New York Yankees Rumors


Yankees Designate Eduardo Nunez For Assignment

The Yankees have designated shortstop Eduardo Nunez for assignment, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. A 40-man roster spot was needed for fellow infielder Yangervis Solarte, who beat out Nunez for the club's utility infield role.

Needless to say, the move represents a disappointing step for the 26-year-old, who was once viewed as the eventual replacement for the legendary Derek Jeter. While it remains to be seen whether this means the end of his time in the New York organization, Nunez could well be headed elsewhere.

Nunez first saw time with the big club back in 2010, and has compiled 827 plate appearance at the MLB level since that time. Over that stretch, Nunez has put up a .267/.313/.379 triple-slash with 10 home runs and 48 stolen bases. His glove work has been the real issue, however. Nunez was pegged as costing the Yanks a remarkable number of runs last year -- 28 by DRS and 20.6 by UZR -- in just 608 1/3 frames at short. His 2013 UZR/150 innings mark of -40.7 was the worst rate logged by any player who saw at least 500 innings in the field.



AL East Notes: Lester, Victorino, Rays, Robertson

The lack of a contract extension between the Red Sox and Jon Lester now presents the possibility that this could be Lester's last Opening Day with the team, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Lauber adds that the season will now be rife with speculation regarding Lester's contract situation and opines that a strong performance out of the 30-year-old lefty could make the Red Sox regret not presenting Lester with a "Scherzer-like offer" (six years, $144MM) when all is said and done. Of course, that deal would hardly represent the discount to which Lester has previously referred.

Here are some more notes on Lester, the Red Sox, and the AL East...

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and discussed a number of topics, including Lester. Rosenthal pointed to a column he wrote last week in which he said he felt that Lester should end up around five years and $115MM. He adds that the Red Sox won't be able to get a Dustin Pedroia-like extension very often: "Pedroia’s deal is ridiculously club-friendly, and if the Red Sox think they’re getting that deal out of every player they’re out of their minds."
  • The Red Sox announced today that Shane Victorino will open the season on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, and Jackie Bradley Jr. will begin the year with the big league club. On the Dennis & Callahan show, Rosenthal talked about Victorino's importance to the club, noting that if he misses a significant chunk of time this season, it could lead many to wonder what might've been if the team hadn't let Jacoby Ellsbury go. However, as Rosenthal plainly states, Boston was simply never going to approach the kind of money that Ellsbury got from the division-rival Yankees.
  • Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith spoke with Rays GM Andrew Friedman about the club's transformation from a perennial 90-loss team to a divisional powerhouse despite one of the game's most modest payrolls. "We have to act decisively but with a smaller margin for error than most clubs, and so we can’t box ourselves in," said Friedman. "We need to react more quickly when circumstances change or opportunities present themselves." Nicholson-Smith's piece is full of excellent quotes from the Rays' GM and reminds how far the team has come since the days of Gabe Gross, Akinori Iwamura and Andy Sonnanstine, who were all on the Opening Day roster as recently as 2008.
  • Some scouts have expressed concern over David Robertson's fastball, George A. King III of the New York Post reported last night. Robertson's heater was sitting between 88 and 90 mph late in Spring Training. King notes that Robertson's fastball typically improves as the season goes on, but a look at his velocity charts (per Fangraphs) shows that he's been inconsistent at best over the past two seasons, and his end-of-season velocity hasn't been much better than his Opening Day heat. As MLBTR's Mark Polishuk noted in his recent review of the Yankees' offseason, the team did little to address the bullpen this offseason and is relying on a group of largely unproven relievers.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Saturday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • The Angels have purchased the contract of infielder Ian StewartBill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The former top prospect, now 28, was brought in on a minor league contract in January.
  • Ryan Rowland-Smith will make the Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster, GM Kevin Towers disclosed (via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). Rowland-Smith was in camp on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but was excellent last year for Boston's Triple-A club.
  • The Giants announced that right-hander J.C. Gutierrez and infielder Brandon Hicks have been chosen for the Opening Day roster. Hicks had been competing with rookie Ehire Adrianza for a backup infield job, but both have made the team.
  • The Braves announced via press release that pitchers Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas have been added to the Opening Day roster.
  • Reds manager Bryan Price announced that reliever Trevor Bell and outfielder Roger Bernadina have made the club's Opening Day roster, according to a tweet from the team's Triple-A affiliate. Bell hasn't pitched in the majors since 2011, but threw very well this spring in 8 2/3 innings.
  • The Mets are set to add Omar Quintanilla to their Opening Day roster, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Quintanilla figures to serve as the back-up at short. He rejoined the club on a minor league deal after being non-tendered.
  • Xavier Nady will break camp with the Padres, tweets AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, and thus will be added to the 40-man roster. The 35-year-old had a solid spring, and will fill in while Kyle Blanks and Cameron Maybin work back from injury. 
  • The Tigers have purchased the contract of Tyler Collins, the club announced. The 23-year-old, left-handed-hitting outfielder has not played above the Double-A level, but now grabs an Opening Day roster spot for a Detroit club that is without Andy Dirks to start the year. In 530 plate appearances at Double-A last year, Collins put up a .240/.323/.438 line with 21 home runs (and 122 strikeouts against 51 walks).
  • The Rangers will add minor league free agent Daniel McCutchen to the roster, according to a tweet from his representatives at Sosnick Cobbe Sports. Texas will need to add the reliever to the 40-man roster in order to activate him.
  • Yangervis Solarte will make the Yankees Opening Day roster, tweets Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Fellow utility infielder Eduardo Nunez, meanwhile, will be optioned to Triple-A to start the year. Solarte earned the position after a torrid spring.
  • The Phillies have announced their Opening Day roster, which includes three players -- Tony Gwynn Jr., Mario Hollands, and Jeff Manship -- who must be added to the 40-man. Meanwhile, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has been put on the 60-day DL to create roster space while infielder Reid Brignac and reliever Shawn Camp have been reassigned to Triple-A, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (Twitter links).
  • The Athletics have selected the contract of infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima and optioned him to Triple-A, according to the MLB transactions page. After failing to see MLB action in the first year of his two-year, $6.5MM deal with Oakland, Nakajima was outrighted and ultimately re-signed to a minor league deal.

Aaron Steen contributed to this post.



Rockies To Add Rule 5 Pick Kahnle To Opening Day Roster

The Rockies will add Rule 5 selection Tommy Kahnle to the club's Opening Day roster, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Kahnle was taken from the Yankees in this year's draft as the fourth player chosen overall.

The 24-year-old has put up good numbers in the minors, including a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings last year at Double-A. While he has shown the ability to register strikeouts, Kahnle struggled to keep from issuing free passes last year with a 6.8 BB/9 mark. But he showed the possibilities of his big arm this spring. In 9 2/3 innings, Kahnle struck out nine, walked only two, and allowed just four hits and one earned run.



Yankees To Sign Alfredo Aceves

The Yankees have reached agreement on a minor league deal with pitcher Alfredo Aceves, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). Aceves will work out of the Triple-A rotation, and has a July 1 opt-out clause.

Aceves, 31, had spent the spring with the Orioles after pitching for the Yankees and Red Sox earlier in his career. Most of his time in the bigs has been in the pen, but he does have 15 MLB starts to his credit. Aceves has a lifetime ERA of 3.69 in 361 innings. Aceves was signed out of the Mexican league by the Yankees when he was well into his twenties.



New York Notes: Mets, Harvey, Yankees, Cano

Here's the latest from both Queens and the Bronx...

  • The Mets' financial situation is examined by Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of the New York Times, as offseason spending on the likes of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon basically just amounted to a reinvestment of the payroll that was coming off the team's books from 2013.
  • Matt Harvey is under the Mets' control through the 2018 season, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks ahead to whether the Mets can address their payroll issues in time to sign Harvey to an extension.  If not, Harvey would be a prime free agent target for the Yankees, especially since Harvey grew up a Bombers fan and loves pitching in New York.  Scott Boras, Harvey's agent, feels the Mets have the resources to keep the righty in the fold: “They have David Wright signed [long-term], and in four years the idea is they can have another iconic New York player signed [long-term].  This is New York. It is about having iconic players.The bigger issue is the Mets have all the benefits of their market to keep an iconic player — the City, a relatively new stadium, a TV network. That fits the mold of good business in New York.”
  • It’s like growing up playing in your backyard. You never want to leave that place, those guys,” Robinson Cano tells GQ's Daniel Riley about his time with the Yankees. “The three high points as a Yankee for me: when [Derek] Jeter got 3,000 hits, Andy [Pettitte]’s last game, and Mariano [Rivera]’s final ceremony. Those are the things that stick in your mind, in your heart.”  The new Mariners second baseman also discusses his hiring of CAA and Roc Nation Sports as his new agents, and his life growing up in San Pedro de Macoris.
  • If Michael Pineda is healthy and pitches well in 2014, it wouldn't be a bad idea for the Yankees to explore trading the young right-hander for an everyday player, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues writes as part of a reader mailbag post.  Pineda's history of shoulder problems could make it hard for the Yankees to rely on Pineda in the long term, so selling high for infield help could make some sense.



Quick Hits: Forbes, Castro, Mets, Luhnow

The average value of a Major League Baseball franchise is now $811MM, a rise of nine percent from 2013 that can be largely attributed to an increase in TV revenue, according to Forbes Magazine's Mike Ozanian.  For the 17th straight year, the Yankees (worth $2.5 billion) top Forbes' annual valuation of baseball's franchises.  The Dodgers ($2 billion), Red Sox ($1.5 billion), Cubs ($1.2 billion) and Giants ($1 billion) also hit the ten-figure mark, while the Rays had the lowest value at $485MM.  The Mets, Marlins and Astros were the only three franchises who saw their values drop from last year's Forbes rankings.

Here's some more news from around baseball...

  • Starlin Castro says he's open to moving from shortstop to accommodate star prospect Javier Baez, CSN Chicago's David Kaplan reports.  "If I need to move positions, I'm OK with that," Castro said.  "If he is on our team and him being there helps the team win, then I am fine with that. I just want our team to win. That's it."  There had been speculation that Baez would see time at second base at Triple-A this season in preparation for a position switch of his own, though Cubs manager Rick Renteria stated that Baez would play short in the minors.  Widely considered one of baseball's top prospects, Baez has a .903 OPS in 916 minor league PA and hit even better during the Cubs' Spring Training camp this year.
  • The Mets' inability to find a trade partner for Ike Davis last winter means that the club is now in the awkward situation of finding playing time for both Davis and Lucas Duda at first base, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Neither left-handed slugger hits southpaws well, so while Josh Satin will start against lefties, Davis and Duda will have to divvy up the starts against right-handers.
  • Astros manager Bo Porter said today that the club's top waiver claim priority was keeping them from finalizing the rotation, and general manager Jeff Luhnow went into more detail with reporters (including Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle) about his team's examination of the waiver wire.  "I will tell you that these days we’re meeting every day at least once...probably twice, and we get input from the staff and do our research," Luhnow said.  “This is the time of year with clubs setting their 25-man roster in the next couple days that every other guy that’s out of options comes available, and we’re going to look at it seriously because it’s a way that we can fill the team.”
  • The Rangers, Athletics, Rockies, Angels and Diamondbacks all made notable moves this offseason that could prove to be mistakes within a few seasons or even in 2014, opines ESPN's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required).  Colorado might've broken even in Bowden's eyes, though, since the Rockies are also on the good end of one of those "backfire" transactions.
  • When a number of scouts, managers and other baseball personnel were asked “Were there any young players you watched and said, ‘this guy has a chance to be a star?’” by Peter Gammons, the name most often cited was Carlos Correa.  The Astros shortstop headlines the top 10 list, though Cubs fans will be excited to know that Kris Bryant, Baez and Albert Almora all cracked the top seven.



AL East Links: Murphy, Romine, Rays, McGowan

MLBTR's Offseason In Review series continued earlier today with my look at the Orioles' winter moves, covering everything from the Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz signings to the lack of progress on extensions for Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.  Here's some more from around the AL East...

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews) that he's "hearing from a lot of people about" catchers John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine.  The Yankees have been shopping their catching depth for weeks, and now that Francisco Cervelli has won the backup job, Murphy and Romine could be more expendable.  Cashman, however, doesn't feel pressure to move either players.  "They’re assets. We’re not in any position where we have to do anything, but if something made sense, we’d consider it. But right now, we’re happy with what we’ve got," Cashman said.
  • Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times) that he has informed Wilson Betemit and Jayson Nix that they won't be making Tampa's Opening Day roster, in order to give the two players extra time to find another Major League opportunity.  The two veterans signed minor league deals with the Rays earlier this winter and have the ability to opt out, though Betemit told Topkin that he would play for Tampa's Triple-A affiliate if he couldn't find a roster spot elsewhere (Topkin believes Nix feels the same way).
  • Mark Lowe is also open to returning to the Rays, the veteran right-hander tells Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.  Lowe's family lives in the Tampa area and he praised the Rays organization, saying that he would be willing to pitch at Triple-A unless, like Betemit and Nix, he finds a job with another team.  The Rays granted Lowe his release earlier today after he was also told he wouldn't make the 25-man roster.
  • The Blue Jays' decision to make Dustin McGowan their fifth starter raises concerns about whether McGowan is up to the task both performance-wise and health-wise, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes.  Since McGowan made the rotation almost by default given how the Jays' other options struggled, Davidi wonders "if he and the Blue Jays are playing a game of Russian Roulette with his career" by returning McGowan to a starting role before he's even fully stretched out.  The injury-plagued McGowan missed three of the previous four seasons with shoulder and knee surgeries but pitched effectively over 25 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2013. 
  • Corey Brown didn't invoke the opt-out clause in his minor league contract with the Red Sox and will report to the club's Triple-A club, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.



Rangers Seek Depth At Second And Catcher

11:43pm: The Rangers are scouting the Cubs, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports, and perhaps not just because of Kottaras. The Cubs also have infielders Darwin Barney and Donnie Murphy. The Rangers like Barney better, Sullivan writes.

4:50pm: In the wake of Soto's injury, the Rangers are considering acquiring George Kottaras of the Cubs, Bruce Levine of 670TheScore.com tweets. Kottaras currently projects to back up Welington Castillo in Chicago, but the Cubs are reportedly considering rostering John Baker instead. Kottaras, 30, hit .180/.349/.370 in 126 plate appearances for the Royals last year. In response to Soto's injury, the Rangers have already signed Chris Snyder to a minor-league deal.

The Rangers also looked at Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks today, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel tweets. As Haudricourt notes, Weeks' $11MM salary could be an impediment to a trade. Weeks hit .209/.306/.357 in 399 plate appearances with the Brewers last year.

12:08pm: Texas has checked in with several clubs with catching depth, including the Yankees, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Though Francisco Cervelli may be available, Olney says that there does not appear to be a fit between those two clubs.

10:50am: The Rangers have had trade talks in a bid to add depth at catcher and/or second base, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The expected starters at those two spots -- catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Jurickson Profar -- are each expected to miss ten to twelve weeks to open the year.

While it would be pure speculation to guess at possible trade partners in this kind of scenario, we can look at the available free agent pool for other alternatives. With the list growing as final roster decisions are made, Texas could look to players like Tony Abreu, Ronny Cedeno, or Cesar Izturis for the middle infield. Meanwhile, available catching options include recently-released players like Ramon Hernandez, Chris Snyder, and Yorvit Torrealba.

Of course, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote yesterday, it could be that the greater concern is with the state of the rotation. That is all the more true now, with this morning's report (via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News) that ace Yu Darvish will miss his Opening Day start and undergo an MRI to determine the cause of his stiff neck.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.



Pirates, D'Backs Have Discussed Didi Gregorius

The Pirates have had trade talks with the Diamondbacks about shortstop Didi Gregorius, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Last Wednesday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reported the D'Backs were making Gregorius available in trade, after Chris Owings won the team's starting shortstop job.  Rubin wrote that the Diamondbacks seek an MLB-ready starting pitcher to offset the loss of Patrick Corbin.

Rubin implied potential interest from the Mets, and now we have another possible suitor in the Pirates.  The Pirates enter the season with Jordy Mercer atop their shortstop depth chart, with top prospect Alen Hanson likely ticketed to return to Double-A.  Though he's not Major League ready, the Pirates have a pitching prospect who's fairly close in Nick Kingham.  Easier to acquire would be Jeff Locke, who will begin the season back at Triple-A, with, as he tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "a bit of a chip on my shoulder."

Aside from the Mets and Pirates, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports lists the Reds, Tigers, and Yankees as teams the D'Backs "have thought of as possibilities" for Gregorius.









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