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Minnesota Twins Rumors
The Rockies are in the midst of an awful 45-70 season, but a strong offseason could help turn them around, Paul Swydan of FanGraphs writes. Swydan argues that the Rockies should let Michael Cuddyer, Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson depart via free agency, then spend the savings on Russell Martin and on a couple of ground-ball-throwing, mid-grade free agent pitchers, like Justin Masterson and Francisco Liriano. Non-tendering Jhoulys Chacin and dealing for Jon Niese would also help improve the Rockies’ rotation. Here’s more from around the big leagues.
- Mariners utilityman Willie Bloomquist will miss the remainder of the season with a microfracture in his right knee, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Bloomquist is making $2.8MM in the first year of a two-year deal, and he hit .278/.297/.346 in 136 plate appearances this season.
- Austin Jackson‘s departure in the David Price deal could make the Tigers especially likely to sign Cuban 2B/OF Rusney Castillo, MLB.com’s Jason Beck tweets. The addition of Price brought them another top-flight starting pitcher but created an opportunity to improve in their outfield. Castillo has also been connected to a huge number of other teams, holding private workouts for many of them.
- Chris Colabello may be near the end of the line with the Twins, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press writes. The Twins recently optioned Colabello to Triple-A Rochester, and after a .229/.282/.380 performance in 220 plate appearances with them this season, he could soon be designated for assignment. Colabello is a great story — he spent seven seasons playing independent baseball before signing with the Twins as a 28-year-old and making it to the big leagues at 29. But as a 1B/OF/DH type who hasn’t hit much, he’s struggled to get established in the big leagues.
- GM Sandy Alderson says the Mets‘ recent moves, including designating Chris Young for assignment and replacing him by promoting Matt den Dekker, do not suggest that his team is giving up on the 2014 season, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. The Mets will find playing time for den Dekker and more of it for Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Wilmer Flores. “I’ve tried to be honest with myself about that,” says Alderson. “And I have not concluded that this is a step back from competition.” The Mets remain on the outer fringes of the playoff race, seven games back of the last Wild Card spot. Of course, given that Young, for example, was hitting .205/.283/.346 before he was designated, it’s not likely that someone like den Dekker is even a downgrade, and Niewenhuis and Flores are supplanting underperforming players (Eric Young Jr. and Ruben Tejada) as well.
AUG. 9: The Yankees are ready to begin negotiating with Castillo, who worked out at their minor league complex Friday, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. The Yankees would want to use Castillo as a second baseman, with the outfield as a backup plan, King writes.
AUG. 6: While touring Wrigley Field on vacation, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith learned that the Cubs held a private workout for Castillo today (Twitter link).
AUG. 3: Castillo’s workout for the Mariners has been postponed and is expected to be rescheduled, tweets Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN.
JULY 29: Castillo, who worked out for the Phillies today, has set up a private workout with the Mariners on Sunday as well, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter). His one-on-one workout with the Red Sox is still set for Friday.
JULY 28, 8:29pm: Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that the Yankees indeed have a private workout scheduled with Castillo.
7:33pm: General Manager Jeff Luhnow says the Astros may schedule a one-on-one workout with Castillo, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
7:24pm: A source tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (on Twitter) that only the Phillies (on Tuesday) and the Red Sox (Friday) have private workouts set up with Castillo. However, private workouts are in the works for the Yankees and other clubs.
Unsurprisingly, the Twins are not among the teams looking to line up a workout with Castillo, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Minnesota likes Castillo, but the expected asking price is too rich for their blood.
3:11pm: Reports indicated that 28 of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams were represented at Rusney Castillo‘s showcase over the weekend, and Ben Badler of Baseball America has the latest on the 27-year-old Cuban free agent. Castillo will have private workouts with the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies this coming week, and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the Orioles are also arranging a private workout.
Badler lists the White Sox, Mariners, Giants, Blue Jays, Cubs and Braves as other potential suitors. Because multiple teams have interest in getting a deal worked out quickly, however, there aren’t likely to be any further private workouts before a deal gets done, Badler writes. Additionally, Badler has posted some video footage from Castillo’s weekend showcase.
Multiple sources indicated to Badler that the Red Sox had the largest contingent on-hand Saturday for Castillo’s showcase. He notes that Jackie Bradley has more upside at the plate, and Mookie Betts might factor in as a corner outfield option in the long-term due to the presence of Dustin Pedroia, but Boston could be intrigued by Castillo as a corner option as well. He did play right field in Cuba, Badler adds.
The Yankees, meanwhile, could weigh the possibility of trying Castillo at second base, though they could have a corner spot open alongside Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner as well. Castillo played second base (and some third base) back in 2009-10, but scouts at the showcase weren’t overly impressed with his glovework as an infielder.
Center field is Castillo’s best position, Badler writes, so it stands to reason that the Phillies could view him as an upgrade over the light-hitting Ben Revere. Playing Castillo in center field allows him to maximize his best tool — 70-grade speed.
While the White Sox are very well-versed in the Cuban market — as evidenced by the presence of Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo on their roster — the presence of countrymen on their roster won’t influence Castillo, Badler hears. His decision will come down to financial terms.
Badler adds that the Giants also had a very strong presence at Castillo’s showcase, and he makes sense for them as their system has thinned following a trade for Jake Peavy and their continued interest in Ben Zobrist. The Cubs also had “a team” of evaluators on-hand to witness Castillo, who would bolster an already enviable crop of hitting prospects.
All signs point to the Twins promoting Trevor May to make Saturday’s start against the A’s, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Phillies in 2012′s Ben Revere trade, and he’s seen his command steadily improve since joining the Twins organization. May’s ERA has dropped accordingly, and he’s currently sporting a 2.93 mark through 95 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. With Vance Worley now in Pittsburgh, May is the lone piece remaining from that deal. Having averaged 10.5 K/9 in his minor league career, May could prove to be a valuable addition for a Twins team that’ has long been starved for power arms.
Here’s more on the Twins and the AL Central…
- Recently extended catcher Kurt Suzuki influenced the Twins‘ decision to acquire Tommy Milone from the A’s, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Suzuki, who has caught Milone numerous times as a former member of the A’s, made pitch to manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and bench coach Terry Steinbach — all of which were presumably relayed to the front office.
- Following today’s trade of Vinnie Pestano to the Angels, Indians GM Chris Antonetti offered the following statement to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link): “Vinnie was a very valuable member of the organization who made some great contributions to our bullpen throughout his time with us. As we’ve had [Major League] bullpen opportunities over the course of the last month, we’ve promoted other pitchers from [Triple-A] Columbus, so we thought it made sense to give Vinnie a fresh start with the Angels. In return, we acquired a young pitcher who we think has a chance to help our Major League team in the next few years.” For his part, Pestano is excited about the fresh start, particularly due to the fact that he is a SoCal native. In a classy series of thank you tweets to the Indians organization, Pestano, who was born in Newport Beach, noted that he couldn’t imagine a better destination for a trade.
- MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes that Avisail Garcia‘s aggressive approach to his rehab from a shoulder injury has impressed the White Sox. Garcia’s injury was thought to be season-ending back in April, but an August return now looks possible. Merkin notes that the move could create an interesting roster decision, though GM Rick Hahn has noted that he will pursue August trades, so a roster spot could be created that way.
Though the 2014 draft is long in the rear view mirror, there have still been a couple notable signings of undrafted players of late. Lost in last week’s trade deadline shuffle was the Twins‘ signing of right-hander Brandon Poulson for a $250K bonus. Minnesota scout Elliott Strankman told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger about Poulson’s discovery, noting that the former art school student and independent league right-hander needed to throw just 18 pitches in order to convince Strankman to sign him. The 24-year-old Poulson reached a blistering 100 mph with Strankman in attendance, and of the 37 outs he recorded this summer prior to signing (12 1/3 innings pitched), an incredible 31 came via strikeout.
More on another undrafted free agent receiving a significant bonus and some minor moves from around the league…
- The Marlins have signed Vanderbilt outfielder and College World Series hero John Norwood for a $275K bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). Norwood slashed .298/.368/.404 with three homers for the Commodores this season, and he blasted a game-winning homer off of first-rounder off Reds first-rounder Nick Howard. A good showing in this summer’s Cape Cod League helped Norwood go from undrafted talent to a six-figure signing, Callis notes in a second tweet. Norwood, who didn’t place on Baseball America’s Top 500 prospect list heading into the draft, hit .324 (23-for-71) with three homers and three doubles for the Cotuit Kettleers this summer.
- The Reds have outrighted right-hander Nick Christiani to Triple-A Louisville, according to the club’s transactions page. The 27-year-old allowed eight runs in 13 innings with the Reds this season and has struggled in Triple-A as well, posting a 7.71 ERA with 10 strikeouts against an unsightly 15 walks in 18 2/3 innings for Louisville.
- The Blue Jays have acquired minor league righty Hunter Carnevale from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The 25-year-old was New York’s 33rd-round pick in 2010 and has struggled to a 5.59 ERA between Class A and Class-A Advanced in 2014. He has a career 4.17 ERA with 150 strikeouts in 138 minor league innings, but he’s never progressed past Class-A Advanced.
While it remains unclear exactly how long Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates will be out of action with a rib fracture, any significant lost time will obviously have an impact on the tight NL Central race. As Mike Petriello of Fangraphs writes, Pittsburgh will be absent McCutchen at a time when wins are at a premium. It will be interesting to see whether the team considers a move to add another outfielder to the mix.
- Cubs call-up Javier Baez flipped the narrative on his debut by homering after an 0-for-5 start. Of course, you could call that performance right in line with expectations; as Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America wrote yesterday, big power and lots of strikeouts are likely as Baez adjusts to the big leagues. Meanwhile, the promotion carries broader implications for Chicago, as ESPN.com’s Keith Law explains (Insider link). By moving Baez onto the 40-man roster before they need to, and likely foregoing the chance to tack on additional years of control, the Cubs are starting the clock on their efforts to transition from rebuilding to contending. Given the state of the team’s MLB rotation and generally less-developed pitching prospects, that could make the team a player on the free agent market this year, says Law.
- It appears that the Twins have kept recently-acquired starter Tommy Milone in Triple-A to keep him from reaching a third year of service, explains Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. With 2.018 on his service clock entering the year, and having been on optional assignment since July 5, Milone is now set up to fall short of the three years needed to qualify for arbitration via the standard route. Though a quick call-up would likely put Milone in line for an extra arb trip as a Super Two, he will nevertheless be subject to team control for four more years.
- Twins shortstop Danny Santana has a .318/.355/.488 slash through 215 plate appearances, far and away the best line he has maintained as a professional (in spite of the fact that he just made the leap to the big leagues for the first time). Regardless of what happens in the rest of the 23-year-old’s career, it seems fair to say that the meager signing bonus that landed him back in 2007 was well worth it. A club official says Santana signed for just $45K, while Santana’s representatives indicate it was only $37K, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
MLBTR will continue to update this post as players reportedly clear revocable trade waivers, making it a running list of players that may be traded to any club in the season’s final two months. Remember though, players must be acquired by Aug. 31 to be eligible for their new team’s postseason roster. Click here for a further explanation of the August waiver and trade rules. Also bear in mind that a player’s no-trade rights remain effective even if he clears waivers. Player names are linked to the source articles, and this article can always be found under the MLBTR Features portion of the sidebar on the right side of the page.
Last Updated: 8-26-2014
- Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks — Still owed $12.8MM (including the buyout of two successive club options after next season) on a no-longer-attractive contract, Cahill remains a somewhat intriguing option at just 26 years of age. Though he owns just a 4.54 ERA over 83 1/3 innings on the year, including his first significant stretch of bullpen work, Cahill actually sports a career-best 3.55 ERA.
- Scott Feldman, Astros — In the first year of a front-loaded $30MM contract, Feldman was owed roughly $20.36MM through the 2016 season at the time he reportedly cleared waivers. He’s missed a coupled weeks with biceps tendinitis in 2014 but been healthy otherwise and soaked up some innings with a reasonable 4.37 ERA (through Aug. 25) for Houston. He’s not an elite arm, but he could have appeal to a team in need of solid innings, particularly if Astros GM Jeff Luhnow were to sweeten the deal with some cash.
- Bartolo Colon, Mets — The 41-year-old Colon was guaranteed $12.77MM through 2015 at the time he cleared waivers on Aug. 25. He’s pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 167 1/3 innings, more than justifying the commitment that the Mets made to him as a free agent. Colon’s age will scare off some contenders, but he looks the part of an effective starter, and with one year at $11MM remaining after the season, his salary isn’t exorbitant.
- Yu Darvish, Rangers – It is somewhat hard to imagine that Darvish’s current DL stint for elbow inflammation would be enough to scare away other clubs from the outstanding righty. He has produced stellar results (3.06 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 over 144 1/3 innings on the year), only just turned 28, and is guaranteed a modest $31MM over the next three seasons (though the last year could turn into a player option). The likelier possibility, perhaps, is that other clubs felt it would not be possible to achieve a deal, especially while he is out of action to have his elbow looked at.
- Adrian Beltre, Rangers – If anything, the lack of a claim on Beltre is more surprising (if only because of Darvish’s injury situation). The 35-year-old is in the midst of a typically outstanding year, with a .318/.373/.498 slash with 17 home runs and excellent defense. He is owed $34MM over the next two years, which is a large sum given his age. But that is a bargain for his production, and the $16MM salary for 2016 has injury protections built in.
- Elvis Andrus, Rangers – That Andrus was left unclaimed could represent something of a statement on the league’s view of his contract. His eight-year, $120MM extension (which includes both opt-out and vesting option provisions) is set to go into effect next season. Just 25, Andrus has not produced offensively either this year or last (.271/.326/.337 cumulative line), and his high-level defense and baserunning are probably not enough on their own to justify his pay level.
- Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers – Choo has thus far failed to live up to the seven-year, $130MM deal that brought him to Texas. He owns a .241/.341/.371 slash in that contract’s first year, with 12 home runs and just three stolen bases. While there is time for Choo to rebound, he is promised far too much future cash ($116MM) for another team to have placed a claim.
- Jon Niese, Mets — It’s a bit surprising that teams would let a controllable, highly affordable arm like Niese clear waivers. He’s owed about $1.34MM through season’s end (as of his clearing on Aug. 11) and is guaranteed $7MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016. Niese’s deal contains a $10MM club option for 2017 and $11MM club option for 2018, each with a $500K buyout. He’s not an ace, but he’s a reliable mid-rotation arm that is on the verge of finishing his third season with a sub-3.75 ERA. The asking price will be sky-high — justifiably so — making a trade unlikely.
- Curtis Granderson, Mets — The Grandy Man has recovered from a slow start to post strong numbers since May 1 (.258/.360/.447 from May 1 through Aug. 11), but the odds of a team taking on the roughly $50MM he has remaining on his deal are slim. It also would set a poor precedent with future free agents if the Mets issued a four-year deal, only to trade him in the first year of the contract. Don’t expect a trade.
- Ian Desmond, Nationals — That Desmond would clear is surprising, but it’s likely that the other 29 clubs knew that GM Mike Rizzo wouldn’t deal his shortstop in the midst of a playoff push anyway. Desmond is earning $6.5MM in 2014 and $11MM in 2015 before being eligible for free agency, so he’d have plenty of trade value. An in-season trade would be shocking, however, with the Nats fighting for a division title.
- Gio Gonzalez, Nationals — Gonzalez is controlled relatively cheaply through the 2018 season ($23MM guaranteed through 2016 plus a pair of $12MM options), making it a virtual lock that he’s not going anywhere prior to season’s end. With four years of control, he could fetch a haul in the offseason, but teams are rarely willing to move an established starter with that type of control. He’s extremely likely to be a National again in 2015.
- Kevin Correia, Twins — The Twins sent Correia through waivers at the beginning of the month, as he had reportedly already cleared by the time the Dodgers acquired him on Aug. 9. The Dodgers are on the hook for the remaining $1.5MM on his contract, and he’ll be a free agent at season’s end.
- Alex Rios, Rangers — Rios is owed roughly $3.62MM through season’s end (as of Aug. 7) as well as a $1MM buyout on next year’s $13.5MM club option. While he’s enjoyed a decent season at the plate, a good deal of his slugging percentage comes from a high number of triples, rather than his usual contribution of double-digit home runs. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that teams are wary of Rios’ declining home run power, so the Rangers have some obstacles in trying to work out a trade for their right fielder.
- Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies — Papelbon cleared waivers on Aug. 6, to the surprise of very few, given the fact that he is owed $13MM in 2015 and has a vesting option for the 2016 season. Papelbon’s ERA and K/BB numbers remain appealing, but he’s survived with an abnormally low BABIP while seeing his average fastball velocity diminish to 91.4 mph. He has a limited no-trade clause but has said he’d waive those rights to join a contender. Philadelphia would have to eat some salary in order to facilitate a deal, however.
- Matt Kemp, Dodgers – Though Kemp has shown flashes of returning to his prior form at the plate, he is owed too much money after this year ($107MM) and comes with too many questions (injuries, defense) to warrant a claim. In any event, the Dodgers seem disinclined to trade him.
- Andre Ethier, Dodgers — If any Dodgers outfielder were to move, Ethier might be the likeliest option, but a .672 OPS won’t be appealing to interested parties. Even less appealing, however, will be the $56MM he is guaranteed following the 2014 season. That number could rise even further as well, as 550 PA in 2017 would trigger a $17.5MM vesting option ($2.5MM buyout). Clearly, L.A. would have to pay a significant portion of Ethier’s salary to move him, as his production in 2014 has been near or below replacement level (depending on your preferred version of WAR).
- Carl Crawford, Dodgers — The 33-year-old Crawford may be even more untradeable for the Dodgers, as he’s owed $62.5MM beyond the 2014 season and is hitting just .236/.271/.341 in what has been an injury-riddled season. The Dodgers have motivation to move at least one of their overpriced outfielders, with top prospect Joc Pederson likely ready to make the move to the Majors, but they’ll be hard-pressed to do so.
- Josh Beckett, Dodgers — Owed a much more reasonable $4.73MM (as of Aug. 5), Beckett is a more desirable commodity for interested parties. However, he’s currently occupying a slot in L.A.’s rotation, and he’s produced a surprisingly excellent 2.88 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 112 innings this season. The contending Dodgers don’t seem likely to deal from their rotation depth. The loss of Paul Maholm to a torn ACL has already weakened their rotation depth.
- Brett Gardner, Yankees — Gardner is owed $50MM from 2015-18, and the Yankees weren’t likely to have given any serious consideration to dealing him anyhow. The speedster has shown more power than ever this season and has been New York’s most valuable position player. He’s staying put.
- Martin Prado, Yankees — Owed $11MM in 2015 and in 2016, Prado’s salary and struggles with the bat have combined to offset a great deal of the value his versatility provides to his team. The Yankees acquired Prado just minutes before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so it seems unlikely that they’d move him this quickly.
- Stephen Drew, Yankees — Drew is owed about $4.24MM from Aug. 5 through season’s end, making it unsurprising that a team neglected to claim him on waivers. His bat showed some life in July and in early August, but the impending free agent’s overall numbers are pretty woeful. Another two or three weeks of solid offense could make him a trade candidate if the Yankees fall out of the playoff picture, however.
Note: This is not a complete list of all players to have cleared revocable waivers. Many players are placed on waivers and pass through unclaimed without ever going reported. This is merely a list of the names that have reportedly cleared waivers according to major media outlets around the game.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Rios | Andre Ethier | Arizona Diamondbacks | Brett Gardner | Carl Crawford | Curtis Granderson | Gio Gonzalez | Ian Desmond | Jon Niese | Jonathan Papelbon | Josh Beckett | Kevin Correia | Los Angeles Dodgers | Martin Prado | Matt Kemp | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Stephen Drew | Texas Rangers | Trevor Cahill | Washington Nationals
The Twins have claimed outfielder Jordan Schafer off waivers from the Braves, tweets LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. The team has confirmed the transaction and announced a corresponding 25-man roster move will be made before their next game on Tuesday. Schafer fills the open spot on the Twins’ 40-man roster.
Schafer, who was designated for assignment Friday in the wake of the Braves’ acquisition of James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio, will become Minnesota’s backup center fielder and be the seventh different player to man the position once he makes his Twins’ debut, Neal notes on Twitter. The 27-year-old can also play both corner outfield spots allowing Danny Santana to return to natural position, shortstop, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Schafer has struggled this year for Atlanta slashing .163/.256/.213 line in 93 plate appearances, though he has stolen 15 bases.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Blue Jays released right-handed pitcher Tyler Gonzales, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 2012 supplemental first rounder did not pitch this season. He never advanced past the GCL where he posted a 9.24 ERA in 25.1 innings.
- The Dodgers released Triple-A right fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez, according to Eddy (via Twitter). The former 12th round pick, now 27 years old, has seen his power decline in recent seasons. He spent most of the 2014 season in Double-A, where he posted a tepid .227/.261/.330 line.
- The Twins released injury prone left fielder Nate Roberts from their High-A roster (also Eddy on Twitter). Roberts was taken as a fifth rounder in the 2010 draft and combined to hit .305/.434/.460 over 945 professional plate appearances. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed his career.
- Former MVP Miguel Tejada has been released by the Marlins, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. The longtime MLB veteran had a comeback bid derailed by a shoulder injury, but plans to play winter ball and weigh another attempt.
- The Reds have released pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to the International League transactions page. According to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter), Rowland-Smith opted out of his deal. The veteran lefty has not managed to find his form this year, and owns a 4.66 ERA in 29 Triple-A innings for the Reds and Blue Jays. He also spent time with the Diamondbacks at the MLB level, allowing four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
- The Giants have released lefty Jose De Paula, according to the MLB transactions page. He had recently been designated for assignment. The 26-year-old has a 4.21 ERA over 51 1/3 frames in his first attempt at the Triple-A level, backed by 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.
Brad Johnson contributed to this post.
- Acquired infielder Zach Walters from Nationals in exchange for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and cash
- Acquired outfielder James Ramsey from Cardinals in exchange for righty Justin Masterson
- Acquired lefty Nick Maronde from Angels for cash
- Acquired outfielder Chris Dickerson from Pirates for PTBNL or cash
- Acquired righty Jason Frasor from Rangers for righty Spencer Patton
- Acquired righty Liam Hendriks, catcher Erik Kratz from Blue Jays in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia
- Acquired lefty David Price in three-team deal in exchange for lefty Drew Smyly, outfielder Austin Jackson, shortstop Willy Adames
- Acquired righty Joakim Soria from Rangers in exchange for righty Jake Thompson, righty Corey Knebel
- Acquired lefty Tommy Milone from Athletics in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld
- Acquired righty Stephen Pryor from Mariners in exchange for first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales
- No trades
Trade action in the AL Central was, perhaps, not ultimately surprising yet nonetheless interesting. Detroit pulled off two big swaps, Kansas City largely held firm despite facing only a four-game deficit, Cleveland moved two expiring contracts, and Minnesota sold off a few veterans.
Chicago might have moved some pieces, but in honesty it was far from shocking to see the South Siders stand pat. While shortstop Alexei Ramirez seemed an obvious trade chip at one point, he has cooled off at the plate and the team has a use for him next year. , Alejandro De Aza, or Gordon Beckham might have changed hands, but down years spiked their value. Matt Lindstrom is still rehabbing and John Danks has a very sizable contract (though he drew reported interest), and either could become August trade pieces.
The biggest action, of course, came from a Tigers team with a one-track mind: World Series or bust. GM Dave Dombrowski one-upped the AL West-leading Athletics by adding the game’s best available arm in Price, though he was unable to (jokingly) goad A’s GM Billy Beane into snatching Chris Sale out of the division down the stretch. After taking a look at adding Jon Lester, but being unwilling to part with Smyly to do so, the club instead shipped its young lefty out in perhaps the biggest gambit on a market full of them. Price gives Detroit a fantasy rotation, and could fill the void if Max Scherzer departs via free agency. But the club also gave up a productive center fielder in Jackson without a replacement that would be expected to deliver equivalent production, and also sacrificed future value in Smyly and the young Adames. That came on the heels of moving two good young arms in the Soria deal, making clear that Motown has every hope of landing that elusive title.
That kind of mentality did not hold sway in Kansas City, where GM Dayton Moore saw the deadline pass with mostly minor additions. Frasor is a solid bullpen piece, to be sure, while Hendriks and Kratz add useful depth, but it seems safe to say that the Royals did not opt for an impact acquisition. Though the club has plenty of talent on the farm, trade partners were looking for MLB pieces that Moore was unwilling to give up. Money was also an issue, as ever. One can’t help but feel somewhat underwhelmed, but the fact is that the team likely already pushed itself to the limit when it added James Shields and then paid open-market prices for Jason Vargas and Omar Infante.
Sitting only 2 and a half back of the Royals are the Indians, who also entered the season hoping to contend. But that slippage was enough to draw a sale of two veterans who were destined to hit the open market at season’s end. Masterson had struggled this year anyway, and was still working through a rehab stint, which would have made it difficult for Cleveland to turn down the opportunity to add a quality, fairly advanced prospect in Ramsey. Cabrera, likewise, was converted into future value with Walters, who has seen time at the MLB level this year and offers intriguing pop from the middle infield (or, perhaps, corner outfield). The club was actually looking to make additions to the big league roster, said GM Chris Antonetti, but couldn’t push it across the line.
Finally, the Twins managed to add some young arms to the stable. After picking up Pryor for the just-signed Morales, who did not quite perform to expectations in Minnesota, the club made an opportunistic grab of Milone, who was displaced by a trio of high-profile acquisitions. While Fuld might have been a solid piece during Minnesota’s transition, it is hard to complain with acquiring a cheap and serviceable rotation piece for a guy who was claimed off waivers and spent significant time on the DL. Of course, the Twins could conceivably have been more active, with outfielder Josh Willingham, pitcher Kevin Correia, and the surprising Kurt Suzuki staying in place (and the latter signing a fairly modest extension). But the club did not wish to just give away its veterans, and will instead use Suzuki to break in a young staff in the future while perhaps dangling the other two names in August trade discussions.
The Twins have signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $12MM contract extension with a third-year vesting option, according to director of communications Dustin Morse. The vesting option, like his annual salary, is for $6MM and can be triggered based on plate appearances in 2016. Suzuki is represented by MVP Sports Group.
Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base, inking Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75MM deal as the star’s replacement behind the dish. Suzuki has performed well, hitting .304/.367/.386 in 347 plate appearances and making his first All-Star team. He hit .235/.290/.353 in the three years prior, so his offense has been a nice surprise for the Twins.
Defensively, Suzuki certainly passes the eye test and has tons of experience behind the plate. He also seems to have a good reputation among the pitchers who he is responsible for tending to, and is an able blocker. But he has struggled in the pitch-framing department, ranking dead last in baseball with -17.1 runs on the year according to Stat Corner. Baseball Prospectus, likewise, rates Suzuki as a positive in stopping balls in the dirt but a negative at winning strikes.
It does not seem that the Twins achieved much of a discount by locking up Suzuki, but they certainly did prevent him from finding a bigger deal and bolting after the season. That has plenty of value for a club that will surely be looking to bring several young pitchers on line this year and next. For Suzuki, signing now not only let him choose to stay in place (after bouncing around quite a bit in recent years) but also protected him from a market that can often be hard to gauge. While he looked like one of the few desirable catchers set to hit free agency, neither are there many teams that looked to be big players for his services.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the extension. Yahoo’s Tim Brown first reported the term, with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter) and Phil Miller of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) providing information on the vesting option. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.