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Right-handed reliever Erik Cordier declined an outright assignment with the Giants but re-signed with the club on a minor league deal, Chris Haft of MLB.com tweets. The live-armed hurler had been designated for assignment and cleared waivers.
Cordier, who works in the triple digits with his fastball, struck out nine and walked only two in six MLB innings last year for San Francisco. He has steadily improved over a lengthy minor league career, with his strikeout tallies soaring after moving to a pen role.
The 29-year-old had been on a rehab assignment to start the year. He owns a 1.50 ERA with twenty strikeouts against eight walks over a dozen minor league frames in 2015.
Just over two weeks remain in the current international signing period, which will come to a close on June 15. Following that will be a roughly two-week dead period before July 2 marks the kickoff of the the 2015-16 international prospect signing period. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez recently penned a piece looking at some changes at the top of the international signing class, and he also has a second piece centering around a particularly interesting player in the upcoming June draft. A few highlights…
- Cuban prospects Eddy Julio Martinez and Yadier Alvarez have vaulted to the top of the upcoming July 2 class of international prospects, joining Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox in Sanchez’s Top 3 prospects. Martinez is technically eligible to sign during the current period, Sanchez notes, though a deal would have to come together quickly in order for that to become a reality. Some scouts have made the lofty comparison of a young Andruw Jones when evaluating the 20-year-old Martinez, according to Sanchez. He lists the Cubs, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants, Reds and White Sox as teams that have shown interest in Martinez. It should be noted that the Angels and Yankees would only be able to sign Martinez in the current signing period, as they incurred maximum penalties in 2014-15 for soaring past their allotted bonus pool and will be unable to sign a player for more than $300K. The Cubs, on the other hand, are ineligible to sign him during this period but could do so in the 2015-16 period, as their penalty for exceeding their 2013-14 bonus pool will then have been served. The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Alvarez — Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel has previously reported that they’re believed to have an agreement worth as much as $16MM waiting to become official after July 2 — and have been aggressive on the Cuban market, adding Pablo Fernandez and Hector Olivera for a combined sum worth more than $70MM.
- The Dodgers, Rangers, Reds, and Giants are among the teams most frequently connected to the 18-year-old Fox, Sanchez hears. McDaniel reported a little over a month ago that Fox had been declared a free agent and could sign in the upcoming period, and he’s since noted that the Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers were serious players for Fox. Fox tells Sanchez that he’s added about 15 pounds of muscle in the past year, which he feels has dramatically improved his game since appearing in the Perfect Game and East Coast Pro showcases last year. (Fox attended American Heritage High School in Florida for two years before returning home to the Bahamas and petitioned to be declared an international free agent.)
- In the second piece linked above, Sanchez looks at the curious case of right-hander Octavio Arroyo, who was expected to be selected out of San Diego’s San Ysidro High School somewhere in rounds 15-20 in the June draft. However, Arroyo was recently deported to Tijuana, as his family incorrectly filled out his paperwork when moving him to the United States to live with his grandparents, both of whom are United States citizens. “The plan was for my grandparents to adopt me and get my paperwork, my residency,” Arroyo told Sanchez. “But I was denied. I don’t know why. I was told we filled out the paperwork wrong. We tried for three years, but I never got it.” Arroyo crossed the U.S./Mexico border multiple times while knowing that his paperwork had been rejected, and he was detained and deported in an attempt this spring. He’s still, however, eligible for the draft, but it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll be granted a work visa by the U.S. government. If no team selects him, Arroyo could sign as an undrafted free agent or sign with a Mexican League club, who could then sell his rights to a Major League team, Sanchez writes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: 2015-16 International Prospects | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Detroit Tigers | Eddy Julio Martinez | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Lucius Fox | New York Yankees | Pablo Fernandez | San Francisco Giants | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Yadier Alvarez
Giants right-hander Juan Gutierrez has a June 1 opt-out clause approaching in his contract that will allow him to request his release if he is not added to the 25-man roster, as MLBTR reported back at the end of Spring Training. The 31-year-old has struggled in some regards at Triple-A this season, as he’s posted a 4.94 ERA thus far. However, he’s posted a nice 21-to-8 K/BB ratio in that time and is sporting a 3.42 FIP, suggesting that he may have better results were it not for a .400 BABIP. Gutierrez worked to a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings for the Giants’ big league club in 2014.
A few more NL West items as the day’s games come to a close…
- Though Juan Uribe was choked up about leaving the Dodgers when interviewed by reporters following last night’s contest, president of baseball operations told reporters today that Uribe’s agents at Praver/Shapiro had made it known earlier in the week that their client would welcome a trade (Twitter link via the Orange County Register’s Pedro Moura). Uribe, Friedman continued, had hoped for a situation that would allow him to play every day. He may very well have that opportunity with the Braves, though Atlanta does have Chris Johnson as an option at the hot corner as well.
- Also via Moura, Friedman told reporters that he’s tried on multiple occasions to acquire left-hander Ian Thomas from the Braves before landing him in this six-player trade. Friedman feels that Thomas’ floor is that of a quality Major League reliever. However, multiple reporters (including the L.A. News Group’s J.P. Hoornstra) have noted that the Dodgers will stretch Thomas out as a starter for now at the Triple-A level.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at a number of different reasons that the Dodgers made the trade. While some have already questioned the move, Rosenthal hears that the Dodgers preferred Callaspo’s switch-hitting bat and ability to cover first base. Rosenthal, too, notes that the team is high on Thomas, and he adds that they weren’t sure if they’d be able to keep Chris Withrow on the 40-man roster this winter, as his 2016 production figures to be somewhat of a question mark. Shedding Uribe’s contract also saves the team not only $1MM in salary, but a greater amount in luxury taxes, as Uribe’s $7.5MM average annual value creates a bigger luxury tax hit than Callaspo’s mere $3MM AAV.
- Tony La Russa’s one-year anniversary as the Diamondbacks‘ chief baseball officer was May 17, and Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic writes that La Russa is pleased with the organization’s progress. “I think we feel good about the front-office team and we feel good about our scouts and scouting directors and our player development and our coordinator,” La Russa said. Of course, that front office looks markedly different, as Dave Stewart has replaced Kevin Towers at GM and been joined atop the baseball operations pyramid by senior VP De Jon Watson. Also new to the organization is scouting director Deric Ladnier, who formerly held that position with the Royals and replaced the well-respected Ray Montgomery in Arizona. With the new front office in place, the team aggressively pursued international free agents and trade veteran players, and the fruits of those efforts are already surfacing with the big league team. Rubby De La Rosa, Buchanan notes, is outperforming Wade Miley, for whom he was traded. (Arizona also got Allen Webster in that deal.) Yasmany Tomas is contributing at the plate, and the decision to trade Trevor Cahill to free up a rotation slot for Archie Bradley has injected some youth and upside into the starting mix (though Bradley has struggled since returning from a line-drive to the face).
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Indians catcher Brett Hayes has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). Hayes was designated for assignment after Yan Gomes was activated from the disabled list, and he could have elected free agency rather than heading back to Triple-A.
- The Giants have outrighted reliever Erik Cordier after he cleared waivers, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News tweets. Cordier, 29, allowed just one earned run and struck out nine (versus two walks) in six MLB innings last year, but has yet to receive another MLB opportunity. The fireballing righty will return to Triple-A, where he carries a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings on the back of twenty strikeouts against eight walks. Cordier will have an opportunity to reject the assignment in preference for free agency.
- Third baseman Deibinson Romero has received his release from the Pirates to pursue an opportunity in Korea, as had been expected. The 28-year-old has been tearing up Triple-A thus far, and will now look to provide the same blend of power and patience to the KBO’s Doosan Bears.
TUESDAY: The Giants announced that McGehee has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Sacramento, but the team announced that he has been optioned — not outrighted — to the minors.
MLBTR has confirmed that McGehee remains on the club’s 40-man roster and was never technically designated for assignment, despite a prior announcement. As a player with five-plus years of Major League service time and a minor league option remaining, McGehee did have to consent to being optioned to Triple-A, but he did not have to pass through optional or outright waivers.
Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that GM Bobby Evans told Matt Chisholm of the Giants’ media relations team that McGehee was designated off the 25-man roster, but not the 40-man.
SUNDAY: The Giants have announced they have designated third baseman Casey McGehee for assignment. McGehee was acquired from the Marlins last December for a pair of minor leaguers to replace Pablo Sandoval. The Giants have named Matt Duffy (.299/.330/.402 in 105 plate appearances) their new starting third baseman.
The 2014 Comeback Player of the Year has struggled during his stay by the bay slashing .200/.254/.282 while grounding into more double plays (a league leading 12) than RBIs (nine) in 118 trips to the plate.
“I feel I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” McGehee told reporters including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). “I’m pretty sure yesterday was not the last baseball game I’ve played.”
The Giants now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright McGehee to the minors. Giants GM Bobby Evans told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, he hopes McGehee will accept an assignment to Triple-A because “he was comeback player for a reason.” McGehee says he will consult with his family on his next step and will not rush into a decision, reports Schulman, because “that’s not a decision I’m capable of making in 10 minutes.” There is also a financial component to McGehee’s decision. He and the Giants avoided arbitration in February by agreeing to a $4.8MM contract, approximately $3.5MM of which remains due. McGehee would forfeit that salary if he passes through waivers and declines an outright assignment.
McGehee’s DFA could also have implications for Travis Ishikawa, who is eligible to be reinstated tomorrow from his rehab assignment. Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com notes the Giants, in the middle of a stretch of 17 games in 16 days, have opted to go with a 13-man pitching staff with the recall of right-hander Hunter Strickland and there may not be room to add Ishikawa. Baggarly writes the Giants may be forced to designate the first baseman/outfielder, who was the hero of last year’s NLCS.
Rays first baseman James Loney is headed to the DL for the next four to six weeks with a broken finger, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. While the 31-year-old has not exactly been tearing things up at the plate, he is a particularly difficult player for Tampa Bay to replace. As Topkin explains, the club’s 40-man roster does not admit of any ready options at Triple-A. That could lead the Rays to look outside the organization, he suggests, with players in DFA limbo (Casey McGehee, Travis Ishikawa), on the open market (Kila Ka’aihue), or possibly available via trade (Garrett Jones) seeming like potential options. Both McGehee and Ishikawa will, presumably, ultimately be exposed to waivers, though both come with significant salary commitments ($4.8MM and $1.1MM, respectively). The Giants could be motivated to strike a deal involving one of those players if Tampa is willing to take on some cash.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Blue Jays star Jose Bautista is still struggling to deal with painful shoulder inflammation, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Bautista says he appreciates the difficulties in lineup construction that the injury has caused, but made clear that he is doing all he can by taking on DH duties. The team’s upcoming interleague stretch and Bautista’s own pain levels were factors in the decision to treat him with a cortisone shot, per the report. It’s an interesting piece that delves into many of the day-to-day matters that have a significant impact on a player over the course of a season, but which often go underappreciated.
- Struggling badly hitting from the right side, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is seriously considering facing opposing southpaws from the left side of the box, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. “There’s conversation at various points about that. He’s even initiated it at times,” said manager John Farrell. “But until that change is made, that’s something that certainly will include him in that process.” Certainly, it’s interesting to see player and club contemplating such a move just a few months into a five-year, $95MM contract.
- Joe Kelly and the rest of the Red Sox rotation have all been consistently inconsistent, as Britton writes. The up-and-down performances across the staff have put the club in a tough position, making it difficult to pull the trigger on a move to try another option. “There’s no decision here in this moment,” Farrell said of Kelly’s rotation status. “He’s shown us the ability to go out and work deep in a ballgame. There’s no denying the stuff. It’s a matter of consistent location with his fastball.”
- Top Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has been scratched from his start today after experiencing stiffness in his right shoulder, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports. While it’s far from clear that there is cause for alarm — the team says it hopes Bundy is simply suffering from tendinitis — Bundy has already been forced to rehab back from Tommy John surgery. Another highly-rated young arm, Hunter Harvey, has dealt with more obviously concerning injury issues. The club’s future hinges in no small part on the health and development of those two players, along with the equally-hyped Kevin Gausman.
The Giants have designated first baseman and outfielder Travis Ishikawa for assignment, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area tweets. Ishikawa, 31, has not appeared in the big leagues this season — he opened the year on the DL with a back injury and recently finished a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento.
Ishikawa played his first four seasons in the big leagues with the Giants, then returned to them last season, when he played a memorable role in the Giants’ World Series run by hitting a walk-off homer against the Cardinals to end the NLCS. The Giants avoided arbitration with Ishikawa this offseason by signing him to a $1.1MM deal, but as GM Bobby Evans explains (via a tweet from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Hank Schulman), the Giants did not have a spot for Ishikawa on their current 25-man roster, with no time for him at first and the right-handed Justin Maxwell joining Hunter Pence, Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in the outfield. For his career, Ishikawa has a .259/.322/.397 line in parts of seven seasons.
A few notes on the international prospect front…
- The Giants were among the clubs to scout 20-year-old Cuban center fielder Eddy Julio Martinez in the Dominican Republic recently, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (All Twitter links). At this time, the Giants, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers and Dodgers are all in the mix for Martinez. One scout placed the lofty comp of a young Andruw Jones on Martinez, Sanchez adds, though clearly not every scout will be quite that bullish. Martinez is expected to work out for more clubs this week and is eligible to sign at any time.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted recently that the Twins are also among the teams to have scouted Martinez (and other Cuban prospects) as of late. Wolfson hears that as many as 17 teams watched Martinez work out late last week.
- Sanchez hears that interest in Martinez and in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox is picking up (Twitter links). Scouts love Fox’s tools, and the fact that he is already 18 years of age is actually a bonus in this instance, as he comes with more experience than most July 2-eligible prospects. Fox, unlike Martinez, isn’t eligible to sign prior to July 2.
- Jung Ho Kang‘s early success with the Pirates will help pave the way for hitters from the Korea Baseball Organization to make the jump to Major League Baseball, opines C.J. Nitkowski of FOX Sports (video link). Manager Clint Hurdle recently revealed to Nitkowski that in Spring Training, he had some concerns about whether or not Kang would be able to handle the increased fastball velocity he’d encounter in Major League Baseball. As Nitkowski points out, that hasn’t been an issue for the powerful infielder to this point; Kang has seen 101 fastballs registering at 93 mph or faster, and he’s whiffed on just five of them in addition to going 9-for-18 on those that he’s put into play. Recent reports have indicated that Kang’s former Nexen Heroes teammate, Byung-ho Park, is hoping to jump to MLB himself next season.
The Troy Tulowitzki trade speculation has been plentiful over the past week, but Jon Morosi of FOX Sports asked Rockies owner Dick Monfort about the rumors at this week’s owners meetings (Twitter link) and was told, “We’re not trying to trade him. There’s no story there.” Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, couldn’t even get that level of an answer out of Monfort last week, as Rosenthal recently wrote that Monfort quickly hung up the phone when asked about the Tulowitzki trade scenario. Many, including Rosenthal, have written that the belief is that Monfort himself, not GM Jeff Bridich or Tulowitzki, is in control of whether or not the shortstop is traded. Monfort has a history of reluctance in trading veterans; a report from hall of fame journalist Peter Gammons last summer indicated that Monfort vetoed a trade of Jorge De La Rosa for highly touted prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. De La Rosa was signed to a two-year extension shortly thereafter.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- Travis Ishikawa is nearing a return from the disabled list, and his impending activation creates a potentially uncomfortable roster crunch for the Giants, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants will have to either trim a member of their bullpen or cut a bench player to activate Ishikawa, neither of which is a desirable outcome for the club, Haft continues. Ishikawa is aware that with Brandon Belt and Nori Aoki playing well, at-bats with the big league club could be few and far between, but he’s ok with a reduced role. “If I’m not going to be an everyday guy, I want to be the best pinch-hitter that I can be,” Ishikawa said. To this point, the veteran first baseman/outfielder said he hasn’t received any indication from the club as to what their decision will be.
- Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Dodgers‘ glut of infielders could be leveraged in trades to address the starting rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are already out for the season, and as Saxon notes, Friedman told reporters (including MLBTR’s Zach Links) that an excess of good players can benefit a team by making trades easier to facilitate. Saxon quotes Friedman as saying, “…if we can add an arm, that would certainly be helpful.” I’d add that the Dodgers’ rotation is currently also banking on the injury-prone Brett Anderson to remain healthy, further increasing the possibility that the Dodgers may need to look outside the organization for rotation help. Of course, as Saxon notes, Brandon Beachy is on the mend from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to return by June. Given that he’s returning from his second TJ operation, however, it would likely behoove the Dodgers to have depth beyond Beachy, Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger.
- Losing Ryu will make the Dodgers‘ efforts to acquire a starter significantly more difficult, opines Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Rival clubs already knew that they had leverage over the Dodgers, given the team’s rotation holes, and with Ryu slated to go under the knife, the Dodgers’ need has only been magnified. The Dodgers need to add a reliable mid-rotation arm, but teams can afford to demand a more premium asking price, Dilbeck feels, knowing that the Dodgers aren’t likely to be able to get by for the rest of the season with Anderson, Beachy, Bolsinger and Frias supporting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
- For those who didn’t see earlier, the Rockies made the somewhat surprising decision to option Drew Stubbs, who has five-plus years of Major League service, to Triple-A. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd took a look at the situation in more detail.
Hector Olivera is Los Angeles’ newest star, but he easily could have wound up elsewhere given the widespread interest clubs had in him. On a conference call Tuesday evening, I asked the infielder how many teams he had serious conversations with and whether he was close to signing with any of them.
“There were five teams that had interest in me [including] San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami,” Olivera said through a translator. “But, in the end, I decided to sign with the Dodgers because I know that this is a great organization.”
Hours ago, team president Andrew Friedman told reporters that he is open to different positions for Olivera, who is said to have the ability to play second base, third base, and the corner outfield. It appears that Olivera and Friedman are in agreement.
“My whole career I played second base, but I don’t think I’m in the position to decide where I should play or to say what my preference is,” said the Cuban star when asked what position he is most comfortable playing. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to give my best…Wherever they put me, they’ll see results.”
Friedman was unwilling to put a timetable on Olivera’s Major League debut, but the player doesn’t think it’ll take all that long. The second baseman told reporters that he’ll probably need “three or four weeks” to get ready before making the leap to L.A. As he prepares to make the biggest transition of his professional career, he’ll do so unencumbered by any elbow trouble. For weeks, it has been reported that Olivera was dealing with an issue in his arm, rumored to be a a slight UCL tear in his right elbow.
“I don’t know where that rumor came from. I know that there was a little bit of inflammation in my forearm…It was just fatigue in the muscle, but it wasn’t a serious problem and I don’t know where that rumor started.”