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Sean Marshall Rumors
Javier Baez is “definitely on the radar screen” for a September call-up with the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon tells Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN. Van Valkenburg chronicles the lengthy and difficult season for Baez, who dealt with the painful loss of his sister, Noely, early in the year and later broke his finger sliding into second base at Triple-A. The injury “might have been the best thing that ever happened” to Baez, Triple-A manager Marty Pevey tells Van Valkenburg, as his approach was much improved after taking some time away from the game, and he looked to have made some “veteran adjustments.” Van Valkenburg’s column provides readers with an excellent, in-depth look at Baez’s journey from childhood in Bayamon, Puerto Rico to his high school days in Jacksonville, Fla., to his 2014 debut and 2015 season, all while giving a look at the personal and family struggles he’s dealt with along the way. It’s well worth a full read.
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Pirates top shortstop prospect Cole Tucker will miss the remainder of the season, and possibly most of next season, the Pirates told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Tucker, the 24th overall pick in the 2014 draft, underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder and will be sidelined for 10 to 12 months. Tucker batted .293/.322/.377 with a pair of homers and 25 steals in 73 games at Class A.
- Reds left-hander Sean Marshall has been throwing off a mound every three days throughout the month of August and hopes to pitch again before season’s end, writes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. Marshall had his second shoulder surgery on May 20 this year and has not taken a big league mound all season. He has, in fact, only thrown 24 1/3 innings over the entire life of the three-year, $16.5MM extension he signed prior to the 2013 campaign. Marshall tells Sheldon he’s been throwing 35 to 40 pitches per session, including curveballs, in addition to playing long toss. Marshall, a free agent at season’s end, would benefit from getting into games and displaying some form of health in the final month of the season.
- The Brewers have already gotten a look at Domingo Santana in all three outfield positions, and manager Craig Counsell said for the time being, that’s the best way to get him regular at-bats, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak. Moving forward, the Brewers have three corner outfielders for two spots — an issue I touched on in yesterday’s MLBTR Mailbag — but Counsell isn’t worried about a potential logjam at this time. “I don’t think we need to figure that out right now,” said Counsell of determining Santana’s long-term position. “I think what’s important is that he starts getting experience just facing big-league pitching and being in big-league games.”
The Reds are suffering through an eight-game losing streak and, as you’ll read here, dealing with a number of key injuries as well. Here’s the latest from Cincinnati…
- Johnny Cueto will have his right elbow examined today, Joe Kay of the Associated Press tweets. Cueto missed his scheduled start on Sunday due to what manager Bryan Price described to reporters yesterday (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) as “more than his usual elbow stiffness,” which prompted the Reds to be cautious with their ace, though Price felt Cueto probably could have pitched if absolutely necessary. “I don’t think it’s anything anybody is concerned with….If he needs a little extra time, he’s certainly earned it,” Price said. It should be noted that an elbow exam is a pretty routine step whenever a pitcher is experiencing any discomfort, so the fact that Cueto is undergoing an examination is not necessarily a bad sign. Still, Price said today that Cueto “hasn’t had total relief. I’d have thought by now, he would.” Any type of health issue for Cueto is worth monitoring given his status as both one of the top free agents of the 2015-16 offseason and potentially a big deadline trade chip for the struggling Reds.
- In a welcome turn of events for Reds reliever Sean Marshall, the left-hander could be back pitching this season, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Last week, Marshall went in for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder, which was expected to end his season and potentially threaten his career. Instead, doctors discovered that full surgery wasn’t needed and instead just removed some scar tissue, so Marshall could be back on the mound this year if all goes well in his recovery. The southpaw has thrown just 25 1/3 innings over the last two seasons due to a variety of injury problems, including rotator cuff surgery last June.
- Devin Mesoraco has been placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to last Thursday) with a left hip injury, the team announced via Twitter. Mesoraco has been limited to 51 plate appearances this season due to his hip impingement, and he’s appeared as a catcher in only six of his 23 games; the Reds have been trying to keep him healthy by using him as a pinch-hitter and interleague DH. Both the player and team were looking to exhaust all possibilities before turning to surgery, though a season-ending hip operation may now be the only option.
- The Reds are looking more and more like trade deadline sellers, and though Jay Bruce is only hitting .211/.311/.408 in 164 PA, he could be a trade chip, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. “I’d take a flyer on him and see if our on-the-field people could fix him,” an AL scout told Fay. “He looks healthy. His home runs and walks still grade out at 60 to 65 (on the 80-point scale). It’s just that his hit-ability is at 25 right now.”
Doug Fister received good news regarding his forearm flexor strain, tweets Dan Kolko of MASN Sports. An MRI revealed no issues with Fister’s elbow, according to Nationals manager Matt Williams. The right-hander may resume throwing in a few days. Fister is a free agent after the season so the MRI results are especially welcome. He’s off to a slow start with a 4.31 ERA, 4.08 K/9, and 2.27 BB/9.
Here’s more injury news from around the league:
- Rehabbing Reds reliever Sean Marshall will need a second shoulder surgery, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Marshall is suffering from a torn anterior capsule and will be out for the remainder of the season. His previous shoulder surgery was to repair his rotator cuff. Marshall is in the final season of a three-year, $16.5MM contract. He’ll earn $6.5MM in 2015. His last full season was in 2012 when he picked up nine saves to go with a 2.51 ERA, 10.92 K/9, and 2.36 BB/9.
- Tigers righty Shane Greene also received good news via MRI, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com. The preliminary results of the MRI revealed that the tingling Greene felt in his throwing hand on Friday night was the result of ulnar neuritis. There was some concern that the discomfort could signal a problem with his elbow. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008. He has a 4.21 ERA, 5.36 K/9, and 2.49 BB/9 in 47 innings.
On the Cubs‘ young roster, Anthony Rizzo has become a leader at the tender age of 25, Peter Gammons writes. Actually, because he’s close in age to many of the Cubs’ top young players, Rizzo is a more meaningful leader than a 30-something veteran might be. Cubs executives Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod (who praised Rizzo’s makeup after drafting him when Rizzo was just 17) have been by Rizzo’s side throughout much of his baseball life. McLeod drafted Rizzo with the Red Sox, and then Hoyer and McLeod acquired Rizzo in the first Adrian Gonzalez trade when the two executives were in the Padres front office. Then, when Hoyer and McLeod headed to the Cubs before the 2012 season, they traded for Rizzo again, this time in the Andrew Cashner trade. Here’s more from the National League.
- The Reds have announced that reliever Sean Marshall will have surgery Wednesday to fix the torn anterior capsule in his oft-injured left (throwing) shoulder. The surgery will be performed by Mets doctor David Altcheck. It’s been a rough few years for the 32-year-old Marshall, who last pitched a full season in 2012, the same year the Reds signed him to a three-year, $16.5MM extension.
- Top Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges is adjusting to being a bench player after being promoted to the big leagues two weeks ago, Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Hedges, who’s backing up Derek Norris, has collected just 11 plate appearances since his debut on May 4. “When I’m catching every day you don’t do as much because you’ve got to save your body to be able to catch,” Hedges says. “When I’m not playing, I’ve got to be doing things, game-like blocking drills, throwing to bases more, we just did popups today, working on things so that when I’m in there it’s not like I haven’t done anything for four or five days or however many days it is.”
While it may seem curious to some that the Royals are adding relief arms such as Franklin Morales because of the perceived strength of their bullpen, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes that the bullpen isn’t as deep as the team would like. The Royals are hoping for a return to form from Luke Hochevar, but he’s less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Tim Collins and Louis Coleman each posted FIP marks of 4.80 or higher with poor strikeout-to-walk ratios, and other candidates such as Rule 5 pick Jandel Gustave, journeyman Joe Paterson and reclamation projects Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton offer little certainty. While 2014 top pick and late-season bullpen weapon Brandon Finnegan is an option, the club still wants to develop him as a starter, which likely means more time in the minors.
Here’s more from baseball’s Central divisions…
- Finnegan, for his part, tells McCullough that he would prefer to open the season with the Royals as a reliever than go back to the minor leagues as a starting pitcher (Twitter link). Of course, it’s not surprising that he’d prefer to remain with the Major League club any way that he can, however, as McCullough points out, it’s also not his decision. Certainly, Finnegan’s long-term value to the club would be increased were he able to make it as a starting pitcher, and he may not have to wait that long for a shot, as Jeremy Guthrie can become a free agent next winter.
- While some players will admit that a trade suits them best when their path to playing time becomes obscured, Welington Castillo tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he hopes to remain with the Cubs even after their acquisitions of Miguel Montero and David Ross (Twitter link). Castillo looks to be an expensive and perhaps superfluous third catcher at this stage, and there have been some indications that the 27-year-old may find himself with a new team before Opening Day.
- Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette argues that the Pirates should have found a way to avoid arbitration with Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Vance Worley rather than ending up in hearings that resulted in a savings of a mere $50K. While Cook is accurate that the money saved was minimal, GM Neal Huntington explained via email that the team’s goal was “to simply explain why the club’s submitted salary is a more accurate salary for the player based on other comparable past and current players than the player’s submitted salary.” I’d add that teams feel a sense of responsibility to the rest of the league to manage arbitration salaries, as the arbitration process is based largely on statistical comparables.
- Reds lefty Sean Marshall has had a minor setback in recovery from his June shoulder surgery and isn’t throwing from the mound yet, he tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. However, Marshall is pleased with how his offseason has progressed and isn’t concerned about having to slow things down a bit. The 32-year-old has pitched just 24 1/3 innings since signing a three-year, $16.5MM extension with Cincinnati, though he was among the game’s elite left-handed relievers the three seasons prior (2010-12).
The Cubs announced their finalized coaching staff for the 2015 season today, which included a pair of new additions: hitting coach John Mallee and first base/outfield coach Doug Dascenzo. Mallee spent the 2010-11 seasons as the Marlins’ hitting coach and the 2013-14 seasons as the hitting coach for the Astros. He also spent eight seasons with the Marlins as a minor league hitting instructor and brings to the table 19 overall years of pro baseball experience. Dascenzo spent the 2014 season as Atlanta’s third base coach and has previously spent 13 seasons in the Padres’ minor league system as a manager or coach. The rest of the coaching staff will return, though first base coach Eric Hinske will shift from first base coach to assistant hitting coach.
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Reds lefty Sean Marshall tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that he’s progressing well in his rehab from June shoulder surgery. While he still has some range of motion work to do, Marshall says that he feels like he “has a whole new shoulder” and is aiming a return in Spring Training of next year. The 32-year-old has been limited to just 31 appearances over the past two seasons and is entering the final season of a three-year, $16.5MM contract.
- In a second piece, Sheldon also spoke with Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who has a $10MM club option this offseason that the team is a lock to exercise. Cueto said that despite the small nature of Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, he enjoys pitching there and wants to remain with the Reds. As manager Bryan Price noted to Sheldon, however, it’s unlikely that the team can afford to retain Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon, all of whom are free agents following the 2015 season. As Sheldon points out, Cueto is by far the most attractive trade chip of the bunch, and the Reds may not be able to afford his price tag if they look to go the extension route. They could, of course, also take another shot at contending next season and either trade Cueto in July if they fall out of the race or make a qualifying offer at season’s end if they do contend.
- Top international prospect Gilbert Lara, signed by the Brewers for a $3.2MM bonus this summer, has selected Len Strelitz and Nick Chanock of the Wasserman Media Group as his agents, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
1:15pm: While talks aren't dead, concerns over Marshall's health could ultimately kill the deal, tweets Renck. The Rockies were "aggressively" pursuing the lefty as recently as last night, he adds.
TUESDAY, 12:39pm: The Rockies and Reds discussed Sean Marshall at length last night, and a trade appeared close at one point, according to Renck. However, those talks have idled for the time being. It's not clear whether the Reds would have included any salary relief to help offset the remaining $12MM on Marshall's deal, Renck adds.
MONDAY: As they search for relief help, the Rockies appear to have shifted their focus from the free agent market to trade talks, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. According to Renck, Colorado is "pushing hard" to acquire a hard-throwing relief pitcher to add to the back end of its bullpen.
Renck noted earlier today that Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour were among the free agent power arms that interested the Rockies, but the price tags on those players and other top relievers will likely be too high for Colorado.
The Rockies' current plan is for LaTroy Hawkins to close games, so the club is looking for another arm to complement Rex Brothers in a setup role. Renck mentions Royals pitchers Wade Davis, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar as possible fits, though Kansas City is far from the only team willing to move relievers.
Here are a few notes from around baseball's Central divisions:
- With the Reds welcoming the division-rival Cubs for a three-game set on the same day that Cincinnati reliever Sean Marshall made another DL trip, Hal McCoy of the Dayton Times looked back on the December 2011 deal between these clubs that put Marshall in the Reds' pen. Travis Wood, the primary piece going to Chicago in that trade, is off to a sparkling start to the year with a 2.24 ERA over 60 1/3 innings. While he has posted a pedestrian 5.8 K/9 to go with 2.8 BB/9, Wood has managed a stellar .928 WHIP this season, good for seventh best among starters, tied with Shelby Miller. (Of course, that mark owes to the lefty's exceedingly low .193 BABIP-against. He sports a career mark of .262; league average currently sits at .292.) Marshall, meanwhile, continues to be effective when he is healthy: he sports an ERA of just over 2.50 over his two seasons in Cincinnati. It is worth noting, as well, that the Reds' rotation is in fine shape thus far without Wood: Cinci starters own the second-best collective ERA in baseball, after the Cardinals.
- Even if the Cubs have played better than their record, the team is looking up in the standings at a host of strong ballclubs. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the club is already feeling the mid-summer trade deadline, though it remains a ways away. Manager Dale Sveum acknowledged that, while the team is still "trying to put things together where you pull off some streaks … to give yourself a chance to give yourself hope," the team "all know[s] that if we don't, there can be changes." Wittenmyer says that a number of players could be on the trading block, including starters Scott Feldman and Matt Garza, relivers Kevin Gregg and James Russell, and outfielder David DeJesus.
- The Cubs' major offseason acquisition, pitcher Edwin Jackson, has been a disappointment among an otherwise solid rotation. Nevertheless, the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan reports, Jackson is in no danger of losing his starting role. Sveum said that the team is "going to stick with him," in part due to Jackson's four-year, $52MM deal. Said Sveum: "You've got a commitment there and you've got to stick with the commitment."
- Twins first bagger Justin Morneau, a soon-to-be free agent, has not engaged in any extension talks with his team, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. As Morneau finishes off his six-year, $80MM deal with Minnesota, he has failed to restore the power that landed him that contract. Morneau slashed .345/.437/.628 over an injury-shortened 2010 season, but registered a .267/.333/.440 line last year and currently sits at .312/.353/.416 over 190 plate appearances this season.
- Marshall will earn $4.5MM in 2013, $5.5MM in 2014, and $6.5MM in 2015 according to the AP (via John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer on Twitter). The southpaw can earn $1MM more per year if he closes for the Reds.
- “We’re obviously very excited about it,” said Reds GM Walt Jocketty to reporters (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon) about Marshall's deal. “When we made the trade for him, we made it intending to extend him. We felt confident we would do that. We wanted to approach it sooner than later.”
- The Pirates are still willing to work out a long-term extension with Andrew McCutchen, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. McCutchen's camp is looking for something close to the $51MM given to Justin Upton while the club is coming in around $10MM below that.
- Jeff Francis told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that his final decision came between the Reds and Mets (Twitter link). The southpaw signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati last month.
- "We saw this coming years ago," said Pirates team president Frank Coonelly to Biertempfel when asked about the new draft spending restrictions. "We pushed money up to make sure we'd be taking advantage of opportunities we had last year and the year before."
The Reds announced a three-year extension with lefty reliever Sean Marshall, which runs through 2015. The contract is worth $16.5MM, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes there's $2MM in performance bonuses each year, $1MM for games started and $1MM for games finished. The 29-year-old has yet to throw a pitch for his new team, having been acquired from the Cubs in a December trade. Marshall, a client of Meister Sports Management, was already under control through 2012 due to a previous two-year deal.
With the new contract, Reds GM Walt Jocketty prevents one of the game's best relievers from reaching free agency after the season. Since converting to relief full-time in 2010, the lanky southpaw owns a 2.45 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 over 150 1/3 innings, allowing just four home runs in that span. Marshall's $16.5MM contract does not represent a discount, matching the high bar set for non-closing relievers by Joaquin Benoit, who signed as a free agent with the Tigers in November 2010.
As MLBTR's extension tracker shows, in recent times five other non-closer relievers have signed extensions heading into contract years: Ryan Madson of the Phillies, Rafael Soriano of the Braves, Dan Wheeler of the Rays, Matt Belisle of the Rockies, and Casey Janssen of the Blue Jays. That's not to say Marshall won't end up closing if Madson departs the Reds after the season; we'll be monitoring the situation on Twitter @closernews.
For a look at the remaining relievers in the 2012-13 free agent class, check out our list here.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.