New York Yankees Rumors
Here's the latest out of the American League East..
- Whether you like the Yankees spend-heavy ways or not, you have to give General Manager Brian Cashman a great deal of credit, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While detractors could call the Bombers lucky for finding diamonds in the rough such as Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay, it's difficult to write off similar success Cashman has had in the two years prior with unheralded acquisitions.
- Despite his resurgence in New York, Vernon Wells still says that he plans to retire after next season when his seven-year, $126MM contract expires, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. When Morosi noted that the allure of playing for the Yankees has kept Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte in the game past age 40, Wells laughed and said, “I think Mariano is sticking with his plan this time, so I’ll go with that.”
- Despite the club's recent slide, Red Sox manager John Farrell says that this is not the time for a shakeup, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Here's more on the Red Sox from earlier today.
Nelson, 27, was acquired from the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash following a DFA from Colorado. In 10 games for the Yankees, Nelson hit just .222/.243/.278 with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 37 plate appearances. The former first round pick had a strong showing at the dish in 2012 when he hit .301/.352/.458 with nine homers.
The 26-year-old Adams has had an up and down journey throughout his minor league career. Once a key component in a potential trade for Cliff Lee, he found himself released earlier this season as a result of frequent injuries. He was re-signed to a minor league deal and is set to make his Major League debut after hitting .316/.407/.490 with three homers for Triple-A Scranton this season.
As Curtis Granderson gets set to return to the Yankees lineup, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the club surprisingly doesn't need him. The strong play of Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, and Travis Hafner has given the offense a major boost in the absence of Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, and others, putting them atop the division with a 24-14 record. Here's more from the American League East..
- Jair Jurrjens will make his Orioles debut against the Rays on Saturday to fill in for the injured Wei-Yin Chen, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The pitcher posted a 3.14 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 across eight starts in Triple-A and had an opt out date of June 15th. The Orioles can open a 40-man roster spot for Jurrjens by transferring Brian Roberts to the 60-day DL, notes Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
- More and more teams are realizing that it makes sense to gamble earlier lock up young players for the long-term and Joel Sherman of the New York Post thinks the Yankees need to reconsider their policy of going year-to-year. The Yankees are trying to lower their payroll and one way to do so is to gain cost certainty with deals like the one Anthony Rizzo received from the Cubs.
- Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston isn't ready to give up on the team this season, writes Chris Toman of MLB.com. He also isn't ready to give up on the coaching staff. "We started out at 12-24 and made a managerial change, but we're not going to do that right now," Beeston said. "I think you look back at 1989 and just look back at what can be after what was. I think we have a very good team and a better team than our record."
- Speaking of Toronto, the Blue Jays are the leaders to sign Venezuelan shortstop Yeltsin Gudino, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. Gudino is a well-rounded talent who has also received serious interest from the Rangers and A's in the past.
- Kubatko ran Carlos Zambrano's name past someone in the Orioles organization and got a less-than-enthusiastic response based on the pitcher's past behavior and baggage.
- Rizzo's absence is being felt in the Red Sox organization as the club has long-term questions at first base, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
The July 2nd international signing period is less than two months away. Every team had a $2.9MM bonus pool for 2012-13, but as Baseball America's Ben Badler outlined here, the 2013-14 pools "will be tiered based on reverse order of 2012 major league winning percentage." The Astros, Cubs, and Rockies each have at least $4.2MM to spend, plus teams can trade for additional money. The Twins, Indians, Marlins, and Red Sox each have more than $3MM to spend, while the Royals and Blue Jays are close to that figure. Badler has the latest on ten prospects who are expected to sign for at least $1MM apiece.
- The highest bonus is likely to go to Dominican outfielder Eloy Jimenez, potentially $2.6-2.8MM with the Cubs as the "heavy favorite." The Cubs are also the frontrunners to sign one of the top Venezuelan players, shortstop Gleyber Torres.
- Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers "might be the best hitter on the international market," writes Badler. He's the primary target of the Red Sox. Another contender for the best bat is third baseman Luis Encarnacion, who is most likely to sign with the Phillies.
- The Yankees are the most likely suitor for Leonardo Molina, perhaps the best athlete in the class. He can sign when he turns 16 on August 1st. The Yankees' preliminary bonus pool is reportedly $1,877,900.
- The biggest raw power belongs to Dominican outfielder Micker Zapata, who has been connected to the White Sox and Padres.
- Badler's article has much more information, so be sure to give it a click and a read.
When players with significant Major League experience settle for minor league contracts, it's commonplace for these deals to contain opt-out clauses. If the player hasn't been added to the 25-man roster by a certain point, he can exercise the clause and seek employment with another organization. Such clauses aren't always made publicly available, but here's a list of some of the pitchers who have known opt-out dates that are nearing...
- Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees: Wang can opt out of his contract on May 31. In five starts spanning 31 2/3 innings at Triple-A thus far, the 33-year-old has a 2.84 ERA, 4.3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. The Yankees have said they don't feel Wang's minor league success will translate to the Majors just yet, as they want him to rely more on his breaking pitches than just his sinker.
- Tim Stauffer, Padres: Stauffer can opt out of his deal "around June 1," according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He appeared in just one game for San Diego before needing season-ending surgery but posted a 3.24 ERA in 341 1/3 innings for the Friars from 2009-11. So far in Triple-A, the 30-year-old has a 3.16 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings.
- Sean O'Sullivan, Padres: Currently Stauffer's rotation-mate, O'Sullivan has the same opt-out clause in his contract (near June 1) despite being just 25 years of age. O'Sullivan has a 4.19 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 43 innings for Triple-A Tucson. He's had a rough time in the Majors, however, as evidenced by his 6.13 ERA in 193 2/3 big league innings.
- Jeremy Bonderman, Mariners: Bonderman's opt-out date is June 1, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Still just 30 years of age, Bonderman has been solid for Triple-A Tacoma. He's pitched to a 3.70 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in eight starts spanning 48 2/3 innings. Olney feels Bonderman will opt out if he's not called up in the next couple of weeks, and I'm inclined to agree.
- Jair Jurrjens, Orioles: Jurrjens has an opt-out date of June 15. After a drastic fall from grace in the Braves organization, the 27-year-old has looked sharp at Triple-A Norfolk in 2013. He's compiled a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings.
All of the pitchers listed here have pitched well enough that they could make a case for helping a Major League team with a struggling rotation. It seems likely that by mid-June, each could force his way onto a Major League roster, even if it's with a new organization. If you see a notable omission with a known opt-out date, speak up in the comments section.
The home run by the Athletics' Adam Rosales that never was on Wednesday could become the shot heard around the world in the debate over instant replay. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle are both advocating for a five-man umpiring crew. Haudricourt rebuts arguments that it is too expensive to add a fifth umpire or too time consuming to expand replay noting MLB is an $8B industry and the discussions over blown calls waste more time than a replay. Slusser supports a fifth umpire to monitor games from a booth in the press box and a neutral crew in New York of perhaps three people to have access to all available replay angles and make the final call on all video reviews. John Shea, Slusser's colleague at the Chronicle, doesn't believe expanded replay will help immediately because, until umpires are better held accountable for their errors, you cannot trust the people overseeing the system. Let's review the news from the American League East:
- Wei-Yin Chen left today's game with what the Orioles are calling a strained right oblique although the lefty hopes it is only a cramp and will be evaluated on their off day, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have several in-house options, if Chen lands on the disabled list, tweets CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, including Jair Jurrjens, who has a June 15 opt-out clause. Jake Arrieta, another possible in-house candidate, did not make his scheduled start in Triple-A today because of a tender shoulder, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com (via Twitter).
- The Yankees will soon face some tough decisions regarding roster spots and playing time as several of their injured players are nearing a return to action, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Blue Jays will remain patient with Ricky Romero because of the $23.1MM guaranteed the left-hander through 2015, even if it is just to make him attractive in a trade, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. That patience will be further tested by Romero's dismal debut at Triple-A Buffalo yesterday: six runs allowed on ten hits with five walks, a balk, and a wild pitch in 3 2/3 innings. "I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
The Red Sox bullpen was dealt another blow today with the news that Joel Hanrahan will undergo flexor tendon surgery and miss the rest of the season. Most pundits were in agreement that the Phillies overpaid when they signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year, $50MM contract following the 2011 season, but Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that the Red Sox might end up being the ones paying the biggest price for Papelbon's departure given how the Sox have struggled to fill the void at closer over the last two years.
Here's a look at the latest out of the American League East..
- Right-hander Steve Delabar has become a key contributor out of the Blue Jays' bullpen since joining the team last July, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes. Delabar has a 2.86 ERA and a 12.7 K/9 in 44 games as a Blue Jay.
- As he approaches a $13MM club option year, Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester is looking strong through one month and change, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. First-year pitching coach Juan Nieves helped make some adjustments to Lester's mechanics and the 29-year-old has a 2.73 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 through eight starts this sesaon.
- Recent acquisition Alberto Gonzalez is nothing special, but the Yankees had to fortify their Triple-A affiliate's middle infield, writes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues. The Bombers acquired Gonzalez from the Cubs earlier this week in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com makes the case that the Orioles' Manny Machado belongs in the conversation alongside Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as the best young player in baseball.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Today's minor moves...
- The Yankees have acquired minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. Gonzalez, who first appeared in the big leagues with the Yankees back in 2007, has seen limited MLB action over the last two years for Texas and Chicago. Over 989 career plate appearances, he has a .241/.279/.319 line.
- The Orioles acquired third baseman Brandon Wood from the Royals for cash considerations, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Wood will report to Triple-A Norfolk. The 28-year-old is hitting .264/.304/.396 in 56 Triple-A plate appearances. Wood, then with the Angels, was ranked as the third-best prospect in baseball after the '06 season by Baseball America, which said he profiled as a perennial All-Star. He's received 751 big league plate appearances with the Angels and Pirates, posting a .186/.225/.289 line.
- The Red Sox will promote reliever Jose De La Torre, GM Ben Cherington said today on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. The Red Sox transferred reliever Joel Hanrahan, who has at least a flexor muscle strain, to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for De La Torre.
- Kyle Kaminska, a righty who was with Boston's High A affiliate, has retired according to Evan Lepler on his MLB.com blog. The 24-year-old had joined the organization in December as the player to be named later in the Zach Stewart deal with Pittsburgh.
Orioles pitcher Zach Clark was recently outrighted to Double-A Bowie. While he's there, he'll "experiment" with the knuckleball, the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly notes. He'll work with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro on Thursday. Clark joins Zach Staniewicz and Eddie Gamboa as knuckleball pitchers in the Orioles system. Here are more notes from the American League.
- As of Wednesday, Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will have been in the minor leagues for 20 days this season, which ensures that he will not become a free agent after 2018, Alex Speier of WEEI.com notes. Bradley broke camp with the Red Sox, but they optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket April 18 after a 3-for-31 start to his big-league career. Bradley is currently hitting .303/.400/.349 in Triple-A, but he's currently on the minor-league disabled list with biceps tendinitis.
- The Yankees have around $80MM worth of players rehabbing at their minor-league complex in Tampa, Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports. Alex Rodriguez ($28MM), Mark Teixeira ($22.5MM), Curtis Granderson ($15MM) and Kevin Youkilis ($12MM) are all rehabbing, along with Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. (Derek Jeter, who is still in a walking boot, is not.) "We've got a team here," says Cervelli. "I could be the catcher."
- After signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Mariners this offseason, Jason Bay is embracing his role as a complementary player, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. While other clubs offered him more playing time, the veteran came to find that he enjoyed the challenge of earning his place on the team.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Today's minor moves:
- The Phillies signed left-hander Greg Smith, assigned him to Double-A Reading and released outfielder Ronnie Welty to create roster space, according to Reading Fightin Phils' director of PR Eric Scarcella (Twitter links). Smith, 29, was twice traded with Carlos Gonzalez -- first to the A's for Dan Haren and second to the Rockies for Matt Holliday. The LSU product has a 4.51 ERA in 229 1/3 big league innings. The Phillies originally acquired Welty at the end of Spring Training in a swap of minor leaguers with the Orioles. The 25-year-old has a career .281/.356/.464 batting line but hasn't climbed higher than Double-A.
- Orioles righty Zach Clark cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A, announced the team (via Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com). The 29-year-old had been designated for assignment on Saturday to open a 40-man roster spot for Freddy Garcia. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2006, Clark has spent his entire career in the Orioles' organization and made his big league debut with last Wednesday's relief appearance against the Mariners.
- Yankees righty Cody Eppley cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, tweeted Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal yesterday. The 27-year-old had been designated for assignment on Friday to open a 40-man roster spot for Preston Claiborne. Eppley did a nice job keeping the ball on the ground in 46 frames for the Yankees last year.
- Three players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ezequiel Carrera and Mike McDade of the Indians and Jonathan Sanchez of the Pirates.
- The Cubs are expected to call up outfielder Ryan Sweeney today and option Dave Sappelt to the minors, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. The Cubs will need a 40-man roster spot for Sweeney, so it appears someone will be designated for assignment today.