Nick Hundley Rumors
With the Red Sox losing the division lead for the first time in two months, here's the latest from a hotly contested American League East ...
- The deal that brought Alfonso Soriano back to the Yankees was consummated over the objections of GM Brian Cashman, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "I would say we are in a desperate time," said Cashman. "Ownership wants to go for it. I didn't want to give up a young arm." The club dealt young righty Corey Black (and took on salary) to add the 37-year-old Soriano. MLBTR's Steve Adams rounded up the reactions to the deal yesterday.
- Cashman's latest overruling continues a trend, Sherman further reports in the same piece. Most recently, Cashman reportedly preferred signing catcher Russell Martin and outfielder Nate Schierholtz this last offseason. Instead, ownership pushed a two-year, $13MM deal with Ichiro Suzuki. While the Yanks could have Martin and Schierholtz playing right now on one-year deals, says Sherman, the team instead has an aging Ichiro-Soriano combination set to earn $11.5MM next season.
- The Red Sox must add talent, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, or risk dropping back in a tight AL East race. Silverman opines that the club should call up top prospect Xander Bogaerts to provide much-needed pop from the left side of the infield. Meanwhile, with Clay Buchholz still not on a clear timetable and with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez choosing the Phillies over the Sox, Silverman says that Boston should also make a deal for a starter.
- Should Boston make a move to bolster its rotation, one player who could be dealt is third baseman Will Middlebrooks. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports that Middlebrooks, who is trying to work his way back to the form he showed in his 2012 rookie campaign, has heard the rumors for the first time in his recollection. "I'm just trying to keep my nose out of it," Middlebrooks said. The 24-year-old indicated that he remains content in the Red Sox organization in spite of his struggles this year: "I have a good opportunity here. I don't need to get traded to have a good opportunity."
- Looking at Boston's recent history, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal suggests that the team could look to pick up a somewhat under-the-radar player that can contribute not just this season, but in the future. MacPherson notes that the Sox added catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2010), shortstop Mike Aviles (2011), and reliever Craig Breslow (2012) when the price proved right and the deal met the club's multi-year needs. This season, with Saltalamacchia nearing free agency and backup David Ross injured, the team could look to deal for a backstop with future control even as it gives playing time to prospect Ryan Lavarnway. MacPherson suggests the Padres' Nick Hundley as a possibility, while noting that San Diego could be hesitant to move him.
Forbes Magazine calculates the Yankees (unsurprisingly) as the most valuable franchise in baseball, worth an estimated $1.85 billion. The second-place team on the list are (somewhat surprisingly) the Dodgers at $1.4 billion, up nearly 75% in value from last year as Forbes predicts the team's forthcoming sale and new TV contract will return it to top-tier status. The Forbes list also reveals which teams lost value from last year and which didn't turn a profit in 2011, as well as looking at how cable TV deals are changing the economics of the game.
Some other news from around the majors...
- Yasmani Grandal is happy that Padres teammate and fellow catcher Nick Hundley received a contract extension but isn't worried that Hundley's deal impacts his own future with the club, reports Dan Hayes of the North County Times. "It doesn't matter if somebody got a deal or not. You never know what could happen," Grandal said. "They could get traded or you could get traded. I'm not only playing for one organization. I'm playing for the 29 others that are out there. That's one way I see it, and if it's not meant to be it's not meant to be. If I don't make it to the big leagues with this club I can make it with any other team."
- Hundley's reasonable contract could make him a strong trade candidate, opines Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who the Padres could deal this summer if Grandal has a strong first half at Triple-A.
- Felix Hernandez says he is asked about his future with the Mariners in almost every interview, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, and joked he might hang a banner reading "I'm not going anywhere" over his locker.
- The Athletics are thus far very pleased with the four prospects (Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole and Derek Norris) they received from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, reports Jeff Fletcher for the Washington Times.
- Matthew Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Vernon Wells thinks the Blue Jays could make "exceptions" to their policy of not offering contracts longer than five years, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Ironically, Wells' seven-year, $126MM deal with Toronto in 2006 is no doubt a major reason why the current Jays management team has adopted this policy.
- Some newly-hired bench bosses make FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal's annual list of managers on the hot seat, including Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine.
The Padres and catcher Nick Hundley agreed to terms on a three-year extension, the team announced. The deal covers the 2012-14 seasons and includes a club option for 2015. Athletes First represents Hundley, who drew praise from his new GM.
“Nick has developed into one of our club’s core players,” Josh Byrnes said. “He impacts the game on both offense and defense and has evolved into a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.”
Hundley had agreed to a one-year, $2MM salary via arbitration this offseason and was on track for free agency following the 2014 season. This means San Diego extends its control of Hundley by up to one season with today's agreement. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, $3MM in 2013 and $4MM in 2014, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports (Twitter links). The club option is worth $5MM and doesn't include a buyout, so it's a three-year, $9MM deal.
Hundley has a .255/.314/.420 career line in four MLB seasons, including a .288/.347/.477 line last year. 72% of stolen base attempts against the 28-year-old have been successful to this point in his career.
As Mike Axisa pointed out when talks heated up over the weekend, catchers such as Kurt Suzuki (four years, $16.25MM), Yadier Molina (four years, $15.5MM), Carlos Ruiz (three years, $8.85MM) and Chris Iannetta (three years, $8.3MM) signed extensions when they had between three and four years of service time. Iannetta and Ruiz were likely comparables for Hundley's deal.
Corey Brock of MLB.com first reported the deal. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
The Padres locked up Cameron Maybin to a five-year deal earlier this month, and now they're working on another core player. MLB.com's Corey Brock reports (on Twitter) that talks between the team and catcher Nick Hundley have heated up this week, and an agreement could be close. He's an Athletes First client.
Hundley, 28, will earn $2MM this season, his first as an arbitration-eligible player. A .255/.314/.420 career hitter, Hundley broke out with a .288/.347/.477 batting line in 308 plate appearances last season. He did miss more than two months with an oblique strain and an elbow issue, however. Since breaking into the league in 2008, Hundley ranks 13th among all catchers with 6.5 wins above replacement (min. 1,000 PA).
As our Extension Tracker shows, catchers like Kurt Suzuki (four years, $16.25MM), Carlos Ruiz (three years, $8.85MM), Chris Iannetta (three years, $8.3MM), and Yadier Molina (four years, $15.5MM) have signed extensions when they had between three and four years of service time. Hundley's three arbitration years figure to cost San Diego $8-10MM.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The Padres expect to ease catcher Nick Hundley into a bigger role in 2011, but they’ll look to complement him with a backup, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times. GM Jed Hoyer said the Padres are not looking for someone to play as much as Yorvit Torrealba did in 2010. Instead, the Padres are looking for a catcher who can "play a fair amount” while Hundley starts 95 games, Hoyer says.
Gerald Laird, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Jason Varitek and Gregg Zaun are among the free agent catchers who could be willing to accept part-time jobs, so they could fit in San Diego if their demands fit the Padres' budget. It’s too early to rule out Henry Blanco and Yorvit Torrealba, the two catchers who shared time with Hundley in 2009-10, but A.J. Pierzynski probably isn't a fit. He said he'd like to catch in San Diego, but other teams figure to offer more playing time and more money.
Hundley hits lefties (.672 career OPS) and righties (.708 career OPS) at about the same rate, so the Padres can consider backstops who bat from either side of the plate. Manager Bud Black says the organization believes in Hundley “as a major league catcher” at this point in his career. The 27-year old batted .249/.308/.418 in 307 plate appearances in 2010 and he threw out a career-best 29% of would-be base stealers.
You can add catching to the list of San Diego needs now that the Mets have signed Henry Blanco, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
With the Mets inking the veteran backstop to a one-year deal last week, the Padres now find themselves without a complement to Nick Hundley behind the dish. The organization is currently split on whether or not Hundley is a starting or backup catcher, according to Center. San Diego had discussed re-signing Blanco, but Center now wonders if they'll instead explore the trade market for options.
He names Heath Bell and Kevin Kouzmanoff as the Padres main most desirable trade chips not named "Adrian Gonzalez." As Center points out, there are numerous late-inning relief options on the market. While that might normally hamper a reliever's trade value, you've got to imagine Bell as an exception. The National League saves leader will cost significantly less than most other available options, as he's arbitration eligible after earning just $1.255MM last season.
Kouzmanoff is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and could appeal to any number of teams in search of a third baseman. The Twins, Orioles, and Astros could all use help at third base, to name a few teams.
The Padres find themselves in need of another catcher, a right-handed hitting center fielder, rotation help, and a backup middle infielder who can be a defensive asset. Can Jed Hoyer find a way to make this a reality while maintaining a reasonable payroll?
MLB.com's Corey Brock tells us, via Twitter, that the Padres have designated right-hander Edwin Moreno for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Jose Lobaton.
The Padres were forced to create room for another catcher on the roster following injuries to both Nick Hundley and Henry Blanco.
Moreno, 28, was 1-3 for the Pads with a 4.84 ERA. He had notched 15 strikeouts through 22.1 innings to go along with 15 walks, while opposing hitters were batting .311 off of him.
Lobaton, 24, is hitting .248/.301/.360 with three home runs through 37 games at AAA this year.
Padres rumor guru Tom Krasovic has a new article up at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The Padres are open to trading 24 year-old catcher Nick Hundley. Hundley did not crack Baseball America's Padres top ten prospects for '08 after hitting .247/.324/.475 at Double A. Kevin Towers would've sent him to the Astros for Luke Scott, and still could send him to Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady.
- Krasovic says that if the Padres are to deal Michael Barrett for a few prospects, it's likely to happen soon. The Pirates are said to be interested so maybe a deal involving Nady and some prospects could go down.
- The Padres' offer to Geoff Jenkins will likely to be inferior to that of the Phillies. So Jenkins would have to be sold on the city. He's from California and went to USC, notes MLBTR reader Nathaniel S.
- The Friars expressed interest in another USC alum, Mark Prior (as have 11 other teams). The New York Daily News reiterated the Mets' and Yankees' interest in him this morning.
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a late-night update for us.
- Several outfielders are on the radar that we haven't previously linked to San Diego: Milton Bradley, Xavier Nady, and Jason Bay. Of course all three have played for the Padres in the past. It would certainly be an interesting storyline if they reacquired Bay.
- Ken Rosenthal told us earlier that the Padres talks for Luke Scott broke off. Krasovic doesn't say that, but notes that the Astros want catcher Nick Hundley for him. The 24 year-old backstop hit .247/.324/.475 in Double A last year. According to Baseball America, Hundley profiles as a big league regular and could be respectable botg offensively and defensively.
- Michael Barrett still hasn't decided whether to accept arby.