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New York Mets Rumors
The Marlins plan to offer Giancarlo Stanton a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in team history, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported back in August that Miami would try to lock up its 24-year-old star for the long term, though the team was not necessarily optimistic of reaching agreement. For his part, Stanton tells Nightengale that he is willing to hear offers, but still wants to see “some progression moving forward.” “It will be interesting to hear what they have to say when the time comes,” he said, “but right now, I’m not worrying about it. I mean, we’re still in this season. When this season is over, then we can start thinking about 2015.”
Here’s more from the National League:
- Mets third baseman David Wright will be shut down for the rest of the year but is not expected to require surgery on his left shoulder, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reported (via Twitter) on in advance of a team announcement. The club says that Wright has experienced persistent inflammation in his left shoulder, which may go some way to explaining his uncharacteristically average .269/.324/.374 slash this year. The star 31-year-old is owed $107MM over 2015-2020.
- Ryan Braun of the Brewers has seen his ongoing thumb issues expand to become a broader problem with his right hand, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Though surgical options have been explored, it was determined that none seemed sure enough to warrant the risk. Since a hot start, Braun has seen his numbers dwindle and then fall off a cliff of late. He is still owed $12MM on an earlier extension next year before his five-year, $105MM pact kicks in starting in 2016.
- Left-handed starter Jon Lester makes sense as a free agent target for the Cubs, argues Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. He is young and sturdy enough to warrant a significant investment, says Rogers, though Chicago can also choose to forego an overpay given the number of solid arms that could be had on the open market in 2016.
After Braves CEO Terry McGuirk told Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “everyone is accountable” in Atlanta, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if General Manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez could be in trouble. Gonzalez oversees an offense that often looks lost and is next-to-last in the National League in runs per game. Wren, meanwhile, gave contracts to second baseman Dan Uggla (who has since been released) and center fielder B.J. Upton that didn’t pan out.
While anything is possible given their recent struggles, people in the industry would be surprised if the Braves made major changes, unless tension is building underneath the surface that people aren’t aware of. Wren is close with McGuirk, major league sources say, and Gonzalez was Wren’s hand-picked choice to replace Bobby Cox. Here’s more from today’s column..
- The Pirates want to keep Russell Martin, but the veteran’s price in free agency could be too rich for their blood. The 31-year-old will be the best and youngest catcher on the market by far and even though catchers historically don’t cash in in free agency, he won’t be had for another two-year, $17MM bargain. He won’t garner something like Miguel Montero‘s five-year, $60MM extension but he should at least beat the three-year, $26MM free-agent deal that the Carlos Ruiz signed last winter entering his age 35 season. Pittsburgh could try to keep Martin with a one-year, ~$15MM qualifying offer, but as Rosenthal notes, they didn’t do that with A.J. Burnett last winter. Martin ranked ninth in Tim Dierkes’ most recent Free Agent Power Rankings for MLBTR. Dierkes suggested Martin could receive a four-year deal north of $50MM.
- Rosenthal wouldn’t be surprised if Joe McEwing winds up as the next manager of the Diamondbacks. Even if he doesn’t land with Arizona, White Sox officials say McEwing’s intelligence and energy will make him a strong candidate for other jobs.
- Drew Smyly is benefiting from the Rays‘ focus on analytics. Upon joining the team, the Rays gave the 25-year-old some keen instruction and asked him elevate his fastball more. Those tips have led to some great work by Smyly in Tampa Bay and Rosenthal wonders why the Tigers didn’t pick up on some of the same things.
- The Orioles lost catcher Matt Wieters, but the makeshift combination of rookie Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley, acquired from the Padres in May, has proven quite adequate. The two have combined for an OPS right around the American League average at catcher.
- While the Mets like second baseman Dilson Herrera, Rosenthal says that doesn’t mean they should trade Daniel Murphy. No team will give the Mets comparable offensive talent for Murphy and the smart move would be to instead sign him to an extension.
The Yankees‘ ceremony for retiring icon Derek Jeter on Sunday was “undeniably nice,” but “sort of weird,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The ceremony felt “grim,” Rosenthal opines, and underpinning all the celebration was the fact that the Yankees likely aren’t going to the playoffs this year. Jeter is the last remaining player of the Yankees’ “Core Four” that also included Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, and it might be awhile before the Yankees are again able to reach the lofty heights they did when those players were in their primes. Here’s more from throughout baseball.
- The WAR statistic currently used by many fans as an all-encompassing evaluation tool needs to change, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. Most of Passan’s criticisms have to do with assigning win values to defensive performances in ways that aren’t suitably sensitive to context and that vary too widely. Passan thinks WAR might value good defensive corner outfielders (like Jason Heyward) too highly. Also, different types of WAR are calculated differently, which sometimes leads to large differences in how the two key types of WAR (Fangraphs and Baseball Reference) evaluate both position players and pitchers.
- The Mets will select the contract of veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu and promote reliever Gonzalez Germen this week, but they will not promote pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, Andy Call of MLB.com reports. “[Not calling up Syndergaard] was definitely a decision we talked about a lot,” says Mets assistant GM John Ricco. “If there were some starting pitching opportunities left, it might have been different. But there are no starting opportunities here the rest of the season.” Newsday’s Marc Carig reported in late August that the Mets were unlikely to make Syndergaard a September call-up. Syndergaard, the Mets’ top prospect, posted a 4.60 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 133 innings at the Mets’ hitter-friendly Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas this season. Las Vegas was eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs Saturday.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Pirates have outrighted Chris McGuiness and Michael Martinez to Triple-A Indianapolis after the pair cleared waivers, tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel. McGuiness and Martinez were both designated for assignment this past week.
- The Mets will add outfielder Bobby Abreu to their 40-man roster tomorrow when his contract is officially purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The move fills the remaining spot on the team’s 40-man roster. This will be the 40-year-old’s second stint with the Mets this year as he was designated for assignment in August after posting a .238/.331/.336 line in 142 plate appearances. Ten days later, he inked a minor league deal to remain with the organization.
- The Rangers have announced they have purchased the contract of infielder Guilder Rodriguez from Double-A Frisco. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club placed Yu Darvish on the 60-day disabled list. Rodriguez holds the distinction for playing the most minor league games of any current player (1,095) without MLB experience. The 31-year-old, profiled by Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest, has a slash of .260/.340/.290 in 384 plate appearances for Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock this season while playing all four infield positions, as well as both corner outfield spots.
- There are currently five players residing in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Michael Kohn (Angels), Chris Dwyer and Blake Wood (Royals), and Matt Hague and Darin Mastroianni (Blue Jays).
Earlier this evening, we learned that Mets officials are uncertain of manager Terry Collins future with the organization, via Ken Rosenthal’s latest (video link). GM Sandy Alderson’s status is also up in the air, although it’s widely assumed that the club will exercise his 2015 option or negotiate an extension. However, Collins may not return for a fifth season in New York.
Pitch counts could prove to be a sticking point. For example, Rosenthal noted that Zack Wheeler ranks fourth in baseball in pitches per start. He averaged 103 pitches per start, yet he’s also averaged fewer than six innings per start. Jacob deGrom, another fixture of the Mets projected 2015 rotation, has averaged 102 pitches with about six and one-third innings per start.
The Mets are currently in fourth place in the NL East, but they’re only half a game ahead of the last place Phillies. Collins’ club wasn’t expected to contend this season with Matt Harvey sidelined for the season. Still, their current 67-75 record is something of a disappointment, especially with improvements from Wheeler, Lucas Duda, Jenrry Mejia, and Travis d’Arnaud. However, it’s hard to blame Collins for poor performances from David Wright and Curtis Granderson.
The club is reportedly considering three options – they could keep Collins, dismiss him, or dismiss some of his staff. The latter option could be a compromise to address the pitch count complaints and other internal issues. Mets ownership is said to support Collins, reports Rosenthal, and they likely carry the strongest voices in any decision.
So, what will the Mets do?
- The Mets are divided on whether Terry Collins should manage the team in 2015, Rosenthal writes. One sticking point is that Collins has young pitchers like Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom throw too many pitches. Since there isn’t agreement on Collins among Mets officials, one compromise might be to keep him but to dismiss some of his coaches.
- The Orioles could decline their $17.5MM option on Nick Markakis, pay him a $2MM buyout, and extend him a qualifying offer. If he were to accept it, there wouldn’t be much of a difference financially — the total cost would be about the same as his option. But if he were to decline the qualifying offer, he would be an intriguing addition to a free agent market that doesn’t have much position player talent.
- The Rockies need more starting pitching, and impending free agent Justin Masterson, a ground ball pitcher, could be a good fit at Coors Field.
- Rangers coaches Tim Bogar and Mike Maddux are both logical candidates to replace Ron Washington, but much remains to be determined — both coaches could also be candidates to replace Bo Porter with the Astros, and there could soon be other open managerial jobs, likely including that of the Diamondbacks.
Here’s the latest out of the National League East:
- The Phillies could well attempt to trade outfielder Domonic Brown in an offseason change-of-scenery swap, according to a report from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Looking at Philadelphia’s options in the outfield next year, Gelb indicates that a return for Grady Sizemore could be attractive given the dearth of options on the free agent market. Meanwhile, the club could remake the rest of its mix if it were to deal Brown and/or veteran Marlon Byrd.
- “There seems to be genuine internal debate and uncertainty over what the [Mets] will do” regarding manager Terry Collins, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino spoke with another club official that thinks it’s difficult to get a feel for Collins’ job security, while another added, “I think we have a ways to go before that’s decided.”
- General manager Sandy Alderson is a different story, Martino writes. Not only is Alderson’s job safe, Martino reports, but there are signs that he’s likely to receive a contract extension from the Mets. Alderson, currently under contract through the 2015 season, has been the Mets’ general manager since taking over for Omar Minaya following the 2010 season.
- Alderson discussed some of the team’s current and future roster maneuvers regarding younger players in an interview with Lynn Worthy of the Press & Sun Bulletin (h/t to MetsBlog). The club will look to give both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki a look behind the plate next spring, though Alderson noted that the latter does not yet need to be given a 40-man spot. Looking ahead at filling needs at shortstop and in the outfield, Alderson said he is still evaluating internal options — he mentioned Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, and Matt den Dekker as younger players who had played well recently — before deciding on a strategy for the open market. “[W]e’ve got to assess what we have before we start going out and canvassing the free-agent market,” he said.
While there have been indications that the Marlins won’t trade Giancarlo Stanton, many writers continue to speculate and discuss the possibility with league sources, and ESPN’s Buster Olney is the latest to talk Stanton with executives from around baseball (ESPN Insider required). Olney spoke to many executives about the potential NL MVP, with one telling him, “No team is going to give up the kind of prospects that is going to be required without knowing they’re going to be able to keep him.” The “kind of prospects” to which that official refers, according to Olney, is a Top 5 type of prospect that can serve as the anchor for the deal in front of many other well-regarded prospects. One executive half-joked that the Dodgers, for example, should open negotiations by simply offering all three of Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias, as the price will be astronomical. (Olney notes that Miami would ask for two of the three at the very least.) Olney names several teams that have the necessary prospects, including the Cubs (Kris Bryant), Cardinals (Oscar Taveras, presumably, as he doesn’t specify) and Astros (Carlos Correa, presumably) among others. And Stanton’s price tag on Stanton’s next major contract? Execs polled by Olney pegged him for a deal in the $250-300MM range, though it seems possible for that expectation to rise if he hits free agency after two more elite and healthy seasons.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Stanton is the focus of the latest from Grantland’s Jonah Keri, who looks at the historic company with which Stanton has aligned himself early in his career. Keri’s excellent piece points out that Stanton is just the 11th player in history to have 150+ homers through his age-24 season. Additionally, when looking at players who have signed contracts for $180MM+, only two had amassed a higher WAR total than Stanton’s 20.9 (Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols). Keri and researcher Michael Bonzagni “scoured” history books to find a player with the same level of skill, youth and success that was traded at this juncture of his career, and the only comparison they could find came back in 1919 — a man by the name of George Herman Ruth.
- Rehabbing Mets starter Matt Harvey will throw a few more bullpen sessions and then be shut down until the spring, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. He will reach the point of using all his pitches and throwing in a simulated inning setting, but will not face batters until ramping back up. Needless to say, Harvey’s recovery is a critical piece of the club’s plans both in the immediate and long term.
- James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the legal battle between the Orioles and Nationals over the latter’s television rights with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) will drag on for at least three more months. The O’s have until Sept. 23 to file an amended petition to the New York Supreme Court, and the Nationals and MLB have until Oct. 20 to file a cross petition to dispute the other side’s claims. All parties involved will meet before a judge for a Dec. 15 hearing, Wagner adds.
Mets reliever Bobby Parnell, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, says he is making good progress and expects to be ready for the spring, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports. Having suffered his injury early in 2014, it seems that Parnell has a good chance of returning early in the year, if not by Opening Day itself. That would create difficult but welcome decisions for New York, which has received encouraging production from some younger late-inning arms like Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, and Jeurys Familia.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- The Mets are using the rest of this year to take a long look at outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 27-year-old will be out of options next year. Though he has spent much of the year at Triple-A, Nieuwenhuis has posted a strong .259/.361/.506 slash with three home runs and four stolen bases over his 97 big league plate appearances to date.
- An underappreciated element of the Nationals‘ success is the team’s well-balanced lineup, writes Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs. The club’s current starting lineup is made up entirely of players who have produced better than league average offensively this year, and that is with Ryan Zimmerman still on the disabled list.
- Of course, that same well-balanced group of position players will also make for some tough decisions — both now and in the future — when Zimmerman returns to the mix. His torn hamstring is improving, making a mid to late-September return seem likely, according to a report from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. When he is activated, manager Matt Williams says, Zimmerman will play multiple defensive positions as he dials in his bat. “I would imagine he’ll play all three of those, on any given day,” said Williams. That creates some interesting possibilities for the Nats down the stretch, as they will be able to match up for the platoon advantage, give rest to regulars, and find a workable strategy for the postseason. It also could provide a look ahead at some of the possible arrangements for 2015 and beyond.
- Whereas the Nats have plenty of options, the Phillies have few, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. The club will shed only minimal veteran obligations after this year (Kyle Kendrick and Mike Adams), and arbitration raises will absorb much of that cash. Philadelphia’s problems remain largely the same as those I predicted and Petriello documented earlier this year: despite solid enough production from older players, the team’s overall roster (and, especially, its younger side) has not been good enough to rise out of the cellar. As Petriello goes on to argue, GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s stated intention to turn over the club’s roster will play out against the stark backdrop that there are limited apparent routes — shopping Cole Hamels, getting something for Marlon Byrd, perhaps convincing Chase Utley to accept a trade — to swapping present value for future talent.
Newly-anointed interim Phillies president Pat Gillick spoke with reporters today, including CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Gillick said there has been “no thought whatsoever” to firing GM Ruben Amaro Jr. or manager Ryne Sandberg, saying that his protege Amaro “didn’t get dumb overnight” after playing an important role in the construction of the team’s latest run of success. But Gillick will be focused on baseball operations, and says that he would have final say if there were any disagreements on personnel issues (while emphasizing that he and Amaro are generally on the same page). As a general matter, Gillick said that he would both function as an “interim caretaker” and an agent of change for the organization. The complete interview is well worth a full read.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- Phillies ace Cole Hamels is likely to be dealt in the offseason, opines Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Turning him into young talent is virtually the only realistic way that the club can convert present assets into future ones, Passan says.
- The Mets ought to deploy Daniel Murphy as a Ben Zobrist-like super-utility player rather than trade him, argues Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Utilizing youngsters Wilmer Flores and/or Dilson Herrera at second and moving Murphy around the diamond — among other moves, of course — could be the best way to maximize value and potentially create a contender, Sherman suggests.
- Braves righty Kris Medlen, nearly six months removed from his second Tommy John procedure, has begun throwing a baseball, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Though his recovery is still just beginning, Medlen will be quite an interesting player to keep an eye on over the coming offseason. (He is still arb-eligible for a final time.)