Matt Albers Rumors

Reds Acquire Shin-Soo Choo In Three-Team Deal

8:12pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they have acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius, left-handed pitcher Tony Sipp, and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw.  The Reds are receiving Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in the swap and are sending Drew Stubbs to Cleveland as well.  The Indians will send the Reds approximately $3.5MM to account for the differences in projected salaries between Choo and Stubbs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

The Reds will use Choo in center field even though he hasn't played there for the Indians since 2009 and has played just ten MLB games at the position in total.  The Reds are banking on the 30-year-old's offensive production being able to make up for whatever they might lose defensively.  The veteran owns a  .289/.381/.465 slash line across eight major league seasons.

Choo, a Scott Boras client, is set to hit the open market after the 2013 season.  The Indians have been said to have him available via trade, albeit with a high price tag.  The Reds will plug Choo in as the leadoff hitter, a role they have been working hard to fill.  The club spoke with the Twins about Ben Revere before he was traded to the Phillies and also had conversations with the Rockies about Dexter Fowler.

Stubbs, 28, struggled at the plate in 2012 as he posted a .213/.277/.333 batting line with 14 home runs in 544 plate appearances.  The former eighth-overall pick in the 2006 draft has a .241/.312/.386 across four big league seasons with the Reds.

It was believed that the initial acquisition of Gregorius by the Indians would pave the way for them to deal fellow shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but they instead flipped Gregorius and kept Cabrera.  The 22-year-old Gregorius won't be arbitration eligible until 2016 and won't see the open market until 2019.  The Netherlands native split time between Double-A and Triple-A last season, hitting .265/.324/.393 with seven homers in 561 plate appearances.  The 27-year-old Cabrera, meanwhile, is set to earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before hitting free agency.  Gregorius entered 2012 as the Reds' sixth-best prospect, according to Baseball America.  The publication also had him ranked as the organization’s best defensive infielder and deemed him to have the best throwing arm in the farm system.

Sipp posted a 4.42 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances last season. The 29-year-old was a fixture in the Indians' bullpen, making 248 relief appearances with Cleveland from 2009-12.

The Indians acquired Anderson at the trade deadline this year from the Red Sox in exchange for Double-A starter Steven Wright.  The 25-year-old posted a .250/.353/.396 slash line in 111 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and Triple-A Columbus.  Anderson has also played in 30 big league games for the Red Sox across three seasons.

Bauer, 21, was the third overall selection by Arizona in the 2011 Draft out of UCLA.  Baseball America had Bauer as the ninth-best prospect in baseball entering 2012.  The hurler spent most of 2012 between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno where he had a combined 2.42 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 22 starts. Bauer became the first member of the 2011 draft to appear in the big leagues when he made four starts for the Diamondbacks in July.

Albers, 29, spent 2012 with the Red Sox and D'Backs, posting a 2.39 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances.  For his career, Albers owns a 4.68 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.

Shaw, 25, spent the bulk of last season in the Arizona bullpen where he had a 3.49 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 64 relief appearances.  The right-hander was taken in the second-round of the 2008 draft by the Diamondbacks and has seen time in 97 big league games across the last two seasons.

8:04pm: The portion of the deal involving the Diamondbacks and Indians has not been finalized, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter).

7:50pm: The deal sending Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds has been completed, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  The Reds will also receive Jason Donald in the trade, Heyman confirms (via Twitter).

The three-team deal that was being worked on had Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald going to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks, and Drew Stubbs plus an Arizona pitcher going to the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Patrick Corbin or Trevor Bauer will likely be the Arizona pitcher going to Cleveland, Rosenthal tweets.

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported that the Reds were close to acquiring Choo in a deal with the Indians netting them Stubbs and Gregorius.  Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported that the D'Backs were involved, making it a three-team deal.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the framework of the trade. 


Red Sox To Acquire Craig Breslow

Craig Breslow - Arizona (PW)

The Red Sox will acquire left-handed reliever Craig Breslow from the Diamondbacks, Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com reports (Twitter links). The Red Sox will send Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik to Arizona to complete the trade. 

Boston had been seeking left-handed relief. The Angels were also looking at Breslow, according to Magruder. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe first reported that the Red Sox might acquire Breslow.

Breslow has a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 43 1/3 innings this year. The 31-year-old earns $1.8MM and will go to arbitration again this coming offseason. He's on track to reach free agency following the 2013 season.

Podsednik, 36, posted a .387/.409/.484 batting line in 70 plate appearances this year, but missed substantial time with a groin injury. He earns $750K at the MLB level and will become a free agent after the season.

Albers has a 2.29 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings so far in 2012. He is earning $1.08MM this year and will remain under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2013.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Players To Avoid Arbitration

Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:

  • The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
  • The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
    The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
  • The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
  • The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
  • The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
  • The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
  • The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
  • The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
  • The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
  • Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.


Non-Tenders Contributing With New Teams

Every winter teams non-tender players when they would rather risk losing them to another team than go through the potentially expensive arbitration process. Most non-tenders don’t come back to haunt their former clubs, but they definitely have the potential to do so.

Teams non-tendered over 50 players last offseason and a handful of them have added value for new organizations. Here’s a breakdown of which 2010 non-tenders are contributing in 2011:

Outfielders

  • Tony Gwynn Jr., Dodgers (non-tendered by Padres) – Gwynn has a .255/.312/.333 line with 15 stolen bases in 252 plate appearances for the Dodgers and has played all three outfield positions.
  • Scott Hairston, Mets (non-tendered by Padres) – Hairston has a robust .264/.331/.527 line with seven homers in a part-time role for the Mets.

Infielders

  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (technically non-tendered by Athletics) – Encarnacion has a .277/.326/.446 line this year, including an .894 OPS since June 1st.

Catchers

  • Ronny Paulino, Mets (non-tendered by Marlins) – Paulino has been a serviceable part-time backstop for the Mets, posting a .293/.328/.374 line in 187 trips to the plate.
  • Russell Martin, Yankees (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Martin has 12 homers and a .228/.324/.383 line in 349 plate appearances. He's tenth among all MLB catchers with 2.1 wins above replacement.

Right-Handed Relievers

  • Matt Albers, Red Sox (non-tendered by Orioles) – The right-hander has a 2.31 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Albers is easily having his best season yet and all he cost was $875K. He's under team control through 2013.
  • Todd Coffey, Nationals (non-tendered by Brewers) – The big righty has a 4.40 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 45 innings so far in 2011. The numbers are solid, but not so good that the Brewers have much to second-guess themselves on.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox (non-tendered by Yankees) – Aceves has a 3.18 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings as a swingman for the Red Sox this year. Considering the injuries the Boston pitching staff has sustained, you could argue that Aceves has been one of their best offseason additions.
  • Jose Veras, Pirates (non-tendered by Marlins) – Veras has a 3.19 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings this year and has been a key weapon in Clint Hurdle's bullpen.
  • Dustin Moseley, Padres (non-tendered by Yankees) – Moseley has a 3.30 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 20 starts. Now on the DL, Moseley has completed a career-high 120 innings.
  • Taylor Buchholz, Mets (technically non-tendered by Red Sox) – When healthy, Buchholz has been effective, posting a 3.12 ERA with a 26K/7BB ratio in 26 innings. He has been on the disabled list since June.
  • Joel Peralta, Rays (non-tendered by Nationals) – The 35-year-old leads the American League in appearances (55) and has a 3.68 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 after 51 1/3 innings in Tampa Bay.

Left-Handed Relievers

  • George Sherrill, Braves (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Sherrill has a 3.38 ERA with a 36K/11BB ratio in 32 innings for his new club. He has mostly faced left-handed hitters.

Non-Tenders Contributing With New Teams

Every winter teams non-tender players when they would rather risk losing them to another team than go through the potentially expensive arbitration process. In 2010, for example, Matt Capps and Kelly Johnson rewarded their new teams with standout years after being cut loose, though most non-tenders don’t make that kind of contribution.

Teams non-tendered over 50 players last offseason and a handful of them are already proving their worth with new organizations. Here’s a breakdown of which 2010 non-tenders are exceeding expectations in 2011:

Starting Pitchers

  • Dustin Moseley, Padres (non-tendered by Yankees) – The 29-year-old leads the league with six losses, but he's been much more effective than his record would indicate. Moseley has a 3.40 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 through 53 frames.

Right-Handed Relievers

  • Joel Peralta, Rays (non-tendered by Nationals) – Unlike most non-tenders, Peralta was effective last year. After 22 1/3 innings in the Rays' revamped bullpen, he's looking like a smart, low-risk addition. Peralta has a 2.82 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
  • Taylor Buchholz, Mets (though Buchholz has never thrown a pitch for Boston, the Red Sox were technically the ones to non-tender him) – Buchholz is looking a lot like his 2008 self through 21 2/3 innings in the Mets' 'pen. The 29-year-old has a 1.66 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
  • Jose Veras, Pirates (non-tendered by Marlins) – Veras has 26 strikeouts and a 3.06 ERA through 17 2/3 innings. Veras' 13.2 K/9 is seventh-best among MLB relievers this year and few pitchers beat his 94 mph average fastball by much.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox (non-tendered by Yankees) – The Red Sox need him more than ever with two members of their Opening Day rotation on the shelf. So far, Aceves has a 2.60 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 17 1/3 innings.
  • Todd Coffey, Nationals (non-tendered by Brewers) – Coffey, who added value in 2009-10, has a 2.30 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 2/3 innings.
  • Matt Albers, Red Sox (non-tendered by Orioles) – Though Bobby Jenks was the most prominent non-tender who signed with Boston this winter, Albers may be the most impressive. He has a 1.65 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate through 16 1/3 innings.

Left-Handed Relievers

  • George Sherrill, Braves (non-tendered by Dodgers) – After a poor showing with the Dodgers in 2010, Sherrill is adding value again. He has raised his strikeout rate (10.2 K/9), lowered his walk rate (4.7 BB/9) and has allowed just seven hits and two earned runs in 9 2/3 innings, mostly against left-handed hitters.

Position Players

  • Russell Martin, Yankees (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Arguably the biggest success story of all, Martin drew interest from a number of AL East teams before signing with the Yankees. He has a .261/.362/.479 line and leads qualified MLB catchers in home runs (7), on-base percentage (.362), wOBA (.380) and WAR (1.5). It’s a win-win, as Martin got $4MM in guaranteed money and a fresh start, while the Yankees get a top catcher who’s under team control through 2012. With Jack Cust, Matt Diaz and others off to slow starts, Martin is the lone non-tendered position player making an impact so far this year.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Showalter, Sabathia

Among AL East clubs, only the Yankees will play on the season's first day Thursday.  Here's the latest from the division…


Red Sox Notes: Albers, Reyes, Westmoreland

Some Red Sox links for Thursday, as Clay Buchholz looks to continue his dominant spring against the Marlins…

  • Matt Albers told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he hasn't talked to any Japanese teams and doesn't know why a report yesterday had him going to Japan. “Don’t know where that came from,” Albers said.
  • Dennys Reyes agreed to extend the opt-out date in his contract by one day from Saturday to Sunday, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The left-hander is battling for a spot in Boston's bullpen.
  • As Speier explains in a piece for Baseball America, Ryan Westmoreland, who underwent brain surgery last March, is continuing his attempt to return to the majors. The former top prospect has made impressive strides in his recovery, though his vision hasn't returned completely and he's still working on some fine motor skills. Best of luck to Westmoreland as he recovers.

Quick Hits: Fielder, Braves, Mauer, Astros, Albers

Links for Wednesday as the MLBPA announces that the jerseys for three rookies – Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg and Buster Posey – were among the top 20 sellers in 2010…


Matt Albers Still In Mix For Red Sox

4:38pm: Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that the team has not released Albers (Twitter link). He remains in the mix for a job in Boston's bullpen.

4:31pm: The Red Sox released Matt Albers to allow him to play in Japan, according to Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com. Boston will receive an undisclosed sum of money for letting the right-hander go.

The Red Sox signed Albers in December after the Orioles non-tendered him. The out-of-options 28-year-old competed for a spot in Boston's bullpen this spring, making seven appearances.

Albers spent three seasons in Baltimore after the Orioles acquired him in the Miguel Tejada trade. He posted a 4.52 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 75 2/3 innings last year and has a 5.11 ERA in 317 1/3 career innings with the O's and Astros.


Cafardo’s Latest: Young, Pedro, Red Sox, Hatteberg

The Phillies' health issues and the Red Sox' depth makes the two teams logical trade partners, says Nick Cafardo in his newest column for the Boston Globe. The Red Sox have spare infielders and outfielders they could offer Philadelphia to offset the injuries to Chase Utley and Domonic Brown. While the Sox and Phils are already the Vegas favorites to meet in the 2011 World Series, Cafardo wonders if a trade between the two sides could help that matchup happen. Here are the other items of interest from the Globe's Sunday Baseball Notes:

  • If the Rangers were willing to eat some salary, a Michael Young deal "could be made" with the Cubs. As we heard this week, the Cubs probably can't afford to take on Young's contract, but, despite his defensive shortcomings, he would make some sense for Chicago at second base.
  • Pedro Martinez says he's in good shape and has yet to rule out pitching somewhere in 2011. He thinks it would take him about six weeks to get ready if he were to make a comeback.
  • Cafardo cautions that the Red Sox' starting pitching depth isn't as strong as it seems. Given Daisuke Matsuzaka's performance this spring, Cafardo thinks it would be prudent to keep Tim Wakefield around, just in case.
  • The Red Sox are seeking a big-league-ready catcher they can keep in Triple-A in case of injury. Cafardo speculates that Rangers backstop Kevin Cash, a player the Sox have "always loved," could be a fit.
  • Matt Albers is out of options, making him potential trade bait for the Red Sox. As Cafardo points out, the Sox would rather avoid exposing the right-hander on waivers to a team like the Rays.
  • Scott Hatteberg is currently working as a special assistant to Billy Beane in Oakland. Agent Joe Urbon feels that Hatteberg's future could include a job as a manager, a possibility the former Athletic sounds willing to explore. "It’s something I could envision down the road," Hatteberg said. "As a catcher, you’re always involved in so many facets of the game that you get an idea of what it’s like."