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- Tigers To Acquire Joakim Soria
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10:25pm: The Tigers have announced the deal, making it official.
9:23pm: The Tigers have agreed to acquire reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com was first to report on Twitter. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirmed that an agreement is in place (via Twitter).
With the acquisition of Soria, the Tigers now possess both of the Rangers’ most recent closers (having signed Joe Nathan as a free agent over the offseason). It appears that Nathan will retain the closer’s mantle for the time being, but regardless the team will now have an additional premium arm to throw into high-leverage situations. At the moment, the team owns the fifth-worst relief ERA in baseball.
Soria, a 30-year-old righty, owns a 2.70 ERA with a spectacular strikeout to walk ratio of 11.3 K/9 against only 1.1 BB/9. Indeed, his FIP stands at a miserly 1.07, which handily leads all pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings. Other ERA estimators (2.25 xFIP; 1.84 SIERA) concur in Soria’s excellence to date in 2014.
He is playing out the back end of the two-year, $8MM deal he signed to join the Rangers after Tommy John surgery led to the end of his tenure with the Royals. But Soria also comes with a seemingly reasonable $7MM club option. (That option would increase to $8MM if he finishes 55 games; he is sitting on 32 at present. The contract also includes performance bonuses.)
The return would appear to be substantial. Both Thompson and Knebel rated among Detroit’s ten best prospects coming into the year, per Baseball America, with the former landing at fourth and the latter at sixth on BA’s list. If anything, their stock has risen since that time.
Thompson, a 20-year-old starter, just earned a promotion to Double-A after posting a 3.14 ERA over 83 innings with 8.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 at the High-A level. Baseball America says he has mid-rotation upside. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball and promising slider, but profiles as a mid-rotation arm if he can develop a consistent third pitch from amongst his other offerings (curve and circle change).
The 22-year-old Knebel, meanwhile, has already made his big league debut after being selected 39th overall in last year’s draft. Though he surrendered six earned runs in 8 2/3 MLB frames, he also notched 11 strikeouts against just three walks and has dominated minor league hitters. He profiles as a potential future closer, says BA, though Detroit had weighed the possibility of trying him as a starter.
With Soria and Huston Street now taken, the relief market now lacks somewhat for obviously available closers. Jonathan Papelbon is surely available, but of course comes with a still-sizable contract. The Padres will presumably listen on Joaquin Benoit, but may want a large return to part with him after dealing Street. And it remains to be seen whether names like Koji Uehara and Steve Cishek could be had.
JULY 23, 8:50pm: Taking his second interview today was Eppler, according to a tweet from the San Diego Union Tribune.
11:04am: The Padres have completed a second interview with Hazen as well, the team announced (h/t: MLB.com’s Corey Brock on Twitter).
JULY 22: The Padres announced late last night that they have officially completed a second interview with Preller.
JULY 20th: Jim Bowden of ESPN (on Twitter) hears from a league source that Eppler and Preller have moved into the lead.
JULY 17th: The Padres have narrowed their list of candidates for the club’s open GM position with intentions of conducting second interviews next week, reports Scott Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). Among the candidates for the GM office, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen could be the favorite, according to a report from Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
According to Miller, the finalists are Hazen, Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, and MLB executive Kim Ng. It appears from that list that the club has every intention of handing the reins over to a somewhat younger option who has never occupied the head baseball operations role.
Reports have indicated, however, that the club could look to bring back former GM Kevin Towers in a senior adviser role if he is dumped by the D’backs. Click here to read a recent round-up of the San Diego front office search.
As his struggles worsen, the Phillies have had internal discussions about releasing one-time star first baseman Ryan Howard after the season, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Howard is owed the rest of his $25MM salary this season and comes with $60MM in future guarantees.
It does not appear that the club has reached any finality in regards to Howard’s future. The possibility of a trade has been explored, but Philadelphia has not found another club interested in taking on any substantial part of Howard’s contract. That is not surprising, of course, given that the 34-year-old is slashing a career-low .224/.305/.377 through 417 plate appearances on the year.
Now, with Howard’s decline becoming more pronounced, Philadelphia appears set to give more playing time to younger first base option Darin Ruf, who was recalled today. Manager Ryne Sandberg did not call it a platoon situation, but suggested as much. “As far as the lineup, that will be a day-to-day thing,” he said. “I think it’s important to see what a guy like Darin Ruf can do also going forward,” the skipper added.
Howard signed his extension at the start of the 2010 season, coming off of a four-year run in which he put up a composite .278/.379/.589 line and hit 198 home runs. Though he continued to produce at an above-average clip at the plate for two more seasons, things began to head south when he tore his Achilles tendon while making the last out of the team’s Game 5 loss in the 2011 NLDS. (That, of course, was also the Phils’ most recent postseason game.) Since that time, Howard — long considered a substandard fielder and baserunner – has mustered only 917 trips to the plate and owns an OPS that falls below league average.
Guerrier, a 35-year-old righty, had been fairly steady for Minnesota for much of the season, though he saw his ERA rise by more than a full run after last night’s rough outing. He still sports a 3.86 ERA over 28 innings, though he’s averaging only 3.9 K/9 (by far the lowest in his career) against 3.2 BB/9. Guerrier, who has seen time in each of the last 11 MLB seasons, was signed to a minor league deal over the offseason.
2:19pm: Maybin has issued the following statement through the Major League Baseball Players Association:
“I have been undergoing treatment for several years for a medical condition, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), for which I previously had a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). Unfortunately, in my attempts to switch back to a medicine that had been previously ok’d, I neglected to follow all the rules and as a result I tested positive. I want to assure everyone that this was a genuine effort to treat my condition and I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career. I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and I will take my punishment and will not challenge my suspension. I apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates, and the entire Padres organization. I look forward to returning to the field and contributing to the success of my Club.”
2:09pm: Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended 25 games, without pay, after testing positive for amphetamine usage, the league announced.
Maybin, 27, was hitting .247/.286/.368 with a homer and three steals in 62 games this season. He missed most of the season’s first month as he recovered from a torn tendon in his biceps. From a financial standpoint, the suspension will cost Maybin about $683K of his $5MM salary.
This is the second notable suspension of a Major Leaguer for amphetamine usage in 2014, as former Orioles reliever Troy Patton (who, coincidentally, is now a teammate of Maybin), began the year serving a 25-game suspension for Adderall usage. In 2013, Carlos Ruiz had to serve the same suspension to open the season.
The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)…
Competitive Balance Round A
Competitive Balance Round B
As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).
The A’s, Diamondbacks, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies and Royals were eligible for Comp Round A picks. The teams that didn’t receive an extra pick from that pool were placed into a second pool that also included the Mariners and Twins to determine which would receive a Comp Round B selection. These picks are eligible to be traded any time during the regular season, right up until 5pm ET on the day of next year’s draft.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2015 Amateur Draft | Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Newsstand | Oakland Athletics | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals
With multiple teams on the lookout for bullpen help, left-hander Antonio Bastardo is drawing some significant trade interest, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Sources tell Salisbury that the Royals are very interested in Bastardo, while the Tigers, Pirates and Blue Jays are all in the mix as well. All four teams have scouted each of Philadelphia’s past two games (Salisbury notes that the Tigers are also believed to be keeping an eye on Jonathan Papelbon).
The 28-year-old Bastardo makes sense as a trade chip for the Phillies, whose large commitments to veterans and willingness to include no-trade clauses and vesting options in their contracts has left them with few pieces that are both movable and desirable. Bastardo is both of those, however, as he’s owed just $2MM in 2014 and is controlled through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player. He’s also had good results this season, having compiled a 3.27 ERA with 10.8 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 33.7 percent ground-ball rate. Bastardo has been effective against both left-handed hitters (.616 OPS) and right-handed hitters (.634 OPS) throughout his career.
The Reds have also been connected to Bastardo this month, and the Braves have been known to be seeking a southpaw for their bullpen as well (though the usual intra-division caveat applies). Interested teams do have some alternatives, including James Russell and Wesley Wright of the Cubs, and possibly Andrew Miller of the Red Sox.
Various roadblocks slowed final approval of the Athletics’ 10-year lease agreement with the Oakland-Alameda County Colisum Authority. Now, an agreement has been reached that paves the way to a finalization of the deal, which is expected to keep the club in the O.Co Coliseum for the next decade, as Will Kane and Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle report.
Oakland raised various issues after the deal had initially been struck, leading MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to give A’s owner Lew Wolff permission to look for a new home city for the club. But those issues were worked out this week, with Oakland’s City Council joining the Coliseum Authority in granting approval. The last apparent hurdles — approval by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and a potential re-approval by the Authority — are expected to pose no difficulties, according to the report.
The approximately $20MM deal still permits the A’s to leave the stadium as soon as December of 2017, though they would remain on the hook for the full rental term. Both Wolff and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan have expressed hope in finding a way to build a new ballpark in the relatively near future.
9:53pm: In his full report, Costa writes that the committee has also interviewed at least two people who do not currently work in the commissioner’s office. Giants CEO Larry Baer has had “informal discussions” regarding the post, but has not made himself a candidate at this point, Costa adds. Likewise, discussions with Disney CEO Robert Iger have not moved past the preliminary stages and his potential candidacy appears to come with some complicating circumstances.
5:02pm: The process of replacing longtime MLB commissioner Bud Selig appears to be entering its next phase. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports on Twitter that at least three internal candidates have been interviewed, presumably by the league’s succession committee.
The first name that Costa mentions will come as no surprise: Rob Manfred, the MLB COO. Manfred has long been considered a leading candidate and is currently “heavily favored” to succeed Selig, according to the report.
Also earning a chance to make a pitch for the commissioner’s chair were Tim Brosnan and Bob Bowman, each of whom occupy lofty positions within the MLB hierarchy. The former heads MLB’s domestic and international business ventures, while the latter is the CEO of MLB Advanced Media.
White Sox starter John Danks is permitted to designate six clubs for no-trade protection under his five-year, $65MM extension. His list for 2014 includes the Athletics, Orioles, Nationals, and Blue Jays, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports on Twitter.
Though Danks has reportedly drawn some interest, including from the Yankees, his contract certainly limits his appeal. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted in breaking down the potentially available starters, Danks is due about $34MM through 2016. However, the 29-year-old lefty holds some value after working back from shoulder surgery, as he has shown the ability to produce over stretches. Through 124 innings on the year, Danks owns a 4.35 ERA with 6.3 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9. But he had lowered that mark to 3.99 before getting hit hard two days ago by the Astros.
Of course, it is far from clear that any of those four clubs would be interested in adding Danks (and, in particular, his contract), so the clause’s impact on Danks’ market may be limited. The A’s and Nats appear to be set in their rotations, while the Jays are reportedly interested in adding a pure rental and the O’s may likewise prefer not to take on that kind of commitment after promising $50MM to the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez before the season.