Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
It's not surprising that Guerra is attracting interest. He was a key part of the Dodgers' bullpens in both 2011 and 2012, serving as their closer in parts of both seasons. He spent much of 2013 in Triple-A Albuquerque, but he posted good numbers in a tough environment for pitchers, with a 3.66 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings. He's also only 28 and is not yet arbitration-eligible. He is out of options, which limited the Dodgers' flexibility with him following an offseason in which they signed free-agent relievers Brian Wilson, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright.
Major League Signings
- Alexander Guerrero, 2B: four years, $28MM.
- Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS: five years, $25MM.
- Juan Uribe, 3B: two years, $15MM.
- J.P. Howell, LHP: two years, $11.25MM.
- Brian Wilson, RHP: one year, $10MM. Includes $9MM player option for 2015.
- Dan Haren, RHP: one year, $10MM.
- Chris Perez, RHP: one year, $2.3MM.
- Jamey Wright, RHP: one year, $1.8MM.
- Paul Maholm, LHP: one year, $1.5MM.
- Total Spend: $113.85MM (Including Wilson option)
- Clayton Kershaw, LHP: seven years, $215MM. Opt-out after five years.
The Padres have already taken a hit to their starting pitching depth after losing Cory Luebke to a second Tommy John surgery, and now right-hander Joe Wieland could suffer the same fate. Wieland is scheduled to have an MRI on his sore right elbow today, and Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweeted late last night that there's "significant concern" throughout the organization, with a re-torn UCL being the worst-case scenario. Wieland, like Luebke, spent the 2013 season recovering from 2012 Tommy John surgery. A second Tommy John surgery has become a familiar refrain around MLB of late; Daniel Hudson underwent his second Tommy John last summer, and there's a strong likelihood that Braves hurlers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy will do so as well. D'Backs lefty Patrick Corbin could be headed for his first Tommy John surgery as well.
Here are a couple of other NL-West-related items...
- The Dodgers are currently on the lookout for bench help, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who questions how the club could spent $225MM on payroll but enter the season with such a weak group of reserve players. Rival evaluators in Spring Training consider the Dodgers' bench to be the weakest in the division, says Rosenthal.
- Within that piece, Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers indicated to Mark Ellis early in the offseason that another two-year deal was a possibility. However, Ellis eventually grew weary of the Dodgers' indecisiveness, as they offered a one-year deal after signing Alexander Guerrero. Rosenthal adds that one potential scenario last summer was for the Dodgers to flip Zach Lee to the Angels for Howie Kendrick, then move Ellis to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar, but ownership nixed the Kendrick-for-Lee swap.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that while the Rockies initially thought right-hander Jordan Lyles would need some time in the minors when they acquired him in the Dexter Fowler trade, Lyles is forcing his way into immediate rotation consideration. He's competing with Franklin Morales for the fifth starter's role, and Lyles could benefit from the fact that Morales has bullpen experience. Manager Walt Weiss told Renck that Lyles is viewed strictly as a starter, so Morales could end up in relief with Lyles in the starting five.
The Dodgers have designated pitcher Javy Guerra for assignment to make room on the roster for utilityman Chone Figgins, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets. Guerra spent most of the 2013 season with Triple-A Albuquerque and posted a 6.75 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in just 10 2/3 innings in the big leagues. He was, however, an effective member of the Dodgers' 2011 and 2012 bullpens, even serving as their closer in parts of both seasons, and he's still just 28. He entered 2014 out of options, and it would have been tricky for the Dodgers to fit him into a crowded bullpen.
Figgins, meanwhile, appears to be headed back to the Majors. He last appeared in the big leagues with the Mariners in 2012, when he hit .181/.262/.271 in 194 plate appearances.
Mets left-hander Jon Niese was removed from his start today after only two innings and 35 pitches with what the club calls left elbow discomfort. Niese had been wearing a neoprene sleve on his left arm the past few days, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "It's the Spring Training from hell," Niese told reporters (as quoted by ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin). Niese also said he hyperextended the elbow, which first flared up during an intrasquad game 10 days ago, and has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing rehab since. Niese added the discomfort is in the back of the elbow, not in the ligament area (the focus of Tommy John surgery). The Mets are flying the 27-year-old to New York tonight with a MRI, his second in less than three weeks, scheduled for tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.
Elsewhere in the National League:
- With the possibility Niese may open the season on the disabled list, Jenrry Mejia could join Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Mets' rotation with John Lannan earning a relief role, according to Rubin.
- The Diamondbacks are another team scrambling to fill a void in their starting rotation in the wake of the news from earlier today Patrick Corbin could be facing Tommy John surgery. GM Kevin Towers, however, plans to use in-house options like Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, and Josh Collmenter rather than seek a trade immediately, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
- Noah Syndergaard, who remains in the Mets' Major League Spring Training camp, was the key component in last offseason's R.A. Dickey trade, writes Matt Ehalt of the Record. "I think eventually it got to the point where we needed Syndergaard," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Mets' special assistant to the GM. "I think in order to finish it off, we needed a younger, higher prospect to make us say, 'OK, it's worth trading a Cy Young Award winner.'"
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team's bullpen depth is "a chance to move a guy that can go help someone else to add a piece," tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Travis Sawchik. Huntington also gave a near-guarantee Edinson Volquez will be in the Pirates' starting rotation, Sawchik tweets.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post contradicts a story from this morning the Rockies are in the market for right-handed bullpen help. A source tells Renck the club prefers to give Chad Bettis or Chris Martin a chance before pursuing a trade.
- Being forced to rush their young pitching prospects to the Majors has come back to haunt the Marlins, as Jacob Turner and Brad Hand (22 and 23, respectively) are now out of options, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Dodgers have selected the contract of Justin Turner and will bring Chone Figgins to Australia, reports Dylan Herndandez of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes broke the news in February of Turner agreeing to a minor league contract with the Dodgers and now the 29-year-old will make $1MM as a reserve infielder. Figgins, who signed a minor league deal in January and is trying to make the squad as an utilityman, will be one of 30 players the Dodgers are taking on the trip (only 25 will be active on game day).
Veteran catcher Miguel Olivo has asked the Dodgers to release him after learning he would not be part of the club's trip to Australia to open the season, reports MLB.com's Tyler Emerick. The report indicates that Olivo has not yet been released, but hopes to pursue a MLB job elsewhere if he is. The Dodgers did announce they have reassigned Olivo to their minor league camp.
The 36-year-old said he would not report to minor league camp and accept a MiLB assignment, as the team has requested (the Dodgers have tweeted Olivo has been reassigned to their minor league camp). He has been battling with Drew Butera to be the team's third catcher to open the year, behind A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz, as the club will get to bring five additional players to Australia. Olivo, who reportedly has had a solid spring thus far, is at a disadvantage in that Butera would have to pass through waivers to be stashed in the minors.
It is not yet clear whether the Dodgers will grant the backstop's request. Olivo, who is not a Rule XX(B) free agent, apparently does not have an opt-out date until June. He went through a controversial end to his time with the Marlins last year, when he asked to be released due to lack of playing time.
Top pitching prospect Julio Urias, just 17, will start the Dodgers' spring training game today against the Padres, the team has announced. Urias has never pitched above the Class A Midwest League, where the lefty posted a 2.48 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 54 1/3 innings last season. That in itself was an accomplishment, given that it was only Urias' age-16 season, and he was pitching in a full-season league. Baseball America's Prospect Handbook 2014 ranks Urias the Dodgers' third-best prospect, noting that he throws 91-96 MPH, has an advanced approach to pitching, and could make quick progress through the minors. The Dodgers will surely have him start the season in the bush leagues, but even starting a big-league spring training game is quick progress indeed for a 17-year-old. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Mariners are still trying to re-sign DH Kendrys Morales, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets. They still would like Morales to reduce his price, however. Morales, of course, is still a free agent because the qualifying offer has depressed his market. Bowden also tweets that Felix Hernandez has been in touch with Morales and says that Morales would like to return if the two sides' financial differences can be resolved.
- Veteran Xavier Nady is back with the Padres, the team that drafted him, as an NRI, and he's trying to enjoy all the baseball he has left, writes MLB.com's Corey Brock. "I'm thankful for every day to put this uniform on," says Nady. "I know it doesn't last forever, but it's sure been a lot of fun." Nady also looks back to the beginning of his career, when he signed with the Padres in 2000 as a second-round pick out of UC-Berkeley and was immediately promoted to the Majors, where he went 1-for-1 in his only big-league at-bat before heading to the minors for the first time the following season.
One doesn't always associate the Dodgers with bargain signings, but agents tell Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca that the Dodgers' acquisitions of Dan Haren and Paul Maholm are among the most team-friendly of the offseason. L.A. got Haren, who wanted to return to the West Coast, for one year and $10MM, and Maholm on an incentive-based deal. Agents also name the Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz and A.J. Burnett deals as good ones for teams. Here are more notes from around the West divisions.
- The Mariners are still open to adding a starting pitcher, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. "Our ears are still open," says GM Jack Zduriencik. "We’ll see what happens." Injuries have left the Mariners' rotation uncertain after Felix Hernandez.
- Zduriencik says the Mariners' attention to detail helped them woo Robinson Cano, MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom writes. "Jay-Z came, Robinson Cano came. There were probably eight of them that rolled into Seattle. ... It was Jay-Z's birthday the day before. We had a birthday cake for him. We sang Happy Birthday," Zduriencik says. "We made a great presentation. It was amazing how the whole process came along so quickly."
- The Rangers had already discussed the idea of trading Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder before the Tigers proposed it, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett reports. The day before Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski called to propose the deal, Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller had discussed it in a meeting of the Rangers' baseball execs. Durrett's piece is one of two parts about the Rangers' offseason additions of Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. Here's part two, which details a meeting the Rangers had with Choo before they signed him.
Baseball America's Matt Eddy's latest piece is a fascinating look back at the history of platoon usage in Major League Baseball and the increasing role of specialized relievers in Major League bullpens. Last season, more pure left-handed relievers (i.e. lefties who made zero starts) appeared in a season than any year in Major League history. Eddy's piece is rife with tables and charts to provide the breakdown on the numbers behind left-on-left matchups as opposed to right-on-right matchups (not surprisingly, the former leans more heavily in the pitcher's favor) and is well worth the read. Here are some more links from around the league for some late-night Thursday reading...
- The Cardinals optioned top prospect Oscar Taveras to Triple-A today, putting an early end to a Spring Training that didn't allow him to fully showcase his talents, writes MLB.com's Jen Langosch. Taveras received just six plate appearances in a pair of games after sitting out the first week due to what Langosch calls "hesitancy to fully trust his surgically repaired right ankle." He also left his second and final Spring Training game with a minor hamstring injury.
- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley is well ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to pitch in the Majors as soon as late April, reports ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon. Billingsley will face live hitters next week and begin a minor league rehab assignment on April 3. Billingsley's return further crowds the competition for the team's fifth starter. Josh Beckett or Paul Maholm figures to occupy that role to open the season.
- Right-hander Todd Coffey has drawn interest from as many as nine to 10 teams and expects to sign right around Opening Day, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Coffey is currently throwing 91 to 92 mph in bullpen sessions, he adds. Coffey last pitched in the Majors for the Dodgers in 2012.
- Cotillo also tweets that free agent catcher Kelly Shoppach is looking to play in 2014 "if the right situation/opportunity presents itself." The 33-year-old isn't close to a deal at this time. He slashed just .199/.288/.339 in 127 PAs between the Mariners and Indians last season.
- Lastly, Cotillo tweets that former AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa, now 34, is seeking a minor league deal to return to affiliated baseball. Berroa spent 2012 playing independent ball and was in the Mexican League last season, where he slashed .293/.362/.462 in 460 trips to the plate.
Earlier tonight, Jeff Todd recapped and analyzed the Padres' winter moves in the latest entry of the MLBTR Offseason In Review series. Jeff has also covered the Giants and Diamondbacks thus far in the OIR series. Here's some more from around the NL West...
- "There has been buzz" that the Phillies and Tigers are interested in the Rockies' extra outfielders, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. Even if Colorado uses a center field platoon of one of Corey Dickerson or Charlie Blackmon (both left-handed hitters) and one of Drew Stubbs or Brandon Barnes (both righty batters), that still leaves a surplus. Detroit could use a left-handed hitting outfielder to replace the injured Andy Dirks, though the Tigers aren't yet sure if they'll look outside the organization to make such a move.
- Could the Dodgers cut Brandon League? Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times doesn't quite think the club is ready to take that step given the $17MM remaining on League's contract through 2015. That deal looks worse and worse for L.A. given how League struggled in 2013 and during this year's Spring Training, while the Dodgers have a number of impressive young bullpen arms who might be relegated to Triple-A.
- Tim Lincecum dicusses his pitching evolution with Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, noting that though he has lost a few miles off his fastball, he is working to become a better overall pitcher as he ages.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com discusses the Giants' roster and other topics during a Giants-centric chat with readers.