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The Reds are currently “examining offers” for closer Aroldis Chapman, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney, but at this time, there’s no sense as to whether or not they feel “devoted” to finishing a trade as they did with Johnny Cueto over the weekend. Chapman’s name has been connected to the Nationals (who have since acquired Jonathan Papelbon), D-Backs, Blue Jays and others in recent weeks, but because he’s controlled through 2016, the urge to move him isn’t as great as the urge to move Cueto or teammate Mike Leake.
A few more general trade notes for all you late-night readers…
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick gets the sense that the Athletics won’t move right-hander Jesse Chavez (Twitter link). I listed Chavez in my breakdown of the trade market for starting pitching, but as Crasnick notes, he’s controlled through 2016 at what should be a reasonable rate. Chavez is owed just $2.15MM in 2015 and should get a nice, but not enormous raise in arbitration this winter. Following today’s trade of Ben Zobrist, A’s general manager Billy Beane said that he didn’t plan on moving pieces that are controlled beyond the current season.
- Sticking with the ESPN group, Jayson Stark noted in today’s roundup of trade rumors that one exec predicted to him that James Shields would end up with the Giants. However, Stark hears that the Padres have changed their stance on trading within the division and now may be hesitant to trade their top chips to a division-rival. San Diego, of course, made a huge intra-division trade by acquiring Matt Kemp from the Dodgers this offseason.
- Speaking of the Dodgers, Stark also hears that L.A. could land two starting pitchers instead of one this week. He goes on to add that the Dodgers have a limited number of prospects they’re actually willing to deal, though, so if they can line up on a trade for a big name like Cole Hamels, they may not have the remaining pieces to add a second arm.
- One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he doesn’t think the Brewers particularly want to trade Carlos Gomez (Twitter link). The asking price on Gomez at this time is “very” high, the exec tells Rosenthal, adding that he thinks Milwaukee is hoping to get blown away but may otherwise hang onto the center fielder.
- The Pirates have interest in Padres right-hander Shawn Kelley, reports John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times (on Twitter). A free agent following the season, Kelley has turned in a very strong 3.09 ERA with excellent strikeout-to-walk numbers in 2015. He’s averaged 10.9 K/9 against a minuscule 1.8 BB/9 in his first season with San Diego.
- The Orioles‘ interest in Carlos Gonzalez was characterized by one source as “mild,” tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. However, Morosi tweets that the Orioles are still in the Justin Upton market. Baltimore is known to be looking for a corner outfield upgrade but has limited prospect depth from which it can deal to achieve that goal.
- Morosi also notes (via Twitter) that the Nationals are interested in upgrading their bench, but the want to fully assess the health of Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, both of whom are now off the disabled list. He notes that an extra outfielder would be a nice pickup for the team, speculatively listing both Will Venable of the Padres and Gerardo Parra of the Brewers as fits.
Full Story | 31 Comments | Categories: Aroldis Chapman | Baltimore Orioles | Carlos Gomez | Carlos Gonzalez | Cincinnati Reds | James Shields | Jesse Chavez | Jonathan Papelbon | Justin Upton | Los Angeles Dodgers | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Shawn Kelley | Washington Nationals
Rumors from MLB’s central divisions:
- The Twins are in the market for a power reliever, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Minnesota has long been known for their reliance on command and control pitchers. Their bullpen has a league worst 6.08 K/9. The Tigers are next worst with 7.30 K/9. Twins GM Terry Ryan acknowledged the advantage strikeouts can provide in big situations. If somebody’s got the out pitch to be able to get a strikeout, that’s great. Unfortunately there are pitchers that don’t have that capability as much as others, so it makes those sac flies or putting the ball in play with the infield back … it just gives the other offense that advantage.
- Minnesota has spoken with the Padres about relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi lists Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Kelley as possible fits. I would add that Brandon Maurer fits the power pitching profile. However, Benoit and Kelley could both hit free agency after this season. Kelley is unsigned beyond this season, and Benoit has a $8MM club option ($500K buyout). Maurer comes with four more seasons of club control. As such, he’s probably more difficult to acquire.
- The Brewers are drawing plenty of interest in starter Mike Fiers, tweets Tom Haudricourt of MLB.com. However, the club presently plans to keep Fiers. They are more open to trading veterans Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza. Given the performance of both pitchers this season, they’ll have a hard time finding an interested suitor. Garza has a 5.49 ERA in 100 innings while Lohse has scuffled to a 6.29 ERA in 113 innings.
- Prior to being no-hit by Cole Hamels, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer reiterated a need for pitching and bench depth, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN 1000. Hoyer didn’t elaborate about any specific talks. Rogers opines (via Twitter) that the club could seek to make some smaller moves for veterans to bolster depth and balance a young roster. The offense has struggled recently, but the Cubs are still in the thick of the Wild Card race. They’re just 1.5 games behind the Giants for the second slot.
- The White Sox are increasingly willing to trade starter Jeff Samardzija, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. Samardzija has performed below expectations this season with a 3.91 ERA, 6.93 K/9, and 1.67 BB/9. However, he’s posted a strong 2.55 ERA over his last eight starts due to a low HR/FB ratio. While teams may no longer view him as an ace, he has failed to last seven innings in just four of his 20 starts this season. This is my speculation: he could prove to be a valuable innings eater for a club on the bubble like the Orioles or Astros. Hayes also notes that the White Sox have lined up Erik Johnson‘s starts with Samardzija. Johnson is in the midst of a breakout season with a 2.59 ERA, 10.05 K/9, and 2.87 BB/9.
- The big story tonight is that the Royals nearly acquired Johnny Cueto from the Reds; read all about that here.
With the deadline to exchange arbitration figures set for noon CT, there figure to be a large number of agreements to avoid arb today, as there were yesterday. All arbitration agreements can be followed using MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, and we’ll keep track of today’s smaller agreements in this post, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz…
- Righty Henderson Alvarez agreed to a $4MM deal with the Marlins, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today on Twitter. Alvarez had been projected to earn $4.5MM after putting up a huge 187-inning, 2.65 ERA campaign entering his first season of arb eligibility.
- The Athletics have agreed to a $1.4MM deal with righty Ryan Cook that includes, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports on Twitter. Cook gets a slight increase over the $1.3MM he had been projected to earn. Oakland has also inked outfielder Sam Fuld to a $1.75MM deal, per Mike Perchik of WAPT (via Twitter). He too lands just above his projection, which was for $1.6MM.
- Outfielder Collin Cowgill avoided arbitration with the Angels for $995K, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. He was projected to earn $900K.
- Righties David Carpenter and Nathan Eovaldi both have deals with the Yankees, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports on Twitter. Carpenter will earn about $1.3MM while Eovaldi will take home $3.3MM
- The Rockies have a deal in place with lefty Rex Brothers, tweets MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Brothers was projected to earn $1.3MM but will take home $1.4MM, Harding adds via Twitter.
- ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have settled with both Travis Wood and Luis Valbuena (Twitter links). Wood will receive $5.686MM — a bit north of his $5.5MM projection, while Valbuena will earn $4.2MM, per Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). Valbuena was projected to earn $3.1MM.
- Mike Perchick of WAPT in New Jersey has a wave of arbitration agreements, starting with the Astros and Hank Conger settling on a $1.075MM, which is just $25K behind Swartz’s projection (Twitter link).
- Also via Perchick, the Athletics and Brett Lawrie settled on a $1.925MM contract (Twitter links). Lawrie, who had been projected at $1.8MM, was acquired by Oakland in the Josh Donaldson blockbuster.
- Rockies backstop Michael McKenry will earn $1.0876MM in 2015, via Perchick. McKenry was projected by Swartz to earn $1.5MM.
- Michael Pineda and the Yankees settled on a $2.1MM salary for the upcoming season, Perchick tweets, which is a direct match with Swartz’s projection.
- Domonic Brown and the Phillies settled on a one-year pact worth $2.6MM, via Perchick, which represents a difference of just $100K between Swartz’s projection and the actual figure. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com tweets that Ben Revere has avoided arbitration as well, and the club now announces that he’ll earn $4.1MM — $100K north of his $4MM projection.
- Red Sox setup man Junichi Tazawa agreed to a $2.25MM payday, according to Perchick. Swartz had pegged him for a $2MM contract.
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The 30-year-old Kelley posted a 4.53 ERA in 51 2/3 innings for the Yankees last season, though metrics such as FIP (3.02), xFIP (3.10) and SIERA (2.60) all feel that his whopping 11.6 K/9 rate will result in a lower ERA in the future. Kelley averaged 3.5 walks per nine innings last season — a mark that is more or less commensurate with his career mark of 3.2 — and notched a fairly typical 33.6 percent ground-ball rate. His fly-ball nature is undoubtedly a better fit for San Diego’s Petco Park than Yankee Stadium, though homers weren’t a significant detriment to Kelley in 2014. Rather, an unusually low 67.8 percent strand rate was Kelley’s biggest downfall this past season.
Kelley will be eligible for arbitration for the third time this offseason after earning $1.76MM in 2014. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a $2.5MM salary for the Frye McCann Sports client in 2015 in his last season before hitting the open market. He’ll join a 2015 Padres bullpen that features Joaquin Benoit in the closer’s role, supported by sophomore Kevin Quackenbush, veteran Dale Thayer, southpaw Alex Torres and righty Nick Vincent — a quintet that combined to pitch exceptionally well in 2014.
Barbato, the first piece of the deal to be reported, was enjoying an excellent season at Double-A as a 21-year-old before an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery (per the YES Network’s Jack Curry) shut him down in June. The Legacy Agency client posted a 2.87 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 31 1/3 innings as his club’s closer. Baseball America ranked him 30th among San Diego prospects in each of the past two offseasons, noting that while he has the potential for three plus pitches, his delivery and questionable command might make him better suited for the bullpen, where he could eventually become a big league setup man.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Stephen Drew chose to ink a one-year deal with the Red Sox in spite of the fact that he received multi-year offers since the start of the season, agent Scott Boras said today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via WEEI.com’s Joon Lee). “The quest, knowing that Stephen had set forth a path to achieve the dynamic of being an unrestricted free agent the idea was to put himself in a position where the team, and within an environment we knew he could be successful,” said Boras. “It turned out we did get multi-year offers as the season opened up but it was Stephen’s decision to take a one-year deal and return to the Red Sox and have a chance to compete for another championship.” Boras indicated that, after Drew was unable to get a multi-year contract wrapped up before the season, his agency focused on the fact that Drew could avoid a second consecutive qualifying offer by waiting to sign until the season had started, calling it “a right that is of great and substantial value.”
- Red Sox Starter Felix Doubront has been placed on the 15-day DL after experiencing increasing shoulder numbness throughout last night’s game. Lee has the story, noting that Doubront will await the results of an MRI today. The 26-year-old lefty said today that he had banged the shoulder into his car door at some point prior to the start, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Doubront’s injury adds to the increasing uncertainty in the Red Sox rotation, which has compiled 4.6 fWAR but owns a mediocre 4.31 ERA. Jake Peavy has seen his earned run mark balloon from 1.93 (after his April 15 start) up to 4.33 at present, while Clay Buchholz has looked out of sorts and was run early again today. Speier took a look at the club’s internal options to fill in for Doubront, each of whom could be called upon if other needs arise as well. Brandon Workman still seems the most likely immediately call-up due to his recent big league experience, with Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and Anthony Ranaudo all viable options as well. (Speier also mentions Matt Barnes, but notes that he is not on the 40-man and is still building up arm strength after a delayed start to the season.)
- Meanwhile, the pitching injury issues continued to be compounded for the Yankees, who learned that reliever Shawn Kelley has suffered a setback, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. Kelley, who spent time as the team’s injury-replacement closer earlier in the season, had been expected to begin mound work in the coming days, but he experienced back stiffness after playing catch. Nevertheless, manager Joe Girardi said that an MRI had shown no structural issues.
- A cast of Baseball Prospectus writers participated in a written debate over the prospect value of Orioles righty Hunter Harvey, who opened the year as the game’s 58th-best prospect in the view of BP and has dominated early in 2014. While Ryan Parker and CJ Wittmann disagree slightly on Harvey’s ceiling, both agree that he projects as at least a number-three starter and is likely to jump up on prospect lists. Baltimore seems to have a steal with Harvey, who was snatched with the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft and signed for the slot recommendation of about $1.95MM. He slots alongside well-regarded minor league arms like Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Eduardo Rodriguez to form an impressive group of young pitching filtering up to Baltimore.
Here’s the latest on the injury front:
- The White Sox have placed Jose Abreu on the 15-day disabled list with posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle, reports MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. Abreu returned to Chicago today for an examination and was placed in a boot to immobilize the ankle and help facilitate the recovery process. He also will undergo further tests, such as another MRI, and further treatment for at least another day. The rookie sensation is paying early dividends on his six-year, $68MM contract, batting .260/.312/.595 with a MLB-leading 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 189 plate appearances.
- The Nationals placed Gio Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, but the left-hander’s enhanced MRI exam revealed no further damage and confirmed he will only require rest, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Braves‘ Jonny Venters threw batting practice Wednesday and the session was cut short after he reported soreness in his left elbow, writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien. “It was just a little sore, so they shut him down and didn’t continue,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez. “They didn’t seem concerned, they made it sound like it was part of the process – first time he’s faced hitters and that kind of stuff.” Venters is just over a year removed from his second Tommy John surgery.
- The Rangers‘ injury woes continue with Prince Fielder undergoing a nerve-root injection for a herniated disc in his neck, reports Jay Jaffe of SI.com. Fielder, slashing only .247/.360/.360 with three home runs in 178 plate appearances, says his neck has bothered him since last season, but has worsened lately. Jaffe notes Fielder waited until last month to inform the Rangers of his injury, which has caused pain and stiffness in his neck and weakness in his left arm.
- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is still on track for an early-June return after a successful bullpen session Friday, according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews (h/t: Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues).
- Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley could rejoin the team next Sunday, tweets Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network (h/t: Axisa). Kelley, nursing a back injury, will play catch Monday and Tuesday, throw a bullpen Wednesday, and make a minor league rehab appearance Friday.
"Sometimes you have to look underneath the surface and I tend to agree it has a lot to do with youth sports and travel teams and multiple travel teams and kids pitching to win when they're really young and throwing too many pitches. I think the more recent epidemic curiously might be tied to what they're doing before they even get here professionally."
Of course, Moore's injury is not the only injury facing the Rays' rotation, either. Jeremy Hellickson opened the season on the disabled list, and Alex Cobb is now out as long as six weeks after being placed on the DL with an oblique strain yesterday, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. Here's more from the AL East…
- The Mariners' decision to designate Shawn Kelley for assignment last Spring Training rather than pay him $935K has proven to be the Yankees' gain, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. Kelley was a vital part of the bullpen in 2013 and has stepped up for the injured David Robertson in 2014 thus far. Kelley's strong 2013 season is part of the reason that the Yanks didn't add a right-handed setup arm this offseason, writes Harper, as they believed the two-time Tommy John victim to be capable of handling the role of Robertson's primary setup man.
- Harper also looks at the predictably injury-riddled Yankees infield and opines that it's time for the team to call Scott Boras to get a deal done with Stephen Drew. As Harper points out, the Yankees ran out an infield of Kelly Johnson, Dean Anna, Yangervis Solarte and Carlos Beltran last night, and patchwork mixes like that simply won't cut it. He suggests a two-year deal for Drew, to play second base and provide insurance for Jeter this season before taking the reins at shortstop in 2015.
- While much is made of Jon Lester's coming free agency by the Boston media, the Boston Herald's John Tomase writes that Jonny Gomes is also in the final year of his deal, and he spoke with the part-time Red Sox outfielder about that scenario. Gomes admits that it's difficult to play in a walk year due to the results-oriented nature of the game, adding that he knows being a good clubhouse presence won't necessarily get him a job next year. Tomase writes that ideally, Gomes' preference is to stay in Boston.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier writes that Red Sox manager John Farrell isn't exactly thrilled with the early returns on baseball's instant replay system. "It's hard to have any faith in the system," said Farrell after being on the losing end of a pair of challenges this weekend. Saturday's call, in particular, looked to provide conclusive evidence in Boston's favor, but the umpires didn't agree. Said Farrell: "As much as they’re trying to help the human element inside this system, it seems like it’s added the human element at a different level."
We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.
Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…
- After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
- The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
- The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
- Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
- Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
- Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
- The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
- The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
- Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
- The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter). He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).
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The Yankees have acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley from the Mariners in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte, according to Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune (on Twitter). The Mariners designated Kelley for assignment on Thursday to make roster space for Kelly Shoppach.
Kelley, 28, appeared in 47 games for the Mariners in 2012, posting a 3.25 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and a 28.8% ground ball rate in 44 1/3 innings. The right-hander will earn $930K in 2013.
Meanwhile, Almonte will give the M's some much needed minor league depth at the centerfielder position and can also play the corners. The 23-year-old spent last season in Double-A, hitting .276/.350/.392 in 78 games.
Kelley appeared in 47 games for the Mariners in 2012, posting a 3.25 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 28.8% ground ball rate in 44 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old will earn $935K in 2013 after avoiding arbitration with the Mariners last month.
The Mariners have ten days to outright Kelley to the minor leagues, trade him or release him. It won't be surprising if he's claimed or traded given his 2012 numbers.