Phil Hughes Rumors
- Five days after releasing him, the Yankees re-signed left-hander Jose Ortegano to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that Phil Hughes' shoulder is feeling better after a cortisone shot. It appears that it will be at least a couple of weeks before Hughes starts throwing again.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean last spoke with Mets GM Sandy Alderson in January, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (on Twitter). Sabean strongly dismissed Jose Reyes trade rumors, speaking to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Though the Giants have reportedly discussed Reyes, a deal is not at all imminent. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes examined how Reyes could fit on the Giants yesterday.
- Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles weighs in on whether the Giants should deal for Reyes and concludes that he's probably not worth what the Mets will want for him.
In the interest of equal time, here are some noteworthy items on the Yankees..
- Kevin Millwood had a strong showing in the minors today, allowing just one hit across seven scoreless innings, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN. The Yanks brought Millwood in on a minor league deal that will balloon if he can hit certain incentive triggers.
- Earlier today, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told the press that the club had planned to send Phil Hughes to Triple-A to work through his troubles, tweets Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. Hughes ultimately convinced the Yankees that that wouldn't be the best course of action for his "dead arm".
- Russell Martin is proving GM Brian Cashman's doubters wrong with his strong performance thus far, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. Cashman remarked before the season that the $4MM base deal could wind up being a bargain for the club.
Jon Heyman of SI.com points out that despite all of his antics, Manny Ramirez earned more than any players other Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. And unlike Jeter and Rodriguez, Ramirez was not a well-rounded player. Here’s Heyman’s latest from around the league:
- There’s ‘growing suspicion’ that the Mets will look to trade veterans such as Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez if they are not contending midseason. Plus, Mike Pelfrey could find himself on the block.
- Though the Yankees maintain that Phil Hughes is healthy, it’s troubling for them to see him pitching with reduced velocity. It’s part of the reason they have continued adding starting pitching depth, most recently with Carlos Silva.
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had proposed a deal that would have seen FOX advance him $200MM, but MLB rejected it, according to Heyman. McCourt is losing the support of fellow owners, Heyman reports.
Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Garza, Chad Billingsley and John Danks all went to arbitration for the first time before last season and all settled for contracts in the $3-4MM range. The four pitchers went to arbitration again this offseason and settled for contracts within the $5.75-$6.3MM range. A year from now, they will become points of reference for the class of pitchers just behind them (those currently entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible players). Here's a list of pitchers who could be compared to the quartet above after the 2011 season:
- Mike Pelfrey, $3.925MM in 2011 - Pelfrey already has a tremendous amount of big league experience and a fourth consecutive season of 30-plus starts could push his 2012 asking price past the $6.28MM Billingsley will earn in 2011, especially considering Pelfrey's high 2011 salary. Pelfrey doesn't have particularly impressive strikeout numbers or ERAs, however, which will help the Mets keep the right-hander's salary in check.
- Dallas Braden, $3.35MM in 2011 - Garza was working from the same base salary in 2010 and he earned a $2.6MM raise after logging 204 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA ball in the AL East with a 2.4 K/BB ratio. If Braden wants to match Garza's raise, he'll have to earn it with another big year.
- Jair Jurrjens, $3.25MM in 2011 - Jurrjens is well-positioned to ask for a salary in the $6MM range next year if he returns to his 2008-09 level of productivity.
Guthrie, Garza, Billingsley and Danks all had relatively healthy, productive seasons in 2010, which kept their 2011 salaries within a $600K range. A poor performance would have disrupted the pattern and the same applies to this year's class. They have to pitch well and stay healthy to earn raises to the $6MM range. Meanwhile, others will have the chance to prove they belong in the same discussion as Pelfrey, Jurrjens and Braden if they have big years.
- Phil Hughes, $2.7MM in 2011 - Hughes, who has just one full season as a Major League starter, is starting from a lower base salary than the others, so he'd likely need a standout season to approach $6MM in 2012.
- Brandon Morrow, $2.3MM in 2011 - Morrow doesn't have the bulk numbers his peers do, so he's at a disadvantage. But he has flashed dominant stuff and if he continues pitching the way he did from June on last year, he could justify asking for a larger-than-usual raise.
Other starters, including Edinson Volquez and Kevin Slowey, are also entering their first seasons as arbitration eligible pitchers, but raises to the $6MM range seem extremely improbable given their current salaries and career numbers. The same goes for super two players Armando Galarraga, Kyle Kendrick, Ross Ohlendorf and Luke Hochevar.
Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them - it's a question of how much the players will earn.
Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:
- The Angels have agreed to terms with Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register tweets that Kendrick will earn $3.3MM, Willits $775K (on Twitter).
- The Giants agreed to terms with Santiago Casilla on a one-year deal worth $1.3MM with incentives, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas (on Twitter). The team also announced that they avoided arb with Jonathan Sanchez and Ramon Ramirez (on Twitter). Sanchez will earn $4.8MM with incentives tweets Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle while Ramirez will earn $1.65MM according to Janie McCauley of The Canadian Press.
- The Braves agreed to terms with Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Moylan gets $2MM, O'Flaherty gets $895K according to Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
- The Mariners agreed to terms with Brandon League, David Aardsma and Jason Vargas, the team announced. Aardsma will earn $4.5MM with plenty of incentives, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (plus Twitter link).
- The Rangers agreed to terms with C.J. Wilson and Nelson Cruz, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links). Cruz gets $3.65MM, and Wilson gets $7.05MM with a chance to earn another $100K according to his agent Bob Garber, via email.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Chase Headley (2.535MM) and Tim Stauffer ($1.075MM), according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter).
- The Phillies and Kyle Kendrick avoided arbitration with a $2.45MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The team has confirmed the deal.
- The Pirates announced that they agreed to terms with Joel Hanrahan. It's a $1.4MM deal, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
- The Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with Tom Gorzelanny, despite reports that a trade to Washington is imminent. Gorzelanny will earn $2.1MM next year, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com (on Twitter). They also announced a two-year, $4.7MM deal with Sean Marshall.
- The Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year deal with Joe Saunders.
- The Padres agreed to a $2.535MM deal with Mike Adams, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
- The Angels agreed to a $3MM deal with Erick Aybar and a $2.975MM deal with Kendry Morales.
- The White Sox agreed to a $5.05MM deal with Carlos Quentin, according to Rosenthal.
- The Braves agreed to a $3.1MM deal with Martin Prado and a $3.25MM deal with Jair Jurrjens according to Rosenthal.
- The Orioles agreed to a $5.85MM deal with J.J. Hardy, according to Rosenthal.
- The Athletics agreed to a $4.75MM deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to Slusser (Twitter link).
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Cody Ross, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Ross will earn $6.3MM in 2011.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jonathan Papelbon ($12MM) and Jacoby Ellsbury ($2.4MM).
- The Yankees avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain ($1.4MM), Phil Hughes ($2.7MM) and Boone Logan ($1.2MM), according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Dodgers agreed to a $6.275MM deal with Chad Billingsley, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The White Sox agreed to a $6MM deal with John Danks, according to Heyman (on Twitter).The Cubs avoided arbitration with Matt Garza and agreed to a $5.95MM deal, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The Indians avoided arbitration with Shin-Soo Choo, the team announced. The deal is worth $3.975MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Twins avoided arbitration with Matt Capps ($7.15MM) and Glen Perkins ($700K), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Andy Sonnanstine, agreeing to a deal worth $913K plus incentives, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter).
- The Mets avoided arbitration with Mike Pelfrey, agreeing on a deal worth close to $4MM, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with Prince Fielder and Manny Parra, signing the players to one-year deals, the team announced. Parra will earn $1.2MM, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (on Twitter).
- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Dallas Braden ($3.35MM) and Conor Jackson ($3.32MM), according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Brandon Morrow, the team announced.
- The Indians announced that they agreed to a one-year deal with Rafael Perez (Twitter link). It's worth $1.33MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Josh Willingham, agreeing to a $6MM deal, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
- The Astros signed Michael Bourn to a one-year, $4.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they avoided arbitration with Michael Morse.
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Anibal Sanchez, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). They agreed to a $3.7MM deal, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Twitter link).
- The Orioles avoided arbitration with Felix Pie, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). The deal is for $985K.
- The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Rajai Davis, agreeing to a two-year, $5.25MM deal with the outfielder.
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Clay Hensley and agreed to a $1.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
- The Astros agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Jeff Keppinger, avoiding arbitration, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Astros confirmed the deal.
- The White Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal with Tony Pena, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick with a $6.775MM deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Clint Barmes, signing the infielder to a one-year, $3.925MM deal, according to Rosenthal. The Astros confirmed the deal.
- The Rockies avoided arb with Felipe Paulino and agreed to a one-year, $790K deal, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to terms with Yunel Escobar on a $2.9MM deal for 2011.
- The Indians signed Chris Perez for 2011, avoiding arbitration, the team announced (on Twitter). It's a $2.225MM deal, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they agreed to terms with Kyle Davies on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. It's a $3.2MM deal, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel (on Twitter).
- The Reds avoided arbitration will Bill Bray, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). The AP says the deal is for $645K.
- The Nationals avoided arbitration with Doug Slaten, and agreed to a one-year, $695K deal according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Heath Bell and agreed to a one-year, $7.5MM deal.
The latest Yankees talk...
- Talks between the Yankees and Derek Jeter are "at a standstill until Jeter and his agent, Casey Close, 'drink the reality potion,'" a source close to the negotiations tells ESPN's Wallace Matthews. The Yankees are stuck on three years and $45MM, while Jeter wants more years and $23-25MM annually. Matthews says the Yankees are not budging from their offer, though SI's Jon Heyman expects them to up the money but not the years this week.
- The Yankees and Mariano Rivera, on the other hand, are progressing smoothly in their negotiations according to ESPN's Andrew Marchand. Rivera could be bumped to $16-17MM per year, but it's unknown whether the Yankees will guarantee two years.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues estimates Phil Hughes' first-year arbitration reward in the $3.2-3.5MM range.
Continuing MLBTR's look at next season's probable and possible starting rotations, today we look at a staff that will likely be one of, if not the most, expensive in baseball. The Yankees spent a little more than $63.5MM on their top five starters in 2010, and that total looks to go up next season.
Three spots in the rotation are secure. C.C. Sabathia's 2.34 K/BB ratio is on pace to be his lowest since 2004 and his 3.0 BB/9 is on pace to be his highest since that same '04 season, but while these peripherals are of a minor concern when you have $115MM committed to a pitcher through 2015, Sabathia is still one of the top pitchers in the American League.
A.J. Burnett has had his typical hot-and-cold season, posting a 6.7 K/9 ratio that would be his lowest since 2001. New York fans can expect to look forward to the Burnett rollercoaster of form for the next 3+ seasons.
Phil Hughes' first season as a regular starter got off to a tremendous start with a 2.70 ERA in April and May, though his June and July (5.34 ERA) were a different story. The Yankees are already being cautious about their young star's innings total and have put an unofficial "Hughes Rules" cap of 170 IP on the right-hander for the rest of the season. Hughes may be limited for the rest of 2010, but will be back in full force for next season. He will reach arbitration for the first time this winter, so it's possible the Yankees may explore a longer-term deal to cover his arb years.
The fourth spot in the rotation will depend on the feelings of Andy Pettitte. As he has for the last four winters, the veteran left-hander will decide on whether he wants to retire, or sign a one-year deal with the Yankees. Pettitte can certainly still pitch --- he's enjoying one of his best seasons (a 2.88 ERA, 2.37 K/BB ratio in 18 starts) though he's currently sidelined with a groin injury. If Pettitte does return, he'll get a pay bump from the $11.75MM contract he signed last December, but the Yankees surely wouldn't mind giving a raise to a franchise stalwart that can still perform at a high level.
It's almost a certainty that Javier Vazquez won't be back with the Bronx Bombers next season. The only question now seems to be whether the Yankees will offer arbitration to the free agent right-hander, as Vazquez is still hanging onto a Type A free agent status.
Depending on what Pettitte does, at least one spot in the New York rotation is available for 2011. It's widely expected that the Yankees will make a hard push to fill that spot with Cliff Lee when he reaches free agency this winter. (They almost had him at the deadline had their trade with Seattle not fallen through at the eleventh hour.) The Rangers have expressed their interest in re-signing Lee now that their ownership transfer has been settled and certainly other teams will look into the left-hander, but given that Lee will command a contract worth more than $20MM per year, it gives the Yankees the obvious advantage if things turn into a bidding war.
So if Lee (or another free agent starter) replaces Vazquez and Pettitte returns, New York is set. If Pettitte retires, then he will likely let the Yankees know early in the offseason so the club can plan accordingly. With the Bombers' big payroll, there's really no shortage of options for what they could do to fill that fifth spot in the rotation. Free agents with AL East experience like Bronson Arroyo or Ted Lilly could be of interest, or perhaps the Yankees could go after a veteran with something to prove coming off an injury (i.e. Brandon Webb or Aaron Harang) who could be had at a small discount.
With Alex Rodriguez going on the DL today, 23-year-old Ivan Nova has been called up and will be inserted into the rotation for at least one start. Nova has had an impressive year at Triple-A Scranton, posting a 2.86 ERA and 2.4 K/BB ratio in 23 starts. If Nova does well in his late-season audition he could get a chance at more work in September should Hughes get shut down or have a turn skipped. It's hard to see Nova or any other young starter, however, be given a clear shot at a rotation spot next year since the Yankees don't really have any starting prospects who aren't at least a year away from serious consideration.
Sergio Mitre and Dustin Moseley have made spot starts for New York this season and could be re-signed to provide rotation depth for 2011. Both men are definitely backup options and could also be replaced by similar low-cost veteran pitchers that can alternate between the rotation and the bullpen as the situation warrants.
- Mike Scioscia tells Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times he's "very optimistic" that Erick Aybar's left knee injury won't lead to a DL stint. That reduces the chances that the Angels will go after a shortstop.
- It's been a great year for young players like Strasburg and Mike Leake, as ESPN.com's Tim Kurkjian shows.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the D'Backs often hear trade rumors from Dan Haren, who reads MLBTR. As Piecoro explains, players are generally aware of the latest rumblings in "the era of the trade rumor."
- Another top pitcher, Cliff Lee, chooses to ignore the rumors, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post asked 12 baseball insiders whether they would prefer to have Phil Hughes or Mike Pelfrey for the next five years and was surprised to see all 12 select Hughes.
- Edwin Jackson and Dontrelle Willis say they have good memories of Detroit and no hard feelings over the trades that sent them to Arizona, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Now that six years have passed since the 2004 draft, let's take a look at a few of the choices teams made between prospects at the same position to get a sense of who came out ahead in the great pick-by-pick spin of fate.
- Justin Verlander (Tigers) vs. Phil Humber (Mets) vs. Jeff Niemann (Rays): Here we have a textbook study in the perils of pitching prospects. In Verlander, the second overall pick, the Tigers got a true ace. He has posted three top-seven finishes in the Cy Young voting already, and struck out an incredible 269 batters in 240 innings last year. Picking third, the Mets got an ace as well, sort of: Humber was eventually traded in the deal that landed them Johan Santana. Needless to say, Humber has not been an ace himself, pitching to an ERA over 5.00 at Triple-A for a second straight year in 2010. Niemann, meanwhile, has profiled somewhere in-between, though his 2010 so far suggests he may be fulfilling the promise of his status as fourth overall pick. He's pitching to a 2.83 ERA in 2010, though the strikeout rate (just 5.8 per nine innings) suggests that ERA will likely rise. Overall winner here? Everyone except the Twins.
- Billy Butler (Royals) vs. Josh Fields (White Sox): Well, it certainly appears the Royals got the better of this battle of third basemen. Butler, picked 14th, didn't stick at third, but he is finally getting some attention as a legitimately excellent bat, putting up a .341/.396/.494 line in 2010 so far. Meanwhile, Fields, picked 18th, has struggled to remain on the field, and is actually now property of the Royals as well, coming over this winter in the deal for Mark Teahen. But he will miss most, if not all, of the 2010 season after having hip surgery in April. Fields, 28 in December, has had some impressive Triple-A seasons, so he may eventually fulfill his promise. Butler, however, is clearly here to stay. Overall winner? The Royals. Almost makes up for Alex Gordon!
- Glen Perkins (Twins) vs. Phil Hughes (Yankees): Lost in the many months of Johan Santana trade talks back in 2007-2008, which centered around whether the Yankees would deal Phil Hughes, was the realization that the Twins could have drafted Hughes themselves. Instead, at pick 22, Minnesota took Glen Perkins, a college product out of University of Minnesota. The outlook isn't brilliant for Perkins at this point, with a 7.76 ERA in Triple-A, though his strikeout rate is at least relatively strong. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes has become one of the best pitchers in the American League, with a fantastic 74 strikeouts and 22 walks in 75.1 innings in support of his 3.11 ERA. Hughes won't be 24 until later this month. And among those who won't be celebrating his birthday? The Twins.
On this day back in 2003, the Tigers became the first team in baseball history to have four pitchers make their Major League debut in the same game. The starter was 20-year-old Jeremy Bonderman, who gave way to 22-year-old Wil Ledezma, 25-year-old Chris Spurling, and 23-year-old Matt Roney before "veteran" closer Matt Anderson entered the game. Anderson was just 25-years-old at the time, but the first overall pick of the 1997 draft already had 210 big league appearances to his name.
The Tigers went on the finish the season 43-119, and were rewarded by selecting Justin Verlander with the second overall pick the following season. Here's this week's set of links from around the web...
- A Cubbies Consilience throws some kudos Jim Hendry's way for his offseason.
- Camden Crazies calls the O's trade for Julio Lugo an okay one.
- The Kept Faith finds some players Kevin Towers passed on while he was the Padres' GM.
- 1 Blue Jays Way remembers Roy Halladay's time in Toronto.
- Meanwhile, Around The BasePath looks at some expectations for Halladay's first year in Philadelphia.
- Drunk Jays Fans wonders why Lyle Overbay was named the team's every day first baseman when he can't hit lefties.
- Lookout Landing compares Eric Byrnes and Ryan Langerhans with regards to the Mariners' spare outfielder's job.
- Bronx Bombers Beat examines the Yankees' plan for Phil Hughes.
- More Hardball lists the players who will begin the season on the disabled list.
- Capitol Avenue Club rounds out the Braves' roster.
- Crashburn Alley looks at the Phillies' winners and losers from Spring Training.