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Matt Guerrier Rumors
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Lefty Joe Saunders has been released, the Royals announced on Twitter. Saunders opted out of his minor league deal, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link). The 33-year-old lefty will presumably now look for his fourth organization of the year.
- The Cardinals have released catcher George Kottaras after designating him for assignment to create room for the addition of A.J. Pierzynski, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com (via Twitter). Kottaras, 31, saw just six plate appearances for the Cardinals but owns a .269/.375/.615 slash on the year through just 33 plate appearances.
- Twins reliever Matt Guerrier has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, but will elect free agency rather than accepting the assignment, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Guerrier could hold appeal to contenders as a depth piece, particularly on a minor league deal. The veteran righty has produced a solid 3.86 ERA in 28 innings, but has struck out just 3.9 batters per nine.
While the Cubs are among the most clear-cut sellers at this year’s deadline, the team may hang onto Justin Ruggiano and Luis Valbuena, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Both are enjoying solid seasons and both are controlled through 2016. While the team wants to get as much young talent in the door as possible, each provides a veteran presence to help with the club’s impending influx of young talent.
Here’s more from baseball’s Central divisions…
- Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that it was difficult to designate Matt Guerrier for assignment, given the right-hander’s history with the club. “That’s not the way you like to see things go,” said Ryan. “He’s a class guy. He’s been a great member of this organization for about a decade.” The GM added that it’s too soon to tell if Guerrier will accept an outright assignment, but Berardino gets the impression that Guerrier’s time with the Twins organization is done.
- Berardino also asked Ryan if he expected more moves for the Twins in the coming week after trading Kendrys Morales to Seattle for righty Stephen Pryor yesterday (Tout link). Ryan replied: “It’s always active, Mike, at this time of year. You’re going to have activity, especially if you’re in a situation that the Twins are in right now. We’re going to have active calls, whether you place them or field them, it’s going to be a little busy. … We’ve got some people here that there will be interest in.”
- One more from Berardino, who spoke with Twins backstop Kurt Suzuki about the possibility of being traded. Suzuki says he’s not focusing on rumors circulating his name because it’s out of his control but admitted that it’s not always easy to do and can be tough for families. Berardino wonders if the Minnesota would reignite its interest in former Twin A.J. Pierzynski, should Suzuki be dealt. Minnesota made a two-year offer to Pierzynski in the offseason.
- The Pirates sit atop Jim Callis of MLB.com’s list of five contenders that are best-positioned to make trades due to young talent. He lists Josh Bell, Austin Meadows, Harold Ramirez, Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Alen Hanson and Reese McGuire as appealing chips, noting that, “No contender can match the Bucs’ combination of prospect quality and quantity.” The Dodgers, Cardinals, Mariners and Royals round out Callis’ list.
- Jim Margalus of SB Nation’s South Side Sox wonders why the White Sox (and teams around the league in general) have been so hesitant to trade within their own division and opines that this stigma shouldn’t prevent a deal sending Dayan Viciedo to the Royals, who reportedly have interest. Margalus runs down the list of previous intra-division trades and sees no catastrophes to speak of.
Guerrier, a 35-year-old righty, had been fairly steady for Minnesota for much of the season, though he saw his ERA rise by more than a full run after last night’s rough outing. He still sports a 3.86 ERA over 28 innings, though he’s averaging only 3.9 K/9 (by far the lowest in his career) against 3.2 BB/9. Guerrier, who has seen time in each of the last 11 MLB seasons, was signed to a minor league deal over the offseason.
In his latest piece for Fangraphs, Tony Blengino breaks down the Indians‘ pitching staff and why the team’s ERA has yet to live up to its peripheral stats. Blengino points out the lack of quality infield defenders as well as some difficulties in limiting contact that make it unlikely for Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister to live up to their own peripherals. Blengino concludes that while the staff is better than its 3.97 ERA, it’s not as good as its 3.40 FIP would indicate, and it isn’t good enough to save Cleveland from a mediocre defense and middling offense that ranks 12th in the AL in runs, 12th in OBP and last in slugging percentage.
More out of the AL Central…
- Scott Carroll, who is on the mound for the White Sox against the Cubs tonight, may not have been in the Majors were it not for a stroke of good luck, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Carroll was home rehabbing from Tommy John surgery when he saw an “HBO Real Sports” special in which Steve Delabar explained how a weighted ball program saved his career following an injury. Carroll decided to try the program, and eight months removed from surgery, he had his fastball up to 94 mph.
- While many Tigers fans are calling for Corey Knebel to replace Phil Coke in the team’s bullpen, Chris Iott of MLive.com looks at why that’s unlikely at this time. While the club will likely have to switch to six right-handers eventually, it’s more likely that that scenario will happen when Joel Hanrahan is ready to join the team. Iott spoke with GM Dave Dombrowski, who said: “It is good for [Knebel} to continue his development. At this point, we have not discussed moving him, but that does not mean it cannot happen if we decide this is the best thing for him.”
- Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that the Twins never officially asked Matt Guerrier to move back his opt-out clause before selecting his contract today. Guerrier says that he’s very happy to be back with the Twins, with whom he spent the first six years of his career. “This is where I wanted to be,” said Guerrier.
The Twins will purchase the contract of reliever Matt Guerrier after today’s game, reports LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). Young lefty Logan Darnell will be optioned to create room on the active roster.
Guerrier had a May 8 opt-out clause and was reportedly unwilling to extend it. Faced with the possibility of the 35-year-old righty testing the open market, Minnesota decided to give him a big league job. In 42 2/3 innings last year with the Dodgers and Cubs, Guerrier threw to a 4.01 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 and a 42.7% ground ball rate, all of which were in line with his career marks over 595 big league frames.
As the club’s 40-man roster is full, a corresponding move will need to be made to create space for Guerrier. As Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com noted earlier today on Twitter, Chris Nelson of the Reds had an opt-out clause that came due today, while Randy Wolf of the Diamondbacks and Adam Moore of the Padres both have upcoming dates.
Here are a few notes out of the game’s central divisions:
- Twins right-hander Matt Guerrier has a May 8 opt-out clause in his minor league contract and isn’t willing to push that date back to wait for a future opportunity, agent Joe Bick tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Guerrier has thrown well in the minors as he rehabs from flexor mass repair surgery last August, allowing just one earned run on eight hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in eight innings between Double-A and Triple-A (four at each level). Guerrier, who is earning $90K in the minors, would earn a $1MM base salary and earn an additional $250K for reaching 45, 50, 55 and 60 appearances, Berardino writes.
- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press breaks down the challenges behind the Tigers potentially jettisoning left-hander Phil Coke. For starters, the 31-year-old Coke is earning $1.9MM this season, all of which is guaranteed after he broke camp with the club. Additionally, there are no left-handed relievers in the minors who have stood out in a meaningful way. Detroit would like to keep two lefty relievers if possible, and Lowe wonders if Robbie Ray could take Coke’s bullpen spot when Anibal Sanchez returns from the DL. The team has already cleared a roster spot for Ray by outrighting Jordan Lennerton off the 40-man roster.
- While plenty have argued that the time is now for the Cardinals to call up top prospect Oscar Taveras, GM John Mozeliak plans to keep him in the minors for the time being, reports Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I know a lot’s being made out of Oscar … coming to St. Louis,” Mozeliak said, “but right now I don’t even think it’s a logical thing to do. There are a lot of question marks going on in the outfield to begin with, and I think that would muddy it up.” Looking ahead, Mozeliak said that if Taveras continues at his present level of play, “that will make it a very difficult decision at some point.” As I documented a few weeks back, Taveras is one of those prospects with no MLB service time for whom Super Two status has now become the primary consideration (apart from development and team need, of course).
- Also in that piece, Hummel provides injury updates on two once-key cogs of the St. Louis pitching corps. Former closer Jason Motte has upped his heater into the mid-90s, while starter Jaime Garcia is still battling through injury issues but is nevertheless progressing through a rehab assignment. Needless to say, either or both of these two arms could give a real boost to a Cardinals club that is off to a somewhat sluggish start. While the team’s issues have generally not been on the pitching side of the ledger, added depth always opens up new possibilities.
12:19pm: Guerrier can opt out of his deal on May 8, tweets LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Financial terms remain the same as in Guerrier's prior deal, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He will earn $1MM while on the MLB roster and could earn up to $1MM more through incentives, with $250K bonuses triggered upon his 45th, 50th, 55th, and 60th appearances.
11:29am: The Twins have re-signed reliever Matt Guerrier after releasing him yesterday, reports MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger (Twitter links). The new deal includes an opt-out clause earlier than the June 1 date from his old contract, Bollinger adds.
By releasing and re-signing Guerrier, Minnesota avoided paying him a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors. The 35-year-old righty had hoped to find a big league opportunity elsewhere, but presumably was unable to do so.
One hidden key to the Royals' emergence has been the club's dedication to Latin American scouting, signing, and player development under GM Dayton Moore (and special assistant Rene Francisco), writes Rany Jazayerli of RanyontheRoyals.com. Jazayerli breaks down the team's long history of virtually no significant spending on Latin American players, and how increased investments — especially on lower-priced players like Salvador Perez, Yordano Ventura, Miguel Almonte, and Jorge Bonifacio (total commitment: $253K) — have been critical to building the team's overall talent base. Here's more from the American League Central:
- Max Scherzer requested an eight-year deal in his negotiations with the Tigers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Tigers' reported offer was for six years and $144MM. If the sides were in agreement on the $24MM AAV, that would hypothetically put Scherzer's demands on total gaurantee at $192MM. Scherzer has injury protection through an insurance policy, Bowden adds, which perhaps has increased his willingness to wait for a larger deal on the open market.
- Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to secure seven years of control rights over their own prized starter, Jose Quintana, for a total guarantee that maybe as low as $21MM (if he does not qualify for Super Two status). Of course, unlike Scherzer, Quintana has just 1.133 years of service and did not win the AL Cy Young last year. Nevertheless, the deal looks like a smart investment for a Chicago club that has purchased prime years of several players at seemingly reasonable rates. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports, GM Rick Hahn sees the value in early extensions, which "frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs." Hahn explained: "You've seen the magnitude of what some of these deals have gotten to in free agency. It makes sense to try to get out in front of that sometimes, to try to get the price points locked in before the market continues to grow … ."
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony had several updates today, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Infielder Jason Bartlett has agreed to push back his March 25 opt-out to the March 30 Opening Day roster deadline, which gives both sides more time to assess their options. Meanwhile, the club is still in discussions on a new deal with reliever Matt Guerrier, who was released because the club did not want to pay the Article XX(B) free agent signee a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors.
- Though the Twins have had some exploratory discussions about an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier, the 26-year-old tells Berardino that a deal is probably not happening at this point. That is not surprising, as Dozier has just 1.100 on his service clock and still has some questions to answer as a player. But he indicated that there is a positive vibe between the two sides and a hope that talks could pick up in the future. "We had some talks or whatever," he said. "Obviously nothing took place but it was a bunch of good postive feedback on both ends.It's very unlikely anything will be coming soon or during the season or anything. We'll let another year play out and see where it goes. That was just a thing to see where everybody was. I think [the Twins] would be in the near future open to it and we definitely are."
- The Indians were one of the clubs vying for Scott Baker's services before the offseason, and just released Aaron Harang. Nevertheless, Cleveland will not pursue the starter at this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Baker was released today by the Mariners after deciding he would rather test the market than accept an assignment to Triple-A.
The Twins announced today they have granted reliever Matt Guerrier his unconditional release. The move comes one day prior to the retention bonus deadline. The Twins would have had to pay Guerrier $100K to retain him and send him to Triple-A.
Guerrier, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Twins in January. A Twins waiver claim of Guerrier in 2003 paid off, as he made his big league debut with the team the following year and logged 472 innings with them over seven seasons. His solid relief work with Minnesota led to a three-year, $12MM deal with the Dodgers after the 2010 campaign. This spring, Guerrier gave up three runs in four innings.
Following a series of other moves, the Twins now have 29 players in camp.
FRIDAY: Berardino clarifies (via Twitter) that Gurrier's deal does contain the standard contract language of a Type XX(B) free agent, meaning he can opt out on June 1st if he is not on the MLB roster by that time.
As Berardino further reports, Guerrier would earn $1MM if he earns a MLB roster spot. He can also make up to $1MM more through incentives, with $250K bonuses triggered upon his 45th, 50th, 55th, and 60th appearances.
WEDNESDAY, 8:14pm: Guerrier's contract doesn't contain a clause that would allow him to opt out of the deal if he isn't in the Major Leagues by a certain day, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets.
11:31am: The Twins announced that they've brought back another familiar face, signing right-hander Matt Guerrier to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Guerrier is a client of Pro Star Management, Inc.
Guerrier, 35, broke into the Majors with the Twins in 2004 as a 25-year-old and enjoyed the best years of his career with Minnesota. The Kent State product posted a strong 3.38 ERA in 472 innings of relief in his first run with the Twins, twice leading the league in appearances. He went on to sign a three-year, $12MM contract with the Dodgers, but elbow injuries limited him to just 110 innings in two-and-a-half years with Los Angeles. He was eventually designated for assignment and flipped to the Cubs in a swap that sent Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers.
Guerrier is the third former Twin that Minnesota has signed to a minor league deal this offseason, as they've also brought back Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett. Guerrier, whose season ended in August due to flexor tendon surgery, will look to work his way into a Twins bullpen that figures to be led by All-Star closer Glen Perkins and setup man Jared Burton.
Guerrier drew interest from seven to eight other clubs this offseason, agent Joe Bick told MLBTR, but the familiarity with the Twins' coaching staff and front office as well as the mutual respect the two sides share for one another led to the decision to return to Minneapolis. "In conversations we had with Matt about the whole picture, the decision to return to Minnesota felt right. We're excited about the opportunity."
Bick said that while no assurances have been made as to whether or not he'll make the club, Guerrier plans to "grab this opportunity by the throat" in Spring Training. Guerrier has been throwing off an indoor mound at 75 to 80 percent for the past three weeks and is scheduled to progress to throwing "true" bullpens — hopefully outdoors and off a dirt mound — next Monday.