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The White Sox, Yankees and Astros have spent heavily on relief help this offseason, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick wonders if they’ll end up regretting their expensive contracts for veteran relievers. “In the last couple of years we’ve lost a lot of games late in the eighth and ninth inning,” says White Sox manager Ventura. “After a while you sit there and think, ‘We have to have somebody who can come in and do this.’ Everything has its risks — and this is one of them — but we’re pretty confident we got a guy [David Robertson] who we can put in the bullpen and be a leader.” The reason for all the spending on players like Robertson, Zach Duke, Andrew Miller, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek isn’t so much that teams are trying to emulate the Royals‘ ferocious 2014 bullpen, Crasnick suggests. Rather, it’s more that teams are loaded with cash and pitchers like Robertson and Miller are very good. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- The Braves continue to explore potential trades involving Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter links). The Braves have spoken about Upton and Gattis with five teams Wednesday, and continued to consider ways to include B.J. Upton or Chris Johnson in trades involving Justin Upton or Gattis. The Padres had previously looked like a potential destination for Justin Upton, but it would appear that their agreement to acquire Wil Myers today rules them out as a potential trade partner, at least for now.
- Free agent catcher David Ross is deciding between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Meanwhile, lefty reliever Craig Breslow has spoken to the Red Sox and Cubs. Ross has played for the Red Sox, of course, and has a history with Jon Lester and Theo Epstein of the Cubs (although his signing with the Cubs would likely result in, or come as the result of, a trade of Welington Castillo). The Padres are in the process of trading both Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera, but are also in the process of acquiring Ryan Hanigan and Tim Federowicz, so it’s unclear where Ross would fit in.
- Asdrubal Cabrera has drawn interest from the Giants, Athletics, Mets, Cardinals and Twins, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman writes that Cabrera could play second base or third base as well as shortstop, although there have been rumblings that Cabrera prefers to play shortstop or second base only, and not third. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle would be surprised if the A’s are interested, as they’ve never shown interest in Cabrera in past years despite up-the-middle needs (Twitter links).
- Those same five teams have asked about Korean middle infielder Jung-ho Kang, although the Athletics and Mets are downplaying their interest, Heyman tweets. A’s GM Billy Beane has stated on the record that reports of his club’s interest in Kang are inaccurate. Kang was posted earlier this week.
- Heyman lists the Orioles, Reds and Mariners as possibilities for Nori Aoki, with the veteran outfielder potentially receiving two to three years at $7MM-$8MM per year. Aoki had previously been connected to the Orioles and Reds, with the Orioles mostly interested in him as a backup option. Heyman reported last week that Aoki was looking for a three-year deal. Earlier this offseason, we at MLBTR guessed he would receive two years and $16MM.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | B.J. Upton | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Chris Johnson | Cincinnati Reds | Craig Breslow | David Ross | Evan Gattis | Jung-ho Kang | Justin Upton | Kansas City Royals | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals
Marlins president David Samson rejected the recent comments of Pirates president Frank Coonelly regarding the team’s expectations for the Giancarlo Stanton contract, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel reports. He noted that the team has every expectation that Stanton will play out its full term, adding that Stanton’s camp suggested the opt-out.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- After reaching terms with Michael Morse to take the lion’s share of work at first, the Marlins are getting calls on displaced first baseman Garrett Jones, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. Though Jones is owed a relatively modest $5MM next year, the Fish may still need to eat some cash to get him off the books. The 33-year-old, left-handed-swinging Jones hit righties at a somewhat above-average clip, but struggled hard against same-handed pitching in limited exposure and was only an average producer in the aggregate.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin (Twitter link), that the club is unlikely even to make a bid on Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang. The market for Kang remains hard to gauge as his posting clock ticks.
- The Mets are more likely to add southpaw relief help on minor league deals, Alderson added (also via Rubin, on Twitter). As things stand, New York can turn to Josh Edgin or, potentially, Rule 5 selection Sean Gilmartin for LOOGY work.
Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
- Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
- Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
- The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
- The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
- First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
- Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
- The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
- The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
- After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Ben Francisco | Boston Red Sox | Brandon McCarthy | Brett Hayes | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | Clint Robinson | Dan Johnson | Danny Worth | Delmon Young | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Jason Pridie | Jerry Sands | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mark Teahen | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Seattle Mariners | Sergio Santos | Tampa Bay Rays | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Zach Phillips
DECEMBER 15: As promised, Kang has been posted today, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. Friday at 5pm EST is the deadline for teams to submit bids.
DECEMBER 13: Kang will be posted Monday, Rosenthal tweets.
DECEMBER 8: Kang is drawing interest from the Athletics, Giants, Mets and several other clubs, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The A’s and Mets would presumably be interested in Kang at shortstop, while the Giants could use Kang at either third or second (if the latter, Joe Panik would shift to the hot corner).
DECEMBER 7: Rosenthal tweets Kang is expected to be posted next week.
NOVEMBER 10: Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is not expected to be posted until after the Winter Meetings, which run next month from Dec. 7-11 in San Diego, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Agent Alan Nero tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that his client will be posted in mid-December (Twitter link).
The 27-year-old Kang is coming off a monster season in the Korea Baseball Organization in which he hit .354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs. However, there are some differing opinions on how well Kang’s game will translate to Major League Baseball. Firstly, KBO is known to be an extremely hitter-friendly environment, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into those numbers. And, as Joel Sherman noted earlier today, some scouts have expressed skepticism that his power will translate to the Majors and aren’t sure he can play a Major League caliber shortstop — sentiments that were shared by an international scouting director that spoke with MLBTR regarding Kang.
However, ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked Kang 15th among free agents (Insider subscription required and recommended), believing that some of his power can translate to the Majors, likely at the cost of his batting average. He noted that Kang lacks the range teams would like to see out of a shortstop but has a 60 arm (on the 20-80 scouting scale) to make up for some of the range. Law noted that he’d give Kang every chance he could to stick at shortstop while acknowledging that he, too, has heard scouts who see Kang as more of an “unathletic corner guy” whose power won’t play in the Majors.
DEC. 15: The Mets have officially announced the signing. Marc Carig of Newsday reports (via Twitter)that Mayberry’s deal calls for an additional $500K of incentives based on plate appearances and awards bonuses.
DEC. 11: The Mets have agreed to a major league contract with outfielder John Mayberry Jr., Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Mayberry gets a $1.45MM deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
Mayberry, who turns 31 later this month, was non-tendered by the Blue Jays on December 2nd. The former No. 19 overall pick in the 2005 draft slashed .212/.310/.425 in 2014 with the Phillies and Blue Jays which is more or less in line with his career work.
Germen, who turned 27 in September, has made a combined 54 appearances out of the Mets’ bullpen over the past two seasons, pitching to a 4.31 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate. He’s averaged 92.9 mph on his fastball in that time while notching a swinging-strike rate of 14.2 percent, but Germen was also exceptionally homer prone and had enough command problems that the Mets deemed him expendable.
Here’s the latest from the American League:
- With Melky Cabrera off the board, Alex Rios remains on the Mariners‘ radar, tweets Bob Dutton of The News Tribune. Cabrera agreed to a three-year contract with the White Sox yesterday, which should pay him roughly $14-$14.5MM per season.
- MLB.com’s Greg Johns entertains other scenarios (both external and internal) in which the Mariners can fill their vacancy in right field.
- The Rangers have $10-12MM in financial flexibility remaining; but, because of the health questions surrounding their core players, they could sit on that cash until midseason when they will have had time to gauge what kind of team they really have, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes wonders if Indians outfielder David Murphy is more of a platoon player at this stage of his career and believes a reader’s proposed trade of Murphy to the Mets for Ohio native Jon Niese would favor the Indians.
- The White Sox have filled many holes with their high-profile acquisitions this offseason, but right field, second base, third base, and catcher remain areas of concern, opines Jim Margalus of South Side Sox.
- The Twins have invested heavily in the free agent market this offseason and last because payroll was shed and there’s optimism over the performance of Minnesota’s young core, writes 1500ESPN.com’s Phil Mackey.
Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is set to be posted on Monday and is said to have interest from the Athletics, Giants, Mets, and several other clubs. The A’s and Mets would presumably be interested in Kang at shortstop. The Giants, meanwhile could use Kang at either third or they could shift Joe Panik to the hot corner and use Kang at second. We’ll keep track of the latest on the 27-year-old here..
- Many at the winter meetings felt that Kang is seeking a deal in the neighborhood of $24MM over three years, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Internally, the Mets appear to be split on Kang. Some scouts fear that Kang will not be able to play shortstop at the major league level and question whether his offense will translate. The Mets could use the kind of production that Kang put up in the KBO but they’ve also said that they’re willing to head into spring training with Wilmer Flores as their starting shortstop.
The Marlins do not think they’ll have to pay out the entire $325MM balance of Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract, Pirates president Frank Coonelly told a crowd (including the Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel) at PirateFest Saturday. Speaking very candidly for a team president, Coonelly recalled a recent conversation with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson: “They said to me, ‘You don’t understand. (Stanton) has an out clause after six years. Those first six years are only going to cost $107 million. After that, he’ll leave and play for somebody else. So, it’s not really $325 million.'” Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Mets should trade for Troy Tulowitzki, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Yes, Sherman says, Tulowitzki has $106MM on his contract and a long list of injuries, but if he were a perfect player, the Rockies would not trade him at a reasonable price. (In fact, they still might not trade him at a reasonable price.) And the time is right for the Mets, who have plenty of promising pitching but don’t have a shortstop. A trade for Tulowitzki could be just the risk the Mets need, Sherman writes, like their trade for Gary Carter 30 years ago. As for Tulowitzki, Sherman says that it’s “a poorly kept secret in the game is just how badly he wants out of Colorado now.” He doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but the Rockies’ front office would likely consult him about a possible trade, and Sherman thinks he would appreciate the chance to play for the Mets.
- The Cardinals say they are not actively pursuing Max Scherzer, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Scherzer is from the St. Louis area, and he reportedly met with the team earlier in the offseason.
- A Mariners official says the team doesn’t want to trade Brad Miller, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. “[U]nderstand this: We’re not looking to trade him,” the official says. “I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it’s a lot less likely than some people seem to think.” Dutton adds, however, that Miller was part of a deal the Mariners proposed to try to get Matt Kemp from the Dodgers. The Dodgers then demanded the Mariners include either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. The Mariners declined, and the Dodgers agreed to trade Kemp to the Padres instead.
- The Twins have shown interest in former Reds third baseman Jack Hannahan, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com tweets. Hannahan was born in St. Paul and went to both high school and college in the Twin Cities. He played sparingly in 2014 and posted just a .470 OPS in 50 plate appearances, so as Wolfson notes, the Twins would likely have interest in him only on a minor league deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Brad Miller | Colorado Rockies | Giancarlo Stanton | Jack Hannahan | James Paxton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Kemp | Max Scherzer | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Pittsburgh Pirates | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Taijuan Walker | Troy Tulowitzki
We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings. Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night. Here’s some more news from around baseball…
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
- The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
- Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
- With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
- The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports. Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there. Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
- The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade. The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter]. Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”