Michael McKenry Rumors
Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Earlier in the week, for example, Chone Figgins and Justin Turner were added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster and headed to Australia with the club having won bench roles. We'll be keeping track of minor league signees making their clubs with posts just like this one as the season draws near...
- The Rockies have added catcher Michael McKenry to the 40-man roster, signaling that he will serve as the team's backup catcher this season, the team announced on Twitter. McKenry is 5-for-20 with a homer and three doubles thus far in Spring Training. The 29-year-old's 2013 season was cut short in Pittsburgh when he damaged his meniscus while sliding on the basepaths (he underwent surgery in late July). Originally drafted by Colorado, McKenry broke into the bigs with the Pirates and had his best season in 2012, when he batted .233/.320/.442 with a dozen homers in 275 plate appearances.
The 28-year-old McKenry opened some eyes with his 2012 season, when he hit .233/.320/.442 with 12 home runs in 275 plate appearances for the Pirates. With strong defense, McKenry notched a robust 1.7 fWAR in that limited action. Last year, however, McKenry only earned 122 trips to the plate for the Bucs and saw his triple-slash slip to .217/.262/.348. The Oliver projection system likes McKenry to put up 2.1 fWAR if he were trusted as a starter.
The signing offers additional flexibility to a Rockies club whose young, slugging backstop -- Wilin Rosario -- has had his issues behind the dish. Colorado had dabbled in the higher-priced free agent backstop market earlier in the offseason, reportedly pursuing Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz, but apparently decided against a major addition after seeing its top choices sign elsewhere.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of National League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP. Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
- The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
- The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.
- The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
- The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
- The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
- The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
- The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.
McKenry, 28, batted .217/.262/.348 with three homers in 122 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2013 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in late July. McKenry was projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz to earn $900K in arbitration this season, making him a non-tender candidate.
The former seventh-round pick could draw some interest from other clubs in need of catching help if they believe his solid 2012 campaign to be repeatable. McKenry slashed .233/.320/.442 with 12 homers in a career-high 275 plate appearances that season. However, he's struggled to throw out baserunners throughout his career and isn't regarded as a strong defensive catcher, which is likely one of the reasons that the Pirates considered the lighter-hitting Stewart to be an upgrade.
Three-team trades aren't easy to dream up, let alone to achieve, but ESPN's David Schoenfield has five of them to entertain you in what's been a quiet day at the hot stove. One idea has the Rockies shipping Troy Tulowitzki to the Pirates and Dexter Fowler to the Marlins and receiving top Pirates prospects Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson, along with Marlins closer Steve Cishek and prospects Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino. The Marlins would also receive Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer in the deal. It's a fun idea, although, as Schoenfield suggests, it's questionable whether the cost-conscious Pirates would be willing to take on Tulowitzki's enormous contract. Here's more from around baseball.
- The Pirates have to decide whether to tender a contract to catcher Michael McKenry, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. McKenry's season ended in July after a knee injury, and he was in the midst of a weak season, hitting .217/.262/.348 with poor defense. The Pirates replaced him with prospect Tony Sanchez, who played credibly both at Triple-A and in the big leagues in 2013. McKenry only projects to make $900K in arbitration, though, and he has an option left, so the Pirates could tender him as an insurance policy if either Sanchez or Russell Martin get hurt. Other Pirates non-tender candidates include 1B/OF Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment last week, and outfielder Travis Snider.
- In addition to Daric Barton (whose case we wrote about earlier tonight), the Athletics have a number of potential non-tenders, Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com writes. One is outfielder Seth Smith, who MLBTR projects will make $4.3MM if taken to arbitration. Another could be reliever Jerry Blevins, since the A's recently acquired fellow lefty Fernando Abad. Blevins was at least somewhat effective last season, however, and should be fairly cheap, with a projected salary of $1.5MM, so the A's could well keep him. Another is reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who missed 2013 after having Tommy John surgery, but Rodriguez figures to be so cheap in arbitration that there would be little downside to the A's tendering him a contract.