Vance Worley Rumors

Quick Hits: Brock, Worley, Indians, Collins

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.”

AL Notes: Scheppers, Rangers, Blanton, Worley

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.

Pirates Acquire Vance Worley

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.



Cafardo On Davis, Hanrahan, Worley, Hill

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why pitchers seem to be hitting the disabled list at a higher rate throughout the minor and major leagues.  Not only are young pitchers including Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, and Bruce Rondon undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring, but Medlen and Beachy are actually having the surgery for a second time.  “I think pitchers are getting abused at a younger age,” Hall of Famer Tom Glavine told Cafardo. “Most of them are max-effort guys, so it reaches the point where the stress finally causes a breaking point.”  More from today's column..

  • The Mets do not anticipate a deal involving first baseman Ike Davis.  The Mets resumed gauging interest in Davis last week but so far, no inquiries have really blown them away.  The Orioles are still among the clubs with interest.
  • Joel Hanrahan has shifted his training base to Tampa, moving toward his first showcase for teams, which should happen shortly.  The Red Sox have some interest in bringing back Hanrahan, but with teams like the Tigers, Orioles, and Yankees in need of back-end relievers, he probably won't wind up back in Boston.
  • Twins pitcher Vance Worley, who is out of options, was placed on waivers Friday, then outrighted to Triple-A when he cleared.  Minnesota may still deal Worley and a return to the Phillies would not be out of the question.

Twins Outright Vance Worley

2:32pm: The Twins announced that Worley has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Rochester. He'll remain in the organization, and the 40-man roster now stands at 39, which will give them the flexibility to add one of their minor league signings to the active roster at the end of Spring Training.

10:53am: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that Worley was placed on waivers on Wednesday, meaning that his waiver period expires today.

10:46am: The Twins have placed right-hander Vance Worley on waivers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Any team can claim the 26-year-old, as Minnesota looks to free up a spot on its 40-man roster.

Acquired from the Phillies (along with prospect Trevor May) just last offseason in exchange for Ben Revere, Worley struggled tremendously in his first year with Minnesota and hasn't shown improvement in Spring Training this year. Worley posted a 7.21 ERA with 4.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate in 48 2/3 innings with the Twins in 2013 — a year in which he was their Opening Day starter. His Spring Training struggles have been even more pronounced, as he's allowed 16 runs on 22 hits and five walks in 10 2/3 innings — good for a 13.50 ERA.

Worley looked to be emerging as a solid mid-rotation or back-end starter in parts of three seasons with the Phillies prior to the trade. Over 277 1/3 innings with Philadelphia, he posted a 3.50 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. However, an unusual number of Worley's strikeouts were of the looking variety, making that strikeout rate more difficult to sustain than if he were a swing-and-miss pitcher. Worley had just a 5.5 percent swinging-strike rate in his time with the Phillies, suggesting that his solid strikeout totals were due for some regression, especially when considering a move to the American League. Worley also underwent elbow surgery to remove bone chips and spurs late in the 2012 season, so it's possible that some of his struggles are due to lingering effects of that operation.

Worley currently has two years, 33 days of Major League service time, so he'd qualify for arbitration were he to spend the bulk roughly five months on the big league roster this season. He's out of options, so any team that wishes to claim him will have to be willing to carry him on its 25-man roster or risk losing him to waivers again at the end of Spring Training.


Twins Notes: Mauer, Pelfrey, Garza, Morgan

SB Nation's Grant Brisbee examines the ups and downs of Joe Mauer's contract and wonders what Mauer would have signed for had he been a free agent this offseason. Mauer is owed $115MM over the remainder of his contract, and while Brisbee feels he'd fall a bit shy of that, he still predicts a healthy six-year, $101MM contract. Mauer would have been the second-best hitter in this year's free agent class, Brisbee notes, pointing out that among 2013-14 free agents, only Robinson Cano has a higher OPS+ than Mauer over the past two seasons. More Twins-related news and rumors…

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post


Rosenthal On Garza, Cardinals, Ibanez, Rockies

In a video report, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal passes on some updates on developing trade situations around the league. Here are the main takeaways:

  • The Cubs have had relatively detailed talks on an extension with free-agent-to-be Matt Garza — including years and dollars — but Rosenthal says it remains much more likely that the starter will be dealt. There is a solid chance that a deal could be made before Garza's scheduled July 22 outing, says Rosenthal, with Chicago seemingly willing to accept less in return if a team is willing to eat more of the remainder of Garza's $10.25MM deal. 
  • Echoing previous reports, Rosenthal lists the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, and Rangers as the teams most prominently in on Garza. He does note that there may be a few other teams who could make such a move. We've recently heard of interest from the Indians as well, though cold water has already been thrown on that idea. 
  • Rosenthal adds via Twitter that the Rangers have two scouts watching Garza pitch tonight, with the Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, and Blue Jays also scouting the game. Of course, as Rosenthal further tweets, the other clubs are more likely interested in Chicago's relievers and position players.
  • While Rosenthal says that the Cardinals would be a nice fit for a starter like Garza, he says that it remains extremely unlikely that GM John Mozeliak would part with any elite talent to make such a deal. Rosenthal says that Cards could be on the starter market, but only if the club feels it cannot rely on internal options like Chris Carpenter.
  • Meanwhile, Rosenthal says St. Louis does not feel any urgency to make a move at shortstop. While Pete Kozma is far from perfect, it would be hard to upgrade the position substantially at a non-prohibitive price.
  • One obvious trade candidate, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners, is somewhat unlikely to be dealt in spite of his cheap, expiring contract and solid performance this season. As we've heard elsewhere recently, Rosenthal says that GM Jack Zduriencik would be hesitant to deal the once-and-current Mariner without consulting with him. According to Rosenthal, Seattle is more likely to trade other veterans like reliever Oliver Perez and starter Joe Saunders.
  • The Rockies could be interested in making a deal for the YankeesPhil Hughes, but Rosenthal says that they would be looking at him as a bullpen piece rather than a starter. If the Yanks are in fact looking for a significant return for Hughes, of course, the Rockies would seem hard-pressed to get an overly attractive price on the pending free agent.
  • One other player the Rockies are looking at is starter Vance Worley of the Twins, who is currently working out his issues (with some success) at Triple-A. According to Rosenthal, Minnesota is loathe to ship off Worley at a discount because they view him as a rebound candidate and maintain team control through 2017. Worley's extended minor league stay could make him even cheaper, as he may lose his expected Super Two status and figures to earn less whenever he does reach arbitration.

Rob Antony Talks Twins’ Offseason, Future

For the fourth straight year, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony sat down with Jesse Lund of SB Nation's Twinkie Town to discuss the state of affairs with his team. Antony and Lund discussed the Twins' offseason at length, ranging from the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Twins' pursuit of starting pitching. Here's a look at some of the highlights, but bear in mind that entire piece is well worth your time…

  • The Twins never intended to trade both Revere and Span, but the Phillies' offer of Trevor May and Vance Worley was too strong not to pull the trigger. Antony identifies May as someone who could get a September call-up in 2013 if he enjoys a strong season.
  • The Twins had conversations with both Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, but were unable to agree to terms with either one. In particular, the Twins sought a club option for Baker, who wanted strictly a one-year deal. Antony said they didn't want 2013 to "be a donation" to Baker in the event that he wasn't healthy and effective for most of the season. That decision looks wise, with Baker on the 60-day disabled list for the Cubs.
  • Mike Pelfrey identified the Twins as a team he wanted to pitch for and was aggressive in working out a deal, according to Antony. The Twins did quite a bit of homework on Pelfrey's recovery from Tommy John surgery in order to ascertain that the right-hander would indeed be ready for Opening Day, as he promised.
  • The Twins made several "competitive offers" to free agent starting pitchers, in some cases making better offers than the ones those pitchers ultimately took. The Twins had conversations with nearly every free agent starting pitcher and spoke with around 15 agents for pitchers at the Winter Meetings in December.
  • Following the Span trade, most teams didn't believe that the team would also trade Revere. Antony says four teams were in the mix for Revere, but the Phillies were the most aggressive and ultimately landed him with the aforementioned offer.
  • The Twins were willing to do a one-for-one swap of Span and Alex Meyer because they believe Meyer is a legitimate front-of-the-rotation candidate who can be a "dominant" strikeout pitcher.
  • The decision to bring Aaron Hicks north as the team's Opening Day center fielder was a result of Hicks' strong play in Spring Training and his poise off the field. The Twins' front office was never overly concerned with delaying Hicks' free agency by a season: "If he's that good of a player we're going to do what we can to sign him long term and none of that's going to matter."
  • Antony, GM Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office prefer to gradually expose their top prospects to the Major Leagues so as not to field a team of all rookies. Additionally, that line of thinking prevents mass arbitration and free agency issues: "If you can bring a couple guys, a couple rookies in each year, it helps infuse that and it helps to spread it out so that not everybody becomes arbitration eligible at the same time or free agents at the same time, all that stuff."
  • The Twins "admire" the Royals' bullpen of power arms and would like to build a similar bullpen. The team prioritized power arms in the 2012 Draft, selecting a number of hard-throwing college relievers.
  • Antony offered a definitive "No," when asked if the team had interest in Aaron Harang prior to his trade to the Mariners. The Twins feel they have a number of similar arms in the organization already.
  • There's been no contact between the Twins and Jim Thome for "a couple of months," and the two were never on the same page. Minnesota had interest in Thome, but they were far apart in discussions.
  • "It would be great if he could be a Twin for life," Antony said of Justin Morneau. "He's a guy who's meant a lot for this organization and we'd love it if he were to play his entire career here, but you just don't know how things are going to work out in the end."
  • Antony feels that too much has been made of the decision not to extend Ron Gardenhire prior to this season. Many have speculated that Gardenhire is on the hot seat following a pair of 90-loss seasons, but Antony said it was intended to be an organization-wide message that they're looking to get better from top to bottom. He adds that he hopes Gardenhire is the Twins' manager for years to come, and that in three years people are surprised there was even a debate.

Indians, Phillies Discussed Asdrubal Cabrera Deal

Asdrubal Cabrera, arguably the top shortstop available, has drawn trade interest as a third baseman. Before the Winter Meetings began, the Indians and Phillies discussed a trade that would have sent the shortstop to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and prospects, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 

The Phillies, who have since sent Worley to the Twins and acquired Michael Young from the Rangers, would have used Cabrera at third base, according to Hoynes. While the Phillies offered Worley and two prospects, the Indians wanted more.

Cabrera, 27, will earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before his contract expires. The switch hitter can block trades to the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Nationals, Giants and Mets. In 616 plate appearances this past season, he posted a .270/.338/.423 batting line.

The Indians appear to have closed the books on Kevin Youkilis, though they still have needs in left field and at DH. Nick Swisher remains a target for Cleveland, according to Hoynes. GM Chris Antonetti hopes to add to his rotation and the Indians have been in touch with most free agent starters.


Phillies Acquire Ben Revere

The Phillies acquired outfielder Ben Revere from the Twins, reports MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  Starting pitcher Vance Worley is going to the Twins in the deal, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, as well as pitching prospect Trevor May, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Both teams have since confirmed the trade.

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Revere, 24, hit .294/.333/.342 in 553 plate appearances for the Twins this year, stealing 40 bags in 49 tries.  With just one year and 149 days of Major League service, Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017.  He was a first-round pick of the Twins in 2007.  He'd been penciled in to take over center field from Denard Span, who the Twins dealt to the Nationals less than a week ago.

"Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.  He's also affordable, allowing for payroll flexibility for the team.  Meanwhile, there's one less suitor for free agent Michael Bourn.

Worley, 25, posted a 4.20 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9, and 46% groundball rate in 133 innings this year for the Phillies.  He battled a bone chip in his elbow for much of the season, which was removed in September surgery.  Worley has one year and 152 days of Major League service, matching up nicely with Revere in terms of club control.

May, 23, was ranked as the Phillies' second-best prospect by MLB.com.  He posted a 4.87 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, and 1.32 HR/9 in 149 2/3 Double-A innings this year.  Prior to the season, Baseball America wrote, "If his command continues to improve, he could become a No. 2 starter, and he should be at least a solid mid-rotation workhorse."  The Twins added Alex Meyer in the Span trade, ranked the 50th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.