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Nate McLouth Rumors
The Rays and Rangers will square off in a one-game playoff to determine the second American League Wild Card team tonight and finalize the postseason picture. Should the Rays come up short, it will mark the first time since 2006 in which the AL East has not been represented by two teams in the postseason (the Yankees, Twins, Tigers and A's were playoff teams that year). Here's more on the AL East…
- There has been increasing speculation about whether or not Yankees manager Joe Girardi will return to the team in 2014 given his expiring contract, and ESPN's Buster Olney hears that the Yanks will have to significantly increase Girardi's $3MM salary in order to retain him (Twitter link).
- There's mutual interest between Scott Feldman and the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko thinks the O's will re-sign their midseason acquisition unless another team vastly overpays for him on the free agent market.
- Within that piece, Kubatko also notes that free agent Jason Hammel's tenure with the Orioles is likely finished. He adds that if our own Tim Dierkes' two-year, $10MM projection for Nate McLouth is accurate, then McLouth is as good as gone, too.
- The Blue Jays' payroll won't be moving back in 2014, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters yesterday, including MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Anthopoulos stated that the team was more likely to address its holes via trade than free agency, noting that this year's free agent crop is once again looking weak. Chisholm lists second base and starting catcher as areas of focus, and he also notes that Toronto is searching for at least one middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Outfielder Nate McLouth signed a one-year, $1.75MM deal to return to the Pirates in December 2011, with a fourth outfielder role in mind after several years of struggles in Atlanta. He hit a low point at the end of May last year, as the Bucs released him. McLouth quickly signed a minor league deal with the Orioles, and played 47 games for their Triple-A affiliate before earning a call back to the bigs. At just 236 plate appearances, the sample was limited, but McLouth helped the Orioles reach the postseason and was their best hitter in the division series.
McLouth focused on a one-year deal on the free agent market, avoiding an option year but re-signing with the Orioles for just $2MM plus incentives. He's served as the team's primary left fielder and leadoff hitter in 2013, and has put together a solid campaign over a larger sample.
McLouth is respectable at drawing walks, with a 9% rate this year that is a tick above average for a left fielder. This year it has led to a .332 on-base percentage, also better than average for the position. A left-handed hitter, McLouth hit righties pretty well this year at a .275/.346/.416 clip.
McLouth also adds value on the basepaths. He has an 84.9% career success rate in stolen bases, and is tied for ninth in the AL with 30 swipes this year. Among those with at least 800 plate appearances and 30 stolen base attempts since 2012, McLouth's 84% success rate ranks ninth in baseball. More importantly, FanGraphs' baserunning statistics, which cover more than just steals, suggest McLouth has added 6.2 runs on the bases this year. That's tied for the 11th-best baserunning contribution in the game this year.
McLouth has spent most of his time in left field the last two years, but he can handle center in a pinch and even won a somewhat controversial Gold Glove for his play there in 2008.
Overall this year, FanGraphs pegs McLouth at 2.4 wins above replacement. That's fifth among free agent outfielders, assuming Coco Crisp's option will be exercised. McLouth is earning about 15% of Carlos Beltran's salary, but if you agree with the penalty given to Beltran by defensive stats, the two players have been roughly equally valuable in 2013. The free agent market still veers toward baseball card numbers, so Beltran's 24 home runs and 84 RBI will serve him well and could result in a qualifying offer. McLouth's value is less obvious, creating a potential free agent bargain even with a raise. And a qualifying offer will not be a factor.
McLouth does not hit left-handed pitching well, with a .196/.287/.304 line since 2011. The Orioles have benched him accordingly against some southpaws, so he's faced lefties in only 21.7% of his plate appearances this year rather than the typical 26-30%. A team signing McLouth will need to have a right-handed hitting left fielder on hand as a platoon partner.
McLouth should be used sparingly in center field, as his defensive numbers suggest he's well below average at the position. The average left fielder has a weighted on-base average of .317 this year, not far from McLouth's .325. He has a little bit of pop, but doesn't fit the power profile of a left fielder. A team might have to find power at an atypical position to compensate.
McLouth has been worth more than two wins above replacement this year, the first time he's been worth even one full win in a season since 2009. His sample as a productive outfielder has grown, but he has to shake off an even larger sample of being replacement level. And this may be cherry-picking, but since a huge April, McLouth has hit just .245/.309/.382.
Born in Michigan, Nate resides with his wife Lindsay in Knoxville, Tennessee. McLouth is a deeply religious person who has overcome adversity in his career, as explained in this article a year ago by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
The Orioles aren't brimming with alternatives to replace McLouth, and will have to turn to the free agent and trade markets if they don't re-sign him. Nolan Reimold has been hampered by injuries for two years, and may be non-tendered. Prospects L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery were traded this summer, leaving Henry Urrutia as the main internal option. Since McLouth could assume more of an above-average, oft-used fourth outfielder role, he could boost the depth of many clubs.
As a short-side platoon bat with little defensive ability, Jonny Gomes set the bar last winter with a two-year, $10MM deal. Part-timers such as Scott Hairston, Ty Wigginton, and Jack Hannahan also received two years. Another good example is David DeJesus, who was signed to a two-year, $10MM deal with a club option by the Cubs as an outfielder who would be benched against many southpaws. Ultimately I think McLouth will land that same two-year, $10MM deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Major league baseball has made strides in increasing racial diversity but has yet to increase its hiring of females in the sport's upper echelons, reports Ronald Blum of the Associated Press. Changes in the number of African-American and Latino players since last year reportedly fell within the range of regular fluctuation. Elsewhere around baseball:
- If you were wondering how bad your team's injury woes are compared against the rest of the league, be sure to check out the New York Times' Money on the Bench feature. With a daily wasted dollar total that is updated as you read, the site also includes a helpful graphic that shows which players have accounted for the largest hit. Currently leading the way are the Yankees, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Mets, and Cardinals. Alex Rodriguez and Johan Santana have been the biggest drags on their teams' payrolls.
- Every year, several players that look to be on the decline will manage to turn things around. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca details this year's turnaround specialists. Chase Utley, Scott Kazmir, and Nate McLouth are among the rebounding players who will be looking to take their early success into next year's free agent market.
- Earlier today, Tim Dierkes asked MLBTR readers to weigh in on which players would receive qualifying offers after this season. The current results have produced some clear favorites, with more than 50% of respondents identifying Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Curtis Granderson as likely to receive an offer. The only other player to receive a greater-than 35% response rate is Hunter Pence, at 46.0%. Hanging around the 30% mark are players like Chase Utley, Matt Garza, Brian McCann, Tim Lincecum, Hiroki Kuroda, Mike Napoli, and Nelson Cruz.
Mike Morse remains a prime piece of trade bait and earlier this afternoon we learned Adam LaRoche sought a no-trade clause as part of his new two-year deal with the Nationals. He did not receive one, however. Here's the latest on the Nats and Orioles…
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) doesn't see the Nationals getting much for Morse. The 30-year-old is eligible for free agency next fall and GMs aren't eager to give up good prospects for a player in that situation. Some GMs have told Olney privately that while they like Morse, they can't see surrendering much for him due to his defensive shortcomings and lengthy injury history.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Matthew Leach says Morse is a very intriguing trade chip for the Nationals. He lists the Orioles, Yankees, Giants, Mariners, Rays, and Rangers as clubs who could have interest in the slugger.
- Nate McLouth says he re-signed with the Orioles in large part because of the team chemistry in Baltimore, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The outfielder inked a one-year, $2MM deal with the O's in December.
- Jonathan Bernhardt of Sports on Earth argues that the Orioles' lack of activity this offseason was the best of several bad options.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
3:41pm: Morosi tweets that the Orioles aren't likely to make a real push for Swisher with McLouth back in the fold. Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM identifies Swisher's strongest suitors as the Phillies, Indians, and Mariners (Twitter link).
2:44pm: Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports still list the Red Sox and Giants among the potential suitors for Swisher. However, the Sox would have to move Jacoby Ellsbury, while the Giants figure to employ a low-cost platoon in left field instead.
The Orioles, Mariners, and Indians are also still involved, according to the FOX duo.
1:02pm: Indians manager Terry Francona called Swisher to pitch the Tribe to him, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
11:38am: After missing out on Shane Victorino to the Red Sox, the Indians have shifted their focus to other outfielders. One of their targets, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter), is Nick Swisher.
The Red Sox and Giants both had interest in Swisher, but with Victorino in Boston and San Francisco likely not having the money for a big free agent outfielder, those teams both appear to be out of the running.
The Orioles and Mariners are among the other clubs that could be in on Swisher, though MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli writes that Baltimore may just be doing due diligence on the former Yankee. The O's still hope to sign Nate McLouth, and Swisher may be out of their price range, says Ghiroli.
The Orioles have found their left fielder, retaining Nate McLouth on a one-year, $2MM deal with $500K in incentives. McLouth is represented by The Sparta Group.
McLouth, 31, joined the Orioles in June after being released by the Pirates. He had a nice run for the O's, hitting .268/.342/.435 in 236 plate appearances. McLouth made the All-Star team in 2008 and signed a $15.75MM extension with the Pirates the following February. The Bucs traded him to the Braves a few months later, where he had a disappointing three-year stint. With the new Orioles contract, it was said McLouth sought only a straight one-year deal, as he looks to further re-establish his value.
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com first reported the agreement, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported it was close, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added the amount. Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.
Originally published on December 5th at 12:37pm.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter addressed reporters and appeared on MLB Network Radio today to discuss a few O's-related subjects. Let's round up all things Orioles, courtesy of Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, and Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM (all links go to Twitter)….
- Orioles VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette told reporters he hopes to come home with a signed player by the end of the week.
- The Orioles met with Joe Saunders' reps today and had preliminary talks, tweets Connolly.
- The Orioles have interest in free agents Kevin Correia and Nate Schierholtz, and have had meetings with their agents in Nashville, tweets Connolly.
- Showalter spoke to free agent outfielder Nate McLouth earlier today, and GM Dan Duquette is expected to meet with McLouth's agent tonight. McLouth is looking for only a one-year deal, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, so he can re-establish his value and return to the market.
- The Orioles haven't given up on the idea of re-signing Mark Reynolds, who the club non-tendered last week.
- The O's are also hoping to re-sign Omar Quintanilla, another non-tender.
- If other clubs don't value Baltimore's young players as much as the O's do, the club won't make a trade just for the sake of making one, says Showalter.
- Baltimore's payroll will be between $90MM and $100MM next season.
- According to Showalter, MLB's managers were asked whether they were in favor of expanding instant replay, and 29 of 30 voted yes.
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Hiroyuki Nakajima | Ian Stewart | John Lannan | Josh Hamilton | Kelvim Escobar | Kevin Youkilis | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mark Lowe | Milwaukee Brewers | Nate McLouth | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Nick Swisher | Oakland Athletics | Ryan Ludwick | San Francisco Giants | Scott Kazmir | Seattle Mariners | Stephen Drew | Tampa Bay Rays
The Orioles have shown interest in Brett Myers, who plans to pitch as a starter in 2013, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Twins and Royals are among the other American League teams in on the right-hander. Here's more on the O's..
- General manager Dan Duquette is confident that the team won't need to trade for an outfielder given the amount of options available via free agency, Morosi writes. The team would like to add an outfielder so that Chris Davis could move back to first base or DH.
- Duquette spoke with reporters at the meetings and said that the team still has interest in re-signing Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun tweets. Duquette added that the club has not had contact with Jim Thome and is not sure if he intends to play next season.
- The O's feel good about their second base options and their priority remains trading for a middle-of-the-order bat, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Manager Buck Showalter has narrowed the third base coach search down and hopes to have it done by the end of the meetings, Encina tweets.
MLBTR's Steve Adams contributed to this post.