Nick Masset Rumors

West Notes: Grossman, Keuchel, Masset

The Astros have recalled Robbie Grossman, who will serve as their everyday left fielder, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The Astros also optioned fellow outfielder L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Oklahoma City. “We’ll get [Alex Presley] some at-bats here and there, but the regular three outfielders will be Grossman, [Dexter] Fowler and [George] Springer,” says manager Bo Porter. Grossman was disappointing in an earlier stint with the big club this season, but the 24-year-old then hit .299/.373/.453 in 153 plate appearances at Triple-A. Grossman was the key player the Astros received when they traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates. (They also received Rudy Owens, who recently made his big-league debut, and Colton Cain.) The news that Grossman will be promoted comes a few days after the Pirates designated Rodriguez for assignment. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel tops Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ list of players who have started the season hot. Yesterday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros would not trade Keuchel, who could be emerging as one of baseball’s better young starters. Keuchel, 26, pitched a four-hit complete game against the Mariners on Sunday and now has a 2.55 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 so far this season.
  • Reliever Nick Masset is with the Rockies after missing two years to injury, and Adrian Dater of the Denver Post chronicles Masset’s return to the big leagues. Masset signed a two-year, $5.5MM extension with the Reds prior to the 2012 season but never pitched for them after signing, instead falling victim to shoulder trouble and, ultimately, thoracic outlet syndrome. Masset wondered if his career might be over. The Rockies scouted him this winter as he made his comeback, and they signed him to a minor-league deal, finally promoting him May 5. He’s pitched well in 8 1/3 innings for them since then.

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  

  • Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
  • The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
  • As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
  • The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster. 
  • John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
  • The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
  • Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
  • Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.

Rockies To Sign Nick Masset

After agreeing with Manny Corpas on a minor league deal earlier today, the Rockies have also reached a mionr league agreement with right-hander Nick Masset, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The New York Post's Joel Sherman adds (via Twitter) that Masset's base salary upon making the team would be $1.2MM, and the contract contains an additional $800K worth of incentives.

Masset, 32, hasn't pitched a Major League inning since 2011 due to surgery to repair the anterior capsule in his right shoulder and thoracic outlet syndrome in that same shoulder. Prior to his recent injury troubles, the Jet Sports Management client served as a setup man for the Reds and was a force in the Cincinnati bullpen. Acquired from the White Sox in the trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to Chicago, Masset posted a 3.07 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 240 1/3 innings with the Reds from 2008-11. He averaged better than 94 mph on his heater from 2009-11 and owns a strong career ground-ball rate of 49.8 percent.

The Rockies have been said to be on the lookout for bullpen help all offseason, and while there's no guarantee that Masset will be the same arm that he was with the Reds a few years ago, the deal provides Colorado with a great deal of upside. Colorado has also added LaTroy Hawkins and Boone Logan to its relief corps this offseason.



Rosenthal’s Latest: D-Backs, Tanaka, Brewers, Colvin

In his latest column over at FOXSports.com, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks' pursuit of top free agents Masahiro Tanaka, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran stemmed from the fact they'll soon be completing a new television deal with FOX Sports that will be worth at least $90MM per season for a span of 15 to 20 years (beginning in 2016). He notes that while comparing TV deals is difficult because of differing equity stakes negotiated by each team, but the contract should still top the Rangers' recent TV deal, which pays them $80MM per season. More highlights from Rosenthal…

  • The Cubs' offer to Masahiro Tanaka did not include an opt-out clause, according to Rosenthal. Knowing that they might not compete until 2016, the Cubs were wary of including a clause that would allow him to opt out shortly after their next competitive club hit the field.
  • Their recent signing of Matt Garza will allow the Brewers to move trade acquisition Will Smith (received in exchange for Norichika Aoki) to the bullpen. Milwaukee could still add another reliever this offseason, but they also want to take a look at Rule 5 lefty Wei-Chung Wang.
  • After missing out on a Major League deal with the Orioles due to concerns over his back, Tyler Colvin is weighing a number of minor league offers.
  • The Marlins and Rockies are both interested in former Reds right-hander Nick Masset, who has missed each of the past two seasons due to shoulder injuries.

Reds, Masset Sign Extension

The Reds signed arbitration eligible reliever Nick Masset to a two-year extension, the team announced (on Twitter). As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Masset had filed for a $2.9MM salary through arbitration, while the Reds had countered with $2.1MM. The deal is worth a guaranteed $5.5MM and includes performance bonuses, MLBTR has learned. 

Masset is arbitration eligible for the third of four times as a super two player, so the deal buys out his two remaining seasons of team control. The 29-year-old posted a 3.71 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 70 1/3 innings in 2011. The Jet Sports Management client is still on track to hit free agency after the 2013 season.

Jose Arredondo, another extension candidate, is the Reds' lone unsigned arbitration eligible player.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Saturday

We'll recap all of the players who agree to deals to avoid arbitration throughout the day here. Be sure to check back in, there's bound to be plenty of updates. Here's yesterday's list.

  • The White Sox avoided arbitration with both Bobby Jenks and Carlos Quentin, signing both to one-year deals. Jenks will earn $7.5MM in 2010, while Quentin will receive $3.2MM after earning just $550K in 2009.
  • The Giants and reliever Brandon Medders avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $820K deal, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
  • MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds and Nick Masset have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a two-year deal.  Masset is set to earn $1.035MM this season and $1.545 next season, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Odds & Ends: Holliday, Putz, Lopez, Teahen, Reds

It's been a busy first day on the hot stove, so here's another batch of links…

  • Derrick Goold of The St. Lous Post Dispatch says there are eight teams "that have the need and the financial wherewithal" to sign Matt Holliday. It's the usual suspects (i.e. big market clubs), and Goold explains why each may be interested in Holliday.
  • Craig Landis, agent for J.J. Putz, said that his client "hasn't ruled out returning to the Mets with a cheaper, incentive-laden deal," according to Bart Hubbuch of The NY Post. Earlier today we learned that the Mets informed Putz that they wouldn't be picking up his 2010 option.
  • MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says the Brewers are waiting to see whether Felipe Lopez qualifies as a Type-A or B free agent, and that will likely play a role in their decision whether or not to offer him arbitration. Eddie Bajek's work projects Lopez to be a Type-B, but he's right on the cutoff.
  • ESPN's Keith Law loves the Mark Teahen trade for the Royals, noting that they traded one average player close to free agency for two average players with several years of team control left.
  • John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds' relievers Nick Masset and Jared Burton are arbitration eligible as Super Two's, but Micah Owings is not.
  • Meanwhile, the Reds are expected to decline Ramon Hernandez's $8.5MM option for 2010, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon
  • David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution has some quotes from Tim Hudson about his contract extension.
  • Did you catch Mariano Rivera saying that he wants to play another five years during the Yankees' World Series celebration last night? It turns out he wasn't kidding. Chad Jennings of The Journal News quotes the Yanks' closer as saying “I’m serious. I hope the organization does whatever it takes to bring me back.”

Odds And Ends: Chapman, Betancourt, Masset

Some links in anticipation of the weekend…
  • According to Baseball America, there's no evidence to suggest that Aroldis Chapman is 26 years old and allegations that he's any older than 21 don't pass the logic test.
  • ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has the oddest anecdotes and funniest quotes from the first half of the season. 
  • The AP (via ESPN) reports that this year's All Stars will receive a combined $2.3MM in bonuses for making the team, led by Roy Halladay's $125k. I wonder who pays if Halladay's dealt before Tuesday…
  • As Bradford Doolittle of the Kansas City Star shows, Yuniesky Betancourt does not have much of a glove or bat, so it's puzzling that the Royals wanted him.
  • MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds aren't trading Nick Masset away, especially when his $418k salary makes him so affordable.

Reds Interested In Atkins?

6:34pm: John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer spoke with the Reds and says it was the Rockies that called the Reds to see if they were interested in Atkins, adding that they are not. Fay cites the $3.4MM Atkins is owed and his position as reasons the Reds are not interested. Fay does say the Reds would be willing to add salary for the "right guy." He also says the Reds could trade a relief pitcher, but that it would probably not be Nick Masset.

4:45pm: The Reds have spoken to the Rockies about Garrett Atkinsaccording to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies are looking for relievers, but it will be hard to match up salaries, as Atkins makes $3.4MM before the end of the season, much more than most relievers. The Rockies would likely have to cover some of Atkins' salary in a deal for a cheap reliever like Nick Masset, but could trade him for a pricier arm like David Weathers, if he's available.

The Red Sox have waning interest in the third baseman, but the Mariners and Cardinals could have interest.

Odds & Ends: Suzuki, Zambrano, Nationals

Links for Tuesday…