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Scott Diamond Rumors
Here are today’s minor moves from around the game…
- Left-hander Scott Diamond has inked a Minor League contract with the Rays, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). Diamond was a Rule 5 pick of the Twins from the Braves organization back in 2010, and he surfaced with the team to post a strong season in 2012. That year, Diamond worked to a 3.54 ERA with 4.7 K/9, a league-best 1.6 BB/9 and 53.4 percent ground-ball rate. However, as we often see with low-strikeout pitchers, Diamond struggled in 2013 when his control regressed. His K/9 dipped to 3.6 while his BB/9 jumped to 2.5, and his ground-ball rate dropped to 46.9 percent. The result was a 5.43 ERA in 131 innings. Diamond will serve as depth for the Rays staff and hope to get a big league opportunity at some point this season.
- The Braves have acquired righty Sean Furney from the D-Backs for cash considerations, according to the Braves’ transactions page. The 23-year-old joined the D-Backs organization as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and has pitched to a 3.74 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 182 2/3 innings. Furney worked mostly as a starter at Class-A in 2014, but he did reach Double-A briefly at season’s end, making one start at that level.
Despite their acquisition of lefty Sam Freeman today, the Rangers are still on the hunt for bullpen help, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. They are not currently in any discussions for position players or starting pitchers. Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Freeman currently appear to be the only near-locks for the Rangers bullpen. They have, however, gotten some impressive Spring Training performances from inexperienced pitchers like Keone Kela, Roman Mendez and Jon Edwards. Here are more quick notes from the American League.
- Former Twins starting pitcher and free agent Scott Diamond threw for the Rays yesterday, 1500ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets. The Rays have a number of injuries in their rotation and are known to be hunting for starting pitching depth to stash at Triple-A Durham. Diamond last appeared in the big leagues in 2013. He spent last season pitching at Triple-A Rochester and Louisville, where he posted a combined 6.57 ERA, 4.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 123 1/3 innings.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says the team doesn’t seem likely to upgrade its backup catcher spot via the trade market, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. “We haven’t had any name come up that we like better than the people we have,” says Showalter. With Matt Wieters recovering from elbow surgery, Caleb Joseph is likely to serve as the Orioles’ starting catcher. Joseph himself isn’t much of an offensive threat, although he balanced some of his poor hitting last year with strong defense. Ryan Lavarnway appears to lead the competition to be Joseph’s backup.
If the Red Sox are serious about not wanting to over-commit in money or years to starters in free agency, then Alex Speier of the Boston Globe thinks the club might already be out of the running for next year’s available hurlers. David Price seems likely to command a contract in the Max Scherzer range, while an NL evaluator thinks Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann could find deals similar to Jon Lester‘s contract with the Cubs. The Sox topped out at $135MM for Lester this winter and they were only wiling to go that high because they were familiar with him and because he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached. The volume of high-level aces available in free agency next winter might not do much to keep prices down, Speier writes, as Scherzer and Lester showed this year that frontline starters will always command big contracts.
Here’s some more from Fenway Park…
- Left-hander Scott Diamond will throw a bullpen session for the Red Sox, 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter). Diamond posted a 4.43 ERA, 4.2 K/9 and 1.92 K/BB rate over 343 innings (all as a starter) with the Twins from 2011-13. He spent last season pitching for Minnesota and Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliates.
- Mookie Betts‘ name surfaced in many trade rumors this offseason, but the top prospect tells MLB.com’s Ian Browne that he’s happy to still be with the Red Sox. He tried his best to avoid the rumors, though his friends and family “try and keep up with all that stuff. I guess they want to play GM. They let me know the things that are going on.” Betts’ loved ones may be letting him know about this next item…
- …as Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron argues that a trade of Betts-for-Stephen Strasburg makes some sense for both the Red Sox and Nationals, though such a deal is “almost certainly not going to happen.” Betts would give the Nats an elite controllable talent, a big bench upgrade and he’d probably find plenty of everyday work filling in for the injured Jayson Werth or perhaps displacing Yunel Escobar at second. Tanner Roark could take Strasburg’s spot in the rotation and allow the Nats to explore re-signing Zimmerman. For Boston’s side, Strasburg gives their rotation a clear ace, and while Betts is a valuable piece for the Sox, his best positions (2B and CF) are both blocked by Dustin Pedroia and Rusney Castillo for the foreseeable future.
- The Sox are “focused short-term” on Allen Craig, GM Ben Cherington told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, as the team just wants him to get back into a rhythm following an injury-plagued season. Craig’s versatility will help him earn playing time on a crowded Boston roster, and John Farrell noted that Craig is open to all options, potentially even his first taste of third base since 2008.
Diamond struggled through 80 innings at Triple-A this year for Minnesota, posting a 6.52 ERA. He had spent significant time in the Twins rotation over each of the last two seasons. After a 173-inning, 3.54 ERA run in 2012, in which he posted just 4.7 K/9 but a sparkling 1.6 BB/9, Diamond came back to earth last year. Through 131 big league innings in 2013, he allowed 5.43 runs per nine with 3.6 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9.
The Twins have released pitcher Scott Diamond from Triple-A Rochester, reports Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. The former Rule 5 pick last pitched well in 2012 when he made 27 starts with a 3.54 ERA and 3.94 FIP. Minor leaguers hit well against Diamond this season, which led to a 6.53 ERA through 17 appearances and 15 starts. The command and control specialist is liable to latch onto a new club soon.
- White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham is used to trade rumors, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com. “Trade rumors don’t affect how I prepare and how I go about the game,” said Beckham. With a number of middle infield prospects waiting in the wings, the White Sox may be inclined to finally pull the trigger on a trade.
- The Dodgers are unlikely to acquire David Price or Cole Hamels, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. GM Ned Colletti confirmed the team is interested in both starters and relievers, but said “I don’t see us doing anything that’s going to tear apart the farm system.” Both Price and Hamels are expected to cost at least one top prospect along with other useful pieces.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com discusses the Phillies case as July deadline sellers. The team could shop two of the top starting pitchers in baseball, a closer, an entire outfield, and more in their bid to improve down the line. GM Ruben Amaro is “still assessing” the options, but it looks increasingly likely that some sort of sell off will occur. The club isn’t shying from dealing its big guns, though they will want multiple, controllable pieces in return. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins – both of whom have no-trade rights – are the least likely to be dealt.
SATURDAY: Diamond has accepted his outright assignment, tweets LaVelle E. Neal III.
THURSDAY: Diamond has cleared outright waivers, tweets Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That leaves him with 48 hours to elect free agency or instead take a Triple-A assignment with the Twins.
WEDNESDAY: The Twins have placed pitcher Scott Diamond on waivers, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Diamond did pitch particularly well in spring training (5.29 ERA with 13 strikeouts and ten walks in 17 innings) and did not make the Twins' rotation. He was out of options.
Diamond, 27, was one of many Twins starting pitchers to struggle in 2013 — he posted a 5.43 ERA with 3.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 131 innings before being demoted to Triple-A Rochester in August. Diamond has a career 4.43 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 343 big-league innings.
While there haven't been any extension talks (and won't be) between the Royals and James Shields, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that it's not completely out of the question for Shields to re-sign their ace this coming offseason. However, in order to do so, the team will need to make the postseason, he adds. Royals executives have said that they might take a loss this year due to the team's record payroll, but they also believe that a postseason run could push them into the black, according to Heyman. That type of turnaround could keep them in the bidding to retain Shields, who will hit free agency entering his age-33 season.
Here's more on baseball's Central divisions…
- Close to 25 scouts were on-hand to watch Jeff Samardzija's start against the Mariners yesterday, writes Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. According to Levine, the Blue Jays had three scouts present to watch the Cubs' Opening Day starter, including director of pro scouting and former Cubs GM Ed Lynch.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington tells Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he is not interested in making a trade for a backup catcher despite the injury to Chris Stewart (Twitter link). That suggests that Tony Sanchez will open the season as Pittsburgh's secondary backstop.
- Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at the Pirates' bullpen surplus, wondering if a trade of Vin Mazzaro or Bryan Morris (neither has minor league options remaining) is on the horizon. Brink writes that right-handers Stolmy Pimentel and Jeanmar Gomez (both also out of options) will open the season in the bullpen, leaving Morris and Mazzaro as logical trade candidates.
- The Twins have named former first-rounder and top prospect Kyle Gibson their fifth starter, reports La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That means that out-of-options starters Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno and Vance Worley are out of luck. Deduno will start the season in the bullpen, while Worley has already been placed on outright waivers (the expiration of those waivers has come and gone, but there's yet to be a report on his status). It's unclear at this time what Diamond's fate will be.
- Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma is trying not to focus on trade rumors surrounding his name, he tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss speculates that with the decision to option Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis, GM John Mozeliak could look to acquire a long reliever via trade.
- Other news from the game's Central divisions today included the Tigers' acquisition of Andrew Romine from the Angels as well as the news that flamethrowing setup man Bruce Rondon will be the latest victim of Tommy John surgery. Also, Indians minor league signee David Aardsma was granted his release.
SB Nation's Grant Brisbee examines the ups and downs of Joe Mauer's contract and wonders what Mauer would have signed for had he been a free agent this offseason. Mauer is owed $115MM over the remainder of his contract, and while Brisbee feels he'd fall a bit shy of that, he still predicts a healthy six-year, $101MM contract. Mauer would have been the second-best hitter in this year's free agent class, Brisbee notes, pointing out that among 2013-14 free agents, only Robinson Cano has a higher OPS+ than Mauer over the past two seasons. More Twins-related news and rumors…
- Mike Pelfrey's two-year, $11MM contract with the Twins includes $3.5MM in incentives based on innings thresholds, as broken down by Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- There isn't any change in negotiations between the Twins and Matt Garza, according to 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson (Twitter links). As Wolfson reported earlier this week, Minnesota is willing to meet Garza's price but only on a short-term deal, while Garza is looking for a longer commitment.
- The Twins are not one of the six teams that have expressed interest in a minor league deal for Nyjer Morgan, according to Darren Wolfson (Twitter link). Morgan recently switched agents and is weighing a return to the Majors after a strong season in Japan.
- Major League sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that a reunion between the Twins and Johan Santana is a real possibility. Minnesota has continued to discuss its former ace internally, has stayed in contact with Santana's agents and has some interest in a reunion.
- The Twins face an interesting battle for the fifth spot in their rotation, wrote MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger in his most recent Twins Inbox. Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are all out of minor league options, but the rotation figures to have room for just one of the three with Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey all under control. That's to say nothing of top prospect Kyle Gibson, who struggled in 2013 but still projects to be in the rotation at some point. Bollinger feels that Deduno is the front-runner for the fifth spot but doesn't see a Worley or Diamond trade happening until at least midway through Spring Training, as each pitcher's value is at a low point.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Twins have retained Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond by working out a trade with the Braves, tweets MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. The Twins are sending righty relief prospect Billy Bullock to the Braves in the deal. Diamond was assigned outright to Triple-A, according to the Twins.
Diamond, a 24-year-old southpaw, posted a 3.46 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 0.3 HR/9 in 158 2/3 innings across 27 starts at Double and Triple-A last year. Baseball America ranked him 29th among Twins prospects, noting that his ceiling is as a fourth or fifth starter.
Bullock, 23, put up a 3.53 ERA, 12.8 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 74 relief innings for the Twins' High-A and Double-A clubs last year. BA ranked Bullock 15th among Twins prospects, praising his repertoire but questioning his command. Having swapped their #15 prospect for their 29th best, the Twins clearly don't agree with Baseball America's rankings in this case.
The Twins announced their 25-man Opening Day roster today, and one player who didn't make the cut was left-hander Scott Diamond. Manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that they're now trying to work out a deal with the Braves to keep the Rule 5 Draft pick in the organization (Twitter link).
Diamond, 24, allowed one run in six innings this spring, but he walked six and struck out just two. Baseball America ranked him as the 29th-best prospect in the Twins' system in the 2011 edition of their Prospect Handbook, saying Diamond throws four pitches but has the ceiling of a fourth or fifth starter. They predicted that he'd fill a long relief or lefty specialist role had he made the club.
Atlanta originally signed Diamond as an undrafted free agent back in 2007. If the Twins are unable to work out a trade to keep him, he would have to first clear waivers and be offered back to the Braves before he could go to the minors.