Milwaukee Brewers Rumors
5:35pm: The Red Sox and Brewers are two of the teams who have checked in on Morrison, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link).
12:13pm: The Marlins will listen to offers for first baseman and former top prospect Logan Morrison next week, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Marlins could look to move Morrison in order to acqure a third baseman -- a need that remains a high priority for the team. Jackson adds that the Fish are so open to trading Morrison that they've already had "serious discussions" with Garrett Jones, who was recently non-tendered by the Pirates.
Morrison, 26, has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion. The Marlins cited Morrison's batting average as their reasoning, despite the fact that he ranked second on the team in homers and third in OPS at the time. More telling was that Morrison had recently elected not to attend a meet-and-greet with season ticketholders after veteran teammate Wes Helms told him he was not required to attend. Shortly after, Morrison was demoted and Helms was released.
Morrison is still young, and though his production has fallen off recently in the cavernous Marlins Park, his road numbers have remained solid. Interest in Morrison would figure to be high, though his trade value has certainly taken a hit in recent years due to the diminished production. He can be controlled through the 2016 season before he hits free agency.
Jones, 32, was designated for assignment by the Pirates before being officially non-tendered on December 2nd. The veteran owns a career .254/.316/.458 slash line across six big league seasons. The first baseman/outfielder had a down year in 2013, however, hitting .233/.289/.419 in 440 plate appearances. Jones was due $5.3MM in arbitration this winter, according to MLBTR's Matt Swartz, making him a non-tender candidate. Still, Jones has cleared 20 homers in three of his five seasons with the Bucs and can offer solid power as a platoon bat.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Milwaukee's trade of Norichika Aoki to the Royals makes sense for the Brewers and for Aoki himself, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes. Khris Davis' emergence late last season means there won't be room for Aoki as a full-time player now that Ryan Braun's suspension is over, as the Brewers will go with an outfield of Davis, Carlos Gomez and Braun. Aoki's path to playing time will be clearer in Kansas City. "Everybody was on board with it," says Aoki's agent, Nez Balelo. "[Kansas City] was the best viable option. He’s going to love it there because he will get an opportunity to lead off and play every day." Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- Royals infielder Christian Colon has switched agents from Scott Boras to Excel Sports, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
- The Royals and Angels might make good trade partners, with the Angels sending second baseman Howie Kendrick to Kansas City in return for young pitching, the Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna tweets.
- Phil Hughes was surprised to receive a three-year, $24MM deal from the Twins, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. "Obviously the season I had was a disaster," says Hughes. "Coming into this thing, I was kind of expecting to just rebuild my value with a good year next year somewhere." The Mariners and Angels were among the other teams who bid for Hughes, but the Twins' offer of three guaranteed years won out.
- Now that the White Sox have signed Jose Dariel Abreu and re-signed Paul Konerko, there's less playing time available for Adam Dunn, writes CSNChicago.com's Dan Hayes. It appears Konerko and Dunn will platoon, with Konerko starting at designated hitter against lefties. Dunn hit .226/.327/.459 against righties last year, compared to .197/.296/.385 against lefties.
The Royals have acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Brewers in exchange for left-hander Will Smith, the Brewers have announced via press release. The trade was first reported last night by the folks at the Royal Revival blog (on Twitter).
Aoki, 32 next month, enjoyed his second solid season with the Brewers since coming over from Japan. The lefty swinger batted .286/.356/.370 with eight homers and 20 stolen bases. Though his power numbers dipped in 2013, the former NPB batting champion has a solid .287/.355/.399 line in his two Major League seasons to go along with excellent right-field defense (+4.2 UZR/150; +21 DRS). He comes at a highly affordable rate also, as the Brewers exercised a cheap $1.9MM club option on Aoki following the season. He is a free agent following the 2014 campaign.
Aoki's acquisition would seem to call Kansas City's pursuit of Carlos Beltran into question. The Royals had reportedly been one of the front-runners to land Beltran (if not the front-runner), but unless they plan on shifting Aoki to center field, his presence in right field and Billy Butler's presence at DH make it more difficult to see Beltran fitting into the plans. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Royals still plan on pursuing Beltran even after acquiring Aoki.
Smith, 24, was shifted to the bullpen in 2013 and enjoyed an outstanding breakout campaign in a half-season's worth of big league action. Smith posted a 3.24 ERA with 11.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate in 33 1/3 innings for the Royals. His ERA would likely have been lower had it not been for a fluke 18.8 percent homer-to-flyball ratio that figures to regress going forward. xFIP, which assumes a normalized HR/FB ratio, pegged Smith at 2.50 last season. Smith held opposing right-handers to a .684 OPS and stifled lefties to the tune of a .157/.204/.353 line, so he's capable against hitters from both sides of the dish.
The Royals originally acquired Smith along with Sean O'Sullivan in a deal that sent Alberto Callaspo to the Angels. He's spent most of his career as a starting pitcher in the minors, where he has a 3.85 career ERA in 231 1/3 innings. Smith won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 campaign and can be controlled through the 2019 season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here.
- The Rockies have signed Jason Pridie, according to the outfielder's own Twitter feed. Pridie, 30, hit .269/.333/.434 for the Orioles' Triple-A Norfolk affiliate in 2013. He also appeared in four big-league games.
- The Brewers have signed infielder Irving Falu and catcher Matt Pagnozzi to minor-league deals with spring-training invites, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets. Falu, 30, hit .256/.320/.329 for Triple-A Omaha in the Royals system in 2013. He made brief appearances in the big leagues in both of the last two seasons. The Royals designated him for assignment two weeks ago. Pagnozzi hit .210/.274/.314 for Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves system in 2013.
- The Brewers also signed pitchers Donovan Hand and Michael Olmsted to big-league deals, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Both pitchers were already on the 40-man roster, and neither were arbitration-eligible.
- The Twins signed third baseman Brandon Waring and lefty pitcher Matt Hoffman to minor-league deals, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com tweets. Both have been extended invitations to spring training. Waring hit .214/.317/.449 in the upper levels of the Orioles' system in 2013. Hoffman posted a 2.06 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 for the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate in Toledo.
The Red Sox won a World Series last year thanks to their daring offseason gameplan. Will they break away from those habits going forward? “So far, I don’t think it’s been all that different,” Lucchino told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “We still value the draft picks enormously and our behavior has shown that we still prefer shorter- to longer-term contracts and a presumption against really long-term contracts. A lot of things we did last year proved to be successful at least in the short term, and I think we’ll behave accordingly going forward.” Here's more from today's column..
- Trade talks for Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija have been going on and he could be on the move, but the Cubs’ preference would be to re-sign Samardzija and lock him in beyond 2015 and build their future around him, according to a major league source. The Cubs will continue to work on both fronts until an extension is reached or an extension proves to be improbable.
- The Rays, unsurprisingly, have gotten a number of inquiries on David Price. However, none of them have been strong enough to make Tampa Bay give serious consideration to parting with him.
- Moving Matt Kemp would require the Dodgers to eat some of the $128MM he's owed over the next six years. If L.A. knocks that down to $80-90MM, the market is expected to open up.
- The notion that A.J. Pierzynski is bad for a team is way off-base, according to one longtime teammate who said, “He may rub people the wrong way on other teams, but if he’s your teammate, he’s great. He’s tough, loyal, can call a game, and he can hit. I wish we had him back.”
- Daniel Bard's control issues have followed him into winter ball. The Cubs are expected to keep working with Bard, however, as they can give him a longer leash than the Red Sox did.
- Most teams, including the Brewers, want Corey Hart on a one-year deal. However, because there are a number of teams in on him, he might get two.
There's been a lot of talk about the Mets following the "Red Sox model" of signing multiple mid-tier free agents to shorter-term deals without sacrificing draft picks this season, but Matt Meyers of ESPNNewYork.com writes that this model won't work for the Mets. New York doesn't have a positional core like Boston had in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, nor can the team match Boston's $150MM payroll. Meyers feels that the Mets should follow the Indians' model this winter and look at the Pirates' philosophy long-term. To fans clamoring for big free agent spending, Meyers points out that such actions are precisely what dug the team into its current hole. More Mets links for your Tuesday afternoon...
- David Wright appeared on ESPN New York radio recently, stating that he's not worried about the team's slow start to the offseason and adding that he thinks GM Sandy Alderson "has some tricks up his sleeve." (ESPN's Adam Rubin has some quotes transcribed) Wright elaborated: "In all reality, I think that the offseason doesn't really necessarily kick off until the winter meetings, and that starts right after Thanksgiving ... have some faith because, like I said, I fully expect us to be a much better team moving forward. Hopefully that will begin at the winter meetings or shortly after Thanksgiving."
- Barring a surprise signing of Stephen Drew, it's looking more and more like the Mets will open 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo in his latest Mets Inbox. DiComo points to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak's comments about how steep the prices are for shortstops on the trade market in suggesting that such a move isn't likely to occur. Rafael Furcal may be an upgrade, but as DiComo points out, he's far from a sure thing.
- The large number of holes the Mets have to fill puts Daniel Murphy "at risk of being elsewhere" next season, DiComo adds. The Mets could move Eric Young to his natural position, second base, and address a different hole by trading Murphy.
- Also from DiComo, the Mets would like to find a veteran backup catcher, but that's low on their list of priorities at this point. He tells a reader that while John Buck would likely be a nice it, Buck probably prefers to find a larger role with a team than the Mets can offer.
- The Mets did indeed check in on Ryan Braun, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, though the inquiry consisted of four words, Alderson told Heyman: "What's up with Braun?" Alderson asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin before finding him to be unavailable. The Mets are continuing to pursue corner outfielders Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson, however, Heyman writes.
We just wrapped up the early reactions to today's biggest news out of the National League Central, but there are some other notes from the division that are worth a look:
- Though the Cardinals talked about acquiring Erick Aybar along with David Freese, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports via Twitter, that does not mean that a second deal is on the horizon. To the contrary, Goold says that the Cards do not expect to continue discussions about bringing Aybar in from the Angels, having realized that the Halos will demand a live, young arm even if Aybar's $25.5MM remaining salary is absorbed by a trade partner.
- A rival executive believes that St. Louis is in on Jhonny Peralta, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, and the Freese trade makes sense in that respect. That being said, Morosi says in another tweet that he has not heard whether St. Louis would go to four years for Peralta.
- Meanwhile, one must wonder whether the addition of Bourjos takes the Cardinals completely out of the running to sign another of the club's recent post-season heroes: Carlos Beltran. This is my speculation, but with top prospect Oscar Taveras knocking on the door, Allen Craig warranting time in right field to give Matt Adams at-bats at first, and Jon Jay still in the fold, a return for Beltran might require another trade to make sense at this point.
- Another trade went down today from the division, with the Brewers shipping out reliever Burke Badenhop to the Red Sox in exchange for 20-year-old lefty Luis Ortega. Baseball America breaks down the players involved, explaining that Ortega is a longshot to make the bigs and profiles as a reliever. The Brew Crew will shed an estimated $2.1MM arbitration salary in the deal, however.
- After shedding Badenhop from the pen, Milwaukee is not hot on the trail of any new relievers, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. As MLBTR's Ed Creech explained in his offseason outlook for the Brewers, the team's pen was hardly the problem last year, and seems to be in good shape save the possible addition of another veteran.
Badenhop, 30, posted a 3.47 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances during his only season with the Brewers. The reliever was acquired from the Rays in December 2012 in exchange for shortstop Raul Mondesi Jr. Badenhop, who pitched to a 3.03 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings for the Rays in 2012, is eligible for arbitration and projected to earn $2.1MM by our own Matt Swartz. The veteran is eligible to hit the open market after this season.
Ortega, 20, was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on July 2, 2011. He did not appear on the team's Top 30 prospects heading into the season (per Baseball America), nor did he make MLB.com's Top 20 Red Sox prospects list following the season. However, Ortega turned in a solid year in the Gulf Coast League, pitching to a 2.45 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 36 innings of work. Since being signed, he owns a 2.25 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 31 walks in 96 innings between the GCL and the Dominican Summer League.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Though "four or five clubs" approached Brewers general manager Doug Melvin at the GM Meetings last week to inquire on Ryan Braun's availability, Melvin told the other GMs that Braun isn't available, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Melvin addressed trade rumors that have circulated around his embattled outfielder:
"We have no intentions of trading Ryan. There's absolutely no truth to that. We've never contacted any team about Ryan."
Melvin told Haudricourt that he, manager Ron Roenicke and owner Mark Attanasio had lunch with Braun last week in Los Angeles. There was no talk of trades, and his PED suspension was not a main talking point either. Rather, the Brewers brass met to discuss the upcoming plans for next season and a potential shift to right field for Braun, an idea to which Braun was open.
A shift to right field could open up some more at-bats for Khris Davis following an impressive Major League debut, though it could displace Norichika Aoki as well. Haudricourt writes that Aoki could still be used in left field at times in that scenario, however. He also adds that the very fact that the Brewers are discussing Braun's future with him illustrates the fact that he's not likely to be traded this winter.
Braun is owed $122MM over the next seven seasons, including a $4MM buyout on his $15MM mutual option for the 2021 season and two remaining annual payments of $2.5MM in 2014 and 2015 as part of the $10MM signing bonus on his most recent extension.
Midnight tonight is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month's Rule 5 Draft. There should be no shortage of players being added, and we'll run them down here in this post...
- The Brewers announced that they've added first baseman Hunter Morris, first baseman/outfielder Jason Rogers and right-handers Brooks Hall and Kevin Shackelford to their 40-man roster.
- The Braves announced that they've added left-hander Carlos Perez, right-hander Luis Vasquez and infielder Elmer Reyes to their 40-man roster. MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves had only recently signed Vasquez, 27, to a minor league deal. His entire career to this point has come in the Dodgers' minor league system.
- The Reds have added catcher Tucker Barnhart, right-hander Chad Rogers and outfielders Juan Duran and Ryan LaMarre to their 40-man roster, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- In addition to McGuire, the Blue Jays announced that outfielder Kenny Wilson has been added to the 40-man roster as well (Twitter link).
- Catcher Tommy Joseph, left-hander Rob Rasmussen and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan have been added to the Phillies' 40-man roster, the team announced.
- Right-hander Kirby Yates and southpaw C.J. Riefenhauser have been added to the Rays' 40-man roster, according to their agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (Twitter link). The Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney reports that infielder Vince Belnome and righty Jesse Hahn have been added as well (also on Twitter).
- In addition to Aguilar, the Indians announced that they've added right-handers Bryan Price and Austin Adams, infielder Erik Gonzalez and outfielder Carlos Moncrief to the 40-man roster (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox announced that right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, outfielder Bryce Brentz and third baseman Garin Cecchini have been added to the 40-man roster. Ranaudo (No. 79) and Cecchini (No. 82) each rank among the Top 100 prospects in the game, per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- The Twins have added left-hander Logan Darnell, outfielder Max Kepler, middle infielder Jorge Polanco and first baseman Kennys Vargas to their 40-man roster, the team announced via press release.
- The Rangers announced that they have added right-handers Lisalverto Bonilla and Ben Rowen to the 40-man roster as well as infielder Luis Sardinas. Bonilla was acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Michael Young last offseason. Sardinas currently ranks as the No. 70 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- Badler tweets that the White Sox have added second baseman/shortstop Carlos Sanchez to their 40-man roster. Sanchez batted just .241/.293/.296 in his first full season at Triple-A this year, but he did so as one of the league's youngest players, as he didn't turn 21 until late June. The White Sox also announced that outfielder Trayce Thompson has been added to the 40-man roster.
- John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group tweets that the Athletics have added right-hander Raul Alcantara to their 40-man roster. Alcantara had a tremendous rebound campaign in 2013, pitching to a 3.11 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 156 1/3 innings between Class-A and Class-A Advanced. Alcantara is one of the players they received along with Josh Reddick in the Andrew Bailey trade, which I profiled in retrospect prior to the season.
- Badler tweets that the Rockies have added 20-year-old Jayson Aquino to their 40-man roster. Though Aquino has just 64 innings of full-season ball, all coming at Low-A, Badler feels he's a good arm to protect. The left-hander posted a 4.34 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Blue Jays have added right-hander Deck McGuire to their 40-man roster, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportnet. The 2010 first-rounder has struggled in since reaching the Double-A level last season, though he improved in 2013 to post a 4.86 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. The Jays now have 38 players on their 40-man roster, Nicholson-Smith adds.
- The Pirates have added top prospects Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson to their 40-man roster, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America (on Twitter). Polanco currently ranks 13th on MLB.com's list of Top 100 Prospects, and Hanson comes in at No. 39 on the list.
- The Indians have added first baseman Jesus Aguilar to their 40-man roster, tweets Badler. The 23-year-old slashed .275/.349/.427 with 16 homers at Double-A Akron in 2013 and is enjoying a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, according to Badler.
- The Tigers announced that they have added left-hander Kyle Lobstein, right-handers Justin Miller and Jose Valdez, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, shortstop Eugenio Suarez, center fielder Daniel Fields and right fielder Steven Moya to their 40-man roster. As MLB.com's Jason Beck points out, this places their 40-man roster at 39 players (Twitter link).