Mark Trumbo Rumors

Players Win Six Of 14 Arbitration Hearings

The Mariners’ defeat of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen today ended this offseason’s arbitration season. This year, 14 players went to arbitration hearings, with the players winning six times and teams winning eight. Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, here are the results.

Player Team Player Amt. Team Amt. Player won?
Pedro Alvarez Pirates $5.750MM $5.250MM Yes
Jerry Blevins Nationals $2.400MM $2.200MM Yes
Alejandro De Aza Orioles $5.650MM $5.000MM No
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays $5.750MM $4.300MM No
Mat Latos Marlins $10.400MM $9.400MM No
Mike Minor Braves $5.600MM $5.100MM Yes
Jarrod Parker Athletics $1.700MM $0.850MM No
David Phelps Marlins $1.875MM $1.400MM No
Wilin Rosario Rockies $3.300MM $2.800MM No
Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks $6.900MM $5.300MM Yes
Danny Valencia Blue Jays $1.675MM $1.250MM Yes
Neil Walker Pirates $9.000MM $8.000MM No
Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners $2.200MM $1.400MM No
Vance Worley Pirates $2.450MM $2.000MM Yes

A few notes:

  • Via MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker, only three players (Andrew Cashner, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin) had hearings last year, so 14 hearings this year marks a dramatic spike. No players had hearings in the 2012-2013 offseason, and seven players did in 2011-2012. The number of hearings this offseason was the most since 2001, although not everyone is convinced this is the start of a trend, according to the Associated Press. ”Just as I didn’t think [2012-2013] was the start of a trend when we had no hearings, I do not think any conclusions can be drawn at this point from the increased number of hearings this year,” says MLB chief legal officer Don Halem.
  • The Pirates alone took three players to arbitration, as many as all teams combined in the previous two offseasons.
  • Teams will pay the 14 players who went to arbitration $57.925MM next season, saving a total of about $1.5MM versus the midpoints between those 14 players’ proposed figures and those of their teams.
  • There appears to be no obvious pattern in which players won and which lost (which isn’t necessarily surprising, since the terms of each arbitration hearing are set ahead of time by the teams and agents who determine the figures, and not by the arbitrators). As CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes (via Twitter), better established players (like Josh Donaldson, Neil Walker and Mat Latos) mostly lost their hearings, while players coming off mediocre or poor seasons, like Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Mike Minor, won theirs.
  • In terms of overall dollar value, Donaldson might be the player most affected by the result of his hearing, which he lost. There was a fairly large gap (over $1.4MM) between his proposed figure and that of the Blue Jays. Donaldson is also a Super Two player in the midst of his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his salary for 2015 could impact his salary in the next three seasons after that.

Mark Trumbo Wins Arbitration Hearing Versus D-Backs

Outfielder Mark Trumbo has won his arbitration hearing against the Diamondbacks, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Trumbo will earn a $6.9MM salary, which is significantly higher than the $5.3MM figure submitted by the club coming off an injury-shortened campaign. Trumbo’s agents at Wasserman Media Group did well to handily top the projection of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, who had pegged him for a $5.7MM salary.

Trumbo, 29, will receive a sizable $2.1MM raise despite missing roughly half the 2014 season. (Conversely, the team’s $5.3MM figure called for a raise of just $500K.) Though his first season with the D-Backs was shortened, he did post solid power numbers, hitting 14 homers and driving in 61 runs in just 88 games (362 plate appearances). While he rated as a sub-replacement-level player due to a .293 OBP and some particularly unsightly grades from defensive metrics, arbitration places greater emphasis on baseball card numbers like homers and RBIs than more modern statistics.

This marks Trumbo’s second trip through the arbitration process, and he’ll look to stay on the field for the entirety of the 2015 season and continue to post strong power numbers in hopes of an even more substantial raise next winter. He’s arbitration eligible one more time before becoming a free agent following the 2016 season. Arizona originally acquired Trumbo in a three-team trade that sent left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels and center fielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox.


NL West Notes: O’Dowd, Rockies, Trumbo

Former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has joined the MLB Network as a studio analyst, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. O’Dowd resigned from his post after 15 years at the helm of the Rockies last October and was replaced by understudy Jeff Bridich, who worked with O’Dowd for 10 years prior to the switch.

Here’s more on the Senior Circuit’s Western Division…

  • Saunders also conducted a Q&A with Rockies skipper Walt Weiss and discussed, among many things, the club’s offseason and Weiss’ role in constructing the roster. Asked about his role in shaping the roster, Weiss said that he “certainly spent a lot of time” not only with Bridich, but with others in the front office. “I enjoyed it,” Weiss added. “We talked about how passionate we are about certain things, as it relates to our club and the game in general. There was a period there where we worked to build a working foundation for now and the future.” Beyond that, Weiss expressed excitement over Bridich’s sharing of his player development background, which gave the manager an even better grasp of the team’s minor league system and future.
  • The Diamondbacks are preparing for an arbitration hearing with outfielder Mark Trumbo, reports MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Arizona filed at $5.3MM after Trumbo submitted a $6.9MM figure, leaving a fairly substantial gulf. With one more season of eligibility to come, and Trumbo’s 2016 salary built off of whatever base he ends up with this year, the stakes are that much higher.


Quick Hits: Cueto, Leake, Papelbon, Stewart

An international draft is often pitched as the answer to big-market teams cornering the market on top international prospects, though Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron (writing for FOXSports.com) proposes that a firmer spending cap tied to Major League payroll would be a better solution. The proposal extends so far as to abolish the North American first-year player draft, giving smaller-revenue clubs a clearer path to acquiring young talent and giving prospects more freedom in choosing their future employers. Here’s some more from around baseball…

  • During an interview (hat tip to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show, Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that his team is still trying to extend Johnny Cueto. “With Johnny, we’ll never say ‘never.’ We are going to do everything we can to try and come up with some sort of plan to keep him,” Jocketty said. “I’m not sure we’ll be able to, because the numbers are obviously starting to skyrocket and it’s very tough in our market to continue to retain guys at a high price like that. We’ll continue to work on that and see where it comes out.” As last we heard earlier this month, the two sides had reportedly made little progress on an extension that would keep Cueto from free agency next winter.
  • Beyond Cueto, Mike Leake is also eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. Jocketty said the Reds kept Leake due to his consistency, and “We’ll see what we can do with him in the future as well” in terms of an extension.
  • Ruben Amaro thinks Jonathan Papelbonprobably will” still be a Phillie when Spring Training camp opens, though the GM told Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News that the closer’s status “could change. We’re still having discussions on a couple different fronts with regard to the players we have.” Papelbon has drawn a lot of trade buzz in recent days, with the Brewers rumored to be the favorites to acquire the stopper while the Blue Jays are longer-shot candidates.
  • The Diamondbacks haven’t made any progress in negotiations with Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed and it seems like both players’ cases will go to arbitration, GM Dave Stewart tells MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. A $1.6MM gap separates Trumbo and the Snakes ($6.9MM to $5.3MM) while Reed and the team are $900K apart ($5.6MM to $4.7MM).
  • Baseball America has released its 2015 ranking of the top ten prospects in each team’s farm system. More scouting information is available to BA subscribers.

Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won’t go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Brewers, Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays, Braves, Reds, and White Sox (per the most recent updates) are known for their “file and trial” policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.

MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $5MM or more. Projections can be found here. Now for the details …

  • The Reds countered the $5.7MM filing of Todd Frazier with a $3.9MM figure, according to Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs (via Twitter).
  • Third baseman David Freese filed at $7.6MM and the Angels countered at $5.25MM, WAPT’s Mike Perchick tweets. Halos outfielder Matt Joyce has filed for $5.2MM against a $4.2MM counter, according to Perchick (on Twitter).
  • Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler filed for $10.8MM while the club countered at $8.5MM, Perchick tweeets.
  • Pirates second baseman Neil Walker filed at $9MM while the club landed at $8MM, Perchick tweets.
  • Just-acquired reliever Tyler Clippard has filed for $8.85MM against the Athletics, who countered at $7.775MM, Perchick tweets.
  • Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay filed at $5MM while the team countered at $4.1MM, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch tweets.
  • Pedro Alvarez has requested a $5.75MM salary for the coming season while the Pirates are at $5.25MM, per a tweet from Perchick.
  • Righty Mat Latos filed at $10.4MM and the Marlins countered with a $9.4MM figure, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Third baseman Casey McGehee filed at $5.4MM, with the Giants countering at $4MM, Heyman tweets.
  • The Braves countered Mike Minor‘s $5.6MM filing number with a $5.1MM team figure, Heyman reports on Twitter.
  • Mark Trumbo has filed for $6.9MM against a $5.3MM counter from the Diamondbacks, Heyman tweets. Closer Addison Reed, meanwhile, filed at $5.6MM with the team countering at $4.7MM, per Heyman (via Twitter).
  • The Orioles went with a $7.5MM price point for righty Bud Norris, who filed at $10.25MM, per Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). In both relative and absolute terms, there is an even bigger gap between the O’s ($2MM) and breakout slugger Steve Pearce ($5.4MM), who is looking to cash in on a big season in his final year of eligibility. That news also comes via Connolly, on Twitter.
  • Entering his final year of arbitration, infielder Daniel Murphy has filed for $8.6MM while the Mets have submitted a $7.4MM figure, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets.
  • Reds 9th inning man Aroldis Chapman filed for $8.7MM while the team countered at $6.65MM, per Heyman (via Twitter).
  • The Orioles and outfielder Alejandro De Aza will negotiate between filing figures of $5MM and $5.65MM, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.
  • Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer filed at $6.7MM and the team countered at $4.6MM, Heyman tweets. The club will also have some ground to make up with closer Greg Holland, who filed at $9MM versus a team filing of $6.65MM, per another Heyman tweet.
  • Newly-acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson has filed at $5.75MM, while the Blue Jays countered at $4.3MM, Heyman tweets.

D-Backs GM Stewart Talks Payroll, Shields, Catchers

4:02pm: In addition to discussing catchers, as noted below, Stewart also discussed the club’s payroll and his interest in James Shields with Piecoro. Stewart notes that the addition of Cuban righty Yoan Lopez could push the club to make cost-cutting moves. Lopez received an $8.25MM signing bonus that, after accounting for the penalties incurred due to exceeding their bonus pool, will cost the D-Backs about $16.3MM, Piecoro writes.

Stewart says he isn’t sure how the D-Backs will trim payroll, but they’re currently looking at about $106MM, and he’d like to be under $100MM. “I would like to be (under $100 million),” he tells Piecoro. “I’ve not been told to be, but I would like to be.” One player the club isn’t interested in dealing, according to Piecoro, is Mark Trumbo.

Despite the plainly stated desire to shed payroll, the D-Backs remain interested in Shields, Stewart says. The D-Backs have spoken with agent Page Odle to “work on groundwork,” according to Stewart, who thinks that the team’s old-school mentality will appeal to Shields. “I think James is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches,” says Stewart. “I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people — he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.”

Stewart’s comments are interesting, particularly due to the fact that La Russa said after the departure of former GM Kevin Towers in September that he hoped to “beef up” the club’s usage of advanced metrics (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert on Twitter). Additionally, the club hired a new director of analytics just this past November, though they’ve done little else from a baseball operations standpoint to alter their image as a member of baseball’s old guard.

1:59m: GM Dave Stewart says that he has decided not to pursue an upgrade behind the plate, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Instead, the club will rely on the continued development of recent trade acquisition Peter O’Brien while also utilizing some combination of Tuffy Gosewisch and Rule 5 pick Oscar Hernandez.

Piecoro quotes Stewart:

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to pursue another catcher. I talked with my people and my coaching staff. They believe that O’Brien is going to be around sooner than later. If that does happen, there’s no need to go out and get another guy. We would have had to trade somebody we didn’t want to trade to make it happen. We’re going to be patient and allow the progression of O’Brien to take place and stand pat on that.”

O’Brien, 24, came to Arizona in the Martin Prado deal and only had time for four games in his new organization. A bat-first catcher, the question remains whether O’Brien’s glove will be good enough to keep him behind the dish. Piecoro reports that Arizona was impressed with his work in the AFL, and notes that the team has had a chance to watch him over the last few days as well. Of course, it is far from clear that O’Brien will be ready to contribute at the big league level this season, leaving the team with quite a thin group at the position.


Outfield Trade Notes: Pads, Cubs, Upton, Gattis, Kemp, Trumbo

There is a fairly lengthy list of right-handed hitting outfield bats being discussed in trade scenarios. Here’s the latest on some members of that group:

  • The Padres and Cubs are “turning up” their efforts to add a right-handed power bat, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who notes that Upton is one elite option on the market. At this point, the possible involvement of the Cubs on more prominent outfield targets remains largely an undercurrent, and O’Brien himself cautions not to read between the lines too much on that possibility.
  • The Cubs are pursuing a power bat capable of playing in left, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. Chicago has, of course, been tied to Jonny Gomes, but it is not clear if the club might have its eyes on a larger prize.
  • As noted in a separate post, the Orioles have expressed interest in Yoenis Cespedes, though nothing is imminent.

Earlier Updates

  • The Braves continue to get hits on both Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. The GiantsRangersRoyals, and Padres have interest in both players, while the Mariners are only interested in the former.
  • The Royals are indeed interested in Upton and Gattis but remain disinterested in parting with Danny Duffy or Yordano Ventura, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • While the Dodgers and Padres are continuing to discuss a Matt Kemp deal, the sides do not have a direct match, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The clubs are attempting to involve a third team to make a deal, says Rosenthal.
  • The Diamondbacks are still fielding calls on Mark Trumbo, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen, of course, just how interested Arizona is in moving the slugger. Rival executives feel they are receiving mixed signals on that point, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

Blue Jays Notes: D’Backs, Neshek, Gregerson

Here’s the latest from Toronto…

  • The Blue Jays asked the Diamondbacks about both left-hander Wade Miley and outfielder Mark Trumbo earlier this winter, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Arizona, in turn, asked for some of the Jays’ young pitching in return.  Interestingly, the Jays didn’t plan on keeping Trumbo, but rather flipping him to the Mariners for Michael Saunders, a player Toronto landed anyway by dealing J.A. Happ to Seattle.
  • Also from Elliott, the Jays have looked into signing free agent relievers Pat Neshek and Luke GregersonSportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi also notes that the Astros and Yankees are among the other clubs interested in Gregerson’s services.
  • The Blue Jays are one of three teams who have spoken to veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth, Davidi reports.
  • Munenori Kawasaki has looked into options in Japan and may now be considering returning in North America on a minor league deal, according to Davidi.  The Blue Jays would seem to be natural candidates to bring Kawasaki back, though manager John Gibbons wasn’t sure what was going on between the team and the infielder.

NL West Rumors: Montero, Greinke, Ross

The Giants have fallen short on a few free agent targets this offseason, but they’re not worried, reports Henry Schulman in a series of tweets. Per Schulman, the Giants don’t feel a need to “win” bidding wars. They’ll stick to their dollar figure, which could affect their pursuit of Jon Lester. The club clearly wasn’t comfortable topping the $68MM offer to Yasmany Tomas or $44MM offer to Nick Markakis. In the case of another free agent they missed out on – Pablo Sandoval – the Giants reportedly made a comparable offer to the Red Sox.

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the D’Backs would need to be “overwhelmed” to move Mark Trumbo.  Still, the Mariners are among the teams that are monitoring the situation.
  • Earlier today, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said that contrary to reports, there was no agreed upon deal with the Dodgers that would have sent Miguel Montero to L.A.  When asked if a Montero-to-the-Dodgers deal could still happen, La Russa said, “The conversations are not what they were before. I think it’s less likely,” according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).  However, La Russa added that ownership has not deemed Montero untouchable (link).
  • Dodgers president Andrew Friedman says that he’ll let the year play out before addressing Zack Greinke‘s opt out clause, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).  From the sound of it, the Dodgers don’t have extension talks with the pitcher on their agenda for this winter.
  • Friedman said he would have zero hesitation in trading players within the division, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Friedman went on to say (link) that he has not visited any free agents this winter.
  • Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) doesn’t think that there’s much to the speculation that the Rangers will make a run at Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner.  Texas reportedly has more interest in Tyson Ross.

West Rumors: Trumbo, Montero, Cabrera

Even though Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said last week that he will not trade Mark Trumbo, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) hears that he is still in play for Arizona.  There was once talk of a three-way deal involving Trumbo that fell through but he remains available. A look at the AL and NL West..

  • Tony La Russa said the the Diamondbacks had talks with the Dodgers about Miguel Montero but they never had a deal in place, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • The Mariners are pondering a wide range of possibilities for an outfield bat, including trades, and they’re not locked in on Melky Cabrera at this point, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the M’s are the favorites for the outfielder.
  • Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson has switched agents and joined Excel Sports Management, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Despite being connected to him, the Astros did not seriously pursue Jason Hammel, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). They did make an inquiry, however.  Hammel ultimately returned to the Cubs on a two-year pact.