unless they find one, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. A righty would help the Mariners balance a lefty-heavy lineup that includes Robinson Cano, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders.
- Veteran infielder John McDonald has made the Angels roster, and he's thinking about what could be his last season in the big leagues, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. "This could be my last year," McDonald says. "I'm not going to have a press conference to announce it. ... You never know what can happen. I don't like putting a timetable on anything. I'm 39. I'm not foolish. There is only so long you can play." McDonald has never played more than 123 games in a season but, mostly thanks to his defense, he's managed to eke out a 15-year career with the Indians, Tigers, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Red Sox and now the Angels.