MLBTR Originals Rumors

Which Rule 5 Picks Are Still With Their New Teams?

There were 13 players selected in the Major League phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and nearly halfway through the year, a surprising percentage remain with their new clubs. Here’s a look at each of the Rule 5 picks, where they’re currently playing and if they have a chance to remain with their team…

  • Oscar Hernandez, C, Diamondbacks: Selected out of the Rays organization despite never having appeared above Class-A, Hernandez broke his hamate bone in Spring Training and has been on the DL all season.  As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at the time, that actually made it a bit easier to get some time to evaluate Hernandez, as the D-Backs can see him on a Minor League rehab assignment and don’t have to roster such an inexperienced bat all season. Hernandez is on his rehab assignment now, and the early returns at the plate aren’t good (.200/.259/.280 in nine games). Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s hit poorly, though, so perhaps the team will prefer Hernandez’s big arm for that spot.
  • Mark Canha, 1B/OF, Athletics: Selected by Rockies out of the Marlins organization, Canha was immediately traded to Oakland for right-hander Austin House and cash. Canha hasn’t been great for the A’s, but he’s provided league-average production at the plate to go along with passable corner defense. At this point, it would be a surprise if Canha didn’t finish the season with the team.
  • Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Rangers: The Rangers plucked the former No. 8 overall pick out of the Astros organization, perhaps hoping that DeShields could be a speedy bench piece. DeShields, like the Rangers club as a whole, has been far better than most expected, hitting .269/.358/.386 and going 13-for-15 in stolen base attempts. A hamstring injury has had him on the DL for much of June, but he’s on a rehab assignment right now and should return to the team in short order. DeShields’ .368 BABIP will likely regress, but he’s been the game’s second most-valuable baserunner, per Fangraphs, despite his limited playing time. He certainly seems likely to remain with the Rangers.
  • Jason Garcia, RHP, Orioles: The Astros were the team to technically select Garcia out of the Red Sox organization, but Houston quickly traded him to Baltimore for cash. Garcia pitched poorly in 13 innings to open the season before landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that has since seen him transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • J.R. Graham, RHP, Twins: A former top prospect with the Braves, Graham was selected by the Twins on the heels of an injury-shortened 2014 season. He’s seen a lot of time in mop-up duty, but Graham has delivered a solid ERA, albeit with less encouraging peripherals. In 35 2/3 innings, hs has a 3.03 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 39.1 percent ground-ball rate. The Twins have said they plan to retain Graham, who’s averaging better than 95 mph on his fastball.
  • Jandel Gustave, RHP: Gustave was selected by the Red Sox out of the Astros organization, then traded to the Royals. Kansas City tried to put him through waivers this spring but lost him to the Padres, who ultimately returned him to Houston. He has a 2.54 ERA but a 17-to-13 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings with Houston’s Double-A affiliate.
  • Taylor Featherston, INF, Angels: The Angels acquired Featherston for cash considerations after the Cubs selected him from the Rockies. The Halos seem committed to keeping Featherston, as he’s still on their roster despite just 60 plate appearances this season. The 25-year-old hasn’t hit — .127/.169/.218 — but he’s provided sound defense at three positions late in games and in his rare starts.
  • Odubel Herrera, CF, Phillies: The Phillies nabbed Herrera out of the Rangers’ organization after a strong Double-A showing in 2014, and the infielder-turned-outfielder has seen the bulk of time in center for the Phils. He’s hitting just .251/.282/.359, but the Phillies are the exact kind of team that can afford to give a Rule 5 pick regular at-bats as opposed to costing him valuable reps via limited usage. He’ll remain with the team.
  • Andrew McKirahan, LHP, Braves: The Marlins were the team to select McKirahan, but the Braves claimed him off waivers in Spring Training. McKirahan cracked the Opening Day roster with the Braves, but he pitched just 4 1/3 innings before being suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. The Braves will get a second look at him on a rehab stint in the minors before they have to make a call. He’s eligible to be activated on July 20.
  • Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Mets: The Mets took Gilmartin out of the Twins organization and converted the former first-round pick (Braves, 2011) from a starter into a reliever. The result has been a 1.88 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.8 B/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate in 24 innings. Curiously, Gilmartin has significant reverse platoon splits in his first taste of big league action.
  • Daniel Winkler, RHP, Braves: Winkler was the Braves’ actual selection out of the Rule 5. Winkler is recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch in 2015 at any level. He’s on Atlanta’s 60-day DL.
  • David Rollins, LHP, Mariners: Seattle took Rollins out of the Astros organization, and the lefty made a strong case in Spring Training to break camp with the team’s bullpen. However, he was suspended 80 games for PED usage and wound up on the restricted list. Rollins is on a rehab assignment now and could still pitch with the Mariners in 2015. Rollins has tossed 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in rehab and will have served his suspension after four more games.
  • Logan Verrett, RHP: The only other player to be returned to his team at this point, Verrett was selected by the Orioles out of the Mets organization. Baltimore lost him on waivers to the Rangers, who carried him on the roster briefly before eventually returning him to the Mets. Since being returned, Verrett has debuted with his original organization at the big league level.

MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • On this week’s installment of the MLB Trade Rumors podcast, host Jeff Todd spoke with Grantland’s Jonah Keri to talk about the Diamondbacks’ recent decision making, as well as trade deadline possibilities for several other teams.  A new episode of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast will be released every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • On Saturday, Charlie Wilmoth took a detailed look at the Marlins’ trade chips.  With Giancarlo Stanton out four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone, Miami now seems more likely than ever to sell this summer.  Miami is short on top-notch trade chips, but rentals like Dan Haren and Mat Latos could draw some level of interest if they put together a couple of good starts in July.  Veteran Martin Prado, if he shows that he’s healthy, could also get Miami something thanks to his versatility.
  • In this week’s edition of the MLBTR chat, Steve Adams fielded a ton of questions, including inquires about Cole Hamels, Dillon Gee, Carlos Gomez, and much more.  You can chat with Steve every Tuesday on MLBTR at 2pm CT.

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A Look At The Marlins’ Trade Chips

As others have noted today, the news that Giancarlo Stanton will miss four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone increases the likelihood that the Marlins will reach a conclusion that they might have reached anyway: 2015 doesn’t appear to be their year. Under owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins have never been shy about change — they’ve traded players, replaced managers and changed organizational directions far more rapidly than other franchises might. Their 31-45 start already seemed likely to lead them to sell, even before Stanton’s injury.

In fact, this year’s Marlins team bears certain similarities to their 2012 club. The 2012 team headed into the offseason intending to make a splash. Instead, they flopped, and in July, they dealt Carlos Lee, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Gaby Sanchez.

What do the 2015 Marlins have to sell, though? This year’s team doesn’t appear to be primed for a complete rebuild, and thus it doesn’t have many top-quality trade chips like Ramirez or Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins still have Stanton and Christian Yelich signed to long-term deals, and Jose Fernandez is cost-controlled and is clearly an elite pitcher when healthy. The Marlins seem highly likely to keep those players, even though Yelich is having a disappointing season and Fernandez is only on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery. Here’s a look at who the Marlins could consider trading.

  • Dan Haren and Mat Latos are eligible for free agency after the season, so they seem like obvious trade candidates. The question is what the Marlins will be able to get back. Haren is having a solid season, but he seemed mostly unwanted as of last winter, and his age (34) and stuff (Haren’s admirably self-effacing “Ithrow88″ Twitter handle isn’t even accurate anymore, since his fastball has averaged 86 MPH this season) suggest he won’t fetch much now, either. Still, useful starting pitching is useful starting pitching, and the Marlins might try convincing a team in a homer-suppressing ballpark to give up a prospect or two for Haren. The Phillies got two fairly good lottery tickets in Victor Arano and Jesmuel Valentin for Roberto Hernandez last year — that might provide a good template, even though the stock of both players has slipped in 2015. The Marlins might also have to convince Haren to play for the team they trade him to if it’s not a West Coast team, given that he considered retiring last offseason rather than heading to Miami.
  • Latos currently has a 5.49 ERA and missed time due to a knee injury, so his trade value would appear very limited. Since he would only be a rental, there would be little point in a contending team taking him on as a project, even though his peripherals suggest he should be somewhat better than that ERA. The curse of struggling teams trying to become deadline sellers is that they typically mostly have disappointing players to sell, and Latos is a case in point. It’s not impossible, though, that Latos could raise his trade value by pitching well over the next month.
  • As the New York Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out today, Martin Prado‘s versatility could make him an interesting trade chip next month, since he can play third base, second base and both outfield corners. First, though, he’ll have to show he’s healthy — he’s currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. He’s owed $11MM both this year and next, although the Yankees are paying $3MM in each of those years.
  • Pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand were both recently the subject of rumors. Koehler missed a start last week with neck and back pain, but his successful return today should help the Marlins’ cause if they choose to trade him. The problem is that neither Koehler nor Hand are the kinds of difference-makers most appealing to contenders — a contending team likely wouldn’t want either one of them starting a playoff game. And since they’re also cheap and capable of eating innings, they could have value to the Marlins as they retool. David Phelps, who has been solid but not outstanding in his first season in Miami, falls into the same category.
  • Mike Dunn isn’t having a good season by traditional measures, with a 4.68 ERA, but his strikeout rate (9.0 K/9 in 2015) and velocity remain intact, so a contender might view him as a sneaky way to upgrade the left side of its bullpen, especially since his contract is reasonable. He’s signed through next season, though, so the Marlins could also decide the better route might be to keep him around for another year and hope he rebounds.
  • Like Dunn, Steve Cishek has a poor ERA this year. Unlike Dunn, though, Cishek isn’t cheap, at $6.65MM, and his control issues are a key reason for his downturn in performance. It would likely be hard for the Marlins to deal Cishek without taking on salary, despite his closer pedigree.
  • Infielder Jeff Baker is a career .297/.352/.513 hitter against lefties, so he could conceivably help a contender in need of a right-handed bat. He’s mostly limited to first base at this point, however, so his utility is limited.

Other Marlins veterans, like Michael Morse and Ichiro Suzuki, probably have even less trade value than most of the players mentioned above. The Marlins could, of course, make outside-the-box trades involving some of their better, younger players (Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechavarria, Marcell Ozuna), and given the Marlins’ history, it would be unwise to discount that possibility. (Relievers A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps would make very interesting trade pieces if the Marlins were to make them available.) Unlike the 2012 team, though, the 2015 Marlins don’t have many veteran trade candidates who appear likely to command a significant return.



MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • On this week’s installment of the MLB Trade Rumors podcast, host Jeff Todd spoke with Steve Adams to discuss the growing departure from traditional “buyers” and “sellers” in baseball.  Jeff then theorized about the Reds moving Aroldis Chapman.  A new episode of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast will be released every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • Earlier today, MLBTR was the first to learn that Royals catcher Erik Kratz was claimed off waivers.  Minutes later, the Red Sox announced that they were the claiming team.
  • If you haven’t already, sign up for the MLB Trade Rumors newsletter today!  Every week, site owner Tim Dierkes delivers an exclusive article to newsletter subscribers.  The most recent entry is entitled, “How The Red Sox Should Have Rebuilt Their Rotation.”  To check out the next in-depth piece, simply provide us with your email address.  We will never sell your email address or market anything to the mailing list, and you can unsubscribe easily.
  • In this week’s edition of the MLBTR chat, Steve Adams fielded a ton of questions, including inquires about the Padres’ managerial opening, Ryne Sandberg’s job security, Johnny Cueto‘s trade candidacy, the possibility of a Bryce Harper extension, and more.  You can chat with Steve every Tuesday on MLBTR at 2pm CT.

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Red Sox Claim Erik Kratz Off Waivers

12:56pm: The Red Sox announced that they have claimed Kratz off waivers.  Kratz will provide the team with depth now that Blake Swihart is listed as day-to-day with a sprained left foot.

12:28pm: Erik Kratz has been claimed off waivers by an unknown team, MLBTR has learned.  The catcher was designated for assignment by the Royals on June 11th.

The claiming team is currently unknown, but the Mets and Red Sox both saw catchers leave the game with injury yesterday.  The Mets, however, already have depth behind the plate in Kevin Plawecki and Anthony Recker, so the Red Sox might be the more probable destination.

Most of Kratz’s career has been spent with the Phillies, but he’s also had brief stints in Toronto and Kansas City. All told, Kratz has shown nice power but low batting average and on-base capabilities, as evidenced by a .217/.270/.400 batting line. He’s also a skilled pitch-framer, however, and he’s thrown out 32 percent of attempted base-stealers in his big league career.

Kratz was scheduled to return from the 15-day disabled list earlier this month but was designated for assignment before he could be called back into action for KC.  Kratz would have served as Salvador Perez‘s backup in Kansas City had he stayed on board, but that job has gone to Drew Butera instead.


MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • On this week’s installment of the MLB Trade Rumors podcast, host Jeff Todd spoke with right-hander Barry Enright about his journey through the game, which took him to the big leagues and has most recently brought him to the Mexican League’s Tijuana Toros.  Then, Jeff checked in with Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated and the Joe Sheehan Newsletter to talk about the Red Sox and more.  A new episode of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast will be released every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • Earlier today, MLBTR was the first to report that Jo-Jo Reyes signed a minor league deal with the Angels.  Reyes, who was named an All-Star in the Mexican League two weeks ago, will report to Triple-A Salt Lake.  Reyes aims to return to the majors for the first time since 2011.
  • Prior to the start of the draft on Monday, Steve Adams put together a comprehensive primer to get fans up to speed.
  • Hey, sabermetricians!  MLBTR is looking for someone to spearhead a paid statistical research project.  Click here for details.

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Angels Sign Jo-Jo Reyes

The Angels have signed Jo-Jo Reyes, a source tells MLBTR.  The veteran left-hander will report to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Reyes, 30, was previously with Campeche of the Mexican League and was named an All-Star there roughly two weeks ago.  Reyes last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 and will work towards reaching the majors once again in 2015.  In that 2011 season, Reyes pitched to a 5.57 ERA in 25 starts and four relief appearances for the Blue Jays and Orioles.  He posted a 5.6 K/9 rate versus a 3.1 BB/9.

He’s also quite familiar with the Triple-A level, having spent parts of seven seasons there.  Reyes owns a 3.68 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in Triple-A for multiple teams.


MLBTR Originals

A look back at the original reporting and analysis found on MLBTR the last seven days:

  • On this week’s installment of the MLB Trade Rumors podcast, host Jeff Todd spoke with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News to discuss the Rangers‘ call-up of Joey Gallo and more.  Jeff also spoke with MLBTR’s Steve Adams about the Mark Trumbo deal.  A new episode of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast will be released every Thursday and can be accessed on iTunesSoundCloud, and Stitcher.
  • University of Arizona second baseman Scott Kingery, who is widely rated as a first- or second-round prospect, spoke with MLBTR about his time at U of A and his stock heading into tomorrow’s draft.  Kingery also discussed his friendship with Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman, who is rated as one of the top prospects in this year’s class.  “If it’s video games, we’re competing. One night we were mini golfing and it got intense. We started even having competitions in the weight room and seeing who could get to school the fastest,” Kingery explained.
  • Roger Clemens made multiple comebacks from retirement and we remembered his 2006 return to the Astros last Sunday.
  • Steve was the first to learn that the Phillies released catcher John Hester.

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Q&A With MLB Draft Prospect Scott Kingery

The 2015 MLB Draft begins on Monday, June 8th and runs until Wednesday, June 10th.  In anticipation of the draft, MLBTR caught up with University of Arizona second baseman Scott Kingery, one of the most highly regarded players in this year’s class.

Tomorrow night, Arizona second baseman Scott Kingery will be waiting to hear his name called from Secaucus, New Jersey.  Just three years ago, few could have imagined that Kingery would be in line to be a Day 1 draft pick or to even get drafted at all.  Kingery was a very solid player coming out of Phoenix, Arizona’s Mountain Pointe High School, but he was overlooked by schools largely because he was only 5’7″ tall.

Kingery arrived at the University of Arizona as a walk-on, made the team, and started really making a name for himself in his sophomore year.  An awful lot has changed over the last three years – not just Kingery’s stature.  Today, he is rated as the No. 25 draft prospect in the country by ESPN.com’s Keith Law, No. 40 by Baseball America, and No. 42 by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.  Kingery took some time out of his busy schedule late last week to chat with MLB Trade Rumors about his career at Arizona, his draft stock, and his MLB future.

Zach Links: It’s pretty rare to see a college walk-on go on to become a top draft prospect. In 2012, did you think you’d be in this position today?

Scott Kingery: Definitely not. That’s not something that I had in mind going into my freshman year, especially as a walk-on player. I didn’t have a spot on the roster yet for sure, so at that point, I was just trying to find a spot on the team.

It was pretty late in the summer when an assistant coach came down to watch me play in a tournament. They offered me a recruited walk-on spot, which means that you have a place on the fall roster but nothing is guaranteed for the spring roster. So, I wasn’t thinking about the majors at all at that point.

ZL: Did you consider taking scholarship offers from other schools, whether it was D-I or D-II?

SK: I was committed to going to a junior college in Arizona, but other than that, I didn’t have any D-I, D-II, or D-III offers for baseball.  So, it was pretty much go to junior college or just take my chances at Arizona.

ZL: You turned the corner in a big way from your freshman year to your sophomore year. What changed for you?

SK: I think each year you play in the Pac-12 you just get a little bit more confident.  I gained experience and I learned a lot.  I think in your first year as a freshman you come in and don’t know what to expect.  The level of play from high school to college increases so much. But, I learned more and more each year and built off of that.

ZL: Your double play partner, Kevin Newman, is considered to be one of the very best draft prospects in this year’s class. Did you feel like you’ve pushed each other over the years to excel?

SK: Yeah, when I was in the outfield the first few years I didn’t spent that much time with him.  Now I’m at second base and we push each other and that helps us play better.  This year he become one of my roommates and that’s when I realized how truly competitive we are with each other.  Literally everything is a competition between us.

ZL: How does that competitive spirit between the two of you manifest itself off the field?

SK: If it’s video games, we’re competing.  One night we were mini golfing and it got intense.  We started even having competitions in the weight room and seeing who could get to school the fastest.

ZL: You played second base while at Arizona but there has been talk of your skills translating to shortstop.  Could you see yourself playing shortstop at the big league level? How comfortable are you at shortstop?

SK: Since I haven’t been there in a few years, I think it would take some getting used to again. But that was my home all through high school.  College is the only time I haven’t played there really…I think I could definitely play shortstop.  I think a lot of teams want to see me try that out, too.  If it doesn’t work, they can always throw me back to second base.

ZL: Do you have a preference between playing shortstop or second base?

SK: I’ve always loved playing shortstop more but playing second base isn’t too bad either.

ZL: Why do you like playing shortstop more?

SK: I don’t know why, but that’s just always been where I’ve been the most comfortable.  I grew up playing that position and I just want to get back over there.  When you’re at shortstop you feel like you’re kind of in the head role, kind of captain on the field.  I’d like to get back to that.

ZL: There always seems to be skepticism surrounding shorter players, even when they’ve proven their ability time and time again like you have. Do you feel like any concern about you being under 6-feet tall is overblown?

SK: At this point, I don’t think that’s gonna come into play, but that was definitely one of the big reasons why I didn’t get a scholarship offer out of high school.  I was 5’7″, 150 pounds heading into college so I think everyone saw that small stature and they didn’t want to take a chance.  Now, I think I’ve proven myself over multiple years so I don’t think that my small stature matters much.  Also, I’m 5’10.5″ now and I’ve put on 25 or 30 pounds, so it’s a different story.

ZL: What are you hearing about where you might get drafted?

SK: It’s kind of all over the place, but I’ve been hearing and reading that it could be somewhere in the No. 20-50 range.  Hopefully I’ll get drafted towards the top of that, but, we’ll see.  Anything can happen.

ZL: What do you think sets you apart from other middle infielders in this class?

SK: I’ve proven that I can hit at multiple levels.  I did it in college and I did it in the Cape Cod league.  That, along with my speed, sets me apart.  I’ve shown that I can create havoc on the basepaths with my speed and my bat really just improved each year at Arizona.  I also got even more comfortable with my range this year and I made things happen on defense as well.

ZL: What’s the main thing you want to work on?

SK: I want to work on my footwork at second base because that can always get better.  I also want to make sure that I stay aggressive at second base.  It’s a short throw so sometimes you can find yourself getting complacent and sitting back on a ball rather than getting the right hop.  I like to be aggressive and get right to the ball.

ZL: Last summer in the Cape Cod League, you showed that you can still rake with a wooden bat. Do you sense that has helped your draft stock somewhat?

SK: Definitely. The top players in college are in the Cape Cod league so going there, facing that pitching, and putting up some good numbers really shows the scouts that I have a good swing and that it doesn’t matter if I’m swinging wood or metal.

ZL: Everyone loves to compare draft prospects to current players.  What major league player would you say that your skill set is similar to?

SK:  I’d say I’m something like Ian Kinsler, with a little bit more speed.

ZL: What are your plans for draft night?

SK: I’m just going to have some friends and family over.  We’ll be watching on TV with everyone else, waiting to see what happens.


Minor Moves: Santos, Solano, Sands, Hester

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • Reliever Sergio Santos has cleared waivers and will elect free agency, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The Dodgers designated Santos for late last month after the former White Sox closer struck out 15 batters and walked seven while allowing seven runs in 13 1/3 innings this season.
  • The Marlins have announced that they’ve outrighted catcher Jhonatan Solano to Triple-A New Orleans. The designated him for assignment yesterday. The 29-year-old has a career .184/.222/.301 line in 108 career plate appearances with the Nationals and Marlins, hitting a somewhat better .241/.286/.346 in about two seasons’ worth of plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
  • The Indians have announced that outfielder Jerry Sands has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus. Last week, the Indians designated Sands for assignment for the second time this season. The 27-year-old Sands has hit 9-for-27 with a home run and two doubles for the Indians this year. Perhaps more representative is his .257/.385/.473 at Triple-A, a line consistent with the strong minor-league performances he’s posted throughout much of his career.
  • The Phillies have released catcher John Hester, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets, noting that Hester had surgery on his meniscus this spring but is now healthy. The 31-year-old has played in ten minor-league games this season. He spent 2014 with Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels organization, batting .261/.338/.411. He has a career .216/.294/.351 line in 232 big-league plate appearances spread over four seasons with the Diamondbacks and Angels.