Tyler Skaggs Rumors

Injury Updates: Skaggs, Darvish, Tanaka, Fife

Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced to reporters today that Tyler Skaggs underwent successful Tommy John surgery this afternoon. News of Skaggs’ injury first broke on Sunday afternoon. While the Halos have yet to make a move to address the void in their rotation, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make some kind of waiver transaction in the next two to three weeks. Skaggs is expected to be out until 2016, Scioscia said on Sunday.

Here’s more on some injury notes from around the league…

  • The Rangers announced tonight that ace Yu Darvish has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Sunday) due to inflammation in his right elbow. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that Darvish will undergo further testing in the next day or two. Darvish apparently felt tightness when playing catch on Monday, and the discomfort failed to dissipate prior to a scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday. GM Jon Daniels tells reporters, including Grant (Twitter link), that doctors do not believe there is any ligament damage in the elbow. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets that team doctor Keith Meister feels that Darvish may be suffering from pronator flexor tendinitis. Darvish will undergo an MRI tomorrow, and in the meantime, the Rangers have selected the contract of right-hander Alex Claudio to take his roster spot. Daniels says the team is hopeful that Darvish will only miss two starts.
  • Injured Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka threw fastballs from flat ground today — a step forward from playing catch — tweets MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Tanaka feels that he still has a chance to pitch in a Major League game again this season. Skipper Joe Girardi told reporters, including Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger, that the team also has hope that Tanaka is not lost for the year.
  • Yet another pitcher has fallen prey to the Tommy John scourge, as Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweets that Dodgers righty Stephen Fife will undergo the procedure. Fife, who started 10 games for the Dodgers last year and one this season, has a 3.66 ERA in 91 Major League innings over the past three seasons. It seems likely that the 27-year-old would miss most, if not all of the 2015 campaign.

Tyler Skaggs To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

The Angels have received devastating news on injured Tyler Skaggs; the promising left-hander is out for the season and all of 2015, as he will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday, reports the Orange County Register’s Jeff FletcherThe rehab time for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters the club won’t rush Skaggs back until 2016 because “the great likelihood is if you remain conservative, you make better decisions.” 

The Angels were already known to be pursuing rotation help on the waiver wire, but presumably, the definitive loss of their No. 4 starter for roughly one calendar year will cause their search to accelerate. Dipoto, however, says that pursuit will focus on back-end starters.

I don’t know too many circumstances where your young starters gets hurt and you are compelled to go chase the top of the market. We’ll stay focused on the type of model we set up. We do feel like we have enough depth to absorb the loss right now.

The Halos selected Skaggs with the 40th overall pick in the 2009 draft but eventually traded him to the D’Backs in a trade for Dan Haren, only to reacquire him this offseason in the Mark Trumbo trade (Dipoto was on the acquiring end of both of those deals, as he was Arizona’s interim GM for the Haren deal).

Skaggs, who only recently turned 23, was enjoying his return to the Angels organization. In 113 innings of work this season, the top prospect had begun to deliver on his potential, posting a 4.30 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and  a 50.1 percent ground-ball rate. ERA estimators such as FIP (3.55), xFIP (3.67) and SIERA (3.75) all felt that Skaggs was better than his ERA.

Skaggs had emerged as a solid fourth option behind Garrett Richards, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, with Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago serving as internal options for the fifth spot. Those five arms will now comprise Scioscia’s primary rotation now, however, and given Wilson’s tremendous struggles of late, that creates a great deal of uncertainty. At this point, I’d be surprised if the Angels didn’t acquire an additional arm to add some stability to the middle or back of the rotation.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Notes: FA Spending, Ichiro, Dirks, Skaggs

We already know that the 2013-14 free agent market has featured incredible spending levels, but what does that mean for how teams value a win (above replacement)? Dave Cameron of Fangraphs breaks down the cost of a projected win for each player that signed a major league deal. The results show that teams have spent at levels that, depending upon what discount rate and precise methodology is employed, value an expected win at between $5MM and $7MM. In a follow-up piece, Cameron observes that, at least for players who are expected to be regular contributors, the spending shows a non-linear escalation of the price of a win (i.e., teams are paying a premium to lock up high-WAR players). Then again, says Cameron, one team — the Yankees — bid on all and signed most of the top (3+-win) players who were on the market, which could have skewed the results. Be sure to read both pieces for all the details on this fascinating topic. 

Here are more notes from around the league:

  • The Yankees' rash of spending may have pushed him to the periphery of the team's roster, but Ichiro Suzuki is not changing his approach, writes Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger"Whatever my role is here — whether I'm a starter or not — my preparation never changes," said Ichiro. "Every day I'm going to do the exact same thing regardless of what my role will be. … If I was the type of player who changes the way I prepare myself, I wouldn't be the player I have been."
  • Outfielder Andy Dirks of the Tigers will undergo back surgery and is expected to be out of action for three months, reports the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). Dirks had been expected to be the left-handed-hitting side of a left field platoon with Rajai Davis. GM Dave Dombrowski indicated that the club hopes to rely on its internal options — including Davis, the switch-hitting Steve Lombardozzi, and left-handed swinging Don Kelly — to fill the void, James Schmehl of MLive.com reports"We think we have some good candidates," said Dombrowski, "but we'll just have to wait and see. I don't want to proclaim that to be 100 percent, but we do have some people that we feel have the chance to play a bigger role for us."
  • After coming over as the key piece in the Mark Trumbo deal, 22-year-old lefty Tyler Skaggs is a key to a high-priced Angels club, writes Richard Justice of MLB.com"He's very important to our season, very important to our future," said GM Jerry Dipoto. "Tyler, being that he's the youngest and least-experienced of our starters, it's an important spring for him to take that next step and establish himself at the major league level."


D-Backs Acquire Trumbo In Three-Team Deal With Angels, White Sox

The biggest trade from this week's Winter Meetings in Orlando is now complete. The Diamondbacks officially announced that they have acquired Mark Trumbo and minor league right-hander A.J. Schugel from the Angels and minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox in a three-team deal. Arizona will send center fielder Adam Eaton to the White Sox and left-hander Tyler Skaggs to the Angels. The White Sox will also send left-hander Hector Santiago to the Angels.

Trumbo-Mark

The Diamondbacks were set on acquiring either Trumbo or Shin-Soo Choo at the Winter Meetings, according to earlier reports. Trumbo (pictured) will slot into the outfield for the D-Backs, which isn't a perfect fit for Arizona given his defensive shortcomings there. Arizona will be looking for Trumbo's power to outweigh his shaky defense; he's belted 66 home runs over the past two seasons, posting a .250/.305/.471 batting line.

In 992 innings as an outfielder throughout his career, Trumbo has a -7.0 UZR/150. While his walk rate climbed to a career-best eight percent in 2013, that's still below the league average, and it came along with a career-worst 27.1 percent strikeout rate. Still, he should provide a great deal of power to a D-Backs outfield that finished last in the Majors in home runs in 2013. In fact, Trumbo's mark of 34 homers alone ties the collective mark posted by Arizona outfielders last season. Trumbo projects to earn $4.7MM via arbitration this offseason and can be controlled through the 2016 campain.

The White Sox have stated a desire to get younger and to add left-handed bats to their lineup, and the acquisition of Eaton will do just that. Formerly one of baseball's top prospects, the 25-year-old Eaton missed more than half of the 2013 season after opening the year on the DL with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow.

In 380 career MLB plate apparances, Eaton is a .254/.332/.373 hitter with five homers and seven stolen bases. He's batted .365/.441/.522 with eight homers and 38 steals in 602 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level. Prior to the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked Eaton as Arizona's No. 4 prospect, noting that he'd made enough defensive strides to convince scouts that he is an everyday big league center fielder with double-digit home run pop, plus speed and a strong, accurate throwing arm. Should he pan out, Eaton could provide the White Sox with their center fielder of the future; he's controllable through the 2018 season.

The Angels have been in the market for young, controllable pitchers, and this trade allows them to fill out their rotation with a pair of promising young left-handers. This is the second time that GM Jerry Dipoto has acquired Skaggs. Dipoto acquired Skaggs for the D-Backs from the Angels in a trade for Dan Haren when he was Arizona's interim GM.

Skaggs appeared in the Top 15 of BA's Top 100 list prior to the 2012 and 2013 seasons but has struggled in his brief big league experience to date. Still just 22, he has a 5.43 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate in 68 Major League innings. He has a 4.02 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 156 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level — all of which have come with him being one of the league's youngest pitchers. Skaggs won't be eligible for arbitration until at least 2016 and can be controlled through the 2019 campaign if he's in the Majors from here on out.

Santiago, who turns 26 next week, has a career 3.41 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and a 37.5 percent ground-ball rate in 224 2/3 big league innings. He's not arbitration eligible until next winter and can be controlled through the 2017 campaign. An extreme fly-ball pitcher, Santiago should enjoy Mike Trout playing behind him in center field.

Schugel dealt with blisters early in the season and saw a foot injury cut his season short in July after he posted a 7.05 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 89 1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake. However, he posted a 2.89 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 140 innings at Double-A when he was healthy in 2012.

Baseball America ranked Schugel 12th among Angels prospects prior to 2013, noting that a strong fastball/changeup combo should allow him to become a back-of-the-rotation starter despite a questionable breaking pitch. BA also noted that Schugel is an excellent athlete that fields his position well.

Jacobs, 23, came to the White Sox from the Red Sox in the Matt Thornton deal in July. The outfielder hit .244/.320/.407 for three teams at Class-A Advanced and Double-A in 2013. He was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, as was Schugel, which is why the pair had to technically be included as players to be named later.

ESPN's Keith Law was the first to report the three-team framework (on Twitter), and MLB.com's Steve Gilbert added that the D-Backs would receive two prospects as well (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted that the trade was agreed to (Twitter links). Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona tweeted that the D-Backs would receive Schugel from the Angels, and John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix was first to suggest that Jacobs would be the PTBNL coming from Chicago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


D-Backs, ChiSox, Angels Optimistic About Three-Team Deal

12:33pm: The White Sox have asked the Halos about Hank Conger this winter, but he's not believed to be in play on this trade, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.

12:22pm: The deal is "getting pretty close," a source tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link). Though he was discussed in a separate trade with the White Sox and Angels, Kendrick is not part of this deal, Gonzalez adds.

12:10pm: USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the three teams are optimistic about their chances of finalizing the trade (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic agrees with Gilbert's report from below, noting that Arizona would receive one prospect from the Angels and one from the Sox (also on Twitter).

11:38am: MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets that Arizona would receive a pair of good prospects in addition to Trumbo.

11:27am: Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (via Twitter) hears that the talks are definitely ongoing but are still in the preliminary phases. The three sides are making some progress but a deal isn't close at this time, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register agrees (on Twitter).

11:02am: The Angels tried to land Santiago from the White Sox in talks for Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, but they're now focused on getting him as part of this three-team deal.

10:50am: ESPN's Keith Law reports (via Twitter) that the Mark Trumbo talks between the Diamondbacks and Angels have expanded to include the White Sox, with a potential framework sending Adam Eaton to Chicago and Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels.

Parting with Skaggs and Eaton would be a steep price to pay in order to play Trumbo out of position at a corner outfield spot, but reports have indicated that the D-Backs are "determined" to leave Orlando with either Trumbo or Shin-Soo Choo in tow, and the financial commitment required to add Choo would be significant. Adding Skaggs and Santiago would be a tremendous win for Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, who has been in the market for controllable young starters for months.


D-Backs Determined To Leave Orlando With Choo Or Trumbo

10:36am: Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register hears that there is "zero" chance the D-Backs would part with both Cahill and Skaggs to land Trumbo (Twitter link).

9:31am: One executive that spoke with the Diamondbacks came away with the impression that Arizona is getting Choo, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

9:25am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that one potential Trumbo package that has been discussed would send both Cahill and Skaggs to the Angels, which would seem to be a tremendous haul for the right-handed slugger.

9:22am: The Diamondbacks are "determined" to leave the Winter Meetings with Shin-Soo Choo or Mark Trumbo, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). According to Sherman, Choo's asking price is said to be in the range of Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142MM contract, and the Rangers remain in the mix. One thing working in Arizona's favor in regards to Choo is that the outfielder currently resides in Buckeye, Ariz., tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.

The Diamondbacks emerged as players for Choo yesterday and are said to be involved in trade talks for Trumbo as well. Reportedly, names like Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Cahill have been discussed with the Angels in talks for Trumbo, who hit 34 homers last season but is seen as a below-average defender in the outfield and comes with OBP issues.


“Good Chance” Angels Trade Trumbo During Meetings

11:52am: The Angels' talks with Arizona are focusing more on Skaggs than Cahill, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

11:18pm: There's a "good chance" the Angels end up moving Trumbo during this week's winter meetings, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez adds that while the D-Backs are one possibility, the Angels are engaged in talks with many clubs.

7:28pm: In their talks with the D-Backs, the Angels are primarily focused on Skaggs and Trevor Cahill, says Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

6:12pm: There are 12 teams in the mix for Trumbo, according to Heyman (Twitter link), who suggests that there could be a fit with the Diamondbacks. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter) that the Angels aren't interested in trading Trumbo for Tyler Skaggs straight up, while Heyman notes that Arizona doesn't want to move Patrick Corbin or Wade Miley.

Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says the Angels have put other talks to the backburner as they focus on Trumbo. The Royals are also a possibile trade partner, according to Stark (Twitter link).

5:27pm: The odds of the Angels dealing Trumbo are increasing, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). Rosenthal says that the Angels are becoming more open to the idea, while the Diamondbacks are pushing and other teams are improving their offers.

4:31pm: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that there has been "fairly heavy traffic" on Trumbo, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register.

4:14pm: The Angels have spoken to the Diamondbacks about Arizona's pitching, though it's not clear whether Trumbo has been in play in those talks, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

3:04pm: The Diamondbacks have been said to be looking at starting pitching, but Rosenthal tweets that they could also join the mix in talks for Trumbo. As Rosenthal notes, Arizona has plenty of young pitching to tempt the Angels.

11:20am: Sources have indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Mark Trumbo is "in play" as the Angels discuss trades with other teams (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Angels would hate to lose Trumbo but also recognize that he may be the best trade chip they have.

Set to turn 28 in January, Trumbo once again posted big-time power numbers in 2013. The right-handed swinger slugged a career-high 34 home runs and knocked in a career-best 100 runs as well. However, he batted just .234 with a .294 on-base percentage, displaying a continued difficulty in getting on base. He's turned himself into a solid first baseman, posting plus marks in both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved in recent years. His defense at an outfield corner has been subpar throughout his career, making it seem likely that teams looking to put him in right or left field wouldn't be willing to surrender as much talent.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, Trumbo is projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM in 2014. He can be controlled through the 2016 season via the arbitration process. Recently, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register noted that a trade of Trumbo is unlikely.


NL Notes: Mets, Nats, Reds, Samardzija, Rockies, D-Backs

Here are the latest updates from the National League side of the ledger:

  • The Mets are increasingly expressing optimism about their efforts to bring Curtis Granderson into the fold, reports Marc Carig of Newsday, though nothing appears to be immiment. Joining the Mets in pursuit of Granderson are the White Sox and Mariners, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. If that does not work out for New York, says Puma, the club will "likely" turn its attention to Nelson Cruz.
  • After parting ways with two left-handed relief options in Fernando Abad and Ian Krol, the Nationals remain interested in adding Oliver Perez, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Kilgore says that the Mariners and Padres also have interest in the 32-year-old southpaw, who pitched to a 3.74 ERA in 53 innings last year for Seattle.
  • Echoing previous reportsReds GM Walt Jocketty says that the club has told second baseman Brandon Phillips that it is "not in any talks to trade him," reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Though Jocketty also noted that he could not rule out that possibility, he definitely left the impression that he is not actively shopping Phillips.
  • Jocketty also indicated that the club is likely going to keep Aroldis Chapman in the closer role rather than converting him to a starter, reports Sheldon. Though Cincinnati will keep the starting option on the table in the spring, Jocketty said that the club likes its depth at the present. As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth wrote at the start of the off-season, the Reds could tinker with their rotation, but lack a pressing need to do so.
  • Though the latest scuttlebutt has Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija marked for trade talks, club president Theo Epstein says that the club still hopes to extend him, tweets Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. Of course, Chicago could certainly be keeping both options on the table for the time being.
  • After trading away center fielder Dexter Fowler, the Rockies plan to shift Carlos Gonzalez over to fill the vacancy, reports the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). Meanwhile, the club is still shopping for relief pitchers, reports the Denver Post's Troy Renck (via Sulia), and may be most likely to add a bullpen arm via trade. 
  • The Diamondbacks are still looking to add a major piece, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, and GM Kevin Towers has indicated that the club would be willing to give up its first-round draft choice to sign a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer. Towers indicated that the club is most likely to add a starter via trade, leaving Piecoro to posit that the most likely open-market targets would be Granderson, Nelson Cruz, or Carlos Beltran.
  • Meanwhile, the D-Backs could be much more willing to deal pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs than they had been in the past, Piecoro writes. In fact, the club apparently recently explored just that possibility. Coming off of a down year that saw his velocity drop, however, the 22-year-old probably also has diminished trade value at the moment, Piecoro further notes.

D-Backs Looking To Trade Market For Ace, Power Bats

3:30pm: The Diamondbacks may also be looking to the trade market for power bats, according to a recent series of tweets from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal reports that the D-Backs and A's recently discussed a trade that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Arizona in exchange for Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pollock and others. Both sides have cooled on the idea and backed off the trade at this time, however, and the A's would only trade Cespedes for a "monster" return, according to Rosenthal. Still, as he points out, it serves as an example that the Diamondbacks will be aggressive and creative in their search for a power bat in the outfield.

1:54pm: The Diamondbacks are motivated to swing a trade for an ace-caliber pitcher, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick spoke with Arizona GM Kevin Towers, president/CEO Derrick Hall and owner Ken Kendrick in an excellent, in-depth breakdown of the situation. While Towers was quick to say that no player is untouchable, he sounded loath to part with prized pitching prospect Archie Bradley, a consensus Top 10 MLB prospect. Asked about the possiblity of trading Bradley, he replied:

"I don't see that happening. Not that anybody is untouchable, but we're hoping he's our David Price, and we can control him [for several years]. He's gonna get every opportunity to crack our rotation this spring … He's not looking to make our rotation as the fifth guy — he's looking to make it as the ace."

Hall pointed to the Diamondbacks' success in 2011 when Ian Kennedy finished fourth in the Cy Young race, noting how impactful having a "No. 1 type starter" was to that year's team. Hall expects activity to pick up: "We're getting a lot of calls and making a lot of calls, and we can see the interest is there. We're probably a good fit for a lot of clubs."

In addition to enviable pitching depth, the Diamondbacks also have several intriguing shortstops in the form of Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed. Martin Prado's presence means that Arizona could also be inclined to include Matt Davidson in potential trades, and the presence of both A.J. Pollock could mean that Adam Eaton is attainable as well, notes Crasnick.

Crasnick lists familiar trade targets Price and Jeff Samardzija for the Diamondbacks, though Price has had multiple ace-caliber seasons while Samardzija has more so flashed ace potential. Crasnick adds that Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado, each of whom is still younger than 24, may be more likely to be included in potential trades.

The Diamondbacks are also looking to add an impact bat to the outfield, though that addition may be more likely to come via free agency, reports Crasnick. Big-name items like Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson may not fit into Arizona's payroll, which could lead to pursuits of names like Corey Hart and Michael Morse, though there are many who don't consider either one to be capable of handling the outfield at this point.


Latest On The Diamondbacks’ Pitching Search

FRIDAY: Despite Towers' comments, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Diamondbacks are at least discussing Jake Peavy as a possibility, noting that the White Sox have scouted Randall Delgado (Twitter link). Given the number of available relievers the White Sox have, the Diamondbacks could ask for both Peavy and a bullpen arm in a trade, though that's just speculation on my part.

THURSDAY: While many of the rumors regarding the D-Backs' search for pitching thus far have focused on starting pitchers such as Yovani Gallardo and Jeff Samardzija, GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert that bullpen help is the team's bigger need:

"I'm not as concerned probably with our starting pitching and looking externally for starting pitching as much as trying to get a bullpen arm," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said.

Towers feels that injured starters Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy can help to upgrade the team's rotation when they return from the disabled list. Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com echoes that sentiment (Twitter link), adding that Towers will not trade top prospects Tyler Skaggs or Archie Bradley. Skaggs had been mentioned as a possible component to a Gallardo trade.

The Diamondbacks have actually received a combined 3.33 ERA from their bullpen this season, but J.J. Putz has been injured and Heath Bell has an 8.38 ERA over his past 11 appearances. They also lost one of their top relief arms when Matt Reynolds hit the disabled list in early June. So far, the Diamondbacks have been linked to the Brewers' bullpen options such as John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Michael Gonzalez. Other teams such as the Marlins, White Sox and Twins figure to have bullpen arms that could be moved in the coming weeks as well.