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Scott Baker Rumors
MLB is nearing agreement on a plan to send an All-Star squad off to Japan this November for a series against the Japanese national team, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Of course, the league has a rich history of sending its best on tour to one of the world’s great ballplaying nations.
Here are some notes from around the American League:
- Manny Ramirez is still looking for another opportunity, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While recent contact with the Orioles failed to materialize into an offer, a scout who has seen Ramirez work out recently said that the 42-year-old slugger looks fit and was impressive with the bat. Agent Alex Esteban tells Heyman that most of the interest has come from American League teams, though several NL clubs have checked in as well. MLBTR’s Zach Links reported back in February that Ramirez had elected to join Miami Sports Management.
- The Rangers regretted the need to designate Scott Baker for assignment after a brief call-up, reports MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. With Baker needing several days of rest after throwing 5 1/3 innings of relief in his only appearance, and the bullpen looking overworked, GM Jon Daniels said the move was an unfortunate necessity. “He did everything we asked,” said Daniels. “Unfortunately we are at a spot where the bullpen is taxed because our starters are not getting deep into games.” (Of course, the most recent Rangers starter — ace Yu Darvish — did manage to go deep in tonight’s game.) As for Baker’s fate, Daniels says that the club will “see if there is trade interest” but otherwise will place him on outright waivers.
- With the fifth overall slot in the upcoming amateur draft, the Twins could be eyeing either high school shortstop Nick Gordon or college righty Aaron Nola, ESPN.com’s Keith Law wrote in a chat yesterday. Law also notes that the Blue Jays could be a player for injured righty Jeff Hoffman, who could also intrigue several other AL clubs (Law lists the Astros, Royals, and Red Sox, while also citing the Nationals as a possibility).
The Rangers will execute a series of roster moves, the club announced. Texas will designate righty Scott Baker and infielder Josh Wilson to help create roster space for the call-up of top prospects Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor.
In the aggregate, the moves represent a fairly substantial re-working of the club’s roster as the injuries continue to mount. Also involved in today’s moves were infielder Donnie Murphy, who was placed on the DL, and righty Justin Germano, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A.
Baker, 32, made just one appearance for Texas, throwing 5 1/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs. The veteran had decided not to exercise his opt-out clause with the team, and was rewarded at the time with a call-up. The 33-year-old Wilson had taken 72 plate appearances with the team, putting up a .224/.257/.269 triple-slash.
Both Odor and Sardinas are 20-year-old middle infielders out of Venezuela — though the latter is actually nearly a year older — who have consistently been ranked among the team’s top prospects by evaluators. Baseball America put Odor at 42nd on its top 100 list, while predicting a 2015 arrival. Other observers, such as ESPN.com’s Keith Law (64th) and MLB.com (54th) roughly concurred with that placement. Sardinas, who already received a cup of coffee in 2014, landed at the 70th overall slot on MLB.com’s rankings, though he did not appear it the top 100 of either of the other two.
Before the season, BA called Odor the club’s top prospect. In that publication’s view, while he is somewhat undersized, Odor’s raw tools play up due to an outstanding swing and approach, strong baserunning instincts, and overall positive intangibles. While Odor is heralded mostly for his bat, Sardinas is a glove-first prospect. Speed, range, arm strength, and contact at the dish are the calling cards for the youngster.
The pair of middle infielders entered the year without any MLB service time. Were they to stick on the active roster from this point forward, both players would stand to pick up 143 days of service and position themselves as fairly sure bets to achieve Super Two status. (As MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently noted with respect to the call-up of Marcus Stroman, the highest level of service required for Super Two status in recent years has been two years and 146 days. This year, it projects to land at just 2.128.) On the other hand, given their youth and the presumptive return of Jurickson Profar and Murphy, this call-up may not be permanent.
The Angels, who have reportedly run into difficulties in their negotiations for a new deal to extend the team’s lease in Anaheim, are discussing potential alternative sites in two other California locations, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times: Tustin and, most recently, Irvine. A 2016 opt-out of the team’s current lease is looming in the near future.
- In his podcast today (audio link), ESPN.com’s Buster Olney touched on several topics relating to the Tigers. Club GM Dave Dombrowski, joining for an interview, said that he is still looking internally first for bullpen solutions, calling it “a little early for clubs to be making trades at this time.”
- Dombrowski also talked about Robbie Ray, the key piece acquired in the Doug Fister trade. He indicated that Detroit’s evaluators seemingly placed a higher value on Ray than did other teams around the league, saying that Ray “projects to be at least a number-three starter.” Though the club does not expect him to reach that level (let alone his potential ceiling) during his first call-up, Dombrowski said that Ray has thrown well enough at Triple-A to earn a chance to fill in at the big league level.
- Discussing the Tigers’ reported $144MM extension offer that Max Scherzer declined with fellow ESPN analyst Keith Law, Olney noted that many players and agents he has spoken with felt they would have taken the deal. But the calculating Scherzer — who, in Olney’s opinion, may be the “pitcher’s version of Joey Votto” in terms of his incorporation of statistical analysis into his game — apparently determined that he will hold a good enough hand to warrant the risk of waiting for free agency.
- Starter Scott Baker has not elected his opt-out clause with the Rangers, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com, after apparently not finding a major league opportunity elsewhere. If he finds such a chance, however, Baker will be able to opt out at that time, Cotillo adds.
2014 looked like a rebuilding year for the White Sox, but with Jose Abreu bursting onto the scene to become a star power bat, could the Pale Hose contend this season? GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes and MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) that “it really is a balancing act. You don’t want to pass on a chance to win. They are sacred. At the same time, this is a long-term proposition we are trying to build here, sustain over an extended period, and we don’t want to hamper our ability to do that.” It’s still too early in the season to make “short-sighted” moves, Hahn said, yet if the Sox are in the race in a couple of months, the team will re-evaluate its goals for the season.
Here’s some more from around the junior circuit…
- White Sox executive VP Kenny Williams talked to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times about his experience scouting Abreu and then his discussions with owner Jerry Reinsdorf about raising the club’s bid for the heavily-courted slugger. It was Reinsdorf, Williams said, who actually endorsed paying more for Abreu. The extra push seems to have paid off, judging by Abreu’s huge April performance.
- The Yankees are interested in Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell, according to media outlet Diario de Cuba (hat tip to Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues). The Yankees scouted Carbonell during a February workout. The switch-hitting 23-year-old is a free agent and can be signed for any price as long as he signs before July 2.
- Astros amateur scouting director Mike Elias discusses his team’s scouting process, current top prospects and the upcoming 2014 amateur draft with Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.
- It looks like Scott Baker will indeed stay with the Rangers‘ Triple-A affiliate, sources tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (Twitter link). Cotillo previously reported that Baker would only use his May 1 opt-out clause if he could find a Major League deal with another team, and the White Sox and Indians had some interest in Baker’s services.
With Rangers right-hander Scott Baker‘s May 1 opt-out date fast approaching, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo hears that both the Indians and White Sox could have some interest in the former Twins and Cubs right-hander (Twitter link). Baker’s career has stalled since 2012 Tommy John surgery, and Cotillo reported yesterday that he’d only opt out if he were to receive a big league opportunity elsewhere. Baker’s strong performance in Triple-A — a 2.81 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in his first 32 innings — could be enticing to teams with rotation issues. Elsewhere in the AL Central…
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN has a couple of draft-related items for Twins fans (Twitter links), as he reports that Minnesota “loves” Texas prep right-hander Tyler Kolek, though the team is fairly certain he’ll be taken prior to their No. 5 overall selection (MLB.com has Kolek ranked third among draft prospects, while ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him second last month). Also, Wolfson reports that the Twins and Blue Jays are both interested in Minnesota prep left-hander/first baseman Sam Hentges.
- Wolfson’s colleague Phil Mackey takes on the MLB All-Star nomination system, blasting it for its failure to keep up with technology. Mackey uses Chris Colabello, who is not on the ballot, as a prime example of the system’s failures. He asks why MLB can’t adjust on the fly after projected starters are submitted early in Spring Training, concluding: “Presumably because they already printed out millions of hanging-chad paper ballots to be distributed throughout ballparks in an era where two out of every three adults owns a smartphone in this country.”
MLBTR is pleased to report that the missing portion of our archives that was lost when switching to WordPress following our DDoS attack has been restored. Previously, posts from mid-March through mid-April weren’t viewable, but everything is up to speed now. So, if you missed the details on Joel Hanrahan‘s audition for 20 teams, Sean Doolittle‘s contract extension, or George Springer‘s promotion to the Majors, all of that info is once again available. Speaking of Doolittle and Springer, here are some notes pertaining to their division…
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wonders how much longer the Rangers can carry J.P. Arencibia on their roster. The 28-year-old is hitting jus .094/.171/.156 without a homer this season, leading Grant to believe that Texas could be talking with the Padres about one of their catchers. San Diego is reportedly in active trade talks regarding Nick Hundley.
- Rangers right-hander Scott Baker is pitching well in Triple-A (2.81 ERA in 32 innings) and has received interest from several other teams as his May 1 opt-out date approaches, reports MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Baker would only opt out of his current deal if it led to a Major League opportunity with another club, he adds. Baker’s former club, the Twins, isn’t interested in a reunion, according to reports from this past weekend.
- The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that United States Bankruptcy Judge Mavin Isgur will rule within two weeks whether he has subject matter jurisdiction to hear Astros owner Jim Crane’s lawsuit against Comcast, NBC Universal and former owner Drayton McLane. Comcast took the case federal last November because of its ties to CSN Houston’s own bankruptcy case, though Crane would like it to remain a matter for the state courts.
- Athletics righty Jim Johnson pitched poorly enough to open the season that he lost his role as closer, but scouts expressed to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend that Johnson looks much better than he did early in the season. One scout on Sunday told Slusser that Johnson’s sinker is as good as anyone in the game right now. With Doolittle and Gregerson failing to run with the closer’s role, Johnson could find himself back in the ninth. Fantasy baseball players can, of course, keep up with Johnson’s status and other closer-related news by following MLBTR’s @closernews on Twitter.
Robinson Cano will be making his first trip to the Bronx since signing his ten-year, $240MM contract when the Mariners open a series against the Yankees on Tuesday. Cano explained the differences between Seattle and New York to Newsday’s Anthony Rieber. “Here it’s more relaxed. It’s not as intense as New York,” Cano said. “In New York, when the game is over, everyone is looking at what’s wrong. Here we don’t have that.” Cano is hopeful there won’t be many Bronx cheers from the Yankee faithful upon his return. “They understand that this is a business and I don’t have anything against the fans, the team, anybody. I can tell you I’m excited to go back and be able to see guys that I played with for a long time. Be able to see [Derek] Jeter play in his last year. Just looking forward to going back.”
In other news and notes from the American League:
- The Tigers may start to see additional dividends from the Doug Fister trade, reports Chris Iott of mlive.com. Left-hander Robbie Ray, acquired from the Nationals in that December deal, is a leading candidate to replace the injured Anibal Sanchez in the rotation. Ray has posted a 1.93 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9 in his four starts for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers have yet to decide who will fill in for Sanchez; but, if Ray is their choice, they will need to create roster space since the 22-year-old isn’t on the 40-man roster.
- The A’s bullpen has had mixed result this season and the coaching staff is trying to navigate the fine line between a closer-by-committee and the comfort provided by having well-defined roles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
- The Twins were called this weekend about the prospects of signing right-hander Scott Baker, but have no interest, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Baker is currently pitching for the Rangers‘ Triple-A affiliate (2.77 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9 in 26 innings covering four starts), but has a May 1st opt-out date.
The Rangers have reached agreement with pitcher Scott Baker, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). It is a minor-league deal, Heyman tweets. Baker's new deal will be worth up to $1MM at the big-league level and contains a May 1 opt-out date, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. if A deal was rumored to be close yesterday evening. Baker is represented by Octagon.
The Rangers recently set their rotation (via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram on Twitter) with Tanner Scheppers, Martin Perez, Robbie Ross, Joe Saunders and Nick Martinez), but Baker should add depth to a rotation that has struggled with injuries. Derek Holland will miss at least a chunk of the season, Yu Darvish is unable to make his Opening Day start, and Matt Harrison is out as well. Baker made three starts with the Cubs last season after missing the entire 2012 season after having Tommy John surgery. He was previously a longtime member of the Twins rotation.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Rangers are close to a deal with starting pitcher Scott Baker, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish initially reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were "making progress" on a deal. Baker is represented by Octagon.
Baker requested, and received, his release from the Mariners Monday. He made three starts with the Cubs in 2013 as he recovered from elbow issues that had kept him out of the Majors since 2011. The Rangers are trying to fill an increasingly injury-plagued rotation that currently includes Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross and Joe Saunders. Yu Darvish, who's dealing with a neck injury, will not start Opening Day, and the team has recently ruled out Colby Lewis as a rotation candidate.
The Dodgers have the highest projected payroll in baseball at $235MM, which means that, for the first time in 15 years, the Yankees do not have baseball's highest payroll, the Associated Press reports. Also, the Dodgers' Zack Greinke will top the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez for baseball's highest-paid player. Greinke will make $24MM in the second year of his contract, and MLB's accounting also includes a prorated portion of his signing bonus. Greinke would have counted as the highest-paid player in the game even if Rodriguez hadn't been suspended for the season. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- Pitcher Scott Baker is "making progress" on a deal with the injury-ravaged Rangers, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com tweets. The Mariners released Baker yesterday. Baker, 32, has played sparingly in the Majors since 2011, due to elbow troubles.
- The Mariners want to find a right-handed hitter, and they might not trade Nick Franklin unless they find one, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. A righty would help the Mariners balance a lefty-heavy lineup that includes Robinson Cano, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders.
- Veteran infielder John McDonald has made the Angels roster, and he's thinking about what could be his last season in the big leagues, writes MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. "This could be my last year," McDonald says. "I'm not going to have a press conference to announce it. … You never know what can happen. I don't like putting a timetable on anything. I'm 39. I'm not foolish. There is only so long you can play." McDonald has never played more than 123 games in a season but, mostly thanks to his defense, he's managed to eke out a 15-year career with the Indians, Tigers, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Red Sox and now the Angels.