Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
For those who are visual-minded baseball fans, the Los Angeles Times has an interactive graphic that allows users to see a side-by-side comparison of two teams' salaries on a position-by-position basis. After you're finished checking out what that looks like when you compare the Astros to the Dodgers and Yankees, here's more from around the league...
- "The handwriting is on the wall" that Brian McCann will be playing for a new team in 2014, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman opines that the strong play of Evan Gattis have given the Braves, who typically operate with a payroll around $90MM, the flexibility to let McCann walk.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he's approached Jordan Zimmermann's agents at SFX about the possibility of a contract extension. We heard earlier in the offseason that the Nats were interested in a long-term deal, but this is the first report of the team beginning negotiations.
- ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Cubs and Rangers also bid aggressively on Hyun-Jin Ryu this offseason but were blown out of the water by the Dodgers' $25.73MM bid (Twitter link). The Cubs bid $15MM and the Rangers bid $18MM, per Olney.
- Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN examines what has become a strong Twins farm system, highlighting under-the-radar prospects Josmil Pinto and Jorge Polanco. Mackey also spoke with former Twins skipper Tom Kelly about the improvements top prospect Miguel Sano has made defensively at third base.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of Mexican heritage, pride, and culture. The holiday traces its roots to the Battle of Puebla in 1862 where the undermanned Mexican army defeated the French, regarded as having the world's premier army at the time. More than 100 Mexican nationals have played Major League baseball, including Cardinals' lefty Jaime Garcia and Brewers' righty Marco Estrada. The pair squared off against each other at Miller Park this afternoon in the first-ever matchup between two Mexican-born starting pitchers on Cinco de Mayo and the 37th such meeting overall (per the Brewers via the Elias Sports Bureau). Garcia was masterful scattering eight hits across eight innings in the Cardinals' 10-1 victory. Estrada, meanwhile, channelled the French army allowing eight runs and six hits while issuing a career-high five walks (two with the bases loaded). Adding insult to injury, Chorizo lost the Sausage Race (h/t Adam McCalvy of MLB.com via Twitter). Por otras partes en béisbol:
- Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com believes Angels manager Mike Scioscia needs a fresh start and proposes the Dodgers as the most obvious possibility. Rosenthal notes owner Artie Moreno would recoil at the idea of Scioscia managing the crosstown rivals, but the Angels would be better for it if they could obtain a significant player or two in a John Farrell-style trade.
- Indians outfielder Michael Brantley hasn't heard anything about contract negotiations and that's by design, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. "Once the season starts, it's time for me to concentrate on baseball," Brantley said. "I don't need distractions like that. If my agents have anything going on, they'll get in touch with me."
- The Astros have dropped Erik Bedard from the starting rotation and need a starter for Friday's game against the Rangers. MLB.com's Brian McTaggart doesn't sense the Astros are in a rush to start the service clock of top prospect Jarred Cosart, who is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 27 1/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Cosart's next scheduled start is tomorrow night.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum told reporters, including Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald, Carlos Marmol's status remains unchanged a day after he failed to retire any of the three batters he faced (two walks and one HBP). "Obviously he had a bad outing and couldn’t throw strikes," said Sveum. "Like I said he’s one of the seven guys, and he’s got to pitch, and we’ll get him back out there in some fashion. You can’t hide people. They have to pitch." Marmol pitched a perfect sixth inning today.
- Matt Garza will pitch his second minor league rehab start tomorrow for Triple-A Iowa, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Garza, number seven on MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings, is scheduled to throw three innings.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it would be a shame if David Ortiz can't stay healthy given his level of production so far this year. Even as he seems locked in at the plate, he's not in perfect health. “I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball good,” the 37-year-old said. “I just keep going out there, seeing and hitting the ball. I’m keeping it simple right now. I’m not trying to do too much and the hits are falling. And some hits get taken away. I’m still not 100 percent down there [pointing to his legs].” Here's more from today's column..
- Right-hander Jake Peavy is on the disabled list again, but he’s going to be very much in demand before the trading deadline if the White Sox start selling off. “He’s a great fit for a team like [the Orioles],” said one National League GM. “They’re looking to add that veteran, battle-tested pitcher to really finish off their staff and that Peavy type would be ideal.” The only problem is that the money might deter them. Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be an ideal guy, but he too is pricey.
- Teams are still monitoring Javier Vazquez's recovery from knee surgery because he could be talked into pitching again and could be a solid mid-rotation starter. Vazquez was in winter ball and wanted to come back to the majors, but the knee issue seemed to put that to rest. For the right contract, however, he can have a change of heart.
- Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire doesn’t have a contract for next year, but he is earning one with Minnesota’s better-than-expected start. With the pitching staff performing well and the lineup exceeding expectations, don’t be surprised if he gets a mid-season extension.
- Hanley Ramirez is signed through 2014, so the Dodgers may eventually move Dee Gordon to second base, unless they feel they can sign Robinson Cano as a free agent after the season. The Dodgers are unlikely to pick up their $5.75MM option on Mark Ellis.
Here's a look at the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Chase Headley is probably going to be traded by the July 31st deadline. The Padres plan to spend the next two months determining whether they can lock up the third baseman long term, but there are two problems with that. For starters, Headley says he doesn't want to talk about a new deal during the season. Secondly, it would be surprising to see San Diego crack $100MM to keep him. Headley probably wants a better hitting environment and to play for a better team. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of teams that would like to add him as Rosenthal says there could be at least a dozen clubs in the market for a third baseman, including the Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox.
- If Mike Napoli stays healthy and continues producing, the Red Sox first baseman will build his case for a multi-year deal in free agency. Of course, Boston reduced their three-year offer to Napoli to one-year after learning he had a condition in both hips. However, he's taking MRIs every three months to keep tabs on it and if the tests show that his condition is improved or stable, a team might be willing to extend a longer offer, especially since he's playing first base rather than catcher.
- Josh Johnson is the Blue Jays' most obvious trade candidate but if the season becomes a train wreck, they'll have the ability to move virtually any player. Jose Reyes is the only player signed beyond 2015 while most players on multi-year deals are signed at affordable prices and no one has a no-trade clause. Brandon Morrow might be an interesting name as the club has lots of young pitching coming. Of course, the Blue Jays have to fall out of things before considering such a move.
- It's bad enough for the Angels that shortstop Jean Segura is blossoming into a star elsewhere, but they've also traded away an entire rotation's worth of talent in recent years. The Halos sent Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs to Arizona for Dan Haren, Donn Roach to San Diego for Ernesto Frieri, and Johnny Hellweg to Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal. On top of that, the Angels weakened their farm system by giving up their first and second round picks last year for Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and their first round pick this year to ink Josh Hamilton. Their top pick last year was No. 114, this year it'll be No. 59.
Athletics GM Billy Beane is in favor of recognizing teams with the best regular-season records, NBC Sports' Joe Posnanski reports. Beane, who was quoted in Moneyball as saying his "s*** doesn't work in the playoffs," calls the postseason a "gauntlet of randomness."
"[W]e allow small sample sizes and random events to determine the champion. That’s how it is in baseball," says Beane. Each team plays 162 games in baseball, an enormous number, and both Beane and Posnanski feel that stellar performances in the regular season shouldn't be completely washed away by a bad performance in a short playoff series.
Posnanski suggests a system in which the playoffs and World Series still exist ("The playoffs are a great thing for our sport – I want to make that clear," Beane says), but Major League Baseball presents separate, and meaningful, awards for the teams with the best records in each league. It's an interesting idea, even if, as Alex Remington at FanGraphs points out, there's no chance it will happen. Here are more notes from the West Coast.
- New Padres owner Ron Fowler told the media that the team planned to offer Chase Headley a contract extension, but Fowler never mentioned that to Headley, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. That led to a surprised reaction from Headley, who said, "To be honest, this is not something we've discussed."
- The Dodgers have not yet extended the contract of manager Don Mattingly, who has only a team option in place next season, and Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wonders why. But team president Stan Kasten says it's a non-issue. "The team has its option some time next fall. What’s wrong with just leaving it at that?" says Kasten. "The answer is nothing and it’s stupid to suggest otherwise. If he had a 10-year contract, but we weren’t happy with his performance, he wouldn’t be here next year, because they’re unrelated." The Dodgers are off to a 13-14 start this year.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Reds acquired infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen from the Diamondbacks for cash or a player to be named later, according to the D'Backs. Teahen, 31, was hitting .209/.321/.254 in 81 Triple-A plate appearances after struggling offensively in the Washington organization at that level last year. He was drafted in the first round by the A's in 2002 and spent five seasons with the Royals, hitting 18 home runs in '06.
- The Dodgers have signed pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor-league deal, Chris Cotillo of CLNS Radio reports. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has confirmed the signing. Laffey has been designated for assignment by the Mets and Blue Jays so far this season, and he elected free agency yesterday instead of accepting an outright assignment from the Jays. Laffey has appeared in five big-league games so far this year.
- Rangers minor-leaguer Randy Wells has retired, FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro reports (on Twitter). Wells, 30, finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009, when he was with the Cubs. He appeared in 98 big-league games, mostly with Chicago, posting a 4.08 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He made five starts in 2013 for the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock.
- The Mariners have signed outfielder Corey Patterson to a minor-league deal, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports (on Twitter). Patterson will report to extended spring training. Patterson, 33, hit .251/.285/.410 for the Brewers' Triple-A team in Nashville in 2012. He has played for the Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Nationals, Brewers, Blue Jays and Cardinals.
Rob Neyer, writing for SB Nation, took a look at the future of the game, including some issues that a hypothetical new commissioner might tackle. His list included the poor attendance of the Athletics and Rays, Jeffrey Loria, and the absence of major league baseball from markets like Portland and Charlotte. Elsewhere in baseball ...
- The Red Sox have been very pleased with the early returns on free agent signee Ryan Dempster, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Boston gave the soon-to-be 36-year-old a two-year, $26.5MM deal this past offseason. This raised the usual questions about how Dempster would transition to the American League, and in particular its East division. The righty has responded by sporting an impressive 12.9 K/9, albeit with an elevated walk rate, both of which could be the result of increased use of his splitter. David Ross seemed to confirm that analysis after catching Dempster yesterday, saying that he was throwing "a Bugs Bunny splitty."
- With Carlos Ruiz returning, the Phillies are facing a backup catcher roster dilemma, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phils must remove a player from both the 25-man and 40-man rosters to make way for the team's top backstop. Humberto Quintero has played well in limited action, putting up a .313/.353/.438 line over 17 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Erik Kratz still has an option remaining and has struggled as the team's primary catcher, hitting .191/.222/.309 in his 72 plate appearances. The club has until Sunday to assess whether to designate Quintero for assignment or, instead, option Kratz and make an alternative 40-man move.
- Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti is looking prescient for prioritizing versatility in the team's bench, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. With Mark Ellis the latest Dodger infielder to suffer an injury, the team can still turn to players like Nick Punto (acquired from the Red Sox last season) and Skip Schumaker (traded from the Cardinals this offseason). Much like with the L.A. rotation, the club's backup infield stock once seemed so full as to warrant a trade, but now looks like valuable depth.
Commissioner Bud Selig says he wants his stewardship of the game to be judged by the value of MLB's franchises, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. He called the Dodgers' sale "stunning," and said that "every franchise is worth a lot more today ... because the game is healthy." Selig also weighed in on the DH, saying that "some cataclysmic event" would be needed to keep the bat out of National League pitchers' hands. Here are some more notes from around the National League:
- Padres GM Josh Byrnes is taking a hard look at the club's farm system to find a solution to the team's pitching woes, writes Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. According to Fangraphs, the Padres' rotation has put up negative 1.4 WAR thus far, a full .5 WAR worse than the second-to-last Astros staff. Jenkins says that the front office's "unwillingness or failure" to supplement the team's less-than-promising rotation over the offseason is to blame for the club's present difficulties.
- Two in-house options for San Diego are minor league arms Tim Stauffer and Sean O'Sullivan, both of whom possess similar out clauses in their contracts, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Center says that both pitchers can opt out around June 1 if they have not been elevated to the Padres' big league roster.
- The emergence of catcher Evan Gattis could ultimately have an impact on the Braves' plans behind the dish, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The team has benefitted enormously from his performance as stalwart Brian McCann works his way back from injury. But as Bowman says, the first-place Braves have every reason to try and work McCann back into his starting role, and still have Gerald Laird locked up for this year and next. On the other hand, with the Braves already unlikely to re-sign McCann after this season, Gattis's continued performance could make that decision much easier for the team.
- Meanwhile, Bowman says the Braves were interested in locking up outfielder Jason Heyward and first baseman Freddie Freeman during the offseason. Despite the team's efforts to initiate talks, however, they were rebuffed by the young stars. Heyward currently stands to reach free agency in 2016, with Freeman following him in 2017.
- Cubs starter Matt Garza suffered yet another setback, failing to make his first rehab start after suffering from what Cubs manager Dale Sveum called a "dead arm," writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribute. Garza is, however, scheduled for long toss tomorrow and should be set up for a comeback start soon, David Furones writes for MLB.com. Of course, the Cubs would like not only to benefit from Garza's work on the mound, but to begin his audition for teams looking for rotation help at the trade deadline. In addition to the already-noted Chase Utley, Garza is one of several players that ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Insider) to keep an eye on as trade season approaches. Others include Mets catcher John Buck and Indians reliever Chris Perez.
Former Red Sox GM and current Cubs president Theo Epstein, speaking along with Athletics GM Billy Beane at a panel discussion in Boston on Monday, says that the big problem facing big-payroll teams is how to spend their extra money, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. New rules have made it difficult to splurge in the draft or in the international market, and more and more younger players are signing long-term deals that buy out free agent seasons. That leaves the free agent market as the next obvious place to find talent. Big-payroll teams have historically dominated the free agent market, of course, but with so many players signing long-term with their current clubs, the free agent talent pool will be shallower in the coming years than it once was. "It's one thing to have an advantage as far as the amount of dollars you have, but if there aren't effective places to spend that money, what do you do with that advantage?" says Epstein.
Beane, meanwhile, has a different take, lamenting that, as a small-payroll GM, he isn't able to keep his players longer. "If we could have one thing, it would be to draft, develop and keep our own players," he says. "Having capital, it's not just about signing free agents. Having capital allows you to take your Gio Gonzalez and keep him through the rest of his career." Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer gave manager Dale Sveum his vote of confidence Tuesday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports. "We’re all in this together," says Hoyer. "We’ve struggled, it’s been painful to watch because we keep on squandering leads. That’s on Theo and that’s on me. We have to figure out ways to get better. We’re not the most talented team in the league right now." The Cubs are currently 5-13.
- Dodgers team president Stan Kasten expects the team's currently-stratospheric payroll to decrease as the team adds more talent from the minors, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. The Dodgers are focusing on scouting and development, Kasten says, so that, in the future, the payroll "is not going to be where it is." The Dodgers are currently 9-10 and have been racked by injuries.
- Ted Lilly is scheduled to start for the Dodgers Wednesday, and he'll be the Dodgers' eighth starter in their first 20 games, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick points out. (The other seven are Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, and Stephen Fife.) The Dodgers' quandary of what to do with their starting pitching depth was a major story in spring training, and the Dodgers did, in fact, deal Aaron Harang to the Rockies. But after a slew of injuries (including today's revelation that Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery), that starting pitching depth is no more.
- Playing badly might or might not yield big dividends for the Padres, notes Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Krasovic quotes Baseball America's Jim Callis, who points out that the top five picks in the draft are much more valuable than other picks, but Krasovic also notes that the Padres haven't done so well lately with top picks like Matt Bush and Donavan Tate. The Padres are currently 5-14.
- Veteran Eddie Bonine, who recently signed a minor-league deal with the Padres after being released by the Diamondbacks, is trying to make it back to the big leagues as a knuckleballer, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports. Bonine used the knuckleball as a secondary pitch in the past, throwing it 19% of the time as member of the Tigers bullpen in 2010. Bonine missed the 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery.
Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, announced the team, with the standard expected recovery time of one year. Elbow pain first surfaced for Billingsley in mid-July of last year. He had platelet-rich plasma injections in August and September and tried to rehab the injury, but Tommy John surgery was looming as a possibility. The 28-year-old made a pair of big league starts this year before the elbow problem resurfaced.
Billingsley will earn $12MM in 2014, the last guaranteed year of his contract. After 2014, the Dodgers will choose between a $3MM buyout and a $14MM club option for 2015.
Billingsley joined Dodgers starters Zack Greinke (broken collarbone) and Chris Capuano (strained calf) on the DL two days ago. Greinke's collarbone was broken when the Padres' Carlos Quentin charged the mound on April 11th, with Capuano worsening his own injury by sprinting toward the fracas. The Dodgers' rotation will welcome Ted Lilly tomorrow, with Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, and Stephen Fife comprising the other four and Aaron Harang now pitching for the Mariners.