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In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that teams second guessing themselves is just a regular part of the offseason. A lot of folks are second guessing the A’s, but manager Bob Melvin has confidence in GM Billy Beane.
“We’re looking to get a little bit younger, yet if you want to look back to the end of 2011 and leading into 2012, we traded our last three All-Stars in [Trevor] Cahill, [Andrew] Bailey, and [Gio] Gonzalez and we ended up winning the division,” said Melvin. “We’re looking to compete again. This isn’t something where we’re breaking it down and moving in a different direction. The players that we’re getting back we like. There’s always a balance here for us in that we have to look down the road. We lost quite a bit of talent the last couple of years, making some trades. Billy is about as good as it gets as far as being able to handle that balance and keep us competitive currently, yet also having to look down the road for the future.”
More from today’s column..
- The Astros are a sleeper team in the Cole Hamels chase, Cafardo writes. The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are also interested in the Phillies left-hander, but Houston could join the bunch and the Giants may also be in if they can’t land James Shields.
- The Phillies are trying to get teams interested in Ryan Howard, and a team source indicated to Cafardo that they are willing to pay a great majority of his contract to move him. Howard is owed $60MM between 2015 and 2017, including a buyout. The Rays and Orioles have DH needs and he could theoretically fit the bill.
- Both the Marlins and the Brewers have active interest in Red Sox first baseman Allen Craig. Craig, 30, had some strong years with the Cardinals before joining the Red Sox at last year’s deadline.
- Agent John Boggs says that he’s having “discussions with several cubs” about client Ichiro Suzuki, though no deal is imminent at this time.
- Dan Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross, was trying to market his client for a comeback at the Winter Meetings. Cafardo hears that a lot of the 34-year-old’s decline may have had to do with an undetected concussion.
The Marlins do not think they’ll have to pay out the entire $325MM balance of Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract, Pirates president Frank Coonelly told a crowd (including the Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel) at PirateFest Saturday. Speaking very candidly for a team president, Coonelly recalled a recent conversation with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson: “They said to me, ‘You don’t understand. (Stanton) has an out clause after six years. Those first six years are only going to cost $107 million. After that, he’ll leave and play for somebody else. So, it’s not really $325 million.'” Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Mets should trade for Troy Tulowitzki, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Yes, Sherman says, Tulowitzki has $106MM on his contract and a long list of injuries, but if he were a perfect player, the Rockies would not trade him at a reasonable price. (In fact, they still might not trade him at a reasonable price.) And the time is right for the Mets, who have plenty of promising pitching but don’t have a shortstop. A trade for Tulowitzki could be just the risk the Mets need, Sherman writes, like their trade for Gary Carter 30 years ago. As for Tulowitzki, Sherman says that it’s “a poorly kept secret in the game is just how badly he wants out of Colorado now.” He doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but the Rockies’ front office would likely consult him about a possible trade, and Sherman thinks he would appreciate the chance to play for the Mets.
- The Cardinals say they are not actively pursuing Max Scherzer, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Scherzer is from the St. Louis area, and he reportedly met with the team earlier in the offseason.
- A Mariners official says the team doesn’t want to trade Brad Miller, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. “[U]nderstand this: We’re not looking to trade him,” the official says. “I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it’s a lot less likely than some people seem to think.” Dutton adds, however, that Miller was part of a deal the Mariners proposed to try to get Matt Kemp from the Dodgers. The Dodgers then demanded the Mariners include either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. The Mariners declined, and the Dodgers agreed to trade Kemp to the Padres instead.
- The Twins have shown interest in former Reds third baseman Jack Hannahan, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com tweets. Hannahan was born in St. Paul and went to both high school and college in the Twin Cities. He played sparingly in 2014 and posted just a .470 OPS in 50 plate appearances, so as Wolfson notes, the Twins would likely have interest in him only on a minor league deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brad Miller | Colorado Rockies | Giancarlo Stanton | Jack Hannahan | James Paxton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Kemp | Max Scherzer | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Pittsburgh Pirates | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Taijuan Walker | Troy Tulowitzki
For many Winter Meetings participants, baseball transactions are the last thing on their mind; the event also includes a trade show and job fair. As MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes, some number of job hunters are looking not only to break into the broader business of the game, but to launch a career in baseball operations. Even getting an internship is significantly harder than ever, according to Brock (and the hopefuls with whom he spoke). Here are a couple notes from the National League.
- The Marlins have “checked off a lot of boxes,” in the words of president of baseball operations Michael Hill, but there is plenty of opportunity left in the offseason, as MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes in a breakdown of where things stand in Miami. A power bat is, of course, on the team’s wish list, and Garrett Jones would be shopped hard if that occurs. There could be a logjam in the rotation if Dan Haren elects to play next year, with Nathan Eovaldi a possible trade chip if he does.
- In a conference call addressing the Wade Miley deal, Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart explained that the team pulled the trigger because Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster added power to the team’s rotation (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter). Stewart also said that the team has had internal discussions on the possibility of going after Max Scherzer or James Shields, but has yet to decide whether to do so, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets.
- Figuring out what to do with the Braves is tricky, but it sounds like team president John Hart won’t be sentimental about keeping the team together, judging from his comments to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Let’s be honest: This team finished 29th in offense,” Hart says. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.” Hart’s Braves might not have been in the same trouble the Pirates were when GM Neal Huntington said almost exactly the same thing in 2009, but the Braves have been busy so far this offseason, dealing Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, and signing Nick Markakis and Jim Johnson. Still, Hart adds, the Braves aren’t going to “throw a hand grenade on the club and blow it up” in preparation for the opening of their new stadium in 2017. Hart adds that he has had discussions with “six to eight” teams about Justin Upton, but none that have resulted in a trade.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Orioles have agreed to a minor league pact with righty Chaz Roe, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old reliever has only seen 24 1/3 innings at the big league level, but has posted strong numbers in the upper minors over the past two seasons, including attractive K/BB rates.
- The Rays have announced the signing of three players to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, via Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Catcher Bobby Wilson, outfielder Corey Brown, and utilityman Eugenio Velez will be joining the Tampa organization. Wilson has not seen much MLB time since serving as a backup with the Angels, and the same holds of Velez, who was a semi-regular with the Giants five years back. Brown, 29, spent most of last year at Triple-A in the Red Sox system.
- Likewise, the Blue Jays have added a trio of minor league contracts that include spring invites, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). Righty Wilton Lopez, outfielder Caleb Gindl, and corner infielder Jake Fox will take a shot at making the Toronto roster. Lopez, 31, was a pen mainstay for the Astros and then the Rockies before suffering through a rough 2014 in Colorado. Gindl, just 26, showed some promise in 2013 with the Brewers but struggled last year at Triple-A and in a brief big league stint. And the 32-year-old Fox has not reached the bigs since 2011, but launched 38 home runs in the upper minors last year with the Phillies.
- The Marlins have added outfielder Scott Sizemore on a minor league deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets (a deal that Chris Cotillo of SB Nation recently said was in the works). Sizemore, 29, has seen action in parts of four MLB seasons, and owns a useful .240/.327/.383 slash with 14 home runs over 614 career plate appearances.
Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Twins have signed right-hander Brayan Villarreal to a split contract, ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reports (via Twitter). The deal contains an invitation to Minnesota’s Spring Training camp and Villarreal will earn $522K if he stays on the Twins’ Major League roster. Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season with the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.
- The Yankees signed infielder Nick Noonan to a minor league deal, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports (Twitter link). Noonan, taken 32nd overall by the Giants in the 2007 draft, has a .262/.316/.368 slash line over 3322 career PA in the minors, all in San Francisco’s farm system. He appeared in 62 games with the Giants in 2013.
- The Rangers signed outfielder Antoan Richardson and right-handers Anthony Bass and Ross Wolf to minor league deals with Spring Training invitations, the team announced (hat tip to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
- The Marlins are likely to sign free agent infielder Scott Sizemore, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Sizemore signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last winter and played in six games for the club before being released and re-signed over the summer. Due in part to a pair of major knee injuries, Sizemore has only appeared in eight Major League games over the last three seasons.
- The Brewers have released outfielder Jeremy Hermida so he can pursue an opportunity to play in Japan, the team announced. Hermida just signed a new minor league contract with Milwaukee in November. The former 11th overall pick (in the 2002 draft) and top prospect last played in the majors in 2012 as a member of the Padres.
Needless to say, it was a frenetic end to the Winter Meetings. Over the course of the morning, several forward-looking reports emerged. We’ll round those up here:
- The Giants are focused on free agent starter James Shields, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). San Francisco is alive on both Shields and Ervin Santana, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle adds on Twitter. The club met with Shields in San Diego, as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported yesterday (Twitter link).
- The Twins are still trying to land Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who adds that the Giants, Royals, and Yankees have also expressed interest in the free agent righty.
- The Marlins are still looking hard at the free agent and trade market for a first baseman, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. A deal could come at any time, Spencer adds.
- Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies have fallen apart, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer. He hears that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
- Communications between the Marlins and Rockies regarding Morneau will continue, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports on Twitter, though Harding’s source says he is not sure if the potential match “has legs.”
- The Dodgers did not make their moves as a prelude to dealing away Zack Greinke or dealing for Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Los Angeles has already done its heavy lifting with yesterday’s series of moves, says Sherman.
- After trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Angels are “open to opportunities” for additions at the position, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Halos are not interested in free agents Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew, per Dipoto. Of course, the team just added Josh Rutledge to join in-house option Grant Green in the current mix.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Cole Hamels | Ervin Santana | James Shields | Jed Lowrie | Jerry Dipoto | Justin Morneau | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | New York Yankees | Newsstand | Pedro Alvarez | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Francisco Giants | Stephen Drew | Zack Greinke
Though Latos has had some recent arm issues, he is an excellent performer when healthy. In fact, he has not posted an ERA of higher than 3.50 in any season since his brief rookie debut. Last year, he worked to a 3.25 earned run mark over 102 1/3 innings, striking out 6.5 and walking 2.3 batters per nine. Those strikeout figures were down from his career standards. And while the innings total is surely a concern, Latos had averaged 200 frames per season over the prior four campaigns.
Then there is the matter of Latos’s contract. He is projected by MLBTR/Matt Swartz to earn just $8.4MM this coming season, a relative bargain. He will qualify for free agency, but the Fish will of course also have the opportunity to make him a qualifying offer.
DeSclafani came to Miami in the blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays several years back. The 24-year-old righty reached the bigs last year, struggling to a 6.27 ERA over a short sample of 33 innings, but put up strong results in the minors. He is generally viewed more as a back-end arm, though his exceedingly low walk numbers might provide more upside than his solid strikeout figures would suggest.
Wallach, son of longtime big leaguer Tim, is a 23-year-old backstop who has put up impressive offensive numbers in the low minors. Baseball America views him as a solid all-around prospect who should at worst become a good big league backup.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted that the Fish were set to announce a pitching acquisition, with Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeting that Latos was the name in play. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted that the deal was done. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports(also on Twitter) reported the Reds’ return.
Jennings, not to be confused with the Miami GM of the same name, owns a career 2.43 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 across the last three years. The left-hander will celebrate his 28th birthday not long after Opening Day.
Rienzo, 26, has made 21 starts and seven relief appearances for the White Sox over the last two years. In that time, he has posted a 5.89 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.
The Dodgers and Marlins have announced a blockbuster deal that sends middle infielder Dee Gordon, veteran right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and a player to be named later or cash to Miami in exchange for left-hander Andrew Heaney, second baseman Enrique Hernandez, righty reliever Chris Hatcher and catching prospect Austin Barnes. (Heaney has since been traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.)
With the Dodgers reportedly open to dealing Gordon and the Marlins open to trading from their surplus of young arms, the two made sense as trade partners, especially with Miami rather thin in the middle infield. Gordon is an upgrade over the Marlins’ current second base options (Donovan Solano and Derek Dietrich), though Gordon could also return to his original shortstop position and supplant Adeiny Hechavarria, who has been a negative fWAR player over the last two seasons.
Gordon broke out with an All-Star campaign in 2014, hitting .289/.326/.378 over 650 plate appearances while leading the league in both steals (64) and triples (12). He is controlled through the 2018 season, though he’ll start getting expensive this winter as he is arbitration-eligible for the first of four times (as a Super Two player). MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Gordon to earn $2.5MM in 2015.
Haren said last month that he could retire if he was pitching anywhere other than with the Dodgers or Angels. The righty exercised his $10MM player option for the 2015 season, so now the question seems to be whether Haren will have a change of heart about playing outside of southern California, or if he’ll indeed hang up his glove and walk away from that $10MM. Haren posted a 4.02 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and a 4.03 K/BB rate over 186 innings last season, so he’d fit the Marlins’ desire for a veteran arm if he did continue to pitch. ESPN’s Buster Olney did hear that a third team could be involved in the trade talks, which could be a precursor to another Marlins trade that could send Haren to a more preferred destination. The Marlins’ Michael Hill says (via the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin on Twitter) that the Marlins will not receive additional compensation depending on what happens with Haren.
Whether or not Haren retires, the Dodgers will still send $10MM to Miami as part of the trade, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter links). L.A. will also cover the projected $2.5MM that Gordon will earn in arbitration. The Marlins plan to use the money from the Dodgers on a first baseman or a starting pitcher.
Rojas, 25, made his Major League debut in 2014, posting a .464 OPS over 162 PA and mostly playing shortstop. Rojas also received some significant playing time at second and third during his nine-year minor league career, which saw him post a .238/.305/.297 line over 2639 plate appearances in the Dodgers, Reds and Rays farm systems.
From the Dodgers’ perspective, they’ve overhauled their middle infield in a matter of hours between this deal, the Kendrick swap and the seemingly impending Jimmy Rollins trade. Heaney is already gone, but USA Bob Nightengale points out that L.A. could also use some of these youngsters as trade bait to acquire a top starter such as Cole Hamels. It’s also possible that some of these players could be going to the Phils to complete the Rollins deal, as per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Heaney is the biggest name of the four, the ninth overall pick of the 2012 draft and tabbed as both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings. Heaney has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.
This is Hernandez’s second trade in less than five months, as he came to the Marlins from the Astros in July as part of the Jarred Cosart deal. Hernandez also made his MLB debut in 2014, posting a .248/.321/.421 slash line and a 110 wRC+ over 134 PA with Houston and Miami. He played mostly as a second baseman in the minors and will join Alex Guerrero, Darwin Barney and Justin Turner in battling for a backup role in Los Angeles. Hernandez also has experience at third, short and all three outfield positions, so he could be a valuable bench piece.
Hatcher enjoyed a breakout season in 2014, posting a 3.38 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and a 5:1 strikeout-to-walk rate over 56 innings last season. He’s a solid addition to a Dodgers bullpen that was looking to upgrade at a low cost, given the large salaries already committed to the likes of Brandon League, Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, not to mention Kenley Jansen‘s projected $8.2MM arbitration salary.
Baseball America ranked Barnes as the Marlins’ 20th-best prospect prior to the season. The 24-year-old catcher has shown some impressive skill at the plate, with .298/.390/.431 slash line over 1855 minor league PA. Barnes posted a .913 OPS in 348 PA at the Double-A level last season.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported the deal had been agreed upon, pending some paperwork. ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter links) was the first to report that the two sides were having “serious talks” about a Gordon/Heaney trade and Haren’s possible involvement, and Olney described the deal as being “close to done.” Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) added that Hernandez, Barnes and Hatcher were included in the deal. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweeted that Rojas was involved.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
There has been much speculation about Dan Haren‘s role in the impending six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins, as Haren has openly said that he’d rather retire than pitch anywhere but for one of the two Los Angeles teams. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto shot down speculation that the Marlins could flip Haren to his team, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that his team wasn’t trading for Haren.
As we wait for either of today’s two blockbuster Dodgers trades to be finalized, here’s some more news from Chavez Ravine…
- There are rumors around the Winter Meetings that the Dodgers are making these big moves to position themselves to sign James Shields, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports (Twitter link).
- The rumored Andre Ethier-for-Miguel Montero swap with the Diamondbacks fell apart because of how much money the Dodgers would have had to pay, Saxon reports (via Twitter). Arizona ended up dealing Montero to the Cubs yesterday.
- Also from Saxon, the Dodgers haven’t made any inquiries about Ervin Santana.
- The Dodgers have been talking to other free agent pitchers, however, including Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
- Rumors of a Matt Kemp deal to the Padres “has legs,” a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two sides have made some progress but nothing is official yet. Yasmani Grandal would be the main piece coming back from San Diego and Heyman hears the Dodgers have also asked for pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin (though Heyman isn’t sure if both would be included if the deal happened.)