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- Reds To Retain Bryan Price
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Wade Miley Rumors
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said Tuesday that he’s not under any pressure to make to make a trade and won’t be forced into moving a player, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Zolecki notes that Amaro is very likely posturing, but the GM implied that the Phillies could wait until the offseason to move some of their pieces. “We’ve debated here internally about when is the greatest value of some of these players, a number of them,” said Amaro. “When does that player become the most valuable asset? Again, a lot of it depends on who’s going to step up, and who’s going to satisfy some of the things that we’re trying to do in a trade. If someone does, and we feel like it’s the right thing to do, we’ll do it.” Amaro did, however, say that he “would like to do something” on the trade market.
More notes from the NL East to kick off Wednesday morning…
- Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone may need another surgery, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jake Kaplan. The 24-year-old Pettibone is currently rehabbing from right shoulder surgery, but Amaro told reporters yesterday that he had to shut down a simulated game at the team’s spring complex in Clearwater early. The loss of Pettibone has been a notable one for a Phillies team that is thin on upper-level rotation depth; Pettibone tossed 100 1/3 innings of 4.04 ERA ball in his rookie season back in 2013.
- Jon Niese has posted stellar results of late, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that a run of six straight starts has done little to restore the trade value of the Mets lefty. “It changes nothing for me,” an NL exec told Martino. “Stuff has gotten lighter every year. The Mets are going to tell everyone it’s as good as ever to keep trade value high.” A second evaluator told Martino, “I would assume GMs wouldn’t overreact to recent performance, and would consider the long term picture along with health and the financial commitment.” Niese’s hot streak — he has a 2.41 ERA over his past six starts — came up in yesterday’s MLBTR Chat, though I offered a similar take; six starts does little to override a history of shoulder issues, and Niese’s secondary stats haven’t been as impressive as his ERA in that time anyhow.
- Many reports this offseason noted that the Marlins were interested in, if not close to acquiring Wade Miley prior to the Diamondbacks stepping back and eventually accepting another offer from the Red Sox. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier spoke with GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings about his club’s interest in Miley: “We had conversations. The closeness, I don’t want to say, but we definitely had conversations,” said Jennings. One source indicated to Speier that the Marlins thought the deal was nearly complete before Boston swooped in.
- The Braves continue to work toward a deal with No. 14 overall pick Kolby Allard, assistant GM John Coppolella tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re still going through the process, and we’re very hopeful that we can sign Kolby,” said Coppolella. “You would’ve like to have had him signed earlier, but you understand that it’s a process. I wouldn’t say there’s a holdup on his end or our end, we just haven’t reached the finish line yet.” O’Brien recently reported that there’s a “legit chance” that the Braves won’t ink Allard. He notes that there’s been some speculation that adviser Casey Close of Excel Sports has been seeking a bonus more in line with where Allard would’ve been drafted had a back injury not dropped his stock a bit. As I noted at the time of O’Brien’s initial report, the Braves can offer Allard about $3.462MM (which is $626K over slot) without incurring the loss of a pick.
Free agency is fun for those of us on the outside to follow, but that’s not necessarily the case for the players themselves. Tim Britton of The Providence Journal kept tabs on now two former members of the Red Sox throughout their free agent process, David Ross and Burke Badenhop. While Ross found a home with the Cubs before Christmas, Badenhop had to wait a little while longer for his deal with the Reds. More from the AL East..
- The most likely scenario in the Cubs/Joe Maddon tampering case is that no evidence will be found to support the Rays‘ claims, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.
- Juan Francisco‘s minor league deal with the Rays includes an April 5th opt-out and a salary of $2MM (plus incentives) if he makes the team, according to Topkin. Francisco, 28 in June, spent 2014 with the Blue Jays, where he hit .220/.291/.456 with 16 home runs in 320 plate appearances.
- Mitchell Boggs can opt out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox if he isn’t on the big league club by April 4th, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford believes that the former Cardinals closer could wind up not only making the big league roster, but becoming a valuable piece in the pen. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox signed Boggs with every intention of having him on the varsity squad. “They communicated with me early in the offseason that it was a major league-type opportunity,” Boggs explained. “It wasn’t depth for the entire year. It was a situation where they wanted me to come in and compete and try to make this team. That’s what I care about.”
- Most of the Yankees‘ moves for young power arms, starting with the signing of free agent Andrew Miller, were made to build a deep bullpen. But, the trade of win-now infielder Martin Prado for Nathan Eovaldi signaled a willingness to gamble on the starting rotation as well, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. If all goes according to plan, the Yankees could have one of the younger starting rotations in baseball with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Eovaldi, and Ivan Nova. The question marks about their injuries and inconsistency could have made guys like Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields to be solid fits, but the Yanks decided instead to play it smart for the long-term.
- Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley thought for several days that he would be traded to the Marlins or Rangers before he wound up in Boston, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe tweets. Miley first learned that he was headed to the Red Sox when he saw the news on TV.
- With or without permission from St. Petersburg, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said he’ll seek a replacement stadium no later than 2022, Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times writes.
News broke earlier today that Victor Martinez will undergo knee surgery on Tuesday, and until the veteran slugger’s procedure is complete, the Tigers have no choice but to play the waiting game. “I don’t know what I need to fill [on the roster],” GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jason Beck). “We’re going to have to wait to do all of that until Tuesday.” If the best-case scenario of a four-to-six week absence is met, Detroit can rely on short-term fill-ins to take Martinez’s place. Mlive.com’s James Schmehl lists several internal options within the organization, and he also opines that free agents Dayan Viciedo and Chris Colabello could also fit as temporary replacements or bench depth.
Here’s some more from around the junior circuit…
- Wade Miley‘s three-year extension with the Red Sox has some positive luxury tax implications for the team, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. By locking Miley up now, he’ll likely cost Boston less against the tax than he would’ve had he gone year-to-year in arbitration. These savings could help the Sox get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold next winter or in 2017.
- In an interview on the MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show (hat tip to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger), Torii Hunter said he wasn’t yet sure if 2015 will be his last season. “I don’t know. Right now, I’m just taking it one year at a time,” Hunter said. The 18-year veteran reportedly turned down some two-year offers before signing a one-year deal with the Twins in December.
- Mariners president Kevin Mather and GM Jack Zduriencik both attended a private workout for Cuban players Hector Olivera and Andy Ibanez, though Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times “wouldn’t overthink” why the two front office figures were present. As Divish notes, Mather and Zduriencik were already in the Dominican Republic for organizational meetings, so while it’s usually rare to see upper management at workouts, it makes sense that the two would check in on the workout during their visit.
- The Blue Jays‘ focus on developing young starting pitching is the backbone of Alex Anthopoulos’ plan to make the club into a consistent contender, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writes. The Jays have built a very solid offensive core, but if the young arms fail to deliver, the team’s plans over the next few seasons become very uncertain.
- Astros owner Jim Crane likes his team’s offseason moves and tells MLB.com’s Richard Dean that GM Jeff Luhnow has more possible acquisitions in the works. “Jeff’s still working on a few — we’re looking for a couple more players [to see] if we can make a couple more key additions,” Crane said. “But we like the moves we’ve made, and I think the team’s going to be very exciting this year — a lot more competitive.”
The Red Sox and left-hander Wade Miley will never have to worry about arbitration, as his agents at O’Connell Sports Management have announced a three-year, $19.25MM contract extension that buys out all of his arbitration years (Twitter link). The Red Sox have announced the deal as well, which reportedly contains a club option for a fourth season.
The 28-year-old Miley, acquired from the Diamondbacks at the Winter Meetings in exchange for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4.3MM in his first trip through arbitration this winter. He will reportedly receive a $500K signing bonus before earning $3.5MM in 2015, $6MM in 2016 and $8.75MM in 2017. His option is valued at $12MM and comes with a $500K buyout. Additionally, his deal contains $2MM worth of incentives that can boost the option’s value to $14MM. All told, Miley can earn up to $31MM over the next four years, if he reaches his incentives and the Red Sox exercise the option.
Formerly the No. 43 overall pick in the draft out of Southeastern Louisiana University, Miley first established himself as a rotation mainstay in the 2012 season, when he finished second to Bryce Harper in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. Since claiming a place in the D-Backs’ rotation, Miley has pitched to a 3.74 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 48.6 percent ground-ball rate. He’s also been exceptionally durable in that time, averaging an even 200 innings over the past three seasons.
By agreeing to the deal, Miley’s agents have secured him his first fortune in baseball without drastically delaying his free agency, whereas the Red Sox have received cost certainty that keeps Miley’s price tag reasonable even in the event of a breakout season. Miley will be eligible to hit free agency entering either his age-31 (if the option is declined) or age-32 season (if it exercised), which should present him with the opportunity to earn at least one more significant payday on top of this sum.
The structure of Miley’s deal is rare, though certainly not unheard of among players in his service class, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker. As the linked list shows, the most recent examples of such a structure include Chris Iannetta and Nick Hundley, but to find a pitcher who signed a three-year deal with a club option in his first year of arbitration eligibility, we have to go back to 2009, when Paul Maholm did so with the Pirates.
Miley will be counted on, along with newcomer Rick Porcello and the returning Justin Masterson, to help reshape a Red Sox rotation that will also feature Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly. That quintet, backed by a remade offense that includes the likes of Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and Rusney Castillo, will be tasked with reversing the fortunes of a 2014 club that followed up a World Series victory with a last-place finish in the AL East.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Rather than throwing touchdowns for the Patriots, could Tom Brady have instead had a career throwing out baserunners for the Expos? MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro looks back at how Montreal selected Brady (then a catcher at Serra High School) in the 18th round of the 1995 draft, even though it was widely known that Brady was going to play football at Michigan. “I think he would have been a pro,” said scout John Hughes, who evaluated Brady for the Expos. “He had all the intangibles. He could throw, left-handed power. There is no reason to think this guy couldn’t have been a big league catcher.” While every New England sports fan breathes a sigh of relief that Brady stuck to the gridiron, here are some more notes from around baseball…
- Joba Chamberlain has rejected multiple offers because he simply didn’t want to pitch for the teams that offered him those deals, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. He’s considering a one-year deal with a modest base salary and incentives, as his hopes for a two-year contract have likely gone by the wayside. There is still some question about Chamberlain’s makeup amongst league executives, and one exec told Rosenthal that the Tigers‘ lack of interest in re-signing Chamberlain “alarmed him” given Detroit’s need for bullpen help.
- Though Brandon Beachy was reportedly considering multiple offers and was thought to be close to signing a new contract earlier this month, his agent Rob Martin tells Ken Rosenthal (all Twitter links) that the right-hander will wait a bit longer. “Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time. With each day his arm is getting stronger and he’s feeling even more confident about his progress,” Martin said. “Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to Spring Training.”
- The Marlins were linked to Wade Miley earlier this winter, and now ESPN’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required) reports that the Marlins thought they were in agreement with the Diamondbacks on a Miley-for-Nathan Eovaldi trade. Arizona pulled out of the deal, however, and Miami instead dealt Eovaldi to the Yankees while the D’Backs sent Miley to the Red Sox.
- Also from Olney, there is some speculation in rival front offices that the Nationals‘ trade of Tyler Clippard might’ve been motivated by more than just a desire to move salary, especially since Washington just signed Casey Janssen to a healthy contract. It’s possible the Nats could see “red flags” about Clippard’s future production that aren’t obvious to most observers, especially given that Clippard had another strong season in 2014.
The Red Sox have officially added lefty Wade Miley in a trade with the Diamondbacks, the teams announced today. Right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, along with infielder Raymel Flores, make up the return for the D’Backs.
Miley has been the source of several rumors during these Winter Meetings, with the Rangers, Marlins and Blue Jays all with varying levels of interest in the southpaw. Miley is projected to earn $4.3MM (by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz) in his first time through the arbitration process this winter, and he’ll be under team control through 2017.
Over the last three seasons, Miley has posted a 3.74 ERA, 2.66 K/BB rate and 7.1 K/9 while averaging an even 200 innings per year. He has a 48.6% ground ball rate over his career, which will serve him as well at Fenway Park as it did at Chase Field. Miley posted a 3.98 FIP, 3.50 xFIP and 3.67 SIERA in 2014, so the advanced metrics suggest that he was somewhat unlucky to produce his 4.34 ERA.
While Miley isn’t the durable lefty the Red Sox were hoping to land during the Winter Meetings, Miley is at least younger and far cheaper than Jon Lester, and he’ll slot into the Boston rotation alongside Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly. Boston is undoubtedly still looking to acquire at least one or possibly two more starters for 2015, including a Lester-level ace in free agency or the trade market.
This is the second high-profile deal that De La Rosa and Webster have both been a part of, as the two righties were part of the trade package that Boston received as part of the Adrian Gonzalez/Carl Crawford/Josh Beckett blockbuster with the Dodgers in 2012. As Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona points out, Diamondbacks senior VP De Jon Watson was in the Los Angeles front office when De La Rosa and Webster originally joined the Dodgers.
De La Rosa appeared in 30 games for the Sox (18 of them starts) in 2013-14, posting a 4.54 ERA, 2.16 K/BB and 6.4 K/9 in 113 innings. With Boston openly looking to add top-level starting pitching this offseason and a number of highly-regarded pitching prospects in the minors, it seems as if De La Rosa may have simply been squeezed out of a job with the Sox.
Webster also struggled at the Major League level (a 6.25 ERA over 89 1/3 innings over the last two seasons) but has a higher prospect pedigree than De La Rosa. Webster entered the year ranked as a top-100 prospect in the game, albeit over rather a wide range — he was ranked 46th by MLB.com, and 88th by Baseball America. The righty posted strong minor league numbers and was described by the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook as having “outrageous” stuff “suggesting top-of-the-rotation potential” but there were big questions about his confidence and fastball command.
That brings us to Flores, a 20-year-old middle infielder who played at the low-A level last year in his age-19 season. Flores hit .282/.344/.354 over 233 plate appearances, adding 14 stolen bases and one long ball, but he is known primarily for his glove.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi first reported the deal (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of FOX Sports reported on Twitter that it was finalized. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter) and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (via Twitter) reported the inclusion of Flores.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings. Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night. Here’s some more news from around baseball…
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
- The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
- Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
- With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
- The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports. Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there. Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
- The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade. The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter]. Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”
Even with Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello and (eventually) Wade Miley now in the fold, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington didn’t close the door on the possibility of more pitching moves. “I think we’re going to keep working and see what comes to us. Our hope was to really strengthen our rotation, our position with the rotation, this week, or at some point soon. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that,” Cherington told reporters, including WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The GM said he thinks teams can get by without having a frontline ace atop their rotation, though also pointed out his roster has “a lot of younger pitching that we think in time, some of them have a chance to develop into that type of guy.”
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- The Miley trade hasn’t yet been finalized since the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are “still squabbling about the extra player,” Arizona GM Dave Stewart tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. The player in question is a prospect Boston will be sending to the D’Backs along with Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
- The Yankees talked to the D’Backs and Tigers about Miley and Porcello, Brian Cashman told reporters (including George A. King III of the New York Post). “Did I call Arizona? Yes. Did I call Detroit? Yes. I didn’t have [Yoenis] Cespedes to send to Detroit. We are waiting for something we are comfortable with,” Cashman said. The GM said he “threw a lot of different ideas a lot of different ways” during a quiet Winter Meetings for the Yankees and he’ll “keep conversations alive” throughout the offseason.
- The Orioles “kicked the tires” on Reds outfielder Jay Bruce but couldn’t match up on a trade with Cincinnati, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. In the wake of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis signing elsewhere, the O’s have a definite need for corner outfield help.
- Scott Boras told reporters (including Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi) that the Blue Jays were one of the teams who had expressed interest in Japanese middle infielder Takashi Toritani. This would be a rare case of a Boras client signing with Toronto, a disconnect that the agent attributes to the club’s policy against contracts longer than five years. “They’re the only team that has said that limitation is five years. When you do that, you are cutting yourself off from a pool of talent that makes it very, very difficult to compete, particularly in the AL East,” Boras said. (It should be noted that the Jays’ five-year policy probably isn’t applicable in Toritani’s case, as the 33-year-old infielder is very unlikely to receive that long a contract from any team.)
7:30pm: Stewart discussed the Miley rumors with reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (Twitter links). Arizona did indeed talk to the Red Sox, Rangers and Marlins about a possible deal, though none of the teams offered what the D’Backs wanted in return. Nothing is currently happening involving Miley, Stewart said.
4:23pm: D’Backs GM Dave Stewart said “We are not talking to Boston” about a Miley deal, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Officials from both Arizona and Boston tell Nightengale (Twitter link) that there aren’t any active trade talks about Miley. The Marlins thought they were close to acquiring Miley before the Diamondbacks pulled out, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports.
3:40pm: The Red Sox are indeed nearing a deal to acquire Miley, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter.
3:21pm: The Marlins and Rangers are out on Miley, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, leaving the Red Sox as the likely suitor unless another team has jumped in.
3:02pm: One team that had been in discussions on Miley has dropped out, believing a deal to be nearing between the Diamondbacks and Red Sox, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com tweets.
2:37pm: The D’Backs are nearing a deal involving Miley, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
12:26pm: Arizona appears to be after young pitching in return, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports.
9:14am: The Diamondbacks are listening to offers for starter Wade Miley, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. Arizona appears to have at least some inclination to move him, as the club is attempting to drop its payroll under the $90MM threshold.
Miley, 28, is in his first of three seasons of arbitratration eligibility. The lefty has been a sturdy presence in the D’Backs rotation over the past three seasons, posting a total of 598 2/3 innings at a 3.74 ERA clip over that stretch. Though his results took a step backward last year, ERA estimators suggested he was much the same pitcher, if not better. Indeed, Miley also managed a career-best 8.2 K/9.
Of course, with that kind of volume of productive innings, Miley’s arbitration earnings will not be low. MLBTR and Matt Swartz project that he will take home $4.3MM this year, and that number will only rise in future seasons.
Nevertheless, Miley is a durable, controllable starter who figures to draw plenty of suitors. The Red Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays, and Rangers are already said to have some interest. Of course, the same things that make him attractive to other clubs presumably make him a nice commodity to the D’Backs, so it remains to be seen how serious the club is about striking a deal.
With Jon Lester off the market, we should start to see some dominoes fall. Here are the latest pitching rumors from around baseball.
- Talks between the Tigers and Red Sox have yet to gain any traction, tweets Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
- The Red Sox have yet to engage the Phillies on Hamels, Stark reports (Twitter links). It is early, of course, though perhaps it would have been expected that Boston would immediate move to that option. The team is, however, working on several other deals including a previously-rumored swap involving Yoenis Cespedes and Rick Porcello.
- After missing on Lester, the Giants have interest in dealing for Hamels, sources tell Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Earlier rumors that San Francisco is casting a wide net appear to have been well-founded, as the team has been reported to have at least some involvement in a wide variety of possible additions.
- The Twins have interest in Kyle Kendrick and have already had a meeting in San Diego, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
- Dillon Gee is the most likely Mets pitcher to go in trade, followed by Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The Rangers aren’t enamored with the Mets’ pitching but the Royals and Twins have been mentioned as possibilities.
- The Red Sox aren’t currently close on acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). They could now turn their attention to Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley instead and one of five other pitchers that they have their eyes on. James Shields could also be a free agent option for Boston.
- Two unnamed owners traveled to the winter meetings to meet with Max Scherzer‘s agent Scott Boras, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Scherzer’s market should develop after Lester signed for $155MM over six years, but he’s aiming much higher this winter. The losers in the Lester derby – the Giants, Red Sox, and Dodgers – could all be candidates for Scherzer with the Giants being the one team in the group certain to take a serious look.
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