Rubby De La Rosa Rumors

Red Sox Acquire Wade Miley

The Red Sox have officially added lefty Wade Miley in a trade with the Diamondbacks, the teams announced today. Right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, along with infielder Raymel Flores, make up the return for the D’Backs.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants

Miley has been the source of several rumors during these Winter Meetings, with the Rangers, Marlins and Blue Jays all with varying levels of interest in the southpaw.  Miley is projected to earn $4.3MM (by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz) in his first time through the arbitration process this winter, and he’ll be under team control through 2017.

Over the last three seasons, Miley has posted a 3.74 ERA, 2.66 K/BB rate and 7.1 K/9 while averaging an even 200 innings per year.  He has a 48.6% ground ball rate over his career, which will serve him as well at Fenway Park as it did at Chase Field.  Miley posted a 3.98 FIP, 3.50 xFIP and 3.67 SIERA in 2014, so the advanced metrics suggest that he was somewhat unlucky to produce his 4.34 ERA.

While Miley isn’t the durable lefty the Red Sox were hoping to land during the Winter Meetings, Miley is at least younger and far cheaper than Jon Lester, and he’ll slot into the Boston rotation alongside Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly.  Boston is undoubtedly still looking to acquire at least one or possibly two more starters for 2015, including a Lester-level ace in free agency or the trade market.

This is the second high-profile deal that De La Rosa and Webster have both been a part of, as the two righties were part of the trade package that Boston received as part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett blockbuster with the Dodgers in 2012.  As Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona points out, Diamondbacks senior VP De Jon Watson was in the Los Angeles front office when De La Rosa and Webster originally joined the Dodgers.

De La Rosa appeared in 30 games for the Sox (18 of them starts) in 2013-14, posting a 4.54 ERA, 2.16 K/BB and 6.4 K/9 in 113 innings.  With Boston openly looking to add top-level starting pitching this offseason and a number of highly-regarded pitching prospects in the minors, it seems as if De La Rosa may have simply been squeezed out of a job with the Sox.

Webster also struggled at the Major League level (a 6.25 ERA over 89 1/3 innings over the last two seasons) but has a higher prospect pedigree than De La Rosa.  Webster entered the year ranked as a top-100 prospect in the game, albeit over rather a wide range — he was ranked 46th by MLB.com, and 88th by Baseball America.  The righty posted strong minor league numbers and was described by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook as having “outrageous” stuff “suggesting top-of-the-rotation potential” but there were big questions about his confidence and fastball command.

That brings us to Flores, a 20-year-old middle infielder who played at the low-A level last year in his age-19 season. Flores hit .282/.344/.354 over 233 plate appearances, adding 14 stolen bases and one long ball, but he is known primarily for his glove.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi first reported the deal (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of FOX Sports reported on Twitter that it was finalized. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter) and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (via Twitter) reported the inclusion of Flores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Diamondbacks Designate Eury De La Rosa

The Diamondbacks have designated lefty Eury De La Rosa, the team announced. The move clears roster space for Arizona’s addition of Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster via trade.

An undersized 24-year-old southpaw, De La Rosa (that is, the former) performed well in 36 2/3 innings of big league action last year. He carried a 2.95 ERA (backed by a 3.49 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, and 3.65 SIERA) while striking out 7.9 batters per nine and issuing 3.4 free passes per regulation game. He was similarly effective in 39 1/3 Triple-A frames,


AL Central Notes: Tigers, Santana, Neshek, Viciedo

A reunion between Max Scherzer and the Tigers is “not happening,” a club official tells Peter Gammons (via Twitter).  What Detroit might do, however, is trade right-hander Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for a package of Yoenis Cespedes and Rubby De La Rosa.  Rumors of a Porcello/Cespedes deal arose a few days ago but talks between the two sides were “not hot” according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  Here’s some more from around the AL Central…

  • The Angels are searching for middle infield help and the TwinsEduardo Escobar is on their list of targets, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets.  Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (also via Twitter) thinks the Halos could offer Minnesota a reliever in return, with Vinnie Pestano being “one name to watch.”
  • Also from Berardino (on Twitter), the Twins haven’t yet talked to free agent starter Ervin Santana.  The right-hander’s representatives are open to hearing from Minnesota, however, with a source telling Berardino that Santana “loves pitching in the cold.”
  • Pat Neshek‘s agent Barry Meister tells Berardino that he had a “social discussion” with Twins GM Terry Ryan but the two sides “haven’t had any substantive discussions at all” about the reliever rejoining the club.  Meister said that there has been “substantial interest from around the league in Neshek and another top reliever client, Sergio Romo.
  • The White Sox are telling teams that Dayan Viciedo is available, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).  It’s no surprise that Viciedo is being shopped given that the Sox have been rumored to be exploring such outfield replacements as Melky Cabrera.  Viciedo hit .231/.281/.405 with 21 homers in 563 PA last season, providing below-replacement level value with -0.9 rWAR.


Red Sox Notes: Free Agents, Young Arms, Betts, Uehara

While Red Sox chairman Tom Werner recently implied that the team is likely to do some significant spending on the free agent market this offseason, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that adding two top-tier pitchers isn’t in the club’s offseason blueprint. The team will likely pursue one ace-caliber pitcher, but the feeling within the organization is that there’s enough talent to fill out a championship-caliber rotation. Joe Kelly and Rubby De La Rosa appear to have spots penciled in, and Clay Buchholz has had a resurgence of late. Beyond those three, the Sox have Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez all in line to compete for rotation spots. It’s still believed that the team will pursue Jon Lester most aggressively, Speier writes, though he also spoke with Rays manager Joe Maddon about the Tampa skipper’s former right-hander, James Shields.

Here’s more on the 2013 World Series champs and their attempt to get out of the cellar in 2015…

  • Webster, Workman and Ranaudo have failed to impress in extended looks at the Major League level this season, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. MacPherson has a hard time envisioning GM Ben Cherington heading into the 2015 campaign with two or three unproven arms in the rotation following the struggles that many of the team’s young prospects endured in 2014. Only De La Rosa has shownthe ability to be a piece of next year’s rotation, he concludes. MacPherson spoke with both manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves about the struggles that Boston’s young pitchers have endured thus far.
  • In a second piece, Speier writes that Mookie Betts has gone “from blocked to building block,” noting that his versatility and upside may have led to him supplanting Xander Bogaerts as the club’s most untouchable asset in trades. Of course, Dustin Pedroia remains under contract at second base and the team has an enviable outfield logjam, so interest in Betts will likely be high, but Speier opines that Betts should be retained, as his versatility would allow the Red Sox to pursue upgrades at a number of positions in the future, knowing that Betts could be moved around the diamond and still thrive.
  • Koji Uehara told reporters, including Speier’s colleague Rob Bradford, that the life on his splitter still isn’t there. As Bradford notes, Uehara has experienced a late-season downturn like this before, as he struggled greatly at an oddly similar juncture near the end of his tenure with the Rangers in 2011. The displaced closer adds that he’s not thinking about where he’ll play in 2015 or regaining the ninth inning, but rather trying to finish the season on a high note before “see[ing] what happens in free agency.”

Red Sox Notes: Draft, Betts, Lester

The Red Sox have fewer wins than the Royals since the start of the 2012 season, but having losing years before and after a World Series victory has its advantages, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. They’re going to have a very valuable top draft pick next year (if the season ended today, they would pick in the top ten, just as they did in 2013) and a bigger international signing pool. Meanwhile, they retain the financial edge they have over other teams — they’re already reloading for 2015 with the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, along with the impending addition of Rusney Castillo, all of whom will have significant salaries going forward. Here are a couple more quick notes out of Boston.

  • The Red Sox placed Mookie Betts, Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa on revocable waivers today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. All are valuable young players, so it’s a strong possibility they’ll be claimed, at which point the Red Sox will pull them back. It probably isn’t likely any of them will be traded.
  • With Cespedes and Craig in the fold and Castillo soon to join, manager John Farrell says the Sox will hunt for pitching this offseason, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier tweets. Boston, of course, dealt Jon Lester and John Lackey at the trade deadline, although it remains possible that the Red Sox could re-sign Lester when he becomes a free agent this winter.

East Notes: Red Sox, Marlins, De La Rosa, Ayala

The injury bug has struck the Red Sox again. Mike Carp, who replaced the injured Mike Napoli at first base, under went a CT scan today and it revealed a broken foot, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. The injury will set off a series of roster moves with Stephen Drew ready to join the club in Cleveland tomorrow. MacPherson tweets the Red Sox will place Carp on the disabled list and and recall Daniel Nava. Garin Cecchini, who made his MLB debut today when Dustin Pedroia was ejected and went 1-for-2 with a RBI double, told reporters (including Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com) he will have dinner with his parents and then report to Triple-A Pawtucket. Prior to the announcement of Carp’s injury, the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber outlined how the Red Sox could juggle playing time with the addition of Drew.

Elsewhere in baseball’s East divisions:

  • The Marlins acquired right-handed reliever Bryan Morris from the Pirates earlier in the day and the team is already being criticized for the move. Fangraph’s Dave Cameron opines Morris is a below replacement level pitcher and giving up the 39th pick in the draft for him (an asset worth several million dollars) is “beyond crazy” (Twitter links).
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio agrees with Cameron tweeting Morris is not worth past number 39 picks like Lance Lynn (Cardinals), Anthony Ranaudo (Red Sox), and Joey Gallo (Rangers).
  • Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill defended the trade to reporters, including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez. “We had a need,” Hill said. “It was in our bullpen. We were looking for the piece that was the right fit for us in terms of controlling, not just short-term, but long-term, and [Morris] had the stuff to help our club as well.
  • Hill also said the trade “is the first piece” as he attempts to strengthen the second-place Marlins. “I don’t think we’re finished in trying to improve our club. We’re still trying to make as many improvements as we think we can to help this team.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com chronicles the development of Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa from a prospect who had trouble harnessing his potential to the pitcher who tossed seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts Saturday night.
  • Right-hander Luis Ayala, who opted out of his minor league deal with the Orioles yesterday, will pitch in Mexico, tweets MASNsports.com’s Rock Kubatko.

Quick Hits: Tanaka, Headley, Stanton, Crawford

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka may be the next Japanese pitcher to turn a strong World Baseball Classic performance into a nine-figure Major League contract, ESPN's C.J. Nitkowski writes (Insider subscription required).  Tanaka, 24, has a 2.50 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 4.34 K/BB ratio in 1103 IP over six seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.  Tanaka has expressed interest in pitching in North America and is three years away from international free agency, though Rakuten could open the posting process before then.

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • The Padres are starting to listen to offers for Chase Headley, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports.  The Padres tabled extension talks with Headley earlier this winter after the two sides were far apart on terms.  The third baseman is under contract through the 2014 season and Madden argues that the Yankees should make a move for a young star like Headley or Giancarlo Stanton in order to bolster the lineup and ensure the team will contend this year.
  • "The fact is, this is the right time to trade Stanton. He’s never going to have more value than this," a Marlins operative tells Madden, arguing that such an unpopular move can't hurt a team that is already at rock bottom in terms of public perception.  “I understand Jeffrey [Loria]’s getting killed in Miami over blowing up the team this winter and why he doesn’t want to trade Stanton. But how much more can we get killed?  He’s already had some injury issues, and we’re never going to sign him to a long-term deal," Madden's source said.
  • Carl Crawford criticized the Boston media and told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler that he erred in signing with the Red Sox in the 2010-11 offseason.  "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either," Crawford said.
  • If the Tigers do acquire a reliever, MLB.com's Jason Beck believes such a deal isn't likely until nearer to the end of Spring Training when other teams have their own bullpen situations settled.
  • Chone Figgins feels a lack of playing time exacerbated his struggles with the Mariners and is looking forward to seeing more action playing under NL rules with the Marlins, The Associated Press reports.
  • Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have both looked good in Spring Training and the Red Sox could reap more than financial benefits from last summer's trade with the Dodgers if these two young pitchers develop, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes.  Tomase also talks to Rays manager Joe Maddon about how the Rays were targeting De La Rosa before L.A. dealt him to Boston.

Red Sox Receive De La Rosa, Sands From Dodgers

The Red Sox announced that they have received right-hander Rubby De La Rosa and outfielder Jerry Sands to complete their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers from earlier this summer.  In a related move, the club has designated catcher Guillermo Quiroz for assignment.

De La Rosa and Sands were already known to be the players to be named later in the August 25th swap, but the two sides had to wait until the end of the major league season to make that end of the deal official.  The other two prospects in the trade, pitcher Allen Webster and infielder Ivan De Jesus, already joined Boston. 

De La Rosa, 23, was sidelined for the bulk of the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  The right-hander had a strong debut season in 2011, posting a 3.71 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in ten starts and three relief appearances.  De La Rosa and Webster were considered to be the top pitchers in the Los Angeles farm system after two-sport standout Zach Lee.

Sands, 25, posted a .244/.325/.376 slash line with four homers in 251 plate appearances for the Dodgers over the last two seasons.  He also owns a Triple-A batting line of .288/.362/.552 with 55 home runs in 940 plate appearances during that stretch.

Quiroz, 30, has seen time for the Blue Jays, Mariners (twice) , Rangers, Orioles, and Red Sox across eight big league seasons.  He spent most of the year with Seattle's Triple-A affiliate, where he hit .278/.362/.483 with 15 homers in 89 games.


Farrell Likely To Be Top Choice In Boston

John Farrell has a job and the Red Sox have a manager, but rumors about Boston’s interest in Farrell persist as the Blue Jays prepare for a series at Fenway Park. MLB sources indicated to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that Farrell will be the top choice to replace Bobby Valentine in 2013. Furthermore, people who know Farrell say he’d welcome the opportunity to return to Boston, according to Cafardo. However, Farrell maintains that his focus remains in Toronto.

“My focus and my commitment has been and is here, unequivocally," he told reporters this week.

Farrell, who is under contract for 2013, was Boston’s pitching coach before being hired by the Blue Jays. The Red Sox attempted to acquire him from Toronto twice last year, according to Cafardo. Though the Blue Jays were willing to listen, the sides didn’t agree on compensation. The Red Sox eventually hired Valentine, who’s also under contract for 2013. However, there’s a widespread expectation that Valentine won’t return to Boston next year.

The Red Sox probably wouldn’t want to part with recently-acquired pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa, but the Blue Jays would love to add someone like him to their organization, Cafardo writes.


A Look At The Prospects Headed To The Red Sox

The Red Sox and Dodgers completed what is arguably the biggest trade of the MLB Trade Rumors era today, a nine-player swap featuring Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford moving to Los Angeles. The Dodgers clearly made the move with the intention of improving their chances to win both now and during the next several seasons, but for the Red Sox it was all about a fresh start.

As reported earlier, the Dodgers will assume all but $12MM of the approximately $271.5MM in contracts coming their way. Boston is getting what amounts to a financial fresh start, as their three highest paid players coming into the season (in terms of average annual value) are now off the books. After a disastrous end to last season and a disappointing 2012 season overall, most clubs would have been happy just clearing that much future payroll. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington did one better and acquired some quality prospects as well.

Uspw_5380708The four-player prospect haul is highlighted by two right-handers: Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa (pictured). The Cubs asked for the 22-year-old Webster in exchange for right-hander Ryan Dempster prior to the trade deadline but were rebuffed. Baseball America ranked him as the number two prospect in Los Angeles' system before the season, behind only Zach Lee. Webster was also ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball before the season by the publication. He's pitched to a 3.55 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 22 starts and five relief appearances at the Double-A level this season, and Baseball America spoke to one team official who described him as a future number two starter in the Derek Lowe mold.

De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery. He threw a dozen minor league rehab innings before making one relief appearance with the Dodgers earlier this week, but was sent down to Triple-A last night so he could be included in the trade as a player to be named later. Reports indicated that the Blue Jays may have claimed him off waivers, so pulling him back and waiting until the offseason to officially include him gets around that obstacle. De La Rosa made ten starts and three relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, pitching to a 3.71 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 60 2/3 innings. PitchFX confirms that he can run his fastball into the upper-90s and triple digits. Although Rubby was not eligible for this year's prospect lists, Baseball America considered him the third best prospect in the organization and 90th best prospect in the game prior to 2011. Like Webster, they called him a potential number two starter down the road.

The Red Sox have developed two above-average starting pitchers in Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in recent years, but they whiffed on free agent contracts to John Lackey and (to a lesser extent) Daisuke Matsuzaka. Only two of their top ten prospects coming into the season were pitchers, and number four prospect Anthony Ranaudo has only thrown 37 2/3 innings due to injury this summer. They surrendered Casey Kelly to acquire Gonzalez last offseason, however 2011 first rounder Matt Barnes has since emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Boston's starting rotation has pitched to a 4.88 ERA this season, fourth worst in the AL and fifth worst in all of baseball. Not all prospects work out, but adding Webster and De La Rosa to Barnes gives the Red Sox some much-needing top-shelf pitching depth in the upper minors.

The two other pieces of the trade – Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus – project to be role players. The 24-year-old Sands is a right-handed hitting corner outfielder/first baseman who has hit .244/.325/.376 with four homers in 251 plate appearances with the Dodgers over the last two seasons. His big Triple-A numbers (.291/.363/.557 since last year) are somewhat inflated due to a hitter-friendly park in Albuquerque. Like De La Rosa, Sands was not prospect-eligible this year but Baseball America did consider him the team's sixth best prospect prior to 2011. There is some concern about his ability to hit right-handed pitching long-term – .589 OPS vs. RHP and .904 OPS vs. LHP in his limited big league time – but Fenway Park should boost his offensive output. He'll give the Red Sox some flexibility at three of the four corner spots.

De Jesus, 25, missed the start of this season with an oblique injury and has been up and down the last two years. He's hit .231/.282/.277 in 72 big league plate appearances and .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 Triple-A plate appearances since the start of 2010. Again, those minor league numbers are inflated a bit by the offensive environment in Albuquerque. Baseball America ranked him as the team's 26th best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, where they noted his ability to play three infield positions. With Nick Punto on his way to Los Angeles and Will Middlebrooks injured, De Jesus will provide some infield depth for the time being.

The big prize for the Red Sox is all the freed-up payroll, but the trade was not just a pure salary dump. Webster and De La Rosa have the potential to be impact big leaguers and both Sands and De Jesus should be able to carve out a niche at the Major League level. Three of four prospects figure to see time with Boston next month, and Webster should be in consideration for a job at some point next season. The Dodgers were able to swing all of their midseason trades without surrendering Lee and 2011 first rounder Chris Reed, a benefit to their willingness to absorb money. Boston essentially hit the reset button financially, all while adding some quality prospects in the process.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.