Travis Snider Rumors

Pirates, Orioles Complete Travis Snider Trade

The Pirates have acquired lefty Steven Brault from the Orioles, the Pirates announced. He will serve as the player to be named later from this January’s Travis Snider deal, joining another young lefty — Stephen Tarpley — to make up the final package for Pittsburgh.

Brault, 22, was floated as a possible name to change hands at the time of the deal, and will indeed be on the move. The southpaw has worked primarily as a starter, reaching the High-A level at the tail end of 2014. He spent most of the year in the Sally League, compiling a 3.05 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9.

Prospect watchers generally saw Brault as something like the twentieth-best  prospect in the O’s system. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs explains that the southpaw will need to find consistent arm speed to reach the bigs as a back-of-the-rotation starter


Duquette On Blue Jays, Snider, Reimold

Before a dinner event at the Orioles’ A-ball affiliate in Aberdeen this evening, executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke to reporters (including MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun) about both his own tumultuous offseason and some other hot stove topics.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Duquette doesn’t discuss ongoing negotiations for players, and that same logic led to his lack of comment about the rumors connecting him to the Blue Jays president’s job, and the discussions between the Jays and Orioles about a possible trade to free him from his Baltimore contract.  “You know, these things happen in baseball. This is rare, but sometimes trades are made for managers, sometimes trades are made for executives and that’s the way it goes,” Duquette said.  “It’s a part of the business. If there’s trade discussions that I have as an executive, I really don’t talk about those publicly, because you never know what’s going to come to fruition and what’s not.”
  • Despite the Toronto situation, Duquette described his Orioles offseason work as “business as usual” and said he didn’t feel it necessary to reiterate his commitment to O’s upper management.  “I’ve always done my job 24 hours a day and to the best of my ability,” Duquette said. “That’s a habit. We’re going to have another good ballclub this year. I’m confident of that.”
  • The O’s have offered Nolan Reimold a contract, Duquette said, though he noted that the outfielder is also receiving interest from other teams.  The Indians are known to be one of the clubs linked to Reimold this winter.
  • Duquette said he is still looking to add a right-handed bullpen arm.
  • The Orioles’ recent acquisition of Travis Snider gives the club added depth both offensively and defensively, Duquette said, and he thinks Snider’s bat is a good fit for Camden Yards.  Duquette and Pirates GM Neal Huntington had originally discussed a Snider deal during the Winter Meetings, though talks were only rekindled a few weeks ago.  “I had stayed in touch with Neal because we were still looking for a left-handed-hitting outfielder, so we continued our persistence and Neal made him available,” Duquette said.

Orioles Acquire Travis Snider

8:23pm: Pirates GM Neal Huntington tells reporters, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link), that the player to be named later will be “similar” to Tarpley. It seems worth noting, then, that Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier tonight that fellow Class-A left-hander Steven Brault was a possible name that could exchange hands.

7:32pm: It’s been a quiet offseason for the Orioles in terms of outfield additions, but the team announced today that it has struck a deal to acquire Travis Snider from the Pirates in exchange for Class-A left-hander Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later.

"<strong

Snider, who turns 27 next week, represents the first outfield addition to an Orioles club that has already lost both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz this offseason (though the team did also re-sign Delmon Young). Where he fits into the overall picture for the Orioles is a bit less clear, as the team already has a pair of left-handed hitting corner outfielders in Alejandro De Aza and David Lough. However, Lough doesn’t have the same offensive ceiling as Snider and may be considered more of a fourth outfield option for the Orioles follwing this trade.

Snider, formerly a Top 10 prospect in all of baseball per both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, has not lived up to that billing nor his lofty draft status (14th overall in 2006), but he enjoyed a strong season at the plate in 2014 with Pittsburgh. After a slow start, Snider recovered to slash .264/.338/.438 with 13 homers in 359 plate appearances. Specifically, Snider was excellent after the All-Star break, hitting .288/.356/.524 in 188 plate appearances.

The Pirates and Snider have already agreed to a $2.1MM salary for 2015, thereby avoiding arbitration. Snider will be arb-eligible again next winter for the final time before hitting the free agent market in the 2016-17 offseason.

As for the Orioles, they’ll acquire a 21-year-old former third-round pick (98th overall in 2013) in the form of Tarpley. The Arizona native spent 2014 with short-season Class-A Aberdeen, working to a 3.68 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 66 innings of work (12 starts, one relief appearance). Tarpley recently ranked 14th on MLB.com’s list of Top 20 Orioles prospects and last winter ranked 21st on Baseball America’s list of Top 30 Orioles prospects. BA noted that Tarpley has the stuff to start, with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 96 at times in addition to a curveball and changeup. He previously had a slider in his arsenal as well, though the Orioles opted to scrap that pitch so he could focus on his change, per BA. MLB.com praised him as an arm with upside, touting not only solid curveball and a changeup that shows potential, but also his pitchability and size.

Even more recently, Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel ranked Tarpley ninth among Orioles’ prospects, noting that one scout labeled his curveball as a 70 (on the 20-80 scale), but Tarpley is inconsistent due to both inconsistent mechanics and some maturity/makeup issues, though he looks to be coming around on that front.

Beyond that, however, are the implications for the Pirates’ 2015 roster. With Snider out of the picture, a path is likely cleared for top prospect Gregory Polanco to receive everyday at-bats in right field. Polanco got off to a blistering start in 2014 but quickly cooled and eventually lost time to Snider in the second half. The Pirates will surely hope that Polanco’s 2015 batting line will more closely resemble his .328/.390/.504 batting line from Triple-A than his .235/.307/.343 Major League triple-slash.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports then reported that an agreement had been reached, and Tarpley was headed to Pittsburgh (Twitter link). Connolly added (on Twitter) that a PTBNL would be in the deal as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Orioles, Pirates Closing In On Travis Snider Trade

6:36pm: One name involved in talks, according to Connolly, is Class-A left-hander Steven Brault (Twitter links). Connolly gets the sense that if Brault and a second prospect are sent to the Pirates, the second player would be a hitter.

5:06pm: The Orioles are attempting to acquire Snider for “less” than two minor leaguers at present, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

4:47pm: Connolly adds, via Twitter, that the two sides could be closing in on a deal, and a trade could be agreed upon within the next day.

4:42pm: The Orioles and Pirates have rekindled their previous trade talks regarding Travis Snider, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. While Connolly cautions that a deal is not complete, it seems that the general parameters have been discussed in some depth, as he adds that Snider would cost the Orioles one or two non-40-man prospects — at least one pitcher and possibly another player (that could also be a pitcher).

The 26-year-old Snider (27 next week), formerly one of the Top 10 prospects in all of baseball according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, never was able to live up to those lofty expectations, but he enjoyed a solid season in 2014. Last year with the Pirates, the former Blue Jays top pick batted .264/.338/.438 with 13 homers in 359 plate appearances.

Snider and the Pirates have already agreed to a $2.1MM salary this season, avoiding arbitration. He’s controllable through the 2016 season, as he currently has four years, 91 days of Major League service time. Previous talks regarding Snider involved Brian Matusz, according to Connolly, though he is not under consideration as a part of this deal.

The Orioles lost both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz to free agency this offseason and have yet to replace either, with the current starting outfield projecting to feature Alejandro De Aza in left field, Adam Jones in center and David Lough in right field. Both Steve Pearce and Delmon Young could serve as right-handed options at the outfield corners, though Young figures to spend most of his time at DH. The left-handed hitting Snider would give the Orioles a third lefty-swinging corner option, though perhaps the team feels that the defensively oriented Lough is best deployed as a fourth outfielder.


Pirates Avoid Arbitration With Melancon, Harrison, Snider, Watson

4:21pm: Pittsburgh has also settled with outfielder Travis Snider for $2.1MM, as Mike Perchick of WAPT was first to report (Twitter link). That is just $100K short of the MLBTR/Matt Swartz projection.

Pittsburgh has also reached agreement with reliever Tony Watson for $1.75MM, tweets Perchick. That figure falls a quarter-million shy of Watson’s $2MM projection. And Perchick also reports that Sean Rodriguez and the Pirates have avoided arb with a $1.9MM deal for 2015 — $100K shy of his projection.

2:52pm: The Pirates have agreed to a $5.4MM salary with closer Mark Melancon, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Additionally, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Josh Harrison will receive $2.8MM on the heels of a breakout 2014 campaign.

While Melancon falls shy of his $7.6MM projection, Swartz explained in an Arbitration Breakdown post that Melancon’s unique statistical profile “broke” his projection algorithm in a way similar to Craig Kimbrel last offseason (when Swartz first wrote about “The Kimbrel Rule“). As Swartz explained in that post, he personally considered Melancon to be a Kimbrel-esque exception to his model and expected a salary in the $5.6MM to $6.1MM range.

The 29-year-old Melancon was dominant for a second straight season in 2014, registering a 1.90 ERA with 9.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 33 saves and 14 holds in 71 innings. That rare combination of ERA, saves and holds led the projection model to overshoot Melancon’s salary despite the fact that there’s no historical precedent for a raise of that magnitude for a relief pitcher (hence Swartz’s followup post and personalized expectations for Melancon).

As for Harrison, the 27-year-old broke out with a surprisingly excellent season that landed him ninth in NL MVP voting. Harrison batted .315/.347/.490 with 13 homers and 18 stolen bases, playing strong defense all over the diamond — second, short, third, corner outfield — before settling in at third base and displacing incumbent Pedro Alvarez. Harrison figures to man the hot corner on an everyday basis in 2015. He topped his $2.2MM projection by a hefty $600K.


AL East Rumors: O’s, Snider, Matusz, Lester

A look at the AL East..

  • The Orioles had preliminary discussions on a deal with the Pirates that would send Travis Snider to Baltimore for Brian Matusz, but there doesn’t seem to be much progress at the moment, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington wishes he was given more opportunities to negotiate with Jon Lester in the spring, writes Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican.  Still, he says that he does not have any regrets about his bidding this winter.
  • The Blue Jays will look at short-term free agent options – meaning deals of 1-3 years in length – at second base, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.  Alternatively, GM Alex Anthopoulos could stay put and spend on relief instead.

NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Garcia, Snider

The Cardinals have announced that they are cutting ties with Dr. George Paletta, an orthopedic surgeon who had served as the club's medical director since 1998, in favor of a relationship with Mercy Sports Medicine, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. GM John Mozeliak made it clear that the team expects to reap dividends from the move. "The Mercy Sports Medicine model allows us to improve the level of innovative care available to our team by tapping into a remarkable team of physicians who are leaders in sports medicine," explained Mozeliak. "The biggest change I see with the approach is that it is truly a team model — a model that leverages the strengths of multiple physicians within the Mercy Sports Medicine group. This is a strategic plan that will handle our short-term needs, but also focus on long-term goals." As Strauss notes, St. Louis has undergone a series of changes in its medical and training departments. 

  • One notable injury situation for the Cards is that of starter Jaime Garcia. As Strauss reports, Garcia says he has "never" been able to pitch with complete freedom due to ongoing elbow and then shoulder issues, but is ready to move forward as best he is able. "What I have to learn now is that fine line where you can go out and compete and the point where you can't," said the 27-year-old. "It's not about feeling 100 percent. It's not about feeling great. That's not the case. It never will be. It's a matter of finding something that allows you go compete."
  • We learned earlier today that the Pirates could be looking to deal outfielder Jose Tabata and are willing to listen on reliever Vin Mazzaro. Also potentially available is outfielder Travis Snider, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review further reports. Though Biertempfel says that the willingness to deal Snider is somewhat surprising since he has looked good, dropped some weight, and brings some upside to the table, he notes that those factors also potentially increase his trade value. While clearing out corner outfield inventory would ultimately make way for the call-up of top prospect Gregory Polanco, Biertempfel says that the team is still likely to let Polanco spend some time at Triple-A and avoid starting his service clock soon enough for him to become a Super Two.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Detwiler, Young, Snider

Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections. We'll use this post to keep tabs on players avoiding arbitration today:

  • The Nationals announced on Twitter that they have avoided arbitration with lefty Ross Detwiler. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reports (also on Twitter) that Detwiler received a $3MM salary and can earn an additional $50K for reaching 180 innings.
  • Sherman reports that the Mets and Eric Young Jr. have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.85MM (Twitter link). Young batted .251/.318/.329 in 418 plate appearances for the Mets in 2013 after he was acquired from the Rockies. He also swiped 38 bases in 45 tries, showing off his blazing speed.
  • Sherman tweets that the Pirates have avoided arbitration with Travis Snider by agreeing to a one-year, $1.2MM contract. The former Top 10 overall prospect batted just .215/.281/.333 in 285 plate appearances in 2013, though he's a solid defender and is still entering just his age-26 season.
  • Sherman also reports that Tim Collins agreed to a one-year, $1.3625MM contract with the Royals, thereby avoiding arbitration (Twitter link). Collins has a strong 3.51 ERA in 190 career innings with 9.7 K/9 in his first three seasons, but he's struggled with command, as evidenced by his 5.2 BB/9 in that time. His control has improved a bit over the past two seasons.
  • The Yankees and Francisco Cervelli have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $700K, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Cervelli, who turns 28 in March, is a career .271/.343/.367 hitter in 623 plate appearances.

(more…)


NL Notes: Peralta, Cubs, Snider

The Diamondbacks have returned Rule 5 pick Starlin Peralta to the Cubs, AZCentral.com's Bob McManaman reports. Peralta pitched three innings for the Diamondbacks in spring training, allowing seven runs while walking three batters and striking out none. Peralta, 22, pitched in Class A Peoria in 2012. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum says he's satisfied with his team's position players heading into the season, Carrie Muskat and Owen Perkins of MLB.com report. Sveum hasn't given GM Jed Hoyer a "wish list" of acquisitions, Muskat and Perkins note. The Cubs acquired infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Shawn Camp near the end of spring training in 2012, and both played key roles for the team last year.
  • The manager of Pirates outfielder Travis Snider's former team says Snider could thrive with his new organization, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Current Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who served an earlier stint as the Jays' manager when Snider was among the team's top prospects, compares Snider to Jose Bautista, who became one of baseball's best power hitters after being traded from Pittsburgh to Toronto. "[Bautista] was bouncing around, and it took him a while to get it going. Sometimes what happens is they give up on you too soon," Gibbons says. "But if you're in the perfect spot and they've got time to give you a legitimate shot, that's when guys usually get it going." The Pirates acquired Snider for reliever Brad Lincoln last July.

NL Central Notes: Villanueva, Snider, Pirates, Reds

Brewers GM Doug Melvin is in good health following a unique Spring Training injury.  As MLB.com's Evan Drellich and Adam McCalvy relate, Melvin was stung by an Arizona bark scorpion on Wednesday night and, after his left hand swelled up, made a three-hour visit to a local emergency room.  Here's the latest from around the NL Central…

  • Cubs swingman Carlos Villanueva tells MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that long relievers (like himself) who can make spot starts are "definitely underappreciated" around baseball.  “There’s no market for it,” Villanueva said. “When you go arbitration with somebody, you hear you’re not good enough to start, you’re not good enough to close, and it obviously drives the value down."
  • After struggling to live up to his potential in Toronto, Travis Snider is eager to get a fresh start with the Pirates, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo writes.
  • Snider is one of a dozen former first-round draft picks that could play key roles for the Pirates in 2013, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.  The Bucs have acquired several former first-rounders (like Snider or Jason Grilli) and have plenty of homegrown top picks in the fold.
  • Jason Donald delivered the controversial hit that broke up Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game in 2010 and now the two are teammates with the Reds.  "We never have an in-depth discussion, but it was, 'Oh, hey … good to see you again,'" Donald told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "It wasn't anything like, 'Hey, you remember when I ruined the best game of your life?' He's such a good guy and I know he understands. It's something we can both look back on and know we were a part of history."
  • Earlier today on MLBTR, we featured a collection of Cardinals Notes and some Astros-related items as part of a Texas Notes post.