Mike Minor Rumors

Arbitration Notes: Ogando, Moreland, Russell, Parra, Descalso

Tomorrow night (11pm CT) is the deadline for teams to tender or non-tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR has previously identified a list of non-tender candidates as well as provided projected salaries for each arbitration eligible player of the offseason (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In addition to those resources, you can follow along and keep track of players using our 2015 Non-Tender Tracker. We’ll cover some more of the specifics on non-tendering and arbitration tomorrow (though those who are new to the concept can check out last year’s post on explaining non-tenders), and already took a look at some notes earlier today.

Here’s the latest on the upcoming decisions:

  • Righty Alexi Ogando and first baseman Mitch Moreland are expected to be tendered contracts tomorrow, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Both players have some upside that Texas is surely loath to give up on, though each brings some uncertainty with their projected $2.6MM and $2.8MM arb costs (respectively).
  • As things stand, the Braves‘ only certain tenders are slated for Mike Minor and David Carpenter, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is still unsure exactly how it will proceed with respect to rehabbing starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy as well as pen lefty James Russell. The southpaw, who was added at the trade deadline, projects to earn a fairly meager $2.4MM and seems a decent value at that price tag.
  • Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash indicated that the team intends to tender Gerardo Parra a contract rather than cutting him loose, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Parra’s hefty $6.4MM projection is quite a sum for a fourth outfielder, though Ash noted that he has received plenty of playing time as a part-time starter and frequent reserve. And, of course, a trade could still be made.
  • It seems likely that the Cardinals will non-tender utilityman Daniel Descalso, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch writes. Descalso carries a $1.4MM projected salary but saw a reduced role last year and the organization has added several apparent pieces that would seem to be viable replacements.

Braves To Revisit B.J. Upton Trade Talks, Could Move Gattis In Offseason

Talks of a rumored deal that would have sent B.J. Upton to the Cubs (perhaps along with a pitcher or cash) in exchange for Edwin Jackson have been circulating over the past couple weeks, and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that it could be because the Braves would like to rekindle those talks in the offseason.

It won’t be easy to trade Upton and the remaining $47MM on his contract, of course, but the Braves could be willing to sweeten the deal by including three years of Mike Minor or by including a significant amount of cash to help offset Upton’s salary. The Braves are not, however, interested in including both Minor and cash in order to facilitate a trade. Regardless of how the ties are severed, O’Brien feels that it is a fait accompli that the elder Upton is dealt by next Spring Training. (Of course, many people felt the same about Dan Uggla, who lingered on Atlanta’s roster well into the summer.)

Minor has struggled for much of the season after opening the year on the disabled list, pitching to a 4.90 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 39.3 percent ground-ball rate. Minor’s main problem has been an increased home run rate which, paired with an uptick in his walks, has led to a HR/9 rate of 1.51 — fifth-worst among pitchers with at least 110 innings thrown in 2014. Nonetheless, three years of a pitcher who posted a 3.72 ERA in 466 2/3 innings from 2011-13 (including a stellar 3.21 mark in 204 2/3 innings last year) would have value to pitching-hungry teams.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that O’Brien also feels there’s “at least a pretty good chance” that Gattis could be traded in the coming offseason. While Atlanta loves Gattis’ bat, it is less enamored with his defensive prowess and isn’t certain how long his 250-pound frame can hold up at the position. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is top prospect Christian Bethancourt, who is known for his strong arm and receiving skills.

As O’Brien points out, Gattis would make for a nice trade target for an American League club, given the fact that he could split time between DH and catcher (and perhaps the outfield on occasion). The 28-year-old is hitting a hefty .276/.331/.520 with 20 homers in 353 plate appearances this season, quieting some skeptics (myself included) who felt that his hot start in 2013 may not have been sustainable.

Gattis will finish the season with exactly two years of Major League service, meaning that a club could potentially gain four years of team control over a 20-30 homer bat, and that would certainly have value on the trade market, especially given the dearth of starting-caliber catchers on the free agent market. Beyond Russell Martin, teams looking for catching help will be left looking at A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto in the second tier of free agent backstops.


Mike Minor Joins Jet Sports Management

One of the game's top southpaws has changed representation.  Braves lefty Mike Minor has joined Jet Sports Management, MLBTR has learned.  Minor was previously with Bo McKinnis.  Jet Sports has strong Braves ties, representing Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Jonny Venters.

Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA in 32 starts in a breakout 2013 campaign.  He signed for $3.85MM this year, as he was arbitration eligible for the first time as a Super Two player.  Minor is under the Braves' control through 2017, and he'll have three more cracks at arbitration unless he signs a long-term extension.  The Braves went on an extension spree in February, locking up Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Craig Kimbrel, Julio Teheran, and Jason Heyward to multiyear deals totaling $280.7MM.

Jet Sports Management, which is headed by B.B. Abbott, had a big addition last summer when agent Andrew Lowenthal joined the company.  With him, Lowenthal brought clients such as Charlie Morton, Steve Cishek, Kyle Seager, Daniel Hudson, Joe Panik, David Goforth, and Justin Marks.  In addition to the aforementioned players, the agency counts Chris Sale, Rex Brothers, Jonathan Broxton, Wade Davis, Corey Kluber, Devin Mesoraco, Byron Buxton, Zack Wheeler, and Mike Zunino among its clients.  For all the latest on MLB player representation, check out our agency database



NL East Notes: Mets, Braves, Brown

Links from the NL East…

  • There's little question within the Mets organization that Travis d'Arnaud will become the team's starting catcher at some point this year, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. However, d'Arnaud will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, barring an injury. By keeping d'Arnaud in big league camp, the Mets are running the risk that he'll get injured and start picking up MLB service time while on the disabled list, Michael Baron of MetsBlog.com notes.
  • The Braves front office doesn't seem concerned about the possibility that their lineup will strike out often in 2013, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. Martino also discusses the re-branding of the Braves in the post-Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox era. “We like talent,” one Braves person said.
  • Don't be surprised if Mike Minor of the Braves and Domonic Brown of the Phillies are among the players who break out in 2013. ESPN.com's Keith Law includes these players on his list of former top prospects poised for big performances in the coming season.

Rockies Notes: Cuddyer, Francis, Fowler

Some early-morning Rockies news, courtesy of the Denver Post's Troy Renck (Twitter links)…

  • A trade is still the more likely means for Colorado to acquire starting pitching help, according to Renck. Teams are calling about Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer. Renck notes that the two years and $21MM remaining on Cuddyer's contract may be appealing to teams, given the inflated prices we've seen in this year's free agent market.
  • The one-year deal signed by Jeff Francis last night will pay the southpaw somewhere north of $750K salary that he earned in 2012.
  • Renck also writes that the team included Alex White in this week's Wilton Lopez trade because they no longer viewed White as a starter.
  • Within that same piece, Renck reports that in trade talks prior to the Winter Meetings, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor and one of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in exchange for Fowler. Needless to say, the price on Colorado's center fielder remains high.

NL West Rumors: Scutaro, Rockies, Otani, Minor

While the Dodgers have been linked to just about everyone this offseason, they won't be the only NL West club active in Nashville this week. Here are a few updates from around the division:

  • Chris Haft of MLB.com (Twitter link) heard from an agent earlier today that the Giants were "bending over backwards" to re-sign Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Haft wonders if Scutaro is next, now that the team has reached an agreement with Pagan.
  • The Rockies are targeting late-inning and closer-type pitchers this week, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • The Dodgers would be "shocked" if Shohei Otani declares for MLB and doesn't sign with them, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). However, the Dodgers are skeptical that Otani will come stateside. We heard this morning that the 18-year-old was leaning toward remaining in Japan.
  • In discussing Dexter Fowler with the Braves, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link).
  • Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the Yankees had some interest in Chris Nelson last season, and wonders if their interest in the Rockies' infielder could be renewed now that Alex Rodriguez is undergoing hip surgery.
  • The Giants are one of five teams with "real interest" in Scott Hairston, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Cardinals, Tigers, Indians, and Yankees round out the list, and Hairston himself hasn't ruled out a return to the Mets.

Zack Greinke Rumors: Thursday

The Brewers are looking to sell and, based on his most recent start, Zack Greinke is healthy. The right-hander figures to continue drawing heavy interest in the days leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. He’s clearly the top arm available with Cole Hamels locked up to an extension in Philadelphia. The Rangers, Angels, Braves and White Sox are interested in Greinke and the Red Sox and Nationals might be considered suitors too. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Greinke with the most recent rumors up top…

  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin's comments this evening were measured compared to ones made earlier today where he sounded certain of a Greinke trade, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.  "I just said there was that possibility," Melvin said. "I don't think there's any secret, with the Trade Deadline, that this is a possibility. Zack knows that. We know that. Other teams know that."  McCalvy writes that the Rangers, Angels, and Braves appear to be the most serious suitors for Greinke.
  • The Dodgers aren't pursuing Greinke at this point, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • The White Sox seem completely focused on trying to get Greinke, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • Greinke will be traded before the July 31st deadline, GM Doug Melvin told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Melvin said Greinke could handle pitching in a large market. "There are so many good things about him, it's going to be difficult when we trade him,'' Melvin said. GMs and executives agree Greinke is the prize pitcher available in trades, Nightengale reports.
  • One source believes Greinke will be traded before Ryan Dempster, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirmed on WTMJ radio that he's taking phone calls and acknowledged that Greinke could be traded before his next start (transcript via Tom Haudricourt). "At this point we have to listen to opportunities to improve the ball club for the future and still try to win ball games now," Melvin said.
  • Melvin added that the Brewers haven't had recent extension talks with Greinke.
  • The Brewers are taking calls from teams interested in acquiring Greinke, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "It sounds like he's as good as gone," one person told Haudricourt. 
  • Haudricourt offers a detailed look at which prospects interest the Brewers’ decision makers. Milwaukee would love to have Rangers shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, but the Rangers consider him untouchable. The Brewers would be very interested in Rangers left-hander Martin Perez and have scouted right-hander Justin Grimm.
  • The Brewers are thought to rank Braves right-hander Julio Teheran ahead of Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, according to Haudricourt. The Brewers want pitchers who can contribute at the MLB level soon.
  • Milwaukee prefers Angels shortstop prospect Jean Segura to Garrett Richards, Haudricourt writes.
  • The White Sox also appear to have considerable interest in Greinke.

Rosenthal On Victorino, Red Sox, Braves, Brewers

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors…

  • The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
  • The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
  • The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
  • The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.

Quick Hits: Braves, Pirates, Rockies, Nationals

The Marlins ended their franchise record offensive draught of scoring five runs or less for 25 consecutive games in their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays. And, for good measure, the nine runs were a season-high for the Marlins, who ended their six-game losing streak. Here's the latest news from around baseball.

  • The Braves could make starting pitching a priority at the trade deadline because of the growing pains of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado and the uncertainty surrounding Jair Jurrjens, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
  • The Pirates need to create an opening in their starting rotation when Jeff Karstens returns from the disabled list this week and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thinks a trade could create that opening (via Sulia). Biertempfel reported yesterday the Pirates are shopping Kevin Correia.
  • With the Pirates looking for offensive help, the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes the Rockies have players available, including Marco Scutaro. In the same piece, Renck offers his suggestions on who the Rockies should play the rest of the way in 2012, so as to best prepare for 2013.
  • The Nationals are not willing to pay a fine in order to exceed their draft bonus pool, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This is a corection to a story Kilgore wrote yesterday. Kilgore writes this stance will lower the amount the Nationals will be able to offer their first round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
  • Condolences to the friends of family of Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today.  He was 50.

Quick Hits: Cubs, Braves, Quentin, Utley

The Cubs are trying to break an 11-game losing streak, their longest in 15 years, as they take on the Pirates this afternoon at PNC Park.  Manager Dale Sveum has changed closers, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  Sveum didn't reveal who would replace Rafael Dolis if a save opportunity presents itself, but Sullivan writes he did mention James Russell and Casey Coleman

Here are some more links on this Sunday before Memorial Day.

  • MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets the Braves may be looking for starting pitching because of the struggles of Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens.  Bowman cautions money will be an issue.
  • Manager Bud Black told reporters including Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that Carlos Quentin could make his Padres debut this week when the team travels to Chicago.  Quentin has yet to play this season because of knee surgery performed in March. 
  • Chase Utley also hasn't seen action in 2012 because of a knee injury.  Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes Utley is feeling better but there is still no timetable for his minor league rehab.  Salisbury points out Utley has been working in left field to ease the strain on his knees and to work on his agility.
  • Kevin Mulvey has retired, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.  Mulvey had been pitching in relief with the Mets' Double-A affiliate.  Mulvey was part of the Johan Santana trade and rejoined the Mets late in spring training after being released by the Diamondbacks.