Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Rumors
Last month, the Phillies and Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez reportedly reached an agreement on a six-year, $48MM contract that contained an $11MM option for a seventh season. However, Philadelphia has yet to announce that a deal has been finalized, and MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes that the deal may not end up going through at all.
The two sides have "hit a snag" in recent weeks, writes Zolecki, which would explain the silence from the Phillies (a previous report had indicated they were simply waiting for Gonzalez to get visa approval before making an announcement). GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would not comment on the situation when asked by Zolecki prior to last night's game against the Cubs.
After the agreement was announced, reports surfaced that some clubs had been wary of problems in Gonzalez's elbow. Zolecki reports that Gonzalez has had bone spurs removed within the past two years but is said to have recovered from that procedure. If the agreement were to fall through, it would drastically change the Phillies' outlook for 2014 and perhaps even 2013, as he was expected to be in the Majors next season and possibly even this year.
The Phillies have appeared to be more active on the international market than in recent years between the Gonzalez agreement and their signing of German outfield prospect Julsan Kamara. They are also said to be the favorites to sign Dominican third baseman Luis Encarnacion this Friday when he turns 16. Baseball America ranked Encarnacion as the No. 4 international free agent in this year's class, while MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez ranked him 12th.
Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned today amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Two sources told Spencer the agent for recently-demoted second baseman Derek Dietrich contacted the team several months ago to report an incident where Martinez erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed a player by his neck and neck chain. The MLBPA was notified of the alleged incident, as well as others involving Martinez, and the union then contacted the Commisioner's office and that office was expected to contact the Marlins on Tuesday, Spencer reports. Martinez, who had never been a Major League coach before this season, was owner Jeffrey Loria’s hand-picked selection to become Marlins' hitting coach. The Red Sox also had interest in hiring Martinez before he took the job with the Marlins. In other news and notes coming from the NL East:
- The Phillies are still not acknowledging the signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as sources say the Cuban right-hander is awaiting visa approval, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gonzalez reportedly agreed to a six-year, $48MM contract with the Phillies, which could be worth as much as $59MM.
- Gelb also tweeted that Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins indicated he is not willing to waive his no-trade clause, if asked.
- There is no indication the Phillies are aggressively taking offers for Chase Utley in the event a contract extension cannot be reached, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The Braves have not had any conversations with the Royals regarding Ervin Santana, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak, he would like to add some more depth before the Trade Deadline. "If we could tweak or improve certain spots on the bench, I think that would be one place that we would attack," Rizzo said. "We’ve got a lot of trade discussions. We’ve received calls, we’ve made calls."
- Manager Terry Collins doesn't expect the Mets to make any moves prior to the Trade Deadline, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Marlon Byrd is the Met name most mentioned in trade rumors and a team source tells Ackert the asking price is a top 10-15 prospect.
We learned yesterday that the Phillies have inked Cuban starter Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six-year deal that includes $48MM in guaranteed money. To start the weekend, we'll take a look at some preliminary reactions to the deal:
- Gonzalez is a high-risk signing in more ways than one, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. (Twitter links.) Olney says that other teams saw "elbow questions" with Gonzalez to go along with his long layoff from pitching (in addition to the regular uncertainties with international signings). The perception around the league, according to Olney (more Twitter links), is that the Phillies must have seen this information more positively than most.
- On the topic of Gonzalez's risk-reward profile, one baseball executive told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (Twitter link) that, while the price tag was steep, the deal was understandable. Sanchez's source summed things up: "sometimes, you have to take a risk."
- The Phillies did not sign Gonzalez to help the team compete this year, though there is some possibility he will throw in the big leagues in 2013, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Instead, says Rosenthal, the move signals the club's intentions to "restructure" the roster around a deep starting rotation.
- The Gonzalez signing represents both a new direction and a continued commitment for the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr., explains MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Guaranteeing $48MM to an international player is, on the one hand, a stark departure for an organization that had never spent more than $1.2MM on any international prospect. Indeed, after Amaro's comments a month ago describing the risks of international splashes, it seemed the team would continue to stay its hand. But Amaro has also insisted repeatedly that he has every intention of delivering a contender this year and in the immediate future, and adding Gonzalez certainly appears designed to serve that end.
- For the Phils to have placed this large a bet on an international talent, says Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, well-respected international scouting director Sal Agostinelli must have had his "fingerprints ... all over this signing." Many of the questions surrounding Gonzalez revolve around whether or not his splitter or slider are capable of delivering strikeouts, writes Gelb, making a scouting assessment critical in valuing the hurler.
- You can count fellow Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras among those who believe in Gonzalez, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Contreras, who has been strong in his short tenure with the top Red Sox affiliate since his recent signing, says that Gonzalez possesses the "mentality for the big leagues."
The Phillies have reached agreement with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez on a six-year deal, $48MM deal, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. With bonuses, Gonzalez's contract could be worth as much as $59MM. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported that Gonzalez's contract includes a vesting option for 2019, and Passan noted that the vesting option is worth $11MM.
Passan notes that, with the option, Gonzalez's deal would be bigger than the $56MM the Rangers gave Yu Darvish, and the guaranteed portion is already much more than the $42MM Yasiel Puig received from the Dodgers. The Red Sox were the other main contender for Gonzalez, who is represented by Jaime Torres.
Yesterday, it looked likely that Gonzalez would be making a decision soon, so the timing of the signing wasn't a surprise. Gonzalez fled Cuba this year, first to El Salvador and then to Mexico. Since he is over 23 and has played more than three seasons in a Cuban professional league, he is not subject to the international bonus pool system that limits bonuses that can be given to Dominican and Venezuelan players.
Gonzalez throws a mid-90s fastball, along with a curveball, splitter and changeup. In a scouting report for Baseball America, Ben Badler notes that Gonzalez's curveball is his weakest pitch and that his splitter and changeup are just "a tick above average." Scouts who like Gonzalez rate him as about a No. 3 starter in the big leagues, Badler says, while others think he might be a back-of-the-rotation starter or low-leverage reliever.
Badler says, however, that scouts mostly agree Gonzalez is a Major League talent. The 26-year-old is also fairly widely perceived as being big-league ready, or close to it, despite having not pitched much in the past two years after being suspended from the Cuban national team for trying to defect. Passan also notes that one factor in the Phillies' decision to sign Gonzalez is that they will soon be negotiating a new TV deal -- they're getting a big-league pitcher, and they'll have plenty of money with which to pay him.
Beyond that, it isn't yet absolutely clear how Gonzalez fits into the Phillies' long-term plans, although, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes, the Phillies' additional starting pitching depth might allow them to deal another starter, possibly Cliff Lee.
3:02pm: Clubs that have spoken with the Braves get the sense that they won't trade for a starter, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The Braves are adamant in their stance on not trading top prospects and are more focused on the bullpen. Stark adds that the Braves also aren't "roaring down the Bud Norris trail," as he lacks the big game experience that the Braves prefer when acquiring a pitcher.
FRIDAY, 12:15pm: The Braves are more focused on front-line starting pitchers such as Jake Peavy and Ervin Santana than they are on Norris, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Peavy's 118-pitch outing yesterday, which was scouted by the Braves, helped to quell some of the hesitation surrounding his health, Bowman adds. The Braves aren't interested in Yovani Gallardo, according to Bowman, but they may contact the Brewers regarding Kyle Lohse's availability.
Norris, 28, has a 3.93 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 126 1/3 innings for the Astros this season. He carries a significant platoon split, as lefties have rocked him at a .306/.365/.494 clip. Despite his struggles against lefties, Norris has drawn interest from multiple teams, including the Red Sox, Pirates, Phillies, Rangers, Giants and Dodgers throughout the summer.
2:37pm: In the wake of Tim Hudson's season-ending ankle injury last night, the Braves will consider making a trade to upgrade their rotation, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journa-Constitution. O'Brien was among the reporters who spoke with general manager Frank Wren today, who told the media:
“A lot of thoughts have gone through my mind since last night. It’s created a lot more (trade) discussions, there’s no question.”
It wasn't long ago that the Braves looked to have an enviable surplus of starting pitching with Hudson, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen in the rotation and a returning Brandon Beachy on the horizon. However, the team has seen Maholm and Medlen struggle tremendously lately, and Maholm is slated to miss his next three starts with a sprained left wrist. The Braves feel that Beachy is ready to return, and rookie Alex Wood presents another option, but he didn't escape the fifth inning today. Wood lasted just three frames in his only other start for the Braves this season.
Wren and his top assistants will convene over the weekend to discuss their options, O'Brien writes. That group will try to determine if there's a starting option on the market who can improve the team significantly without costing too much in terms of young talent. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Wren, like most general managers, is waiting to see if the asking prices on available starters drops as the deadline nears. O'Brien adds that the Braves are not in the mix for Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
Earlier today it was reported that the Braves will be one of the many teams scouting Jake Peavy's start against the Tigers in Chicago. The team also remains in the market for a left-handed reliever to fortify its bullpen after losing Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to Tommy John surgery.
In his latest edition of Rumblings & Grumblings, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke with Skip Schumaker, who wants to see MLB really amp up the penalties for PED use. "The players are in favor of stricter penalties. No doubt," Schumaker said. "And they're also in favor of voiding contracts. Not that I can speak for everybody. I can't. But let's just say that a few of my good friends are high-profile players, and they're in favor of cleaning up the game." Here's more from Stark's column..
- An exec who speaks frequently with the Phillies says they have talked a lot with the Padres about a deal that could send Luke Gregerson and an outfielder to Philadelphia for a package of young players. However, the Phillies appear to be looking for deals that wouldn't require parting with their most advanced prospects. Earlier today, we heard that Gregerson is drawing significant interest.
- Gregerson also appears to be at the top of the list for the Tigers. However, it's going to take at least one big league-ready young player who projects as an immediate contributor for the Padres, in part because Gregerson is under club control for next season.
- While the discussion around the Phillies is framed as a black-and-white decision between buying and selling, execs of two clubs say they're mostly trying to position themselves for the future without giving up on 2013.
- The Braves are more interested in the starting pitcher market than they were before Tim Hudson's injury, but they're no more likely to pay the price for a Jake Peavy, Ervin Santana, Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse. An official of one team who spoke with the Braves said they'd be open to a modest deal similar to their deal for Paul Maholm last year, but they're "not going to trade Alex Wood for any of the guys on this market." Earlier today, MLB.com's Mark Bowman offered a different take, reporting that the Braves are looking at front-line hurlers.
- Three clubs with interest in the Astros' Bud Norris tell Stark that they have a feeling that Houston may just be gauging the hurler's trade value and could be waiting to move him this winter. Those execs said it reminds them of how the Rays used to gauge interest in pitchers like Matt Garza and James Shields in July so they could focus on those teams' systems before dealing them the following offseason.
- Clubs that have checked in with the Royals say Santana is only available for a huge payout. The Royals have openly told the shoppers they've talked to that the only way they'll move Santana is if they "win the deal," and that means they want a second baseman and/or right fielder who can start for them in 2014. Despite their situation, the Royals are telling everyone their priority is to win as many games as possible this season, not cut payroll.
- Clubs that are in on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez seem to think that the Red Sox are the favorite because they like the idea of spending money on a big-league-ready guy more than overpaying in prospects for a strong pitcher on the trade market. One exec says that he should be in the big leagues by September and be a rotation regular next year.
- The Pirates might not be as focused on Alex Rios as they've been portrayed. Rios' contract, which would increase his base salary to $13MM next season if he's traded, doesn't fit into their payroll. On top of that, other scouts say Bucs scouts have questioned Rios' effort. Stark says Justin Morneau, who they've inquired on, is a name to file away. Even though they'd prefer a right-handed bat who could play right field, they could move Garrett Jones back to right if they deal for a first baseman.
The Red Sox are looking "pretty hard" at free agent Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, president and CEO Larry Lucchino said on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning (Tim Healey has quotes). "The auctioning can begin," said Lucchino. Noting that GM Ben Cherington guards the team's prospects "like his first-born child," Lucchino explained, "Reaching into your pocket for your wallet is much easier." Lucchino confirmed the Sox are searching for rotation and bullpen help.
Gonzalez, 26, is expected to sign soon. On Monday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez said he's down to five teams. MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reported Tuesday that the Dodgers, who had been heavily linked to Gonzalez, are not pursuing him. Earlier this week, Ben Badler of Baseball America provided a scouting report on Gonzalez (subscription required and recommended). Badler noted that "projections vary significantly" on the righty, ranging from a big league ready No. 3 starter on the high end to a long reliever on the low end.
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels haven't heard anything new about Nelson Cruz's links to the Biogenesis scandal, but Daniels tells ESPN Dallas' Todd Willis that he has thought about the possibility of losing his right fielder to suspension. "We really are somewhat intentionally and maybe wisely in the dark on this. And so we we're going to sit back and wait for the best and try to make our club as strong as possible," Daniels said. If Cruz is indeed suspended for the rest of 2013, it could intensify the Rangers' search for batting help. In another piece from Willis, Daniels admitted that his club's offense hasn't been up to par and if Texas makes another move, it would likely be for a bat.
Here are some more items from around baseball...
- The Giants have shown no interest in trading Hunter Pence, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets. We heard on Sunday that Giants were unlikely to deal Pence unless they received a blow-away offer or they fell out of the NL West race. The latter could be close to happening, given the Giants' 46-54 record.
- The Phillies will send a scout to Brian Wilson's throwing session on Thursday, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. GM Ruben Amaro said the team will leave "no stone unturned" in their search for relief help, hence their interest in Wilson's progress. Amaro noted this isn't the first time the Phillies have checked in on Wilson, who hasn't pitched since April 2012 due to Tommy John surgery.
- Justin Morneau's July slump has just about destroyed his trade value, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities writes. Between Morneau's poor form, injury history, impending free agency and salary, Mackey doesn't think the Twins will be able to get even "a second-tier prospect" for the former AL MVP.
- The Dodgers are looking for veteran relief depth, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports, though Saxon notes that could even be a luxury piece given how the team is firing on all cylinders right now.
- If the Marlins are to trade Giancarlo Stanton, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone hears that Miami wouldn't want prospects, but rather "equal value" -- a young star player who is controllable for longer than Stanton's three seasons of team control. For instance, if the Mets wanted Stanton, the Marlins would want Matt Harvey in return.
- Baseball America subscribers can read Ben Badler's scouting report on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Cuban right-hander who has drawn interest from at least 10 teams.
Despite a number of reports to the contrary, the Dodgers are not interested in Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Gurnick writes that the Dodgers already have nearly $200MM committed to Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett already, and the Dodgers know it will take another $200MM or so to retain Clayton Kershaw. They'd also like former first-round picks Zach Lee and Chris Reed to have a shot at the rotation in the coming years.
Last night, reports said that Gonzalez has narrowed his options to five teams and could sign within the next few days. Recent reports have indicated that the Dodgers may be prepared to offer as much as a five-year, $50MM contract, but Gurnick refutes that thinking. Other teams with interest include the Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays, Braves, Twins, Yankees and Marlins.
Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been drawing attention from scouts for months now, and the 26-year-old is getting closer to signing. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that Gonzalez's selection is down to just five teams, and he could sign a deal within the next couple of days. According to Sanchez, the price for Gonzalez has gone up, and the number of interested teams has gone down (Twitter links).
Last Thursday, Gonzalez's agent, Jaime Torres, told reporters that he hoped to have a deal in place sometime this week. At that time, the Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays, Braves, Twins, Yankees and Marlins had all shown interest in Gonzalez, though the Twins and Marlins were thought to be long-shots due to Gonzalez's price tag.
Earlier today, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweeted that the Orioles scouted Gonzalez heavily but aren't expected to outbid the other interested parties. Similarly, Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweeted that the Angels have scouted Gonzalez but aren't heavily involved in bidding for his services. According to weekend reports, the Dodgers are prepared to offer Gonzalez as much as $50MM over five years.