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Dodgers reliever David Aardsma has allowed his opt-out date to pass without exercising his clause, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. The 33-year-old has not thrown in the bigs since 2013, but was lights out at Triple-A last year and has continued that success into the current season. He looks like useful relief depth for Los Angeles.
Let’s round up the day’s news with a few more links:
- Giants executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean has been taking in the Mets‘ weekend series, ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin reports. Rubin cautions that it is not clear precisely why Sabean is on hand, though obviously San Francisco looks like a theoretical match for Daniel Murphy — who is slotting in at third base at present while New York awaits the return of David Wright. Of course, his young would-be replacement at second, Dilson Herrera, has looked somewhat overmatched in his first two games back in the bigs, with four strikeouts and an infield hit to show from eight plate appearances.
- The White Sox are still feeling out how they will use rookie lefty Carlos Rodon, as Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. Chicago is burning through Rodon’s service time while giving him relatively little action as the team tries to balance the need to introduce him to the bigs, keep him stretched out, and conserve his innings.
- Agent Scott Boras says he believes that the MLB rules should be loosened to allow the free trading of all draft picks, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “Trade picks, trade players — there should be a whole universe of options,” opined Boras. “I’m a believer that you want as many chips on the table so the intellect can operate and a master plan can be created from a variety of different avenues of trade, draft, scouting and development, free agency, all the structures.” Of course, as one executive notes to Piecoro, opening that avenue of trade activity could potentially transfer leverage to premium players who have a desire to influence their ultimate destination.
- Boras also rejected the idea of allowing teams expanded access to medical information, stating forcefully: “That’s not going to work.” Citing concern with players’ rights not to have their medical information spread broadly to every team, Boras previewed some of the difficulties in addressing what promises to be a tricky issue on which to build a consensus between the players and the league.
Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video at FOX Sports:
- With Jed Lowrie out, the Astros could soon promote Carlos Correa even if that risks making him Super Two-eligible, Rosenthal says. Correa is currently dominating at Double-A Corpus Christi, hitting .370/.452/.716 at the tender age of 20.
- The Dodgers continue to receive reports on Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, who’s playing simulated games while waiting for his visa. The Dodgers agreed to sign him to a $62.5MM deal in March, although the deal isn’t official due to the visa issue. Once Olivera gets that visa, Rosenthal says, he could be ready to play in the big leagues within three to four weeks.
- The Giants and Phillies discussed a deal for Cole Hamels this past offseason. They could revive those talks at some point, although the Giants might not have the kind of elite prospect the Phillies seem to be seeking as a centerpiece.
- Aramis Ramirez‘s contract with the Brewers has a limited no-trade clause, but Ramirez’s agent says his client would likely approve a deal to a contender if the Brewers were to strike one. Ramirez hasn’t hit well this year, but if he can improve his trade stock, the Giants could have interest, due to Casey McGehee‘s poor performance this season.
Giants starter Tim Hudson tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he is “definitely leaning” towards retiring at the end of the season. The 39-year-old righty is playing out the second half of the two-year, $23MM deal he signed with San Francisco before the 2014 campaign.
Though family considerations appear to be drawing him toward hanging up his spikes, Hudson indicated that he is not quite ready to decide at this point. “I feel pretty good,” said Hudson. “I feel as good as most 40-year-olds can feel trying to play a young man’s game.”
Hudson threw 189 1/3 innings of 3.57 ERA ball for the Giants last year, making his fourth All-Star team and eventually winning the World Series for the first time in his career. In the sixteen big league seasons already under his belt, Hudson has a sub-3.50 ERA and has only finished two years having permitted more than four earned per nine.
The bottom line, then, is that Hudson sure looks like he would be able to continue being productive on the mound for some time after the year. But, as the piece explores, it’s never that simple. The piece includes interesting quotes from Hudson’s wife, Kim, about the process of contemplating retirement.
Several notable players could see their 2016 statuses change depending on whether or not they unlock vesting options in their current contracts. With the opening month of the 2015 season almost in the books, let’s check in on the progress each of these players are making towards those getting those options to vest…
- Chase Utley: The veteran second baseman has a $15MM vesting option for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he makes 500 plate appearances. (If he doesn’t, it becomes a team option worth between $5MM-$11MM depending on how much time Utley spends on the DL, with a $2MM buyout.) Utley has received 81 PA while playing in 21 of the Phillies’ first 22 games, so he is well on the way to having his option vest despite a very rough start — only a .398 OPS and two homers this season, thanks to an incredibly low .102 BABIP. There is little chance the Phils would let Utley walk for nothing this winter, especially when they could obtain something for him in a trade this summer if Utley agrees to waive his no-trade clause.
- Jonathan Papelbon: The Phillies closer’s 2016 vesting option is one of the reasons why he hasn’t yet been traded, as other teams have been wary about acquiring a reliever with such a potentially large price tag. Papelbon’s $13MM vests if he finishes 55 games this season, or posts a combined 100 games finished between 2014-15. The stopper finished 52 games last year and has seven finishes thus far in 2015, putting him on pace for that guaranteed salary next year.
- David Ortiz: If Ortiz makes at least 425 PA and passes a physical after the season, Boston’s $10MM team option on his services for 2016 will become guaranteed at $11MM (or more, depending on how many plate appearances Ortiz makes). Ortiz has only had less than 425 PA in two of the last 14 seasons, so barring any injury setbacks for Big Papi, this one seems like a safe bet to vest.
- Joaquin Benoit: The Padres hold an $8MM team option on Benoit for 2016, but the righty can turn that into a guaranteed option if he finishes at least 55 games this season. Benoit’s chances are pretty remote, as he was relegated to setup man duties after San Diego acquired Craig Kimbrel.
- Marlon Byrd: His original two-year, $16MM deal with the Phillies included an $8MM club option for 2016 that becomes guaranteed if he reaches 600 PA this season, or a total of 1100 PA over 2014-15 with at least 550 PA this season. Byrd received 637 PA last season and he has 74 PA over 20 games with the Reds in 2015. He should continue to get regular playing time for Cincinnati though Byrd is off to a slow start — a .441 OPS with no walks and 24 strikeouts.
- Santiago Casilla: The Giants righty signed a three-year, $15MM deal in the 2012-13 offseason that contained a vesting option, though little is known about the option’s value or specifics.
- Nori Aoki: The Giants’ $5.5MM club option on Aoki for 2016 will become a mutual option if Aoki reaches 550 PA. The outfielder is hitting well and his 102 PA currently leads the league, so he’s well ahead of the pace to vest his option.
- Jonny Gomes: The Braves outfielder can guaranteed another year on his contract (at a $3MM salary) if he makes 325 PA, and he can unlock higher salaries at the 425 PA and 500 PA plateaus. Gomes has thus far received 47 PA over 15 games, putting him in decent shape for at least the first level of his vesting option.
We already know that Cliff Lee won’t achieve the innings totals required for his 2016 option to vest. The Phillies southpaw is attempting to recover from a torn left flexor tendon without undergoing surgery and is currently on the 60-day DL. Dodgers reliever Brandon League is also recovering from a right shoulder injury and thus stands virtually no chance of reaching the games-finished totals required to allow his 2016 player option to vest.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Brandon League | Chase Utley | Cincinnati Reds | David Ortiz | Joaquin Benoit | Jonathan Papelbon | Jonny Gomes | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Norichika Aoki | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Santiago Casilla
Here’s the latest on a trio of intriguing international prospects…
- The Cubs, Dodgers and Rangers are all interested in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox and scouts consider the three teams to be the “biggest threats” to sign the 17-year-old prospect, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel reports. Since many teams have already planned out their budgets and made unofficial agreements to prospects for the 2015-16 international signing period, a player like Fox (who is projected to receive a bonus of at least $1.5MM) is perhaps more likely to land with a team like the aforementioned trio who have money to spend and are aggressive enough to surpass the spending pool limit. The Giants, Padres and Reds have also been linked to Fox but are seen as less likely to spend as freely as Chicago, Los Angeles and Texas.
- Yusnier Diaz, an 18-year-old outfielder, has left Cuba and is looking to play in the majors, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. The 6’1, 185-pound prospect has plus speed and a plus arm and Badler praised his hitting tools, though he feels Diaz’s right-handed swing is a bit long. Diaz is subject to international spending pools, and since he is unlikely to secure permanent residence in another country by the May 15 deadline, he may not be able to sign until the 2016-17 international signing period opens on July 2, 2016. Any team that exceeds its pool limit in the 2015-16 signing period is therefore probably out of the running for Diaz, as such teams are prohibited from signing any of the next year’s class for more than $300K. The Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees are already under this penalty until the 2017-18 signing period.
- Also from Badler, he provides some background on Cuban righty Yaisel Sierra, who isn’t subject to the bonus pools but is still several months away from gaining the necessary clearance to sign with a team. Sierra can throw all his pitches (including a 96mph fastball and a slider) from various arm angles, though the 23-year-old is still a bit unpolished. “Between his stuff, pitching style and history of control problems in Cuba, Sierra has a lot of similarities to Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias, with Sierra having more size but Iglesias better performance in his final year in Cuba,” Badler writes.
Though the Giants have had a rough start to the season — their 4-9 record has them at the bottom of the NL West — new GM Bobby Evans isn’t overly concerned yet, and an early-season trade for reinforcements is unlikely, he tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “At this point you’re just going back to players that were offered you before that you didn’t deal for,” Evans explains. “Players who some teams are still trying to move that you took a pass on.” Injuries have already been a problem for San Francisco, who saw Hunter Pence go down with a broken forearm in Spring Training and have already placed both Matt Cain and Jake Peavy on the 15-day disabled list. Cafardo notes, however, that in all three of the Giants’ recent World Series runs, midseason acquisitions such as Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro and Peavy have played integral roles (I’d add Pat Burrell‘s name to that list as well), and this year will likely be no different if the Giants are to ultimately turn things around.
Here’s more from Cafardo’s weekly Sunday Baseball Notes column…
- The Red Sox are in a catch-22 with Allen Craig, writes Cafardo. His poor 2014 performance has reduced him to a bench player, and no team is currently making much of an effort to acquire the first baseman/outfielder. However, if he doesn’t play much, he’s unlikely to look any better and boost his trade value.
- Right-hander John Lackey is hopeful that the Cardinals will approach him about a contract extension, Cafardo reports, but the team is currently thrilled to have him at just the league minimum. Lackey’s preference may be to remain with the Cardinals, but he’ll likely pitch in 2016 whether it’s in St. Louis or elsewhere, as he recently told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he wouldn’t be pitching this year if he didn’t plan to play beyond 2015.
- One general manager who has inquired recently tells Cafardo that the Phillies‘ asking price on Cole Hamels has not dropped one bit since the beginning of the season, despite the fact that Hamels has had two rough starts in his first three appearances of the year. Hamels has, somewhat incredibly, yielded seven homers in just 18 innings after surrendering only 14 in 204 2/3 frames last year. Of course, homer-to-flyball ratio tends to stabilize around 10-11 percent (Hamels’ career mark is 11.2 percent), and he’s currently sporting a remarkably high 36.8 percent HR/FB, so better days are almost certainly ahead for Hamels.
- An AL scout who has attended both of Scott Kazmir‘s starts this season says he’s never seen the left-hander more confident or more impressive on the mound. “Don’t know if it’s because it’s his walk year and he can become a free agent, but if he keeps this up most of the season, he’s going to make himself a lot of money,” said the scout. Of course, that’s just one scout’s take, but Kazmir has been electric to date. The 31-year-old has whiffed 18 hitters against five walks in 13 innings, and the 91.7 mph he’s averaged on his two-seamer in those two starts is up from last year’s average of 90.9, though it remains to be seen whether not that increase can be maintained.
- David Price‘s hot start to the season makes it likely that his offseason price will land somewhere in the vicinity of Max Scherzer‘s seven-year, $210MM and Clayton Kershaw‘s seven-year, $215MM pact, one Major League source opined to Cafardo.
- Former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is helping Frank Viola III, the son of former AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola, develop a knuckleball, Cafardo writes. Viola III was a 29th-round pick by the White Sox back in 2004, but Tommy John surgery and knee surgery derailed his career, and he retired from the game in 2010. He returned in 2014 and pitched with the Blue Jays’ Class-A affiliates, and he’s now aiming to get a look in the independent leagues as he attempts to work his way back into the game. Viola III has also worked with R.A. Dickey and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro on honing is skill with the pitch.
Giants pitcher Jake Peavy has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured back, the Giants tweeted. In a related move, the club has recalled catching prospect Andrew Susac. Peavy has struggled with the injury throughout spring and the early season. He allowed eight runs in 7.2 innings through two starts and was scratched prior to an outing last week.
Peavy himself noted that his back needed “a little treatment,” per Chris Haft of MLB.com. Based on that comment alone, it sounds as though he may avoid an extended stay on the disabled list. Short term, the club can call upon Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit for spot starts. Both players are on the active roster. Matt Cain, who is on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, is still a few days away from playing catch.
Of course, the promotion of Susac is of interest for a Giants squad that has scored just 32 runs through 12 games. Susac is the 88th ranked prospect by Baseball America. The 25-year-old accrued 95 plate appearances last season and hit .273/.326/.466. With the presence of Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez, there isn’t an obvious role for Susac. However, I could see the club giving Brandon Belt some rest (.077/.143/.077) or even using him in the outfield for a few games. It’s possible, perhaps likely, that Susac will be optioned once the club needs a fifth starter. By my count, that will happen on April 25.
James Shields didn’t have his best performance today, but the Padres were still able to top the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, as Corey Brock of MLB.com writes. “I didn’t have the greatest stuff today. I wasn’t locating as well as I wanted to; I was behind in the count all day,” Shields said. In the end, San Diego managed to win 5-4 anyway, thanks to Wil Myers‘ three-run homer in the seventh inning. More from the National League West..
- The Giants offered Nelson Cruz a deal worth upwards of $40MM this offseason, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The Mariners, meanwhile, landed Cruz on a four-year, $57MM contract. Cruz, 35 in July, led the Majors in home runs in 2014 (40) while putting together an excellent .271/.333/.525 batting line.
- Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looked at the Diamondbacks‘ decision to promote Yasmany Tomas to the varsity squad this week. Arizona generated a good amount of excitement by promoting Tomas, but their $68MM investment was apparently brought aboard to sit on the bench. As Edwards shows, a difficult numbers crunch led Arizona to promote Tomas rather than Double-A prospects like Brandon Drury and Socrates Brito who are not quite ready for primetime.
- The Dodgers have been kept afloat by young relievers Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez, as Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. The previous regime put emphasis on experience in building the bullpen, but the new front office gave jobs to Baez and Garcia rather than the veterans they had in camp. The Dodgers bounced Dustin McGowan, told Mike Adams (who later retired) that he wouldn’t make the team, and sent Sergio Santos and David Aardsma to Triple-A.
The Cubs aren’t concerned with Jon Lester‘s issues throwing to first base, writes the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo in his weekly Sunday Notes column. “I think it’s being a little overplayed right now, quite frankly,” said manager Joe Maddon to Cafardo. “…I’d much prefer he worries more about getting his fastball where he wants and his cutter where he wants and all the normal pitching things. … I don’t want to make this an issue, because it’s not for me at all.” Still, Cafardo notes, it is an issue that the Red Sox worked to correct for years with little success. The Cardinals exploited the issue in Lester’s first outing by swiping four bases against him, but as Cafardo notes, not every team will go that route. One AL scout told Cafardo: “I always included in my reports about the throwing, but our team chose not to do anything about it.”
Here’s more from Cafardo’s column…
- Newly minted Giants GM Bobby Evans tells Cafardo that he doesn’t envision his team pursuing another starting pitcher despite early injuries to Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. The Giants feel that Peavy, who avoided the DL and is slated to pitch today, is healthy. The team is also not anticipating that Cain’s elbow injury, which did require a trip to the 15-day DL, will be a major issue.
- Cody Ross was recently released by the D-Backs and signed with the A’s, and Cafardo looks back on Ross’ best season — his 2012 campaign with the Red Sox — and notes that Boston offered Ross a two-year deal to remain with the team. Ross, however, found a three-year, $26MM contract in Arizona. Injuries turned that deal into a bust for the Snakes, but Ross will hope to reestablish himself in green and gold.
- The Rockies will likely have plenty of suitors for Troy Tulowitzki this summer if they slide to the cellar of the NL West, but one AL GM tells Cafardo that it’s difficult to envision a trade: “There would be a lot of work to get that done. The money remaining on his salary [$110 million] and the player acquisition cost. Not as easy as it seems. The Rockies need to get a ton for him and I doubt they’ll pick up the money.”
- Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Tigers have been monitoring Rafael Soriano‘s workouts, and Cafardo hears the same, adding that it “wouldn’t be shocking” if Detroit pulled the trigger on a deal.
- Much like the Giants, the Twins have taken a hit to their rotation early in the year following Ervin Santana‘s suspension and Ricky Nolasco‘s injury, but after talking with their front office personnel, Cafardo gets the impression that they’ll give opportunities to young starters rather than pursue an established upgrade. Trevor May gets the first crack, but Cafardo lists Alex Meyer and Jose Berrios as other candidates.
- The Dodgers are still “all ears” about potential Andre Ethier trades and are willing to eat some of the $56MM on the three years remaining on his contract, but there have been no bites to this point.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.
- Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias will make his major league debut tomorrow, writes Jason Haddix for MLB.com. He’ll be opposed by Cardinals hurler Carlos Martinez. The Reds committed to a seven-year, $27MM contract with Iglesias during the 2014 season.
- The Orioles selected the contract of knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Wesley Wright was added to the disabled list in a corresponding move. Gamboa, 30, had yet to reach the majors although he figures to bounce back and forth this year. He’ll serve as depth in case Kevin Gausman is needed in long relief in the next couple games.
- Pirates utility man Pedro Florimon has cleared waivers, tweets Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has been outrighted to Triple-A. Per Brink (also Twitter), since Florimon has been outrighted before, he can decline and become a free agent. Brink is told no decision has been made.
- The Rangers have announced that they’ve selected the contract of corner outfielder Carlos Peguero and recalled pitcher Jon Edwards. They’ve also moved Derek Holland (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list and Ryan Rua (ankle) to the 15-day disabled list. Peguero is in the Rangers’ lineup tonight. The 28-year-old Peguero has played briefly, and not particularly impressively, for the Mariners and Royals in parts of four big-league seasons, but he’s demonstrated serious power in the minors (with 30 homers for Triple-A Omaha last year) and in Spring Training.
- The Giants have outrighted infielder Ehire Adrianza to Triple-A Sacramento, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets. The team designated Adrianza for assignment last week. Adrianza, 25, hit .237/.279/.299 in 106 plate appearances while playing mostly shortstop and second base for the Giants last season.
- The Yankees have announced that they’ve promoted lefty Matt Tracy. To clear space for Tracy on the 25- and 40-man rosters, the Yankees optioned lefty Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and moved Ivan Nova to the 60-day disabled list. Tracy will need to be added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Tracy’s stay on the roster could turn out to be short, however — the Yankees can use some quick bullpen reinforcements after their 19-inning game against the Red Sox last night, and Tracy would presumably join the team for that purpose. The 26-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 150 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
- Two players remain in DFA limbo, via MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: lefty Sam Freeman (Rangers) and outfielder Carlos Quentin (Braves).
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Martinez | Carlos Peguero | Carlos Quentin | Cincinnati Reds | Derek Holland | Eddie Gamboa | Ivan Nova | Kansas City Royals | Kevin Gausman | New York Yankees | Pedro Florimon | Pittsburgh Pirates | Raisel Iglesias | Sam Freeman | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Texas Rangers | Transactions | Wesley Wright