San Diego Padres Rumors
More teams are employing platoons as baseball's balance of power has shifted toward pitchers, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes. Elias Sports Bureau data show that hitters had a favorable matchup 56 percent of the time in 2013, the highest rate recorded since 1995. Heading into 2014, the A's again look to field one of baseball's most platooned lineups, as they could employ the strategy at no less than four positions. Here's a quick look around baseball's Western divisions:
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp won't try to accelerate his return from this offseason's ankle surgery, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Kemp says he rushed the rehab process for injuries last season, which may have been a factor in his 2013 struggles. The star's ankle injury, a fracture of the weight-bearing talus bone, can be "career-threatening," according to Gurnick.
- Several key Padres players are likely to see reduced workloads in Spring Training as the club aims to start 2014 healthy, U-T San Diego's Bill Center writes. He cites Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin -- all of whom missed time in 2013 due to injuries -- as players that may be affected.
9:41am: Sipp's deal includes opt-out dates of March 26 and June 1, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets.
8:31am: The Padres have agreed to terms with lefty reliever Tony Sipp on a minor-league deal. Sipp, 30, posted a 4.78 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2013. The Diamondbacks designated him for assignment in November. He had pitched the previous four seasons for the Indians before heading to Arizona in the three-team Shin-Soo Choo deal.
In addition to Sipp, the Padres have recently added Alex Torres (via a trade with the Rays) and Patrick Schuster (via the Rule 5 Draft) as potential lefty bullpen options. GM Josh Byrnes said in November that the Padres would attempt to add lefty relievers this offseason.
The Padres are closing on a minor league deal with southpaw reliever Tony Sipp, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Yesterday, it was reported that Sipp, a Bledsoe Brothers client, was nearing a deal with an unknown club.
The 30-year-old Sipp has a career 3.84 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 29.9 percent ground-ball rate. After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Indians, Sipp was included in the three-team deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs to the Indians and Didi Gregorius to the D-Backs.
In his lone season with the Snakes, he struggled to a career-worst 4.78 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. Sipp averaged more than five walks per nine innings last season and posted a minuscule 26 percent ground-ball rate, but he also whiffed 10 hitters per nine innings. Should Sipp make the team, his fly-ball tendencies would play significantly better in San Diego's Petco Park than they did in Arizona's Chase Field.
Padres GM Josh Byrnes said left-handed relief was a priority back at the GM Meetings in November, and he's since added Alex Torres in a trade with the Rays and Patrick Schuster via the Rule 5 Draft (acquiring him in a trade from the Astros). Sipp would further add to that depth.
Draft pick compensation is hanging over the market for several prominent, unsigned free agents -- namely, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, and Kendrys Morales. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the draft pick situations of some of the clubs that might consider adding one of those names. As we finish a quiet Monday, let's round up some notes on free agent rumors from around the league:
- The Angels do not seem to be operating with much urgency to add a free agent pitcher, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. If the club does add to its rotation with an open-market contract, says DiGiovanna, it is more likely to go after Jason Hammel or Chris Capuano than Bronson Arroyo or Paul Maholm.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that the club does not have any outstanding offers for guaranteed MLB deals, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Tracker shows, Philadelphia has not entered such a pact since inking Roberto Hernandez on December 18.
- After committing a cool half-billion dollars through free agency (if you count Masahiro Tanaka and his release fee), the Yankees appear to be done adding significant salaries for the offseason, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. New York seems to be following through on GM Brian Cashman's statements that the club would not pursue Drew, says Martino, and the team is not currently trying to work out a deal to bring Chase Headley over from the Padres.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told fans at TigerFest today to expect a different style of Detroit baseball now that he's completed his offseason retooling of the club's roster, Jason Beck of MLB.com writes. "We'll play better defense. We'll score from first or second on base hits or extra-base hits more than we have in the past," Dombrowski predicted, while noting that the 2014 Tigers won't have as much power as some of his previous teams. "It's a different type of club. … What you try to do is give your club a chance to win a world championship every year," the GM commented. Here's more late-night MLB links:
- Other comments from Dombrowski at TigerFest implied that the Tigers won't pursue Nelson Cruz, Beck reports. While smaller, depth-oriented signings are possible, Dombrowski said he'd be "surprised if we made any major moves."
- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki says he's ready to step into a leadership role for the club now that Todd Helton has retired, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune offers an early look at how new Cubs hitting coach Bill Mueller will go about addressing the team's offensive struggles.
- Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego rounded up scouts' comments on the seven-player trade that saw Padres utilityman Logan Forsythe shipped to the Rays. "I would say San Diego gave up some fringe quantity that Tampa has probably liked a lot in the past for better quality," one scout offered. Another labeled minor-leaguers Matt Andriese and Jesse Hahn as "the two biggest X-factors in the trade."
- U-T San Diego's Bill Center grades the Padres' offseason moves, assigning an "A" to the Joaquin Benoit signing.
Now that Masahiro Tanaka is off the market, teams that missed out on Japanese righty could try to acquire another ace-level pitcher in the form of David Price. The Price trade rumors had died down as the offseason progressed and there was a growing expectation that Price would be a Ray in 2014, though one Major League executive expects the Rays to reach out to the Dodgers and other teams about Price's availability. "I have no doubt they will revisit that, starting today," the executive tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Jayson Nix's minor league deal with the Rays allows him to look for a Major League job elsewhere if he isn't on Tampa Bay's opening day roster, MLBTR's Zach Links reports (Twitter links). Nix's deal also allows him to opt out of his contract on June 1 even if he is on the Rays' Major League roster.
- The Rays and Padres completed a seven-player trade earlier today and Tampa Bay executive VP Andrew Friedman discussed the deal in a conference call with reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (two links). Friedman broke down the five players the Rays received from San Diego and noted that Logan Forsythe "is a guy that we had tried to get previously and a guy that was very high on our target list."
- While Friedman appreciated the work that Alex Torres had done in Tampa Bay, the Rays felt they had enough left-handed relief depth to use a southpaw as trade bait.
The Diamondbacks competed against some of MLB's largest markets for Masahiro Tanaka but ended up as one of the finalists for the Japanese righty. FOX Sports Southwest's Jack Magruder and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert have the details from managing partner Ken Kendrick, team president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers on how the Snakes courted Tanaka. Though Tanaka ultimately signed with the Yankees, Kendrick feels the D'Backs "declared ourselves as committed to making a very significant offer to someone who can be a difference-maker to our club....The agent world understands that if we like a player, we will go after him. I don't think that's a bad thing."
Here's some more from around the NL West...
- Towers reiterated that the team would still look to add "a top-of-the-rotation type guy" if one became available, and the general manager noted that more trade possibilities could open up with Tanaka now off the market. That said, Towers and Hall said they were satisfied with their current pitching options and that their pursuit of Tanaka was a special case. Magruder reported earlier today that Arizona wasn't planning to pursue other free agent starters given their high price tags.
- The Diamondbacks' current TV rights contract expires after the 2015 season, and since the team expects to earn more TV money in its next deal, Hall felt the Snakes could afford to spend extra on Tanaka. "This is not money that we had this past year or in the past," Hall said. "It's an anticipated increase in revenues. It was banking on the fact that -- and it's been out there -- that our television situation is going to change dramatically. With that, we were able to spread our wings a bit."
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and several team scouts attending a private workout with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, Baseball America's Ben Badler reports. Badler profiled Castillo, a right-handed hitting outfielder with experience at second and third base, last month. The 26-year-old may be months away from signing with a team, as he still to go through all of the procedural work required of Cuban players to reach the majors.
- The Dodgers were "not anywhere close" in the bidding for Tanaka and were outbid by "a decent amount" by both the Yankees and Cubs, two sources tell Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. While the Dodgers were obviously impressed enough with Tanaka to offer him a $100MM+ contract, "they're not convinced Tanaka is all that," Shaikin writes. Since they didn't see Tanaka as a true ace and the Dodgers weren't desperate for pitching, they weren't willing to get into a bidding war.
- Along these same lines, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon argues that the Dodgers don't need to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo or other free agent starters since they could have a surplus of pitching if Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett are healthy. Zach Lee and other minor league arms are also on hand for rotation depth.
- Veteran right-hander Brett Tomko threw for the Padres earlier this offseason, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Tomko is attempting a comeback and recently told MLBTR's Zach Links that he had spoken with at least 10 other Major League clubs, as well as a few Asian teams. For more on Tomko's comeback, check out Links' interview with the 40-year-old righty.
Logan Forsythe's name has been on the trading block in the past week or so, and it didn't take the Rays long to make a deal happen. The Rays and Padres have both announced a seven-player deal that sends lefty reliever Alex Torres and right-hander Jesse Hahn to the Padres in exchange for Forsythe, right-hander Brad Boxberger, minor league right-handers Matt Andriese and Matt Lollis, and minor league second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum.
We heard yesterday that San Diego was receiving interest in the 27-year-old. With several other utility options, led by Alexi Amarista, the Padres presumably felt Forsythe was expendable. The versatile defender had a nice 2012 campaign (107 OPS+), but struggled last year with a .214/.281/.332 triple-slash in 243 plate appearances last year. Swinging from the right side, Forsythe has had much better success against southpaws over his career than against same-handed hurlers (.793 vs .594 OPS).
The Rays will control Forsythe for four seasons, though only the coming year will be at the league minimum. Having spent time at second, short, third, and the corner outfield, Forsythe certainly fits Tampa's liking for flexible players. He will battle for a roster spot and playing time with players like Sean Rodriguez, Vince Belnome, and Jayson Nix. With prospects Hak-Ju Lee and (more recently) Tim Beckham suffering significant knee injuries, the Rays have seen their middle infield depth tested.
As I noted yesterday, a left-handed reliever would make sense in a deal for Forsythe, and it appears that could be just what the Padres will receive. Torres, 26, emerged last year for Tampa after converting to relief. He tossed 58 innings of 1.71 ERA ball, posting 9.6 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 and a miniscule 0.897 WHIP. Torres did, however, benefit from a low BABIP (.221), high strand rate (80.2% LOB), and low home run tally (.16 HR/9), making him a candidate for regression. Torres will not be eligible for free agency until 2020. Though the Rays got an extra option year to use on Torres, it appears they used it last year, leaving him without options.
Hahn, 24, entered the 2013 season ranked as the Rays' No. 14 prospect (per Baseball America) and enjoyed a strong year, though he split the season between Class-A Advanced and Rookie Ball -- two levels at which he's older than the league average. Still, he posted a 2.09 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 69 innings of work across the two levels. BA notes that at one point heading into the 2010 draft, Hahn looked to be a first-round talent, but an arm injury caused him to fall to the sixth round and ultimately resulted in Tommy John surgery. Though all 20 of his appearances in 2013 were starts, he never pitched more than five innings, and he only hit that total one time. He did not rank among the Rays' Top 10 prospects heading into 2014, per BA.
Boxberger, 25, has a career 2.72 ERA with 10.3 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 and a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate in 49 2/3 innings with the Padres from 2012-13. The former supplemental-round draft pick was one of four players received by the Padres in the trade that sent Mat Latos to the Reds. Boxberger is a power arm that as a prospect was said to have closer upside but needs to limit his walks more effectively to reach that potential. He's averaged just 3.7 BB/9 in his Triple-A career, so there's reason to believe he can improve. He's controllable for six years but projects as a likely Super Two player due to the fact that he has 129 days of service time already under his belt.
The 24-year-old Andriese reached Triple-A for the first time in 2013 and enjoyed a strong season overall, compiling a 3.27 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 134 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. MLB.com ranked him 19th among Padres prospects following the season, noting that he could profile as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. BA ranked him 20th heading into 2013 and agreed with the mid-rotation upside, praising his power curveball and noting that if he didn't make it as a starter, his arm should translate to the bullpen.
Lollis, 23, transitioned to the bullpen full-time in 2013 and posted a 4.62 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 across three levels, including Triple-A. However, most of his success came at Class-A Advanced (2.32 ERA), as he posted ERAs north of 6.00 in Double-A and Triple-A. Lollis once ranked among the Padres' Top 5 prospects (per BA) but has seen his stock fall dramatically over the past three years.
Tissenbaum, 22, was an 11th-round pick by the Padres in 2012. In his first full season of pro ball, the lefty swinger that shares an alma mater with Joe Nathan (Stony Brook University) batted .277/.365/.359 with a pair of homers and four stolen bases in 490 plate appearances for Class-A Fort Wayne.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first reported that Forsythe was headed to the Rays and Torres was likely on his way to Tampa. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times confirmed Torres' involvement (via Twitter), and ESPN's Keith Law reported that Hahn, Andriese, Lollis and Boxberger were changing hands (All Twitter links). Topkin then reported that a fifth player could be headed to Tampa as well (via Twitter), which was confirmed when the Padres announced the deal.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
For some fascinating information on the Latin American market, be sure to read this interview with longtime baseball man Omar Minaya, courtesy of Teddy Klein of metsmerizedonline.com.
- Minaya's former club, the Mets, may still add options for the starting rotation even after signing John Lannan, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. "Lannan does not necessarily preclude us from signing another starter," said assistant GM John Ricco.
- Minaya's current team, the Padres, is probably not going to add a reliever "unless it's something small," a source told Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link). Though the team has been said to be in the market for a lefty, it appears that the intent is to make a modest acquisition, if any.
The Padres have been contacted by multiple clubs with interest in utilityman Logan Forsythe, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). Forsythe, who just turned 27, has spent most of his MLB time at second, though he has also logged innings at third, short, and the corner outfield.
Last week, we learned that the Yankees had inquired with San Diego about a trade for an infielder, with Forsythe reportedly the most realistic subject of a possible deal. While other clubs with potential interest remain unknown, Forsythe's versatility makes him a reasonable target for many organizations.
Forsythe swings from the right side of the plate, and carries a lifetime .241/.310/.349 line in 762 plate appearances over three seasons. After a solid 2012 (107 OPS+), Forsythe struggled last year with a .214/.281/.332 triple-slash in 243 plate appearances. He will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year.
From the Padres' perspective, Forsythe clearly does not have a starting spot and may be somewhat redundant with fellow utility player Alexi Amarista. With several other depth options also under contract -- including Ryan Jackson, Brandon Wood, and Alberto Gonzalez -- the club could try to flip Forsythe for a southpaw bullpen piece or low-level prospects.