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The Dodgers announced today that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Matt Long from the Angels to complete last week’s Drew Butera trade. However, the team also announced that it has has immediately flipped Long and left-hander Jarret Martin to the Brewers in exchange for catcher Shawn Zarraga, essentially making the entire sequence into a minor three-team trade.
A 2009 30th-round draft pick, Long has never appeared on an Angels Top 30 prospect list (per Baseball America), but he does have a solid minor league track record. The 27-year-old has yet to reach the Majors but owns a nice career slash line of .279/.358/.442 in 1102 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
The 25-year-old Martin was previously designated for assignment and outrighted this past offseason. He spent the 2014 campaign with Double-A Chattanooga where he posted a strong 3.29 ERA in 54 2/3 innings of relief. While Martin’s 64 strikeouts in that time were impressive, he also walked a very troublesome 48 hitters. Control problems have long been an issue for Martin, who has averaged 6.1 walks per nine innings since being selected in the 18th round of the 2009 draft.
Zarraga is a 25-year-old catcher that was born in Aruba but attended high school in Florida and was selected in the 44th round by the Brewers in 2007. Zarraga was excellent at Double-A this past season, hitting .330/.440/.419 in 267 plate appearances, but he batted just .213/.304/.255 in 57 PA at Triple-A — his first crack at that level.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that teams second guessing themselves is just a regular part of the offseason. A lot of folks are second guessing the A’s, but manager Bob Melvin has confidence in GM Billy Beane.
“We’re looking to get a little bit younger, yet if you want to look back to the end of 2011 and leading into 2012, we traded our last three All-Stars in [Trevor] Cahill, [Andrew] Bailey, and [Gio] Gonzalez and we ended up winning the division,” said Melvin. “We’re looking to compete again. This isn’t something where we’re breaking it down and moving in a different direction. The players that we’re getting back we like. There’s always a balance here for us in that we have to look down the road. We lost quite a bit of talent the last couple of years, making some trades. Billy is about as good as it gets as far as being able to handle that balance and keep us competitive currently, yet also having to look down the road for the future.”
More from today’s column..
- The Astros are a sleeper team in the Cole Hamels chase, Cafardo writes. The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are also interested in the Phillies left-hander, but Houston could join the bunch and the Giants may also be in if they can’t land James Shields.
- The Phillies are trying to get teams interested in Ryan Howard, and a team source indicated to Cafardo that they are willing to pay a great majority of his contract to move him. Howard is owed $60MM between 2015 and 2017, including a buyout. The Rays and Orioles have DH needs and he could theoretically fit the bill.
- Both the Marlins and the Brewers have active interest in Red Sox first baseman Allen Craig. Craig, 30, had some strong years with the Cardinals before joining the Red Sox at last year’s deadline.
- Agent John Boggs says that he’s having “discussions with several cubs” about client Ichiro Suzuki, though no deal is imminent at this time.
- Dan Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross, was trying to market his client for a comeback at the Winter Meetings. Cafardo hears that a lot of the 34-year-old’s decline may have had to do with an undetected concussion.
The trust that Jon Lester has in Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from their days together in Boston is singled out by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan as the key reason why the lefty chose Wrigley Field as his next home. Here’s some news from around the NL Central…
- The Pirates were one of the finalists for Brandon McCarthy, MLB.com’s Tom Singer writes. The Bucs weren’t known to be connected to McCarthy in the offseason rumor mill, though they fit as a logical contender for his services. Even with Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett signed, Singer thinks the Pirates could still look to add starting pitching, such as re-signing Edinson Volquez.
- Other teams feel that the Reds will look to trade Zack Cozart now that they’ve acquired Eugenio Suarez, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports (Twitter link).
- With Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon respectively traded to the Marlins and Tigers, Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) that the team can start to explore other upgrades now that they’ve addressed their payroll concerns. “We’re in a better position to start looking at some other possibilities to improve our club — the hitter we’re looking for and some bullpen depth,” Jocketty said. “We’re close to where we need to be, [payroll-wise]. Now we can concentrate on filling some of the needs.”
- In an Insider-only post, ESPN’s Keith Law looks at the Reds‘ two pitching trades and feels the team got more from Detroit than they did from Miami. Law thinks Suarez is an improvement over Cozart and Jonathon Crawford could potentially be the Reds’ closer of the future.
- Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo are two of several prominent Brewers entering the last year of their contracts, and MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy opines that the Crew could explore trading the two starters if they think Mike Fiers or Jimmy Nelson can be viable rotation options.
Here are today’s minor transactions, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Twins have signed right-hander Brayan Villarreal to a split contract, ESPN’s Enrique Rojas reports (via Twitter). The deal contains an invitation to Minnesota’s Spring Training camp and Villarreal will earn $522K if he stays on the Twins’ Major League roster. Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season with the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.
- The Yankees signed infielder Nick Noonan to a minor league deal, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports (Twitter link). Noonan, taken 32nd overall by the Giants in the 2007 draft, has a .262/.316/.368 slash line over 3322 career PA in the minors, all in San Francisco’s farm system. He appeared in 62 games with the Giants in 2013.
- The Rangers signed outfielder Antoan Richardson and right-handers Anthony Bass and Ross Wolf to minor league deals with Spring Training invitations, the team announced (hat tip to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
- The Marlins are likely to sign free agent infielder Scott Sizemore, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Sizemore signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last winter and played in six games for the club before being released and re-signed over the summer. Due in part to a pair of major knee injuries, Sizemore has only appeared in eight Major League games over the last three seasons.
- The Brewers have released outfielder Jeremy Hermida so he can pursue an opportunity to play in Japan, the team announced. Hermida just signed a new minor league contract with Milwaukee in November. The former 11th overall pick (in the 2002 draft) and top prospect last played in the majors in 2012 as a member of the Padres.
Agent Scott Boras says he will not give the Tigers the opportunity to match offers for his client Max Scherzer, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes. “This is not church bingo,” Boras told the media Wednesday. “You pretty much are in the market on a player. You tell all the teams and everyone involved that he can sign at any time. He’s open to signing at any time.” A Tigers official recently said that a new deal with Scherzer was “not happening,” however, so right now, it sounds like the Tigers aren’t that inclined to play bingo either. Here’s more from around the big leagues.
- The Yankees are considering signing Ervin Santana, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Santana has lately been connected to the Twins, Giants and Royals, with the Twins reportedly prepared to offer a deal in the range of four years and $50MM. The Yankees, meanwhile, are looking for starting pitching, but GM Brian Cashman has said he’s being “patient” at the Winter Meetings.
- The Nationals met with Jordan Zimmermann‘s agent, Mark Pieper, on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. “It was a re-acquaintance, if you will, to talk about philosophies and parameters and that type of thing,” says Nats GM Mike Rizzo. The two sides had not attempted to negotiate an extension for Zimmermann since before the 2014 season. Zimmermann is eligible for free agency next winter. Last week, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Nationals would again attempt to extend Zimmermann. Wagner adds that the Nationals do not plan to trade Zimmermann, Doug Fister or Ian Desmond (all of whom are eligible for free agency at the end of the year) before the start of spring training.
- Jean Segura‘s struggles last season have the Brewers thinking they shouldn’t offer players extensions in the spring, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. The Brewers offered Segura a six-year, $38MM extension last spring, but Segura’s camp turned it down. Segura had a poor first half, and the Brewers feel he was pressing. Near midseason, Segura tragically lost his infant son. He then returned to the team and struggled through July and August before hitting better in September. “I do think [the extension offer] was a distraction for Segura,” says GM Doug Melvin. “You’re around all the players (in camp) and they talk about it. I just think the focus on spring training is important to get ready.”
- The Braves have not contacted Kris Medlen since they non-tendered him, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Medlen missed the entire 2014 season after having his second Tommy John surgery.
- Reliever Matt Albers, who missed much of the 2014 season due to shoulder trouble, will begin throwing in February, SportsNet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. More than one team has shown interest, Nicholson-Smith notes. Albers, 31, has appeared in parts of nine big-league seasons with the Astros, Orioles, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Indians, posting a 4.42 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
- Now that the Pirates have re-signed Francisco Liriano, they’re probably not going to look for any more starting pitching and will instead focus on the bullpen, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter links). The Bucs are willing to give a multiyear contract to a reliever “if it’s right guy-right deal situation.”
- The Reds met with Johnny Cueto‘s agent today to explore a long-term extension, GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon). “If it’s possible, I’m not sure it will be, I think it’s still something we have to take a look at as we explore every possibility,” Jocketty said.
- Teams have reportedly been calling the Reds about Cueto and Aroldis Chapman, though Jocketty said that the Reds aren’t themselves shopping those pitchers. “I don’t know where the Chapman stuff came from….I walked into the room today and asked our guys if there was anything on Chapman,” the GM said. “I got three texts and a phone call this morning. I’ll listen to anything that makes sense. It was not something we initiated….I don’t consider, unless we get proposals from clubs, that it’s anything legitimate. It’s just inquiring.”
- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jen Langosch) that it’s “fair to say” that Lance Lynn‘s name came up during Mozeliak’s meeting today with an Excel Sports Management agent, as Lynn is an Excel client. While Mozeliak didn’t comment on the meeting, Langosch wonders if the two sides could’ve discussed Lynn’s forthcoming arbitration eligibility or perhaps even a multiyear extension for the right-hander.
- The Cardinals have some interest in Rickie Weeks, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. The Cards would use Weeks as a right-handed bench bat and possibly also as first base depth, which would require Weeks to learn a new position.
- How quiet has this Winter Meetings been for the Brewers? Haudricourt reports (Twitter link) that as of earlier tonight, the Crew had yet to personally meet with any agents or with representatives from another team.
The Tigers declined to open up a spot on their 40-man roster prior to today’s deadline, which means that they will not be adding anyone in the Rule 5 draft, as Chris Iott of MLive.com writes. The Tigers protected infielder Dixon Machado and pitcher Angel Nesbitt from the Rule 5 draft last month, but left Joel Hanrahan unprotected due to his contract situation. More out of the Central divisions.
- Hanrahan’s deal has a $1MM base salary if he reaches the majors with up to $2MM in incentives, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (via Twitter). It was originally believed that Hanrahan’s deal with the Tigers had a bit more in incentives.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said that the club is open to a possible Andy Dirks return, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com (via Twitter).
- “A lot of clubs have asked about” Tigers pitchers, but Dombrowski says that he still feels good about the five starters they currently have in place, Iott tweets.
- The Reds have a need for a power bat and have some interest in Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, according to CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam. The Reds and Cespedes have been connected for some time. The Reds have starting pitching that they can deal, which would make the two teams seem like solid trade partners on the surface.
- Twins manager Paul Molitor has not made any recruiting calls since contacting outfielder Torii Hunter, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke says the club is focused on filling the bullpen, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter). Milwaukee is open to both free agents and trades. Today, they focused on watching video of left-handed relievers.
Here’s the latest from the National League side of the ledger:
- The Nationals will sit down with Jordan Zimmermann‘s representatives at the Winter Meetings, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports. Matt Cain‘s extension with the Giants (six years, $127.5MM) may be the best comp for Zimmermann and the Nats as they look ahead at renewed contract talks, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes on Twitter. Of course, that deal is now a few years old, so it may require a bump up to account for inflation.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. faces a difficult task given how little leverage he brings with him to San Diego, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other clubs may be looking to take advantage of the perception that Philadelphia needs to make a move to start its rebuilding process, Gelb explains.
- The Braves are still waiting to find the right deal for outfielder Justin Upton, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the club is hoping to add a second baseman and/or starting pitcher if it deals him. Among the teams with interest are the Royals, Rangers, Padres, and Indians, per Sherman.
- The Brewers are open to the possibility of dealing outfielder Gerardo Parra, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, Parra — who is projected to earn $6.4MM through arbitration (via MLBTR/Matt Swartz) — could make sense for teams that fail to land Melky Cabrera.
Here are the latest minor moves …
- The Diamondbacks have signed righty Blake Beavan to a minor league deal, via the MLB.com transactions page. The former first-round pick was outrighted by the Marines back in August.
- The Cubs inked second baseman Jonathan Herrera, per the same source. Herrera lost his roster spot with the Red Sox a month ago after a fairly disappointing campaign in Boston.
- The Angels re-signed righty Yoslan Herrera on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Herrera had been non-tendered yesterday.
- Likewise, southpaw Kraig Sitton has re-signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal a day after being non-tendered, the club announced via Twitter. Sitton posted a 3.68 ERA last year at the Double-A level.
- Righty Michael Kohn has gone to the Braves on a minor league deal with a big league camp invite, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kohn originally signed with the Rays but was designated off the 40-man roster.
- The Blue Jays announced the signing of outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to a minor league deal. Carrera was designated recently to clear space for the Tigers’ claim of Josh Zeid.
- The Brewers have signed righty Wirfin Obispo, the club’s player development account tweeted. Obispo, 30, spent last year with the Braves and Pirates organizations and worked to a 4.12 ERA over 48 Triple-A frames.
The Brewers have agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with righty Brandon Kintzler, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports on Twitter. Kintzler was projected to earn $900K by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz, but will take home a $1.075MM guarantee, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link).
Kintzler, 30, has been a durable option for Milwaukee over each of the last two seasons, tossing a combined 135 1/3 frames of 2.93 ERA ball with 5.9 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. But his numbers were better in 2013 than in the season that just wrapped up. Kintzler’s fastball velocity ticked down a bit, and his good fortune on flyballs reversed (4.9% HR/FB in 2013 vs. 17.4% in 2014).