- Ervin Santana “is seen as perhaps the most viable trade deadline pickup on the market,” with one AL assistant GM describing the Twins veteran as “the one guy out there who could be a sure thing in the middle of the rotation.” Santana has a 4.64 ERA, 6.37 K/9 and 2.39 K/BB rate over 77 2/3 innings this season, with ERA indicators backing up his unimpressive ERA. I would guess Minnesota would have to eat a fair amount of money in a Santana trade, as the righty is owed roughly $33.8MM through the 2018 season (plus a $14MM club/vesting option for 2019).
The Twins announced that recently designated-for-assignment outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been traded to the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Tampa Bay has also announced the move, adding that right-hander Andrew Bellatti has been designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
[Related: Updated Tampa Bay Rays Depth Chart]
The 25-year-old Arcia is a former Top 100 prospect that batted .231/.300/.452 with 20 homers as the Twins’ primary right fielder as recently as 2014 (his age-23 season) but has struggled tremendously in each of the past two seasons. Since the beginning of the 2015 campaign, Arcia is batting just .236/.307/.373, and he actually hit worse following a demotion to Triple-A in 2015, slashing .199/.257/.372 in 311 plate appearances with the Twins’ affiliate in Rochester. The Rays will hope that a change of scenery can help the powerful lefty regain some of the promise he showed in 2014 and throughout his career in the minors, where he’s slashed .297/.358/.517 in spite of his 2015 struggles.
Arcia is limited to the corner outfield and is a liability even there, but he does have experience in both left and right, and the Rays have seen a slew of injuries deplete their outfield depth. Presently, the team is without Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Guyer, Steven Souza and Mikie Mahtook, as each is on the disabled list. Arcia is out of options, so the Rays won’t be able to send him down without exposing him to waivers once some of their other outfield options are healthy.
Bellatti, 24, made his big league debut with the Rays last season and posted a 2.31 ERA with an 18-to-10 K/BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. He allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings to open the season at Triple-A this season, however, and hasn’t pitched since.
Chris Sale’s name has long been one that the most optimistic of fans will bandy about in trade scenarios involving various combinations of top prospects, but if the left-hander had things his way, he’d never wear a uniform other than his current White Sox jersey, he tells Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. Moreover, Sale says he can’t envision the team’s front office dealing him. “I plan on being here forever,” said Sale of the ChiSox. “I don’t think they would trade me. … I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a business. I understand you got to do what you got to do, what’s best for the team and what not. I have a hard time believing that I would be traded and I really don’t want to (be).” Sale is earning $9.15MM this season and is one on of the game’s more appealing contracts, as the Sox owe him a total of $38MM from 2017-19 (with the latter two seasons being club options).
More from the AL Central…
- Yesterday’s surgery to repair the torn labrum in Glen Perkins’ shoulder revealed that the left-hander’s labrum had completely separated from the bone and needed to be reattached, as La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Had there been no detachment, Perkins’ recovery could have been completed in a “few months,” but cases such as this one often require an eight-month timeline, per Neal. Perkins told Neal in a text message only that, “It’s going to be awhile.” Even an eight-month timeline could have the Twins’ closer healthy in time for the early portion of Spring Training next season.
- Also from Neal’s piece, the Twins could option struggling DH/first baseman Byung Ho Park to Triple-A Rochester when Miguel Sano is activated from the disabled list. While this is an arbitrary endpoint, Park was hitting a very strong .257/.339/.578 as recently as May 17, but over his past 27 games/109 plate appearances, he’s struggled to a .135/.220/.260 batting line with 35 strikeouts. “I think how he was able to start originally maybe raised a lot of people’s expectations on how fast his transition was going to be,” said manager Paul Molitor. “It’s just been more where we’re kind of back to how we thought it might be.” Molitor said he hasn’t changed his opinion on Park’s long-term value to the club whatsoever, firmly believing that the investment will prove to be a valid one in the end even with Park’s recent struggles.
- The Indians’ acquisition of Chris Gimenez was hardly a heralded move but had a significant impact on the club, writes Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, as Gimenez has been extremely beneficial to surging right-hander Trevor Bauer. As Lewis writes, Bauer has a wide variety of pitches/grips which he employs (as many as seven), and Gimenez is familiar with expansive sets like that from his work with Yu Darvish in Texas. Gimenez explains to Lewis how he’s helped Bauer to tone down the number of offerings he utilizes, encouraging him to focus on the pitches that best complement each other. Manager Terry Francona says that Bauer is pitching in a more “conventional” manner of late and stresses that he means that as a compliment. Bauer’s results have been brilliant; over his past 10 starts (each caught by Gimenez), Bauer has posted a 2.74 ERA with a 61-to-20 K/BB ratio in 69 innings of work.
- Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte has begun a rehab assignment at the Triple-A level as he nears the July 3 date on which he can be reinstated from his 80-game suspension for a failed PED test, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland is woefully thin in terms of outfield depth right now thanks to suspensions for Almonte and Marlon Byrd as well as Michael Brantley’s questionable health status, and the return of Almonte could provide some needed depth.
JUNE 22: Perkins himself announced tonight (Twitter link) that he will indeed undergo season-ending surgery tomorrow afternoon. The surgery was a last resort after exhausting his other rehab options, per the left-hander’s message. Perkins’ hope, it seems, is that he can be ready to go for Spring Training next season.
JUNE 16: Twins closer Glen Perkins has been diagnosed with a torn labrum that will likely require season-ending surgery, reports La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Neal notes that the extent of the tear, at this point, is not yet clear, though he adds that Perkins also has some problems with his rotator cuff. Per Neal, Perkins could be ready for the beginning of the 2017 season, though it’s possible he’ll miss a bit of time at the beginning of the year.
Earlier this week, Perkins said that he was headed to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a third opinion on his ailing shoulder after suffering multiple setbacks in his attempts to get back on the mound. Perkins admitted to 1500 ESPN’s Phil Mackey at the time that he “[didn’t] have a good feeling” about the meeting but was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. That, unfortunately for both him and the team, was apparently not the outcome from his appointment.
Perkins’ season, it seems, will come to a close with just two uninspiring appearances under his belt. His absence and a significant decline in the performances of 2015 holdovers Kevin Jepsen and Trevor May has led to disastrous results from the Twins’ bullpen this season. Minnesota relievers rank 26th in the Majors with a collective 4.58 ERA. The team has recently demoted Jepsen, who had been closing in Perkins’ stead (a role he filled quite well in 2015), and installed a committee of Brandon Kintzler and trade candidate Fernando Abad as its primary ninth-inning options.
Prior to this season, the 33-year-old Perkins had made three consecutive All-Star teams and carried a 2.84 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 through 313 1/3 innings dating back to the 2012 season. He’s earning $6.3MM in 2016 and is owed $6.5MM for the 2017 season as well under his current contract. Minnesota also carries a $6.5MM club option on him for the 2018 season (his age-35 campaign), which comes with a $700K buyout.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Third baseman Casey McGehee has been optioned to Triple-A by the Tigers after clearing waivers, the club announced. He accepted the assignment after being designated recently, with the club electing not to remove him from the 40-man roster. After a single plate appearance during a brief pit stop in Detroit, the 33-year-old will remain available should another need arise at the major league level. McGehee is off to a strong start at Triple-A, with a .323/.370/.440 batting line through 270 plate appearances.
- The Twins have released lefty Dan Runzler, per an announcement from the club’s Triple-A affiliate. Now 31, Runzler showed promise early in his career with the Giants but could never sustain enough control to stick at the major league level. Between 2009 and 2012, he put up 72 1/3 innings of 3.86 ERA pitching from the pen, with 9.7 K/9 against 5.5 BB/9. Runzler was carrying an 18:16 K/BB ratio in his 21 2/3 Triple-A frames at Rochester, with 14 earned runs charged to his ledger.
It’s been a little more than a month since we last checked in on the vesting options from around the league. Here’s where this year’s collection of players with vesting options for the following season stand…
- Coco Crisp ($13MM option vests at 550 plate appearances or 130 games played in 2016): Crisp was hitting .234/.304/.405 at the time of my initial look at this group of players, but his bat has gone in the tank since that time. The 36-year-old switch-hitter has batted just .212/.235/.343 in 102 plate appearances since that time, but he’s continued to see playing time in part due to injuries elsewhere on the roster (Josh Reddick, Mark Canha). Crisp is still on pace to come in a bit shy of that 550 PA mark, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a reduced role upon Reddick’s return to health, as the A’s probably don’t love the idea of paying him $13MM for his age-37 campaign when he’s struggling to this level in 2016.
- Matt Holliday ($17MM option vests with Top 10 finish in MVP voting): Holliday is having a strong season, as he’s proven that the power outage he experienced last season was more anomaly than a portent for significant decline. However, he’s hitting .257/.332/.478 — numbers that help the Cardinals but won’t make him a factor in MVP voting barring a mammoth finish to the 2016 season.
- Chris Iannetta ($6MM option vests with 100 games started in 2016): Iannetta has already started 55 games for the Mariners this season, making it seem very likely that he’ll be around in Seattle for the 2017 campaign as well. He hasn’t set the world on fire in his first year with the Mariners, but he’s hitting .237/.337/.395, which translates to an OPS+ of 104 and a wRC+ of 105. (Put another way: he’s been about four to five percent above the league-average hitter after adjusting for his pitcher-friendly home park.)
- Yusmeiro Petit ($3MM option vests with 80 innings pitched in 2016): At last check, Petit was on pace to see his option vest, but he’s been used very sparingly in the month of June, totaling just six innings thus far after combining for 26 innings in April and May. Given his status as a multi-inning reliever, he could pick up some additional innings in a hurry, but as it stands, he’s behind pace to see that payday locked in automatically. Of course, he’s also posted a 2.81 ERA in those 32 innings, so the Nats may simply pick up his option even if it doesn’t automatically trigger. To this point, he’s pitched well enough that it seems like a fairly easy call.
- CC Sabathia ($25MM option vests if he does not end season on DL with shoulder injury or miss 45+ games in 2016 due to shoulder injury): Sabathia’s option seems likely to vest, as his shoulder has remained healthy this season. However, what once looked like an egregious overpay can perhaps be seen in a different light for the time being. While few would argue that the Yankees shouldn’t mind paying Sabathia that sum in 2017, his contract looks considerably better than it did last year. The former Cy Young winner has made 11 starts this season and has posted a resurgent 2.20 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9. Sabathia has benefited from some good fortune in terms of homer-to-flyball ratio and strand rate, but this is the best he’s looked since 2012.
- Kurt Suzuki ($6MM option vests with 485 plate appearances in 2016): Suzuki’s overall production this season has been well below average, but since the last of these updates he’s batting a considerably improved .268/.297/.394 with a pair of homers in 74 PAs. That’s a bit better than the league-average catcher, but the Twins still don’t seem inclined to allow his option to vest. Suzuki has totaled just 158 plate appearances this season even with John Ryan Murphy, his projected replacement, floundering in the Majors and getting optioned to Triple-A (where his struggles have continued). Journeyman Juan Centeno is getting some time behind the dish as well (61 PAs) for the Twins as well. It seems unlikely that Minnesota will allow Suzuki to average 3.5 PAs per game over the final 93 contests after he’s averaged just 2.3 per game thus far.
As noted in the original update, both Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn had vesting options for the 2017 season as well, but those options were negated when each was released from the four-year contracts they initially signed with the Indians.
The Twins have a verbal agreement in place with first-round draft pick Alex Kirilloff, ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson reports (Twitter link), and the deal will become official once Kirilloff takes his team physical later this week. The 19-year-old first baseman/outfielder will receive the recommended bonus slot price (just over $2.817MM) attached to the 15th overall pick.
Kirilloff was also ranked as the 15th-best prospect in this year’s draft class on Baseball America’s top 200 list, with MLB.com ranking him 18th and ESPN’s Keith Law and Eric Longenhagen ranking him 19th. MLB.com’s scouting report describes Kirilloff as a good fit for a corner outfield spot in the majors, though the Twins were “buying the bat” with due to Kirilloff’s “ability to barrel the ball consistently and…considerable raw power.” The high schooler received consistent scouting grades for all five tool categories (hit, power, run, arm, field), with all five grades falling within the 50-55 range on the 20-80 scouting scale.
The Twins’ draft bonus pool of $8,153,500 was the 11th-highest of any club. Minnesota has thus far reportedly reached below-slot agreements with both of their second round picks, while going $500K over slot for a deal with 11th-rounder Tyler Benninghoff.
The Brewers have returned Rule 5 pick Zack Jones to the Twins, who have assigned him to Double-A Chattanooga, reports Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Twins only had to pay the Brewers half the $50K Rule 5 fee to reacquire Jones, tweets Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Jones joins infielder Colin Walsh as the second Rule 5 pick the Brewers have jettisoned this month.
Jones, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been working his way back from a shoulder injury and hasn’t pitched in the majors this season (or ever), instead logging a combined 4 1/3 innings at two minor league levels. In 134 2/3 career frames in the minors, the 2012 fourth-round pick has posted a 3.07 ERA, 12.7 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9.
- The Giants are aggressively shopping for relief help and a middle-of-the-order hitter to fill the void left by the injured Hunter Pence. Bullpen possibilities include Twins righty Kevin Jepsen and southpaw Fernando Abad, both of whom the Giants have recently scouted. As far as the outfield goes, any of Ryan Braun – whom the Giants have discussed with Milwaukee – struggling Padre Matt Kemp or free agent Carl Crawford could end up in San Francisco. Kemp has recovered at the plate from a nightmarish May this month, but he remains a defensive liability who’s owed $21.5MM annually through 2019.
- Jepsen and Abad aren’t the only Twins who might change uniforms this summer. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe and infielder Eduardo Nunez could also pique contenders’ interest. Nunez is surprisingly excelling this year, hitting .318/.348/.485 with nine home runs and 16 steals – the fifth-highest total in the majors – through 249 plate appearances. He’s on a mere $1.48MM salary this season and is scheduled to make one more trip through arbitration.
Here are the latest notable draft signings from around the majors:
- The Nationals have signed second-round shortstop Sheldon Neuse to a below-slot pact, tweets Jim Callis of MLB.com. Neuse will rake in $900K, down from the $1,107,000 allotted to the 58th pick. The righty-swinging Neuse profiles as a third baseman, according to Callis, who adds that he can hit 94 mph on the mound.
- The Pirates have agreed to a below-slot deal with second-round pick Travis MacGregor, according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (Twitter link). MacGregor will receive $900K, which is $48,900 less than the value of his pick (68th overall). Baseball America rated the high school right-hander from Florida as the 186th-best prospect available in the draft, noting that the Clemson commit has bumped his fastball velocity from the high-80s into the low-90s; he also possesses an average changeup and some feel for a breaking ball.
- The Twins have agreed to sign supplemental second-rounder Jose Miranda and 11th-round choice Tyler Benninghoff, writes Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Miranda, a Puerto Rican shortstop, will land $775K. That’s a good deal less than the value of the 73rd pick ($878,500). BA had Miranda as the 113th-ranked player in the draft and praised his offensive abilities, though the outlet expects him to move to second or third base. Benninghoff, BA’s 201st-rated prospect, will collect the highest bonus ($600K) thus far of anyone outside of this year’s first 10 rounds. An early season biceps injury weighed down the Missouri high school righty, who BA notes had the potential to go in the first five rounds had he stayed healthy.
- The Angels have signed fourth-rounder Chris Rodriguez, the 126th pick, to a significantly above-slot deal. Rodriguez will collect $850K – not the $464,300 his selection called for – according to Callis (Twitter link). The high school righty from Florida earned the 162nd overall ranking from BA, which Rodriguez impressed with his 93 to 95 mph fastball and hard slider.
- The White Sox have agreed to a $700K deal with sixth-round shortstop Luis Curbelo, per Callis (on Twitter). That’s a far cry from the $286,700 value of the 176th choice. Callis is bullish on the Florida high schooler’s pop at the plate and plus arm, and believes he could be a major league third baseman.
- Third-rounder Aaron Civale has signed a below-slot contract with the Indians, tweets Callis. The Northeastern right-hander, who went 92nd (worth $655,500), will get $625K. Civale’s best offering is his cutter, says Callis.
- The Athletics have agreed to an above-slot deal with fourth-round pick Skylar Szynski, a high school right-hander from Indiana, reports Callis (Twitter link). As the 112th pick, Szynski was in line for a $531,500 bonus, but the A’s will give him $1MM. Szynski sits 90 to 95 mph with his fastball, complementing that pitch with a hard curve and a changeup, according to Callis.
- Third-round shortstop Stephen Alemais, a Tulane product, has signed a below-slot deal with the Pirates, Callis tweets. Alemais will receive $500K, which is $68,400 less than the worth of the 105th pick. The contact-hitting Alemais should be able to stay at short, notes Callis.
- The White Sox have signed third-rounder Alex Call for $719,100, the exact value of his pick (No. 86), relays Callis (Twitter link). The Ball State outfielder mixes pop at the plate with solid running ability and a capable arm, with Callis adding that he has the potential to play center in the majors.
- The Rangers have signed fourth-rounder Charles LeBlanc for $415K, which is $36K below the slot value of his pick – the 129th selection – tweets Mayo. BA ranked the shortstop from Pitt as the 452nd-best player available in this year’s draft, lauding his bat but questioning whether the 6-foot-4 LeBlanc will be able to stick at short.