Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
Agent Jamie Murphy of TWC Sports, in an interview on Buster Olney's Baseball Tonight podcast on ESPN, says that client-stealing by other agents isn't particularly prevalent in baseball. When players do change agents, Murphy says, it's mostly "for the right reasons," such as, for example, a player changing from an inexperienced agent to a more experienced one. Murphy represents Nick Markakis, Mark Ellis and David Aardsma. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Ted Lilly will start for the Dodgers next Wednesday, with Chris Capuano heading to the disabled list with a calf strain, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. The Dodgers had a brief standoff with Lilly last weekend when the lefty refused a minor-league rehab assignment. That flareup was resolved, but it still wasn't clear whether the Dodgers might trade Lilly. But with Zack Greinke and Capuano on the DL and Aaron Harang gone via trade, the Dodgers' quandary about what to do with Lilly appears to be resolved, at least for now.
- Former Mets GM Omar Minaya credits former scouting director Rudy Terrasas with advocating for Matt Harvey when New York picked him No. 7 overall in the 2010 draft, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. "Rudy Terrasas was the one who brought him to my attention. Rudy deserves a lot of the credit for this one," Minaya says. "The thing that impressed me most about Harvey was the way he sustained velocity. He was throwing 96, 97 late in the game. He’s doing that now, and he had that when I saw him in college." Harvey has pitched brilliantly so far this season, posting an 0.82 ERA while striking out 25 batters and walking six in his first 22 innings.
A year ago today, the Indians signed Johnny Damon to a one-year contract with the hope that clean-shaven caveman could bolster their lineup. Damon hit just .222/.281/.329 in 224 plate appearances for the Tribe. This offseason, there was no penny-pinching by the Indians, as they signed Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds to bolster the club. Here are some links from around the league...
- Carlos Zambrano is at Wrigley Field today, which sparked a great deal of speculation, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Zambrano is merely visiting. The Cubs aren't interested in a reunion.
- Red Sox minor league left-hander Miguel Pena and right-hander Gerson Bautista have both been suspended 50 games for violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Pena ranked 30th among Red Sox prospects, according to BA, who noted that his clean delivery and plus changeup gave him the ceiling of a No. 4 starter in the big leagues.
- Hanley Ramirez is anticipating a return to the Dodgers "way sooner" than his initially projected return of mid-May, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. The Dodgers have gotten next to no production from Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers in his absence.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post gives the "small sample size" caveat in noting that traded players such as John Buck, Michael Morse and Justin Upton are excelling. Vernon Wells and Michael Young have looked better than salary dumps thus far as well, Sherman continues.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists five impulsive moves that the GMs of contenders such as the Rays, Tigers, Angels, Cardinals and Giants should make to immediately improve their clubs' biggest weaknesses (ESPN Insider required).
5:55pm: Lilly has agreed to make another minor league rehab start, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Presumably, this will buy the Dodgers a bit of time to make a decision, but the clock is still ticking.
7:44am: The Dodgers are at a standoff with lefty Ted Lilly after the 14-year veteran refused a minor league assignment Saturday, reported MLB.com's Ken Gurnick yesterday. The team must activate him, designate him for assignment, release him, or trade him.
"We laid out a plan and Teddy doesn't want to be part of the plan. It's out of my hands. We didn't feel he was ready to pitch at the Major League level. For me, it's a baseball decision. It's nothing personal in any way, shape or form. We're giving him our baseball thoughts, what we think is best for him and the team," manager Don Mattingly told Gurnick.
Mattingly did say using Lilly in relief is a possibility, though the team (and perhaps the pitcher) is not enamored of the idea.
Lilly began the 2012 season on the disabled list with a neck injury, and in May hit the DL again with shoulder inflammation. That ended his season, and he had shoulder surgery in September. Still recovering, he began this year on the DL as well. He's made two minor league rehab starts, allowing five earned runs in six innings in each. The Dodgers recently moved Chris Capuano to their rotation to replace the injured Zack Greinke.
The Dodgers created a rotation surplus this winter in signing Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but they received little for Aaron Harang earlier this month and Lilly has been similarly devalued. Lilly is earning $12MM this year, so the Dodgers would again have to pick up a significant portion to move him. They could certainly buy some time by sticking him in the bullpen, though doing so repeatedly with veteran starters is not a great way to do business. In the long-term, this Harang/Capuano/Lilly situation could dissuade some mid-level players from signing with the Dodgers.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The Brewers' Kyle Lohse visited with his old team in the Cardinals' clubhouse on Saturday, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Lohse signed with the Brewers after a long offseason that began with Lohse and his agent, Scott Boras, declining the Cardinals' qualifying offer. There wasn't much of a market for Lohse after that, mostly because the team that signed him would have to sacrifice a draft pick. He finally signed a three-year, $33MM deal with the Brewers. Lohse reflects on the twisting path that led him to Milwaukee: "[Declining the Cardinals' qualifying offer] makes me look bad, [because] that's a lot of money. But is it fair value for what I had done? No," says Lohse. "Even going back on it, I'd still do the same thing. You have to go out and take your chances. Now, going forward, I don't know what other people in my situation are going to do." Here are more notes from the National League:
- Ted Lilly's status with the Dodgers is in question, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes.
The Dodgers asked Lilly to make two more rehab starts, but Lilly
declined, feeling he is ready for the majors. The Dodgers don't currently have a job available for him on their crowded pitching staff, however. The
Dodgers would reportedly like to trade Lilly, who they owe $12MM in 2013.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson denies recent rumors connecting his team to the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Balasis of MetsMerized Online reports. Alderson says his team has not had talks with the Marlins since early spring. Alderson also says the Mets will not trade catcher John Buck.
Everyone knows Jackie Robinson's story but few remember the name of John Wright, the second African-American player to sign with the Dodgers just weeks after Robinson signed his contract. Baseball America's Ryan Whirty details the brief career of Wright, a right-hander who struggled in the minors in 1946 and was back pitching in the Negro Leagues by 1947.
Here's the latest from the NL West...
- Major League Baseball has announced the suspensions of Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin for eight games and Dodgers utilityman Jerry Hairston for one game for their parts in Thursday's brawl between the two teams. Both men are appealing their suspensions, so both could be able to play when the Padres and Dodgers begin a three-game series on Monday, though Yahoo's Jeff Passan (Twitter link) feels MLB and the MLBPA will arrange for Quentin to miss Monday's game.
- Zack Greinke, meanwhile, will be out of action for around eight weeks following surgery to fix his broken collarbone. MLBTR's Steve Adams looked at the implications of Greinke's injury earlier today.
- Rockies owner Dick Monfort talks to Mark Kiszla over the Denver Post about manager Walt Weiss' unusual one-year contract with the club. Monfort admits the short-term deal was an "oversight" since he values loyalty in employees and usually operates on handshake agreements, and also said that the Rockies management team hired Weiss without first establishing his salary.
- Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports 620 Radio's Doug & Wolf that he felt the Justin Upton trade has worked out for both the D'Backs and Braves. "I would agree that ‘would he have had the same success here that he's had [in Atlanta] to start off the season, maybe not' sometimes players need a change of scenery for it to happen," Hall said. "I mean this was just two different teams that had two different needs and it worked out well for both, not to mention we still have four prospects that we're going to be dealing with in the next few years."
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic doesn't agree with Hall's belief that Upton needed a fresh start. "But even if [Upton] did need a new environment, what happened to the environment here? What does that say about the environment you’re creating if a 25-year-old with his kind of ability can’t succeed in it anymore?" Piecoro asks.
- While breaking down Tim Lincecum's struggles, Grantland's Jonah Keri noted that the success of the Giants' starting rotation has obscured the team's lack of pitching depth. The Giants may need to explore a trade for a new starter later this season if Lincecum can't turn things around. I tabbed 2013 as a Make Or Break Season for Lincecum since he'll need to regain his old form in order to fetch a nice free agent contract this winter.
- In other NL West news from earlier today, I compiled a set of Padres notes while Steve Adams reviewed the Giants' offseason moves.
We'll keep track of Friday's minor moves right here...
- Infielder Sean Burroughs has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). Burroughs last appeared in the Majors with the Twins in 2012 but was designated for assignment after just 18 plate appearances. The former top prospect returned to baseball in 2011.
- Within that same tweet, Eddy notes that the Mets have signed left-hander Sean Henn to a minor league deal. The 31-year-old Henn's last big league action was split between the Twins and Orioles in 2009. He has a 7.56 ERA in 81 career innings with more walks (64) than strikeouts (62).
- Still from Eddy's jam-packed tweet, the Padres have inked first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old has a career .203/.290/.375 Major League batting line in 389 plate appearances.
- The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Edgar Gonzalez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo in order to make room for Casper Wells on the 40-man roster. Toronto claimed the 30-year-old Gonzalez off waivers just five days ago.
- Suspended right-hander Mark Hamburger has signed with the independent league St. Paul Saints, writes Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (at the bottom of the article). The 26-year-old tested positive for an undisclosed drug last season. He has appeared in eight Major League innings for the Rangers with a 4.50 ERA and was once traded for Eddie Guardado.
When the Dodgers spent $147MM on Zack Greinke this offseason, they were expecting 33 starts per season of an ace-caliber pitcher. Instead, Greinke will now find himself on the shelf for a significant portion of time following a brawl in the Dodgers-Padres game that broke out after he hit Carlos Quentin in the shoulder with a pitch.
Two things are clear here. The move has serious financial and roster implications for the Dodgers, and Quentin is a lock to be suspended. What does that mean, specifically, for the involved parties? It depends on how long Greinke is out for, first of all, which has yet to be announced. ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that recent history shows this type of injury has a recovery time of anywhere from one to three months (All Twitter links). Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone in late February and is hoping to return in early May. Clint Barmes broke his collarbone in 2005 and was on the shelf for three months. The only pitcher Stark could find who suffered the injury was Chris Bosio, who missed a month.
Greinke is earning $17MM in the 2013 season, which is 182 calendar days long. Assuming a timetable of 30 to 90 days (roughly one to three months), the Dodgers figure to be out somewhere between $2.8MM and $8.4MM of this year's investment in Greinke. That's a sizeable chunk of salary, although they could have an insurance policy on the contract that will cover a portion of the injury.
This also means that the Dodgers' former surplus of starting pitching has likely been sorted out for the time being. With Aaron Harang now in Seattle, the Dodgers can place one of Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano in the rotation, with the other serving as a long reliever. It seems likely that it will be Lilly who is placed in the rotation; MLB.com's Ken Gurnick recently noted that he's been building up arm strength to throw 90+ pitches again and the Dodgers are concerned about how frequent warm-ups would affect his "delicate shoulder." Capuano, meanwhile, has already been in the 'pen for the early portion of the season. Both hurlers figure to be firmly off the trade market now.
As far as Quentin goes, the left fielder signed a three-year, $27MM extension with the Padres last year and is slated to make $9.5MM this season. In other words, Quentin is paid just over $52,000 per day during the season. So multiply that number by the amount of days in his eventual unpaid suspension, and it becomes a costly confrontation for him on a personal level as well.
Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr. also played roles in the altercation. Kemp was particularly vocal during the fray and eventually pursued Quentin after the game, leading to a confrontation that is chronicled here by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hairston charged toward the Padres' dugout after the field had been cleared, later explaining to reporters that an undisclosed Padres player was mocking Greinke's injury. It's unclear at this time if there will be any punishment handed out for Kemp and Hairston, but presumably they're in line for fines as opposed to suspensions.
The Mets "retain an unfilled craving for a marquee outfielder," writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, and are monitoring superstars such as Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. One Mets person told Martino "there is heat there," in regard to the team having a preliminary discussion with the Marlins about Stanton. Still, Martino is unsure whether GMs Sandy Alderson and Larry Beinfest have discussed the powerful right fielder.
To acquire four years of Stanton, the Mets would likely have to part with their two best prospects, pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis D'Arnaud. An associate of Alderson's told Martino the GM "did not have any extra attachment to those players, simply because he traded for them."
According to Martino, the Mets debated using Wheeler to get Justin Upton or Wil Myers, during the Winter Meetings. They also considered asking for the Dodgers' Andre Ethier in an R.A. Dickey deal, and this spring checked in on the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano. So, it appears the Mets' long-term interest in improving the outfield runs the gamut, from the game's best young stars to overpaid veterans. The Mets were willing to increase payroll to the $125MM range last winter for the right players, writes Martino.
Keep in mind that no deals are close, and the idea that Stanton or CarGo could become available this year is speculation.
Earlier today, Tim Dierkes took a look at the Rockies' offseason as one of the final entries in MLBTR's Offseason In Review series. Here's a look around the rest of the division...
- One baseball official tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that talks between Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have already surpassed the $200MM mark. Kershaw has "everything going for him" in the negotiations, writes Heyman.
- Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that formerly promising Padres Chris Young, Jason Bay and Kevin Kouzmanoff are now simply fighting to save their Major League careers.
- Within that same piece, Jenkins notes that Josh Rutledge is the 13th different Opening Day second baseman for the Rockies in 13 seasons. Not since Mike Lansing in 1999-2000 have the Rox had a second baseman open two straight seasons with the club.
- In his most recent Minor League report, Baseball America's Matt Eddy notes that the Rockies have signed GM Dan O'Dowd's son, Chris O'Dowd. The younger O'Dowd was released by the Padres in March after being a 23rd-round selection in the 2012 Draft.
The Yankees can learn from the Red Sox's approach to free agency, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Other teams could also follow their lead if Boston is successful this season, which would mean aggressively attacking the middle-class free agent market and constructing a deep bullpen. Someday, Sherman argues, we may look back on the August blockbuster as the Red Sox's Herschel Walker trade as it brought them a couple of impressive arms in Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster while giving the club a financial do-over. Here's more from around baseball..
- Meanwhile, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Dodgers seemed to have sense the current flurry of contract extensions coming when they made their mega-deal with Boston and acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins. The Dodgers could have their own pricey extension coming up as they look to lock Clayton Kershaw up for the long term.
- Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal wonders if the Indians' Ubaldo Jimenez is starting to figure things out. The hurler is in the final year of his deal with Cleveland unless both parties agree to trigger the mutual option for 2014, which is unlikely.
- Angels slugger Josh Hamilton would have been wise to take a page out of John Farrell's book and not slam his former home, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.