Tony Sipp Rumors

NL West Notes: Kershaw, Figgins, Sipp, Sandoval

Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from the Dodgers' North American opener against the Padres on Sunday, the club announced.  The left-hander is suffering from inflammation of the teres major muscle in his upper back and the Dodgers are understandably being very cautious with their ace, though Kershaw still intends to start the Dodgers' home opener against the Giants on April 4.  Kershaw also told reporters (including's Ken Gurnick) that he didn't believe his injury was caused either by his 102-pitch outing in the Dodgers' opener against the Diamondbacks or the long flights back and forth from Australia.

Here's some more from around the NL West...

  • Chone Figgins is thankful to be back on a Major League roster after his struggles of the last few seasons, which included missing the entire 2013 campaign, the utilityman tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Figgins signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January and while he hasn't hit much in Spring Training, his on-base ability and positional versatility were enough for him to win a bench job.
  • Tony Sipp won't opt out of his contract with the Padres,'s Chris Cotillo reports (via Twitter).  Sipp was told earlier in the week that he wouldn't make San Diego's Opening Day roster and he could've opted out of his minor league deal today, but will instead report to Triple-A.  The southpaw faces another opt-out date on June 1.
  • At least two years and $50MM separate Pablo Sandoval and the Giants in extension talks, and the large gap is indicative of how wary the Giants are about committing a long-term deal to Sandoval, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.  Notable players like Curt Schilling, Carlos Lee and Delmon Young have signed contracts with weight clauses in the past, but the MLBPA "frowns on them, especially for marquee free agents."  Shea lists the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox as teams who could be looking for a third base upgrade next winter when Sandoval is a free agent, and Shea thinks Sandoval could find his price on the open market.

Padres To Sign Tony Sipp

9:41am: Sipp's deal includes opt-out dates of March 26 and June 1, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets.

8:31am: The Padres have agreed to terms with lefty reliever Tony Sipp on a minor-league deal. Sipp, 30, posted a 4.78 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2013. The Diamondbacks designated him for assignment in November. He had pitched the previous four seasons for the Indians before heading to Arizona in the three-team Shin-Soo Choo deal.

In addition to Sipp, the Padres have recently added Alex Torres (via a trade with the Rays) and Patrick Schuster (via the Rule 5 Draft) as potential lefty bullpen options. GM Josh Byrnes said in November that the Padres would attempt to add lefty relievers this offseason.

Padres Nearing Minor League Deal With Tony Sipp

The Padres are closing on a minor league deal with southpaw reliever Tony Sipp, according to's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Yesterday, it was reported that Sipp, a Bledsoe Brothers client, was nearing a deal with an unknown club.

The 30-year-old Sipp has a career 3.84 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 and a 29.9 percent ground-ball rate. After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Indians, Sipp was included in the three-team deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, Trevor Bauer and Drew Stubbs to the Indians and Didi Gregorius to the D-Backs.

In his lone season with the Snakes, he struggled to a career-worst 4.78 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. Sipp averaged more than five walks per nine innings last season and posted a minuscule 26 percent ground-ball rate, but he also whiffed 10 hitters per nine innings. Should Sipp make the team, his fly-ball tendencies would play significantly better in San Diego's Petco Park than they did in Arizona's Chase Field.

Padres GM Josh Byrnes said left-handed relief was a priority back at the GM Meetings in November, and he's since added Alex Torres in a trade with the Rays and Patrick Schuster via the Rule 5 Draft (acquiring him in a trade from the Astros). Sipp would further add to that depth.

Relief Notes: Perez, Sipp, Mets, Tigers

In the midst of a lack of rumors surrounding lefty Oliver Perez, Fangraphs' Mike Petriello outlines the 32-year-old as a potential bargain. While Perez's career once looked to be over, he's reinvented himself as a bullpen arm. Petriello points out that Perez's contact rate over the last two seasons is within one percent of Max Scherzer and Glen Perkins. Perez's swinging-strike rate is better than that of Clayton Kershaw or Michael Wacha and on par with Joe Nathan, and he pounds the strike zone at nearly the same rate as Hisashi Iwakuma. Petriello is quick to point out that these positive indicators don't guarantee success from Perez, but with Boone Logan and J.P. Howell signing lucrative multiyear deals, Perez could be a value add late in the offseason. Other relief market notes...

  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (via Twitter) that left-hander Tony Sipp is moving closer to a deal with an unidentified team. The 30-year-old Sipp posted a 4.78 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2013 but elected free agency after Arizona designated him for assignment earlier in the offseason.
  • The Mets are still looking to add a reliever, tweets Adam Rubin of New York is likely looking at someone on a low-base salary deal, but with multiple irons still in the fire, nothing is expected in the next couple of days.
  • George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press writes that if former top prospect Casey Crosby again makes it to the Majors with the Tigers, it will most likely be as a reliever and not a starter. "I think he’ll adapt to pitching out of the bullpen," Pithching coach Jeff Jones told Sipple. "I think he’ll do fine with that. A lot of times, you take guys who started all their lives and you put them in the bullpen and they just flourish."

Diamondbacks Designate Tony Sipp For Assignment

TODAY: Sipp has elected free agency, according to's transactions page. Presumably, that means he cleared waivers and refused an outright assignment.

NOVEMBER 20th: The Diamondbacks announced that they have designated Tony Sipp for assignment.  The move will allow Arizona to select the contracts of outfielder Ender Inciarte and right-handed pitcher Bo Schultz from Triple-A Reno.

Sipp, 30, pitched to a 4.78 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 56 relief outings last season.  Across five big league seasons, four of which were spent in Cleveland, Sipp posted a 3.84 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.  This marks the second time that Sipp has been designated for assignment by Arizona this year.  He was DFA'd by the D'Backs and subsequently optioned to Triple-A in August.

D'backs Designate Then Option Tony Sipp To Triple-A

3:35pm: The Diamondbacks have tweeted Sipp has been optioned to Triple-A Reno.

10:22 am: The Diamondbacks have designated Tony Sipp for assignment, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).  The move will create roster space for right-hander Brandon McCarthy.

Sipp, 30, had a 3.86 ERA on the year with 10.2 K/9, 5.0 BB/9, 1.10 HR/9, and 28.1% groundball rate in 32 2/3 innings this season.  He was drafted in the 45th round by the Indians in '04, joining Arizona in the December 2012 three-team deal involving Shin-Soo Choo, Drew Stubbs, Didi Gregorius, Trevor Bauer, and others.

D'Backs, Tony Sipp Avoid Arbitration

The Diamondbacks have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.275MM deal with Tony Sipp, the right-hander told Creg Stephenson of  Sipp is a client of the Bledsoe Brothers.

Sipp, 29, came to the Diamondbacks in the three-team deal which shipped Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds last month.  He was a fixture of the Indians' bullpen in 2012 as he posted a 4.42 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances.  MLBTR's projection model had Sipp coming away with a $1MM deal in arbitration.

Kevin Towers Q&A At FanGraphs

Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers spoke to David Laurila of FanGraphs just before the holidays, and the interview was published today. The long-time executive discussed his upbringing in the game as well as his team-building philosophies while with the Padres and D'Backs. Here are a few other highlights...

  • Theo Epstein, who was with the Padres early in his career, first introduced Towers to park effects. He says they played a role in acquiring both Chris Young (fly ball pitcher moving to Petco Park) and Trevor Cahill (ground ball pitcher moving to Chase Field).
  • Towers likes a bullpen with different looks, which contributed to the acquisition of Tony Sipp. "Sipp has a little bit of funkiness and deception to his delivery, and historically he’s had very good numbers against left-handed hitters," said the GM.
  • The lack of quality middle infielders, both on the current market and also in the draft and internationally, played an important role in the Didi Gregorius pickup. "Sometimes you have to overpay for [up-the-middle players], because of that lack of inventory," said Towers. Both Sipp and Gregorious were acquired earlier this month in the three-team deal with the Reds and Indians.

Reds Acquire Shin-Soo Choo In Three-Team Deal

8:12pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they have acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius, left-handed pitcher Tony Sipp, and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw.  The Reds are receiving Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in the swap and are sending Drew Stubbs to Cleveland as well.  The Indians will send the Reds approximately $3.5MM to account for the differences in projected salaries between Choo and Stubbs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

The Reds will use Choo in center field even though he hasn't played there for the Indians since 2009 and has played just ten MLB games at the position in total.  The Reds are banking on the 30-year-old's offensive production being able to make up for whatever they might lose defensively.  The veteran owns a  .289/.381/.465 slash line across eight major league seasons.

Choo, a Scott Boras client, is set to hit the open market after the 2013 season.  The Indians have been said to have him available via trade, albeit with a high price tag.  The Reds will plug Choo in as the leadoff hitter, a role they have been working hard to fill.  The club spoke with the Twins about Ben Revere before he was traded to the Phillies and also had conversations with the Rockies about Dexter Fowler.

Stubbs, 28, struggled at the plate in 2012 as he posted a .213/.277/.333 batting line with 14 home runs in 544 plate appearances.  The former eighth-overall pick in the 2006 draft has a .241/.312/.386 across four big league seasons with the Reds.

It was believed that the initial acquisition of Gregorius by the Indians would pave the way for them to deal fellow shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but they instead flipped Gregorius and kept Cabrera.  The 22-year-old Gregorius won't be arbitration eligible until 2016 and won't see the open market until 2019.  The Netherlands native split time between Double-A and Triple-A last season, hitting .265/.324/.393 with seven homers in 561 plate appearances.  The 27-year-old Cabrera, meanwhile, is set to earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before hitting free agency.  Gregorius entered 2012 as the Reds' sixth-best prospect, according to Baseball America.  The publication also had him ranked as the organization’s best defensive infielder and deemed him to have the best throwing arm in the farm system.

Sipp posted a 4.42 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances last season. The 29-year-old was a fixture in the Indians' bullpen, making 248 relief appearances with Cleveland from 2009-12.

The Indians acquired Anderson at the trade deadline this year from the Red Sox in exchange for Double-A starter Steven Wright.  The 25-year-old posted a .250/.353/.396 slash line in 111 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and Triple-A Columbus.  Anderson has also played in 30 big league games for the Red Sox across three seasons.

Bauer, 21, was the third overall selection by Arizona in the 2011 Draft out of UCLA.  Baseball America had Bauer as the ninth-best prospect in baseball entering 2012.  The hurler spent most of 2012 between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno where he had a combined 2.42 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 22 starts. Bauer became the first member of the 2011 draft to appear in the big leagues when he made four starts for the Diamondbacks in July.

Albers, 29, spent 2012 with the Red Sox and D'Backs, posting a 2.39 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances.  For his career, Albers owns a 4.68 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.

Shaw, 25, spent the bulk of last season in the Arizona bullpen where he had a 3.49 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 64 relief appearances.  The right-hander was taken in the second-round of the 2008 draft by the Diamondbacks and has seen time in 97 big league games across the last two seasons.

8:04pm: The portion of the deal involving the Diamondbacks and Indians has not been finalized, according to Steve Gilbert of (via Twitter).

7:50pm: The deal sending Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds has been completed, according to Jon Heyman of (via Twitter).  The Reds will also receive Jason Donald in the trade, Heyman confirms (via Twitter).

The three-team deal that was being worked on had Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald going to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks, and Drew Stubbs plus an Arizona pitcher going to the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Patrick Corbin or Trevor Bauer will likely be the Arizona pitcher going to Cleveland, Rosenthal tweets.

Danny Knobler of first reported that the Reds were close to acquiring Choo in a deal with the Indians netting them Stubbs and Gregorius.  Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported that the D'Backs were involved, making it a three-team deal.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the framework of the trade. 

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