Milwaukee Brewers Rumors
It could be argued that Anthony Rizzo cost himself some arbitration riches by signing a seven-year, $41MM contract extension with the Cubs, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports sees Rizzo's logic. As Rosenthal explains in his latest Hot Corner video, Rizzo's personal history --- including a past brush with Hodgkin's lymphoma and a demotion to the minors when with the Padres --- could've played a role in his accepting the security of a multiyear deal. Rizzo entered the season with less than a full year of service time, plus Rosenthal notes that Rizzo will still get a crack at free agency. If the Cubs pick up both option years on the deal, Rizzo could hit the market at age 32, young enough to score another nice contract.
Let's check in with some more news from around the NL Central...
- Also from Rosenthal's video, he praises the Cardinals' depth at both the major and minor league levels, giving the team great flexibility in case of injuries or if they want to pursue a trade.
- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is an unsung figure in the club's organizational success, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes. Miklasz chronicles how DeWitt championed the analytical process of then-vice president Jeff Luhnow (now the Astros' GM) that helped the Cards develop their highly-regarded minor league system.
- Francisco Rodriguez received a few Major League offers from other clubs this winter, the reliever tells MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, but Rodriguez chose to instead sign a minor league deal with the Brewers due to his familiarity with the organization. "There were a few teams out there, but I was waiting for the right opportunity," Rodriguez said. "I had a few options I could have taken to be at the big league level right away, but I wasn't ready physically to make that commitment."
- The Brewers' limited trade options, and a possible Jean Segura contract extension are amongst the topics covered by Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in his reader mailbag.
Yesterday, we learned that the Brewers offered a contract extension to Jean Segura about a month ago, but no deal is close between the two sides at this time. The 23-year-old has just 81 big league games under his belt and there's not a great deal of precedent in place to work out a new deal as only two position players with less than one year of service (Evan Longoria and Salvador Perez) have inked extensions. Still, Milwaukee would love to lock up their young standout to a team-friendly deal as the Cubs did earlier this week. Here's more out of the NL Central..
- Today was Francisco Rodriguez's opt-out date with the Brewers and the club decided to call him up to the big league roster, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Now that he has been promoted to the varsity squad, K-Rod's deal calls for him to earn roughly $2MM for the 2013 season. Milwaukee had 30 days to evaluate Rodriguez before making their determination today.
- Despite his struggles, Carlos Marmol firmly denied a rumor that he wants out of Chicago in order to get a fresh start, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. “I’m not going nowhere,” Marmol said. “I’m very happy here. I can’t wait until they do something so I can stay here. I always talk about how I love Chicago, I love being here, I love my teammates, I love everybody here.” The pitcher met with agent Paul Kinzer earlier today but Marmol says they weren't talking about moving on from the Cubs.
- In his latest mailbag, a reader asks Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune if the club could get Marmol back on track by moving him to the starting rotation. Sullivan notes that the reliever began as a starter in 2006 and didn't succeed and opines that a trade is the only solution.
Klein told Rosenthal, "They contacted me. Right now, I guess it’s in my court. But with a guy this young, it’s hard to figure out what the right numbers would be. It would be good, be nice if it was possible to do. But I don’t know. It’s way, way on the drawing board."
Segura, 23, has only 80 big league games and 314 plate appearances under his belt, almost all of it with the Brewers since coming over from the Angels as the centerpiece of last summer's Zack Greinke trade. He has around 110 days of big league service. As MLBTR's extension tracker shows, two position players have signed extensions with less than one year of service: Evan Longoria in 2008 ($17.5MM over six years) and Salvador Perez in 2012 ($7MM over five years). Those two deals were/are considered extremely club friendly, and each contained a trio of club options. So you can understand Klein's hesitancy.
Perez's contract gave him some extra money up front, so perhaps Segura could be paid $3MM for 2013-15, his three pre-arbitration seasons. His three arbitration years might be valued at $12MM or so, and buyouts on option years could bring the total close to Longoria's $17.5MM over six years. As a power hitter, Longoria's arbitration years would be valued more highly, but his contract is five years old, so it's fair to suggest Segura could be in that range for 2013-18. Perhaps Klein could at least bring the Brewers down to two club options rather than three. Segura is under the Brewers' control through 2018 regardless, so those free agent years may be the key to a potential deal.
The Brewers have locked up many key players over the years, but never one with less than a year of service. They signed Ryan Braun in '08 (1.008 in big league service), Yovani Gallardo in '10 (2.112), Corey Hart in '10 (4.157), Rickie Weeks in '11 (5.131), Braun again in '11, Jonathan Lucroy in '12 (1.136) and Carlos Gomez in March (5.141).
Here's a special Mother's Day edition of Quick Hits..
- Reliever Francisco Rodriguez has been promoted to the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter). McCalvy reports in a second tweet Rodriguez will pitch Monday and Tuesday with GM Doug Melvin on hand to scout the outings and, according to Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash, Thursday is the deadline whether to promote K-Rod to the majors and pay him roughly $2MM or let him seek employment elsewhere.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter) notes that three out of the Mets' four highest paid players this year have not contributed to the club for one reason or another this season. Johan Santana is sidelined for the year, Jason Bay is with the Mariners after being cut loose, and Frank Francisco is still working his way back from injury.
- First-year manager Bo Porter admits that the Astros' 10-27 start has been frustrating for him, but he remains hopeful that the club's rebuilding plan will pan out, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
Matt Harvey posted a game score of 97 while taking a perfect game into the seventh, striking out 12, and walking none over nine innings against the White Sox Tuesday night, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports notes (on Twitter). Only 40 outings of nine innings or fewer since 1916 have earned a higher game score. Here's a collection of notes from around the majors.
- The nine Asian-born pitchers who have pitched in the big leagues this year have combined to post numbers similar to a typical Justin Verlander season, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says. Those nine pitchers have 241 1/3 innings pitched so far in 2013, with a 2.91 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. Yu Darvish has been a big part of that, of course, but Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hiroki Kuroda, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have also pitched well. The past struggles of pitchers like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Irabu have allowed today's Asian-born pitchers to fly under the radar somewhat, Cameron argues, and he wonders whether pitchers from overseas leagues might be undervalued in the market. Specifically, he says, emphasis on fastball velocity and breaking balls may cause teams to undervalue pitchers with great splitters or changeups.
- Free agency has become "a used car lot cluttered with lemons," with only a few bargains to be found, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated argues, citing the examples of Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves) and Zack Greinke (Dodgers). Thus far, Hamilton and Upton have failed to produce with their new teams, and Greinke is hurt. In the past four seasons, Verducci notes, there have been 24 free-agent contracts worth $35MM or more. Most of those have turned out badly, and some (such as Jason Bay's deal with the Mets) have looked bad almost immediately. That means that "win[ning] the winter" by signing the biggest-name free agents isn't all it's cracked up to be, as the 2012 Marlins can attest. This year's Angels and Dodgers have struggled out of the gate, and so have the Blue Jays (who had a big offseason mostly driven by trades).
- The Astros' decisions to designate Rick Ankiel and Fernando Martinez for assignment made their outfield more athletic, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says. Robbie Grossman, Brandon Barnes and Jimmy Paredes started in the outfield for the Astros Tuesday night. "We went out to get more athletic, get more guys who have the ability to mishit the ball and still have a possibility of getting on base because of their athletic ability," says manager Bo Porter.
- Will Middlebrooks and David Ross left the Red Sox's game against the Twins Tuesday night after they collided. There is no indication yes that Middlebrooks will miss significant time. But after Middlebrooks, the Red Sox have little depth at third base, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco "isn't the answer," MacPherson says, and the choices at Triple-A Pawtucket aren't thrilling. Minor-league veteran Justin Henry, who was acquired in the offseason for Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus, may be the best option there. Brock Holt, who arrived from the Pirates with Joel Hanrahan in the offseason, is another possibility. Of course, Middlebrooks himself has struggled this year, hitting just .195/.232/.281.
- Jake Peavy does not have a no-trade clause in his new contract with the White Sox, and he doesn't need one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. "I told (GM) Rick Hahn that if he didn’t trade me before spring training was over, that was good enough for me," says Peavy, pointing out that it's unlikely he will be traded if the White Sox are contending.
- Rosenthal also notes that Madison Bumgarner's contract with the Giants could be one of the most team-friendly in baseball. Bumgarner, 23, would have been eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, but his new deal contains cheap team options that can allow the Giants to carry him through 2019.
- The Brewers have assigned Francisco Rodriguez to Class A+ Brevard County, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Rodriguez will make three relief appearances there, then head to Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers must promote Rodriguez to the majors by May 17, or he can become a free agent. Rodriguez posted a 4.38 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 78 appearances with the Brewers in 2012.
- Diamond Mines' new database provides a fascinating look at old scouting reports, including many in the scouts' own handwriting.
Carlos Gomez has emerged as the top player from the Johan Santana trade between the Mets and the Twins, the New York Post's Joel Sherman writes. Santana himself had season-ending shoulder surgery in early April, and the other players the Twins received along with Gomez (Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra) haven't panned out. Meanwhile, Gomez, who the Twins shipped to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy, is off to a .368/.417/.642 start while playing great defense in center field. Sherman doesn't really blame the Mets for dealing Gomez, however. "Would this franchise and this city really have had the patience to wait six years for a blossoming — if it ever would have happened here?" he says. Here are more notes from the NL.
- In a blog entry, Sherman compares Gomez to former Yankees star Bernie Williams, in that both players needed more time than usual to turn their considerable tools into skills. Williams entered the Majors in his age-22 season in 1991, but didn't post an OBP higher than .354 until age 25 and didn't hit 20 homers in a season until age 27. Doug Melvin, now the Brewers' GM, was the Yankees' scouting director when New York signed Williams.
- Paul Maholm and the Braves have not had discussions regarding the possibility of a contract extension, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports (Insider-only). The Braves exercised their 2013 option on Maholm, guaranteeing him $6.5MM. But he is a free agent in the coming offseason, and with a good 2012 season and a strong start in 2013 (3.09 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9), Maholm could be rewarded with a much bigger payday.
- The timing of Brian McCann's free agency is inconvenient for him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. McCann returned from shoulder surgery to make his season debut Monday, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He'll be a free agent after the season just as he's entering his 30s, and his injuries and declining play will likely limit the market for him (depending on how he does this season, of course). Also, the emergence of Evan Gattis -- who has a meager .305 OBP this season, but a .563 slugging percentage -- gives the Braves a reasonable alternative to McCann at catcher. Still, Martino suggests that there will likely still be strong interest in McCann, perhaps from teams like the Yankees in need of catching help. McCann has a strong reputation within the game, and finding a catcher who can hit isn't easy.
The Brewers have signed right-hander Tim Dillard, according to Chris Cotillo of CLNSRadio.com. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter) confirmed that the Brewers have inked the Icon Sports Management client.
Dillard, 30 in July, posted a 4.38 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 34 relief appearances last season for the Brewers. For his career, the hurler has a 4.70 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 across four big league seasons for Milwaukee.
After receiving his work visa, former star closer Francisco Rodriguez is set to begin his comeback with the Brewers, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports. Rodriguez had been working out in extended spring training while waiting for the visa. The Brewers signed Rodriguez to a minor-league deal in mid-April. They have until May 17 to decide whether to promote him or allow him to become a free agent. Rodriguez appeared in 78 games for the Brewers in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- If the struggling Phillies don't move up in the standings, they could be very active on the trade market in July, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes. Chase Utley, Michael Young and Delmon Young are all free agents after the season, Castrovince notes, and there's also the possibility the Phillies could begin trade talks involving Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins or Jonathan Papelbon. If the Phillies begin trading stars, Castrovince says, it's unlikely manager Charlie Manuel will return next season. "I don't envy any GM, especially on a big-market team, because you have to compete and you have to attract those big names or not let them leave," says Cole Hamels. "When you're not winning, you're always going to chase it until you win again and can breathe a little bit."
- Lee, in particular, could be on the move if the Phillies falter, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. Martino quotes an executive from another team who says, "If they're not in it, you think [Ruben Amaro Jr.] won't move Lee again?" Martino notes that Lee's contract (the Phillies owe him a minimum of $62.5MM after 2013) could make a trade tricky, however.
- The Orioles could designate utilityman Yamaico Navarro for assignment when Freddy Garcia is added to the roster Saturday, CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff speculates (on Twitter). Other possibilities for opening a roster spot involve sending Taylor Teagarden or Brian Roberts to the 60-day DL. Navarro is hitting .276/.359/.434 for Triple-A Norfolk.
Earlier today, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts presented his plans for a $300MM renovation on Wrigley Field and made waves when he said that the club may have to move to a new park if certain requests are not met. After his presentation, Ricketts told David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com that his focus is still on making things work at Wrigley. "We also need to generate the revenue we need to compete as a franchise," Ricketts added. "There has been some question as to whether or not we can put up a revenue generating video board and signage in our own outfield and if we can't then at some point we've got to look at other options. But I don't think it's now. We really believe that we are going to be able to work this out and move forward." Here's more from around baseball..
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet looked at potential infield trade targets for the Blue Jays. BN-S suggests that Brendan Ryan of the Mariners and Alex Gonzalez of the Brewers are among those that could make sense for Toronto.
- High school shortstop Riley Unroe is seeing his stock soar as he was viewed to a fifth-to-seventh round talent but could now find himself going as early as late in the first round and in the sandwich round, at worst, writes Allan Simpson of Perfect Game. Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) recently wrote that he personally sees Unroe as a third round talent but wouldn't be surprised to see him go higher.
- Despite their $148MM payroll and World Series expectations, it no longer seems like a fluke that the Angels are struggling, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The Halos snapped a four-game losing streak earlier today to bring their record to 10-17.
The Twins have plenty to be excited about following the hot starts of top prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports in his first Prospect Heat Check column. Passan spoke to 20 GMs and executives, with one AL evaluator telling him that "Sano is exploding," and adding that the 20-year-old looks to have improved at third base. Here's more on the Twins and more from baseball's Central divisions...
- Former Tigers reliever and current Twins setup man Casey Fien sympathizes with the trials that his former roommate Casper Wells has gone through early this season, writes John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. Fien recalls Spring Training of 2010, when he went from the Tigers, to the Red Sox, to the Blue Jays and back to the Tigers in the span of a month. Wells was with four organiations in April.
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts presented his plans for a $300MM renovation for Wrigley Field today, and Fran Spielman and Stefano Esposito of the Chicago Sun-Times have the highlights. Ricketts caused controvery by stating that if the Cubs are unable to receive the outfield sign space they need (among other requests), they would have to consider moving from Wrigley Field. Ricketts went on record as saying the Cubs need "to run a business like a business and not a museum."
- David Kaplan of CSN Chicago tweets the following Ricketts quote from his presentation: "We anticipate increasing spending on the baseball side as soon as we know what we can do with this plan."
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale praises Brewers GM Doug Melvin for insisting that the Angels include shortstop Jean Segura in any return for Zack Greinke last July (Twitter link). Segura entered play Wednesday hitting .367/.418/.567 three doubles, three triples, three homers and seven steals.