Vance Worley Rumors

Players Win Six Of 14 Arbitration Hearings

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?
Pedro Alvarez Pirates $5.750MM $5.250MM Yes
Jerry Blevins Nationals $2.400MM $2.200MM Yes
Alejandro De Aza Orioles $5.650MM $5.000MM No
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays $5.750MM $4.300MM No
Mat Latos Marlins $10.400MM $9.400MM No
Mike Minor Braves $5.600MM $5.100MM Yes
Jarrod Parker Athletics $1.700MM $0.850MM No
David Phelps Marlins $1.875MM $1.400MM No
Wilin Rosario Rockies $3.300MM $2.800MM No
Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks $6.900MM $5.300MM Yes
Danny Valencia Blue Jays $1.675MM $1.250MM Yes
Neil Walker Pirates $9.000MM $8.000MM No
Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners $2.200MM $1.400MM No
Vance Worley Pirates $2.450MM $2.000MM 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.

Vance Worley Wins Arbitration Case Against Pirates

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.


Arbitration Roundup: 54 Players Exchange Figures

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.


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.