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- Orioles Agree To Deal With Ariel Miranda
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- Bruce Chen Announces Retirement
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New York Mets Rumors
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is in a tight spot regarding Troy Tulowitzki, opines Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. While Tulowitzki did not specifically ask to be traded, he did not categorically state that he wants to remain in Colorado. For his part, Bridich did not deny the possibility of a trade.
There is no doubt that Tulowitzki is highly coveted around the league despite a minimum of six years and $113MM remaining on his contract. The star shortstop is off to a strange start to the season for Colorado. One has to wonder if the rumors are getting to him. He’s hitting .284/.292/.448 through 120 plate appearances. His plate discipline has disappeared. He’s swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone, whiffing more frequently, and he’s drawn just two walks against 29 strikeouts. His power output is also well below his career norms.
Last week, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs identified nine possible destinations for Tulowitzki. He referred to the Mets, Red Sox, and Yankees as the most likely bidders. The long standing connection with the Mets is challenged by their complex financial situation. Cameron suggests the Red Sox could include Xander Bogaerts as part of a trade. If that was the case, I suspect they might be in the best position to secure a deal. The Yankees certainly have the necessary money, but they’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of payroll committed to aging players.
Shaikin adds that the Dodgers would love to slot Tulo at shortstop with top prospect Corey Seager sliding over to third base. While they have the financial wherewithal and enough talented prospects to participate in a trade, it’s unlikely the Rockies would deal directly with their rich rivals. Instead, Los Angeles could attempt to play financial facilitator as part of a three-team trade. The Dodgers attempted to mediate the Josh Hamilton trade by including money for a prospect.
Cameron also explored a hypothetical trade package for the nine teams he identified. Tulowitzki’s contract probably has $50MM to $60MM of surplus value per Cameron, so he should elicit a sizable return. However, the $63MM signing of Yoan Moncada – not a top 10 prospect per all major outlets – indicates that the upper crust of prospects are probably off the table. In other words, no Mookie Betts, no Carlos Correa, and no Seager (among others).
Tulowitzki could return multiple second tier prospects. Cameron names Luis Severino and Aaron Judge as a possible package from the Yankees. The Mets could bundle Noah Syndergaard, Amed Rosario, and Steven Matz. Of course, these are just some hypothetical ideas. The Rockies could try to eat some money in exchange for a true elite prospect, or they might prefer a deep five or six player package.
Despite shaky defense, Wilmer Flores will remain the Mets starting shortstop, reports Ken Rosenthal in his latest video for FOX Sports. However, one alternative is to trade Daniel Murphy, shift Flores to second base, and promote shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds. The move would instantly upgrade the Mets’ infield defense. Per Rosenthal, the club may prefer to promote Reynolds once David Wright returns to action.
As for trading Murphy, the club may look to acquire a prospect or reliever. Aside from Jeurys Familia and a couple role players, the Mets bullpen has been a little shaky. However, strong starting pitching has allowed the club to hide that shortcoming. New York relievers have thrown the fewest innings of any team. Conversely, their starters lead the league in innings pitched. Here’s more from Rosenthal:
- Cubs second base prospect Javier Baez is on an 11-for-22 streak, leading to speculation that he could be promoted. The easiest way to insert him into the lineup would be to move Kris Bryant to the outfield and Baez to third. Since the club is juggling several important future pieces, they’ll want to be careful about how they handle the logjam.
- The Orioles are built to sell with eight players on the 25 man roster set to reach free agency after the season. Don’t expect a fire sale anytime soon. Baltimore is just four games back in a shaky AL East. Owner Peter Angelos is loathe to throw in the towel. He famously nixed a couple trades involving Bobby Bonilla and David Wells during the 1996 season. The club later clawed its way into the postseason. It would seem the Orioles’ woes would have to get a lot worse before Chris Davis and others were shopped.
- Many speculate that Mark Trumbo will be available this summer, however the Diamondbacks have publicly resisted the idea. Per Rosenthal, the club believes they will contend next season once Patrick Corbin and other youngsters solidify the rotation. Trumbo is signed to a $6.9MM contract and has one year of arbitration remaining. Arizona could replace Trumbo with a platoon of David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas.
None of the top candidates for the first overall pick in the upcoming amateur draft seem likely to command the $8.6MM+ bonus slotted for the #1 pick, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes as part of a draft mailbag. Callis notes that the Diamondbacks would likely save a couple of million on whomever they pick first overall, making the team’s explorations of taking a lesser-ranked prospect first to save even more bonus pool money seem rather needless. “There’s no need to do a discount of $4 million or more, and it’s unlikely there will be enough quality players to spend that much extra money on in later rounds,” Callis writes.
Here’s more from the National League:
- The Marlins‘ decision not to pursue Rafael Soriano does not indicate that the team is not going to look to spur change in its pen, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Nevertheless, the focus is now internal. A.J. Ramos is just beginning his audition in the closer’s role, and should get a fairly long look. Otherwise, righties David Phelps and Tom Koehler could be shifted to full-time bullpen roles. It makes sense for Miami to see how things look with in-house changes now, of course, to gather information before the summer trade market heats up.
- Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera is headed to the DL with a broken middle finger on this throwing hand, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (Twitter links). Third baseman and utilityman Eric Campbell will slide into the mix for the time being. It remains to be seen how long Herrera will be out, but his absence could impact the club in a multitude of ways. For one thing, it reduces (or even eliminates) the possibility that Herrera will seize the everyday job and render Daniel Murphy a trade piece — an admittedly somewhat unlikely scenario to begin with, especially given David Wright‘s prolonged absence. Also of note: the decision to tab Campbell means that the team is not yet ready to bump Wilmer Flores off of shortstop, which was at least a theoretical alternative if Matt Reynolds had received the call. Unless and until Flores can curb his difficulties in the field, the position will remain an area of focus. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes, the overall disposition in New York (particularly given the context of a five-game losing streak) is not terribly sunny at present.
- The Rockies‘ shortstop situation is also going to continue to get press, albeit for somewhat different reasons. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs takes a shot at valuing Troy Tulowitzki, opining that the excellent but oft-injured star would probably command something north of the Jacoby Ellsbury contract. That implies something like $50MM to $60MM in excess value in his contract, says Cameron, indicating that Tulo might bring back a package of very good prospects rather than one headlined by a super-premium young player. (Though, as Cameron notes, we should expect some mark-up for an in-season deal. Last year’s Jeff Samardzija–Addison Russell trade certainly illustrates that point.) The article suggests some possible groups of players that could theoretically be offered to Colorado.
The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the Yankees, Giants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.
Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…
- The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
- Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
- Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
- Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
- Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
- It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
- The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
- In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alexi Amarista | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Correa | Chicago Cubs | Clay Buchholz | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Didi Gregorius | Hector Rondon | Houston Astros | Jean Segura | Juan Uribe | Kyle Lohse | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Matt Garza | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Noah Syndergaard | Oakland Athletics | Rafael Soriano | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Scott Kazmir | St. Louis Cardinals | Steven Matz | Troy Tulowitzki | Wilmer Flores | Yunel Escobar
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…
- Infielder Jake Fox has agreed to a deal with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reports (via Twitter). Fox was playing for the Blue Jays‘ Double-A affiliate after signing a minor league deal with Toronto during the offseason, and Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Jays released Fox to facilitate his move to KBO. Fox last played in the majors in 2011 and has since bounced around between the minors, independent leagues and Mexican leagues.
- ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports (via Twitter) that the Mets have signed former Blue Jays and Indians first baseman David Cooper to a minor league deal. Cooper, a former first-round pick, was batting .273/.351/.394 in 18 games for the independent Lancaster BarnStormers when the Mets brought him on board. He’ll serve as a depth piece for the organization and has been assigned to Double-A Binghamton, according to Rubin.
- Infielder Luis Jimenez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Red Sox, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Jimenez, 27, received just one plate appearance with Boston and has 17 on the year between the Sox and Brewers. He’s a career .217/.253/.268 batter in 168 trips to the plate but has authored an impressive .295/.327/.485 triple slash in 287 Triple-A games throughout his minor league career — all in the Angels’ system.
- Right-hander Anthony Swarzak has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus after clearing waivers, the Indians announced (on Twitter). Cleveland designated Swarzak for assignment when they needed a 40-man roster spot for Bruce Chen. The DFA was somewhat of a surprise, given that Swarzak has produced excellent results this season after signing a minor league deal this winter. The long-time Twins swingman has tossed 13 1/3 innings, yielding five earned runs for a 3.38 ERA. Swarzak did surrender 18 hits, but those knocks come as a result of a .395 BABIP. The 29-year-old punched out 13 hitters against just three unintentional walks with the Indians and averaged 92.2 mph on his heater. Swarzak’s uptick in strikeouts may be the result of his conversion to a two-pitch pitcher, as he’s thrown nothing but four-seamers and sliders in 2015, jettisoning a two-seamer, his curve and a rarely used changeup.
Rockies starter Jordan Lyles has apparently escaped last night’s injury scare with nothing more than a significant bruise on his right hand, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Lyles says he hopes to make his next start, though it is probably too soon to tell whether he’ll miss some action. The 24-year-old was struck on his throwing hand by an Albert Pujols comebacker last night, with the subsequent swelling leading many to fear that he may have suffered a fracture. Lyles and Eddie Butler have arguably been the Rockies’ most consistent starters this season.
More from the NL West…
- Hector Olivera is expected to arrive in Los Angeles tonight, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The Cuban infielder will take his physical and, presuming all is well, his agreement with the Dodgers will finally be official.
- James Shields is delivering on the mound and in the clubhouse for the Padres, leading USA Today’s Bob Nightengale to wonder if the several teams who passed on Shields this winter are now second-guessing their decision.
- Wil Myers has tendinitis in his left wrist as the Padres hope that a few days of rest will help the outfielder avoid a DL stint, MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets. Myers underwent surgery on his right wrist last year, though he was dealing with an existing left wrist injury at that time as well.
- Don Mattingly deserves credit for keeping the Dodgers in first place despite several key injuries and some underperforming stars, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines. There have been rumors that the team’s new front office could bring in their own manager after the season is over or if the Dodgers struggled, yet Sherman feels Mattingly is staking his claim as a long-term answer in the dugout.
- Despite the growing buzz surrounding Troy Tulowitzki‘s name, a source tells the Record’s Matt Ehalt that the Mets haven’t changed their thoughts on acquiring the longtime star shortstop. Ehalt cites Tulowitzki’s injury history, the money remaining on his contract and a repeated unwillingness from the Mets to part with top-tier pitching prospects. Wilmer Flores, who homered today, has shown good pop but questionable on-base skills and defense in his first extended look at shortstop in the Majors.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discussed the Rockies in his latest piece, writing that it’s “obvious to everyone” but Rockies owner Dick Monfort that the time to trade Tulowitzki has come. However, rather than look to begin moving pieces in the wake of a 10-game losing streak, the Rockies are still actively searching for starting pitching in hopes of improving the club. Rosenthal notes that the second wild card spot in each league can often act as “fool’s gold,” leading teams without legitimate hopes of contending to delay, or in some cases, refuse to sell off pieces with an eye toward the future.
Veteran Ryan Doumit, who played last year for the Braves, “considers his playing career over,” according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The 34-year-old switch hitter logged 166 plate appearances last year in Atlanta, slashing just .197/.235/.318. He has had many more productive seasons in his decade in the big leagues, of course, and owns a lifetime .264/.324/.432 batting line. Doumit also spent significant time with the Pirates and Twins after being drafted in the second round of the 1999 amateur draft by Pittsburgh. While it appears that Doumit will not look to make a return to the bigs, the wording of the report suggests that he is not yet prepared to make an official retirement.
Here are some NL East Notes:
- The Marlins‘ interest in Rafael Soriano is tied closely to his cost, according to a Twitter report from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. As things stand, Miami is only willing to bite if it can add him “at a low price,” per the report. It is not terribly surprising to learn that the Fish are not prepared to break the bank at this stage for the veteran righty; as the initial reports of interest suggested, the club is looking at all options to deal with its late-inning relief woes.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he is not currently interested in adding a shortstop,Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. “Nothing has changed,” said Alderson of the team’s current daily deployment of Wilmer Flores. That is not terribly surprising given the timing, of course — to say nothing of the fact that Alderson would not be likely to broadcast any interest he did have — but should at least function to curb any immediate speculation about the possibility of a Troy Tulowitzki blockbuster.
With the teams in the midst of an interesting series at Wrigley Field, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer discussed the oft-speculated match between his club and the Mets, with the former blessed with numerous young middle infielders and the latter possessing a number of appealing young arms. Hoyer acknowledged that there have been discussions between the clubs. “We haven’t made a deal yet, but there’s been matches that made sense, and I’m sure we’ll talk to them in the future,” said Hoyer. Though the Chicago executive noted that it remains likely that the clubs will match up on a deal of some kind “at some point,” it remains unclear whether there is any realistic possibility of traction on a significant deal involving their best respective talent.
- While plenty of water has passed under the bridge in the meantime, the Mets did ask the Cubs about the availability of top shortstop prospect Addison Russell at more than one point over the winter, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. But talks never moved on that front, as Chicago made clear it was not interested in dealing its newly-acquired blue chip piece. The report, along with the team’s aggressive promotion of Russell to man second base at the big league level, obviously suggests that the Cubs’ internal assessment of Russell meets or exceeds that of the industry as a whole. Indeed, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com opines that a trade of Starlin Castro — possibly, to the Mets — and commitment to Russell makes good sense for the Cubs, at least in the long term.
- Both clubs are, of course, set to get a good look at the Mets‘ own best prospect, Noah Syndergaard, as he squares off against Russell and company tonight in the first start off his big league career. MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes that the ascension of Syndergaard is a clear sign that New York is ready to compete — and to do so on its own terms. “It’s been tough,” skipper Terry Collins said yesterday. “There have been times there are big names out there [available in trades or free agency] and we said, ‘We have to hold tight, we have to be patient. Our guys are coming, and when they get here, we’re going to be good for a long period of time.’ And I think that time is right around the corner. I hope it starts tomorrow.” As is the case with Russell, these comments seem to indicate that New York is hopeful that a rising Syndergaard will help drive the club in the immediate term — even in spite of an already quite productive rotation — which certainly reduces the already-low chance that he will be considered as a trade chip. They also provide further reminder that Mets GM Sandy Alderson has been quite selective in striking trades, preferring for the time being to monitor the development of internal talent while adding additional young pieces (quite successfully, of late) when the timing proved beneficial.
- For my money, while attention is focused on the matter now, Chicago would be wise to wait until the last possible moment to decide whether to move a middle infield piece this summer. Much depends upon the information gathered in the meantime on the team’s ultimate postseason likelihood and specific needs, the readiness of Russell, and the development of Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara. As a large market club with rising payroll capacity, Chicago can afford to wait to make its moves. Similarly, the Mets are right to take more time in assessing Wilmer Flores at short — to say nothing of watching Dilson Herrera at second and seeing how David Wright responds to his rehab — and getting a better read on their own playoff prospects this year. It remains possible to imagine a scenario where these clubs match up over the summer, or perhaps more plausibly next winter, but the connection remains highly conditional as things stand.
The Mets will promote top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard to start on Tuesday, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters today, including ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin (Twitter link). Righty Dillon Gee is headed to the DL with a groin strain, though the injury does not appear to be serious.
Syndergaard, 22, is widely regarded as one of the very best prospects in all of baseball. The towering righty came to New York along with backstop Travis d’Arnaud in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays.
Since that trade, Syndergaard has shot up prospect boards by continuing to show a huge fastball, solid control, and quality secondary offerings, as Baseball America explained in rating him New York’s best minor league arm coming into the year. There is a clear industry consensus that Syndergaard is ready and able to be a quality big league pitcher: BA rated him the 11th best prospect in the game, with MLB.com (#10) and Baseball Prospectus (#9) concurring in the general assessment. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs is somewhat less bullish, but only slightly, as he rated Syndergaard just inside the top 20 while expressing some concern with the consistency of the youngster’s offspeed offerings.
Syndergaard has done nothing to tamper expectations so far in 2015. Over 29 2/3 frames at Triple-A Las Vegas, a tough place to pitch, he has a 1.82 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9. That start to the year seems to answer any questions that might have cropped up after Syndergaard proved somewhat easier to score against than expected last year (4.60 ERA) in his first run at the highest level of the minors.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether Syndergaard will hold down a big league job this year. Certainly, the opportunity is there. While Gee has been as solid as usual, and the Mets have ample rotation depth even after losing Zack Wheeler for the year, the club’s strong 18-10 opening to the year only raises expectations and increases the importance of putting the best product possible on the field.
If Syndergaard is able to hold onto an active roster slot all season, he would set himself up for future Super Two qualification. But by keeping him down to start the year, the Mets would retain control over their prized young arm through 2021. Regardless of roster status, it is not likely that Syndergaard will spend the entire year putting up long outings at the big league level; he has yet to exceed 133 frames in a professional season, meaning the club will likely look to manage his innings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
David Wright‘s return to the Mets will take longer than expected, as the team announced this afternoon that Wright’s rehab from a hamstring injury has been shut down due to the development of lower back pain. Wright underwent an MRI that did not reveal any structural damage, but the Mets say that he will not resume baseball activities until the back pain has subsided. Wright, 32, was hitting .333/.317/.424 through his first eight games at the time of the injury. Eric Campbell and Daniel Murphy have absorbed the bulk of the playing time at third base, but obviously the loss of Wright for now extended period of time is a notable hindrance on the team. I wouldn’t expect the Mets to pursue any form of long-term option, but a short-term pickup that could competently handle third base and allow Murphy to slide back over to second in place of the struggling Dilson Herrera is at least plausible.
A couple more notes on some Mets pitching prospects…
- Noah Syndergaard, not Steven Matz, would be the next in line should the need for a spot start arise, reports Newsday’s David Lennon (via Twitter). Syndergaard’s Triple-A experience has him ahead of Matz at this time, and with Rafael Montero sidelined, he’d be the next line of defense. As it stands, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee comprise the Mets’ rotation. Gee began the year as a trade candidate — he may still be once Syndergaard/Matz have developed more and Montero is healthy — but he’s performed well enough to hold down a rotation spot thus far.
- Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal tweeted yesterday that Mets pitching prospect Domingo Tapia has undergone Tommy John surgery. Tapia formerly ranked as one of New York’s 10 best prospects on Baseball America’s Top 30 list (prior to the 2013 season), but he fell to 19th prior to 2014 and missed the list entirely this past offseason. Last year, the 22-year-old Tapia spent the season with Class-A Advanced St. Lucie and worked to a 3.96 ERA but whiffed just 56 strikeouts against 51 walks. He moved up to Double-A this year but threw just 1 2/3 innings before falling to injury.