- Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez
- Braves Promote Hector Olivera
- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
- Giants Acquire Alejandro De Aza
- Dodgers To Acquire Justin Ruggiano
- Cubs Acquire Austin Jackson
- Giants Still Discussing De Aza, Looking At Infielders
- Blue Jays To Name Mark Shapiro As Team President
- Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks
- Mets Claim Marc Rzepczynski On Revocable Waivers, In Talks With Padres
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- Nationals’ Aaron Barrett To Undergo Elbow Surgery
- Reds Designate Dylan Axelrod For Assignment
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- Giants Designate Justin Maxwell For Assignment
- Rangers Designate Roman Mendez For Assignment
- Mets Outright Vic Black
- Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez
- Rays Designate Hak-Ju Lee For Assignment
- Twins Outright Jason Wheeler
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- Astros Designate Jake Buchanan
- Braves Promote Hector Olivera
- West Notes: Zduriencik, Profar, Morneau, Angels
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New York Mets Rumors
Black, one of two players acquired in the Marlon Byrd/John Buck trade of August 2013 (the other was Dilson Herrera), was expected to be a big part of the Mets’ bullpen in 2015 and beyond. However, shoulder tendinitis and a groin injury have kept him from the Majors this season and limited him to 22 2/3 innings at the minor league level. Black has appeared at three minor league levels this season, working to a 6.40 ERA with 30 strikeouts against 28 walks in 32 1/3 innings.
The thought of Black clearing waivers would’ve been far-fetched even a few months ago, but he passed through outright waivers and now will qualify as a six-year minor league free agent at season’s end. Black did log 34 2/3 solid innings with the Mets in 2014, compiling a 2.60 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 19 walks, so he has some big league success under his belt, which could increase his appeal to clubs despite his injury-marred 2015 season.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Mets have outrighted infielder Danny Muno, the club announced (via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, on Twitter). His 40-man spot was needed for the activation of outfielder Eric Young Jr., which is expected today. Muno, 26, managed just four base hits and four walks in his first 32 big league plate appearances this season. He has played exclusively at Triple-A otherwise over the past two seasons, slashing a cumulative .274/.374/.408 in 723 turns at bat.
- Outfielder Jose Constanza, meanwhile, has signed a minor league deal with the Rays, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Constanza, who turns 32 today, had a nice (albeit brief) run with the 2011 Braves but saw his MLB opportunities dwindle in Atlanta over the next three years. He’s spent much of his career at the Triple-A level, registering an even .300 batting average, a sturdy .356 OBP, and rather light .350 slugging percentage in over 2,000 plate appearances. Constanza has also swiped 128 bags over that span.
The Mets claimed “lots of” relievers on waivers this week but they’re unlikely to complete any additional deals between now and the Sept. 1 waiver trade deadline, a source tells Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The Mets, of course, landed a reliever this weekend when they acquired Addison Reed from the D’Backs. For his part, manager Terry Collins is excited about the addition of Reed and what he can bring to their “tired” bullpen.
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com (on Twitter) feels that the Marlins should be looking at Nationals hurler Doug Fister for next year. Fister, a pending free agent, has struggled this year, pitching to a 4.66 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. However, Frisaro sees him as a bounce-back candidate. In 2014, Fister pitched to a 2.41 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9.
- Marlins assistant GM Mike Berger spoke to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the changes that have taken place since Dan Jennings was brought from the front office to the dugout. “My title has not changed — it’s still vice president and assistant general manager — but my duties have,” Berger said. “There certainly are more phone calls to take than before, but it’s all in a day’s work. The one big change is that I am around the major league club far more often than I was previously. Before, I would divide my time with the major league club and our (farm) system.”
- Reed handles left-handers well and that’ll be key for the Mets since they lost Jerry Blevins and designated Alex Torres for assignment, Baseball America writes.
SUNDAY, 11:40am: The Mets have confirmed the trade via press release.
SATURDAY, 8:57pm: The Diamondbacks will receive 24-year-old pitcher Matt Koch and 23-year-old pitcher Miller Diaz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Koch has a 3.46 ERA with 5.60 K/9 and 1.53 BB/9 at Double-A. He’s split his time between starting and relief. His fastball plays up to the mid-90’s out of the bullpen.
In High-A, Diaz has pitched to a 4.71 ERA with 7.09 K/9 and 4.34 BB/9 in 124 and 1/3 innings. He posted loftier strikeout rates in the previous two seasons. Both Koch and Diaz strikes me as the type of pitchers who could eventually reach the majors as a reliever.
6:18pm: The Mets have acquired reliever Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks pending a physical, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Arizona will acquire two prospects in the swap. We learned earlier this afternoon that the Mets were in the hunt for relievers including Marc Rzepczynski of the Padres. Reed is arbitration eligible for two more seasons. However, with a $4.875MM contract in 2015, he’s a possible non-tender candidate.
Reed, 26, entered the 2015 season as the Diamondbacks closer. He lost the job early in the year. His peripherals have taken a step backwards with just 7.52 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9. He’s averaged over a strikeout per inning over his five season career and has never walked more than 3.00 BB/9.
The right-handed reliever has spent a large chunk of the season in the minors. Since he was recalled on July 29, he has a 1.65 ERA with 7.71 K/9 and 1.65 BB/9. After home runs punished him in 2014, he’s held opponents to a tiny 3.8 percent HR/FB rate all while increasing his ground ball rate. This year, the damage has come via an elevated .344 BABIP.
There is still a chance the deal is detailed by the medical review. Reed rushed back this spring from shoulder soreness. It’s possible his peripheral decline is related to lingering shouldering issues (that’s just my speculation).
The Mets will hope his recent performance is more indicative of what’s to come. New York has Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia for the eighth and ninth inning roles. Reed may fit in as a seventh inning reliever.
The Red Sox didn’t go by MLB’s minority hiring rules when they interviewed only Dave Dombrowski for the president of baseball ops role but they have been instructed to do so for the GM job, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. If the Red Sox take the step of hiring a minority GM candidate, Cafardo suggests that Ken Williams would be a strong choice if he chooses to leave Chicago. Here’s more from today’s column..
- The Rangers were very interested in acquiring Austin Jackson “a few days ago,” but nothing came of those talks, Cafardo writes. Jackson, 28, cleared waivers last week and was said to be generating interest, though it appears that no one wanted to take the remaining ~$1.7MM salary off the Mariners‘ hands.
- Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is in play for the Brewers job, a major league source tells Cafardo. “Despite his last-place finishes he’s seen as a team builder, especially when it comes to farm systems,” said the source. The Angels, Mariners, and Phillies are also thought to be possibilities for Cherington.
- The Yankees have been blocked in every attempt to add to their pitching, both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation. Baseball sources tell Cafardo that GM Brian Cashman doesn’t seem optimistic about his odds of pulling anything off. The Mets have been blocked from adding a reliever as well.
- The Royals want a backup catcher for the playoffs just in case something happens to Salvador Perez. KC turned down the opportunity to land A.J. Pierzynski from the Braves, Cafardo writes, but they’re still looking for an affordable left-handed hitting backstop. Some KC scouts like the Red Sox’s Ryan Hanigan, but he hits right-handed and has a $3.7MM salary next year with an option for 2017.
- Unsurprisingly, Cafardo hears that the Rangers are looking for offense, the Twins are looking for relief help, and the Blue Jays want to add to their bullpen. However, a deal for Toronto doesn’t seem likely at this time.
- Cafardo writes that the Nationals, Padres, Red Sox, Mariners, Reds, Orioles, Indians, and Tigers are expected to be quite active this winter.
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8:42pm: The Mets are unlikely to work out a trade with the Padres for Rzepczynski, a source tells Newsdays’ Marc Carig. At this time, it’s unclear if that’s because the club landed an alternative. The acquisition of Addison Reed doesn’t necessarily affect the Mets interest in Rzepczynski since the latter reliever is a lefty specialist.
4:15pm: The Mets have claimed Padres lefty Marc Rzepczynski, Rosenthal tweets. It’s not yet clear exactly when they would need to complete a deal for him. Rzepczynski, who turns 30 today, has a 4.88 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 27 2/3 innings this year with Cleveland and San Diego. The Padres acquired him for Abraham Almonte at last month’s deadline. He’s making $2.4MM this season and will be eligible for arbitration again this winter. He might not be the only player they’re working on acquiring — Rubin tweets that the Mets have claimed a reliever from another NL team.
3:09pm: The Mets claimed the reliever from an NL team and are currently in discussions with that team, Rubin tweets.
2:07pm: The Mets have made a claim involving a reliever on revocable waivers and are waiting to see how it turns out, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). It’s unclear whether the pitcher’s current team will pull him back from waivers or let him go, either by simply by allowing the waiver claim or by negotiating a trade.
1:34pm: The Mets are progressing on a move to add a reliever, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets. He emphasizes that a deal might not ultimately be consummated, but writes that the team is involved in real discussions.
Earlier this week, it looked like the Mets might not be able to strike a deal, and GM Sandy Alderson had previously expressed pessimism about the possibility of making a trade. Now that a trade looks more likely, though, it seems likely the Mets are on the hunt for a lefty (although a righty certainly could also be a possibility). They’ve struggled to find a second consistent left-handed arm this season, and their current group of righties (Jeurys Familia, Tyler Clippard, Hansel Robles, Carlos Torres and Logan Verrett) has mostly performed well, despite the losses of Jenrry Mejia (to a suspension) and Bobby Parnell (to the disabled list).
The Mets lost one lefty, Jerry Blevins, to injury earlier this year, and they designated another, Alex Torres, after he walked 26 batters in 34 1/3 innings. They’ve gotten good results this year from Sean Gilmartin, but Eric O’Flaherty hasn’t worked out since they acquired him from the Athletics earlier this month. (As another potential lefty relief option, they also have Dario Alvarez, who’s performed well in the high minors this season, on their 40-man roster.)
MLBTR’s list of players who have cleared revocable waivers doesn’t contain any lefty relievers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any available, since it isn’t always known to the public which players have cleared. It’s also possible the Mets could claim a player and work out a deal with his team.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell, who is battling lymphoma, has completed the first of three rounds of chemotherapy. He’s visiting the Sox each day they’re at Fenway and holding video chats with interim manager Torey Lovullo and his coaching staff when the team is away. New Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has not said whether Farrell will return next season, however, regardless of his health.
- Following what’s been a tumultuous month in many team front offices, the Phillies and Reds could be among the next teams to make GM changes, Rosenthal says. There could be up to ten manager changes as well.
- Rosenthal also interviews Mets third baseman David Wright, who recently returned to the lineup after missing almost four months due to a hamstring injury and an ongoing back issue. Wright discusses what it’s like to deal with a lingering condition. Some days are better than others, he says, and a player needs to be honest, because if he tries to play on a bad day, he’ll be hurting his team.
- The Dodgers‘ massive $300MM payroll may be a one shot deal. They’re paying a large chunk of change for players who aren’t even on the roster like Matt Kemp, but they were able to acquire additional talent by doing so. This year, they’re paying a 40 percent tax on overages beyond the roughly $189MM soft cap. Next season, the penalty will increase to 50 percent. However, prospects like Corey Seager and Julio Urias are expected to be on hand to reduce the luxury burden.
- Marlins manager Dan Jennings is a potential candidate for the Mariners open GM job. He has past experience working for Seattle as a scout and crosschecker. Most teams allow their employees to interview for promotions with other clubs, but the situation is tricky with Jennings. He’s the Miami manager, but he’s also currently under contract as a GM. As such, it’s not clear if Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would allow Jennings to interview.
- Sources have told Rosenthal that Padres ownership is “frustrated” with GM A.J. Preller. However, chairman Ron Fowler insists the only frustration is related to the club’s 2015 performance. He believes Preller will be the GM for a long time to come. Preller was originally hired to improve the farm system via the draft and international scouting. Obviously, the club used most of their minor league ammunition in a bold bid for contention this year, but the original plan remains intact.
- Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Reds may wish to replace GM Walt Jocketty. His contract expires after the 2016 season. It’s Rosenthal’s opinion that owner Bob Castellini is unlikely to fire Jocketty outright. Instead, they may move him into a consultative role like the Brewers did with Doug Melvin. That would allow the club to then hire a new GM in time for 2016.
If team president Mark Shapiro departs to become president of the Blue Jays, Indians manager Terry Francona would not be likely to exercise an opt-out in his deal, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Francona’s opt-out allows him to leave the organization if Shapiro or GM Chris Antonetti were to leave first. He says he will not use that clause to try to land a job elsewhere. “When I came here, I think I was pretty honest about the fact that I came here because of Mark and Chris,” he says. “Since I’ve been here, my relationship with them has certainly grown, but also with the other people here, to the point where, I guess my point is I would never use that as leverage. That was not the spirit of the way it was written, nor would I use it like that.” Francona is currently in the midst of a deal that will carry him through 2016, at which point a new, two-year deal will kick in. That deal includes team options for 2019 and 2020. Here are more quick notes from around the league.
- David Price was not surprised that the Tigers traded him, MLB.com’s Jason Beck writes. “Just kind of understanding everything in the organization, not really,” said Price when asked if the deal caught him off-guard. “The Tigers are never sellers. They’re always buyers and they’re always making playoff runs and stuff like that. But at that time, I thought that was probably the best move.” Price describes his last few weeks with the Tigers as “just a weird time” in which it was unclear what direction the team would go at the trade deadline.
- Wilmer Flores has become a “cult hero” to Mets fans, as ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin notes. Flores openly cried upon hearing that he would be traded from the Mets to the Brewers. After the deal that was supposed to send Flores to Milwaukee and Carlos Gomez to New York fell through, the Mets have played brilliantly, and he’s become a symbol to Mets fans who love him for wanting so badly to stay with the team. “If you’re saying it has something to do with it, I don’t know. I can’t tell you,” says Flores about his crying on the field. “But since that day, it’s been really fun. On the road and playing at home, it’s been really fun. I can’t tell you it was because of that.”
The Mets have struggled for much of the season when it comes to left-handed relief, but Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets that a source says the team is “unlikely” to trade for another reliever. Mike Puma of the New York Post, too, tweets that the Mets don’t expect to add a reliever from outside the organization.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson acquired both Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins late in the offseason and selected Sean Gilmartin from the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft in an effort to bolster the team’s left-handed relief corps. Blevins was excellent in a handful of appearances early this year, but he suffered a fractured forearm when he was hit by a comebacker and re-fractured the arm last month, so the Mets will receive just five (perfect) innings from him all season. Torres, on the other hand, struggled immensely against left-handed hitters, yielding a .268/.406/.393 batting line to same-handed batters before being designated for assignment.
Gilmartin has proved to be one of the better selections in the most recent Rule 5 Draft, as he’s posted a 2.34 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 42 1/3 innings, pitching effectively against both right-handed hitters (.605 OPS) and left-handed hitters (.607 OPS). Despite his strong showing, the Mets have just one reliable lefty reliever in the bullpen at the moment. The team acquired Eric O’Flaherty from the A’s earlier this month, but he’s surrendered 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings since the trade.
As DiComo wrote last night at greater length, the Mets do have internal options. Dario Alvarez has a 2.68 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and he’s averaged 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings against 4.2 walks per nine. Likewise, former first-round pick Josh Smoker (31st by the Nationals, 2007) has had a career resurgence with the Mets and worked his way up to Double-A this season, posting a 2.76 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings this season. DiComo notes that Smoker appears to be behind Alvarez on the depth chart at this time, however.
An update some some notable players who will be joining or leaving the disabled list…
- C.C. Sabathia lasted just 2 2/3 innings in today’s start before leaving due to pain in his right knee. The veteran lefty will at least be shut down for a while, though Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including MLB.com’s Grace Raynor) that he presumed Sabathia will need a DL stint “just because he walked off the field without even throwing another pitch.” Sabathia underwent surgery on that same knee in 2014 and has been bothered by pain for much of this season, which could partially explain his rough 5.24 ERA over 135 2/3 innings. The Yankees had planned to expand to a six-man rotation upon Michael Pineda‘s impending return from the DL, though those plans are on hold with Sabathia sidelined.
- The Orioles announced that shortstop J.J. Hardy has been placed on the 15-day DL with a left groin injury, and he’ll undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Hardy, who also missed all of April with a strained shoulder, has hit only .220/.251/.313 in 353 plate appearances this season, his first under a three-year, $40MM extension signed last October. Ryan Flaherty will likely handle shortstop duties while Hardy is out, though the O’s also have Paul Janish at Triple-A.
- The Mets plan to activate David Wright from the disabled list prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies. Southpaw Dario Alvarez has been optioned to Triple-A to make room for Wright on the active roster, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports. Wright was originally placed on the DL in April with a strained hamstring but he was discovered to have the much more serious condition known as spinal stenosis.