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Though the 2014 draft is long in the rear view mirror, there have still been a couple notable signings of undrafted players of late. Lost in last week’s trade deadline shuffle was the Twins‘ signing of right-hander Brandon Poulson for a $250K bonus. Minnesota scout Elliott Strankman told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger about Poulson’s discovery, noting that the former art school student and independent league right-hander needed to throw just 18 pitches in order to convince Strankman to sign him. The 24-year-old Poulson reached a blistering 100 mph with Strankman in attendance, and of the 37 outs he recorded this summer prior to signing (12 1/3 innings pitched), an incredible 31 came via strikeout.
More on another undrafted free agent receiving a significant bonus and some minor moves from around the league…
- The Marlins have signed Vanderbilt outfielder and College World Series hero John Norwood for a $275K bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). Norwood slashed .298/.368/.404 with three homers for the Commodores this season, and he blasted a game-winning homer off of first-rounder off Reds first-rounder Nick Howard. A good showing in this summer’s Cape Cod League helped Norwood go from undrafted talent to a six-figure signing, Callis notes in a second tweet. Norwood, who didn’t place on Baseball America’s Top 500 prospect list heading into the draft, hit .324 (23-for-71) with three homers and three doubles for the Cotuit Kettleers this summer.
- The Reds have outrighted right-hander Nick Christiani to Triple-A Louisville, according to the club’s transactions page. The 27-year-old allowed eight runs in 13 innings with the Reds this season and has struggled in Triple-A as well, posting a 7.71 ERA with 10 strikeouts against an unsightly 15 walks in 18 2/3 innings for Louisville.
- The Blue Jays have acquired minor league righty Hunter Carnevale from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The 25-year-old was New York’s 33rd-round pick in 2010 and has struggled to a 5.59 ERA between Class A and Class-A Advanced in 2014. He has a career 4.17 ERA with 150 strikeouts in 138 minor league innings, but he’s never progressed past Class-A Advanced.
The Cubs have claimed Marlins righty Jacob Turner off revocable waivers, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden was first to report (on Twitter). (Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com also reported the claim by the Cubs, on Twitter. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first tweeted that Turner had been claimed by a National League club.)
A deal is likely, of course, because Turner was designated for assignment and therefore would ultimately go back onto waivers if Miami were to pull him back. In that event, the same waiver priority order would apply. Only the Rockies (worst record in the National League) had a higher priority than the Cubs, meaning that Colorado passed on the chance to add the 23-year-old, once-hyped righty. That, seemingly, is a mystifying decision for an organization that has been clamoring for young pitching, especially given Turner’s increasing propensity for generating grounders.
Meanwhile, the Cubs seem likely to add yet another interesting young arm in need of a fresh start. In addition to showing a willingness to sign and flip veteran free agents, Chicago has targeted struggling-but-talented young pitchers through trade. After picking up Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop last year in the Scott Feldman deal, for instance, the Cubs recently took Felix Doubront off of the Red Sox’ hands.
From the Marlins’ perspective, this move comes at an odd time. Had the team decided to part with him just a week ago, it would have had a much stronger position from which to craft a trade. Instead, Miami’s only leverage against the Cubs would be the possibility that Colorado might not pass on Turner a second time if he were to reach outright waivers.
Baseball has delivered strong results to the TV networks that carry it, Maury Brown writes for Forbes. Strong regional results are not matched at the national level, however. Clubs whose broadcasts rank number one in prime time in their market are the Tigers, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Indians, Brewers, Orioles, Royals, Mariners, Rred Sox, Giants, and Diamondbacks.
Here are a few National League notes:
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that the team may not be able to field a contender over the next two seasons, in an interview with Angelo Cataldi of the 94WIP Morning Show (via CBS Philly). His comments certainly seem to represent some movement from earlier statements. “We may have to step backwards to step forwards and that’s also part of the plan here, is to understand that — listen, we may not be a contender in ’15 and ’16,” said Amaro. “… We’re going to have to make changes to get better.” The Phils’ head baseball man indicated that a shift in thinking was in play. “We’re going to have to find creative ways to do it,” Amaro said. “I mean, obviously we’re going to be hopeful that we can do some things internally. We’re looking into the Cuban market, we’re looking into a variety of different ways to improve the club. And it may be through trades. It may be through signings.”
- The Phillies need to sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, opines Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. The chance to add a younger player who could deliver surplus value if he works out is well worth the risk of $35MM-$50MM (or even more), argues Seidman.
- When the Marlins added Jarred Cosart by trade, the club not only bolstered its rotation for the foreseeable future but picked up a player in Enrique Hernandez who is expected to compete for a big league role, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Hernandez could have a chance to become the team’s starting second baseman next year, Frisary explains. The deal also solidifies the club’s commitment to Casey McGehee at third base, with prospect Colin Moran no longer in line behind him. And Miami’s intentions regarding Giancarlo Stanton are clearer than ever, as without Jake Marisnick behind him the club clearly wants to extend its star.
- In an interesting piece for the New York Daily News, Andy Martino examines how player perception can be skewed. Martino questions whether he and others might have preferred Ike Davis to Lucas Duda as the Mets first baseman based upon differences in the players’ demeanor and other matters that did not necessarily translate to the field. The latter, of course, has thrived this years since the former was dealt away.
Needless to say, this comes as something of a surprise. Turner, 23, was at one point considered by some to be one of the game’s twenty best prospects. And while he has not produced good bottom-line results this year (5.97 ERA), Turner has been victimized by a .368 BABIP. And he has thrown just 264 total big league innings over parts of the last four seasons.
Notably, he has improved significantly this year in several respects: his 6.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 are improvements over last year, even though he’s allowed more earned runs, and he has even bumped up his groundball rate to 51.3%. Indeed, Turner owns a 4.01 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, and 3.98 SIERA on the season — all career-low marks, and all seemingly in line with a player of his age and former repute. His fastball velocity is on the rise.
Turner’s situation will certainly warrant a close eye. He will, of course, need to pass through waivers to be dealt. One wonders whether Miami perhaps already has its eye on some sort of trade with a high waiver-priority club. (The Rockies, followed by the Cubs, Phillies, and Diamondbacks, currently lead the NL “reverse standings.”) It is hard to imagine the club simply letting him go: not only was Turner the key piece in the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers two years ago (which also included Flynn), but he came into the season with just 1.033 years of service to his credit and so will not even be arb-eligible until 2016.
It is worth noting that Turner is already out of options and is playing on a MLB contract, which he signed after being chosen ninth overall in the 2009 draft. That deal comes with a $1MM option for next year. It gave Turner the right to opt out of that salary and file for arbitration if eligible after this season, but he won’t have enough service time to qualify. Nevertheless, the lack of an available option does limit his market somewhat, as a team would need to be willing to use both a 40-man and an active roster spot (or try to slip him through outright waivers at an opportune moment).
The fact is, players like Turner have value, even if they have not lived up to expectations. He reached the big leagues at a young age, and it seems that several teams would be willing to hold an active roster spot for him to make a run at harnessing his potential (while reaping the benefits of his low salary and team control). Just last year, the Astros shipped a very similar player in Jordan Lyles – former top prospect, decent peripherals, poor results — to the Rockies (along with Brandon Barnes) to acquire two full seasons of a solid, reasonably affordable MLB center fielder in Dexter Fowler.
On the other hand, Turner is something of an extraneous part for Miami, which has other advanced young arms in its system. (One contributing factor to that assessment, however, is that the team recently added Jarred Cosart via trade.) The club seems to be willing to give up at least some future value to improve its chances in 2014 — the Fish sit six and a half back in the NL East — and it could be that the assessment was already made that he would not warrant a roster spot for the rest of the way or over the offseason. (Of course, if that truly were the case, it would have seemed more likely for Turner to be moved a few days ago.)
The Red Sox decided to sell last week after it became clear the odds were against them contending, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes in a long piece on the team’s deadline moves. “No matter how we think the team should be playing or could play over the last 60 games or so, the math was against us,” says Sox GM Ben Cherington. “And if we’re really serious about building another team and trying to become as good as we can as quickly as we can, well, what do we need to find out the rest of the way to do that?” Abraham adds that the Red Sox discussed potential trades with 26 of the 29 other teams, ultimately dealing Jon Lester, John Lackey, Stephen Drew and Andrew Miller. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- One player the Red Sox didn’t discuss was Giancarlo Stanton, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The Marlins were bidders for Jon Lester, but they offered a collection of prospects, and the Red Sox did not attempt to pry Stanton away. Of course, from the Marlins’ perspective, dealing an established star like Stanton might have defeated the purpose of trading for another established star in Lester, particularly since Lester is eligible for free agency after the season.
- When Esmil Rogers entered the game for the Yankees Sunday, he became the team’s 29th pitcher this season, a franchise record, as Katie Sharp of It’s About The Money tweets. That group includes injury cases (Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda etc.), barely used relievers (Bruce Billings, Chris Leroux, Wade LeBlanc, Jim Miller, Cesar Cabral, Jeff Francis) and even former infielder Dean Anna.
- The Pirates sat out of the trade deadline for the second straight year, but the trading season isn’t over, notes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Bucs made two waiver trades in 2013, acquiring outfielder Marlon Byrd, backup catcher John Buck, and first baseman Justin Morneau. After a quiet July trade deadline in 2014, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Pirates dip into the waiver trade market again.
- Pedro Alvarez has lost his job as the Pirates’ starter at third base, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Bucs aren’t likely to move him to a different position (probably first base) until after the season, however. The Pirates acquired infielder Jayson Nix Sunday as an additional option at third, although Josh Harrison will likely receive most of the available playing time there.
- Major League Baseball should consider moving the non-waiver trade deadline to some point in August, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The presence of the second Wild Card causes many teams to consider themselves contenders in late July, leading to few sellers on trade market. Athletics GM Billy Beane says that he approves of the current July 31 deadline but adds that there haven’t been many sellers in recent years. Giants GM Brian Sabean, meanwhile, believes the deadline should be changed.
- Players who appear likely to clear waivers and become candidates for August trades include Josh Willingham of the Twins, Alex Rios of the Rangers and Carlos Quentin of the Padres, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. That could mean there could be a reasonable market for teams looking for outfielders, especially if Marlon Byrd of the Phillies and Drew Stubbs of the Rockies also clear. John Danks of the White Sox and Scott Feldman of the Astros (who pitched a complete game today) are among the starting pitchers likely to clear.
- The Dodgers and Brewers had the most interest in Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit, Heyman tweets, noting that Benoit is unlikely to clear waivers.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Rays have released Erik Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo, according to MiLB.com. The Rays had designated both pitchers for assignment earlier in the week.
- The Phillies have announced that they’ve re-signed OF Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor league deal. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Gwynn hit .163/.281/.204 in 119 plate appearances for the Phillies this season. They released him last week.
- Instead of electing free agency, infielder Tony Abreu has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A by Giants, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Abreu was designated for assignment Tuesday after appearing in only four games. The 29-year-old owns a .280/.329/.428 slash line in 259 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Fresno.
- The Giants announced infielder Nick Noonan has cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment July 25. Noonan, the 32nd overall selection in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season slashing .219/.261/.238 in 111 plate appearances, but has struggled this year with a .239/.281/.302 line in 340 plate appearances between Triple-A Fresno and Class-A Advanced San Jose.
- The Marlins tweeted left-hander Donnie Joseph has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. The 26-year-old was designated for assignment Thursday after the Marlins acquired Jarred Cosart from the Astros. Joseph was picked up from the Royals for cash considerations June 30 and has spent his entire time in the Marlin organization at Triple-A posting an 11.05 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 9.8 BB/9 in six relief outings covering 7 1/3 innings.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Blake Tekotte from the White Sox for cash, per the MLB.com transactions page. Tekotte, who made 36 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2013 good for a slash of .226/.306/.355, will report to Triple-A Reno. The 27-year-old posted a .251/.324/.438 line in 318 plate appearances for the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The Padres have released right-hander Billy Buckner from their Triple-A affiliate, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page. The 30-year-old made one spot start for the Padres on May 24 allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. In 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A El Paso, Buckner has posted a 5.80 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.
- Also from the PCL transactions page, the Angels have released catcher Luis Martinez from their Triple-A affiliate. The 29-year-old, whose last MLB action was with the Rangers in 2012, hit .262/.329/.403 in 212 plate appearances for Salt Lake this season.
- Martinez didn’t stay unemployed very long as he was signed by the A’s and assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. The roster causality is catcher Luis Exposito, despite producing at a .303/.410/.394 clip since Oakland signed him June 26 after being released by the Tigers.
- Ten players find themselves in DFA limbo, as tracked by MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin (Giants), Jeff Francis and Brian Roberts (Yankees), Josh Wall and Dean Anna (Pirates), Ryan Feierabend (Rangers), David Carpenter (Angels), Nick Christiani (Reds), and Pedro Hernandez (Rockies).
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Billy Buckner | Chicago White Sox | Donnie Joseph | Erik Bedard | Juan Carlos Oviedo | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Luis Exposito | Luis Martinez | Miami Marlins | Nick Noonan | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Tony Abreu | Tony Gwynn Jr. | Transactions
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the waiver deadline period could produce some significant deals around baseball. The Phillies probably won’t find deals for Jonathan Papelbon (contract) and Cliff Lee (health concerns plus contract) but A.J. Burnett could conceivably be moved. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continue to, as one executive said to Cafardo, “kick the tires on just about everything but never seem to do anything.” More from today’s column..
- The Red Sox may have been scouting Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but their dialogue with the Dodgers was virtually nonexistent despite the constant rumors connecting the two. The Dodgers, Cafardo writes, were never going to deal Kemp, who has been one of their best right-handed hitters.
- The Dodgers were also never really in on Red Sox hurlers Jon Lester or John Lackey but really wanted Andrew Miller and came close to giving Boston one of their best pitching prospects for him.
- It seems as if the Red Sox and other teams have finally come to the realization that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going anywhere and that could be a reason why the Red Sox obtained Yoenis Cespedes, who obviously isn’t as good but has the power and athleticism to improve. For now, he seems to feel that Miami is moving in the right direction and appears to be all in on staying with the Marlins.
- The buzz around baseball is that the Cubs will be all in on Jon Lester. Cubs president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod were in Boston with Lester during his trying times. Also, the Cubs will have to rebuild their rotation at some point and adding Lester would be a major, major step in that direction.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Blue Jays released right-handed pitcher Tyler Gonzales, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 2012 supplemental first rounder did not pitch this season. He never advanced past the GCL where he posted a 9.24 ERA in 25.1 innings.
- The Dodgers released Triple-A right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez, according to Eddy (via Twitter). The former 12th round pick, now 27 years old, has seen his power decline in recent seasons. He spent most of the 2014 season in Double-A, where he posted a tepid .227/.261/.330 line.
- The Twins released injury prone left fielder Nate Roberts from their High-A roster (also Eddy on Twitter). Roberts was taken as a fifth rounder in the 2010 draft and combined to hit .305/.434/.460 over 945 professional plate appearances. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed his career.
- Former MVP Miguel Tejada has been released by the Marlins, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. The longtime MLB veteran had a comeback bid derailed by a shoulder injury, but plans to play winter ball and weigh another attempt.
- The Reds have released pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to the International League transactions page. According to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter), Rowland-Smith opted out of his deal. The veteran lefty has not managed to find his form this year, and owns a 4.66 ERA in 29 Triple-A innings for the Reds and Blue Jays. He also spent time with the Diamondbacks at the MLB level, allowing four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
- The Giants have released lefty Jose De Paula, according to the MLB transactions page. He had recently been designated for assignment. The 26-year-old has a 4.21 ERA over 51 1/3 frames in his first attempt at the Triple-A level, backed by 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.
Brad Johnson contributed to this post.
The teams of the National League East were much less flashy than their American League brethren — as usual, perhaps — but nevertheless made several notable moves … or, in some cases, notable non-moves. Here’s what took place:
- Acquired lefty James Russell and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio from Cubs in exchange for Victor Caratini and cash
- Acquired righty Jarred Cosart, infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez, and outfielder Austin Wates from Astros in exchange for third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, righty Francis Martes, and a 2015 compensation draft pick
- Acquired lefty Donnie Joseph from Royals in exchange for cash
- Acquired righty Bryan Morris from Pirates in exchange for 2014 draft compensation pick
- No trades
- No trades
Last year at this time, the Marlins were selling off what few veteran pieces they had for whatever they could get. Ricky Nolasco was the team’s big deadline piece, but unfortunately he didn’t really start pitching well until after he was playing for the Dodgers. But that was not the case this year. Still hanging around in the postseason pitcure even after losing stud righty Jose Fernandez, Miami went hard after Jon Lester before ultimately turning its sights to Houston.
The Fish got their arm in Cosart, and brought back additional value in Hernandez and Wates, but paid a big price. Marisnick was somewhat expendable given the team’s other young outfielders, but Moran was brought to Miami at a tall opportunity cost (6th overall draft pick; $3,516,500 bonus) and the team gave up a young power arm and future draft pick. The deal certainly helps the Marlins in the present — though just how much remains to be seen — and avoids a major sacrifice of future control. But if Marisnick and Moran reach their potential, and Cosart is not able to stick in the rotation, it could still hurt down the line.
On the other hand, as much as things change — the saying goes — the more they stay the same. Check out last year’s NL East recap if you don’t believe me. Braves and Nationals adding the final pieces for the stretch; Mets and Phillies standing pat at the deadline.
Sure, there were some differences. This time around, the Nats needed a more substantial addition after losing Ryan Zimmerman for some time. With Cleveland paying the rest of Cabrera’s salary, Washington agreed to ship out an MLB-ready middle infielder back to Cleveland. Though Walters is an interesting player — in large part due to his legitimate power bat up the middle — he has his warts and did not have a path to a job in DC. Cabrera will hold down the fort until Zimmerman returns (or until the end of the season, when the Nats will face some tough decisions).
Atlanta, meanwhile, once again added a lefty pen piece in the capable Russell, who could also forestall the necessity of such a move next year (he can be controlled through arbitration for 2015). This time around, the club also added a versatile utilityman in Emilio Bonifacio, who might conceivably see a fair bit of time at the positions (second, center, third) from which the club has at times received sub-optimal production. He will also be a nice pinch-running/hitting/fielding option, making for a sturdy bench piece for a contending club.
It may be easy to forget come deadline time, but there are still two more teams in the division. For the Mets, standing pat made plenty of sense. If nobody was going to take Bartolo Colon‘s salary, then the organization may as well pay him to pitch in New York next year. Daniel Murphy is also under control and could be extended. And Chris Young just wasn’t bringing anything back at this point. In addition to holding onto veterans, the Mets did not appear to make a concerted effort to acquire younger, MLB-ready talent. As GM Sandy Alderson explains, he wasn’t interested in giving up young pitching at this time but could potentially look to cash in some prospect chips in the offseason. (Though it is tempting to wonder what New York might have been able to extract in a deal like that between the Marlins and Astros.)
Over in Philadelphia, justification for inaction was somewhat harder to come by. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that he was surprised that opposing teams did not come to him with more aggressive offers for the club’s available players, particularly as the team was willing to eat salary to facilitate a better return. But the fact is that none of the Phillies’ ready-to-move pieces were worth aggressive action. The list of names and contract complications (no-trade clauses, vesting options, massive buyouts, and the like) is already well-known; suffice to say that none of the assets that the Phillies shopped would have delivered the level of long-term value or short-term impact needed to motivate bidders.
Right now, there is simply no way for the team to get out from under its numerous long-term obligations to veterans while recouping any sort of prospect return. True, the Phillies could convince Chase Utley to waive the no-trade clause in his low-risk contract. They could decide to part with Cole Hamels for whatever the market will bear. But they’ve already shown they have no intention of doing those things.
Philadelphia seemingly wants to move the less desirable pieces and still get something back, but that is not going to happen. And that is why no deals were consummated. Other teams made more realistic assessments, as evidenced by the Yankees’ acquisition of several veterans (with at or above-market salaries) for a relative pittance of young talent. At several points in the last few seasons, players like Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Cliff Lee could have been cashed in. Instead, they were supplemented by even older players brought in at open-market rates. It is now too late (for various reasons) to recoup any significant value for any of them, which the team’s inaction reflects.
Joseph, 26, had just one very rough outing this year at the major league level. Through 33 innings at Triple-A, he had worked to a 5.45 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against a troubling 7.6 BB/9. With his strikeout levels down and walk issues still prevalent, Miami saw fit to take his 40-man spot when the need arose.