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New York Yankees Rumors
Here are today’s outright assignments and minor moves from around the league…
- The Yankees announced that they’ve outrighted left-hander Jose De Paula to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. De Paula, 27, made his big league debut with the Yankees last week, pitching 3 1/3 innings of and allowing one run on two hits and four walks with two strikeouts. De Paula was designated for assignment two days ago in order to clear space on the roster for the activation of Ivan Nova. He’d signed a split contract this offseason that pays him $510K in the Majors and $175K in the minors.
The starting pitching market is beginning to take shape around the league. Let’s have a look at the latest reports:
- As the Angels try to remain patient with their lack of production from many lineup spots, they remain in the market for bats and “have dangled” starter C.J. Wilson, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. The Halos would also consider moving prospect arms, per the report, though the team is not interested in parting with the best of the bunch: Andrew Heaney, Sean Newcomb, and Chris Ellis. Wilson, who is playing on a $18MM salary this year and is owed $20MM for next season, has worked to a 3.92 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 96 1/3 innings.
- The Pirates are looking at both the Red Sox and Phillies as they consider adding a starter, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Pittsburgh is also interested in a first base upgrade, per the report. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported recently on the Bucs’ interest in Clay Buchholz, though he noted that it seems unlikely that Boston will deal away the righty with two reasonably-priced option years still left on his deal. Philadelphia is sending a scout to take a look at the Pirates’ Double-A affiliate, says Biertempful, who suggests that Aaron Harang could conceivably make sense to add rotation depth.
- At least as of yesterday afternoon, the Yankees “were not on [Cole] Hamels,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Nevertheless, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, New York could ultimately feel it necessary to add a high-quality arm. Sherman ticks through some options, noting that there is “nothing active ongoing with the Reds” and suggesting that Jeff Samardzija could be a prime target if the Yankees decide to pursue a starter.
- The Dodgers had a top scout (Galen Carr, per Sherman) on hand to watch Hamels pitch at Yankee Stadium yesterday, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported. That outing likely did not do much to commend the lefty, but obviously the club will be looking at a much broader body of work in assessing whether to move on Hamels.
This one probably sounds worse than it is: the Yankees fell just $5K shy of landing Maikel Franco as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports on Twitter. Franco ultimately received a $100K bonus from the Phillies, and of course ultimately rose to become quite a well-regarded young player. For his part, Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated that he is not aware that the team fell just shy of picking up a winning lottery ticket, but neither did he deny that an offer may have been made, as Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News reports. Regardless of what really happened, of course, it would be awfully hard to lay much fault on the New York international scouting department for missing out on Franco, who was obviously not a premium prospect at that time (as his bonus indicates) and took some time to blossom as a professional. Philadelphia does certainly deserve some praise, however, for its investment: the now-22-year-old entered play today with a .319/.368/.604 slash and ten long balls over 155 plate appearances on the year.
Here’s a look at the latest from the AL and NL East..
- The Red Sox have shown no interest in dealing pitcher Clay Buchholz, major league sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. That’s no surprise given the way that Buchholz has pitched (3.87 ERA, 8.8 K/9 vs. 2.3 BB/9) and his team friendly deal, which allows for club options in both 2016 ($13MM) and ’17 ($13.5MM). For his part, Buchholz wants to stay in Boston through the end of his deal. “Yeah, unless something crazy happens I expect to be here,” he said. “I’ve always called this place home. [Trades] happen, and it’s happened to a lot of guys, where they walk in and they’re told their somewhere. That’s the business part of it and I think everybody understands that. I would love to be here throughout the next couple of years and everything goes well sign another extension. That’s sort of how I look at it.”
- Could the struggling Mets make a managerial change? As of right now, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Talk of the Mets dismissing skipper Terry Collins is “very premature,” a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter). New York is mired in a six-game slide and has dropped back to .500, but it is certainly tough to blame Collins for the roster’s lack of offensive punch and variety of injuries.
- If the Red Sox fall out of the race, Boston would almost certainly trade Mike Napoli or let him go, as Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal writes. The aging slugger is in his walk year and he doesn’t figure to be in the plans for next season and beyond. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what kind of market there would be for the 33-year-old in July. His overall slash hasn’t been pretty, but he’s still doing well against lefties, hitting .226/.351/.516. Recently, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd checked in on Napoli’s free agent stock.
The Yankees signed De Paula to a one-year major league contract back in November. The split contract called for the left-hander to earn $510K for pitching in the majors and $175K in the minors. De Paula, 27, owns a 3.77 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over 470 career innings in the minors. In total, De Paula made just three appearances for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
The Yankees will get a first-hand look at Cole Hamels later today when the Phillies’ ace takes the hill for the series finale between the two clubs at Yankee Stadium, and Newsday’s David Lennon writes that they’ll be paying close attention to his performance, as the Yankees haven’t ruled out a pursuit of Hamels on the trade market.
The cost to acquire Hamels, both financially and prospect-wise, would be significant, but Lennon hears that such obstacles don’t necessarily preclude interest on the Yankees’ behalf. The Yankees have a full rotation at the moment, with Ivan Nova coming off the disabled list to join Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren. Of course, there are persistent injury concerns with both Tanaka and Pineda, and the team will likely want to monitor the workloads of both Nova (one year removed from Tommy John) and Warren, who has thrown a combined 155 2/3 innings over the past two seasons.
Obviously, this report is preliminary in nature, so it’s best not to get too carried away with speculation, but one would imagine that the Phillies would express interest in the list of usual suspects that sit atop the Yankees’ prospect rankings. Right-hander Luis Severino, right fielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo are among the most highly regarded Yankees prospects. Further lending some insight into the possibilities, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote this morning that the Phillies’ preference seems to be to add offensive prospects, preferably ones that are reasonably close to the Majors.
Hamels is guaranteed $86.2MM through the guaranteed portion of his contract, which ends in the 2018 season. He’ll have $12.66MM remaining on this year’s $22.5MM salary following tonight’s start, plus $22.5MM annually from 2016-18. He has a club/vesting option for the 2019 season that is valued at $20MM and comes with a $6MM buyout. While there’s been speculation that Hamels would want that option guaranteed to approve a deal to a club on his no-trade list, that’s not an issue for the Yankees, because they are one of two American League clubs that are not on Hamels’ no-trade list. (The Rangers, who have also been connected to Hamels in the past 24 hours, are also pre-approved by the left-hander.)
The Yankees’ interest in Hamels dates back to the offseason, where one report even indicated that they’d come the closest to acquiring Hamels. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that talks between New York and Philadelphia reached advanced stages. It doesn’t appear that the Phillies came all that close to trading Hamels in general this past winter. But, by waiting until July, Amaro may have upped his leverage, as his ace figures to be far more coveted over the next five weeks than he was at the tail end of the offseason.
A bone bruise in his right wrist has landed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman on the DL, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. The team is hopeful that Freeman won’t miss too much time, but Bowman adds that it would be “optimistic” to expect that he will return on July 3 when he is first eligible to be activated.
A few more items pertaining to the NL East…
- Though they’re 11 games under .500, the Marlins are not yet thinking of selling, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The team could revisit that thinking if things don’t improve after facing the Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants on the upcoming homestand, he says. Still, the team could soon have a surplus of starting pitching on its hands, once Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart and Henderson Alvarez are all activated from the disabled list. Mat Latos could end up being the odd man out, Rosenthal speculates, adding that veteran righty Dan Haren isn’t likely to be moved.
- While reports of scouts watching a certain team/player can sometimes be overblown, there are a pair of NL East clubs scouting possible trade pieces tonight. The Nationals have a high-level scout watching the Athletics tonight, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, noting that Washington has been linked to Ben Zobrist recently. Additionally, Jared Sandler of the Rangers Radio Network tweets that the Phillies have a scout in attendance for Chi Chi Gonzalez‘s start tonight. Gonzalez’s name has been floated in rumors connecting the Rangers to Cole Hamels.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News joined SNY’s Mostly Mets podcast to discuss possible upgrades for the Mets‘ offense (audio link). “They’re moving cautiously, because my understanding is that they have payroll flexibility, but essentially, Alderson has one big bullet to fire that way,” Martino said. Alderson may have the ability to either add a few lower-cost pieces or pursue one more expensive player, but Martino points to Alderson’s history of not parting with significant prospect packages to outbid other clubs in speculating that the ultimate result of the Mets’ trade efforts will be adding a few lower-profile pieces.
- The Mets announced today that Travis d’Arnaud has hit the DL with a sprain in his left elbow (Twitter link). At this time, there’s no immediate timetable for d’Arnaud’s return, though it’s at least positive that the injury is in his non-throwing elbow.
- In the wake of Maikel Franco‘s scorching hot streak and his third homer in two games at Yankee Stadium, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that the Phillies beat the Yankees‘ offer to Franco by a mere $5,000 back in 2010. Philadelphia offered Franco a $100K signing bonus, whereas the Yankees’ top offer was $95K. That’s probably another $5-10K that the Yankees wish they’d spent, though there’s little certainty when dealing with players of that age. (Franco was 17 at the time he signed with the Phils.)
Mark Appel may have thrown his last pitch at the Double-A level, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the 2013 No. 1 overall pick is likely to be promoted to Triple-A following a strong Double-A showing on Sunday. Appel’s overall numbers aren’t great due to a pair of ugly starts in May, but as Drellich points out, the Stanford product has worked to a 2.17 ERA with a 24-to-8 K/BB ratio in 29 innings over his past five starts. Appel’s production at Triple-A will be worth monitoring, as Drellich also adds that the Astros want to assess their internal starting pitching options before exploring a trade for an upgrade.
Here’s more on Appel and some other top prospects filtering up toward the big leagues …
- Appel spoke with MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart about his desire to join close friends and former Double-A teammates Lance McCullers, Vincent Velasquez and Carlos Correa in the Majors. He tells McTaggart that the key to his turnaround has been establishing his fastball earlier in counts in order to get ahead of hitters — something on which he has worked repeatedly with pitching coach Doug Brocail.
- The Yankees have announced that slugger Aaron Judge will move up to Triple-A Scranton, as Jack Curry of the YES Network was first to report on Twitter. The massive outfielder cracked top-100 lists to start the year, and has performed well thus far in his first run at Double-A, slashing .284/.350/.516 with 12 home runs in 280 plate appearances.
- Red Sox outfielder Manuel Margot has received a bump up to Double-A, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets. The 20-year-old has slashed .282/.321/.420 and added twenty steals over his 198 turns at bat at the High-A level this year. Baseball America rated him the organization’s seventh-best prospect entering the year, crediting Margot with the potential to develop into a true five-tool performer who can play center field. We heard some chatter this spring that the Phillies were eyeing the interesting prospect as a possible piece in a Cole Hamels deal.
- We saw a fascinating deal last weekend involving the effective sale of young righty Touki Toussaint from the Diamondbacks to the Braves. Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron discusses the deal in terms of prospect valuation. He reckons that Toussaint is probably worth about $20MM based on consensus prospect evaluations. While Arizona’s internal assessment may well have been lower, as Cameron notes, it still seems puzzling that the team cut bait given the organization’s current standing.
- Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa weighed in on the Toussaint deal, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. La Russa says the move was all about opening budgetary space to improve the big league roster in the relatively near future. “The ability to to have some payroll flexibility is critical to adding a couple of pieces,” said La Russa. “I don’t think we’re going to need a lot of pieces because we’re going to develop with this core. But if you can make the right move or two with somebody, that brings a lot to the table. Payroll flexibility is important.” Toussaint was a ways off from contributing at the big league level, said the club’s top baseball decisionmaker, while the D’Backs “think [their future] is sooner rather than later.” All said, La Russa indicated that the club simply preferred to move the salary of Bronson Arroyo to holding onto the lottery ticket of a young arm. “We’re not pushing a five-year plan, which is what Touki is,” he said. “Does that mean, just in retrospect, since I was there, should I have told (former scouting director Ray Montgomery), ‘Ray, don’t draft a Touki?’ Maybe I should have, but that was my first draft.” The 19-year-old (as of two days ago) Toussaint, of course, was the first name that Arizona called in last year’s amateur draft. Notably, as Piecoro has observed, this year’s selections were heavy on collegiate players.
Here today’s notable draft signings, with slot value information via Baseball America:
- The Dodgers went well over slot to sign fifth-round pick Brendan Davis, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Davis gets $918,600, which is $605K north of the 162nd pick’s assigned slot value. Baseball America placed him just inside its top 500 list, noting that Davis was expected to attend Cal State Fullerton after missing much of his senior high school season with a broken wrist. A “smooth athlete” with good instincts and solid power and hit tools, the shortstop had been a fairly highly-valued prospect before the injury intervened. Los Angeles has yet to sign its top two picks, Walker Buehler and Kyle Funkhouser, and presumably expects to find some savings from those prospective deals to make up for the Davis overage.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees will realize some savings on second-rounder Jeff Degano, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). The southpaw will earn a $650K bonus after being taken 57th overall ($1,074,400 slot value), freeing $424,400 for New York to apply toward other picks. ESPN.com’s Keith Law was high on Degano, ranking him the 54th-best player available. Law credits Degano with a low-90s fastball, sweeping slider that could grow into an above-average offering, and reasonably promising change. Degano does have some injury questions and already has undergone Tommy John surgery.
- Phillies third-round pick Lucas Williams has agreed to an at-slot, $719,800 bonus, Mayo tweets. The high school shortstop was not considered an early-round option by many prospect hounds coming into the draft, but still commanded a full-slot bonus to forego his commitment to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
- The Red Sox have agreed with outfielder Tate Matheny, son of Cards skipper Mike Matheny, to a $512,700 bonus, per Callis (via Twitter). That is the full slot value for the 111th overall pick. Matheny, an outfielder from Missouri State, rated 107th on Baseball America’s list. BA noted that he lacks any notable tools, but has average abilities in several areas and makes the most out of them with plus makeup.
Unless someone blows the Reds away with an offer, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer could see them rolling the dice, effectively staying pat, and hoping for a second-half turnaround. There are people in the organization willing to blow it all up, but Fay writes that owner Bob Castellini is an optimist. Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Aroldis Chapman could yield great returns for the Reds, but their owner might not be ready to call it quits on 2015. The Reds are 32-36 following today’s 5-2 win over the Marlins.
- Since signing Brady Aiken, the Indians have kept the size of his bonus “on top-secret lockdown for some reason,” MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes (all Twitter links). Callis predicts that Aiken will receive the “max of what [the] Indians can pay without crossing 105% pool threshold,” so roughly a bonus of $2.7 to $2.75MM, which would top his slot value as the 17th overall pick by over $300K. Aiken’s bonus has been the source of speculation given how he was both the first player taken in 2014 and a recent Tommy John patient. As Jason Lukehart of the Let’s Go Tribe blog recently noted, Cleveland has saved a lot of money in their draft pool to go significantly over slot to sign Aiken and 42nd overall pick Triston McKenzie.
- The Rays have long been able to deliver winning teams on small payrolls, yet Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times observes that the 2015 season may be the club’s most impressive feat yet. The Rays are in first place in the AL East despite paying almost $36MM of their $72MM Opening Day payroll to players who are either on the DL, in the minors or no longer with the organization.
- It will be tough for the Brewers to receive good prospect value back on the trade market since so many of their high-priced veterans are struggling, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Dealing controllable pieces like Jonathan Lucroy, Wily Peralta or Jimmy Nelson wouldn’t make sense, so Haudricourt thinks Carlos Gomez or Jean Segura would have to be the ones to go in order for Milwaukee to get some quality minor league talent.
- Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson have become big parts of the Yankees bullpen, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that the Bombers paid a surprisingly hefty price. Ex-top prospect Manny Banuelos (dealt for Shreve and the released David Carpenter) is pitching well for the Braves’ Triple-A team while Francisco Cervelli (traded for Wilson) has emerged as a huge help behind the plate for the Pirates.
- While the chances of the White Sox trading Chris Sale are remote, ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider-only piece) opines that the Sox should at least consider dealing Sale since the return would be so enormous for a 26-year-old ace who is controllable through 2019 on a team-friendly contract. White Sox sources told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the club isn’t making Sale available, which is understandable, though Olney is right in noting that Sale would instantly become the biggest trade chip on the market.
Here are today’s minor transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Nationals signed free agent third baseman Chris Nelson to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. Nelson, 29, was released by the Brewers just last week. He has moved around quite a bit since his promising run with the Rockies in 2012 as he also saw time with the Yankees, Angels, Padres, and Phillies. This year, Nelson posted a .202/.256/.290 slash line in 133 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
- Also from MLB.com’s transactions page, the Indians signed right-hander Jarrett Grube to a minor league deal. Grube has spent 2015 pitching in the Mexican League, where he has a 2.98 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and a whopping 8.33 K/BB rate over 60 1/3 innings (11 starts). The 33-year-old Grube was a 10th-round pick of the Rockies in the 2004 draft and he’s also spent time in the Mariners and Angels farm systems. He made his MLB debut last season, appearing in one game for the Angels.
- The Yankees have selected the contracts of right-handers Diego Moreno and Nick Rumbelow, the club announced. In corresponding moves, Jose De Paula and Danny Burawa were optioned to Triple-A while Sergio Santos was placed on the 60-day DL. Moreno reaches the Show after eight pro seasons in the minors with the Pirates and Yankees, and the 27-year-old has a 2.27 ERA, 3.63 K/BB rate and 7.3 K/9 in 35 2/3 Triple-A innings this season. LSU product Rumbelow was a seventh-round pick for New York in the 2013 draft and he’s posted a 2.79 ERA, 4.73 K/BB rate and 142 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings in the minors, all as a reliever.