Nyjer Morgan Rumors
The Milwaukee Brewers experienced a roller coaster season in 2012 marked by injuries, blown saves, and being 12 games under .500 on August 20 before embarking on a 24-6 run that boosted them back into the Wild Card race until being eliminated on the final weekend of the season. Club officials say everyone feels better about the state of the franchise heading into the offseason. But, how will that shape the winter for the Brewers? Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed that topic and other issues in a recent online chat with fans. Here are the highlights:
- GM Doug Melvin will be looking to add a veteran to the starting rotation and Haudricourt named Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, and Kyle Lohse as possibilities. A fan suggested Brandon McCarthy and Haudricourt acknowledged the Brewers will perform their due diligence, but any addition will only be made if the pitcher is affordable, the right fit, and wants to come to Milwaukee.
- Haudricourt anticipates the Brewers signing a free agent starting pitcher is a more likely scenario than trading for one because the club has some payroll flexibility and they've already traded away a lot of prospects for pitching in recent years.
- Don't look for the Brewers to deal Corey Hart or Rickie Weeks to create more payroll flexibility. Haudricourt would be surprised if Hart, entering the final year of his contract with a 2013 salary of $10 MM, is traded despite the presence of Southern League MVP Hunter Morris. Weeks, due a guaranteed $21MM over the next two seasons, should also be safe, Haudricourt theorized, because the Brewers have enough money coming off the books to not have to worry about his salary.
- Haudricourt expects the payroll be less in 2013 than the $100 million-plus of this year, a spending level that should put the franchise in the red for 2012.
- Expect Nyjer Morgan to be non-tendered. It was obvious, Haudricourt opined, that Morgan was being phased out and having made $2.3MM and eligible for arbitration again, he probably will be replaced by Logan Schafer, a less expensive option who is considered a better defender. Haudricourt did praise Morgan for conducting himself professionally and never popping off or openly complaining about his decrease in playing time.
- Haudricourt listed some minor league prospects who took a big step this year and that fans should keep an eye on next season, including the aforementioned Morris.
Earlier today, we looked at the latest on the White Sox courtesy of Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club will decline options on Jake Peavy and Kevin Youkilis, but Kenny Williams will still work to retain both veterans. Speaking of Williams, he will soon be promoted from General Manager to team president with Rick Hahn assuming his former title. Here's more out of the Central divisions..
- Williams says that reliever Brett Myers could start for the White Sox in 2013, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. The White Sox hold a $10MM option on Myers for next season that they can buy out for $3MM.
- Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters that he is open to being traded in the offseason, according to the Associated Press. Soriano hopes to have one more shot at making a trip to the World Series before his career is through. The 36-year-old went on to say that he is open to retiring after the two remaining years on his contract are up.
- Twins manager Rod Gardenhire suggested to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that the club will probably have a press conference tomorrow to remove the interim tag from General Manager Terry Ryan's title.
- Brewers outfielder and former ACES client Nyjer Morgan says that he is now represented by agent Rex Gary, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The outfielder is set to be a free agent for the first time following the 2014 campaign.
- The Cubs dismissed third base coach Pat Listach tonight, tweets Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. The decision was made by the club and manager Dale Sveum said that he would recommend him for any other coaching job (Twitter link).
In advance of tomorrow's 11am central time deadline to exchange arbitration figures, settlements will be rolling in today. Follow all of the action with MLBTR's arbitration tracker. The latest for players under $4MM:
- The Braves and Eric O'Flaherty avoided arbitration, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. O'Flaherty will earn $2.49MM, just shy of his projected $2.6MM salary.
- The Orioles and Jim Johnson have avoided arbitration, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. The right-hander will earn $2.625MM in 2012, just north of his projected $2.5MM salary.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Franklin Morales, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. The left-hander had a projected salary of $1MM and agreed to an $850K deal.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with J.P. Howell, agreeing to a $1.35MM deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.4MM salary for the left-hander.
- The Royals avoided arbitration with Chris Getz, agreeing to a $967,500 deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.2MM salary for the infielder.
- The Nationals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Jesus Flores. Flores, who is represented by Praver/Shapiro, received $815K, MLBTR has learned.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The ACES client received $2.35MM, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- The Royals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Brayan Pena, a client of Wasserman Media Group. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star says the deal is worth $875K; Matt Swartz had him at $900K.
- Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day avoided arbitration for a deal worth $1.35MM, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Matt Swartz had projected the same for the Beverly Hills Sports Council client.
- Yankees righty Phil Hughes agreed to a deal worth $3.2MM plus performance bonuses, tweets his agency CAA. The 25-year-old gets a $500K raise after a lost 2011 season.
- The Tigers announced they've avoided arbitration with lefty Phil Coke. Coke, a client of Full Circle Sports Management, gets a $1.1MM base salary with $50K in incentives for appearances or starts, MLBTR has learned.
- The Angels avoided arbitration with infielder Alberto Callaspo, signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.15MM, tweets ESPN's Keith Law. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz nailed this one, projecting a $3.1MM salary. Callaspo, a client of Eric Goldschmidt, received a $1.15MM raise for his second time through arbitration.
Jimmy Rollins said earlier today that there's a "good chance" he re-signs with the Phillies after the season. Here are some more updates from around the NL East, where all five teams are in offseason mode...
- Ryan Howard's five-year, $125MM contract ranks fourth on Joe Posnanski's list of the ten worst contracts in baseball at SI.com. Howard, whose deal kicks in next season, is "becoming a less and less useful player all the time," Posnanski writes.
- The Phillies interviewed Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan for their director of player development position this week, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Philadelphia now has a short window to decide whether they're going to offer Jordan the job, which previously fell under Chuck LaMar's responsibilities.
- The Phillies will look to sign a free agent closer this offseason and a division rival could be interested in similar relievers. GM Sandy Alderson has hinted that the Mets will find their next closer on the free agent market, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
- A Spring Training conflict between Jayson Werth and Nyjer Morgan nearly escalated to the point that punches were thrown, according to Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post. Now a member of the Brewers, Morgan has emerged as a star (along with his many alter egos).
Links for Thursday night..
- The Giants likely can't get much for Barry Zito and therefore a deal involving him is unlikely, writes MLB.com's Chris Haft.
- Ryan Theriot enjoyed his brief stint with the Dodgers last season, writes Quinn Roberts for MLB.com. After playing 54 games for the club last season, he was shipped to the Cardinals for reliever Blake Hawksworth.
- Despite all of the uncertainty about their rotation heading into this season, it seems like the Rangers pitching is just fine, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- After bouncing around from the Pirates to the Nationals to the Brewers, Nyjer Morgan seems to be carving out a niche for himself in Milwaukee, writes George Von Benko for MLB.com. The Brewers acquired Morgan in exchange for Cutter Dykstra in late March.
- Major League Baseball announced the selection order for the draft (June 6-8) and the Padres own five of the first 58 overall selections, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. In addition to their own first-rounder, the club has the ninth pick for failing to sign their 2010 first-round pick, pitcher Karsten Whitson. They also have three compensatory picks for Jon Garland (Dodgers), Yorvit Torrealba (Rangers) and Kevin Correia (Pirates).
- The Angels are grateful to have picked up left-handed relievers Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs this offseason, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Nyjer Morgan said on Friday he didn't expect to be a National by Opening Day, and the team didn't waste much time validating that prediction. The Nationals have sent Morgan to the Brewers in exchange for Cutter Dykstra, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The Brewers will also send $50K to the Nats in the deal, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Morgan, 30, was unlikely to crack the Nationals' roster, and told Ladson earlier this weekend, "Maybe I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on." The Brewers, meanwhile, were keeping an eye on Morgan after trading Chris Dickerson to the Yankees on Friday. GM Doug Melvin had denied interest, saying the club was willing to enter the season with in-house options Brandon Boggs and Jeremy Reed, but suggested today that the Nats changed their asking price (Twitter link). Morgan will now take Boggs' spot on the roster, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).
Dykstra, the son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra, was selected by the Brewers in the second round of the 2008 draft. The 21-year-old hit .312/.416/.411 in 353 plate appearances at Class A Wisconsin in 2010.
- Nyjer Morgan, who is reportedly being eyed by a few teams, doesn't expect to open the season with the Nationals. "I just think this place isn't for me," the outfielder told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."
- In the same MLB.com piece, Ladson adds that Brian Broderick, a Rule 5 selection from the Cardinals, is expected to earn a spot on the Nats' Opening Day roster. Broderick figures to be used in short and long relief, though he can also start if needed.
- Yunesky Maya was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse today, the team announced. Washington signed the Cuban pitcher to a four-year deal last summer.
2:29pm: Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he has no interest in Morgan (Twitter link). The Brewers will rely on their in-house outfielders.
11:17am: The Brewers are one of the teams looking at Nyjer Morgan, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Milwaukee just traded Chris Dickerson away and could have interest in restoring outfield depth.
Scouts covering the Nationals told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that Morgan is very much available. However, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported two weeks ago that the Nationals weren't considering releasing the outfielder.
As ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark points out, the Phillies’ decision to sign Luis Castillo suggests they aren’t overly optimistic about the timetable for Chase Utley’s return. According to Stark, the Phillies heard that there is no guarantee that surgery would make Utley healthy again, so they’re hoping rehab works. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors...
- The Marlins have decided that Matt Dominguez isn’t ready for the majors, so they’re “actively exploring” outside options. Earlier tonight, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that the Marlins were “unlikely” to look outside of the organization for help at the hot corner.
- Though the Pirates are still shopping Ryan Doumit, teams that have spoken to Pittsburgh say the catcher/outfielder is not drawing much interest.
- Multiple teams, including the Phillies, Marlins and Cubs, appear to be eyeing Michael Young. None of those clubs can afford Young’s annual salary of $16MM and the Rangers expect a “massive” return if they’re going to eat a significant amount of Young’s salary.
- Scouts covering the Nationals say Nyjer Morgan is very much available. “They're trying to give him away," one scout said, before suggesting that the Nationals could release him.
- Scouts watching the Yankees expect the team to add a veteran catcher in the next week.
- The Phillies are looking for a veteran outfielder who’s capable of playing center field.
- Teams that have spoken with the Astros say they’d like to add a veteran catcher, but have very little money to spend.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Mitchell Page, a former outfielder and hitting coach who passed away Saturday. Page was the runner-up to Eddie Murray in a close vote for AL Rookie of the Year in 1977 and, more recently, served as a hitting coach for the Cardinals and Nationals. Here are today's links:
- According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, scouts watching the Cubs this weekend "seemed more interested in what [Braden] Looper’s status was than whether the fat-salaried [Carlos] Silva could be had." If things don't work out with Chicago, however, Looper would likely just return to his family.
- One of the Yankees' Sunday roster moves involved returning Rule 5 pick Daniel Turpen to the Red Sox, as Chad Jennings of the Journal News notes.
- Jamie Moyer still intends to attempt a comeback in 2012, writes Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Moyer, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, is realistic about the factors working against him: "I want to give this a chance and see what happens. If it doesn't work out, so be it."
- CBA talks are ahead of schedule, with the second round of collective bargaining set to occur in the next few weeks, according to MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains why the Nationals aren't considering releasing Nyjer Morgan.
- In another article for the Post, Kilgore says the Nationals are having trouble evaluating Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez due to health issues.