Transactions Rumors

Dodgers Sign Dustin McGowan

11:05am: McGowan’s base salary with the Dodgers will be just the league minimum, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). However, he’ll have the opportunity to earn $1MM via roster bonuses and $1.5MM via performance bonuses, which peak at 60 appearances and 60 innings pitched. In total, he can earn $3MM.

8:59am: The Dodgers announced today that they have signed right-hander Dustin McGowan to a one-year, Major League contract. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Brandon Beachy, whom the team signed last week, was placed on the 60-day disabled list. (Beachy is recovering from Tommy John surgery.) The move was expected following news yesterday that McGowan showed up at the Dodgers’ Spring Training camp.

McGowan, who turns 33 in March, has spent his entire career to this point in the Blue Jays organization. The ACES client was selected 33rd overall by Toronto back in 2000 but has seen much of a promising career slowed by injuries. McGowan had Tommy John surgery back in 2004, but it’s been his right shoulder that has truly plagued him, as he’s undergone three separate surgeries on his throwing shoulder.

The end result of all the injuries is that McGowan has totaled just 482 1/3 innings of Major League action, but he’s shown flashes of potential throughout his career. He has a lifetime 4.57 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s been used both as a starter and reliever, though more of his work has come out of the bullpen in recent years.

It’s not clear whether or not this signing is tied to the injury of Kenley Jansen, although reports indicated that the Dodgers may look to add another relief arm — but likely a middle reliever as opposed to a closer — in the wake of Jansen’s foot surgery. (He’ll be sidelined eight to 12 weeks.) McGowan, along with Beachy and Brett Anderson, is the third talented but injury-prone pitcher that the Dodgers have signed to a big league deal this winter.


Red Sox To Sign Yoan Moncada

9:10am: Moncada will receive a $31.5MM signing bonus from the Red Sox, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). Sherman adds that the Yankees offered $25MM with a willingness to spend up to $27MM if needed.

Because Boston had already exceeded its international bonus pool — the Sox signed right-handers Chris Acosta and Anderson Espinoza for a combined $3.3MM on July 2 despite having a $188MM signing pool — the team will pay a full 100 percent tax on Moncada’s bonus, bringing the total cost for his services to $63MM.

8:10am: The Red Sox and Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada have reached agreement on a signing bonus in the range of $30MM, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Of course, by signing Moncada to a bonus in the $30MM range, the Red Sox will also be paying a luxury tax worth roughly that same amount, making this in total an approximately $60MM expenditure for Boston. On top of that, the Red Sox will now be restricted from signing any international amateur for more than $300K in the 2015-16 and the 2016-17 international signing periods.

Moncada, a 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder, is the most sought-after international prospect in recent history. Said to be a true five-tool talent, scouts have likened his upside to that of Robinson Cano and Chase Utley (in his prime). Prospect specialists at Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs have all suggested that Moncada would rank in the top five to 15 prospects in Major League Baseball upon signing, which will make him Boston’s new No. 1 prospect. Unlike recent Cuban signings such as Jose Abreu and Rusney Castillo, however, Moncada will likely require at least one season in the minors — possibly two.

Over the past several months, the Red Sox have been one of the primary teams connected to Moncada, although many believed the Yankees and Dodgers to be in a better position to land him, as the Red Sox don’t have a clear long-term need in the infield with Dustin Pedroia at second base and Pablo Sandoval entering the first of a five-year, $95MM contract. (Sandoval, of course, could move over to first base in a few years.) Xander Bogaerts figures to be the long-term answer at shortstop, though the expectation among scouts is that Moncada will end up at second, third or possibly in center field (where Castillo is currently slotted).

As Sanchez wrote last week, the overage tax must be paid to the league in full by July 15, whereas the bonus can be paid out in installments over the course of the next three years. It’s not known at this time whether or not the Red Sox made the best offer, but agent David Hastings did say recently that size of the bonus would not be the sole determining factor in choosing a team. Moncada also had private workouts for the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, Brewers, Rays, D-Backs, Tigers, Giants, Rangers and Cubs (though the last two would have been ineligible to sign him until July 2, as they had incurred maximum penalties in the 2013-14 international signing period, thereby restricting them in the 2014-15 period).

With this agreement, Moncada has absolutely shattered the previous record signing bonus for an international amateur. That distinction was held briefly by infielder Roberto Baldoquin, following his $8MM bonus from the Angels earlier this winter, and then held even more briefly by right-hander Yoan Lopez, who received an $8.27MM bonus from the D-Backs. The size of Moncada’s bonus will likely come up in discussing the next collective bargaining agreement, as it figures to be a major talking point among proponents of an international draft.


Ben Cherington Has Extension With Red Sox

GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox at some point agreed to a contract extension beyond 2015, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports. When Cherington agreed to the deal isn’t known, and neither are its terms. Cherington received a contract upon becoming GM in 2011, but he is now signed to a new deal that hadn’t previously been made public.

I’m under contract. I have a contract,” said Cherington at a press conference today to discuss manager John Farrell’s new deal. “We understand that contracts for people in uniform are important and need to be discussed. … I have a contract. I’m in good shape. There’s no issue. Glad to be working with [principal owner John Henry] and the rest of the group.”

Since Cherington became general manager, the Red Sox have had two losing seasons out of three, but Cherington’s moves to remake the team following an ugly 2012 season helped the Red Sox to a 2013 World Series win and Cherington to a Sporting News Executive of the Year award. This offseason, his big acquisitions have included Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson and Wade Miley, and he signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo late last season.



Blue Jays Sign Chris Dickerson

The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve signed outfielder Chris Dickerson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Dickerson is represented by MVP Sports Group.

In 2014, the 32-year-old Dickerson hit .309/.407/.479 in a terrific half-season with the Pirates’ Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate before heading in a minor trade to Cleveland, where he hit .224/.309/.327 in 112 plate appearances. The veteran has a career .257/.335/.395 line in parts of seven seasons, providing teams with a reasonable left-handed bench option who can play all three outfield spots. The Blue Jays are a bit thin in their outfield, so Dickerson could compete for a bench job.


Mariners Defeat Tom Wilhelmsen In Arbitration

The Mariners have won their arbitration hearing against reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Wilhelmsen had asked for $2.2MM, but he will instead receive a 2015 salary of $1.4MM.

Wilhelmsen, 31, is coming off a strong year in which he posted a 2.27 ERA in 79 1/3 innings. His peripherals (8.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9) and track record suggest he isn’t likely to sustain an ERA that strong, but he has a terrific mid-90s fastball, and he’ll continue to pitch in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Wilhelmsen might have made more through the arbitration system this winter had he continued as the Mariners’ closer — he saved 53 games in 2012 and 2013 combined, but only one in 2014 after the team signed Fernando Rodney. Wilhelmsen has two more years of arbitration eligibility, and is currently eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.


Dodgers Sign Brandon Beachy

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve signed righty Brandon Beachy to a one-year deal. Beachy will receive $2.75MM, and the Dodgers will get a club option for 2016 that can be worth between $3MM and $6MM depending on how much Beachy pitches in 2015. To clear space for Beachy on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers moved pitcher Chris Withrow to the 60-day DL. Beachy is represented by Icon Sports Management.

USATSI_7358230_154513410_lowresBeachy missed the entire 2014 season after having his second Tommy John surgery and will likely spend the first part of the 2015 season on the disabled list. As Rosenthal notes, though, Beachy gives the Dodgers an extra starting pitching option for 2016 after a 2015-16 offseason in which Brett Anderson and perhaps Zack Greinke (who has an opt-out) could depart via free agency. Once Beachy is healthy, he’ll join Anderson and Brandon McCarthy as newcomers to the Dodgers’ group of rotation candidates.

Should Beachy return to form, he could end up being very helpful — the 28-year-old has a career 3.23 ERA with an excellent 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in parts of four seasons with the Braves, giving him upside that’s rare in a pitcher signed to a one-year deal. Finding a pitcher with Beachy’s talent is especially tricky at this point in the offseason — the free agent starting pitching market is now largely bare, with Kevin Correia, Randy Wolf and Chris Young as the only significant free agents remaining. It’s not yet clear, however, how well Beachy will pitch after having surgery for the second time in three years.

Atlanta non-tendered Beachy earlier this offseason. He still only has four years and 14 days of service time, so as MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted earlier this month, he would have had two years of team control remaining regardless of the terms of his new deal. The Dodgers’ club option for 2016 means they won’t have to take him through the arbitration process for his last year before he becomes eligible for free agency.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal (via Twitter). CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweeted that Beachy would receive $2.75MM guaranteed. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweeted the terms of the Dodgers’ 2016 option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Minor Moves: Daniel Cabrera

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Reds have signed righty Daniel Cabrera to a minor-league deal, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy tweets. Cabrera, who last appeared in the big leagues in 2009, issued 520 walks in 892 1/3 innings over parts of six seasons, frequently frustrating his teams despite his terrific velocity. The 33-year-old spent the last two years starting for Chunichi in Japan, posting a combined 3.49 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. He then pitched for Leones de Escogido in Dominican winter ball this offseason and walked 11 batters in 12 2/3 innings, struggling with the control issues that dogged him throughout his big-league career.

Red Sox Extend John Farrell

The Red Sox have announced that they’ve extended manager John Farrell through the 2017 season with an option for 2018. The deal adds one year plus an option to Farrell’s current deal, which continues through 2015 with a team option for 2016.

Farrell replaced Bobby Valentine following the 2012 season and led the Red Sox to a World Series win the following season, winning the Sporting News AL Manager of the Year award and finishing second in BBWAA AL Manager of the Year voting. Last season, the Red Sox fell to last place, and Farrell now owns a 168-156 record in two years with the team. Farrell also led the Blue Jays to a 154-170 record as their manager during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.


Orioles Defeat Alejandro De Aza In Arbitration

The Orioles have won their arbitration case against outfielder Alejandro De Aza, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets. De Aza, who had filed for $5.65MM, will make $5MM next season in his last year before free agency eligibility.

De Aza made $4.25MM last season, so his $5MM 2015 salary will represent only a relatively modest raise. He had been in the midst of a disappointing season with the White Sox before arriving in Baltimore after an August trade. A strong stretch run with the Orioles helped save his season, but he still experienced overall declines (some of them admittedly slight) in most offensive categories, hitting .252/.314/.386 with just eight home runs for the season.

Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, the Orioles have now either settled or completed the arbitration process with all 11 of their arb-eligible players. They will pay a total of about $57.5MM to those players, including Chris Davis at $12MM, Bud Norris at $8.8MM and Matt Wieters at $8.3MM.


Nationals Exercise Matt Williams’ 2016 Option

The Nationals have announced that they’ve exercised their 2016 option on manager Matt Williams. The team holds another option on Williams for 2017.

We are happy to pick up Matt’s option for the 2016 season,” says Nats General Manager Mike Rizzo. “It shows the great confidence we have in Matt to continue to lead this team on the field.”

Williams replaced Davey Johnson for the 2014 season, and in his first year as manager, he led the team to a 96-66 record as the Nats easily won the NL East. In the process, Williams won the BBWAA NL Manager of the Year award and the Sporting News NL Manager of the Year award.