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Trevor Bauer Rumors
Condolences to the family and friends of Lee MacPhail, who passed away at the age of 95 today. MacPhail was a long-time executive who worked with the Yankees and Orioles in addition to serving as Commissioner William Eckert's chief aid. He also served as president of the American League and was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Here is the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday…
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that Adam LaRoche hasn't heard from the Nationals in a few days, but he's still interested in returning to the team (Twitter link). LaRoche turned down Washington's qualifying offer today.
- The Orioles are still talking to Nate McLouth, reports Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The team is optimistic a deal will get done, but nothing is imminent.
- The Mets have more payroll flexibility than expected, but GM Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he's still "realistic" about the players they can acquire (Twitter links). Alderson referenced the "bottom end" of the free agent market.
- "We are not shopping him," said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez when asked about the Trevor Bauer trade rumors. "Again, if they ask, [GM Kevin Towers'] response is 'Hey, we are willing to listen,' and that's what's happened here."
- Earlier today we heard that the Tigers made a contract offer to Jeremy Bonderman, but the right-hander told MLB.com's Jason Beck that it's news to him (Twitter links). Bonderman cautioned that he usually lets his agent handle contract matters.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that outfielder Nick Weglarz is drawing interest as a free agent thanks to his left-handed bat. The 24-year-old hit .239/.349/.413 with 14 homers in 436 plate appearances for the Indians' Double-A affiliate last year.
The Diamondbacks are already involved in "active discussions" about Justin Upton, and now ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the team will also listen to trade offers for Trevor Bauer (Twitter links). The right-hander has fallen out of favor with some in the organization.
Bauer, 21, was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. He made his MLB debut this season and surrendered 13 runs in 16 1/3 innings across four starts while also battling a groin problem. Bauer pitched to a 2.42 ERA in 130 1/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this year as well. Between Upton and Bauer, GM Kevin Towers may be in possession of this offseason's two biggest trade chips.
The Diamondbacks are weighing whether Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra is a better fit as their everyday left fielder in 2012, GM Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Snakes are also looking for help at shortstop and third base this winter, and Towers said those decisions will affect the direction that Arizona takes in left field.
"When you put a club together, it’s more of a puzzle,” Towers said. “What you do at short and third maybe changes what your need is in left. If you get more offense on the corner, then maybe there’s more of a premium for the defender in left. If you don’t get the offense and you get the defense in the infield, you have to have your power somewhere."
Piecoro projects the 2013 D'Backs outfield as Justin Upton remaining with the team and playing right field, Adam Eaton playing center, and one of Kubel or Parra in left, leaving A.J. Pollock as the fourth outfielder. The loser of the Kubel/Parra decision would become expendable along with Chris Young, who has already been rumored to be on the trading block. Young is owed $8.5MM in 2013 and his $11MM option for 2014 carries a $1.5MM buyout, and Piecoro reports that the D'Backs expect to eat some of that money in any Young trade.
Kubel signed a two-year, $15MM deal with Arizona last December and he hit 30 homers with a .253/.328/.506 batting line in 2012, though he slumped in the second half of the season, posting just a .745 OPS after the All-Star break. Parra posted a .727 OPS in 430 plate appearances last year and provided his usual excellent glovework, recording a +13.8 UZR/150 rating. It's a clear choice between hitting and defense for the Snakes, though contracts also play a role — while Kubel will earn $7.5MM next year, Parra is arb-eligible for the second time this winter and is under control through 2015 as a Super Two player.
Towers mentioned how defense was an important factor at Chase Field and that he wanted the team to be less reliant on home runs, leaving Piecoro to speculate that this could mean the D'Backs could move away from Kubel in left and Chris Johnson at third base.
In other team news, Piecoro hears that Trevor Bauer isn't likely to be traded. D'Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick sounded critical of Bauer last week, leading to some speculation that the team had soured on the highly-touted 21-year-old. If Arizona actually did make Bauer available, the 2011 third overall pick would instantly become one of the biggest trade chips on the market this offseason.
The latest on the Diamondbacks as General Manager Kevin Towers and Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick opened up a bit on the club's plans..
- Towers told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com that he has a very open-minded approach to improving the roster and wouldn't rule out a trade of Justin Upton. However, finding the right deal could prove to be difficult. "It's probably going to be very difficult to move him. We've explored it the last couple of years and there wasn't a deal that presented itself that made sense, that we felt was going to make us better," said Towers.
- Kendrick had a similar take in an interview today on KTAR radio, tweets Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. "I would think it’s highly likely that we’ll see Justin Upton in a Diamondbacks uniform next year," Kendrick said. Kendrick also emphasized the club's never-say-never attitude to trades (Twitter link).
- Kendrick seemed to give a less-than-enthusiastic evaluation of right-hander Trevor Bauer. "In an employer/employee situation it’s incumbent on employee to make adjustments to satisfy the needs of the employer," said Kendrick, according to Piecoro (via Twitter).
- When asked if Bauer has a future with the D'Backs, Kendrick responded, "Well he has talent," (via Twitter). Kendrick wasn't asked to expound on his specific issues with the former third-overall pick.
- The club has time to decide on J.J. Putz's $6.5MM option for next season, but Towers termed it a "no-brainer" based on his performance this year and the going rate for closers of his caliber. If Arizona has a sudden change of heart, Putz can be bought out for just $1.5MM.
- Despite falling short of expectations this season, Towers told Bloom that he still believes that the club isn't far from contending once again. The GM also chalked up some of the disappointment for the 2012 season to raised expectations heading into the year.
- Asked about his shopping list for this offseason, Towers said that he will likely target a shortstop to replace Stephen Drew. He doesn't see Willie Bloomquist as a full-time answer given his injury history and John McDonald probably couldn't fill the void at the age of 38. Beyond that, Towers would like to bolster the pitching, but any veteran pitching they acquire would happen via trade. Towers will also look to upgrade at third base this winter.
- Towers won't completely rule out a return for Drew via free agency, but it's not likely seeing as how they already opted to move him this year.
- In general, Towers believes that he will look to improve via trade rather than free agency. The club could free up additional cash by moving an outfielder as they are high on both A.J. Pollock and Adam Eaton, though they should already have enough money to contend next season as it stands.
This week features the 2012 debuts of two of baseball’s top young players: Anthony Rizzo and Trevor Bauer. Much anticipation has preceded the debuts of Rizzo and Bauer, who both entered the season among the top 50 prospects in the game, according to Baseball America. However, service time considerations vary from player to player, and Rizzo's case is completely different from Bauer's. Here’s a detailed look at both situations:
- Anthony Rizzo – The first baseman debuted Tuesday, so he’ll accrue 100 days of service time assuming he stays in the Major Leagues for the remainder of the season. He picked up 68 days of service time under Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on last year’s Padres team, so he’s on track to have 168 days of service following the 2012 season. Players need 172 days of service time for a full year, so Rizzo’s expected to fall just short. This means he’ll be under Cubs control through 2018 as opposed to 2017 and justifies the timing of the promotion. Rizzo’s on track for super two status following the 2014 season, meaning he'll likely go to arbitration four times.
- Trevor Bauer – Bauer will debut tonight, which means he’ll accrue 98 days of MLB service assuming the Diamondbacks don’t demote him between now and the end of the season. Bauer, a 2011 draft pick, doesn’t have any MLB service time yet, so he’s on track to finish the season with 98 days of service. Presumably this won’t be enough for him to qualify for super two status following the 2014 season. Like Rizzo, Bauer will remain under team control through 2018.
R.A. Dickey's streak of not allowing an earned run came to an end during the third inning of Sunday night's game against the Yankees. With 44 2/3 innings of earned run-free baseball, Dickey's performance pales in comparison to Orel Hershiser's record 59 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball set in 1988 while with the Dodgers. What makes Hershiser's feat even more impressive is that he actually continued the streak into the playoffs as he threw eight more run-free innings to give him 67 in total. Here's the latest news from around the league…
- Anthony Rizzo is expected to make his Cubs debut this Tuesday against the Mets at Wrigley Field, writes David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. The franchise's top prospect has mastered the art of hitting Triple-A pitching as he's currently the owner of a .349/.410/.710 batting line.
- Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 amateur draft, will make his Major League debut for the Diamondbacks on Thursday after enjoying extensive success at the minor league level, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com. The right-hander has a 2.79 ERA, 10.9 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 at Triple-A this season.
- The Mets are in desperate need of bullpen help, but will probably have to wait until after the All-Star break to make a move as there are currently very few sellers, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- Utility man Brent Lillibridge tweets his gratitude to the White Sox organization and his love for the city of Chicago as he looks forward to the next chapter of his career with the Red Sox. Lillibridge, 28, is headed to Boston after being traded with Zach Stewart in exchange for Kevin Youkilis and cash earlier on Sunday.
The Dodgers, who have averaged 85 wins per year in six seasons under GM Ned Colletti, are on pace for 97 wins despite their poor showing against the Athletics this week. Here are the latest NL West links…
- Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he intends to make some changes to his pitching approach "It's almost like I'm pitching backwards now," he said. "Like I'm a wuss thrower. I've got to start utilizing my fastball." Nightengale discussed the differences between this version of Lincecum and the two-time Cy Young Award winner in a detailed piece. "It's hard to believe it's the same guy,” one scout said.
- The Diamondbacks are "in no rush" to promote Trevor Bauer, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes. Bauer visited with some Diamondbacks officials yesterday to familiarize himself with the organization. But the team is “not trying to clone people here” GM Kevin Towers said in reference to Bauer’s quirks.
- Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Jake Kaplan of MLB.com that it's hard to get a read on the effectiveness of the team's four-man rotation so early on. “What we've seen the first two days is real similar to what I've been dealing with an awful lot this season," Tracy said.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs proposed an alternate method of managing a pitching staff earlier in the week, in case you missed it.
It’s been a busy week for the Diamondbacks, not only because of the draft, but because of the public admission from managing partner Ken Kendrick that he’s disappointed in Stephen Drew and Justin Upton. Here are some notes on the team via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic…
- GM Kevin Towers said Kendrick has the right to make bold comments, even if they don’t often occur in Arizona. “That happens in New York City about once a month, and in Boston and other places,” Towers said. “It kind of shocks everybody when it happens out here because you don’t see it happen that often.”
- Towers said the Diamondbacks aren’t really looking for ways to add top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to the big league team. The GM noted that Bauer has done basically everything the team has asked of him in the upper minors.
- Scouting director Ray Montgomery said the Diamondbacks and first round selection Stryker Trahan are “in an area where [the sides] both feel like [they're] going to get something done,” as we heard from Piecoro last night.
There's been lots of draft chatter these past few days, but that's not all that's going on around the Major Leagues. Here are some more notes from around MLB…
- The Red Sox optioned Daniel Bard to Triple-A, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Bard has struggled with his command in the rotation and, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes, his velocity is down as well. Bard still figures to go to arbitration for the second time this coming offseason.
- The Royals don’t intend to rush Wil Myers to the Major Leagues despite the top prospect’s minor league successes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Royals could reduce the chances that Myers qualifies for super two status following the 2014 season by waiting another few weeks to call him up.
- Diamondbacks pitching prospect Trevor Bauer has pitched well enough in the minors to deserve a promotion, but "nothing has been decided" regarding the right-hander's timeline, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports (Twitter links). Bauer and Myers are in similar situations; they probably won't qualify as super twos if their teams keep them in the minors for a few weeks.
It’s draft day, which means lots of coverage on MLBTR. I’ll be hosting a live chat throughout the evening, so come by and discuss the latest picks as they’re announced. MLBTR’s Steve Adams will be updating posts with each selection, so you’ll be able to see everything at a glance. Here are some non-draft links as we await the big event…
- The White Sox are expected to target veteran bullpen help if they're in a position to add to their roster in July, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- Knobler hears the Diamondbacks will call top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer up “soon” (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox called the Diamondbacks about Joe Saunders after Arizona acquired the left-hander in 2010, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. One MLB executive can imagine a trade involving Saunders and Kevin Youkilis, though the person doubts the Diamondbacks would be interested in taking on considerable salary or parting with a significant prospect.
- The Mets will likely make three roster moves Tuesday, when Miguel Batista, Jason Bay and Chris Young are expected to return, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The club will have to create 40-man roster space for Young.
- The Tigers should have a better idea of what, if anything, Victor Martinez can offer in 2012 by late July, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.