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Vance Worley Rumors
The Pirates have designated right-hander Radhames Liz for assignment, as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported on Twitter. He’ll lose his roster spot to clear 40-man space for the return of fellow righty Vance Worley.
Liz was a surprising big-league signee this offseason, given that he’d last appeared in the majors in 2009. The 31-year-old has shown the ability to miss bats, with 10.4 K/9 on the year. But he has also struggled to keep hitters from reaching base, surrendering four and a half walks and ten hits per nine.
All told, Liz owns a 4.24 ERA in 23 1/3 innings at the major league level on the year, though he put up good results during a mid-season stint at Triple-A (much of it as a starter). Regardless whether he makes it back to the bigs this year, Liz has certainly shown enough — including a nearly 95 mph average fastball — to draw interest again this coming winter.
Worley, 27, had a bounce-back season last year for the Bucs. While he hasn’t been quite as good in 2015, at least in terms of bottom-line results, he’s been effective enough at the big league level with a 3.78 ERA over 69 innings. And he has been been quite effective against Triple-A hitters since being outrighted this summer.
Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has rounded up all the most recent minor moves. Among the notable ones that have not yet appeared on MLBTR …
- Righty Chin-hui Tsao has been outrighted by the Dodgers, per Eddy. The 34-year-old pitched briefly for the Dodgers in 2015 in his first big-league action since 2007 and probably didn’t help his case by allowing three homers in seven innings. He did, however, get fairly good results in the upper levels of the Dodgers’ minor league system this season, posting a 3.93 ERA, 11.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings of relief.
- The Marlins signed right-hander Erik Cordier and released infielder Jordany Valdespin, per the report. The 29-year-old Cordier has only appeared in one big-league season (with the Giants, in 2014), but he’s frequently attracted interest from teams looking to fill out their Triple-A clubs, since he throws in the upper 90s and generates strikeouts. As one might expect from a Triple-A reliever with such a profile, though, he has control issues, walking 5.1 batters per nine innings in his minor league career. The Marlins outrighted Valdespin last month. He’s spent most of the season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he’s hit .293/.348/.387 while playing second base and all three outfield positions.
- The Brewers released several minor leaguers, including lefty Michael Kirkman and infielder Donnie Murphy, Eddy adds. The 28-year-old Kirkman pitched parts of five seasons with the Rangers from 2010 through 2014, but he has only appeared in the minors in 2015, pitching 32 innings with the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Colorado Springs. He’s posted a 2.81 ERA with 9.6 K/9 but with a very high 7.9 BB/9. Murphy has hit .257/.352/.371 in 162 plate appearances with Colorado Springs, playing all four infield positions. He has appeared in parts of nine big-league seasons with the Royals, Athletics, Marlins, Cubs and Rangers, although he hasn’t played in the big leagues this year.
- Also, the Red Sox have signed lefty Rich Hill out of the Atlantic League, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Hill, 35, pitched at Triple-A for the Nationals earlier in the season and posted a 2.91 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 21 2/3 innings, although he also walked 21 batters. The Nationals released him in June, and he made one start for the Long Island Ducks. Hill appeared in 16 games with the Angels and Yankees in 2014.
- Pirates righty Vance Worley has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis, Cotillo adds on Twitter. Worley recently lost his roster spot when Pittsburgh added Joe Blanton. He’d have foregone the remainder of his $2.45MM salary by electing free agency. Worley has been fairly effective this season while pitching mostly in a swingman role (3.78 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9), so he could return to the Pirates when rosters expand in September.
AUGUST 8: The Pirates have outrighted Worley to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The money remaining on Worley’s $2.45MM contract — modest, but still well above the league minimum — might have prevented other teams from making a claim. Either way, Worley has been relatively effective in his two years with the Pirates, and he’ll likely rejoin them in September, if not before.
Phillies teammates for three years, Worley and Blanton won’t have a chance to pitch together for a second Pennsylvania club. Both have experienced modest career resurgences, and now it’s Worley’s turn to see if he can find a new opportunity.
The 27-year-old Worley had a great year for Pittsburgh last year, with a 2.85 ERA over 110 2/3 innings earning him a $2.45MM arbitration payday. He’s been solid again in 2015 — he carries a 3.78 ERA over 69 innings, with 6.1 /9 against 2.5 BB/9 — but lost his rotation spot along the way. He could draw some interest from teams looking to add innings, though his salary may complicate things.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post runs down a list of the teams with obvious trade candidates this spring and notes that executives to whom he spoke most often mentioned the Red Sox as a team to watch. Sherman examines speculative landing spots for Allen Craig, Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley. He feels that a healthy Victorino would be an idea fit in Seattle in front of Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano (though I don’t imagine Seattle having interest given their platoon acquisition of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano). For Craig, he theorizes that the Angels make some sense, should Josh Hamilton face a lengthy suspension. And the Braves have long fancied Bradley, even before Melvin Upton went down with a foot injury, Sherman adds. Sherman also runs down situations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto, Chicago and Philadelphia.
A bit more from his piece and a few other trade-related notes from around the league…
- As Sherman notes, many out-of-options players will become trade candidates at the end of Spring Training, and he feels that some such candidates could be outfielder David Lough, infielder Eduardo Nunez, lefties Felix Doubront and Brad Hand, and right-handers Jacob Turner, Randall Delgado, Stolmy Pimentel and Jesse Chavez. I’d be a bit surprised to see Chavez moved coming off such a strong season, though it’s certainly possible. Lough, in particular, strikes me as someone who could interest clubs, given his elite defense and his strong numbers against right-handed pitching.
- While each side will privately acknowledge that they’ve been in contact with the other, talks between the Red Sox and Phillies regarding Cole Hamels have been dormant for weeks, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale spoke to Boston GM Ben Cherington and Red Sox pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley about the confidence each has in their current staff.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo that it’s “fair to say” there’s been little to no recent trade talk regarding right-hander Dillon Gee and any of the Mets’ other starting pitching options (Twitter link). Gee seems destined to open the season in the bullpen, barring an injury or a spring injury to a rotation member.
- Travis Sawchick of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review takes a look at the spring battle between Vance Worley and Jeff Locke for the Pirates‘ fifth spot in the rotation, noting that neither is a candidate for a bullpen spot, so the loser of the battle could ultimately end up as a trade candidate. Sawchik notes that it’s possible that both could end up breaking camp with the team, should Charlie Morton open the season on the DL (or should the Bucs incur another spring injury), but he predicts that Worley will win the rotation spot if everyone else is healthy.
The Mariners’ defeat of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen today ended this offseason’s arbitration season. This year, 14 players went to arbitration hearings, with the players winning six times and teams winning eight. Via MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker, here are the results.
|Player||Team||Player Amt.||Team Amt.||Player won?|
|Alejandro De Aza||Orioles||$5.650MM||$5.000MM||No|
|Josh Donaldson||Blue Jays||$5.750MM||$4.300MM||No|
|Danny Valencia||Blue Jays||$1.675MM||$1.250MM||Yes|
A few notes:
- Via MLBTR’s 2014 Arbitration Tracker, only three players (Andrew Cashner, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin) had hearings last year, so 14 hearings this year marks a dramatic spike. No players had hearings in the 2012-2013 offseason, and seven players did in 2011-2012. The number of hearings this offseason was the most since 2001, although not everyone is convinced this is the start of a trend, according to the Associated Press. ”Just as I didn’t think [2012-2013] was the start of a trend when we had no hearings, I do not think any conclusions can be drawn at this point from the increased number of hearings this year,” says MLB chief legal officer Don Halem.
- The Pirates alone took three players to arbitration, as many as all teams combined in the previous two offseasons.
- Teams will pay the 14 players who went to arbitration $57.925MM next season, saving a total of about $1.5MM versus the midpoints between those 14 players’ proposed figures and those of their teams.
- There appears to be no obvious pattern in which players won and which lost (which isn’t necessarily surprising, since the terms of each arbitration hearing are set ahead of time by the teams and agents who determine the figures, and not by the arbitrators). As CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes (via Twitter), better established players (like Josh Donaldson, Neil Walker and Mat Latos) mostly lost their hearings, while players coming off mediocre or poor seasons, like Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo and Mike Minor, won theirs.
- In terms of overall dollar value, Donaldson might be the player most affected by the result of his hearing, which he lost. There was a fairly large gap (over $1.4MM) between his proposed figure and that of the Blue Jays. Donaldson is also a Super Two player in the midst of his first year of arbitration eligibility, and his salary for 2015 could impact his salary in the next three seasons after that.
Right-hander Vance Worley has won his arbitration case against the Pirates, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. That means Worley will earn his filing amount of $2.45MM, rather than Pittsburgh’s submission of $2MM.
The 27-year-old was eligible for arbitration for the first time as a Super Two. That means that Pittsburgh can control him for three more seasons if it so chooses.
Worley represents the latest turnaround story out of Pittsburgh. He tossed 110 2/3 innings of 2.85 ERA ball in 2014 after joining the organization on a cash swap last spring. With 6.4 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 and a 49.4% groundball rate, Worley’s peripherals backed his success, though obviously not quite to the outstanding run prevention level he achieved.
Notwithstanding a rough 2013 season — both in terms of performance and results — Worley has consistently generated ERA estimations in the mid-3 to low-4 earned run per nine range. That makes for a useful asset, particularly given his youth and contract status.
With his victory, Worley pushed his earnings closer to, but still shy of, the $2.9MM that MLBTR/Matt Swartz had projected. As always, you can keep up to date on arbitration news by clicking on MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker.
With today’s flurry of activities in the books, 144 players have agreed to deals to avoid arbitration for a total spend of $433MM. But that leaves 54 players who have exchanged figures and have ground left to cover before their 2015 salaries are settled. That number is up from last year’s tally of 39, and may point to the possibility that we will see more hearings than the three in 2014 (which was itself up from zero the year before).
MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker is a great resource for seeing where things stand. It is fully sortable and even allows you to link to the results of a search. (The MLBTR/Matt Swartz arbitration projections are also quite handy, of course.) Using the tracker, I compiled some broad notes on where things stand in the arbitration process this year.
Remember, deals avoiding arbitration can still be reached even after the exchange of numbers. Hearings will be scheduled between February 1st and 21st, so there is plenty of time for the sides to come together before making their cases.
That being said, some teams are known for their “file and trial” approach to arb-eligible players, meaning that they refuse to negotiate after the exchange deadline and go to a hearing if agreement has not been reached. Among those clubs (the Brewers, Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays, Braves, Reds, and White Sox, per the most recent reporting), there are several open cases remaining: Mat Latos and Michael Dunn (Marlins), Josh Donaldson and Danny Valencia (Blue Jays), Mike Minor (Braves), and Aroldis Chapman, Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier (Reds).
Meanwhile, some other clubs have historically employed the “file and trial” approach on a modified or case-by-case basis: the Pirates, Nationals, and Indians. Among those clubs, the Pirates (Neil Walker, Vance Worley) and Nationals (Jerry Blevins) have open cases, though all of them feature relatively tight spreads.
And there are some other interesting cases to keep an eye on as well. Consider:
- The Orioles and Royals not only faced off in last year’s American League Championship Series, but find themselves staring at by far the most unresolved cases (six and eight, respectively). They are also the only teams with eight-figure gaps between their submissions and those of their players ($10.85MM and $10MM, respectively).
- Among the Orioles players, two stand out for the significant relative gulf separating team and player. Zach Britton, who excelled after taking over as the closer last year, filed at $4.2MM while the team countered at $2.2MM, leaving a $2MM gap that is worth nearly 91% of the club’s offer. Even more remarkably, the O’s will need to bridge a $3.4MM gap ($5.4MM versus $2MM) with surprise star Steve Pearce. That spread is 1.7 times the value of the team’s offer and easily beats the largest difference last year (Logan Morrison and the Mariners, 127.3%).
- Of course, it is worth remembering that first-year arb salaries have added impact because they set a baseline for future earnings. (Each successive year’s salary is essentially calculated as an earned raise from that starting point.) For the Reds, the outcome of their cases with Frazier ($5.7MM vs. $3.9MM) and Mesoraco ($3.6MM vs. $2.45MM) could have huge ramifications for whether the team will be able to afford to keep (and possibly extend) that pair of strong performers.
- Likewise, the Angels face an important showdown with Garrett Richards, a Super Two whose starting point will factor into three more seasons of payouts. As a high-upside starter, he has sky high earning potential, so any savings will be most welcome to the team. The current spread is $3.8MM versus $2.4MM, a $1.4MM difference that equates to 58.3% of the team’s filing price.
- Interestingly, the biggest gap in absolute terms belong to Pearce and the Orioles at $3.4MM. After that come Bud Norris and the Orioles ($2.75MM), David Freese and the Angels ($2.35MM), Greg Holland and the Royals ($2.35MM), Dexter Fowler and the Astros ($2.3MM), Eric Hosmer and the Royals ($2.1MM), and Aroldis Chapman and the Reds ($2.05MM).
Of course, plenty of deals already got done today. Here are some of the more notable among them:
- David Price agreed to a $19.75MM salary with the Tigers that stands as the single highest arbitration payday ever, by a fair margin.
- Interestingly, the Rays agreed to rather similar, sub-projection deals with all seven of their arb-eligible players. Discounts on Swartz’s expectations ranged from 3.23% to 13.21%. In total, the club shaved $1.525MM off of its tab.
- The opposite was true of the Tigers, who spent a total of $1.4MM over the projections on just three players. Of course, since one of those players was Price, the commitment landed just 5.2% over the projected total.
- Detroit’s overages pale in comparison to those of the Cubs, who handed out several of the deals that beat the projections by the widest relative margin and ended up over $2.5MM (14.5%) over their projected spend.
- The MLBTR/Swartz model badly whiffed (over 50% off) on just three players, all of whom earned well over the projections: Chris Coghlan of the Cubs (78.9%), Carlos Carrasco of the Indians (66.9%) Tony Sipp of the Astros (60%).
- On the low side, the worst miss (or the biggest discount, depending on one’s perspective) was Mark Melancon of the Pirates, who fell $2.2MM and 28.9% shy of his projected earnings. Danny Espinosa (Nationals) and Chris Tillman (Orioles) were the only two other players to fall 20% or more below their projections. Of course, in the cases of both Melancon and Tillman, Swartz accurately predicted that they would fall short of the model.
Full Story | 0 Comments | Categories: Aroldis Chapman | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bud Norris | Carlos Carrasco | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Coghlan | Chris Tillman | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Danny Espinosa | Danny Valencia | David Freese | David Price | Detroit Tigers | Devin Mesoraco | Dexter Fowler | Eric Hosmer | Garrett Richards | Greg Holland | Houston Astros | Jerry Blevins | Josh Donaldson | Kansas City Royals | Logan Morrison | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Mark Melancon | Mat Latos | Miami Marlins | Mike Minor | Milwaukee Brewers | Neil Walker | Pittsburgh Pirates | Seattle Mariners | Steve Pearce | Tampa Bay Rays | Todd Frazier | Tony Sipp | Toronto Blue Jays | Vance Worley | Washington Nationals | Zach Britton
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the trade in which the Cubs sent Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio and two other players in a six-player deal, Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue notes. This was, of course, one of the worst trades in baseball history. Yellon explains that the Cubs were motivated in part by their poor start in 1964. They had finished 82-80 in 1963 for their first winning season in more than a decade, and they were hoping to make another run at contention. They also clearly didn’t realize that Brock, who was already almost 25, would become half the player he did, and they also didn’t anticipate that Broglio would begin having elbow problems almost immediately. Yellon notes that many writers at the time praised the Cubs for the trade. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Pirates will add Vance Worley to their 40-man roster in time for him to start on Sunday, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. The Pirates acquired Worley from the Twins in a depth move in March, but since then he’s demonstrated stellar control at Triple-A Indianapolis (with just four walks in 46 innings), and the Pirates have dealt with injuries to Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, as well as the departure of Wandy Rodriguez. Worley’s start will be his first in the big leagues since last May 22, after which he had a 7.21 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 48 2/3 innings for Minnesota.
- The Indians have struggled defensively this season, but it might be difficult for them to trade for defensive help, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. The problem is that many of their worst defensive players, such as Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall, are important to their offense. (A more straightforward path to improvement, of course, would be for Swisher and Santana to hit more.)
- The Mets have told manager Terry Collins his job is safe even though the Mets are 30-37, Newsday’s Anthony Rieber reports. The Mets signed Collins to a two-year extension in the offseason, and the Mets like Collins’ upbeat tone despite the team’s struggles. “One of the things we’ve tried to do here is create an atmosphere where guys understand what it is to play at this level,” says Collins. “The game sometimes isn’t friendly. But they’ve got to go out and keep doing their jobs, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has not only made his team's rotation, but he'll be Texas' Opening Day starter after Yu Darvish injured his neck. Scheppers has never started a game in the big leagues, having appeared in 115 games in the past two seasons as a reliever. As Elias notes (via FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro on Twitter), that's unusual — the last pitcher to make his MLB starting debut on Opening Day was former Dodgers phenom Fernando Valenzuela, all the way back in 1981. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- GM Jon Daniels says he expects recently-claimed infielder Donnie Murphy to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says signing Joe Blanton was his fault, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. "It’s a mistake on my part, there's no one else to blame, I made the call on signing Joe," Dipoto says. The Angels released Blanton this week after he posted a 6.08 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 132 2/3 innings last season, then continued to struggle in spring training.
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony says a lack of consistency was one reason his team traded pitcher Vance Worley to the Pirates, reports Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. "He didn't throw as hard as he did in the past and couldn't get the ball down. He couldn't change some of the things he knew he had to," says Antony. Worley, who struggled badly in 2013, was out of options, and the Twins outrighted him before trading him for cash considerations.
The Pirates have acquired Vance Worley from the Twins in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced. The Twins outrighted Worley last week. Worley, 26, pitched well for the Phillies in 2011 and fairly well in 2012, but he posted a 7.21 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 48 2/3 innings in 2013 after coming to Minnesota in a trade for Ben Revere.
The Bucs' rotation has depth issues heading into the season, with Francisco Liriano dealing with a groin injury and top prospect Jameson Taillon struggling with elbow pain. In addition, Edinson Volquez has struggled throughout spring training. The Pirates plan to go with a rotation of Liriano and Volquez along with Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Wandy Rodriguez.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.