Infielder Adam Kennedy is planning to make a comeback attempt in 2014, MLBTR has learned. Kennedy, who will turn 38 in January, sat out the 2013 season and will work out for Major League teams in the second week of January.
Kennedy batted a solid .262/.345/.357 with a pair of homers in 201 plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2012. Though he's played primarily second base throughout a 14-season big league career, Kennedy also has significant experience at third base and first base. He is a career .272/.327/.384 batter in 6055 Major League plate appearances. Kennedy won a World Series with the 2002 Angels and took home ALCS MVP honors on the strength of a three-homer game against the Twins that sent the Halos to the Fall Classic.
Morrison, 26, was a known trade candidate that was a near-lock to be traded at the Winter Meetings following the Marlins' signing of Garrett Jones to a two-year deal. The former top prospect has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion.
Morrison is under team control through the 2016 season and is projected to earn $1.7MM via arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Capps, 23, posted a 5.49 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 59 innings for the Mariners last season. Though his ERA is unsightly, Capps has averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in his brief big league career. xFIP pegs a fluky homer-to-flyball ratio (18.8 percent) and a .365 batting average on balls in play as the reason for Capps' woes, suggesting that an ERA of 3.53 would've been more representative of his work in 2013.
Capps will join a Marlins bullpen that is anchored by closer Steve Cishek, lefty setup man Mike Dunn and right-hander A.J. Ramos. He provides a cheaper alternative to the recently departed right-handers Chad Qualls (free agency) and Ryan Webb (non-tendered).
Morrison is the second bat reeled in by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik in the past hour, as the M's have also agreed to a one-year deal with Corey Hart. Should Morrison be able to rebound, he, Hart and recently inked Robinson Cano give the Mariners some added punch to their lineup. However, Hart and Morrison profile better as first basemen than outfielders, but one will now need to roam either right or left field at Safeco Field now that they're both in the fold.
The addition of these two bats calls into question the role of either Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak with the Mariners and could ensure that Kendrys Morales will need to find a new home this winter, which would net Seattle a draft pick.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Nationals have acquired Jerry Blevins from the Athletics, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). Oakland will receive outfield prospect Billy Burns in return, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
The Nationals have been known to be actively seeking a left-handed reliever, and Blevins fills that need for GM Mike Rizzo. Blevins, 30, is coming off a pair of strong seasons in which he posted a 2.80 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 125 1/3 innings.
Even better for the Nats, he will cost far less than a comparable player on the free agent market: MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Blevins will earn just $1.5MM in his second (and second-to-last) season through arbitration. Other well-regarded lefties have cost a good deal more: Javier Lopez got three years and $13MM, while Manny Parra got two and $5.5MM. The move should take the Nationals out of the market for higher-end southpaw relievers, though the club could still look to add a few budget options to compete in Spring Training.
Meanwhile, Burns is an interesting player whose value has been on the way up after a 2013 season that resulted in his being named the organization's minor leaguer of the year. Splitting time between High-A and Double-A in his age-23 campaign, the center fielder swiped a total of 74 bags while getting on base at quite an impressive clip. (His triple-slash landed at .315/.425/.383 in 540 plate appearances, 138 of which came at the Double-A level.) Baseball America credited him with the best strike zone discipline and speed in the Nats' system.
For the Nats, however, Burns lacked a clear path through the minor league system, let alone to the MLB roster. Denard Span is still under team control through 2015. More importantly, the club possesses a series of speedy, well-regarded prospects who are capable of fielding up the middle in Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, and Eury Perez.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Yesterday it was reported that the Mariners have a real opportunity to acquire David Price. Seattle would prefer to keep Taijuan Walker but could be willing to move Mike Zunino, according to those reports. Here's the latest on Price's trade market...
- The Giants have checked in on Price, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The two sides have yet to get into any sort of exchange, however.
- The Blue Jays have also asked about Price, tweets Rosenthal, but they're not big on the idea of parting with Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with Price's agent, Bo McKinnis, this morning at the Winter Meetings and was told that Price would not sign a long-term deal if he were traded to the Mariners. McKinnis told Rosenthal that Price would consider signing an extension with other clubs, but wouldn't disclose which clubs in which Price would have interest. Rosenthal stresses that this doesn't preclude the Mariners from acquiring Price anyway (All Twitter links).
The versatile Jerry Hairston Jr. has accepted a position with the Dodgers broadcast team, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets that Hairston has officially retired from playing.
The 37-year-old Hairston batted .211/.265/.275 with a pair of homers in 226 plate appearances for the Dodgers last season. Hairston comes from a strong baseball background, as he is the brother of outfielder Scott Hairston. His father, Jerry Hairston Sr., had a 14-year career, and his grandfather (Sam) and uncle (John) each saw brief time Major League Baseball as well.
Hairston played for the Orioles, Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs, Reds, Padres, Nationals, Yankees and Brewers in parts of 16 Major League seasons, batting .257/.324/.368 along the way. He will finish his career with 1,126 hits, 580 runs scored, 70 homers, 420 RBIs and 147 stolen bases. Hairston earned $21.2MM over the course of his big league career, per Baseball-Reference. Congratulations on the new job, and best of luck in life after your playing career, Jerry.
12:46pm: The Mariners are indeed in on Hart, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who notes that GM Jack Zduriencik drafted Hart when he was Milwaukee's scouting director back in 2000.
12:38pm: USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets that Hart is torn between re-signing with the Brewers or signing with another team, which could be the Mariners.
9:39am: Hart is currently weighing offers from multiple teams, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
WEDNESDAY, 7:24am: The Brewers are still waiting on word from Hart, but feel like they've done all they can do and are optimistic about their chances, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
TUESDAY, 8:25pm: Free agent first baseman Corey Hart could agree to terms with a team tonight, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets. Earlier this week, a report indicated that the Brewers were prioritizing re-signing Hart. They also have a need at first base. Hart, meanwhile, has said he would be willing to take less money to stay in Milwaukee.
Hart missed the 2013 season and has recently had surgeries on both knees. He hit .270/.334/.507 for the Brewers in 2012. The Brewers currently have Juan Francisco atop their depth chart at first base.
Yesterday's round of Matt Kemp rumors included word that the Dodgers are open to eating a substantial portion of his salary in order to ensure they receive a significant return in any trade. The Red Sox no longer appear to be in the mix, and the Tigers may be a long shot after their signing of Rajai Davis, but the Mariners are among the clubs still in play. We'll keep track of Wednesday's updates on Kemp right here:
- ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, who was told by the Dodgers today that the team has no plans to trade Kemp (Twitter link).
- The Dodgers are getting "plenty of action" on Kemp in Orlando this week, but say they're unlikely to finalize a trade at the Winter Meetings, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- A source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that there were simply too many "complications" for the Red Sox to make a deal work (Twitter link). Kemp's recovery from ankle surgery was the most notable of those complications.
- In a column for FOX Sports, Jon Morosi goes into more detail on his and Ken Rosenthal's Tuesday reports on Kemp, writing that despite the outfielder's injury issues and unwieldy contract, there's still a decent chance he's moved by Opening Day.
Morton, who is represented by Jet Sports Management, will earn $4MM in 2014, $8MM in 2015-16 and has a $1MM buyout on a $9.5MM club option (plus $500K of incentives) for the 2017 season. The option would become a mutual option were Morton to be traded at any point throughout the life of the deal.
Had he not signed the extension, Morton would have been eligible for free agency following the 2014 campaign. The extension is similar to the three-year, $20MM figure suggested as a fair price by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes when examining Pittsburgh's arbitration eligible players back in early November.
The 30-year-old Morton returned from 2012 Tommy John surgery this season and turned in a strong campaign. Morton pitched to a 3.26 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a whopping 62.9 percent ground-ball rate that led all Major League pitchers that threw at least 100 innings.
Originally acquired (along with lefty Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez) in the 2009 trade that sent Nate McLouth to the Braves, Morton broke out with the Pirates in 2011 when he posted a solid 3.83 ERA in 171 2/3 innings. Over his past three seasons, Morton has pitched to a 3.75 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 -- numbers that have been deflated, to an extent, by his elbow issues in 2012.
MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Morton to earn $3.9MM in 2014, so the contract essentially guarantees Morton $17MM for a pair of free agent seasons. Had he not signed the extension and had a solid season, Morton would have had a chance to earn more on the free agent market. However, players with Morton's type of injury history haven't typically done this well in contract extensions, and Morton opted for the security of guaranteed money. Morton's agent, Andrew Lowenthal, told Passan that his client never had any desire to leave Pittsburgh:
"The most important part of this deal and the reason why this deal got done is Charlie wanted to remain a Pirate and considers himself a Pirate. He loves the city. He loves the fans. The team stuck by him. This is Charlie’s way of being loyal to the organization. The contract is a win-win."
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Eight teams have expressed interest in left-hander Johan Santana, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. The Yankees, Mets, Twins, Rays, Orioles, Royals, Brewers and Pirates have all expressed varying levels of interest. Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets that the Pirates have requested his medical records today and plan to meet with agent Peter Greenberg this afternoon.
According to Marchand, Santana and Greenberg are willing to accept an offer in the near future if a team is able to separate itself from the pack, but if not, Santana will throw in January in a showcase for interested teams. Shoulder problems have forced Santana to sit out two of the past three seasons.
The Brewers have a one-year offer plus some incentives on the table to Hart, but he's weighing an offer from another team that is said to contain more incentives than the Brewers' offer. Brewers officials were up past 1am ET last night waiting on a response from Hart before hearing that he needs more time to make his decision.
GM Doug Melvin heard from James Loney's agent this morning, but McCalvy indicates that Loney's three-year asking price is too high. Trades for Ike Davis and Logan Morrison present alternatives, but the Mets have asked Milwaukee for Tyler Thornburg in return for Davis -- a surprisingly lofty price considering the two seasons each had. Davis batted .205/.326/.334 for the Mets, while Thornburg posted a 2.03 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 66 2/3 innings and finished the season strongly as a member of Milwaukee's rotation.
The Brewers would like resolution on the situation before tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft, McCalvy reports.