Scott Atchison Rumors

Indians Release Scott Atchison

The Indians have released reliever Scott Atchison, the club announced.  The 39-year-old righty had been designated for assignment earlier in the week.

Atchison struggled to a 6.86 ERA over 19 2/3 innings this season, though ERA estimators such as xFIP (4.35) and SIERA (4.03) paint a somewhat more sympathetic view of his 2015 performance.  Atchison has been badly hurt by the long ball, as he’s already allowed six homers and owns a 2.75 HR/9, which more than triples his 0.91 career HR/9.  His 42% ground ball rate is also well below his career 49.7% GBR, which especially hurts since Atchison isn’t a strikeout pitcher.

Cleveland signed Atchison to a $1MM extension last August that paid him a $900K base salary in 2015 as well as a $100K buyout of a $1MM option for 2016.  The right-hander was in the midst of a very solid 2.75 ERA campaign for the Tribe in 2014 and had posted very effective numbers from 2011-14 as a member of the Indians, Mets and Red Sox.

With Atchison’s release, only four players remain in limbo according to the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker: Erik Kratz (Red Sox), Rafael Lopez (Cubs), Jose Tabata (Pirates) and Chris Volstad (Pirates).


Indians Designate Scott Atchison

The Indians have designated righty Scott Atchison for assignment, the club announced. His roster spot will go to fellow right-hander Austin Adams.

Atchison, 39, had a great 2014 campaign, when he tossed 72 innings of 2.75 ERA ball for Cleveland with 6.1 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9. More broadly, he had performed well — at least according to ERA estimators, if not always results — dating back to the start of 2011. All said, the Indians felt comfortable giving Atchison a $1MM deal for 2015, which was agreed upon last August.

This year has been different, however. While his strikeout and walk numbers are similar, Atchison has not generated groundballs as consistently and has been punished by the long ball (25.0% HR/B, 2.75 HR/9). The average velocity on both his fastball and slider is down two full miles per hour. Even the most optimistic of advanced stats show him as a below-average performer at this point, and his ERA stands at an unsightly 6.86 over 19 2/3 innings.

Adams, 28, has put up big strikeout numbers this year at Triple-A, though that ability has not shown up yet in his limited MLB action over the last two years. In 18 1/3 total big league frames, he has a 4.91 ERA with 5.4 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9.


Indians Extend Scott Atchison

The Indians have agreed to a one-year, $1MM extension with righty Scott Atchison, the club announced via press release. According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (via Twitter), Atchison will earn $900K next season. The deal includes a $1MM club option for 2016, which comes with a $100K buyout.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians

Atchison, 38, has produced very solid results this year out of the pen since signing with Cleveland on a minor league deal. He owns a 2.95 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9, and has held opposing hitters to a paltry .218/.251/.342 line. The result is a surprisingly dominant 0.964 WHIP, the second time in three years that he’s been charged with less than one baserunner per inning. ERA estimators largely agree with the result, as Atchison has a 3.22 FIP, 3.17 xFIP, and 2.76 SIERA on the year. Remarkably, Atchison has run up his average fastball to a career-best 92.2 mph this season.

Despite his age, Atchison was set to qualify for arbitration next year for the final time after entering the season with just under five years of service time. Presumably, Cleveland was interested in cost certainty, and perhaps also sought something of a discount. (Coming off a less successful 2013, Atchison projected to earn $1.3MM through arbitration before being non-tendered.) For Atchison, the deal protects him from a late-season injury or potential non-tender situation. And the contract does extend team control by one season through the function of the option.

The deal is somewhat reminiscent of recent late-season, one-year extensions reached with veterans like Greg Dobbs (Marlins, 2013), Chad Tracy (Nationals, 2012), and Mark Kotsay (Padres, 2012). Several hurlers, too, have inked such deals, such as Tim Byrdak‘s 2011 extension with the Mets and Livan Hernandez‘s 2010 contract with the Nationals. Each of those guarantees came in under $1.5MM, though none contained an option year.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Wednesday

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:

  • Reliever Jose Valverde will make the Mets Opening Day roster, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN.com. The 36-year-old will occupy a 40-man slot. Last year, in 19 1/3 innings with the Tigers, Valverde threw to a 5.59 ERA. But he allowed only three earned runs in nine innings this spring, and more importantly struck out seven against just one walk.
  • The Indians have informed reliever Scott Atchison that he will be on the Opening Day roster, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports on Twitter. Accordingly, Atchison will need to be placed on the club's 40-man. The soon-to-be 38-year-old was non-tendered by the Mets before hooking on with Cleveland on a minor league deal. He had a strong spring, allowing just two runs and one walk in eight innings while striking out eight batters.

Indians Sign Scott Atchison

The Indians have signed right-hander Scott Atchison to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (on Twitter). Atchison is represented by agent Rich Thompson.

Atchison, 38 in March, was non-tendered by the Mets in November. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected him to earn $1.3MM in arbitration on the heels of a season that saw him post a 4.37 ERA in 45 1/3 innings with the Mets. Atchison averaged 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and posted a solid 48.7 percent ground-ball rate in New York last season.

Atchison is somewhat similar to Matt Albers, whom the Indians recently lost to free agency (Albers signed with the Astros). Though Albers is significantly younger, each right-hander makes up for a below-average strikeout rate by keeping the ball on the ground. Atchison's ground-ball rate isn't as pronounced as that of Albers, but he's posted superior walk rates to Albers since returning to the Majors from Japan in 2010.


National 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 National 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 Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP.  Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
  • The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
  • The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
  • The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com. 
  • The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
  • The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
  • The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
  • The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
  • The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
  • ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.

Mets Sign Scott Atchison

12:01pm: Atchison will make $700K at the MLB level and could earn $150K more in incentives, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (on Twitter).

9:23am: The Mets signed right-hander Scott Atchison to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced (on Twitter). Agent Rich Thompson represents Atchison, who turns 37 in March.

Atchison pitched for the Red Sox in 2012, posting a 1.58 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 51 1/3 innings. The Red Sox non-tendered him at the end of November instead of proceeding through the arbitration process with a projected $800K salary. Atchison missed two months with forearm tightness last summer but returned to make five appearances in September. He considered Tommy John surgery, ultimately avoiding the procedure.


Quick Hits: Atchison, Garcia, Vazquez, Dodgers

Free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez is getting his right meniscus repaired by one of the Marlins’ team doctors this Wednesday, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (Twitter links). The right-hander is expected to be throwing at full strength within two to three weeks. Though seven teams have expressed serious interest in Vazquez, he has not made a decision about playing in 2013 as of now. Here are some more links from around MLB…

  • Right-hander Scott Atchison expects to sign a minor league deal with a team other than the Red Sox this week, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich. Atchison told Drellich it the team he's closing in on will give him a good chance to make the Major League bullpen. Atchison was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear last August but has had "great results" in letting it heal with rest and rehab.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Pirates expressed interest in Freddy Garcia, but the 36-year-old hurler elected to sign a minor league deal with the Padres instead.
  • Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers have officially agreed to a 25-year, $7 billion TV deal, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports. The agreement will lead to the creation of a new regional sports network for the Los Angeles area; SportsNet L.A will launch in 2014.
  • The Rays signed free agent infielder Kelly Johnson today, but that won’t stop Ben Zobrist from playing “a lot” of second base for Tampa Bay, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Johnson, who played 79 games in left field as a rookie in 2005, will bounce around.
  • Michael Bourn still wants a five-year deal, yet the Mets aren't willing to go there, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (on Twitter). Here’s an explanation of how the Mets wanted to sign Bourn while keeping their first round draft pick this coming season.

Red Sox Notes: Lavarnway, Padilla, Lester, Cherington

The Red Sox’s signing of free agent catcher David Ross has fueled speculation that they will move either Ryan Lavarnway or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but neither catcher seems particularly concerned about the prospect, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  “I haven’t talked to anyone about it,” Lavarnway told reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. “The final roster is still so far away that you don’t know what’s going to happen. I have no control over it, at all, at this point, so I don’t think about it," said Lavarnway.  Here's more out of Boston..

  • General Manager Ben Cherington won't say that the club is open to trading Jon Lester, but he didn't completely close the door on the idea, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.  The Red Sox have reportedly had talks with the Royals centered on Lester and prospect Wil Myers.
  • Abraham (via Twitter) doesn't get the sense that Vicente Padilla isn't a priority for the club based on conversations he had with Red Sox people.  Last season, Padilla was one of the staples in Bobby Valentine's bullpen, posting a 4.50 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 50 innings of work.
  • Cherington says that the club will be working hard to strengthen the outfield with one or two pickups, tweets Abraham.  "We’ve always felt it’s important at Fenway to have not just somebody who can play right field but really two guys that can handle center or right. I think our best teams have had that in the past. Easier said that done. That would be optimal," Cherington said.
  • The GM went on to say that he expects the rotation to take a step up based mostly on the improved performance of the pitchers they have in-house, Abraham tweets.
  • The Red Sox would like to re-sign non-tenders Rich Hill and Scott Atchison, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
  • As we close in on the Winter Meetings, Cherington believes that it is still early in the offseason and expects to see things come together in the next week, Abraham tweets.

American League Non-Tenders

Here are today’s American League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.