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2:32pm: The Indians are paying the entirety of the $3.33MM remaining on Cabrera’s deal, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, who says that Cleveland is very high on Walters.
2:21pm: The Nationals have officially announced the acquisition of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians in exchange for infielder Zach Walters and cash considerations.
The 28-year-old Cabrera is hitting .246/.305/.386 with nine homers and seven steals on the season. While defensive metrics have never liked his glovework at shortstop, his bat is above average for the position, and he could fill in for the Nationals at second base, with Anthony Rendon sliding back over to third base on a full-time basis in the wake of Ryan Zimmerman‘s injury.
Cabrera grades out better in his career at second base than his career at shortstop, albeit in a much smaller sample size (1341 innings at second base). Cabrera has about $3.33MM of this season’s $10MM salary remaining, and he is a free agent at season’s end.
The 24-year-old Walters entered the season as Washington’s No. 14 prospect, per Baseball America. He received a brief promotion to the Majors but didn’t capitalize on his time there, hitting just .205/.279/.462 in 43 plate appearances. While he did belt three homers, he also whiffed 16 times in that small sample. BA praised his raw power but questioned his plate discipline and noted a high number of seemingly careless throwing errors. While he has a chance to stick at shortstop with some offensive upside, BA feels he likely profiles as a utility infielder that can fill in at various positions.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported that Cabrera had been traded (Twitter link). MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian added that the Nats were his destination (Twitter link). Hoynes then tweeted Walters was going to Cleveland, and ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted details on the cash considerations.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In return, Boston has picked up left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, per a tweet from Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter) first reported that a young arm was included in the deal.
Rodriguez represents a significant return for Boston on Miller, who emerged as the most sought-after left-handed reliever but is set to reach free agency at year’s end. He had been nothing short of dominant this year, posting 14.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 and generating a 52.5% groundball rate.
Miller’s excellent 2.34 ERA is actually higher than advanced metrics would suggest, as Miller owns lower marks per ERA estimators such as FIP (1.69), xFIP (1.76) and SIERA (1.42). Miller has held down both lefties (.420 OPS) and righties (.537 OPS) on the year.
Rodriguez came into the year as Baltimore’s 3rd-best overall prospect, per Baseball America. The 21-year-old has not taken a step forward at Double-A, however, as he owns a 4.79 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 through 82 2/3 innings on the year. Though he profiles more as a middle-of-the-rotation arm, Rodriguez had been on a fast track to the big leagues and still has plenty of value.
Denorfia, 34, is hitting just .242/.293/.319 this season, but he’s a proven weapon against left-handed pitching — a clear point of weakness for Seattle. While he hasn’t hit lefties or righties in 2014, Denorfia is a lifetime .301/.367/.447 hitter against southpaws. He’s also a plus defender at either corner outfield spot and can handle center in a pinch, though defensive metrics don’t like his work there.
The Mariners have hit just .244/.298/.371 against left-handed pitching this season, and their outfielders have been even worse against southpaws, hitting a combined .246/.287/.346. Denorfia is a free agent at season’s end.
Almonte, 24, opened the season as Seattle’s leadoff hitter and everyday center fielder, but he struggled offensively, hitting just .198/.248/.292 in 113 plate appearances before being sent down. He’s been markedly better at Triple-A Tacoma, slashing .267/.333/.390 with six homers and seven stolen bases on the season. Baseball America ranked him as Seattle’s No. 17 prospect heading into the season.
As for the 25-year-old Kohlscheen, he was unranked by BA but is enjoying a strong season between Double-A and Triple-A. The Auburn University product, drafted in the 45th round in 2010, has a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings of relief work this season.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported that Denorfia was going to Seattle (on Twitter), while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted Abraham’s inclusion, and MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweeted Kohlscheen’s inclusion.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
2:12pm: The A’s are paying $650K of Cespedes’ salary but are getting back $1.8MM from the Red Sox for Lester’s salary, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
11:35am: The teams have announced the trade. Nightengale tweets the exact figure that will be heading to Oakland: $650K.
10:09am: Dave Cameron of Fangraphs reports another wrinkle in the trade: Cespedes’ contract calls for him to be non-tendered at the end of his deal (if he is not first extended) in order to assure him early free agency, and he therefore is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer following the 2015 season (Twitter links).
9:14am: The Red Sox are sending under $1MM to the A’s in the trade, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Meanwhile, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America tweets that the value of the Competitive Balance pick that Boston receives will be roughly $800K.
8:54am: Passan tweets that Oakland is also sending a competitive balance draft pick to the Red Sox in the trade, and Boston is sending cash to Oakland. The A’s landed the second pick in Comp Round B in last week’s lottery.
8:49am: The Athletics have acquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (Twitter links). Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that Lester had been traded to an unknown club, while Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com first connected the A’s and Lester earlier this week.
The addition of Lester will give Oakland an incredibly formidable rotation for the balance of the regular season, but perhaps more importantly, in the playoffs. Lester, who has posted a 2.52 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate, will join fellow trade acquisition Jeff Samardzija, free agent signing Scott Kazmir and homegrown star Sonny Gray atop Oakland’s rotation.
It’s possible that the struggles of Jason Hammel, acquired from the Cubs along with Samardzija back on July 4, prompted A’s GM Billy Beane to aggressively pursue another sizable rotation upgrade. While the loss of Cespedes will hurt Oakland’s lineup, the team can afford to part with some offense; the A’s rank first in the Majors in runs scored, sixth in on-base percentage and eighth in slugging percentage. Gomes won’t replace Cespedes’ power or his .256/.303/.464 batting line, but he’s a formidable opponent against lefties, having slashed .302/.400/.431 against southpaws in 2014 and .279/.379/.495 in his career.
Cespedes will bring the Red Sox a much-needed outfield bat, though he’s only under team control through the 2015 season due to a clause in his contract that allows him to forgo arbitration and hit the free agent market after his initial four-year term. He’s slated to earn $10.5MM next season — the same sum that he is owed in 2014. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Cespedes recently voiced a disinterest in playing center field with the A’s, but he did so through a teammate rather than by approaching manager Bob Melvin directly, which likely didn’t sit well with the team (Twitter links).
The pair of blockbuster trades by Beane signifies a clear “all-in” philosophy on the 2014 season. Oakland has traded its best prospect (Addison Russell), a 2013 first-round pick (Billy McKinney) and one of its most dangerous bats (Cespedes) in an attempt at the most dominant pitching staff it can muster for the playoffs. There will be no compensation if (or, perhaps more appropriately given his likely price tag — when) Lester departs as a free agent, as baseball’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits players who did not spend the entire regular season on one team from receiving qualifying offers.
For the Red Sox, who hope to re-sign Lester as a free agent this offseason, this trade at least gives them a chance, perhaps a slight one, to have Lester and Cespedes on the same team in 2015 when the club takes another shot at contending. Beyond that, the addition of a draft pick is an interesting wrinkle, as it allows Boston to enjoy the best of both worlds, in a way. GM Ben Cherington could have kept Lester and extended a qualifying offer in hopes of recouping a draft pick if Lester signed elsewhere in free agency. Now, the Sox will get a bonus pick regardless (albeit a slightly later one), and they also are guaranteed a middle-of-the-order bat for the 2015 season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston engage Cespedes in extension talks either, though that is nothing more than my own speculation at this juncture.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In their second blockbuster trade of the day, the Red Sox sent veteran starting pitcher John Lackey to the Cardinals along with minor leaguer Corey Littrell and about $1.75MM in cash in exchange for young starter Joe Kelly and outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig. The deal is now official. The Red Sox continue to focus on players that can help them win in the near future, having traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes earlier today. The Cardinals further bolster their rotation, having acquired Justin Masterson from the Indians yesterday.
Lackey, 35, has a 3.60 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, and 46.9% groundball rate in 137 1/3 innings this year. His 2014 numbers closely resemble his work last year, a resurgent season after his 2011 campaign culminated in Tommy John surgery and he missed all of 2012. A second round draft pick in 1999, Lackey spent the early part of his career as a front of the rotation workhorse for the Angels.
Lackey joins Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn at the front of a St. Louis rotation that suffered several blows this year. Jaime Garcia is out for the season after rib surgery this month, while Michael Wacha will return in September in the best case scenario as he recovers from a stress reaction in his pitching shoulder. In addition, the Cards received unspectacular work from Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly. Masterson is due back soon from a DL stint for knee inflammation, and hopes to put this year’s struggles behind him before reaching free agency. The Cardinals are currently in third place and 2.5 games out in the NL Central, and one game out in the Wild Card.
The Cardinals also receive Littrell, a 22-year-old starter in High-A ball who was drafted in the fifth round last year out of the University of Kentucky. He owns a 3.60 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 0.72 HR/9 in 100 frames this year. Littrell did not rank among the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects prior to the season in the eyes of Baseball America, though BA ranked the team’s farm system seventh overall.
Kelly, 26, posted a 4.37 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, and 54.3% groundball rate in 35 innings for the Cardinals this year. He won the team’s fifth starter job out of spring training, but injured his hamstring in mid-April and missed nearly three months. Kelly will have two years and 116 days of Major League service after 2014, meaning he’ll likely miss Super Two status and won’t become arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season. He’s under team control through 2018. Kelly boasts an average fastball velocity near 95 miles per hour, a 3.25 career ERA, and 29 1/3 innings of postseason experience, but his peripheral stats don’t quite match up.
Craig, 30, has slumped to a .237/.291/.346 line in 398 plate appearances this year. He hit .306/.358/.492 in 1,420 plate appearances prior to 2014, suggesting he could bounce back for Boston. Craig signed a five-year, $31MM deal with the Cardinals in March 2013, of which about $26.4MM remains through 2017. The deal also includes a club option for 2018. Craig has appeared at first base and the outfield corners in his career, though he’s generally regarded as a below-average defensive outfielder. The Red Sox have designated hitter David Ortiz potentially through 2017, though first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Shane Victorino are signed only through 2015.
The 2011 Tommy John procedure plays a large role in Lackey’s trade value. When the Red Sox signed Lackey to a five-year free agent deal in December 2009, concerns over his elbow led to a clause creating a club option for the league-minimum salary for 2015, which was triggered with the Tommy John procedure. That means playing for little more than $500K next year after earning more than 30 times that much in each of the previous four seasons. Lackey has told the Cardinals he plans to honor the club option, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
This season, Lackey has a bit over $5MM in salary remaining, plus a $500K assignment bonus for being dealt. He had been scheduled to start tomorrow in Boston as the Red Sox kick off a three-game set against the Yankees.
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com first reported the Red Sox were close to trading Lackey to the Cardinals or Dodgers. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first identified the Cardinals. Peter Gammons of MLB Network first named Joe Kelly and Allen Craig as part of the deal. WEEI’s Alex Speier first named Corey Littrell as part of the deal, while Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was first to report the cash involved. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Parra, 27, is hitting .259/.305/.362 in 440 plate appearances this year, playing mostly right field for Arizona. Parra has typically posted stellar defensive metrics, though he’s been about average this year based on UZR and DRS. He has about $1.6MM remaining on his contract this year, and is arbitration eligible for 2015. A left-handed batter, Parra could enter something of a platoon with Khris Davis in left field. Or, he may just spell Davis, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun as an oft-used fourth outfielder.
Haniger, 23, is hitting .255/.316/.416 in 271 plate appearances at Double-A this year. Baseball America rated Haniger the third-best prospect in the Brewers’ weak farm system prior to the season, calling him the team’s most advanced hitting prospect. The Brewers drafted Haniger 38th overall in 2012 as a supplemental draft pick for the loss of Prince Fielder. Banda, 20, is a southpaw starter with 83 2/3 innings at Low-A this year. Baseball America ranked him 27th among Brewers prospects prior to the season, though they say the team viewed him as a potential mid-rotation starter.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the Brewers and D’Backs completed a trade involving Mitch Haniger. John Gambadoro of KTAR first reported the Brewers acquired Parra. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic first reported the D’Backs acquired a second player. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Milone (pictured) lost his rotation spot with the Athletics earlier this month when the team acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and any hope of him regaining that spot likely faded with Oakland’s morning acquisition of Jon Lester. The 27-year-old Milone had asked to be traded somewhere that he had a chance to start, and Minnesota certainly fits that bill. Specifically, the spacious Target Field seems a good fit for Milone’s fly-ball arsenal.
Milone had pitched to a solid 3.55 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 38.4 percent fly-ball rate in 96 1/3 innings this season. He owns a 3.84 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 36.8 percent ground-ball rate in 468 2/3 innings for the Nationals and Athletics. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and can be controlled through the 2017 campaign. For the time being, Milone will report to Triple-A Rochester, per the Twins. However, 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets that it may be a procedural move more than anything. Milone just pitched Tuesday and is expected to be with the Twins soon, Wolfson hears.
Milone will add to a growing crop of Major League ready arms for the Twins, who have Alex Meyer and Trevor May knocking on the door at Rochester. Though several current members of the Major League staff have underperformed, including Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco and Mike Pelfrey (the latter two are currently on the DL), Minnesota could have a wildly different rotation in 2015.
Interestingly, the Twins claimed Fuld off waivers from Oakland earlier this year when he was designated for assignment. Presumably, he can form some form of platoon with the newly acquired Jonny Gomes in order to fill in for the now-departed Yoenis Cespedes.
The 32-year-old Fuld has been excellent for the Twins in 2014, slashing .274/.370/.354 with a homer, a dozen steals (in 15 attempts) and standout defense in both left and center field. In addition to platooning with Gomes, he can serve as a center field option for the A’s with Craig Gentry on the disabled list and Coco Crisp currently ailing. Fuld is a career .240/.323/.337 hitter and can be controlled via arbitration through the 2016 campaign.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
2:20pm: The Yankees announced that Scott Sizemore has been released to clear room on the 40-man roster.
The 28-year-old Rogers has allowed 16 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings this season (6.97 ERA), but he posted a superior 4.77 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate in 137 2/3 innings for the Jays in 2013. Toronto had designated him for assignment last week.
The Pirates claimed righty Angel Sanchez off waivers from the White Sox, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale adds that the Bucs designated righty Josh Wall for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Sanchez.
The Rays claimed Sanchez off waivers from the Marlins in June, and then the White Sox claimed him earlier this month. The 24-year-old has a 6.57 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and 0.71 HR/9 in 89 innings at Double-A and High-A this year. Baseball America ranked him 16th among Marlins prospects prior to the season, noting a live 92-95 mile per hour fastball. The Marlins had acquired him from the Dodgers last July as part of the Ricky Nolasco trade.
Wall, 27, was also sent to the Marlins in the Nolasco deal last summer. He was claimed off waivers by the Angels in October, then claimed by the Pirates in May. He has a 3.55 ERA, 9.0 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 33 Triple-A relief innings this year.
12:57pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that nothing is close, via Twitter.