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Lucas Duda Rumors
We just heard that the Angels and Huston Street could continue their efforts to find a new deal before he hits the open market, but the same may not be true of several other prominent free agents-to-be. Here’s the latest:
- Johnny Cueto and the Reds are not expected to reach agreement, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, confirming the expectations from recent reports. As Cincinnati takes the field, it appears the start of Cueto’s last year with the club.
- The same holds true of Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals, who as Morosi tweets never made progress on a new deal that could have kept him in D.C.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that he does not foresee restarting talks with first baseman Lucas Duda, as Matt Ehalt of the Record tweets. Of course, it seems likely that Alderson is merely referring to the notion that the team will not look to re-open talks during the coming season, not that it sees no future possibility of discussing a longer-term arrangement.
- Meanwhile, it appears that an extension is all but a formality for the Brewers and GM Doug Melvin, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Owner Mark Attanasio says that he is still talking about a new deal with Melvin, with the major question being how long the veteran executive wants to stay at the helm.
In negotiations for his recent extension, Corey Kluber was forthright about wanting to continue to pitch for the Indians, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes (on Twitter). “Corey was really upfront,” says GM Chris Antonetti. “He said, ‘This is where I want to be. I want to be in Cleveland for a long time. Ideally, I’d like it to be a lifetime contract.‘” Here are more notes on extensions.
- The Orioles will not extend Chris Tillman before Opening Day despite recent discussions between the two sides, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. As of late last week, it did not appear that the two sides were close, and Tillman does not want to continue extension discussions once the season begins. He has three more years before he’s eligible for free agency, however, so it’s not impossible the two sides could negotiate again next offseason.
- The Reds have discussed a new contract with Johnny Cueto recently, but the two sides are unlikely to strike a deal before the season begins, Heyman writes. It’s looking extremely likely that Cueto will hit the free agent market next winter. Heyman also notes that the Reds have not pursued extension talks with Mike Leake.
- Another free-agent-to-be, Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, reiterates that he will not discuss an extension during the season, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. “I don’t want any distractions when we start the season,” says Porcello. The two sides did have at least some dialogue in March regarding a possible deal, Bradford writes.
- A Mets representative says Lucas Duda and the team have not discontinued their contract talks, Matt Ehalt of the Record tweets. A previous report had indicated that the two sides had stopped talking as Opening Day approached. The two sides have reportedly discussed an extension in recent weeks.
The Mets and Lucas Duda have failed to reach an extension prior to the first baseman’s Opening Day deadline and have shelved negotiations, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “No agreement was reached, so talks have concluded and Lucas will focus on the upcoming season,” agent Dan Horwits told Rubin. Duda will make $4.2MM in 2015 and will be eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming a free agent following the 2017 season.
In other National League news and notes:
- MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets he doesn’t expect the Reds and Johnny Cueto to agree to an extension before the right-hander’s Opening Day deadline.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters, including Zach Buchanan of The Arizona Republic, Yasmany Tomas was optioned to Triple-A for regular at-bats. “Once he returns back here, we probably will be able to get him at-bats at third base but we’d like to get the majority of his work in the outfield,” said Stewart. “Probably, Yasmany’s long-term future is going to be in the outfield as he was when we signed him.“
- The Braves are still talking to teams about moves that could affect their roster plans, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
- The Diamondbacks may have one of the least talented clubs in baseball, but the presence of Paul Goldschmidt, Archie Bradley, Tony La Russa, and low expectations are reasons for hope in the desert, opines Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark is picking the Nationals to win the World Series, and his opinion that they’re baseball’s best team is shared by many scouts and executives around the game. The Nats have depth, playoff experience, an incredible pitching staff and an easy road (on paper) to the postseason since the NL East projects to be a weak division. Also, with so many major free agents after the year, the Nationals have a great sense of urgency to win in 2015 and will surely be aggressive in filling roster needs throughout the season. “They have what everyone wants — a ‘now’ team with ingredients they can move if they need to,” one scout told Stark.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- As an example of how aggressive the Nationals could get, Stark heard “a lot” of speculation that they could try to obtain Aroldis Chapman from the Reds at the trade deadline if Drew Storen underachieves as closer. This would, of course, likely depend on whether or not the Reds are themselves contenders.
- There’s no progress on extension talks between the Mets and Lucas Duda‘s representatives, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports. The two sides are still talking but have yet Opening Day as the negotiating deadline.
- No teams are showing any “significant interest” in Mets righty Dillon Gee, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).
- The Braves are still considering possible trades, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, but it seems as if Pedro Ciriaco will make the roster as a backup outfielder. Ciriaco signed a minor league deal with Atlanta last October and the Braves will have to create a 40-man roster spot for him if he indeed breaks camp with the team.
- At the moment, the Braves aren’t close to making any trades, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
The Mets will keep Matt Harvey on a rough limit of 90 pitches for his April starts, manager Terry Collins told reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York) following Harvey’s final Spring Training start today. The club’s plans to be fairly cautious with Harvey in his return from Tommy John surgery haven’t changed, GM Sandy Alderson said, despite how Harvey has dominated opposing batters in spring competition. Harvey threw four shutout innings of work today to drop his Spring Training ERA down to 1.19 over 22 2/3 innings. Here’s the latest on the Amazins….
- It seems “unlikely” the Mets and Lucas Duda will reach agreement on an extension before Opening Day, a source familiar with the talks tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Another source says there has been “not a lot of movement” in negotiations, and both the player and team have set the opener as the unofficial deadline for talks.
- Alderson told Adam Rubin that “I think that’s hard to say” when asked to comment on the progress of the Duda negotiations. “There will be resolution by Monday, one way or the other,” Alderson said.
- The Mets’ four-year, $23MM extension with Juan Lagares is “pretty much a can’t-lose” deal for the team “even if he never gets better than he was in 2014,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines. I agree with Sherman that Lagares’ new deal is a pretty reasonable price to pay for elite-level center field defense.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News also likes the Lagares contract, and between that extension and recent trades for Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres, Martino feels the Mets are entering the season on a positive note.
- Zack Wheeler also had surgery to repair a torn tendon in addition to his Tommy John procedure this winter, so the right-hander need more time than usual to recover, he told Newsday’s Marc Carig. The combination of the two procedures could push his return back to June or July 2016, though Wheeler hesitated to cite a firm date this early in his rehab process.
The Mets are reportedly set to lock into all of the arbitration-eligible seasons of center fielder Juan Lagares while adding control over another year via club option. But that is not the only possible extension scenario ongoing in New York and elsewhere.
Here’s the latest:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged that the club has had conversations with both Lagares and first baseman Lucas Duda, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports (Twitter links). He explained the team’s process as akin to that which led it to sign deals in the past with players like David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Jon Niese, calling Lagares and Duda “select individuals who we think have real upside.” A new pact for the power-hitting, arb-eligible Duda will likely cost the Mets a fair bit more than the $23MM the team reportedly committed to Lagares.
- For his part, Duda indicated that he is hopeful of getting a deal done before the presumptive deadline of Opening Day, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. His agents are still working with the New York front office.
- Arguably the Mets‘ best player, starter Matt Harvey, tells Puma (Twitter links) that he and agent Scott Boras have not been approached to discuss a deal. Of course, that could be due in large part to the fact that Harvey appears to be in a particularly unlikely extension spot: a Boras-represented ace with nearly-unlimited upside who is preparing to enter his arbitration years after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery. When asked whether he would try to get something done with Harvey, Alderson said that the question was “too far afield for me.” Needless to say, it does not appear that there is anything in the works here.
- The Reds have made “no progress” on a deal with ace Johnny Cueto, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. That is really not surprising, given that Cincinnati appears to have a lack of future payroll flexibility and Cueto a rather substantial earning potential as a free agent.
- Morosi also tweets that he does not expect any pending free agents to reach long-term deals barring a surprise, massive offer from the Tigers to David Price, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment. That being said, Price made clear yesterday that he is not putting any timeline on talks about a new deal, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. Price also gave some hints as to his mindset, seemingly indicating that Detroit knows his demands and will have to decide whether to meet them. “It wouldn’t be something that would linger on,” he said. “These guys, they know what they want to do, and so do I. So if we get to that point, then I think once it gets going, it would go quickly. If it doesn’t happen, then it just wouldnât happen. It’s not something that we’d revisit every two weeks. I’m sure the Tigers would rather it be either we can get it done or we can’t and leave it alone. We’ll see how everything starts shaking out.” Price added that he does not necessarily see recent deals for top starting pitchers as setting the salary range that should apply to his next deal: “I guess you could say that, but that’s not my thought behind it.”
The Mets and Lucas Duda intend to cut off extension negotiations when the season opens, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. It remains to be seen whether anything gets done, of course, especially since the 29-year-old still has just one complete season of strong performance on his ledger. A league executive tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the comparables suggest a deal in the four-year, $30MM range could make sense, pointing to the cases of Allen Craig, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler. In spite of his somewhat late start, Duda could have a higher earning capacity than that trio if he keeps hitting thirty-plus home runs.
- One notable new feature of Mets camp has been the presence of owner Fred Wilpon, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. Though Wilpon has not said much publicly, he has been fairly visible and active behind the scenes, says Martino, consistently conveying the message that he expects winning baseball.
- Phillies righty Miguel Gonzalez looks like he may never pay off on the team’s investment, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes, particularly since he has not managed to earn a job in spite of the team’s desperate need for arms. “He hasn’t pitched well enough to be a major league starter for us,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “His stuff and his command just weren’t good enough. It’s kind of simple. He needs to be better for us to utilize him in our rotation. He’ll go down and pitch and hopefully he improves. If he doesn’t, then he doesn’t.” Amaro continued to acknowledge: “He hasn’t performed as well as we would have liked. He may never perform as well as we would have liked, but that’s the risk you take. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a risk.”
- Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post takes a look in at Nationals shortstop-to-be Trea Turner, who is currently still with the Padres until he can formally be sent to D.C. The club had to check with the league to see if the deal could be structured that way, and pulled the trigger when it found it would be permitted. Washington had been intrigued with Turner in last year’s draft, says Svrluga, and a strong entry into the professional ranks has only raised his stock. For his part, as he waits to get introduced to a new organization, Turner says that his former team has “treated me just like one of their players.”
The Mets are discussing an extension with Lucas Duda, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Duda himself characterizes the talks as “preliminary stuff,” and agent Dan Horwits confirms that there have been talks but says those talks will be put on hold beginning on Opening Day.
Duda will make $4.2MM in 2015 and will be eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming a free agent following the 2017 season. By that point, he will be heading into his age-32 season, and Sherman points out that it might be tough for a 32-year-old first baseman not known for his athleticism to land a big contract. So perhaps one possibility for Duda might be to sign a four- or five-year deal that would give the Mets an extra year or two of control in exchange for a significant guarantee.
Of course, if Duda doesn’t sign an extension, much of his future earning power will depend on whether he can continue hitting for power the way he did last season. 2014 was a breakout year for Duda, who rewarded the Mets’ faith in him by hitting 30 home runs in a full-time role while batting .253/.349/.481.
As of Monday morning, 35 players had yet to come to an agreement with their team after exchanging arbitration figures (as can be seen in our Arb Tracker). We’ll keep track of the day’s minor settlements here, with all projections coming via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz…
- The Mets and Lucas Duda have avoided arb by settling on a one-year, $4.2MM contract, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Duda had filed at $4.7MM, while the Mets came in with a $3.75MM offer. Duda’s contract is just shy of the $4.225MM midpoint and his $4.3MM projection. The 28-year-old was arb-eligible for the second time this offseason after a breakout season in which he batted .253/.349/.481 with a career-best 30 home runs. He’ll be eligible twice more as a Super Two player.
- Heyman also tweets that Brandon Belt and the Giants have settled on a $3.6MM salary for the 2015 season. Eligible for arbitration for the second time as a Super Two player this offseason, Belt received a fairly small $700K raise from last year’s $2.9MM salary after injuries limited him to just 61 games. When on the field, Belt batted .243/.306/.449 with a dozen homers in 235 plate appearances. He had filed at $4.5MM as the Giants filed at $3MM, making for a $3.75MM midpoint. While he settled a bit shy of that midpoint, he still did well to top his $3.4MM projection by $200K.
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda may or may not fully blossom into a star, but his breakout year has at least forestalled any need for the club to go out and find a new first baseman, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. Here’s more from the NL East:
- Both the Angels and Royals have considered attempting to deal for Mets righty Bartolo Colon, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter links). At present, however, neither possible suitor is in strong pursuit, with dollars being a major deterrent and the sides not necessarily seeing eye to eye on a return.
- The Phillies will likely give Miguel Gonzalez a September call-up, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Gonzalez has thrived recently in the upper minors in a relief role, but that transition away from the rotation means that Philadelphia will need to act quickly to reap any value from the 28-year-old’s three-year, $12MM pact.
- Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton says that he is still not certain that he wants to commit to a long-term deal with Miami, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports. While the club now features a fairly interesting, younger roster with some future promise, Stanton noted that “five months doesn’t change five years.”
- The Braves have shut down reliever Jonny Venters after he came up with a sore elbow when he tried to increase his velocity, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. The southpaw, who had been attempting to return from his second Tommy John procedure, earned $1.625MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility (the same figure as his first) after missing all of 2013. A non-tender certainly appears to be a reasonably likely scenario after the year.