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Rule 5 Draft Rumors
Here’s a roundup of some 40-man roster news as teams decide who will break camp for Opening Day….
- The Diamondbacks have announced (via Twitter) that Archie Bradley, Gerald Laird, and Jordan Pacheco have made the roster. Bradley, a top prospect, will join the rotation. Laird will serve as the backup catcher while Pacheco will probably take on a super utility role that includes some catching.
- The Astros have selected the contract of Roberto Hernandez, per the MLB transactions page. The right-handed sinker specialist has a 4.60 ERA in 1,264 innings. He split the 2014 season between the Phillies and Dodgers.
- The Dodgers have released right-handed pitcher Barry Enright, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Enright is a veteran of four major league seasons, although he struggled at the top level. He owns a 5.57 ERA, 4.60 K/9, and 3.15 BB/9 in 148 innings.
- The Nationals will select the contract of outfielder Clint Robinson, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Times. Robinson, 30, is a career minor leaguer with just 14 major league plate appearances. In 1,771 Triple-A plate appearances, he’s hit .303/.392/.494. Janes also notes that the club is almost certain to retain second baseman Dan Uggla. He’s one of just five healthy infielders with the club.
- The Blue Jays have opted to roster eight relievers for the start of the season with Liam Hendriks making the cut, writes Sean Farrell of MLB.com. The righty appeared for the Jays and Royals last season. He has a career 5.92 ERA in 188 innings. Second baseman Ryan Goins was optioned in a corresponding move.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that utility man Pedro Ciriaco and pitcher Cody Martin will probably make the team. Ciriaco is a career .270/.299/.372 hitter over 498 plate appearances split over five seasons. The pair were added at the expense of outfielder Todd Cunningham and pitcher Michael Foltynewicz.
- Also making the Atlanta roster is pitcher Eric Stults, writes Bowman. The soft-tossing lefty has a solid big league career with a 4.12 ERA, 5.69 K/9, and 2.53 BB/9. His best season came with the Padres in 2013 when he pitched 203 innings with a 3.93 ERA.
- The Yankees have selected the contract of infielder Gregorio Petit, reports Chad Jennings of LoHud. Petit, 30, is a career .278/.301/.391 hitter in 156 plate appearances.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says Anthony Bass will travel with the club to Oakland, reports Stefan Stevenson (via Twitter). He’ll make the team barring a last minute acquisition. The 27-year-old reliever struggled with the Astros last season. In 27 innings, he allowed a 6.33 ERA with 2.33 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9.
- The Phillies have selected the contracts of right-handed reliever Jeanmar Gomez and left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez, the team announced on Twitter. Gomez owns a career 4.41 ERA with 5.23 K/9 and 3.14 BB/9. He pitched well this spring in 12 and two-thirds innings, allowing a 0.71 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk. Jimenez is familiar with the Phillies as he’s bounced between Philadelphia and Triple-A over the past two seasons. In 81 innings, he has a career 4.32 ERA with 6.09 K/9 and 3.09 BB/9.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Anthony Bass | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Wilson | Buddy Carlyle | Cesar Jimenez | Chicago White Sox | Clint Robinson | Delino DeShields Jr. | Eric Stults | Geovany Soto | Gregorio Petit | Jeanmar Gomez | Juan Francisco | Liam Hendriks | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Albers | Micah Johnson | Mike Carp | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pedro Ciriaco | Philadelphia Phillies | Rule 5 Draft | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals
Earlier today the Braves claimed Rule 5 left-hander Andrew McKirahan off waivers from the Marlins — the second Rule 5 player to be claimed off waivers in the past week (the Padres also claimed Rule 5 righty Jandel Gustave of waivers from the Royals). As teams are setting their 25-man rosters, here are the most recent updates on the players selected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft…
- Right-hander J.R. Graham, selected by the Twins out of the Braves organization, has made Minnesota’s 25-man roster, according to Twins director of baseball communications Dustin Morse (on Twitter). The 25-year-old Graham rated as one of the game’s Top 100 prospects two offseasons ago, per Baseball America (No. 93) and Baseball Prospectus (No. 63) but has been slowed by injuries in recent years. This spring with the Twins, he allowed just three runs in 12 2/3 innings, though he also recorded a rather unsightly 7-to-6 K/BB ratio.
- Second baseman/outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. has beaten out Carlos Peguero for a spot on the Rangers‘ 25-man roster, tweets Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. DeShields is currently 1-for-3 in today’s game, having boosted his average to .268. DeShields, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, spent last season with the Astros’ Double-A affiliate, batting .236/.346/.360 with 54 steals. The speedster swiped an incredible 101 bases in 135 games across two Class-A levels in 2012. MLB.com rated DeShields as the game’s No. 66 prospect as recently as last offseason.
It may seem early, but there is less than a month before teams will need to set their final rosters for the start of the season. We often hear about players with opportunities to win jobs, and that is never more true than in the cases of Rule 5 picks, whose new teams have a unique incentive to keep them to start the year. Last year, for instance, three teams kept players on the roster all year and earned their rights going forward: the White Sox (Adrian Nieto), Rockies (Tommy Kahnle), and Brewers (Wei-Chung Wang). Click here for complete 2014 results.
With that in mind, let’s see how things are shaping up for some of this year’s selections:
- First overall choice Oscar Hernandez still appears to be on track to get a chance as the Diamondbacks‘ backup, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports. “There are some things to work out,” said manager Chip Hale. “We’re up for the challenge and I think he is, too.”
- Slugger Mark Canha started out ahead of Nate Freiman in the competition for a roster spot given his Rule 5 status, manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently (Twitter link). An unfortunate back injury to Freiman only increases Canha’s edge, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports. (It probably does not hurt, either, that Canha is off to a four-for-six start at the plate.)
- Righty Jason Garcia has impressed the Orioles thus far with a smooth delivery and easy velocity, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry recently reported. Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons tweets that the preliminary word is that the O’s are looking for ways to fit him on the roster.
- Right-hander J.R. Graham is making an impression with the Twins, as Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. Graham worked consistently up to 96 mph in two scoreless innings in his first outing, though he did struggle with command in his first frame. “I’m sure he was a little amped up being a Rule 5 guy,” said skipper Paul Molitor. “But he’s got some velocity. It was good to see him get through two clean innings.”
- An early look at right-hander Jandel Gustave and his high-octane stuff had the Royals contemplating an eight-man pen to fit him on the roster, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reported a few weeks back. Gustave has a history of command issues, however, and was roughed up pretty badly in his first outing — though he allowed only one baserunner in his most recent chance.
- The Phillies have two Rule 5 picks in converted outfielder Odubel Herrera and lefty Andy Oliver, and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com recently looked at both players. Herrera is already showing off his tools and would create some valuable flexibility for the team now and in the future, Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley explains.
- Marlins manager Mike Redmond was among those impressed with the first live action from lefty Andrew McKirahan, as Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel writes. McKirahan’s odds increased when the Fish failed to land Phil Coke, though it still seems he’ll have to overcome out-of-options lefty Brad Hand to join Mike Dunn in the bullpen.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins has indicated that prospect Rafael Montero is a long-shot to be added to the pen if fellow starter Dillon Gee ends up there, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets. DiComo noted then that, should Gee in fact work in relief — which seems rather likely — Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin would appear to have an inside track to a pen slot.
- This is not an update, but more a reminder. Braves‘ selection Daniel Winkler is coming off of Tommy John surgery and therefore has quite a unique situation, as J.J. Cooper of Baseball America explains.
We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings. Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night. Here’s some more news from around baseball…
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
- The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
- Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
- With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
- The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports. Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there. Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
- The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade. The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter]. Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”
Each year, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, MLBTR offers an in-depth description, but here’s a quick overview.
Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. Teams draft in the reverse order of the previous season’s standings but aren’t required to make a selection. If they do choose a player, they pay his former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K.
The results from the major league phase:
- Diamondbacks select Oscar Hernandez from the Rays.
- Rockies select Mark Canha from Marlins (later traded to Athletics for Austin House and cash considerations).
- Rangers select Delino DeShields Jr. from the Astros.
- Astros select Jason Garcia from Red Sox (later traded to the Orioles for cash considerations).
- Twins select J.R. Graham from the Braves.
- Red Sox select Jandel Gustave from Astros (to be traded to Royals, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, via Twitter).
- White Sox did not make a selection.
- Cubs select Taylor Featherston from Rockies (later traded to Angels for cash considerations).
- Phillies select Odubel Herrera from Rangers.
- Reds did not make a selection.
- Marlins select Andrew McKirahan from Cubs.
- Padres did not make a selection.
- Rays did not make a selection.
- Mets select Sean Gilmartin from Twins.
- Braves select Daniel Winkler from Rockies.
- Brewers did not make a selection.
- Blue Jays did not make a selection.
- Yankees did not make a selection.
- Indians did not make a selection.
- Mariners select David Rollins from Astros.
- Giants did not make a selection.
- Pirates did not make a selection.
- A’s did not make a selection.
- Royals did not make a selection.
- Tigers did not make a selection.
- Cardinals did not make a selection.
- Dodgers did not make a selection.
- Orioles select Logan Verrett from Mets.
- Nationals did not make a selection.
- Angels did not make a selection.
The Rule 5 Draft takes place at 11am Central on Thursday, with live audio coverage at MLB.com. The Rule 5 involves players who have been with their teams several years (five seasons if they signed at 18 or younger, four years if they signed at 19 or older) and have not yet been protected on their teams’ 40-man rosters. Teams must then add the players they select to their 40-man rosters, and keep them on their active rosters throughout the 2015 season.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo lists the draft order (the Diamondbacks have the first pick) and the key prospects, which include speedy Astros outfielder Delino DeShields, Marlins lefty Jarlin Garcia and Braves righty J.R. Graham, but the Rule 5 is often surprising, as teams often choose players (or choose no one) based on their own distinctive evaluations of the marginal prospects who tend to be available. (A couple weeks ago, we noted J.J. Cooper of Baseball America’s extensive preview of this year’s top Rule 5-eligible prospects.) Here are a few notes on tomorrow’s draft.
- One potential pick could be Rays catcher Oscar Hernandez, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Topkin notes that Hernandez is very toolsy. Still, it’s hard to see him sticking on a big-league roster at this point, even in a backup role — he hit .249/.301/.401 in the Class A Midwest League last year, hardly numbers that suggest he can handle big-league pitching. Topkin writes that Hernandez isn’t polished defensively at this point, either.
- Many teams tomorrow are unlikely to select a player at all, Baseball America’s Ben Badler tweets.
- If the Twins do select a player with the fifth pick and hold onto him, it could be Graham, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Graham, 24, posted a poor 5.55 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 71 1/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi last season, but he was returning from a shoulder injury, and he has an outstanding fastball. A team could select him and move him to their bullpen.
James Shields and his representatives met with the Rangers during the Winter Meetings, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports. Jon Daniels confirmed the meeting with reporters (including T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com) but said that it was largely a case of due diligence and because Shields lived in San Diego. “We wanted to be prepared if anything changes drastically. We enjoyed it, we like the guy a lot. In other circumstances we would like to have him. It was a function of him living out here so we took advantage of it,” Daniels said. “We’re not going to be in the top level of free agents. It would take something substantial to change to get involved with those free agents.”
Here’s some more from the Rangers camp…
- The Rangers are close to an agreement with a free agent reliever, Daniels told reporters (including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). The pitcher is a “veteran, right-handed, one-inning reliever” who didn’t pitch for Texas last season, and Daniels hopes to have the signing completed by next week.
- Starting pitching is still the Rangers’ top priority, Daniels said, and while they likely won’t make a splash for someone like Shields, the club is keeping its payroll options open for future moves. “One of the reasons we haven’t acted on other stuff is that we want to make sure we have resources to act on pitching. We’ve elected to not spend dollars elsewhere,” Daniels said.
- In addition to their previously-reported interest in Wade Miley, Jeff Wilson reports that the Rangers have also considered a trade for Cubs lefty Travis Wood.
- The Rangers are getting a lot of interest in their No. 3 overall pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 Draft, Wilson tweets. If Texas does decide to trade the pick, it will be for a player and not for money, Wilson said.
Here’s the latest from Toronto…
- The Blue Jays don’t appear to have checked in on Sergio Romo, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets.
- The lack of interest in Romo may not be surprising, given what GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm) today. The Jays are “probably turning our attention a little more to trades right now in terms of the relievers. That’s not to say that’s how we’ll ultimately end up but….We’re exploring some trades right now that might make a little more sense for us.”
- The costs were seemingly too high for the free agent relief arms and Anthopoulos also said there’s only so much the Jays are willing to give up in deals for bullpen help. “We knew what the prices were in free agency and we weren’t prepared to go to that price point, and we’re still talking about some trades. We’re not looking to trade our young, big league ready, or close to ready big league arms, for relievers. That’s not something we’re contemplating right now.”
- The Jays are reportedly planning to “raid the Mets” during the minor league portion of tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets.
- The Jays had discussed Francisco Liriano before the lefty re-signed with the Pirates, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. With Liriano off the board, Elliott wonders if the Blue Jays will now target another second-tier starter in Brandon McCarthy.
The Diamondbacks won the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, signing the Cuban outfielder to a six-year, $68.5MM contract and drawing praise from some around the baseball world, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. One AL scout called the contract “a great deal,” since another AL scout told Piecoro that “most people thought it would cost between $80MM-$100MM” to sign Tomas. It’s possible that the Snakes were able to get a relative bargain, however, due to concerns that other teams had about Tomas’ defense and plate discipline, not to mention career numbers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional that fell well behind the totals posted by such stars as Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig.
MLBTR wishes all our readers a Happy Thanksgiving, and here are some items from around baseball to go with your pumpkin pie for dessert…
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Dejan Kovacevic of DKOnPittsburghSports.com that the team’s payroll “certainly can and I suspect will” top the $90MM mark in 2015. This works out to roughly $20MM in available funds by Kovacevic’s calculations, and “everything I’m hearing is that most, if not all, of that money will be committed to starting pitching,” with the Pirates hoping to re-sign both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.
- The Reds are looking for multiple “inexpensive Major League-ready players” in exchange for Jay Bruce, a rival scout familiar with the team’s demands told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Cincinnati is known to be listening to offers for Bruce, though it could just be a case of due diligence rather than a legitimate desire to deal the outfielder.
- The Rule 5 Draft is coming up on December 11, and Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper lists some of the intriguing names that are likely or unlikely be picked in two weeks’ time. BA’s Matt Eddy, meanwhile, examines some of the key statistics and factors that led several prospects to be added to team’s 40-man rosters in advance of the draft.
- Chris Capuano said “there’s a lot of truth to” rumors he is interested in pitching in Japan next season, the veteran lefty told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). “It piqued my interest back in 2006….we’re considering it,” Capuano said. The 36-year-old posted a 4.35 ERA, 2.47 K/BB and 7.5 K/9 over 97 1/3 IP in 2014, making 12 starts for the Yankees and 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox.
- The Mariners would be hard-pressed to deal starting pitching given their lack of rotation depth, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes, and thus a rumored Hisashi Iwakuma-for-Yoenis Cespedes deal doesn’t make much sense for the team.
- If GM Brian Cashman truly believes David Robertson “checks every box” for what’s expected from a Yankees closer, then the team should’ve re-signed Robertson by now, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News opines. The Robertson/Dellin Betances combo was a major strength for the Yankees last season, though Betances might not be ready to take over the closer’s role. Plus, as Feinsand argues, “who takes over the setup role if Betances moves to the ninth? Andrew Miller? Luke Gregerson? If you’re going to pay a free-agent reliever, why not spend on the one you’ve drafted and developed yourself?”
Here are the latest minor moves from around the game:
- The Marlins have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder Reid Brignac, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Brignac, a former top prospect, hit .222/.300/.346 in 91 PA for the Phillies this season and is a lifetime .222/.266/.314 hitter in 905 PA. The 28-year-old has experience at shortstop, second base, third base and has made brief cameos in the outfield.
- Utility infielder Doug Bernier has re-signed with the Twins, per Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The 34-year-old has seen minimal big league time with Minnesota over the last two years, and has put up strong numbers for the team’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The switch-pitching Pat Venditte has inked a minor league deal to join the Athletics, per a tweet from his agent, Marc Kligman. While it is tempting to write him off as a novelty, Venditte owns a career 3.25 ERA against Triple-A competition and a 3.09 mark at the Double-A level, with solid K:BB numbers to boot.
- The Orioles have re-signed infielder Michael Almanzar and lefty Chris Jones while adding utility option Derrik Gibson as well, all on minor league pacts, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Almanzar, 23, bounced between the O’s and Red Sox last year, being taken in the Rule 5 draft, returned to Boston, and then dealt back to Baltimore.
- Baltimore went on to announce those signings and a series of others, including southpaws Frank Gailey and Ronan Pacheco and righties Tim Gustafson, Kenn Kasparek, and Mikey O’Brien. None of those hurlers has reached the MLB level yet in their careers.
- The Angels have inked left-hander Atahualpa Severino to a minor league pact, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Mike DiGiovanna. Severino, 30, spent last year at Triple-A for the Braves. He has yet to make it back to the bigs since a brief cameo with the Nationals back in 2011.
- Right-hander John Ely has agreed to a minor league deal with the Brewers, according to the team’s player development Twitter account. The 28-year-old saw sporadic playing time with the Dodgers over the 2010-12 time frame, missed virtually all of 2013, and re-emerged as a reliever last year in the Red Sox organization. He threw to a 3.04 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9.