Ryan Kalish Rumors

Cubs Notes: Epstein, Barney, Samardzija

The Cubs begin a series at Fenway Park tonight, getting back in action following a rare Sunday off-day.  The club played a doubleheader on Saturday in order to keep Sunday free for Chicago’s Pride Parade, which could’ve created a traffic jam in the Wrigleyville area had the Cubs been playing as originally scheduled.  MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat takes a look at the history of Sunday baseball, and passes along the historical note that the Cubs were off on a Sunday for the first time since 1932.

Here’s the latest from the north side of Chicago…

  • Theo Epstein denied rumors that he will leave the Cubs after his contract expires following the 2016 season, he tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.  While some speculate that Epstein has been upset at the lack of Major League resources he’s been given by the Cubs, he “insists he will be here as long as the Cubs want him,” Sullivan writes.
  • Two scouts aren’t impressed by Darwin Barney‘s bat, telling Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that while Barney is a good fielder, “if he can’t hit in the National League, what makes anyone think he can hit in the American League?”  Barney has only slashed .198/.243/.284 in 174 PA this season and could be non-tendered if he can’t improve at the plate.  Gonzales feels Barney’s time with the Cubs is probably nearing an end, though it could come via a trade if he can hit enough to get a look from another team.
  • Also from Gonzales’ reader mailbag piece, he expects the Cubs “to wait as long as possible” for the best offer before trading Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel.  He thinks Samardzija might even not be moved until the offseason if necessary, though this would lessen this trade value as a new team would only have him under contract for the 2015 season.
  • The Cubs haven’t gotten much production out of their veteran outfielders, and Gonzales expects maybe one (at most) of Nate Schierholtz, Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Sweeney, Chris Coghlan or Ryan Kalish to be back next season and Chicago will look for more veteran upgrades.  Since Sweeney is owed $2MM for 2015 and the others are all on one-year or minor league contracts, I’d suspect Sweeney is the favorite to return, though $2MM isn’t so large an amount that the Cubs couldn’t eat it if necessary.

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Thursday

Between now and Opening Day, several minor league signees will win jobs with their clubs and earn 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • As expected, the Mets have added lefty John Lannan to the 40-man roster, Newsday's Marc Carig tweets. The longtime starter is expected to work out of the pen for the first time in his career after serving exclusively as a starter for 148 games between 2007-13.
  • Jason Bartlett will make the Twins as a reserve infielder and center field option, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The 34-year-old had previously agreed to bump back his opt-out date. Though he has played exactly one MLB game at a position other than shortstop (a single 2004 appearance at second), Bartlett will apparently see some time in the outfield. He finds himself in position to break camp after taking just 98 professional plate appearances over the last two seasons.
  • 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Kalish will make the Cubs Opening Day roster and be added to its 40-man, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. It was reported yesterday that the same was true of utilityman Emilio Bonifacio, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Chicago has two open roster slots, so no corresponding move would appear to be necessary. As Rogers notes, third baseman Mike Olt will also be on the active roster to start the year.

Minor Moves: Asencio, Bocock, Ely, Martinez, Blanco

Here are today's minor moves and outright assignments from around the league…

  • Jairo Asencio has signed with the KIA Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, MyKBO.net tweets. The Orioles acquired the 30-year-old righty from the Brewers all the way back in March, using him for just 2 1/3 innings this year. Asencio has a career 5.34 ERA in 43 big league appearances, but has been much better at Triple-A, where he's pitched to a 2.56 ERA across 165 games.
  • The Royals announced that they have signed infielder Brian Bocock and outfielder Johermyn Chavez to minor-league contracts. The 28-year-old Bocock has 38 big league games on his resume and last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Phillies. He has a career .226/.297/.309 minor-league line. Chavez, 24, has never appeared in the big leagues. He's hit .261/.340/.438 in nearly 3,000 minor-league plate appearances. The Bocock deal was originally reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish on Twitter.
  • The Red Sox have signed pitcher John Ely and re-signed Miguel Celestino to minor-league deals, WEEI.com's Alex Speier reports. Ely, 27, missed most of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery but had a strong year in Triple-A in 2012, posting a 3.20 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 168 2/3 innings for Albuquerque. Celestino, 24, posted a 6.12 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 for Double-A Portland in 2013.
  • The Pirates have signed utilityman Michael Martinez to a minor-league deal, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Martinez, 31, hit .300/.352/.407 for the Phillies' Triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate in 2013. He also picked up 40 plate appearances at the big-league level.
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they've signed veteran catcher Henry Blanco to a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. Earlier today, Arizona was reportedly close to signing Blanco, who hit .142/.228/.246 with the Blue Jays and Mariners in 2013. Blanco, 42, played with the Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2012.
  • The Cubs announced that they have signed outfielder Ryan Kalish to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Kalish, 25, was originally drafted by the Red Sox when Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer were with Boston.
  • The Cubs have also signed catcher John Baker to a minor-league deal with a non-roster invite, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The light-hitting Baker played briefly with the Padres in 2013, and also appeared in Tucscon (Padres) and Albuquerque (Dodgers) in Triple-A.
  • The Tigers outrighted infielder Dixon Machado to Triple-A Toledo, according to an MILB.com release. Machado hit .215/.264/.295 with Class A+ Lakeland in 2013. The Tigers designated him for assignment last week.

Charlie Wilmoth and Aaron Steen contributed to this post.



Quick Hits: Rays, Kimbrel, Weeks, Kalish, Madson

Andrew Friedman doesn't think the Rays' search for a first baseman will last beyond another week, the club's executive VP told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times).  "There were some suggestions…of movement" between the Rays and James Loney on Thursday, Topkin reports, and Loney remains the Rays' top choice, though at less than his three-year, $27MM asking price.  If Loney signs elsewhere, Topkin expects the Rays to acquire a first baseman in a trade rather than in free agency.

Here are some more items from around baseball as we conclude the 2013 Winter Meetings…

  • This might be the optimal time for the Braves to trade Craig Kimbrel, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required).  Kimbrel is about to get much more expensive now that he's eligible for arbitration, to the point that Kimbrel's incredible statistics "broke" the arbitration projection model used by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • Rumors connecting Rickie Weeks to the Blue Jays, Braves and Marlins during the Winter Meetings were all false, Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Ryan Kalish "is in the final stages" of signing with a new team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.  Kalish was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this month.  The outfielder missed the entire 2013 season recovering from shoulder and neck surgeries.
  • Several teams, including the Red Sox, have been scouting right-hander Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.  The Rockies were also recently linked to Madson, who has missed two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • ESPN's Paul Swydan (Insider subscription required) lists four teams who could be helped by the inexpensive additions of Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Johan Santana and Jeff Francis, respectively.  Swydan also wrote about how Clint Barmes could help the Mets, but Barmes re-signed with the Pirates earlier today.
  • Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall discussed his team's desire for a top starting pitcher, the recent Mark Trumbo deal and several other topics during a live chat with fans on MLB.com.
  • The Pirates, Orioles and Indians could be risking their recent success with their hesitation to spend, USA Today's Bob Nightengale opines.
  • Several team executives and scouts joined ESPN's Jayson Stark in listing the winners and losers of the offseason thus far, with a pair of teams (the Mariners and Yankees) somewhat in between, in the "winners with an asterisk" category.

American League Non-Tenders

Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of American League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.

  • The Orioles announced they've non-tendered outfielder Jason Pridie and minor league starter Eddie Gamboa.
  • The Rays will non-tender reliever Wesley Wright, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
  • The Red Sox announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mike Salk of WEEI.com tweets.
  • The White Sox will not tender a contract to pitcher Dylan Axelrod, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Angels will non-tender pitcher Jerome Williams, tweets  Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The club will also non-tender righty Tommy Hanson and third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets DiGiovanna. J.C. Gutierrez will also be non-tendered, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, though that seemed a given since that he had already been designated for assignment.
  • The Indians have non-tendered outfielder Matt Carson, pitcher Tyler Cloyd, and catcher Lou Marson, the club announced.
  • The Rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fuld, who will turn 32 in a few weeks, could be a lefty-swinging bench piece for another club, though he slashed only .199/.270/.267 last year in 200 plate appearances for Tampa.
  • GM Brian Cashman says that the Yankees will non-tender infielder Jayson Nix, tweets Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 87 games for New York last season, putting up a .236/.308/.311 line in 303 plate appearances. The club will also non-tender reliever Matt Daley and infielder David Adams. New York confirmed the moves via press release.
  • The Royals announced that they have non-tendered second baseman Chris Getz. The 30-year-old Getz has tried to hold down Kansas City's keystone spot for several years now but produced just a .246/.299/.314 batting line from 2012-13. Swartz had pegged Getz for a $1.3MM salary in 2014.

AL East Notes: Lester, Blue Jays, Aramis

We checked in on the AL East this morning, but with less than a week remaining before the trade deadline, the rumors don’t stop coming. Here’s the latest…


Red Sox Notes: Kalish, Bailey, Reddick

The Red Sox obtained Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney from the Athletics yesterday, sending Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara to Oakland. Here's the latest on the Red Sox as reaction to and analysis of the trade continues…

  • Ryan Kalish says he had left shoulder surgery in November in addition to his September neck operation, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Kalish may be ready for game action by May or June, but he doesn’t have a clear timetable. The Red Sox have Sweeney and Darnell McDonald in right, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pursue other options.
  • The Red Sox never got the sense that Ryan Madson’s price was going to drop enough to make him a viable option, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
  • Bailey would have been traded to Texas if the Red Sox hadn't included Reddick in the deal, Peter Gammons of MLB Network tweets.
  • The Red Sox are now shooting for a starter, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman lists Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Garza, Roy Oswalt, Joe Saunders and Edwin Jackson as possibilities.
  • Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett told FanGraphs' David Laurila that Head can hit despite the fact that "he's not going to win any beauty contests." Jim Callis of Baseball America told Laurila that Head's stocky frame makes him difficult to project. "I do think he can hit, but he’s limited to playing first base and you just don’t see that many 5'10", 5'11" first basemen in the big leagues," he said.
  • ESPN.com's Keith Law says Oakland got fair value for Bailey, whose health is an unknown, and Sweeney, whose raw power hasn't translated during games. Reddick provides the Athletics with additional years of control and Head and Alcantara could also prove useful. However, the Red Sox aren't likely to miss the trio of players they gave up and they obtained a proven closer.

Carlos Beltran Rumors: Wednesday

Though he's well-compensated and has full no-trade protection, Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran is the best available hitter.  The latest:

  • The Red Sox aren't willing to part with the prospects the Mets want, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. The Mets are interested in Josh Reddick, Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias, Anthony Ranaudo, Felix Doubront and Will Middlebrooks, according to Edes. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox are focusing on internal solutions, particularly Reddick.
  • SI's Jon Heyman runs through ten Beltran suitors, naming the Phillies the "clear favorite."  The Mets' first target would be Domonic Brown, a concession Matt Gelb can't see happening.
  • Boston's talks with the Mets about Beltran have not advanced beyond preliminary discussions, reports WEEI's Alex Speier.  Eight to ten teams are said to be in the mix, with the Red Sox among the top six.
  • Some Mets officials feel a deal could get done well before the July 31st deadline, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman agrees with a previous Ken Rosenthal report that the Phillies and Red Sox are the most aggressive suitors.  Sherman says they're followed by the Braves, Giants, Indians, and Pirates.  He notes that the Mets "have been somewhat surprised by Detroit's disinterest."
  • Yesterday the Mets provided Beltran with a short list of teams to consider, and the Phillies are believed to be on it, report Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo.  The writers add that the Mets have indicated a willingness to pay much or all of the $6MM owed to Beltran depending on the return.  They list the Red Sox, Giants, and Yankees as other suitors, and wonder if the East Coast teams have an edge since Beltran lives in New York.  Brown and Passan named the Brewers as a dark horse, but they don't have much in the way of top prospects.

Red Sox Notes: Gonzalez, Atchison, Kalish, Wakefield

Daisuke Matsuzaka joins a growing list of Japanese players who have made donations to fund disaster relief in their homeland. Dice-K donated $1MM to the Japanese Red Cross Society though the Red Sox Foundation, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Here are a few other Sox-related notes:

  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider-only link) expects the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez to get an extension done for the slugger in the second week of the season, sometime during the club's first homestand. Olney points out that it might be in Gonzalez's best interest to nudge the Sox toward finalizing a deal sooner rather than later, since his market value could be hurt by an injury.
  • Boston optioned a handful of players to the minors today, including Scott Atchison and Ryan Kalish, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes.
  • While the Sox still have a few pitchers whose Opening Day fates are in limbo, it doesn't sound like Tim Wakefield is among them. WEEI's Alex Speier has quotes from Terry Francona discussing how the skipper hopes to maximize Wakefield's effectiveness this year.

Gammons On Prospects, A’s, Kalish, Iglesias

Peter Gammons appeared on WEEI's Minor Details podcast to discuss the value of a deep minor league system, the difficulty in finding power hitters, and, of course, the Red Sox.  WEEI's Alex Speier has the partial transcript, and here are some of the highlights…

  • The value of top prospects, Gammons notes, is higher than ever before since teams are realizing that it isn't cost-effective to sign free agents when those older players are entering a decline phase.  Dealing for a star player in his prime is now the preferred option for a team like Boston that has a strong minor league system.  “Having three really good prospects and getting Adrian Gonzalez so they won’t have to pay him past the age of 35, I think that’s part of it," Gammons said.
  • To wit, Gammons believes the Yankees will forego trying for a free agent pitcher and instead use their own deep minor league system to acquire a pitcher like Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez "if Oakland doesn’t get off to a really good start."  I'm not sure I agree with Gammons on this one.  It's hard to believe the A's would deal Anderson or Gonzalez for anything short of a totally absurd offer, be it from the Yankees or anyone.
  • Shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish are "without question" going to be regulars for Boston in 2012.  This puts them right on track to succeed incumbents Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew, who are both in the last year of their contracts.
  • Theo Epstein told Gammons before the 2005 draft that drug testing was going to create "a new game over the next five to 10 years," and then the Sox drafted Jacoby Ellsbury in the first round.  Gammons notes that Boston has yet to develop a consistent power hitter in Epstein's regime, aside from Kevin Youkilis (who was drafted by former Sox GM Dan Duquette).