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Today’s minor MLB moves..
- The Rays announced (on Twitter) that catcher Bobby Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
- The Pirates designated Deolis Guerra for assignment to clear roster a spot for Joakim Soria, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Guerra gave up two three-run homers to Brandon Phillips yesterday, which probably didn’t help his job security with the Bucs.
- The A’s announced that they have acquired lefty Felix Doubront from the Blue Jays for cash. Doubront was designated for assignment just days ago to make room for the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki.
- Caleb Thielbar will be designated for assignment to make room for Kevin Jepsen on the Twins‘ 40-man roster, according to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (on Twitter).
- To make room for Jonathan Broxton, the Cardinals have designated Marcus Hatley for assignment, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets.
- The Brewers announced that they have claimed Preston Guilmet off waivers from the Dodgers. The well-traveled Guilmet didn’t spend much time with the Dodgers, who selected him off waivers from the Rays on July 10. Guilmet tossed three innings for the club’s Triple-A affiliate prior being designated for assignment. He’s been very good at Triple-A this season, tallying a 1.95 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 32 1/3 innings between Buffalo, Durham and Oklahoma City.
- The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they have assigned catcher Dan Butler outright to Triple-A.
- The Indians announced (on Twitter) that they have acquired left-hander Jayson Aquino from the Pirates for cash considerations.
- The Pirates have outrighted Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.
- The Cubs have designated Ben Rowen for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweets.
Full Story | 2 Comments | Categories: Ben Rowen | Bobby Wilson | Caleb Thielbar | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Deolis Guerra | Felix Doubront | Gorkys Hernandez | Jayson Aquino | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marcus Hatley | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | Preston Guilmet | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals
Cook, 28, has pitched in the Majors for parts of five seasons with solid overall numbers. Acquired by the A’s from the D’Backs in the December 2011 Trevor Cahill trade, Cook made the All-Star team in 2012 and saved 14 games. However, he missed time with a shoulder injury and forearm strain last year, and was optioned to Triple-A out of spring training. That’s where he’s spent most of this season, compiling a 4.05 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. The Red Sox will potentially control Cook through 2018 as an arbitration eligible player.
The Reds are currently “examining offers” for closer Aroldis Chapman, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney, but at this time, there’s no sense as to whether or not they feel “devoted” to finishing a trade as they did with Johnny Cueto over the weekend. Chapman’s name has been connected to the Nationals (who have since acquired Jonathan Papelbon), D-Backs, Blue Jays and others in recent weeks, but because he’s controlled through 2016, the urge to move him isn’t as great as the urge to move Cueto or teammate Mike Leake.
A few more general trade notes for all you late-night readers…
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick gets the sense that the Athletics won’t move right-hander Jesse Chavez (Twitter link). I listed Chavez in my breakdown of the trade market for starting pitching, but as Crasnick notes, he’s controlled through 2016 at what should be a reasonable rate. Chavez is owed just $2.15MM in 2015 and should get a nice, but not enormous raise in arbitration this winter. Following today’s trade of Ben Zobrist, A’s general manager Billy Beane said that he didn’t plan on moving pieces that are controlled beyond the current season.
- Sticking with the ESPN group, Jayson Stark noted in today’s roundup of trade rumors that one exec predicted to him that James Shields would end up with the Giants. However, Stark hears that the Padres have changed their stance on trading within the division and now may be hesitant to trade their top chips to a division-rival. San Diego, of course, made a huge intra-division trade by acquiring Matt Kemp from the Dodgers this offseason.
- Speaking of the Dodgers, Stark also hears that L.A. could land two starting pitchers instead of one this week. He goes on to add that the Dodgers have a limited number of prospects they’re actually willing to deal, though, so if they can line up on a trade for a big name like Cole Hamels, they may not have the remaining pieces to add a second arm.
- One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he doesn’t think the Brewers particularly want to trade Carlos Gomez (Twitter link). The asking price on Gomez at this time is “very” high, the exec tells Rosenthal, adding that he thinks Milwaukee is hoping to get blown away but may otherwise hang onto the center fielder.
- The Pirates have interest in Padres right-hander Shawn Kelley, reports John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times (on Twitter). A free agent following the season, Kelley has turned in a very strong 3.09 ERA with excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers in 2015. He’s averaged 10.9 K/9 against a minuscule 1.8 BB/9 in his first season with San Diego.
- The Orioles‘ interest in Carlos Gonzalez was characterized by one source as “mild,” tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, Morosi tweets that the Orioles are still in the Justin Upton market. Baltimore is known to be looking for a corner outfield upgrade but has limited prospect depth from which it can deal to achieve that goal.
- Morosi also notes (via Twitter) that the Nationals are interested in upgrading their bench, but the want to fully assess the health of Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, both of whom are now off the disabled list. He notes that an extra outfielder would be a nice pickup for the team, speculatively listing both Will Venable of the Padres and Gerardo Parra of the Brewers as fits.
Full Story | 31 Comments | Categories: Aroldis Chapman | Baltimore Orioles | Carlos Gomez | Carlos Gonzalez | Cincinnati Reds | James Shields | Jesse Chavez | Jonathan Papelbon | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Shawn Kelley | Washington Nationals
The Royals added their second major rental piece via trade earlier today, acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Athletics in exchange for right-hander Aaron Brooks and minor league lefty Sean Manaea. It’s another steep price for the Royals to pay, as they’ve now parted with their first-round picks from both 2014 (Brandon Finnegan) and 2013 (Manaea) in addition to their 2013 second-rounder (Cody Reed).
Here are some reactions from around the web…
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with several Athletics players and GM Billy Beane about the move. “You’d rather be on the other end of it,” Beane told Slusser. “We’ve been on both sides in my tenure here, but you have to be realistic in evaluating your situation going forward. This season we had high hopes and we got off on the wrong foot….and it just snowballed.” Beane stressed that he has no plans to trade a player that is controlled beyond the 2015 season, Slusser adds. Beane said that Manaea wasn’t the type of player he thought he could get in a deal, but he’s happy to bring him on board. Athletics DH Billy Butler is familiar with Manaea from his time in the Royals organization. “I thought Manaea was untouchable,” said Butler, who praised Manaea’s “tremendous” arm.
- Brooks was assigned to Triple-A following the trade, but he won’t stay there long. Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area tweets that Brooks will start Saturday’s contest for the Athletics. A roster move will have to be made prior to that happening, of course, though Brooks is already on the 40-man roster.
- While Zobrist isn’t the player that he was a couple of years ago, he’ll still be a significant improvement over Omar Infante at second base (once he moves there upon Alex Gordon‘s return from the DL), writes ESPN’s Keith Law (subscription required/recommended). Zobrist is at least a one-win upgrade, if not more, says Law, who finds the price paid by Kansas City a reasonable one. Manaea’s upside is tantalizing and Law has seen him at his best, but he also notes that he saw him unable to hold his velocity two weeks ago. Manaea’s injury history raises questions about whether he can handle the workload of a starter. If he proves durable enough, Law notes that Manaea can be at least a mid-rotation starter even with average velocity, or more if he can stay healthy and maintain his velocity deeper in games. Brooks fits the strike-thrower mold of Tommy Milone or Kendall Graveman he adds — a fringe rotation option for many teams that could succeed due to Oakland’s cavernous stadium.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (video link) broke down the prospects acquired in the trade, praising Manaea’s “solid first full season” but explaining that the lefty dropped off MLB.com’s Top 100 on their midseason update, in part due to missing the first half of 2015 with non-arm related injuries. Mayo feels that if everything comes together for Manaea, he can be “at least” a No. 3 starter, but “has a chance to be much more than that.” Brooks doesn’t come with a big upside but has average stuff across the board and four-pitch mix that can pitch as a fourth or fifth starter. The Athletics’ trade activity over the past week has done quite a bit to restore what had been a declining group of Top 30 prospects and deepen Oakland’s farm, Mayo adds.
- The Royals were pursuing Zobrist even before acquiring Cueto, writes Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. The team had, in fact, pegged Cueto and Zobrist as its two top targets entering the trade deadline, and they’ve managed to secure both pieces. As McCullough notes, last season, the Royals “spun their wheels” and tried for incremental upgrades at the deadline, pursuing deals for Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios without success. Riding a World Series berth and record attendance, however, the Royals have been able to take a win-now, all-in approach that the organization and its fans haven’t experienced before.
- One NL exec told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that Manaea was the most surprising prospect he saw traded today, calling him an “impact player” and opining that the A’s did well to acquire him in the deal (Twitter link). Stark’s colleague, Buster Olney, tweets that he’s heard other teams praising the Athletics’ acquisition of Manaea as well.
- MLBTR’s Zach Links was among the reporters on today’s conference call with Royals GM Dayton Moore. As Zach wrote, Moore said he doesn’t foresee making any significant additions between now and the trade deadline, so it would seem that the heavy lifting for Kansas City is out of the way.
- Instagram users can check out our new @traderumorsmlb account for a glimpse of what Zobrist will look like in his new uniform when he joins the team, which will reportedly happen on Thursday.
Dayton Moore pulled off a major acquisition when he landed ace Johnny Cueto from the Reds on Sunday, but he didn’t rest on his laurels after that trade. Today, he finalized another major deal when he acquired versatile veteran Ben Zobrist from the A’s. Earlier today, I asked the Royals GM if he was under a mandate from ownership to go for broke this summer and make major moves.
“We always have a mandate to put the best team on the field,” Moore told reporters on the conference call. “Certainly the play of our team and how our players have responded gives us more motivation to make moves, but we’ve always tried to do whatever could at the deadline to make our team better for the second half, even when we weren’t competing.”
While Cueto came to K.C. before Zobrist, the GM explained that talks with Oakland actually started before the discussions with Cincinnati. There are still a few days to go until the trade deadline but Moore doesn’t expect to make another blockbuster deal between now and Friday. Like a responsible Christmas shopper, it appears that Moore has avoided the rush to get the top shelf prizes. Interestingly, however, he says the timing of it all was happenstance.
“You’ll have to speak with [Reds GM] Walt [Jocketty] and [A’s GM] Billy [Beane], but for me, they were just satisfied with the package that was offered,” said Moore. “I don’t think anybody is gonna execute a deal unless they’re as satisfied as they can be. When we enter into these types of discussions for a player we want we are very aggressive. We have a good idea of what we want and what we want to provide as far as the package goes and what they desire…No sense in stringing things out and creating unnecessary tension. If you know at the end of the day that you’re going to get to a certain place, you might as well get there.”
Zobrist is expected to join his new teammates “in a day or two,” and when he gets in the mix, he’ll be slotted in left field rather than second base, where he’ll be filling in for the currently injured Alex Gordon. There’s plenty of work ahead for Zobrist, Cueto, and the Royals, but it sounds like their GM is done with the heavy lifting for the week.
The Royals have officially acquired Athletics utilityman Ben Zobrist, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Young hurlers Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea are the two pieces heading back to the A’s, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link) were first to report. Kansas City will also pick up over $2MM, which covers a large piece of Zobrist’s remaining salary, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
The deal delivers the second major rental piece heading to Kansas City this summer, as the club already picked up Johnny Cueto from the Reds. After dealing a trio of young arms to get Cueto, and now agreeing to send out two more to add Zobrist, Kansas City is firmly committed to winning this year. The club surprised the baseball world with its World Series run last year, narrowly missing out on a championship, and obviously decided that the time to win was the present after a strong first half in 2015.
In Zobrist, the Royals have added a uniquely valuable asset who can help the team in several ways. Star outfielder Alex Gordon is still working back from a significant groin strain, creating a need in left field. And the club has received less-than-sterling results from Omar Infante at second. Presumably, Zobrist will move between those positions — as he has for much of his career — depending upon needs and matchups.
Zobrist was perhaps the most hotly pursued player in the league this year, as he looked to be a strong fit for multiple contenders and is only owed the balance of a $7.5MM salary this season. At 34 years of age and set to hit the market after the season, he’s a pure win-now rental.
Despite playing half of his game’s in Oakland’s cavernous ballpark, Zobrist has increased his power output after a down 2014 in that department. He’s also rebounded nicely after getting out of the gate slowly and dealing with injuries. All told, Zobrist owns a .268/.354/.447 slash over 271 turns at bat on the year, with six home runs. Those figures land right at his career mark of .264/.354/.430, so Kansas City will feel comfortable that they are still likely to receive typically strong work at the plate.
There are some additional concerns on the defensive side of the ledger, however. Zobrist has shuttled between the corner outfield and infield this year, as usual, but has been rated as a negative contributor in both positions by advanced metrics. But the Royals will surely feel comfortable utilizing him in either role the rest of the way, based upon his past record as a highly-regarded fielder.
Kansas City has certainly paid a considerable price to add Zobrist, after doing the same to bring in Cueto. Manaea came into the year rated the club’s third overall prospect by Baseball America, just behind the since-dealt Brandon Finnegan, and landed on many top-100 lists. He’s generally shown well since his draft position fell owing to a hip injury, leading to surgery, which allowed K.C. to grab him with an above-slot deal. Manaea earned a promotion to Double-A this season, but has struggled in two outings at that level. All said, he’s missed some time and thrown 31 2/3 total minor league frames on the year, posting a 3.69 ERA with 11.1 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9. There’s plenty of upside to dream on, but he’ll have a lot to show in Oakland.
Brooks, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old righty who has seen brief MLB action in each of the last two seasons. He’s spent most of his time in those campaigns at Triple-A, however, posting a cumulative 3.81 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 over 245 2/3 innings. Brooks seems like more of a depth add than the more variable, headlining Manaea.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Athletics appear to be engaged in “deep” discussions on utilityman Ben Zobrist, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports on Twitter. A deal could come together soon for the veteran rental piece, per the report.
Recent sales of Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard have placed Zobrist squarely on the block for Oakland, and we heard yesterday that he was likely the next piece to be moved. That’s not a major surprise, but one interesting development on the A’s side is the team’s decision to pursue lower-level minor leaguers in its two prior deals. GM Billy Beane cited the Astros model of stockpiling young talent in discussing his recent trades.
Zobrist has drawn interest from a wide array of teams, which is not surprising given his long track record of production, exceptional versatility, and affordable salary ($7.5MM this year). The 34-year-old will become a free agent after the year and looks like an amply reasonable qualifying offer candidate, so the return will presumably need to beat whatever value the A’s place on the draft pick they’d stand to recoup (assuming an offer would be extended and rejected).
Since an injury-filled and less-than-impressive start to the year, Zobrist has turned things on of late. All told, he’s slashing .268/.354/.447, good for a 122 OPS+ with half of his games being played in the O.co Coliseum. Though he has drawn unusually negative defensive ratings from UZR and Defensive Runs Saved, teams will probably place more stock in his history and current scouting reports.
Among the teams named as possible suitors, per recent reports, are the Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Yankees, and Cubs. The Mets had been seen as a possible trade partner, but seemingly passed on that opportunity in dealing for other infield and outfield options before nabbing Clippard yesterday.
Earlier today, the Mets added a late-inning relief arm in Tyler Clippard. That move did not come as a major surprise, but it nevertheless created a ripple effect for the two teams involved, as well as the rest of the market.
- Most notably, perhaps, Athletics GM Billy Beane indicated in his comments on the deal that the team could continue to build up lower-level prospect depth in its summer trades, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. “The Houston Astros have done a really good job of spending the last three or four years really creating a dynamic farm system,” said Beane, “and now they’re starting to reap the rewards of that. If we’re ever going to compete, we’re probably going to have to take a somewhat similar approach and at least make sure we’ve got young players that are coming through the system that will be here for a few years.” Oakland acquired younger players in both the Clippard trade and the earlier swap involving Scott Kazmir, marking something of a departure from the team’s winter moves (to say nothing of its win-now acquisitions last summer).
- The Mets had been working on a deal with the Athletics that would have delivered not only Tyler Clippard, but also Ben Zobrist, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. But the clubs honed in on the reliever alone after New York went out and got Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mets are out on Zobrist, though adding a pair of versatile pieces in Uribe and Johnson could lessen heir need.
- Meanwhile, the Mets have clearly positioned themselves as buyers, and are still looking at corner outfield bats. As we also covered in that link, the Athletics seem uninterested in parting with controllable pieces like Josh Reddick — despite their apparent decision to load up on high-ceiling youngsters.
- Zobrist will likely be the next player dealt away from the A’s, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. She sees the Royals and Nationals as the possible front-runners for his services. Oakland has drawn wide interest in the utility man extraordinaire, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, with almost every contender having checked in on him. Joining Kansas City with active interest, per the report, are the Pirates, Yankees, and Cubs. We’ve heard no shortage of other clubs mentioned in recent weeks as well, as Zobrist’s MLBTR timeline attests.
- While the Mets are earning plaudits in some circles for adding a quality pen arm without dealing away any top prospects, prospect analysts say that the return for Clippard might be better than many realize. Keith Law of ESPN.com writes that he’d rank Casey Meisner as the organization’s sixth-best prospect, just behind a touted group of names, giving him a #2 starter ceiling. That’s far too much to give up for a few months of a reliever who has not been pitching at an elite level this year, Law argues. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs is not quite as high on Meisner, but still tweets that he sees him as a solid return for Oakland.
- Clippard becomes the second shoe to drop on the relief market, following the Cardinals’ acquisition of Steve Cishek. Check out MLBTR’s round-up of the relief market. We’ve heard rumblings on star Padres Craig Kimbrel today, and there are plenty of other high-end arms that could change hands.
Though the Braves have fielded plenty of interest in the revived Cameron Maybin, and have considered moving him, the team now feels it “would need to be blown away with an offer” to make a deal, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Contrary to an earlier report, Bowman adds, an Atlanta source vehemently denied the suggestion that Maybin had been dangled in an earlier effort to add Angel Pagan of the Giants. Maybin, 28, has been one of the game’s best turnaround stories, with his play dramatically altering perceptions of both his contract and the deal that brought him to Atlanta (which was already widely viewed as a Braves win).
- The Athletics seem unlikely to move outfielder Josh Reddick, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. In his comments after today’s Tyler Clippard trade, GM Billy Beane said that his club is not presently working on deals involving players who are under future control.
- Despite a trio of acquisitions already completed, the Mets are still looking at a handful of outfield options, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets. New York has, of course, just brought up top prospect Michael Conforto with Michael Cuddyer on the DL, but the team also designated John Mayberry Jr. and could use another quality option.
- A source also tells Marc Carig of Newsday that the Mets are still shopping for outfield bats. Carig notes that the team could wait for asking prices to drop on deadline day.
- The Angels are also still looking at left-handed hitting outfielders after adding Victorino, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that Jay Bruce (Reds), David Murphy (Indians), and Ben Revere (Phillies) are all still on their radar.
- Gerardo Parra of the Brewers is also a player that the Angels are interested in, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Heyman breaks down his market, citing the Mets and Orioles as prime suitors (along with the Halos) for the left-handed hitter. There’s also a classic mystery team involved, per the report.
- Heyman adds that some in the Brewers organization do not believe that Carlos Gomez will end up being dealt. Milwaukee is somewhat hesitant to move an affordable, in-prime player with control remaining.
- Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Trade Market series for all the most likely outfield trade pieces. We’ve covered both center field candidates as well as corner options.
Full Story | 9 Comments | Categories: Angel Pagan | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Ben Revere | Cameron Maybin | Carlos Gomez | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | David Murphy | Gerardo Parra | Jay Bruce | Josh Reddick | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | Tyler Clippard
5:35pm: New York will receive $1MM in the deal, meaning that they’ll pay Clippard just over $2MM the rest of the way, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets.
5:16pm: The Mets have agreed to a deal that will land them reliever Tyler Clippard from the Athletics, Oakland announced (and as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported on Twitter). Oakland will receive righty Casey Meisner in return, and will also send some cash to New York in the deal.
Clippard has not delivered the same kind of performance that he did over the previous four seasons in Washington, over which he put up a 2.50 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. Though the veteran has always outperformed the expectations of ERA estimators, he hasn’t maintained anything near the peripherals he had set as a baseline.
Over his 38 2/3 frames in Oakland, all compiled since coming over in a winter trade for Yunel Escobar, Clippard has seen his strikeout rate drop to 8.8 K/9 while his walk rate has shot up to 4.9 BB/9. His average fastball velocity has not fallen off sharply, but has continued to decline. And Clippard has seen his swinging strike rate fall to 12.4%, below his career average.
That being said, Clippard has still picked up 17 saves and carries a 2.79 ERA over 38 2/3 innings. He’s benefitted from a .214 BABIP-against, but his career rate is a miniscule .234 — a product of the many flyouts he induces. Interestingly, Clippard has seen his infield fly rate drop off significantly (from around 19% over the last two seasons to 11.9% this year). Clippard continues to excel at retiring opposite-handed hitters, which he accomplishes with a devastating change to accompany his typically up-in-the-zone heater.
New York will hope for a more vintage performance from its latest addition. The team is clearly pushing some chips in with hopes of overtaking the Nationals in the NL East. Clippard joins Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson as new acquisitions, and New York may not be done.
As for the return, Meisner is a 20-year-old righty who has reached the High-A level for the first time this year. The 2013 third-rounder stands at 6’7 and has delivered strong results this year, with a 2.35 ERA over 111 minor league frames and 7.2 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. But those figures — particularly the peripherals — have benefitted from the fact that 76 of those innings came at the Class A level, as Meisner has not maintained them since his promotion.
Oakland has added yet another young piece as it continues to part with veteran assets. The Scott Kazmir trade also returned somewhat lower-level prospects, which could give some indication where GM Billy Beane is headed. Meisner has drawn mixed reviews at times, with Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs tweeting that he looks like a back-end starter at best given his difficulty repeating a delivery and mediocre secondary offerings. But ESPN.com’s Keith Law recently mentioned Meisner as a strong sleeper prospect (Insider link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.