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- NL Central Notes: Chapman, Reds, Brewers
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Skip Schumaker Rumors
The Reds have opened the doors on a fire sale, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Todd Frazier will stay put. Billy Hamilton probably isn’t going anywhere. Most others are probably on the table. Fay expects at least four players to be traded, presumably Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, and Marlon Byrd as a starting point. Others like Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Skip Schumaker are also expected to be shopped. The Reds are seven games below .500 and 15.5 games back in the NL Central. It’s probably too late for a rebound.
Here’s more news out of the NL Central:
- Gerardo Parra‘s strong play has all but ensured that he’ll be traded by the Brewers, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Parra is in the midst of a career season, hitting .311/.345/.502 with nine home runs and six stolen bases. Known for fantastic defense, he’s actually struggled this year per Ultimate Zone Rating (-9.8 UZR). Still, plenty of playoff teams have need of a high average, left-handed outfielder.
- Cubs manager Joe Maddon said reliever Rafael Soriano might be “up sooner than planned,” tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Soriano was signed on June 12. He has a career 2.85 ERA and 207 saves in 630 innings. The Cubs have manufactured a pseudo-closer battle. They demoted Hector Rondon from the role earlier in the summer despite solid production. The club also recently called up Neil Ramirez – another candidate for saves.
- The Pirates would probably like to de-emphasize Pedro Alvarez, reports Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The former third baseman has continued his defensive ineptitude at first base with 15 errors. He’s also offered a .233/.299/.424 slash which is well below average for a first baseman. Unfortunately, the Pirates will have to look outside of the organization to move beyond Alvarez. Adam Lind is probably the most notable first baseman on the trade market. If the Pirates get creative, they could also try a three-team swap for Jon Singleton. Typically, Pittsburgh will look for fringier options like Chris Parmelee. We heard earlier this evening that the Orioles may soon designate Parmelee for assignment.
Full Story | 64 Comments | Categories: Aroldis Chapman | Baltimore Orioles | Brandon Phillips | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Gerardo Parra | Jay Bruce | Johnny Cueto | Marlon Byrd | Mike Leake | Milwaukee Brewers | Neil Ramirez | Pedro Alvarez | Pittsburgh Pirates | Rafael Soriano | Skip Schumaker
The Cardinals' four-year, $53MM deal with Jhonny Peralta has an interesting twist: it's frontloaded. The shortstop will earn $15.5MM in 2014, $15MM in '15, $12.5MM in '16, and $10MM in '17, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here's tonight's look around the majors..
- Peralta's deal raises the uncomfortable issue of PED usage paying off, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Diamondbacks relief pitcher and team union representative Brad Ziegler took his dissatisfaction with the deal to Twitter, but he's far from the only player who has an issue with players linked to PEDs getting major paydays.
- Heyman looks at the market for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and wonders if the Blue Jays, Twins, or Rockies could steal him away from the Red Sox. The Rangers look like another possibility to some, but one person connected with the club says a return for Salty isn't too likely at the moment. Texas has looked at free agent catchers, but they've also suggested that Geovany Soto will be their fulltime backstop.
- The Rays' are still waiting on results of Jose Molina's physical and therefore won't have an announcement on his signing until early next week, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Molina is expected to ink a two-year, $4.5MM pact to stay with Tampa Bay.
- The opportunity to win attracted Skip Schumaker to the Reds, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Schumaker said his decision came down to the Reds and one other unspecified playoff-caliber team.
- In today's inbox, MLB.com's Corey Brock touches on the possibility of star third baseman Chase Headley being moved and other matters surrounding the Padres.
The Reds made a move to add to their bench, officially announcing the signing of Skip Schumaker to a two-year contract. A client of CAA Sports' Nez Balelo, Schumaker will reportedly be guaranteed $5MM over the life of the deal, and the contract includes a $2.5MM club option for a third season with a $500K buyout. Schumaker will earn $2MM in 2014 and $2.5MM in 2015.
Schumaker, who turns 34 in Februrary, slashed .263/.332/.332 in 356 plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2013. Though he offers positional flexibility — he appeared at second base and all three outfield positions this season — Schumaker does not play any one position particularly well. He posted negative UZR and DRS marks at all four of his positions in 2013 and has registered negative defensive value each season since 2008, according to Fangraphs.
Even if he isn't a gifted defender though, Schumaker will give new Reds manager Bryan Price a versatile piece off his bench that has slashed a respectable .279/.347/.357 against right-handed pitching over the past two seasons. A veteran of nine big league seasons between the Cardinals and Dodgers, Schumaker is a career .285/.344/.372 hitter in 3,043 plate appearances.
This is the second two-year deal issued by GM Walt Jocketty in the young offseason. Cincinnati has already agreed to a two-year deal with backstop Brayan Pena. Cheap multiyear deals for bench pieces are nothing new for Jocketty, who has guaranteed multiple years to Miguel Cairo and Jack Hannahan in recent years.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the two-year agreement (on Twitter), and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported the $5MM guarantee (also on Twitter). MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reported that the contract contained an option and provided the financial breakdown.
WEDNESDAY: The Dodgers announced the deal: Schumaker for Lemmerman.
TUESDAY: The Dodgers have acquired Skip Schumaker from the Cardinals, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness first reported that the Dodgers would acquire Schumaker for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman.
Cards General Manager John Mozeliak recently acknowledged that Schumaker was a trade candidate. The 32-year-old will earn $1.5MM in 2013, the last year on his contract. The Twins were also reportedly interested in the left-handed hitter who owns a .345 career on-base percentage, but has struggled to hit lefties. The emergence of young talent in St. Louis ultimately led to Schumaker's exit after eight big league seasons.
Schumaker posted a .276/.339/.368 slash line last season in 304 plate appearances. The veteran has experience playing second base as well as all three outfield positions.
Lemmerman, 23, spent the 2012 season with the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate. The 2010 fifth round selection posted a .233/.347/.378 batting line in 449 plate appearances while playing shortstop and second base.
The Dodgers and Twins are among the teams that have some level of interest in Cardinals bench player Skip Schumaker, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. GM John Mozeliak acknowledged that Schumaker’s name has been out there as a potential trade candidate.
“We’ve tried to optimize the type of return we might get for him,” Mozeliak said. “We’ve left it fairly open. If we can get Major League help, we would definitely consider that. If we can’t find it we will look for someone who can fit into our minor league system.”
Schumaker, 32, will earn $1.5MM in 2013, the last year on his contract. As Goold notes, this seems reasonable given the escalating cost of infield help in free agency. Other than the Dodgers and Twins, the Reds could also be interested in Schumaker, a versatile player capable of playing second base and the outfield. The left-handed hitter has a .345 career on-base percentage, but he struggles to hit lefties.
The Dodgers are the favorite for Zack Greinke, which may be why they're shopping starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. They're also fishing around for a player to pair with Hanley Ramirez on the left side of the infield. Other rumors around the team:
- The Dodgers are interested in Cardinals infielder Skip Schumaker, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- The Dodgers' offer to Ryu Hyun-jin "fell a tad short," GM Ned Colletti told reporters including Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Agent Scott Boras suggested Ryu could make the jump from South Korea to Japan if the Dodgers can't get a deal done, which Hernandez finds far-fetched since it is unprecedented. At any rate, Boras said he's presented the Dodgers with a counter-offer and negotiations continue.
A few NL Central free agent targets were identified today, as the Brewers and Cubs are in on Jason Grilli among other relievers, the Pirates have expressed interest in John Lannan, and the Cardinals are in the mix for Scott Hairston. More from the division…
- The Cardinals met with Marco Scutaro's agent tonight, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Scutaro is represented by Barry Praver.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "In our minds, we’ve already made our big move with Russ." The Bucs signed Russell Martin for $17MM last week, but still have some work to do. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates have shown interest in five recently non-tendered pitchers: Manny Parra, Lannan, Tom Gorzelanny, Jair Jurrjens, and Mike Pelfrey.
- There have been no substantive talks between the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright about an extension, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals, of course, still remain interested in doing an extension with the 31-year-old before his contract season officially begins.
- Most of the quality lefty relievers are likely to be signed by week's end, suggested Cardinals GM John Mozeliak (B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest reporting).
- The Cardinals and infielder Skip Schumaker are open to a trade, reports Rains, but of course it'd have to make sense for the team.
- The pressure of last summer's contract extension talks affected the performance of Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, agent Paul Kinzer told Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. The 22-year-old can rest easy now that he's under contract through at least 2019.
- The Cubs remain popular with free agents, president Theo Epstein told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The team is looking to get creative at third base and will continue to monitor the available starting pitchers (and presumably relievers). Epstein suggested the Cubs have interest in some recently non-tendered players.
Here's the latest from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal as he dissects the buzz and rumors currently circulating around the league…
- The addition of two former members from the Rays organization has nothing to do with a potential pursuit of center fielder B.J. Upton, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
- While some teams may prefer Upton over Michael Bourn thanks to his age (nearly two years younger) and the ability to hit for power, Rosenthal points out that Bourn's value comes from being a well-rounded player.
- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche's decision regarding his free agency may greatly impact Washington's course of action this offseason, especially with left fielder Michael Morse.
- The notion that the Dodgers may consider moving Andre Ethier just months after signing him to a five-year, $85MM contract simply wouldn't be the best move for Los Angeles heading into 2013, opines Rosenthal.
- Look for the Yankees to re-sign Russell Martin, but the Bombers have had their eye on free agent David Ross, who has served as Brian McCann's backup with the Braves since 2009.
- The Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker may be parting ways this offseason as the veteran no longer has a defined role with the club thanks to the emergence of young talent.
Passing along a few notes from the Central divisions, where there was plenty of news earlier today. Kosuke Fukudome found a new home, the Brewers won an arbitration case, and the Royals picked up their manager's option. On with the links …
- The Pirates may end up signing utility man Chris Gimenez, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com. Gimenez elected free agency from the Mariners earlier today after declining an outright assignment to Triple-A and will be eligible to sign with a new club on Thursday.
- The Pirates will not sign Dmitri Young, whom they worked out at on Monday, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
- Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities radio looks at seven of the Twins' intriguing non-roster players, including infielder Brian Dozier, third baseman Sean Burroughs, catchers J.R. Towles and Chris Herrmann, righties Jason Bulger and Jared Burton, and utility man Steve Pearce. One Twins executive said he's particularly curious about Bulger and Burton, tweets Mackey
- The Cardinals won't have their hand forced into roster decisions based on options this spring, explains Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, as only Skip Schumaker and Tyler Greene — both projected to be on the Major League roster — are out of options.
The Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $3MM deal with utility infielder Skip Schumaker, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported that the sides were nearing a deal.
Schumaker posted a .283/.333/.351 line in 400 plate appearances while playing second base and all three outfield positions for the 2011 Cardinals (he also pitched in one game, striking out two of the five batters he faced). In seven seasons with St. Louis, the CAA client has a .290/.346/.378 line. The contract buys out Schumaker's final season of arbitration eligibility and first season of free agency. The 31-year-old was a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $3.1MM.
Rafael Furcal is returning to St. Louis and the Cardinals have expressed interest in working Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene into the lineup in 2012. The Cardinals non-tendered Ryan Theriot last night.