San Francisco Giants Rumors
Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz and Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne held a showcase at the Padres' Spring Training complex today, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweeted earlier. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported (via Twitter) that more than 20 teams had scouts on-hand to see the pair. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres and Giants were all there to scout Diaz (Twitter links). According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (on Twitter), Diaz could command as much as $20-30MM as a free agent. However, he is ineligible to sign until next week (Feb. 19) at the earliest. Here's more on the international market...
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets that Diaz could look to choose a club as soon as Friday or Saturday of next week.
- Sanchez adds that Diaz and Despaigne have also schedule four more showcases in Florida, beginning this weekend, in order to allow clubs whose Spring Training facilities are in that state easier scouting access. Despaigne's next showcase will come in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Saturday, according to Sanchez (Twitter links). The Rays' Spring Training complex is in Port Charlotte, for what it's worth.
- The Dodgers continued their aggressive approach on the international front today, signing 18-year-old Panamanian outfielder Carlos Mosquera, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
- Cuba sent a team to the Caribbean Series in Venezuela for the first time since 1960, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler (subscription required and recommended). As such, Major League scouts flocked to the series in order to get a first-hand look at some of the talent. Badler says that most scouts left underwhelmed, but four players -- outfielder Alfredo Despaigne, second baseman Jose Fernandez, third baseman Yulieski Gourriel and right-hander Norge Ruiz -- each jumped out. Badler provides scouting reports for each, with the write-ups on Ruiz and Despaigne being lengthier than those on Fernandez and Gourriel. Previously, Badler has written that Ruiz, 19, is establishing himself as a rising star.
Padres fans got some welcome news this evening, as it was announced that Time Warner Cable will begin airing Padres games for the coming season, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. As Wendy Thurm of Fangraphs has explained, the failure of Time Warner (and, at the time, AT&T U-verse and DISH Network) to agree to the Fox Sports San Diego subscriber fee not only left many fans without access to games, but put a significant dent in the Friars' expected annual payout. Here's more from San Diego and the rest of the NL West:
- When the Padres inked reliever Joaquin Benoit to a two-year, $14MM deal earlier in the off-season, it raised an immediate question whether he or incumbent Huston Street would close. As Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, both back-end arms are content with the situation and their roles. "[Street] is going to shut the door," said Benoit, "and I'm going to try to give him as many games with leads as I can." For his part, Street -- whose deal includes a $7MM club option for 2015 -- says that he understands the business side of things and hopes only for success for his new teammate. "It's a smart move on the Padres' part," he said. "It gives them options for 2015. It gives them options if I go down. It gives them options if I struggle."
- After a breakout campaign last year put him in position for a nice payday as a Super Two, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has yet to reach agreement with his club on a price for his 2014 season. The sides' filing figures ($3.6MM against $2.05MM) are the furthest apart in relative terms among remaining arbitration cases. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, however, it remains likely that a hearing will be avoided, as team and player both recently expressed an expectation that a settlement will be forthcoming.
- Despite adding another rotation arm in Bronson Arroyo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says that top prospect Archie Bradley can still earn a starting spot out of camp, reports FOX Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder. "We want to get out of the gate quick," said Towers. "I've said from the beginning, with Archie, it's not about trying to save a year, save money. We need to win games. If he's ready coming out of the spring and we're a better ballclub with Archie being in it, he's going to be there." Putting the 21-year-old on the MLB roster for Opening Day would mean giving up the ability to extend team control for an extra season, but Towers' statement indicates that is still a real possibility. (On the other hand, given that factor and Bradley's limited seasoning, it will probably be a tall order for him to unseat one of the expected five as a practical matter.) Fellow righty Randall Delgado would likely join the bullpen if he does not earn a turn in the rotation, said Towers, since he is out of options.
- The Arroyo signing has earned mixed reviews; as MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth opined, for example, the $23.5MM guarantee that he received is a debatable investment in a market that promised Paul Maholm just $1.5MM. One under-the-radar issue with Arroyo, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, is that his pronounced struggles against lefties have been masked somewhat by pitching in a division (the National League Central) that has not featured the volume of left-handed bats to take full advantage of the platoon split. In particular, Cameron says, should the Diamondbacks reach the post-season, Arroyo's achilles heel could significantly impair his usefulness to his new club.
TUESDAY, 5:38pm: The Cubs joined the Rangers in watching Yoon throw 30 pitches today, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter). He will hold similar, short bullpen sessions for other clubs in the next few days, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Yoon's health remains the major issue for clubs considering Yoon's request for multiple years, Sullivan adds. The South Korean is not close to signing, says Sullivan, contrary to statements made yesterday by agent Scott Boras.
MONDAY, 11:30pm: The Rangers will watch Yoon throw a bullpen session on Tuesday in Arizona, reports Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO, via Twitter).
7:30pm: The Orioles are one of several clubs to have made an offer to Yoon, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
(In case you missed the intervening update, Yoon's agent, Scott Boras, said that six or seven teams were still interested in the South Korean.)
11:41am: As many as five teams are still showing interest in Korean right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, according to Sang-Soo Kwon of Korean news outlet JoongAng Daily (hat tip: MyKBO.net's Dan Kurtz). According to Kwon, the Orioles are the front-runners to sign Yoon at this point, but the Rangers, Cubs, Twins and Giants have interest as well. The Orioles and Giants reportedly attended a workout held by Yoon at the UC-Irvine campus over the weekend.
The Rangers' interest is a new wrinkle in the Yoon saga, but Kwon cites an official from the Boras Coporation (which represents Yoon) in saying that Texas has scouted Yoon for more than two years. Interest on the Rangers' side picked up after Derek Holland's injury, the official said.
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter) that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette wouldn't confirm the team's interest in Yoon when asked on Saturday, but he also didn't deny any of the reports. The Orioles have added a pair of notable Asian players in recent years, inking Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen to multi-year deals. Kwon also points out Duquette's history of Korean additions from his days as GM of the Red Sox; Boston inked lefty Sang-Hoon Lee, right-hander Sun-woo Kim, right-hander Seung-Joon Song, and infielder Tae-in Chae.
Yoon, 27, was considered Korea's second-best starting pitcher behind Hyun-jin Ryu following the 2012 season. A shoulder injury in 2013 prompted a move the the closer's role with the Kia TIgers last season, but from 2011-12 Yoon posted a 2.77 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 325 1/3 innings as a starter. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted in Yoon's free agent profile, his fastball sits in the 91 to 93 mph range, and he won the KBO's MVP Award in 2011 for his outstanding work in the Kia Tigers' rotation.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today; so, according to legend, there will be six more weeks of winter. But, for baseball fans, spring does begin early this year when pitchers and catchers for the Diamondbacks (February 6) and Dodgers (February 8) report one week earlier than the other 28 MLB teams because of their season-opening series in Australia. Here's today's news and notes from the National League:
- Marlins President David Samson told reporters, including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the team is still looking to add some depth. "Certainly, you're looking at some potential non-roster invites," said Samson. "We're looking to bring people in to compete, because you just don't know. What we've learned over the years is you have injuries. The more depth you can have going into a camp, the better it is." The Marlins have invited 26 non-roster players to camp and Frisaro notes another reliever or two could be added to that total.
- The Reds have had a lackluster offseason, but still have a good strong core of starting pitching and position players to be very competitive in the NL Central, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com in a readers inbox column.
- Within the same article, Sheldon shot down any notion the Reds would have interest in Ichiro Suzuki citing his age, salary, and defensive limitations.
- Suk-Min Yoon held a workout on the campus of UC-Irvine Friday attended by the Giants and Orioles, per a report from SBS (h/t Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). Earlier this week, it was reported four clubs had extended offers to the Korean right-hander with negotiations underway with two of those teams. The Twins, Red Sox, and Indians have been linked to Yoon this offseason with varying degrees of interest.
The Giants have a number of interesting young pitching prospects in their farm system and the time may soon come when the club considers trading from this surplus, MLB.com's Chris Haft writes as part of a reader mailbag piece. That time, however, isn't happening soon since many of these young arms are a long way from being finished products. Of the nine names mentioned by a reader, Haft thinks "the Giants can consider themselves fortunate if two or three of these young pitchers become productive starters for them." Haft also discusses the Giants' bench depth, Francisco Peguero's departure, the possibility of a Vernon Wells signing and other topics in response to reader questions.
Here's some more news out of San Francisco...
- Giants GM Brian Sabean told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he doesn't have the "flexibility" to add another free agent starter to the rotation mix. Sabean said he is fine with his current starting five but noted that while he likes his depth options beyond the rotation, "I can’t tell you we have that confidence yet" until they see them pitch in Spring Training.
- Sabean also thinks the team will reach an agreement with Brandon Belt before the two sides have to go to an arbitration hearing. The Giants offered Belt $2.05MM for 2014 while the first baseman asked for $3.6MM, and Belt recently said he wouldn't be offended if the case does end up going to an arbiter.
- Tim Lincecum told reporters (including an Associated Press writer) that when the Giants' season ended, he didn't think he'd be returning to San Francisco. As it turned out, Lincecum didn't even get a chance to test the open market as the Giants re-signed him to a two-year, $35MM deal before the World Series ended.
Now that A.J. Burnett has decided to pitch in 2014, the Diamondbacks would be interested in adding him to their rotation, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. However, the D-Backs don't feel that Burnett is interested in pitching for a team on the West coast, according to Piecoro, so there may not be mutual interest. More on the D-Backs and the rest of the NL West below...
- The Diamondbacks are beginning to kick the tires on Bronson Arroyo, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo (on Twitter). Arroyo told ESPN's Jayson Stark earlier this week that he's yet to receive a formal offer from a club.
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that his team is done pursuing free agent starting pitchers (Twitter link). The Giants seem likely to head into the season with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson and one of Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit in the rotation.
- Schulman also spoke with Brandon Belt, who said he has no ill feelings toward the Giants for submitting a $1.55MM arbitration figure ($2.05MM lower than his own figure) and won't have any hard feelings if they go to a hearing and he listens to the team make a case against him (Sulia link). "I don't think they think little of me," said Belt. "I think that's what teams do. That's the business side of baseball. I think what both sides are trying to do is create a midpoint, maybe. ... I know what I wasn't good at, so if I go in there it's not going to hurt my feelings any. If they have to tear me down a little bit, I'll be OK."
- New Dodgers second baseman Alexander Guerrero tells Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that shortstop and second base are "completely different" and admits to struggling to adapt to a new culture. However, he called Los Angeles "beautiful" and voiced confidence that he'll be ready to handle second base come Opening Day. Saxon reports that the Dodgers are still looking to add one more infielder to their bench, likely to serve as insurance.
- Earlier in the week, Troy Renck of the Denver Post wrote that the Rockies have "mild" interest in Ervin Santana but aren't pursuing him at his current price and are also reluctant to surrender the 35th pick in this year's draft.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe checks in with GMs, players, writers, and scouts to help run down the best coaches in baseball. On his list of bench coaches who are managers in waiting: Brad Mills of the Indians, Torey Luvullo of the Red Sox, Larry Bowa of the Phillies, Tim Flannery of the Giants, and the Brewers' Jerry Narron. More from today's column..
- The Pirates probably won’t go after a pitcher if A.J. Burnett retires. Right now, Pittsburgh is looking for a full-time first baseman and would use the money that would have gone to the veteran toward that end. Cafardo also notes that the Orioles could be a "wild card" in the situation since Burnett lives in Baltimore.
- While the bids of the other teams are still unknown, one GM threw out the following figures in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes: Yankees $155MM, Cubs $120MM, Diamondbacks $120MM, Dodgers $119MM, White Sox $100MM, Astros $100MM.
- The Diamondbacks were head over heels for Tanaka, but the fact they weren’t on one of the coasts and they were in a smaller media market worked against them.
- Scott Boras doesn't represent David Ortiz, but he tells Cafardo that he feels for them. Boras sees some similarities between the Red Sox star and his own client Kendrys Morales. Morales is seen by most clubs as a DH rather than a first baseman which is hurting his value. Boras argues that Ortiz is the featured power hitter in Boston's lineup as a DH and believes that Morales can also provide value in that role.
- There had been some talk that Daisuke Matsuzaka might go back to Japan to pitch, but the possibility of breaking into the Mets’ rotation with Matt Harvey out intrigued Matsuzaka enough to fight for a spot.
- The Giants have been through a lot with Pablo Sandoval and even if he has a good season, this could be Pablo Sandoval's last in San Francisco. Sandoval will be a free agent following the 2014 season.
Huff, 29, pitched to a 4.67 ERA in 34 2/3 innings for the Yankees last season. He was claimed off of waivers early in the year from the Indians, the only organization he had played for to that point. Of Huff's 69 career MLB appearances, 54 have been starts. But while he received two spot starts for Yankees in 2013, and also made 14 Triple-A starts, Huff spent most of his time in New York working out of the pen.
Huff came to Cleveland as the 39th overall pick of the 2006 draft. Oddly, the southpaw has a significant reverse platoon split over his career: he has allowed a .797 OPS to righties, while lefties have knocked him around for an even .900 mark.
FRIDAY: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter) that Arias will earn $1.15MM in 2014 and $1.45MM in 2015. Arias will earn an additional $25K for reaching 325 and 350 plate appearances in 2014, though he's reached 325 PA just once in his career (2012 with the Giants) and has never hit the 350 mark in a single season.
Arias, 29, exchanged arbitration numbers Friday of last week, with Arias submitting a $1.5MM figure and the Giants countering at $1.1MM. The MVP Sports Group client agreed to an average annual value at the midpoint of those two numbers, indicating that he was willing to sacrifice some potential earnings in 2015 for a guaranteed two-year payday.
In two seasons with the Giants, Arias has produced a .270/.296/.369 batting line with six homers and six stolen bases in 580 plate appearances. He's capable of playing shortstop, third base and second base, although he is only a plus defender at third base, according to Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. He'll remain the primary backup for third baseman Pablo Sandoval, shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Marco Scutaro as the Giants look to turn their fortunes and return to the postseason in search of a third World Series title in five years this coming season.
With this extension, the Giants have bought out each of Arias' remaining years of arbitration eligibility, meaning he will be a free agent upon its completion. Brandon Belt is the Giants' lone remaining arbitration case, as can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker. He filed for $3.6MM, and the Giants countered with $2.05MM.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here (information courtesy of MLB.com transactions page):
- Righty Jose Valdez has inked a minor league contract with the Red Sox. The 30-year-old has seen 24 big league games with the Astros, but worked last year at Triple-A, putting up a 5.72 ERA in 39 1/3 innings. Valdez has shown the ability to miss bats (career 8.7 K/9), but also tends to miss spots (5.2 BB/9).
- Tyler Graham, a 29-year-old outfielder, has signed a minor league deal with the Giants. Graham spent all of 2006-11 with the San Francisco organization, then split 2012 between the Giants and Diamondbacks. He got a cup of coffee with the D-Backs (two plate appearances), but ended up out of the MLB structure thereafter. Last year, he bounced between four Independent and Mexican League clubs. In his last full Triple-A season, 2011, Graham posted a .273/.337/.338 line with 60 stolen bases.
- The Reds have signed a minor league deal with second baseman Hernan Iribarren. The 29-year-old Venezuelan received 29 plate appearances over 2008-09 but has yet to return. Last year, with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate, Iribarren slashed .312/.367/.407 in 286 plate appearances.
- Outfielder Angel Morales has reached agreement on a minor league contract with the Marlins. The 2007 third-round pick had spent his entire career with the Twins organization, reaching the Double-A level last year at age 23. Morales earned the promotion with a .297/.364/.525 start to the year in 234 High-A plate appearances, but failed to follow up in the penultimate level of the minors (.169/.230/.307 in 184 plate appearances).
- The Nationals have signed southpaw Zach Jackson to a minor league deal. Now 30, Jackson saw 105 1/3 innings over the 2006-09 period after being drafted in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft. Jackson has bounced around the league, failing to stick as a starter. Last year, after converting full-time to relief for the Royals, he pitched to a 1.32 ERA in 41 innings at Double-A and Triple-A. Jackson managed a sturdy 2.57 K:BB ratio in 2013, but did so on the back of just 4.0 K/9 (against a career-low 1.5 BB/9).
- Washington also signed righty Clay Hensley to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports on Twitter. The 34-year-old last saw MLB time in 2012 with the Giants, when he had a 4.62 ERA over 50 2/3 innings of relief. Over his career, Hensley has started 49 big league games and appeared in over 200 others out of the pen. He threw to a 2.57 ERA in 35 Triple-A innings last year with Reds and Brewers affiliates, registering 9.8 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9 in the process.
- One player appears in MLBTR's DFA Tracker with an unresolved case: Carlos Peguero of the Mariners.