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Mets third baseman David Wright injured his hamstring on a stolen base attempt in the ninth inning of tonight’s contest against the Phillies and appears DL-bound. The team has announced that Eric Campbell is on his way to New York in case a roster move needs to be made, and both ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin (link) and Newsday’s Marc Carig (link) have indicated that a trip to the DL seems inevitable. Wright will have an MRI tomorrow morning before a decision is made, but he sounds likely to join a growing list of injured Mets. Michael Cuddyer, who left tonight’s game after being hit on the hand by a pitch, sounds like he may return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow, via Rubin (on Twitter).
More NL East news as today’s games come to a close…
- Denard Span is on the comeback trail to the Nationals, as the team announced today that he began a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg tonight. Span was expected to be sidelined until mid-May following core muscle surgery, but he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab. Teammate Nate McLouth also received some positive news, as an MRI showed no structural damage in his surgically repaired shoulder, tweets CSN’s Mark Zuckerman. McLouth has been cleared to resume a throwing program.
- The reworked delivery of Marlins right-hander Carter Capps has caused some controversy, as the home plate umpire in his first appearance at Triple-A this year deemed it illegal and negated his first two pitches, stating that Carter broke contact with the pitching rubber too soon. As the Miami Sun Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez writes, the issue has been resolved, as the Marlins have contacted Major League Baseball to receive clarification, and Capps will be allowed to continue on with his delivery. The 24-year-old was recalled by the Marlins yesterday and made his 2015 debut with the team last night. (Those interested in seeing Capps’ delivery can check out this video from last night’s game coverage, in which the Braves commentators liken the delivery to that of former Atlanta righty Jordan Walden.)
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron also examined Capps’ delivery and likened it to that of Walden, though he rightly notes that Capps’ hop-step brings him even closer to the mound than Walden does. Cameron points out that it doesn’t seem that there’s anything in the rulebook’s definition of “legal pitches” that would prevent Capps from doing this. Capps has long struggled against lefties, Cameron notes, and he wonders if the change in delivery will help with that problem, as his 97 mph average velocity, released closer to the plate, will certainly make it more difficult to pick up. Cameron speculates that if Capps can have success against lefties with this type of delivery, it may not be long before some fringy relief prospects begin emulating Capps and Walden, making the delivery more common.
The Marlins announced that right-hander Henderson Alvarez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation. Earlier today, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted that the team was more concerned with Alvarez’s shoulder than his elbow heading into an MRI. While the length of time that Alvarez will miss is yet to be determined, the news is certainly troubling, as shoulder issues are often more problematic than elbow issues for pitchers, in the long-term. Miami is already without ace Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery last May, and offseason acquisition Mat Latos was shelled in his first outing. He’ll look to rebound tonight, but he’s shown diminished velocity that has led to concern in some scouts as well.
A couple more Marlins notes…
- The Marlins also announced that top catching prospect J.T. Realmuto has been recalled from Triple-A and will join the team in Atlanta. (Andy Slater of 940-AM first tweeted that Realmuto would definitively be recalled, and the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer called the move expected last night.) Realmuto and Reid Brignac will replace Jeff Mathis and Don Kelly, who bizarrely suffered the same injury — a broken right ring finger — six innings apart from each other. Realmuto’s presence is significant, given the struggles of Jarrod Saltalamacchia since signing in Miami. Entering the season, the 24-year-old Realmuto ranked 70th among prospects, per MLB.com, 72nd per ESPN’s Keith Law and 76th per Baseball America. Realmuto repeated Double-A in 2013 and saw his OPS soar from .663 to .830, and most scouting reports feel that his glove has taken a significant step forward as well. Saltalamacchia has batted just .217/.317/.364 as a Marlin, exhibiting his usual struggles to control the running game and well-below-average framing skills. He’s owed $7MM this year and $8MM in 2016, but if Realmuto thrives, it’s conceivable that Saltalamacchia could find himself on the back burner in Miami.
- David Phelps is a leading candidate to step into Miami’s rotation, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro noted yesterday when speculating about the possibility of Alvarez landing on the disabled list. Phelps was a somewhat unheralded component of the offseason’s Martin Prado trade, but he did soak up 113 innings for an injury-plagued Yankees roster in 2014. Phelps worked to a 4.38 ERA in that time, averaging 7.3 strikeouts and 3.7 walks per nine innings pitched. As a pitcher who generates a fair amount of fly-balls, Phelps seems likely to benefit from the Marlins’ spacious park and excellent outfield defense.
- It’s also worth noting that Aaron Crow will land on the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Brignac, and that right-hander Carter Capps will take Alvarez’s roster spot. Capps, 24, is the pitcher that the Marlins received in exchange for Logan Morrison in a December 2013 trade with Seattle. He pitched quite well for Miami in 2014 before an elbow sprain cost him most of the season.
Rick Porcello removed himself from next offseason’s free-agent market by signing a four-year, $82.5MM extension with the Red Sox, but the strong class of starting pitching next offseason (David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, and so on) did not play a significant role in his decision, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. “I don’t think it factors in that much in regards to my situation because I’m a lot younger than those guys,” Porcello says. “I felt like whatever career numbers they have, I feel confident that I’m going to have a good year this year and if I did that I would have no problem putting myself up against those guys.” Porcello is surely right that his age would have been a significant point in his favor had he become a free agent — he doesn’t turn 27 until December and would have been an exceptionally young player on the open market. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez will have an MRI on his pitching elbow, Clark Spencer of MLB.com tweets. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro adds (also via Twitter) that the Marlins are worried about Alvarez’s shoulder as well. The 24-year-old is coming off an excellent season in which he posted a 2.65 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and just 1.6 BB/9 in 187 innings. As Spencer suggests, a significant injury to Alvarez would be a big setback for the Marlins, who last year lost another top starter, Jose Fernandez, to an elbow injury.
- The Rays had David DeJesus on the trade market this spring, but now he’s helping them, hitting a three-run homer Sunday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Fellow lefty John Jaso‘s Opening-Day wrist injury carved out a bit of playing time for DeJesus. “I was taking spring training as my opportunity to go out there and show pretty much all of baseball that I can still play,” says DeJesus. “Now I’m playing for these guys, and it’s great. I’d rather it be this way because you build relationships throughout spring training and throughout the last two-three years.”
The Rays tied a franchise record by using 21 players against the Marlins in a 10-inning, 10-9 loss on Friday, writes MLB.com’s Bill Chastain. That included two players making their big-league debut, outfielder Mikie Mahtook and righty Matt Andriese, as Chastain notes. Mahtook, a first-round pick in 2011, is perhaps the more likely of the two to make a long-term impact. He hit .292/.362/.458 for Triple-A Durham last season. “I think everything happened so fast yesterday, you don’t realize what was going on,” says Mahtook. “So in the moment, I wouldn’t even say I was super nervous. I was just kind of going with it.”
- Phillies prospect Jesmuel Valentin has been arrested and suspended indefinitely for his role in a domestic violence incident, writes Jim Salisbury of of CSNPhilly. GM Ruben Amaro said the team was “getting the young man some help, but we take this very seriously as does the Commissioner’s office.” Valentin, the son of former major leaguer Jose Valentin, was acquired by the Phillies last August as part of the return for Roberto Hernandez.
- Angels pitcher and union player rep C.J. Wilson commented on the ongoing Josh Hamilton saga, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (two tweets). Wilson said, “it doesn’t seem like any bridges are being built. It’s a fairly contentious situation.” Wilson added, “Josh went through the whole process. It should be about him rehabbing and playing baseball again.” Per Pedro Moura of the Orange Country Register (also Twitter), Wilson also suggested that performance is driving owner Arte Moreno’s plans to take action against Hamilton. In case you missed the latest kerfuffle involving Hamilton, here’s a detailed summary from MLBTR’s Jeff Todd.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has penned a lengthy column that’s chock full of Hot Stove related items as the season gets underway. First and foremost, he chronicles the Braves‘ trade of Craig Kimbrel at length. Heyman spoke to president of baseball ops John Hart, who candidly told Heyman that the team took a hard line of refusing to trade Kimbrel unless Melvin Upton Jr. was involved in the deal. “We were not going to separate Kimbrel and trade him by himself,” Hart told Heyman. Atlanta reached out to the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Padres, among others, this winter in an effort to move Upton, and despite the Dodgers’ bullpen needs, they weren’t willing to add Upton’s contract to that of Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, having already shed Matt Kemp‘s contract. The Padres trade didn’t heat up until about four days before it was agreed upon, Heyman writes, with Hart even remaining in Orlando to finish negotiations rather than fly with the team to Miami at the end of Spring Training. Hart credited assistant GM John Coppolella for doing much of the legwork and his creativity in getting the trade finalized.
More highlights from Heyman’s article (though the entire piece is well worth your time)…
- While some reports late in Spring Training indicated that the Phillies would be willing to eat up to $50MM of the remaining $60MM on Ryan Howard‘s contract, two GMs tell Heyman they hadn’t heard that figure. One of those GMs was of the belief that the Phillies’ top offer was to pay about $35MM, which, Heyman speculates, may have been a large reason that the Royals opted to sign Kendrys Morales for two years and $17MM rather than pursue a Howard trade.
- Speaking of the Royals, Heyman hears that the team is open to pursuing a second extension with catcher Salvador Perez and would be happy to make him a Royal for life. Heyman notes that some in the organization even have some sympathy for Perez, whose five-year, $7MM contract is widely considered the most team-friendly deal in all of baseball. Perez’s deal contains three startlingly low club options valued at $3.75MM, $5MM and $6MM for the 2017-19 seasons — two of which would have been free-agent seasons beginning at the age of 28.
- The Marlins tried to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia this winter after the catcher’s first season on a three-year, $21MM pact was a struggle, but his salary was too great a deterrent. The Marlins presumably feel that top prospect J.T. Realmuto could step into the catcher’s role in the not-too-distant future.
- The Tigers are believed to be at least monitoring Rafael Soriano‘s workouts at the Boras Sports Training Institute in Miami, per Heyman. However, Soriano has seen his stock suffer not only due to ineffective innings late int he 2014 season but also due to perceptions about his personality and negative clubhouse impact. At least one club that was taking a hard look at late-inning relievers ruled out Soriano entirely due to that perception, Heyman reports.
- The Reds felt the odds of extending Johnny Cueto prior to Opening Day were so slim that it’s not even clear if they made a formal offer, writes Heyman. Cueto is seeking a figure in the range of $200MM following Max Scherzer‘s mammoth contract this offseason, he adds. Heyman also opines that David Price would probably be selling himself short if he took much less than $200MM from the Tigers at this point as well.
- Anecdotally, Heyman tells the story of how Cody Ross‘ career began when he was sold to the Marlins from the Reds in exchange for “cash considerations” of precisely one dollar. Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky spoke to Heyman about the deal, explaining that they didn’t have room on the Cincinnati roster back in ’06 but genuinely wanted to get Ross into the best possible position to have a chance at a Major League roster spot. Ross has gone on to earn more than $52MM in the game of baseball.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | B.J. Upton | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Cody Ross | Craig Kimbrel | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Jarrod Saltalamacchia | Johnny Cueto | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Newsstand | Philadelphia Phillies | Rafael Soriano | Ryan Howard | Salvador Perez | San Diego Padres
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and manager Mike Redmond spoke with Anthony Castrovince for a Sports On Earth piece about the 23-year-old Fernandez’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Fernandez says that he’s become close with NL East rival and fellow Tommy John victim Matt Harvey, who made his season debut for the Mets today (and dominated the Nationals). The two aces have discussed the rehab process, with Fernandez checking in to compare their rehab cycles. Fernandez has replaced a borderline ridiculous offseason cycling program — he used to cycle up to 600 miles per week, Castrovince notes — in favor of bulking up to add muscle and hopefully avoid further injuries to his arm. Redmond is pleased with the amount of time Fernandez is spending on the bench and with his teammates, always looking to learn, improve and ready his mind for the day he returns to the mound.
Elsewhere in the NL East…
- Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano, who signed a four-year, $7.5MM deal with the Braves this winter, has arrived in the U.S. and is working with Major League Baseball to establish residency, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. While there’s no timeline on how long that will take, Bowman notes that it’s one of the final hurdles Toscano needs to clear before beginning his Braves career. Bowman adds that Toscano could emerge as a backup outfield option in Atlanta as soon as this season.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels that the belief that the Braves‘ farm system had become unproductive under the previous front office was misguided. Rosenthal looks at the number of players that had graduated to the Majors, pointing to them as evidence that the system continued to churn out quality talent. Aside from the team’s major trades of Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel, Rosenthal finds other player personnel decisions questionable, highlighting the risk involved in acquiring Manny Banuelos and the decision to leave former top prospect J.R. Graham unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he doesn’t instruct manager Terry Collins on how to construct his lineup, despite recent media speculation that the opposite is true. Alderson said that much like Collins offers input on roster moves but the front office has final say, he will offer input on lineup decisions, but Collins has final say.
The unfortunate reality has been the expected outcome for Crow for about a week’s time now. Losing Crow for the year and losing Preston Claiborne for at least one month has thinned out Miami’s bullpen bullpen depth, and those injuries are likely a driving factor behind the team’s reported interest in adding a bullpen upgrade.
The Marlins sent left-hander Brian Flynn and Minor League righty Reid Redman to the Royals to acquire Crow this winter, but the former first-round pick won’t throw a pitch in his new environment this season. Crow delivered generally strong ERA and strikeout marks for the Royals from 2011-13, working exclusively out of the bullpen, but he struggled in 2014; Crow’s ERA spiked to a career-worst 4.12, and he posted the worst K/9 (5.2) and ground-ball (43.2%) marks of his career.
Miami acquired Crow in the hope that it was buying low on a previously successful reliever with two years of team control remaining at a not-unreasonable price. Crow is earning $1.975MM this year after avoiding arbitration for the second time. Speculatively speaking, the injury presents the possibility that Crow will be non-tendered next winter. Miami’s payroll is among the league’s lowest, so the preference may be to cut Crow loose and try to re-sign him to a cheaper deal. However, that also poses the team with the risk of losing Crow and receiving nothing from the trade that brought him to Miami in the first place.
The Royals selected Crow with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and while he didn’t develop as they’d hoped in the rotation, he’s spent four full seasons in a Major League bullpen. In 233 2/3 Major League innings, Crow has a 3.43 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, a 49.2 percent ground-ball rate and an average fastball of 94 mph.
Masset, 32, returned to action last year after dealing with career-threatening shoulder issues. The results were not great — a 5.80 ERA in 45 innings — but he was working at Coors Field and was still not far removed from surgery. More promisingly, Masset posted solid groundball numbers and a 4.33 FIP.
This spring, Masset allowed nine earned runs with just three strikeouts against four walks in 11 total innings. It was not terribly surprising, then, that he failed to crack the Marlins pen and that the club released him before being forced to pay a $100K retention bonus. Masset will now have a chance round back into form at Triple-A while providing a useful depth option for the Fish.
The rosters for Opening Day have been officially submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today’s additions:
- The Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s contract on Monday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The 25-man roster that the Orioles announced today included Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger at catcher, but not Lavarnway, who they had reassigned to the minors.
- The Padres have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Wil Nieves. With Tim Federowicz out with a knee injury, Nieves will back up Derek Norris. As we noted when Nieves signed, his big-league salary will be $850K.
- Ryan Madson has made the Royals‘ Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Madson caps his comeback from multiple elbow injuries and his first appearance for Kansas City will be his first in the Majors since 2011.
- The Nationals have announced on Twitter that second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson have made their Opening Day roster.
- The Braves announced they have officially purchased the contracts of outfielders Eric Young, Jr. and Kelly Johnson, left-hander Eric Stults, and right-hander Cody Martin. The Braves cleared space on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and outfielder Dian Toscano on the restricted list.
- One name missing from the Braves‘ roster is Pedro Ciriaco, who was reported yesterday to have made the club. This is likely a procedural move, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), because the Braves placed Josh Outman on the 25-man roster instead of releasing him after the left-hander complained of shoulder tenderness. The move will also buy the Braves some time to look for an upgrade over Ciriaco, tweets Bowman.
- The Phillies have announced outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Andres Blanco have made the team. Francoeur is just one of four outfielders on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so he could see time as Grady Sizemore‘s platoon partner in right field. The Phillies are now at their 40-man limit.
- The Marlins have selected the contract of utility player Don Kelly, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Kelly earned his spot with solid Spring Training line of .270/.357/.324 in 42 plate appearances. Frisaro reports the 35-year-old will backup both the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as serving as the team’s emergency third catcher.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andres Blanco | Arodys Vizcaino | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Dan Uggla | Dian Toscano | Don Kelly | Eric Stults | Eric Young, Jr. | Grady Sizemore | Jeff Francoeur | Josh Outman | Kansas City Royals | Kelly Johnson | Miami Marlins | Pedro Ciriaco | Philadelphia Phillies | Reed Johnson | Ryan Lavarnway | Ryan Madson | San Diego Padres | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Wil Nieves
Washington hasn’t had a baseball all-star game since the Senators hosted the game at RFK Stadium in 1969, but that’s about to change. An announcement naming Nationals Park the host of the 2018 All-Star Game is expected to come on Monday, a source tells James Wagner of the Washington Post. The Montreal Expos, the franchise that was moved to the District by MLB, hosted the game in 1982, but this will be the first game hosted by the Nationals. Here’s more out of the NL East..
- The feeling among some baseball executives is that Phillies star second baseman Chase Utley will eventually give in to a deal as the losing escalates in Philly, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Cafardo adds that Utley, who has a no-trade clause, could be attracted to West Coast teams such as the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, or A’s. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently wrote that the Padres, Angels, and possibly the Giants could be among the teams with interest in the California native.
- The Marlins‘ first order of business was signing Giancarlo Stanton to a long-term deal, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill knew that there was much more to be done beyond that, as Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald writes. Hill and GM Dan Jennings spoke to Spencer about the inner workings of some of the club’s biggest offseason moves, including the signing of Michael Morse and the Martin Prado deal.
- Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald spoke former GMs Jim Bowden and Dan O’Dowd plus Hall Of Fame journalist Peter Gammons to get their thoughts on the Marlins. While going through each unit on the roster, they also touched on the new contracts given to outfielders Stanton and Christian Yelich.