Noel Arguelles Rumors
Here are today's minor moves from around the league...
- In addition to Rafael Ortega, who was recently claimed by the Rangers, the Rockies also put outfield prospect Tim Wheeler on waivers, tweets the Denver Post's Troy Renck. Wheeler, however cleared and has been outrighted to the minor leagues, says Renck. Wheeler entered the season as Colorado's No. 11 prospect, per Baseball America, but struggled to the tune of a .262/.330/.355 batting line as a 25-year-old at the Triple-A level. Prior to the season, BA noted the alarming drop in Wheeler's power, and he didn't correct it in 2013. Wheeler blasted 33 homers at Double-A in 2011 but has gone yard just seven times in 855 plate appearances at Triple-A since that time.
- The Royals have outrighted left-hander Noel Arguelles to Triple-A Omaha after the Cuban hurler cleared waivers, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). That Arguelles, 23, cleared waivers is no surprise given the fact that he is guaranteed nearly $1.4MM in 2014 after signing a five-year, $7MM contract prior to the 2010 season. Shoulder surgery has derailed the once-promising lefty's prospect status, as he's pitched to a 6.14 ERA with more walks than strikeouts over his previous 196 1/3 innings in the minors.
The Royals have designated left-hander Noel Arguelles and second baseman Irving Falu for assignment in order to clear space for additions to their 40-man roster, the team announced via press release. In addition to the pair of DFAs, right-hander Felipe Paulino has elected free agency after being outrighted. The Royals will add Lane Adams, Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert and Michael Mariot to the 40-man roster.
The Royals signed Arguelles, a Cuban defector, to a five-year, $7MM contract back in 2009, but the southpaw never lived up to his lofty prospect status. Arguelles, 23, underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 and was hampered by groin problems in 2013. He has a career 5.12 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 300 1/3 minor league innings, none coming above the Double-A level.
Falu, 30, has outstanding Major League numbers, but they come in a tiny sample of just 95 plate appearances. Still, the switch-hitter owns a .337/.366/.427 slash line with the Royals -- the only team for whom he's played at the big league level. Falu is a career .283/.342/.365 hitter in Triple-A.
Paulino, also 30, pitched to a 3.55 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 162 1/3 innings with the Royals from 2011-12 but had his 2012 campaign cut short by Tommy John surgery. His strong career strikeout rate (8.4 K/9) and respectable ground-ball rate (44 percent) make him an intriguing buy-low candidate.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star recently took the time to answer a vast array of Twitter questions from his followers and write them up in a Q&A. Here are some highlights from the piece...
- No matter how well Danny Duffy pitches in Triple-A as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, the team won't part with Ervin Santana if they're in contention. Should they fall out of the race, the Royals would likely make Santana available if they received an offer they deemed more valuable than a compensatory draft pick, suggesting that the Royals are planning on making Santana a qualifying offer this offseason.
- Dutton doesn't get any sense from the Royals organization that general manager Dayton Moore is on a short lease, though he concedes that if the team is struggling at this time next year, that could change.
- Dutton expects the recently DFA'ed Jeff Francoeur to clear waivers and sign with another team as opposed to a trade or Frenchy accepting a minor league assignment.
- It's still not clear if the Royals will be buyers at the deadline, though Dutton expects them to look hard at additions. However, he calls the odds of them making a big move "slim."
- Lefty Noel Arguelles could lose his 40-man roster spot this offseason if the Royals are in need of a roster spot. Kansas City gave the Cuban lefty a five-year, $7MM deal in 2009, but he has produced just a 5.24 ERA in 283 2/3 minor league innings to date. The 23-year-old has more walks than strikeouts in 179 2/3 career innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
The Royals defeated the Orioles this afternoon to earn their fifth victory in their last six games. The big headline of the day for Kansas City, however, has to do with a certain minor league call-up...
- The Royals announced that Eric Hosmer has been called up to the big leagues to replace Kila Ka'aihue at first base. Hosmer was the third overall pick of the 2008 amateur draft and was rated by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the game before this season. He has a career .886 OPS in the minors, and had a superb .439/.525/.582 line in 118 plate appearances for Triple-A Omaha this season.
- MLB.com's Dick Kaegel says the club wanted Hosmer to have around 250 Triple-A at-bats before coming to the majors, but it's interesting that K.C. pulled the trigger now and not next month. The early call-up means that Hosmer is likely to pick up enough service time to become a Super Two player, meaning he'll earn an extra year of salary arbitration. This, of course, depends on if the Super Two rules aren't changed in the next collective bargaining agreement.
- Noel Arguelles is pitching well in his first month of pro baseball, writes Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
- You can follow all the latest Kansas City news on MLBTR's Royals-centric Facebook page, RSS and Twitter feeds.
Friday night linkage..
- If Ken Griffey Jr. takes on some sort of role with the Mariners organization, it will likely be next year, writes Larry LaRue of The News Tribune.
- Speaking of Yost, he tells Daniel Paulling of the Kansas City Star that he expects to use Kanekoa Texeira as a reliever. The Royals claimed him off of waivers from the M's on Thursday.
- Dayton Moore is pleased with the job that Ned Yost has done so far with the Royals, writes MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- GM Andy MacPhail is next up on the O's hot seat, writes Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore says that lefty Noel Arguelles has shoulder soreness and is not certain to pitch this year, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). The Royals inked the Cuban defector to a deal this offseason.
- Pat Burrell "couldn't be happier" after landing in San Francisco, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
- The Reds' $1.75MM option on Jonny Gomes looks like a bargain right now, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Gomes is hitting .303/.366/.520 with 7 HRs in 175 plate appearances this season.
Upset over seeing your Syracuse-topped bracket get ruined tonight? Cheer up by reading these news items!
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson thinks the Nationals will make a move to bolster their current right-field platoon. He thinks Jermaine Dye would help the team, though Washington denied any interest in the veteran last week.
- Noel Arguelles hasn't shown much in camp with Kansas City, but ESPN's Keith Law says it's part of the Royals' strategy to take it easy on the 20-year-old.
- Rany Jazayerli of the Rany On The Royals blog looks at how K.C. has only recently gotten back into the habit of drafting local prospects. He also lists some of the local talent that the Royals didn't draft between 1988 and 2003, such as (sorry to mention it again, Royals fans) Albert Pujols.
- The Astros are putting a greater emphasis on foreign scouting, writes The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com lists 10 notable scouts who could be future general managers.
- The Cubs could wait until the trade deadline before getting their desired set-up man, says FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
When you think about Cuban players that signed with a Major League team this past offseason, the first name that will come to mind is Aroldis Chapman and his six-year, $30.25MM contract. However, as ESPN's Jorge Arangure writes, the contracts signed by Jose Iglesias, Adeiny Hechevarria, and Noel Arguelles may dictate the future of the Cuban market.
Arangure notes that at this time last year, Iglesias and Arguelles were expected to command only $1-2MM on the open market. They, of course, signed for $8.25MM and $6.9MM, respectively. If those players meet expectations, not only will teams start to specifically target Cuban prospects, but players in Cuba will surely take notice and attempt to defect at a younger age.
Even though players like Hechevarria and Iglesias are college-aged, they're perceived to be more advanced than their American counterparts because they've faced tougher competition growing up. However, for every Kendry Morales making an impact in the big leagues, there's a Juan Miranda stuck in Triple-A. The risk associated with young players is the same no matter where they come from, but the Cuban market is getting more and more expensive.
4:38pm: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals are saying there could be up to two or three weeks worth of paperwork before the signing is official. Technically, no deal is in place yet.
SUNDAY, 2:46pm: Keith Law weighs in with his reaction to the signing, calling it a "tremendous get for the Royals." Law profiles Arguelles, and also discusses the mentality that international free agency favors big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Law finds the mentality to be a myth, to put it lightly.
SATURDAY, 10:41pm: More detail courtesy of Passan, who says that the two sides have agreed to a pact. On top of the $7MM, Arguelles can earn up to $2MM in incentives as well - and give Passan a dead-on prediction. Of course, the deal will not become official until the youngster passes a physical.
Arguelles' fastball reached 94 mph when he threw for the Cuban national team. Also armed with a strong changeup and above average curveball, he must improve his control to truly capitalize on his potential.
10:31pm: The Royals are believed to be near a major-league agreement with lefty Noel Arguelles, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The deal is reportedly worth $7MM over five years.
This comes as somewhat of a surprise as we recently heard that the most interested clubs were the Athletics, Rays, Mariners, and Yankees. Late last month, Passan predicted that the Cuban defector would fetch between $8.2MM and $10MM, slightly more than what he is set to receive from Kansas City.