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- Cafardo’s Latest: Revere, Kennedy, Hamels, Jays
- Rosenthal On Angels, Black, Parra, Samardzija
- Braves Still Shopping Chris Johnson
- Mets’ Alderson Expresses Support For Terry Collins
- Miguel Cabrera To Miss Six Weeks
- Yankees, A-Rod Settle Home Run Milestone Dispute
- Rangers Designate Neftali Feliz, Activate Matt Harrison
- Jocketty: Reds “Prepared To Go Either Way” At Deadline
- Federal Charges Recommended For Astros Computer Breach
- Trade Candidate: Mat Latos
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Matt Reynolds Rumors
Braves assistant GM John Coppolella tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that the club is still working to put a winner on the field at present, though it won’t lose focus of its longer-term needs. “We don’t want to lose 100 games or put our fan base through any type of extended suffering,” he said. “We are trying to walk two parallel roads: making this team better and building for the future. So, it’s one eye on the present and two eyes on the future.” While that means that the club will weigh present needs in considering trades this summer, it still appears unlikely that Atlanta will be a significant buyer. Instead, it seems, the club may not be aggressive in moving veterans if it’s still in playoff contention — an easier decision, perhaps, given that the Braves moved their best shorter-term assets before the season. “When we get to the Trade Deadline, we won’t look to ship out everyone who is on a free-agent contract or everybody who is over the age of 30,” he said. “We’re going to look to make good solid baseball trades that will be made in the best interest of this franchise. I don’t know if we’ll be as active as we have been previously. We’ll see what comes up at the Deadline, but by no means will we totally gut this team.”
- The Mets‘ long-term plans at short probably will not involve Wilmer Flores, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests on Twitter. New York will either fill that slot via trade or turn to 24-year-old Matt Reynolds, who is currently in his second stint at the Triple-A level. Of course, it’s worth noting that the organization has an even younger option in Gavin Cecchini. The 21-year-old is enjoying his best season as a professional at the Double-A level, where he’s slashing .285/.340/.423 over 262 plate appearances.
- The Phillies‘ front office announcement today also revealed something about the club’s ownership situation, Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. John Middleton — who owns the single largest stake in the club (48%) — was front and center during today’s press conference, putting a new face on the organization. “We spent $18 million buying our initial interest in this team,” Middleton explained. “We’re a long way from $18 million now, so you have to take a greater role in the team. You have to.”
- Phillies president-to-be Andy MacPhail emphasized that he is prepared infuse analytics into the organization’s decisionmaking, as Nick Suss of MLB.com reports. With Middleton noting the importance of updating the club’s use of data, including a customized system that the club expects to bring on line in September, MacPhail indicated that his aim is to harness statistical analysis with a focus on the people performing and utilizing it. “The more experience you have with it and the more you get a better sense of which formulas really are predictors of performance and which ones aren’t, it’s something that knowledge accrues over time,” MacPhail said. “But I think it’s absolutely essential that you marry that with the best human intelligence you can. Bodies change. Weaknesses get exposed and they get exploited. People make adjustments. So you need to look at every single facet that is possible when you’re making player evaluations.”
Despite shaky defense, Wilmer Flores will remain the Mets starting shortstop, reports Ken Rosenthal in his latest video for FOX Sports. However, one alternative is to trade Daniel Murphy, shift Flores to second base, and promote shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds. The move would instantly upgrade the Mets’ infield defense. Per Rosenthal, the club may prefer to promote Reynolds once David Wright returns to action.
As for trading Murphy, the club may look to acquire a prospect or reliever. Aside from Jeurys Familia and a couple role players, the Mets bullpen has been a little shaky. However, strong starting pitching has allowed the club to hide that shortcoming. New York relievers have thrown the fewest innings of any team. Conversely, their starters lead the league in innings pitched. Here’s more from Rosenthal:
- Cubs second base prospect Javier Baez is on an 11-for-22 streak, leading to speculation that he could be promoted. The easiest way to insert him into the lineup would be to move Kris Bryant to the outfield and Baez to third. Since the club is juggling several important future pieces, they’ll want to be careful about how they handle the logjam.
- The Orioles are built to sell with eight players on the 25 man roster set to reach free agency after the season. Don’t expect a fire sale anytime soon. Baltimore is just four games back in a shaky AL East. Owner Peter Angelos is loathe to throw in the towel. He famously nixed a couple trades involving Bobby Bonilla and David Wells during the 1996 season. The club later clawed its way into the postseason. It would seem the Orioles’ woes would have to get a lot worse before Chris Davis and others were shopped.
- Many speculate that Mark Trumbo will be available this summer, however the Diamondbacks have publicly resisted the idea. Per Rosenthal, the club believes they will contend next season once Patrick Corbin and other youngsters solidify the rotation. Trumbo is signed to a $6.9MM contract and has one year of arbitration remaining. Arizona could replace Trumbo with a platoon of David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas.
The Nationals‘ signing of Max Scherzer dropped righty Tanner Roark — one of the most effective starters in baseball in 2014 — to the bullpen, and Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com examines what the best role for Roark is in 2015. As Zuckerman notes, Roark ranks sixth or better in ERA, WHIP and opponents’ OPS dating back to Aug. 7, 2013, when he made his big league debut. One could make a case, therefore, that he is deserving of a high-leverage spot in what will be a new-look Nationals bullpen, but reducing him to a one-inning role complicates matters if he needs to be stretched out due to an injury to another starter. However, if he’s used in a long relief role, that will limit his usage, particularly given how strong the starting five project to be. The way in which Roark will be deployed figures to be a fascinating storyline for Nats fans, and I should note that there could be longer-reaching ramifications. Pitching in a high-leverage setup role for a year would likely be better for Roark’s first arbitration case as opposed to being used as a long man; accumulating holds and possibly the occasional save would likely be better for his financial future than pitching in blowout games, as many long relievers end up doing. Of course, Roark isn’t arb-eligible until the 2016-17 offseason, so he should still have another season of starting duty to add to his first arbitration platform.
Some more NL East items as Spring Training games draw near…
- Previous reports have indicated that the Phillies may add veteran depth at shortstop and catcher during Spring Training, but MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki clarifies that the team will only make a move if it is first determined that younger options such as Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp aren’t able to fill those roles. Non-roster alternatives are in place at each position, such as Andres Blanco and Chase d’Arnaud at short and Koyie Hill and John Hester behind the dish. However, none of those players has much of a big league track record.
- Matt Reynolds feels comfortable at shortstop and tells Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he thinks he can help the team at the position in 2015. Kernan notes that Mets‘ officials consistently praise Reynolds’ focus and determination, and the .343/.405/.454 batting line he compiled between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014 doesn’t do anything to hurt his chances, of course. Reynolds says he is close with Wilmer Flores and hopes to see Flores succeed, adding that the situation “will play itself out.” Reynolds also spoke glowingly of the benefit he’s received from David Wright‘s down-to-Earth nature and willingness to share his wisdom as he’s risen through the ranks. Flores is expected to open the season at shortstop for the Mets, but Reynolds could challenge for time if Flores struggles.
- The lofty goals publicly expressed by several members of the Mets organization could have harsh ramifications among the fan base should the team struggle, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Matt Harvey is the latest to join the big talk — telling reporters over the weekend (in unprompted fashion) that it was “very realistic” that the team could find itself in the World Series. That the Mets’ offseason has been largely uneventful aside from the addition of Michael Cuddyer is a well-documented fact, and I’d imagine the quiet offseason could expedite a negative reaction to stated expectations should the team struggle in the early-going.
The Diamondbacks announced that they have exercised their 2015 club options on right-hander Daniel Hudson and left-hander Matt Reynolds. Hudson’s option guarantees him $800K next season, while Reynolds will earn $600K.
Hudson, 27, hasn’t seen regular MLB action since 2012 season due to not one, but two Tommy John surgeries. He looked to have recovered from his first Tommy John operation before re-injuring the elbow early in a rehab stint and requiring a second procedure. Hudson remained determined and worked his way through the rehab process once again, this time reaching the Majors at the tail end of the 2014 season and making three relief appearances. The D’Backs appear likely to use him as a reliever in 2015, and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets that he can earn an additional $300K in roster bonuses.
Originally acquired from the White Sox along with lefty David Holmberg in exchange for Edwin Jackson, Hudson looked to be a key cog for the Diamondbacks’ rotation after a brilliant debut for Arizona. He posted a 1.69 ERA in 11 starts for the D’Backs in 2010 and followed that up with a 3.49 mark in 222 innings the following year before injuring his UCL in 2012.
Reynolds, 30, was acquired from the Rockies in a rare intra-division trade that sent Ryan Wheeler to Colorado. Reynolds was enjoying an excellent first season with the D’Backs in 2013, having pitched to a 1.98 ERA with 23 strikeouts against five walks in 27 1/3 innings before his injury. He spent the 2014 season rehabbing and did not take the mound in either the Majors or Minors, though at just $100K over the league minimum, there’s little risk for the Diamondbacks in exercising their option.
Here’s the recap of some notable players who saw their roster status changed over the weekend…
- The Marlins moved Jose Fernandez to the 60-day disabled list, opening up roster space for newly-acquired reliever Bryan Morris. Fernandez, of course, will be sidelined for roughly the next year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
- The Rays moved infielder Tim Beckham to the 60-day DL and filled his 40-man roster spot by purchasing the contract of outfielder Jerry Sands from Triple-A. Sands will help fill in for Wil Myers, who went on the 15-day DL yesterday. Beckham, the first overall pick of the 2008 draft, tore his right ACL during the offseason.
- The Diamondbacks moved left-hander Matt Reynolds to the 60-day DL in order to create a 40-man roster spot for outfielder David Peralta, who had his contract purchased from Double-A. (A.J. Pollock was placed on the 15-day DL in a corresponding move.) Reynolds posted an impressive 1.98 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 4.60 K/BB rate in 27 1/3 IP out of the Arizona bullpen last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in September.
3:02pm: Reynolds will earn $550K in 2014 and there's a club option for the following year worth $600K, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
11:42am: The Diamondbacks announced that they have avoided arbitration with left-hander Matt Reynolds by agreeing to a one-year contract with a club option for the 2015 season.
Reynolds, 29, was enjoying an outstanding season in his first year with the Snakes before going down with a left elbow strain. That injury resulted in the worst possible outcome for team and player, as Reynolds ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 24.
In 27 1/3 innings for the D-Backs this season, Reynolds had a pristine 1.98 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9. By locking him up for 2014 and securing a club option for 2015, the Diamondbacks gain some cost certainty over an asset who is controlled through the 2016 season. Arizona acquired Reynolds last November in a rare intra-division trade that sent third baseman Ryan Wheeler to the Rockies.
Wladimir Balentien smashed his 56th home run for the Yakult Swallows on Sunday to break Sadaharu Oh's Japanese single-season record and some within the Giants organization have wondered if they could find a way to acquire him, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. There's one problem, however - Balentien signed a three-year deal with the Swallows before this season, which means he will not be a free agent until the end of 2015. “He wants to come back. That’s what he told me two or three weeks ago. His dream is to come back and play in the major leagues," said Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens. “We’ve talked about him, but nobody knows how to go about it, to get out of the contract." While the idea has been batted around, Schulman cautions that the conversations have been theoretical and have not involved GM Brian Sabean. Here's more out of the NL West..
- The Dodgers have scouted Japanese right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, a source tells Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Earlier today we learned that the rival Angels are also looking at the Rakuten Golden Eagles standout.
- Diamondbacks left-hander Matt Reynolds learned that he'll require Tommy John surgery after his MRI was reviewed, according to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter). The 28-year-old, who posted a 1.98 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 30 relief outings this season, will probably go under the knife with Dr. James Andrews next week.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) runs down the players that have exceeded his expectations this season, highlighted by the MVP-caliber play of Diamondbacks standout Paul Goldschmidt.
Reynolds, 28, appeared in 71 games for the Rockies in 2012. He posted a 4.40 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 57 1.3 innings. He's not yet arbitration eligible. Wheeler, 24, made his MLB debut in 2012. He appeared in 50 games, posting a .239/.294/.339 batting line in 119 plate appearances. He also posted a .351/.388/.572 batting line in 399 plate appearances at Triple-A this past season.
6:26pm: Matt Reynolds is also drawing trade interest, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Reynolds, 27, has a 3.61 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 46.3 percent ground-ball rate in 42 1/3 innings of work this season.
6:15pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Rangers, Braves, Red Sox and Blue Jays are all inquiring on Betancourt (Twitter link).
Sunday, 6:02pm: Betancourt continues drawing trade interest but nothing is imminent, according to Renck (Twitter link). It's probably fair to assume that several of the teams who are currently discussing Brandon League with the Mariners are also intrigued by Betancourt, though that's my own speculation. — Steve Adams
Saturday: The Orioles, Yankees, and Athletics are among the teams with interest in Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The Red Sox had interest earlier this month and both the White Sox and Angels are digging around for bullpen help.
Betancourt, 37, has pitched to a 3.00 ERA and gone 17-for-21 in save chances. His strikeout (9.3 K/9) and walk (2.5 BB/9) rates are superb as usual. Betancourt is owned approximately $1.5M for the rest of the season and is under contract for $4.25MM next year. His deal includes a $4.25MM mutual option ($250K buyout) for 2014 as well.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The Rockies have been scouting the Giants’ minor league teams, so a deal could be developing, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes (Twitter links). The Giants asked about acquiring Marco Scutaro for bench help a couple of weeks ago and relievers Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could also interest San Francisco, Schulman writes. Here are more notes on the 37-60 Rockies…
- The Rockies don’t want to move Michael Cuddyer and are determined to keep Belisle, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes.
- Scutaro, Jason Giambi, Betancourt, Matt Reynolds and Jonathan Herrera are the most likely Rockies to be traded in that order, Heyman writes.
- The Rays, Nationals, Rangers and A’s appear to have interest in Scutaro, along with the Giants. Heyman reports that the Rockies could either seek a highly-regarded prospect for Scutaro or accept salary relief and a fringy prospect.
- Several teams have called about Reynolds, Heyman reports.