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In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides a laundry list of free agent and trade-related info. He kicks off the piece with a lengthy look at the curiously passive approaches of two teams that were seen as likely to be active sellers: the Reds and Padres. San Diego GM A.J. Preller told Heyman that his team discussed a number of deals and felt that, ultimately, the long-term nature of most of the Padres’ trade chips outweighed the value they were offered. The one notable exception is Justin Upton, who, as first reported by Buster Olney, could’ve fetched Michael Fulmer from the Mets. Regarding Upton talks, Preller told Heyman: “…the evaluation was what we’re being offered versus the value of the pick and having Justin for the rest of the year. There were offers right on the line, but none that made us move.” As for the Reds, Heyman notes that many are questioning the team’s decision to hang onto Aroldis Chapman, who is controlled through 2016, when the Reds may not be competitive until 2017. The Reds backed out of a Jay Bruce-for-Zack Wheeler swap, a source tells Heyman, with a second source telling him that Cincinnati simply “got cold feet” when it came to dealing Bruce. He also spoke to a number of executives who expressed disbelief that neither team was more active at the deadline.
Some more highlights from his column, though there’s far more in the full article than can be summarized here, so it’s worth reading in its entirety…
- The Diamondbacks are still seeking an elite closer after coming up empty in their pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, and they might pursue him again this winter. Heyman lists their priorities as: a closer, a starting pitcher (someone below the tier of Johnny Cueto/David Price) and a bat to slot behind Paul Goldschmidt in the order. The Snakes talked about deals for Jeremy Hellickson, Oliver Perez and Cliff Pennington. They came the closest to trading Hellickson, who drew interest from the Pirates and Blue Jays, he adds.
- Kevin Gausman‘s name was very popular in trade talks with the Orioles, as he was asked for by the Rockies (in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez), the Tigers (Yoenis Cespedes) and Padres (Justin Upton). The Orioles also talked to the Dodgers about Carl Crawford (for a lesser package) but found his injury history and contract too risky.
- Others are “convinced” that the Cubs will land one of the top starting pitchers on the market this winter, with Price as a leading candidate but Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Cueto all landing on Chicago’s radar as well. The Cubs are expected to shop both Starlin Castro and Javier Baez this winter. The Padres‘ interest in Baez has been reported many places, though they do have some reservations about Baez’s approach at the plate (as, I would imagine, most teams do).
- The Blue Jays, Astros and Giants all expressed interest in White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija, but the White Sox‘ winning streak plus so-so offers led the team to hold onto the right-hander. Heyman hears that the return would’ve been similar to the one the Reds ultimately got in exchange for Mike Leake, so the Sox simply held onto Samardzija. (Speaking of Leake, he adds that industry consensus pegs Leake as the most likely rental to stay with his new club — perhaps not surprising given Leake’s ties to California and the Giants’ history of retaining such pieces.)
- The Indians received interest not only in Carlos Carrasco, but also in Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. The Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox all tried for Carrasco.
- The Rockies were always more motivated to trade Troy Tulowitzki than Carlos Gonzalez, as the drama surrounding Tulo had become soap-opera-esque. The team didn’t shop Jose Reyes after the Tulo deal but did have his name come up in talks; Heyman writes that the Yankees are one club that “may have fit,” as they could’ve used him at second base.
- The Angels made a brief run at Yoenis Cespedes but didn’t come close to landing him. Cespedes won the hearts of Mets fans in part by expressing an interest in signing long-term to remain in Queens, but as Heyman notes, Cespedes did the same in Boston and Detroit without any results. A long-term pact between the Mets and Cespedes is more likely than a reunion with the Tigers though, Heyman writes, as Detroit isn’t likely to enter a bidding war for the outfielder, let alone win one.
- The Dodgers showed more interest in Cole Hamels than they did in either Price or Cueto. They were completely closed off to the idea of trading either Corey Seager or Julio Urias, though. He adds that right-hander Jose DeLeon wasn’t available in talks for rental pieces, which could imply that he was at least attainable in Hamels talks.
- Dan Jennings is expected to be welcomed back to the Marlins‘ front office this winter, when the team will search for a long-term manager to replace him. The Marlins are also planning on trying to extend Dee Gordon and Adeiny Hechavarria this offseason, he hears. Talks for Hechavarria went nowhere last winter, and the shortstop’s batting line is nearly identical to its 2014 mark. Defensive metrics are far more impressed with Hechavarria’s work this season, though, for what it’s worth.
- While Rays relief aces Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger were oft-mentioned in rumors leading up to the deadline, other teams came away with the impression that Tampa Bay wasn’t that interested in moving either.
- There’s an “unhappy scene” surrounding the Nationals and manager Matt Williams, Heyman hears. Williams isn’t beloved by many of the team’s players, who feel that he’s “not loose” and “never relaxed.” There are those who have also questioned his bullpen usage, from the decision not to use Drew Storen/Tyler Clippard in the final game of last year’s NLDS to leaving both Jonathan Papelbon and Storen in the bullpen in close road games versus the Mets shortly after acquiring Papelbon (only to have both pitch with a five-run deficit in the next series). Heyman spoke to one Nats player who said the team is loose and has fun regardless of Williams’ demeanor. “I don’t think it affects us,” said the player. “That’s just how he is.”
Full Story | 49 Comments | Categories: Adeiny Hechavarria | Arizona Diamondbacks | Aroldis Chapman | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brad Boxberger | Carl Crawford | Carlos Carrasco | Carlos Gonzalez | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Cliff Pennington | Cole Hamels | Colorado Rockies | Corey Kluber | Corey Seager | Danny Salazar | David Price | Dee Gordon | Detroit Tigers | Houston Astros | Jake McGee | Javier Baez | Jay Bruce | Jeff Samardzija | Jeremy Hellickson | Johnny Cueto | Jordan Zimmermann | Jose Reyes | Julio Urias | Justin Upton | Kevin Gausman | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Mike Leake | New York Mets | Oliver Perez | Paul Goldschmidt | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Starlin Castro | Tampa Bay Rays | Toronto Blue Jays | Trevor Bauer | Troy Tulowitzki | Washington Nationals | Yoenis Cespedes | Zack Greinke | Zack Wheeler
Despite being 50-53 and an afterthought in the playoff race, the Padres surprisingly opted not to sell at the trade deadline yesterday. Here more on what they did, or didn’t do.
- One of the most discussed aspects of the Padres’ decision not to sell was that they asked the Diamondbacks for Paul Goldschmidt in return for Craig Kimbrel, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. D-backs GM mentioned the Goldschmidt discussion on KTAR-AM and clarified it later. The Diamondbacks, of course, couldn’t reject the deal fast enough. “[W]e don’t talk about Goldy in any deals and no team has approached me in the almost year that I’ve been here about Goldy, so I was kind of shocked to hear that,” said Stewart. “Like I said, I don’t know if there was sincerity in it, but, yeah, the name did come up.” Piecoro notes that the Padres deny the request was serious, and it surely wasn’t. As FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel tweeted yesterday, it’s not uncommon for GMs to make wild offers. What is perhaps uncommon is for other GMs to reveal them. What the Goldschmidt discussion might suggest, though, is that the Padres were not particularly interested in trading Kimbrel.
- There are a number of hypotheses as to why A.J. Preller and the Padres decided not to sell, as ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes. “They never knew what they really wanted,” says a rival executive. It would take a brilliant stretch run for the Padres to make the playoffs, and they’ll be in a tough spot — they won’t have gotten anything (except a draft pick) for free agents like Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy and Will Venable, and they’ll still be on the hook for Kimbrel, James Shields, Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton, who will be so expensive collectively that they might have trouble making other moves to get better. They’re putting themselves in a difficult position, and Stark writes that the other teams are mystified by what they’re doing.
- The Yankees were willing to give up shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo and to take on at least part of the Jedd Gyorko contract in order to acquire Kimbrel, but the Padres declined, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Gyorko is in the midst of a second consecutive disappointing season and has $33MM remaining on his contract beyond 2015, so such a move would likely have helped position the Padres for the future. Mateo, meanwhile, ranks third on MLB.com’s list of the Yankees’ top prospects, earning praise for his outstanding speed in particular. He has a ridiculous 70 stolen bases and a .271/.341/.379 line at Class A Charleston this season.
- It might also been seen as strange that, given the Padres’ decision not to sell, they also didn’t really buy, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune points out. They only added Indians reliever Marc Rzepczynski. “You have a lot of teams that are in the hunt,” says Preller. “That makes it harder for teams to really look at moving a lot of their pieces, because I think a lot of people, rightfully so, think they’re in contention.” One might think, though, that such conditions might make the more obvious route of selling even more attractive. “We were working through all different scenarios to try to add the club and other scenarios in which other teams were asking about our guys,” says Preller. “Ultimately, we didn’t feel like we got the value that we wanted to get to.”
- Unsurprisingly, Padres players and management seem excited the team didn’t move any of its top players, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports. “It’s a relief,” says Justin Upton. “I think just the sense around the clubhouse is that this front office wants this group, so we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that they didn’t make the wrong decision.”
The Mets and Lucas Duda have failed to reach an extension prior to the first baseman’s Opening Day deadline and have shelved negotiations, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “No agreement was reached, so talks have concluded and Lucas will focus on the upcoming season,” agent Dan Horwits told Rubin. Duda will make $4.2MM in 2015 and will be eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming a free agent following the 2017 season.
In other National League news and notes:
- MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets he doesn’t expect the Reds and Johnny Cueto to agree to an extension before the right-hander’s Opening Day deadline.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters, including Zach Buchanan of The Arizona Republic, Yasmany Tomas was optioned to Triple-A for regular at-bats. “Once he returns back here, we probably will be able to get him at-bats at third base but we’d like to get the majority of his work in the outfield,” said Stewart. “Probably, Yasmany’s long-term future is going to be in the outfield as he was when we signed him.“
- The Braves are still talking to teams about moves that could affect their roster plans, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
- The Diamondbacks may have one of the least talented clubs in baseball, but the presence of Paul Goldschmidt, Archie Bradley, Tony La Russa, and low expectations are reasons for hope in the desert, opines Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.
Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is likely out the rest of the season after being hit in the hand by Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri, AZCentral.com’s Nick Piecoro tweets. After finishing second in NL MVP balloting in 2013, Goldschmidt was in the midst of a strong follow-up season, batting .300/.396/.542 in 479 plate appearances. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- The Angels were counting on the returning C.J. Wilson to have the same effect as a major trade deadline pickup but that wasn’t the case in his outing last night, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- The A’s could be in need of infield depth after Nick Punto suffered a hamstring injury and Susan Slusser of San Francisco Chronicle hears that they were talking with Scott Sizemore‘s agent even before the injury. Sizemore was released by the Yankees on Friday. Sizemore has seen time in parts of four MLB seasons, with his best work coming in 2011 when he compiled a .245/.342/.399 line through 429 plate appearances with the Tigers and Athletics.
- Despite rumors to the contrary, top Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias stayed put through the trade deadline. “If we didn’t think Joc, Corey or Urias had a chance to be impact players, they’d be out of here,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers were linked to several high-end trade candidates, including David Price.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Diamondbacks have been receiving interest in left-hander Wade Miley, but are telling interested parties that he is unavailable, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Some had speculated that Miley could fetch a nice return as an under-the-radar trade candidate, but given his long-term control (through 2017), it appears that Arizona will likely resist the temptation.
Other players the D’Backs aren’t willing to move, according to Rosenthal (Twitter links), include Chris Owings, A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley. Even veteran setup man Brad Ziegler is likely unavailable, per Rosenthal’s sources. Rosenthal offers a somewhat softer take on Mark Trumbo‘s availability, stating that a trade is “unlikely.” Trumbo is controlled through the 2016 season, Rosenthal notes, and Arizona would be hard-pressed to get near the same value they surrendered to acquire the slugger in the offseason.
All said, it is not surprising that Arizona would be unwilling to part with most of the players listed above, especially the younger players who are now (or are expected soon to be) playing at the MLB level. While Trumbo comes with just two years of control remaining, his long injury layoff will at least suppress his salary somewhat. And Arizona will surely be hesitant to move him for a cut rate after parting with both Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs for his rights over the offseason.
Ziegler’s inclusion, though, is a bit surprising at first glance. The righty has been consistently excellent, of course — and has even managed to increase his strikeout numbers this year to a far-and-away career best of 8.0 K/9 — but at 34 years of age he is probably not a long-term asset. (He is, however, under contract for next season at $5MM and is under control through a $5.5MM team option, which comes with a $1MM buyout, for 2016.)
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The five-year, $32MM extension that Paul Goldschmidt signed last spring could now be "the most team-friendly [deal] in the game" in the wake of Goldschmidt's monster 2013 season, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. As Piecoro notes, the D'Backs saved themselves a lot of money by locking Goldschmidt up early, thus giving the club the financial flexibility to pursue the likes of Masahiro Tanaka and Shin-Soo Choo. Though Goldschmidt said he's satisfied with his contract, D'Backs CEO Derrick Hall said the team would be open adding more years to the contract beyond 2018, or reworking the deal entirely a few years down the road.
Here's some more from Arizona, all from Piecoro…
- The 2014 payroll projects to be the highest in Diamondbacks history, and GM Kevin Towers admitted there is little room for error if the team doesn't play up to expectations. "It's a critical probably two or three years here just because you've got guys that are kind of in their early 30s with long-term contracts, and it's not a lot of flexibility, if it's not the right recipe, to change it up," Towers said. While a losing season could put Arizona in the red, however, Hall said that the team can stand to lose some money now since their upcoming new TV contract will bring in major new revenues. "That's going to be a game-changer," Hall said. "We can bite the bullet a little bit the next couple of years to get there."
- If Bronson Arroyo is traded, Piecoro tweets, the $11MM team option in Arroyo's contract for the 2016 season increases to $13MM. The option would still cost Arroyo's team $4.5MM to be bought out.
- Arroyo, Hall, Towers, Kirk Gibson and D'Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick all took part in a press conference today to officially announce Arroyo's signing. Towers said the decision to sign Arroyo came together quickly, and Arroyo said he appreciated how direct the D'Backs were with him, as he felt his free agent process was "a joke" and a "cat-and-mouse game." (Arroyo expressed his displeasure with his free agent experience last month to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.)
- Arroyo said he had "one or two discussions" with the Reds about a return, though Cincinnati was only willing to offer a one-year deal that included a lot of deferred money.
- Kendrick discussed several topics, such as the recent extensions given to Towers and Gibson, the payroll increase and Arizona's pursuit of Tanaka.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will soon be fired, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal argues. "My guess is that Mattingly gets this series, and if things don’t go better, that’s it," Rosenthal says. "The Dodgers are off Thursday, then begin a five-game homestand against the Cardinals and Angels. You can look it up — managerial changes often occur on off-days before a homestand." The Dodgers are currently 17-25 after being swept by the Braves. Rosenthal notes that GM Ned Colletti might find himself on the hot seat as well, but that the typical pattern is for the manager to be the first out the door. When asked recently whether Mattingly would remain with the Dodgers through the end of the season, team president Stan Kasten replied, "I assume so," but noted that he expected the team to play better. Here's more from the NL West.
- Despite his hot start, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt isn't worried about money he might end up losing as a result of his recent extension, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. "You make the best decision at the time," says Goldschmidt. "I love it in Phoenix. I was happy we got a deal done. And I'm happy to get it done in spring training, so it didn't become a distraction." Heyman cites an anonymous agent who says that the extension could cost Goldschmidt $75MM. That seems like an exaggeration, but Goldschmidt could easily make his five year, $32MM deal look like a bargain from the Diamondbacks' perspective if he continues hitting anything resembling his current .335/.418/.645 pace.
- Didi Gregorius' surprising hitting so far in the big leagues is making the Diamondbacks' end of the Shin-Soo Choo / Trevor Bauer deal with the Reds and Indians look better with time. But Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonders whether Gregorius' hitting can last. No one in the last ten years has posted a career minor-league OPS below .725 (minimum 1,900 plate appearances) and a career major-league OPS above .741 (minimum 500 plate appearances). Gregorius had a .694 career minor-league OPS; his major-league OPS through 106 plate appearances is .884.
- Rockies pitcher Roy Oswalt will join the Double-A Tulsa Drillers on Tuesday and will make his first start on Friday, ROOT Sports' Tracy Ringolsby notes (on Twitter). Ringolsby projects Oswalt would make his fifth minor-league start June 14. Oswalt can opt out of his contract with the Rockies on either June 18 or June 28 if he has not been added to the big-league roster. Oswalt's command was strong in extended spring training, MLB.com's Thomas Harding notes (on Twitter).
Another day, another gem from a Cardinals starter. Adam Wainwright took a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings en route to a complete game, two-hit shutout in St. Louis' 3-0 victory over the Rockies. Wainwright's outing was a day after Shelby Miller's complete game one-hitter against Colorado, in the process tying a Major League record for most consecutive batters retired by one team against another. Between Eric Young's leadoff single on Friday and Todd Helton's fifth-inning walk against Wainwright today, the Rockies sent 40 batters to the plate without success.
Here's some news as we head towards a full slate of Mother's Day baseball…
- The Cardinals' pitching depth was one reason they were comfortable letting Kyle Lohse leave in the offseason, the latest case of the Cards saving money and still contending thanks to their constant supply of young talent, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “I would say it this way: you don’t want to have a situation where you can’t re-sign your best talent, long term, but there are times when you have to pick and choose where you want to invest it," St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said. "Our model has been, if possible, to have that flexibility within our payroll allocation without going too long and deep.”
- Paul Goldschmidt is hearing unanimous praise from scouts and is being compared to some of the game's elite hitters, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Goldschmidt took a .977 OPS into Saturday's game, and as Piecoro notes, the Diamondbacks' five-year, $32MM extension (with an option on a sixth year) with their first baseman is looking like a major bargain.
- Also from Piecoro, he hears from Justin Upton and Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers that neither side has hard feelings about the big trade that sent Upton to the Braves in January. It has particularly worked out for Upton, who is enjoying an MVP-caliber season for NL East-leading Atlanta.
- Padres backup catcher John Baker could be expendable once Yasmani Grandal returns from his PED suspension. Baker tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he enjoys playing with the Padres but is prepared for whatever happens.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Advanced statistics are taken with a grain of salt by many players, including several in the Rangers clubhouse, Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Derek Lowe, for one, believes his unimpressive peripheral stats were part of the reason why it took him until March to find a contract with a team. Texas, unlike several Major League clubs, doesn't have a full-time statistical analysis department in their front office though the club uses sabermetrics as part of their player evaluation process.
Rule 5 pick Nate Freiman has made the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (on Twitter). Freiman hit .298/.370/.502 for Double-A San Antonio in the Padres system last year. The Astros took him in the Rule 5 Draft, and he was later claimed by the A's. He will have to stick on Oakland's roster throughout the season if the A's intend to keep him. Freiman is expected to play primarily against lefties. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says the biggest hangup during negotiations of the Paul Goldschmidt extension was the team option at the end, AZCentral.com's Nick Piecoro writes. Goldschmidt's contract is a five-year deal that begins in 2014 and includes a $14.5MM team option for 2019, with a $2MM buyout. The contract guarantees Goldschmidt $32MM total. "We wanted at least a year of free agency and probably the thing that took the most time was they didn’t really want an option year," Towers says. "A mutual option, no option, guarantee six years. We had to have some kind of an option."
- Julio Borbon has made the Rangers' 25-man roster, but he might not have a spot when the Rangers add fifth starter Nick Tepesch on April 9, says MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Borbon is out of options, and the Rangers say they have had trade discussions about him. Borbon is 27 and has yet to establish himself in the majors, though, so other teams likely wouldn't be willing to part with solid talent in a trade.