- Cubs Release Felix Doubront
- Rangers Acquire Sam Freeman From Cardinals
- Mike Pelfrey Would Welcome Trade
- Angels Release Matt Lindstrom
- Twins’ Lewis Thorpe To Have Tommy John Surgery
- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
- Brady Aiken Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
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- Tigers, David Price Open Exploratory Discussions
- Dodgers To Sign Hector Olivera
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- Cubs Release Felix Doubront
- Rangers Acquire Sam Freeman From Cardinals
- Central Notes: Hicks, Pirates, Madson
- Minor Moves: Tyler Grimes, Luke Putkonen
- Mike Pelfrey Would Welcome Trade
- Angels Release Matt Lindstrom
- Twins’ Lewis Thorpe To Have Tommy John Surgery
- East Notes: Vazquez, Braves, Navarro
- Week In Review: 3/21/15 – 3/27/15
- East Notes: Papelbon, Warren, Victorino
- Minor Moves: Arguelles, Rays, Lorick, Lopez, Rockies
- West Notes: DeShields, Aiken, Lopez
- AL Central Notes: Graham, Pelfrey, Salazar, Finnegan
- Padres Fielding Trade Inquiries On Relievers
- Aiken Situation Could Lead To Changes In Draft Medicals
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Roberto Hernandez Rumors
The Astros have listened to trade ideas regarding their surplus of position players, but are not actively looking to deal, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. There’s currently no way to get Jason Castro, Evan Gattis, Jon Singleton, George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Jake Marisnick and Chris Carter in the lineup all at the same time, Drellich points out. But their depth gives them options in case players get hurt or struggle. In particular, Gattis and Rasmus have significant injury histories, while Singleton and Marisnick are unproven. The team could also platoon Gattis and Rasmus in left field. Here’s more from Drellich on the Astros.
- If the Astros were to make a trade this Spring, it might involve a depth player like Alex Presley rather than one of the more regular players mentioned above. Robbie Grossman could beat out Presley for the last outfield spot. Presley is out of options, and there’s at least some possibility the Astros could lose him if they expose him to waivers. From this vantage point, the risk seems minimal, given that Presley didn’t hit well last year and is making above the league minimum (at $1MM). But given the depth he represents, that possibility is at least worth considering.
- Hank Conger has struggled this spring, but he’s still penciled in as Castro’s backup at catcher.
- Three players whose situations are unresolved are minor-league free agent pitchers Joe Thatcher, Roberto Hernandez and first baseman Dan Johnson, Drellich says. Thatcher and Hernandez are Article XX(B) free agents, so before Opening Day, the Astros must decide whether to add them to the active roster, release them, or pay them $100K retention bonuses (and give them June 1 opt-out date). Thatcher is likely to make the team as the Astros’ second bullpen lefty. Johnson, who is not an Article XX(B) free agent, also has an opt-out date, although not until after the start of the regular season.
Astros righty Roberto Hernandez has finally received his visa an is set to report to spring camp for a physical, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets. Hernandez has a bit of catching up to do if he hopes to make the roster after inking a minor league deal earlier in the offseason.
Here are some notes from the AL West:
- A rough 2014 season for Elvis Andrus of the Rangers has left some looking askance at his eight-year, $120MM extension, which officially kicks in this season. As the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com), Andrus says that he is ready for a better campaign after reporting out of shape last year. “This year I took it a thousand times [more] seriously than I did the year before,” he said. “… That was an offseason that I hope never happens again. In spring training I wasn’t ready.” A turnaround from Andrus would go a long way toward restoring the once-promising trajectory of the Rangers, to say nothing of his own. It would also increase his appeal as a trade chip, though Texas no longer has quite the middle infield logjam it once did.
- Coco Crisp is set to play left field this year for the Athletics, manager Bob Melvin tells reporters including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). That shift, which was occasioned by a desire to protect the team’s investment in Crisp by reducing the toll on his body, will result in Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld platooning in center. In turn, that probably also puts an end to the notion that Oakland could look to acquire a second baseman and move Ben Zobrist to the outfield.
- While it is hard to deny (and not entirely surprising) that the Athletics got less back for Jeff Samardzija than they gave to acquire him (along with Jason Hammel), the team feels good about the young players that it picked up from the White Sox, MLB.com’s Phil Rogers writes. “Look, both of those deals are difficult,” said assistant GM David Forst. “You never like trading a guy like Addison [Russell], but Jeff and Jason filled a particular need for us at that time. Then to turn around and lose Jason and feel like trading Jeff is the best option is never an easy decision to make. Jeff is a guy who has his best years ahead of him still. He’s right at the age you want to get a pitcher. He knows his game. His stuff is without question. It was not an easy decision to make. It was part of the balancing act we are forced to make.”
2:45pm: The contract includes an opt-out five days prior to Opening Day, and the Major League side of the deal is worth $2.65MM, MLBTR has learned.
2:08pm: The Astros have signed righty Roberto Hernandez to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced. Hernandez is represented by DPX Sports.
Hernandez, 34, posted a 4.10 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9, and 49.7% groundball rate for the Phillies and Dodgers last year. He had signed a $4.5MM free agent deal with the Phillies last offseason.
A legitimate chance to make the Astros’ rotation likely weighed in Hernandez’s decision. The agreement between the two sides comes after a one-year pact with Ryan Vogelsong fell through in January. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are locks for the Astros’ rotation after breakout 2014 seasons, and veteran Scott Feldman has a spot secured as well. According to an article from Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle from late January, Brett Oberholtzer is also penciled in. According to Drellich, new acquisition Dan Straily might be the favorite for the fifth spot, with Brad Peacock not expected to be ready for Opening Day after offseason hip surgery. Alex White, Asher Wojciechowski and Sam Deduno are other fifth starter candidates to watch, according to Drellich.
With another quiet day turning into an even less eventful evening, I thought we’d spice things up with a look at a particularly interesting segment of the free agent market: innings-eating veteran starters.
Sure, I’m joking. Almost by definition, a back-of-the-rotation innings eater is not a very exciting pitcher. But, then again, perhaps there is something to the idea that this corner of the universe has more intrigue than it might seem at first glance.
Targeting top-end players is fairly straightforward, whereas figuring whether to pursue one or another back-end arm involves much more careful parsing to find value. The fact that most such pitchers sign for short-term deals means that clubs must be right on the player in the immediate term; there is no time to fix them for the future. And then there is the fact that the performance of these players matters a great deal; unlike a utility man or reliever, innings-eating arms are expected to occupy full-time roles. Racking up losses because your number 4 and 5 starters are not competitive is a great way to dig a hole in the standings.
The potential impact of this type of player is evidenced by the list of the best durable, veteran starters still available, several of whom played for contenders in 2014 and one of whom even pitched in the World Series. For better or worse, all of the players listed were allowed to throw at least 150 innings last year, creating plenty of opportunity to add or subtract value.
Kevin Correia: The results are not usually that exciting, but Correia has logged at least 100 innings in every season since 2007. He delivered an average of 178 innings of 4.19 ERA pitching over 2012-13 before suffering through a rough 2014.
Aaron Harang: Last year’s shining example of the importance of choosing your innings eaters carefully, Harang put up 204 1/3 frames with a 3.57 ERA. Sure, there’s a lot baked in there other than his pitching, but the bottom line is that Harang rated amongst the game’s fifty best starters in terms of preventing runs and among its 25 best in logging innings.
Roberto Hernandez: The results haven’t been there for Hernandez, and there is not much silver lining given that he has seen a steady decline in fastball velocity. But he is quite a steady groundball inducer, and showed enough that the Dodgers traded for him and gave him nine starts down the stretch.
Kyle Kendrick: At some point, 199 innings is 199 innings, and that’s what Kendrick delivered last season. He is also a fairly youthful 30 years of age, and is not far removed from producing serviceable results.
Ryan Vogelsong: Though his peripherals are somewhat less promising, Vogelsong has posted pretty darned useful bottom-line results in three of the past four seasons. And he had enough in the tank to run his fastball up to the mid-90s in the postseason.
Chris Young: ERA estimators view Young’s 3.65 earned run mark last year as a mirage, but then again he has always outperformed his peripherals. It had been quite some time since the towering righty had handled a full season in a rotation, but Seattle happily converted his 165 innings of work into a 12-9 record in 29 starts.
Before you vote on the player you think will be the best bet for 2015, you might want to check out these custom Fangraphs leaderboards for a sense of their recent statistical achievements: last year; last three years; last five years.
AUG. 28: The Phillies have announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Victor Arano as the second player in the Hernandez trade. The 19-year-old Arano ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 14 prospect on MLB.com’s midseason Top 20 list.
Arano totaled a 4.08 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 86 innings of work at Class-A Great Lakes this season, making 15 starts and eight relief appearances. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com praise Arano’s 90-91 mph fastball (which tops out at 94 mph) and slider, though they note that his changeup needs more work. Still, Arano is physically mature for a teenager and shows an advanced feel for pitching, per the MLB.com duo, who project him as a starter in the long term despite the fact that he’s presently had more success in the bullpen.
AUG. 16: The Phillies have announced that one of the two players they’re acquiring from the Dodgers is second baseman Jesmuel Valentin, a 2012 first-round pick from Puerto Rico who was hitting .282/.352/.433 for Class A Great Lakes as a 20-year-old. Heading into the season, Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 listed him as the Dodgers’ 22nd-best prospect, projecting him as a utility player. MLB.com ranked him at No. 13 in the Dodgers’ system and was somewhat more optimistic, suggesting he lacks power but could be the sort of hitter who typically bats second in a team’s batting order. He is the son of former big-league infielder Jose Valentin.
AUG. 7: The Phillies announce that they have traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations. The Phillies placed Hernandez, along with a number of other players, on revocable waivers on Saturday.
The Phillies signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM deal last winter, and he posted a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 121 innings for them, with a strong 52.0% ground ball rate. He has gotten good results recently, with a 2.18 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break. Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has played parts of nine seasons, also spending time with the Indians and Rays.
Hernandez’s role with the Dodgers is unclear. Obviously, they have a strong rotation featuring Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Josh Beckett has, however, struggled in three outings since returning from the disabled list with a hip injury, and Matt Gelb of the Inquirer tweets that Hernandez will start in Beckett’s place Friday.
For the Phillies, the move marks their first trade of a veteran since their very quiet trade deadline. It may have helped them that Hernandez’s contract was a relatively easy one to trade. The Phillies are currently 51-63 and in last place in the NL East.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Dodgers swung a trade with the Phillies yesterday and acquired right-hander Roberto Hernandez due to concerns over the health of Josh Beckett, but GM Ned Colletti told reports, including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, that he hopes to make at least one more move. “There’s another pitcher out there we’re trying to get,” Colletti said.
Colletti said that the Dodgers would like to add a swingman to replace Paul Maholm, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, and added that the club is also looking at back-of-the-rotation arms and late-inning relievers. Referring to the Hernandez trade, Colletti candidly admitted that the trade talks accelerated quickly, as he hoped to swing a deal before news of Beckett’s injury broke. “Ruben [Amaro Jr.] could hold me up for even more,” he stated.
A number of back-end arms that I mentioned in last month’s look at the trade market for starting pitchers could likely be had for very little return from the Dodgers, including Kyle Kendrick, Kevin Correia and Colby Lewis. Bartolo Colon could represent a potentially more expensive but still effective option, assuming he clears waivers (which is highly likely). MLBTR’s Jeff Todd examined the trade market for right-handed relievers and left-handed relievers, and while some of them have since been dealt (as have some from the list of starters), many of those names could come into play as well.
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Onto tonight’s links from around the league!
- New Padres GM A.J. Preller is impressed with the rotation that he’s inheriting in his new post, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Preller’s new team boasts a rotation fronted by Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Jesse Hahn, and Brock wonders if the team will make a second run at extending Cashner with a new GM in place. Of his new club, Preller said to Padres fans: “I want Padres fans to understand that it’s not going to be smooth sailing from Day 1, But I can promise you we’re going to have the hungriest, hard-working group of employees in the game.”
- A theoretical return to the Red Sox for Jon Lester could follow the same path as Mike Lowell‘s return following the 2007 season, writes WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Lowell spoke with Bradford at length about his decision to reject a four-year, $48MM offer from the Phillies in favor of a three-year, $38MM offer to return to Boston. Lowell feels that Lester might not feel the need to take something like $150MM over seven years, but he adds that the Red Sox can’t simply offer a four-year deal if the rest of the market is willing to offer five or more years.
- Uncertainty surrounding Josh Beckett‘s health for the remainder of the season and an unwillingness to part with their top three prospects led to the Dodgers‘ acquisition of Roberto Hernandez earlier today, writes Tim Brow n of Yahoo Sports. Brown feels the decision to hang onto Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias was defensible and notes that a team source told him that Beckett could need season-ending surgery.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that the team felt it made sense to flip Hernandez, as they had no plans to make a qualifying offer following the season (Twitter link). While that’s hardly a surprise, the philosophy behind the move could be applied to other current Phillies such as Kyle Kendrick, although that’s just my own speculation.
- Cubs prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara both offer high praise for Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez and the help they received on their swing mechanics from the former MVP candidate, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “He helped my approach to right-center, [following] his routine every day, going to the cage, the way he works,” said Baez. “He’s always got a bat in his hand doing something, either swinging the bat or just hitting in the cage. He talked to a lot of the guys. A lot of people learned from him.” In his most recent chat with readers, ESPN’s Keith Law wrote that he was a believer in Ramirez’s positive influence on Baez.
Now that we’re beyond the July 31st trade deadline, players must pass through revocable trade waivers in order to be dealt to another team. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd broke down the August trade rules and what it means when you see several major names placed on waivers over the next few weeks.
Here are today’s notable players who have reportedly been placed on revocable waivers…
- Also going on revocable waivers today were Jason Hammel of the Athletics and Wade Miley of the Diamondbacks, Rosenthal tweets. As Rosenthal notes, it seems likely that clubs will claim Miley, but that he will be pulled back by Arizona. As for Hammel, a deal still seems rather unlikely since Oakland dealt away some important rotation depth in Tommy Milone.
- Hitting the wire today from the Phillies were Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz, Rosenthal tweets. They will be on waivers until Wednesday.
- The Phillies placed Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Kyle Kendrick on revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). The moves all took place on Saturday, so since the waiver period lasts 47 hours, we could know by today if any of the players were claimed. I’d expect Bastardo and Burnett to be claimed given that both drew significant interest before the July 31st deadline, and there is virtually no chance any team would claim Howard and risk being stuck with the roughly $68MM remaining on his contract.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Antonio Bastardo | Arizona Diamondbacks | Carlos Ruiz | Chase Utley | Cole Hamels | Jason Hammel | Jimmy Rollins | Jonathan Papelbon | Kyle Kendrick | Marlon Byrd | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Placed On Revocable Waivers | Roberto Hernandez | Ryan Howard | Wade Miley
The Phillies added to their rotation on Wednesday by officially announcing the signing of right-hander Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM contract. In addition to that base salary, Hernandez can earn $1.5MM via incentives. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned that Hernandez will earn $200K for reaching 140 and 155 innings pitched, $300K for reaching 170 and 185 innings pitched, and $500K fo reaching 200 innings pitched. Hernandez is represented by Charisse Espinosa-Dash and Jorge Brito of Draft Pix Sports.
On the morning that the agreement was reported, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters that he had an agreement in place with a starter but didn't wish to disclose the pitcher's name until a deal was finalized.
Formerly known as Fausto Carmona, the 33-year-old Hernandez pitched to a 4.89 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a healthy 53.2 percent ground-ball rate in 151 innings, marking his first full season since 2011. Hernandez will join a rotation that is fronted by Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and also figures to include Kyle Kendrick and Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as well.
Though his ERA wasn't all that impressive, Hernandez was primarily done in by the fact that 20.9 percent of his fly-balls left the park — a rate that is nearly twice as high as his career mark. Assuming that trend was an anomaly, it could be reasonable to expect a 2014 ERA that more closely resembles Hernandez's 3.60 xFIP or 3.66 SIERA — both of which reward him for solid command and a plus ground-ball rate.
Hernandez's best season came in 2007 when he finished fourth in the American League Cy Young voting after posting a 3.06 ERA in 215 innings for the Indians. A hip injury derailed his 2008 campaign and likely impacted his 2009 season as well, but he came back strong with Cleveland in 2010, posting a 3.77 ERA in 210 1/3 innings and earning his first All-Star selection.
A move to the National League for the first time in his career will likely benefit Hernandez, and his career 57.8 percent ground-ball rate will play well in the small dimensions of Citizens Bank Park. Dierkes reports (on Twitter) that the Cubs were also very competitive on Hernandez, but Hernandez really wanted to pitch in Philadelphia.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The latest out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Cubs are among the teams with interest in Roberto Hernandez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin says that he'll look for a true first baseman to replace Corey Hart, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter). "I'd like to find a first baseman who can play first. We've had so many guys who haven't played first," said the GM.
The Brewers topped out around $8MM for Hart, according to Haudricourt (on Twitter).
Cubs president Theo Epstein says the club has offers out to a free agent starter, a free agent offer, and a trade offer for a hitter, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Theo added that he has other trade talks taking place as well.
- Dombrowski also noted that the Tigers haven't ruled out signing Max Scherzer this offseason, tweets John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- After initially being caught off guard by the trade, Adam Eaton says he's confident and ready for a fresh start with the White Sox, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.