Ruben Tejada Rumors
Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, entered the Rays' game as a pinch-hitter against the Rangers Thursday night and singled in his first big-league at-bat. It marked a milestone for the infielder, who crawled through the minor leagues, never hitting all that impressively at any level, before posting a line of .276/.342/.387 in 2013 for Triple-A Durham. All of the 20 players drafted immediately after Beckham made it to the big leagues before he did. (Many, of course, were drafted out of college; Beckham came out of high school.) Remarkably, as Baseball America's John Manuel notes (via Twitter), Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to make it to the big leagues with them. That's surprising, given how vital young players are to a low-payroll team like the Rays and how successful they've been in recent years. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has implied to first baseman Adam Lind that there's a good chance the team will pick up Lind's 2014 option, but nothing is certain yet, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated," says Lind, who will get either $7MM to play for the Jays or a $2MM buyout. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 and 2016. Lind has hit .282/.352/.486 so far this season. The team isn't required to make a decision about his option until shortly after the World Series ends.
- Mets manager Terry Collins wants Ruben Tejada to take command of the shortstop position next season, Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman of MLB.com write. "My message is real simple: this job is his," says Collins. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mets could pursue a shortstop from outside the organization. The offseason free-agent market isn't a strong one, but a trade might be a possibility. Tejada has hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances this season.
- The Cubs aren't ready to say whether Dale Sveum will remain their manager in 2014, but the notion that the Cubs would fire Sveum is "laughable," says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Morrissey raises the possibility that the Cubs hesitation on Sveum may have something to do with big-name managers like Joe Girardi and Ron Gardenhire being free agents this offseason. He argues that Sveum shouldn't be blamed for the struggles of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, suggesting that the pair might simply not be as good as the Cubs and their fans hoped.
- The Brewers claimed pitcher Josh Ravin off waivers from the Reds today, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy compares Ravin to Joe Nathan, noting that Ravin can throw in triple digits (Twitter link). Ravin wouldn't be the first player to find success as a reliever in the Majors after an unimpressive minor-league career, but Joe Nathan is a lofty name to drop when discussing a 25-year-old who posted a 5.82 ERA with 6.7 BB/9 in the minors this year.
- Dodgers lefty Onelki Garcia is now represented by BHS Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Garcia posted a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in the upper levels of the minors in 2013, and he made his big-league debut last week.
It seems to be a fait accompli that Ryne Sandberg will have his interim tag removed and be named full-time manager of the Phillies sometime in the next week or so, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Whether the announcement happens in a matter of days, after the season finale against the Braves on September 29th, or shortly thereafter, the smart money is on Sandberg taking the full-time gig. Here's more on the Phillies and the latest out of the NL East..
- More from Salisbury, who wonders if Larry Bowa could be joining Sandberg on his staff for next season. Bowa was in the Phillies’ dugout before Wednesday’s game and the idea of adding the 67-year-old has been discussed within the organization.
- Braves catcher Brian McCann may not be back in Atlanta next season, but his focus is on the team's current run as they near the postseason, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Many have speculated that McCann will find a big payday elsewhere this winter.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins wants to see Ruben Tejada take control of the shortstop position in 2014. "My message is real simple: this job is his," Collins said of next year's starting shortstop role. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com recently wrote that the Mets could look out-of-house for their next shortstop and may even consider trading Tejada.
- Peter Gammons of MLB.com (on Twitter) notes that Ed Lucas, who belted his fourth homer of the year for the Marlins last night, was a Winter Meetings job seeker last season. The Dartmouth grad spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before getting called up by Miami in late May.
Yesterday it was reported that the Mets are likely to target Shin-Soo Choo as a free agent this offseason. Choo projects as one of the top names available and would serve as a long-term upgrade in right field, should the Mets be able to entice him more than the host of other suitors Choo figures to have. Here's more on Choo and other Mets-related issues...
- General manager Sandy Alderson told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he "certainly [hasn't] ruled out a big-ticket item" on the free agent market this winter, though he didn't mention Choo by name. One Mets-connected person told Heyman, however, that Choo "fits the bill" in terms of what the team is looking for.
- Also in that piece, Heyman adds that Jacoby Ellsbury isn't likely to be a prime target for the Mets because they're pleased with the emergence of Juan Lagares in center. While Lagares' .264/.301/.385 batting line has hardly set the world on fire, he's been worth three wins above replacement, per Fangraphs, due to his incredible center field defense.
- Finally from Heyman's article, one top Mets executive expressed relief that the team didn't end up signing Michael Bourn last offseason. The Mets, of course, pursued Bourn heavily and lobbied to be able to keep their No. 11 overall pick in signing him, but Cleveland swooped in with a four-year, $48MM offer and landed the speedster.
- Ruben Tejada's play for the remainder of the season rest is important, because it might mean one less position that needs to be filled this winter, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Yesterday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wrote that the Mets are likely to explore external options this winter and they may even shop Tejada.
- Matt Harvey told reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, that he's optimistic about his chances to avoid Tommy John surgery. Harvey is slated to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, after which Andrews will confer with Dr. David Altchek on the best course of action for the Mets ace.
Earlier today, Tim Dierkes released his list of the top 34 free agent starting pitchers for this offseason. Yankees hurler Hiroki Kuroda comes in at No. 4 on the list, despite his age (39 in February) and a small streak of bad starts in August. In total, it has been another strong year for the veteran, who owns a 2.99 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. Here's more out of the AL and NL East..
- Red Sox outfielder and free-agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury didn't exacerbate his foot fracture by playing last week, a baseball source told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Ellsbury will be in a walking boot for another few days and will rejoin the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. He'll also be reexamined by doctors before he resumes physical activity.
- It seems likely that the Mets will explore external shortstop options as an alternative to Ruben Tejada and he could even be traded this winter, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Tejeada will be first-time arbitration eligible with a salary less than $1MM, so he won't be cost prohibitive as a backup middle infielder if a more accomplished shortstop is brought in.
- The Yankees' addition of Mike Zagurski signals concern over Boone Logan's continued elbow troubles, writes Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger.
Jordan Schafer, Anthony Varvaro and David Carpenter exemplify the Braves' knack for getting the most out of the "free talent" market (players claimed off waivers or signed as minor league free agents), writes ESPN's Keith Law in his latest Insider piece. Law writes that the Braves have succeeded with tight payrolls in recent years by excelling in this area, and he also looks at the next wave of "free-talent" players on the horizon for the Braves. Here's more out of the NL East...
- Ruben Tejada is expected to join the Mets today as a September callup, which will leave him one day shy of accumulating his third full year of MLB service time, writes ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Rubin reported yesterday that the Mets would likely delay Tejada's promotion for that purpose, as it will keep Tejada from reaching free agency for an additional year.
- Mets closer Bobby Parnell will undergo surgery to repair the herniated disk in his neck, manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Collins said that Parnell "should" be ready for Spring Training but would make no promises on that front. I'd imagine that any uncertainty surrounding Parnell would only further what should be an interesting offseason for the Mets on the bullpen front, with so many free agents in their 2013 relief corps.
- The presence of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley through at least the 2014 season (and likely the 2015 campaign due to Rollins' easily attainable vesting option) makes a utility role the most realistic option for Freddy Galvis if he's to remain with the Phillies long-term, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Interim manager Ryne Sandberg feels that Galvis fits the mold of a strong bench player due to his defensive capabilities and "consistent progress and work with his batting."
The Braves will promote top prospect Christian Bethancourt today, according to Tom Hart of FOX Sports in Atlanta (Twitter link). The 22-year-old catcher hit .277/.305/.436 at Double-A Mississippi this season. While those numbers don't look tremendously impressive, Bethancourt turned it on after a slow start, batting .300/.339/.521 with 11 homers from June 13 on. He currently ranks as the Braves' No. 3 prospect and the fifth-best catching prospect in baseball in the eyes of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. Here's more on Bethancourt and the rest of the NL East...
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that Bethancourt's promotion will allow him to get acquainted with the Majors, which is a good thing, as it's likely that he or Evan Gattis will be the Braves' starting catcher in 2014. In doing so, Bowman implies that Brian McCann is likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent. That thought has been echoed by others in recent weeks, including David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Mets will stall Ruben Tejada's promotion back to the Majors, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, and in doing so, they will delay his free agency until after the 2017 season instead of the 2016 season. Tejada hasn't exactly torn the cover off the ball of late, as he's batted just .275/.324/.364 from July through Sept. 2 at Triple-A Las Vegas -- one of the most hitter-friendly environments in all of professional baseball.
- Ryan Zimmerman has regained confidence in his throwing and believes he can continue to play third base for the Nationals, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Zimmerman concedes that he doubted his future at the hot corner earlier in the season. He tells Kilgore that his shoulder injuries in 2012 wore his right arm down to the point where he couldn't lift it above his head, causing him to develop bad throwing habits. He had surgery to repair the shoulder last October, but breaking those poor habits and rebuilding the strength in his arm has been a slow process, Zimmerman says. Ultimately, the decision on when to move to first won't be Zimmerman's, Kilgore writes. The team could even move Adam LaRoche this winter and make the switch in 2014.
Earlier today, we looked at the latest on the Mets and Yankees as the two clubs continue to battle it out in their first Subway Series matchup of the year. For the 20-29 Mets, there's been a great deal of talk surrounding a major organizational shakeup - not from the outside, but from within. Here's more on that and other notes out of Queens..
- Demotion or not, Ruben Tejada is going to be arbitration eligible for the first time next year, meaning that he's due for a salary jump, notes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter). The 23-year-old entered 2013 at 2 years and 53 days of service time. So far this season, Tejada is hitting just .209/.269/.264 through 49 games.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins is playing very coy on Tejada and Ike Davis, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) hears that both could be sent down before the end of the Subway Series tomorrow. Tonight will be a big game for both as they look to stay on the big league roster.
- Martino (link) also hears that the Mets want to resolve the Davis situation before potentially demoting Tejada. However, GM Sandy Alderson could also just send both of them down at once. For more on the Davis/Tejada demotion situation, check out this blog post from Martino.
- Had the Mets not come back against Mariano Rivera last night, it is an absolute certainty that both Davis and Tejada would have been optioned, Martino tweets. While neither player recorded a hit last night, the club likely wouldn't want to make such a move in the wake of a big win (link).
The Yankees and Mets currently stand on opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Yankees nine games above .500 and the Mets at nine games below. The Bombers have dropped three in a row, however, and the Mets have won three straight. Game two of their Subway Series will get underway later tonight, but here's some news on both teams to tide New York fans over until then...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he will continue to pursue stopgap options at shortstop rather than look to trade for an established player at the position.
- Within that same piece, Martino notes that there's been talk of sending Ruben Tejada down for Omar Quintanilla, but Quintanilla isn't on the 40-man roster. Plus, if the Mets call Quintanilla up, he would need to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minors. If he were claimed by another team, the organization would be thin on shortstop depth.
- With Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis on rehab assignments, the Yankees face a decision on Lyle Overbay, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Overbay seems headed for a reduced role or a new team, but he voiced his preference to remain with the Yankees rather than play elsewhere, even if it means less at-bats: “Do I want to play every day and be miserable?” Overbay said. “That opportunity might not be as good as it is here. I think it will work itself out.”
- Ike Davis will not be optioned to the Minor Leagues today, reports the Post's Mark Hale. There's been plenty of speculation that some time at Triple-A is coming for Davis, who went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and batted eighth last night for the Mets. He's currently in a 4-for-53 slump and batting just .152/.237/.247.
- Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his contract on Friday, but he won't do so unless he has a Major League offer from another club, writes the Post's Joel Sherman. A Mets official told Sherman that they wouldn't be interested in Wang as a replacement for Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee. Sherman writes that the sense is that Wang's stuff is nowhere near as good as it was from 2006-07 with the Yankees.
- Also from Sherman's piece, a panel of eight Post writers and seven New York executives were asked to rank the Top 10 rookies from last year's class, and Matt Harvey ranked fifth behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish (in that order).
Despite the optimistic financial future that principal owner Fred Wilpon recently outlined to reporters, the Mets might not have as much flexibility as anticipated. The team projects to make $22MM this coming season, once debt payments for Citi Field, diminishing attendance and TV revenues are factored in, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports. Kosman hears that there's "little room this year to raise salaries." Here are some more Mets-related notes as Spring Training continues...
- There was a time last month that GM Sandy Alderson expected the Mets would add Justin Upton or Michael Bourn, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports. The Mets discussed the possibility of trading Daniel Murphy or Ruben Tejada plus younger pitching prospects to Arizona for Upton, who was ultimately dealt to Atlanta. It's not clear how close the Mets were to acquiring Upton, but some say Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers "indicated strong interest" at a certain point.
- MLB also gave the Mets "favorable signals" that they'd be able to sign Bourn without surrendering the 11th overall draft pick, Harper reports.
- Alderson said the organization's top pitching prospects will make an impact at the MLB level, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. "It’s a marker of future success,’’ Alderson said. Manager Terry Collins added that he envisions some of the prospects becoming power arms for his bullpen.
- The Braves optioned right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Gwinnett following a disappointing start against the Dodgers yesterday. The right-hander has a 9.37 ERA through four starts, so he's returning to the minors, where he last spent considerable time in 2007. Jurrjens' path to free agency could be affected if he spends two months or more in the minor leagues.
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing Chase Utley at first base when he's activated from the disabled list, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. If Utley returns before Ryan Howard, the Phillies could mix things up defensively. "We'll figure that out when we get there," Manuel said.
- Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada has the unenviable task of replacing Reyes, but as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com shows, the 22-year-old has already earned the confidence of his team. Meanwhile, Tejada says Reyes was a "great teammate" in New York before signing a $106MM free agent contract with the Marlins this past offseason.
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post suggests there's no rush to lock David Wright up long-term despite the third baseman's hot start. Davidoff points out that it's April and that Wright is under team control through 2013. If he's still hitting this well when summer trade talks begin in earnest, the Mets will face a major decision, but we aren't there yet.