- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
- Brady Aiken Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
- Chris Tillman, Orioles Begin Extension Discussions
- Tigers, David Price Open Exploratory Discussions
- Dodgers To Sign Hector Olivera
- Twins Extend Brian Dozier
- White Sox Extend Adam Eaton
- Rangers Release Joe Beimel
- Nationals Release Heath Bell
- Dodgers To Sign Cuban Pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez
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- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
- Mariners Rule 5 Pick David Rollins Suspended 80 Games For Failed PED Test
- Blue Jays Outright Scott Barnes
- Twins Outright Lester Oliveros
- NL Central Notes: Bryant, Kang, Reds, Cardinals
- Finding A Landing Spot For Jhoulys Chacin
- Minor Moves: Lorick, Lopez, Rockies
- Marlins Unlikely To Trade Brad Hand
- AL Central Notes: Rodon, Nathan, Indians, Robinson
- Quick Hits: Forbes, Yankees, Alvarez, Kluber
- AL Notes: Price, Ludwick, Lindstrom, Blue Jays
- NL West Notes: Tulowitzki, Maxwell, Padres
- Twins Looking For Relief Pitching
- Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox
- Trade Candidate: Juan Uribe
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Texas Rangers Rumors
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Rangers have purchased the contract of outfielder Antoan Richardson, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Richardson had been signed to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, but his deal included an early out clause that led to his ascension to the 40-man. Texas created roster space by transferring injured starter Martin Perez to the 60-day DL. The speedy, switch-hitting Richardson is competing for a reserve outfield role.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish received a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek recommending that he undergo Tommy John surgery for his sprained ulnar collateral ligament, GM Jon Daniels told reporters including Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The club will seek a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, and no decision has been finalized. Nevertheless, Daniels indicated that a UCL replacement procedure is on the horizon unless some new information comes to light.
While the injury could ensure that the team picks up an additional year of control over its best pitcher, that is scant consolation in the near term. Darvish, 28, is all but irreplaceable in terms of production. Rather than immediately pressing for an outside addition, Daniels says that the club plans to “fill from within,” as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
While early word on Yasmany Tomas‘ work at third base was positive, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports now hears from scouts that Tomas isn’t cutting it at the hot corner (Twitter links). The result, then, could end up a significant outfield logjam featuring Tomas, A.J. Pollock, Mark Trumbo, David Peralta, Cody Ross and Ender Inciarte. Scouts feel that Tomas’ arm is accurate at third base, Passan adds, but are concerned with his lack of lateral quickness and athleticism. Manager Chip Hale told reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (Twitter links), that Tomas “needs to be better,” but he believes part of the problem is a lack of focus on Tomas’ behalf. It should be noted that the opinion of rival scouts doesn’t mean the D-Backs won’t use Tomas at third; most scouts think there’s no chance that powerful prospect Peter O’Brien can remain at catcher, but the D-Backs believe he can stick at the position so strongly that they forwent adding other catching options outside of Gerald Laird and Rule 5 pick Oscar Hernandez this offseason.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- The D-Backs announced today that Hernandez was removed from today’s Spring Training game due to soreness in his left wrist (Twitter link). While the team labeled the move precautionary, a significant injury to Hernandez would thin out the team’s paper-thin catching situation even more and could lead to Hernandez being returned to the Rays.
- Giants right-hander Jake Peavy received interest from at least six other teams before signing his deal to return to San Francisco, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Rangers, Brewers, Twins, Royals, Marlins and Braves all had interest in the 34-year-old veteran, per Heyman, but the bond formed over a World Series victory was too strong to sign elsewhere, Peavy said: “When you’re World Series teammates, it takes you to another level relationship-wise.” The Giants engaged Peavy after missing out on Jon Lester and being spurned by James Shields in December, at a time when Peavy was giving consideration to both Miami and Atlanta.
- Pablo Sandoval recently said that he felt the Giants disrespected him and agent Gustavo Vasquez when negotiating an extension last spring, but Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the team offered a four-year extension with a vesting option worth just under $85MM in Spring Training 2014. Assuming the $85MM figure includes the vesting option, that’s $10MM and one year less than Sandoval was guaranteed on his five-year, $95MM deal with the Red Sox. It’s possible, however, that Sandoval was turned off by the Giants’ initial conversation-starter, which was said last April to be a three-year, $40MM offer. Evans adds that the Giants’ first offseason offer to Sandoval came the day after the World Series parade, though he didn’t disclose any details on that offer.
- Heyman also tweets that the Dodgers‘ new front office has been highly impressed by manager Don Mattingly thus far in Spring Training. Mattingly is under contract through the 2016 season, but it’s not uncharacteristic for new-look front offices to bring in a hand-picked manager, regardless of the contractual status of the incumbent.
- For those who didn’t see, earlier tonight it was reported that the Padres are considering making an offer worth “upwards of $50MM” to Cuban second baseman/third baseman Hector Olivera.
There is a silver lining to the Yu Darvish injury for the Rangers, as Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes. In short, if Darvish undergoes a UCL replacement, he will be nearly certain not to trigger any of the award-based opt-out provisions in his contract. Thus, while Texas would lose his services for 2015, they would in all likelihood gain him for 2017 — when, it might be hoped, the team will be in better shape for contention.
We have already seen significant injury news relating to four other pitchers today, and that’s not all:
- The Braves got a positive update on starter Mike Minor as Dr. James Andrews concurred with club orthopedist Javier Duralde that an MRI showed no structural issues with Minor’s left shoulder, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Minor will nevertheless sit out at least two weeks to rest his arm, and president of baseball operations John Hart says that the team will likely turn to internal options to fill in.
- Andrews will take a look at another arm tomorrow when Tim Collins of the Royals checks in, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets. An MRI has already showed ligament damage to his left elbow. The final determination of whether he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery could have fairly significant ramifications for the club not only this year but into the future, as youngster Brandon Finnegan could be pressed back into relief duty.
- Another club with a possible LOOGY issue is the Mets, whose top southpaw reliever Josh Edgin will undergo an MRI after experiencing a velocity drop and elbow soreness, as The Record’s Matt Ehalt reports. Missed time from Edgin would figure to pose difficulties given the team’s relative dearth of southpaw depth. As Ehalt explains, Scott Rice is in on a minor league deal and provides an option, while Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin is joined by fellow youngsters Jack Leathersich and Dario Alvarez on the 40-man roster.
- Jacob Turner of the Cubs has been shut down with a flexor strain and bone bruise in his right elbow, as ESPNChicago.com’s Jesse Rogers tweets. The out-of-options Turner was probably destined for the Chicago ‘pen after the club claimed him off waivers late last year and picked up his $1MM option for 2015. It would appear that a DL stint will likely be in the cards for the start of the year, which in some ways gives the team more flexibility to give Turner a chance to start during a rehab period.
- Orioles backstop Matt Wieters is just one week away from getting back behind the dish for a spring game, as Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports. Nearing a full return from Tommy John surgery, Wieters has already advanced to throwing to second at as much as 80% in practice. Given the rehab process he has just endured, the free agent-to-be says that his next contract is not where his focus is at present, as Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes.
As the Rangers wait to learn whether ace Yu Darvish will undergo Tommy John surgery, the club is obviously preparing for the worst. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes, a missed season for Darvish would have wide-ranging roster implications. For one thing, top pitching prospect Alex Gonzalez now has a legitimate chance to earn a rotation role. For another, the added need for long-man innings from the pen could hurt the Opening Day chances of veteran Kyuji Fujikawa and other, younger one-inning arms. The possibility of a run at dealing for Cole Hamels remains unlikely, Grant opines (rightly, in my opinion).
Here are a few notes on other injury situations around the American League:
- Meanwhile, fellow starter Gavin Floyd of the Indians is set to undergo an MRI tomorrow on his right elbow, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets. Floyd, of course, is looking to bounce back after two straight seasons ended early by elbow issues. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explains, Cleveland has plenty of rotation depth even if Floyd misses time, though certainly the club will hope it reaps some return from its only significant free agent addition.
- Twins closer Glen Perkins had to bail out of a bullpen session today with discomfort in his right side, as LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports. Though this was the second time in the last few days that the issue arose, Perkins was positive about the situation, explaining that he felt far better than he did after an oblique strain back in 2011. Nevertheless, pen depth already seems a matter of concern in Minnesota, increasing the importance of the health of the team’s best reliever. Perkins, who missed the end of 2014 with nerve issues in his elbow, is owed $4.65MM this year as well as an additional $13.5MM over the remainder of the four-year extension he signed last spring.
- The injury to Mike Minor of the Braves has created a new opportunity for righty Cody Martin, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. He joins a battle with non-roster invitees Eric Stults and Wandy Rodriguez along with prospects Mike Foltynewicz and Manny Banuelos, per Bowman, all of whom appear to be gunning for two starting positions to open the season.
Many players grow up as fans of the game, but once they sign with a pro team, the nature of their fandom changes, FanGraphs’ David Laurila writes. “Once you sign a contract, you have a team of your own,” says Orioles reliever T.J. McFarland, who grew up a fan of the White Sox. “My family still roots for the White Sox, but I went from being a fan to an employee – an actual worker – within the profession.” Of course, the associations they had with veteran players they rooted for as kids don’t just disappear. McFarland says he took pride in playing opposite Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko, and says he found it “surreal” when he faced Derek Jeter. Here’s more from throughout the league.
- Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the Yankees had come closer than any other team to acquiring Phillies star Cole Hamels. If that’s true, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes, that might mean the Phillies haven’t come close to dealing Hamels to any team, because the two sides have not had discussions recently and never were near a deal. The Phillies are fans of Yankees prospects Luis Severino and Aaron Judge, but the Yankees likely don’t want to trade Severino in a Hamels deal. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have refused to deal Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart for Hamels. The Rangers are another possibility, but they too appear disinclined to trade their top prospects, including Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro.
- Cliff Lee‘s recent bout of elbow soreness demonstrates the risk the Phillies are taking with Hamels, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. Each time Hamels pitches, he could get injured, causing his trade value to decrease or simply vanish.
- It’s wise to be skeptical of reports suggesting Cuban infielder Hector Olivera will get $70MM or more, FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel writes. That says more about Olivera’s representative Rudy Santin’s use of the media than about Olivera’s actual market. Finding comparables for a Cuban player with no MLB experience is difficult, so it’s hard for the U.S. media to be appropriately skeptical of reported offers for a player like Olivera, McDaniel argues. McDaniel says he would be surprised if Olivera topped $50MM.
The Rangers have an insurance policy on Yu Darvish and could recoup more than half of his $10MM salary if he undergoes Tommy John surgery and misses the year, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The Rangers could use the insurance proceeds to add payroll. The policy’s total value to the club, however, is dependent on when the clock begins on the deductible. Grant notes the Rangers could make a case that this injury is a recurrence of the elbow problems Darvish suffered last year sidelining him for the final 50 days of the 2014 season.
Elsewhere in the American League:
- Darvish’s injury is not just a blow to the Rangers, but to all of baseball, opines CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.
- Rick Porcello told reporters, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (via Twitter), he has not had extension talks with the Red Sox this spring and does not expect to have any.
- The Indians and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber have not made any progress in negotiating a contract extension, writes Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Kluber is a pre-arbitration eligible player and Wednesday is the deadline for signing such players. If a deal cannot be reached, teams can renew the contracts of those players at their discretion, usually for a fraction above the MLB minimum of $507.5K. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently provided a primer on understanding pre-arbitration salaries.
- In a separate article, Hoynes chronicles how the Indians have re-built their farm system through the draft (especially their willingness to select high-upside high schoolers rather than college players), trades, and international free agent signings.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan right-hander Chris Young, who the club signed yesterday, will make the team and pitch out of the bullpen. Flanagan notes, in a second article, the Royals have discussed keeping eight relievers and, if so, will have several contenders battling for just one spot.
- Evan Gattis has had two months to reflect upon his trade to Astros and still has mixed feelings, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The negative is that there’s a good fan base in Atlanta, I felt loved there,” Gattis said. “The positives are that I’m in the American League, I might be a little more durable; I’m going to try to have a healthy season. And I’m in Texas, stoked about that. So yeah, positives and negatives.“
Of all the Phillies vets on the block, Jonathan Papelbon probably has come the closest to getting shipped out. The Phillies and Brewers were in talks for some time, but the closer says he wasn’t in the loop with regards to how close a deal actually was.
“I don’t know if I was ever going to be a Brewer,” Papelbon said, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “Nobody ever said a word to me about it. I read about it, but I guess it never got far along enough for my agents or the team to let me know something. As far as I know I’m a Phillie and everyone else is, too. Nobody’s getting traded, as far as I know. This is actually a good group of guys. Best I’ve been around since I’ve been here.”
More from the NL East..
- A Mets source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter) that the team has not received any calls from the Rangers in the last 24 hours. Rangers ace Yu Darvish might need Tommy John surgery, but it appears that they have yet to call on Dillon Gee. On Saturday night night, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Rangers did not seem inclined to try to acquire Gee. The right-hander, who is currently slated to be in the bullpen thanks to the Mets’ crowded rotation, will turn 29 in April.
- In a chat with reporters, including Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, union chief Tony Clark offered no objection to the Mets‘ “voluntary” offseason workouts and declined to criticize the team’s payroll. The Mets’ payroll has actually risen to $100MM for this season and Clark wouldn’t say whether he has spoken to the Mets specifically about their spending.
- Clark also spoke about the hiring of former Mets GM Omar Minaya for a union role earlier this winter, as Rubin writes. “We were looking for additional support in the area of international as well as baseball ops and player development. And for those of you who know Omar, that’s right up his alley,” Clark said. “So he’s providing us support in a few different areas that will invariably help the players as we sit down and discuss any number of issues tied to all three moving forward.”
- The Phillies are trying not to act desperate when it comes to the trade talk surrounding them, but it’s hard to pull that off since everyone knows they have to make a deal, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes. Silverman touched on the speculation regarding both Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, but as we learned earlier today, Lee could be sidelined for a while thanks to his sore elbow.
The Cubs are on the verge of being competitive for the first time in years, and their new additions, headed by Jon Lester and manager Joe Maddon, have their players imagining big things, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “This is the place to be in Major League Baseball right now,” says David Ross. “To be able to hold a World Series trophy in this city — it’s the Holy Grail, right?” Pitcher Jason Hammel says that one of Maddon’s assets as a manager is that he’s not intimidating to younger players. “[I]f he makes a handful of our best young players more relaxed to the point where they feel they can be themselves, that’s when players thrive,” says president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. Here’s more from the National League.
- Despite the Rangers‘ loss of Yu Darvish to injury, they don’t seem inclined to try to acquire Dillon Gee from the Mets, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. The Rangers had previously been connected to Gee, who is slated to start the year in the Mets’ bullpen thanks to a crowded rotation picture that also includes Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. Via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (on Twitter), Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently admitted there had been few recent trade talks involving Gee.
- The Padres are pleased with how Wil Myers is taking to center field, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. “All our outfield guys — Dave Roberts, Jose Valentin, Mark Kotsay, Alonzo Powell — have been very positive on how Wil is moving in center,” says manager Bud Black. “He’s got long strides, he’s got good routes, good angles, his hands are good, he sees the ball off the bat.” Myers, meanwhile, is eager to prove himself after having been traded twice in a little over two years.